Third Party & Independents Archives

The New Psychology: Liberal Syndrome & Repressive/Displacement Disorder

Although American universities are generally considered to be of liberal persuasion, my college experience, while taking some time to bear fruit, had the opposite effect on my political leanings. You see, my study of psychology in college led me to understand Liberalism not as a philosophy, but as a syndrome marked by developmentally challenged faculties, leading to incongruencies in perception and reality.

(In keeping with the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV, Liberalism should be classified as an Axis I Clinical Syndrome comprised of various Axis II Developmental Disorders.)
This is not the place for extended thesis, however, recent political events provide a good illustration of one disorder within the Liberalism Syndrome paradigm; Repressive/Displacement Disorder.

Liberal Repressive/Displacement Disorder
While normal cognitive functioning allows for information to be transferred and stored in long-term memory,
RDD generally affects non-semantic declarative memory (life events,information about our environment) and/or episodic memory (events and situations), due to overactive displacement factor, inoperative retention factor and occasional repressive episodes.

Professionals note that while the incidence of LS/RDD has been increasing, treatment and recovery is possible with early detection. Aware that RDD manifests itself in current political issues, therapists have historically initiated treatment through conscious exploration of issues such as Welfare Reform, Tax Cuts, Humanitarian Promises to Kosovo, Cold War & Nuclear Winter predictions. Modern therapists must adapt and scrutinize the patients disassociative reality through current political issues such as the following:
VALERIE PLAME, CIA LEAK AFFAIR:
Joseph Wilson has been a major political figure since his claiming that Bush lied to promote the war, specifically regarding Iraqi attempts to get uranium in Niger. When Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame's identifiy as a CIA agent was leaked to the public, Wilson and numerous Democrats spent years accusing the Bush administration, Karl Rove, Cheney and even press reporters of coordinated character assasination. The witch hunt went so far as to result in Scooter Libby's indictement for an unrelated lie about WHEN he first heard of Plame's status as an agent. (a much lesser offense than the particular lie forgiven of a certain liberal President, ahem)

Nevermind that Bush accurately claimed that British intelligence was the source, the British intelligence was
affirmed by the Butler Commission and that Britian stands by that intelligence today.
Nevermind the fact that U.S. Senate Committee on Intelligence reported that Mr. Wilson DID in fact provide oral confirmation to the CIA that Iraq WAS seeking uranium in Niger.
Best of all, nevermind that Richard Armitage was admittedly the source of the leak.
So after years of mudslinging, great expense and a public misnformation campaign, it seems Joseph Wilson himself is a liar....and yet the forgetful liberals have yet to correct the record or apologize to those they persecuted.

GAS PRICES
Gas prices peaked earlier this year due to numerous factors straining the normal supply/demand relationship such as middle east turmoil, rapid growth in China & India, Katrina's effect on Gulf oil rigs and distribution, peak consumption season (driving, flying, air-conditioning), the popularity of SUVs & trucks, crude oil trading price, OPEC monopoly, excessive taxation, and more.

Democrats were unable to resist opportunistic fear mongering with predictions of $4-5/gallon gasoline, while some accused the Bush administration of collusion with 'price gouging' oil companies who were then dragged through yet another round of "investigations". Meanwhile, those attempting to impart some rational economic insights were ignored or mocked for predictions of a return to a normal supply/demand relationship and lower prices.

Of course, the investigations found no evidence of wrongdoing, the price of oil has dropped 20% from its high and gas prices are back under $2.00 in parts of the midwest.
Liberals seem to have forgotten their ridiculous statements and predictions, while offering no apologies for their personal baseless attacks. (In fact, I predict a new round of allegations based on a Bush/Big Oil conspiracy to lower prices to win elections.)

THE ECONOMY
What's new? Democrats prey on the general economic ignorance of Americans by repeating this mantra no matter WHAT the state of the economy, but it was certainly hammered home during the Bush administration.
But consider the following:
The Nasdaq Index is at a 5 year high.
The Dow Jones recently hit an all-time high.
The housing market has experienced a remarkable boom leading to high home-ownership rates and equity appreciation for average Americans.
Unemployment remains well under 5%.
Average wages continue to grow.
Sure, at some point, when the normal and healthy cyclical recession comes, Democrats will be screaming "I told you so", but in the meantime, they are suddenly quiet...seemingly forgetful.

Please...If you suspect a loved one is suffering from RDD, do something.
Speak up...
Educate yourself...
Remind the victim of their folly...
Cure yourself and cure your liberal loved ones.

Posted by M. Goldseth at September 24, 2006 12:28 PM
Comments
Comment #183634

The fallacy here is obvious, Matt. You are using statements from some Democrats in order to paint with a broad brush all Democrats. Your statements are so broad and general as to be, and I mean no offense, meaningless.

First things first. Define your terms. What is liberalism, to you?

Comparing a political view to mental illness may be an interesting rhetorical move, but you can’t expect it to be taken seriously. If you do, then you must validate your claim with serious, non-fallacious argument.

Considering that the National Intelligence Agency in a consensus report of all U.S. spy agencies just told us what most of us suspected — that the invasion of Iraq has created a new generation of terrorists — I would think one could use similar tactics as yours as to paint those Republicans who have long denied what makes perfect intuitive sense as psychotic. However, it’s just silly to make such broad statements about an entire political party.

Posted by: Trent at September 24, 2006 1:02 PM
Comment #183635

M. Goldseth, your degree from clown college has been revoked.

Other than name calling do you have any points?

Posted by: gergle at September 24, 2006 1:13 PM
Comment #183637

And here I thought that only repressive regimes labeled dissidents as mentally ill.

How cute.

Posted by: womanmarine at September 24, 2006 1:21 PM
Comment #183643

It is about time WatchBlog got a humorist writer. I laughed my psychology degree arse off, Matt. You may get an invitation to appear on Bill Maher’s show. They are always on the lookout for political humorists.

The way people process information and make decisions is not determined by their political affiliation. Neither is political affiliation determined by the way people process information and make decisions. One of the strongest correlated determinants of political affiliation is that of one’s parents. Which says tradition is a bigger factor than cognitive skills or abilities or deficiencies.

The sophistry involved in rationalizing one’s political perspective in the face of contradictory information and events, is as evident on the right side of the political spectrum as it is on the left. And loyalty to one’s party regardless of their party’s fidelity to their platform or violation of campaign promises is very tenacious on both sides of the spectrum.

The research on this is very extensive. I personally lump it into a personal theory of voter inertia. As long as one has the life accoutrement’s one expected to have at their age in life, they will vote traditionally. When one finds they have failed to achieve their expectations for their age, they will tend to look to external causes and explanations for why that has occured. To look inward causes congnitive dissonance. Hence, a lot of party switching derives from folks failing to achieve what they expected from their decisions and efforts. In the wealthiest land on earth, there is not a lot of party switching, because we tend to measure success by our expected relative wealth accumulation for our employment status and, or, the prospects of our children to achieve our expectations for their success.

There is a significant amount of party switching taking place in this election due to diminishing prospects for our expectations of our children’s future. Which, accounts for the anti-incumbent sentiment in the polls and the losses of Republican held seats to take place in both the House and Senate.

So what will be Republican’s defense mechanism to kick in on Nov. 8? It’s not like Democrats ran an overwhelmingly convincing campaign that they were the better choice, now is it?

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 24, 2006 2:54 PM
Comment #183648

“In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican. “

H. L. Mencken

“Or a libertarian.”

Timothy Crow

Posted by: Tim Crow at September 24, 2006 3:06 PM
Comment #183650

I hope this post is a joke, but I will admit from a Democrat perspective I have often wondered if Bush is really suffering from some kind of mental problem. Watching him try to put a sentence together is painful. From torturing animals as a kid, to not living up to Daddy’s expectations, to being a drunk cokehead, to claiming God personally talks to him, you’ve got to wonder about the guy. I’ve never watched another president speak and seriously wondered if they were mildly retarded. Of course, I have no psychology degree. It’s just an obvious question most people probably ask when they hear him speak.

Posted by: Max at September 24, 2006 3:30 PM
Comment #183655

Max, mental illness renders people dysfunctional, unable to perform normal daily tasks and routines. The President, despite my gross dislike for many of his policies and decisions, does not appear to be mentally dysfunctional. Lacking in education of history, Yes! Lacking in diplomacy, Yes. But, he is very politically astute when it comes to his base, and as for maneuvering in and out of the laws, he has displayed an exceptional talent.

I just don’t see any signs at all of mental illness in the President, nor any in his cabinet. Emotional stress, yes! But, we all experience that in varying degrees. Unless it impairs our judgement and function however, it is not mental illness.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 24, 2006 4:12 PM
Comment #183657

At least a couple of you have a sense old humor, geez! Admittedly, there is some generalization involved here, but thats the whole concept behind naming a philosophy—general traits and ideas.

I do believe that committed liberalism, exemplified by the most, not all, of the democratic party, and by much of the GOP, is the result of social indoctrination which cultivates raw emotionalism and utopian naivette at the expense of reason.
There is a general lack of higher logical thought which is routinely seen in liberal policies as intentions are always the sole qualifier, actual consequences be damned.
There is also a general lack of regard for personal liberty and self-reliance as well as a refusal to accept human fallability as a fact of life.

In the end, and I look forward to discussing these issues on an individual basis in this forum, liberal policies just dont work and sadly, implementation requires statist imposition of coercive force over liberty.

I’m working on something for our good friends in the GOP also. I guess the main disorder with conservatives is the tendency to impose the God complex in issues of morality…or maybe, considering the growing liberalism of the GOP, Dissociative Identity Disorder or Depersonalization Disorder!

And since we’re posting quotes now:
“But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.”-Frederic Bastiat

“Democracy is a form of religion. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses.”-H.L. Mencken

“In the end they will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us, ‘Make us your slaves, but feed us’.”-Fyodor Dostoevsky’s ‘Grand Inquisitor’

“The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can’t get and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time is made good by looting A to satisfy B. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods.” -H. L. Mencken

Posted by: Matt at September 24, 2006 4:25 PM
Comment #183660
It has been a source of great pain to me, to have met with so many among our opponents, who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions. I suppose, indeed, that in public life, a man whose political principles have any decided character, and who has energy enough to give them effect, must always expect to encounter political hostility from those of adverse principles. But I came to the government under circumstances calculated to generate peculiar acrimony. I became of course the butt of everything which reason, ridicule, malice and falsehood could supply. They have concentrated all their hatred on me, till they have really persuaded themselves, that I am the sole source of all their imaginary evils.
—Thomas Jefferson

David:
“Unless it impairs our judgement and function however, it is not mental illness.”

You don’t think their judgement and function IS impaired?
I believe the Neocon entity is comprised of men who are obviously as mad as hatters. Crafty, clever, devious, determined, yes, but quite mad nonetheless.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 24, 2006 4:29 PM
Comment #183663
I do believe that committed liberalism, exemplified by the most, not all, of the democratic party, and by much of the GOP, is the result of social indoctrination which cultivates raw emotionalism and utopian naivette at the expense of reason. There is a general lack of higher logical thought which is routinely seen in liberal policies as intentions are always the sole qualifier, actual consequences be damned. There is also a general lack of regard for personal liberty and self-reliance as well as a refusal to accept human fallability as a fact of life.

I guess education makes no difference in belief. What a bunch of unadulterated crap.

