“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, January 14, 2013

For those of you who mostly enjoy the Elephant Bar

I am tired of losing interesting, responsible and intelligent commenter’s who after  getting insulted, embarrassed or just plain fed up with some of the nonsense that get posted in the comments section, then leave the blog. 

We can limit access to the comments section with restrictions on who can post.  I will leave it up to a vote. Please comment as you see fit and express your interest if you wish to comment. If there is enough interest, I will post an email address to set up the process.

Here are the options available with Blogger settings:

* Anyone - includes Anonymous Users 
* Registered User - includes OpenID 
* User with Google Accounts 
* Only members of this blog 

I have been reluctant to do this because we often get some very interesting comments from anonymous and infrequent commenters. I could create a section open to people that wish to become a commenter and blog member and easily withdraw membership from those who either disrupt, bore or use extremely poor judgement in what they post.

Your thoughts.


  1. Not certain I understand the proposal. A proposal to vote on who gets to comment? People would vote their likes and dislikes and political persuasions. Might end up with a one opinion blog.

    Why not bring back the Dunce Chair, with a minimum sentence, first offense, etc escalating, until bingo, out, as an alternative?

    This would act as some kind of deterrence.

    For instance, I might vote against Rufus when I am ticked, then the next day feel entirely different about it. No doubt he might feel the same about me.

    A one time vote on who is in and who is out seems unfair.

    And who gets to vote? And, simple majority, 60% or what?

    I am going to Spokane in the morning, so I guess I say I'd like to continue to be able to comment.

    Can we vote to force someone to come back, like a draft? We could vote Doris to come back. It would be unanimous. Enforcement is a problem.

    She gave us some warning with that list, by the way.

    1. Creating a workable Constitution is hard.


    2. "She gave us some warning with that list, by the way."


      I missed that one. Could you point it out?

      According to Rufus, "DRR" is Doris,
      is that correct?

    3. She put up a list of 'personality disorders', quite a long list. Like arguing on and on and on about the same things, for instance. We were all on the list in one way or another, multiple times for me. I spotted her there, too. :) It was kind of funny. It's back there somewhere. I've got to get to sleep, or I'd look for it for you. Maybe within the last week, it was.

      DRR is Doris according to somebody. I picked up on it. I have a hunch she may be the old Maxine, based on the style of some of the writing, but of course don't know for sure.

    4. On and on for Rufus means Ethanol and putting all the blame on Pubs.

      If "DRR" or Doris is Maxine, I apologize to all those and Max too.

  2. Wretchard posted his conditions for comments and was criticised several times here.

    I simply complied with the conditions since the wild and wonderful days of Buddy Larsen et-al.


    This place has been w/o any restrictions, and I definitely abused that in the case of Max, and subsequently appologized.

    Rufus's lies, distortions, and denials about my directing my comments toward "DRR" notwithstanding, you made clear how you felt about my posting of what you considered inappropriate material.

    The conditions are clear.

    I will comply with them.

  3. .

    I'm against banning anybody. I'm also, against the restrictions in membership being discussed.

    I hate to see DRR go. Although I argue with her all the time, she does make some good points. Also, she posts great links, real conversation starters.

    I stopped enjoying some of the juvenile humor and fart jokes we get from some here by the time I was 20 and some of the language is more suited to a drunken frat party than a blog. I can see why some might get upset.

    However, we have few enough disparate voices here as it is. I don't want to cut any off. Likewise, while some of the posts here are boring, redundant, and in some cases outright crude, I don't personally understand how or why anyone would take them personally. Just me, of course.

    If DRR changes her mind and comes back, I think it would be great. If she doesn't, I wish her luck.

    I did see something above that made sense to me (from Bob of all people). The Dunce Chair. When it becomes obvious someone has stepped over that imaginary line we have drawn on conduct, I would suggest he be given a time out; a week, a month, whatever, escalating with each subsequent repetition.

