Lefties: Please explain to me again…

Lefties: Please explain to me again… May 28, 2012

…*why* you support this guy when he has taken all the worst things about the Bush Administration–and made them even worse:

You guys complain that the GOP learned nothing from the Iraq War. True enough. But then if you are still a Lefty Obama supporter, you appear to be throwing stones from a glass house. Why do you support this guy who has repealed Magna Carta and stripped you of your constitutional protections against the assaults of tyranny?  Ask yourself, “Why does my tribe spend so much time hyperventilating about the fake “danger” of a few creationists, why have we spent years wringing our hands about Christian “theocrats” as though they posed some threat, only to fall in line behind a guy who actually *has* behaved exactly like a tyrant bent on getting rid of the most elementary civil rights? Why are there so few honorable Lefties like Glenn Greenwald and so many complete and utter prostitutes for Obama like the ones he documents? It’s not too late. You can still stop shilling for Obama and admit that you have totally majored in minors by supporting his despotism while trembling in fear everytime an idiot like Fred Phelps waves a sign. Grow a sense of proportion and grow some stones: Obama’s assault on civil liberties makes Bush look like the President of the ACLU. So stop supporting him already. It’s a disgrace to the Thing that Used to Be Liberalism.

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  • Scott

    Me thinks that you have once again nailed it!

  • pol

    That’s easy. Becuase th alternative is SOOOOO much worse.

    • B.E. Ward

      Fortunately, they provide you the opportunity to write down the name of any alternative you can dream of.

    • Chris M

      That’s what you said in 2008. Really? You’re saying McCain would have been WORSE?? I have no words.

  • j. blum

    The left teems with people and websites as inimical to the current administration and the Democrats in general. It is perhaps something of the tribalism spoken of here that those outside the tribe are lumped together. Liberals and “the left” are not the same thing. Just as neocons and trads and libertarians and paleos are not the same thing. The sects of the “far left” think of the Democrats and their media enablers on the “near left” much the same way Chronicles and Lew Rockwell (for example) think of the Republicans, as impediments to the Cause.

    • Kirt Higdon

      J. Blum has a good point. There are leftists (mostly communists and black bloc anarchists) who are very much opposed to Obama and are targeted with provocations by the agents of the national security state just as are extreme right militia members and Moslems of any type. That doesn’t mean I could support the anti-Obama left as they are in favor of abortion and the gay agenda. It also doesn’t mean they are very numerous, but then neither are the paleo or libertarian right very numerous.

    • Dan C

      1. Discourse with regard the left needs to improve in its quality and knowledge. When the language of the blogs scream “Socialist” when discussing Obama (and many otherwise intelligent conservatives have thrown such language about). Obama is to the right of Robert Dole and Nixon (except on abortion, sex, and gay marriage).
      2. MSM does not equal “mouthpiece of the left.”. The MSM is a business built to sell. When war was a good “sell,” such as in the early 1960’s when war was the good “sell,” TIME and the Heard papers couldn’t promote it enough. The MSM sells “stories,” anecdotes that engage some primitive emoting that works for huge masses of people. It is “populist” not liberal or conservative. It “sells.”. Philosophy and science in any real form are unlikely to be found in the WaPo. Just “stories.”. In this way, Fox News “niche” sells to conservatives, a NICU that expands or contracts based on the decade. It too focuses on “selling” and is right wing populist in its approach. Catholic Workers are a lefty Catholic bi of reading material and The Nation is a secular left bit of reading. The Nation, the Catholic Agitator, and Houston CW, and the Progressive have been critical of Obama since 2007.
      3. In a way that Buchanan and others are far closer to identifies with the mainstream, the left, with less income and wealth is actually far far more marginalized in discussions. For example, has Nader been a Sunday morning talk show host, yet very far out right wing dudes are routine guests.

      I may even suggest that because of less wealth, the left is less present in the national conversation.

      • Martial Artist

        @Dan C,

        I don’t know quite how to break this to you but crony capitalism is socialism! Socialism is any form of economic system in which the state (read “the government” or persons acting in its name) interferes with the right of freedom of exchange. Evidence: Solyndra, etc., etc., etc.

        Pax et bonum,
        Keith Töpfer

        • Martial Artist

          By which, it logically follows that Romney is on record as advocating socialism as well. Ergo, both MSM-presumed candidates for the Presidency are socialists at heart, the only distinction may be (i.e., not necessarily is) what flavor of socialism each prefers.

