Warning…this post could make your head explode (I think mine just did)

Quote of the Day:     “I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity.”     –Oliver Wendell Holmes

TB is at peace with the fact that in politics it is often forced on officials and voters alike to take inconsistent positions on certain issues and use an inconsistent methodology in arriving at those positions. I’m still struggling with the fact that so few people recognize their own, or their party’s own inconsistencies, and I am completely disgusted that the so-called analysts and pundits in the corporate media refuse to address these issues at all. A couple of examples from recent news stories I’ve been following:

  • AIG. My God how I loathe that company and all associated with it. I especially hate the way it made/makes my brain matter splatter onto my laptop. Here’s the deal….Republicans love the big insurance companies and pass law after law and appoint judge after judge to help them make obscene profits….then one day, AIG goes belly up….only to be bailed out by the Bush administration with the full support of the Democratic leadership not to mention TB because the company is “too big to fail” …..then AIG gets bailed out again by the Obama administration with the support of a Democratic Congress….and even though its too big to fail no politician or pundit can be found who will call for antitrust provisions to be applied to them….then Republican opinion makers and theorists begin to scream about how the flagship company of their most favored constituency should be allowed to fail…..then AIG takes bailout money and spends 165 million big ones to pay its fat cat executives, almost ALL Republicans, I’d bet my last derivative on…..then EVERYONE for one day hollers bloody murder…..then the Republican talkers decide these execs deserve their money because its communism to deny them, even though if we’d let the company go bankrupt like they wanted not only would these m-f’ers not get their bonuses they’d be out on the street….then some execs pay the money back but one dude writes a self-martyring letter to the New York Times about how it’s BS that he doesn’t get his 3/4 of a million so he quits, never considering that he’d have gotten jack squat if the company had gone bankrupt, never considering that the wealth he “generated” was possible in part because other parts of the company were leveraged to the hilt on derivative trades….at some point the Democrats try to pass an idiotic tax on the bonus money they approved in the first place….all the while no one in government will level with the American people about the true state of the problem, leaving us to take Olberman or Limbaugh’s word for it, or the travesty that is CNN, or to scour the web for you tube videos of some congressman accidentally telling CSPAN that we were within a few hours of martial law on the day of the first bailout….all to say nothing of AIG head rat Ed Liddy who transformed Allstate from the “Good Hands” to the “Boxing Gloves” (their words, not mine)…..excuse me while I get a rag….
  • Eminent domain and good ole Haley, friend of the people…..of course, only the people once known as the bourbons….but I digress….eminent domain is the legal manner in which the government takes your land, pays you the value it decides the land has and does something with it for the public good…..historically for roads, bridges, electric lines….but in recent years has come to include taking your land to give to Nissan or some company like it so they will build their plant and bring jobs…. and there has been a backlash among the non-bourbons of the world so that many states have passed laws to prevent this, never considering that the jobs and tax base can transform an entire community for the better….but then only at the cost of depriving someone of their land rights which can be a slippery slope….so Mississippi passes a bill with near universal legislative support to prevent the state from taking your land to give to a private entity even though no other state so desperately needs the type of jobs that come from these incentives…..but Haley vetoes the bill and a group of Senators, including some from both parties change their votes and uphold Haley’s veto….and he never considers the conflict between this behavior and his constant carping about “big, intrusive government”….and while Republicans are all for giving a big corporation, such as an auto manufacturer huge incentives, otherwise known as free money, to build a factory (something TB favors) they are completely opposed to giving an auto manufacturer loans that must be paid back in order to keep existing facilities open (TB also favors this) and are oblivious to the conflict in their positions….meanwhile the bill Haley rightly but for all the wrong reasons vetoed could easily have been re-written to provide a windfall to the eminently domained landowner relative in scope to the benefit being conferred on the business and the community but that would be more complex….and if we try to address complex issues in the political world of the 21st century….you guessed it……our heads will explode.
  • Senator Chris Dodd. 
  • Apropos of nothing, certainly not because I’d like my head to stay intact or anything like that, but I’m wondering what the denizens of the TB universe think about the question of marijuana legalization. I read where it was among the most commonly submitted questions to the White House web page in advance of Obama’s virtual town hall this week.

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About travellinbaen

I'm a 40 year old lawyer living in Ridgeland, Mississippi. I'm several years and a couple hundred miles removed from most of my old running buddies so I started the blog to provide an outlet for many of the observations and ideas that used to be the subjects of our late night/happy hour/halftime conversations and arguments.
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187 Responses to Warning…this post could make your head explode (I think mine just did)

  1. irvineredd says:

    A friend of mine, who is a law school student at William and Mary and I believe about to get a job with the Treasury Dept, said this about this topic today:

    The “war on drugs” has clearly failed. Not only does it create and perpetuate a new criminal class (i.e., black market sellers) that endangers everyone in American society (innocent citizens as well as drug users), but it also completely flies in the face of any notion of personal responsibility.

    I generally oppose “sin taxes,” but you’re right. The tax revenue generated from legalizing drugs could be a major source of govt revenue.

    The you’re right refers to me. I think the federal and state governments are missing a tremendous opportunity for tax revenues.

    Also on the legalization issue, how about that as a great example of the free market philosophes being hypocritical. If it sells it should be okay in their book, except the legalization of marijuana would piss off the pharmaceutical companies. And of course undermine family values. (Note the sarcasm)

    This clip from Walk Hard I think speaks well of some of my position:

  2. Irv, that clip is freakin hilarious.

    I agree with your friend’s opinion on the “war on drugs”. I’m not sure what the answer is, but I am sure that it is an extremely complex issue. Much simpler to hire lots of cops and put lots of people in jail. Much simpler to lump a whole bunch of substances together and equalize them by calling them “illegal drugs” than to seek scientific facts about them. On the other hand, just “legalizing” everything would be pretty oversimplified and ineffectual too. But I do think a discussion on the legal status of marijuana needs to take place; I’ll be interested to see how the poll turns out. My guess is that in the larger population people would privately support legalization by a healthy margin.

  3. irvineredd says:

    I’d have to agree with you on all points there. I find it extremely interesting that marijuana is given the same classification as herion. Both are schedule 1 drugs. One has killed and ruin the lives of many, the other has never killed anyone and simply enhances the laziness of the already lazy.

    Also, if you haven’t seen Walk Hard, I thoroughly recommend it, especially if you liked Ray or Walk the Line.

  4. Jessie Lou says:

    I say legalize it for whatever purpose the user deems necessary. Although I would caution that certain people who are already paranoid should not use it as it tends to increase their paranoia which is a potential buzz kill for anyone else present who must calm them down. The clip was funny!

  5. irvineredd says:

    To whom are you refering JL?

  6. Jessie Lou says:

    I am discreet if nothing else and I don’t name names. I would prefer that person to name themselves. There, the gauntlet is thrown down.

  7. irvineredd says:

    Well for clarification purposes, I will have to say that the paranoid individual is not I. Although, come to think of it, making this statement could be a sign otherwise. Hmmm.

    Although, I’ll have to agree with you. Taking care of a paranoid individual is a waste of time and enjoyment.

  8. Travellinbaen says:

    Which raises the rhetorical query, if everyone really is out to get you, can you still be paranoid?

  9. “Why is everyone over here talking about me???” he said with extreme paranoia.

    What would we do in Mississippi if one of the AIG bonus recipients were caught here with a dime bag purchased with bonus money? Probably explode his head.

    It has been a staple on my blog to complain about inconsistencies in politics. I’ve always maintained that nothing will reveal intellectual inconsistencies faster than politics b/c these days far too many people view their political party in much the same way as they view their favorite sports team — it can do no wrong.

    Indeed, far too many view their political party as an extension of themselves such that any critique of a politician in their party is a critique of them personally.

    I would love to run an experiment in which we made people vote on bills without knowledge of which party had introduced them and see how people would vote, i.e., make people vote on the idea, not which political party supports it. I think a lot of people would be shocked at their votes. I also think some good ideas would have a much better chance of becoming policy and some bad ones would die a nice quiet death.

  10. quail09 says:

    Ddub…..i couldn’t agree with you more

  11. Zeek says:

    Ya’ll have gotten off track, the only people that get paranoid off weed are people like Sweet. It is one of the most ridiculous laws our country has ever had. There is no logistical or economic, health.etc. reason why mary j shouldn’t be legal. I was watching a cop show last night and they had about 12 cops doing surveillance on this house and when they busted it they got a half pound of weed (400-500 bucks at most) Are you sh*tting me? VIVA REVOLUCION!!!

  12. Zeek says:

    TB, You know I have a lot to say on this matter, but the reasons to legalize are so vast I do not know where to begin. Let me just say this:

    How many people’s death can be attributed to marijuana last year?
    How many deaths can be attributed to alcohol and tobacco?

    How many farmers did the gov’t. PAY TO NOT EVEN PLANT A CROP last year because we have huge silos of corn just sitting there rotting?
    How many of these farmers could have made a great living last year by growing marijuana AND all the other hemp-related products? Let’s not forget that unlike tobacco, whose use is solely for smoking or chewing(dipping), the hemp (usually male plant I believe) plant can be used to make rope, fiber that can make clothes, oil for fuel,paper,etc. I mean, it’s almost like a miracle plant. Let’s find out what use we can find for weed today. The options are practically limitless. What would the monetary swing be if we treated it like tobacco and alcohol and taxed it instead of spending trillions of dollars fighting it and overcrowding prisons and ruining lives by persecuting people for it??

    * History quotes FDR the day after repealing prohibition as saying ” Sounds like a good time for a beer.” The next day 600 brewery workers were hired in Milwaukee and Detroit began new hiring and immediate production of beer trucks on their assembly lines. That is economic stimulus!!!

    I say, “Sounds like a good time to spark up a fatty and get mellow America”.

    I watched a special on 20/20 a couple of weeks ago about Mendocino Co. in No. California. The law there allows people to grow up to 8 plants in their house(used to be 20). Something like 80% of money generated in county is from weed. Almost everybody grows and sells and smokes it. The cops kept saying what a nuisance and horrible thing it was because the county had become so solely dependent on weed and how people were breaking the law(federal) and local by growing more than 8 plants. However, everyone lived in million dollar homes, had income, prospered, as does the county, and there is virtually no crime rate. Yeah, that does sound pretty horrible,sign me up for section 8 and pass the 40 oz. and Newport 100 brutha. I must now digress before my head explodes.

  13. irvineredd says:

    Daily Wit, I agree with you for sure on how people are about their political party. That is a great example of why George Washington was a genius. He told us not to do this, he said factions but was talking about what became political parties, and that all it would do would be to divide and cause problems. And here we are.

    On the legalization topic, the cries from the anti-drug crowd always consist of claims that crime rates and addiction problems will rise if you legalize drugs. The only problem is that everywhere that has taken the steps to at least legalize amounts of marijuana have noticed the exact opposite. The Cato Institute had an event recently about what has happened in Portugal since they legalized, in which the discussion was to be about how legalization has been a positive thing.

    We waste tax payer dollars going after guys who sell pot and then waste more when we imprison them for selling a substance that can’t even kill someone. I understand cocaine, herion, etc, because there are documented cases of death related to those substances, but the same cannot be said about weed.

    If you’re mad about AIG being a waste of money, you should be mad about the money wasted on marijuana prosecution. At least weed doesn’t have the potential to bring our financial markets to it’s knees. It just raises the stock of Domino’s and gives Seth Rogan and Judd Apatow careers. Oh yeah and offers help to those sufferiing through chemo by easing their pain and helping them eat. We could also use it to make ropes and hang terrorists.

  14. irvineredd says:

    Also, we are some of the most stressed out people walking around this planet. I think we as a country need to get high and chill for a second.

  15. Zeek says:

    Amen, bro.

  16. Anonymous says:

    JL…..does this bother you just a little bit…that irvineredd and zeek are so much on the same page?

  17. larry says:

    I think most of you know where I stand on the issue of legalization. I am for it. Mary J only.

    Most of you have stated exactly why the government will never allow legalization: fewer cops to make arrests, few attorneys on both sides making money, fewer judges being paid or paid-off, and one less item for politicians to scare the public for votes. Not to mention the money each of these agencies will have to give up in there budgets. I just do not see it happening.

  18. Zeek says:

    If you really want your head to explode read today’s (sunday) article in Parade in your Sun Herald or Clarion Ledger or if you are really desperate Ms. Press. Here are some stats from that article:
    With only 5% of world’s poulation, U.S. houses nearly 25% of world’s prisoners. Should I stop there?
    Japan,who has half our poulation, has a prison population of 71,000, while America houses 2.3 million!!
    Roughly 68 BILLION dollars a year is spent on locking people up at all levels ( this figure has to be grossly skewed,don’t get me started on real costs of running a prison and what the public is told)
    Justice stats from 2007 show that 47.5% of all drug arrests were for MARIJUANA offenses(Explosion alert)
    60% of all incarcerated for drug offenses had no history of violence or drug sales. 4 out of 5 of those were arrested for possession, not sales.

    Some of the other stats in this article I can simply not agree with, they just do not paint an accurate portrait. I just happen to have pretty extensive knowledge of our justice system and I can tell you without a doubt that 80-85% of people incarcerated in our prisons and jails are in there due to drug related matters. The charge might not be drug poss. or sales, but burglary, forgery, larceny,robbery,fraud,etc. are all due to drugs.

    I am not saying that we should let everyone go free,and stop enforcing the law, that only leads to Anarchy and Mob Rule. However, if supposedly @25% of prisoners are in for weed and @15% are mentally ill, then I, as Prison Czar, could quickly reduce our prison population by roughly 40%.(It would actually be more because the laws need to be changed concerning all drugs not just marijuana)
    Did I forget to mention all the prisoners infected with HIV, Hepatitis, and Tuberculosis? Do you know what a breeding ground a prison block is for disease? Then they are released to be free and prosper with their criminal record and a fresh case of T.B.(no pun intended)

    VIVA REVOLUCION!

  19. JessieLou says:

    Scarier still, Anonymous, look back at past posts and see how many times Zeek and I have been on the same page! Isn’t that an interesting turn of events?

    All that aside, IR, Zeek nailed the paranoid person on the head.

  20. quail09 says:

    Ok, so we let all the mentally ill out of prison…and we let out prisoners with deadly diseases so that the larger society becomes the breeding ground instead of the prisons….has someone been smoking too much weed?

  21. Zeek says:

    Q09,Ahh, once again you are not reading ALL the words. I believe what I said is “I am not saying we should let….” Are you trying to provoke me, Quail? Maybe you have not seen how close to the edge I am getting and how ready for revolution I truly am. To quote Kris Kristofferson (my namesake) “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose..”. Please do not dismiss my displeasure and outrage at the current state of our country and its government as despotic rantings, I promise I am making VERY valid points and have very lucid and progressive proposals to make things better. SO, either get on board and let’s roll, or get f**ckin’ rolled over baby!! VIVA REVOLUCION!!

    BTW, put the mentally ill where they belong (Mental Hospital? Just a guess) and TREAT the sick, who a large percentage might not even be sick if they weren’t persecuted and put in a cell with someone sick. I gotta go roll one.

  22. Zeek says:

    JLou, I am not sure how I feel about your previous comment.

