Thursday, April 08, 2010

I Get Political Again

Some say it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

Republicans say that it is actually better to wait until it's sunny and sell the entire candle supply for cheap while decrying the purchase of candles as another example of the previous administration's wasteful spending; then when it gets dark, blame the Democrats for the inadequate lighting conditions and insist on a free-market solution to the crisis. And by the way, they happen to know a dear friend and true patriot who recently obtained a supply of candles that he's willing to part with. Admittedly, he's asking quite a bit for them, but that's just the way it is, laws of supply and demand, and the government shouldn't be sticking its nose into what is at heart a strictly business proposition.

Oh, and if you think there's anything suspicious about the whole arrangement, you hate America and you want the darkness to win.


Unknown said...

Speak the truth, my brother!

The one letter wonder said...

Sorry, but it's actually all politicians who do that. The democrats just complain louder about it.

John Seavey said...

Well, I'd say that the Republicans are more philosophically disposed towards it...something about the fact that they genuinely believe that the government is just wasting any money given to it, combined with their belief that (to quote Wall Street) "Greed is good", makes it very easy to justify looting the public treasury.

Not saying there haven't been corrupt Democrats, but Cheney's crowd made them look like rank amateurs. :)

E. Wilson said...

"But seriously, folks, the darkness f#@%ing sucks."

The one letter wonder said...

I can understand that though the democrats tend to used the fear of darkness to motivate (eg. force) you into buying the candles their friends sell. After all that's been Al Gore's entire business model for his current business.

The one letter wonder said...

p.s. the current Prez makes every corrupt politician look like a rank amateur :)

LurkerWithout said...

@TOLW: I don't suppose you'd want to try and back that up with any kind of facts whatsover?

John Seavey said... left sanity behind somewhere in 2001, didn't you? :)

Obama's administration hasn't even been hit with a whiff of scandal. Yes, extreme right-wingers have insisted that his politics are dragging America down the road of destruction, that he's the Antichrist in disguise, et cetera, but even they haven't managed to find something they can claim is personally corrupt on his part.

While Bush and Cheney very clearly cut sweetheart deals for at least two companies they had close personal ties to (Enron and Halliburton)--both of which were later implicated in massive fraud scandals that Cheney, in particular, used his political power to shield them from. (You complain about Gore's "scare tactics", but Cheney convened a task force to decide the nation's energy policies, composed solely of large energy businesses (including Enron), and later sealed all the records relating to what happened at the meeting.

Whatever you might think of Obama's decisions, he's never even been accused of something so transparently unethical.

The one letter wonder said...

Putting aside the fact that he is part of the Chicago Machine which makes Tamany Hall look like a church choir. There are his deal with Tony Rezko which go back to the mid 90s and up to when he became a US senator in which he helped Rezko create slums. Then the you add in the "stimulus" bill which turns out to only give money to people who contributed to his campaign and then you add in the fact that his main criteria for staffing the white house is that they had been generous lobbiest. Yeah, would say Bush and Cheney have nothing on him. Oh, and lets not forget his proping up of the Unions with sweetheart deals.

The one letter wonder said...

p.s. The majority of Enron's money came from their sweetheart deal with (Democrat)Gray Davis.

John Seavey said...

Ah, yes, of course. "He is from Chicago! Everyone knows they're crooked!" The mating cry of the right-winged nuthatch, once common but growing increasingly rarer as its congenital mental instability renders it incapable of functioning. :)

As to the Rezko thing...if that had any kind of factual basis, don't you think it would have come out in the campaign? Obama fought not one but two bruising, no-holds-barred political campaigns in 2008 against two opponents that would have loved to kneecap him with a nasty scandal, mainly because it would have been the only way to unseat him. But neither one used Rezko. I guarantee you, it was not out of the kindness of their hearts. :)

Obama is not evil. I realize this comes as a tremendous disappointment to conservatives who want to be able to use pointless fear-mongering to regain the Presidency (after their previous tactic, "Be at least vaguely competent at the job," failed so spectacularly) but he's not. He's just a guy.

JD Atlanta said...

