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Executive Orders, Nullification, and Recess Appointments

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With no political capital left and much of his legislative initiatives dead in Congress, President Obama’s administration recently announced that he intends to use executive orders to advance his agenda. According to White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, “We are reviewing a list of presidential executive orders and directives to get the job done across a front of issues”. Those issues include everything from budget commissions to environmental law to health care funding.

Of course, executive orders are nothing new. They have been around since at least Lincoln’s so called “Emancipation Proclamation” and probably before that. George W. Bush signed the most ever as president and was rightly criticized by Obama in his campaign for president. This is key because it doesn’t matter which party controls the White House. When push comes to shove and the president can’t get his way he resorts to this underhanded tactic.

But, it’s more than underhanded; it is downright unconstitutional. As schoolchildren, we are all taught that our federal government is composed of three branches. The legislative makes the laws; the judicial judges the laws for constitutionality; and the executive acts as the top cop by enforcing the law. Congress has power to legislate, not the president. The closest he/she comes to this power is his/her ability to advise Congress, “and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient” .

The Founders knew that separating the powers of government into three different branches would prevent any one branch and/or person from becoming too powerful – thus potentially infringing upon the rights of the citizenry. Through executive orders presidents circumvent the process reserved to Congress because they have the force of law and at times have horrendously violated the rights of American citizens. For instance, Franklin Roosevelt issued executive orders that deprived Americans of their property without due process of law by seizing their gold during the Great Depression and that unconstitutionally suspended the writ of habeas corpus by interning Japanese-Americans during World War II. More recently, George W. Bush issued an executive order that allowed his administration to unconstitutionally wiretap the phone conversations of Americans without a warrant. Now, Obama, like his predecessors, is unable to get his unpopular policies through Congress, so he will violate the supreme law of the land by usurping the powers of another branch of government.

But, the current occupier of the Oval Office is not content with stopping there. His aides last month indicated that he will reserve the right to ignore enforcing parts of bills he considers unconstitutional. This is reminiscent of Bush’s statement after signing an anti- torture bill that he would interpret the new law in any way he chose. There are several things wrong with this position. First, the Supreme Court has the power to declare all or parts of laws unconstitutional. Second, if the president doesn’t like a part of a bill then his constitutional recourse is to veto it and hope Congress amends it to his liking. Third, jury and state nullification are considered outside the law. The president is essentially proposing executive nullification – the same thing. Why is there a double standard? Sorry Mr. President, you do not have a line item veto power. You really must accept all or nothing when it comes to congressional acts. Not doing so is unconstitutional and a usurpation of the High Court’s power.

Lastly, this president is also attempting to make unconstitutional recess appointments. Again, presidents have done this in the past. The practice originated in the good old days when Congress was only in session for part of the year. Read literally, the phrase in Article 2 Section 2 of the Constitution giving the president this power reads “The President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session”. Key to the power is the simple phrase, “all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate”. Obama’s current vacancies happened when the Senate was in session, thus if he waits until they recess he is usurping the power of the Senate to advise and consent to his nominations. When Bush used the power to make John Bolton ambassador to the United Nations, then Senator Obama called Bolton “damaged goods”. Not only is Obama being hypocritical, he again is attempting to commandeer powers that belong to another branch of government.

Make no mistake about it, over time an imperial presidency has been built in Washington by both Republicans and Democrats. Executive orders, presidential nullification, and unconstitutional recess appointments have been used by presidents to achieve objectives they could not get legally through Congress. It has made a mockery of the Constitution and at times has had serious consequences for American citizens. Congress must reassert its authority over these matters. Perhaps the Democrats with huge majorities in both chambers can set the example and stand up to one of their own in his quest to carry on the unfortunate tradition.

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About Kenn Jacobine

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/christine-lakatos/ Christine

    This is an utter outrage! Not your article, Kevin: Obama’s planned actions. I’m glad you wrote about this.

  • zingzing

    “This is an utter outrage!”

    so the reason why he figures to do this isn’t an outrage? and were you politically ignorant of this type of thing from 2001-2009, or have you been outraged the whole time?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    While you were being SO outraged about recess appointments – which Obama has only threatened to do thus far – where is your sense of righteous outrage at the GOP senator who was blocking SEVENTY otherwise routine appointments just so he could have some more pork for his state?

    Ah, but who am I kidding? Apparently, it doesn’t matter to you that the GOP filibustered more times in 2009 than in the 1950’s and 1960’s combined. Apparently, it doesn’t matter to you that the GOP is on track to DOUBLE the the total filibusters they held in 2010. Apparently, it doesn’t matter to you that after quite a few of these filibusters were ended by party-line cloture votes, they then voted FOR the very bill they were filibustering!

    AND apparently, it doesn’t matter to you that some of those filibusters have been against bills that Republicans have co-sponsored!

    Apparently, the only thing that DOES matter to you is that the guy in the Oval Office isn’t a Ron Paul clone.

    So tell us, Kenn – since the Republicans had been holding up routine administrative appointments in some cases since last March, and since GOP senator Richard Shelby was putting a blanket hold on ALL appointments until he got some more pork for his state, please tell us what YOU would have done to get these appointments made in the face of the Party of No.

    You also complained that Obama’s ‘usurping the powers of another branch of government’ because he can’t ‘push through unpopular bills’. Um, Kenn – last I recall, the Democrats have a significant MAJORITY, and the ONLY reason they haven’t pushed through many of those same bills is because they haven’t always had a party-line 60 votes in order to overcome a filibuster supported by the strictly party-line 40-vote Republican side of the senate. The Democrats bills WERE in line with the will of the people…unless one listened only to conservative media. As you can see in this article by Nate Silver, the Republicans are significantly more often on the wrong side of public opinion.

    But, the current occupier of the Oval Office is not content with stopping there. His aides last month indicated that he will reserve the right to ignore enforcing parts of bills he considers unconstitutional. This is reminiscent of Bush’s statement after signing an anti- torture bill that he would interpret the new law in any way he chose.

    Last I recall, the president is sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. Your article didn’t mention whether this referred to bills that he willingly passed or bills that he would veto in the first place…but if the current president (who as an experienced constitutional lawyer probably knows far more about the Constitution than anyone on BC) sees legislation that has passed that contains unconstitutional provisions, frankly, sir, it would be his DUTY to not only NOT enforce said provisions, but also to work diligently towards removing those provisions. And next time, please include references to back up your accusations.

    So frankly, Kenn, your article is indicative of someone who knows his subject very well…but only from his own point of view. I strongly recommend that next time you take the time to objectively look at the issues from your opponents’ point of view, and THEN make up your mind.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Errata:

    Apparently, it doesn’t matter to you that the GOP is on track to DOUBLE the the total filibusters they held in 2010.

    The above SHOULD read:

    Apparently, it doesn’t matter to you that the GOP is on track to DOUBLE the the total filibusters they held in 2009.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    I am outraged by Christine’s outrage

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Ken,

    You say Obama is taking too much power away from Congress? This is why!

    When George Bush started “Homeland Security” I thought we were going to change our national anthem to, Springtime- for-Hitler.” Where the fuck was Congress then? and, Where were you, for that matter? Do you have an article scolding Bush for “Doing what is right for all of us, instead of just his base,The-Haves- and-Havemores?”

    We are on the road to recovery. A place we would not be at all, if McCain/Palin had won. shudder to think what that would have looked like.

    But again, there it is. We won,they won, next time maybe they will win, and then we can try to win again…as long as we only have two-opposing-forces in our political system, everybody loses.

    So while Congress and the Supreme Court can roll around in their childish little power-trysts, this country will move forward!

    :0 You go! Nanny-state.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Sorry I spelled your name wrong, Kenn.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    And, I want to second Glenn’s comment.

    I admit that I don’t know half of what he just said, but I like it! especially, when he uses the phrase, “The will of the people.” Remember us? ‘We The People!”

    We needed a third party in this country, over thirty years ago. Hell, we should have had one from the beginning.

    It’s not going to be that racist-tea- pandering-to-the-wealthy-party.

    We are not going backwards!

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Glenn, You are so Machiavellian. Just because one group of degenerates is holding up another group of degenerates means that the president can break the law? If I were president and you wrote a blog that I disagreed with, would it give me the right under our system to imprison you? Yes, Shelby et al are charlatans as well, but whatever happened to the bully pulpit of the presidency. Through public pressure Obama has a lot of leverage to get his appointees confirmed. If that doesn’t work then maybe his appointees are losers. But, it is very dangerous to condone the president breaking the law just because the other side are being buttheads.

    Also, I am tired of statists saying the filibuster should be done away with. The Founders wanted a limited government that made it hard for laws to be passed, otherwise the politicians would be meddling in every affair of our personal lives – like we have now. We screwed up when the 17th Amendment was passed. The filibuster was developed later – I get that, but it is a means for the Senate to be more deliberative in its process. Besides, if Obama’s policies are so popular why Scott Brown’s victory, and why are Dorgan and Bayh retiring and what about Harry Reid’s troubles, not to mention the president’s lousy approval ratings?

  • http://www.geoff-hasler.com Geoff Hasler

    Easy to understand why Obama does this as Congress has so many appointments on hold. Dangerous precedent, though. It opens him up to attacks from the extreme Right.

  • cannonshop

    #10 Geoff, it opens him to attacks from the Middle, forget the Right.

    I find it amusing still, the behaviours Glenn et-al constantly belaboured over the last ten years or so are now suddenly ‘statesmanlike’ in his (their)estimation. It reveals the true nature of their previous complaints…

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Ken,

    Look at what you wrote:

    The Founders wanted a limited government that made it hard for laws to be passed, otherwise the politicians would be meddling in every affair of our personal lives – like we have now.

    The founders, even in their limited wisdom, knew that this country would not always be sparsely populated and owned primarily by wealthy-white-landowners.

    Thus, we have amendments to that same constitution.

    This is the year 2010, and our present landscape and needs do not resemble that, “America of old.”

    :O Secede with the Tea-Party, the State of Texas, and Sarah Palin. Then, you’ll have a leader that watches-cartoons instead of studying history.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Kenn,

    My name is Jeannie Danna, but you can call me, “Obama-Girl”, if you wish.

    I’m speaking to you and et-al.

  • cannonshop

    To be Clearer, Glenn… ask yourself, “Is there a reason that a DEMOCRAT DOMINATED Senate might be holding up Obama’s appointments?” Considering that they expedited his appointment of a Treasury Secretary whom, after being confirmed, turned out to be a Tax cheat, 32(and counting) “Czars” of various sorts, and an Atty. General who’s concern is Race far more than either justice or the law…

    Yeah, you know, there might be a REASON Obama’s appointments are stalled-so far, he’s got a cabinet that displays the ethics of Grant’s cabinet, coupled with the politics of the worst of modern Illinois (Chicago/Cook County style) and the competence of Buchanan’s administration (*and possibly the same urge to treachery.)

    As much as it might pain you to read this, your president has done it to himself, and now extends a position that will alienate the section of the middle that Bill Clinton held in coaltion with the Left through the Nineties, and believe it or not, Glenn, the Radical Left Leftovers from the Sixties and their brainwashed offspring aren’t enough to redefine the Nation far enough Left for this to work long-term.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Call names, throw out slogans, and keep demonizing the English language, Cannon…I won’t ever give up…

    :o I’m the far left now! You betcha. ;]

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Kenn,

    Damn, I wish I could stay all day! Where was this article yesterday when I needed it?

    :] bye- hopefully I’ll be back…you never know, do you?

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Funny, how when you criticize Obama you are instantly labeled a right-winger. I suppose Evan Bayh is a right-winger?

    It is also funny that when I do criticize the war criminal Bush not once but twice in an article that is still overlooked (as well as my blogs of the past when I criticized Bush) because poor Barack Obama was also lambasted.

    With all due respect, both Republicans and Democrats are responsible for the mess we find ourselves in. I said as much in my last paragraph (also overlooked). You that ignore a good portion of my piece are guilty of the same thing you blame Washington for – playing politics.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    All should bear in mind that (unlike most other BC conservatives) Kenn DID strongly criticize Bush.

    That said, Kenn, I asked you how YOU would proceed if you were in Obama’s shoes, given the historically-high majority the Democrats enjoyed (and still enjoy to a point), and given the historically-high number of filibusters the Republicans have been using (even on legislation they’ve supported in the past or even co-sponsored), and given the refusal to allow almost ANY even routine administrative appointments, some for close to a year!

    You did not directly reply to my challenge, but just accused me of being ‘Machiavellian’ as if that answered everything.

    You see, Kenn, IMO that’s one of the differences I’ve noticed between conservatives and liberals. Generally speaking, conservatives tend to use more rhetoric with less of an effort towards backing up that rhetoric with hard historical facts or details of exactly what they would do. Liberals, on the other hand, DO tend to use hard historical facts and details of exactly what we would do.

    Deeds, not words. By their works shall ye know them. We’ve seen the results of long-term Republican rule and the failure of Reaganomics…yet conservatives would have us continuing down that very road that got us into the Great Recession.

    Answer my challenge, please. If you’re going to complain, then at least tell us how you would make it happen given the situation I described above.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Glenn,
    I missed your challenge initially, but thanks for another bite at the apple.

    First of all, I am not a conservative. I believe in both freedom economically as well as personally. Thus, I am a libertarian. We probably have more in common than you think.

    I can’t imagine that a libertarian would ever be elected president, but if I were I would certainly have a clear mandate to govern as one. I really believe the things I write in my blogs and would run on them for president (I did once for PA State Senate). Thus I would not nominate leaders for those Executive departments and agencies that are either unconstitutional or unnecessary. Because my limited amount of nominees would have to be libertarian both Republicans and Democrats would either reject or filibuster them away. Under no circumstances would I violate my oath to the Constitution and make inappropriate recess appointments. I would appeal to the American people to pressure and/or replace their senators who stand in the way of the confirmations.

    Obama had a mandate when he was elected. He was popular and had huge majorities in both chambers of Congress. He has squandered it because of his far-left policies – socialized medicine, huge spending, and cap and trade – not to mention all of his czars and leftist advisors. Even moderates in his own party can no longer stomach his policies.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    He has squandered it because of his far-left policies – socialized medicine, huge spending, and cap and trade – not to mention all of his czars and leftist advisors. Even moderates in his own party can no longer stomach his policies.

