Democrats & Liberals Archives

Self-Parody and Its Discontents

Poe’s Law, boiled down, is that if something in our culture’s crazy, strange, and/or stupid enough, it will be difficult to parody it without being mistaken for the real thing.

When your political party reaches this stage, you know you’re in trouble.

Surely, nobody would want to return to deficits, given how hard it was to undo them in the first place. Surely after Vietnam, nobody would let a war go out of control, ignoring signs of a building insurgency, or hoping that they could kill their way into the hearts and minds of the people of a country.

Surely this, surely that. (Don't call me Shirley!) I thought there were a lot of things people wouldn't allow to happen, simply because the risks were too great, the outcomes too mind-numbingly terrible.

I underestimated the determination of the Republican Party to win through sheer contrarianism.

There was a time when this willingness to push through any and every political inconvenience with Orwell-grade spin and revisionist history was very scary to me, but as time has worn on, most of that fear has been replaced with pity, because in many cases, terrible consequences aside, the Republican Party had destroyed itself by continuing to embrace errors of policy and truly incompetent politicians.

The Party's convinced itself it has to win every fight, which leaves it well motivated, but motivated to do what? As McGeorge Bundy once said, if you guard your toothbrushes like diamonds, you'll lose fewer toothbrushes, and more diamonds.

Every fight takes time, energy, and work, and you give up something for that. If what you decide to do is fight every single little battle, you may win more at first, but as you save more of your toothbrushes, you'll lose more of your diamonds.

Let's take the recent case of Herman Cain.

Trust me, he's not a diamond. as an iPhone user with updates from CNN enabled, I recently got a mystifying update, saying that Cain was pre-emptively denying an adultery charge, getting out in front of it.

Now, I've seen many things in my time as a politically addicted news hound, but rarely have I seen somebody break their own scandal. I mean, it would be like Bill Clinton saying "I did not have sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky" back before drudge published it, or calling a press conference to get in front of Gennifer Flowers making her announcement. It would be like Barack Obama pre-emptively, at a debate early in 2008, going, "By the way folks, if you hear my preacher made some off-color remarks in the pulpit, I was nowhere near the place when that crazy SOB shot his mouth off."

Most people respond to a scandal, they don't fight to get their first to break the story, and with good reason. I mean, it's something out of a comedy routine, and if somebody doesn't do one based on this, I'll be deeply disappointed.

I mean, imagine a candidate going "Well, Wolf, I'd just like to say first that I did not have sex with with Mrs. Jenkins, who's going to have her press conference at two, I unequivocally deny the allegations the FBI made to me about defrauding my client while I was a stockbroker at Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe that they're going to break tomorrow, and those campaign workers who'll come on your show next week and complain I'm not paying them are liars whose pants and miniskirts are on fire."

It gets worse, if you can believe that. According to a politico article my brother e-mailed me, and which had me laughing helplessly when I got it, they confirmed the connection with Cain by texting him at the number that she alleged was his, and he called her in return.

In case you think this was an isolated incident, than nothing had happened:

She [Ginger White] showed us some of her cell phone bills that included 61 phone calls or text messages to or from a number starting with 678. She says it is Herman Cain's private cell phone. The calls were made during four different months-- calls or texts made as early as 4:26 in the early morning, and as late as 7:52 at night. The latest were in September of this year.

Paranoia is the best way to lose your common sense, when it comes to dealing with the ugly truth about your politicians. If they can convince you to discount sources simply because they're associated with one part of the media or another, if they can get you to buy a bias theory, then you'll be gullible about the strangest damn stories and the most nonsensical excuses. I'm not saying this as somebody pure who can comment on this from on high. I'm saying this as somebody who had to follow a defense of Anthony Weiner with a humiliating acknowledgment that he was full of crap about his claims.

It wasn't that Breitbart was truly trustworthy. Ordinarily I would have been right to distrust Breitbart,.but whether he was trustworthy or not, if he was basing his reports on truthfula facts, and not making things up in that case, no matter what I thought of him or the Congressman, what he said was going to be true. Anthony Weiner did text lewd pictures to somebody.

It's understandable that we defend our own. Organizationally, though, there have to be limits to our defense of people, limits to how much we tolerate amongst our own, if we want to really, truly do the kind of damage control that actually works: prevention.

Trouble is, despite the fact that spin doctoring rarely simplifies a situation made complicated by inconvenient facts, it is easier, act by act, to simply lie, conceal, and spin things. Hot air generation is always easier than coming up with good policies, keeping your behavior straight, and avoiding the temptations of the office. Also, of course, failures are inevitable. If you don't take risks, if you don't stir up any trouble by trying to reform things, if you don't make waves in the stagnant pond of congress by suggesting folks not defer to the big special interests, you do save yourself a lot of trouble.

At the end of the day, the pressure that comes from us, the voters, and from the press as well, is necessary to stem the tide of corruption. You can't both rail against the scuzziness of Congress and get defensive as a reflex against the other side trying to keep you honest.

Ah, but how do you watch the watchers? How do you make sure the charges aren't a bunch of hype? It's important to seek out facts independent of those who have an agenda. Then you can respond based on some kind of grounding in the truth, refuting things not by saying "Oh, that's just FOXNews Conservative talking points (as if that puts a hitch in the stride of somebody who actually watches or buys their line)" but instead by saying something like "Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae's bottom lines and market share of the subprime market were shrinking by the height of the housing bubble, making them unlikely culprits for the overall excess of risky loans, and ruling out scenarios based on scapegoating those who pressed for friendly regulatory treatment for the GSEs."

Note what I do there. It's not just a question of what is possible, but what is necessarily included and excluded as possible or likely. I may not like Breitbart, or trust him, but neither of those two facts means he has to be wrong. I can demonstrate on a case by case basis that he distributed videos whose implications were deceptive, by going over the facts in there, but simply saying that because it is Breitbart means he has to be wrong is trusting my credibility to a lousy argument.

For years I contended with conservatives on this website who chose to disbelieve the urgency of problems dealing with the War in Iraq on account of their distrust of the liberal media, or critics of the war in general. This kind of logic did little to change the fact that our troops did have less armor protecting them than they needed, or that their numbers were not enough to sit on and prevent an insurgency. It did little to vindicate policies like Paul Bremer's disbanding of the police, or the distrust early on for making deals with the Sheiks in the Anbar Province.

Ultimately, Conservatives ended up supporting a lot of the policies in Iraq that we had supported in the first place. Only problem was, they did so two years too late, and we had to deal with a bloody surge in order to redeem the situation. Even earlier than that, in 2004, Bush initiated, then called off an assault on the insurgency stronghold of Fallujah, allowing that place to sit for six months as a red zone for our troops, while people like me said that was a lousy idea. Bush had broke Fallujah, but failed to fully take ownership of the mistake by completing the pacification.

The folks who got us into that mess recently showed up at a foreign policy debate, basically as honored guests.
Such a terrible punishment for their policy failure!

I mean, if that was the kind of punishment I got, then surely I would cast those discredited policies aside (no they wouldn't, apparently. And don't call me Shirley) But all kidding aside, you can't repair or avoid repeating mistakes all that well if you decide not to actually admit to any, if you just keep on going along nursing your confirmation bias. You need doubts. You need contradiction that you take seriously. You need to recognize wisdom and points of view from beyond your narrow political groups, if you are to face things in the real world well. Nobody has a complete grasp on things, and that certainly doesn't get any better when you double down on provably bad ideas.

Sometimes, people think you're crazy because you are crazy. (Or acting like it.) Sometimes, they think you're dumb because you are dumb (Or acting like it.) Sometimes, they think you're threatening because you are threatening.

I mean, people showing up outside political events with guns, and slogans implying they'll use violence if they don't get their way? People screaming paranoid stuff at the top of their lungs at other folks, disrupting normally sedate townhalls? A guy basically pumping out survivalist propaganda on his show, making allegations about the government I last saw Fox Mulder getting a laugh at in the X-Files movie?

Why should I feel reassured when the other side uses these? Why should I hold back scorn and ridicule? When things are nutty, stupid, and hair-raising, to others, perhaps they are so for a reason. What distinguishes your paranoia from my honest fear? Well, not to put too fine a point on it, but the facts, again, and the implications necessarily drawn from them. The folks on the Daily Show and the Colbert Report had a field day with Glenn Beck precisely because of the outlandish way he built his arguments, and the fevered, paranoid conclusions he came to. When you're deriving the astounding conclusion that the Rockefellers are commies from the thirties architecture of their buildings, you might want to check your chain of inference again.

