Democrats & Liberals Archives

Remember This, Republicans!

They say they want us to remember.

No, I say they don’t want you to remember. They want you to forget. The first thing they’ll ask you to forget is where they got all their wonderful ideas for how to put you on edge.

The first thing they'll ask you to forget that they pattern their rhetoric off of a line in the movie V for Vendetta, or rather hope you don't look too closely at its source.

The line in the movie is an ironic twist on a rhyme that talked about Guy Fawkes. I'll quote the little ditty here:

Remember, remember, the fifth of November, The gunpowder treason and plot, I know of no reason Why the gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot.

Here's the thing: Guy Fawkes was arrested for trying to blow up Parliament! He was arrested for a terrorist plot. Gunpowder treason! Hell, don't the Republicans have enough trouble keeping a lid on the notion that they're stirring up right-wing terrorists? I wonder what songs people might sing about such a plot, were it to be another Timothy McVeigh taking the lead of such a reference?

Oh, but what a wonderful image! The people rising up to destroy an unjust government! Blowing up the den of thieves, rebelling against tyranny!

Wooooooo-hoooooooo!!!!!!

Small problem: The government they're blowing up is a relgiously fundamentalist, racist, surveillance state government propped up by constant right-wing propaganda, jingoistic patriotic appeals, especially those of the "The Voice of London", a blowhard clearly patterned on certain radio and television commentators who we shall leave unnamed. Oh, and there's the small part about torture in a secret facility.

Oh, yeah, and regardless of what they're thinking, they're voicing their admiration for a character who is running around blowing up government buildings.

Not that I despise the film. I think it's a wonderful political allegory. But for people who actually saw the film, and actually got its messages, it's incredibly absurd to see the Republicans turning this around, trying to paint Obama as the John Hurt character in this movie, especially given the use of racist and WMD propaganda by that leader.

The Norsefire government of the movie is one that deliberately inflicts a weapon of mass destruction on its public to help fuel its rise to power. It's outlawed homosexuality. It's legitimated torture and unwarranted searches and seizures.

Republicans want, through a little slick editing, to evoke a sense of paranoia, a connection to these visions of evil governments. Unfortunately, Their kind of endless revisionism and doubletalk is much the target of what fiction they invoke.

I know the movies they're trying to reference. That, in fact, is my big interest, aside from politics. I know the stories, and people like them don't fare well in them.

Republicans are easy targets because they've long been willing to do great harm to big categories of people for the sake of what they want. They are easy targets because their rhetoric is divisive. They are easy targets because they support financial elites. They are easy targets because they often don't take criticism well. Coverups abound. Dark secrets. Violation of American's rights. We can talk about Enemy of the State, and how people don't find the notion that the Government's sifting through their lives all that comforting.

There's a reason that Gordon Gecko is the villain of Wall Street., why people cheer Dan Akroyd and Eddie Murphy's takedown of the snooty Wall Street types in Trading Places.

There is an axiom in acting: everybody thinks they're the good guy. Plenty of movies feature people who do horrible things in the name of good, or who claim to be doing good while they really do horrible things.

Even Darth Vader, for crying out loud. Turns out he's just a worried husband and father-to-be. Does that excuse what he's done? Absolutely not, especially since he causes such great and irreparable harm to everything he loves. Results matter. You can change absolutely any story you want to, slick it up with Hollywood editing to send the message you want to send, but you can't change the real story.

You can't change the fact that Republicans did more budget cuts than spending cuts.

You can't change that they committed Americans to trillions of dollars in spending, or in deficit financing, completely intentionally, not even when it becomes convenient to bash Democrats again as big spenders.

The Republicans want you to feel that something's been taken from you. They want you to only feel in control when they're in control.

Fact is, a lot of what they promise, they can't deliver without a political cost they're unwilling to pay. Therefore, that BS over the doc fix:

What is the SGR? The Sustainable Growth Rate is a general marker of inflation. In 1998, due to concerns of escalating healthcare costs, Medicare payments for physicians were tied to the SGR. Unfortunately, healthcare inflation outpaces general inflation and since 2002, the cost of physician services has exceeded what would be predicted from the SGR. Hence, every year a predicted cut in Medicare physician fees to bring it back to the SGR. Each year, because a temporary fix is passed, the next year the cuts get worse.

The Republicans failed to design their budget-cutting measures well enough to adjust properly to the inflation in healthcare, so the cuts are too deep. Since Republicans rely on Seniors as a constituency, they've scrambled each year to prevent a doctor-discouraging deep cut in Medicare reimbursements to doctors.

But have they counted the cost for that in the budget? No more than they counted the cost of natural disasters, The fix that keeps the Alternative Minimum Tax from affecting the middle class, or the Wars we've fought for the better part of the last decade.

When Republicans talk about Obama raising the deficit so high, guess what? A large part, something more than two hundred billions a year comes from Obama being honest about Federal Spending, including it in the budget.

But more than that, a large part of that comes from another source, one Republicans are doing little to nothing to actually deal with. It's what they say won't work: spending money on getting Americans back to work, off unemployment the right way:

Borrowing money to put people back to work does make sense. It helps people most in need, the unemployed. It provides them with income that they can use to pay taxes and to buy goods and services that create more jobs, more income, and more tax revenue. Indeed, our inability thus far to seriously tackle the unemployment problem is what has worsened the budget problem, as tax receipts have fallen and spending for unemployment benefits and food stamps have risen. An analysis by the Economic Policy Institute reveals that the largest source of the 2009 budget deficit (42%) was actually the recession itself.

Obama had the right idea. Many Republicans, voting against it for political reasons, still show their agreement with this basic idea by their actions after the fact.

The doom and gloom numbers hold for a future where the economic picture remains the way it is, where people don't raise taxes to cover the costs, where they don't tighten the belts, don't address healthcare costs, or anything else.

The Republicans want to convince you its the end of this country, maybe even the end of this world if Obama gets what he wants. But what Republicans are trying to sell you on as a terrible, dystopian future the Democrats are leading us towards is the very world their actions have brought into being.

