The tea party just cost you $322

The Tea Party just cost you $322.

That’s the latest cost of their incoherent national tantrum — $100 billion in increased financing costs for which America gets nothing in return. That works out to $322 for every man, woman and child in the United States.

So the Tea Party just cost you $322. They just cost my family $1,288.

You don’t get anything in return for that $322, nor does my family get anything in return for that $1,288. It is simply an added cost due to our sharing this country with aggressively stupid, resentful, angry fools who would rather let the whole thing burn than bother to learn even the slightest bit about others or about the world they live in.

Their willful, determined ignorance just cost you another $322.

Alas, that $322 is not the entire cost to you of their destructive, crabs-in-a-bucket lashing-out. It’s simply the latest cost incurred from their childishness.

This latest cost pales in comparison to the mounting costs of deferred maintenance on our infrastructure; the cost of the fiscal negligence, compounding daily, of not responding to our jobs crisis; the cost of the voluntary economic contraction they’re fighting for; the cost of the litigation  that replaces the regulation they despise; the cost of economic growth rejected, deliberately, due to their fierce efforts to suppress demand; the cost of decades wasted putting off the inevitable necessity of developing next-generation energy sources; the cost of the mounting and horrendously expensive consequences of climate change.

These people have real victims. They are hurting others — causing real harm to real people.

And now they have taken another $322 from you. I would say they were thieves, stealing this money from you, but they’re not lucid enough to be thieves.

Thieves at least enrich themselves by taking from others. These folks take from others and just set the money on fire.

They don’t benefit from their tantrum. It harms them as much as it harms you and everyone else you know.

“Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

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  • http://aaron.acephalo.us Aaron

    Sorry, can’t; I just ordered a pizza and if I go upstairs now I won’t hear the doorbell. Those are serious charges. How do you substantiate them?

  • Jenny Islander

    I recall someone on NPR(?) pointing out that communism did work in a certain part of the Soviet economy: communal farms and other production enterprises in which pretty much everybody did the same thing all day, plus they had to live with each other when they weren’t working.  Also the groups successfully practicing communism according to its original definition tended not to be very big.  Communism as a system for operating large governments dealing with a variety of economic issues and so forth always turns out to be something else calling itself communism.

  • Dan Audy

    My personal favourite take on Quixote ever is SMBC’s
    http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2134#comic

  • Rikalous

    My personal favourite take on Quixote ever is SMBC’s

    I always liked the one from a different four-letter-named webcomic:
    http://xkcd.com/556/

  • Lori

    So, attempting to stick with the topic of the economy—I’ve been catching up a bit on my reading and thought people might find this interesting. It’s a recent piece by John Robb at Global Guerillas in which he contends that the US economy is failing due to central planning. 

    http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2011/07/journal-central-planning-and-the-fall-of-the-us-empire.html

    He and I don’t see eye to eye on government regulation*, but I understand his point on that. I thought the other part of his thesis was interesting and something you rarely hear from people who are anti-government regulation. Namely that wealth is now concentrated to such an extent that the tiny number of wealthy people are effectively doing central planning, with predictably disastrous results

    *If you look at the first few comments on the article you can see an example of the thing that bothers me most about the anti-regulation stanch most common on the blog. People are talking about two very different types of regulation and declaring that because they don’t like regulation Y it means that regulation Q must be bad. Because they’re both government regulation. I’ve never seen any realistic plan by Mr Robb or his commenters to prevent increasing wealth disparity without government involvement. Maybe I missed it.

    And of course there’s the whole “regulation is a conspiracy by The Man to hold people down”, which is also common on the blog. That’s a whole other discussion.

  • P J Evans

     Oh, regulation really gets them riled up. It’s funny to me, because I work at a utility company, and regulations are what we live with: from not giving some customers advantages over others, to making sure our facilities are safe and won’t kill people (including employees).
    (Which reminds me that I need to check which compliance classes have to be taken in the next couple of months.)

  • Lori

    Oh, regulation really gets them riled up. It’s funny to me, because I
    work at a utility company, and regulations are what we live with:

    Yes, the “regulation is killing small business” meme always make me scratch my head. I want to ask people exactly which kind of small business they’re running. My ex runs a small pest control company in California. That means that he sprays poisonous chemicals in people’s homes and in kitchens where restaurants prepare food to sell to the public and in rooms in hotels and motels that businesses rent out to the public. Poisonous. Chemicals. In California.

    IOW, G works with a lot of regulations. He took over the business from his dad and he’s been working there for like 25 years. In that time the amount of regulation that he deals with has increased considerably. Many chemicals that he used when he started are now totally illegal in the US and others are so heavily restricted that he never uses them. He has to wear his respirator on a lot more jobs than he used to and he has to do more hours of continuing ed and employee training. He’s inspected by the state Ag department at least once a year. He has to be separately licensed in every city in which he does work.

    It’s all more than a bit of a PITA and G isn’t the most patient person on earth by a long shot. You know how much time he spends complaining about regulations? Almost none. For one thing he can look at himself and compare his current state of health with that of the old timers he sees at continuing ed classes. More than that, he compares the old-timers now to the old-timers of 25 years ago. He likes that he doesn’t have a twitch he can’t control, or lung problems or cancer. A few hours of continuing ed seems like a fair trade-off for having decent health (at least for a guy approaching middle age who gets no exercise & doesn’t have the best easting habits). 

    Also, regulation is not destroying G’s business. Not even close. He may be forced to close his doors at some point. Things have been really bad the last few years and he’s not sure how much longer he’s going to be able to keep going. The problem is lack of demand, not excess regulation. I find it difficult to believe that all these anti-regulation
    complainers on the internet run small businesses that are more heavily
    regulated than spraying poisonous chemicals in California.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Oh, regulation really gets them riled up. It’s funny to me, because I work at a utility company, and regulations are what we live with: from not giving some customers advantages over others, to making sure our facilities are safe and won’t kill people (including employees).(Which reminds me that I need to check which compliance classes have to be taken in the next couple of months.)

    Regulation should, ideally, be used to ensure minimum standards of safety and quality and help to keep the market fair and completive.  Unfortunately, the problem with regulation as it is implemented is that companies tend to see regulation as a cudgel they can wield for their own advantage.  They will lobby the government to get themselves deregulated, claiming it will improve their industry, while simultaneously lobbying for tight regulation of other industries that they perceive as being a threat to their business model.  

    Rather than being used to balance the scales, they see regulation as a way to stack the deck.  Pumping money into astro-turfing campaigns to make the public decry regulation is considered an investment.  It helps those companies wealthy enough to afford powerful lobbies to make more money on their own deregulation, while companies without that kind of financial power cannot do enough to keep pace, therefor consolidating their market power.  

  • Lori

    So, attempting to stick with the topic of the economy—I’ve been catching up a bit on my reading and thought people might find this interesting. It’s a recent piece by John Robb at Global Guerillas in which he contends that the US economy is failing due to central planning. 

    http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2011/07/journal-central-planning-and-the-fall-of-the-us-empire.html

    He and I don’t see eye to eye on government regulation*, but I understand his point on that. I thought the other part of his thesis was interesting and something you rarely hear from people who are anti-government regulation. Namely that wealth is now concentrated to such an extent that the tiny number of wealthy people are effectively doing central planning, with predictably disastrous results

    *If you look at the first few comments on the article you can see an example of the thing that bothers me most about the anti-regulation stanch most common on the blog. People are talking about two very different types of regulation and declaring that because they don’t like regulation Y it means that regulation Q must be bad. Because they’re both government regulation. I’ve never seen any realistic plan by Mr Robb or his commenters to prevent increasing wealth disparity without government involvement. Maybe I missed it.

    And of course there’s the whole “regulation is a conspiracy by The Man to hold people down”, which is also common on the blog. That’s a whole other discussion.

  • Mr. Heartland

     Fred, Fred, Fred.  If I didn’t know better it would seem like you’re suggesting that these people are being irresponsible.  Which we all know is impossible since these Real, True Americans  are the very essence of responsibility.   And there would be no need for these ‘tantrums’ as you call them if we would all just shut up and acknowledge their Fatherly entitlement to permanent social control.  

  • Lori

    When David Frum* bails on conservative economic strategy you know things are bad.

    http://www.frumforum.com/could-it-be-that-our-enemies-were-right

    In February 1982, Susan Sontag made a fierce challenge to
    a left-wing audience gathered at New York’s Town Hall:

    Imagine, if you will, someone who read only the Reader’s
    Digest between 1950 and 1970, and someone in the same period who read only
    The Nation or The New Statesman. Which reader would have been
    better informed about the realities of Communism? The answer, I think, should
    give us pause. Can it be that our enemies were right?

    Posing that question won Sontag only boos from
    an audience that the New York Times described as “startled.” Yet the
    question has only gained power over the intervening years. It contributed to
    the rise of a healthier, more realistic left much less tempted to make excuses
    for “progressive” dictatorships than the left of the last generation. If Hugo
    Chavez has any defenders on the contemporary American left, I haven’t heard of
    them.

    Think of Susan Sontag as you absorb the horrifying revised estimates of the
    collapse of 2008 from the Commerce Department. Two years ago, Commerce
    estimated the decline of the US economy at -0.5% in the third quarter of 2008
    and -3.8% in the fourth quarter. It now puts the damage at -3.7% and -8.9%:
    Great Depression territory.

    Those estimates make intuitive sense as we assess the real-world effect of
    the crisis: the jobs lost, the homes foreclosed, the retirements shattered.
    When people tell me that I’ve changed my mind too much about too many things
    over the past four years, I can only point to the devastation wrought by this
    crisis and wonder: How closed must your thinking be if it isn’t
    affected by a disaster of such magnitude? And in fact, almost all of our
    thinking has been somehow affected: hence the drift of so many conservatives
    away from what used to be the mainstream market-oriented Washington Consensus
    toward Austrian economics and Ron Paul style hard-money libertarianism. The
    ground they and I used to occupy stands increasingly empty.

