The Worst that Could Happen

The promise of America, a promise we’ve always been told was for us all, regardless of the wrapper in which we entered the world has now stepped from the realm of promise to that of reality. Because of that we stand at a brink of sorts. It could all go so wrong.

I'm usually not a pessimist. I'm not really being a pessimist here. It behooves us all, Democrat and Republican, conservative and liberal to consider our role in a great democratic republic. Do we believe it is of principal importance that the first black president be a success? What constitutes that success?

I profoundly disagree with many of the stated policies of the new president, but I do not wish him ill. If I and others who believe as I do are right getting his every policy desire would actually make his presidency less successful. The truth is our success IS his success. If we fail, it matters not whether he has gotten all he desired. He will have failed.

The last several years have been marked by a form of partizanship in which people literally desired the failure of a sitting president. We were wrong, on both sides, to want such a thing. Bush Haters and Clinton haters were all wrong to be defined by what they hated more than what they loved.

What do we love? The country whose ideals have made this moment possible. It is the country and its people, its dreams, its deepest desires that defines success. As I write I am watching the inaugural festivities, seeing a sea of people drawn to a moment made possible by the contributions of countless millions, from a few heroes steeped in the deepest new ideas on governance nearly a quarter of a millenium ago, to the many millions who voted in private for the man who carries their hope forward today.

How could we lose this moment? If our courage fails we will lose it. If we imagine the currents of things we think wrong too strong to oppose we will have lost it. God bless Barack Obama. I will support him as my president in the best way I know how. I will stand with him when my conscience permits it. I will respectfully oppose him when conscience so guides me.

That is the heart of America's greatness. Citizens are not the thralls of power. We are power's wellspring. Some days the majority will be right, some days a tiny few. What is most precious about this day is we stand in the shadow of the time the small few could teach us all. Our greatness is born of that simple humility. The few were right. They taught us, standing in courage, against our tide, and we the many were changed.

What is the worst that could happen? They whom conscience leads down the right path when the tide of humanity surges to the wrong could fail in their convictions. More than any other nation on Earth or in history we are a nation defined by the timely contributions of the few.

Lose that and this moment will have been for naught.

Posted by Lee Emmerich Jamison at January 20, 2009 12:28 PM
Comments
Comment #273949

Lee,
Why President Obama and the 111th Congress does not hold all the answers to the question being asked of them to solve I do fear that some of the Loyal Opposition in the Republican Party will add to the problems facing America by refusing to accept change just as some in the Late 60’s and Early 70’s.

However, if America is going to win the two wars started under President Bush and jump start the economy than both the Learned and Unlearned of Society are going to have to come to terms that neither side is right. For minus some Human developing a Zero Emission Mobile Power Plant out of 4 Windmills and a Wind Tunnel in the next minute. The idea that America can become Energy Independent without taking consideration of the other Energy Companies and Auto Manufactures in the Market will fail. Because would not an Electric Car powered by a Natural Gas Generator break Americas’ Dependence on Foreign Oil today?

Yes, America has come a long way from a backwoods nation; however, like in the Mid-1800’s can America make the necessary changes to build a Better World if one or both Political Parties and Pundits stand only on Their Argument of Stupidty?

For hearing some of the remarks today I have to wonder how many of My Peers are willing to tell Their Children that they cannot build a Green Civilized World for their Children’s Children?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 20, 2009 7:33 PM
Comment #273951

>They whom conscience leads down the right path when the tide of humanity surges to the wrong could fail in their convictions.
Posted by Lee Emmerich Jamison at January 20, 2009 12:28 PM

Lee,

Well said, but would you wish an America ruled on the strength of your conscience and convictions alone? Would you consider my conscience and convictions to be equally important for consideration? Our leaders may do some things we don’t agree with, but as long as they do those things for the right reasons, and don’t lie to us about them, we can all survive and thrive…together.

My conscience would lead me more toward honor and clarity, yours might go more to the religious wherein honor and clarity might dim by my standards, and my desires for honor and clarity might be less important by yours.

We must still coexist, and accept each other, or we both fail.

Conscience is a funny (not teehee) thing…

Posted by: Marysdude at January 20, 2009 7:42 PM
Comment #273954

You are right…the few influence the many, and it has always been that way throughout history. I personally can pray for the man, but I cannot pray that his liberal policies can succeed. It is a tough road, especially when I believe that it is no longer about Republicans vs. Democrats, Conservatives vs. Liberals, it is a question of good vs. evil. Capitalism vs. Socialism, the rights of the unborn vs. the right to murder, and issues equally important. Someone has to draw the line…

Posted by: Joshua at January 20, 2009 8:04 PM
Comment #273957

Joshua,
Like the Children of the 70’s the Children of the 21st Century can and will (I hope) build the road to the Promise Land. For why the Question of the Youth of the 60’s and Silver Spoons of the 70’s may have been divided by the Question of Capitalism vs, Socialism. I do believe that My Peers and Their Children are facing a completely different set of Questions of Enlightenment.

For able to prove that Americas’ Democratic and Republican Civil, Political, and Religous Leaders of the 21st Century can become Economic, Energy, and Environmentally Independent using the Common Sense of Man. The Question as Americans can be put in the form of why should “We the Consumers” have to rely on Labor and Management.

So, why someone has to draw the line. My question to My Consercative Pundits is simple. Do you help America become Energy Independent or stay locked to the Status Quo of the 20th Century because of Political Ideology.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 20, 2009 8:17 PM
Comment #273959

Someone has to draw the line…you Joshua? Are you the one to draw the line on the presumption that your ideas, your conscience and your line drawing is more sound or more moral than mine? As I see it, that has been the problems of the recent past…too many with a mindset that excludes everyone else. The melting pot, the land of the free, the ‘we the people’, cannot be boxed up. America has to be flexible enough and inclusive enough, to grant us all the ‘pursuit of happiness’ our founders had in mind. You have a very rigid set of values…why must I live by them?

Posted by: Marysdude at January 20, 2009 9:25 PM
Comment #273963

Henry, Joshua, and marysdude,

While my message obviously was not limited to the contributions of inventors I chose, in my links, to highlight certain ones for specific reasons. They were people who flew in the face of accepted dogma.

John Ericsson invented the modern navy such as it was before W.W.II by revolutionizing several key technologies. He developed breech-loading guns, and then the laminar tube that made them able to use high explosives. This won him near criminal prosecution and pre-war banishment from naval design when heedless officers abused a gun at a demonstration and blew themselves up. He pressed on to revolutionize the screw propeller and the rotating armored gun turret, putting both to use in the U.S.S. Monitor.

The Wright Brothers ‘flew’ in the face of educated officialdom by very carefully designing and testing a workable flying machine component by component, succeeding where the well-funded and widely lauded Samuel Langley failed. It would be more than forty years before the U.S. Patent Office finally admitted the Wright Brothers were the real inventors of the airplane.

George Washington Carver was one of the world’s most prolific inventors. Yet this very humble man, who could have been a millionaire in spite of his race, chose to use his brilliance in the service of the poor. He did this not by giving them things, but by creating products that could be made out of what farmers could grow in poor soils in the South. More than 100 of those products, including peanut butter, numerous resins, pigments, and oils were made from the humble peanut.

When he died Carver had very little, but he had always had what he wanted- a place to work and work to do. I can hardly imagine a more Christ-like life.

