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Libertarianism: A Critique

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Unlike both conservatism and modern liberalism, libertarianism is not at all difficult to define. Highly ideological in nature, it hinges upon the fundamental belief that the government should play absolutely no role in either the social or fiscal aspects of one’s private life. Technically a form of minarchism, minimalist anarchism, it also holds firm that the federal government should not expand its reach, or even exist, beyond the most basic of its textually designated constitutional roles.

Often the subject of derision by those on the left and right alike, libertarians, generally speaking, incorporate the most radical of conservatism’s laissez-faire economical ideas with modern liberalism’s decidedly noninterventionist stances on social matters. While its core principles have been in existence for centuries, the libertarian political philosophy rose to prominence in the United States during the 1970s, in which scores of mostly  young men and women, disillusioned with the results of the previous decade’s social revolution, opted to seek a bold new alternative to what was being offered in the American political arena. Despite initially attracting an impressive amount of attention and managing to retain the interest of millions as the years passed, it never did attain a significant amount of electoral power in the twentieth century.

In the latter half of the 2000s, however, these bad fortunes experienced a dramatic turnaround as a massive outcry about fiscal mismanagement in the public sector developed. A large number of conservatives running on libertarian fiscal platforms found success in the 2010 midterm elections; some even argued that libertarianism was on the verge of replacing traditionalist conservatism as the dominant force in right-of-center politics. Whether or not this is true remains to be seen, but factoring in libertarianism’s quizzical peacenik-isolationist national security planks, it would seem highly unlikely.

Perhaps it can be said that libertarianism’s greatest strengths are also its most crucial  weaknesses. For instance, a zero-tolerance policy against government regulation of the economy at any level might sound attractive in theory, but one must wonder where we would be as a country without antitrust laws, which were designed to prevent destructive monopolies created by large multinational corporations. Also, without efficient, effective programs put in place to combat the threats posed to us by enemies both at home and abroad, how could any focus be put on building a functional, dynamic economy? It would be tremendously difficult to do such a thing while our well being is at the mercy of hostile powers. In a nutshell, libertarianism is surely a breath of fresh air for the often rank American political process, but nonetheless dangerously immature in far too many regards to be the school of thought needed to restore comprehensive prosperity for the United States.

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About Joseph F. Cotto

  • Cannonshop

    This has been a really interesting series of articles, Mr. Cotto.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    But the underlying principle of libertarian thought – essentially that the smaller the government, the better – is a flawed premise.

    Why? Because the greater the population, the greater the size of the government that will be needed to govern that population.

    Think about it – a small population can be governed by a simple set of laws, but a larger population is necessarily comprised of a greater variety of people…and with this greater variety of people comes a greater variety of beliefs, skills, advantages, disadvantages, etc.

    For instance, if all America were of one race, one ethnicity, there’d be little need of anti-prejudice laws…but we have many races and many ethnicities, and so we need protections against prejudice. The same goes for having one religion versus many…and – more currently – different sexualities versus straight homosexuality.

    In the time of the Founding Fathers, we didn’t need a comprehensive set of protections against corporations…but now we do. At that time, we didn’t need protections against online crime and identity theft…but now we do. We didn’t need protection against financial schemes such as derivatives…but now we do. At that time, we didn’t need to regulate gas drilling known as ‘fracking’…but now we do since it apparently causes small earthquakes (up to 5.0 in Arkansas). At that time, we didn’t need to track over-the-counter medication sales to prevent the manufacture of meth, and we didn’t need to track the sales of fertilizer to prevent the manufacture of Oklahoma City-style bombs…

    …but now we do.

    Again, as a population grows and as technology and culture progresses, more legislation and regulation is absolutely necessary, for progress and diversity takes cultures in directions never imagined by the Founding Fathers.

    This is what the libertarians do not understand, and so exemplifies the basic flaw in their philosophy.

  • There has never been a ‘pure’ libertarian government anywhere in the world. This gives some libertarians the appearance of starry-eyed idealists tilting at windmills. More negatively, this can take the form of ‘purity tests’ for politicians.

    This has the effect of sabotaging any practical attempts at problem solving that involve compromise. In other words, a good philosophy for starting arguments with; not so great for governing.

  • Clavos

    Again, as a population grows and as technology and culture progresses, more legislation and regulation is absolutely necessary, for progress and diversity takes cultures in directions never imagined by the Founding Fathers.

    I don’t buy that completely, but in any case, more laws don’t have to result in more government employees. They now outnumber private sector employment, and that is decidedly not a good phenomenon; government employees produce nothing and do not generate revenue, they consume it instead, usually with dubious benefit to society.

  • zingzing

    “They now outnumber private sector employment…”

    is that true?

  • Walt G

    Most libertarians favor minimal, not “absolutely no role in either the social or fiscal aspects of one’s private life.” Of course, by minimal we mean very little.

    Libertarians also favor a strong national defense as opposed to international intervention.

    Also, it’s amusing that you fear monopolies when they largely rise from a government mandate.

    To me a simple philosophy is a refreshing aspect to libertarianism. Easy to track results and harder for politicians to squeeze in opportunities for corruption.
    It is also easy to agree or disagree with, as opposed to the ever changing laundry list platforms of Democrats and Republicans.

  • Walt G

    Glenn Contrarian points out the problem many have with a libertarian outlook: they believe freedom is a frightening prescription and that all those other people need a good, strong grip on the back of their necks.

  • Cannonshop,

    Thank you very much, though I have only scratched the surface.

    Glenn,

    While I disagree with a few points, that was a very thorough analysis. Nice work.

    handyguy,

    You are absolutely correct.

    Walt G,

    I have seen virtually nothing to indicate that mainstream libertarianism advocates for any government regulation in the economy at any level. You are right about some monopolies being created through government mandate, but others can develop naturally as well, which I am sure that you know. A simple philosophy can indeed be refreshing, and effective as well, which you noted, but also problematic if it is not dynamic enough to meet the incessant demands of our rapidly changing times.

  • What an asinine thread. No offense to any ass in particular.

  • Clavos

    zing #5:

    No, it isn’t, but the federal government is the biggest single employer in the country, and while the private sector suffers near double digit unemployment since the recession began, federal employment has risen by 10%.

    It’s easy to hire when you don’t have to worry about the bottom line.

  • Clavos

    Again, as a population grows and as technology and culture progresses, more legislation and regulation is absolutely necessary, for progress and diversity takes cultures in directions never imagined by the Founding Fathers.

    This is what the libertarians do not understand, and so exemplifies the basic flaw in their philosophy.

    Sez you. It’s not that Libertarians don’t understand, it’s that they don’t agree with your premise.

  • “For instance, if all America were of one race, one ethnicity”

    I am guessing Dan got all warm and tingly reading that line

  • zingzing

    oi. ok, well i had a nice long response to clavos’ #10, but it disappeared.

    anyway. to make it short, in a recession, when the gov’t promises jobs, it creates jobs. and those jobs are gov’t jobs. so i’m surprised the clavos is having a hard time figuring that out. that’s why the fed has grown. if you want the private sector to grow, make the private sector stop fucking itself.

  • zingzing

    and if you (clavos) meant that gov’t’s the single biggest employer, rather than larger than the entire private sector, i wonder how long that’s been true. i’d imagine it’s been that way for a while, and will continue to be so for as long as you live, no matter how much your ideas are paid attention to.

    walmart employs 2.1 million people. the current admin employs well above that just on a federal level. if you’re including all public jobs (fed, state and local), it’s inconceivable that a corporation could ever eclipse that, and probably for good reason.

    really, the federal gov’t has stuck between about 2.5 and 3 million employees since kennedy (the only going over was bush 1). so it hasn’t been growing that much, at least in terms of manpower.

    so i’m sure, given that walmart is about as huge as they get, there hasn’t been a bigger employer than the fed probably since clavos was born.

  • Clavos

    anyway. to make it short, in a recession, when the gov’t promises jobs, it creates jobs. and those jobs are gov’t jobs. so i’m surprised the clavos is having a hard time figuring that out. that’s why the fed has grown.

