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‘Entitlement’ Is a Republican Word

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Posted on Jul 14, 2011
AP / Susan Walsh

House Speaker John Boehner, right, stands with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor during a news conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday.

By Bill Boyarsky

At his news conference this week, President Barack Obama seized on a misleading Washington word—“entitlements”—to describe the badly needed aid programs that are likely to be cut because of his compromises with the Republicans.

“Entitlement” is a misleading word because it masks the ugly reality of reducing medical aid for the poor, the disabled and anyone over 65 as well as cutting Social Security. Calling such programs entitlements is much more comfortable than describing them as what they are—Medicare, Social Security and money for good schools, unemployment insurance, medical research and public works construction that would put many thousands to work.

It’s also a Republican word. It implies that those receiving government aid have a sense of entitlement, that they’re getting something for nothing. And now it’s an Obama word as he moves toward the center and away from the progressives who powered his 2008 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination over centrist Hillary Clinton.

“There is, frankly, resistance on my side to do anything on entitlements,” he said before heading into another negotiating session over raising the debt limit and cutting the budget. “There is strong resistance on the Republican side to do anything on revenues. But if each side takes a maximalist position, if each side wants 100 percent of what its ideological predispositions are, then we can’t get anything done.”

It’s impossible to decode anyone’s language because of the maneuvering over the debt limit. But Obama was clear about his long-range goals in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington on April 13.

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Although his proposals were not as radical as those of the House Republicans, he accepted the guts of the Republican-tea party creed—budget cutting and deficit reduction rather than the economic stimulus this recession-racked country needs.

He proposed reducing Medicare and Medicaid by $500 billion by 2023 and “an additional $1 trillion in the decade after that.” And if more cuts must be made, the independent cost-cutting commission authorized by his health reform law would do it, although Obama described the process in a deceptively positive way: “additional savings by further improving Medicare.”

He also left open the possibility of cost cutting in Social Security. “Both parties should work together now to strengthen Social Security for future generations. But we have to do it without putting at risk current retirees, or the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations.”

That, of course, would permit raising the eligibility age for future recipients or imposing more income limits on the program.

Even so, this isn’t enough for the Republicans. Presumably, Obama has offered these concessions and possibly more in the negotiating sessions. After listening to Obama, Speaker John Boehner treated him in a manner that verged on contempt. “Where’s the president’s plan?” he said. “When’s he going to lay his cards on the table? This debt limit increase is his problem, and I think it’s time for him to lead by putting his plan on the table, something that the Congress can pass.”

Instead of surrendering to Republicans and trying to put a positive spin on it, the president should frankly acknowledge the nation’s miseries. As he spoke Monday, unemployment was at 9.2 percent overall and 13.3 percent for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. African-Americans and Latinos are especially hurt; the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported that the unemployment rate was 8.1 percent for whites, 16.2 percent for African-Americans and 11.6 percent for Latinos.

“The depth of the job losses from the recession is unprecedented since the Great Depression, and the length of time it will take just to get out of the jobs hole—much less to restore full employment—will dwarf that of the sluggish jobs recovery from the 2001 recession,” said Chad Stone, the center’s chief economist. “It makes no sense that in an economic recovery still struggling to gain momentum, policymakers are easing up on the gas and threatening to slam on the brakes. But that is just what is happening.”

What’s shocking is that Obama is in the brake-slammer’s camp.

Rather than joining the spending cutters, he should fight harder for pending public works legislation that would provide jobs for construction workers and others on transit and highway projects around the country. Unemployment insurance should be extended. The president should stop bargaining away Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Why can’t we worry about the deficit when the country is back to work?

Rather than trying to conciliate the Republicans, Obama ought to speak out against them. The truth is that Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell don’t want to work with Obama. Their goal is to beat him in 2012 and take control of the Senate. A continued recession with rising unemployment will help them reach that goal.

To stop them, Obama has to be honest, forthright and progressive—and stop using “entitlements” to refer to worthwhile government programs. He’s a writer. He must know what negative nuances the word carries.


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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, July 25, 2011 at 10:28 am Link to this comment

“Entitlement is a Republican Word”
Page 1 of 2

“Entitlement is a Republican Word” for self serving advantage of
the few at the expense of the many; real advantage for
the few and a false sense of advantage for the many.

“Entitlement is a Republican Word” that expresses the Lite-Right
and Hard-Right Duopoly of the American Aristocracy and the
American Middle Class perspective toward the American Populace,
the 70% Majority Common Population of the United States that
was given voice by George Orwell in his novel “1984” as a part
of “the book” of the Resistance, “The Theory and Practice of
Oligarchical Collectivism” by Emmanuel Goldstein
; speaking
through “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism,”
Orwell, as Emmanuel Goldstein, says:

“Throughout recorded time, and probably since the end of
the Neolithic Age, there have been three kinds of people in the
world, the High, the Middle and the Low.”

“The aims of these three groups are entirely irreconcilable. 
The aim of the High is, to remain where they are.  The aim of the
Middle is to change places with the High.  The aim of the Low is to
abolish all distinctions and create a society in which all men shall
be equal.”

Orwell says that the High and the Middle contend for power and
that both use the Low to facilitate their aims and that “as
soon as they have reached their objective, the Middle thrust the
Low back into their old position of servitude and themselves
become the High.”
  The struggle between the High and
the Middle, Orwell says, is a cyclical struggle that repeats over and
over again.  Orwell says, “of the three groups, only the
Low are never even temporarily successful in achieving their aims.”

Orwell says that the political imperative of the High and the Middle
is to convey the concept of “genuine belief in deliberate
lies”
to the Low and that governance and control of the
Low by the High is based upon the Low having “genuine
belief in deliberate lies.”

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, July 25, 2011 at 10:24 am Link to this comment

“Entitlement is a Republican Word” (cont.)
Page 2 of 2

“Entitlement is a Republican Word,” in Orwellian terms, that
relegates the Low, the American Populace, the 70% Majority
Common Population of the United States
, to having a
“genuine belief in deliberate lies,” the American
Dream of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with freedom
and justice for all.

“Entitlement is a Republican Word,” for “genuine belief in
deliberate lies”
that enables self serving benefit for the
American Aristocracy and the American Middle Class at the
expense of the American Populace, in Orwellian terms, and from
what I have experienced in my 66 years of life, Orwell is spot on in
his evaluation of the societal schism that existed both in his time
and in the United States at the present time in the 21st Century.

The societal struggle that is presently occurring in the United
States is the same struggle between the High, the Middle and the
Low related by George Orwell in his novel “1984”;———
It is up to the American Populace, the 70% Majority Common
Population of the United States
, to take power and control
over their own class and cultural majority population of the United
States with their own self imposed self determination to have a
Seat at the Table in the Congress of the United States as a Class
and Cultural Entity and participate equally in the making and
enforcing of legislated law and order on a co-equal basis with the
High and the Middle; ONLY in this way can Orwell’s evaluation of
the prospects of the Low, the American Populace, the 70%
Majority Common Population
, be changed from their existing
Orwellian prospect that is “of the three groups, only the
Low are never even temporarily successful in achieving their aims.”

If the American Populace, the 70% Majority Common
Population of the United States
, continue to allow the High
and the Middle to rule over the American Populace paternalistically
as children, as has been the case during all existing recorded
history, Orwell is right, the American Populace will not achieve their
aims of self determination as a class and culture.

Only by self determination as a class and culture that controls their
own legislated law and order can the American Populace become
co-equal with the High and the Middle; and the American Populace
must force its own self determination in the making of its own
legislated law and order.

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ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, July 25, 2011 at 8:39 am Link to this comment

whitedog, July 16 at 12:36 pm,

The LEFT is the American Populace, a 70% Majority Common
Population, a population of 210 million people that is comprised of
a range of people from genteel peasants all the way down to
abject homeless peasants.

The problem with the American Populace is that genteel peasants
and “wanna be” genteel peasants of the American Populace
borrow money and live on credit, so that they can pretend to be
Middle Class Republicans, because they are ashamed of being
peasants, and they are willing to sacrifice their future to live in the
American Dream until their only capital asset they have wears out,
their body, and then they are forced to realize that they
are peasants.

The Middle Class, the Democrats, are NOT the LEFT, the Middle
Class is the “MIDDLE” and they represent the
“MIDDLE,” not the “LEFT.”

The American Aristocracy, the Republicans, are the RIGHT and they
represent the “RIGHT.”

How on earth is it possible for 210 million peasants of
“The LEFT” to get to thinking that they can pretend to be
MIDDLE CLASS on borrowed money, and that they will be accepted
by either the American Middle Class or the American Aristocracy as
anything more than what they are “PEASANTS,”—GENTEEL
PEASANTS,—“Wanna Be” GENTEEL PEASANTS, and Epsilon Minus
Semi “Wanna Be” GENTEEL PEASANTS
living in a dream world, the
American Dream, pretending that they are not peasants, that they
are Middle Class Republicans.

Give me a break, wake up from the American Dream and start life
over again on the basis of “objective reality,” that there
is an American Populace, a 70% Majority Common Population of
210 Million peasants in the United States that are being led to
accept a “false sense of awareness” of an American Dream World
that they are Middle Class Republicans, get real—WAKE UP—
Those who are not living in a dream world know better.

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By whitedog, July 24, 2011 at 10:25 am Link to this comment

I thought that word was hoye, or hou according to my reading, which is only as good its authors. Thanks for the inside view. 

So look forward to my Day.

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By TAO Walker, July 23, 2011 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

“HokaHey!” is actually an acknowledgement of a plain Natural Fact,,,,which, of
course, tends to loom a bit larger for those caught-up in the toils of armed
CONflict.

Great Spirit has for us, as Persons and as Peoples, two Good Days….this Day,
and the Day we get to take a break from the vicissitudes inflicted upon our
Mother Earth, All Our Relations, and our Kind by the presence and process here
of the “civilization” disease-generating retro-viral tormenting ‘entity’ styling its
own"self” The “SELF.”  That Day of respite, for ‘each’ and/or for ALL of us, might
be just any given Day.

So we say, everyday….

HokaHey!

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By whitedog, July 23, 2011 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

Never doubt that a small group of concerned, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.

What the Greens lack, which they didn’t in Germany in the 70s, is talent. There isn’t one among them who has the gifts to rise into the public forum. The best it can do is take issues into a better place. And the Green Party agenda isn’t only focussed on environmental issues. Ralph Nader isn’t, worst luck, a politian. Not to mention if he was elected those behind the veil would do him in, like anyone who threatens their pile of loot.

Weren’t the present most powerful parties originally third parties? I know they date back to the 19th century but earlier weren’t they struggling out of obscurity at some point?

I vote Democratic to keep the much more egregious Republicans out. I knew Obama was strung up to the gills, 4 years into the Whitehouse, come on. But to go for Social Security, gee.

Its tough to go against the grain, but it must be done. My credo is- have a little courage, for to exhort yourself and others is a sacred rite and though maybe not so comfortable, the rewards are fine.

Reject the offer of shorter sentence at the expense of another and your term will fly by with the inevitable good feeling and satisfaction of selflessness.

Who am I talking to?

TAO, you do know HokaHey is a war cry. Are you Lakota?

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By TAO Walker, July 22, 2011 at 4:00 pm Link to this comment

It seems that a necessary assumption, for all these manmade socio/eCONomic
‘rules’ to have even a semblance of comprehensive validity, is that the Whole
Living World within which their Human ‘actors’ will of-necessity be working-
them-out remains essentially ‘static’....at-least insofar as any changes within it
would otherwise materially alter the things being measured, and thus the
reliability of those measurements.  That’s not a ‘bet’ upon which anybody here
in Indian Country would ‘risk’ anything we couldn’t afford to ‘lose.’

Just ask anybody who actually has to ‘handle’ things, in “the real world,” how
often they bump-up, hard, against the gap between what ivory tower “models”
‘predict’ and what’s actually happening on-the-ground.  Listen to their often
not very complimentary comments about “egg-head professors,” for example,
or “paper pushers” or “college boy” bosses, to get a good sense of the effects
on actual people of the too-often top-down imposition of academic-hot-
house-hatched “ideas” on those who as often have little or no “input” into the
theoretical formulations they are supposed to give actual shape to.

Now where is it, again, that the road paved with “good intentions” goes?

HokaHey!

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By Cliff Carson, July 22, 2011 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous

I know we have drifted off thread but this is interesting and is akin to the Article about “Entitlements” in a sense.

That you are a teacher in the Humanities is most interesting .  My Grandson Graduated from The University with a Degree in Applied Sociology .  I worked with him in constructing his research for his Thesis “A Child of Divorce - an at risk Child”.  Some of the things I learned in that research astounded me.  If ever there was a need for a safety net needed to help the helpless it can be found in this subject.

We used the body of knowledge concerning this subject, and statistical data using Cross-Tabs and found that these children face a future that statistics show places them in a category where the stigma and consequences subject to that class finds a probability that it carries over to their children are twice as likely to become children of divorce than the traditional Family unit child(no divorce) offspring.  I was amazed.  And the scariest statistic was that a child of divorce living with its mother and her boyfriend is more than 70 times as likely to suffer fatal abuse as a child of the Traditional Family.  That is a staggering statistic.

Society is shaped and molded by the actions of individual and collective members of that society.  And that seems to be the aim of the Corporate Oligarchy mentality of its enablers specifically the Republicans who represent those in need as “people who sit on their ass waiting for a handout.”

Shame on the Republican Party.  This Child of Divorce that I mentioned above often is in dire need of “help” and a failure to provide needed that help does have a cost to our society as a whole.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, July 22, 2011 at 1:35 pm Link to this comment

The funny thing about the Pareto Principle, or 80/20 Rule is that,
oddly enough, it can be used effectively to direct one’s attention,
towards anything, it operates universally, in any direction and in any
realm of action.  Apparently it can, or nearly always can, which is the
caveat about the absolute 80/20 ratio. 

I am not an economist, I have some college math but would not call
myself a mathematician (though I have great respect for “the science
that draws necessary conclusions,” or as I have learned, it is the only
science that has truth as its partner.  But it is in the humanities where
I’ve made my career.

In my curiosity about Emile Durkheim, I first ran across Vilfredo Pareto
in “Main Currents in Sociological Thought:  Durkheim, Pareto, Weber,”
as I was studying sociology at the time.  This book presents a nice bit
of information on these three 19th c. thinkers.  It is not beyond the pale
to say that the essential theme of these men’s thought, and in their
view, the fundamental cause of the crisis they perceived as the most
worrisome state of the 19th c. world was the relationship between
religion and science as western science was beginning to flower.  There
is much to consider about the thinking of these “scientists” but now is
not the time to express it.