Posted by: womanmarine at September 24, 2006 4:37 PM
Comment #183665

M.

Please psychoanalyze me some more. I feel the fog lifting with every word you write. I feel so much healthier - I think I might go torture somebody - maybe the dog - come here Phoenix - come here boy…

After you have cured our liberal dilemma perhaps you could find a cure for Republican Authoritarianism

David Remer,

We do not have the inside information / nor in my case, the training, to know if Bush is mentally ill or not. But. Preoccupation with torture? Excessive need for power? Megalomania? Excessive need for secrecy? Pervasive tendency to misspeak? Indicative of organic brain disorder? Perhaps genetic? Perhaps from inbreeding? Perhaps alcohol or drug induced? Just speculating on the possibilities. I am not a professional. Just speculating.

Posted by: Ray Guest at September 24, 2006 4:55 PM
Comment #183666

Matthew,
You intentionally mislead people about the economy. Intentionally misleading people into thinking the economy is doing well, when it is not doing well, is lying.

For example, you say the Dow has hit an “all-time high.” You intentionally neglect to mention that the Dow has hit an all-time high under Bush. The actual high for the DJIA is 11722. When Bush took office, the DJIA had already declined off its highs, to 10732.

Under Reagan, the stock market increased 148% in eight years. Under Clinton, it increased 187% in eight years.

After almost six years of Bush economic policies, the DJIA has increased 8%.

To put it another way, the DJIA increased an average of 10% between 1987 - 1995, and an average of 15% between 1995 - 2000,

Since Bush took office, the market has averaged a gain of just over 1% a year.

Remember, the DJIA is a leading economic indicator. A better indicator is the Treasury Bond yield curve, which currently is deeply inverted, strongly suggesting impending recession.

Interestingly enough, 9/11 did not cause the poor economic performance. Six weeks after 9/11, the DJIA recovered almost all of its losses! As I have said before, stock markets are notoriously unsentimental, even when it comes to something like 9/11. The big percentage drop for the DJIA came between May & July of 2002.

Matthew, you have any idea whatsoever what is happening with housing markets. None. Please do not offer opinions if you are completely uninformed. Leaving a statement out there which suggests housing is doing great risks hurting people a very real way.

Do you know the difference between the unemployment rate and job creation? Do you know which is more important, and why? From what I can see, you are uninformed, but pretending to know what you are talking about. It misleads people, it is irresponsible, and you can hurt people by pretending to know, all in a tawdry effort to score political points.

Posted by: phx8 at September 24, 2006 5:05 PM
Comment #183669

Ah, that was humor? Sorry, I’ve read you making similar generalizations, albeit minus the pysch talk, before.

Posted by: Trent at September 24, 2006 5:33 PM
Comment #183670

M. said: “(In fact, I predict a new round of allegations based on a Bush/Big Oil conspiracy to lower prices to win elections.)”

You bet. With good reason too! Here are some facts. This administration maintained billions of dollars in giveaways via lease subsidies to oil companies during this period of their highest profits ever in the history of the industry.

The irony is that Middle Eastern governments will also benefit if Republicans remain in office, as continued restraint of alternative energy development and conservation means higher profits for the OPEC ministers. Boosting output at this time is in their interests. After the elections, with Republicans holding the majorities, look for a pull back in output by OPEC, shorting supply, driving up profits.

Fact is oil companies can drop the price around election time without suffering, and have a vested interest in doing so.

Another fact: Analysts of the oil supply and demand markets generally agree prices will spike again at the end of this year or in early 2007, and will continue to increase slowly as demand by China, India and other emerging industrial and technological middle classes rise.

What does this mean? It means prices will rise again shortly after the elections are over, for this reason, as well as OPEC decisions on output volume.

Coincidence? You be the judge. I personally don’t believe in billion dollar coincidences. Oligopolies now have immense power in the halls of government via lobbyists and campaign financing deep wells of wealth. It is naive to say the least to believe that such forces do not accomodate political policy for mutual benefit between the heads of the oligopolies and the heads of government.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 24, 2006 6:21 PM
Comment #183675

David Remer,

Ditto your last comment. As I wrote in another thread relating to the money we have spent in Iraq, but it applies here too:

Where would we be if we had spent that money on homeland security and energy efficiency, alternative energy, and carbon neutral fuels. Our economy would be booming with new investment, productivity gains, new high paying jobs, fiscal responsibility, and reduced trade deficits. Our dependence on foreign oil would be broken. Iraq and Iran would not have enough money to pursue WMD - nuclear or otherwise. Terrorist funding would dry up. Despotic Regimes would collapse and real democracy would have a chance to flourish in the Mideast as the Mideast went through the associated “phase change.” We would no longer need to pursue imperialistic policies to maintain a supply of cheap gas for our SUVs. Imperialistic policies that have literally indirectly caused the deaths of millions of innocents around the world. The end or at least reduction of imperialism would allow us to become honest power brokers and would take the wind out of terrorist sails by reducing the reasons for people to hate us.

That does count the peace dividend from not needing such a large military to secure the supply of cheap gas.

Posted by: Ray Guest at September 24, 2006 7:13 PM
Comment #183677

David,
When it comes to oil, there are a number of contributors to the drop.

First, it has been a mild hurricane season, and wind patterns have kept the storms away from the Gulf & its oil platforms.

Second, some of the “Peak Oil” pessimism has been undercut by a major find in the Gulf.

Third, an economy falling into recession uses less oil.

Fourth, bombing the Iranians looks more and more unlikely. It never made much sense in the first place. Efforts by the Bush administration to jump start the echo machine have, like so much else, failed miserably. Almost no one believes an attack is either necessary or desirable.

As a result, the “fear factor” has been partially washed out of the oil prices.

People following the oil situation will chalk up the decline to “supply and demand.” That arguement ignores the ease with which supply can be manipulated.

Oil prices have plunged below the 200 day moving average. In previous comments on Watchblog, I have mentioned the “fear factor” in oil, which may amount to as much as $20. Half of that factor has already disappeared. $50 seems like a reasonable base. Who knows?

What is discouraging is that the markets have taken such a ho-hum attitude towards the fall in oil prices. The yield curve is inverted because of impending recession, so there is little concern about inflation. Falling oil support this scenario.

I really, really thought the stock markets would finally, finally make a little 10% run, surpass the all-time high, and maybe climb to 12,700 DJIA as a result of stabilizing Fed Funds rates and falling oil. On Friday I pulled out, went to money markets. Oh well. I chickened out. Cluck, cluck, cluck. I hope everyone still in makes lots and lots of money. But what is going on with housing is driving the other markets- equity, debt, even commodities- and like Global Warming, declining real estate has tremendous momentum, and is very difficult to change.

Posted by: phx8 at September 24, 2006 7:19 PM
Comment #183680
You intentionally mislead people about the economy. Intentionally misleading people into thinking the economy is doing well, when it is not doing well, is lying.

Under Reagan, the stock market increased 148% in eight years. Under Clinton, it increased 187% in eight years.

After almost six years of Bush economic policies, the DJIA has increased 8%.

Maybe you’re projecting. We may just see things differently.

In the short term, we are still one of the strongest economies due to relative freedom. Compare our unemployment with 1980’s or with Germany and France today.
I see goof-offs at McDonalds starting at $8/hr.
I see people with 500 credit scores getting their own homes and buying cars.
“Poor” people in America are fat, buy lotto tickets and own tvs and playstations.
Pretty damn nice economy it seems.

As for the Stock Market…ahh my specialty.
Clinton certainly had little to nothing to do with the market boom.
The rare timing of normal cyclical rotation of funds into an new industry coincided with major technological breakthroughs in chip design, networking and internet tech.
This tech boom, as a result of the massive investment into it, spread over to other industries in the US, benefiting the economy as a whole.
However, as the industry developed and matured, the wannabe companies and flaky ideas died, investment capital dried up and the tech bubble burst.

Considering this bubble along with the 9/11 and market scandals…we’ve witnessed a remarkable comeback. (Ot as a technical analyst, I’d say it was a healthy retraction after a huge runup…and a healthy base or double-bottom should be formed!)

An HONEST person educated on economic issues, would concede that Bush’s tax cuts DID provide the retention of significant capital for numerous small businesses and also created additional disposable income for the consumer base.

NOW…I DO believe there are significant MACROeconomic problems which will lead to serious economic decline.
However, those problems exist due to excessive taxation and regulation on business and individuals, as well as MASSIVE entitlement programs such as social security, medicare, medicaid which have proven to be inefficient, corrupt ponzi schemes.

Matthew, you have any idea whatsoever what is happening with housing markets. None. Please do not offer opinions if you are completely uninformed. Leaving a statement out there which suggests housing is doing great risks hurting people a very real way.
You certainly dont know me well enough to speculate on my expertise, but it would guess that YOU’re the one playing chicken knowing the vast majority of Americans had no economic education in our government schools. I have worked in that industry and have actively traded stocks and options while analyzing the fundamentals of various housing related industries for years.

Furthermore, maybe you should actually read people’s words carefully before launching into personal attacks and misrepresentations.
I never said “housing is doing great”.
What I said was that the BOOM has given many Americans huge asset gains and equity appreciation while making more Americans homeowners than ever.
BIG DIFFERENCE.

Im one of those who believes the government created an artificial housing boom in order to support a weaker economy.
While many of our friends are still dreaming of flipping their first house, Im warning them to turn off the HG-TV and pay off their debt now. I warned people to sell their Toll Brothers and DR Horton stock over a year ago when Cramer was still screaming BUY BUY BUY!!
But there’s no crisis….
No matter how overbought the market is, if buyers purchased real estate for appreciation alone, they should have sold by now and locked in profits.
It WAS a great opportunity!!
If they bought to OWN, well, then they still OWN no matter what they paid. Just pay your mortgage.

I’m also well-aware of the ridiculous underwriting standards promoted by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which irresponsibly puts unstable citizens into huge mortgage debt.
However, that isnt a Republican or Democrat issue…its a government vs. market issue.
Again, NOT a crisis.
Markets cycle…
Oh…and yes recessions are normal…simply contraction and digestion of invested capital on macroscale.
Real estate, stocks…maybe some should start building bond ladders or purchasing notes…or investing overseas.
Spend less time watching football and Amrican Idol, more time learning about finance and investment…and dont ever depend on your nanny liberal government to save you because you WILL be disappointed.

Do you know the difference between the unemployment rate and job creation? Do you know which is more important, and why? From what I can see, you are uninformed, but pretending to know what you are talking about. It misleads people, it is irresponsible, and you can hurt people by pretending to know, all in a tawdry effort to score political points.
You’re way off jack. My experience in management and securities’ analysis has made it crystal clear that job creation is destroyed by minimum wage laws, excessive regulation, protective tariffs, subsidies, excessive income and corporate taxation, entitlement programs, lawsuits and a number of other market obstructions which are usually promoted by politicians under some intended good.

Maybe try not to be such an assuming kook on your next post…I have a feeling you’ve read just enough pretentious periodicals to appear knowledgable among the disgruntled masses.
I may be more than you bargained for my friend.

Posted by: Matt at September 24, 2006 7:49 PM
Comment #183683

Ok, scrolling back up…. no, I really am in the Independents blog on Blogspot, not on Michael Savage’s or Ann Coulter’s site. I thought this kind of “liberals are just crazy” talk only belonged on the right side of this site. Let’s just keep this crap over there from now on Mr. Goldseth, ok? I got better things to do than read it

Posted by: leatherankh at September 24, 2006 8:52 PM
Comment #183684

Now now. Im actually a libertarian, but you likely didnt pay attention when I was critical of Republicans.

