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March 13, 2011

Comments

'When the Tea party became a household word, I couldn't see what exactly the Tea Partiers stood for'

Within the ranks of those who are labeled or call themselves Tea Party supporters are numerous and varied views of what is wrong in Washington and what needs to be changed. I happen to subscribe to the version set forth by Russell at March 13, 10:30 PM. Social and religious issues I typically exclude from my view of what is proper for the Feds. I just think we have more Federal government than we should have or need. This says nothing about State and local government. My assumptions are that some state governments would need to be bigger since some of what the Feds do would need to be addressed by State and local.

'Electing right-wing Republicans.'

Few Democrats running as candidates for positions in Washington would agree with any of what I just stated, This is true, also, of many recent Republican incumbents and candidates. So, by elimination, that leaves: voila!, right-wing Republicans.

GOB, that doesn't explain wanting to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with someone whose primary goal is making American more explicitly Christian; I might agree with the sentiment "something is wrong in Washington", but Im not going to join a crowd protesting in favor of that sentiment when we have radical disagreements about what the something that's wrong actually is.
At best, the TP has no coherent message and is incapable of anything more than being co-opted by groups that *do* have coherent messages and goals. Insofar as it's capable of articulating a coherent message, that message, as you say, the message of the right-wing conservatism. As message that doesn't get any more popular for being obscured by the TP's unfocused anger.

There's lots of polling that shows what the Teatards "think". Spend ten minutes Googling and a picture emerges. They tend to be older white males from rural areas that have very rightwing views, particularly on religious issues, and a much larger percentage of them than the rest of the population believes in really, really stupid stuff like birthism. They are what used to be called "the rightwing lunatic fringe". This is also clear from the candidates backed by the Tea Party and by their effect on the rhetoric of those pols who would like to be leaders of the Repblican party but are having trouble leading now that the party is so infested with shrill hysterical no-nothings. BTW Teatards overwhelmingly vote Repubican.

LIke I said: google the polling data. There's plenty of it.

AS for violent rhetoric: the ony rhetoric in Madison that might have had the effect of inducing violence was the Governor's when he mulled the possiblity of using agent provacateurs. The chief of police said that there have been very few arrests and none for violent behavior. The rhetoric from the speakers has not been violent, nor are the signs.

When I watched the tractor parade enter the city square I had what bc might consider a violent thought. The words of a poem came to my mind: "Where once embattled farmers stood and fired the shot heard round the world."

I very much hope that events in Madison, the uprising of the normal people, will be a political revolution against the hypocritical, dishonest, frequently hateful ans stupid,but always self-serving edifice of rationalizations for selfishness that is the philosophy of the Repubican party.

At least the protests in Madison did one thing for me-it confirmed taking away collective bargaining was exactly the right thing to do.

I don't even begin to understand this. Something gets people upset, and you consider that justification in and of itself for doing it? Do you see political and economic activity as zero sum- anything that irritates your 'enemies' must be a good thing?
This sort of attitude (if I understand it correctly) is one of the poisons in the American bloodstream.

Here's a link to a poll about Tea Party beliefs and who they are--

link

"My assumptions are that some state governments would need to be bigger since some of what the feds do would need to be addressed by State and local."

Hey, Alice, you may have been to a Tea Party but not the one you imagine:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0-Z7YgDrxE&feature=related

Stick with this video, especially the last five minutes.

Try stealing money from Dick Armey at any level of government.

That scooter is theft regardless of who you think is going to pay for it.

From the Mary Katherine Hamm article that bc cites upthread:

The United States of America has about 400 billionaires. Moore calls them “400 little Mubaraks.” About half of those have less than $2 billion each, and those with a net worth in the double-digit billions is an exclusive club of about 30.

400 billionaires hold, minimally, 400 billion dollars. Based on Hamm's comment here -- half have less than $2B, half have more than $2B -- it's probably something well over a trillion dollars.

400 people, one trillion dollars. One million million dollars, as we count it here in the US.

That is one hell of a lot of money.

Median family net worth in the US is about $120K. That's net worth, not income, and includes the value of the family's home if they own one, all retirement savings including 401K's etc.

Everything they own which could conceivably be made liquid.

If you have, frex, $1.2 billion, the value of what you own is worth what ten thousand people whose wealth is at the median own.

One person, ten thousand people. Or, if you will, 400 people, four million people.

In and of itself, I guess that might be sort of all well and good. They can't help it if they're lucky.

But it isn't "in and of itself". The people who own what ten thousand of their fellow-citizens own use that wealth to influence public policy.

They buy outcomes, because they can.

I find Moore's rhetoric overwrought. I don't bother watching his movies or reading his books because I assume that, entertaining as they might be, I'm going to have to fact-check every damned thing he says, and I just don't have the time.

But any analysis of what he's saying that fails to recognize the *astounding* disparity, not of wealth per se, but of the privilege and influence that that wealth buys, is bone ignorant.

Hamm has her head where it don't belong.

Money is not neutral. People who have a lot of money have different interests than people who don't, and their wealth gives them the means to make their interests prevail.

The rest of us have to work our @sses off to make that happen.

That's why collective bargaining just doesn't bug me. I don't really care if it creates inefficiencies. Gross disparities in wealth create inefficiencies, too, but nobody ever seems to complain about those.

If all you have are your numbers, you bring your numbers. It's either that, or eat sh*t. Why the hell should anybody settle for that?

And yeah, all of those cops, firemen, teachers, garbagemen, motor vehicle registry clerks, etc etc etc could just go somewhere else and get a real job.

But if you actually want public safety, schools, and your trash hauled, that's probably not an outcome you should actually encourage.

Those people get out of bed every day and do useful stuff, for you and me. Stuff that not one of those 400 billionaires is going to do, for any amount of money.

Don't forget that even before the protests started, it was Scott Walker who said he was ready to call up the national guard, presumably to be prepared to shoot, before illegalizing collective bargaining rights for state workers. If that's not threatening violence, I don't know what is.

Collective bargaining rights are fundamental. bc's opposition to them seems driven mostly by spite. Thankfully, the people of Wisconsin don't hate their own people and are taking the sides of the unions. I don't quite understand bc's attitude here-- the people protesting in WI are his own people and neighbors who are upset at being subjected to unwarranted attacks by the governor. Why does bc have such unhinged hatred and spite towards his OWN PEOPLE?

The result of the Teatard influence on the Republican party in Michigan is passage of legislation that effectively ends democracy there. That, of course, has been the ultimate goal of the Republican party for decades. Not openly the the goal, of course! But clearly the goal based on the actions taken by Republicans once they have the bit in their teeth; voter supression, extreme pro-corporation activists on the Supreme Court, the decades of violent and eliminationist rhetoric and the use of real violence by proxy, the systematic demonizing of anyone who is hurt by Republican policies (which is happening right here on this thread--thanks for the example, bc!), the use of media to promote lies of which there are too many to list but the claim that the Republicans, creators of our current deficit, are opposed to deficit spending is a big one, ...

I don't care if it is agaisnt posting rules to say that Republicans and their enablers are behaving shamefully. I am not willing to maintain the polite fiction that Republicans and conservaties are just nice people with a different point of view. There is nothing nice about the political behavior of either the Teatards or the people who make excuses for them or the people who exploit them for their votes. People are responsible for the effects of the ideas they promote and the party they vote for. Granted neither party is perfect but only one of them is systematically setting up institutions and policies for the purpose of screwing over the average person to benefit a few. Willful ignorance sure as hell is not an excuse.

Its just shameful for people to, from the safety of their own economic security, attack the security of other people and future generations. Just shameful.

Easy.

Raise Michael Moore's taxes, say, to 39.6% at the high marginal end, for starters.

If he joins the Tea Party as a result, he can then use his bullhorn influence to galvanize them around an issue the oligarchy (to whom Republican politicians and much of the Democratic Party are slaves -- if you wanna throw the word slavery around) is covering its ears and eyes to ignore: the outsourcing of American jobs overseas.

It was the second most mentioned grievance among the "conservatives" who answered the cute survey Boehner and Cantor conducted last summer to let the whiners shriek.

Is it true? What, you're going to raise the bar at this late date in the closing days of the United States of America.

That's really not my bailiwick, but I'm telling you if you want to see a real revolution in this country, with heads in baskets, and a tsunami of anger, Moore is just the guy to get it moving among the subsidized deadbeat scooter crowd.

The Republican Party, or whatever these animals call themselves, is whistling past the Bastille on that issue.

Tea Party = GOP base, basically. They lost a couple of elections and got pissed off, turned out, and pushed back, hard.

...

True that "States Rights" rhetoric can be traced back to the Civil War, but then it can be traced back before that. I think back to one of the key policy divides between the Whigs and Democrats: tariffs and "internal improvements." The Whigs were pro-tariff/internal improvements, which is to say they were in favor of taxation to pay for infrastructure projects. The Democrats were hostile to that (particularly Southern ones). Slavery took over as THE issue as time went on (and the South had basically won the tariffs fight at the time of Lincoln's election), but the two are at least somewhat intertwined. After all, you're probably not going to be excited about paying for harbors and railroads if you're devoted to an agrarian economy powered by slave labor.

I think it's pretty obvious that the internal improvements debate has raged down through the years and continues today. It's a different flavor here in 2011, but the broad outlines of the fight are the same, IMO.

I don't care if it is agaisnt posting rules to say that Republicans and their enablers are behaving shamefully.