That this guy was so influential was a sign for many that the folks who actually believed them lacked credibility, that the Republican Party itself had passed it's expiration date. I mean some might compare him to Peter Finch's character from Network, and might remember that thunderous speech about being mad as hell and everything, but how many people making that reference remember the rest of the film, remember the way Finch's character is transformed into a marketed commodity, the way he gets brutally confronted when he questions the way his network is doing business, and the three ring circus his show becomes by the end?

And how many people can look at that movie today without wondering how satire got so close to reality? When folks perpetuate their own good fortunes at the expense of the truth, when the special interests have a nice little dedicated pipeline to feed folks their self-interested BS, when the folks who yell the loudest and make the most brazen claims are the ones whose message gets out easiest, of course the absurd will triumph. The trouble is, left to itself, the truth can often being boring, even reassuring, and some folks want their followers strongly motivated, even if it means making them fear something or someone they have no business fearing. Meanwhile, not only are people taught to fear the wrong things, but the constant scare tactics drain folks of their ability to care, leave them feeling shell-shocked.

You need more than just fear in your life to center yourself as a rational person making non-silly judgments. You will become a caricature of yourself if you act according to the theory that half the country is out to destroy that country, if you buy the idea that the Constitution is being dangled over the paper shredder, that all their concerns are just preludes to the takeover of socialism. Take that attitude and you'll never escape, never calm down, and you'll be stridently promoting policies the rest of the country thinks are insane. The truth is rather pedestrian. The Democrats want to take the country back in a direction it's already gone, that it already survived, and that already failed to develop into socialism and the destruction of the country. The constitution survived the first big age of liberalism, and it will probably survive this one.

It's time to calm down, to stop stressing yourself out and worrying about dumb things. It's time to be yourself once again. It's time to realize to break your addiction to being scared of liberals, and quit running from the values and agreements you might share with us. It's time to end the stupid melodrama today's politics have developed into.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at November 29, 2011 9:08 PM
Comments
Comment #332543

Actually, I enjoyed this article by SD which doesn’t happen often enough.

Now…if he would only take a long drink of his own medicine he might find more agreement with him on occasion.

I also found some humor in his comments. His singular “mea culpa” in his mistaken defense of Anthony Weiner appears, in his mind, to have left him absolved of other more egregious comments, defending persons and policies, which many of us have proven wrong, nonsensical, biased, and unsupported.

I recall the battle I waged with SD on Watchblog in which he was arguing that he was a fact-filled fellow. After many keystrokes he finally thrashed me brutally by writing that “his” facts were were better than “my” facts. I still smile when I think of that pen-fight. To this day I don’t know if he ever found the humor in that statement.

There is no doubt that SD has a consuming interest in politics. He has his feet firmly planted in the liberal camp and appears to be compelled to defend any and all liberal politicians and causes. While most Americans shudder at the thought of our nation’s indebtedness he willingly proclaims that more debt is needed.

The numbers and wages of government employees has grown in ways all out of proportion to the nations private work force and yet is defended by SD as necessary and desirable.

The abundance of natural resources with which our nation is blessed seems to be an annoyance to SD and his like-minded liberals. Not content with our good fortune in having these resources he urges abandoning them in favor of technologies not yet able to take their place. Magical thinking is the purview of the liberal. For them, the “fairy dust” to be sprinkled is money; not their money, but the money of others.

The liberal of today is a simple and single minded individual who advocates solutions that benefit some at the expense of others. Individual freedom can only be tolerated by them if it doesn’t interfere with their goals and ambitions. The Constitution for them appears to be outdated and nonfunctional in the 21st century. It belongs in a museum, not in the halls of congress or in the office of the president.

For me, and my fellow conservatives, We will trust and advocate what our founders wrote and believed. We will cherish our history while recognizing faults which were or must be corrected. We will change what does not work and keep that which does. We will resist liberalism that advocates group rights over individual rights. We will never surrender our cherished beliefs about good governance.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 30, 2011 1:01 PM
Comment #332545

Royal such arrogance. Such anger. The facts aren’t on your side my friend yet you continue the mythinformation of the far right as if it were true.

1. Has anybody here on WB that made excuses for Cain taken the same steps as Stephen did on the Weiner issue? Or have they continued on as if nothing has happened?

2. Stephen is right, layoffs in the public sector has kept the economy down yet we continue to cut. The private sector hasn’t stepped up despite the tax cuts. It is a case of need not want if we want the economy to get strong once again.

3. The wages of government workers are in line with the private sector in many areas some wages are higher some lower. The myth of conservatism is wrong. The problem is private sector wages hasn’t grown to keep up with the cost of living.

4. Our natural resources continue to be harvested, perhaps not fast enough for those who think we are in the end days or for those that want to privatize the rights to these resources but they do continue to be harvested.

5. The myth of “OPM” is just that, a myth Royal, that you continue to propagate. The simple fact is we all pay taxes not just conservatives. BTW the rich include people other than conservatives.

6.”The liberal of today is a simple and single minded individual who advocates solutions that benefit some at the expense of others.” Royal spouts as if conservatives aren’t exactly the same. Such simple minded nonsense from conservatives.

7. Royal goes on with ” Individual freedom can only be tolerated by them if it doesn’t interfere with their goals and ambitions. The Constitution for them appears to be outdated and nonfunctional in the 21st century. It belongs in a museum, not in the halls of congress or in the office of the president.”. Yet conservatives believe in economic rights only. They use the bible and religion as an excuse to persecute others. Individual rights evidently are only for collectives such as corporations when you are a conservative.

8. “For me, and my fellow conservatives, We will trust and advocate what our founders wrote and believed. We will cherish our history while recognizing faults which were or must be corrected.” Royal states. Yet when liberals recognize faults they are unpatriotic. It seems to me the conservatives believe the constitution has only 2 amendments and was meant for landowning slaveholders only.

Our founding fathers told us the constitution is a work in progress. They didn’t want us shackled to the past as our country grew as conservatives do Royal. BTW wasn’t group rights exactly what the conservatives of the SCOTUS gave us in the Citizens United decision?

Posted by: j2t2 at November 30, 2011 1:39 PM
Comment #332547

Royal Flush-
You would find agreement with me if I conceded every argument to your specifications? Well, I don’t believe you, actually. I think you’d just go further to the right and then say, “Hey Stephen, here are the goalposts now!”

Your comment is short on specifics. What am I supposed to concede, on what point? What are the facts that justify such a concession?

You don’t say. You simply insist I would be better off doing it, which strikes me as a call to conformity, rather than a call to reconcile my opinions with the facts.

You repeat a set of talking points that have become your standard, including these:

There is no doubt that SD has a consuming interest in politics. He has his feet firmly planted in the liberal camp and appears to be compelled to defend any and all liberal politicians and causes.

Where you’re basically trying to tell our audience that my own beliefs are mindless conformity. You don’t dispute the opinions I offer in any specifics, you just claim that my defenses would be employed regardless of the situation, sidestepping what you perceive as your need to provide any facts.

But my points in the article above still stand. You don’t get to simply discount a point because I tend to defend Democrats more than Republicans. Whether I’m right or not depends on whether my facts and inferences are correct, yet you haven’t really mounted any kind of challenge to those.

While most Americans shudder at the thought of our nation’s indebtedness he willingly proclaims that more debt is needed.

You proclaim that we need to keep the tax cuts that prevent tens of billions of dollars out of public coffers every year, adding to the deficit. But if I were to argue merely from your hypocrisy, I could only claim that your statement could more rightly apply to your people than ours.

It is true I would be willing to take on more debt than our current baseline would have it, but I would do so in the service of the economy. If the economy recovers, then guess what? Revenues recover. If revenues recover, we don’t have to borrow the money they cover. Since stimulus measures would not be permanent, but a recovery of our economy would have long lasting effects, the lack of chronic unemployment, if we’re successful, would help us avoid future debt.

Which, in case you haven’t noticed, is what this is mostly about.

But in this case, since the President proposes methods of paying for his proposals to go along with them, that argument proves unnecessary. This president’s proposals will be paid for in the budgets for that period.

The truth is, you simply don’t like those means of paying for them, so you simply ignore or disparage them.

I’m not going to concede to that unwillingness to acknowledge the actual policy on the table.

The numbers and wages of government employees has grown in ways all out of proportion to the nations private work force and yet is defended by SD as necessary and desirable.

Has it grown out of proportion to the private sector?

No, in truth, the public sector has been hit hard, especially as Republicans got out the machetes and hacked away at local and state governments, also tying our hands on state aid. Take a look at this chart It is argueable that the huge increase of public sector layoffs, about mid-2010, worked as an anti-stimulus, increasing unemployment right at the point where just leaving things as they were could have seen the recovering private sector job increases helped, not dragged on by the public sector remaining where it was.

