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26 May 2011

Comments

Steven Frisch

I think the concept of context is just to difficult for Todd.

Todd Juvinall

Yeah SteveF, you are just too smart for me.

Paul, I think you need to attend the Tea Party meetings and then listen to them all across the country. Though I am not a member, I think you will see your point is being made by them. Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana are states where the beginning of a return to sanity regarding PEU's are being made.

I do sneak over to the Pelline blog periodically and Frisch writes a totally different mindset there. I think he emulates the woman in "All about Eve". That is why George is so effective in dismissing his tripe here.

wmartin

...."So which one of you are going to tell our local school teachers, police and city workers that they are overpaid and are going to lose benefits and their unions are defunct. Talk is cheap, the price of action is colossal. If you have your way someone is going to have to do it...."

I'll give the speech if you keep the getaway car running.

Realistically, the bond market will see to this. The mismatch between expenses and revenues can only be masked by borrowing for a certain amount of time, and I can see where government borrowing generally could go through a nasty feedback loop where it mostly disappears for a bit.

Remember that a significant amount of the government retiree problem extends into the stock and bond markets themselves. Public employees are firmly latched not only onto the taxpayers, who provide a backstop, but also the continuing high wire act of the values of bits of paper. The irony of CalPERS depending on Exxon Mobil is an amusing side thread.

I think that you could only expect a pixie dust economy to last so long anyway. We have too many retirees, media consultants, .gov middle management, real estate agents, business 'consultants', and people on public aid to be supported by those who actually produce wealth, at least to live at the current expenditure rate.

Net-net, most (all?) the current imbalance will be solved in a reactionary fashion rather than via planning. When the engine starts flinging parts, it's best to get out of the way.

Mike Thornton

In truth I'm less concerned that the right wing freely uses violent rhetoric and apocalyptic imagery and in fact engages in the vast majority of politically motivated violence taking place today, than I am with the intellectual dishonesty that regressives engage in about it.
Unlike Steve, I believe that, as an absolute last resort, violence may be and has proven in the past to be the only solution to despotism and oppression.
I think what I'm really saying is that, when you look at the facts, the right wings reliance on fear and hate as both a tool for organizing it's forces and then as a weapon against it's enemies it's simply an undeniable fact, that violence and threats of violence are a staple of the right wing playbook.
If you all believe in this as much as you use it, why don't you just stand up proudly and support it? If you don't, than why aren't you demanding that it be stopped?
What I believe is clear is that you want to have it both ways.
You want to be able to threaten and intimidate, but you don't want your political opponents to be able to do it to you in return. This creates a perpetual advantage for you!
Don't get me wrong, I understand why you want to do this. I'm just saying that progressives need to not buy into your rules and limitations, definitions and parameters.
Rightwing, regressives have done a masterful job of this for about 40 years and as destructive as it's been for the country, you deserve credit for your nefarious success. Progressives need to shift the terms of the debate and do it with the same effort that you guys have been using all this time.

Steven Frisch

Hey Todd how about you cite some specific examples? If I have been inconsistent in my message I will seek to clarify. Still, I will take you on, in public, on neutral ground in a moderated debate any day of the week. It would be like taking candy from a baby...

....or perhaps we should just let it lay...too personal for you I suspect.

By the way Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Maine, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Florida and perhaps even New Jersey are just a few of the states I would expect your allies to be losing when the current Governors come up in 2012 and beyond. I expect moderate Republicans or Democrats to take almost all of those positions back. The public is becoming very aware of the false aphrodisiac properties of tea.

Mike Thornton

You haven't been inconsistent in your message Steve, (not that you need me to tell you that!)
Todd is a typical regressive in that he'll just say whatever he's going to say, regardless of the facts and frankly I've come to the conclusion that he's irrelevant! There's no point wasting time and energy on someone who cannot and will not listen or hear what you're trying to say. Actually I think there will come a time when the regressives will be begging to do business with people like you, because they're going to find themselves either having to deal with the Steve Frisch's of the progressive movement or people who will be a lot less reasonable and forgiving.

Steven Frisch

Don't get me wrong Mike, I agree that there are times when political violence may regretfully occur, and people may be forced to chose 'which side are you on'. I know I will chose the side of individual liberty. I am just not willing to rush to the American apocalypse that many here seem to seek. The two are completely inconsistent. I do find it amazing that one could simultaneously cheer the divide and claim the mantle of patriot.

As I said above, if we do reach the 'great divide', American exceptionalism and the core values that founded our country are gone.

Mike Thornton

I get (and respect) what you're saying, Steve!
I sincerely believe that the regressives (for all their talk about patriotism) really believe in the (re) establishment of an oligarchy aided and abetted by a Fascist governmental apparatus.
In the end I believe they'll fail, because there is a vast and growing army of the disenfranchised and poor (I come into contact with them everyday) that will someday storm the gates of the enclaves.
This is something that these would be "masters of the universe" haven't fully understood yet.
They think that they'll be able to protect themselves through payoff and oppression, but it won't work forever.
And maybe that's the way it needs to be. What isn't acceptable (at least to me) is to continue to play the game according to their rules and dictates.

George Rebane

gjr to PaulE: "The next step here is for you or someone from your cohort to now suggest that I do just that, step out as an individual critic and name some teachers."

PaulE to gjr: "No George, I wouldn't ask you to do that."

PaulE to all: "So which one of you are going to tell our local school teachers, police and city workers that they are overpaid and are going to lose benefits and their unions are defunct."