    If I can’t follow where most of my friends have gone, it is because I keep
    hearing Susan Sontag’s question in my ears. Or rather, a revised and updated
    version of that question:

    Imagine, if you will, someone who read only the Wall Street Journal
    editorial page between 2000 and 2011, and someone in the same period who
    read only the collected columns of Paul Krugman. Which reader would have been
    better informed about the realities of the current economic crisis? The answer,
    I think, should give us pause. Can it be that our enemies were right? 

    *One of W’s former speech writers. To say that in those days Frum wasn’t a fan of Paul Krugman would be a significant understatement.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    My jaw is kinda on the floor here.

    David Frum?, Admitting he was WRONG?  My mind is blown even more thoroughly than learning of French wine terrorists.

  • Guest-again

    ‘Alberta isn’t as rightwing as is widely believed.’
    The remark was from a couple of decades ago – though I notice that no one apparently is contradicting the idea of a People’s Republic in BC.

    ‘Also
    since 2009 you can’t travel between Canada and the US without a
    passport – largely due to the fearmongering about terrorists entering
    the US through Canada.’
    For an American citizen, there is the card option – costs like $15 (plus whatever imaginative fees aren’t mentioned – $40(?) ‘security’ fee when I last renewed mine in January) – and is only good for travel to and from Canada and Mexico. I haven’t read much about how widely it is used, but it just adds another barrier to Americans being able to see anything else but the picture presented to them of their society, and their own personal experiences among people who grew up the same way.

    What a Canadian needs to present is something I haven’t checked – but the fingerprints, if not already done, are coming. As they will for American citizens – including a generational phase in, as even now, some ID laws mandating biometrics like fingerprints from state issued ID exclude people over 45 (another reason being that the databases which cover a 30 year old’s life adequately from a Big Brother aren’t as good with people who grew up before digital databases became routine).

    Another thing that bothers me is that the U.S. is turning into a police state right before our eyes, and the people most intimately involved in the process and the ones screaming the most loudly about ‘socialism’ or ‘sharia’ or ‘terrorism’ or ‘illegals’ are the same people.

  • Guest-again

    ‘Alberta isn’t as rightwing as is widely believed.’
    The remark was from a couple of decades ago – though I notice that no one apparently is contradicting the idea of a People’s Republic in BC.

    ‘Also
    since 2009 you can’t travel between Canada and the US without a
    passport – largely due to the fearmongering about terrorists entering
    the US through Canada.’
    For an American citizen, there is the card option – costs like $15 (plus whatever imaginative fees aren’t mentioned – $40(?) ‘security’ fee when I last renewed mine in January) – and is only good for travel to and from Canada and Mexico. I haven’t read much about how widely it is used, but it just adds another barrier to Americans being able to see anything else but the picture presented to them of their society, and their own personal experiences among people who grew up the same way.

    What a Canadian needs to present is something I haven’t checked – but the fingerprints, if not already done, are coming. As they will for American citizens – including a generational phase in, as even now, some ID laws mandating biometrics like fingerprints from state issued ID exclude people over 45 (another reason being that the databases which cover a 30 year old’s life adequately from a Big Brother aren’t as good with people who grew up before digital databases became routine).

    Another thing that bothers me is that the U.S. is turning into a police state right before our eyes, and the people most intimately involved in the process and the ones screaming the most loudly about ‘socialism’ or ‘sharia’ or ‘terrorism’ or ‘illegals’ are the same people.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Ah, P.J. O’Rourke.  Funny guy.  I remember reading one article by him (written back in the…90’s maybe?  Sheesh, I’m old) in which he said what a great place Sweden was to live, then pointed out that they have a horrible HORRIBLE amount of government debt.  It wasn’t until a few hours later that I realized “wait – the USA _also_ has a huge amount of debt, and we don’t even have any of those nice things to show for it!”  

    A good propagandist can put off that moment of Fridge Logic for a very long time in some readers…

    I also remember reading something he wrote back during the First Iraq Curbstomp, in which he was doing a lot of triumphialist chest-beating about the Hammer Of Justice descending on Saddam Hussein… I wonder what he had to say when Hussein was escorted out of Kuwait and told not to do that again?  :-P

  • Lori

     Ah, P.J. O’Rourke.  Funny guy.  I remember reading one article by him (written back in the…90’s maybe?  Sheesh, I’m old)  

    P.J. O’Rourke was a sort of funny guy….back in the 80s. And you may be old, but so is P.J. 

    I didn’t bother focusing on it at the time, but I LOLed when the troll used O’Rourke to shore up the idea that conservatives have more fun. When a guy 3 decades past his prime is the name you come up with when you think funny conservative you’ve got a problem. 

    Of course I also LOLed over the fact that even the troll didn’t mention Dennis Miller. 

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Oh, regulation really gets them riled up.

    I’m sure everyone here can name a half-dozen cases of de-regulation having disastrous effects on the customers (mad cow, Enron, the banking collapse, ad nauseam), but can anyone name, say, three examples of de-regulation actually producing better products/services at lower cost?

  • Lori

     I’m sure everyone here can name a half-dozen cases of de-regulation having disastrous effects on the customers (mad cow, Enron, the banking collapse, ad nauseam), but can anyone name, say, three examples of de-regulation actually producing better products/services at lower cost?  

    I was living in California when electricity deregulation happened. Free market paradise. Companies competed for my business so I was able to chose to get my electricity solely from sustainable power generation and my average bill dropped so much I paid it with pocket change. It was glorious. 

    Oh wait. That was the ads that were run to convince people to support deregulation, not my life once it passed. 

    The reality of deregulation was quite different. Sort version? My bill increased by about 40% in just a few months and the worlds “rolling blackout” still inspire something close to a rage blackout. It’s been 11 years and I’d still pay cash money for 5 minutes alone with either of those “Burn baby, burn” Enron bastards.  

  • Hawker Hurricane

    During the California electricity deregualation faisco, I was living in San Diego where San Diego Gouge and Extort (San Diego Gas and Electric), a “Sempra Energy Utility” had major price jumps.  My mother lived in Los Angeles, where the Metropolitan Water District provides the electricity, and she had her rates drop.  So she was in favor of deregulation… until I pointed out that MWD was owned by the city of Los Angeles, and wasn’t deregulated, it was able to cut prices because it was selling excess power to the parts of California that had been deregulated.

    The best electric rates in California were and are provided by government owned utilities.  In spite of competition.

  • Lori

     My mother lived in Los Angeles, where the Metropolitan Water District provides the electricity, and she had her rates drop.  So she was in favor of deregulation… until I pointed out that MWD was owned by the city of Los Angeles, and wasn’t deregulated, it was able to cut prices because it was selling excess power to the parts of California that had been deregulated.The best electric rates in California were and are provided by government owned utilities.  In spite of competition.  

     I lived in LA county at the time, but not within the LA city limits. I was about 2 miles from the border. When I had no power because the blackout was rolling over my city I could walk about 2 blocks and look down the road and see lights on because of that evil, inefficient government power company. Rage. Blackout. 

    ETA: When I lived in northern California I was a customer of Pacific Gas & Electric, aka Pacific Graft & Extortion. The nickname was so common that A) people actually wrote it on the Pay To line of the checks they wrote to pay their bills and B) those checks went through, no problem.

  • Lori

     My mother lived in Los Angeles, where the Metropolitan Water District provides the electricity, and she had her rates drop.  So she was in favor of deregulation… until I pointed out that MWD was owned by the city of Los Angeles, and wasn’t deregulated, it was able to cut prices because it was selling excess power to the parts of California that had been deregulated.The best electric rates in California were and are provided by government owned utilities.  In spite of competition.  

     I lived in LA county at the time, but not within the LA city limits. I was about 2 miles from the border. When I had no power because the blackout was rolling over my city I could walk about 2 blocks and look down the road and see lights on because of that evil, inefficient government power company. Rage. Blackout. 

    ETA: When I lived in northern California I was a customer of Pacific Gas & Electric, aka Pacific Graft & Extortion. The nickname was so common that A) people actually wrote it on the Pay To line of the checks they wrote to pay their bills and B) those checks went through, no problem.

  • P J Evans

    My mother lived in Los Angeles, where the Metropolitan Water District provides the electricity,
    Not the MWD, they only do water and aren’t part of the city of LA. It’s LA DWP, and they’ve been raising rates ever since (a lot of people think that they want too much. I think that those people might want to turn off lights and change their thermostat settings first. (The current rate is about 6 cents per kilowatt-hour. Plus assorted taxes and their ‘minimum charge’ of $10 a month.)

  • Anonymous

    Well, this is interesting! I step away for a couple of days and return to a full-fledged troll-feeding frenzy. And some of the trolls have outdone themselves. But this jaw-dropping line from the ever-inventive Beatrix, 
     

    And you are not working for any govt. office on Sunday; please.

     suggests maybe this thread could borrow a bit from the next one over (“You might be an evangelical if…”). I don’t share Our Host’s appreciation for the “Your mother is so ugly…” jokes, but what immediately came to mind was “Our troll is so dim she doesn’t know ‘government’ includes the police”; “Our troll is so dim she thinks all Navy ships come to a dead stop in the middle of the ocean at 5:00 p.m. on Friday when the last GS-4 shuts down her computer and heads home.”  (Yeah, I  know that conversation is over, but I’m going to keep it in reserve for the next glorious appearing of one of the trolls.) 

  • Hawker Hurricane

    “Our troll is so dim she thinks all Navy ships come to a dead stop in the middle of the ocean at 5:00 p.m. on Friday when the last GS-4 shuts down her computer and heads home.”

    That’s funny, I don’t remember any GS workers on board… I do remember working 14-20 hours a day, except on Sundays which were half days (12 hours is half a day, right?)

  • Anonymous

    I was thinking of the GS workers on the mainland, of whom I used to be one: when we left on Friday afternoon, we knew a goodly number of our co-workers in other parts of the building weren’t going anywhere. Besides, somebody was receiving all those messages that landed on my desk sorted by topic at 0730 Monday morning.

    I assumed that “gov’t office” as our troll used it wasn’t meant to include ships. Call it a failure of imagination if you will, but somehow the idea of a Marine helicopter being dispatched to Missouri to airlift Our Very Own hapax to the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt for a Sunday’s work cataloging didn’t occur to me.

