The Legacy of a King

Over the last several days in this column a debate has raged on the validity of what the left insists is “torture”. Furthermore these people have expressed a willingness to launch into the taking and trying in closed tribunals of political prisoners from the ranks of former leaders with whom they disagree, a form of retribution previously foreign to American politics, to win their point. How should the right respond?

In the light of these, and other, increasingly radical and vicious moves on the part on the nation's new leadership it makes perfect sense that they consider people who hold right wing views potential "terrorists". In as much as it is obvious people would rise up en masse to defend former government leaders against the outrage of political persecutions clearly intended to cower the populace they would need a pretense for mounting an advance wave of actions to show what a danger the right presented.

Reactions to April 15th's Tea Party protests in the mainstream media characterized them as "pure racism"and "not family viewing", in spite of the fact that attendants were of many ethnic groups and there were no reports of violence, even against hecklers.

It is becoming clearer by the day that the steady drip drip of policy points from the Obama Administration, and their threats against former legitimate leaders of the nation for purely political gain, are measured provocations for the engaged citizens of the right. Ultimately they are INTENDED to provoke some careless or emotionally unstable individuals among us to violence, thus excusing even more overt actions against our liberty and freedom of expression. One can see some conservative commentators, the most prominent of whom would be Sean Hannity, falling into this trap. His hyperbole is in danger of becoming inflammatory. That could only work to the advantage of leftists seeking to portray the right as a danger to the safety and security of the whole nation.

In the face of this effort to portray conservatives as dangerous, and to incite us into proving the point, what should our response be? To follow the non-violent leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King.

If this movenent is as I have seen it there will be steady attempts to ratchet up the pressure in ways that would be especially frightening to conservatives. There will be attempts to arrest and imprison former conservative leaders, attempts to keep the proceedings of their persecutions secret, and attempts to muzzle and silence their supporters. All of these efforts must be met with protests conducted in large numbers. All of them must be answered with a pooling of financial resources to support former government officials who were acting to support policies formulated by the legitimate government. All of them must refect the essential values of a people committed to faith, family, civility, and a committment to the value of human life.

We are, as America always is, in the midst of a great revolution. The vision central to the founding of the nation was that such churning of the society need not be the seed of war. Dr. King's legacy to us is putting that non-violent armament of a great nation front and center in a meaningful, but peacefully waged, war. If we respond to provocation with violence, even if we "conquer" our "enemies", they win.

In a war for the nation's soul we must win as Martin Luther King taught us. We must win with non-violence.

Posted by Lee Emmerich Jamison at April 24, 2009 11:01 AM
Comments
Comment #280886

I’m glad I’m not in the Republican’s position.

Well, what is it? Inspire fear and panic, and then tell people that you can’t do anything about it. Except, of course, not listen to anybody else.

Your media figures tell people that the country is being taken over by socialists and fascists… but you can’t have anything real happen, now can you, because the minute somebody actually acts on those fears, then people will see that all the fear and hate-mongering led to that.

The Republicans, facing a popular president with a mandate, a Congress that despite being openly liberal, added to its ranks, and lately to its popularity, have decided to attack the Reputation of the left, and anybody, regardless of their place on the spectrum, who finds middle ground with them.

This not having been tremendously successful, except among Republicans, you folks have decided to escalate it, hoping that more forceful rhetoric will stir up even more support and opposition.

The Democrats are being Democrats, and are doing so with majority support. We’re not pushing these policies merely to provoke you. We actually believe these are the right laws, policies, and programs to promote. The Republicans are the provocateurs here, their intent being, through force of rhetoric, to halt or slow momentum for this change.

The fear and hatred is your own fault, a natural result of years of irresponsible rhetoric which Republicans recently have taken over the top. Not willing to compromise with moderates, not willing to admit that the Democrats have won lasting political victories, your people have settled on generating as much hostility for the Democrats and their policies as possible, and for openly making provocatives statements which threaten division, violence, and revolution.

But you’ve looked at the situation, and suddenly, you’re afraid. And you should be. A reasonable person would be afraid of what might happen if you got that many people with that much resentment on the edge of going out there and taking the law and governance of this nation into their own hands.

You can’t play with fire and not expect to get burned.

Take this bit of idiocy for example.

A peaceful demonstration of at least a million — hey, if we can get 10 million, even better — but at least one million armed militia men marching on Washington. A peaceful demonstration. No shooting, no one gets hurt. Just a demonstration. The only difference from any typical demonstration is we will all be armed.

You might want to consider that the Right in this country has gotten a tad bit tone deaf. I mean, there’s no way somebody could take the marching of a million or more armed men towards the Nation’s capital the wrong way, much less see anything that could potentially go wrong with that kind of demonstration.

It’s time to realize that if you don’t win the center, all you’re doing with this panic-mongering and stirring up of hatred is setting up your political movement for the exact sort of outcome you’re fearing. You got be a friend to make a friend, and the Republican Party has been busy for the last few decades making enemies out of anybody and everybody.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 24, 2009 12:04 PM
Comment #280887

Lee, your article makes some major errors here.

First, it conflates what media and media attention grabbing private citizens say, with the the motives and intents of the Congress and White House. That is exactly the same as claiming Bush and the Republican Congress were pursuing the policy of GOP voting private citizen bigots and racists. It is flawed logic.

Second, your article entirely ignores the core of the Constitutional and legal issue surrounding the employment of techniques defined by the military and legal and treaty precedent, as torture, i.e. waterboarding. The core issue is, IF some in the Bush administration violated domestic and international law regarding the authorization of torture techniques, then there CANNOT be an ignoring of the matter.

If the current administration, and all administrations, ignore the potential violations of the law by previous administrations, then we have become an authoritarian government, in which those in government author one set of laws for themselves immunizing themselves, while prosecuting another set of laws for the public and citizenry.

That is the core of the issue. That is where the public pressure is coming from on this current administration to pursue the investigation and prosecutions if warranted.

Americans who, respect our Constitutional system and rule of ONE law equally applicable to all regardless of whether they are in or outside government, must logically demand that the previous and all administrations be held accountable to the ONE law which governs the citizenry as well.

There cannot be defacto immunization of those in, or previously in, government. To support such a view, is to embrace Chavez’s government or Musharraf’s in Pakistan, wherein the leaders elevate themselves above the law, making themselves the authors of the law as suiting their personal interests.

I fail to see how anyone can oppose investigating potential violations of law in the Bush administration given the overwhelming evidence now presented, without harboring and embracing animosity toward Constitutional rule of law system, or abject ignorance of the central issue involved with the presentation of evidence that illegal torture may have been employed and sanctioned by high ranking Bush administration officials like Condoleeza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney.

Condoleeza Rice is now on record as having assented to waterboarding months before the legal advisory memos were even drafted. Which means, even before attempts by the White House to change the laws unilaterally, they had authorized water boarding torture. And water boarding has been defined by our own military, by case law precedent and convictions of Texas Sheriff and deputies and others, as well as foreign adversaries of torture and crimes against humanity for employing water boarding.

If you check our Constitution, you will find that it does grant the executive branch the power to legislate law, nor to decide contests of interpretation of the law. Which means the Bush administration had no Constitutional authority to redefine water boarding as not torture, given legal precedence in legislation and court cases already defining as water boarding as both torture and illegal.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 24, 2009 1:04 PM
Comment #280888

Dr. King did not do “nothing”. He went on offense, a strident offense, peacefully and with large numbers.

When the left seeks to paint us as powerless, as passe, as foolish, or as tone deaf it is not that we should not listen. We most assuredly do and will. Instead we must answer the insults and the outrages with forceful, peaceful resistance. We must stand where we will be heard, speak our peace, and make it clear that the mandate claimed for this administration was really no more than to unseat Bush Republicans (something many, many conservatives were more than happy to do on many grounds) and prove we are not a racist nation.

We did that.

There is no mandate to turn America into France, to emasculate the nation in the eyes of the world, or to make the people into wards of the nanny state at the expense of their grandchildren. And there certainly is no mandate to criminalize conservative solutions to the security issues of the world.

Pacivism, as Ghandi showed, can change the world. It takes a manly determination violent solutions (witness the cowardly atrocities of the Middle East) sometimes lack.

Non-violence can’t win against brutes. But America’s center is not populated with brutes.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 24, 2009 1:05 PM
Comment #280889

Dr. King Said a few Kind Words about Eisenhower over fifty years ago, Ask yourself this Lee what does this party have in common with Eisenhower and Dr. King Today.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at April 24, 2009 1:28 PM
Comment #280891

Lee, what a clever little illogical reversal when saying: “And there certainly is no mandate to criminalize conservative solutions to the security issues of the world.”

You see, first there is the law. Then the act that violates that law. That is what is defined as a crime. There were laws against water boarding and torture. The Bush administration ignored those laws, and even unconstitutionally attempted to rewrite those laws for THEMSELVES as a charade of legal defense if they should be found out.

The documents provide the evidence that crimes were committed, and people in the Bush administration authorized and promoted the use of those illegal actions. An investigation is ABSOLUTELY warranted, if there is to be one justice system in America, not two (one which imprisons citizens and another which immunizes government officials from the application of justice.)

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 24, 2009 2:13 PM
Comment #280892

Rodney,

You must be asking such a question because you think the answer will be hard to find. It’s not.

The conservative movement generally shares with Doctor King an assurance that faith reveals to us a creator that cherishes all of his human creations with equal fervor. King believed each person had access to individual dignity that must be nurtured as much from within as from without. He was active not merely as a pastor ministering to the oppressed peoples of the country, but to the need of their oppressors for a healing that would make the obvious visible through the veils of bigotry.

All people are due the benefit of the work of their own hands. All people deserve equal protection under the law. All people deserve to be seen not for the color of their wrapper, but for the content of their character.

More than that, though, he was an imperfect man who knew the importance of grace and humility. Those conservatives who do claim faith who do not understand that are hypocrites. It is out of knowing that that non-violence becomes a crucial armament in the arsenal of true believers. None of us is “good”, not one. He could be humble in that knowledge.

So must we. I fear nothing more than the terrible possibility we are in the grips of an administration that thinks it is made up of “good” people. People who know they are good are the seat of all the darkest forms of evil humanity can muster.

At the end, when he knew the fight would not always be his he spoke of people going on without him. Ultimately freedom is the fight of all people working together.

I think conservatives agree with Dr. King on these things.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 24, 2009 2:22 PM
Comment #280894

I don’t doubt you Lee you sound like a fairly minded person, It’s the PARTY I see the problem with the Leaders within it’s taken a hard line attitude of fear and doom and gloom, what kind of talk is that about succeeding the union the party of Lincoln you’re not a part of that i hope They were in charge when the walls came tumbling down and i don’t hear any new ideas just stonewalling and I don’t think John Boehner is up to the task at all.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at April 24, 2009 3:15 PM
Comment #280895

Wow! Dr. King as a republican role model. Change has truly come! The Bybee-esqe conflation of your defense is stunning. I used to respect the right, even when I disagreed with them. The rule of law was one of your mantras. Now it has become a re-phrasing of ’ What your definition of “IS” is’. We actually have courts for these matters, if no laws were broken then won’t aquittal be your best vindication?

Posted by: Ted at April 24, 2009 3:52 PM
Comment #280896

David,
From an article,Issue date: 2/15/08, entitled “Waterboarding illegal for the first time”-


“The set of interrogation methods authorized for current use is narrower than before, and it does not today include waterboarding,” Steven G. Bradbury, acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, said in remarks prepared for his appearance Thursday before the House Judiciary Constitution subcommittee.

Waterboarding was illegal in the armed forces from the 1960s, but had been retained as a prerogative of intelligence agencies under the direction of the president.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 24, 2009 3:55 PM
Comment #280897

It’s good to see Ted back I think he was the Mark Twain Quoter if I’ve got the right Ted Like three years ago.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at April 24, 2009 4:45 PM
Comment #280898

I’ve been thinking, given G.W. Bush’s family history and the problems facing the US, we should have him and maybe Ollie North simply invade Mexico, claiming manifest destiny to reunite the US and Panama Canal. We would gain new territory, solve the illegal immigrant problem, have a new cheap labor source, and perhaps even get lucky and have the Hondurans execute another Walker. Our land border will become much easier to deal with in the isthmus of Panama, and Hugo Chavez would become very nervous. The new ship building to patrol our new territorial waters would be stimulative to the economy, and we could develop the Mexican oil fields while thumbing our noses at OPEC. Shooting our way down south would eliminate many of the undesirables for both our nations. What do you guys think? Now that’s a plan for change! The new manifest destiny. We were really meant to be a hemispherical power.

Posted by: gergle at April 24, 2009 5:00 PM
Comment #280900

Lee Jamison-
I have no problem with right becoming more peaceful, but you have got to closer at your own methods, and understand that your reaction to other’s provocation is only half the issue. When we make peace, we must both ask for forgiveness, as well as forgive others ourselves. There’s a reason that Christ demands that we pass on whatever mercy we are shown to others, that we bless those who curse us, that we love our enemies, love our neighbors.

Republicans need to find fault less, obstruct less, negotiate more, try and understand others more. They’ve got to be less interested in turning people against those who are different from them, and more interested in uniting America under a common, not merely republican national government.

In short, if anybody wants the Republicans to be taken serious as peaceful, nonviolent, there’s more to makeover than just the response to Democrat’s legislation. Calm and a respectful regard for their fellow countryman must extend beyond their own party. You have to let calm and peace into your heart before it will show truthfully into your actions, and you’d better be prepared to weather some skepticism.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 24, 2009 5:16 PM
Comment #280902

Lee, the president DOES NOT HAVE the prerogative to invent HIS OWN laws. We have treaties signed, which are part our law, which designate water boarding as illegal.

Hell, Lee, a Sheriff and 3 deputies in Texas were tried and convicted for water boarding a suspect. It IS ILLEGAL. Has been illegal long before GW Bush came into office. And it remains illegal today.

YOUR COMMENTS defend an authoritarian presidency in which the president has some unconstitutional power to make up the laws as he deems necessary, overturning others as they apply to him, and being immune from investigation and prosecution.

Are you sure that is what you intend to defend as Principle, personal and GOP Party?

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 24, 2009 5:35 PM
Comment #280903

Rumors of my death have been greatly exagerated- Mark Twain. Thank You Rodney for the soft ball. It is great to return from lurking!

