Third Party & Independents Archives

Out of Touch

While running for the office of President of the United States, President Obama made a statement he thought was behind closed doors in San Francisco about voters in Pennsylvania.  We now see that this sentiment about small town America has not changed much as the President still seems taken aback at how people could possibly not want the government’s help.  It must all be a plot and manipulation by his opponents, not a rejection of the ideals he stands for.

During that meeting the President-to-be stated:

"Our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there's not evidence of that in their daily lives," he said. "You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are going to regenerate and they have not.

"And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

This is a great example of how those who believe that Government is the Answer can't understand how anyone else, especially people who so obviously need help, doesn't see the same thing.  The Government is here to help you should be a welcoming rescue, not made to appear to be a wretched curse.  How could this possibly be?

So they look for reasons.  It's their guns and religion that is holding them back from this enlightenment.  It is big business keeping them scared of government that must be doing it.  It must be racism.  It must be fears of those who aren't like them.

What they don't get is that people who live in small towns are not stupid.  They understand what is going on when the government says that they are 'here to help'.  More importantly, they understand the costs of allowing that to happen.  And they would rather live their lives as they are than to get some temporary help from the government, knowing it will have permanent costs afterwards.

Government, as they understand the truth of it, is force.  The government exists for the sole reason to enforce laws.  If it wasn't doing that, if it was a benevolent charity like Red Cross, for example, there would be no need for the power of being able to use force against the citizens.  There would be no need to write laws to accomplish their goals.  Laws are not a written guideline of how the helpers will operate, they are enforceable rules that can rob a person of their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

That was the dilemma of the founding fathers.  We needed to ensure that the US government was not dictating what people could and couldn't do, but we still needed, from time to time, to have the government enforce basic laws for the safety and protection of the citizens.  For that, we entered into an agreement that we would allow for a body of our representatives to act with a single voice to our external friends and foes and use force on our citizens only when absolutely necessary.

And that is a lot of power.  No business has that kind of power.  No individual has a chance of wielding such a power as that.  It is a power greater than anyone else can imagine and, unfortunately, it is a power that is all too tempting for people to acquire and use.

Again, the founding fathers were aware of this.  They knew that once they gave a little more power to the Federal government than was allowed for in the Article of Confederation that it was only a matter of time before people started trying to control that power as their own.

So, in order to prevent that abuse from being too tempting, they put strict, tightly-laced limits upon what the federal government could do.  The constitution, as it is written, is not a 'guideline' within which to operate, or a loose set of ideals to try to emulate.  They are the functions, and ONLY the functions, that the federal government is allowed to operate within.  Never to step out of.

Unlike many other countries, the constitution didn't list what the citizens were allowed to do and be safe from government intervention.  Instead, it lists the limits of what the government is allowed to do with its power over the citizens.  Liberty, the freedom from government intrusion into our individual lives, was paramount.  And it wasn't something that government could give, it was something we all had just by being born.

That liberty, that knowing that you are free to live your life as you want without having someone else tell you you can't, is vital for most Americans.  Especially in rural America, which still makes up the majority of the population of the United States.  THAT is what those people in those small towns are clinging to.  Not guns, not religion, but the freedom of both and a whole lot more.

When a law gets created a little more liberty is taken.  Now, sometimes that law is necessary as there is jut no other alternative.  There is no other way of achieving the results that is needed other than to enforce those rules onto all Americans.  But more often than not, they end up making things worse, having unintended consequences and almost never being repealed once in place.  Instead, the view by those who want to wield that power is that the law just wasn't written well enough, we can make it better!

Progressives and Conservatives see this power and covet it.  Progressives see it as a means to ending the woes of the downtrodden  without understanding that in order to force their views of life onto others they have to do so while taking more of their liberty from them.  Conservatives think that they are healing the ills of humanity by incarcerating anyone who violates the morals that they individually believe to be correct.  And between the two, we just end up with less and less liberty and more and more of an oligarchy.

The end result is that no one is trusted to live their lives as they want, individual responsibility is not encouraged or even acknowledged as being a necessary thing and any thought outside of those who are in charge at the time are bad for the nation as a whole.

President Obama falls into this trap.  The view that the government CAN help without harming more in the long run.  Instead of looking for solutions that ALSO respect individual liberty, we have just another politician who thinks that they know what is better for us in our personal lives.  A government who pushes ideals upon us instead of letting us come up with our own ideals and succeeding OR FAILING based on them.

That is why the left in this country appears to be so shocked at the anger that is coming at them from the liberty minded in this country.  How is it possible, they think, that these people who we are just trying to help can be so upset with us?  We are the good guys!

I heard a great comment from John Dvorak the other day.  He was making the point that the left in this country in the 60s and 70s were screaming 'Question Authority'.  Now, when they are the ones who are the Authority, they just abandoned those ideals?  We aren't supposed to question their motives, their tactics, their ideas?

There is just a limit to how much 'help' that a person is willing to accept at the cost we know it will take.  Small town America is not being duped.  And that is the real issue for those in charge now, they are unable to do the duping that they need to obtain the increased power that they covet so much.

Posted by Rhinehold at August 18, 2009 5:26 PM
Comments
Comment #286519

Rhinehold: could you give us a couple of examples of what you think are ‘good’ government laws, and which are ‘bad’? I’m interested to see where you’re going with this - I agree with some of your principles, but I wonder if you’re straying into Montana-militia territory. Also, one thing the constitution never said was that it was not to be changed - a process was put in place for that very purpose. Flexibility to meet a changing world has been good for the USA, and without abusing the constitution I feel it’s important to retain that flexibility.

Posted by: Jonathan Rice at August 18, 2009 7:01 PM
Comment #286533

Rhinehold said: “This is a great example of how those who believe that Government is the Answer can’t understand how anyone else,”

And your commentary is a great example of how a minority prefer inaction to action in tackling the accurately described plight of small town Americans, by Pres. Obama. They and their towns are threatened with becoming ghost towns with the advent of globalization and free trade policies which export jobs and a health care system that burdens American business with costs rendering them non-competitive with foreign counterparts whose businesses DO NOT foot the bill for their work force’s health care.

Reality bites, I know, but, mumbling incoherently with a mouthful of reality neither spits it out, nor swallows it. We have real challenges that will destroy us as a nation, and we have but one realistic choice, bite the bullet and tackle those challenges, or sit idly around bemoaning that one party or other is in control and therefore the destructive status quo must be maintained.

If Democrats don’t tackle our nation’s current challenges, they WON’T be addressed. That is the reality. It just doesn’t get ANY simpler to understand. Yet, a third of the population won’t accept that reality, and another third are reluctant and confused. That is a prescription for status quo disaster going forward.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 18, 2009 9:07 PM
Comment #286534

Rhinehold,

Sorry, but I agree with the truth of what Obama said. My roots are from eastern Kentucky, and PBS somewhat recently did a story on Appalachia, where Billy Ray Cyrus narrated. He accurately described the clannishness, deeply religious and independence of those Hillbillies (since I consider myself one, I’ll use the term).

The local governments are usually corrupt. Getting your road maintained involves knowing the right people. All outsiders are unwelcome. Having said all that, there are very intelligent people in those communities. They despise some aspects of the culture.

Making your notions of Appalachia fit your ideals of Libertarianism, I suspect many would find offensive. The Government has built highways into the mountains, making access to the outside world vastly different than it was even in the fifties. Schools, and Hospitals have been built, laws have curtailed the Mining Companies abuses and ecological damage. They know they never stood a chance against the wealthy Peabody Coal company, until the government stepped on the throat of the Coal magnates.

Inspite of Billy Ray’s story about the independence of the Moonshiners, most Appalachians actually don’t think to much of that culture. A lot of them are thankful for the Revenuers. There has always been a split between the upstanding locals and the corrupt and criminal Hillbillies.

Nice try, but I doubt there are any more Libertarians there than anywhere in America. It’s not as isolated as it once was, but there are still a lot of ignorant, racist folk there. I’m not sure you want them in the Libertarian party.

Posted by: gergle at August 18, 2009 9:08 PM
Comment #286536
Also, one thing the constitution never said was that it was not to be changed - a process was put in place for that very purpose.

I never suggested it wasn’t to be changed, I only expect that when changing it we use the amendment process.

Consider this. At one time we needed a constitutional amendment to make the sale of alcohol illegal. Today, we can make the possession and/or sale of marijuana illegal. What changed to no longer require a constitutional amendment for the federal government to have that power?

As for ‘good laws’. Well, laws against murder, theft, etc. Very good laws those are. Any interaction between individuals in a society may be subject to a law of some sort, though it should be considered if there is another way to achieve the goals without one.

However, when it comes to what I do with my body, on my property, where does the government get the right to regulate that, exactly?

