Snipers and Riot Police Confront Tea Party Protesters in Quincy

Thursday, April 29, AD 2010

[Updates at the bottom of this post as of 4-29-2010 at 8:24pm]

Apparently President Obama is doing his best to paint the Tea Party movement as a group of extremists and racists.

Witness the video below as an army of riot police in full riot gear and snipers on rooftops wield their weapons to intimidate the Tea Party protesters.

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15 Responses to Snipers and Riot Police Confront Tea Party Protesters in Quincy

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  • You never know when those grannies might go berserk!

  • Well not adherents of this new Tea Party is racist or extremists; indeed, I’d argue that the majority are not. But I have seen signs bearing the “n” word (which was humorously misspelled) as well as other strong racial remarks.

    In the same way, the activity at protests against the Arizona immigration law does not characterize everyone who opposes it.

    Every group has its extremists.

  • “You never know when those grannies might go berserk!”

    Now you’re granny profiling. Shame.

  • Eric,

    I don’t have cable so I rely on rabbit ear television and what I saw in my old hometown of Phoenix was a riot.

    Rocks and all sorts of debris being thrown by hooded delinquents unnerved me.

    Yes there are extremists on both sides, but the coverage is disproportionate to what is actually happening on the ground.

    Especially when there have yet to have any ‘racist’ verbiage captured on audio or video tape from the ObamaCare protests outside the capitol a few weeks ago.

  • Donald,

    You’re nothing more than an anti-grannite!

  • Scrolling Byline – – – Tense moment at the White House this morning when Obama daughters discovered having a tea party in their room

  • Jim,

    You’re funny . . .

  • Before you all get bent out of shape — I was at Obama’s announcement of his presidential run at the Old State Capitol in Springfield in 2007 (at the request of a newspaper I used to work for, to cover the event) and there were plenty of snipers on rooftops then too.

    Now bear in mind that was a highly friendly crowd — not tea partiers, no visible opposition outside of a few pro-life protesters — and Obama wasn’t even president yet (just a candidate), although at that point he became entitled to Secret Service protection. This is probably routine at ANY large event he attends with crowds outdoors.

  • Elaine,

    I hope you’re right. BUT the guilty start to get scared when their sins are brought to the light of day and that is exactly what the Tea Partiers are doing to Obamolech.

  • Elaine,

    I also hope you’re right, but I don’t remember seeing riot police in Portland protecting President ‘W’ when his own limousine was attacked by leftist wingnuts.

    So until I get hard evidence, ie, I”ll believe it when I see it, then it isn’t true.

    President Obama is inane enough to do this and has no compulsion to the expense he will incur.

    Considering his romp to New York on the government dime after inauguration for a “dinner” with his wife and his one and a half day foray to Copenhagen on the government dime, he wouldn’t hesitate to pull these kind of stunts hoping to provoke tea partiers if cost is any consideration.

  • Jim I am going to use that one for sure – hahah!

    But I mean seriously… snipers? At a tea party? For what? Sheesh…

  • The Quincy Police Department has issued a CYA statement (Commentary by Gateway Pundit):

    Oops! The Quincy Police Department released a bogus statement calling the SWAT Team on the the protesting grandmothers yesterday. Unfortunately, they forgot about the army of videographers that filmed this incident.

    The Quincy Police Department released a statement today following the embarrassing incident yesterday when they called in the SWAT squad to quash the peaceful tea party protest outside the convention center during Barack Obama’s visit.

    During President Obama’s address, at approximately 1530 hours, the MFFT was deployed. A group of individuals positioned themselves on the south side of York Street near 3rd Street. This was within the area that was to be kept secure at the request of the U. S. Secret Service agents in charge of the site. Prior to the event only ticketed individuals were to be in this area; during the event it was restricted to the general public completely. Secret Service personnel requested these individuals leave the area and to go back to the north side of York Street. They did not comply. Quincy Police Department personnel made the same requests and again they did not comply. At that time the MFFT was deployed to stand post between the individuals and the site and, if necessary, remove the individuals. Once the MFFT was in place, the individuals agreed to move. Once everyone complied and the site was again secure, the MFFT returned to their staging point. No physical force was used during this deployment.

    Of course, this ludicrous statement is a complete fabrication. We are currently contacting the police department to retract their statement.
    We strongly object to these points.

    1. Prior to the event only ticketed individuals were to be in this area; during the event it was restricted to the general public completely.
    From the videos below it is clear that the restricted area was not roped off or marked as restricted. The protesters repeatedly checked with the police to make sure that they were not being disruptive.

    2. “Secret Service personnel requested these individuals leave the area and to go back to the north side of York Street. They did not comply.”
    We have at least three videos below that prove that the protesters asked and double-checked with the police to make sure we were following orders.

    3. “Once the MFFT was in place, the individuals agreed to move.”
    Once again the video shows that we were already moving from the corner to the middle of York Street before the MFFT marched into place.

    The first video produced by Adam Sharp shows Adam checking and double-checking with the police to make sure that we are in the correct area. You’ll also notice that Adam was polite at all times.

    http://gatewaypundit.firstthings.com/2010/04/oops-quincy-pd-releases-bogus-statement-lashes-out-at-violent-granma-protesters-forgets-about-army-of-videographers/

    What happened here is that the Quincy Police Department hugely overreacted and went into full Barney Fife mode. Ludicrous.

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Fiscal Health Care Reform: The Publics Option

Friday, December 11, AD 2009

Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama continue to spend, spend, spend away money we don’t have.  With the public option now firmly established in the current Senate version of the health care bill, Election 2010 comes to mind.

Kick the bums out.

I love democracy.

(Biretta Tip: Glenn Foden of NewsBusters)

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13 Responses to Fiscal Health Care Reform: The Publics Option

  • Give me an alternative to Republicans, and I’ll happily comply. Let’s not forget that the borrow-and-spend mantra was begun by Mr Reagan, and continued by both Bushes, especially the last one.

    Lucky thing for the GOP that in our political system, you might be in last place, but you’re never more than one election from ascendancy.

  • Borrow and spend began with Reagan Todd only if Reagan’s name is spelled Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Roosevelt’s Depression deficits, not including World War II, peaked at 5.4% of gdp. Obama’s deficit this year was 7.2% gdp. During Reagan and the first Bush the deficits averaged 4.3% gdp. Both parties have done a lousy job since the onset of the Great Depression of balancing tax receipts and spending, with the exception of Eisenhower and for a few of the Clinton years due to the dot.com bubble, and we are all going to be paying a high price for this for a very, very long time.

  • Running a deficit during a war of national mobilization, a banking crisis, or an economic depression is not unreasonable. During nearly all of Mr. Roosevelt’s tenure, the country was either producing below capacity (and had latent unemployment of such a level that public expenditure might actually be ‘stimulating’) or engaged in a war global in scope. Please note, the Roosevelt Administration did make a serious attempt to balance the federal budget in 1937.

    What has been troublesome has been the inability (since 1960) of the political class to balance the federal budget over the course of any one of the seven business cycles which have run their course since that time. We have had a few balanced budgets near business cycle peaks.

    It is not that difficult to manage. You have to fix your expenditure stream at where your revenue stream would be if the economy were producing at mean capacity. They do not do it because they just don’t feel like it.

  • Let’s not forget that the borrow-and-spend mantra was begun by Mr Reagan, and continued by both Bushes, especially the last one.

    Todd, you are of an age to recall that during a period of economic expansion lasting ten years and featuring improvements in real domestic product a mean of 4% per annum, the administration and Congress balanced the budget just once. Name the political party which had majorities in the upper and lower chamber of Congress during that entire period, and held the presidency for eight of those ten years.

  • When was the last time anyone heard of Congress raising our debt limit to aproximately 2 Trillion dollars. With our debt cost apprroaching 50% of our national income, and the new health bill
    and more stimulus spending to come..some thoughs..the
    government takes money from someone, it has none of its own, and giving money to others has to come from those who work for a living. When those who work for a living realize that if they didn’t and then the government would care for them, then what is their incentive to work and that is the begining of any nation to fail..the fact is that you can not mutiple wealth by spending it and dividing it.

  • I should have added that Medicare’s chief actuary states that Medicare under the proposed bill would spend 35.8 Trillion from 2010 to 2019. Wonder where the money is going to come from?

  • “Name the political party …”

    I would love to see national politics turned on its head, and some degree of sanity restored to foreign and economic policies.

    That either major party will effect that change is a vain hope. Given an alternative to an incompetent, lawless GOP, I’d prefer to hold my nose and take my chances with the current status quo. If nothing else, seeing the Republicans whine in defeat is more entertaining than the alternative.

    Seriously, I do think 2010 and 2012 will be an outlet for much anger if the job market doesn’t perk up. The feds borrowing money isn’t news; it’s been SOP for the last three decades. But unemployment is a crusher right now. The federal deficit? That’s just a useful tool for partisans. As of right now, it still means nothing, and either party is as much to blame as the other.

    Now let’s get back to Obama’s one-child policy.

  • I do not think it will be all that amusing if the U.S. Treasury suffers a failed bond sale. When the ratio of public debt to domestic product comes to exceed 0.9, the willingness of participants in the bond market to buy your scraps of paper diminishes considerably. And that won’t mean ‘nothing’.

    Quite a number of us have had occasion to assess what causes you to hold your nose.

    http://amywelborn.typepad.com/openbook/2005/11/settlement_in_s.html

  • Excellent research, Art. With the change in topic to Catholics behaving badly, I’ll accept your concession on my point that major party politics are bad news for economic good sense. I’m really curious about one point. Stocks are up forty-some percent and the Christmas bonuses for bankers are rolling through the economy. Just what is it that the GOP would have done differently? Mr Bush and the Fed starting the bailout to the tune of a third of a trillion last Fall. Would Mr McCain have ended all that?

    Now can we please get back to the secret Muslim/socialist takeover?

  • Stocks are up forty-some percent and the Christmas bonuses for bankers are rolling through the economy. Just what is it that the GOP would have done differently?

    I am not making any concessions, Todd.

    Counter-factual speculation is usually idle.

    Barney Frank was one of the obstacles to implementing debt-for-equity swaps to recapitalize the bulge bracket banks and in general casino bankers like Robert Rubin have more intimate relations with the elites of the Democratic Party; however, it is true that debt-for-equity swaps for these institutions and for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were also rejected for obscure reasons by Mr. Paulson and his camarilla.

    I have a suspicion a Republican Congress and Administration would have told the United Auto Workers to pound sand. They’d have had to accept a pre-packaged legislated re-organization or the corporations would have had to trudge through the standard proceedings of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, not to mention the ministrations of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. It would have been a good deal less sweet for General Motors’ legatees.

    As for the stimulus, by what accounts have appeared in the newspapers, it appears to have been an omnibus of programs Democratic members of Congress have had on their wish lists for some years. A Republican Congress and Administration would likely have preferred a legislated tax cut.

    There is quite a bit of dispute between economists as to the actual value of the multipliers associated with public expenditure in these circumstances, which is to say a dispute about the degree to which public spending crowds out private spending (one macroeconomist who has written on the subject has said recently that crowding out vitiates the effect of public spending so long as unemployment rates are below 12%). A suspension of payroll tax collections could have been implemented rapidly and would have dispensed a disproportionate share of its largesse to the segment of the population with the highest propensity to consumption, thus having the most impact toward the goal of maintaining aggregate demand. There was the anxiety that the demand for real balances was so intense last year that such would simply be added to people’s stock of cash reserves. The results of monetary policy innovation since then indicate that that concern was misplaced. I do not think the Republican caucus would have favored a payroll tax cut over an income tax cut.

    I think the Republicans, given a free hand, might have put the kibosh on scheduled increases in the minimum wage. The labor market would be in less parlous condition for a’ that.

    The Republicans likely would not have pissed away valuable time on a tar baby like Mr. Obama’s medical insurance proposal.

    I have no clue about what sort of mortgage modification plan might have been drawn up by a Republican Administration.

    So, we did not get debt-for-equity swaps, we got fleeced by the United Auto Workers, the Democratic Party got to do $787 bn in favors for their friends, we priced a good many low wage workers out of the market, we were saddled with a means-tested mortgage modification program that encouraged people to restrict their earnings, and we have had no action as yet on a revised architecture for the banking system or a general plan for working out underwater mortgages because Congress has wasted so much time debating a non-acute problem. It is possible that a Republican Congress and Administration could have done a worse job. It is also possible that I am Marie of Roumania.

  • “It is possible that a Republican Congress and Administration could have done a worse job. It is also possible that I am Marie of Roumania.”

    Ouch! Give it up Todd! You are batting way out of your league with Art. (When it comes to economics, so would I if I tangled with Art!)

  • No, president is can solve these problems. There is more going on behind the scene that we can’t see. Why don’t movie stars like Oprah and Jolie and many other people in the US try to help but stand and watch our country go down and stand before the camera with six kids from all around the world. Im sorry Oprah im black and I may just have to mail her. Why do people from out of the country get free education but not homeless vets? Or just homeless people?. And Obama is making it worse sending troops because he just gonna piss off those people and that’s the last thing we need here in America along with a race war. America is fake, why would anyone believe any presedent. Denmark, France are happy countries with healthcare but they pay a lot in taxes, not many people want to do that in America. America is not use to change. Change is easier for an eastern countries philosophy speaking.

  • “I am not making any concessions, Todd.”

    Then on the next thread we find ourselves conversing, I suggest you stick to your expertise, as Donald terms it, and set aside the desperate historical research.

Following the 2009 Election Results which way is the tide turning toward truth or relativism?

Wednesday, November 4, AD 2009

Under the surface, and largely unbeknownst to the mainstream media, the tide has been turning to Catholicism for some time. The pontificates of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI along with events such as an increase in orthodox minded seminarians, young priests and young women religious, a return to devotions and a reform of the reform of liturgy have shown us that indeed the tide is turning. However, for some time now western culture has been moving in the opposite direction, where any, whim or opinion that holds that orthodox minded religious thought is antiquated and even harmful is held in high regard. How could this jibe with the turning tide within the Church? Who would win? Didn’t Jesus promise that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church after He gave Peter the keys (and the 265 subsequent popes) to lead it? The answer is the same answer that has always been, the Church eventually always wins and it will this time as well.

