Now Dems Can Share the Good News

I expect a shift in comments to my articles. Ever since I have been writing on this blog, I have periodically posted good economic news, since most of the economic news has been good, and sustained attacks because Dems feared to credit Bush with the improvements. The news is similar now, but as Bush cannot run again and Dems have Congress I expect perceptions will change. The economy has been bright since 2003, but now thanks to the election returns, Dems too may see the light and feel the warmth. Hallelujah.

In any case, this is what you are reading if you are looking at today’s WSJ. The Dow is off a little, but still near an all time high. If you invested in stocks this time last year, you earned about 17% on your investment. The U.S. deficit in international trade of goods and services decreased by 6.8%. This was better than expected. The volume of crude oil imports dropped, down to 316.59 million barrels from 343.49 million, and value of crude oil imports decreased to $19.79 billion from $22.71 billion in August.

U.S. exports rose to a record $123.16 billion in September from $122.61 billion in August. Sales climbed by $713 million for capital goods, including civilian aircraft. Exports increased by $1.01 billion for industrial materials. Exports of foods and beverages fell, decreasing by $284 million. Sales of autos and parts dropped by $676 million. Exports of consumer goods such as artwork were down $359 million.

The number of new applicants for unemployment insurance benefits fell sharply last week. I wrote a post a couple of days ago talking about the low unemployment rate and will not repeat it here.

I expect the next year to be good for the working people of the United States. Real wages have been rising this year and will continue to do so. By next year at this time, they will be at or near an all time high. This would have happened no matter who won Congress, but now Dems will be able to partake in the celebration. Welcome to the party.

Posted by Jack at November 9, 2006 2:09 PM
Comments
Comment #194289

good article Jack. The sad part of democratic politics is sure to follow…(aka The liberals trying to take credit for the good work the repubs have done) I just hope they will do some actual work. (notice: An administration witch hunt does not qualify as work) If by some chance they do focus on America’s needs….we may have a chance to survive :)

Posted by: the voice of reason at November 9, 2006 3:00 PM
Comment #194292

Unfortunately, you’re probably right. The real question is whether any of these economic gains will ever make it to the middle and lower classes. All of the conomic indicators you mentioned don’t really effect an inner-city working class family, and only the cost of fuel effects suburban working class families. I know you love the unemployment numbers, but with wage grwth totally stagnant you have to admit that underemployment is becoming a problem. With the air being let out of the housing boom (not a bubble bursting, and certainly not either party’s fault) many people are going to find themselves in increasingly difficult situations. I got a statistic the other day that there are $1 trillion in adjustable rate mortgages that will reset next year, meaning higher payments that a lot of those people will not be able to afford. Its well documented that home equity has paid for much of the economic recovery we’re in now, and without that source of funds there will be a ripple effect. The only question is how big it will be.

I tend to believe that politicians of either party have little effect on the economy. There are too many variables. The only thing the politicians can do is try to make life easier for people who are at the mercy of the economy, regardless of class.

Posted by: David S at November 9, 2006 3:13 PM
Comment #194293

Jack,

Although federal policy affects the economy the credit and blame regarding politics is often overstated. There are several good things about the economy as you stated but also several worrisome things as well. Real wages for most workers actually declined between 2000 and 2005 real wages. Whatever the reason for this decline it is clear Republicans had no interest in addressing it, thus another important reason Republicans lost this election. Raising the minimum wage (without all kinds of poison pills) was never on their agenda for example.

As for the future of the economy it seems the real estate cash-machine bubble continues to expand.

November 1 2006: 11:09 AM EST


NEW YORK (Reuters) — U.S. homeowners took cash out of their homes in the third quarter at the highest rate in 16 years, spurred by high costs on other types of loans, according to home finance company Freddie Mac (Charts) .

In the quarter, 89 percent of Freddie Mac-owned loans that refinanced got mortgages that were at least 5 percent higher than the original balances.

“High demand for cash extraction through refinance is being driven by the high cost of home improvement loans and home-equity lines of credit — that is, the cost of alternative financing — and still-strong demand for home improvements,” Amy Crews Cutts, Freddie Mac deputy chief economist, said in a release.

Also, a huge wave of adjustable-rate mortgages created in the past few years are facing their first reset, giving borrowers the incentive to refinance and take additional cash, Freddie Mac said.

The third quarter share of cash-out refinancing is up from 88 percent in the second quarter.

Jack, how much of that trade deficit reduction was falling oil imports?

I sincerely hope the economy improves, for everyone rather than just for the top wage earners.


Posted by: Chris2x at November 9, 2006 3:36 PM
Comment #194294

So, by the logic of your comments, all that has happened in the last six years, when the republicans held all three branches of government, is the responsibility of the republicans. I think I can agree with that.
Just know, the voters have just given their assessment of the quality and competence of republican-managed government and that does not bode well for the future of the republican party. Regards

Posted by: Charles Ross at November 9, 2006 3:41 PM
Comment #194296

Jack,

Regardless of who the “IN PARTY” is, there’s still a huge debt to be dealt with, and it had better be soon. The stock-market is a poor indicator of the big economic picture.
And, real median wages are still below 1999 levels (cost adjusted for inflation).
I’m still wondering where the money will come from.
From growth of GDP?
Can we grow that much?
And, even if we could, would Congress suddenly become fiscally responsible?
And, realistically, what would this economy look like now if it were not for the $3 trillion of additional National Debt?
Would it be so rosy without all of the $3 trillion of debt and spending?
Not likely.
I still think this economy has been propped up with that massive debt.
Democrats don’t score well when it comes to pork-barrel spending.
In fact, the best score (in 2005) that any Democrat scored (at Citizens Against Government Waste; cagw.org) is 47%, while all Republicans average 68%.

Jack,
I must say, you seem very optimistic.
The economic outlook doesn’t look that great really, based on the current debt and growth.
It seems unlikely Democrats will suddenly become fiscally responsible.
Afterall, they helped get us here.
Almost 90% of incumbents are still in office.
So what has really changed?

Posted by: d.a.n at November 9, 2006 3:47 PM
Comment #194300

Incumbents will continue to be voted out of office if real wages aren’t addressed (the causes of their stagnation), the national debt is not addressed, the budget deficit is not addressed, as well as ethics and earmarking.

I’m not tied to any party and I will change my vote until I find a Representative and Senator that WILL be fiscally responsible and not pander to everyone EXCEPT the middle class.

Posted by: Tom L at November 9, 2006 3:58 PM
Comment #194301

A couple of counterpoints to Jack’s ‘everything is terrific’ economic picture. Both of these articles are from Conterpunch, which is having their annual fundraising drive—you need to scroll down past the appeal for money to get to the articles.


http://counterpunch.com/whitney11092006.html


http://counterpunch.com/jensen11092006.html


Not being an economics expert, I have no idea if Whitney’s suppositions will unfold as he describes. I do know that Jensen’s article strikes at the heart of the issue—capitalism is predicated on a growth, which, in the long run, is unsustainable— environmentally, economically and morally unsustainable.

There are consequences to a nine trillion dollar debt, to a 600 billion dollar trade deficit, the insane printing of money to cover debts, the incredible volatility of financial instruments now being used on Wall Street, the hollowing out of US manufacturing for a fast buck, the tettering of the middle classes on the financial brink because of credit card debt and adjustable rate mortgages. And because the global financial world is so interdependent now, a minor financial sneeze in Italy could cause a investor stampede for the door here in the US.

As Jensen aptly describes, these past elections really haven’t changed the direction of the national train; it has just changed the conductors from one team to another. The train will continue on it’s path.

Posted by: Tim Crow at November 9, 2006 4:08 PM
Comment #194302

jack,

Sorry, but you’re simply exampling again why the neoRepublicans failed so miserably. Just because you think predominently in terms of your party affiliation and distort reality to fit an ideology, doesn’t mean everyone else does.
What will really happen is that as the Bush bills become due people like you will blame the Democrats for the economic problems that will result from the last 6 years of fiscal abominations.
I will hold the Democrats to a standard of “fix it before it gets worse”. If the neoRepublicans obstruct I will hold them accountable. If the Democrats pork up like their predecessors, I will hold them accountable. If the Democrats pass their 100 hour agenda, I will salute them, vetoed or not.
The Democrats control the legislature, it’s their turn again. I don’t expect miricles but I do expect progress.

Posted by: Dave1-20-09 at November 9, 2006 4:08 PM
Comment #194306

Chris 2x & David S

Median income is up this year in real terms. I mentioned that in the post re unemployment. This is the ground truth unemployment figure you are looking for. If unemployment is 4.4% and median income is up, the at least half of all workers are doing fine.

Tim Crow

Lots of smart people have been predicting the end of the free market since there was a free market. I think there is a fundamental intellectual problem with free markets. They do not seem rational or sustainable intellectually, since their mechanisms cannot be easily explained or are counterintuitive.

Let me first stipulate that I define free markets as market economies that have rule of law and some regulation. There is a fine tuning difference between the way we do things in the U.S. and the way they do them in the Netherlands, but both are more alike than either is to communist or fascist state controlled economies or the mercantile systems of the past.

I take Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom as a general map. You find that the economically free countries are also cleaner, healthier, more educated and I bet the people are even better looking.

To all

BTW, I agree that politicians get too much credit or blame for the economy. Dems were gleefully blaming Bush. What I complained about is NOT so much that they were wrong to blame him, but they were wrong to blame anybody, since the economy was (and remains) good.

Dave 1

I hope they do not fix it too much. I let my son try to fix my radio once. I think it is probably a similar situation.

Posted by: Jack at November 9, 2006 4:39 PM
Comment #194307

Jack - What you seem to miss in this economic good news, is that the economy, as always is good for some people and not for others.

At a Macro level I agree with you, the numbers are good and the economy is relatively strong. But the devil is in the details and of course which numbers you look at. But most importantly, how are you as an individual fairing in this economy? Has this recover reached you?

This good economy is not benefiting everyone. And when profits are up becasue corporate taxes are down, wages are frozen and benefits cut, is that your idea of a good economy?

Posted by: Stefano at November 9, 2006 4:52 PM
Comment #194309

Stefano

In any situation, some are doing better than others. This is simply a tautology.

In the case of the U.S. economy, the low unemployement rate (4.4%) and the now rising median income (true it declined from 1999 until last year, but take a look at the the chart and you will see from the longer perspective that this is just one of those periodic waves. We are coming up again and even at the WORST, we declined only to about the 1996 level. In other words, median income was higher than any other year in U.S. history before 1996 in adjusted dollars. Hardly a catastrophy.

Re not everyone being as well off, this is true. But at least half of all Americans are doing very well. The median income and unemployment rate tell us that. I bet the others are okay too, but the figures do not tell me. BUT what I know is that at least half of the middle class is doing just fine.

I repeat again, the economy is never perfect and this is not the best economy of my lifetime. It is only one of the best in U.S. history.

Posted by: Jack at November 9, 2006 5:01 PM
Comment #194312

Why do Democrat and Republican politicians get SO excited about having the majority?

Because they can now finally do the people’s business?

Or because of the many perk$ of power, their increased opportunities for self-gain, and the increased security of their cu$hy, coveted incumbencies?

No doubt, the lure of gifts, yachts, tickets to sports events, bribes, easily misapproriated campaign donations, $90K in the fridge, a house for half price, etc., has something to do with it, eh?

Posted by: d.a.n at November 9, 2006 5:18 PM
Comment #194314

d.a.n.

Ever been on a yacht? It is beyond me why anyone would even want to ride on one, much less own one.

Some politicians are crooks. Most are good people trying to do a hard job under tough conditions.

I always make fun of rich politicians such as Kennedy, Pelosi or Kerry. Dems can put up Cheney etc. These guys already have piles of money. Do you really think they do it for the cash? Do you think that Giuliani, McCain, Kerry or Clinton are looking to be president because they need a job?

Posted by: Jack at November 9, 2006 5:26 PM
Comment #194315

quick note: for those calling repub. spending a “fiscal abomination”…2 words- Midnight Basketball :) ( if you don’t get the joke you were not around the last time the dems had any power….) Democrats love blowing money on social spending…I am truly sorry we spent money to save the lives of Americans, please forgive him for his selfishness…( another joke for you oversensitive leftists )
also: for tom’s statement….you think the average person will vote on who can fix deficit issues…sadly, they don’t understand or care.

Posted by: voice of reason at November 9, 2006 5:28 PM
Comment #194317

Tim,
I do not understand this statement…

Capitalism is predicated on a growth, which, in the long run, is unsustainable— environmentally, economically and morally unsustainable.

So..the last 200 years was a fluke?
Face it, Jensen is a fatalist.
Either that or he has been pushing his choo-choo train around the track by hand until he got dizzy.