I don't know that that in particular is against the posting rules, and it's not for me to say since it's not my blog. As for me, though, much as I find the Tea Party's views incoherent and their potential effect on the country horrifying, it accomplishes nothing to use language that would fit just right in a middle school playground tauntfest. It's not a matter of some kind of abstract worship of "civility" -- it's that not only does it not convince anyone of anything, it makes you sound a lot like what you're accusing other people of being. The fact that you're getting some jollies out of it is a bad indicator of how it comes across to everyone else, and what effect it has on the people reading your words.

Not caring about the posting rules doesn't mean that the posting rules don't care about you. Good luck with that.

Money is not neutral. People who have a lot of money have different interests than people who don't, and their wealth gives them the means to make their interests prevail.

So, for the TP rhetoric that we read earlier (we need to get big business out of government!), I wonder how y'all can explain the involvement of the Koch brothers in the Tea Party. Based on that resume, they are not your friends if getting business out of government is your intent. eg
During the months leading up to the 2000 presidential elections, the company faced even more liability, in the form of a 97-count federal indictment charging it with concealing illegal releases of 91 metric tons of benzene, a known carcinogen, from its refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas.... If convicted, the company faced fines of up to $352 million, plus possible jail time for company executives. After George W. Bush became president, however, the U.S. Justice Department dropped 88 of the charges. Two days before the trial, John Ashcroft settled for a plea bargain, in which Koch pled guilty to falsifying documents. All major charges were dropped, and Koch and Ashcroft settled the lawsuit for a fraction of that amount.
Koch had contributed $800,000 to the Bush election campaign and other Republican candidates.

Implementing the Tea Party platform will reduce big corporate power in Washington by eliminating the spending, subsidies, and favors lavished on their behalf.

Not to pile on GOB but we actually do have a budget proposal from the Republican House, which gives us as close of an approximation of what conservative Americans want to cut as we are likely to get.

Programs that will be eliminated or cut include:

Nuclear non-proliferation
International food aid by 50%, State Dept budget for refugees by 40%
Environmental protection, with a special emphasis on sticking it to any programs associated with addressing climate change
Food stamps, child nutrition, Medicare, Medicaid
Alternative energy
The NEH, also the NIH and CDC.
Also, job training, home heating assistance, Pell Grants, transportation, housing.

I could probably go on and on, that's just my two-page Google random walk.

Obama asked for fossil fuel tax breaks to be removed, and for the resulting revenue to be repurposed for clean energy development. My understanding is that that proposal is not in the House budget.

Obama also asked for farm subsidies to be rolled back significantly. Rejected in the House.

I have no doubt that GOB is speaking in good faith when he expresses his hope that the Tea Party crowd will limit the influence of wealthy actors, whether natural human or corporate.

I just think it ain't gonna work that way. Whether that's the intent or not, de facto the folks in government who the tea party supports are furthering the interests of very, very wealthy people, and taking their cuts out of the hides of the rest of us.

Obama asked for fossil fuel tax breaks to be removed, and for the resulting revenue to be repurposed for clean energy development.My understanding is that that proposal is not in the House budget.

Oh, not just that, but Rep. Joe Barton -- who, after last year's oil spill, apologized on behalf of the US government to BP for subjecting them to a "shakedown" -- actually argued with a straight face that ExxonMobil and others need those subsidies to keep from going out of business, then managed this beauty:

Barton, perhaps the oil and gas industry's staunchest support on Capitol Hill, says the subsidies for the industry should remain unchanged "so long as you believe that you believe in the free market capitalist system and they should be headquartered in the United States."
Yep, if you believe in the "free market capitalist system," you must continue to provide billions in subsidies to the oil industry. The mind boggles.

Obama also asked for farm subsidies to be rolled back significantly. Rejected in the House.

Probably everyone will notice that linked article dates to 2009, when the Democrats were the majority party.

I am not willing to maintain the polite fiction that Republicans and conservaties are just nice people with a different point of view.

No one is asking you to pretend anything; we're only asking you to understand and comply with the posting rules when posting here. If you're not willing to do that, you're free to find another forum to express yourself as you please. Stay and talk, or go as you see fit. That's freedom, ain't it?

Probably everyone will notice that linked article dates to 2009, when the Democrats were the majority party.

Hey my bad. I forgot the golden rule of googling, "Don't assume all results will be 100% on topic".

March 7, 2011.

How much of a cut does the DoD get in the House budget?

''GOB, that doesn't explain wanting to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with someone whose primary goal is making American more explicitly Christian;'

I said what parts of the Tea Party so-called agenda I support and it does not include support for an item that would have as its primary goal making America more explicitly Christian. Voting for or supporting the same candidate for national office does not mean wanting to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them on all matters.

'I have no doubt that GOB is speaking in good faith when he expresses his hope that the Tea Party crowd will limit the influence of wealthy actors, whether natural human or corporate.

I just think it ain't gonna work that way. Whether that's the intent or not, de facto the folks in government who the tea party supports are furthering the interests of very, very wealthy people, and taking their cuts out of the hides of the rest of us.'

So I get the choice to support a range of policies emanating from a philosophical perspective with which I have little in common along with whatever corruption and mismanagement that entails OTOH, or, supporting politicians who espouse views with some similarities to mine along with the corruption and mismanagement that entails. Pardon me for my lack of enthusiasm.

Not all that surprising, russell. Disappointing, but not surprising.

Democratic majority can't get rid of ag subsidies. Republican majority decides to keep the ag subsidies. It'd be nice to put names and faces to this kind of folderol, so the guilty parties can be held accountable.

How much of a cut does the DoD get in the House budget?

IIRC it's a very small increase, maybe 2%, which represents a lot less than what they asked for. The budget from the Republican-majority House has some substantial DoD cuts.

Pardon me for my lack of enthusiasm.

I feel you, brother.

Defense goes up 1.3%, from what I can see.

Slarti/Russell - thanks.

I live in Madison and have been to several of the rallies. Tens of thousands of people have gathered in an atmosphere of goodwill. Among literally tens of thousands of signs, I have seen maybe 2-3 that I found objectionable. I have heard literally zero people advocating violence in any form. Anyone who has told you otherwise has misled you.

I said what parts of the Tea Party so-called agenda I support and it does not include support for an item that would have as its primary goal making America more explicitly Christian. Voting for or supporting the same candidate for national office does not mean wanting to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them on all matters.

That's not quite it IMO. There's making a common cause with someone you disagree with on other matters. That's pretty normal.
But the TP, it's not even clear to the participants what the 'common cause' part of the equation is. When people gather together to support a cause but don't agree on what that cause is, that is a weird situation.

So I get the choice to support a range of policies emanating from a philosophical perspective with which I have little in common along with whatever corruption and mismanagement that entails OTOH, or, supporting politicians who espouse views with some similarities to mine along with the corruption and mismanagement that entails. Pardon me for my lack of enthusiasm.

Well, yeah. That's a pretty common sentiment across the political spectrum. And I wish I had a solution. However, Im pretty sure that getting all fired up to support the Democractic Party come what may isn't the answer from my side. Heck, even if it's what I want to do because I support their ideology for the most part, I wouldnt pretend that I was solving the underlying problems of corruption and mismanagement in the process. Right?

'When people gather together to support a cause but don't agree on what that cause is, that is a weird situation.'

Carleton:

I agree there is some of this, maybe a lot, I don't know. Those who claim Tea Party status but go on to say don't touch my Medicare, leave my Social Security alone, and/or don't reduce defense spending seem a little confused or unaware. I am on Medicare, which I paid into from the day it became law until I stopped working, and I receive Social Security benefit payments as well. I support a good hard look at both to see what is reasonable going forward to achieve/maintain solvency. I also think we try to do way too much militarily and that we could reduce our defense spending a lot and remain secure. This last, of course, is where the industrial complex will get very involved and with about the same display of integrity as seen from the drug and medical device companies and the health insurers during the health care debate. That gets me to the politicians, most of whom seem to think their election establishes a career for them, who need to show some integrity, especially the 'grit' part, and forget the career part. I mentioned some major items but there are many more that would include agricultural and energy subsidies as brought up earlier. My opposition to tax increases might subside at the point I see substantial progress on the spending side.

Well, at least now that they've got Planned Parenthood, NPR, etc., out of the way, I'm sure that this English-only bill will create all those jobs and solve all those deficit problems.

That's what the GOP promised to do, right? So how many jobs, exactly, have they created so far? Somewhere between 0 and -1?

Tea Party in favor of the 'little guy'? Balderdash and crap. Google "Tea Party" and click on the first entry. Scroll down until you get to the part about net neutrality.

Therein the concept of net neutrality is characterized as "media marxism".

This is how they roll. What's that smell?

Sorry, just got back to my computer. CCDG asks

Perhaps you could, in this instance, point out how I was trolling Mr. Emerson before mildly objecting to his multiple objectionable word comment.

Your comment, along with GOB's quote were directed at John Emerson's ability to follow posting rules, specificially

Now if somehow you could get a clue on the vocabulary permitted here

Now, I wasn't threatening to ban anyone, but I believe that if someone provokes someone to take a verbal swing and then implies they don't have the mental ability to follow the posting rules, that is trolling, at least in my book. Your comment wasn't as problematic as GOB's, but I really did (and do) want to nip this in the bud. I'm not threatening to ban anyone, but I really don't like it and I don't think it is helpful. I imagine there is some mental calculus that is
[person X to lose his cool]=[the point he was making has been refuted] I don't think it works like that. I also think it is much better to make comments early rather than wait till something happens that is very egregious and someone has to get banned. We are far away from banning anyone, but I think an earlier word is much better.

