Debate Open Thread

Carly Fiorina did very well in the early debate. She is a formidable candidate. Can you imagine a Trump/Fiorina ticket? Speaking of Trump, if he can dial down his ego, add more details to his ideas, and act presidential – he just might run away with this. This will be a fun night, well at least for us political junkies.

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149 thoughts on “Debate Open Thread

  1. Amazona August 6, 2015 / 8:34 pm

    “Can you imagine a Trump/Fiorina ticket?” Can you imagine a poke in the eye with a sharp stick?

    If, if, if…… IF Trump could do this, or that, or the other. “Acting presidential” is in no way enough to be president.

    For some reason, many of us have a giddy burst of enthusiasm for people if they just do or say something that makes them look good. “THAT PERSON SHOULD BE PRESIDENT !!!!!” they say, about Ben Carson or Dennis Prager or, now, Donald Trump. True, in today’s political climate, with the worst president in the history of the country, pretty much anyone looks better than the one we have, but still…….

    Trump is not presidential and the very idea of him being elected is chilling. However he may come across in any snapshot taken at any point in time, he is still Donald Trump—-blowhard, egomaniac, impulsive, swooping wildly from one position to another, friend of and supporter of Hillary, unpredictable…..and haven’t we already had enough of a president prone to temper tantrums?”

    And why on earth would anyone put Trump at the top of a ticket that included Fiorina?

    • Cluster August 6, 2015 / 8:54 pm

      🙂 I am not a Trump supporter, but it will be interesting to see if he can be more measured, more specific, and more gracious. If he does, watch out

      • Amazona August 6, 2015 / 9:06 pm

        Well, so far he has refused to pledge to support the nominee and not mount a third party campaign. The dude is toast, or should be. It’s about time we got a president who puts the nation first.

      • Cluster August 6, 2015 / 9:19 pm

        He is not performing well

      • M. Noonan August 6, 2015 / 11:29 pm

        Exactly – if you want to run as a Republican, fine and dandy…but integrity requires that if you are beaten fair and square (and that is by the terms of politics, by the way), then you are honor bound to support the eventual nominee.

      • Amazona August 6, 2015 / 9:45 pm

        He is being himself. It is not a matter of “not performing well”, it is a matter of seeing what we will see all through the campaign as long as he is in it, including that scowl. What he has done before tonight has been “performing well”, accent on “performing”.

      • Cluster August 6, 2015 / 10:24 pm

        He’s not specific on policy detail, which he needs to start doing but I wonder if he can now

    • M. Noonan August 6, 2015 / 11:36 pm

      Indeed – and Fiorina is causing quite a lot of waves right now…but I recall that she lost in California to a dim-bulb, political hack (sound familiar?). I’m liking her a lot…but I still have my doubts that she can seal the deal.

      • Cluster August 7, 2015 / 7:15 am

        Losing to a Democrat in the deep blue state of California should not be a disqualifier.

    • dbschmidt August 10, 2015 / 9:25 pm

      He, Trump, is Obama. Megalomaniac at best. I do not know what he really stands for except himself. He has no core beliefs except himself.

  2. Amazona August 6, 2015 / 10:11 pm

    Kasich is coming across better than I thought he would. Carson is great but I see him as a cabinet member, not a president. Rubio and Cruz are exactly what I expected from them, ditto for Huckabee. I still lean toward Walker. To my mind so far the surprise is Kasich.

    • Cluster August 6, 2015 / 10:25 pm

      I like Kasich, Walker, Cruz but I still lean Rubio. And I think Fiorina is the surprise so far.

      • Amazona August 6, 2015 / 11:04 pm

        Well, we still have that pesky old Constitutional question regarding Cruz and Rubio—–a painful reality for me, as I think Cruz would be the best president of the lot and Rubio is OK, though a little weak. I just think that Walker is the most electable, while at the same time being a conservative. He is a governor, an executive prepared to lead the Executive Branch, who has survived everything the Left has been able to throw at him while putting together a very respectable record in a blue state. Kasich is a strong candidate and may keep improving his standing as people get more familiar with him.

      • M. Noonan August 6, 2015 / 11:34 pm

        Walker or Jindal or Defeat – in my view, that is all there is for 2016. To be sure, either Walker or Jindal could also lose, but I see everyone else as sure-losers to Hillary.

        Walker and Jindal are successful, two-term governors who have both TEA Party and Establishment cred – they are young and vigorous and Walker, especially, has a blue collar-middle class narrative. They could either of them pick from a wide variety of people for the Veep and none of it would appear to be pandering (Martinez, Sandoval, Halley are the stand-out possibilities as all of them are also successful governors with great personal narratives – especially Martinez). Walker edges Jindal in that he’s also been the victor in spite of the most vicious personal attacks by the left (and it is certain there is no scandal in Walker – they would have found it and exposed it by now, if there were…there’s probably no scandal in Jindal, either but he hasn’t had the microscope exam on him the way Walker has). Both of them are far more honest and for-real than Hillary and both of them can debate on both passion and facts. We nominate one of them, we’ll probably win – nominate anyone else, and we’ll almost certainly lose.

      • Amazona August 7, 2015 / 12:33 am

        “..Martinez, Sandoval, Halley are the stand-out possibilities as all of them are also successful governors with great personal narratives –”

        Nikki Haley sealed the deal with me, in a negative sense, when she pandered to the lie that the Confederate flag represents racism. When she signed the bill calling for the removal of the flag from the statehouse, she used nine pens, and she gave a pen to each of the families who lost someone in the church shooting. That sent a clear message that the shooting was somehow related to the flag, and when she did that I was disgusted.

        We have got to weed out the weak and spineless, and knuckling under to a false and hateful narrative that is also designed by the Left to be divisive is not a characteristic of a good leader.

      • M. Noonan August 7, 2015 / 12:41 am

        Its a point – which is why Martinez leads the list of VP’s for me. Of Mexican descent (her grandparents might have arrived irregularly; but that would have been in a time of revolutionary violence in Mexico…lots of Mexicans came to the USA during that time…at any rate, there are plenty of Italian and Irish grandparents out there who didn’t have their papers in order), but born of a Marine who was also a deputy sheriff, one can’t cross her on her American bona-fides. She’s actually worked for a living and so knows how we all live.

  3. Amazona August 7, 2015 / 12:05 am

    Spent some time last week with some people who live in south Texas, who believe that Martinez as a VP candidate would definitely bring in a huge number of Latino voters. He is sure that a Texas candidate would not win.

    I have been promoting a Walker/Martinez ticket, but would like a Walker/Fiorina ticket. I still think Cruz would be the best president, but would have to overcome being a Texan and the claims he is “too right-wing” and he, as well as Jindal and Rubio, has a guaranteed built-in negative in that nominating him will brand conservatives as hypocrites after the quite legitimate questions about the meaning of Natural Born Citizen regarding Obama.

    People can quite blithely just say they don’t care about that Constitutional phrase, but the simple fact is it was brought up with great passion relating to Obama and the Right will be branded—properly, I believe—as hypocrites if we then proceed to do what the Dems did, and what we objected to. We just can’t afford that burden.

    • M. Noonan August 7, 2015 / 12:33 am

      We can be sure that Democrat operatives would make sure that the eligibility issue is front and center if Cruz, Jindal or Rubio are the nominee – though most vigorously if Cruz is the nominee because he was, indeed, born outside the United States. They wouldn’t do it on principal, of course, but just in hopes of peeling off a few hundred thousand votes and making them stay home on election day in what will likely be a close election, no matter how it comes out. We can’t put anything past the left – they will do anything to win.

    • Amazona August 7, 2015 / 12:46 am

      Cruz should not have a serious eligibility issue if his father had been a citizen at the time of his birth. If his mother was a citizen, he would be a Native Born citizen even if born in Canada, but the citizenship of the father is the critical criterion regarding Natural Born Citizen. I think the Right would gain some cred by facing up to the issue proactively and asking whatever would be the governing legal authority for a ruling on the subject, but we won’t ever do that.

      I think we as a nation have seen first hand the problems with having a president who did not grow up as an American, whose political loyalties were formed to a great degree by a man who was not a citizen and had no loyalty to this country. Even if the fathers of Cruz, Rubio and Jindal loved this country fiercely and brought their sons up as patriots, the idea of the Founders was a solid one.

      • Cluster August 7, 2015 / 8:18 am

        How about this ticket – Fiorina/Rubio

      • Amazona August 7, 2015 / 10:52 am

        Rubio would still carry with him the burden I keep describing, of showing the Right to be hypocritical in falling all over someone whose father was not a citizen when he was born, after making such strong arguments that a father who was not a US citizen disqualified Obama. We have three hopefuls who will offer the Left that same argument: Rubio, Cruz and Jindal.

        It doesn’t matter if you personally just shrug off the Constitutional requirement that a president be a Natural Born Citizen—what matters is that argument was made regarding Obama and now it will come back to bite us in the butt and probably lose us a lot of votes if we pretend it isn’t an issue now. There are two things at issue here, Cluster. One is the actual eligibility of these men, and the other is the damage any of them can do to a campaign to retake the White House by giving the Left a very valid argument against them and by extension against the Right.

        I happen to think that the term Natural Born Citizen has been defined clearly enough, in contemporaneous writings of the era, to make a compelling argument that it means someone whose father was a citizen at the time of his or her birth. On one hand, I think this showed amazing foresight and brilliance on the part of the Founders, foresight borne out by the disaster of eventually electing a president with no familial or historical loyalties to this nation at least partly because his father was not a citizen and had no American loyalties of his own. On the other, it saddens me that three such excellent leaders, all men who would make an excellent president, are not eligible for the office. I don’t make the argument about Natural Born Citizen because I want any of them disqualified. I make it because overall I think it is a wise and justified requirement and more to the point because I don’t believe I can call myself a conservative, or a supporter of the Constitution, if I (like the Left) think I can just ignore the parts I find inconvenient.

      • Cluster August 7, 2015 / 11:23 am

        I think you need to take this issue up with the RNC. They put those men on the stage last night as candidates, so they obviously cleared their vetting process.

      • Amazona August 7, 2015 / 11:45 am

        “They put those men on the stage last night as candidates, so they obviously cleared their vetting process.”

        Seriously? This is your argument? Now all of a sudden the RNC is so competent and such a good reader of the tea leaves that we should assume they have done their research (both into the Constitution and market research) and come to a sustainable conclusion?

        You mean like the DNC did with Obama?

        Obama got away with it because he is a black man and the cry of “racism” drowned out every objection. But the result is we got a president many felt was never legally qualified for the office. I fail to see why our side would even consider putting the nation through that again. I am actually appalled that any conservative would sanction putting the nation through this again.

        What is the problem with getting this out in the open and getting an actual RESOLUTION—you know, having an open process in which arguments are made for both sides, all the evidence is presented, and a governing authority issues (finally!) a decision?

        So far I have seen this entire thing steadfastly ignored, because it does not further one agenda or another. And as far as the RNC goes, if you really believe they are the face of the Establishment Republicans, why would you trust them to make sure a wild card like Rubio or Cruz or Jindal would have a chance, later on, when they want someone like Jeb Bush?

        Yeah, let’s whistle past the graveyard, looking the other way and concentrating on anything BUT the issue, till it is too late to do anything about it.

        And yeah, let’s pass up the best opportunity we will have for a long long time to show Middle America that there is at least ONE political party with a commitment to the Constitution and the rule of law that overrides personal agendas. Let’s not contrast the Right with the Left in a way that will point out the difference between us, when we can just do exactly what they did.

      • Cluster August 7, 2015 / 11:56 am

        I am just saying that that would be a very poor reflection on the RNC allowing a candidate to raise money, spend money, campaign and then admit that he is ineligible, so I have to think they thought this through. Maybe not. And in re: to strict Constitutional compliance – I support social security and medicaid and both of those programs violate a strict reading of the Constitution.

      • Amazona August 7, 2015 / 1:10 pm

        “And in re: to strict Constitutional compliance – I support social security and medicaid and both of those programs violate a strict reading of the Constitution.”

        Well, there you go—a Cafeteria Constitutionalist. Because once you start cherry-picking the Constitution, saying you will ignore any part because you have a personal preference for the outcome of ignoring it, saying you support some parts but not all parts, you are really just the flip side of the “expanding the size, scope and power of the federal government” coin, just with different issues motivating you.

        How would you feel about this statement: “I support the concept of helping people save for their retirement through government-mandated deductions from their paychecks, and I support some form and degree of government aid for medical expenses for the elderly and infirm—but, recognizing that programs like this violate even a fairly casual reading of the Constitution I think that programs such as these not only should but must be the responsibility of the states.”?

        When you let yourself get so tangled up in issues that you stop looking for Constitutional ways to solve problems you are not a conservative. You may have a few issues that are considered to be conservative issues, but the real test is commitment to the Constitution as it is written, and as the Founders explained it when people like you started to try to expand it, or cherry-pick it, not long after it was ratified.

      • Cluster August 7, 2015 / 1:34 pm

        You know you can just say – “I hold a different view than you on the Natural and Native born citizen clause and believe we must hold true to the founders intent”. No need to conflate my support of Rubio with my support of an ever expanding government.

      • Amazona August 7, 2015 / 1:15 pm

        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

        This ties up the whole “STRICT reading of the Constitution” argument and makes it irrelevant. It says, in no uncertain terms, that if a power (program) is not specifically DELEGATED to the federal government, it MUST be addressed at the state or local level or outside of government.

        It does not say that any such desired power or program may not be implemented, but it does give a very precise and unambiguous instruction that it cannot be done by the federal government if it is not already DELEGATED to the federal government.

      • Amazona August 7, 2015 / 2:19 pm

        If that had been our discussion, I would agree with you. But instead of offering any alternative explanation for the term Natural Born Citizen, instead of addressing the meaning of the term, what you said was that you didn’t care what the Constitution said about it (in an earlier post, a few months ago) and that it didn’t matter to you. Today you say you support federal programs that are clearly not covered by the powers delegated to the federal government by the Constitution.

        That is why I pointed out what I did. If you support programs that are not covered in the delegated powers, you DO support the expansion of the federal government beyond those powers, and in spite of the clear and unambiguous wording of the Tenth Amendment. There is simply no other way to interpret what you said.

        I also said that most who advocate cherry-picking the Constitution for what they do and do not agree with do differ on various issues so you may very well not agree with the expansions of federal power shown in the proliferation of agencies and agency authority, or the expansion of entitlement programs (other than medicaid,which you do support) and feel that objecting to these Liberal issues makes you a conservative. My argument is that once you decide there is a part of the Constitution you don’t feel binding on you, or on the country, you are not a conservative, you are on the left end of the spectrum, just separated from most Liberals by your personal choice of issues.

        If you do have a different take on the meaning/definition of Natural Born Citizen, you can certainly state it, and we can re-argue the lengthy discussion held on this blog a couple of years ago, when the subject was very thoroughly covered. But just saying “I don’t agree” is not an argument.

        BTW, I would love to support Rubio, and/or Cruz, and even Jindal, but I keep running into that conviction of mine that I am bound by the wording and intent of the Constitution on the subject of legal eligibility. Even when I don’t like it.

      • Cluster August 7, 2015 / 3:46 pm

        I do support the SS and medicaid programs, but would like to see them bloc granted and administered at the state level, however as it is, they are federal programs and in violation of the Constitution. I still support them.

        In re: to natural vs native – my opinion is that if a candidate has an American birth certificate whether by being born here on our soil or having an American parent, that’s good enough for me. And I guess that’s where I lose my conservative credentials.

  4. Amazona August 7, 2015 / 12:27 am

    When I listen to, and watch, the various hopefuls I think that any one of them would probably be a competent president. Well, not Trump, but the rest could do the job. (I would like to think we have learned a lesson, and that petulance is now a disqualifier for the office.)

    What I do think about is who I want sitting across from Putin, sitting in the meetings of world leaders, dealing with nations like Iran and China. That is where I start to weed out potential candidates, because so many of them just don’t come across as people I think could do what I want an American president to do in situations like that. That is, to dominate. After eight years of Obama, we need someone whose very presence signals that there is a new sheriff in town, and he is a force to be reckoned with.

    With that criterion in mind, I always come back to Cruz. Of all 17 hopefuls, he is the one I would want facing down Putin or dealing with mullahs and the Chinese. Domestic stuff can be handled with competence by any one of the others, I think, and I think most of them would appoint qualified and competent cabinet members and advisors, unlike the buddy system of Obama. I guess the word I am looking for is “administration”. I think most of them could handle that pretty well.

    But the world is full of very bad people, many of whom lead nations whose interests are in conflict with ours. And I would rather have them look across the table at Ted Cruz than, say, Ben Carson or a president named “Bobby” or the boyish Marco Rubio, wonderful as these men are in so many ways.

  5. Amazona August 7, 2015 / 2:27 pm

    Matt Walsh on Carly:

    “I hear Carly Fiorina performed well, which I don’t doubt. She seems to be sharp and articulate, but she’s also a sharp and articulate former Sen. John McCain aid and Jesse Jackson fan, who has sharply and articulately endorsed embryonic stem cell research, the DREAM act granting in-state tuition to illegal immigrants, President Barack Obama’s stimulus, and the Wall Street bailout. She was likewise quite sharp and articulate when she called abortion a “decided issue,” and explained that she would have voted to confirm Sonia Sotomayor, a radical pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice, because she doesn’t believe in imposing a pro-life litmus test on Supreme Court nominees.

