Today on Blogcritics
Home » Culture and Society » President Obama Delivers a Rousing State of the Union Address

President Obama Delivers a Rousing State of the Union Address

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

President Barack Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union
message tonight. The speech focused on a number of themes,
including jobs, budget balancing, energy, education, immigration, gun reform, ending the war in Afghanistan and many other issues.

Obama pointed to stronger economic growth and new jobs coming back to America from overseas. He referred to energy independence, as well as clean energy modalities and superior gas mileage achieved over the course of his administration.

The president discussed the need to pass comprehensive tax reform to close tax loopholes instead of leaving the tax burden solely on the middle class and the sacrifices of retirees. There is a general consensus in the Congress for comprehensive tax reform; however, differences lie in the detailed application of revenue increases to specific deductions.

Obama discussed successes achieved by combining high school education with community college, as well as partnering with employers. This combination will ensure that students have the requisite skills to seek employment in the jobs of the 21st century. The key here is the relevance of the education to specific job-required skills for gainful employment.

The president addressed the need to pursue comprehensive immigration reform. This is an area where both parties agree. There is a general consensus for solving this issue as soon as possible. Children born in the United States should have no impediments to citizenship; nor should people who have waited in line for legal admission and overseas workers with skills in great demand in the United States.

The most heartrending part of the speech dealt with gun violence. The president spoke of the violence in Newtown and other shootings throughout the United States. Here, there are various proposals to strengthen gun laws, provide background checks and take necessary precautions to keep guns away from criminals and others with severe behavioral issues.

Obama was proud of the work done in Afghanistan to thwart Al Qaeda, train the forces and begin a process of withdrawal ending next year. The idea is to eliminate America’s combat role over time and retain an advisory and training role.

The speech covered much ground. Many of the items cited are doable right now. In fact, President Obama called on Congress to get bills on his desk for signature in areas like tax reform and immigration. Republicans generally agreed with President Obama, although Republican Senator Marco Rubio called for less government regulation and a smaller government, particularly for small businesses.

Powered by

About Dr Joseph S Maresca

I've taught approx. 34 sections of collegiate courses including computer applications, college algebra, collegiate statistics, law, accounting, finance and economics. The experience includes service as a Board Director on the CPA Journal and Editor of the CPA Candidates Inc. Newsletter. In college, I worked as a statistics lab assistant. Manhattan College awarded a BS in an allied area of operations research. The program included courses in calculus, ordinary differential equations, probability, statistical inference, linear algebra , the more advanced operations research, price analysis and econometrics. Membership in the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society was granted together with the degree. My experience includes both private account and industry. In addition, I've worked extensively in the Examinations Division of the AICPA from time to time. Recently, I passed the Engineering in Training Exam which consisted of 9 hours of examination in chemistry, physics, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability/ statistics, fluids, electronics, materials science/structure of matter, mechanics, statics, thermodynamics, computer science, dynamics and a host of minor subject areas like engineering economics. A very small percentage of engineers actually take and pass the EIT exam. The number has hovered at circa 5%. Several decades ago, I passed the CPA examination and obtained another license in Computer Information Systems Auditing. A CISA must have knowledge in the areas of data center review, systems applications, the operating system of the computer, disaster recovery, contingency planning, developmental systems, the standards which govern facility reviews and a host of other areas. An MBA in Accounting with an Advanced Professional Certificate in Computer Applications/ Information Systems , an Advanced Professional Certificate in Finance and an Advanced Professional Certificate in Organizational Design were earned at New York University-Graduate School of Business (Stern ). In December of 2005, an earned PhD in Accounting was granted by the Ross College. The program entrance requires a previous Masters Degree for admittance together with a host of other criteria. The REGISTRAR of Ross College contact is: Tel . US 202-318-4454 FAX [records for Dr. Joseph S. Maresca Box 646 Bronxville NY 10708-3602] The clinical experience included the teaching of approximately 34 sections of college accounting, economics, statistics, college algebra, law, thesis project coursework and the professional grading of approx. 50,000 CPA examination essays with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Additionally, membership is held in the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society chartered in 1994. Significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences.
  • Dr Dreadful

    Obama’s given that speech before. Inviting Republican legislators to sit and swivel on it might be emotionally satisfying, but it hasn’t really moved them in the past and I doubt it will this time either.

    Time for a different tune next year if not much has changed, methinks.

  • Igor

    Obama tried the conciliatory mode in his first term and all he got was “NO!”, so you can’t blame him for trying a different, more aggressive mode.

  • Dr Joseph S Maresca

    The problem for both political parties is that people are suffering. Things that involve jobs and quality of life issues should get instant cooperation.

    I believe that the parties will cooperate on tax reform, immigration, modified gun control and registration enhancements, some Pentagon cuts/streamlining and perhaps migrating part of the Medicaid directly to the States. There already has been cooperation on the Hurricane Sandy federal aid and there will be more.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    ‘Cooperate’??? Haven’t you been paying attention? It was decided on the night before Obama was inaugurated the first time that there would be no cooperation, no compromise…and I’ve seen no indication otherwise since then.

  • Igor

    The republican party seems unalterably opposed to Obama. I don’t see any cooperation on the horizon, either.

  • Igor

    @3-Joe: what makes you say :”I believe that the parties will cooperate …”?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/irene-athena?r= Irene Athena

    A few of them see “cooperation” as “compromise,” but most are just doing their partisan thang.

  • Dr Joseph S Maresca

    There are things like the sequester which will force action at some point.

  • Clav

    This one’s for Glenn.

    Seems the much-lauded (by you) “First World” countries are not doing so well (as I have been saying to you for months now) after all. Could it be they’ve bitten off more than they can chew in terms of entitlement programs? Might they be just a tad too —- Socialized??

    From MSN Money:

    The scary thing about a drop in the European economy is that it worsens debt-to-GDP and deficit-to-GDP calculations at the center of the regions debt crisis. Already, both France and Spain look like they are going to miss previous deficit targets, requiring either more taxes, less spending, or leniency from the austerity taskmasters in Germany…Given the dynamics of this downturn – driven by tapped out government balance sheets – it’s unlikely the Wall Street optimists will get the quick turnaround they expect. (emphasis added)

    And in the meantime, we have Mr. Obama significantly expanding our entitlements (can you say, “Obamacare?”), even as we continue to wallow in the worst recession of our history; which, by the way, after four years, Mr. Obama now definitely owns.