Vilfredo Pareto noticed the unequal distribution of wealth in his country
of Italy, and came up with the 80/20 ratio that seemed to apply to this
difference.  Joseph Juran, a quality management developer went further
saying that the 80/20 Rule means that in anything where the principle is
applied, a few (20 percent) are vital and the many (80 percent) are trivial.
In Pareto’s case it meant 20 percent of the people owned 80 percent of
the wealth. (This sounds vaguely familiar?)  I haven’t studied Pareto to
much of an extent, but I can see the logic of the effect of external forces
that could modify the ratio.  As you have commented, his thesis of
threshold is most likely at work here in the US with the 1% vs. the 99%
ratio of wealth to people.

Also what you observed, Cliff Carson, but is probably not so weird
is, I think, inherent in the nature of such relationships that develop
between governments and business, how it affect the common good is
completely dependent on moral and ethical action of both government
and economic systems.  Revolutions are always motivated by a crowd
psychology where a general population is so provoked as to act
collectively thereby gaining, or rather taking, direct power of some
institution, in our discussion, governments.  I am reminded of Carl
Jung’s collective unconscious, but there are several theories of kinds
of crowd phenomenon.  It is something that ought to be studied if
anyone wants to effect major change.  As I have noted several times
on TD that any significant change in this country will have to start at the
local level.  But those who want to speed up the process since local level
change would be a very slow contribution to national change, then
whipping up enough of the people to generate the emotion to act,
which is the key to it happening (as per Eric Hoffer), in order to get
mass movements started and would have to continue to a successful
conclusion,... or… gulp… failure!

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By Cliff Carson, July 22, 2011 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

You are right Shenonymous.  The Pareto principle operates differently in a closed system as opposed to an open system.  Since you mentioned statements to a class, I assume you are a Teacher, either of Economics, Statistics, Management , or Quality Engineering.

I taught Quality Assurance and Management in College and I taught History in High School,  both gigs as a voluntary teacher.  But the Principle is Universal and of course, as you observed, the method of data utilization is to find contributing variables and rank them according to the sample data, in order that you may place the most resources to solve the most contributing problem of the “Special Causes ” within an open Process System.  To bring the system to equilibrium (controlled variance) you will have brought it to a static controlled state (Closed System) and this can only be disturbed by an external force to the System ( New Input (Special Cause) for example ).

I used to design Economic sampling methodologies (Sampling based on Cost of Non-Conformance) as opposed to the Shewhart methods ( Alpha and Beta Risks)  and other specialized plans.
 
One more thing about Pareto that I have wrote about when discussing economics is what he said about the re-Distribution of Wealth.  The 80/20 , ± Inherent Variance rule, is viable until an external force causes the 80 to rise and the 20 to shrink past the natural inherent variance control limits.  There is a threshold, according to Pareto, where the system is destroyed when too few control too much of the wealth.  That is the current trend of our economy brought about by an incestuous relationship between Government and Business ( Corporate Influence).  He didn’t say what that threshold was.  The 1%  may not realize that if I , or one of them, owned all the wealth of the world, it would be of no value whatsoever to that holder of all the wealth.

The weird thing about the Government /Business relationship is that this is a preferred marriage and is in everyone’s interest ( the Common Good if you will ) dependent on both entities acting morally and ethically.  If either entity abrogates the moral or ethical high road, the Economy varies uncontrolled and usually the common person gets hurt, but if both Government and Business Collude, to criminally build Wealth and Power on the backs of the common people,  sooner or later the people will revolt and the criminal element will be deposed, usually violently.  This is the lesson of History.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, July 22, 2011 at 8:50 am Link to this comment

Cliff Carson – You may be quite right. My resource was not
Wikipedia- it was the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and
the Social Science Encyclopedia regarding John Best’s comment
at July 21 8:39 am “...people have self-oriented means of protecting
their interests and nobody wants to give them up for some ‘common
good’ sort of thing. Classic ‘prisoners dilema’[sic].”

I’m a fan of Tit for Tat strategy that does not allow non-cooperating
strategies to exploit the interaction.  Interesting is Axelrod’s The
Evolution of Cooperation, about the conditions of cooperation that
would emerge in a world of self-interested individuals (agents) without
a central authority. A fundamental problem occurs when the pursuit of
self-interest by each agent results in a poor outcome for all. I also find
merit in rational choice theory (RCT), aka rational action theory (RAT)
(which sometimes has value when humor is called for), anyway, rational
choice theory has predictive worth in its view that behavioral agents
(individuals) optimize their choices and consequential actions under
specific conditions. Informally speaking, agents do the best they can
given the conditions they must face. Rational choice theory is not
bound to a particular idea of what is ‘best’, but in the absence of any
independent evidence to the contrary, by and large it is assumed that
individuals look out for themselves, we call it self-regarding. There are,
however, models of altruism and malice that fit within rational choice
theory. One such is a controversial application of Evolutionary Theory
that is used to justify self-interest, by claiming to show that self-interest
survives in competitive environments.  Commonly, the Pareto Principle is
the observation (not law) that most things in life are not distributed
evenly. It can mean a number of things, (borrowed from the
BetterExplained website) for instance, according to the 80/20 Rule,
20% of the input creates 80% of the result
20% of the workers produce 80% of the result
20% of the customers create 80% of the revenue
20% of the bugs cause 80% of the crashes
20% of the features cause 80% of the usage
Just some of the uses of Pareto to try to anticipate reality.  We are always
trying to stay ahead of the game? No?

Understanding the implications of Pareto efficiency that says certain
changes in allocation of goods or services (Medicare, etc.), we see that
certain distributions could result in some agents being put into a better
position and no individual put into a worse position. Therefore, the
strategy ought to always engage in Pareto improvement through
reallocation of devices for improvement to at least one of the
participant’s advantage while not diminishing anyone else.  In
contemporary economics, any action done in an economic system that
harms no one and helps at least one person could qualify as Pareto
improvement. The idea is that Pareto improvements will keep adding to
the economy until it achieves an equilibrium, that is, where no more such
improvements can be made.  It is a whole theory that needs studied to
see the possible ramifications and consequences perhaps beyond the
scope of this forum.

One has to be on guard with Pareto because the distribution of 80/20 is
not absolute, It is just a basic guide about typical distributions. Life is
not fair, life is hard, and life is expensive. Three analects I always write
on the board on the first day of class!

We do not live in a perfect world, which is my point to John Best. Wishes
are idealistic, but needed for your point and his, to instigate creativity.
Without the ideal there would be no masterpieces in painting, sculpture,
music, whatever. However, to negotiate real life, one might use Pareto as
an estimation.

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By TAO Walker, July 22, 2011 at 7:56 am Link to this comment

Seems like, these Days, with all the massive ‘machinery’ in-place designed
specifically for making it so easy (maybe all but unavoidable, if you even turn most
if it “ON”), it’s at-least something of a note-worthy accomplishment just to NOT
“leave the World” a worse-off “place than you inherited.”  As for the efficacy,
“common good”-wise, of mere “desire”....is that a ‘can-of-worms’ anybody here
really wants to ‘open’?

Meanwhile, if “a little bit of sugar” really does help The Medicine go down, that
might explain this obsession among the privateers with “cornering the market” in
it.

HokaHey!

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, July 21, 2011 at 9:39 pm Link to this comment

Just can’t stand it any longer,... I think you guys are becoming way to polarizing!

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By Cliff Carson, July 21, 2011 at 9:28 pm Link to this comment

Oh John

You err.  That is not the end of the sugar and the derivatives. 

Wall Street then sells the Sugar at an ever inflated price to the School lunch program, where half of it is siphoned off to bribe Congress to rescue the Derivative losers and their losses are adjudged to be so hard on the Bankers carrying the paper - who by the way are too big to fail - and Congress and the President allocates one billion dollars to cover their million dollar loss and then tell the Taxpayers its their fault and they have to rescue the Bankers.

All the CEO’s involved get Millions in Bonuses and the poor Taxpayer gets evicted from his home or farm.

The Republican says all is well because the 1% Rich and Powerful now have enough money to build more factories and hire more workers - in China, India, and Singapore.

Finally the Republicans are witty enough to blame the Democrats stirring up all the people who go to battle to save their party while forgetting who screwed them in the first place.  The Party Big Wigs of both Parties get together to count their new found money while they put their arms around each other and give testament to their God - Lucre while singing Cum Bay Ya..well they were a little liquored up - as usual.

Now that John Best, in a couple of words, is what happened - any session day.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 21, 2011 at 7:30 pm Link to this comment

Quickie:  Cliff, the Wall St. version of improving the sugar allocation…..take all the sugar in exchange for a derivative including a negative term for the sudden rise of sugar prices.  Suprise!  Wall St, holding th actual sugar controls the market, magically, sugar prices go up, but those holding the derivatives lose their investment.  too bad, so sad.

Rules allowing this are doughnut, not hole.

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By Cliff Carson, July 21, 2011 at 7:13 pm Link to this comment

She , the Prisoners Dilemma is not what it seems to be, especially the Sub-Optimization concept.  The definition of the efficiency of the concept as presented in Wikipedia is bogus.

From Wikipedia - “Given an initial allocation of goods among a set of individuals, a change to a different allocation that makes at least one individual better off without making any other individual worse off is called a Pareto improvement.”

How about we put that definition to a test.

Four people are each allocated 1 ounce of sugar.  That is the sum total ( 4 ounces)of all sugar.

Now your problem is to give one of those four, more than one ounce of sugar, without causing ANY of the other three to have LESS THAN AN OUNCE of sugar.  Be sure to let me know if you, or anyone else solves that problem.

A true Pareto Improvement is where the Pareto Analysis reveals the significant few, and those few causes, in a Pareto scheme are ranked as to its contribution to the total.  If you properly address the cause and corrective action to reduce at least one of those contributors , you cause the TOTAL defects ( less than 4 ounces of sugar ) to be reduced, unless there was some interaction.  That She, is a true Pareto Improvement.

Lee.  To me the common good is something you know when you see it.  If you desire to leave the World a better place than what you inherited, you serve the common good.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, July 21, 2011 at 5:35 pm Link to this comment

According to the Republicans, they want the job creators (sounds almost spiritual) to maintain their tax cheater status! ...  Is this a doughnut hole without the the doughnut?

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By Shenonymous, July 21, 2011 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment

Probability is the key term in the Prisoner’s Dilemma PD).  For the
benefit of those who do not know what the PD is it was invented by
a couple of Rand Corp. (a think tank) who wanted to forsee a possible
applications to global nuclear strategy.  It is applicable to other
scenarios, such as which is more advantageous altruistic morality or
selfishness. For it is those two mental strategems that is at the bottom
of the puzzle at any rate.  Applicable also for any other problem of
cooperative merit.  Domination seems to be counterproductive in the
“best” result for both individuals, parties (political or otherwise), or
team as who was in charge of a team of bank robbers. 

The Prisoner’s Dilemma is a short parable about two prisoners who are
individually offered a chance to rat on each other for which the “ratter”
would receive a lighter sentence and the “rattee” would receive a harsher
sentence. The problem results from the fact that both can play this game
—that is, defect—and if both do, then both do worse than they would
had they both kept silent. This peculiar parable serves as a model of
cooperation between two or more individuals (or corporations or
countries) in ordinary life in that in many cases each individual would
be personally better off not cooperating with the jailers (defecting) on
the other.

What you are asking for is a change in the complete structure of the
political system in this country.  I wish it were as easy as wishing.  Many
people are advocating the creation of a third party, many who write on
Truthdig as a matter of fact. But I have gone over the improbability
several times.  I don’t mind going over it again.  For what you ask and a
“few” others is a massive undertaking.  To make matters even more grim,
there are 52 political parties, 2 of which are the major Democratic and
Republican Parties.  That means 50 are third party options.  Some of
these 50 have been attempting an assault on the citadel of American
politics for decades with no traction except at an occasional local level. 
Bernie Sanders is the only Independent (a socialist to be exact but who
could not run on the American Socialist Party ticket because he would
not have been elected due to the repugnance held against
communist/hard socialist sentiments-call it the effects of McCarthyism if
you will and he does not represent either of those politicoeconomic
systems).  There are lots of independent parties. They just do not get
anywhere in this country. The finest of them, the Greens whose care
about the planet gets just a tiny one digit percentage of the vote at the
national level.  They have elected a few local politicians.  But that is not
enough to get a “movement” going.  Please read your Hoffer!

It is a failure to understand the nature of the beast of a huge multiethnic
with a population that has diametrically opposed values country like the
US.  It is very difficult to permeate the entire society with any one
particular ideology.  What we need is different from what is possible.  Do
go after your dream, do attempt another third party, but I suggest it is
spinning wheels. This is a two party system country.  You do need to
understand that in the marrow of your bones, then reform can start.

Have a good vacation.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment

Lee,  How do yo describe a doughnut hole without the doughnut?  Try defining it legislatively by what it is not…...it is not the pick-pocketing tax breaks for greedy people who are not making a return in real improvement to GNP with the tax break for which they lobbied.  There is lots of doughnut in DC.  But, yes, you have hit on something, the ‘common good’ is tough to define, so it’s tough to represent.  But I think more examples of what the common good is not will give it shape. 

Yep, a perfect landing is a longshot, but even if it fails,  won’t the politicians understand that we are serious?  Perhaps a third party would spin out of it.  Perhaps a few fresh faces, willing to do it “not for the money”, might emerge.  It’s not all or nothing.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 21, 2011 at 4:00 pm Link to this comment

Been thinking about this all….
“In the prisoner’s dilemma scenario, the conclusion is that both players are more successful if they prefer the outcome with the altruistic moves to that with the selfish moves.” 

There is an interpretation in the opening quotation, that altruism is merely a means of improving ones chances at some ‘preference’, or some perceived improvement in their lot.  I hate to go down this road, but it does call into question many otherwise ‘altruistic’ acts.  I can think of every charity donation which is not done anonymously.  But does it make sense to get hung up in the so-called ‘altruism’ of acting in the common good by supposedly sacrificing self interests? 

The word ‘prefer’ jumped out.  Again, I’m out of my league, but it seems to be that the contrast between ‘wants’, ‘needs’, and some perceived probability need be incorporated.  I suppose you end up with a fancy prisoners dilema.

What is at the root of this is soemthing else I think.  Domination perhaps.  By seeking a dominant or winning team, one improves that probability of having wants and/or needs fulfilled.  There is a loss, the cost of battling the losing group.  Winnings are distributed among the team.  But, had both groups cooperated, wouldn’t the cost of politically battling (the overhead of supporting lawyers, PR firms, advertising, party apparatus etc, etc, etc, be significant?  But, it;s more interesting than that….even the losers in the party apparatus still ‘win’ to a lesser extent. than their counterparts in the winning party, but they still maintain domination over the ‘rank and file’, the poor working slobs who didn’t even know a ‘group prisoners dilema’ was a choice.  There is a choice to just drop a huge cost of the red-vs.-blue battle and it be available for both prisoners, the common people, to invest in something more productive for their future. 