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 18, 2009 9:48 PM
Comment #286537
And your commentary is a great example of how a minority prefer inaction to action in tackling the accurately described plight of small town Americans, by Pres. Obama.

I’m sorry, but shouldn’t that be THEIR decision, not President Obama’s? We are not talking about a minority, we are talking about a group of people living in a community who reject the help that is being forced upon them.

I’m not sure where you get your ‘minority’ bit, but even the minority in this country have the right to dominion over themselves, last I checked…

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 18, 2009 9:51 PM
Comment #286538
My roots are from eastern Kentucky, and PBS somewhat recently did a story on Appalachia, where Billy Ray Cyrus narrated.

Yes, I saw that one too a couple of years ago. I especially found the origination of the term ‘redneck’ interesting and a prime example of how resistance to corruption has become to mean ignorant and low class.

There are probably many people in Appalachia that are as you describe, I don’t live that far from there either, but isn’t it their RIGHT to live like that if they choose? What about the Amish?

It’s not that these people reject the government because they aren’t getting good help from the government, which was the suggestion by President Obama. It is that they don’t want someone with that kind of power coming in and telling people how they are going to live their lives.

And I find it it interesting that you want to use an extreme when for the most part, people who live in rural America (I am one of those people at the present time) are not as you describe. They don’t like outsiders because, for the most part, outsiders like to come in and change things to fit the type of lifestyle that they had before they came here. They want to ‘help’ everyone that they see as so in need of help when no one wants it from them. It has nothing to do with being backwater, being ‘racist’ or being a hillbilly. It has everything to do with distrusting people who say that they are coming to help you while surrounded with people with guns.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 18, 2009 9:57 PM
Comment #286547

RH
BHO’s comments were accurate. They were not disrespectful except to the very over sensitive.
“Question Authority” is still a good adage and a necessity in a democracy. There is no doubt that government can be a a burden. There is no doubt that government can be incompetant. There is no doubt that governments can be enslaving institutions.There is also no doubt that governments can be liberating institution also, witness the liberation of Europe, the civil rights actions domestically. Private institutions can also be enslaving, witness the ruthless riegn of the railroad barons and currently the necessity of working Americans to labor a week or more a month just to maintain medical insurance.
My point is that it is situational. There are ares where government does a vital job and sometimes does it well. That is what we should insist on.I suspect that if some people moved on to your 14 acres and started building homes your first response would be to contact the government for help in removing them. Among other functions, governments protect property rights. Is that enslaving?Would they use the threat of force to secure your property rights? Damned right, they would and you would be cheering.
I often hear the postal system put down. Maybe I was lucky but my US post office was friendly and efficient, certainly no more annoying than a visit to the private FedX or UPS office. Compared to many other countries the US Postal Service something to be proud of. The DMV in CA was also reasonably well run. I suppose that sooner or later,if I chose not to deal with the DMV and drove my car without registration or a drivers license and the required insurance I would have had to deal with the armed representitive of the government,the local policeman. SO?Sorry, that simply does not leave me feeling intimidated or enslaved.
A blanket condemnation of all things government makes no practical sense. Conversly overconfidence in the capacity of government to solve problems does not either.The path to the correct policy agenda is situational,it depends.

Posted by: bills at August 18, 2009 11:33 PM
Comment #286550

Rhinehold said: “Today, we can make the possession and/or sale of marijuana illegal. What changed to no longer require a constitutional amendment for the federal government to have that power?”

What changed, Rhinehold, was the Constitution. Also, what changed was the interpretation of the Constitution by challenge and lack of challenge before the Supreme Court. Folks don’t realize how much can be changed by the simple act of the Supreme Court refusing to hear a challenge from the lower courts of appeals. It is a process, a living breathing process which lives in its own time with its own current events and its own recent history in the context of a longer, more complete history.

The 14th and 16th Amendments changed the character and interpretation of the Constitution dramatically, as established by numerous tests before the S.C. The Constitution contemplated BOTH amendments and the flexibility of the Legislative Process as reviewed by a contemporaneously convened panel of Supreme Court Justices nominated, by a popularly elected president and confirmed by a popularly elected Senate (Amendments 12 and 17 respectively).

Now, there are most definitely, in our society today, government actions taking place which remain in conflict with the current Constitution and Legislated laws. And on these, like the right to a speedy trial, and the right to due process negated by unwarranted search and seizure procedures in effect today, I stand shoulder to shoulder with you and Libertarians in demanding redress before the courts. But, taking a case of Constitutional infringement through the judicial process to the Supreme Court, can be inordinately expensive, and up to half a lifetime in pursuing. Organizations like the ACLU and the Supreme Court are vastly overloaded by such petitions and have limited resources.

America is in desperate need of many things these days, besides health care reform. Judicial system reform is enormously needed. Our judicial system is still, in some ways, designed for a population of 30 million, not 330 million persons.

There is a priority to such causes. And as long as economic and health care inflation issues dominate the public consciousness as unresolved, reforms of the judicial system will be in limbo moving no closer to be addressed. That is the opportunity cost of failure to address pressing national issues.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 19, 2009 12:06 AM
Comment #286551

bills said: “Compared to many other countries the US Postal Service something to be proud of.”

WRONG! General Postmaster Porter said in the last couple weeks, by the end of this fiscal year, which is September 30th, he expects the postal service to be 7-billion dollars in debt.

Efficient? I don’t think so. To be efficient, it must pay for itself.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 19, 2009 12:13 AM
Comment #286552

“President still seems taken aback at how people could possibly not want the government’s help”

The fewer points of contact a person has with all levels of government, the happier they will be. The most useful thing that a president could do, would be to eliminate programs rather than create new ones, but that won’t happen because it would create dislocation and unemployment for those dependant on government payrolls.

“rural America, which still makes up the majority of the population of the United States. “

Huh? There was a news story the other day about the senators from UT and ND having more earmarks than PA, which has about ten times their population.

Miles laboratories, in Elkhart Indiana, used to make the Morningstar Farms products for the local Amish community. Apparently, this division was bought by Kellogs, while Miles became part of Bayer, whose US headquarters are apparently in Pittsburgh.

Tony Rezko’s house was sold yesterday, for about half price, to the bank that already owned the loan that was in default, which now owns the bank that originally made the loan. So Bank of America just lost itself a couple of more million.

If people don’t actually know the people who own the bank, or a major local employer, they might end up looking to the government for help. The government accumulates power because people are allowed to vote, their representatives all want to get a share of whatever spoils are available to get their votes, and programs don’t get eliminated when they have outlived their usefulness.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 19, 2009 12:15 AM
Comment #286553

I suffer no illusions that this will be an easy process. It will be hard. But I also know that nearly a century after Teddy Roosevelt first called for reform, the cost of our health care has weighed down our economy and the conscience of our nation long enough. So let there be no doubt: health care reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year.”

– President Barack Obama, February 24, 2009

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 19, 2009 12:25 AM
Comment #286556

Rhinehold said: “We are not talking about a minority, we are talking about a group of people living in a community who reject the help that is being forced upon them.”

You mean the same way the Peace Oriented Left wants to do away with guns and war? They are no small minority either.

We elect a president and Congress to tackle the problems that challenge the nation as a whole. Health care inflation challenges the future of this nation as a whole.

When did you suddenly become an advocate for direct democracy? I must have missed the transition.

And, yes, Rhinehold, we are talking about a minority. Americans, by a substantial majority want universal health care availability or as near to it as we can get, and for the threat of health care deficits to end. Those opposed to health care reform, PERIOD, are a minority.

If the Democrats don’t pass health care reform, NO HEALTH CARE REFORM WILL OCCUR for at least the next 8 years. The people elected the Democrats. They are the only vehicle upon which health care reform can travel. It is a simple reality. Let’s deal with reality and not get lost in wishful fantasizing about there being a Libertarian, Green, or GOP majority in government to address health care reform then.

The problem and challenge is now, and will get worse and costlier with the passage of time, if we don’t deal with it now. It is real. Burying our heads in the sand to avert our eyes to this reality will not serve any of us or our nation well going forward.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 19, 2009 12:36 AM
Comment #286558

ohrealy said: “The most useful thing that a president could do, would be to eliminate programs rather than create new ones, but that won’t happen because it would create dislocation and unemployment for those dependant on government payrolls.”

This comment demonstrates an enormous lack of appreciation for the inordinate complexity of inter-dependencies between society and its government, whether one looks at China, the U.S., Australia, or any other nation in the world today. The absence of government is anarchy. The opposite extreme is Communism. America is nowhere near either extreme, thank Buddha.

But, America is in trouble and her government and people appear close to being afflicted by paralysis, revolving around lies, misinformation, ignorance, and completely out of touch with reality ideologies perpetuated by leaders on both sides of the political aisle.

