Thursday, October 23, 2008

I smell desparation...

...on the part of Republicans that is...

Submitted for your entertainment the latest piece of right-wing propaganda being used to scare righteous God-fearing Americans to the polls in two weeks to prevent Democratic challenger Kay Hagan from unseating Republican incumbent Elizabeth Dole as one of North Carolina's Senators.



Now to be sure I am communicating clearly here...

I am not a fan of the 'in your face' secularism/atheism/humanism of the type espoused by the likes of Ellen Johnson, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris etc. In my opinion they are preaching to the already converted and pissing off the other side further and thereby forcing more heels to dig in, much the same way that Dobson, Fallwell, D. James Kennedy, John Hagee and Pat Robertson so thoroughly piss me off.

But the preceding ad makes any atheist, humanist or secularist seem like a clear and present danger to the very fabric of what it means to be an American. It's this type of tripe that further promotes the cultural divide in this already fractuous culture. It wreaks of the same desparation that is emanating from the McCain/Palin camp. "Let's whip up anti-atheist, anti-liberal frenzy and ride it into the Whitehouse."

Disgusting....

Our fore-fathers are spinning in their respective graves.

Especially my mentor and hero, Thomas Jefferson...

"may it* be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the Signal of arousing men to burst the chains, under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings & security of self-government. that form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion."
*The Declaration of Independence and our subsequent war for independence.

17 comments:

Ed said...

I would like to believe that videos, and speeches, like that one would not change too many votes. I can't say it won't.

In the latest polls I found, as of Oct. 20th, Hagan has a slim 1 to 3 percentage point lead.

Atheist are beginning to get better organized and more political, although we still only have one repesentative in Congress, Pete Stark from California's 13th District. His seat is safe for at least this election.

It would be nice if in my lifetime the political prejudice against Athiest would lessen, but I doubt it.

hoverfrog said...

I think that the "in your face" style of atheist evangelism is reactionary rather than deliberate. Sitting back and being reasonable and constructive and recognising the many good things that come from religion doesn't get your point of view noticed by the majority. It may well help a few people (Bill, Tam, Deb, etc) to accept that the horror stories about atheists are simply fiction. You need a certain amount of willingness to see both sides of an issue to be reached by this approach.

What Harris, Dawkins, et al do is make a visible fuss to raise awareness. They throw things in your face and make you look so that the reasonable, polite atheists aren't just ignored. They say, look at this, see how ridiculous it is, do you think that this is reasonable?

This advert isn't doing that. It's an attack on a person that uses ignorance as a tool. It seems clear that her policies are sound enough not to attack so they are just looking for something to be afraid of. The fact that the worse then can find is that she isn't afraid to talk to people without religion speaks highly of her integrity. She's clearly a better person that George Bush Snr who didn't even recognise atheists as American citizens.

1godsgal said...

Just wanted to put that blue dot back on your map =) from Oregon...hope ur doing well!!! Debs

Anonymous said...

speaking of the forefathers spinning in their graves...

youtube.com/watch?v=iivL4c_3pck

Is what he is advocating here really what you are for?

I appreciate your reply at Dan's and I'm gettin to mine.

Jason

Anonymous said...

I found these clips at this site

gmu.edu/departments/economics/wew/quotes.html

“To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816

“A wise and frugal government … shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”
-Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

“Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated.”
-Thomas Jefferson

“When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.”
-Thomas Jefferson to Charles Hammond, 1821. The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, (Memorial Edition) Lipscomb and Bergh, editors, ME 15:332

“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to E. Carrington, May 27, 1788

Isn't this also the guy who asserted a right to life bestowed by a sentience apart from us and to which we are beholden.

Do you think your hero would have approved of your endorsement of wealth redistribution and intentional marginalization of the right to life?

Or this beauty:

"We still find the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry, and grasping at the spoil of the multitude. Invention is continually exercised to furnish new pretenses for revenue and taxation. It watches prosperity as its prey and permits none to escape without a tribute."
-- Thomas Paine

Jason

SirRobert said...

Mr. Jefferson was a man far ahead of his time.

I am under no delusion that we would agree completely on all matters. While TJ was a big believer in the methods of science and reason he was a slave-holder. There were many contradictions between his words and his deeds. To my mind TJ is a great metaphor for this country as a whole: Do profess to believe in lofty ideals, then do act in a way that is contrary to those ideals.

