What is Fairness?

Arthur Brooks new book, The Road to Freedom, is causing quite a stir, and hearing an interview of Brooks this week reminded me of an essay last fall that was inspired by Brooks previous book.  The essay dwelled on the philosophical difference in the way the concept of fairness is viewed by Conservatives and Liberals.

There are basically two ways to define “fairness” in an economic sense where there is mal-distribution of income. One is “redistributive fairness” which President Obama and other liberals in and out of congress favor. The idea is through taxes or financial favoritism to take from wealthier Americans and give to less wealthy Americans and thereby to even out, to some degree, the income people have regardless of whether they have earned it.

The other definition is “meritocracy fairness” which holds that people should receive monetary compensation based on hard work, ingenuity, and innovation – i.e. the money that people make should come as a result of merit.

In his 2010 book, The Battle: The Fight Between Free Enterprise and Big Government Will Shape America’s Future, Arthur Brooks states that inequality is “fair” if it is based on merit and equality would be “unfair” if what someone has earned on merit is redistributed to others who have not earned it. There should be penalties, not rewards, for corruption, stupidity, laziness, and incompetence. Where does the public come down in this? According to a comprehensive survey, 89% of Americans believe in “meritocracy fairness” and only 11% opt for “redistributive fairness.” People in the past, our ancestors, came to the United States for economic opportunity, not for redistribution of wealth.

Those numbers, to me, are staggering, and just completely belie the notion by nearly every Liberal who has ever posted here that they are in the mainstream of American political thought, and it’s Conservatives who represent the kook fringe.  It’s generally accepted that Liberals account for about 20% of the U.S. population, so almost half of those who self-identify as Liberals don’t even agree with redistributive fairness.

I think almost everyone who is paying the slightest bit of attention to this election cycle agrees that it’s one of the most important elections in generations, perhaps, as some contend, the most important since 1860.  November 6th will, I believe, be a referendum on how we as a people view not only the concept of fairness but the overall role, size and scope of government.  We are at a fork in the road, and this election will, I also believe, determine whether we take the road to serfdom or the road to freedom.

About these ads

117 thoughts on “What is Fairness?

    1. J. R. Babcock

      How many day traders really get their wealth through merit?

      Day Traders? Seriously? They make up, what — .000013% of the workforce? And the overwhelming majority of Wall Street traders, particularly at the executive level where the big bucks are are Democrats. Weak dude — really weak!

  1. Count d'Haricots

    Income inequality. So far no one has explained why this is a bad thing.

    I offer this “unfairness” I recently heard as an example.

    Someone offers you a job at $50,000 / year; your new boss makes $55,000 / year. Small income differential.

    Someone else offers you a job at $100,000 / year but in this case your new boss is making $200,000 / year. Major inequality!

    Can I assume our libiots will all take the $50,000 job out of sense of fairness, or will they be content knowing their boss makes twice what they do and take the hundred K job?

    1. Retired Spook Post author

      Count, let’s go a step further and look at an employee making $50,000 a year and a CEO making $5 million a year. The employee lives a normal life, has a modest house (on which he does most of his own maintenance) and a decent car, contributes to the economic cycle by purchasing both the necessities of life as well as some luxuries, but his economic activity doesn’t really create any jobs in and of itself. The CEO, OTOH, employs a secretary, a driver for his limo, a skipper and crew for his yacht, someone to clean and maintain his yacht, a pilot and crew and maintenance for his plane, a couple homes with the requisite maintenance (not performed by the CEO himself)……and, well, I think you get the picture. And, Oh, BTW, the CEO makes 100 times as much as the employee but pays 260 times as much in federal income taxes.

      Now let’s take both of these men and pay them each $100,000. The employee buys a nicer house and car and a kick-ass 60″ flat screen, and hires a lawn service to take care of his yard — still doesn’t have anyone working directly for him, but definitely adds more to the overall economic activity. He makes twice as much as before, but his federal income tax bill more than triples from $6,654 to $21,617*. All of the people who worked directly for the CEO are now laid off permanently because, well, we’re all equal now, and no one has executive mansions, summer homes in the Hamptons, luxury limos, planes or yachts — well, except the Commissars who are running the government, of course. And, of course, all the companies who manufactured all those luxury items also go out of business, throwing all their employees out of work. Unemployment jumps to 37%. The CEO’s tax bill does, however, drop from $1,727,314 to $21,617* and the government prints more money to make up the difference. NOW THAT’S FAIR!!

      *using adjusted gross income and current year tax tables.

      1. Amazona

        The janitor, of course, is also making $100,000 a year—–after all, it would not be fair to pay him less than the guy who worked hard all the way through high school to be able to get into a good college, worked his way through school, got his MBA, started off working 70 hours a week as he worked his way up the corporate ladder, did additional educational and training courses, and then risked his home and his life savings to start the business in question.

        So now high school kids, looking at this, figure “Why work my butt off when I can make the same amount of money without the brain damage of acquiring all those skills?” and kick back. And the manager, who is also making $100,000 a year, sees no motivation in putting in extra hours and the time and energy it takes to develop management skills, and puts in his 40 a week.

        All the guys on the assembly line make the same, no matter how much or how well they produce, so productivity goes down. Prices go up because there is less product to sell, and the quality of the product goes down, because the worker gets paid the same whether or not the product is any good. (Lada?)

        No one can afford big houses, or luxury cars, or yachts, or European vacations, or high-end media rooms, or swimming pools, so there is a whole element of industry that just goes away because there is no market.

        But it’s really really fair.

        Except, maybe, to the guy who has ambition, who wants to be able to do more and get paid for doing more, to have upward mobility, to have his increased contribution acknowledged and rewarded. For him, not so much.

      2. Count d'Haricots

        Actually Spook,

        Since the CEO is no longer raking in the $2.0M they may now hire twenty more people @ $100,000 each to do the CEO’s job. Suh-WEET!

        But, I’m more interested in the Law Firm that will do the yard-work. I assume that’s because they can only make $100,000 and, being inherently greedy lawyers will find alternate ways to make even more money. But, why isn’t your dude with the kickin’ flat screen required to pay the Law Service $100,000 for yard work?

        But, seriously, every time the subject of income inequality comes up I hear about the CEO making too much money while the line-worker makes too little. But, that’s not income inequality because the “paid too little” may be 5% less than the “paid too much” but the subjective argument is “too much” doesn’t really work while “too little” does all the labor. “Too Little” may as well, be in the upper 1/3 of wage earners and “too little” may have seen his income increase by 6% or 60% in the past decade while “too much” may have seen his income go down 5% or 50% during the same time period.

        Recently I was presented with the Cal-State Presidents getting big raises while budget cuts are raising tuition. Again, not income inequality; short sighted Regents.

        If the incomes of those at the top continue to rise faster than those at the bottom, or those in the middle how is that bad for the economy? There is no economic theory in which any rise in a group’s income is a detriment.

        No one is arguing that the “rich” are exploiting the “poor” at the behest of the government to the point that peasants rise and throw off their government sanctioned masters like some third-world toilet in Africa or South America. And, no one is seriously arguing that we should all be paid the same for a wide range of labors and talents. What they are arguing is that government needs to “control” the rise in upper end income, such that every other income level “catches up.” But, Mr. Krugman, WHY? What is the economic theory that states that preventing rich from getting richer will enable poor getting richer?

        Unless we’re living in Obamastan or Geithnerbia of course.

      3. Amazona

        Obamastan.

        I like that.

        But be careful of literary references. I once quoted Vonnegut and thought the Libs would bust a gut.

      4. Retired Spook Post author

        But, I’m more interested in the Law Firm that will do the yard-work.

        It’s Velma’s firm (Dewey, Cheatum & Howe), and I hear they work cheap. No, seriously, a typo — fixed.

      1. Jeremiah

        Tiredoflibbs,

        Yep! You got it right.

        Liberals are always looking for ways to game the system. That’s how the commies in charge get the votes.

      2. Jeremiah

        Joe Biden was on national tv this evening, and he was complaining about the rich. He wants to tear the rich down, and destroy what remaining jobs there are with them. He and his ilk really don’t understand the ramifications, or consequences of their worldview, of “leveling the playing field.”

      3. Jeremiah

        The problem is, that since the 1960s, the word ‘Work’ has become a dirty word. Liberals have destroyed the incentive, and wherewithal to do for themselves, never mind the fact that you can get it through a liberal’s head that there will always be poor people because there are those few who can’t do a whole lot of things. There are mentally and physically challenged, who truly need helped. But getting on the system by faking it, should not be allowed. That’s like stealing answers from a fellow classmate to pass a test. In the same way, the one who fakes disability steals from the working man, what he could have with a little incentive applied himself to do the work necessary to get the money.

      4. Jeremiah

        We’re losing our Constitutional freedoms, we’re losing jobs, we’re losing the unborn, we’re losing the family (one man and one woman marriage; and resulting children), we’ve lost incentive to work, we’re losing morality, we’re losing creativity…

        We’ve lost a lot in America, and if we keeping going down this road, it doesn’t look good for the future.

  2. Cluster

    Fairness? Everyone says that want fairness? Well then, let’s:

    – repeal affirmative action
    – subject women to the draft (if it is re-instituted)
    – Enforce anti trust laws
    – institute loser-pay tort reform
    – subject congress critters to the same health care everyone else has
    – require a public vote on congressional pay increases
    – require health insurance companies to provide for male contraception
    – form a “white congressional caucus”

    Just some ideas. Of course the short answer is that life is not fair, and no legislation will ever change that fact, despite good intentions.

    I don’t agree with exorbitant CEO pay, but if the owners of the company, ie: share holders approve the compensation package, than the government should leave them alone. The share holders are only hurting their returns in the process, and may risk losing talented employees if their compensation is not competitive in the industry.

    1. Amazona

      “…..may risk losing talented employees if their compensation is not competitive in the industry..”

      Bingo. Have you noticed the lack of outrage about the fact that George Clooney gets paid more per movie than the catering director? Or that Payton Manning will get paid more than the guy who washes the team uniforms?

      Even the most economically illiterate PL troll understands that if the Broncos offered Payton Manning a buck three-eighty to play quarterback, he would have been off to wherever.

      Sports franchises, like any other businesses, understand that if they try to pay their people less, someone else will step up and offer more. Ditto for Hollyweird. Clearly if Joe Schmo from Kokomo could bring in the box office crowds needed for the studio to make money, the studio would be only too happy to tell Clooney “it’s $100,000—take it or leave it”.

      People who have never run a business or even been in management are so clueless about what a top-flight CEO does, they assume that he does nothing to earn those big bucks. But CEOs don’t just walk into their jobs. They started off on lower tiers, and competed for advancement, and corporate advancement is based on who improves the bottom line of the company.

      The PL lemmings just seem to assume that some board of directors has just arbitrarily picked some huge number out of nowhere and said “Let’s pay Bill this much money”. Hardly. They look at what Bill has done for the company, and they look at company performance since Bill took over, and they realize that they are much better off having Bill make more and working for them than hiring someone who will work for less and having Bill working for their competition.

      Now if this was a Lefty blog this would have been deleted for the use of profanity. (“Competition”)

      1. neocon1

        Like told my kids for EVER……..Life isnt FAIR, but that’s life, GET OVER IT!

        Here how it is,
        When I go to some of my friends Million + dollar homes on the water with a big yacht or boat at the dock and beautiful cars in the drive way, do I ever wish I could have that? Sure

        How ever I get to use those homes and boats through friend ships, IE party’s, fishing, cookouts, hanging out. Does it bother me that I dont own that and cant afford it? NO

        Then I work on the south side ( da hood) comparitively am I glad for what I do have? you bet.

        Am I thankful I am more blessed than those living there ? SURE.

        class warfare is what the marxist donks do to gain/maintain power, to them power = GOD!

      2. Retired Spook Post author

        Neo,

        I can’t recall EVER hearing a Conservative complain that it’s unfair that someone else has more than he does. And I can’t EVER recall a Conservative candidate for office attempting to divide people by class to score political points. The fairness/class warfare tactic is pretty much owned by the Left, and I think this election cycle is going to show just how fed up with it most people are.

      3. neocon1

        Ama

        during my career all my managers USUALLY made more money than me…….however they had the potential to make less. 25-50% of their wages were based on performance of the branch and the company. If things sucked they had the possibility of making the wage of a low level employee.
        The same goes for Most CEO’s.
        If things go great stocks rise, profits rise under their watch they do fantastic. If things suck so do their wages (based upon potential vs actual)

    2. neocon1

      Cluster
      the corp I worked 29 years with was a 40 BILLION a year company. Our division was a 9 BILLION a year entity.
      Our CEO made $15 million one year, but that year my stock values rose nearly 30%, my 401K rocked and i got a 6% pay increase…….I felt give this man $30 Million next year if he can keep that up……

      1. Cluster

        True that – and it dispels the notion that wealth is a zero sum game.

        I liked your story about your neighbors home vs your home and can completely relate to that. I too live modestly – my home is not overly big, and not in the pish posh neighborhood where some of my colleagues live, BUT my home is paid for!! No mortgage, and I have very little debt. So when I get home at night and sit out by my pool, I have a peace of mind that is priceless and could care less that other people have the “status” that I don’t. I have never been envious of other peoples possessions.

        And speaking of that – I have a great joke that is a little crass (but that has never stopped me before). This is from a fairly well to do friend of mine:

        If it flies, floats, or f**ks – rent it!

  3. dennis

    Most reasonable people believe in the concept of merit. But the facile way labels like “meritocracy” are thrown around and swapped out for concepts that have zero to do with merit makes a joke of language. Your conversation here reminds me of college freshmen with no experience in the real world, carrying on about your superior values and making a caricature of liberal values you’re unable to wrap your minds around. Your comparison between “meritocracy fairness” and “redistributive fairness” is a false dichotomy. Imagine if people had to choose between death from bowel cancer or living as a celibate vegan. Fortunately there’s a lot of space between those extremes.

    Spook, your linked essay early on says “this is not a partisan critique” but by the end accuses the left of not believing in meritocracy and being “motivated by envy and spite”. Ho hum, what a predictable contradiction. Again, most reasonable people including liberals believe hard work and wise choices should result in tangible rewards for those who make a habit of them. That would be fair. A true meritocracy would be an economic utopia. But most people with their lights on know the world isn’t fair, and hard work and wise choices don’t guarantee anything. A diminishing number of people reap the true fruits of their labor these days; many never will.