Ah, but Public sector jobs don’t count, do they? They get paid in this imaginary money that doesn’t get taken in by the private companies they frequent, or the private contractors that get employed by the state, local, or Federal governments.

The problem here is that you won’t recognize the benefits of having people employed, regardless of who’s paying their check. With large deficits, there’s no chance that the relatively small cuts that the Republicans are proposing will actually mean cash back in people’s pockets. They have even been resistant to payroll tax cuts that would do that without the middlemen of the so-called job creators.

But of course, that won’t stop you from claiming that.

I’m not for government blowing up like a balloon. I want private sector increases. I also want us to stop self-mutilating the economic recovery out of some misguided sense of fiscal responsibility. The problem is, Republicans are trying to prove that they’re good old fashion fiscal conservatives, after years of deficit-fueling irresponsibility on both sides of the fiscal equation by cutting government services at exactly our time of greatest need.

From my perspective, Republican judgment on when to cut, when to spend, and how to pay for everything hasn’t improved. It’s just taken on a new level of perversity.

The abundance of natural resources with which our nation is blessed seems to be an annoyance to SD and his like-minded liberals.

Content? Content with a system that we can scientifically prove is endangering the stability of our climate, which has economic impacts, mostly negative? Content with a system that ruins four barrels of water and burns cleaner natural gas to bring up some of the dirtiest, foulest oil on the market?

Content with reckless deep sea drilling which recently resulted in one of the worst environmental catastrophes in American history?

You like to push these ridiculous arguments that portray us as these melodramatic, idiot-ball holding characters, but the truth is, however we might benefit from the current system, the costs are outweighing, in the long run, the benefits.

Me, I want America to benefit from the sand and semiconducting elements we have in this country. I want it to benefit from the sunshine that radiates down on its lands and the wind that blows across our plains, through our mountains, and along our coasts. I want us to find ways of generating our energy, and creating our fuels that makes us less reliant on taking out and unsequestering hyrocarbons which were nicely and safely trapped below the ground.

I don’t want to waste our resources, I want to depend on cleaner, more environmentally sound resources. I want us to mature in our use of our resources, rather than ravaging our countrysides, decapitating our mountaings, fouling our streams and groundwater in order to exploit, only for the moment, a limited resource.

And its not about magical fairy-dust, either. That is the claim of the ignorant, the people unaware at the vast improvements and cost savings in solar, wind, and other renewable technologies. The costs of fossil fuels are going up, and will go up as the scarcity of them increases. We’re not extracting tar sands because they are easy or cheap to bring up. We’re extracting it because we’re running out of economic alternatives in the long run.

If you want to hitch your wagon to a dwindling fuel source, be my guest. Solar, though, will continue to increase in its economics, regardless of whether we’re the ones making them. I want us to be the ones making them.

If you want me to believe that by not agreeing with you, I have cast myself into error, you’ve done a poor job.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 30, 2011 3:22 PM
Comment #332548

SD asked me to take a look at the link he provided regarding government jobs. I did, and here’s a quote from that link.

“The public sector is expected to remain a drag on overall job growth in the months and even years to come. “We can’t afford the amount of government service that we’ve been consuming,” O’Keefe says. Despite all the layoffs over the past few years, the public sector still has 7 percent more workers than it had at the beginning of 2000. The private sector, on the other hand, has about 1 percent fewer jobs. “The growth in public sector employment was probably going to be curtailed irrespective of the general trend in the economy, but obviously with the severe disruptions that we had from ‘07 to ‘09, the impact on the public sector has been even more severe,” O’Keefe says.”

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 30, 2011 4:16 PM
Comment #332551

Royal Flush,
I agree. The 7% growth of workers in the public sector since 2000 can and should be cut immediately. That means cutting defense and doing away with the TSA and Homeland Security.

Since the airline industry has enjoyed a net loss of tens of billions of dollars over the past several decades, and now needs the TSA for security, it would make sense to stop pretending the free market favors its existence. The free market has rendered its decision, and the airline industry has failed to justify its existence as an ongoing private enterprise. However, we still need the airlines, even though the free market has rendered a decision against air travel. Time to nationalize the industry. Time to stop pretending.

Posted by: phx8 at November 30, 2011 4:48 PM
Comment #332552

j2t2

“2. Stephen is right, layoffs in the public sector has kept the economy down yet we continue to cut.”


ah yes, the old liberal myth that hiring more gov’t workers will boost the economy. i know i always feel richer when i take money out of one pocket and put it in another.

you know that also reminds me of the borrowing of soc. sec. surplus for the purpose of spending it in the general fund. only this time we’re taking money out of one pocket and replacing it with IOUs. when do you suppose those will be honored? at some point that money will have to paid back……or maybe not. we’ll just keep cutting the benefit amount, and raising the eligibility age.


“1. Has anybody here on WB that made excuses for Cain taken the same steps as Stephen did on the Weiner issue? Or have they continued on as if nothing has happened?”


who made excuses for cain ? all stephen did was to try and distract by jumping on the breitbart bandwagon. wow… turns out wiener boys computer wasn’t hacked after all. the fact that he didn’t start an official investigation immediatly after making that comment should have been an obvious red flag for anyone who didn’t have thier head burried in thier rectum.


“Yet conservatives believe in economic rights only.”

what other right are you talking about?

“They use the bible and religion as an excuse to persecute others.”


how is that any different then persecuting others because of economic means? ie the evil rich who don’t pay thier fair share. never mind the top 1% roughly 40% of all income tax collected.

http://www.ntu.org/tax-basics/who-pays-income-taxes.html


“Individual rights evidently are only for collectives such as corporations when you are a conservative.”


this coming from someone who believes the fruits of ONES labor belong to everyone, and should be confiscated by the gov’t in order to “spread the wealth around”.

“Our founding fathers told us the constitution is a work in progress. They didn’t want us shackled to the past as our country grew as conservatives do Royal”


oh wait……the living document theory. i just love that. don’t like what the founders intended, have a group of attorneys reinterpret it to fit your agenda. don’t like the const.? there’s a way to change it. it’s called the amendment process. other than it was written the way it was intended to be written. unfortunately for liberals it gets in the way of furthering thier socialist agenda. damn those individual rights!


Posted by: dbs at November 30, 2011 4:57 PM
Comment #332553

I read many newspapers, magazines, and some websites. A common denominator among the mainstream press is a propensity to thrash every republican candidate while saying little about any achievements by obama.

It is clear that the presidential campaign run by obama and the dems will be to bash the rep candidate rather than extol the accomplishments of the current occupant of the White House.

As a conservative, I would relish a battle in which obama runs on his record but that won’t happen.

It now appears to me that Mitt Romney will emerge as the republican candidate. I am satisfied with that. I believe Mitt will run on issues while obama will run on hate, misinformation and class warfare.

Romney knows the economic issues well and can attack obama on numerous fronts for his failures. Romney has almost an infinite number of quotes from obama in which he clearly does not believe in American exceptionalism, and quotes of his derision of our country and our achievements.

Unlike McCain, Romney will not fail to bring the fight to obama who must defend his administration and the state of our nation’s economy which belongs to this president.

Most Americans, other than the die-hard 20% of liberal voters, will not tolerate obama blaming Bush or anyone else for the nation’s current dismal economic straits.

Should obama continue to claim no responsibility for our current problems he will slide ever further in the polls. And, should his only solution to our problems continue to be more spending and debt he will face a landslide against him much the same as Carter experienced.

Posted by: Royal Flush at November 30, 2011 5:15 PM
Comment #332555
ah yes, the old liberal myth that hiring more gov’t workers will boost the economy. i know i always feel richer when i take money out of one pocket and put it in another.

dbs no one said anything about hiring more government workers, I mentioned those laid off this past year from city county state and federal jobs. Those now unemployed and receiving UI.
That being said employed people contribute more to the economy than those unemployed. Whether it is by the public or private sector they contribute more than unemployed workers..


what other right are you talking about?

I rest my case dbs. That explains a lot though.

how is that any different then persecuting others because of economic means? ie the evil rich who don’t pay thier fair share. never mind the top 1% roughly 40% of all income tax collected.

Oh puleezze dbs are you trying to make the case that the rich are being persecuted by the poor? Really!

this coming from someone who believes the fruits of ONES labor belong to everyone, and should be confiscated by the gov’t in order to “spread the wealth around”.

I don’t know anyone in favor of confiscating anyone’s wealth, except those conservatives who passed the law allowing the police to do just that to dope dealers. I certainly don’t think the fruits of your labor belong to me but remember the fruts of my labor also go towards paying the bills of this country. I know that may come as a shock dbs but it is true that all of us pay taxes, not just the wealthy and conservatives. You know I really haven’t sen anyone get rich from welfare or unemployment have you?

