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Under Siege from the Radical Right: It’s Not All About the Economy

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Warning: This is a rant.

I’ve always prided myself on being able to clearly see political creep from the far right, slowly working to erode our civil liberties and our civil rights. But in the last few months I admit it: I feel that everything remotely progressive in this country is under siege. I don’t know which way to turn as first one assault and then another is hurled from the right, the far right and the farther right. Michelle Bachman, symbol of the Radical Right

From stripping public workers of their collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin to defunding Planned Parenthood and National Public Radio, the right has cast these mere blips in state and federal budgets as the Great Satan of the economy while protecting the sacred tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and welfare for corporations. Other Midwest states with (perhaps overly) zealous governors are poised to follow Wisconsin in its assault on worker rights, including Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan.

If the only front in this assault were framed around “the economy” I think I could handle it; keep up with the latest insult, support the counterattacks. But it’s not just the economy.

There’s Tea Party queen Michelle Bachmann, making me weep, with her revisionist (or perhaps simply misinformed) telling us on television that the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly until slavery was eradicated. Really? She seriously believes that? God, I hope not. And she’s running for president folks! At least that is how it seems now. She seems to be this year’s poster child for the radical right’s agenda. 

And then there’s the insanity about teaching creationism on a par with evolution as a valid theory to explain how we bipedal homo sapiens came to be. I’m just waiting for some school district to ban Inherit the Wind from the freshman English curriculum. (If it hasn’t happened already.)

Of course the potential GOP presidential candidates are falling over each other to insist that they don’t believe in Evil-oution. And while we’re talking about education (and revisionism) what about the recently approved Texas textbook changes that manage to do everything from minimizing the importance of Thomas Jefferson in the nation’s history to rationalizing McCarthyism. The push to reframe this country, with its intentionally unique vision of religious equality, as a “Christian” nation is appalling and should be chilling to anyone belonging to a religious minority.

States (with help from the House of Representatives for voting to defund Planned Parenthood) continue to catapult women’s health back to the days of do-it-yourself abortions (and the sepsis deaths that sometimes follow). This situation is so dire that South Dakota considered a bill making the murder of doctors who perform abortions “justifiable homicide” before putting it on hold (in a moment of sanity). 

And someone please tell me why mainstream, thinking (I think), intelligent Republicans continue to “out-Orly” Orly Taitz? Just come out and say: “Yes, Obama is a natural-born American and is at least in that respect qualified to be president of these United States.” Why do they seem only to talk around it, saying that it’s up to each individual to weigh the facts and decide for themselves?  Or worse! What?! Or more precisely, WTF? I really thought Donald Trump was smarter than that. 

Of course there are the voting rights assaults, attempted runs around and right through the Constitution regarding the children of illegal immigrants, and countless other things that are all beginning to boggle my mind (feel free to add to my list in the comments section). Maybe I’m just getting old and can’t keep up. But I can’t recall a time since I’ve been aware of politics—not during Nixon, not during Reagan—when I’ve felt the this sort of frontal attack on social programs, progressive thinking, and liberal values.

There is a small part of me, as I try not to get too depressed about all of this, that wonders if the right hasn’t overreached more than just a tad. Will there be a backlash? Will there be successful recalls of GOP legislators in Wisconsin—and even of Governor Scott Walker (when he’s eligible)—in response to the Republican majority’s destruction of collective bargaining rights? Will the Republican majority in the House take as big a beating as the Democrats’ did in 2010? Will 2012 be the year when people wake up and realize they’ve been mugged to make the rich richer and the poor without health care? One can only hope. End of rant. Thanks for listening.

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is publisher and executive editor of Blogcritics, as well as a noted entertainment writer. Author of Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D., her primary beat is primetime television. But Barbara writes on an everything from film to politics to technology to all things pop culture and spirituality. She is a contributor to the book called Spiritual Pregnancy (Llewellyn Worldwide, January 2014) and has a story in Riverdale Ave Press' new anthology of zombie romance, Still Hungry for your Love. She is hard at work on what she hopes will be her first published novel.
  • troll

    …and thank you for sharing

    …though I don’t see what’s got you so upset – They only want to carve a small ‘R’ in your forehead

  • http://barbarabarnett.wordpress.com barbara barnett

    Troll– I think it would probably more likely be a “S” or a “D”

  • ruthinor

    The American people are incredibly uneducated. They don’t understand that so many of them are voting against their own best interests. How union members can ever vote Republican is beyond my comprehension. Not that the dems are much better. They are such pussies. You don’t compromise with these bozos, you slay them. Sorry Barbara. but I despise what religion has done to this country, and that includes all of them. As a scientist I find it beyond belief that so many here don’t believe in evolution. It’s getting worse. I remember a time when Republicans had brains and their disagreements with dems were largely over the economy. Now they are mostly religious zealots (or pretend to be zealots to get votes) who are inbelievably ill-informed. I don’t see a light at the end of this tunnel.