Posted by: Ted at April 24, 2009 5:45 PM
Comment #280904

After reading this post about Republicans finding an inner peace, I day dreamed. I dreamed of President Obama. “He was taking a shower right when I needed to get into the bathroom to shave my …, and then he was being yelled at by my husband, Max, for smoking in the house. It was not clear whether Max was feeling protective of the president’s health or jealous because of the cigarette.

Then a friend of mine confided that in the weeks leading up to the election, the Obamas’ apparent joy as a couple had made her just miserable. Their marriage looked so much happier than hers. Their life seemed so perfect. “I was at a place where I was tempted daily to throttle my husband,” she said. “This coincided with Michelle saying the most beautiful things about Barack. Each time I heard her speak about him I got tears in my eyes — because I felt so far away from that kind of bliss in my own life and perhaps even more, because I was so moved by her expressions of devotion to him. And unlike previous presidential couples, they are our age, have children the same age and (just imagine the stress of daily life on the campaign) by all accounts should have been fighting even more than we were.”

Then I saw the light. I had an epiphany, what alcoholics call a moment of clarity. I am happy now. We are going to be O.K. “I won’t have to worry about putting gas in my car. I won’t have to worry about paying my mortgage. You know, if I help him, he’s going to help me.”

Posted by: Crusader at April 24, 2009 6:07 PM
Comment #280905

Stephen,

Republicans need to find fault less, obstruct less, negotiate more, try and understand others more. They’ve got to be less interested in turning people against those who are different from them, and more interested in uniting America under a common, not merely republican national government.
I have this intense urge to introduce you to the kettle and watch a comparison of complexions.

Ted,

This sort of “investigation” will have nothing whatever to do with courts or innocence or, for that matter, the rule of law. It has everything to do with demonization and trying to keep the Bush administration out in front of the public eye so Democrats can demagogue whatever they can get traction out of for publicity purposes. The far left also wants to do whatever is possible to exact revenge on Dick Cheney, ruin him financially they hope, and put him in prison if possible. There is more nobility in what I put in my septic system than is involved in their motives here.

The really dangerous point, though, is the Democrat’s apparent motivation of trying to make the prospect of serving the public as a Republican in public office so daunting to future possible candidates that only those willing to engage in a kind of vicious medieval political tit-for-tat would consider the job. American national politics is a decidedly brutal affair now and Democrats who fail to recognize their own party’s complicity in that sewer-tag make LSD trippers look like rock-solid logicians.

Over half of Deocrats in Texas approved of George W. Bush’s job as Texas Governor, and staunch Democrat Bob Bullock called him the best governor he had ever met. D.C. Democrats met Bush at the door swinging axes and calling him a liar and a divider. For the first six months of his term the Washington press corps derided his stupidity for acting on his campaign promises, (something that has not had to trouble them with THIS president).

No, Ted, this is all being played for the publicity points and the amount of pain that can be inflicted on Republicans foolish enough to represent the American public’s desire that their government understand who works for whom.

By the end of this term these Democrats want to be damn sure once and for all we know we work for, are owned by, and should be terrified of, them.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 24, 2009 6:23 PM
Comment #280906

Good call on Ted, Rodney!! And another welcome to you….and while you were lurking did you find any other old familiar posters out there? As you might see, they would be welcome too.

Posted by: jane doe at April 24, 2009 6:29 PM
Comment #280907

David,
My comments defend the presidency’s prerogatives to conduct warfare in a manner sufficient to protect the American people. Abraham Lincoln, faced with a long-sitting Supreme Court Chief justice saw sufficient cause in Roger Taney’s rulings on his use of war powers to order the justice’s arrest. The order was not to my knowledge carried out, but Taney was, after that, much subdued.

War powers of a U.S. president are immense and expansive. Woodrow Wilson used them to effectively nationalize major industries for the war effort in W.W.I. I fully and exuberantly support such powers when there is great danger to the country. Never before the current situation has a political party so vigorously and shamefully sought to cripple an effort to protect the people of the United States.

This has all been for political gain, every bit of it. I believe with all my heart innocent people will die of the left’s gargantuan grasp for power and their effort to inflict crippling pain on perceived enemies.

It’s just the price we Americans have to pay every fourth generation for forgetting the lessons of the last great national calamity.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 24, 2009 6:42 PM
Comment #280909

jane doe Thank you and Ted to i got along with everyone, except that Aldo@# ;) sometimes we butted heads but it was ok you know. I’ve thought about a lot of the folks on here it’s good to see some of them back.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at April 24, 2009 8:38 PM
Comment #280911

Lee Jamison-
Should I shorten what I said above to simply say that you should get along better with everybody?

Look, Bush got into the White House and stayed in the White House with strong-arm political tactics. He did this even when he really didn’t have to. Instead of dealing the practical issues of policy, he made every policy question asked of him into an epic political battle, a struggle for dominance.

You can’t do that all the time, even when unnecessary, and not inspire resistance. The extremity of Bush’s policy and his unwillingness to bend on them didn’t help. He was right, you weren’t, and you learned that or you were on the other side.

You said the reaction was against Bush Republicans. Well, the funny thing about that is, aside from fiscal conservatism (and even that is questionable), you never really have abandoned the policy positions that made the Bush administration controversial, nor the combativeness.

You haven’t gotten rid of the Bush Administration. You’ve internalized it, perhaps even without realizing it.

Results matter. Now don’t bring out that line about eight years without another al-Qaeda attack. We went eight years after the WTC bombing without another radical Muslim terrorist attack on our soil. That next attack, though, happened to be the big one. So, that’s not necessarily evidence that the Bush Administration’s policies kept us any safer than the Clinton Administration’s did.

What’s the evidence that the Bush Administration couldn’t have kept us every bit as safe within the law, as it tried to do outside of it? Is a reflection of practical concerns, or does it just reflect the kind of secrecy and cloak-and-dagger oriented mentality of the Bush Administration, which valued toughness over subtlety?

You Republicans have got to stop defaulting to the assumption that anybody who disagrees with you folks is sneaking around back to let the terrorists (or other relevant threat) in the back door to kill and enslave us all. This sort of jealous possessiveness on policy questions is ultimately a gift to our enemies, because it encourages a politicized intelligence process that obscures data and analysis coming up from below more than it focuses it.

If you have to have things a certain way in order not to pitch a fit, you’ll get what you want, but at the cost of the function of the agencies and bureaucracies in question. Sometimes the answer to an intelligenc question isn’t politically correct. We need to be prepared to look at things through more objective eyes in that case.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 24, 2009 9:30 PM
Comment #280914

MLK’s words were powerful because they appealed to fundamental American values.

The most powerful phrase, IMO, was when he said that he dreamed of the day when we would judge people by the content of their characters, not the colors of their skins.

I am old enough to remember King. I agreed with his statement then and I agree with it now. It wasn’t liberal or conservative; it was American. Some of us hold truths like this to be self-evident, but they ironically need to be revealed by great men like King.

More’s the pity that many in the “rights communities” seem to have forgotten. Today if you judge a man by the content of his character w/o regard to the color of his skin you will be in violation of affirmative action rules. There is a case at the Supreme Court about that.

So, my liberal friends should not ask why conservatives have embraced King until they figure out why they abandoned him (although they kept the pictures and some street names,)

Posted by: Christine at April 24, 2009 10:47 PM
Comment #280915

Well, Lee, I understand that is what you believe. I just can’t fathom why or how you came to believe that. Democrats are not historically pansies when it comes to defense. LBJ, FDR, JFK, were all willing to stand toe to toe with enemies.

But, you know, folks thought integration would destroy our nation. They really, truly, and deeply believed that was true. But, segregation was a blight upon our founding documents, and history, and our nation is not weaker for integration, though, the cost of integration was high and is still being paid for, countering lingering bigotry, maintaining affirmative action, and continued media and cultural sensitivity to racial issues and acts. One day though, America will not be a race conscious nation and the costs paid in blood, treasure, perseverance will have been worth it.

Torturing human beings is like slavery and segregation were in our history. Beneath our potential. Beneath our ideals and aspirations. One day, Americans will look back on the Bush years of torture as we now look back on slavery, as a cultural and moral lesson learned and evolution in humanity weathered.

The ends cannot be allowed to justify immoral and inhumane means. That is the kind of principle we seek to defeat and overturn in other nations on our better days.

Here’s the thing about torture. The person tortured, will likely see the torture end, and never have to face it again in their lifetime. But, the torturers, those actually administering it, and those authorizing it, are empowered by it, and it will remain a part of their character and disposition toward other human beings, perhaps their entire life. This is what makes rehabilitation of violent criminals so difficult and costly.

The majority of Americans reject the idea of being torturers, or advocates for it. We either have a democratic government that reflects that best character of the American people, or we don’t. Thankfully, we now do.

We should move on with establishing America, hereafter, as a nation and people who condemn torturing others for one’s own ends. Not just for practical reasons, (it is not very effective), but for the pride and self-confidence such a knowledge can bring back to our people and our nation, and some measure of regard for America restored in the eyes of the people of other nations. We can again become the beacon on the hill for others to follow, and should.

And these are all reasons in addition to the core issue of one law for all, including those in government. Hell, especially for those in government who wield such potential power over the lives of the citizenry. If the American people don’t demand justice on torturing, how can they possibly expect justice in the use of their tax dollars?

George Orwell’s 1984 makes a powerful and true statement about torture by the State. It is the means to brainwashing, and stripping from individuals any, and all sense, of freedom leaving them crippled but pliable wards of the state. The Chinese and Spanish Inquisition used torture to obtain FALSE confessions. To that end, torture was very effective, as Sen. John McCain can attest.

If compliant confession is what one seeks, then torture is effective. But, torture NEVER leaves the torturers without a heavy price to be paid. The general population of the human species in civilizations reject torture in the hands of the powerful in government. And for sound reasons that stem back across the history of humankind.

If a government wants to breed distrust and revolutionary reaction to government, it only need torture and allow such torture to become common knowledge.

Adam Smith, given his treatise on empathic responses of the general public in his book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, would likely say today that a government which tortures, risks eventual promotion of public empathy for those tortured, regardless of the justifications offered by government for the acts over time. We saw this in the Civil Rights movement, time and again.

Even Hitler’s exercise of torture and murder created within his own ranks, revolutionaries and assassins, and an underground movement in occupied territories that would have plagued his rule again and again, until his demise, had he won WW II.

Americans would do well to relegate torture to our enemies and rise above justifications of our use of it for short term ends in light of its long term costs and damage to freedom, individual dignity, national pride, and esteem in the world of other nations and peoples.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 24, 2009 11:22 PM
Comment #280916

Christine-
King opposed Vietnam, favored the same kind of welfare-related causes that Conservatives spin as being a blight upon Black America.

If you wish to appropriate him, why not do so consistently, recognizing that his politics were mainly liberal, even socialist by your current measure of things.

Speaking of that, do you know that your people are trying to put the charge that Democrats are socialists right into the party platform?

We need to shy away from such temptations. The trouble with making your central purpose somebody’s defeat is that sooner or later, you win, and then people turn to the next folks on the list. Those they don’t think are party purists, from their perspective.

Lee Jamison, in his entry and comments is using MLK as a means to counsel his fellow Republicans not to do anything foolish, but what he doesn’t realize is that his folks are well on their way to doing foolish things because Republicans have not really made peace with the rest of the Country, especially now after they’ve been cast aside by many people.

If the Republicans choose to continue to treat the majority of Americans as if they’ve all lost touch, and only they have the true read on American politics, they will only deepen their already serious crisis of support. You have to start seeing those other Americans as fellow Americans, regardless of their differences. Conservative policy leadership was lost during the Bush administration, if not before then. The tide, pendulum, or whatever has shifted our way.

Republicans are not useless, powerless, or otherwise lacking in character (at least not most), but they cannot hope to wield serious power and influence in America like they have been. The must adapt to being a minority party, and work to bring about their agenda another way.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 25, 2009 12:21 AM
Comment #280917

Wow!

Stephen,

Gotta give you the credit. That was the most genuinely thoughtful thing you have written since I have started reading this blog. Didos!!! ;)

Reading a post so is much more pleasant when there is no hysteria and rhetoric in it. You hit the nail on the head. President Bush was elitist and didn’t trust us with the “grown-up” matters. That is one of the reasons why I said that he was not a leader, he was a ruler. This type of attitude towards governing popped its ugly head during the Nixon administration. So, I command you for recognizing it. Only way to correct that is to find the roots.

It is my opinion that the reason why Republicans moved away from the Reaganesque handling of the public relations is the fact that Clinton captured the America’s attention. Republican party didn’t have any charismatic leaders who could attract a spotlight on to the party (Gingrich and Dole definitely were not it). The only way they could counter Clinton’s public outreach was by attempting to marginalize national media which turned into a self fulfilling prophecy. This forced republicans to retreat back into their “core constituency” shell and disengage from the rest of America. President Bush was elected not by centrists but by the conservatives (religious and fiscal) and by so called “country club republicans”. Bush turned out to be an elitist. He ruled by simple decree “you’re either with me or against me!” He had two sides “compassionate conservative” and “country club elitist”. One was manifested by spending on social issues such as AIDS programs in Africa, faith based initiatives, pro-life etc. The other side, which is far more damaging was the elitist. He had an idea in his head, good or bad, and it was his way or the highway. That is the most troubling aspect of the Bush administration. When the public leadership retreats to its shell and disengages from the dialogue with the public, that is when the mistakes are made. It is like inbreeding. No new ideas and alternative thought is treated with a hostility. That was the main reason why surge didn’t happen right away though many generals were asking for more troops. Only when he was faced with a legacy of lost war did he open up to new ideas about how to conduct the war.

This kind of elitism created another problem which was the reason why I don’t consider myself a Republican - corruption. When the government starts to think it know what is good for us, this created the feeling of being untouchable and that inevitably leads to the corruption. That is when they lost me. I despise a corrupt politician more than anything else. This is when they lost the religious conservatives and the corruption which led to drunken spending lost them fiscal conservatives. They were left with elitist republicans who only cared about government cheese and low taxes on that cheese. This became apparent first in 2006 when “party leaders” tried to scare conservatives by abortion issues and gay marriage but that didn’t help because that is when those who felt betrayed voted blue-dog democrats in and still voted against same sex marriage and abortion propositions. This same leaders got desperate and tried to appeal to centrist left and “independents” by selecting McCain as a presidential candidate in 2008. They even tried to recruit Clinton democrats into their camp, much good did it do to them. That is why I called them Democrats Light because they had nothing common with the original Reagan’s Republican party. This lost them another round of elections in 2008.