Making everything fair and equal is a lofty ideal with no practical solution. There are those who strive to improve and enhance themselves regardless of their social background. Then there are those who believe they are owed a life.

Do you believe in a socialist agenda?
It sounds so utopian on paper and theoretically pleasing to think about…

You can have it…
I want to control my own destiny…If I get out line with the laws of society, I should suffer for my actions. Otherwise, get out of the way…

Those who think the government owes them better get with it…(BTW, people who cannot help themselves need and should get help from all)

Posted by: cliff at November 9, 2006 5:38 PM
Comment #194318

Cliff:

“Do you believe in a socialist agenda?”

Yes.


“I want to control my own destiny…”

You don’t control anything—the plutocratic oligarchy masquerading as ‘free market’ laizze faire corporatists are calling the tune. As such, the American economy is as planned, manipulated and corrupt as anything the communists ever concocted. It just happens to be planned for the rich and the corporations. And in the end, with the environmental challenges we face as a species, ‘growth’ will be seen, whether you like it or not, as a cancer on mankind’s ability to survive.

Jack:

I detect you hedging your bets. This is not our dad’s capitalism anymore. The corporate oligarchy has democracy by the throat. They have run through several red lights regarding peak oil, global warming, massive budget deficits and a global financial system so volatile and complex that even the experts don’t know what’s around the next bend. The predictions of capitialism’s demise have always been with us—but we have never seen such dire economic and environmental consequences to our profligacy.

This country is heading towards another recession, helped along by a rapidly deflating housing market. The Fed can’t lower rates and keep the foreign investors coming back for worthless greenbacks. As a nation, we are in the worst possible place to weather another serious economic downturn. And it’s coming, make no mistake about it.

And most of our problems stem from a simple, steadfast, ideological refusal to live within our means. It will cost us, and I’m afraid the bill will be terrible.

Posted by: Tim Crow at November 9, 2006 6:10 PM
Comment #194319

Voice of reason….

Did I say the average person would vote on budget deficet issues? Okay….maybe I led one to believe this. I know one thing…I will do ALL I can to ensure the folks around me are aware of government fiscal responsibility. I’m thinking of starting my own East Tennessee federal an local government spending report (news paper/news letter).

Posted by: Tom l at November 9, 2006 6:25 PM
Comment #194320

Tim

We are always heading toward another recession. The question is when? I know people who have predicted at least twenty of the last two recessions. We had them in 1980, 1990 and 2001. If you predicted them you were right. We recovered, however.

I do not worry at all about peak oil. That is just a concept for those who do not understand markets. At some point oil will become more expensive than alternatives and we will not use it. Big deal. I worry about that as much as I worry about the whale oil or tallow shortages.

Global warming is a concern for me and I have discussed it. Suffice to say that the market will be a big part of the solution.

Re the free market’s demise, I suppose sometime it will happen. Nothing lasts forever. But you need a bit more historical perspective. Leftist pundits have predicted the death of the free markets every year for at least 250 years.

Remember Karl Marx was the only one of the Marx brothers who could not tell a joke, or maybe his joke was just too tragic.

Posted by: Jack at November 9, 2006 6:30 PM
Comment #194325

Jack:

My historical perspective is no more skewed than yours.

Please, minimize to your heart’s content. My posts weren’t meant to change a mind that is already made up. It is to inject the possibility that Republican ‘feel-good’ economics is treading on the razor’s edge.

The challenges we face as a nation and a species are well beyond any ‘did too-did not’ kindergarten spats between Republicans and Democrats, or even the Left vs Right.

“Global warming is a concern for me and I have discussed it. Suffice to say that the market will be a big part of the solution.”

This comment is indicative of a head-in-the-sand stance that the articles I provided point to. The market will have nothing to do with solving the global warming problem, because it is critical player in creating the problem. The only way this problem can be addressed is with world-wide governmental intervention into the ‘free market.’ It’s the runaway, predatory free market that will kill us all, if it has it’s way. It doesn’t have humankind’s interests at heart—it never did.

And it’s doing an excellent job of insuring that we are a dead-end species, even as we speak.

Posted by: Tim Crow at November 9, 2006 6:50 PM
Comment #194327

Jack,

Really, what I’m not looking forward to is the hard work that will have to be done to put this country aright. It will be like weaning a kid off a no-limit platinum card. Fixing the economy is only going to be harder with people like you claiming it’s so great as is. You are not going to like the sacrifices Democrats will have to ask this country to make in the name of responsibility. I expect nothing but bellyaching from so called conservatives.

Posted by: Max at November 9, 2006 7:05 PM
Comment #194332

Do you think we carping on the bad news just to get you out of office? Fact is, there are real serious problems out there, and not just because we say there are.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 9, 2006 7:24 PM
Comment #194336

Tim Crow

You brought to my attention the picture of either Marx or Lenin in the public square trying to get the masses roused.

Posted by: tomh at November 9, 2006 7:53 PM
Comment #194339

Stephen

I think it is/was cognitive dissonance. The fact that the economy improved rapidly after 2003 was difficult for Dems to square with the fact that George Bush was president at that time, Congress was Republican and that targeted tax cuts were in place. Since they could not change the fact that Bush was president, they modified their perception of the economy. As a result, exactly the same sorts of data that were hailed in 1997/8 as nearly incredible good news were disparaged in 2004/5 as one of the worst economies in their memories.

Now that some of that tension is relieved, I believe Dems will begin to come around on the economy. They will have some justification. This year the median income will improve. If you look at the chart I reference, you will see that this happens right about this time in a recovery. That is what Dems will emphasize. Some time within the next couple of month, somebody will probably even post it on this blog.

Tom

Did you ever live in a communist or post communist country? If you had, you would have noticed that socialism is very good at producing high levels of pollution and economy ruin simultaneously. If you travel a bit, you will also notice that stronger economic freedom and markets are strongly correlated with better environments. The only “problem” for the free market is that it tends to produce much more growth and wealth, which have produced pollution. If you look at experience, you will see that once market economies recognized pollution as a big problem (in the 1960s) they moved expeditiously to address it. Pollutants such as NOx, CO or SO2 were drastically reduced. CO2 is a recently recognized problem. Well into the 1980s, some people were warning of global cooling.

Posted by: Jack at November 9, 2006 8:24 PM
Comment #194341

A functioning free market is one which responds to threats to its health: environmental degradation diminishes the health of the entire economy for all kinds of reasons, hence the free market will—and does—respond.

To use just one example: it’s undeniable that the preservation of natural areas in the United States is market-driven.

A small minority of people are willing to make the economic sacrifces which come from not exploiting available natural areas they never intend to visit simply on the basis that they like to know its “out there” and unspoiled.

On the other hand, huge numbers of people are motivated to preserve wilderness areas because they may want to hike, fish, camp, hunt or simply visit those places. The tourism industry, the travel industry, the outdoor equipment industry—all of these and more have a strong vested interest in preserving the environment. Hence those areas are preserved, and with overwhelming popular support.

Unlike state-controlled economies which function from the top down, free markets function laterally—in a very organic way.

Posted by: Neo-Con Pilsner at November 9, 2006 8:43 PM
Comment #194343
Jack wrote: d.a.n. Ever been on a yacht? It is beyond me why anyone would even want to ride on one, much less own one.

As a matter of fact, I’ve spent a lot of time on yachts.
I used to develop software for yachts (550KB) to monitor engines, generators, GPS, water tanks, fuel tanks, etc. (software called SIMON; see www.palladiumtechs.com).
Yes, I know about being sea sick on very rough seas.

Jack wrote:
Some politicians are crooks. Most are good people trying to do a hard job under tough conditions.

Are you sure you didn’t mispeak?
Didn’t you mean:


Most politicians are crooks. Some are good people trying to do a hard job under tough conditions.

Jack wrote:
Do you really think they do it for the cash?
Yes, I do. Just ask Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA).

Jack wrote:
Do you think that Giuliani, McCain, Kerry or Clinton are looking to be president because they need a job?
Most appear to be politicians for not just the money, but the power too.
Many are merely power hungry, and merely do it for the power, fame, and glory.
McCain came up through the ranks. I cut McCain some little slack. He may be the only exception of the names you listed here.
Kerry came up through the ranks too, but he’s an snobby elitist.
In my opinion, Hillary Clinton is dishonest, a liar, a crooked lawyer, and hides and shreds evidence.
Not sure about Giuliani. I don’t think I’d vote for him for President.
If my choices are between Hillary or McCain, McCain wins hands down.

At any rate, I think most in Congress are irresponsible, FOR SALE, and very much interested in money, and self-gain.

The proof is in the results.

Just look at the nation’s pressing problems growing in number and severity.
Most incumbent politicains care more about securing their power, opportunities for self-gain, peddling influence, and securing the security of their cu$hy, coveted incumbencies.

Posted by: d.a.n at November 9, 2006 9:06 PM
Comment #194346

CORRECTION: My apologies. The previous post was unclear due to incorrect blockquotes …

Jack wrote: d.a.n. Ever been on a yacht? It is beyond me why anyone would even want to ride on one, much less own one.

As a matter of fact, I’ve spent a lot of time on yachts.
I used to develop software for yachts (550KB) to monitor engines, generators, GPS, water tanks, fuel tanks, etc. (software called SIMON; see www.palladiumtechs.com).
Yes, I know about being sea sick on very rough seas.

Jack wrote: Some politicians are crooks. Most are good people trying to do a hard job under tough conditions.

Are you sure you didn’t mispeak?
Didn’t you mean:

  • Most politicians are crooks. Some are good people trying to do a hard job under tough conditions.
  • Jack wrote: Do you really think they do it for the cash?
    Yes, I do. Just ask Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA), Cunningham, Dan Rostenkowski, etc., etc., etc.
    Jack wrote: Do you think that Giuliani, McCain, Kerry or Clinton are looking to be president because they need a job?
    Most appear to be politicians for not just the money, but the power too. Many are merely power hungry, and merely do it for the power, fame, and glory. McCain came up through the ranks. I cut McCain some little slack. He may be the only exception of the names you listed here. Kerry came up through the ranks too, but he’s an snobby elitist. In my opinion, Hillary Clinton is dishonest, a liar, a crooked lawyer, and hides and shreds evidence. Not sure about Giuliani. I don’t think I’d vote for him for President. If my choices are between Hillary or McCain, McCain wins hands down.

    At any rate, I think most in Congress are irresponsible, FOR SALE, and very much interested in money, and self-gain.

    The proof is in the results.

    Just look at the nation’s pressing problems growing in number and severity.
    Most incumbent politicains care more about securing their power, opportunities for self-gain, peddling influence, and securing the security of their cu$hy, coveted incumbencies.

    Posted by: d.a.n at November 9, 2006 9:20 PM
    Comment #194358

    I’ve already heard democrats taking credit for the stock market proclaiming it’s the coming of the democratic party that is causing the markets to rise.

    The very markets they were spiting on last Monday proclaiming they were meaningless to the average American.

    Praise Jesus, the Democrats have “saved” the economy with their promise of higher taxes.

    Posted by: Stephen at November 9, 2006 10:38 PM
    Comment #194364

    Jack-
    The cognitive dissonance? No, people really are being squeezed. When the growth is top-heavy, you will see expansion in the economy, rises in median income and all those good things, but you’ll also see things like increased debt, housing bubbles bursting and other things.

    What you forget is that many times critical changes work beneath the macroeconomic level, until something that was holding the status quo in place slips. It might be an economic collapse overseas, or some event like that. Also, remember that people had to go through some difficult times after 2000-2001, so the positives of the moment are weighed down by liabilities and other issues that came from the past.

    I’m not saying our economy is in a depression, but I think this emphasis on focusing on good news was unconvincing to most voters in the exit polls for a very good reason: They didn’t see the benefits.

    If you can accept that, and those of us on my side can accept that the economy still has some strength, we can get somewhere. If you insist, though, on telling people that they aren’t going through difficult times, not only will you be greeted with skepticism, but people will associate your optimism with their troubles, and that will not do you any good in recapturing seats in the legislature.

    Maybe the problem is confidence. Maybe the problem is that people are so eaten up with debts and obnoxiously high bills that their greater prosperity doesn’t feel like it. Maybe you have people who are underemployed, and therefore making less money than they were promised their degree or other training was capable of giving them.

    Maybe the problem is, Conservatives are looking at the economy from the top down. Big profits, healthy stock market, etc. Things that the rich and the investors might see as signs of good economic growth, but which the average person has little direct experience of an improved situation to thank for.

    Maybe the problem is, people don’t feel as if they can trust the apparent prosperity of high growth periods, that its all illusion.

    It not about hyped doom and gloom. It’s about real problems in the transparency, equality, and fairness of the system. It’s about an economy where profits seem to come at their expense, rather than being a product of somebody doing something good for them as well. An economy that does not do something good for society as a whole is not a good economy.