    So, yes, she is very good at arguing, but the problem is what she’s arguing for, and whether you can trust her to argue for the same thing from one day to the next. Also, there’s the matter of her business record, which includes being the CEO of Hewlett Packard, overseeing it for five years as the company fell apart and lost half of its value and thousands of its employees. She might have a plausible explanation for this unfortunate stain on her resume, but the fact remains that it was very successfully used against her when she was handily beaten during her failed bid for Senate in California.”

    All together now, one more time! WE HAVE TO GET BEYOND PERSONALITY.

  6. jake goldblum (@Jakegoldblum) August 7, 2015 / 4:18 pm

    It is really funny to me Amazona that you think you know what is best for everyone. They have to be strict on the constitution and we have to be beyond personalities. Do you realize elections are won by most people who are in the center and not entirely in your world view? If you think everything should be based on what you believe you are going to be a very unhappy person when election time comes around .It will probably be Bush. You sound like the liberals you hate so much. You know what is best for everyone. Strict constitution and we cannot base it on personality. They must be tough like george bush when it comes to Putin. How is anyone going to live up to your standards? WHo lives up to your standards? Even the right wingers on this site can’t live up to your standards. Mark is for expanding senators and cluster is for social security and medicade. THis is really right wing blog and you are still upset they do not think like you. Do you see the problem with that?

    • Amazona August 7, 2015 / 8:15 pm

      Oh, get a grip, Jake. Take a breath, take a pill, and calm down.

      When I wade through your rather overheated emoting, it seems to me that you are one of those who stakes out a position—Right or Left, Conservative or Liberal—-based on personalities and issues rather than on actual political philosophy.

      If you have paid much attention to this blog over the years, you should realize that I have a strong and consistent position that we need to focus on political philosophy and not on personalities, scandals, or identity. If you don’t like that, you are free to explain why you think I am wrong, but merely squealing that this belief means I “think I know what is best for everyone”, blah blah blah, then you are simply not getting it.

      For about ten years, I have asked Libs here on the blog to explain their political philosophy—that is, what do they think is the best template for governing the country? Because that IS politics, in a nutshell. It is government. It is establishing the rules by which a nation is governed. In all that time, only one—-ONE—-Liberal poster has been able or willing to answer that question.

      What I have seen is a pattern of American voters losing track of why we even have elections. When you ask a Lib why she voted for Obama she is likely to say something like “because I believe in gay marriage”. There is absolutely no indication of the slightest understanding that she did not vote for gay marriage, but voted for a political model of government that is based on expansion of the size, scope and power of the federal government to accommodate any new program or agenda that might catch the fancy of the public.

      You Libs toss around the word “Conservative” with abandon, without ever actually using it as POLITICAL philosophy. You associate it with various issues which the Left has identified as “conservative” issues and you have tagged it with all sorts of nefarious personality traits.

      So here is my position. If you disagree, try to disagree with the position, without reverting to the default Leftist position of attacking ME.

      I define conservatism as the conviction that in this country, if it is governed according to its Constitution, the federal government must be severely restricted as to size, scope and power, with most of the authority of governance reserved to the states, or to the people. I define liberalism as the belief that the federal government can and should be expanded to meet whatever needs of the populace may be discovered or defined at any point in time, and that most of the power of government should rest in the federal government.

      Therefore, by my own definition, a conservative cannot support the expansion of the size, scope and power of the federal government beyond the enumerated duties assigned to it in the Constitution. By my own definition, once one supports expansion of federal powers beyond those parameters he or she has moved to the left of the dividing line between conservative and liberal (or, if you prefer, between the Right and the Left) and at that point the only thing remaining to be determined is how far left of that dividing point the person has shifted.

      If you disagree with my definitions, you are fully entitled to do so. I hope your disagreement takes the form of an actual discussion of my point of view vs yours, and that you can support yours, as I feel quite confident in the support for mine.

      I admit to some curiosity about how you define “right-wing”, as in your comment that this is a really right-wing blog. I have a feeling it is based on your perception that “right-wing” refers to support for some specific issues rather than for a political philosophy about how best to govern the nation, but I’d like to hear what you have to say about that.

      As for most elections being won by votes from “the center” (I think that is what you are trying to say) I agree. I merely point out that I believe many people who vote on issues fail to understand that they are really voting for a model of government. And I point out that in my opinion a person could be, for example, a lesbian Wiccan who wants to marry her girlfriend and who thinks abortion is just fine, loves the idea of a single-payer insurance system, and still be a conservative if she also understands that under our Constitutional form of law these are not issues that are in the purview of the federal government, as they are not among the delegated duties stated in the Constitution. She and I can disagree with great vigor on these and other issues and still find common ground as conservatives if we understand that they have to be fought out at the state level.

      • jake goldblum (@Jakegoldblum) August 7, 2015 / 8:28 pm

        i do not really care but you seem so worked up over the idea that cluster dares disagrees with you over social security or medicade and you called him a shopping cart conservative or whatever you called him. I think you standards are too high and it is really weird how much you care about politics. My business is doing fine under this regime and not much is going to change as long as they do not pass an internet tax. Than i would probably be up in arms. Calling your own people names and saying he is not conservative enough. SOmeone needs to say what is good enough for you. This is obviously not because strict view of the constitution is not going to happen. I do not believe everything obama says and i am probably more to center. I could care less about name calling or whatever.

      • M. Noonan August 8, 2015 / 12:31 am

        That your business is doing fine is wonderful – but the 97 million adult Americans not in the work force are, perhaps, not doing as well as you are and I think it a responsibility of all of us, even if we’re doing well, to think carefully about how the overall economy is doing.

      • Amazona August 7, 2015 / 8:45 pm

        No, no, no, Jake. You are overreacting to a misunderstanding.

        I could not care less if Cluster disagrees with ME. He and I have been around and around over many things for years now, and it is not personal. My point was that he might not have stopped to give a lot of thought to how he can claim to be a Constitutional Conservative if he also believes that the Constitution can be ignored, or stretched, or modified, based on what someone WANTS.

        I have often had my positions challenged in much the same way I challenged his. Sometimes I can defend my position, sometimes I can’t, but the experience of being pushed to take a hard look at ones’ position can be very valuable.

        There is a saying, about people who say they are Catholics but who pick and choose among various Catholic teachings according to what they want, or feel like. They are called “Cafeteria Catholics” because they look at the overall teachings of the Church and say “I’ll take this, and I’ll take that, but I don’t like that so I’ll pass it by”.

        I used the same term for someone who does the same thing with the Constitution. It is not a big old insult, just a way of pointing out that it is pretty hard to claim commitment to the Constitution if you cherry-pick the parts you like and discard the parts that are not convenient. I did not “call him a name”.

        I happen to think that standards are important, so I am not fretting that you think mine are too high. I actually take that as a compliment.

        Let me ask you a question: Do you think a contract is binding only regarding what it actually says or does not say, or do you think someone ought to be able to change a contract after it is signed? Let’s say you own a house and you rent it out, and your rental contract says, among many other things, that the renter cannot have pets and is responsible for maintaining the lawn. Do you think that renter ought to be able to look at that contract a couple of years later, after his girlfriend brought home a cute puppy and his work hours have changed so he doesn’t really have much time to water and mow the lawn, and just set aside those restrictions? Why wouldn’t that contract be binding? How can you have confidence in entering into a contract if it can be changed at will according to how someone feels at the time?

        Or, as Spook has often asked, would you play poker with someone who thought he could change the rules mid-game?

        It is not about ME, Jake. It is about the need for stability and predictability in society. It is about consistency and continuity. It is about the chaos that ensues when people just pick and choose which rules to follow and which to ignore. And it is about the need for precision in language, so a word means the same thing no matter who uses it.

      • Retired Spook August 8, 2015 / 9:57 am

        i do not really care but you seem so worked up over the idea that cluster dares disagrees with you over social security or medicade and you called him a shopping cart conservative or whatever you called him. I think you standards are too high and it is really weird how much you care about politics.

        Jake, I’ve been off standing guard at the local [Un] Armed Forces Recruiting Center for the last 2-1/2 weeks, so I haven’t been spending a lot of time here. Amazona’s response to you at 8:45 on 8/7 is right on the money, but she, Mark and I are probably the only long termers on this blog who hold that originalist view. That doesn’t make people like Cluster bad people because they like things like S.S. and Medicare that are technically un-constitutional. That’s one of the fundamental differences between Conservatives and Progressives. We can disagree and still like and respect each other. Recent events are showing that if you disagree with Progressives, even if you are a progressive yourself, you are criticized, ridiculed, and often even exiled.

        This country is in the shape it’s in because too many people think the rules are malleable and don’t really mean what they say. Imagine where we’d be if EVERYONE felt that way? We’d have total anarchy. One of my favorite Atonin Scalia quotes is”

        “What is a moderate interpretation of the Constitution – half way between what it says and what you want it to say?”

        BTW, I also take the comment about our standards being too high as a compliment. High standards are better than low standards– or no standards at all.

      • rustybrown2014 August 8, 2015 / 11:24 pm

        That sounds a little like a dice game based on Hoyle’s rules for poker, but I’ll bite. How does that differ from our present Representative Republic, and can you give us an example of a Liberal Democracy that has a long term track record of freedom and prosperity?

        This may come as a shock to you, Spook, but we’re already a Liberal Democracy. So in answer to your question for an example of one that prospers, that would be US. In the future, try not to be so Pavlovian to the term “liberal”.

        “A liberal democracy may take various constitutional forms: it may be a constitutional republic, such as France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, or the UNITED STATES…”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_democracy

      • Amazona August 9, 2015 / 12:04 am

        Ah, wikipedia. At least you didn’t quote Jon Stewart.

        Rusty, you may think you are describing a political philosophy but you are really just talking about things you like.

        You have bought into a whole narrative about SS that is simply not true, or at least not wholly true. An entire fantasy has been constructed around the stock market crash of 1929, the supposed plunge into economic despair that could only be fixed by the federal government, etc. It is simply not true. The crash, not the worst we had encountered, was used to justify a huge expansion of federal powers, by a very Leftist president, and this expansion included SS. It was intended, and sold, as a temporary program to get the elderly through a tough economic period. It was never sold as a permanent program, and it was never intended as the primary, much less sole, means of support for retired people.

        You say “That Jeffersonian in colonial times did not foresee that our government may be capable of providing some level of security to all of the nation’s elderly (how the heck could he, back then?) should not prevent us from doing what is right and within our means.

        Wow, what a distortion of reality. Jefferson’s idea of government had absolutely nothing to do with whether or not the federal government could afford to take care of people. I have no idea where you get this stuff. You really ought to do some studying of our history. And BTW, SS is no longer “within our means”.

    • Amazona August 7, 2015 / 8:26 pm

      Just curious—you say “Mark is for expanding senators” as if this is outside the Constitution. Why do you say that? Assuming you mean expanding the number of senators, and not physically expanding the people themselves, why wouldn’t this comply with the Constitution if it were done properly—that is, by amending the Constitution.

      Sorry, but I think this comment supports my contention that most people are clueless about what “right wing” really means, about what “conservative” really means.

      BTW, I agree that we need to revamp our system of representation. I am not sure I would add more senators, but I would divide up some larger states to even out the representation of some areas that are now dominated by large-population urban areas, and I would add to the number of representatives, to make sure the people have more access to those representing them in Congress.

      However, I also feel that this under-representation would be mitigated to a great extent by shifting the balance of power out of Washington DC and back to the states. If Congress were to act only regarding the enumerated duties stated in the Constitution, and states were to take over the bulk of government, as intended by the Founders, the imbalance of representation would be less crucial.

      And why do you think personality is an important trait for a president? You seem offended by my comment that we need to get away from picking our leaders based on their personalities, which to my mind trivializes the very important process of deciding how we will govern the nation and reduces it to something more akin to American Idol. Maybe it would help focus if we were to think of an election as a hiring process, in which we evaluate the candidates and look for the best person for the job, and not a popularity contest or some silly notion of “Now we have had a black president so next we need a woman..” Next it will be “Now we need a vegan, and then a homosexual, and then an amputee, and then……”

    • M. Noonan August 8, 2015 / 12:28 am

      I am for expanding the number of States, which would of necessity increase the number of Senators – but that is entirely per the provisions of the Constitution as new States can be carved out of existing States as long as the existing State in question agrees to it. My view is that we should have anywhere from 60 to 65 States, and so from 120 to 130 Senators. The House should also, in my view, be increased to at least 601 members – and the size of the House is simply a matter of law; Congress can enact any size it wants as long as each State has at least one House member and no district is less than 10,000 persons. The size of the Supreme Court is also a mere matter of law and can be set to any size we like – I think we should increase it to 13-15 Justices.

    • rustybrown2014 August 8, 2015 / 12:06 pm

      “For about ten years, I have asked Libs here on the blog to explain their political philosophy—that is, what do they think is the best template for governing the country?

      …only one—-ONE—-Liberal poster has been able or willing to answer that question.”

      Bullshit. I’ve answered that question more than once here. The problem is that you disagree with the answer, don’t want to hear it, cannot effectively argue against it, and therefore feel compelled to delete informed dissenting opinion. You’re all talk, no grit.

      • Amazona August 8, 2015 / 3:43 pm

        You answered the question? You claim I rejected your answer because, as you claim, I simply did not “agree with it”? I don’t remember you answering, but I have a feeling if you did your answer was not a governmental model but a list of platitudes, such as “I believe in fairness and equality”. At least that is what the other Libs have produced in what is apparently a belief that this kind of thing is a political philosophy.

        If you have a belief in a governmental model you think is the best way to govern the nation, please let us know. By “governmental model” I mean a template for governance, an operating agreement, a contract which states not just the goal of that model but how it will be achieved. In other words, a constitution. If not ours, one with different rules for government.

        The one poster I remember responding with an actual political philosophy was unabashedly a Marxist, and he could and did lay out his Marxist political beliefs. While I thought his political model was one destined for failure, as it had been tried many times and never produced anything but tyranny and economic misery, I did respect the fact that he had studied political templates, chosen one, and knew what it meant. My observation is that the other Lefties I have challenged have produced vague emotion-based goals and agendas, but never an actual format for government.

        By the way, I not only CAN argue for the model I have chosen and have steadfastly defended, I can also argue against the others I have encountered. If you think you can mount a coherent argument for a clearly stated political philosophy, an outline for how best to govern the country, then please, let’s engage in the discussion.

      • rustybrown2014 August 8, 2015 / 7:03 pm

        It might interest you to know I don’t believe in equality, I think it’s an artificial construct.

        To put it into a simplistic nutshell, the model I favor is a Liberal Democracy based on our Constitution; we differ in that I’m not an originalist as you are. By my lights, and the lights of many Constitutional scholars and justices throughout our history, the Constitution is a living document that must be interpreted by successive generations. This is where you all begin to howl and gnash, but that’s how it must be–there is no document (at least not one as complex as the Constitution) that can withstand the test of time and offer ultimate, unalterable wisdom to generations hundreds of years from its inception. The Bible is an extreme example of this–many of it’s commands and recommendations would get you arrested or killed these days, and rightly so.

        Where we REALLY differ is in our opinions about whether this is currently of penultimate importance right now. I think your dismissal of what you refer to as “issues” is strange and wrongheaded. Issues are what affect people’s day to day lives, they will deeply affect their children and grandchildren. It’s all very good to discuss political models as if we were in a think tank, and useful prescriptions can come from such discussions, but that’s puffery to people when they pull the lever. They want to know a candidate’s stances on a women’s right to choose, universal healthcare, foreign policy, public spending, Medicare and other issues which impact them.

        It’s like earlier on this thread (I believe) you quoted a conservative blogger listing things he didn’t like about Fiorina and you said “we have to get beyond personality”. But, as much as I hate that blogger, he was listing her RESUME, not her personality. He was discussing her positions on issues important to him. He was highlighting her strengths and weaknesses as a candidate. These things are pertinent.

      • rustybrown2014 August 8, 2015 / 7:28 pm

        I meant ultimate, not penultimate.

      • Amazona August 8, 2015 / 8:05 pm

        Rusty, thank you for starting an actual dialogue.

        I have heard the argument that the Constitution is, or should be, a “living document” and also that something written more than two centuries ago cannot meet the needs of modern society. Can you give me some examples of what you think must be changed, and what does not meet current needs?

      • Amazona August 8, 2015 / 8:29 pm

        Also, to jump ahead a little in what I hope will be a dialogue, I think you misunderstand my scorn for the current obsession with issues. Of course I understand that issues are what drive, motivate and define life in this country. I have my own list of important issues.

        My point is that when we put issues ahead of the underlying foundation of how we think the country should be governed, we run the risk of losing track of things.

        My position is that here, in this country, at this time, a voter at the national level really should be voting not on issues but on who will govern the nation in the way the voter thinks it should be governed.