  23. Here’s a summary of a February Rasmussen poll on the question, copied and pasted from Rasmussen’s site:

    40% Say Marijuana Should Be Legalized
    Thursday, February 19, 2009 Email to a Friend
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    The marijuana debate has come a long way since “Reefer Madness.”
    While the Michael Phelps incident has brought the recreational use of pot back into the spotlight, much of the news about the drug in recent years has focused on whether it should be legalized for medical purposes, primarily to reduce pain for cancer victims.
    In a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey, Americans are closely divided on the question of whether marijuana should be legalized: 40% say it should be, while 46% disagree. Fourteen percent (14%) are not sure which course is better.
    (Want a free daily e-mail update? Sign up now. If it’s in the news, it’s in our polls.)
    Nearly half of men (48%) say pot should be legal in this country, but just 34% of women agree. The plurality of women (49%) oppose legalization.
    Americans under the age of 40 are much more supportive of legalizing the drug than are older Americans.
    Sixty percent (60%) of Republicans are opposed to the legalization of marijuana. Democrats are more evenly split on the question, giving legalization the edge by five points.
    This partisan divide is clear in a commentary by Froma Harrop highlighting President Obama’s support for decriminalization earlier in his political career and his choice of former Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske as his drug czar. Ms. Harrop, a columnist for the Providence Journal, says Kerlikowske “presided over a city that had virtually decriminalized small-scale possession of marijuana,” while John Walters, his predecessor during the Bush years, was much more of a hard-line drug enforcer.
    Among adults not affiliated with either major political party, 49% favor legalization of marijuana, while 41% oppose it.
    Perhaps indicative of lessening public opposition to marijuana are the findings in a survey about the Phelps incident in which the Olympic superstar was photographed smoking the drug at a party. Sixty percent (60%) of Americans still regard Phelps favorably, but most also think Kellogg’s made the right decision to drop him as a celebrity endorser on cereal boxes.
    The World Health Organization estimates that 42% of Americans have tried marijuana, the highest usage level in the 17 countries it profiled. Some researchers contend that marijuana is the number one cash crop in the United States.
    Three Nobel Prize winners including Milton Friedman were among the more than 500 economists who endorsed a 2005 Harvard study that concluded that legalization of marijuana “would save $7.7 billion per year in state and federal expenditures on prohibition enforcement and produce tax revenues of at least $2.4 billion annually if marijuana were taxed like most consumer goods. If, however, marijuana were taxed similarly to alcohol or tobacco, it might generate as much as $6.2 billion annually.”
    Opponents of legalization argue that marijuana is harmful to health and has a “gateway effect,” encouraging use of harder and more dangerous drugs. Drug Enforcement Administration officials say some marijuana growers are part of larger international drug organizations who export violence and harder drugs into the country.
    Several states, including Alaska, California and Maryland, allow limited marijuana use for medical purposes, but the drug is still illegal nationwide under federal law.
    Please sign up for the Rasmussen Reports daily e-mail update (it’s free)… let us keep you up to date with the latest public opinion news.

  24. Zeek says:

    How about some personal opinion mixed in there, TB? ” I want some feeling!!” quote from John Matuzak in film North Dallas Forty(still my all-time fav football movie, starring Nick Nolte and Mac Davis.

    You gave us the stats but no TB-ism,…. a travesty.

  25. irvineredd says:

    I almost completely forgot about the “gateway effect”. That one is a classic. That boy smoked weed so you know the next step is cocaine and herion. It’s just a natural progression. HA!

    Those numbers aren’t too big of a surprise. The older crowd is the group that got indoctrinated with all the complete fabrications of the reefer madness propaganda. So of course they feel that way. No use even arguing with that crowd. Although it will be interesting to see how those stats develop over the next decade as the baby boomers hit that age group. Here’s hoping they don’t sell out.

  26. Jessie Lou says:

    Zeek – you shouldn’t take the comment negatively at all. I just think that those reading this daily are surprised that we are anywhere close to the same thinking.

    I disagree that if you smoke pot that you are on the road to cocaine and heroin, etc. Those give you a completely different outcome from what little I do know and are not as easy to consume. Anything involving needles is not going to be for me or anything that could possible explode in my face.

  27. irvineredd says:

    I’ve never had the desire for any of those, I’m sure you will be pleased to know, JL.

  28. Jessie Lou says:

    Thankfully so.

  29. Madd Dawg says:

    My philosophy: We should be able to engage in whatever type of behavior we desire to engage in unless it harms someone else or presents a danger to society.

    Reasonable traffic laws hinder our personal freedom, but are necessary for safety reasons, so they are ok. I don’t inhale, but I don’t see how those that do inhale harm others or present a danger to society. Most users lead otherwise productive lives. Therefore, it should be legal for adults.

    “The unifying principle of American society is freedom.” Pat Buchanan at RNC Convention in 1992.

    William Wallace: “FREEDOM!!!!!” awesome movie.

    Patrick Henry: “Give me liberty or give me death!”

    Bumper sticker that I saw this morning:
    Give me my guns, money and freedom. You can have the “change”.

  30. Zeek, I’m for legalization of marijuana and don’t have much to add to what’s above for the reasons.

    When I see a kid stopped for a (often dubious) traffic offense and standing by while I watch his car dismantled so the cops can find his stash, it fairly makes me ill. And I see this about once a week, mostly here in Madison County where I live.

    I was interested to see how everyone would vote on this. So far, 16 to legalize and 3 not to, with a medical use only and one don’t know thrown in. It’s not hard to guess that the 3 no votes are the same people who said they were being hypocritical, which I included for purposes of seeing if the “no’s” had taken part in the past or maybe even still do. I appreciate the candor of those voters. My guess is the Rasmussen poll I copied the article on vastly underreported the true numbers of people who would support legalization because I think many people would be loathe to tell this to a stranger or not anonymously. But as Luscious said, legalization won’t come any time soon.

    But why not? And why can’t it even be debated publicly? Because fringe groups and talkers would crucify whoever had the courage to raise the issue, as we all know. I asked the question because marijuana use/imprisonment is a classic issue where many people’s political opinions/moral values clash with their own party–in this case with both major parties.

    I found the Jim Webb article in Parade particularly interesting. I wonder how courageous he’ll be on this issue as time goes forward.

    As for the concept of freedom that you bring up MD, I’ve devoted a lot of thought to that lately. I believe that you and I are pretty close to on the same page on our desire for greater freedoms, except that I fear loss of freedom as much or more to the corporate world as to the political one while MD fears it only from government and possibly the criminal world. I think that is the ultimate disconnect between so-called liberals and conservatives out here in the hinterlands. I also think if both sides could ever understand that, they would see that though they are miles away on some things, they are very close on others. The visualization I have is of two people standing across a river from one another–they are so close they can see each other, but since there is no bridge, they must go for miles out of their way to meet in the middle. What they need is a bridge. To somewhere.

  31. Jessie Lou says:

    It cannot be debated publicly because very few people have the courage to stand up and say what they truly think mostly because they are afraid of what other people will say about their opinions. Possibly because politically, some other person is funding their lives and therefore pulling the strings.

  32. PS, I think Oliver Wendell Holmes’ head would’ve exploded if he’d seen that bumper sticker MD.

  33. irvineredd says:

    I finally read the Webb article. I thought it was pretty good. I also found a recent interview with him about this issue on the npr website that was interesting. It is a travesty that we have such a large percentage of our population in prison. It’s sad that the topic of criminal justice reform is often seen as politically taboo. Like many things in our country we have to hope for some one with some guts to come around and talk about things. Webb was a marine so I doubt anyone will question his toughness, but hell Republicans ran ads questioning Max Cleland’s (who lost his legs in Vietnam) patriotism when he was running for re-election against Saxby Chambliss in Georgia, so anything is possible.

  34. Zeek says:

    I’m losing my buzz.

  35. irvineredd says:

    At this hour?

  36. workinbaen says:

    I read today that Webb introduced his bill calling for a complete overhaul of the criminal justice system. From the article, I learned exactly one detail on it–that he wants to create a commission to study the problem for 18 months and make recommendations. Sounds like typical government bureaucracy instead of action, but then again, its a complicated problem and will only be addressed if it has broad support. Liberals won’t get on board without Conservatives because they don’t want to be labeled “soft on crime.” BTW, I can assure you there is no such judge. Anyway, its encouraging that Republican Senators Spector and Graham are on board, though Spector will be out of office in 18 months, and of course the Libertarian think tanks are on board. So we’ll see.

  37. Madd Dawg says:

    Here we go, another step towards governmental control of every aspect of our entire economy. These companies, and our country generally, are in depp trouble with the mindset of the guys in charge in DC now (ie the government can do things better than the free market capitalist system):

    _________________________
    the House Financial Services Committee, led by chairman Barney Frank, has approved a measure that would, in some key ways, go beyond the most draconian features of the original AIG bill. The new legislation, the “Pay for Performance Act of 2009,” would impose government controls on the pay of all employees — not just top executives — of companies that have received a capital investment from the U.S. government. It would, like the tax measure, be retroactive, changing the terms of compensation agreements already in place. And it would give Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner extraordinary power to determine the pay of thousands of employees of American companies.

    The purpose of the legislation is to “prohibit unreasonable and excessive compensation and compensation not based on performance standards,” according to the bill’s language. That includes regular pay, bonuses — everything — paid to employees of companies in whom the government has a capital stake, including those that have received funds through the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP, as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

    The measure is not limited just to those firms that received the largest sums of money, or just to the top 25 or 50 executives of those companies. It applies to all employees of all companies involved, for as long as the government is invested. And it would not only apply going forward, but also retroactively to existing contracts and pay arrangements of institutions that have already received funds.

    In addition, the bill gives Geithner the authority to decide what pay is “unreasonable” or “excessive.” And it directs the Treasury Department to come up with a method to evaluate “the performance of the individual executive or employee to whom the payment relates.”
    _________________________

  38. Madd Dawg says:

    Another step down the long dark road of absolute governmental control over every aspect of the economy:
    _____________________
    the House Financial Services Committee, led by chairman Barney Frank, has approved a measure that would, in some key ways, go beyond the most draconian features of the original AIG bill. The new legislation, the “Pay for Performance Act of 2009,” would impose government controls on the pay of all employees — not just top executives — of companies that have received a capital investment from the U.S. government. It would, like the tax measure, be retroactive, changing the terms of compensation agreements already in place. And it would give Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner extraordinary power to determine the pay of thousands of employees of American companies.

    The purpose of the legislation is to “prohibit unreasonable and excessive compensation and compensation not based on performance standards,” according to the bill’s language. That includes regular pay, bonuses — everything — paid to employees of companies in whom the government has a capital stake, including those that have received funds through the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP, as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

    The measure is not limited just to those firms that received the largest sums of money, or just to the top 25 or 50 executives of those companies. It applies to all employees of all companies involved, for as long as the government is invested. And it would not only apply going forward, but also retroactively to existing contracts and pay arrangements of institutions that have already received funds.

    In addition, the bill gives Geithner the authority to decide what pay is “unreasonable” or “excessive.” And it directs the Treasury Department to come up with a method to evaluate “the performance of the individual executive or employee to whom the payment relates.”
    _____________________

  39. makes a lot of sense to me. MD, you want the govt to let them fail right? If they fail the CEO gets zip. I’d say the govt is being pretty pro business here. In fact, if I had any vote it would be to pay them a helluva lot less until they bought back the company from the government and that would make it happen a lot faster and everyone would be happy.

    And the dark road we already went down was the one where we let AIG and the rest of Wall Street have absolute control over the economy. That didn’t work worth a damn.

  40. irvineredd says:

    Agreed, TB. If we are the one’s paying these employees, and we are paying all of them not just the CEOS, I think we (in this case the government since it would be non-sensical to mean the actual public) should be able to control what everyone there gets paid. If you own a company you are in control of those things, and guess what, whether we like it or not, the government is in control of these things. I’d rather know that someone is holding these people accountable to some sort of standard. Clearly when they controlled the standard they were incredibly selfish and led us to where we are now.

    The free market is a blind fool being led around by a bunch of crooks. There is a middle way, it’s called tough regulation, not hey guys on wall street, do whatever you want no matter the consequences. We’re just going to let the market decide if it is valid. That is simply foolish.

  41. Madd Dawg says:

    That is why we should not have bailed them out in the first place.

    I don’t give a damn about the CEO’s of these companies—they ran their companies into the ground and should all get fired. The companies should be allowed be restructure under the bankruptcy code so that they can actually formulate and develop workable and sustainable business plans. It would hurt in the short run, but is the only way these companies will ever become profitable enterprises again.

    The government running them guarantees that they will become less and less efficient and will become permanent wards of the State. They will beg for protective tariffs as they will not be able to compete. The most talented people will leave these companies, go to their competitors and crush them in the free market.

  42. The most talented people from the companies that ran themselves into the ground are going to leave and get hired by competitors who will then kick these wounded beasts further into the dust before the new talented employees can run their new companies into the ground?

    I think they may need to circulate my interview tips up on the Street if they expect to get hired by their thriving competition. They also better learn Chinese.

    But seriously, I don’t have a lot of heartburn with your comment. It’s not an unreasonable position to be in favor of letting the TARP companies fail, at least so long as we aren’t allowed to know whether we’re dealing with another dozen big banks or a thousand mid-size and smaller institutions–the scope of the potential failures makes a difference and nobody on the outside knows what is true; I just don’t get that the bill to give government some oversight on pay for companies’ they are providing the capital to operate and survive with is a draconian dark road. A private venture capitalist would want a lot more restraints.

  43. irvineredd says:

    MD, you seem to be operating under the absolute assumption that government involvement is always going to lead to something negative.

    That is part of our political hypocrisy. Everyone accessing every situation from a position that implies absolute correctness. Buddhists have it right when they talk of the middle way. There are times when government intervention is bad and there are times when we will need it, which is why it’s there.

  44. Zeek says:

    Dudes, that was deep!!!!

  45. Madd Dawg says:

    IR,
    There is certainly a role for the federal government, and those powers are specifically deliniated in the Constitution. I don’t think that document gives the government the power/authority to allow Lehman Brothers to fail and then save Goldman (where Paulson worked prior to joining the government) and AIG (which owed Goldman $15 billion through insurance) and/or evaluate the specific job performance and salary of each and every one of GM’s 500K employees.

    I do know this—-whatever the government does is grossly inefficient and most of it ends up being corrupt either through decision-makers giving their friends and family members government contracts or through Senators and Presidents passing laws and tweaking the tax code and regulations in order to help those entities that give them political contributions.

    The fact that the government is running GM and the fact that Obama is in debt to the unions for political contributions such that he will not allow any jobs/salaries to be cut tells me that GM will still be in shambles a year from now.

    For the most part, the local banks were not involved in the AIG scams and are doing fine. The big banks were involved and made huge profits taking huge risks. They should have been made to suffer the downside of losing those highly-leveraged bets they made and lost. Instead, we bailed them out. What lesson did they learn from that?

    In the future, when someone comes along with another scam, the Wall Street guys will go along with it also knowing that they can enjoy the good times and then us suckers will bail them out when things go badly—–again.

  46. sweet says:

    I know some people who lost some highly leveraged bets that I wish the govt would bail out

  47. larry says:

    Amen! MD

    That was funny Sweet.

    TB & Redd,

    Should we not apply the same standards to all that receive government assistance, not just TARP companies? “If we are the one’s paying these employees” and “I think we should be able to control”, then should we not require individuals to work, take drug test (not for Mary J), repay, and limit the amount of time individuals can be on government assistance? We (Government) can not have it both ways. I know I read this somewhere, “The Government should not be viewed as the solution, but the problem.” Who is going to pay for this bailout? Taxes will have to be raised. If not Obama or Pelosi, then the next President and Congress. I just can not make sense out of all the spending. Taxes are already to high and these companies are responsibile for themselves. We lose no matter what we do.

  48. irvineredd says:

    When the Constitution was written there were no industries that could cripple the entire financial system. That’s the benefit of an economy almost entirely reliant upon agribusiness. It would be hard for the Founding Fathers to have known how our financial systems would evolve over two hundred years. So of course it doesn’t give them that authority. It also says a lot about freedom, but we still had slaves. Clearly, while an ingenius document, it is still flawed. I still believe that we have the right to dictate pay to those who owe their jobs being in existence to the taxpayers. My assistant doesn’t dictate his pay, that is decided by those who pay him, mainly me.

    As for corrupt politicians, the only way to fight that is by having an active citizenry that uses the tools at their disposal to handle things like that. I’m aware that is incredibly difficult. I run a business and barely have time in the day for myself. If it weren’t for the internet and NPR I wouldn’t know a lot of what is going on.

