Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Wolves Can Starve

A little over two years ago, I posted this article as the economic collapse that defines our times started. Thinking back about that while watching a show on evolutionary counteradaptation, I realized something about the way that predatory lenders and reckless hedge fund traders were operating, realized what one of their fundamental problems was. Some people assume that those who get to the top of the food chain have little to worry about. But as I remembered my facts from biology, I also remembered the content of the article

The way they meshed was perfect, metaphorically speaking.

Balances in nature are pretty much a fiction, most of the time. There isn't a balance between wolves and deer, for example. Deer will multiply until they starve, wolves will come back, and then multiply until their numbers grow too great, and they in turn starve.

And released into an ecosystem that doesn't have natural competitors or well-adapted prey, many animals have a way of eating themselves and other creatures out of their habitat. Nature doesn't care. Species go extinct, other species get hunted to extinction by creatures that are just too good at their jobs, and then those creatures, too, perish, having over-hunted the easy prey.

Creatures suck at self-control if they haven't evolved towards it, or been confronted by other species able to counter their efforts.

What does this have to do with Wall Street? The article details a lot of the kind of "****ty deals" that were commonly being traded around during the collapse, the sale of products that the people in question knew were bad for their customers, but sold anyways. It details how the whole complex web of deceits was set up, and why the lack of regulation in the dark market of over the counter derivatives (OTC) was so crippling to our economy.

The simple fact was, as he points out in the article, that the people running the companies weren't actually living up to their reputation for knowing what the market needed, knowing what the good buys was. The people winning were the salesmen, the schemers, the people who could market, rather than necessarily the folks who could discern the good decisions from the bad.

When cheating, deception, and other shortcut financial tricks are allowed, competition often breaks down people's resistance, their conscience-born unwillingness to do the wrong thing. The rewards, as it is, keep them doing it. That is, until the weight of all that deception comes too much for the system, and the reckonings take hold.

Some say, "But isn't that the way it's supposed to go?". Well, the thing is, I don't see the lessons that were learned staying learned. Every few years, some other fad of experimental market manipulation blows up in somebody else's face. Whether it's junk bonds, commercial real estate and S+L's, The Long Term Capital Management collapse, Enron, Worldcom, the Housing market, or finally the big banks and their spectacularly disastrous derivatives gambles, Wall Street seems to have an aptitude for deceiving itself and deceiving us into making the same sort of mistakes again and again.

And why? Because often enough, when we relieved folks in Wall Street of their obligations and limitations, the best we got in return was them deciding to make money on speculative ventures, casino-like bets, rather than actually dealing with operations, investors, debts and other aspects of the economy that were founded on sustainable, productive behavior.

We have to differentiate between an earned profit, and an unearned profit, if we want a dependably strong economy.

See, in a working system of finance, the idea is that you help people take out debts you know that they can pay back. You don't originate mortgages for people who can't afford the payments. They were the gatekeepers of those funds, and they failed their duty.

In a working system of finance, you're not looking to actively ruin the person taking on that debt. That would tend to be bad, because then they can't pay you back. Endless chains of OTC Derivatives let banks pass debts on, and reap the profits, without assuming the risk that would come with default. Therefore, the perverse incentives were great to pile on as much debt and as many fees as possible, to even force people into default so as to sell the property to.

In a working system of finance, you don't do this, because soon enough the consequences of all this debt and inability to pay collapses the system under its own weight, and many of the gambles end up turning out poorly in the end.

But in our current system of finance, we actually reward people for running their companies into the ground. We reward them for overkilling the sheep. What will creatures do when you reward them? They'll keep on doing what they were doing, or become encouraged to continue.

But as the results of 2008 should tell you, it can't continue. Their system is only sustainable as long as the market doesn't correct itself. What kind of robust market is that?

People advocate for the markets we got now because they have this fallacious idea about such a free market system being natural, the law of the jungle being supposedly superior to what we can do with directed results. Thing about nature, though, is that it's pretty ruthless about carrying out consequences to the bitter end. Nature operates with no intelligence, no stake in any one species surviving, or even the ecosystem remaining in one piece. The consequences simply carry themselves out.

We have an interest in not letting our economy be so unstable. We do not have to adapt ourselves the way every other creature adapts, over long stretches of biological time, over multiple generations. We can see and understand our mistakes here and now, we can remember the past and not repeat it, if we're at least mindful enough to study the past, rather than announce every few years that it's a new economy and the old rules don't apply. Markets change, but what they need to sustain themselves doesn't necessarily alter that quickly. After all, companies still need workers to carry out operations. They still need to keep a good accounting of their books, and not end up hiding debts that come back to haunt them, or seeing their profits siphoned off by unscrupulous executives. They still need to create products worth buying, services worth availing oneself of, and they need to make more at doing these things than doing these things cost.

And, if we want the system to run properly, if we want the market in its complexity to actually moderate behavior right, we need people to actually do the services they're supposed to do, and do them right, and we need the goods they sell to be safe, effective at what they're supposed to, and in both cases, we need what those products do not to interfere too badly with the needs of society as a whole. There's a market for the extended magazines that the shooter in Tuscon used. The question is, should we be allowing that demand to be filled, given what can come of it?

And in our dealings with real ecosystems, we should not go in thinking that small things do not have large effects. the disappearence of an insect species can undermine an entire ecosystem. If you doubt that, then ask yourself why the honeybee colony collapse disorder is so scary.

Nature does not save people from their excesses in so gentle a way as intelligent behavior, and deliberate moderation does. While it may be harsher for the few to see more regulations on the derivatives market, the price of not giving order to that part of economy might just be well more than we can afford to pay. The wolves can eat too many deer, and they can end up starving.

Only when Americans have defense against those who would sacrifice their interests for a profit, can they truly prosper, and not get wiped out again and again by those who simply follow their primal instincts for competition without allowing for the tender mercies of conscience. Only then will they act in a way that will set equilibrium points between their interests, and the interests of the people they do business with. Only when the felonious shortcuts and unethical behaviors are curtailed harshly enough by consistent, persistent regulation will they take on the costs and the real world responsibilities that come with doing business in a productive fashion.

Unlike those animals out there, we can change the shape of what risks and rewards are, and revise what we do in accordance with the results this generation, not wait one after another for the natural lesson to stick. We can change the ecosystem, and employ deliberate, rather than blind and dumb, selective forces to alter the kinds of competitors that survive in the system.

We don't have to continue to suffer for the stupidity of those who were supposed to be the smart men in the markets. We don't have to wait for them to learn the lesson that one time after another they've failed to learn in response to all those disasters. We can teach them that lesson of our own choice, and we should, if we value our own interests.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at January 16, 2011 5:58 PM
Comments
Comment #317321

Right at every marker in this editorial. Great job.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 16, 2011 7:59 PM
Comment #317323

Stephen, Good article. I was impressed that you never mentioned Republican once.

Posted by: KAP at January 16, 2011 8:26 PM
Comment #317327

Stephen

The deer, wolves etc always mess up and then they are brought back into balance by circumstances.

It would be nice if we could manage things so that we never have booms and busts, but who is going to do that? The same guys who built up Fannie & Freddie? European countries with much more robust regulation than we have are also suffering and some are approaching bankruptcy.

We need reasonable regulation, but we can never always keep up with the rapidly changing conditions. Just like the wolves, we sometimes will be disciplined by harsh nature.

Imagine a wolf culture that tried to limit itself. As conditions in the forest changed in ways the wolves couldn’t control of understand they still would find themselves in boom and bust times.

It is clear that nobody understands the complexity of our society and markets. We can regulate parts of it and try to figure out if the costs of doing it are worth the benefits. But we should not fool ourselves into thinking anybody can steer the system w/o big bumps sometimes.

Posted by: C&J at January 16, 2011 9:03 PM
Comment #317328

BTW - Stephen

Good article. Just because I criticize doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate what you write.

Posted by: C&J at January 16, 2011 9:05 PM
Comment #317332

Stephen,
Nothing like I thought it would be when I first read the title. And though I can see where you are going with your idea, I do believe the Wolves in Nature and those on Wall Street are different in that the Wolves in Nature realize their limitations and thus will expand their hunting grounds, but the Wolves on Wall Strett would rather eat their own kind rather than to face the changes in their environments.

For exanpple; the housing bubble was known to be in trouble long before 2007, yet instead of taking the necessary steps to correct the problem the wolves in the Media and on Wall Street continued on as if nothing was wrong. In fact, between 2003-2005 the problem was made worse as many of the wolves turned to ARMs and misleading the Sheep(honeowners) into thinking the Market was figuring out a solution. For at worst most Americans believed they would have a soft landing even when the bubble burst.

So why Nature gives the Wolves, deers, etc.. the necessary skills to learn how to cope with the different cycles, it seems that the Wolves of Society would rather chew off their leg than use the skills they were taught to correct the problems of living in an up and down market.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 16, 2011 11:09 PM
Comment #317334

C&J-
Read the article.

By making it about Fannie and Freddie, Frank and Dodd, the people who oppose re-regulation put the focus on Democrats and private businesses that had the taint of government on them.

Fine way to reinforce a philosophy dealt a heavy blow by the discrediting evidence of circumstances.

But really, though, I’ve already shown many times that the market share growth, and therefore the main concentration of risky mortgages was concentrated among the totally private non-bank mortgage lenders. In fact, of the top lenders in 2006, 24 out of the 25 were not even full enough depository banks to be covered by the other bete noire of the defenders of Wall Street: the CRA. Which, I might add, saw fewer loans go into default.

You can tell the difference between an excuse and cause when you examine the supporting evidence. I mean, how do you get a housing bubble from Fanny and Freddie while they’re losing market share? When they’re actually forbidden from taking the riskiest of loans, or the riskiest of mortgage-seekers?

It’s the old lawyer’s aphorism: cui bono. Who benefits?

Non-bank lenders, poorly regulated, dealt in even more poorly regulated derivatives. They made money hand over fist. More than that, so did the Wall Street Hedge Fund traders, who came up with more and more inventive ways to pile speculation on top of speculation.

The character of the failure tells you something about the causes. First, that there were so few. Second, that they were so entangled with one another, and third, that these major financial institutions could not simply cut the hedge funds adrift, or ignore their plight and do business as they pleased.

The market was A) consolidated, B) Horizontally integrated along a range of unrelated businesses, and C) bound to gether by an absolute spider-web of obligations that made the failure of one the subsequent failure of them all.

How did it get this way? Well, Dodd and Frank may admitted have something to do with it in their votes, but they would be, like I say sometimes, wrong with company. Plenty of company as a matter of fact, of a more than bipartisan nature. Just look up the votes on Gramm Leach Bliley. Just look at who proposed and who passed restrictions ond Derivatives market regulations. The fault of the people who pushed this as a primary goal of their party bear responsibility.

But, after the fact, the question is what we do now.

I think the answer is, we see to our interests. It is not in our interest to have a poorly regulated market where what Warren Buffet called financial WMDs are written and exchanged in secret, the better to entangle the big banks and require further bailouts when the bad bets turn south and the chips are called in.

As for the whole “ever changing system” line?

When estimating the age of a particular creature for purposes of determining when and how something evolved, biologists rely on certain key genes, like those that code for the proteins that DNA wraps around, which don’t change all that often. Why don’t they change? Because mutations tend to be fatal, so the likelihood of a successful change is low.

That, I believe is the key to regulation. Some elements of financial frauds and dangerous speculation are easy to change. Others, though, make it very difficult to pull things off. Yet others can take the reward out of doing certain things, make them less attractive.

Other measures include resolving crucial conflicts of interest, so different institutions once again cater to their own interests rather than working against them for the good of the parent company, and forcing certain levels of disclosure and transparency so that companies don’t have the incentive to secretly leverage themselves up to their eyeballs in bad derivatives.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 16, 2011 11:41 PM
Comment #317362

Mr. Daugherty writes; “But in our current system of finance, we actually reward people for running their companies into the ground. We reward them for overkilling the sheep. What will creatures do when you reward them? They’ll keep on doing what they were doing, or become encouraged to continue.