  • http://barbarabarnett.wordpress.com barbara barnett

    Ruthinor–no apology needed. I agree with you. That’s part of my frustration. The Dems are wusses.

    It is getting worse. And I think William F. Buckley must be turning over in his grave.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    This is great, Barbara. Keep right on ranting. =)

  • http://barbarabarnett.wordpress.com barbara barnett

    Thinking of starting a feature called Right Wing Watch. I need to vent more and more.

  • Baronius

    Barbara, I think you’re misremembering things.

    Buckley wouldn’t just be fighting you on Planned Parenthood funding; he’d be opposed to any government money going to health care, and he vehemently opposed the Roe decision. I don’t remember his stance on the teaching of evolution, but he’d be calling for prayer in schools. The shutdown of the Department of Education was always close to his heart. And tax rates? Come on.

    If you went back to the Reagan years you’d be startled at the militarism, nationalism, and “homophobia” you’d find in both parties.

  • http://barbarabarnett.wordpress.com barbara barnett

    But I’d bet WFB wouldn’t be denying the importance of Thomas Jefferson or advocate the teaching of creationism on par with evolution. Or applauding the notion that forefathers (with the possible exception of John Adams) fought slavery?

    Disagree on the issues? I never agreed with him on much of anything, but even he’d be appalled by the anti-intellectualism that passes for intelligent thought on many parts of the R-spectrum

  • Susan

    The governor of Maine just had a mural honoring workers removed from the government building. I guess it was too “Communist” for him.

    When you have senators who don’t believe in global warming, abortion rights, evolution, health care etc. and they’re doctors (Coburn) that’s really scary. Bachmann, Palin, Inhofe and all the rest of the Republicans make me want to rant too. We believe our country is so advanced, but with government like this, and a right wing majority Supreme Court I fear for the future.

    I agree with ruthinor 100%.

  • Doug Hunter

    Oh, how cute. You’re all scared and angry and ranting… just like your political masters want you to be. Be careful and don’t peak your hatred too early, they need it to be on target for the election!

    Ignorant, shortsighted article and comments to match… it’s good day on blogcritics!

  • Baronius

    Barbara – You didn’t mention anti-intellectualism in your article, except in reference to Bachmann. You wrote about issues. Would you really feel equally uncomfortable with an anti-intellectual who opposed tax cuts and supported abortion?

  • Barbara barnett

    Yes.

  • Baronius

    Then why did you not think of mentioning the real cause of your frustration in the article?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    It doesn’t even have to be given a fancy label like ‘anti-intellectualism’ [in quotes, the way Baronius offensively insists on typing homophobia].

    People who put ideology ahead of thought, political advantage ahead of facts/truth, hyperbolic sound bites ahead of the genuine exchange of ideas — that’s who debases political expression in this country.

    GOP House members don’t have a patent on this, but it’s easier to find hilariously awful examples there.

  • Clavos

    If by intellectual is meant those stuffed-shirt prigs who are convinced they have all the answers and who look down on the peasant masses as ignorant rubes who must be protected from their own stupidity and be told what they must think and how they should toe the line, all the while watched over and protected from themselves (and their baser impulses) by the government, then I am anti-intellectual

  • zingzing

    proven by your lack of a period… anyway, i don’t think anyone defines “intellectual” like that.

  • http://barbarabarnett.wordpress.com barbara barnett

    Baronius, My causes of frustration with politics these days are too numerous to count. But many revolve around what I enumerated in the rant. I’ve called the out the Dems from time to time as well. Wimp doesn’t even begin to describe, but my frustration with them is much to do with their ineffectiveness at dealing with the Republican/Right Wing onslaught.

  • Baronius

    Handy – If you’re amused by debasement of political opposition through hyperbole, reread this article.

    As an aside, I find the word “homophobia” offensive. It’s part of the tendency to define political differences as mental disorders. I’ve never known anyone to have a fear of homosexuals.

    Zing – I think that’s a pretty good definition of intellectual that Clavos gave. In fact, Dave might even accept that definition and define himself as one.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Frankly, Clavos’ definition of ‘intellectuals’ seems more to apply to CEO’s and certain moneyed individuals who think that the more money that rich people have, the better off the great unwashed will be.

  • Clavos

    Frankly, Clavos’ definition of ‘intellectuals’ seems more to apply to CEO’s and certain moneyed individuals who think that the more money that rich people have, the better off the great unwashed will be.

    True.

    Kill the rich.

  • Clavos

    proven by your lack of a period

    Well, zing, why are you surprised? You’ve known for years I have a two-digit IQ; that’s why I resent intellectuals — they make me feel stupid.