    The unions and auto companies are negotiating compromises between themselves in order to keep things going. AIG didn’t do that. Also, with all of the unemployment currently in our country, would it be a good idea to allow all of those who work in the auto industry to simply lose their jobs, especially during a time of economic upheavel? That doesn’t help the economy. Our economy as a whole needs these people in jobs so that they are going out and spending money. The economy is a complex organism that is reliant upon all the parts within it to keep it healthy and functioning properly. The financial sector was the cog in the machinary that decided to be incredibly selfish. You stop that by having strict regulatory policy that monitors these sorts of activities. You don’t just let it happen, which is what occurred over the last 8 years. No they didn’t learn a lesson, but that is why we have to clamp down and pay attention to the schemes they are pulling. We cannot have a government that simply sits back and doesn’t attempt to pay attention to the actions of Wall Street simply because of a free market philosophy.

  49. irvineredd says:

    Larry, have you ever looked at our tax brackets compared to the rest of the western world?

    Also, that was Reagan who said government was the problem, and wanted it to get out of the way. What happened when they did that? The S & L scandals.

    Also taxes are being raised on the highest brackets. Take a look at the math on what those in the highest brackets pay in taxes and what they have after the fact. I grew up in a household with a single mother making an amount that was not very high (I won’t quote out of respect to her privacy) and we were just fine with a whole lot less in the bank than what those at the top have after taxes. Seriously do the math on what someone making $500,000 a year has after taxes and tell me you wouldn’t be happy with that number in your account.

  50. larry says:

    Redd,

    The percentage of people in the highest tax bracket and the percentage they pay in taxes can not keep up with the amount we are spending. If you take into account current spending and the proposed increases in President Obama’s budget there is no way taxes will not be raised on all. If taxes are not raised now they will have to be raised later. I grew-up in the same type of situation both my parents worked, but did not make huge salaries. We did what it sounds like you and your mother did – lived within our means. If we did not, then we would have failed and suffered the consequences. These companies have not been made to suffer the consequences of their bad decisions. The failure of these companies would have been opportunity to companies that have been run properly. Like I said earlier – we lose no matter what we do.

  51. irvineredd says:

    I fully understand your argument. The problem being what is the outcome of allowing these companies to fail? What does their failure do to our economy? Is it better to allow them to fail?

    I personally think all the execs involved in this shouldn’t have the jobs they have. If my business went under my bosses would fire me and replace me with someone else. We should do the same.

    As for the spending. Almost every economist believes we have to spend in the short term right now if we want to fix this situation. As for recouping that money there are a variety of ways to do that. First you raise taxes on non-essential items. The cigarette tax just went up to a dollar per pack in order to pay for the increase in funding for SCHIP. You go through the budget and trim the fat. You get rid of programs that are a waste of money and unproductive. And of course there is the behemoth that is our health care system. If you make health care cheaper, then medicare and medicaid payments go down because those people no longer need as much.

    The living within means is a broader societal problem. No one seems to save anymore. The percentage we save has dropped drastically. That is a culture of materialism at work.

    What company was in the position to benefit? How many companies, that hadn’t made many terrible decisions, would have been hurt by their failure?

    Another method of saving money is to get people off the welfare rolls and if you check on those numbers you’ll find those on the dole went down under Clinton. You get people off welfare by improving the economy. But if you let a compnay like GM hit the floor, how many of those people would immediately hit the line for unemployment benefits?

    We are in a position where most of the answers to our problems are difficult and none of them are full proof and perfect. But we certainly can’t just sit on our hands and say let the chips fall where they may.

  52. Zeek says:

    I agree with MD and Luscious Larry–These big banks made off with huge dividends when it was working in their favor, but went things went awry, they threw their hands up and cried for bailout, so we, the taxpayers, are footing the bill. Sounds to me alot like a sorry-a$$ welsher who collects from his bookie with a grin while he is on a winning streak, but then can’t be found or cries he can’t pay when he loses his a$$. These companies should be treated the way a degenerate gambler is, kneecap ’em.

  53. Tiger says:

    Letting GM, Chrysler and Ford fail is not the same as “everyone in Detroit losing their jobs” as has been suggested above.. Bankruptcy is a tool for reallocating assests to owners who can better handle running the company.. Production plants will be sold to investors who will continue making cars.. Sure jobs will be lost, but the majority will not be.. The problem in Detroit is the unions and stifling government standards imposed on car makers.. Bankruptcy would solve at least one of those problems by allowing the new owners to dictate salaries instead of union bosses.. Workers in Detroit make double what they make in Mississippi.. It’s unsustainable.. No way can a company be profitable when they pay double the labor costs of their competitors.. In short, letting carmakers fail won’t kill jobs in Detroit, but it will adjust the ridiculous wages that are being paid..

  54. irvineredd says:

    If they went bankrupt, would the unions not still be in existence since the workers would still be there?

  55. Jessie Lou says:

    There must be some sort of rules in place that go with the money that is handed out.

    1. You can have x amount of dollars but it cannot be spent on

    Company bonuses
    Buying and/or renovating company offices
    Buying company jets
    Leasing a jet
    Parties and hookers
    Anything and everything frivolous

    Can we agree on this much?

  56. irvineredd says:

    Also, with our economy in it’s position where are the investors getting the capital to buy these plants? Who is loaning them the money?

  57. irvineredd says:

    We can only agree on everything but the parties and hookers. Bailout money must still be spent on that!

  58. Tiger says:

    Sure unions would be there, but if I’m an investor, and yes there are people out the who have money to invest if the price is right, part of my offer price would be based on a pre-negotiated deal with labor.. And the investor would have leverage because the two choices would be “no job for you” or “you have a job, but only under my conditions”.. Which is the way it’s supposed to be.. As a business owner I should set wages as dictated by the labor market, not by some union boss with an agenda..

    Say you bought a bankrupt ice cream shop. The three employees were well paid because their moms organized and demanded the owner pay them more than market rate, but the owner could not make a profit due to the excess wages going out the door.. You step in and buy the place and keep the employees. However you cut their wages by 1/3 so you can make a profit. Had you not been able to cut those wages you would not have bought the ice cream shop in the first place. And had you not bought the shop there would be three angry kids out there without jobs.

    To parallel that story with Automakers.. You have an ice cream shop (amongst others in town) who charges what the others charge for ice cream, but who pays double the wages of what the other shops in town pay. When the owner decides to reduce wages to make a profit the moms (Unions) start screaming.. He is forced to stay in business until he has no working capital and faces a possbile bankruptcy. In comes city hall politicians who’s campaigns have been funded by the moms. City hall says the shop can’t fail because those kids need jobs and the city needs ice cream.. So city hall pays the ice cream shop owner to stay in business.. More acurately, the taxpayers of the town are unfairly paying the store owner to stay in business.. And all of this because of the moms (unions) and their calls for higher wages.. Then city hall decides to run the business as they see fit, even though they know nothing about running an ice cream store..

  59. Tiger the glaring fact that you do not discuss is that the Big 3 labor expenses are primarily out of whack because of the disparity in health care expenses. Foreign automakers are protected from this in their home countries by national health care plans while in the US we allocate that expense to the worker and the employer.

    I can see that yet another blog visitor is completely at odds with me politically, but hey, I still got Irvine and DWit on my side sometimes, so what’s one more black hat. Seriously though, thanks for reading and joining in the discussion. I only try to start fights once every couple of weeks.

    And didn’t anybody read the job interview post? No other tips anyone can offer? Really, this blog needs some comic relief.

  60. face says:

    TB, you have to compare apples to apples. The proper comparison is the money spent on labor by GM, Chrysler and Ford versus the money spent on labor by the other companies at their US based plants, like Nissan in Jackson. We obviously can’t compare the situation in Michigan with a plant in China or Japan, but we can compare it to one in Jackson, MS. And the fact is the big 3 are paying much more in labor expeneses than the others are paying in their US plants.

    I’m no bankruptcy expert, but it is my understanding that if Chrysler were to file for bankruptcy, the union contracts would be out the window and they could renegotiate new ones that would have more favorable terms. I believe that is what happened with the airlines.

  61. The last I read on comparative wages in the US was that the non-union facilities averaged about 3 dollars less per hour. The big difference in total labor cost is that the foreign automakers in the South have no costs for retirement or retired health care in the US. It’s been a couple of months, but I believe this came from an interview with Ford’s CEO.

    The bigger problem with a Big 3 bankruptcy, which by the way, I’m to the point of hoping we let the whole damn thing crash just to finally end the discussion, is that it will also kill suppliers all over the country who are owed a lot of money by GM et al on a revolving basis. A GM bankruptcy will result in the bankruptcy of suppliers and dealers in all likelihood. It is not going to be the contained explosion it is being made out to be.

  62. Here’s an excerpt from an article that’s two years old now, but still illustrates my point. I can’t find the Ford CEO interview right now, but its out there, from probably December or January.

    ———–

    News >> OE
    UAW Losing Pay Edge: Foreign Automakers’ Bonuses Boost Wages in U.S. Plants as Detroit Car Companies Struggle
    February 1, 2007

    Story Tools:
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    Related in OE:
    Administration Finalizes New Fuel Economy Standards
    Ford Introduces Plan to Improve Consumer Confidence, Jump-Start Vehicle Sales
    GM and Chrysler Given Ultimatums; GM’s Wagoner Resigns at Obama’s Request
    Dick Gephardt, Tony Earley Join Ford’s Board of Directors

    DJIA NASDAQ S&P 500

    DJIA 7761.60 152.68
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    From Detroit Free Press

    The UAW is losing its edge in pay compared with non-unionized U.S. assembly plant workers for foreign companies, even as Detroit automakers aim for deeper benefit cuts to trim their losses.

    In at least one case last year, workers for a foreign automaker for the first time averaged more in base pay and bonuses than UAW members working for domestic automakers, according to an economist for the Center for Automotive Research and figures supplied to the Free Press by auto companies.

    In that instance, Toyota Motor Corp. gave workers at its largest U.S. plant bonuses of $6,000 to $8,000, boosting the average pay at the Georgetown, KY, plant to the equivalent of $30 an hour. That compares with a $27 hourly average for UAW workers, most of whom did not receive profit-sharing checks last year. Toyota would not provide a U.S. average, but said its 7,000-worker Georgetown plant is representative of its U.S. operations.

    Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. are not far behind Toyota and UAW pay levels. Comparable wages have long been one way foreign companies fight off UAW organizing efforts.

    But Toyota workers’ pay topping that of UAW members comes as the union faces contract negotiations this year with struggling Detroit companies that will seek billions in concessions, partly because they face higher costs for retiree health care and pensions than their foreign-owned competitors.

  63. quail09 says:

    TB…..the last sentence says it all…….RETIREE health care and pensions…..legacy costs in political lingo…..when this hole thing came up the most recent time, i was shocked to find out that the big three pay people while they are unemployed…..what is the one element in this whole question on US carmakers vs. foreign carmakers that is different here?…..the UNIONS!!!….they are THE problem…..not healthcare costs or base pay

  64. so what do you think should be done with retirees? No health care, the health care they bargained for when they were working paid for by GM, or a Federal plan? I know that the real answer from the right is NO health care–let them pay cash. I just wish they would campaign on that.

    The problem isn’t that union or any worker wants health care. The problem is that health care costs too much primarily because of insurance companies, which, lo and behold, brings us right back to AIG.

    I don’t understand the disconnect. Japanese retirees, English retirees, French, Italian, etc…they all have health care needs. But the company doesn’t pay, the national “socialized” system pays it. Thus, the foreign companies have a competitive advantage. Their plants in the US are new and they don’t have retirees here yet by and large. On top of all of that, car manufacturers all over the world are getting bailouts from their home countries, again back to AIG et al, because lending has become stagnant.

    Unions have some changes to make, in addition to the ones they’ve been making. But they are but one prong of a multi-pronged problem.

  65. Tiger says:

    Recent figures show over $70 bucks an hour for Detroit compared to $40 bucks an hour in MS, TN etc.. What business can stay afloat with that kind of payroll and pension disparity? To top if off, the quality is not represented in the higher paid workers.

  66. Tiger says:

    Serious question.. How do insurance companies negatively affect healthcare costs? And are there any other factors that have caused the increase? Honestly, healthcare costs are not running big companies into the ground, it’s a factor, but way down the list..

  67. Tiger, that 70 is where the legacy costs come in. And a perfect illustration of why we need health care reform.

    How do insurance companies affect costs? Have you checked your premiums? Co-pays? Deductibles? Do you ever have to appeal denials? Get pre-approvals? And that’s just from the consumer side. The fact that every md has to have a claims filing specialist on staff alone sucks up tons of cash. Insurance companies have raised rates and decreased benefits at a runaway pace going back to the mid 90’s. Their profit margins and executive pay have also skyrocketed in this time.

    Of course, they are not the only culprit. Drug companies contribute, doctors themselves, and lawsuit expenses and fears are other contributors, and I’m sure there are more.

  68. irvineredd says:

    Tiger in case you want proof of what TB is saying, here is a link to a factcheck.org story specifically about the $70 figure.

    http://www.factcheck.org/askfactcheck/do_auto_workers_really_make_more_than.html

    After reading that I second what TB said. If you lower health care cost the amount of money spent on retirees would drop significantly.

  69. irvineredd says:

    Plus as the article points out the auto companies problems are beyond the wage issues.

  70. quail09 says:

    But TB, please…..i know of no conservative who wants NO healthcare for retirees….come on…that’s the kind of extreme, one-sided talk that makes the “debate” stall out….and i’m surprised that you think that nationalized healthcare is the answer to the problems you’ve listed….you usually give passing credence to facts on the other side…like waiting six months for a heart stint in Canada, et.al……..no one is saying that healthcare isn’t a problem…it is…..executives get more pay than some would like them to….ok, ok….one thing i know is that when a business gets in tight times, they don’t dump the healthcare or focus on it as the most effective way to reduce costs….they do lay off workers in order to reduce the biggest cost which is payroll and the matching taxes that go along with it……by far the biggest cost…..BUT, in a business that has a unionized workforce, laying off people is not an easy option….and if they do it, they then pay those people anyway….thus, no cut in costs……..i’d welcome some real facts on union retirement benefits vs. nonunion retirement benefits……..don’t we have an entitlement plan for retirees called medicare?….my point is …when does it end?….when do we say no to the give aways in addition to just exercising our righteous indigation over executives and Bush and such?

  71. my tact was lacking on that, but I’ve been waiting on someone to acknowledge the problems are complex and not amenable to a one word assignment of blame. I think you acknowledged those things though just now which is a great relief to me.

    The horror stories undoubtedly exist in nationalized plans, but so too do they in ours. My understanding is that patient satisfaction rates in Canada and other places is greater than it is in the US. My supposition is that its because so many Americans have no health care, so zero satisfaction. High income patients I would guess have greater satisfaction in our system.

    I’m not promoting giveaways of any sort. I simply think we need a better health system. I also believe in private enterprise. But I also know that private business exploits the system. I think government involvement in health care will spur a renewed focus by the private sector to improve services and cost effectiveness and will eventually offer alternatives superior to government. But without the incentive, they will just take, take, take.

  72. Tiger says:

    Regardles, healthcare is way down the list of threats facing businesses.. Matter of fact, my premium could double tomorrow and I would continue to pay because I value the product.. I have choice.. Free market should dictate, not some pencil neck in Washington.. The real debate here is how to fix healthcare.. Governement is not the answer so feel free to offer pragmatic solutions in the private sector..

    Despite the left’s worship of Washington DC politicians, the real talent to improve things is not in DC.. It’s in the board rooms across this country.. Even with great talent we have we’re still suffering in a recesssion.. Imagine the results we’ll have when the flunkies in DC start running businesses.. It will be over.. Oh and capping exectuive salaries is sure to run off top talent as well..

  73. Tiger says:

    TB. Good point that the current problems are complex.. A little bit of this and a little bit of that and wham here we are.. It’s debatable who caused this.. Many say the government and others say the greedy suits.. Who to believe? I would trust a non-biased source like a body of economists or group of business leaders.. These groups tend to place blame on Democrats and their penchant for forcing equality in all things including housing.

