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« The long tales | Main | Hammer of the Scots - Josh 201 »
Friday
Feb082013

Senator Paul on his water closet

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky takes a bureaucrat to task for enforcing her preferences of lavatory (and light bulb) on him. Fantastic stuff.

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Reader Comments (79)

TBYJ
Sorry been out buying some (lead free) paint. I think possibly that he can't change things today, but nothing was ever achieved by surrendering after a run of defeats however long, history is littered with instances where the end result is not what one would expect from the preceding decades. With your hackground you should be aware of defeated monarchs sheltering alone (or almost so) on Rathlin winning a final victory, which changed history.

As I said previously more power to his elbow.

Feb 8, 2013 at 5:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

While one can empathise with his frustrations, and see some of his points (some 'green' impositions have poor enviROI), I rather fear that, in the hands of those with the tools, that could be edited to suit all manner of dismissal/mockery reports.

Speaking of control of the edit suite (as the BBC scrabbles to get Leo Hickman fired from their print arm)...

"The clash of the elected representative and the unelected bureaucrat. She remained smug, complacent and uninterested. Says it all, really" - Mike Fowle

And of course, the joys of an unaccountable, unelected propaganda system in perpetuity, uniquely funded by compulsion..

"Try and convince us through persuasion. But don't threaten to put us in jail if we don't accept your opinion"

Can happen, Senator Paul. It can happen.

Feb 8, 2013 at 5:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterJunkkMale

Terry S

There is a British standard for a toilet flush its BS then some long number and a dash and another long number

Heres the link

http://shop.bsigroup.com/ProductDetail/?pid=000000000000224808

Feb 8, 2013 at 5:48 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

As the deliverer of Saturday mail once said: 'A republic, if you can keep it'.
===============================

Feb 8, 2013 at 6:43 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Hmmm, he makes a few mistakes. It wasn’t a good idea to use the joke about ‘pro choice’ when the term refers to a woman’s decision to not go through the pain and risk of an unwanted pregnancy. Especially as the issue generates considerable anger in the US. A man’s right to a butch flush is hardly equivalent.

He wasn’t entirely clear about why his toilets didn’t work and it sounded a bit like he was desperate for a pee, which was compounded when she offered, in motherly tones, to help him find a loo afterwards.

He certainly has a good point about green products not working very well but has he bought anything else recently? Nothing works properly for more than a few months. Surely that’s a key issue for consumers and an excellent opportunity to reduce waste? However, it seems a god given right to sell over priced, defective tat to an unsuspecting public. How else would they sell different, defective, over priced tat tomorrow? Arguing that you want the right to chose which defect your toilet fails with doesn’t have as much impact.

Feb 8, 2013 at 7:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Orkney Girl Feb 8, 2013 at 11:31 AM Try this YouTube link. Perhaps your PM hasn't blocked that yet. ;-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=FAn1FWInBi0#!

Feb 8, 2013 at 7:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterRayG

Tiny in the US toilets have rules which restrict the amount of water per flush. As a result they don't do the job well and people wind up flushing multiple times thus using as much or more water than before anyway. It is stupid. If they were smart what they should have done is not restrict the amount of water, but have toilets with two flush modes - one for a minimum flush if all liquids are involved an one for solids and paper which is a maximum flush. This would have served the purpose and limited water usage while keeping functionality appropriate. IOW Rand has a good point - toilets don't work. Also you have many more cases of backed up toilets where you have to plunge them.

Feb 8, 2013 at 8:35 PM | Unregistered Commenterhum

TheBigYinJames said:

"They are tested by greenie vegetarians who do rabbit dropping slush, not on the slabs laid by your average meat eating male."

I'm afraid that you are way off the mark here my friend. I'm not a green but I became a vegetarian about fifteen years ago. One thing that I noticed was an increase in the volume of poo that I produced. I know that this might be too much information but instead of producing individual King Richards, I now produce something that resembles a length of rope. I put it to you that this is just as much in need of a decent flush as your droppings, unless of course you are in the habit of producing the floater, which does indeed take several flushes to dispatch.

Regarding more ecological bogs. Surely it is not beyond human ingenuity to design one that has a light flush for urine and a heavy flush for solids. I am vaguely aware that there have been attempts at this that have not caught on. Potential designers it is really simple. Imagine two seperate cisterns, one large, one small. The small one is for wee wee, the large one is for poo. Now design a cistern about half as big again as the current designs, with a divider about two thirds one thirds. One handle flushes the wee away, the other handle flushes the poo away. One more thing, it maybe that the Victorians had it right, if you mount the cistern near the ceiling it may be noisier, but it might be able to work with just a little less water.

Feb 8, 2013 at 8:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterStonyground

Stonyground -
Agreed about the two-types-of-flush WC; apparently it is the norm in Japan at least.