She, you make me think, and I appreciate the critical and semi-adversarial treatment of the issue.  I wish I could say I was less disgusted by the “two-party rule system of governance”, but I am not.  It gives me a sort of appreciation for those I used to think of as ‘rabid greenies’ toward intractable partisans.  The ‘lesser of two evils’ argument really gets disgusting.

It reminds me of the joke about a group of campers running away from the bear…....you don’t have to outrun the bear, just don’t be the slowest camper.  Or, either party can rape the common people, just convince the common people yours is the party which rapes in a less objectionable way. 

We need a third party in this country, or an independent faction of an existing party which supports it’s own factional candidates.  122 to 310 million people need to understand that what appears to be in their self interest in the short term is destroying them over the long haul.  WE need an uncorrupted government focused on controlling, not accommodating special interests unless it is extremely clear beyond question that a legislative action is productive of capital which serves the common good.  That there are so many more of us now makes it all the more urgent.

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By Leefeller, July 21, 2011 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment

Common Good sounds like a nice thing to me, I would probably embrace the idea if it included what my ideas of common and good are!

I mean, common has many words it can be attached or tied to, like common sense, common looking, common ground, common cause, common dreams and I seem to remember the British have something called the House of commons? I suspect the word ” common” is to mean something most regular.

As presented by John Best, I suspect his definitions would be: ” without special qualities, rank, or position; ordinary.” ‘Oxford University Press’.

So John Bests meaning of common good may be to mean ‘ordinary good’?

I do not know about you, but we have all heard the saying, ‘what is good for the Goose is supposed to be good for the gander’?  Now this seems to be getting a bit on the downy side if one is making pillows!  I ask this question who is the goose and who is the gander and further more ask; will it also be good for the opportunists?

I read someplace a skeptic may see hope at the end of the tunnel, and for the cynic there is no hope, maybe no end to the tunnel? Since I prefer to see myself as a card carrying skeptic and I also consider myself the common person with common goals and even reckon myself to have a on occasion a bit of commons sense. Now, the skeptic in me says,... apparently there may be hope for the common good, but on the other side of my skepticism their appears this feeling saying, “this is one hell of a long shot”.  A long shot demanding a tad of fantasizing about things like,  accountability and integrity coming from something like our present Congress!

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By whitedog, July 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm Link to this comment

Right, Mr. Best, humans are annoying, but they are also worth the trouble to try to protect. With good input even the most terrible of us can find the heart to be considerate. Unions aren’t run by saints, no, but they are trying to represent those who without them would be in deep doo doo. And have to deal with those who will go the limit to protect their “assets”. Those who rise through the ranks into the hallowed halls of administration, do they always remember the hell they had to endure, nah. Not really.

How to have compassion for everybody, even the users and schemers, torturers and murderers. Hey there, Mr. Murdock! How are we going to rise up out of this muck?   

In Zen, negative attachment is as strong as positive attachment. Lets all focus on the world we want. Oops, except you, Mr. Hitler, or you, Mr. Columbus. or you…..ahhhhhhhhhh. Okay only you, Mr. Enlightened Being. Um, what’s your name again?

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 21, 2011 at 10:25 am Link to this comment

Paragraph 1: Lockeian, not Hobbsian…..the will of the people is the sovereign.  Tough material to combine with Prisoners dilema and I can’t do it justice at the moment.  It all does take the practical dilema of corruption out to a naturalistic theoretical place and I’m not sure I need to defend that,as it’s as quixotical and theoretical as what I’m proposing.

Paragraph 2: the ‘common good’ examples shouldn’t be to hard to find, where a special interest has benefited by a crooked tax subsidy.  That sort of thing.  One manifestation of the ‘common good’ might be the treasury.  As for many details of implementation….. do you think I have this all thought through?  Hell no. 

Paragraph 3: probability of Arab spring like event.  Different circumstances, different cultures, different pressures, but the people-to-people communication medium is a new thing, various sorts of rapid mass agreement might or might not be reached.  It depends on the general feeling of individuals what sort of catalyzing reaction is possible, I suppose. 

Will revisit in a week to see if anything came of it.  Got a better idea?

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By Shenonymous, July 21, 2011 at 9:45 am Link to this comment

Are you talking about 310 million people?  Or let’s keep it just
to voters, say 122 million?  The fact that people have self-oriented
means of protecting their interests, is really the everyman for
himself anarchistic perspective which I thought was counter to
yours?  In the Prisoner’s Dilemma the participants realize that
cooperation is a must if both are to win. The dilemma sharply
illustrates a conflict between the individual and the group. A group
whose members pursue rational self-interest may all end up worse
off than a group whose members act contrary to rational self-interest. 
More generally, if the payoffs are not assumed to represent self-interest,
a group whose members rationally pursue any goals may all meet less
success than if they had not rationally pursued their goals individually.
To generalize to familiar situations, it is difficult to get rational, selfish
agents to cooperate for their common good. If one of them takes the
Hobbesean path, they both lose. Hobbes is famous for his laws of nature,
and complete egoism, or the principle of self-preservation served as the
impulse to develop “social contract theory” (the method of justifying
political principles or arrangements by appeal to the agreement that
would be made among suitably situated rational, free, and equal
persons) because it is in reality a usual state of war and life basically is a
struggle to survive.  It is precisely the anarchist platform. His infamous
conclusion is that we ought to submit to the authority of an absolute—
undivided and unlimited—sovereign power or a god.  Another
interpretation takes the dilemma to represent a choice between
selfish behavior and socially desirable altruism. In the prisoner’s
dilemma scenario, the conclusion is that both players are more
successful if they prefer the outcome with the altruistic moves to that
with the selfish moves. This observation has led thinking to take the
Prisoner’s Dilemma as saying something important about the nature of
morality.

You show a reactive response in that your “common good” statements
are in the realm of hypothesis and shows no reality-based examples. 
But my bad for mixing your contract for potential legislators for the
public’s unanimous approval. I apologize. I did read it the first time but
lost it in my zeal to respond. Again, my apologies.  Still, if I may, who is
to write the Legislator’s Promise.  Still how would the promissory
contract be enforced?  Before its too late on an infraction or afterwards? 
How would you know ahead of time what is in the Legislator’s logical
conclusion on how he/she would function in Congress?  I understand
your felt need to preclude corruption in politics, it is so rampant and an
infectious disease, so it seems, if we can put it in another metaphor of an
illness, political illness if you will. The contract is a piece of authoritarian
paperwork, without a doubt. It is a coercion, as we spoke of in other
forums but in this case seen as a benign force.  What are the penalties,
since laws are made for breakers of them, not keepers of them?  Who is
in charge?  Is it any more authoritarian than top-down party control of
the electorate? To what real situation are you referring.  Again, this is a
hypothetical invention of what might be, not what is. That is a common
fallacy. It is not clear your protocol is from the bottom up. The Fallacy of
the Weezers is to speak in terms of we as representing the entire
population when it is fallacious to speak for the entire population.  This
is MarthaA’s repeated mistake.

Not sure what you mean by an age where things can go viral as per the
Arab Spring.  Do you mean infectious public action, as in Egypt, Tunisia,
Syria, Yemen, Libya? Those people have suffered for hundreds of years. 
It is very unlike what Americans have been going through for a few
decades since the Reagan years. And a lot more viral.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 21, 2011 at 9:40 am Link to this comment

Lee says, “So we have the two party system, the right and the left, the liberal and conservative, Communist and capitalist, always seems to be a yin and yan, ever opposing opposites” 

Lee, if we accept this, then we are screwed.  Let’s just say we don’t have a Representative Democracy or Republic, let’s just make it official and say we have a ‘two-party ruling’ system.

Status quo aint working.

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By Leefeller, July 21, 2011 at 8:48 am Link to this comment

If my ideas and opinions had wings they would most likely be my favorites;.... how about Rhubarb pie in the sky with Tequila!

Polarizing seems just another word which reflects yin and Yan.

So we have the two party system, the right and the left, the liberal and conservative, Communist and capitalist, always seems to be a yin and yan, ever opposing opposites; fire and water, black and white, the upper hand and the down trodden.  Ever opposites as polarizations sauntering down to fill infinity.

As for the non existence of polarizing, the possibility seems feasible in the same way Thomas Jefferson does not exist for some Texans or the word “Gay” does not exist for some Tennesseans.

Rhubarb pie in the sky it is!

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 21, 2011 at 8:39 am Link to this comment

Well,

The ‘if we had wings’ argument is a matter of reasonableness and probability.  We know people sign on en masse to things which they perceive as good for them.  The problem you recognize but don’t mention is that people have self-oriented means of protecting their interests and nobody wants to give them up for some ‘common good’ sort of thing.  Classic ‘prisoners dilema’.  Because it is perceived as quixotic, doesn’t mean it is, or that it is fundamentally flawed.

The ‘wouldn’t it be sweet’ comment is a natural extension of a ‘more common good, less special interests’ movement.

Hubris?  No.  Not some dictatorial thing, something arrived at by a consensus of people who generally favor the wisdom of tilting the system back toward some ‘common good’ legislating, and away from the special interest groups. 

Your third paragraph…..“what if people don;t sign it”.  Are you under the impression this ‘contract’ is something for regular people to sign?  It’s not.  It’s for potential Legislators.  You might re-read the thing….it’s not evil, authoritarian big-brother stuff.  It’s just a way to cut through the political couble-talk which lets politicians say anything to the public, then proceed back to the capitol to stuff their pockets at our expense.  Please re-read it?  Thank You.  I’ve said clearly it’s totally the politicians option to sign or not.  People can certainly vote for a politician who wouldn’t sign a ‘no corruption’ contract, but I would hope more people would prefer a politician who promised in writing not to accept bribes, special favors, etc. 

The whole thing is simply a recognition of the precise sort of corruptions we’ve all seen, and end each of us has been complaining about.  Why would you say it sounds ‘tyrannical and authoritarian’?  Any more-so than the top-down party control of the electorate?  Of the CEO down control of lobbying actions?  As I’ve laid it out, it’s clearly from the bottom up. 

“I call it the Fallacy of the Weezers.  And the last
time I looked, contrary to some disgruntled, there really are no clones.”  Please explain.  We are in an age where things can go viral.  Look at the ‘Arab spring’.

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By Shenonymous, July 21, 2011 at 7:57 am Link to this comment

” Wouldn’t it be sweet someday to have a majority which would
legislate automatic repeal or review of legislation if some percentage
of the participating legislators had been recalled?  Public veto power.

Again, “if we had wings” thinking.  Wishful thinking is grand, and the
stuff of most novels, but novels are not life they just imitate it and
rearrange it according to the author’s liking.  But the world is made
of neary 7 billion people!  The United States 310 million and counting. 
It is important to keep that number in one’s head when talking about
the “we the people.”  I call it the Fallacy of the Weezers.  And the last
time I looked, contrary to some disgruntled, there really are no clones.

Using your protocal, how long do you think it would take to effect any
change?  Your idea of a prototype contract is quixotic at best (no pun
intended).  Who first of all has enough hubris to write the thing?  What
personal ideological philosophy will drive the content of the contract?
Who will distribute it and “make” people sign it?  What if someone does
not want to sign it?  Will they be put to death?  Hmmm, what kind of
lesser punishment would they suffer?  Banishment from the society? 
From the country?  From the planet?  Hmmmm

V e d d y   I n t a h r r e s t i n k!  Sound very tyrannical, authoritarian. 
Are you aware of this inherent feature of your proposal?  Is MarthaA
correct in the kind of propaganda she was sounding the alarm to?  Binary
emotional rhetoric?

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 21, 2011 at 7:21 am Link to this comment

Apologies for that double post.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 21, 2011 at 7:20 am Link to this comment

Regarding ‘if we had wings’, perhaps, perhaps not.  How the heck was Grover Norquist able to get so many Republicans to sign his ‘no taxes’ pledges, which he then used as leverage with the electorate to keep them in line? 

It’s not at all inconceivable that we can have a grass roots movement to ‘take back’ (not in some wacko tea party kind of way) the integrity, rather ‘put back’, (which may never have been there) a factor which repels opportunistic ‘non public spirited’ sort of bribe-able politicians, yet, does not deter those who are not there for the money….the truly public spirited ones.  These people are out there. 

But as to the mechanics of writing and circulating a suitable contract, along with ‘theory of operation’ sort of instructions…....why not?  If such a contract existed, and was public knowledge, perhaps as a result of publication through various newspapers, hell, return to pamphleteering, then a seedy politician would have a hard time explaining why they didn’t want to sign it.  It’s a win if they did sign (were forced to sign because of good old pressure from the electorate) then, there would be a legal means to not only sue the bastard if they renegged, but perhaps to recall them.  Wouldn’t it be sweet someday to have a majority which would legislate automatic repeal or review of legislation if some percentage of the participating legislators had been recalled?  Public veto power. 

I tell you that it can be done.  The basic dynamics are there, and We the People have shown we can organize, and that sunken ditch Norquist has shown the way.

We need to start with a prototype contract which returns accountability, ability to redress grievances, etc., to individual People, and to the electorate, not Corporations, lobbyists, unions, or any other ‘unnatural group’. 

We don’t need wings….we just need to get our feet out of the mud of a self absorbed ‘lookout for number one’ lives.  The longer we wait, the more impossible it will be.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 21, 2011 at 7:17 am Link to this comment

Regarding ‘if we had wings’, perhaps, perhaps not.  How the heck was Grover Norquist able to get so many Republicans to sign his ‘no taxes’ pledges, which he then used as leverage with the electorate to keep them in line? 

It’s not at all inconceivable that we can have a grass roots movement to ‘take back’ (not in some wacko tea party kind of way) the integrity, rather ‘put back’, (which may never have been there) a factor which repels opportunistic ‘non public spirited’ sort of bribe-able politicians, yet, does not deter those who are not there for the money….the truly public spirited ones.  These people are out there. 

But as to the mechanics of writing and circulating a suitable contract, along with ‘theory of operation’ sort of instructions…....why not?  If such a contract existed, and was public knowledge, perhaps as a result of publication through various newspapers, hell, return to pamphleteering, then a seedy politician would have a hard time explaining why they didn’t want to sign it.  It’s a win if they did sign (were forced to sign because of good old pressure from the electorate) then, there would be a legal means to not only sue the bastard if they renegged, but perhaps to recall them.  Wouldn’t it be sweet someday to have a majority which would legislate automatic repeal or review of legislation if some percentage of the participating legislators had been recalled?  Public veto power. 

I tell you that it can be done.  The basic dynamics are there, and We the People have shown we can organize, and that sunken ditch Norquist has shown the way.