    I disagree. I think he did squander the opportunity by trying too hard to reach bipartisan agreements with a party that had no intention whatsoever of being bipartisan – and their intractability is evinced by their filibustering of legislation that they themselves supported in the past, and by their party-line votes against legislation that they themselves co-sponsored.

    But I suspect Obama’s making lemonade out of lemons since there’s a great many people out there who are seeing through the Republicans’ false rhetoric.

    And let me define the challenge somewhat – you say that there’s a lot of nominations you would not make, but if there are dozens of nominations that you would make, that you strongly feel are necessary, yet the minority party has held up those nominations for several months or even close to a year, what would you do to make those nominations happen when it becomes clear that the minority-party senators have no intention of allowing those nominations to proceed?

  • http://delibernation.com Silas Kain

    I’d like to make a recess appointment — fire my member of Congress and replace him. We have no mechanism to declare that we would like to execute a vote of no confidence. We have scheduled elections every two and four years. It’s all a cycle — women who have difficulty being “regular” are jealous of how regular the government cycle continues to be despite being populated by a herd of dried up old men who don’t share a live gram of testosterone among them. How about a parliamentary system? Yeah — that’s the ticket.

  • Baronius

    Kenn, the presidency hasn’t become imperial, but it is executive. It’s got to have latitude to determine how to fulfill his duties. Executive orders aren’t (necessarily) a violation of the letter or spirit of the Constitution. Likewise, there’s nothing wrong with signing statements which explain the administration’s legal interpretation of a law.

    I agree that a president should veto a bill that he holds to be unconstitutional. But I don’t see how denying the constituionality of an already-existing law is a violation of the Supreme Court’s judicial review (if that’s the argument you’re making).

    As for recess appointments, yes, it’s a bit of a game, but it’s mostly harmless, and the power to appoint acceptable candidates during recesses is one that shouldn’t be taken away from a president.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    That’s twice in a row that I’m agreeing with everything in a post by Baronius. I think it’s time for me to go see the shrink….

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Are you suggesting, Glenn, that you’re suffering from double vision?

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Baronius and Glenn,

    Do juries and states have a right to nullify whole or portions of laws passed by Congress? This is what Obama’s aide said he will do – enforce only the portions he says are constitutional.

  • zingzing

    cannonshop: “I find it amusing still, the behaviours Glenn et-al constantly belaboured over the last ten years or so are now suddenly ‘statesmanlike’ in his (their)estimation. It reveals the true nature of their previous complaints…”

    yep. politics as usual. we’ll see how your next president likes your tactics coming from us next time around. and we’ll see how you like it then as well. together, we can make politics grind to a screeching halt, but at least we’ll all realize what we are at that point.

  • Baronius

    Kenn, in my opinion, if the bills are on his desk and they’re unconstitutional, he’s obligated to veto them. If the bills are already law, he’s obligated to ignore them to the extent possible without endangering the government.

  • cannonshop

    #26 Must I point out that Obama’s blown the biggest base of support since Reagan, Zing? that he managed to do it with just slightly over a year actually in office? Or that I’m violating my own rule, by assuming the man isn’t incompetent, and by doing so, I’m forced to conclude something negative about his character?

    Zing, there’s no “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy” that forced him to hire a tax-cheat hedge-fund-manager who got rich on the same derivatives that crashed the economy-for the job of Secretary of Treasury. Obama did it by himself, with the gleeful support of his fellow Democrats. No huge astroturfing campaign made him hire over thirty ‘Czars’ or appoint Eric Holder. He’s done these things, nobody’s holding a gun to his head making him make recess appointments of questionable value, either. Every president’s screwed up SOME, Obama’s screwed up more than most-now you can go with the ‘learning curve’ explanation to a point-and after that point, is when you start seeing a President haemorraging his own party’s support-losing the moderates, losing the population.

    Obama’s done it in about the space of a year or so. (From 01/20/09 to the present).

    Bush (the second) rolled straight IN to a level of political hostility from your lot WITHOUT that year or so to really screw up good. Between ’92 and ’94 Bill Clinton took damage from a Congress that was his own party’s. Notably, said congress was replaced, But Bill’s popularity remained strong in the Middle (centrists) for eight years.

    It’s his hiring practices and his policies, Zing. Not Congresses, not Rush Limbaugh’s or Glenn Beck’s, or Evan Bayh’s fault. Barack’s doing it to himself.

    Now, I assume, for instance, that Obama’s at least marginally competent, and that his appointments are likewise, at least (minimum) of normal human intelligence, therefore, Geithner’s a tax-cheat, because the alternative is Geithner’s an idiot, and by extension, the guy who hired him is also an idiot. I’d rather think the man in the Oval Office is a crook, than face the possibility that he’s a moron-crooks are less scary than morons.

  • zingzing

    cannonshop, i’m not sure why you decided to go in that direction with your response to what i said. i was just pointing out that when the time comes for another republican president, the very things you trumpet as necessary at this time are going to be the things you decry as counterproductive when they are aimed at your side. it’s just the nature of the game.

    “Barack’s doing it to himself.”

    well, that’s debatable. you’ve got a republican basically baiting obama with poison pork, which said republican knows he won’t go for, if obama wants to move ahead with the appointments. you’ve got republicans saying “you have to televise the health care meetings,” then, when obama wants to televise the health care meetings, they come back and say “you can’t televise the health care meetings.” you’ve got ridiculous levels of filibustering. you’ve got republicans bringing up the specter of communism, socialism, dead grandmas, death panels, islam, indonesia, conspiracies to destroy america, etc, etc, etc.

    the amount of bullshit that obama has to cut through from the right aisle congress, while not stepping on congress’ toes (or else you call him a dictator), is unprecedented. this concentrated effort to make sure as little as possible can actually happen is transparent and dangerous.

    which leads me back to what i was actually saying in #26. if the right continues with this strategy, they’ll see it thrown back in their face eventually. and nothing will get done, ever. we’ll either end up with a dead congress/government, or we’ll end up in a one-party system. yay!

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Kenn, if executive orders have the force of law (which they do, as you yourself admit), I fail to see how the use of them can of itself be unconstitutional.

    The purpose of an executive order is to enforce or underline a power that has already been given to the president either by the Constitution or by act of Congress.

    It seems to me that you’re arguing that the president’s job is to enforce the law, and then complaining when he does. You can’t have it both ways.

  • doug m

    Mistakes, sure, but how has Obama screwed up more than most? Sounds like the sentiments of either a partisan enemy or a naïve supporter who thought they were voting for the Wizard of Oz who doesn’t understand the system they are commenting on.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It’s not the Wiz, of that I can assure you, doug, because Kenn didn’t vote for “hope and change.” So it must be the former, by process of elimination.

    Sorry, Kenn, but if even Baronius parries you with valid points of his own, you do stand on shaky ground indeed.

    Sour grapes, I’d call it.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Dr. D,

    President’s make law through the process which is not their power. Congress did not pass a law that allowed for warrantless wiretaps of Americans, Bush did. It is a dangerous precedent to give any president as Roosevelt and Bush have shown.

    If Congress has given the president certain powers in this respect (I don’t dispute that) it needs to take them back. Because it is obvious that presidents will abuse that power. Hence, my last paragraph about Congress reasserting its authority over the matter.

  • cannonshop

    #33 Kenn, Congress won’t take that power back. It’s not a matter of ‘can not’, ’tis a matter of “WILL NOT”-this is the same problem as the PATRIOT ACT, or the Sedition Act of 1917, or any one of a number of executive orders going back more than seventy years here-Congress won’t take back the power, because they want someone else to take the blame…while keeping those powers intact for “Their guy” (whichever party it is, democrat OR republican).

    For, what, six, seven years now? the Democrats decried the PATRIOT ACT-now that they’ve had control of Congress for four of those years, not ONCE have they allowed any provision to sunset, or repealed any of the intrusions that act allows.

    The power to make Recess Appointments, or write Executive Orders with the force of Law (without all that messy Legislative compromise stuff) is a violation of the separation of powers-but it’s a violation that Congress permits, because it saves them from being responsible for the outcomes, and it provides them the ability to get things onto the books without having to debate or take the blame.

    In the end, it’s the fault of the Electorate for choosing people of such overpowering moral cowardice, venality, and narcissism. You get the government you deserve, not necessarily the one you were promised.

  • cannonshop

    #31 Doug, you don’t lose that much popularity that quickly without fucking the dog pretty hard-especially in a celebrity-driven society like the one that has infested the U.S.

    HOW he screwed up is debatable, THAT he screwed up? well, the numbers are the numbers. You don’t lose the centre in less than a year without screwing up pretty badly, and in ways that aren’t tied to ‘fun’ scandals. (Clinton’s scandals were FUN scandals-recreational, not impacting on his job performance, people really didn’t care how he got his knob polished or by whom…and by ‘people’ I specifically exclude Pundits and the cultural fringe here. finger-wagging is entertainment, hiring a guy who can’t juggle numbers to head up Treasury? that’s JOB PERFORMANCE. You don’t hire an accountant that screws up his own taxes…)

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Cannonshop,

    Where is the comment that you addressed to me yesterday morning?

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Cannonshop,

    You are absolutely right. They use this ploy like they also use the Supreme Court legislating from the bench on controversial issues (guns, abortion) so they don’t have to take a position.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    And, boy, did your appearance of class just go-down-a-few-notches in my eyes with that last comment.

    :{ bye, I don’t surround myself with some people here for good reasons..

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    This comment was made on this thread, yesterday by me. It was in response to your comment to me, which I don’t see here now.

    “Yes, Cannonshop,

    I want a nanny state!

    Hell , I want a government that is both intelligent enough to recover the economy and help capitalism to flourish for everyone ,and, at the same time have the correct amount of compassion to help those that need it.

    While you appear to want the Owner-Class Government. You are on your own, the hell with any needs you might have-only the wealthy survive in your world.

    No thank-you.”

    :0 That’s what I said.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Unless I’m mistaken….and…if this the case…never-mind.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    jeannie,

    we have had the nanny state since FDR and it doesn’t work.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Kenn, I’m curious if you know of any nations that utilize the economic strategies of privatization and deregulation successfully to help benefit the majority of the population.

    Or is there a valid reason that this approach remains largely unpopular around the world and only seems to gain steam in corporate circles or among the upper class?

    I’m not saying you support the aforementioned strategy, by the way. I just, for some reason, think you’d be the right person to ask.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Kenn,

    You spoke to me…wait a few days, or in my case-a week…and I’ll answer..I’d hate to rush this one!

    :] You know, Kenn-if some one’s not on the left side, then, many people are going to fall right-down. We all need a little balance in our lives. Thanks for addressing me by name.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Jordan,

    Very sad and beautiful Olympics…Canada seems to do everything well…maybe, she can teach her sister a thing or two, like how to treat all of her citizens with respect.

    ;] Shane Koyczanreally stood up for freedom! We loved his Slam Poem.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    we have had the nanny state since FDR and it doesn’t work.

    Well, gee whiz, who’s had the largest economy ever since WWII? Granted, in the beginning this was because we were the only major nation not devastated by said war, but our economy still dominates even now…

    …despite the Reaganomics that destroyed our manufacturing base and sent millions of our jobs overseas.

    Kenn, here’s another challenge. Can you name ANY first-world democracy that doesn’t have social safety nets like Social Security and Medicare, and (except for America) doesn’t have some form of universal health care?

    No, you can’t.

    But you can find LOTS of third-world countries that don’t have those same social safety nets and universal health care.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    I would maintain that the U.S. has been the most successful economic power since WW II for many reasons.

    1. hard-working people
    2. good farming base (technology and land)
    3. decent education system (including best higher education system in the world.
    4. a history of a lot less socialism in economy than Europe.

    Social safety nets are not meant to and do not make a country prosperous. Their goal is to provide a minimal standard of living for the economically disadvantaged. I know LBJ called it “A War on Poverty”. Well, 45 years later there are just as many poor as there were in 1965 about 15 percent of the population.

    As to manufacturing jobs moving overseas – they move offshore because of the costs associated with government regulation and taxation. Hell, one of the big reasons I moved overseas is because of the cost of living in the U.S. Of course, a huge part of why there are high costs in the U.S. is because of the inflationary policies since 1914 of the Federal Reserve. But people who bemoan the plight of the poor never talk about the Fed’s culpability – all they want to do is pump more money into the economy to help them not realizing that they are actually hurting all of us.

    Glenn, to say that if third world countries had social safety nets they would be as successful as first world countries is absolutely ridiculous. Again, social welfare does not produce wealth it only confiscates it from the productive and gives it to the not as productive. Again there are lots of reasons why some countries are poor.

    1. climate
    2. geography
    3. colonization
    4. religion and traditional belief
    5. no rights for women
    6. corruption

    I should know as I have spent a large portion of my adult life living in third world countries.

    Most developed countries have social welfare because politicians are cowardice leeches that give out goodies to get reelected.

    As individuals we have the ability and responsibility to help the less fortunate. Government should stay out since a lot of money goes into the pockets of bureaucrats and not to the people it was intended to help.

  • Baronius

    Jordan – I see that Kenn has replied to you. I want to jump in here anyway, and answer the question you asked in #42.

    Countries that have had success via privatization and deregulation include: India, Czech Republic, Peru, South Korea, and Taiwan. All but Peru have seen prosperity increase at all levels of society. Peru is actually improving, last time I checked, but as with Chile the country has so much baggage that it’ll take a while for things to work right.

    The example of South Korea is illuminating when compared with their neighbor to the north. Culturally and genetically, N. and S. Korea were identical. Economically, the North was somewhat more prosperous before the war. Since the war, the countries have pursued two different courses. Not only is North Korea an economic wreck on a per capita basis, it can’t provide for its poorest. South Korea’s economic success hasn’t just helped the rich and urban; it’s helped the entire country.