    Recession hasn’t a damn thing to do with it, zing, I’m surprised you haven’t figured that out zing; the damn government never stops growing.

    if you want the private sector to grow, make the private sector stop fucking itself.

    That’s rich. Now the private sector caused the recession? What happened to blaming Bush??? Isn’t he the antichrist — responsible for all the evil in the world???

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos and Walt G –

    In the time of the Founding Fathers, we didn’t need a comprehensive set of protections against corporations…but now we do. At that time, we didn’t need protections against online crime and identity theft…but now we do. We didn’t need protection against financial schemes such as derivatives…but now we do. At that time, we didn’t need to regulate gas drilling known as ‘fracking’…but now we do since it apparently causes small earthquakes (up to 5.0 in Arkansas). At that time, we didn’t need to track over-the-counter medication sales to prevent the manufacture of meth, and we didn’t need to track the sales of fertilizer to prevent the manufacture of Oklahoma City-style bombs…

    …but now we do.

    Both of you seem to think that we don’t need more government than we had back before the Industrial Revolution…

    …so, exactly how do we provide protection and enforcement of the styles listed in the above paragraph without government employees?

    And mind you, I can go on all day describing different scenarios against which the American PEOPLE – not corporations, but people – need against threats and problems that we never faced before. How would either of you provide said protection without government taking the lead in enforcement?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And for all –

    NO, government employment has NOT exploded in the past few years. If you’ll check this reference, you will see that the number of federal government employees went DOWN in the Carter years, went UP sharply during the Reagan years, DROPPED sharply in the Clinton years, remained relatively static during the Bush II years, and went up slightly in 2009…which was the last year for which Bush II submitted a budget.

    So…given the above information, it seems that the GOP has been foisting yet another lie on the American people, that it’s the Democrats who want BIG government with lots and lots of government employees…but in actuality, except for DUBYA (!), among the more recent presidents it’s the REPUBLICANS who actually put a lot more people on the federal government payroll!

  • Clavos

    Both of you seem to think that we don’t need more government than we had back before the Industrial Revolution…

    Didn’t say that, did I, Glenn? Always misinterpreting what I post; I’m convinced you do that on purpose, with the idea that if others see your misinterps, that’s what will stick in their minds, rather than my real meaning.

    My beef is not that the government is bigger than it was in the 18th century, it’s that it’s bigger (and much too goddamn intrusive in our private lives, not too mention way too expensive, inefficient, clumsy and just plain incompetent) NOW.

    And when are you going to answer my question to you on this thread, Glenn?

  • Walt G

    “And mind you, I can go on all day describing different scenarios against which the American PEOPLE – not corporations, but people – need against threats and problems that we never faced before”

    Start with a few and we’ll go from there.

  • Fear Not Freedom

    One of the things that is being overlooked in this critique of Libertarianism is that it allows for greater varieties of “government” on smaller scales and without the expensive and homogenizing effects of federal government. If Libertarianism ruled, we might see states or localities where there is prejudice/discrimination, or poverty, or other social ills (But there is no eliminating these, regardless of the level of government intervention. We will always be biased towards people who display whatever characteristics we value. We simply keep changing the categories that are “socially acceptable” bases for positive and negative discrimination). So things wouldn’t be utopian, but we would also see localities organized around common views and codes of behavior. People wouldn’t be forced to interact with others who don’t share their lifestyle and goals. Like could congregate with like (to the extent they wish) and those seeking diversity could congregate with others like them as well. We would have a more diverse nation with more possibilities for finding a place to fit in. We would also still have the right to voice out opinions, advocate for change, and vote. We could have more input regarding the activities that are allowed in our locality. Our neighborhoods, cities, and states would have a wider variety of “personalities” and if you actually value liberty and freedom of association, that shuld be okay, even if some people chose to set up a community that doesn’t appeal to you or that wouldn’t accept you as a member. Increasing freedom of association would decrease the need for laws against prejudice. And what you can make money at would be determined by the value of your “product” to consumers, not on the proscribed/proscribed list of “legitimate” occupations. Would this increase the potential risks we are exposed to? Sure. But it would also increase potential opportunities and reduce the need for a variety of “welfare” interventions that consume a lot of resources and still don’t solve the problem they were intended to address.

  • zingzing

    clavos: “I’m surprised you haven’t figured that out zing; the damn government never stops growing.”

    and i’m surprised you haven’t figured it out by now; say something enough times and it’ll always be true. still, the fed has maintained its waist line for the last 50 years, something that doesn’t fit in with your mantra. its at the state level that the bloat is occurring. huh. the state level. why does this not bother you?

    “Now the private sector caused the recession? What happened to blaming Bush???”

    bushco, etc, helped create the lax environment within which wall street went bonkers. do you really need everything to be so simple? they were both complicit. but you knew that.

    you’ve been acting childish lately. childish enough for me to notice. which is saying something.

  • Clavos

    the fed has maintained its waist line for the last 50 years…

    There is more than one kind of growth, zing.
    Compare today’s federal budget with the one 50 years ago.

    wall street went bonkers..

    And that caused the recession how?

    Was it not Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac who created all the derivatives with bad mortgage paper? Aren’t Fannie and Freddie federal entities?

  • zingzing

    “Was it not Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac who created all the derivatives with bad mortgage paper? Aren’t Fannie and Freddie federal entities?”

    ALL the derivatives? no. and yes, they are federal entities, but do you really think they’re the only institutions that went wrong? you seem to be forgetting a lot of things. are you really asking how wall street helped cause the recession?

    “Compare today’s federal budget with the one 50 years ago.”

    yes, there’s more actual dollars in it, but, other than the recent spike caused by the recession, it’s been very stable over the last 50 years (as a percentage of the gdp).

  • Clavos

    You’re right, zing, I forgot about the government’s pushing mortgage companies to grant mortgages to unqualified applicants.

  • Clavos

    the recent spike caused by the Obama administration,

    There. Fixed it for ya, zing.

  • zingzing

    “I forgot about the government’s pushing mortgage companies to grant mortgages to unqualified applicants.”

    which they were all too willing to do. it takes two, clavos. you seem to be forgetting that. why? are the mortgage companies/financial institutions really the unwitting victim of the government?

    “the recent spike caused by the bush administration”

    you could just as easily say that. but why were they spending the money? hmm? if you let wall street off the hook for their unethical, greedy behaviors, they’ll just do it to you again, and you’ll deserve it. to a certain degree, that’s what the bailout was, but you’re playing right along as well. i don’t know how you can yell and scream about “let them fail!” and then not put any blame on them. it seems ridiculous. there’s a massive disconnect in your thinking.

  • Cannonshop

    #26 When the choice is “Do it or we’ll shut you down” it’s not exactly free and willing, Zing. CRA contained punitive provisions for any lender who did not want to play ball, as well as carrots for those that did-and hey, how’s it go?

    Oh, yeah, if we remove the risk, and add punishments for not participating, is it still a free choice? Through guaranteeing the paper, AND sanctions for non-participation, the government was to a GREAT extent involved in the Mortgage crisis.

    The externality and Keynesian policy CREATED the bubble, and the crisis that followed, as well as generating the “Need” for the bailouts-which only ‘saved’ the economy if you accept the premise that it’s okay to retroactively change your estimates when your course of action has no impact, or the opposite impact, to what you claimed when you took your prescriptive course of action.

  • Boeke

    C’shop is wrong. It was private investors who undermined the original charter of FNMA. CRA was relatively ineffective. I have a longer monologues someplace that I’ll dig out the next couple of days.

  • Boeke

    I thought ‘libertarians’ were just republicans who’d become embarrassed over republican party politics.

  • zingzing

    funny. the cra was in affect for 30 years prior to the housing market bubble. and many economists and people in the know say that many, possibly most of the sub-prime/risky mortgages were offered by independent mortgage brokers (as in, not regulated by the cra).

    you’re looking for a simple explanation (it was the gov’t! it was the cra!) when there just isn’t one. whatever you reasons for doing so (political?), that’s a dangerous game to play.

  • Goldman Sachs was not ‘forced’ by the CRA to do anything. They got greedy on a massive scale. Ditto several other large firms. Fannie and Freddie were playing catch-up with the big investment banks, to try to please their shareholders, so they go into the derivatives game too, but later.