  • Anonymous

    She must be terrified of her house catching on fire on Sunday, too.

    Though she did try to cover her ass by claiming that somehow local government was completely separate from national government.  But I’m fairly certain she has no idea what “government” is.  She seems to have it confused with that warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, only filled with bureaucrats passing papers to one another instead of boxes of artifacts.

  • Hawker Hurricane

    Ah, yes, because we all know that National Parks and Monuments (owned and operated by the Federal Government) close for the weekend.  And the FBI schedules kidnapping and hostage crisis (plural of crisis?) so they’ll start on Monday and end on Friday.  And the illegal aliens are getting in by the dastardly means of coming across the border on holidays.

    To Dash1: I had a Admiral who would fly ashore on Friday night and fly back Monday morning.  But an Admiral isn’t a GS4.

  • Anonymous

    But an Admiral isn’t a GS4.

    True, but … naw, too easy.

  • Anonymous

    Good point.  There really are remarkably few governmental things that are closed on the weekends.  Perhaps she mistook the government for Chick-Fil-A.

  • We Must Dissent

    plural of crisis?

    “Crises”

  • http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.com/ Andrew G.

    To return to the original topic for the moment…

    Now we’ve seen the market reaction to the rating downgrade, and guess what? The yields on US treasuries are actually down, which means that more people are trying to buy US government debt, not less.

    Arguably the market understands this stuff better than the politicians (or even individuals in the financial sector) do; they see the US government’s policy and the political instability as being bad for the private sector, and that therefore government bonds are the safest place to be. If the government had a clue, it would make use of this to help facilitate the recovery by taking the cheap money that’s being offered to it in such huge quantities and using it to get real work done.

  • Dan Audy

    An AA+ rating still signifies an extremely high likelyhood of repayment so it isn’t surprising people are buying more of it.  Though my understanding was that because of the rating changes the interest paid of US treasuries inceased so wouldn’t that also increase the yield?

  • http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.com/ Andrew G.

     An AA+ rating still signifies an extremely high likelyhood of repayment
    so it isn’t surprising people are buying more of it.  Though my
    understanding was that because of the rating changes the interest paid
    of US treasuries inceased so wouldn’t that also increase the yield?

    No, that’s the whole point, the interest doesn’t increase. In theory, if the demand for bonds dropped far enough, the government would have to offer a higher interest rate in order to sell as many bonds as it wants (operationally, it has the option of simply not selling bonds at all, but there are political hurdles to that); but the fact that yields in the secondary market are so low (and dropping) indicates that demand for bonds is high (and rising) and therefore there is no need to increase the interest rate in order to sell them.

  • Dan Audy

    Thanks for the clarification Andrew, my last Econ class was a long time ago and was never my strong point.  I was putting together things that I heard without understanding why they contradicted each other.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Here is a silly idea.  

    The Tea Party does not like taxes?  They do not care for government spending?  They are willing to drag the rest of us down with them in a self-destructive path in an attempt to force the government to fit their conception?  Fine, then we can give them what they want.  Let anyone who voted for a Tea Party backed candidate not pay taxes.  In turn, they are not allowed to benefit from any government paid amenities.  No medicare, no welfare, no unemployment insurance, no military protection, no use of federal roads, no use of the public post office, no benefit ever enabled by taxation.  If they wish to make use of these services, they will be subject to a copay scaled to the value of the service, adjusted appropriately by the cost the service took to implement and maintain.  

    Let us see how well they like swallowing their own medicine.  

  • Madhabmatics

    There’s a popular republican chain email that suggests dividing the US into two halves and goes, “We’ll get blah blah blah.” It always cracks me up, because it’s stuff like “You keep California, we’ll get Alabama. You get the artists and scientists, we get patriotism.”

    Yeah, let’s do that, nothing could go wrong with your plan to claim all the crappiest parts of America and give liberals the parts that actually make money.

  • Madhabmatics

    There’s a popular republican chain email that suggests dividing the US into two halves and goes, “We’ll get blah blah blah.” It always cracks me up, because it’s stuff like “You keep California, we’ll get Alabama. You get the artists and scientists, we get patriotism.”

    Yeah, let’s do that, nothing could go wrong with your plan to claim all the crappiest parts of America and give liberals the parts that actually make money.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Well, I’m sure they also plan to get the nuclear weaponry.  “Foreign aid will be replaced by foreign TRIBUTE!”

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    There’s a popular republican chain email that suggests dividing the US into two halves and goes, “We’ll get blah blah blah.” It always cracks me up, because it’s stuff like “You keep California, we’ll get Alabama. You get the artists and scientists, we get patriotism.”Yeah, let’s do that, nothing could go wrong with your plan to claim all the crappiest parts of America and give liberals the parts that actually make money.

    It makes me think that the real “leeches” in the system are the people who want the government to provide for them, but cut government aid to others (specifically “those people,”) while simultaneously demanding to pay less than their fair share.  

  • Madhabmatics

    I love postin’ this chart.

    Cut the federal spending! Cut it all! We’ll show those dumbocrats.

  • Madhabmatics

    I love postin’ this chart.

    Cut the federal spending! Cut it all! We’ll show those dumbocrats.

  • Lori

     There’s a popular republican chain email that suggests dividing the US into two halves and goes, “We’ll get blah blah blah.” It always cracks me up, because it’s stuff like “You keep California, we’ll get Alabama. You get the artists and scientists, we get patriotism.”

    Yeah, let’s do that, nothing could go wrong with your plan to claim all the crappiest parts of America and give liberals the parts that actually make money.  

    Well sure. There are obviously no patriotic people in California. Equally obviously there are no artists or scientists in Alabama. 

    Why doesn’t the target audience for these emails ever notice that they insult Alabama as much as California. 

    Also, on what basis do these folks think that blind allegiance to some fictional very of American history is way more useful than artists and scientists?

  • We Must Dissent

    Well sure. There are obviously no patriotic people in California.
    Equally obviously there are no artists or scientists in Alabama.

    Or, as Jon Stewart repeatedly pointed out during the 2008 presidential campaign, Al Qaeda’s gonna be pissed when they find out that they missed Real America on 9/11.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Also, on what basis do these folks think that blind allegiance to some fictional version of American history is way more useful than artists and scientists?

    Short horrible answer: Science is like food, patriotism is like guns. If I take all the food and you take all the guns, about fifteen minutes later, you’ll have all the guns and all the food.

  • Lori

     Short horrible answer: Science is like food, patriotism is like guns. If I take all the food and you take all the guns, about fifteen minutes later, you’ll have all the guns and all the food.   

    But unless patriotism actually is guns, it wouldn’t actually work this way. In fact it would be the opposite. You take the food and the warm fuzzy feelings generated by the USA fan fic you’ve been absorbing. We’ll take the science. In no time we’ll have food (although not necessarily yours) and art and income. You’ll have food as long as the weather cooperates. With climate change & no scientists to help you figure out how to deal with it that probably won’t last long. That in turn will likely lead to a diminishing supply of warm fuzzies.

    I mean, I get what you’re saying. I just don’t quite grasp why anyone thinks that makes sense. 

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    But unless patriotism actually is guns, it wouldn’t actually work this way. In fact it would be the opposite. You take the food and the warm fuzzy feelings generated by the USA fan fic you’ve been absorbing. We’ll take the science. In no time we’ll have food (although not necessarily yours) and art and income. You’ll have food as long as the weather cooperates. With climate change & no scientists to help you figure out how to deal with it that probably won’t last long. That in turn will likely lead to a diminishing supply of warm fuzzies.

    Patriotism kinda _is_ guns. Patriotism is how you do things like invade Iraq _because_ a Saudi living in Afghanistan or Pakistan ordered an attack on you. Patriotism is how you get your populace to agree that those librrl commie atheist muslim gays in fake-america took all those resources that are rightfully yours, and that Jesus backs your plan to invade them.

  • Lori

     There’s a popular republican chain email that suggests dividing the US into two halves and goes, “We’ll get blah blah blah.” It always cracks me up, because it’s stuff like “You keep California, we’ll get Alabama. You get the artists and scientists, we get patriotism.”

    Yeah, let’s do that, nothing could go wrong with your plan to claim all the crappiest parts of America and give liberals the parts that actually make money.  

    Well sure. There are obviously no patriotic people in California. Equally obviously there are no artists or scientists in Alabama. 

    Why doesn’t the target audience for these emails ever notice that they insult Alabama as much as California. 

    Also, on what basis do these folks think that blind allegiance to some fictional very of American history is way more useful than artists and scientists?

  • Rikalous

    There’s a popular republican chain email that suggests dividing the US
    into two halves and goes, “We’ll get blah blah blah.” It always cracks
    me up, because it’s stuff like “You keep California, we’ll get Alabama.
    You get the artists and scientists, we get patriotism.”

    That’s a Republican thing? I’ve heard some people on the left advocating the same thing, for pretty much the same reasons. Nice to know both sides can find common ground in their disunity.

  • Rikalous

    There’s a popular republican chain email that suggests dividing the US
    into two halves and goes, “We’ll get blah blah blah.” It always cracks
    me up, because it’s stuff like “You keep California, we’ll get Alabama.
    You get the artists and scientists, we get patriotism.”

    That’s a Republican thing? I’ve heard some people on the left advocating the same thing, for pretty much the same reasons. Nice to know both sides can find common ground in their disunity.

  • Anonymous

    I seem to recall that there was an email that said pretty much the same thing, but from the Blue State side during the Bush years: “we keep the artists and scientists and the good wine; you get the self-styled patriots and a lot of fried food.” I thought I’d saved it somewhere, but I can’t find it now. Sigh. 

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I seem to recall that there was an email that said pretty much the same thing, but from the Blue State side during the Bush years: “we keep the artists and scientists and the good wine; you get the self-styled patriots and a lot of fried food.” I thought I’d saved it somewhere, but I can’t find it now. Sigh.

    I remember an image macro from back then, with the “United American and Canadian States of Reality” on one side of the boarder an “Jesusland” on the other side.  