I'd also like to point out that there is going to be a lag in posting, so when I asked John to rein in his language, both your and GOB had already posted. Before I went to bed, I went thru the thread and say the two comments I called out and wanted to make sure that I addressed them and make the point that one shouldn't equate a faiIure to following the posting rules with overturning an argument. I hope this is clear.

lj:

'Now, I wasn't threatening to ban anyone, but I believe that if someone provokes someone to take a verbal swing and then implies they don't have the mental ability to follow the posting rules, that is trolling, at least in my book. Your comment wasn't as problematic as GOB's, but I really did (and do) want to nip this in the bud. I'm not threatening to ban anyone, but I really don't like it and I don't think it is helpful.'

Help me here. I need specifics regarding what you are taking from any comments I made that would be a provocation. I simply made a comment on the unnecessary language.

John Emerson:
What a goddamn f*cking stupid argument. "Political reality is much more complex". That's a tired, tired old NPR cliche of limited application, and here it's being presented as wisdom.

NPR cliche or not, it's actually a pretty accurate statement about politics, or any other form of reality, and a healthy skepticism about the depth of one's own knowledge and is always due. If you're not skeptical of your own ideas, others will gladly perform that duty. I am well-aware that the Koch brothers are libertarians; I'll take the rest of your pedantic jackassery as a simple misread of my sarcasm.

When one sees blanket statements like this:
Similarly, regardless of the "rats" which the foot soldiers of the modern tea party are led to believe they are fighting for, the Koch brothers and their friends know that the real goal of their so-called tea party revolution is protecting and securing their ever-increasing wealth.

One is led to believe that either Mr. Farber really is thinking in simple black-and-white terms and projected motivations, or he needs a better editor. The latter is probably just a good idea, period, as casting your political opponents as confederates is a tired old trope just a small step above casting them as N*zis in the tier of political metaphor.

[This post has been edited on March 15th, 2011, 11:27 p.m., PST to comply with the Posting Rules]

One is led to believe that either Mr. Farber really is thinking in simple black-and-white terms and projected motivations, or he needs a better editor.

One is also led to believe that, as the very first line of type below the headline reads Guest Post by HK, not by Gary Farber, one might be inclined to check one's own reading skills before one decides to take this particular approach. If one were interested in not falling into accidental self-parody.

The latter is probably just a good idea, period, as casting your political opponents as confederates is a tired old trope just a small step above casting them as N*zis in the tier of political metaphor.

Again, I'm offering an over/under of .75 on how closely the ratio of "I am a Tea Party member" to "I have a Confederate flag/bumper sticker/other" approaches 1. You want the under?

GOB, rather than asking John Emerson to stop, you suggested that his violation of the posting rules was related to difficulty expressing his thoughts. Please note the following from the posting rules

Don't disrupt or destroy meaningful conversation for its own sake.

If you feel that your comment was an attempt at meaningful conversation, please be aware that I did not think it was. I also thought things might be getting out of hand, as did Slarti.

No need to explain how you were perhaps attempting John Emerson to state his points in a manner consistent with the posting rules and you were trying to find areas of agreement. If you were, it did not come across that way to me, so please adjust your internal monitors to take that into account. Thank you.

I'd also point out that I believe quoting words that we ask not to be posted is still a violation of posting rules, despite the fact that you did not 'write' them originally, so please stop doing that DBN. Thank you.

Sorry, that should read "attempting to help John Emerson"

Yeah, who needs the old tropes, when new tropes burst forth faster than a guy can condemn the old tropes:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/03/14/956355/-Michigan-Gov-Snyder-set-to-auction-off-MI-towns-to-highest%C2%A0bidders

I'm curious, when a Governor dismisses locally-elected officials and dissolves local municipalities and institutions without consulting those troublesome democratic procedures, it would seem gunpowder is close to replacing tea for those party refreshments.

I'm happy to dispense with old tropes, particularly in exceptionalist America wherein the fascism entrepreneurs think up new and better tropes.

"I hope this is clear."

Not at all.

Here is what I assume is the heart of your point:

I imagine there is some mental calculus that is [person X to lose his cool]=[the point he was making has been refuted] I don't think it works like that.

Yet prior to my simple objection to the language I hadn't addressed a single comment to John in the whole thread. You want to cool tempers, fine. Don't accuse me of trolling to do it, the effect is contrary to your desire.

CCDG,
Suggesting that people don't have a clue about something is inflammatory. If you want to enter in the conversation to help out and ask someone to obey posting rules, please avoid inferring what the reason for their non-observance may be. Thank you.

lj,

uh....ok.

This is pretty cool:

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/03/wis-goper-scott-fitzgerald-dems-in-contempt-not-allowed-to-vote-in-committees.php?ref=fpblg

Let's see now, how'd it go?

Charlie Sheen leads to the King of England taxing colonies without representation, leading to tough guys dressing up like Indians and tossing their chamomile into the harbor, later they kill dead a whole bunch of Redcoats, then America secedes from England and .... ipso fatso, we're right back to Kevin Bacon.

And yet the demonstrators in Wisconisn are so polite, according to law enforcement.

Something's going to change.

Russell, way back: I have nothing against tea partiers personally ...

I do. But maybe I attach a different meaning to "personally".

I don't know what a "person" is, if not an amalgam of expressed opinions, demonstrated skills, overt tastes, and perceptible physical attributes. Inside his own head, goddam Dick Cheney is probably lovable; inside her own head, Michelle Bachman is probably well-informed. But I don't get to see the insides of people's heads. I have no way to judge people except by what they say, what they do, what they look like and even (at close range) what they smell like.

I could not in good conscience say "I have nothing against smelly people personally", because foul odors emanating from somebody are without question personal attributes. But so are foul opinions!

What I'm trying to say is that I really don't get the distinction between one kind of "personal" attribute and another. I don't quite get why "Your ideas stink" is more (or less) personal than "You smell bad".

So that's the sense in which I do have something "against tea partiers personally". And, being a fair and balanced guy, I think they have every right to hold that against me personally.

We try too hard, in the US, to keep the political separate from the "personal". In my own personal opinion, of course.

--TP

Carleton:

Do you see political and economic activity as zero sum- anything that irritates your 'enemies' must be a good thing?

No, Carleton, I agree I should be more specific. It wasn't that it angered them. The protest in and of itself I have no problem with, or the fact that people were upset. But saying "this is what democracy looks like" while a) senators leave the state; b) protesters threaten members of the legislature; and c) counter views are derided as some sort of bigotry (because it's a civil rights issue, you know) is just too much. This is a shakedown, a tantrum and a derailment of democracy all rolled into one.

And the mind-numbingly dumb sloganeering. (There is some of that on both sides and some definitely deserve the "teatard" label. But geez).

One thing that still bothers me is this: Unless the retirement plans are unfair, not being able to bargain on it harms nobody. It can still be changed, it just takes more political pressure. The biggest thing that changes the amount of retirement is salary, and that can still be bargained for.

The whole point in taking retirement off the table is that it is painstakingly clear when you bargain what the impact is going to be right now. It's not putting off the day of financial reckoning to the future. Fighting for retirement plan bargaining means either: a) it's not fair: or b) we want to be able to pass the buck on to future generations without too much attention. I realize there are c) and d)etc. but these are the main reasons. Since nobody is arguing the current plans are inherently unfair, I think it's clear that losing b) is what the unions are concerned about.

Or maybe it's the working conditions. Although I have read nothing on that.


Anyone who has told you otherwise has misled you.

I was referring to things like death threats and the pounding on the windows of Fitzgerald's residence at 6 a.m. and this and this and this. .


russell:

Appreciate your comment. There is a lot in there that I agree with.

I suspect if Tip O'Neill had been alive to stroll among the Tea Party demonstrations last summer with the witch-doctor signs and the delightful weaponry references, and wore a name tag, he would have found out that all politics .... is personal, baby.

Oddly enough, that's why they have the Secret Service.

Even though it doesn't seem like it, I like all of the conservatives who frequent these pages.

But for example, I hate Ted Nugent, Grover Norquist, and I don't know, Rep. Steve King, to throw out three Republican names.

I hate them personally and viscerally. Quite frankly, I could summon a pretty sizable bolus of hatred for their children, as well, just by association.

No discussion, no compromise, no civility, no nothing for those people and their ilk.

And I'm pretty sure they'd feel the same about me, if they knew me.

Which they may some day, if their luck turns.

Which, again, is why we have the Secret Service and personal (that word, again) security.

bc:

President Obama receives 30 death threats a day, since we're keeping count, and that's not counting the veiled threats from the floor of the House of Representatives or Sharron Angle's political campaign.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/barackobama/5967942/Barack-Obama-faces-30-death-threats-a-day-stretching-US-Secret-Service.html

And, what to you say we have a gentleman's side bet ($5) about which end of the political spectrum the death threats to Fitzgerald originated from, just for fun.

I say it's a nut case in a bathrobe who indulges the Wisconsin avocation of bar-crawling, or a self-styled political operative on the Far Right, who also indulges the same Wisconsin avocation.

Who do you think it is, my sixth grade homeroom teacher?

Not that she didn't enjoy the occasional tipple.

We try too hard, in the US, to keep the political separate from the "personal".