  • troll

    …it’s how Codevilla defines it in his recent The Ruling Class which indicates that it might not be a rare notion

    concerning Glenn’s #19 – here’s Stiglitz’s take

  • zingzing

    baronius: “I think that’s a pretty good definition of intellectual that Clavos gave.”

    you think that’s a definition of “intellectual?” it’s a political right wing point of view on intellectuals that fails to think about how it indicts the right wing as well, but it’s a very limited definition of “intellectual.” if that’s how you define “intellectual,” you need to go back to school.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Cleatus

    I is one o’ dem interleckcheruls. I ain’t afeared o’ no book-lurnin’. Why, I read a fishin’ tackle catalog jus’ last week.

  • zingzing

    and how, mr. spuckler, and how…

  • Baronius

    Clavos – “Two digit” covers a pretty big range.

  • Clavos

    Clavos – “Two digit” covers a pretty big range.

    True, but on the stupid end of the spectrum, Bar.

  • Clavos

    …who are convinced they have all the answers and who look down on the peasant masses as ignorant rubes who must be protected from their own stupidity and be told what they must think and how they should toe the line, all the while watched over and protected from themselves (and their baser impulses) by the government,…

    i dunno, seems to describe the attitudes of a lot of progressives who advocate (and impose) such things as seat belt laws, helmet laws, laws dictating the amount of fat in Mickey D’s burgers, many labeling laws and pretty much all the nanny laws that are so popular with youse innaleckshuls today.

    The driving principle behind all such laws is the idea that we, the great unwashed, are too stoopid to take care of ourselves.

    In a word: arrogant.

  • zingzing

    “In a word: arrogant.”

    and “intellectual?” now they mean the same thing? what else can we conflate? no need for such large vocabularies when we can just have one word for this concept. can we just lump in academia?

  • troll

    actually…readers who have been following the links provided by tolstoyscat aka Cindy as she has delved into modern international feminism might agree that ‘arrogant’ well describes the attitude of 1st world intellectuals who like zingzing – BC’s self-appointed Everyman – confuse projection with empathy and understanding

  • zingzing

    what the fuck, troll… who said i was “everyman?” not i. and just how do i “confuse projection with empathy and understanding?” you might as well explain yourself rather than just come off like some snide prick. and arrogant, i might add.

  • troll

    ok zingzing – just one example: …anyway, i don’t think anyone defines “intellectual” like that.

    you don’t – so no one does

    you project rather than look to understand the group that does

    xxoo from this snide arrogant prick

  • zingzing

    “you don’t – so no one does”

    don’t be an idiot. that’s not a definition of “intellectual.” does it encompass all that it is “intellectual?” not even close. it’s a poor definition of “intellectual.” what it is is a hyperbolic, dismissive, politically driven and very specifically limited description of the noun form of the word. it’s very far from a definition of the word. do you think you ever would, or even should, see anything like that in a dictionary?

    “you project rather than look to understand the group that does”

    well, when you miss the point as completely as you have, i guess you could get that out of it, although it does make it look more like you’re just trying to hand out insults rather than understand a damn thing.

    cutting through all the nonsense and hyperbole in the so-called “definition,” not to mention the obvious political origin of it, you’re never going to get to the person or the group, you’re only looking at their political rhetoric when they say “that’s a pretty good definition of the word.”

    and if that’s all you got, you’re really stretching. come on, i’m sure i’ve done much worse.

  • troll

    it look more like you’re just trying to hand out insults rather than understand a damn thing.

    take it as you will

  • zingzing

    you know sometimes when you’re petting a cat and you’re stroking its back and it arches its back and lifts up its tail and presents its butt to you? why? why on earth would they do that? it’s creepy and more than a little off-putting.

    i don’t know. hard to get into another creature’s mind and make that kind of judgment call.

    words to remember, troll. you’re not all-knowing. so don’t stretch yourself into thinking i declared myself the “everyman.” it just lets me see your ass.

  • troll

    while I’m not all-knowing I’m confident that you feel completely righteous in your indignation

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    What a terrific time to be a Republican. The brand needs rejuvenating and some serious leadership reform. So while the stuff that is ticking you off about the GOP right now, here are three things the party could do to bring the brand up to date.

    1. Get some serious policy.

    Griping about everything the president does or doesn’t do is no substitute for a lack of policy on issues such as civil rights, ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and immigration reform. The Rovians drove Hispanics and Blacks from the party to appeal to the white Christian right. To redefine the Republican constituency will require courage and conciliation. It will have to for the new brand to become inclusionary, to end obstructionism and to become a smart, loyal opposition.

    2. Drop the Rube Rhetoric

    Tell the tea party obstructionists, “Look, we understand that you’re pissed off because you and your folks lost in 2008, the most important election of our lifetime, and you lost big time. It must suck to be you.”

    And, oh by the way, “No, you are not prepared to die for your country” nor “going to take the country back.” Stop that stuff. You can dress up in a military uniform all you want, but it does not make you a soldier.

    3. Don’t scrimp.

    The party has the money. Dump the elephant and hire a top dollar advertising agency for a new logo. Remember, the party will have to live with it for a century or so.

