My friend Paul in Hollywood is relentless.  Here’s round five of our debate.  (Links to previous rounds:  one, two, three, four.)

 

Round Five A — Paul

Tom:

I’ll get back to you later with a full rebuttal.  But today I showed your argument to my neighbor Caitlyn, one the hippest chicks in Hollywood.

Caitlyn, 27, went to N Y U and works as a Production Assistant.   The type who wears expensive stone-washed denims. Anyway, I showed her what you wrote and she just giggled dismissively saying, “Oh my god, he’s so anal..!”

Not that you’re an ‘asshole’.  She meant ‘anal retentive’.  But Caitlyn said it so dismissively I felt embarrassed for you.

Tom, I swear, if you’d been here, her dismissive giggle would’ve melted you like cheese.   One of those cheapie slices Kraft makes in the wrappers you can’t get off.  That’s how you would’ve melted Tom!  There’s nothing worse than having some hip 20-something laugh at you like that.

I’m just passing this on, so you know, Tom, how you’re perceived by others.  And yeah, I’ll get to work.  Composing what will surely be a bitch-slap of a comeback.

Paul

 

Round Five A — Tom

Hey, Paul –

I realize 27-year-old NYU grads who work as production assistants in Hollywood and pay too much for jeans are renowned for their deep knowledge of economics, but nonetheless you don’t have to feel embarrassed for me.  Being the target of a dismissive giggle (which I presume was a substitute for actually having an intelligent reply) from a totally happenin’ and cool economic illiterate not only wouldn’t bother me, I’d consider it a badge of honor.

Same goes for how I’m perceived by any other totally cool and hip Hollywood economic illiterates … I really don’t care.  Ask Rob what he thinks of my political and economic beliefs.  He’s one of the few people I met there whose opinions I actually respect.  Or find a really cool and hip production assistant in Hollywood who’s actually read a single book on economics (I’ve read a couple dozen), then get an opinion.

Interesting article in our local paper this weekend.  Our county in Tennessee has had a major influx of transplants from other parts of the country in the past few years.  The number one area from which people relocated was Los Angeles.  Like me, those other transplants probably realized they didn’t want their kids growing up around all those really hip people in Hollywood.

Prepare that bitch-slappin’ comeback …

Tom

[NOTE:  The 'Rob' I mentioned is another actor I knew in Hollywood who refused to play the starving-actor role.  He started a painting and home-repair business and now employs other people in addition to himself.  Although I knew him for 10 years, it was only in the last year (while he was painting my office) that I learned he's an economic libertarian/conservative.  As Kelsey Grammer once said, being a conservative in Hollywood is a bit like being a gay man in the 1950s:  you eventually find each other, but if you know what's good for you, you're careful about it.]


Round Five B — Tom again

Hey, Paul –

This example of our fine government regulators just arrived in my inbox this morning:

http://farmtoconsumer.org/quail-hollow-farm-dinner.htm

And of course, we just had more great examples of government investing our money for us:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/beacon-power-declares-bankruptcy-second-loan-guarantee-recipient-to-falter/2011/10/31/gIQACNAaaM_story.html

If you can explain how taking my tax money and giving it to incompetent companies that soon go bankrupt “stimulates” the economy, I’m all ears.

Tom

 

Round Five C — Paul

Tom –

Your tax money?  That first story doesn’t concern you, Tom.  Unless you pay taxes in Southern Nevada.   Because it clearly involves a ‘local’  inspector.

It sounds like this farm dinner was marketed as a commercial enterprise which brought a response from the local agency charged with inspecting restaurants.  Should these inspectors not be curious?  Should restaurants ‘not’ be inspected?  Should people be allowed to turn their homes into restaurants while evading restaurant standards?

And should we, as readers, assume the farm wife telling this story is really sympathetic?  She is quite possibly some fool. Who was, indeed, intending to serve an unsanitary meal.  You weren’t there, Tom, you don’t know.  It may have been a meal neither one of us would touch.

Regarding Beacon Energy, I read THE WASHINGTON POST every day.  But this story is somewhat flawed in that it keeps mentioning Solandra.  Which actually has no relationship to Beacon.  Nor were they involved in similar technologies.  Solandra was manufacturing solar panels.  While Beacon’s business seems to be a ‘flywheel’ that eliminates power surges.  And it seems their technology is viable but not substantial enough to build a company around.

So are we as readers supposed to think the Department of Energy should make no effort whatsoever to encourage green technologies?  Like we should just allow the wholesale fraking of America’s interior?  While opening our coastlines to unrestricted drilling?  I mean, if we poison all our aquifers and ruin all our fishing grounds, that might cost a whole lot more that what we’ve lost on Solandra.