  • Zingzing

    Is a depression not a recession? As for ownership, it’s kind of a mystical how you can own a thing but you can’t do what you want with it.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    That’s rather easy to answer. Much of Europe dabbled in austerity – Ireland, Greece, Italy, and Spain certainly did (notice a small pattern there?). France did too, but to a lesser extent – especially since they, like America, passed a modest stimulus package. So have you heard in the news that France’s economy is teetering on the edge of disaster? Not so much, not like you have Greece, Italy, and Spain. In fact, the head of the IMF said in October that austerity efforts have been doing far more damage than the experts had assumed, that

    tax hikes and spending cuts have been doing more damage to those economies than policymakers expected. (Conversely, countries that engaged in stimulus, such as Germany and Austria, did better than expected.)

    (boldface mine – like you’ll pay any attention)

    And then you say we’re “wallowing in the worst recession in our history”? Dude, you should know better. As Zing pointed out, the Great Depression – which also came after a near-decade of low taxes and low regulation – also counts. Surely you’re not saying the Great Recession was (not ‘is’, because we’re not in one right now) somehow worse than the Depression!

    NOW, Clavos, how about looking at this page, where you can see that the federal debt stayed rather even for the thirty years from 1950 to 1980. THEN look at this graph where you can see that during the same period the federal debt as a percentage of the GDP fell rather significantly. Why? Because the taxes were used to grow the economy through infrastructure and subsidies and, yes, social safety nets.

    But of course you’ll ignore all this since you’re convinced that government is always bad, that keeping taxes as low (or non-existant) as possible is always what is best for the people as a whole…never mind that the data do not back up your belief but do validate Keynesian economics.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Clavos –

    There’s poor in all nations – but where’s it better to be poor? In a third-world nation? Or in a socialized democracy? You have to ask yourself, “what is the most important role of government?” To me, it’s to (1) defend the nation against all who would attack it, and (2) help keep the standard of living of the people as high as possible for as many of the people as possible.

    Unfortunately, most conservatives don’t seem to get the importance of #2.

  • Clav

    THEN look at this graph where you can see that during the same period the federal debt as a percentage of the GDP fell rather significantly. Why? Because the taxes were used to grow the economy through infrastructure and subsidies and, yes, social safety nets

    Wrong. It was because that was the greatest period of growth and prosperity in the US’ history. The ratio changed so dramatically because the GDP was growing so rapidly in the post war boom.

    But of course you’ll ignore all this since you’re convinced that government is always bad, that keeping taxes as low (or non-existant) as possible is always what is best for the people as a whole…never mind that the data do not back up your belief but do validate Keynesian economics.

    Is that what I do? Really??

    Damn I’m smart, too; not just good looking! Eat your heart out Cracker Boy.

  • Clav

    Is a depression not a recession?

    They’re similar, as you know. The difference is in degree. Be glad we’re only in a recession, not a depression.

    So yes, this is the worst recession in our history.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    It was because that was the greatest period of growth and prosperity in the US’ history. The ratio changed so dramatically because the GDP was growing so rapidly in the post war boom.

    Really? It just grew? Spontaneously? All by itself, with no forcing?

  • Igor

    Austerity is a going-out-of-business strategy. Leave that crap to Bain Capital, who will sift through the ruins looking for the residual gold from peoples teeth.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    It was because that was the greatest period of growth and prosperity in the US’ history. The ratio changed so dramatically because the GDP was growing so rapidly in the post war boom.

    And why is that, even given the fact that we had a 90% top marginal tax rate for the first ten years, and then a 70% top marginal tax rate for the next twenty years? Are you going to claim that none of the growth came from the government-funded space race, or from the government-funded interstate highway system, or from the (varying degrees of government-funded) medical research? AND let’s not forget the (mostly) government-funded precipitous drop in the poverty rate during that time period. AND let’s not forget the government-funded education in the GI Bill. AND let’s not forget the government-funded DARPA research without which you would not be using this little something called the internet:

    The origins of the Internet reach back to research of the 1960s, commissioned by the United States government to build robust, fault-tolerant, and distributed computer networks. The funding of a new U.S. backbone by the National Science Foundation in the 1980s, as well as private funding for other commercial backbones, led to worldwide participation in the development of new networking technologies, and the merger of many networks. The commercialization of what was by the 1990s an international network resulted in its popularization and incorporation into virtually every aspect of modern human life.

    Commercialization brought the boom of the internet, Clavos, but it was the GOVERNMENT that laid the foundation that enabled that boom!

    All of these were government-funded investments in the American infrastructure and the American people, Clavos – investments that your side is too fearful to make anymore, because you’ve been indoctrinated – and ‘indoctrinated’ is the right word – to believe that government is all bad, all the time. And so you flatly ignore all the historical evidence showing you how good government under Keynesian principles grows the economy.

    And of course we can always go back to asking you to provide even ONE example of a modern first-world nation functioning successfully with the modern American conservatives’ idea of “small government”…because there isn’t one. And you never seem to ask yourself why that is.

  • Zingzing

    “So yes, this is the worst recession in our history.”

    No one cares about second place. The depression was a bad recession, and this thing we’re going through now barely compares, and has gotten less terrible since it’s been “owned” by Obama. Only the most ardent partisan would deny it. We were living in an artificial bubble before it burst, and it burst worldwide. If you want to blame one man for a fantasy world not of his making, I guess you can do that. But just remember there’s a whole branch of the gov’t you seem to be forgetting, and they’re the ones with their hands on the purse strings. And then remember that it’s not the gov’t that creates the economy, it’s all us little people. And yeah, I know that means I should let W off the hook, but that man let us run wild. It’s still not obama’s fault this happened, and unless Europe rights itself, the recovery isn’t going to be quick, although I hear a free trade agreement with the EU is coming, which could prop them up enough to prop us up as well. Economics isn’t a science, it’s alchemy, it’s religion. It only works if you believe in it, and then it sometimes doesn’t work or it spirals out of control, because it does what it wants to regardless of your wishes. The idea that one man, or any of us really, could control the economy is naive. As a total, we control it, but we’re all trying our best to get the upper hand, so it’s chaos. And that’s why we have socialism, to temper our bad behavior.

  • Clav

    Glenn,

    My reference was to the post war boom of the late forties and the fifties much of what you mention in terms of gummint spending (space race, drop in poverty, etc.) took place in the sixties and later.

    As for the “government-funded education in the GI Bill,” I was a “beneficiary” of the gov’s “munificence” on that one — it amounted to all of $130 a month, and only during the months I was actually enrolled — no summer payments. BFD.

    The point is the biggest boom of all was in the 40s and 50s — without “stimulus.”

  • Clav

    zing,

    There’s a reason why the depression and recession have different names, but you call it what you want, it’s not my idea that this is our worst “recession,” most economists are calling it that.