        • Dan C

          Socialized medicine is practiced in Europe and supported in that form by the Church. It is regarded as a good model.

          Such a definition as you propose has been advanced as part of the continued evolution of the discussion in this country. The far right, which has more in roads to broadcast media than the far left, has bent and warped the discussion.

          This is not close to the classic definition and you are pleasing Grover Norquist to no end.

          Socialism is an economic system defined by the social control and organization of the means of production and the cooperative management of such an economy. You are discussing an oligarchy defined largely by corruption.. Such is not socialism.

          As I have said before, I know socialists in this country, and they are insulted by the disintegration of the ability to discuss political philosophy due to the influence of propaganda. Obama is an oilgarchical centrist with the leaders of the Tea Party and Grover Norquist. They are just arguing over to whom which scraps from the table get thrown. I know folks involved in varied forms of socialized medicine and economies abroad (Australia and other European states) who find the ability to discuss such measures with US individuals appalling due to inaccurate language, which I claim is due to propaganda.

          It is fine to dissuade, argue against, and oppose both socialism and oligarchical corruption of a democratic republic, but be judicious about the language so that debates in good faith can ensue.

          The culture wars and the conflation of religious dogma and political preferences will continue to ensue if more intelligent discriminating minds fail to avoid propaganda, use precise language, identify those areas for which legitimate moral disagreement can ensue, and argue in good faith.

          In 2004 when i discovered the world of conservative blogdom, the term “liberal” was used to alienate someone as equivalent to the demon imemdiately in any discussion. As a leftist, I know this quite well. The propagandists have contorted the language further and now liberal=socialist, a term which sets any Red Stater’s hair on fire.

          Better language and precise definitions will de-escalate the drama.

  • Obama is the much better option. Romney is awful and kind of an idiot.

    • ivan_the_mad

      The better option for what? Killing US citizens abroad without the due process of law guaranteed by the Constitution?

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    Repeal Magna Carta? Is that a typo? I wasn’t aware that a U.S. President had the authority to repeal medieval British law.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      He’s pointing out the rule of law that has existed since the Magna Carta that has, by fiat, been ignored by this administration.

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        Not just by fiat. It has now been given color of positive law, paased by both houses of legislature, and affirmed by the executive .

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          Clause 39 of Magna Carta (just to drag this out)
          39. NO Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will We not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the land. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right.[42]

          NDAA does just that, in the sense of otherwise destroyed.

          • Dan C

            I suspect the term “Freeman” was a very limited set of humans.

            Mysuspicion is that the Magna Carta was a pleasing document to oligarchs and functions with historical relevance to the rule of law limiting the constitutional monarch.

            I suspect its nature actually does little for the commoner and more for the elite.

  • Many people do not fit into a pre-fab designation of either left or right. Makes me wince when I hear anyhone being called a “leftie” or a “conservative.” I am against gay marriage, abortion, sex outside of marriage, forcing Catholics to pay for abortifacients through insurance, etc. HOWEVER, I am in favor of Jesus message to take care of the poor, the orphan, the widow, the ill, and I beleive that we can and should ban together and contribute through our taxes to make sure that everyone, i.e., our neighbors, are living (not just surviving.) I do not fit in any category, leftie or rightie. Where do I go? We really NEED a new party that represents the full message of Jesus Christ, instead of fracturing ourselves and having all this infighting about left vs. right. There is a huge block of people without a party. Perhaps my point is slightly off the mark, as far as the focus of this particular blog post, but I experienced a strong reaction to it and felt I had to comment.

    • By using the term “contributing through out taxes” you are playing the same sort of semantic game as do the pro-abortion folks who refuse to call themselves pro-abortion, rather insisting that they are “pro-choice,” as though not calling murdering an innocent human life by its legitimate name somehow makes it not a form of evil. If you really want to prove me wrong, refuse to contribute your full income tax bill next year and we will determine whether it was a contribution based on whether or not the people who show up at your door are sworn (and armed) I.R.S. agents?

      Neither I, nor my employers over the years, “contributed” to my Social Security account nor to my Medicare account. The monies were collected by the Federal government under threat of whatever force might prove necessary to take them.

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        Oh yes, taxes are theft.

        I doubt you’d last very long floating belly up half-way between NYC and Morocco.

        (No man’s a something or other like that, anyway.)