The perfect evidence of this was the tea parties. These were Americans, mostly conservatives (republicans, libertarians and some democrats) who didn’t have the voice in last 4 years of the Bush rule and didn’t identify with the Neo Conservatives. Now the surviving republicans are finding out that they will not win elections if they project themselves as Democrat Light party. They need to base their elections on conservative principles, the same principles which brought them to power in 1994.

The Democratic party is falling into the same trap that the Republicans fell into in 2002. Unfortunately, the Republicans didn’t have the same majority so their damage was limited. These group of loonies led by Speaker Pelosi have the super majority in the House and the Senate. To worsen the situation, the most of the media are drunk on the idea that they got President Obama elected so they are not fulfilling their duty of being a mirror so Washington establishment could see the reality. So Democrats are retreating into the isolation but this time it is caused by a cocoon created by the far left activists of the party and media. The result will be very clear in 2010.

This is the reason why I want Libertarians to come on scene so they could act as a mirror for the left and the right since the media, pretty much, has turned into a propaganda agencies.

Posted by: Crusader at April 25, 2009 12:33 AM
Comment #280918

Stephen

Great men belong to the ages because of the effect of their deeds and words. They cannot be appropriated as people. I used to think as you do. Then I was talking to a friend re FDR. They built a big monument to him. He didn’t want anything like that and expressly said so. My friend pointed out that his actual wishes didn’t matter. He had become a figure bigger than a man and that is what we were celebrating.

King opposed Vietnam war and it is over. History. Welfare related causes is a very vague term. We all support welfare related causes, but disagree strongly on details.

His simple truth was that we should judge people by the content of their characters and not the color of their skins. This is the the reason he was successful. This is how he touched the morality of the dominant groups and why non-violent protests worked so well. This is the basis of his legacy that we own. The man himself, like Lincoln, Washington and other great personalities is less important than the legacy.

I wish that liberals would hold to the simple truth. Surely we all agree that a person should be judged by the content of her/his character and not the color of skin. Liberals do not own it; conservatives do not own it; King did not own it. It is OUR ideal is we allow it to be.

Posted by: Christine at April 25, 2009 7:57 AM
Comment #280920

Crusader-
You should read through the rest of my posts. Maybe you’ve started reading at a more frustrating time for me than usual.

Bush was elected by both Conservatives and Centrists. That’s why he used Compassionate Conservatism as a plank in his campaign platform. It helped to soften an image that was marred by the Republican Congress’s efforts to unseat Clinton.

But he carried with him the Republican Party’s current mentality anyways. 9/11 didn’t help, it added motivation on top of a rigid sort of thinking about matters, and on top of what had long been a simmering hatred of the Left. As a person who lived through essentially Reagan, Bush’s and Clinton’s Presidencies before that, I can recall that the scripted formulation for the charges of collaborating with the enemy has changed little. Replace references to communists with references to terrorists, or now even the watered down, Hybrid Capitalist Socialism of our allies in Europe!

I mean, I was surprised and puzzled, frankly, to see the Republicans use the kind of linguistic ostracism with all things French that folks did during WWI with all things German, essentially treating one of allies as a enemy!

The problem is not mostly one of elitism.

I’ve got a certain model of political dealings that I’ve had for a while. One component of it is Small World Theory, the notion that only a few connection are necessary to connect just about anybody in this world. One part of that theory that is especially relevant is the paradoxically named “strength of weak ties.”

In essence, those connected to you by one or two degrees tend to be connected with each other as well. If you emphasize as a party just those connections, you do get both incestuous amplication of central ideas, and a tendency to fall out of touch with others, since they don’t share all the necessary political ideas for you to respect them.

If you look at what the Democrats did, one thing they did was being willing to have candidates that weren’t perfectly square in the mainstream of the party, who had a few differences, but otherwise agreed. This was crucial, because Republicans had wedged many constituents away on such minor issues.

They had, successfully, exploited the strength of weak ties by picking issues that they could pick off people from the Democrats with. But generational shifts, and the seriousness of the Republican’s shortfalls on policy damaged that, and the Democrat’s willing to compromise killed it right off.

The Tea Parties are having the opposite effect that you would plan. They’ve helped make the Republicans look even more extremist, thanks to all the fringe players that showed up, and all the Republican politicians who played to them, and thanks to the fact that the Obama administration has a ready-made response: They’ve given 95% of Americans a tax cut.

It was the least bad of many bad ideas for the Republicans to field McCain as a candidate. There is absolutely nothing wrong with appealing to the center. You won’t win if you don’t appeal to the center. Obama and the Democrats have absolutely no problem appealing beyond the strictly doctrinaire Democrats. Republicans seem to think nowadays that appealing to the center ideologically is beneath them, that moderation of the party’s conservative beliefs is what cost them votes and elections. I’d say the opposite is true. I’d say that for decades, Republicans have been pulling further and further to the right, and finally the tension of that pulling broke them away from the center that supported them.

I can’t see how Democrats are really cocooning themselves. I mean, think about it: they have the majority, in both houses. They’re more popular now that they’re passing their liberal legislation than they were before. You rag on Pelosi, but you don’t stop to ask a critical question: is the notion of Pelosi and Reid as especially left-wing loonies something most people buy, or is it more an artifact of a Right Wing echo chamber that treats any liberal leader, no matter how centrist or how passive in the face of Republican resistance, as left-wing wackos?

It’s good for somebody to realize that the GOP is trapped in its own bubble, but you got to climb your way out of it, if you want the GOP to see itself as others see it, and thereby start it on the road back to acceptance by the American public.

Christine-
Non-violent protests work to the extent that people can be sympathetic to the folks involved. What Blacks fought for was equality in the eyes of the law.

Affirmative action might be questionable, but it affects mainly the margins. Put another way, you have to be a relatively borderline white person to lose, and a relatively borderline black person to need it. Given that whites nearly always have an overwhelming majority in the population in most places, the true likelihood of your being adversely affected is very small.

It is not the moral equivalent of segregation, which was race-wide, class wide, where it didn’t matter whether you were a brilliant man like Obama.

On the subject of interpreting the lives of the historically important, I have a number of thoughts.

The first is, that you can’t really abstract their ideas too far away from who they were, and what motivated them, before you begin to fail to understand what they intended, and even contradict the principles that made their ideas work.

The Second is, if you appeal to a certain figure’s ideas, you will naturally bring to mind for others, the ideas that they had, and people will naturally comment on the difference between your stated views and those of the figure in question. Or put another way, if you, with one breath, speak of emulating King’s non-violence, and with the next berate somebody for opposing torture, then people might think that the second statement hollows out the value of the first.

Third, my experience has been that you can take just about any logical statement, and through further logic mutate it into something that doesn’t fit the original idea. Is that bad? Well, not necessarily, but there are times when it really means you’re missing the original point.

Obama got the point of seeking peace. When he responded to the brouhaha about Reverend Wright the first time, he nailed the problem. The conflict wasn’t productive. It’s gained neither whites nor blacks anything. Avenging yourself on the other side, vilifying the other side, only perpetuates a cycle of angry retaliation, keeping the wounds open, and salted.

Lee takes that point of nonviolence, though, and he appeals to it merely for the sake of not giving the feared liberals anything to further destroy conservatism over. He fails to realize that the simmering hatred, frustration, and contempt that might motivate such things are the real problem and what Conservatives need to be turning down the burner, so to speak, underneath.

Democrats like myself, in the face of the Bush Administration’s political pressure, didn’t choose a firebrand to run over the other party with. We chose somebody, who unlike Bush, was willing to deal across party lines, willing to compromise, willing to speak respectfully and thoughtfully to those who did not respect his views. Now the Republicans rebuffed this, and Obama, knowing which side his bread was buttered on, kept pushing his policies, with majority support to boot. But you still see Obama accommodating views, rather than railroading them.

I think its important for Republicans to realize that being rude and contemptuous is bad for a majority, but its absolutely toxic for a minority. Until the Republicans make peace with the rest of America, and stop following this course of escalating demonization, they will not be a serious political force for some time to come.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 25, 2009 9:47 AM
Comment #280921

Lee
Back when the left had bunches of ‘terrorist’, the Black Panthers, Weathermen, Symbionese Liberation Front etc. The authorities went after them without mercy. Why should clinic bombers and vigilante groups be treated any differently. The second most destructive terrorist act committed on American soil was by a right wing group.How about the hundred years of organized terrorism inflicted on Americans by the KKK. Its the rights history of organized violence that demands a close eye, not political retribution. It makes more sense to keep an eye on these groups than it did for the Bush regime to infiltrate peace groups of little old Quaker ladies.
If you believe in law and order then you must also believe that those who have broken the law should be brought to justice. You can’t have it both ways. As much as possible this should be above politics. If the perpetrators are found guilty then, and only then, should the political decision be made as to pardon,commute sentences etc. Squawk then.

Posted by: bills at April 25, 2009 10:09 AM
Comment #280922

ted

“We actually have courts for these matters, if no laws were broken then won’t aquittal be your best vindication?”

IMO these investigations are politically motivated, but if we’re going to do this then when that rock is turned over, all that come scurrying out should be investigated. i’ll bet we find out a lot of things about those pushing this investigation that they’de prefer no one new about. in other words, people living in glass houses should not throw stones.

the other problem i see is the beginnig of political retaliation, or a mentality of getting even when power changes hands. we don’t need kangaroo courts no matter who presides over them. it may be better to let the truth be known about everyone, but leave it to the voters to do the punishing.

Posted by: dbs at April 25, 2009 10:14 AM
Comment #280926

Christine,

Great men belong to the ages because of the effect of their deeds and words.
Excellent comment!
The thing about great men is their “being” becomes a part of the fire of the common imagination. They aren’t even who they are. My Daddy worked for John Scopes at United Gas Pipeline Company in Shreveport, LA in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He was, of course, famous, or, perhaps, infamous in his own time. Daddy’s experience of him was that he was bitter to some extent, and withdrawn except to friends whom he trusted.

That was in part because who he was had been stolen from him by people who, in his lifetime, were trying to manage for their rhetorical benefit his legacy for us. People who think those were simpler times, or that any prior time was simpler, are fools. Culture is a constant tag-team wrestling match, and people like Martin Luther King and John Scopes usually realize too late that, for the sake of human power struggles, their images are being taken in vain.

David,

Well, Lee, I understand that is what you believe. I just can’t fathom why or how you came to believe that. Democrats are not historically pansies when it comes to defense. LBJ, FDR, JFK, were all willing to stand toe to toe with enemies.
Toe-to-toe, indeed. Democrats will go toe-to-toe once their instinct for foolish unpreparedness has backed them into a corner from which a faint instant is annihilation.

Let’s take, for example, an instance of the first of these “Wilson Democrats”, such as I hold both President Obama and President Clinton to be. These are Theodore Roosevelt’s words on Wilson administration policies to 1915-

“The duty of a leader is to lead; and it is a dreadful thing that any man chosen to lead his fellow- countrymen should himself show, not merely so profound a lack of patriotism, but such misun derstanding of patriotism, as to be willing to say in a great crisis what President Wilson thus said at the time of the sinking of the Lusitania. (that it was at that time a poor time to “whip up patriotism”) This statement, coupled with his statement made about the same time as to being “too proud to fight,” furnishes the clue to the Administration’s policy both before and since. This policy made our great democratic commonwealth false to its duties and its ideals in a tremendous world crisis, at the very time when, if properly led, it could have rendered an inestimable service to all mankind, and could have placed itself on a higher pinnacle of worthy achievement than ever before.
Patriotism, so far from being incompatible with performance of duty to other nations, is an indispensable prerequisite to doing one’s duty toward other nations. Fear God; and take your own part! If this nation had feared God it would have stood up for the Belgians and Armenians; if it had been able and willing to take its own part there would have been no murderous assault on the Lusitania, no outrages on our men and women in Mexico.”
Quoted from pages 20 and 21 of Fear God, And Take Your own Part. The Wilsonian, “civilized”, policy was to assume it took two to make a fight, that we could avoid war by being above it. That pitiable blather is as much the mischeif of fools today as it was then. Do we not live in the shadow of the Armenian genocide today? In fact the Obama Administration endures embarrassment over Wilson’s cosmopolitan oafishness even as we write! Does he learn anything from it?

The Wilsonian left is too intelligent to need to learn.

Now, some, seeing only through the shower curtain of poorly taught history, see Roosevelt as a kind of crazy belligerent. He was nothing of the sort. So where did T.R.’s manly approach to peace come from? He gives us a hint on pages 76-78 of …Take Your Own Part-

Jefferson had been an apostle of peace who had declared “that peace was his passion,” and his refusal to lead the nation in preparedness bore bitter fruit in the war of 1812. But at least he learned aright the lesson that was taught. In 1813 he wrote to Monroe:
“We must train and classify the whole of our male citizens and make military instruction a regular part of collegiate education. We can never be safe till this is done.”
And in 1814 he went still further:
“I think the truth must now be obvious that we cannot be defended but by making every citizen a soldier, and that in doing this all must be marshaled, classed by their ages, and every service ascribed to its competent class.”
President Monroe in his message to Congress of December 3 1822, just ninety-three years ago, used expressions which without changing a word can be applied to the far more urgent needs of to-day. He said:
“The history of the late wars in Europe furnishes a complete demonstration that no system of conduct however correct in principle, can protect neutral powers from injury from any party; that a defenceless position and distinguished love of peace are the surest invitations to war, and that there is no way to avoid it other than by being always prepared and willing for just cause to meet it. If there be a people on earth whose more especial duty it is to be at all times prepared to defend the rights with which they are blessed, and to surpass all others in sustaining the necessary burthens, and in submitting to sacrifices to make such preparations, it is undoubtedly the people of these states.”
Even Wilson, once he had proven Roosevelt a sage, became almost brutal in his rush to a war footing. Sadly the damage had been done and the vast majority of the 20th century was a monument to the carnage a determined and powerful pacivist can casually foster over a whole planet.

This is not a new and better age. We will not be better leaders by rising above the crises of the present time any more than Wilson was by being the object lesson for such civility.