    I would hope the gentlemen and ladies here would voluntarily agree to such an arrangement and disappear for the designated time without undue objection and when they return be a little more circumspect in the language they use.

    I find it hard to believe any of the regulars would object given the liberal nature of the policies here. If they do, IMO, they are likely beyond redemption and at some point we are all have to be responsible for our own actions even if we have to be forced to it.


    1. "I stopped enjoying some of the juvenile humor and fart jokes we get from some here by the time I was 20 and some of the language is more suited to a drunken frat party than a blog. I can see why some might get upset."


      That message has now been made abundantly clear here.

      I use folks like Adam Carolla and Harland Williams and their puerile humor as therapy to distract me from pain, rather than resorting to massive overdoses of ethanol.

      I now more clearly understand that that fact does not give me the right to bequeath said humor upon innocent and unwilling victims here.

      I might well be beyond redemption, but that doesn't mean I cannot follow simple rules and requests.

      Message Received.

    2. "From the table he had received the gout; from the alcove a tendency to convulsions; from the grandeeship a pride so vast and puerile that he seldom heard."

      I suffer the additional delusional handicap in that the Good Ship Grandee exists only in my mind.

    3. ah, fuck, don't bow to the PC mindset of Quirk!

  4. " If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. " ― George Orwell

  5. If you choose to do anything at all I think requiring the user to be logged in would be the only thing I'd suggest. It would make it more difficult for folks like Bob to make comments he is afraid to under his own monikor and it put a damper on his making up of other personas (Buck for example). It wouldn't make it impossible though.

    Folks, like Jenny, may not post though if they were required to log in.

    In any case it didn't chagne Doug's behavior.

    I am, still, somewhat amazed at how folk get upset if someone like Doug takes potshots at them. The internet is a rough and tumble place but it is just words. There are a lot of screwed up people, with screwed up opinions, and a blog is often just a microcosm of the world at large. DRR got easily upset. She shouldn't, though, as she will never get all folk to agree with her. Often when words and opinion get one upset one should look at why they upset you rather than getting pissed at the folk that upset you. You might learn something about yourself that way.

    1. I've treated you better here than I did at BC, as you've gained more of my respect, although it still bothers me that you will not reveal your livelyhood.

      No rule that says you gotta do that.


      I remain forever grateful to you for posting that link to the NY Times that had the video that the producers, as well as me, thought and argued was the most rational description of the cause of our Massive FUBAR in Iraq.

    2. I did reveal my livelyhood here at the bar when asked. You, however, tend to not read some (many?) of the comments so I guessed you missed it. I noticed you moaning about it awhile ago but ignored it.

      I own my own business, a small business making 'video'. I founded it in 1987 and I'm still in business but it is a trial these last bunch of years what with the economy and all. My industry is always changing as well. I'm a post-production specialist - an editor by trade. We do editing, animation, sound work, and a bunch of web stuff... anything for a buck. I started at the tail end of when we cut and pasted film elements together, through analog video, to now, when everything is pretty well digital.

    3. Cool!

      I did miss it.

      May you become as successful as Carolla is with the two studios he built, the growing number of employees he pays, and his growing stable of Paul Neuman racecares.

      The latest being the greatest.

      ...all since becoming a Pirate following his dismissal from Radio and TV mediums despite the great success he had there.

      Stern, Leno, Kimmel and many others will vouche for that. to include O'Reilly and Prager!

    4. If Republican "Leadership" had any brains, they would have listened to folks like my Stern list above and utilized people like Carolla, Miller, and Breitbart to give the GOP chance in the popular "culture."

  6. Leave it as is.

    I don't comment here and I very rarely read it anymore, but I do like to stop in every once in a while to say howdy.

    Obviously, you're all about politics and constitutional rights, and God forbid we should take away your guns but it's okay to take away someone's freedom of speech, whether or not it's appropriate. I'm not defending that some things said here aren't rude and inappropriate and the first time someone is told to knock it off that person should be grown up enough to stop, but if you revised your blog wouldn't that be going against everything you stand for.