I, like Mr. Jefferson, am a big believer in the 'myth' of America. By myth, I mean that America is a set of ideals, which may never be fully lived up to let alone achieved. Even though we may only approach those ideals asymptotically at best, it is worthy and proper to pursue those ideals.

Do you think your hero would have approved of your endorsement of wealth redistribution

I never suggested that I was for some kind of wealth redistribution. However, I do believe that when a society has 2 distinct individuals, one who has more wealth than he will ever need and another who is an honest and a hard worker who must choose between paying his mortgage and feeding his family, there is a distinct problem within the structure of that society. Where does the problem lie? Is it the job of the government to reign in the obscene wealth of the few for the benefit of the many? Should the few see the disparity on their own and police themselves. Do we rely on the people to police themselves or do we need a government to enforce practices and mores that are conducive to a civilized society? These are ageless and possibly eternal questions. Jefferon also said that: "Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue." I do NOT believe he would have approved of men who make their wages through 'usury' which, by the way, was generally frowned upon in Europe for centuries. Most people who are obscenely wealthy today don't get there by the work of their hands or the sweat of their brows. Financial speculation, to Jefferson's mind was the enemy of a truly democratic society.

and intentional marginalization of the right to life?

I can't begin to imagine what Mr. Jefferson would think of abortion, my gut tells me we would find it an abominable practice. I will say again that my belief continues to be that it should be safe, legal and RARE. I will not and do not bear the responsibility for the choices other people make. We're neither going to come to any sort of detente' on this issue now nor are we going to change each others mind. So perhaps we should let that alone.


To be honest I don't know why you suppose that I am giving a blank check to heir apparent Obama.

I fully demand that he role back the power grab of the previous administration although I am under no delusions that he will do so...unless forced to. There seem to be two schools of thought...

One says that you should not trust government to do anything right so leave everything to the private interest. (general Republican mantra)

The other says you should not trust that private enterprise will ever do the right thing, so we must legislate conformity. (general Democratic mantra)

So if neither school is spot on...where does the solution lie?

The answer is as far as I can see to look in the mirror and start there....

R.

Anonymous said...

Oh, man, and I was gonna work on my answer to you at Dan's. Oh well.

" I do believe that when a society has 2 distinct individuals, one who has more wealth than he will ever need and another who is an honest and a hard worker who must choose between paying his mortgage and feeding his family, there is a distinct problem within the structure of that society."

This is not even close to true in the way that you caricature it. Those who have more money than they need, as you so puzzlingly say it, invest it, they don’t put it in a coffee can. They create capital out of thin air by putting money where it will do more work than it is actually worth. This is why when you lower income and capital gains taxes tax receipts go up. That’s why you have a job in such a specialized arena.

Your selectively named "hard-worker" would have no job at all if it weren't for the person "who has more wealth than he will ever need" whatever that means and however you came to a point at which you could ever assess such a thing.

Robert, you and I would be throwing sacks of grain until our bodies were broken if it weren't for people "who [have] more wealth than he will ever need". That house you just bought? Forget it. The computer you are sitting at? Not a chance. Your whole life is a dirty struggle for subsistence if it wasn’t for those people.

How is it that liberals don't know this?

"Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue."

This Jefferson quote does nothing to support your contention. View how he uses labor and industry in the above quotes. Even if he had some proletariat view, as you suggest, of those who partake in physical labor, how does that at all negate what he wrote regarding economics above. If anything, the fruits of the investments of the wealthy are a gift for the working class from God, if we are to view his thoughts on this matter as cohesive.

As well, what you, without citation, contend he approved of, and what he did, are obviously two different things. He had a lot of debt, right? As well, presumably you partook in "usury" to get your house? Is it a problem now? Why or why not?

"frowned upon in Europe for centuries."

Hardly the litmus test for good thought on the matter. They had kings and queens, right?