I grew up with an uncle who was, literally, a John Bircher, a father who had been raised in the South and who could never quite get his head around black people being the same as white people, a mother who thought Hispanics were "dirty", and a step-father with odd and not very explainable acquaintanceships with Mafiosi.

Over the years I've had friends and acquaintances who kept guns and ammunition sheetrocked into the walls of their house, and guys who brought loaded shotguns to band rehearsals because Y2K was gonna somehow make bad things happen.

People who peed in their sink to save water, a guy who "washed his hair, but not with shampoo", a friend who decided he was only going to eat fruit, another friend who rants on Facebook about how the brown people are making him hate them.

Lots and lots of friends who have, over the years, explored every variety of bizarre philosophical, political, and religious nook and cranny I can think of. The Marxist insurance adjuster. The Swedenborgian girl with the panther tatooed on her calf, who thought Alfa Romeos looked like an interesting way to break the law. The Christian Science nurse (?) who made a hobby of seducing middle eastern grad students. The very good friend who believed he had been sent by God to be an apostle to the drug addicted, alcoholic, and insane, his qualifications being his former insanity, alcoholism, and drug addiction. The guy who started a goat farm on abandoned land he squatted on in rural Indiana. The actually certifiable guy who saw brilliantly insane connections between things based on random similarities.

Did you know that "USA" is in the middle of "Jerusalem"?

People are weird and complicated. They believe crazy stuff, and they don't even know why. I won't even burden you with the laundry list of stuff I've thought was true over the years.

I just don't worry about the weirdness anymore, at a personal level. I wouldn't have any friends.

Ya gotta look for the diamond in the rough. There's usually a way to make some kind of connection. That's my thought.

The whole point in taking retirement off the table is that it is painstakingly clear when you bargain what the impact is going to be right now. It's not putting off the day of financial reckoning to the future. Fighting for retirement plan bargaining means either: a) it's not fair: or b) we want to be able to pass the buck on to future generations without too much attention.

False. You seem to be trying to distinguish between "the (cash) wage" and "benefits". Rest assured, both are components of "the wage". For example, on public works jobs, companies must pay, say, $50/hr. and at least $35 of that must be "wages" or cash. However, the employer, if open shop, can pay the whole $50 in cash, but no benefits. Similarly your attempt to sever benefits from "the wage" are false. Further, when these obligations are negotiated there is absolutely nothing that is "hidden" about them, and there is certainly no "passing the buck" to future generations absent a CONSCIOUS POLITICAL DECISION to do so. So if you support politicians who kick the can down the road, it is simply not logical nor correct to blame the employees for the employers breaking the terms and conditions of the contract. If you support politicians who assert the right to renege on the contract, then you are asserting a novel argument that has not one iota of legal or moral justification, and it makes even less sense if you are a libertarian type (I'm not saying you are such) who makes nonsensical assertions about "rights" and "contracts" in a world of self regulating markets all, simultaneously by god! tending toward the Galtian paradisio of equilibrium and thus the best of all possible outcomes.

No discussion, no compromise, no civility, no nothing for those people and their ilk.

Seconded. Ribbit. Ribbit.

Russell @ 9:06. Awesome. Your list makes me think I have indeed led a sheltered life. But due to the drink, I may have forgotten the many strange folks I have encountered, or possibly hallucinated, in my lifetime.

But truly, well put, sir.

typical musician, eh Russell?

typical musician, eh Russell?

LOL.

I haven't even really gotten into the musicians yet. My good buddy the Irish drummer told me the other night that he not only had one spirit animal, but three. I forget what they were, but one was a lynx.

Some Indian guy told him.

Do they even have lynxes in Ireland?

Never mind that, do they have Indians in Ireland?

Haven't really delved into the new age / hippie folks either, with their crystals, their Russian brain massage techniques and their spirit guides.

People are wacky. All of us. You can't let it get to you.

While we do try too hard to separate the personal from the political and forget the personal and moral consequences to ourselves and others when we choose to support certain political causes, the truth is that at the end of the day, my right-wing and loony-libertarian friends and family members are very kind (to me) and are people who are very dependable (to me) and care (about my well-being).

People are annoyingly complicated like that. I don't know Grover Norquist personally, but odds are that if you guys were neighbors, he'd take care of your pets while you were out of town and keep an eye on your kids while they were playing outside. He's still a fucking malefactor with a blackened heart, of course. But he'd probably be nice to you if you dealt with him personally on a regular basis.

Russell:

"The Swedenborgian girl with the panther tatooed on her calf, who thought Alfa Romeos looked like an interesting way to break the law."

I give up.

Not only what Russell said, but shut my mouth and just close down the entire internet thingy because there is nothing more required.

And Dobie, the fact that you once drove an Alfa is no excuse.

Except, of course, I would rather Swedenborgian girl take of the pets than Norquist.

I hate pets who make me sign a pledge against their own interests stipulating that I'm not permitted to subsidize their Kibble.

Feral pets.

And then russel was talked down, they gave him orange juice and bacon along with mild sedatives and 24 hours later he seemed nonetheworse for the blotter experience.

He's still a fucking malefactor with a blackened heart, of course.

Yeah, IMO somewhere along the line Grover came to believe that money and freedom are the same thing, and it's bent his brain and heart into odd shapes. Plus, he's kind of a whore, or maybe a pimp, or maybe both, but none of that makes him particularly special or unusual.

But it's like the Bible people say, hate the sin, not the sinner. That's all I'm saying. Because we all fall short, somehow.

Doesn't mean you have to trust him with your wallet, just means hating the guy is not an actual requirement.

People have a lot of sides to them. That's all. So I try not to jump to conclusions. I'm frequently unsuccessful, but I try to keep it in mind.

Plus, my buddy Benny (Irish drummer) actually does have kind of a lynxy vibe. Sometimes the weirdness is a tiny bright window into another beautiful world. Not always, but sometimes.

I give up.

No man, you still wear the crown.

And then russel was talked down, they gave him orange juice and bacon along with mild sedatives

Bacon!

By the way, regarding violence-inducing rhetoric and death threats, what I love about the exquisite sensitivity of "conservative" Tea Party types to the matter is their advancement of such rhetoric from the floor of various Statehouses and the U.S. Capitol:

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/03/kansas-goper-lets-shoot-illegal-immigrants-like-pigs.php?ref=fpb

People are weird and complicated. They believe crazy stuff, and they don't even know why.

I think the way I would put it is that people suck. That is, everyone sucks, all of us (except for hilzoy), in one way or another. In this way, "progress" is defined as having people suck less. Thus, we create institutions, customs, laws, cultures, and other mechanisms in the hope that, in the grand scheme of things, the level of suckitude will decrease.

We can't have a bunch of uneducated people running around sucking, so we have public schools and higher education. We can't have people engaging in sucky samurai-AK47 battles in the streets to settle their differences, so we have government. We can't have government suckily massacring the governed, so we have laws, courts, and elections. Etc. etc. etc.

The people who want to dismantle these things, to get rid of the public schools, to drown the federal government in a bathtub, etc., want more sucking in the world. Which, you knows, sucks.

'While we do try too hard to separate the personal from the political and forget the personal and moral consequences to ourselves and others when we choose to support certain political causes, the truth is that at the end of the day, my right-wing and loony-libertarian friends and family members are very kind (to me) and are people who are very dependable (to me) and care (about my well-being).'

People are annoyingly complicated like that. I don't know Grover Norquist personally, but odds are that if you guys were neighbors, he'd take care of your pets while you were out of town and keep an eye on your kids while they were playing outside. He's still a malefactor with a blackened heart, of course. But he'd probably be nice to you if you dealt with him personally on a regular basis.'

I concur. Robert Heinlein's description fits my experience well.

'Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.' and

'I don't trust a man who talks about ethics when he is picking my pocket. But if he is acting in his own self-interest and says so, I have usually been able to work out some way to do business with him.'

I'm very introverted so I have many reasons not to cultivate friends, but I do have many acquaintances (this maintains a safe distance) and I have a large family. I do help my family (and my neighbors) whenever I can. I really don't think I can do much to save the rest of the world.

bobbyp:

"passing the buck" to future generations absent a CONSCIOUS POLITICAL DECISION to do so.

You are right. But the political decision tends to be more transparent when all of it occurs in the legislature, or, as here, by referendum if above COLA.

And either way, limiting it to true dollars makes it clear to everyone what is being asked of the harder-to-calculate portions of the overall wage are more or less set.

I agree that benefits are part of the overall wage. That is the issue here. Even Walker's talk of "contribution" on the part of employees is in reality a pay cut as pensions are deferred comp. I get that.

So as I see it the state is setting a baseline on how much it will pay for pensions and health care and setting a soft cap on cash wages.

If you support politicians who assert the right to renege on the contract,

I don't. I do not understand the bill to have done that. I read parts of the bill and saw several provisions that clearly stated the bill would affect only new contracts. The old ones have to expire. That's why so many locals were rushing through the contracts before the law went into play. Do you understand differently? It was one of Walker's points: that unions were not in fact agreeing to the cuts they said they had "offered" (although the ones saying they had offered the cuts were statewide and most of the contracts passed were local).

I agree that benefits are part of the overall wage. That is the issue here.

If we're talking about WI, I beg to differ.

The issue is the loss of collective bargaining rights. Not wages, not pensions, not the WI budget. Those are all important, but they are not why 100,000 people showed up in Madison last Saturday.

The issue is the loss of collective bargaining rights.