    I’ve lived in red and blue states in the past few years and have seen more people laboring for naught than ever before. Two years ago I was in southern Indiana buying groceries at Walmart, and noticed something different about the cashier. I had seen her before, a sixtyish woman. This day she was moving things across the scanner with obvious difficulty. I looked closer and saw her shoulder was swollen to the size of a small watermelon – like she had a football shoulder pad on one side. I asked if she was ok and she nodded but looked like she was about to cry.

    I guaran-damn-tee you that woman wasn’t ok, she had no business being at work and would not have been there except she felt she had no choice. That’s the problem with your scenario with the 50G employee and the 5 million dollar CEO. There are also the hourly workers down the line who are functionally disposable slave labor. That’s all they are to upper and mid-level management – if that weren’t the case, that woman would have had health coverage, she would have had some humane choice and not been making her problem worse by being at work. And they’re totally missing in your calculus here. All this strips Cluster’s continual assertion of wealth accumulation not being a zero-sum game of credibility. And Jeremiah, you couldn’t be more wrong about the work ethic – it thrives all the way across the spectrum, even when people are getting screwed by their employers. I have seen it up close and personal, I make it a point to notice it.

    (As an aside, this doesn’t even begin to address all the small businesses put out of work by big box retailers – thanks a lot for Staples, Mitt – nobody ever says how many mom and pop stores were put out of business by the biggies, they’re so busy counting all those “new jobs”. Only with the new jobs, people are slave labor for the big corporations’ profits – no longer are they actual entrepreneurs with an organic connection to their communities. But that’s a whole nother topic…)

    Empathy is a weakness in world where profits are the be-all and end-all; meanwhile psycopathy is a distinct advantage. In reality the carnal world is a Darwinian contest – merit has very little to do with it. If America were a meritocracy George W. Bush would have been a carpet salesman or maybe a realtor. Instead he ended up using 17 grand from a trust fund (that would not be available to him in a strict meritocracy) to set up an oil company that, to make long story short, failed – despite numerous infusions of millions more dollars from rich benefactors – also not money he “merited”. Then in June 1990, after working with auditors who found the company was in trouble, young Mr. Bush cashed out two thirds of his stock at a fat profit just a week before the company’s value tanked. Merit-based remuneration? I don’t think so – in another era he’d have been called a rich punk and maybe even busted, but you guys erected a shrine to him in cyberspace.

    That may be too easy an example, but there are so many others. The point is, many of the “haves” in society aren’t that way because they merited their wealth or power, but because they were born into it, or had the connections to leverage it for themselves. Neither of these circumstances has zip to do with merit, but luck – yet this is mindlessly defended as “meritocracy” by so many on the right. Others who work even harder and play by all the rules may never get ahead, some get royally screwed. This is why some people try to level the playing field – by strict regulations (like the Glass-Steagall Act) and a progressive tax schedule (what you like to call “redistribution”).

    People need to realize two things: it’s impossible to make the world perfectly fair, but it’s not impossible to make it better. We don’t live in a morally perfect world. There always will be those who take advantage, and they aren’t defined by any place on the political spectrum: they’re defined by their psychopathy. We should not let them stop us from making things better, we should make it harder for them to have their way. We’ll never have a utopia, but we don’t need another era where rich people make all the rules, mostly to benefit themselves. It’s pure demagoguery that gets the poor to agree to circumstances not in their own best interest – but they’re so busy with their noses to the grindstone, and like Mark Twain said “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them they’ve been fooled.”

    1. Cluster

      Dennis,

      My wife has a very good friend who worked at Walmart and she has excellent health insurance from them. In fact she hurt her back a couple of years ago, and not only did Walmart’s health insurance cover everything, she was given plenty of time off by the manager to heal with no questions asked and went right back to work when she was able to She loves working for Walmart. So the assumptions you derived by noticing her shoulder injury are based in your far left ideology and hatred of all things corporate. No surprise.

    2. Retired Spook Post author

      So, how would a President Dennis with a Congress and a Supreme Court of your choosing solve all the problems you outline?

    3. Amazona

      Evidently being the Only True Christian has some perks—like being able to ignore that not bearing false witness thing, when there is a rant to be screeched.

      Aside from the totally predictable default snap-back to BOOOSH !!!!!, he’s packed his little irrelevant BDS hissy fit with some big fat whoppers. (And no, I am not talking about hamburgers.)

      And slipped in one of those RRL and PL redefinition thingies they love so much.

      As one who grew up in an area where oil would come and go, I know that the industry is very volatile. As one who is now involved in an oil industry-related company, who just sat through a board meeting where this volatility was the major point of discussion, I’m pretty darned sure that I know more about oil field economics and the business in general than dennis.

      Bush’s company was in a downturn, which is the most predictable event imaginable in an industry which is such a roller coaster. He sold his shares, not to bail out but to move on to do something he had always dreamed of doing, owning a baseball team.

      Very shortly the oil business recovered, the investors made money, and an SEC investigation of the timing of the stock sale (pushed by Bush haters) found absolutely no irregularity, no law broken, nothing at all wrong with the sale.

      Now to the redefinition. dennis has declared, from his lofty position on the Higher Moral Ground, that the REAL definition of “meritocracy” is that you can only own what you earned.

      Bzzzzzt. Wrong again, denny.

      In this case, Bush the Elder earned his money, and that meant he could do whatever he damned well pleased with it, including making it available to anyone else (including sons) to invest however they wanted to. It was voluntary, and IT WAS HIS OWN MONEY.

      Note the sour resentment underlying denny’s whine about George W having access to money. This is the same surly attitude that decrees that no one should be allowed to have any money the government hasn’t allotted to them—-ergo, the Death Tax. If denny could have had HIS way, George the Elder’s money would have been ripped off by the ‘more-compassionate’ government and then, after lots of it sticking to fingers in various agencies it passed through, been applied to something denny finds fitting with his “liberal values”.

      Poor dennis. He’s just stuck in the wrong country. Everything he wants is available somewhere else, but he lives HERE, so all he can think of to do is to distort this nation to cram it into his Leftist “values”.

    4. Amazona

      “Others who work even harder and play by all the rules may never get ahead, some get royally screwed. This is why some people try to level the playing field – by strict regulations (like the Glass-Steagall Act) and a progressive tax schedule (what you like to call “redistribution”). ”

      So what dennis seems to be getting at here is that it is, somehow, not only the job of the Federal government to guarantee fairness, but that he believes this would be possible.

      Boy, talk about an all-powerful government! A Central Committee that can “level the playing field” by—doing what, exactly? An example dennis gives is the progressive income tax, which he seems to define as “fair” in that it takes money from those who have more of it and gives it to those who have less. (Which he also seems to try to redefine as NOT “redistribution”.)

      So this is supposed to represent “fairness” for those who receive. But is it “fair” to those who have had their earnings taken away from them?

      This is where we get into yet another level of collective definition of terms, because now we skip around the “fairness” issue of working for something which is then taken away from you and into a definition of what some people “deserve”.

      And what could be “fairer” than having politicians and bureaucrats decide what other people “deserve”? You know, politicians and bureaucrats who are, as we all know, are motivated by nothing more than unselfish generosity and the desire to do well by everyone, in the sole interest of making everything s perfect and wonderful and “fair” as it can possibly be—and who combine these characteristics with the superior intelligence and wisdom necessary to do this job well. THOSE bureaucrats and politicians, not the ones we have now, obviously.

      Yeah, dennis’s Brave New World fantasy is becoming clearer and clearer.

      And more chilling.

    5. Amazona

      “nobody ever says how many mom and pop stores were put out of business by the biggies, they’re so busy counting all those “new jobs”. ”

      Yeah, when Wal Mart came to our community I worried about our local hardware store. And when I expressed this to the owner, he said that running his operation had become such a pain in the butt, he would make more money, and have more free time and no sleepless nights, if he became the hardware manager at Wal Mart.

      This sudden concern for small business, so convenient when it can be used to attack Romney (“..thanks a lot for Staples, Mitt ..” ) manages to overlook the regulation and taxation that cripple small business these days. (Rebuilding the front of the building, which was even with the sidewalk, to create a landing with a wheelchair ramp—over $40,000. Never used. Enlarging the restroom to make it wheelchair accessible. Another $20,000, give or take. Never used by anyone in a wheelchair. And so on.)

      Ignorance or demagoguery?

    6. tiredoflibbs

      Sorry denny, you want the federal government to guarantee equal outcomes and not equal opportunity – big difference. I know individuals who have equal opportunity and sqander it as well as those who take advantage of that SAME opportunity and succeed. In your world, you want the federal gov’t to “level the playing field”.

      That will either be a) hold back the successor or b) forcefully elevating the slacker. Either way does not work.

    7. Amazona

      I am starting to think the freak show doesn’t believe any of the crap he unloads here, but just likes to see how outrageous he can be. He certainly is not restrained by things like facts, or reason, or intelligence.

      Hell, he can’t even define “conservative” but he sure can toss the word around in the stupidest comparisons and analogies, none of which ever make any sense.

    8. Amazona

      “Others who work even harder and play by all the rules may never get ahead, some get royally screwed.

      Awwww, that is soooooo sad. Let’s fix that, OK?

      And why limit this “fairness” to the workplace? Or even just to people?

      In every football or baseball game I see, one team works even harder, sometimes, than the winner, and plays by all the rules, but does not win—what dennis would call “getting royally screwed”, I guess.

      Those horses who did NOT win the Kentucky Derby? They all worked even harder than the winner, and they sure played by all the rules, and look how royally screwed they were—they didn’t even get their entry fees back.

      But, you see, to the dennises, it’s not about being the best, or even having a streak of luck to augment skill and hard work—it’s TRYING that should be rewarded.

      Let’s face it—dennis is, at heart, a totally committed collectivist. Every argument he makes is against individuality and merit-based gains, and in favor of a collectivist, redistributionist, society in which Big Brother makes all the decisions and allots all the goodies based not on who earned what but on who, according to BB, “deserves” it more.

      And rather than put his money and his life where his big mouth is and just moving to a country where this is the way things are done, he is just going to whine and bitch and moan and criticize and carry on because in this country it is not.

      And it works out so well for him. He doesn’t actually have to LIVE under such a government, with all its inherent flaws and weaknesses and losses of personal liberty, but he gets to claim the Higher Moral Ground by constantly complaining and nagging about how much better this country would be if we would only change.

  4. GMB

    “Again, most reasonable people including liberals believe hard work and wise choices should result in tangible rewards for those who make a habit of them.”

    Care to explain what tangible rewards I should get or not get as the result of my own labor? Care to explain how much of my daily labor is owed to everyone else? Care to explain why you deserve any of the fish I catch or the pies I bake and why?

    1. dennis

      GMB, I don’t really want any of my tax money to buy weapons for Israel, nor wanted any of it going to make war on Iraq. However in a republic such as ours, elected representatives get to make certain decisions for the rest of us that we won’t all approve. I do feel caring for our own people is a more defensible concept than giving billions in weapons to bellicose allies halfway around the world, but that’s just my view. As for your fish and pies, I seriously don’t want any of them.

      You’re stuck in Richard Mourdock’s miserly priority of people trying to protect their stuff from other people. How sad. The world and everything in it belongs to God, we all are guests at his table. How much each of us takes is a reflection on our own character and values. How much others take is a reflection on theirs. And when given civic choices, how well we provide for the common good (“the least of these brothers of mine”) is very much a reflection on our national values.

      1. Cluster

        Dennis,

        I have grown very tired of your premise that conservatives advocate the absence of government and oppose any social safety nets. If you could quiet the sanctimonious liberal voice in your head for just a day or two and objectively examine conservatism, you’d realize that there is support for reasonable, effective and sustainable social programs that truly do help those in need while not hindering the freedom and potential of others.

        Unless and until you at least give some effort toward that end, I will always consider you to be the Joe Biden of this blog. And that’s not a complement.

      2. GMB

        I am not stuck in any priority. It is you yhat is stuck in in a world of not wanting to provide for yourself. 10 percent of of everything I create goes to the Church. That is all the Church asks.

        Your government however keeps taking more and more and more so they can line the pockets of the Trumpkas of the world. You don’t want my fish and pies ? Quit taking them and tell your government to quit taking them too.

        Oh wait, how will you pay off your cronys at Solyndra and First Solar if you don’t.

        He that blesses Israel will be blessed. He that curses Israel will be cursed. Hmmm, I wonder where I read that at?

      3. Amazona

        “However in a republic such as ours, elected representatives get to make certain decisions for the rest of us that we won’t all approve. I do feel caring for our own people is a more defensible concept than giving billions in weapons to bellicose allies halfway around the world, but that’s just my view. “

        Yeah, and that’s real nice and all, but it is also a statement that you also don’t care about the Constitution. Your I’d Like To Give The World A Hug concept is quite sweet, but the problem is, you are so enamored of it that you completely overlook the simple fact that we are, or are at least supposed to be, a nation of laws.

        We are, or at least we are supposed to be, governed according to the Constitution of the United States—us being the United States and all—-so there are some pretty specific rules we have to follow.

        Here’s one:

        The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people

        Now, the problem you have is that “caring for our own people ” is not an enumerated duty of the federal government. The states can do it, and the people can do it, but the feds are, by our Constitution, FORBIDDEN to do it.

        You sneer that there are some “…liberal values you’re unable to wrap your minds around…” but you seem to have a really hard time wrapping YOUR mind around one of the most basic tenets of this entire country.

        And by the way, we do have our minds wrapped around these “liberal values” you are so proud of. We understand. We understand the apolitical, politically illiterate, feel-good “values” of people like you who are so overweening in your pride at occupying the Higher Moral Ground, and actually agree with many of them. Just not as allowed by our federal government.

        If you are speaking about Liberal “values”—-that is, the actual political dogma of the Left, well, having you whine about anyone else’s inability to “wrap their minds around it” is pretty silly, since you are not only utterly ignorant of them but insist that there is no reason for to acquaint yourself with them. No, you’ll just vote them in, pretending that they are the warm fuzzies that rev your engine.