  • Anonymous

    I remember that “Jesusland” macro as well. Still can’t find the email, though. (In addition to the categories of “literature,” “anime,” “live action television,” “film,” etc., TV Tropes needs a “viral email” category. Then I could find the thing.) 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GVT7C7S6IP2OC44PFUZGAJ4OBM JohnK

    Your post highlights the main problem with being able to ‘opt-out’ of government services; it’s fundamentally unworkable.

    Public goods are by definition non-excludable in consumption. Take the military for a great example of a public good; there is no way to exclude one individual citizen within US territory from the benefits of being protected by the military. It’s literally impossible, and that’s the reason why most countries have a public military. If you tried to fully-privatize the military (and still have it fulfill the same function) then have some people who were protected by it but didn’t have to pay for it.

  • Anonymous

    If you tried to fully-privatize the military (and still have it fulfill
    the same function) then have some people who were protected by it but
    didn’t have to pay for it.

    We’ve got that without the privatization. Example: General Electric.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GVT7C7S6IP2OC44PFUZGAJ4OBM JohnK

    That’s a good point. You also have children, the homeless, and lots of other people who don’t actively support the US military. That explanation was poorly-phrased and I apologize; what I should have said was something more along the lines of, “If the military were fully-privatized but still had the same official function, people wouldn’t volunteer to pay for it because they expect that someone else will pay for it for them. This will — at least in theory — lead to a market failure unless the government steps in by allocating resources to make sure that the good gets paid for.

    Does that make more sense? I mistakenly suggested that the issue was solely about taxes, but the dysfunction actually originates before that. There are some services that the private sector cannot adequately provide to everyone. For some reason I’m having a really hard time arranging the words in my head this evening.

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry! I was indeed being snarky but I meant it to be with you, not atyou. In other words, I was trying to support your point by noting that we already have a ridiculous situation of some entities that benefit (rather substantially) from the protection afforded by the military (and other government services) but were refusing to pay for it.

    You made perfect sense the first time. Friends?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GVT7C7S6IP2OC44PFUZGAJ4OBM JohnK

    Thanks! It’s been in a while since I’ve read this stuff so I was worried that I wasn’t explaining it very clearly. No offense was taken, please don’t worry!

  • Anonymous

    If you tried to fully-privatize the military (and still have it fulfill
    the same function) then have some people who were protected by it but
    didn’t have to pay for it.

    We’ve got that without the privatization. Example: General Electric.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Your post highlights the main problem with being able to ‘opt-out’ of government services; it’s fundamentally unworkable. 

    Hey, I did say it was a silly idea.  An idle thought to amuse.  

    If people keep demanding that the government screw them over, and this is a free and representative system, then we might as well let them get screwed over.  After all, they asked for it, they want it, they should have it, even if they end up not liking the taste when they get it.  

    I just wish that there was a way for avoiding them screwing the rest of us over in the process.  

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Here is a silly idea.  

    The Tea Party does not like taxes?  They do not care for government spending?  They are willing to drag the rest of us down with them in a self-destructive path in an attempt to force the government to fit their conception?  Fine, then we can give them what they want.  Let anyone who voted for a Tea Party backed candidate not pay taxes.  In turn, they are not allowed to benefit from any government paid amenities.  No medicare, no welfare, no unemployment insurance, no military protection, no use of federal roads, no use of the public post office, no benefit ever enabled by taxation.  If they wish to make use of these services, they will be subject to a copay scaled to the value of the service, adjusted appropriately by the cost the service took to implement and maintain.  

    Let us see how well they like swallowing their own medicine.  

  • Ian

    I am absolutely disgusted by the amount of hate that this post has showed and stirred up. This is a christian blog, yes?

    I think it’s worth pointing out that if you believe it’s ridiculous for people to blame Obama fully, it’s also ridiculous to blame the Tea Party fully for this mess. I think it would be much more reasonable to say that Obama, the Congress, the Supreme Court, the Tea Party, the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, 24-hour news entertainment, and to a much slighter degree ALL voters have their own share of responsibility for the policies that our government enacts due to the nature of how our government works.

    Again I will mention just how shocked I am that professing Christians would participate in such hate mongering.

  • Anonymous

    Christian blog != Christian commentariat. Case in point, yours truly.

    You’re not wrong that we’ve all got a share of the blame, but the Tea Party gets the lion’s share. Them and Justices Thomas and Scalia.

  • Ian

    Well I prefer to not go around pointing fingers because all it does is give us a reason to be bitter with someone. When we point at someone and say “They are stupid because they did this” it’s called demonizing and hate-mongering. 

  • Anonymous

    So what does one call someone who, effectively, takes money and sets it on fire, if we’re no longer allowed to use ‘stupid’ because that’s ‘demonizing and hatemongering’?

  • Ian

    You don’t call them anything I guess. Ever heard “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all?” 

    If your so upset about it maybe you should instead go about trying to solve the problem.

  • Anonymous

    I am trying. I’m doing my level best to raise awareness of the connection between the Tea Party and the damage it has caused and will continue to cause, and I’m campaigning for Obama, who, whatever faults he has, is better than anything the Republican field has to offer and more electable than anything the Green Party can pull out of our collective ass. Mostly, though, I am refusing to be silenced. “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” is silencing.

    And it’s hardly my fault that “the Tea Party, by funneling money to the people who already have more than they can ever dream of spending, by refusing to raise taxes on same, and by refusing to spend money on employing the unemployed and feeding the hungry and housing the homeless and on repairing the infrastructure desperately in need of repairing and on funding the schools desperately in need of funding and and and and, are fucking everyone over, themselves included” is not a nice thing to say about the Tea Party.

  • Ian

    “‘If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all’ is silencing.”
    Well it’s actually an encouragement to be nice that your mother probably told you.

    I wasn’t really addressing you specifically though. I was more talking about people were were plainly saying they hate people in the Tea Party and encouraging others to hate and any other hateful attitude which i saw in the early comments. A lot of this has been riddled with name calling which is not really helpful for anything other than trying to say that the name caller is not those things because of his/her own self-important disposition. Bravo though for trying to do something on the political end. Not my cup of tea though. :P

    I usually don’t discuss politics as you might be able to tell. It brings out the worst in people in my experience.

  • Lori

    I usually don’t discuss politics as you might be able to tell. It brings out the worst in people in my experience.

    If you don;t involve yourself in politics perhaps it would be best if you also refrained from getting up on your high horse and judging those who do. It’s your absolute right not to be involved in politics, but if everyone took your approach we wouldn’t have any hope of a functioning democracy.

    In short, I don’t think your attitude is as worthy of self-congratulations as you think it is.

  • Ian

    I think you looked into that statement just a little too much. There’s a personal story behind why I think that that involves my very left-wing mother and my very right-wing grandparents, but I’m not going into it because I don’t think I have to tell you how that can make otherwise nice and peaceable people temporarily turn into assholes. And of course I understand that someone has to take an interest in politics to keep the system running, so please don’t insult me.

    As for your other reply to me, you’ll notice that in the comment that you replied to here you’ll see that I mentioned I was talking about a few select people that said a few things encouraging people to hate in the first 20 comments or so (I of course didn’t read the nearly 600 comments) and not any of you who were discussing the topic seriously. You’ll probably be surprised to know that I generally agree with your position against the politics of the Tea Party. Their ideas are based on a false reality where everything is neat and orderly and where as long as it could work theoretically it will work literally (which ironically is the same downfall of communism). I apologize for any misunderstanding I caused.

  • Lori

     As for your other reply to me, you’ll notice that in the comment that you replied to here you’ll see that I mentioned I was talking about a few select people that said a few things encouraging people to hate in the first 20 comments or so (I of course didn’t read the nearly 600 comments) and not any of you who were discussing the topic seriously.  

     

    OK. Jumping in to chide people based on the first page of a 15 page thread may not have been the way to go. 

    Just sayin’.

  • Ian

    I think you looked into that statement just a little too much. There’s a personal story behind why I think that that involves my very left-wing mother and my very right-wing grandparents, but I’m not going into it because I don’t think I have to tell you how that can make otherwise nice and peaceable people temporarily turn into assholes. And of course I understand that someone has to take an interest in politics to keep the system running, so please don’t insult me.

    As for your other reply to me, you’ll notice that in the comment that you replied to here you’ll see that I mentioned I was talking about a few select people that said a few things encouraging people to hate in the first 20 comments or so (I of course didn’t read the nearly 600 comments) and not any of you who were discussing the topic seriously. You’ll probably be surprised to know that I generally agree with your position against the politics of the Tea Party. Their ideas are based on a false reality where everything is neat and orderly and where as long as it could work theoretically it will work literally (which ironically is the same downfall of communism). I apologize for any misunderstanding I caused.

  • Anonymous

    It’s your absolute right not to be involved in politics

    I dunno, I hear Australia has mandatory voting, and I think the US would do well to imitate them. Not make it illegal to turn in a blank ballot, of course, but require everyone over eighteen to turn in a ballot. Literally everyone. Even those in hospitals. Even those in homeless shelters. And make voting machines at least as well-regulated as slot machines, while we’re at it.

  • Lori

     I hear Australia has mandatory voting, and I think the US would do well to imitate them. Not make it illegal to turn in a blank ballot, of course, but require everyone over eighteen to turn in a ballot. Literally everyone. Even those in hospitals. Even those in homeless shelters. And make voting machines at least as well-regulated as slot machines, while we’re at it. 

    I agree, mostly because I think mandatory voting would lead to fixing what I think are the real problems with our voting system. As Sgt Pepper’s noted it puts an end to almost all of the disenfranchisement maneuvering so beloved by the Right. If everyone is legally required to vote the disenfranchisement fight would really only be over the issue of losing the vote due to a criminal record. That’s still an ugly fight, but it’s the only one instead of one among many. 

    It would also force us to go to multi-day voting, with at least some voting done on the weekend. The fact that we still have only one day to vote and it’s a weekday is just ridiculous. 

  • Lori

     You don’t call them anything I guess. Ever heard “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all?” 

    If your so upset about it maybe you should instead go about trying to solve the problem.  