Following the Election of 2008 when liberalism was on the ascendancy, many in the mainstream media joyfully proclaimed a new era, where one could read between the lines and see that traditional views of society, family and religion were on their way out and big government was in. However, a funny thing happened on the way to the revolution, many Americans refused to go to the Bastille with pitchfork in hand. Americans view of revolution was almost always in line with George Washington’s view of limited government and not Maximilien Robespierre’s view of war against society, family and religion. Perhaps the Election of 2008 was a pox on both their big spending houses that was wrongly construed as a vote for Big Government.

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7 Responses to Following the 2009 Election Results which way is the tide turning toward truth or relativism?

  • Thank You Dave for constantly reminding us of our faith and our needed prayers and continued efforts to overcome those who pick and choose in the Church whether laity or heirarchy. These young priests and current seminarians are a godsend for the Church and we are fornunate to have one sheparding our parish by hs example, homilies, and teaching.

  • Bravo Dave. History is not a straight line progression to a progressive paradise no matter how many of our friends on the Left believe it to be.

  • I’m still going to thumb my nose at the elites.

  • Thanks again Dave! I wish you the best on your journey. God Bless you and your family…

    Robert from Michigan

  • Indeed the elections, as Catholic League’s Bill Donohue put it, made for a “big night for Catholic values.” The gay marriage proponents must be seething that our Tortoise of Truth passed by their Hare of Relativism in Maine like it did in my state of California last year!

  • I don’t know how much we can say the election results foreshadow a turning of the tide. The two new republican governors both ran campaigns that did not stress their stance on moral issues – they won by not splitting the social conservatives from the moderates. Let’s be honest, the people who vote solely on morals (at least until a race with two moral candidates comes along) are in the minority. I worry that the lesson the Republican party will learn from this election is to shy away from moral issues. Of course, if the Democrats learn the same lesson and stop shoving abortion down everyone’s throats, maybe we’ll actually see more social conservatives in both parties.

  • Thanks again, Dave!

It's Just Legislation

Tuesday, September 22, AD 2009

Having a number of fairly liberal friends and acquaintances, it struck me recently how many blog posts and facebook updates I’d seen lately that began, “I was just watching one of the anti-health-reform protests and I’m just so angry right now.”

I get that many on the progressive side are very, very excited about whichever of the major proposals in the congress at this point ends up being the chosen one by Obama (despite the fact that none of them actually get that close to being what progressives have wanted in regards to health care reform for all these years), if only because they’re very excited to see Obama succeed at whatever he tries. But it strikes me that there’s a difference in how people think about the state and about legislation at play here as well. Thinking back, I can’t recall any example of a piece of legislation on any topic that I was so excited about that it made me angry to see people out protesting against it. Sure, there have been a few things that I’ve strongly supported (like the marriage amendment ballot initiative in California; the national partial birth abortion ban, etc.) or strongly opposed. But there’s nothing I found myself so worked up about that I felt it necessary to watch the protests for or against and then get furious that there were opponents out there — whether their sentiments were fair and honest or not.

My thinking would tend to be, “Hey, it’s just legislation. We win or we lose.” But then, that springs from a basic assumption that things will not change very much from the status quo, that the government will work no miracles for us or against us, and that on a day to day basis the government basically is and should be invisible to us. That seems to be a set of assumptions which many on the more progressive side of the political realm do not share.

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21 Responses to It's Just Legislation

  • That struck me at first too. I think on reflection, though, that the reasons it is upsetting are fairly clear:

    1) Liberals had/have very high hopes for Obama; and they’ve had to wait 15 years for someone to try health care reform again after the HillaryCare debacle.

    2) If health care reform fails, it will be damaging for him and for the political party they support.

    3) In addition to wanting Democrats to succeed, they (like everyone else) think the U.S. health care system is in desperate need of reform, and believe that this particular legislation is the best way to fix it.

    4) Much of the criticism of the legislation – as with the opposition to any legislation – is based on fear-mongering and distortions.

    Put all these together, and it seems like the good Democrats are trying to do a good thing for the country, but the evil Republicans working for evil purposes are harming the country by lying to it. If I shared a few more of those premises, I’d be upset also.

  • JH,
    is based on fear-mongering and distortions.

    or is it based on reasonable expectations of what government bureaucrats will do based on observation and deduction?

    I think the point being made here is very interesting. I feel disdain the gay activists, tree-huggers and animal rights activists, but not anything approaching anger (except when they go beyond protesting to terrorism). I am angry at private business who take MY MONEY and spend it on liberal causes, or when the government does it, but if people want to invest their own time and money into such nonsense, let it be.

  • Speaking from the progressive side, I can’t say I’m very excited or angry at the current situation. However, the snippet above struck me:

    ” … on a day to day basis the government basically is and should be invisible to us …”

    … as being very much akin to the attitude of bullies, or worse, criminals. “Don’t watch us too closely,” accompanied by an Eddie Haskell grin.

    My concern is that when government (aka the law) looks the other way, the rich and powerful have free reign to do as they wish. The small government meme is pretty much a non-starter for Republicans. They actually like Big Gov when it keeps the gravy running to the corporate train station. The main thing I’m looking for (and don’t expect to see it from the Dems) is an end to corporate lawlessness.

  • … as being very much akin to the attitude of bullies, or worse, criminals. “Don’t watch us too closely,” accompanied by an Eddie Haskell grin.

    Todd, the key phrase was ‘on a day to day basis’. Now, on a day to day basis, you are more than likely (in a metropolitan area) to catch sight of postmen, cops, firemen, street cleaners, garbage collectors, ploughmen, men in manholes, or city parks and forestry employees. It is rather excessively literal-minded to infer that these folk are those to which he was referring. None of the foregoing are going to protect you from Citibank or Texaco, by the way..

    My concern is that when government (aka the law) looks the other way, the rich and powerful have free reign to do as they wish. The small government meme is pretty much a non-starter for Republicans. They actually like Big Gov when it keeps the gravy running to the corporate train station.

    Barney Frank and Robert Rubin are Democrats.

  • I think the invisibility of government concept is more akin to a good referee. While keeping the game fair and within the rules, you shouldn’t really notice he’s there. In other words, he shouldn’t become a deciding factor in the game.

  • … as being very much akin to the attitude of bullies, or worse, criminals. “Don’t watch us too closely,” accompanied by an Eddie Haskell grin.

    My concern is that when government (aka the law) looks the other way, the rich and powerful have free reign to do as they wish.

    See, I guess my thought is: the government is pretty much run by the rich and the powerful, so when we go in the direction of letting the government run more things, it’s unlikely to result in the rich and the powerful being reigned in very much. Sure, they may take out a few of their own who cross the lines, but overall the government will look out for those that run it. And the fact that we can vote doesn’t change the fact there’s an aristocracy of sorts that actually ends up holding office and running things — whichever party wins out.

    So I have very little expectation that a larger government will serve to reign in the excesses of large companies. Big business and big government get along too well. But government is very, very good at making life hard for ordinary people and especially small businesses. Trying to start and run a small side-business is an incredible education into how difficult and intrusive government can be in ways that do very little to increase the safety of the “little guy”.

    Rather than relying on one party or the other to magically change that dynamic, I’d rather the government keep its brief as small as possible.

  • it seems to me that “small government” can actually be effective at keeping big business from illegal behavior. I’ll take a state or county prosecutor who must go to his constituents for re-election over an appointed federal prosecutor who serves at the whim of political interests in Washington.

  • Agreed, Matt. I wouldn’t see the “small government” approach as meaning “big companies get away with whatever they want” so much as:

    – Get rid of all subsidies.
    – A simple tax code and tarrif code (or ideally, simply free trade — real free trade, not 200 page “free trade” agreements)
    – A clear and fairly simple law code
    – Rigorous enforcement of that code

    I’d tend to see that as, in the end, being much more able to protect the “little guy” than a faith that a subsidy here, a tax break here, an extra tax there, and lots of regulators running around all over will somehow result in an optimal result — when the only people who can hire enough lawyers and consultants to understand it all at that point are the largest entities.

    But then, that’s what makes me fairly conservative…

  • “- Get rid of all subsidies.
    – A simple tax code and tarrif code (or ideally, simply free trade — real free trade, not 200 page “free trade” agreements)
    – A clear and fairly simple law code
    – Rigorous enforcement of that code”

    A nice list. Too bad American conservatives, as a whole, and especially Republicans, don’t believe in any of this. It’s really a matter of favoritism, and it happens both federally and locally.

    It gets back to the point about “just legislation.” It would be nice to see it. I share the skepticism that major party politics are in favor of any sort of change, be it abortion legislation, insurance reform, or whatnot.

  • Be I not mistaken, but I believe that reports are that Wall Street donates more to the Democratic Party than to the Republican.

    This echoes George Steinbrenner explanation of why he donated to the Dems: “They’re better for business”.

  • Gabriel,

    I believe that is true. One big contributor to the Dems was Bernie Maddoff:

    http://spectator.org/archives/2009/01/05/de-funder-of-the-left

  • See, I guess my thought is: the government is pretty much run by the rich and the powerful,

    Some years ago, I read an essay by a political scientist deconstructing a book by Ralph Nader, Who Runs Congress. The conclusion of said academic: “Congress runs Congress”, just in ways Mr. Nader does not like.

    I think you will find if you research matters that the generically wealthy are not notably influential, except perhaps in fairly restricted spheres. Institutions and organized constituencies have influence, and they are motivated to acquire it in part because of extant state intervention in their sectors. That would be the casino banks, to be sure, but also the United Auto Workers, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the American Association of Retired Persons, and (on the local level) the real estate business. The shnooks that run Citigroup are big rich; the remainder are not.

    I also suspect that you will discover that much of the trouble you have with commercial law and regulation is the result of accretion, inattention, and incompetence. With reference to another of our threads, legislators who cannot be bothered to come up with intelligent alternatives to ‘three-strikes’ laws (a simple problem) likely are unwilling to put the effort into a more intricate exercise of scraping the barnacles off the federal or state commercial code (as amended by regulation and case law). I had an instructor many years ago much enamored of public choice theory who maintained that William Proxmire was nearly alone in Congress in concerning himself with the actual implementation of policy by federal agencies, the rest of them figuring there was nothing in it for them.

    A nice list. Too bad American conservatives, as a whole, and especially Republicans, don’t believe in any of this. It’s really a matter of favoritism, and it happens both federally and locally.

    Todd, I think you will look in vain for literature in economics journals or in opinion magazines making the case for business subsidies. You might find it in the business press, but not elsewhere. As for legislators, politicians are politicians. They commonly, though not universally, fellate constituency groups. The notion that this is a peculiarly partisan phenomenon cannot be taken seriously. Ask yourself who stood athwart history yelling STOP! to efforts to reform the accounting and improve the capitalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or who has been among those impeding debt-for-equity swaps to recapitalize the megabanks. His name is Barney Frank and he runs the House Banking Committee.

  • Art Deco,

    Good point. A more precise formulation would be that influence is predominatly had by those who have a strong interest in the outcome and who have the time to make their wishes heard. Doubly so if they contol either money or large numbers of votes — or better yet, both.

    This certainly means that anyone who is rich or powerful can get a good hearing if they want to, but unions and interest groups also get a lot of play. Though in a sense, I’d argue that ability pretty much defines you as “powerfu” even if not “rich”.

    I guess what it seems to me is that since our government has its finger in so many pies, legislators really have very little time to investigate any given topic, so they tend to listen to whoever is willing to sit down with them and explain to them how things ought to be — especially if its also someone who supports them with votes or money.

  • Art, I’m not sure exactly for what you’re making your case. I think I’ve already stated my opinion that politicians being owned is non-partisan, generally speaking.

    Getting back to DC’s original point, it’s largely why my spectatorship of the current political cycle is without excitement or anger. I confess that when corporations get nervous about legislation, that’s usually a good marker. There’s also the entertainment value to see so-called “values” conservatives wring their hands, and get caught up in a degree of hypocrisy. That’s pretty much the most I can wring out of current events. What about y’all?

  • Well, Todd, I am occasionally reminded that politicians are not the only poseurs in this world.

  • I confess that when corporations get nervous about legislation, that’s usually a good marker.

    I’m not sure why seeing a particular group of corporations “nervous” about legislation would necessarily be a good thing. Corporations survive and thrive via a Smithian self-interest — that is, a self interest which is only fulfilled through fulfilling the self interest of others. It’s possible this alleged nervousness would indicate that, in the case of health care reform, insurance companies are in danger of making lower profits. But then, as I wrote about a while ago, insurance companies are not really making profits which are all that high in the first place. If they’re concerned that their revenues will be going down rather than their profit margins, that would almost certainly be an indication that people would be getting less health care overall — as would, for instance, be the case with getting rid of the MediCare Advantage program, as the Administration wants to do.

    Now, some would clearly consider that to be a good thing. The administration is obviously convinced that the “extra” benefits people are getting through MediCare Advantage are not actually of great benefit to the seniors getting them (or else are things they can afford to pay for on their own) but clearly it’s stuff that the seniors themselves are rather attached to. And so in the end, it’s they who are rather more nervous than the corporation.

    There’s also the entertainment value to see so-called “values” conservatives wring their hands, and get caught up in a degree of hypocrisy.

    I’m not really clear here the hypocrisy comes in. “Values voters” who are conservative don’t generally trust the government to do things well, and they particularly don’t trust politicians who are big fans of abortion and euthanasia, so I’m not really sure why it’s inconsistent of them not to trust the party of abortion and euthanasia to reform the health care industry in a way that would in any way be good for the population.

  • “I’m not sure why seeing a particular group of corporations “nervous” about legislation would necessarily be a good thing.”

    It’s an anti-narcissism thing. Corporations often have interests at odds from the good of society.

    “I’m not really clear here the hypocrisy comes in.”

    Neither major political party is sufficiently pro-life, assuming one includes issues like torture in one’s firmament of conception to natural death.