Thanks for the misleading 40% link though dbs but here are the facts that count, they have more income but pay less of it than before.

“Data from the Tax Foundation bears this out. Between 1987 and 2008, the share of income controlled by the top 1% grew to 20% from 12%. That signals a total share growth of 67%. During the same period, their share of taxes went to 28% from 24%, suggesting share growth of 17%.”

http://blogs.wsj.com/wealth/2011/09/26/why-the-rich-pay-40-of-taxes/

Posted by: j2t2 at November 30, 2011 5:46 PM
Comment #332556

Royal Flush,
Well, that’s a twist. Obama is in the news every day. Usually, conservatives denounce the bias of the MSM. Yet now, according to you, the MSM says ” little about any achievements by obama.” And apparently, they thrash the GOP candidates. Really? Really?

Did you like it when Cain CALLED a press conference to announce his 13 year affair? That was one of the unintentionally funniest things a candidate has ever done. By the way, did you actually print my comments and predictions about Cain? I sure hope so. My comments and predictions about that clown have been 100% accurate and spot on. You are welcome.

Did you like it when Perry stood at a microphone and urged everyone in New Hampshire over the age of 21 to make sure and vote on November 12th? Of course, the election will be November 6th, and 18 year olds can vote in NH. Darn that MSM! They MAKE Perry say stupid things.

Bachmann… Trump… Gingrich…
Snort.

What a laugh. What a wonderful troupe of clowns! Thank you, Royal Flush, for supporting this circus. It couldn’t happen without people like you. Thank you.

Did you catch Romney’s first advertisement in NH? His campaign took a sentence by Obama, cut off its beginning and ending, and presented the snipped sentence as if Obama meant something completely different from what he actually said. Nice. It’s called “misinformation.” Seems like the “almost infinite” number of Obama quotes just weren’t up to snuff.

And believe me, from the bottom of my heart, no one deserves Mitt Romney more than conservative voters. In the meantime, please, don’t give up on Newt!

Posted by: phx8 at November 30, 2011 6:00 PM
Comment #332557

Royal Flush-
First, let’s clarify something here. I linked to a graph attached to the article, which essentially showed a huge amount of public sector layoffs in mid 2010 countering big increases in private sector employment.

But second, the article’s overall position has been relayed inaccurately by you. I suspect you read only the portions you thought would support your argument, and chucked the rest. That kind of gets problematic when the subtitle of the piece is “Since peaking in 2008 [That is, the year before Obama assumed office] local governments have shed almost 500,000 jobs.”

Ah, but you say, that’s helpful, that’ll restore the economy!

Not quite.

The metro areas that gained government jobs have generally fared better economically since the beginning of the recession than cities that lost government jobs. Of the 20 metro areas with the strongest overall economic performance since the start of the recession, 17 of them, including Boston, Atlanta, and Pittsburgh, have gained government jobs since their periods of peak total employment. Fourteen of the 20 metro areas with the weakest overall performance, including Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Orlando, lost government jobs since hitting peak total employment, according to the Brookings report. Wial worries that ongoing negotiations on Capitol Hill could lead to drastic cuts, which could be a huge drag on the economy. “Depending upon how big those cuts are, it could slow economic growth down,” Wial says. “It could even push us back into another recession, if the cuts are big enough and fast enough.”

In other words, strong performance is tied more strongly with maintaining those jobs, weak performance likewise with losing them.

As for Mitt Romney?

Mitt’s been on so many sides of the issue he could debate himself. Hell, he’s taken many of Obama’s stances, so Obama himself would only sometimes be needed to add an opposing point of view.

The fact is, Mitt, if he becomes the nominee, will become the nominee because all the other ones are too stupid to live, politically speaking. It will reflect more their vice than his virtue.

And if it’s not him? Well, long story short, at this point you either have a serial adulter or a veteran one, and short of those two, well, I forget the guy’s name. Oops. At this point, I’m feeling sorry for the Republicans. They made a big deal out of how bad Obama was, and then they went and put forward candidates so awful that they reminded people of why he was the best choice in 2008. When Obama said he would give you three examples of something, your biggest problem might be that he would think of another.

dbs-
It’s not that incredibly complicated. If we have to hire public workers in order to give people wages, so be it. I would prefer the recovery of private sector employment, to be frank, though. That said, I don’t think letting, or even actively working to lay off public workers helps things. You make a gainfully employed person a burden on the state, instead of an active contributor to the economy. You cannot magically sum up a nation of people tightening their belts and learning to live with less without edging closer to a recession. You only see the public worker getting the paycheck. You don’t see the effect that their layoffs have in terms of a reduction of demand for goods and services.

On Cain, I noticed you never answered the question, only pontificated on how foolish we were to believe the Congressman. Tell me, however foolish we are, does that make the believers in Cain that much wiser? The matters are separate.

The proportion on taxes tracks roughly with the proportion on income. Also, let me explain something: your people did their best to exclude whole droves of people from having to pay income tax. You legislated all sorts of credits and rate changes and whatnot, and now you complain about the balance of the share of the taxes. So, first problem here is, you’re complaining about the way YOU made things, tax code wise.

Second problem, really, is that your people drastically increased your incomes at that level, at the top few percentages. The rich are taking in a huge proportion of the nation’s total income. Yet you would have us reduce their share of the taxes even more than has already been done.

Should we really relieve these folks of what is essentially a self-imposed burden of tax legislation and failure to share more income with other people? Do you realize that if the average person got a better chunk of the to total income, they would by necessity pay more taxes, relieving the rich of such a large share of taxable income?

As for interpretation of the constitution?

The real world is messy and ever changing, and for law to have any meaning, we have to decide how it is applied. Our society is a living society, not safely, sterilely locked up in the history books. Judges must look at wildly variable circumstances and decide between different arguments of statutory and constitutional law. It’s not as simple as simply restating the law in its literal terms.

We liberals take the notion that the guiding principles of the Constitution are valuable, and should not be casually disregarded or revised with amendments. We should use the constitution we got to cover the world we live in, and not simply change it willy-nilly without considering what comes of those changes.

That means we don’t take rigid stances, because very often, those don’t survive contact with the real world. Results are important. If a person typically still gets their gun after a background check and a waiting period, how is that a violation of their right to keep and bear arms? If we only cover the literally mentioned media of the fourth amendment, how does that square with the results that the framers intended for their country?

If a protestor has to demonstrate in a free speech zone well out of view of the government official, how does that square with a professed devotion to the first amendment. How does any countenancing of torture square with the Eighth Amendment, even if it’s not the old fashioned “burn their nipples off with a hot iron” form?

The point is not to torturously follow the letter of the law, it is to understand the purpose of those laws, and how the letter is supposed to serve it. The dirty little secret of literalism is that you can, while remaining literal, create any number of interpretations. No matter what you do, a person can always take one shade of meaning over another.

That’s the point of having judges: they set the interpretation that is valid for the purpose of enforcing the law.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 30, 2011 9:23 PM
Comment #332558

Stephen Daugherty cannot seem to get a grip on how fed up the American voters are with the Obama administration. They have no respect for America and certainly not respect for the Constitution. Here is a perfect example:

“Embattled Attorney General Eric Holder today demanded The Daily Caller stop publishing articles about the growing calls in Congress for his resignation because of the failed Operation Fast and Furious gun-walking program.

As Holder’s aide was escorting the attorney general offstage following his remarks Tuesday afternoon at the White House, a Daily Caller reporter introduced himself and shook Holder’s hand. The reporter asked him for a response to the growing chorus of federal legislators demanding his resignation.

Holder stepped towards the exit, then turned around, stepped back toward the reporter, and sternly said, “You guys need to — you need to stop this. It’s not an organic thing that’s just happening. You guys are behind it.”


Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/11/29/holder-lashes-out-at-the-daily-caller-while-refusing-to-address-growing-calls-for-his-resignation/#ixzz1fFkaWPFo

John Hinderacker of Powerline sums it up best:

“The Obama administration takes the position, apparently, that the public and Congress have no legitimate interest in a federal program that deliberately equipped Mexican drug dealers with thousands of weapons and led to the deaths of an American border patrol agent and hundreds of Mexicans. Consistent with that view, it has sealed court records relating to the murder of border agent Brian Terry. The Obama administration gives the impression that it increasingly regards democracy as an inconvenience.”

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/11/eric-holder-vs-the-daily-caller.php

Royal Flush is correct; the left has no use for the outdate Constitution, and it simply gets in the way of everything they want to do for (or better do to) America.

It was great back in the day of the big 3 major news outlets; but thanks to the advent of Cable and the Internet, we now have the ability to watch a variety of news sources.

