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President Obama Owes Wisconsin an Apology

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Wis. Gov. Walker calls Democrat boycott a stunt, and that is exactly what it was—a stunt. A group of Democratic Wisconsin lawmakers blocked passage of a sweeping anti-union bill Thursday, refusing to show up for a vote and then abruptly fled the state in complete disregard to their oath of office.
 

This is an unbelievably cowardly act by a minority to force their will upon the majority of the people. The people of Wisconsin have been disrespected by an organized group, many of whom were teachers who walked out of their classrooms. The coda to this nightmare story in Wisconsin is that the president of the United States came out publicly and announced that the Wisconsin proposal seems like an, ”Assault on the Unions.” Further, the DNC was caught organizing the Wisconsin protests.

It’s common knowledge that many of our states are under severe financial strain as a result of the depressed economy. Wisconsin is but one of many states that will have to renegotiate their contracts with public service employees in order to balance their budgets.

The states, unlike the US Treasury, cannot print money. They have to deal with real numbers, and at the end of the day the budget must be balanced. For the president of the United States to interfere in the sovereign affairs of a state is counterproductive, especially during these difficult times.

The US Treasury is dealing with its own budget crisis, and President Obama has plenty of work to do in order to avoid his own government shut-down. The president should concentrate on doing the business of all the people and avoid a shutdown of the Federal government, rather than giving some measure of credibility to the shutdown of the Wisconsin state government. For the president to inject himself in a way that complicates the job of an elected governor of Wisconsin at a time when the governor struggles with balancing his state’s budget is not normal.

President Obama owes Governor Walker and the people of Wisconsin an apology. This is going to be a difficult fiscal year for many states, for the federal government, and for working families. It makes no sense that the president would publicly take sides on an issue that has the potential to be disruptive to the public education system in Wisconsin and explosive for the entire nation as other states struggle with the difficult tasks of balancing their budgets. Mr. President, please do the right thing and call the governor and tell him that he has your support.

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About DouglasWWallace

  • Alicia

    Here’s the problem-Governor Walker is NOT re-negotiating benefits with the public workers. He is attempting to take away collective bargaining rights for good. That is the problem.

  • Lou

    Governor Walker needs to apologize to all state employees.

  • Nope

    Walker the coward for not fessing up to the 117 million he added to the budget for tax cuts given to the wealth… ahem small businesses

    He is also the coward for not showing his face at the negotiating table

  • Richard E

    The President said himself yesterday. “Everyone will have to make sacificies.” The people of Wisconsin elected this Governor to do a job. He has a constitutional obligation to do that job to the best of his ability. If people are upset about that, so what? I understand how disappointing and painful it is to lose benefits and bargaining rights, and I’m sorry that it is happening to you. But, before this year is over, there will be many other states doing the same thing. And, it will happen to other states next year as well. Unions are going to have to accept the reality of what is rather than the way it used to be. The nation, the states,muncipalities, and working families are struggling to survive with less. That’s what happens when the money runs out.

  • Richard E

    Alicia, the Governor is not trying to take away all your bargaining rights, but rather only the pension and benefits bargaining rights. Public employees will continue to have bargaining rights for salaries. Look at it this way; accept this deal or 5000 public employees will be let go. This is the reality the public employees are facing. Folks can argue class warfare and blame it on the rich, but it won’t change the equation. Wisconsin is broke and the spending cuts are going to hurt everyone. At the end of the day, Wisconsin public employees will stll have more benefits and earn greater salaries than the private sector. Stop whining and be happy you have a job. I have friends who have been unemployed for over a year and would happy for any job.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Richard E –

    They will have bargaining rights only to match rises in the Consumer Price Index…which means they have to negotiate just in order to keep up with inflation.

    Wow, what an incredible benefit! Not.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And here’s what is wrong with taking away their RIGHT to collectively bargain for benefits. Tell us, Richard, why it is that Republicans who believe in “small government” also think that people should not have the RIGHT to CHOOSE to collectively bargain for their benefits?

    And if you think that the right to bargain is a bad, bad thing, just bear in mind that Medicare and Medicaid pay significantly MORE than the VA does for the same medications. Why? Because when the Republicans passed Medicare Part D, they also took away Medicare’s right to negotiate prices…which is costing us – the taxpayers – billions more every year.

    But since the extra taxpayer money goes to the bigwigs at Big Pharma, I guess that’s okay with you, right?

  • troll

    The nation, the states,muncipalities, and working families are struggling to survive with less. That’s what happens when the money runs out.

    no – that’s what happens when wealth concentrates in the hands of the top % as is inevitable under capitalist production

    but you are correct that everyone but the rich will suffer shortages

  • Kenn Jacobine

    The fact is that the welfare/warfare state has ruined America. Governors have no choice but to cut. Unlike Washington they can’t print money indiscriminately. Wisconsin is a harbinger of things to come in America.

  • jeremy

    I love people who try to inflame with completely asinine statements like “The wealth concentrates in the hands of the top%…” Of course it does! It wouldn’t be called “the top” if not. This is not REALLY about unions, its about money and politics. I feels for the teachers caught in the middle, but I really feel bad for the Taxpayers of wisconsin, most of whom do not belong to a union, and the kids who aren’t getting the education they paid for. The unions aren’t going to get as much money from dues, and they won’t be able to donate as much to politics. That is what this is about. The teachers that walk out on their students are cowards. Why does no one see public service anymore. I would expect a person that I elect to office to be working whether pay is there or not. Elected persons should be there to SERVE, not enrich themselves and thier friends at the expense of their communities. I am very disappointed in these lawmakers in wissonsin, and the teachers who have walked out on the students – the ones that are screaming “The kids” whenever a school budget needs to be trimmed. They don’t seem to care about the kids now. Looks like it really was about the teachers – and how much money they want from the citizens of wisconsin. A lot of them think that they are doing the right thing. But that is due to the organizing influence of the union telling them it is right, and righteous for them to do so. At some point it comes down to personal responsibility. People need to own up to the fact that actions have consequences. Public employees have successfully negotiated for more than there employers can afford because the employers are politically motivated, the workers organized – unionized – have “hired” a union to represent their interests. At some point someone should use ethical common sense. Maybe the union should not try to get everything possible. Maybe the state should refuse. Maybe the worker should say i don’t need $300K/yr in retirement. We regular citizens have been sold lies. We figured out we may have to work in retirement, or we weren’t going to have that vacation lifestyle starting at 50, even though you only made $30k a year. The madness has to stop at some point. It ends at the banks owning it all, all of us being unionized government workers, 100% of wages will go to taxes, and govt will poorly provide all necessities for life.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Just one question for the union lovers here…and before you get all snotty about it, I’m asking a serious question here.