Todd Juvinall

The left is always telling the crowd they are in front of what they think that crowd wants to hear. Frisch does this on the different threads but the underlying theme is still of an ignoramus whereever he blogs. Too easy to defeat so they go to a like minded loony blog on the left to regain a sense of self. I have debated enough liberals and have whipped their heinies so it is not necessary to teach another one a lesson.

Thornton is another lefty who has a selective memory and refuses to acknowledge the terror his ilk have thrust upon the people of the planet for 250 years. Until he comes up with a rational thought here, we all simply laugh at him. I remember 1964 when I was the only kid at Jr. High over on Park Avenue who supported Goldwater. The democrats did the Daisy ad claiming he was going to blow up the world. Now the left uses Goldwater as some sort of liberal benchmark to justify some of their issues. Seems the left is simply a bunch of nuts who say and do anything to win.

Mike Thornton

What's quite telling is that the man "who was going to blow up the world". Is in fact a "liberal benchmark" when compared to today's extremist Republican party.

Todd Juvinall

Now that is typical leftwingnut tortured logic. Keep it going, we are guffawing.

wmartin

"Remember that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take away everything you have.”

“Equality, rightly understood as our founding fathers understood it, leads to liberty and to the emancipation of creative differences; wrongly understood, as it has been so tragically in our time, it leads first to conformity and then to despotism”

“I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution or that have failed their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is ``needed'' before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents "interests,'' I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.”

-AuH20

Not bad for a Jewish storekeeper's son who never carried cash and drove an AMX.

Those who view government as the answer, regardless of right or left orientation, might as well ignore that he ever existed. Goldwater was from a different time and a different nation, the statists have the bit in their teeth.

wmartin

OTOH:

"A lot of so-called conservatives today don't know what the word means," he told the Los Angeles Times in a 1994 interview. "They think I've turned liberal because I believe a woman has a right to an abortion. That's a decision that's up to the pregnant woman, not up to the pope or some do-gooders or the religious right. It's not a conservative issue at all."

“You don’t have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight.”

"I don't have any respect for the Religious Right. There is no place in this country for practicing religion in politics. That goes for Falwell, Robertson and all the rest of these political preachers. They are a detriment to the country."

AuH2O

You know, I can live with that. Maybe a decent political platform is to normalize gays in the military, legalize abortion, and ignore churches in politics. At the same time, we can fire 50% of the government.

Steven Frisch

Mike I honestly think we may have worn them out. I noticed that when I gave Todd the chance to take me to the rhetorical woodshed he chickened out. My wife always told me, big talk, small feet, if you know what I mean.

Todd Juvinall

SteveF, I took you to the woodshed and you failed the test. Dream on.

George Rebane

Gentlemen, gentlemen, please ...

Steven Frisch

OK I concur George....back to the point...

Todd Juvinall

Okey-dokey. Sorry George

Mike Thornton

They've been worn out since the start, Steve.
The facts are the facts, the proof is there for all to see and if a few tehadists want to keep denying it, that's their business. They just can't blatantly ignore reality and then say (with no sense of irony) that they're qualified to lead.

Todd Juvinall

It would appear the leftwing can't take a request as well as the rightwing.

Paul Emery

George

I'm not sure what you were trying to say by reprinting some of my scribbles in your last re-blab to me. First of all your suggestion that individual teachers be singled out by some kind of citizens group or individuals is so inappropriate that it doesn't deserve serious response. I was affirming that no one is likely to ask you to be grand inquisitor for teacher dumping that you suggested you might be asked to do. However, the question whether local teachers and government workers are generally over compensated is hinted at but never stated. Is anyone out there ready to put their name behind that allegation. If not, we can assume that they are fairly compensated and the whole conversation is theoretical with no real examples. When we bring these questions home there is a strange silence.

RL Crabb

To get back to the point of left/right violence, it seems that reconciliation is becoming close to impossible. After watching these threads go round and round in the same circle for years now, I wonder how much longer it will be before we reach the breaking point? You can only shake the champagne bottle so long before it explodes. No one can say when or which side will commit the violent act that starts it, but unless cooler heads prevail, we are headed for the mother of blow-ups.

It's something I never hoped to see in my lifetime, and little wonder that those of us who are older fear it the most. Both sides are doing their best to scare the bejesus out of the elderly in advance of the upcoming election, in the hope of gaining the advantage. And isn't it always the old who concoct the wars, leaving the young to do the actual killing?

Maybe they will fool us this time. Maybe they will say "NO!" to this insanity and find their own answers to the tough questions my generation seems baffled by.

Greg Goodknight

"A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have" was from Gerald Ford, not Barry Goldwater.

By the way, the famous Goldwater "daisy" ad was perhaps the first modern savage partisan attack ad, and it worked. The person responsible for it was Bill Moyers, who managed to become known as an 'independent' and impartial PBS journalist, at least among liberal journalists. I don't think conservatives or libertarians bought into that.

Greg Goodknight

RL, from the Wisconsin and Greek experiences, I suspect if violence erupts, it will be from the decidedly left of center public employee unions enraged when state and local insolvencies hit the fan and the gravy trains come to a halt.

Greg Goodknight

'legalize abortion...'

How much more legal does it need to be?

RL Crabb

Greg,

Unions?...Maybe, but what will the right do if they lose the next election?

wmartin

..was from Gerald Ford, not Barry Goldwater.

By golly, you're right. I see it's also attributed to Reagan and to Jefferson. Perhaps there's an ur-quote in Latin, but I doubt that the Romans could imagine a government as pervasive as ours. The quote does have that nice Sorensenesque twist ala:

Conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.