But I do have an interesting question: is the left ever able to answer a question without attacking the one doing the questioning; in other words attacking the messenger and not the message. Holder’s response to the Daily Caller reporter was to blame the news reporter for his predicament. All you have to do is pay attention to ever liberal who is interviewed; I promise they will attack the messenger and never answer the question.


Re/ SD’s article: as usual, he starts out with a “let us reason together” atitude, but never fails us by going to “it’s all Republicans fault”. I figure SD and the rest of the socialist left are coming close to panic mode. It don’t look good for the Dems; and like Barney Frank (who saw the handwriting on the wall), they are bailing off the sinking ship called socialism. To date, 17 Congressional Democrats have announced retirement; the really concerned left can only hope Obama is number 18.

Posted by: Mike at November 30, 2011 11:29 PM
Comment #332559

Mike,
Your quoted sources sure use words like “seems,” “impression,” and “apparently.” My favorite one is the use of the word “growing.” Is the chorus growing from one to two?

You’d do better with your messengers if they cited facts.

You’ll make a great Romney supporter someday, but in the meantime, please stand behind Newt. He’s hilarious.

Posted by: phx8 at December 1, 2011 12:06 AM
Comment #332563
Since the airline industry has enjoyed a net loss of tens of billions of dollars over the past several decades, and now needs the TSA for security, it would make sense to stop pretending the free market favors its existence. The free market has rendered its decision, and the airline industry has failed to justify its existence as an ongoing private enterprise. However, we still need the airlines, even though the free market has rendered a decision against air travel. Time to nationalize the industry. Time to stop pretending.

No, what this tells us is that the US is propping up failed businesses. No tall airlines are taking a loss, some are making money. But the ones that are run badly, not innovating and not advancing are losing money and being propped up by tax dollars they don’t deserve. If they were to fail as they should, new better ones (or the good existing ones) will rise up and take those routes that there is a need for and flourish, advancing the industry and be a net benefit for us all.

The same is exactly what happened in the automobile industry a few times now. Our concern for the ‘jobs lost’ kept us from allowing Ford, Chrysler and GM to fail in the 70s when they were horrible car companies and no one wanted to buy their products. Instead, we propped them up with tax money and allowed their bad business models to continue instead of forcing them or someone else to renovate their models and advance the industry as it needed. We are still paying for that idiocy to this day.

The *LAST* thing we need is to ‘nationalize’ the car or airline industries, we would never grow… politics would become the driving force behind the businesses and we would see them go the way of Amtrak… Look how well they have done…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 1, 2011 2:07 AM
Comment #332564
All of Amtrak’s preferred stock is owned by the U.S. federal government. The members of its board of directors are appointed by the President of the United States and are subject to confirmation by the United States Senate. Common stock was issued in 1971 to railroads that contributed capital and equipment; these shares convey almost no benefits but their current holders declined a 2002 buy-out offer by Amtrak.

Amtrak employs nearly 19,000 people. It operates passenger service on 21,000 miles (34,000 km) of track primarily owned by freight railroads connecting 500 destinations in 46 states and three Canadian provinces. In fiscal year 2008, Amtrak served 28.7 million passengers, representing six straight years of record ridership. Despite this recent growth, the United States still has one of the lowest inter-city rail usages in the developed world.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 1, 2011 3:59 AM
Comment #332567

Rhinehold-
Your assumption is that failure is the proper mode of correction in the market, but unfortunately, if you only have three big companies, every failure just makes the initial problem worse.

See, what I would do is encourage the development of domestic competitors, or have them divest some of their divisions into competitors. That way a few companies can fail and not take the industry with them, or create a oligopolic effect.

The trouble isn’t so much support for domestic industries, but rather support for rather limited competitive situations, where a few large companies linger on because allowing their failure would destroy the market itself.

Mike-
John Hinderacker cannot give us the one bit of information that would justify things organically: an actual connection to any decision that Holder made that would indicate a damning level of knowledge and involvement with the mistakes of the operation.

Just as you continue to imply things you haven’t bothered to provide the evidence for, so have folks on the Right continued to say “It goes all the way to the top.” without any specific facts that would justify that as true.

As for this?

Royal Flush is correct; the left has no use for the outdate Constitution, and it simply gets in the way of everything they want to do for (or better do to) America.

The left is this, the left is that. Funny how you’re always having to tell the left what they are, and define it to other people. If it were so bloody obvious, don’t you think it’d be unnecessary for your people to just say it over and over again?

Liberals will tell you this about Holder: you don’t have the connection you need to make your claim. Telling you this, though, will obviously seem like an attack to you, which means you’ll end up hiding behind your victimhood, claiming that all the left can do is attack you.

But the truth is, if you had a specific charge, you could confront Holder with that, rather than this rather insipidly weaselly “growing calls for resignation” bull****. I mean, those growing calls for his resignation have come principly from the rather partisan politicians on your side, who so far have failed to come up themselves with any evidence of actions that would make his resignation a foregone conclusion.

Why should journalists be framing their questions in terms of the actions of a bunch of politicians who have an obvious ulterior motive for their scandal-mongering, and not enough evidence to take it further than just baseless insinuations?

Why should Holder’s spokesman dignify such a partisan question with questionable merits with a real answer. Partisan politics deserves to be called out for what it is.

As for Barney Frank? He’s a seventy-one year old man whose district was being redrawn. I know you want to point at him and say “You’re screwed!”, but what I would point out to you is that you’ve managed to take an already unpopular Congress, and make it even more unpopular. Your people won slim victories in many cases, and the public has soured on the Tea Party. Rhetoric from the OWS movement is reshaping what the politicians are talking about, and people have been exhausted and disenchanted with your party’s heavy handed attempts to force spending cuts in a weak economy.

You say 17 Democrats have announced retirement. The real question is how many of those will simply be replaced by other Democrats.

It don’t look good for the Dems; and like Barney Frank (who saw the handwriting on the wall), they are bailing off the sinking ship called socialism.

The sinking ship called socialism. Heh! Honestly, Mike, you need new material.

You call our reforms socialism principly because people are naturally scared of the failures of your particular brand of capitalism. Our brand of it, though, has natural appeal that you can’t really counter rationally. Folks really do want more regulation, the rich taking on more of the burden of taxation, and the government intervening in our economy to stimulate job growth.

So, you have to make people think that there’s a slippery slope of sovietization if we go that route, that once they push a little of it, it’ll just get out of control. You have to make people as scared of change as you are.

Unfortunately, your version of the system is developing in an altogether unpleasant direction. It wasn’t our taxing and spending policies that created the bulk of the deficit, it was yours. It wasn’t mainly liberal policies that allowed Wall Street to get out of control, it was mainly yours. You destroyed a lot of safeguards that would have saved people this trouble, and unsurprisingly, people want them back.

And that drives you nuts. In part, because you actually believe this ****. But more to the point, your culture has developed an extreme phobia of others being in charge. Only problem is, by your obstruction and your desperate battling for a restoration of your majorities, you’re essentially sticking yourself back in a position of responsibility for this dismal economy and this dismal fiscal situation, and it’s not arguable that your policies are doing a whole lot to make either situation better. Obama’s stimulus was followed by a marked increase in growth. Your policies have been followed by a marked weakness in growth and employment increases.

This is why you’re such a self-parody of a position, really. That’s what happens when your people are damn competitive, but damn poor at doing their job.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 1, 2011 10:57 AM
Comment #332568

SD

Fiction is still defined as fiction. Your are an expert at it.

Not going to debate you on idiotic rhetoric.

Instead here is something for you to think about and why I won’t debate idiotic rhetoric.

Don’t fight with idiots, they will try to drag you down to their level and will defeat you with experience.

Maranatha

Posted by: tom humes at December 1, 2011 12:00 PM
Comment #332570

tom humes-
If you’re not going to debate me, I don’t see the point of your comment. It either gnaws at you that I’m not simply knuckling under as I should, or that years worth of your comments haven’t turned me into a weeping wreck.

I come here to debate, to open people’s minds, to gore the sacred cows of the opposition and keep them honest. I came here originally because I loved the fact that you could debate here without everything degenerating into some stupid exchange of namecalling.

I like having an adult debate. What I mourn is that all too many people who argue politics on the right are boringly dogmatic about their beliefs. I think a person should be willing to peel open their beliefs to show other people why they believe a certain thing. If you can’t determine for yourself why you truly believe something, or if it’s worth believing, are you truly free, or somebody who pretends to be free while they’re lead around by the nose?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 1, 2011 2:04 PM
Comment #332574

j2t2

“Whether it is by the public or private sector they contribute more than unemployed workers..”


public employees are supported by tax dollars. even if 100% of the cost of thier employment were returned to the economy we would still just break even. i say leave it in the private sector where it will do more good.