Then again, you and most others who responded negatively to this post, didnt bother to make a substantive rebuttal to any of the 3 issues I used to make my point….so its likely you didnt even READ the post.

When people reflexively start with the personal attacks and casting aspersions on someone…its a sure sign they are closet liberals who simply dont like being labeled as such.

Posted by: Matt at September 24, 2006 8:59 PM
Comment #183687

leatherankh, your comment to Mr. Goldseth is very out of line. This column is for Third Parties and Independents. Third Parties include Libertarians many of whose views are reflected in Mr. Goldseth’s article and comments.

Please don’t presume to tell our writers in which columns they should be permitted to write. Libertarians are an odd lot for many Republocrats because they champion many socially liberal causes and many fiscally conservative causes, making many Republocrats crazy trying to figure out which camp they are in. Fact is, they are in their own camp. Hence the third party denotion.

Posted by: Watchblog Managing Editor at September 24, 2006 9:06 PM
Comment #183688

Matt said: “When people reflexively start with the personal attacks and casting aspersions on someone…its a sure sign they are closet liberals who simply dont like being labeled as such.”

Even a cursory review of conservative comments in the right and left columns will demonstrate an equal propensity toward casting aspersions and personal attacks on someone. Let’s stop trying to categorize all liberals, conservatives, Democrats or Republicans as monolitically alike. They aren’t - which is why each party is made of factions of its own who disagree with other factions within the party.

I refer you to the passage in our Rules for Participation which reads:

This also means you may not criticize categories of people who visit and participate at WatchBlog (e.g. All Democrats are commies or, All Republicans are idiots). To be in compliance, critique of what other WatchBlog participants say, must be aimed at the points being made in their content.

Posted by: Watchblog Managing Editor at September 24, 2006 9:14 PM
Comment #183698

Matt: what three issues? The psychosis of those that don’t buy into your BS?

As to Valerie Plame …who cares, it’s over get over it.If you don’t think there was an attempt to discredit Wilson’s piece on Yellowcake, well I guess you haven’t really folowed the issue and I don’t want to rehash it for you. The issue wasn’t Sadam’s attempts to start a Nuclear program, it was the imaginary mushroom cloud from Rice.

As to Gas prices are you saying that it wasn’t a windfall for oil companies and OPEC? I think several people have pointed to the October effect.

As to the Economy, who was saying it was horrid? By the way, the housing boom is over. Was it as booming as during the Clinton Years or anything close?

Watchblog manager: This post was a screed and that is why there has been a reaction to it.

Posted by: gergle at September 24, 2006 10:11 PM
Comment #183701

Phx8, an inverted yield curve in the Treasury market has historically been only one predictor of a coming recession. When it has been an accurate predicter, it’s been accompanied by sharply rising short and long term long interest rates.

The Fed has not been raising rates lately, though there was an uptick this summer that has since fallen, and the current wisdom is that rates are actually coming down next year.

Posted by: Pilsner at September 24, 2006 10:45 PM
Comment #183706

Matt,

I am guessing that you are conservative, at least fiscal conservative. You seem to be very well informed on economics. I am liberal but tend toward fiscal conservatism. While I agree with at least part of what you say I sort of want to take you on, but think that I would get beat up for lack of expertise. phx8 might be a better match for you. So I don’t consider myself a match for you, but I will give you a chance to enlighten me.

You wrote:

In the short term, we are still one of the strongest economies due to relative freedom. Compare our unemployment with 1980’s or with Germany and France today.
I see goof-offs at McDonalds starting at $8/hr.
I see people with 500 credit scores getting their own homes and buying cars.
“Poor” people in America are fat, buy lotto tickets and own tvs and playstations.
Pretty damn nice economy it seems.
First as I wrote elsewhere:
Unemployment numbers are totally useless numbers under any President. They don’t tell you anything meaningful. “Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.” They don’t count the people who give up and quit looking for jobs. They don’t count the people who lose full time jobs and wind up with part time jobs, or lower paying jobs. They don’t count people on welfare as unemployed. On the other side, they don’t count cash under the table workers. They don’t count sex workers. They don’t count Rush Lardbutt’s drug dealer. They don’t count other small entrepreneurs. So what do they tell you? Nothing - absolutely nothing. They are just opiates for the mass of idiots.


A slightly more useful measure would be federal deficits as a percentage of gross domestic product but of course that also misses much of the black market.

Or trade deficit as percentage of gross domestic product. Compare Bush to Clinton by any of those measures…

There are a lot of plasma TVs in poor neighborhoods. Rush Lardbutt’s drug dealer has one.

So, I don’t think unemployment numbers mean anything. Job creation is more meaningful, but what kind of jobs? The Devil is in the details.

I agree that our economy is more free and better than Germany or France - at least I think.

You talk about how well the poor have it in this country… The massive productivity gains of the last century combined with the benefits of imperialism has certainly great abundance to the U.S. Our poor are richer than many well to do people in other countries. Scientific American magazine had an article about the fact that peoples happiness does not increase with increasing abundance once the level of basic human needs is reached. Most poor people in this country do get enough to eat and and so on. They are still unhappy. They are denied the opportunity for full participation in the economic, political, and social life of this country. They get what they need, yet they live in dangerous crime infested neighborhoods with second rate schools where their children are exposed to crime and drugs, where they are exposed to excessive pollution, and inadequate health care, where their life expectancy is lower than the general population, and see people, and images of people, all around them living the “good life.” In most cases living in the ghetto or living the “good life” is only an accident of birth. There are plenty of intelligent hard working people living in the ghetto, yet doors are closed to them that are open to you. The economy that you praise is one that increases the gap between the haves and the rest of us. So while we live in midst of abundance our “Gross Domestic Happiness” is not that high. Seeking greater equity and unity is an appropriate political goal. We should try to accomplish that without killing the proverbial goose… The kind of economy that you desire - without an estate tax - will lead to virtual royalty.

I believe in free trade. As I see it much of what is passed off as free trade is not free. For example, NAFTA, Mexico subsidizes U.S. companies to move production there by suppressing workers rights to collective bargaining, and lax environmental standards. That is not free that is a subsidy. Our military enforces imperialistic policies to maintain supplies of cheap gas but we pay for the military through taxes instead of at the pump which distorts the so called free market. We do not pay for environmental pollution when our cars add a pound of carbon dioxide per mile. Free market forces would work if they got the chance. What we have is a corporate oligarchy and they use the “free market” banner to give themselves protected and priviledged status. Example NAFTA, I was selling Digital Multimeters on eBay. Difficult to sell to Canada, or Mexico, expensive shipping - custom forms up he ying yang - duties because the meters were manufactured in China even though most of the cost was mine - the big boys don’t have that barrier. They have free trade - not me.

Posted by: Ray Guest at September 24, 2006 11:16 PM
Comment #183717

M Goldseth,
You have stated that “gas prices peaked due to numerous factors straining the normal supply demand relationship such as mideast turmoil, rapid growth in India and China, Katrina,peak season, popularity od SUv’s and trucks,crude oil trading prices,OPEC monopoly, excessive taxation and more” Why then, in your opinion have they come down 10 to 20 percent just in time for the upcoming election? The mideast is still in turmoil, China and India haven’t stopped growing, SUV and trucks are are still on the road in abundance, OPEC is still a monopoly, taxes are the same. So Katrina is a year old, peak season is over and crude trading is down. Every year peak season ends at Labor day and gas might go down a point or two. All of a sudden there is rumour of a big find in the gulf and without an ounce of additional oil being pumped prices start falling significantly.
To think the “election effect” doesn’t have merit is to discount a very real possibility. Our political and corporate leaders, as we know, are not saints and will do anything to win and hold power.
If its not politics could it be our friend from South America giving oil to the poor in this County creating havoc on the oil market?

Posted by: j2t2 at September 25, 2006 12:58 AM
Comment #183719

Matt,
“… We are still one of the strongest economies due to relative freedom…”

We want that to be true, because we value freedom. However, if economic efficiency was the only criteria, there are much more efficient models, such as fascism and corporatism. If you really want to get down to brass tacks, our economy is strong today because, in the past 200 years, we stole more, faster, and we were isolated enough from the competition to hold onto what we stole.

But here is the real crux:
“… Bush’s tax cuts DID provide the retention of significant capital for numerous small businesses and also created additional disposable income for the consumer base.”

No. The cuts were targeted towards the wealthiest member of society. Taxation on dividends stopped. As a result, small businesses never created that disposable income. Minimum wage remained low. Consumption never took off because new jobs were not created. With minimum wage remaining at its lowest real rate in 50 years, most of American society remains at the same level as it was when Bush took office (as measured by real non-supervisory wages, which covers roughly 80% of all workers).

The libertarian dream died with Bush. Cutting regulation and cutting taxation failed to spur the economy.

Now, had taxes been cut for, say, everyone earning less than $75,000, that might have spurred consumption. Consumer demand would have resulted in more revenues for businesses, which would have created jobs, and so on.

But really, Bush was never, ever about using tax cuts as fiscal policy, as a means of stimulating an economy. Bush advocated tax cuts while the economy was doing well in the election campaign; he advocated it when the economy tanked; he advocated it throughout the recovery. In other words, Bush advocated tax cuts because everyone likes to pay less, yet receive more services.

In the Libertarian dream, we would ultimately have a failed state, with little taxation and few services, but lots of freedom.

Think Somalia.

As for American Idol, I have never watched it. I have not followed football for 20 years. I subscribe to one periodical, Scientific American.

I am refinancing my house, finishing the deal in the next couple of days. On that we agree.

Your points have been addressed, at least on oil and on the economy. There is nothing new to say about the Plame controversy because 1) it is still under investigation, and 2) Knowing Armitage was the first source does not necessarily exonerate others. The political smear of Wilson and his wife deserves condemnation. Whether it was illegal or not remains to be seen. The Republican prosecutor will wrap it up on his own timetable.

Pilsner,
The consensus wisdom about falling rates next year reflects the need for the Fed to use monetary policy to stimulate the economy. Fiscal policy will not be an option, due to the gross financial irresponsibility of Bush and the Republican Congress.

Posted by: phx8 at September 25, 2006 2:24 AM
Comment #183728
refer you to the passage in our Rules for Participation which reads: This also means you may not criticize categories of people who visit and participate at WatchBlog (e.g. All Democrats are commies or, All Republicans are idiots). To be in compliance, critique of what other WatchBlog participants say, must be aimed at the points being made in their content. Posted by: Watchblog Managing Editor at September 24, 2006 09:14 PM
I was careful to generalize…which means I clearly did not say “ALL Democrats” I made a few sweeping generalizations about liberal-ISM, but I think it was clear there was a degree of humor to it, at least to those who didnt hyper-react before actually reading the post. Generalizations about ideology SHOULD be allowed and discussed…I provided 3 distinct issues to back up the generalizations I made regarding liberal tendencies. I believe it is important to highlight the TACTICS and tendencies of political ideology in order to be prepared for discourse in future political issues.

It is quite relevant.