And of course abortion is legal, although somewhat regulated. I'm more making the point that a system with more personal freedoms and less bureaucracy could be made to work but is, of course, impossible.

On a more serious note, two thing that have come up here, the first being the response of the civil service (also being the armed branch of society) to iron rice bowl cutbacks, the second being the howling mobs of needy poor that Mr Thornton refers to, are things that I think about a bit for any future planning.

Divining the entrails is hard, but it's a good idea to stay away from fast moving social change. Things end up in strange places when the moorings are loose.

George Rebane

Bob - what will the right do after losing the next election? NOTHING.

Paul - I have already put my name below the kinds of statements I think you are referring to. Could you please draft something that I should sign so as to satisfy you that conservatives are not hiding behind a "strange silence"?

Good points wmartin.

RL Crabb

Nothing? You must admit there's quite a bit of pent-up anger out there. Should the left win the contest of demagogery and convince the "sheeple" that they are the better shepards who will lead them to fields of clover, honey and free health care, you're saying the right will roll over?

Of course there are avenues other than armed rebellion. Everyone with money could head for New Zealand or Mars. Isn't that the Ayn Rand scenario?

And by the way, I like wmartin's comments too. It's nice to have a fresh voice amid all the screeching.

Mikey McD

The quote in question was from the 1770/1780's. Adapted a bit to fit into V for Vendetta more recently. I have always attributed it to Thomas Jefferson.

Crabb:
New Zealand has an immigration age limit so you old fogies should have planned ahead. I believe the cut off is 50 years of age. Seems they don't want retirees to immigrate in for nationalized health care without paying decades of taxes.

And thank God that a "great divide" is possible without bloodshed/armed rebellion.

RL Crabb

I'm not so sure the great divide theory would happen without violence. India and Pakistan tried to do it, and it was pretty messy. I mean, since California is a blue state, are you going to pack up and leave?

Or do you think you can do it county by county, or neighborhood by neighborhood? Shades of Yugoslavia.

It's a cute notion, but the reality is that we'd better figure out how to get along if we want to survive.

stevenfrisch

Precisely Bob, there is no practical way to achieve the Great Divide, thus it is a quaint fantasy. That is what I have been saying all along!

George Rebane

Have we really put our minds to devising one or more practical ways to achieve the Great Divide? Can we also identify which ways are unpractical? As I have shown in these pages, this "quaint fantasy" was neither originated here, nor is it sequestered only in these mountains.

The fundamental problem is that you want what is mine, and I want what is mine. It appears that neither of us wants to compromise. That one side wants to dismiss the problem will not make it go away.

Mikey McD

I will grant you that the average American currently has 'too much to lose' to accept the great divide concept; despite being extremely polarized.

However, what happens when the producers perceive themselves to be working simply to feed the moochers? What happens when the entitlement programs are forced to make cuts? In other words, a great divide debate becomes 'less fantasy' when there is nothing left to lose.

I would move from CA in a heartbeat. I have researched this options many times (every April 15th for the past 10 years) to no avail.

Mike Thornton

Alabama is looking for new residents!

wmartin

"I mean, since California is a blue state, are you going to pack up and leave?"....

Essentially, only the coastal parts. If you think about it, state lines west of the Mississippi are a bit contrived, aside from river boundaries and the odd mountain range. I'm not sure that they always suited the political and economic geography that grew beneath them.

If political belief systems tend to follow population density, and rule sets + hierarchical organization naturally increase as lbs of human flesh per sq ft increases, it wouldn't surprise me to see group boundaries pop out.

Just thinking out loud, and this could all be BS of course, an interesting angle to modern US society might consist of a couple of tendencies. The first is, assuming you're not a cornucopian, that resource depletion and population growth will increase the value of goods produced in sparser (ie., more conservative areas). This assumes that Google and Facebook aren't able to produce food and raw materials out of pixels.

The second is that the place formerly occupied by US cities, that of the value added given by manufacturing, has largely moved overseas. There used to be a colonialist relationship between cities and rural areas in this country, but the cities seem to have mostly given up on their part of the relationship. What seems to remain (mostly) is financial services, government, and the vampire companies that live in Northern Virginia and Maryland.

So, where does that leave you over time. Potentially, an increasingly valuable hinterland which is governed over by an urban nomenklatura but receives little in return. Lotsa opportunity for tension there, especially given the social (and racial I suppose) differences there.

Do you end up with Mr Thornton's Poor Person Army heading to the countryside to liberate the things owed them? Dunno. But you can expect to see weird things happen if times ever got really tight.

Mikey McD

Last I checked Alabama was still required to pay Federal Income tax, SS Tax, Medicare Tax, state income tax, etc.. Alabama has never even made my top 10 list.

George has the right question(s).
Have we really put our minds to devising one or more practical ways to achieve the Great Divide? Can we also identify which ways are unpractical?

Couldn't a state, like CA, just use voting districts (which have been gerrymandered) as great divide lines?

Mike Thornton

OK, maybe you should try Somalia. It's pretty much "every man for himself" there.
I think it would be a great example for a bunch of "Randers" to go and create their perfect privatized state somewhere and see if it works. What a beautiful way to show the superiority of said philosophic and economic model.
All the "producers", will flock to the new frontier and all those "moochers" will be "left behind" to figure out what to do in the absence of divine capitalist guidance.
I think it's a great plan and you guys should jump on it immediately, before some other brave souls take out the patents and copyrights!

Greg Goodknight

How "blue" would California be after insolvency forces a federalization, especially if Democrats control the legislature (pretty much a constant over my lifetime) and the Governor's office when it happens? I suspect the rats here are also smart enough to desert a sinking ship.