Just for the record, we’re dropping about $1.5 billion per week in Afghanistan.  And I don’t hear Rush Limbaugh or anyone at FOX railing about that waste.  Nor has any Republican candidate come close to addressing it.

Have you heard about the pipeline proposed to extend from Canada to Texas?  To bring oil to the Gulf from shale tar pits in Alberta.  Although no formal approval has been granted, a Canadian company is already sending out letters to farmers in Nebraska.  Demanding use of their land (for the pipeline) under threat of eminent domain!

This same pipeline, by the way, would be skirting Yellowstone Park.  An area where an Exxon pipeline ruptured earlier this year.  Do we really want this new pipeline?  I’m not hearing much discussion.  It seems the ‘liberal media’ is out to lunch on this.

Paul

 

Round Five C — Tom

Greetings, Paul –

Your tax money?  That first story doesn’t concern you, Tom.  Unless you pay taxes in Southern Nevada.   Because it clearly involves a ‘local’  inspector.

If you read my email again, you’ll see it’s clear I was talking about the Department of Energy’s latest boondoggles.  That is definitely my tax money being flushed down the toilet.

It sounds like this farm dinner was marketed as a commercial enterprise which brought a response from the local agency charged with inspecting restaurants.  Should these inspectors not be curious?  Should restaurants ‘not’ be inspected?  Should people be allowed to turn their homes into restaurants while evading restaurant standards?

I’m pretty sure you can guess the libertarian reply to that.  If a local farmer wants to serve dinner and charge for it and I want to attend that dinner, it’s not the government’s job to step in and prevent two adults in a supposedly free country from making a voluntary exchange.   Local governments are doing the same thing all over the country to prevent willing consumers from buying raw milk (which is far better for your health than pasteurized milk) from local farmers.  What possible business does a government have preventing me from buying raw milk from a farmer willing to sell it to me?

She is quite possibly some fool. Who was, indeed, intending to serve an unsanitary meal.

How do you know it was unsanitary?

You weren’t there, Tom, you don’t know.  It may have been a meal neither one of us would touch.

And if neither of us would touch it, that’s our choice.  If others are willing to eat the meal and take whatever risks are involved, that should be their choice.  It’s not up to you, or me, or some local government goofs to make that decision for them.

So are we as readers supposed to think the Department of Energy should make no effort whatsoever to encourage green technologies?

As a reader, that’s exactly what I think.  Viable technologies don’t need “encouragement” by the government.  If they’re viable, they’ll attract investors risking their own money, not mine.  And it’s pretty clear the government is (surprise) incompetent at picking the viable companies.  It’s money down the toilet.

Even if the Department of Energy could pick winning companies, it’s still not the government’s proper function, and it creates the potential for a huge conflict of interest.  I develop a technology without government “encouragement,” someone else develops an inferior technology in which the government has invested millions of dollars … guess which technology the government will choose?  The government shouldn’t be investing in private corporations, period.

Like we should just allow the wholesale fraking of America’s interior?  While opening our coastlines to unrestricted drilling?  I mean, if we poison all our aquifers and ruin all our fishing grounds, that might cost a whole lot more that what we’ve lost on Solandra.

The one has nothing to do with the other.  Prohibiting government from investing in failed solar technology doesn’t mean supporting fraking the interior — which, by the way, mostly occurs with government permission.

Just for the record, we’re dropping about $1.5 billion per week in Afghanistan.  And I don’t hear Rush Limbaugh or anyone at FOX railing about that waste.  Nor has any Republican candidate come close to addressing it.

Surely you’re not suggesting one waste of taxpayer dollars justifies another.  And the last time I checked, Ron Paul was still a Republican candidate.  Obama has been the commander-in-chief for more than three years now.  If Afghanistan is strictly a Republican operation, why are we still there?

Have you heard about the pipeline proposed to extend from Canada to Texas?  To bring oil to the Gulf from shale tar pits in Alberta.  Although no formal approval has been granted, a Canadian company is already sending out letters to farmers in Nebraska.  Demanding use of their land (for the pipeline) under threat of eminent domain!

You’re preaching to a libertarian about government misuse of eminent domain?!  Did you happen to notice which Supreme Court justices were against the Kelo decision, in a local government used eminent domain to force people out of their homes so the local government could earn more tax revenue by turning the land over to developers?