      • Andy

        I guess then you are saying that the Catholic Church is advocating theft – from the Compendium of Social Teaching: “Public spending is directed to the common good when certain fundamental principles are observed: the payment of taxes [739] as part of the duty of solidarity; a reasonable and fair application of taxes;[740] precision and integrity in administering and distributing public resources.[741] In the redistribution of resources, public spending must observe the principles of solidarity, equality and making use of talents. It must also pay greater attention to families, designating an adequate amount of resources for this purpose.[742]” WE can argue about the precision and how the monies are spent, but according to the church they should be spent with greater attention to families.

        • @Andy,

          That would be a bad guess, Andy. I am arguing precisely from the position of “how the monies (ought to be spent)!. And that is, as you so thoughtfully document by your citation of paragraph [742], the problem with both Social Security and Medicare, although those programs are not the only ones to which the objections might be raised. Social Security was “sold” to the public as a form of “insurance” program. Unfortunately, even the members of FDR’s Committee on Economic Security in 1934 recognized that fact. In January 1986, J. Douglas Brown, member of the committee and first chairman of its Advisory Council 1937-1938, was profiled in a Sunday Washington Post article (I believe it was in the 7 January edition) and admitted that everyone on the Committee knew that the program was unsustainable. He further stated that “the only mistake we made” was to have underestimated the rate of change in human life expectancy. They had forecast the collapse of the system by about 2050, at which time he noted “they would all be dead and buried” and “no one would be able to do anything to them.”

          But, as if that were not enough, the Federal government in the years intervening between 1934 and the present has regularly taken the payroll tax receipts meant to fund SS benefits, and exchanged them for U. S. Treasury securities (bonds and/or notes), or in other words pieces of paper representing promises to repay the “borrowed funds”, and then spent the receipts on whatever seemed like a good idea at the time. There is, in the financial world, a technical term for this system of transactions. The term is “Ponzi scheme,” named for a famous confidence man.

          Yes, there is a legitimate Christian obligation to pay taxes. But there is a corresponding obligation on the part of the ruler (government) to use those taxes honestly. I don’t suppose you would care to defend the government’s conduct on this (or possibly most any other fiduciary) ground. But I would further argue that our responsibilities to the poor, the ill, the prisoner and the stranger are not fully delegable to others, they entail also an unavoidable responsibility on us personally to meet the needs of those in need whom we encounter. And I would further argue that government, by its very nature, is incapable of fulfilling the obligations to those in need which Christ laid on us. If you do not see the inability, I pray that God will open your eyes to it. Please note that, even in the quotations you cite, there is a clear indication that not all taxation is just, because not all taxation satisfies the requirement that it be (a) “directed to the common good” nor, (b) that it observes the listed fundamental principles: a reasonable and fair application of taxes;[740] precision and integrity in administering and distributing public resources.[741] In the redistribution of resources, public spending must observe the principles of solidarity, equality and making use of talents.

          Pax et bonum,
          Keith Töpfer

          The Church can minister to those needs and can be a part of our effort to aid the needy, although doing that alone is not fully following Christ’s injunction to us as His ministers to the poor, the sick and prisoners, because sooner or later you and I are each going to encounter Christ in someone in need face-to-face. And it is only in that encounter that we can see Christ in the other, and Deo volente, the other see Christ in us.

          Pax et bonum,

          • Andy

            Keith – I agree that the church can minister to those needs – however, the church does not seem to want to. It has taken money from the government to perform a variety of tasks, and yet complains about being bound by the secular rules. To truly follow the teachings of Christ the church would not rely on government largess, and in so doing demonstrate the solidarity with the poor, the sick, the traveler, those in jail, and offer those folks the opportunity to use their talents.
            On a weekly basis I am confronted with those who need support – I work as a college professor – special education – and in my spare time as an advocate for parents of children who have disabilities. (My profession probably makes me suspect) Many of these folks need our support, yet a while ago as I tried to help a family, a single mom with three children, two with disabilities. I was told by the local catholic parishes that they could not help this family because the children were born out of wedlock. Sort of makes me wonder.
            My point in presenting the catholic compendium quote was not to present an argument about how well or how wise taxes are spent – I think that they are misused or mis-aimed in so many areas. It was more of a reminder that we have an obligation to pay our taxes that goes beyond the secular enforcement groups.

          • Dan C

            The Christian is obliged to “do it himself” when it comes to caring for the poor. Creating a massive “Church” which has its own bureaucracy and budget insanities to deliver charity is not better.

            Here is the question: is government to provide for “the common good?” If it is, then it will be required to support its weakest citizens, its elderly, and its sickest. If “not really” or “only sometimes” is the answer, then the role of government loses a basis to adequately support its presence. Its value then dramatically declines.