    Snaky mortgage companies weren’t ‘forced,’ either. They saw a way to make a quick buck, consequences be damned, made lots of questionable loans and then securitized the risk.

    I’ve actually not seen Clavos be that casually wrong with the facts before, just throwing out right-wing cliches, and ideologically blaming everything on government. Disappointing.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos #18 – answered on the other thread.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    zing –

    you’re looking for a simple explanation (it was the gov’t! it was the cra!) when there just isn’t one. whatever you reasons for doing so (political?), that’s a dangerous game to play.

    Quoted for truth!

  • Boeke

    That whole CRA thing was just a red herring dragged across the trail by desperate rightists.

    And C’shop, what “Keynsian policy” are you referring to?

  • I like to call myself a libertarian, but there really seem to be some nutjobs in the LP Party! Probably why I’m registered as an independant.

    Why can’t there be a party that takes the good from both of the other parties? Why is it that when I find a candidate that I agree with on fiscal policy he or she seems to be way out there when it comes to social issues? Or they’re birthers or truthers or some other kindofer. They’re so fucking out there! Or go the other way. Someone who believes you should be able to marry anyone you want, or abort whatever you want always seem to believe that everyone else should have to pay for those rights!

    Can’t there be a happy median?

    It seems to me that there should be plenty of people that would agree with someone strong on defense and the economy and who doesn’t give a rats ass about abortion or defining who marries who.

    I want a person to run for office that believes in EVERYTHING I believe in and I want the rest of you to vote for him or her. And don’t give me any shit about it either!

  • And for those of you arguing over who caused or created “the spike”. How’s this?

    “The recent spike caused BY THE GOVERNMENT.

  • zingzing

    andy, run for office and vote for yourself. simple, right? just like your reasoning on “the spike.”

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Andy –

    For one thing – as zing alluded to – you need to remove the scales from your eyes about the Big Lie we were all fed by Reagan, that government IS the problem.

    Government is not the problem, and never was. What IS the problem is that we have a government ruled by special interests and corporate money (see Citizens United). We have a government that’s not willing to make the tough choices that it made back in the 1950’s when we had a national debt even higher (relative to GDP) than it is now, raised taxes on the wealthy higher than they’d ever been, and nearly paid off the entire debt within a decade.

    But a certain group of people will tell you that raising taxes at all is a Very Bad Thing, never mind that the total tax burden on American citizens is lower now than it has been in half a century.

    I was just listening to Ron Paul this morning, who stated that he’d like to get rid of FEMA, that if someone’s caught in a disaster zone, that’s essentially their problem…which makes me wonder what he would have done when Katrina struck, or Homestead, Florida was wiped off the map.

    It all boils down to this – conservatives believe that the individual should be allowed to do whatever he wants, whenever, even if his actions are detrimental to society as a whole…

    …whereas liberals believe that “many hands make light work”, that if we work together (and yes, that includes (horrors!) taxes), we can make life better for the people as a whole…and it works! How do we know this works? Because every single first-world democracy works with what conservatives think are socialistic principles in taxes and social safety nets. What conservatives don’t get is that by providing a social safety net, you ENABLE more people to work and to prosper.

    On the other hand, there is not a single modern nation that works on libertarian principles. Not. a. single. one.

    The Chinese say that a rising tide raises all boats, meaning that if you take steps to make life better for everyone, everyone – including not only the poor but ALSO the rich – benefits. Which is why, despite the 90% tax burden on the rich back in the 1950’s, we not only nearly paid off the entire national debt, but we had ZERO rich people standing in soup lines.

    So that’s your choice, Andy – you can either buy into libertarian rhetoric that has worked NOWHERE outside of Ayn Rand’s novels…or the proven fact that those (horrors!) socialistic taxes and the safety nets they provide work in every single first-world democracy on the planet.

    Forget rhetoric. Go with what is proven to work, or do not. That’s your choice.

  • Clavos

    It all boils down to this – conservatives believe that the individual should be allowed to do whatever he wants, whenever, even if his actions are detrimental to society as a whole…

    That’s a lie, and you know it. No conservative actively and knowingly supports activities he/she believes to be “detrimental to society as a whole,” any more than you lefties do. Of course, opinions as to what is detrimental can and do diverge.

  • Boeke

    Of course conservatives think people should do what they want regardless of society. That’s why they support the $4billion tax subsidies to oil companies that result in $2.4billion wealth transfer to foreigner investors every year from US taxpayers. They don’t care about US society as long as they might get some small part of that from selling out.

    Indeed, doesn’t the rightist creed “always maximize profit” demand that? There’s nothing in it about being loyal or patriotic.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Is it detrimental to society to allow people to smoke whenever and wherever they like? Yes, of course it is. Is it detrimental to society to allow people to refuse to wear seat belts? Yes, of course it is…

    …because in both cases, not only are people injured/killed unnecessarily, but their families are adversely affected, and taxpayers all too often are forced to pick up the tab.

    Look at what Ron Paul said today as he was defending his claim that he would have voted against the Civil Rights Act:

    I believe that property rights should be protected. Your right to be on TV is protected by property rights because somebody owns that station. I can’t walk into your station. So right of freedom of speech is protected by property. The right of your church is protected by property. So people should honor and protect it. This gimmick, Chris, it’s off the wall when you say I’m for property rights and states rights therefore I’m a racist. That’s just outlandish.

    In other words, if Paul had his way, people would be able to, say, hire only white workers, or only Muslim workers…and they would be allowed to restrict people of other races or religions to be served in their businesses. Or their private schools. Or whatever.

    Would this be harmful to society as a whole? Certainly.

    I posted no lie…but in your reply, you evinced your own lack of understanding of the permutations of the conservative concept of ‘freedom’.

  • Clavos

    but in your reply, you evinced your own lack of understanding of the permutations of the conservative concept of ‘freedom’.

    You’re right. Not being a conservative, I have no idea.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    I didn’t say you did not know what a conservative believes. I said you did not understand the permutations of the conservative concept of ‘freedom’.

    But ‘permutations’ is probably the wrong word – my vocabulary is showing its shortcomings. I’m searching for the word that refers to where the implementation of a certain concept or philosophy will eventually lead….

  • Clavos

    I don’t agree with your premise, Glenn (surprise, surprise!!)

    Conservatives believe that I should be able to do what I want, without restriction or interference, so long as it doesn’t interfere with or abrogate your rights).

    On the other hand, liberals believe that if a contemplated action will have, in their estimation, a salubrious effect on society as a whole, they (or the government) have the right to interfere with my rights to realize that action. Case in point: Kelo vs City of New London, in which the city administration saw fit to seize private property (people’s homes) and turn the property over to a private developer who was proposing development which would result in much more tax revenue for the city, which was in dire need of additional revenue. Admirable as the end may have been, it didn’t justify the means, and violated the homeowners’ rights.

  • zingzing

    there must be more to kelo. i have a hard time believing that that law could have passed constitutional muster if it were that simple. (if not, it’s time to rip up the fucking constitution. it’s obviously a silly and useless thing that does not do what it is supposed to do.)

    so something tells me there’s more going on here, but i can’t really find it. having looked at a findlaw.com article on the case, it seems to be a miscarriage of justice, mostly because the supreme court lost sight of the people actually involved. they had nice waterfront homes that they wanted to keep. (and in the end, the “public good” that could have come of all this crap never materialized, making it all the more ridiculous.)

    the supreme court didn’t even think about the real live people involved, it just looked at what defines “public use.”

    from the article: “it has long been accepted that the sovereign may not take the property of A for the sole purpose of transferring it to another private party B, even though A is paid just compensation. On the other hand, it is equally clear that a State may transfer property from one private party to another if future “use by the public” is the purpose of the taking…”

    but, in this case, “use by the public” became “create jobs and income in and for the city,” which is a pretty lax definition of “use by the public” if i’ve ever seen it.

    anyway, i think they got this one pretty blatantly wrong, but i’m no legal scholar. that said, i can’t really find a convincing support for the supreme court’s decision, at least one that is written in terms that i can fully understand.

    i guess the silver lining is that in the wake of kelo, a vast majority of states now have laws that would prevent the use of eminent domain for economic development except to eliminate blight, pretty much making kelo the reason for a new set of homeowners protections.

    i have no idea why the liberals in the supreme court did what they did. but at the supreme court, they don’t really consider people. it’s all about the law up there sometimes, real world consequences be damned. that’s the price of precedent. but maybe there is a good argument for their decision. i dunno.

    but saying that all liberals would agree with the kelo decision isn’t true. sometimes individual liberals (or 5 of them) fuck up. it looks like that’s the case to me.