These three examples represent Americans not being limited by the narrow way the world around them thought. They triumphed in deed even when they were not seeing their triumphs trumpeted by the official world. Americans do that sort of thing. They stand tall, even to breaking, in the face of a world that refuses to accept what they know to be true.

I remember well when the world questioned what we would do with computers one could fit on a desk. Now, thanks in large part to a couple of geeky kids with foreign sounding names like Wosniak and Jobs we still don’t know the limit of it.

That is the heritage of a land filled with people to whom the idea of conforming with the norm is a nightmare. It’s why we’re not Europeans. It’s why, when real solutions to clean energy do come, Henry, they’ll come from here.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 20, 2009 10:08 PM
Comment #273980

Lee, it’s true that giants have walked our land and improved our way of life, freedom and prosperity. That these giants were sometimes misunderstood and criticized by midgets didn’t dissuade them or keep them from greatness.

There is little greatness found in our political class today as most are merely minions of the special interests.

Those who rise to greatness have always been the men and women who seek to help all Americans at the expense of none, to heal the nations wounds with the salve of love, compassion and duty.

America was built upon individual freedom acting in concert for the common good with government providing the framework within which the individual could prosper.

Slowly and inexorably we have positioned the group as those being awarded the inalienable rights of which our founders wrote. We are losing our way and have forgotten our national purpose and birthright.

Posted by: Jim M at January 21, 2009 11:52 AM
Comment #273981

Lee, Jim M,

I think I’ll leave you two to your Hair-Shirts, Keening and Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth, while I celebrate our American future.

Our national purpose and birthright have come to an end, not because of current and future changes, but rather, because we could not handle it in these modern times. We had to give up slavery (part of our birthright), and if our purpose was to give financial corporations the freedom to bring us to our knees…good riddance.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 21, 2009 12:11 PM
Comment #273985

This really is a weird time with emotion spread all over the place.

On the one hand it is fantastic from the view of civil rights that as a country we have moved in 60 years from a time when a black man could not get a decent dinner in Washington DC, to a place where one is sworn in as President.

On the other hand, I just read a very good article that showed a very grim assessment of Obama’s stimulus package. Basically most of the package will hit AFTER we are out of recession. It appears to be mostly ideology driven spending. Lots of bridges to nowhere etc.

On the military front the the wars are going the correct direction, and so Obama can probably do more harm than good by “change”. Why change when the trendlines are the right direction. I think Oboma agrees as he has kept Bush’s team in tact and brought on Clinton as Sec of State.

It look like on the economic front Democrats are using the crisis to fund their spending wish lists. We shall see!!

Posted by: Craig Holmes at January 21, 2009 1:36 PM
Comment #273987

Craig,

I se you still insist on calling it ‘Democrat’s’ spending, apparently forgetting all that ‘Republican’ spending since ‘82. Are you saying that in thirty years the only spending increases and wasteful spending was during Clinton’s administration? Is Clinton the reason for the increase from about a trillion dollars to about twelve trillion dollars today? How much would a Republican president have to increase the deficit and debt for you to acknowledge some culpability?

Posted by: Marysdude at January 21, 2009 2:05 PM
Comment #273990

Marysdude:

What I am saying is that Obama is starting like a typical democrat. He is spending big. No change here. Democrats in Congress are taking advantage of the crisis to increase goverment spending long term.

I have no quarrel with spending as needed to get us out of this crisis. But basically about half of the stimulus package will be pork, and that is a lot of pork!!

For instance, with the data the dems are looking the economy will start growing in th is calendar year. So why are we looking at long term infratucture spending? It’s not because of the crisis. It may be important, but it doesn’t need to be voted on now or even this year. But it will be on the Presidents desk by Feb, because they will want to take advantage of the crisis. Business as usual.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at January 21, 2009 2:22 PM
Comment #273991

marysdude,

Look up the congresses from ‘82 through ‘94. you’ll find, I think, six years in which the Senate alone was controlled by Republicans. That is not Republican control, unless Democrats are just sheep to be lead to slaughter if they don’t have a Democrat president to keep them from falling in the nearest hole.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 21, 2009 2:36 PM
Comment #273992

Craig,
Concern about pork is alway a good idea, but the idea of the stimulus is to pour an enormous amount of money into the economy in order to spur spending and consumer confidence. It’s a classic Keynesian supply and demand move. Will it work? Hard to say. The big question is whether the asset deflation spiral has too much momentum already. Has it already spun out of control? Maybe not. We have no choice but to try and stimulate the economy out of the situation, even at the risk of a horrendous amount of deficit spending, because the prospect of years of depression is much costlier, and worth avoiding at all costs.

I’m pretty pessimistic. The economy is shedding jobs at the rate of a half million a month, and some of those people will lose their houses to foreclosure in the next few months. That will shove the economy even deeper into the asset deflation spiral, with no relief in site for real estate.

Infrastructure is a longer term stimulus, but still worthwhile, since it will eventually create jobs. Right now, we’re desperate.

Posted by: phx8 at January 21, 2009 2:37 PM
Comment #273993

Marysdude said of Lee and me; “I think I’ll leave you two to your Hair-Shirts, Keening and Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth, while I celebrate our American future.”

I spoke of giants and midgets in America’s past and present and proclaimed individual freedom and hard work as critical to our revival and required to restore our founders dreams. I spoke of individual rights as opposed to group rights. Marysdude celebrates an American future built upon rhetoric not deeds.

Drinking deeply from the well of political promises Marysdude celebrates while many of us will wait for the success of deeds before opening the champagne. Irrational exuberance is on display and has intoxicated many. The aspirin for the hangover may be administrated in 2010.

Posted by: Jim M at January 21, 2009 2:44 PM
Comment #273998

>Marysdude celebrates while many of us will wait for the success of deeds before opening the champagne.
Posted by: Jim M at January 21, 2009 02:44 PM

Jim M,

You two are not ‘waiting’ for success before you celebrate, you are complaining that it will not come (lets call that ‘drag’), before it has a chance to appear.

When you apply ‘drag’ to a moving vehicle, it slows and uses more energy. If you can’t join the celebration, and work toward a brighter future, then please get out of the way…you are creating ‘drag’.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 21, 2009 3:13 PM
Comment #274001

Marysdude speaks of “drag” and suggest that those of us who can’t join the celebration get out of the way as we are causing drag.

Thanks for the compliment Marysdude in believing that my small efforts may have some effect on slowing the spending being proposed by congress and the president. The “brighter future” Marysdude envisions is the light from the explosion of our fiscal and financial future and incinerating the wealth of millions of ordinary Americans.

Posted by: Jim M at January 21, 2009 4:15 PM
Comment #274002

Perhaps the solution to our problem is as simple as the cause!

Since the 2006 campaign the Democratics and the media have been telling us the economy is in the crapper. Democratics took control of the house and senate and in the first 100 days they passed a minimum wage bill and the media continued to tell us the economy is in the crapper. For two long years the media pounded the economy and the Democratics fiddled and people quit spending. There was no confidence. Now that the Beautiful One has been elected the stage is set for the second part of the plan.

It is time for the media and the Democratics to start telling us the economy is doing better, now it’s on the right track. With the media chanting success and the Democratics handing out candy for the next two years we will be back where we started in 2006. Then the Democratics can take the credit for the salvation of our country again.

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 21, 2009 4:18 PM
Comment #274006

Weary Willie -

Dude - you ARE out of touch.

