Filed under Political Reform
annie-moose shared this link. Well worth reading and doing some thinking about!
Oh, and I goofed when uploading my first ever ‘pic,’ and chose a size too small to read. I’ll get better! If I knew how to edit this one, I would. I don’t know how. 😦 Go to the link, the map is bigger there.
So, if we Kansans are that close to the border, we will still be divided, I suspect! Some of us (ME!) would more closely agree with Canada, while we live next door to Red Necks who agree with Texas. That was an insult, I know, but an honest representation of my opinion.
Heheheh fnord. I think Austin will leave Texas and side with New England if that ever happens.
I got a response to this week’s column from one of my dear friends who is a real wingnut. I love him dearly as he is a childhood friend, and we kind of ignore our difference. But this week, and it’s posted here, he said I “stepped on his conservative toe”. I wondered when that would happen.
I’ll try to post some excerpts from our email conversations. I find it interesting and I hope you all will too.
Of course, I still like the sound of my own voice….
I like the sound of your voice too!
I read the article. Should have commented, but you said everything so well and I agreed so completely that my comments would have looked silly next to yours.
I like the way your lifelong conservative friend disagreed! Did stepping on his toes make him think about his opinions and ideas? Guess the excerpts might answer that for me.
Until I can edit our email conversations, here’s a link to my post about this week’s column called Too Big To Fail. It’s posted at 6:15pm
Here is my friend’s response to that column:
I’m afraid you stepped on my conservative toe this week. It’s blizzarding so I have time to respond to your column. I considered driving out and setting you straight in person but like I said its blizzarding.
No doubt you said nothing that was untrue but failed to follow the truth to the end. So I think you got a piece of it but it didn’t stay in play.
Yes the free market system can be spoiled with greed, and a less than moral attitude, but in a true free market greed and theft is rewarded with failure, and or a jail cell. Where did we get the idea that a person or business shouldn’t fail? Like it or not mistakes and poor decisions have a consequence and the ouch of those actions regulate future actions. The victum mentallity our cultrue wants to caress, suggests that no one is really to blame so we think that goverment or the banker on the corner or the man that has made good choices should share, so the “victum” doesn’t suffer. Support yes, make excuses and reward poor judgement NO.
Yes, our law makers have gone overboard with deregulation in many areas, I fear for the most part for their own gain, or that of a major contributor. But who do you purpose will oversee the regulations? Who do you think would not be spoiled with the same greed that the big business suffers with? I’m all for laws, we have a lot of them. Why don’t we enforce what we have, then let nature take its course? You know as well as I ouch works everytime, maybe not the first or the third time but sooner or later.
I’m over simplifying, but that is how I think. I don’t believe you will find a liberal or conservitive person or group that is non courputable, but the “laws of nature” for you “He” for me will not be courputed.
As always we need to get together and straighten some of this mess out.
And here is my response to him. I’m editing out some names to protect the “innocent”.
Hi K–You know it’s always good to hear from you.
“Yes the free market system can be spoiled with greed, and a less than moral attitude, but in a true free market greed and theft is rewarded with failure, and or a jail cell.”
I guess I havent seem much of that lately except for Bernie Madoff. When the rest of the Wall Street bonus babies go to jail or get punished in any way at all, give me a call 🙂 It seems there is no punishment for corporate wrongdoing after it’s done. The only way to go is to prevent it. And that takes regulation.
As I noted in my editorial, we dont have “truly free markets”. We never have. We likely never will. There will always be regulation. The only question is how much and what kind. A truly free market, in the mold of the Austrian School of Economics, would be chaos. I’d be ok with that, but I wonder how many other people really would?
“Where did we get the idea that a person or business shouldn’t fail? Like it or not mistakes and poor decisions have a consequence and the ouch of those actions regulate future actions.”
I totally agree with that.