  • Clavos

    No question in my mind they screwed up, zing. But I do wonder whether they think they did?

  • zingzing

    well, as i said above, it looks to me like precedent was followed a little too closely. there’s nothing new in this case, at least according to the law. actually, that bit i quoted up above wasn’t just from the findlaw article on the case, it was also text from steven’s “opinion of the court.” here’s a little more from that: “This Court’s authority, however, extends only to determining whether the City’s proposed condemnations are for a “public use” within the meaning of the Fifth Amendment to the Federal Constitution. Because over a century of our case law interpreting that provision dictates an affirmative answer to that question, we may not grant petitioners the relief that they seek.”

    kennedy, in agreeing, said the following: “while there may be categories of cases in which the transfers are so suspicious, or the procedures employed so prone to abuse, or the purported benefits are so trivial or implausible, that courts should presume an impermissible private purpose, no such circumstances are present in this case.”

    o’conner, dissenting, says: “The Court’s holdings in Berman and Midkiff were true to the principle underlying the Public Use Clause. In both those cases, the extraordinary, precondemnation use of the targeted property inflicted affirmative harm on society. […] And in both cases, the relevant legislative body had found that eliminating the existing property use was necessary to remedy the harm. […] There is a sense in which this troubling result follows from errant language in Berman and Midkiff. […] In moving away from our decisions sanctioning the condemnation of harmful property use, the Court today significantly expands the meaning of public use.”

    from what it sounds like, the “liberals” seem to think they’re following precedent, which, as i’m sure you know, holds (sometimes too) much sway in the supreme court. in the end, they seem to say that nothing has changed, and this is the way it always was (new london certainly seemed to think so, as did the state courts). “the letter of the law,” and all that.

    the dissenting opinion, although it states that the precedent was misinterpreted, takes a more “spirit of the law” position, which is the one i’d agree with in this case, but that doesn’t often get much play in the almost always super-strict supreme court, especially in official opinions, but it’s much easier to use in dissenting opinions, because it doesn’t change anything (and you get off not looking like such a precedent-abiding bunch of pricks).

    so i don’t think they were trying to be evil, and it looks to me like the phrase “activist judges” gets a little bit of a boot here. i don’t think they wanted to kick this lady out of her home. no one wants that. they were forced by precedent. they’re supreme court justices, not real people…

    besides, you should be THANKING them. this case pointed out what many see as a flaw in the law, resulting in better protection for home owners (at least in 42 states so far). it was a flaw in state laws that lead to this, and they are now amended. that’s as good as you’re going to get unless you want to change the wording of the 5th amendment… which, given the 5th amendment’s wording, really should have never been a problem. but it was.

  • Clavos

    For the record, I don’t think they were TRYING to be evil, either, and I appreciate your obviously considered responses. And you’re right; we should be glad the case went the way it did because it appears to be having a positive effect in the end.

    Of course, Kelo and the rest of those folks in New London are probably not happy.

  • Okay Glenn, I agree, govt is not the problem. Politicians are the problem. But without them, there’d be no govt!

    And I’ve never heard one single republican call for anarchy, which is what you basically said they all believe in. Do what you want when you want to, no matter the consequences.

    And your perfect world scenario of everyone working together doesn’t work. I’ve been working for about 38 years now and I’ve never worked ANYWHERE that everyone pulled their own weight. Even in places where you’d think it would happen, like the navy.

    That’s the problem. That’s what a lot of people see. Folks with their hands out, not pulling their own weight. I understand that there are people out there that can’t pull their own weight, but there are plenty that can and just refuse to…

    And the reason no rich people stood in line in the early 30’s is because all the ones that lost all their money jumped out of windows in NYC!

    And, I’m not a big fan of Ron Paul..just sayin…

  • Glenn – my father sent me an email today that’s very appropriate to our conversation. I couldn’t verify the email on Snopes or anything, so I went straight to the source.

    The following is a list of California state agencies. Now, I’m not saying that all of these agencies need to be gone, but I am saying that there’s a point where govt goes to far in regulating our lives…

    These are all California State Agencies!