Also agreed about the too much information.

Feb 8, 2013 at 9:26 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Another good message here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFb6NU1giRA

Feb 8, 2013 at 9:32 PM | Unregistered Commenterdbd

I’m not convinced by Rand Paul’s consumer choice argument, for at least two reasons.

1. Paul likens pro-choice in abortion to choice in ‘every other consumer item’. This is a faulty analogy. Besides trivialising abortion, the abortion choice is between having and not having the abortion.

Paul’s references to choice in consumer items is about being able to choose between the different types of the same or similar product on offer, and this is the commonly understood meaning of ‘consumer choice’. So the abortion choice analogy fails.

2. From the rest of the speech, it’s clear that Paul is arguing for consumer choice in the likes of crappers and lighting, and his complaint is that the bureaucrats want to ‘restrict’ his choice. But consumer choice is already restricted. In his country at least, you cannot buy a sub-machine gun or a slave off the shelf (although the latter restriction can be waived in the case of prospective brides).

Paul may be on firmer ground in contesting the value of the restricted products, but that is no argument against the general principle of consumer restriction.

Feb 8, 2013 at 9:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrendan H

HaroldW/hum/Stoneyground
With the dual flush system here in France even the maximum option requires a second flush on occassions. I also think a lot of people default to max anyway. So I reckon, but have no data from the field, that any saving is marginal if at all. Like putting a brick in a cistern, and saving 10% per flush as long as an additional second flush is less frequent than 1 in 9 then savings are made otherwise it is counter productive. Like bio-fuels, the only people who think it makes sense are researchers with butterflys for brains, in offices looking at computer screens and never going out.

Feb 8, 2013 at 10:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Thanks, I know what he was talking Hum but only because I've got those sorts of toilets (and yes, you can have dual flushes). Some models flush better than others with the same amount of water and for some reason the quality of the flush isn't that connected to price. It's a design issue. The problems with soil pipes is potentially a big one and perhaps he could have invited a water company representative to talk about it.

My biggest gripe with swapping old versions for new, green ones is they don't last. The flush mechanisms all seem to break quite quickly and are a bugger to fix. Fridges and freezers pack up much more quickly than they used to. Ditto all other appliances. The bulbs vary, some I've had for years and others went within weeks. They don't even give the same light when two identical bulbs are put in at the same time.

One of the biggest energy costs to our society is the thow away culture. Do we get a choice in that?

Feb 8, 2013 at 10:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

My, my, such an appalling amount of drivel from greens in this thread.

John Page: “Goodness does that man love the sound of his own voice. He must be getting too much fawning.”

Look in the mirror. A post utterly devoid of content.

Adrian: “People should be free to select which laws they obey. Fantastic idea!”

The question is not whether people should be selective about which laws they obey. The question is whether or not some things should be in the laws at all.

TheBigYInJames: “Although not a fan of new lightbulbs etc, you can apply his argument to anything from murder to slavery.”

The ultimate and most disgusting strawman argument of the bunch. My right to purchase one kind of lightbulb in no way affects your right to buy another kind. However, murder or slavery directly remove the rights of the victim. No you can’t apply his argument to anything, [snip - manners]. And by making a moral connection between the two you diminish the atrocity of the latter and sanctify a pointless green cause.

Potentilla: “A juvenile performance from Rand Paul. If he doesn't like the legislation he should work to get it changed rather than abusing a bureaucrat. Linking the choice of light bulbs to abortion was particularly pathetic,”

No, what’s pathetic is pretending that bureaucrats have nothing to do with the host of green regulations with which the western world is now plagued. This is an administration which is openly seeking to carry out its green mandates through regulatory structures only and NOT having to pass through legislation.

Brendan: “From the rest of the speech, it’s clear that Paul is arguing for consumer choice in the likes of crappers and lighting, and his complaint is that the bureaucrats want to ‘restrict’ his choice. But consumer choice is already restricted. In his country at least, you cannot buy a sub-machine gun or a slave off the shelf (although the latter restriction can be waived in the case of prospective brides).”

Read my response to TheBig above. Murder and slavery constrain the rights of others whereas lightbulb choices do not. The two cannot be compared.

TinyC: “One of the biggest energy costs to our society is the throw away culture. Do we get a choice in that?”

Of course you do. Stop buying things. The fact that everyone else is buying madly doesn’t mean you have to. Or are you sheeple that just follows the herd? Or is it that you really want is to prevent others from buying things you don’t like? Why should we accept your choices of what is acceptable and what is not?

Feb 9, 2013 at 1:49 AM | Unregistered Commentercgh

Ran Paul is the son of Ron Paul who fooled a whole lot of right wing Americans he was on their side, then jumped ship to support his son.