The Republicans don't want to be held accountable for what they've done. They want a political get out of jail free card. They're like the kid who sneaks out of his room after his parents have had time to cool down on their anger in hopes that they won't object.

What the Republicans have done, though, has done lasting and permanent harm to America. There will be opportunties missed, contests lost, primacy permanently undermined by the result of their mismanagement of the government, and until their people have proved to be responsible stewards of government, they've got no business trying to force their way back in.

The Republicans want to change the story. They want to scapegoat the other party for the jobs lost, the crisis unaverted, the enforcement held back on. They want to preserve the fantasy of a market that can solve all problems without govenrment's help.

Until the Republicans change their policy approaches, their real behavior in the real world, there is no use letting the artfulness of their message obscure the hollowness.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at April 23, 2010 7:20 PM
Comments
Comment #299405

Wow. I would guess that demonizing all dissent as violent sedition is merely a prelude to outlawing the opposition entirely. That’s what socialist governments do.

Posted by: eric at April 24, 2010 12:11 AM
Comment #299406

Let’s not forget that Republicans are rascist too.

Posted by: eric at April 24, 2010 12:25 AM
Comment #299407

eric-
Let me know when you’re outlawed. I don’t really know how to answer your arguments seriously, since they’re so far removed from reality as to just seem bizarre to me.

You folks blare you message from every TV in the nation. You get all the coverage you could ever want. Your problem isn’t that somebody’s trying to suppress you, your problem is that you don’t understand the value of inhibition.

You celebrate people who disrupt Presidential address in Congress. You celebrate people who call somebody they disagree with a baby-killer. You celebrate people who associate and flirt with folks seeking to sunder the union itself, and with people who stock up on guns to resist a government purge that’s never come, a government takeover that like the date of the end of the world always gets shuffled ahead into the future on a dependable basis.

You bring guns to protests where the President is showing up. You lionize people who make grand conspiracy theories that are supposed to convince people tha their very freedoms are at stake, and later have to walk things back with warnings to be civil, warnings not to use violence.

What about the Oathkeepers, the Birthers, all these other people? Doesn’t it just amount to the claim that somehow your people are above the law when its a Democrat writing it or enforcing it?

Good heavens. You really think all that crap earns your party a peaceful reputation?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 24, 2010 2:18 AM
Comment #299414

We don’t want to ban you or bar you…we would like for you to clean up your act a little…hell, we NEED you, but the need is for a foe that helps us stay in balance, not lose balance and fall down.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 24, 2010 6:09 AM
Comment #299416

eric
Not all Republicans are rascist but all rascist are Republican or at least they vote that way. Gee..I wonder why?

Oh,yeah. Has Sweden outlawed all opposition? How about Norway?

Posted by: bills at April 24, 2010 6:33 AM
Comment #299417

Last time I checked putting criminals in jail wasn’t repression, except of the criminal element.

Holding people responsible is what this guy is talking about:

http://market-ticker.denninger.net/archives/2229-President-Obama-Where-Are-The-HANDCUFFS.html

Posted by: gergle at April 24, 2010 7:00 AM
Comment #299418

Stephen,

Republican’s have no policy, and no pattern…they make up for that with the strongest plank in their party platform, ie, take a weakness of their own party, turn it around and revile the other party for having that weakness. Using Guy Fawkes is right down that alley.

We still need them, but damn!…why can’t they walk upright like humans?

Posted by: Marysdude at April 24, 2010 8:49 AM
Comment #299435

liberalism is truly a mental disease.

sd writes…”The doom and gloom numbers hold for a future where the economic picture remains the way it is, where people don’t raise taxes to cover the costs, where they don’t tighten the belts, don’t address healthcare costs, or anything else.”

it is mentally deficient to believe taxes must rise to meet costs. under liberal management costs never cease increasing to buy more votes thus setting up an ever upward spiral of demands for more taxes. take a look at states that have pursued ever more entitlement spending and you will find bankrupt state coffers.

now, we hear liberals advocating a vat tax. in europe the vat has not produced prosperity, but rather ever increasing poverty. greece is a fine example of liberal socialism failing miserably. rather than pursuing fiscal responsibility, the masses, accustomed to the governmeny teat, are rioting in the streets demanding even more spending.

it is sad to read liberal articles demanding that we follow the european example into national poverty and milase.

but…as i stated, liberalism is a mental disease.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 24, 2010 3:10 PM
Comment #299438

Royal Flush-
It must be fun arguing with the imaginary liberal.

You’re living in a fantasy land if you think that the government not asking for the money its spending from the people is a good idea. It costs more, per tax dollar spent, to spend on programs from a defict, than from an even keel.

Taxation, in the long run, is the cheaper way for government to gather the money it needs to pay for it’s services and operations.

As for what’s causing many States Problems, its not overspending, its one of the worst economic downturns in American history. Like The Federal government, which has seen 42% of its deficit in 2009 coming out of the recession, the State governments were counting on a moderate economic picture when they budgeted. Now they’re faced, in some states, with Depression-level economic crisises, and in the case of California, an obstructionist Republican Party that has no compunction about triggering fiscal crisises in order to get their way.

As for the Greece canard, I’d direct you to the fact that Germany, the strongest economy in that area, has a strong socialist element to its government, too. Greece’s problem may be the same problem as many investors. They started financing their debt with folks like Goldman Sachs, and got screwed on the leverage. The same is true of many municipalities.

If you want to generalize without paying attention to any kind of details, be my guest. It makes my job easier.

Oh, on the subject of mental diseases, somebody ought to get him checked out. The fellow seems to be suffering from Paranoid schizophrenia.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 24, 2010 4:03 PM
Comment #299439

RF said: “liberalism is truly a mental disease. “

Sounds like Hitler’s prelude to the final solution for mental illness in Germany. Your comment goes 90% of the way, RF. Why not grow a set and take it the last 10% ? It’s not like your comment hides anything in the way of malignant intent.