      4. Amazona

        “And when given civic choices, how well we provide for the common good (“the least of these brothers of mine”) is very much a reflection on our national values.”

        So provide away. No one is stopping you. Get right out there, denny, and promote state and local efforts to meet your quite elevated standards of moral behavior.

        But take some time to actually study the origins of this nation, the underlying philosophies and the experiences on which they were based, to gain some actual knowledge not only of how the nation is set up but why.

        It can summed up in the statement “A government big enough to give you everything is big enough to take it away.”

        The goal of the Founders was not to create a hard-hearted nation indifferent to the needs of its people, but to create a nation in which those needs could be met without the danger of the government becoming massive, all-powerful and all-controlling. The Founders weighed the virtues of charity and generosity against the dangers of a monarchy or anything even remotely resembling one, and they came up with a brilliant model, in which the federal government is rigidly restricted as to size, scope and power, but the states (and the people) have great freedom to accomplish the goals forbidden to the national government.

        From “The Original Argument”, a translation of the Federalist Papers into contemporary English—-emphasis mine.

        “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain with the state governments are numerous and undefined. The powers of the Federal government will be primarily concentrated on external matters, such as war, peace, diplomatic negotiations, and foreign commerce, which the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected with. The powers reserved to the states will extend to all the objects normally concerning the lives, liberties, and properties of the People, as well as the internal order, improvement and prosperity of the states themselves.”

        What I see here is your confusion in tying in your personal concept of redemption, which is apparently quite tied in with collective salvation no matter how stridently you argue the semantics of that observation, with your concept of the role of the federal government as shown by your fretting about some “…reflection on our national values.”

      5. Amazona

        I’m going to go out on a limb here, and speculate that when dennis leaves home, he locks the doors. And when he parked in that Wal Mart parking lot in southern Indiana, he locked his car. I’m betting that he doesn’t leave his wallet, or his phone or his credit cards, lying on the table in a restaurant when he goes to the men’s room, or his lawn mower on the front sidewalk when he goes to bed at night.

        In other words, I’m betting that dennis his own self participates, on a daily basis, in a “…miserly priority of ……. trying to protect (his) stuff from other people. ”

        How sad?

      6. Count d'Haricots

        More than 80% [of millionaires] are ordinary people who have accumulated their wealth in one generation, ” Kinda put the lie to dennis’ claim that the “haves” were “born into” wealth and power don’t it?

        I’m reminded here that Bardolf recently posted a stinging condemnation of the Wounded Warriors Project based on the premise that “taking care” of our servicemen is the responsibility of the government and privately funded assistance assuages responsibility of the government.

        When in fact, the opposite is true; in the name of fairness statists like dennis and ‘dolf believe the compassion of a nation is demonstrated by the seizure of private assets for redistribution since the citizenry are incapable or unwilling to do so. In this manner the dennises of the world do not have to decide what is needed and how much is offered. They don’t have to look at those in need and decide who deserves his help.

        My conservative friends here recognize that no matter what action the government takes as its responsibility in the recovery of these servicemen, we, the people acting on our own can do more. That’s our responsibility and that’s what’s fair.

        If dennis were truly concerned for the wellbeing of the WalMart clerk why did he not offer to give the woman a day’s wages to facilitate her recovery? Moreover, why did he not inquire as to the nature of her discomfort to ascertain a correct course of action? Is he not really concerned for her recovery but only in an ostentatious demonstration of his empathy in place of true compassion?

        I’ve worked in pain, Amazona has certainly worked in pain. Perhaps Ms. WalMart was just sick of sitting home watching Gilligan’s Island and decided she’d rather be at work in pain than be at home in pain.

        Compassion of a nation is demonstrated by what its people do for one another, and no people on earth demonstrate that better than Americans.

        I once heard Angela Davis say, “Compassion is an over-civilized word for pity” Perhaps this is dennis’ definition as well.

      7. Amazona

        “To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”

        -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816
        *********************************

        “A wise and frugal government … shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”

        -Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801
        ****************************************

        “Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.”

        -Thomas Jefferson
        *********************************

        “With respect to the two words ‘general welfare,’ I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.”

        James Madison
        *********************************

        In 1794, when Congress appropriated $15,000 for relief of French refugees who fled from insurrection in San Domingo to Baltimore and Philadelphia, James Madison stood on the floor of the House to object saying, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”

        -James Madison, 4 Annals of congress 179 (1794)
        **********************************
        “…[T]he government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”

        -James Madison

      8. Amazona

        I work in pain every day. Literally, every single day. I have no cartilage in either knee (old auto accident) and while moving I hurt my back and broke my nose.

        I had a horse spook and spin me around as he took off, and it happened so fast I didn’t have time to let go of the lead rope, so I did a face plant. Not a nice little fall-down face plant, but a high-velocity, arms out in front of me like Superman, moving forward while falling down onto frozen gravel face plant, and I heard my nose crack when I hit. OK–broken noses bleed. So blood didn’t get my attention, not till I went into the house and learned that I had also taken off all the skin from my forehead to my chin. Ten minutes later the blood flow had stopped, most of the imbedded gravel was rinsed away, I had a big patch over my nose, and I was back to loading horses.

        (My brother refused to go to a restaurant with me that night—he said I looked “a little rough”.)

        For a long time the only way I could function was to wear one of those ThermaPad heat generating stick-on patches on my back, which is when I learned a very interesting factoid. I had to stop by the sheriff’s office and set off the metal detector. Several times. So the wand came out, and I still dinged the detector like crazy. It turns out that those ThermaPads have metal/magnets in them—-good to know if you are planning to fly, for example, but also something to remember if you shop at any store with the magnet detector in the door.

        I know people who simply refuse to give in to pain. For all dennis knows, the swelling was only a few minutes old, and the woman made the decision to finish her shift. Actually there is nothing in the shoulder that would swell like that so she probably slapped on an ice pack or a ThermaPad so she could finish her shift—not an indictment of Wal Mart, or of our health care system, or of our eeeeeeevil selfish gummint, or proof of the slave system of having to work for a paycheck, but actually an example of the attitude that allowed his nation to excel for so long, before it became wimpified.

      9. tiredoflibbs

        Ama, that is the problem with denny. To him, if the Federal Gov’t is not addressing the “problem” it is not getting done.

        To him, only the Federal government can solve the country’s problems at state and local level.

        He complains that billions are going to Israel and we are not taking care of our own. But he fails to realize that the Fed has spent TRILLIONS on programs for the poor and all it does is create MORE poor people. It creates the dependent class of society, but I guess that is ok with him.

      10. Amazona

        dennis: WAR ON POVERTY

        Look it up, and report back on it—-projected cost, actual cost, projected result, actual result, and change in poverty between then and now.

        That’s OK–we’ll wait.

    1. neocon1

      dennistooge

      the lady at Wal Mart was there by choice. Ill bet she was DAMN GLAD to have a job.

      HOW MUCH would YOU pay some one with no skills to slide a product over a bar code and collect the tallied amount of money and give a receipt?

      I too have pain and guess what? I suck it up and work every day BFD!!
      you are the kind of mental midget who makes communism and the donk party flourish yet have NO Fn clue about business, life or Christianity.

    2. Retired Spook Post author

      GMB,

      Excellent illustration of how Donkrats view fairness. Reminds me of a great Churchill quote:

      “The vice of capitalism is that there is an unequal share of the blessings; the virtue of socialism is that there is an equal share of the misery.”

  5. Retired Spook Post author

    OT, but is anyone else seeing a trend here?

    Earlier today the US Senate voted on President Obama’s budget, rejecting it with a stunning vote of 99-0. Senate Democrats have yet to propose and vote on a budget of their own for over three years now, but Senate Republicans forced their hand and brought up Obama’s budget for a vote.

    It didn’t turn out well for Mr. Obama.

    Per The Washington Times:

    President Obama’s budget suffered a second embarrassing defeat Wednesday, when senators voted 99-0 to reject it.

    Coupled with the House’s rejection in March, 414-0, that means Mr. Obama’s budget has failed to win a single vote in support this year.

    Republicans forced the vote by offering the president’s plan on the Senate floor.

    Democrats disputed that it was actually the president’s plan, arguing that the slim amendment didn’t actually match Mr. Obama’s budget document, which ran thousands of pages. But Republicans said they used all of the president’s numbers in the proposal, so it faithfully represented his plan.

    Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican, even challenged Democrats to point out any errors in the numbers and he would correct them — a challenge no Democrats took up.

  6. J. R. Babcock

    It’ll be interesting to see what effect this new ad has on Romney’s already shrinking deficit among women. I can’t wait to here the cries from the Left about how “unfair” this ad is.

    1. bozo

      Wow, how will the Onion parody THAT?

      “If it feels like 1984 in real life, it should,” Dannenfelser added. “The threats to our religious liberty and conscience rights are very real. The question that needs to be asked of this president is ‘who decides?’ Time and time again, President Obama has affirmed that it is the government who decides – government who decides what women want and think.”

      So, women WANT the government to take away their ability to decide for themselves? Women DON’T want control over their own bodies? Forcing insurers to offer birth control if the woman chooses it is forcing the government on the woman, i.e. how DARE the government make women choose for themselves?!? While Republicans forcing an ultrasound against women’s AND doctor’s wishes is giving women the right to choose to…not… choose? Stephen Colbert would be baffled by this logic.

      The organization urges women to tell President Obama to “Respect a woman’s choice to practice her beliefs… Not his.” Exactly how does giving women choice NOT respect a woman’s choice, and conservatives eliminating a woman’s ability to choose somehow respects her choice?

      WHAT?!? “Unfair” is definitely not the word that comes to mind…

  7. dbschmidt

    One thing I learned a long time ago that applies whether as an employee or employer is the business of business is to make a profit. As an employee, if I am paid $100K/yr plus benefits–my goal is to make the company I work for much more than that otherwise I am a drain on the corporate goal and should be released. As an employer, if I am going to pay someone 100K/yr plus benefits then they need to produce well above that mark or they will be released. Simple economics. I, nor any corporation, is in business for the people that work there–they are in the business to turn a profit for the shareholders. In this competitive environment, many corporations are giving a great deal more incentive to hire the best in the available marketplace but they are not there for anyone’s benefit shy of the shareholders.

  8. bagni

    hey zona
    appreciate your sharing
    explains a lot
    yknow….falling on your head and stuff years ago…….
    ::))

  9. dennis

    What ama says: “what dennis seems to be getting at here is that it is, somehow, not only the job of the Federal government to guarantee fairness, but that he believes this would be possible.”

    What tired says: “denny, you want the federal government to guarantee equal outcomes and not equal opportunity.”

    What I actually said: “People need to realize two things: it’s impossible to make the world perfectly fair, but it’s not impossible to make it better.”
    And that was after providing two examples of how to do this: a.) regulation – as in the Glass-Steagall Act, which worked well for decades to prevent Wall Street from speculating with depositors’ funds, but was killed at the behest of conservative legislators and b.) a more progressive tax schedule – which America also had all through the decades its middle class grew and thrived the most. It’s significant that the greatest economic problems we’ve experienced came in the wake of deregulation and massive tax cuts for the wealthiest. It’s not like there weren’t any rich people before that, but the poor and middle class didn’t fare so badly.

    I don’t see any virtue – economic, Constitutional or otherwise – in striking down most regulation of industry and financial institutions. Or in empowering large corporate entities to wipe out and replace entrepreneurial small businesses and become the employer of last resort in many communities across the nation. When I was a child growing up in Texas in the 1950s I was taught that monopolies were not good, and the government was supposed to prevent them because they were anti-competitive. Now I hear the right saying mega-corporations are not only virtuous but have the constitutional rights of persons (even though they are never sent to jail for breaking the law), and regulating them is anti-competitive and therefore bad.

    As for the Federal government, I said nothing about it guaranteeing anything. I see the government’s role as a referee of sorts. A referee can’t guarantee which team will win. But imagine in pro sports if there were no referees, and players were allowed to do whatever they wanted. This is the direction the right is pushing the nation. The players get to tie the hands of the referees, gag them and make them watch the game from the sidelines, powerless to make any calls at all. Or worse still, buy them off with unlimited, undisclosed campaign contributions.

    Taken to its logical conclusion in such an environment corporations would become the de facto rulers of everything, and profits the ultimate criterion for the value of anything. Of course a token segment of legislation will be left to issues such as preventing abortion and punishing homosexuality, to provide a veneer of moral self-esteem to those who run things. This is the direction we’re headed.

    1. tiredoflibbs

      denny regurgitates dumbed down talking points:”And that was after providing two examples of how to do this: a.) regulation – as in the Glass-Steagall Act, which worked well for decades to prevent Wall Street from speculating with depositors’ funds, but was killed at the behest of conservative legislators and b.) a more progressive tax schedule – which America also had all through the decades its middle class grew and thrived the most.”

      Ah yes, REGULATION is the only way to make world better. I guess DEMOCRAT BILL CLINTON should not have signed that deregulation legislation then…. (but of course, this deregulation had nothing to do with the mortgage and housing market artificial inflation and collapse).

      Also, according to denny, the middle class THRIVED because of a progressive tax code – the utter stupidity of this statement is beyond belief. Past history has shown his to be absolutely FALSE.

      So again, denny (without realizing it) has proven my point about his beliefs. He believes (like obAMATEUR and the rest of the proggy looters) that America is great and prosperous because of government and only the all powerful federal government can succeed in caring for the poor and grow the economy, the middle class.

      Denny, again, go back to photograph and stained glass – at least that way you cannot embarrass yourself with regurgitating dumbed down talking points.

      Pathetic.

    2. tiredoflibbs

      oh, I almost forgot this gem: “I see the government’s role as a referee of sorts. A referee can’t guarantee which team will win.”

      Uh, two things…. the government cannot be compared to referees. Referees have to follow the rules, government can change the rules or outright disobey them (as we have seen in this administration). Plus, you don’t know much about sports, referees can determine the winner of a game. If they can ignore and change the outcome of a simple coin toss, they can do almost anything.

      http://xfinity.comcast.net/slideshow/sports-badsportscalls/15/

      Again, stick to photographs and stained glass, they are mentally more your speed.