Only when the felonious shortcuts and unethical behaviors are curtailed harshly enough by consistent, persistent regulation will they take on the costs and the real world responsibilities that come with doing business in a productive fashion.”

True enough about rewarding bad behavior with government bailouts. I and many others argued for the natural way you described…let them fail. The bailout to use your words means…”They’ll keep on doing what they were doing, or become encouraged to continue.” There is no government punishment (penalty) as harsh as bankruptcy.

Mr. Daugherty’s comments about wild animal populations is mostly accurate and it applies to plant populations as well.

It makes little difference how many government regulations are in place or how many regulators are watching for infractions. As long is there is a profit motive for business the only way to effectively avoid bad business behavior is for those indulging in such behavior to cease to exist as a business entity.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 17, 2011 2:19 PM
Comment #317368

Royal & Stephen

I would add that the financial industry was one of the most highly regulated ones BEFORE the troubles. The offshore oil drilling was also highly regulated.

Stephen argues that they were not PROPERLY regulated. That is perhaps true, but it is the triumph of hope over experience to think that the same government that regulated poorly will suddenly be able to run the show perfectly.

Stephen, I understand that you think that somehow it was all the fault of conservatives. I think it is a silly idea, but assume you are right. What has changed? According to you Republicans were responsible for the troubles even when they were in the minority. Now they are the majority again in the House. Since you can never get rid of conservatives, why is government going to do better now?

Posted by: C&J at January 17, 2011 2:45 PM
Comment #317371

C&J you ask Stephen a simple logical question in your last paragraph. I anticipate a tortured and parsed answer.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 17, 2011 3:00 PM
Comment #317377

>I would add that the financial industry was one of the most highly regulated ones BEFORE the troubles.

C&J,

I’m assuming your are referring to the heavy-handed regulation under GLB…right?

Posted by: Marysdude at January 17, 2011 4:28 PM
Comment #317380

We have had more and less regulation over financial entities over the decades with not much to show for it in restraining bad business practices over a protracted period of time. All would agree that too much or too little regulation can be harmful.

The trick seems to be to get it just right, enough regulation to deter the thieves and crooks, but not enough to stifle business and the economy.

Regulations, to even begin to be effective, must be fair to all with infractions identifiable, enforceable, and with penalties sufficient to get everyones attention so the bad conduct will stop.

Some believe that there simply must be just the right amount of regulation that will work nearly every time and in nearly every place with just a few anomalies occurring from time to time.

So far, that combination has not been found and I don’t believe it ever will be found.

We know what does work every time. Bad business practices leading to failure and bankruptcy sends a loud and clear message every time to everyone. And, it doesn’t require more regulation…just closer scrutiny by honest government oversight and greater public awareness and education.

I see no difference in culpability between legislators and regulators who fail in their oversight of business and the bad business practices that ensue from such malfeasance.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 17, 2011 5:16 PM
Comment #317381

Marysdude

I don’t know who GLB is.

Re regulation in general, we agree that we need some regulation. Regulation is a necessary thing. It is not a sufficient thing. We already have a lot of it. More is probably not going to help.

Royal

You are right. I think we agree that we have to distrust all concentrations of power. Our left wing friends fear concentration of power outside government, but seem to believe that government is run by angels, even though they seem to understand that is never works the way they think it should and complain that the bad guys control government most of the time.

I fear concentration of power in government more than in private hands simply because government controls a monopoly on the the power of legitimate coercion. If Exxon goes bad, they can charge me too much for gas and I can choose not to buy it. If government goes bad, they can arrest me or worse. Try choosing not to pay taxes v choosing not to buy gas at Exxon and see what happens.

Posted by: C&J at January 17, 2011 5:50 PM
Comment #317383

>Try choosing not to pay taxes v choosing not to buy gas at Exxon and see what happens.
Posted by: C&J at January 17, 2011 05:50 PM

Huh? Sorry, but I thought taxation was part and parcel of our laws of governance…are you sure you meant to say it just this way?

Posted by: Marysdude at January 17, 2011 5:58 PM
Comment #317387

Of course you are correct C&J…too much power eventually corrupts whether public or private. I do not know of any exceptions, not even in our religious organizations.

I recall quite well when the Teamster’s union wielded huge power, even to the point of nearly shutting down the nation with a strike. I am not anti-union and believe that most would agree that such power is not good for the nation.

Government now has the power to deny one the use of their own land if certain environmental regulations are involved. Many times, these regulations do not have congressional legislation to back them up but merely represent the wishes of unelected and usually party dominated czars.

And, nearly all regulations result in some form of favoritism with lobbyists being the power-brokers.

I find nothing in our Constitution that supports the huge amount of regulation exercised by our government today.

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 17, 2011 6:27 PM
Comment #317389

Marysdude

I was simply demonstrating the overwhelming difference between state and private power. With private power, you have options. With law, you do not. Of course liberals may assume that all laws are just. I think that in America we are very lucky to have mostly just laws. But one important reason we have decent laws in America is that we have no concentrated too much power in the government.

Royal

Yes. Everything has to be distributed in one - or some combination - of three ways. You can pay money; you can use influence; or you can stand in line. Government distribution is political, so it depends almost entirely on influence mixed with a fair dose of standing in line.

Paying money has a bad reputation, but when you think about it, paying is one of the best ways to distribute anything. Those who want it more can offer more. Others can seek alternatives. Overall, more people get more of what they really want.

Posted by: C&J at January 17, 2011 7:01 PM
Comment #317393
Try choosing not to pay taxes v choosing not to buy gas at Exxon and see what happens.

If I fill up my tank and drive off without paying, I think the result will be the same as not paying my taxes.

Posted by: Warped Reality at January 17, 2011 7:26 PM
Comment #317395

WR, both actions could result in minor or severe penalties. Not buying gas would result in no legal penalty. However, unless the health care bill is modified, there will be a penalty for not buying health care. Seems strange…doesn’t it?

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 17, 2011 7:41 PM
Comment #317396

It seems to me that there is little choice in whether or not to vigorously regulate the financial markets. We cannot tolerate another collapse such as in 2008. Conservatives may be wary of new regulation. They may indeed fail to achieve their objectives and may actually be worse. However, as Alan Greenspan has admitted, the experiment in self regulation was a failure. Pure and simple. The discussion should not be about whether to regulate or not but how.

Posted by: Rich at January 17, 2011 8:15 PM
Comment #317398

Warped

But who will chase after you? Will it be the power of Exxon or the power of the state?

Even the most powerful private enterprise must use the power of the state to exert real coercion.

And, of course, you could choose not to buy gas at Exxon at all. The government does not let you opt out of certain services and so pay less in taxes.

I am not saying here that government is bad. We need government. My point is that concentrating power in government is dangerous because government already possesses extraordinary power already.

Rich

The housing market was heavily regulated. Some of the regulations, like those that encouraged loans to poor people (i.e. those less likely to be able to pay loans) helped cause the collapse.

Shortly, the fees at your banks and credit cards will rise. This is a direct result of regulation, which no longer allows banks and credit card companies as much leeway to charge for overdrafts etc. This “gift” to deadbeats will make us pay more and do less to discourage deadbeat behavior.

The problem with regulation is that it gets mixed up in politics.

Posted by: C&J at January 17, 2011 8:24 PM
Comment #317404

I get it now…government okay, big government bad…why didn’t anyone tell me that before? Who gets to pick the size? Can liberals join in the size auction? Can only conservatives choose? What about anarchists…can they sit in? If you freeze some of the people out of selecting the size of their government, is it still considered a government OF the people?

You know what my very favorite saying of all time is?

“A government of the people will grow only as large as the voters wish it to be. If it cannot grow that large, it is not a government of the people.” David Stevens

Posted by: Marysdude at January 17, 2011 10:44 PM
Comment #317405

“I see no difference in culpability between legislators and regulators who fail in their oversight of business and the bad business practices that ensue from such malfeasance.”

That the problem Royal. This type of logic blames the cops for the bank being robbed. The fact is the bank robbers are the guilty party not the cops, and that is the way we should want it to be. The conservative logic you espouse would have a cop on every corner and two in the bank. Certainly not what we want in this country.

“Government now has the power to deny one the use of their own land if certain environmental regulations are involved.”

The government only has the ability to use force when the landowner has given the responsibility to the government Royal. When the landowner complies with just laws the government has no reason to use force to do anything, when the landowner decides to contaminate the ground water it is not his land he is contaminating. The landowner does not have the right to contaminate others.

” Many times, these regulations do not have congressional legislation to back them up but merely represent the wishes of unelected and usually party dominated czars.”

Conservative mythology Royal. These regulations are all coordinated with the Congress to ensure the intent of the laws justly passed by our elected representatives are followed. The real problem is the far right mangling the truth to line their own pockets, to hades with the rest of the people is their attitude.

“Shortly, the fees at your banks and credit cards will rise. This is a direct result of regulation, which no longer allows banks and credit card companies as much leeway to charge for overdrafts etc.”

It is long overdue C&J. The banksters should be in jail for the crimes they have committed. The outrageous fees they charge are criminal why do you protect them.

“This “gift” to deadbeats will make us pay more and do less to discourage deadbeat behavior.”

Such a cheap shot this conservative mythology. How many of these charges have to do with deadbeat behavior and how much to a simple accounting error such as not writing an amount down in your check book or being a dollar off in your addition and paying $35.00 for doing so. The banks are not perfect yet they expect their customers to be or as C&J opines they are deadbeats. The banksters are predators, no different than gangsters waiting for you to leave you car unlocked so they can steal it.

“I find nothing in our Constitution that supports the huge amount of regulation exercised by our government today.”

Of course you don’t Royal but like all conservative mythology it is there. The Constitution was not meant to allow someone to commit atrocities in the name of doing business just as it doesn’t allow an individual to commit atrocities by shooting or stealing from people. Where in the constitution does it say you can’t murder people or steal from people? It was left to our elected representatives to pass these laws, otherwise why would the Constitution have spelled out how many members of Congress were to be elected if all the laws were already included in the Constitution? What would we have needed them for? We had the right to a trial but no laws to be tried for unless it was treason?
Seriously guys grow up, the discussion should be how to best regulate not the constitution doesn’t allow for regulations.

“But who will chase after you? Will it be the power of Exxon or the power of the state?”

C&J no one as long as you do what is right by paying for the gas. If you break the law it is not just Exxon that you are violating it is the people of this country as well. Think how much more gas would cost if Exxon had to provide Pinkertons to protect each gas station. But if we actually had Exxon chasing after us then how could the Federal government make sure our civil rights were not violated?

“Even the most powerful private enterprise must use the power of the state to exert real coercion.”

Not the power of the state C&J, because if it was the power of the state coercion would not be necessary. It is the force of the state that would need to be exerted when the person violating the law gives up their power to do the right thing and pay for the gas. Just as Walmart has security to exert force to apprehend shop lifters so do many corporations have the ability to exert force to ensure their interests are protected.

The power of the state is what is exercised each time that someone does the right thing and pays for the gas. The force of the state is what is exercised when wrongdoers are apprehended. Why would we want it any other way? We had the Pinkertons before and we found that the private use of force didn’t work out under our Constitution.

“And, of course, you could choose not to buy gas at Exxon at all.”

Right and we can all drill for our own oil. Or go to the station across the street but we also have the same choice when it comes to governing authorities. If I don’t like the taxes here I can go and pay the taxes in Mexico and live there instead.

” The government does not let you opt out of certain services and so pay less in taxes.”

Right but the government isn’t Exxon and you have every right to shop around for a country where you do pay for just the services you want. If it is such a good idea to tax based upon choice of services perhaps …. oh well I can’t go to any gas station and pay just the amount I want for gas either. Even if I offer to siphon it out of the underground tank I still have to pay for the pump and the cash register as well as their profit.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 17, 2011 11:14 PM
Comment #317406
The government does not let you opt out of certain services and so pay less in taxes.