    You can do a similar comparison between Pakistan and India. About 15 years ago, India began deregulation and routing out corruption. Around the same time, Pakistan began its slide into corruption, and is now considered the most corrupt country in the world (beating out Nigeria). Incidentally, I’m not changing the subject by talking about corruption. Obstacles to business can cover the gamut from regulations and licenses to bribes and inconsistently-enforced laws.

    The five countries I picked were easy examples. You could look at many of their neighbors and see similar patterns (Singapore, some of the former Warsaw Pact nations, and always lagging behind, South America). If you look at most Arab and African states, you’ll see the opposite pattern: corruption, regulation, state or royal family ownership, anemic economic growth, and the presence of absolute poverty.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Kenn,

    President’s make law through the process which is not their power.

    I’m not sure what you mean by this, but if I read you correctly, you’re wrong. Executive orders have the force of law; they are not law of themselves.

    Congress did not pass a law that allowed for warrantless wiretaps of Americans, Bush did.

    Granted that the case for Bush’s wiretap order being unconstitutional is good (although the Supreme Court seems to disagree). It doesn’t follow from this that all EOs are unconstitutional.

    It is a dangerous precedent to give any president as Roosevelt and Bush have shown.

    Just about any power given to anybody has the potential for abuse. Looking at modern history between FDR and GWB, I’d say that on the whole, presidents have shown admirable restraint for the most part and have had a good handle on the scope of their powers.

    If Congress has given the president certain powers in this respect (I don’t dispute that) it needs to take them back.

    Well, that’s certainly a valid opinion. I must ask you this, though: if one of the president’s jobs, as set out in the Constitution, is to ensure that the laws are enforced… how exactly is he supposed to do that if not by executive order?

    I think you’re reading the Constitution without interpreting it, which is about as futile as a firefighter refusing to enter a burning building because it has a ‘no trespassing’ sign on the door.

  • cannonshop

    #39 Jeannie, are you sure you’re not mixing up threads, since you can’t find the comment/reply?

    (then again, some things may have been pulled due to editorial policy-especially things I wrote at three in the A.M. when half or more than half asleep…)

    NOw, I’ll counter your assumption here, Jeannie.

    I want a society with upward mobility, I don’t want to live in comfortable poverty, cared for by mommy and daddy for the rest of my life. A Nanny State is a gilded cage, I’m not interested in that. I prefer NOT to rely on a man with a gun holding that gun to someone else’s head so that I can have what I want.

    Mind you now, I probably contribute a greater portion of my income to caring for the less fortunate than you do-both through voluntary contributions, and because unlike Democrats, I actually PAY my Taxes without having to get caught by the IRS first.

  • Baronius

    (frajja frackin rick rack brackin…)

    The site just ate another one of my posts!

    (Dag darn razzafrazzin…)

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Cannonshop,

    I placed your name in that little search box at the top-right corner, and came up with…you tell me.
    Aug 13, 2008 at 1:43 pm
    [This commenter has been banned for posting under multiple names and impersonating another commenter.

    ASSISTANT COMMENTS EDITOR]

    Now, even if this comment was pulled from the thread, it still had a mark or a reference to it, and why it was gone.

    and,

    I still don’t know what you have written here, because of this name you are using…none of my business, OK. But, please don’t play games.

    I am a pretty, transparent sort of a person, and I tend to not trust, after I feel I’ve been burned a couple of times. It usually takes three!

    My family and true-friends all have permanent,”get-out-of-jail-cards” :]

    now,

    I want a fiscally-responsible government that stays out of the way of the free-market, (as, long as that market functions with high moral standards)

    along with, the right amount of social- justice to help those that need it.

    Cannon, we can’t all be so successful and independent in this world..that would be all of our dreams come true, now wouldn’t it!

    I really think we need to stop being afraid of the word liberal…

    I’d put a face here, but, I don’t want to drive you nuts!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me, Now, What have you written?, What’s your name?,and Who are you?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    The Reaganomics that destroyed our manufacturing base and sent millions of our jobs overseas. Might have been on purpose for an insidious-reason. I don’t want to say too much.

    I watched a very interesting Washington-Journal with Thomas frank, this morning.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Jeannie, you’re on thin ice here. The comment in question was not by Cannonshop. The reason it was one of your search hits was that Cannon happened to comment on that article further down at #4.

    We take misuse of the comments space very seriously, but if you are going to bring accusations of this sort to our attention you ought to be able to back them up with a bit more than innuendo.

    Dr Dreadful
    Assistant Comments Editor

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Folks,

    As little as I like Reaganomics, it was not Reaganomics that drove all the jobs overseas. It was a conscious decision of American manufacturers and others to seek the cheapest labor possible. By 1975, the destruction of the “rust belt” was in full swing.

    This had nothing to do with who was president of the country. This had to do with a conscious decision to move to a “service” economy and away from a “production” economy. So now Americans produce nothing and manipulate the accumulated wealth of the manufacturing society that was dismantled, trying to spend without producing.

    And the system is broke, and it is only a matter of time before the very ugly detritus of a broken system of doing business goes flying in your faces.

  • Baronius

    Reaganomics didn’t destroy our manufacturing base or send millions of jobs overseas. That’s factually incorrect. Manufacturing jobs had been sliding before Reagan, and have declined since Reagan. Here’s an unfair statistic for you: President Obama has lost manufacturing jobs at 6.5x the rate that President Reagan did. As for jobs “moving overseas”, that really doesn’t happen. Under free trade, each country is able to specialize in what it does best, and that’s good for everyone.

  • Baronius

    Ruvy, you’re right, and you’re wrong. England moved from a “manufacturing” to a “service” economy in the 1860’s. There’s nothing wrong with having an expanding service sector. And we still have a manufacturing (and farming and mining) base.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    The 1860s, Baronius? Is that a typo, or can you provide a citation for that rather startling claim?

  • Baronius

    I can’t find the stat, but that’s not a typo. Remember, all you need is for your trade, finance, education, health, legal, communication, entertainment, tourism, and transportation sectors to come to a larger total than your manufacturing.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    Dr Dreadful (#57), I believe Baronius (#56) is right. The reason it was the 1860s is because, as he correctly points out (#58), entertainment must be included in the service sector. And of course the early 1860s is when the Beatles spearheaded the British Invasion, which skyrocketed UK album sales worldwide.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz/ Alan Kurtz

    CORRECTION: I guess it should really be the mid-1860s, since 1864 marked high water, with the appearance of A Hard Day’s Night.

  • zingzing

    and yet, mccartney only had £900,000 in his bank account when he left the band in 1870. of course, in today’s money, that would be £64,184,862.06, using the retail price index, and £531,333,300.94 if he had invested it safely.

  • Baronius

    Keith Richards looked great in the 1860’s.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    DR. Dreadful,

    Excuse me, Thin ice? Innuendo?

    I am simply asking, that there be a little hint for the reader who is following the conversations that they had the day before.

    There is nothing wrong with my asking for a clarification when a comment I distinctly remember answering is no-longer here or replaced, is there?

    I didn’t mean to step on anyone’s toes.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    I found this on the net,

    “Reagan deregulated many industries, in effect destroying competition and creating oligopolies. For example, his deregulation of airlines resulted in every single airline in the US going bankrupt except two. His deregulation of broadcasting resulted in the entire industry being dominated by a few enormously powerful players, like Disney and Clear Channel.

    Under Reagan, money became more powerful in politics than ever before. So powerful that today we don’t really have elections, we have auctions. The candidate who spends more money wins about 98% of the time. This has made it easier for powerful corporations to ‘buy’ politicians.”- That Guy

    That’s the problem with all this information, you can find whatever you want it to say, somewhere.

  • http://willkillforfood.com Lisa McKay

    Jeannie, re: your comment #63: Dr. D was pointing out that your insinuation about Cannonshop in comment #51 — that he had been banned — is incorrect and shouldn’t have been made.

    You might also want to reconsider whether it’s appropriate to harass commenters who wish to remain anonymous. No one here is obligated to identify themselves, and people have any number of reasons to wish to protect their privacy.

  • Baronius

    Jeannie, the data I cited comes from the US Department of Labor.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Thanks for the answers, guys.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Jordan,

    How come you’re not posting about the Olympics?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Baronius, if you’re right it’s a fascinating and surprising bit of information. I can’t find any data to support it either. I was sceptical because Britain was certainly still heavily industrialised up until the 1960s and 70s (it was the subsequent wave of factory, mill and mine closures which led to the infamous ‘Winter of Discontent’ and the Thatcher revolution). Most of the sources I’ve come across suggest that the country didn’t become a service economy until after World War II.

  • STM

    Alan Kurtz: “CORRECTION: I guess it should really be the mid-1860s, since 1864 marked high water, with the appearance of A Hard Day’s Night.”

    Of course … about the time Thomas Edison was getting his electric light bulb together, Mick “Black Dog” Smith was experimenting with the pre-electric guitar.

    He had problems with the strings, however, and his attempt to run DC current through the strings themselves resulted in Black Dog’s premature death.

    However, whilst being electrocuted, he was able to pen the first verse and chorus of “You Shook Me (All Night Long”, a catchy little riff that was later picked up by a Sydney garage band called AC/DC in the late 1970s.

    Mick’s passing wasn’t entirely in vain, though: he is remembered today as the bloke who made everyone realise that only AC current could be used to power an electric guitar, and that the current should never be run through the metal strings. Of course the Beatles benefited hugely from this.

  • STM

    Doc: “Most of the sources I’ve come across suggest that the country didn’t become a service economy until after World War II.”

    You got it Doc … then we had Margaret Thatcher’s post-industrial Britain in the 1980s.

    Britain, still with a vast empire at that stage, was the world’s largest manufacturing economy at the time Baron quotes – and was still manufacturing all kinds of stuff and on a vast scale, especially ships, clothing/cloth and industrial machinery, right through until after WWII. It was also still digging up most of its manufacturing energy in the form of coal.

    It wasn’t until around the 1890s that the US overtook Britain in manufacturing.

    All the goodies from what was left of the empire were still being sent to Britain for manufacture until at least the 1950s.

  • STM

    [edited]

    Baron needs to watch his centuries :)

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    I don’t even notice Jet missing with Jeannie’s poorly informed comments wavering to and fro ‘tween paranoia and attack.

    Roger, a better question is “How come you’re not posting about the Olympics?”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m not much into winter sports, shame in a way since I come from Poland.

    Track and field is my forte.

  • STM

    Kenn: “I would maintain that the U.S. has been the most successful economic power since WW II for many reasons” … lack of socialism of course beingone of them.

    Now in the process of being overtaken by the “socialist” Europeans (universal health care ain’t socialism) and those pseudo Reds over there in China.

    Kenn, do you just make this cr.p up as you go along, or what??

    Do you have any understanding of the size of the US national debt (mainly to China, Japan and the larger oil producing nations?)

    I’ll tell you what made America rich … the same kind of manufacturing base as Britain, the same ideas about free trade, but a population five times the size.

    And just as the UK went down the gurgler for a while, so will the US if it doesn’t watch out.

    The US has virtually no genuine export markets anymore because too many idiots on Wall St perpetuated the myth of “King Dollar” so they could fill their own pockets … keeping the curremcy so artificially high, no one except the wealthy, developed nations (Europe, Canada and Australia/NZ) could afford to buy US-made goods except the ones that were absolutely vital, like aircraft – and mostly, the developed nations didn’t need to because they have been making their own stuff as good or better for decades.

    The US needs to start exporting again, the currency must remain at realistic levels and Americans need to get their heads around the idea that national wealth doesn’t come from shuffling bits of paper on Wall St (as we’ve all seen recently).

    Otherwise, it’s disaster … sooner or later.

    And Kenn, why do call your stuff the view from abroad. Everything of yours I’ve seen written wouldn’t be the view the America from abroad. It’s the view from Kenn, wherever Kenn might happen to be or to have been, right???

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Lisa,

    I did not insinuate that Cannonshop was banned or harass him. If he thinks this, he hasn’t said it. Sorry cannonshop for this misunderstanding.

    I was only curious if he wrote an article here so that I might be able to read it.
    I teasingly asked those little questions and thought I had conveyed this, I guess I was wrong.

    You know, these comments of mine are constantly getting blown way out of proportion. But,if I react to any directed at me, then I am considered too emotional.

    I am merely trying to stick-up for myself as I have been told by almost everyone, to grow thicker skin and not take everything said to me so personally.

    So, I place a little smiley face at the bottom of almost all of my posts, hoping that someone here will finally see my sense of humor.

    I don’t mean any harm.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Jeannie,

    No one doubts your good intentions. It’s the way you come across at times as being counterproductive.

    You’ve got to understand that this is a public forum and that everyone is entitled to their opinion. We all tolerate yours and you should do likewise – tolerate everybody else’s.

    It doesn’t serve your cause any good to be disrespectful of any of the commenters.

    I know that perhaps I shouldn’t be the one to speak because I violated that maxim more than once. Even so, I believe I have learned from my mistakes and so should you.

    None of us want to see you banned from this site for mere technicality. We all appreciate the fervor and enthusiasm you bring into our dialogue, and honestly, we all need more people like you – speaking from their heart. So don’t be now your own worst enemy by treating others with disrespect, however you may disagree with their opinion. Do try to keep the high ground.

    Not your enemy, in case you thought otherwise.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna
  • Kenn Jacobine

    STM,

    You took my comment out of context. I was responding to a question about what made us #1 economically since WWII. We are done now because of all the frankly communistic policies that many on this site espouse. Our states are in bankruptcy, the federal government is in bankruptcy, our trade deficit is horrendous, and we have no way to pay off the debt because: 1. we have lost our manufacturing base (due to big state policies) and 2. the politicians do not have the courage to raise taxes on the very same people who want all the services.

    The Chinese just lowered their U.S. debt holdings by $30 billion this week – no one is talking about it. What will happen when they no longer buy our debt? Pensions are $1 trillion in the hole and we haven’t even discussed social security and medicare (between $50 and $100 trillion in unfunded obligations). Really this whole discussion is moot because it is all over but for the crying. It was big statism starting with Lincoln, continuing with TR through FDR propped up by LBJ and financed by Nixon and other administrations since that has destroyed America. By its very definition, the free market does not drive debt, the welfare/warfare state does. By the way, as a proud capitalist I also disdain corporate welfare.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Kenn,

    It is compelling to me that you can’t seem to answer a question without at least sneaking in some sort of hatred for “socialism” somewhere in the comment. I understand that you, as a “proud capitalist,” carry some sort of aversion to “socialism.” But I also don’t think you have any experience with socialism as economic policy and, like most Americans and indeed like most of the world, consistently and conveniently forget that the world has never known a truly socialist nation.