    Tommy

  • zingzing

    it’s what i do best. you do snide well, i see. sneer away, good sir. keep it up and you’ll stick that way.

  • zingzing

    and troll, while you’re at it, maybe you, cindy and roger can finally decide what’s best for the rest of us arrogant, stupid, misogynistic, deluded people. you know, save us from ourselves at the intellectual round table you’ve got going on over there… seriously, if you can figure out a form of society that changes everything and frees us all, i’m all ears.

  • troll

    zingzing…wouldn’t that be nice

    but if your looking for suggestions I recommend Lynette Yetter

  • zingzing

    i hate panpipes.

    Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
    Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
    Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
    Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
    Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
    Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
    Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
    Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
    Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
    Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
    Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
    Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

  • zingzing

    although the ending of that song is… rather hypnotic… i do like the harmonies.

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    As troll and zing fa la together, dropping rose petals along the path as their tiny hands touch across the universe, here endeth the lesson.

    Tommy

  • zingzing

    my hands are massive, tommy.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    i dunno, seems to describe the attitudes of a lot of progressives who advocate (and impose) such things as seat belt laws, helmet laws, laws dictating the amount of fat in Mickey D’s burgers, many labeling laws and pretty much all the nanny laws that are so popular with youse innaleckshuls today. The driving principle behind all such laws is the idea that we, the great unwashed, are too stoopid to take care of ourselves.

    It’s not that people are too ‘stoopid’, Clavos. It’s that people are too irresponsible, too greedy, and too lazy – and often too ignorant (as opposed to ‘stoopid’) to do what is right.

    You gripe about seat belt laws…but I just read today how America had fewer traffic deaths than at any time since 1949…despite the fact that we put many times MORE miles on the road than before.

    And why is this? Tens of thousands of people are alive today because of REGULATION and the laws that you hate so much. But apparently you feel that it’s okay if thousands of men, women, and children die every year just so you can say, “See how free we are because we don’t have so much regulation!”

    If you had your way, Clavos, how many more parents would be grieving the loss of their teenage son or daughter because they didn’t wear a seat belt? But that’s okay to you, I guess, since you’d have your ‘freedom’.

    There IS such a thing as too much freedom, Clavos. We should be free to do what is good and what is right…but we should NOT be free to do that which is wrong or dangerously irresponsible. That’s why I wrote about ‘Goldilocks freedom’.

  • Is It Easter Yet

    You’re all adorable. NB: Gender-neutral lyric revision.

  • Clavos

    You’re right Glenn, I don’t care how many teenagers (especially teenagers) die for my freedom…

  • Is It Easter Yet

    Helmets are standard issue for teens signing up for a stint in the military. So there’s definitely a consistency in safety standards for our youth at home and abroad.

  • Is It Easter Yet

    Hope things are going well for you Clavos. #47 made me laugh.

  • Clavos

    Ah, Irene, thank you for getting it. Your little impromptu visits on these threads are always such a treat and relief from the usual pedantry and overblown rhetoric (my own included) found here on a routine basis!

    No, it isn’t Easter yet, but hang in there, it’s just around the corner, less than a month to go. What did you give up this year? I think you may have already told us, but I’ve forgotten.

    And thanks also for your good wishes; things are going well for me, and I hope they are for you as well.

  • Clavos

    #48 made me laugh (and ponder, reflecting back on my days in Vietnam), Irene. I wasn’t a teen, but too many were.

  • http://tmackorg.com/ Tommy Mack

    But can you cook in a Kevlar hat?

    Tommy

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Even if it’s your own teenager?

  • Is It Easter Yet

    Clavos, these paradoxes first make me laugh first (a boys-only choir opts for gender-inclusive lyrics), then ponder, then my brain (or, re: warrior teens, heart) starts hurting, and I am obliged to go away and recharge.

    I have been drawn IN however, by this rant against Radical Rightness. In this debate, too, I see paradoxes. The A-plus for Arrogance in the Classroom has to go the New Atheists. They are QUITE intentionally–not just in science, but in language arts and “values clarification” classes as well, undermining not only the faith but the mores of the children for whom they stand in loco parentis. By comparison, the Intelligent Design folk appear to be rather accommodating, by recommending that ALONGSIDE evolution, the children be taught that, contrary to New Atheist propaganda, it is possible to be a scientist (and a dang good one too) and retain belief in a Creator God.

    On the other hand, the Radical Religious Right seems to believe it has a bead on God’s will in EVERY political stance they take–(regarding health care, wars in Iraq vs. wars in Libya, civil rights for gays, allegiances in the Middle East), just because they stand in opposition to the arrogance and aggression of atheists in the public education system. Each of these issues is important enough to be debated on its own. Too many people on the Religious Right have deeply held (and reasonable) convictions on one or two issues, and end up buying into the whole Right package.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And that’s you do so very often, Clavos – when I point out something to you that you cannot refute, you simply give a caustic non sequitur in reply.