Ever heard of emigration? Personally, I don’t know why someone would be willing to give up all the beneficial services the government provides just to save a few bucks in taxes.

But who will chase after you? Will it be the power of Exxon or the power of the state?

Even the most powerful private enterprise must use the power of the state to exert real coercion.

Wrong! Mercenaries and private armies for hire have existed since the dawn of time, exerting the will of their employers through the force of arms. Many here on the left have warned that Conservative policies will take us down the same path our nation traveled upon during the gilded age, when the government of the state was weak, but the government of corporations and private business was strong. During that time, the Pinkerton National Detective Agency had more men than the US army, which is a scary thought indeed. It is very fortunate that the first generation of progressives fought in the opening years of the 20th century to curtail the power of the government of corporations and private business using the tools our founding fathers gave us. We prefer the state to wield power because it has two very important checks on how it uses force, the Constitution and the democratic process. Justice in our nation is conducted openly and in accordance to rigid rules in order to make certain that only the guilty are convicted and that their punishments fit their crimes. The idea that government of the state always has a monopoly on force is nothing more than a myth, that privilege has always been shared by the government of the state and the government of private businesses and corporations.

However, unless the health care bill is modified, there will be a penalty for not buying health care. Seems strange…doesn’t it?

Currently, everyone is entitled to emergency room care regardless of ability to pay; if you choose to pay the penalty instead of buying Health Insurance, you are in effect buying an extremely bare bones policy. Personally, I wouldn’t mind modifying the PPACA to let people opt out of the individual mandate (and waive benefits such as emergency room care, being susceptible to preexisting conditions, rescindments and other things)

Posted by: Warped Reality at January 17, 2011 11:16 PM
Comment #317407

j2t2,
I didn’t see your comment until after I posted mine (only 120 seconds later).

Posted by: Warped Reality at January 17, 2011 11:24 PM
Comment #317408
“Shortly, the fees at your banks and credit cards will rise. This is a direct result of regulation, which no longer allows banks and credit card companies as much leeway to charge for overdrafts etc.”

I switched from Welles Fargo (Wachovia) to the Marine Federal Credit Union. Now I’m actually being paid to use my Debit Card (if I use it ten times in any month, my ATM fees are paid for). My credit union offers a Visa Card at 9.88% interest. Even if those rates increase, I will still pay less than most who bank with the ‘too big’ banks. I understand if you don’t want to shop around or change banks, but no one else is stopping you. But to say banks are having to raise rates and charge fees because of the government is disingenuous at best.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 17, 2011 11:56 PM
Comment #317413

Warped Reality,
With the average American already paying $7,000.00 plus a year for their health and medical expenses at what point does the average American quit using Western Medicine especially if the prices rise like the fuel prices are doing today? For at $28,000.00/yr. for the same services we get today?

Seems to me those who have Goldern Policies today will be getting the average services tomorrow. Yet, today Americans have a better chioce than the Eastern Medicine and Folklure of our parents thanks to the internet.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 18, 2011 4:40 AM
Comment #317418

Marysdude

You think too much like a liberal, i.e. you have a kind of binary idea that we choose one or the other. In fact, we live in a pluralistic society where we are all making choices. You and I, as well as the others here, have our opinions and preferences. The result is the size of government that we choose. It is a dynamic balance. A couple years ago, the big government crowd was in the driver’s seat. The last election changed that.

In the big government sphere, there is another constraint - reality. Like any organization, government is subject to the constraints of communication and implementation. Government must implement rules through bureaucracies and there are practical limits to what they can accomplish.

Another liberal fallacy is to believe that if you make a law the intended result follows. It doesn’t. And there is absolutely nothing that you, or anybody else can do to change that. It is not subject to majority vote.

Your “favorite saying” is a bit silly. It is like saying that unless we can make water run uphill, we don’t have a free choice.

J2t2 & Warped

Re laws and regulations - you be talking about the current EPA controversy, where the bureaucracy has made laws to create a result rejected by congress. This will be settled in the courts.

As a land owner, I don’t have the right to contaminate other people’s stuff. But the “rights” of the non participants can expand to silly levels. We have to keep on fighting against the “rights” to “viewshed.” You may not have heard the term. It is based on “watershed.” The theory is that the view is something that people should be able to force you to maintain for their pleasure. Of course, the land owner bears all the costs so that some clown can enjoy driving past his land.

There is also the lack of understanding among many powerful urban interest groups. We recently thinned 85 acres of forest land. This is done using “best management practices” and will lead to greater health of the forest, avoid beetle infestations, increase wildlife habitat. But some people just see the cutting crews and make trouble. We cannot give too much veto power to people who don’t understand and/or have no investment in the process.


Governments must maintain monopolies on the legitimate use of force. Otherwise they are not the government. If a private American firm or organization hires thugs (like unions tend to do) it is illegal.

Re moving to new places - You are also thinking the all or nothing way.

Conservatives want less intrusive government. Liberals want a bigger one. For the last couple of centuries, in America, a more conservative outlook has dominated. That is how we became so prosperous. We conservatives resist the pull to the left, i.e. bigger government.

Before somebody give me a hard time, let me make the usual caveat that I love government and understand that it has an indispensable role to play. In fact, I love it so much, that I want to use it sparingly.

BTW - it looks like the people have come to their senses. The brief flirting with more intrusive government seems to have run up against the will of the people. We can thank the tea party for stopping the liberal juggernaut, that seemed about to engulf our country.

It is a never ending struggle. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

Posted by: C&J at January 18, 2011 8:43 AM
Comment #317422

Royal Flush-
Without the bailouts, you had most of the major banks collapsing. Would have served them right. Would have also destroyed capitalism as we know it. Perhaps you’re such a socialist that such an idea appeals to you, I’m enough of a capitalist to believe that the survival of the markets trumps the interest of punishing people for their mistakes.

Bankruptcy isn’t a penalty, it’s supposed to be an organized way of dealing with businesses and individuals who cannot pay their debts, so other businesses don’t suffer for their foolishness or mistakes, and so individuals can get their lives back in order. I think people forgot that, forgot that failure of businesses can only be a healthy punishment if it doesn’t mean the collapse of the industry in question. There has to be a competitor to step up and take up the slack. The big banks not only prevented that, they actively campaigned against that.

As for having the failure to survive be the penalty for bad business practices, there are a heck of a lot of things that can go wrong before that point. Isn’t it better, and less destructive to our economy to put rules in place that keep things straight before it comes to job-killing economic crises?

And you say this is the only way, yet we had other ways of preventing bad behavior in place before your people took over in 1994, and those methods actually worked. Too big to fail, and too entangled to let fail wasn’t a problem until people lead the charge to let Banks merge and take on risky enteprises they’d otherwise be protected from.

You can quote the numbers and levels of regulation, but without robust enforcement (which often gets cut short by friends of Wall Street), and appropriate regulation, regulation that has teeth and addresses the problems (again, which gets cut short by Wall Street allies), you could have it full to the top, and nothing would happen.

If you have a problem with governments failures, I say two things: first, you need to chuck theories that always say it fails, because nobody can regulate with that self-fulfilling prophecy and enact anything that will actually stop anyone. You cannot be hands off and expect to catch anybody. There have to be penalties that make doing business in a certain way more problematic and dangerous to a business than trying to ride it out.

C&J-
Government is enforcement. Government is law. In response to the Energy Task Force that Dick Cheney Assembled, they wrote laws enshrining short inspection periods for rigs, lax rules on environmental impact studies, and other various gifts to the energy industry. If Obama could be faulted fo something here, it’s not undoing the policies that his rivals put into action in the first place.

Tell me, are your people still blocking legislation that would change these things? Are they now, with their power in the House, going to take up the cause themselves, especially with leaders like Joe “I apologize” Barton in place? People who now totally disagree with Global Warming, even if they were pushing cap and trade just two or three years ago?

Responsibility lies with power, and Republicans have done everything in their power to maintain the status quo on policy, or even remove further obligations from those industries.

Their use of the filibuster is a documentable fact, and by extension, the power that comes with them is a documentable fact. Documentable fact trumps rhetorical hand-waving about majorities every time. If you can cripple the ability of the majority to legislate, you are writing policy, if only by removing options that undo your previous policies, which you did indeed write.

It is not merely partisanship that keeps me from letting you off the hook, it’s that I understand the process of legislation, and its consequences. Because of that, I understand just what your people have been doing to stack the deck in your favor, despite your minority status, and I hold your party responsible for it.

As for Exxon and things like that? The simple fact is, the Bush administration let the big oil giants merge, and by merging, face less competition and price pressures. They shut down refineries, making output scarcer.

And really, can people do without gas in today’s economy, with todays infrastructure? Not practically.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 18, 2011 10:15 AM
Comment #317423

C&J,

You tell me the people should have no say in the size of their government. And then tell me my little saying is “a bit silly”

Then you top it off by saying, “We can thank the tea party for stopping the liberal juggernaut, that seemed about to engulf our country. It is a never ending struggle. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

With a straight face you tell a fair portion of our American citizens that they are a threat to ‘real’ Americans and liberty.

Which one of us is the silliest?

Then there is this, taken from an AP item on repeal of HC:

AP WASHINGTON — Republicans pushing to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul warn that 650,000 jobs will be lost if the law is allowed to stand. “Repealing the job crushing health care law is critical to boosting small business job creation and growing the economy,” Boehner wrote in the post. A recent report by House GOP leaders says “independent analysis have determined that the health care law will cause significant job losses for the U.S. economy.” It cites the 650,000 lost jobs as Exhibit A, and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office as the source of the original analysis behind that estimate. But the budget office, which referees the costs and consequences of legislation, never produced the number. What follows is a story of how statistics get used and abused in Washington. What CBO actually said is that the impact of the health care law on supply and demand for labor would be small. Most of it would come from people who no longer have to work, or can downshift to less demanding employment, because insurance will be available outside the job. “The legislation, on net, will reduce the amount of labor used in the economy by a small amount …roughly half a percent… primarily by reducing the amount of labor that workers choose to supply,” budget office number crunchers said in a report from last year. That’s not how it got translated in the new report from Boehner and other top Republicans. CBO “has determined that the law will reduce the ‘amount of labor used in the economy by.roughly half a percent.,’ an estimate that adds up to roughly 650,000 jobs lost,” the GOP version said. Gone was the caveat that the impact would be small, mainly due to people working less. Added was the estimate of 650,000 jobs lost. The Republican translation doesn’t track, said economist Paul Fronstin of the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute. “People voluntarily working less isn’t the same as employers cutting jobs,” he explained. For example, CBO said some people might decide to retire earlier because it would be easier to get health care, instead of waiting until they become eligible for Medicare at age 65. The law “reduces the amount of labor supplied, but it’s not reducing the ability of people to find jobs, which is what the job-killing slogan is intended to convey,” said economist Paul Van de Water of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The center advocates for low-income people, and supports the health care law. In theory, any legislation that increases costs for employers can lead to job loss. But with the health care law, companies can also decide to pass on added costs to their workers, as some have already done this year. To put things in perspective, there are currently about 131 million jobs in the economy. CBO projects that unemployment will be significantly lower in 2014, when the law’s major coverage expansion starts.

TeaPublicans can’t even get a little thing like job losses right, and you want me to believe my little saying is silly? You want me to believe liberals hate America so much they would ruin it for ‘real’ liars and cheats?


Posted by: Marysdude at January 18, 2011 11:56 AM
Comment #317424


I thought the age of big government ended with the election of Reagan or the reelection of Reagan or the election of GHW Bush or the election of the contract with America or the election of G Bush or the reelection of G Bush, but apparently the age of big government has ended with the election of Republicans in 2010.

If the people are interested in correcting the problems that the financial sector can and has caused, they must first address their broken election process. For as long as corporations can buy the financial schemes they want and the protection they need from government politicians and regulators they will.