        My own idea of the best way to govern this nation happens to be the strict Constitutional model. I feel this way for many reasons. When this model was followed, this raw new nation leapfrogged ahead of every other country in the world and became a beacon of freedom, of personal dignity, and of economic progress.

        When I look at the Constitution of the United States of America, I see a document that WILL stand the test of time, because of the brilliance with which it was crafted and the foresight of the Founders as they strove to create a completely new and radical form of government. One reason for this is that it understands that One Size Does Not Fit All, that the needs and desires of one state might very well not be in the best interest of another, so it leaves nearly all of the authority of government to the states, which have almost unlimited freedom to create their own rules and processes.

        I see a federal government that is severely restricted as to size, scope and power, because the Founders created this system in an effort to avoid the tyranny of a massively powerful Central Authority, whether that authority was called a king or an emperor or a czar or even if he held the title of President of the United States. They set up a central authority with a very few very specific delegated powers, which were assigned to it as its sole duties and sole reasons to exist. Those enumerated duties included national defense, regulation of interstate commerce, and international relations. The system they created gave a national identity and an umbrella of protection for its citizens,but was designed to make it impossible to expand into interference beyond those parameters into the lives of its citizens.

        Just to be sure they had this nailed down, they used a belt-and-suspenders approach, tacking on the Tenth Amendment, which says basically that if something is not specifically delegated to the federal government it is up to the states. Or the people.

        Under this umbrella, each state has vast freedom to pass its own laws specific to the needs of its people at any time in its history, limited only by the rights guaranteed (not granted, just guaranteed) by the Constitution.

        This is why I object to issues that are not properly in the scope of federal power or authority being made the centerpieces of national politics. At the national level, I want to know if my candidate will support and defend the Constitution, as it is written, which means working to limit federal power and authority.

        On the state level, where those issues are supposed to be legislated, I will argue them, I will fight for those I believe in, and I will do whatever I can to see that they are adjudicated. At the state and local level, I will vote according to who shares my values about what issues are most important and how they should be handled.

        I do not say issues are not important. What I do say is the most important thing is to make sure they are addressed where the Constitution says they must be addressed, and beyond a few examples that is at the state level.

        At the federal level, that is pretty limited, or it should be—-taxation, national defense, international relations, to start.

      • Amazona August 8, 2015 / 8:41 pm

        Rusty, do you know what a “stalking horse” is?

        I contend that too many politicians, particularly those on the Left, use issues as stalking horses, hiding behind them to get votes they might otherwise not get.

        I believe that if every American were to be asked this question: Do you believe (A) the federal government should be severely restricted as to size, scope and power, with most authority reserved to the states or local government, or (B) the federal government should be unrestricted regarding the amount of power and authority concentrated there, with little authority left to state or local governments more people would answer (A) than (B). And that, to me, is the defining difference between Right and Left. The Right, or Conservative, position is that the federal government’s power should not exceed its Constitutional limits, and the Left believes that the federal government’s authority should be expandable to meet any need identified at any time, unfettered by the Constitution. The difference is seldom what should be done, but is which authority should do it—-the federal government or the states.

        Knowing this, the Left, which represents (B), does not explain that this is the model they represent, but instead work on emotions, drawing people into voting for issues that are important to them, using the issues as stalking horses. So Nancy, if asked to think about it, is more likely to answer (A) than (B) because she thinks it would be better to have a less powerful Central Authority and more decisions made closer to home, but because this is not the choice she is given she votes for the political model represented by (B) because she thinks she is really voting for one of her issues.

        I contend that if we were to explain politics more clearly, Nancy would understand a few things that she might not know now. She might understand that her defining issue is not, according to the Constitution, even supposed to be adjudicated at the federal level, so her vote for a Senator or Representative or President based on that issue is really pretty meaningless, except that it provided support for a political philosophy she might not really agree with. She might understand that if she votes for the candidate whose political philosophy is (A) she is not voting against her pet issues, just voting for a system that insists they be addressed at a different level of government. She might understand that the difference between parties is seldom what they want to accomplish but HOW these goals are best accomplished, and that her vote should not be on the goal but on the process.

      • rustybrown2014 August 8, 2015 / 10:41 pm

        I haven’t even gotten to your other posts yet, but quickly, examples of allegedly extra-Constitutional programs I think are necessary? I’ll go with Cluster and say Medicare/Medicaid. I believe you’re against those in your originalist interpretation. I’ll go a step further and advocate that universal health care, single payer should be the law of the land.

      • M. Noonan August 8, 2015 / 11:58 pm

        And if you believe that, then all you need do is amend the Constitution to provide the mechanism you desire to carry out your program. Why not do that?

        I’ll tell you why – because you can’t. The people don’t want it – not in a broad enough mass to actually change the Constitution to provide for such a thing. And so you, like all Progressives, seek an end run around the law…all for the noblest of motives, of course. But what you get when you do that is a lawless State – a government of men, not laws. A government which just does what it wants to do, rather than what the will of the people and the written law bid it.

        Did you like the Korean War? How about the Vietnam War? That is what you get when you say that the written law is irksome – and can’t we just get around it in order to get this vitally important thing done? Some people identify McKinley as the First Offender in the sense of stretching powers beyond their legal basis – this from when he ordered US troops into battle in China against the Boxers. There is a case to be made there, but I really put the blame on Theodore Roosevelt with his assertion that unless the Constitution expressly forbids an action, it can be taken. It was just a short hop from there to, “I can do whatever I want unless someone stops me”…which was underlying attitude of Wilson and FDR. Now we’ve got Obama making treaties with Iran which won’t be ratified by the Senate, but will still have the force of law ’cause he says so (and, of course, the GOP Establishment in a bit of Failure Theater made sure he could do it).

        This is how democracies and republics die, Rusty – to take it back to ancient times: Roman law had it that once you held an office, you couldn’t hold another one until 5 years had passed; the law against holding successive office was put in place precisely so that office holders – who were immune from prosecution while in office – could be called to account after they left office. Caesar and his fellow conspirators essentially nullified that…not by amending the law, but simply by ignoring it (of course, eventually one guy tried to grab it all for himself and ruled that Caesar had to give up office without having a new office ready to go, thus provoking the Roman Civil War).

        You keep on Progressives – and eventually there will be no law. Just brute force and whomever has the most of it gets to rule.

      • Retired Spook August 8, 2015 / 10:58 pm

        To put it into a simplistic nutshell, the model I favor is a Liberal Democracy based on our Constitution

        That sounds a little like a dice game based on Hoyle’s rules for poker, but I’ll bite. How does that differ from our present Representative Republic, and can you give us an example of a Liberal Democracy that has a long term track record of freedom and prosperity? In the 226 years that our Constitution has endured, France has had something like 15 constitutions. Should we be more like France?

      • Amazona August 8, 2015 / 11:05 pm

        Rusty, I think if you had read my other posts you would not be asking these questions. They are answered. I believe that if the people want to legislate a transfer of wealth, a redistribution of OPM, to help pay for health care for ANY segment of society, our Constitution has a way for that to be done, within the Constitution itself. That is, as a state or local program.

        As I said, it is not a matter of disagreeing on what should be done so much as disagreeing on how it should be done.

        At the risk of sounding too gritty, I would like to point out that you seem to be ignoring actual governance, concentrating instead on issues. Yet if you peel back the layers, you will see that behind your favorite issues lies the political belief that the federal government should be immensely vast and powerful—-at least big enough and powerful enough to pay for medical care for everyone in the country, which is pretty big and pretty powerful.

        Can you make an argument for why programs like these must be federal? Why do they work better when centralized in D.C.? Why would they not be better administered and more efficient, and even more productive, if administered closer to home, by people who understand the needs of those in their states or counties?

        In other words, why is it necessary to circumvent the Constitution to provide these programs?

      • Amazona August 8, 2015 / 11:06 pm

        Spook, I’d just like to start with Rusty’s definition of “Liberal”.

      • M. Noonan August 9, 2015 / 12:01 am

        That would be interesting – because it would probably be full of high-sounding words, all of which mask the merest desire for absolute power to dictate how people live…for their own good, of course!

      • rustybrown2014 August 8, 2015 / 11:11 pm

        I can appreciate your originalist sentiments as an underlying abstract, but I still maintain they have to yield from time to time in the face of new concerns. Social security is a good example of this. There’s nothing in the Constitution about it, but the fact that the nation had experienced widespread poverty and hardship, was dealing with an exploding elderly population, mixed with the knowledge that we were growing into the most powerful and prosperous nation in the history of mankind, then yeah, a national umbrella for our seniors seems to make sense and fits in with the compassionate, humanist ideas of most Americans. That Jeffersonian in colonial times did not foresee that our government may be capable of providing some level of security to all of the nation’s elderly (how the heck could he, back then?) should not prevent us from doing what is right and within our means.

      • rustybrown2014 August 8, 2015 / 11:25 pm

        Whoops, repeat. I posted this in the wrong spot before.

        That sounds a little like a dice game based on Hoyle’s rules for poker, but I’ll bite. How does that differ from our present Representative Republic, and can you give us an example of a Liberal Democracy that has a long term track record of freedom and prosperity?

        This may come as a shock to you, Spook, but we’re already a Liberal Democracy. So in answer to your question for an example of one that prospers, that would be US. In the future, try not to be so Pavlovian to the term “liberal”.

        “A liberal democracy may take various constitutional forms: it may be a constitutional republic, such as France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, or the UNITED STATES…”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_democracy

      • Amazona August 9, 2015 / 12:12 am

        I posted this in response to a post of yours, Rusty. Now that I see you put yours in the wrong place, I’ll move mine, too.

        *******************************************

        Ah, wikipedia. At least you didn’t quote Jon Stewart.

        Rusty, you may think you are describing a political philosophy but you are really just talking about things you like.

        You have bought into a whole narrative about SS that is simply not true, or at least not wholly true. An entire fantasy has been constructed around the stock market crash of 1929, the supposed plunge into economic despair that could only be fixed by the federal government, etc. It is simply not true. The crash, not the worst we had encountered, was used to justify a huge expansion of federal powers, by a very Leftist president, and this expansion included SS. It was intended, and sold, as a temporary program to get the elderly through a tough economic period. It was never sold as a permanent program, and it was never intended as the primary, much less sole, means of support for retired people.

        You say “That Jeffersonian (sic) in colonial times did not foresee that our government may be capable of providing some level of security to all of the nation’s elderly (how the heck could he, back then?) should not prevent us from doing what is right and within our means.

        Wow, what a distortion of reality. Jefferson’s idea of government had absolutely nothing to do with whether or not the federal government could afford to take care of people. I have no idea where you get this stuff. You really ought to do some studying of our history. And BTW, SS is no longer “within our means”.

      • M. Noonan August 9, 2015 / 12:56 am

        The stories of the Great Depression also ignore that Hoover – a Progressive Republican of the deepest dye – did massively increase spending in order to “cure” the Depression. It didn’t work, of course – in fact, it made it all worse.

        The Depression wasn’t about some fundamental flaw in free markets but simply the natural reaction to the fact that 10 years previous the world had just finished slaughtering 10 million fit, young men in the First World War…and literally blowing a century’s worth of accumulated wealth out a cannon. Follow hard on the heels of that was about 20 million people – mostly young, fit men and women – dying of the ‘flu. Over production causing a decline in prices? Well, in a sense – but the reason there was over production was because the world was missing 30 million people in the prime of their lives…and the children they didn’t have because they were dead. There was no real post-WWI boom on the global economy – Germany had a few good years in the 20’s based upon borrowed money from the United States and the United States had a few good years because we had suffered least in the War…but even in the 20’s the crunch was already visible to astute observers, especially in America’s agricultural sector. The Crash was coming, eventually; it was only a matter of time. And had everyone just left well enough alone, it would have fixed itself in a year or two as the economy shook out the dead wood. Instead, we got a ten year long Depression because we taxed and spent ourselves out of the resources which were necessary to rebuild the economy.

      • Amazona August 9, 2015 / 12:20 am

        Here are some quotes of Jefferson. I can’t find a single thing in any of them, or in any of his biographies, or in any of the contemporaneous writings of the time about him, or anything he ever said as he was working on the wording of the Constitution, to even HINT that he would have approved of expanding the federal government to provide “security” for the elderly if only the country could have afforded it.

        ******************

        “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

        “When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.”
        -Thomas Jefferson to Charles Hammond, 1821. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, (Memorial Edition) Lipscomb and Bergh, editors, ME 15:332

        “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”
        -Thomas Jefferson, letter to E. Carrington, May 27, 1788

        ***********************

        I’ll throw in a couple from Madison, as well, to illustrate the opinion the Framers had about expanding the size, scope and/or power of the federal government.

        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

        Go ahead and argue the Socialist/Progressive/Liberal position that it is the job of the federal government to “take care” of people, and to redistribute OPM to do so, if you want, but please do not try to claim that this is what the Founders wanted or would have wanted if only the country had more money.

        And, just noting, so far you have avoided actually stating a principle of government, so far just defending a couple of programs.

      • rustybrown2014 August 9, 2015 / 1:59 am

        Alright, I’m playing it piecemeal here because I’m responding to 3 or 4 or more different posters who all seem intent on distorting my thoughts. Y’all gimme break ’cause I’m one man with limited time so I’ll respond to a certain selection and we’ll go from there. I think we can all agree that the term ‘Liberal Democracy’ is an objective definitive term (at least if you know how to use Google) which encompasses the current political system we live under here in the good ‘ol U S of A and I don’t have to defend or define it any further, so we needn’t go down that rabbit hole and can chalk it off to a misunderstanding and hypersensitivity on your part. No problem.

        I’ll just respond to Ama here since she started the dialog (Ama, hope you don’t interpret my abbreviation of your name as a slight–I honestly do it for brevity as Meursault will testify, I commonly refer to him as “M”, hopefully without offense).

        Regarding SS, It was “sold” (I would say introduced) as a means of getting those who need it by, and widely supported by our countrymen for those who STILL need it to get by. And is to this day. Again, Richest country in the history of man, basic human standards for geriatric citizens, stock and trade with every other civilized democracy around the globe in modern times–what exactly is your opposition to it? That it should be state run? Are you shitting me?

        Regarding Jefferson, I’m afraid you’ve completely missed my point, and it’s a bit embarrassing for you if you read my original post. My point was that HE COULD NOT HAVE FORESEEN taking care of the nations elderly in the way that SS does. You’re proving my point. They had no idea back then. The means to provide SS was a completely arbitrary and hypothetical issue at the time, probably never discussed because the means were so far from the grasp. Does that dictate that it should never be so?

      • Retired Spook August 9, 2015 / 7:44 am

        but I really put the blame on Theodore Roosevelt with his assertion that unless the Constitution expressly forbids an action, it can be taken.

        Mark, had I stayed up a little later last night, that is the exact point I would have made. The day T.R. brought forth that argument was the day the Tenth Amendment, the rule of law and originalist interpretation died and case law and precedent were born. That was the day minority thinking began to rule this country, and, if you study the events of the last 100 years, the damage that has been done is incalculable. I note that Rusty has been unable to provide us with an example of a country with the kind of governmental system that he advocates that has a long and successful track record of freedom and prosperity.

      • rustybrown2014 August 9, 2015 / 11:39 am

        I note that Rusty has been unable to provide us with an example of a country with the kind of governmental system that he advocates that has a long and successful track record of freedom and prosperity.

        Spook, I have indeed provided with you with an example. It’s the country that your feet are resting on right now (presumably). America.

      • rustybrown2014 August 9, 2015 / 11:49 am

        And, just noting, so far you have avoided actually stating a principle of government, so far just defending a couple of programs.

        I have stated a principle of government–our own Liberal Democracy. Like Spook, you must have missed it. I also listed a couple of programs in direct response to your asking for them, and to get the ball rolling on specifics. The main contention here seems to be in how flexible our Constitution is, and I think you’re being ridiculously stringent in your originalist interpretation.

      • Cluster August 9, 2015 / 12:48 pm

        But even a “liberal democracy” doesn’t comport with your insistence that all things should be handled at the federal level:

        The liberal democratic constitution defines the democratic character of the state. The purpose of a constitution is often seen as a limit on the authority of the government. Liberal democracy emphasises the separation of powers, an independent judiciary, and a system of checks and balances between branches of government. Liberal democracies are likely to emphasise the importance of the state being a Rechtsstaat that follows the principle of rule of law. Governmental authority is legitimately exercised only in accordance with written, publicly disclosed laws adopted and enforced in accordance with established procedure. Many democracies use federalism—also known as vertical separation of powers—in order to prevent abuse and increase public input by dividing governing powers between municipal, provincial and national governments

        The established procedure of the Constitution is Federalism. My opinion is that your ideology of choice is socialism-lite. A central authority that controls what is “right and equitable” – the only question is who decides what is “right and equitable”. You may not like this ideology if the GOP were in control, and that is the beauty of Federalism.

      • rustybrown2014 August 9, 2015 / 6:16 pm

        And if you believe that, then all you need do is amend the Constitution to provide the mechanism you desire to carry out your program. Why not do that?