Human beings are exactly the same kind of animal they were a century ago, right down to the arrogant insensitivity to reality of the sneering intellectuals Wilson, Clinton, and Obama represent.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 25, 2009 12:01 PM
Comment #280927

Stephen,

King opposed Vietnam, favored the same kind of welfare-related causes that Conservatives spin as being a blight upon Black America.
Yes, he opposed Viet Nam, true enough, but at no time in his life was that a Republican issue. To say he would have supported “liberal” social welfare solutions, as though that is a blanket approval of Democratic policies, however, is stating much less than a large fraction of the truth. The principle result of liberal welfare policies was an explosion of illegitimacy in the black community. Dr. King was always very concerned over the far smaller illegitimacy rates black suffered in the sixties and before. Where now upwards of 70% of black children are illegitimate the very alarming rate at the time was only 25%. He wanted solutions that were supportive of the black family and was at odds with policies that were the fruit of a more radicalized left that thought more of how policies could build political dependency than how they could provide support for societal healing.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 25, 2009 12:33 PM
Comment #280928

Stephen,

If the Republicans choose to continue to treat the majority of Americans as if they’ve all lost touch, and only they have the true read on American politics, they will only deepen their already serious crisis of support. You have to start seeing those other Americans as fellow Americans, regardless of their differences. Conservative policy leadership was lost during the Bush administration, if not before then. The tide, pendulum, or whatever has shifted our way.
More than in any other nation on Earth our system demands much of its citizen-participants. We do not have parliamentary lords deciding for us among our petty partizanships. We must forge parties that reflect us in general and choose between those parties. When Republicans, or conservatives, or anyone worries over the situational awareness of the people who are engaged in that process today thay are merely acknoweledging the obvious. Voters today poorly understand the issues we face. Simply understanding the broad parallels between Democrats today and Wilson Democrats prior to W.W.I is beyond them because most of them could not tell you who Woodrow Wilson was.

Anyone who remembers the story of Huey Long can remind us there is a limited nobility in being acclaimed of the ignorant. (My mother, even in the early stages of Alzheimers, still honors the name of Karl Jakob Weiss, Long’s assassin.) Sadly, most Democrat voters could not tell you who Long was, either.

It is one thing to say we conservatives are out of touch. It is another to embrace, encourage, and exploit the historical vacancy of a whole people, and then guffaw at those who are alarmed at it. I’m sure it is thrilling to be empowered, riding the crest of the sloshing of a people unbridled by comprehension. America has this sort of constituency to thank for Long, for Theodore Bilbo, for Eugene Talmadge, for Frank Hague, for Ma and Pa Ferguson, and for countless crooked sherriffs, mayors, and party bosses.

Be as proud as you like with how “in touch” you are with the poorly educated, but well indoctrinated.

Understand, though, what that may be saying about you.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 25, 2009 1:50 PM
Comment #280929


“Human beings are exactly the same kind of animal the were a century ago, right down to the arrogant insensitivity to reality of the sneering intellectuals Wilson, Clinton and Obama represent.

And, conservatives are still using their pit bull mentality to appeal to the uneducated masses.

The next time you conservatives get into power, do it right. Round up the liberal intellectuals and send them to the Patrick J. Buchanan Reeducation Center and send the firemen out to burn books.

Posted by: jlw at April 25, 2009 1:57 PM
Comment #280930

jlw,

Amazing, that remembering the words of warning of a very successful progressive president, a man who was a published scientist in his teens, would be railed at as appealing to the “uneducated masses”.

That, too, says something about your movement.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 25, 2009 2:39 PM
Comment #280932

Stephen,

Look, Bush got into the White House and stayed in the White House with strong-arm political tactics. He did this even when he really didn’t have to. Instead of dealing the practical issues of policy, he made every policy question asked of him into an epic political battle, a struggle for dominance.
Your point here is, in fact, well taken.

Karl Rove was very proud of his way of waging war on every point. That set his advice apart from the approach of Reagan and is advisors, who believed in certain policies and fought for those policy goals in a manner intended to win the support of the people. Rove’s approach was founded in Political Science. Reagan’s approach was founded in statesmanship.

I personally consider the present-day use of Political Science (as opposed to political PHILOSOPHY) the single most dangerous development in the last half century. It is essentially a form of warfare, more at home in a dictatorship than in a land of free people. It is intended to divide people along their passions to the detriment of their interests, and for the benefit of politicians with sufficiently feeble consciences that the ends are all one considers. Furthermore, Political Science is darkly narrowing, drawing all its policy choices from the known alternatives. It has no way to test for the validity of an innovative principle.

Are all the uses of political science evil? Not any more so than all the uses of high explosives, secret police, or atomic weapons are, but, as with all of those, they are heavily dependent on the good intentions of their users to avoid it.

The real problem with Rove is that the P.S. methodology, when used on conservatives has left us embittered. We are a people who despise being manipulated, and Rove’s manipulations were many, while his encouragements to real statesmanship on the part of his boss were few and pallid. Rove also failed utterly to see something I was talking about in 2000: His approach obviated any leadership profile for possible conservative successors. He allowed no dissent WITHIN the party where leaders could be grown.

Here Obama will win points just for trying. He really is getting out to talk to the country, behaving like a statesman, regarless of the quality of his ideas in a world where the handlers won’t let his oopponents (that’s a typo, but it seems so accurate these days I’ll keep it) think for themselves.

Perhaps Obama’s influence will bring back statesmanship, if only in response to the results of his policies.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 25, 2009 5:06 PM
Comment #280934

I had a dream…..but this wasn’t it.

Posted by: gergle at April 25, 2009 7:27 PM
Comment #280936

Anytime we prosecute someone we’re looking back in a sense. Let’s prosecute those who forced the lawyers to write those “torture’s OK” memos. If they rat on higher ups (as they should) we should follow the trail and if that leads to Dick & George, so be it. Too bad we couldn’t just impeach then when they were doing all that harm, but wimp Pelosi took that off the table (Kucinich’s proposa not withstanding). Afterall we forced Nixon from office for illegaiities- one of our country’s finest hours - the true measure of a people’s freedom is when they can peacefully force their President out. We were more free then than under Bush - Let’s hope we’ll get our freedom back under Barack.

Posted by: Dr. Tom at April 25, 2009 9:23 PM
Comment #280937

I was just watching CNN international. Polls are showing that better than %60 of Americans believe that BHO has been better at reaching across party lines than the Reps. All of a sudden the Rep talking heads have changed from,”Just say no”, to talking about cooperation and moving forward. Yeah!, It appears that they have finally figured out they lost the election and people are really, really, tired of partisan snipping. Time to move forward. Welcome home.

Posted by: bills at April 25, 2009 11:29 PM
Comment #280939

Stephen,

I think you forget that in 2000 Bush lost the popular vote to Al Gore. Unless you are suggesting that the majority of electorate is liberal, I don’t see how “centrists and independents” were able to elect George Bush. Naturally, there were some who voted for him but for the most part, dislike of President Clinton and Al Gore motivated the base of the Republican party to go out and vote and vote in numbers. On the other hand, Al Gore couldn’t energize his base to come out for him. Partly because he snubbed Clinton, partly because he wasn’t everything that Clinton was (charismatic, one of us, hip, articulate, etc.). The numbers don’t lie; in 2000 around 100 mil. Americans voted. Only about 50.9 mil came out to vote for Al Gore. In 2008 128 mil Americans voted and 69 mil voted for Obama. See the numbers? Almost 28 mil more voters, almost 20 mil more voted for Obama. Republicans ave about 40 mill voters who traditionally vote for their party. The Democrats have about 45 mil voters. The independents are about 25 mil. Obama was able to increase core 45 mil to 50+ and Bush did the same for the Republican core increasing it from 40 to 50 mil in 2000.

I am getting exited about 2010 elections. I just hope our current leadership doesn’t destroy the country beyond repair by then. As I said, I am willing to overlook the abortion issue in Congressional elections (since congress is useless in this regards) but not in Presidential Elections because abortion should be decided on the state level and that is only possible if the Supreme Court overturns Roe vs Wade.

Dr. Tom,

I am afraid you will loose more freedoms under Pres. Obama than you could have ever thought of loosing under the Pres. Bush. The reason is simple. Bush ruled from secrecy, never cared about popularity and it was his way or the high way. This kind of approach is limited in its success and creates lot’s of friction which slows the process down. That is the reason why he was unable to make any changes to Social Security and etc.

On the other hand Pres. Obama is consolidating power in Washington under the guise of social justice. He promises government handouts and takes your and my freedom as payments.

Look at the today’s political elections. There are 3 key issues in every election:

1. Taxes
2. Abortion
3. Social Security
4. Health Care

This has been true since LBJ. That is half the century. In 50 years we have not “solved” single one of these issues. Have you ever asked yourself why?

My answer is because that is how we are being controlled by the political parties who represent the interests of the few. I will not vote for a politician who supports abortion. I am a one issue voter. As long as abortion is a topic of conversation my vote is guaranteed to go to those who are pro-life. On the other side, there are those who feel just as strong and will only vote for pro-abortion candidate. As you can see, our votes are “locked”. Battle is for those who are undecided. One side, Republicans, historically appealed to undecided voters through conservative ideals (personal responsibility, personal freedom, less government involvement etc.).

The other side, Democrats, historically appealed to them with a “fairness” argument (fair wealth distribution, fair opportunity in life, fair wages etc.) What Democrats propose sounds noble and all but it is like taking poison wrapped in a candy. Those who ensures all those promises are the people in power, AKA the Government. This means you, an individual, become more dependant on the government with every “benefit”. It’s like making a deal with a devil, you will benefit in the short term but be damned for the eternity.

So, if you expect Pres. Obama to give any freedoms back, you will be disappointed. The Socialism isn’t in business of giving freedoms back.

Posted by: Crusader at April 26, 2009 12:35 AM
Comment #280942

Crusader

1. Taxes
2. Abortion
3. Social Security
4. Health Care

1. taxes
This was solved under Clinton. Revenues for the federal government were in a surplus. We were starting to pay down the national debt. The economy,rather than being crippled by tax burden, was doing fine thank you. It was unsolved under the following Rep regime.
There are a number of people that resent paying any taxes at all,ever. That is the reaction of a spoiled child. If you are going to have a government you are going to pay taxes, one way or another. If you want a military,a FEMA,a SEC, an FDA, FBI, court system etc. these services have to be paid for.

2. Abortion
It is settled. RvW settled it. It is settled law except in the minds of a minority that are often whipped into a lather for political reasons and then betrayed. The Supreme Court could have overturned it anytime in the last 4 years. They did not. Why not? Because it can stand on merit, it is settled law, it would stir up a huge backlash and despite lip service the Rep leadership does not really want to outlaw abortion any more than the majority of other Americans. Besides it would make it harder for their mistresses to obtain one and that can get really messy.

3.Social Security

This too is settled. It was settled under Reagan. The post war generation has been paying extra into SS for most of our working careers.Also in the reform was a gradual increase in retirement age. As a result of this SS is solvent until about 2043 at which time many of us boomers will no longer be collecting because we are dead. The projections from the conservative SS trustees say that at that point without other factors, they will be able to only pay %70 of benefits. Not good, but the sky is not falling. Some marginal changes like lifting the income cap would extend that time frame. The issue becomes a question as to whether or not the federal government will honor its bonds. We have never defaulted before and there is little chance we will in the future. It is settled.

4. Health care

There you have a point and it is high time to settle it. Without some solution that covers all Americans we can never hope to solve the problems being faced by Medicare. BHO is well aware of this and the Rep leadership is comming around. If not they will be steam rolled. Everybody is not going to get everything they want but the high cost of care will be addressed and addressed soon.

I am hard pressed to imagine exactly what freedoms you expect to lose. We might see tightening of gun law enforcement,especially in urban areas, but we are not likely to see any sweeping(and stupid IMO) new restrictions. If nothing else, its not worth wasting the political capital when there are so many other problems to address.
Threats to press freedom? Also not likely. We may even see the opposite where large conglomerates are no longer given a free pass to expand their markets.
Religion? Come now.

Posted by: bills at April 26, 2009 8:13 AM
Comment #280943

Lee Jamison-
If we only look at illegitimacy, we’ll miss the the fact that poverty for Blacks has gone completely in the other direction. Whether that’s despite welfare, or because of it, there’s a good question whether it would have helped, especially in the early seventies, to have people be absolutely destitute, instead of merely dependent. Would it have encouraged people to get work? Well, it depends whether there was any work in range to begin with. Economics ensures that people aren’t necessarily the free agents that ideal economic circumstances require.

On your second comment, I just have to say this: I do not consider people to be idiots. People might be ignorant, but so am I from time to time. Everybody’s got blindspots, everybody’s got a mountain of information in the world that they’re unaware of. As a writer and as a information theorist, I’ve come to believe that the way you organize the presentation of information is as important to conveying the truth as anything else, especially since, as we communicate, there’s only so much information we can pass on and that the audience can digest at a time.

And no, I’m not dissing people’s intelligence. There are actual neurological limits to be worked past that are common to everybody, genius or moron. Part of how we can do that is by clustering information, by choosing significant information over insignificant.

You can’t just info-dump on people. But you can get people to understand some pretty complex and nuanced things, if you take the pains and have the patience to explain it properly. In fact, being overly simplistic in your approach to conveying information can actually befuddle your attempts to pass on complex information. So, if you decide to treat people as if they are stupid, you might indeed end up, to paraphrase that guy from Billy Madison, leave everybody feeling dumber for having read your stuff.

I think people understand the real issues better than people in Washington, or on Wall Street. And I don’t think that’s because there is some magic folk wisdom that the average person has and those others people don’t have. What people have is a familiarity with how their economy is working on its most basic scale, that folks on Wall Street and Washington have trained themselves to ignore, on the thesis that take care of the investor class, the classic capitalist class, will take care of everybody else.

However, as statistics show, with stagnant wages, rising costs in infrastructural necessities like energy, and healthcare, to name a few, their plan hasn’t worked.

Yet still people want to have things the way they were. They can’t accept their basic fall from grace. So they make excuses. They blame folks for being ignorant, for being lured off by the pied piper of liberalism, for this, that, and the other, rather than face the fundamental problem that they themselves screwed up the market, while ironically enjoying their greatest profits.

And part of how they screwed up was by not factoring in the effect of their policies on the public, the people who would have to pay back the loans. It’d be a neat trick to manage a consumer economy without the inconvenience of having to deal with actual consumers. But I don’t think the financial geniuses on Wall Street have figured that one out yet.

On the subject of Karl Rove, you have to understand that you don’t have him out of your system yet. Rove revived the old tropes of divisive politics and just put a turbocharger on top of them, making every issue into a war. You say the Republicans are past it.

But just look at your political strategy!

The strategy is essentially predicated on either not losing, or not admitting that you lost. The sum result of all this is a party that can’t admit that 2006 and 2008 aren’t merely short-term reactions to recent developments, that can’t see that the problem isn’t that people are still conservative but have lost faith in the party’s ideological purity.