“I rest my case dbs. That explains a lot though.”

no…really….go ahead and list some others. my guess is they will be a list of entitlements, not rights.


“Oh puleezze dbs are you trying to make the case that the rich are being persecuted by the poor? Really!”


not by the poor, but the left.


“Thanks for the misleading 40% link though dbs but here are the facts that count, they have more income but pay less of it than before.”


the numbers are provided by the IRS. that 40% is the % of total income tax revenue collected bt the IRS. there is nothing misleading about that link. the fact is you believe that 1% should supply an even larger % of that total pie. it is you who are trying to mislead.


“You know I really haven’t sen anyone get rich from welfare or unemployment have you?”


people on long term public assistance are seldom motivated enough to do the hard work involved in becoming wealthy. we’ve allowed a large sector of our population to become to comfortable in thier poverty. nothing motivates like hunger, and a lack of shelter. been there done that.

Posted by: dbs at December 1, 2011 5:04 PM
Comment #332585

dbs-
First, you’re only thinking about the first couple transactions: taxpayer to government, government to public sector worker.

You’re not thinking that nearly everybody a public sector worker pays in this economy is a private sector business. The money doesn’t vanish like a belch in the wind. State and local budgets get spent locally, so treating it like it’s a loss for the economy is misleading. At worst, it’s a temporary diversion, but then, so is every job, arguably.

It is not misleading to point out the greater income, because any accusation you make that the rich are being picked on depends on their being an especially burdensome extra millstone being hung around their neck. If you make thirty thousand dollars a year, a five thousand dollar tax bill is a major chunk of your change. If you make a hundred thousand dollars a year, you have an enviably low effective tax rate.

As for motivation? What are you motivating people towards, pray tell. Now, you probably intend them to live lives of virtue in order to get the bucks, but in truth, people learn to do many things in desperation they would not otherwise do as well. You shouldn’t pretend that people must necessarily learn virtue as an effect of their poverty.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 1, 2011 11:44 PM
Comment #332590

stephen

“State and local budgets get spent locally, so treating it like it’s a loss for the economy is misleading”

when the economy shrinks so must the burden that gov’t places on it. by not doing it creates an even heavier burden on the private economy for which it depends. the majority of americans should not be expected to dig even deeper onto thier pockets to suport a few gov’t employees.


” because any accusation you make that the rich are being picked on depends on their being an especially burdensome extra millstone being hung around their neck.”


arguing that they should pay more because they can in your opinion, afford it is, a ridiculous excuse to justify increased gov’t spending.


“What are you motivating people towards, pray tell.”


to get off thier asses and take responsibility for thier own lives.

Posted by: dbs at December 2, 2011 5:06 AM
Comment #332595
no…really….go ahead and list some others. my guess is they will be a list of entitlements, not rights.
Civil political and personal rights dbs.
not by the poor, but the left.

The left is simply fighting back against the class warfare perpetrated by the rich, dbs. The rich are working to make us more like Mexico, which I am against.

when the economy shrinks so must the burden that gov’t places on it. by not doing it creates an even heavier burden on the private economy for which it depends. the majority of americans should not be expected to dig even deeper onto thier pockets to suport a few gov’t employees.

If capitalism worked that way dbs perhaps you would have a point. My point is the majority of Americans are just digging the hole deeper as they are paying UI benefits for those that lose their government job. We can pretend the conservative myth of “there are jobs out there for everyone if they wanted to work” is more than just a myth but alas it is not.

the numbers are provided by the IRS. that 40% is the % of total income tax revenue collected bt the IRS. there is nothing misleading about that link. the fact is you believe that 1% should supply an even larger % of that total pie. it is you who are trying to mislead.

Just because the numbers are provided by the IRS doesn’t mean conservatives aren’t using one side of the story to mislead us. The fact is… well read the link I provided but the rich are paying less because their income has grown so much compared to the rest of us.

“Data from the Tax Foundation bears this out. Between 1987 and 2008, the share of income controlled by the top 1% grew to 20% from 12%. That signals a total share growth of 67%. During the same period, their share of taxes went to 28% from 24%, suggesting share growth of 17%.”

http://blogs.wsj.com/wealth/2011/09/26/why-the-rich-pay-40-of-taxes/

Posted by: j2t2 at December 2, 2011 9:21 AM
Comment #332596

dbs-
Ah, you misread my question. I wasn’t asking you what you want to motivate people towards. I was asking you what your policies would actually motivate people towards.

For example, your fellow conservatives say, “Throw people off of unemployment!” But when five people compete for one job, you might successfully motivate the one person who gets the job, but everybody else is motivated towards more desperate measures. That, and further compounding the problem of folks not spending enough money to sustain jobs in the economy.

The Republicans are treating this situation as if it’s a return to an equilibrium that’s been absent, and that if we mess with things, they’ll just get worse. Except, our problem isn’t excess capacity. If it were, the Republican response might be appropriate. Unfortunately, Republican are applying lessons in austerity they learned in times when austerity actually had a point, with sky-high interest rates and runaway inflation actually there.

Our problem is opposite. Demand is not overheated, it’s fallen behind our ability to produce. Scaling it back further with layoffs won’t help the economy. Interest rates aren’t sky high, they’re as low as they can go, and yields aren’t indicating that the world is unwilling to lend us money.

The rich and the big corporations aren’t short on cash, and what they have already they’re not using to create jobs. Why will giving them more money, or taxing them less lead them to spend more, when in their excess of cash, they’re already not spending it?

Business leaders aren’t going to throw away money to seek customers their numbers tell them aren’t there. Customers aren’t going to come back until they feel financially secure spending, until they’ve got jobs to go to, and money in their pockets to spend. Who’s going to take the action necessary to create jobs? Consumers can’t. Business won’t.

Government must, in one way or another. They’re the only ones left who can push the system. They helped bail out the rich, and now they’re doing okay. Now we need to bail out the hardest hit.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 2, 2011 9:42 AM
Comment #332601

Excellent analysis, Stephen. Spot on. An awful lot of people still don’t understand this.

1. Demand has fallen
2. The cash is there, but the jobs are not, and wages are not going up; there is no point in hiring if consumers are not generating demand

An enormous amount of money disappeared when the real estate market cratered. Furthermore, consumer refinancing fueled a significant portion of the growth before the financial markets collapsed. That debt is no longer available to fuel growth.

As a result, interest rates remain incredibly low, and inflation due to ‘printing money’ will not occur. Too much money disappeared in the first place. (The inflation we see is commodity fueled inflation caused by worldwide demand, NOT a result of the US ‘printing money.’ We saw this during the Bush administration oil spike. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back).

The recourse is obvious. Government must spark the economy through the use of debt, preferably by investing in infrastructure, construction projects…

The Obama administration and the Democrats deserves blame for not doing more to push this. The GOP deserves blame for obstructing efforts to do this. That obstructionism could well cost the GOP dearly in the next election, because Obama may not have done enough, but the GOP filibustered, then used the House to prevent doing anything, or worse, doing terrible things like threatening to destroy the economy by not raising the debt ceiling.

Posted by: phx8 at December 2, 2011 1:41 PM
Comment #332602

SD wrote; “If we have to hire public workers in order to give people wages, so be it.”

Isn’t that interesting? Why bother with a meaningless make-work job? Just send them the wages and let them stay at home. Public workers employed simply to give them wages is merely a wealth transfer program with all the bullshit stripped away. I can understand why this socialists idea would appeal to a liberal.

SD wrote; “Do you realize that if the average person got a better chunk of the to total income, they would by necessity pay more taxes, relieving the rich of such a large share of taxable income?”

I printed this comment off to relish and share with my friends who don’t truly understand the liberal mental disorder.

Allow me to rephrase SD’s comment. If we take money from the rich, in the form of increased taxes, and redistribute that to others in the form of wages, the rich will have less and others will have more. Having less, the rich will pay less in taxes. Having more, the others will pay more in taxes.

Isn’t magical fairy dust just wonderful? It is just so logical for those with a liberal mental disorder. There is no need for an increase in productivity to create greater wealth. Mr. business owner merely has to double (or increase wages by some GOVERNMENT FORMULA) the wages of his/her employees, reduce his/her income by the same amount, and all will be well.

Saving the best for last, SD wrote; “We liberals take the notion that the guiding principles of the Constitution are valuable, and should not be casually disregarded or revised with amendments.”

I understand now SD. The Constitution should only be disregarded for serious reasons which liberals such as you can identify for the rest of us.

He writes; “That means we don’t take rigid stances, because very often, those don’t survive contact with the real world. Results are important. If a person typically still gets their gun after a background check and a waiting period, how is that a violation of their right to keep and bear arms?