    Why is the cost of living so much lower in right to work states? Compare any NE state’s or CA’s costs of living with RTW states like VA. With what I make I couldn’t afford the property taxes in NJ where my folks live and they live in the same sized house as mine without a fulltime fire dept! The fire houses in central Jersey are ALL volunteer.

    My brother can, because he’s union and makes over $44 an hour as an operating engineer, with no college degree.

    I really do believe that unions have a place in our society. But I don’t believe that govt employees should have the right to strike or even unionize. They work for the people and as such, should be accountable to the people. But honestly, I don’t know how govt services are where you live…things like DMV and any place else that requires personal interaction with “the people”, but here in VA, it sucks! Motor Vehicle can take HOURS! And everything’s on computer, so there’s really no excuse. But when you watch these people “working” you immediatly know why everything runs so slow. They don’t care. They don’t have to worry about whether the customer is happy.

  • troll

    The fact is that the welfare/warfare state has ruined America.

    no – it’s the refusal of those controlling the wealth to pay for the welfare/warfare State that has brought the US to the brink

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

    To which I say, “troll,” down with the State, period. The US, just like any state, deserved to be brought to a brink. The Wisconsin situation has the makings of Cairo on our own soil, and it’s about time. Paul Ryan didn’t realize how right he was when he said that in jest. Anyway, the subject of my next article.

  • Doug Hunter

    #12

    In other words, the wealth creators have refused to be enslaved to your ‘great society’. Good for them. You can revolt, kill and imprison everyone ‘rich’ or ‘capitalist’ but it won’t change the fact that we have an unsustainable system. It takes alot of seizing wealth from alot of Bill Gates’s to pay off $14 trillion.

    Asians and Mexicans won’t do our work forever while we sit on our entitled ass no matter how many tantrums you throw.

  • troll

    …not my great society Doug

    I along with Rog look for a no State solution…would’ve thought that you’d’ve picked up on that by now and laid your over-used strawman to rest

    …doesn’t change the fact that Gates and his fellow capitalists are starving the poor

  • Clavos

    …doesn’t change the fact that Gates and his fellow capitalists are starving the poor…

    So is all of the middle class — I don’t see any but a few people out there really trying to help the poor; nobody in the country gives more than lip service to the plight of the poor.

    Oh, and BTW Gates and his wife have given $Billions to charity; find a more appropriate whipping boy — I nominate algore.

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

    Which is why, I contend, discussing the subject in old, conflict-ridden terms of opposition – labor vs. business, rich vs. poor, state’s rights vs. the federal government, personal freedom vs. government intrusion – is a dead end and leads to the kind of reactionary responses as evidenced by Doug (because there is no way to think outside the box). This may be the limit of their thought, which is why they keep on repeating themselves ad nauseam. I’d rather not contribute to their delinquency.

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

    True, the American middle class or whatever remains of it, doesn’t give a hoot about the poor.

  • troll

    Rog – I blame the dialectic…but I’m repeating myself

    Clavos – Gates is the best whipping boy precisely because he gives billions

    it’s the way we produce that’s the problem not a lack of generosity

  • Clavos

    it’s the way we produce that’s the problem not a lack of generosity

    That’s too simplistic, Troll, and it does nothing to refute my contention that Gates is a poor target; he did NOTHING but write some code to garner his first billion; the rest came from people literally throwing money at him because of his initial success.

    He’s just a geek who is luckier than most — nothing more.

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

    Apart from the production system being at fault or not, Gates is “the best whipping boy” precisely because his extraordinary charity masks whatever systemic problems may or may not exists.

    “It’s still alright in Paradise” is the resounding message and it gives people like Baronius, who don’t need extra help by virtue of their affirmation of the spiritual over the material, a new lease on life.

  • Richard E

    The bottom line is that taxpayers are sick and tired of paying public employees, who act and behave as though they work for unions instead of the voters. Why would taxpayer’s, who work for less wages in the private sector, have any sympathy for public service employees who make more money and earn better benefits at the expense of taxpayers. There is a lesson to be learned here. Never forget who is paying your salary. Walking out of the school, abandoning your job as a teacher would be a firing offence in the private sector, but is acceptable for public employees. Tell me, why public service employees should be allowed more privileges than the private sector?

  • Baronius

    Roger – It’s always got to be a personal insult with you, doesn’t it?

    Richard – I agree with you, but the wages of government workers are a small portion of the overall cost of government. If you’re interested in bringing down costs, you’ve got to go after the social programs.

  • troll

    Clavos #20…wasn’t it was his savvy knack for swallowing up smaller/competing fish – ie his capitalist spirit – that lead to his success

    …which makes him the perfect exemplar and target

    Richard if they fired the teachers who would babysit all of those wayward youths…and how about if the Feds brought back the 90% tax rate for the wealthiest to help States cover these necessary custodial expenses?

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

    Where was the insult, Baronius, the mere mentioning of your name? That’s how I read you, get it?

  • Richard E

    Baronius, I couldn’t agree with you more. Our elected leaders must go after entitlement spending immediately. Why spread it out over 25 years. If a person is not in need of entitlements, I am in favor of eliminating them today. It should be a fairly easy task to remove the wealthy from social security benefits, and remove those able bodied individuals who choose to live in sloth at the expense of taxpayers. You will get no argument from me on that point. I in favor of the hatchet rather than the scalpel.

  • troll

    …better to go after the sense of entitlement that permeates our perverted ruling class

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

    The problem though is, the conservatives can’t seem to see past their nose. The welfare state is the best safety valve they have, yet they’re attacking it like mad dogs against their best interests, and in their so doing, they’re about to unleash forces they haven’t dreamed of.

    And no, I don’t approve of the welfare state at all. It’s a piss poor facsimile of the greatest possible good for all.

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

    Richard E., mark my words. You’re digging your own grave. Thus far, the American people has been fairly docile, content with pursuing the myth called the American Dream. Shutter this illusion and you’ll be opening gates to Hell. If I were a conservative, I’d give a serious thought before committing on the course of agitation.