Conservatism used to have real value and importance for America’s future. Comments and thinking like that in your comment is what has trashed conservatism and driven the sane and rational conservatives from the Republican Party, like Colin Powell and John Warner, to be replaced by the likes of Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, and Mitch McConnell.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 24, 2010 4:06 PM
Comment #299440

to believe there is a difference between spend and tax and tax and spend is truly prima facia evidence for institutional confinement for the mentally deranged.

it is ludicris to write…”…and in the case of California, an obstructionist Republican Party that has no compunction about triggering fiscal crisises in order to get their way.”

those who are capable of reading and comprehension know the genesis of the fiscal problems in calif. as one of the most liberal spending and highest taxed states in the union, they face bankruptcy for squandering their resources on every concievable dumb liberal give-a-way scheme their idiot elected officials could devise.

the mental disease of social liberalism would have the sane among us believe that a nation can spend its way to prosperity. i see no evidence of fiscal restraint in this congress or administration. just plans to rob working americans of their wealth to continue growing a government that functions more as a tyrant than as one to serve as the catalyist for individual success.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 24, 2010 4:47 PM
Comment #299441

dr wrote…”RF. Why not grow a set and take it the last 10% ? It’s not like your comment hides anything in the way of malignant intent.”

i am merely following yor examples by evidence of your many posts which employ the same technique.

are you throwing out bait to then use your power to bar me from further comments. surely not…i would never believe that. we are all honorable contributors on watchblog with high regard for each member.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 24, 2010 4:54 PM
Comment #299443

Me thinks SD has spent to much time at the movie threater watching fictional movies.

Posted by: Beretta9 at April 24, 2010 5:59 PM
Comment #299444

too much buttered popcorn rots the brain

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 24, 2010 6:20 PM
Comment #299445

I’m glad to see the comments from the right have finally reached the high levels of Tea Baggydom.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 24, 2010 7:17 PM
Comment #299446

re all racist being Republicans, I will have to let Rev Wright and Louis Farakan know that they are Republicans.

Stephen

Your descriptions don’t sound like Republicans I know. Most are just decent people who believe in working hard. They just don’t trust the concentration of power in the Federal Government.

Posted by: C&J at April 24, 2010 7:23 PM
Comment #299453

RF, there is a difference between observations of fact, as in Timothy McVeigh was a right wing extremist, and the Hitlerian tactic of labeling all those who are inconvenient as mentally ill, or worse, enemies of the state, which right wing radicals hypocritically attempt to castigate liberals as.

Certain facts are simply facts. Labeling all persons subscribing to a political prescription for the relationship between government and its people as mentally ill is both propaganda, demonstrably UNTRUE, but, far more truthful about the comment’s authors intent to remove such persons from society, which is what societies usually do with the mentally ill, which is tantamount to the Final Solution in Nazi Germany in intent to overcome those with differing ideas.

I have never intimated, let alone declared, that folks on the Right should not be permitted the same rights and freedoms as other citizens in our society with a political belief system. Your comment is a of a dramatically different and malignant nature. Your comment isn’t even in the same class of civil debate and intellectual discourse as mine writings and comments. Thank you though, for the opportunity to highlight that difference.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 24, 2010 11:08 PM
Comment #299455

Royal Flush-
National debt is financed by Treasury bonds. Bonds pay people back principle plus interest. By definition, if spend that bonds worth of money now, I will owe interest on it later, plus the principle.

So, essentially we pay for that debt financing, and then we pay for it again.

If you care about waste, about running larger deficits, why do you think its a good idea to deficit spend rather than tax, especially with the troubles that come with inflation? I don’t get it. Maybe you have an ideological objection to doing things the right way, but I don’t.

I don’t love taxes, by the way. I was thrilled to get a bigger refund this year. But what does a big refund matter if everything costs more, and I spend more out of pocket just to keep the same standard of living? I would rather pay in a way I have more control over, or if I think I’m paying to much, lobby for spending cuts, and tax cuts thereafter. You can’t tell me after a liftimes worth of tax revolt that Americans will not be able to moderate tax rates with political pressure.

Or are you alleging it’s all just a special situation which will evaporate when people consider any argument.

As for how well you can stay within the bounds of decorum on this site, I have been on this site for over six years now, with few incidents. When it came to somebody trying to pick a flame war with me, I managed to stay on the right side of this sites rules, while many who were trying to start trouble fell by the wayside.

So I can tell you this: it is possible to be passionate, even hard-hitting, and not end up going over the edge.

Primarily, I don’t spend time trying to talking point people into submission. I go looking in depth into the subject. That way, when I hit back, I don’t have to hit back ad hominem. I can use the facts. Look at my post. It’s an opinion peace, but it’s one that challenges folks like you on the facts.

But of course, I see from the comments that it often goes right back to the talking points. Why? Because that’s what politics has been reduced to for many: passing on an argument somebody else came up with. Rhetoric and sensationalism. But from what I see, they tend to preach to the choir. You might get a round of applause from your conservative friends with your reactions, but how does it look to the people who have not made up their minds like you or I have?

Beretta9-
I would argue I don’t spend enough! I used to see movies twice a week, usually at the same visit. That was back in the day when you could see two movies before matinee for seven or eight bucks. I saw Toy Story and Casino at the same visit.

As for the butter in popcorn, I was rather more interested in the movies, and actually biked to the theatre just about every time.

But has that rotted my perspective? No, broadened it. I saw all kinds of movies, with all kinds of political attitudes behind them. The quality ranged from Oscar level classics to the absolutely terrible.

What changed that was going to college, in that I picked up a penchant for all kinds of other projects, which include screenwriting, computer animation, videography, and even composing music on Sony’s ACID Music program.

I also studied logic and rhetoric at school, so I have an advantage here: I know how the lies get told at a level most people don’t. My appreciation for story is a plus, not a minus in dealing with political messages.

But I guess if you want to value a narrow perspective on life, and believe that you have all the answers at your disposal, then be my guest. Personally, I’d be going nuts if I had to rationalize the stuff Republicans do nowadays. That probably part of the reason I left the party. I like to keep a nice straight connection between what I support and what I believe. The fewer the steps, the better.