Unfortunately, the psychological makeup of humans makes it exceedingly easy for us to be manipulated on the issues that divide us, by skilled politicians. Divide and conquer is a game that gets results.

It only takes a fraction of the wealth produced by corporations to buy the government they want. The need for incumbency creates cheap whores. Two or three billion into political coffers is chicken feed.

The undoing of the weak financial reforms was something Republicans were going to do as well. Since the election we haven’t heard much about that from Republicans, why? Have they gone into stealth mode on that issue?

Posted by: jlw at January 18, 2011 12:23 PM
Comment #317427

C&J,

jlw has a point. If liberals love “big government” and conservatives love “small government,” could you please explain why government and the deficits/debt grew disproportionately under Republican leadership since the end of WWII?

Posted by: Rich at January 18, 2011 1:16 PM
Comment #317429

Gore actually shrunk government during Clinton. It took Cheney/Bush milliseconds to reverse that, and begin building it again.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 18, 2011 2:31 PM
Comment #317430

“Re moving to new places - You are also thinking the all or nothing way.”

Not really C&J, it is called choice.

“Conservatives want less intrusive government. Liberals want a bigger one.”

Not true C&J just more conservative mythology we hear from the conservatives. Actual facts don’t bear this out. It was the conservative administrations that have done more to make government intrusive on the American people. Conservatives, judging from their actions, just want less intrusion into Corporate America and more into the lives of people by both the public and private sector.


” For the last couple of centuries, in America, a more conservative outlook has dominated. That is how we became so prosperous. We conservatives resist the pull to the left, i.e. bigger government.”

More conservative mythology, C&J. You seem to forget the Progressive era until the election of Reagan when income disparity was at is lowest and the middle class grew while under the liberal “big government”. The gilded age was definitely under the influence of conservatism though, with its many depression’s.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 18, 2011 3:37 PM
Comment #317432

Someone wrote; “Isn’t it better, and less destructive to our economy to put rules in place that keep things straight before it comes to job-killing economic crises.”

My guess is that liberals, if given a chance, would change the rules of gravity. There are natural economic rules in force all the time that are not legislated and which always work.

After decades of rule making and rule changing liberals still believe that someday we’ll get it just right and then all will be well. How foolish, how pollyannish, how arrogant. It is absolutely impossible for men to legislate financial rules that will correct every problem and detect and deter every crook and criminal.

Governments and legislatures keep themselves busy trying to write codicils to a simple law…”Thou shalt not steal.”

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 18, 2011 4:03 PM
Comment #317433

Conservative agenda…bend history to suit conservative agendas.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 18, 2011 4:05 PM
Comment #317434

Conservative ideal…allow the thieves their head until everything falls apart.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 18, 2011 4:07 PM
Comment #317438

“There are natural economic rules in force all the time that are not legislated and which always work.”

I guess you disagree with Alan Greenspan, who championed deregulation of the financial markets during his tenure as Fed Chairman, when he said before Congress that he had been wrong about the financial markets being self regulating.

Posted by: Rich at January 18, 2011 4:47 PM
Comment #317440

Marysdude

The reason the saying is silly is because it doesn’t recognize actual organizational limitations. I didn’t say people should have no say in the size of government. I simply say that there are things government cannot accomplish and a size after which it become counterproductive to the goals that the people might want to get from it.

Think of it like the “all you can eat” buffet. They don’t call it “all you want to eat” because you well might want to eat more than you can. People may want solutions from government that government cannot provide. It doesn’t matter how much we want some things. There are some things we cannot have.

Re credit cards - I get 2% back on all purchases and like you I will continue to figure out ways to do okay with my finances. That is because I can and I know how. Those who have lower credit scores or less financial savvy will pay the prices, because they are going up.

re Gore shrinking government - who knew a vice president had that kind of power. And he did this all between negotiating Kyoto and inventing the Internet. I always learned that revenue bills originated in the House of Representatives and that Congress and the President made the rules. But I guess if Gore did it all …

I liked the size of government better in 2000 than I do now. Since we all seem to agree that the smaller government of those times was better, why don’t we go back to that?

Stephen

You complain that Cheney wrote laws you don’t like and that “my” people are using their legitimate government power to block change. Don’t you now see the limitations of government? It will rarely be run by people you like and “my” people, among others, will inevitably use the tools the government creates for them. So why do you want to expand the power you give to people like Cheney?

jlw

See what I wrote to Stephen.

Re big government being over, isn’t that what Bill Clinton told us?

j2t2

I want a government of appropriate size and scope. I am not sure what that is. That is why we don’t let any one person make the decision. Most people seem to think government has grown too big and intrusive. Much of this growth happened under Bush and then accelerated under Obama. We are now in reducing mode. If liberals want to reduce the size and scope of government, I misjudged them. Welcome back to the quest for liberty.

Re your golden age of progessivism, when do you start and end that? Does it include the Great Depression? We had a “golden age” roughly from 1948-1960. During this twenty year period, the world was recovering from the most disastrous and destructive war in human history. American emerged from the war not only unbroken, but greatly strengthened. We had what the world needed and we followed wise policies, such as the NATO alliance, the Marshall Plan and opening markets, that created prosperity. But the system ran out of steam by the late 1960s. The Bretton Woods system collapsed.

Reagan didn’t end this era. It ran out of steam and ten years later Reagan helped create a reconstructed system, which also lasted about a quarter century. Obama had a chance at reform, but I don’t think it is going to work as well as the Bretton Woods system or the Reagan reforms, but maybe the next Republican president can pick up the pieces, as Reagan did for Carter.

Rich

See above. Republicans during the Bush time acted like Democrats. They were castigated and I hope they behave better this time. It is hard for politicians not to be lured into the power game. But if you look at the growth of government, you see that it spiked AFTER the Democratic victories in 2006. Republicans were bad; Democrats were worse.

Posted by: C&J at January 18, 2011 4:52 PM
Comment #317445

“but maybe the next Republican president can pick up the pieces, as Reagan did for Carter.”

Or get credit for “picking up the pieces” as Reagan did despite the row being hoed by Carter.

“I want a government of appropriate size and scope. I am not sure what that is. That is why we don’t let any one person make the decision. Most people seem to think government has grown too big and intrusive.”

It has been to intrusive since the days of Reagan. Wasn’t it Reagan Bush I who militarized the police with the war on drugs. It also has grown as has the Country , the population and the need for government regulation. The real problem is not size but effectiveness. The conservatives have long put the foxes in charge of the hen house to the point it is the status quo. Fix it then worry about size.

” Much of this growth happened under Bush and then accelerated under Obama. We are now in reducing mode.”

Just the bad kind of growth C&J. Yet it was not only Bush look at the leaders of the repubs today and ask yourselves where they were during the Bush years that were, as you say, the cause of many of our economic problems. Look at Boehner and McConnell and ask yourself if you have confidence in the same people that voted to cut taxes while borrowing to fund wars to get economic sanity now. Why on earth would we think they will do the right thing now? Cutting is one thing, using misinformation, half truths and outright lies to cut based upon ideology is the problem C&J.

“If liberals want to reduce the size and scope of government, I misjudged them.”

The size if required, but scope? Why not focus on what made us good to begin with. Bring the troops home, grow the economy intelligently. Cutting the “job killing” health care reform bill and de-funding NPR is stupid. The private sector has corportized news and arts, as well as causing health insurance to become predatory. Time to do it right. Expecting the multinational to grow us out of the financial mess with decent jobs is also foolish, it hasn’t happened in this century. It takes government sized projects to get the jobs going in this country, so if it can be done while keeping the ideologically driven happy so be it if not…

” Welcome back to the quest for liberty.”

Never left it C&J, the difference is liberals want liberty and justice for all, conservatives want liberty and just us. That is why your confused on this issue,IMHO.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 18, 2011 5:44 PM
Comment #317449

Royal Flush-
The rules of gravity are hardwired into the fundamental nature of the universe. You can argue with gravity, and gravity will win every dispute, ipso facto, rem ipsit loquitur.

The laws of economics (the discipline which is called the dismal science) are quite a bit different. They come from some basic realities, but their action is quite a bit different, more complex and human factors rich. This isn’t like predicting the course of a planet in the night sky.

I think I have made myself clear in the past: the aim is not to prevent all misdeeds, just make it more difficult to get away with them, more difficult to do great damage. You can’t necessarily prevent all murders by making them illegal, but you sure can discourage the behavior a lot better if you actually punish people for them, keep them from enjoying the rewards of offing whoever they want to.

You can say “Thou shalt not steal” in all righteousness, but until you define laws of property and exchanges (which, by the way, the bible does in its extensive codicils to the ten commendmandments!) There’s no point in it.

C&J-
Cheney organized an energy task force whose recommendations were written into law. As for your people using their legitimate power to block change… well, there’s a good question as to how constitutionally legitimate your power is, and short of that a good question as to whether it’s ever been used as such a power before. Not so long ago, you would only see a few filibusters a year. They were not employed as a de facto gutting of the majority’s power to legislate. I prefer checks and balances that can stand the light of day, not the secret holds and little spoken of filibusters that kept some bills from even being debated on.

If you dislike the bill, vote against it. But if you value majority rules in the Senate, if you don’t want that reckless abuse of a procedural manuever to come back to haunt your party, allow the use of the filibuster as a de facto veto for the minority party to die.

You phrase things in terms of an abstract expansion of power, but that is a mischaracterization of my position in the extreme.

Some powers, I don’t want government to have. I don’t want the dark-side interrogations, because I think they gain us little and expose us to reputation-killing infamy I don’t want somebody simply to be able to cancel out my civil liberties in the name of protecting freedom, or whatever.

Some powers, I do want government to have, but defined by law, constrained by oversight, both from Congress and from we, the people of the United States of America. I see enforcement of civil liberties as a critical part of that balance. Contrary to what some portray the liberal position as, we believe in both the expansion of government powers to aid the people, and of civil liberties to protect people from such power. We believe in the constraints that the separation of powers, and the marketplace of ideas.

We don’t want a system where we’re all enslaved by government. We want a government with robust powers to manage the country and its economy, and people with robust rights and liberties enforced by the government under our oversight and watch (we being the people of this country, not just the liberals), so we’re not simply steamrolled by that government.

It’s not a simple or an easy system, or one that allows you to be an armchair quarterback rather than a player. It’s a system where people strive to be their best, strive to be informed, strive to work for their own interests, and with others to promote the general interests.

I don’t think the framers were interested in a lazy, spectator sport sort of government, at a remove from the people. They wanted assertive citizens and a strong government, and in the end agree to strong rights to complement that stronger national government.

They wanted an America where people made the best of their situation, not one where people simply accepted their lot in life, like the subjects of some kingdom or empire.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 18, 2011 6:40 PM
Comment #317458

j2t2

Let me get this straight. You blame Reagan for … whatever, but then you say he was just following the row hoed by Carter. Assuming there is something to be blamed about, wouldn’t that be Carter.

re intrusive government - I started working in the 1970s. We used to load trucks. They could go from Wisconsin to Michigan with our cement bags loaded on, but they had to come back empty. There was a law. We would get deliveries on other trucks coming the other way. We had to sent them back empty. Carter began the deregulation of trucking. And eventually they were allowed to be more efficient. I think the regulation that forced empty trucks was pretty intrusive.

Re Boehner and McConnell - I am not very fond of politicians in general, but I like them a lot better than Pelosi, who I consider dangerously out of touch, and Reid, who I will never forgive for his saying we were defeated in Iraq while we still had troops in harm’s way.

As a sideline - I was at an event where Reid spoke. I made a special effort to get a drink while he was speaking and I kept my back to him the whole time. I didn’t “make a scene” because I have better manners than some people. I am ashamed of that man.

re growing the economy intelligently - does detailed government planning do that?