    Socialism has only existed in fragments, so it is erroneous to suggest that America’s success is due in part to having “less socialism” than other European countries.

    It is also compelling to note that your comments and your articles frequently bemoan the state of things in America. When pressed, however, you seem little more than an elegant cheerleader of what you deem to be one of the “best” countries in the world and one of the most “successful” economies in the world.

    The policies you deem to be so destructive seem to be at least partly responsible for America’s position as one of the “best,” so it seems odd to me that you would spend so much time pursuing your rather uneven critique of your country’s economic policy. It would seem to me that it would be more prudent and more logical to discuss America’s economy by rate of its success, which by your own admission is quite significant.

    So I think you expose your true motivations here as being little more than a “proud capitalist” obsessed by self-interest and upholding a political point of view. You aren’t actually interested in what America’s “success” means for most of your country’s poor or the world’s poor. You are interested in capitalism as “science;” the numbers and the money hold truth for you.

  • Jordan Richardson

    How come you’re not posting about the Olympics?

    I write about the Olympics (hockey, namely) for work. I’m not really all that interest in repeating myself when I’ve got a stack of music reviews that I need to get through.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Baronius,

    Considering your comment regarding the successes of privatization and deregulation and your insistence that “all levels of people” experienced “success” from these policies, I must hit on a few points.

    First, you mention India as a success story for deregulation and privatization. You mention India as having success for “all levels of people.”

    India, despite being one of the leading economies in the world in terms of wealth, actually holds the 139th position in the world in per capita income. Economic inequality in India is wider than ever before and 80% of the population lives on less than $2 a day.

    This is hardly a situation in which “all levels” of people are doing well thanks to the economic “success” of the country.

    India also has significant problems in its irrigation and water supply, leading to problems with the beleaguered agriculture industry. The introduction of key farming technologies only furthered the economic disparity amongst its people and boxed out farmers across the nation, leading to the massive amounts of farmer suicides in the country (more than 17,500 a year between 2002 and 2006 alone). These suicides occurred largely because farmers could no longer afford the jacked-up insurance costs and newfangled technology that was forced into their industry by the deregulated, privatized agriculture businesses that replaced the old system.

    So again, this is hardly an economic system that has benefited all classes of people in India.

    You also mention Peru, which is an emerging market. It does boast a much higher per capita income than India, too. With a government put in place in the 90s that dropped price controls and wages across the country, more people went back to work.

    But workers’ protections in Peru are almost non-existent and the country has one of the lowest minimum wages in all of Latin America ($180 a month). This has driven down purchasing power, says Peru’s former labour minister Jorge Gonzalez Izquierdo, and has led to the problem not of unemployment but of “underemployment.”

    Peruvians often work extra hours without being paid for them. This is due in part to the fact that workers’ rights have been largely eroded in the country and this is connected to the fact that Peru’s economy is based on a number of “informal” sectors. This puts a lot of the smaller aspects of the Peruvian economy off-the-books, making it more difficult for workers to get rights and fair living wages. Despite the fact that unemployment is shrinking in the country, poverty still impacts well over 30% of the population.

    So again, this calls into serious question the notion that the system of deregulation and privatization is something that works for “all levels” of people.

  • cannonshop

    #51 I’m just a commenter, Jeannie-I don’t have the time or the chops to write a good article on my own, nor the papertrail to make up for lack of same time and talent in getting taken ‘seriously’.

    Over the last year, I’ve averaged 10 hour days working 6 or more days per week at Boeing, building the airplanes that represent the single biggest non-agricultural export of the United States.

    I am a shareholder, and a Union Member (and have occasoinally even been an ACTIVE member of the union, though without any offices), a Veteran of the United States Army (though not as long as, say, Clavos or Glenn), a political junkie and amatuer scientist (Fifteen credits short of a degree at this point-it’s hard to stay in school for that when you have my work hours), an apartment dweller (because I am seriously disinclined to gather debt), cat-owner (two, and really, they own me) and I’m married (though she occasionally accuses me of being married to my job…)

    In the past, I’ve been a right-wing activist, gun-show dealer, Mechanic (as in fix your car kind, not build your airplane kind), cabinetmaker (Shit you do when you’re laid off and won’t ask for handouts!) Landscaper, ditch-digger, cowboy (as in fence line repair, animal handling, and ‘field veteranarian’), forklift driver in a refrigerated warehouse, machinist, and gunsmith, and day-labor carpenter (Under the table, and yeah, the pay sucks).

    and I’m only 37, so I didn’t actually spend enough time at most of those.

    I’ve been a taxpayer since I was fifteen, I’ve owned a small business that was undercapitalized, worked temp jobs when there was nothing else, and when even those weren’t available, I’ve taken work that most people wouldn’t, for pay most would laugh at.

    Jeannie, I don’t have a problem with people who Can’t work. My problem is with people who won’t take a job because they think it’s ‘demeaning’, or because it’s hard work and they don’t want to work hard, or because it doesn’t pay their dream amount, or they feel they’re being exploited so they won’t even apply.

    THOSE are the folks I have a problem with, and almost universally, they share this idea that they’re somehow ‘entitled’ to a piece of what other people who WILL do the work have earned.

    I have relatives that resemble this, and I wouldn’t piss on them if they were on fire-you do what you HAVE TO DO to keep from going under, nobody owes you a damned thing if you don’t give some back.

    Now, mind you also I have a problem with Corporate Culture-I consider it to be exactly what’s wrong with big business…AND with Big Government in this country. Every problem observed about our government and how it’s fucked everything up, I’ve seen in Big Business entities like Boeing, and some of the issues (rust belt) are examples of what happens when the corruption crosses that government/private line. We saw it in the late eighties with the S&Ls, the last decade with the Bank Failures, and every day in places like Michigan.

    Big Government LIKES Big Business-the merger-mania of the nineties should give you a clue here. Socialism takes that disfunctional relationship, and amplifies it. For a free Market to function, Government can NOT be in bed with business and vice-versa, and they are-right up to Harry Reid and Obama’s eyeballs, right up from GW’s crotch to Barack’s neatly-clipped haircut.

    It’s bad enough with defense contract work-that, at least, has rules (of a sort), and at least some people think it’s immoral enough to keep an eye on things…sort of.

    Do you know (or want to know) wherein I lost ALL respect for your President? It wasn’t even the election-by then it was a done deal.

    It was when he came out in favour of TARP, right beside the guy the GOP chose as their sacrificial ‘candidate’ (in the tradition of Jerry Ford and Bob Dole-a candidate chosen because nobody with talent was willing to step up for an election that was a guaranteed loss.)

    Barack showed he was a newsreader, not a man with sense or vision. He then expanded on that with his “Apology World Tour” and pushing through a ‘stimulus’ that, anyone that was paying attention could tell, wasn’t going to do anything (and it hasn’t-those ‘improvements’ in unemployment are a combo of the seasonal bubble and people dropping off the unemployment rolls. Track “JOB OPENINGS”, not payment-reports, things are worse…)

    then he started digging-hiring a guy who can’t figure out his taxes to head the department key to figuring out EVERYONE’s Taxes, then giving the bastard a ‘pass’ if he pays off-which I suppose is nice, except when you consider what happens to people who AREN’T well connected high-dollar wall-streeters and owe much less-they get stuck with 125% interest on the unpaid balance, compounded monthly, and threats of jail-time. Geithner didn’t pay more than forty-grand that he owed-that’s more than the average american makes in a year-that’s someone’s entire yearly income, Jeannie…and he didn’t have to pay it (and likely wouldn’t have) except that he got CAUGHT. Considering that this year, I’m having to figure out how to get together two grand to pay Uncle Sam instead of buying a new refrigerator to replace the energy-sumping piece of shit in my apartment, while paying out for my wife’s Glaucoma treatment, veterinarian bills for the cats, car insurance on two vehicles, and setting up for retirement when I’m in my seventies-assuming I live that long…and I could live a lot higher on my income if I didn’t have an aversion to living beyond my means-which is visibly scarce as I’ve noticed working where I do.

    I’ll put it simple to you-why should I be punished for someone else’s irresponsible behaviour? Why am I paying for someone else’s mortgage when I can’t afford a down payment for my own, and why should I EVER welcome ANY of those things?

    I obey the law-even when I disagree with it.
    I pay my taxes, even when I resent doing so and feel they’re blackly and flatly unfair.
    I contribute to charities I believe will actually use the money to HELP people, rather than buying a new limo for their chairman.
    I play by the rules, I work hard, why should I have to carry those that refuse to do so?

    Freedom includes the freedom to fail-and Jeannie, I’ve failed before, it’s not a fatal condition, just really, really uncomfortable.

    Jeannie, do you recall the story of the ants and the Grasshopper? It’s one of Aesop’s fables-guess what, I identify with the Ants, not the Grasshopper.

  • STM

    Kenn: “We are done now because of all the frankly communistic policies etc”.

    What nonsense, Kenn … you are done now because of greed – jobs going offshore to improve the company bottom line, loss of export markets, lack of prudential regulation of the kind that would have stopped shysters on Wall Street almost bring the world economy to the brink of total collapse, artificially high dollar, etc.

    I could go on. None of it’s got anything to do with communistic policies, and like Dave Nalle, I spent some time in the Soviet Union so I know what’s communistic and socialistic and what’s not even close.

    You would have a heart attack if you experienced communism and real socialism. That is NOT what is going on in the US today.

    While we’re here, how do you reconcile your notion in regard to all of this with the fact the European Union, with all those nasty socialistic states, now outstips the US in GDP? Many of their countries also rate higher than the US in well-being and standard of living.

    Also, how do you reconcile that with a country like little old Australia, which is number two on the world standard of living index, which has all those nasty socialist things like sensible, prudential regulation and universal health care, but also has had the strongest economy of all the first-world developed nations during the Global Financial Crisis?

    So if socialism and communistic “stuff” have sent America down the gurgler, why did it seem to have the opposite effect in Australia, which even regulates and legislates on workplace conditions and wages that heavily favour the worker over the employer??

    Facts on economic resilience don’t lie, Kenn … and the job stats also tell the story.

    But I reckon you will often attempt to twist the truth on this stuff without having a huge amount of knowledge and in the wash-up, it comes out looking like a third-grader’s world political view and a load of bollocks.

    Sorry, mate, but there you go.

  • STM

    And by the way, I too am a proud proponent of big, free-market capitalism.

    But like most Aussies – including most home-grown employers – I understand that a little sharing goes a long way when it comes to a happy and productive nation.

    Give something, get something in return.

    Workers make a huge contribution to profits, but human nature being what it is, unless governments protect them and give them a fair cut of those profits, keeping that cut and seeing it rise exponeltially will always always be at the whim of the employer.

    You want to know what’s REALLY wrong with the US? Shysters and rorters who ran huge companies into the ground but walked off with massive bonuses and had to be bailed out – reluctantly – by government so the ENTIRE global economy didn’t collapse (yes, it was that bad), while ordinary workers get royally shafted in the process. No cash for them, no golden parachutes, just the “I’m all right Jack, bugger you, I’ve got mine and heaps of it” two-fingered salute.

    So I’m also a proponent of workers getting their fair share in the corporate process when it’s working properly … and that fair share NOT being decided by employers but by an independent body, eith the courts or the legislature.

    And even more of a proponent of that when the corporate process goes arse over tit like it did in America two years ago.

    And that ain’t “communistic”.

  • cannonshop

    You want to know what’s REALLY wrong with the US? Shysters and rorters who ran huge companies into the ground but walked off with massive bonuses and had to be bailed out – reluctantly – by government so the ENTIRE global economy didn’t collapse (yes, it was that bad), while ordinary workers get royally shafted in the process. No cash for them, no golden parachutes, just the “I’m all right Jack, bugger you, I’ve got mine and heaps of it” two-fingered salute.

    The other problem, is the government filled with exactly the SAME kind of Shysters and rorters, Stan. They went to the same schools, and believe in the same dogmas, it’s just a matter of how aggressive they are and how openly predatory they are that makes the difference between a Boardroom at a corporation, or an oversight board in a government department.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    I find myself identifying with Cannonshop and Stan most of the time on economic stances – but it is also clear to me that the present idiot in the White House is driving you in America to penury faster then a teenager can take a T-Bird on a joyride or a sailor can get drunk on shore leave. It is also clear to me that this is an orchestrated plan that Obama is only a part of, representing the “newest” wrinkle in the CFR’s manipulation game of America’s politics, the “minority” president with the élitist mind.

    Colin Powell is an older version of the same CFR model of manipulation. Condaleezza Rice is the female version, and count on it, (if there actually are elections in 2012) she will emerge as a well financed, sleekly marketed candidate to keep the GOP from nominating any “Tea Party” type, and especially to keep them away from Sarah Palin. Talk about putting lipstick on a pit-bull. That woman will be so heavily perfumed with pheromones, you’ll forget that she is a business barricuda with the moxie to get an oil tanker named after her….

    Getting back to how I view things, unlike Stan or Cannonshop, I am not willing to live peaceably under laws that screw me over, and am willing to overthrow a government that does so – if I can actually figure out how. My articles and comments show that attitude.

    Jeannie Danna wrote an article on America keeping its republic. Frankly, descendants of the business barons who emerged after the Civil War have finally stolen that republic and are shoving the common man in the States into the mud with only the greed that a vicious parvenue or carpetbagger can have. They are sucking you dry and jumping ship. According to Prison Planet (you can look up the link), at least 50 CEO’s/CFO’s have quit over the last three months or so. While business leaders are always switching posts, you don’t get that kind of turnover in three months for nothing.