Some folks look at what I have written in the Blue Column, and think I’m just bashing Republicans for the hell of it. In truth, I’m critiqueing the manner in which Republicans have behaved in the wake of Obama’s inauguration.

In the short term, getting past the legacy of Bush and Rove is really going to hurt, in no small part because up to this point, the Republicans have built up a head of steam for resisting this, a head of steam that probably won’t go anywhere constructive.

It won’t be painless to realize that the Party and its politics are genuinely unpopular, outside the party’s regional bastion in the South, and that all this polarizing rhetoric and obstructionism is doing is isolating both party and region from influence in the rest of the country.

My feeling is that influence will have to be earned back. Anything gotten back through the same old drivel of high-level rhetorical hysterics will be a short-term gain at best. Republicans will have to demonstrate that they can run a government period before people will let them run a government their way.

Crusader-
Remind me to remind you not to remind me about the results of 2000 ;-) I’m aware.

If you want to look at the electorate in roughly the right way to understand this, you have about a third Republicans, a third Democrats, and then Independents and unaffiliated in-between. Now getting beyond that generalization, in the Reagan era, you had about 38% of people being self-identitified conservatives, about 20 Liberals. That proportion, recently, has reversed.

Hope for 2010 is vain hope, really. Short of a big disaster that just guts Democratic credibility, you won’t see major gains. Republicans won’t do well by inviting that major disaster by being obstructionist, either. They can’t actively campaign to put the blame on Obama’s shoulders without being quite visible as the ones trying to scapegoat them. That undermines their message and in turn puts the blame for any failure on their shoulders. And worse than merely being a practical failure, this becomes both a political and a moral failure as well: when Americans needed Republican Politicians to be helpful, they decided to cynically work to their own ends.

See how that works? It’s not very good politics.

You go on to say that we will lose more freedoms under Obama. It depends on what you call freedom. If by freedom you mean civil liberties, that’s highly unlikely, as Obama is a noted civil libertarian. If by freedom you mean laissez faire economics, then you’re probably right, but miss an important set of points: one, it hasn’t worked so well. two, those freedoms aren’t particularly popular right now, because people are wondering where the financing has gone, and businesses are being starved of capital.

You can say something like:

On the other hand Pres. Obama is consolidating power in Washington under the guise of social justice. He promises government handouts and takes your and my freedom as payments.

But people are willing to trade some freedom for a more secure economy, one which will start rewarding them for their hard work, instead of kicking them down every chance it gets to hand money up to corporate executives. Folks tried doing things the Republicans way and got seriously burned for their troubles.

The four issue you present have a problem for you. First, most people aren’t terribly distressed about their taxes, and things would have to get pretty back before people had sympathy for the top earners. On the second front, the culture warriors have essentially lost that battle, with most people favoring a moderately pro-choice policy On the third front, few people are convinced that the Republicans have the best interests of the program at heart, so nobody’s going to let them privatize that.

And on the last issue? Frankly, folks went with the Republican’s call to avoid thick bureaucracy, rising prices, reduction of choice with doctors and hospitals… only to find that private companies were fully capable of bringing that about themselves. Nobody’s going to settle for the status quo.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 26, 2009 10:09 AM
Comment #280946
1. taxes This was solved under Clinton.

No it wasn’t.

Revenues for the federal government were in a surplus.

No they weren’t.

We were starting to pay down the national debt.

No, we didn’t.

The economy,rather than being crippled by tax burden, was doing fine thank you.

No it wasn’t, the US was entering a recession in 1999 and 2000.

Social Security

This too is settled.

No it isn’t.

It was settled under Reagan.

No, it wasn’t.

The post war generation has been paying extra into SS for most of our working careers.

No, we haven’t, not enough. The program will be bankrupt and the spending of today will insure that it will ultimately fail in a couple of decades. Epic Fail.

Also in the reform was a gradual increase in retirement age. As a result of this SS is solvent until about 2043 at which time many of us boomers will no longer be collecting because we are dead.

So it’s ok to leave our children and grandchildren to fend for themselves, cool.

BTW, it isn’t solvent. We have been borrowing against that ‘imagined solvency’ and the money is just not really there. We will have to pay it back, but sure, on paper it’s solvent. Minus a few trillion dollars.

I am hard pressed to imagine exactly what freedoms you expect to lose.

You mean in addition to the ones we have already lost?

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 26, 2009 1:38 PM
Comment #280947

Rhinehold,

1. Right. Taxes are NEVER solved. They need repeated adjustment in accordance with the spending needs of government if deficits are to be avoided. Note the word, ‘needs’, not ‘wants’. Needs are here defined as necessary for the defense of, or the continuation of, or the general welfare of the nation and its people.

2. Revenues were in surplus, as the federal fiscal year’s actual outlays were less than the fiscal year’s revenues. To define surplus or deficit in any other way is to play partisan and political games. I have heard several Republicans refer to the surplus in the latter half of Clinton’s 2nd term as valid. I don’t think is disputable. How are you defining surplus, and what is your source for data, which leads you to assert that there was no surplus?

I agree with you about starting to pay down the debt. Even with a surplus, we cannot be viewed as starting to pay down the debt until the debt trajectory of Medicare/Medicaid and Soc. Sec. have been halted or reversed. National Debt has to be viewed over the course of time, to include future unfunded legal requirements, and not in the context of single year.

And in the late 1990’s with the passing of the GLB ACT, we were preparing ANOTHER bubble to burst in 2007 as we were experiencing the tech bubble bursting at the time the GLB Act was signed into law.

Right. Soc. Sec. future unfunded liabilities were not solved. This is a demographic dynamic equation which is never solved for more than a decade or two, as demographics change from the assumptions of the last S.S. adjustments made in law.

Rhinehold you said incorrectly: “The program will be bankrupt and the spending of today will insure that it will ultimately fail in a couple of decades. Epic Fail.”

That is not true, AT ALL. If nothing is done to address the shortfall in Soc. Sec., the worst that happens is that recipients during the shortfall years will receive a bit over 70% of current benefits in inflation adjusted dollars. And with that 70+ % drop back in benefits, the Soc. Sec. remains solvent with not a drop of deficit spending through to the end of the baby boom generation’s tapping of benefits.

I have researched this with the available numbers and projections, and this is the scenario that is painted by the numbers. It does not fail. It simply provides about 26% less to recipients than currently without incurring deficits.

Your argument that the surplus in Soc. Sec. funds spent by our federal government to date, is true enough. They have been. That fact however does not equate with the statement that the Soc. Sec. program is bankrupt or absent those funds for the future maintenance of the Soc. Sec. program. By that logic, no private enterprise would EVER borrow money for expansion and growth, because by your definition, they would already be bankrupt. Which of course, is nonsense.

The borrowing and lending of any entity, public or private, must be viewed in terms of present and future viability. One can argue that the Soc. Sec. program will lack funds DUE to the deficit spending in Iraq, for example, preventing the government from paying those S.S. surpluses back to the Soc. Sec. program as needed. But, that does not mean the Soc. Sec. program was bankrupt. It means the federal government will be bankrupt, upon which the Soc. Sec. program.

Even in bankruptcy, the federal government will generate revenues, and whether it chooses to spend those revenues on Soc. Sec. benefits or building roads, or national defense, is a decision future voters will have to decide, as every family decides to prioritize its available funds amidst an infinite wishes for things to spend money on.

Preserving the integrity of the economy and government’s ability to generate revenues, is the first obligation of current government to future tax payers. This is true, if it weren’t, handing future voters a failed economy or crippled government unable to generate revenues would be a worst case inheritance for future voters.

Obama is dead on right on this issue. We must prevent this economy from collapsing, regardless of the cost, while at the same time, we insure that every dollar of spending going forward, as far as is possible, represents spending in this cause of preserving the economy, or, investing in the future of the economy’s health and growth.

To these ends, lowering health care costs for all, better educating future workers, and lowering both the consumption of energy and the cost of energy through better utilized American resources and new alternative energy sources while mitigating future environmental clean up consequential costs from energy production and utilization, all represent investments in a healthy and capable economy for future voters and citizens.

Posted by: David R. Remer at April 26, 2009 2:31 PM
Comment #280949
Revenues were in surplus, as the federal fiscal year’s actual outlays were less than the fiscal year’s revenues. To define surplus or deficit in any other way is to play partisan and political games. I have heard several Republicans refer to the surplus in the latter half of Clinton’s 2nd term as valid. I don’t think is disputable. How are you defining surplus, and what is your source for data, which leads you to assert that there was no surplus?

By taking the amount of money spent by the government and subtracting the amount received… It’s fairly simple really.

The ones playing partisan politics are the ones who ignore the amount that was put aside for legal reasons in order to make the numbers add up.

FY …. Accounting date . debt ………. deficit
FY1993 09/30/1993 $4.411488 trillion
FY1994 09/30/1994 $4.692749 trillion $281.26 billion
FY1995 09/29/1995 $4.973982 trillion $281.23 billion
FY1996 09/30/1996 $5.224810 trillion $250.83 billion
FY1997 09/30/1997 $5.413146 trillion $188.34 billion
FY1998 09/30/1998 $5.526193 trillion $113.05 billion
FY1999 09/30/1999 $5.656270 trillion $130.08 billion
FY2000 09/29/2000 $5.674178 trillion $17.91 billion
FY2001 09/28/2001 $5.807463 trillion $133.29 billion

Please tell me, David, in what year did the US debt decrease?

Oh, the source is the US Treasury Department:

http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/BPDLogin?application=np

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 26, 2009 2:53 PM
Comment #280950

BTW, the debt is now 11,184,922,662,862.85. And that is before the spending we are doing now.

:(

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 26, 2009 2:54 PM
Comment #280955
That is not true, AT ALL. If nothing is done to address the shortfall in Soc. Sec., the worst that happens is that recipients during the shortfall years will receive a bit over 70% of current benefits in inflation adjusted dollars. And with that 70+ % drop back in benefits, the Soc. Sec. remains solvent with not a drop of deficit spending through to the end of the baby boom generation’s tapping of benefits.

I have researched this with the available numbers and projections, and this is the scenario that is painted by the numbers. It does not fail. It simply provides about 26% less to recipients than currently without incurring deficits.

So, what you are saying, is that we are expected to take a loss on all funds we are currently paying into SS?

The payout of what we put in is currently around 1%. Cutting that back, we will get back, after adjusting for inflation, LESS than we are putting in.

And what is the point again? Wouldn’t we be better off putting that money into a savings account, or hell, even our mattresses, to give us a better return on that money?

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 26, 2009 3:04 PM
Comment #280960

Stephen,

If we only look at illegitimacy, we’ll miss the the fact that poverty for Blacks has gone completely in the other direction.
False. In black families comprised of a father and mother living together in the same home what you say is true. There is parity with whites in that subset of the black population. The majority of black households, however, are headed by single women.

In that portion of the black community NOT raised in whole nuclear families the statistics are grim. Nearly half, if not fully half of young black men raised in broken families spend some portion of their lives in prison. Women so raised are more likely to be exploited, to have children as teenagers, and to be single moms themselves. Those people and their children have poverty levels far above the general population and they lack the supportive social structure to transmit the skills necessary for success.

That is a direct result of building poverty relief programs around buying votes rather than around building communities. Daniel Patrick Moyahan was writing about these issues in the middle 1960s, but the powers that were didn’t want to hear about real solutions, even from a real, honest to God Liberal.

We can’t as a people afford solutions that only empower power structures, but aren’t intended to really heal. If these programs and many other vote-buying schemes stay as they are today the retirement of the baby-boomers will collapse our society. It is just the truth. A society will not function with two workers for every payee they support.

The solutions we aim at the black community have to begin to address how we hold families together and support familial responsibility and the communities in which they live. A “living wage” does not raise a kid in a broken home. Neighborhoods that look up to the parasites whose predations happen in their midst raise future predators, criminals, and prisoners. Moynahan and King were right, but both sides have to take off partizan blinders to understand how they were right and how to move on what they had to tell us.

Second point-

If by freedom you mean laissez faire economics, then you’re probably right, but miss an important set of points: one, it hasn’t worked so well.
Here, as usual, you do as so many Democrats do and take way too much for granted.

We, including myself, have endlessly discussed thebubble end of the economic trouble we are in right now. But what really initiated the mess? Two major things: 1.- the huge spike in fuel prices during the spring and summer caused by an economic BOOM that extended across the globe. We simply didn’t have fuel resources to provide for the demand (and there was great, perhaps POLITICALLY BASED reluctance on the part of suppliers across the globe to increase those supplies) and, 2.- frank manipulations of the markets to the tune of 500 billion dollars in the middle of September. Prior to those crash withdrawals in the midst of Ike’s storm paralysis of the nation’s most financially secure city and the ensuing panic they caused in financial markets there was reason to be concerned, but not any cause for fleeing to the hills.

We would have had a recession because of the fuel situation, as we have in three prior instances in the last fifty years, and the real estate bubble would have made it worse, but the western world was also attacked financially. Pretending it wasn’t and saying the economic system that has caused the West generally, and the United States specifically, to dominate the world for more than a century- to the clear benefit of its participants- has failed is like saying that the idea of using military force was repudiated at Pearl Harbor so we should have presented flowers to the Japanese and the Nazis instead of fighting W.W.II.

Husband Kimmel proved if you do stupid things with your resources very bad things can happen to them.

September proved if your nation’s leaders force you to depend on your enemies for your economic resources other bad things will happen. So far, the answer Democrats have pushed us toward in dealing with that dependency is to make us more dependent on our enemies.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 26, 2009 3:31 PM
Comment #280963

Rhinehold,

Telling the truth is not very P.C., so, if we DEFINE deficits under 100 billion dollars as surpluses everybody can be happy. Right?

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 26, 2009 3:44 PM
Comment #280965

Lee Jamison-
I believe my numbers apply to ALL blacks. A similar easing of poverty, in equal proportion, has occured across the board. For all the moral hazards that Welfare might have, staying in poverty doesn’t seem to be one of them, even if illegitimacy remains high.

I’m not going to argue that illegitimacy isn’t a problem, but it’s a problem that gets better as the problem of integration and income are solved. Statistics bear that out in the places where such issues have been resolved. It helps if people aren’t falling into long-term, irrecoverable poverty, where you either have crime or a non-living wage as your only alternatives. If you want to read about the problems that illegitimacy confer on children, why don’t you read about the trouble malnutrition visits on them as well.