    So Mr. Self-Righteous, how does one go about solving a problem one is not allowed to even describe accurately? Have you had a lot of success with problem-solving via euphemism? If so, do please share the technique.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Well I prefer to not go around pointing fingers because all it does is give us a reason to be bitter with someone. When we point at someone and say “They are stupid because they did this” it’s called demonizing and hate-mongering.

    To quote the Daily Show “if someone doesn’t want to play the blame game, it’s because they’re to blame.”

    And if the Republicans want me to stop “demonizing” them, they need to stop jabbing people with pitchforks.

    Again I will mention just how shocked I am that professing Christians would participate in such hate mongering.

    Yeah, because Jesus was SOOOOO nonjudgemental.  Just look how nice he was to the Pharisees and how he negotiated with moneychangers in the Temple!

    9_9

    (Also, I’m a Discordian.  So nyah.)

  • Lori

     I am absolutely disgusted by the amount of hate that this post has showed and stirred up. This is a christian blog, yes? 

    I’m trying really hard to resist making a joke about pearl clutching. 

     I think it’s worth pointing out that if you believe it’s ridiculous for people to blame Obama fully, it’s also ridiculous to blame the Tea Party fully for this mess. I think it would be much more reasonable to say that Obama, the Congress, the Supreme Court, the Tea Party, the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, 24-hour news entertainment, and to a much slighter degree ALL voters have their own share of responsibility for the policies that our government enacts due to the nature of how our government works.

    Plenty of people own part of this disaster and that’s been acknowledged. Perhaps you missed that while you were having the vapors, but it’s still true. It’s also true that while plenty of people own a piece of this, the debt ceiling disaster started with the Teas, it continued because of their flat refusal to consider any reasonable or realistic alternatives to “everybody do what we want” and when the roof totally falls in on us the Teas will own far more of the blame that anyone else.  If you want to shoulder some of that for them you go right ahead, but I’m not going to. 

     Again I will mention just how shocked I am that professing Christians would participate in such hate mongering.

     

    -I’m not a professing Christian and neither are many of the other people here.

    -Fred is a Christian. As such he considers it more important to stand up for the poor and suffering and down-trodden than to pussy-foot around so as not to hurt the feelings of the people causing the suffering. I’m shocked that you and so many other professing Christians are so willing to abandon the very people Jesus cared about the most in order to ass kiss the powerful. I think you’re the own who should be ashamed. 

    -If calling a group out for the things they actually say and do is “hate-mongering” then I think that says more about the group than it does about the people calling them out. If the Teas don’t want people to talk negatively about them then they should stop holding the country hostage to their stupidity and meanness. 

  • Anonymous

    You’re using a lot of loaded language: “hate-mongering,” “demonizing,” “pointing fingers.” But in fact identifying those who have done, and who are doing, wrong and harming others is not the same thing as “pointing fingers,” “hate-mongering” or “demonizing.” Paul himself did it frequently (Galatians 5, for example), and Jesus as well (Matt. 23:27, to take just one example). And neither of them minced their words. So I’m not prepared to agree with your description.

    But really, if you don’t like the way someone says something, may I suggest that the best way to deal with it is not to complain about it to a different group of people in a different thread but to respond when you see someone being intemperate and gently and respectfully point out to them where their language is problematic. You’ll see this done here from time to time, and people (other than trolls) tend as a rule to take it very well and be willing to engage in discussion about the validity of their choice of language. The advantage of that is that you may help the discussion, and, at the very least, people will know what you’re talking about. Right now, I don’t know the examples you’re referring to, so there’s not much to say besides, “well, the next time it happens, jump right in and point it out.”

  • Ian

    Well I wasn’t talking about anyone who was talking seriously about the topic. I’ve already just explained this. I’m not too careful with my words either I suppose. I don’t know how people got it in their heads that I was talking about them when if you read some of the first 20 comments its obvious I was talking about them. I bet they were probably trolls or something though.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Concern Troll is Very Very Concerned.  

    Apparently our Tone is Hurtful.

    :-P

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I dunno, I hear Australia has mandatory voting, and I think the US would do well to imitate them. Not make it illegal to turn in a blank ballot, of course, but require everyone over eighteen to turn in a ballot. Literally everyone. Even those in hospitals. Even those in homeless shelters. And make voting machines at least as well-regulated as slot machines, while we’re at it.

    We do indeed! I recommend it–helps reduce disanfranchisement. Electoral officers go to hospitals, care homes, and tiny communities in the outback to make sure you can lodge your vote.

    We also vote on Saturdays, not a bloody weekday when it’s going to be very inconvenient for the large share of the population that works during the week. Oh, and we vote with pencil and paper and ballots are counted by hand (takes a long time but no machine funny business).

    Also preferential voting. An extremely excellent idea.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I agree, mostly because I think mandatory voting would lead to fixing what I think are the real problems with our voting system. As Sgt Pepper’s noted it puts an end to almost all of the disenfranchisement maneuvering so beloved by the Right. If everyone is legally required to vote the disenfranchisement fight would really only be over the issue of losing the vote due to a criminal record. That’s still an ugly fight, but it’s the only one instead of one among many.

    You better believe that the political right would fight that tooth and nail here.  One of the big observations Republican strategists have made over the years is that when the total number of Americans voting go up, the relative number of Republican votes go down.  They can tend to count on a solid core of dedicated voters who will go and vote Republican faithfully election after election, while the Democrats tend to have a slightly larger but somewhat more apathetic base, who lean Democrat but are less dedicated to the voting process.  When more people in general get into the booths, the odds tend to turn against the Republicans.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    You better believe that the political right would fight that tooth and nail here.  One of the big observations Republican strategists have made over the years is that when the total number of Americans voting go up, the relative number of Republican votes go down.  They can tend to count on a solid core of dedicated voters who will go and vote Republican faithfully election after election, while the Democrats tend to have a slightly larger but somewhat more apathetic base, who lean Democrat but are less dedicated to the voting process.  When more people in general get into the booths, the odds tend to turn against the Republicans.

    “Apathetic” and “less dedicated” are the wrong words, and they carry thew wrong connotation. As, I think does the whole legally forced voting thing to begin with.

    It assumes the problem is that people are lazy and don’t care, and this is their fault ,and they should be “forced” to care.

    If Dems don’t show up in huge numbers it’s because *the candidates have failed to inspire them to do so*. 

    I think it’s a move in the wrong direction to try to put the onus on the voters, shout that voters are apathetic and it’s their “fault”.

    It’s not the fault of the voters that the choice every four years is between one monsterous candidate, one miquetoast candidate, and four guys you’ve never heard of who have less than zero chance in hell of being elected.

    The message to get out the vote is always some form of “It doesn’t matter who you vote for, just VOTE!” — and they whip out the whole “non-voters are lazy and apathetic” as if the act of voting is in and of itself the thing that is valuable. 

    Democratic voters aren’t “less dedicated” to anything other than “Check off the box just because it has a D next to it, regardless of whether you actually think this person should be our leader”

  • Beatrix

    Why?  People too stupid, indifferent, stoned and lazy to find the voting booth shouldn’t be encouraged to vote – just the opposite.

    Of course if you did herd them in there they wouldn’t mostly vote Republican, so I guess I see your point.

  • Beatrix

    Erl 1 day ago “Oh, dear, I know I shouldn’t, but this is just too blind.

    “We didn’t genocide the Indians because they are still around to complain about it.”

    Lady, I am Jewish. My mother was Jewish, her mother was Jewish, her mother was Jewish, and the best cultural evidence suggests that that line goes all the way back to a bunch of dudes in the deserts with fringes on their single-fiber garments.

    Jews, we know about genocide. The word was invented to describe what people tried to do to us! And hell, it’s been happening to Jews for thousands of years before the word. The Babylonian, Assyrian, and Roman invasions, the Spanish expulsions, the Pogroms in teh Pale of Settlement. People have been committing acts of genocide against the Jews for longer than most modern cultures have existed!

    And lady, we are still around to complain about it! Sticking around and complaining about the past four thousand years are our PRIME TRAITS. We have gotten so good at sticking around and complaining about the last group of putzes who wanted to kill us all, it’s one of our most defining intergenerational cultural institutions!

    So don’t you tell me that “still around to complain about it” means that a genocide didn’t happen. That’s what we Jews ARE.”Gentleman – perfect example of the the way you lefties opperate (look how many “likes” you got!).  I said the Holocaust was an “attempted genocide”.  That is factually correct:  Six million were murdered, but some survived – your grandparent or great-grandparents, for example.“That’s what we Jews ARE”  Cool.  What does that even mean?  You have nothing coherent to say but you go out of your way resort to hysteria.  Why?  You’re implying I said something pro-Nazi? Something anti-Jewish?   Meanwhile I imagine you support the Palestinians, who actually are trying to genocide you all over again.  Gentleman.

  • guest

    Erl, please apologize for implying Beatrix is a lady.