  • Richard E

    Troll,
    I don’t expect any teacher to babysit. I expect them to teach my kids. Is that what you are doing when you drop your kids off to school–free babysitting? I expect my children to be TAUGHT by dedicated, qualified public servants, not babysit them. What is this hatred toward the rich? Did they not earn their money, while paying taxes and employees, including benefits as they worked their way to achieve the American Dream? Some people don’t care to be rich, and that’s okay. But why punish those who do make the sacrifices to earn wealth? What right do you have to demand the governmentt seize the hard earned wealth from any American citizen? Is it because you want them to pay your share of the public service costs? What right do you have to take money from someone else,just because they had a different dream than you, a different drive than you, and a different outcome than you? Who do you think drives the economy of this great nation. It is the entrepeneur, the individual that has the courage to take a risk, hire employees, and grow their company. That person has done nothing to harm you. They have paid more taxes than you will ever pay, and they will continue to pay taxes up to the day of their death, when the government will take a sizeable chunk of their wealth in the form of a death tax. So, stop being so selfish and think about the consequences of what America would be like if it were not for the so-called “rich.”

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Again, I want to hear from the SMALL-GOVERNMENT conservatives here how exactly is it that government employees do not deserve the RIGHT to CHOOSE to bargain for their benefits?

    And for Alan K., do you really think that people who work for the government are somehow psychologically different from everybody else? It’s nice that you somehow think that the government can wave a digital wand to make all your dreams come true, but it takes a lot of HUMAN effort…and tell me, Alan – do you REALLY want a minimum-wage earner delivering your mail? Do you REALLY want a minimum-wage earner to be teaching your kids? Do you REALLY want a minimum-wage earner to be checking whether your water is too contaminated to drink? Do you REALLY want a minimum-wage earner to keep track of your property tax assessment? Do you REALLY want a minimum-wage earner to do the surveying for roads and property lines? Do you REALLY want a minimum-wage earner to be doing repairs (that the crew can’t do) on board a nuclear vessel? On that last one, I can personally assure you that our government technicians are FAR cheaper, every bit as qualified, and certainly more trustworthy than the civilian contractors that I’ve seen!

    I’ve heard lots and lots of ideas from conservatives over what they’d like to cut…but I’ve heard NO ideas on how they’d ensure the critical jobs get done that are presently done by government workers. I don’t want to hear sweeping statements – I want to hear DETAILS!

  • Richard E

    Roger,
    The American Dream is no myth; it is very real and happens every day in America. As for being a conservative, I’m proud to stand tall and stand with the constitution of the USA, the right of every person to the pursuit of happiness. If life has, by chance, dealt you a bad hand of cards, I’m very sorry. But, don’t blame that on me. I had nothing to do with your situation in life. Do the math Roger. Polls show most voters don’t have the dark view of America that you have. As for agitating, you are the one making threats, not me. I’m simply stating my values. If that upsets you, then it is your problem, not mine.

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

    But they do babysit, Richard E., in a manner of speaking, by instilling in them the principles of good citizenship and the American way of life. What amazes me, why would you want to see this process disrupted. It’s a small price to pay, I should think, to keep the people sedate.

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

    If it’s not a myth, you’re doing yourself no favors by denying its reality to the “civil servants” – notice the scare marks. What do they comprise? What portion of the population? No matter, they’re capable, by virtue of their education, of being more vocal and energized when push comes to shove, more so than those on welfare.

    Again, if I were you, I wouldn’t want this kind of enemy.

  • troll

    Richard has the reality of public education fulfilled your expectations?

    What is this hatred toward the rich?

    don’t hate the rich…only the consequences of our system which produces them… as in 15 deaths due to starvation/minute for example

    …the rest of your personalized comments are off the mark and are based on some bizarre notion that it is the exploiter who produces value

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

    And no, Richard, I’m not upset at all by you stating your values. Just trying to instill a sense of reality about to unfold. You say most Americans don’t share the dark view of of America that I have. Just wait and see.

  • Richard E

    Roger & Troll,
    Your arguments have descending into inanity. How can anyone respond to this type of nonsensical tripe? You may go now.

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

    Richard, if you remember I invited you to stick around. Now you’re resorting to mere verbal ejaculation for no other reason that you’re at a loss for words. So thank you for dismissing me. And you, too, may you go in peace.

  • troll

    Your arguments have descending into inanity.

    we are well known for such inanity around here

    in any case here’s a link to a debate that relates

  • Clavos

    …as in 15 deaths due to starvation/minute for example…

    Where?

    Source?

  • troll

    worldwide according to the UN

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

    “we are well known for such inanity around here.”

    Many ways of reading the above but darn it, I’ll take it as a compliment.

  • Richard E

    Clavos, so nice to see comments of reason. That’s one of the problems I have with these chat sessions. Extremists make outlandish statements that are not supported by any source. Already polls are coming in showing that the average American worker, watching what’s happening in Wisconsin, is furious with the protestors and the Dems in the Wisconsin senate. But the bozos on this site are delusional, in that they believe they are in the majority. When it gets to the point where the discussion ventures into the nonsensical, I have to disengage, not because I’m running, but because it’s a complete waste of time.

  • Clavos

    worldwide according to the UN

    Fair enough, but I doubt that they can all be attributable to “our system.” What IS “our system?”

    How are WE (the USA) causing deaths from starvation in say, Mali?

    And are those deaths necessarily all a bad thing? would the world not be overrun with humans without plagues and pestilences and floods. earthquakes, etc?

    And last,how is Bill Gates responsible for the death of a bushman in Africa?

  • troll

    Extremists make outlandish statements that are not supported by any source. Already polls are coming in showing that the average American worker, watching what’s happening in Wisconsin, is furious with the protestors and the Dems in the Wisconsin senate.

    i-r-o-n-y

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

    The only bozo around here is you, Richard. You haven’t provided a single objection to the argument that antagonizing a part of the population that is vocal, articulate and educated is not a smart thing. Instead, the only thing you seem capable of is reacting, falling on your so-called values. If you’d manage to take the religious aspect out of your views, there might be hope for you, not before. I’m not for collective bargaining power, just as I am not for corporate power; but this is neither here or there, and at this point, I’m afraid beyond your understanding. All I’m saying is that the reality of the situation should make you
    think twice before you put a foot in your mouth.

    But as I said, there isn’t much hope for that unless you take the religion out.

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

    Clavos’s hand forced to defend the US and “our system”? An unlikely development, I should think.

    Are we coming to a peak?

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

    I’d go with repealing all drug laws and hence stop the damaging war on drugs, massively reduce the size of the police, FBI, ATF, DEA, Customs, Homeland Security and the military. The potential savings and other benefits are immense.

  • troll

    …but think of the attendant unemployment Chris

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

    Apologies for waving my “big stick” folks but Richard E, I’m the one who has to decide who gets to stay or go here so knock it off with the patronising remarks before my tolerance and patience are exhausted…

    Christopher Rose
    Blogcritics Comments Editor.