  • Corporations often have interests at odds from the good of society.

    And yet corporations only succeed in existing by providing some sizeable number of people with something that they want or need. Indeed, one could well argue that they are much more directly at the mercy of the people’s will than government is.

    Neither major political party is sufficiently pro-life, assuming one includes issues like torture in one’s firmament of conception to natural death.

    Given that Obama has made virtually no changes on “issues like torture” from the status quo of Bush’s second term, I’m not clear how this is decisive, much less relevant to the health care debate.

  • I find this discussion very interesting. I think we are all in some kind of a fog, caught between the Republican’ts and the Demoncrats. Is there really a difference? I know Republican’ts are pro-Life, right? I don’t believe that. I think they pay life lip-service. I am not saying ALL R or ALL D are that way, I am talking about the party in general.

    This is not Right vs. Left, this is a hallucination. It is Right vs. Wrong and both of them are often wrong. The fact is that all American’s should be conservative and none should be Republican or Democrat in their current incarnations. Why? Because the founding of this nation is inherently conservative, despite the fact that the founders can be described as liberals (in the classical form). This is true because the Constitution is supposed to be the Supreme Law of the land and it has respect for The Supreme Law’s of God (this is good even for secular humanists because they can only survive in a nation based on Christian law). We all should want to CONSERVE the Constitution and run government within those CONSERVATIVE parameters. Of course this means most of the actions of government for the last 100 years for BOTH parties would be illicit. This is true because neither party is conservative although the elephants have brief moments of clarity and then slip back into their old habits of being Democrats from 40 years ago.

    If, in fact, we were all Constitutionally conservative, then we can all make the statement that it is ‘just a piece of legislation’, which would do something within the enumerated parameters of the Constitution. We can then trust that the delegates would only be able to exercise their limited authority on issues that would be virtually invisible to all of us because our state an commonwealth laws would be more relevant, declaration of war excluded. If Congress set the weight of our money and the immoral, usurious, so-called Federal Reserve cartel didn’t exist then funding for BIG government would be severely curtailed and conservative thrift would rule, which facilitates a more moral rule. The Constitution is designed to create a free-trade zone within the borders of the USA, ensure republican government, set standards of weight, money, etc. and settle disputes that may arise between the states (preferably without invading any of them). Those would be ‘just pieces of legislation’ and they would also be more likely to be Just.

    A Constitutional Republic with sound money and a Christian-moral base would not be the welfare/warfare giant it is today. The truly poor would be raised up, instead of kept as an excuse for larger welfare departments while they are socially engineered to be slaves. The corpratist interests would have to be effective in order to survive in a competitive environment; rather than securing welfare for the corporations from the government largesse and controlling the government in a sick, incestuous relationship. Wars would need to actually be just and when war is declared it would be expedient and necessary to win and win quickly with superior numbers to reduce damage, cost and loss of lives.

    The constant bickering between so-called liberals/progressives and so-called conservatives is only about the methods and intent of the pre-determined outcome which is simply MORE government. And we are all happy with it when it is AGREEING with us and ANGRY when it isn’t. The truth is it isn’t good either way in its current form and seeks only to make us the DIVIDED states of America. We all need to reach back to our authentic CONSERVATIVE roots and return this country to the place she belongs. Bastion and beacon of human liberty so men are free to seek salvation or perdition.

  • DarwinCatholic writes Tuesday, September 22, 2009 A.D.
    “My concern is that when government (aka the law) looks the other way, the rich and powerful have free rein to do as they wish.
    See, I guess my thought is: the government is pretty much run by the rich and the powerful, so when we go in the direction of letting the government run more things, it’s unlikely to result in the rich and the powerful being reigned in very much. Sure, they may take out a few of their own who cross the lines, but overall the government will look out for those that run it. And the fact that we can vote doesn’t change the fact there’s an aristocracy of sorts that actually ends up holding office and running things — whichever party wins out”.

    The subject was thoroughly and repeatedly discussed by GKC. He referred to the plutocrats, a group that came to have the power in England in the early 19th Century. It is pretty much the same in the U.S. today.

    I note simply in passing that corporations [actually executives, who run the corporations despite the stockholders and their “representatives”, the board of directors] are not particularly the villains. They are part and parcelof the U.S. polity.

  • The problem we are discussing is exactly what the genius of the Founding Fathers was seeking to prevent.

    By expanding government well beyond the Constitutional parameters and delegating power that the Constitution forbids to be delegated – control of the money supply – to a private corporation, we have distorted what American government is supposed to be.

    We have created a powerful monster that is a highly desirous prize to secure power and wealth and lord it over everyone else. A small cabal of unscrupulous and arrogant individuals now have the ability to control the fate of millions of people and trillions of units of money, which consolidates the power and the wealth.

    These are the ideological descendants of the same group that did it in France and Germany and Britian beginning centuries ago. Only now they are more bold and powerful.

    This Republic was made for a moral and religious people precisely because without that strong moral backbone for the governed it is inevitable that government will be used for sinister purposes and sadly it is by the consent of the governed. The elite insiders have illegally blended government and industry in a fascist concoction, but not enough people are on the take — yet. Once the receivers of government wealth transfers exceed the producers it is game over. We need not go there.

    We need to return to limited, consitutional government and federalism (subsidiarity). Once the Constitution is restored, then the power of the oligarchy will vanish. Sadly, this is something that Republicans and Democrats and everyone in between should agree on. Yet, we bicker becuase we like the power when our guy or our party is seemingly in control of the machine. This is a false illusion. The real control is always hidden. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, just tear at each other’s throats to be the winners and have your inneffectual idiot stand as figurehead next. Mmm . . . what’s in this Kool-Aid?

The Crowd Size of the 9/12 Rally in Washington

Thursday, September 17, AD 2009

capitol-view-lo-res

A controversy has blown up on the internet with claims that the 9/12 rally in Washington had about 60,000-90,000 people in attendance.  Charles Martin at Pajamas Media drives a stake through the heart of that claim here.

“Since I wrote that piece, though, we have two new sources of information. First, the ridership statistics from D.C. Metro became available after being delayed, apparently because of a fatal accident on the Metro tracks. The Heritage Foundation, using these figures, computed that Metrorail ridership was about 235,000 greater than the previous weekend. As they say, that in itself is more than three times the (unreliable and badly sourced) number reported in the legacy media.

Second, there is now a high-resolution photo from FreedomWorks, which you can see in the poster here.

His conclusions from all available evidence:

“What can we take away from this exercise? Here are the main points:

  • The estimate widely used in the legacy media is not from an authoritative source, and it isn’t even consistent with itself: “full back to 3rd Street” is around 250,000 by Park Sevice methods, not a quarter of that.
  • Many estimates, using different assumptions and different methods, arrived at numbers well into the hundreds of thousands.
  • This is clearly consistent with the panoramic photo that we can source reliably.
  • With everything above, and with several more estimates, I don’t think there is a plausible argument for any total attendance figure much less that 500,000 to 600,000. That is, nearly ten times the reported attendance.”
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One Response to The Crowd Size of the 9/12 Rally in Washington

Of Tea and Elections

Monday, September 14, AD 2009

I have had my eyes on the tea party movement protesting government spending since the beginning of the movement.  On Saturday a huge national tea party protest was held in Washington.  Estimates of crowd size range from 500,000 to 2.3 million.  Some organs of the mainstream media are attempting to downplay the significance of this event.  Politicians on both sides of the aisle are not so gullible.  They realize that a political storm is brewing.  Perhaps even more significant than this show of strength by the forces opposed to the drunken sailor spending of the Obama administration are the state tea parties taking place each week.  For example in the completely blue state of Illinois, my home state, there was a tea party at New Lennox near Joliet last week that drew 10,000 people.   This weekend a tea party at Quincy, Illinois drew 12000 people.   Receiving scant coverage from the national media, these parties are are becoming a real factor in the 2010 elections.

Charlie Cook is one of the best political prognosticators in the business.  Here is what he is seeing:

 

“Even in the best of times, Congress is unpopular. And now voters see Obama as having sent suggestions rather than proposals to the Hill, staking his future and reputation on a body that they hold in low regard. (On foreign-policy matters, where Congress plays a small role, Obama’s job-approval ratings remain quite good. It’s on the domestic side that his numbers are dismal.)

With 14 months to go before the 2010 midterm election, something could happen to improve the outlook for Democrats. However, wave elections, more often than not, start just like this: The president’s ratings plummet; his party loses its advantage on the generic congressional ballot test; the intensity of opposition-party voters skyrockets; his own party’s voters become complacent or even depressed; and independent voters move lopsidedly away. These were the early-warning signs of past wave elections. Seeing them now should terrify Democrats.”

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7 Responses to Of Tea and Elections

  • To be sure, this movement is about liberty and the founding principles. Every hour we work to fund unconstitutional government boondoggles is an hour we are enslaved to it. The founding fathers never envisioned that so much power would be centralized and would trample the rights enshrined in the founding documents.

    It should also be noted that this is not a Republican movement, and many Republicans should fear it, but for the Democrats it should be terrifying.

  • Estimates of crowd size range from 500,000 to 2.3 million.

    No they don’t. The D.C. Fire and Emergency Department says 60,000-75,000. Most places are reporting 70,000. It is impressive but protests many times larger (Iraq War, immigration, March for Life) go ignored. After the world-record setting Iraq War protests, Bush was reelected. Obama is not invulnerable but this rally is hardly terrifying.

  • Restrained Radical the pictures of the events speak for themselves. This was clearly an event with at least 500,000 people in attendance.

    I would also note this comment from a participant:

    “Eric, September 13, 2009 2:20 PM
    The 70,000 number came from the original estimated size of the march, and the Fire Dept. safety estimate of the capacity of Freedom Square. This was the projected estimate of the expected crowd at 1130. The Capitol police ordered the march to begin at 0930, because Freedom Square had REACHED IT’S MAXIMUM SAFETY CAPACITY two hours before the event. The crowd filled the west lawn and spilled into the National Mall, where the Capitol Police tried to prevent overflow into the mall, but for safety reasons they permitted the attendees to fill the Mall ALMOST AS FAR AS 9TH STREET. I was there. You can try to prevent the truth from escaping, but every single person that was there is fired up,and you can’t stop first-person eyewitness accounts from leaking out.”

    http://www.freedomslighthouse.com/2009/09/video-shows-massive-crowd-gathered-for.html

  • A good article on the difficulties of determining the precise size of the crowd. I agree with him that good aerial pics of the event would make this a lot easier.

    http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/how-big-was-the-crowd/

  • I was there and there were clearly more than 70,000 the number is closer to 1+ million. I saw an estimate, using a statistical analysis of the area covered from aerial photographs and crowd density that puts it at 1.7 million, that is 1,700,000!!!

    It was peaceful, zero arrests, polite, chanting of USA, USA, chanting of we own the dome and we own the Mall, and singing of the national anthem. This is far more than a protest (and it isn’t necessarily against Obama or event the Demopublicans or the Republicrats) this is a pro-government movement — pro CONSTITUTIONAL government under God that is.

    Even the atheist from the so-called Objectivist Ayn Rand institute made some good points. The media, political establishment and the trans-national banking cartel known as the Federal Reserve want to downplay the numbers because they don’t want us to know that most of the people of the states and commonwealths of America, united, are of the same fundamental mind-set:

    ONLY USE THE POWERS ENUMERATED in the CONSTITUTION and never forget that the so-called separation of church and state is to PROTECT the church from the government — not the other way around.

    This is the beginning of the end (it will take time) of the decay of America (and probably Western Civilization) God willing. If not, it will be over — perhaps the second coming maybe just the downfall of civilization as we know it. The moral decay of a civilization always precedes the ultimate decay.

    Most of the people I met, from all over the country and one guy from Australia, were moral, God-fearing people who are sick of the decay, both moral and the rejection of God and the true American principles (based on Christian principles).

    We need not fail, we cannot give in and without seeming too much of an American exceptionalist [well maybe a little too much:)], the downfall of America is the downfall of civilization and the ascension of Communist/fascist/collectivist slavery.

    Sure the Church universal will not fail until Christ returns, but the Church in America has no such guarantee.

    My favorite sign, other than the one my wife made, was simple. It was white, with blue writing and it stated:

    Ephesians 6:12

    Mary of Sorrows, ora pro nobis.

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White House Clueless on Health Care Protests

Monday, September 14, AD 2009

“A mob”

“Astroturf”

“Nazi’s”

President Obama and Speaker Pelosi are trying their hardest at imitating an ostrich sticking its head in the sand.  It continues still today.

When White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod was asked for his opinion concerning the large number of protesters that marched on Washington on Saturday, he replied:

“I don’t think it’s indicative of the nation’s mood . . . “You know, I don’t think we ought to be distracted by that. My message to them is, they’re wrong.”

After tens of hundreds of tea party and town hall protests, the Obama administration seems to purposely be ignoring what Americans demand, no more government intrusion and spending.

The tone deafness of this administration and their proxies is simply stunning.

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43 Responses to White House Clueless on Health Care Protests

  • One small correction, Tito, to an otherwise right-on post: “tens of hundreds” is also known by its more mathematical name, “thousands”! 😉

  • Unbelievable!

    Barack Obama in a few short months as president of “all the people” has assembled a group of unelected Czars who with the aid of the most liberal congress in history and an agenda to “fundamentally change” our country has taken over the banking and finance system (which is reported to be in worse shape now than before he fixed it), the major portion of our auto industry, is planning to control all elements of the energy production, and is demanding that one way or another government should take control of our health care system. All of this was carefully planned to take place without any input from the people and over any objections by the minority party in congress.

    Fortunately some of this Marxist blitzkrieg is still incomplete. The “people”, after witnessing the obvious socializing of America almost over night, voiced their objection to Obama’s polices and the actions of a hell bent congress to bankrupt the nation by allocating never before imagined enormous amounts of deficit spending to support Obama’s agenda.

    Citizens by the tens of thousands have gone to town hall meetings and marched on Washington to demand a halt to the destruction of our economy and the jobs which are at stake under Obama’s inept governance. He reads his ambiguous speeches from a script.
    Yet when the people read the fine print in his legislation and find it different from his script we are scary, ill informed, and obstructionist who are opposed to progress.