They want to go back to 1776. Nobody's stopping them.They have the land.to do that. There were no light bulbs in 1776. It wasn't against the law to eat horses, you could grow your own weed, you could force your slaves to have sex with you and use the offspring as more slaves like Jefferson did. Not sure if that is still legal in some states.

Feb 9, 2013 at 2:36 AM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

To universal equine relief, the Western states are devolving more in the botanical than the zoological fashion.
========

Feb 9, 2013 at 3:07 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

eSmiff, what does eating horses have to do with it? Horsemeat is popular in France and quite a few other European countries, and the Brits ate it by the ton during WWII and afterwards when meat was scarce. According to my parents, it is very much like beef, but with less fat.

Dual flush dunnies have been standard in Australia for many years. What Paul is complaining about, and rightly so, is dunnies that only have the weak flush option.The worst thing is, the water pressure is lower, so you end up using multiples of the amount of water through multiple flushes.

Some years ago, a senior Chinese diplomat who was also an engineer came to Australia, and saw a dual flush dunny for the first time. He was so impressed, he went back to China and devoted himself to implementing them there. And no, they don't use two tanks, just a simple mechanism within the tank that either half or fully empties it.

While I don't usually approve of politicians beating up bureaucrats, this smug cow did not even attempt to engage with his concerns. I can just see her back at the office, surrounded by chortling colleagues - "and THEN he said ... ha ha".

It is no wonder that a lot of people in the US are getting restive. This kind of crap is the antithesis of the principles that created their country, for better or worse.

Feb 9, 2013 at 4:14 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohanna

cgh: ‘Read my response to TheBig above’

I read it and was not impressed by the tone, so will decline any further conversation.

Feb 9, 2013 at 7:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrendan H

ColinHunt

Calm down. I have better things to do than snip your comments.

Feb 9, 2013 at 9:01 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

ESmiff
Paul wants to take us back to the 18th century, live without lightbulbs and reintroduce slavery!?

That is one of the most extraordinary strawmen I have ever read in the comments at BH.

Feb 9, 2013 at 9:05 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Who is John Galt?

Feb 9, 2013 at 10:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustin Ert

Bishop H

"It wasn't against the law to eat horses, you could grow your own weed" is a clue that there was a lot of humour in my message. Even topical humour. Like you, I have contempt for the green revolution including their useless light bulbs.


Ron Paul wants America to go back to the freedoms of the eighteenth century. The American state was designed to be ruled by merchants and so it is today. I do not like Ron Paul.


I was pointing that Jefferson, the hero of the American libertarian right was a rascal. A British history of the War of independence I read took the clear view that the primary reason for it was the freedom to carry out the genocide of the native Americans. The British crown forbad the colonists to go beyond the Applachians.

In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson wrote "the merciless Indian savages"


Johnson was being serious, I am posting this with tongue in cheek.


Samuel Johnson on Americans. The first one is particularly apt.



Sir, they are a race of convicts, and ought to be thankful for anything we allow them short of hanging."

"How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?"

"I am willing to love all mankind, except an American"

"He that wishes to see his country robbed of its rights cannot be a patriot.

"That man, therefore, is no patriot, who justifies the ridiculous claims of American usurpation;

"He that accepts protection, stipulates obedience. We have always protected the Americans; we may, therefore, subject them to government."

Feb 9, 2013 at 3:12 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Oh, c'mon, we just wanted to wiggle out of the national security bills.
============

Feb 9, 2013 at 4:38 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

I read it and was not impressed by the tone, so will decline any further conversation.

Yeah, what you really meant to say was "you shot my weak argument down quite handily and I don't know how to respond appropriately so I'm going to get out now before I make a bigger fool of myself with even sillier statements."

I'd advise you learn how to construct better analogies yourself, btw, then maybe you'll understand why Paul's "choice" analogy ain't quite as bad as you'd like to make it out. I mean, let's be serious, you refuse to accept his analogy for basically the same reason: poor tone.

TBYJ: wow. I'm just in awe at home many poor arguments you have made in this thread. I don't totally disagree with you on the "they just don't care" claim, however, though I do think you should caveat it with more of "they feel powerless to do anything about it."

Who said something about "why doesn't Paul do something about it rather than work over the bureaucrats?" That's even sillier than some of the other stuff I've read. Um, he is doing something about it. He's a single Senator, however, so he can't pass laws by himself, but he can grill bureaucrats and expose them for what they are (unelected ideologues fulfilling the progressive fantasies of one elected ideologue). Maybe, just maybe, if enough of the voters pull their heads out of the sand after seeing such performances, we can elect more like him and boot these ideologues, along with the very bureaucracies they run, out of our lives. Our elected government has given its power over to these knuckleheads and they are doing exactly what anyone with reasonable intelligence would expect - using that power to control us.