    In addition, some 65 chiefs of police have retired over the last 3-4 months, some after only a few months on the job. So it smells like something is going down. And when the chief of police throws his badge on the table, it is not likely to be nice.

    Have fun, kiddies. Strap yourselves in well. It looks to be an interesting ride.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    cannonshop,

    You should not have felt the need to explain or justify yourself to me, like this, I want to apologize to you, for all of this, BS.

    The people who continue to read in-between the lines, should stop reading every word I say as a personal attack, because I was joking at the end of that comment…sorry, for the miss-understanding…not on your part.

    That’s very interesting though, I used to work with the oxygen and pressurization systems in the AF, C-141b, C5-a, and f-4e aircraft.

    I had a Lockheed-Martin ashtray from the cock-pit of a 141b in-flight refueler, but I sold it after I quite smoking. Now, I wish I still had that funny little box with a magnet on top to keep the lid closed; it’s probably worth a lot more than one hundred dollars today!

    I might have some of my letters crossed on those Jets, it’s been a long time, since, I got out in 1982. So, this is ancient history. ;]I’m laughing at me there, see?

    I am a resident-liberal, I guess. Or at least, I hope so.I come out really fiercely, for public education, labour unions, and the middle-class in-general. I can’t tolerate the amount of poverty we now have right standing right along side the opulent wealth. So, I bitch about it a lot.

    cannonshop, we will have to talk in-depth someday. I really hope, that you read and comment on my newest article , it hasn’t published yet and I’m really hoping that it’s waiting in line right now. That’s what woke me up so early, wanting to read it.

    I like writing here for two reasons, one, they really help me to improve my writing. and , two, someone reads it! Do you know how dusty some of these blogs get, waiting for a comment? :]

    :] Can we please start over? I’m really not that bad and you are very-intelligent and nice.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Good morning, Ruvy. :]

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    STM,

    I couldn’t help but eavesdrop, I’m nosey, that way.

    I don’t think it’s a communist thought to as the system to share a little, of the massive amount that it demands in-order to function properly.

    We pay our taxes, and all of them, except for a little property write-off. My husband lies awake at night worrying where the money is going to come from now, to pay our taxes.

    It’s not right, the individual is held accountable, but the group can walk-away with a hand-out, and , from the American individual-tax-payers. All in the name of trickle-down Reaganomics that, have not worked.

    Usually, when something doesn’t work, you try to do it a different way, until you get it right.

    :] That was my two cents..literally!

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    And I wish I could get this writing right.

  • cannonshop

    Jeannie:

    Start over? we’re getting along, near as I can tell-though I’m a little on the acidic side from time to time (okay, almost constantly abrasive AND acidic…), I also get ‘ranty’ (Note the damned enormous posts…), especially when I’m trying to establish a context that the person I’m discussing with can apply in understanding where I’m coming from.

    (after all, why comment if there’s no communication?)

    I’ve had people tell me I should be a Democrat, people thinking I’m a Republican, people even assuming I’m a Libertarian-and a few who’ve accurately diagnosed me as an Opinionated Ass.

    But I’m also a thick skinned opinionated ass-thus I often overlook things, especially when they strike me as unintentional…

    So rest assured, I was NEVER insulted or offended by whatever it was that is supposed to have insulted or offended me. I’m too much a water-buffalo for that.

    Thing Is, I figure you for a nice, decent person, I just think you’re wrong about a few things-and who isn’t wrong about at least SOMETHING? The term in itself is not an objective state- ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ opinions tend to remain in the realm of the subjective-unless they can be tested empirically (Such as the case of arguments about scientific findings, or relative merits of mechanical systems in specific applications.)

    What we support isn’t that different- you like Public Education, I want Public Education to actually WORK (as in, turning out people who can read, do math, and apply the scientific method-the three cornerstones, imho, of what should come out of our schools.) WE have desperately different, I suspect, ideas on what’s wrong with Public Education-the competition of ideas may result in real solutions, I think.

    Likewise, we have strongly different views, I suspect, on what’s wrong with the Economy, and therein lies most of our differences on most subjects.

    We also have strongly differing views on not only the condition of our government, but its proper roles, and those roles it can actually handle responsibly.

    I think we agree (mostly) on Unions, though I suspect when it gets down to the mechanics of same, we’re not on the same page. I believe that if there is going to be Big Business, then we MUST have Organized Labour to counter-balance it, and that Government’s only proper role in that relationship, is acting as the referee or moderator. active partisan involvement is bad-it is, in my opinion, a corrupting influence on all three (Government, Business, AND Organized Labour), leading to a condition wherein the leadership takes all benefit, and screws the customers, membership, and shareholders. We have,in my opinion, seen this actively happening over the last thirty years, and the end result can be seen historically in the decay and collapse of the Soviet Union, and the attendant fallout from that.

    I mistrust government, because I’ve watched it being unworthy of my trust for my entire life, including the time I spent in the Military. I mistrust International bodies becauase the flaws I’ve seen in my government, are magnified by those bodies, particularly the United Nations, but also the IPCC’s shenannigans, activity which has done more damage to serious scientific inquiry than a million Fred Phelps clones could.

    Your views, of course, differ-as much as anything, we humans are informed by our experiences in life, and by the experiences of others close to us, including those we respect, and those we do not.

    When your article comes up in the rotation, and it’s out where I can read it, be assured I likely will-and I will probably pop off with some half-informed or ill-informed comments, maybe even something insightful (Unlikely, though-while you may think I’m ‘intelligent’, my own experience tells me I’m simply bullheaded and possess a certain animal cunning. Truly intelligent people know how to work/game the system…)

  • Kenn Jacobine

    STM,

    How many countries are in the EU? But, each one of those countries is no where near the U.S. in GDP. it is a ridiculous comparison. Things are so bad there that a few years back my wife was medi-vaced from Mali to France with a fractured disk in her neck and the airplane attendants in Paris told her that because of union rules and insurance liability they could not help her down and up the stairs off of and onto the plane.

    Wait until this happens in the U.S. with socialized medicine (oh there I go again mentioning socialism).

    In terms of corporate greed, as long as the law meets the test of natural law I don’t have a problem with it. Companies have a duty to their stockholders to maximize credit. The last time I checked it was legal and fit with natural law for companies to relocate whereever they can to make more money. If you own stocks or mutual funds you should understand that you expect a return on your money.

    STM,

    “And by the way, I too am a proud proponent of big, free-market capitalism.”

    “…I’m also a proponent of workers getting their fair share in the corporate process when it’s working properly … and that fair share NOT being decided by employers but by an independent body, eith the courts or the legislature.”

    Wow, these two things are mutually exclusive!

  • Kenn Jacobine

    I always hear “fair share” from statists. What is fair share anyway?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Kenn,

    Can you elaborate on how it “fits with natural law” to outsource jobs?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    cannonshop,

    It ate my comment to you, damn, that took a long time!

    I agree with you, Washington is very corrupt.

    We have only choices here:

    Two parties that obsess over who’s winning the fights, all of them.
    and

    Special-interests have dug-in-so-deep, that it now appears to be an impossible task to root them out.

    Second choice:

    Two ways to go, first get rid of all the old and bring in new. But the young won’t have the experience to know what the hell they are doing.

    Second, sit back and hope that this group now cleans up its act on its own. That’s not going to happen, now is it?

    :] I have to run, see ya later!

  • Jordan Richardson

    Of course, you should probably start by defining what it is you think “natural law” is. I’m assuming you’re not talking about Hobbes’ natural law.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Wow, these two things are mutually exclusive!

    Only if you’re an absolutist, Kenn. And only if you’ve got economics down to a cold Chicago-style “science.”

    The fact is that economics prove to be much more complicated than a single theory can encompass, especially with the push towards globalization. We end up dealing with a number of hybrid systems, many of which incorporate large chunks of various policies and practices to achieve the desired result.

    So while conservative thinkers still retire to terms like “statist” and “socialist” to assist in helping this complicated world make sense, I think those terms are outdated and false.

    Solving modern economic problems requires more than simply theory and dead terminology. Unfortunately, I see little of the richness of thought the global economy needs coming from the conservative movement. I see the same basic principles, held up ignorantly amid a wave of ever-changing data and scenarios, that demonstrate just how bull-headed and sluggish these sorts of thinkers are.

    And unfortunately, Kenn, your desire to label all thinkers who disagree with you as statists or neo-fascists (because you might as well call us fascists given your understanding and hurried use of statism as a derogatory) simply exposes your thinking as linear and not three-dimensional.

    Like politics, economics works best for the benefit of the most people when hybrid, fluid, loose “systems” are put in place that can answer situations and changes with eloquent, elegant and beneficial solutions. Just like the two-party system in the USA that doesn’t serve the voters, a single-minded economic system simply cannot serve the changing demands of consumers, stockholders, the impoverished, the rich, and the middle class. It’s simply not an effective way of thinking anymore.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Jordan,

    I did not put the derogatory label on statist, you did. To me a statist is someone who relys on the state to fix things, make the playing surface level (income redistribution), instruct our morality, or fight wars when we don’t like other countries or their leaders, etc… It is a philosphy that says government should fix all things from the suffering in Haiti, to universal healthcare, to educating our young. I am non-statist in that I believe government can do very little well, primarily because it lacks the profit motive which is so prevalent in the free-market.

    As to natural law – our rights as Americans are based on it. With the exception of slavery and women’s rights initially the Constitution was based on it. I subscribe to John Locke’s version (there are many) that humans have a god or nature given right to pursue ends that allow them to enjoy, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (sometimes referred to as property). Individuals, and groups (including businesses since they are made up of individuals) have this right. Any measure (law) that obstructs a business from offshoring (denying liberty and property)is against natural law and consequently also against the Constitution. I cannot kill another except in self-defense because it violates natural law. This is what makes Bush’s invasion of Iraq so egregious.

    Our freedoms do not come from other humans (monarchs) so that is why we have a right to overthrow governments that violate the natural law by taking power that doesn’t belong to them. I am afraid that if the founders were alive today they would probably advocate overthrowing the U.S. government.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “You aren’t actually interested in what America’s “success” means for most of your country’s poor or the world’s poor. You are interested in capitalism as “science;” the numbers and the money hold truth for you.”

    Excellent comment, Jordan. For people like Kenn, their political philosophy is merely an expression of their self-interest. It’s not viewed (or arrived at)as something which might correct, or steer them away from, self-interest but only which would validate it: it’s self-serving at best.

    As to Kenn’s appeal to “natural law,” so neatly couched in Locke, one might consult a far cruder, but no less true, version of it in the writings of Frederic Bastiat (google it), Franco’s “inspiration.”

    Just as God made heavens and earth (and laws governing the movements of bodies), he made human societies and the natural law governing those societies. And the name of that law is laissez faire.

    Which is why to such as Kenn or Franco, human misery and poverty aren’t bad because they’re natural consequences of individual humans making wrong decisions. And it’s only from making wrong decisions and wrong choices that we can eventually learn not to behave in such errant ways. Only through making costly mistakes can humans learn how to be responsible and productive members of society.

    As to the rather uncanny relationship between rabid defense of capitalism in the raw and austere protestant ethics, I’ll let the reader to ponder on.

  • Jordan Richardson

    So Kenn, you meant statist in a positive way? You actually have a high opinion of that position?

    I’m asking you honestly, too, without a hint of sarcasm for a change. With your description of the term, it doesn’t seem like you’re particularly interested in portraying it as something you deem to be positive.

    To suggest that your “natural law” philosophy is infused with a sort of Lockian understanding is hardly surprising. I’m sure you know that Locke’s natural law is, in short, Reason.

    Unfortunately, Locke’s philosophy makes a crucial distinction in that it says that man’s “natural state” is equal. This is hardly true in a modern sense, especially with the manner of encumbrances placed on people of varying classes from birth making it damn near impossible for anyone born into economic slavery to ever achieve what Locke would deem to be a natural state. This is most unreasonable.

    Locke could not possibly have understood the conception of corporate “natural law,” either, but again it’s hardly surprising that you’ve adapted his theory on individuals to an entity that is about as far from an individual or a human as, well, humanly possible.

    In that Locke says, clearly, “no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions,” how do you quantify your crude defence of the corporate world when they are so prone to harm – when they are so prone to harm society as a whole with their actions?

    Roger’s right when he says that the end result of your views suggest that poverty and suffering are direct results of wrong action. Unfortunately, even Locke would have found this point of view utterly simplistic.

    Remember, too, that the “state” Locke referred to that pitted “man against man” had a very distinct name: war.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I am non-statist in that I believe government can do very little well, primarily because it lacks the profit motive which is so prevalent in the free-market.

    This sort of transcribes a moral imperative on to profit, though, and I guess that’s what bothers me.

    When a company chooses to seek out profit over the common good, wrong action is almost always inevitable and the finality of that is that societies become veritable testing grounds for all sorts of bizarre economic lab experiments. Chile, Russia, Iraq, etc. all provide us with examples of the bottom lines of this sort of “profit motive.”

    Using Iraq to further this, the entire country was turned over to the profit motive. You may decide to despise the invasion on principle, but as a “proud capitalist” you’ve got to be loving the overwhelming opportunity the country’s remains are providing for multinationals. You’ve got to be loving the utter servitude of the profit motive going on over there. The expense of the war and its extensions is almost just a matter of investment in that the profits generated by war profiteers are purely capitalist in the strongest possible sense.

    Without the government to crack open these cellar doors and crush the country with Shock and Awe, these profit opportunities wouldn’t exist.

    Now ultimately, using Baronius’ India as an example, the better option would be for the government to simply serve as a sluice gate for capital rather than as a distributor of the common good. A nice alternative, for you, would be the divvying up of education (vouchers have worked so well in New Orleans since Katrina, haven’t they?), health care, and just about every other component of public service known to man to those “more competent” private corporations to handle.

    We all know the massive amounts of success the corporations have had handling public works, too. Energy, for instance, surely is a modern success story in corporate control. Enron, for instance, really showed that it knew how to put the people first.

    Sarcasm aside, do you really think this sort of thinking is best for the majority of Americans and their interests as individuals raising families in tough economic times? Do you really think “small government” can exist with so many hands in the pockets of politicians? And do you really think stripping public services of their basic components (fair wages, unions, etc.) and offering them over to bidders around the world will help provide jobs and support for Americans?