I’ve written many times that if you want a free market, you have to take the good with the bad. Unfortunately, over the last ten years, we’ve elected people who socialize the cost and privatize the profits, and that is just a plain and blatant corruption of the concept of “free markets”. I’ve never suggested anything other than the idea that if businesses made poor decisions, they should fail. Paulson should have never proposed any of the bailouts. Nor should the new administration continue that policy. If they want unfettered capitalism, they need to take the consequences. If they want to be protected from their mistakes because they are “too big to fail” then that is indeed, socializing the costs… and the risks. Unfortunately, when Wall Street makes bad decisions and fails, it’s the small investors that get hurt the most.
“The victum mentallity our cultrue wants to caress, suggests that no one is really to blame so we think that goverment or the banker on the corner or the man that has made good choices should share, so the “victum” doesn’t suffer. Support yes, make excuses and reward poor judgement NO.”
As noted above, I agree. I have not suggested anyone coddle the victim. Which is exactly what happened in September of 2008 when the poor “victim” banks and brokers got bailed out. It continues today, and the small investors are paying the price. But then if we are not going to reward poor decisions, not only the big investors will fail. We’ll have to let the 401k’s and the little people who invested in the stock market lose their investments. That’s the nature of unregulated institutions and markets. The investors, big and small, knew the risks going in. They knew, or should have known the markets had been deregulated and the investors were not protected.
” But who do you purpose will oversee the regulations? Who do you think would not be spoiled with the same greed that the big business suffers with? I’m all for laws, we have a lot of them. Why don’t we enforce what we have, then let nature take its course? You know as well as I ouch works everytime, maybe not the first or the third time but sooner or later.”
I thought that is why we had three co-equal branches of government. The judicial branch is to oversee the enforcement of regulations. But over the last 29 years, I havent seen a lot of “ouch” for anyone except marijuana dealers. The Wall Street guys go unprosecuted and unpunished. Corrupt elected officials go unpunished and unprosecuted. If the courts are not working to enforce laws and regulations, then we need to elect and appoint different people at the Department of Justice and on the various benches.
I know that you arent going to like this, but when the Justice Department is corrupted with people like Alberto Gonzo and Monica Goodling, who care more about ideology than law enforcement or justice, it leads to an imbalance where having a prosecutor take a virtual oath of loyalty to a person is more important than doing their job and enforcing existing regulations. I know the right is peeing their pants over Eric Holder, but he hasnt been in office two months. If he doesnt go after the Wall Street crooks, then he should be fired too. Same with Geitner, who, in my opinion, should never have been appointed, just like Paulson. They are both Goldman Sachs lackeys.
Sorry K, but you and I just disagree on this. The courts exist to enforce laws, not ideology or religious beliefs. Perhaps if they were not so busy enforcing ideology they could do more law enforcement. No law is any good without enforcement. So… if the Justice Department or the various judges dont enforce the laws, does that mean we should throw all the laws out? ALL law is only as good as the people enforcing it. And voters have the power to put people into office who will do that. It’s up to us to hold the people accountable.
And the courts are not the only enforcers. The SEC should be regulating Wall Street and financial equity investments. The FDA should be regulating food safety. The Comptroller of the Currency should be regulating banks. OSHA should be regulating job safety. But ALL of those agencies have been corrupted by political appointees who are also more concerned with ideology and dismantling regulation than doing their jobs. So in my humble opinion, not only has government failed us by repealing and not enforcing laws, they’ve failed us again by appointing ideologues to enforcement positions.
And let’s not forget that underfunding regulatory agencies in the ferver to cut taxes also limits the ability to enforce regulations already on the books. Passing more laws and regulations wont do it alone. We have to give those agencies the budgets and manpower to enforce what is already on the books. With less regulation, and less money to enforce regulation, why would anyone be surprised that the crooks are in charge of the store? This is what happens when the Grover Norquists of the world succeed in making government too small and too weak to do their job. How’s that “drowning government in the bathtub” working in enforcing the ouch?
“I don’t believe you will find a liberal or conservitive person or group that is non courputable, but the “laws of nature” for you “He” for me will not be courputed.”