Ron Paul wants America to go back to the freedoms of the eighteenth century. The American state was designed to be ruled by merchants and so it is today. I do not like Ron Paul.

Ron Paul wants us to simply be free, and he certainly does not want us to be "ruled by merchants." You clearly do not understand what he stands for, and quoting the worst from people that lived several hundred years ago certainly supports my case. People like you are the reason we are all slaves to governments and merchants alike today - you don't understand the concepts of freedom, and you blindly let yourself be led into serfdom.

Oh, and in general, for those crippled by an inability to understand analogy and metaphor: Paul's underlying point is that the progressive/liberal viewpoint holds "choice," any choice, is only what the government allows you to have. In other words, you can make all the choices that we choose for you - there's some real deep irony (well, not really irony, but that's a semantic nit) that seems lost on many. Ultimately, he's angry that we have NO choice, in any aspect of our lives, except what the government gives us. The US Constitution, however, spelled it out in the other direction. Whether his toilet works or not is immaterial.

Mark

PS: for the record, the US Constitution spells out the powers the Federal goverment has, leaving everything else to the states and people - very little of what we are going through right now is actually under its purview. Interestingly, even abortion, such a hot button topic for whatever reason I never understood (why is the pro-choice lobby so... militant?), isn't really something that should have even been heard by SCOTUS. That was sort of the whole point of leaving such things out of the US Constitution... let states individually decide how to deal with issues not addressed elsewhere. Some would outlaw abortion, most would not (not today at least), win-win (go live with those you agree with).

Feb 9, 2013 at 4:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark T

Mark T: ‘Yeah, what you really meant to say was "you shot my weak argument down quite handily and I don't know how to respond appropriately so I'm going to get out now before I make a bigger fool of myself with even sillier statements.’

No, and for the same reason I will not be responding to you. However, I will set out my views in a separate post.

Feb 9, 2013 at 7:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrendan H

Re: the analogy of the purchase of light bulbs and slaves.

The claimed basis of Rand Paul’s remarks in regard to consumer choice is that there is a difference between the purchase of one kind of light bulb and the purchase of a slave because the former action does not violate another’s rights, while the latter does.

While it can be agreed that there is a clear difference in degree between purchase of a light bulb and a human being, my argument also includes an intermediate position – purchase of a sub-machine gun – and thus the purchases can be considered to exist on a continuum.

The common factor in the restriction on consumer choice in these cases is perceived harm to human beings, both as individuals and as part of the wider society.

It may be argued that the harm from the purchase of certain types of lights bulbs or other consumer goods is merely a perception and not a reality, but that issue is irrelevant to the substantive point.

Some may object that equating the purchase of a light bulb with the purchase of a human being trivialises the sufferings of slaves. Not so. It is the practice of buying and selling human beings as consumer goods that trivialises the enormity of their suffering.

Feb 9, 2013 at 7:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrendan H

Give up Brendan... you were exposed, so easily I actually laughed. Ridicule is deserved.

Mark

Feb 9, 2013 at 9:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark T

Of course you do. Stop buying things. The fact that everyone else is buying madly doesn’t mean you have to. Or are you sheeple that just follows the herd? Or is it that you really want is to prevent others from buying things you don’t like? Why should we accept your choices of what is acceptable and what is not?

Feb 9, 2013 at 1:49 AM cgh

Progress is made through compromise. We all have to do things we don't want to, whether it is paying our taxes or no longer being able to buy a certain product. Governments make rules and generally we have to stick to them. Nobody has free choice.

He does have a very good point. Green products are not good. Like many new designs they throw up problems that never existed with the old ones. Equally, parts of the US have major water shortages and forcing customers to use less water is not necessarily a bad thing. What he should be demanding is that the new flush systems are fit for purpose and that includes keeping enough water flowing through the sewer system. He could also argue that flush choice could be realxed in those areas where there are no forseeable water shortages.

I don't have a choice about the throw away society because products are now built to fail, whether they are supposed to be green or not. You don't have to be a lefty environmentalist to want to reduce waste.

Feb 10, 2013 at 11:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Mark T

The reason for so much human misery is that we are ruled by slave drivers like Thomas Jefferson, Ron Paul and Barack Obama. It's the American way. The freedom Ron Paul wants is the freedom for corporations to exploit and enslave He betrayed millions of supporters to turn his son into a big money corporate Republican.

The freedom to steal.


Insider Trading is the American Way - The Founding Scam

Soon, Hamilton’s associates — bankers, agents, and speculators — got wind of the government’s secret plans to pay off the debt in full and bought up the supposedly worthless Continentals at 10% of their face value, letting the rubes believe that they’d starve before there would ever be a government capable of paying them off

http://www.counterpunch.org/scaramella03302004.html

Feb 12, 2013 at 4:18 AM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

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