Ever steer an aircraft carrier? I have - only a few times, but enough to really understand that the bigger the vehicle, the more room is needed to turn it around.

America’s a LOT bigger than one aircraft carrier, and it takes MUCH longer to turn it around.

By the way, you complain about raising the minimum wage. I remember the days that I was against it, too…but since I matured, I came to realize that Teddy Roosevelt was right - every job SHOULD provide a ‘living wage’, enough to pay for food, shelter, clothing, and education…and even the raised minimum wage today doesn’t come close to providing a living wage.

So what happens when one’s stuck with such low-paying jobs? Poverty…and everything that comes with it: lack of education, increases in drug and alcohol use, increase in crime, and decrease in health.

‘Trickle-down economics’ didn’t work. The Republican pundits claim FDR’s New Deal didn’t work…but if you’ll check the statistics for the thirties, the Great Depression bottomed out in 1933 and we were OUT of it by late 1936. FDR’s policies remained in force until 1980…and if you’ll check, the country’s budget deficits stayed relatively static - until Reagan and ‘trickle-down economics’ came along…and look where we are now.

Remember, Willie, what Dick Cheney said: “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter”.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at January 21, 2009 5:58 PM
Comment #274012

Glenn Contrarian

One must remember the golden rule. Critique the message. :)

I have not steered an aircraft carrier, nor did I complain about the minimum wage. I did however mention it because it is the only thing I can remember the HOR doing in it’s first one-hundred days.

From August, ‘36 to Jan, ‘37 the Stock Market lost 40% of it’s value. This is after it bounced back from a low of 42 in July ‘32.
Roosevelt was elected in ‘32. He had 4 years of gains and then a loss of 40% in an election year!

Also, there was a difference in opinion in the media that ended abruptly
_http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election%2C_1936

This election is notable for the Literary Digest poll, which was based on 10 million questionnaires mailed to readers and potential readers; over two million were returned. The Literary Digest, which had correctly predicted the winner of the last 5 elections, announced in its October 31 issue that Landon would be the winner with 370 electoral votes. The cause of this mistake is believed to be due to improper sampling: more Republicans subscribed to the Literary Digest than Democrats, and were thus more likely to vote for Landon than Roosevelt. This mistake by the Literary Digest proved to be devastating to the magazine’s credibility, and in fact the magazine went out of existence within a few months of the election.


That same year, George Gallup, an advertising executive who had begun a scientific poll, predicted that Roosevelt would win the election, based on a quota sample of 50,000 people. He also predicted that the Literary Digest would mis-predict the results. His correct predictions made public opinion polling a critical element of elections for journalists and indeed for politicians. The Gallup Poll would become a staple of future presidential elections, and remains one of the most prominent election polling organizations to this day.

Why wasn’t the election in ‘36 focused on a 40% drop in the stockmarket when this ‘08 election was dominated by a 30% drop? Was it kin to a lack of representation in the media? Is it reminicent of two million questionaires being replaced by “50,000 people”, and the Democratic’s stake in the deal?


Posted by: Weary Willie at January 21, 2009 6:55 PM
Comment #274019

Fine, I will draw the line .
Killing innocent people is evil, anytime anyplace.
Killing babies who did no wrong is evil, any time, any place.
Socialism is evil…Hitler, Stalin, and the Chinese dictators that deluged their lands in blood all believed in some form of socialism. It has failed every time its been tried, and it leaves people dependent on the government for their very existence. If they are even still in existence, that is.
I call that evil.
There are certain fundamentals that form the basis of Christian civilization(as America is), and if those pillars are removed, we are finished.
I am not talking about whether you support the war or not, or which side you support in the economy. That is open and valid for debate…
Murder is not.

Posted by: Joshua at January 21, 2009 10:18 PM
Comment #274027

The problem is, America has to self-destruct before we can really change, and all we’ve done is come down with a case of hives.

Until the majority of Americans are so painfully affected by the policies of either party, nothing will ever change. It will be a slow boil for the frog and eventually, everyone will be saying, how the hell did it get this bad - and it will be everyone’s fault.

Joshua, you are right about basic Christian principles founding our rule of law, and us being finished if they are abandoned. Can you imagine an article V where welfare leeches with no jobs come and vote on what is right and wrong and what they should be entitled to. Scary.

Mr. Jamison is right, the future isn’t bright. But the distinction between the conservative high-road and the ‘other’ road that liberals have taken for the last 8 years, is discussing policy without labeling the man any number of horrible things, from racist to murderer to imbecile. We can at least debate the points on policy without attacking Obama as a person. A courtesy never extended to GW Bush, and one I am proud to offer.

I for one am isolated from the financial crisis of the US here in Alaska, because Palin did such a good job if insisting on (GASP) loan standards for Alaska Housing lenders. Our default rate as a state is 1/8th the national average and we’re doing fine, even though oil has plummeted. However, I pray that Obama’s stimulus package provides the funds for infrastructure that will allow for growth AFTER we work ourselves out of this recession, because Infrastucture is one of the ONLY 3 things goverment shoud be working on besides maintaining law and order, and protecting us from attack.

Good article Lee.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at January 22, 2009 12:53 AM
Comment #274030

Jake,

“A courtesy never extended to GW Bush, and one I am proud to offer.”

I am quite sure that if Obama commits as many blunders as Bush, and so quickly dismisses those blunders as arrogantly as Bush did, there will be just as much (if not more) rancor against Obama as there has been in the last eight years.

The “true” conservatives have been so willing to distance themselves from Bush for not adhering to their “true” conservative ideology without showing the same willingness to admit that they voted him into office in the first place.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at January 22, 2009 6:25 AM
Comment #274031

Jake,

Oh, and BTW,

It’s pretty easy to be “insulated” from the financial crisis when your state ranks 1st in land area, 2nd in oil production, 5th in median income, 47th in population, and 50th in population density.
I mean it’s not like there are huge masses of people breaking down the doors to move to Alaska, and the entire population of the state is less than a middle sized city.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at January 22, 2009 8:23 AM
Comment #274043

Lee, the real test of sincerity within your article will come when Obama acts in contradiction to your good conscience of beliefs, and both the means and results of Obama’s policy are successful.

Will you then admit your conscience was wrong, and applaud the president for having shown you the error of your belief? That is the test. Anything less is to put partisan ideology above the interests of the nation, her foundations, and her future.

The problem with partisanship is that, it is a bigotry, a prejudice, every bit as blind to its own shortsightedness as racial bigotry and prejudice. Loyal Democrats and Republicans, do or die, must overlook and reject failures by those in their own party, intentional or not, otherwise the anxiety of the cognitive dissonance reaches an uncomfortable pitch.

As Americans mature as voters and citizens toward objectivity and ends testing of partisan methodology, it is inevitable that independent registered voter numbers will out number those of any Party. We are witnessing the empirical results of this phenomena as Obama seeks to take advantage, and to encourage the growth of a more mature and rational voting public.

He said as much in his Inaugural. He understands the enormous role partisanship has played in bringing our nation to its economic and resource knees. This is why long before the election, I recognized that America was not electing a Democrat, they were electing an Independent president who availed himself of the Democratic Party in order to get elected and serve the nation in the way it needs to be served, with pragmatic objective evaluated solutions to very real complex challenges threatening his and our childrens’ futures.

The worst that could happen is that our nation fail into a third world economic status pushing China into the leadership economic role. And that may still happen. But, if it does, it won’t be because Obama failed to lead. It will be because the people and their representatives failed to follow.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 22, 2009 11:34 AM
Comment #274044

Lee good article, good links.