    While it’s inevitable that the system will make certain people richer and others poorer, the degree to which money flows throughout the system is important to the health of an economy. Money circulates like blood, and like with any body, the circulation must get to the extremities, or it can make the core, the most wealthy parts of the body in that currency, unhealthy.

    The market must be regulated appropriately so that value flows all around, and people feel that what is taken from them is duly compensated with what is given. The system must provide people with the resources to use their wisdom as best as they can manage.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 9, 2006 10:59 PM
    Comment #194366

    Stephen-
    Sooner or later, the debts Bush has run up come due. Those tax cuts will take back more money in the end than they gave out. That is the inevitability of debt financed spending. American taxpayers will spend more money to service debt now than to run their government. That’s not conservatism. That’s a cowardly con game. We might raise taxes on certain people, but at least we’re asking for money upfront, not deferring payment to future generations at higher cost. If we ask too much, you know what to do. For now, let us start to undo some of the damage this president’s fiscal policy has done.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 9, 2006 11:04 PM
    Comment #194370
    I hope they do not fix it too much. I let my son try to fix my radio once. I think it is probably a similar situation. Posted by: Jack at November 9, 2006 04:39 PM
    Funny, I view the last twelve years as letting the fox run the hen house. I’d rather have your son fix the radio. Posted by: Dave1-20-09 at November 9, 2006 11:16 PM
    Comment #194390

    between such movements as VOID and such spankings as witnessed in this midterm and the war in iraq, we will soon see the resurrection of the conservatives. take heart.

    a shift in comments? yes. now conservatives and liberals, alike, shall scoff in unison at the neocon agenda.

    Posted by: Diogenes at November 10, 2006 2:06 AM
    Comment #194395

    Jack,

    You must be among the 1% of Americans who control 96% of the wealth. Which corporation do you work for? Bank of Mordor? Chevron?

    If you’re not, then maybe some new sources are in order for your statistics. Rupert Murdoch is not looking out for your best interests. Or mine.

    I remember when Republican meant “conservative”. Now it means “debt”. How many underpaid hard-working families are slaves to their credit cards? And the $5.15/hr wage earner is hounded by the $11,000/hr CEO for the few thousand that the wage earner can’t afford.

    Posted by: TheCommonMan at November 10, 2006 2:29 AM
    Comment #194396

    Jack, your good economic news in the past has been blindingly focused on current snapshots of the economy. The long term health of the economy has been worsening every year since 1994. That convergence of baby boom retirees and out of control health care costs have been darkening the economic horizon for America’s future year after year. And Republicans response was to rack up national debt at unprecedented rate and levels since WWII.

    As I have pointed out to you many times, the health of our economy cannot be accurately assessed in current year snapshots. Our economy is a multi-faceted organism have unfunded contractual obligations extending out for 3/4 of a century. Any realistic assessment of our economy must take those into account and ask if we are taking appropriate measures today to meet anticipated needs tomorrow.

    Republicans used economic data to buy votes, instead of using the real and full economic picture to anticipate future needs and respond appropriately for them. It is amazing to me the hypocrisy of conservatives who say citizens must save today for their tomorrows, while at the very same time supporting and hailing the Republican headlong rush to bankrupt the country’s future with unprecedented national and trade debts.

    If Republicans truly believed saving for tomorrow was a principle to live by, why did bury our nation in debt, about 1/2 of which had nothing to do with 9/11, Katrina, or the war on terrorism?

    America’s economic picture is bleak. And unless there is a humongous and politically painful bi-partisan effort to head off the entitlement train wreck coming, in a fashion that Americans are willing to accept, America is facing an economic meltdown, or millions and millions of Americans dying without medical care and of health care cost induced poverty and bankruptcy.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at November 10, 2006 2:30 AM
    Comment #194403

    Diogenes. The resurrection of the conservative voice has been taking place in part in the Libertarian Party. They ran more candidates and garnered more percentage of the national vote for their candidates than in any previous election. Republicans have been losing registered voters to the Libertarian Party at a trickle, until these last 2 years, when the Libertarian Party enjoyed a sizable infusion of both cash and Libertarian voters.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at November 10, 2006 3:17 AM
    Comment #194406

    yes, and i am grateful.

    the libertarians have a legitimate part in the political discourse which should be taking place within the republican party - as do the true conservatives.

    unfortunately, i still do not feel that the libertarians are any more viable as a third party than they have ever been. ideally, this will change… with your help (void).

    Posted by: Diogenes at November 10, 2006 3:35 AM
    Comment #194410

    We can hope, and work to make that hope, a reality.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at November 10, 2006 4:37 AM
    Comment #194420

    Stephen et al

    Median is median. MOST people are doing okay. Life for almost everybody is a challenge. It is hard to make ends meet. That is the way is was, the way it is and the way it always will be. I have never been able to buy what I want w/o thinking of the price and do not expect that I ever will. That is not the sign of a bad economy or a personal failure.

    Many people are worse off than I am; some are better off. I have been poor (in income although never in sprit) and I have been almost rich. That is life. There are lots of opportunities for the poor and even more for the middle class. Most people will not stay poor their whole lives. Most will never get rich.

    People would be better off concentrating on what they have and what they CAN do. There is always more that you do not have and cannot do. If you think about that, you will be unhappy no matter how much you get. You will probably also be angry at others, resentful and envious. These are not only deadly sins; they are the marks of the loser. Dems should stop selling this hogwash. They no longer need to. They won the election.

    Re the debt “Bush ran up” - tax revenues are at all time highs. We are taxing more than 20% of our GDP. The problem is that we are spending too much. We need to cut spending. Our current deficit would not be a problem if we did not face the looming tidal wave of entitlements. We need to address this problem. I do not underestimate the difficulty of doing this, but I also am not going to throw up my hands and claim this is an unsolvable problem. Remember the S&L crisis that was supposed to push us into oblivion? How about the Japanese buying all of our assets? Or maybe the deficits of the 1990s? As late as 1995, experts predicted deficits as far as the eye could see.

    David

    Please see above. Yes, we need to address spending and entitlements. That is the problem of the future. Let’s see if the Dems in congress do as well as Newt did. We can hope, but I am not confident about that. I do not think we will address entitlements until it becomes more of a crisis. That is politics is a democratic country.

    Posted by: Jack at November 10, 2006 8:31 AM
    Comment #194425

    Jack-
    This is not about envy. It’s never been about envy. It’s about fair wages. It’s about America moving forward towards a strong middle class, rather than rolling backwards. The health of this economy depends on the spread of this wealth, rather than its increasing concentration in the hands of those who already have so much.

    So many of the means by which some corporations have increased their profits have come at the expense of the employee and the consumer. This is not harmless behavior. This stuff can be a drag on overall growth, as people spend more for less, and get less for more, there can be additional issues that arise as people become less inclined to spend.

    Bush’s tax cuts, no matter what you say, account for 60% of the deficit, and so far, have not replicated the incredible growth seen under the tax rates the Democrats set up in 1993. Experts outside the coterie of Supply-Side supporters doubt the value of tax cuts to generate economic surges in the absence of onerous tax rates. It’s very likely that the economy recovered independently of the tax cuts.

    The results of the tax cuts in the future will not be so benign. These tax cuts have never given the people back their money. This money we get from the tax cuts comes mainly from investors who want a profit, and will get it, at future taxpayer expense. We’ll end up paying more for it.

    Even if revenues are up (largely due to external reasons), Bush still has accumulated massive amounts of debt. We need to start paying the piper now and get the painful part of recovering from this president’s fiscal policies started. The alternative is handing a fiscal time-bomb to our children.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 10, 2006 9:33 AM
    Comment #194435

    Stephen

    50% of stocks are owned by pension funds, non-profits, universities etc. Most American households own stocks. Wages are no longer the only source of income for most American families. Most of us have been benefiting from various investments for a long time.

    Re deficitsIf we had held spending in line (you can blame the Republicans. Let’s see if Dems do better) there would be no deficit. Taxes are not too low. We have achieved record tax revenues this year. The Feds are taking in 20% + of the economy. We are agree that the deficit is out of hand. I may not even disagree about the locus of taxation. I would like to tax oil, for example. We disagree over the method of dealing with the deficit. I would mostly cut spending. You would mostly raise taxes.

    Re wealth, median income will be up this year. It is this time in the cycle. If you look at the rise and fall of median income over the last 30 years, you see this pattern. It is not something Bush did. The decline started in 1999. And for all the gnashing of teeth, the deficit as a % of GDP is about the same as it was in 1995 and the median income dropped at its lowest levels to about what it was in 1996/7. BTW - Do you remember that as such a bad year that it terrifies you to have similar conditions?

    You also may recall that back in 1995 most experts expected deficits to continue. The deficit was erased by unexpected increases in revenue based on taxes on investments and corporate profits. If you look at today’s pattern you will find a similar thing happening.

    We have to address the growing problem of entitelments. That is the big difference between 1997 and 2007. You can blame Bush since he is part of the baby boom, but the foundations of this problem were laid between 1946 and 1962, or maybe in 1972 when we indexed SS.

    Posted by: Jack at November 10, 2006 11:18 AM
    Comment #194438

    Neo-Con Pilsner said,

    To use just one example: it’s undeniable that the preservation of natural areas in the United States is market-driven.

    Boldly asserted but mostly wrong. You completely ignore land constantly set aside by voters and legislatures,and elected officials from Teddy Roosevelt to Clinton. Our state and national park systems, city and county green belts were not the creation of the free market and that has led to the preservation of natural areas, not the market. Of course, government has done its share of damage as well as such as the overzealous BLM and California state dam programs in the West for incredibly subsidized developement of marginal lands.

    A small minority of people are willing to make the economic sacrifces which come from not exploiting available natural areas they never intend to visit simply on the basis that they like to know its “out there” and unspoiled.

    Wilderness has an important role in this country from protection of species to watersheds as well as an aesthetic. It’s about what people value beyond their own nose.

    On the other hand, huge numbers of people are motivated to preserve wilderness areas because they may want to hike, fish, camp, hunt or simply visit those places. The tourism industry, the travel industry, the outdoor equipment industry—all of these and more have a strong vested interest in preserving the environment. Hence those areas are preserved, and with overwhelming popular support.

    This is true, hence voters supporting government regulation of land, not the market. I think you are confusing the market of ideas and democracy with the economic so-called “free market”. We do have instances where groups clash over natural resources and land to the potential benefit or degradation of the environment such as Pacific coast fisherman versus government subsidized farmers around the Klammath river watershed. But the outcome for the natural areas and fish dependent on them is uncertain.

    Unlike state-controlled economies which function from the top down, free markets function laterally—in a very organic way.

    I agree with you here. Democracy and capitalism work together because they believe in freedom of the individual to make choices. However, the role of democratic government in ameliorating the excesses and short-sightedness of capitalism is what we are talking about here. Regulating and preserving land and natural systems that support us and give us pleasure requires a more macro and long-term view than the economic market has heretofore provided us.

    Some are trying to fix that with markets recognizing factors long-since externalized such as carbon trading or pollution credit trading. Eliminating government subsidies of mostly large corporate farmers and the oil industry would be another.

    Posted by: chris2x at November 10, 2006 11:31 AM
    Comment #194448

    Lots of comments on here from another good article by Jack.

    My gut response to Tim and others like him (ie the social equalitists) is:

    1) get over yourself. Society will never be equal. And governments mandating socioeconomic equality (communism) have been proven NOT TO WORK!

    2) there are 3 types of people. Those that work to improve their current situation, those that work to maintain or are content with their current situation, and those that don’t care or are too lazy (not counting those that can’t - they are a special category, and deserve the help of others).

    3) The only way to guarantee that society is equal is to form some sort of basis for equality WHILE SOCIETIES ARE FORMING. If you have ever studied political theory or philosophy this is called the state of nature http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_nature. I don’t care which theorist you subscribe too, whether it be locke, hobbes, rosseau, plato…etc the common denominator in all is that these social contracts need to be worked out before society has been formed as a whole. Since this is not the case ANYWHERE ON GODS GREEN EARTH, we need to work with tangibles.

    I think that the best idea is the one that we have (a capitalist republic). If we all live in a society that provides an avenue towards upward mobility (socially and economically) then the only thing that is holding back able bodied individuals is themselves. There have been too many success stories here to discount this. Additionally, if there werent anything in place to protect accumulated wealth…then what would be the point to working your ass off to try and improve your life? Why work hard if you have to give it all back? And if nobody works hard then something else has to pick up the slack for providing for societies needs (the government). If you follow this line of logic, it will lead to Communism (which is evil and bad, and if you don’t think that outside of an academic theorem that Communism can work in the real world, then take another hit off the bong and go back to your tolstoy).