    California Academic Performance Index (API) * California Access for Infants and Mothers * California Acupuncture Board * California Administrative Office of the Courts * California Adoptions Branch * California African American Museum * California Agricultural Export Program * California Agricultural Labor Relations Board * California Agricultural Statistics Service * California Air Resources Board (CARB) * California Allocation Board * California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority * California Animal Health and Food Safety Services * California Anti-Terrorism Information Center * California Apprenticeship Council * California Arbitration Certification Program * California Architects Board * California Area VI Developmental Disabilities Board * California Arts Council * California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus * California Assembly Democratic Caucus * California Assembly Republican Caucus * California Athletic Commission * California Attorney General * California Bay Conservation and Development Commission * California Bay-Delta Authority * California Bay-Delta Office * California Biodiversity Council * California Board for Geologists and Geophysicists * California Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors * California Board of Accountancy * California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology * California Board of Behavioral Sciences * California Board of Chiropractic Examiners * California Board of Equalization (BOE) * California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection * California Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind * California Board of Occupational Therapy * California Board of Optometry * California Board of Pharmacy * California Board of Podiatric Medicine * California Board of Prison Terms * California Board of Psychology * California Board of Registered Nursing * California Board of Trustees * California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians * California Braille and Talking Book Library * California Building Standards Commission * California Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education * California Bureau of Automotive Repair * California Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair * California Bureau of Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation * California Bureau of Naturopathic Medicine * California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services * California Bureau of State Audits * California Business Agency * California Business Investment Services (CalBIS) * California Business Permit Information (CalGOLD) * California Business Portal * California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency * California Cal Grants * California CalJOBS * California Cal-Learn Program * California CalVet Home Loan Program * California Career Resource Network * California Cemetery and Funeral Bureau * California Center for Analytical Chemistry * California Center for Distributed Learning * California Center for Teaching Careers (Teach California) * California Chancellors Office * California Charter Schools * California Children and Families Commission * California Children and Family Services Division * California Citizens Compensation Commission * California Civil Rights Bureau * California Coastal Commission * California Coastal Conservancy * California Code of Regulations * California Collaborative Projects with UC Davis * California Commission for Jobs and Economic Growth * California Commission on Aging * California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers Compensation * California Commission on Judicial Performance * California Commission on State Mandates * California Commission on Status of Women * California Commission on Teacher Credentialing * California Commission on the Status of Women * California Committee on Dental Auxiliaries * California Community Colleges Chancellors Office, Junior Colleges * California Community Colleges Chancellors Office * California Complaint Mediation Program * California Conservation Corps * California Constitution Revision Commission * California Consumer Hotline * California Consumer Information Center * California Consumer Information * California Consumer Services Division * California Consumers and Families Agency * California Contractors State License Board * California Corrections Standards Authority * California Council for the Humanities * California Council on Criminal Justice * California Council on Developmental Disabilities * California Court Reporters Board * California Courts of Appeal * California Crime and Violence Prevention Center * California Criminal Justice Statistics Center * California Criminalist Institute Forensic Library * California CSGnet Network Management * California Cultural and Historical Endowment * California Cultural Resources Division * California Curriculum and Instructional Leadership Branch * California Data Exchange Center * California Data Management Division * California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission * California Delta Protection Commission * California Democratic Caucus * California Demographic Research Unit * California Dental Auxiliaries * California Department of Aging * California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs * California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Appeals Board * California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control * California Department of Boating and Waterways (Cal Boating) * California Department of Child Support Services (CDCSS) * California Department of Community Services and Development * California Department of Conservation * California Department of Consumer Affairs * California Department of Corporations * California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation * California Department of Developmental Services * California Department of Education * California Department of Fair Employment and Housing * California Department of Finance * California Department of Financial Institutions * California Department of Fish and Game * California Department of Food and Agriculture * California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) * California Department of General Services * California Department of General Services, Office of State Publishing * California Department of Health Care Services * California Department of Housing and Community Development * California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) * California Department of Insurance * California Department of Justice Firearms Division * California Department of Justice Opinion Unit * California Department of Justice, Consumer Information, Public Inquiry Unit * California Department of Justice * California Department of Managed Health Care * California Department of Mental Health * California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) * California Department of Personnel Administration * California Department of Pesticide Regulation * California Department of Public Health * California Department of Real Estate * California Department of Rehabilitation * California Department of Social Services Adoptions Branch * California Department of Social Services * California Department of Technology Services Training Center (DTSTC) * California Department of Technology Services (DTS) * California Department of Toxic Substances Control * California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) * California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVets) * California Department of Water Resources * California Departmento de Vehiculos Motorizados * California Digital Library * California Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Certification Program * California Division of Apprenticeship Standards * California Division of Codes and Standards * California Division of Communicable Disease Control * California Division of Engineering * California Division of Environmental and Occupational Disease Control * California Division of Gambling Control * California Division of Housing Policy Development * California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement * California Division of Labor Statistics and Research * California Division of Land and Right of Way * California Division of Land Resource Protection * California Division of Law Enforcement General Library * California Division of Measurement Standards * California Division of Mines and Geology * California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) * California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources * California Division of Planning and Local Assistance * California Division of Recycling * California Division of Safety of Dams * California Division of the State Architect * California Division of Tourism * California Division of Workers Compensation Medical Unit * California Division of Workers Compensation * California Economic Assistance, Business and Community Resources * California Economic Strategy Panel * California Education and Training Agency * California Education Audit Appeals Panel * California Educational Facilities Authority * California Elections Division * California Electricity Oversight Board * California Emergency Management Agency * California Emergency Medical Services Authority * California Employment Development Department (EDD) * California Employment Information State Jobs * California Employment Training Panel * California Energy Commission * California Environment and Natural Resources Agency * California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) * California Environmental Resources Evaluation System (CERES) * California Executive Office * California Export Laboratory Services * California Exposition and State Fair (Cal Expo) * California Fair Political Practices Commission * California Fairs and Expositions Division * California Film Commission * California Fire and Resource Assessment Program * California Firearms Division * California Fiscal Services * California Fish and Game Commission * California Fisheries Program Branch * California Floodplain Management * California Foster Youth Help * California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) * California Fraud Division * California Gambling Control Commission * California Geographic Information Systems Council (GIS) * California Geological Survey * California Government Claims and Victim Compensation Board * California Governors Committee for Employment of Disabled Persons * California Governors Mentoring Partnership * California Governors Office of Emergency Services * California Governors Office of Homeland Security * California Governors Office of Planning and Research * California Governors Office * California Grant and Enterprise Zone Programs HCD Loan * California Health and Human Services Agency * California Health and Safety Agency * California Healthy Families Program * California Hearing Aid Dispensers Bureau * California High-Speed Rail Authority * California Highway Patrol (CHP) * California History and Culture Agency * California Horse Racing Board * California Housing Finance Agency * California Indoor Air Quality Program * California Industrial Development Financing Advisory Commission * California Industrial Welfare Commission * California InFoPeople * California Information Center for the Environment * California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (I-Bank) * California Inspection Services * California Institute for County Government * California Institute for Education Reform * California Integrated Waste Management Board * California Interagency Ecological Program * California Job Service * California Junta Estatal de Personal * California Labor and Employment Agency * California Labor and Workforce Development Agency * California Labor Market Information Division * California Land Use Planning Information Network (LUPIN) * California Lands Commission * California Landscape Architects Technical Committee * California Latino Legislative Caucus * California Law Enforcement Branch * California Law Enforcement General Library * California Law Revision Commission * California Legislative Analyst’s Office * California Legislative Black Caucus * California Legislative Counsel * California Legislative Division * California Legislative Information * California Legislative Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Caucus * California Legislature Internet Caucus * California Library De velopment Services * California License and Revenue Branch * California Major Risk Medical Insurance Program * California Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board * California Maritime Academy * California Marketing Services * California Measurement Standards * California Medical Assistance Commission * California Medical Care Services * California Military Department * California Mining and Geology Board * California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts * California Museum Resource Center * California National Guard * California Native American Heritage Commission * California Natural Community Conservation Planning Program * California New Motor Vehicle Board * California Nursing Home Administrator Program * California Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board * California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board * California Ocean Resources Management Program * California Office of Administrative Hearings * California Office of Administrative Law * California Office of AIDS * California Office of Binational Border Health * California Office of Child Abuse Prevention * California Office of Deaf Access * California Office of Emergency Services (OES) * California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment * California Office of Fiscal Services * California Office of Fleet Administration * California Office of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Implementation (CalOHI) * California Office of Historic Preservation * California Office of Homeland Security * California Office of Human Resources * California Office of Legal Services * California Office of Legislation * California Office of Lieutenant Governor * California Office of Military and Aerospace Support * California Office of Mine Reclamation * California Office of Natural Resource Education * California Office of Privacy Protection * California Office of Public School Construction * California Office of Real Estate Appraisers * California Office of Risk and Insurance Management * California Office of Services to the Blind * California Office of Spill Prevention and Response * California Office of State Publishing (OSP) * California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development * California Office of Systems Integration * California Office of the Inspector General * California Office of the Ombudsman * California Office of the Patient Advocate * California Office of the President * California Office of the Secretary for Education * California Office of the State Fire Marshal * California Office of the State Public Defender * California Office of Traffic Safety * California Office of Vital Records * California Online Directory * California Operations Control Office * California Opinion Unit * California Outreach and Technical Assistance Network (OTAN) * California Park and Recreation Commission * California Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) * California Performance Review (CPR) * California Permit Information for Business (CalGOLD) * California Physical Therapy Board * California Physician Assistant Committee * California Plant Health and Pest Prevention Services * California Policy and Evaluation Division * California Political Reform Division * California Pollution Control Financing Authority * California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo * California Postsecondary Education Commission * California Prevention Services * California Primary Care and Family Health * California Prison Industry Authority * California Procurement Division * California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) * California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) * California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) * California Real Estate Services Division * California Refugee Programs Branch * California Regional Water Quality Control Boards * California Registered Veterinary Technician Committee * California Registrar of Charitable Trusts * California Republican Caucus * California Research and Development Division * California Research Bureau * California Resources Agency * California Respiratory Care Board * California Rivers Assessment * California Rural Health Policy Council * California Safe Schools * California San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission * California San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy * California San Joaquin River Conservancy * California School to Career * California Science Center * California Scripps Institution of Oceanography * California Secretary of State Business Portal * California Secretary of State * California Seismic Safety Commission * California Self Insurance Plans (SIP) * California Senate Office of Research * California Small Business and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Certification Program * California Small Business Development Center Program * California Smart Growth Caucus * California Smog Check Information Center * California Spatial Information Library * California Special Education Division * California Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Board * California Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) * California Standards and Assessment Division * California State Administrative Manual (SAM) * California State Allocation Board * California State and Consumer Services Agency * California State Architect * California State Archives * California State Assembly * California State Association of Counties (CSAC) * California State Board of Education * California State Board of Food and Agriculture *California Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) * California State Children’s Trust Fund * California State Compensation Insurance Fund * California State Contracts Register Program * California State Contracts Register * California State Controller * California State Council on Developmental Disabilities (SCDD) * California State Disability Insurance (SDI) * California State Fair (Cal Expo) * California State Jobs Employment Information * California State Lands Commission * California State Legislative Portal * California State Legislature * California State Library Catalog * California State Library Services Bureau * California State Library * California State Lottery * California State Mediation and Conciliation Service * California State Mining and Geology Board * California State Park and Recreation Commission * California State Parks * California State Personnel Board * California State Polytechnic University, Pomona * California State Railroad Museum * California State Science Fair * California State Senate * California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS) * California State Summer School for the Arts * California State Superintendent of Public Instruction * California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) * California State Treasurer * California State University Center for Distributed Learning * California State University, Bakersfield * California State University, Channel Islands * California State University, Chico * California State University, Dominguez Hills * California State University, East Bay * California State University, Fresno * California State University, Fullerton * California State University, Long Beach * California State University, Los Angeles * California State University, Monterey Bay * California State University, Northridge * California State University, Sacramento * California State University, San Bernardino * California State University, San Marcos * California State University, Stanislaus * California State University (CSU) * California State Water Project Analysis Office * California State Water Project * California State Water Resources Control Board * California Structural Pest Control Board * California Student Aid Commission * California Superintendent of Public Instruction * California Superior Courts * California Tahoe Conservancy * California Task Force on Culturally and Linguistically Competent Physicians and Dentists * California Tax Information Center * California Technology and Administration Branch Finance * California Telecommunications Division * California Telephone Medical Advice Services (TAMS) * California Transportation Commission * California Travel and Transportation Agency * California Unclaimed Property Program * California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board * California Unemployment Insurance Program * California Uniform Construction Cost Accounting Commission * California Veterans Board * California Veterans Memorial * California Veterinary Medical Board and Registered Veterinary Technician Examining Committee * California Veterinary Medical Board * California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board * California Volunteers * California Voter Registration * California Water Commission * California Water Environment Association (COWPEA) * California Water Resources Control Board * California Welfare to Work Division * California Wetlands Information System * California Wildlife and Habitat Data Analysis Branch * California Wildlife Conservation Board * California Wildlife Programs Branch * California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) * California Workers Compensation Appeals Board * California Workforce and Labor Development Agency * California Workforce Investment Board * California Youth Authority (CYA) * Central Valley Flood Protection Board * Center for California Studies * Colorado River Board of California * Counting California * Dental Board of California * Health Insurance Plan of California (PacAdvantage) * Humboldt State University * Jobs with the State of California * Judicial Council of California * Learn California * Library of California * Lieutenant Governors Commission for One California * Little Hoover Commission (on California State Government Organization and Economy) * Medical Board of California * Medi-Cal * Osteopathic Medical Board of California * Physical Therapy Board of California * Regents of the University of California * San Diego State University * San Francisco State University * San Jose State University * Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy * State Bar of California * Supreme Court of California * Teach California * University of California * University of California, Berkeley * University of California, Davis * University of California, Hastings College of the Law * University of California, Irvine * University of California, Los Angeles * University of California, Merced * University of California, Riverside * University of California, San Diego * University of California, San Francisco * University of California, Santa Barbara * University of California, Santa Cruz * Veterans Home of California