    And yes, after four years, we’re still in the grip of it, so Obama does own it now. You say it’s “has gotten less terrible since…” It has? Tell that to the multi millions who are unemployed; many to the point of discouragement to where they’ve given up. Tell that to consumers so nervous about how long their employment might last, they’re not spending money (which of course, is the crux of the problem).

    I never said it was O’s fault that it happened; just that it’s still with us.

    It is bad, it’s lasting way too long, and we’ve seen nothing in the way of effective reactions from the administration.

  • Clav

    Really? It just grew? Spontaneously? All by itself, with no forcing?

    Stop being coy, Doc. It grew because of pent-up demand as a result of the war.

    War IS good business; America achieved economic preeminence in the world because of it.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Stop being coy, Doc. It grew because of pent-up demand as a result of the war.

    So nothing to do with any federal government restraint with regard to taxation and social spending, then.

    Not trying to be snarky, just pointing out that your point doesn’t do anything to debunk Glenn’s argument, nor to advance yours about Europe.

  • Clav

    So nothing to do with any federal government restraint with regard to taxation and social spending, then.

    Not immediately following the war, no. Except for the GI Bill, which was parsimonious at best, and later, the launching of the Interstate highway system by Ike — the stated reason for which was facilitating the movement of troops and war materiel, not economy priming.

  • Zingzing

    “It has? Tell that to the multi millions who are unemployed; many to the point of discouragement to where they’ve given up.”

    Not that that means anything. Even in the best of times there are millions of unemployed people. Be reasonable, clavos. And yes, there has been something effective, as there has been positive job growth almost the entire time obama’s been in office. This isn’t an emotional issue, yet that seems to be how you’re defining it. By any logical measure, things have gotten better, and obama’s policies, even hog tied as they are by GOP nonsense, have at least not prevented that from happening.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    My reference was to the post war boom of the late forties and the fifties much of what you mention in terms of gummint spending (space race, drop in poverty, etc.) took place in the sixties and later.

    And I’ve pointed out many, many times that in economic terms the greatest government-funded stimulus in American history. If conservative dogma were right and government-funded stimulus doesn’t work, then instead of bringing us out of the Depression, WWII would have sent us even further into the economic morass…and you know it.

    As for the “government-funded education in the GI Bill,” I was a “beneficiary” of the gov’s “munificence” on that one — it amounted to all of $130 a month, and only during the months I was actually enrolled — no summer payments. BFD.

    And $130 was worth a lot more then than it is now, wasn’t it? And I’m willing to bet that it covered most your tuition and books – meaning that when you finished, you weren’t saddled with a huge debt like graduates are today.

    The point is the biggest boom of all was in the 40s and 50s — without “stimulus.”

    Again, Clavos, the biggest government-funded economic stimulus in American history was WWII. I clearly remember the half-joke during our economic troubles in the early 1980’s that “we just need a good war” to fix the economy…and our progress of coming out of the Depression thanks to WWII was the genesis of that joke.

    There’s a reason why the depression and recession have different names, but you call it what you want, it’s not my idea that this is our worst “recession,” most economists are calling it that.

    And yes, after four years, we’re still in the grip of it, so Obama does own it now.

    REALLY? Have you forgotten what constitutes a recession, or did you take an extra swig of Kool-Aid this morning, because:

    – Corporate profits are at an all-time high;

    – The deficit is falling at its fastest pace since the years immediately following WWII;

    – House sales are at their highest level since 2007;

    – And the Dow Jones (which doesn’t show where we’re going, but where we’re at right now) is nearing its all-time high.

    But if we listen to you, we’re still deep in the grip of recession! Look, Clavos, yes, we still have high unemployment – but when Obama tried to pass jobs bills in the years after the stimulus was passed, Your Boys stopped them cold on their way to being the most obstructionist Congress since the Civil War. But of course that means nothing to you.

    Tell that to consumers so nervous about how long their employment might last, they’re not spending money (which of course, is the crux of the problem).

    Tell that to Your Boys in Congress who refused to pass every post-stimulus jobs bill that Obama tried to get through them.

    I never said it was O’s fault that it happened; just that it’s still with us.

    Um, no, it’s not. We’re still recovering from it, but it’s like recovering from a broken leg – the bone may be healed, but the recovery is still painful, and the person still can’t run at full speed for quite a while afterwards.

    It is bad, it’s lasting way too long, and we’ve seen nothing in the way of effective reactions from the administration.

    Bullshit. The GOP put forth jobs bills, but all those bills included were deregulation, weakening labor, and tax breaks. And you know what? Most Republicans would like to claim that the Democrats were refusing to pass any of their bills, right? But in reality, the Democratic-controlled Senate passed and the president signed eleven of them into law.

    But how many post-stimulus jobs bills put forth by the president did the Republican-controlled House pass? Zero. In other words, if we look at the actions of those in Washington, the Democrats WERE bipartisan, and the Republicans were NOT.

    War IS good business; America achieved economic preeminence in the world because of it.

    And who funds the war? The government. WWII was the greatest government-funded stimulus in American history, and all your rhetorical tap-dancing can’t change that fact.

    But I don’t know why I try – you’ve shown you’ll ignore all the overwhelming evidence for AGW, so why should I expect you to accept overwhelming evidence of the success of Keynesian economics (in the face of an utter dearth of first-world nations with “small governments”).

  • John Lake

    War is good business”; war can be good business, particularly if one develops an insensitivity to the loss of life. Vietnam produced a booming economy. Unfortunately our pre-emptive war against Iraq only produced uncounted assets for a handful. “W” did far more than destroy our economy (not my field of expertise). America will never recover from the damage to our morality; Guantanamo bay is a tragic example of his callous and diseased leadership. His idea of smarts was to divvy up the surplus among voters; an idea politically, brilliant and economically, shortsighted.
    Obama wisely chose to spend our way out of a bad recession; Europe chose austerity, and we see who made the right decision. Hindsight is 20-20.
    My personal position is that the gorilla in the room is the lack of oversight in healthcare and insurance. Even the best of politicians can’t cripple a large industry without losing their livelihood. This is similar to the situation of response to illegal aliens. The matter of right and wrong (on which I have no opinion for purposes of this comment) doesn’t make a potter’s dam. If a party loses the alien vote, they lose the war.
    When we live in an age where the unemployed are supplemented by the government for years, there doesn’t seem to be much to complain about.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    John –

    The point was not that we should go to war to fix the economy, but that in economic hard times, Keynesian economics holds – and history shows – that the government can jumpstart the economy by putting people to work, whatever that work may be.

    And while hindsight is 20/20, that 20/20 vision doesn’t do a whole lot for those who insist on keeping their heads buried in the sand.