President Obama’s major, and perhaps unrecoverable, mistake in approaching health care reform was in failing to recognize that a bi-partisan effort was never going to be possible.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 19, 2009 12:51 AM
Comment #286562

Rhinehold,

And I find it it interesting that you want to use an extreme when for the most part, people who live in rural America (I am one of those people at the present time) are not as you describe. They don’t like outsiders because, for the most part, outsiders like to come in and change things to fit the type of lifestyle that they had before they came here. They want to ‘help’ everyone that they see as so in need of help when no one wants it from them. It has nothing to do with being backwater, being ‘racist’ or being a hillbilly. It has everything to do with distrusting people who say that they are coming to help you while surrounded with people with guns.

I am not talking about rural America. I am talking about Appalachia, and frankly you don’t get it. It is you who is out of touch. The clannish ways are a part of their culture. That isn’t a characteristic of rural America. It is a way of Appalachia. It is neither bad nor good, in my opinion, it just is. The distrust has nothing to do with the ideals you are trying to sell.

Redneck is a term from the South, not Appalachia.

I have no idea what you are talking about when you say they have a right to live as they choose. Moonshiner’s? No, they don’t have that right, George Washington put down a rebellion in Pennsylvania which was the origins of the Moonshiners. It was subject of the quote of Jefferson’s, about refreshing the tree of liberty. While Jefferson understood the reasons behind the rebellion, he certainly did not oppose Washington’s actions.

Most Appalachians don’t reject government. You may not live far, but your answer seems a world away. The remoteness leads to a philosophy of self reliance, not rebellion. As I’ve stated, it is no longer remote as it once was. The ignorant racists, that you seem to be promoting as representative of Appalachia, don’t represent the majority of Appalachians any longer. The educated often have moved away from the area, but still call it their home, and often return there to retire. The face of Appalachia is changing, if slowly. It seems to me you don’t want to acknowledge that culture of ignorance as the major reasoning behind Obama’s statement, but rather wish to promote ignorance as a cry for independence. Good luck with that. What you don’t seem to understand is that educated Appalachians reject that culture as well, and always have.

I tried to dispel you of that myth, but you still don’t seem to get it. You sir, are as much an outsider as Obama was. Guns or no, you would find yourself and your proclamations as unwelcome as his, and this Hillbillie found Obama’s response accurate, and your’s far afield.

Posted by: gergle at August 19, 2009 6:31 AM
Comment #286563

Rhinehold,

I want to add something. Appalachians are deeply independent, but the educated do not reject government, as I stated. It has been the saving grace of Appalachia since the Depression, although some would say a source of dependence by some of the ignorant and lazy. These people are rejected by their own culture and always have been. Families are old there. People will talk about, say, the Holidays being a family of ruffians or drunks, or the the Morgans being fine people. Most families have lived in the same “hollers” for generations, I can trace my roots back to the Revolution and my folks arriving with Daniel Boone. People know each other intimately.

All Appalachians know they can eke out a living in the hills, and that those hills can hide many secrets. They own guns because they hunt, and know they can’t rely on scattered law enforcement to protect themselves. The stupid and educated both understand this.

Osama Bin Laden uses this same clannish, mountain folk culture in Afghanistan and Pakistan to hide from US retribution, but to say that Appalachians bear any resemblance to that culture would be highly offensive.

The anti abortionist, terrorist, Eric Rudolph was protected by a few friends, but ultimately was caught by a local officer, and locals who would have shot him or turned on him in a heartbeat. His life hiding in caves, in the hills, was not a picnic.

Appalachians are as American as Kentucky Bourbon, not Anarchists seeking separation from their government.

Posted by: gergle at August 19, 2009 6:55 AM
Comment #286569

gergle - I agree with your position that Appalachians are no more libertarian than anywhere else nor are they seeking to simply be left alone and aren’t, as Ronald Reagan put it, afraid of those words “I am from the government and I am here to help.” Some are for sure, I know many of them. But there are just as many who are thankful for the federal government that imposed mine safety laws so that being an Appalachian coal miner is no longer the most dangerous job in America as it was in the early part of the 20th century. There are many that without the federal governments “extra-constitutional” programs as Rhinehold believes like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid would be ruined. There are many thankful for minimum wage as they work for quick marts and fast food restaurants to support a family because there are no other jobs as we are no longer a manufacturing society thanks to free trade and bad trade deals. There are a lot of contradictions in this culture and are often mistakenly portrayed as a monoculture. Even when they were at their most isolated before the railroads made their way into the mountains it would have been a mistake to say “most Appalachians …” While I am a transplant here (of 25 years) my wife’s family has been here as long as there have been European settlers in this area. Her family and those I have met traveling and playing music on the Crooked Road are as varied as the rest of the country.

Posted by: tcsned at August 19, 2009 9:22 AM
Comment #286573

jon

“the constitution never said was that it was not to be changed - a process was put in place for that very purpose.”

you’re right, it’s called the amendment process, but that is the only way it can be changed.

Posted by: dbs at August 19, 2009 9:46 AM
Comment #286574

david


“If Democrats don’t tackle our nation’s current challenges, they WON’T be addressed. That is the reality. It just doesn’t get ANY simpler to understand. Yet, a third of the population won’t accept that reality, and another third are reluctant and confused. That is a prescription for status quo disaster going forward.”

so are you saying the dems should ignore 2/3 of the electorate, because they don’t know whats good for them? sounds kind of arrogant to me. not to mention it will spell disaster for the dems majority in 2010, and be the end of any hope for re election for obama in 2012. actully IMO he’s done anyway, his true colors are starting to show, and it’s obvious he’s nowhere close to being qualified for his current job.


Posted by: dbs at August 19, 2009 9:58 AM
Comment #286575

david

“Americans, by a substantial majority want universal health care”

really, haven’t been keeping up on current events lately have you david.

Posted by: dbs at August 19, 2009 10:10 AM
Comment #286576

dbs - the only reason public opinion has been dropping on health care is that the right has been lying through their teeth about totally ludicrous things like death panels and rationing and such because they have been paid off by the insurance companies to lie for them.

Posted by: tcsned at August 19, 2009 10:15 AM
Comment #286577

DR exactly. We have to do it now. If the Reps want to go down defending their last ,great special interest so be it. They have apparently discarded their option to be of any real help in an actual solution.So much for a great party.What is wrong with these people?God I hope that there are at least some Reps willing to hang around to pick up the pieces,
FYI. I took an early retirment in the RP because my right arm gave out as a carpenter. The big reason was that to keep my family covered was costing me $900 a month.For that one could get by here. We have comprihensive coverage,it cost about $80 a year. A docter visit runs about $6. That is not the co-pay. Thats it. Point is we have been scrfewed over in the US. Sure, a day laborer only makes about 500P here and the doctor is doing just fine,thank you,but still.

Posted by: bills at August 19, 2009 10:16 AM
Comment #286579

dbs asked: “so are you saying the dems should ignore 2/3 of the electorate, because they don’t know whats good for them?”

Those are your words, not mine.

Quoting me out of context is a lame ploy. My exact words were:

And, yes, Rhinehold, we are talking about a minority. Americans, by a substantial majority want universal health care availability or as near to it as we can get, and for the threat of health care deficits to end. Those opposed to health care reform, PERIOD, are a minority.


If the Democrats don’t pass health care reform, NO HEALTH CARE REFORM WILL OCCUR for at least the next 8 years. The people elected the Democrats. They are the only vehicle upon which health care reform can travel. It is a simple reality. Let’s deal with reality and not get lost in wishful fantasizing about there being a Libertarian, Green, or GOP majority in government to address health care reform then.

The problem and challenge is now, and will get worse and costlier with the passage of time, if we don’t deal with it now. It is real. Burying our heads in the sand to avert our eyes to this reality will not serve any of us or our nation well going forward.

Why address me with a reply to your own words? Instead, reply to my words, all of them, in context.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 19, 2009 10:37 AM
Comment #286580

dbs-
Don’t talk to Democrats about ignoring two thirds of the electorate. The Republicans did so gladly, and do so even now by stonewalling the Democrats.

But Democrats cannot simply hope to act according polls and set everything right. You know that public option everybody’s talking about? It actually saves 160 billion dollars over the next ten years. Yet it’s an abomination to the Republicans, who profess to be haters of waste and government inefficiency.

Should we practice bad judgment for good poll numbers? Or should we practice good judgment, knowing that if we do things right, the poll numbers, or history at least, will sing the praises of those actions?

Politics is one way of organizing your actions, but if political considerations are the only one you make, you will keep your power at the expense of bringing a critical mass of bad outcomes and the attendant loss of popularity that comes with them.

The Republicans want to be the determining political force for American in the twentieth century. But the trouble is, they were too careless with policy, and even when they succeed in reducing people’s faith in the Democrats, They are far from being trusted on things themselves.

But if the country is cautious about Obama’s health plans, it doesn’t seem to trust the Republican Party at all on the subject. Just 21 percent approve of the GOP’s handling of health care, versus 62 percent who disapprove.