    Is there any possible way to justify all the money spent on salaries, beneits and contracts to keep all these agencies running? Aren’t there a thousand places that responsibilities could be merged and complete agencies closed down?

    I’m just sayin’…

  • Clavos

    OMG! No wonder CA is deep in the hole…

  • Ron Paul’s words will rub a Statist’s soul raw: “And believe me, I’ve been, you know, very much involved in the hurricanes that have come into my district. And most of the people in my district do not like FEMA. You know, they want to try to get their money and all. But FEMA comes in and takes over.

    They take over their property rights. They dictate. They prevent some of the volunteers from going in.

    So there’s a strong resentment toward the way FEMA operates, because they’re bureaucrats who don’t understand the rule of law nor do they understand local control and property rights….”

  • Glenn in 38, I would advise AGAINST calling the author of this article (a power lifter–I’ve seen him) a racist. He tells the story of a righteous man whose rights and dignity were trampled by FEMA personnel in the aftermath of Katrina.

    I say, good for Ron Paul for wanting to limit the power of a federal agency like this.

  • zingzing

    “OMG! No wonder CA is deep in the hole…”

    well, rather than just powerdump a list of “agencies” (which includes the university, park and library systems, the legislature, medical board, national guard… some websites, like the “online directory” and the legislature’s “portal,” etc.), why doesn’t someone really challenge themselves and actually educate themselves about how big, expensive and useful (or useless) some of those agencies are in order to have an educated opinion about what what they would cut? (i’m sure the info is very well documented… it is a bureaucracy for heaven’s sake.)

    the sheer volume of that list is a bit overwhelming. but let’s remember what that list is. it includes many things i’d bet most of us can agree on. does california need a university system? even if it is hemorrhaging money right now? yep, they do. do you think californians are willing to pay to have online access to what goes on in the state legislature? you’d better.

  • Clavos

    Irene, I read your link — all the way through.

    That’s a horrible story: it reads like the account of a prisoner in one of Fidel’s jails for dissidents.

    To think that such a tale took place in America — and every day, the government(s) amass more and more power over the citizens. — disgusting — and un-American.

  • Clavos

    Irene #52,

    Your Ron Paul quote is true. Many of us who live in the hurricane belt and have had direct experience of FEMA have a very low opinion of that agency. I have been through nearly two dozen hurricanes over the past fifty years, and I NEVER depend on government agencies to help me prepare for nor recover from storm events — they get in your way, their “help” is usually worthless and their treatment of citizens in the aftermath is often demeaning and humiliating. I would prefer to camp out on a beach than live in one of their trailer ghettos.

    It’s ironic that the agency charged with disaster relief is among the most bureaucratic and despotic in its treatment of the very citizens its supposed to help.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Irene #53 –

    Now that begs the question – what would the Republican party do if, say, Barack Hussein Obama had published a magazine and had allowed strictly racist articles to be published in HIS byline?

    We’d never, ever hear the end of it…and rightly so. ANY man who publishes a magazine and allows racist statements to be made in HIS name in HIS byline, not just once or twice but over several years…is a racist.

    I would say that why the Republicans pretend this isn’t an issue is beyond me…but it isn’t. I do know why…and it’s for the same reason that 46% of MS Republicans still think that interracial marriage should be illegal.

    That’s the 800-lb. gorilla that’s squatting in the Republican living room, Irene. You can ignore it all you want…but it’s still there.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    There y’all go again – instead of looking at both what an agency does wrong AND what it does right, and then keeping what it does right and fixing what it does wrong…

    …y’all instead want to throw out the baby with the bath water and get rid of the whole agency.

    Maybe FEMA didn’t do everything or even anything according to YOUR expectations…but to those who had ZERO left – no house, no car, few belongings other than the clothes on their backs – what FEMA did for them was a hell of a lot better than what they would have had otherwise.

    Tell you what – why don’t you look at, say, Haiti after the earthquake. How well did they recover afterwards? After all, if we listen to you and Irene and Ron Paul, it’s better if people get little or no help after a disaster, right?

    How about let’s keep the government out of it altogether, just like Ron Paul wants? Let the people – while they’re trying to pull their lives together when they’ve got nothing left – rebuild the schools, the hospitals, the police and fire stations.

    And they’ll do exactly that, right? Right? Just like magic, huh? But even if they don’t, at least YOU get to keep a few dozen of your tax dollars – and that’s more important than anything else in the world, isn’t it?

    There’s a difference between rhetoric and reality. Ron Paul doesn’t know that difference. Neither does anyone else who swallows his bovine excrement.

  • Thankyou, Clavos, for reading the link about FEMA atrocities in #53.

    I consider the author of that blog to be an American journalistic hero, and I’m glad I had the chance to link to a couple of his articles at BC today.

  • …and to watch Glenn foam at the mouth in response.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Andy –

    You’re looking at a state with what, thirty-seven million people, with a GDP in the top ten of all nations on the planet, and as ‘proof’ that they’ve got too much government, you give a huge list including all the state universities (several of which are among the best in the nation while charging significantly less than private universities), the California National Guard, anything having to do with safety or crime prevention or history or science or…

    …oh, come off it, Andy! If you were truly serious, you’d look through the list and give SPECIFICS saying what is and is not wasteful. Instead, it simply looks like you’re being grumpy and searching for something to gripe about.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Irene –

    I notice you didn’t even try to answer the question I posed, which was:

    what would the Republican party do if, say, Barack Hussein Obama had published a magazine and had allowed strictly racist articles to be published in HIS byline?