The next election will be the first with new districting that many hope will end the uncompetitive gerrymandered districts that have been the rule.

RL, I've no doubt GR is right on; the Right will grumble but put up with an election loss in 2012 without violence. I don't believe the BS the likes of Thornton are throwing into the fan as the rabble most likely to throw a violent tantrum are on the populist left.

Greg Goodknight

Thornton, do you talk that way to your right wing friends?

A better question might be, do you have any friends on the right? Cultivating a friendship or two might do you a world of good, you'd be less likely to go on these flights of stereotypical fantasies if you were actually on a friendly first name basis.

Mike Thornton

You fellows need to get over yourselves.
I find it absolutely amazing that you have no problem with stereotyping, when you're doing it, but can't deal with it when someone does it back to you.
But that is the story of the regressives isn't it!

Paul Emery

George

I think there's more to it than whether you get to keep all your stuff.
Check out the Real Wealth of Nations by Riane Eisler http://www.rianeeisler.com/rwon.htm to get more of an idea of what I feel are the true priorities and responsibilities of citizenship in this or any other country. She proposes an alternative economy called Caring Economics that I believe is the future of a civil culture. This is from Wikipedia but I believe it fairly well describes her direction.

"Eisler proposes that we need new social categories that go beyond conventional ones such as religious vs. secular, right vs. left, capitalist vs. communist, Eastern vs. Western, and industrial vs. pre- or post- industrial, which she notes do not describe the whole of a society's beliefs and institutions.

She has coined the term dominator culture to describe a system of top-down rankings ultimately backed up by fear or force. One of the core components of this system of authoritarian rule in both the family and the state is the subordination of women — whether in Nazi Germany, Khomeini's Iran today, or in earlier cultures where chronic violence and despotic rule were the norm.

Mikey McD

Paul, what about the liberals less enduring categories (used here on RR) like "Regressives" or "deaf" or "Deluded" or "Deceptive"?

George Rebane

MikeT has for some time now used "regressives" to denote people who are not progressives or who don't hold to other forms of collectivism. Most specifically he applies that appelation to those of us professing conservative, classical liberal, and/or libertarian values and ideologies. It is a pointedly nasty name for his ideological opposites.

The very semantic of 'regressive' in the modern sense assigns a reprehensible condition to its target, similar to what I have intended in the selective use of 'raghead' in these pages.

This method of expressing himself is another example of the asymmetry between the left and the right. My (our?) calling people 'progressive' is in tune with the label that they have long applied to themselves. In their minds it is a salutary address that calls forth a rich literature and history of progressive thought and action.

The same may be said for collectivism (a formal term that umbrellas several differentiable ideologies), socialism, liberalism (modern), communism, and so on. The adherents of these bodies of thought have proudly wrapped themselves in their respective labels.

One wonders what feelings or emotions do the MikeTs seek to invoke in readers against us who are tagged with the label 'regressive' in his exhortations.

RL Crabb

As always, it seems the conservative version of a divided nation is giving all the resources to the conservative faction and leaving the liberals with the cities. And you wonder why I think you're "deaf", "deluded", or "deceptive" when you actually think you could pull that off without a fight.

George Rebane

But Bob, no conservative here wants to take with them what is not already theirs. And I don't know anyone here who is assured that such a separation can be 'pulled off' without violence. That is only a hope backed by a good faith invitation to develop some peaceful approaches.

At what point would such a fight begin when I want only what is mine, and you also want what is mine?

George Rebane

Paul, you may be making an excellent suggestion here. Those who want to impose Eisler's Caring Economics (love that label) should give it a try. You and yours should be able to have a piece of land where that experiment can be conducted.

But please don't try to force the entire country at gunpoint to put all their societal eggs into such a basket, for many will believe it leads to bloodshed. Therefore limit how much ground will be so soaked; leave the rest of us in our misery.

And if by some happy chance Eisler has discovered our Shangri-La, then all will see the results of that more limited experiment and rush to apply its nostrums to their own lives.

[For readers interested in the short course about Caring Economics, please go to - http://caringeconomics.com/ ]

wmartin

"As always, it seems the conservative version of a divided nation is giving all the resources to the conservative faction and leaving the liberals with the cities. "

I'm partly making the point that cities result in liberals, although maybe that's a bit of Lysenko-ish gibberish.

You can make the argument that in modern America, the cities are indulging in a trade with the countryside that consists of swapping food/fuel/raw materials/and (increasingly) manufactured goods for stuff like banking and publishing, and the latter has less value than you might think. Imbalances always get addressed eventually.

It could be that in the Litle Red Hen Society, that perhaps the best move is to spend less time worrying about how your neighbors' resources are to be spent and to think about ways to make yourself useful around the farm.

Mike Thornton

Actually, George, I think "regressives" is an apt term to describe the program that you advocate. Basically you want to "regress" the nation to a point in time where the wealthy had all the power and controlled virtually every aspect of society. You apparently want to use the tern "conservatives". Frankly I don't know why, since I can't see anything "conservative" about what you guys are proposing. When you get right down to it, the most applicable term to use might be "regressive-extremists".
Once again what we really have here is the desire (from regressives) to have a one sided debate. A debate were you get to craft the language that can be used and the terms under which it can be used. Your continued use of the term "communist" or "socialist" or for that matter "liberal" (as it's widely used today) are examples of what I'm talking about.
And on another note, Bob is right!
The idea of "compromise" when the vast majority of regressives use it, means "you agree completely to give us everything we want, for nothing in return".
And on an even further note, when it comes to "taking what is theirs", shouldn't we have an accounting of how much of "what is theirs" is only "theirs" because they used what is "ours" to get it? After that we can come up with an appropriate fee and payment. Then they can take what is "truly" theirs and move along!