Jim M. said “There is little greatness found in our political class today as most are merely minions of the special interests.”

And even less greatness in our wealthy and corporate class wouldn’t you agree Jim M.? I noticed Lee’s examples are from a century ago.

“America was built upon individual freedom acting in concert for the common good with government providing the framework within which the individual could prosper.”

I think America was built on the idea of individual freedom…then we let the corporations take over and the common good was forfeit.

“Slowly and inexorably we have positioned the group as those being awarded the inalienable rights of which our founders wrote. We are losing our way and have forgotten our national purpose and birthright.”

Exactly Jim M. since the error of corporate personhood in the 1880’s the group (or corporation) has led us astray. Our national purpose has been lost for some time now IMHO, since the days of Reagan and greed is good, and we are seeing the results of this latest attack on the common good today.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 22, 2009 11:36 AM
Comment #274052

j2t2,

In fairness to those in corporate culture today I would point out that I nearly did link Jobs and Wozniak. They have done reasonably well in corporate culture.

The truth is that the corporate mindset is inherently bound to group-think. That is not less true in government than in industry. There are havens of opposition to this mindset in the corporate world, such as the 3-M of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s and the Jobs-run companies such as Apple and Pixar, but they are antithetical to the whole notion of ‘corporation’ and therefore difficult to maintain for any length of time.

As liberals empower the corporation of government let them have enough fear of group-think to maintain teeth in the protections of those individual Americans who see the truth when it departs from the ruts of the cow path.

We need those people.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 22, 2009 12:07 PM
Comment #274063

Lee We first need to get the corporations out of the political process. I am not trying to say that all or even some corporations are evil. I am saying that by definition corporations are looking out for the profit of the shareholders and nothing else. The competition between corporations vying for the ear of politicians in order to gain financially for their shareholders has created a serious problem with our representative democracy. When we can get corporate America out of our political process then I will be with you fighting against big government when it is necessary to do so.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 22, 2009 1:07 PM
Comment #274067

The age old question; which came first…the chicken or the egg remains unanswered for many, though I believe it was the chicken.

Similarly, did politicians seeking corporate money precede corporations seeking political influence?

We all have justifiable reasons for joining groups to collectively affect government policy. Think of the groups or causes to which you, personally, support with voice or wallet. We would not contribute to either if we didn’t expect our wishes to be favorably considered.

Many folks contribute to the ACLU and PETA for example. When they succeed in winning a legal case their followers celebrate while the opponents are disappointed. Both sides can’t be satisfied with the results.

Is the same not true with our corporations? That they spend money to influence legislation is not illegal or unwarranted. To call for an end to lobbying by corporations is silly as it would diminish every American.

The question is; when is lobbying by corporations (for profit or non profit) detrimental to the country? A simple answer may be when it infringes upon individual rights and liberty. But then, could not the same be said of government policy?

I too believe that the primary problem we face is greed and the lust for power. And, when we remove these two splinters from our own psyche, perhaps we will have a chance to do the same with others.

Posted by: Jim M at January 22, 2009 1:48 PM
Comment #274084


The common people do not think they can govern themselves so they elect people who say we can govern on your behalf. As a result, liberty is a fleeting thing and soon over powered by an aristocracy or a demagogue.

Posted by: jlw at January 22, 2009 3:44 PM
Comment #274103

jlw,
I have to respectfully disagree with you that Common People do not think they can govern themselves. And why a myth that grew out of the 60’s and 70’s IMO. I do believe that America needs Civil, Political, and Religious Leaders in order to do the things that most of us take for granted. Otherwise, who would build the roads, ensure clean water, etc…

No, the problem and thus the solution lays with the Ignorance of Man and the so-called Kings and Queens that believe their position in the Hierarchy of Society makes them important. However, time and time again History will show that when a power vacum is found it is usaully the Common Man that will step up first.

Thus, Liberty is not fleeting, but a Everchanging Force that makes Man seek Knowledge and Wisdom be it Right or Wrong.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 22, 2009 6:55 PM
Comment #274105

“The question is; when is lobbying by corporations (for profit or non profit) detrimental to the country? A simple answer may be when it infringes upon individual rights and liberty. But then, could not the same be said of government policy?”

When the lobbying effort by these corporations result in the government not being able to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. When the lobbying effort by these corporations cause a re-write of bankruptcy laws that favor credit card companies rather than individuals. These are 2 examples that come to mind right away. When these lobbying efforts result in trade agreements that favor multi- national corporations at the expense of the American people. To think that a trade agreement such as NAFTA did not have any labor or environmental requirements is not the work of corporations is naive.

These are 3 examples that come to mind right away.

Corporations are not “we the people”, Jim M., as noted in the U.S. Constitution. By your way of thinking it won’t be to long before a corporation will be elected to office. After all the corporation that has the same rights as an individual need only be 25 years old and a citizen for 7 years to be a representative. I know it sounds ridiculous yet you make the argument that a corporation has the same rights as an individual when you suggest they should be allowed to lobby our representatives.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 22, 2009 6:58 PM
Comment #274110


I can envision a time when corporations will fill nearly every niche in the economy. And, a time when corporations interview people for the purpose of hiring them to run for political office.

Posted by: jlw at January 22, 2009 10:58 PM
Comment #274112

jlw,
Welcome to today! However, as much as Corporations attempt to fill every niche in the economy they still cannot be Human. Individuals maybe, but lacking a heart they are no better or no worse than a Citizen. For prove that a Corporation can Love and Understand that which it cannot see or touch.

And why that does not mean they shouldn’t have the same rights as Individuals, hiring Humans for Political Office shows that they lack the ability to learn from their mistakes. Otherwise, how could they have let the latest economic meltdown to happen?

No, the Youth of the 60’s and Silver Spoons of the 70’s may have been forced to agree to the Argument of “We the Corporation” due to Ignorance. However, thanks to the hard work of My Peers and Their Children the day will come when every American does not have to rely on a Corporation to make a living. In fact, even President Bush realized that if “We the Consumers” ever say to hell with a Corporation or “We the Corporation” than both sides of the Political Spectrum falls.

For as much as you can envision corporations filling nearly ever niche in the economy. I am still waiting for My Peers and Their Powers-that-Be to tell Their Children that having Self-Awareness and Self-Knowledge is wrong. After all does not buying into the Philosophy of the Corporation means like Kings and Queens they can never be wrong. Hence, a big hurdle for the Republican Party to jump especially when most Citizens find that it is the Corporation who is responsible for the problems of today.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 23, 2009 12:58 AM
Comment #274116

Corporations get us into the fight…the church ties one hand behind our back…ignorance and apathy adds the blindfold.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 23, 2009 3:49 AM
Comment #274131

Marysdude,

Government is a corporate endeavor exhibiting exactly the same adherance to overarching agendas in the so-called “public sector” as shareholder owned corporations exhibit in the “private sector”. It benefits tremendously when it can convince any of us to ignore that singular, most crucial, fact. For that reason it has a vested interest in keeping large voting percentages of the population ignorant.

Your hostility to the church not withstanding (and I am no fan of religion of any sort promoting capricious belief systems) at least the church is a place that connects generations together and helps them to find personal meaning and context. The church also builds self-esteem based on one’s humble concession that, though one is an object of the Creator’s handiwork, that is no less true for everyone else. The parishoner serves the Creator by serving his creation.