We need to start with a prototype contract which returns accountability, ability to redress grievances, etc., to individual People, and to the electorate, not Corporations, lobbyists, unions, or any other ‘unnatural group’.

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By Shenonymous, July 21, 2011 at 6:00 am Link to this comment

1.
John Best – never an objection to your responding, but your answers
are if-we-had-wings kind of answers.  If the problem is to elect
better legislators, then there is a way to do that.  The public at the
local level needs to be nudged with authentic and information about
those who are running in their elections and what are the
consequences of voting for this or that person.  This would be a
colossal enterprise as the number of local elections are ostensibly
uncountable.  And if only billionaires were more thoughtful about
what they do with their billions, then we wouldn’t have to care about
those who do not have enough to eat, or where to sleep, or have shoes
on their feet, or if they can get a formal education.  Seems like if
billionaires really were that way, redistribution would not be an issue at
all! 

We do have to ask at some point in our political consciousness if there
ever can be a just society?  Is there such a thing as inherent equality
and entitlement to the same rights and privileges as the wealthy?  That
is not to say that everyone is entitled to the same dollars or access to
the finest quality of housing or haute couture clothing or gourmet food. 
But it does mean all people have an even chance o have a sound and
worthy life.  So how do you measure the fairness of a society?  The
argument could navigate to a discussion of natural rights, natural laws
but because they are largely debatable that could be tabled to another
forum.  But what say you about how to insure socially defined
egalitarianism?  Please do not give any ifs, give specific real ways.  This
goes for GRYM as well. 

If you are looking for a glib answer, you’re not going to get it.  The
topic does not reduce to slick. Re: GRYM’s first question:  You push the
notion of redistribution to an absurdity because you decided to read
into my comments what is not there in order to build a fictitious
scenario that you can then argue against.  It’s the classic straw man
argument strategy.  I am advocating taxes on the wealthy, but that is a
tax, not a confiscation of all their money!  A progressive tax on the
entire population who earn money that is fairly levied.  What is fair? 
Well, is hunger fair, disease fair, squalor fair, or lack of education fair? 
Statistics:  Since 1983, the American richest 80% have had their “share
of the national wealth increase by 4% while the middle class has lost
more than 23% of its relative share, the poorest has seen its “share”
dissolved by a barbarous and savage 78%!  The top tax rate decreased
from 90% in 1960 to 70% in 1972, to 50% in 1984 and to 40% in 1996
and to 35% in 2008.  35%! But a great deal of billionaires’ earnings is
only subject to 15% tax rate because of the loophole that allows hedge
fund income not to be called income!  Tell me what is fair?

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By Shenonymous, July 21, 2011 at 5:58 am Link to this comment

2.
What is fair?  I am not suggesting an unlimited central government,
I am not communist, nor even strong socialist, I am liberal.  And
there is a vital difference.

There is an obscenely broad actuality of a nation’s wealth that
resides in 1% of its population and 99% provide most of the labor
without reasonable remuneration.  If they were paid enough (another
if-we-had-wings syllogism), they would not need to worry about how
to afford to eat decently (and yes the word decent is subjective), or
worry about how to afford decent health care and medications (where
your corporate pharmaceuticals and medical industry bleeds every cent
and then some from those at their mercy).  We could go on and on, but
the idea is crystal clear.

The advocates of redistribution remain impervious to the typical
arguments against redistribution that says its practice at the least
hampers economic production, discourages individual effort, suppresses
economic progress, and even worse creates social and economic classes
whose self-interests are irreconcilable.  Furthermore, opponents of
redistribution say government intervention on behalf of one social class
against another not only is illogical and ineffective, but also highly (and
religiously) immoral in that it defies twp Commandments— the 8th: 
Thou shalt not steal—and violates the 10th—Thou shalt not covet
anything that is thy neighbor’s.  It is certain to bring poverty,
bitterness, dissension, and animosity.  Oh yes, the religious must
always intrude when the mind cannot convince on its own. 

But the justification of redistribution of wealth is not a new
philosophical question, GRYM.  It is called evening the playing field
between rich, middle class, poor and those people who are routinely
shunted to the borders of society.  From a liberal political perspective it
takes laws to create a just society.  This is called the social contract and
provides the reason people form societies. 

The crux is to have a government that does not levy or spend taxes
capriciously. A number of institutions must be created to orderly collect
monies needed. Equal rights means equal access to things that make it
possible for people in any societal sector to be successful and to have
the opportunity to have a wholesome life.  This is the basic extent and
only extent to which society owes its citizens to endorse, uphold, and
sustain, in other words, guarantee these rights to property or services. 
Liberal political principles would support things like anti-discrimination
laws and equal opportunity programs, and would favor taxation,
especially of those who make a lot of money, to pay for programs that
help provide equality for all.  The way to achieve this is through
progressive taxation and government implementation of programs that
will guarantee these things for all people.

The irony is that the taxes the rich pay actually provides them with
bargain rates for protection against other country intruders (the
military), safety for their person in their communities (police, fire-
fighting units, health departments that make sure the food they eat
and water they drink are free from dangerous contaminants), they get
to drive on roads that are paved and traffic controlled as well as
airports that insure they fly safely, they get to do all the things they
do in freedom that 99% of the population must have legislated as
rights.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 21, 2011 at 5:52 am Link to this comment

ITW and GRYM mashup:
1. We need to change the classic lines of division in this country.  Labor-management is the basis for Dem-Rep stalemate.  Behind this hobbling of the electorate, business as usual, the common good gets screwed.  We must change the way we elect legislatures and stop allowing ourselves to be represented by proxy, the Dem and Rep machines. 

Withing local races, we can start by finding candidates who are not there to gain personal power/wealth.  We need actual contracts with elected politicians need be in place to strictly prohibit profit seeking while in or as a result of knowledge gained while in office.  Including relatives.  Take away corruption in our Legislatures and appointed judges, and the government, which, in theory is a union of ‘We the People’, representing all of us equally (not corporations as individuals), and the abuses of people which create the need for unions can go away.  Establish ‘Political contracts’ at a local level, then take it upstairs.

2. We don’t have to worry about the rest of the world, just us.  Industrial policy: European style protectionism.  CE style quality standards. In conjunction with other things.  Thanks to the ‘grow-grow-grow, me-me-me CofC and Club for Growth promoted lifestyle, we have become too fat, stupid, lazy, and ‘entitled’ to compete on a ‘free trade’ basis, (just half-snarkily) apparently we need protection.  The alternative?  Schooling to learn to smile when we say ‘Welcome to WalMart’, and the classic “Do you want fires with that?”.  It’s a multi-dimentional problem with cultural roots…..you can’t answer simply.  If you want us to be a herd of dumb consumers, trying to buy junk made by others on diminishing local industrial and personal productivity, no changes are necessary.

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By Inherit The Wind, July 21, 2011 at 5:00 am Link to this comment

CC:

That’s exactly it.  Laws have been used to restrict and make unions illegal since the mid-1800s.  Despite Teddy Roosevelt’s reputation as “Trust-Buster”, until the Wagner Act, the primary target of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act was, you guessed it, the unions.

I’m a big believer in unions, but I also realize that they are targets, not just of corporations and their trolls in government, but of organized crime. The Teamsters have NEVER fully gotten over the problems of the Mafia getting in there and milking the ENORMOUS retirement fund.

But it’s no different than Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling bilking/milking the Enron retirement fund, transferring over a billion dollars from workers’ savings to themselves and a few buddies.

And NO company needs unionization more than WalMart.  So do the giant pharmaceuticals, who just decide to wipe out and close down divisions, despite the fact that people are STILL buying medicine.  Here in New Jersey, where most of big pharma reside, or have their US HQs, they’ve been laying off people like crazy, even as their pipelines are doing well.  I see those that remain working 12-16 hour days, doing 2 people’s jobs because they are now horribly understaffed and are burning out. Do the bosses in HQ, or in Basel (Novartis, Roche), London (GSK), France (Sanofi) care that they are burning out their best people, risking their expertise? No.

Here’s the analogy: Airlines keep making the coach seats smaller and closer together so they can cram in more seats. Now a normal-sized person cannot comfortably sit in them.  Will that stop them from squeezing more in? No. Not till they are forced to.

So corporations keep forcing workers to work longer hours, for no more money as they cut benefits, even as their senior execs, C-levels, and board members are made insanely wealthy.  They will continue until they are FORCED to stop.  Only unions will stop them.

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By Go Right Young Man, July 21, 2011 at 4:56 am Link to this comment

John,

1. Checks and balances, which might actually work if ‘We the People’ elected a better class of Legislators.

2. A real industrial and trade policy.  Nobody cares about anybody having billionaires, it’s about billionaires who have some capacity to re-direct massive amounts of capital away from productive use, or to counterproductive use.

-

a. Basically you’re saying that if Americans suddenly change the way they vote, a HUGE if indeed, there may be a Hope and Prayer in preventing the dictatorship that redistribution commonly throws up?

b. A real global industrial and trade policy?  Would that be a mandate handed down from the imperial U.S. government to all governments of the world? 

Also, most on this Web space do indeed put a good deal of thought into American billionaires.  Most here don’t like billionaires (Republican billionaires).  The popular consensus here is to take all those billions and “redistribute” those moneys to those who are not billionaires.  I say again, there will still be billionaires all over the globe.  Just not in the United States.

I can’t see either of your answers as near feasible.  With all due respect I’m not so sure you answered the questions at all.

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By Leefeller, July 20, 2011 at 9:44 pm Link to this comment

One more nail in the coffin, the Republicans are telling the Democrats they will not pass the budget for…....  (not sure of the correct name Aviation Control)? Unless the Democrats support making it so the employes cannot be union!

This anti Union, support the job makers is getting a bit long of tooth.

Next we are going to get the ass whipe Perry in the Race, so we will get to see two evangelical fanatics face off against each other acting like they are sane, Bochman and Perry with unchristian Romney playing down the middle?

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By Cliff Carson, July 20, 2011 at 9:15 pm Link to this comment

Unions only have a need to exist because of the greed, unethical conduct, and immoral actions initiated by Corporations and Government Agencies.

Usually most people come to work every day to do the best job they can.

Where Corporations go wrong is trying to improve their bottom line on the backs of their employees.  And that behavior is very common.

Where Unions go wrong is allowing gangster methods practiced in collusion with Corporations and Government Agencies.

People need jobs provided by moral and ethical people.  People need Unions to protect them from immoral and unethical Corporations and Government
Agencies.

What America needs is some means to punish the Criminal element whether it be Corporations, Agencies, or Unions.

This is supposed to be provided by the Rule of Law.  But when Governments have no respect for the Rule of Law and it doesn’t, the people only have their ability to organize and bring the criminal element to justice. This is their pathway to regaining their rights.

All the people have to do is decide it is time and then act.  But even when they know this- will they do it?

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 20, 2011 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment

She,
Apologies for answering tow questions posed by GRYM to you.
1. Checks and balances, which might actually work if ‘We the People’ elected a better class of Legislators.

2. A real industrial and trade policy.  Nobody cares about anybody having billionaires, it’s about billionaires who have some capacity to re-direct massive amounts of capital away from productive use, or to counterproductive use.

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 20, 2011 at 6:57 pm Link to this comment

ITW,  I’d say the distribution of ‘stellar’ to ‘goldbricker’ varies with level.  I’ve dealt with several small municipalities, mainly in PA, and several state agencies. and certainly the Federal Government.  The Federal gov is the best, I agree with that.  And below that level, yes, people do their jobs, but you can tell when you run into someone who is there because of nepotism, and there are enough that have a ‘don’t care’ attitude.  Yes, eventually, they all do their jobs, but you can tell some of them feel no need to be responsive to us ‘customers’.

I will say the PA department of Revenue has been exceptionally good, and the Department of Labor.  Penndot, and I’m not talking about the highway guys, I’m talking the research department…..they are a bunch of clock watchers to a man.  And it shows in their work too.  PA state police are unnervingly -professional. 

I’d have to say in general the government people I’ve interacted with over the years are no more stellar or no less stellar than people in the private sector.  I’d draw a correlation between the sizes frankly.  Small companies, like local governments…..not so ‘responsive’ and ‘professional’  Feds and big companies?  Much more highly qualified, trained, willing and able to do their job.

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By Inherit The Wind, July 20, 2011 at 5:46 pm Link to this comment

ITW: There are always a variety of cases from star public spirited people to those who abuse their power and are ‘protected’, at every level. 
********

No, John. That’s not the point. It’s not a rainbow with some good, some bad scattered all around.

In 10 years of working around the Federal government I can tell you that the vast majority of people I saw worked very hard and took pride in their jobs.  Not “some”, offset by the goldbricks, which is what you imply.

No, I was surprised at just how well many agencies functioned and how MOST of the people I saw were eminently qualified for their jobs.  Only once in a while was there a world-class goldbrick. 

Having seen government at the Federal, State, City, County and Town level, I can tell you that the only time federal agencies haven’t done their jobs is when Republicans found ways to shackle them or corrupt their work (like Reagan cooking the Unemployment Index to add military to the denominator and make the unemployment rate look like it improved).

Are unions corruptable?  Of course.  So are CEDs, Corporate boardrooms, single owners of companies, Senators, Supreme Court Justices and toll booth operators.  So?  They STILL are the only good way to
protect workers.

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By Go Right Young Man, July 20, 2011 at 5:32 pm Link to this comment

Ooops

“What will be the machinations you put in place for the U.S. to compete next to China, India and others?  - The globe will still have its billionaires.

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By ardee, July 20, 2011 at 5:16 pm Link to this comment

“Perhaps you don’t understand the foundation of such a concept?” -cmon She….you don’t need to be mean. 

Oh , yes she does actually…bipolar perhaps?

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By Go Right Young Man, July 20, 2011 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment

She,

If I may ask two fundamental questions?

1. When you personally give the State (always a small group at the pinnacle) the authority to redistribute everyone’s personal earnings (effective only in the United States) how will you prevent the dictatorships and tens of millions of death that usually follow such overwhelming power in one central government? - A strengthened Oligarchy?

2. In the last decade India and China produced more billionaires than did any other nation on the planet.  After you take all American millionaire’s and billionaire’s funds what will be the machinations you put in place for the U.S. to complete next to China, India and others?  - The globe will still have its billionaires.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 20, 2011 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous…...you might re-read my post….I speak exactly to prioritization of who gives up what first in the latter paragraphs.

I can’t say when we were, or will be a more altruistic society, perhaps in our dreams?  Given some of the things we see, surely there must have been such a time.

“....some organization there to protect the ordinary person, which in turn protects that ordinary person’s family, which in turn protects that ordinary person’s family’s society.”  Does this actually happen with any of these organizations?  Is the logic in the previous quote any better than ‘what is good for GM is good for America?” 