I guess I’m not familiar with the term “courputed”. I looked it up, but the only definitions were related to information technology. People succomb to greed. Inanimate laws do not. It isnt the fault of the “laws” that greed has won. (and make no mistake, at this point, greed has indeed won) It’s the fault of the people who make and enforce those laws. HUMANS are the greedy ones, not the laws. I’m not in favor of unnecessary regulation. But I am infavor of a level playing field. I think over the last year, we’ve seen what happens when government tilts the playing field to favor business. Destroying government regulator’s ability to regulate, seeing the bad consequenses of that, and then concluding “government is bad and doesnt work” is exactly what Thomas Frank described in his book “The Wrecking Crew”. So… we’re left with a self fulfilling prophesy that doesnt serve anyone except the folks who are bigger than government. I.e. the military industrial complex and Wall Street. And K street.
K, I have to ask you this hard question, and you know I’m asking as a friend who loves and respects you, but I have to wonder if you are so devoted to conservative ideology and bushco that you refuse to see the wrong that has been done on their watch? Glenn Greenwald, another pinko lefty like me, wrote a great column in Salon about ONE of the differences between conservatives and liberals. His take is that many, but of course not all, conservatives are so devoted and loyal to personalities that they serve them over the common good. Liberals, on the other hand, are perfectly willing to eat their own if they dont think they are doing their job. I think we’ve already seen this in action with Evan Bayh, Ben Nelson, and the democrats who oppose obama.
I can assure you, and we have talked about this before, that I’m not happy with Obama either, and dont mind speaking out when he does a bad job. If the Democrats in Congress do a bad job, I’m perfectly willing to go after them as well. I’d like to think (and perhaps I’m a legend in my own mind) that I am more devoted to doing the right thing and our common good than I am in defending any party or ideology or personality. I’ve taken on my own party many times, including it’s leadership, because I refused to bow to ideology. It certainly hasnt helped me personally to oppose liberals and democrats when I think they are wrong, but at least I can sleep at night.
We all have our opinions about what is right and what is wrong, but some things are crystal clear. Letting big business rob us all blind, and doing it with the approval of the people who repeal necessary regulations and underfund the regulators, is just wrong. Worshiping the ideology of “free markets” while turning a blind eye to the damage done by the unfettered “free” part of that is not helpful to anyone but the uber rich. There is no such thing as a completely free market. The only question is which way will the laws tilt. Toward people? Or towards inanimate businesses? Trickle down has never worked, and I dont expect it ever will.
Thanks for writing K. I’m glad to know someone is at least reading my stuff! I never expected people out here to understand or agree with me. Jerry and Cathy (the editors) dont agree with me either, and in fact, Cathy says I cant refer to Molly Ivins any more but must instead call her “shewhoshallnotbenamed”! HA!
I’m thankful that the newspaper gives me the freedom to write what I believe, even though they and the majority of the community wont agree. That’s what a truly free press is all about. Thank goodness as Americans we still have the freedom to think and say what we want and to disagree. I just hope that lasts!
You know you are always a welcome visitor at my house. Anytime. I am working most days now at the paper. I needed the money and they needed the help, with Megan about to have that baby and be out for a while. If you cant make it out here, maybe we can have coffee or lunch sometime. I value you and D and your friendship. And besides, ya never know when I’ll have spare eggs. And I have baby chickens coming April 3. I dont know how I’ll manage the farm and a job, but I’ll keep trying, just like I had good sense 🙂
Thanks again K. Talk with you soon–Sandra
That is disagreeing agreeably!
That is also the tactic that might stop a civil war in its tracks.
This was his reply to my reply. I hope I’m not boring anyone. I guess that’s what the scroll buttons are for 🙂
I knew I could count on you to respond. I checked E-mail a lot waiting for your reply.
Sorry about my spelling, sometimes spell checker has no idea what I mean ether. coruptable
I don’t believe I’m tied to President Bush, but some ideas I do cling to. I do beleive that Regan economics has been proven to work. How else do you explain the growth we experienced under his leadership? Can you show me where big goverment and goverment spending has? Is it true we are still paying on World War II debt? How do we now even conceive of paying off this new debt?