When atheists begin to show a marked propensity for the development of such internally supportive intergenerational fellowships on a large scale come back to me and we can reassess your superiority complex.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 23, 2009 10:02 AM
Comment #274137
I am no fan of religion of any sort promoting capricious belief systems

Are there any that don’t?

Posted by: womanmarine at January 23, 2009 11:44 AM
Comment #274140

“Government is a corporate endeavor exhibiting exactly the same adherance to overarching agendas in the so-called “public sector” as shareholder owned corporations exhibit in the “private sector”.”

Sorry to disagree with you Lee, but a corporation has one objective to make a profit for the shareholders. The government has the responsibility to “form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity”. When corporations interfere in the public sector they do so for one reason, profit for their shareholders. When government is involved in the private sector it is for many reasons as noted above, and most of all for the common good. This of course gets twisted by us humans but the intent is different than corporate intent.

“It benefits tremendously when it can convince any of us to ignore that singular, most crucial, fact. For that reason it has a vested interest in keeping large voting percentages of the population ignorant.”

We have really seen this statement proven true the past 8 years haven’t we. But is that the way it has to be? Bad leadership,interference from the corporate sector and ideological competition are the usual culprits. In fact Obama has already started to change rules to make one think the statement is about to be proven false as transparency becomes the norm not the exception.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 23, 2009 12:03 PM
Comment #274143

Liberals have a great opportunity to destroy our largest corporations but aren’t. Why is that? Deny bailouts to the banks, insurance companies, auto manufacturers and others and their dream of a non-corporate America will come true.

The reality is that liberals are backing the purchase of preferred stock from these corporations so that government will become what they decry. Common stock holders will get the shaft and government will get the gold mine.

Liberals believe they have found a way they believe is acceptable to the majority of Americans to take over corporate America and socialize this country. Part of this grand scheme includes usurping private assets by increased taxation or outright theft (such as that suggested by Hillary Clinton proposing a windfall tax on our oil companies).

Before the end of PO’s first term I predict there will be a congressional effort to snatch IRA’s, 401k’s and other retirement funds, with the justification that these assets are needed to keep the country from financial doom, bolster Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, subsidize national health care and fund more bailouts.

PO is asking for 600,000 additional government employees (20% of 3 million promised new jobs are government jobs). In reality, all 3 million jobs are government jobs when one considers the source of the payroll. I envision a day, not to far distant, when all American’s will derive their income from government jobs or entitlements. And, as the old communist joke proclaimed…”We will pretend to work and they will pretend to pay us”.

What a wonderful world the libs have in store for US.

Posted by: Jim M at January 23, 2009 12:35 PM
Comment #274144
Before the end of PO’s first term I predict there will be a congressional effort to snatch IRA’s, 401k’s and other retirement funds

Amazing!! Can I borrow your crystal ball?

Posted by: womanmarine at January 23, 2009 12:45 PM
Comment #274145

womanmarine,
The word “capricious” means, according to Merriam Webster, impulsive, unpredictable, or inconstant. By and large, within their traditions, most organized religions are none of these things. The beliefs and challenges presented to me in the theological training of my youth are largely the same as the beliefs and challenges I see being taught young candidates for ministry today (in my fairly liberal mainline denomination). They mirror closely the sort of things I had read from theologians writing a hundred years before I was born, and are reflected in scriptures dating back to documents penned more than 1600 years ago. If they represent caprice to you the convictions on which governments act in this world would have to, at least if you are intellectually consistent, seem like radical chaos.

Read scripture with a little understanding of the situation on the ground in Judea in the first century and you will realize, for example, that every person Jesus is purported to have raised from the dead was a woman’s, or women’s, access to a livelihood and the right to property, since those were denied to single women in his day.

He took his ministry to his people’s most despised racial minority, even provoking a Jewish teacher into lauding the contribution of a Samaritan as like a “neighbor”. On top of that he praised the faith of one of his Roman oppressors, who had contributed, in spite of his own legally required Roman paganism, substantially to the construction of the temple at Capernaum.

When atheists have contributed substantially to the improvement of Christian behavior they almost have always done it by pointing at what we have claimed to believe and illuminating the hypocrisy of our failure to live as though we did.

If that is caprice we religious people practice a rather glacial form of inconsistency.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 23, 2009 12:57 PM
Comment #274148

>When atheists begin to show a marked propensity for the development of such internally supportive intergenerational fellowships on a large scale come back to me and we can reassess your superiority complex.
Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 23, 2009 10:02 AM

Lee,

Since my post was an addendum response to the one above it by Henry, I’m a little confused by your vitriol. The best thing about being an atheist is the lack of need for such a Ideologic organization.

i⋅de⋅ol⋅o⋅gy
  1. the body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc., that guides an individual, social movement, institution, class, or large group.
2. such a body of doctrine, myth, etc., with reference to some political and social plan, as that of fascism, along with the devices for putting it into operation.
3. a system that derives ideas exclusively from sensation.
4. theorizing of a visionary or impractical nature.

(emphasis mine)

But, the wildest part yet was Lee E. Jameson telling someone else they have a superiority complex…wow!

Posted by: Marysdude at January 23, 2009 1:16 PM
Comment #274149

Lee,

Substituted an ‘e’ for an ‘i’ in you last name…mea culpa…

Posted by: Marysdude at January 23, 2009 1:23 PM
Comment #274150

womanmarine writes to me; “Amazing!! Can I borrow your crystal ball?”

No crystal ball required for reason and thoughtful reflection of a likely tomorrow based upon a factual present and past. Give it a try. Seven months ago when I moved my stocks and mutual funds to safe harbors I didn’t use a crystal ball but rather common sense based upon reality. That simple move has saved me many thousands of dollars.

My predictions you find amazing will come to fruition if nothing is done now to stop it.

Posted by: Jim M at January 23, 2009 1:27 PM
Comment #274155

“Liberals have a great opportunity to destroy our largest corporations but aren’t. Why is that?”

IMHO Jim M. it is because they do not want to see the big bank holding companies fail because of the impact to the American people. In general I don’t want corporations to fail I want them to stay out of the electoral process. They interfere with the legislative process and corrupt government officials in their attempt to gain more profit for their shareholders. Were it a few lobbyist and a few industries Jim M. it probably wouldn’t have such a negative effect but when their are so many varied corporate interest that conflict it harms the individuals of this country. Not intentionally perhaps but it does harm none the less.

“Before the end of PO’s first term I predict there will be a congressional effort to snatch IRA’s, 401k’s and other retirement funds, with the justification that these assets are needed to keep the country from financial doom, bolster Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, subsidize national health care and fund more bailouts.”

Jim M. do you mean confiscate personal funds never to be repaid? What would lead you to believe this. It is hard to give it credence when you espouse other conspiracy theories that have no basis in fact.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 23, 2009 1:50 PM
Comment #274157

Marysdude,
I can’t take offense at misspellings of my name. It seems we haven’t spelled it correctly ourselves for a number of generations. Mary Jemison, a sister of my direct ancestor, Thomas Jemison, was much celebrated early in the 19th century as the “white woman of the Senecas”. By the time she was famous, though, my line of the family had descended into illiteracy.

You are, in the same post however, diminishing the larger importance of the concept of “myth”. The more we dissociate children from a sense of the continuity of their place in some form of cultural lineage or narrative the more difficult it is for them to enforce on themselves a vital discipline. “When have people like me ever done anything?”, they may ask themselves.