    There was a time when I would have agreed to have done something about the situation but for the most part its back to its original boring blog of politics.

    I would never agree to such an arrangement as to being put on time out for something I said. I may respect my elders but I don't take orders them. I am mature enough to leave when I am not wanted, and would hope that everyone else here is too.

    I would never read a blog and not be able to comment. That would defeating the purpose of having a blog.

  7. Just be polite, not so damn vulgar.

    I know it's not easy, but then ...

    If it was easy anyone could do it

    1. Yes "politely" threaten people...

      "politely" lie...

      "politely" intimidate...

      Yes by all means, the well mannered criminal, murderer, kidnapper is always appreciated...

      Do not ever respond to threats, extortion and lies with "vulgarity"...

  8. Now, on to more interesting stuff:

    Something I am puzzled about - this debt ceiling. All this hand wringing about upping the debt ceiling has led me to wonder where the heck it came from, this ceiling. It seems it was established in Second Liberty Bond Act of 1917 yet the 14th amendment of the oh so hallowed Constitution says the US shall not renege on its debts. Wouldn't that make the debt ceiling unconstitutional? I'm guessing that will be Obama's end game if the ceiling isn't raised.


    1. How Did The United States Get In The Position Of Supporting The Deadbeats In Argentina?

      The era of good economic policy in the United States is not of course the recent era of fancy Ph.D.s from Ivy League schools at Treasury and the Fed. Rather, it is the founding era. The prime motivation for the founding was that the government under the Articles of Confederacy had no taxing power and couldn't pay the Revolutionary War debt. The founders recognized that they needed a government that could pay its debts and establish its credit.

      Literally the first thing that the government of the new United States did on the founding was to create a plan for paying off the Revolutionary War debt at full value. One of the best accounts I have read is in the Ron Chernow biography of Hamilton. Significantly, much of the debt had been bought up at steep discounts after being in default for long periods. But Washington and Hamilton recognized that the way to establish the credit of the new country and make it a player on the world stage was to pay off the debt at par. Clearly this is not the only reason that the United States took off as an economic power, but it is one of the top few reasons. The United States had top international credit from the time of the founding through the Obama administration, when it received its first downgrade.

      Now shift to today's Argentina. The list of destructive economic policies is long. Here is an article from the Wall Street Journal on August 8 with a good summary: crony capitalism on steroids; subsidies for everything; currency controls with special exchange rates for friends of the government; expropriation of the big Spanish oil company YPF; raging inflation; tariffs that make most manufacturing impossible; and so on. But high on anyone's list must be the fact that in 2001 Argentina repudiated some $80 billion of bonds that it had issued in the 1990s.

  9. Right then. We leave it alone with one modification when I have the time.

  10. Good move, Deuce. Leave as is. People usually get back equal to what they give. As Ash has often said, it's a rough and tumble place. If you are going to be here, you had better grow some skin. Thanks for all that you do for us.

  11. .

    ah, fuck, don't bow to the PC mindset of Quirk!

    You might be right, Ash. I wrote that post before I had any coffee this morning. After reading your post below and Mel's and reflecting on it perhaps my suggestion was a little PC.

    But then I am a compassionate guy. Which is easier on a guy, going through two or three days of being chastized by a bunch of people who have done much the same things themselves at one time or another or voluntarily walking away for a time when asked? I don't know. I know I would rather walk away (although probably permanantly) than put up with the hypocrisy.

    We go through this same routine with someone about every six months? In the end, nothing changes, a fact that I am personally comfortable with. It's just the obligatory soul searching, accusing and defending, the voting that is truly annoying.

    Before it all blows over, we waste two or three days consoling the injured and castigating the perpetrator for breaking the rules that do not exist, rules of common courtesy that should be obvious but obviously aren't. I was merely offering a way to end the kabuki and the waste of those two to three days.