    3. Retired Spook Post author

      regulation – as in the Glass-Steagall Act, which worked well for decades to prevent Wall Street from speculating with depositors’ funds, but was killed at the behest of conservative legislators

      Dennis, Your propensity to take information out of context to support your worldview is getting really old. The provision of Gramm, Leach, Bliley that repealed a portion of Glass-Steagall in 1999 was indeed ushered through the Senate by Phil Gramm and Richard Lugar. Gramm was, indeed, one of the most conservative U.S. Senators with a lifetime ACU rating of 94%, and Lugar’s ACU record in 1999 was 88%. An interesting side note: in 1998, Lugar’s ACU record was 68%, but then he was up for reelection in 2000. Anyway, stopping right here, it sounds as though your allegation is correct. But why stop there when the rest of the story is so interesting. The legislation was approved in the Senate 90-8 with 51 Republicans and 39 Democrats voting in favor. Bill Clinton’s Treasury Secretary, Lawrence Summers, enthusiastically endorsed the legislation and Bill Clinton enthusiastically signed it. And now, as Paul Harvey was so fond of saying, you know the rest of the story.

      BTW, Dennis, I don’t have a problem with you reminding everyone that Gramm, Leach, Bliley created a regulatory problem that had adverse effects. Just don’t make it a partisan thing, because it clearly wasn’t.

    4. dbschmidt

      What I actually said: “People need to realize two things: it’s impossible to make the world perfectly fair, but it’s not impossible to make it better.”
      And that was after providing two examples of how to do this: a.) regulation – as in the Glass-Steagall Act, which worked well for decades to prevent Wall Street from speculating with depositors’ funds, but was killed at the behest of conservative legislators and b.) a more progressive tax schedule – which America also had all through the decades its middle class grew and thrived the most.

      Aside from an outright lie–your “belief” in regulation and confiscation is just another liberal assault. How about we, as Americans, cut all subsidies to all corporations, and make all taxes a consumption tax, and let the cards fall where they may? Rid us of the regulations and other hampering of governments which the legal system already has remedies for and allow the America’s you so profess to adore the ability to succeed or fail as is part of the American dream?

      BTW, Glass-Stteagall did nothing as did the progressive tax rate—well, it did create more losers because of the restrictive environment.

    5. Amazona

      “It’s significant that the greatest economic problems we’ve experienced came in the wake of deregulation and massive tax cuts for the wealthiest”

      Well, it’s equally significant that the greatest economic problems we’ve experienced came in the wake of Cher’s latest face lift, increased sunspot activity, and Dancing With The Stars.

      As usual, dennis is wrong.

      There is an inclination to accept “conventional wisdom” (which is so seldom wise) and assume that Glass-Steagall kept banks from selling mortgages. Wrong.

      ”in 1985 and 1986 the Comptroller of the Currency decided that the Act allowed national banks to purchase and sell mutual shares for its customers as their agent and sell units in unit investment trusts. In 1987, the Comptroller also concluded that a national bank may offer to the public, through a subsidiary, brokerage services and investment advice, while acting as an adviser to a mutual fund or unit investment trust. Since 1985 the regulators have allowed banks to offer discount brokerage services through subsidiaries, and these more permissive rules have been upheld by the courts. Thus, more recent court decisions and regulatory agency rulings have tended to soften the 1971 Supreme Court’s apparently strict interpretation of the Act’s prohibitions.
      Sections 20 and 32 refer to commercial bank affiliations. Section 20 forbids member banks from affiliating with a company ‘engaged principally’ in the ‘issue, flotation, underwriting, public sale, or distribution at wholesale or retail or through syndicate participation of stocks, bonds, debentures, notes, or other securities’. In June 1988 the U.S. Supreme Court (by denying certiorari) upheld a lower court’s ruling accepting the Federal Reserve Board’s April 1987 approval for member banks to affiliate with companies underwriting commercial paper, municipal revenue bonds, and securities backed by mortgages and consumer debts, as long as the affiliate does not principally engage in those activities. ‘Principally engaged’ was defined by the Federal Reserve as activities contributing more than from 5 to 10 per cent of the affiliate’s total revenue. In 1987, the DC Court of Appeals affirmed the Federal Reserve Board’s 1985 ruling allowing a bank holding company to acquire a subsidiary that provided both brokerage services and investment advice to institutional customers. In 1984 and 1986 the Court held that affiliates of member banks can offer retail discount brokerage service (which excludes investment advice), on the grounds that these activities do not involve an underwriting of securities, and that ‘public sale’ refers to an underwriting“

      The goal in repealing part of Glass-Steagall was to reinforce regulation on such investment transactions by putting them under the purview of the SEC, thought to provide more rigid oversight and enforcement power.

      The problem was that once this was done, it was assumed that the job was over, when in fact the vital next step of playing watchdog to the SEC to make sure they were doing their job was not recognized.

      So the Lefty whine that the effort was to reduce regulation is simply, you guessed it, just another Lefty lie.

      And so is the “tax cuts for the wealthiest”. In fact all who paid taxes got their tax rates lowered, with the effect of a larger percentage of tax savings going to the lower tax brackets, completely removing some from tax burden altogether, and increasing the percentage of total taxes paid by the upper income levels. This is explained to you over and over, so you have no excuse for your repetition of the lie, other than that you simply lie.

      An economic downturn was inevitable, as economies are and have to be cyclical. It was just worse than it should have been because of the perfect storm of millions suddenly defaulting on loans for the simple reason that they never qualified for them in the first place, and that came back to the legislation forcing lenders to lend to unqualified borrowers. Dumping all these suddenly vacant homes on the market cut the construction industry off at the knees, including not just contractors but hardware sales, plumbing fixtures, gravel and concrete, etc. There went a large segment of the trucking industry, and so on. None of this had anything to do with tax rate cuts or the ability of banks to sell of the bad paper they had been forced to take on, against all sound principles of lending, to allow for the use of the government to impose social engineering experiments.

      You can regurgitate all the tired old Lefty talking points, excuses and accusations you want, the facts simply rebut all of them. If you were truly honest you would look into things and learn the truth instead of just parroting what your minders tell you.

  10. bozo

    Welcome to the Kingdom of Strawmanistan.

    It’s never a good idea to accept dinner invitations from conservatives. They are the ones who run up a giant tab – wine, steak, dessert – complement themselves on what a great choice in restaurants they made, then want to split the tab in half, even though you only had the soup and coffee. That’s what conservatives are now trying to pull on the entire nation. Merit has nothing to do with it. It’s not about redistributing anything. It’s about making the gluttons pay their fair share.

    But the guys with staff lawyers, clever accountants and full-time lobbyists will always trump “merit.”

    There should be penalties, not rewards, for corruption, stupidity, laziness, and incompetence. Now you sound like OWS.

    That 1860 reference is priceless. Who’s your Jefferson Davis? Romney? As if.

      1. bozo

        So how much more should half of the 7% on this pie chart pay? Even though the top 20% own 93% of ALL financial wealth in the nation, they should only pay 20% of the taxes?

        Tell me, is ignorance really bliss?

      2. tiredoflibbs

        Yes, creepy assclown, ignorance is bliss (you must be ecstatic), since you fail to grasp the FACT that the top 10% pay 50% of the federal income taxes collected – a FACT that has been repeatedly pointed out, sourced and ignored by you mindless proggy drones.

    1. Amazona

      Ignorance must be bliss, because you keep going back and sniffing around that pie chart as if it is, well, really pie.

      And that’s about all it is, and a cowpie at that.

      You never did back it up with any, you know, actual FACTS. You never told us the methodology of coming up with these figures.

      The creators know their base quite well, understanding that even this simpleminded bit of propaganda would fly over your heads unless they pulled out this alleged 7%, and highlighted it, so even bozos could figure out what they are were supposed to get from it.

      Yep, nothing more than a fly buzzing around a cowpie.

      1. Amazona

        See, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

        We asked where you got the info, you ignored the question, you were asked again, you answered.

        You got it in an article in which the author is all lathered up about “income inequality”. Big deal. I didn’t look anything up because I think it is a bogus issue, cranked out to appeal to a specific demographic—the gullible, easily led, easily riled up, economically ignorant, politically illiterate who can be convinced that “income inequality” is something terrible because they are at the bottom of the income scale, don’t have much chance of moving above that level because they lack skills or ambition or energy or all three, and resent those who have these qualities and have used them to get ahead.

        But there is never an answer to the question about why this is bad. There is never an answer to the question of, if it really is so awful, what can or should be done about it?
        There is never an answer to the question of why it exists in the first place.

        There is just abject silliness, such as dennis’s bleat about how some people work just as hard, and follow all the rules, and then get “royally screwed”—which I take to mean failing to rise to the upper levels of the profession in which they have worked so hard. But ask dennis if inequality is always unfair, and what to do about it, and all we get is the sound of crickets.

        So stop counting points in sports activities. I watched part of a golf match not too long ago, and it was clear that Phil Mickleson was not only following all the rules, he was working a lot harder than the guy in first place. But he didn’t win, or as dennis would put it, he got “royally screwed”. UNFAIR !!!!!!!

        You guys are so brainlessly breathlessly outraged about so little, but then it does let you pretend you are participating in political discourse without you ever having to actually know a damned thing.

  11. dennis

    Spook, yes Clinton signed Gramm-Leach-Bililey, and he shouldn’t have done it. And yes, it was a bipartisan vote. A perfect example of Democrats going along with ruinous GOP policies, with no good outcome. Neither party has a sterling record on these matters.

    And I didn’t call regulation the only way to make the world better – it’s just one way that has proven to work. Gramm-Leach-Bliley is pretty much the reason now we have banks “too big to fail”. Call it a talking point if you want – Gramm has always disagreed with that, but sometimes facts become talking points for historical reasons.

    Tired: “but of course, this deregulation had nothing to do with the mortgage and housing market artificial inflation and collapse.”

    Apparently you never heard of Gramm’s Commodity Futures Modernization Act (cosponsored by Lugar). It was instrumental in the deregulation of credit default swaps – those things at the very core of the subprime mortgage meltdown. A lesser deal, but the CFMA also exempted energy trading from regulation, and imagine this – one of Gramm’s biggest contributors was an outfit called Enron, on whose board his wife Wendy served.

    Phil Gramm was one of the worst enablers of financial malfeasance, yet he’s a poster boy for the ACU. These are not people who helped America as much as they harmed it, and they hardly represent the concept of “meritocracy”.

    1. tiredoflibbs

      “the deregulation of credit default swaps – those things at the very core of the subprime mortgage meltdown.”

      Denny, your willful ignorance is astounding once again!!!!

      What organizations were responsible for the largest selling of these credit default swaps (which were sold as mortgage securities while the repayment of these were in question), which were next to worthless since they could not back up these CDSs??

      Why Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, of course!!

      Now pay close attention, we know this FACT goes against your dumbed down talking points…..

      Who is responsible for opposing any regulation and oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which allowed them to packaged these RISKY loans (most of which were given to us by the CRA and the financial instruments it created, also created by DEMOCRATS)?????

      Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and a host of other DEMOCRATS!!!

      http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=as4DEc5UFopA

      “Freddie Mac owed $5.2 billion more than its assets were worth in the first quarter, making it insolvent under fair value accounting rules, he said. The fair value of Fannie Mae’s assets fell 66 percent to $12.2 billion, data provided by the Washington-based company show, and may be negative next quarter, Poole said.

      “Congress ought to recognize that these firms are insolvent, that it is allowing these firms to continue to exist as bastions of privilege, financed by the taxpayer,” Poole, 71, who left the Fed in March, said in the interview yesterday.

      Fair value accounting measures a company’s net worth if it had to liquidate all of its assets to repay liabilities. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, both of whom have the implicit backing of the government, make money by borrowing in the bond market and reinvesting the proceeds in higher-yielding mortgages and securities backed by home loans.”

      REMEMBER, the CRA was to make the purchase of a home(s) FAIR, regardless of income. It was not just the poor who used the financial instruments given to us by the CRA, but people looking to “flip” real estate. Virtually anyone with a pulse could get a mortgage (especially when you had groups like ACORN on the lookout for any “discrimination”).

      Oh yes, this is an example of “making the world a better place” almost destroying an entire economy brought to you by the DEMOCRATS using the power of the Federal Government to push their ideology and vote buying schemes.

      Come on denny., you continue to try to make this a partisan issue – when you keep proving my point (and others’) time and again.

      1. Amazona

        Don’t forget the Dem-sponsored legislation to make all rejections of loan apps list the race of the applicant, though it was illegal to put this on the application itself. This allowed groups like ACORN to get the rejection info through FOIA and then go after any lending institution that turned down any credit app from a ‘person of color’.

        So they would blackmail the lender, threatening to file federal discrimination suits against the lender, and sometimes doing so. With a pending federal suit, a bank could continue to do business but could not expand or change, so it was a very strong blackmail tactic.

        But no one ever challenged the legality of putting race on any form of identification for any level of the credit application process. Hmmmm.

      2. dennis

        I’ve never suggested Republicans are to blame for all the world’s woes. My purpose here is to address the topic of the thread, the presumption that “meritocracy” is at the base of conservative economic policies. It isn’t. That’s a rhetorical fallacy that gives you a feeling of virtue, and the irresistable temptation to contrast it with “redistribution”, one of the ideas you most love to hate.

        Conservative policies redistribute wealth as much as liberal policies do, only they redistribute it upward rather than outward. Their policies make wealth less attainable by the lower and middle classes, and easier to accumulate even without working for those who already have the most. Over the long haul that’s unsustainable. A healthy economy has to circulate wealth through all strata or it will eventually collapse.

      3. tiredoflibbs

        Denny: “I’ve never suggested Republicans are to blame for all the world’s woes. ”

        What? Well denny, you force my hand. Do you even pay attention to what you write (or is it cut and paste?)? Or, are you being willfully ignorant again?:

        ” Their (Republicans) policies make wealth less attainable by the lower and middle classes, and easier to accumulate even without working for those who already have the most. ”

        “A perfect example of Democrats going along with ruinous GOP policies, with no good outcome.”