    It really pisses me off that people still piss on corporations, yet they drive around in their subaru’s, and wear their 50$ patagonia T-shirts, and complain that corporations are controlling the government and are keeping the working man down. Hey, I got news for you. Societies will always be made up of the haves and the have nots. Fact of the matter is, we need blue collar workers, manual laborers…etc. And raising minimum wages wont improve their economic conditions, because the loss in profits for the wage increase will get added in somewhere else. So whose fault is that? Answer is: Nobody’s. That is just the way it is - deal with it.

    Now Im goin to get back on the phones and make some cold calls while I slave away for the man…

    Posted by: b0mbay at November 10, 2006 12:23 PM
    Comment #194453

    Jack,

    The economy doesn’t look good at all to many Americans:

    “Postcards from an ailing economy” Nov. 1, 2006
    http://www.epi.org/content.cfm/pm117

    Just a few worthwhile quotes:

    “Since 2000, the median family headed by someone of working age (65 or less) has seen its income drop 5.4% after adjusting for inflation. This represents a loss of $3,000 in annual income.”

    “Fewer than half of Americans own any stock at all, and the richest 20% of the population owns 90% of all stock market wealth.”

    “As usual, most of the growth in wealth is to the wealthiest. In 1962, the wealth among the richest 1% of the population was 125 times that of the median household. Today, that ratio has risen to 190.”

    “In the corporate sector, the share of labor compensation (wages plus fringe benefits) in total corporate income has fallen by 5.6 percentage points, while profits increased 7.8 percentage points.”

    “The percentage of children not covered by employer-provided health insurance has been growing for the past five years and has now risen to two out of every five.”

    It’s hard to sell someone on the notion that the economy is great when they’re struggling harder and harder to get by, and fear that their child might get ill because they can’t afford insurance or the doctor bill.

    But then, we’re not talking about anyone really important, huh?

    Posted by: KansasDem at November 10, 2006 12:34 PM
    Comment #194456

    Kansas

    About half of American families own stock and most own through pension funds etc. I will not argue with the exact numbers. Your source carefully says “fewer than half” of Americans own stock. I bet we are both right, since stock ownership increases with age and households tend to be smaller. The hopeful fact remains that about half of all Americans own stock. This is amazing.

    And yes, some people are poor compared to others. This will never change. I used to be very poor. Now I am not. I didnt feel that bad when I was poor and I do not feel bad now.

    Posted by: Jack at November 10, 2006 12:47 PM
    Comment #194460

    jack, kansas and other regular posters…

    Im interested to hear your feedback on my above rant. Am I way off base? Is my logic flawed? I respect your opinions - even if we sometimes disagree…

    b0mbay

    Posted by: b0mbay at November 10, 2006 12:54 PM
    Comment #194462

    Kansas

    BTW - it also depends on what drives those economic trends and what you want to do about them. The drop in median income began in 1999. It is reversing this year. The increase in inequality is worldwide and began around 1970, but during that time median family incomes rose remarkably in the U.S.

    I am not trying to give a particular prescription. I am only saying that this has happened over times of different political regimes and very different tax structures. It also happened in very different countries and cultures. Maybe it has something more to do with technology and trade than with political policy and maybe it is a function of generally increasing wealth.

    My first intellectual passion was ancient history. I recall in the 8th and 7th century BC, there was a lot of trouble in Greece because of the rise of inequality. The poor were not becomming poorer, but new forms of wealth creation were allowing some people to become richer. The Spartans solved the problems by essentially enslaving everybody around them, including themselves and enforcing poverty on all. Other state tried various other strategies. None really worked. It is a problem we have to live with, but probably cannot solve.

    Posted by: Jack at November 10, 2006 1:05 PM
    Comment #194463

    Bombay

    I agree that the best we can do is a free market democracy. Other systems are tempting in theory, but deadly in practice. That is sort of what the Greeks figured out too, although they were unable to make it work. We have the benefit of that experience and a lot more wealth. We also have a working understanding of risk, which nobody before modern times ever mastered.

    Posted by: Jack at November 10, 2006 1:08 PM
    Comment #194470

    Nice work Bombay. You won’t hear a lot of cheerleading from the posters here. Unless you are on the other side, that is. Back slapping and saying
    “Great post” gives some here just what they are looking for. If you use logic in your arguments and not emotion, expect others who agree with your line of thinking to just go about their day without having to feel they have to congratulate you on what you’ve written. I realize you are looking for responses from the other side. With that said, expect the same tired links to the same tired cherry picked stats, and the same wealth envy and cries of “It’s not fair!”. Such is life. Those that want equality usually don’t want it when it means taking money out of their own pockets. It’s always someone else’s pocket. I could provide a link that gives those people the ability to send their money directly to the government. You know, all those that want to give back the portion of the tax cuts they don’t feel they or anyone deserve. I could even attach a counter to it and trace IP addresses. But I don’t have to. No one would click on it. Not even those that scream the loudest about how horrible the tax cuts have been.
    Here is another idea that I’m sure would take off. All those that disagree with the tax cuts, start a grass roots movement. Go door to door and collect all the money that people got back. (Their own money by the way) Take this money and send it to Washington. The answer you get will be astounding. “I don’t agree with the tax cuts! But, take my neighbors money…okay?” With the vast amounts your sure to collect,(read sarcasm) see if any of it goes into debt reduction or is added to the general fund and spent.

    Nice talking to you.

    Posted by: Realist2 at November 10, 2006 1:58 PM
    Comment #194472

    Jack said: “The Spartans solved the problems by essentially enslaving everybody around them, including themselves and enforcing poverty on all.”

    What a crock of horsepucky. If you were a capable student of Spartan life in those times, you would recognize that their austerity was born out of a philosophy of what constitutes the good life, similar to that of monastic life of the Medieval period, or the Buddhist priesthood life of begging alms. It was not slavery in any way, shape, or form. It was a culturally defining philosophy self directed and elected. It is crucial in studying and understanding history to avoid viewing it through modern lenses shaped by modern thought, philosophy, education, and technology.

    For most of the 20th century historians viewed the building of the pyramids in Egypt as a product of brutal and crushing slavery. We now know that the workers who built the pyramids were not slaves as defined by our American colonial and pre-Civil War era, but, built by paid craftspersons and laborers in great multitudes.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at November 10, 2006 2:01 PM
    Comment #194479

    Kansas -
    “Since 2000, the median family headed by someone of working age (65 or less) has seen its income drop 5.4% after adjusting for inflation. This represents a loss of $3,000 in annual income.”

    How unfortunate for these POOR median families whose median income comes out to $56,000 per year. They are not struggling to put food on the table. And those above the median are not stuggling either. Their worry is that they now can’t afford that nicer vacation in Aruba, and have to settle for some Disney theme park instead.

    So, those who are actually being hurt by this supposed drop in spendable income are the bottom half of those under the median. However, those lower income families have lost much less than $3,000 in spendable income. So this is another case of using meaningless facts.

    There are ups and downs in the relative wealth of average Americans. During the Great Depression there was a horrible decline in the ability of the average American to put food on the table. In the early 1980’s there was another difficult time. Otherwise the ups and downs are cyclical. A 3-7% increase or decrease is not unusual for any cycle.

    So this factoid is relatively meaningless.

    “As usual, most of the growth in wealth is to the wealthiest. In 1962, the wealth among the richest 1% of the population was 125 times that of the median household. Today, that ratio has risen to 190.”

    Why should we care how much the rich have? We should want the very wealthy to have much more wealth than even the horrible ratio you mention. Why? Because the wealthy people are the job-creators! The more money they have, the more businesses they start and finance and the more people who are employed at higher wages. Take away that filthy money and give it to the poor and you have created waste, fraud, inefficient government programs, and fewer jobs. Government does not create jobs, poor people don’t create jobs, few middle class people create jobs.

    Posted by: Don at November 10, 2006 2:41 PM
    Comment #194485

    Bombay:

    “1) get over yourself. Society will never be equal. And governments mandating socioeconomic equality (communism) have been proven NOT TO WORK!”

    When did I say society would ever be equal? What I am railing against is the lack of effort to try to make it so. Or to even fake it. The social safety net in this country is in tatters—health care costs, for instance, are through the roof, so much so that if you look carefully, you can see the end of employer-sponsered health insurance. More and more companies are bailing on the very things that made this country after WWII: health insurance, pensions, livable wages. The last twenty-five years has been a productivity fiesta for the filthy rich and corporations, while wages have stagnated and energy, education, healthcare, housing costs have risen—in some cases, dramatically.


    “2) there are 3 types of people. Those that work to improve their current situation, those that work to maintain or are content with their current situation, and those that don’t care or are too lazy (not counting those that can’t - they are a special category, and deserve the help of others).”

    You forget the largest group, group four, the ones who play by the rules, bust their asses, sometimes work two and even three jobs, and are still falling behind financially.

    You seem to think that American capitalism is some pure-bred, homogenous animal, that brings goodness and light (through the blessings of democracy) unaltered and pristine. There are ample examples in our history where the ferocious, inhuman aspects of ‘free marketism’ was unacceptable to the American people, where socialism humanized capitalism—the 1930s are an excellent example.

    And I think we are heading towards that kind of economic challenge again—for the simple reason that we are not living within our means. Five percent of the global population (the US) is using twenty-five percent of the globe’s natural resources. You will never convince me that that is the ‘natural’ order of things. You will have a hard time convincing the rest of the world as well.

    The government has always, in the past, monitored capitalism for just such inbalances and dangerous run-away greed that doesn’t serve the greater good. It is no longer doing so, because it has been co-opted by corporate lobbyists and corrupt politicians. We are staring at enormous challenges financially and environmentally, because the government has been a lapdog for corporations. And turning out a relative handful of corrupt politicos in ‘free elections’ is like bailing out a sinking ship with a bucket.

    There was a time when we could count on government to correct some of the more egregious thievery of capitalism—now, the government is handing out the people’s money and natural resources in double handsfull.

    “I think that the best idea is the one that we have (a capitalist republic). “

    If you think what we have is a republic, you’re more naive than you let on. This ‘republic’ has been taken over by the corporations and the rich—it is a plutocratic oligarchy masquerading as a republic. The masquerade is becoming more and more difficult to hide, though, because the yawning gap between the haves and the have nots is becoming so serious, that it threatens the party the rich are having at the worker’s expense. People will not support a system that screws them forever. And there is no effort by government or the parties (especially the Republicans) to even throw the people a bone. They just flail them with diatribes of being lazy, of not being educated for the new ‘global market’, of living beyond their means. In short, blaming the victims of capitalism.

    “It really pisses me off that people still piss on corporations…”

    Well, as you say, get over it. The corporations haven’t done anything for me, and there are millions of people out there like me. If I were to stand in the way of their profits, they would ‘disappear’ me in a heartbeat—they do it to millions of people around the world every day.
    Who knows? Maybe you’re next.

    Here is my point, sans terms like capitalism, socialism, free markets, whatever. If this country continues to spend money and treasure on the backs of our children and grandchildren, if this country continues to rape and pillage the earth for profit, if this country continues to ‘dis’ the middle class and the working classes (the very ones who made this country, mind you), there will be changes made. And neither you nor I are going to like them.


    I have been around awhile now. There has been a subtle but unmistakable change in the American people since I’ve been watching them. Perhaps it is a maturation process, I don’t know. But there has been some real errosion in the people’s faith that the government is working for them. It started big time around Watergate, and it has been going downhill ever since. This latest round of Republican thievery and corruption, along with an unpopular war and unpopular president has increased the disillusionment. If we have a severe economic challenge within the next several years, the American people’s confidence in their government to act quickly and responsibly in a crisis may be null and void. It will depend who the leaders are, and what their motivations will be. I am not confident that we will have the right people in the right places at the right time.

    We as a nation have been incredibly lucky in the past—when the darkness of a failed revolution against a king looked all too real, there was George Washington. When the country threatened to fly apart over slavery and states rights, we were blessed with Abraham Lincoln. When economic catastrophe and the menace of fascism faced this nation, FDR appeared. The Cold War? Eisenhower, Kennedy, and yes, despite his flaws, Nixon, faced down the communists.

    I see noone on the horizon that has the political and moral judgement to tell the American people, “We are living beyond our means, and our greed is threatening to kill us. We must change course, whatever that means. And it will hurt, as all sacrifices and hard work do.”

    Our fundamental principles have been compromised for the quick buck, and the shiny baubble. And our progeny will pay the piper.

    Posted by: Tim Crow at November 10, 2006 3:12 PM
    Comment #194490

    Bombay said,

    Hey, I got news for you. Societies will always be made up of the haves and the have nots.

    No disagreement here so not really news to anybody.

    Fact of the matter is, we need blue collar workers, manual laborers…etc. And raising minimum wages wont improve their economic conditions, because the loss in profits for the wage increase will get added in somewhere else.