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

    Fair enough for a bureaucratic solution, but it misses the heart of the matter which, in my mind, is not at all about the budget crisis, a pretext, but a confrontation between the opposing segments of the American society.

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

    A personal view, if people are trying to have a conservative v liberal debate, they are all missing the point.

    It isn’t one party v another, left v right or any of that. The entire system is broken and needs massive reform at every level.

    If you’re buying into the old arguments, you’re part of the problem, not part of the solution.

  • Boeke

    Richard E is either ignorant or drunk on rightist rhetoric:

    “26 – Richard E
    Feb 18, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Baronius, I couldn’t agree with you more. Our elected leaders must go after entitlement spending immediately.

    It’s called ENTITLEMENT for a reason: after paying into SS for 40 years you’re ENTITLED to the proceeds. Anyone who deprives you of what you are ENTITLED to is a THIEF!

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

    Boeke, please consider yourself included in my remarks to Richard in #50…

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

    @52

    Right on!

  • Boeke

    CR: just fighting fiery rhetoric with fiery rhetoric.

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

    Try a different approach…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    But what you do NOT do is throw out the baby with the bath water. Keep what works – and there’s a lot that DOES work – and fix what doesn’t work.

    Doing this is far less expensive and far more effective than just abolishing departments wholesale as a certain political party wants to do.

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

    I don’t think there is much that is working, Glenn. Plus which, if you remodel the whole house, the baby, the bath water and the entire bathroom are going to need modernising too.

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

    Typical Contrarian response. If I were Chris, I wouldn’t give you the opportunity to voice the lame response. The term “reform” is what you’re obviously latching on to.

    So what exactly is working, Mr. Glenn? How do we, as a society, are moving forward?

  • Richard E

    Christopher Rose,
    Be my guest Christopher. Invoke your power. In doing so, you will have proven that Blogcritcs.org is not a site for bipartisan discussion but rather for Democrats and/or right leaning viewers only. Indeed, you will prove to all viewers that you have the power to close off debate at any time and in your sole discretion. So, follow through on your threats or leave us alone Sir Rose, Editor in Chief.

  • Clavos

    It’s called ENTITLEMENT for a reason: after paying into SS for 40 years you’re ENTITLED to the proceeds.

    Wrong.

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

    The truth function of the aforementioned statement is debatable. The question that puzzles me most, what is it exactly that you’re defending?

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

    Richard, if I choose to act, all I will prove is that this site won’t accept churlish behaviour.

    You’re right that I do have a little power but it isn’t the power to close off debate; that would be an abuse of power and is neither my instruction, interest or intent. Nor is it at my sole discretion and I’m not the “Editor in Chief”; don’t think we’ve got one of those actually.

    Leave out the excessive and you’ll be fine; carry on and you will be gone. The choice is yours…

  • Richard E

    Christopher Rose,
    You comment is so overly broad such that is has no effect whatsoever on my style of writing. What is “excessive” to you? I choose to carry on, but I take offense to any accusation that I am in any way being ungracious. There are 64 comments on this site. Obviously the subject is of interest to a lot of people, each with their own opinion. I’m grateful to be able to participate, but not because you permit it to be so. You are the one who invoked the power to suppress the freedom of speech. Otherwise, it was a lively debate. I have a suggestion for you. Stay out of the debate and stick to your job of monitoring, and leave the debating to your readers.

  • troll

    Clavos I think the best answer to you #44 is to refer you to Patel’s work exemplified by his The Value of Nothing

    ” What IS “our system?”

    our system is best described as global crony capitalism…is there another more dominant system around?

    How are WE (the USA) causing deaths from starvation in say, Mali?

    didn’t say the USA – said capitalism…our food production and distribution system has pretty much gone global along with increasing ‘food insecurity’

    further – it is our system that leads to the overproduction of labor (ie people)just as it tends towards glut in every market

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

    It’s the emotional that will eventually move Clavos, not the empirical.

    But who am I to say? It’s just my stupid opinion.

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

    48/49 Christopher and Troll. Yes if there is one thing that rivals the endless, fruitless, collaboration-stunting rivalry between “conservatives” and “liberals” for sheer stupidity and waste, it is the War on Drugs. We could re-tread maybe 95% of BATF agents, prison guards and the like, by getting them busy CULTIVATING hemp, and soy, increasing our food-production capability by implementing and continuing hydroponics research, developing alternative energy sources.

    Instead, there are so many wasted dollars spent on warehousing nonviolent human beings, not to mention the waste made of those actual lives.

    Is the Drug War kept going because a steady stream of inmates is needed to justify the highly lucrative (and often politically filthy) private prison industry….OR….is it part and parcel of the bureaucratic push for more control over the private lives of citizens?

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

    Of course you’re right, Irene, from a bureaucratic, bean-counter standpoint. But do you really think the budget crisis lies at the heart of our ailments? And if not, why don’t you speak with greater force?

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

    What right do you have to take money from someone else,just because they had a different dream than you, a different drive than you, and a different outcome than you?

    Exactly! The nerve of some to enslave others because they have decided the value of money trumps the value of human life.

    Who do you think drives the economy of this great nation. It is the entrepeneur, the individual that has the courage to take a risk, hire employees, and grow their company.

    Not the actual people who spend their time in labor? Just the guy who forks over the bucks?

    What would the rich be without wage slaves? How did it happen that money is more revered than human life and human time. A human sells her life to WalMart for $7/hr, obeying orders all day long…being told where to be, how to dress, etc. Being told that after she has spent all her available hours working that she still won’t be able to afford to live…afford medical care, and housing. Can you see how your entrepreneur got rich? He robbed this worker of life to accumulate wealth at her expense.

    The American Dream is no myth; it is very real and happens every day in America.

    But don’t forget. You’ve gotta be in it to win it! 😉

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

    Now, that’s spoken with force. It’s Irene’s turn now!

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

    Go after the social programs? Spoken like a true follower of Jesus. Take from the poor and give to the rich–they earned it!

    P.S. Social security adds nothing to the deficit. Many conservatives have a habit of acting ‘as if’ it does.

    (Thanks for your prayers Baronius. I hadn’t seen your comment until much later, I appreciate them.)

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

    Roger,

    I love you dearly. But you are making me feel uncomfy. I don’t like to be compared with my friends. I am not in a competition with Irene.

    (smooch :-)

  • Richard E.