    Clavos, there’s nothing wrong with wanting more freedom – but there’s EVERYTHING wrong with insisting on one’s freedom to the point that it harmfully infringes on the freedom of other people. Should I really be free to do dangerously irresponsible things that jeopardize your health, safety, or livelihood? Should we take away speed limits so I could drive down your street at 80 mph heedless of the fact that kids may be present? Should I, as a banker, be free to gamble with the money you deposited in the bank – and if I lose it, then you lose it, too? Should I, as a driller, be free to use hydrofracking in my search for gas or oil, never mind that it is literally causing earthquakes that damage your house?

    And if anything happens to you and yours because of what I’ve done, it’s okay with you to have NO recourse, especially since I can afford far better attorneys than you can?

    Can you really justify allowing freedom to the point that allowing such ‘freedom’ for some causes irreparable harm to others? Is that really ‘freedom’?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    IIEY –

    The point about teaching evolution only in schools is this: if you’re going to insert religion AT ALL in school, then which creationism – including ‘intelligent design’ – are you going to teach? Christian? Muslim? Buddhist? Or are you going to make ‘Christian’ beliefs the ‘official’ theory taught at school? Congress shall make no law respecting religion, remember…and ‘intelligent design’ DOES insert religious theory into school.

    As a strong Christian, I emphatically support evolution-only being taught in school…because I believe that it is up to the parent (and NOT the school) to introduce religious thought to the child. It’s quite easy for me to show my sons how the Bible does NOT disallow evolution, and I strongly oppose ANY school or teacher having the requirement to teach ANY religious thought – including ‘intelligent design’ to my sons. That is NOT the place of the school.

  • Is It Easter Yet

    Responsibility: manufacturers of automobiles and pharmaceuticals adhere to industry-developed safety standards, and are committed to improving them.

    Freedom: I can unbuckle my seat belt at a red light so I can take my coat off
    without fear of becoming involved in a state-revenue-generating encounter “for my own safety.” Freedom: I can grow medicinal herbs, including hemp, without fear of some federal agent trampling all over my garden and putting me in jail, to add insult to injury.

    Freedom and Responsibility: If I am a science teacher who is faithful to the educational standards of my discipline and sensitive to the sensibilities of the community where I am teaching, I can teach WHATEVER the heck I want HOWEVER the heck I want in my biology class, whether I’m an atheist or a creationist.

    What belongs in the classroom, Glenn, is a respectful relationship among the teacher, his students, and their parents, not some federally enforced liberal OR conservative political agenda.

  • Is It Easter Yet

    Tommy – Unless Kevlar hats are microwave-safe, I’m afraid the answer in most households would be “no.”

  • Glenn Contrarian

    IIEY –

    If I am a science teacher who is faithful to the educational standards of my discipline and sensitive to the sensibilities of the community where I am teaching, I can teach WHATEVER the heck I want HOWEVER the heck I want in my biology class, whether I’m an atheist or a creationist.

    Actually, I believe you’ll find that’s not true. Why do you think that the creationists are trying to get such laws passed? I think you’ll find it’s because the teachers are NOT allowed to teach creationism or ‘intelligent design’ unless the law says otherwise.

    And why is that? Because there was this little doctrine long upheld by the courts – “Separation of Church and State”. Not that that means anything to the modern conservative….

  • Clavos

    Actually, the First Amendment of the Constitution says nothing about “separation of church and state,” the actual phrase is, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…”,which is emphatically NOT the same thing as “separation of church and state,” SCOTUS notwithstanding.

    Irene, your 357 says it all — in particular the paragraph about what your, as a teacher, responsibilities are to community and students NOT the meddling government.

    What belongs in the classroom…is a respectful relationship among the teacher, his students, and their parents, not some federally enforced liberal OR conservative political agenda.

    Quoted for Truth.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    IIEY –

    Responsibility: manufacturers of automobiles and pharmaceuticals adhere to industry-developed safety standards, and are committed to improving them

    Reality: Corporations will AVOID such safety standards until forced to implement them by the government. This is PRECISELY what happened with seat belts – the auto industry was AGAINST installing seat belts (and later air bags) in cars, claiming that such were an unnecessary expense to the company and the customer that would not increase the safety of the customer.

    Freedom: I can unbuckle my seat belt at a red light so I can take my coat off
    without fear of becoming involved in a state-revenue-generating encounter “for my own safety.”

    Reality: that’s what’s called ‘cherry-picking’, coming up with a very, very rare (and possibly nonexistent) event in order to disprove the necessity of the vast majority of the rest.

    IIEY, you’ll ALWAYS find someone who opposes a thing, no matter how good or how necessary that thing is. But if you look at the BIG picture, you’ll see that this keeps a great many families from grieving the loss of a child or family member just because somebody else wanted to ‘preserve their freedom’.

    Freedom: I can grow medicinal herbs, including hemp, without fear of some federal agent trampling all over my garden and putting me in jail, to add insult to injury.