C&J-
I know most Republicans aren’t bad people. They don’t have to be for the leadership to be making some pretty unfortunate choices.

To me, what’s going on is that the Republicans in Washington have decided that they need to shift public opinion as quickly as possible, and furthermore that they’re not going to concern themselves with being accurate. They just want power back, the power that Democrats had the temerity to take from them.

Rather than learn the bitter lesson of Rovian’s politics’ real world impracticality, they’ve given themselves over to it, over to this brand of politics where even some of the worst crises in American history don’t take precedence over trying to win election, and take back the majority.

You know what got me wanting to go online, and blog like this? What motivated me to protest against Bush the way I have done?

It’s pretty simple. I am a very concrete thinker. I don’t much understand or like it when everything’s just about feelings and sentiments. I began my political quest to help unseat the Republicans from the Majority and from the White House because I felt that they no longer prioritized real world results over fulfilling agendas and enforcing ideological dogma.

I saw Bush granting tax cuts in a time of war, an act unheard of in American history precisely becaus of the fiscal stupidity of it. I saw Bush let things get progressive worse, because the alternative was giving a political opening to the Democrats by admitting he was wrong. I saw Bush take a country that was united, and on better terms with itself than it had been in a long time, and cynically divide it. I saw Bush and the Republicans make a joke of any claims they had of being “fiscally conservative.”

And you know what? I look at the platforms these guys run on, I look at the claims they make and nothing has changed! These folks aren’t repentant, I’m trying to tell you guys. They’ll do exactly what they did before if you put them back in charge. That simple.

What the Republicans in Washington are trying to do with all this craziness and inflammatory rhetoric is get people to forget that the problems they’re enraging people about are largely due to their screwups. They want to razzled dazzle people, pull a sleight of hand, and make this all the responsibility of the Democrats. In essence, they’re trying to rewrite history.

You can rewrite history I guess, but you can’t change the real course of events, or the determined consequences of different actions. The Republican Tax Cuts did not save us before, nor will they save us now. We need people employed, because if they’re not making money, the Government’s not making revenue. If we want a huge proportion of the deficit to go away, we must first get the economy running, and jobs back.

The Republicans can redefine the past to fool people into electing them again, but I don’t think they can change how things work, or have worked out, and that will catch up to them again and again.

Until the Republicans change their policy perspective, their political problems will continue to dog them.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 24, 2010 11:17 PM
Comment #299469

Stephen

Bush grew the government a lot and that was bad. The remedy is not to grow it more.

In 2006, tax revenues reached all time highs. Unfortunately, government had grown faster.

Republicans were in power from 2003-2007 and they are responsible for much of the growth. Democrats have been in power since 2007. They did nothing to slow the growth and added spending of their own. It is getting crazier and crazier.

Maybe Republicans are not sufficiently castigated and they will continue to spend like drunken sailors. But Democrats don’t even seem to think spending is a problem at all.

The economy is growing again. It will take time to work through the system. Yet we hear talk of need for MORE spending. I heard on the news this morning that it may be possible to buy a house with essentially no money down, after tax rebates. Isn’t this how it started last time? It might be good not to forget the lesson … immediately.

So we have the Republicans who claim to have learned the lesson and the Democrats who don’t seem to think there is a lesson to be learned, except that Republicans are bad. Neither prospect is inviting.

Posted by: C&J at April 25, 2010 1:35 AM
Comment #299471

It was not the buying of the house that brought us down. It was the casino like gambling that the house would fall that brought it down. Bad debt is, was and always has been something that could be handled. Betting on thin air, and insuring it with wishes while dealing with trillions…that’s something we could not handle.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 25, 2010 1:53 AM
Comment #299479

C&J
In other post you have praised Keynes as a great economist. As you know full well,one of his major contributions was providing a solution to the exact economic situation we are in,a liquidity trap. That is to increase government spending to make up for the loss of spending by private industry,to provide a temporary source of consumption,demand if you will and of necessity this pump primming should be done by deficit spending. The alternative would be massive increases in taxes for the wealthy and could be conter-productive in the short term.Until employment numbers improve dramatically government spending should not be cut dramatically in ares involving employment.To do so invites disaster.If anything the BHO administration has been too reticent in stimulus spending. That will mean a much slower real recovery.
Outside of the presidents commission on the deficit,one of your favorite senators,Barney Frank, has set up a commission also to study possible cuts in defense spending the presidents commission if restricted from looking at. If we want to get serious about deficit reduction we have to look at defense spending. To paraphrase Frank,”Many are afraid to look at defense spending out of fear of being accused of being soft on terrorism. To my knowlege,we have never killed a terrorist with a nuclear submarine.”

Posted by: bills at April 25, 2010 9:09 AM
Comment #299481

C&J

Link to last:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/23/the-barney-commission-def_n_550066.html

You my find it interesting that some of the members of the commission are from the CATO Institute. This is real. Do we have to still be absolutely prepared to repels thousands of Soviet tanks as they charge across the German plains?Do we need better than 800 military missions throughout the world?We are over-extended and cannot afford it.

Posted by: bills at April 25, 2010 9:27 AM
Comment #299483

Bills

I believe in dynamism. As a carpenter, you don’t have a “hammer strategy”. You have a building strategy and you use the appropriate tools at the appropriate times.

I can recognize that Keynes had some good ideas, but that the time to apply them is mostly past. Government has gotten so much bigger than anything during his time. We did the right thing with TARP and with the second stimulus. But the problem with Keynes has always been knowing when to stop and use other tools. AND knowing when you have done all that you can and you will have to let events unfold.

One of the problems we have is that the politicians don’t want to let housing prices fall to where they would be sustainable. The bubble burst. We try to substitute government demand, but it doesn’t work in this case. My guess is that this problem will be solved by inflation, like in the 1970s. Not good, but politicians can let it happen and blame others, so they like it.

Re defense cuts - we certainly can make some. CATO, however, is libertarian and generally against military spending (as a part of government spending in general). They and Frank probably do not agree on much, but they do agree on cutting this particular part of government.