    Better question: do you care? Or is it about being a non-statist first and a human being second?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    cannonshop,

    I can’t help but mention this to you.

    The new “buzz” word rolling down the pike at us now-via George Will, is “Envy.”

    I want to talk about this word, here. Where people, besides us, will read it.

    Envy is, a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, possessions, etc.

    an object of envious feeling: Her intelligence made her the envy of her classmates.

    Obsolete. ill will. I take this to mean that, this word, no-longer refers to feelings of ill will?

    There is another word called, “jealousy,” and the meaning of that word, differs from this word, “envy.”

    enviousness.Envy and jealousy are very close in meaning. true, but, still not the same word.

    Here is why:

    Envy denotes a longing to possess something awarded to or achieved by another: to feel envy when a friend inherits a fortune. ENVY is a natural felling, if you don’t feel the slightest pang of envy, you might not be breathing, check your pulse!

    Jealousy, on the other hand, denotes a feeling of resentment that another has gained something that one more rightfully deserves: to feel jealousy when a coworker receives a promotion. Jealousy also refers to anguish caused by fear of unfaithfulness.

    To resent. Envy, begrudge, covet refer to one’s attitude toward the possessions or attainments of others. To envy is to feel resentful and unhappy because someone else possesses, or has achieved, what one wishes oneself to possess, or to have achieved: to envy the wealthy, a woman’s beauty, an honest man’s reputation.

    To begrudge is to be unwilling that another should have the possessions, honors, or credit that person deserves: to begrudge a man a reward for heroism. To covet is to long jealously to possess what someone else possesses: I covet your silverware. Is a bad thing.

    So, to long for the same-opportunities in this country that the wealthy and their offspring enjoy and covet so tightly is not a bad thing, really.

    To long for circumstances to improve in your personal lives and your family’s future is, actually a noble cause and something, well-worth, fighting for.

    I do not, hide in the corner of the room, plotting to take all that you posses away!

    Just because I envy your fortunate lives, does not mean that I am pettily and jealously, lusting after them.

    This language that we use is very confusing and misleading…And I suppose for some, that’ a good thing, and for others, devastating!

    :] I hope I am not insulting your intelligence, hurting your feelings, or rejecting you-in any way. I am merely talking about this word “ENVY.”

    I have a feeling we are going to hear it, read it, and speak it soon enough.

    I started out this day having to explain away, all the misconstrued elements in my comments…ancient history now for both of us, but maybe not for others here.

    I am just , so happy ! That you understood where I was coming from ,cannonshop.

    After all, I was speaking directly towards you.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    cannonshop,

    Our views are not so different when it comes to a lot of things, especially education.

    What we support isn’t that different- you like Public Education, I want Public Education to actually WORK (as in, turning out people who can read, do math, and apply the scientific method-the three cornerstones, imho, of what should come out of our schools.) WE have desperately different, I suspect, ideas on what’s wrong with Public Education-the competition of ideas may result in real solutions, I think.

    First of all, if we want children to learn how to read, write and spell, then we better take away their cell-phones!

    They don’t call each-other ,they, text each-other. I haven’t heard my daughter’s phone ring in years!

    What they text is not even whole words or sentences,and this is really screwing me up; I am playing catch-up now with the primary ed that I was allowed to skip as a child.

    So, add that to a public school system that tries to think of itself as a for-profit-corporation, and you have the recipe for a real future-disaster.

    The administration is paying itself enormous salaries compared to the teacher in the trenches; they enjoy, fully staffed offices, catered lunches-on many occasions They ought to eat the same food that they have now out-sourced into the cafeterias., and conference trips to nice places like Vegas, NYC, and Washington. Want to save some money? Cut some of this pork. There is a new way to communicate with each-other called conference calls.

    In our state, 30% is skimmed right off of the top of the budget. What’s left? Not enough!

    As nieve as I am, I really believed that by the year 2010, every child would have had a PC sitting on their desk.

    :]

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Envy is, a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, possessions, etc….

    Jeannie, in this article, Jeannie DeAngelis talks about one woman’s envy of another. Enjoy yourself. Only a woman could write an article like this….

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Ruvy,

    If we all didn’t posses a tad amount of healthy envy, we wouldn’t achieve much in this world.

    No matter what my Catholic church professes, “To want is not to sin, to covet is.”

    I believe, that the Catholic church should sell off an enormous amount of its accumulated wealth and really live as Christ taught.

    :] just saying it out-loud.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Jeannie!

    You’re a Phantom girl! Cool! I remember watching one launch off the Ranger back in the mid-eighties. To me, the Phantom was – except for the Tomcat – the coolest-looking fighter jet in the air.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Glenn,
    86 AGS, MA, that was me! seems like yesterday

    I worked on the flight-line at Ramstein, and, those little fighters were so tiny that some of my co-workers used to have to ask me to lend them a hand, literally!

    :] See? I’m in your corner , in more ways than one!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    I did not put the derogatory label on statist, you did. To me a statist is someone who relys on the state to fix things, make the playing surface level (income redistribution), instruct our morality, or fight wars when we don’t like other countries or their leaders, etc… It is a philosphy that says government should fix all things from the suffering in Haiti, to universal healthcare, to educating our young. I am non-statist in that I believe government can do very little well, primarily because it lacks the profit motive which is so prevalent in the free-market.

    So…how many corporations do we see spending tens of millions to relieve the suffering in Haiti? Oh! My bad – there’s no profit in it, so just let ‘em die, right? That’s REAL good, guy.

    When it comes to health care, why is it that on the list of nations ordered by life expectancy, we’re in thirty-seventh place…and the top twenty-seven ALL have some form of universal health care? Learn to make your judgements as to what works and what doesn’t work…on the overall RESULTS. “By their works shall ye know them”, y’know?

    And as for education…do you realize that in all of human history there is NO example of all the children of a nation being provided education unless the government of that nation provided that education? In most of human history even through most of the twentieth century, education HAS been a product of the ‘profit motive’. That’s why most people were functionally illiterate before governments began providing education for all the children…because without free education provided by the government, only a minority of the people could afford to send their children to school!

    You see, Kenn, that’s the problem with many conservatives – they refuse to learn the lessons of history. They might know history (as Dave certainly does), but they do not understand history and would sentence us to repeating the harsh lessons of the past.

    And one more lesson you need to learn – rhetoric sounds nice, gets your blood pumping, and brings together people for action…but hold that rhetoric up to the harsh light of history, and then you’ll see whether that rhetoric is gold…or simply fairy dust.

  • STM

    Kenn: “How many countries are in the EU? But, each one of those countries is no where near the U.S. in GDP. it is a ridiculous comparison.”

    It’s not a ridiculous comparison at all. Most of the states of the EU are small in population and would have similar GDPs to corresponding states, or perhaps groupings of states, in the US. So you’re wrong again.

    What’s the population of the EU and the population of the US?

    Fair share is a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work and fair recognition that it’s the workers who produce real profits for business, not people shuffling bits of paper on the financial markets.

    You’re just full of brown stuff Kenn.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “I am non-statist in that I believe government can do very little well, primarily because it lacks the profit motive which is so prevalent in the free-market.”

    This is the most preposterous thing I’ve ever heard – to claim there are no other or better motives than the profit motive. It goes to show the length to which some will go to defend their political philosophy and personal belief-system. That otherwise intelligent women or men would really believe such a thing only shows either plain disingenuity or the extent to which they’ve become twisted.

    What of all the artists and poets who left works for eternity yet died pennilles? Was Michelangelo or Dante, Beethoven, Mozart and Bach?

    I surely would like Kenn to explain how any of these people would have produced better works just for the money.

  • Baronius

    Jordan, I don’t have the exact numbers, but this graph shows India’s declining absolute poverty rate during the period of deregulation. Believe me, I wouldn’t want to live in India, and I sure wouldn’t want to be poor there. But you asked for examples where deregulation helped the poorest, and by definition those are going to be places which had a lot of regulation and poverty. No country has gone from Haiti to France in 36 hours. India has accomplished a lot in a fairly short time.

  • STM

    Kenn: “I subscribe to John Locke’s version (there are many) that humans have a god or nature given right to pursue ends that allow them to enjoy, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (sometimes referred to as property).”

    And where do you think Locke got his ideas. The laws of England for a start, but it wasn’t new.

    Here’s one he drew on: The Liberty Of The Subject Act (1354), a statute of King Edward III that added due process to a passage of the Magna Carta (1215).

    “No man of what estate or condition that he be, shall be put out of land or tenement, nor taken, nor imprisoned, nor disinherited, nor put to death, without being brought in answer by due process of the law.”

    That pretty much covers life, liberty, property, a warning against unjust interference by the state and probably the pursuit of happiness if you look hard enough.

    If that looks similar to a couple of due process amendments in the US Constitition written 400 years later, that’s because it is. Yes, folks, you guessed it … forms the basis of a key pillar of the fifth amendment.

    I just get sick of Americans using this stuff to justify their bullshit when it only really counts if it’s positive law (which is what the constitution is), and of course this then becomes law made by man.

    Once you recognise this obvious truth and subscribe to it, that’s a form of statism in the moral and legal sense, if not the economic.

    Kenn, I hope you don’t subscribe like many Americans to the notion that the founding fathers snapped their fingers and made this stuff appear out of thin air.

    Neverthless, being anglo-celtic and a descendent of the nation that first explored the application of natural law to its citizens through postive law (either by convention of statute) in the modern era and based its entire political system on it (including the stripping of all real power from the monarch and turning the office into an executive rubber-stamp job), I agree with you about natural law and nothing will convince me otherwise that it forms the basis of political thought in the anglo-American tradition of governance.

    I don’t think it covers ripping off your mates, though, which is why I don’t believe it covers corporations. That’s stretching it just a bit too far, and having governments (elected by the people) legislate to rein in corporate greed and protect jobs and workers’ conditions is actually one of the positive things a government can do for its citizens, most of whom do not have a genuine voice (and yes, that’s in the US too).

    But you still haven’t answered my questions BTW about why, if this so-called “communistic” stuff has killed the US, the first-world developed socialist bogeymen in Europe and Australasia who have managed to combine “socialism” with free-market capitalism have come out of this GFC in a far better place than the US – and far better placed too.

    It kind of shoots your argument down in flames. Which is why I think it’s a lot of nonsense and even more disingenuous when you describe it as the view from abroad.

    The view of one American living abroad perhaps … but that’s about it.

  • STM

    Baron: “India has accomplished a lot in a fairly short time.”

    Yes, and when it comes to improving the lot of the poor and building their giant middle class, they have legislated for it through many Acts of parliament that could best be described as social engineering.

    Financial deregulation only goes a certain way, as they have recognised.

    Mind you, it’s all relative. I wouldn’t want to be poor in India either. Even the average wage for the middle class, while good by Indian standards, is pretty bloody low. Last time I had a discussion with an Indian migrant to Australia, he was telling me that while he’s earning about $US150,000 a year in Australia, he was on a wage of about $20,000 a year in India, which was considered quite good.

    Earning $150,000 a year in Oz, especially in Sydney or Melbourne, and while a decent wage, isn’t considered that high. I realise you can do a lot with that $20,000 in India, but still, maybe this isn’t a great comparison, Baron.

  • Mark

    Individuals, and groups (…since they are made up of individuals) have this right.

    Kenn, I see no compelling logic here. Please explain.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It’s the same illogical leap that Franco is guilty of, compliments of Mr. Bastiat.

  • Baronius

    Roger, please reread the “no personal attacks” policy.

    STM & Jordan, I don’t know if there are any countries that have prospered on all levels while deregulating and cutting the governmental safety net. That’s a very specific combination. From what I’ve seen, countries first deregulate, then prosper, then expand their social programs. Whether the poor are helped by the growing wealth or the redistribution of wealth, well, you’d need a good econometrician to tell you. If I recall correctly, the original question was about deregulation and widespread prosperity, and I gave a few examples.

    There are also countries that serve as counterexamples, or at least interesting cases. Saudi Arabia has managed to do nothing good with its wealth, and it’s a tightly-controlled society. Post-war Japan tried an export-oriented strategy by pushing certain highly-regulated industries, and found success in the industries they weren’t regulating so closely. In China, you’re free to move capital around, but they shoot you for doing stretching exercises, so I don’t know what that counts as.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Perhaps you can alert me to the error of my ways, Baronius.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Whether the poor are helped by the growing wealth or the redistribution of wealth, well, you’d need a good econometrician to tell you.

    Or you could just ask the poor directly. You’ll usually find them protesting in groups of 100,000 or trying to overthrow the govt. I’m sure they’d be happy to take time to explain to you exactly how implementing free market measures effects them.

    Or you could just look at what it’s done to the US middle class.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It’s interesting, though, that when Baronius is presented with an insoluble dilemma, whether with respect to his own person or those whose views he shares, how quick is he to steer the conversation away from the topic and try to befuddle the issue.

    Good showing, Baronius. I guess nothing has changed, in spite of an occasional posting on your part which is reasonable and balanced. I suppose it’s true one cannot teach an old dog new tricks.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Great point, Cindy (#119).

    It reaffirms the earlier point by Jordan (see the last paragraph of #80 and my #100), namely, that some people “. . . are interested in capitalism as ‘science'; the numbers and the money hold truth for . . . [them].”

    Well, apparently Baronius is a proud member of this illustrious country club, relying on econometrics and technical analysis to reaffirm him in his belief that the poor of this world are getting better.

    It wouldn’t occur to him, of course, to open his eyes and look.

    But then again, as I stated earlier, human poverty and misery are but natural consequences of stupid people making stupid mistakes. How else are they going to learn if not from their mistakes? Only then, may they eventually become responsible for their own actions and truly productive members of society.

  • Baronius

    Roger, I wasn’t changing the subject. The question was about widespread prosperity and deregulation. The second question that I addressed wasn’t whether the poor are getting better, but whether the increased prosperity among the poor could be traced to increased wealth or increased distribution of wealth. You’ll note that I didn’t take an ideological stand on that question.

