Tuesday, February 16, 2010

GETTING REAL

I was thinking of posting something about the use of fear in so many areas of public life these days, but my brain isn't functioning well enough these days to get the information down the way I want to, so I'll let this essay do part of the job for me (there's much more that could be said with equally clear factual support about the ways the right uses false analogies and data to generate fear about Obama and environmentalism etc.).

23 comments:

JIm said...

One of the few Constitutional duties of the Federal Government is to provide for the common defense. That means, when war is declared against the country as the Jihadists have done, the government should kill or capture and interrorgate the combatants. The Nigerian attempted to kill 324plus untold numbers on the ground. The essayest found that insignificant against all the Americans killed in accidents. Obama's Homeland Security Dept. seems to be run as the essayest would wish.

TRADEBUM said...

I seem to recall that Cheney, Rice and Rumsfeld, all said that we have no terrorist threat in August leading up to 9/11. Selective memory isn't for brain surgery survivors. Get your facts straight Jim. Bush was going to sell my back yard (ports of Newark)to Dubai. Clinton blew up suspected Jihadist factories during his tenure and pubbys claimed it was a distraction for Monica Lewinsky. Even liberals complained about how much money Clinton was spending on "alleged terrorists" back in the 90's (some 11B). Bush and his pubby friedns were in office for FOUR fucking years and left without bringing Osama Bin Laden to the US as an enemy combatant or otherwise, but they sure made a mess of my country financially. And now that Obama is in Afghanistan, you all do the same thing you always do, COMPLAIN. Try being a part of the solution and don your 2nd amendment uniform and hop on that plane and start defending America where your mouth should be!

JIm said...

Tradebum,
Obama is doing surprisingly well fighting terrorists overseas. State side he seems to see more threat from Republicans than Jihadists. Politically correct does not an effective policy make. Bush and other RINOs are not fiscal heros. So far Obama has quadrupled the deficit since Bush. Obamas fiscal policy has resulted in threats of a lower credit rating. If he gets what he wants economically, he will bankrupt us. The Garden State's new governor seems to be a politico that gets it economically.

PS Your Mom should wash your mouth with soap.

Robert G. Zuckerman said...

Jim,

Bush et al and his Dad before him bankrupted us/U.S. already, both financially and reputationally. What Obama is doing is what firefighters to when they fight fire with fire. His intentions are for actual betterment of people based on real needs, not fear based 'cowboys and indians' mentality.

Try seeing it in another way, put yourself in different shoes.

JIm said...

Hi Robert,
The Nuns used to tell us that the "Road to hell is paved with good intentions". W's 2008 deficit was $400 billion. As I remember most of his deficits were in the 2-300 Billion area. In one year, Obama raised it to 1.3 trillion (300%+increase), with the national debt soaring to multi trillion. Bush does not qualify as a fiscal conservative. He failed to veto spending and pork bills served up by the Republicans when they had control of the congress. Obama is a spending and taxing disaster. Governor Christie in NJ is showing what it will take to turn America around. He is cutting spennding and taxes.

As for cowboys and Indians and Jihadists, you may think we spend too much time in war talk, but they are deadly serious in their intentions.

harryn said...

three out of five comments reaffirms that Fort Apache vigilance - ever think you're on the wrong land at the wrong time jim ...

JIm said...

Paul,
If polls are to be believed, it is free spending politicians of both parties who are in the wrong place as the country remembers it is a center right country that yearns for fiscal discipline and low taxes, that history has taught brings greater opportunity and employment.

Robert G. Zuckerman said...

Jim, I believe you are misstating/missrepresenting the numbers as far a W's deficit goes, particularly if you factor in the surplus with which he started. Also, the deficit is not just in dollars, it is in hope,faith, intelligence and integrity. Integrity as in when Confucious said: 'You should behave in your own room as if the ceiling has eyes'...in other words don't be one way in public (posturing) and then another when you think no one is looking; integrity as in not promoting and perpetuating a war in order to line one's own pockets, ie. Cheney, or manufacturing an orange alert right at the time of the '04 Republican Convention based on so called intelligence that was over four years past. Intelligence as in the security guard I met in Pennsylvania who said: "I'm not prejudiced but I read it in Obama's health bill that he wants everyone over 65 to commit suicide." Or the man in the doctor's waiting room who said: "Obama should go back to Saudi Arabia where he was born." People who like lemmings follow heresay and complete fiction without doing an ounce of research and then taking this to the polls. And who carry guns and have this mentality (or lack thereof) with their fingers on the trigger. The venerable Dr. Maya Angelou recently mused to me: "They say that ordinary people use five percent of their brain and geniuses use ten percent of their brain. Imagine if ordinary people used fifteen percent of their brain and geniuses used twenty percent...The very idea of war would be laughed out of the room!"