I think the fact that you choose to quote a fictional character to slander Republicans is instructive. You are right on the margins - Obama is a guy, acting on his own beliefs. Of course, so was President Bush. Neither one evil, neither one saintly, both sincere and committed men. But consider - by the same logic you use to slur Cheney, I could say the following: "Obama is a former attorney for an organization that condoned importing children for the purposes of prostitution and rape. Acorn's very existence is (well, was) due to government contracts that Obama worked actively to secure and protect while in office." Your interpretation of "sweetheart deals," etc., is at the least arguable. The Acorn tapes, and Obama's past involvement, are irrefutable. Does that mean that Obama would condone child rape? No, statements or slurs like that are products of a gotcha mindset. It’s the kind of mindset that you celebrate and perpetuate … so long as it’s aimed at “bad” (that is, right-wing) people.

Personally, I’m disturbed that Obama bought two car companies with tax dollars, and gave large chunks of them to the very unions that provide funds and foot soldiers for his campaigns. Say what you want about Enron or Haliburton (Haliburton! Haliburton!), the contributions of unions to Democratic politicians and the President himself can’t be dismissed as fever dream conspiracy theories. Obama may well believe unions to be the best possible thing for the economy and the country … but if so, does sincerity make a payoff right?

John Seavey said...

"The ACORN tapes are irrefutable! Oh, wait? That doesn't mean 'made up'? Well, what does it mean, then?"

At this point, it's become pretty well known that the infamous video of ACORN was faked; large portions of it were shot both before and after the fact, and edited back in to make the ACORN reps look bad. The retraction didn't get nearly as much news as the original scandal, and came too late, but it was national news.

This is the classic right-wing mentality at work. "Hmm, the facts don't support us...but what if we made up our own facts? Then the facts would be on our side!"

JD Atlanta said...

Ah, the "everybody knows they're lying" defence. Classic! But can you back it up with mainstream refs? That is, not the usual suspects like MoveOn or Huffington or Kos, but actual news?

And do you see that by ignoring the actual public policy issue in my post, you're effectively making my point for me?

John Seavey said...

That's got excerpts from the New York Post and the New York Daily News, but you can get much the same thing simply by Googling about the "scandal". O'Keefe committed libel, and probably violated federal law in the process as well as the result.

And that is the point; you threw out an accusation that was patently false, then when I pointed out it was false, you claimed that I was paying too much attention to scandals and not enough to real issues. The Republican smear machine gets you coming and going. :)

JD Atlanta said...

Hey John – this is not a news article! This is an editorial in a far-left newspaper. It quotes a couple of tabloid scandal sheets, which in turn uses unnamed sources. John, if ACORN wasn’t willing to help fund the importation of children for the purposes of prostitution and rape, then where is CNN? Where is the AP? Where are President Obama and Speaker Pelosi? They have a lot to lose here – ACORN provided “voter" registration drives, money, and foot soldiers for the Obama campaign. Are Democrats too afraid to speak up? Where is John Lewis? He’s a bitterly partisan left-winger, but only a lunatic would call John Lewis a coward. Better yet, why did a Democratic Congress cut funding (remember, Republicans are the minority in Congress), and why is ACORN disbanding? These articles mention the ACORN affiliate in Brooklyn – what about the other 4 (out of 5) ACORN offices that were taped? If ACORN did nothing criminal in this case, does it make what they DID do okay?

No, they are not cowards. None of these people are defending ACORN because what ACORN actually did is indefensible. If my accusation was “patently false,” you wouldn’t have to dig up an editorial in the Colorado Independent. It would be everywhere, all the time. (And you will note that I didn’t accuse ACORN affiliates & members of criminality in this case, although they have done plenty in others. Google “ACORN Mickey Mouse” or “ACORN embezzlement” for some examples.)

The problem with politics is the people who defend their own side at ANY cost. People who enclose themselves in bubbles, and only pay attention to voices in their echo chambers. People who can’t admit that anyone on their side is wrong about anything, ever – except the crime of not being far enough to the left-wing (or right-wing, as the case may be). The problem is not President Obama or President Bush, Pelosi or Gingrich. The problem is the people who defend Truthers because they are in the club, or Birthers because they vote the "right" way. Or people who defend ACORN because some asshole like Glenn Beck is anti-ACORN. John, baby, the problem is YOU.

The problem is someone who can watch a ~$50 billion payoff to the UAW and unequal tax breaks for member of all unions, and not even catch a “whiff” of a payoff.

By the way – don’t take anything I say too seriously! I just like mixing it up. Love reading the blog, and like I’ve said elsewhere, you really “get” a lot about characters and plots that most people miss. -- James

John Seavey said...