This same pipeline, by the way, would be skirting Yellowstone Park.  An area where an Exxon pipeline ruptured earlier this year.  Do we really want this new pipeline?  I’m not hearing much discussion.  It seems the ‘liberal media’ is out to lunch on this.

I don’t want a pipeline anywhere near Yellowstone.  That place is a major eruption waiting to happen.

Tom

 

[NOTE:  In case you don't remember, in Kelo v. City of New London, the Supreme Court ruled (for the first time) that a city could use eminent domain to force the sale of private property to another private owner -- in this case, a developer who promised the new development would provide jobs and more than a million dollars in tax revenue.  Here's how the justices voted:

For:  John Paul Stevens, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.

Against:  Sandra Day O'Connor, William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas -- the most conservative members of the court at the time.  To quote the dissent by Clarence Thomas:

"This deferential shift in phraseology enables the Court to hold, against all common sense, that a costly urban-renewal project whose stated purpose is a vague promise of new jobs and increased tax revenue, but which is also suspiciously agreeable to the Pfizer Corporation, is for a 'public use.'  Allowing the government to take property solely for public purposes is bad enough, but extending the concept of public purpose to encompass any economically beneficial goal guarantees that these losses will fall disproportionately on poor communities."

But Paul still believes it's the liberals who stand up for the little guy.

Now for the punchline:  The developer was unable to obtain financing and abandoned the redevelopment project, leaving the land as an empty lot, which was eventually turned into a dump by the city.  A neighborhood with homes before, a city dump afterwards ... your government at work!]

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12 Responses to “Debate With A Leftist Pal, Part Five”
  1. Jan says:

    I wrote a post about the Quail Hollow Farm-to-Fork dinner just a couple of weeks ago: http://www.janssushibar.com/?p=12510. Your friend Paul obviously has NO idea what happened there – it was blatantly illegal search and seizure – you know, one of those things the Constitution is supposed to protect us against. (He also has no understanding of sustainable farming, if he thinks the farmer in question is a fool or the food being served was unsanitary).

    And, Tom? If your buddy can be “embarrassed for you” because of a giggling 27-year-old in expensive jeans, you probably ought to stop wasting your time.

    It’s not a waste of time if you’re enjoying slapping a leftist silly in a debate.

  2. Bridget says:

    So, if Paul knew that a 24 year old, still going to college, Library Assistant is reading his responses and laughing at him, will he melt like cheese?

    Eh, probably not. My jeans cost less than a tank of gas.

    Oh, and my Economics majoring husband thinks you’re awesome!

    It cracked me up that he even thought his friend’s response would bother me. Hollywood was full of nincompoops fitting her description, and that’s partly why I chose to leave.

    Your husband must attend a school where economics students aren’t indoctrinated to believe in the wonders of Keynesian policies.

  3. eddie watts says:

    you can tell he does not debate on the internet.
    his spiels are full of straw men, appeals to authority and countless other bad debating styles that will get you shot down in record time on all manner of forum boards

    His beliefs aren’t based on facts, so the weak debating tactics are all he has.

  4. shutchings says:

    Soooooo … you’re enjoying this. That’s why you’re spending time on this guy? Ooookay. Cause I thought you decided not to bother with people like that. And I’d really appreciate it if you and Hugh Hewitt would stop referring to my beloved Yellowstone as “a major eruption waiting to happen”. :P On this topic I would like to remain blissfully ignorant.

    I promised I’d stopped arguing with idiots. I don’t believe Paul is an idiot.

    I read in a book (sorry, can’t remember which) that Yellowstone will most likely have a major eruption within the next 50 years.

  5. TonyNZ says:

    I must give this Paul guy credit for at least forming coherent arguments. We are one week away from general election in NZ and the frothy-mouthed from both sides are getting in on the action.

    Further to the Quail Hollow Farm Dinner, I can see the slippery slope from here. Next it will be only qualified chefs are allowed to cook to sell to the public. Next it will be that they can only serve government approved meals. Next grocery stores will be eliminated because people shouldn’t be allowed to cook for themselves, lest they undercook the chicken. Food will only be available through these government mandated restaurants.

    Let’s see them explain the obesity epidemic after that.

    There’s a reason 1984 scared many people witless…

    We’ve already had a judge in Wisconsin declare that citizens don’t have the right to consume foods the government doesn’t approve of. It was a raw-milk case.

  6. Sean says:

    “I’m just passing this on, so you know, Tom, how you’re perceived by others.”

    There’s so much wrong here I don’t know where to start. The smug is strong in this one.

    I had a good chuckle about that one. I read it as “Just passing this on so you know how the socialists who can’t come up with intelligent replies to your points perceive you.”