        I’ll tell you why – because you can’t. The people don’t want it – not in a broad enough mass to actually change the Constitution to provide for such a thing.

        Mark, I’d be up for a Constitutional amendment, maybe that’s the rout it will take. Fine by me as long as it gets done. As far as the people not wanting it goes, you’re wrong about that. The polls go back and forth a bit on the issue but even when it’s not favored by the majority there’s still a sizable minority that wants it:

        “More than five years after the single-payer system was scrapped from ObamaCare policy debates, just over 50 percent of people say they still support the idea, including one-quarter of Republicans, according to a new poll.”

        http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/229959-majority-still-support-single-payer-option-poll-finds

        Yes, there’s plenty of public support for single payer, and there would be an overwhelming amount if monied interests in the health care industry hadn’t been spending millions demonizing it for years. Every time single payer’s on a state referendum the insurance and drug companies spend millions on campaigns of ridiculous propaganda. Which leads us to the actual reason we don’t have single payer: because companies are fleecing us for billions in our health care system and they’re not about to give up the golden goose without a fight.

      • M. Noonan August 10, 2015 / 11:11 pm

        Then get Hillary and Bernie to campaign on it – have every Democrat out there shouting loudly that they want the entirety of our national health care system paid for, and dictated by, the federal government. See how that works for you.

        Someone Tweeted the other day that polls are a mechanism whereby the Ruling Class makes the people think they are deciding things. Polls are worthless as a guide to policy – until you’re actually advocating for specific legislation in open debate, you’re just talking…and you can make a poll come out pretty much any way you like depending on the wording of the questions.

        Ask the question like this: “single payer would ensure that all Americans have access to health care regardless of ability to pay: do you support it?” and you’ll get a different result than, “single payer would take your health care decisions out of your hands and place them in the control of nameless, faceless bureaucrats: do you support it?”.

        The really dirty aspect of Progressives is that they’ll never, ever campaign on what they want. They hide it behind carefully crafted words to make it sound like they want “A” when they are really trying to get “B”. The best example of this is abortion – Progressives won’t campaign on the right to find “less crunchy” ways to abort viable babies…oh, no! Nothing like that. Progressives campaign on a “woman’s right to choose” without ever going into the details of what that choice entails.

      • Amazona August 9, 2015 / 9:04 pm

        Rusty, I haven’t got the time or interest in letting you drag me into one of those interminable circle jerks about some issue or another, without first having a baseline of whether or not the issue is in the realm of authority of the federal government or the states. I know this is what you Libs live for, the constant bickering that always comes down to you feeling smug and superior because you CARE and taking the position that if someone disagrees with your approach that means he or she doesn’t care.

        You come up with some link to some statistic, someone else comes up with a different link that has different figures, nobody gets anywhere, and it is just a lot of noise. I understand why you need to divert attention away from your inability to address any of the questions I asked, or the points I made, but have no intention of going along with it. You have your comfort zone, which depends on your talking points, which consist of what your minders have told you you think, and you will never be willing or able to step outside of that bubble. I just asked you to THINK, not to regurgitate some talking point, and you froze. All you could do was cite some wikipedia article that didn’t even describe the Progressive governmental template you support, but had the word “Liberal” in it so you thought it would do.

        I challenged you to a specific kind of discussion on one particular topic—your political philosophy—and the outcome is exactly what I knew it would be. It is the same outcome it always has been with every other Lib, a warm fuzzy feel-good wish list without the slightest interest on how any of this could be accomplished outside of the federal government because whether you admit it or not, underneath the platitudes of “living document” and “it’s the right thing to do” there is……nothing. Just a void, with a few vague cliches and platitudes floating around in it. No knowledge about your chosen political alignment, because you don’t need or want knowledge. You just want feelings. You can’t even say why what you want is done better at the federal level. You can’t even try. You just kind of FEEL, somehow, that this is the job of the feds, and that is all you need.

        And even when you kind of half-heartedly posture as civil, the veneer of courtesy and civility is so thin it is for all intents and purposes nonexistent.

        Come back if you can find some big boy pants and get into an actual discussion about real politics. Read up a little on how and why this country was set up the way it was, and be ready to say exactly what parts of the Constitution are not relevant to today’s America. See if you can find a single country with a government based on the Progressive model that has increased personal liberty for its citizens and experienced a robust and growing economy. But save your RRL talking points for other gullibles who can’t see through them. Don’t put on your tinfoil hat and bring them here unless you can man up enough to process opposing points of view instead of just haranguing us over and over again.

      • rustybrown2014 August 9, 2015 / 9:55 pm

        Ama,

        What are you talking about? You asked me for specific examples of things that I find important but not in the Constitution, I gave them to you, and now you’re saying that’s diverting the conversation? As for not answering some of your points, I’ve already told you I’m responding to 4 different posters here, am short on time at the moment, and am not able to answer them all in great detail right now. Relax, for pete’s sake.

        I am answering your fundamental question: our constitutional model is fine but must remain flexible. Like it or not, that’s a general outline coherent political philosophy. I’m fine with getting into specifics, but you just grow petulant.

        Why are some things better at the federal level? Because they’re often easier and cheaper to administrate there. Single payer is a great example of that. Don’t pretend I can’t answer that question.

        If you are too impatient to wait until I have time to answer you, don’t like the way the conversation is going, or are unable to effectively argue against my point of view–fine, move on. But I really don’t understand why you immediately revert to nastiness–your usual array of put downs and insults. It’s very weird.

      • rustybrown2014 August 9, 2015 / 10:05 pm

        Cluster,

        I never said “all things should be handled at the federal level”, never even hinted at anything like that. And I am certainly for “separation of powers, an independent judiciary, and a system of checks and balances between branches of government.” I think you and others here think that states are presently more constricted by the feds than I do. I think states currently already enjoy a great deal of autonomy and see no need to give them more authority.

      • rustybrown2014 August 9, 2015 / 10:48 pm

        Can you make an argument for why programs like these must be federal? Why do they work better when centralized in D.C.? Why would they not be better administered and more efficient, and even more productive, if administered closer to home, by people who understand the needs of those in their states or counties?

        I’ve already touched on this above, but federally administered programs have the advantage of consolidation, which can make them more efficient. There’s also the advantage of consistency, all Americans should share the same advantage of a fundamental program and shouldn’t have to think about relocating their family in order to get a better deal. With federal programs Americans are also free to move about the country without fear of compromising their benefits.

        I also believe certain programs, such as Social Security, have attained the status of an elementary human right for citizens of modern, prosperous, civilized societies. Same with basic safeguards for helping the poor. We shouldn’t have to wast effort monitoring and worrying whether each state is owning up to it’s 21st century responsibilities to it’s citizens–All americans should be afforded some basic levels of decency and protection as byproduct of their citizenship. Good federal initiatives can also instill a sense of national unity and pride.

      • Amazona August 9, 2015 / 11:30 pm

        I think that once someone has stated that programs should be federal because the federal government is more efficient, and having it run programs makes them more economical, there isn’t much more to say. (I am assuming he said this with a straight face.) Once someone has stated that “consistency” in having a One Size Fits All approach is a good thing, without it ever occurring to him that this “consistency” means the person has no choice, can’t just move to a state without an objectionable program, and that might be a BAD THING, he is so indoctrinated that there is no reason to even try to talk to him. Once these disconnects with reality are finally admitted to, you’ve reached a dead end, because it is obvious there is no place to go from there.

        All americans should be afforded some basic levels of decency and protection as byproduct of their citizenship. Sadly, people have become so attuned to being dependent that they actually define “decency” as lining up for handouts of OPM. Good federal initiatives can also instill a sense of national unity and pride. Again, what a sad commentary on a once-proud nation to think that dependency can be thought of as a sense of national unity and pride.

        The Rustys will never understand that many of us find this a source of shame. It’s as if there was never a time when people simply understood that it was their responsibility to plan ahead, to save and invest to prepare for retirement. Now it is a matter of pride for the Rustys of the world that so many people have grown up not only without that understanding, that sense of personal responsibility, but that it takes a Big Brother government to FORCE them to set aside a little money every month. He thinks this is absolutely wonderful, and a sign of progress. The more feeble, the more dependent, the more unthinking, the better for people like Rusty. Weak feeble people dependent on a powerful and controlling Central Authority is what he argues for.

      • M. Noonan August 11, 2015 / 2:30 pm

        Chile doesn’t have Social Security. New Zealand has a partially privatized Social Security system. So, the concept that you either have Social Security as we know it, or you’re Somalia is, well, absurd.

        Social Security did not create the middle class – nor did it preserve it. Social Security just made people dependent upon government for their retirement. All it really does is help support a fiat-money economy based upon consumption and debt, as opposed to a hard-money economy based upon savings and investment. Don’t save! Don’t worry! Buy that new bit of I-Crap! You’ll be fine – Social Security will be there for you! Except for one thing – we’ve only got about 3 workers for every person on Social Security and soon it will drop down to two workers per beneficiary…you can’t tax people enough to have two people working to support one person not working…it just can’t be done.

      • M. Noonan August 11, 2015 / 2:37 pm

        But I can fire the bureaucrats who run my health insurance and hire new ones – and this gives them an incentive to actually provide good service. I know that people have had problems with insurance, but I never have. I’ve always gotten the care I need in a reasonable amount of time, and no real quibbles about what amount of care I’ll get. A lot of the horror stories about health insurance companies seem to stem from an idea that whatever the customer wants, he or she should get – regardless of cost of efficacy. Life doesn’t work like that – there isn’t limitless resources. But no matter what, I’d rather have someone I can get rid of providing my care, rather than government bureaucrats I can’t get rid of.

        And the concept that we’d have fewer bureaucrats is laughable – it is as if you don’t even remotely understand the purpose of public sector unions…to demand more public sector workers with higher pay and benefits, so that more dues can be collected to lobby for ever more public secutor workers with higher pay and benefits. You might start with 10,000 health care bureaucrats but in 20 years, you’ll have 100,000…and making three times the pay of the original 10,000. That is just in the nature of things because human beings are, well, human…they look out for themselves first and foremost…and when it is “government” money it is like it is money that belongs to no one, so might as well grab all you can! And what does it matter to a bureaucrat if anyone gets any health care, at all? Firing a bureaucrat is downright impossible – they get paid the same whether they give you help, or don’t give you help…and as there’s more work involved in giving you help, the incentive is all towards not giving you help.

      • Cluster August 11, 2015 / 6:18 pm

        I just want to make a comment on Rusty’s most recent post which evidently the moderator deleted. It clearly spoke to the disconnect and detachment from reality that so many progressives suffer from, including Obama. Obama always throws out false choices, for example Iran. It’s either support the deal or go to war, ignoring the fact that there are a lot of options in between. Rusty leveled the old and baseless accusation that since conservatives don’t support progressive prescriptions on health care and entitlements, then obviously we don’t care about less fortunate people and are in it strictly for ourselves. It really does get old reading this argument year after year after year. The other day I asked Rusty why he was still such a firm believer in domestic progressive policies considering how badly they have failed over the last 50 years. Poverty rates are higher, wages are stagnant, record number of people, particularly women, out of the workforce, etc., etc. I never did hear back on that.

        Conservatives want more efficiencies and less waste and corruption and if we were following the Constitution and delivering these services at the State level, then we would have lower costs and better service. Why is that so hard to understand?

  7. Shawn Reed August 7, 2015 / 6:15 pm

    I found this an interesting, informative comparison of some of the candidates. I’m a don’t listen as much to what they say (Obama sounded really moderate in the debates which was absolutely a lie) as what they actually do. I was a huge fan of Allen West until he was elected to Congress and showed a voting record that didn’t match his campaign rhetoric. None of the current candidates is going to be a perfect fit for everyone but at least we need someone who is strongly pro-American and walks whatever he or she talks. We have to do the homework.
    http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/john-kasich-a-jeb-bush-in-jon-huntsman-clothing/

    • Amazona August 7, 2015 / 8:53 pm

      I’m not a big Kasich fan—I think he is perfect for Ohio but not for the presidency. Having said that, I was more impressed by his performance last night than I thought I would be.

      • Cluster August 8, 2015 / 9:17 am

        The more I research, read about and listen to Carly Fiorina, the more I am inclined to vote for her. How Ironic would it be that after all the hype of Hillary, the first woman President would come from the GOP?

  8. Shawn Reed August 7, 2015 / 6:45 pm

    I still maintain that Scott Walker is the most electable of the mob. My impression has been that he’s more of a doer than a talker and the strong silent type. The Dems have thrown about everything they’ve got at him and he has continued to stand and deliver, do what he promised the people of Wisconsin he would do.

    • Amazona August 7, 2015 / 8:51 pm

      I agree about Walker. He is not my ideal candidate, he is not perfect, but I think he has appeal across the board and his creds are acceptable. He has the experience. He has been under vicious attacks from the Left for years, attacks funded by Big Money, with activists being bused in to oppose him and people being paid to cross state lines to vote against him, and he has prevailed. I can’t imagine what else the Left can throw at him.

      He has proved that he can get things done, and he has a success record. I like that he is not only NOT another Ivy League elitist, he dropped out of college to go to work. He is Everyman, at a time we need a man of the people.

      • Shawn Reed August 8, 2015 / 12:56 am

        Exactly, and I figure if they haven’t found any dirt to smear him with yet it isn’t there. Much of what he’s done at the state level also needs to be done on the fed level regarding the public sector unions because those unfunded pensions are not going to go away and trying to fund them is bankrupting everywhere U.S.A. It’s a crappy job but someone has to do it. I think a lot of the problem with I.R.S., N.E.A., and many of the alphabet agencies is that they are unions which should not exist. Unions whose mandate is to serve all the people and enforce existing laws but have ended up being extensions of the Democratic party they support. I also like that Walker isn’t a college graduate as obviously he’s intelligent but not indoctrinated so he thinks for himself.

    • Amazona August 8, 2015 / 3:40 pm

      Just curious—the list refers to 20th Century Fox and I am not clear if this is the same thing as Fox News. I know that Hollywood is radically Leftist, so it is no surprise that a movie company like 20th Century Fox would donate to the Clintons and to Dems in general. I am not familiar with the structure of that company relating to the cable news channel, Fox.

      Are they one and the same, or is 20th Century Fox a parent company with Fox News being an independent, at least to some extent, branch or division?

  9. Amazona August 9, 2015 / 8:15 am

    Rusty, I am moving our discussion into a different little thread, as the first one is getting too long to follow easily.

    I see it did not take long to veer away from actual political philosophy—that is, a belief in the best political model for governing the country—-into the weeds of arguing for specific issues. At this point, I have to point out that so far, in this discussion anyway, you still have not laid out your political philosophy. I have tried to lead you back into this arena of discourse, with no success.

    If, at some other time, you want to argue the merits of any particular agenda, issue, program or whatever, then sure, we can do that. But this particular discussion is, or so I thought, one of each of us laying out his or her idea of the best template for governance. I said that over the years only one Liberal has done this when asked, and you became quite indignant and stated, very emphatically, that you HAVE done so, repeatedly.

    Well, so far in this discussion you have not. I have, you haven’t.

    Let me try again. My position is that the Constitution of the United States of America is the best political model for governing this country. It is that this constitution was structured to provide an identity for what was, when it was written, a new nation, giving it a national identity so it could engage in trade and negotiations with other countries. It was structured to provide absolute protection for rights recognized to be inherent to man, not allowed or assigned or granted by government but recognized and guaranteed under its laws. It was designed to provide a framework to protect the nation itself, and its citizens, but at the same time carefully crafted to prevent the core of the nation, its federal government, from ever becoming too powerful, too intrusive into the lives of those citizens. Its goal was to prevent the concentration of power in a central authority, but to keep the power of government as close to the people as possible.

    I assert that this approach to governing this nation is the best one that could have been designed. It gives a national identity, under which certain delegated duties which must be addressed by such a national identity are assigned. Only the central authority could, for example, negotiate a treaty with other nations, or wage war. But it left the actual day to day decisions, the day to day governing of the people, TO the people, in their states and local governments. It set up a rigid framework for the national identity, severely restricted as to size, scope and power, and not easily modified, for the things only a national government could do, while at the same time establishing a system for day to day governance that is nearly infinitely flexible, allowing for changes and growth, and keeping power closer to the people through their states and local governments.

    I think of this as a pyramid of power. The broad base of the pyramid, upon which everything else is built, is the local and state government structure. The peak of the pyramid, the smallest part at the top, is the national or federal government.

    The other common model of government is an inverted pyramid, in which the national or federal government has by far most of the power and authority, with very little left to the states or local governments. It is a model in which the federal government has no real restrictions on its expansion, one in which the federal government assumes vast power and control, one in which the federal government takes on management of details of peoples’ lives and in so doing also takes on a lot of control over those lives. It is one which is not restricted by the enumerated duties set out in the Constitution, or clarified in the Tenth Amendment, but which can be altered, modified, expanded at will without going through the process of amendment.

    So this leads me to two questions, the answers to which might get this discussion back on track.