            Government always supported the arts and the sciences, especially in medieval times. The government also supported the Church. It supported the elite as functionaries of the government, supported merchants often by the whim of nobles and magistrates, and
            What is the role of government? And if the answer is “As little as possible” then one is understanding government as known by the cowboys of the 1800’s and in Sudan. It is very different than that appreciated and supported by the Church through history. It may be correct, but much philosophy and theology will need to be done. Such a philosophy has many holes.

      • Ted Seeber

        Taxes are just rent on money borrowed from the US Treasury through the FED. It’s not your name on the money, it’s Ceaser’s. You cannot earn or own money, you just borrow it.

        Any way, that’s my personal combination of the teachings of Christ and Ludwig von Mises 🙂

        • Dan C

          I agree with that thought!

          Money is Caesar, and to Paul would discuss it as one of the “wordly things.” He spoke unfavorably about attachments to such wordly things.

    • I believe that private charity is more efficient, dollar for dollar and more effective overall. Public doles are a sad necessity because we have not yet figured out how to accomplish Christ’s instructions to us regarding the poor and the unfortunate without having to depend on such a corrupt, inefficient, and dehumanizing method as the government dole.
      To view taxation as anything other than an inconvenient but necessary intermediate state is just puzzling to me. It is a system to be tolerated until we more fully embrace Christ and do a better job than the state ever could.

      • Ted Seeber

        Private charity is indeed more efficient and more effective, dollar for dollar. It is also more bigoted and funded at a much lower rate.

        And that’s why the less efficient method of renting out money to capitalists in return for taxes is necessary. I’d much rather it wasn’t, but as long as the federal government is granted a monopoly on the money system, I see no other way out of it.

        • Change necessary to necessary so far. At a certain point, if we don’t crash our civilization, the lines will cross and a fully decent solution for the poor will be available to all given just private charity. At that point we should switch over to that form immediately.

          Bonus question: Have we already hit that point in time and how would we know given government crowding out effects?

      • Dan C


        I think there is little more efficient than the mass security of our aged from abject poverty than Social Security.

        I think that there is little more efficient than Medical Assistance in Blue States (which ensures that children have health insurance nearly uniformly).

        Efficiency is a “work out”/”work in” and if you consider how little effort goes into Social Security and Medical Assistance by its somewhat routine provision in vast numbers, then “efficiency” is achieved.

        If one thought of “welfare efficacy” as being measured by how much one “helps” as the “work out” function, then one needs to define “work out.”

        This may be very efficient by many measures.

        • The current system is not sustainable. Parts of it are going broke quite soon. All the hot air and ad campaigns on program reform should be assigned to overhead. It’s been quite expensive.

          SS disability, if they don’t have more “surprises”, will be out of money in 2016 and we’re going to have to rejigger it, probably with trust fund money from OASI which would make it go bust even before its current projected date of 2035. Current law says that whenever the trust fund runs out, benefits are cut to program income level which should approximate a 25% cut.

  • Pardon me. I left an old email address on that last post. I am forwarding the correct one.

  • Mark R

    I am not a lefty…I am more like George Orwell on the inside and Evelyn Waugh on the outside but without the talent. Lefties, rather, establishment liberals, like him because he is culturally kin to themselves (has higher than a B.A./B.S., is in public service and is, sort of, a minority. If one were a real lefty, however, one would see Obama as too conservative. And they would be right, from their P.O.V.

  • Anna

    I learned today from the NYT that the POTUS is a devoted student of Augustine and Aquinas and that’s why he can justify assassinations. Who knew? I also learned just how many people (lots, from the comments) are totally fine with those killings. Yikes.

  • Linda C.

    Just out of curiosity, did anyone else get a virus alert or browser freeze-up when linking to the Greenwald article or Salon in general?

  • Not too limited, as it excluded serfs, but the family of a Freeman, his wife and minority children, or maiden daughters, would be protected. Within a century of that council on Runnymede, the serf was nearly nonexistent,as such, in Britain.

    From it’s signing until the Glorious Revolution, it was honored mostly in it’s breach, but that doesn’t change things.

    Now out of curiousity, what was your point?

  • TM Lutas,

    I’ve asked before and I’ll ask again, if we can cure ourselves, or grow out of concupiscence or however you wish to put it, who needs Christ?

    What was the point of all that preaching and torture and dying but not staying dead? Seems like a waste.

    If you’re right, of course.