    They are frightened by a future that looms with higher taxes, out of control deficits, loss of private healthcare, potential skyrocketing energy costs, and pending inflation not to mention loss of basic freedoms granted under our constitution. They are aware seniors over seventy fear “cuts” in the availability of healthcare services and small businesses see increased costs which will cut payrolls. They hear that primary care doctors see the possibility of not being able to continue to serve patient volumes if reimbursements are lowered and surgeons and hospitals say without tort reform prices will continue to rise.
    All of this is tied directly to provision within the stealth “Obamacare” bill which the House of Representatives hurriedly proposed without even reading it.
    The future is frightening for families and the economy and the people know it!

    SO WHAT IS OBAMA’S RESPONSE TO THE PEOPLE?
    He says we are using SCARE TATICS in our opposition to his policies and agenda.
    Who’s scaring who?
    Unbelievable!! Mr. President that’s real AUDACITY.

  • Perhaps I am completely off-base, but if in 2012 there is a real chance of Obamolech being defeated, then I think he will declare some sort of national emergency and postpone the election indefinitely. He is so narcissist that he cannot conceive that the “peepul” don’t love him any longer. Liberalism is tyranny.

  • It seems to me that when he was confronted by protests, Richard Nixon said he was speaking for the silent majority. Many conservatives at the time agreed that the loud left-wing protests were not representative of the attitudes of the population as a whole.

    During the Iraq war, there were protests involving hundreds of thousands of people. Conservatives (of a certain kind, at least) argued in that case too that the protests were not representative of the population as a whole.

    In both cases, I would argue they were correctin rejecting the notion that people with the drive to get involved in protests were unrepresentative, and their concerns were not the only ones to be considered.

    Last year, the huge crowds Obama drew were dismissed by conservatives.

    Why should the “tea party” protests, which are as chaotic and divided (in terms of policy goals) as the anti-war protests of 2003 be considered authoritative and representative? Because you agree with their attitude toward the President?

  • “Why should the “tea party” protests, which are as chaotic and divided (in terms of policy goals) as the anti-war protests of 2003 be considered authoritative and representative? Because you agree with their attitude toward the President?”

    No, because they match what political prognosticators are seeing as a very rough year for the Democrats in the 2010 elections.

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2009/09/14/of-tea-and-elections/

  • Zak, it’s true that one or a few big D.C. gatherings don’t necessarily reflect the mood of the entire country. But what about state and local gatherings? What if they keep growing over a period of years?

    The Iraq war protests of 2003 probably didn’t represent the mood of the people at that time. The “loud left-wing protests” of the Vietnam era, however, were another matter — they kept spreading. Campus unrest also was not confined only to places like Kent State and Berkeley.

    In the early chapters of Chuck Colson’s “Born Again,” when he recalls his years in the White House, he says that the wave of protests after the Cambodian incursion and Kent State in 1970 were intense enough to spark genuine fear — at least for a brief period — within the Nixon Administration that an all-out civil war or insurrection could be brewing. Perhaps Nixon’s assertion that he had a “silent majority” behind him was a little bit of whistling in the dark, so to speak?

    However, you are right in pointing out that conservatives can’t have it both ways — asserting that THEIR massive protest gatherings prove the country is on their side while liberals’ massive protests don’t prove anything.

  • Perhaps I am completely off-base, but if in 2012 there is a real chance of Obamolech being defeated, then I think he will declare some sort of national emergency and postpone the election indefinitely. He is so narcissist that he cannot conceive that the “peepul” don’t love him any longer. Liberalism is tyranny.

    Yes, I’m afraid that I think you are indeed completely off base.

    There’s virtually nothing about Obama that I like, but conservative fears that he will cancel elections are no more founded than liberal fears that George Bush would. Sorry, I just don’t see it. And I must admit, it really annoys me to see members of “my side” sounding unhinged in the way that I was so recently blasting the left for doing.

  • Perhaps I am completely off-base, but if in 2012 there is a real chance of Obamolech being defeated, then I think he will declare some sort of national emergency and postpone the election indefinitely.

    Um, what? If off-base is a baseball mataphor, then I’d say you’re across town on a train speeding away from the stadium. Get off the train. Put down Atlas Shrugged. Come back to sanity.

  • But there were plenty of pro-Hward Dean state and local gatherings in ’04 that signified nothing. Granted they weren’t as loud as tea party protests, and weren’t played up by Fox News, but I don’t think loudness is a good criterion for political importance. It is true, as Don says, that the Dems will probably do relatively poorly during the ’12 election – but except for ’02, the President’s party always loses seats in his first off-year elections. And the Republicans are just as (or more) unpopular and distrusted by independents.

  • Perhaps I am completely off-base, but if in 2012 there is a real chance of Obamolech being defeated, then I think he will declare some sort of national emergency and postpone the election indefinitely. He is so narcissist that he cannot conceive that the “peepul” don’t love him any longer. Liberalism is tyranny.

    As others have stated, I highly doubt this would happen and I don’t think we should discuss this as a likelihood…. however…. I have no doubt that the left believe they know what’s good for the people no matter how unpopular, and they will use whatever means possible to achieve their goals, stealing elections is definitely in their bailiwick.

    The possibility of such an act being successful increases as the constitution is allowed to be infringed, especially those elements which were designed to prevent such a usurpation. Efforts such as gun confiscation, internal security expansion, infringements on free speech all lead us down the path of dictatorship.

  • There’s virtually nothing about Obama that I like, but conservative fears that he will cancel elections are no more founded than liberal fears that George Bush would.

    I would agree with you. There is, however, an element within the academy and in and among pressure groups which simply does not regard the opposition as legitimate exponents within intellectual life or in the wider public square. At the intersection of this academic subculture and electoral politics is Bradford deLong, and Dr. deLong is (in his programmatic preferences) not at all eccentric within the Democratic Party and may be mildly to the right-of-center when compared to the total population of professors on liberal arts faculties. Look north to Canada and also to Sweden to see extensions of this mentality in practice, and recall that provisions of the federal and state Constitutions guaranteeing rights of speech and petition and assembly are interpreted by the same crews which say the 14th Amendment requires county clerks to issue marriage licenses to pairs of dudes.

  • And we have a mainstream NY Times liberal columnist talking about how in many ways the communist dictatorship in China is better than our own government.

    Certainly, there is a certain appreciation that elements of the left can have for authoritarianism when it’s their kind of authoritarianism. I just don’t see that ever translating into elections being canceled. Heck, we even had an election when we were in the middle of a civil war. Not having one is pretty much unimaginable to the American people. I can’t see such a thing ever happening.

  • Kevin in Texas,

    Thanks! I will correc that.

    Zak,

    You make an excellent point. I’ll need to chew on that for a while for another posting.

  • Why conservative protests are getting folks’ attention more than the liberal versions:
    Libs are always protesting. Cons hardly ever go in for big protests.

    Same way it’s a big deal in social circles when cons are rude about politics, but not when libs do it; it’s just not the style.

    I guess the best way of phrasing it would be that it’s a matter of different “cultures”– either the Con culture is changing, or there’s something really wrong. (or maybe both, really)

  • Question: Why are 99.9% (probably not an exaggeration) of the protesters white? This is DC! And I thought it wasn’t just Republicans, but a nice cross-section of America that’s mad.

  • …are you seriously trying to claim that Republicans can’t be black, Asian or anything else?

  • restrainedradical,

    I was there and about half a percent of the ‘protesters’ were black not to mention other non-white ethnicities. Several of the speakers were black too. Keep in mind that blacks are less than 12% of the total populaiton and over 95% have been brainwashed into thinking their political salvation is from the nice, stealthy racists on the LEFT!!!!

    Not to mention that over a third of the 50,000,000 murdered babies of the last 30 some years have been BLACK.

    You can hardly expect that a majority of the people at the pro-constitutional government rally would be black.

    As for us believers, we know that there is neither Jew nor Greek, nor black nor white — we are one in Christ.

    The racism canard is getting really old. I am not afraid that there is a half-black, half-white man in the White House, I am afraid that the white house is becoming RED — Commie RED!!!

  • over 95% have been brainwashed

    Those dumb black people. But why weren’t there more Hispanics and Asians? They’re 15% and 5% of the population respectively. Are they stupid too?

    You can hardly expect that a majority of the people at the pro-constitutional government rally would be black.

    I’d expect more than 0.5%.

    So far, American Knight offers the explanation that there were hardly any non-whites because most blacks are dumb. Any other explanations?

  • Nice try — it is clear that is not at all what I said. Additionally I did see quite a few Asians.

    Furthermore, I am not exactly a WASP myself. Heck, I wasn’t even born here. My parents, by the Grace of God moved us here before I was an adult and they came in through the front door.

    Stupid and groupthink are not necessarily the same thing. And before you go flying off the handle and tell me everyone at the pro-constitution rally is engaged in groupthink and blind followers of Glenn Beck; don’t confuse unity for our founding principles with groupthink.

    America is a Constitutional Republic based on Christian Law no matter if you like it or not. If it bothers you that real Americans (who happen to be mostly white but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for the rest of us) are RESTORING the country to stop the current Zeitgiest that seeks to reform her into Nazi Germany or Red China or Soviet Russia you can leave.

    From what I understand our southern border is pretty open. I’ll buy your burro for you since y’all like to use other people’s money so much. 🙂

  • Guess we should take a page from the Dem’s book and make sure to move token folks of the right color and sex in for pictures….

    Or maybe borrow from MSNBC and crop out anything that doesn’t fit the story? (Say, like a black man packing a scary looking gun in the same area that Obama’s in?)

    Or, we can do like we have been, take pictures and not care what shade folks are or what shape their eyes are, and ignore race-baiters who want to insist that, somehow, the party that keeps getting about half of the support of the nation is made up of old, fat, male WASPS.

  • American Knight Says:
    don’t confuse unity for our founding principles with groupthink.

    But it’s OK to confuse unity against bigotry with groupthink? Oh wait. Only non-whites are brainwashed, right? Whites are “unified for our founding principles.” What is it that makes whites so enlightened?

    Foxfier says:
    Or, we can do like we have been, take pictures and not care what shade folks are or what shape their eyes are, and ignore race-baiters who want to insist that, somehow, the party that keeps getting about half of the support of the nation is made up of old, fat, male WASPS.

    Because you don’t care is exactly why you don’t get their votes (though if you’re a loyal Republican, you should care that too many Hispanics are entering the country). The party that keeps failing to capture non-white votes is made up overwhelmingly of white people. That’s a fact. McCain won the WASP vote.

  • But it’s OK to confuse unity against bigotry with groupthink?

    We can show unity with the founding fathers; all you can show is “you disagree with a politician whose father was black.”

    I won’t even dignify your garbage aimed at me with a response. Should I ever meet the strawman you’re fighting with, it might be an interesting visit.

    You want to keep insisting “you don’t agree with me that we should treat folks differently because of their race, then you’re a racist” — go for it. I’ve got enough faith in humanity that enough will see that BS for what it is.

  • I’m sorry, but not appearing to be a racist when I am in fact not one is somewhere next to what color socks I wear and what brand of toothpaste I buy on my “things I give a crap about” list.

    I don’t even think people like “reinstatedradical” can even coherently define racism anymore, or differentiate it from other things they don’t like. Racism is bad, policy x is bad, somehow they must be related, because “everyone knows” we still live in a racist society.

    All hail the never-ending march and triumph of reason!

  • Funny. I didn’t mention “racism” anywhere. Didn’t accuse any one of it. Talk about oversensitive! For the record, I oppose Obamacare, at least the public option part of it. I opposed the bailouts. My dislike of ACORN goes back more than a decade. I just asked an honest question. A question to which the only answer given so far has been that blacks are brainwashed. So if I were to dig for racism anywhere in this discussion, I’d have to say that American Knight’s comment was racist. Not the Republican party (to which I belong), not any policy or protest of policy, just American Knight’s comment.

    But this does bring up something interesting. Just my mentioning of a racial disparity, is dismissed as an unfounded accusation of racism. There is a reluctance on the Right to acknowledge even the existence of a racial disparity, and if acknowledged, there’s a tendency to ignore it, or worse, blame the race that makes them look bad as American Knight did.

  • “Question: Why are 99.9% (probably not an exaggeration) of the protesters white?”

    “So far, American Knight offers the explanation that there were hardly any non-whites because most blacks are dumb.”

    “But it’s OK to confuse unity against bigotry with groupthink?”

    “Because you don’t care is exactly why you don’t get their votes (though if you’re a loyal Republican, you should care that too many Hispanics are entering the country). The party that keeps failing to capture non-white votes is made up overwhelmingly of white people. That’s a fact. McCain won the WASP vote.”

    “There is a reluctance on the Right to acknowledge even the existence of a racial disparity, and if acknowledged, there’s a tendency to ignore it, or worse, blame the race that makes them look bad as American Knight did.”

    “Funny. I didn’t mention “racism” anywhere. Didn’t accuse any one of it.”

    Good one, restrained. Without actually using the word “racism”, you imply one commenter is a bigot, accuse another of not caring about nonwhite people, and insinuate that loyal Republicans fear Hispanic immigration. But you didn’t accuse anyone of racism.

    So you didn’t like American Knight’s assessment of why comparatively few black folks participated in the rally. Fair enough; brainwashing would be tough to quantify anyway. Perhaps you’d care to explain why it is that black voters support the Democratic Party (and supported Obama) at consistent rates of around 95% although the party offered no support to the antislaver movement in the 1800s, little to the civil rights movement before the ’60’s, and has consistently promoted policies that have resulted in the disproportionate abortion of black babies, damage to the black family, and urban decay.

    BTW, that the DC population didn’t turn out in droves is hardly surprising. These are the same folks who have repeatedly scuttled their own statehood attempts by maintaining crooked or incompetent local administrations that would have been ridden out on rails anyplace else, and who continue to keep convicted drug offender and do-nothing politico Marion Barry in government. My guess is a good segment of D.C. would continue to support Obama and his policies were he to declare himself President for Life, abolish private property right down to toothbrushes, and commence acquiring a harem of teenage girls.