“Perhaps you don’t understand the foundation of such a concept?” -cmon She….you don’t need to be mean. 

Look, I’m not pro-union, I’m not anti-union.  I have a nuanced and non-partisan position.  I’m anti public union in the long term.  I accept them as a necessary evil in the short term.  Coal miners would be nuts not to have a union with OSHA being run by mining industry influence.  In each and every case, the underlying cause for a union should be corrected.  This is what’s best for the ‘common good’. 

Geez, I can’t believe you made that ‘social contract’ cut.

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By TAO Walker, July 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment

It’s hardly unusual for the “individual” caught in the throes of a terminal illness
to become completely “self”-absorbed….at-least so long as saving one’s “self”
looks like even a long-shot possibility.  Once that “self” is let-go-of, though,
the re-emergent Natural Person often experiences (and demonstrates) some
truly remarkable insights into our essential shared Humanity.

As the “civilization” disease infecting Mother Earth’s Living Arrangement nears
its own DEAD END, and its eCONomic operating system disintegrates
catastrophically, it is only sensible to expect that the desperate “SELF” will pull-
out all the stops in a vain attempt to prolong the agony of its demise….and that
of all its micro-mini-me’s presently still “self”-CONtrolling so much of
Humanity.  Imagine the relief, however, for ALL of us, once these wannabe
parasitic tormenting entities are gotten-over, and gone for good.

Our (by-then) erstwhile tame Sisters and Brothers (who still have to Live it to
believe it….and nobody here in Indian Country blames them at-all for that)
might well wonder how come it took ‘em so long to see The Light of Life
Herownself which was never not shining on them….even in these darkest of
Days.

HokaHey!

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 20, 2011 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment

Whitedog,  I read ‘The Jungle’, by Upton Sinclair, after I was experienced enough in life to be able to put it into fairly good context.  I suppose a more accurate description of my position is, I am anti-public union in the long term, at such time as government is adequately uncorrupted that there is no need for them.  In the short term, they are a necessary evil, but I abhor the fact of human nature that attracts any special interest group far more strongly to the good of it’s members than to that of the ‘common good’.  This includes tribes of every possible sort. 

One big happy f___ing family, right?

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By Shenonymous, July 20, 2011 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment

I suppose if you consider the human race a group.  Or let’s not
go that far, but the humans who are not in the 1%ers.  Oh, but
I do think unions are for the common good.  If the workers of
America are treated humanely, like they are people, including
public workers, then they spend more money as they really need
to except that they don’t when they don’t have enough.  It is simple
math.  What does idealism have to do with reality?  “perhaps we’ve
never been in that ‘altruistic reality’.  But have we ever been closer?
I’d say we have.”
  Then you wouldn’t mind saying when that was?
“…..but long term, we should be fighting the people who make there
be a need for protection from abuses.”
  That is a no-brainer.  Of
course we should!

I’m reordering your sentence here, “...need to fight this selfish
‘everyman for himself’ attitude.  And among the wealthy,...”
  Indeed,
and “we” can start with the wealthy, no?  OR shall we capitulate as
Obama is doing with the entitlements and no taxation of the wealthy? 
What we do down the road with unions when they are, in our fantasy,
no longer needed, is…well…down the road.  When that time comes, we
will no longer need them.  It is simple logic.
 
Problem is that with simple math and simple logic, it does not work for
Republicans who have no math skills nor skills of logic.  They have
decided on a number for the wealthy to contribute to its society that
keeps its feet warm, zero.  And their simple logic goes this way, not
quite tautological:  If there are no taxes on the wealthy, the wealthy get
to keep all their money, and the final conclusion is the American people
can go to hell.

Hopes are really virtuous things to have, John Best.  I am not at all
saying not to hope for a better society.  But you have to understand
that a better society starts by tearing down the citadel of the
grotesquely wealthy who exploit and manipulate the ordinary American
to ply their own coffers and so that they may enjoy the luxurious life
whilst Americans, many of them, 9.2% do not have jobs, cannot provide
for themselves let alone their families.  My pro-unionism is a hot-
button issue.  Because just the word union connotates there is some
organization there to protect the ordinary person, which in turn protects
that ordinary person’s family, which in turn protects that ordinary
person’s family’s society.  It cascades so it is not a one-for-one
proposition.  It is a “social” contract.  Perhaps you don’t understand the
foundation of such a concept?  These entitlements have elements of the
person’s contribution so it is not strictly welfare, nor a simple social
program.  It is a collective effort, where the funds are collected from the
worker, the employer and the government to insure the person has
some life when they are retired.  With longevity extending, the need to
have a decent retirement enlarges, it is a one-to-one ratio.  That is
unless you want the aged to die at a certain age, then you have to
establish when that age is.  Like 55?  Gad, you might be passed the
time to die!

Your statement is blatantly contradictory, “ It is in context of a better
functioning, more equitable society.
”  That would mean a
redistribution of the wealth.  That would mean more social programs
that find ways to equitably redistribute the wealth.  That contradicts
having safeguards like unions and government regulations that would
be the caretakers of the public so that redistribution did in fact happen. 
Your questions are in effect rhetorical what ifs.  What if it were a perfect
world? 

The two sides ALEC is supposedly playing one against the other are the
wealthy and legislators.  And they are not playing one against the
other, they are acting as a midwife in bringing the two together in the
tightest love affair the world has ever known.

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 20, 2011 at 11:58 am Link to this comment

She: 

“....I hardly am doing that if a union is bargaining on behalf of all public employees!”  OK, I stand corrected, but every group for themselves.  It just gets too ‘groupy’.  There is no sensitivity to the ‘common good’.  And, the powerful are in a better position to look out for themselves in a climate of ‘Everyone for themselves’.

“I think your position is entrenched and parochial, and I really wonder what is really at the bottom of it.” —I’m simply idealistic, perhaps too so. 

ITW: There are always a variety of cases from star public spirited people to those who abuse their power and are ‘protected’, at every level. 

She, and ITW:  In general, yes, perhaps we’ve never been in that ‘altruistic reality’.  But have we ever been closer?  I’d say we have. 

Sure, there is a present day need for public unions…the abuses are many…..but long term, we should be fighting the people who make there be a need for protection from abuses.  We also need to fight this selfish ‘everyman for himself’ attitude.  And among the wealthy, who can pick up and move offshore when the countries finally spent, they need to be more concerned with the country, invest here, and not look at it’s people as some commodity to be abused. 

There are many reasons public unions need to exist at present, but I am against those reasons.  Once the union is in place, it is inevitable and human nature that within those confines…....just like at any industry group or trade group…...the members feel their leverage, think of themselves above that ‘common good’, and with many a wink-and-nod, they are carving out benefit packages that, well, they don’t rival Congress, but they do take public monies away from the ‘lesser represented’ programs such as Education, Social Security and Medicare.  Let’s not forget ‘Welfare’, and Medicaid, and many, many other programs. 

In any case, I hope that someday the polarization which prevents us from solving the underlying problems of economic justice and social justice can be solved.  But as we solve them, I would like to see all special interest groups, including public unions, to ‘put down their guns’.  And since these public workers are more-or-less regular working people, they shouldn’t have to sacrifice first.  The first thing, and this is not a sacrifice, is the Bush ‘tax cuts’ should immediately expire. 

I am not trying to change the subject, but you two need to understand my ‘anti-unionism’ is ahot-button, knee jerk reaction.  It is in context of a better functioning, more equitable society.  A huge driver to the injustices of society stem from how we motivate people….....by giving them the chance to make unlimited billions and calling it ‘equal opportunity.  This leads to a sense of entitlement of the form that every nickle that passes into their possession is ‘theirs’.  They feel no need to recognize the many investments made in our infrastructure which make their prosperity possible.  These are not ‘regular working people’, and we do not need to incentivize the ‘ultra-greedy’ with unlimited minimally taxed’ earning potential. 

A recognition of society is required.  Since these people can best afford to pay what they’ve taken out of the system, they should.  First, and now.  There should be huge luxury taxes.  Excessive wealth should not be passed generation to generation, forming ‘dynasties’ of kids who loathe the society which made their standard of living possible.  All these thing should go before public unions have any chance of having adequate confidence they can relax.  But will they?  Will any of them?  The greedy unworthy wealthy who suck wealth and provide no public benefit?  The desk-jockey who simply tricks people out of their money?  ALEC, who’s staff is getting rich playing both sides against each other?  Nobody wants to put down their gun.

It’s a dark day.

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By whitedog, July 20, 2011 at 11:41 am Link to this comment

Mr. Best, you don’t approve of unions? You employ many people in your business, but can’t understand that they have needs their employer—that would be you, don’t want to give them? Many unions have become too powerful, but before there were unions, young children worked 18 hour days, there were no days off, no breaks, no caring at all for those did the actual work for the companies. Do you wish you didn’t have to pay people a fair wage? Provide healthcare? Safe working conditions? Do you wish you could fire people at will, regardless of their needs and those of their families?

Unions aren’t the best organizations but then why aren’t employers naturally fair? Why didn’t the original manufacturers want to support their employees? Would you have asked your people to live in hovels and eat poor food, work long days and die early deaths, become cripples from terrible working conditions? Truth, the unions provide many needed protections. They’re run by those obnoxious human beings who run most things, but the goal is fairness.

But this article is about perlioning from Social Security because of the awful spending policies of the government. And I don’t believe it’s complicated at all. The bailouts were ridiculous. If it was a little kid who had asked too much from child for a toy he wanted, got payed for a while and then took the toy back because his dupe couldn’t pay the enormously increased price, do you think the parents would have allowed the extortion to go on? No. Pay the kid what he’s owed, period, give him the toy he paid for, no sympathy bailout from anybody. No problem. Those mortgages should have been rewritten to allow the payees an affordable rate, no big deal. Noone should have lost their home, nor the banks brought into decline.

I loathe the money world, avoid it at all fronts and costs. The policies are deliberately obtuse and full of nonsensical jargon and regulations. Talk about self serving…..The unions need to be slick to be able to play at all with those monsters.

The miltary should withdraw from the Middle East.

The pork should be recognised and disposed of.

Noone’s job should be on the line for the terrible all be it established bad government policies.

Unfortunately, if they want to cut my Social Security benefits, I will go down. Maybe you guys will be able to stay afloat, but for me, the situation isn’t up for debate. It’s simple, NO WAY!!!! This just can’t be happening. Mr. Obama’s strings are showing, and that’s a shame, a crying shame. Too bad I know his life is on the line.

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By Inherit The Wind, July 20, 2011 at 9:19 am Link to this comment

I spent 10 years working in and around the Federal government, living in the suburbs around DC and I knew lots of Federal employees, consultants, political employees (one neighbor in my apt building worked to Sen. Jake Garn of Utah), and lobby employees.  Most of the Fed Emps I knew were very dedicated to their jobs, worked hard, worked for salaries WELL below industry standard and gave their lives to it.

They put up with inferior salaries, odd retirement plans without 401Ks (then), “interesting” health care plans, politicians who didn’t know shit from shinola interfering with their work and attempting to corrupt it to the immediate political need,and the bureaucracy, oh the bureaucracy!  If a woman marries and changes her name it could take SIX MONTHS for her paychecks to catch up!

And every time politicians need something to rail about or cut back on, they look at federal employees, whether justified or not.

Do you remember WHY the PATCO union struck, before Ronald Reagan fired them all?  They claimed they were being over-worked, cheated out of overtime and benefits, and that the persistent pattern of abuse of these highly skilled, specialized, high-stress employees was endangering the SAFETY of airline passengers—you and me when we fly somewhere.  Of course, all their grievances were valid but it was “illegal” for them to strike so…RR sacked them.  Air traffic started having a large number of near-misses, delays in taking off and landing became insane, and we have NEVER recovered from the loss of that institutional expertise.  But dad gum, “The Gipper” was gonna bust unions no matter the cost or danger to the American public.

Just recently Mayor Bloomberg initially planned to fire something like 15-20,000 teachers in New York City (He’s a billionaire—he never has to worry about paying the rent or the mortgage or his kids’ college tuition).  The Teachers’ Union fought back.  The number came down to 4,000. The Union fought back again.  NOW, the Mayor, the Union, and the Speaker have all come to an agreement that works.

But without that, all those dedicated teachers, who give SO much to their students and their city, would have been out on their asses like yesterday’s garbage.

Yes, there are major goldbricks, who know they cannot be fired. (actually, they can..I knew one manager who would protect his good people, but had no problem firing the deadbeats…all he said was he simply followed the correct procedures).  What I saw was that their fellows disliked and disrespected them.  The WORK had to be done and they knew these bozos wouldn’t do it, so they wrapped a layer of bureaucratic insulation around these few so they couldn’t do much damage, and everyone else got it done.  But if there were 2 out of 150, it was a lot.  Leadership and peer pressure worked EXTREMELY well at keeping people professional in the Federal Government…most of the time.

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By Shenonymous, July 20, 2011 at 8:53 am Link to this comment

I can see that you see that I am promoting “everyman for himself,”
but I hardly am doing that if a union is bargaining on behalf of all
public employees!  I think your position is entrenched and parochial,
and I really wonder what is really at the bottom of it.  Yes, the
government is definitively but really only allegedly “we the people.” 
Obviously it is dependent on who is running the government.

All political positions do not get in power at the same time.  When
Republicans are in power you better damn well believe public
employees will get a stick up their you know what and told to like it or
lump it.  Well… stump it.  haha

It is not the case that we are slipping, if we ever were there, that we
have slipped from any altruistic reality.  I would like to know exactly
when there actually was an altruistic reality?  It seems Hobbes dog eat
dog world has been the diet, with those who see that humans can rise
above the groveling have been struggling for millennia. Rousseau, Mill,
and Hume, and many others were correct in seeing we need a social
contract, it speaks of civility.  That is what unions do for public, or
“civil,” employees.  They create a social contract that these employees
will be treated as people.

I am not saying you are incorrect that humans must work to rise above
beastiality. I am saying the beast is in our midst and we must face the
reality and find ways to protect ourselves, and unions are one way even
public employees can do that.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 20, 2011 at 8:33 am Link to this comment

She,
You are promoting ‘everyman for himself’. 

Each and every union is organized to benefit the members at the expense of the employer.  Agreed?

The ‘employer’ is ‘We the People’.  Agreed?

No to stray, but if people want to organize against private stockholders, no problem.  Be smart and good luck.  Better that ‘We the People’ prevented situations which allowed CEO’s to try to abuse workers.  Unfortunately, “It is the fallacy thinking of what should be and what is.”  So, government having been ineffective or corrupt, workers should absolutely be unimpeded from organizing against private corporations if that is what they wish to do. 