Stephen

The laws that Cheney influenced were made in a legitimate fashion. You just don’t like them. Republicans resisted Democrats in legitimate ways, legal ways. You just don’t like the result. When/if Republicans take control of the Senate, will the Democrats just let them do what they want?

Face it, Stephen, “my” folks will be in control as much as or more than yours. While I would thank you for giving “us” so much power, I don’t really trust any politicians.

Posted by: C&J at January 18, 2011 8:24 PM
Comment #317466

“You blame Reagan for … whatever, but then you say he was just following the row hoed by Carter.”

Sorry for the cofusion C&J, here is what I was thinking- From Wiki
“Paul Volcker, a Democrat,[5] was appointed Chairman of the Federal Reserve in August 1979 by President Jimmy Carter and reappointed in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan.[6]

Volcker’s Fed is widely credited with ending the United States’ stagflation crisis of the 1970s. Inflation, which peaked at 13.5% in 1981, was successfully lowered to 3.2% by 1983.[7]”

And concerning Reagan-

http://ezinearticles.com/?Sleep-Walking-Through-History-With-Reaganomics&id=805031


“I think the regulation that forced empty trucks was pretty intrusive”.

Not knowing the whole story C&J I can only assume that either weight or type of trailer played a part in this “law”. Unless of course Wisconsin cement bags were good for the intended purposes in Michigan but not to the west of you. Or the raw materials coming from the west but they had their own cement and didn’t need to haul yours back to wherever. Who knows. The trucker certainly could have picked up a load of something from a dispatch close to your area and went another direction entirely. Whether regulation played a part in this or not whose to say?


“Re Boehner and McConnell - I am not very fond of politicians in general, but I like them a lot better than Pelosi, who I consider dangerously out of touch, and Reid, who I will never forgive for his saying we were defeated in Iraq while we still had troops in harm’s way.”

Well it just goes to show less than credible shows of concern we see coming from the right. The fact is Boehner and McConnell was part and parcel of the Bush era that you personally blame so much of the financial troubles on. Yet they are not out of touch, go figure.

“re growing the economy intelligently - does detailed government planning do that?”

Well the private sector certainly hasn’t this past decade. There should come a point in time that we realize the conservative myth that “For the last couple of centuries, in America, a more conservative outlook has dominated. That is how we became so prosperous.” is a time gone by and circumstances have changed. It won’t now and we need to face the fact that jobs are a big problem for the Country. Big business continues to eat up small business and also continues to send work overseas. The government needs to address the change in the fundamentals once we can get by the lame conservative mantra’s of “tax cuts will solve the problem” and “less regulations will cause business to hire people”.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 18, 2011 10:02 PM
Comment #317467

>I liked the size of government better in 2000 than I do now. Since we all seem to agree that the smaller government of those times was better, why don’t we go back to that?

C&J,

Because conservatives grow government? As to Gore shrinking government…look it up. Clinton asked him to do the job, and he did it. Government was smaller in the last four years of Clinton than during Reagan, Bush I, and way smaller than Cheney/Bush.

By the by, Gore never said he invented the Internet and you know it. Why are you blowing all this smoke?

Posted by: Marysdude at January 18, 2011 10:22 PM
Comment #317468

C&J,

Just in case you are still ignorant on the subject:

http://www.snopes.com/quotes/internet.asp

Posted by: Marysdude at January 18, 2011 10:32 PM
Comment #317469

Dude, all that article proves is that politicians on both sides better choose their words better. When someone implies he or she did something even when he or she didn’t people take that person at his/her word.

Posted by: KAP at January 18, 2011 11:11 PM
Comment #317474

KAP are you kidding me? That article proves the far right used outright lies and misinformation as a means to make Gore seem to be something he was not. It’s got nothing to do with “choosing words better” nor did Gore imply he did something when he didn’t. Read the article for crying out loud.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 19, 2011 1:23 AM
Comment #317481

j2t2, “Clearly, although Gore’s phrasing might have been a bit clumsy {and perhaps self serving} a direct quote from the article, j2 I know Gore didn’t invent the internet and you have to be pretty stupid to believe he did, but you on the left capitalize on the rights mis quotes as well. It has everything to do with “choosing your words better.”

Posted by: KAP at January 19, 2011 10:03 AM
Comment #317482

KAP,
It is not so much that people need to choose their words more carefully IMHO. It is that some people have a problem with the facts which has become more and more a trigger point for inciting civil unrest.

For example; the day Sarah Palin called the End of Life Counseling in the Health Reform Act “Death Panels” we instantly saw people taking to the streets in protest.

And what about the Republican Leadership in the House of Representatives calling for the “Repeal of the Job Killing Health Care Reform Act?”

Are these poorly choosen words or words meant to draw fire in order to charge political emotion?

No, it seems to me that for years the Radio and TV Pundits have a serious problem dealing with the facts. For starting with their undieing support for the Iraq War to denying they had any thing to do with the mess we currently find ourselve in. And while most elected officials have remained silient over the years, those that have been bold enough to stand up against the Status Quo are quickly black listed.

So why I agree that people do need to choose their words wisely so they avoid the Sarah Palin Problem. I do believe we owe it to our children to keep people opinions and rants grounded in the facts and not in their make believe world known as their personal opinions.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 19, 2011 10:13 AM
Comment #317483

KAP,
As far as Al Gore, I have to agree with you. For why he may not have meant he invented the internet, by refering he and only he was responsible for its success does lead one to believe his words was not choosing properly. Especially since if it was not for a whole lot of people working very hard and most of the time for no frame or monet to create and expand the internet into what we know it today, VP Gore and others wouldn’t even know what an email was or how Windows works.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 19, 2011 10:22 AM
Comment #317485

Henry,

Beg to defer. Al Gore was THE major government person who pushed and shoved to open the Internet to public access. He did not exaggerate the importance of his input. He merely, like most of us would do, emphasized the ‘I’ in the several important people also involved. No Lie, no serious exaggeration…a politician doing political stuff. It would have taken longer for our use of the Internet without him, and that access may have taken a different form.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 19, 2011 10:38 AM
Comment #317486

PS:

These other so-called conservative posters may not understand Gore’s value in forming up the Internet for public use, but the conservative poster who brought it up so cavalierly (C&J) does. I find it a rather silly way for him (them?) to make a point or two with his (their?) posse.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 19, 2011 10:44 AM
Comment #317487

Dude, Gore may have been the driving force to open the internet to the public but like you said to much emphasis on the “I”. It’s like saying I built a house, but we all know that there were more then I in the building. He could have said “He lead the push to open the internet to the public” which would have been more acceptible. All politicians need to be more carefull of what the implie.

Posted by: KAP at January 19, 2011 11:05 AM
Comment #317493

KAP,

True, all politicians should, but don’t hold your breath…it is part and parcel of politicking to do that very thing.

But, You see, you fell into C&J’s trap. They brought it up to fire their posse and you jumped on your horses with the noose in hand and headed out into the hills to do due justice. Puppets and puppet master…both doing the expected things.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 19, 2011 11:57 AM
Comment #317495

Marysdude,
I will give you the fact that VP Gore was President Clintons’ Point Man on the issue; however, living in the RTP in North Carolina during the time I can tell you that many other people before, during, and after VP Gore have worked hard to make the internet what it was in 2000 and today.

In fact, did you know you could access the internet publicly at many higher learning institutions long before the 1990’s? And while not Common Knowledge at the time as far back as the 1960’s AT&T had certain telephone lines and numbers so Americas’ Federal Libary Reference Desks could send/talk across the internet.

So while it is true VP Gore had the duty to work with business, insitutions, and others to design, implement, and advertise the internet for public use. I hope you don’t think he actually did the work himself? For why I’m still looking for that”I” in Team, I’m certain that his staff did almost all the work.

Besides, I do believe his critics at the time was making fun of the fact he was so conceded that he did think “I” could build the internet.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 19, 2011 12:20 PM
Comment #317502

Henry-
His claim was substantially more modest and better founded than what his oppoents have claimed. I would say punishing him for a slight immodesty is a poor exchange for not punishing the Republicans for their continued, persistent dishonesty.

C&J-
Perhaps technically legitimate, but he was so concerned about the political fallout of just whose advice he sought that he fought for years to prevent the list of those who he bent his ear to from getting out.

I think focusing on this on a simple legalistic level is to strip the actions your people took of their full weight and import. You opened up the halls of Congress to the lobbyists, stuck them in positions of power within the Bush Administration, and simply let the businesses write the rules they lived by. Your Congress hardly practiced any oversight at all, as billions of dollars simply disappeared into Iraq, as obvious signs of corruption showed up.

You’re stuck on linking the size of government, and the purity of its integrity, your basic prescription for curing that particular ill being your cure for every problem the Federal Government has: smaller government, smaller government, smaller government.

As somebody who is aware of the details of what’s going on, I find such prescriptions dull, and unhelpful. It’s just bumper-sticker rhetoric. Can the problem always be solved with a dropped regulation, a canned government employee, a weakened or abolished bureaucracy?

And hasn’t this been our mainstream approach for the last thirty years? When does the Republican Party stop calling this approach the new solution to every problem, and admit that it’s just their dogmatic default?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 19, 2011 1:54 PM
Comment #317504

Mr. Daugherty writes; “I think I have made myself clear in the past: the aim is not to prevent all misdeeds, just make it more difficult to get away with them, more difficult to do great damage. You can’t necessarily prevent all murders by making them illegal, but you sure can discourage the behavior a lot better if you actually punish people for them, keep them from enjoying the rewards of offing whoever they want to.”

As for discouraging bad behavior and punishment I would ask how the bailouts fall into your prescription?

Posted by: Royal Flush at January 19, 2011 2:12 PM
Comment #317507

Royal Flush-
It doesn’t. The rationale of bailing out the banks has more to do with economic survival than it has to do with validating some approach to punishing folks within the market.

The problem with trusting the market to do the job is the plain fact that the market is blind to misbehavior while it’s profitable, while folks are rushing in to cash in on the new trend. I want forces moderating behavior that will step in even when a bad practice make money for people, and puncture the fraud before it becomes a fundamental threat to our economy.

If we can disentangle the economy so that the failure of one bank doesn’t caust the failure of another, if we can divest the banks into smaller banks, so that the consequence of one failure is less, then we can leave the markets to operate on their own. But so long as one failure guarantees the systems crash, I see no sense in letting the market decide.

I don’t think our system should be allowed to become such a delicate flower in the first place. You probably would wish the same thing, but the difference would be is that I would actively put in the policies that would allow me to wave goodbye to a bank that’s screwed its balance sheet up without having to worry about a systemwide crash. You? You’re trusting to the wishful thinking that allowing the banks to fall would leave an economy capable of registering the lesson that’s supposed to teach.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 19, 2011 2:50 PM
Comment #317515

Stephen,
While VP Gore could have stated his case better if I recall it was his opponents at the time which kept commenting on how smart he was that drew fire. In fact, you can look back at many of times where the Right has always bashed smartness. And why this has lead me to believe Conservatives only want dumb people to run for office, for the life of me I do not understand why the Democrats have not nailed them up against the wall on the issue.

Yet today, you can still find where the Conservatives want to degrade those from Havard and Yale even though many of their own candidates have sheepskins from the same schools. So why I certainly don’t degrade VP Gore for saying he took the steps to help create the internet we enjoy today, I do believe he ws being Self-Serving when he claimed the word “I” instead of the team of citizens who over the years have worked to build the internet from the ground up.

Now as far as the Republicans being dishonest. I believe Katrina and the whooping the Media took in supporting the lead to the Iraq War has made even the strongest support with the exception of Rush and Company question anything coming from the Conservative Movement. In fact, do you know who did the most fact checking the night Sarah Palin met Hannity?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 19, 2011 3:57 PM
Comment #317517

Henry-
We do nail them to the wall on it, but then they whine to their voters that we’re being elitist for doing it. The voters then vote to prove that they’re not stupid, failing to realize that it’s not elitism to want the best out of those in charge.