  • John Lake

    Obama’s State of the Union seemed a repeat of his earlier speeches. He still wants to repair the infrastructure, and the schools, and he still meets irrational resistance. I am concerned about some of his dramatic ideas for education. I wonder if his wife isn’t just a little too influential.
    My understanding of Keynesian economic principles is limited. He seems to feel that individual entrepreneurs and small business owners should be influenced by comprehensive agencies. The taxation problem is a real one, and as I say, beyond my scope.

  • Clav

    And I’m willing to bet that it covered most your tuition and books

    Not even close, Glenn. Plus, because I was older and a veteran, I had to live off campus, which meant higher rent than a dorm room.

    you’ve shown you’ll ignore all the overwhelming evidence for AGW, so why should I expect you to accept overwhelming evidence of the success of Keynesian economics (in the face of an utter dearth of first-world nations with “small governments”).

    You can’t, Glenn. I don’t agree with you (as you don’t with me), so give up. It wouldn’t bother me in the slightest if you simply ignored me from now on.

    I will agree with you that WWII was the biggest government-funded stimulus in American history, which is why Roosevelt tried so hard to involve us in the war, despite the isolationists and Lindbergs of the day. His allowing Pearl Harbor to happen was the most brilliant political maneuver of any country in the 20th century. It certainly opened the door to enter the war and thus end the Depression, as he knew it would. Good thing, too, because most of what he had done up to that point was as useless as Obama’s idiocies.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    One thing I’ve noticed over the years on this blog and on other forums, is that when otherwise sensible people hold beliefs that are outside the pale, it sooner or later shows itself:

    [FDR’s] allowing Pearl Harbor to happen was the most brilliant political maneuver of any country in the 20th century. It certainly opened the door to enter the war and thus end the Depression, as he knew it would.

    You really think that FDR – a former Assistant Secretary of the Navy – knew the attack was coming and allowed that? Oh, come on!!!!

    I’ve heard that particular conspiracy theory before, and FDR – who, having enough experience with Naval operations and policy to know – would NOT have done that! What he WOULD have done, had he known the attack was coming, Clavos, would have on the morning of Dec. 7th had the entire Pacific fleet on a war footing. The battleships would NOT have been at anchor – they would have been at sea. How do we know this? Because as far as the world powers were concerned, carriers were a nice-to-have thing, but the battleships were the real power. FDR – like most of the policymakers and Naval authority of the day – would have felt that the battleships were the core of the Navy. Carriers – with the exception of the British Navy’s attack on Taranto – were untested, untried, and mostly untrusted. The fact that the carriers were not inport that day was mere happenstance, because whether you know it or not, while the Navy does try to be inport on the biggest holidays, Dec. 7th was no holiday, and for the carriers to be at sea was not unusual at all.

    If FDR had wanted to start a war, he would have done so by doing something along the lines of part of what happened with the Gulf of Tonkin incident – but he would NOT have risked the destruction of nearly the ENTIRE Pacific Fleet.

    Oh, yeah – do you really think that FDR would also have risked the B-17’s that we lost on Dec. 8th (which was the same day, really) in the Philippines?

    Good grief, Clavos – you really should learn to keep a check on your fear, because it’s causing you to buy into some really silly crap.

    And one more thing:

    I don’t agree with you (as you don’t with me)

    And that, sir, is a false equivalency – because with AGW I have the vast majority of the world’s scientists on my side. With economics I have most of the world economists and almost all of modern history on my side. With Pearl Harbor I have world and military history on my side – not to mention a wee bit of personal experience.

    On the other hand, when it comes to AGW you have a very small minority of scientists on your side. For economics, there are quite a few economists who buy into the Austrian school insanity, but history is not at all on your side. And as for Pearl Harbor…you’ve bought hook, line, and sinker into the same kind of thinking that brought us the Apollo-11-didn’t-happen theory and the 9/11 truthers.

  • Dr Joseph S Maresca

    We need to take a look at the Clinton Administration tax rates-particularly for the upper income brackets. These rates helped get us to a surplus over time. The dual wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are winding down and hopefully we should have savings there.

  • Clav

    You’re right, Glenn, it is a false equivalence. You’re a righteous, upstanding, god-fearing (or -loving; your choice), patriotic, true blue Amurrican citizen who has seen the light and had the Truth revealed to him. A crusader for god, country, Mom and apple pie.

    And me? Well, I’m not. Any of those.

  • Igor

    In the 40s there was a popular book that claimed FDR invited the Pearl Harbor disaster. IIRC it was even a Readers Digest book (which was the pinnacle of publishing success then). That book had a certain currency among FDR haters (a number of whom were catholic, for some reason).

    Looking back we have little idea of how much FDR was hated by certain people, even including some relatives and family friends. When FDR died my next door neighbors on one side actually celebrated. The immediacy shocked me.

  • Clav

    My parents were too restrained and polite to have actually openly celebrated, but they despised the man (FDR). They were members of the landed gentry, and strongly resented actions by Roosevelt against people of wealth.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    And when people hate someone, they much more readily accept accusations against that someone – even when there’s no hard evidence to back up those accusations. This is also what led to the persistence of blood libel against the Jews, and the “sharia law is not permitted” bills here in America. And Igor’s right about how much some people hated FDR. He knew there were people who hated him, and here’s what he had to say about it.

    And I’m glad you agree with the fact that you posted a false equivalence. The rest of your rant in that post is of course quite wrong, since you know quite well that I have no problem with admitting when I’m wrong – and I often am. You also know the respect I have for you, but regardless of how much I respect someone, when I think they need a reality check, I’m going to tell them.

    Except for maybe my wife – I’ve got to live with her, so in that case it’s usually better to keep my mouth shut.

  • Clav

    Once again, you misread one of my comments, Glenn. My point in #32 was that I pretty much disagree with everything you believe in and admire, from god right down through apple pie.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    No, Clav, I didn’t misread your comment – I knew exactly what you were saying.

    But I do make a pretty mean apple pie.

    BTW – it’s said that those in combat fight not out of some sense of patriotism, but out of the simple desire to stay alive, and to keep one’s buddies alive. You would of course know far more about that than I, but if that is true, then you should know instinctively that a sense of patriotism is usually not one’s prime motivating factor. I do what I do not out of patriotism, but because it’s the right thing to do – it’s my duty, just as it is my duty to take care of the elderly woman and the medically-fragile child in my household, and it’s my duty to protect my family. I cannot imagine that you don’t understand what I mean.

    And I support the liberal agenda because it works – as can be seen by the simple fact that – let’s say this One More Time – ALL the non-OPEC first-world nations are socialized democracies, and NONE of the first-world nations have the ‘small government’ that conservative dogma insists is the best way to freedom and economic success.