The issue is the loss of collective bargaining rights.

Yes, but since it isn't a complete loss of bargaining rights(although that is somewhat debatable) I was clarifying what was in fact lost: the right to bargain over the non-cash wage component of wages. If "wages" for purpose of the budget repair bill included benefits it would have been a much different situation, IMHO. Then maybe not.

But this right doesn't exist in a vacuum. Nobody would cry over loss of collective bargaining rights to, frex, name state office buildings. This is SHOW ME THE MONEY!! and nothing more on both sides.

I was clarifying what was in fact lost: the right to bargain over the non-cash wage component of wages.

And hours, and sick time, and vacation time, and (in the case of teachers) class sizes, and safety conditions, and grievance processes, and lots and lots of other things.

Nobody would cry over loss of collective bargaining rights to, frex, name state office buildings

That's a pretty silly counterexample.

Nobody complains over the loss of anything other than compensation, in all of its various forms, because compensation, in all of its various forms, is what collection bargaining addresses.

Nobody gives a crap what the name of an office building is. But, of course, you knew that already.

The reason 100,000 people were in Madison over the weekend is because the right to bargain over every aspect of their compensation other than base wage has been taken away from them.

And bargaining for wages is limited to the percent increase of the CPI. Not in the aggregate, but per person.

Damned straight it's show me the money, because that's what people live on.

This issue is not going to go away.

It was one of Walker's points: that unions were not in fact agreeing to the cuts they said they had "offered" (although the ones saying they had offered the cuts were statewide and most of the contracts passed were local).

I understood that to be an offer, as in part of the negotiation process (insofar as there was one). Typically negotiations aren't composed of unilateral concessions followed by waiting, hopeful that the other party will reciprocate.

I was clarifying what was in fact lost: the right to bargain over the non-cash wage component of wages...

Confining 'bargaining' to the cash wage, and further confining that small bargaining space to go from "minus something" to max out at some CPI number is not bi-lateral bargaining in any meaningful sense of the term. It is dicktat.

The whole idea of collective bargaining is to give workers a say in how the workplace is run, and what rules apply....you know, terms and conditions of employment.

But this right doesn't exist in a vacuum..

Doesn't that apply to any "right" you can name? I'll charitably write that assertion off as a typo.

"SHOW ME THE MONEY!!"

Classic right wing projection.

The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.

Absolute bloody, unmitigated, utter, irredeeamble, baldly specious, sodding, total poppycock. The divide is between those who have and those who don't...always has been...always will be.

bobbyp:

What happened to the Mayor of Miami-Dade? I thought the argument here was that the 'voters' wanted to take care of the unions.

Just astonishing presentation from http://podcast.lannan.org/2011/03/13/glenn-greenwald-presentation-8-march-2011-video/>Greenwald about "rats" and who is taking it. All around conclusion about the state we live in.

TM Lutas:

But looking at the mechanics of getting rid of the unfair privileges of the upper classes and you find yourself looking at a process that is a lot more like a tea party Republican's platform than a progressive Democrat's.
I'd like to know how to identify who is and isn't a "tea party Republican," please. How do I do this? Badges? Is there a single organization? And where is this platform published?

If you can't answer these questions -- and maybe you can, in which case, URL, please? -- then how I can I either find out what the platform is, who belongs to such a group, what they actually stand for, and have any of this make much sense, or be verifiable or falsifiable?

And if it isn't falsifiable, then what are you saying?

"So put your shoulder to the grindstone and enumerate all the governments, enumerate all their laws, rules, and regulations."

I don't understand what you mean by this; could you clarify, please? I know what the federal code is, same for state codes, same for the Federal register and state equivalents, but what sort of "enumeration" are you suggesting I or others engage in?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enumeration

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/enumeration

"Identify in each what is upholding unfair privilege for the rich and you'll find a large cadre of tea party people right there supporting the repeal."

I do try to identify what I don't like about laws, and discuss them. But I'm back to this question of how I'm supposed to identify, or make contact with, or ally with "tea party people," when there is no single organization, or... what is there, exactly, beyond a lot of people who show up at rallies with a lot of sympathies that seem incoherent?

"I don't believe for a minute that the left will actually do this"

This is of even greater interest to me: do you have an email address or phone number or web page for "the left," please? I'd like to contact them, too, so as to learn what "the left" is up to, and whether I agree or disagree.

Seriously, what use is such utterly vague terminology? Who are you talking about? How can I tell? Am I a tea partier, or in the left? Both? Neither? How do you know? How do I know? If neither of us knows, what the heck are you talking about?

I'm completely serious: I have no idea what the use of these vague descriptives are. If you ask me if I belong to, oh, the Boy Scouts of America, or the ACLU, or subscribe to National Review, I can tell you. How I can tell who is or isn't "the left" or "the tea party"? I'm baffled. But maybe that's only me.

I don't find much agreement among "progressive Democrats," either, any more than I do among "conservatives." Specific organization's platforms are hard enough to argue out from year to year, and vote in.

Once we're into vague adjectives, and even vaguer nouns like "the left" or "the right," these things only seem meaningful from about a million miles away.

I don't think so, though. But if I'm wrong, please please please explain how I can tell who is and isn't being referred to here. Thanks!

BTW, Are people here aware that there were even African Americans who fought for the south? Bunch of uncle tom's or what?
The myth of the black Confederates.
By Bruce Levine

On Oct. 20, The Post reported that in Virginia, fourth-grade students received textbooks telling them that thousands of African Americans fought in Confederate armies during the Civil War. The textbook's author, who is not a historian, found that false claim repeated so many times on the Internet that she assumed it had to be true.

She thereby helped propagate one of the most pernicious and energetically propagated myths about the Civil War. According to that myth, anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 Southern blacks -- both free and enslaved -- served voluntarily, loyally, consistently and as fully fledged combatants in the South. Most of those who make these claims do it to bolster another, bigger myth -- that most Southern blacks supported the Confederacy.

As a matter of fact, one of Jefferson Davis's generals did advise him to emancipate and arm slaves at the start of the war. But Davis vehemently rejected that advice. It "would revolt and disgust the whole South," he snapped. During the first few years of the war, some others repeated this suggestion. Each time, Richmond slapped it down. Not only would no slaves be enlisted; no one who was not certifiably white, whether slave or free, would be permitted to become a Confederate soldier.


And the Confederacy's policy of excluding blacks from its armed forces was effective. John Beauchamp Jones, a high-level assistant to the secretary of war, scoffed at rumors that the Confederacy had units made up of slaves. "This is utterly untrue," he wrote in his diary. "We have no armed slaves to fight for us." Asked to double-check, Confederate Secretary of War James Seddon confirmed that "No slaves have been employed by the Government except as cooks or nurses in hospitals and for labor."

Why were the leaders so stubborn on this point? Because they were fighting to preserve African American slavery and the racial creed that justified it. Slavery's defenders insisted that blacks were inferior to whites -- uniquely suited to dull, arduous labor but incapable of assuming the responsibilities of free people, citizens or soldiers. As Seddon explained, since the Confederacy had taken that stand both before "the North and before the world," it could "not allow the employment as armed soldiers of negroes." Putting blacks into gray uniforms would be seen as a confession that this ideology was a lie. Even more practically, the Confederacy worried about what black troops would do with their weapons. At the very least they feared (in the words of Confederate Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin) that black Confederate soldiers would desert to the enemy "in mass."

Finally, approaching military defeat forced Jefferson Davis to reverse course and support the black troops idea at the end of 1864. At that point, he faced fierce resistance from white Southerners who continued to insist that blacks would make only poor or disloyal soldiers. Davis now had to argue that black soldiers might yet fight effectively for the South. Tellingly, however, in trying to make that case, neither he nor his allies ever pointed proudly to the record of any of the black units (or even individuals) who purveyors of the modern myth claim were already in the field.

After months of heated debate, a severely watered-down version of this proposal became Confederate law in March of 1865. Gen. Richard S. Ewell assumed responsibility for implementing it, and Confederate officials and journalists confidently predicted the enlistment of thousands. But the actual results proved bitterly disappointing. A dwarf company or two of black hospital workers was attached to a unit of a local Richmond home guard just a few weeks before the war's end. The regular Confederate army apparently managed to recruit another 40 to 60 men -- men whom it drilled, fed, and housed at military prison facilities under the watchful eyes of military police and wardens -- reflecting how little confidence the government and army had in the loyalty of their last-minute recruits.

This strikingly unsuccessful last-ditch effort, furthermore, constituted the sole exception to the Confederacy's steadfast refusal to employ African American soldiers. As Gen. Ewell's longtime aide-de-camp, Maj. George Campbell Brown, later affirmed, the handful of black soldiers mustered in Richmond in 1865 were "the first and only black troops used on our side."

The writer is a professor of history and African American studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

There's plenty here: THE MYTH OF THE “”blackconfeds”" PAGE.

Only slightly digressively, I quite recommend Reconstruction: The Second Civil War, the film and website. Try some other Southern myths on for size.

But let's further discuss this The Black Confederate Brigade in the Civil War:
Once a Possibility, Now a Myth that Won’t Die
:

An undying legend that emerged out of the ashes of the bitter defeat of the Confederacy in the Civil War is the myth of the Black Confederate Brigade.

A lot of praise continues to be given to the black men who purportedly volunteered to fight to save the Confederacy from the predatory designs of the rapacious North. Old Court House Museum curator Gordon Cotton of Vicksburg claims that “in the siege lines around Vicksburg (in 1863), the only black soldiers were in Confederate uniform.”