    Hey – I’ve got no argument with you there…but if you’ll recall, it’s us LIBERALS who are all for this, while it’s the Republicans and conservatives – and the Libertarians who strongly vote Republican when there’s no viable Libertarian candidate – who keep you from being able to have a hemp garden.

    But I’m a badbadbad liberal, so I must be wrong and lying and trying to deceive you so I can take your freedom away and send you to the gulag at the corner of Haight and Asbury….

  • Clavos

    The A-plus for Arrogance in the Classroom has to go the New Atheists. They are QUITE intentionally–not just in science, but in language arts and “values clarification” classes as well, undermining not only the faith but the mores of the children for whom they stand in loco parentis.

    Again, quoted for Truth.

    And I am an atheist.

    However, I am also an individualist and a libertarian, and I will gladly leave you alone to do your own thing SO LONG AS YOU DON’T INTERFERE WITH MY THING, which unfortunately, is most emphatically NOT the credo of the progressives nor the government we now have, which they created (in their own image).

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And BTW, IIEY –

    The bus industry is even now fighting being required to install seat belts. Why? Because of cost…never mind that the cost that would result from one tragic bus crash could pay for the installation of seat belts in the whole doggone fleet.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –


    However, I am also an individualist and a libertarian, and I will gladly leave you alone to do your own thing SO LONG AS YOU DON’T INTERFERE WITH MY THING, which unfortunately, is most emphatically NOT the credo of the progressives nor the government we now have, which they created (in their own image).

    Ah. So how do you prevent corporations from “interfering with your thing” when what they do DOES “interfere with your thing”? You know, like the BP oil spill, or the hydrofracking, or the Exxon Valdez, or Lehman Brothers, or Bernie Madoff, or – in my case while I was growing up – spraying pesticides on your property and on YOU just because they couldn’t prevent overspray by the crop dusters? FYI, nearly half of our neighbors who passed away over a twenty year period, did so due to cancer.

    And then there’s the people who decided to not have car insurance and who got into a wreck and weren’t wearing seat belts…and now the taxpayer has to pay for their medical care…and this DOES happen, in every state, almost every day!

    Or perhaps none of this matters to you, since it all happened to somebody else.

    Clavos, that’s what you’re NOT getting. You’re all for not regulating the corporations…but what you’re not realizing is that most of those regulations are to keep the corporations from “interfering with OUR things”…the ‘things’ of the normal everyday person.

    I think you’d agree that YOUR freedom ends where my begins…but can you not agree that the freedom of corporations end where yours and mine both begin?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    Please read comment #85 in this article…particularly the last three questions.

  • Clavos

    Sigh. So many misconceptions, so little time…

    Ah. So how do you prevent corporations from “interfering with your thing” when what they do DOES “interfere with your thing”? You know, like the BP oil spill, or the hydrofracking, or the Exxon Valdez, or Lehman Brothers, or Bernie Madoff…

    Apparently you don’t prevent ‘em– YOUR government failed to “prevent” any of those, although YOUR president did bail out Lehman Brothers with MY money…

    in my case while I was growing up – spraying pesticides on your property and on YOU just because they couldn’t prevent overspray by the crop dusters?

    Sue the property owner — there are millions of ambulance chasers out there EAGER to take something like that to court. FYI, I spray pesticides (and weed killers) all over my property regularly (although not from a crop duster) and carry liability insurance in the amount of my net worth for just such an eventuality.

    And then there’s the people who decided to not have car insurance and who got into a wreck and weren’t wearing seat belts…and now the taxpayer has to pay for their medical care…and this DOES happen, in every state, almost every day!

    Two simple fixes — you pick:

    Don’t give them medical care.

    or

    Give it to ‘em, then file an injunction against them for repayment; seize their property (if they have any) or garnishee their wages until the debt is paid. If they’re out-and-out bums with no property AND no job, give ‘em a job, doing whatever the government needs done, even down to trash collecting if necessary, until the debt is paid off. It’s not rocket surgery, Glenn.

    Incidentally, those kind of people are exactly why I have uninsured motorist insurance.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Lehman Brothers wasn’t bailed out…it was allowed to fail, which precipitated the Sept 2009 panic. Also, Obama was not president until 4 months later.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Sept 2008 sorry.

  • zingzing

    clavos: “Two simple fixes — you pick:”

    both cutthroat, one inhuman, the other unworkable and adding to the bureaucracy.

    “It’s not rocket surgery, Glenn.”

    ha. gotta give you that one. even if it’s not as simple as you make it out to be.

  • Clavos

    both cutthroat,…

    both cutthroat?” uh uh.

    one inhuman,…

    And thus not likely to be implemented —

    the other unworkable and adding to the bureaucracy.

    No more unworkable than Obamacare; our legal system is replete with mechanisms for debt recovery, and our infrastructure is decrepit and needs workers to repair it; and since when did “adding to the bureaucracy” ever stop the feds or the pols — that’s what they DO –perpetually add to their fiefdoms…

  • Clavos

    Point taken, handy.