But, in the public sphere, it is exactly altruism which is required.  Public spirit.  People who are willing to make some sacrifices for the general good.  Unrealistic?  In this cynical age, perhaps.  But the alternative….all this ‘everyman for himslef’, and ‘lookout for number 1’ in every sphere?  We are slipping, slipping away from the ideas that we can be better than unfair, graspy simians.  Mankind can do better.  We are all in a dark room each with a loaded gun, and we all have to put them down at the same time.

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By Shenonymous, July 20, 2011 at 7:56 am Link to this comment

The fallacy in thinking that public people, public employees,
however they get their jobs, are different from private employed
people is that fundamentally they really are humans no different
than private employee humans, no more with a public conscience
than ordinary private employees.  There is no essential difference
except from employers, corporateer Republicans, who cannot stand
anything that benefits the people, government or not, and who find
it propitious to see a difference in order to keep tax dollars from
being spent on government employees benefits. For without the
protections of the unions they would be and would have been
exploited by the governments for whom they work just as are
privately employed people. I blame the financial crisis on the greed
of the private sector, and that is a phony comparison, as public
employment or their hard won benefits has nothing to do with the
financial crisis.  The pressure of “the system” comes only from the
manipulative and exploitative actions of the corporate world, the world
of business, and it happens in small business as well as the megaliths. 
It is complete bullshit to think the public employees ought to be so
altruistic as to forget their humanhood when governments forget they
are servants of the people.  They are only free to have 401Ks and the
like because they were bargained for it in the beginning by union
bargaining.  You don’t think for one second the government would
willingly have offered 401Ks to their non-peoples, do you?  Oh,
should they be incentivized to regulate the financial sector to the
benefit of all?
  Now who do you suppose will incentivize them?  The
governments for whom they work?  Don’t be naive.  All for one and
one for all, take that to the private sector.  See how far you would get. 
It is the fallacy thinking of what should be and what is.  Life is unfair,
then you die.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 20, 2011 at 7:31 am Link to this comment

‘sweetheart deal’, not ‘sweeetheart dear’.  Sorry.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 20, 2011 at 7:30 am Link to this comment

What I am saying is that any entity, corporate or union, which uses it’s collective power to get a sweetheart dear from the government is a special interest group, and these groups erode the common good, and even the notion of the common good.

The attitude, out there with ALEC, or the Chamber of Commerce, or with a public sector union is: ‘I’m going to get mine first and foremost’.  This very attitude is corrosive to a Nation of the People governed for the common good of all. 

But again, to the argument of public unions opposing oppressive governments….....it’s not the right way to go about it.  The union might get protected, but as long as the oppressive remain in power, they’ll transfer the oppression elsewhere.  Meanwhile, the union members lose their incentive to fight the general oppression.  In fact, they may be incentivized to support it.  THAT is frightening, and I’ve seen it at the local level.

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 20, 2011 at 7:18 am Link to this comment

Yep, I knew that opinion might be a problem, so that’s why I put it out.

It’s not that they are non-people.  The problem is the oppressive administration.  The unions do indeed fight that oppression effectively, but they always tend to gravitate more toward just another us-vs-them scenario, and the ‘them’ is the general public. 

It’s somehow unfair, or a disincentive to me that any public people, elected, appointed, or employed, should be working toward anything other than the sort of ‘common good’.  I suspect the pressure various special retirement funds have put on the financial sector have had an effect on the amount of risk it was necessary to take to maintain enough revenue generation.  I’m certainly not blaming the financial crisis on public retirement funds, but any benefit above the common denominator places a pressure in the system which must come from somebodies savings or labor. 

IMO, all public employees should be 100% focused on relying on and therefore improving the ‘common’ safety nets and entitlements, social security and medicare.  They are free to save in a private 401K like the rest of us, and they should be incentivized to regulate the financial sector to the benefit of all.  All for one, one for all.  Public unions do not embody this spirit.

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By Shenonymous, July 20, 2011 at 7:05 am Link to this comment

There are people and then there are creatures who are not people.
No, I do not mean non-humans, you know, other simians.  I mean
non-people.  Separating people from non-people.  And public
employees definitely are not people and do not deserve any
protections from oppressive governments like the governor’s
office in Wisconsin, and the like that has reared its ugly head
since Republicans got their collective manhood these days.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 20, 2011 at 6:44 am Link to this comment

1 of 2.
GRYM, 
Thank you for the introduction.  We share more in common than not.  I certainly wouldn’t call myself a ‘leftist’, though I am often called one.  A pet peeve….moderate tendencies get you called a ‘leftist’ by the ‘true believers’ on the right, and a ‘fascist’ by their mirror from the extreme left.

The lists you’ve compiled in paragraphs 2 and 5 are particularly interesting.

You do not get a ‘credibility pass’ for ‘saving lives’ without being more specific.  A guy who gets a government check because he lobbied to have seatbelts mandated in cars could say the same thing.  Not that seatbelts are so bad.

But, as I inkled previously, I am a non-extremist.  ‘Moderate’, your word’ implies not really doing things with gusto, perhaps indecisive?  No, I can cite many long hours of very serious work, about 1/3 of it spent behind a desk.  Lack of ‘worthwhile productivity’, is what disgusts me, and it seems as power is concentrated toward either extreme, either party, we have the ability to form special interests which parasitically suck the life out of this country.  So do worthless heirs.  You’re familiar with ‘Carnegie’s ‘Gosple of Wealth?  I’ll check ‘yes’ next to that. 

Voting for either party makes me sick, but unfortunately, the Republicans seem to support a consume, consume, consume sort of lifestyle.  I love what I think America stands for, and hard work, pulling your own weight (not just putting in time) is what I’d call a core American value.  Every time I see an obese slob get out of their SUV parked in the handicapped parking space, drinking a supersized sugar drink, toting a couple of fat ‘precious’ kids, who are ‘fine the way God made them’, kids who don’t give a rat’s patootie about their education, well, that tells you a lot about how well a country is.  America can be good or bad, we are not good by some bestow-ment from on high, we are good if we work hard and do good.  We’re a little sick right now.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 20, 2011 at 6:43 am Link to this comment

2 of 2
As for organizations like ALEC…again, it’s all evil or all good.  Companies need some representation.  However; organizations like ALEC can get very out of control, extorting funds from members, and running off implementing ideologies which are so compromised they help no-one.  Correction, they help the lawyers at the lobbying firm, and a bunch of people sucking capitol from the system doing ‘overhead’.  If the country was a company, ALEC would not be direct productive labor. 
 
Speaking of labor, and so you’ll know who you’re dealing with, I am against public labor unions, period.  Including teachers unions.  However; in the private sector, if workers want to unionize, so be it.  I think it’s generally stupid, but if a company is getting a competitive advantage by abusing their employees, perhaps at least the serious credible threat of a union might keep monopolies from happening on that basis.  From an individuals standpoint though, I’ve always subscribed to “if you don’t like the job, don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the say out.”  Why? Because there are many people who think their work is far, far too valuable.  Perhaps the precious little fatties?

I’m not right nor left, I’m for an uncorrupted sensible government.  Rather than leave the People to the private powers that be, I’d prefer to fight corruption than to kill our government.  Start looking at how much of your revenue stream is from the government, then you know where you stand.  I receive zero, zilch, no revenue from the Gummint.  I manufacture finished machined parts from aluminum and steel I try to buy in America, from corporations owned by Americans.  It is damn near impossible. Those parts are used in scientific and medical instrumentation. 
Now I have to go and tend a $125,000 lathe, and though I’m doing quite well, I wonder if when I retire my 401K will be worth shit.  Similarly, the ‘safety nets.  A self-insured friend just blew through $100K fighting colon cancer at 65 years.  Makes you think about government.

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By Shenonymous, July 20, 2011 at 6:11 am Link to this comment

It appears to me our nations is no longer a representative
(Democratic) republic, but increasingly becoming a homeland
for the profiteers of the few, ... so I present to you the ideals and
agenda of the United Red States of Fascism, bought and very well
paid for!

If it is no longer a Republic, a representative government, then it is
because the people are intentionally kept ignorant by those who
most would benefit from an ill-informed public. But with the advent
of the electronic media and the absolute instantaneously swift
circulation of news…and opinions, this is almost as fast changing,
and the people are getting educated in spite of themselves.  They
need coached in informed thinking, then to evaluate what are
assumptions and what are not, how to reason through complex
problems.  While this is just beginning to be seriously taught in
the schools, it will be a generation before we see a population able
to look at the context of their society and decide who are the liars,
manipulators, and exploiters and who has their best interests at heart,
and what actions are their options.  What do you do towards helping
those around you learn to interpret the world as they experience it in
well-founded conclusions?  It is always an on button, never turned off.

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By Leefeller, July 20, 2011 at 5:16 am Link to this comment

Cliff, my appreciation for your comments on ALEC and the numbers you brought attention to,.. you have wrapped and tied a large red ribbon on the political right wing juggler knot.

Apparently the self righteous are not only the evangelical religious,... though they certifiably seem to find mindless shallow ways to distance themselves from empathy and compassion towards their fellows.  But it is their manipulative benefactors who have for years been bank rolling the divisive attacks on representative government, constantly fighting the common good, serving the agenda of the few who themselves self righteously demand to deserve what they tell us they worked hard for. .... After all they bought and paid for their entitlements.

As the Fox and Friends house of balance seems to be tilting ever more slightly to the right, now with the Murdoch program of abuse looming ahead, I must say it would be pleasant to see Fox come crashing down around their necks. For one, it could actually help support the concept as to the existence of a god?

It appears to me our nations is no longer a representative (Democratic) republic, but increasingly becoming a homeland for the profiteers of the few, ... so I present to you the ideals and agenda of the United Red States of Fascism, bought and very well paid for!

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By Go Right Young Man, July 19, 2011 at 9:35 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Carson,

Without a doubt you are a peace-loving, empathetic, all-inclusive, open-minded, voice of moderation bringing selfless dedication to the many problems of mankind.

I, on the other hand, employe more than a few highly motivated, highly paid, highly effective professionals that will put dozens of children through college because I refuse to sit on my ass talking. 

We literally save lives.  And just as stable professional adults all over the globe carry themselves, no one is asked about their personal politics.  The fact is no one much cares in the real world.

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By Cliff Carson, July 19, 2011 at 6:55 pm Link to this comment

And John

If you are looking for a Republican Troll you’ve found one in GRYM. 

He’s one of those guys who would let someone starve, then blame that person for being destitute.

The difference with Republican Trolls and real Americans is faith in the common man.  Trollman there sells himself to a Hate Group, claims the high road, and sings the Republican spin.

He doesn’t realize what he really is.

Pity him, better yet ignore him.  He is on here to Troll the Republican mantra.  To raise discord.  You know who the Republicans are, they are the ones who would let grandma die in her need as they go about seeking ways to enrich their Republican Party by selling out to the Corporate Wealthfare State.

They have convinced themselves that they are better than you and me.

Vote Republican at your peril.  They want you and all you got and everything you might ever have.

They are the Criminal Country Club.

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By Go Right Young Man, July 19, 2011 at 5:02 pm Link to this comment

Mr. John….LOL

You’re new here.  If you’re of a liberal mind you can fit in relatively nicely.  If you are not you will receive the harshest of attitudes while numerous individuals will exhaust themselves, with fantastic narratives, in order to morph you into their most hated Neo-Con cartoon characters….LOL

If you believe 9/11 was an inside job you have found a home.  If you believe the United States is what’s wrong with the world you’ve found a home.  If you were taught that what republicans desire most is to kill your Grandmother and little brown babies you’ve found a home.  If you absolutely hate and fear Israel you will be treated as a true friend.  If you obsess over Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin you’ll be very comfortable also.  If you believe yourself to posses an intelligence seen only amongst a small but elite super-humans you’ve come to the right place.  Most importantly, however, if you always see the face of Richard FrankenCheney during dialog with anyone even remotely conservative you have definitely found the right place to share.

You will have your own take on all of this, of course.  I think you’ll find that there are very few moderate thinkers here.  Conservatives you will count on a single hand. That alone speaks volumes.  Moderate and conservative voices are never welcomed on this Web space.

I’m simultaneously proud and dismayed to write that I’m one of few here with a research/investigative background. It’s frustrating to converse with so many who regurgitate the same media sources. My background is the reason many here believe my posts are derived from a concerted effort.  My research is impeccable in contrast to what you’ll find here.

-

This latest narrative, on how I’ve been known to be on other Web spaces, is an interesting and imaginative twist.  I do in fact visit quite a few Web blogs of many flavors in order to gauge temperatures on several contemporary issues.  I comment on only one other, however.  And that happens to be a conservative site.  I point out the very same types of bigotries, closed-mindedness and hatefulness on that site as well. - I highly doubt Mr. Carson spends much time on any conservative sites.

If I had my choice of boxes to be placed in it would be that pro-choice, anti-capital punishment, pro-gun control, pro-regulation -by and large) anti-war, truly hard working, well-to-do*, respectful adult, realist box. 

Lastly, anyone who addresses me with a civil intention receives the very same in kind.  Most here are driven to complete distraction by this.  Don’t ask me why.  I don’t fully grasp that one yet.  An incessant need to belittle others is just not in my DNA.

I have somewhat introduced myself. Welcome.

-

*Yes I have done well.  I hold my head up with no sense of shame.  I apologies to no one for my success.  I provide a service that very few offer and, I’ve done this while working 12-20 hours a day (much less now as I’m, well, aged).  I’ve been lucky enough to have lived and worked in thirteen (13) African/Middle Eastern/European countries for several decades. 

Contrary to most here, I actually save lives.  Contrary to anyone I’ve run into to date I’ve been inside hundreds of Iranian homes.

P.S. I would never harm a little brown baby.

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By Cliff Carson, July 19, 2011 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment

You are right ITW.
When I spoke of the Trillion Dollars earlier, I want everyone to understand that is money that is GIVEN to those Corporations that don’t pay any Tax at all or very little tax.

So that’s a double dip, not only do they not pay much tax into the Treasury, that take out over a Trillion.  And they don’t even need it.  But one Trillion dollars ( 1,000 Billion or one million million) would make millionaires of ONE MILLION PEOPLE.

Look at this another way:
That amount of money given to Corporations that pay little or no tax would give 20 million people an income of $ 50,000 per year.

Getting kind of heavy - right?

On top of that, while Social Security people got no cost of living for the past two years,  and the Medicare B Premium cost went up about 20% , to people who had all their life been paying in more than they got back in services, how was the top 1% doing - you know those guys that the Republicans want to protect from any financial loss.

Did their income go down, stay level, or did it rise?

Well the truth is that the Top 1% saw their incomes soar up about 30%.  So instead of raking in a Billion, now they were raking in about 1.3 Billion .  They really appreciated the American common mans’ sacrifice -  or did they?  Now they’re trying to increase that 30% to 40%, 50%, whatever their Republican friends thru ALEC can steal.