"Most people who are obscenely wealthy today don't get there by the work of their hands or the sweat of their brows"

This again shows your blind spot. If you want to pull out the Lenin bobble-head and assert that you are working by "the sweat of your brow" good luck. The vast, vast, vast majority of the very wealthy are anything but trust fund babies, they just used their mind instead of their back. Is that sweaty enough for your class warfare? Or should those who actuallly know what to do with money (neither you nor me) have an obligitory side job pounding fence posts, a very bad and economically silly waste of their time and skill? These populist phrases are an emotional distraction and they have no meaning in the world in which you get a pay check.

"will not and do not bear the responsibility for the choices other people make"

This lacks any of your self ascribe intellectual fortitude. You have chosen what you have, you need to learn to take responsibility for you contention of right and wrong in this matter. You support those who assert that a child, who lives because its abortion was botched, should die in a garbage can in the closet. You go on,

"So perhaps we should let that alone."

Not a chance. If it makes you uncomfortable, good. You are pro-abortion. You positively assert that murders on a limited basis for personal convenience are the right thing for our country. That safe, legal, and rare thing is deeply morally convoluted: again, why rare if legal? Why legal if rare?

"One says that you should not trust government to do anything right so leave everything to the private interest. (general Republican mantra)"

This is so simplistic that I don't think you understand economics generally or the conservative position specifcally. And this is proven by:

"The other says you should not trust that private enterprise will ever do the right thing, so we must legislate conformity."

The protasis in this is held by all all free-market theorists. As is famously said, for the first person to find any thing nice said by Adam Smith about the marketeers being trustworthy, they get an automatic "A". So the apodosis does not follow. What is your reasoning here? If you can't trust people in one sector, what makes people in another sector more trustworthy? Who is regulating the regulators, and who is regulating the regulators of the regulators, ad infintium, and why would whoever is at the top be accoutable if their regulations fail. No one is accountable in the liberal system.

One thing needs to be said: the malaise in the Republican ranks has much more to do with the fact the the Republican leadership is anything but conservative in these matters. Bush was worse for conservatism than almost anyone I can think of. What conservatives would assert would be the right thing to do, and what Bush has done, largely, are two different things.

"So if neither school is spot on...where does the solution lie?"

Your caricatures are wrong. You are not at this point able to assess the efficacy of either school.

"The answer is as far as I can see to look in the mirror and start there"

And yet you are for a person and a party who wants you to do anything but. In fact, you are vociferously for a point of view that insists that they should look in the mirror for you.

Jason

SirRobert said...

Jason

I know that it is taking more and more effort/work on the part of the middle class just to be able to maintain the middle class lifestyle.

I am not advocating a purely communist or socialist lifestyle. Those who do work harder than the average person do deserve more.But how much is enough? That's the question I'm asking.

Your whole life is a dirty struggle for subsistence if it wasn’t for those people.

My worry is that we might slide back into just that type of an economic model.

Just today I had to call my propane supplier to find out what he would charge to come out and cap a propane line going to the 2nd floor of my house. they wanted $75 to do a 5 minute job! that's insane and I won't pay someone that kind of coin to do a job I can learn to do myself. I try to be self-reliant in that I try to learn to do many things for myself. I've learned to do my own routine maintenance on my car, I do basic electrical work in my house.

There are things that are beyond me. But where I can learn to do for myself I will... and that is what I think it means to be Jerffersonian.

I am now paying a mortgage for 30 years. Yes the monetary system in this country makes middle class home ownership possible. I think the rate I got is fair and I have no complaints. But there are those who are paying obscene rates that they should have never have been offered or accepted.

Further, in a perfect system every cent I pour into that mortgage should grow by virtue of a increasing property values. but, that's not the case right now especially in Massachusetts where property values are falling.

There is plenty of blame to go for this credit crisis...

Consumers can be blamed for taking on too much debt relative to there capacity to pay that debt back. Those who extend credit have been lax in their obligations to verify the credit worthiness of those they those who would use said credit.

All I am suggesting is that government should play the role as dispassionate referee in this system. Protecting one party from the excess of the other. Maybe that is pie in the sky thinking.

I have to go eat lunch!!!

:)

R.

Anonymous said...

"My worry is that we might slide back into just that type of an economic model."