        “People need to realize two things: it’s impossible to make the world perfectly fair, but it’s not impossible to make it better.”
        And that was after providing two examples of how to do this: a.) regulation – as in the Glass-Steagall Act, which worked well for decades to prevent Wall Street from speculating with depositors’ funds, but was killed at the behest of conservative legislators and b.) a more progressive tax schedule – which America also had all through the decades its middle class grew and thrived the most. It’s significant that the greatest economic problems we’ve experienced came in the wake of deregulation and massive tax cuts for the wealthiest. It’s not like there weren’t any rich people before that, but the poor and middle class didn’t fare so badly. (denny, who do you blame for deregulation and tax cuts? – two of your items to “make the world a better place”.)

        “I don’t really want any of my tax money to buy weapons for Israel, nor wanted any of it going to make war on Iraq. However in a republic such as ours, elected representatives get to make certain decisions for the rest of us that we won’t all approve. I do feel caring for our own people is a more defensible concept than giving billions in weapons to bellicose allies halfway around the world, but that’s just my view.”

        “As an aside, this doesn’t even begin to address all the small businesses put out of work by big box retailers – thanks a lot for Staples, Mitt – nobody ever says how many mom and pop stores were put out of business by the biggies, they’re so busy counting all those “new jobs”. Only with the new jobs, people are slave labor for the big corporations’ profits – no longer are they actual entrepreneurs with an organic connection to their communities.” Slave labor? By whom????? Democrats???

        “Others who work even harder and play by all the rules may never get ahead, some get royally screwed. This is why some people try to level the playing field – by strict regulations (like the Glass-Steagall Act) and a progressive tax schedule (what you like to call “redistribution”).” Democrats – regulation…good. Republicans – deregulation….BAD!

        These are from this thread alone! Your posts are riddled with the same theme! Democrats are the good guys who are trying to “make the world a better place” while Republicans want to undo it all.

        Denny, if you are going to lie at least try to disguise it. As I said, stick to photography and stained glass, you can create your own little world where it won’t hurt you.

      4. Amazona

        I have moved beyond giving dennis credit for being at least well-intentioned, as he goes farther and farther off the rails every time he posts. I have seldom seen anyone as blinded by bigotry as he is.

        Take this example of dennis idiocy: “Conservative policies redistribute wealth as much as liberal policies do, only they redistribute it upward rather than outward”

        What crap.

        For one thing dennis can’t even define “conservative”. dennis even denies that there are two basic political systems vying for control in this country, getting lost in the weeds of Identity Politics and focusing on people and on superficial policies and promises and lies.

        He not only can’t define our side, he can’t even define his, but he is quite comfortable making his absolute pronouncements. It’s ridiculous. He is totally hung up on all the trappings of Leftism, at least on the bait they spread around to suck in the gullible like dennis.

        Not to mention that when it comes to economics he is as dumb as a box of hair. For example: “Their policies make wealth less attainable by the lower and middle classes……”

        Less than what? Less attainable than sitting on your butt waiting for the gummint check to come in? Harder than being in a union and having your ambition and your production mandated by the lowest level of your co-workers, and “upward mobility” depending not on what you do or how well you do it but on your seniority?

        I speak as one who tried for months to get a new business started and found that credit, the lifeblood of small business, has had the tourniquet of “regulation” tightened so tight that it is impossible to get start-up money. I am sure he is surly about the fact that I happen to have enough real estate to put some up as collateral for what should have been a business loan, and would sneer that this just proves his point, that wealth is “… easier to accumulate …….. for those who already have the most…”

        Yeah, it is NOW. It was not that way till pretty recently, and it should not be that way at all, but thanks to the economic practices of the Obamabots, it is now true that you cannot borrow money unless you can prove you don’t need it.

        And the snide comment about not even having to work is just more proof of how utterly stupid he is about finance. When someone works his butt off to earn money, he ought to be able to make that money work for him by being able to invest it—what dennis whines about as accumulating wealth without having to earn it. Duh, denny, that money did not fall out of trees—it was earned before it was invested. And then it is put to work, allowing other companies to expand, to hire more workers, to add to the bottom line of the economy.

        But no, dennis is so involved in his surly resentment of the fact that some people make money on investments and interest that he is oblivious to the fact that the money invested is being used to stimulate the economy. No, to people like denny, only the government can stimulate the economy.

        dennis is a hard-core Lefty, and so immersed in the class envy and economic illiteracy that sucks in people like him that nothing will ever budge him off his stated positions.

        But what is so funny is his pious posturing about his deep knowledge of the meaning of the words of Christ, the meaning of the Scriptures, the need for collective salvation through the actions of the federal government, and then he just tosses those Scriptures out the window when they might get in his way. Just in this thread we have seen lying and envy, two of the uglier sins.

        He’s really a piece of work. I wonder what kind of sick satisfaction he gets out of emoting like he does on this blog, spouting his bigotry and repeating his lies and wallowing in his class envy and surly resentments.

        When dennis says “A healthy economy has to circulate wealth through all strata or it will eventually collapse.” he really means that the wealth of some has to be circulated through all strata (except the wealthy) by having the government take it away from those who have earned it and giving it to those whose dependence on the government will ensure a nice solid voting block come the next election.

        But not having this wealth circulate naturally, through market demands, employment, investment, and control of it by those who earned it. No siree, one might have the ability to come up with an idea, form it into a business, hire the right people, make the right marketing decisions, risk his own capital to get it going, and get rich, but he sure can’t be counted on to make the “right” decisions about what to do with that money once he has earned it. For that you need bureaucrats and career politicians.

  12. Jeremiah

    Here is the problem with liberals…they think they are the only ones who truly care about the poor, and that their way of taking care of the poor is the only and right way to go about it, or at least they want other people to think that they “care.” And they happen to think that the only way to do it is through the government, by forcing people to give up their hard earned money to do something that the government was never intended to do, charity.
    It’s NEVER been the responsibility of the government to take care of the poor. NEVER.

    1. bozo

      “Here is the problem with liberals…” is the first line of the Constitution of Strawmanistan.

      1. Amazona

        And yet again we get a scintillating piece of hard-hitting political commentary from freakzo.

        I’ll bet that after slaving over these tortured quips he sends them in to his heroes, Bill and Steve, in a desperate hope they will be repeated, not by anyone who is really funny but by someone who has been anointed with the description “comedian”.

      2. bozo

        Lame, Ammo. You can slam me much more irrelevantly than that.

        You’re getting lazy.

  13. dennis

    Ama, you clearly haven’t the inclination, or maybe even the wiring, to be able to put into context anything anyone says who disagrees with your personal template of reality. Not just me, but every other person who takes issue with you here. Your facility with vitriol and personal attack is unmatched on this blog. Congrats on that, but it’s also clear you’re fully convinced of your own clairvoyant and psychoanalytic powers. Meanwhile, how anyone can get so many things so consistently wrong really is quite a puzzle.

    Maybe you’ve watched too much Fox. No subject is too worthy for them, or you, to exploit for all the ridicule that can be extracted from it. Fox’s bashing of chef Mario Batali is a good example. The original Fox video can be Googled, but Lawrence O’Donnell provides a few objective facts about Batali that didn’t fit the priorities of the fair and balanced Fox team (see http://tinyurl.com/89bmscs) His question at the end of the linked video is quite penetrating.

    You play the role of Greg Gutfeld’s Fox crew every time anyone challenges the prevailing orthodoxy here. In the Fox video not a single person gave any creds to Batali – a successful business entrepreneur and job creator – for any good thing he has done. Why? Evidently because he’s a liberal who has spoken and acted on behalf of less fortunate people. Because I challenge B4V’s orthodoxy, you presume all kinds of other things about me, including bigotry, class envy, stupidity, “the need for collective salvation through the actions of the federal government” (a truly bizarre formulation you return to over and over) – the list becomes absurd. And of course “lying and envy, two of the uglier sins”. Never mind how many economic experts hold views similar to mine regarding conservative policies.

    I’ve never called anyone a liar here, although I’ve seen many untruths published on this blog. I’ve not called anyone a bigot, a pious hypocrite, POS, accused anyone of particular sins or used any of the large staple of insults thrown around here daily. Nor do Bardolf, Jon Swift, CO or most of the contrarians here, at least that I see. You must realize these things too somewhere in your subconscious mind, but like others here your reading comprehension is overmatched by your compulsion to name-call and judge the intelligence and character of all and sundry who disagree with you. Character attacks and personal insults are the rule, not the exception here – unfortunately they usually indicate a deficit of logical competence and substantive arguments, not a superior mind.

    1. tiredoflibbs

      Somebody needs a tissue…….

      I see, again, that denny does not read what he writes. He is lost as to how his latest whine directly applies to HIMSELF!

      “Meanwhile, how anyone can get so many things so consistently wrong really is quite a puzzle.” – after being proven wrong so many times, denny just keeps coming back with the same nonsense and gullible, mindless, inaccurate talking points. Amazing – I see IRONY is also a foreign concept for denny.

      “I’ve never called anyone a liar here.”

      Really, not even when you berate individuals here for “bearing false witness against the brotherhood of man” (your quote not mine).

      “unfortunately they usually indicate a deficit of logical competence and substantive arguments, not a superior mind.”

      No denny, they indicate a frustration to people who after being proven consistently wrong, they keep coming back regurgitating the same crap as before. Their (yours) ideology is so ingrained nothing, NOTHING will shake it loose, regardless of how foolish is makes them (you) look.

    2. J. R. Babcock

      The original Fox video can be Googled, but Lawrence O’Donnell provides a few objective facts about Batali that didn’t fit the priorities of the fair and balanced Fox team (see http://tinyurl.com/89bmscs) His question at the end of the linked video is quite penetrating.

      Yeah, ol’ Lawrence is a really “penetrating” sort of guy He would sure be my go-to guy for facts — NOT. http://tinyurl.com/d24zz6p

    3. Amazona

      But Tired, dennis parses his words oh-so-carefully. If he didn’t use the actual word “liar” then his accusations of saying things are not true are not at all the same thing, doncha know?

      Here’s a whopper. Remember the whole long back-and-forth between Ellen Hancock and me? (Not that I was the only other person in that discussion, but I am the only one you just sanctimoniously psychoanalyzed and then told a big fat freaking fib about.) I repeatedly stated that I totally disagreed with her position on the meaning of “natural born citizen” and this was quite a lengthy discussion.

      Now, what do you say in your little hissy fit of untruths? Oh, yes—- “Not just me, but every other person who takes issue with you here.” And then you whine “Your facility with vitriol and personal attack is unmatched.”

      (See how that worked? I repeatedly said that dennis says things that are not true but I never called him a “liar”—the same kind of parsing of words that he depends on.)

      I have often disagreed with people without making a personal comment about them. In this case, I thanked Ellen for what she brought to the discussion, and for making a rational and spirited debate possible.

      You just want to be able to say the stupidest things imaginable, to strut and preen in your imagined moral superiority, without anyone pointing and laughing at you, and when they do (which am sure happens quite often, whether you know it or not) you blame the observer.

      Waaaa waaaaa waaaaa. Tired nailed it—you DO need a tissue.

      And thanks for the additional evidence of the odd mentality of people like you—that whole “consensus” thing you depend on to such a strange degree. You say “Never mind how many economic experts hold views similar to mine regarding conservative policies. ” and smugly assume this is the last word on the subject. Well, how about how many economic experts think your view is full of crap? There are certainly plenty of them.

      So, in a world not dependent on American Idol rules, where fact does not depend on how many votes it gets, we have to go to the instant replay. In this case, not so instant, as we have to go back several decades.

      Yes, we have to do what the RRL and PL fight to avoid, and look at FACTS.

      FACT: When the political system established by the United States Constitution was actually used to govern the United States, the nation quickly leapfrogged every single country in the world, rapidly establishing itself not just as an economic powerhouse but as a beacon of freedom and opportunity, a nation with unheard-of personal liberty and freedom.

      FACT: When the resentment-based collectivist political system created by Marx and Engels was used to govern a nation (we’ll start with Russia) the nation deteriorated, within a few short decades, into economic misery and near-total loss of personal liberty. This pattern has been repeated every time the experiment has been practiced.

      The Constitutional model created a vast nation of freedom, of optimism, of promise, of the ability to move upward based on talent and dedication and skill, of unlimited religious freedom for all religious beliefs, and a standard of living that was experienced nowhere else in the world.

      The collectivist model created nations of economic disaster, nations where its people were so desperate to escape their own homeland that they risked death to do so (because these nations offered so little personal freedom that their people were imprisoned there and not allowed to leave,) nations with brutal governments reeking of corruption, nations where only a few select ruling elite could live well while the masses suffered, nations in which citizens were routinely imprisoned and even killed for speaking out against the government and where tens of millions were simply butchered to eliminate political opposition.

      Yes, I can see how you can get all defensive and all whiny and need to spin your defensiveness into being offensive, because you simply lack the mental and moral strength it would take to honestly evaluate the reality underlying the superficial positions you take, and to realize that while you think you are only arguing for being “fair” you are really a dupe, sucked in by the airy-fairy surface illusions of what is truly a malignant and brutal political system. Rather than exhibit the courage to face the truth, you prefer to engage in a silly slap-fight of name-calling and fake psychoanalysis to try to set up the illusion that whoever is pointing out these facts to you is really just a seriously flawed individual.

      You are so deeply invested in your personal self-image of being more moral, more Christian, more intelligent, and above all more FAIR, that you rigorously dispute any effort to point out that by so passionately advocating a collectivist form of government, in spite of the fact that it is forbidden by our Constitution, you ARE supporting a political system which has a sordid history of economic misery, loss of liberty, loss of freedoms like that of religious freedom, and of mass murder to gain and then retain power.

      In Gorelick fashion, you have erected a wall of denial between your superficial social “fairness” beliefs and the reality of the political model you support, because you need to think it is really just about the bait of moral superiority and fairness it lays out to suck in people like you.

      You refuse to admit to the underlying envy and resentment of those who have more than you by trying to wrap it in a pretense of spiritually-based benevolence. so your overheated posts are really just a mishmash of assumed moral superiority, hypocrisy as you try to disguise your envy and resentment as pure and charitable instincts, and frantic denial of the fact that your position is de facto support of a brutal political system that dehumanizes those it pretends to care for, while stripping them of the most basic human liberties.

      I did not agree with Ellen, but I respected her and her integrity in the way she argued her points. I have no respect for you because I have carefully read all of your posts here and I have come to the conclusion that you are morally and intellectually dishonest, and are a hypocrite as shown by your efforts to portray your envy and resentment as pure and noble concerns for those less fortunate, blah blah blah.