Personally, I would say, here’s the deal: put your used car dealers, your doctors, your stockbrokers, your entrepreneur, anybody you want in there. Then watch me hold them to a high standard for intelligence, because I don’t care where you’re from, I just care whether you know what you’re doing, and you’re doing your job right. I don’t care if you don’t elect elites, but I only want to keep those people in charge who do the absolute best.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 19, 2011 4:30 PM
Comment #317526

Marysdude

Gore shrunk the government like he invented the Internet. The VP doesn’t have the power to do that.

I don’t think even Gore, who is not widely known for his modesty, claimed that honor, BTW.

I know others have talked re this already. The snoops article you mention only proves that Gore claimed he invented the internet. I know we are parsing words here, but if I say I took the initiative in creating Watchblog, it implies something that I did not do. Just as Gore says that he took the initiative in creating the Internet implies that he created the internet.

Gore knows how to use the English language. He got caught in his lie and then tried to weasel out of it.

Henry & Stephens

We didn’t say Gore was so smart. We said he THOUGHT he was so smart. His record didn’t show this.

Liberals seem to think they are smarter than conservatives. The evidence on this blog does not support their supposition.

I want the smarter people in charge too. But I recognize that some forms of “intelligence” work better than others. Carter was probably one of our most intelligent presidents in book learning, but he was an terrible president. Nixon had a very high IQ; like him do you?

I would also ask you how you measure intelligence, that you think liberals have so much of. I scored in the 97th percentile in my GMAT. Does that make me a successful businessperson?

I would also question the understanding of anybody who seems to think that conservatives are responsible for anything bad that happens, whether or not they are in charge.

Posted by: C&J at January 19, 2011 6:14 PM
Comment #317530

C&J-
Why are you insulting our intelligence by perpetuating a lie we already have offered proof refuting? Just read it. He said he helped create the internet. And indeed he did. You say the VP doesn’t have that power, but you fail to register that he was talking about his actions as a legislator, which would be included to his credit.

Hell, the industry honored him for his contributions. They evidently don’t think his claims of helping to create the modern internet are immodest, much less a lie.

As for intelligence?

Look, I would like your party to stop apologizing for dumbasses, stop saying that when somebody can’t even hold their own in a softball interview with Katie Couric that they’re a victim of elitists.

You can muddle the issue all you want to, but in the name of sticking it to us, you’re coming to the defense of people so stupid and foolish that even people who have come to expect the worst from the Republican Party are astonished. I mean “I am not a witch?” When the comedy satirizing your party literally writes itself, you’re in trouble.

Your party’s going to hell in a handbasket and you’re so focused on defending it against us you don’t realize it. Wake up. It’s not elitism to insist on brains, it’s common sense.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 19, 2011 6:24 PM
Comment #317540

Stephen, “During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the internet.” Gore’s own words Stephen. I suggest YOU read the article you may have missed something. As I said earlier you have to be totally stupid to think Gore invented the internet. Politicians need to choose their words a lot more carefully.

Posted by: KAP at January 19, 2011 7:15 PM
Comment #317547

C&J,
“I would also question the understanding of anybody who seems to think that conservatives are responsible for anything bad that happens, whether or not they are in charge.”

Ok, “We know there are WMDs in Iraq and we have proof”

Who said it and what did it lead to?

Saying the Conservatives and Republican are not responsible for bad things happening is not smart. For if that was the case we could say the Democrats are not responsible for anything bad happening, but they gave President Bush a blank check and a signed authority to do whatever he thought was necessary. That to was also not smart.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 19, 2011 7:40 PM
Comment #317574

C&J

The smallest Federal civilian workforce in 40 years. The Federal civilian workforce increased from the time when President Reagan took office to the time when President Bush left office. In contrast, since President Clinton and Vice President Gore took office, the Federal workforce has been cut by 377,000—by nearly a fifth – and is now lower than at any time since 1960.

From the Briefing Room. Clinton asked Gore to head up the government reduction ptogram, and this was the result.

Again…you knew this, so why the charade?

Posted by: Marysdude at January 19, 2011 11:38 PM
Comment #317585

KAP-
He sponsored and co-sponsored bills that did indeed help to create the internet as we know it.

Go back, check the source, see for yourself.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 20, 2011 9:53 AM
Comment #317589

No single individual did more to promote the Internet than Al Gore. Certainly no individual in such a position of power and influence. That business about the ‘invention of the Internet’ is contrived foolishness, and should be below the people on here who keep bringing it up.

Gore has plenty of REAL faults for anyone to besmirch him on fake ones.

1. He was charged by his President to shrink the government, and he did so.

2. He was the main instrument in government to promote the creation of the Internet.

Anyone who says different is not just a liar, but a damned liar.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 20, 2011 10:10 AM
Comment #317591

Dude & Stephen, How does it feel to defend the words of one of your own when they are blown out of preportion by the media? Sucks don’t it!!!!

Posted by: KAP at January 20, 2011 10:38 AM
Comment #317595

Cite the ones you think have been blown out of proportion. And, tell us who blew them out of proportion.

Before you say Palin’s constant citations of arms and use of violent terms, remember her defenses of the same…”My words had no negative impact on anyone, but those who say my words have been had a negative impact have had a negative impact on me”. Choose your picks carefully.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 20, 2011 10:51 AM
Comment #317596

Dude, Bush, Cheney, Boehner, Angle, Bachman, just to name a few.

Posted by: KAP at January 20, 2011 11:05 AM
Comment #317597

Dude, The liberal news media, such as Shultz, Olberman, Maddow, Matthews, The Daily Kos, Huffington Post,

Posted by: KAP at January 20, 2011 11:07 AM
Comment #317598

Stephen, I did read the article and even posted Gore’s own words in comment #317540. The word “I” is the clincher. Like I said we all know he didn’t create the internet and only was instramental in pushing for public use. I gave Dude an example that read “I built a house.” We all know there is more then just “I” in the building of the house.

Posted by: KAP at January 20, 2011 11:18 AM
Comment #317600

Assuming you are absolutely correct about Gore’s, “I invented the Internet”, which you are not…where is the hate? Where is the harm? Who was damaged? Would you hold ANYone on the right to such a rigid scale of truthiness?This whole argument was placed here by C&J, for the sole purpose of fostering ugly. Jack knew better, and seeing his side was in a fix on this thread, started it just as a diversion. What fools we are to fall for such a ploy.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 20, 2011 11:35 AM
Comment #317604

Dude, There is no damage there is no harm. This just shows the stupidity of argueing over metaphors that each party uses when we know that the metaphors are just a figure of speech.

Posted by: KAP at January 20, 2011 11:51 AM
Comment #317607

Apples and Oranges that is what we got here accompanied by the failure to communicate.

For the Internet was created in the late 50’s and earky 60’s clearly before VP Gore could do anything with it. In fact, once held by the military one could say it even goes back further. But that starts opening up doors that I don’t think anyone wants to step through.

However, in the 80’s there was a movement to allow people to use the same technology to communicate with friends and send data over Ameruicas’ telephone lines. Yet, faced with heavy regulations and the unwillingness of some to allow such services at the prices being sought they had to turn to Washington for help.

So why VP Gore and others worked on designing the rules and regulations which would allow public use of Americas’ telephone lines to carry public data, he did not create or go out and build the Internet. Improved, Innovated, and help bring about the technology we enjoy today. Absolutely! And this is where both sides seem to get into trouble.

For why most of us will never know exactly how the internet works or the fact when one talks of the internet they are actually talking about a network and not the machine behind the curtain. What they fail to realize is that VP Gore was told by President Clinton to lead his cabinet and public leaders into expanding the internet from simple telephone lines to boardband and beyond.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 20, 2011 1:10 PM
Comment #317609

Henry,

This whole subject of Gore is a foolishness dreamed up by C&J to divert attention from other subjects. Gore was in on making the Internet accessible to the general public, and played a major role in that. He also helped formulate a method of cutting government staffing, and made it work when all others had failed. Granted, as soon as conservatives took over, his government cutting went for naught, but cut he did. Because he was familiar with the inner workings of the Internet process, Clinton also charged him with broadening the Internet to include more citizenry. In that he was not quite so successful.

Conservatives are just angry at him because he brought a the blight of Climate Change to the forefront of American thought, and they, being the good business robots they are, did not want people even thinking about Global Warming. If he can be discredited about other things, his influences diminish on the front conservatives think he can do them the most damage. That is why C&J and plenty of others keep bringing this stuff up, and for no other reason.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 20, 2011 1:46 PM
Comment #317616

Marysdude,
You are much kinder than I am. For why I believe VP Gore to be an intelligent gentleman who did a lot to help advance the Internet. Even today I have a problem with Conservatives and Republicans who for whatever reason want to degrade others in an attempt to make themselve look better.

And why I suppose it has to do more with their parents back in the 70’s than their childish actions of today. The one trend that i don’t like seeing is where some Democrats are trying to use the same approach to get their point of view across. For why I know the old saying you fight Fire with Fire; however, knowing that Children of the 70’s have a way to deal with such non sense I do believe the old saying “Putting your foot in your mouth” tends to make the debate a whole lot sweeter.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 20, 2011 5:09 PM
Comment #317627

Marysdude

I didn’t bring up Gore. You did. You should understand that you should never base an argument on something you cannot defend. You know it was a silly statement to say that Gore shrunk government, when even Gore, who takes credit for lots of things, doesn’t claim it.

Re Internet - Ask two questions. When did the government create the Internet backbone and when was Gore elected to the Senate?

I am not saying that Gore is lying or that people that believe what he said are stupid, but it is hard to have created something that happened before you arrived.

Let me say one more thing about Gore shrinking government. How much confidence do you have that one man could do that? With all due respect, have you never worked in an organization with more than a couple of people? Do you really think the U.S. works like a monarchy?

I understand that you probably believe what you say. Our levels of experience are too different on this for us to have a meaningful conversation.

It does help me understand the old saying that it is the triumph of hope over experience.

Stephen

Please see above. A legislator can have lots of influence, but not really that much. Despite what it seems like to you, I think Gore was an accomplished man. He just didn’t accomplish as much as he, and you, think.

Gore

I promise never to bring up Gore again, if you guys don’t bring up Gore. But I have to call you on the dumb things that he says if you guys repeat them as some kind of evidence.

Posted by: C&J at January 20, 2011 6:24 PM
Comment #317635

C&J,
Thanks! For a moment I thought I was going to have to remember what they called the Internet before it was the Internet. For why the backbone of today’s internet has made leaps and bounds over the last 40 years, did you know the concept and knowledge of the system hasn’t?

Look back at the networks of the Middle Ages and how they worked for example.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 20, 2011 7:08 PM
Comment #317650

C&J,

You have worn me out on this stupid Gore thing. I’ve proffered proofs that indeed Gore was the instrument by which the government was shrunk by 377,000 souls during the last half of Clinton/Gore. The shrinkage was due to Gore being asked by the President to head up a findings committee to find ways to cut the size of government, and then to follow up with the procedures and carry them out. You snivel and squirm around that like an eel on hallucinogens, then act as if it is me who failed to present valid argument. All because you have a snot attitude toward Gore. I have offered proofs that he, in context, did not lay claim to inventing the Internet. Those proofs you Pooh-poohed because you will not accept being wrong on an issue. Bah! You have no shame, and are not worth the efforts it takes to type arguments against you. Your superiority complex is unjustifiable and unacceptable, if only because you are educated and intelligent enough to know better yet refuse to BE better.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 20, 2011 8:41 PM
Comment #317654

C’mon dude, we’ve been subjected to jack’s alter ego(tistical rants) for a long time. He just doesn’t think we’ve managed to catch him at things.

Posted by: jane doe at January 20, 2011 10:08 PM
Comment #317661

jane doe,

You are right…thanks for letting the air out gently.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 20, 2011 11:34 PM
Comment #317680


Marysdude, part of the attacks are over global warming and part of it is an attempt to discredit as a means of improving the image of one of the worst presidents in history. A waste of time.