Posted by: Matt at September 25, 2006 8:10 AM
Comment #183729
First as I wrote elsewhere:

Unemployment numbers are totally useless numbers under any President. They don�t tell you anything meaningful. �Figures don�t lie, but liars figure.� They don�t count the people who give up and quit looking for jobs. They don�t count the people who lose full time jobs and wind up with part time jobs, or lower paying jobs. They don�t count people on welfare as unemployed. On the other side, they don�t count cash under the table workers. They don�t count sex workers. They don�t count Rush Lardbutt�s drug dealer. They don�t count other small entrepreneurs. So what do they tell you? Nothing - absolutely nothing. They are just opiates for the mass of idiots.

To some extent, I agree.
Unemployment numbers, when methodology is considered, are very unscientific. However, you can use them to some extent compared relatively to past figures and other countries.

But you sold yourself short a bit opening your post. I dont care how ‘educated’ someone is…common sense makes up for a lot.
So lets speak plainly.
If you cant find a job in America, you’re likely too lazy to look
Now…instead of buying lotto tickets, Natural Light and Marlboros every week before going home after a 6-7 hour workday to watch 3 hours of sitcoms, some Americans need to work a second job to make ends meet for a while.
Or maybe spend your evenings LEARNING something that will make you more employable.

Some Americans need to cancel the cellphone, cable TV and hi-speed internet until they make enough to afford them.
Some Americans need to resist buying cars they cant afford.
And some Americans need to quit job hopping, but sticking at a job for a few years gaining various skills to move up the ladder.

It is just a partisan lie to claim that employment is an issue in America.

A slightly more useful measure would be federal deficits as a percentage of gross domestic product but of course that also misses much of the black market.

Or trade deficit as percentage of gross domestic product. Compare Bush to Clinton by any of those measures�Its hard to compare Presidents by economic numbers DURING their tenure. Most economists would agree that it takes years for many economic changes to filter down through the economy.

As I alluded to earlier, Clinton was very lucky to have been President during some strange alignment of the stars where tech breakthroughs in chip design/manufacturing, networking and internet technology coincided with massive available capital from rotating industries…leading to an unprecedented tech boom which trickled down into many US industries.

While I philosophically support free trade, there’s an argument that NAFTA and taxes worsened the normal, natural collapse of that bubble.

To blame Bush and give Clinton credit is more political pandering.

You talk about how well the poor have it in this country… The massive productivity gains of the last century combined with the benefits of imperialism has certainly great abundance to the U.S. Our poor are richer than many well to do people in other countries. Scientific American magazine had an article about the fact that peoples happiness does not increase with increasing abundance once the level of basic human needs is reached.
This is the crux of humanity’s fallability.
Look at every great culture…Greece, Rome, China, egypt, Europe, America…


Where poverty and oppression drives people to gain freedom, invent, work hard and become prosperous, once a country reaches great prosperity, the popolation grows complacent, lazy and entitled.
Then begins the game of using elected leaders to steal from your neighbors so you can have things you didnt earn for yourself.

That’s America, my friend…mostly done under the noble intentions of liberalism.
Think about all the things we believe we’re entitled to that government provides only by forcefully confiscating the wealth of your hard-working neighbors:
Education
Welfare
Food Stamps
Prescription Drugs
College grants
Housing Subsidies
Social Security. Medicade, Medicair
Public Transportation
Federal Museums
Its an addiction…Americans are the fattest, richest people on earth with plenty of opportunity, yet we hear so much about what LACK.

Now its true that corporations are playing the same game of “Loot and Redistribute”…however, my experience is that my liberal friends have a tendency to express moral outrage over corporate welfare while totally excusing the same sort of plunder from individuals.

This continued shell game is what is destroying American ingenuity, productivity, jobs, investment, etc.
This game of plunder is why the lower classes are growing and the rich get richer while the middle class disappears.
The government NEEDS a large class of POOR voters who will depend on them for the necessities…but government also needs a certain degree of wealth created by the productive class…which should remain small enough that their vote means nothing.

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship.” -Historian Alexander Tyler

Most poor people in this country do get enough to eat and and so on. They are still unhappy. They are denied the opportunity for full participation in the economic, political, and social life of this country. They get what they need, yet they live in dangerous crime infested neighborhoods with second rate schools where their children are exposed to crime and drugs, where they are exposed to excessive pollution, and inadequate health care, where their life expectancy is lower than the general population, and see people, and images of people, all around them living the “good life.” In most cases living in the ghetto or living the “good life” is only an accident of birth. There are plenty of intelligent hard working people living in the ghetto, yet doors are closed to them that are open to you.
With all due respect, people that talk like that either never BEEN to the ghetto…or they’re making excuses.

I’ve been poor, I’ve lived in a 1982 Toyota Tercel and I had a period of my life where I frequented the “ghetto”…and the uncomfortable truth is that
99% of the poor in America are poor due to their own poor, compounded choices in life.
Rather than making excuses and making them feel helpless and hopeless, we should encourage them to work hard, and get OUT of the situation…it will be tough, but YOU can do it. Government WILL disappoint you and make you a slave.

I believe in free trade. As I see it much of what is passed off as free trade is not free.
Amen brother.
Maybe you have, or someday will, manage a business.
When you consider the multiple layers of hidden taxation, the vast regulation, wage laws, price caps, and various other market obstructions created by government, its no wonder busineses go elsewhere.

rather than blaming the buisinesses, perhaps we should look at why government works so hard to steal as much as they can from us and them.
(To buy our votes)

Posted by: Matt at September 25, 2006 8:52 AM
Comment #183731
M Goldseth, You have stated that “gas prices peaked due to numerous factors straining the normal supply demand relationship such as mideast turmoil, rapid growth in India and China, Katrina,peak season, popularity od SUv’s and trucks,crude oil trading prices,OPEC monopoly, excessive taxation and more” Why then, in your opinion have they come down 10 to 20 percent just in time for the upcoming election?
Because George Bush thought it was more fun being the most hated man in the world, sitting in wretched braindrain policy discussions and making puppet speeches so his oil buddies could be rich…than it would be to sit and watch baseball games while collecting the revenue? :-)

Prices dont rise forever.
At some point, the “PAIN” is unbearable and people stop subjecting themselves.
GAS—many have purchased hybrids or like me, traded in their F-150 trucks for better mileage vehicles.

The price of crude oil has been bid up by traders/speculators. Like any stock or commodity, as the price gets bid up, less people are willing to bet. eventually the buyers dry up and now everyone holding the high-priced commodity wants to sell and lock in profits.
Thats why oil has dropped from $75-60.

Now it just takes a few months for that oil to make its way here to refineries and then to gas stations where they all compete by lowering prices.

Refining capacity in the gulf is almost back to normal.
BP’s northern pipeline will be back to normal operations.
China is slowing its growth and may raise interest rates to slow it even more.
America is slowing growth as well.
There has been a huge oil find in the Gulf and it seems likely that Alaska drilling will go forth eventually.

It may be a reasonable coincidence to consider election timing, but in reality, oil is very cyclical and many in the industry would have predicted this 2 years ago.
I predicted it last year and as many here will tell you, Im no genius!

Posted by: Matt at September 25, 2006 9:03 AM
Comment #183733
Matt, “… We are still one of the strongest economies due to relative freedom…”

We want that to be true, because we value freedom. However, if economic efficiency was the only criteria, there are much more efficient models, such as fascism and corporatism. If you really want to get down to brass tacks, our economy is strong today because, in the past 200 years, we stole more, faster, and we were isolated enough from the competition to hold onto what we stole.

Americans dont love freedom.
They love SECURITY.
Thats WHY we steal…and we use government to DO the stealing from other citizens. it is the foundation of liberalism.
But here is the real crux: No. The cuts were targeted towards the wealthiest member of society. Taxation on dividends stopped. As a result, small businesses never created that disposable income. Minimum wage remained low. Consumption never took off because new jobs were not created. With minimum wage remaining at its lowest real rate in 50 years, most of American society remains at the same level as it was when Bush took office (as measured by real non-supervisory wages, which covers roughly 80% of all workers).
What a load of whining baby Bullcrap. Of course that tax relief benefits the rich far more than the average American…because THE RICH PAY A DISPROPORTIONATE AMOUNT OF THE TAXES IN THE FIRST PLACE. Rather than being greedy and envious of others, Americans should be happy that we all got a PERCENTAGE of our stolen money back and should be clamoring for more.

You, me and millions of Americans got a retroactive check in the mail.
We also saw the lowest tax brackets reduced to 10 & 15%. While that may have been only amounted to $20 a week for most Americans, $75-100 million Americans saved over $1000 a year and that is a significant amount of disposable income.
Oh…and don’t forget the tax cut on dividends…a HUGE benefit to retirees, pensioned employees and 401K participants.
Oh…and married people were happy to finally be taxed the same as those who simply shack up.
Oh… and dont forget the child tax credit was increased from $600 to $1000.
Oh…and over $20 million small businesses benefitted.

Furthermore, your lamenting of minimum wages shows that you truly lack serious understanding of economics. Virtually every study done on minimum wage shows what those with common sense already know.
When you increase the minimum wage, employers either raise prices, lay off workers or invest in technology to do the job of that worker.
Minimum wage laws make it harder for the teenager, retiree and immigrant to get entry-level jobs.

Politicians know this damn well, but bank on the economic illiteracy of Americans to screw them with good intentions. You fell for it.

In the Libertarian dream, we would ultimately have a failed state, with little taxation and few services, but lots of freedom. Think Somalia.
No, that would be anarachy. Libertarians recognize the need for JUSTICE as an inseperable component of LIBERTY.
There is nothing new to say about the Plame controversy because 1) it is still under investigation, and 2) Knowing Armitage was the first source does not necessarily exonerate others. The political smear of Wilson and his wife deserves condemnation. Whether it was illegal or not remains to be seen. The Republican prosecutor will wrap it up on his own timetable.
Well, if only such restraint were shown by the media and most Democrats. Fact is, they smeared a number of people while promoting outlandish theories which many Americans somewhat believe despite being proved to be False. You yourself just repeated that it was a ‘political smear’ when it seems that is NOT the case…that Wilson HIMSELF is the liar….and you keep repeating mantras. Posted by: Matt at September 25, 2006 9:33 AM
Comment #183740

WOW!!!


All this psychobabble is giving me a headache. Instead of arguing the finer points of whose regime outpaced the other, perhaps a frank and honest discussion on how fed up the average voter is of elitists arguing points that will make no difference to them in the voting booth.

Does Jim from Jim’s Mobil on the corner give the slightest bit of weight to which economic indicator is the more useful in determining the eventual worth of futures purchased in an artifically inflated market? Not likely.

He wants to know what you can do to keep his doors open and his family fed. He wants to know that, in 15 years when he retires, all the money he paid in to social security (15.3% for a small business owner) will be there to help him and his wife keep their home for retirement. He wants to know what you will do to keep his taxes reasonable so he can afford to expand his workshop to 3 bays instead of 2.

All this talk is all well and good, and I’m sure it will help each of you sleep at night. But the fact of the matter is that it is for your own edification, not Jim’s.

Unfortunately, this is the same problem both major parties are experiencing right now, though I am still not convinced they know it. They can speak over the tops of their constituent’s heads to make themselves look knowledgable and worthy of a vote, but if they are not passing laws or administering public policy in a way that benefits those who are voting for them, they ought to be kicked in the ass out the door.

Value your vote. Vote for those who will perform, not just talk. Good luck deciding which is which.