We can thumb our noses at Europe for not being capitalist purists, but they have a far lower poverty rate than we do. And we have a far lower poverty rate now than we did before we enacted the great society reforms. That’s a fact. And the reason probably is, that for the income we part with, we also part with the extreme poverty that would otherwise exist, and drag down the economy through lower demand.

Looking up to gangsters is nothing new. They belong to a class of people who, in the words of Dire Straits, get their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” We want to be rock stars, movie stars, smooth criminals, and other kinds of people who don’t have to go to jobs they hate and watch their lives whittle away.

That’s the plan at least. What people discover is that the criminals in the lower ranks are little better than minimum wage, that it takes a long time to break into serious acting that you can make a living from, that every dream job has its own unpleasant reality

I think that while people have bad starts, as long as they’re not falling too far, they can redeem their bad beginnings. Just because you’re born illegitimate to a welfare mother doesn’t mean you have to stay like that.

I think at some point, the tide will turn, and illegitimacy rates will go down. We just got to be patient.

As far as the economic system goes? Let me be frank: we’re not repudiating capitalism. Your side so narrowly defines capitalism, that unless you side with Wall Street on every matter, you’re practically accused of being a communist. Let’s just say that there are certain risks that it doesn’t seem like there’s a good reason to let people take again. That there are certain positions where it seems profit motive overwhelms any sense of solid responsibility, where conflicts of interest make it difficult for people to clearly sort out who their important clients are.

Maybe that doesn’t fit your ideal, but whoever said reality had to fit an ideal. It seems that after dozens of financial meltdowns, crisises and scandals, that this brand of capitalism just doesn’t have its old allure anymore. The New Deal Reforms, at least in principle, were not merely emergency measures that could be done with out when the recovery was done.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 26, 2009 5:23 PM
Comment #280967
I think at some point, the tide will turn, and illegitimacy rates will go down. We just got to be patient.

So, your plan is to do what others societies (without the issues our society has) do and then just hope and have faith?

Good Plan.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 26, 2009 6:31 PM
Comment #280968

Stephen,

Let’s look into the details.

1. President Obama has campaigned on raising taxes on people earning $250K+. If tax problem has been solved, why was he talking about solving a problem which didn’t exist?! Further more, he campaigned about eliminating loopholes for corporations. If the tax issue is solved, what loopholes was he talking about?!

2. In your mind Social Security might be solved but in my mind it is not. Right now, SSI fund has bunch of I OWE YOUs from the Federal Government. On top of those “IOU”, we are increasing national debt. How do you propose we are going to pay the benefits to the next wave of retirees? More taxes? More debt? Cut in benefits? Increasing the retirement age? Until one or all of those things are done, or the SSI is reformed, the problem will still exists. If you think problem doesn’t exist because it hasn’t hit a critical mass today, you are risking of making the same mistake that Rep. Berny Frank made in 2004 when he argued that Fannie Mae was healthier than ever financially. So, on what basis do you consider SSI problem solved?

3. Abortion - to state that Roe v. Wade solved all the issues associated with abortion is not only a lie but it is disingenuous as well. I think for a person who bases the whole apology for the socialism on the bases that people voted for it, referring such a divisive issue to 9 judges who were not elected but were a political appointees is frankly dishonest. Supreme Court is there to interpret the constitution and test the legality of laws against the constitution. Not discover new rights in the constitution. We have the process through which we amend the constitution and allow it to be brought “up-to-date”. Even Europeans socialists put this matter before the public vote and settled it once and for all. There are still Europeans who disagree with it but it is no longer a Litmus test for politicians. Let’s have a vote and put it to rest. We can vote on late-term abortions, abortions when incest and life of a mother is to be considered, and myriad of other circumstances but let’s have a vote and settle it once and for all. You say majority is for abortion, why not vote on it? We won’t have to ask every supreme court judge whether they think Roe v Wade is a settled law any longer.

4. Health care. What has government done cheaper than private sector? I am in a HVAC industry, we are tied to the construction market. Average privately funded project costs about 30-35% less than a government project of the same size. Reason for it is simple, OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY! The same is true with the large corporations. When I am dealing with the companies size of Siemens and GE, the amount of waist which exists within those companies is astounding. Reason for it is again, other people’s money. So if you believe the Federal Government will reduce the health care cost by nationalizing it, I got a bridge I’d like to sell you in California.

The USSR had a nationalized health care system and damn good one. I was raised in the family of doctors. My grandfather was one of the most recognized gynecologists in the country and my father introduced the laprascopic surgery for female infertility and my mother was one of the best gynecologists in her right and today is a head of the hospital. If they had worked in the US, I would be one of those kids who are born with a silver spoon in their mouth but fortunately, due to my families history, we were labeled as enemies of the state and I had to earn everything I have today. They all were and are professionals. My father was invited every year to give seminar at the UC Berkley’s School of public health. The reason why communist health care system cost so little and enjoyed such high professional level was the absence of profit. A doctor in the USSR made less wage than a garbage truck driver. The ones who went into that line of work did it out of call rather than material gain. My grandfather was a head of the hospital and made about 220 rubles. If translated to the US money, that’s about $550 per month. That included mandatory overnight duty 2 times a week and being on call for regional emergencies 5 days per month. This numbers are from the late 80’s. I was an athlete, and when I made the USSR national team for European championships and we took the first place, I received a government supplemental assistance of 200 rubles at age 16. My father, a research physician who was working on women’s infertility for his doctorate, received less than 100 rubles a month. So I and my grandpa made almost the same wage and more than my dad. I wrote this for a comparison. In 1991 all of that was totally gone. No one in our family received any wage what so ever. Yet every last one of them went to work and did their job without compensation. When I started making some money in the US I sent it back so they could survive. My father had offers from universities across the US and Europe to continue his work in their system but he refused. Later he told me that reason why he stayed is that he chose his path in life not to earn money but to make the difference. And he did. How many doctors who practice their craft in the US today would work or free just to fulfill their calling? I suspect not very many. That is one of the reasons why the universal health care in the US will fail.

The absence of profit allowed system to work. No one was making more than assigned wage at any point but there was the another side of the coin. The people who were in charge of medicine distribution centers were making so much money it was crazy. All illegally but still. There was no way of getting a rare medication unless you were willing to pay the “service sure charge”. You couldn’t complain about it because certain local party bosses were on the take and police heads were on the take as well. So, guess what, if you had cancer or any other expensive illness, you were done unless you could pay money and receive treatment in Moscow and pay for the “extra attention”.
The system worked great on everyday level, but you had to hope nothing serious happened. Most heart diseases were fatal, so was cancer and any other “expensive” illness.

The reason I wrote this is to show you that even the iron fist of the police state, which was the USSR, couldn’t prevent some form of profiteering at the cost of the people.

So what can be done? I think the best course of action is to reduce the cost of health care. One way to do it is to remove non-health care related expenses from the picture, such as malpractice insurance. If we are able to reduce the punitive damages awarded to the victims, we can eliminate big chunk of the up front cost of the health care. Another big move would be the drug costs. I know there are many republicans who will not like what I am about to say but it is a real solution - allow the drugs which are approved by the FDA for sale in the US to be able to be purchased in Canada. I would establish a treaty with Canada and EU where we would synchronize our drug screening procedures, so if the drug is approved in the Europe by the recognized agency, it is allowed to be used in the US and vice versa. This way, American consumers will not be gauged for the development costs and they would be spread out evenly among all. Those 2 measures will reduced the upfront cost of the health care significantly. It will make insurance more readily affordable as well as avail able. Third stage would be a mandatory tax exempt health savings account (system already exists) which if not spent on health care premiums will be transferred to the federal and state government at the end of each year. This way an individual would choose to either pay for health insurance and pay less in taxes or not pay for health insurance and that money would go to the government in taxes.

I am not against allowing those who can’t afford a health care to have it, I am against penalizing those of us who worked hard to provide our families with the best health care possible.

I wouldn’t mind if some of the money I pay in taxes went to this cause, but if it is such a problematic subject for the government, let’s cut funding in other less problematic areas and address this issue.

If the health care is such a burden on our economy, why not start with the things that are not as controversial. Let’s allow Americans to buy drugs across the border and cap the punitive damage awarded at the trials. This will be an equal concession both from trial lawyers (democratic constituency) and pharmaceutical companies (republican constituency). This will impact insurance premiums and health care costs immediately. Why not do that instead of taxing the carp out of everyone and not addressing the issue at hand?!

Posted by: Crusader at April 26, 2009 6:47 PM
Comment #280970
Supreme Court is there to interpret the constitution and test the legality of laws against the constitution. Not discover new rights in the constitution.

Sorry, the 9th amendment is not imagined. Your statement shows a lack of understanding of what the rights of man and how the constitution works.

The government cannot make a law that it has not been given power to make. There is no power for controlling what people do with their own bodies in the constitution. As a result, the right to privacy found in the 9th amendment, along with our government not being able to make a law it does not have the power to make, along with the 14th amendment that states the states are not allowed to violate our individual rights either means that the issue IS settled.

Unless the rule of law doesn’t mean anything to you, because you don’t like that some people are able to do something that you disagree with. And as I have seen on this board, there are those on both sides of the issue that only concern themselves with individual liberties when it affects them personally.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 26, 2009 7:03 PM
Comment #280971

Oh, and btw, in a show of transparency by the Obama administration, they want to claim that all money that we give to the IMF (108 billion) not be counted against the budget even though it still much be borrowed and still must be added to our debt.

Presto, 108 billion off of the books! Heck, we could even claim a 500 billion dollar budget surplus or more easily enough, just a few more strokes of the presidential pen…

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 26, 2009 7:15 PM
Comment #280977

I am planning on arguing this issue in front of the US Supreme Court one day. To that extent, I am starting to work on my law degree in August. I hope, with the God’s grace and His guidance, I will succeed on this journey. Until then, I have a simple question for you:

A killing of a pregnant woman is considered a double homicide. Does this show the admission by the state that the live begins in a womb?

Another interesting point, though very despicable is if a biological father told a biological mother that he didn’t want to be a father, yet she precedes to have a baby, she exercised her reproductive “right”, should the biological father be responsible for child support payments and if yes, wouldn’t that be in a violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment?

I think the battle is still ahead and the shortsightedness of the Warren Court will come to light soon enough.

Posted by: Crusader at April 26, 2009 10:50 PM
Comment #280981

Crusader
You are being penalized already for people that do not have coverage. That is why medical cost have risen so fast. The cost of care for others is why you ,or your carrier pay $8 for a cotton ball.
Cost wise we are paying far more for health care than people in other industrial countries that have national systems,a lot more. Their systems are not perfect. Neither is ours. One good measure of a health care delivery system is infant mortality rates. Ours is higher than Cuba,Canada, all of Western Europe. Our rate is near that of Latvia. Its shameful. It is an access issue. You have a great concern for the unborn. How a little concern for the born.
The reason BHO must tackle health care is that the problems of Medicare cannot be addressed without getting a handle on medical cost inflation,period. He is not one to kick the can down the road. That,s a good thing.
BTW, The reason drugs are cheaper in Canada is because the government negotiates price directly.
Those “IOUs” are government bonds. The chance of default is small. There is lot of bonds but they do not all come due at once and any party that decides to default on them will cease to exist.

I live in a country where abortion is against the law due to the influence of the Catholic Church. What that means is that SAFE abortions are against the law. In reality there are NGO estimates(no gov. stats available) of around 500,000 illegal abortions a year and 2,500 young women lose their lives in the process. Is that your dream for America? Bring back the coat hanger, the poison concoction and the youthful suicide? Oh,right,only in some states. NO,the answer is no. You can’t do that.
Perhaps we could forget political labels for a time and work together to create an atmosphere that supports life. Lets do what we can to increase adoptions,improve sex education including abstinence,make contraceptives more available and ,importantly, help young mothers that need it with job training,child care and health care for them and their children to help make it possible to raise a family.Nobody likes abortions. They are tragedies. They have always happened and will despite all the laws in the world but maybe we can decrease the number. If you agree then get ready to support BHO in this regard. That is his proposal.

Posted by: bills at April 27, 2009 1:46 AM
Comment #280987

Crusader-
The tax problem? How about the revenue problem? How about the problem of how the tax burden is distributed? You try and reduce it to something that can fit on a bumper stick, and though the words can fit, the reality can’t.

We’re raising taxes to Clinton levels. Clinton levels won’t kill the economy, we’ve got objective evidence of that. Hell, the economy has performed magnificently in times where the top marginal rates were sky high.

The problem is, how we manage the nation’s finances, and if we’re going to stimulate with tax cuts, might it be smartest to give the cuts to the people who can use the money, and the hikes to those who can afford the rise? With a huge proportion of the nation’s wealth in their pockets, the rich will have no problem having the cash to invest.

On Social Security, again, I wouldn’t say everything’s solved. But let’s put it in perspective: The social security trust fund, under the most pessimistic of VERY long term economic forecasts (read: highly unreliable) will not go bust for a number of decades. And when and if it does, we’ll only have a reduction, not an elimination of our ability to pay.

The likelihood is that Social Security only needs a minor bit of help to be solvent. Medicare and Medicaid are the problem. But if we get healthcare costs under control, which have been spirally violently upwards, we’ll be doing much better.

On Abortion, It may surprise you to learn that I am against it. But I believe this is a personal conviction, and that this is a Republic, and unless people come to a legitimate court decision to say otherwise, the rule of law should hold. If you’re going to be a lawyer, you should learn that though an advocate can push for the law to be interpreted a certain way, the law remains what it is, and is decided how it is decided, and the point is not to push for what you want out of the government despite that. The right to privacy, especially on medical matters, is an important right. You call it made up, but you might as well say the same about the right to travel freely, the right to a presumption of innocence, and other presumed and assumed rights that we take for granted.

America law is not an explicitly coded out law alone; it rests on decisions, traditions and other precedents. Because the real world doesn’t squarely fit laws in a way that makes it simple to make decisions (consider Solomon’s threatened division of the baby between the different mothers) Judges must interpret. Some people don’t like that, and zealously pursue judges who will make the decisions they want them to make, the lawyers who will, even by the most tenuous of arguments, make the arguments they want.

To sort that all out, shockingly enough, judges must make judgment calls. Folks complain about activism, complain about left wing stretching of the constitution, despite the fact that the vast majority of Supreme Court justices are Republican appointees and the federal courts are packed with their people, too. Me thinks they protest too much; Freud would say they’re projecting.