It’s not a trivial matter, then, that my family has taken the time to trace my Daddy’s line to the shores of Ireland in 1842, or elements of my Mom’s line as far back as Wittenburg, Germany in the 1400s. Every young Jamison (or Jemison) and Emmerich can feel a connection to something that has psychological power to make the rigors associated with achieving significance seem worthwhile in advance.

I know a number of atheists who, for exactly this reason, lay pride of philosophical purity aside and embrace the church for themselves and their families. They see the rituals and creeds as harmless where they can’t believe, and recognize that in the functioning of human psychology the “myth” aspect may do their children and those around them good.

Want another example close to the subject at hand? Just look at the shock in the larger black community at President Obama’s election. A destructive, but pervasive “myth” of minority culture was that a black man could not be allowed to assume the reins of power in this country. Now that can be replaced by the more positive “myth’ with which I grew up that any kid could grow up to be the president of the United States.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 23, 2009 2:35 PM
Comment #274158

By the way, Marysdude, I wasn’t trying to be vitriolic, merely droll.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 23, 2009 2:43 PM
Comment #274163

j2t2,

Sorry to disagree with you Lee, but a corporation has one objective to make a profit for the shareholders.
Now, come on! Who in their right mind would look at executive compensation in this country and the machinations that led executives of corporation after corporation to concentrate their friends in interlocking corporate boards and see in those action an attempt to enrich shareholders?

The truth is that the people who run corporations have, as I said before, their own agendas. Those agendas are no more honestly attended to in public sector corporations, like governments, than they are in industrial private sector corporations. The difference is that, when a private sector corporation utterly fails to competitively do what gets it operating funds in a marketplace it will fail (well, unless a government steps in to keep its rich buddies afloat.)

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 23, 2009 3:11 PM
Comment #274166

Lee,

Per 274158:

>Droll humor is an often dry, witty form of humor that elicits laughs through amusingly odd, sometimes zany behavior or speech.

Hmmm…okay, I’m laughing now…thanks.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 23, 2009 3:25 PM
Comment #274172

Lee I don’t disagree that the people who run some corporations have their own agenda which may not be in line with that of the shareholders. However my point is that the reason a corporation is charted is to benefit the shareholders. There is an entity that exists only on paper and there are people that run and work at the entity that exists only on paper. I separate the 2 out as an individual that runs or works at a corporation has every right to lobby their elected officials. The entity that exists only on paper shouldn’t. The reasons a government may step in are many but the people within the government that allow this to happen do so primarily because they are influenced by a corporation’s lobbyist. That is one of the biggest issues facing our nation today IMHO.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 23, 2009 3:56 PM
Comment #274188

j2t2 asks; “Jim M. do you mean confiscate personal funds never to be repaid? What would lead you to believe this. It is hard to give it credence when you espouse other conspiracy theories that have no basis in fact.”

Yes, never to be repaid. Watching the debacle taking place in D.C. in the spending spree leads me to believe that these same folks will demand sacrifice to pay for it. Where is the really big money j2t2? In pension plans and savings. That is a target too big to be ignored by our braying donkeys.

While conservatives have called for easing or temporarily ending penalties for withdrawal of IRA and 401k money to help seniors and others it has fallen on deaf liberal ears. No one, not even liberals can deny that much of the proposed new spending is designed to redistribute wealth. It’s a small step to go further with what I have predicted.

I am pleased that you are apparently stunned by the prospect of such a thing happening.

Posted by: Jim M at January 23, 2009 6:09 PM
Comment #274192

j2t2,

You don’t think government influences corporations day in and day out? Isn’t it possible that some of those influences, through things like tax laws, labor rules, environmental rules and procedures, were also the product of people lobbying government and that the result of those rules can be counterproductive both to business and their stated goals?

Secondly the idea of separating people from their First Amendment right to ‘petition government for a redress of grievances’ just because the grievance is specifically related to a kind of entity in which they hold an interest, if that entity is a corporation, would be impossible to segregate from any other such denial of the same right. My church is chartered as a corporation, for example. A couple of my clients have their financial interests set up in chapter “S” corporations, though they are for all practical purposes sole owners. How would you devise the language that would take the individual’s right to petition on behalf of one kind of corporation you dislike away while preserving their individual right to do so on behalf of the corporation you like?

What if you found that your targeting of a corporation or some such you didn’t like cost, say, 80,000 blue-collar American jobs, as Carter’s “Luxury Tax” did back in the ’70s, or several other tens of thousands of jobs as his “excess profits tax” did in Texas alone.

What you’re claiming is that one iteration of a species of animal should not have the power to influence another iteration of the same kind of animal when they both live in the same space. That simply does not make sense.

The people who run government seek to avoid being held to the mandate they are required by law to adhere to. The people who run industrial corporations do the same thing to their shareholders. Both groups of executives try to empower themselves for their own purposes. They each use the power they can apply to the other type of corporation to achieve their goals.

Neither type of corporation, government nor industrial, is inherently bad, but neither is either inherently good. Of the two, government can do the more harm, because it need not do what it does even remotely well to survive.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 23, 2009 6:34 PM
Comment #274202

Marysdude,
Why I will not say that you are right about Government and Religion. Having growm up around Apathy and Ignorance I wish that protocal would permit me to say what I have learned. However, IMHO it seems that the more the leaders of these organizations try to keep their flock in blindfolds the more their flock rebels.

Lee,
Government for better or worse is the Overseer and Regulator of a Generations’ Allotcated Resources as well as the Political Voice for both Labor and Management in the hope that Stockholders can find Common Ground.

And why I can only speak for myself, I do believe that both atheists and religios citizens can agree that without Logic and Reason to back them up Beliefs are nothing more than a Personal Opinion.

Jim M.
Why you can voice your concerns about the Liberals destroying Americas’ largest corporations, you should look at the damage created by some of the Conservatives. For why IMHO I do not believe either will win the day, considering that this latest economic meltdown can be placed in the hands of the Stockholders, Board of Directors, and CEO’s failure of Vision. I do not see how the Workforce of America can do any worse.

For example;
Americas’ Auto Manufacting has just suffered one of its worse year in history, yet where are the Stockholders calling for the heads of the Board of Directors and CEO’s. And moving down the chain, can you explain why the Board of Directors did not call in the CEO’s and Upper Management in 2007 to discuss what measures had to be taken in 2008 to keep the companies profitable? Or why did the CEO’s and Upper Management in 2004 move to manufacture Electric Hybrids and High Milage SUV’s instea of waiting until 2008 to complain that they have no money due to the lack of sells?

Yes, America is hurting thanks to the Conservatives and Liberals lack of Oversight and Innovation at the begining of the 21st Century; however, in the Sprit of playing catch-up it seems that President Obama and his Adminastration is out pacing both the Left and Right.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 23, 2009 7:45 PM
Comment #274204

j2t2,
Why you are right about a Corporation being in business to make profits for its Stockholders (A Supreme Court Ruling in the 80’s), due to the lack of Oversight and possible Ignorance you would be hard pressed to find but a handful of Stockholders who has used their power. Thus, just as Congress has been given a free hand so has the CEO’s of Corporations been allowed to do what they want to a defualt. For can you show me the last time when a group of Stockholders stood up against their Board of Directors and CEO’s?