Posted by: Chi Chi at September 25, 2006 10:58 AM
Comment #183741

Incidentally, this is why I predict a significant turnover in Congress/Senate this cycle. People are tired of asking a straightforward question and getting a theory-laden, partisan, argumentative, defensive answer that leads them no where.

Posted by: Chi Chi at September 25, 2006 11:07 AM
Comment #183753

Well said, Chi Chi. I think you’re right. No matter what is happening on Wall Street, things are mostly in the toilet for the folks on Main Street — and have been for some time.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 25, 2006 12:50 PM
Comment #183755
All this psychobabble is giving me a headache. Instead of arguing the finer points of whose regime outpaced the other, perhaps a frank and honest discussion on how fed up the average voter is of elitists arguing points that will make no difference to them in the voting booth.
Well, that’s the problem in a nutshell. Jim doesn’t care about the finer points of economics, the historical record and personal liberty. Ironically, while admittedly ignorant, Jim votes anyway. Therefore, he is a pawn to the politician who can make the most convincing promise to nanny him…and Jim doesn’t give a flying F$#% if it involves taking more money from other people.
Does Jim from Jim’s Mobil on the corner give the slightest bit of weight to which economic indicator is the more useful in determining the eventual worth of futures purchased in an artifically inflated market? Not likely.
Maybe not in terms in his gas sales because there is so much competition that the profit margins are tiny and the demand is high. he’ll make his money. However, he will care about how those futures prices effect his power bill and shipping costs on his soda, cigarettes, beer, porno and other high profit-margin goods.

So, had Jim been financially saavy, he WOULD be interested in these indicators so that he could hedge the potential price inflation with options on oil and gas stocks or commodities.

He wants to know what you can do to keep his doors open and his family fed. He wants to know that, in 15 years when he retires, all the money he paid in to social security (15.3% for a small business owner) will be there to help him and his wife keep their home for retirement. He wants to know what you will do to keep his taxes reasonable so he can afford to expand his workshop to 3 bays instead of 2.
Maybe Jim will put 2+2 together, realize that government failed him in that Ponzi scheme of Soicial Security, screwed him in taxes…and maybe he’ll consider that it would be best to get the government the hell out of his business and the related industries.
All this talk is all well and good, and I’m sure it will help each of you sleep at night. But the fact of the matter is that it is for your own edification, not Jim’s.
Well, Jim makes his own bed by voting for politicians and their economic promises when he doesnt have a dman clue what they’re talking about.
Oh, and he made my bed too.
Thanks a pantload Jim…pour me another slurpie.

(Was it Mencken who said that democracy was the worship of jackals by jackasses?)

Posted by: Matt at September 25, 2006 1:29 PM
Comment #183763

“Maybe Jim will put 2+2 together, realize that government failed him in that Ponzi scheme of Soicial Security, screwed him in taxes…and maybe he’ll consider that it would be best to get the government the hell out of his business and the related industries.”

Or maybe Jim will put 2+2 together, and decide he really doesn’t want every city and town in America to resemble Calcutta.
In fact, having a lot of homeless old folks and assorted beggars hanging around, or trying to use his restroom because they don’t have one of their own might become an enormous liability for his business.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 25, 2006 2:11 PM
Comment #183768

Good post, Matt. Before I finished reading it I was chuckling to myself about how loudly the lefties woould howl at getting their tails pulled. They didn’t disappoint. I can’t wait for your piece on the Republicans.

Posted by: traveller at September 25, 2006 2:35 PM
Comment #183772

Matt,

Thanks for the detailed response. I will reread it again later and meditate upon it. As a liberal, I philosophically disagree with some of your conclusions but I find no obvious flaws in your logic at first reading and am hard pressed to find effective arguments to the contrary - at the moment at least.

It certainly is the case that people need to take personal responsibility for their own life choices and circumstances. A metaphorical example of that would be: I like - like everyone to one degree or another - grew up in a dysfunctional family and was - like everyone to one degree or another - abused, abandoned, and neglected - boohoo. I could analyze that and show how that led me to be how I am. My parents could do the same. You should see how they grew up. I could get on the pity pot and cry and blame. What difference would it make? Who cares how I came to be the way I am? I am the way I am. I can wallow in self pity or take responsibility for the way that I am. It appears on the surface, at least, that I was born on to this festering scab on the ass of the universe that we call earth, through no choice of my own. I did not deserve some of the experiences that I have had here. But I freely chose my responses to those experiences and I am how I am. Until I own my life, myself, and my choices, I will not be able to change anything. If I have a problem that is too big for me to handle; then, from the 12 steps, I need to own that I have a problem, admit that I cannot handle it, and seek help beyond myself. It is my problem. I need to take responsibility for it. Wallowing in self pity does not help.

In 1956 my father had a broken neck, a broken back, was paralysed form the waist down, and his hands were paralysed. He walked again because a mean nurse told him to get up off his ass and walk - that - and my brother and I provided years of range of motion physical therapy. He needed help, he got the help he needed, but he did it.

Accordingly the poor will not find their way out of poverty until they take personal responsibility for their life circumstances. We cannot rescue them. On the other hand, they do need help and we should not deny them the help that they need.

Posted by: Ray Guest at September 25, 2006 2:44 PM
Comment #183776

Well, that’s an interestig logical fallacy you’ve created there.

I would encourage Jim to go visit LA, San Francisco, Washington DC, Newark, and a few more big cities in those states with liberal social policies.

Or maybe Jim will put down the Playstation and read a history book in order to review the consequences of socialist policies in Russia, China, Europe, central America and every other place where its been a failure.

Or maybe Jim will continue believing in his pipe dream so he can feel better about using the government as a third party thief, robbing his neighbors every week, making it harder for THEM to get by.

Posted by: Matt at September 25, 2006 3:33 PM
Comment #183778

Matt,

“Well, that’s the problem in a nutshell. Jim doesn’t care about the finer points of economics, the historical record and personal liberty. Ironically, while admittedly ignorant, Jim votes anyway. Therefore, he is a pawn to the politician who can make the most convincing promise to nanny him…and Jim doesn’t give a flying F$#% if it involves taking more money from other people.”

Thank you for proving my point. Elitists look down their noses at those who are less educated, less advantaged and less informed. If you are not among the elite, you are a “pawn” and just looking for a handout regardless of who it may hurt.

Well, here’s a wake up call for you and your ilk, Matt. Jim and his contemporaries care more about others than you obviously do. The average “Jim” works his cajones off to support himself and others with an honest days work. No, he didn’t attend an Ivy League school, barely passed out of high school, but he doesn’t bilk others out of their money as many in your class so often do.

Look, I probably make more in a month than the average Jim does in a year. I watch the market, take my shots, and hope for the best like most people. I vote without fail. Many of the Jim’s of the world are my friends, though I out-income them 10 to 1 and have far advanced formal education than they could even dream of. But I also know what side my bread is buttered on. I couldn’t generally give you two spits for my broker, but I’d give my left arm to help Jim out of a jam.

Thanks again, Matt, for the post that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that what I feel and live to be true. I am a fiscal conservative, recovering Republican operative. Your highbrow attitude about the backbone of this country is very telling.

Thanks, Adrienne, for the support.

Posted by: Chi Chi at September 25, 2006 3:37 PM
Comment #183779
Thanks for the detailed response. I will reread it again later and meditate upon it. As a liberal, I philosophically disagree with some of your conclusions but I find no obvious flaws in your logic at first reading and am hard pressed to find effective arguments to the contrary - at the moment at least.
I think that’s because we both agree that there is a need and a duty for charity in this world.

However, I believe charity is the duty of PEOPLE, FAMILIES and COMMUNITIES. I think you’re inclined to seek government as a solution.

However, I think the whole KEY to PRIVATE charity is that it establishes a bond between individuals and those in need.
1-When people are willfully giving their own time and money, they are more likely to use good judgement in deciding who is truly in need, are more likely to hold them accountable, and are more likely to offer the personal relationship, encouragement that lies in stark contrast to the stale, impersonal dependency of government welfare.

2: The recipients of charity are more likely to find incentive and motivation to get back on their feet, even when it is a struggle, when they KNOW and feel obligated to those who’ve extended charity.

Furthermore, by ceding the responsibility of charity to the government, the population begins to feel its “not their problem”, leading to a nasty cycle of inefficiency, fraud, corruption, dependence and yes….poverty.

I believe that’s precisely what we have today in American social programs.

Posted by: Matt at September 25, 2006 3:57 PM
Comment #183780

Matt,

“Or maybe Jim will continue believing in his pipe dream so he can feel better about using the government as a third party thief, robbing his neighbors every week, making it harder for THEM to get by.”

With every word you speak, you solidify both your and my place. Do you actually listen to yourself? Are you reading what you write? Is this just a regurg of a website somewhere? You sound so bitter about the world in general.

Perhaps Jim can help you understand how to get past these personal demons you seem to have and show you the value of hard work. He does, in fact, rely on himself. You know, page 814 of your economics textbook. The self employed pay a higher portion of tax than anyone else, if they are successful. What your elitist textbook isn’t going to instruct you on is what the Jims of the world have known from day one. Hard work pays.

So, before you label small businessmen (you know, Matt, the creators of jobs) as ignorant, lazy, etc., perhaps you could learn a lesson from him. Come out from behind the rhetoric and roll up your sleeves. Find out how the vast, vast majority of the US lives before you pass judgement from on top of that high horse. Watch the backbone of America at work. It’s what gave you the right and ability to spew your common man targeted vitriol.

Posted by: Chi Chi at September 25, 2006 4:02 PM
Comment #183782

Geez…some of you are so hysterical and quick to judge when someone disagrees with you. ;-)

Thank you for proving my point. Elitists look down their noses at those who are less educated, less advantaged and less informed. If you are not among the elite, you are a “pawn” and just looking for a handout regardless of who it may hurt.
I certainly didnt make your point. In fact, your assumptions are completely opposite of reality. Elite…bwahh…hahhahahh. Oh, thats good.
I grew up lower/middle class.
I dropped out of college after 3 years of psychobabble.
I’ve eaten lots of spam and dry milk.
I make less than $40-50K per year and am happy with it because my job allows me a lifestyle Im not willing to sacrifice.
I own one suit and it doesnt fit.

Despite your sad attempt to mischaracterize me, rather than discuss our differing philosophy here, my opinion of “JIM” has nothing to do with how much he makes. Plenty of working class people….LIKE ME…do believe that voting is NOT A RIGHT, but a RESPONSIBILITY…part of which is being informed on the issues that are changing our lives.

I suppose I was “disadvantaged” when I grew up wearing my uncles hand-me-down clothes and eating Hamburger Helper and Puffed Rice.
I suppose I was disadvantaged when I lived in my 1982 Toyota Tercel and showered in a Bally’s.

So I dont look down on those who are ‘disadvantaged’, but maybe I DO look down upon those that compounded their DISADVANTAGE with poor character by trying to justify stealing from others.

While you patronize the “disadvantaged” and enslave them with your well-intentioned government handouts leaving them in a cycle of dependency, I would PERSONALLY extend charity to those in need, or refer them to someone who can, while encouraging them to seek self-reliance lest they be a lifetime poverty victim of government charity.

However, many people find it better to say something that sounds good while doing something easy…even if its utterly ridiculous and futile, than to speak the uncomfortable truth and do the right thing.