"Why did ACORN lose funding?" Because someone posted a smear video of them and the Democrats didn't want to defend them because people like you would accuse them of supporting child prostitution.

"Why is ACORN disbanding?"
Because they lost funding.

"Why isn't this all over CNN?"
Because there's not really a whole lot of people who want to report a story whose major content is, 'Ohai, we got totally suckered by a fake video and caused the dissolution of a major non-profit organization. Oops!'

"This is just one website! Where's more?"
Google. Try it. It's your friend. :)

JD Atlanta said...

I did Google it, buddy. I found a lot of lefty blogs, and a lot of sites calling me a teabagger (that is,  "cocksucker" or "faggot"), but I never found that retraction you referenced. Never found any mainstream site that refuted the fact that ACORN offices (plural) were willing to make loans to fund child prostitution and rape. It speaks well of Pelosi, Obama, et. al., that they didn't defend this. Your refusal to follow their example shows how blinded you are by your prejudices. Might want to get that looked at!

As much as I disagree with the President's policies, I don't think he's too gutless to stand with a friend that's been unjustly accused.

But it's your blog, so you get the last word. Sock it to me!

JD Atlanta said...

Wait! The NY Times is in on the horrible conspiracy! From April 2, 2010:

"In at least one of the undercover videos, Acorn employees were shown advising a young conservative activist, who posed as a prostitute, how to conceal her criminal activities in the course of trying to buy a house."

Guess the evil right-wing bastards at the Grey Lady never didn't get that retraction memo, either!

JD Atlanta said...

It gets better! Remember those tabloid scandal sheets and their unnamed sources? Again, those evil conservatives at Fox News ... uh, I mean the New York F'ing Times ... are on the case:

"The transcript of several stings, however, indicate that Mr. O’Keefe clearly presented himself as a pimp and that Acorn workers in some offices told him how to hide prostitution activities from the authorities."

John Seavey said...

From the MediaMatters article on the whole affair:

"Friedman has been trying to get the newspaper of record to correct its inaccurate reporting on the pimp issue -- reporting that appeared as recently as last month, following O'Keefe's New Orleans arrest. When one of Friedman's readers contacted the newspaper urging the same request, the reader was informed, via email by a Times senior editor for standards, that because O'Keefe claimed he'd been dressed as a pimp inside ACORN offices, and because O'Keefe had appeared on Fox News and made that claim, the Times did not need to post a correction. "

Which pretty much sums up my earlier point: Oddly enough, major newspapers don't like running stories that read, "Hey, remember all those front-page articles we ran about how evil ACORN was? Turned out we were duped by a guy who later got arrested for trying to wiretap a Senator's office. :)

Of course, any information you find in our ongoing dueling websearches will merely bolster your original contention that hey, it doesn't matter too much if the Republicans are all corrupt because everyone else is, too. Which seems like a pretty weak hand to play, but you go ahead and knock yourself out with it. :)

JD Atlanta said...

Remember Rathergate? Like everyone else, the NY Times put the story on page 1. After the "evidence" was shown to be fake, the Times courageously printed the truth on page 34. Not a high point for the Newspaper of Record, but they did it. I guess the New York Times loved W and hates Obama. Or maybe standards at the Times have slipped in the last six years. Or maybe the Times did exactly what you said the Times would never do – admit an embarrassing mistake that had huge consequences.

As for the quote, I found the MediaMatters editorial (not article) that you copied your quote from. The very same article you quoted includes this paragraph:

“And no, by pointing out the holes in the ACORN sting story, I'm not trying to excuse what was captured (illegally?) on tape. Everyone knows the embarrassing mistakes the poorly trained, low-level ACORN employees made when dealing with O'Keefe and Giles. That situation, and the continued fallout surrounding it, is for the organization to deal with.”

Are you even able to see stuff like this? You glossed right over this paragraph when you copied the one below it, the paragraph that (out of context) seemed to kinda sorta make your case, right? (I love that quote – the “Friedman” is not the Time’s Thomas Friedman, but some blogosphere crank named Brad Friedman.) Why is it not surprising that you would be comfortable ignoring multiple, multi-billion dollar payoffs to the unions that helped elect Obama, Pelosi, and almost every other Democrat?

Now I’m going to be an adult, and resist the temptation to throw this quote back in your face:

This is the classic right-wing mentality at work. "Hmm, the facts don't support us...but what if we made up our own facts? Then the facts would be on our side!"