    Cindy, Cindy, Cindy,
    Entrepreneurs are ordinary working class people. Some, like the author of this particular article, says he was born into generational poverty and worked his way from the bottom.Is that so hard for you to believe? You don’t have to be “in it to win it.” The American Dream is as much a state of mind, as it is about performance. You have to believe in yourself. There’s just one catch. You have to act during your youthful years, those most precious of times,when you are stronger, faster and more eager. But, those are also the same years in which the temptatons of youth overpower the individual drive for success. If a person wasted their younger years, then they pay the price in their older years. And, that is where the rubber meets the road. It’s too late. The jobs you compete for, are also being sought by eighteen year olds. Life become frustrating. Having wasted the youthful years, a person become bitter, angry at the sytem, when in truth the system had nothing to do with the outcome. Then there is the unavoidable, an act that takes place which derails a career at no fault of the individual. The unavoidable always happens. So, not only must the youthful years be spent pursuing the American Dream, but a person must also be prepared for the unavoidable. That’s the nature of capitalism and it is a great system, or at least it is the best anyone has been able to create in the history of time. There will be disappointments, setbacks, and failures, but that happens in any system of government. We do not live in a perfect world.

  • troll

    Richie Richie Richie – cut the condescending sexist crap…it won’t get you brownie points here

    Entrepreneurs are ordinary working class people.

    entrepreneurs to the extent that they are successful extract surplus value from labor…working class people to the extent that they are of that class do not

  • Boeke

    But some of you live in a satisfactory delusional world.

    What you wrote seems like a Christian Youth bible study tract. It’s the kind of thing Youth Group leaders present to impressionable youth to start explaining the ‘natural’ hierarchy of christianity, a belief system that might otherwise be mistaken to be egalitarian.

    Not very original. I first heard it 60 years ago.

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

    Richard,

    What a disgusting inhuman system. I would much prefer one where people cooperate and enjoy their work. Where they look after one another rather than compete and be forced to ‘win’ some made up game that people (male people), such as yourself, have seen fit to force upon the world.

    As a woman, I look forward to contributing to designing the world that I see would work rather than playing what I consider to be your maladaptive and oftentimes psychopathic games of king of the hill. I resent your clear intention to force other people to live by the rules you prefer.

    Look around the world, your rules don’t work. Your reality will crash and burn.

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

    And the sooner the better.

  • Richard E.

    Troll,
    Can you name the country that has a better system of government? You don’t know me, or otherwise you would not accuse me of being condescending or sexist. How can you have employees, if you do not have an employer? No matter what system of goverment you prefer, there is always a boss. Who would you prefer that boss to be, the government or private enterprise? If you choose the government, then your ultimate boss will be the taxpayer. Those are your only choices, like it or not. Unless of course you choose to be the entrepreneur, which means, under your defintion, you would be exploiting labor. Like I said, we do not live in a perfect world.

  • troll

    Can you name the country that has a better system of government?

    Belgium for now

    You don’t know me, or otherwise you would not accuse me of being condescending or sexist.

    it’s easy to read between the pixels…maybe it’s you who doesn’t know you

    bosshood like all authority need not be anything but ad hoc nor need it be related to the expropriation of labor and the control of what it produced

  • Richard E.

    Cindy,
    This issue has nothing to do with gender. We’re all born equal. There is no imprint at birth that says this baby will succeed while this one will fail. In other words, we all start out equal. How sad that you wish bad things would happen to someone. What you don’t know is that you can’t influence the outcome of my life. Only I can do that. I have traveled around the world. In fact, I’ve been around the world several times. And, I can honestly say that no other government in the world can match the opportunity for upward social mobility than that of America. So whatever you are angry about, it goes far deeper than our system of government, because whether you believe it or not, this is the best place in the world to live.

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

    Sorry, guys, but I won’t participate. It’s like having to make the same old argument time and time again. The only thing which ever changes is the handle and the person behind it, not the mindset. I’m certain Christ had an easier time making converts out of nonbelievers, one by bloody one.

    Well, I’m certainly not Christ, and I can surely think of better use of my time. Keep on plugging on though. I admire your dedication.

    Well, I’m not Christ,

  • Richard E.

    Roger,
    On your last comment I must concur, I have better use of my time. Richard E is out permanently. Amen, God Bless You All and Good bye

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

    @75

    Talking of condescending, “troll.” Sorry, just can’t deal with second-rate intellects masquerading as authentic human beings. Haven’t got the time, the patience, or the right kind of love (especially when pixels are concerned). You two are exceptions.

    So the way I look at it, cut your loses and run. When the deluge or the earthquake comes, they’ll all perish. And if the good Lord wouldn’t spare Sodom in spite of Abraham’s pleadings, who the fuck am I?

    Happy hunting, though.

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

    82 Good point, Roger. Only the names have changed. The message is the same.

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

    Didn’t mean to chase you away, Richard, only expressed my bloody preferences and all-too-human lack of patience. (Can’t speak of love on the net.) If you’ll admit of being thin-skinned, so will I, and perhaps both of us may stand to gain from the experience. Meanwhile, I’ll make it a point to stay out of your hair.

    In any case, wishing you the best, I mean it.

  • troll

    …pax vobis Richard E who is out permanently Amen

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

    And they tell themselves blatant lies. Which they will defend. Like this:

    “This issue has nothing to do with gender. We’re all born equal. There is no imprint at birth that says this baby will succeed while this one will fail. In other words, we all start out equal.”

    Richard, it absurd to suggest we all start out equal. Really, how can one take you seriously when you lie to yourself so?

    Also, it most definitely IS about gender. Males have dominated reality and thus have designed and controlled it. They have preferred domination. Women were prevented by them from determining how things would work, socially, and what would be important. Thus we have competition and struggling against others to win and ‘make it’ as the dominant social reality and oh yes, we have Capitalism…an inhuman system of using others as objects to personally gain. Disgusting. No way for people to act.

    You have created a prison where women have the choice to be successful by being elevated to the position of prison guard. I am not satisfied with the male version of equality. I want to influence and change the social reality, not succeed according to the masculinized version of it–that is the only equality worth striving for.

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

    I should learn to bloody shut up when shut up I must. That’s the problem with the stupid net, posting is way too easy and we never think of the consequences.

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

    Roger,

    All you did was bow out. That is all you did. He chose to react to that. I suspect he was feeling as frustrated as you were. Likely looking for an escape hatch.

    (on that note, time for bed…nightie night all)

    :-)

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Something that has been missed in this discussion is the fact that what is happening in Wisconsin is union busting. It is only the first salvo. Many governors and legislatures in states held by Republicans are intent upon breaking up the public employee unions. Why? Budgets? No. Ideology? No. What then?