  • Restrainedradical,

    white knight was merely alluding to the % of blacks who voted for Obama. A far greater rate than voted for any previous presidential candidate. His comment may have been inarticulate, but it was surely not meant to be racist as you have CLEARLY suggested.

    I do agree that we must convert minorities to vote their already conservative values.

    Raging Elephants is a Houston based effort to do just that, led by conservative minorities who recognize the devastation wrought on minorities by their democrat voting records.

  • Please let me clarify ‘brainwashed’. As some of you have cogently pointed out, it is bad wording. Forgive the speed at which I typed a response because I was incensed.

    I think it is very insulting to black people to state that there were no or very little black people at the pro-constitution rally. I think it is equally insulting to state that blacks, or anyone else, including us non-white naturalized citizens, can’t think for themselves.

    My ‘brainwashed’ comment was a reference to the cognitive dissonance among black voters. Most blacks are pro-family, pro-life, pro-school choice and pro-private property, yet as a block they vote for the exact opposite, which is what the nice, stealthy racists on the left promote. In addition to my mention that the general genocide of abortion is disgusting, it is also racist in that it has targeted black babies overwhelmingly. That is racist. The voting black population has been decimated by the horror of abortion. How can a party or ideological fellow travelers claim to empower blacks when they are the once eradicating the black population? That is racist and hypocritical.

    As other posters have pointed out, the policies of the Left (both the Donkeys and the Elephants) have been extremely damaging to black Americans. I stated that the voting blacks are ‘brainwashed’ because I can’t think of another reason that they would vote against their own interests consistently and malign the minority of blacks that support Constitutional government, personal responsibility and a general improvement for all Americans, which includes black Americans.

    I also think the right-thinking silent majority, who are not all Republicant’s, are waking up to this long march toward the end of the United States as we know it. That isn’t racist, that is patriotism. If Republicans want to attract so-called minorities then they need to return to true conservative principles and quit copying what the Democrats were 40 years ago and the Democrats need to stop copying the Politburo.

    Also, as I stated before, which was conveniently ignored, people of faith know that there is no Jew or Greek, no black and no white, we are one in Christ. We also should all be red, white and blue rather than red vs. blue and black vs. white.

    We can by UNITED, as in the United States (Commonwealths) of America on basic, fundamental American principles enshrined in the Declaration and the Constitution. And please don’t go trotting out the allowance for slavery and the three-fifths mistakes — they have been corrected because they were and are not compatible with liberty. America is the best, warts and all.

    PS – Matt, my moniker is AMERICAN Knight and although white knight has a certain appeal, given this topic it is probably very innaproriate. I am fairly confident the KKK would not have me as a member not only becuase of the color of my skin and texture of my hair but becuase I am also very Catholic and my status as knight is only due to Fr. McGivney 🙂

  • One thing that seems to be lost on Michael Sean Winters and others intimating that racism is a major motivator for these protesters is the fact that these same protesters are also quite angry with the quite fair-skinned congress.

    Just sayin’.

  • American Knight,

    deepest apology for the typo. Growing up in Canada the concept of “white knight” has nothing to do with racism or the KKK and so the transposition was not ill-intended.

    ps. I find it ironicly amusing that restrainedradical would imply you are racist against yourself…

  • Matt,

    No harm. I didn’t think you meant it that way; I was clarifying becuase some people tend to use any slip to latch on to in order to promote their illogical argument.

    You may be interested in knowing that I am currently suing myself for discrimination and I am hoping to enlist the help of ACORN becuase I will not put up with this blatant racism and hatred for an immigrant especially becuase he dared to enter through the front door and actually read the Constitution. These kind of people are dangerous, they may actually have an idea that liberty and rights come from God and are secured by the Constitution for everyone! Where would that leave community ‘prostitution’ organizers and trial lawyers? Not to mention who would actually watch NBC? This is frightening. I demand an investigation. Unfair. I am victimizing myself — do something about it you white people.

  • AK- *lol*

    …Am I the only one kinda sad that folks watch the video up top, and the first thing they do is try to count how many of what race are where?

    I wish I’d kept track of a picture that was making the rounds during the election– it was from one of the mainstream newspapers, and some folks made a stink because the lighting made Obama look no darker than an Italian with a slight tan. If he were wearing a hat with a nice shirt…are we sure someone would be able to guess his race in that video? Seems like a lot of sand to build an accusation on.

  • cminor says:
    Without actually using the word “racism”, you imply one commenter is a bigot, accuse another of not caring about nonwhite people, and insinuate that loyal Republicans fear Hispanic immigration. But you didn’t accuse anyone of racism.

    That 95% of blacks are brainwashed is a bigoted comment. I said that that was racist. I didn’t accuse anyone of not caring about nonwhite people. Foxfier admitted to not caring about race. Stephen Colbert mocks that sentiment with his line, “I don’t see race. I’ve been told I’m white.” It’s not racism. It’s ignoring that race issues exist. That’s why the GOP can’t win nonwhite votes. As for the loyal Republicans and xenophobia, “loyal Republicans” was not entirely accurate. I was talking about the Tom Tancredos and that large minority of the party that agrees with him.

    Perhaps you’d care to explain why it is that black voters support the Democratic Party (and supported Obama) at consistent rates of around 95% although the party offered no support to the antislaver movement in the 1800s, little to the civil rights movement before the ’60’s, and has consistently promoted policies that have resulted in the disproportionate abortion of black babies, damage to the black family, and urban decay.

    I’ll address that but I’d just like to let you know that those are very poor arguments that the Right would do well to drop. Seriously. It doesn’t convince anyone and only demonstrates how little the modern GOP has done for blacks. Blacks were Republican in the 1800’s and left the party entirely in the ’60’s. Parties change. Black babies are disproportionately aborted because more black women want to. They want abortion.

    Blacks vote Democrat because:
    1. They’re poorer than whites. Progressive taxation and social programs help them disproportionately. Most people vote according to their economic interests. Not “brainwashed.” Perfectly rational.
    2. They don’t trust Republicans. After the GOP picked up the segregationists in the 60’s, they lost the trust of blacks. The GOP did nothing to earn that trust back. Again, not “brainwashed.” Perfectly rational.

    But I’d like to hear your answer as to why blacks don’t vote Republican, if as you claim the Democratic party is so bad for them.

  • American Knight says:
    I think it is very insulting to black people to state that there were no or very little black people at the pro-constitution rally.

    It’s a fact. You said so yourself: “about half a percent.” Don’t be insulted by facts.

    I think it is equally insulting to state that blacks, or anyone else, including us non-white naturalized citizens, can’t think for themselves.

    Good to see you acknowledge that. But then you say…

    I stated that the voting blacks are ‘brainwashed’ because I can’t think of another reason that they would vote against their own interests consistently and malign the minority of blacks that support Constitutional government, personal responsibility and a general improvement for all Americans, which includes black Americans.

    So you’re standing firm? Most blacks are brainwashed? Unbelievable.

    Also, as I stated before, which was conveniently ignored, people of faith know that there is no Jew or Greek, no black and no white, we are one in Christ. We also should all be red, white and blue rather than red vs. blue and black vs. white.

    Using faith in Christ for an appeal to nationalism? How about this one? There should be no illegal immigrant vs. native. No child vs. parent. No rich vs. poor. No healthy vs. disabled. In Christ we are all of equal dignity but these earthly differences should matter when it comes to policy.

  • Big Tex says:
    One thing that seems to be lost on Michael Sean Winters and others intimating that racism is a major motivator for these protesters is the fact that these same protesters are also quite angry with the quite fair-skinned congress.

    The KKK didn’t like LBJ, therefore, the KKK cannot be racist.

  • Restrained:
    Way to dodge the question, dude. And no, I’m not going to be lured into venturing theories as I have little doubt that I’ll have been called a racist and a few other things by the time I’m done. You didn’t notice, by any chance, American Knight’s reference to his own racial background? I’m astonished you persist in attacking him.

    Incidentally, I think most black pro-lifers would take issue with your flip remark about black women and abortion. You’re unaware, I take it, that Planned Parenthood originated from the eugenics movement and strategically locates clinics in predominantly black neighborhoods to this day?
    http://www.lifeissues.org/connector/2005/Oct05_PPTargetsAA.htm

    I’m part Hispanic and can vouch for the fact that PP and other abortionists also advertise heavily in the secular Spanish-language press, so their commitment to “servicing” minorities is nothing if not broad-based. For some reason they seem to be less interested in ad campaigns targeting middle-class white women, unless they happen to be high school or college students.

  • Myapology; there was an answer down there at the bottom. But I’m sticking to my guns re the rest.

  • OTOH, it doesn’t really explain the persistence of Democratic voting into the black middle and upper classes.

  • This is getting tired. 0.005% of the country’s population was at DC on 912. 300,000,000 at 12% (approx black population)= 36million. black population factored by total of dc 912 population is 180,000. Since 95% of balcks are probably still against this movement then we can expect that 9,000 black Americans would be present at DC 912. I didn’t count, but I think the number is higher than that.

    In any event, it doesn’t really matter this whole discussion is a canard. Are some people racists? Yes. Are they all white? No. Is America as a country racist? No. Is the por-Constitution movement racist? No. Are some people in it racist? Probably.

    A minority of racists no matter if they are black, white, Kenyan, Korean or from Kansas do not make a racist movement.

    As for radical’s comment about using faith for nationalism. What do you think Jefferson (not an exemplary Christian and sadly using enlightenment language) meant when he wrote that our rights come from Nature’s God? This is a Christian nation. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t allow for other beleifs it means the principles are Christian — a fact, a stubborn, unavoidable fact.

    In your twisted attack on me you mixed behavior with constitution. A black man is a black man becuase God made him that way. An illegal alien is illegel becuase he chose to trespass. Not the same thing at all. We are not to be judged on our make-up but on our behavior and choices.

    I am finished with this discussion so like a typical antagonist, I am sure that radical will take the last word. I know I am right so I am done.

    God bless you all.

  • Margaret Sanger the big abortion pioneer lectured the Klan. By the way, Catholics have been targets of the KKK as well.

    http://www.blackgenocide.org (and the more rowdy dot com version give lots of facts)

    Martin Luther King a Republican.

    Republicans voted for desegregation in the 1960s. I’m not sure saying the Republicans picked up the Segregationists is an accurate statement with someone like Byrd a powerful democrat and he was in the Klan.

  • “Blacks were Republican in the 1800’s and left the party entirely in the ’60’s. Parties change. Black babies are disproportionately aborted because more black women want to. They want abortion.”

    Denzel Washington, Martin Luther King, Republicans.

    Desegregation Bills only passed because Republicans voted for those bills.

    The last sentence really is a joke, again http://www.blackgenocide.org

  • restrained radical,

    The KKK didn’t like LBJ, therefore, the KKK cannot be racist.
    I fail to see your point. In fact, you entirely missed mine. In these protests, the ire directed at President Obama is very much the same as that directed at the Congress. Why not take a look at the rhetoric from these protests and see for yourself what the nature of the ire actually is.

  • American Knight Says:
    Since 95% of balcks are probably still against this movement

    You say that in passing but that’s my point.

    In your twisted attack on me you mixed behavior with constitution. A black man is a black man becuase God made him that way. An illegal alien is illegel becuase he chose to trespass. Not the same thing at all. We are not to be judged on our make-up but on our behavior and choices.

    I also used the example of children and the disabled which you very conveniently ignore. Unless, you think one chooses to be a child or disabled.

    I know I am right so I am done.

    Bigotry is never right.

  • cminor says:
    OTOH, it doesn’t really explain the persistence of Democratic voting into the black middle and upper classes.

    The distrust of Republicans still applies plus:
    1. Many middle and upper income blacks grew up poorer. They have friends and family who are still poor.
    2. Solidarity within the black community. At the macro level it’s strong.

Overreacting, The Left Needs To Wake Up To Reality

Tuesday, September 8, AD 2009

GOP overreaction to Obama speechLiberals and Democrats have accused many Americans of overreacting to the speech that President Obama will be delivering to school children today (at 11:00 am Central Daylight Time).

On the surface this would seem a fair evaluation but if you dig a little deeper, those on the Left may well be making another crucial misdiagnosis of the source and cause of this reaction.

First lets examine the prism that those on the Left have viewed this reaction.

Continue reading...

33 Responses to Overreacting, The Left Needs To Wake Up To Reality

  • You, and so many others, are conflating legitimate opposition to policy with lunacy. Just because you’re on the same side of the aisle doesn’t mean you have to defend all of them. The Birthers and now the Uneducators cannot be reasoned with and trying will only be politically counterproductive. Obama and the Democrats gain by keeping alive this perception that Republicans are crazy.

  • Well I am opposed to Obama’s nationwide speech to school kids and I am not an “Uneducator”. I have a teacher’s BA in social studies which I obtained before I ran off to Law School. My wife has an MA in Library Science and an MA in Spanish, and has taught Spanish in a public high school, and she opposes this use of the students of America as a political prop for this floundering administration. All three of our kids attend our local public high school. The superintendant of our school system has decided to burn the speech onto some DVDs and make them available to kids who want to watch it, but not to turn over instruction time to this Presidential nationwide photo-op.

  • I don’t oppose the president’s speech at all, but I do think the teacher’s lesson plan put out by the White House smacked of the cult of personality.

  • The text of the speech is here. On a quick perusal, it appears to be an “eat your vegetables” speech, no different from those given by prior presidents. Not sure what the fuss is about.

  • Blackadder-
    Given that it doesn’t match up with the topics listed even in the re-done study guide, it would be reasonable to assume the speech was significantly re-written. This guess is bolstered by the fact that they didn’t release the speech days ago, instead of the morning prior to the scheduled talk.

  • Lesson plans asking students to write about “Is he challenging you to do anything?” Easily can be lead down the partisan route by a partisan teacher (and plenty of those in public schools.) Doesn’t help that is was written in part by the White House with the Dept. of Education. The faux pas was clear even to the White House and DOE resulting in changes to the lesson plans. Should have also released the content of the speech prior to today. Who’s to say the opposition didn’t change the wording of the speech.