    But instead of answering questions that would be difficult for you to answer, you’d rather give an off-the-cuff retort.

    Don’t worry – I’m used to it…and it says much about you.

  • zingzing

    ah, the republican living room… what would it look like? wolf heads adorning the walls (with helipad outside for “hunting” from), oak hardwood lining the floors and walls (with 8 feet of solid concrete behind and below, you know, in case of the “big one” from iran), a shrine to israel (not yahweh, but israel,) with another shrine to marriage (one man and one woman, nevermind that they really can’t stand women and divorced the last ***** because she got her shit checked out at planned parenthood and voted dem 60% of the time), a library choc-full of milton (friedman, of course), plans for the great wall of texas drawn up on the desk (with matching immigrant laborer viewable through the bay window in the back yard, sweeping the pool full of good old american chlorine), ted nugent blaring from the multi-cd disc changer because they haven’t quite figured out how to illegally download mp3s (followed up by a selection of possibly good campaign songs they could steal from the artists without payment or permission), a set of very christian voodoo dolls pinned on top of maps of new york city, washington dc, new england, the west coast, california, canada, mexico, cuba, china, pakistan, central america, south america, europe, the middle east and north africa (who gives a shit about the rest of that god-forsaken continent), and a big fuckin pile of potent pain killers (with a nice bottle of cognac to wash them down).

    feel free to add on.

    (that was fun. don’t take it too seriously, haters.)

  • zingzing

    hrm. 63 was in reference to glenn’s reference to a 800-pound racist gorilla covered in its own feces and angry… in the republican living room.

  • Goodness, a lot of real estate between here and the initial posting of the article about how FEMA personnel looted the home of naturalized citizen, then detained and humiliated him in a FEMA camp afterwards. I think I’ll post it again.

    Now, let’s see. WHO was it that first brought up FEMA on this thread? Glenn, was it? Yes! Yes, it WAS Glenn.

    Why do you suppose Glenn is not as horrified as Clavos is by this account of FEMA’s atrocities? Watch Glenn as he vainly grasps for a fluttering newsletter to wave in my face, as he sputters in his rage.

    If it weren’t for the fact that the article describes, as Clavos says, something so sickening and un-American, continuing to watch Glenn dancing around trying to defend it might be entertaining.

    It no longer is.

  • zingzing

    fema’s response to katrina is well noted as sorely lacking, to put it mildly… over 1200 people were held at the same place zeitoun was, most of them black.

    “brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job.”

    it’s hard to blame the chaos on fema, but in response to the chaos, fema did not fulfill their mandate. given what was going on in new orleans at the time, i don’t know who or what could have.

    still, to many people, fema provided shelter and food, even if that provision was chaotic and mismanaged. what they did to those people at the greyhound terminal is obviously against the law. but what law was there in new orleans? even the police were looting. how many court dates can you set up without judges or lawyers or jurors?

    that this shit happened was just as inevitable as a shitstorm sinking new orleans. neither should have happened, but when you put a damn city below sea level, sink it, let its gov’t shut down then bring in a gov’t org with a $6b budget try to take care of a $90b clusterfuck, you’re getting into another clusterfuck. welcome to reality. it sucks.

  • Cannonshop

    Note: Fifty years ago, databases were done by hand-on chalkboards or whiteboards, the typical office environment required something called a “Typing Pool”, and even minor mid-level management needed a Secretary to take dictation on a dictaphone, then transcribe it…on a device known as a “Typewriter”.

    In business, most of these positions have been down-sized or eliminated, the white collar population in business now is considerably smaller in relation to the actual “Production End”.

    In Government, on the other hand, while the titles may have changed, the manpower in the admin side remains constant or has increased, and while most businesses have cut management down as tech has made those positions obselete, government offices tend to retain the proportion (or even an expanded proportion) of Management-level personnel relative to the actual drones that do the work…in spite of relatively modern equipment and tech that should obselete many of those positions.

    Thus, it’s a net effect of government mantaining a “Waste-Line”, Zing. Fifty people to do what ten do everywhere else.

  • Cannonshop

    Er… I meant “Spreadsheets”.

  • If you are making the claim that had there been a few more $b in FEMA’s budget, Zeitoun wouldn’t have suffered the abuses he did, then you may call me skeptical.

    Zeitoun’s problem wasn’t that he was in the hands of an underfunded agency. He was in the hands of an agency staffed with petty martinets drunk with their own power.

    With a nod to your earlier wry musings about how Hitler got into power, Zing, THAT’S how it happens. The populace is first worn down, emotionally and physically intimidated by local bullies who make questioning authority a very unattractive enterprise.

    If you’ll excuse me now, Zing, I have a REAL racist to say a few words to. And after that, I have to go scrub off the oak paneling in my den. Someone dragged an 800 pound gorilla in there, and things got ugly.

  • Cannonshop

    Further expansion: Where does Government cut when the budget doesn’t go up?

    Yup. On the DELIVERY end. Retention of Management and Admin is prioritized at the agency level well above retention of the guy who actually maintains the road, sorts/delivers the mail, fixes the dam, etc. etc.

    A friend of mine works at the King County Solid Waste agency, where there is a full-blown manager for every THREE people.

    It’s a little bit like having a foreman supervising three carpenters-any NON governmental for-profit entity would be driven under by the costs of such a model-that’s because non-governmental entities can’t jsut jack the credit through the roof, or print more money, or raise taxes to cover their overages.

  • zingzing

    irene: “If you are making the claim that had there been a few more $b in FEMA’s budget, Zeitoun wouldn’t have suffered the abuses he did, then you may call me skeptical.”

    yes, irene, that’s exactly what i’m claiming. /end sarcasm::please reread. you can’t expect a fed org of any size to come in and take over a non-functioning city of that size without there being some big, big problems. thinking so is just fantasy, and staring in disbelief at what happened is just naive. unfortunately, in a disaster that large, people become assholes.

    “With a nod to your earlier wry musings about how Hitler got into power, Zing, THAT’S how it happens. The populace is first worn down, emotionally and physically intimidated by local bullies who make questioning authority a very unattractive enterprise.”

    i’m not quite sure what you’re talking about here… i may have said something about hitler earlier, but i don’t quite recall. anyway, if you’re saying that bush contemplated a fascist takeover via katrina, i’m all ears. not that i really think that’s what you’re saying. but i’ll run in whatever direction you point.

    “If you’ll excuse me now, Zing, I have a REAL racist to say a few words to.”

    ah. still working that tired trope, are we? i wouldn’t wander that way if i hoped for civilized conversation rather than frothing, but you do what you will. (harm no other, irene.)

    “And after that, I have to go scrub off the oak paneling in my den.”

    beautiful walls. all-american. imported from the fine country of canada. varnished with chinese lacquer. installed by mexicans.

  • “I’ll run in whatever direction you point.”

    …and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

    THANKyou, Jesus.

    Jesus just told me I should point you toward your pillow, ZingZing. You just admitted on another thread your brain was fried after a long day of editing.

    P.S.: You thought I meant Glenn when I said I was going to talk to a real racist? No, I meant this guy.

  • zingzing

    actually, irene, that’s apparently a woman. i think. or so i’ve been lead to believe. (and yeah, that guy, if she or he is not a racist, he or she sure comes off like one.)

    either way, i don’t think that person will be responding to you. he or she just seems to leave his or her ridiculous missives and then departs these days. but who knows? you’ll still not get through.

    and yes, my brain was fried, but now it’s fine, if a bit crazed still. i can manage it.

  • zingzing

    also, i think if your “journalistic hero” would attempt to dial down his rhetoric a bit, he might be a little more palatable. i’ve read both articles you linked to, as well as another, and he doesn’t seem to be completely over the edge, but he does come off a bit like a backwoods, weapons stockpiling, idaho kinda guy. he may be truthfully reporting what he’s talking about, but goddamn if he doesn’t seem like ruby ridge in the making all over again.

  • Ruby Ridge? Seriously? You’ve seen his picture, right? It’s like this, ZingZing. The victims of these government crimes deserve to have their stories told in as UNPALATABLE a manner as is possible. That means, sans the candy-coating.