Okay, I couldn’t help myself!! :)

JD Atlanta said...

Oh, and by the way -- when the heck did I make any contention like the following:

" ... your original contention that hey, it doesn't matter too much if the Republicans are all corrupt because everyone else is, too."

Seriously - John, you just made that one up out of whole cloth.

Doc Railgun said...

The funny thing is that "Rathergate" wasn't a "gate" at all. PRetty much what was being reported was true... noone COULD remember Dubya being with his unit, and he WAS working with a political campaign while he was supposed to be flying. Rather was forced out because the Right made a huge stink about it, no matter if there was any evidence or not. It wouldn't have mattered if there was or not... the Noise Machine would have smeared him anyway.

But do you REALLY believe that there is an organization funded by taxpayers that funds child rape and helps prostitutes not pay taxes?

Come live in the real world, not a pseudo-Randian Libertarian fantasyland where whites are delightsome and virtuous and all the brown people are evil and corrupt.

If you want to do something about taxes paying for evil, see that Eric Prince and Blackwater/Xe. is prosecuted for war crimes.

JD Atlanta said...

Ah, so the story was true, even though the evidence was falsified? And the Rathergate evidence was falsified -

"But do you REALLY believe that there is an organization funded by taxpayers that funds child rape and helps prostitutes not pay taxes?" I never said that. ACORN employees at multiple offices gave advice on how to obtain loans and dodge taxes to a person posing as a pimp, who stated his intent to import children for the purposes of prostitution - that is, statutory rape. It's on film, and even the MediaMatters blog John linked agrees. Hell, the NY Times agrees. To their credit, Congress (Republican AND Democrat) and the Obama Administration abandoned ACORN once the facts came out.

As for the rest (I'm a racist, I hate brown people) ... it's a sign of the strength of your argument, and the "facts" that you believe, that you must stoop to calling me a racist. You must put words in my mouth that I never said, because you can’t deal with the ones I did say. You MUST ignore the facts, even the ones printed in right-wing hate rags like the New York Times.

If you are still capable of rising an inch above your own prejudices, then at least read some of the links I posted. I promise, I won’t expose you to any horrible horrible thinks like the WSJ or FOX! God knows, I wouldn’t want to challenge your open mind that much.

John Seavey said...

OK--I trashed your last comment because it goes way the fuck too far over the line. There is discussing politics, and there is officially being an asshole, and you were an asshole in that last comment. New rule: Don't pull that shit here.

Now, back to the discussion.

Yes, I did read the entire report on the Media Matters website. I find it deeply amusing that while you accused me of "glossing over the bits I didn't like", you yourself ignored everything it said to focus on the one bit that kind of supported your case. :)

But okay, let's go to make-believe land. Let's pretend for a moment that James O'Keefe didn't maliciously edit the video to make the ACORN people look bad. (Of course, you'd have to overlook that he refuses to show the raw footage to anyone. Nothing says "journalistic integrity" like hiding the actual footage!)

Now let's pretend that somehow, finding evidence of two ACORN employees willing to assist a pimp and a prostitute means that the organization as a whole is some sort of child prostitution trafficking ring...a piece of logic roughly akin to saying, "Hey, these twenty-four year-olds who pretended to be seventeen year-olds with fake IDs managed to get cigarettes at a 7-11. Clearly, the 7-11 company is a massive illegal tobacco distribution company!"

Now let's pretend that somehow, their condoning of prostitution which is actually trafficking in prostitution is also somehow voter fraud, the original allegation against them...and that somehow, they were such a vastly effective voter fraud conspiracy that they managed to make a 9.5 million vote swing without anyone challenging the results of the election, and stole the election from rightful winner John McCain.

You would then still have to find some actual connection between ACORN and Obama beyond simply, "Hey, they're both kind of liberal," and that connection on, I almost had it...

Nope. Guess I'm just not crazy enough to be a conservative right now. :)

JD Atlanta said...

When I'm called a racist, that's not over the line. But when I take offense to being called a racist ... that is. Seriously, what kind of person does NOT take offense to being called a racist? How is the comment you deleted different than the esteemed Mr. Railgun's? As for the "you are an asshole" ... that's uncalled for. I made it abundantly clear that I did NOT believe the object lesson I was giving, when it was EQUALLY clear that he did believe I was a racist.