    1. Do you agree that these are the two basic models of government, and
    2 Which do you think is the best model for the United States

    • Cluster August 9, 2015 / 9:06 am

      Thank you Rusty, Amazona, Mark and Spook for some fun reading this morning. I get the sense that Rusty is a Roosevelt liberal, both Teddy and FDR, in terms that he is a firm believer in that what is not explicitly given to the States belongs to the Feds. And Amazona is right, this is the distinguishing line between progressives and conservatives. I do support SS, Medicare and Medicaid, BUT I do think these programs are best administered at the State level, and they should be means tested. What I think Rusty doesn’t understand that if we were following the Constitution, the majority of our taxes would be given to our respective States which would obviously enrich the States much more so than they are today, and allowing them to pay for these programs. Also as Amazona pointed out, these programs would be administered more efficiently and effectively if they were at the State level, and the people who rely on them would be better off for it.

      • Retired Spook August 9, 2015 / 9:39 am

        Cluster, I suspect Rusty believes what he believes because that’s what he’s been taught to believe. I guarantee you he hasn’t studied the two alternatives side by side and concluded that a system where you just make up the rules as you go along is the better of the two systems. His posts reflect someone who has been taught what to think and not how to think, and he’s certainly not alone. In fact, unfortunately, I’d say he’s probably in the majority of people his age, which really doesn’t bode well for my grandchildren’s and great grandchildren’s future. He may get to a point in his life where he realizes that what he believes doesn’t work, and/or isn’t sustainable. (see link in my 8/8, 10:58PM post to a video of what’s happening in France) But then again he may not. I know a number of people my age who still believe the welfare state can work and is sustainable if only the right people are in charge.

      • Amazona August 9, 2015 / 9:59 am

        What I am getting out of this exchange is that Rusty truly does not know what a political philosophy IS. He seems to care a great deal about something, or he would not be spending so much time writing about his feelings, tracking this blog, etc. He seems sincere in his belief that he not only has a coherent political philosophy, he is acting on it, and furthermore that it is the right thing to do.

        But what is coming across is that he is conflating a rather confused and incoherent sense that some things are just “right”, and the fact that one political model advances those things, with an understanding of the true politics of his chosen allegiance. He is quite prepared to go to war, symbolically speaking (as in blog posting) to defend his feelings, but he just has no clue about anything even a layer or two beneath them.

        I don’t know when I have seen anything as incoherent as his conviction that if TJ had only been smarter, not wasting all that time studying the ancient governments of Greece and Rome (reading about them in Greek and Latin) and Europe, spending all that time talking with other visionaries of his time about the errors of those political models, thinking about what would be closest to an ideal form of government, and working with those other visionaries to draft a format for that concept, he might have realized that some day the world might change, and that older people might need help that should be provided by the government. His explanation for Jefferson’s commitment to a restrained Central Authority? “They had no idea back then.” Right. No one knew that some day people would get old, and need help.

        I think it was this short exchange about Jefferson that brought home the point that Rusty simply does not grasp the very CONCEPT of an objective ideal of government. The idea of a blueprint for governing seems quite alien to him, or at least not desirable, as he wants a “living document” that can change at will. Completely ignorant of any of the thought and reasoning that went into structuring the Constitution the way they did, totally unaware of the motives for doing it the way they did, blissfully ignorant of the background upon which those calculations and decisions were based, dismissing the clear and concise statements of one of the most precise communicators of any time, he just assigns some weird combination of short-sightedness and lack of commitment to an ideal and states that Jefferson would have promoted federal intervention in charity if he had just been a little smarter and thought about it a little more.

        He could not address the concept of states having their own approaches to some form of financial assistance for the needy, and could only respond with the brilliant argument “…are you shitting me?” Well, THAT’s a compelling argument for federal control!

  10. Amazona August 9, 2015 / 8:43 am

    “I think we can all agree that the term ‘Liberal Democracy’ is an objective definitive term (at least if you know how to use Google) which encompasses the current political system we live under here in the good ‘ol U S of A and I don’t have to defend or define it any further, so we needn’t go down that rabbit hole and can chalk it off to a misunderstanding and hypersensitivity on your part. “

    Are you even AWARE of how snarky and condescending you are? Yes, I think we can all use Google, thank you very much. Wikipedia, on the other hand, as I am sure you know, is not a definitive source of objective information. Anyone can post a definition on wiki, and it is likely to stand (unless so bizarre it can’t be allowed) until someone else corrects or changes it. This means that any bias on the part of the contributor, or error, is part of the definition used by wiki, at least until it is changed. This is why it is so important to understand the actual foundations of things, the actual definition of terms used, etc. It’s a simple matter of GIGO. And being aware of this is hardly the same thing as either “misunderstanding” OR “hypersensitivity” but the sneer is noted.

    “Liberal” as a capitalized word is a definition for a model of government, or at least a general political philosophy, that is based on the concept of a collective. It is not the same as “liberal” uncapitalized, which has an entirely different meaning. “Liberal” in its capitalized form is a synonym for Progressive, which evolved when “Socialist” became a rather toxic term. But the general idea is the same, and you should probably educate yourself a little more thoroughly than a quick Google search that sends you to wikipedia. Technically, a “Liberal Democracy” would be a system in which the people vote directly for laws which implement Liberal agendas such as the redistribution of wealth and power concentrated in a Central Authority.

    Our government is not a democracy, for one thing. Not a Liberal Democracy, not any kind of democracy. Again, do the homework. It is a democratic republic, one in which elected officials represent the people in legislation.

    And here we are, back at where I was trying to start this discussion. I assert that it is essential for people to know the basics of government, to know and understand the actual governmental models, and to make a decision on who should be elected based upon an informed choice between them. If you don’t know what kind of government we have, if you don’t know WHY we have this kind of government, if you don’t know what other kinds of governments there are and the differences among them, if you don’t know how each kind of government has succeeded or failed when implemented, then you are making very important decisions on who to elect based on vague and usually emotion-based hunches. I am talking about understanding the mechanics of each model, not its superficial trappings of desired results.

    This knowledge is not just an easily dismissed “abstraction”. It is concrete and the foundation for any informed decision. And I find it interesting to see that someone who supports a movement that shrieks “WORDS MATTER !!” is so nonchalant about the actual definition of words.

  11. Amazona August 9, 2015 / 12:52 pm

    Rusty says “I have stated a principle of government–our own Liberal Democracy.”

    Well, here is the lead-in to the wikipedia piece he is using to back up his claim:

    “Liberal democracy is a political ideology and a form of government in which representative democracy operates under the principles of liberalism, i.e. protecting the rights of the individual, which are generally enshrined in law. It is characterised by fair, free, and competitive elections between (sic) multiple distinct political parties, a separation of powers into different branches of government, the rule of law in everyday life as part of an open society, and the equal protection of human rights, civil rights, civil liberties, and political freedoms for all people. To define the system in practice, liberal democracies often draw upon a constitution, either formally written or uncodified, to delineate the powers of government and enshrine the social contract. After a period of sustained expansion throughout the 20th century, liberal democracy became the predominant political system in the world.”

    Cool. Yet this, and the rest of the piece as well, is really just a generic description of a generic kind of government. It does nothing to answer any of the questions that should be answered to determine the actual political philosophy of an American voter.

    First of all, this piece uses the word “liberal” in its old, lower-case, sense—not the capitalized Liberal sense, which means allegiance to a specific Leftist ideology that happens to conflict with our own Constitution. Yes, the classic definition of “liberal” has always been “…equal protection of human rights, civil rights, civil liberties, and political freedoms for all people..” among other things. However, to use this definition of “liberal” as meaning the same thing as “Liberal” is simply comparing apples to oranges. I think Rusty was attracted to the simplistic and generic wikipedia definition because of the use of the word “liberal” without any understanding of the two uses of the word. Take note, Rusty—the word in the piece is capitalized only when it is at the beginning of a sentence, and the rest of the piece clearly uses the term in its classic sense, not its Progressive sense.

    Look at the “liberal” protection of “the rights of the individual”—the collectivist mentality of the Liberal has contempt for “the rights of the INDIVIDUAL”, focusing instead on subjugating the rights of the individual in favor of promoting the benefit of the collective. In Liberal politics, the individual has no rights that rise above his duty to society as a whole, as defined by Liberals. If you truly believe in protecting the “rights of the individual” then you are in favor of free speech even when it offends you (Fox News, talk radio, this blog, etc.) as well as the rights of individuals to express themselves in other ways, such as flying American flags, putting crosses on roadsides to mark where loved ones died, not being forced to engage in practices that violate their religious beliefs, etc. Keep in mind that supporting these liberal causes puts you at odds with your Liberal cohorts.

    “…rights…that are generally enshrined in law”. Do you think that being “enshrined in law” means that the laws are binding, or do you hold that the laws are “living documents” that can be modified or ignored at will, based on the motives or intent of people—-“…the rule of law in everyday life as part of an open society..”?

    Your chosen example of what you consider a political philosophy states that these “liberal democracies” can create constitutions, “…either formally written or uncodified, to delineate the powers of government and enshrine the social contract.” Do you consider a written, or codified, constitution to “..enshrine the social contract”? That is, do you consider a constitution a contract? And if you use this definition of a “liberal democracy” as an explanation of your own deeply held political philosophy, do you agree that such a constitution, formally drawn up and codifying the intent of the government, DOES “..delineate the powers of government”?

    I see two big problems with your claim that this wikipedia piece is your answer to my question of what is your political philosophy. One is that it seems to contradict the Liberal movement you appear to wholeheartedly support, and one is that it is quite generic and nonspecific.

    Therefore, as we are presumably talking about American politics, I repeat: Is your personal political philosophy best described as Constitutional, or the belief that the federal government should be severely restricted as to size, scope and power, with most authority reserved for the states or to the people, or the belief that the Constitution is not a binding contract as it is written but should be considered a guide, and that the federal government should be allowed to expand to meet various needs of people (not just citizens) living in the country? Where should most of the power and authority of government in this country reside—–in a powerful Central Authority, or in the individual states?

    THAT is a personal political philosophy that applies, in this country, to who we elect and why.

    I think you understand the question, but really don’t want to answer it, which is why you are tap dancing around it so much. Come on, Rusty. You know perfectly well where you stand on these questions. Why are you trying to avoid admitting it? Your statements on the Constitution and your defense of programs that only exist because of a commitment to the second approach to government are pretty telling, but for some reason you just don’t want to use those exact words.

    I, on the other hand, am “gritty” enough to come right out and say what I think, and then to support my position.

  12. Amazona August 9, 2015 / 3:41 pm

    Rusty, I don’t remember asking you for any particular programs you think validate going beyond Constitutional authority. I couldn’t tell if you were talking to me or to Spook, but I looked at his posts and didn’t see such a request, either. He asked you which nations have prospered under the kind of Progressive government you appear to favor, and you said the United States, which is pretty funny as this whole discussion is prompted by an examination of how ignoring, subverting or simply violating the Constitution has damaged this nation, but that’s another story. History will show, however that we prospered the most when we actually followed our Constitution.

    I said ” If, at some other time, you want to argue the merits of any particular agenda, issue, program or whatever, then sure, we can do that. But this particular discussion is, or so I thought, one of each of us laying out his or her idea of the best template for governance.“ Did you just make a unilateral decision that this is what I meant by “at some other time” or did you just make that decision on your own? In any case, you didn’t argue the merits of the programs you listed, other than offering your opinion that they are good programs.

    I also said ” Can you make an argument for why programs like these must be federal?” I really don’t think that snarling “You’ve got to be shitting me” is a very coherent argument for why SS should not be a state program.

    As far as precision in language, I point out your odd scolding of Spook, ” In the future, try not to be so Pavlovian to the term “liberal”. Aside from the bad grammar, this just does not make sense, as Spook did not exhibit a knee-jerk, or “Pavlovian” response to the word “Liberal”. Not picking on you, just pointing out how casually misusing a phrase makes it harder to carry on a coherent dialogue. It really helps if we all use the same language.

    I sense that you are losing your enthusiasm for a debate or discussion on the merits of the two basic templates for governance, Conservatism or Progressivism. I have defined each, so we can either work out different definitions or accept those, but without agreement on the definitions we will just be cross-talking, using different languages, which is hardly productive. And even if we do agree on definitions of terms, there is still the problem of you having to go through the process of investigating the two main governing models, analyzing them, choosing one, and then explaining why the one you chose is the better one. It’s a lot of work, and I think you are realizing that you would be starting from the very beginning, while Conservatives have already gone through this process.

    That is why we are Conservatives.

  13. rustybrown2014 August 9, 2015 / 11:43 pm

    I don’t how many times or ways I can say this, but I’ve stated that I’m for our Constitutional model. I’m just not the originalists you all are. That is stating a political philosophy. Lets go from there. What precisely don’t you understand about this?

    • rustybrown2014 August 9, 2015 / 11:48 pm


      1. Do you agree that these are the two basic models of government, and
      2 Which do you think is the best model for the United States

      No, I do not agree that these are the two basic models. I see both of them as rigid extremes and favor more flexibility.

      • rustybrown2014 August 9, 2015 / 11:51 pm

        Cluster, How would SS work as a state run program? What if, like most Americans, you moved to different states several times in your life?

      • Retired Spook August 10, 2015 / 7:22 am

        The biggest problem with more flexibility, as we’ve seen over the last century, is that the rules can change as you go; they can be changed without your consent, and they can be changed by a vocal minority. Changes are subject to whims and fads more than actual need and common sense. I doubt there is any other aspect of your life WRT contracts where you would find that acceptable. I hate to use a tired, old cliche, but I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree.

      • rustybrown2014 August 10, 2015 / 1:10 pm

        Spook,

        I’m not saying it’s perfect. No political system is. You’re right, flexibility and interpretation has some risks of abuse but rigidity also has it’s downfalls, not being able to adapt to modern times and sudden global changes for example, or inability to implement beneficial reforms which were not on the radar in the 1700’s but make good sense in the 21st century.

        Regarding this philosophy for my life, I absolutely think that change, flexibility and a reexamination of old ideas is a good thing. I know you’re talking specifically about contracts, but even there we know that contracts are renegotiated all the time. Contracts can even legally expire if they’re seen as hopelessly out of date (I’m NOT suggesting this for our Constitution).

        BTW, this is a very complex issue with a lot of grey area. I think there can be reasonable positions all along the spectrum here. I’m not claiming absolute authority here, just stating my opinion.

      • Cluster August 10, 2015 / 1:43 pm

        All of the leftists valued “issues” are allowed in the Constitution. They are just not allowed to be in the purview of the Federal government. The Founders were brilliant when they conceived the idea of 50 laboratories of Democracy under the protection of one federal government. And it is a system that can allow for all ideas and issues to be implemented and to allow more people to have more control and influence over the lives. Talk about flexibility. That is the very essence of flexibility. I am not sure what the objection to that is.

  14. Amazona August 10, 2015 / 10:39 am

    Let’s sum up the Rusty/Amazona “debate”.

    Remember, Rusty, it was a challenge from me to explain your personal political philosophy. It was not a venue for bickering about various beloved Lefty issues but an effort to initiate a legitimate discussion based on thought, not feelings.

    My belief was that it would end the way every other such effort has ended. That is, with you either unwilling or unable to explain a coherent political position, and a series of desperate attempts to shift the discussion back to your comfort zone of arguing about issues.

    You did not disappoint, if by “disappoint” you mean acting true to form. You claim you have produced a political philosophy, but in reality you didn’t, or couldn’t, explain anything, but merely referred to a wikipedia piece, saying this explained your beliefs about how the country should be run. The piece, though, was a general and generic article about something the author called “Liberal Democracy”, and what it outlined was pretty contradictory to what you have indicated are your actual beliefs, based on the policies you support. The only thing it appeared to have in common with you was the word “Liberal”, though upon actually reading the article it was clear that the word was not capitalized to indicate its use as a synonym for “Progressive” but used in its classic, literal, sense and therefore the antithesis of Liberalism.

    Another totally predictable outcome has been the repeated insistence that you do, after all, believe in our Constitutional form of government. The thing is, there is a caveat to that claim. You believe in our Constitutional form of government, as long as the Constitution is not binding, and does not have to be followed. You believe in our Constitutional form of government as long as that Constitution is really just symbolic, “flexible”. A (cliche alert!!) “LIVING DOCUMENT”.

    This position, of course, depends on just ignoring the fact that the Constitution does allow everything you want in government—-it just does not allow it at the federal level. It puts control and authority over those decisions in the hands/votes of those most affected by them, which is after all the essence of any form of democracy, whether your beloved “Liberal Democracy” or our democratic republic. So while you complain that it is too “rigid” it is really you, and your fellow travelers, who are rigid, in demanding not only that you get programs and agendas you want but that you get them on your terms, which is at the federal level so they can be imposed on everyone, not just on those who want them.

    It is impossible to make a compelling argument that you support and believe in the Constitution when you demand that the country be run in a manner that defies the very reason the Constitution is written the way it is—–to make this a country “of the people and for the people” and to protect its citizens from the tyranny of the mob. As far as I can tell, your entire political philosophy, such as it is, is that people who think the Constitution is a binding contract between the government and the citizens are just too “rigid” and “extreme”, and the country should be run without any established boundaries on the size, scope and power of the federal government.