    Some potential problems with the lesson plans:

    http://blog.heritage.org/2009/09/03/politicizing-the-department-of-education/

  • Foxfier anticipated part of what I am saying.

  • Foxfire,

    I’m not sure what study materials you are referring to. The study materials I’ve seen (and that would include the materials referenced in the article Phillip cites to) seems to match up pretty well with what’s actually in the speech.

    My understanding is that the study materials for the Obama speech track pretty closely the materials for Bush’s speech to school children back in the early 1990s. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if whatever Dept of Ed underlying was assigned to prepare the materials just ripped off the prior version.

  • Actually no. The Dept. of Ed admits the lesson plans were written in collaboration with the White House – and not the Bush White House.

  • The topics mentioned were “citizenship, personal responsibility, and civic duty”– only two of those three can sort of be found in the speech.

    Do you have a link to said materials? I’ve heard that statement morphing from “maybe Bush the Elder did it” to “these are exactly what Bush the Elder had” over the course of the weekend.

    Also, we do know who wrote the lesson plans– they were in large part provided by the White House.

  • Folks like MM love to make the hypocrisy point, claiming that everyone was fine when Reagan and Bush made similar speeches. Not so fast: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/When-Bush-spoke-to-students-Democrats-investigated-held-hearings-57694347.html

  • I’m sure this point will be brought up on NPR this afternoon. Waiting…Waiting…Waiting.

  • SB, you simply don’t understand. The problem is the difference between devils (R) and gods (D).

    Either way though, it’s just one more reason to homeschool.

  • Here’s the lesson plans. Also the Dept of Ed site notes that the plans were written in collaboration with the White House:

    http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/academic/bts.html

  • Folks like MM love to make the hypocrisy point, claiming that everyone was fine when Reagan and Bush made similar speeches.

    Okay, so liberals are hypocrites for objecting then and not now, and conservatives are hypocrites for objecting now but not then. The question is whether there’s anything objectionable about what the President said. If there is, I’m not seeing it.

  • Is there anything objectionable about the lesson plans as originally formulated – Yes. Is there anything objectionable about what he was going to say before the fuss began – maybe. The protest may have done its job in more ways then one.

  • What was objectionable about the lesson plans as originally written?

  • What *isn’t* creepy about telling kids to write letters on how they can help the president, to be collected and passed out later to see how they’re living up to the goal?

    What if you’re not inspired by Obama, for that matter?

    (For that matter, the idea of a speech being interesting and challenging for pre-schoolers through seniors is kinda bloody weird, too, especially for someone that has kids.)

  • If I want my kids to listen to a politician I’ll take them to see said politician, without the assistance of the school or the White House, thank you very much. (In regard to my kids, however, if Obama wanted to address a classroom in person I would love for the class to contain my three kids. Two of them would ask follow-up questions that would leave a mark! My autistic son would probably be wondering how one of Dad’s boring political shows followed him to school!)
    A factor overlooked in all of this of course is that the National Education Association, the teacher’s union, has been a dominant power in the Democrat party for decades. The idea that a fair share of their membership will not be attempting to make partisan hay out of this is risible.

    The link below is to their story on the Obama address at the NEA website. As the first comment notes the NEA protested Bush addressing four classrooms in 1991.

    http://www.nea.org/home/35721.htm

  • One of the suggested activities in the original was to write about “how to help the president.” It was changed to “how they can achieve their short-term and long-term education goals.” IMO the criticism was fair and it was rectified. Still doesn’t explain why so many are opposed to children even hearing the speech.

  • Restrained Radical,

    I noted your points in my posting. And I explained why there was an overreaction.

    The reaction is to President Obama’s policies itself that manifested since the mainstream media refused to air any of the legitimate news concerning this growing grassroots movement. Add to this that President Obama and his proxies continue to slur and belittle any news that percolates to the surface and you have what happened with President Obama’s video to kids.

    It’s all in my posting.

  • Another problem is that the lesson plans ask older students to look at past Obama speeches on education and post quotes around the classroom. Of course past education speeches of Obama are riddled with errors. This from teh Washington Post:

    “Studies show that children in early childhood education programs are more likely to score higher in reading and math, more likely to graduate from high school and attend college, more likely to hold a job and more likely to earn more in that job. For every dollar we invest in these programs, we get nearly $10 back in reduced welfare rolls, fewer health-care costs and less crime. That’s why [the stimulus law] invests $5 billion in growing Early Head Start and Head Start.”

    Early education is a contentious issue, with many types of programs serving various goals.

    There is research to show lasting benefits for some kids who later move into good schools. There is research to show that such benefits fade if they do not move into strong schools. There is research to show that some programs help kids from low-income families become academically prepared for school. And there is research to show some programs don’t do more than babysit.

    Head Start, the country’s largest publicly funded preschool program, is praised by supporters for providing comprehensive education, health care and other support to low-income families. Critics say some programs are uneven and have little or no impact on academic performance. Finally, there are many estimates about how much money preschool saves in the long run. Obama’s is not the final word.

    DROPOUTS

    “Our high school dropout rate has tripled in the past 30 years.”

    For this statistic, the Education Department says that the president drew on a report from the National Board on Educational Testing and Public Policy at Boston College that was cited by the College Board in December. It said: “The rate at which students disappear from schools between grades 9 and 12 has tripled in the last 30 years.”

    How such rates are calculated is highly controversial. Dropouts are hard to track in part because kids move around. Graduation rates are often cited, but analysts say they have been fudged in some places. According to University of Chicago professor Melissa Roderick, it all depends on how and whom you count. One way is to calculate the people who wind up getting some kind of high school diploma or equivalency degree by their mid-20s. About 87 percent of people ages 25 to 29 are getting such degrees.

    If you look at kids who are getting diplomas on time, after four years of high school, that overall rate is about 75 percent, she said, although it is much lower for black and Hispanic students. States, pushed by the federal government, are moving to standardize the use of this on-time graduation rate.

  • What *isn’t* creepy about telling kids to write letters on how they can help the president, to be collected and passed out later to see how they’re living up to the goal?

    One of my co-workers told me the other day that he remembers watching Ronald Reagan speak when he was a kid in school and was assigned to write about how he could help the President (the co-worker is a conservative Republican, btw, and no fan of Obama).

    It’s only creepy if you want it to be.

  • On graduation rates– don’t forget private or homeschooling might “look” like a kid dropped out, or those folks who join the military early and get their GED in bootcamp.

  • True. My point is that included in the lesson plans was quoting past Obama speeches on education. Even one’s that are quite flawed in their data. So a student might decide to write his legislator about increasing funding for Headstart. Even though there’s no evidence that that works. Except from a partisan perspective. And there’s the problem.

  • Blackadder-
    Was that from the nation-wide, White House provided lesson plan, or did his teacher do it on his own?
    Was this after he directly contacted principals to get them to show his speech?
    Come to think of it, how old was your co-worker? How well does he remember this? (I’ve seen false memories show up for stuff that’s less than a year old, let alonenearly twenty-one years old.)

    November 14th of 88, Reagan did a Q&A for school kids that was carried on C-SPAN. He was nearing the end of his term, had no big irons in the fire, wasn’t hugely controversial, didn’t try to subvert usual channels, hadn’t just chosen a ton of highly controversial advisors and wasn’t accusing the opposition of manufacturing (violent) protests while doing so himself.
    With just one or two of these, the Obama thing might not be a big deal. With all of these things, it’s a big deal.

  • Yes. It would be good to see the lesson plans developed by the DOE and the White House for both the Reagan and Bush speechs. I just can find them on Google.

  • Pingback: Obama Speech: Public Option Now « The American Catholic
  • So after all of this fuss and fuming and hyperbole, and after the speech has been described as good, topical and non-partisan by a great number of independent and moderate Republican leaders nation-wide, the anti-Obama posters here still think there was a great conspiracy to indoctrinate kids – wow, what a shock. I guess it is better to accuse the president of an unproven, unlikely theoretical malfeasance based upon one’s political orientation than to judge what actually happened.

    That

    First, yes the Dept. of Education wrote a series of suggested activities and topics – that is what the Dept. of Education does.

    Second, yes White House staff – not a giant uber-being called the White House, but some White House staffers helped. Why? Because they being in the White House, actually might have known some of the topics of the speech. If the WH had sent no staff to the Dept. of Ed., that would have been really stupid and the Dept. of Ed. would have not known what to activities to suggest. Is this logic difficult to follow?

    Third, all speeches go through a series of revisions (as do ALL lesson plans) up until they are published. Now, maybe Obama originally had the words, “Look into my eyes and join the Democratic party,” or “Hey kids lets all chant, ‘public option, public option, yea public option,” or maybe even “When I was your age, I enjoyed reading such books as Mein Kampf and histories of the Bolshevik revolutionaries,” until right-wingers complained and then he removed them … or maybe he actually wanted kids to stay in school and be responsible for their own education … and then maybe someone said, “Make sure you add something about being careful about coming down with the flu,” and so things like that were added? As Tito demonstrated in the article, it is easy to overlook the simple answer when you are passionately looking for a more sinister one.

    Phillip: So you say that statistics can be difficult to interpret and the methodology of creating them differs from organization to organization and state to state. Yeah, I think we probably already know that. That may be one of the bad effects of local control. When you want to compare things across the nation, it is often useful to use national standards … oops, that darn federal government getting in our business again! There is actually a valid way, though of looking at data that comes from different sources and that is to study it longitudinally. That is, as long as the different statistics consistently use the same techniques from year to year (this is the reason we have state statisticians) then you can look for trends. If these trend show increases and there are what are called “internal or external threats to validity,” then those statistics can give you some insight. It is limited and it is conditional, but I’m sure you as a teacher and a lawyer, you must use some statistics in your work.

    Foxfier, they already know which students are homeschooled and even private schools have to give their data for these studies. The most difficult thing that I came across when I worked for a few years in an urban school, was with the students who changed schools mid-year if their family moved. This is a surprisingly large number of kids (5-10%) and a real problem with their education.

    Foxfier, I think you are a bit disingenuous when you say that Reagan’s talk to students (carried on a network that was broadcast to many schools) was somehow so innocent and apolitical and as if you was just a kindly old man talking to some kids. Well, yes democrats largely kept it apolitical because liberals realized that it was a great thing for the most powerful man in the world to take time out of his day to talk to kids and I guess that was a time of greater respect for the office. However, Reagan was NOT uncontroversial – he had the Iran-Contra scandal that still is reverberating, he had the most advisors of any president ever (until Bush 2) under indictment, he had . He WAS accusing his opposition of a great many things, it was just that his opponents were mostly protesting issues, like moving nuclear waste and clear-cutting redwoods, they weren’t attacking him or arriving to his speeches holding semi-automatic weapons.

    Aside: After the attempted assassination on Reagan, how restrained do you think Reagan’s secret service would have been compared to the way restraint that Obama’s secret service detail has been even as people have waved signs describing how blood should be spilled and that he is the moral equivalent to Hitler? Given that the last few years have shown that it is mostly radical white conservatives how have killed the most people for cultural and political reasons, the authorities have shown remarkable skill and restraint.

    So Obama is really no more controversial than Reagan was, they both inherited problems, though Obama inherited worse ones according to Bush, and they both took principled stands that have made them targets for dissent, but there is a difference. Just like Tito and Foxfier some conservatives are already so convinced of a pattern of behavior, so prejudiced to a perception about Obama that ANYTHING he does is colored. And of course to my mind, the problem is that this perception is false.

    Obama has not belittled his opponents, has never dismissed the tea partiers as unAmerican (find the video!!) or even lashed out at those who whine about his citizenship. He is actually almost to “no drama Obama” about almost everything, except when he jumped the gun on the Gates arrest. If you can’t see that he is the most restrained president in a long, long time than you are mightily biased and you’ve forgotten when Reagan said this:

    I realize that for some, as long as an older, moderately conservative white president tells someone to shut up, that it is a “manly, American” moment, yet if a younger, moderately liberal black president would say the same thing, it would be the act of an arrogant elitist cult figure. I’m not accusing anyone here of this, but I can’t help think of what the “birthers” would say. It is prejudice, it is about culture war politics and it is a symptom of people who have lost or never had a way to be self-reflective and intellectually honest.

    The liberal hecklers who shouted at President Reagan and the two Presidents Bush, were generally young and though vocal were not a large segment of the population – those who actually formed the loyal, liberal opposition were usually respectful. Those who over-reacted to Obama’s speech and attended some of the town halls and tea parties are parents and people who should either know better or be better role models. Not to stop voicing their opinions or to stop articulating their opposition – for that is the messy reality of democracy – but they should at least act like adults.

    To me the thesis of this entire thread seems to be false as I read it.

    1. President Obama was not elected because people were merely protesting a bad economy. That is flat out unsupportable. Both McCain and Obama were BOTH running against the Bush economy and the people actually had a choice of philosophies and a choice of candidates and Obama fit what the people wanted.

    2. The voters did not vote for a greatly expanded bureaucracy, yes, but they did vote for a candidate who was refreshing in several ways, first he actually didn’t blame the federal government for everything. He talked about government in an adult manner, not trying to call it evil while at the same time trying to get the job to run it, and not pretending to cut the expanse of government while actually increasing it. Case in point, the federal government expanded under every president and the single biggest increase in federal jobs occurred under George W. Bush with Homeland Security.

    3. The voters voted for someone who would stop lying to them about Iraq, not break international treatise, end torture of prisoners (which he has done mostly), end intrusion into people’s live by wiretaps and other means as implemented by the “small government” of GW Bush (which he really hasn’t done), improve the diplomatic corps that was decimated by Bush, opened dialogue with our allies without bribing them into helping us … etc., too many things. I hope you get it. He was voted in on a broad agenda of changes that now have been conveniently forgotten about.