    Which do you bet on – the horse that has almost always won, or the horse that has NEVER won? The metaphor doesn’t quite fit, but you do get my point.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, can you just clarify this for me – which OPEC nations are first world? I wasn’t aware there were any…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    I’ve been to the UAE and Bahrain, and I’d certainly consider both of those first-world nations. Qatar has by some measures the world’s highest per-capita income – that’s almost certainly because of the incredible oil income of the few that skews the numbers, but I think that Kenn would verify that there is a vast difference between the standard of living between that of Qatar and that of any third-world country you care to name. And then there’s Saudi Arabia.

    It’s easy to go online and see the plight of resident alien workers in all these countries – but it works well for quite a few of them, and I’ve yet to personally see – or eve see a picture of – an out-and-out slum in any of these places.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    So you have evolved your own understanding of the term?

    It is a bit woolly but Wikipedia’s definition is probably the best.

    “Today, the First World is slightly outdated and has no official definition, however, it is generally thought of as the capitalist, industrial, developed countries that aligned with the United States after World War II. This definition included most of the countries of North America, Western Europe, Australia and Japan.

    In contemporary society, the First World is viewed as countries who have the most advanced economies, the greatest influence, the highest standards of living, and the greatest technology.

    After the Cold War, these countries of the First World included member states of NATO, U.S.- aligned states, neutral countries who were developed and industrialized, and the former British Colonies that were considered developed. It can be defined succinctly as Europe, plus the richer countries of the former British Empire (USA, Canada, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand) and Japan.

    Countries were also placed into the First World based on how civilized the country was. According to Nations Online, the member countries of NATO after the Cold War included: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, West Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.

    The U.S.-aligned countries included: Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

    The neutral countries included: Austria, Finland, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland.

    The former British colonies also included in the First World were: Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States.”

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    But Chris, those original delineations were a product of the Cold War and the end of European colonialism. They were a convenient way of demarcating the way the world was aligned. The First World was the West and its allies, the Second World was the Soviet bloc and its allies, and the Third World comprised the “undeveloped” countries of Asia, Africa and South America.

    I think today the “First World” is thought of mostly in economic, not political, terms. That is to say, a country with a high average standard of living and relatively little poverty is a First World nation. That’s the way Glenn is thinking of it, at any rate. In that sense, the oil-rich states of the Arabian peninsula are most definitely part of the First World.

    (China, India and Brazil aren’t, yet, but they’re getting there.)

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Doc, the quote I posted already made all your points.

    I couldn’t agree that any of those Middle Eastern countries, including Israel, are First World countries, still far too uncivilized as far as I – and Wikipedia – are concerned.

  • roger nowosielski

    It’s ridiculous to speak of Qatar or Dubai as “first-world” nations, just as it would be ridiculous to speak of Monaco or Cayman Islands in the same terms. They’re enclaves.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    “too uncivilized”? Really? What’s the murder rate in those nations as compared to, say, a certain first-world nation called America?

    As much as I disagree with much of what they do and believe in, their cultures are different, and the modern determination of first-world status has nothing to do with Western ideas of morality and everything to do with the standard of living of the people.

    My wife has a cousin in Riyadh – I saw them early last year in the Philippines and she and her daughter told me they love living there even given all the restrictions on women. Why? It’s a clean, modern, very prosperous, and safe nation – much safer at any rate than America (it has less than one quarter of our homicide rate). This is not to say there aren’t poor people – there certainly are, as in any nation no matter how rich or prosperous that nation may be. But on the whole, the standard of living of the population as a whole means that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, and Bahrain are certainly first-world nations.

    In other words, when it comes to radically different cultures, when their economy and living standards are higher than your own, it would behoove you to check your Anglo-Saxon sense of morality at the door and reserve your judgement until after you have some personal experience in that culture…especially when that culture has a lower homicide rate than your own (1.1 per 100,000 in Saudi Arabia vs. 1.4 per 100,000 in England).

    Oh, and don’t get me wrong – I’ve got precisely zero desire to go there, since my Darling and I would be jailed the first day for kissing in public (which we do often enough to cause spikes in the sales of Pepto Bismol in the surrounding neighborhood). But I won’t judge their culture.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    It’s ridiculous to speak of Qatar or Dubai as “first-world” nations, just as it would be ridiculous to speak of Monaco or Cayman Islands in the same terms. They’re enclaves.

    If I wrote ‘Dubai’ instead of UAE, then that’s my bad – but the UAE is certainly a nation (though it’s more of a confederacy than what we’re used to here in America). And when it comes to Qatar, you’re entitled to your opinion, but I’ll take the word of people who know more than you or I:

    Qatar tops the list of the world’s richest countries by Forbes. In 2010, Qatar had the world’s highest GDP per capita, while the economy grew by 19%, the fastest in the world. The main drivers for this rapid growth are attributed to ongoing increases in production and exports of liquefied natural gas, oil, petrochemicals, and related industries. Qatar has the second-highest human development in the Arab World after the United Arab Emirates. In 2009, Qatar was the United States’ fifth-largest export market in the Middle East (after the UAE, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt).

    You really should travel, Rog. With your education you could easily do so, just like Kenn is doing…and when you start living in other cultures and learning the lessons they have to teach, your real education will begin. I’m not going to pretend it will change your political philosophy – heck, it may well reinforce it – but I’ve yet to meet anyone who spent any time at all overseas who wasn’t glad they did so.

    And you’ll almost certainly find love along the way, but that’s a topic for another time.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    Forgot the link – it’s from the Wiki entry on Qatar.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    On a different topic, I’ve seen two completely unrelated news stories today – one was the list of the coolest presidents, and the other was the list of the sexiest presidents. What caught my attention was that both of them had Teddy Roosevelt and JFK in first and second place, respectively.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, rather than lecturing people you should practice the fundamental skill that is reading all the information.

    Also from the Wikipedia page on Qatar: “Qatar is a destination for men and women from South Asia and Southeast Asia who migrate willingly, but are subsequently trafficked into involuntary servitude as domestic workers and laborers, and, to a lesser extent, commercial sexual exploitation.

    The most common offense was forcing workers to accept worse contract terms than those under which they were recruited. Other offenses include bonded labor, withholding of pay, restrictions on movement, arbitrary detention, and physical, mental, and sexual abuse…

    Qatar is an absolute monarchy under the leadership of the Al Thani family, whose origins can be traced back to the Banu Tamim tribe. The Al Thani dynasty has been ruling Qatar since the family house was established in 1825.