And again, you make up words from whole cloth and stuff them in my mouth.

* "stole the election from rightful winner John McCain." NEVER SAID IT. I'm sure you wish I HAD said it, because it's nonsense. But what I actually said is right above this post, crystal clear and backed up with references that I stand by.
* "means that the organization as a whole is some sort of child prostitution trafficking ring" NEVER SAID IT. What the organization actually did - create an environment where employees would give the advice & support they did, in fact, give, was enough to wreck ACORN and rightfully so. In many offices, with more than just 2 employees.
* "their condoning of prostitution which is actually trafficking in prostitution is also somehow voter fraud" NEVER SAID IT. This one doesn't even make any sense. Voter registration fraud is separate issue - I can understand your desire to change the subject, because Times article alone destroys your arguments, such as they are.

As for the rest, when a liberal starts telling you that the NY Times is lying because they are afraid to contradict a video from a right-wing type ... when (in Rathergate) they did EXACTLY that to a left-wing type, there's no point in continuing.


Anonymous said...

haha one letter wonder and JD Atlanta. Visit the wikipedia entry on this and check reference 1, the attorney general's report (pdf), pages 10-13, which has a review of the unedited videos. It's clear as day that ACORN was misrepresented in a fake and heavily edited video.

O'Keefe's behaviour is clearly fraudulent and slanderous. Here's a hint for you, that you probably could have benefited from 8 years ago - if someone is a known and proven liar, like O'Keefe, you shouldn't believe what they say. That's what "liar" means.

John Seavey said...

And notice that I didn't delete your comment saying that his accusations were baseless and unfounded. I deleted the one after that, where you decided to take that as license to be a giant prick. And if you can't see that you were doing exactly that, then you need to go take a good, long look in the mirror and ask yourself what kind of person you really are.

As to what you said and didn't say...well, then what the heck are you saying? Your whole sequence of posts has been nothing more than a series of attempts to dodge the basic point I made in the initial post: Namely, that the Republican administrations have been corrupt and venial to the point where the Republican Party has a reputation for hypocrisy, corruption, and deceit...and that they use sophistry, obfuscation, and ad hominem attacks to conceal their deception.

Your response? "No we're not, you are, and the President is connected to a child prostitution ring." Says it all, doesn't it? :)

The one letter wonder said...

Funny thing Faustusnotes, I never said anything about Acorn. Also think its funny that my point that all politicians are cprrupt (and all of them are). Some how got spun into The republicans have never done anything corrupt not what I said. By their nature politicians are corrupt and rarely can you find one that has done anything worse than any other. As long as a Daly is running Chicago it will be as corrupt as it has been the last 50 years. Heck the whole reason there is the whole "birther" thing is because Obama will not release his college records which either prove he is not a US citizen or that he commited freud and grand larceny in getting his Ivy League education.

John Seavey said...

He committed Freud? I'm aware that the man's influence on modern psychology is somewhat diminished, but I wasn't aware that subscribing to his theories was actually a crime. :)

And come on. Obama could invent time travel, take birthers to the day of his birth one by one or in groups, and let them wander around and take in the scenery, and they would still insist that there wasn't enough proof to determine whether he was a real US citizen. Because they desperately want to believe that his government is somehow illegitimate, and mere facts won't convince them otherwise.

"All politicians are corrupt" is a defensible stance, but not all politicians are equally corrupt. And when your party fundamentally believes that government is irrelevant and the desire for money is a philosophical principle, you're more likely to be more corrupt.

Anonymous said...

Your comment got spun, one letter wonder, because you claimed that "the current Prez makes every corrupt politician look like a rank amateur."

You claim that the birthers exist because Obama won't reveal his college records. This isn't true. The birthers exist because of a racist campaign to claim Obama isn't American; as a consequence, he won't reveal his college records.

Cause and effect are as important to basic political reasoning as they are to natural science.

Anonymous said...

John, Why do you beleive Republicans are somehow more corrupt, or that their version of corruption is worse than the Democrats?

The principle of being paid for one's efforts is somehow wrong, but the concept of taking from those who have created and giving to those who haven't created, or haven't created as much is not wrong. At least that seems to be what you are indicating.

I would argue that both are versions of greed (with some envy thrown in for good measure in the latter case).

What I think many on the left fail to take into account is human nature. When people who are productive are not rewarded for their efforts, their efforts will diminish. (And not all people are driven by monetary rewards, but many (most) are.)