S, I don’t accuse any one party or ideaolgy for our mess and I don’t think that bigger is better in business” look at what happend with the Midwest COOP”.. Greed is rampent, “no big suprise”, not limited to the powerful or rich ect. we all own a healthy share.
I do not think I can change your mind, but you know everytime we disscuss an issue we differ on it makes me really analize what I believe and why. To bad that people that make the decisions that affect our lives so greatly won’t do the same thing.
Always your friend
PS Spell checker not working. Do your best to figure out my intent.
And my reply to him….
HI K–Sorry I kept you waiting for a reply. I have to confess, I only set up this email account for the newspaper, and I do forget to check it sometimes. Like two weeks. So I’m glad I checked it today. Just in case you want my immediate response anytime, my real email is (blank) but please dont share it with anyone else. Only my true friends have that address 🙂 And you know I count you among my true friends. Always. And if you dont get a reply in a timely fashion, call me and say “check your email!”
And just for the record, my spelling sucks as well. Maybe it was the country school education we both have? heheheh
When I have time, I’ll try to respond about reaganomics but I’ll have to do a little research. And reaganomics was really supply side economics. I’d rather call it that because there is a lot of emotion around the Reagan presidency. On both sides. But I will say I’m not a fan of government waste either. Especially the record setting deficits under bush and now obama.
The military industrial complex is a very dangerous thing, as Ike warned us about. And I think we were totally scammed about the bank bailouts and the Wall Street bailouts. A great book by Naomi Klein is called Disaster Capitalism. Cheney was a believer in disaster capitalism as is Rahm Emmanuel who confirmed it when he said “never let a good crisis go to waste”. I think that’s what happened. Banks and Wall Street created a disaster in an attempt to raid the treasury one last time before bush and company left office. And obama is owned by the same people, so he happily capitalized on folks losing their 401k’s and investments in order to win their votes. Wall Street and the banks were bound to win no matter who was in office. And as usual, taxpayers were the losers.
I do subscribe to the Keynesian school of economics so in some respects, I think the stimulus bill could have been a good thing. But I also think that by allowing all the individual congress critters to spit in it so they better liked the political flavor, it lost its most valuable stimulus effects. The targeted mulitpliers could have worked, and certainly we needed to do some spending that’s been delayed on the infrastructure of roads and sewer and water, etc. but after everyone fooled with the bill, it’s now just spending, not stimulus.
We need new congress critters up and down the line. But of course the people in Mass hate Brownback as much as the people in Kansas hate Kennedy. No one thinks THEIR congress critter is the problem but instead, they believe it’s the other states that are sending bad people. I do believe in term limits for just that reason. But I’m not sure sending Tiahrt will change anything any more than sending back Roberts. And there’s little difference between Kerry and Kennedy. Even when states send new people, they tend to be just like the old people. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
I dont think anyone is a fan of government spending other than the folks who get government checks. We’d all like to see spending reduced, but the question is “which spending?” And that’s what we cant seem to agree upon. And we cant keep spending like drunk sailors and expect not to have taxes raised. Personally, I’d like to see less money going to business subsidies, less money for wasteful military spending and more for troop benefits, and more spending on research and development, education opportunities, and regulatory enforcement. As you noted, we need to enforce the laws already on the books. But where will the money come from? What are we going to cut to shore up what we want to shore up?
As a nation, we cant afford everything we want. That’s not much different from my personal life 🙂 We have to make some hard choices about what we as a nation are willing to spend on, and what we are not. I’d rather spend money on regulatory enforcement and less on Halliburton or KBR’s boondoggles. I’d rather see the head of Goldman Sachs or AIG in jail than some ghetto kid selling weed or some poor woman turning tricks. I’d rather ensure our food safety by keeping farmers in business and protecting the food supply than subsidizing billions of dollars in Wall Street bonuses. And those are the easy choices. The harder choices will be around national security, education, and health care. I think most Americans agree we need reforms in those areas, but we cant agree on what those reforms should be.