    The supreme chancellor has the exclusive power to appoint and remove the prime minister and cabinet ministers who, together, comprise the Council of Ministers, which is the supreme executive authority in the country. The Council of Ministers also initiates legislation. Laws and decrees proposed by the Council of Ministers are referred to the Advisory Council (Majilis Al Shura) for discussion after which they are submitted to the Emir for ratification.

    A Consultative Assembly or Majlis al-Shura has limited legislative authority to draft and approve laws, but the Emir has final say on all matters. No legislative elections have been held since 1970 when there were partial elections to the body…

    Until recently, restaurants on the Pearl-Qatar (a man-made island near Doha) were allowed to serve alcoholic drinks. In December 2011, however, restaurants on the Pearl were told to stop selling alcohol. No explanation was given for the ban. Speculation about the reason includes the government’s desire to project a more pious image in advance of the country’s first election of a royal advisory body and rumors of a financial dispute between the government and the resort’s developers.

    Many cases of ill-treatment of immigrant labour have been observed. Qatar does not maintain wage standards for its immigrant labor. Under the provisions of Qatar’s sponsorship law, sponsors have the unilateral power to cancel workers’ residency permits, deny workers’ ability to change employers, report a worker as “absconded” to police authorities, and deny permission to leave the country. As a result, sponsors may restrict workers’ movements and workers may be afraid to report abuses or claim their rights.

    As of 2005, certain provisions of the Qatari Criminal Code allowed punishments such as flogging and stoning to be imposed as criminal sanctions. The UN Committee Against Torture found that these practices constituted a breach of the obligations imposed by the UN Convention Against Torture. Qatar retains the death penalty, mainly for threats against national security…

    The country has not accepted compulsory International Court of Justice jurisdiction.”

    So it is a country that endorses slavery, is run by one man and has no political parties and that is a civilized country?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    You don’t get it, do you? I pointed all that out to Kenn from the same reference last week. Look at what I’ve posted about Qatar – I never said it was a free nation as we understand freedom, did I? At this point in time Qatar is in terms of economics and standard of living for its citizens (and most of its residents – note the difference) a first-world nation…again, in terms of economics and standard of living.

    But they do not appreciate freedom for all as you and I do.

    What’s more, if you take the historical view it would be quite difficult for you to find a pre-1900 nation outside of Western Europe that was as free as Qatar is now…and Qatar has not been a first-world nation for very long.

    Their wealth – and that of all the OPEC nations of the Middle East – is built on oil and gas, and once we hit Peak Oil (if we haven’t already), I don’t think the protracted drawdown is going to bode well for the entire region. Their strongest-held traditions still lay more along tribal and religious lines – not one of them have the centuries-long nationalistic traditions (and the relative stability those traditions bring) of England, America, and most of Western Europe.

    So in the short run, I wish just as much as you that the Qataris – along with the Saudis, Emiratis, and Bahrainis – would learn to protect rather than violate human rights…but in the long run, I strongly doubt they’ll retain first-world status, say, seventy years from now.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, you are trying to claim that Qatar and other, even more intolerant, countries are first world. First world isn’t just an economic issue so your argument is worthless.

    I don’t care at all that someone living in Riyadh thinks it is nice there. Almost everybody in the USA thinks they are living in a free country that is the leader of the free world and that isn’t true either.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    Apparently you think that first-world only applies to places with cultures like your own. I tried to get you to open your mind that the Western way is not the only way there is, although you and I both think it’s the best way.

    Frankly, you’re showing quite a bit of intolerance yourself by making these judgements without having been to any of these places. It would seem that you have neither the empathy nor the sense of relativity necessary with which to truly compare these nations to the other first-world nations.

  • Clav

    Almost everybody in the USA thinks they are living in a free country that is the leader of the free world and that isn’t true either.

    QFT

  • Zingzing

    Are there any “free” countries?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    So where are you going to go, so that you can be free as you think you should be? Free, that is, to that level with all the amenities like running water, reliable electricity, within range of a cell tower, and reliable internet access?

    The point is, both of you can complain all day long but you both know very well that (besides telling yourself that griping makes you feel better) it does about as much good as pissing in the wind. If that’s what trips your triggers, go for it…but in my experience, the glass-half-full guys are a heck of a lot happier than the what-the-hell-are-you-doing-regulating-the-level-of-water-in-my-glass guys.

  • Clav

    Happiness and its causes are relative. What makes me happy probably wouldn’t do it for you, Glenn; and I already know from your comments that most of what makes you happy doesn’t even interest me.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, perhaps you should try and open your own dogmatic little brain before trying to open the minds of others.

    Whilst you’re at it, please spend some time considering how the fuck it is that you think you have the knowledge, insight or credibility to lecture anybody about anything. I for one don’t think that you do.

    Your latest idiotic comment, #51 above in case anybody is confused as to which of many that might be, misinterprets what I wrote as meaning “that first-world only applies to places with cultures like your own”, which I don’t; presumes that you know where I’ve been, which you don’t; and finally piously and pompously accuses me of lacking empathy or a “sense of relativity” without ever having understood what I actually wrote.

    Clearly the lack of empathy is yours, to say nothing of your bloated and ugly sense of your own views, which have been demonstrated to be babbling, confused and inaccurate.

    Zingzing, I don’t think there are any truly free countries yet, although many countries are freer than they were.

    The USA is quite distinctive in that its citizens believe they are free whilst actually living in one of the most regulated and controlling countries in the world, which is a triumph of PR over reality of Matrix like proportions!

    Glenn, shooting down your many idiocies is practically a full time job, for which I think you should pay me. How does $100 a day sound?

    Your #54 alone would take hours to refute and ridicule as thoroughly as it deserves but right now I don’t have the time!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    I don’t think there are any truly free countries yet, although many countries are freer than they were.

    So…what country in history do you think has ever been (by your definition) free? I mean, since you know so much more about real freedom than I do.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    Happiness and its causes are relative. What makes me happy probably wouldn’t do it for you, Glenn; and I already know from your comments that most of what makes you happy doesn’t even interest me.

    Fair enough. I’ll let it be at that.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Fucking hell, Glenn, you really are dense. How did you get to be so shit at understanding words?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Ever since you decided that no matter what, you’d call everything I ever said or did wrong, when you decided that you would always tell me how II was incapable of understanding anything you wrote.

    Frankly, if you cannot see the sense in that simple question I asked you, then it’s more likely that you yourself didn’t understand what you wrote.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn , please stop making such an embarrassing spectacle of yourself.

    I haven’t decided that you are always wrong, that is just some (more) nonsense you made up; I haven’t told you that you are incapable of understanding anything I wrote, that’s just (yet more) stuff you made up.