      But your true beliefs have come out, as you emote more and more, and lately the truth of your surly resentments has surfaced more obviously, wiping out your pretense.

      1. tiredoflibbs

        Ama, denny just posted a few examples of why this country was great and how it grew so rapidly… “a progressive tax code” and “regulation”. When called out that he believed this country was great because of government and its attempted control (proggy control) of almost everything, he denied it, whining about how he did not say that.

        Notice, how when I threw his own words back at him, he ran for the hills!

        Since denny has revealed himself to be just another proggy mindless drone, incapable of any understanding or free thought, regurgitating dumbed down and out of context talking points, I have very little respect for him. He accuses others of lying (without calling them a liar) but when we point out to him that obAMATEUR lies and “bears false witness against the brotherhood of man” (denny’s own parsed words), we are unfairly attacking him and then lectures us in almost endless pious wording and out of context scripture quotes.

        That tactic has lead me to continually ask him “if he reads what he writes?”.

      2. Amazona

        Yeah, tired, but dennis only claimed that regulation and taxation made this country great. He didn’t explain just how they contributed to either growth or freedom. I have a feeling he defines “great” differently than we would, too, probably listing things like Social Security and the War On Poverty as examples of its “greatness” where you and I would put them on the other side of the ledger, as examples of its decline.

        What I see in dennis is a man with a huge ego and not much intellectual ambition, who wants to see himself as a sage but who lacks the drive and maybe even the mental tools to actually do the heavy lifting. So he latches on to the superficial, to the illusions of what he thinks would make him remarkable. He picks up some Scripture, he picks up a few political catch phrases, he picks up some political cliches, and he uses them to shore up his belief that he is smarter and better than others.

        But he is without a rudder, because all of his convictions are based on emotion.

        Look at his insistence that the United States do things that are, as I have pointed out so often, simply NOT ALLOWED TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BY ITS OWN CONSTITUTION. Does he care? Not a whit. No, he just keeps bleating about how the government should do this and should do that and will be judged so harshly if it does not do that and can only be judged highly if it does this, regardless of the law.

        When it is pointed out to him that his goals are in direct contradiction to the Constitution, how does he respond? “I happen to believe in America’s constitutional, free market system…”

        Except for the constitution part, which would mean actually following it, and except for the free market part, which would allow people to control their own financial destinies.

        He goes on and on and on and ON about how the government ought to give people this and give people that, and then says he believes in the constitution. He goes on and on and on and on and ON about regulation and then claims to believe in the free market system. He goes on and on and on and on and ON about how we will all be judged by how charitable our nation is, and then denies believing in collective redemption.

        And so on. He’s just spinning, lost in his ego and confusion and political ignorance and religious superiority and emotional wistfulness over how things ought to be, and trapped in his Magical Thinking. And utterly adamant about all of it, even when it means being adamant in conflicting directions from one post to another.

  14. Amazona

    And who dragged Batali into this?

    Sure, living on food stamps does not provide luxuries, but only basic nutrition. Isn’t that the idea?

    Back up a little. Forgetting the food stamp corruption, which is huge—people selling their food stamp cards for money, liquor or drugs, people getting them when they don’t need them, people using them in casinos and on cruise ships and in vacation resorts, people using them to buy things like lobster tails (as shown in a copy of a receipt found in a supermarket parking lot and reproduced and discussed here) and so on. Just talk about the program itself.

    Is there any program in which food stamps alone are the sole source of income or support from the government? No. When a person is truly destitute, due to circumstances and not prolific reproduction without a means of support, or sheer laziness, when this is a person who cannot do a single thing to help support himself, he then receives quite a lot in government aid—for rent, food stamps, medical care, and money from the government for not paying taxes. He may qualify for other programs, like Meals On Wheels, and local outreach programs including Food Bank and church and civic programs.

    Sure, it would be peachy to be able to have all sorts of yummy foods available on the government dime, but is that the goal? Batali is whining because on the food stamp program his family is forced to eat better than the poor all over the world, because it is such basic fare.

    And I for one have to doubt his figures. I can, for example, get four meals out of one roasted chicken, have enough scraps of meat and the pan drippings to add to rice, with some leftover peas, to make a tasty fried rice dish, and can cook the carcass with vegetable scraps to make very nice stock. I have lived like this my whole life. Sure, I don’t HAVE to, and that feels nice, but it is just a reasonable way to live. Rice and beans, combined, are a complete protein.

    Is Chef Batalli really saying he doesn’t know how to season beans, to add a little cheese and a tortilla and serve it all with a side of rice, and make it taste good? Gee, whole nations south of our borders live like this day in and day our, have for centuries.

    You know the French Provincial cooking that is supposed to be so la-di-da? It originated with the peasants of France, who had to live on the scraps and leftovers and undesirable food the aristocracy didn’t want. So a peasant would take chicken bones, feet and beaks and boil them, take cast-off beef bones and roast them and boil them, cook up some old dry onions till they were brown, add the beef and chicken stocks, top it all with old crusts of dry bread, add shavings of the dry cheese crusts the rich wouldn’t eat, and create what we now pay a bundle for. Escargot? Snails picked out of the garden. Sweetbreads? The thymus glands of beef cattle, preferably calves but who could be picky, and who but the poor would eat them? Except now sweetbreads is a dish much prized in fancy continental restaurants.

    Ever hear of what has often been called one of, if not the best, restaurant in the world? La Maison de Quatre Saisons (very likely misspelled—French is far back in my educational background) in a small village in England. One of the Miltons, I believe. Their specialty is, or at least was when I thought of eating there, sweetbreads served in a lamb’s trotter. Yum! I wonder what poor Chef Batali would think of having to eat thymus glands served in the foot of a baby sheep.

    Tripe is still a highly prized ingredient in most South American and Central American cooking, and it is the lining of the stomach. It is also a main ingredient in menudo and Philadelphia Pepper Pot soup.

    I read an article about a family with several children which got by on the small income of the father. One part I particularly remember was about the family getting Thanksgiving dinner by volunteering at their church dinner for the poor, doing the work of cooking and serving, and then asking for and getting two large turkey carcasses, which they took home and cooked up into many servings of rich and tasty and nutritious soup.

    Of course they worked at getting by, were creative and flexible, and didn’t just sit back and expect someone else to do it all for them.

    You’re telling me that an actual CHEF doesn’t keep a stock pot on the stove at all times, adding vegetable scraps, bones, eggshells and so on, to make a tasty and nutritious base for various dishes? I used to have a stock pot on the back burner of my stove and I always had good stock for cooking. Cheap, too.

    Sorry, but I find the reference irrelevant to the topic at hand, the chef to be a phony, and the links to support the contention that the chef has an agenda.

    1. tiredoflibbs

      Notice, denny’s little video cuts off Fox News comments…… again, denny is not interested in the full context unless of course a non-proggy is making a point.

  15. Amazona

    Here is an example of dennis defining truth as whatever he is saying at the moment:

    He complains, about some of my comments, “the need for collective salvation through the actions of the federal government” (a truly bizarre formulation you return to over and over)”

    See what he did there? Instead of just using one short word (“lie”) to describe his complaint, he used three long ones (“truly bizarre formulation”) to claim that what I say is not true, and therefore gets to keep his place on the Higher Moral Ground.

    But look at the reality. dennis is always using Biblical quotes to explain to us why we, AS A NATION, are immoral or unjust unless we do what individuals are told to do to achieve their own salvation. Here is just one example, from the same thread, just a few posts above his circumlocation of the word “lie” so he could preen about his own civility:

    “…(W)hen given civic choices, how well we provide for the common good (“the least of these brothers of mine”) is very much a reflection on our national values.”

    Of course, he can, and will, play his games of semantic hide-and-seek, claiming that because certain specific words are not used the meaning is debatable, but he has a history here of lecturing us on how we cannot be Christian, or Christlike, or moral, or decent. or virtuous, or have values, as individuals or as a nation, without actually USING the words “salvation” or “redemption” so he can quibble when anyone else sums up his whining with either of those words.

    Funny, he skirts the issue of how moral a nation is, of how its “values” can be defined, if it breaks its own laws. It seems to me that a criterion of virtue is adherence to the laws of the land, but then that’s just me, not one of the moral relativists who populate the Left and the Pseudo Left.

  16. dennis

    JR, so what about Lawrence O’Donnell’s socialism? It says nothing at all about either his journalistic competence or his integrity. Political labels are overhyped, but if one had to be applied to the early Christian church, according to the New Testament book of Acts (ch. 4:32) it might be “socialist” as well. Of course it wouldn’t have the negative aspects people attach to historical socialism, but neither does O’Donnell. I happen to believe in America’s constitutional, free market system and don’t advocate socialism as an economic model for nations, but don’t find the idea itself to be morally offensive. People like O’Donnell and Bernie Sanders redefine the concept and should be learned from – if not to emulate, at least to replace the extreme stereotypes associated with Soviet-style socialism with other possibilities.

    One might ponder Michael Ledeen’s admiration for fascism as a historical movement. What exactly does that signify? It would be unfair to demonize Ledeen as a fascist, yet there’s remarkable similarity between his 2002 riff on “creative destruction” and F. T. Marinetti’s Manifesto of Futurism (1909) which set the stage for the ascendance of fascism in Italy. (I’m tempted to digress on the role of corporatism in historical fascism, but will reel myself in.) Without going too far afield, suffice it to say political purism (ahem… Amazona) often indicates a narrow mindset and the inability to synthesize various, sometimes apparently conflicting, ideas into larger concepts.

    Labels are easy to sling around but rarely describe the character of a thing. I find reflexive accusations of “socialism” to be first of all usually inaccurate (certainly inaccurate as applied to Obama’s policies), and second to often be mindlessly pejorative in that there’s no recognition that taken to their worst extremes, unregulated capitalism, socialism, fascism or any other “ism” can lead to dire ends. The unregulated capitalism of the gilded age, aside from its benefits, exploited child labor and contributed to high mortality rates, colonial barbarism, mass pollution, poverty of the working class and a variety of other ills. Left unregulated it would revert to the same extremes again. The coal mining industry before unionization was brutally exploitative, with no redeeming qualities for the labor force except mere subsistence. Life in a coal camp was hardly better than Soviet-style socialism. How any economic system is administered and regulated matters greatly when it comes to determining its “fairness”.

    Tired, you should realize this blog only allows one link per post – which is why I said you can easily google the entire Fox segment on chef Batali. It’s hardly worth it – there’s not much substantial beyond what’s in O’Donnell’s clip.

    Finally I find nothing in this thread to justify the presumption of superior fairness of conservative doctrine, or that it’s based on “meritocracy”. I could have used examples besides George W. Bush to debunk that idea (they’re endless, and I really do believe he was a decent fellow at the personal level). He was just convenient since his biography is generally known and this blog began as a shrine to him. It’s rare that I’ll ever say this much here, but being interested in the topic I had hoped to read something thought-provoking or unexpected by someone else. Even after shaking the tree pretty hard that hasn’t happened – but it doesn’t often on this blog unless it comes from one of your contrarians.

    1. J. R. Babcock

      I happen to believe in America’s constitutional, free market system and don’t advocate socialism as an economic model for nations, but don’t find the idea itself to be morally offensive. People like O’Donnell and Bernie Sanders redefine the concept and should be learned from – if not to emulate, at least to replace the extreme stereotypes associated with Soviet-style socialism with other possibilities.

      Other possibilities? Dennis, do you realize how utterly bizarre that sounds? No, apparently you don’t.

      1. dennis

        Bizarre to you, maybe. What I’m saying is that Soviet-style socialism is not the only possible expression of socialism. Virtually every developed nation has universal health care except the United States. That is an expression of socialism that is not only benign, but could be beneficial here in the U.S. without compromising our free market system in the least. Canada, Sweden and a long list of other countries do quite well with aspects of socialism incorporated into their governments. They have little in common with Soviet-style socialism, which seems to be the knee-jerk image people form when socialism in mentioned.

      2. dbschmidt

        IMHO, what we (America) has to do is to get rid of the crony capitalism that linked health care to work. Prior to that I paid my doctor directly and carried a rider for catastrophic care and that was affordable. Do you even have any idea what it costs for a general physical? I do because I pay my doctor cash.

        Get rid of the link of government (tax breaks for corporations), employers (enjoying the tax breaks), and employees returning to a doctor / patient relationship combined with tort reform and cross-state line availability and you will quickly see the free market reign in the costs.

        As far as preexisting conditions (which flies in the face of “insurance” in the first place) a simple regulation that states if you want to be in the insurance industry–you are required to carry a percentage (according to your corporate size) of the preexisting and un-insurable. Don’t like the idea but it is simple, straight-forward, and could be absorbed by the rest of us as a cost of doing business.

      3. tiredoflibbs

        Here we have denny reverting back to his theme, as I pointed out before, only the federal government can succeed in providing social services, in this case universal healthcare.

        What is it called when the government does not own the means of production but controls the means of production? This is what denny said before that America boomed when we had progressive tax codes and regulation (control). You cannot have a free market system with government control.

        As I pointed out in several threads, to denny, only the government can solve problems – feed & care for the poor, feed & care for the elderly, etc. etc. – America is great because of government

  17. dbschmidt

    Dennis states “The unregulated capitalism of the gilded age, aside from its benefits, exploited child labor and contributed to high mortality rates, colonial barbarism, mass pollution, poverty of the working class and a variety of other ills. Left unregulated it would revert to the same extremes again. The coal mining industry before unionization was brutally exploitative, with no redeeming qualities for the labor force except mere subsistence. Life in a coal camp was hardly better than Soviet-style socialism. How any economic system is administered and regulated matters greatly when it comes to determining its “fairness” once again ignoring the fact that even conservatives realize that limited laws and regulations are required in a civil society.

    Then he has to dig deep to find “examples” to match his view of the world using “The coal mining industry before unionization was brutally exploitative, with no redeeming qualities for the labor force except mere subsistence. Life in a coal camp was hardly better than Soviet-style socialism. except the workers of the US coal mines had the option to work there or not–they were not “assigned” that job from basically birth. It is, or at least was, known as ‘voting with your feet.’