But Robert, the policies Obama will establish WILL do just that. Your fierce fight for liberalism is completely and totally at odds with your concern as stated above. Kings and Lords is the liberal model, centralized wealth in the hands of those who don’t know what to do with it doling it out as they see fit. Money never goes where is it used best in that system, it only goes where an unaccountable Lord feels it would work best. Have you looked at the reasons for why tens of millions of people starved in the Ukraine in the 30s. Because of the very centralization you espouse. Raising taxes going into a recession for fairness (?!?!?!?) is a heinous stupidity, but Obama keeps saying it!

"All I am suggesting is that government should play the role as dispassionate referee in this system."

You and the Frog and your imaginary objectivity. Why do you think government workers were those who fought the hardest against welfare reform, (a raging and overwhelming success, by the way)? They didn't want the gravy train to end, as it is with all bureaucracies: when the need ends, the paycheck ends, and we can't have that.

As for the credit crisis, what were the governmental influences which were the central causes behind easy-obtained, caveat-ridden housing loans, thereby house prices being artificially inflated, as you are lamenting? Where is this blame? Your prototype Leninism doens't fit this mold. A certain Congressman from Newton and a Senator for CT are at the center of the crisis and the upholding of the circumstances which led to it. And they ascribe to the same illogical economics at the center of your consistent gospel - the imagined, unrealized benefits of centralization. Those in the free market are as happy to accept a Government handout as anyone, and that's why it's not the marketeers that are to be trusted, but the fact that the untrustworthy free-marketeers are always dead set on cutting each others throat, thereby those that succeed in the market, are the winners. There are restraints in this matter, but those restraints are never, ever the government taking the money and spreading it out as they think they should.

The Depression lasted much, much longer than it needed to because of centralization, and in fact had a second, deeper nadir well into Roosevelt. Truman cut taxes, tax receipts went up. Kennedy cut taxes, receipts went up. Reagan cut taxes, receipts went up. Clinton cut taxes, receipts went up. This pipe dream of Obama will never be realized because it can't be realized by raising taxes. It never was and never will.

What you believe about freedom, corporately and individually is in complete opposition with those policies that you support.

Jason

SirRobert said...

the policies Obama will establish WILL do just that.

Who said I was completely behind the Obama plan....if it is truly his plan to redistribute wealth...for all I know he may be preaching to the Democratic partisans. much the same way Republicans love to promise to strike down Roe Vs. Wade

I am not an economist...I'm learning as I go here.

Kings and Lords is the liberal model, centralized wealth in the hands of those who don’t know what to do with it doling it out as they see fit.

I am smelling a bit of a false dichotomy here. This isn't an either or situation. That said doesn't the government bear some kind of oversight role in the workings of a free-market system? I don't think you are card carrying libertarian, are you?

Where do you stand on this $700 giga-dollar bailout? It's intersting to me that these banks and institutions wanted no part of the government whilst they were making cash hand over fist, but now that they are in trouble they want a helping hand from the taxpayer in the guise of Uncle Sam.

Additionally, does the government need to help GM too?

They didn't want the gravy train to end, as it is with all bureaucracies: when the need ends, the paycheck ends, and we can't have that.

As a resident of Mass. I know full well the glory of an institution existing for its own sake! I give you the Mass. Turnpike Authority! This is an institution that was supposed to have gone the way of the dodo more than 20 years ago and yet there it is collecting tolls on a road long ago paid for. Existing merely to pay the salaries of its workers .....lovely! You think I am in favor of that?

I want a small and effective government not a bloated self-aggrandizing, self-perpetuating bureaucracy.

Both sides of the coin need reform government and the private sector.

R.

Anonymous said...

I'm telling you, you are not a liberal. I love much of what I just read.

"I don't think you are card carrying libertarian, are you?"

No, and for the same reasons you disagree with that viewpoint.

The biggest role of government under "the general welfare" I suppose, is to maintain law and order. If the circumstances under which transactions take place become treacherous, then the transactions won't take place and/or when they do it will cost much more. So extortion, racketeering, etc., in matters of business must be punished extremely harshly. When I see Michael Milken is walking around, I wonder what what the frick is going on. The damage that guy did to thousands of people, worse than murder in many ways. People who do that sort of stuff need to be made an example of. But there is also the matter of selling short, part of what led up to the first stock market crash. I believe that it is very worth while for the government to monitor persons and their transactions for that activity…the small time investor will cease to invest if the big shots are doing that because, again, if people can’t trust the transactions then they either don’t take place or they do take place at a greater risk.