    On the other hand, Roger, three and a half of your last four comments haven’t contributed anything at all to the conversation other than needling people.

  • cannonshop

    Kenn, you’re wrong about something-there IS a “Profit Motive” in government, and what we see happening right now, is the outcome of that.

    “Profit” doesn’t just mean Cash. cash is simply the ‘points marker’ at that level.

    The ‘Profit’ is in Power, and much power can be derived from pretending to address a crisis-particularly in a national state where voting is a major portion of the mechanism and the ability to do the same is broad.

    What there isn’t a “Profit” in this sense, is in resolving crises-there’s a lot in making a big show of ‘implementing resolutions’ ot the crisis, but actually solving it doesn’t expand the powers of government nearly as well, as finding ways to be very active while doing very little.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Cannonshop,

    You are absolutely correct. I was talking about profit motive in the old fashioned sense – where everybody wins not just the politicians and their buddies.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    That’s what I meant by changing the subject, Baronius, by talking about what you deem as my inappropriate behavior online.

    And no, I wasn’t needling people – what purpose would that serve – only drawing their arguments to their logical conclusions.

    It’s of course your call as to the contribution of my comments. Jordan, for one, didn’t think so.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    How many countries are in the EU? But, each one of those countries is no where near the U.S. in GDP. it is a ridiculous comparison.

    Hey, what happened to those goalposts we left around here?

    Things are so bad there that a few years back my wife was medi-vaced from Mali to France with a fractured disk in her neck and the airplane attendants in Paris told her that because of union rules and insurance liability they could not help her down and up the stairs off of and onto the plane.

    You have one bad experience and that proves the entire EU is a communist hegemony? Wow. Two for two on fallacies. Good going.

    I always hear “fair share” from statists. What is fair share anyway?

    It’s an ideal. Just as ‘life, liberty and property/the pursuit of happiness’ is an ideal.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “I was talking about profit motive in the old fashioned sense – where everybody wins not just the politicians and their buddies.”

    Very interesting twist, I should say. In effect, it amounts to dressing the laissez fair principle – God’s law applicable to fully-functional and productive societies – in a new garb:

    “Everyone wins, including the poor.”

  • cannonshop

    Roger, Baronius…

    now that you both have a mouthful of each other’s spine, could you guys stop this bickering,pretty please?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It’s a rather new role for you, Cannon, as conciliator. I would have never believed.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    But then again, as I stated earlier, human poverty and misery are but natural consequences of stupid people making stupid mistakes. How else are they going to learn if not from their mistakes? Only then, may they eventually become responsible for their own actions and truly productive members of society.

    Wow, where do I begin?

    Roger, oftentimes the poverty and misery is NOT because of one’s own stupidity or mistakes. Often it is because of someone else’s stupidity or mistakes…and I can give you clear examples of this all day long – Bhopal, the Iraq war, Rwanda, Jim Crow, Vietnam, the Holocaust, the Gulag Archipelago, the Great Leap Forward…do I really need to go on? It’s pretty scary when Bhopal is the least evil of the list.

    Yes, those who are not in poverty and misery are more likely to be more educated and less likely to make stupid mistakes. The difference, Roger, is NOT ‘intelligence’, but education…and even higher education doesn’t always help, since Ted Kaczynski and the woman professor who killed three colleagues earlier this week were both products of Harvard.

    So it’s not a matter of leaving the poor and miserable to bootstrap themselves up the ladder to success. It is a matter of giving them every opportunity (such as education and a decent social safety net) and removing every obstacle (such as prejudice and lack of health care). Yes, there will always be those who are poor and miserable…but as is evident in the countries that have higher standards of living than America (every one of which is a democracy that is more socialized than America’s), we don’t have to have so many relegated to poverty.

    Roger, please don’t confuse compassion for others with stupidity, as the conservatives would have you do.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Glenn,

    Please give me some credit.

    I was parodying the thinking of Mr. Kenn Jacobine.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Rog –

    Sorry – I should have known better. Open mouth, insert Nike.

    Speaking of which, in the Philippines, one of the local delicacies is chicken’s feet. You know what they call them? Adidas. And I’m not kidding.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    That’s cute.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Glenn,

    I always look for your comments at BC. You are an intelligent voice, that is necessary and needed here.

    :] and, Thank You for your comment!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Thanks, Jeannie – and I do appreciate it when you and Roger keep me from going beyond the pale.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    It’s a rather new role for you, Cannon, as conciliator. I would have never believed.

    Indeed. I can’t think of many incidents which would be more disconcerting, unless it was Arch telling us that maybe pro-choicers aren’t all that bad, or Dave identifying an Obama policy that he doesn’t think is socialist.

  • STM

    “Things are so bad there that a few years back my wife was medi-vaced from Mali to France with a fractured disk in her neck and the airplane attendants in Paris told her that because of union rules and insurance liability they could not help her down and up the stairs off of and onto the plane”

    Doc, you missed a key issue here: Neck injury.

    Kenn, do you have any understanding of why that might have been so. Didn’t the words “neck injury” mean anything, or did you think moving such a patient was the same as moving someone with a broken finger?

    If she’d had a busted arm or leg, it might have been a different story.

    In this country, anyone with a neck injury is not touched by anyone who has no medical/trauma/med.emergency training.

    You only have to screw up slightly and a neck injury patient is in a wheelchair for life. Perhaps you should be glad those awful socialist Froggies didn’t want to take that chance.

    No, but someone did eventually get to help her, right?? The ambulance officers or the medical team, possibly … you know, the ones who are trained to do such things.

    Anyway, how come you went to France, that hot bed of “communistic” socialism to get treatment?

    And did the French or Malinese taxpayer contribute anything to this, and if so, did you object to the statism, offering instead to pay your own way entirely?

    Kenn, there are a lot of non-Americans on this site and your nonsense won’t wash on us because we can see it for what it is.

    You might fool a couple of your own countrymen – those who subscribe to a deluded world view – but most of your own folks are smart enough to see through it too.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    STM,

    I’d hate to be on the receiving end of your counterattacks. You do have a way of wearing the opponent down.

    By the way, I mean it as a compliment. I just don’t think I could do it.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Glenn,

    It’s hard to swim up-stream.

    :) Keep on swimming, little salmon, you’ll make it!

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Yes, ethnocentrism.

    It’s what America does best.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Glenn,

    “So…how many corporations do we see spending tens of millions to relieve the suffering in Haiti? Oh! My bad – there’s no profit in it, so just let ‘em die, right? That’s REAL good, guy.”

    The liberalism that you and others have espoused on this discussion is all based on emotion and not logic or reason. If I own stock in a company why would I want it to donate money to something other than a profit making venture. Companies exist to make money for their owners – period. I can always join an organization that provides aid to situations like Haiti’s and donate to it on a monthly basis. This is the same reason that our government should not be donating/rebuilding Haiti. It doesn’t have a right under natural law and consequently the Constitution which is based on natural law to take money from one and give to another simply out of need. There are equal amounts of poverty in Africa but I don’t hear you advocating enormous amounts of aid and rebuilding by our government there? Where would the line be drawn? – at the point where we are all poor also? Well we are already there with the mountains of debt we have.

    As individuals we have a moral obligation to help the downtrodden but not through coercion (gov’t) (anti-natural law) but through our own volition and means.

    It appeals to the heart to say we should help the poor in any way possible and easy to paint as selfish and heartless those that disagree with your means to help them. But, you base your position (really the advocacy of theft) on emotion and not logic. Because if we don’t pay our taxes the feds will come get us with guns and either shoot us or put us in jail. They will take our money and give it to whomever they feel has need. If you say that it is just because it is legal – I would remind you that slavery was once legal. I think that more people are awakening to these truths. It is telling when people begin to fly airplanes into government buildings that host the IRS. It is tragic that the pilot was driven to that. Perhaps all of this is coming to a head. Maybe that is why you guys on this thread have been so defensive to the point of being irrational about your position because it is coming under intense attack. The ultimate irony is that the guy who ran on change will be mostly responsible for the change he didn’t want.

    I want you to know that I don’t take any criticism personally. I hope you don’t either. We have a strong disagreement of opinion. I am thankful for the debate on this site

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The irrationality that you’re attributing to the Left, Kenn, is nothing compared to your political philosophy whereby human misery and suffering are the natural consequences or people’s mistakes, people who are too stupid to know better – of God’s law, in other words, governing the proper workings of human societies.

    Perhaps you ought to be taking some of the comments here personally because in my case at least, this was the intent. Only then it might make a dent that incorporating the vision of “the other” in the ever more complex world we live in not “irrational” as you choose to call it but in fact a necessary aspect of seeing and understanding this world – necessary perhaps to our survival as a species, never mind some kind of peaceful coexistence.

    It’s your looking through the eyes of econometrics, your seeing capitalism as a science and in terms of dollars and cents, as Jordan has so aptly put it and I seconded, it’s your hiding behind the legal niceties of rights of corporations without giving even a thought to the idea of corporate responsibility not just to stockholders (a rather obvious point) but to a society at large, it’s your constant attempt to whitewash the ugly reality, the brutal effects of capitalism in the raw and unchecked, your appeals to premises of political economy three centuries all that were considered dubious by some of the contemporaries even then – it’s all of this that makes your position “irrational” (you invoked the term, remember?) rather than criticism to which you have been exposed.

    And it’s apparent, Kenn, that you don’t know too much about sports, not to be able to tell the difference between being on an attack or on the defense – because you ARE being attacked, my friend, make no mistake about it, not personally of course, but for your obstinate views. At any rate, this was my intention, to make it personal in order to expose your position as ridiculous. I want you to take it personally, otherwise there’s no point. (I can’t speak for Jordan, Dreadful, of for STM).

    You’re free of course to keep on writing, it’s a free country. But you had better expect that many on this site will not tolerate nonsense and will do our best to expose it for what it is. As far as I am concerned, I’m doing public service.

    Better luck next time.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    three-centuries old . . .

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn –

    Why is it that every country that has a higher standard of living than America is also more socialized than America?

    Why is it that America – with the very best health care in the world (for those who can afford it) – is 37th on the list of countries by life expectancy…and the top twenty-seven countries on that list all have ‘socialized’ medicine?

    This is a matter of paradigms – the conservative paradigm and the liberal paradigm. Which paradigm has given the better results? Not just for the rich, mind you, but for the country’s population as a whole?

    Don’t give me your rhetoric. Give me the results, the proof that your particular worldview (which I believe is shared by most libertarians and conservatives) is better.

    One more thing – when I was young, ‘socialism’ was a dirty word, no different than communism…as in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. But real socialism had as much to do with the USSR as democracy has to do with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). I’ve since learned that real socialism – like that practiced in moderation by the British Commonwealth and most of Western Europe – is better for the people as a whole.

    How do I know this? Because of the results.

    Results, Kenn. Judge not by the rhetoric, but by the results.

  • Kenn Jacobine

    Glenn,

    We have a mixed system in the U.S. and my contention all along has been that a pure capitalist system is not only more just but would provide more wealth to be equally distributed. The problem is that our system has built the strongest economy of all time, but it is fraught with cronyism and political favors. Yes, tax breaks and loopholes and bailouts to corporations are a huge problem and have prevented an equalization of income. This is not capitalism. Additionally, we cannot forget how the Federal Reserve through its historic inflationary policies has robbed us of our purchasing power and savings. The Fed continues to monetize debt in the name of helping Haiti, the poor, national healthcare, etc, etc, etc, and in the meantime prices go up and the poor get poorer. I bet those socialized economies that out pace the U.S. in standard of living do not have as big a debt as we do per capita. And you have to count the unfunded liabilites of Social Security and Medicare of about $50 trillion.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn:

    We have a mixed system in the U.S. and my contention all along has been that a pure capitalist system is not only more just but would provide more wealth to be equally distributed.

    If you want a pure capitalist system, move to China. Capitalism is NOT a political system – it’s an economic system…and I defy you to show me ANY first-world country that has an economic system more capitalist than America’s. I can point out to you lots of third-world countries that are more capitalist systems than America’s, but there are NO first-world countries that are more capitalist than America already is. Why is that, Kenn?

    Betcha won’t answer….

    The problem is that our system has built the strongest economy of all time, but it is fraught with cronyism and political favors. Yes, tax breaks and loopholes and bailouts to corporations are a huge problem and have prevented an equalization of income. This is not capitalism.

    Hate to tell you this, but the ‘cronyism and political favors’ are NOT due to capitalism or lack thereof. It’s due to our lack of campaign reform. Lobbyists run amok through Washington D.C., and – thanks to the conservative activists on SCOTUS – corporations can spend essentially unlimited funds to support those they like, or get rid of those they don’t like. Welcome to the new American plutocracy, Kenn…and you can thank your conservative compatriots for it.

    Additionally, we cannot forget how the Federal Reserve through its historic inflationary policies has robbed us of our purchasing power and savings.

    Ah…so an illegal and unprovoked war in Iraq that has and will cost us FAR more than universal health care has nothing to do with it? If you’ll remember, Clinton handed Dubya a surplus that would have paid off our entire national debt by next year! But you know what happened? “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.” THAT, sir, was a quote from Dick Cheney.

    $400 Billion dollars per year – that’s how much we’re spending on the interest on the national debt. And conservatives bear 90% of the blame for it.

    The Fed continues to monetize debt in the name of helping Haiti, the poor, national healthcare, etc, etc, etc, and in the meantime prices go up and the poor get poorer.

    Kenn, I don’t know if you realize this, but the Fed does NOT determine how the government spends the money…and you still haven’t explained why it is that every country with a higher standard of living than America…is more socialized than America.

    I bet those socialized economies that out pace the U.S. in standard of living do not have as big a debt as we do per capita.

    Hey – “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter!” But how about doing the research to find out whether your contention is true? Instead of just saying ‘I bet’ as if that’s all the ‘proof’ you need.

    But I’d agree that we would have a better standard of living if we didn’t have such a huge national debt – “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter!” – and we’d also be better off if we didn’t spend as much on defense as the rest of the world put together.

    Think about it, Kenn – if we didn’t have a national debt (“Reagan proved deficits don’t matter”), and if we didn’t spend so obscenely much on defense (and I am retired military, mind you), then we could easily provide free health care for all, free education for all, and probably cut taxes to boot!