I’m going to stop people before this gets started: yes, I know the poll numbers are bad, but the polls indicate that a lot of that has to do with what people DON’T understand about our reforms, rather than the fact that they know what we’re putting forward, and hate it anyways.

The Republicans are obfuscating successfully, but have no substance to stand on themselves, which gives the Democrats, when they start their counteroffensive in earnest, the advantage. We can insist on something that can be proven correct.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 19, 2009 10:38 AM
Comment #286581

dbs in reply to my comment: “Americans, by a substantial majority want universal health care”

Said:

really, haven’t been keeping up on current events lately have you david.

It would appear it is you, not I who hasn’t been keeping up, dbs. Below are links to polls demonstrating this fact.

April 2009

July, 2009

Fact, a majority would like to know they will always have health coverage which is what universal health care insurance would provide. This fact, is not changed by another fact in the polls, that about 54% say they don’t want universal health insurance coverage IF it will cost something, either in more taxes or changes in their current health insurance.

In other words, more than half of Americans want what they want, but, they don’t want it to change anything or cost them anything more. I think that is why the Founding Fathers created a republic, rather than a direct democracy, don’t you?

Or, are you a new and sudden convert for direct democracy too, when it suits your argument, that the people know best how to govern foreign affairs, wars, the economy, and the spiraling health care inflation issues?

Thanks for the chuckle, dbs.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 19, 2009 10:51 AM
Comment #286582

bills, I think Obama is right on the mark when he said last week that the health care coverage systems in other nations will necessarily work as well here in the U.S. He said America needs to reform health care coverage but in a way that is unique to America and for Americans.

I do believe Obama’s personal choice would be a single payer universal health coverage system. But, he also knows that he is president, not to represent himself, but all Americans. And as president, he recognizes that whatever health care reforms are passed, will have to ultimately be approved by the majority of Americans for continuation.

It will serve no one to put a health care system in place that drives down health care costs, if the majority of Americans will oppose its implementation for other reasons. The plan would fail to drive down costs over time as a result of non-acceptance of implementation. A very large number of people in America are not health care professionals, insurance specialists or actuarialists, or economists.

The shape health care reform takes must meet with a majority of these professional’s opinion that it will work. Then, over time, that system being implemented will have to meet with the approval of the majority of Americans, or it will not survive to reap savings.

Like Obama said in February, this will not be easy. It will be hard to pass sustainable health care reform. But, wasn’t it JFK who said we do these things, not because they are easy, but, because they are hard. That is one of the roles of government, to solve the tough problems that individuals and private concerns have demonstrated they cannot. Our current health care system is on track to bankrupt the government and vast numbers of the American people.

As we agree, if not Democrats, who? Republicans cannot gain a majority before 2008, and that’s being generous.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 19, 2009 11:05 AM
Comment #286584

Stephen D. said: “We [Democrats] can insist on something that can be proven correct.”

Well, proving it correct will take years. Democrats must also manage electorate public opinion in the interim. If they fail that, they may not have the majority status in government long enough to hold onto their reforms long enough for them to prove themselves. Republicans and Libertarians will not cease their efforts to persuade the public that the plan is failing, after its passage and implementation. Democrats will have to engender confidence by the majority of Americans if their plan is to prove itself over time.

That confidence is waning. The rifts in the Democratic Party and between Congressional Democratic factions and the White House, are giving Republicans a wedge that could undo Democratic legislative agendas going forward. Obama erred large in assuming a bi-partisan approach on health care would be the best approach. He has lost some agility to reposition health care reform now.

Obama cannot afford very many such political mistakes in judgment, at all. Maybe one more. That’s it. Then, Republicans will insure his credibility remains damaged, long after the next political miscalculation.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 19, 2009 11:18 AM
Comment #286587

Let’s view the political posture of not only Appalachia, but the entire populace that have lived here in this country as an adult for the last 30-40 years. We have been witness to the largest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind. We have gone from the wealthiest nation to the largest debtor nation at light speed. We have experienced the effects of free trade and globalization, policies formulated in secrecy with no public debate. We witnessed an amnesty for 3-4M illegals with a follow-on promise that immigration would be controlled. Now the system wants amnesty for another 12-20M. This while we are in the middle of a recession. Obama wants to further indebt the nation by another $20 trillion over the next ten years. This at a time when we have 40M uninsured and near that many unemployed. When you weigh the American experience in this light with the realization that the root cause of these problems lie in our Corpocracy form of governing, why, WHY, would any sole in their right mind agree to this Corpocracy doing anything beyond naming a court house or two?

Posted by: Roy Ellis at August 19, 2009 12:05 PM
Comment #286589

david

at this point with what appears to be the public option going into the crapper, your poll really seems to be at odds with reality, don’t you think? this is all just a right wing conpiracy though right? BTW you’re welcome for the chukle

Posted by: dbs at August 19, 2009 12:08 PM
Comment #286615


How can Democrats fight back, assuming they really are interested in fighting back?

How about if you like social security you will like NATIONAL healthcare.

If you want help with the religious then use the old adage of calling a spade a spade, and call the conservatives what they are, Darwinists.

Accenuate everything that the Rebublicans don’t want the American people to have the right to do collectively.

What was it that made the Democratic Party so powerful for all those years? What was it about the Democratic Party that caused the people to return them to power year after year?

What did the Democrats do that turned so many working class Americans against them?

I can only speak for myself and what turned me against the Democrats, it was compromise with the Republicans since the presidency of Reagan.

Everyone of the major compromises helped corporations and hurt workers.

The first major compromise was the cutting of corporate tax rates in half. Much of that tax burden was shifted to the workers.

Another major compromise, NAFTA. Despite public assurances by Clinton, millions of Americans lost their jobs to illegal immigrants or Chinese because of NAFTA and the Chinese trade agreement. This allowed Republicans to continue to attack Democrats as socialist commies while they greedily invest in the exploitation of illegal immigrants, Chinese workers and the enrichment of the Chinese Communist Party.

Freddy and Fanny, another well intentioned compromise that ended up enriching the greedy at the expense of working class Americans.

The net result of thirty years of compromise: the wealthy are wealthier and the majority of workers are poorer.

As long as the liberals continue to ignore the progressive side of the party and as long as they are willing to compromise the workers to the benefit of the corporations, the workers will believe all the lying trash that the Republicans throw at you.

IMO, liberalism is dying, your goose is cooked. Their is now only one way to defeat conservativism, give them free reigh. Let them begin the process of returning America to the golden days, the guilded age before the progressive era and the Roosevelts, back to when America was a third world labor camp.

If the liberals are no longer willing to fight the conservatives then get the hell out of the way and let them destroy themselves.

My advice to the progressive politicians in the Democratic Party is to abandon these liberals and blue dogs and reform the Progressive Party.

Gergle, as an Appalachian hillbilly I take offense to your characterization of moonshiners as corrupt and criminal hillbillies. Criminals they are but, they are fighting corruption. The corruption of government concentrating the wealth of an entire industry into the hands of a few for the purpose of tax collections. Most of the corruption I see occuring in Appalachia stems from corrupt businessmen and their bought off politicians and judges.

I agree with most everything else you have said about Appalachia.

Appalachians were never as clanish as some would believe and their distrust of outsiders stems directly from the exploitation of capitalist robber barons. The resources of Appalachia played a major part in creating the country we live in and nearly all of that wealth was expatriated out of Appalachia.

Appalachia is changing, has changed tremendously and we owe that change not to free market capitalism but rather to government intervention primarily in the form of social programs and investment incentives championed by that great porker Senator Robert Bird. No one deserves more credit for changing and improving Appalachia than he.

Our resources, our childern and our culture have been exported to the rest of America.

Posted by: jlw at August 19, 2009 7:11 PM
Comment #286620

dbs, I see, the polls with some rigor attached to them in establishing percentage probability to the population at large from small samples, is now to be thrown out in favor of what? Your opinion, or universe of persons holding the same opinion as you, which excludes the larger universe of Americans in the poll?

Ya. Right. dbs. Inconvenient truths are to be ignored. You know, conservatives can fool all the people some of the time with that tactic, and some of the people all the time, but, as the last 2 elections demonstrated, they can’t fool all the people, all the time, with their Ostrich routine. (Kudos to ‘Honest Abe’, a Republican not to be found in America today.)

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 19, 2009 8:12 PM
Comment #286622

jlw, too true. They compromised in order to serve their true master in all things, elections and reelections. In this, there is not an iota of difference between the D and R parties.

They will compromise any principal and any policy if it means enhancing their, or their party’s odds on election day. Their rationale: I can’t do any good if I am not elected or reelected.

Therefore, that is how power becomes the overarching objective and goal, and all other considerations are relegated to 2nd or 3rd order priorities, and so severely compromised as to be rendered ineffective and very costly to boot. There is no more costly policy than one which fails the objectives due to compromise.