So if an entity is going to take from some, and give to others, the one being taken from may decide to create less.

The fact is government DOES waste money. Any organization that spends money that they didn't get through creation of goods or services will tend to be less prudent with their handling of resources, money included. Especially if that agency can demand more resources at will, which the government can.

(I include most non profits as selling a kind of good or service. People donate to them and receive a feeling of well being for having helped others. The donation "buys" this intangible, just as buying insurance buys peace of mind (and potential repayment if a claim is levied, but most people buy insurance with the desire to never need it). The non profit then uses the money for their stated goals.)

Every year in my business, we get phone calls at the end of the year from government employees who are nearing the end of their fiscal year, and must spend the remainder of their budget or risk getting less money next year. There is no incentive to save or be thrifty. In fact, there is a counter incentive in the way the budget process works.

Nobody rational is talking about the dismantling of the government. But there are some who question the role of the federal government as the best way to solve some problems.

Why are those on the left so unwilling to have the discussion? The above posts show the major problem, in that many have become so idealogically driven that they can't fathom the concerns of others who disagree with them.

I think it is unfair to characterise Obama as "not evil" as a way to imply that Bush was.

You mention an Energy Commision made up of only those in the energy industry- well who else would you invite? I would think the guys whose whole reason for being is to create and distribute energy would be the most informed for the very fact that they are IN the industry.

Their motive is profit, and at the small margins that energy companies make, they are looking for any advantage they can get to increase margin versus their competitor. That increase in profit margin then gets paid out as dividends to people who have invested in their companies.

John, I find your insight into character and story telling fascinating. Which is why it surpises me that in politics, you don't take into accounts the desire and motivation of individuals and fall back on more partisan positions, without an understanding of what may drive the other guy's opinion.

John Seavey said...

Honestly, I suspect that you'd have been better off posting your own blog and linking to it, instead of posting a comment larger than most blog posts, but since you posted, I'll answer.

Short answer: Wrong. :)

Long answer: I never said that being paid for one's efforts was "wrong". It's not. I get paid for my efforts, and I'd be pretty upset if that stopped. But what I understand that most conservatives don't (or pretend that they don't) is that when you say, "I succeed because of my hard work," you are forgetting all of the vast benefits that government gives you that have enabled you to live in a world that lets you succeed to that extent.

Are you alive? That's due to the work of the government, preventing you from being murdered by criminals or slaughtered by foreign armies or drinking tainted water or eating contaminated food or breathing polluted air or simply not getting the proper medical care you need because there's no way to tell the good doctors from the quacks. Conservatives seem to feel that if you take away the government, all that stuff would just sort of happen somehow, because, um, "the free market". If it worked that way, we wouldn't have government to begin with. :)

Does the government waste money? Of course it does. So does private enterprise. If you think that no manager has ever spent all the money in his/her budget because it's the end of the year, you're colossally naive or willfully blind. But at least when the government wastes money, it's by accident.

Because that's the huge, gaping flaw at the center of conservative logic. Private enterprise is more efficient, but it is more efficient at making money, not at getting done things that need to get done. The profit motive drives people to find the cheapest way to get things done, but it also drives them to cut corners. Do you really want to have to explain to people, twenty years down the line, that their kids can't do long division because it wasn't cost-effective?

There are things too important to be left to the profit motive. There are situations where the desire to make a buck is desirable, but there are also ones where it's actively dangerous. Companies don't care about people--they don't hate them, they're not evil, but they don't care about them either. Someone has to care about people, and government is the only entity that can do so on the scale needed to affect society. That's why government is important and necessary.

The Democrats, for all their problems, understand that. The Republicans, for all their virtues, simply don't. That's why one is more likely to be corrupt than the other.

Anonymous said...

Every year in my business, we get phone calls at the end of the year from government employees who are nearing the end of their fiscal year, and must spend the remainder of their budget or risk getting less money next year. There is no incentive to save or be thrifty. In fact, there is a counter incentive in the way the budget process works.

The clue to where this analysis is wrong is the repeated use of the word "budget." This word refers to a mechanism to contain spending. In fact, these people calling you are legally prevented from spending more than a fixed amount of money, which acts as a strong incentive to prevent them spending money. The ones calling you have done so well in restraining their spending throughout the year that they are now in a position to spend on things they need.