    Of the organizations providing the largest political contributions across the country, three of the top ten are these very public employee unions. They give primarily to Democratic campaigns at both local and national levels. The other seven of the top ten are private corporations which give primarily to Republicans. The largest of them all is the US Chamber of Commerce which has, in the past few years given 90% of its donations to Republican campaigns.

    The public employee unions represent the only major organizations which provide significant campaign funding to Dems. Remove them from the equation, and you further open the flood gates for Reps even beyond the SC decision against corporate campaign spending limits.

    If there is any doubt about Walker’s motives, note that in his edict against the public employee unions, he exempted the firefighters and police unions. These unions endorsed his campaign. The others did not. Just a coincidence?

    Also, there is a certain symbolism about Wisconsin being the place where this union busting is beginning. It was in Wisconsin that unions generally had their beginnings.

    It was unions that got all of us the five day work week and the eight hour work day. It was unions that worked to make the workplace a safe place to work.

    I do believe that in many instances unions have over-stepped. Many unions are as or more corrupt than the industries their members work in. That doesn’t obviate the need or importance of unions to the welfare of the nation’s workers and the nation as a whole.

    Also, btw, Obama owes no one an apology. It is his job to weigh in on any issue affecting any or all of this country. The last time I checked, Wisconsin IS a part of the United States, right? He is aware of how this issue is likely to grow across the country. It was and is totally proper for him to impart his thoughts and opinions. It’s part of his job.

    B

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

    I still haven’t conducted myself the way I should in a public forum.

    Good night.

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

    Spirit of the times, Baritone. It’s going to spread like wildfire across the country. The people are having their fill with their government. Last year it was the Tea Party, and now this. If the Republicans won’t yield, and they’re unlikely to do so because they’re still intoxicated from the results of midterm elections, expect a widespread conflagration across the country. It is confrontation time.

  • troll

    Baronius – unions’ glorious history does not imply their continuing importance

    their evolving corruption and impotence in the face of capital and its government serve as evidence for anarchism’s dogma against standing political structures

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I’d like to know where all these tens of thousands of protesters were last November. Did they bother to vote? The admirable Russ Feingold lost his Wisconsin senate seat to a tea partier; and this extremist governor was elected over a Democrat, along with a big Republican majority in the state legislature. Scott Walker wasn’t keeping his pro-corporate platform hidden. But now we are shocked, shocked at the results.

    Same with the appalling know-nothings in the GOP-majority House of Representatives in Washington, who are busy doing such important people’s business as trying to kill Planned Parenthood and public broadcasting.

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

    @94

    Correct. Bur it’s out of this going-nowhere dialectic that revolutions are made. Which is your point, I suppose.

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

    Look at it that way, Handy. At least now you know who your enemy is. “It’s the government, stupid.” Republican or Democrat, who cares? Yesterday it was the tea partiers who were enraged, today the civil servants. Same difference as far as I am concerned. The American populace may be finally waking up to the gruesome reality.

    As Paul Ryan had remarked, Cairo has come to Wisconsin. Little did he know the truth of his words.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Unions are certainly archaic in their structure and have over stepped as I mentioned, often making it impossible to get a job done.

    But, I’d be more than willing to bet, that if and when unions are totally beaten down, the work place will devolve into a kind of hell not seen in the US for decades. I don’t believe I’m overstating this. The sweatshops will return, perhaps with a vengeance. The only major difference will be that many of these “sweatshops” will be offices rather than mills or factories – after all we don’t really make anything much anymore.

    Cindy expressed much of my concerns and feelings about all this. The fucking dollar is far more important to us than humanity. All I can say is, if you are not rich, and yet you support the rich, you are blinded by the apparition of the carrot being dangled before your eyes. That by following their lead like mindless lemmings you believe that at some point you too will be living the “American Dream” of acquuiring untold riches and living the sumptuous life of the high rollers you so admire. Of course, a few of you may actually reach that goal to one degree or other – just enough to keep a little spark of hope burning. But, the fact is that most of you won’t. You will remain stuck in your real or proverbial cubicle gobbling up those “trickle down” crumbs the rich brush off their expensively tailored laps.

  • El Bicho

    was watching a little TV tonight and they were talking about the reason the states are in trouble with the pensions was because Wall St lost the money with the recent shenanigans. If so, looks like the greed and corruption of a few are more to blame than the unions

  • pablo

    Richard E 32
    “As for being a conservative, I’m proud to stand tall and stand with the constitution of the USA”

    I can’t help but wonder Richard, how tall you stand with such constitutional trivia as the Bill of Rights, as well as the constitutional article limiting the warmaking power to the congress and not to the executive.

    How do you feel Richard about warrantless wiretaps, rendition, torture, and other such overt acts of unconstitutionality practiced on a daily basis by the former president and the current one. How do you feel Richard about having to get a fucking permit to excercise first amendment guarantees to petition the government for redress for instance.

    You come across as another typical non thinking right wing fascist, who when it comes to the beloved constitution and standing tall for it, you and your kind are the FIRST to abrogate it when it doesn’t suit your taste. YOU know it, and I know it pal. So don’t come around here with your high falutin bullshit about standing tall.

  • troll

    (geeze – apologies Baritone for getting you mixed up with Baronius…again)

  • Doug Hunter

    #15

    Sorry, it’s easy to understand the miscommunication. I believe we have to completely different worldviews and it makes it difficult to understand shared concepts. I lump you and Roger in with the left because you seem vaguely such.

    I don’t understand concepts such as entitlement or class warfare at all which are the very basis of left wing thought, these conversations often devolve into ‘well, I wish something bad would happen to you so you would understand why such and such entitlement is important’. That is the farthest thing from the truth. I can’t imagine a scenario where I’d feel I was owed anything and that any help was anything but icing on the cake. If my house burns down and I don’t have insurance, it’s not your fault, I’d be kicking myself for not prioritizing insurance over cable television and for allowing the situation that cause the fire in the first place. If I had a child with a disablility, that’s the risk of having children, it’s not society’s job to assist unless they choose on an individual basis. If I get sick and go through the millions of $$$ my insurance plan allows then am cut off and am on my death bed, I’ll be bothered more by what the $X Million spent on my life could have done for the lives of thousands of starving/uneducated/etc people than by the ‘greed’ of the insurance company in not wanting to pay out more than the agreed upon contract. I wouldn’t feel I was getting rooked, I’d feel I was a multimillion $$$ drain on society that made other people’s lives worse in a futile attempt to extend mine.

    Even when it comes to borderline fraud it is what it is, I know that in the 3-4 decades before I qualify for SS that they will set means tests and I will be excluded (if we don’t have a revolution first!). I’m OK with it, they should have done it years ago.