This is the path health care reform will take. And Republicans and conservatives are salivating at the prospect, despite their enormous contribution to molding the ineffective compromises. Sausage making and policy making, someone noted, have much in common, they both offend, if witnessed.

The remarkable thing is, the voters have always had it in their power to change this, with a loyalty to the concept of voting out incumbents when the results of government disappoint. If voters can be educated to the real power of their vote, the mass influx of Freshman politicians would understand the lesson of the mass exodus of incumbents at the hands of the voters, and act far more appropriately as representatives of the will of the people.

It is the job of the people in a democratically elected government to set the broad goals of government, and hold their representatives on election day for the achievement of those goals, or not. If voters would do this, representatives would shape the details of policy making to insure they passed muster with the anti-incumbent voting crowd.

Voting to keep incumbents in office is redundant and entirely unnecessary. Incumbents will choose to keep themselves in power if the people do not have the vote. Ergo, the power of the vote, is in removing incumbents from power, not keeping them there. Getting voters to understand this simple elementary function of the vote, is what Vote Out Incumbents Democracy (VOID) is all about.

Of course, VOID is the last thing our Congress people and their political parties want their constituents made aware of, or informed about. Though the proportions are staggeringly different, it is a true fact that VOID supporters are growing in numbers as the registered Democratic and Republican voters are shrinking. I find some hope in that fact.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 19, 2009 8:33 PM
Comment #286625

david

the polls you listed were from april, and july. the reality in august appears quite different, but don’t let that stop you keep spinning. thanks for the chuckle. ;-)

Posted by: dbs at August 19, 2009 9:24 PM
Comment #286638
BHO’s comments were accurate. They were not disrespectful except to the very over sensitive.

Only if you believe that Obama has insight into the REASONS for people doing things. His assertion is that people who do not flock to large towns are resistant to government because government hasn’t helped them more. That’s a pretty absurd twist of logic there, the reality is that he is wrong on that fact. The people who prefer the small towns do so because they want a smaller, tighter-knit community and government likes to apply big city fixes to small city non-existent problems. It is government they resist because they do not want more government, not because they aren’t getting enough of it.

“Question Authority” is still a good adage and a necessity in a democracy. There is no doubt that government can be a a burden. There is no doubt that government can be incompetant. There is no doubt that governments can be enslaving institutions.

And if we could just agree upon WHY, I think we would be much farther along.

There is also no doubt that governments can be liberating institution also, witness the liberation of Europe, the civil rights actions domestically.

And why I state clearly (as I do over and over again) that government has its place and is necessary in our world. But by it’s nature, it must be used as a moderator, a regulator, a defender of rights of the individual by the majority. It is in this regard that government is a necessary evil. Used in any other way, it is applying a hammer to a problem that requires much much more finesse.

Private institutions can also be enslaving

Not without government help.

witness the ruthless riegn of the railroad barons

This is prime example of that

and currently the necessity of working Americans to labor a week or more a month just to maintain medical insurance.

Another great example of how government has screwed up a system they shouldn’t have been involved in and now want to increase their power to ‘fix’ their own incompetencies.

My point is that it is situational. There are ares where government does a vital job and sometimes does it well. That is what we should insist on.

Again, as I have stated many times before.

I suspect that if some people moved on to your 14 acres and started building homes your first response would be to contact the government for help in removing them.

40. And no, my first response would not be to contact the government. I would most likely talk to them myself, point out where they are wrong and suggest to them that they leave. Then, if they didn’t, I would probably let the county police know that I was about to remove them myself.

Among other functions, governments protect property rights.

Yes, they do. When they aren’t violating them.

Is that enslaving?Would they use the threat of force to secure your property rights? Damned right, they would and you would be cheering.

Exactly as I have explained it should be over and over again. I’m not sure why you keep making points I have already made, but it is good to know we agree on them at least.

I often hear the postal system put down.

Have I done that?

Of course, the power to run a postal system was in the constitution, so there really isn’t much of a discussion on this one IMO.

Should we still be doing it now that we have private means? Probably, but in a much smaller role I think. I would like to see it be more self-sufficient, but there are some real problems with the postal system as it is now, with legitimate competition from UPS and FedEx and, more importantly, the internet. I’m not a big fan on getting mail these days…

The DMV in CA was also reasonably well run.

And runs a necessary service that falls within the constitutionality of the roles of government in California. Could a private entity run it better? Perhaps. But think that regulating our public roads is a good example of when government should be involved in the picture.

I suppose that sooner or later,if I chose not to deal with the DMV and drove my car without registration or a drivers license and the required insurance I would have had to deal with the armed representitive of the government,the local policeman. SO?

So? Well, it means that my argument is correct. Each and every thing that the government does is backed by force. YOU might not see a problem with it as you have no issue with going along with every single law that is ever created. Some people might disagree with a law. Do you not care about them? Do you think it is ‘ok’ to use that force to force things upon people that we shouldn’t be forcing them to do?

Let’s take drugs as a good example. YOU may not smoke pot, but someone else might want to. Do you think you have the right or power to use the power of the government (force) to make them stop? If they are endangering you, just like if someone drinks too much alcohol in public, THAT is a legitimate use of the force of government, but to just say that someone can’t, in their own homes, smoke pot?

Well, thankfully, saying it is illegal to smoke pot is unconstitutional, but we think we can now say you can’t sell or possess any. Kind of a ‘twisty’ skirt around the constitution (which I find abhorrant, btw). But the question is, do you think it is ok to use ARMED POLICE to make sure your neighbor is not smoking a joint in his basement? To kill him if he resists that arrest? I thought you cared about your fellow man more than that…

Sorry, that simply does not leave me feeling intimidated or enslaved.

The knowledge that if you break the law you may end up dead doesn’t make you feel intimidated or enslaved? What a good little soldier you are… I hope you never have to experience when a law is put into effect that you disagree with and ARMED POLICE come to your home and enforce it.

A blanket condemnation of all things government makes no practical sense.

Which is why I have never done that.

Conversly overconfidence in the capacity of government to solve problems does not either.The path to the correct policy agenda is situational,it depends.

On what? On if you can get away with it or if the majority think it’s ok to use the ARMED POLICE to fire on the minority? Bring out some national guard guys and fire on some of the town hall protesters like we did at Kent State? Continue to round up and/or kill our citizens in the idiotic ‘war on drugs’?

‘It Depends’ is a little ambiguous, don’t you think?

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 19, 2009 11:05 PM
Comment #286639
“Today, we can make the possession and/or sale of marijuana illegal. What changed to no longer require a constitutional amendment for the federal government to have that power?”

What changed, Rhinehold, was the Constitution.

Really, I’m amazed that I missed that amendment…

Also, what changed was the interpretation of the Constitution by challenge and lack of challenge before the Supreme Court.

Great! So all interpretations that have been held up by the Supreme Court are right and proper then? So, since the Supreme Court found that it was ok for the government to forcibly sterilize women in the past, it is ok then? That it was ok to round up Japanese Americans? That it is unconstitutional to make a law that an individual can’t smoke a joint…

That you can’t see how re-interpreting the constitution, by ignoring the writings of the founders and writers of the constitution, is not what the Supreme Court should be doing and that as humans they are fallable… well, that’s just awesome.

Specifically, can you cite the decision, lack of decision, interpretation, etc that gives the federal government that power? I am sure I can get a few groups together to challenge it…

Or, did the government just ‘ignore’ that minor inconvenience and set a precident that resulted in a coup of our government?

Folks don’t realize how much can be changed by the simple act of the Supreme Court refusing to hear a challenge from the lower courts of appeals. It is a process, a living breathing process which lives in its own time with its own current events and its own recent history in the context of a longer, more complete history.

Not when the people who are charged with determining the constitutionality of a law ignore the intent of the writers and make shit up for political purposes. Which is what has been going on in this country since FDR proved to us all how the Supreme Court really works when he attempted to pack it to get his programs through.

And remember, all it takes is someone else just ‘reinterpreting’ the way you don’t like and you bring out your guns in defiance.

The 14th and 16th Amendments changed the character and interpretation of the Constitution dramatically

The 14th I can see, it did allow the Supreme Court to apply rights to the States that didn’t exist before, a pretty strong power. I’m not sure about the 16th though… You’ll have to explain that one to me a bit as I don’t see your point as to how it changed how the character of the constitution changed dramatically.

Now, there are most definitely, in our society today, government actions taking place which remain in conflict with the current Constitution and Legislated laws. And on these, like the right to a speedy trial, and the right to due process negated by unwarranted search and seizure procedures in effect today, I stand shoulder to shoulder with you and Libertarians in demanding redress before the courts. But, taking a case of Constitutional infringement through the judicial process to the Supreme Court, can be inordinately expensive, and up to half a lifetime in pursuing. Organizations like the ACLU and the Supreme Court are vastly overloaded by such petitions and have limited resources.