  7. TonyNZ says:

    Out of curiousity; how many rounds are there? Or is it still going?

    He’s still at it. I haven’t had time to gather and post, since we just moved.

  8. Milton says:

    I had a chuckle at the idea that your friend’s latest appeal to authority was a 27-year-old “chick” with bad taste in clothes.

    I can’t believe he thought that would have any effect on me at all. I left Hollywood to get away from people like her.

  9. Chase says:

    I think that he’s enamored of the 27 something neighbor. He’s obviously paying close attention to her pants . . .
    I’m confused by your statement that you don’t consider Paul an idiot, and therefore continue to argue with him. Since he’s obviously sophomoric in his ability to accurately perceive the events going on in the life of our nation, I would guess that to you that makes him a child instead of an idiot? If so, I applaud your optimism and kindness in ‘suffering the little children’, to quote inaccurately and out of context (at least I know when I am!) I suppose like with all children you’ll have to tell him a thousand times before he’ll even to start pay attention. As long as he stays away from matches, sharp objects and that girl next door, we’ll only have to shudder about at his power to vote.

    I try to avoid the mental trap of assuming that everyone who’s intelligent must agree with me. I know Paul and he’s a smart guy, but like most left-wingers (in my humble opinion), he’s clueless about economics. I warned him at the start that he’d best not harbor any illusions that he could change a dedicated fifty-something libertarian’s mind, and I don’t have any illusions that I’ll change his mind either. But I find the sparring enjoyable.

  10. Ericka says:

    Quite an entertaining debate here, although a bit painful. Listening to liberal logic always makes my head hurt!

    Just wanted to pass along a link to you… you both have similar positions, in fact, sometimes I have trouble telling who has written what.

    http://whiskeyandgunpowder.com/the-difference-between-ows-and-anti-vietnam-protests/

    “Raising the minimum wage, for example, amounts to a limitation on the rights of workers to negotiate their own employment contracts. The minimum wage says: you have no right to offer less for your services than the state gives you permission to offer. Thus, the minimum wage not only promotes unemployment; it restrains the human right to associate on any terms of a person’s choosing.

    Likewise, the demand to nationalize health interferes with the rights of doctors and patients to negotiate their own contracts. The demand for tariffs interferes with the rights of people to peacefully trade with anyone from around the world, and effectively entrenches the nation-state as the only permitted geographic range of economic associations.”

    Good post. I’ve also been amazed over the years by liberals who consider themselves the modern version of the anti-establishment protesters of the 1960s. Nothing is more “establishment” than big government.

  11. Be says:

    It is interesting to further note that Justice Thomas once worked for Monsanto who now owns Pfizer. Promise me that if you ever get elected President of the US you will consider me for the Supreme Court – what a great way to get rid of this bureaucratic socialistic infrastructure that is killing us. I won’t let you down!

    BTW, have you looked into Burzynski and what the FDA has done to the man who has an effective cancer treatment? Even the FDA admits his treatments work – then they spend 60 million of YOUR tax dollars. Sure, local is best but MY tax dollars are MY tax dollars. I have traveled to Nevada so I AM a Nevada tax payer. There is a great documentary on Netflix: http://www.burzynskimovie.com/

    I’m putting you on my short list for Chief Justice.

  12. Jim says:

    Tom,

    I find it refreshing that your friend is at least willing to debate you on these issues. Most of the liberals I know won’t even discuss these types of issues and by bringing them up I risk losing that relationship. My conservative friends will at least listen without being offended when I disagree with them.

    Jim

    When I lived in L.A., Paul used to regularly start these debates with me. For whatever reason, he obviously enjoys them.

    I rarely started political or economic debates while living there because I was always in the minority, usually a minority of one. On the rare occasions when I did speak up, the reaction among the group-think leftists was shock and amazement … oh my god, one of THEM is amongst us!

    At one late-night party, someone repeated the usual nonsense about how we could solve all our problems if we taxed the rich at sky-high levels, and (probably because I was loopy) I let loose, explaining how when you subject people to 70% or higher tax rates, they lose their motivation to earn more, especially if earning more involves putting their savings at risk, so all you do is end up discouraging the formation of new businesses that create jobs. On and on it went.

    Afterwards, an actor I hadn’t met before sidled up to me and said, “Man, I’m glad you spoke up. You said exactly what I was thinking.” I asked why the hell he didn’t join in, since it was basically 10 against one. He replied, “I can’t. I have to work with some of these people, and if they knew I’m a conservative it could ruin my career.”

    That’s “tolerance” in Hollywood.

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