    “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.” That one phrase puts the lie to all the ‘fiscal responsibility’ claims of the conservatives.

    And you have to count the unfunded liabilites of Social Security and Medicare of about $50 trillion.

    And what you’re not counting on is that we have a system that protects the rich, that any income above $100K is NOT subject to FICA taxes, and if they were, Social Security would be quite solvent. And when it comes to Medicare, it provides care for the most expensive segments of the population and still operates with what, a two percent overhead?

    Learn this lesson, Kenn – the people in other countries are JUST AS HUMAN as we are. Yet despite the fact that we do indeed have the very best health care in the world (for those who can afford it), and despite the fact that we ALREADY spend nearly twice as much per capita on health care as does any other country on the planet, we are still thirty-seventh on the list of countries by life expectancy! If they can do it better than we can for half the price, then why can’t we? Answer me that!

    And the top twenty-seven countries on that list ALL have universal health care of one sort or another. We are the ONLY – repeat, ONLY – first-world democracy with ANY citizens who lack health insurance…and we’ve got nearly fifty million of them!

    These are FACTS, Kenn. These are FACTS. All your wonderful rhetoric will NOT change these FACTS.

    “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.” Cheney said that. Reagan also said, “Facts are stubborn things.” What I gave you above are FACTS. If you can’t respond with provable FACTS, then perhaps you should check to see if maybe, just maybe, just possibly what you’ve been taught all these many years by the conservatives…is wrong.

    It took me a long time to get away from the conservative mindset, too. It’s not an easy thing to do, because we’re taught that liberals are bad, evil, not worth the time of day, fit only to be ostracized by all real patriotic Americans. But my blinders have been removed, and it’s well worth the journey.

  • http://www.thecobraslair.com Cobra

    Glenn,

    You are an absolute JOY to read on this blog. I can’t really add a thing to your vivisection of Kenn’s arguments. I’d have no room, because STM’s mopping up whatever’s left.

    Outstanding.

    –Cobra

  • STM

    Kenn will still try to find some wriggle room though Cobra. Glenn doesn’t leave him any, but he’ll try …

    I suspect he has a Phd in bollocks.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cobra –

    Thanks! I have to admit, though, that if you see me post a long comment, then that means my wife’s not around to tell me to get my lazy such-and-such off the keyboard and back to work…and I will be eternally grateful for her….

  • cannonshop

    #144, Glenn, that question mirrors the same question two hundered years ago:

    “WHY does every country with a higher standard of living than the United States, Also have an Hereditary Monarchy? ‘Tis the lack of a KING that makes the bloody colonists lives so hard…”

    And at the time, it was, on its face, true. The period from 1789 (when England recognized U.S. Sovereignty) until sometime after the end of the Civil War, Europe had two things: Functioning Monarchies, and a Higher Standard of Living (at least, during peacetime.)

    It’s neither the benefits of socialism now, or the benefits of centralized monarchism and Mercantilism then, Glenn-or Fascism in the 1920’s and 1930’s. All of these, for a itme, produced a comfortable life in exchange for the sacrifice of freedom. It’s what they do, and for a time, it works…on the surface.

    (really, Monarchism and Feudalism, based on success rates, are the most durable systems out there, adn when you strip off the democratic trappings, that’s really what Socialism is-the government (Ruler) controls the means of Production and oversees distribution in theory for the benefit of all.)

    Feudalism, Monarchism, Socialism and Fascism have a broad margin of error built into them and rely largely on infantilizing their peasants/serfs/”Citizens”/Subjects as part of the mechanism for maintaining order-they concentrate power in the hands of an elite, and maintain it with policies that are remarkable in their similarity-the first ‘gun control’ was in Europe, and predates the widespread use of the Flintlock.

    Liberty, on the other hand, is a knife-edge, for it to work, the public must be aware and alert, knowledgeable and involved, and they must be capable of thinking critically and demanding explanations-even to the point of refusing to comply with instructions.

    Getting obedience? that’s easy, and as long as your ‘stewards’ aren’t corrupted to their eyeballs, it can provide a comfortable, civilized-seeming environment.

    Getting people to think and question? that’s HARD. Getting them to take responsibility is nearly impossible, moreso when they have legions ready to leap forward and declare excuses for why they shouldn’t be held accountable for their own actions, why they should not face the consequencs of their bad decisions, or why they should be excused their trespasses against others.

    The thing about concentrated, centralized power, is that inevitably, not only does it corrupt those closest to it, it also draws corrupt individuals to it, magnifying the effect, and centralized systems ALWAYS break down when the corruption gets wide-spread enough.

    Study your western history a bit. Everything you support has not only been tried Before, but has in the vast majority of cases ended badly for the common man as it has progressed. Rome broke itself on free bread and circuses, relying on barbarians for its defense against barbarians, and when the Goths finally took Rome, they were greeted as liberators by the ROMANS.

  • STM

    Cannon,

    Britain’s constitutional monarchy, which stripped the power of the monarch in 1688 and gave it to parliament as the elected representitives of the people, is actually far less monarchical and in my view the way it is practised in other parts of the commonwealth, a far more democratic system of governance than the US system.

    The Queen currently fulfils the same executive role as a president of the US, but has far less power. She is bound by convention (which in Britain’s unwritten constitution is law) to acquiese to what the Government requires – provided the government is not acting unconstitionally.

    Don’t confuse the absolute monarchies of continental Europe with what the British did to protect the rights of their citizens 100 years before the US did the same thing.

    It’s still my view that the American revolution wasn’t about gaining freedom from oppression – the American colonists were far from an oppressed people – but about a key group of wealthy, powerful Americans maintining and strengthening their grip on wealth, power and prestige.

    I also don’t believe that it’s any coincidence that it came a couple of years after the freeing of James Somersett, a slave “owned” by a colonist and freed before being shipped to Virginia, after the ruling in the Court of King’s Bench in London that effectively set the ball rolling for the emancipation of slaves and ultimately the banning of slavery by the 1830s in the British empire.

    For all their long, loud, hard, crying about freedom from oppression, liberty (an English catchcry long in use there), and all men being born equal, that was only true in the fledgling republic if you were rich and white and owned land. Ordinary Americans couldn’t even vote for many decades.

    If you were black, forget it. It took till the 1960s for that to BEGIN to change.

    And it still makes me wonder how men like Thomas Jefferson and some of the other founding fathers can be held up as beacons of liberty and freedom when they kept their own businesses running through slaves. At the very least, I’d bet many others had black servants.

    There’s something that doesn’t quite jell there in that message given the circumstances. Some thing I can’t reconcile with the myth of American exceptionalsim.

    IMO, Americans need to cut down the myth and start looking at the truth of their own history before it all comes back to bite them on the arse.

    The same way it bit the British on the arse, and bit us on the arse.

    So, no, standards of living don’t have anything to do with monarchs and feudalism.

    They have everything to do with compassion for one’s fellow human being.

    But not just lip service. Rights mean diddly squat if they are just empty words on a piece of paper (a good piece of paper, though, I’ll give you that) written 200 years ago by a bunch of old fat white farts who managed to set up a system of governance that was near identical in function and not that different in form to the one run by the old fat white farts they sought to break away from.

  • STM

    I’m a bit fired up … I just watched Cry Freedom on Pay TV (it’s nearly 1am Monday here), the story of South African newspaper editor Donald Woods, who took up the Steve Biko case in apartheid South Africa before the Afrikaner regime was dismantled.

    It’s no coincidence that the same way the anti-slavery movement grew to epic proportions in London and Edinburgh from the late 1700s, in South Africa, English-speaking whites and the British people and their government were among those at the forefront of the anti-apartheid movement.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    C-shop –

    You’re using a false argument. Compared to Britain at the time, we were a third-world country. We did not have comparable firepower or even a fraction of Britain’s industrial base. What we did have was the all-important logistical advantage – and the assistance of a superpower who opposed the British (France)…which is why we lost in Vietnam. They had that all-important logistical advantage and the assistance of a superpower who opposed us (the Soviets). It really is not much of a stretch to compare our victory in the Revolutionary war to the Vietnamese victory in the Vietnam war…and personally, I think the Vietnamese have earned our respect – they certainly paid the dearest of prices for it.

    Back to the discussion, I used a valid comparison. I compared America’s standard of living, our life expectancy, our health care system, our educational system, and our crime rate to other modern first-world democracies…and in nearly every case we are found wanting despite our overwhelming advantages in GDP and superpower status.

    Is it really so bad, so evil, so ‘unpatriotic’ to objectively compare whose system is better, and to strive towards implementing the system that is better for the nation as a whole…even when that system is not what we have? Please answer that question, C-shop.

  • STM

    Of course, expanding on Glenn’s argument here, the other thing that a lot of Americans don’t realise is that the defeat at Yorktown did not end the war nor dent the British will to fight it.

    What happened was that the Whigs were elected to power in Westminster; they had always been supporters of American self-government, as opposed to George’s little right-wing coterie in parliament, and when George asked for more money to continue the war, they refused … essentially ending the war.

    Indeed, many Britons of the time who were able to register a vote – the same as in America, the most influential and the land-owning – had always been against fighting the colonists because they agreed with their right to self-govern. The war against America was unpopular with Britons not because Britons were getting killed but because it went against the English notion of Liberty that was espoused by many in the nobility and the liberal upper and upper middle/merchant classes of the time.

    Britons getting killed or suffering the odd military defeat has never stopped Britain from engaging in war, or continuing it. At the time of the revolution, they were still involved in a long war with France.

    The defeat at Yorktown didn’t help bolster pro-war sentiment, of course, especially since it was only achieved through the French, who were able to block supply to Cornwallis’s army, but it wouldn’t have been the end of the war had there not been a change of government in London.

    Considering Americans were dealing with a superpower of the era, the result might have been different had it continued.

    I think too that many Americans don’t realise that the founders of the fledgling republic very cleverly used Britain’s own democracy as the means to begin the whole process in the first place.

    Had America been settled by absolutist France, I’d bet London to a brick any anti-government sentiment would have been brutally squashed at the outset, and never allowed to brew.

    That is why at the time France and America made very strange bedfellows. The young America was fighting a democracy even the French enlightenment thinkers thought was one of the most enlightened systems of governance on the planet, whilst getting into bed with cruel, absolutist, intolerant France.

    I still think the circumstances surrounding the American revolution were built on one of the great lies and myths of modern history, and there are people more learned than me who hold the same view.

  • John Wilson

    Kenn #25:

    “Do juries and states have a right to nullify whole or portions of laws passed by Congress? This is what Obama’s aide said he will do – enforce only the portions he says are constitutional.”

    My understanding is that Signing Statements were legitimized to be used in cases where the president wants to resist being forced to enforce an unconstitutional law in the interval before a test case can be directed to the Supreme Court.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    STM –

    but it wouldn’t have been the end of the war had there not been a change of government in London.

    That’s what I dearly love – having my own ignorance being stripped away, particularly when it’s on a subject on which I felt I had sufficient understanding…and particularly when it runs 180-out to what I was taught in school.

    And when one compares the anti-war sentiment in 1770’s England with the anti-war sentiment in America two centuries later – and when one considers we were supported by absolutists France and Vietnam was supported by the equally absolutist Soviet Union – the parallels between our Revolutionary war and the Vietnam war are even stronger. The parallels will never be strictly equal, of course, for the differences thereof are legion, but the similarities should be enough to demand our respect of what the Vietnamese suffered…and achieved.

    What you said has the ring of truth, STM, and please accept my sincerest gratitude for it.

  • John Wilson

    Kenn #141:

    “The liberalism that you and others have espoused on this discussion is all based on emotion and not logic or reason.”

    So what’s illogical or unreasonable about emotion?

    Isn’t emotion, like hope, fear, love, etc., a perfectly logical evolved adaptation technique?

  • STM

    Thanks Glenn, but having said all that, I don’t believe that American independence was a bad thing. Of course, it was implicit Americans’ right to self-govern. But there was a bit more to it than that.

    Everyone benefits from a good, honest look at history … as you might have guessed, my favourite subject at school :)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Kenn #141:

    The liberalism that you and others have espoused on this discussion is all based on emotion and not logic or reason.

    Yeah, those FACTS in comment #146 are only emotional responses, right?

    Kenn, it’s good to listen to logic and to reason – but both can be twisted just as logic can. That, sir, is why I pay more attention to the FACTS, to the results than to the ‘logic’ or ‘reason’.

    Gather all the FACTS and then use those facts to guide your logic and reason…because if the logic and reason that you’re using don’t fit the FACTS…then your logic and reason are wrong.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #157,

    Very good point, John Wilson.

    Better be careful, though. What Kenn is trying to argue is that “liberalism” is an emotional reaction.

    Of course, he would exempt his own views from being similarly tainted.

  • STM

    Nah, that’s right … his views come from “natural rights” written down by men to become the laws of the state so that they then become part of the statism he claims to deplore.

  • STM

    If social engineering was good enough for the founding fathers, surely it’s good enough for modern America.

  • cannonshop

    #162 That conclusion strongly depends on the competence of the social engineers. OURS aren’t particularly competent (or we wouldn’t, collectively, be IN this mess.)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    C-shop –

    You’re effectively saying “we can’t…because we simply can’t. Never mind that the rest of the free world CAN, we just can’t because we’re America, and Americans just aren’t competent enough to make it happen.”

    The really sad thing is…this is not the first time I’ve heard a BC conservative make the argument that we can’t do it because we’re not as capable as the other countries.

    I’m sorry, but I can NEVER accept that we canNOT do as well for our people as other free countries can.

    I would not accept such an explanation from a child, and I will not accept such an explanation from you. You’re better than this, C-shop…hold yourself to a higher standard!

  • http://www.examiner.com/public-policy-in-pittsburgh/executive-orders-and-the-u-s-constitution Pat O’Malley

    This is a load of crap.
    Your writing is abysmal and your research is nonexistent.
    Your “facts” are wrong.
    You didn’t bother to check ANYTHING.

  • Def

    Are you sure that Obama’s policies are popular?