Posted by: Matt at September 25, 2006 4:49 PM
Comment #183786

Chi Chi.
I really think you need to take a breath and actually read what I write before accusing me of things are easily refuted.

In at least 3-4 places on this thread when rambling about economics and taxation, I alluded to MY own support for the self-reliant and small businesses.
However, even Jim has to be consistent and is fair game when he abuses his vote to pilfer the private wealth of other citizens.

Why does this simple concept make you so angry.
It is wrong to steal from people…even if government does the dirty work.

Posted by: Matt at September 25, 2006 5:12 PM
Comment #183789

Matt,

Taking things a bit personally are we?

“Despite your sad attempt to mischaracterize me, rather than discuss our differing philosophy here, my opinion of “JIM” has nothing to do with how much he makes.”

And my opinion of elitists have nothing to do with what they make, but with what they impose on others.

“I certainly didnt make your point. In fact, your assumptions are completely opposite of reality. Elite…bwahh…hahhahahh. Oh, thats good.
I grew up lower/middle class.
I dropped out of college after 3 years of psychobabble.
I’ve eaten lots of spam and dry milk.
I make less than $40-50K per year and am happy with it because my job allows me a lifestyle Im not willing to sacrifice.
I own one suit and it doesnt fit.”

Regardless of your past, your current attitude stands on it own merit, or lack there of. It is amazing to me, frankly, that coming from your roots, you can be so out of touch with the plight of middle/lower economic classes. Do you really think that these people can afford to abandon the money they are forced to pay into SS and strike out on their own?

I have been blessed with greater opportunities than most, and am thankful every day for it. Perhaps you should take your own advice and spend some time in inner cities as I do. But actually speak with people and see what they need. These people are not crying for government hand outs as you incorrectly alledge. They beg for the tools they need to get themselves on their own feet. I suppose now you will trot out the same old tired stories of the single mothers who are rampant across our country who live to have kid after kid and live off the public dole. Well, for each of those, there are many, many honest folk who really need help. Charities do everything they can. Civic organizations contribute, but no organization, not one, has the ability for immediate action that the federal government does. It does not need to be long term, but you seem to deny any governmental intervention has value.

What would you have done for the Katrina victims? Pushed them out of the Superdome and told them to take some personal responsibility and fend for themselves?

“I suppose I was “disadvantaged” when I grew up wearing my uncles hand-me-down clothes and eating Hamburger Helper and Puffed Rice.
I suppose I was disadvantaged when I lived in my 1982 Toyota Tercel and showered in a Bally’s.
So I dont look down on those who are ‘disadvantaged’, but maybe I DO look down upon those that compounded their DISADVANTAGE with poor character by trying to justify stealing from others.”

Cry me a river. You’re preaching to the choir. I was #7 of 8 kids. You’ll get no simpathy from me. But, in your hour of need, if my tax dollars were used to give you a helping hand up, temporarily, I have no problem with that. And, to characterize SSI or SS as theft is reprehensible. To collect the money these hard working people paid in is somehow theft? Your logic is at best flawed and at worst despicable.

“While you patronize the “disadvantaged” and enslave them with your well-intentioned government handouts leaving them in a cycle of dependency, I would PERSONALLY extend charity to those in need, or refer them to someone who can, while encouraging them to seek self-reliance lest they be a lifetime poverty victim of government charity.”

I patronize no man. The difference between you and I is a matter of degree. You at the extreme, and me at the common sense level. I do not advocate handouts. I do advocate a hand up. I do extend personal charity to those in need, to the tune of about what you make in a year. The idea of charity and a hand up is precisely to help in the immediate term, and teach and instruct for the long term. To characterize it as theft, sloth, etc. is to totally miss the point.


“However, many people find it better to say something that sounds good while doing something easy…even if its utterly ridiculous and futile, than to speak the uncomfortable truth and do the right thing.”

Clearly, you do not know me. And because you do not, I will take it easy on you for this foolhearty commment. I am a seeker of truth, if you have ever read any of my posts before. The truth usually is uncomfortable. Part of the truth is that, you, as an individual, can not accomplish everything you would like to alone. The uncomfortable truth is that accomplishments you speak of cost money. The scope of need is beyond anyones ability to administer to accept the Federal government. Until there is a reasonable alternative, here we are.


Posted by: Chi Chi at September 25, 2006 5:26 PM
Comment #183791

Matt,

“However, even Jim has to be consistent and is fair game when he abuses his vote to pilfer the private wealth of other citizens.

Why does this simple concept make you so angry.
It is wrong to steal from people…even if government does the dirty work.”

Hmmmm….Why would accusing Jim of theft anger me?
Hmmmmm….

Posted by: Chi Chi at September 25, 2006 5:42 PM
Comment #183798

Chi Chi

And my opinion of elitists have nothing to do with what they make, but with what they impose on others.
Well, Im not sure you’re thinking clearly. My philosophy here generally comes down to a government which DOES NOT impose my views on other people, even if for some grand intention. Your philosophy comes down to imposing your view of charity on everyone by using the government to confiscate money against our will and then redistributing it as THEY see fit.
Regardless of your past, your current attitude stands on it own merit, or lack there of. It is amazing to me, frankly, that coming from your roots, you can be so out of touch with the plight of middle/lower economic classes. Do you really think that these people can afford to abandon the money they are forced to pay into SS and strike out on their own?
Me out of touch? You’re the one claiming you make 10x the hypothetical “Jim” while I AM “Jim” to some extent.

Maybe that’s why you fail to recognize that your government welfare traps people in a cycle of dependency and poverty. Or maybe YOU’RE the one that is the elitist, believing the poor to be wretched helpless losers, incapable of making something of themselves and therefore needing your spare change for a slice of bread. You claim to have been disadvantaged yourself, yet are so blindly arrogant that you cannot fathom that others can do what you did…..get on their feet with hard work and good character.

Perhaps Im the one offering something worth its weight in gold…the simple, unadulterated truth.
You don’t get out of poverty by signing up for some impersonal handout that barely gets you by and was stolen from other people.
No…you work hard.
You educate yourself.
You keep your pants zipped up.
You save rather than spend.
You exercise good character.

Sure, my perspective doesnt make you warm and fuzzy…it wont make you popular with snobby do-gooding liberals, but it WILL make you self-sufficient.
Your perspective makes you a dependent slave and a party to organized theft.

Problem is that you dont see past your own intentions. Do you believe you’re the first to consider “helping” Katrina victims by bailing them out? Did you also stop to think that, your bailout is what leads people to rebuild IN A HURRICANE ZONE BELOW SEA LEVEL, leaving them in the wake of the next big one? How many Katrina victims died or lost everything because their families rebuilt in the same damn place after the last hurricance?
And how much money was pilfered by beauracrats and citizens committing fraud…meanwhile Jim is struggling to pay his power bill because 40% of his paycheck was taxed?

Its like the naive parents who let their 16 year old daughter drink and have sex as long as its at home…”cuz they’re gonna do it anyway”…and lets them live at home, unemployed, until they’re 27 years old.

What would I do?
Contrary to your suggestion, I never claimed that people dont need help. But that help should be given of one’s own free will, using their own judgement to determine who and to what degree that help is needed.

I’d help them get back on their feet, feed them and help them relocate in a SAFE place. If you want to live in tornado alley, hurricane zone or on a volcano, be prepared to run because nobody is coming to save your ass. Sure…doesnt sound nice, but how many die because the comassionate government failed them….AS IT ALWAYS DOES?

Best of all, my good intentions dont come at the point of a gun….forcing you to hand over your money if you disagree with my ideas.

You say you’re the common sense ideologue and Im the extremist.
At the most basic level, your ideas involve STEALING FROM OTHER PEOPLE and putting people in dangerous or unproductive situations all for the sake of patting yourself on the back for SOUNDING compassionate.
Thats pretty extreme IMO.

Posted by: Matt at September 25, 2006 6:46 PM
Comment #183825

Chi Chi, all very good posts. But personally I’ve found it next to impossible to get through to most Libertarians about issues of compassion or responsibility toward their fellow citizens. I never have here in this blog, and have only twice with people I met in person — during my entire lifetime. (And one of those people had a personal tragedy before finding that he agreed with me.)
When talking about Social Security, Libertarians always call it stealing, regardless of the fact that we’ve all payed into it so that if we fall on very hard times, we won’t find ourselves totally and completely destitute.
Libertarians instead prefer to talk only about charity, yet will often refuse to look back at America’s past before we had a federally run social safety net. They don’t like to acknowledge that charity wasn’t enough even then (when the country had far less people), or that absolute horrors were endured by too many of our citizens — old, young, infirm and disabled.
They’re so sold on Libertarian ideals that they hate it when anyone tells them that their vision of America is sure to look a lot like the Great Depression, leading eventually to a Dickensian, or even Calcutta-like travesty for a very large percentage of Americans. A nation where the comfortably well-off learn to look with a prejudiced, callous eye on teeming hoards of suffering people, as well as on those who are entirely helpless — namely, the children of those people.

Btw, I think that Neocons have a lot in common with Libertarians in this regard. Yet another reason why I don’t think they can rightfully be classified as Conservative.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 25, 2006 9:33 PM
Comment #183841

Rarely can one say so little with so much.

You managed to dodge every single specific point raised in this thread…while throwing in the token “NeoCon” tag as well.

The last gasp of a stymied partisan.

Posted by: Matt at September 25, 2006 10:41 PM
Comment #183852

Matt:
“Rarely can one say so little with so much.”

Oh it’s not all that rare, just look at the size of your own posts in this thread.

“You managed to dodge every single specific point raised in this thread”

:^) Oh, you mean how I’m suffering from a syndrome and a Repressive/Displacement Disorder? LOL! Besides, Chi Chi scored all the points, while you just reguritated a bunch of hackneyed Libertarian lines.
Just my opinion.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 25, 2006 11:11 PM
Comment #183858

Opinions are like a55holes. We all have em and most are sh1tty.

When you’d like to make a specific rebuttal to any comments I’ve made….starting maybe with those in the original post, have at it.

Otherwise, just keep waving your pompoms and chanting NeoCon. Just be sure to send the monthly payment on your government education loan to my listed address.

Posted by: Matt at September 25, 2006 11:40 PM
Comment #183859

Adrienne,
The reason libertarian thinking sounds so off-key is precisely because it is off-key. It represents the thinking of a developmentally arrested adult.

As a philosophy, libertarianism is in tune with the stage of development common in, say, a 15 year old. It is a necessary part of development. A fifteen year old is at that critical stage of moving from childhood to adult, from dependency to independence. We all negotiate the transition with varying degrees of success. Some overcompensate. Some transfer their discovery of newly found independence into a fundamentally immature belief that nothing exists but this newfound independence. The family, parents, the old regime of dependence no longer matter. Not only are these neo-natal libertarians overwhelmed by their newly discovered freedom, they cannot imagine the future dependencies most of us experience in adulthood: love, marriage, and childrearing, and the contributions of wisdom which the elderly offer are simply beyond the developmentally retarded awareness of the libertarian.

This is why it always sounds off-key, and perhaps unintentionally cruel.

A perfect illustration of the discordance can be seen in the writings of Ayn Rand. Pick a sex scene in one of her books- any sex scene. It is a howling indictment of just why libertarianism feels so out of touch.

Posted by: phx8 at September 25, 2006 11:50 PM
Comment #183866

phx8,
I can’t argue.

Matt:
“just keep waving your pompoms and chanting NeoCon.”