Mike Thornton

Now you just have to love a story about the KKK telling the "God Hates Fags" people to take a flying leap!

http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/05/30/arlington.cemetery.protesters/index.html?eref=rss_topstories&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fcnn_topstories+%28RSS%3A+Top+Stories%29&utm_content=My+Yahoo

Mikey McD

Thornton, I don't know what conservatives you claim to know but all the conservatives I know just want to be left alone. We value liberty over government provided 'security.'

What 'category' do you label yourself if not:"communist" or "socialist" or for that matter "liberal" "?- the shoe seems to fit.

The point that Crabb continues to miss is the fact that both the collectivists and capitalists belief that their 'side' would fair better in a GD.

Mike Thornton

Can you define being "left alone" and what that means for the other folks that have to share the world with you?
The reason I ask this is because what being "left alone" means for many of the folks and corporations that use the term, is that they want to be "left alone" to make money by screwing things up for other people or to be "left alone" so they can privatize their profits while socializing their expenses and then their "freedom" winds up infringing on my "freedom" and my ability to be "left alone".

George Rebane

And folks, there you have the man's summa, twisted and turned into one of the finest class warfare statements on RR. 'What is mine is mine, what is yours is negotiable, because I can tell you how much of it you had to rob from us or put together by the sweat of our labor for which we have yet to be compensated.'

Or as a class warrior commentator on truthout.com just said - "The idea that working folks in America are stupid and fearful is promoted by chicken hawks and spoiled media talking faces. Wait until the violence starts and the tough come out and make a stand."

Mikey McD

"Left alone":

Don't FORCE me to pay into SS
Don't FORCE me to pay into Medicare
Don't FORCE me to pay for government sponsored 'philanthropy' (bailouts, kickbacks, pork, stimulus)
Don't manipulate the markets from on high (END THE FED)
Allow me to CHOOSE what I eat (it is illegal for me to buy beef or milk from a neighbor!)
Don't force crap like the Patriot Act on me.

RL Crabb

It would be interesting to see how political parties would develop in a divided nation. One would guess that in the conservative sector, you would have the existing Republican party and a Libertarian party vying for influence. In the liberal sector you'd likely have the traditional Dems and a progressive party.

Frankly, I can't see how I'd fit into either one without getting hung. In the liberal world they'd tax me into poverty and then put me on welfare to ensure my loyalty to the state. In the conservative world they'd build a hog rendering plant next to my house and tell me to f#*k off if I didn't like it.

That's why I like our current borders and imperfect system. At least there's a LITTLE balance.

stevenfrisch

What a bunch of nonsense these last several comments have been. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS BEING LEFT ALONE. IT is an absolute impossibility-- fantasy--unicorn riding ---fairy tale.

Mike Thornton

I'm just curious what "our" response to the "left alone" crowd is supposed to be if they go broke, get sick and wind up old and homeless with nobody to turn too?
Do we say: "Well you wanted to be 'left alone' now go off and die somewhere."
And if they do that, does that mean "we" have to pay to pick up and dispose of the carcass? I just don't no how that works in "Randland"?
I mean, it didn't work for her.......

Dixon Cruickshank

After you and Thorten have posted another 15,000 words I couldn't thru -

The concept that neither of you seem to be able to grasp, is that throught history and the present world included - the left is much more prone to violence than the right - and no I don't want to hear about some guy was supposed to be rightwing in Tucson in '93 or some other cocamamy crap - its just the truth


If it wasn't you wouldn't need 10,000 words to try and obscure it - just say'in

Mikey McD

Thornton/Frisch, with nanny's like you being "left alone" is a fantasy. You are intent on controlling others, equalizing all (via 'robin hood complex'), and demoralizing the remainders to become as unhappy as you. It's not "Randian" (considering the "Don't Tread on Me" flag's date of inception). Freedom has been popular before, before Rand.

I will rely on God, church, family, self- you won't have to deal with my carcass.

Mikey McD

Compassion as exemplified by the left:

"Do we say: "Well you wanted to be 'left alone' now go off and die somewhere." And if they do that, does that mean "we" have to pay to pick up and dispose of the carcass?...

Posted by: Mike Thornton | 30 May 2011 at 05:26 PM "

Mike Thornton

It's an honest question, Mikey.
On the one hand you say you don't want to be forced to do these things.
I'm asking you what happens for the people who choose not to do so and then wind up destitute.
You can't have it both ways and say "personal responsibility" unless everything turns to crap and then society has to pay the bill!
Isn't that the epitome of being the kind of freeloading "moocher" that you seem to hate so much?

Mike Thornton

Oh Dixon, give it a rest.
I know you're used to only having to hear things you agree with and so this is a bit stressful and confusing for you, but it's really all OK.
Take a deep breath and think some comforting thoughts....maybe waterboarding a few Muslims or kicking a WWII veteran out of his mobile home park, for inability to pay the rent or the electric bill or watch "Triumph of the Will"
That Leni Riefenstahl is a real mood lifter.....

Paul Emery

George

It's too bad that you summarily dismiss new ideas such as those expressed by Riane Eisler. Conservatives are indeed conservative which by, common definition means to conserve what is good and of value to them. Conservatives resist change. Anything that threatens their "stuff" is regarded as an attack upon some God given rights or something like that, therefore something like a progressive income tax system that is a threat to their affluence has more value to them than the possible value to the greater good of the community they are a member of. It's all about the values we choose to live by. This is familiar territory on this blog so I'm not going any deeper into it.