Posted by: C&J at April 25, 2010 10:12 AM
Comment #299487

C&J
The zero lower interest bound,the liquidity trap are exactly the type of situation Keynes addressed. The economy he worked in was basically a modern economy. One difference was the speed of transactions but there is not many others.Like doubling a recipe,size does not matter. The point to start moving away from stimulus mode is when employment levels,private employment levels recover.A little uptick in wage rates is a good indicator. That is long way off.
A little inflation would also be a good thing and a recovery indicator.That is how we paid for most ww2 debt. That too is a long way off. Deflation is a closer enemy and harder to defeat once entrenched,as in a ,”why buy now, next month it will be cheaper” sort of way.
Efforts to stabilize the housing market is not likely to do much but slow the decent. Thats not necessarily a bad thing,like tapping the brake. Blamming the downturn on easy housing purchase is vastly oversimplfying the problem. Bear in mind that commercial real estate also bubbled. There was no subprime mortages in that market,no Fannie May,no easy credit.Also remember that it is still a good thing for people to own homes.
I mentioned CATO to show you Frank’s commission is not a leftist lovefest. There are some major savings to be had from defense that will not weaken security.It is irresponsible NOT to look at them. THERE ARE OTHER ALTERNATIVES TO DEFICIT REDUCTION THAN TAX INCREASES OR ENTITLEMENT CUTS.

Posted by: bills at April 25, 2010 12:04 PM
Comment #299490

bills,

You are right, and Frank is right, and defense spending is way too high and wasteful. That being said, one of the ways to recovery is by way of stimulus and one stimulus is defense spending. Cut too deeply and any economic recovery wavers…just a thought.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 25, 2010 12:39 PM
Comment #299491

just to be clear, iam a conservative, not a rep, dem, or ind. take away party labels and party politics and please tell me why liberals object to conservative values of individual freedom and initiative, federal government limited to just those actions clearly itemized in the constitution, and capitalism unfettered by fiat from bureaucrats.

please help me understand why a liberal political philosophy of ever bigger government, ever diminishing individual rights, a belief that only government has sufficient wisdom to make our most important decisions…is a superior political philosophy..

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 25, 2010 12:51 PM
Comment #299493

my comment that liberalism is a mental disease appears to have upset some folks. a simple description of disease could be stated as the absence of good health. has liberalism contributed to the good health of our nation? i think not…our nation is sick, financially, spiritually, and socially. and i ascribe our national illness to liberalism.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 25, 2010 1:05 PM
Comment #299500

Good for you, Royal Flush, good for you…stick by your guns, and don’t let good grace or common sense interrupt your soliloquy.

This answer will not satiate your thirst for negativism, but…liberals/progressives truly believe government to be the servant of the people, much like the founders envisioned. Government, to us, is not a nemesis, but a tool we like to use to make our lives more complete and our pursuit of happiness easier. Government is a collection of citizens, that is formed to do what we individually cannot do, and while we try to keep it within norms, sometimes we fail. But the failures are OURS not the failures of government.

Like I said, you won’t like that answer any better than the others that have been presented here, but that will be YOUR failure, not the failure of those who present those answers.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 25, 2010 2:01 PM
Comment #299501

PS:

While your indication that liberalism is a disease may have been somewhat distasteful, it is true in many ways…humankind is a disease and a blight upon the earth, but I’m not going to quit being a progressive any more than I am willing to give up the earth. You will just have to learn to put up with both diseases.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 25, 2010 2:07 PM
Comment #299502

C&J-
If I were in your position, I would not be so concerned about the growth of government as I was about the attitude that irresponsibly increases costs without increasing revenues to pay for it.

I mean, I wonder: would people have paid higher taxes in order to fund a Homeland Security agency? To fund the two wars at their beginning? It was totally within our power. Yet he not only fails to ask for the money, he cuts taxes, making the deficit hole even bigger.

And he knows that he’s doing it! How can he not?

Now before we discuss things any further, let us recognize something: we are dealing with deflationary pressures in the economy, with an economy that doesn’t have too much money circulating, but not enough. Government spending is not a problem right now, in fact, its all that kept us from going into a depression.

And in fact, as I noted, the bad economy, the growth stolen from us by the crash is one of the biggest, if not the biggest reasons why we are now running such high deficits.

However, it took the Democrats to reinstate the paygo rules, and when they did healthcare reform, they made it deficit neutral, despite its high cost. I know the assumption on the right is that Democrats are just crazy spenders, but we’ve actually done more in the past two years to keep deficits down than they have, both through the economic improvements brought by the stimulus, healthcare reform, and through the reinstatement of Paygo.

Republicans talk a good game, but past performance and current proposals actually do worse at cutting the deficit than the Democrat’s plans.

The economy is growing, but at a guarded pace. The Housing Sector remains an anchor around the ankles of many states, and the markets are artificially depressed. But additionally, consider this: it was not easy terms on home ownership that put us in that position alone. It was a dysfunctional market that provide perverse incentives to lend to people who couldn’t pay it back. if the Democrats had their way, they’d work to prevent that situation from happening again.

What would happen if we simply left things the way they are? Well, sooner or later, it’d be one thing or another, but we’d see another crash.

I’m far from believing that Republicans are inherently bad, I just think they’re trying to get back in power without having to humble themselves to admitting that anybody else, especially the Democrats, might have been right, and them wrong.

It doesn’t matter to me what your intentions are, good or bad, if you’re unwilling, as Republicans were all the last decade, to admit fault, or at least admit problems, and take the necessary action to resolve the situation.

I got to be this fierce of a partisan in no small part because I felt Republicans were not being held accountable by their own. I mean, you folks might complain about how poor of conservaties the folks in Washington are, but you never seem willing to vote these people out. You’re too scared of us, and corrupt politicians up in Washington know that they can use all this pre-loaded fear and loathing of liberals, in order to push you to keep their sorry irresponsible butts in power.