Sadly this is true. It is a shame too, that our government has become so bloated, so entrenched into our individual lives that this is the case. And speaks to my point as well.

America is in desperate need of many things these days, besides health care reform. Judicial system reform is enormously needed. Our judicial system is still, in some ways, designed for a population of 30 million, not 330 million persons.

Size isn’t really the issue, the amount of laws and encroachments into our personal lives is a much bigger issue. If there were only 20 laws on the books, no problem. 25,000? Problem. Especially when we don’t need 50 separate laws for one single problem.

For example, there is contemplation of a law against texting while driving. Do we really need that law? Why not a law against eating while driving, it is a much bigger problem. Or changing the radio? Or talking to someone in a car, if we believe the data that talking on a wireless headset is dangerous…

No, we need a single law that says if you are driving impared (drunk, high, with a big mac in one hand and a cigarette in the other, weaving while talking on a cell phone, etc) and then enforce that one. It would make things much easier, IMO.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 19, 2009 11:19 PM
Comment #286640
“We are not talking about a minority, we are talking about a group of people living in a community who reject the help that is being forced upon them.”

You mean the same way the Peace Oriented Left wants to do away with guns and war? They are no small minority either.

I have no problem with them wanting such things and expressing their views on such matters. It’s unfortunate that they are trying to force others to live their lives they way THEY want, and those attempts are unconstitutional, but I defend their desire and vocalization of those desire highly.

We elect a president and Congress to tackle the problems that challenge the nation as a whole. Health care inflation challenges the future of this nation as a whole.

It is interesting that you think that the election of the congress and president was because of that ONE single issue, but I’ll play along.

I have NO problem with attempting to find a solution to our healthcare problems. Unfortunately, it seems not many people are really in agreement of what those problems are or, more importantly, what is causing them.

But beyond that, the REAL issue I have is that no one is willing to go through the extra step of finding a solution that doesn’t require the ignoring of the constitutional rights of the citizens. Politicians know now that they can do what they want, it will be decades before the Supreme Court gets their lazy and, IMO, incompetent butts around to figuring out the issue and then, for some reason, find that politics is more important than upholding the constitution. It’s simply amazing to me. The whole reason they were suppose to be appointed for life was to AVOID that, but FDR changed all of that, didn’t he?

When did you suddenly become an advocate for direct democracy? I must have missed the transition.

Yup, because it didn’t happen. No worries.

And, yes, Rhinehold, we are talking about a minority. Americans, by a substantial majority want universal health care availability or as near to it as we can get, and for the threat of health care deficits to end. Those opposed to health care reform, PERIOD, are a minority.

There is a difference between being opposed to healthcare reform and being opposed to BAD healthcare reform. The majority feel that this is BAD healthcare reform and would rather there be none than BAD.

If the Democrats don’t pass health care reform, NO HEALTH CARE REFORM WILL OCCUR for at least the next 8 years.

Not exactly correct. First, you assume that republicans won’t take over in 2 years. AND you assume that BHO will be re-elected in 4. Those are interesting predictions IMO.

But secondly, why can’t it be taken up again next year? Or in 2 years if there is a change in the house so that the house is more reasonable in their views on healthcare reform, more matching the approach of the Senate? This alarmist view you keep passing around is not really shared by the majority, as most understand we need to do something but we don’t have to do it RUSHED. That was the real outcry of the past month, that there was an attempt to ram something through that most congressmen hasn’t even read (and were proud of that fact!)

The people elected the Democrats. They are the only vehicle upon which health care reform can travel. It is a simple reality. Let’s deal with reality and not get lost in wishful fantasizing about there being a Libertarian, Green, or GOP majority in government to address health care reform then.

I don’t care if a Democrat president and congress pass healthcare reform, as long as that reform is not BAD and doesn’t trample individual rights. I’m tired of being lied to by this administration and then being told I am ‘unpatriotic’ for questioning them. I defended Democrats against that very charge in 2003 when I disagreed with them on the Iraq war and to hear Nancy Pelosi, of all people, using that same ignorant charge after being the most vocal against it makes my eyes burn…

But my point remains. Go ahead and pass a good healthcare reform bill. DON’T pass a BAD one.

The problem and challenge is now, and will get worse and costlier with the passage of time, if we don’t deal with it now. It is real. Burying our heads in the sand to avert our eyes to this reality will not serve any of us or our nation well going forward.

Interesting, you were singing a much different tune when the Republicans wanted to reform Social Security…

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 19, 2009 11:32 PM
Comment #286641
I am not talking about rural America. I am talking about Appalachia, and frankly you don’t get it. It is you who is out of touch.

Was Obama speaking of Appalachia? I was thinking he was talking about Pennsylvania…

The clannish ways are a part of their culture.

Yes, I didn’t say it wasn’t. WHY is it part of their culture again?

That isn’t a characteristic of rural America. It is a way of Appalachia. It is neither bad nor good, in my opinion, it just is. The distrust has nothing to do with the ideals you are trying to sell.

We’ll agree to disagree then. You’ll forgive me if I don’t just ‘take your word for it’ when it goes against my personal experience…

Redneck is a term from the South, not Appalachia.

Interesting… Here’s some information from you that was in that documentary you said you watched.

The term redneck was also used in The West Virginia Coal Miners March (1921) or the Battle of Blair Mountain when coal miners wore red bandannas around their necks to identify themselves as seeking the opportunity to unionize

Interesting thing about this battle,

By August 29, battle was fully joined. Chafin’s men, though outnumbered, had the advantage of higher positions and better weaponry. Private planes were hired to drop homemade bombs on the miners. On orders from the famous General Billy Mitchell, Army bombers from Maryland were also used to disperse the miners, a rare example of Air Power being used by the federal government against US citizens. A combination of gas and explosive bombs left over from the fighting in World War I were dropped in several locations near the towns of Jeffery, Sharples and Blair. At least one did not explode and was recovered by the miners; it was used months later to great effect during treason and murder trials following the battle. Sporadic gun battles continued for a week, with the miners at one time nearly breaking through to the town of Logan and their target destinations, the non-unionized counties to the south, Logan and Mingo. Up to 30 deaths were reported by Chafin’s side and 50-100 on the union miners side, with many hundreds more injured. By September 2, federal troops had arrived. Realizing he would lose a lot of good miners if the battle continued with the military, union leader Bill Blizzard passed the word for the miners to start heading home the following day. Miners fearing jail and confiscation of their guns found clever ways to hide rifles and hand guns in the woods before leaving Logan County. Collectors and researchers to this day are still finding weapons and ammunition embedded in old trees and in rock crevices. Thousands of spent and live cartridges have made it into private collections.

I can’t IMAGINE why people in those mountains would have a distrust of the government…

I have no idea what you are talking about when you say they have a right to live as they choose. Moonshiner’s? No, they don’t have that right, George Washington put down a rebellion in Pennsylvania which was the origins of the Moonshiners. It was subject of the quote of Jefferson’s, about refreshing the tree of liberty. While Jefferson understood the reasons behind the rebellion, he certainly did not oppose Washington’s actions.

Are you talking about the Whiskey rebellion? Because, that was about taxes, not ‘moonshining’. And yes, Moonshiners had a definite right to brew the stuff. Selling it… well, that was a different matter…

And Jefferson never thought that the rebellion was right in that one.

Moonshining came about more from the 18th amendment, not the temporary tax on whiskey to pay off a national debt… After 1803, they did nothing illegal by brewing their bourbon. They did learn a lot about brewing in those areas which weren’t used for brewing at the time, but real ‘moonshining’ as an illegal activity came about over 100 years later.

Most Appalachians don’t reject government.

Oh dear, you seem to fall into the same trap many do… I never said that the reject all government and are looking for anarchy…

I wish people would really read what I’m writing instead of pulling out old canards about what they want me to have said…

You may not live far, but your answer seems a world away. The remoteness leads to a philosophy of self reliance, not rebellion.

Which, I think, was my point. Thanks for agreeing with me.

The ignorant racists, that you seem to be promoting as representative of Appalachia, don’t represent the majority of Appalachians any longer.

WHERE on earth did I suggest that the Appalacians were ‘racist’ and ‘uneducated’?

It seems to me you don’t want to acknowledge that culture of ignorance as the major reasoning behind Obama’s statement, but rather wish to promote ignorance as a cry for independence. Good luck with that. What you don’t seem to understand is that educated Appalachians reject that culture as well, and always have.

I think that you have gone off the rails here… How about we discuss what I wrote, not what you seem to think I am writing about? I think we may actually be arguing the same thing, but you are misinterpreting what I am saying.

You really think that the people who are wary of government are so because the government hasn’t done enough for them in the past?