Using SD’s logic here, we can anticipate that gun ownership could one day be only available to red-haired, left-handed, bald men with black mustaches who have celebrated their 80th birthday. A background check and waiting period is merely the stalking horse to greater restrictions. I have no problem with these two requirements but know for certain that more will come if liberals have their way.

And, my favorite…”That’s the point of having judges: they set the interpretation that is valid for the purpose of enforcing the law.”

Well of course, why didn’t I think of that. Regardless of the law passed, the “proper” interpretation will make it Constitutional. I would suggest that the liberal simply do away with that bothersome step of interpretation and just do away with the Constitution entirely.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 2, 2011 3:09 PM
Comment #332604

phx8 writes; “An enormous amount of money disappeared when the real estate market cratered.”

Isn’t that interesting. I looked for the headline in the NY Times…”ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF MONEY DISAPPEARED. FBI IS CALLED IN TO INVESTIGATE. THEFT SUSPECTED” but couldn’t find it.

Where is this enormous amount of money that has disappeared phx? Has it been found? Surely it was not in the pockets of bankers. If that were true, why then did our government give them more money? Do you have it phx? Does SD have it?

Along the same line I would like phx to find out where my neighbors money is also. Fifteen years ago my neighbor Mike built a new home for $80K. Five years ago a realtor told him he could sell if for $150K. Today, he was offered only $125K for it. Who stole his $25K? Or, has it simply disappeared! He has looked everywhere but can’t find it.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 2, 2011 3:46 PM
Comment #332605

Royal Flush,
You don’t have any money in your hand right at this moment. Therefore, you have no money.

Come on, RF. You can do better than that.

Posted by: phx8 at December 2, 2011 4:18 PM
Comment #332606

j2t2

“Civil political and personal rights dbs.”


still not an answer. if you choose not to list anything specific that’s fine. for example, healthcare, food, and shelter are not rights, they are necessities. but without you being more specific there is really nothing left to debate.

“The left is simply fighting back against the class warfare perpetrated by the rich, dbs. The rich are working to make us more like Mexico, which I am against.”


this is nothing more than propaganda.

“My point is the majority of Americans are just digging the hole deeper as they are paying UI benefits for those that lose their government job.”


i don’t know how UI works for gov’t employees, but in the private sector employers pay into state run UI insurance funds, which covers that expense, and there is a limit to how long you can draw benefits. as far as this federal extended benefit program paid for by taxpayers, it should be discontinued IMO.


“the conservative myth of “there are jobs out there for everyone if they wanted to work” is more than just a myth but alas it is not.”


that’s absolute bulls#!t. if you put in the effort you will eventually find a job, even if it isn’t the job you’de truely like to have.


“Just because the numbers are provided by the IRS doesn’t mean conservatives aren’t using one side of the story to mislead us.”


the numbers tell us that 1% pays for @ 40% of what is collected. nothing misleading about that. if you would like to argue that gov’t spending should grow and that 1% should pick up the tab, that’s a different subject.

stephen


“I was asking you what your policies would actually motivate people towards.”

cutting them off the gov’t dole, and forcing them to choose hunger, and the street, or pounding the pavement for a job, day in day out, every day, and take any job necessary to to make some money. it’s easy to continue to be a parasite when you can refuse work because it pays less, or you think it’s beneath your dignity.


the rest of your response is nothing more than excuses.

Posted by: dbs at December 2, 2011 4:26 PM
Comment #332608

Royal Flush,
You don’t have any money in your hand right at this moment. Therefore, you have no money.

Come on, RF. You can do better than that.

Posted by: phx8 at December

HO, HO, HO…but it didn’t disappear, I know exactly where it is. Now, where is that money you claim disappeared?

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 2, 2011 4:35 PM
Comment #332609

Royal Flush

i don’t know about you, but i’de sure like some of whatever our friends on the left are smoking……..then again, maybe not so much. LOL!

Posted by: dbs at December 2, 2011 5:03 PM
Comment #332610

Whatever it is they smoke dbs, it certainly seems to be mind altering. I don’t understand how vast sums of money just disappear. It must be magic of some sort.

I suppose that when phx9 buys a lottery ticket he counts his millions immediately. Then, when the ticket doesn’t win, why…of course, the money just disappears.

I wish liberals could understand a simple principle. Nothing is worth more than what someone else will pay to own it. That’s true for physical objects, investments and with one’s labor as well.

A banker client of mine was heavily invested in the equity market. I told him I sold all my stock and put the money in a safe place. He thought I was foolish. When his shares dropped to about 60 percent of their previous value he said he lost “X” number of dollars. Poor fool, one can’t lose what they never had. On one particular day his investments were worth “X” amount. Had he sold then, he could have owned it. He didn’t, and on another day it was worth “Y” or 40% less. Did he lose money? Nope, the value of his investment dropped.

Where is it written and what guarantee is given that real estate never drops in value? Sell at the top of the market or sell at the bottom of the market…it’s only worth what someone else will pay to own in at any given moment in time.

The money doesn’t magically disappear or appear when something of value is sold. What has happened is that the market has revalued what was owned.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 2, 2011 5:29 PM
Comment #332612

You said some silly things, and now you’re trying to rationalize, but nothing can change the fact that a paper loss or ‘revalution’ represents a form of loss.

Posted by: phx8 at December 2, 2011 6:04 PM
Comment #332620

phx8…I am sure you believe that a paper loss is real, but that’s just magical thinking. Why do you think it’s called a “paper” loss? Answer: because it measures “nothing”, just what might have been or could have been under the right circumstances. Is it not the same with a paper “gain”? Can you spend it or bank it without selling it?

Would you care to elaborate on your theory of the real value of assets? If the market doesn’t set the value of an asset, what or who does?

Where upon earth can someone sell an asset for more than anyone will pay?

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 2, 2011 6:39 PM
Comment #332628

Royal Flush

in 1993 i bought a home for 215k. at the peak of the boom i could have sold it for @800k. in 2008 i sold at 565k. i want to know what happend to 235k of my 800k. perhaps phx8 can tell me. maybe dear leader can give it to me out of his stash.

Posted by: dbs at December 2, 2011 10:01 PM
Comment #332634

Banks lost the money by supposedly hedging their risk with made-up financial instruments derived from your mortgage, aka derivatives, dbs. The banks lost the value of your mortgage in a process of packaging your mortgage in tranches, then selling and reselling your mortgage in unregulated shadow markets free from oversight. Unfortunately, the hedges didn’t work.

The money lost in foreclosures on subprime mortgages can be measured in the hundreds of billions. The money lost in those derivatives must be measured in the trillions.

The world is a little more complicated than you realize, dbs.

Should I spend an evening explaining short sales to Royal Flush? That would be amusing. Not all gains and losses exist only as realized gains and losses.

Did you know you can sell something before you buy it?

Posted by: phx8 at December 2, 2011 10:58 PM
Comment #332706

Royal Flush-

I printed this comment off to relish and share with my friends who don’t truly understand the liberal mental disorder.

How’s that diagnosing Liberal Mental Disorders working out for your party working out? Tell me, has all this psychoanalytic prowess given you candidates that don’t self-destruct faster than an IMF mission brief? The answer, before you can apply your rhetorical twists to it, is no.

The Republicans are more a party of rhetoric, and rhetoric’s peculiar logic, than of real policy ideas.

You say, don’t undo the tax cuts, that’s redistribution of wealth.

But if you’re honest about it, the rich haven’t merely passively dealt with the government. They asked for and got a massive bailout from the taxpayers of this country. Yet the first words out of these people’s mouths is more tax cuts, Less regulation!

The rich want and have gotten so many of the perks of government, yet attempt to be deadbeats on the costs. From TARP, to decisions by a government they wield considerable influence over, they seek to profit, but not to take on costs. Government is to externalize their risks and selfish behavior, while they enjoy the benefits. You complained about bonuses with the GSEs, yet you’re all over us when we complain of the much greater costs of many fully private CEOs

I don’t think that’s a sustainable model. More to the point, it doesn’t motivate the rich to be dependable citizens. It helps perpetuate a spoiled mentality that has them believing that as the leaders and the elites of society, they have the right to roll over people.

People must have some- some - constraints to their behavior, or they beginning crossing lines they shouldn’t. Add the flattery of Yes-Men, and you get a recipe for Empreror’s New Clothes situations where nobody has the guts with the system to confront those with power, to tell it like it is about how things are supposed to work.

Government is part of a bigger system. I’m not looking to duplicate what other parts of the system do perfectly well for themselves within Government. Government to me is supposed to have certain public interests in mind, rather than some bean-counter mentality. Your people talk about big government and small government, but to me, it’s functional government that matters.