  • zingzing

    “and since when did “adding to the bureaucracy” ever stop the feds or the pols — that’s what they DO –perpetually add to their fiefdoms…”

    just thought you’d be against any such thing. aren’t you?

    “our legal system is replete with mechanisms for debt recovery”

    true, but do you want to go back to “new deal” style jobs? especially punitive ones? are you basically suggesting a “work release” type of job for these people? when would they start work (how soon after injury/into their recovery)? what’s keeping them there doing the work if they don’t have a home or any money, nor any reason to stick around and work for the man for nothing? you going to have guards on them the whole time? who’s going to pay for them? wouldn’t the whole infrastructure surrounding such a thing just be as expensive as their labor, if not more so?

    not a very well thought out plan there, clavos.

  • Clavos

    are you basically suggesting a “work release” type of job for these people?

    Only for the bums.

    As for the rest of your doubts, the bureaucrats can fifure it out.

    And yes, I’m against growing the government,but it never stops anyway, so let’s put it to good use. Besides, it likely could be done without adding to the size of government by simply making the existing government workers work the full time hours they’re paid for — oh wait — that’ll never work, their unions won’t stand for it.

  • zingzing

    see? won’t work.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    No, government regulation did not stop BP from the spill…but if a cop doesn’t stop a crime, does that mean that we should get rid of the cops?

    Of course not – you find who the cop was that didn’t enforce the law, fire him and put someone who WILL do the job in his place.

    But you DON’T prevent crime by getting rid of the cops, Clavos.

  • Clavos

    Cops don’t stop crime, Glenn, that’s not what they do, it’s an impossibility — neither does the government. You can pass all the laws you want to, but if I’m bent on committing a crime, I’ll do it, the existence of a law against the crime isn’t going to stop the crime — it never does.

    So how exactly do you expect the government to prevent all those things you list: like the BP oil spill, or the hydrofracking, or the Exxon Valdez, or Lehman Brothers, or Bernie Madoff…

    So, the answer to your question, “So how do you prevent corporations from “interfering with your thing” when what they do DOES “interfere with your thing”?”

    …is you don’t.

    Never have, never will “prevent.” Ask any cop.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Okay, Clavos – let’s just get rid of ALL the cops then! They NEVER stop crime, do they? And the existence of a law never stops the crime?

    So…exactly how is it that states with enforced seat belt laws had significantly higher seat belt usage rates than those states that didn’t?

    Exactly how is it that there were fewer deaths on America’s roads last year than in any year since 1949…despite the far greater number of miles driven on our roads?

    Exactly how is it that drunk driving rates – while still a problem – have plummeted over the years?

    Exactly how is it that the military is the closest thing to a drug-free society on the planet?

    Exactly how is it then, that when there are more cops on the beat, there’s less crime (which is equal to crime PREVENTED) according to this study by Florida State University?

    Clavos, do you realize that what you’re doing is what the Republican party is doing as a whole, that whenever a liberal takes a position or makes a statement, then the Republicans will oppose that liberal’s position or statement often without regard to how correct, factual, and right that liberal’s statement or position may be?

    Laws properly enforced DO reduce crime. Such will never prevent ALL crime…but advocating getting rid of the laws and the cops just because they sometimes are not as effective as they could be is downright silly. It’s throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

  • Clavos

    let’s just get rid of ALL the cops then!

    That’s asinine (and off point, to boot)

    I’m not responding to that.

    Exactly how is it that there were fewer deaths on America’s roads last year than in any year since 1949…despite the far greater number of miles driven on our roads?

    Seat belts save lives, no question about it; I never said they didn’t. But why stop with them? Why not prohibit private transportation altogether? Think of the energy that would be saved, in addition to lives. If you REALLY want to save lives, outlaw private transportation and force everyone onto buses and trains. Actually, I can see that happening one day, but not in my lifetime, fortunately.

    Clavos, do you realize that what you’re doing is what the Republican party is doing as a whole, that whenever a liberal takes a position or makes a statement, then the Republicans will oppose that liberal’s position or statement often without regard to how correct, factual, and right that liberal’s statement or position may be?

    Says the man who reflexively derides all conservatives.

    You’re going from bad to worse, Glenn.

    Funny how you advocate all these government nanny remedies, but are about to leave the USA for good and go live in, of all places, the Philippines???

    Ta ta..

  • Clavos

    George Will, in his column today, makes a point very cogent to this discussion.

    Though Will’s column discusses yet another arrogant attempt by government to seize private property under eminent domain for tax reasons, his central point is nevertheless quite applicable here:

    When excessively deferential courts permit governmental arrogance, additional arrogance results as government explores the limits of judicial deference.