    One thing that has jumped out during this exchange is your absolute refusal to even consider that the programs you find so essential to defining the character of this nation could be executed at the state or local level. I suggest that this is for several reasons. One is that engaging in this kind of analysis would require an actual thought process. One is the awareness that many of these programs would not exist in many states without the power of the mob—-the large population centers which tend to vote Liberal—to force them down the throats of people who don’t want them. One is that for some reason you have become convinced that the best way to live in this country is to be under the control of a vast and powerful Central Authority unfettered by the Constitution.

    You are not willing to take that last step and officially renounce the Constitution, so you try to keep one foot on the dock while you are mostly in the boat, laying claim to a belief in the Constitution while stridently defending the very programs that defy it, subvert it, and deny its authority.

    • Amazona August 10, 2015 / 11:05 am

      This is a typical non-reply when faced with a simple question:

      “1. Do you agree that these are the two basic models of government, and
      2 Which do you think is the best model for the United States

      No, I do not agree that these are the two basic models. I see both of them as rigid extremes and favor more flexibility.”

      Well, one of those models was that the Constitution be followed as it is written, with specific restraints on the size, scope and power of the federal government, and the other was that there be no specific restraints on the size, scope and power of the federal government. And Rusty’s comprehension of this choice is that they are BOTH “rigid extremes” and he favors (wait for it…….) MORE FLEXIBILITY.

      How can a choice with restraints on one hand and no restraints on the other both be “rigid extremes”? That makes absolutely no sense. And the second choice is 100% flexible, so floppy and formless it ought to please even Rusty, yet he tries to dodge answering the question by coming up with this silly claim that it is also a “rigid extreme”.

      I never know how much of Rusty’s discussion weakness is a lack of comprehension and how much is just a panicky effort to squirm away from an uncomfortable question, but what does come through, loud and clear, is that for whatever reason (“I just don’t have the TIME!) he is incapable of engaging in an actual discussion.

      He’s a hell of a quibbler, though, and can regurgitate Lefty talking points a mile a minute!

      • tiredoflibbs August 10, 2015 / 12:14 pm

        That is why it is pointless to have a discussion with the likes of ol’ crusty. He speaks in vague generalities – one can never lock an specific answer from him – then he claims to have done so. He speaks out of both sides of his mouth – his answers can have double meanings as you have pointed out. His sources are dubious at best. When I have used his own sources against him or use his own tactics against him – he predictably makes exceptions to both or claims that “it” (the source) or “he” never said (place any claim here).

        It is pointless to argue with crusty and many of us here have done so. Of course, he goes back to the other blog thumping his chest and claiming victory. When in reality, all he has done is argue in circles and divert from the original point of discussion.

    • rustybrown2014 August 10, 2015 / 12:30 pm

      No Ama, let me sum up the the Rusty/Ama debate. You challenged me to explain my political philosophy. I did. Several times. For sake of full disclosure, one more time:

      I’m for our Constitutional model. I’m just not the originalists you are. I favor a living model philosophy or, if it will better please your sensibilities, Ioose constructionism.

      Ta Da! A coherent political philosophy! But wait! Somehow, that’s not good enough. It’s clear I favor our current model as it’s been applied throughout our history, but that doesn’t perfectly align with your own antiquated philosophy that the Founding Fathers were Superheroes and our Constitution is so supernaturally perfect as to remain unchanged through the eons of time (see, I can ridicule and distort opinions just like you–is that the form of debate you really prefer?). Therefore, you proceed to dismiss, diminish, and ridicule that which you don’t understand, and throw in a very healthy dose of personal nastiness which has become your signature rather than try to debate the issue like an adult.

      That my philosophy has been endorsed by many legal and constitutional scholars and is largely the way the country has actually been run throughout it’s modern history is of no weight–it does not perfectly align with your thinking and therefore must be invalid. Sorry Ama, I thought you were interested in an adult debate, not a mere endorsement of your beliefs.

      There has also been your petulance over not being answered immediately. More than once I politely explained that I’m one person debating multiple people, am pressed for time and my answers will for the moment be incomplete, but you throw out multi-paragraph screeds and then howl about me not responding. Not very mature.

      Oh, and lets not forget your allergy to the dreaded BELIEFS!! Somehow, in Ama world, discussing contemporary real world specifics of applied political models like Social Security (which is totally relevant to the discussion) is verboten. Somehow that’s cheating and relying on my “comfort zone”. In Ama world, theoretical ideology is the coin of the realm, reality and application need not apply. Sorry Ama, if you want to keep it solely in the realm of theory with disregard for systems working in the real world then I’m not interested in that discussion. But I will continue to sort though and answer the many, many responses and contentions left by you all. If there’s a glaring issue I’ve left undressed please restate it and I’ll try to get to that first. Try to be pithy, it helps.

      But at least we now know that I’m able to state and defend a coherent political philosophy.

      • Cluster August 10, 2015 / 1:37 pm

        I’m for our Constitutional model. I’m just not the originalists you are. I favor a living model philosophy or, if it will better please your sensibilities, loose constructionism

        That is as squishy as it gets. When you say you are for our Constitutional “model”, I interpret that to mean that you don’t support our Constitution as it was written, rather you support the general idea of one, is that correct? Do you support what SC Justice Ginsberg said in an interview a while back that if a country was starting anew, she wouldn’t recommend following our Constitution and would instead recommend following some other countries Constitution.

      • rustybrown2014 August 10, 2015 / 1:57 pm

        Cluster,

        You can call it squishy if you like but yes, an aspect of my philosophy is flexibility. And yes, I support the Constitution as written but believe that there are many areas that good people can agree are interpretive. Social Security, for example, was deemed constitutional as part of the national general welfare; obviously, not everyone agrees. Still waiting for your ideas of how that would work at the state level.

      • Cluster August 10, 2015 / 2:01 pm

        Easy. All is needed is a dedicated account for SS contributions which are then granted back to the state where the individual retires for distribution. As it is now, SS contributions are sent into the general fund and spent by Congress on other items. SS is broke at the Federal level.

        And if you like flexibility, as I said, the Constitution as it is written allows for a lot of flexibility.

      • Cluster August 10, 2015 / 2:16 pm

        As it is now, this “progressive national model” you seem to like so much is an utter disaster. This country is in very bad shape due to progressive lies and incompetence. The health care industry is realizing rising premiums and deductibles, doctor networks are shrinking and some rural hospitals are closing. The cities of Detroit, Chicago, NY, Baltimore, etc, are in complete turmoil. A record number of people are out of the work force. A record number of women are out of the work force. Wages are stagnant, regulations are punitive, and taxes are stifling growth. Inner city children are stuck in under performing schools. We just gave Iran a nuclear bomb along with a lot of other conventional weaponry. Libya is a breeding ground for terrorists, and our allies do not trust us one bit. And those are just a few examples I can think of off the top of my head. The “liberal rot” is this nation runs deep and as a result, the divide between the Have’s and the Have Nots has widened. The rich have gotten richer and the poor have suffered. In fact the number of children currently living in poverty has increased since 2008. We will never be a great nation again as long as Progressives run the country.

      • rustybrown2014 August 10, 2015 / 2:21 pm

        All is needed is a dedicated account for SS contributions which are then granted back to the state where the individual retires for distribution. As it is now, SS contributions are sent into the general fund and spent by Congress on other items. SS is broke at the Federal level.

        So, let me get this straight, rather than have a single general fund to start with, you favor splitting that fund into 50 portions, distributing that to the individual states, and have all of the states responsible for distributing the funds? Sounds like a lot of duplication and more bureaucracy to me. How is that more efficient than one single fund distributing directly to each citizen? And I thought the whole point of administering it at the state level was to give the states more control over it. Are they able to set their own rates and timelines and decide what constitutes residency and eligibility? If so, how would that all be arbitrated with the dedicated account?

        And if you like flexibility, as I said, the Constitution as it is written allows for a lot of flexibility.

        Yes indeed. That is my point. There are many scholars that believe the framers intentionally wrote it to be flexible and interpretive for future generations.

      • Cluster August 10, 2015 / 2:39 pm

        No. One single dedicated account, just as it was designed to be, but the contributions are granted to the State of retirement for disbursement. Very little bureaucracy required to do this.

      • Amazona August 10, 2015 / 2:44 pm

        “There are many scholars that believe the framers intentionally wrote it to be flexible and interpretive for future generations.

        Really? You keep referring to this unidentified group of “scholars” without anything to support your claims. Reading what you said, I have to wonder if any of these “scholars” ever bothered to read the Constitution, or do any research into what those framers SAID about this alleged built-in flexibility.

        Let’s take a quick look-see, shall we?

        “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

        “When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.”
        -Thomas Jefferson to Charles Hammond, 1821. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, (Memorial Edition) Lipscomb and Bergh, editors, ME 15:332

        “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”
        -Thomas Jefferson, letter to E. Carrington, May 27, 1788

        ***********************

        I’ll throw in a couple from Madison, as well, to illustrate the opinion the Framers had about expanding the size, scope and/or power of the federal government.

        surrection 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

        And I note that while the Framers DID build in a process for CHANGING parts of the Constitution, they never mentioned or hinted at “flexibility” regarding INTERPRETATION. That is your invention. “…[T]he government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. “Definite” “Specified” “Confined”

      • rustybrown2014 August 10, 2015 / 2:48 pm

        No. One single dedicated account, just as it was designed to be, but the contributions are granted to the State of retirement for disbursement.

        Right, and I’ll ask again, how is setting up 50 separate bureaucracies to distribute funds more efficient than having them dispersed by one? And what advantage would that be to the states? Is it just the principle of the thing? And what about all of the other sticky points that I brought up for administering that?

      • Cluster August 10, 2015 / 4:11 pm

        States already have bureaucracies in place. Your arguments are non starters.

      • Amazona August 10, 2015 / 3:01 pm

        Here are some more quotes about just how FLEXIBLE the Founders thought the Constitution should be:

        Our first President, George Washington, who, in reference to our constitution, warned,

        “Let there be no change [in the Constitution] by usurpation. For though this, in one instance may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit which the use can at any time yield.”

        James Madison, speaking of efforts to expand the scope of the federal government, said:

        If not only the means but the objects are unlimited, the parchment [the Constitution] should be thrown into the fire at once.

        And my favorite Founder, Thomas Jefferson, said:

        In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.

        Washington said it: “Let there be no change [in the Constitution] by usurpation. …… it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.

        Any change made without going through the process of amendment IS “usurpation” and it does not matter if it is done as an “instrument of good”. ..let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution

        I sure do wonder where all those “scholars” got their impression that the Founders wrote a document intended to be “flexible” and open to interpretation.

      • Amazona August 10, 2015 / 3:04 pm

        Rusty, aside from the fact that leaving this kind of program in the hands of the states is, uh, LEGAL, it also allows for more freedom for the citizenry. That is, people can actually CHOOSE which kind of plan they want, and act on their choices. And if a state feels that a certain approach to, for example, investing the collected funds is not a good choice, it can make a different decision.

        This whole freedom/choice thing really bothers the Left, doesn’t it?

      • Cluster August 10, 2015 / 4:13 pm

        This whole freedom/choice thing really bothers the Left, doesn’t it?

        YES, it does. The only choice the left supports is the choice to kill your unborn baby.

      • Amazona August 10, 2015 / 3:06 pm

        “Are they able to set their own rates and timelines and decide what constitutes residency and eligibility? If so, how would that all be arbitrated with the dedicated account?”

        Yes
        Yes
        Yes
        Yes
        Up to them

      • rustybrown2014 August 10, 2015 / 4:36 pm

        Cluster,

        States already have bureaucracies in place. Your arguments are non starters.

        Not for what you’re talking about doing. And I’ll note you haven’t described any advantage to kicking it to the states, nor have you addressed the other complications I brought up.

      • rustybrown2014 August 10, 2015 / 5:11 pm

        “Are they able to set their own rates and timelines and decide what constitutes residency and eligibility? If so, how would that all be arbitrated with the dedicated account?”

        Yes
        Yes
        Yes
        Yes
        Up to them

        Ama, as I said, good luck. I think the disadvantages and impracticalities of your ideas speak for themselves. I’m glad we’re having this discussion!

      • rustybrown2014 August 10, 2015 / 5:26 pm

        I sure do wonder where all those “scholars” got their impression that the Founders wrote a document intended to be “flexible” and open to interpretation.

        Perhaps in part from the Elastic Clause:

        “ELASTIC CLAUSE
        Article 1, Section 8, Clause 18

        In this clause our founding fathers state that congress may pass all laws necessary and proper. This then allows for a loose interpretation of the constitution and allows constitutional flexibility. Thomas Jefferson was very much opposed to this clause and as you can well imagine Alexander Hamilton was it’s author.

        Some examples of the elastic clause in action include Hamilton’s creation of the National Bank and Jefferson’s purchase of the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon. The fact that Jefferson actually used the elastic clause is an irony not lost on either Hamilton or Jefferson.

        Here is the original text:

        To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

      • rustybrown2014 August 10, 2015 / 6:54 pm

        Cluster,

        I’m not convinced about your regional Texas model, interesting, but seems to be a lot of gaps. It’s not all about the highest yield, you know–we’re talking about everybody. And I’m still not seeing a convincing augment from anyone here about how adding more bureaucracy is preferable to our current system. Talk about a non starter.

        http://www.texastribune.org/2011/09/18/how-privatized-social-security-works-galveston/

      • Cluster August 10, 2015 / 7:50 pm

        Your refusal and/or inability to think outside the box is typical progressive. This is why I think you and your fellow travelers are really uninteresting people. And no comment on my post laying out the failures of progressive government? Why should anyone listen to a progressive anymore considering the abysmal results of your favored policies?

    • rustybrown2014 August 10, 2015 / 1:29 pm

      “One thing that has jumped out during this exchange is your absolute refusal to even consider that the programs you find so essential to defining the character of this nation could be executed at the state or local level.”

      No Ama, if you were reading more carefully you would have seen my question about SS operating at the state level (uh, oh, is that a dreaded “issue”? Are we allowed to talk about it?). Here it is again:

      How would SS work as a state run program? What if, like most Americans, you moved to different states several times in your life?

      So what are your thoughts on this?

      • Amazona August 10, 2015 / 2:29 pm

        Similar to the 401(K) program, If we MUST use the power of Big Brother to force people to do something, at least incorporate some freedom.

        Any state can devise its own plan. If you don’t like the state plan, either elect new state leaders or move. It is called freedom, and it is called choice.

        Any money collected is treated like an IRA or 401(K) to some extent, with the freedom to invest the money and transfer it from one state plan to another.

        If I can move my sofa from Colorado to Wyoming, I ought to be able to move my plan, too.

        Three plans because I lived in three states? Oh my, what a horrible problem! Too bad there is not a method for delivering checks from one state to another!

        State employees in Colorado are not part of the SS system but have a private plan, called PERA. Check it out. It is, like SS, in trouble because of unfunded liabilities, but that is due to the extravagant promises made, not the basic structure of the plan.

      • rustybrown2014 August 10, 2015 / 3:02 pm

        Ama,

        You’re still talking about 50 separate and different bureaucracies as opposed to one. How is that better? Because….Freedom? No thanks. Your prescription would be much more expensive and complicated. Don’t know about you, but my life is complicated enough without having to navigate new governmental bureaucracies and how they relate to one another as I move from state to state.

        And if you’re advocating total freedom to invest the funds, what do we do with the people who invested in a perpetual motion machine and are left with nothing? Do we let those families starve? Of course we wouldn’t. We would provide them wit some basic level of sustainability. Hmmm, if only there were some way to guarantee this for everybody in the first place. Some kind of federally backed retirement plan that everybody could kick into while their young and able…

      • Amazona August 10, 2015 / 3:13 pm

        “Freedom? No thanks”

        Now THAT’S pithy.

        I have lived in different states, and always been able to navigate having to get different insurance coverage, changing vehicle registrations, re-registering to vote, etc. Maybe I am just “mature” enough to handle this.

        Seems to me that if a program is mandatory, as Big Brother insists it must be, most of this horrible terrible confusing overwhelming dismaying change would be handled by HR in your new job, the way it is handled now when you change jobs.

        The point is, when you are committed to following the rules, you figure out how to make it work. If you are committed to not making a change, you will look for ways to support your position that the change is, if not impossible, then very very very very hard.

        And I find it amusing that ANYONE can point to the current SS administration as being more efficient than, well, anything. From the abysmal return on investment to the comingling of SS funds with the general fund, it’s nothing to brag about, much less defend.

      • Amazona August 10, 2015 / 3:19 pm

        And if you’re advocating total freedom to invest the funds…

        Who did that? Did I say that? Of course I didn’t say that. Do you have total freedom to invest your IRA or 401(K) funds? Do try to stay on track.

        what do we do with the people who invested in a perpetual motion machine

        See above. Though anyone dumb enough to do that is probably a Lib anyway. Maybe you should take care of your own. You know, a faith-based thing, funded by the secular religion of statism.

        and are left with nothing? Do we let those families starve?

        Yeah, there’s a compelling argument. Be careful—if that straw man collapses, someone could get hurt.

        Never mind—it turns out it is just full of hot air.