The Clinton Administration is credited with reducing the size of the Executive Branch which is, within itself, a monarchy.

Posted by: jlw at January 21, 2011 1:37 PM
Comment #317713

jlw,

And it did not last very long. It began to grow again just as soon as a conservative took over. But the attacks on Gore are almost all to do with his bringing Climate Change into the forefront of American thought. Many of those attacks are merely to shine as much discredit as possible on him, and it has worked to a degree. But, enough evidence remains so that Gore can now sink into the woodwork, and his mission of enlightenment will still have a positive effect on how we treat our world. That will be a good thing.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 21, 2011 7:33 PM
Comment #317720

Marysdude

I don’t suppose I can make you understand that when any president creates a committee, it doesn’t mean that something actually happens as a result.

During this same period we had a conservative congress that was fighting for a smaller government all the time and a general mood, as voiced by Bill Clinton, that the period of big government was over.

Saying that Al Gore did this is like crediting the rooster for the rising sun.

When I was younger, I used to get annoyed at bosses who thought that their work stopped when they gave orders or put something into their out basket. Today, as a senior manager, I don’t do that myself nor do I accept it in subordinates. I explain to them that they have to implement, follow and pester to get things done. Most understand after they get a little experience in watching great ideas go nowhere if they are not constantly championed and coalitions are built to support them. They also learn that no one person, no matter how smart of determined, can really do much of anything. When you tell me that Al Gore shrunk the government because he was delegated to do it, among his many other duties, I think of my junior colleagues. I know you are not a junior guy, so I wonder how you avoided the experience to understand this.


Re the Internet - you offered Gore’s words, which sound to me like he claimed credit for the Internet. You tell me that his words were not what he meant to say. You can continue to believe what you want. I will continue to bring it up if you guys bring up Gore. I have the advantage in that I can just quote Gore: “I took the initiative in creating the Internet”. You have to explain why that simple declarative sentence doesn’t mean what it says. And those of us not in the personality cult will probably not be convinced.

It is kind of a modus vivendi we have worked out, whether you like it or not. I don’t expect to change your mind and don’t really care about it. But if I let it go, others might think it is right.

Re Gore in general - I repeat that I promise not to bring him up if you don’t, but if you insist on trying to use Gore as proof, I will have to smack you down on it. Sorry.

Re climate change - I have written on many occasions that I believe that the climate is changing and that human activity is contributing. I object to some of Gores hysteria and I don’t care for his hypocrisy on the issue, but I do not attack the idea of climate change. If you want to fight on this, I expect you will be doing the liberal thing of fighting the straw man you create yourself.

BTW - Gore also did not invent global warming. He did champion it, and may or may not have done service. His exaggerations of a legitimate issue has allowed relatively easy attacks on it.

Jane

I respect that your ever shrinking circle sticks together on all the lefty issues. It is very nice how you praise each other and provide the kind of support so that you all feel like winners. It is a very liberal thing to do. I suppose you all could start a book circle and discuss how you think large organizations work. But do keep away from anybody who has worked in one. This would include Democrats who have run things somewhere besides an activist organization. They may tell you about the friction and uncertainty that make things work less ideally than you guys think they do or should.

If you really think that the president can delegate his VP to to these things and it just happens, why do we need any other parts of government.

I guess that sort of faith explains why 20% of the population remains liberal.

Posted by: C&J at January 21, 2011 9:04 PM
Comment #317726

C&J,

Crap.

Smack me down? You ain’t man…er…woman enough to smack me down. In order to do that you’d have to put one intelligent thought together.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 21, 2011 10:17 PM
Comment #317745

Marydude

I respect your persistence, but among the many liberals who post here, the only ones who have actually forced me to reconsider positions are Gergle & j2t2. Warped Reality comes up with some good ideas, but I am not sure he is/will stay a liberal very much longer, so I cannot put him in the category. Stephen obviously has the intelligence needed, but he tends to concentrate on the same dead-end arguments about “you people.” Paul writes beautifully, but tends not to respond within the threads. David has moved. Did I miss anybody who calls himself/herself a liberal and sometimes has good ideas?

It is a shame. There used to be a more reasoned debate on Watchblog. There was a lot of hate aimed at George Bush, but it was sometimes related to things he had done as president. Today we have to put up with innuendo and outright lies about conservative politicians and grass-roots groups such as the tea party. One of the longest threads was that silly one linking the Tucson shooting to the tea party. The hate got so thick I couldn’t stand it, but the comments continued long after.

You evidently just don’t like conservatives and react out of that emotion. Many liberals are like that. They avoid cognitive dissonance by redefining anybody they don’t like/stop liking as a conservative. It is a beautifully effective, but essentially autoerotic system. Intelligent conservative ideas tend to disrupt the liberal self-absorption. That is why they provoke such anger and hate.

Posted by: C&J at January 22, 2011 10:46 AM
Comment #317751

C&J,

I hate to bring this up, but you are as guilty of:

>You evidently just don’t like liberals (sic) and react out of that emotion. Many conservatives (sic) are like that. They avoid cognitive dissonance by redefining anybody they don’t like/stop liking as a liberal (sic). It is a beautifully effective, but essentially autoerotic system. Intelligent liberal (sic) ideas tend to disrupt the conservative (sic) self-absorption. That is why they provoke such anger and hate.

As anybody here.

Your point is well written and well put. But, you hold yourself pretty high for someone who provokes and prods, not to stimulate discussion, debate or even argument, but discord. I will give it to you…you are very good at that at least. There is none more adapt at that one thing (provoking discord) than you.


Posted by: Marysdude at January 22, 2011 11:34 AM
Comment #317792

Marysdude

It is good to be good at something, if only provoking discord among liberals. This is a place were we exchange opinions. If we all just agree, there is not much interest. Besides, let’s be honest; none of our opinions really amount to a hill of beans. We are not actually going to solve any big problems on these pages. Do you think anybody but the people here really care what we think? I argue here because it is fun to do it. Why do you participate? If people like me don’t engage, this place will be really boring.

The reason they provoke discord, however, is because what I express are ideas contrary to the liberal orthodoxy. You guy just can’t believe that anybody would question your received wisdom.

Re liking liberals or conservatives - I am surrounded by liberals that I like. I even usually like most of the people here. But I get annoyed when I am accused of being a racist, war mongering, ignorant fascist. These are the things that almost always come up. I think that many liberals actually believe these things about conservatives. Witness how quick even “respectable” liberals, such as Paul Krugman and the NYT were to blame the shooting in Arizona on conservatives.

I never do anything like that to liberals as a group. My opinion is that liberals, as a group, are well-meaning and honest, but misguided on some issues. I observe that people become less liberal when they get more experience. I also believe that on more than 90% of the issues, we probably agree and that we probably agree on an even greater percentage of the goals, if not the means to achieve them. I believe that most liberals want to do what is best for their country and the world.

Now try your substitution thing and tell me you believe that about conservatives. I really wonder if you can do that w/o mental reservations or qualifying clauses.

BTW - I see why you substituted words above, but I fail to understand why you placed “sic” each time.

Posted by: C&J at January 22, 2011 5:46 PM
Comment #317795
I am not sure he is/will stay a liberal very much longer

C&J, thank you for the chuckle.

Posted by: Warped Reality at January 22, 2011 6:21 PM
Comment #317796

Warped

You can move away from the dark side any time you want.

Posted by: C&J at January 22, 2011 6:40 PM
Comment #317798

C&J,

sics have also been used for ridicule, typically by drawing attention to the original writer’s mistakes
. Posted by: Marysdude at January 22, 2011 7:12 PM
Comment #317801

Marysdude

They are not meant as ridicule, unless you are quoting and found an error in spelling or grammar. You would also have to quote as it is in order to properly use the “sic”. Since you changed the words, you eliminated the original justification for the sic. You really should not try to use ex-post-facto (you can look that one up too and maybe figure out if you can use it) justifications from Wikipedia, or maybe read the article a bit more carefully to get the real meaning. It is usually better to check before.

Posted by: C&J at January 22, 2011 8:10 PM
Comment #317809

C&J once I stopped laughing and realized you were serious I started thinking. Originally started to post a long line of haha with a LMAO at the end.

When was the last time there was an intelligent conservative thought that would cause you to think it would make a liberal hateful just because a conservative had this intelligent thought?

I haven’t heard of an intelligent conservative thought in ages. Trust me C&J should I hear of one the last thing I would do is be hateful about it. Were you off just one key on the ol’ keyboard and actual meant grateful? ;)

Now I am not saying there isn’t an occasional intelligent thought from conservatives this past decade that amounts to something positive but for the life of me I just can’t recall one. Worthy of an article if you can come up with something IMHO.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 22, 2011 10:33 PM
Comment #317819

j2t2

This is exactly the problem. Liberals believe this kind of stuff.

40%+ of the American people identify themselves as conservative, twice as many as liberals. Conservatives are at least as successful in life and we Americans often elect conservatives president. Between Carter and Obama, however, there were no liberals.

If conservatives are so dumb, why do they keep on beating liberals? And not only at politics.

Liberal thinking has not been very uplifting lately. Consider the health care bill. Conservatives will have to fix it. And even President Obama has turned to conservative ideas about trade and jobs, at least rhetorically, because he understands the liberal stuff won’t work.

I think you guys get too much into that superiority thing.It allows even the dumbest among you to feel better than the smartest conservative. All he has to do is repeat a liberal mantra. But it is silly.

I wrote a simple thing about liberals (above) and I was reasonable certain that they could not return the respect to conservatives and I was right.

Let me rephrase and make it easy for you. I think liberals are just as intelligent and well meaning as non-liberals, even if I disagree with their ideas. You cannot say that about conservatives, can you?

As a conservative who is smarter and more accomplished than most liberals, I understand your need for affirmation but I cannot accept your prejudice.

Posted by: C&J at January 23, 2011 6:11 AM
Comment #317821

C&J,

Doesn’t change the ridicule part, but nice diversion. You could give lessons in diversion and circle jerking. Sometimes it is hard to answer the tough questions and tilt at the hard challenges…you might try it sometime, instead of using the usual conservative ploys of misdirection and agitation.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 23, 2011 7:12 AM
Comment #317822

C&J,
Thanks, now you see that is humor. To think conservatives are smarter than liberals when it is conservtives who are always outting down the higher intitutions of learning. For why I will give to the conservatives today that they are better street thugs than the liberals; however, in the last 40 years IMHO they don’t even come close to understanding the word let alone putting the word to use.

For is it smart to repeal the health care reform act before you you accept the health care reform act?

Is it smart to say you want to vut federal spending only to increase by extending a tax cut designed to deal with a surplus?

Yes, I will be interested to read the posts of today later. For now sleep calls so I can get up and watch the games. So please, don’t take this personally, but the Conservatives and Liberals in America hasn’t been smart for generations. Otherwise, why would America still be facing all the Issues of the 20th Century considering 40 years ago they were given an opportunity to build a Better World?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 23, 2011 7:22 AM
Comment #317824

C&J, yeah I tried to think of an intelligent conservative thought myself and couldn’t. Seems you hit the same wall as all you can do is condemn me in particular and liberals in general. I believe it is because you confuse intelligent thought with”ends justifies the means” misinformation, half truths and outright lies. That is what angers the liberals not intelligent thought by conservatives.

“If conservatives are so dumb, why do they keep on beating liberals? And not only at politics.”

Well C&J you said it yourself, they make up 40% of the voters. You don’t have to be smart to vote, nor do you have to be smart to fool the 40% on many issues. The conservative movement is proof of that. When the movement leaders are allowed to use the wide array of propaganda techniques without question, the task of fooling the majority of those 40% really isn’t that hard. For proof look no farther than the last election. Voting into force the “hair of the dog” repubs that lead to the financial meltdown. Allowing the same group of people that as our representatives voted to borrow and spend us into debt. Lowered taxes during wartime, the list goes on. Now they actually expect things to be different, go figure.