    Essentially a bullshit argument. A minimum wage levels the playing field for all competitors in their region. More money for the least skilled to just survive and have time to be parents is definitely a benefit. I’m afraid paying an extra $0.15 for your taco at Taco Bell is not going to impact these people like getting an extra $100 a pay check(actually I think Taco Bell already pays more than minimum wage to attract any workers, that’s how far the minimum wage floor has fallen).

    So whose fault is that? Answer is: Nobody’s. That is just the way it is - deal with it.

    As to who’s fault it is why don’t you ask the greedy bastards heading many of our corporations? We all know the risk takers deserve more but those at the top actually aren’t even risking anything anymore with their multi-million dollar severence packages after dismal performances. Believe me, I invest in companies so I want them to do well but it is truly nuts at the top.

    “That’s just the way it is” is an old and disproven line. Many lives have been made better with good workplace legislation in this country and that is a fact. I’m sorry you can’t see that.

    Posted by: Chris2x at November 10, 2006 3:36 PM
    Comment #194504

    Jack-

    I have to completely agree with David Remer here. It is usually a terrible idea to look back on history and attempt to directly apply it to modern issues. There are patterns in history to be certain, but they cannot be identified until after the fact. Spartan society and the enslavement of the Helots was indeed very different from our notions of “slavory” today…as was almost every part of their culture and social fabric.

    If you are looking for a better analogy, I usually consider the time we are currently living in to be very similar to the post-Hellenistic era. It was during this time that the known world started becoming more “affluent” and “rich” as defined by traditional Greek standards. You had, for possibly the first time, a globally dominant culture and a consequential struggle among strong societies to integrate it to advance themselves. One need only look at the sheer numbers of religions in any big city during those times to see how people and societies were exploring various identities.

    The big question that must be solved in the foreseeable future is going to be how the various imperial cultures are going to be integrated or rebelled against by the developing world (most of which used to fly a red, white and blue flag of some sort).

    Posted by: Kevin23 at November 10, 2006 4:45 PM
    Comment #194507

    You’d think that Jack would love the Dems since he’s so very enamored with the stock market.
    Which Party in the White House Means Good Times for Investors?

    DOES the stock market do better when a Republican is president or when a Democrat is?

    The answer is: It’s not even close. The stock market does far better under Democrats.

    This perhaps surprising finding is examined by two finance professors at the University of California at Los Angeles, Pedro Santa-Clara and Rossen Valkanov, in an article titled “Political Cycles and the Stock Market,” published in the October issue of The Journal of Finance.

    Professors Santa-Clara and Valkanov look at the excess market return - the difference between a broad index of stock prices (basically the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index) and the three-month Treasury bill rate - between 1927 and 1998. The excess return measures how attractive stock investments are compared with completely safe investments like short-term T-bills.

    Using this measure, they find that during those 72 years the stock market returned about 11 percent more a year under Democratic presidents and 2 percent more under Republicans - a striking difference.

    This nine-percentage-point excess can be broken down further into an average 5.3 percent higher real return for the stock market and a 3.7 percent lower return for Treasury bills under Democratic administrations.

    The average income person who doesn’t own stock also does better under Dems, as do the poor.

    BTW, Tim Crow, great to see you posting here again!

    Posted by: Adrienne at November 10, 2006 4:53 PM
    Comment #194508

    Whenever Democrats start talking about the need to “fix” the economy, I reflexively reach for my wallet to make sure it’s still there.

    The libs posting here are “plowing the row,” so to speak, preparing the yokels for what’s coming: More taxes.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if ABC News copied and pasted some of the comments here as “proof” that the American people want - no, DEMAND - the repeal of the Bush tax cuts.

    The Democrat Agenda begins to unfold before our very eyes.

    The Dems will make a half-hearted attempt to convince the yokels of the electorate that they need to part with more of their hard-earned money in order to fix an economy broken by money-grubbing Republicans and their corporate cronies. This might be somewhat difficult, given the reality that the economy is actually in pretty good shape and has been for most of the Bush presidency. But reality can be countered with pseudofacts, threats, charts, polls, and focus groups.

    Then the Dems will be threaten Bush with impeachment unless he signs the tax bill into law, and future historians will blame Bush for the increase. Echoes of Bush the Elder, “Read my lips - No new taxes!”

    And then they’ll go ahead and impeach Bush anyway.

    Ah, sweet sweet revenge for the Republican-led impeachment of Wild Bill.

    Posted by: Chris at November 10, 2006 4:55 PM
    Comment #194518

    David

    I can still admire some of what Sparta stood for and recognize that their equality was based on some of the most terrible oppression in the history of the world. Spartan youth were encouraged to steal from, beat and rape their helot population. They boasted that they went out and killed anybody who seemed to not know their place. You may want to pay attention to some of the primary sources and really listen to what they are saying.

    You know that slave owners were often convinced that the slaves accepted their lot and were content. Do you believe them? Yeah, I am sure those guys pulling rocks in the Egyptian sun all day and living on slave wages were really happy. I wonder if they were offered other career options.

    I agree that we are all better off if we are not too much tied to material things, but monks go a bit too far. If people want to live a monastic life, that is their business. Buddhist monks do the right thing and do not coerce others to support that lifestyle. The kings of Sparta and the Pharaohs of Egypt are not the same sort.

    Tim Crow

    Who do you think “The Corporations” are? “They” control the U.S., maybe we can identify exactly how they are doing it. My experience with corporations and those who run them is that they have a variety of interests. They cannot be all running the U.S. Maybe they control us by giving us what we want. Terrible guys.

    “We” may be living beyond our means. I am not. If you are, cut it out.

    Kevin

    I think that our historical period does more closely resemble the world culture of Hellenistic times, with English and Anglo Saxon culture filling the role of Greek. I agree with you about that.

    However, my analogy was narrowly aimed at the idea of equality and for that I needed the situation in iron age Greece. It is possible to have rough equality only when almost everybody is poor. There just is not much of an income spread possible at such a low technological level. To have inequality, you much have wealth. I picked a time when sufficient wealth was being created to allow for a real stratification.

    Re slavery etc, I am pointing out a historical fact. The interpretation is up for grabs. I personally do not hold it against the Spartans, Egyptians, Romans etc. They had some of the best societies possible at the time, but we have to recognize that they were based on some very brutal coercion.

    BTW - do you and David et al cut as much slack to owners of plantations in the American South? Nathan Bedford Forrest certainly did nothing the Spartans or Egyptians would have found unacceptable. I bet the Spartans would have hailed him as a true man and great warrior.

    Posted by: Jack at November 10, 2006 6:17 PM
    Comment #194519

    Jack:

    “Maybe they [corporations] control us by giving us what we want. Terrible guys.”

    Their generosity and openmindedness speaks for itself. That’s one of your problems, Jack: your humor is mostly unintentional—and very sporadic. So much so, that I just can’t see it. The term ‘guys’ in alluding to your corporate friends is illuminating as well.

    Adrienne:

    Thank you. It’s important to flesh out ideas in the marketplace. And I thank bombay, Rhinehold, Jack, Neo-con Pilsner, joebagodonuts and the others I generally disagree with, in helping me to fine-tune and examine my assumptions and beliefs. I hope I do the same for them, although I am not nearly as eloquent or succinct.

    I know I often sound like the prophet of doom here. It get’s tiring. That said, I am truly concerned about the financial condition of the nation, the recent decisions to expand an imperial agenda under the neo-cons, and the errosion of individual liberties and safeguards by this administration. I believe this country is humankind’s last best hope. As such, I believe we had better start acting like we are.

    Lest my friends on the Right think I’m the only one wearing the Socialist tinfoil hat— let’s all welcome Bernard Sanders of Vermont to the US Senate. I never thought I’d see the day….:-)

    Posted by: Tim Crow at November 10, 2006 6:38 PM
    Comment #194524

    let’s all welcome Bernard Sanders of Vermont to the US Senate…

    HAH! I was born and raised in Vermont, and can attest to Bernie’s wackiness. He isnt even from the state originally.

    I do agree with Tim on his concern with the rampent spending by this administration. Im not overly concerned with the flushing out of the republican majority as some of my collegues. My thought is basically that nothing will get done for the rest of the bush administration (good or bad). That pretty much means that spending will hopefully come to a screeching halt.

    Sadly, what is more likely to happen is that if the Bush administration really really wants to pass something, it will get smothered in between a big old pork sandwich. There was an article in the AP today about how chuckie rangle plans to siphon more money to his state…

    “Rangel is the ranking Democrat on Ways and Means, and is in line to become chairman of the powerful tax-writing committee. The New York Times article was about how the New York congressional delegation gained political clout in the midterm elections. Rangel said, among other things, that he wants to direct more federal money to his state.”

    Ahhhhh…Different actors - same script. Im starting to think maybe D.A.N. should run for something ;)

    Posted by: b0mbay at November 10, 2006 7:00 PM
    Comment #194526

    b0mbay:

    “Sadly, what is more likely to happen is that if the Bush administration really really wants to pass something, it will get smothered in between a big old pork sandwich. “

    Well, the Dems have a lot of catching up to do as far as larding the constituency—twelve years, to be exact. I agree, though, there’s not a lot that’s going to get done, unless it’s under a crisis atmosphere.

    I think Bush and Rove have a wry smile on their faces now. To the Democratic Congress, they intone, “Welcome to our Iraqi nightmare.” And they will try to tar the Dems in ‘08 with the same do-nothing brush.

    And just as an aside to my conservative brethren. Before one of you claims that no lefty remarked on the stealing of elections because the Dems won. This country still has serious problems with the way it votes. I still don’t like voting machines with no verifiable hard copies and private software. It is no way to run a democracy, and it needs to be changed. And having state partisans in critical election positions has got to stop.

    And public funding of all federal elections. Please.

    Posted by: Tim Crow at November 10, 2006 7:18 PM
    Comment #194531
    And just as an aside to my conservative brethren. Before one of you claims that no lefty remarked on the stealing of elections because the Dems won. This country still has serious problems with the way it votes. I still don’t like voting machines with no verifiable hard copies and private software. It is no way to run a democracy, and it needs to be changed. And having state partisans in critical election positions has got to stop.

    And public funding of all federal elections. Please.

    Hey Tim, some of us lefty liberals did remark on problems seen in the election. There were again many problems seen with computerized voting machines. We also remarked upon some GOP vote-prohibiting shenanigans. You can find these comments in the blue column under the article “Republicans and the Forces of Evil.”

    Posted by: Adrienne at November 10, 2006 7:56 PM
    Comment #194534

    Chris said,

    The Dems will make a half-hearted attempt to convince the yokels of the electorate that they need to part with more of their hard-earned money in order to fix an economy broken by money-grubbing Republicans and their corporate cronies. This might be somewhat difficult, given the reality that the economy is actually in pretty good shape and has been for most of the Bush presidency. But reality can be countered with pseudofacts, threats, charts, polls, and focus groups.

    Another conservative fantasy except it ignores… wait, wait for it… CONSERVATIVISM!

    8 billion a month for Iraq, a Medicare drug benefit the government can’t even negotiate drug prices on (we were told how much it would cost by Bush?), and the biggest deficits in history. You are a long way from pay-as-you-go my friend. Allowing the tax cuts for the wealthy to expire just as they were enacted is just and healthy for our economy.

    Posted by: Chris2x at November 10, 2006 8:12 PM
    Comment #194546

    Adrienne:

    “Hey Tim, some of us lefty liberals did remark on problems seen in the election.”

    In that case, good. I missed it. And, as always, I stand corrected by my collegue from California.:-)

    Posted by: Tim Crow at November 10, 2006 10:20 PM
    Comment #194555

    Adrienne

    Remember what Kennedy said about Nixon in 1960. The same and more goes for those complaining about the elections. George Allen lost by less than 1%. He could have demanded recounts and complained about irregularities. He had class and conceded. In Montana, the Dem won by just over a thousand votes.

    Republicans recently have less experience with losing than Dems, but maybe we can teach you what it looks like to have dignity and accept the will of the people, even when we are disappointed.

    BTW - When I went to vote, there was some constuction on the sidwalk. A sign said to use other side. I am sure that was too tricky for some Dems, at least that is what you would have said.

    Posted by: Jack at November 10, 2006 11:51 PM
    Comment #194558

    Ha, pretty funny Jack.
    I too found voting this year way to complicating. I smell a liberal fix-job. I feel all races decided by less than 5% should go to the Republicans because we were sooo close, and and the lines were sooo long, and the machines were hard to figure out, and I heard in some small town Dems. told some old lady she wasn’t allowed to vote, and etc……
    One of my first thoughts Tuesday was “the libs would be going ape**** over these close races”. I listned to NPR that afternoon and some liberal chick with a show spent 1/2 her show talking about unfair voting hotspots. Already getting their cheat strategy in place just in case. I swear, these far left libs frighten me with the way their minds work.