    Will goes on to quote Elizabeth Price Foley, law professor at Florida International University, who says that such government arrogance (in attempting to legislate private decisions and “individual sovereignty”) is,

    …an ineluctable byproduct of disregarding the morality of American law.” In her book “Liberty for All” (2006, Yale), she says that the growing exercise of legislative power “in the name of majoritarian whims” has eroded America’s “twin foundational presumptions:” limited government and residual individual sovereignty.

    The original constitutional structure has, she says, been inverted: Citizens are required to convince the courts that laws restricting liberty are “irrational”; government should be required to articulate justifications for limiting liberty. The Founders’ goal, in John Adams’s formulation, a nation of “laws, and not of men,” has, Foley believes, “been taken much too far.”

    She thinks that we have become a nation of laws and not of liberty. We are, she notes, a nation with local laws prohibiting the wearing of hats in theaters or courtrooms, catching fish with one’s bare hands, carrying a slingshot, teaching others about polygamy, having a garage sale for more than two days a year, serving alcohol within a mile of a religious camp meeting. .?.?.

    Chris Rose makes the point in another thread, that,

    It is pretty amazing how the USA has kept its image as the land of the free when it is actually far more regulated than many other countries.

    The authorities are incredibly controlling as well. I’ve never met so many bossy, arrogant police officers anywhere as I have in the USA – and that was before 9/11, since when it has got far worse.

    And he’s right.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Says the man who reflexively derides all conservatives.

    How many articles have you written that are sincerely complimentary of what Democratic presidents have done? I’ve written two praising Republican presidents – one was Reagan, the other was Dubya. And how many times have I defended Reagan on this blog even against other liberals?

    No, Clavos – until I see you – and Dave, and now Roger, too – give some honest praise for what Clinton or Obama has done that was good for America, none of you have ANY standing to criticize me for my attacks on conservatives since I have certainly given kudos to Republican presidents.

  • Clavos

    Sigh.

    Missed the point again, Glenn.

    Several of ‘em in that post, in fact…

  • Glenn Contrarian

    It’s funny how every time I blow away your point, you attempt to distract by claiming I ‘missed the point’.

    You said cops don’t stop crime, and laws don’t stop crime…and when I proved differently, you distract, distort, and demean…

    …but you can’t approach my points head-on.

    You remind me a great deal of my quite-conservative older brother. Like you, he’ll dodge a question, throw in non-sequiturs, and comes up with claims just as silly as your claim that ‘cops and laws don’t stop crime’ – which is true that cops and laws don’t TOTALLY stop crime…but they DO decrease and minimize crime…and you know it.

    But what he doesn’t do is to demean, to tear down in order to try to win an argument when he’s faced with facts he can’t refute. He’s better than that, I’m glad to say.

    But let’s take a quick look at your latest references:

    It is pretty amazing how the USA has kept its image as the land of the free when it is actually far more regulated than many other countries.

    That is another throwaway – and quite inaccurate – statement. If that statement were true, then most or all of the oh-so-socialist first world democracies would be LESS regulated than America…and they aren’t. Check out Germany sometime.

    And George Will’s quip would have been more accurate if it had read:

    When excessively deferential courts permit CORPORATE arrogance, additional arrogance results as CORPORATIONS explore the limits of judicial deference.

  • Clavos

    You said cops don’t stop crime…

    And they don’t, your allegations to the contrary notwithstanding. Even the cops themselves will tell you that.

    You said…laws don’t stop crime.

    No, actually I didn’t.

    If that statement were true, then most or all of the oh-so-socialist first world democracies would be LESS regulated than America…and they aren’t. Check out Germany sometime.

    Well, that’s Chris Rose’s statement, so I’ll let him respond on that one. I’ll just say I agree with him.

    I’ll give you Germany (and I imagine Chris probably would too); the Germans have been taught to be obedient little automatons for centuries — not one of ‘em has an independent bone in their body; if they had, Hitler never would have gotten in power.

    As to your rewriting of George Will’s quip: Corporations, lacking the power of the law, lacking power over the courts and lacking the government’s firepower, can’t even come close to the government’s arrogance. Try dealing with the government when they decide to take your property at gunpoint to give it to someone else they like better than you.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Funny how you advocate all these government nanny remedies, but are about to leave the USA for good and go live in, of all places, the Philippines???

    This might surprise you, Clavos, but my choice has nothing whatsoever to do with politics, and everything to do with family. If I were to grow hold stateside, I’d eventually wind up in a nursing home counting myself lucky if I saw a family member once a month.

    In the Philippines, however, when I’m old I’ll be taken care of every day by family that I can trust.

    So that’s my choice – I can either stay here, comfortable and safe and sterile with no family around…or there, not quite so comfortable, not quite so safe, and anything but sterile…but with seeing and interacting with my family every single day.

    As I said, this has nothing to do with politics. What do you think of my choice?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Clavos –

    I agreed that cops don’t totally stop crime, but they DO decrease and minimize crime…

    …and are you really going to try to refute that?