Eisler believes that the most important work we can pursue is raising children, caring for the elderly or infirm and working to preserve the health of the earth that we all depend of for our existence.
The very thought of establishing an economic value to the work of raising children, for example, is rejected by conservatives out of hand with no thought or discussion . Too bad. What more important job can there be than the work of raising healthy families.

stevenfrisch

It's OK Paul, I have been trying to get these guys to understand the idea of internalizing the externalities (or valuing social and natural values) for a while now. They seek to ignore it because they do not believe it is in their self-interest.

Todd Juvinall

The world has always been run by the Thortons and the Frisch's in one form or another. Then along came America and a Constitution which contains a Bill of Rights to set men free from them. Their ilk have been whittling away at our freedoms for 230 years and with Obama they finally have help at the top. Well, in America as in many other countrys, the people with the most votes prevail. The voters have rejected them and will do so again in 2012 and that is the crux of this angst by the leftwingnuts. We have tried our best to keep you out of our pockets, out of our homes and out of our schools but you don't listen. You will soon.

Mikey McD

Paul,your disdain for successful people is hateful. In what fantasy land could someone believe that a man who successfully devotes his time to producing should pay considerably more to an inept government than another citizen who reaps the same benefits and services(or more)?

The successful would gladly pay more if their was value provided by the gov. As it is our tax funds are pissed away, leveraged and even worse they are used against us. Imagine how much more producers could give to charity if we got to keep more of what we earned?

The left are quick to discount the fact that successful people work long hours, risk 100% of their nest eggs, don't get unemployment insurance, don't get defined benefit pension plans (like public service union employees), put up with trillions of regulations, lose sleep at night worrying about their employees, etc. Then IF IF IF they are successful the tax man comes and smacks them over the head.

Mikey McD

Obama the Dictator:

http://paul.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1870:enabling-a-future-american-dictator&catid=62:texas-straight-talk&Itemid=69

George Rebane

Paul, please allow a contrary view on Eisler’s ideas, it is not a rejection but a prudent hesitation. I and mine see these as collectivism in a new brocade, thin but with a twist of lace here and there in the attempt to make palatable what so many times has already lost favor. Nevertheless, I wish you and yours the joy of these ideas, to embrace them fully, to set your fortunes in them, and then communicate their delights to the rest of us. Be at peace that, should you all emerge unscathed from your tests and trials, you will have a no more a loyal legion join with your success than we who waited and watched. But please don’t delay your mission on account of our hesitation to throw in our time, talents, and treasures just yet. In the interval we will remain nearby to cheerfully effect a rescue should such need arise.

Paul Emery

Well spoken Ron Paul. The illegal war in Iraq and the continuation of our presence in Afghanistan long after the appropriate response after 9/11 is truly a bi-partisan effort. The Dems see ready to sorta pull the plug in Afghanistan but they need Republican support. This is he latest vote as reported in Politico today.

"In the latest sign that support for military operations in Afghanistan is waning since the death of Osama bin Laden, the House rejected an accelerated U.S. withdrawal in a surprisingly close vote.

Twenty-six Republicans voted for the amendment from Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) as it failed, 204-215."

Mike Thornton

TJ writes:
"The world has always been run by the Thortons and the Frisch's in one form or another."
(a) You've got to be kidding. (b) If you really believe this, no wonder you say the crazy things you say. and (c) If the choice is the Frisch' and the Thorntons vs. the Juvinalls and the Rebanes, I'm pretty sure the working people of the country will be a heck of a lot better off with us! That is, as long as Steve makes the policy and I host the radio show!

Todd Juvinall

There is no way the working man would benefit from communism. It has failed all over the planet.

wmartin

"Well spoken Ron Paul. The illegal war in Iraq and the continuation of our presence in Afghanistan long after the appropriate response after 9/11 is truly a bi-partisan effort."...

It mostly just strikes me as a side effect of a too-strong executive branch.

Besides the extremely low likelihood of a modern Western democracy at pulling off successful counterinsurgency programs (Edward Luttwak writes pretty convincingly about this, it mostly involves our lack of ruthlessness), I think that merely giving the tools to a single man, with advisors of course, will probably result in their use.

It's rather like the modern tendency towards government surveillance of it's citizens. It's become more possible over time and *will* be used if it exists, regardless of political affiliation. Whether we select Presidents in backroom deals like days of yore, or use the modern 'American Idol' mechanism, they'll all use it if they got it.

In my mind, Ron Paul's strongest argument is not so much the isolationist one, but the one involving the voting of Congress to actually bomb the bejeepers out of people. It's a lot harder to get several hundred opinionated people to go for something like this.

My internal model of the modern American presidency scares the heck out of me. What I see is a man, who views himself as a quick study and uniquely gifted somehow, sitting in a room being given choices by domain experts. Occasionally, he points to the line item that feels right to him, it's sort of like running the country via Magic 8-Ball. The more power you give this individual, the more arbitrary the results can be.

It's a natural side effect of the current tendency towards centralizing power in this country, but I'm not sure people will like the results in the long run.

Mike Thornton

I'm not quite sure how social "responsibility" equates to "communism", but, oh well, that's a great example of regressive totalitarian thinking.

George Rebane

Good analysis wmartin. My only question is who do you consider are domain experts surrounding the President. The question is a bit loaded because by my lights Obama has surrounded himself with top advisers, very few of them with experience in their assigned fields (almost no one with private sector experience), who primarily are ideologically heavy policy wonks with years working as politicians and political operatives.