    Posted by: andy at November 11, 2006 1:07 AM
    Comment #194560

    Also, I think were just getting started with these Rangle stories. Honestly, it seems he has a fairly important job, what are his qualifications besides being a complete whack-job. He was the best man for the position? Wow.

    Posted by: andy at November 11, 2006 1:17 AM
    Comment #194578

    Jack said: “The kings of Sparta and the Pharaohs of Egypt are not the same sort.”

    Only because you view their societies from a prejudiced modern value system of current life in the U.S.

    Lowell was absolutely wrong about the civilized canals on Mars. But, if you strip away what you have learned since his time, his views and concepts of based on a misinterpretation of the work Cannali, would have seemed perfectly reasonable and appropriate.

    With a prejudiced eye of hindsight, one can call Lowell a fool and stupid. But, one would be a poor student of history to do so. Same with the Spartans and the greatest of the Ramses.

    One does not need to condone the past in order to accept it for its context. On the other hand, one commits a grievous error to pass judgement on the past by post historical standards and lessons learned. The people of Germany under Hitler allowed horrendous things to take place all the while knowing they were turning a blind eye. But, to judge the German people as an evil people would be the wrong judgement to make.

    The Spartans sought an orderly life, as we still do today. Their answer to an orderly life in a time of great wars and mythical heroes and battles by both gods and men, was to make each individual as strong and disciplined as possible. The children were raised aspiring to that way of life and seeking the honor, dignity, and purpose attending to it.

    Given what such a cultural set of values can lead to in modern times as witnessed in Nazi Germany, we can conclude that their way is wrong for us in our own time. But, to impose our values and lessons learned on them in their own time and context is intellectually dishonest and illogical.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at November 11, 2006 3:50 AM
    Comment #194582

    David

    We can learn from the past only if we try to apply the lessons to our own situation. I recognize that their situation is very different from ours, but it is also similar in some ways. Human experience is a continuum with fuzzy boundaries. Cultures and civilizations are constantly changing. The continuity we see is an illusion. They recombine and can borrow and adapt parts of others.

    The Spartans enslaved the people around them and treated them in ways more vicious than the Nazis treated most of their occupied peoples. The fact that this happened thousands of years ago has clouded our vision. The Egyptians essentially enslaved everybody so that the distinction we make between slaves and free really did not apply to their culture. You can look at that as a good thing if you want. I do not. I am not and cannot impose my values on people who died thousands of years before I was born. All that I can do is learn from them and try to avoid some of the more egregious parts of their experience.

    History does not repeat, but we see patterns repeating. Building on your example, you can see a repetition of the honor/warrior/enslavement pattern in Sparta, Rome & Nazi Germany. The Waffen SS and the Spartan hoplites would have found a lot more common ground than either of them would find with most contemporary Americans. There are obvious differences too, but if we treat ever situation as new and unique there is absolutely no use in reading history beyond the entertainment value. You also may not want to draw more from the lesson than it has to teach. Honor can lead to extreme results, but lack of honor may be worse.

    The limited lesson I was drawing from the transition in ancient Greece and Sparta in particular is that equality is not natural once a society develops the technological capacity to create transferable and storable wealth. After that, it can be maintained only by extreme discipline and coercion. In my opinion, the cost far outweigh the benefits.

    Your example of monks is valid, but limited. Some people will seek and accept that sort of life. Most will not, at least not for a very long time. The problem for seekers of equality is that it is out of their control. You and I might decide we want equality, but as soon as somebody decides he does not want do it anymore and finds the means, the whole system is gone. We then have three options. We can ignore this and live by ourselves; we can give up equality; or we can coerce him into equality.

    For me, I believe in equality under the law and I hope to maintain some equality of opportunity, although I recognize this will be imperfect. But I do not think equality of results is a laudible goal. If I had the magical power to make everyone equal, even at no cost, I would never do it.

    Posted by: Jack at November 11, 2006 6:45 AM
    Comment #194586

    Jack, with regard to your last paragraph, we agree entirely. Equality in America is one born in law, and viewed through the eyes of the law, as a nation of laws, not men. Measures of minimum equality of results can be laudibly striven for, as we do with things like H.S. diplomas, and M.D. degrees.

    But, mandating the right and left ends of the bell curve of a population equal performance at the peak of the curve, is fighting reality and limits inherent in the diversity of nature, and such attempts will necessarily fail. Equal opportunity is laudible as regards the government’s role in its citizen’s lives, since theoretically, all citizens pay for that government, and the government represents all the people, and specifically seeks to protect minorities from abuse by majorities, a fundamental cornerstone of our U.S. Senate.

    Equal education delivery will never render equally capable students. Thus, attempting to force the product of equally accomplished students is an effort spent in folly. But equal opportunity to education to the extent of the student’s capabilities and desire, should be required by virtue of the tax base paid into by all, for the express purpose of extending equal educational opportunity to all. Maximizing educational accomplishment by all students is an investment of greatest reward for the society as a whole.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at November 11, 2006 9:33 AM
    Comment #194587

    Jack, the Spartans enslaved “lesser” peoples as the gods themselves enslaved the Spartans to their will. It was a natural order when viewed from their context, mythos, culture, history, and environment. What is shocking is how little we have changed in some regards. Our religious contexts today still define war and inhumanity based on competing beliefs of what is real and what is false.

    I listened to David B. something on C-Span’s Wa. Journal this morning representing Vets for Freedom, talking about our troops in Iraq being forced to fight with one arm behind their back because of not being given the option to destroy whole buildings and neighborhoods, instead being forced to increase their death and injury rate by seeking the bad guys amidst innocents. He was demanding that his comrades in arms be given carte blanche to disregard “collateral damage”, meaning the killing of children, women and innocent elders and men, for the purpose of obtaining victory in Iraq.

    There it is, same as the Spartan view of “lesser people” for all intents and purposes. In fact, not people at all, just impediments to victory is what innocent civilians in Iraq are to him and his organization. Amazing that he does not see, that following his prescription would lead to Americans being of no greater value or character than the terrorists and insurgents.

    Many of us have not come so far from the days of the Spartans.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at November 11, 2006 9:53 AM
    Comment #194599

    David

    There is always a tension between safeguarding civilians. You may recall how many lives in the vain attempt to preserve Monte Casino.

    The terrorist in Iraq and the region constantly violate morality and law by hiding among civilians (not to mention targeting them). It is a type of hostage situation. The hostage taker is the one who puts the hostages at risk.

    It is unfair to compare U.S. troops today to those of almost any other country or time. Never before in time of war has a military force been so mindful of the safety of civilians, even civilians who are helping the bad guys kill Americans. If our troops really had a Spartan or Roman sensibility Iraq would be a lot quieter.

    I have long wrestled with the nature of “good” in history. If you study history, you find that the most aggressive and bloody minded men are often those that do the most good, if you define good by saving lives and building prosperity. The Romans were some of the most aggressive and deadly people in the history of the world. They brought general prosperity and relative peace to the Mediterranean for 200 years. Or think of Chin who ended the warring states period in China. Consider Caesar Augustus. Few people were as ruthless, but he ended the carnage of two generations of bloody war. And then consider the weak rulers. Czar Nicolas was a weak ruler, who contributed to the Russian revolution which plunged half the world into terrible tyranny for 70 years. Or what about the world’s most prolific murder, Mao in China. Could the situation have been stabilized by a less horrible tyrant or would the civil war and destruction continued even longer?

    I am not trying to make any point here, merely asking the questions. I read the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire when I was in 6th grade. That started me on the road to asking these things and I have been at it for forty years w/o any comprehensive answers.

    Maybe the answer is just that it all depends; deal with the problem before you as best you can and stay away from the comprehensive questions you cannot understand.

    Posted by: Jack at November 11, 2006 12:06 PM
    Comment #194617

    Jack:
    “Remember what Kennedy said about Nixon in 1960.”

    I’m afraid you’ll have to be a bit more specific.

    “those complaining about the elections.”

    Those complaining about our elections are taxpayers just like yourself. Answer me this: Who is smarter, those Americans who think we should have fair, fully accountable elections for the amount of taxdollars that have been sunk into them, or those who think it’s perfectly acceptable that there is no standarized voting system in the US, and that expensive machines that became mandatory through federal legislation have crappy, insecure, privately owned proprietary software that can be hacked, rigged, give no paper trails, and can be tampered with without leaving a trace?
    I think the answer to this question is self-evident.

    “George Allen lost by less than 1%. He could have demanded recounts and complained about irregularities.”

    He should have sought a recount if he believed it was warranted. However, according to your state law, the margin would have had to have been less than it was for the state to have picked up the tab for a recount. Still, he could have payed for it out of his own pocket (or sought contributions from his supporters for the purpose) had he truly wanted one. So, I guess we’ll have to assume he didn’t want one — maybe because he believed he really did lose by 7000 or 8000 votes.

    “He had class and conceded.”

    Macacca? Class? Sure.

    “In Montana, the Dem won by just over a thousand votes.”

    So? In 2000 the presidency of the entire country was decided by only 537 votes.

    “Republicans recently have less experience with losing than Dems, but maybe we can teach you what it looks like to have dignity and accept the will of the people, even when we are disappointed.”

    Well maybe if you just keep losing on computerized voting machines that can be hacked, rigged, have no paper trails and can be tampered with without leaving a trace (and same goes for computerized optical scanners that count paper ballots), you’ll soon begin to feel differently. I certainly hope that you will — because real dignity demands that you do, and most people aren’t impressed by a false illusion of dignity which means absolutely nothing because it is all for show.
    America deserves better — that every vote cast should be counted and counted correctly.

    “BTW - When I went to vote, there was some constuction on the sidwalk. A sign said to use other side. I am sure that was too tricky for some Dems, at least that is what you would have said.”

    You tried this exact same joke in the other thread. It wasn’t even slightly funny then, and isn’t now. Very Stiffy Stifferson, IMO.

    Posted by: Adrienne at November 11, 2006 1:36 PM
    Comment #194631

    Jack:

    This comment is not specifically on point for this thread, but thought you’d be interested in the attached site: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15658052/site/newsweek/

    It shows how with gas prices lowering, SUV sales are going up. Which validates your idea that the market will greatly effect how environmental policies actually work. You’ve suggested that keeping gas prices artificially high would help the environment by “forcing” or at least coercing people to conserve gas by driving less or by driving fuel efficient cars.

    Your theory is shown to be true in reality, since gas prices dropped and larger car sales improved. Just wanted you….and others….to know how right you were.

    Posted by: joebagodonuts at November 11, 2006 2:50 PM
    Comment #194637

    What a crock! Oh,yes let’s avoid calling the president to accountability for his neocon (i.e. fascist) attitude he had doled out on the US. Oh, yes let’s forget the thousands of American lives he has cost in Iraq for no damn good reason! Now the president wants to “play nice nice” with Congress since he can no longer run rough shot over the constitution. Where do you figure the three hundred and some billion dollars he has spent seeing the execution of the man “who tried to kill his father.” How does that cost to Americans figure in economic sunshine. The electorate has spoken! Unfortunately, most of our voice came 6 years and a couple thousand American lives too late.

    Posted by: Kim-Sue at November 11, 2006 3:56 PM
    Comment #194640

    Kim-sue

    Just over 53% of the votes cast went to Dems. They control the House by around 15 votes (about the same as Republicans did a couple weeks ago). In the Senate are 49 Dems, 49 Republicans, 1 socialist and 1 indpendent. The people have spoken, but not as loudly or decisively as you seem to think. When the Republicans won similar margins in 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 or 2004, how much of a mandate did you think they won? I supspect it is about as I feel now re Dems.

    Adrienne

    Kennedy said that Nixon had no class. I think we saw what class was after the close elections in Montana and Virginia. My point about the small numbers of votes involved is just to demonstrate that close elections happen. It does not mean someone cheated. Republicans acted more honorably in defeat than Dems did. Pure and simple. And you all should be better at it, since you have more recent practice.

    An elections is a statistical process. There are misakes, screw ups and bad guys on both sides, but it usually gives a reasonable measure of the will of the people. It is silly to argue about specific details. The big picture counts. Most of the Dem complaints of the last election were worse than silly; they were pernicious lies. To your knowledge, how many of the accusations were sustained by investigation? It is like those people who claim to see ghosts or flying saucers. The literature is extensive and the true believers are convinced, but they can produce no real evidence because it does not exist.

    Re my “joke”, it is exactly the kind of thing Dems would (actual did) claim as intimidation. I did not mention that there was a lot of traffic and some police cars nearby. Sounds ominous to those Dem felons trying to vote.