  • http://guy-who-reads.blogspot.com/ Mike Timonin

    I’m going to toss this out, not directed at anyone in particular, but something suggested to me that it needed to be added to this current thread. This is the legal definition of genocide. Since the convention was signed by the US and ratified by the US Congress, it is functionally part of the US constitution.”Excerpt from the Convention on the Prevention and 
    Punishment of Genocide (1948) 
    Article II:  In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:(a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.Article III:  The following acts shall be punishable:(a) Genocide; (b) Conspiracy to commit genocide; (c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;(d) Attempt to commit genocide; (e) Complicity in genocide. “It is a crime to plan or incite genocide, even before killing starts, and to aid or abet genocide: Criminal acts include conspiracy, direct and public incitement, attempts to commit genocide, and complicity in genocide.Punishable Acts The following are genocidal acts when committed as part of a policy to destroy a group’s existence:Killing members of the group includes direct killing and actions causing death.Causing serious bodily or mental harm includes inflicting trauma on members of the group through widespread torture, rape, sexual violence, forced or coerced use of drugs, and mutilation.Deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to destroy a groupincludes the deliberate deprivation of resources needed for the group’s physical survival, such as clean water, food, clothing, shelter or medical services. Deprivation of the means to sustain life can be imposed through confiscation of harvests, blockade of foodstuffs, detention in camps, forcible relocation or expulsion into deserts.Prevention of births includes involuntary sterilization, forced abortion, prohibition of marriage, and long-term separation of men and women intended to prevent procreation.Forcible transfer of children may be imposed by direct force or by fear of violence, duress, detention, psychological oppression or other methods of coercion. The Convention on the Rights of the Child defines children as persons under the age of 18 years.Genocidal acts need not kill or cause the death of members of a group. Causing serious bodily or mental harm, prevention of births and transfer of children are acts of genocide when committed as part of a policy to destroy a group’s existence.The law protects four groups – national, ethnical, racial or religious groups.A national group means a set of individuals whose identity is defined by a common country of nationality or national origin.An ethnical group is a set of individuals whose identity is defined by common cultural traditions, language or heritage.A racial group means a set of individuals whose identity is defined by physical characteristics.A religious group is a set of individuals whose identity is defined by common religious creeds, beliefs, doctrines, practices, or rituals.Key TermsThe crime of genocide has two elements: intent and action. “Intentional” means purposeful. Intent can be proven directly from statements or orders. But more often, it must be inferred from a systematic pattern of coordinated acts.Intent is different from motive. Whatever may be the motive for the crime (land expropriation, national security, territorrial integrity, etc.), if the perpetrators commit acts intended to destroy a group, even part of a group, it is genocide.The phrase “in whole or in part” is important. Perpetrators need not intend to destroy the entire group. Destruction of only part of a group (such as its educated members, or members living in one region) is also genocide. Most authorities require intent to destroy a substantial number of group members – mass murder. But an individual criminal may be guilty of genocide even if he kills only one person, so long as he knew he was participating in a larger plan to destroy the group.”I’m going to repeat the last paragraph for emphasis:The phrase “in whole or in part” is important. Perpetrators need not intend to destroy the entire group. Destruction of only part of a group (such as its educated members, or members living in one region) is also genocide. Most authorities require intent to destroy a substantial number of group members – mass murder. But an individual criminal may be guilty of genocide even if he kills only one person, so long as he knew he was participating in a larger plan to destroy the group.“Some of the people are still around to tell the story” does not negate the charge of genocide. 

  • OBCD epidemic

    I gave her that definition four days ago, but apparently words take on whatever meaning is convenient to you never being wrong when you exist in crazy far-right xenophobe land. Hopefully it works this time though!

  • http://guy-who-reads.blogspot.com/ Mike Timonin

    I gave her that definition four days ago, but apparently words take on whatever meaning is convenient to you never being wrong when you exist in crazy far-right xenophobe land. Hopefully it works this time though!

    What? “Her” who? No no, this wasn’t in response to anyone in particular, since no one has actually raised a valid point about genocide that this would address. Like I said, I just had a strange feeling that it needed to be said. And I can continue to say it (to no one in particular) until it doesn’t need to be said anymore.

  • Erl

    “Gentleman – perfect example of the the way you lefties opperate”
    How we lefties operate? What, by being hilarious? And correct? And Jewish? I guess it’s not a terrible description.

    “(look how many “likes” you got!).”

    I know! I did my happy dance.

    “I said the Holocaust was an “attempted genocide”.  That is factually correct:”

    That’s factually in error, in ways that have been repeatedly described to you by citations of the original document inventing the word genocide. Seriously. It’s not one of those words that’s got a lot of debate over its meaning. We made it up to describe the Holocaust! The Holocaust as it actually occurred is the fundamental model for the concept of “genocide,” not “attempted genocide.” You are super, super dense. They should make battleship armor out of you.

    “You’re implying I said something pro-Nazi? Something anti-Jewish?”

    No. If you recall, you said something anti-Native American, pro-Columbian Genocide. You mocked the Native American concern with the genocide our national ancestors committed against them. 

    I oppose genocide. My people have suffered it a bunch of times. When you mock it, by saying that it can’t have been that bad because some of the victims survive to complain, you mock me. You’re not directly pro-Nazi. But I assure you, if anti-semitism were in vogue, you would be making the same set of cracks about me and mine. Not that it’s okay to make cracks about them and theirs; I still oppose that, for wide ranges of “them.” I’m just establishing relevance.

    “Meanwhile I imagine you support the Palestinians, who actually are trying to genocide you all over again.”

    I . . . look, I’m not even going to get into that the way you’d like. I oppose the bombing of Dresden and also the Holocaust; I oppose the current structure of Israeli control over the Palestinian territories and also terror attacks against Israelis. It’s actually REALLY EASY to oppose all the bad things in the world. As a practical matter it’s tricky to reconcile all of those oppositions, but I can oppose existing forms of oppression, while accepting that the oppressed sometimes do really bad things. It’s damn easy; why don’t you try it?

  • Beatrix

    re. Erl – “Pro-Columbian Genocide”? – you mean of course the “genocide” of the Indians/Natives/First Nations however you like to say it?  No I never said anything “pro” that.  Many Indians were killed, certainly, although many were not and are still alive and frankly I wonder if what we are doing to them now, certainly in the Canada (not identical to the American) reserve system, which is just fiendish, isn’t worse.  No, certainly atrocities were committed, and noone would defend them.  The Indians committed atrocities too.   But two available continants were not going to go unsettled because some people from various vastly less sophisticated cultures were inhabiting them.  That’s not what the world is.  That’s just silly.

    As for the definition of “genocide” – it literally means “killing of a group” (my ancient Greek is a little rusty, but I think “group” will do for “genos”).  According to the simple and literal meaning of the word, and its standard application, a genocide is not completed and accomplished if there are survivors. 

    If the Palestinians are oppressed it’s not primarily by the Israelis, but by the Arab states.  Did you know that after the 1967 war, when the West bank was seized from Jordan, it was an Arab League decision that that land could never be returned to Jordan but had to become a Palestinian state?  Seriously, think about that.  Think about the implications of that.

  • Beatrix

    Mike Timonin – That U.N. definition renders the word meaningless.  It has nothing to do with the way the word is used and generally employed and it is not what can be understood by taking as your touchstone the two component parts of the word.  It means that if I decide the world would be better off with Belgians, and so I maim two of them in a murderous spree, I have committed genocide.  It’s orwellian, in a half-assed sort of way.  (Oh, BTW, I despise the U.N.  Shocking.)

  • Erl

    “That U.N. definition renders the word meaningless.  It has nothing to do with the way the word is used and generally employed and it is not what can be understood by taking as your touchstone the two component parts of the word.”

    Beatrix, you dingus. The crime of genocide was created by the U.N. Before that, it wasn’t a thing. The word was first used in 1944, by Raphael Lemkin, to describe the Nazi exterminations of the Jews. Not some hypothetical complete extermination, but the actual extermination as it actually occurred in the Holocaust.
    Here’s the money quote:

    “Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aimed at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. [Lemkin]”

    So you see, you are wrong. This isn’t one of those situations where the word is of obscure provenance, or where its usage is unambiguous. Every single genocide that you’ve heard of (Armenian, Rwandan, Holocaust) had some survivors. Every. Single. One. 

    God, you’re so ragingly obtuse they should use you as a straight-edge. 

    Now, you’ve made a point of claiming, on other threads, that when you’re wrong, you’ll admit it. It’s a noble trait to possess. So cop to it this time. You went in based on an assumption and an amateur etymology, you didn’t check your work, and you got cut off at the knees. Admit the trivial error.

    Or, worse, deal with the fact that you’re defending a trivial error in order to justify the mass murder and extermination of the Native Americans, the systematic dishonest dealing, treaty violating, and racially motivated killing that swept across an entire continent as not really genocide.

    You could do that too. But somehow that strikes me as less comfortable.

  • Steven T Abell

    Yes. It’s all about the Tea Party people. Couldn’t have anything to do with what anyone else thinks or does. Nothing at all.

    At times like this, I wish I could say I love the smell of self-righteousness in the morning. But I don’t.

    Grow up.

  • Madhabmatics

    It’s like the wizard of Oz in here. “I don’t believe in your so-called “Definitions” and “History!” Ignore the mass killings behind the curtain.”

  • Madhabmatics

    Whoah, someone is indiscriminately slaughtering civilians? No guys, it’s totally morally acceptable, they are just murdering thousands of people for stupid racist reasons, not committing genocide according to this definition I made up that contradicts all the official definitions. Stop getting so upset, geeze.

  • Beatrix

    Erl – Words mean what they mean as they are used.  This is how languages evolve.  This is why the logic behind the common expression “the exception which proves the rule” is something noone can actually articulate unless they’re familiar with the history of the verb “prove”.  The U.N. does not tell me what a word means anymore than the Academie francaise” forces French-speakers to understand language according to its rulebook; not even if a sometime U.N.  employee of it did coin the term “genocide”.  Ask the next five people you meet what their definition of “genocide” is.  While you’re asking people things, ask a Ukrainian whether the Holodomor constitutes a genocide, an attemped genocide, or just Joe being Joe. 

    Was the Soviet decision to destroy the “bourgeoisie” as a class a genocide/ attempt at genocide?  If not, why not?

    My point is that the term is highly contested.  To me, though, and to most people, the meaning is quite straightforward:  A genocide is the utter destruction of a race or ethnic group.  Also:  Why are you so hung up on this?

    “…systematic dishonest dealing, treaty violating…” are bad but they’re not “genocide” by anyone’s definition.  And the killing of North American Indians was not “racially motivated”.  They were in the way, sometimes; but there is no evidence of racial animosity per se until the 19th century, when racial theories became scientific fashion, and even then it’s not pronounced.  Several prominent early White Americans had Native ancestry and were proud of it.  Natives were romanticized.  You know who found that funny?  Mark Twain.  Have you ever read him, or have you just been told stuff about him?  The foundational and greatest American authorial genius (which he was), who hated slavery, anti-Black racism and man’s inhumanity to man beyond bearing all his life, and is usually accounted a “progressive”, had no end of fun mocking the sentimental portrayals of Indians which were so common in his own day and stretching back in time.  He wasn’t a racist; he just thought that Indians were savages, and Twain never thought savages were noble.   (He opposed women voting too just FYI.)

    A (deeply pro-Jewish and pro-Israel) blogger I love sometimes likes to say this, usually about the former head of the Canadian Jewish Congress:  “He must be adopted; he’s way too dumb to be really Jewish.”