    The unregulated capitalism of the gilded age almost made me spit up my drink because ‘Reconstruction’, as it is widely known, had plenty of regulations in place. In fact almost too many but that is neither here nor there because these days they are trying to regulate children from helping in the family business or on the farm. I have worked every day since I was about 11 (newspaper delivery) and in the real work force since I was 15. That, and no one has to look any further than our bureaucrats to see that the ‘gilded’ age has never left –as Mark Twain coined and critics complained that the era was marked by ostentatious display, crass manners, corruption, and shoddy ethics. Sounds a lot like most of the politicians today.

    So, the question left unanswered except possibly by the look on Will Smith’s face–how much is “fair?” How much of what I earn should I give my State and Federal government for the ability to work 60 to 80 hour weeks in order to maybe have something for retirement which is getting farther and farther away? 20%, 25%, 50%, 75%, or maybe you believe 94% is “Necessary and Proper”.

    1. dennis

      “The workers of the US coal mines had the option to work there or not–they were not “assigned” that job from basically birth. It is, or at least was, known as ‘voting with your feet.’

      db, with all due respect you know nothing about the history of mining in Appalachia. Nobody of any party with knowledge would say such a thing. I’ve spent a lot of time there. Vast tracts of land were stolen outright from the people by the coal companies – google “broad form deed” for a little history of how that worked. People were given pieces of paper to sign they couldn’t read and nobody bothered to explain to them. When their farms and homes were taken and destroyed there was no place left to work but the mines, and no place to live but substandard, unsanitary coal camps. Some did “vote with their feet” and moved to Detroit or Chicago, but they were destitute and shell-shocked, like refugees displaced by war.

      The companies grew fabulously rich and hired their own police – the gun thugs familiar to early labor organizers – to quell all protest. Efforts to unionize resulted in disaster after disaster for the people. In 1921 the Battle of Blair Mountain ended with the U.S. Army bringing aircraft and heavy artillery into the hills to subdue striking West Virginia coal miners. It was a shameful era. Many people have documented these things, they’re part of American history. The migration of those who left is another story to itself; it also has been well covered in literature. “The Dollmaker”, a novel published in 1954 by Harriet Arnow, gives a pretty fair picture of how those people did.

      Darrell Scott sings about these things more eloquently than I can speak – listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Su06XlGI-w8

      1. dbschmidt

        I grew up dealing with the results but I guess you never heard about things like the battle of Blair Mountain (against the unions), or wonderful progress like the TVA which “helped” so many folks. I do not agree with what companies like Arch Coal and others (including the TVA) did but signing something without knowing what it is or does is not my fault–it is those who signed the documents. Sounds cold-hearted but it is the reality of living in a litigious society. I would, for one, prefer a handshake and a look in a person’s eyes over the myriad of shysters I have on retainer today.

      2. dbschmidt

        My bad–you do at least have Blair Mountain in your post. I have family that was a part of that (now outside of Nashville & Knoxville) who lived through it but they were not scammed and tried to help their neighbors.

      3. Amazona

        Nice visit into the past. At least it is more contemporary than the Old Testament.

        Yes some bad things have happened. Slavery, abuse of workers to gain power and profit, taking land from the Indians, fouling water, blah blah blah. And human sacrifice and piracy and burning people in wicker cages. And genocide and religious persecution.

        All of this is just verbiage, though, in an effort to distract from the fact that dennis simply cannot explain how or why regulation and taxation contributed to the greatness of the United States.

        Or why the nation ought to just overlook its own Constitution to follow Old Testament instructions to the nation of Israel.

        Or why he supports a political system that has an unbroken track record of failure and the stripping away of even basic human freedoms, while denying that he does so.

        Or, really, much of what he goes on and on and on and on and ON about.

      4. Jeremiah

        In 1921 the Battle of Blair Mountain ended with the U.S. Army bringing aircraft and heavy artillery into the hills to subdue striking West Virginia coal miners.

        “Matewan” the movie shows all about that conflict.
        I met a man who played in that movie at church one time many years ago now. He was a coal miner, great big man, with hands that would make three of my one. Good Christian man he was.

        The strike of ’21 is where we get the term “redneck” from…the union miners wore red bandanas around their necks. Today, the term is used quite frequently by those in the deep south, southern Appalachia, and across the mid-west. Generally giving the one who adopts the term the appearance of being a rough shod character. One who may fly off the handle, if provoked.

        In addition, the strike of ’21 is when the first bombs were dropped (as you noted in that one paragraph), pipes filled with explosives.

        The union was okay until it was infiltrated by corrupt organizations, namely the mafia…and now our communist-leaning government.

        Coal mining today, that is run by the company/companies is a good job, it pays good. Independent, private industrial groups treat their men fairly (so coal mining is not as bad as you make it out to be), unlike those in the early half of the 20th century that were ran by the unions, who were basically working their men while the big union top dogs garnered 90 percent of the pay, and their men go home barely able to put a loaf of bread on the table. Mining, although it is considered to be one of the more dangerous jobs, it now puts food on the table for the those who choose the profession. And you must admit, it keeps the lights on! You are spoiled by a coal miner, just about everyone in this country is.

        But, the coal mines are hurting for laborers, Obama and his
        regulations have put a freeze on hiring just about everywhere there are mining operations. From Georgia, to Maine, to Colorado, and the entire country. And I have a feeling that him and his administration want to put more people out of work, or keep them from getting a job as time goes along.

        America can do better for a President than the empty suit we have in office now.

      5. Amazona

        I’ve done a lot of reading and studying of the Left over the last 30 years or so. I didn’t start off with that in mind, but I fell in love with and then married a man who was an amateur war historian, and in sharing his interest in 20th century warfare I started to focus on the political reasons for those wars.

        (In one of those late-night brandy-and-soda nights under a Colorado sky, several of us started to talk about where we would go and what we would like to see if we could travel back in time, and observe from a bubble, not interacting with events but merely witnessing them. The answers ranged from watching the Crucifixion to seeing dinosaurs, and I wanted to witness the political calculation that divided Berlin and gave half of it to the Soviet Union. It’s just where my mind went once I started to study history.)

        So I ended up examining both the history and the ideology of the Left. And one of the things I have learned is this:

        There is a level of Leftist ideologues that is cold-eyed and calculating, which understands the weaknesses of the system but which also understand the great power it can convey to a select few. They are totally committed to Marxism, but not because of what they believe it can offer the citizenry—-they know better—-but because of what it can offer those in control. This level of ideologue is ruthless and brutal and will do anything—–ANYTHING—-to get and retain power. The examples of this singleminded focus on power are many—the gulags, the slaughter of tens of millions of their own citizens to quell political dissent, the erection of walls to keep citizens imprisoned and silenced, history has many tales to tell of the brutality and intensity of Leftist dominance.

        The people at this level understand that they have to hide the truth and reality of the system because it is too stark and harsh to attract any but people like themselves, and like mafioso warlords they don’t want to have to fight for power at the top. They also understand that this is a long-term effort, one for generations and not for a decade or so.

        So the system is repackaged to attract good-hearted, well-meaning, sincere people who can be gulled into accepting the illusion of Leftism as a system of fairness and kindness and benevolence. Leftism Lite is all warm and fuzzy, with the centerpiece being the concept of FAIRNESS —-because how can anyone object to FAIRNESS ? Who is willing to be UNFAIR? It cleverly constructs a paradigm, in which one side is portrayed as all that is good, thereby making the other side all that is not good.

        It is relabeled, with emotionally appealing words like Liberal and Progressive, playing upon the intuitive acceptance that if one is not Liberal then one is intolerant, that if one is not Progressive then one refuses to move ahead. The relabeling carries with it a certain promise of moral and intellectual smugness, at being MORE liberal and MORE progressive than the intolerant progress-fighting Other.

        But a lot of sweet, good-natured, kind and loving sheep drawn in by promises of FAIRNESS is not enough. The Left needs enforcers, because it is so dependent on demonizing The Other. Remember, the Left can’t attract very many people based on the reality of the system. The Left has to keep up the illusions, work to maintain the smoke and mirrors, and what works best for them is instilling distrust, dislike, even hatred, of The Other, so their sheep don’t feel tempted to take a peek at the reality on the other side.

        For this they need to recruit the emotionally violent. Most of these recruits would never lift a club or throw a stone, but their pathologies make them ideal recruits for verbal violence, for attacking like jackals, trying to hamstring The Other by constantly ripping away at them.

        Some, and I think dennis might be one of these, start off in the first category and find themselves morphing into the second. These are, for the most part, who we see here—totally ignorant of the reality of the ideology they are supporting through their attacks on the opposition, attracted by the ability to feel their personality disorders validated as they can pretend they are spewing their hatreds at those who DESERVE it, and their cause is noble. So they are noble. So their hatred is noble. So their lies are noble. And when challenged they do not fight back to defend their ideology, they fight back to defend their sense of nobility.

        And, of course, there has to be a real army of thugs who actually WILL engage in physical violence. These thugs are starting to come out of the woodwork, where they have been lurking, and becoming more visible. We are accepting them because we are lulled into thinking of them as just a few here and a few there. With the help of the Complicit Agenda Media, the pattern of violence and anarchy and attacks on The Other is not being presented to the public. There is no public outrage at the violence of the SEIU thugs, or the Occupy crowd, or the race war being openly promoted by people like Farrakhan, because they hear so little about it, and then only in snippets here and there.

        We have no real journalists, people who have the integrity and courage to dig through the layers of lies and illusions to lay out the truth. We now have, in the guise of a free press, a cadre of complicit participants in the activities of one side of a political conflict.

        This is why I am so insistent on identifying ideology, on stripping away the facades of identity and illusion and getting down to the basic beliefs of each side in this conflict. What Americans need to understand is that when we vote, we are not voting for one person, or for one issue, or for one ideal—-the person we elect, at any level, is and will be a part of the larger whole, and that whole will be focused in promoting the ideology of that system.

        Those who try to weave the disparate actions around the country into a coherent tapestry of coordinated violence are attacked by the middle tier, the snarling lap dogs who populate the blogs.

    2. Amazona

      Thank you for your thoughtful essay on coal mining, Jeremiah.

      Obama has pretty much declared war on coal mining, admitting that he holds this position in spite of the awareness that inhibiting coal mining will cause electricity prices to “skyrocket”.

      Some of the cleanest coal in the world —that is, coal that burns hot and clean—-comes from open pit mines in Wyoming. Not all coal comes from underground mining. And yes, mining has become far safer. As a matter of fact, the last time I read any statistics on how dangerous various occupations are, farming was considered more dangerous than mining.

      But we have to remember, dennis is not really talking about coal mining. dennis is regurgitating Leftist talking points about why the Federal Government should have more power, scope and authority.

      This is the crux of every one of his posts.

      Sometimes it is about how the Federal Government has a moral obligation to obey Old Testament instructions to Israel (the Jewish nation) and sometimes it is about how the Federal Government should have more and more “regulations” but it always comes back to his complaint that the Federal Government just doesn’t have the power it needs to do what HE thinks it SHOULD do.

      There is always an underlying element of deception in his posts, as well. For example, when conservatives say we do not want additional regulation, or that there is already too much regulation, he acts as if we are saying there should be NO regulation at all. This is a favorite lie of the Rabidly Radical Left, and they spout it a lot. But no one has ever suggested that mining be unregulated, any more than they have suggested that we have no speed limits or laws against theft.

      1. Jeremiah

        Thank you Amazona! I much appreciate your kind sentiments, Ma’am!

        And yes, I agree with you in your assessment of Dennis’ intentions.
        He would rather render our Constitution null and void in his pursuit of a Federal government that is unlimited in its scope and measure of power. And being aware of the fact that in such a case, the President, Barack Obama for example, would have executive power that would never be granted him under the Tenth Amendment. He would use the EPA, the military, and other organizations (turning them into militias) to turn what we have as a free society (where authority is derived from the consent of the governed) into one where it is completely at the mercy of the state (man). This is what always happens when the people do not follow instruction given them by their Creator in Scripture (2 Chronicles I do believe – the verse that says, ‘if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, turn from their wicked ways, pray and seek my face’ so forth and so on, verse). Anytime we make a decision (especially as it relates to a political decision), it should never be based on worldly perceptions of what we really think it should or should not necessitate as to the benefit or consequence of said decision. No, when making any such decision it needs cross examined with Scripture…if it doesn’t line up with His word, then it needs to be promptly discarded of, then rearrange the decision making so that it does line up with God’s Word. But then we run into that problem where some people unfortunately, look to God’s Word, but instead of basing their thinking in line with God’s Word, want to rearrange God’s Word to fit their own worldly inclinations or desires…and that doesn’t work, because God doesn’t change, had never changed, and never will. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever…and so on…

        Here we have people like Dennis, who has a very good background of knowledge of Scripture, but also a worldview that conflicts with the Scripture, that of communism. Communism replaces God with man, so now anything, or anyone that comes in objection to the State, or head cheese, as it were must be eliminated, and in the process with a historical perspective on the issue, we see many, many who have been martyred because of this type of system where man sets himself up as God, the unborn are a prime example, not taking their blood for granted, because the heavens know that their blood cries out where their blood as been spilled, but they seem to become awfully inconvenient in societies where man puts himself in a position to act in God’s place, and that’s one of the things God hates the most, the shedding of innocent blood.

        In such societies where such is the norm, such as ours, there is the idea that the taxpayer must, as a measure of “charity” subsidize the shedding of innocent blood, because these unwed mothers are poor, with no income, only what the government takes and gives to them in the form of taxpayer money (welfare), and after-all, this is at the forefront of Dennis’ whole philosophical worldview, and it is the job of the working sector of society to pay for these peoples “livelihood.”

        While these tragedies are being played out, and manifest themselves before our eyes…I think we should be devoting our attention to the origins of the problem(s). And where might that be? In America’s schools. Colleges and universities across the country are literally brainwashing millions of students – from classes on health issues that include the study of sexual behaviors, which downplay the moral and physical implications of promiscuous lifestyles, down to the homosexual lifestyle. And all the sciences, history and literary studies are littered with half-truths, misconceptions, and moral desensitization.

        The pronounced effect of this combination of atheistic thought process being meshed into a platform for the communists then finds itself at the center of the home of these students, who are then in opposition to everything which they were raised with by their parents. What we have then is a wedge being driven within the family unit. Millions of families being broken up being the ultimate result. Then these students go into the workforce, and at various levels of society who bring their mish-mash of atheistic, communistic thought process with them, and is why we now have a populace of nearly half who are subservient to the State (man) for their basic needs.