Status Quo relys on Apathy and Ignorance to maintian Power. And IMHO until the Left and Right wake up to see that a Few want to use these Political Tools for their Personal Agenda instead of doing what is right for their Stockholders and Consumers than America will always be limited.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 23, 2009 8:02 PM
Comment #274205

Lee writes; “Neither type of corporation, government nor industrial, is inherently bad, but neither is either inherently good. Of the two, government can do the more harm, because it need not do what it does even remotely well to survive.”

And Lee, I might add that government can enforce its decisions with the legal use of force.

Henry, to the extent that corporate abuses exist let us prosecute them if they are illegal. Is it not true that government writes the rules of the game?

Posted by: Jim M at January 23, 2009 8:08 PM
Comment #274214

Jim M.,
Technically NO. Government writes the Guidelines that All Businesses most follow; however, they do not tell CEO’s of any Business that they heve to spend $35,000.00 o a toilet.

In fact, IMHO one of the new regaulations that should come out of this mess is that a Corporation will only be allowed to deduct the cost of a normal toilet in the future. Thus, why “the Government of “We the People” can and will not tell the CEO’s of Business that they cannot own a $35,000.00 toilet. It will surely make them think twice about going out and spending their Stockholders Profits to take a dump.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 23, 2009 9:32 PM
Comment #274217

“Secondly the idea of separating people from their First Amendment right to ‘petition government for a redress of grievances’ just because the grievance is specifically related to a kind of entity in which they hold an interest,”

Lee you are not understanding what I am saying. I have never suggested separating a person from their right to a redress of grievances. I am saying that because a person holds an interest in an entity does not give them the right to have two chances to redress their grievances. I am saying as a corporate entity their are more than one person involved, by law, in the entity. Why do they get to collectively get the same right again that they already have as a person. Most if not all corporate entities hire a professional lobbyist to do their “redress of grievances”. this is in addition to the right that each individual person in the corporation already has. Allowing a corporation to have the rights of personhood has created many problems within our system of government. The right of personhood was given due to a mistake based upon the 14th amendment and should be corrected.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 23, 2009 10:16 PM
Comment #274219

Lee, Henry and Jim M. you all raise interesting points. Perhaps Lee this is the beginning of an interesting article by yourself. I will try to respond to all the comments this weekend in the meantime.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 23, 2009 10:19 PM
Comment #274271

j2t2,

Might I remind you that a LAWYER is a “professional lobbyist”. So is an artistic agent, or an advertizing account executive. The only real difference in their functions is the venue in which representation occurs.

Remember that ‘lobbyists’ didn’t have a name until the Grant Administration. He, thinking he didn’t have much to do, would spend his days reading newspapers in a Washington hotel lobby, which gave favor-seekers relatively easy access to him. Of course people had long since been doing the same thing with representatives and senators. It just had never acquired a title before that.

I’m thinking on the article.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 24, 2009 3:01 PM
Comment #274282

Lee lobbyist are registered at the federal level whether they are doctors lawyers or professors. It is a profession in and of itself. They lobby for a fee. This is much more than an individual lobbying his representative. As often as not it is a former lawmaker with a higher level of access to the representatives at work than we the people are allowed. I have heard there are around 17,000 lobbyist in DC working our 535 representatives. It is easy to blame our government officials for the corruption and such but with such a high degree of leverage against them the corruption starts with the corporate lobbyist and infects our representatives IMHO.

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/common/generic/lobby_top_ten.htm

Posted by: j2t2 at January 24, 2009 10:27 PM
Comment #274306

j2t2,

Who is to blame for fat people? Is it the hungry who buy the food they don’t need, or is it the people who profit by feeding them food they don’t need?

Of course either answer is wrong. The real problem is that we mutually allow a culture of hedonism to dictate both the education and the actions of both.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 25, 2009 1:59 PM
Comment #274307

Ah Lee you are not saying it is nobody’s fault because it is everybody’s fault are you? That we should do nothing to solve the problem lest we err? I prefer to give our elected representatives a chance to succeed at good government.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 25, 2009 2:35 PM
Comment #274316

I’m thinking on the article.

Lee www.reclaimdemocracy.org has a timeline on corporate personhood that may interest you as it has historical background on the issue.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 25, 2009 3:54 PM
Comment #274328

Lee,
Why getting fat depends on a lot of things I do believe that the majority can be traced to the fact that not even the medical profession can tell us what the body needs. Vits, minerals, etc. in the form of a pill does not work. 3 meals a day is a joke and calorie counting still has its downfall.

No, Americans grew up thinking that 2 eggsm bacon, hash browns, and pancakes was a good breakfast. And when most citizens lived on farms or worked in factories all day that proved itself to be the case. However, move into the 70’s and the intro of Fast Food with no insight to health and you can see the results of today.

In fact, today we are told that a 2000 calorie diet is needed to maintain good health; yet, given ones activities even that Wisdom is being tested. So, it is the Individuals fault, the Institutions faults, or the Ignorance of Man?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 25, 2009 8:14 PM
Comment #274341

j2t2,

Ah Lee you are not saying it is nobody’s fault because it is everybody’s fault are you?
No.

I am saying it is EVERYBODY’S fault because it is EVERYBODY’S fault.

A culture lives as a team and dies as a team. We can live like the Detroit Lions have since they bumbled into the NFL and always have a star or two who thinks their stellar performance insulates them from the failures of the team (it wasn’t their “fault”) or we can be like the recent Patriots teams where someone different can be plugged into every position and the team still seems to find a way to be a winning team.

Codependencies are founded in the mutual failure to face one’s own problems because the relationship persists in the casting of blame. (It’s OK for me to do my self-destructive behavior or fail to adopt constructive ones because you keep doing yours.)

This is where the rhetoric of conservatism has gone badly awry in the age of Limbaugh. By adopting “liberal” as a perjorative we have accepted the codependency escape inherent to leftist politics (We blamed liberals for our problems.) and eliminated the fundamental individual responsibility on which real conservatism is based.

Henry,

I chose the illustration of people getting fat because there are obviously elements of modern culture that contrbute to the problem. I have had to watch my own weight since my late twenties. It’s not my fault that my body can easily put on pounds. It’s not my fault that modern society can easlily and cheaply provide the food that will put those pounds on. It’s not even my fault that I can make a living without going out on hunting expeditions requiring great exertions to put protein on my family’s table.

It is my fault, however, if I accept that those factors relieve me of the responsibility for maintaining the discipline necessary to keep myself in a healthy weight range.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 26, 2009 9:14 AM
Comment #274342

j2t2,

I looked up your link listed above and looked through the pages inside. I was particularly interested in the draft Constitutional amendment, which I have copied below. Apart from the fact that it inherently demonizes for-profit corporations, presuming for some reason that they are inherently worse than non-profit corporations that enjoy the same legal privileges, it would be all but unenforceable.

How does one limit the corporate need to be represented in courts of law without destroying the concept of limited liability that makes a corporation legally viable, for example? Yet there is nothing in section three to indicate the limited liability of the corporation could be preserved.

In the face of such uncertainty would the corporation disppear? No. But it WOULD disappear from the economy of the United States.

I’m not saying what you want is impossible, but the following, very clumsy draft amendment will not get it for you.

An Amendment to Preclude Corporations from Claiming Bill of Rights Protections

SECTION 1. The U.S. Constitution protects only the rights of living human beings.

SECTION 2. Corporations and other institutions granted the privilege to exist shall be subordinate to any and all laws enacted by citizens and their elected governments.