  • Kukulan

    Beatrix wrote:

    This is how languages evolve.  This
    is why the logic behind the common expression “the exception which
    proves the rule” is something noone can actually articulate unless they’re
    familiar with the history of the verb “prove”.

    I can. I can explain it. And I don’t need to go into the
    history of “prove”. I can do it just using the standard, everyday definition.

    From the Macmillan
    Dictionary
    :

    to provide evidence that shows that something is
    true

  • Beatrix

    Madhabmatics – “Whoah, someone is indiscriminately slaughtering civilians? No guys, it’s totally morally acceptable, they are just murdering thousands of people for stupid racist reasons, not committing genocide according to this definition I made up that contradicts all the official definitions. Stop getting so upset, geeze.”

    Indeed, I personally consider all mass slaughters completely morally acceptable unless they can be defined as “genocide”, on the definition of which word I am highly specific and particular.  Slaughter away, as long as you leave someone somewhere alive, and I won’t have a bad word to say about you!  Yup, that’s my moto.

    Genius you are.

  • Samuel Clemens

      (He opposed women voting too just FYI) But I changed my mind. http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/speeches/twain_votes.html

  • Madhabmatics

    Yeah, you’ve made your acceptance of slaughter and mass exile clear in this thread so I’m totally okay about making fun of you for it, too. It’s not genocide – all Muslims killed or to the middle east!

    Thanks for your opinions on this important issue, you moral paragon.

  • Madhabmatics

    Yeah, you’ve made your acceptance of slaughter and mass exile clear in this thread so I’m totally okay about making fun of you for it, too. It’s not genocide – all Muslims killed or to the middle east!

    Thanks for your opinions on this important issue, you moral paragon.

  • Beatrix

    S.C. – and one day, when you’re all grown up, we’ll explain irony (a word the left loves but does not understand), satire, facetiousness and whimsy to you.

  • Beatrix

    S.C. – and one day, when you’re all grown up, we’ll explain irony (a word the left loves but does not understand), satire, facetiousness and whimsy to you.

  • Beatrix

    You’re a fool.

  • Beatrix

    You’re a fool.

  • Beatrix

    You’re a fool. – that’s for Madhabmatics.

  • Beatrix

    But how would information which tended to disprove a certain trend count as:  “provid(ing) evidence that shows that something is true”? – that “something” being the trend in question?

    The modern use of “prove” is as you say.  The old-fashioned use of “prove” means “test”; as in “challenge, dispute, call into question” – well, I’m not going to any dictionary here, I don’t have to.  “The exception which shows that (the rule) is true” makes no sense.   “The exception which calls “the rule” (i.e. the standard) into question” makes perfect sense. 

    And that was my point. 

  • Anonymous

    Anyone surprised that Beatrix is wrong again?
    “The exception which proves the rule” is derived from the medieval Latin legal principle exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis meaning “the exception confirms the rule in cases not excepted”. The idea being that if you find in the law an exception to a general rule, than that’s proof the general law exists, or it wouldn’t need to be accepted. See, it’s used in the common modern sense of “to demonstrate the truth or existence of (something) by evidence or argument”.
    But it’s not like Beatrix is ever likely to let pesky facts get it the way of her points.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone surprised that Beatrix is wrong again?
    “The exception which proves the rule” is derived from the medieval Latin legal principle exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis meaning “the exception confirms the rule in cases not excepted”. The idea being that if you find in the law an exception to a general rule, than that’s proof the general law exists, or it wouldn’t need to be accepted. See, it’s used in the common modern sense of “to demonstrate the truth or existence of (something) by evidence or argument”.
    But it’s not like Beatrix is ever likely to let pesky facts get it the way of her points.

  • Kukulan

    Beatrix wrote:

    “The exception which shows that (the rule) is true” makes no sense.

    Actually it makes perfect sense. As malpollyon pointed out (beat me to it, but I had to go to work), the expression means the existence of an exception provides evidence for the existence of a rule.
    If you see a sign in a park that says “No Bike Riding on Sundays” it shows that there must be a rule saying bike riding is allowed in the park on the other six days of the week, even if you can’t find any record of a rule explicitly stating that. The fact that an exception for Sundays exists shows that there must be such a rule, otherwise how can there be an exception to it?
    The [existence of an] exception is what proves [the existence of the] rule.
    Perfectly straightforward and using only the current usage of the word “prove”.

  • Beatrix

    Malpollyon – ah, good old Wiki.  And is that Latin legalism the sense in which you use the expression, polly?

    ‘See, it’s used in the common modern sense of “to demonstrate the truth or existence of (something) by evidence or argument”.’ – no, it isn’t.  There is no example of anyone ever saying “I have evidence that this thing exists and is true!  My evidence is the exception which proves the rule!”

    Language evolves.

    But yes, the Latin reference was interesting – not relevant to my point, but interesting – and I didn’t know that.  Again, good old Wiki.

  • Beatrix

    Kukulan – you’re assuming “rule” mean “regulation”.  Very lefty of you.  Rule means, among other things, to quote Merriam-Webster:  “a (1): a usually valid generalization (2) : a generally prevailing quality, state, or mode <fair weather was the rule yesterday".  That is the sense in which people use “rule” in the expression “TEWPTR”.

  • Beatrix

    Oy.  Again:Kukulan – you’re assuming “rule” mean “regulation”.  Very lefty of you.  Rule means, among other things, to quote Merriam-Webster:   a (1) : a usually valid generalization (2) : a generally prevailing quality, state, or mode, e.g. “fair weather was the rule yesterday”.That is the sense in which people use “rule” in the expression “TEWPTR”.

  • Kukulan

    Beatrix wrote:

    That is the sense in which people use “rule” in the expression “TEWPTR”.

    So you’re basically saying that if you pore through the dictionary looking for the most inappropriate usage of specific words you can claim that any given statement doesn’t make sense.

    Well, I certainly can’t argue with that. You’re right, if you do that, nothing makes any sense.

    If you take “exception” as in to take exception to something meaning to dislike something because you feel annoyed or offended by it.
    And you take “rule” to mean a ruler, that is a long flat piece of plastic, wood, or metal marked with units of measurement.
    And “prove” to mean if bread proves, it increases in size before it is baked because of the yeast it contains.
    Then you’re right, the expression “the exception proves the rule” makes absolutely no sense.

    On the other hand, if you take appropriate usages for each of the words, the expression as a whole makes sense, doesn’t depend on any exotic knowledge to understand, is actually quite self-evident when you think about it and reflects the way people – at least in my neck of the woods, things may be different where you live – routinely use the phrase.

    As malpollyon pointed out, the expression is derived from an old legal phrase and the law is primarily concerned with “rules” as “regulations”. One might say that, as a rule, lawyers deal with rules, often applying a metaphorical rule to them to determine their exact extant and the limits on the rule of those in power — the rulers — over the rights of their subjects — the ruled.

    So, you’re right: languages do evolve, sometimes in fun and amusing ways.

  • S.D SImon

    What a wretchedly ignorant and illogical blog.  Nothing here or in the comments (well, OK, I didn’t read all 16 pages in detail, maybe there was a tiny bit somewhere in there ) about the need for personal integrity and responsibility to resolve the current financial/political issues.  It was mostly whining about your share of the government trough.

    The patheos site purports to be about religion and spirituality, but this was all about class envy, crude demagoguery, and outright ignorant claims about the debt and spending situation.  Except for the lanuage, the thinking here reads like the Daily Kos.  Congratulations on reaching the dumbed-down level of soul-less statists.

    patheos loses credibility by including this kind of lazy thinking on its site. 

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    @S.D SImon 

    So I guess we won’t have the pleasure of your company around here then? Shame. 

  • P J Evans

    S D Simon doesn’t seem to read or think very well, does it?
    The whole idea that economic and social justice is part of the message that Jesus taught doesn’t get through to some people.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    The whole idea that economic and social justice is part of the message that Jesus taught doesn’t get through to some people.

    I’m convinced that if Christianity wasn’t the religion associated with dominant tradition, the establishment and “the way things are” in Western society, vastly fewer people would decide to be Christians.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    The whole idea that economic and social justice is part of the message that Jesus taught doesn’t get through to some people.

    I’m convinced that if Christianity wasn’t the religion associated with dominant tradition, the establishment and “the way things are” in Western society, vastly fewer people would decide to be Christians.

  • http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.com/ Andrew G.

    Nothing here or in the comments (well, OK, I didn’t read all 16 pages in detail, maybe there was a tiny bit somewhere in there ) about the need for personal integrity and responsibility to resolve the current financial/political issues.

    Sure. Allow me to rectify that for you: a key part of resolving the current financial/political issues would be for the finance sector (who created the crisis and profited from the bailout), the politicians who think nothing of hijacking necessary financial operations for political ends, the lying media who happily present a biased picture of events, and the irresponsible “unbiased” media who allow lies to go unchallenged, to all grow up and find some personal integrity and responsibility.

    Or failing that, they should at least get investigated and prosecuted for their frauds.

    But I have a sneaking suspicion that wasn’t who you were thinking of…

    It was mostly whining about your share of the government trough.

    Ah yes. My suspicion is confirmed.

    (Apologies for troll-feeding. this thread is a wreck already anyway.)

  • Kukulan

    S.D SImon wrote:

    Nothing here or in the comments (well, OK, I didn’t read all 16 pages in detail, maybe there was a tiny bit somewhere in there ) about the need for personal integrity and responsibility to resolve the current financial/political issues.

    Part of the problem is that I find those who preach about personal integrity and taking responsibility for their actions are conspicuously absent when required to display such qualities.

    George W. Bush and members of his administration haven’t stepped forward and said ‘Yeah, we authorised torture and lied about Iraq being cock-a-block full of weapons of mass destruction. We’re willing to answer for that. Put us on trial.’

    Bankers and financiers haven’t stepped forward and said ‘Yeah, we couldn’t be bothered doing underwriting any more because it was just too much trouble and cut into the number of fees we could claim, so we just gave loans to anyone and everyone, not caring whether or not they were good credit risks. And when those loans went bad, triggering a global financial crisis, rather than accepting the consequences, we argued that we were so structurally important and too big to fail that we had to be bailed out. However, we’re willing to take our medicine now. We’re going to give back the bonuses we claimed under false pretences and declare bankruptcy like we should have.’