If one were feeling charitable, one could see this as a good thing.

The rest of your comment is a straw man argument: left-wing thinkers don't oppose private companies or markets, nor do they see the state as perfect; they just believe that the state has a role in managing markets and providing services where markets fail. It's a muddling though and doing the best for everyone kind of philosophy, rather than pursuing a market-based model of ideological purity which leaves a lot of people worse off.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the long post earlier-

I don't think you actually addressed my questions, but that's ok. It's your blog. I just don't think your political discussions show your considerable intellect in it's best light.

I will repeat that there is no one desiring to dismantle the government, although I resent the statement that I am alive because of the work of the government. At a basic level, I am alive because my parents had sex at thge right moment to facilitate conception.

My life may be easier, or I may have some advantages due to the government, but since no one is advocating the disolution of the federal government, it's a false argument.

I think the biggest difference between those on the left, and those on the right is their perspective. (Well duh! I hear you say)

I think that the majority of people on the left beleive that human beings are inherently bad, and left to their own devices they will destroy each other (the implicatiuon that without government I would be murdered gives an indication of this belief).

I think the majority of people on the right believe that people are inherently good, and that given a choice will do the right thing. Charity and Philanthropy are based on this.

Of course, human beings cover a wide spectrum of believes, from far left to far right.

In the end, your argument is "we need the government"- but nobody rational is argueing otherwise.

John Seavey said...

Resent it all you want, it's true--you are alive because of the diligent work of the federal government. You say, "Oh, I'm alive because my parents conceived me," but back in the 1880s, under the "limited government" that conservatives endlessly praise, the infant mortality rate was about 1 in 3. And that's just getting to adulthood, let alone surviving to a reasonable age (the average life expectancy was 40.)

You can argue against those facts all you want, but that's just the point--they're facts. You are arguing against facts with opinions, the mark of a crazy person. Which is the one place we say "nobody rational is arguing against the federal governemnt", and I say, "The conservative movement is led by crazy people."

Tomato, tomahto...

Anonymous said...


I thought we were having an intelligent discussion- but you have to go to the name calling.

The fact that mortality rates are lower today is true. Whether that is the work of government can be debated.

It is sad that as bright as you obviously are, you have to resort to setting up people who disagree with you a "crazy person".

You continue to advance the notion that those on the right are are desirous of the elimination of the federal government. That is a falsehood, and you know it. Such misleading statements are beneath you.

John Seavey said...

"I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub."
--Grover Nordquist, member of the board of directors of the National Rifle Association and the American Conservative Union, and once dubbed "the Grand Central Station of conservatism".

"Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."
--Ronald Reagan, prominent Republican and 40th President of the United States, considered to be one of the architects of current conservative thought

"[A return to life as it was in 1900] is a serviceable summation of the conservative's goal..."
--George Will, perhaps the most prominent conservative intellectual commenting today

"Let’s consider, say, the year 1880. Here was a society in which people were free to keep everything they earned, because there was no income tax. They were also free to decide what to do with their own money—spend it, save it, invest it, donate it, or whatever. People were generally free to engage in occupations and professions without a license or permit. There were few federal economic regulations and regulatory agencies. No Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, bailouts, or so-called stimulus plans. No IRS. No Departments of Education, Energy, Agriculture, Commerce, and Labor. No EPA and OSHA. No Federal Reserve. No drug laws. Few systems of public schooling. No immigration controls. No federal minimum-wage laws or price controls. A monetary system based on gold and silver coins rather than paper money. No slavery. No CIA. No FBI. No torture or cruel or unusual punishments. No renditions. No overseas military empire. No military-industrial complex.

As a libertarian, as far as I’m concerned, that’s a society that is pretty darned golden."
--Jacob Hornberger, Reason Magazine, less than two freaking weeks ago

You keep insisting that "nobody rational is arguing for the dissolution of government." I keep pointing out to you that many of the top voices in your own party and your own movement actually are arguing for a diminishment of government to the point of either actual dissolution, or the same thing in practical terms. If you don't like the conclusion that draws you to, then maybe you should be paying a little more attention to what your own party is saying and try to stop the irrational people (your term for them, not mine) who are hijacking your party.

Anonymous said...

fair dos John, none of those people you quote are actually identifiably rational.

Anonymous said...


You chided a previous commentor for taking quotes out of context, and yet you do the exact same thing.