    One person’s entitlement is another’s slavery. I understand that if I’m ‘owed’ healthcare or food or housing, then some doctor or farmer or construction worker is ‘indebted/enslaved’ for that benefit else someone else is indebted to pay said doctor/farmer/worker.

    Now, to class warfare and your assertion that ‘Bill Gates’ is starving the poor or children or whatever foolishness you uttered… I don’t buy it at all. The world can only sustain 7 billion people (far exceeding it’s estimated capacity only decades ago) because of the technology developed in the churn of the rich capitalist west… the agriculture, the medicines, etc. The reality is not that western agriculture ‘destroyed’ theirs, it enabled them. Their subsistence farming caused enough pestilence and death that it kept their populations down for millenia then when capitalism and it’s technology exploded their populations did as well.. I see positive correlation, not negative. I suppose the criticism is that capitalists haven’t instantaneously transformed the entire planet into utopia for every citizen regardless of their contribution to society, rather it goes in phases one country at a time.

    Somewhere between subsistence farming from age 12 to death at near starvation levels from a grass hut subject to the elements to living mooching off the parents/government education until age 30, going to work shuffling papers in a cubicle (for the evil capitalist man no doubt!) for 20 years with two cars, a 2000 sqft personal residence, then full retirement/healthcare in a florida 2nd/retirement home lies those other steps of ‘sweatshop’, cheap manufacturing, etc. etc. That’s where you attack it because it’s not perfect and instantaneous, that’s the stage Marx witnessed and critiqued and frankly that’s the only phase that’s proven susceptible to revolutionary intervention.

    What you’re seeing in Wisconsin is not ‘revolutionary’, far from it. Quite the opposite it’s people quite afraid of change in their comfortable, cushy positions life has afforded them at the expense of private capitalist business (the root problem being a dearth of private, capitalist business operating in the state). Revolution sounds great as long as it’s over by the time their reality/junk TV comes on at 6pm.

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

    100 – good post pablo!

    It seems to me, it is an excuse to hold the position that the gov’t should not use money to help “lazy” people (in their view–anyone who needs help).

    say no to abortion rights (because we value human life),
    say yes to cutting social programs that help children (like SCHIP–poor children’s healthcare)

    say no to gov’t spending on social programs
    but don’t touch the spending on wars or weapons

    They (most) only claim to be small gov’t. They are, I think, fooling themselves. The heart of their mindset seems to have more to do with preventing what they see as someone getting “something for nothing”. And also preventing the spread of the message that someone should get “something for nothing”.

    At its The heart of Republicanism (and most conservatism–as it is typically played out) is an antisocial obsession with seeing “laziness” and seeing this as the root of all evil.

    (Though I am sure some of them are workaholics to justify their pov, I have years of experience watching some of them lash out at others with a claim of “laziness” even when they, personally, have been the laziest people in evidence. Some don’t apply their own rules to themselves, but hold themselves to a privileged and deserving, standard.)

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

    Some time, I will begin a collection of phrases I find that evidence my claim of the right’s perverse obsession with “laziness” and “getting something for nothing”. Doug’s comments are a treasure trove.

    Doug,

    Your narrative is a bit off the cuff. That is, you didn’t look at your subject closely. You casually looked and created a story that fits in to support your biases.

    Try reading some more in depth treatments of your topic. You may find that your view doesn’t explain things adequately. Ever hear of colonialism for (one) example?

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Comment 77 – I would much prefer one where people cooperate and enjoy their work. Where they look after one another

    Join the military!

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

    Andy,

    Why does it take concerted brainwashing (as is done in the military) to get you to enjoy your work and look after one another?

    I will leave off all the other obvious things I would have to say about the military.

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

    Your example is actually quite a good one for my pov. You can’t just naturally treat people well and look out for their well-being? You have to be ‘broken’ in boot camp to develop a deep concern for your fellows?

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Not for my “fellows”, but for my fellow soldiers and sailors. I worry about me and mine and that keeps me busy enough. Maybe if more people worried about what was happening in their own back yards, we’d be better off for it…

    So, no, I can’t just treat people well. A lot of them don’t deserve it! The most you’ll get out of me is 20 years defending everyone’s right to tell me how wrong I am. And I can live with that…

  • troll

    not so different Doug – we are both capable of looking at things from opposing viewpoints and ‘wearing others’ shoes’

    concerning entitlement – I’m with you; responsibility for oneself is the bottom line and you are in a good position to preach this virtue to the wealthy…I’m not sure how your critique applies to people who are too poor to face such questions as extended survival or home ownership in the first place

    (btw – say No to war boys and girls)

    concerning class struggle – we explain motion and change as the result of opposition these days…if you can come up with a non-oppositional model with an axiom being that ‘if it works at all it works for all’ then I am all ears/eyes…it’s the only viable way forward imo

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

    But that’s tribalism, Andy, precisely the kind of situation we’re trying to break up in Afghanistan so they might become an open society.

    Don’t you get along with strangers?

  • Clavos

    concerning class struggle

    I have no class.

    Thus, no motivation to struggle.

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

    @109

    There usually is an emotional block to reckon with, “If I’ve made it, so can anyone else.” Laziness, worthlessness, all the good ole epithets we bestow on the poor is the natural fallout. What’s of interest, however, it’s only those who have scrounged and slaved and “applied themselves” to cut a “decent living” and secure their part of the American Dream are so convicted (which is why they’re so utterly resentful of the poor who get something for nothing). The truly rich rarely entertain such notions, nor do they express them. And why should they since they’ve created a whole class of people to their bidding for them?

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

    No manners at all?

    You’re a liberated chap, Clavos, who thinks for himself. A rare breed.

  • Clavos

    No manners at all?

    Well, certainly not enough…

  • Clavos

    I feel liberated, Roger.

    I enjoy these discussions, but on a purely academic level — I’m rarely passionate about abstractions, though always interested in what people have to say about them.

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

    I very seriously doubt it. You strike me as a kind of person who would be perfectly at ease drinking beer with longshoremen as well as rubbing elbows with the rich and famous. A ruffian on the outside, suave on the inside.

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

    Well, its only when you feel liberated that you can stay above the fray.

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

    Bet you, though, being a “foreign national,” whatever the term, had a lot to do with it; one just can’t help but look at the world from outside in.

  • Clavos

    Well, its only when you feel liberated that you can stay above the fray.

    Quoted for Truth.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Roger, I get along fine with strangers. I strike up conversations with people I meet in bars and restaurants. And usually have a good time too, but that doesn’t mean I give a damn about them!

    I laugh…alot! Life is good! But I think if I started worrying about everybody else I wouldn’t be as happy as I am!