    Credit Rating Agencies haven’t stepped forward and said ‘Yeah, we gave toxic sludge — deals that could have been put together by cows — triple-A ratings because our clients wouldn’t have liked it if we gave them a more accurate rating and that would have cut into the fees those clients paid us. So, obviously, our credibility is entirely shot and you shouldn’t listen to us any more.’

    So, S.D SImon, tell you what. When those who preach personal integrity and responsibility start leading by example, we’ll start considering it something other than just a scam and a blame-the-victim tactic.

    Until then, though, I think we can quite rightly consider it just a rhetorical devise used to change the subject and avoid the actual issues. And, as such, other than pointing out that it’s just a rhetorical device, not really going to be drawn into discussing it.
     

  • Anonymous

    Please tell me that I’m not the only person here who thinks it’s weird to hear someone say that languages evolve over time and then use etymology to argue that a word means something different than what it’s supposed to mean.  Because I have a Master’s in Linguistics and that makes me die a little inside.

  • S.D SImon

    Andrew G.  Excellent!  Thank you.  The irresponsible and craven behaviors in politics, the financial sector, the media, and the courts are certainly part of my complaint; but — as you understood — mostly I was commenting on the entitlement mentality of many comments here, and the evident notion of too many otherwise religious people that Jesus sent the Apostles out mostly to lobby for higher government welfare subsidies. 

    I haven’t found any of that in either The Acts or in the Epistles;  nor did JP2 promote such a thing in Centesimus Annus, where he made it clear that social justice is the responsibility of the virtuous individual, not of the state.  He clarified that demanding social justice from the state cannot work, because it cannot provide the personal edge of the true virtue of charity that makes it effective in changing peoples’ lives. 

    Importantly, governments don’t do charity, they do bureaucracy.  And the bureaucracy is not only very expensive, it has created a permanent, dependent under-class in America instead of a Great Society, an under-class that the bureaucracy feeds off of as much as it feeds.  As Europe is showing us, governments are not good at making life perfect through income redistribution and economic planning — as if the decades-long, brutal, failed, Godless USSR example wasn’t proof enough.
    .
    .
    Kurkulan.  Those people/groups you mention aren’t commenting here, so they weren’t my audience.  You are.  Unfortunately, ranting about things you have no control over, like GWB, the Wall Street/Congressional Complex, and dishonest credit rating agencies just wastes your time (though it probably felt good). 

    It was the many comments here related to this blog’s subject line (…”tea party cost you $322″) that led to my observation that this thread was more about the government trough than social justice.

    Anyway, from a purely logical point of view, there is no logic but plenty of demagoguery in blaming the credit downgrade on the Tea Party — as if decades of Congressional and Presidential financial irresponsibility are irrelevant, as if the current over-spending of even more $Trillions (to stimulate what?) doesn’t matter, as if the solution to maxing out a credit card is to get another one. 

    Well, someday the chickens come home to roost, and ain’t nobody gonna lend your sorry, overextended government more money at yesterday’s dirt cheap interest rates, because our country has too long a history of financial mismanagement — mostly due to voting for expanding entitlements with no plan to pay for them.  Tea Party or not, the chickens are eating your lunch, and they’ve just gotten started. Railing against the Tea party will not change a thing.  I know this Tea Party blame scam was a democrat talking point last week, and this blog picked up on it and tried to expand on it; but it’s a terribly un-Christian political point — not factual, not fair, and totally without virtue.

    As for your starting the “blame-the-victim” game, that was cheap.  I lost $322, too, and have as much right as anyone else to claim victim status here.  Then, by your logic I am blaming myself, so what’s your point?  But, actually, I’m not whining about it.  I’m not a victim and never will be; because for most Americans, being a “victim” is an attitude, not a fact.  After all, this isn’t Darfur.  So, it isn’t that I blame victims, but I do find fault with those who have lost the courage and self-esteem to get on with life without flailing against bogeymen, playing the victim card, and demanding more handouts from a bankrupt government.

    And so, regarding this thread — I suggest prayer, not polemics.

  • http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.com/ Andrew G.

    Anyway, from a purely logical point of view, there is no logic but
    plenty of demagoguery in blaming the credit downgrade on the Tea Party
    — as if decades of Congressional and Presidential financial
    irresponsibility are irrelevant, as if the current over-spending of even
    more $Trillions (to stimulate what?) doesn’t matter, as if the solution
    to maxing out a credit card is to get another one.

    Oh look, it’s the false comparison of government finance to personal finance again. The US government isn’t over-spending, it isn’t spending anything near enough.

    Take a look at this graph (from Gavyn Davies at the FT, last December): The Most Important Graph of the Year

    That shows the US sectoral balances since 1961. Note that the red line, showing the government balance, is exactly equal to the difference between the green line (private sector balance, representing the difference between private sector saving and investment) and the blue line (the external balance of trade). The government balance can be in surplus only when the blue line is above the green one. This is all a consequence of the sectoral balances equation.

    The US private sector has been in deficit between 1997 and the start of the current financial crisis with only minor exceptions. Those deficits (and not any good management on the part of the Clinton administration) were the cause (or possibly the effect – the sectoral balances equation just states the necessary relationship, not the direction of causality) of the Clinton budget surpluses. The shortfall in private sector savings and increase in private sector borrowing continued right up to the collapse, and since that time, the private sector has been running a large surplus in order to pay down that excess debt.

    The only way that the government can reduce its deficit is to bring down that private sector surplus; if it tries to do this via austerity measures, then the effect will be to contract the economy further, as the private sector obviously doesn’t see the prospects for investment as being good and will therefore likely continue to try and save instead. On the other hand if the government accepts that the deficit is not solely under its control, and instead spends the money that it needs to spend (rather than be bullied, whether by the Tea Partiers or the ratings agencies, into counterproductive cuts) then it can both satisfy the immediate desire to save money and create the conditions which will eventually encourage a swing towards investment.

    That graph also shows that the natural state for the US government budget in current conditions is to be somewhat in deficit. The private sector surplus averages out at a couple of percent of GDP, and the recent trade balance at a deficit of similar size, so we should expect the US government to run a deficit of several percent more or less indefinitely, regardless of political ideology, unless conditions (especially that external balance) change. Thinking that a balanced budget can be legislated into existence is complete foolishness.

    Well, someday the chickens come home to roost, and ain’t nobody gonna
    lend your sorry, overextended government more money at yesterday’s dirt
    cheap interest rates, because our country has too long a history of
    financial mismanagement

    Well, here’s a funny thing; since the ratings downgrade, the yields on US treasuries of all maturities have dropped, indicating increased demand for them; accordingly, there is no reason to believe that the US government’s cost of borrowing will increase any time soon (and so that $322 cost will almost certainly not happen).

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    And so, regarding this thread — I suggest prayer, not polemics.

    You say this as if you believe they’re mutually exclusive. Have you not read the prophets of Israel? Or are you suggesting that Jeremiah was not a man of prayer?

    I don’t know about you, but often the result of prayer in my life is a deeper feeling of solidarity with people who are marginalised and an increased drive to act.

  • Kukulan

    S.D SImon wrote:

    Those people/groups you mention aren’t commenting here, so they weren’t my audience.  You are.  Unfortunately, ranting about things you have no control over, like GWB, the Wall Street/Congressional Complex, and dishonest credit rating agencies just wastes your time (though it probably felt good).

    Wasting my time? Have you considered your own activities?

    For the sake of argument, let’s go along with your presumption that those commenting on this thread don’t accept the need for personal integrity and responsibility. I don’t see evidence to support such a premise, but let’s assume it anyway.

    Further, let’s assume you are completely successful in your admonition that everyone here should accept that need. And, let’s go all the way, and assume that they act on that acceptance and become exemplars of personal integrity and responsibility. They’re your audience and your message is completely successful.

    Now what?

    I mean, as you so helpfully point out, none of us has any control over the things that need to change. We can be as personally virtuous as we can be and it won’t really affect anything. The ones responsible for the global financial melt-down, the outsourced jobs, the rewarding and bailing out of failure and the launching of unnecessary wars of choice, will just continue acting the way they have up until now. They’re the ones who need to accept the need for personal integrity and responsibility, but you’ve exempted them from that requirement. It’s only us little people who are required to behave that way.

    So, now what? Unless you’re hoping that our example will shame these individuals into doing likewise, I don’t see what you’re trying to accomplish.

    I mean, as I said above, I don’t see any evidence that the people commenting on this (and other threads) don’t accept the need for personal integrity and responsibility. And, what’s more, most of them not only accept the need, but actually display such qualities on a routine basis. They behave with integrity and accept personal responsibility. And, you know what? It hasn’t slowed down those responsible for creating the mess one whit. Not only hasn’t it slowed them down, it doesn’t seem likely to slow them down any time soon.

    So perhaps you should direct your admonitions towards those where, if accepted, they would be a tad more effective.

    And so, regarding this thread — I suggest prayer, not polemics.

    It’s not as well known as the stories about the tortoise and the hare or the ant and the grasshopper or even the one about the fox and the grapes, but Aesop has a fable that fits here: Hercules and the Wagoner:

    A Waggoner was once driving a heavy load along a very muddy way. At last he came to a part of the road where the wheels sank half-way into the mire, and the more the horses pulled, the deeper sank the wheels. So the Waggoner threw down his whip, and knelt down and prayed to Hercules the Strong. “O Hercules, help me in this my hour of distress,” quoth he.

    But Hercules appeared to him, and said: “Tut, man, don’t sprawl there. Get up and put your shoulder to the wheel.”

    The gods help them that help themselves.

    Now, I have nothing against prayer, but to paraphrase Al Capone: You can get much farther with prayer and actually trying to fix a problem than you can with prayer alone.

  • S.D SImon

    “Wasting my time? Have you considered your own activities?”

    Yes, the futility is deafening.

    By “polemics” I meant “arguing”, not “doing”.


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