By the way, your reference to "the Nigerian" in your opening salvo of this comment chain struck me as well, as being a subtle yet telling condemnation or damnation of Nigeria and all Nigerians, all of "them." I know two Nigerian people personally. One is a man who now lives in Los Angeles. He speaks six languages, is extremely intelligent and compassionate. He works two jobs in retail - more than full time. When, shortly after he came to the States and the 9/11 tragedy occured, he was so appalled and horrified that he joined and served in the U.S. Army for over three years. The other person is a Nigerian woman who with one partner, a German man who works for Lufthansa, started a Diabetes and Hypertension Clinic and Foundation/Charity in Nigeria, to which she dedicates herself tirelessly. Too often, we judge the whole orchard by one bad apple. Russia being the evil empire, etc. when in fact most Russians are hard working, caring and battered people. All Muslims are terrorists. Nothing could be further from the truth. I've spent time in the Middle East as well as with many American Muslims. "Salaam" - "Peace" is the highest word in their lexicon, and is how they greet each other in the street and elsewhere. They are a devout, G-d fearing people.

Rilke admonishes: "Don't be confused by surfaces - in the depths, everything becomes law."

Please ponder this.


Robert

Butch in Waukegan said...

No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.
–Edmund Burke


It was primarily the Republicans who morphed the cold war into the “global war on terrorism” and bequeathed it to the Democrats. Both use it to increase their power and authority.

The course set by Bush has not been altered in any fundamental way by Obama, and in some cases it has accelerated. Obama claims the authority to hold, without trial or hearing, anyone he deems a threat. He also claims the right to assassinate American citizens. How does he get away with it? Because we all should be too afraid to rely on the rule of law, instead trusting the government to protect us with preventative detention and targeted assassinations.

The BBC documentary, The Power of Nightmares, gives the historical context of how fear was used to propel us to this frightening place. It’s a nice compliment to Engelhardt’s essay.

JIm said...

Robert,
Liberals have an annoying and increasingly losing habit of claiming racism, hate, class warfare rather than address the central problem. America is going broke. If you want to say that Bush spent to much, fine I agree. Did he squander a surplus? Fine I agree. Is the US going bankrupt because we are spending to much? Yes. We are already over taxed in a severe recession no less. We have historical models on how to get out of a economic recessions. Administrations that showed intelligence and competence in rough economic times are: Calvin Cooledge, JFK, Reagan and W. We can say that JFK, Reagan and Bush spent too much but their tax cuts spurred the economy and we grew out of the recessions despite ourselves. Clinton made a mistake on taxes but compensated with the NAFTA free trade agreement and was lucky to be president during the dot com boom. The bust occurred very late in his presidencey.

JIm said...

Robert, Add Harding to the list. I forgot that the great recession of 1921-22 which lasted 18 months and had the potential to be much worse than the depression, was initially managed (if you can call it that, he and Cal kept government interfernce to a minimum)by him until his death and Cooledge's takeover.

harryn said...

jim - supposing what you say might have some truth regarding the economy ...
has there ever been a time in history when the economies of so many nations were interdependent and reliant upon each other - and if the answer is no, wouldn't most of the past models you're siting be inappropriate - given the scope and depth of the problem ...
and if you and the gop people are so self assured about the guarantees of your plans, why did obama inherit this grotesque problem ...

Lally said...

Don't fall for the revisionist rightwing history Paul, the GOP caused the Great Depression and if it wasn't for FDR and the Dems my parents and grandparents etc. would have been starving etc. Even if these jokers are right and "the market" would eventually "correct" itself, in the meantime, poor and working people would have been even wrose off than they were, like poor and working people would be right now if that philosophy were running our government. Fortunately, it isn't. And even the right's great financial guru heroes of the past decades, like Greenspan and Judge what's his name of "The Chicago School" revised their theories when it looked at the end of Bush Junior's time in office the entire world of finance, worldwide, was going to crash into a bottomless pit greater than that brought on by the financial un-regulation of the GOP controlled lead up to 1929, even these guys said they were wrong. But ideology doesn't allow for mistakes in one's own perspective, even when your heroes and leaders admit the blew it. Et. and on and on cetera.

Robert G. Zuckerman said...

In the words of my great great great great grandpappy, Mordechai Zuckerman, "you can't sit on two horses with one tuchas."

JIm said...

Butch,
Obama seems to be doing a good job of slewing and slaying in the Af/Pak War. Some might say even better than W.

Mike,
Not suprisingly you get the facts wrong. The US was on its way to recovery in 1937 when unfortunatly, FDR raised taxes and increased tariffs. Even Krugman, Romer of the Obama administration and FDR's own treasury secratary know and knew that FDR did not pull us out of the Depression, the draft and WWII did that. Government invarably mucks it up.

Robert,
I suspect that the good Mordecai would have recommended a wagon for two horses.

JIm said...

Liberals,

Much nefariousness of purpose has been ascribed to Conservatives on this blog. The summary of the recently signed Mt. Vernon Statement follows. This was signed by Tea Party representatives, Conservative Republicans and others. I have signed it unline. The Founding Fathers were a varied group with conflicting interests who came together to agree on a set of first principals. We common day supporters of the Constitution are equally varied but united in our support for the Constitution. If the Founding Fathers were nefarious, than I am proudly nefarious.


Mount Vernon Statement Reads:

We recommit ourselves to the ideas of the American Founding. Through the Constitution, the Founders created an enduring framework of limited government based on rule of law. They sought to secure national independence, provide for economic opportunity, establish true religious liberty and maintain a flourishing society of republican self-government.