    What I wrote was “I don’t think there are any truly free countries yet”. What you asked was “what country in history do you think has ever been free?”

    The question has no relevance to my opinion, indeed, my statement rules out any possibility that “any country in history has ever been free”.

    Doh!

  • zingzing

    chris; “The USA is quite distinctive in that its citizens believe they are free whilst actually living in one of the most regulated and controlling countries in the world…”

    oh, come on. that’s such a “when did you stop beating your wife” kind of thing. in what way are we more regulated and controlled than say, england, or spain? or is it that you realize that you’re regulated and controlled?

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    zingzing, Are you saying that you don’t accept that most Americans think they are free? Or that there isn’t too much unnecessary law and regulation in the United States?

    From the frivolous end where it is illegal to simply cross a road in the wrong place to the more serious matters such as the outrageous seizure of property and possessions on nothing more than suspicion of criminality; the right to search phones and computer content for any reason without a warrant; to the fact that the USA has a higher proportion of its population in jail than almost any other country on earth; or that the amount of regulation, licensing and permits needed to start almost any business is overwhelming, the USA is drowning in state control.

    Spain is even worse in terms of red tape and business but not as bad – yet – in terms of civil liberty and rights. England is better than Spain in terms of red tape but worse in terms of state intrusion and control, but I don’t think either is as bad as the USA, yet, although probably trending that way.

    I do think there is greater awareness of and concern about these issues over here than over there but not massively more so.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    my statement rules out any possibility that “any country in history has ever been free”.

    Good. Now that we have that established, what kind of governmental system – or lack thereof – do you think would be required before a nation would be free in your definition of the word?

  • Zingzing

    Let me apologize in advance for this ridiculous ramble.

    “zingzing, Are you saying that you don’t accept that most Americans think they are free?”

    I feel fairly free, but you must not be paying attention to much of our politics if you think we don’t bitch about our lack of freedom. Of course then we boast about our freedoms. We’re ambivalent about our freedom. But you only seem to pick up on one side of that ambivalence. “Liberty” is the favorite word of the party (read: half of the nation’s population) not in charge, and it’s not because they’re saying everything’s great.

    “Or that there isn’t too much unnecessary law and regulation in the United States?”

    Sure there is. There’s red tape and ridiculous laws everywhere. Surprisingly little of that stuff has any effect upon my life, so I don’t think it’s a pervasive as you’re making out. I don’t feel controlled in the least, but hey, how would I know? freedom isn’t a physical object you can hold in your hand and say “I have freedom.” So if they’re fooling me, they are some benevolent tricksters, and damn fine at what they do. God bless ‘em.

    “From the frivolous end where it is illegal to simply cross a road in the wrong place”

    And there’s damn good reason for that in some of the less-trafficked, higher speed areas of the country. In the bigger, more congested cities, you can jaywalk all you like. When my parents visit, I have to constantly tell them to cross the street when you can… The traffic is moving at about 8 miles an hour on average. The cops jaywalk. I jaywalk right on by the cops directing traffic. But I wouldn’t do that on the 55 mph highway that goes past my parents’ old place. That shit is dangerous and stupid.

    “to the more serious matters such as the outrageous seizure of property and possessions on nothing more than suspicion of criminality”

    Not sure what you’re talking about here. I’m sure there have been some eggricious cases, but… If you get off the stuff is most often returned. Are you saying this happens with high frequency in the absense of a conviction? I’m doubtful.

    “the right to search phones and computer content for any reason without a warrant; to the fact that the USA has a higher proportion of its population in jail than almost any other country on earth”

    Highly controversial and not at all unnoticed, both. Concerning the first one, I think “for any reason” is not quite the truth of the matter. It’s not just because they’re curious. I’m more concerned about the communications companies selling my info to various commercial and gov’t groups. Commercial groups want to sell me shit, and I don’t want to buy it. Gov’t groups want easy access, and I think they should have to work harder for it, so they aren’t frivolous with what they do with it. I can definitely see why they’d want it, and the potential of such info to detect and prosecute crimes, but the loss of privacy is highly troubling, even though the chances of them actually sifting through your personal info is rather small. If they used such info to stop someone from blowing up grand central station at rush hour, I’d certainly be grateful for such info, as I am at grand central station at rush hour 10 times a week. Until that day, however, I’m against it.

    “or that the amount of regulation, licensing and permits needed to start almost any business is overwhelming…”

    Hrm. I guess it depends, but I started my own business just by declaring I’d done so on my tax forms. It’s red tape. It’s a pain, but I’m not particularly worried about such stuff. It certainly doesn’t seem to be difficult to start a business around here… Maybe too easy given the turnover of businesses in my neighborhood. Maybe it’s hard to actually run one.

    I dunno. I think the bit of your words I quoted in #62 doesn’t see a whole half of the picture. It’s a bit of a pot shot at America. There is a germ of truth in it, what with the “America, fuck yeah” attitude that comes out of here, but those same people who wave the American freedom flag are probably the biggest complainers about any perceived attempt to limit freedom.

  • Clav

    the outrageous seizure of property and possessions on nothing more than suspicion of criminality

    That one’s even worse than you think, Chris. Because now they seize property with no suspicion whatsoever of criminality — just to give it to someone else who wants to start a business on it, so local authorities, on the possibility of receiving more taxes from your property, seize it under eminent domain and give it to someone else.

    It has already happened a number of times in a number of places.

  • Zingzing

    Not that that’s what he was talking about… And don’t leave out the part about paying people for their property. It’s not always fair, but let’s not be leaving half of the equation out.

    It’s strange, there’s something going on here in Brooklyn where some new development was (or maybe still is being) held up for years because one guy wouldn’t sell his property to the developers. If eminent domain was that simple or powerful, how could this occur?

    Ah, it was the Atlantic yards and the holdout got 3 million for a condo he paid less than 500k for a decade ago.

  • Clav

    You’re right, zing, I forgot (and I really did) to mention that compensation is paid (though not always a fair amount), but even with compensation, if you don’t want to abandon your home of fifty years, so some business can use your property, tough shit.

    it’s one thing to seize property under eminent domain for a highway, or a dam or something similar; it’s a whole other ball of wax to do it to hand over to another private entity, even if the authority involved thinks they will improve their tax base (which doesn’t always happen; the land they seized in the famous Kelso case is lying unused and overgrown with weeds.).

  • Clav

    Oh, and Chris was talking about land seizure by the government — so was I.

    The reason is different, sure, but if anything, the type of seizure I mention is much more of a violation of individual rights.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Not just land seizure. If you are stopped by the police and have a large amount of cash, they can seize your cash, your car, sometimes anything else you own and your bank accounts can get frozen and you then have to try and prove in the courts that they were wrong, even though you no longer have any money!