    My question is at this point is not who caused it, but who is that we should trust to fix the problem.. First of all, how could anyone trust politicians to fix the problem? They are not qualified.. And many people would agree that most of these problem were created by politicians overstepping their job titles and constitutional responsibilities.

  74. quail09 says:

    TB…i just have to throw this in…i think it every time government is promoted as a catalyst or agent for cost effectiveness in business…..why don’t they bring some cost effectiveness to bear on the post office or amtrak first?….THEN teach the private sector how to do it

  75. Tiger says:

    TB writes: ‘I’m not promoting giveaways of any sort. I simply think we need a better health system. I also believe in private enterprise. But I also know that private business exploits the system. I think government involvement in health care will spur a renewed focus by the private sector to improve services and cost effectiveness and will eventually offer alternatives superior to government. But without the incentive, they will just take, take, take.”””

    How will government involvement in healthcare spur renewed focus to improve services, etc. ? If that answer is not crystal clear then I would politely ask the government to stay away.. Far away.. We have the best health system in the world despite the satisfaction studies.. No thanks to the government.. And who in this country doesn’t have healthcare?? Our tax dollars are funding millions of people’s free care.. Is that not true? Sure some slip through the cracks, but should we trade a great, but imperfect, system for lousy, but perfect, system?

  76. Tiger says:

    TB, Suppose it’s 1988 and Pascagoula is on the diamond ready to start the big game.. All of a sudden the umpires decide to suit up and join the game as players.. Would that pose a problem to the flow and legitimacy of the game? If the umpires are playing who’s calling balls and strikes and ejecting Coach Olsen when he gets cranky? Obviously it doesn’t work.. At first you’d appreciate the help, but eventually there would be anarchy. You need players with skill and you need oversight from non-biased representatives of the league..

    In my analogy the players are the business leaders and the government is the the umpires.. They both have their roles, and should never cross over..

    The orginal intent and precendent of goverment has always been as an umpire with sound judgement, not as a player without skills..

  77. Tiger, here’s where I’m at. We need business to thrive and not be overly burdened. We also need business to be reined in and so not become overly burdensome. It’s the government’s job to do the reining in. When Reagan took over, there was imbalance with too many restrictions on business. He began the process of easing those restrictions and that process continued, even during the Clinton years, unabated until the present. Now the imbalance has gone the other way.

    Business will not police itself. Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle to expose private enterprise’s dreadful handling of our food products and the government responded with FDA to place controls that were needed. Manufacturing, complicit with several major inurance companies conspired for 50 years or more to conceal the harm being done to workers from asbestos. Finally, the government stepped in with OSHA which was created particularly in response to the asbestos problem. Now, the national financial industry (I don’t put this off on the community banks and financial people) have abused their power and the government must step in again.

    I think our experiences with the quality of health care for people have been different, which is no surprise because in my line of work I deal with people who get inadequate care more often than a lot of other professions do. I can say for my own family, we have had excellent care, but its cost a lot to get it. If our income was 50K a year, we would have to skip a lot of the things we currently take for granted, and I think that’s not right. I haven’t always felt that way, but I do now.

    I basically agree with your analogy about the government staying out of the game. The only thing I would counter with is that they’ve been trying to call the game with only one ump for too long and he’s been out of position at that.

    Health care is a tough one. I’m not even sure how I’d address it if I were the one in charge. To go back to what we were discussing though, the auto industry itself says the biggest labor cost disparity it has is over health care. That has got to be addressed because as Q said, no one advocates leaving these retirees without coverage. Yet, a whole industry is in peril, and that’s a big reason why. I don’t want a government system like Cuba’s. But I think a public-private solution is workable and should be pursued.

  78. Zeek says:

    Tiger, nice baseball analogy, but I think what TB really means is that the govt. should remain the umpires, but they also have to be rulemakers and enforcers. Rules of baseball have changed over the years (Just like all sports) with the evolution of the game, but instead of evolving with the times, our govt. is operating under many archaic laws concerning the business and financial markets, healthcare, and social issues. We need new amendments and new/changed laws so the govt. will be doing the right thing when they enforce them. For so long the Old Guard has been too nearsighted to change with the times that everyone, including govt. officials, have learned how to beat the system, or atleast manipulate it to their profit. It is a vicious cycle that has been in the makings since the Industrial Revolution, but particularly in the past 50 years as number the of people involved in agriculture has declined every year. Laissez-faire works as long as the govt. does its job as “regulator” uncorrupted. Government should not control business but make sure that “fair” business policy is being followed, and by that I mean fair to the producer and the consumer.
    Tiger, you may be able to walk in to an emergency room and receive healthcare with no insurance or money in hand, however, you will receive a bill for ATLEAST $500 and if it is not paid in a very timely manner, your credit is shot, which is pretty important nowadays. Healthcare cost is like the chicken or the egg thing. It is so convoluted now that everyone from insurance, doctors,lawyers, drug mftrs.,hosp., etc., are to blame.
    TB, I would help you out on the interview tips, but the rise it could cause in the unemployment rate would be catastrophic.

  79. Tiger says:

    Getting late and you’re all making good points.. Sure government has a role and needs to regulate, estblish rules, etc., but what worries me is that government is made up of human beings and many on the left who have agendas counter to the wellbeing of this country. Those people scare me as I can see them using their positions to gain more power an change the fundamentals of this country..

    Do we want the government to rule or to serve? The alarming trend is towards rule.. And conservatives seek to reverse that trend..

    And regulation should have some common sense.. One could argue that both hyper and hypo regulation in the private sector causes problems.. Case in point; regulating private banks into making bad loans while having too little regulation on government-run institutions like Fan & Fred.. See, the government who’s writing and changing the rules are the ones with no common sense.. They have no qualifications and they have political agendas.. They created this mess and blame everyone but themselves.. And we’re stupid enough to invite them to our healthcare party..

  80. quail09 says:

    Something always has to give in any healthcare scenario…..don’t work or have no insurance?….go to the emergency room….receive a $500 bill and don’t pay in a timely manner?…..your credit is shot……want to get rid of this irritating reality?…..change to socialized medicine so that people can have health coverage without the current requirement of a job/insurance….they can have unlimited (supposedly) access to care and receive no $500 bill that has to be paid (whew)……no one is talking about the new reality that would arrise from this magic fix……the lower level of care and the access to that lower level of care….new issues….something has to give…..i have close family members in germany, england, and canada……ALL have expressed their disdain for socialized medicine…..then again, all have jobs and pay their bills on time….they are not scared of our system and the responsibility it puts on the consumer of healthcare services…..i fear we are being tempted to exchange a great but flawed system for a substandard one …..with great regret

  81. irvineredd says:

    Tiger don’t start spouting that it is the left that has an agenda to counter the well being of the country. Where were you for the last eight years? The bush administration was all about consolidating executive power and manipulating the populace using fear to get us to stay in line with policies that advocated torture and spying on the civilian population. They gave no-bid contracts to Haliburton. It was their administration that has presided over rules that are helping to destroy our environment. They presided over the possibly the largest redistribution of wealth in our nations history with the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. Note that redistribution skewed heavily toward the rich. It’s the Bush Administration who didn’t regulate the derivatives markets for the last 8 years. I’ll have to find the link for you but there is a video of Bush talking about helping Americans fulfill the American dream of owning a home. In 2002 he said he wanted to put five million low income people into new homes. During the same speech Bush announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would increase their commitment by $440 billion due to his plan. Then the housing bubble burst a few years later.

    Don’t give me that tired argument that it’s the left who are out to counter the wellbeing of this country. I don’t always agree with what Democrats do, although most people would consider me liberal. I prefer the term progressive. Also, in case you haven’t thought about this, the Republicans were in major control of government from 94 to 06. And let’s not even get into the 80s. The right has had ample opportunity to implement what they want to do and here we are having this argument. And of course the whole time they were doing this they propagating the idea to the American public that the left was out to get them; that they were going to take their guns, money, and God away from them. It’s a load of crap!

    Once again I’m not saying that the left is always correct. As I’ve said earlier in this thread thinking from a position of absolutism is no good, so I try no to do that.

  82. Tiger says:

    Irvin.. Please put down the coolaid. Your liberal talking points don’t work with me.. Everything you just posted is a distortion of the truth or feinged outrage you’re simply parroting. Haliburton, Bush Lied, OIL!! That stuff is ridiculous.. If I wanted to debate Michael Moore I wouldn’t have stopped by here thinking there’d be some rational discussion..

    The left is trying to dramatically change this country with their socialist, marxist and communist views.. Their actions and agendas have labels even though you hate to admit it.. Watch the news or read a paper if you don’t believe me.. Government taking over private sector = socialism. The president attacking a private citizen (Rush) using his bully pulpit = unprecedented bullying=dictatorial.. The mounting evidence shows Obama to be a Marxist and the DNC being a combination of all of it..

    Bush never tortured me, you or anybody we know.. He tortured terrorists.. And I’m freaking glad he did.. He should have tortured their mamas too.. I’m also glad he listened in on terrorist’s phone calls.. And I doubt seriously the American people are that pissed about it either.. They’re just sick of the democrats beating GWB over the head with it.. You guys get so bent out of shape over the stupid stuff.. Consolidated power??? What is that? It hasn’t affected me.. Being highly critical of the means to which someone is trying to protect you is a bit childish.. As Jack would say, just say thanks and be on your way.. Do you even know what a no-bid contract is? If so, what makes it evil. Do you think there could possibly be a reason for having a no-bid contract? I’ll let you look it up.. Why would you be upset about it? Because the democrats told you to be outraged.. I’m not.. Haliburton earned their money whether you are educated enough to realise it or not…

    And btw, yes democrats are trying to take away our guns, money and god.. Where have you been? Just in the last week I could document 15 cases which prove they are actively doing so.. I mean really, if you’re going to accuse me of “spouting” this or that – you really shouldn’t be the main one spouting off with out knowing what you’re talking about.. I could go on, but Irv, we should call a truce right now, because I can’t change a mind like yours. Your too far gone and I’d be wasting my time on you..

  83. Jessie Lou says:

    My head just exploded!

    Is there someone here who is right down the middle?

    Clowns to the left, Jokers to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you…..

    As a regular old gal, I’ve sat here and read all this crap and am finallly to the point where I need some boots. Perhaps I lack the formal education that most of you have BUT I am glad to say I do not have the anger that seems to come along with it!

    Moderation is the key in all things and this country is far from that. Where is the compromise? I’m not sure our leaders even know the meaning of the word. They are all – Dems and Reps – to concerned with their own personal agendas in my book. By personal I do not mean a Democrat or Republican agenda I mean a Nancy Pelosi Agenda or a Barney Frank agenda or best yet, a Ted Stevens agenda.

    I am sick of them all! Just think, they argue like all of you do on this blog but in a much larger fashion and we are paying them to do it with very little to show for it.

  84. irvineredd says:

    My talking points really, Tiger. I bet everything you have said here is on the RNC website. Oh, Obama is a socialist! They are all communists! They want my Guns!

    Look because I support gun control doesn’t mean I’m against guns, it just means I think it should be harder to get a gun. My cousin has a damn arsenal in his house. Not of hunting weapons, which is understandable, but of hand guns. There is no reason he should be able to walk into a pawn shop and buy a handgun.

    On no bid contracts, it’s very interesting that you basically do the Republican thing and just patronize me by saying I don’t know what I’m talking about. As anyone paying attention knows Dick Cheney used to be the head of Haliburton, who conveniently didn’t have to compete to earn the contracts from the government. If they had competed for these contracts with other companies and came out as the best option for the government I would be fine with it, but that wasn’t the case.

    It’s quite interesting that you would talk about rational discussion and me being childish, but yet you are the one basically calling me stupid, and Michael Moore, and uneducated. Really and I’m the child?

    No one tells me to be outraged. I’m no ones puppet. I’m the only liberal in my immediate family. If I was just a damn puppet I would have just gone out and voted for W like most of them did. Instead I read and think for myself and make my own judgements.

    Interesting that you would bring up Rush, who only wants to have Republicans in power. Worship at his alter some more, he clearly has the moral authority to lead our country.

    Everything you’ve said here is typical bull. As I’ve said before I don’t operate with philosophical absolutism becaue that is stupid. You on the other hand clearly do. I’m of the mindset that our problems are too complicated to be dominated and decided by any specific political ideaolgy. I’m open minded. Your clearly just interested in throwing blame around.

    Also, I’m not a communist. I run a small business and do believe that capitalism is the best way to go, but that doesn’t mean everything capitalism implies is always correct. Or that we as a country should always strictly operate that way.

    Oh yeah on wiretapping, if you were an American citizen living outside the United States for any reason your communications were more than likely monitored. I was living in Liverpool during the spring of 2005, so it is actually likely that my communications were monitored.

    I’m glad you’d sell your freedom in exchange for safety. As Ben Franklin said, “They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security”. I think Mr. Franklin knows a little bit about liberty.

    Oh, and torturing their mothers. I’m sure Jesus would be real happy about you wanting to torture their mothers. Classy.

  85. Tiger says:

    Irv.. I said I’m not debating you.. You’re mistaking opinion for facts, spouting talking points, and getting upset and starting to name call. It doesn’t’ lend to good debate.. Sorry man you’re just not in my league.. Here’s what you do: go and do some research.. Read some conservative thought leaders and really think about what they are saying.. Come back when you’re better suited for intelligent discussion..

  86. irvineredd says:

    Yeah I like all the facts you’ve been showcasing. Let me bow down to you Tiger and your greatness.

    Keep up the patronizing.

  87. Zeek says:

    JLou- I’m with you honey. Let’s have some moderation and common sense…no, wait..that is not allowed in D.C. anymore is it?

    Truth of the matter is the sysytem is corrupt and too far gone more than likely. I know I just praised moderation, but that is during normal times and circumstances. Radical steps will probably have to be taken to straighten our great country out because she has been abused and neglected for so long. As I said before, term limits for congress would be a start, along with ditching just about every congressman and high ranking govt. official we have, and starting over. Can noone see the writing on the wall? We are doomed to bring this country to ruin if people (I mean real middle class people) don’t step up and actively take a stand to make monumental changes. Enough talk, I’m gonna go say a prayer, count my dough(won’t take long), clean my .45, then smoke a big fatty!!!!!!!!
    Can’t We All Just Get Along?????

  88. irvineredd says:

    Zeek, you’d like the writings of Seiyes. He wrote a tract called “What is the third estate?” right before the outbreak of the French Revolution. It was basically saying that without the third estate, the first and second would have nothing. Much like now, without the middle class, we would be nowhere. Essentially it said that the ruling classes needed to realize what they owed to the working public and act accordingly.

  89. Jessie Lou says:

    Zeek – I knew I would resurrect you with my Stealer’s Wheel quote.

    I am all for term limits 8 years min, 12 years tops. That may be long enough to keep them from becoming too corrupt. Seriously, what does Robert Byrd have to contribute at his age? If he is still in his right mind that would be one thing but I’m guessing that at 90 something he is slipping back into a kinder, simpler time of his life.

    Absolute power corrupts absolutely. I do think that much is true.

    Just for investment purposes, there is a large supply of ammo in my general vicinity. Kind of like investing in wine or stamp, only they are bullets.

  90. irvineredd says:

    Much agreed on the term limits.

  91. Tiger says:

    Zeek,

    Good points.. There’s a consensus on the need to reform our politics.. I say reform politics as you mention and see how those changes improve the economy.. Sadly, the more powerful government becomes, the less likely we’ll be able to enact changes in government.. Basically the politicians are taking steps now to entrench their power and continue its unprecedented march towards socialism. We’re the only thing standing in the way i shte middle class and we’re not doing anything.. Historic models show larger government to be problematic for freedom. We the people elected socialists to the most powerful positions in government.. They have the majority and will now do what it is they do – enact socialism.. It was fun while it lasted..