Will do, Matt. I think liberals DO have to be a little more enthusiastic at the moment. And yes, we’re turning the word Neocon into a dirty word, just like they tried to do with the word Liberal!

“Just be sure to send the monthly payment on your government education loan to my listed address.”

Trying to be as obnoxious as possible, eh? Well, sorry to dissappoint, but I never had any education loan. Not even help from the parents. It was all my own hard work and scholarships all the way.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 26, 2006 12:55 AM
Comment #183871

Matt,

As usaul I agree with Addrienne here. You make some good points about charity, although receiving charity as a child was the worst thing that ever happened to me. Many people give give charity out of love, but talk about the ultimate way of telling someone they are a pathetic loser. If charity does not teach you learned helplessness - nothing will - either that or it will send you to the other extreme - just as bad. Anyhow, if you create a huge class of people dependent on charity people will do what you are already doing and say why don’t those lazy bums get off their asses. I look at the neediness in the world and I am already overwhelmed. I don’t give money to beggers. They are mostly a bunch of drunks and drug addicts. On the other hand coming back from the Feb 4Th protest in DC, I found a guy sleeping in the parking ramp elevator in Ann Arbor. There are needy people out there. Many beggers are con men. If you got your way there would be even more con men. And we would all have to harden our hearts against the needy to protect ourselves from the con men. The charity that I received as a child sent me the other way. You will think that is a good thing. If you got your way and I fell upon hard times - no unemployment benefits - OH I would not beg on the street - NO - I would kill you and take yours. Is that the kind of world that you want to live in? You really want a dog eat dog world? You might be the dog that gets eaten.

Posted by: Ray Guest at September 26, 2006 1:49 AM
Comment #183914
Adrienne, The reason libertarian thinking sounds so off-key is precisely because it is off-key. It represents the thinking of a developmentally arrested adult.

As a philosophy, libertarianism is in tune with the stage of development common in, say, a 15 year old. It is a necessary part of development. A fifteen year old is at that critical stage of moving from childhood to adult, from dependency to independence. We all negotiate the transition with varying degrees of success. Some overcompensate. Some transfer their discovery of newly found independence into a fundamentally immature belief that nothing exists but this newfound independence. The family, parents, the old regime of dependence no longer matter. Not only are these neo-natal libertarians overwhelmed by their newly discovered freedom, they cannot imagine the future dependencies most of us experience in adulthood: love, marriage, and childrearing, and the contributions of wisdom which the elderly offer are simply beyond the developmentally retarded awareness of the libertarian.

Now THAT was good humor. Glad someone else can have some fun around here.

However, your tirade is based upon a strawman…a completely wrong-headed view of libertarian principles.

Libertarians dont promote independence from family, relationships, etceteras. In fact, it is the liberal view which LEADS to such regardless of intent.

Liberalism SPEAKS of helping people, but prefers someone else actually DO it. And in the end, the actual outcomes arent as important as the claimed intention to help.

Libertarians promotes the PRIVATE CHARITY of individuals, family and communities in order to ensure accountability and personal relationships which are crucial to help people actually build self-confidence, and self-reliance.

Liberalism meanwhile, promotes the stale, impersonal detachment of government charity which begins with taking from others against their will and then casting the poor into a hopper of lifetime poverty. This removes the obligation of private duty leading to fraud, inefficiency, a culture of poverty and a disconnected population.

Libertarianism offends many simply because it basically comes down to simple morality that Mom taught: You’re free to do whatever you like so long as you dont violate someone else’s rights. That doesnt mean you’re exempt from consequences.
Liberals seem to think you should be free to do whatever you like, and be excused from consequences when your decisions lack character or common sense.

Most poverty in America has poor character and/or poor choices as a main component. Therefore, charity, as a redeeming force, should NEVER begin with a GREATER moral transgression such as taking from others against their will.
Liberalism generally implies that you should be able to have what others have even if it means TAKING it from them by the point of government’s gun.

Posted by: Matt at September 26, 2006 8:57 AM
Comment #183936

Adrienne/phx8:

You know, it is not often I agree with the two of you. But on this point, you are right on.

After reading Matt’s initial post, I was just about to agree with some of his points, until the blast on SS being theft, the poor are thieves, etc. tirade. Extremists should listen to themselves sometimes instead of just plowing ahead with verbatim quotes from their party daily talking points.

Matt could have been taken seriously if he had simply left it at, “we should help our neighbors from our own pocket as much as we can.” Instead, the usual blast about government in my pocket, the poor are thieves, SS is a Ponzi scheme, the poor are lazy, uneducated, unworthy, and just out for freebies.

It must be horable to go through life so bitter.

So, keep fighting, and I will end my contribution to this thread by saying that I as a conservative can see value to a limited involvement of government in places where legitimate help is needed. Matt’s characterizations are so extreme as to not be taken seriously. The world is not as black and white as you make it. Sweeping generalizations help no one, especially you and your Posselike arguements. It is precisely why your party has so limited a future.

Posted by: Chi Chi at September 26, 2006 10:38 AM
Comment #183939

One last comment.

“Most poverty in America has poor character and/or poor choices as a main component.”

More of the same. Adrienne is right. When this kind of crap is at the center of your supporting evidence, intelligent discourse is impossible.

Best of luck, Matt, in selling this “pant load.”

Posted by: Chi Chi at September 26, 2006 10:41 AM
Comment #183951
Chi Chi: After reading Matt’s initial post, I was just about to agree with some of his points, until the blast on SS being theft, the poor are thieves, etc. tirade. Extremists should listen to themselves sometimes instead of just plowing ahead with verbatim quotes from their party daily talking points.
I didnt actually WANT to hammer you with common sense and accuracy, but you’ve shown yourself incapable of it on your own….including this sentiment as well. I don’t know you well enough to assume you’re a liar, so Im hoping you’re just emotional. I didn’t say SS was theft. I didnt say the poor are thieves. I didnt say the poor are lazy, uneducated, unworthy, and just out for freebies.

I DID claim, unapologetically, that most poverty in America is due to poor choices. Get a job…or 2, stay with it, save rather than spend, wait until marriage to have sex and children. You’ll be fine. MOST “poor” people (in America), my past experience included, didnt do these things.

I also unapologetically say that taking money from other people against their will is STEALING, no matter how you sugarcoat it.
I dont think the POOR are thieves….I just think they never consider WHERE the money from welfare programs comes from…and they’re taught that they are ENTITLED to it.

US Taxpayers spent $477 billion on FEDERAL povety programs last year, state and local not included.
Given a 12% poverty rate, that means we are giving almost $13,000 to every single “POOR” person

Now….considering that the government defines poverty based on income alone, inaccurately labeling teenagers, college students, retirees, etc as poor, and recognizing that the “poor” in America have color TV, cable, internet, shelter, cars and dont go hungry, its unacceptable that so much money is spent and poverty still exists.

Obviously there’s enormous waste, fraud and the poor who LEGITIMATELY need help are still destitude.

Its a shame you simply cant recognize that my disagreement lies in acute observation of reality and the acknowledgement that WELFARE DOESNT WORK.

You seem not only incapable of admitting the obvious, but insistent on attacking the character and motive of anyone who disagrees with you.

Instead of misrepresenting me and attacking me, you could simply tell us how much more money you need to take from our paychecks every week to solve the poverty problem.

Posted by: Matt at September 26, 2006 11:36 AM
Comment #183958

Sorry, just couldn’t resist slapping Matt with a little “reality” of his own.

“I didn’t say SS was theft. I didnt say the poor are thieves. I didnt say the poor are lazy, uneducated, unworthy, and just out for freebies.”

and yet;

“Most poverty in America has poor character and/or poor choices as a main component.”

and,

“Or maybe Jim will put down the Playstation and read a history book in order to review the consequences of socialist policies in Russia, China, Europe, central America and every other place where its been a failure.”

and,

“Ironically, while admittedly ignorant, Jim votes anyway.”

and,

“Spend less time watching football and Amrican Idol, more time learning about finance and investment”

and,

“At the most basic level, your ideas involve STEALING FROM OTHER PEOPLE “

and,

“impersonal detachment of government charity which begins with taking from others against their will”.

Seems you should spend a little more time reading your own posts.

“Obviously there’s enormous waste, fraud and the poor who LEGITIMATELY need help are still destitude.”

Finally, a glimpse of common sense. The government is not perfect. Nor are the standalone charities (ie, the Red Cross scandal). But, in the cases where immediate massive assistance is needed, not one of the largest independent charities could pull off anything close to what the Feds could. Simple common sense, Matt.

“…the “poor” in America have color TV, cable, internet, shelter, cars and dont go hungry, its unacceptable that so much money is spent and poverty still exists.”

Clearly, your experience with the “poor” is considerably different than mine. I don’t know “poor” people with these material things. The poor I help have no homes, clothes, food, income, tv, cable, internet, etc. Where are these poor people, Matt? Beverly Hills?


“You seem not only incapable of admitting the obvious, but insistent on attacking the character and motive of anyone who disagrees with you.”

It’s only because your motives are so twisted and reasoning so disjointed. Honestly, Matt, you make yourself a very easy target.


So, again, best of luck with your pant load of “common sense.” I look forward to the fruits of your labor.

Posted by: Chi Chi at September 26, 2006 11:56 AM
Comment #183964

Every line you just posted reinforced the fact that you misrepresented what I ACTUALLY said.

Its become clear that you’re one of the internet trolls who, being enamored with fantasy and lacking reason, long ago gave up the debate to litter the thread with tangents, hostilities and misrepresentations.

Posted by: Matt at September 26, 2006 12:08 PM
Comment #184000

Chi Chi:
“After reading Matt’s initial post, I was just about to agree with some of his points, until the blast on SS being theft, the poor are thieves, etc. tirade. Extremists should listen to themselves sometimes instead of just plowing ahead with verbatim quotes from their party daily talking points.”

I actually agree with some of his points also, but yes — it’s always the extremeness — the cut and dried quality of their sentiments — that so turn me off about the Libertarian message. I think it turns most people off too, because life just isn’t as neat and tidy as they assume it should be, and people simply aren’t usually that cold at heart.
On top of that, he’s done his best to lump together, and demonize Liberals in every way he possibly can. For instance:

“Liberalism meanwhile, promotes the stale, impersonal detachment of government charity which begins with taking from others against their will and then casting the poor into a hopper of lifetime poverty. This removes the obligation of private duty leading to fraud, inefficiency, a culture of poverty and a disconnected population.”

Well excuse me, but I have no interest in seeing this happen at all. I think liberals are far more practical and fiscally conservative than this, and definitely more than we have been historically. Liberals aren’t interested in continuing social programs that haven’t proven to truly help the poor, and we don’t wish to aid anyone in a scheme to rip off Americas taxpayers. (Especially since Congress has been doing such a successful job with that.)

That’s the thing about progressives, we’re not afraid of changing our minds, or switching gears or ideas when things clearly aren’t working. We want the kind of change that is going to be effective, that actually HELPS and motivates the most people. This can take many forms: time limits on welfare while people are gaining education or job training. Small business loans, or possibly small grants. Help with the costs of daycare if needed, while people are in that process of trying to pull their lives together and stand on their own two feet. Drug and alcohol programs for homeless people, and vouchers for housing instead of handing them money. And addressing the one thing that everybody among the middle class and the poor really needs: affordable heathcare. This is the direction that Liberals have been heading in — a far more practical one — but it’s just so much easier to act like all we believe in is a free ride on the government (taxpayers) tab.
It just isn’t true.