    Attempting to break up tribalism usually leads to a bunch of resentful tibesmen, doesn’t it? I mean, look at native Americans, they’re still resentful! Not that I blame them…

  • Clavos

    @#118:

    Good insight, Roger.

    Being a dual citizen (as you are as well), does allow one a perspective unobtainable when one is committed to a defined Weltanschauung and/or ideology.

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

    Was just joshing, Andy. I knew you were a sociable kind. What part of South have you settled in? In spite of their many prejudices – but who doesn’t have them? – Southerners have their redeeming graces.

  • Doug Hunter

    #109

    My business is the internet, the great equalizer, plug your eyes onto this space and you’re the same as Bill Gates or a Egyptian protester or anyone else… pixels on a screen, numbers in a computer is all that wealth amounts to. What matters is how you change the world, not the number of bits in your bank account. That’s why I am in business. If that is the goal, to provide goods and to serve and to innovate and improve the world, then something along the lines of what we consider capitalism can survive. Skimming money off of loans or cutting crooked deals with fund managers is not ‘innovating’ or improving the world, paying lobbyist to funnel contracts your way is not improving the world and I’ve not been involved with anything of the sort.

    As for being in a position to change society outside of business, it’s baby steps! It’s a tough world, as an extrememly anti consumerist individual the waste makes me almost physically ill. I walk through mega box stores at the lines of pretty packaged garbage and get a queasy feeling (I know I’m strange). It was pulling teeth to get my wife to have a ‘no gifts’ kids birthday party… and people still bought crap because they felt ‘obligated’ by society to spend money on crap that I didn’t really want and they didn’t really want to buy and that will just sit collecting dust in a bin or be donated to charity. I’ve really been tossing around the idea of a birthday gift exchange since most parties consist of kids roughly the same age, as usual not just for myself but if it goes over maybe start a website or facebook group to try and have it catch on. The idea being that most working class and above kids have far more toys than they need they could package an existing one one up and give something of value to them (rather than spending mom and dad’s bucks) so the kids still have the tradition of opening things new to them and maybe they learn to share and sacrifice and what things they have mean even after they open the package at the same time parents save money, society could lower imports from China, decrease clutter, conserve resources and the environment, etc., etc. If it was packaged or marketed correctly it could catch on and I think make one tiny positive change in the world, that’s the stuff I dream of… making a difference… not money (that’s just a side benefit!)

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    I’m in Virginia Beach, VA. Right where I was when the navy finished with me, or I finished with them…

    Actually not a bad place to be these days. There’s a very large military presence in Hampton Roads and it seems to have kept our little corner of the world from imploding on itself like a lot of the country has…plus it makes us more of a melting pot having so many transplants to the area it’s not THAT southern, if you get my meaning. A little quicker than your typical southern town.

    I’ve always said that the south doesn’t start until you get to Carolina, but if you hit the middle and western parts of Virginia, or the Eastern Shore, you’re most definately in the south.

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

    An important part of my upbringing, Clav, that has never left me, I could never absorb the ethos of “money culture” (there wasn’t one in the post-war Poland). Sure I appreciated the kind of ease that money afforded, but accumulation of wealth was never my objective. I always thought of it as natural part of life, like the food we eat or the water we drink. Money never was my concern.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Clavos – Thanks for making me open babblefish to look up your german…

  • troll

    I think that the gifting model holds promise…

  • troll

    Andy – you can wax all eloquent an’ shyte but you’ll always be BC’s Pig in my eyes

    xxoo (platonically speaking that is)

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Eloquent? Moi? Me thinks you jest kind sir!!!

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    I’ve been called a lof of things troll, but that surely ain’t one of ’em!

    But I feel ya…xoxoxo to you too…(platonically speaking as well)!!!

  • Doug Hunter

    #127

    It takes alot of skilled and clever marketing to break old habits even if it’s a win-win-win for everyone. It’d have to be slick and female oriented, make it the faddish thing to do and make the transition easy with downloadable blurbs to put on invitations that makes it clear how it works and to spread the idea. That’s why I think facebook would be the way to go. What’s not to like? The economy is in a slump, people need their money for necessities not gifts, plus the environment and everything else. Who knows, I’ll try and come up with something clever and see how it goes in my circles.

  • Clavos

    Andy, You’re welcome.

    All who are interested:

    Here’s an interesting essay, written by Michael Lind, of the “New America Foundation,” that describes Lind’s take on the five worldviews which he postulates are present in (and define) American politics to one degree or another.

    It’s a somewhat fresh view of the American political scene.

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com Andy Marsh

    Interesting Clav…I couldn’t figure out where I fit in it, but it wa an interesting read…

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/joseph-cotto/ Joseph Cotto

    Douglas,

    While the President should not have gotten himself into the mess unfolding up in Wisconsin, Governor Walker should have been smarter about dealing with his state’s public employees. While they most certainly needed to receive a loud and clear message that their gravy train had reached its final destination, he should have gone about his agenda incrementally, as opposed to slapping the unions in their collective face with it.

  • Heloise

    Obama mind your business is becoming a real meme online and on the airwaves. Is he putting his mouth before his brain? Unions have always been a deem issue when it was not. Rfk had to break up the evil teamsters under Hoffa. The mafia style history of unions is not dead like Hoffa and his cronies.

    Here the hypocrisy for me and it is blog worthy how cities, states and the Feds give corporate welfare in the form of tax incentives, breaks, dollar land deals, all paid for by the taxpayers. Then the private Corp in quotes hires who the he’ll it wants leaving blacks out bcd they are private. Yet we all foot the bill. This is what galls me about the GOP crowd. They take and take but do not dare give to the people of the state who made them possible.

    Wisconsin teachers make good money and most are white. They will not get social sec bcz they have the TRS like all states. Here we would also have to take to the streets but 4 different reasons. We have no real union power like Chicago 4 example.

    They need to compromise and take pay cut and raise freeze while they can. That is my advice give so you can get a paycheck and pension.

  • Heloise

    Deem should be Dem and he’ll should be hell. This iPad changes stuff when you aren’t looking.

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

    Another way of looking at it, Heloise. Perhaps he’s just being pragmatic, protecting the interests of the State.

    Regardless of the merits or demerits of the issue (teachers’ salaries, etc.), the Wisconsin situation, especially in the event that the National Guard is called, has the potential of becoming widespread. As the captain, isn’t it his responsibility to keep the ship afloat?

  • Mark

    Walker has the little man complex, kind of like HILTER!!!

  • Clavos

    As in “Hilter — Skilter?”

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