In 1907, the United Daughters of the Confederacy began laying out plans to erect a monument “to the faithful Negro slave.” Even today, a small but vocal faction of Southern historians, like Cotton, heap undue praise on “the Negro Confederate,” to the detriment of the black troops who actually fought on the side of the victorious North in Abraham Lincoln’s “war to save the Union.”

While it is established fact that 175 black regiments (known both as the United States Colored Troops and The African Brigades), consisting of more than 200,000 troops who fought valiantly for their own emancipation on the side of the Union, there is no evidence of any such numbers coming to the support of the South in the Civil War. The bitter fact of history, says Columbia University historian Eric F. Foner, is that the South had no black fighting units or any kind of formal organization for black troops at any point during the war.

Cleburne’s Proposal
There was, however, at least one serious proposal for a Black Confederate Army Brigade made by the South’s Major General Patrick R. Cleburne. Cleburne was a general in the Irish Army and volunteered to serve the Confederacy after the Civil War actually began in April of 1861. Meeting with nearly half of Jefferson Davis’ top generals at Tunnel Hill, Georgia, on January 2, 1864, Cleburne advised his fellow Confederate commanders that “we immediately commence training a large reserve of the most courageous of our slaves” and that “we guarantee freedom within a reasonable time to every slave in the South who shall remain true to the Confederacy in this war.”

Cleburne at first had the firm support of General Joseph E. Johnston, the South’s second most powerful general after Robert E. Lee. Johnston, in fact, had assembled the generals in his headquarters on the night of January 2, where the proposal was first laid out. Some of the generals there later claimed that they objected to the basic idea of arming black men and liberating them for their service to the South, but nearly all of the 15 top officers at the meeting praised Cleburne for laying out his bold blueprint for victory for the South.

The reaction from Jefferson Davis and his Secretary of War, James A. Seddon, was a blanket rejection. Despite what they saw as the “patriotic intents of the gallant author of the memorial and such of his brother officers as may have favored his opinions,” they ordered an immediate “suppression, not only of the memorial itself, but likewise of all discussion and controversy respecting or growing out of it.”

Southern Losses
Surveying the manpower needs of the Confederate forces at the end of 1864, Jefferson Davis called for recruitment of every able-bodied white male into the ranks. He wanted wagon drivers, nurses, cooks and field support people to be converted to soldiers. “No effort must be spared to add to our effective force,” Davis told his general staff.

Cleburne and the other generals, however, viewed the problem as one without solution along the lines proposed by the commander in chief.

“The supply from all these sources,” Cleburne wrote, “together with what we now have in the field will exhaust the white race, and though it should greatly exceed expectations and put us on an equality with the enemy, or even give us temporary advantages, still we have no reserve to meet unexpected disaster or to supply a protracted struggle.” By the end of 1864, he predicted, increasing casualties would consume all the fresh recruits brought in under the Davis plan.

“To meet the causes which are now threatening ruin to our country,” Cleburne said, “we propose…that we retain in service for the war all troops now in service and that we immediately commence training a large reserve of the most courageous of our slaves and further that we guarantee freedom within a reasonable time to every slave in the South who shall remain true to the Confederacy in this war.”

The end of slavery was a given, suggested Cleburne, a freeborn Irishman who had fought against Irish subservience to the British in his own land. Apparently, some, if not all, of the generals and second-tier officers in Johnston’s western command agreed with Cleburne’s reasoning concerning emancipation for potential black recruits and their families. Although no one other than Cleburne signed the proposal, they reached a consensus on agreeing to have General Johnston send the proposal on to Richmond to be read by Jefferson Davis and his Secretary of War.

“As between the loss of independence and the loss of slavery,” Cleburne said, “we assume that every patriot will freely give up the latter---give up the Negro slave rather than be a slave himself.”

Cleburne’s African Brigade: Cleburne’s “Memorial,” as it has come to be known to history, was one of the most insightful discussions of the war conditions in the South, which had been set on a losing track since the incorporation of Black troops in the northern ranks in April and May of 1863. The June 7, 1863, victory won by black troops at Milliken’s Bend across the river from Vicksburg only weeks before the city capitulated to Grant, had driven the point home to the Confederates.

“The experience of this war” Cleburne observed, “has been so far that half-trained Negroes have fought as bravely as many other half-trained Yankees.” He also cited the past history of the black slaves of Haiti and of Jamaica, who both had defeated the professional armies of their European masters.
The role of black troops had now become a considerable factor in future plans for both sides in the Civil War. So far, the North had recruited and armed 100,000 black men. Cleburne proposed that a force of at least 300,000 black Confederate troops would shift the power balance to the side of the South. “The immediate effect of the emancipation and enrollment of Negroes on the military strength of the South would be to enable us to have armies numerically superior to those of the North and a reserve of any size we might think necessary; to enable us to take the offensive, move forward and forage on the enemy.”
In the face of this plan, Cleburne reasoned, the North would see its recruitment ground dried up. The avarice of the slave owner, whose interests lay in cooperating with whichever side ruled the farms where they were located, would be put at an end. The black spies used by the North would no longer be available. And, most of all, the threat of insurrection on the part of hostile black slaves, would no longer be a palpable threat.

Black Freedom

Black freedom would be the reward given for loyal support, according to Cleburne’s plan.
“The slaves are dangerous now,” he said, “but armed, trained and collected in an army they would be a thousand-fold more dangerous. Therefore, when we make soldiers of them we must make free men of them beyond all question.” Winning the loyalty of the black troops by granting them freedom will guarantee the advantage to the South.”
“We can do this more effectively than the North can now do,” Cleburne reasoned. “For we can give the Negro not only his own freedom, but that of his wife and child, and can secure it to him in his old home.” By this, Cleburne suggested that land and homesteads would be also granted to the former slaves.
“Satisfy the Negro that if he faithfully adheres to our standard during the war, he shall receive his freedom and that of his race,’ Cleburne said.
“By emancipating the whole race upon reasonable terms, and within such reasonable time as will prepare both races for the change, we will secure to ourselves all the advantages and to our enemies all the disadvantages that can arise both at home and abroad, from such a sacrifice.”
With worldwide anti-slavery sentiment on its side, the North had been able to recruit new troops from among European volunteers, which supplied them with “a courage and constancy” that go beyond their personal will or strength. The North’s anti-slavery crusade, Cleburne said, “is the most powerful and honestly entertained plank in their war platform. Knock this away and what is left? A bloody ambition for more territory, a pretended veneration for the Union, and the poisonous and selfish interests which are the fungus growth of war itself.”
Take away that one great advantage---the fight for the black man’s freedom---that was serving to advance the Northern cause and the world would probably withdraw its wholehearted support, he concluded.
“The measure we propose will strike dead all John Brown fanaticism,” Cleburne said, “and will compel the enemy to draw off altogether or in the eyes of the world to swallow the Declaration of Independence without the source and disguise of philanthropy. This delusion of fanaticism at an end, thousands of Northern people will have leisure to look at home and to see the gulf of despotism into which they themselves are rushing.”
The Cleburne proposal for a Black Confederate Brigade of perhaps 300,000 troops was swiftly put aside by the top civilian command, President Jefferson Davis and Secretary of War Seddon, within days of their receiving notice of it. The response from Richmond was dated January 31, 1864, 29 days after it was first broached as an idea. None of the 15 or so top officers who had studied the “Memorial” with a fine-tooth comb and who had embraced its principles was punished. They were simply ordered to put the “memorial” aside and to cease discussing it.
“The measures advocated in the memorial are considered to be little appropriate for consideration in military circles,” the secretary of war instructed his generals. Cleburne’s ideas “pass beyond the bounds of Confederate action” and could put in jeopardy “the unity and harmony” then existing between the Confederate States and the people therein.
Cleburne was killed in action in the battle of Franklin in late 1864. It was only after the South was assured of losing at about the time of Appomattox in April, 1865, that a consideration of some of his ideas were once again brought up for discussion. But it was then too late to muster and train the black Confederate troops that might have saved the South.
The document known as “Cleburne’s Memorial” was so successfully suppressed by the Confederate command that it was almost lost to history. “All known copies were destroyed, and all officers privy to it were forbidden to discuss it,” one historian points out. In 1888, one of the surviving officers, a Major Benham, left the only extant copy among his papers after his death.
The retrieval of the document from the obscure recesses of Southern history is concrete proof of the Southerner’s awareness of the evil of slavery, even while fighting to preserve it through total war. The idea of granting freedom to the slave in order to preserve the master’s independence provided a logical argument for putting an end to the peculiar institution. The great failure of the top leadership of the South was that it did not submit to human logic or reason.
It was Jefferson Davis himself who ordered the end of the dream of a Black Confederate Brigade almost immediately upon receiving the proposal in February 1864. No further discussion of arming black men to fight for the Confederacy was allowed by the commander in chief until late March and early April of 1865, three weeks before the end. Lee surrendered at Appomattox on April 10, 1865. And the Civil War officially ended on May 10, 1865.
Note: The full text of the Cleburne “Memorial” is found in the official OCR documentation of the War of the Rebellion.