I don’t think I’m going to vote Republican.  How about you?

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By Shenonymous, July 19, 2011 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment

ardee, July 19 - 4:13 am “The return of Shrewnonynous You
were not missed oh shrewish one; do you look shrewish?”

Shepotamus responds! 
We were all wondering when your true form would show up, ardee. 
Your vicious namecalling self arrived just as expected.  You were so
hard pressed to answer my question.  It showed in your fitful answer. 
Whoever the Greens set up as their candidate for president? 
Now that will change things in this country, won’t it?  You are
completely absurd.  You don’t like it that I have accepted what the
Green’s stand for but revile Your Nastyness!  You are a laugh riot. 
You are frustrated that you do not have a candidate that can beat the
Republicans.  You are even more frustrated that Obama is the one who
will do it.  You weren’t able to control the bile from exuding from you,
right?  I’m not thrilled Obama has not turned out as many of us
thought he would.  It is true we were fooled.  But he is still the only
rampart between us and the disaster of a Republican take over.  You
can hope for that, that is your right.  That is not what will ennoble the
ordinary American or do them any good.  But that’s life.  You have
made only a half-assed attempt to keep from namecalling, your usual
state of mind.  It must be horrible to have to resort to such ugly
namecalling.  You do know you are on display every time you post on
Truthdig, dont’ you?  Hahaha   The Shrew laughs at you, ardee. 


GRYM, excuse me but are you saying Boehner, Bachmann, Palin,
Gingrich, Cantor, Ryan, McConnell, Pawlenty, Santorum, Perry, et al are
not Republicans?  And I created them?  Damn, I didn’t know that. 
Could you tell us what planet you came from?

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By Inherit The Wind, July 19, 2011 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment

JB:

See? GRYM has done his job: We are no longer talking about Republicans’ phony and immoral use of the word “entitlements” for programs people paid for: Specifically Social Security (which my parents paid into from the start in the 30’s and now, for my mother, is threatened by that piss-ant Ryan) and Medicare (which Mom also pays for).

Meanwhile getting rid of “entitlements” to corporations—insane tax subsidies to oil companies are tarred as “increasing taxes”.

But GRYM got us and you off that, and now is on to another thread to sabotage.  It’s been going on for years and I’ve had enough of it.  He then tries to bait me every way he can, but I STILL don’t respond. You shouldn’t either—-just a suggestion, you are a free agent.

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By whitedog, July 19, 2011 at 2:02 pm Link to this comment

That is Red Cloud’s father died of the whitenman’s firewater. Crazy Horse’s father was a shaman and very wise a totally sober.

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By whitedog, July 19, 2011 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment

Yes, I know that word. I also and am so unhappy to know that though it was a white soldier who drove the fatal wound into Crazy Horses kidney, it was his own people, and one very miserable half breed interpreter who were behind the lies that were behind the conspiracy which drove the soldier to use his bloody bayonette. I also know it was Red Cloud who was the key long time rival of the great and modest chief who drove the conspiracy, and that his own father died of the whiteman’s firewater, and that the whites had used him to do his best to control his people for years. That it was Little Big Man who held his friend so the bayonette could find its mark. All happening at the agency Crazy Horse chose to come out as a last resort after his land had been signed over by all the agency chiefs. That it took many, many years for the natives to fall from the policies of the whites.

I love the natives, but their world has been torn by many failures of their own. We are all human. I prefer the system of the natives in theory; why would they be so happy with recognizing the talents of a white, very white woman, however dovoted to their ways? But the whiteman has been in serious trouble for so long…..thousands of years, in my book. The western world has been terrible for me. I have to hide so many of my beliefs. God help me and all like me, especially the children. Hide from the crazy psychiatrists. Never-the-less, I love my fellow humans and do all I can to drag them from the abyss of the sick and disturbed version of life they feel they need and want. Pray daily for the awakening that will bring down the veil of lies that lead to so much denial and destruction we must endure everyday.

All this I say with my heart in my throat. Still beating, still beating, still beating

Why should there even have to be social security? Why do we differentiate between work and personal life? Why, now that there does have to be social security, is there even a debate over whether it should or should not be used for government over expenditures? Its insane to jeapardize the lives of the elderly. I get $580 a month, am I really suposed to “live” on less?

Of course we should tax those who have too much. Of course we should reduce the military budget—- my father who worked for Haskins and Sells, the percursor of Deloit Tush(sp?)and now ???, when he investigated the Navy, and he was a Navy man and a Nixon-Reagan Republican(God rest his soul), told me they could exists well on 1/3rd their allotted stipend, that before Reagan raised it was it 5 fold several years later, his managament consultant’s thorough investigation having happened in the very early 70s. Who knows what they have going on under all those cloaks and daggers. And what about that warehouse in New Jersey where all that money sits waiting for the trucks to back up and load up to take where—-? The billions that disappeared into Bagdad was a just a few pallets. Um, things really are strange, you guys.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 19, 2011 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment

Well, Thanks for the kind words Cliff.  And, thank you for the GRYM report. 

This is an age of corporations becoming more powerful than governments.  ALEC is a tool, as are people like GRYM.  I have to wonder what people think life will be like for them, should they manage to incapacitate the government. 

Corporate taxes are another sort of generalized issue.  IF a company re-invests profits here in the US, I think it’s a legit write-off.  I don’t know squat about the tax code, but I didn’t see any preference for US made capitol equipment in 2010.  If profits go to stockholders, they can pay the taxes.  So, the big-picture numbers, average rates and so on aren’t enough visibility. 

That is not to say I dagree with you, but I’d like to stop the bleeding of wealth overseas.  Then, the bastards lend it back to us through our own government.  That wealth was created in this country by the investment of generations, and it should stay here.  Unfortunately, every damn 401K and corporation with multi-national scope is investing globally. 

We’re in a era where corporate power is eclipsing government power.  Once governments can/will no longer protect people, good luck to shills like GRYM who’ll likely be cut from the corporate roster in some profit enhancing escapade.  Loyalty aint coin there brother.  It occurs to people like GRYM are like Judas, but selling out their own families.

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By Cliff Carson, July 19, 2011 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment

John Best

GRYM is an admitted Troll.  He has admitted it here on Truthdig within the last couple of months.  In fact he is a spitting image of the TomasG/MarthA duo.

And I have encountered GRYM on other sites.  He is nothing but a hired Gunslinger for the Irreverent Republican Party.  He would sell his Grandmother for the opportunity to praise the ungodly.

He was able to shut off one thread here on Truthdig by publishing names of Israelis killed by Palestinians - page after page, it was obvious he was given the list so that he could post one comment (victim list)right after the other.  Had any of us reciprocated and start publishing the names of Palestinians killed by the Israelis it would have taken years to list them all.

GRYM acts like this on every site I have seen him on.  You will take up space and time even trying to have an informative conversation with him. He doesn’t want civil discourse.  You have to realize that he is on here to wreck any conversation between Non-Republicans.

You need to ignore him.  He is not worthy of you.  Or anyone else that is serious about the problems that beset the world.

He is here to bring hate and discord.

To exchange information with you lets talk about ALEC and the Corporate Tax for a moment.

Each year approximately 800 bills based in whole or in part on the ALEC model legislation are introduced in the states. Annually, about 20% of these introduced bills become law.

Since 1999, ALEC members have sought to restrict or abolish Consumer Protection Laws.  Read that again carefully.  Wonder why Credit Card Interest rates now rival what used to get Loan sharks thrown into jail? 

“If one understands that socialism is not a share-the-wealth program, but is in reality a method to consolidate and control the wealth, then the seeming paradox of super-rich men promoting socialism becomes no paradox at all. Instead, it becomes logical, even the perfect tool of power-seeking megalomaniacs. Communism, or more accurately, socialism, is not a movement of the downtrodden masses but of the economic elite.” - Gary Allen, author

One way to realize “Socialism” while proclaiming “Working for the good of the people ” is in the Tax Arena.  Avoidance of tax by the Rich and Powerful allows the Elite to perform a transference of wealth from the non-elite, you and me, to the Rich and Powerful, those that the Republicans and ALEC work for.

The current Corporate tax rate is 35%.  But nearly all Profitable Corporations pay little to no tax and a significant number not only pay no taxes but actually get “Tax Refunds” and subsidies that add up to over a $Trillion dollars annually.  The deficit this year is thought to be about $1.2 Trillion dollars.  So it would appear that if all Corporations paid their assessed rate the annual deficits would, become only a memory of Financial Robber Barons of the past - They were just Republicans.

Give the Republican Party and their Front Group ALEC the blame for this wealth transference tragedy ongoing today.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 19, 2011 at 11:40 am Link to this comment

Thank you ITW.  Interesting theory you have about this ‘larger effort’, how it’s organized, etc.  I don’t actually think there is more to it than a sort of general group think going on.  It seems as if it gives some of them something to talk about. 

GRYM’s does fit a fairly common profile, which I spotted before engaging him/her, ironically, I thought it cricket to present an opportunity to actually get ideas out there for debate instead of the this-that-other bashing.  You know, give GRYM a chance to prove to be interesting.  Not much there so far. 

Here’s a question for GRYM, Is it OK to blatantly lie to someone who’s ‘outside your group’?  I’m not saying you’re indeed in any sort of ‘group’, no ‘box’ implied.  But what about the lying or deception, is it OK to lie or deceive someone who’s ‘not one of us’?

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By Inherit The Wind, July 19, 2011 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

John Best:
You are wasting your time. The troll’s goal is to keep you engaged in tangents and trivialities to distract you from the issue at hand. I’m guessing he’s part of a larger effort to keep liberal and progressive web-sites tied up. 

Let him rave.  He will try to bait you to come back. Don’t fall for it.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 19, 2011 at 10:19 am Link to this comment

GRYM:“If you revisit this thread you’ll see that I wrote nothing myself of American values.” —I know that, and this is why I asked. 

GRYM: “Your beef, as it were, seems to have been with Ed Schultz.”—I don’t give a damn about Ed Schultz, and I said as much.

So far, you’ve blasted at Obama, Schultz, Progressives and Democrats, fine, it’s a free country, but you criticize Schults’s use of American Values, and I’m fine with that.  One assumes you disagree with him as to what they are. 

Here’s what you said, “Does everyone here love the Ed Schultz/MSNBC television commercial wherein Schultz talks of what “Made America Great” and how we all need to get back to those traditional American values? - wink” 

So, perhaps I assumed incorrectly, but I thought you were taking issue with his idea of the values themselves.  Were you perhaps taking issue with his use of a vague statement like ‘American values’?  Please clarify? 

I just stated I’m not a fan of Schultz, so I’m not asking to defend him. 

And for the record, it is not uncivil to use words like ‘damn’ and ‘hell’ in a comment.  It might be considered poor form to avoid a reasonably direct, and on-point question.

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By Go Right Young Man, July 19, 2011 at 9:10 am Link to this comment

John Best, - “We each make our own box.”

-

Sure we do.  Numerous boxes in fact.  However I have not subjugated you into any one box before I know anything about you.

If you revisit this thread you’ll see that I wrote nothing myself of American values.  Your beef, as it were, seems to have been with Ed Schultz.

Schultz is a self-proclaimed “progressive” currently airing a television commercial for MSNBC and talking up the greatness of the United States and the need to return to “American Values”.  You see how odd that feels, nay?  A progressive speaking of America’s greatness and American Values?  It’s uncommon, to say the least.  Some may even say hypocritical coming from Mr. Schultz.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 19, 2011 at 8:49 am Link to this comment

We each make our own box.

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By Go Right Young Man, July 19, 2011 at 8:07 am Link to this comment

John,

Wholly Cow!  Assume much?  Or do you simply enjoy putting complete strangers in a box of your own making?  You honestly think you know something of me because you once heard Olbermann talk of Limbaugh?

Also, can you learn something of what a civil dialog is before you engage me in the future?  Thank you.

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By Leefeller, July 19, 2011 at 7:56 am Link to this comment

Asking for American values from the GRYM is like asking the Max to provide an alternative option for his dislike of Democrats,... we always seem to end up in the same place like warthog day, ...a vast field of crickets!

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 19, 2011 at 7:39 am Link to this comment

Well, if you won’t stand up and state an American Value, why would anyone consider taking any of your advice or comments seriously. 

I’ve family who have fought and been wounded for ‘American Values’, no casualties yet, or in recent generations anyway, and you are ‘not interested’ in even stating one? 

Fact is, you’re not lying when you say ‘not interested’......you’re also not interested in American Values at all.  You interested in blindly defending what your ‘leadership’ tells you are American Values. 

Are these american values? 
*Every man for himself
*Buyer beware
*if you’re not with us, you’re against us

In the end, you’ll die feeling your loyalty was betrayed. Good luck to you too.

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By Go Right Young Man, July 19, 2011 at 7:10 am Link to this comment

John,

Not interested.

Good luck to you.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 19, 2011 at 7:02 am Link to this comment

GRYM,  Forget Ed Schultz.  To hell with him, OK? 
I’m not asking ‘them’, anything.  I don’t give a damn what Ed Schults thinks American Values are. 

But, I do care what other people, especially people who claim they are on the right say they are.  So, I’m asking you, GRYM, just please state an American value?  Any of them.  Thank You.

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By Go Right Young Man, July 19, 2011 at 6:53 am Link to this comment

John

Please listen close.  You’re asking em to answer for Schultz.  That’s impossible.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 19, 2011 at 6:44 am Link to this comment

No, I have no idea what Schultz refers to.  I thought you’d know that I was asking YOU for an American value.  In all sincerity, I’m asking that you please name one.  Thank You.

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By Go Right Young Man, July 19, 2011 at 6:29 am Link to this comment

John Best,

I’ll not try to divine what Schultz has in mind regarding American values.  Perhaps you should write to him and ask your question?

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, July 19, 2011 at 6:20 am Link to this comment

I would be elated if the political spectrum supported the views of the people, but politics seems to be tainted by money and manipulated by the few who demand to be entitled, by purchasing it..

Partisanship does seem a problem to me, especially when it appears so blinded by belief, demagoguery and dogma to be offered as manipulation.  I suspect if we had any number of parties it would be the same, for it may just be some people will take advantage of the rest.

All one needs to do is look at the Red States like Wisconsin and observe the programed changes as soon as Walker took over. His attack on the unions and public sector workers has been a sight to behold, among other changes. If one looks at the choreographed similarities in the other Red States, the puzzle fits together with little doubt on what is really going on.

The fact is Republicans who ran for office in these states seem to have gotten their orders from a higher source, at least one who feels it is a higher source.  all who feel they should call the shots, like ALEC, Koch Brothers, Grover Norquist and Rove, now this appears to be the real representative government.

The fact representative government can easily be manipulated by money and power is nothing new, it just seems as the power has become so even more powerful they it has become more effective in ability to preform its manipulations.