SECTION 3. Corporations and other for-profit institutions are prohibited from attempting to influence the outcome of elections, legislation or government policy through the use of aggregate resources or by rewarding or repaying employees or directors to exert such influence.

SECTION 4. Congress shall have power to implement this article by appropriate legislation.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 26, 2009 9:42 AM
Comment #274345

“A culture lives as a team and dies as a team.”

I think that is what Obama has been asking Americans to evolve into for some time now. It does appear that many Americans have forgotten the commons Lee and instead have focused on our differences far to long.

“This is where the rhetoric of conservatism has gone badly awry in the age of Limbaugh. By adopting “liberal” as a perjorative we have accepted the codependency escape inherent to leftist politics (We blamed liberals for our problems.) and eliminated the fundamental individual responsibility on which real conservatism is based.”

It is not just rhetoric that has gone awry Lee. It seems you are saying when conservatives screw the pooch it is the liberals fault because conservatives need to feed off of what their rhetoric has lead them to believe of others. Isn’t that just furthering this “blame the liberal” dependency the conservatives have. Until one accepts responsibility for one’s actions what really changes?

Posted by: j2t2 at January 26, 2009 10:51 AM
Comment #274346

Lee this website is not my work nor do I specifically endorse all information on this site. I was referring you to the corporate personhood timeline that shows the history of how corporations gained rights in lieu of privileges.

That being said I don’t see anything in this proposed amendment that would preclude corporate privileges in civil courts. Corporations have been in civil court prior to the abuse of the 14th amendment and all this amendment seems to do is to rectify the mistake in interpretation of the 14th amendment.

Do you find it odd Lee that as a human being you do not have limited liability for your actions yet a non living entity has this privilege? Why would section 3 need to alter the limited liability concept Lee when the intention is to limit corporate involvement in the electoral process and from influencing our elected representatives.


Posted by: j2t2 at January 26, 2009 11:12 AM
Comment #274349

j2t2,

If you want specific personhood rights as defined in specific amendments not to apply to corporations the way to deny them is to be specific. “The rights of natural persons granted in the 14th amendments shall not apply to corporate entities and other forms of ‘artificial persons’ as those persons are understood to exist in the common law.”

And don’t try to manifest the artifice that for-profit corporations are more morally compromised than not-for-profits are in law. You will have simply laid out a roadmap for future corruption by doing so.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 26, 2009 11:30 AM
Comment #274351

j2t2,

It seems you are saying when conservatives screw the pooch it is the liberals fault because conservatives need to feed off of what their rhetoric has lead them to believe of others.
How do you get that from my earlier comments? We work together or fail to work together. It is easier to fail to work together when one can find someone to blame for one’s own intransigence. In conservative’s casting liberals as the ‘Juden’ of the modern day we have granted ourseves just such a scapegoat.

Now if, by pointing that out, you felt I had given you reason to condemn me for scapegoating you I have to say you would have found a great format for comic writing. We should get together and pitch that to Hollywood.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 26, 2009 11:44 AM
Comment #274376

Lee,
Why I understand were you are coming from I do believe that the Insitutions of Society could do a lot more than those of our parents. For knowing that middle-age spread is real, but a growing child needs healthy food. I do believe that they should engage helping the Employers install healthy snack food in the breakrooms and encourage their employees to exercise.

In fact, just the idea of changing the meeting from the conference room to the gym and replacing the donuts with fruit would be a strong message from Management would it not?

Yes, it may not be a personal fault that the body changes; however, as we learn more and more about how the body and mind works maybe it is time for the Corporate World learn to stop looking at its workforce as a piece of replaceable equippment.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at January 26, 2009 6:55 PM
Comment #274405

“And don’t try to manifest the artifice that for-profit corporations are more morally compromised than not-for-profits are in law. You will have simply laid out a roadmap for future corruption by doing so.
Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 26, 2009 11:30 AM”

Seems I don’t need to Lee as you have done it for me. So elaborate on this roadmap to future corporation if you please.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 27, 2009 11:19 AM
Comment #274406

Oops, corruption not corporation, Freudian slip I guess.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 27, 2009 11:30 AM
Comment #274410

I’ll have to elaborate later, but your comment brought to mind one of my professors humorously noting my use of the phrase “Fraudian slip” in an otherwise serious paper.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 27, 2009 12:33 PM
Comment #274420

“The truth is our success IS his success”

Regardless whether he is the first black president.

Posted by: Tom at January 27, 2009 2:46 PM
Comment #274444

Lee,
You have boiled it down to the very essence of what this country should be. How we believe
in leaders as Americans and that our success or
failure is tied directly to the decisions and actions undertaken. It is important to point out
however, that in choosing our leaders, there has been way to much divisivness, by the time they
reach office, after a 2 year campaign they are battered. It has become a game, where those who
supported the other side is now armed with the very reasons why they must hate the winner. He’s
a democrat, socialist, he’ll tax and spend the country into oblivion. His pastor is a radical or
he’ll do the same thing Bush did. We need to get back to a battle of ideas for our country. To rid politics of the corruption that has become a hallmark of Washington. I have great hope for
Obama’s promise. He will however face a gauntlet from the pork barrelers in his party and the
partisan republicans who are unable or incapeable of reaching across the aisle. They do not have
America’s interest at heart, but are driven by
their individual agenda’s, which is harmfull to
the country. It is my greatest hope, that Obama
can unite this country and focus all americans
on the greater good of the country. Articulate
a vision for the future and set the people on
a mission to build a new energy and environmental economy. Rebuild prosperity for our children and
educate a new generation of scientists and engineers. Invest in reindustrializing and R & D.
It is a new time for new ideas and not a time to shrink from the job at hand but to embrace this time. You wrote a great article and very few
people whose articles I have read capture the
reality of the moment as you have.

Posted by: bobhenry at January 27, 2009 9:14 PM
Comment #274474

bobhenry,

I appreciate the compliment very much. I do take a couple of points, however, with a grain of salt. what we have taken for bitterness in this election is a pale shadow of the vitreol of presidential elections from the country’s early days.

Talk to a college historian who deals extensively with the 19th century and you will hear of elections like Thomas Jefferson’s first. Revered as he is in our time advocates of Aaron Burr (the atheist, ironically enough) openly called Jefferson the antichrist! The election itself was an Electoral College tie, thus throwing the final choice into the House of Representatives, where for 39 ballots it remained a tie. Burr’s hatred for the administration devolved into his challenging Alexander Hamilton, a key author of the Constitution, and Treasury Secretary at the time, to a duel in which Hamilton was mortally wounded.

Naturally this was bad for Burr’s career.

Andrew Jackson, in his first attempt to win the presidency, won the popular vote easily, but didn’t win the electoral college vote. The House of Representatives enraged the nation by seating John Quincy Adams instead. The campaign was so cruel that Jackson’s wife Rachel died, unable (unlike Sarah Palin) to handle the outrages flung at her by the nation’s press, who considered her an uncivilized peon, and even called her a “squaw”.

Believe me, we lead politically sheltered lives these days.

That vitriol is, whether we like it or not, a good test of character. It was ultimately Obama’s steady reactions to the crush of the campaign that separated him from the field. You have to give it to him. For whatever reason the man is a stone under pressure. He proved, though we disagree on a whole lot, that he has the temperment to handle the office.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at January 28, 2009 3:26 PM
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