        I see the Silly Season is up and running, thanks to Rusty.

      • rustybrown2014 August 10, 2015 / 4:47 pm

        Ama @ August 10, 2015 / 3:13 pm

        Duly noted that the increased bureaucracy, expense, inconsistency, and hassle is of no concern to you. Good luck selling that to people. You might want to start by telling them why it’s so much better than what they currently have. Oh yeah….Freedom. Good luck.

        As far as the efficiency of SS is concerned, wait till you see what happens when you break it up into 50 independent systems. Hoo boy! I guess we’ll be protected because we know that state bureaucracies NEVER misallocate funds!

      • rustybrown2014 August 10, 2015 / 5:07 pm

        And if you’re advocating total freedom to invest the funds…

        Who did that? Did I say that? Of course I didn’t say that. Do you have total freedom to invest your IRA or 401(K) funds? Do try to stay on track.

        Oh, I’m right on track. People do have some freedom with how there IRAs and 401(k)s are invested and also, those are OPTIONAL programs that you brought up. Are you suggesting that your state run SS boondoggle be optional?

        and are left with nothing? Do we let those families starve?

        Yeah, there’s a compelling argument. Be careful—if that straw man collapses, someone could get hurt.

        Again, what are you talking about? I see you’re having trouble following so let me translate: that example was meant to illustrate that under your system (if I’m understanding it correctly) we’re back to square one and that national SS is an elegant way of addressing it in the first place.

        How this country treats it’s destitute is a straw man? Sheesh. Now I’ve heard everything.

      • tiredoflibbs August 10, 2015 / 5:21 pm

        “You’re still talking about 50 separate and different bureaucracies as opposed to one. How is that better?”

        Uh, you drones tout obamacare as a huge success. That is made up of multiple separate bureaucracies. Or is that one of your convenient anamolies?

    • rustybrown2014 August 10, 2015 / 2:06 pm

      Oh, and Ama, let’s dispense with the lie that I relied in wikipedia for my philosophy. I referenced wikipedia for you all only after Spook expressed unfamiliarity with the term “Liberal Democracy”–that’s an entirely appropriate way to cite wikipedia.

      Do you get a thrill out of finding insignificant minutia in an opponents words to mischaracterize and jeer? Why not just calmly and succinctly argue your position?

      • Amazona August 10, 2015 / 2:23 pm

        Oh, get over yourself and quit whining.

        And BTW, I gave a very succinct analysis of the wiki article.

      • rustybrown2014 August 10, 2015 / 2:41 pm

        Nobody’s whining, I’m just giving you a refresher on how the wiki article was introduced and why. It had nothing to do with forming my own position and everything to do with Spook’s confusion with the term. Look up thread, it’s all right there.

      • Amazona August 10, 2015 / 3:22 pm

        I repeat…quit whining. You could not define a simplistic phrase, probably because you never went deeper into it than the two words that appealed to you, so you had to refer us to wiki for a definition. It happened. It’s what you do. Move on.

      • Amazona August 10, 2015 / 3:24 pm

        And BTW, do try to speak without sneering. Spook was not “confused”. He asked you for a definition. That is not confusion—that is an indication of belief that you really don’t know what you are talking about.

        A well-founded belief, it turns out.

      • rustybrown2014 August 10, 2015 / 4:28 pm

        I’m not whining, and look who’s talking about “sneering”. Here’s the exchange:

        Me: “To put it into a simplistic nutshell, the model I favor is a Liberal Democracy based on our Constitution; we differ in that I’m not an originalist as you are. ”

        Spook: “That sounds a little like a dice game based on Hoyle’s rules for poker, but I’ll bite. How does that differ from our present Representative Republic, and can you give us an example of a Liberal Democracy that has a long term track record of freedom and prosperity?”

        Me: “This may come as a shock to you, Spook, but we’re already a Liberal Democracy. So in answer to your question for an example of one that prospers, that would be US.” (I then posted the wiki link that listed America as a Liberal Democracy)

        So there we are, clear as can be. Spook was unfamiliar that America falls under the umbrella of a Liberal Democracy and I provided a link which demonstrated that it did. Understand now? Your insecure quibbling on basic matters such as this is really odd and unbecoming, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let you morph a simple, straightforward exchange into some kind of ignorance on my part.

      • rustybrown2014 August 10, 2015 / 4:31 pm

        BTW, “confusion” is not necessarily a pejorative. I earlier described Spook as being “unfamiliar” with the issue and neither descriptive was meant as a put down. I think you might do well to focus on substance rather than piddling perceived slights.

  15. Amazona August 10, 2015 / 11:13 am

    Here’s a typical Lefty take on reality”

    “I think states currently already enjoy a great deal of autonomy and see no need to give them more authority.”

    Yeah, well, no one is advocating GIVING states more authority. Duh. The problem is that the states ALREADY HAVE authority, and it is the Left trying to strip them of this power.

    Got it bass-ackwards as usual.

    This country was formed, from the get-go, with the states having most of the power and authority. The federal government has been trying to take this away, and under the most recent Leftist regime has done more to destroy state sovereignty than all previous administrations combined. The Left wants this because the Left is always about the concentration of power in a massive Central Authority that can impose its will on the people.

    It would be funny to see the bizarre distortions of American reality as seen through the prism of ignorant Lefties, if it were not so sad. And so dangerous for America.

    • rustybrown2014 August 10, 2015 / 2:29 pm

      “I think states currently already enjoy a great deal of autonomy and see no need to give them more authority.”

      Yeah, well, no one is advocating GIVING states more authority. Duh. The problem is that the states ALREADY HAVE authority, and it is the Left trying to strip them of this power.

      Ever hear of a turn of phrase? Six of one, half dozen of the other. You’re being pedantic, and unpleasantly so.

      • Amazona August 10, 2015 / 2:37 pm

        Oh, so when I quote you saying something you claim you didn’t really say it? It was just a “turn of phrase”? You think talking about GIVING someone something is really the same thing as saying something should not be TAKEN from him?

        Give me a break. You were wrong because you are Constitutionally illiterate.

        There. I was mean to you. If you’re going to squeal that I am insulting you, I might as well insult you.

    • rustybrown2014 August 10, 2015 / 6:30 pm

      Me: “I’m for our Constitutional model. I’m just not the originalists you are. I favor a living model philosophy or, if it will better please your sensibilities, Ioose constructionism.”

      Ama: Or, to be more precise, a “model” that is not binding, has no inherent authority, is just a general idea of how to run country until someone wants to do something else. Perhaps it was the word “model” that confused you, thinking it means a suggestion.

      Again, pedantic, strawman, malicious interpretation. I don’t need to dignify this further.

      Ama: “Loose constructionism”? How loose? Are there any restrictions on how loose that “loose constructionism” should be?

      Yes.
      A lot looser than you’re used to, apparently.
      Yes.

      Me: Ta Da! A coherent political philosophy!

      Ama: Where? I missed it!!

      You miss a lot Ama. There are many, many constitutional and legal scholars that hold my opinion. I’ll do some research and get back to you with a plethora of quotes and legal opinions, if that’s what you like. I’m sure you’ll be ready with snotty, condescending dismissals of them.

      Me: it’s clear I favor our current model as it’s been applied throughout our history,..

      Ama: …meaning, obviously, “throughout our history from 2008 onward”.. That is, with the president ignoring the division of powers and simply making laws himself. Or maybe you want to go back to the Roosevelts. But that is hardly “throughout our history”—just the parts you like.

      In the same thread I referred to it as ‘modern history’. Let’s just be clear since your apparent ADD demands it and say ‘throughout MOST of our history”. Homestead Act anybody? Satisfied?

      Ama: Though your problem is that I DO understand, just [sic] think your arguments are silly and not thought out but just recycling of Leftist platitudes, an opinion supported by the fact that you can only try to support them by hurling more Leftist platitudes. For example, I did understand that you simply reached into the back of your tightie whities to pull out that goofy comment that Jefferson just didn’t understand that someday we would be able to use the federal government to provide charity.

      OK, back to Jefferson. I’ve been meaning to address your mischaracterization of my opinion on this. I love Jefferson. I think Jefferson was a remarkable human being. A man among men! A raving intelligence, wit, and ambition. A visionary. But I don’t think he had the precognition of knowing what conditions on the ground might be like hundreds of years from his own time on earth. Nobody does. I think he was wise enough to know this. This isn’t an aspersion on his intellect or character, it’s recognizing him as a human being, which he was. Now, in Jefforsons time, even with the formation of Democracy happening, national charity on the order of Social Security was unheard of and completely beyond the possible scope of what they were striving for given the relatively meager and ungainly means of their new country. This is not an aspersion on Jefferson. It’s just what human history was at the time. That’s why they left things vague with language like “General Welfare”.

      Ama: I’ve been avoiding personal commentary and insults, though I have noted yours. I think perhaps you are conflating a certain amount of scorn for some of your ideas and arguments as nastiness toward you. Perhaps you should evaluate my attitude on this exchange alone, and not depend so much on what you have decided about me in the past.

      Alrighty, then.

      Jesus, your rant is so long. Maybe I’ll address the rest of it in a separate post. Good tactic though Ama–throw so much horseshit on a person that they have a hard time climbing out of it. We all know that when we get into specifics you don’t fare so well. Again, I’m one guy dealing with a lot of contradictory verbiage coming my way so, apologies. More to come…

  16. Amazona August 10, 2015 / 12:05 pm

    From Mark Levin’s Plunder and Deceit

    In modern American, the unraveling of the civil society had been subtly persistent but is now intensifying. Evidence of rising utopian statism—the allure of political demagogues and self-appointed masterminds peddling abstractions and fantasies in pursuit of a nonexistent paradisiacal society, and the concomitant accretion of governmental power in an increasingly authoritarian and centralized Leviathan–abounds. ……….the ruling generation’s governing policies are already forecast to diminish the quality of life of future generations. Among other things, witness the massive welfare and entitlement state, which is concurrently expanding and imploding, and the brazen abandonment of constitutional firewalls and governing limitations. If not appropriately and expeditiously ameliorated, the effects will be dire. And the ruling generation knows it.

    An August 2014 Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found that “Americans are registering record levels of anxiety about the opportunities available to younger generations and are pessimistic about the nation’s long-term prospects, directing their blame at elected leaders in Washington…..[S[eventy-six percent of adults lack confidence that their children’s generation will have a better life than they do—an all-time high. Some 71% of adults think the country is on the wrong track…..and 60% believe the U.S. is in a state of decline…..This widespread discontent is evident among just about every segment of the population. Fifty-seven percent of those polled said that something upset them enough to carry a protest sign for one day. That included 61% of Democrats and 54% of Republicans, as well as 70% of adults who identify with the tea party an 67% of self-described liberals.” (Patrick O’Connor, “Poll Finds Widespread Economic Anxiety” Wall Street Journal August 6, 2014)

    The giddy proclamations of the Left that the nation is behind their agendas, that the people want what they are selling, are belied by the sense of impending doom prevalent in the country today. Right now there is a disconnect, in that so many of those who are pessimistic don’t relate their election decisions to the current decline in the nation’s economy and prospects, but that will come, I think. Right now it is a battle between the shrill propaganda of the increasingly strident Left and the simple straightforward reality of the Right, but I think a few years under a Conservative (or at least Republican 🙂 ) president will provide enough of a contrast to make the point.

  17. Amazona August 10, 2015 / 12:14 pm

    Iran Just Made This Deal with China… And It Means They’re Ready For War

    On Wednesday, Barack Obama made a weak plea for support to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement with Iran. He even went so far as to castigate opponents of this foreign policy faux pas as equal to Iran’s maniacal Islamists. Obama states the only alternative to accepting his deal is war.

    Well, we already reported Russia’s looking to sell Iran a fleet of aerial refueling tankers. Now, there’s another report about an Iranian weapons purchase — and the report is not coming from our media.

    As reported by the Jerusalem Post:

    Iran is beginning to reap the fruits of its nuclear deal with the world powers.

    According to a report in the Taiwanese press, China is set to provide the Islamic Republic with 24 J-10 fighter jets.

    In exchange, Iran will permit China access to its largest oilfield for the next 20 years. The total estimated value of the deal is $1 billion.

    The J-10, which is known by the moniker “Vigorous Dragon,” is an advanced combat aircraft which foreign sources say is based on the original designs of the Lavi, the Israeli prototype whose manufacturing was canceled in the 1980s.

    The Lavi was built and developed by Israel Aircraft Industries, though the government eventually decided to terminate the program due to the high costs of production and after the US offered to sell Israel F-16s as an alternative. After the cancellation, the Israeli government resolved to sell the plans to China.

    The J-10 is a single-engine aircraft that has a flight range of 2,900 kilometers. Iran is believed to be interested in procuring the jet in order to defend its skies as well as to attack targets throughout the Persian Gulf.

    And so it begins. The United Nations weapons embargo against conventional weapons is not supposed to end for five years according to the JCPOA; apparently, Iran and China — or for that matter, Russia — didn’t get the memo.

    And Obama tried to make us believe Iran’s economy was weak. Well, now that they can have open markets, Iranian oil will be flooding the globe. Meanwhile, consider Obama’s stance towards our own oil, natural gas and coal energy sectors — under Obama our own oil exports are banned. We are watching Iran build its military arsenal — I’m quite sure just for parades, right?

    We need to understand when the Iranian regime states, “Death to Israel” and “Death to America,” they’re not just whistlin’ Dixie. (Folks, that’s a southern expression; quite sure the liberal left will be jumping on me as a racist.) I can not fathom how President Obama feels he can convince us we must allow Iran to become an economic, military and, eventually, nuclear power.

    How does Obama explain Iran and China entering into an arms for oil agreement? The sad fact is Obama fails to understand the JCPOA relegates America to a back bencher. We’re not part of IAEA inspection teams. We’re not privy to side deals between the IAEA and Iran. And we signed on to help Iran protect its nuclear program.

    So how does Iran repay Obama’s generosity — actually, his acquiescence? It’s making deals for fighter aircraft and aerial refueling platforms.

    According to defense analysts, Israel and the US are concerned about the emerging deal, which, if executed, could complicate foreign armies’ efforts to act freely in the region.

    Something tells me Obama’s not as concerned about this, as the Jerusalem Post article states. If Obama were concerned, he wouldn’t have entered into this dangerous agreement with Iran. If Obama was concerned, he wouldn’t be decimating our own military capacity and capability — to include our now having the oldest and smallest fighter fleet since we created the modern U.S. Air Force. If Obama was concerned, he wouldn’t castigate opposition to his agreement as equal to the folks who are buying fighter jets from China.

    Obama went to the U.N. Security Council to get approval for this folly. Now, two sitting members of that council have begun arms deals with Iran. In the words of Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday in “Tombstone,” now ain’t that a daisy?

    http://allenbwest.com/2015/08/iran-just-made-this-deal-with-china-and-it-proves-theyre-ready-for-war/

    Maybe we need a whole new blog dedicated solely to keeping track of the damage done to this country by its own Progressives.

  18. Amazona August 10, 2015 / 2:17 pm

    No Ama, let me sum up the the Rusty/Ama debate. You challenged me to explain my political philosophy. I did. Several times. For sake of full disclosure, one more time:

    I’m for our Constitutional model. I’m just not the originalists you are. I favor a living model philosophy or, if it will better please your sensibilities, Ioose constructionism.

    Or, to be more precise, a “model” that is not binding, has no inherent authority, is just a general idea of how to run country until someone wants to do something else. Perhaps it was the word “model” that confused you, thinking it means a suggestion.

    “Loose constructionism”? How loose? Are there any restrictions on how loose that “loose constructionism” should be? We have gone over the ridiculousness of having a “flexible” contract that doesn’t mean what it says but only means what the party in power says it means, and you just ignore that and stick to what seems reasonable to you: ie; gibberish like “loose constructionism”.

    Ta Da! A coherent political philosophy!

    Where? I missed it! I got a generalized generic article about “Liberal Democracy” that happens to contradict the rest of what you say, and your opinion that there is such a thing as “loose constructionism” to describe something that has no real form or authority at all. Coherent? Hardly. A political philosophy? Kind of like a crayon sketch on a bar napkin is a blueprint. You can say so….but not really.

    Though a crayon sketch on a bar napkin probably would provide you with a political model with enough FLEXIBILITY to satisfy you.

    It’s clear I favor our current model as it’s been applied throughout our history,..

    …meaning, obviously, “throughout our history from 2008 onward”.. That is, with the president ignoring the division of powers and simply making laws himself. Or maybe you want to go back to the Roosevelts. But that is hardly “throughout our history”—just the parts you like.

    …. but that doesn’t perfectly align with your own antiquated philosophy that the Founding Fathers were Superheroes and our Constitution is so supernaturally perfect as to remain unchanged through the eons of time (see, I can ridicule and distort opinions just like you–is that the form of debate you really prefer?).

    At least you admit you are being ridiculous and distorting facts, which is, I guess, some sort of progress….

    Too bad you have to lie to do it. I have never referred to the Founders as “superheroes” and as I have suggested going through the amendment process to change what you think should be changed it is somewhat bizarre to now claim I support the idea that “…our Constitution is so supernaturally perfect as to remain unchanged through the eons of time..”