    4. The original post is also wrong in stating that he failed “to recognize genuine American concern to deficit spending…” Actually he didn’t. He unlike Bush put the Iraq War back into the budget so people could actually see and congress could be more responsible for its affects on the budget, which Bush liked to hide. He also staunchly would veto any health care reform that would create deficit spending and is the first president in a while to advocate for “pay as you go.” Some here may not know what that means, but it means “don’t add to the deficit.” So that means cut programs or raise taxes. You may agree with his tax plans, but you can not call him unconcerned for deficit spending – two different things.

    5. The article says that Obama failed to recognize how much Americans don’t want “the nationalization of the motor industry.” No one wants the nationalization of the motor industry, Obama has said repeatedly that he doesn’t want to run GM or have the government nationalize any corporation. You may not agree with the tactics but bailing out GM just means having a 60% non-voting investment in it. It is one company, not an industry. It is temporary and GM is already planning to pay it back because they don’t want the government strings that are attached. And why are they attached, because the government (the Fed Reserve and Treasury) by law CAN NOT just give money away without protecting the taxpayer. It is too much to get into hear, but even the financial news pundits who hate government intrusion have come to realize that GM still went out under bankruptcy, but that it did so in a far quicker time frame and it saved all of the thousands of smaller companies and many dealerships (which of course IS the majority of the motor industry) from having to go bankrupt and thus not become nationalized. This was not perfect and I think the unions got a better deal than they deserved and some of it was political (wow, McCain would never have been political!?), but to call that nationalization of the motor industry is so far from reality that it is laughable. Ford is doing just fine and if Chrysler fails or GM has any more problems, it will be gone. The bailout was only deemed necessary because it happened to coincide with the failure of Wall Street and even though I believe in the principle of moral hazard in capitalism, I also feel that once a century the rules of the game need to be bent to prevent needless pain as long as it is temporary – and that is from Thomas Jefferson’s (a great small government guy) views.

    6. The article says, “Then came the town hall meetings where Americans began to voice their displeasure. Again, President Obama and his proxies dismissed them as “astro-turf”. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi derided them as Nazi’s.” This is a particularly biased statement in my opinion. First Obama, again, did not dismiss the town hall protesters … ever!!! Some did of course, because some protesters were way over the top, but there is no cabal of Obama proxies soing anything. There are some pundits and some politicians who think that many of the tea parties and town halls had some outside influences – and they did, but no one said that all or even most of the people there genuinely expressing opinions were that way. As a matter of fact the administration has mostly said that it was only the most vocal that got on TV, but that most town halls went well with plenty of genuine and passionate viewpoints.

    Also I find it interesting that Pelosi (of whom I am not a fan) says the term “Nazi” once in relation to, not protesters, but to the people who yell to the point that no one can speak, she gets blamed for that hyperbole even as hundreds of right-wingers and dozens of conservative talk show hosts actually call Obama a Nazi on a daily basis. Just think use some perspective hear, the Speaker of the House can use it once about one particular instance and every extreme conservative makes a huge deal out, yet when conservatives say the same thing on a daily basis, they are somehow patriotic Americans. I guess some people just don’t get irony.

    There is more that I could write, but this is way too long already. I just think that the premise of the thread is so much ado about nothing. The Obama admin. hasn’t over-reacted or demonized conservatives. It was dealt a bad hand in the way that President Bush 43 was dealt a bad hand with 9/11 and both administrations had political operatives whose job it is to look for ways of dealing with emergencies and even using them as opportunities for change. Bush and Cheney used 9/11 as a reason to invade Iraq and to greatly increase the power of the presidency. It is unclear how Raum E. expects to use the current crises, but Obama has chosen to look at how Reagan era deregulation substantially led to the Wall Street credit problem and the recession is a good time to reform the system. That is actually a responsible position to take. We’ll see if it works. Health care will bankrupt the country if it is left to grow at the existing rate, and in an economic down turn, this may also be the time to reform it as well. Finally, wars and security issues are good drivers for reforming the countries energy policy.

    My point is that you can disagree with Obama’s philosophies and argue his policies and even dislike his personality, but to say he is that much different from most other administrations, both Republican and Democrat, is quite the overstatement. And yes, if he does over-react (which he hasn’t yet) or he takes on too many issues to change (which he probably did), then elections will be his report card. Let’s just keep the hyperbole and biases to the pros, like Beck.

    BTW, his approval rating has fallen from 70% to 50%. A big drop, but 50% is pretty high for any president during a once in a century economic crisis and in the midst of two wars and as a target of plenty of prejudice even as he has maintained by and large his dignity and not simply fallen into the tactics of most other presidents of wrapping himself in the flag and causing people to be scared.

    BTW, the whole point of the cartoon at the top has obviously been missed.

  • You have a lot of time on your hands. Your ignore the bottom line. The lesson plans were changed. The White House itself by its actions admitted they were wrong by doing so. They may very well have changed the speech due to the democratic efforts of Republicans. Can’t deny the truth of this.

  • Would you like a match for your strawman? Maybe a thresher?

    I haven’t seen such a load of hooey since my little sister tried to use “nothing happened” to prove “nothing will ever happen” when she stayed out too late in high school.

  • I do think that the fuss about the school address has been excessive — at the same time, however, I think MacGregor’s extensive comment above falls into the basic pattern (all too easy to fall into) of looking at things through a tribal lens and thinking, “Sure there are some crazies on my side, but there aren’t many and they’re harmless. Now the other guys! They’re bad!”

    Yes, there have certainly been over-the-top reactions to Clinton and Obama, but there were incredibly extreme amounts of hate directed at Reagan and Bush2, and both of them dealt with it in a calm and statesmanlike fashion. Attempts to portray Obama’s critiques as more deranged or dangerous than the sufferers from Bush Derangement Syndrome over the last eight years suggest a certain lack of perspective.

    This is not to say that people are right to behave irresponsibly in response to Obama, but perspective is always necessary.

20 Responses to Spirit of '09 – Part II

  • Oh, let the “Palin people” have their day in the sun. It’s all rather quaint — the last gasps of a fading natovist culture… But let’s not pretend they have the slightest clue what they are talking about.

  • This purportedly grass roots stuff is corprate manufactured astro-turf. I know, for instance. that Fox News really pushed–almost advertised for– this event, showing itself once again as beyond the bounds of legitimate news. This also says something about the event itself.

  • Man, the established media and government must just HATE Youtube and the internet.

    Mark “the Great Oz” DeFrancisis just “knows” this is all corporate manaufactured. Just like the CNN reporter’s on-air comments were just completely objective reporting.

  • I see the Usual Suspects are out in force, not including c matt. Good to see you sweat gentlemen.

  • I’m new to this blog – first time commenter. I’m not into protests like this in general, but I don’t understand the venom, Morning’s Minion and Mark. You will ALWAYS find loony toons at these things (whether they are “conservative” or “liberal” causes). I know a LOT of very moderate, normally quiet people who are at their breaking point – some protesting for the first time in their lives. They have a point to make that would not have included repeating “he’s a fascist” over and over or waving a sign portraying President Obama as Hitler. For the main stream media in general and this hostile reporter in particular to completely ignore the regular people here who had something to say and focus exclusively (when they reported on it at all) on the uninformed and radical ones….well I would say that’s pretty suspicious. What is one to conclude but that they had an agenda to begin with? Do you really believe they couldn’t find a single normal person to interview to at least throw into the mix on TV w/ the crazies? I don’t, since we saw one in the video above. There were ignorant people in this crowd, no doubt, but this is very blatant media bias.

  • CT- it makes good teevee. That’s why they do it. The effects of Tea Bag Day continue to reverberate among the Chattering Classes. Given their universal condemnation of Fox News, would appear this news organization is This Week’s Lib Boogie Man. Postscript- Fox News ratings soared this week, particularly on April 15. Its 5-11PM lineup- Beck to Van Susteren- is virtually impregnable. How delightful- just following this monolith in numbers was…… Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. According to Drudge, career funny man Jon Stewart beat so-called journalists like Keith Olbermann. As for Ms. Rosegen’s employer- for the moment- sinkingsinkingsinking. Another report surfacing that Ms. Rosegen attempted twice to secure a gig from Fox News, to no avail. Note- then Teevee Division head Kevin Magee- who gave her the first brushoff- is old bud of mine from Enormous City U. Way to go, Kev.

  • I don’t understand the venom, Morning’s Minion and Mark.

    Because it’s all they know, CT. Once you begin on the road of becoming a political mouth piece, it’s hard to turn back.

    I know a couple who went to a Tea Party protest. Good folks who don’t even watch FOX News. They were just tired of pork, politicians who speak out of both sides of their mouth, and what they perceived as a federal government that’s become out of touch. They aren’t hateful people, and certainly aren’t hacks for the rich. But that’s what the media, and folks like Mark and Minion will portray them as. Honesty takes a back seat when it comes to the Party.

  • “Honesty takes a back seat when it comes to the Party.”

    Which is why you have to misrepresent them, right? But I see no answer for Jesus’ words about taxes. Seems like you answer to greed instead of Jesus. Mammon – can’t serve it and God.

  • God is not served by my tax dollars funding abortions.

  • Agreed Karen, and, I would contend that neither God nor the taxpayers are served by much of what our tax dollars are used for at all levels of government. God said render unto Caesar. Since we elect Caesar in this country, I don’t see why it is worshiping Mammon to make sure that he doesn’t waste the money, or that he takes more than is absolutely essential for the proper functions of government.

  • Karen

    Jesus said render that which is Caesar… to CAESAR. You know, the Roman Emperors. They were doing quite a bit of evil with the money, but as Jesus also pointed out, that money was ultimately theirs anyway. The same is true with American dollars, ultimately. What names is on it? The United States. This is why your answer in itself doesn’t respond to the question. We could go into more detail about St Paul and public authority, but you know, I doubt you want a Christian discussion on this.

  • CT,

    You are quite correct. When these dissenting Catholics froth at the mouth when their beloved lies are exposed, it is only venom which they articulate.

  • Tito,

    I am sorry you are having such a bad day.

  • God’s name is also on our currency ;)…

    I believe everything I earn/own is from God. It is given to me and is my responsibility. Since I do have a voice, unlike the people of Caesar, it is also my responsibility for my voice to be heard when our government is causing more harm than good. It would be nice if the media, which purports to be fair and balanced, really was. It has nothing to do with greed or worshipping mammon but with responsibility.

  • Mark,

    I’m actually having a good day. Though your powers of perception are underestimated.

  • Tito,

    Again, I am just trying to save you from your ridiculousness.

    This is a thread on national teabagging.

    It has nothing to do with Church dissent, as our Church has taken no stand on the matter.

    But if you want to run around making false claims about the condition of my assent to Mother Church, go right ahead. Realize, however, that at best you will be misguided, and at worst, an outright liar.

  • Mark,

    Your humility is astounding.

  • Karen,
    Your response betokens far more charity than your detractor deserves. I salute you.

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Tea Parties, Principles and their Application

Thursday, April 16, AD 2009

I’m a big fan of the personal finance speaker & author Dave Ramsey… when our oldest was born nearly five years ago and my wife prepared to stay home to take care of her and her siblings-to-come, I didn’t know how we were going to manage on my income alone; Ramsey’s book and radio show provided us with a straightforward, systematic approach to managing our finances, and for that, I am grateful… his is the talk radio show that I still listen to most.

But when it comes to politics, Dave is far too typical of many mainstream conservatives: he confuses principles for their application, just like Limbaugh, Hannity, et al.

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15 Responses to Tea Parties, Principles and their Application

  • or more on this — especially some concrete examples of such an application — I heartily recommend Grand New Party by Ross Douthat

    Sorry, but that was one of the most tedious bores of a read. The funny thing about that book was that I was actually prepared to disagree with many of the book’s arguments, but what disappointed me was not that their arguments were incorrect, but that they simply didn’t make many arguments. It was 150 pages of questionable history followed by about 50 pages of the most generalized policy prescriptions.

    Douthat and his ilk remind me of the underwear gnomes from South Park.
    Step one: appeal to the middle class.
    Step two: ?
    Step three: Win elections.

    What’s missing from step two is any suggestion about substantive policy that would actually address the middle class. It seems at times as though they’re content with an “I feel your pain” approach to politics that is bereft of any meaning. And when they do offer up specific policy, its manifestly unworkable. If you add up all the tax credits they suggest in the book I think the average American would wind up getting triple their annual salary back in refunds.

    Furthermore, while I would agree that tax cuts are not necessarily an inherent part of the conservative philosophy, resisting the urge to believe that government can solve most of the problems hat we face is. Therefore, opposition to ridiculous government spending is in fact part and parcel of conservatism in the sense that is the practical application of the anti-utopian current within the conservative philosophy. And while it may be true that many Americans want greater government intervention, the prescription should not be for conservatives to simply wave their hands and succumb to the bad policy, but rather we should redouble our efforts and inform and persuade the public as to why that course of action is a bad idea.

    After all, we’re Catholics. Aren’t we supposed to resist the urge to simply follow the whims of the crowd?

  • the prescription should not be for conservatives to simply wave their hands and succumb to the bad policy

    I think that’s the heart of this disagreement, Paul… I certainly agree that opposition to ridiculous government spending is a common application of conservative anti-utopianism, but that doesn’t mean that all government spending is utopian and therefore to be avoided… that’s libertarianism more than it is conservatism. The question is, exactly how ought the government play its appropriate role in support of the common good? I think too often conservatives reflexively presume that no such appropriate role exists, but that’s certainly not the Catholic position.

  • but that doesn’t mean that all government spending is utopian

    No, it is not, but certainly a huge chunk of what we do spend is. Is there any conservative justification for the bloated stimulus package that was just passed, or the even more bloated budget being debated?

    I think too often conservatives reflexively presume that no such appropriate role exists,

    That’s a bit of a straw man, and one that’s been debated here on this blog recently. Personally speaking, I am not an anarchist nor am I opposed to all government spending and/or activity.

  • Is there any conservative justification for the bloated stimulus package that was just passed, or the even more bloated budget being debated?

    No, but that wasn’t the point of my post (or of GNP, as you know). My reference to the tea parties and the focus of their ire (overspending) was merely a contemporary event I used to contextualize my larger point… as I noted, I agree with the sentiment of yesterday’s rallies. My concern is that “lower taxes, less spending” has become an ideological mantra.