    Joe

    Thanks. I am not happy to be right about this. It is so simple. Charge less for something people want and they want more of it.

    What bothers me is the hypocritical environmentalists who claim they want to limit fuel use but want to keep the price of fuel low AND demand a lot of it be avialable.


    Posted by: Jack at November 11, 2006 4:26 PM
    Comment #194641

    Adrienne:

    Well maybe if you just keep losing on computerized voting machines that can be hacked, rigged, have no paper trails and can be tampered with without leaving a trace (and same goes for computerized optical scanners that count paper ballots), you’ll soon begin to feel differently.

    Just a question for you:

    Do you assume that the elections were any more fair this time around, considering only that Dems won? Or do you assume that the votes were again rigged and cheated, which allowed the Dems to win? A good argument uses consistent logic….do you?

    Posted by: joebagodonuts at November 11, 2006 4:51 PM
    Comment #194679

    Jack said: “It is unfair to compare U.S. troops today to those of almost any other country or time. Never before in time of war has a military force been so mindful of the safety of civilians,”

    I agree, but caution, that is precisely why we must not listen to, or follow, these Vets for Freedom, who would undermine your claim in its entirety.

    I respect immensely your wrestling with the military answer to cultural, religious, geographic, and economic conflicts between peoples. My answer which came to me later in my life, is that if we are to progress from the depraved state of history as you recount under the leaders you cited, we must adhere to one guiding principle: War should never be desired, and the military should be a finely maintained answer for defense as a last resort, resisted sufficiently to force earnest, difficult, and more complex solutions to problems into play.

    By that standard, invasion of Afghanistan was justified and warranted. Invasion of Iraq, was not. Those who chose to invade Iraq now bear the burden of having made that indefensible decision with hindsight. However, hindsight was not necessary to avoid the mistake of invading Iraq, only an adherence to the principle outlined above.

    Hopefully, it is lesson which will finally be learned by Americans, and a principle which shall be adopted and not shelved to gather dust in the future.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at November 11, 2006 11:13 PM
    Comment #194727


    The democrats will take control of the Congress in January. The recession will begin in April or May. Who will be the first on Watchblog to blame the democrats for the recession?

    Posted by: jlw at November 12, 2006 10:11 AM
    Comment #194736

    jlw

    If a recession begins in April next year, it will NOT be the fault of the Dems. You can certainly count me on your side in that debate. But I do demand equal treatment. You Dems cannot blame president Bush for the slowdown of 2001 and you have to recognize that all those job loses you attribute to Bush are better chalked up to the previous administration.

    That said, I also always point out that politicians get too much credit or blame.

    Posted by: Jack at November 12, 2006 11:34 AM
    Comment #194748

    Jack:
    “It is silly to argue about specific details. The big picture counts. Most of the Dem complaints of the last election were worse than silly; they were pernicious lies.”

    Well Jack, you’ve been repeating these same sorts of things over and over in this blog for quite a long time now, and I think they are the silliest and most pernicious of lies you could possibly write. There is a mountain of evidence that has been built up in those “specific details” you seem to loathe so much, but you and many others on the right simply refuse to look at it. Really, what can be said to such things, other than that this very disturbing fact means we cannot have an intelligent discussion on this subject.
    Btw, I don’t think “class” or honor has anything to do with playing dead when people have serious doubts about the validity of their elections. According to your definition of “class” and honor, I suppose the “Orange Revolution” in the Ukraine in 2004 when Yanukovych tried to cheat Yushchenko of his victory (following his failure to kill the man by dioxin poisioning), was nothing but a rabble of lowly upstarts promulgating a truly tasteless and dreadfully dishonorable affair.

    Jbod:
    “Do you assume that the elections were any more fair this time around, considering only that Dems won? Or do you assume that the votes were again rigged and cheated, which allowed the Dems to win?”

    There were many and various voting problems in several states Joe (didn’t you read about them?), and I honestly couldn’t tell you how fair this election was, because I don’t know. However, what I do know is that none of the serious software problems or design flaws have been addressed on the computer voting machines or optical scanners. If you have watched that video made by the Princeton professor (that you’ve seen so many of us post here so often) showing how easy it is to tamper with, and/or hack those machines by installing a virus (which can then spread to other machines). If you have seen it, you should have already grasped that stealing an election is not only entirely possible, but would take someone with access to a machine a very short amount of time. Also, since many of these machines have been going home with election volunteers day or sometimes weeks before the elections, it seems that time isn’t necessarily even a factor.
    Do any of these facts bother you in the least? As you know, they bother me, and many, many other people, left, right, and center.

    “A good argument uses consistent logic….do you?”

    Yes sir, I do. What’s more, after all this time we’ve been having discussions in this blog, I think you should know this about me already.

    Posted by: Adrienne at November 12, 2006 2:22 PM
    Comment #194757

    Adrienne

    We live in a country with the rule of law. Each election features some cheating. The authorities investigate. Only some of the allogations are found to be valid. Most are not. When it all the smoke clears, there are usually more Democrats who have been found to have actually done things such as slash tires, stuff ballot boxes or manipulate voters.

    Yes, people should complain of actual cheating. Yes we should put those people in jail or punish them. No, you have not found widespread cheating.

    Nixon had a good case talking about Dem cheating in Texas and Chicago. He decided that they had not cheated enough to change the election and he conceded. Maybe he should have complained more.

    The SOME Dems cheated mightily in S. Dakota in 2002 and Republcan Thune lost. He came back next time and won. Maybe he should have complained more, but he could not have prevailed anyway and it was not a coordinated plot so he did not.

    Now all the BS we hear from the Dems is not supported by actual facts after investigations are done.

    It is a pernicious lie for that reason. I support punishing anyone you can prove committed election fraud. Find those guys and most will be Dems.

    Posted by: Jack at November 12, 2006 4:07 PM
    Comment #194759

    “When it all the smoke clears, there are usually more Democrats who have been found to have actually done things such as slash tires, stuff ballot boxes or manipulate voters.”

    Oh, really? It’s actually the Democrats everyone should worry about? It’s Democrats whose actions really need looking into?

    “I support punishing anyone you can prove committed election fraud.”

    Meanwhile, you also support using machines that have insecure software, leave no paper trails and can be tampered with without leaving a trace, I know, I know.
    You make absolutely no sense at all.

    Posted by: Adrienne at November 12, 2006 4:38 PM
    Comment #194769

    Adrienne,

    Logic in your posts? Laughable if it wasn’t so sad. There is no logic in “Tax the rich, give to the poor” or take from those that earn and give it to those that do not. Care to take that on?

    You link to two conspiracy theory sites and want anyone to take you seriously? Next you will be sending links to 9/11 “truth” movement sites, or NWO sites. I can hardly wait.

    You want more examples of what I link to below?

    http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=295538

    p.s. We don’t live in the Ukraine Stating that others are dishonest and have no class is a strawman argument.

    Democrats do manufacture “crimes” to manipulate voters. I eagerly await your response to that charge. There is a mountain of evidence that Jack is right and has been right all along. It just bothers you to admit it.

    Posted by: Realist2 at November 12, 2006 6:05 PM
    Comment #194771

    Adrienne

    Let’s look at your articles. The first talks about a Republican crook. Yes there are some. Google “election fraud conviction democrat” and you will find a lot more and a greater variety. Your second article speculates about the possibility that something could be done if machines were tampered with. The third article is merely rumor, exactly the kind I was saying Dems do.

    You are like the person who proves a person owns a butcher knife and then jumps to the conclusion he has killed someone w/o even showing that a murder has even been committed. You got nothing.

    Posted by: Jack at November 12, 2006 6:06 PM
    Comment #194772

    Adrienne…Adrienne….Yo Adrienne:

    I’ve not seen Jack support the use of technology that cannot be safeguarded. What I HAVE seen Jack do is discuss the realities, and the realities are that many many many of the claims that have been made about election fraud have not been substantiated at all. Well, hold on…they’ve been substantiated by those who think substantiation is simply repeating what they’ve heard, but not by impartial sources.

    There always has been and always will be problems with elections. Some of this is due to cheating, while some is due to mistakes, and yet others simply due to the sheer number of votes that are out there. Some is due to truly gray areas (remember the people in Florida trying honestly to determine what a hanging chad might have meant to signify).

    But this doesn’t equate to the great fraud that you seem to see. I know you’ll only see it when Dems lose—-that’s called partisanship. It’s also called sour grapes. When Dems win, you crow that finally finally an honest election has occurred. How convenient that you can prove your own point to yourself consistently. That’s specifically why I asked the question before.

    Posted by: joebagodonuts at November 12, 2006 6:09 PM
    Comment #194773

    Adrienne

    One more thing. If Republicans can and will control voting, how come they didn’t do the job in Virginia or Montana. We are talking only a few thousand votes. Bush won ohio by more than 60,000 votes, surely these guys could gin up a couple hundred they needed to keep the Senate.

    Posted by: Jack at November 12, 2006 6:20 PM
    Comment #194791

    Realist:
    “Logic in your posts? Laughable if it wasn’t so sad.”

    You know what makes this comment so amazingly stupid that it should cause extreme embarrassment? The fact that you claim that I:

    “link to two conspiracy theory sites”

    When all three of the sites I linked to contained newspaper stories from major national newspapers. Two of the sites were simply reprints of stories from a newspaper that you’d have to pay to look at now if you wanted to read them. Additionally, the Truthout link also reprints a portion of transcript from a hearing, as well as official affidavits that were taken regarding that matter.

    “want anyone to take you seriously?”

    I couldn’t care less whether people who don’t actually read my links take me seriously. Because, you see, I don’t take seriously people who would rather spew insults than read carefully enough to know what the f—- they’re talking about.

    “There is no logic in “Tax the rich, give to the poor” or take from those that earn and give it to those that do not. Care to take that on?”

    Sure. Giving all the tax breaks to the rich, and nothing to the poor returns us to the days of the Robber Barons and Wage Slavery. We’ve been there and done that. It wasn’t a good thing. Luckily this country had two good presidents, one from each party, but who went by the same last name: Roosevelt. They took care of what needed doing, but your party, now ruled by the far right, wants to return us to the bad old days. It’s madness.

    “Stating that others are dishonest and have no class is a strawman argument.”

    Actually that was Jack’s Scarecrow you’re describing — I just replied to him.

    Jack:
    “The first talks about a Republican crook.”

    No, actually it talks about three Republican crooks who were found guilty of criminally violating federal communications law. It also talks about how they made a lot of calls to the Whitehouse during that time, suggesting “involvement or knowledge of the phone jamming plan”, and also about how the RNC was paying for their defense, and how “the GOP appears to sanction and institutionalize corruption within the party,”

    “Your second article speculates about the possibility that something could be done if machines were tampered with.”

    Yes, indeed. On machines owned by a guy who was a Bush Pioneer, who promised Ohio’s electoral votes to Bush, whose company got a major contract through GOP legislation to supply a great deal of America with their voting machines, that have proprietary software that is unbelievably insecure, and which can be tampered with, rigged and hacked without leaving a trace of anything.

    “The third article is merely rumor, exactly the kind I was saying Dems do.”

    No it isn’t merely rumor. Those people whose affidavits were taken regarding that matter could be jailed for giving false testimony.

    “You are like the person who proves a person owns a butcher knife and then jumps to the conclusion he has killed someone w/o even showing that a murder has even been committed.”

    And you remind me of OJ Simpson speeding down the freeway in his white Bronco holding a gun to his head, who then swore he didn’t kill his wife.

    “If Republicans can and will control voting, how come they didn’t do the job in Virginia or Montana.”

    I don’t know, maybe they underestimated. Or perhaps the Dems hacked the vote this time. Or maybe no one did. You see, these questions tend to just linger when we can’t trust our election systems.

    “You got nothing.”

    Another “silly and pernicious” lie. You really do refuse to debate intelligently. So be it.
    Btw, that would be “you’ve got nothing.”

    jbod:
    “I’ve not seen Jack support the use of technology that cannot be safeguarded.”

    I’ve never once seen him agree with me: that we need to demand secure and accountable elections. So, I’d have to disagree.

    “What I HAVE seen Jack do is discuss the realities, and the realities are that many many many of the claims that have been made about election fraud have not been substantiated at all. “

    No. What you’ve seen is Jack refuse to look at the mountain of evidence and testimony and then claim it means nothing. And because you yourself aren’t truly interested in studying the issue, and because you like Jack and want to agree with him, you’ve gone along saying the fact that our elections can’t be trusted is nothing but a conspiracy theory.

    “Well, hold on…they’ve been substantiated by those who think substantiation is simply repeating what they’ve heard, but not by impartial sources.”

    Again, this really only shows your ignorance on this subject.

    “There always has been and always will be problems with elections.”