George Rebane

MikeT, every form of governance first and foremost claims to be socially responsible. The progenitors of communism went to unusual pains to spell out how their form of collectivism would be of greatest benefit to mankind. I believe that Todd was just pointing out the great damage, especially to the working poor, that communism has done wherever it was implemented.

Paul Emery

Republicans, here you go again. No budget cuts here. Talk about hypocrites.

"House Republicans unveiled a nearly $650 billion defense package Tuesday that would fully back President Barack Obama’s war funding requests.......

Core Pentagon spending would grow by $17 billion to $530 billion and an estimated $119 billion is provided for military operations overseas, chiefly in the Afghanistan and Pakistan theater.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0511/55928.html

Mike Thornton

Been in any poor neighborhoods in capitalist America lately, George?
There are a growing number of disenfranchised communities that are slowly being ghettoized with little to no hope of positive change in the future. No jobs, no health care, substandard housing, no practical access to healthy food and the discontinuance of even basic services.
And while I'm not advocating for "communism", we should point out that the standard of living for the average Cuban increased dramatically under the Castro regime (when compared to Batista) and who knows what would have happened had the US not engaged in a 50 year embargo of Cuba.
I think you'd be hard pressed to say that the lifestyle of the average Russian didn't improve when compared to the Serf/Peasant culture that the Bolshevik revolution overthrew, as well.
In fact, while the Soviet Union is nothing to want to emulate, the savage capitalist system that is now at work in Russia, has certainly done little to benefit the working class there. It has created however, a new oligarchy and a criminal class par excel-lance.
Please remember that in the age of unregulated capitalism in the US the conditions were such for working people, that they nearly overthrew the entire capitalist system in favor of explicitly "communist" one.
There were good reasons for that and it's why I describe those who advocate the programs and policies that you do as being "regresssives". Contrary to Todd's hyperbole, nobody is advocating that the US become either Cuba or the old Soviet Union. I believe there is an evolved model of Democratic Socialism, that will work best for the majority of Americans. What I'm positive of, is that a return to the days of unregulated capitalism will do next to nothing for working people. We have ample evidence of that as well!

Greg Goodknight

Thornton writes, "I believe there is an evolved model of Democratic Socialism, that will work best for the majority of Americans."

I really had no doubt you thought this way, but thank you for making it clear. However, this is a center-right country and the majority of Americans don't agree with you.

Todd Juvinall

Thornton says, "I think you'd be hard pressed to say that the lifestyle of the average Russian didn't improve when compared to the Serf/Peasant culture that the Bolshevik revolution overthrew, as well."

Wow, now we all know he gets his information strictly from books. I have a best friend who is married to a Russian woman from St. Petersburg. She is in her mid fifties and lived all her life under Thornton's favorite political system. She has a totally opposite view then he. There are many of her friends who also agree. They came to this country for freedom and capitalism.

Mike Thornton

Gee, I think I just said something to the effect that I wasn't advocating for either communism or emulating what took place in the Soviet Union.
As usual Todd, just says things, regardless of their relevance and/or accuracy.
Do you want to jump in and defend him again, George?
This is usually the point where you do that....
You're welcome, Greg!

Todd Juvinall

Thornton uses the SOP of the leftwing by making a point then saying, "but, I am not advocating" blah blah blah. The environmental nuts do the same thing. So, I guess whenever the left says they believe something they are unbelievable. Typical.

Mikey McD

Thornton, to cite Russia as free market capitalism is ridiculous. I assume you were trying to be funny. To cite capitalism at home as creating ghetto's and disenfranchised Americans is folly. Many understand that Ghettos are the product of a failed welfare system which enslaves. In these Ghettos gov promises/provides security in exchange for ambition/freedom/individuality.

George Rebane

MikeT, your citations of the improvement in the lives of Russians and Cubans under communism is touching, but completely misses the point. Given your "improvement" argument, compare their improvement to the improvement that other nations enjoyed while practicing various forms of fettered capitalism.

With regard to the disastrous effect that 70 years of totalitarianism had on Soviet citizens (and in eastern europe), this is not a good forum for such a debate for people unfamiliar with anything beyond leftwing slogans about the glories of communism.

Mikey McD

"democratic socialism" : An elite group in charge of resources. The illusion of populace. Conformity of the citizenry. Forfeit of individuality, ambition, standard of life. Mob rule.

This might help:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIcOfu6Udec

Mike Thornton

Or anything beyond rightwing Slogans about the glories of capitalism.
BTW, George, The key term you used is "fettered" capitalism.
Which by definition exists on a continuum, where social interest/responsibility is part of the equation and not just simply the maximization of profit.
But that's not what you guys are pushing for. You continue to advocate for "unfettered" capitalism and we've seem the effect that unfettered capitalism has had on hard working Americans.
Mikey How do you get from "An elite groups in charge of resources" to "Mob rule" and think what your saying actually makes any sense?

Mikey McD

Capitalists believe in the rule of law (a republic) not anarchy. There is a big difference.

Is your version of "democratic socialism" leaderless? I expect any version of "democratic socialism" to have leadership (elite) which leverages the sheeple (mob rule).

George Rebane

"You continue to advocate for "unfettered" capitalism ..." This is why our debates lead nowhere. And nowhere in these pages do you see anyone arguing for a conservative/libertarian position that is totally free of government controls. We must start with contract law and then proceed to regulations that maintain competition, which implies regulations that inhibit gratuitous monopolies and even oligopolies (the latter being harder). And there is more. Only agenda driven hard leftist continue with their endless droning of 'unfettered', 'robber baron', 'cowboy', ... capitalism.