  92. Zeek says:

    JLou- your Stealer’s Wheel did bring a grin. It always reminds me of that scene from “Reservoir Dogs” when Michael Madsen is about to torture that cop (great movie). I have seen a few short glimpses of that redheaded temper though, so I am not sure how I feel about this Annie Oakley phase you are entering. Ha Ha!

    Term limits would have to be 8 years, that is long enough, same as President. The checks and balances system needs some revamping.

    Redd- I’m pretty sure I was Seiyes in a former life, but thank you for acknowledging my prowess as a thinker.

    Hey TB, how about a little discussion on the Dante’ Stallworth situation? I mean, he was .12 (at like 7:00 AM) and he killed a guy. Fla. law states 4-14 yrs. for DUI Death. I’m sure with his money, he will have a top-notch well connected attorney, so he will probably get @ 5yrs. But, that means in Fla. he will only serve @ 18 months, then be placed on probation. Even if he nets 10 yrs. he will only serve @2.5 yrs. Why does our system forgive a drunk for killing someone so easily, yet give people 20-30+yrs. for much less benign (non-violent) crimes dealing with drugs?

    BTW, just a little FYI, if Stallworth would have committed the same crime in MS, and received 10 yrs., he would serve no less than @ 6 yrs. Pretty big disparity isn’t it?

  93. Zeek says:

    NEWSFLASH– After finishing a conversation with my confidant Sweet, and hearing his disdain and apathy for all that has been discussed on this thread lately ( and I feel the same on most levels as he) I have come to a momentous decision. The BBRP (est. 1990), which is an elite faction of warrior/scholars of which I am the pater familia, will no longer be known as The Buddha Brown Ruthless Posse. Sad, I know. The group will now be recognized as The Buddha Brown Revolutionary Posse. For those of you intrigued, wanting to know more about this select cabal, please ask TBaen to let the keystrokes fly and use his masterful skills at prose to relate the history of the BBRP and its conception at Cash’s on the Beach in lovely Ft. Walton Beach during Spring Break 1990. Over and Out.
    The Revolution is on the Rise,baby!!!

  94. Jessie Lou says:

    Tiger – you have such a large opinion – why don’t you run for something? I myself have briefly (like a nano second) considered it; however, I do not feel like I fit anywhere politically. I am currently without party or definition.

    Although I am brave enough to invite those here to give me their perception of where I fall.

    Zeek – I’m probably closer to Little Orphan Annie. There isn’t much intimidating about me, now is there?

    I’m not familiar with the Dante Stallworth info.

  95. Madd Dawg says:

    WOW–there has been a lot of large talk behind my sleeping back.

    Tiger and IR, you are both obviously intelligent individuals with strongly-held opinions, but when you engage in personal attacks upon one another, it undercuts your arguments and takes away the fun factor of the blog. I will now get off of my soapbox.

    For the record, I, of course, agree with almost everything that Tiger posted and almost nothing that IR posted—no offense inteded IR. Keep those excellent analogies coming Tiger.

    Zeek, it will always be the BBRP to me.

    JL, those in the middle of the road get run over.

    My fear is that the policies of the current administration will make so many US citizens completely reliant upon the government such that the socialist agenda will become more and more a part of our society, and no one will be able to reverse the trend as the voters will keep electing people who promise to give them more free stuff. I hope that is not the future of our country because it will inevitably end in a total collapse (see USSR circa 1989).

    Let’s look at a real life case study as to which economic system works better: (1) command and control (government-run) economies; or (2) free market capitalist economies.

    North and South Korea were split in 1953 or so, and the two countries have the same climate, geographic conditions and natural resources. Capitalist S. Koreans enjoy a per capita GDP of $26,000, while communist North Koreans suffer through constant food shortages and a per capita GDP of $1900. South Koreans have a life expectancy of 78 years, while North Koreans can only expect to live 64 years.

    The same analysis could be done for East and West Germany from 1945 until they were reunified in about 1990.

    Why does the command and control economy always fail: (1) too many people working for the government and, therefore, not engaging in productive activity; and (2) no incentive to work hard and innovate.

  96. Tiger says:

    Jessie Lou.. Wise people ask relevant questions and don’t pretend to know all the answers so I must assume you are wise, thus a conservative.. LOL..

    Seriously, when asking what affiliation are you? It can be complicated by looking at each issue on where you stand or by makig obervations.. When I did not know I looked to people I trusted; hard working people, religious people and clergy, business leaders and people of courage and conviction.. I asked, what affiliation are most of these people? Once I found out I began searching for data to back their positions.. I watched news, read papers and observed discussions like this one.. It all made sense and I am a conservative.. Conservatives believe in a way of life and a means to achieve that way of life for everybody.. Though no belief system and political system is perfect, we have to look at what’s worked and try to stay on track.. An example is capitalism.. It works 90% of the time as opposed to socialism or communism which work 10% of the time.. Liberals go nuts when it’s capitalism is not working (10%) and call for a radical “restructure”.. Likewise when socialism is actually working 10% of the time liberals say “see we told you it works”.. History proves capitalistic countries have the highest living standard on the planet. Socialistic and Communistic have the lowest.. I’m sticking with capitalism and fighting those who don’t..

    Defining fairness is a key difference between liberals and conservatives.. Conservative feel that if you have a system in place that enables everyone to achieve happiness and success then that is being fair.. Liberals want a system inplace that provides happiness at the expense of others.. They see people who are not succeeding and feel society owes then success whether they earn it or not. They want to give your tax dollars to the less fortunate instead of allowing you to give your money to the less fortunate yourself.. Liberals often say the rich are getting richer and those evil CEO’s a ropping people off.. This rhetoric is designed to promote jealous (populsim). Politicians win votes by making midlle class and poor people envious.. It’s not fair people are rich.. they must be getting rich at the expense of the common people. Liberals promise to sock it to the rich if they get elected.. Often times they do at the expense of jobs for the very people who elected them – the common folks.

    This country is great because of capitalism, period.. If politicians want to tweak the system to better serve capitalism then I’m all for it, but they want to elliminate capitalism and introduce socialism.. Socialism has never been successful and it’s been tried througout the centuries.. Capitalism, which defines America, is proven to be the most successful of economic systems.. Like I say it’s not perfect, but it has propelled us to the superpower that we are.. Should we digress?

    So I ask, who would change that? Why would they want to? In the name of fairness? Or in the name of acquiring power of us?

    I’d hope you are a conservative in that you value life, property, family, religion, free trade, limited government, traditional marriage.. And Liberals will claim to value all these things, but their actions say otherwise.. There is a full out assult on all these things we hold dear and liberals are the driving force.. I’m talking radical liberals and probably no one on this blog would fit that discription, but radical liberals are finally running the show in DC and they now have the power to complete their missions..

    And anyone in Pascagoula of all places to be a liberal is beyond me.. If liberals had their way, there would be no shipyard or Halliburton or Chevron or any company that make our lives easier and protects us.. Just listen to how they speak about big oil, and defense companies.. It’s frightening.. Made me sick to hear some Pacagoulians ripping on Trent Lott back during his NAACP troubles.. Republicans are the lifeblood of the Jackson county economy..

    As for me being in politics? My closet’s too full of skeletons from college. The liberals would be interviewing past girl friends, policemen and teachers and they would find what they need to string me up..

  97. irvineredd says:

    Mad Dawg, there would be none taken. You didn’t decide to call me an uneducated child and insinuate that I was too dumb to speak with you. You’re respectful.

  98. Tiger says:

    BUT, BUT IRVIN STARTED IT!!! LOL

    Irvin, you’re my friend and I meant no direspect, just colorful verbage trying to drive home a point or two.. We’re cool..

  99. irvineredd says:

    Oh, I see you revert to insults to make a point. Duly noted.

  100. Tiger says:

    Conservatives are flawed in that we extend overtures of goodwill to our opponents on occassion.. A peace pipe if you will.. Unfortunately, the pipe always seems to end up lodged in our eye.. We’ll never learn..

  101. Jessie Lou says:

    Ahh, Tiger you failed to learn a valuable lesson my momma taught me some years ago.

    You can’t start out nasty and then go to being nice – folks don’t take kindly to all of that. I think maybe you’ve spent a little too much time with the likes of the Ingram/Coulter duo – those two coupled with Old Rush is a menage a trois I would avoid at all costs – neither to watch or to participate. That said it is nice to see you pointing out your own flaws for a change.

    MD – I’m counting on you to pick me up in the middle of the road before you see fit to run me over.

  102. Zeek says:

    Did someone say menage’ trois????

    You better hope MD isn’t on a “free” weekend, JLou, or all bets are off, you would be roadkill.

  103. Jessie Lou says:

    I thought that would be the main reason he would pick me up except my looks are fading and he would probably be looking for someone much younger and less intelligent.

  104. Tiger says:

    Ingraham and Coulter?? hmmm? I could do worse I suppose.. Or I could cross the isle so to speak into the loving arms of Hillary and Pelosi.. Not too gosh aweful, but I’m not really into trannies.. LOL.. Just kidding all you libs.. Now imagine Janet Reno and Helen Thomas naked? MAN!! Michelle Obama has her fans, and she has an elegance about her, but she looks too much like James Brown’s sister for me.. I’ll stick with the Coulter Ingraham combo.. Maybe let Rush do the play by play..

  105. Jessie Lou says:

    Ah so I see you are desperate AND have a sense of humor. Good combination in all men. They will eat you right on up my dear. They are just so sour I’m not sure how you can stand them. And that is a sincere question.

    MD – I think I’ll stay in the middle of the road…

    Coulter to the left, Pelosi to the right –
    the picture is getting dimmer and
    the Apocoplypse a little bright!

    Yes, I am a poet.

  106. Jessie Lou says:

    Wait – Tiger – did you actually call me liberal?

  107. Cecil Ann says:

    I haven’t had much time to drop by recently and I hope I don’t regret dropping by today. Just read the blogs between Tiger and Irvineredd.
    Let me start by saying I may not be the smartest person in the world but I do have a mind of my own. I am someone that listens to both sides and I check out what statements are correct because both parties have stretched the truth on many issues.
    Let’s face it politics and religion are two things people can’t agree on, but after reading Irvineredd’s blog I realized he isn’t your typical guy from the South. He knows his mind and his facts also. His comments may be stinging to someone that doesn’t agree with him, but I will have to say he was right on target with his statements.
    Let’s start by taking a long hard look at the electoral map in 2008. Do you not ask yourself why so many of the lowest paid workers and the least educated people would vote republican. The republicans did a great p.r. job in the South and Midwest with scare tactics, but thank God, after scaring all the hunters to death for 8 years some of them finally wised up and guess what? No one came for their guns. And after eight years of a republican president and six years with a republican Congress what have they done about abortion? With regards to God he is definitely bipartisan, but the republicans wanted America to think they had a direct line to Him and the majority of the red states fell for it in 2000 and 2004, but not in 2008.
    Isn’t it also a fact republicans are against unions and blue collar workers? They crave power and wealth and that is their main agenda now. They couldn’t care less about the working class, which happens to be all of us.

    Ask yourself this question. How many of us will ever be as wealthy as some of the CEO’s that have raped the American people? My guess is none, but yet some of us never learn who is really going to help the working class. How could someone with half a brain follow the words of a man like Rush? How could he preach conservative principles when he has none. He spouts hatred and division and not to mention the fact he’s been married several times and is an ex- drug user. I am not judging him on that, but to hear him tear down other people when he has all that baggage is just too much for me.

    Instead of blaming the other party just go back and read history with an open mind. If you question what you hear as being the truth then open your history books. At the turn of the century we had the very elite and the very poor. The middle-class did not exist, but thanks to men and women who had the guts to form unions and help the poor rise up and have a good life is the reason we have a middle class today. People died for us to have paid holidays, overtime pay, vacations and to have better and safer working conditions. Believe me, Tiger, your republicans had rather see just the opposite. With the Bush administration the flood gates were opened.They didn’t care about the quality of the work done here, their only concern was cheaper labor and making more money for corporate America. More billionaires were made under George Bush than any other President. Now, who was he looking out for 95% of all Americans or the other 5%?

    Well enough is enough, but the main point I wanted to make is how impressed I was with Irvineredd’s blog and I believe he may have a career in politics one day.

  108. Tiger says:

    No, Jessie Lou, I did not call you a liberal.. What gave you that idea?

    Tough crowd.. 😉

  109. Jessie Lou says:

    Just trying to be sure – you, of all people here today should know where assuming anything gets you.

  110. Anonymous says:

    Cecil Ann.. Sounds like you’ve put some thought into your message.. I just can’t agree with many of your points.. I don’t think the facts support a lot of it..

    Why would you have a problem with people becoming billionaires? Your assertion that CEO’s have raped the people is over the top.. No CEO ever raped me. George Bush doesn’t support billionaires any more than he disdains poor people.. He tried to protect both classes from punitve government actions.. With Billionaires, I don’t see a law passed that enabled people to become fabulously rich.. I’m seeing some laws recently that might prevent it though.. Is that a good thing? I aspire to be a billionaire one day.. I have that dream.. It may not be attainable but it’s a dream many working Americans have that motivates them to get out of bed each morning. Why would you quelch that.. The dream, the motivation? Successful achievers are the driving force behind this great country you live in.. I mean who actually loses when people become rich? Obviously in our socienty people become rich by providing an excellent good or service to their fellow man.. Should they not be rewarded? Or is jealousy and envy the call to order? Big business is based on a voluntary transaction between two people. Nobody is forced to buy anything.. It’s a choice to buy a Chevy truck or a bag of pretzels and there is competition to make sure prices and quality are desirable..

    If I make a blowup doll and TB voluntarily buys it am I evil or greedy? (although he may be a little sick). Am I “raping” him? What if TB’s male bloggers buy 10 apeice and their buddies all buy ten and so on? Eventually I become rich because I provided a good that was coveted by many of my fellow men.. What if the employees who made those dolls became unionized and started demanding added benefits that would eat into my profits? What if those demands were so burdensome that I had to quit making dolls because I couldn’t afford to pay those employees.. Who wins here? It’s the envy crowd who is jealous of my riches.. Who loses here? Me obviously, and my employees and my customers and the local schools (taxes) and so many more.. Ideally governemnt should protect me, the billionaire because I am the one taking the risk to serve customers and provide EMPLOYMENT to the citizens.. Demonize me at your peril… When I am brought down you’re only punishing socienty at large.. Nobody is advocating giving rich people advantages. Their wealth provides that exclusively.. Republicans are protecting rich people from jealous people and therefore are labled as “for the rich”.. It a self fulfilling prophecy.. Liberals attack the rich and then attack the conservatives who defend them. It’s an old populist tactic where nobody wins.. I would offer that without rich people there would be a whole lot more poor people..

    Furthermore, you mention abortion as it relates to the Republican congress and Bush. Having control why couldn’t they end abortion? That’s simple.. They did not have the votes needed to win.. Blame democrats for for not voting for the proposal. The slim majority Republicans had was largely ineffective in passing the conservative agenda.. All it took was a couple of Republican defectors and the bill was dead.. So yes they had “control” for six years, but they really didn’t have enough to get things done the way the base would have liked…

    To attack Rush is strange considering he’s not an elected official.. He’s just a radio talk show host giving his opinion.. He has flaws like the rest of us.. Hooked on painkillers, divorce.. Sounds like half my neighborhood.. Where’s the scandal? Rush is not held to the standard of a politician.. He’s not a representative of the Republican party either. He just happens to be conservative.. And certainly no one is suggesting he run this country.. Where do you get that?

    I’m out.. Time for dinner.. I hope somebody got rich by selling these tacos I’m about to destroy..

  111. Anonymous says:

    Jessie Lou writes: “They are just so sour I’m not sure how you can stand them. And that is a sincere question.”

    You are right about Coulter and Ingraham as being sour.. They tend to rub people the wrong way.. Been guilty of that myself recently..

    Delivery aside, they make compelling points.. Ingraham is a regular person and is serious and articulate about her beliefs and observations.. That can be abrasive to some.. Ann Coulter on the other hand is an intellectual with no people skills.. She comes off as extremely sarcastic, but it’s in an attempt to make her points..