So what do we have?

We seem to have a   government which represents the few who seem to feel entitlements should be only for them.  Far as I am concerned the difference between a dictatorship being one person who calls the shots and a representative government, where a few wealthy minority call the shots, which now includes corporations as people too. Seems the same difference between country’s like Gadflies Libya and Mussolini’s Italy.

So here we are on Truth Dig as alleged equals, with opinions as vast and varied as our nations huddled masses would have it.  Arguing over who said what and what was said back then?
Ossification’s and the usual insults, name calling, whining and bull shit, permeate and appear before us making sure nothing is resolved.

As much as I attempt to ignore the bickering as the distractions they seem, plus such a waste of time,...though on the other hand they and may actually be a clear view of reality?

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 19, 2011 at 6:16 am Link to this comment

GRYM: Will you please name one ‘American value’?  Thank You.

By the way, I’m not a huge Schultz fan.  In his worst moments, he’s every bit as bombastic and partisan as Limbaugh.

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, July 19, 2011 at 5:51 am Link to this comment

Progressive-ism/Demagoguery.

-

Was that Ed Schultz or an old clip of Ronald Reagan?

Does everyone here love the Ed Schultz/MSNBC television commercial wherein Schultz talks of what “Made America Great” and how we all need to get back to those traditional American values? - wink

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, July 19, 2011 at 4:41 am Link to this comment

Ardee, that was way over the top. 

It is because of uncompromising, unyielding individualism on the left that it is so easily fractured.  The Republicans seem to be more ‘team oriented’.  Follow the leader?  Do what your told?  Conformists?  Uncomfortable with straying from the herd? 

If I had to describe to a foreigner, the difference between a ‘rightie’ and a ‘leftie’ in the US, I’d say ‘righties’ have tory genes, God fearing, and loyal to authority.  ‘Lefties’ are descended from the revolutionaries, the gutsy whiskey drinking atheists who founded this damn glorious mess.

Ardee, you are a leftie, so is She.  If you figure out how to work with her it’s be the miracle of which Lafayette spoke.

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By ardee, July 19, 2011 at 4:13 am Link to this comment

The return of Shrewnonynous

You were not missed oh shrewish one; do you look shrewish?

There are two people on this forum who know the truth of this matter, that you certainly denigrated Green supporters as ignorant dreamers and worse, and in several posts as well. Those two are you and I. That will suffice despite your usual descent into childish screeching as you seem to do when your rock is turned over and you are exposed to the light.

Your party is as sick and depraved as are the GOP. It is working diligently to cut Social Security and Medicare, end all entitlements that are not going to the wealthiest among us, and is on its knees sucking the dick of the largest corporations while holding up the rigid digit to the rest of us.

In your brief moments of lucidity, between broom riding episodes of possible psychotic breaks you list the foibles, or at least the more palatable of them, of your beloved party yet insist that voting for them is the only way to go. Your limited imagination is obvious, your shilling for the party of no way and dont know how is sickening,. As are your stupidly phrased and off the mark diatribes, which I can so easily return.

I made every effort to be polite to you but you do not deserve such, you are a bit off,plainly.

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, July 19, 2011 at 4:07 am Link to this comment

Lafayette,

We’ve been through all of this before. 

We know you can regurgitate the opinion of others with ease.  But if you could tell us what the real mean average tax liability was for the wealthiest Americans in 1980, compared to the real mean average in 1989 I, for one, would be highly impressed.

-

She,

The problem is in how you never write about republicans.  You write about an amalgam of fictional cartoon characters you’ve created out of imagination and label them dangerous to all of mankind.  What you do meets the very definition of demagoguery.

I understand well you don’t see it yourself.  You believe these characters you’ve created are real.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, July 19, 2011 at 1:08 am Link to this comment

BLINDLY STUPID NOSTRUM

GRYM: The demagoguery of Progressive-ism can be found in today’s iconic Progressive.

Blah, blah, blah, blah. What progressive demagoguery? Examples, please! Justify your accusations. (You haven’t a cogent argument if your life depended upon it.)

The history of America’s wretched twist Rightwards is a pathetic decent into hell:
* A massive societal cleavage due to Income Inequality gone awry, where a minority of 20% of the population obtain 94% of its riches. (See here.)
* An enormous increase in debt due to lowering upper-end taxes whilst embarking upon an illegal war in Iraq that profited handsomely M-I-C cronies.
* The naive “Bigger is better” economic policy of concentrating market sectors into oligopolies that enhance corporate profits but reduce competition, sustain price-fixing due to the neutering of market oversight regulatory powers, which was aided and abetted by “bought” Congressional cronies (on both sides of the aisle).
* Market oversight laxity that brought about the scandals of both Main Street (predatory loan practices) and Wall Street (packaging and reselling Toxic Waste) that provoked the Great Recession of 2009.

Ad nauseam. A litany of errors that can be attributed to the blindly stupid political nostrum that “Free Markets always get it right and when they don’t they are self-correcting”.

MY POINT

Progressive demagoguery, say you?

Progressive economic policy is mostly about One Key Objective. Righting the Gross Wrong of Income Inequality that afflicts our nation increasing the widening gulf between the haves and have-nots.

Economic research shows that this gulf has always existed, but it has been widening further in recent decades. See the unfortunate progress of the US’s Gini Coefficient of Income Inequality here. Look at the year 1980 to see the distinct upslope inflection of the coefficient’s value from about 36 to about 45 (which means worsening Income Disparity).

Who was elected president in 1980? Who brought marginal income taxation down from 70% to 30% during his 8-year tenure of office. What party subsequently raised them in 1990s and then which PotUS lowered them again in 2001? 

The above factual history demonstrates “Progressive Demagoguery” or that of the Rabid Right?

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By Shenonymous, July 18, 2011 at 10:38 pm Link to this comment

It is a matter of perspective isn’t it GRYM?  You and I are on
opposite sides of the political spectrum.  All of your potential
candidates are unacceptable fanatical religious right conservatives
who would annihilate the separation of church and state, this I
consider insane.  They would destroy the needed social programs
that protect millions Americans and instead would protect the assets
of the scummy wealthy and corporate bulldozers to which they are
umbilically tied, and I consider this insane.  Call me unsophisticated,
in return I call you pretentiously predatory.

It is disingenuous of you MaxShields. You have yet to offer an
alternative but you would criticize me for being true to my fixed
principles?  I only speak the reality of the predictable.

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, July 18, 2011 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment

She,

With all due respect, as with many here you play an unsophisticated melody.  This narrative of those “others” and how silly (stupid) “they” are.  It’s ages old and never accomplishes a thing aside sourness. 

The complaints you write of concerning the republican field are small, and I dare say petty, compared to the demagoguery of then Senator Obama juxtaposed with the current president of the United States. Particularly if we dispassionately studying his soulful, intelligent, and passionate sermons on Guantanamo, tribunals, renditions, intercepts, wiretaps, Predators, Iraq, preventive detention and interrogation.

Senator Obama, in Messianic persona, told the world that he detested the use of water in scaring terrorists.  This practice, we were told, caused a “Constitutional Crisis” in the United States.  President Obama, however, has increased global summery executions ten fold since taking office.  President Obama and the democratic House and Senate strengthened and expanded the Patriot Act and domestic surveillance when in control of the Legislative and Executive branches.

Four More Years, you shout with intelligent compassion and empathy for all mankind.  Four More Years!  Four More….. all without the slightest sense of shame and/or embarrassment.

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By MaxShields, July 18, 2011 at 5:41 pm Link to this comment

I don’t think it’s TruthDig so much as Boyarsky that brings this tread down several notches to the politics of play it again sam.

Shenonymous is already hawking Obama. These parties stink of the death.

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By Shenonymous, July 18, 2011 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment

Mitch McConnell and his Tea Party commanders, ala Michelle
Bachmann, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, Sarah Palin, Ron Paul, with a
little Limbaugh thrown in for an extra measure, all do a skilled
impression of demagoguery, their scare tactics at seniors trying
to make them think their current Medicare benefits are being
affected.  Doesn’t anyone notice those scare ads?  And who are
the masters at calling the Democrats demagogues?  What a laugh. 
For all his demagoguery, Obama will be elected again to be the next
President of the United States, as Yogi Bear would say, “ain’t it da truff?” 
But it is entertaining to see all that campaign money go into some
political advertising agency’s pocket.  Somebody is getting rich on the
Republican campaign war chests.  And with Guiliani and Perry about to
jump in, what a laugh and more laughs.  Jeez it’s the comedy channel.

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, July 18, 2011 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

The demagoguery of Progressive-ism can be found in today’s iconic Progressive.

The noun dêmagôgos first appeared in Thucydides’ history, mostly in a neutral, only slight disparaging way (usually in reference to the obstreperous Cleon), in its literal sense of “leader of the people.”

But very soon — in later fifth- and fourth-century authors (e.g., Aristophanes, Xenophon, Aristotle, the Attic orators) — both the concrete and the abstract nouns (demagogue and demagogy/demagoguery) and the verb (to demagogue) became ever more pejorative, describing crass popular leaders who alternately flattered and incited the masses (ochlos). Their trick was to obtain and expand their own personal power by clever rhetoric directed against the better off, coupled with promises of more entitlements for the “poor” paid for by a demonized “them.”

We often associate demagoguery in the US with wild right-wing nationalists or cultural chauvinists, such as Joe McCarthy or Father Coughlin, or with folksy Southern “spread-the-wealth” populists, such as William Jennings Bryan (“The Great Commoner”) or Huey Long. And, of course, abroad there were no better demagogues than Mussolini and Hitler, who both started out as national socialists and then united the classes by transferring class hatred onto foreign bogeymen, in a fashion we later see most effectively in Juan and Eva Perón.

Under a more skilled practitioner such as Barack Obama, the arts of demagoguery have become somewhat more refined in our time, but they nevertheless follow the same old patterns:

-Recently the president called for a civil, respectful tone among the parties negotiating the looming debt crisis — a sort of prep for tarring his political opponents as holding a “gun” to the “head” of his supporters. In fact, for most of Barack Obama’s career we have seen violent similes packaged with Sermon on the Mount forbearance: Divisive language like “bring a gun to a knife fight,” “get in their face,” and “make them sit in the back seat” is always juxtaposed with lofty appeals for no more red-state/blue-state rancor — in a style right out of the best of the fourth-century Athenian demagogues.

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By Go Right Young Man, July 18, 2011 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment

demagoguery II

-In the Manichean world of Barack Obama there are all sorts of such demons, mostly unnamed, who insist on extremist politics — while the president soberly and judiciously splits the difference between these fantasy poles. So for the last three years we have heard, but been offered few details, about the perils of both neo-con interventionists and reactionary isolationists, of both profligate big spenders and throw-grandma-over-the-cliff misers, of both socialist single-payer advocates and heartless laissez-faire insurers who shut emergency-room doors to the indigent in extremis — always with the wise Barack Obama plopping down in the middle, trying, for the sake of all the people, to hold onto the golden mean between these artificially constructed zealots.

-The demagogue, in messianic fashion, sees himself as a lone crusader taking on special interests, again always on behalf of “the people.” Almost everything is personalized in these cosmic struggles. So, ad nauseam, we hear of the narcissistic “I,” “my,” “mine,” etc., as if the executive branch is but one man of genius and compassion, set against existential challenges and demonic enemies everywhere. - True Progressives, those with super-human intelligence,  eat this up.

-At various times, Barack Obama has lashed out at those who wished to refuse to raise the debt limit, although as a senator that is just how he voted. He deplored the polluting effects of big money in campaigns, only to raise more Wall Street cash than anyone else in presidential history — as he became the first candidate to reject the public financing of general-election presidential campaigns and the limitations on fundraising that such four-decade-old laws entailed. He once decried the very idea of not applying the War Powers Act that as president he has completely ignored. He insisted that drilling and increased supply had little effect on oil-price stability — but maintained that releasing a small amount of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve most surely would. The once-demonized Bush protocols — Guantanamo, tribunals, renditions, intercepts, wiretaps, Predators, Iraq, preventive detention — have been embraced or indeed expanded.

-There is never a systematic agenda, a defined foreign policy. Instead, amid a fuzzy ideology of hope and change and spread the wealth, almost any position can be embraced one day and summarily rejected the next — no new taxes in December 2010, lots of them in June 2011; shovel-ready stimulus is once essential, but soon proves not so shovel-ready after all; new federal healthcare is mandatory, but so are 1,400 exemptions from it — depending on perceptions of what might win over a majority.

What impresses about Barack Obama at the pinnacle of Progressive-ism is his ability to take an ancient art, refine it with an Ivy League veneer, and become a new, cool version of the old Cleon.

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By Shenonymous, July 18, 2011 at 3:11 pm Link to this comment

You might just be right Max Shields, but I am not going to start
over with nothing!  I will say it again and again and again if I have
to, it is my sole purpose until the votes are counted in November
2012 to defeat the Republicans. You still have not offered an
alternative party, nor any bright and shiny object to vote for.  Your
critical rhetoric is useless unless you can provide a way to defeat
the Republicans. Please desist in telling me something I already
admitted to knowing about the Democrats. I will persist in supporting
any effort that acts to reform the Party to be responsible to and for
the common people.  I am a liberal and I am proud to be a liberal. 
Neither do I hide it nor excuse it.  Nor do I excuse the Democrats who
have skipped to the same tune as the conservatives and have forgotten
what Democrat means, but then I do not consider them Democrats
anyway and I will work to get them replaced with ones who are. 

Why ardee you continue to prevaricate is beyond comprehension.  I have
never denigrated the Greens. I have only praised their work, so you are
a bald-faced liar.  You hissy fitted over my saying that a third party
could not win the presidency.  You also hissy fitted over my saying that
Ralph Nader was a has been and could not win the presidency but I
have never denigrated the Greens. YOU can go to the archives and find
where I did as YOU are the accuser, false accuser in defense of an
indefensible position.  You are embarrassed that I can out talk and out
think you and so you denigrate me, call me names and lie about what I
say.  But then everybody on Truthdig knows you.  Yes, indeed, all in
good fun, really… but you, ardee, are without integrity.  And that is the
bald-faced truth.

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By Go Right Young Man, July 18, 2011 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment

MaxShields,

We see different things.  I have intently looked for this all-encompassing Oligarchy working in concert to enrich themselves.  I see nothing so stable and coherent as that.

Contrary to that Oligarchy you may be seeing, I believe Mr. Obama to be a garden variety hypocrite.  I believe the whole world doesn’t change when one sits at that desk in the Oval Office.  Mr. Obama didn’t suddenly become aware of the true powers behind the curtain. - Although I’m sure the perspective changes dramatically. 

Therein lay the hypocrisy.  The dishonesty.  The typical progressive symbolism over substance.

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