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Frank_Luntz

This was you comment C&J- “Intelligent conservative ideas tend to disrupt the liberal self-absorption. That is why they provoke such anger and hate.”, yet when asked to produce an intelligent conservative thought you have been unable to do so, rendering your accusation as just more anger and hate from conservatives towards liberals.

“Let me rephrase and make it easy for you. I think liberals are just as intelligent and well meaning as non-liberals, even if I disagree with their ideas. You cannot say that about conservatives, can you?”

C&J the problem is the bar has been set so low by conservative movement leaders. I do think, however, conservative movement followers are just as intelligent and well meaning as liberals and moderates even if I disagree with their leaders.


“As a conservative who is smarter and more accomplished than most liberals, I understand your need for affirmation but I cannot accept your prejudice.”

affirmation? prejudice? Smarter in an educated book learning way but you also need to understand that just because someone like myself disagrees with what movement leaders are doing to this country doesn’t mean we hate the movement followers. It also doesn’t mean we discount your education and your abilities, we disagree with the actions of your movement leaders because based upon the actual deeds they have done it is obvious they have lead the country in the wrong direction. Your education and abilities have nothing to do with it.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 23, 2011 11:23 AM
Comment #317828

Marysdude

Actually, it does change the ridicule. It moves it onto you for misunderstanding the proper use. Read that Wikipedia article again, maybe slower. If you make a substitution, you don’t use SIC.

Let me explain this to you in simple words. The use of SIC as ridicule can be used only when the person you are quoting has made an obvious mistake, in terms of things like spelling or grammar, for example. It points to that person’s ignorance. By misusing the SIC, you managed to point to your own ignorance.

Probably many of your liberal colleagues don’t know this, so I am sure you all had a laugh. It is easy to amuse the ignorant.

The cool phrase you can look up now is hoisted by your own petard. That is what you accomplished, although, as I said, what you did was okay as far was many of your liberal colleagues know.

Henry

You don’t know what you are talking about. The only street thugs we have seen recently have worked for the service workers union.

Re higher education - I have enough of it to know that education is not the same as intelligence. Often the pursuit of a PhD is actually a step down from the masters. It directs the person into a strictly academic career.

Those liberals who actually still read books should try “Marketplace of Ideas” by Louis Menard. He is not a conservative, BTW, but he explains the crisis of academia. After you read the book, we can talk again.

j2t2

Try to think of an intelligent liberal thought in the last 50 years.

I am glad you don’t hate conservatives. There has been a lot of hate speech voiced here of late.

Since there are twice as many conservatives as liberals, there are probably more dumb ones. But the proportion is similar.

It is easy to be a liberal. You can say all the nice things and claim to be interested in the world’s poor etc. I became disillusioned with liberalism when I saw the lack of actual follow through. A liberal, I found, is often someone who loves all mankind, but doesn’t really care to help the people nearby. They demand something be done, rather than do something about problems. They vote to give away other people’s money.

John Kennedy told us to ask not what our country can do for us but what we can do for our country. Today’s liberal politicians talk about what government will do for every liberal pressure group and they promise to do it at the expense of “the rich”. It is exactly the opposite of what Kennedy said.

Conservatives know that you cannot be generous with other people’s money.

Re education - I truly regret if you thought I was using education as the basis of intelligence. There is nothing worse than an educated fool. The reason I brought it up was defensive. Liberals often tend to denigrate conservative credentials.

Posted by: C&J at January 23, 2011 7:23 PM
Comment #317829
It is easy to be a liberal. You can say all the nice things and claim to be interested in the world’s poor etc. I became disillusioned with liberalism when I saw the lack of actual follow through. A liberal, I found, is often someone who loves all mankind, but doesn’t really care to help the people nearby. They demand something be done, rather than do something about problems. They vote to give away other people’s money.

What you are describing isn’t liberalism. Maybe it’s progressivism or socialism, but it certainly runs counter to liberal ideology.

Posted by: Warped Reality at January 23, 2011 7:48 PM
Comment #317830

jack, haven’t you left yet? There is not enough room in here for your head. Your arrogance has always been an issue, but your posts are the epitome of “sublime to ridiculous”!!

Posted by: jane doe at January 23, 2011 8:09 PM
Comment #317832

C&J,
“The only street thugs we have seen recently have worked for the service workers union.”

Please, I know you can go better than that if you try. Nonetheless, all one has to do is listen to Conservatives since 9/11 talk about how if your not with us you are against us to recognize the Street Thugs tactics being used by the Republican Machine.

For if calling for taking out your political opponent by your followers is proper take of a Lady and Gentleman than explain how calling for your boss or family members to have an accident by the deeds of others is actually a crime.

And I am still trying to figure out wat you are talking about by the “service workers union” when they ain’t even a political party.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 23, 2011 9:21 PM
Comment #317838

C&J,

I’ll put this in simple terms that even you can understand…it was meant as ridicule. If you did not understand it the way I wrote it for ANY reason, my error, or your inability to understand, it was still meant to serve the same purpose. So now you know. Circle jerking is a lost cause.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 24, 2011 6:18 AM
Comment #317870

Marysdude

I understand that you meant it as ridicule. But you did it wrong. It is like not remembering the punch line to the joke and then telling listeners that they could have figured it out.

I take great pains to try to figure out “intent”, which is often not easy. But when you make such an obvious mistake in the evident attempt to point the mistakes of another, if snaps back at you.

Warped

Liberalism has lots of definitions these days. The only thing we can say that it is not is what it was back when liberals stood for greater freedom and less government.

If we look at people acknowledged to be liberals, we come up with examples like Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry & Henry Waxman, along with lots of celebrities. My definition seems to fit these guys.

Henry

Do you have any examples of violence at a tea party rally, besides that one where the service union thugs attacked a conservative activist? I mean, do you have any examples of violence by actual tea party members?

Jane

I point out the problems with the thinking here in your self-referent circle and you think it is arrogance. To quote a Democrat I respect, “I don’t give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it’s Hell.”

Posted by: C&J at January 24, 2011 7:16 PM
Comment #317877

C&J,
Busy watching Raw, your question is all to easy to prove especially today with the willful attack on our police officers. So to borrow a phrase from President Bush, do you really want to see a mushroom cloud before you believe the rants from the right are creating violent acts in America. Did you not hear the young man from Arizona post that hebelieve it was the government who was the problem? Did it not repeat Glen Beck in saying it was wrong for America to be off the Gold Standard?

And than we have video of Tea Party Members stepping on a Lady’s head after she was on the ground just weeks before the 2008 Elections. Is this the actions of a Gentleman? If so than i it safe for the Ladies in your life even to be in the house?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 24, 2011 10:03 PM
Comment #317878

C&J,

You take great pains to do NOTHING except jerk the circle and create hate and discontent. You are adept.

You knew the record on Gore and the Internet, yet posited stupidity.

You knew the truth about the record of Gore’s position in reducing the size of governemnt during Clinton, and asked everyone here to believe otherwise.

You were more than aware of my meaning in one post, and used up several to ignore the important parts and concentrate on the trivial.

You rarely answer a question or answer to a challenge without first demeaning the person who posits it. Most of the time you do not even read a posting, but glance over it and answer or insult the easiest part of that posting.

You sir/madam are here to create distortion, hate and to detract everyone from the pursuit of actual learning and enlightenment.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 24, 2011 10:15 PM
Comment #317880

dude, jack is certainly no madam, and I wouldn’t even give the “sir” to him. He has found such glee in jerking some around on here and presenting a near fictitious and quasi persona since the Bush circle f**k days in Iraq.
And, he did, in fact, do what your last sentence states.

Posted by: jane doe at January 24, 2011 10:37 PM
Comment #317948

Marysdude

You brought up Gore, not me. Sorry if I bring up truth in the face of your argument. I really don’t believe even you believe what you wrote about Gore.

Re the use of “sic” you are the one who misused it, not me. I understood that it was a lame attempt to make fun of me. Sorry that I used it to display your own grasp of the of the language. You actually ridiculed yourself; I just pointed it out to anybody who missed it.

Re creating hate - I enjoy using language in ways that you might sometimes understand as making fun. It is what I do. I do not make fun of you as people, since I don’t even know you, but I do make fun of what you say, since it written right here. I regret if that creates hate in you.

Re reading the whole post - I remember the story of the guy who kept on sending his manuscripts to publishers and kept on getting rejected. He was sure that they didn’t read his work and he got more and more angry and frustrated. He glued pages 100-101 together to see if they read the whole book. When he got his manuscript back, rejected again, the pages were still stuck together.

He wrote - I know you didn’t read my book, since I glued pages 100-101 together and they are still glued.

The reply came back from the editor - “One does not need to eat the whole egg to know it is rotten.”

Henry

You did point to ONE good example, for which everybody apologized. Among all the millions of tea party rallies, this is not much and it was not at a tea party rally, BTW. The only actual tea party rally violence that I can recall is when service union thugs attacked a black conservative in a wheelchair.

You can find incidents of violence on all sides, rather more on the left. You can see this youtube and look at the others nearby. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFeUhSlHiUQ&feature=related.

Jane and Dude

Who around here is seeking enlightenment? This blog is opinion-based. If you pursue enlightenment and learning here, it will continue to evade you. This blog is entertainment and spin, based on facts (we all hope) but facts are not the prime movers here. You all don’t like it when actual facts get in the way of your opinions.

I keep on telling you folks that if you don’t like what I write, don’t read it. I don’t care. Frankly, it is getting a little dull around here anyway. If you ignore me, I will go away.

Posted by: C&J at January 26, 2011 7:03 PM
Comment #317949

jack, most of the facts you deal with are so slanted with your interpretations, that they fall way short or truth. And I’m waiting patiently for you to go away…..
It’s getting dull around here, because you and a half dozen others have managed to piss so many people off that they have already left. Your crap talk, made up stuff and recently obsessive ranting and preaching went over the edge!!

Posted by: jane doe at January 26, 2011 8:10 PM
Comment #317953

C&J,
Good to see you are still hanging around. For why I have attempted a couple of times to post over at Discuss America.org I keep getting rejected even after I signed up as a member.

However, I don’t think Marysdude and Jane Doe is coming down hard on you for biocing your opinion; nevertheless, the name calling and out right misinformation has never been taken lightly here.

So stick around and who knows you might learn a few things. Because why we all love a good debate on the issues, finding out you can’t always defend your political partys’ positions and still keep your soul intact is just part of the game. And why the reason is fairly straight forward, having grown up learning just why we were never taught any better is just one of thode reasons the Children of the 70’s was told to go teach our parents Right from Wrong.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 26, 2011 9:26 PM
Comment #317968

Jane

I guess you can’t ignore me.

I would point out that most of the people who left were people on the right, who were not pissed off by what I said. You lefties are the ones hanging around like farts in the phone booth. You still think it is 2008, when many Americans temporarily forgot that they didn’t much like liberalism.

Posted by: C&J at January 27, 2011 10:04 PM
Comment #317970

Thanks jane doe. C&J has either turned into a troll, or has worn a great disguise for a long time. He/she’s worn me down. He/she has grown tiresome and boring.

The trolls have worn us all down. j2t2, Warped Reality, who answer to them in a half hearted way, the several posters who have dropped out or only come around infrequently…’they’, the trolls have taken over a good site and made it into something unwholesome and ugly. And, now I’m gone as well.

Be at peace.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 27, 2011 10:52 PM
Comment #319795

Nice post, isnt there someone that profits from the extremes? of course that is why we go from extreme to extreme instead of staying at median as the extremes create changes in politics especially….allows someones agenda…not a black helicopter guy, but its obvious these extremes are on purpose using our own greed and our pride, emotions as a weapon against ourselves…. my ten cents

Posted by: Scott at March 8, 2011 1:31 PM
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