The Right seems to want all the decisions that previous courts made overturned so they can push the law the way they want to push them.

This, I think, is the impulse that drives your argument. The trick is, though, and you should understand this about our system, is that the Constitution overrides any law, whether its a national referendum, or a state law.

Roe v. Wade IS settled law. Even a court packed with conservatives hasn’t been able to overturn it.

Lastly, on healthcare, lets see what can be done. We made the decision as a country to maintain private healthcare. We’ve come to regret it. All the things that were supposed to be avoided by not going the government route, by preventing government intervention, has come to pass anyways. It’s costing this country jobs, becoming a hidden tax on the start up of small businesses, and its become threat both to national security and national economic productivity.

I don’t want to recapitulate the Soviet Union’s mistakes. But what you must realize is that we can’t stick with the status quo. It’s literally killing us. I don’t care whether the system remains most private or becomes mostly public. What I care about is that we get the best healthcare we can get.

You should understand that Americans will not stand for systems that don’t work. Forget ideology, what works? If you can come up with practical solutions, then step up to the plate. If what you want to do is force America to do things your way, then you will have problems.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 27, 2009 8:27 AM
Comment #280997

Stephen,

Roe v. Wade IS settled law. Even a court packed with conservatives hasn’t been able to overturn it.
No decision of a political court is ever settled. Law is only settled when it is law, and courts can’t make law. You said it yourself in the paragraphs above.

Because liberals have chosen to politicize the courts and have them interpret meanings into law that weren’t in the foggiest parts of the imaginations of those who wrote the law the makup of the courts has become to fodder of politics. As soon as a pro-life majority can force a pro-life majority onto the court by political means that “interpretation” will die, and your “settled law” will, in the eyes of the liberals of the world, no longer settled.

Make law out of the law, on the other hand, that is to say change or invent law by being honest enough to change or invent law in the words of the law (I.E. the Constitution) and it really does become settled.

Can liberals be honest enough to put their “settled law” into words? The jury is till out on that.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 27, 2009 10:55 AM
Comment #280999

Stephen,

As far as the economic system goes? Let me be frank: we’re not repudiating capitalism. Your side so narrowly defines capitalism, that unless you side with Wall Street on every matter, you’re practically accused of being a communist.
What I’m defending really has nothing to do with Wall Street. I am a pro-small-business conservative. The perverse truth is that the so-called solutions Democrats keep foisting on the world make it harder and ever harder to profitably, or even survivably, run a small business. If they crashed huge corporations cosistently politicians would stand up and take notice because the big dogs know how to play the political games and can concentrate influence far more effectively than small business can. Mountains of red tape and regulation hinder the efforts of small companies far more, making them less able to compete with large corporations.

Big corporate government prefers the company of like-minded bureaucrats from big coprporate business. …and innovation and job-creation wither on the vine as a result.

You and I just need to have a sources fight on the poverty thing.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 27, 2009 11:10 AM
Comment #281000

Rhinehold,
What you said in the comment above is true, but the way you apply it, where it concerns abortion, could as easily be applied to households and THEIR privacy. Yet, people are not allowed to kill their infant children in the privacy of their own homes.

Why? What’s the difference?

It’s the definition of a “human being”. The rights side of the arguments for abortion rights are not unsound. Where the court overstepped its bounds was in defining (or, rather, UN-defining) a human being. Nothing in the Constitution grants any court that power, not even in interpretation.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 27, 2009 11:24 AM
Comment #281002

Stephen,

There are number of problems that the Warren Court decision opened the door to which I guarantee you will not make for a pleasant journey. I am against abortion because of my religious and moral convictions. To that extend, I will do what is right without breaking a law. From 1942 to 1992, the US Supreme Court has overruled 154 of its previous decisions. So Roe v Wade is not a settled law by any stretch of imagination, it will be a hard fought battle to overturn it or amend it but in any case, nothing good comes easy. In my opinion, Roe v Wade was a very shortsighted decision. I named two instances which conflict with the Court’s judgment of the privacy as it relates to 1. Double homicide if a pregnant woman is killed and 2. equal protection clause of 14th amendment as far as fathers right of reproductive privacy is concerned.

First case is subjective, a DA can and often does retain judgment whether to bring the double homicide charges or not. But the second case, which is of great importance, must not be overlooked. Just as Feminists use the abortion rights as a way to advance the woman’s independence, a young males are burdened every day by the decisions which they had no say in. If a woman has a choice, why shouldn’t a man have a choice to opt out hence avoiding the financial burden which state places upon him for a duration of the first 18 years of the child’s life or until some other person adapts that child?

Justice Kennedy wrote in his majority opinion in Patterson vs McLean Credit Union:
“Our precedents are not sacrosanct, for we have overruled prior decisions where the necessity

and propriety of doing so has been established.”

I have to command Justice Kennedy for recognizing that even supremely qualified jurists such as US Supreme Court justices can make errant decisions from time to time. We could avoid any further head aches and settle this law once and for all by voting on it but as I said before, that would take a political influence from politicians who hold some of us hostage to our moral and religious beliefs both on the right and on the left.

I believe some of the participants on this sites enjoy writing just for the words sake and often bypass the need to support their words with evidence or deductive reasoning. So far, all I hear from you and others who support President Obama’s universal health care proposal is we tried your way let’s try my way. It is not my way to start with. The health care is not a law. It is a system created within the realm of a private enterprise. There was a demand, companies provided supply for that demand and it evolved on its own. Now that we have concluded in our collective consciousness that health care is an inalienable right of every citizen or illegal, we are trying to create a way to provide that right. I found the way establish a mutually beneficial co-existence with this system. If you think this somehow makes me an owner of that system good luck. I definitely don’t want to be part of the socialist version of this system because I have experienced it and didn’t like it at all.

You keep referring to elections as if it somehow justifies everything. I think that a mistaken belief because dictatorship of the majority often is much worse than a dictatorship of an individual. What if majority of American’s decided that the government should levy confiscatory taxes on the rich and give that money to the poor. To that extent, majority elected the House and the Senate which would comply with their wishes and put a person in the White House who would sign it into the law. Do you think that would be just? A mob, which an angry electorate often turns itself into, is not a good compass of the direction the country needs to go. This kind of core changes should be made over time not in the middle of the crises. We have witnessed how “passionate” and “genuinely” outraged some Congressmen and Senators can get on our behalf:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-aig-house20-2009mar20,0,6811276.story

Especially when they get their hands caught in a cookie jar and are trying to deflect the public outrage away from themselves. I am honestly baffled how can you place such an important decision in these idiots’ hands. Same goes to the populist president in the White House. What has Pres Obama done so far to justify him handling this monumental task? Spendulus is a disaster (AIG bonuses was the direct result of it but some choose to ignore it), the Treasury Department is a joke, the Homeland Security Department is even bigger joke, to keep people distracted every week he releases new sets of CIA memos. In December letting GM file for bankruptcy was not acceptable choice, after Jan. 20th he has fired CEO and now GM has 2 weeks to restructure or file for bankruptcy. He promoted Spendulus because it would save or create 4 million jobs, we have lost over 2 million jobs so far and bottom isn’t anywhere near yet. So again, I ask a question, what is the justification for doing such a massive reform in the midst of a crisis?

I will grant you that 100 days is not enough to judge President Obamas performance, but are mere words enough to trust his judgment? Let’s see how spendulus works itself out, how mortgage bailout works itself out, how GM proposal works itself out and then let him take on the monumental challenge which is the health care reform. Delaying a health care reform till the next year is not the end of the World and will give the government chance to make an attempt at reducing it before going forward with this change.

If the administration will attempt to reduce the cost of the health care this year, and I have presented the two very real ways of impacting it right away, I might subscribe to the notion that he is up to par for taking on this challenge. I always get worried when a politician starts telling me it’s all or nothing. Any idiot can spend borrowed money, I don’t think that takes much science. How to use the funds wisely is the merit of a good leader.

Posted by: Crusader at April 27, 2009 1:31 PM
Comment #281021

Lee Jamison-

No decision of a political court is ever settled. Law is only settled when it is law, and courts can’t make law. You said it yourself in the paragraphs above.

A political court? Try just plain court. The law is useless if somebody can’t say, “this is what the law means, or can mean.” Legislators can’t settle that meaning. They can encapsulate some measure of it, but there is a body of law out there and a constitution, as well as the circumstances of the case that must be figured out.

Because liberals have chosen to politicize the courts and have them interpret meanings into law that weren’t in the foggiest parts of the imaginations of those who wrote the law the makup of the courts has become to fodder of politics. As soon as a pro-life majority can force a pro-life majority onto the court by political means that “interpretation” will die, and your “settled law” will, in the eyes of the liberals of the world, no longer settled.

So, you’re suggesting that if the legislators didn’t anticipate the impact of their legislation, it’s not law? Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. It also doesn’t create a true antidote to any real or imagined slanting of the court to try and push things the other way. The majority of federal judges and Supreme Court Justices are now Republican appointees. So, if settled law isn’t being resettled in your favor, then the likely explanation is, is that nobody can come up with a decent reason to overturn the jurisprudence in question.

The whole point of the system is to guard against people trying to impose their will on the interpretation of laws. Judges and justices are encouraged to take the long view, to see these issues beyond the political battles of today, which are often inane, badly thought through tiffs in the first place. We don’t need our laws at the mercy of those who complain about judicial activism anytime they don’t get their way. One political faction does not get to decide what the valid interpretations of the law are.

What I’m defending really has nothing to do with Wall Street. I am a pro-small-business conservative.

Good for you. I was speaking about the Republicans, who have tea parties on behalf of millionaires, who advocate letting the very institutions whose major malfunction is causing small businesses to fold left and right collapse.

You and I just need to have a sources fight on the poverty thing.

Why? The source of my claim for halved poverty is the government’s own statistics for poverty. Can you get much more basic than that?

On the subject of privacy, I think you’re unclear on the concept. The medical privacy in question is not merely that of a person’s ability to keep an operation a secret. Its the right of that person to decide what’s done with their body. Nobody can remove a Kidney from you just for the hell of it. They need your consent.

For purposes of the law, the unborn child, until it reaches viability, is considered part of the mother, like her spleen, her eye, or her gall bladder. And in a scientific sense, that is arguable, because development at early stages is heavily controlled by the mother’s body, and there is a constant interplay throughout pregnancy.

Privacy itself is not merely the right to draw the curtains, it is in part the right to control one’s own life. A person can go through a public event, but their part of the story belongs to them; if Hollywood wants to make a film out of it, they have to talk to them first.

Ironically enough, you’re arguing, in legal terms, against a person’s ability to determine their own biological destiny.

Crusader-

From 1942 to 1992, the US Supreme Court has overruled 154 of its previous decisions.
And that is out of how many court cases it has seen?

Roe v. Wade is settled law to the extend that nobody’s been able to knock it down for what’s approaching a span of forty years.

On the subject of fetal homicide, I think the text of This law should give you pause.. It specifically excludes abortion, miscarriage, or a doctor treating a woman who is pregnant. On the other either side of things, the main problem is, as I told Lee, that the issue is medical privacy, and that the reason this applies, is that the law looks at the child as part of the mother’s body. This means, that, just as a woman can consent to an operation peformed on her to to remove her womb(essentially what a Hysterectomy is), she can, up to the point of viability, remove the contents of that womb, since they are arguably part of her.

Ultimately, on the question of healthcare, there’s a real question of whether people are going to get the healthcare they need at all, not merely whether they’re going to get a better deal on it than they would from a private source. There are many people, especially as they grow older, who might not be able to get coverage, as old age brings cancers and heart disease and strokes, and insurance companies refuse them coverage. However we get it, we need to do something about a dysfunctional healthcare system that provides real care to fewer and fewer people at greater expense to us all.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 27, 2009 9:43 PM
Comment #281029
tea parties on behalf of millionaires

What a crock of ….

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 27, 2009 11:42 PM
Comment #281038

Stephen,

Is this the first stupid and illogical law you have seen passed by the gang of idiots on the Capitol Hill?

Not so long ago, that same gang of idiots taxed AIG bonuses, which they paid out BTW, with a retroactive punitive tax.

These idiots do not have a clue. How can they logically say that the child in utero is a human and killing it is punishable by law except for a doctor killing it on behalf of a mother because she happened to be too stupid to take contraceptive, ask her “partner” to use condom etc or take a morning after pill.

If you don’t see a complete absence of rational thought in that law I give up.

Let me ask you this, can a woman get pregnant without a men’s sperm?
Is a sperm donor responsible for the child support payments?
If a biological father specifically stated that he didn’t want to be a father, is he responsible for child support and on what grounds?
If yes, wouldn’t that violate due process and equal protection clause for the father since his procreative privacy right has been violated?
If not, is the state responsible for supporting that child?

Lawrence vs. Texas specifically states :”the Texas statute furthers no legitimate state interest which can justify its intrusion into the personal and private life of the individual”. This was another “due process” case about sodomy law of Texas. In determining a rational interest, the Court looks at whether the state interest was compelling enough to intrude on the fundamental right granted by the constitution. When we consider the due process clause which protects individual right of property, the High Court has a strict scrutiny standard in which case right is granted unless the state can demonstrate compelling interest to justify the intrusion.

So, let me sum it up:

1. Woman can’t get pregnant without a human male’s sperm.
2. Sperm donor can opt out of child support obligation.
3. A partner in a sex act cannot. (equal protection clause?!)
4. State can intrude on the fundamental right of the father and take his property till the child reaches the legal age (due process clause)
5. Mother has a right of reproductive privacy father does not. By exercising this right, she can protect her own property and income, where as father doesn’t have the same opportunity. (equal protection clause)

Roe vs Wade was a bad judgment. The High Court wanted to make a land mark decision to get out of the Warren Court’s shadow but they really botched it. It was very shortsighted, they went the wrong way about it and worst of all, they didn’t establish the bases for the decision. The Court avoided the trap of defining at what point does the fetus becomes life, which directly contradicts the law you sited which said it’s alive at any point in utero. As I said, I don’t care how well the idiots on Capitol Hill screen judges, this ruling will be overturned because it’s just bad ruling period, not because I dislike but because it is bad jurisprudence. We would be better off as a nation to vote on it and be done with it.

Posted by: Crusader at April 28, 2009 9:01 AM
Comment #281145

Rhinehold-
If the complaint is high taxes, most people should have none, as they are getting money back. If the complaint is excessive spending, where was all this tea-partying and the conservative coverage of it when Bush was in office?

