Comments Posted By Bill Arnold
Displaying 51 To 60 Of 118 Comments


I for one would rather see Osama (sic) than McCain. I’d rather have an honest Marxist than a closet one.
Mmm. My developing impression of BObama is that he's more of a closet centrist. I've seen nothing Marxist in his positions. He isn't even pushing for universal health care, let alone single-payer health care.
Same goes for Hillary. She's pushing for universal but still mostly private health care, but has pretty much ruled out single-payer as politically impossible.
As far as militarism goes, I would rate Hillary as more militant and less of a pacifist than say Huckabee or Paul.

We live in a time where you can’t afford a “conscience” if you truly love this country and don’t want to see Hilbama ruin it for decades to come.
From my POV, it appears that this country's top-of-the-world greatness is already in intensive care, and that 18th-century physicians are on the case and practicing bloodletting.

Comment Posted By Bill Arnold On 10.02.2008 @ 20:15


Nazis were also big Greenies too.
Green parties have always been pacifistic, so Nazis wouldn't qualify. From Wikipedia
"In contrast, formally organized "Green Parties" follow a coherent ideology that includes not only environmentalism, but also other concerns such as social justice, consensus decision-making, and pacifism."

The proposed legislation appears to be just ... insane and un-American. I expect the authors are receiving a lot of angry mail.
FWIW, private health care and/or employers who supply health care can be just as intrusive about habits generally considered unhealthy. This is more about control than how socialized a health care system is.

(think racist Margaret Sanger)
This was new to me so I browsed around. The evidence seems thin, and some of the quotes used by anti-abortion-rights/pro-life groups appear to be simply false.

Comment Posted By Bill Arnold On 2.02.2008 @ 16:35


...he is a current member of the worst Congress in the history of the United States.
This is so far over the top I'd be interested in your justifications for this statement. In case you haven't noticed, the Democrats don't even have a Lieberman-proof majority in the Senate, so the Republican Senate minority has been free to block most legislation, and has.
I expect to see some actual filibusters when (OK if) the Democrats gain a few Senate seats.

Comment Posted By Bill Arnold On 1.02.2008 @ 16:31


The Lancet 2 study did estimate mortality due to violence centered around 600 thousand, and it's the deaths-due-to-violence estimates that differ dramatically between the two studies.
Lancet 2 numbers from abstract:
654965 (392979–942636) excess Iraqi deaths
601027 (426369–793663) were due to violence

I am more confident in the NEJM study, but mainly because it is much larger. The method they used to estimate deaths-due-to-violence in the 10% of clusters not visited due to security concerns is a little worrisome but probably works. I still don't see anything particularly wrong with the Lancet 2 study, if one is willing to assume that it is not just massively fraudulent.


Comment Posted By Bill Arnold On 13.01.2008 @ 18:55

John's clarification is definitive.

I was about to add that the Lancet 2 and NEJM studies attempted to measure different things, as is evident from their titles, and the major disagreement is in number of violence-related deaths, not excess deaths.
"Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional
cluster sample survey"
"Violence-Related Mortality in Iraq from 2002 to 2006"

Comment Posted By Bill Arnold On 13.01.2008 @ 13:12

COULD CONSERVATIVES WORK WITH A PRESIDENT OBAMA? has a reasonably comprehensive issues section, though still lacking in enough detail to satisfy policy wonks.
I just wish Sen. Obama would talk about his positions more, and make it more clear what his lines in the sand are, both internationally and when working with the domestic political opposition.

Comment Posted By Bill Arnold On 6.01.2008 @ 14:57


For those interested in reading thought-through arguments for peaceful prevention of war, see the following booklet from FCNL (Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Quaker organization), written partially in response to pleas from people who were unable to answer the question "if war is not the answer, what is?".
It, and some of the other publications on the site, are worth reading, rather that just skimming for code words then mocking.

Iraq is a hard case. Currently (according to the site) FCNL is lobbying for "New Diplomatic Offensive for Iraq Act (H.R. 3797)" and S. 2130. As Rick says, the huge problem is preventing civil war/warlordism after we leave.

Comment Posted By Bill Arnold On 6.01.2008 @ 12:16


My pessimistic guess/fear as to how this plays out:
(1) The Iranians obfuscate how much LEU (low-enriched uranium)they produce, enough to make diversion possible. This could be done in part by making it hard to estimate accurately (with small error bars) how effectively their disclosed centrifuge line is running.
(2) LEU is diverted (incrementally or in a larger diversion).
(3) Smaller hidden underground centrifuge line finishes up production of enough HEU for 1 device (or 2 devices using an advanced design).
(4) 1-2 devices constructed, sometime between 2009-2011.
The rest, including whether or not to test, flows according to political considerations.

Step (1) is key. Less uncertainty means less material can be covertly diverted.

Comment Posted By Bill Arnold On 3.12.2007 @ 19:34


Does anyone have a link for the poll details? (In particular the wording for the question about warnings of attacks being ignored in 2001.) The source article is here:

For out of such paranoia arise dictators and tyrants.
The poll, if we choose to believe the summaries, is basically saying Americans distrust their federal government. How does distrust of government turn into dictatorship? Not trolling here, just looking for historical parallels.

There is a useful heuristic here, variously called Hanlon's Razor, "principle of least conspiracy", or the mainstream British version "cock-up before conspiracy". It is particularly useful when thinking about the likelihood of conspiracies organized by one's political opponents.

"Follow-the-money" is a very useful investigative tool, as long as enrichment isn't conflated with proof of conspiracy.

Comment Posted By Bill Arnold On 24.11.2007 @ 18:49


The difference to my mind is that fraud consisting of people voting more times that they are supposed to (once if citizen, and generally zero if non-citizen) is hard to achieve in a significant way - voters must be moved from polling place to polling place, and the fraud can leak since so many people are involved.

Voter suppression, on the other hand, is very easy to achieve in a significant way, easily amounting to single-digit percentages, and there is usually no downside since it can be hard to prove and/or have the appearance of legality. Variations in turnout from election to election can be a large number of votes, and substantial suppression can be hidden in these variations.
Post-voting vote fraud by election officials is also supposedly easy to achieve.

As it happens, my only experience with the first sort of election fraud was Republican. As related by my mom, who was working a polling station, as a registered Democrat sitting next to a registered Republican: A small group of Satmar Hasids

The leader told them all to vote row A (Republican in the voting machines used). A young man mentioned that they had been in Brooklyn in the morning and were headed to a town upstate. The two poll workers rolled their eyes. They could do nothing - there was no admission of multiple voting.

I don't know if this sort of fraud was significant in this particular election. (Probably not.)

Comment Posted By Bill Arnold On 15.11.2007 @ 13:11

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