  • Clav

    All very true…

  • zingzing

    #70–how often does that happen though? something tells me the thing you describe is very much illegal, or in order for it not to be illegal, something else very, very illegal has to be suspected. i’m pretty sure it’s not the intent of the laws we have to produce the kind of thing you describe. i’ve heard the horror stories, but i’ve not known anyone, or known anyone who’s known anyone (which i assume would be a topic of discussion), who has gone through something like this. and it sounds like a blatant mistrial situation if you ask me. not the best way to get a conviction.

  • Doug Hunter

    “Ah, it was the Atlantic yards and the holdout got 3 million for a condo he paid less than 500k for a decade ago.”

    That is the free market, something is worth what you are willing to pay. I have some distant relatives (by marriage, I’m not a party to this) whose great-great-great grandfather ran cattle across west Texas and claimed a barren strip of near worthless earth for pennies an acre. Later an oil field was discovered and named after them. Five and six generations of dividing it up and their shares of the field are still worth in the hundreds of millions of dollars each. Are they any more worthy of that money than your guy with the condo? The fact that he bought it for half a million and is selling it for three is no more relevant than that they bought their land for a few tens of thousand and now it’s worth billions.

    Real estate is about being located on top of what someone else wants whether it’s a developer, an oil company, or a gas station, whatever. In any of those cases I don’t think it’s right for the government to intervene and take what you have. The vast majority of the time they’re giving it to someone richer anyway. Is this the way we want our system to work? Taking the occasional $million scraps away from everyday Americans and giving them to $billion corporations?

  • Doug Hunter

    #72

    A simple Google search of ‘police can seize cash’ should open your eyes. The article No charges, but police can keep the cash is a good start. Sounds like it’s standard policy for some departments.

    An interesting quote from the above article:
    “In the situation with the $26,000, police seized the money because the driver could not give an adequate reason for having that much money.”

    Not being able to come up with a reason for having the cash alone is enough for it to be seized, no need for evidence of criminal activity.

  • Doug Hunter

    Here’s the wikipedia page for civil/asset forfeiture as well.

    Relevant quote, emphasis added:

    Almost all forfeiture cases practiced today are civil. In civil forfeiture cases, the US Government sues the item of property, not the person; the owner is effectively a third party claimant. Once the government establishes probable cause that the property is subject to forfeiture, the owner must prove on a “preponderance of the evidence” that it is not. The owner need not be judged guilty of any crime.

    Guilty until proven innocent, no need of a crime to seize assets. Me and you(probably) indeed don’t have as much to worry about, it’s the immigrant, the uneducated, the fringe of society who police know likely don’t have the resources to fight them. One story chronicled the plight of a salesman traveling through Tennessee who had the money to buy the car, had the listing showing he was going to pick up the car, and still had his money siezed. Took him 4 months and a driving trip from his home state back to Tennessee (and being forced to sign a waiver not to sue) in order to get his funds back. Ridiculous.

  • Doug Hunter

    Sorry Zing, I reread your comment and realized were weren’t disputing that it is the law, just the frequency with which it is used. Also, you seem to think it effects some trial when in actuality there often is not a trial or any charges filed at all. Statistics are difficult to come by, but they are out there.

    The Feds in 2010 seized $1.3 Billion, but they deal with larger crimes so we’ll ignore them. For Virginia, in 2007 there were 1689 cash seizures (not including vehicles and other property) totaling a little over $7 million. You could multiply that by about 40 to scale up for the whole US making some large assumptions just as a SWAG.

    According to the DOJ report on Asset Forfeiture “as many as 90 percent of civil forfeitures are not accompanied by criminal charges”

    Now I can’t tell you what percentage of Virginia’s statistics were civil forfeitures (I suspect only a portion), but the fact remains. If the law is being used 90% of the time to seize assets from people that are not charged with crimes…. WHY HAVE THE FUCKING LAW! Get rid of that dumb shit… now. I don’t know anyone who died of testicular cancer either, don’t mean it’s not bad shit. I don’t care if it happens to 1 or 1000 or 1000000, it’s wrong. The types of people whose car’s they’re taking and whose money they’re taking don’t have alot in this life and don’t have means to defend themselves… it’s wrong.

    You should never ever ever take someone’s property (livelihood in this capitalist system) away without them being convicted of a crime. You should really never ever ever ever take someone’s property away without them being at least immediately caught and charged in the commission of a crime. Nobody should defend this shit, it’s dumb.

  • Zingzing

    Why are they taking it? For no reason at all?

  • Zingzing

    From your PDF: “There are four forfeiture theories. Property is subject to forfeiture if it is (1) contraband; (2) the proceeds of criminal activity; (3) used to facilitate criminal activity; and (4) connected to a criminal enterprise.”

  • Zingzing

    “Nobody should defend this shit, it’s dumb.”

    I’m not defending anything. I’m just pointing out that it’s not just seizure for seizure’s sake. I’m sure the seizure is sometimes justified with some rather large amounts of bullshit, like when grandson decides to sell dope out of grandma’s basement and the like, but there is at least supposed to be some criminal activity going on in these cases. That said, if they can’t get a conviction or a plea deal out of the person they’re seizing from, I’m thinking they better be giving that stuff back, and I wonder why that’s not always the case.

  • Doug Hunter

    #79

    “I wonder why that’s not always the case.”

    Good wondering, me too. I think it should be very simple. Don’t take stuff unless there are criminal charges. Don’t keep stuff unless the courts ultimately find the person guilty.

    Unfortunately, there is real concern as that does not always happen. Witness this expose from Philadelphia

    High Points.

    $6 Million in annual seizures. $550 Average and $178 Median Seizure on a select sample.

    For people successful in reclaiming their stuff it took an average of 5 court visits and 284 days.

    Of 300 cases studied, only 180 had associated criminal cases with 80% of those found guilty.

    Stupidly, your criminal case and your seizure case are separate issues and winning/losing one has no bearing on the other… as indicated by the letter the authorities are required to serve (but often don’t) to the owner.

    When they win a much higher percent of their asset seizure cases than their criminal cases something is wrong. Certainly, many of them are legitimate criminals but quite a few are not guilty, and others get caught up with rent money, money to buy a car, etc, etc. Many people can’t afford to take off work 5 times to go to court to defend themselves over a period of 8 months to get back a median $178. This is a racket. They could very easily implement the simple protections most people would agree on. (i.e. money returned if no crime is proven or defendant found not guilty) but that would cut deep into their $6 million revenue.