Saving the best for last, SD wrote; “We liberals take the notion that the guiding principles of the Constitution are valuable, and should not be casually disregarded or revised with amendments.”

I understand now SD. The Constitution should only be disregarded for serious reasons which liberals such as you can identify for the rest of us.

Sounds like the way a teenager reasons. “If you loved me, you wouldn’t ground me for smoking pot or forbid me from going out with that guy/girl I didn’t tell you about, the one who’s 23!”

Democrats aren’t for disregarding the constitution, we’re for disregarding your interpretation of it, which you take to be a disregarding of the actual document, since your people have decided they are are the designated heirs of the framers, rather than, say, everybody.

Using SD’s logic here, we can anticipate that gun ownership could one day be only available to red-haired, left-handed, bald men with black mustaches who have celebrated their 80th birthday.

Actually, it’s the 81st birthday. All kidding aside, this is ridiculous, and the problem is, the ridiculous rhetoric actually gets taken seriously, and becomes a new standard for behavior, belief, and rhetoric.

I mean, you want self-parody, Wayne LaPierre actually got up before an audience and said that because Obama hadn’t really done anything anti-gun, we should be scared that he’s plotting to take all our guns and ammo away.

Even winning, getting everything you want conceded to you is not enough. When I say Republicans have become a parody of themselves, this is how: there’s nothing really yanking them down to the real world. The politics has overwhelmed their common sense, replaced it. Things people wouldn’t conclude if they sat down and thought things out for themselves (like half the country being closet communists), become literal truth. It doesn’t take a mental disorder, what it takes is a simple failure to test one’s theories against independent sources.

The proper interpretation of the Constitution for your average liberal is not the swiss cheese of convenience you think of it as, having spent so much of your time hooked up to information sources that merely serve to slander Democrats, to protest decisions that didn’t go the way that the GOP’s social or political agenda would have them go.

You call your intepretation literal, but the truth is, literal can mean any number of things. There are people who take the bible literally, for example, who think that handling snakes is acceptable, and others who do not. In trying to allege that literalism is the key to faithfulness, you forget something critical: all intepretations are done by a person who has their own views and their own ideas to insert between the lines.

So, what strikes one person as a reasonable, literal interpretation doesn’t seem so to others. Also, communication is always incomplete. Nobody explains everything. Just listen to a conversation two people are having. If you know the references, the background of what they’re saying, you’ll understand most of what they’re saying. If you don’t, well, the reality of what they’re talking about could be radically different.

The Constitution wasn’t written as a modern legal document, with precise language. It was written to be understood by the millions of Americans alive at that time. Even if it wasn’t, though, it still needs to be understood in terms of what it was the framers intended for it to address.

What does cruel and unusual punishment mean? There’s absolutely no elaboration on that. What is reasonable search and seizure? We have some guidance on that, but in the chaos of real life, there are profound affects to pushing the boundary of what’s acceptable one way or another. What is an acceptable way to take property under the fifth amendment through eminent domain?

There’s a clause in the constutition proper called the “necessary and proper clause”, which amounts to the framers saying to future Congresses and courts, “you figure it out.” many amendments contain clauses saying essentially the same thing.

Literal interpretation doesn’t solve the problems you think it solves. We’re not trying to disregard the Constitution, but carry out its mandates properly, in a complex real world, within meaningful, accurate interpretations of what the Constitution and amendments actually means.

But of course, since you define the law in terms of your own vision of government constrained from doing anything you don’t like, that’s not good enough for you, and you have to claim that we’re not following the constitution.

As for the enormous amount of money that went away?

You treat it like a joke, and that’s not unusual.

Consider this, though: if you paid a hundred thousand dollars for a luxury car, and you find out that it has all these problems, and as a result of all those problems, you can only sell it for 15 thousand, well, were did all that money go? 85 thousand dollars didn’t just get up and leave, did it?

Or what about a bunch of people who invested in real estate, or who drew on the equity in their homes expecting demand to remain, and their property to appreciate, but who couldn’t sell their property after the bubble burst without taking a loss? Where did that money go?

How about the investors who put their money in Enron? Or, more recently, the folks who invested in or bought securities from places like Countrywide, believing that these institutions were actually doing due diligence, and signing people up for mortgages they could afford to pay back.

Or, what about those who bought mortgage bonds from various sources, believing the source to be low risk mortgages?

Are you seeing a pattern here?

You talk about the free market all the time, but you seem to have an idealized vision of what it means.

In speculative terms, the price of something, and therefore it’s value as a form of wealth is not always stable. A lot of homes now appraise at a lower value than they used to. A lot of companies people were invested in, the equity of those companies collapsed, leaving holes in people’s portfolio. A lot of folks who had money in the toxic assets now have an investment of much less worth than they paid for.

So on and so forth. That’s how wealth disappears. The problematic things for your policy is that you’ve really set up few roadblocks in the way of those who manipulate the market to make their money. You’ve created a situation in which these kinds of losses in wealth happen easier, and in a worse case scenario, pile up to become a world class drop in wealth, as an entire system is forced to re-evaluate the worth of what it had considered valuable.

You created a situation where that one problem of a guy’s house being worth 25,000 dollars less has been repeated milions of times. You created a situation in which this meant that millions of investors were out a ****load of money. You created a situation where banks were inordinately exposed to these risks.

So, you have this massive collapse of value and wealth across the board, and why? Because your people championed a system that made it harder to prevent the kinds of deceptions and financial trickery necessary to so deceive people, and on the other side of things, let financial institutions necessary to our economy’s survival conglomerate, and attach divisions doing risky business without the kinds of firewalls that would present a problem in the hair raising side of the company from infecting an otherwise reasonably stable side of the business.

That’s how trillions in wealth disappeared, that’s why there’s such a big hole in consumer demand. Long story short, the folks on Wall Street outwitted themselves, and created a system that cleverly made them richer, while at the same time undermining wealth across this nation.

The market can complicate things just as nicely as a socialist, communist regime. The truth is, the label you slap on a system doesn’t matter so much as whether those in charge, private or public, actually allow issues within that economy to be taken care of.

You helped create a system where people could lie more easily about the value of the things they sold, the affordability of the mortages they sold, etc. The rule of law is necessary to make a free market work as it’s theoretically supposed to. If the law doesn’t require, and doesn’t enforce necessary disclosures, if people use their expertise in financial matters, in credit rating and whatnot to fool folks who aren’t so expert at things, then you will have a problem the market fails to correct until too late.

Capitalism can become a nightmare of fantasies and deceptions gone out of control if we don’t constrain the financial institutions and their ability to spin castles out of the air in speculation and financial fraud. Communism fell because the real world would not let their fantasy continue on forever, and capitalism isn’t immune to a fall if it fails to address the fundamental issues of how we tie wealth to things that matter in the real world.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 5, 2011 8:30 AM
Comment #332718

SD wrote; “That’s how trillions in wealth disappeared, that’s why there’s such a big hole in consumer demand. Long story short, the folks on Wall Street outwitted themselves, and created a system that cleverly made them richer, while at the same time undermining wealth across this nation.”

I will ask you the same question I asked phx8, where did the wealth go when it disappeared? Is it in the pockets of Wall Street, the banks, or somewhere else?

If actual wealth disappeared we should find a paper trail leading to its location unless we prefer to call it a mystery. If imaginary, paper only wealth disappeared, there will be no finding of it…for it never really existed except in the mind of the one anticipating its future value.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 5, 2011 4:39 PM
Comment #332723

Royal Flush-
You treat the different directions of wealth disappearance as if they’re mutually exclusive. We can lose money both to incompetence and the bursting of a bubble, and to the rich doing things that drain the middle class of wealth. In fact, many people got rich pulling the crap that ultimately sunk the economy.

And that’s the problem. You assume that the market punishes people who do wrong, but in many cases, people are rewarded for behavior that has bad effects on the economy.

Even if you have a big, bad crash, after the effects wear off, and the often necessary bailouts are made, many of the people who did crappy things still benefit, or come out of things even better.

If you want to really feel scared, consider this: it can still happen again, if we don’t counter balance these lucrative, perverse incentives with laws countering their ill-gotten gains, and forbidding the fairly unredeemable practices that allowed these bad things to happen. If the punishments aren’t harsh enough for them, they ultimately have nothing keeping them from going right back to business as usual besides their own consciences, and if those troubled them in the first place, do you think they would have cheated and lied to people in the first place?

We don’t need laws merely to shape the markets, we need them to shape what behavior is acceptable in society, so we don’t see kleptocratic behavior, or incompetence, destroying our nation’s wealth. Capitalism will collapse unless the system is rigged to reward productive behavior rather than speculative games of chance.

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