    Also, when you see these two on TV, they are usually in a debate situation where they are being attacked by the opposition.. Counterpunching and defending oneself is never flattering to the casual observer..

    I’ve watched them both appear on The View and they were pilliaged like no other.. Take Ann for example.. They insult her the whole time and when she defends herself they say “look, we told y’all she was a shrill whack job.” Joy Behar is the worst.. The meanest nastiest person I’ve seen on TV.. She makes me miss Rosie, who by the way was just too opinionated for her IQ..

    But watch Coulter and Ingraham in a friendly environment and you’ll probably see a more thoughtful and cerebral side of them..

    And besides, what’;s wrong with showing a little grit? Ever seen Hillary or Pelosi savage their opponents? They are elected officials, not pundits, and they are just as sour..

    I could name the “divisive” conservatives on two hands.. I would need a calculator to count all the devisive democrats on TV. Ever seen a Democratic congressional press conference? Wow is all I can say.. They routinely insulted the president for eight years.. Not to mention the daily assault from the mainstream media – who’s 90% liberal..

  112. Tiger says:

    Above post was mine..

  113. Zeek says:

    Tiger, I agree totally with your last two comments. I have no desire to see free market capitalism shoved aside in favor of Socialism. My problem is not with people becoming rich, I’m all for it and I hope you attain your goal and spread the wealth my way,bro. My problem is with those who have become rich and then not treated their faithful customers with fair prices and service, and because of greed not compensated their employees fairly for helping them attain their wealth. I firmly believe that a company is only as good as its low-on the-totem pole hourly employees, they are the backbone, and should be FAIRLY treated and acknowledged for their effort. I do not want to hear that a company can’t afford to pay higher than minimum wage if they have CEO’s, CFO’s, COO’s, and a hundred VP’s of circle jerking and a Board of Directors and Large shareholders who are raking in millions!!! If they would just not be so greedy and invest in their company with impressive wages the best would want to work there and stay there, which means the co. thrives and profits keep improving. To me that’s common sense.

    I think a big problem that noone is addressing is the fact that many more Americans are stupid than we’d like to believe. It is societal. Atleast 50% of Americans could even comprehend and follow what we’ve been talking about. Now, don’t get me wrong, as Ted Baxter (Judge Smells in Caddyshack[excuse spellings] ” The world needs ditchdiggers too!” We can’t all be affluent scholars from the BBRP. But, instead of keeping up with current events and knowing what’s going on in our country, most are watching reality tv or surfing the net for porn. I see such idiocy on a daily basis it is comical. But it’s sad when Jay Leno interviews people on the street and four in a row can’t name the country’s Vice President, ya know. I honestly blame to a certain degree the very liberal media and some Tv and film companies. I am in no way in favor of censorship, but i think these people have a responsibility to air certain material at the right demographic. I should not turn my tv on (at 10:00 PM) and hear words that would make George Carlin roll over in his grave. I should not hear on the radio in the middle of the afternoon with my kids in the car–“till the sweat runs down my balls”, I mean this does have an effect on kids. I’m getting in deep and could go on , but I shall digress and,go take a smoke break.

  114. Zeek says:

    Hey Quail, I’m firing up this one for you,dude!!!

  115. Tiger says:

    Zeek,

    You are correct that there are gaps between the CEO’s and the rest.. And on the surface it don’t seem fair.. But how would you address it? How would you address rich guys who forget about the customer? I’ve always assumed workers could work elsewhere if their pay wasn’t up to market standards.. And customers who are treated badly can shop somewhere else.. If there’s nowhere else to work and shop then that creates opportunties for entrepenuers..

    Thats the nature of the system.. It is everchanging based on many factors, but it works.. People get paid based on what they bring to the table, the market rate for the value they bring to the company.. Should those folks Leno interviews be making as much you? I hope not.. You’re bringing some skills to the game and the market will acomodate you.. Regardless, pay issues are an internal topic to decide within companies – not through government intervention… Labor is a transaction between two people on a voluntary basis.. That contract should be relatively free of third party influence, or it becomes broken..

    What’s funny is people (not you) freak out about CEO pay when actors and athletes make as much if not more.. I would say Joe CEO is a real producer providing more public good than A-Rod.. But strangely A Rod gets a pass.. No backlash in the MLB.. I’m all for athletes getting paid.. They earn it not because of the benefit to society necessarily, but because the market is willing to pay it. Good for them and good for the CEO’s.. But let’s not be so hard on the CEO producers who have a skillset commanding millions..

    Some might ask why the market allows this huge pay.. My guess would be motivation.. That huge carrot motivates not only the CEO, but also the wannabe CEO’s.. When you have employees dreaming about that prize you have more productive workers.. A trickle down effect I guess. Take away the top prize and you destroy motivation all the way down the line. You guys playing ball at Gibson and Webb May all summer surely loved playing, but I bet the allure of getting rich playing ball made you work harder at it..

    But who knows… I just hate to see a backlash against the producers.. I’ve seen it in other countries.. It never ends well.

  116. irvineredd says:

    Zeek, I’d have to agree with most of what you said. If any of you work in retail, then you know the vast majority of the public is quite dumb.

    T-Bag, this may surprise you but I agree with you to a certain extent in that somtimes situations with certain types of business creates the opportunity for other businesses to pop up. I run a college textbook store for the fastest growing retail textbook company in the country. My qualm, as it relates to your example, only being that the guy at the top had already done very well for himself and was able to get the company going because of that. Now if I tried to start my own business it wouldn’t have happened because I couldn’t have gotten the loan.

    I’m in agreeance with Zeek on the pay for your lowest workers, and can say I’ve been the victim of a company who refused to pay their best employees a proper wage. I used to work for Barnes and Noble while in school. I was by far the best and most knowledable non-management employee in the textbook department, which is the department that brings in the most money for the store. But when it came time for a raise, I only got a quarter, while there were people working in departments that were less productive, yet they were making more money. I was very lucky and got a job working for the company I now work for.

    Another level in the compensation department, as it relates to my experience, is that a corporate institution like B & N don’t compensate their managers nearly enough. If you are a B & N college store manager you are going to top out at around $60,000 to $70,000. That is good money, but when you look at the overall picture of what your store does, it isn’t. For example my direct competitor is a B & N and they expect to make 8 million in that store this year. The manager over will probably see about 55,000 of that.

    Now in my company, because we have an owner who understands the stress and work involved in being successful in this business, compensates his managers very well especially after the third and fourth years when you’ve turned the corner. See the difference between us and them is that we reward those who are successful to keep them in the company and striving to make it grow. B & N on the otherhand looks at it as, “Hey we can find someone else in the company willing to do your job for less. It doesn’t matter if they don’t do as good a job because we are paying them less.” It’s the same mentality they have with their lower level workers, we’ll just get someone else.

    I have a great example of this actually. My ex-girlfriend got Salman Rushdie to do his signing through the Ole Miss Bookstore (a B & N) instead of Square Books, which is a pretty coup in the Oxford literary world. The trade manager didn’t even know who Rushdie was. So it comes the night for the signing, which I worked becaue I wanted to meet Mr. Rushdie. The store sold lots of books. The next day they demoted my girlfriend to running a register down stairs because the trade manager said he couldn’t handle her. It was basically to squeeze her out. They did the same to me by moving me to the shipping department and screwing me over on the raise. So that store in a matter of 6 months ended up losing 4 of their best employees simply because they refused to offer better compensation and even lied about their ability to do so. They did it because from their point of view it was hey we can get someone else to do that job for less and everything will be fine. That didn’t work well for them considering how our numbers grew with this company after I came on board.

    Given I was lucky and knew someone who got me a decent job. But I know plenty of people right now that are dealing crap jobs they aren’t being compensated for properly simply becaue they know there is nothing else there. A friend of mine has been looking for a job in Boston, MA for the last couple of months and still only has a crap part time job. A decent job at a decent wage is a hard thing to find, even more so if you live in a smaller town, where jobs are more of a premium, at least jobs that offer a decent wage.

    T-Bag, this also may surprise, I agree the baseball players get what they deserve, because of the massive revenue generated by their abilities. What bothers me is that what they do does not better our society, while teachers are supposed to mold our future and get so much less, the same goes for police officers.

    Guys, I hope you weren’t dreaming of getting rich while you were a little one playing baseball. I hope you were just playing because you loved the game.

    I don’t think we are having a backlash against producers, I think it’s a backlash against greed. Which, let’s be honest, greed tends to be the core problem in just about every form of government around the world. The reason I don’t trust communism or trickle down economics is the same, both rely on the unselfishness of individuals.

  117. Jessie Lou says:

    Tiger – I knew Anonymous was you but thanks for owning up to it. You are as familiar in print as you would be in person.

    My point on sourness is this – you get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar which is why some folks do drink the Kool aid! That is how they get sucked in. There is so much negativity in the journalism dept. and daytime TV – which includes The View – that I’d rather go to work sick than risk staying home to be subjected to that on the TV. Yes, my dear, I do know how to use the remote control but I am illustrating a point.

    While I did not vote for Obama I think the reason why he was so popular is this. Hope is a positive and he campaigned on that. Perhaps it is a fairy tale with rainbows and butterflies BUT that is more appealing apparently and the Kool Aid stand could not keep enough in stock. I did not feel that the Republicans used the right tactics and came across much more divided and negative. That showed in the election results. The final nail was picking Sarah Palin as McCain’s running mate – that was a large disappointment to me and I knew the end was near. If I got one more email from someone quoting the Bible I thought I would puke! Instead I chose to go to the Bible and send back the applicable chapters that were being wrongly quoted to try and teach those people to read and subject them to Truth as it was written. Of course, I got no responses on any of that. I was so disillusioned by this long, drawn out campaign that I did not want to make the effort to stop at FPC on my way to work to vote. But vote I did so at least I did my civic duty.

    This is just my point of view which is worth about as much as anyone’s on this blog – it ain’t gonna change life, not in South Pascagoula. I learned that one a long time ago.

  118. Zeek says:

    Tiger, that is what I meant by people being stupid, and unaware. If your comp. won’t pay, quit and raise awreness in community that they are scum. If you’re a customer stop buying and raise awareness among consumers, but noone does that anymore. Ignorance, Apathy, and helplessness makes these companies unbeatable is all I’m saying. But thanks for seeing my side guys. Did you hear that Quail??

  119. Zeek says:

    Oh, and Redd, how about giving me a job???

  120. irvineredd says:

    You’re about two months too late Zeek.

  121. Jessie Lou says:

    And you would have to be willing to relocate to a much more liberal area of the country……

  122. Zeek says:

    Let me know when you fire someone.

    Where are you, California?

    JLou, more liberal than Ocean Springs??

  123. irvineredd says:

    I’m in Richmond, VA.

    I’ll let you know when I have to fire someone. That should be a good time. You could always come work for me for two years and get yourself a store back down there.

    Richmond City is liberal, but the suburbs are more conservative. You see a McCain/Palin sticker every now and then.

  124. Zeek says:

    JLou- you DIDN’T like Palin?? As a female, the way ya’ll usually stick together, atleast when it comes to man bashing, I can’t believe so many of ya’ll attacked her instead of embracing her and hoping she would be the first fem le pres.

    As far as selling hope, no offense, but would you vote for me if I promised world peace, an end to hunger and homelessness, better education, and more affordable healthcare?? Both parties make promises that can’t be kept, were you just that in need of a CHANGE you were willing to compromise your true inner beliefs??

    And btw, I can hook you up with something far better than hope kool-aid, just holla.

  125. Zeek says:

    Never mind Irv, that’s too far and too close to D.C., but thanks anyway.

  126. Tiger says:

    Jessie Lou…

    Obama didn’t have to go negative against McCain because he had the media fervently on his side.. McCain never had a chance.. Any politician can go positive when they have no opposition..

    I liked Palin.. She’s ok.. Republicans were excited when she was announced as the VP candidate.. Seems she would be heralded by women.. She’s a self made woman of achievement with a strong family and conviction to God.. I just don’t see the flaw in her story.. She seems like a good person.. Nothing shady about her. Surely one could ntipick some some stuff, but compared to the usual DC politician she seems pretty strong.. Overall I’d say Palin is at the very least a highly impressive woman.. Lot’s of people find her attractive.. Not so much me, but she has her fans..

  127. irvineredd says:

    Just spread the info to my fellow Coastians.

    Is it Coastians? Is that the proper general term?

    Also, I wasn’t surprised the ladies didn’t like Palin. She was a hey let’s get the Hillary folks by picking a woman. But for some reason those Hillary people stuck to why they like her in the first place, as opposed to supporting a woman who believes in the exact opposite just because they share a common genetic bond.

  128. irvineredd says:

    I meant to say spreading the info.

  129. Jessie Lou says:

    Perhaps I am more fairminded than you boys are giving me credit for. Why should I like Palin just because she is a woman? I am not a party political and I’m not gender political.

    I am disappointed because they picked a complete unknown and the results were less than stellar. They (don’t you know who They are) did not prepare her well for what she was about to go through. There was no foundation there for Palin and she got bashed in the process. The party did Palin a complete injustice by putting her out there cold. Now she has to defend herself all the time. I think I know just how she feels! Yes, I agree that she is smart and capable, she could not be where she is without those two qualities. Being an unknown can sometimes work for you but in this day and age of the internet and wikipedia where anything can be edited at a moment’s notice to the author’s liking you must be careful. There is a lot of misinformation out there and some of you have been reading it! And as for her looks – I dare say I vote based on how someone looks! That is about as shallow as it gets.

    Zeek – I didn’t say I bought the hope schtick – I just said it looked like it worked. I am probably one of the most cynical people out there – do not trust a soul and like to hide my money vs. putting it in the bank. Is it any wonder I don’t trust politicians? The world is out to get me – haven’t you heard that? LOL!

  130. Cecil Ann says:

    Tiger, I do agree with some of your points, but for the most part its the typical conservative response. All about “your” world and passing the blame.
    With regards to someone becoming a billionaire, I’m all for it. I think it’s great to be successful, but it should also matter how you achieve it.
    What good or service did the CEO’s provide? They are just employees of large corporations and some of them are walking away with bonuses made up of taxpayers dollars. Since most of your comments are centered around you and your world tell me what good or service those CEO’s provided you as they walk away with billionaire status?
    I have no problem with someone becoming filthy rich and jealousy isn’t in my vocabulary. I would love to see you or anyone become a billionaire. I honestly hope your dream becomes a reality. Good Luck, but you better pack up and head for a blue state where great goals can be achieved on what you do know.

    Reading your latest blog I clearly see you missed my point regarding the abortion issue and the republican president and Congress.
    What proposal could you possibly be talking about with regards to abortion and blaming the Dems for blocking? First of all, Congress and the president have nothing to do with laws regarding abortion. Nothing of the sort would have ever been on the floor to begin with. The Supreme Court is the ruling factor in that issue not Congress. Maybe I didn’t explain myself very well, but what I meant was the republicans talk a good game when it comes to abortion and knowing all the while there’s not one thing as “the conservative party” that they can actually do except appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court who could overturn RoevWade. So with your statement about the Dems blocking a vote on abortion in Congress I’d love for you to provide some factual info on that.

    Regarding the comment about Rush, first of all I didn’t attack him I just told the truth and no, he’s like no one in my neighborhood- Thank God.
    He is not even a blip on my radar screen so I shouldn’t have even mentioned him in my earlier blog. I just feel for the poor sheep that happen to fall prey to such a hateful human being. I know this because I do listen to both sides and he almost makes me sick to look at him. He is an uneducated man who lucked up and depended on gullible people to make him successful, sucessful only by conservative views. He’s so pathetic that it makes you glad he at least has money going for him.

    All I have to say after reading all the comments in your blog it’s evident that you hold all your statements well above the average Dem. and openmindedness is not going to be one of your better traits. When was the last time you listen to CNN or nightly news instead of Fox?