    These continuous votes on 'the rules', who is in and who is out, have become tiresome. I'm sure I will be saying the same thing in another six months.


  12. .

    Last spring, Pershing Square sold its entire stake in Citigroup, as the bank’s strategy drifted, at a loss approaching $400 million. Ackman says, “For the first seven years of Pershing Square, I believed that an investor couldn’t invest in a giant bank. Then I felt I could invest in a bank, and I did—and I lost a lot of money doing it.”

    A crisis of trust among investors is insidious. It is far less obvious than a sudden panic, but over time, its damage compounds. It is not a tsunami; it is dry rot. It creeps in, noticed occasionally and then forgotten. Soon it is a daily fact of life. Even as the economy begins to come back, the trust crisis saps the recovery’s strength. Banks can’t attract capital. They lose customers, who fear being tricked and cheated. Their executives are, by turns, traumatized and enervated. Lacking confidence in themselves as they grapple with the toxic legacies of their previous excesses and mistakes, they don’t lend as much as they should. Without trust in banks, the economy wheezes and stutters.

    And, of course, as trust diminishes, the likelihood of another crisis grows larger. The next big storm might blow the weakened house down. Elite investors—those who move markets and control the flow of money—will flee, out of worry that the roof will collapse. The less they trust the banks, the faster and more decisively they will beat that path—disinvesting, freezing bank credit, and weakening the structure even more. In this way, fear becomes reality, and troubles that might once have been weathered become existential.

    Value at Risk

    Unfortunately, another long article, this time from the Atlantic pointing out the massive problems we have with our banks including the lying, corruption, and lack of transparancy.


  13. Just for the record, I've never felt, or intended to insult anyone here.
    Way back when I said I wouldn't return, well,,that was my way of "shaking off the dust" of unbelief.
    Not because I have a thin skin, as it may have appeared.

    When you think of me. Know that I am a believer of Christ. Not because of indoctrination, but from firsthand experience.

    1. ah, the good ole noumenal experience.

    2. Truth is my God Ash. And suffering for the Truth puts me in the larger "Body of Christ."
      And there is so much I could relate to you if I had the time, resources and links to my past on the internt.
      Working the net for Christ. A journey I would not have taken had I known the cost.

    3. An interesting teaser there Dougman - "Working the net for Christ"

    4. .

      Forget it, Dougman.

      Ash is our resident Free Thinker. In Tater-World, any mention of religion is considered a challenge and a fit subject for mockery.


    5. Still bristling at that PC tag are ya Quirkster? ;)

      Mock the religious, naw, loads of people believe but sometimes, when the religious use their religion to back up argument, well, then sometimes mocking happens. Have you ever tried to have a discussion with a pious Muslim? I have many years ago. How about a a born again Christian? I got them in my family. Anyway I try to respect the religious. In a religious studies course I had a Prof (I think he was even a Divinity professor) teach about the noumenal experience. Powerful stuff if you've been one with God, had a "Primordial Noumenal Experience" was how he referred to it. I read that those tripping on Acid can sometimes also have a similar type experience. I don't place alot of faith in those good books being the word of God though. Lots can be learned from them though.

    6. So, ya, I might mock if you should argue a point because "The Bible said so" or "It's in the Koran" therefore...

      But, no, I won't mock if you believe in God.

    7. .

      Gee, commendable Ash.

      So, what you were doing was just making idle chatter with the Dougman then.

      I see. Thanks for the clarification.


    8. I have to get back to the family now, but I'll be around.

    9. Yeah, idle chatter, and I am interested in the evangelical approach to the internet - conversion through the intertubes.

  14. Bill Whittle may have witnessed some of the path I followed, but I can't speak for him.

  15. But, no, I won't mock if you believe in God.

    Ash shows here something never shown by Rufus.

    And does as well at -

    AshMon Jan 14, 05:12:00 PM EST