I’m not trying to change your mind or convince you about anything either. We’re both hard headed Germans and believe what we believe. But nothing gets solved when we only talk with people who already agree with us. I dont think you and I are in any danger of that happening! But talking with you does tend to humanize the right for me. Something fox news just not do for me.
And I’m hoping maybe I can humanize the left for you. Not that you need it. I’m probably projecting. Given the jihad against gay people, I do take the conservative/liberal split quite personally. So it’s nice to be reminded that the right includes good people like you.
Thanks K. Thanks just for being you and caring enough about the world, and me, to keep talking about heated subjects. For now, I have to go give the chickens some hot water and do a few things outside while I can. This working in town five days a week is killing me, and the dog and the chickens are not happy about it either!
Talk with you soon–S
Yeah fnord, he and I treat each other with kid gloves. He and his wife are totally devoted to a wingnut church here. And you know I’m godless. He supports huelskamp. I support Cynthia McKinney. But he was a pall bearer at my Mom’s funeral, and we’ve been friends since we both started showing 4-H steers when we were ten. I dont normally treat cons as nicely as I treat him. I dont imagine he knows many true libs other than me.
So.. if K and I can talk nicely, maybe there’s hope for others. Just not at the blogthatshallnotbenamed!
And I meant what I said about the editors at the newspaper giving me free rein. They listen to fux news. I’m in love with Rachel Maddow. But they never tell me what to say. They do review my columns for libel issues 🙂 but that’s all.
I’m a lucky gal, huh!
K also backed me in a very public way when I was being hounded out of my last job. It cost him some business, but he believed in me.
And in a more catty moment (with apologies to cats everywhere) I have to post this link. The local lawyer who led the charge to get me fired?
heheheh. HAHAHAHAHAHA. Seems the chickens are coming home to roost for him. And the mayor who helped him. Now they are enemies.
Wicked, I’m sure you recognize Karma when you see it, no? Me too.
Well, until I have time to catch up — read and digest the emails you and he exchanged over a period of time — all I can tell you right now is how evident it is the two of you like and respect one another and you use four words to his one!
HEHEHEH Fnord. I love words!
Sorry for the length of the posts. I’ll never be a great blogger until I learn to shorten things up.
Sometimes, I think my wordiness (wordy biotch is what my editor calls me) is a function of me never having anyone to talk with.
Summer is kind of a dog of few words….
Oh, I love words too! I am female. If men ever discovered the power of communication, taking every idea and thought apart with words, reconstructing in all the possible ways, really talking “it” out, they would all be the Casanova lovers they all think they are. Food may be the way to a man’s heart, communication is definitely the way to a womans!
I can haz both? Food and talk? Heheheheh!
Oh the joys of being bisexual. It doubles your chances of having a date on Saturday night 🙂
Actually, I guess I’m omnisexual.
I’ll (blank) anything. HEEEEEE!
“the power of communication, taking every idea and thought apart with words, reconstructing in all the possible ways, really talking “it” out”
That’s also what makes lesbian relationships exhausting!
Sorry for being OT. I cant resist a good punchline.
You know what our gentlemen friends here will do, don’t you? They’ll either disinvite us or ignore us. I’m betting on the ignore.
I hadn’t ever thought about lesbian relationships being exhausting, but, of course, you’d be worn out, tired and sleepy by the time everything had been properly cussed and discussed! Just like women friends, but we expect to go straight to sleep after our girl talk. 😉
Heheheh. Dont think after all those exhausting talk sessions we dont go right to sleep too!
But the next morning…. *weg*
This is from Bill Moyers’ inteview with Greider last night. The value of K and I putting aside our partisan differences is that we could make more noise if we BOTH banged on Obama’s door and said “you dont dont have it right yet”.