    I would be willing to bet if every conservative would just take the time to listen to Obama and what he sees for this country as a whole, they might be surprised. He is intelligent and if anyone can lead us to better times it is him, in my opinion. You can’t listen to Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Steele, Mark Levine or Glenn Beck and get an honest appraisal of President Obama. Try the Morning Joe Show, where they have Dems and Rep,. giving their views without name calling and screaming like Hannity and the rest of those folks who only make matters worse.

    Tiger, just a little tidbit. With Medicare dwindling and experts saying it will be non-existent within the next 10 years, I hope you do reach at least a millionaire status and maybe if your parents are still living you can afford to pay their insurance premiums, which should be at minimum 2,000
    a month. You people scream socialist,but something has got to be done about health care and it should have been done about 30 years ago but nobody had the guts to address it until now. By the way there has been a republican president 20 of the last 30 years, but did you see any one of them with the determination to get it off the ground. No, too scared of losing an election. That is one thing I like about this new president he may have a big agenda and he is trying to get things passed that are important issues to people. Like Health care and education to name a few.
    If you don’t think healthcare is one of the main reasons these companies are folding then you are totally out of touch. Health care is killing this country. Gm, Ford and Chrysler have been noted as saying healthcare cost multi-millions a year. Obama isn;t trying to shove national health care down anyone’s throat . You will have an option whether to keep your coverage through your employer or use the national health care plan and when I hear you will not be able to pick your own doctor the government will do that for you, what a crock, just more conservative propaganda. Is it socialism when you have to use certain physicians in you PPO under your employer’s plan. Let’s start thinking about the country instead of me and my little world.Without Medicare to help the baby boomers they are doomed. Unless, independently wealthy your average retirement income cannot pay insurance premiums for someone 65 yr. old. Think about it, that will be your parents and if not your parents it will be someone else’s parents.Think about it. All I can say is “Thank God” Obama is not fixated on the next election , like most of the other politicians, he at least has the balls to try and get something worthwhile accomplished even if cost him the office in 2012. God forbid.

  131. Madd Dawg says:

    IR,
    You say that your old company’s philosophy was to not pay its top people enough and always looked for a way to pay everyone less. You say that your new company rewards its top people. Therefore, you left your old company and went to the new one.

    Those are two different management philosophies. If your new company’s management philosophy is better, it will prosper while your old company withers. That is the beauty of the free market.

    How would you propose to change that? would you want the government monitoring the salary levels at both companies? you would then have vast inefficiencies in the compansation of all employees AND millions of nonproductive bureaucrats monitoring the performance and pay of everyone—a complete cluster.

  132. irvineredd says:

    MD,

    I know they are different philosophies. At the same time we are not a vast corporation. And I got my job through luck. I knew the right person and that put me in this position. If I had not had that I don’t know what I would have done. I also would not have left the other job if I hadn’t gotten this one before hand because I wouldn’t have wanted to leave myself in the lurch. Not everyone is as lucky. Matter of fact most people aren’t that lucky.

    I never said I didn’t like the free market. It’s been insinuated that I don’t by other people who aren’t me simply because I’m a Democrat.

    As for changing it, that’s a tough one. It’s hard to take greed off of someone. From my experience and from my point of view, some decisions were made at these companies that are in a bind that focused solely on short term gain as opposed to a long term plan.

    I would say I don’t have the absolutely correct answer to that. I think it comes down to the person in charge and how they feel about the operation of their business. Like I said before, I don’t trust trickle down economics or communism because both rely on individuals to be unselfish.

    Besides B & N is an international corporation. We won’t wipe them off the earth. I’d like to because they treated me terribly, but alas the free market can’t make that happen. They will just continue to exist and operate the same way.

  133. Tiger says:

    Cecil Ann.. On abortion.. Not sure I get your beef with Republicans on their ability to pass their agenda. Obviously Republicans want to end abortion, but they need Democrats to support the measure.. So what if they can’t get it passed, is that the fualt of Republicans? Can’t they still be pro-life even though they might be powerless to change it.. And honestly, I think Bush had some pro life executive orders in place that Obama recently reversed.. Is that Republican’s fault? And yes, there have been efforts by congress to change abortion laws, but they never passed or made it out of committee.. In short, we’re pro life, but don’t have the power to change it.. But we can still advocate our stance..

    And to say you didn’t attack Rush Limbuagh and then follow with

    “he almost makes me sick to look at him. He is an uneducated man who lucked up and depended on gullible people to make him successful. He’s so pathetic..”

    Well, I’d hate to see a real attack.. LOL.. And to call his listeners gullible? You’re insulting over 20,000,000 people.. Rush, he shouldn’t matter for he has no power over you.. Obama does and conservatives don’t have to join in lockstep agreeing with his “plans” for us.

    I probably watch more CNN and local news than I watch FOX. The point is, we listen to Obama.. That’s why we oppose his agenda.. We disagree with it.. To suggest no one’s listening to Obama is naive.. All those conservative pundits you mentioned listen to Obama too.. They make the same observations I do about what Obama says..

    And I don’t know how to fix Medicare.. It’s another big government program run amuck.. That should tell you something about allowing government to be the solution.. And that’s our point.. Keep government out whenever possible..

  134. Madd Dawg says:

    AMEN to that

  135. Jessie Lou says:

    There are alot of gullible people in the world. Usually we find those to be the ones that have the opposite opinion from us.

    Where can those of us go that just don’t want to be bothered any more?

    Switzerland?

  136. irvineredd says:

    As for medicare, let me ask you a question MD and T-Bag. If we don’t have medicare what happens to those who cannot afford medical coverage through no fault of their own? Do they just go untreated? Are they left to suffer? If the government doesn’t do that, who does? Mississippi is a place that would have a major problem with handling this considering our poverty rate has risen 6% since 2003 up to 22% (And no I didn’t just make that up, that’s the U.S. Census Bureau).

    On abortion, that’s an issue that’s very touchy for most people. I personally agree with the idea that what we need to do is work on preventive methods to stop women from being in that position in the first place. That means we have to educate young men and women, not just tell them to not have sex. Think about what Zeek was alluding to with how dumb people are now-a-days, now imagine how likely it is that a teenager understands the reprecussions of their actions.

    Plus that is an issue that there will never be a compromise on because the feelings on both sides are so strong. I actually understand the pro-life position and the moral dilemma involved. At the same time I think regardless of the law people will continue to do so, so allowing them to do it in a safe environment with a doctor, who chooses to perform the procedure, as opposed to both terminating the fetus and possibly killing or severly injuring themselves is the way to go.

  137. irvineredd says:

    It’s hard to get citizenship in Switzerland. Plus, JL, I don’t think you would like there, it’s too cold for you, I’d imagine. You could always try New Zealand and hang out with Murray and Bret and Jemaine.

  138. irvineredd says:

    I just had a thought, Tiger, since you are big on the government staying out things, what’s your opinion on one of the subjects we were discussing earlier in this thread, legalization of marijuana. Is that not the government telling me what I can or can’t do as opposed to letting the market decide?

  139. Tiger says:

    Irvin.. Who the heck is T-Bag? Oops that’s me.. LOL .. Thanks for the new moniker.. Got a nice ring to it.. t-BAG.. TEEEEE bag.. or TEE BAAAAGG… hmm? Just call me “T” for short..

    Irvin.. As I said before.. I don’t know how to fix medicare.. It would take a team of superhumans to fix a government-induced problem full of complexities such as this.. I do know this, government solutions to business do not work, hence the current medicare debacle..

    As for abortion, yep it’s either black or white for most people.. I’m not here to change minds on that.. I did state my position, but nothing more..

  140. irvineredd says:

    Quite true, T-bag.

  141. Tiger says:

    Irvin.. Where do I stand on pot – as per the governments role? I say legalize it – with restrictions for who, when, where, etc.. Pot never hurt me or anyone I know..

    I would not extend that coke, heroin, etc..

  142. irvineredd says:

    See, we can agree on things, T-Bag.

  143. Cecil Ann says:

    Tiger get yourself a gold chain or 3 and you can be …… Mr. T.

    I think abortion should be left up to the individual – as a female I do not want anyone telling me what I can or cannot do medically with my body. It would be hard enough decision to make.

    IR – I think I would like to hang out with Murray and Jemaine for awhile. He might even be inclined to write a song about me or better yet, we could write one together since my writing skills are so keen.

  144. irvineredd says:

    Ah, yes, I hear Bret and Jemaine are feeling the writers block due to the second season. They could use the help because I want Flight of the Conchords, Season 3 to happen.

  145. Madd Dawg says:

    Scary article:

    _____________
    April 2nd, 2009 1:14 PM Eastern
    Our Government Engaged In EXTORTION With Our Banks!
    By Judge Andrew Napolitano
    FOX News Senior Judicial Analyst

    The Federal government committed extortion and they’re not being held accountable. What’s next? Listen to this: I recently met with the Chair and CEO of one of the country’s top 10 bank holding companies. His bank is worth in excess of $250 billion, has no bad debt, no credit default swaps, no liquidity problems, and no subprime loans. He told me that he and others were forced by Treasury and FDIC threats to take TARP funds, even though he did not want or need them.

    There is simply no authority in the U.S. Constitution for Congress to exercise the level of control it now seeks over private industry.

    The FDIC — with Treasury backing — threatened to conduct public audits of his bank unless his board created and issued a class of stock for the Feds to buy. The audit, which he is confident his bank would survive, would cost it millions in employee time, bad press, and consequent lost business.

    He pleaded with the Feds to leave his successful bank alone. He begged his board to let him tell the Feds to take a hike. But they gave in. The Feds are now just a tiny shareholder, but want to begin asserting more and more control. This is a classic extortion: Controlling someone’s free will by threatening to perform a lawful act. (Blackmail is the threat is to perform an unlawful act in order to control someone else’s free will.) There are no exceptions in the statutes prohibiting extortion for government persons

    This happened in September 2008, but the demands for more control are more recent. It sounds to me like Paulson, Geithner, Bernanke, and Sheila Blair have all read a biography of Benito Mussolini. I guess they skipped the last chapter.

    There is simply no authority in the U.S. Constitution for Congress to exercise the level of control it now seeks over private industry. In fact, this level of control will wind up costing the businesses that took TARP (voluntarily or involuntarily) money since they will lose key employees who will go to work elsewhere and because the reporting requirements will take time and time is money. The Constitution basically says that if the government wants to take time or freedom or money from someone or something, it must sue for it. It cannot just give itself the authority to do so via legislation.

    Our liberties are slipping away right before our eyes.
    ___________________

  146. Madd Dawg says:

    And another:

    _________________
    One in 10 Americans gets help to buy food
    Fri Apr 3, 2009 1:41am BST Email | Print | Share| Single Page[-] Text [+]
    1 of 1Full SizeRelated Video
    Obama’s post-G20 news conference

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A record 32.2 million people — one in every 10 Americans — received food stamps at the latest count, the government said on Thursday
    __________________________

  147. Tiger says:

    I promised I wouldn’t get into the abortion debate.. I apologize in advance.. Maybe I can simply clarify my postion instead of debating other’s postions..

    If I had the capacity to think at eight weeks gestation I would choose life over death.. I suspect others would do the same..

    Luckily for me I was born back during a time when that decision wasn’t made for me..

    Glad to be here!!

  148. Jessie Lou says:

    Welcome to the Jungle – just remember the Lion is king there – not sure where the Tiger ranks – you probably know that better than most.

  149. Tiger says:

    MD… That is one scary article. Surely no one on here would advocate that kind obuse of power.. During the campaign, and the nedless coverage of Obama’s eloquence, I must have missed where he said “Extortion, change we can believe in..”.. Or this one either… “Yes we can (extort)!”

    Compare reactions to the government takeover of private enterprise to the gnashing of teeth over spying on terrorists and waterboarding.. At least with the terrorists we were going after the enemy.. Debatable as it was at least there was some semblence of reason behind it – like stopping terrorist from killing us.. Now we’re going after Dad and Uncle Joe.

  150. face says:

    Now Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are planning to pay $210 million in bonuses.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090403/ap_on_bi_ge/mortgage_giants_bonuses

  151. Zeek says:

    I don’t think you all have been listening to me, so let me say it one more time………….

    VIVA REVOLUCION!!!!

    I mean, where do you really see this all going??
    If things keep going THIS way we are headed towards what basically amounts to an Aristocracy, we are already on that path. We are not going to officially go to Socialism, but for all tense and purposes there will be @15% of the people who are super wealthy, own property and business,etc. Very influential people who call the shots, either by also holding an official office or by having a puppet hold it for them, it being such a tedious task and all. The other 85% of the people will basically be serfs, working at the jobs the Aristocrat has for them, and at what wage he deems fit.
    Sounds a little like Medieval Europe doesn’t it??
    I’m pretty sure that is why you don’t involve gov’t. in business, because when the rich decide to manipulate system and through extortion and bribery, and even legal loopholes to control gov’t., they can take over and run it all!!

    Free Market Capitalism is the cornerstone of our Democracy, so if it doesn’t remain that way(free of govt.) neither shall we. Bet on it.

    MD, you’re a European History buff and Int’l. Bus. major, can I get an amen???

  152. Madd Dawg says:

    Health Care: In MD world, I would shut down Medicare, Medicaid, etc., tax the health care benefits provided by employers just like any other benefit (we must delink employment with health insurance) and let the free market sort out this problem. Whoever said that anyone had a RIGHT to health care anyway? what’s next, do we all have the RIGHT to nice cars and cable tv? But I digress.

    I realize that MD world’s system is not an acceptable solution in today’s society. My proposal is that, and this is difficult for me to type as a fairly libertarian fella, the US government would send health insurance premium vouchers to everyone who files a tax return ($X for a minor, $X for an adult and $X for a senior citizen) and let people get their own policies.

    This plan has the government subsidizing health care for all legal US citizens who bother to pay taxes (most of Obama’s cabinet appointees would have been out of luck) but keeps a massive governmental department from being formed to run the health care system(into the ground in my view).

    Why are car insurance rates cheap as compared to health insurance? Individuals pay for car insurance directly, so they have incentives to: (1) shop around for the best/cheapest policy; (2) agree to large deductibles to keep premiums low; and (3) drive safely.

    With employer-paid for health insurance, something that came along in the 1970’s to get around the stupid wage and price controls instituted by Nixon, we currently have no incentive (1) to shop around for the best/cheapest insurance and/or the best/cheapest medical care; (2) to limit wasteful medical procedures or have high deductibles; or (3) to stay healthy.

    Why should a 395 pound person who makes no attempt to stay healthy pay the same health insurance rate as a person who makes the effort to stay healthy? Life insurance rates certainly differ for people who are healthy vs. unhealthy—why not health insurance rates?

    This plan would also providea solution to TB’s good point about how US employer-paid for health care hurts us when competing with other countries who pay for their citizens’ health care.

  153. Madd Dawg says:

    AMEN Zeek to this part for sure:

    “Free Market Capitalism is the cornerstone of our Democracy, so if it doesn’t remain that way(free of govt.) neither shall we. Bet on it.”

    I sensed some class warfare in the first section.

  154. Zeek says:

    Are you serious? Class warfare? Just reading the writing on the wall. My point, damn ya’ll are hardheaded, is that the gov.t is run by big business(hello-lobbyists, spec. interests) so that has to be resolved before anything will change. Hell, they can put a chimp in office, atleast you could pay him in bananas!!!

  155. Tiger says:

    MD and Zeek.. AMEN bro’s..

  156. Tiger says:

    If I were big business, I’d suck up to government too.. Keep you enemies closer you know.. As evidenced by these recent atricles, no other factor can crush a thriving business like BIG GOV..

    When companies develop their SWOT analysis I guarantee government falls in the “T” category..

  157. sweet says:

    I just learned who irvineredd is…….holy crap

  158. irvineredd says:

    The secrets out.

  159. larry says:

    Did anybody see the new projected spending for the bailout. It has increased by over $167 billion in just a few months. This was not the headline on the front page, but a small line on page 3-B. It was right next to Dear Abby (Is she not dead?). Michelle Obama touches the Queen and it is a major headline, but the bailout increases by $167 billion and it is buried. What is up with that?