    Ah, one more link to the blog of my swarthy and interracially married journalistic hero…and then it’s off to sleep, perchance to dream.

  • Clavos

    you can’t expect a fed org of any size to come in and take over a non-functioning city of that size without there being some big, big problems.

    Then what the hell do we have FEMA for??? zing, I think you’re dead wrong here — FEMA’s mission is to go into a disaster like NOLA and make it right, for crying out loud!

    Given the taxpayer money it sucks up, we not only can expect them to do the job without problems like that man encountered, we have a right to demand it!

  • zingzing

    his picture? i did not know there was a racial limit on these things. it’s just his use of language that i’m noting here.

    “That means, sans the candy-coating.”

    it’s got another kind of coating on it. they need to have their stories told in a straight-forward manner, without all the invective. in telling what should be very important stories, he undermines his own believability because he insists on using ridiculously emotive terms rather than precise terms. it’s hard to take him seriously.

  • zingzing

    77 was for 75

    “FEMA’s mission is to go into a disaster like NOLA and make it right, for crying out loud!”

    yeah, and we live in candyland. in a disaster that size, it’s supposed to tide us over and help us not die of starvation and disease. it’s not going to build you a new school within a week and make sure that all city functions continue unabated whilst swimming with the fishes. i can’t believe you would put so much faith in a gov’t organization.

    “Given the taxpayer money it sucks up, we not only can expect them to do the job without problems like that man encountered, we have a right to demand it!”

    of course. don’t go overboard here. read what i said, not what you got all heated about.

  • ZingZing, you did not know that there was a “racial limit” on these things, “these things” being affiliations with Ruby Ridge-esque Northern Idaho stockpiling organizations? Seriously?

    Now you are just arguing to see how long you can keep me at it, ZingZing. LOL. I’m done.

  • zingzing

    you’re right. most of the time, these people are white. maybe ruby ridge was a little too specific, but i think you know what i mean. seriously.

  • Clavos, here’s hoping more people DO start demanding that ALL MANNER of big government-protected thugs be held accountable. I post to yet another of Will Grigg’s articles.

    Other bloggers may be inspired to stir up a little outrage of their own, each in his own voice, in his own sphere.

  • Leroy

    51-Clavos: CA is in a hole because of 30 years of republican rule. We’ve had rep governors 25 of the past 30 years, and the Prop 13 requires a 2/3 vote to pass a tax bill so a 1/3 minority can stymie everything, and that is just what the republicans have done, despite the fact that the state is democrat, has two dem senators and dem majority house and dem legislature.

  • zingzing

    just a quick little question here… irene, what’s the distinction between a “big government-protected thug” and a “government-protected thug”?

  • A “big, government-protected thug” can only get as big as the government that protects him. If that government’s power is limited, the thug’s growth path is limited as well.

    “A big-government-protected thug,” by contrast, helps to grow the power of the government that protects him, and the two expand in tandem. Examples: Gestappo. SS.

  • Leroy

    I couldn’t figure out how that citation was pertinent.

  • zingzing

    irene, please don’t become one of those “obama is a islamo-fascist-communist-dictator-scary-monster-supercreep” people. the world does not need another delusional paranoid. step back from the edge. or at least stop running towards it.

  • You didn’t tell me if I got the right answer to #83, ZingZing.

  • Leroy, I’m sorry. Were you addressing me in #85, or someone else? Is there something you are asking me to clarify?

  • Clavos

    in a disaster that size, it’s supposed to tide us over and help us not die of starvation and disease.

    Which it failed, miserably to do, zing. i didn’t even come close — it even failed to rescue rooftop sitters timely, it left people in that putrid stadium for unconscionable lengths of time. It even failed to get that bum of a mayor to use the fleet of school buses he had at his disposal but ignored to evacuate people.

    FEMA’s response to Katrina/NOLA was textbook federal government ineptitude, garnished with equally inept municipal and state government bumbling. The whole thing bordered on criminal.
    >

  • zingzing

    irene, your answer was fair. although it does add a layer of meaning to “big government” that assigns a certain intention i’m not sure is there.

  • zingzing

    “Which it failed, miserably to do, zing. i didn’t even come close — it even failed to rescue rooftop sitters timely, it left people in that putrid stadium for unconscionable lengths of time.”

    well, no one is saying they didn’t bungle the effort in a lot of ways. except laura bush, i guess. things would have been worse if fema hadn’t been there. of course, certain individuals wish they’d never heard the acronym. but things could have been a lot worse. look at the cholera outbreak in haiti. with that amount of dead bodies and stagnant water and mosquitoes and raw sewage floating all around in the only water source, disease was a major worry. fema workers helped stave that off, and disease never became another terrible consequence (not that there weren’t examples, but it didn’t become rampant) of building a fucking city below sea level on a coast. (really… i know it’s an old city, and cities develop how they will, but damn if that wasn’t stupid, stupid, stupid.)

    it was a massive failure of gov’t. but i don’t really know how (or why, in the end, given your view of gov’t,) the gov’t is supposed to respond to that. no matter what, there was going to be chaos, there was going to be long term devastation, and things were going to get really, really shitty.

    mother nature’s a bitch, sometimes, and when you stick your middle finger up at her, she’ll smack your ass.

    new orleans is one of my favorite cities. glad i visited it before katrina happened. one of my favorite persons in the world lives there now. i hope it doesn’t happen again, obviously, but it will, obviously.

  • Clavos

    i know it’s an old city, and cities develop how they will, but damn if that wasn’t stupid, stupid, stupid.)

    Couldn’t be more in agreement with you, zing, to the point that I don’t think NOLA should have been rebuilt in that spot.

    Because it will happen again — as certainly as the sun rising tomorrow.

    but i don’t really know how (or why, in the end, given your view of gov’t,) the gov’t is supposed to respond to that.

    One reason why I’m so vehement about how badly the Katrina thing was bungled is because I’ve been living in Florida (off and on) for over fifty years; I’ve been through a lot of hurricanes in that time (sometimes more than one a season), and I’ve seen how a government that DOES know how to deal with the aftermath of these storms can be so effective.

    And I’m not talking about FEMA — we’ve been dealing with ‘canes long before there was a FEMA. These days, we don’t even need the Feds’ presence or participation, just their money (OUR money, really). We can handle it. We did, and well, after Andrew.

  • zingzing

    i grew up in the south (nc) and saw my fair share of hurricanes (and a tornado or two), although i was far enough inland to escape the worst of them most of the time. we never needed fema either. as far as i know, fema was never called in. i do remember this one hurricane that covered half the east coast… maybe that was andrew. no idea anymore… there were too many.

    but you must admit that the devastation caused by katrina was on another scale (especially in new orleans, which, as an big urban environment, presents some different difficulties). (and yes, i know miami is also big and urban, but have you been hit like that?)

    katrina was something else, because of the location of the city and because of the fact that it was new orleans… not the cleanest or most structurally well thought-out of cities (and lots of fun because of it).

    also, you gonna vote for luther from 2 live crew guy? i’d vote for that mother fucker. he knows bidness.

  • Leroy

    The Katrina FEMA disaster occurred because Bush made a patronage appointment of an incompetent named ‘Brown’. The previous administrator had gotten good marks and should have been retained.

  • Clavos

    The Katrina FEMA disaster occurred because Bush made a patronage appointment of an incompetent named ‘Brown’

    Brown was the least of it; the people under him were all supposedly seasoned disaster experts and they pretty much had their heads up their asses. Even worse was the no account mayor and the bumbling state government — they are the true front line troops when we get hit here in Florida — to the point that FEMA’s only real usefulness is doling out money. Sure Bush appointed Brown and Brown had his head up his ass, but the least important part of any federal agency is the political appointee heading it — it’s the career people below the head who are supposed to know what they’re doing — the FEMA people in NOLA didn’t.

    zing, you’re right about the location and layout of NOLA figuring large in the extent of the disaster, but most of it could have been headed off if all the governments, municipal, state and federal, hadn’t been so utterly incompetent.

  • The real problem with Katrina and NO wasn’t any of that. It all happened that way because republicans were running things and EVERYONE knows that republicans are racists.

    Isn’t that about the jest of it???