    But starting from the 2000 elections, we’d never seen as many widespread problems with our elections.

    “Some of this is due to cheating, while some is due to mistakes,”

    Yes. I’d like to see both problems addressed, rather than have people make excuses for them the way that you and Jack and others do.

    “Some is due to truly gray areas (remember the people in Florida trying honestly to determine what a hanging chad might have meant to signify).”

    Yes, and I also remember how many people were illegally purged from the voter rolls by Katherine Harris.

    “But this doesn’t equate to the great fraud that you seem to see.”

    Yes, it does. But you have to read about it. You have to look at what computer experts, and statisticians, and those who run polls, and the testimony of voters, and government reports, and investigative reporters have said and discovered to see what I see. I realize that people like you and Jack and others don’t want to be bothered, but it is annoying that because you won’t read or look into the subject, you simply delight in denying everything.

    “I know you’ll only see it when Dems lose—-that’s called partisanship. It’s also called sour grapes. When Dems win, you crow that finally finally an honest election has occurred.”

    Then why the hell am I still talking about this? HUH? Why the hell did I just admit to you that I don’t know whether the past election was fair or not if this was really all about crowing over a Democratic win?
    Answer: BECAUSE IT ISN”T. It’s about our Democracy — of making sure that’s what we still actually have.

    “How convenient that you can prove your own point to yourself consistently.”

    Yes, it is nice to be consistent in my concerns, consistent in my reading, and consistent in my statements. It means I don’t have to worry over becoming a liar or a hypocrite.

    “That’s specifically why I asked the question before.”

    You aren’t interested in what I have to say, jbod. And this isn’t the first time I’ve noticed that fact. You just seem to ask me questions in order to continue your conversation with yourself and any rightwinger who already agrees with you.

    You can go back to your denial, and your heaping of insults upon me now and not worry about my replying, because I’m done being as honest and sincere as I can be — well, without being banned from this blog that is…

    Posted by: Adrienne at November 12, 2006 8:30 PM
    Comment #194804

    Jack,

    One more thing. If Republicans can and will control voting, how come they didn’t do the job in Virginia or Montana. We are talking only a few thousand votes. Bush won ohio by more than 60,000 votes, surely these guys could gin up a couple hundred they needed to keep the Senate.
    If you insist on using this as an argument, let me supply the counter-spin: The Republicans tampered with the vote in many places, and did increase the total count in their favor by many thousands of votes. It was only the unbelievable size of the anti-GOP wave that enabled the Democrats to still eke out a victory. The truth is that the Democrats did not barely win in many places, but won by a landslide everywhere—however not all their votes were counted. There’s also the fact that in this election, unlike the 2004 presidential election, there wasn’t a few key locations (e.g., Ohio and Florida) where attempts at vote fraud could be concentrated. Fraud would have had to be on an even greater scale to impact this election, and the GOP just couldn’t pull it off to the degree needed.

    I’m not saying I believe everything that I just wrote, but it makes just as much sense as your argument. Just because Republicans lost big doesn’t mean they’ve been proven innocent of election tampering. Also, I’m sure you’ll agree, just because the Democrats lost in 2004 doesn’t mean that they’ve been proven innocent of tampering either.

    So, shouldn’t both parties be doing everything in their power to ensure that our elections can be trusted? Shouldn’t they be demanding a paper trail, and banning the pathetic example of a voting machine that Diebold has built from ever being used in another election? Shouldn’t you be demanding this Jack?

    Posted by: Introspective at November 12, 2006 10:35 PM
    Comment #194806

    You are too easy! I purposely said 2 instead of one! Ha Going all the way back to the 40’s to try and prove your point? What a ridiculous exercise in futility! Ha ha Truthout not a nutcase site….Classic! Sorry you are so disturbed by election fraud. Your side have been the masters for decades. Research and learn… Grasshopper. Emotion got the best of you? Please try and use the logic you claim to possess.

    Look up strawman argument. Try not to use it in the future. Thanks.

    Posted by: Realist2 at November 12, 2006 10:52 PM
    Comment #194813

    Introspective and Adrienne

    I am willing even eager to investigate all instances of fraud. If someone is convicted of such things, I want them punished. I have been an election monitor. I did not attempt to cheat. I did not see my democratic counterpart attempt to cheat and we both tried to make sure nobody else cheated. The people running to polls took it very seriously. So when you accuse people like me of being either dishonest or incompetent, I have trouble accepting you know what you are talking about. I have seen elections in Virginia, Wisconsin, Indiana and New Hampshire. Maybe people in these places are more honest than the ones where you live, but I am reasonably confident that most Americans are interested in a fair election.

    I understand that crime happens. If you are going to demand 100% perfect result from anything as big as an election involving millions of voters, you are dreaming. It is especially difficult because we work so hard to make it possible for stupid people to vote. We cannot use the same sorts of safeguards we would use in a simple credit card transaction because some people would be left out. Then we have the secret ballot. People do not have to tell you how they voted. Some would lie about it, as they clearly do to pollsters and some would push the wrong button. These are constraints of the system.

    The reason I never agree with you is that you have never supplied any compelling evidence for systematic or widespread cheating. We have some crooks. We try to catch them. But nobody has ever provided any solid evidence that fraud has changed the outcome of any national election since Tilden v Hayes. Some historians think that Kennedy did not win in 1960, but that is based, IMO, on the kind of innuendo you guys treat as evidence.

    Re people swearing to something, I am not saying people do not believe these things, just that they are wrong. People can convince themselves of lots of things. That is why we look for concrete evidence to confirm their contention.

    You have an imperfect counting system. I believe it produces the proper result, but in a statistical way. I believe the Dems fairly won most of the seats in 2006. I am equally convinced the Republicans fairly won in 2004, 2002, 2000, 1998, 1996 and 1994. You can believe differently. You can also believe in Bigfoot, but I would not expect to see one anytime soon.

    Posted by: Jack at November 13, 2006 12:00 AM
    Comment #194824

    thank you, introspective.

    the electorate demands investigations - not ignorance, nor indifference. investigate them all - from ‘00 to ‘06.

    the electoral process needs serious reform. after all, who’s to say that the democrats did not simply cheat more effectively this go-round?
    our government needs a reboot.

    as the neoconvicts say; “if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear.”

    Posted by: Diogenes at November 13, 2006 2:49 AM
    Comment #194836

    JBOD said: “What I HAVE seen Jack do is discuss the realities, and the realities are that many many many of the claims that have been made about election fraud have not been substantiated at all.”

    JBOD, just how do you substantiate embezzlement without a paper trail and accounting records? Answer: YOU CAN’T! Which is precisely why our nation has built up legally required general accounting principles for the handling and processing of money, so it can be accounted for, and criminal activity can be traced.

    Should we expect less from our voting system, which is the very currency of our democratic republic, and hence equally, if not of even greater value that our money?

    When voting machines are out there without an accountable trail to fraud, voter fraud indeed will be difficult to substantiate. But, that in no way indicates fraud did not and will not occur. The only way to know where fraud is occurring, is by making the voting system accountable from start to finish as we do with our money system.

    With trillions of dollars in play to benefit special interests at the hands of politicians, you cannot tell me with a straight face, that the motive and incentive to commit voter fraud isn’t there in abundance, can you?

    Posted by: David R. Remer at November 13, 2006 8:12 AM
    Comment #194840

    David

    If we create a paper trail, we just put on paper what we have produced on the machine. It is like insisting on printing out all your electronic records. Maybe good, but not really proof. You come to my office and worry that you are cheated. I print out the document and say, “see. it says what I say.” Are you happy?

    The big problem we have with voting is structural. We have to make it so easy that anyone can do it AND we have a secret ballot.

    We looking at finacial data (as you mention) we can match the record to the person. In voting that is precisely what we cannot, are not allowed to, do not want to do.

    So you produce a paper trail. It tells you Mr. X won by ten votes. How do you check that? BTW, they did a lot of ballot stuffing in the days of the paper ballot. That is one reason people demanded a better system.

    Posted by: Jack at November 13, 2006 8:33 AM
    Comment #194849

    Jack, this is not rocket science. The voter is provided a registration card which has a randomly selected serial number generated. The voter registration card is inserted into the electronic voting machine, which records their vote, and dispenses a paper record of the votes cast and the serial number back to the voter.

    After the election, the serial numbers and recorded vote for it are posted to the internet where voters can validate that the tabulation of votes as placed on the internet are in fact the votes they cast. If not, they register a fraud complaint. Sufficient numbers of fraud complaints can then trigger an investigation hopefully leading to the perpetrators with access to the kind of changes in the tabulation discovered.

    Anonymity is preserved, as is accountability. It is worth the investment, absolutely no question about it. Nothing is more important to a democratic republic than the viability of its elections.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at November 13, 2006 10:22 AM
    Comment #194854

    David, you’re right. This isn’t rocket science, it’s computer science. Aside from what you are describing, it is clear from what computer experts are saying that better software that records all processes affected or changed on both computer voting machines, and computerized optical scanners needs to be written. This way, anyone who touches these machines, and anything they do to them, will be automatically and very securely recorded — with no action being eraseable.
    This software should not be privately owned proprietary software that by law cannot be checked, but should be software designed by computer experts hired by and written for the federal government expressly. After it is written, it should then be checked by another group of experts in order to catch any flaws, and parts of the code rewritten wherever necessary.

    “Nothing is more important to a democratic republic than the viability of its elections. “

    I agree 100%. It makes absolutely no sense that so many people on the right want to blow this off, or actually make excuses for the crappy, insecure, proprietary software that was written for the Diebold and ES&S machines and scanners that comprise the majority of what America has been voting and counting on. They seem to feel it is all about partisanship, but it really isn’t. The computer experts who have been harshly criticizing the software on these machines actually come from every political persuasion and stripe, not from just one side of the aisle.
    If Jack and jbod took the time to read about this subject, they’d know that this is true.

    Posted by: Adrienne at November 13, 2006 11:11 AM
    Comment #194875

    Adrienne and David

    Yes make it as secure as possible. But no you have no valid reason to claim extensive fraud HAS been committed.

    You have demonstrate ways that fraud could be committed. You have shown that a safecracker could crack the safe, but you have found no evidence anybody did.

    David

    What happens when people complain. Are we then able to check for whom they voted. If #6669999 says he voted Democrat but is listed as Republican, don’t we then take away his right to a secret ballot? And if we let him make an anonomous claim, don’t we open up a lot of fraud? You can imagine a party collecting piles of chits and claiming fraud for any that did not vote their way.

    YOu can make voting very secure, but you cannot maintain the currently lax voting system. You can improve the technology all you want, but you still have a human system.

    Posted by: Jack at November 13, 2006 2:36 PM
    Comment #195108
    You have demonstrate ways that fraud could be committed. You have shown that a safecracker could crack the safe, but you have found no evidence anybody did.
    Hypothetically speaking, of course… You’re driving through East St. Louis late at night and decide to stop for a bite to eat. You leave your car (an ‘04 Diebold convertible) in a dark parking lot out of sight of the restaurant, unlocked with the top down, still running with the keys in the ignition, loose change scattered along the dashboard, and a $1000 audio system playing. You pass a good citizen on the way into the restaurant, who suggests that maybe it’s not safe to leave your car in that condition, that someone could tamper with it. What is your response to them? You reply with confidence: “I won’t deny that it could happen, or that it has happened to others, but you haven’t shown me any actual evidence that anyone intends to tamper with my car, so why should I make any effort to secure it?”
    Posted by: Introspective at November 15, 2006 12:20 AM
    Comment #195195

    Introspective

    Yes. Make them safer. But do not claim fraud HAS occured w/o evidence. Take your own example. AFTER you drive home and tell your friends about the incident, they might say you were stupid, but I do not think they would contend that your car WAS stolen and you just didn’t know about it. If they did, and you pointed to your car in the driveway, do you think they would keep up the story?

    You have indicated a risk and we all think it should be addressed in the future. That does not mean we have an incident in the past.

    Posted by: Jack at November 15, 2006 3:30 PM
    Comment #195203
    You have indicated a risk and we all think it should be addressed in the future. That does not mean we have an incident in the past.
    Exactly. It’s the present and the future that I’m concerned about. Many of your comments seemed to suggest that you were against putting any preventative measures in place, so it’s good to see that I was wrong in that assumption. While there certainly is some evidence that electronic voter fraud (or at least error) has occurred, the evidence is mostly circumstantial, which is exactly the problem. Electronic voting fraud will remain the perfect crime if no better measures are put into place. It’s a crime that can—and most likely will—occur without leaving ANY damning evidence behind. Putting measures in place that ensure there will be evidence left behind in the event of tampering should be a priority—even if it only acts as a deterrent.
    Posted by: Introspective at November 15, 2006 4:04 PM
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