    President Obama said “We are the United States and we do not torture.” I guess we only torture ourselves, because when all this spending is done it is going to be torture paying it back.

  160. Madd Dawg says:

    Larry,
    Just look deeply into Obama’s eyes, say “Hope and Change” over and over to yourself and put your complete trust in the government to fix everything. I am sure that it will all work out in the end.

  161. Jessie Lou says:

    They are hoping you would not notice it.

  162. larry says:

    When the govt gets into my pocket as deep as they do… I notice!

  163. Jessie Lou says:

    I pay them extra every week to avoid having to pay in – just wait until you lose your precious little deductions. That part is not pleasant at all. Thankfully, my other half takes care of all that stuff now and I try not to worry about it in the meantime. Giving up control is not easy either!

  164. Madd Dawg says:

    Another scary article:
    ________________
    Just 53% Say Capitalism Better Than Socialism
    Thursday, April 09, 2009 Email to a FriendAdvertisement
    Only 53% of American adults believe capitalism is better than socialism.

    The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 20% disagree and say socialism is better. Twenty-seven percent (27%) are not sure which is better.

    Adults under 30 are essentially evenly divided: 37% prefer capitalism, 33% socialism, and 30% are undecided. Thirty-somethings are a bit more supportive of the free-enterprise approach with 49% for capitalism and 26% for socialism. Adults over 40 strongly favor capitalism, and just 13% of those older Americans believe socialism is better.

    Investors by a 5-to-1 margin choose capitalism. As for those who do not invest, 40% say capitalism is better while 25% prefer socialism.

    There is a partisan gap as well. Republicans – by an 11-to-1 margin – favor capitalism. Democrats are much more closely divided: Just 39% say capitalism is better while 30% prefer socialism. As for those not affiliated with either major political party, 48% say capitalism is best, and 21% opt for socialism.
    _________________________

    Based upon this, why do Democrats act offended when people accuse them of being socialists?

  165. irvineredd says:

    The same reason why a Republican would get mad if they were accused of being racist and hating poor people.

  166. Madd Dawg says:

    Not a fair comparison you pinko bas–ard. LOL

    If you assume the worst about conservatives, then I will assume that you support the most radical form of socialism/marxism as demonstrated by the Stalin and Lenin regimes whereby all freedoms of speech, press and religion are quashed, government spies are everywhere such that no one trusts anyone else, people who criticize the government are sent to the Gulag, farmers who disagree with the government confiscating their land “for the good of the State” are starved to death.
    Stalin and Lenin tortured and killed more people than Hitler, so your heroes have got that going for them, which is nice.

  167. irvineredd says:

    That’s hilarious, MD.

    I never said you were that kind of conservative nor that all conservatives were that way. It’s just an example of the generalization of a group of people. I’m a crazy, wacky, liberal, but I’m no socialist or communist. As such I don’t like having my thoughts marginalized by a generalization of people who share my political beliefs.

  168. smilyj17 says:

    I think MD sated a poll that supported the view of socialism by dems. Where the stereotype of repubs being racist and hating poor people is not supported. I am neither rep or dem as of this moment. I think the socialist lean among young people is just a product of them not fully understanding what it is. They are probably not true socialist. I also dont think the average dem is a true socialist. They just think the country may benefit by being a capitalist country that tweeks it a bit with some socialist ideology. This may not be true for far right and left extremists. And even though they may be the loudest, they are also the least important. I think Obama needst to remember that.

  169. JessieLou says:

    That poses the question – Why are they the least important? Who is the most important? Who gets to decide?

    Like you – I feel I am neither dem or rep – mostly I am just fed up.

  170. irvineredd says:

    And after he posted the poll he said this:

    Based upon this, why do Democrats act offended when people accuse them of being socialists?

    Therefore I picked something that people say about Republicans, which isn’t true, but would offend them because it is the generalization of the thoughts of the few utilized as if it is the thought of the majority.

  171. quail09 says:

    huh?

  172. Madd Dawg says:

    see article below. I fully expect government SS (sorry, I menat Department of Homeland Security) officials in the name of ” public safety” to spray paint right wing “warning” symbols on the windows of my house soon and make me wear some sort of right-wing necklace identifying me as a right-winger. Irvineredd will be happy with this totalitarian leftist state.

    Since when are people who respect states’ rights radical? Has anyone read the Tenth Amendment?

    __________________
    Federal agency warns of radicals on right
    9-page report sent to police
    By Audrey Hudson (Contact) and Eli Lake (Contact) | Tuesday, April 14, 2009

    The Department of Homeland Security is warning law enforcement officials about a rise in “rightwing extremist activity,” saying the economic recession, the election of America’s first black president and the return of a few disgruntled war veterans could swell the ranks of white-power militias.

    A footnote attached to the report by the Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis defines “rightwing extremism in the United States” as including not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority.

    “It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration,” the warning says.

    The White House has distanced itself from the analysis. When asked for comment on its contents, White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said, “The President is focused not on politics but rather taking the steps necessary to protect all Americans from the threat of violence and terrorism regardless of its origins. He also believes those who serve represent the best of this country, and he will continue to ensure that our veterans receive the respect and benefits they have earned.”

    The nine-page document was sent to police and sheriff’s departments across the United States on April 7 under the headline, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.”

    It says the federal government “will be working with its state and local partners over the next several months” to gather information on “rightwing extremist activity in the United States.”

    The joint federal-state activities will have “a particular emphasis” on the causes of “rightwing extremist radicalization.”

    Homeland Security spokeswoman Sara Kuban said the report is one in an ongoing series of assessments by the department to “facilitate a greater understanding of the phenomenon of violent radicalization in the U.S.”

    The report, which was first disclosed to the public by nationally syndicated radio host Roger Hedgecock, makes clear that the Homeland Security Department does not have “specific information that domestic rightwing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence.”It warns that fringe organizations are gaining recruits, but it provides no numbers.

    The report says extremist groups have used President Obama as a recruiting tool.
    _______________________

  173. MD — “States’ rights” has long been the code word for segregation. How on earth does cracking down on violence-inciting white power groups equate to a “leftist state”?

    Or is beating up and killing minorities a plank in the Republican Party?

  174. quail09 says:

    wtf???!!!!

  175. Smilyj says:

    Yeah. WTF???!!!! Getting a little cuckooooo there.

  176. Smilyj says:

    Someone’s making MD look like a genius….That’s hard to do.

  177. If that comment gets lost in translation, then there’s no hope. I’ll just go back to playing in the shallow end.

  178. Zeek says:

    Make sure to wear your floaties,Wit. Have some of you become brainwashed by the liberal media and the propoganda it spews like bile all over this once great nation? State’s rights is code word for racism?? I would like to know how Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and Adams feel about that. In this day and age, with the fed system as snafu’d as it is, maybe we should just scrap it and let the states govern themselves, although being in Miss. might not be too smart, but atleast we would not be at the mercy of people who now seem to think freedom of speech and expression of beliefs and values are threateningly “extreme”. We’re just getting started guys,read the writing on the wall, buckle up and grab your yak bag, it is gonna be a bumpy ride!!!

  179. Madd Dawg says:

    Thanks sEan.

    C’mon Wit—that’s 19th century talk. As you know, the US Constitution gives the Federal Government very specific and very limited powers. Beacause the Founding Fathers were worried about a powerful national government, the first ten amendments limit the power of the federal government and give the people certain rights with the Tenth Amendment stating:

    “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

    Our history has seen the power of the Federal Government continuously grow at the expense of the states and the people.

    The “warning” issued above by our new savior Der Obama is to watch out for “groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority”. That would include the Governor of Texas. See article:
    _______________
    Gov. Perry Backs Resolution Affirming Texas’ Sovereignty Under 10th Amendment
    HCR 50 Reiterates Texas’ Rights Over Powers Not Otherwise Granted to Federal Government
    April 09, 2009
    AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today joined state Rep. Brandon Creighton and sponsors of House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 50 in support of states’ rights under the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    “I believe that our federal government has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state,” Gov. Perry said. “That is why I am here today to express my unwavering support for efforts all across our country to reaffirm the states’ rights affirmed by the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I believe that returning to the letter and spirit of the U.S. Constitution and its essential 10th Amendment will free our state from undue regulations, and ultimately strengthen our Union.”
    ________________

    The warning also says “It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration”.

    Ask yourself why organizations that oppose abortion or immigration would be terrorist groups while organizations that support abortion or immigration would not be terrorist groups.

  180. Zeek says:

    Exactly MD, nice research, but probably makes too much sense for a liberal to understand. BBRP baby, back to the letter and spirit of the Constitution, don’t you know that those old guys are rolling in their graves about how big and intrusive gov’t. has become.

    Here’s a question:
    How can Miss. be so far behind 46 or 47 other states economically, one of poorest states in the nation, yet have one of, if not THE highest auto license tag rates(which are going UP by the way)???????????

  181. Ok, against my better judgment, I’ll bite.

    In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Brown v. Board of Education declaring that our separate but equal educational system was unconstitutional.

    Those who opposed integration argued, among other things, that it was not for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide the integration/segregation issue because that was a state issue. Thus, the term “states’ rights” became synonymous with the effort to keep schools segregated. For decades now, radical racist groups — many of whom incite and commit violence against minorities — rally around the notion of “states’ rights.” It’s become nothing but shorthand for “let us be racist agitators.”

    MD/Zeek, this has nothing to do with Washington, Adams, or Jefferson or the 10 Amendment or grandstanding governors yakking about the 10th Amendment. It has everything to do with groups hell bent on terrorizing minorities and those who get in the way of terrorizing minorities.

    Further, unless I missed a news story, no pro-abortion group has killed a pro-lifer. However, numerous pro-lifers have killed doctors and staff members of abortion clinics. Same with immigration. I don’t know of any advocates of more relaxed immigration policies killing or maiming those who oppose more relaxed immigration policies. But I’ll be happy to provide you with links to stories about hate groups killing immigrants.

    If someone wants to get together with his buddies and bitch about black people, I’ll support their ability to do that even though I find the conduct reprehensible. But if they want to get together and talk about committing violent acts or inciting others to commit violent acts, then that’s a different deal altogether. And I believe that whether it’s whites plotting against minorities or minorities plotting against whites.

    Zeek, I know I’m just a mental midget — and apparently liberal, too — but let’s get “back to the letter and spirit of the Constitution”?

    Those are two diametrically opposed philosophies of the Constitution. How do you propose we get back to both? That’s like saying, “We need more capitalism and communism in this country.”

    The letter of the law philosophy is known as strict constructionism. The Constitution says what it says and nothing more. The spirit of the law is the “living document” philosophy that sees the Constitution as a malleable document that adapts to present day circumstances.

    It would be pretty hard to get back to 2 approaches that are mutually exclusive.

  182. Zeek says:

    Wit, ok, I’ll bite, too. I do not condone or support hate/ racist groups or their acts of violence. Not that it’s pertinent, but my two sons are mixed racially. I was trying to convey that unless it is absolutely necessary on certain social, economic, and legislative hot issues such as segregation, and people’s fundamental rights, the feds role should be limited. It is checks and balances, state and fed should regulate each other with the people’s best interest in mind. That is what the aforementioned forefathers had in mind, that is all I’m saying by “letter and spirit”. You lost me on diametrics, however, I disagree with your analogy. I believe that the Constitution says what it says, and I don’t want to tamper with it haphazrdly, but I think the drafters hoped that good common sense would prevail when the time came. Noone could foresee how advanced this country would become, but I’m sure if consulted they would agree that if the vast majority wanted a change it should happen, and if that meant changing an old/making a new law to catch up with the times or a renewed effort at following an old one that has been ignored at citizens’ expense, they would be all for it. People are what matters, even more than the document that protects them.

  183. Madd Dawg says:

    Wit,
    Anti abortion groups would argue that pro-abortion individuals are responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent babies every year, but let’s not get into that.

    Just because some “hate” groups used the term “states rights” does not mean the issue of the Federal Government’s ever-increasing power cannot be discussed for fear of being called a racist. Let’s call it “Federalism” instead of states’ rights.

    The point of my previous post is that: (a) Obama is using the power of the Federal government to supress his legitimate political opponents; and (b) Gestapo-like tactics such as these are not good. I thought he was supposed to bring us all together and end all partisan behavior just by the power of his being in office.

  184. Madd Dawg says:

    Just found this article
    _________________

    April 15th, 2009 1:14 PM Eastern
    JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO: Six Things You Should Know About the Homeland Security Report on ‘Rightwing Extremism’
    By Judge Andrew Napolitano
    FOX News Senior Judicial Analyst

    Homeland Security Warns of Rise in Right-Wing Extremism

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment”, dated April 7, 2009, which I have read, is apparently an unclassified summary of a larger classified report.

    1. The summary contains few proper names, has no footnotes of any significance, lists very few sources, and is drafted with a prejudice against anyone who criticizes the role of the federal government in our lives today. It lumps together in its definition of “rightwing extremism” hate groups, anti-government groups, and single issue groups “such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”

    My guess is that the sentiments revealed in the report I read are the tip of an iceberg that the DHS would prefer to keep submerged until it needs to reveal it. This iceberg is the heavy-hand of government; a government with large and awful eyes, in whose heart there is no love for freedom, and on whose face there is no smile.

    2. The document itself cautions the reader that the document is “not to be released to the public, the media, or other personnel who do not have a valid need-to-know without prior approval” of the DHS. The document refers to itself as one of a series of intelligence assessments intended to “deter, prevent, preempt, or respond to terrorist attacks against the United States.”

    3. The thrust of this report is that in the present environment of economic instability, returning military veterans, those who fear of the loss of Second Amendment-protected rights, those threatened by an African-American president, and those who fear “Jewish ‘financial elites’” could all be a fertile breeding ground for groups whose power and ideas the government hates and fears. The document is essentially a warning for DHS and FBI officials to be on the look-out for rootless persons looking for the comfort of groups as they may be a danger to American security.

    4. The summary (unclassified) document is terrifying. One can only imagine what is contained in the classified version. This document runs directly counter to numerous U.S. Supreme decisions prohibiting the government from engaging in any activities that could serve to chill the exercise of expressive liberties. Liberties are chilled, in constitutional parlance, when people are afraid to express themselves for fear of government omnipresence, monitoring, or reprisals. The document also informs the reader that Big Brother is watching both public and private behavior.

    5. The whole purpose of the First Amendment is to guarantee open, broad, robust debate on the policies and personnel of the government. The First Amendment presumes that individuals — NOT THE GOVERNMENT — are free to choose what they believe and espouse, what they read and say, and with whom they associate in public and in private. The writers of this abominable report are particularly concerned with the expression of opinions that might be used to fuel ideas that challenge federal authority or favor state and local government over the federal government. Unfortunately, legislation passed during the past eight years gives the DHS and the FBI the tools to monitor everything from a telephone conversation to the keystrokes used on a personal computer without a warrant issued by a federal judge.

    6. My guess is that the sentiments revealed in the report I read are the tip of an iceberg that the DHS would prefer to keep submerged until it needs to reveal it. This iceberg is the heavy-hand of government; a government with large and awful eyes, in whose heart there is no love for freedom, and on whose face there is no smile.

    _________________

  185. Anonymous says:

    I hear about all these Tea Party’s going on today
    Were are the BEER PARTY’S being held!

  186. Zeek, I agree with almost everything you said. There’s harmony in the universe.

    MD, your use of fascist and communist metaphors is too much for me to untangle in a blog comment. In one sentence, Obama is “Der Obama” who uses Gestapo tactics (both fascism references). But his ultimate end is a “totalitarian leftist state” (communism reference).

    Or perhaps this is evidence of Obama’s evil genius — he will use fascist means toward a communist end. Obama is in turns Hitler and Stalin. Intriguing to say the least. Of course, we should expect nothing less from the anti-Christ.

  187. Madd Dawg says:

    good point Wit. LOL

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