The real trouble with the tea party set is that they are basically protesting who’s in charge more than the policies themselves. If it was the policies that bothered them, then their protests were long deferred.

Crusader-
Stupid, illogical law is still law, unless some provision of the state or national constitution is interpreted otherwise, or it is later repealed.

You gave the law as an example of why babies were considered legal persons. Problem is, the law makes an explicit concession to Roe v. Wade and medical privacy. That concession cannot be made without acknowledging that while the unborn child is considered a separate person for the sake of the murder charge, it is explicitly forbidden to be taken as countermanding law that essentially considers the unborn child as part of the mother.

You also reference the AIG tax as an example of stupid legislation, saying that Congress taxed them on those bonuses. Main problem with that argument is that the bill in question has not passed the senate, and therefore, nobody at AIG is being subject to that tax.

Republicans are developing a bad habit of arguing the facts before they’re fully aware of them.

One of the reasons people like myself struggled to regain the long-lost majority and the presidency was the knowledge that whatever we think of the law, when it passes majorities, is signed by the president, and passes the judicial review of the courts, it is law.

Your “Sperm Donor” argument runs into the problem that medical privacy relies on the consent of the person on whose body the procedure is being performed, or their designated representative or agent. The father of the unborn child simply has no standing, no say in the matter. If he were the one pregnant, it might be a different story, but of course we know, males don’t get pregnant (at least folks born male.)

This is the woman’s body, and therefore, she cannot be forced not to have an abortion by the father of the fetus, anymore than she could be forced to be sterilized, have a clitorectomy, have a hysterectomy, or have tubal ligation by that same man.

Medical Privacy does, however, give the man the right to have a vasectomy, to avoid involuntary castration, involuntary sterilization, involuntary removal of his gall bladder, and so on and so forth. That’s equal protection under the law.

What you feel is irrelevant to people who you cannot bring to sympathy by means of your argument. Sympathy in cases like this will less be determined by what your conception of what is stupid, or bad jurisprudence, than what is considered the standard law of the land by the judges in question. Judges do not like to be overruled, second-guessed, or overturned, so even they will rule against their own feelings because they know that in light of the current legal circumstances, they cannot rule a certain way without being struck down by a higher court.

Your opinion of the Justices on the Supreme Court is also irrelevant, if not outright destructive to your argument. Who died and made you the final judge of what was good jurisprudence? People will ask that question when you bring an argument to them saying that those folks are idiots. I mean, would the exchange go like this?

Judge: I’m afraid, counselor, that under the decision Jefferson vs. Hodges, your motion is denied.

You: Well, Your Honor, I would submit to you that the judge who decided that was a complete moron.

Judge: Well that changes every thing. Motion granted!

In reality, the judge would probably just patiently repeat to you that his decision stood, as did the case. Get too disrespectful, and you could find yourself jailed for contempt.

This is a kind of argumentation where you can argue just about anything you want, but not necessarily successfully; the law binds ultimate outcomes.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 30, 2009 11:15 AM
Comment #281203

Let’s start with Supreme Court Justices about Roe v Wade:

Justice Ginsburg (not exactly stanch conservative):

“The court bit off more than it could chew,” Justice
Ginsburg said in remarks after a speech at Princeton in October. It
would have been enough, she said, to strike down the extremely
restrictive Texas law at issue in Roe and leave further questions for
later cases.

“The legislatures all over the United States were moving on this question,” she added. “The law was in a state of flux.”

Roe shut those developments down and created a backlash that lasts to this day.”

“The
Supreme Court’s decision was a perfect rallying point for people who
disagreed with the notion that it should be a woman’s choice,” Justice
Ginsburg said. “They could, instead of fighting in the trenches
legislature by legislature, go after this decision by unelected judges.”

Justice Kennedy (Not a Rush Limbaugh by any stretch of imagination):
Casey is premised on the States having an important constitutional role in defining their interests in the abortion debate. It is only with this principle in mind that Nebraska’s interests can be given proper weight. The State’s brief describes its interests as including concern for the life of the unborn and “for the partially-born,” in preserving the integrity of the medical profession, and in “erecting a barrier to infanticide.” Brief for Petitioners 48—49. A review of Casey demonstrates the legitimacy of these policies. The Court should say so.

States may take sides in the abortion debate and come down on the side of life, even life in the unborn:

“Even in the earliest stages of pregnancy, the State may enact rules and regulations designed to encourage [a woman] to know that there are philosophic and social arguments of great weight that can be brought to bear in favor of continuing the pregnancy to full term and that there are procedures and institutions to allow adoption of unwanted children as well as a certain degree of state assistance if the mother chooses to raise the child herself.” 505 U.S., at 872 (joint opinion of O’Connor, Kennedy, and Souter, JJ.).

Dubay v. Wells, affirmed that father rights in regards to the reproductive privacy. Father was freed from the child support payments. So, I wasn’t that far off. This also established that now a state must support the child if the mother doesn’t have financial means to do so. Granted, Dubay v. Wells is only a precedent in Michigan, but it can be used in establishing the legitimate state interest in the matter.

So, again, you might think it’s a settled law and it’s a wonderful thing, but as I showed above there are LEGITIMATE jurists who think otherwise. I want this matter to be decided through elections, not through litigation.

Posted by: Crusader at May 1, 2009 9:08 PM
Comment #281228

You’re making the wrong kinds of arguments with the wrong kinds of sources.

First, Justice Ginsberg says that there are political problems, and that Roe v. Wade makes an easier target for partisans to focus on one judicial battle, rather than on a multitude of state decisions on the matter.

She does not, however, change her mind about the decision’s validity.

Second, the court does find that the states can legislate to create programs and requirements meant to encourage second thoughts and reconsideration on the part of the mother. But again, it only does so because providing counselling and alternatives to the right to choose an abortion doesn’t constitute an abridgement of that right. After all that, so long as the mother’s not so late along in her pregnancy, the abortion may still proceed if she chooses.

So, we’re right back where we started. Abortion is still constitutional. So what about that last case. Well the problem for you, is that it’s largely irrelevant, and no right of reproductive privacy is created. Instead, we’re talking about another right entirely.

The case Dubay v. Wells was about equal protection, sure enough. But it was centered on whether the man had to pay child support.
The idea here was that women were not required to pay the same. That, and not some imagined right for a man to dictate women’s reproductive issues to her, was the point of dispute.

But there’s something worse that you missed: Dubay, the man whose lawyers made the argument you’re trying to use, LOST.

Even if Dubay’s argument had anything to do with abortion, which it’s unclear in any way that it does, since we’re talking about a situation where the baby was kept, lived, and the mother now wants child support, Dubay’s argument that the imposition of the requirement of paying child support was a violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment failed before the courts.

The point of precedent is to say: the courts decided this way before, and should do so again. Whether it’s a point of procedure, or the direction of a decision as a whole, Judges and lawyers typically look for support for their decisions to arguments in the past WHICH WORKED.

Dubay’s argument did not work. The supreme court reject his argument, and if you were to offer a similar argument, would likely reject that, too.

Oh, by the way, it’s not precedent in Michigan, if the Supremes knocked it down. There aren’t runner-ups in legal cases. That’s the basic result of the federal system of courts. What the Supreme court decides is final, and the competing arguments can no longer be considered binding on anyone or anything.

Let me tell you here what I hate: people taking what works within a rhetorical system, and trying to make it work within Legal or Scientific circles, where argumentation is bound by considerably more than people’s personal bounty of blarney.

In science, you can make all the arguments you want, personal, religious or otherwise, but the only thing that truly makes something scientifically valid is whether you can find evidence to support it, and test that evidence in a way that logically excludes the null hypothesis: that your supposed cause has no real effect, like you thought. Yet people still make arguments already debunked, about possible increases in solar radiation and the like, without researching or otherwise looking at the work already done along those lines. Scientists are treated like morons, asked to entertain possibilities already long ago examined and rejected on the facts.

And here, with the law, people are apt to argue in their own world about what is and is not law. Never mind that there is this long tradition and public record of precedent that we train people to be lawyers so they can research and understand this stuff. Folks make arguments based on what they feel is right under the law, and fail to acknowledge that under our system, we bind judicial decisions to a substrate of precedent, tradition, and legislation, all of which is moderated by our Constitution.

The courts don’t change their minds without a good reason, and no court wants to leave a great big opening for somebody to mow their decision down. Republicans and liberals both would want legal interpretation to speedily approach at their beck and call. But the framers deliberately created in the courts an institution that is insulated from public approval and disapproval, the better to rein in the President and the Congress who aren’t. They created a court that was conservative in the sense that it did not go out of its way to re-till its arguments every ten seconds.

Even conservatives on the court, much to the dismay of their party’s followers, have a tendency to back judicial principles over politically popular sentiment. Witness the decisions on sodomy laws and eminent domain.

There’s something you’ve got to understand before we go any further: even if Congress or the Public votes a referendum in concerning Abortion, the current verdict on abortion in the courts overrules it. You either have to have an anti-abortion amendment, or somebody has to find a case and a decision that can break through the legal principles that uphold Roe v. Wade.

Until those things happen, Roe v. Wade stands as settled law.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 2, 2009 8:26 PM
Comment #281251

I think you need to read the decision again. Some important parts of the decision:

“First, strict scrutiny does not apply because the Michigan Paternity Act does not affect any of Dubay’s fundamental rights. In N.E. v. Hedges, we found that the right to privacy, articulated in the Supreme Court’s substantive due process jurisprudence, does not encompass a right to decide not to become a parent after conception and birth.”

Explain to me how does that fall in line with Roe v Wade?

Couple points from Roe majority opinion that do not fall in line with that decision:

“But when, as here, pregnancy is a significant fact in the litigation, the normal 266-day human gestation period is so short that the pregnancy will come to term before the usual appellate process is complete. If that termination makes a case moot, pregnancy litigation seldom will survive much beyond the trial stage, and appellate review will be effectively denied. Our law should not be that rigid. Pregnancy often comes more than once to the same woman, and in the general population, if man is to survive, it will always be with us. Pregnancy provides a classic justification for a conclusion of nonmootness. It truly could be “capable of repetition, yet evading review.” Southern Pacific Terminal Co. v. ICC, 219 U.S. 498, 515 (1911). See Moore v. Ogilvie, 394 U.S. 814, 816 (1969); Carroll v. Princess Anne, 393 U.S. 175, 178-179 (1968); United States v. W. T. Grant Co., 345 U.S. 629, 632-633 (1953).”

By stating that after the child is born it’s this case became moot is against the majority opinion of the Roe v Wade.

Second point:

Dubay v. Wells states that privacy argument is not relevant siting N.E vs Hedgs which states:

“…As he (plaintiff) complains of actions taken under the Commonwealth’s statutes that permit the establishment of paternity and the imposition and enforcement of child support obligations, the Court sees no evidence that the state required him to engage in the sexual activity that resulted in the conception of his son. Further he has identified no action taken by a state actor that interfered in any way with his choice to use or not to use contraceptive methods-or additional contraceptive methods, as the case may be-during sexual activity to avoid his sexual partner’s resulting pregnancy. Accordingly, he cannot state a claim for a violation of his substantive rights under the Fourteenth Amendment by the application of the laws of Kentucky for establishing paternity and imposing and enforcing child support obligations.”

This goes against the majority opinion in Roe v Wade which states:

“This right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the District Court determined, in the Ninth Amendment’s reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy. The detriment that the State would impose upon the pregnant woman by denying this choice altogether is apparent… Maternity, or additional offspring, may force upon the woman a distressful life and future. There is also the distress, for all concerned, associated with the unwanted child, and there is the problem of bringing a child into a family already unable, psychologically and otherwise, to care for it…”

If one court can apply one standard to a woman and a whole new one to a man, how does that not go against the equal protection clause? If a man looses privacy right because he failed to utilize contraceptives or abstinence, why isn’t the same measure applied to a woman’s right of privacy?

As I said, when justices, in this case Roe v Wade and Dubay v. Wells go out of their way to justify granting of a privacy to one citizen and at the same time deny it to another in the similar circumstances, the equal protection clause is in violation.

Posted by: Crusader at May 3, 2009 7:13 PM
Comment #281256

Crusader-

Explain to me how does that fall in line with Roe v Wade?

When in doubt, follow the sources.

The paternity requirement emanates primarily from the state’s power to intervene under the parens patriae doctrine, a doctrine that enforces the duties of biological parents, not their constitutional rights.

Or, to be more clear about it:

The sexual privacy cases referred to by plaintiff do not give either biological parent the right to escape responsibility after the child is born. Neither the laws of biological reproduction nor the Due Process Clause recognize the “fairness” arguments plaintiff raises. Reproduction and child support requirements occur without regard to the male’s wishes or his emotional attachment to his offspring.

In other words, the Woman’s right to choose DOES NOT equate to a man’s right to abandon his already born offspring by not paying child support. That’s why the privacy argument is rejected, not because the court reconsiders the basis of Roe v. Wade in that decision.

If the guy had been denied contraception, while she was not denied an abortion, there might be an equal rights case. That’s our birth control, our way of avoiding having to take care of a child. But once that child is born, both mother and father have duties under the law to that child, and a woman’s right to choose has nothing to do with that. Deadbeat dads, don’t get a free ride while the poor girl back home has to take care of the child. I mean, since we obligate women to take care of their children or give them up for adoption, how is it an equal rights violation to force the father to at least provide support if not take part in the child’s upbringing?

If a man looses[sic] privacy right because he failed to utilize contraceptives or abstinence, why isn’t the same measure applied to a woman’s right of privacy?

Because a man cannot get pregnant, and therefore cannot terminate his pregnancy. It’s the same reason why men cannot seek the protection of pro-breastfeeding laws, why a forty year old woman can’t accuse the similarly aged man who just made love to her of having child-molested her. Equal protection under the law does not mean a complete disregard of biological, age-related, and status related distinctions.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 3, 2009 8:09 PM
Comment #281348

Who cares about the Supreme Court? Or the Constitution? They’re only human and paper. And patriotism? Stupid. Why would someone love an area of land. I am a fan of ideals. They’re what actually matter. Stop referencing cases and think ideals. They’re what matter.

Posted by: Aaron Hughes at May 5, 2009 5:07 PM
Comment #281383

Aaron Hughes-
Ideals are simply things in people’s heads. They’re good when they reflect and map onto something in the real world, but can be horrible otherwise when it comes to politics.

The cases determine how the law will be interpreted, even whether the law will stand as it is.

The challenge is keeping these cases in proper perspective.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 6, 2009 4:25 PM
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