And I think that’s how they got so sorry, and why you folks are forced to apologize for such atrocious behavior. When somebody knows that they can distract you from holding them accountable by pushing your buttons that’s what they’re going to do.

You shouldn’t be backing obstruction. You should be backing alternatives. You should be backing the rebuilding of your party’s policy apparatus, changing your philosophy and principles to accommodate the hard lessons of your party’s failures.

The Republicans in Washington don’t want to pay for what they’ve done or change their decades long love affair with a certain way of doing things. They’re overcome with a kind of hubris that makes them believe, like those folks on Wall Street, that they deserve the money and power they get, that they are indispensable, despite all they’ve failed to do.

Republicans out in the country should realize that it was only because they were unwilling to call out their President and their Congress when things were developing, that they got into a position where their party’s fortunes degenerated so.

By contrast, you can see throughout the decade a quite fierce effort to keep Democrats accountable, to get them to answer to their constituents. Democrats aren’t inherently more superior, but they’re not insulated from criticism or countervailing ideas like the Republicans are. They aren’t of the attitude that a Democrat must be supported no matter what. They realize that if their party members in Washington don’t shape up, they’ll lose power. So they don’t tolerate Michele Bachmann craziness. When Obama’s pastor doesn’t take the hint and acts like a buffoon, Obama doesn’t continue to associate himself with him. Democrats act to police their own.

Where Republicans might coddle Tom DeLay, rationalize what their other Congresscritters like David “Adult Diaper” Vitter does, folks like Murtha, Massa, and Jefferson are not turned into martyrs when what they’re being called on the carpet for is corruption. We let those kinds of idiots sink under their own weight.

Again, its not because Democrats are superior. It’s because Democrats are not walled off behind a protective barrier that tries to filter what the constituents see. The so-called “liberal” media goes after Democrat’s corruption as gleefully as it does Republican. I remember, even back in the day that the media was constantly doing exposes on Democratic Congressmen.

And you know what? I don’t mind if they do that. What I would mind is if my party, faced with real charges against one of their own, circled wagons around them. This is especially true after the debacle with Clinton. We don’t need the burden of supporting those who put us to shame. What I can’t understand is that after all the disgrace, why the Republicans are more concerned with finding fault with Democrats than they are with cleaning up their own image. Perhaps its because some of the biggest crooks remain in the leadership.

Royal Flush-

There’s no bloody difference. You’re carrying the water for them anyways. You get labelled a Republican because your talking points are their talking points. Others and I fail to distinguish you from them because in real terms you don’t distinguish yourself from them.

The Conservative Media isn’t built to serve conservatives, it’s built to serve Republicans. Fox News is run by a former Bush 41 political operative.

By getting your news from them, by believing their canards, you put yourself under their control, so it doesn’t matter what you’re calling yourself or claiming yourself to be. That’s the trap of liberal media bias theory. It makes it more difficult for you to fairly, without bias of your own, judge content that has not been prepared with a partisan agenda in mind. It’s like in the Matrix. People think they’re beyond the control of the machines in Zion, but instead, its just another layer of control, a way to filter out the rebellious and the dissidents.

You haven’t escaped the party, you just serve their purpose in another way, without realizing it.

As for your views?

The Constitution clearly itemizes that Congress can legislate as it pleases, within the bounds of the constitution. The Framers, as smart and wise as they were, were humble enough to know that they could not see all ends. So they gave us a government that could live and breath, which accommodated, rather than trying to surpress different interpretations of it. Just look at the Supreme Court: each president has the power to appoint new justices when the old ones retire. Each president can put people on the court who support their interpretations. Bush gets Roberts, Obama gets Sotomayor, Bush 41 gets Clarence Thomas and Souter, while Reagan gets Sandra Day O’Connor and Clinton gets Ginsberg and Breyer.

In short, it’s an ongoing debate, what the constitution means and how it can be interpreted. I know you would prefer if you got your way every time, but then that wouldn’t be a Democracy.

As for my political philosophy?

You fall into the error of believing that I have to completely contradict your views to be in disagreement.

Here’s what I believe: I support a government that works. Size to me matters only when it gets in the way. I believe government should be at the service of the individual and their rights, not merely defending the constitutional rights, which I unconditionally support, (even the Second Amendment), but other rights, like the rights to pure foods and safe and effective medicines, the right to an income you can support yourself on, the right to have the means to take care of your healthcare needs.

I support an expansion of individual rights, not a contraction.

As for who I believe can best make decisions? I’m open minded on that. Sometimes people can be fools. Sometimes Markets can reinforce the wrong instead of the right. And government can get things seriously, badly wrong. Nobody’s perfect. The question is, is the system set up so that we can minimize such problems?

Or, is it set up in such an unbalanced way that Government, Corporations, individuals, parties or others can cause problems and get away with doing the wrong things?

As for upsetting folks by claiming that Liberalism is a mental disorder, well, you tell me, what did you expect people’s reaction to be? Agreement?

Why did you expect any kind of agreement, especialy out of people who can point to Bush’s mismanagement of this country as evidence that the financial, spiritual, and social ills of this country can’t just be blamed on liberals?

You can ascribe whatever causes you want to things. That doesn’t make those thing causes, or the causes, as it were.

Republicans have been so quick to blame Democrats for everything, and themselves for nothing.

Nobody’s blameless. I think the general malaise of the country comes from a culture where the individual has been raised up on high beyond what reason could defend. Individual rights must be balanced between each other, or else the situation becomes zero-sum, and we have our citizens squabbling between each other like children pulling on a blankie, each wanting to see the government made in their own image, rather than settling for a way to share power between themselves.

But nobody can share something, truly and honestly, with somebody intent on keeping it all to themselves, and the Republicans have far exceeded the Democrats in their efforts to keep the power to themselves. Two of the worst Election performances in recent history, and they still start things out trying to block the agenda of the more popular party.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 25, 2010 3:01 PM
Comment #299506

Stephen

The size of government is worrisome, whether it is paid for or not. I am not sure I want to keep on growing government even if we can managed to raise taxes high enough to fund it.