I’m workin on it, but I have a hard time banging along side wingnuts. So to speak 🙂
“WILLIAM GREIDER: Here’s my take on the New Deal and the history of what actually happened. And it conveniently fits my deeper prejudices about the country and how progress is achieved in America. That is, people in the streets or churches or wherever found their voice and made it happen by agitating and informing the higher authorities. In the early ’30s, Franklin Roosevelt had a set of things he thought he could do to right the ship of the Depression. He tried some of them. They didn’t work very well. Meanwhile, organized labor, others, were all over the country lighting bonfires for bigger changes. Social security came out of that. Labor rights, the first attempt to give people the right to organize their own voices in a company came out of that. A whole bunch of other reforms that we now take for granted. And Roosevelt didn’t stand athwart and try to stop them. But he let them roll him. And he- and I think that’s what, I hope for now. That people of every stripe will stand up and say, we love you Mr. President, but you don’t have it right yet. And we’re going to bang on your door until you get it right. “
I’ll not ignore you, fnord and prairiepond, nor will I cancel your invitation. I’ll merely note that conversation is not the strong suit of those of us with a Y chromosome, and leave it there.
I’m becoming concerned with the communicative abilities of many of our lineal descendants. There seems to be a lessening ability of those to deal with interpersonal communication “personally”. All the texting, the emails, etc., allow for them to communicate with each other, but attempting to actually converse with many of this group is frustrating to me.
My oldest daughter recently went on a Lowe’s run for her hubby. She grabbed her #3 son to go along (I think so she wouldn’t be totally responsible for identifying the whatever was needed). When they arrive a clerk is needed and lo and behold it’s an old high school classmate. They recognize one another, talk about how long it’s been…
Son #3 says, WOW, your recognize someone from high school!
The old schoolmate turns to him and says (obviously has his own that age at home), “Yes, and you know why? It’s because we talked in high school, we hung out, we looked one another in the eye. We didn’t have to have a keyboard at the ready in order to communicate!”
I do love getting together with you friends in person, but I’m happy we have our keyboard way of keeping in touch in between our in-person meetings! Guess we have the best of both worlds.
Back to the topic; my answer is “yes”; I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t occur within the next 20 years.
This civil war will be economically based, as was the first one. I don’t know which group will be firing the first shot, but it’s coming.
While I’ve not the public history of the Russian guy, I’ve been talking with friends about this possibility for over 30 years. I don’t quite see the split and foreign protectorate stuff as he does, but I’ve believed that the U.S. would split into at least three parts; the South, the Western states, and the rest of us.
And, when you look at the map, does that seem an accurate division of the ‘sides,’ and does it indicate the civil war will have multiple fronts?
It’s scary to think I might live to see a war on our soil. I want to think we can be more diplomatic. I’ve been accused of being a Pollyanna.
Well, shoot! You used that ‘edit’ feature while I was typing.
fnord, I was editing while you were posting. My view is not as clear cut as his, reference the “sides”. Rather, I see the Western and South sides as being rather unified within themselves, and while opposed to each other, united as against the “rest”. Within the “rest”, I see divisions between the “rust belt” states and the others; but due to the need the various states within the rest have for goods and services available from others within the rest, I think these divisions will be glossed over.
What is of real concern is the growing number of folks that just cannot get ahead economically. Once upon a time, I thought education would be the answer to this, but as I age, I have formed the belief I was wrong. While education is an answer, there is a lack of support for the children still being educated from their parents and, in some cases, their grandparents.
A hard look needs to be taken at our educational system. I believe it is time to consider “tracking”, which is contrary to our current system of presuming each and every student should be prepared for college once s/he graduates from high school. There are many who will never be ready for college, no matter how hard we try. There are others who will never be interested in college. Let’s recognize that, and begin preparation of these students to pursue their goals without “college” being the only recognizable goal of high school.
I’m not minimizing the need for additional post-secondary education for most to achieve their dreams. It is, however, disingenuous to say that everyone should be prepared to go to college, and that (among a plethora of other things) is one of the faults of NCLB.
I’m also one that thinks the current nine month educational year is an anachronism, which should be done away with; and, I think that there needs to be at least one more year added to the entire “from kindergarten to high school graduation” process.
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