But wait, let's look at some official documents of the Confederated States of America government!
House and Senate Bills

a) CSA House of Rep. - On Feb. 10, 1863 - The Confederate House of Representatives resolves that "the enlistment of Negroes as soldiers" is against the constitution of the Confederate States. http://www.templeofdemocracy.com/BlkConfedCongRec.htm

b) CSA Senate - April 30, 1863 - passed a resolution that white officers of American black troops, or any white person involved at all in preparing them to be soldiers, should be put to death if captured. They also resolved that black troops captured should be sold into slavery, regardless whether they had been free or formerly slaves. On May 1, 1863 the Confederate House of Representatives passed the same resolution. http://www.templeofdemocracy.com/BlkConfedCongRec.htm

c) CSA House of Rep. - May 1, 1863 - "to employ negroes in war against the Confederate States" as "inconsistent with the spirit of those usages which in modern warfare prevail among civilized nations,"

d) Committee on Military affairs - Feb. 12, 1864 - "to the consideration of the bill (H.R. 107) to increase the efficiency of the army by the employment of free negroes and slaves in certain capacities." The vote is 7 yeas to 7 nays for a tie.

e) CSA House of Rep. - Nov 8, 1864 – “Until our white population shall prove insufficient for the armies we require and can afford to keep in the field, to employ as a soldier the negro, who has merely been trained to labor, and as a laborer the white man accustomed from his youth to firearms' would neither be wise nor advantageous.”

f) CSA House of Rep. - Jan 25, 1865 - A joint resolution “condemning the use of negroes as soldiers in the Confederate Army” referred to the Committee on Military Affairs.

There's more at that page!

We could go on discussing it. Would you like monographs, books, how many hundred thousands of words of professional military history on the topic, please?

Are "people here" actually much up on their military history of the Civil War?

Answer: mixed bag. Nobody knows everything, but there are a hell of a lot of things people believe that aren't so.

Like all this nonsense about African-American troops fighting for the confederacy. Are we done on that one now, or shall we discuss it further? How much further? How many more cites would you like?

What a useless snot you are.
John, this is not an argument. Please make arguments. Thanks.

DBM:

One is led to believe that either Mr. Farber really is thinking in simple black-and-white terms and projected motivations, or he needs a better editor.
I'm led to believe you are rather confused. What comment of mine are you referring to?

I also yet again point to The Posting Rules which have been on the upper left sidebar of this blog since, as they plainly say, December 01, 2003. Thanks for reading them, following them, and perhaps also reading words such as "Guest Post by HK, not by Gary Farber" which lead off this post, and words such as "Guest Post by HK, not by Gary Farber," which close this post. I'm doubtful that repeating the posting rules yet again, given that they've appeared on every single post at this blog for over seven years, or posting yet again the credits for this post, will be helpful, but I direct your attention to these facts, nonetheless.

Thanks for any attention you can indeed address to them.

I'd also, as usual, suggest we try to discuss issues and facts, not personalities. Thanks!

Once more: Posting Rules:

Be reasonably civil.

No profanity. For the record, 'hell', 'damn' and 'pissed' are not considered 'profanity' for the purposes of this rule; also for the record, the more offensive racial slurs and epithets will be deemed to 'profanity' for the purposes of this rule

Don't disrupt or destroy meaningful conversation for its own sake.

Do not consistently abuse or vilify other posters for its own sake.

[...]

Lastly, just a reminder that Left and Right have very broad definitions and that people are going to take it personally if you inform them that of course all Xs eat babies, should they themselves be Xs (or Ys trying to keep things cool).

This includes "Teatards."

Laura Koerbeer, please also note the Banning Policy.

Both these sets of rules need to be updated a bit, but meanwhile, they are what they are. Anyone has been given reason to consider the possibility that they might have violated the Posting Rules is directed to please read, such as they are, the Banning Rules.

The relevant, not dated part, is that you should please consider yourselves Warned to not again violated the Posting Rules, at risk of the Posting Rules and Banning Rules being enforced.

I direct everyone's attention to the non-dated, relevant portion of the latter:

Although pointing out when a commenter is violating the posting rules in an ongoing thread is every participant's best tool to help bring civility back to a discussion, if commenters wish to recommend a banning, per se, we ask that they do so via email. That helps take it offline and makes the roles of the authors in the banning process clearer to everyone.

We now we return to our regularly scheduled squabbling.

UPDATE: An appeal to a banning should cover 1) why the banning was uncalled for and 2) what the commenter will do to help prevent a similar situation from arising moving forward.

That address, as stated unde the kitty, where the words "Email Me" may be read is, yet again: obsidianinfo at yahoo dot com

Use it as necessary, preferablly no more or less.

Thanks to all. If people have complaints, then please do use the email address; we don't promise instant replies; goodness knows we've had a few... delays in the system, at times, but we do try to live up to our posted standards, and try not to be hypocrites, within the limitations of a changing set of front pagers, and individual interpretations of policies, so please do use the email address to either point to perceived violations of the Rules, or, if you're banned, appeal your banning, but also rest assured that any bannings will be publically announced, and that mere Typepad glitches are NOT BANNINGS, and please do not bombard the email address with demands to know why you've been banned unless you actually have received email saying you've been banned, and/or have read a public announcment of such.

To say this is rare is an understatement.

And I do repeat that an update of all this is in the works when we can get to it.

Meanwhile, I doubt I'm going to stay conscious longer tonight to make my way through the rest of this thread, let alone any others, so do use the email address as necessary.

Thanks to all for cooperatoin in helping make Obsidian Wings a community where kittens and puppies can hiss and claw, but also not run with scissors, because you can put an eye out with those things.

Thank you.

President Obama receives 30 death threats a day, since we're keeping count, and that's not counting the veiled threats from the floor of the House of Representatives or Sharron Angle's political campaign.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/barackobama/5967942/Barack-Obama-faces-30-death-threats-a-day-stretching-US-Secret-Service.html

A) going to a British newspaper for reporting on American politics without filtering for ignorance and laziness is like going to a Pakistani paper for news on (I'm tempted to say anything, but let's say "India,"), B) Toby Harnden sucks as a reporter; c) I refuted all this stuff in a long comment last week.
d) Even the link goes to a story from 03 Aug 2009, which isn't very recent, even if the reporting wasn't shite, even if the source was reliable, even if the claim were true.

Just because we want to believe something doesn't make it so.

I'll also mention yet again that would work a lot better if you'd actually link, given how you drop in cut and pastes approximately every other post, dozens of times a day.

This is a wonderful contribution, and I love it, but it makes for a heck of a lot of extra time in the day constantly having to go do your links for you. I realize this is ObWi's fault for not having a post-2003 template, but we're working on it, and I probably should be finding the widget now, as well as working on the FAQs as well as trying to do the posts I'm trying to do, as well as as well as.

Few people will even click on links, so giving these cut and pastes are kinda futile, though naturally my saying so will generate the smattering of people will do cut and paste to emerge to refute someone because the best way to generate a response on the internet is to say something someone can can say Is Wrong. Thus I generate more comments for this thread, yay!

Meanwhile, please read this and following comments; thanks! I'm surely not going to retype it all.

Meanwhile: This is a "dead link." It's the URL most folks know how to cut and paste. It's not clickble: http://werbach.com/barebones/barebones.html

This is the active link version:

Barebones Guide To HTML and Tags.

How To Link:

http://werbach.com/barebones/barebones.html#links

Link tags.

TEXT

< >

<A HREF="URL">TEXT</a>

< A HREF="URL" > TEXT < /A >

OR:

left angle bracket A HREF ="URL"right angle bracket
left angle bracket TEXT /A right angle bracket

[A HREF="URL"]TEXT[/A]

Substitute pointy bracket for rectangular bracket

Special characters = Special Characters, including pointy brackets.

< <
> >

bc: But saying "this is what democracy looks like" while a) senators leave the state; b) protesters threaten members of the legislature; and c) counter views are derided as some sort of bigotry (because it's a civil rights issue, you know) is just too much. This is a shakedown, a tantrum and a derailment of democracy all rolled into one.

No, it's civil disobedience. The shakedown/tantrum/derailment of democracy would be Scott Walker's refusal to negotiate in good faith, his threats to call in the National Guard, the Republican voting tactics (e.g. calling a vote during a recess, holding votes in violation of the Open Meetings Law), physically barring Democratic Assembly members from access to the Assembly on the day of the vote, etc.

One thing that still bothers me is this: Unless the retirement plans are unfair, not being able to bargain on it harms nobody. It can still be changed, it just takes more political pressure. The biggest thing that changes the amount of retirement is salary, and that can still be bargained for.

The Constitution can still be changed, it just takes more political pressure. Is it appropriate, then, that all budgetary discussions be held to the same standard?

The whole point in taking retirement off the table is that it is painstakingly clear when you bargain what the impact is going to be right now.

No. The whole point in taking retirement off the table is to be able to massively underpay (or undercompensate, if you prefer) public employees. The example that's oft-cited is healthcare; by removing the ability to negotiate for health care, the Republicans hope to be able to offer minor raises in base salary that don't keep pace with the costs of health care, hence giving public employees a de facto pay cut.

[And to be clear, this is more-or-less what the Republican negotiators said to my union when they were stripping us of our zero-premium health care, one of the few genuinely good benefits we had. They've not been subtle about this at all.]

Ditto on retirement monies. The goal isn't to compensate public employees fairly but under a different distribution; the goal is to grind them -- or at least the ones that vote Democratic -- into oblivion. Again, this has been explicitly stated. And (as I noted in an earlier screed) the Republicans on JCOER have clearly demonstrated their bad faith in union negotiations time and time again.

Or maybe it's the working conditions. Although I have read nothing on that.