Government is not the answer to all, or even most questions. It provides the foundation and the structure for society, which is essential. But think of it like a house. You keep building and thickening walls and the house is strong. But if you do it long enough, there is no place left to live.

BTW - Murtha didn’t sink under his own weight. He remained a power in the party until the grim reaper got him. Massa - he could have tickled his way to kingdom come if he hadn’t crossed Obama on health care.

The Democratic culture of corruption is pretty much the same. I saw on “Meet the Press” that President Obama raised big bucks from Goldman Sacks and got almost 16 million from investment bankers. He can talk all he wants, but they know which side he is on.

Posted by: C&J at April 25, 2010 4:58 PM
Comment #299510

Eric, Royal Flush, et al,
The fun is never ending. Maybe people are “mental” because their environment has made them that way. There’s a guy in history who refers to guys like me as having what he calls “infantile disorder.” Not only do I accept the diagnosis, I relish in it. I take it as a compliment.
As for eliminating the opposition: The labels are meaningless. It’s only totalitarian oppression.

Posted by: Stephen Hines at April 25, 2010 6:59 PM
Comment #299514

Royal Flush,
The problem with the entire conservative big v small government argument is that is assumes small government = more freedom. Unfortunately, we do not live in a world that allows us to function with a small government. Other organizations, corporations, and countries will not oblige. We depend on big government to regulate the markets, provide for defense, promote the general welfare, and so on. For most of us, escaping into a rural retreat or jungle hideaway or Amish lifestyle isn’t a desirable option. As wonderful as it may have been, the days of Jeffersonian democracy and gentleman farmers is long, long gone.

In addition, it is not so much a matter of the size of government, as what that government does. The governments of the EU and the rest of the western democracies are large, yet they seem to provide very well for their populations while maintaining quite a bit of freedom. There are also examples of large governments which have been terrible, such as the USSR, and denied their people basic freedoms. On the other hand, the same cases, both pro and con, exist with small governments.

It is interesting that the two examples where over a million people died violently in the past two decades came at the hands of a small government, Rwanda; and a large government, when the US invaded Iraq.

Posted by: phx8 at April 25, 2010 8:34 PM
Comment #299519

C&J-
Big government, small government, let’s face facts: a government for a modern nation of 300 million people is not going to be a cottage industry.

I worry more about functionality than I do about growing government, but one things for certain: where I believe government should be doing something, I’m not going to find arbitrary budget and staff cutting to be a good idea.

Philosophical debates about where government should and shouldn’t be are worthy things, necessary things, but we must realize that all philosophy has to ultimately deal with reality, and if folks cooking up those ideas were too naive about their assumptions, or to reckless about the truth, it’s going to get painful.

The Iraq War got as bad as it got because the Bush Administration wanted to believe certain things were true, and wanted others to believe those things, too, but were not prepared to ditch theories that failed the test of empirical reality.

I won’t relent on the Republicans until I’m sure they’ve learned that lesson.

As for Murtha? People on the websites I frequent respected him for the military position he took, but they weren’t prepared to forgive his corruption for that position’s sake. Massa certainly didn’t do himself many favors with the position he took, but I really doubt the Democrats would have gone out of their way to protect him over the tickle-fights. Ask your Senator Vitter about wearing diapers while he frequented prostitutes. Republicans aren’t hurrying to push him out the door, are they?

The Republicans in Washington nowadays consider shame to be a dangerous thing, mainly because it means agreeing with Democrats on what the boundaries of good behavior are. They’d rather be walking between the rain drops, rather than admitting there are things that people should be all wet about.

As for Obama’s money raising?

Prove he’s doing them favors for that money. McConnell Would not be begging for money from Wall Street if he didn’t think he could get those people to join him in opposing Obama. They may have thought they could get something for their money, but instead, they’re getting a whole load of new regulations.

Obama has no practical political reason to betray his constituents. The simplest and easiest thing for him to do to raise his approvals is be tough on Wall Street. The less mixed the message, the better.

There’s no good political reason to go back on his promises here.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 25, 2010 11:30 PM
Comment #299524

Correction on casualties in Rwanda and Iraq: between 500,000 and one million died in Rwanda, and somewhere in the hundreds of thousands, and possibly over one million, died in Iraq. It’s worth noting the role ethnic and religious divides played in the two worst examples of violence in the past two decades.

Other examples of violence and deprivation on a lesser scale occur in Afghanistan and Somalia, which essentially have no governments at all.

If there is a likely source of deprivation of freedom and the outbreak of violence in the US, it is not going to be a result of large or small government, but the ethnic tensions generated by the immigration issue. We are far from reaching that point today, but the slippery slope is far more dangerous and a threat to freedom than any ideological cause.

The least free countries in the world are not capitalist or socialist. They often originate in relatively small governments. Authoritarian dictatorships in Africa, the monarchies of the Middle East, and North Korea would rank at the top of a list of least free governments.

Posted by: phx8 at April 26, 2010 1:33 AM
Comment #299535

Dude
Potential defense cuts would eliminate some jobs. Far fewer than backing off civilian stimulus projects or ending state bailouts. If trimming unneeded ,dangerious,and very expensive defense programs of little utility helps keep the born again deficit hawks from slowing the recovery program or wrecking what little safety net we have,then so be it.
Read one piece about the eventual goals of the up comming major offensive in Afghanistan. Eventually the military wants to improve civilian employment. Great. The federal government does have a 30 billion dollar jobs program. Trouble is you have to move to Kandahar to take advantage of it.Guns and butter.

Posted by: bills at April 26, 2010 9:22 AM
Comment #299536

Let me be the first(maybe) to offer the newest buzz words to describe a very frustrating attitude often confronted when trying to dicuss policy issue with our brethren to the right,”epistemic closure”:

http://plainblogaboutpolitics.blogspot.com/2010/04/more-on-that-closed-loop.html

“One of the more striking features of the contemporary conservative movement is the extent to which it has been moving toward epistemic closure. Reality is defined by a multimedia array of interconnected and cross promoting conservative blogs, radio programs, magazines, and of course, Fox News. Whatever conflicts with that reality can be dismissed out of hand because it comes from the liberal media, and is therefore ipso facto not to be trusted. (How do you know they’re liberal? Well, they disagree with the conservative media.”