A Constitutional conservatism based on first principles provides the framework for a consistent and meaningful policy agenda.

• It applies the principle of limited government based on the rule of law to every proposal.

• It honors the central place of individual liberty in American politics and life.

• It encourages free enterprise, the individual entrepreneur, and economic reforms grounded in market solutions.

• It supports America’s national interest in advancing freedom and opposing tyranny in the world and prudently considers what we can and should do to that end.

• It informs conservatism’s firm defense of family, neighborhood, community, and faith.

If we are to succeed in the critical political and policy battles ahead, we must be certain of our purpose. We must begin by retaking and resolutely defending the high ground of America’s founding principles.

http://www.mrcaction.org/550/petition.asp?Ref_ID=3165&CID=550&RID=16632117

Robert G. Zuckerman said...

Jim,

Mordechai was a conservative - he divested himself of the horse he didn't need, rather than go the liberal route that you put forward of getting a wagon to accomodate the horse he didn't need.

*********

We live in far different times with different realities and needs at hand than when our so-called founding fathers said what they said and did what they did.

Adhering to principles and concepts at all costs over the realities at hand can be not only conterproductive, but fatal.

The second amendment in no way justifies or allows for the unchecked ownership, sale and use of guns, nor does the first amendment allow for the unchecked, omnipresent depiction of their use. The second amendment was written at a time and place where there were far fewer guns, they were single shot muskets, and they were intended as a "well regulated militia" in the newly post-colonial age.

IT WAS NOT INTENDED TO JUSTIFY AND ALLOW EVERYONE AND HIS/HER BROTHER TO OWN FIREARMS, FOR GUNS AND AMMO TO BE SOLD TO TEENAGERS AT KMART AND AT GUN SHOWS, NOR WAS THE FIRST AMENDMENT INTENDED TO PROTECT HATEMONGERING OR THE WRECKLESS, SOCIALLY IRRESPONSIBLE DEPICTION OF GUN USE, EVEN ON SATURDAY MORNING KIDDIE CARTOONS, AS A MEANS OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION OR IN THE NAME OF "ENTERTAINMENT."

Of course, you will likely refute this and cite various examples in doing so, and the ping pong match of ideas will continue.

By the way, as caregiver and financially responsible party for my Mom and two disabled sisters, one of whom is quadriplegic and requires full time nursing, I am a fiscal conservative. But I do believe that the means exist for everyone within our national boundaries and on our planet for that matter to not be hungry, to have health care when needed, as well as shelter, clothing and education. I also believe that before I am an American, before I am black, white, pink, brown, whatever, that I am a living being and an inhabitant of this planet.

Don't get me wrong, I love my country and I have spoken with and mentored students and youth groups on both coasts and in between. But only by seeing the deeper picture will we advance and will goodness have a chance of growing and prevailing.

JIm said...

Robert,
I can not dispute Mordechai's wisdom but I defer to the wisdom of the Founders on 2nd Amendment rights. It is my understanding that crime is lower in locals where that right is protected. I salute you for your loyalty and caregiving to your sisters and your Mom. I also join you in your goals for better health care and for a continued better Ameican society. I believe this can best be delivered via tweaking a free market system and encouragement of charitable giving than through mandatory ham handed ways of a bureaucratic government.

I wish you, your family and America the best.

Butch in Waukegan said...

We common day supporters of the Constitution are equally varied but united in our support for the Constitution.

You are a joke. You’ve defended, more than once on this site, investing all power with the President (the imperial presidency), something the founding fathers were overwhelming against, and took great pains to guard against. In one of your comments above you implicitly defend (by defending Obama), preventative detentions and targeted assassinations.

There are conservatives who take the Constitution seriously, like these two. You’re not one of them.

You are a garden variety authoritarian.

JIm said...

Butch,
Reasoning people have little respect for non specific accusations. Possibly you would humor us with one or more quotes that trouble you.

JIm said...

Amends to Calvin Coolidge. I did not realize that he cut TAXES AND GOVERNMENT SPENDING in aurguably the severest DEPRESSION to ever hit the US. What followed in the 20's was the largest expansion of prosperity and the middle class of the twentieth century.

Hoover,FDR and Obama have increased government spending and taxes (with the expiration of the Bush tax cuts). The US suffered and suffers economic trial because of it .

Lally said...

Okay Jim, I'm going to start cutting you off if you continue the lies. Even some of the rightwing foundations and economists acknowledge that Obama has cut taxes. The last administration ONLY CUT TAXES FOR THE RICH. Obama and the Dems cut them for the working (what you guys call "middle") classes. That is a fact. This is only one of many lies you've been spreading on this blog. Find your own blog for that crap.

JIm said...

Obama's "Tax Cuts" are tax credits for people who do not pay taxes. Some people characterize that as welfare. Obama is for the repeal of the Bush tax cuts which will raise income taxes for 2011 by approxiamtely 10%, with capital gains and divident taxes going from 15% to 20% or a 25% plus increase which makes the investment climate less favorable which hurts business investment which hurts employment.