        A whole host of problems then line themselves up at the feet of those who then rely … not on the government, but upon God, and who work everyday intrusting their safety and watch-care to the One made everything they own, their families, homes, etc. In terms of fairness, what we might see as ‘fair’ … the government who has been given the title, and is worshipped as a god, idol to replace their Creator God …. they do not see the same definition of fairness … we say, “create jobs for those who don’t have jobs” …. but the government….who is trying to play the role of God, says “No, I’ll take care of them, I’ll take a percentage of your earnings, and however much I need to supply their needs” … so what happens? The working man becomes a slave of the government. And while those receiving the money may be happy for a while, they are hurting the working man’s ability to continue to put food on their table…on both sides, that is. Both the taxpayers livelihood, and the one receiving his earnings, because soon there will be no more of the working man’s money to fork over.

        We always say that in a Capitalistic society, it starts at the bottom and goes up the ladder, not from the “top, down” kind of society.
        And that’s true, very true in the sense that it starts with the young people, the children, the pupils of today, who will become tomorrow’s family and workforce. But if we don’t get them out of the hands of the State, which is run by atheistic organizations at home and abroad, we won’t have that future to look forward too.

        Thank you again!

  18. tiredoflibbs

    okay denny, if you can’t understand this, there is no hope for you to independently think outside of your little proggy box.

    Concerning the mortgage disaster and the reasons for it:
    http://www.nytimes.com/1999/09/30/business/fannie-mae-eases-credit-to-aid-mortgage-lending.html
    (thanks cluster)

    The opening line:
    “In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.”

    Easing credit requirements? That IT (Fannie Mae) will purchase from banks and other lenders?

    So Fannie Mae, purchased risky loans, who then repackaged them (credit default swaps) and sold them as credit securities. So when the housing bubble finally adjusted itself to more realistic home values, many people were left with mortgages they could not get out of through refinancing, banks held mortgages worth more than the home, etc. etc. etc.

    Again, when REPUBLICANS under GWB tried to put regulations on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for these activities, they were thwarted by Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and the rest of the DEMOCRATS.

    So now, you need new talking points or begin to think for yourself and stop this foolishness of being a mindless drone. One has to think, what other topics you are regurgitating the proggy party line and not thinking for yourself?

    Of course, many of us here can name others. The problem is you want to remain willfully ignorant and protect your people and ideology from the truth.

  19. dennis

    Ama: “we have to remember, dennis is not really talking about coal mining. dennis is regurgitating Leftist talking points about why the Federal Government should have more power, scope and authority. This is the crux of every one of his posts. Sometimes it is about how the Federal Government has a moral obligation to obey Old Testament instructions…”

    What a bunch of unmitigated crap. Ama, give it up, you’re not clairvoyant. I do NOT want the government to have more power, scope or authority. It has too much already. I’d just like some of its policies to prioritize basic human needs and improve circumstances for its own people, rather than militarizing the world and becoming the ultimate empire. My citing of the Old Testament has always been as a reminder of the Judeo-Christian values Mark and others pay lip service to on this blog, but few really honor. As a staunch believer in the separation of church and state I have never suggested we should pass Old Testament laws, but we may be informed by humanitarian Judeo-Christian values in creating our policies.

    Meanwhile you and others here were fine with us going abroad and spending trillions we didn’t have on war with a sovereign nation that wasn’t a threat to us, and remaking it from a secular nation into an Islamic republic. Every supporter of this blog defended the Iraq war, which killed hundrds of thousands of civilians and made millions of refugees and was decidedly not waged for the common defense. I knew that and millions of others did as well, and it’s no excuse to say “Congress voted for it” – I was against both parties then, while all of you B4B folks enthusiastically supported it here on this blog.

    How many here protested the Patriot Act, unwarranted wiretapping, kidnapping and torturing terror suspects, or protest the current bombing of innocent people by unmanned aerial drones in the “war on terror”? I’ve been uncompromisingly against every one of these expansions of federal power from the day they were suggested. How about giving away billions of taxpayer dollars in weapons to a bellicose ally that does us no good geopolitically? GMB above offered no constitutional justification for this, only quoting the Old Testament: “He that blesses Israel will be blessed. He that curses Israel will be cursed.” Hint, GMB – Old Testament Israel and the modern state are not the same entity. And lest we forget, Israel deliberately bombed the USS Liberty in 1967 and strafed the lifeboats, killing many more Americans in cold blood than al Qaeda killed in the USS Cole attack – without apology or the least accountability, yet we feed this predatory ally like a favored pet.

    In summary, when the previous president expanded the scope and power of the exective office and federal government in unprecedented ways, you named this blog for him. Now when I simply want America to take care of its own, to return to the sensible tax schedule that existed through any number of prior Republican presidents, and because I believe universal health care would be a more appropriate use of our national wealth than maintaining military presence in 130 nations, with over 900 military bases outside the United States – a fact that would have appalled and outraged the founders – YOU accuse ME of wanting the federal govt to have more power?? You’re nuts.

    1. Retired Spook Post author

      rather than militarizing the world and becoming the ultimate empire.

      I’m not easily offended, Dennis, but as someone who served this country for over two decades, I take greater offense to that than anything you’ve ever written. There is no country in the history of the planet that has liberated more people from tyranny, at great cost in both blood and treasure, than the United States. And after liberating them, we’ve rebuilt their countries and LEFT.

      1. dbschmidt

        We have left plenty of Americans behind in our perceived world domination aka. ultimate empire (according to Dennis)

        Why in France alone;

        Aisne Marne American Cemetery (Belleau Woods)
        Interred: 2289
        Missing: 1060

        Meuse Argonne American Cemetery (North Africa to the Persian Gulf)
        Interred: 14246
        Missing: 954

        Oise Aisne American Cemetery (Fere en Tardenois (Aisne), France)
        Interred: 6012
        Missing: 241

        St- Mihiel American Cemetery (St. Mihiel)
        Interred: 4153
        Missing: 284

        Somme American Cemetery (Argonne)
        Interred: 1565
        Missing: 974

        Brittany American Cemetery (Normandy and Brittany)
        Interred:4410
        Missing: 498

        Epinal American Cemetery
        Interred: 5255
        Missing: 424

        Lorraine American Cemetery (Lorraine)
        Interred: 10489
        Missing: 444

        Normandy American Cemetery (Omaha Beach)
        Interred: 9387
        Missing: 1557

        Rhone American Cemetery (Liberation of southern France)
        Interred: 861
        Missing: 294

      2. Amazona

        As Secretary of State Colin Powell said, and I might not be 100% accurate in my memory. “The United States has fought for freedom all over the world, and never asked for anything but space to bury our dead”.

        dennis is disgusting when he claims we are empire-builders. This latest litany of his tiresome screeching and wall-kicking has convinced me that nothing this man says will ever be worth a response.

        He’s crazy and mean-spirited as well as an egomaniac, and thoroughly distasteful. Evidently even the radical nutjob Lefty blogs won’t have anything to do with him.

      3. Amazona

        Two quotes from Powell:

        There is nothing in American experience or in American political life or in our culture that suggests we want to use hard power. But what we have found over the decades is that unless you do have hard power — and here I think you’re referring to military power — then sometimes you are faced with situations that you can’t deal with.

        I mean, it was not soft power that freed Europe. It was hard power. And what followed immediately after hard power? Did the United States ask for dominion over a single nation in Europe? No. Soft power came in the Marshall Plan. Soft power came with American GIs who put their weapons down once the war was over and helped all those nations rebuild. We did the same thing in Japan.

        So our record of living our values and letting our values be an inspiration to others I think is clear. And I don’t think I have anything to be ashamed of or apologize for with respect to what America has done for the world. [Applause.]

        We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last hundred years and we’ve done this as recently as the last year in Afghanistan and put wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives, and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in, and otherwise we have returned home to seek our own, you know, to seek our own lives in peace, to live our own lives in peace. But there comes a time when soft power or talking with evil will not work where, unfortunately, hard power is the only thing that works.

        It wasn’t the first time Colin Powell had used the figure of speech. During an “MTV Global Discussion” on February 14, 2002, he was asked how he felt representing a country commonly perceived as “the Satan of contemporary politics.” Here is the relevant part of his reply:

        [F]ar from being the Great Satan, I would say that we are the Great Protector. We have sent men and women from the armed forces of the United States to other parts of the world throughout the past century to put down oppression. We defeated Fascism. We defeated Communism. We saved Europe in World War I and World War II. We were willing to do it, glad to do it. We went to Korea. We went to Vietnam. All in the interest of preserving the rights of people.

        And when all those conflicts were over, what did we do? Did we stay and conquer? Did we say, “Okay, we defeated Germany. Now Germany belongs to us? We defeated Japan, so Japan belongs to us”? No. What did we do? We built them up. We gave them democratic systems which they have embraced totally to their soul. And did we ask for any land? No, the only land we ever asked for was enough land to bury our dead. And that is the kind of nation we are.

        dennis is disgusting

      4. dennis

        “He’s crazy and mean-spirited as well as an egomaniac, and thoroughly distasteful.”

        “dennis is disgusting”

        Thanks, Ama – coming from you I guess that should make me feel astute.

        Incidentally Colin Powell is a hero of mine, although we certainly don’t agree on every particular. I would note Powell also said things to the UN that he later regretted, and had the honesty to admit were wrong. Powell is a military man and can be expected to cast this nation in the best possible light, while ordinary citizens should be expected (at least those who aren’t of a lockstep mindset) to be closer critics and even contrarians from time to time.

        I note that neither you nor Spook undertook a defense of the Iraq war here – Colin Powell certainly seems to have had his regrets. If it’s “disgusting” to deplore the use of the preeminent military power in the world to wage a war on false premises, that cost uncounted thousands of human lives and millions of refugees, that plunged our nation deep into debt for generations to come, that set new precedents for human rights violations, that increased executive overreach and power – hey, I’ll wear your “disgust” badge with honor. It’s hardly a reflection on me, but on you.

        ““The United States spends over $87 billion conducting a war in Iraq while the United Nations estimates that for less than half that amount we could provide clean water, adequate diets, sanitations services and basic education to every person on the planet. And we wonder why terrorists attack us.”
        ― John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

        And Spook, I appreciate your sentimentality but these are hard facts. When we’re outspending all other nations combined on militarization (which of course prods others to do the same), when the dominant power in the House of Representatives sneers at diplomacy and guts its funding, but embraces military power with almost fetishistic zeal, something is seriously whacked with our national priorities. Whether you call it empire building or not is merely semantics. And you can’t tell me these things aren’t so – were it not for time and B4V’s restriction on links I could cite numerous sources to back what I say. Here’s just one that’s current: http://tinyurl.com/6ndqlxt

        You’re living in the past my friend – we’re in the brave new world now, like it or not. You can grow your garden and stockpile your weapons and ammo against the onslaught of “have-nots” coming to take your stuff. As for me, I work hard, try to stay honest and kind as I can and beyond that trust the Lord to take care of me and my loved ones. I have my acreage, I once studied martial arts, weapons, all that crap. It helped me get really physically fit which I’ve always tried to maintain, but I don’t trust the arm of flesh or those who put confidence in such things. In times of serious crisis only the Rock of Ages is secure. Patriotism is one thing, but nationalism is a pernicious kind of idolatry that has ensnared a lot of good people. Study the difference and be watchful of where you stand.

    2. Amazona

      Sorry, dennis, but your own words belie this latest hissy fit of yours.

      “I’d just like some of its policies to prioritize basic human needs and improve circumstances for its own people,” ******* “I believe universal health care would be a more appropriate use of our national wealth”……..

      Yes, you would like the Federal Government to exceed its Constitutional limits to do things that you think it should do, which would require expanding its size, scope and authority.

      You steadfastly ignore every example of Constitutional law and do nothing but screech your outrage that the damned country is just not run the way you think it should be run. Your hyper-emotional tirades are nothing but temper tantrums because you can’t have your own way, no matter what the law says.

      You are tiresome and consistent only in your tiresomeness.

  20. dennis

    Jeremiah is correct above that we rely on coal for electricity, and I didn’t say coal companies treat their people badly today. But he’d be hard pressed to show that unions ever took 90 percent of miners’ pay (I think that was just a made-up whopper), whereas there’s no question that the UMWA was responsible for dramatically improving conditions for miners, in particular mine safety.

    Mine safety remains one of the biggest problems to the present day. The Upper Big Branch explosion in WV killed 29 men in 2010, and was entirely the result of flagrant and repeated safety violations (termed “unrepentant” violations by investigators). In the month before the disaster alone the mine had been cited for 57 infractions. Unfortunately that’s a very old story in coal mining, where profits have long been more important to some companies than the lives of its workers. I’ve talked to plenty of coal miners and have gone underground with them for work shifts. You don’t realize until you’re deep underground just how completely your life depends on safety regulations being followed.

    Mecahnization has eliminated a huge number of jobs in deep mines and the latest method, mountaintop removal, requires even fewer workers per ton extracted. Unfortunately it’s also the most ecologically disastrous industrial practice I know of today, and until you’ve seen it with your own eyes you can’t understand how hideous it is. But that’s a whole nother subject.

    Correction in my post above – according to the Pentagon the U.S. has 662 overseas bases, which is fewer than the 900 bases Ron Paul cited (where my number came from). But their list omits several countries we’re currently using for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, so the actual number is probably somewhere in between.

  21. dbschmidt

    Must be you folks on the short bus do not have the reading comprehension to understand complex issues; however, if you take the time to review this nation from inception (basically pure meritocracy) through FDR and then afterwards (more and more “fairness” & welfare) to present–even using pictures and graphs you could possibly understand–it could come to you like a fart in a whirlwind.

    Simply put–when achievement was totally based on one’s ability and government was small and handled only the enumerated duties it was restricted to by the Constitution–the entire country grew in leaps and bounds beyond ever other nation on the face of this planet. Government steps in to “right” what it deems as wrongs and make everything “fair” and now we are lucky if we are not at the bottom of the barrel and people are coming here in droves–not just for a “better life” but a better life off of OPM.

Comments are closed.