And then the lengthy wuote you post is from a self proclaimed libertarian whom I had never heard of.

I could bring quotes from people on the left who espouse truly socialist agendas, and what would that prove?

Of more interest is a later sentance in the Reagan speech:

"Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? All of us together, in and out of government, must bear the burden."

Doesn't sound like somone wanting to eliminate a federal government.

John Seavey said...

Ah, yes, the last refuge of someone in total intellectual collapse. "I was taken out of context!" Never mind that you long ago stopped even trying to argue that the Republican party has become intolerably corrupt, never mind that you've been splitting hairs about the philosophy of the conservative movement, never mind that you've actually admitted that the goal of the conservative movement is "irrational", never mind that you've been caught out as factually wrong in yet another attempt to change the subject to avoid having to admit you're factually wrong... long as you can somehow convince me that one Ronald Reagan quote doesn't actually represent his philosophy as expressed by his actions throughout the entire eight years of his Presidency, then you must be right! About something, somewhere, somehow. Not the actual thing under discussion, of course, but given how bad your track record has been, I can understand the desperate need to prove me wrong somewhere. :)

Of course, you're failing even at that. Reagan cut Social Security, Medicaid, the EPA, food stamps, education, and gutted the regulations on banking (which directly led to the multi-trillion dollar S&L crisis.) He dismantled the mental health care system, spiked the jobless and homeless rates, and saddled us with a debt that we've never been able to get out from under. The only thing the man ever wanted to spend money on was missiles, and you know what? That don't count as "government." :)

Reagan might not have literally wanted to end the existence of the government of the United States of America, but his domestic policy was every bit an expression of the quote, "Government is not the solution, government is the problem." I'm taking it in the context of his two terms as President, and you know what? It fits perfectly.

Anonymous said...

I'll take my leave now John. I have paying writing gigs that I need to invest my energy in, and deadlines to meet.

You have not answered my questions, have changed the subject repeatedly, and have misreprented what I (and others)have typed.

But you can feel good that you have labeled me, when you know nothing about me, you have (at least in your mind) marginalized me, called me names, and lowered the level of discourse in doing so. That is how you have shown your superior intellect.

I foolishly expected an intelligent conversation- an exchange of ideas. But as with so many of our politicians, there is no common ground. Our views of what America is are irreconcilable.

Your understanding of history is skewed by your beliefs, and you assign results to events completely unrelated to them. You misquote to change meaning to fit what you are trying to prove.

Your belief that government is the provider of all that is good in our lives (specifically Federal Government, as that seems to be your holy grail)is kind of sad, as it implies that no one can succeed without government giving them life. We all owe our life to our government, as you said.

I believe that mankind is made of far better stuff than you believe.

John Seavey said...

Translation: "I've pretty much run out of ways to duck the complete lack of substance to my arguments, you've provided facts to counter my unsourced, unsubstantiated assertions, and I can't think of anything else to change the subject to."

Good luck with your highly-paid lucrative writing gigs that I'm sure are entirely real, Anonymous, and not simply an attempt to convince me you don't live in your mother's basement. :)

Anonymous said...

Seems simple enough to those interested in the truth.

Trace said...

Hi John, I'm new here.

Well done sir. Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

Anonymous said...

"Some say it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

Democrats agree. Except that they refuse to buy any candles at all until they can convince the Republicans, becaused of course, they can't imagine that the Republicans wouldn't see reason.

When the Republicans want to sell off the candles just because no one need candles in the daylight, the Democrats correctly disagree, but they can never get quite organized enough to stop the Republicans until just after the last candle has been sold.

When it gets dark, the Republicans blame the Democrats for the inadequate lighting conditions, and the Democrats know the Republicans are wrong, but gee, they sure don't want to come across as partisan by disagreeing, now do they? So they let the Republicans convince everyone to blame the Democrats for what the Republicans did, and then they act surprised that the public is angry at the Democrats.

By the way, the Republicans happen to know a dear friend and true patriot who recently obtained a supply of candles that he's willing to part with. The Democrats want to disagree, but they are afraid that everyone will blame them for the darkness, so they let the Republicans do what they want yet again.

"Oh, and if you think there's anything suspicious about the whole arrangement, you hate America and you want the darkness to win," say the Republicans, and the Democrats listen wide-eyed and nod.

After all, all that is necessary for Republicans to succeed is for Democrats to do nothing, and that is indeed what Democrats do.