Because I really find this mindset interesting, although entirely inaccurate…

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 20, 2009 12:01 AM
Comment #286645

dbs, I provide links to actual data. And your comment provides what? NOTHING, except assertions YOU WON’T BACK UP. Very likely, CAN’T back up.

Prove me wrong, dbs. Otherwise, the bs in dbs, appears appropriately applied to your comment.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 20, 2009 5:40 AM
Comment #286646

I haven’t been following the above conversation, but it was Benjamin Franklin that came up with the idea of insurance to begin with. Washington created a national bank. The founding fathers were not against government.

The only serious issue you seem to have with health care is that it will be government run. And, yeah, it’s very difficult for me to believe you don’t think government can do a better job than is being done today.

I have so many friends that are affected by our crappy health care. Friends that would start businesses, if only they could afford their own healthcare. Friends that moved to Mass to get healthcare for their pre-existing condition. Friends that were denied care. Friends that sucker punched with a huge bill for things like fixing a broken arm.

The current system is a scam. It’s run by a bunch of monopolies that fix prices and provide care at their choosing. They are criminals that are bankrupting this nation. It is flat out unpatriotic to sit idly by and watch this country go down the tubes.

Posted by: Max at August 20, 2009 5:43 AM
Comment #286647

Rhinehold said: “Great! So all interpretations that have been held up by the Supreme Court are right and proper then?”

That would depend on who is being asked if they are “right” and “proper”, wouldn’t it. These are subjective terms.

They are however, Constitutional and the Law, unless overridden by the other 2 branches of government in a Constitutionally provided manner.

For a nation founded on Constitution and Law, that pretty much is everything compared to individual opinion. You have a right to your opinion. You even have a right to violate “unjust law”, provided you are aware that you may face legal consequences nonetheless, having violated what you subjectively decide is, an unjust law.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 20, 2009 5:48 AM
Comment #286649

Rhinehold;

The origins of the term redneck seems to have several attributes. I claim no authority, but never heard the term used in the hills of Kentucky. I’ve heard it a lot in Texas.

http://www.scotshistoryonline.co.uk/rednecks/rednecks.html

http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/19831

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redneck

I guess take your pick on the authoritative version.

Appalachia does extend into Pennsylvania.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appalachia

I have in-laws living there.

The clannish ways are a part of their culture.
Yes, I didn’t say it wasn’t. WHY is it part of their culture again?
That isn’t a characteristic of rural America. It is a way of Appalachia. It is neither bad nor good, in my opinion, it just is. The distrust has nothing to do with the ideals you are trying to sell.
We’ll agree to disagree then. You’ll forgive me if I don’t just ‘take your word for it’ when it goes against my personal experience…

As to why, I’m not sure. It’s likely because of the ancestral linkage to Irish and Scottish Settlers in the Region. I suspect it also had to do with the isolation. Travel was difficult until the highways of the fifties came about. The jokes about marrying your cousins held some truth, because many families are interrelated. My sister and I used to laugh because my father used to rail against the Lykins family, which is my mother’s maiden name, but as it turns out she is actually descended from Whitts, and my father has some linkage to the Lykins family. My great uncle on my mother’s side is also my step grandfather on my father’s side.

As my maternal grandfather used to say, “we take care of our own.” My father took this as some sort of Mafia threat, but it just is the way of the families there. Unless you have known kin in the region, you are treated as an outsider. Even though I never lived there, I could eventually fit in by making known who I was related to. They won’t treat you badly, they just won’t treat you the same. Once my father took me through the hills down to his former school. It was a route he walked as a child. It crossed many fences and properties, and did not follow roads. As we encountered people, my father would explain who he was, had he not been a local, we likely would have encountered the wrong end of a shotgun. As it was, many people related stories of their connections. The same is true for me. When I visit there, by telling people who I am related to, people open up, invite me in and tell me stories of their connections. I have burial rights on an old cemetery where much of my mother’s family is buried. I pay nothing for it, the property is maintained by the family that own’s it. I don’t know the people there personally, but I know that if I wish to be buried there, it will be permitted.

Living near Appalachia is not the same as being a part of the culture. I was simply relating my personal experience, not questioning yours. I just don’t think your piece reflects the culture.

It is your assumptions about the motives of these people that bothers me. It seems a perversion of reality and more about simply trying to create some phony link. By attacking Obama’s statement and in forming your perceptions about why there was some reaction to it, you make the same mistake he is accused of.

The government of the 20’s and 30’s is not the government of today, and certainly we all have mistrust when force is used inappropriately; But, of course, you neglect to mention the improvements that have occurred in mining largely due to government action.

The Whiskey rebellion was the genesis of the Moonshiner’s of the Appalachians. It was called the Whiskey Rebellion for a reason. Moonshiner’s make whiskey to avoid taxes and controls on the brew. In the time of the Rebellion it was the Eastern merchants in Philly using inequitable laws to appropriate land from western Penn staters, who had little cash, but lots of Whiskey which was used to pay debts.

http://www.whiskeywise.com/Moonshine-Whiskey.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whiskey_Rebellion

Moonshine in other regions were established long before this time, and many claim as the genesis of the privacy segments of the Constitution.

You presume to know the motives of people reacting to Obama’s statement. I say you don’t.

It’s not that these people reject the government because they aren’t getting good help from the government, which was the suggestion by President Obama. It is that they don’t want someone with that kind of power coming in and telling people how they are going to live their lives.

And I find it it interesting that you want to use an extreme when for the most part, people who live in rural America (I am one of those people at the present time) are not as you describe. They don’t like outsiders because, for the most part, outsiders like to come in and change things to fit the type of lifestyle that they had before they came here. They want to ‘help’ everyone that they see as so in need of help when no one wants it from them. It has nothing to do with being backwater, being ‘racist’ or being a hillbilly. It has everything to do with distrusting people who say that they are coming to help you while surrounded with people with guns.

You ignore the racism of the region, I presume because it doesn’t fit your argument. I think Obama had a much better idea about the politics of the region than you have.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/president/pa/pennsylvania_mccain_vs_obama-244.html

We simply disagree. You make assumptions about the people, that in my opinion are incorrect. You ignore the obvious racism that does exist. I didn’t say you called anyone racist. It would be nice if you would stick to what I argue rather than what you seem to want to think I argue.

You ignore the racism and ignorance and therefore pander to it by calling it independence and libertarianism. It’s a rather common conservative technique these days. Teabaggers with Nazi emblems, guns, and white old men intimidating people aren’t fooling anyone, except themselves and other idiots. Death panels and Commie take overs don’t reek of intelligent independence, rather they stink of ignorance and racism.

Posted by: gergle at August 20, 2009 6:03 AM
Comment #286652

BTW, I still question authority and protesters, as I did in the 60’s and seventies. I just think I’m getting mostly BS answers, like this one, from the right.

Posted by: gergle at August 20, 2009 8:02 AM
Comment #286658
You ignore the racism of the region, I presume because it doesn’t fit your argument

No, I don’t. But it is a symptom, not a cause, so mostly irrelevant. If someone is ‘wary of outsiders’, doesn’t it fit that they would also be wary of people who are OBVIOUSLY outsiders?

You have to understand what racism is. It is not a separate condition, it is a symptom of psychological issues that an individual possesses. Usually it is born out of self-loathing.

But that’s another discussion that will lead us down a separate rabbit hole I fear…

I guess take your pick on the authoritative version.

I didn’t offer one up as ‘authoritative’, only that the term did have use there and the origination of that term there is a very interesting story. In fact, from the use of redneck in those mountains we are led to the majority of union protection laws in the United States.

I really really love history and seeing how all of these things intertwine, something you just can’t see when it is going on or looking back with a focus to a specific event.

Appalachia does extend into Pennsylvania.

Well, that sort of depends on the definition and who is defining, doesn’t it? Even your link suggests that the core of ‘Appalachia’ is in WV, KY, TN and VA. The Mountain range extends up into Canada…

The ARC definition is relatively new (1960s) and counties were added based on ‘economic need’, not any adherence to true cultural parameters. Some people include Penn, some don’t. That region in Pennsylvania is not nearly the same as the cultural makeup of the core as I mentioned before.

Historian John Alexander Williams, in his 2002 book Appalachia: A History, distinguished between a “core” Appalachian region consisting of 164 counties in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia

And, I think we are getting way off topic…

The government of the 20’s and 30’s is not the government of today

No, it isn’t. The government of the 90s isn’t the government of the 00s. It always changes… I don’t think that that statement changes the points I make.

and certainly we all have mistrust when force is used inappropriately

I think we disagree on the ‘inappropriately’ part.

But, of course, you neglect to mention the improvements that have occurred in mining largely due to government action.