    Therefore, you proceed to dismiss, diminish, and ridicule that which you don’t understand..

    Though your problem is that I DO understand, just think your arguments are silly and not thought out but just recycling of Leftist platitudes, an opinion supported by the fact that you can only try to support them by hurling more Leftist platitudes. For example, I did understand that you simply reached into the back of your tightie whities to pull out that goofy comment that Jefferson just didn’t understand that someday we would be able to use the federal government to provide charity.
    (BTW, that is what it looks like when I am being kind of nasty. Not sure which mild commentary got those panties of yours in such a twist.)

    … and throw in a very healthy dose of personal nastiness which has become your signature rather than try to debate the issue like an adult.

    I’ve been avoiding personal commentary and insults, though I have noted yours. I think perhaps you are conflating a certain amount of scorn for some of your ideas and arguments as nastiness toward you. Perhaps you should evaluate my attitude on this exchange alone, and not depend so much on what you have decided about me in the past.

    That my philosophy has been endorsed by many legal and constitutional scholars…” A CONSENSUS? Oh, wow! And although you are right, there have been some who do agree that the Constitution should be considered infinitely malleable dependent on the whims of the day, there are many more who strenuously disagree, including by the way the men who wrote it..

    … and is largely the way the country has actually been run throughout it’s (sic) modern history …

    Again, in a little over a century, which is less than half of its history. Oh, you mean MODERN history! That is, the period in which the Constitution has been ignored by the Left.

    Sorry Ama, I thought you were interested in an adult debate, not a mere endorsement of your beliefs.

    Well, I am interested in an adult debate, but I was willing to give you a shot at trying one for a change. All I got from you was a recycled wikipedia article that didn’t even discuss the concept of a constitution that has no authority and is, as you love to say, “flexible”, and then a lot of effort to talk about your pet issues.

    There has also been your petulance over not being answered immediately.

    Really? I don’t recall scolding you for not responding promptly.

    “… you throw out multi-paragraph screeds and then howl about me not responding. Not very mature.

    Well, for one thing I think more quickly than you do. For another, I write more quickly (and cogently) than you do. For another, I actually know what I think because I have spent a lot of time and energy discussing things, reading, studying, and developing a coherent political philosophy, so I don’t have to sit around and ponder what I should say next. And I didn’t care if you answered or not. I did note that you seemed stuck, sometimes, but as I didn’t HOWL and didn’t feel PETULANT, I wonder just where in your fever swamp of paranoia you uncovered those characterizations.

    Good to know this exchange made you feel “mature”. That seems to be a theme of yours.

    Oh, and lets not forget your allergy to the dreaded BELIEFS!! Somehow, in Ama world, discussing contemporary real world specifics of applied political models like Social Security (which is totally relevant to the discussion) is verboten.

    Actually, Social Security is not a “political model”. As I suspected, and have probably pointed out, you don’t seem to know what a “political model” IS. A “political philosophy” is how you want the government to be run, and what you think is its purpose, and how you want that purpose achieved. A “political model” is the rule book laying out how this will happen. Social Security is a program which was made possible, in this country, by simply ignoring the political model (or Constitution) of the nation, which is that only the enumerated duties laid out in the Constitution are allowed to the federal government.

    It is downright silly, plus a lie, to claim that I am ALLERGIC to beliefs. As I said, I have many issues dear to my heart, issues which I find important. I am just smart enough to know where they should be adjudicated.

    Somehow that’s cheating and relying on my “comfort zone”. In Ama world, theoretical ideology is the coin of the realm, reality and application need not apply.

    Now you are lurching into hysterical hyperbole, as well as reframing my challenge to you. If I had wanted to bicker over any particular issue I would have said so. But I didn’t. I tried to first lay down a foundation of mutually understood, if not agreed-upon, political philosophy, to then explain our relative positions on those issues. But that was evidently too complicated for you, or too challenging, If you had just said, right up front, that you have no interest in discussing political theory, but just wanted to harangue me about my position on some of your pet issues I would have politely declined at the time.

    Sorry Ama, if you want to keep it solely in the realm of theory with disregard for systems working in the real world then I’m not interested in that discussion.

    But you see, that was my premise for entering into a discussion with you. You have made it quite obvious that you have no interest in that kind of discussion, but that is what I told you I was willing to discuss, and you have changed the rules partway through. I guess you wanted this all to be very FLEXIBLE.

    But I will continue to sort though and answer the many, many responses and contentions left by you all. If there’s a glaring issue I’ve left undressed please restate it and I’ll try to get to that first.

    No, don’t bother. We have gotten this far without you actually addressing anything in the realm of my agreement to enter into a discussion with you, and there is no reason to think anything will change. I will just add this to my long list of examples of Liberal/Progressive ideological illiteracy and cluelessness, and passion for bickering instead of discourse.

    Try to be pithy, it helps. Well, you certainly depend on it, though you have misspelled it.

    But at least we now know that I’m able to state and defend a coherent political philosophy.

    You know, we really don’t. Perhaps you illustrated this in something you neglected to post. As far as I can tell, your “coherent political philosophy” is based on a confusing mishmash of ignorance of how the Constitution really works, a vague belief that somehow it doesn’t work very well, a conviction that it should be shapeless enough to satisfy your need for FLEXIBILITY, and a general dislike for anything you might find confining, such as a “rigid” contract between the government and the people. You HAVE expressed the philosophy that it is the job of the federal government to take care of people, and it is up to the federal government to “give” authority to the states. You have said that having a dependent class is a source of national pride. There’s a lot in there, and it is possible to sort through it and figure out how you feel about some things, but “coherent” is not a word that applies.

    My opinion is that you have added absolutely NOTHING to the discourse that usually takes place on this blog. The only ideas you have brought to the table are the rather hysterical concept of “loose constructionism”, a wholly new and unexplored (and indefensible) take on Jefferson, and an example of what passes for intellectual discourse on the Left (“State-run Social Security? Are you shitting me?”)

    In this thread we have had several posters. Mark, Spook, Tired, Cluster and I have all brought in ideas. You didn’t. I’m sorry if you don’t like hearing that, and I realize that you probably think your recycled Leftist talking points ARE ideas, but the fact is, you don’t belong here and should go back to the kiddy table. You can tell everyone you came here and kicked ass (and hope no one checks to find out the opposite is true) and you can re-enter your comfort zone, where no one ever challenges you.

    • rustybrown2014 August 10, 2015 / 7:23 pm

      Wrong spot again, I think? Ungainly thread.

      Me: “I’m for our Constitutional model. I’m just not the originalists you are. I favor a living model philosophy or, if it will better please your sensibilities, Ioose constructionism.”

      Ama: Or, to be more precise, a “model” that is not binding, has no inherent authority, is just a general idea of how to run country until someone wants to do something else. Perhaps it was the word “model” that confused you, thinking it means a suggestion.

      Again, pedantic, strawman, malicious interpretation. I don’t need to dignify this further.

      Ama: “Loose constructionism”? How loose? Are there any restrictions on how loose that “loose constructionism” should be?

      Yes.
      A lot looser than you’re used to, apparently.
      Yes.

      Me: Ta Da! A coherent political philosophy!

      Ama: Where? I missed it!!

      You miss a lot Ama. There are many, many constitutional and legal scholars that hold my opinion. I’ll do some research and get back to you with a plethora of quotes and legal opinions, if that’s what you like. I’m sure you’ll be ready with snotty, condescending dismissals of them.

      Me: it’s clear I favor our current model as it’s been applied throughout our history,..

      Ama: …meaning, obviously, “throughout our history from 2008 onward”.. That is, with the president ignoring the division of powers and simply making laws himself. Or maybe you want to go back to the Roosevelts. But that is hardly “throughout our history”—just the parts you like.

      In the same thread I referred to it as ‘modern history’. Let’s just be clear since your apparent ADD demands it and say ‘throughout MOST of our history”. Homestead Act anybody? Satisfied?

      Ama: Though your problem is that I DO understand, just [sic] think your arguments are silly and not thought out but just recycling of Leftist platitudes, an opinion supported by the fact that you can only try to support them by hurling more Leftist platitudes. For example, I did understand that you simply reached into the back of your tightie whities to pull out that goofy comment that Jefferson just didn’t understand that someday we would be able to use the federal government to provide charity.

      OK, back to Jefferson. I’ve been meaning to address your mischaracterization of my opinion on this. I love Jefferson. I think Jefferson was a remarkable human being. A man among men! A raving intelligence, wit, and ambition. A visionary. But I don’t think he had the precognition of knowing what conditions on the ground might be like hundreds of years from his own time on earth. Nobody does. I think he was wise enough to know this. This isn’t an aspersion on his intellect or character, it’s recognizing him as a human being, which he was. Now, in Jefforsons time, even with the formation of Democracy happening, national charity on the order of Social Security was unheard of and completely beyond the possible scope of what they were striving for given the relatively meager and ungainly means of their new country. This is not an aspersion on Jefferson. It’s just what human history was at the time. That’s why they left things vague with language like “General Welfare”.

      Ama: I’ve been avoiding personal commentary and insults, though I have noted yours. I think perhaps you are conflating a certain amount of scorn for some of your ideas and arguments as nastiness toward you. Perhaps you should evaluate my attitude on this exchange alone, and not depend so much on what you have decided about me in the past.

      Alrighty, then.

      Jesus, your rant is so long. Maybe I’ll address the rest of it in a separate post. Good tactic though Ama–throw so much horseshit on a person that they have a hard time climbing out of it. We all know that when we get into specifics you don’t fare so well. Again, I’m one guy dealing with a lot of contradictory verbiage coming my way so, apologies. More to come…

      • Amazona August 10, 2015 / 9:05 pm

        Awww, too many words! That’s as good an excuse as any, I guess, for having your nonsense corrected and shot down. Yeah, you could respond if you wanted to, you just don’t have the TIME!!!!

        “Again, pedantic, strawman, malicious interpretation. I don’t need to dignify this further. “ Congrats, you found another “P” word. Just in time—you were wearing out “petulant”.

        As for “malicious”, no, just on target, and you really need to learn the meaning of a “straw man”. All I did was paraphrase what you said in so many of your posts. Perhaps you are starting to realize how stupid your “philosophy” is when you hear it from someone else. Is there hope for you after all?

        “…many, many constitutional and legal scholars..”

        Again with the “scholars”?

        “…I’ll do some research…”

        Better late than never…

        “… and get back to you with a plethora of quotes and legal opinions, if that’s what you like. I’m sure you’ll be ready with snotty, condescending dismissals of them.”

        Wow. I see you have made it to the Ps in your dictionary. If your “scholars'” opinions are as constitutionally illiterate or defective as your arguments are, you can count on a pronounced lack of respect for them.

        “Homestead Act anybody?”

        While you are doing that “research” you might check out the accepted parameters of implied authority, such as the ability to engage in exploration, etc.

        “…in Jefforsons time, even with the formation of Democracy happening, national charity on the order of Social Security was unheard of and completely beyond the possible scope of what they were striving for given the relatively meager and ungainly means of their new country. “

        Yet Jefferson argued against the federal government being involved in charity, not for the silly reason you invented but because the Constitution was specifically crafted to limit the size, scope and power of the United States government. You really need to start reading a little. The Founders were not “striving for” using the federal government to provide for the needs of the people. The Constitution does not say that. The Founders did not say that. In fact, some of them came right out and said it was NOT what they wanted, or wrote. They were “striving for” a new form of government that would prevent, preclude, the possibility of a central authority becoming very big or very powerful. That is what they said, that is what they wrote, and you are swinging wildly in your frantic efforts to completely misstate the intent of the Founders.

        And “ungainly means”? Huh?

        “That’s why they left things vague with language like “General Welfare”.”

        Hmmm. In fact, they did NOT “leave things vague with language like “General Welfare”. Jefferson explained it. Madison explained it.

        “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, WHO WROTE THE CONSTITUTION

        People who care about facts know this. You don’t.

        “…we get into specifics you don’t fare so well. “

        Yeah, right, says the guy who is so vague and incoherent and incapable of staying on topic that all he can do is project his failings onto me. I’d say I’m way TOO specific for you, leading to your temper tantrums.

        You are reminding me of an old cowboy saying: You don’t ever want to wrestle with a pig, because you can’t do it without getting as dirty as the pig—but most of all, BECAUSE THE PIG LIKES IT.

        You have been trying to turn a civilized discussion into a mud wrestling match since it started, because that is your comfort zone. You have done it every time you have been allowed on this blog. I knew you would try, and I did everything I could to keep the discussion focused on what we originally agreed to discuss. It didn’t work.

        So I am not playing your game any more.

    • Amazona August 10, 2015 / 8:05 pm

      In other words, you got caught in another lie. BTW, when I commented on you not answering my questions it had nothing to do with you not posting. You just posted non-answers.

    • Amazona August 10, 2015 / 8:11 pm

      No, you silly silly boy, what I am “hung up” on, to use your elegant phraseology, is the need for every voter to vote not on issues but on how best to govern the nation. To make that decision, one will have to gain some understanding of the Constitution, to know if he is voting to preserve and follow it (meaning most if not all of the issues are to be addressed at the state and/or local level) or to ignore it, which means he can go ahead and vote on issues in the hopes that his candidate, if elected, will share his indifference to the rule of law.

      You are “hung up” on your issues because you can’t see any farther than that.

      I did refer to the wiki piece because you foolishly linked to it as an alleged explanation of your alleged political philosophy, when it had little or nothing to do with the various things you advocate. When it talked about formalizing the rule of law, such as in a constitution, it never mentioned the idea that such a constitution would have no real authority.

      Fortunately for you, you are blind to irony, so efforts to point this out went way over your head.

    • rustybrown2014 August 10, 2015 / 9:26 pm

      I misspelled “pithy”? Where?

      After your very long, very vicious, personal attack on Amazona you will not be allowed to post here again. This kind of attack and character assassination is the reason Leftist posters were removed from the blog. You can’t be housebroken and you always end up the same way when your arguments are proved wrong. Amazona was willing to give you a chance if you would be serious about discussing politics but she was wrong and it will not happen again. //Moderator

      • M. Noonan August 11, 2015 / 1:00 am

        Naw – we just write about things and talk about things which interest us.

  19. Amazona August 10, 2015 / 8:53 pm

    Rusty seems quite impressed by the inaccurate nickname, “The Elastic Clause”. Wanna bet he just ignores what Jefferson had to say about it. I am copying the article as it is printed, with italics by Jefferson himself, but I am putting some parts in bold, and that is my own doing.

    *******************************

    Thomas Jefferson gave his opinion on the Constitutionality of a national bank on February 15, 1791. In that testament, he not only provided a brilliant legal argument against the institution of a national bank; he also explained the intent of the Constitution’s two most controversial phrases. Today’s political analysts exchange differing opinions on the “general welfare” and “necessary and proper” clauses, but Jefferson’s explanations of them are more than a matter of opinion; they reveal the true intent of the American republic’s framers. Here is Jefferson’s historic opinion (verbatim, even the italics were added by Jefferson–not me–for emphasis):

    1. To lay taxes to provide for the general welfare of the United States, that is to say, “to lay taxes for the purpose of providing for the general welfare.” For the laying of taxes is the power, and the general welfare the purpose for which the power is to be exercised. They are not to lay taxes ad libitum for any purpose they please; but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union. In like manner, they are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose.

    To consider the latter phrase, not as describing the purpose of the first, but as giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please, which might be for the good of the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please.

    It is an established rule of construction where a phrase will bear either of two meanings, to give it that which will allow some meaning to the other parts of the instrument, and not that which would render all the others useless. Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It was intended to lace them up straitly within the enumerated powers, and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect. It is known that the very power now proposed as a means was rejected as an end by the Convention which formed the Constitution. A proposition was made to them to authorize Congress to open canals, and an amendatory one to empower them to incorporate. But the whole was rejected, and one of the reasons for rejection urged in debate was, that then they would have a power to erect a bank, which would render the great cities, where there were prejudices and jealousies on the subject, adverse to the reception of the Constitution.

    2. The second general phrase is, “to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution the enumerated powers.” But they can all be carried into execution without a bank. A bank therefore is not necessary, and consequently not authorized by this phrase. It has been urged that a bank will give great facility or convenience in the collection of taxes. Suppose this were true: yet the Constitution allows only the means which are “necessary,” not those which are merely “convenient” for effecting the enumerated powers.

    Jefferson makes it clear that much of what the Congress does today is not allowed by the Constitution.

    https://fearistyranny.wordpress.com/2008/08/17/thomas-jefferson-on-implied-powers-of-the-congress/

  20. tiredoflibbs August 11, 2015 / 9:40 pm

    Crusty continues his straw man argument. He whines about “myopic vision” of conservatives but overlooks his own. He believes that only the federal government, no matter how large the bureaucracy, can administer a program – all others are doomed to failure.

    Now he will whine about how he never said anything of the sort. Of course he did not “say” it but he implies it with every post. Pregressives always claim that conservatives imply this or that – it works for them in their minds. But somehow, crusty will take exception to his tactic used against him. Pregressives are generous with money – just not their own.

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