In the end MikeT, neither of us have any hope of changing the other. Our writings in these pages are for the readers who belong to that undecided 40% in the land (Pew Research). Your contributions here are very valuable in that regard. And even in that regard, each of us is appealing to robustly disjoint groups of that 40% as far as their other capabilities are concerned.

Mike Thornton

So you're saying that a capitalistic republic is ruled by an elite of wealthy business leaders and (apparently) rightly so, but if you have a governmental/economic system that focuses on the needs of the body politic as a whole, that's "anarchy"?
Actually, I would think that you would be in favor of anarchy, since wouldn't "anarchy" be the ultimate expression of libertarianism?

Mike Thornton

Do you ever read the stuff that's posted on your blog, George?

On a (much) happier note, it looks like the American people may have had just about enough of the regressives and their political/economic program.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/05/31/980848/-All-six-recall-petitions-against-Wisconsin-GOP-approved-while-three-against-Dems-put-on-hold?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+dailykos%2Findex+%28Daily+Kos%29&utm_content=My+Yahoo

Todd Juvinall

George, as a person who likes to read history, I find it amazing the leftwingnuts are trying to take the world's people beck to the days of yore. The Lords (democrat socialist leaders) are in charge and the peasants (common folks) are their little slaves. I just can't understand that when we have all the real world proof of the failure of those forms of government. America is the last great hope to have a world where the individual is not just a piece of cannon fodder.

Mikey McD

No law, no liberty. Where there is too much law there is slavery/serfdom.

To borrow a line from Karate Kid: "Balance Daniel Son."

George Rebane

"So you're saying ..." MikeT, I am not saying any of that; but your ability to come up with such interpretations should be an education to those not familiar with such pirouettes.

Paul Emery

One of the problems with capitalism as it is heralded by the self described conservatives is that it places no value on the work being done only on whether it turns a profit. To place a value on the importance of the work being done is an evolution that Ms. Eisler embraces. Doesn't the work of raising intelligent, educated and responsible children have more value than the manufacturing of cigarettes for example. How is the true value of the work we do established? It's a huge question that no one wants to talk about.

wmartin

" Doesn't the work of raising intelligent, educated and responsible children have more value than the manufacturing of cigarettes for example."...

I depends on how much they're worth on the open market.

If you view children as a capital investment and, if anything, the human race is entirely too good at producing them, raising good ones would have the same effect as any other infrastructure. There's an upfront cost followed by a payoff over time, and cultures who are bad at it will be overtaken by those that aren't, everything else being equal.

Going forward, I suspect that the value of your average person will drop over time. In a country made of up 'consumers' rather than 'citizens' (tip o' the hat to James Howard Kunstler), perhaps the average person's main job will be to behave themselves, watch the 3d telescreen, and eat their soy loaf with as little fuss as possible. In US society, it certainly looks like increased efficiencies in work combined with the increased size of a welfare state produces that result.

The basic problem of providing a minimum standard of living really is an interesting sort of conundrum. If one is supplied, how do you avoid sapping the energy from most of the people receiving it? There'll always be a group who through disability or otherwise, simply can't do their part of course.

The few times and places that have made an attempt seem to substitute the tyranny of having to make your own way with either religion (Mormons perhaps) or the peer pressure that goes along with homogeneity (Sweden). That being said, the US is a big place. There's really little to stop someone from starting their own exercise in utopia (Thorntonville?), where the rubber hits the road is when that utopia is imposed on others.

Mikey McD

Paul, I have brought up a similar issue countless times. I believe that our experiences help create our values (as individuals and as a nation). Our values drive our decisions/actions. Experiences (education) is paramount. Check this out: http://www.johnadamsacademy.com/

Your logic concerning "one of the problems with capitalism... it places no value on the work being done" doesn't make sense.

By definition any product/service must provide value or it would be worthless. How could a biz be profitable without providing good/service of value? Or said another way, how could a biz be profitable via providing a worthless good/service?

(excluding tax payer funded entities)

Paul Emery

Mikey, wmartin
What you say is true but it only has to do with Marketplace capitalism. True capitalism would place a value on work that is being done that currently has no compensation. As more and more jobs disappear because of automation and exportation of manufacturing we need to look at new and expansive definitions of the true value of work and labor and just compensation for that work.

This is just an example: an executive in a tobacco company makes a product that kills people and may have a salary of millions but a mother of two children, which is a full time job for at least 20 years receives no compensation for her work in raising the next generation of productive citizens.

Greg Goodknight

"This is just an example: an executive in a tobacco company makes a product that kills people and may have a salary of millions but a mother of two children, which is a full time job for at least 20 years receives no compensation for her work in raising the next generation of productive citizens."

Sorry, but when I was a widowed father of one son, I never thought I was raising a son 'for no compensation', nor have I ever desired to have my taxes be paid to someone else to raise their child.

If they're raising their children to be productive and honorable citizens that should be compensation enough. If it isn't, I'd suggest she should have found a different line of work.

While I might not like tobacco, pictures of tobacco farmers remain on several denominations of our currency, and it remains a legal product. Addicts might have a love/hate relationship with the leaf, but no one forced them to start the habit and if they need help to quit, there is help available. However, we shouldn't be so quick... cigarette addicts tend to die young and have fewer lifetime medical bills and Social Security payouts. They're doing us a service.

Mikey McD

Blaming 2 kids on capitalism is a bit of a stretch.

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