    That’s a bit of a straw man, and one that’s been debated here on this blog recently. Personally speaking, I am not an anarchist nor am I opposed to all government spending and/or activity.

    Acknowledged. I didn’t mean to imply that *you* held that view… as I noted, I do that that too many of our fellow conservatives hold it, though. Or at least, that’s the implication of their rhetoric.

  • The tea parties are representative of the Joe The Plumber-ization of America. All the complaining about how the government spends money from people that pay little to no federal income tax. (If you are paying under $10,000 in federal income taxes, you aren’t paying much in my book. FTR, I don’t pay a federal income tax because I have children, and most people with children don’t pay a net tax.)

  • This posting was, indeed, one of the most tedious bores of a read. Don’t you have an editor? Don’t you have a wife?

  • Thanks for the comment, Gabriel… I appreciate your willingness to engage in a thoughtful conversation.

  • all the complaining about how the government spends money from people that pay little to no federal income tax.

    But that, in and of itself, is part of the issue. Nearly half of Americans pay no net income tax, and yet we’re spending trillions and trillions of dollars that will have to be paid back by someone. Well, I’m 32, so I sure as hell have something to worry about because I plan on living quite a while longer, and my 8-week daughter will sure as heck be straddled with paying this back.

    What people seem to be missing is that these protests are as much about spending as they are about taxes. These folks recognize that if we continue to spend as we are currently doing, then inevitably we’re going to be paying a lot more to Uncle Sam. It’s either that or declare nation-wide chapter 11.

  • MZ,

    All the complaining about how the government spends money from people that pay little to no federal income tax. (If you are paying under $10,000 in federal income taxes, you aren’t paying much in my book.

    Not to be combative, but doesn’t that essentially boil down to, “Shut up and enjoy the oligarchy, you plebs!”

    Extrapolating from the amount of taxes I pay now with four kids, I think I’d have to make around 150k in order to pay 10,000 in federal income taxes. Now, I wouldn’t object to making 150k, and it could certainly happen, but I’m not sure that we want to say that only the top 10% of families get to even discuss whether taxes and spending are too high. (And if we did, someone else would probably chime in that they’re too rich to be allowed to have an opinion on whether they should be taxed.)

    Chris,

    I’m not sure that if the general feeling right now is so much that more needs to be spent overall, or simply that more needs to be spent on “essential things”. But I would tend to say that the very basic, “lower taxes, less spending” cry is too simplistic to work very well for conservatives at this point. Or at least, it isn’t enough to rally more than 20-30% of the population.

    The problem to a great extent is probably that conservatives have been so successful in scaling back taxes since 1980 that for a majority of Americans the income tax is no longer all that real a burden. And while some people are willing to get worked up about taxation in general even if it doesn’t hit them very hard, a great many people are willing to sit back and say, “not my problem.”

  • The problem to a great extent is probably that conservatives have been so successful in scaling back taxes since 1980 that for a majority of Americans the income tax is no longer all that real a burden. And while some people are willing to get worked up about taxation in general even if it doesn’t hit them very hard, a great many people are willing to sit back and say, “not my problem.”

    Exactly, Darwin… I wonder how many people remember how much higher income tax rates were back then.

    I concur with your first point… I think of health care, for instance… many (most?) working families find the costs of medical care burdensome, and are looking for help (not necessarily handouts). I think it’s incumbent upon us as conservatives to try to address these real concerns, but from our principles, not a statist approach.

  • Not to be combative, but doesn’t that essentially boil down to, “Shut up and enjoy the oligarchy, you plebs!”

    Not really. The sentiment is more of “My masters fights aren’t mine.”

    I’m not sure that we want to say that only the top 10% of families get to even discuss whether taxes and spending are too high.

    Discuss away. It is akin to men discussing labor and delivery though. As I’m sure you are aware, the wealthy tended to vote for Obama and also tend not to think taxes are too high. The idea that we can’t afford this spending is a nonstarter though. It just isn’t the case that the income tax burden is high by any measure. Conservatives would do better to argue that the spending is imprudent. One can at least make a legitimate argument there.

    Nearly half of Americans pay no net income tax, and yet we’re spending trillions and trillions of dollars that will have to be paid back by someone.

    I don’t know about you, but I get about as much benefit from the feds as the taxes I pay. I don’t engage in interstate commerce. I don’t fly overseas. I don’t depend on our navy to defend my ships from pirates. I don’t think the argument that everyone benefits equally (or even proportionately as a percentage of income) actually holds.

  • It is akin to men discussing labor and delivery though.

    We all have a stake in the economy. Regardless of how much in taxes each individual pays, the general sentiment behind the tea parties is that the current levels of spending the resulting taxation will prove ruinous for all. It may be that a minority of the populace feels this way now, but Obama’s approval ratings are trending downward and movements like this have a way of taking off; witness the property tax revolt of the late ’70s and how it blossomed into the tax-cutting enthusiasm of the early ’80s.

  • It probably also has a great deal to do with where one chooses to define having a stake. The total federal income taxes I pay are well under $10,000, but they are slightly over my total takehome income for an average month. Needless to say, that’s a fair amount of money to me. (And that’s with four kids and a mortgage worth of deductions and tax credits.)

    So one can argue that it’s an argument for our “betters”, but while it’s true that “the rich” voted heavily for Obama, if only people who paid more than $1000 in income taxes the previous year had been allowed to vote, McCain would almost certainly have won.

    And while I agree that taxation does not currently rest that hard on modern “average Americans”, I _do_ think average Americans have reason to be concerned about the fiscal position that we seem to be getting ourselves into at the moment, because paying our way out of it (and the long term economic slowness that may be involved) will end up affecting a lot more than the top 20%.

  • Fiscal madness at the federal level obviously has a major impact on the economy. We cannot pile up the debt we are currently adding fecklessly without it eventually causing the economy to completely cease to grow. Unless the Federal government simply repudiates the debt, or pays the debt in vastly inflated currency through hyper-inflation, either alternative being an economic calamity for the average citizen, there is no way that this debt is not ultimately going to be paid largely by tax increases on not only the wealthy, but also the middle class.

    Of course none of this takes into consideration the fact that the tea bag protests also take aim at taxes and spending at the state and local level. I think many of our readers would be surprised at the high percentage of their income that goes for taxes. Looking at the state, federal and property taxes my wife and I pay adds up to 31% of our income for 2008. This does not include “hidden” taxes which include sales tax, tax on utilities, etc. Pointing to the federal income tax alone merely touches the tip of the tax iceberg for the typical American.

  • DarwinCatholic Says:
    Thursday, April 16, 2009 A.D. at 3:08 pm
    “It probably also has a great deal to do with where one chooses to define having a stake. The total federal income taxes I pay are well under $10,000, but they are slightly over my total takehome income for an average month. Needless to say, that’s a fair amount of money to me. (And that’s with four kids and a mortgage worth of deductions and tax credits.)”.

    Do you include in this the 15% that goes for Social Security? The wickedness of the 15% is that is a flat tax, especially hard on the poor. If you make say $20,000 a year, $3,000 goes out in Soc Sec taxes, half paid by you, half by the employer.

    In the discussions about taxes and the debt, the question might well be raised “where is the money to come from to pay the debt?”. Might it not make more sense to tie debt to particular taxes? The governments seem to be working on a charge card mentality.

Spirit of '09

Thursday, April 16, AD 2009

tea-party-map

Yesterday Americans rallied in hundreds of tea party protests against high government spending and taxation.  In my state 3000 people turned out in Peoria alone.  Good coverage of the tea parties is at Instapundit.  Much more at Tea Party online HQ

Elements of the mainstream media were openly contemptuous of the tea parties, perhaps one of the more obvious examples being here at Hot Air.

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8 Responses to Spirit of '09

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  • While I think the idea for tea parties is great… they’ve been distorted since the Paul campaign in ’07 had their online tea party that raised millions in one day.

    There’s a lot of great rhetoric going around, but I don’t believe its substantive. Its just the GOP back to its old strategy- give the liberty-leaning, state rights, conservative crowed the speeches they want to hear- then when we get into office someday, we’ll be just like the Democrats.

    Governor Perry sudden turn towards Jeffersonian-style ideas speaks more of his political need to distinguish himself from the current administration than it does on any genuine concern for states rights, the constitution, or local authority.

  • Its just the GOP back to its old strategy-

    It must be emphasized that the tea parties had little to do with the GOP – in fact I think many if not most of the participants have been or are as furious with the GOP as with the Democrat party.

  • I can vouch for what Paul said. I received zero contacts from the GOP on any level regarding the tea parties.

  • I would have liked to attend, but yesterday was a very busy day at work and I couldn’t get away.

    I agree – the sense that I have is that the tea parties are conservative/liberatarian and most protesters are (understandably) as disgusted with the GOP as they are with the Democrats.

    Anthony, it is quite remarkable, I think, that these protests, as small as many of them were, took place across the country. (Also bear in mind that they were not centrally organized, there is no Soros or union money behind them, and protesters were not bussed in from other locales. The left is much more professional when it comes to planning and organizing rallies.) I might be wrong, but I don’t think that a bunch of people just blew off some steam for a couple of hours and now will vanish. The tea parties might just be the first baby steps of something much larger. We don’t know yet, but I wouldn’t dismiss them as insubstantive. In fact, I don’t really think CNN does – hence the blatant attempt to ridicule and marginalize them.

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  • Perry fits to a tea that old adage “there go the people; I must rush ahead to lead them”

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Of Tea and Taxes

Wednesday, March 18, AD 2009

dont-tread-on-me

In politics, as in physics, an action causes a reaction.  With the election of President Obama and strong Democrat majorities in both houses of Congress, the stage is set for a radical increase in the size, power and scope of government to transform the United States into a socialist state, along the lines of the European social welfare states.  The Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009, erroneously called a stimulus bill, is merely the first step in the process.  The President has already warned of trillion dollar budget deficits as far as the eye can see, and he has the votes for now to carry out his vision.  Can he be stopped?

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7 Responses to Of Tea and Taxes

  • I hope there’s a debate, Donald.

    Vice President Biden during one of the Democratic primary debate said that he was astounded as to how much money is thrown into the election process and how much money people will throw to get a candidate elected, but we cannot raise the funds — either through government or private means — for issues like alternative energy, health care, education, and the like.

    I’d gladly pay more in taxes if the cause is worthy. I can’t speak for the rest of the country.

    Again, I’m glad you clearly outlined the need for a debate. I’ve never in my life agreed with Republicans so much, but just as I begin to reflect on it: am I really a Democrat? The answer is a resounding ‘yes.’ I agree with the GOP in the ‘no,’ but that’s what the Republican Party seems to be wrestling with right now. They cannot, in my view, be successful in the long-term if they run only as opposing Obama’s “out there” policies and then sweep Congress and maybe the presidency in 2012 with no plan of what to do. So, on the “no,” I’m with you and on the specifics of what to do, maybe we can begin the debate there.

    Good post.

  • Thank you Eric. The debate is really long overdue and I can understand why. It will be very painful to come to grips with fundamental questions of what government should do and how we will pay for it. However throughout most of our history we did just that and we must do so again.

  • Well, Donald, I think Gov. Quinn has just handed us Illinois residents an excellent warm-up exercise (in the form of his tax increase/budget proposal) for that national debate.

    In fact he explicitly asked the question you raise: if you insist on no budget cuts, tell us how you plan to pay for what you want; if you insist there be no new taxes, tell us what you plan to cut and why. I personally don’t agree with everything suggested in this budget, but the debate is, after all, just getting started.

    I presume similar debates will take place in other states, which also face severe budget shortfalls, but can’t print money or borrow from foreign nations to cover them up.

    I also believe that our current economic and fiscal woes, both at the state and national level, could perhaps be seen as our payback, penance, karma or whatever for our past electoral sins — voting for candidates who told us only what we wanted to hear, ignoring obvious corruption and incompetence, and adhering to party loyalty over principle.

  • Well said Elaine. In Illinois we are at a later stage in the debate than the nation is. We had the Build Illinois drunken sailor binge under convicted felon George Ryan (R.), or as many of us fondly deemed it, Bilk Illinois. Bloggo (D.), in addition to being a crook, was a lousy manager of the fiscal house of the State. Now the State is facing bankruptcy and so the best idea our government can come up with is a massive increase in taxes, sans the needed debate, thus far, on cutting spending. Crunch time is coming however, and this debate is going to take place in Illinois, in spite of the fact that most politicians would prefer to eat ground glass than to squarely address this fiscal nightmare.

  • It has come to this. The Porkapalooza Bill has forced a long overdue national debate on Gummint And Its Size. Reaches in all kinds of places- as in Philly Mayor Michael Nutter proposing temporary nudge nudge wink wink increase in property taxes to keep the swimming pools and neighborhood libraries open. Ignoring that the city’s population but a fraction of that two generations ago. Oh well no police or fire protection affected. But may come down to these points. What is necessary and what constitutes the category of Don’t Take Away My Teddy Bear. Happy to see our Washington Elite looking absolutely buffoonish in their efforts to demonize AIG. Spring is such a lovely time for protests. Had been the province of the sensitive and concerned over War In Iraq, Women’s Right to Choose, other stuff. This time, a different crowd with different beefs. Let the games begin.

  • Eric,

    They cannot, in my view, be successful in the long-term if they run only as opposing Obama’s “out there” policies and then sweep Congress and maybe the presidency in 2012 with no plan of what to do.

    While you won’t hear it on MSNBC or broadcast news, or the NY Times, the GOP has a health care plan, an energy plan, and an alternate stimulus plan, and an alternate budget. It’s unfortunate that the mainstream media doesn’t give the current opposition the play that the Democrats had under Bush.

    The Republicans certainly must find a way to get their message out that there is a BETTER way than selling our future, which is precisely what the Democrat tax and spend policies will do… slower economic growth and rising inflation for many years to come, with the tax the rich limitations slowly or suddenly dropping from 200k to 25k… We’ll be in the doldrums unless this is halted and reversed VERY soon.

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