Also, obviously, property rights, but you know that from Jefferson.

The social order thing, from a Christian perspective is more challenging, not because it doesn't necessarily "work", but I think that the condition of the American church is in large part due to God giving us over to our shallowness and selfishness. This is gonna sound really weird to you, but I just don't think that the manner in which Abortion came to the fore is just a chance happening - the American church largely stood on the sidelines while MLKJr got hosed down in Birmingham. God does not abide sissies, and the vast majority stood in the corner alternately wringing their hands and sticking their thumb up their butt.

So social order is those circumstances under which people can depend that their rights will be upheld. This also greatly affects the flow of money. It was largely the racist but pragmatic business owners in the south who didn't like the race laws, that's not a mistake, they saw which side of the bread the butter was on. It was the federal and state governments upholding these things.

Also under general welfare comes things like pollution. Though it cost something at the time in the 70s and 80s, it was a good investment. And pollution is just not affected by the market, that is, businesses do not stop doing something until it is no longer financially wise to do it, which, with pollution, may take a while, perhaps too long. Like mercury or lead levels, that’s a no brainer, but, again, the free-marketeers cannot be trusted. The only thing upon which we can depend is their desire to cut down their competitors.

The aspect with which I struggle is centralized banking. I know that their intervention prevents excessive printing of money, and facillitates the allacrity of credit…but the WHY they do it troubles me. Businesses fight for their life because they fight for their life. What do entrenched bureaucracies fight for? I don’t know.

I was saved by God while reading a ton of economics...actually He used "A Conflict of Visions" by Thomas Sowell in opening my eyes. Sowell is NOT a Christian, but I view his work as Augustine viewed Cicero, he saw Cicero's ethics and moral work as central in his conversion. I have about 12 big books to read yet, but I’m a little busy now.

I gotta write that guy a letter and thank him.

“Where do you stand on this $700 giga-dollar bailout? It's intersting to me that these banks and institutions wanted no part of the government whilst they were making cash hand over fist, but now that they are in trouble they want a helping hand from the taxpayer in the guise of Uncle Sam.”

I am with the more fearless conservatives in the matter, I don’t think it should have been done at all. We are now finding out that these banks are going to be allocating the money as they wish…Paulson, the dummy, doesn’t seem to have put much in the way of restrictions on how the money could be used.

However, as I understand it, and perhaps you know something I don’t, what enabled them to make millions of bad business decisions was the Government’s backing on so many of those bad loans, again. In Barney Frank’s astonishing revisionism over how this transpired, he denounced regulation, saying, “''These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis. The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing” He understood that the gravy train to those who shouldn’t get loans in the first place, would dry up with government oversight. The oversight was necessary because the government was pushing “affordable” housing, again, per Frank and Dodd, and so the government was backing this activity. If they weren’t backing the activity, it is just as likely that these banks would not have gleefully accepted the backing and they also probably would not have made multiple decisions that gave money to those who shouldn’t have it while falsely inflating home values. There is always more to it than just what one person can glean, so if you come by some other infor mation, bring it up.

As for GM, let them fall. They, at some level, have presumed for years that Americans would buy American cars no matter what. It killed my Dad to buy a Japanese car, not because of race, but out of a preference to spend that money on an American product. But he is so much happier. And so am I. And so is nearly every other person I know.

GM landing in bankruptcy court will force their board to actually start making a car that doesn’t break down after 20000 miles. When they do that, I will buy one. And I really think that a lot of other people will, too.

Jason

SirRobert said...

Jason

you may very well be RIGHT in that I am not as liberal as I think I am.

I read your convictions here and I find myself agreeing with 99.9% of it!

More later...professional duties do call!

;-)

R.

SirRobert said...

PS...

Maybe i am liberal in the old definition not the one used today...?

R.

Anonymous said...

article.nationalreview.com/print/?q=ZTZiNmQ1YmQyZjRlNTVjNjllYjBkODdlZDZjNWQ0Zjc=

Jason

Christian said...

The unimaginable has just occurred; I agree with everything Jason has just said. Very, very well put.

Anonymous said...

That's because everything I said has to do with this world.

Jason

Christian said...

Glad to see you have your feet back on the ground. ;)