People like Matt want to call us socialists, but we’re not, we’re American liberals who strive and work hard, and own businesses, and raise families and do the same things that every other American does. We just don’t want to watch while a certain class of rich people continue to prosper like they always have and always will, while the rest of the country goes to hell in a handbasket. We don’t want to live in a dog eat dog Libertarian world — because we know that world will become as dangerous for those who are doing well, as it is would be for those who aren’t.
This just common sense, to which the word liberal or conservative needn’t be attached.
Ray mentioned murder and theft. Of course that would increase in Libertarian world. So would disease (look at TB — it’s already made quite a comeback because the poor don’t have access to affordable healthcare).
Americans need to care about their fellow citizens, not just because we don’t want our people to suffer needlessly, and not just because it’s the moral thing, but because it is the good and sensible thing for all of us.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 26, 2006 1:55 PM
Comment #184028

Matt,

“Its become clear that you’re one of the internet trolls who, being enamored with fantasy and lacking reason, long ago gave up the debate to litter the thread with tangents, hostilities and misrepresentations.”

Matt, you’re priceless. I’m the emotional, angry one. Just priceless.

Adrienne,

Isn’t it amazing how someone as conservative (oo, that dirty word) as I am, and as liberal (oo, that other dirty word) can come together and advocate what is obviously common sense? Hopefully, the joining of forces is something that can be learned in Washington by both sides of the aisle, despite the intermittent high pitched squeal coming from the Libertarians.

Thank you for your efforts here and out there on behalf of those who can not do for themselves. And Matt, when your Libertarian theories give out, and you crash and burn in the anarchistic lump that society would become under your rules, I will not mind if some of my tax or charity dollars flow your way to give you a helping hand.

Posted by: Chi Chi at September 26, 2006 2:59 PM
Comment #184054

Chi Chi:
“Isn’t it amazing how someone as conservative (oo, that dirty word) as I am, and as liberal (oo, that other dirty word) can come together and advocate what is obviously common sense?”

I think it’s fantastic! I really do.

“Hopefully, the joining of forces is something that can be learned in Washington by both sides of the aisle,”

Yes. It’s so needed — but I don’t see any big change in attitude happening at the moment.

“Thank you for your efforts here and out there on behalf of those who can not do for themselves.”

Thanks, and right back at you, Chi Chi. I truly enjoyed reading your posts in this thread!

Posted by: Adrienne at September 26, 2006 3:48 PM
Comment #184063

On the CIA Leak-
Novak, Matt Cooper, Bob Woodward and Judith Miller all report being given the same classified information by Libby, Armitage, and Rove before it was common knowledge. Richard Armitage’s acknowledgment that he was the man who leaked first to Novak in no way relieves Libby or Rove of the guilt of leaking Valerie Wilson’s identity to the other reporters. Additionally, Rove did in fact confirm the information that Armitage gave to Novak, which is a form of disclosure itself. The correct answer when asked is that you cannot confirm nor deny the information. Rove confirmed.

Did Wilson lie? Well, Wilson, in his editorial, left out mention of his wife, as well he should Patrick Fitzgerald could find no evidence that either Valerie or Joe had been indiscriminate about the knowledge of her true employer. He is to be commended for not telling the world about his wife’s involvement. The Right seems to conveniently forget or inconveniently maintain the fiction that the two were a pair of loudmouths, despite all this.

Still, did he lie about the information? Bush, in his State of the Union address made no qualifications to his statement that Iraq was seeking Yellowcake for refinement into weapons-grade material. Along with his accusations of an ongoing, productive WMD program, this would imply that Saddam was close to getting the bomb. We should not forget, like many on the Right seem to have, that Bush and company openly said that the next smoking gun could be a mushroom cloud over one of our cities. Together with the exhortations to disarm Saddam so the world’s worst weapons wouldn’t fall into the hands of the terrorists, and the implication of the seeking of Nuclear material is not merely interest, which your claim might support, but an ability to attain it which makes the threat more imminent. So, properly judged in context, Wilson’s information should utterly discredit the President’s claim, if not his literal words.

We should therefore not diagnose Amnesia for the liberals, but instead assign that diagnosis to the right.

On the subject of Gas prices, the Bush administration has consistently resisted requirements of improvement in gas mileage, has been very friendly towards energy trading companies which have shown a propensity to raise prices when a guy manning the mud hoses on a rig so much as sneezes. This president has given one tax break after another to energy companies, and has apparently written policy so friendly to them, that Bush and Cheney fought tooth and nail to keep even the names of those who consulted with them on the energy policy out of public record.

Was the explosive increase in speculation and gas prices merely coincidental with the Bush administration’s policies? Somehow, the market managed to go years without spiking gas prices this high, even in the wake of other natural disasters and problems in supply.

Is it baseless to accuse this administration of being too close to the energy companies? Not when the President sees the need to add to record profits with tax breaks and other benefits. Also, there’s good evidence that these prices are largely the result of unregulated speculation, which instead of responding to the market, responds more to the whims and wishes of of those wishing to push the price up to make more money.

As for the Economy? The indexes are practically guaranteed to rise, but are doing so at nowhere near the rate they did in the 90’s. Bush has never matched Clinton’s job creation. The housing market is about to hit a bust, more people than ever have home equity loans taken out, and Average wages aren’t even keeping up with inflation (An average will smear together everybody’s salary, including those of the rich, whose contribution to the average carries more weight per individual.

There’s a word for people who are paranoid about others, who think whole bunches of folks are out to get them. There’s a word for people whose thinking is disorganized, who have delusions of grandeur, who believe that there are hidden messages in the media. There’s a word for folks who have lost touch with reality, and surround themselves with inpenetrable worlds of their own. We call them schizophrenics.

America needs to restore sanity to its government. The inmates need to go back to their respective asylums, so those that are sound of mind can restore this country.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 26, 2006 4:10 PM
Comment #184353
Chi Chi: the cut and dried quality of their sentiments — that so turn me off about the Libertarian message.
Fair enough. Much more so than implying I’m heartless and despise poor people. Now maybe we can talk like civilized folk.
“Liberalism meanwhile, promotes the stale, impersonal detachment of government charity which begins with taking from others against their will and then casting the poor into a hopper of lifetime poverty. This removes the obligation of private duty leading to fraud, inefficiency, a culture of poverty and a disconnected population.” Well excuse me, but I have no interest in seeing this happen at all.
Of course I dont believe you, or any liberal outside of those politicians depending on the votes of their poor districts, want that to happen. But I would challenge you to point out a government welfare system that doesn’t do precisely that. Really…go spend an afternoon in a welfare office. I’ve done it. THAT’s the problem…liberalism, modeled by your reaction right here…places almost all of its emphasis on INTENTION, refusing to acknowledge the CONSEQUENCES.

And for the record, that’s my comment regarding liberalISM…Im not “demonizing all liberals”.
It wasn’t easy for me, a hard-core 25-year old fire and brimstone liberal, to look at myself in the mirror, and considering that all my noble ideas regarding gun control, welfare, diplomacy, public education were actually creating situations and circumstances with equal or worse results.

But I finally just admitted that all I invested intellectually and emotionally wasn’t worth pursuing a pipe dream.

Now I know ‘progressives’ like to say they arent afraid of change like conservatives are. Thats where libertarians come somewhere in the middle.
I’m not afraid to ‘try’ new things, but its simply unacceptable to play social scientist with other peoples’ lives against their will.
Its one thing for a state to enact laws through representative legilators. Its quite another to impose such creativity on a whole population against their will if they dont agree with the experiment.

Such an atitude is what Thomas Sowell calls, “The Visions of the Annointed”.
Every society has a class of people who believe themselves to be so much wiser than the rest, that they MUST impose their views on people for THEIR sake. Benevolent tyranny is still tyranny.

Now if I could only get you to abandon the anarchy strawman.
Libertarianism is LIBERTY + JUSTICE. Libertarians desire a government, however, we want it small and restricted so we can keep watch of what they’re doing and so they can preserve the liberty of citizens from fordce and fraud of individuals and businesses.

Murder and rape would DECLINE because government wouldnt be so pre-occupied playing global diplomat, babysitter and general nanny.
Corruption and waste would decline because the obligations would be so limited and simple, Americans could easily play watchdog.

Posted by: Matt Goldseth at September 27, 2006 8:39 AM
Comment #184360

OOps..sorry bout that ^bold post!

Richard Armitage’s acknowledgment that he was the man who leaked first to Novak in no way relieves Libby or Rove of the guilt of leaking Valerie Wilson’s identity to the other reporters.
Yes it does…for a few reason. (thats why they ARENT in jail BTW).
1-Plame was not “undercover” at the time of their discussions.
2-They didn’t KNOW whether she was or wasnt.
3-Plame publicly outed herself when she made a contribution to the Gore campaign and, by IRS law, revealed the name of her employer on the filing.

YWhile admitting Wilson’s lie, you missed the big one.
The US Senate Intelligence Committee reported that Wilson in fact DID claim that Iraq had attempted to get uranium from Africa.
For him to then promote a whole conspiracy based on his LATER claim that there WAS no evidence is of the Clintonian kind.

Bush, in his State of the Union address made no qualifications to his statement that Iraq was seeking Yellowcake for refinement into weapons-grade material.
Yes he did.
He excplicitly stated that BRITISH INTELLIGENCE made the claim.
The US Senate Intelligence Committee has since affirmed that Britian stands by that claim as has the Butler Commission Report.

The only disputes to that claim are Wilson’s own contradiction and anonymous sources.

On the subject of Gas prices, the Bush administration has consistently resisted requirements of improvement in gas mileage, has been very friendly towards energy trading companies which have shown a propensity to raise prices when a guy manning the mud hoses on a rig so much as sneezes. This president has given one tax break after another to energy companies, and has apparently written policy so friendly to them, that Bush and Cheney fought tooth and nail to keep even the names of those who consulted with them on the energy policy out of public record.
OK.
Youy call it resisting when Bush doesnt impose arbitrary standards on a whole industry. Oncve again back to unintended consequences.
1-Until alternative energy is cheap and reliable enough to integrate intom an industray as large as automobiles, mileage standards are reached by methods with drawbacks. the most obvious is by making smaller and lighter cars which makes them more dangerous in crashes and more expensive to repair.
2-Such vehicles aren’t as powerful which leads to many consumers who tow trailers, boats, etc to buy second vehicles

As for “friendly towards energy trading companies”, I’d have to ask for specificity. Most commodities traders are individual speculators. Many are average Joe’s like you and I who trade oil options….they drove up the prices on speculation…in great part due to the fear-mongering of politicians and partisans about global warming, Katrina, middle east crises, etc.

As for alleged “tax breaks”, those went to small businesses as well…and dont forget the 66% increase in the child tax credit, the hybrid tax credit, education tax credit, marriage penalty relief, the reduction of lowest tax brackets, etc.
Energy companies didnt make out alone, so lets stop playing these Mean Ol Greedy Mr Bush games.

As for your other economic allegations, I addressed those, with much better economic clarity, in the original post.

I think your real problem is greed and envy…maybe you dont like those who speculate, take risk, work hard and educate themselves rather than demand government dole everything out equally.

Posted by: Matt Goldseth at September 27, 2006 9:26 AM
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