No, I pointed to the The West Virginia Coal Miners March, where most of those improvements came from, as well as most of the union protection laws…

And they came from the demand of the workers, who chose to unionize, and fought the government to get to that point. That is who was responsible for those protections, had they not demanded it it would never have happened from government…

It may seem a minor quibble, but it is very important.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 20, 2009 10:30 AM
Comment #286669

Rhinehold:

>You have to understand what racism is. It is not a separate condition, it is a symptom of psychological issues that an individual possesses. Usually it is born out of self-loathing.

>But that’s another discussion that will lead us down a separate rabbit hole I fear…

Well, I guess, If you consider Jefferson to have had psychological issues…I think it is a bit more endemic, bred in ignorance, than anything else.

One of the sources I referenced the red scarves the Scottish Presbyterians in the 1600’s wore in the fight against James II. This may have been used as a unifying symbol of the Scots in the mining fight you referenced, but that wasn’t the source of the name Redneck, it was a reference to their ancestry.

Others simply say it comes from farmers with red necks. As I say, I never really heard the term used in Kentucky, but have heard it often in the South. Hillbilly was a derogatory term by then, my father told me he felt he was labeled as stupid when he moved to Ohio with his Kentucky accent.

>I think we disagree on the ‘inappropriately’ part.

Didn’t Jefferson support Washington’s use of force in the Whiskey Rebellion? It’s statements like that, that lead me to a conclusion of you advocating anarchism. Do you never think force is appropiate?

>And they came from the demand of the workers, who chose to unionize, and fought the government to get to that point. That is who was responsible for those protections, had they not demanded it it would never have happened from government…

>It may seem a minor quibble, but it is very important.

I agree it’s important. By your logic, we do not need government at all. The revolution was fought by people, and ad hoc militia’s, Why form a Constitution? I kinda thought the founding father’s idea was a government that responded, intentionally slowly, to pressure from the people.

It seems you are arguing that somehow the “government” should be magically proactive, without seeking out the people’s will. I’ve always thought “we the people” ARE the government.

The reason we don’t have to keep fighting the same fight with mining companies is because, eventually, the government did respond. Kind of reminds one of the Healthcare debate.


Posted by: gergle at August 20, 2009 1:59 PM
Comment #286675

I guess what I’m trying to convey to you about the term redneck, is that I’m from Ohio, we used it in the more modern context meaning someone with backward, simplistic, and usually racist idealogy, and often associated with country music imagery. I didn’t think of Hillbillies as redneck’s, though they sometimes share characteristic’s. Hillbillie’s while mostly Southern in culture were really a separate entity to me. They were racist to be sure. I had an Uncle who suggested I wasn’t uncomfortable around blacks, and said he guessed the generations had changed. He related a story of when some black men had gotten off a train in their particular location and he told them along with some of his friends that the sun had better not set on them. He acknowledged it was probably wrong of him. He died shortly after this. It was nice to see him learn and regret his previous behavior. Eastern Kentucky was virtually pure white then, and still is mostly white today.

I recall sitting around a TV during the sixties riots and listening to the racist conversations being had. My father while he didn’t confront it, always held out a slightly off center position in these conversations pointing out how police contained them in their own neighborhoods and let them destroy it. He was somewhat racist, but had the intelligence to teach me that it is the character of a man not his color that makes him who he is.

Today there are many more educated folk in Appalachia, though racism is still far and wide. Miner’s are seen as lower class people with poor education, to be honest. My grandfather was a miner for a couple of years, in the Depression. It is still a dangerous and deadly job. There has always been a caste system of sorts in the Hills, like everywhere else. The old Country Doctor preachers, and teachers were the leaders of the communities. That is the culture I am intimately aware of.

I was unaware of the reference to William of Orange. My Scottish roots are more recent than that period. I am mostly of Irish and Welsh descent.

Posted by: gergle at August 20, 2009 2:55 PM
Comment #286678
>I think we disagree on the ‘inappropriately’ part.

Didn’t Jefferson support Washington’s use of force in the Whiskey Rebellion? It’s statements like that, that lead me to a conclusion of you advocating anarchism. Do you never think force is appropiate?

*I* supported Washington’s use of force as well. I’m not sure why you keep wanting to suggest something I didn’t…

When I say ‘we disagree on the inappropriately’, I mean to say that we disagree on where that line is or what causes something to be inappropriate when it is appropriate…

I have repeated, ad nasueum, to the point it is getting ridiculous, that I do not support anarchy in any way (I often have fights with anarcho-capitalists who want to call themselves libertarians on this one - See Ian on Free Talk Live for an example, we he have gone round and round…).

I would appreciate that people stop making the suggestion after having shot it down about a thousand times already…

>And they came from the demand of the workers, who chose to unionize, and fought the government to get to that point. That is who was responsible for those protections, had they not demanded it it would never have happened from government…

>It may seem a minor quibble, but it is very important.

I agree it’s important. By your logic, we do not need government at all.

No, by my logic we shouldn’t use things like this to view the government as a positive thing. It is a necessary thing, but a necessary evil, not a necessary good. Using force is wrong. But there are times it must be used. I only ask that we quit watering down what the use of the government is so that we understand we are authorizing the use of force on people when we pass laws. Otherwise we get laws for every little thing and wake up one day to find millions of people arrested/jailed/killed because they wanted to smoke a joint in their basement…

The revolution was fought by people, and ad hoc militia’s, Why form a Constitution? I kinda thought the founding father’s idea was a government that responded, intentionally slowly, to pressure from the people.

Within the limits proscribed, yes.

It seems you are arguing that somehow the “government” should be magically proactive, without seeking out the people’s will. I’ve always thought “we the people” ARE the government.

Again, I’m not sure where you are getting this from what I’ve written. Can you point out to me where that is so I can clarify?

The reason we don’t have to keep fighting the same fight with mining companies is because, eventually, the government did respond. Kind of reminds one of the Healthcare debate.

Yes and no. We are providing oversight so that the unions and the businesses can mediate differences peacefully (we hope). OVERSIGHT.

We are not, and should not, favor one side over the other. Nor should we set up a union that people can join to fight against the businesses… Which is what a ‘public option’ would be.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 20, 2009 3:16 PM
Comment #286685

Why all the hate for moonshiners? Whatever happened to free enterprise? Look up an old episode of the historical documentary on the Clampett family. Would you throw granny in jail?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkJQCTHgncM

William of Orange actually conquered England in 1688-9, a fact ignored by history books in the English language. His troops occupied London until he felt secure. In Scotland, his chief supporter was the E later D of Argyll, head of clan Campbell, the bad guys, opposed to the McDonalds, the good guys, look up the Massacre at Glencoe if you are interested in the history. The Scots in the Ulster plantation weren’t doing that well, so they headed to the fresh green breast of the New World, where their concepts of freedom help form our country as much as the English, more subservient to a monarchy since time immemorial.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 20, 2009 5:06 PM
Comment #286694

Rhinehold,

You are right, I’ve reread your post and I have drifted from the gist of the argument, trying to get you to see the fallacy of your logic, and trying to show your lack of understanding of a culture that you do not know.

I was offended by your characterization of the Appalachians which this comment was originated about(even in western Pennsylvania).

Don’t get me wrong, I do think Obama made a mistake in the characterization of bitterness against government. It was hyperbole and the same mistake you make in your equally strained connection to liberty.

He tangentially touched on racism or xenophobia in the comment. The clinging to guns and religion is an observation about those in desperation, and rings very true. It isn’t an anti-religion or a 2nd amendment speech. I personally think that racism is the root of those offended by his comment. I’m white, I live in Texas, and daily hear the rants about Obama. They are clearly based in sheer racism. What offends me is the way that intelligent conservatives, apparently disconnected from middle America, in a financial and sociological sense, continue to aver that racism is a minor thing or something from the past. It isn’t. I see and hear it every day.

It is obvious to me and should be to intellectual conservatives that the Republican Party is playing to this racism. To pretend it’s about independence and liberty is simply absurd. Listen to the comments made, they repeat talking points they’ve heard, though have little comprehension of them. It’s why ridiculous lies have arisen over healthcare. Death panels? Really?!!! Can anyone spewing this nonsense have any concept of liberty and independence, or any concept period? Give me a break.

McCain had to finally correct a lunatic woman at one of his campaign rallies as she spewed fanatic rhetoric about Obama Hussein. It was a national embarassment for the Republican Party. These are the people being “stirred up”. This is your hope for liberty and freedom? Sad. Pathetic even.

This is the same nonsense in Pennsylvania. I would expect someone like you to go on about freedom and liberty. I would understand your idealology, but not the nutcase fringe that is turning out for these so called townhall disruptions.

Was the overreacting Harvard professor an embarrassment to Obama? You bet.

I haven’t seen a campaign to tie Republicans to profiling cops, have you?

I realize that you are cutting a political path toward your ideals, but this is a bridge too far, and a post in denial.

Posted by: gergle at August 20, 2009 6:41 PM
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