Posted by: bills at April 26, 2010 9:32 AM
Comment #299544

bills-
Jeez. They only took seven years to catch up to what I’ve been saying all along, and give it a fancy technological term.

;-)

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 26, 2010 11:21 AM
Comment #299545

sd wrote, “Here’s what I believe: I support a government that works. Size to me matters only when it gets in the way. I believe government should be at the service of the individual and their rights, not merely defending the constitutional rights, which I unconditionally support, (even the Second Amendment), but other rights, like the rights to pure foods and safe and effective medicines, the right to an income you can support yourself on, the right to have the means to take care of your healthcare needs.”

it would seem to me that your partial catalog of supposed liberal rights…income, healthcare, pure food and safe medicine…are in fact, reasonable expectations; not rights constitionally iterated.

it is common, and a symptom of liberal mental disease, to confuse rights with wants and needs. rights, as described in our constition, can not be confered by government, but rather, come from a higher power.

liberals appear to believe that government can guarantee success, using others citizens resources. liberals in their magical thinking have convinced themselves that we can all ride in the wagon with no one doing the pulling.

liberals have a never-ending list of supposed rights in their confused minds and would do well to have a better understanding of the difference between rights and wants.

under sd’s description of rights could be listed hundreds of desires, none of which constitute a right.

Posted by: Royal Flush at April 26, 2010 11:50 AM
Comment #299555

SD
See. Another example of “epistemic closure.”What a cool phrase.

RF
I will try again. One reason it is so hard to rationally discuss policy options with many ,such as yourself,on the right is that a bedrock part of your belief system is that government is the problem,small government is better,etc.Correct? It is such a matter of faith that many on the right percieve that there is a directly opposite belief system. That those with different political objectives must hold that government is good,that bigger government is better government etc. That is simply not the case. There is more willingness on the left to make use of government in selected cases to solve problems that cannot or are not being addressed privately. That is not the same thing.A fundemental priciple on the left is that there are problems and they can be corrected.Sometimes government can be a tool to do that.
Government has to have some degree of power. We have seen what happens to the financial system when government relinquishes the resposibility to regulate. Conversly we have seen the damage done when governments intrude on the private behaviors of indivuals. The use of government must be situational to be practical. Practicality ,will it work, should be the guiding principle of public policy. Not idealogy.

Posted by: bills at April 26, 2010 1:26 PM
Comment #299560

I have to admit that some on the Left confuse Natural Rights with Human Rights. There is a difference. Natural Rights, in Jefferson’s words, are endowed by our Creator and cannot be taken away by any civil authority. Human Rights are priviliges of citizenship we provide to one another because we believe in doing so and we are a generous to benefit our fellow man. These benefits are only contigent on the continued support of the electorate, and may be rescinded at a later date. For example, the Government used to pay my great-grandfather to be a lighthouse keeper on an island in Narragansett Bay. For the past few decades, no one has lived on that island and what was once a lighthouse is now a bunch of ruins. People have decided that it is not worth the money to staff a lighthouse there anymore.

However, just because we are not compelled to offer these services through the government does not mean we cannot. I’m with Stephen and the others who say they want a government that works. If it works while small, then I’m fine. If it works better by providing services to some people then I’m still fine. This is why the founders entrusted Congress with the power to levy taxes and spend these monies to “Promote the General Welfare”.

Posted by: Warped Reality at April 26, 2010 1:56 PM
Comment #299566

Warped Reality wrote: “Natural Rights, in Jefferson’s words, are endowed by our Creator and cannot be taken away by any civil authority.”

Name me ONE natural right which Adolph Hitler was unable to deprive people in Europe? One, please. Just one.

You can’t. Because the very definition of Natural Rights as you posited it, is ridiculous. Of course, Natural Rights as you define them can be taken away by a civilian or military authority. It is done all the time in the history of the human species. Do police not shoot innocent victims sometimes? Have we not imprisoned thousands of innocent victims in our prisons only to be found innocent years later, many through DNA testing?

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 26, 2010 2:20 PM
Comment #299570

Royal Flush-
Name me the source of this quotation, and then let’s speak of people only the rights that the constitution says they have:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

You can raise the stridency of your arguments, and strengthen the punch of your rhetoric by calling Liberalism a mental disease, but nobody who wasn’t already inclined to agree with you will be impressed, so why bother?

I don’t see any rational reason why we should encourage people to depend on state and federal aid by letting businesses pay people less than a living wage. It’s a case of pay me now, or pay me later.

I don’t see any rational reason why clean and uncontaminated food should simply be a “reasonable expectation.” Reasonable expectations can be thwarted when people cut corners and act recklessly. I want it considered a right, and defended as such.

There is also no reason to let drugs that are ineffective or which pose excessive risks to the patient’s health should be allowed on the market. You can go on expecting these things will be taken care of by the Drug companies. I will demand this as my right.

Now, there are rational limits to what we should be able to claim as rights, but then, you’re not arguing about those, or being specific. Instead, you’re simply assuming that as a liberal, being wild and crazy, I’ve simply never thought out what such rational limitations might be.

For example, not all drugs work with all people. Should people expect a drug to always work perfectly? No. Rather, we should that extraordinary bad luck should be the main reason a drug doesn’t work or has a nasty side effect. That, or the risks should be done with your consent.

If you want to try and win this argument by basically alleging I’m a nut, a psychopath, or something else, that’s your business. Frankly, I’d much prefer to see if you have a rational argument for why the things I’m talking about should be things we ought to take our chances on.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 26, 2010 4:00 PM
Comment #299667

David,
I was writing under the context of a civilized government and not a brutal tyranny. Of course it is possible for a despot to deny a citizen the rights he/she was born with, but that is an act of injustice.

Posted by: Warped Reality at April 27, 2010 7:56 PM
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