I don't know whether articles have been written on this, but I can tell you that local teachers are deathly afraid that union-based protections like class size, etc, are going to be put on the chopping block in future contracts. Why not? They're no longer negotiable.

I was referring to things like death threats and the pounding on the windows of Fitzgerald's residence at 6 a.m. and this and this and this.

The death threats are beyond the pale, I agree, though I'm fairly sure the Wisconsin 14 have had more credible threats made against them. [Some by Scott Walker, actually.] As to the two videos... Christ, what a whiner. We do worse to each other at Badger games. My god, if we spontaneously broke out in "Eat Sh**/F*** you" -- which we do at every single game -- I do believe the little babies might actually cry...

Also, from another post:

I read parts of the bill and saw several provisions that clearly stated the bill would affect only new contracts... It was one of Walker's points: that unions were not in fact agreeing to the cuts they said they had "offered" (although the ones saying they had offered the cuts were statewide and most of the contracts passed were local).

Gaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

Let's try this again:

1) No contracts between the state and the union are binding through the subsequent biennium. None. They are renegotiated every two years (or 2.5-3 when Republicans are in office). I believe that's a larger requirement of Wisconsin's budget but I've only interacted with the union contract portion thereof.

2) What the unions put on the table was to agree to all of Walker's proposed cuts for the next biennium. They reserved the right to renegotiate in the subsequent biennium because, well, that's how it works in Wisconsin.

3) Walker and the Republicans claimed that this was inadequate because the fiscal health of the state required unions to be stripped over their rights to negotiate for their compensation. As a fiscal measure, this proposal had to be included in a fiscal (here, budget) bill, which required the larger quorum, hence the Wisconsin 14 et al.

4) The Republicans then proved they were lying when they broke this provision off as a separate bill that was deemed non-fiscal and, in violation of the Open Meetings law, rammed it through regardless.

[Incidentally, if I read the timestamp right, this is why the Republicans are being "harrassed" with cries of "SHAME!" in that first video you linked. They basically admitted they were lying the whole time, and quite possibly broke the law in their attempts to pass the f***ing thing. If being called on this makes them cry, tough.]


Copied from Balloon Juice concerning the "Financial Martial Law" about to be passed by Republicans in Michigan.

"This legislation – which allows the Governor to declare financial emergencies and appoint individuals or corporations to serve as city managers with the power to dissolve local elected councils and nullify employment contracts for public servants – is the first step in an effort to do away with municipal and local government altogether in favor of quite literally having private enterprises replacing government and contracting out its functions to the lowest bidder. How beautiful it will be: Wackenhut cops and local jails, Waste Management goons collecting trash, utilities sold off to Aqua America and Exelon, tax assessments mailed to homeowners from a financial services boiler room in Bangalore, and municipal employees of all types fired and replaced by temps from Manpower, Inc.

Gives a new and literal meaning to the phrase “company town,” doesn’t it? And the kicker is that the Governor is empowered to pay the new city managers any amount he sees fit before turning over total control so that they may further profit from a variety of harebrained privatization schemes."

So let the rationalizing continue!

1. Nitpick, quibble, split hairs to make this look like it isn't as bad as it is.

2. Refuse to connect this to the deliberate creation of deficits in twelve other states by Republican-led legislatures for the purpose of using their deficit to destroy the social fabric of their states. Refuse to connect this with the deliberate creation of a national deficit by the Republican party at the federal level.

3.Rationalize that just because one personally doesn't support this and the mulitpilcity of other Repulblican extremist policies that it is OK to vote for politicians that do.

4. Invoke an ideology as if an ideology is more important than real people or as if the adherence to an ideology absolves one of responsiblity for the effect that ideology has whhen turned into policy.

5. get all philosophical and pretend the converastion is about the hypothetcal effects of hypothetical theories instead of about how a political party is systematically attackinng not only the standard of living of fellow citizens but the processes of democracy.

6. Demonize. All those people being screwed over deserve it.

7. ignore context and facts and glibly dismiss it all as no big deal.

8. Pretend that billionaires invest in Republican politicians out of alturism with no expectation of buying inflluence.

9. change the subject

10. Accuse Deomcrats of doing what Republicans have been doing for years while continuing pretend away Republican tactics.

Republican politicians could not succeed at their devide and conquer techiniques, get away with their lies, or pass their extremist legislation if it wasn't for the poeple who engage in the sort of self-serving, self-indulgent rationalizations demonstrated so many times on comment threads here.

Of course a person can be a bad citizen but a good neighbor or relative or employee or whatever. So what? The bad citizenship still hurts the other citizens. For a person, from the safety of his or her own security to rationtionalize support for the party and politcians who are attacking the security of other Americans is shameless selfishness and bad behavior. That those individuals are nice to their neighbors isn't relevant to my point. My point that is in interms of their citizenship, in terms of their participation in government people, people who vote for Republicans seem to be incapable of caring about anyone they aren't personally acquainted with and that is bad citizenship.

Out here in my state those altruistic billinaires invested heavily in a TV campaign of lies and successfully bamboozled voters inot passing one of those California style anti-revenue iniatives. As a result there are no longer sufficient funds for anything including care for the disabled. As a result an old lady who worked all of her life and paid taxes all of her life and who is now bedridden with rhuematoid arthritis is having her care cut back. If she dies of an impacted colonthe people who vote for Republicans will probably rationalize that away too. Or maybe they will be honest like the Repulbican politican who said tht disabled people should be sent off ot Siberia. In any case if she dies she will be one less American for people who vote for Republicans to use as target for their selfishness.


I'm done with the polite fiction that peole who vote for Republicans are just nice folks with a different point of view because the different point of view is just that they don't give a shit about anyone they aren't acquainted with and so long as Republicans aren't screwing them they are willing to collaborate in the screwing of others.


I'm done now. It's been a wonderful five or six years. Take care of yourself, Gary, and Bedtime, if you read this, I hope you and your dogs and your family will see better times, although if the people who vote for Republicans have their way, you won't.

Goodby.


Wonkie

The law wonkie refers to is here.

It repeals and replaces this.

The careful (and patient) reader will note that the new law allows for government functions to be contracted out to private actors.

Read'em and weep.

For a variety of reasons, I feel obliged to not make political issues personal.

But it's also clear to me that a huge amount of the impetus behind "fiscal responsibility" etc comes from the greed of private actors who either want to be free from public regulation and oversight, or who want a chance to become the new private owners of what used to be public functions and institutions.

There are a lot of greedy f**kers in the world, and I sure as hell am not talking about WI public employees. It behooves us all to watch our backs, personally *and* collectively.

You can love money, or you can love your neighbors and the given world, but you can't love both. So say I, and it certainly is not original with me.

I and I (how Rasta) would guess many of you have heard the argument that the states are great places to try things out before doing them on the national level. When the grand experiment in privatization of public functions fails in Michigan, I hope the rest of the country takes notice, and that it all happens before too many people get hurt. I'm glad that it's not my state signing up to be the guinea pig.

Is there a non-Balloon-Juice write up the Michigan law, cause it really sounds like whole lots of awesome. I look forward to outsourcing the judiciary.

If you google around for Michigan HB 4124 2011 you will find a lot of discussion.

Something to note about the bill is that the authority for the governor to, basically, take over the financial affairs of a local government was already in place with the prior law.

The new law expands the authority of the "emergency manager" role somewhat, and allows for employing private companies to act as auditors and to provide services. I don't see that in the old law.

So, the "fiscal martial law" aspect of it was already in place. I'm not sure if the residents of MI were aware of that.

HSH
WI is not a guinea pig with Walker laws, the whole lot of southern states have had same laws for years and you can check the stats on the results. South states are in the same debt as any other states, less health coverage, more poor, smaller incomes and worse education scores, hence voting more for republicans.

Wonkie, don't go. Or if you do, know that I at least will miss you.

Russell, I don't take it personally that you don't share my view about the overlap between the personal and the political. I am willing to see it as a mere political disagreement :)

--TP

Russell, I don't take it personally that you don't share my view about the overlap between the personal and the political.

Dude, stack overflow!

Also:

Wonkie, don't go.

Seconded.

Me too.

Wonkie don't go.

Shane!

On the other hand, the Galts are going.

Secession is in the air.

They've left us.

So, why shouldn't the Wonkies go too?

Two countries can play that game.

Look, thank you.

But I really better take a time out for a while. I don't feel like being polite so it is better to take a break on my own than to get kicked out. To quote the song, I wanna to right but not right now.

So take care of yourselves. Except for you all who rationalize rightwing thuggery. Karma to you.

Wonkie

But I really better take a time out for a while.

A time out is one thing. Just come back some day (not too long from now).


"So, the "fiscal martial law" aspect of it was already in place. I'm not sure if the residents of MI were aware of that."

Thanks for pointing this out russell, I
didn't want to be the one to do it based on stress in wonkies comment. The new law does expand some of the governors ability around who to appoint as the emergency manager, but, more important, places extra restrictions on the local officials in doing things while the emergency is in place.

I don't know if this is in response to local officials trying to get around an emergency situation or just an expansion of executive authority(not unique in our country), but it certainly is not a new concept in total in MI.


I think my biggest beef with all this talk of poor, or middle class, or wealthy is that both sides turn the debate about anything into a sort of class struggle. There really isn't that sort of difference in the country. Sure, some people make more money than others. Some make very little while some make obscene amounts. But when you get people in this country together, there is little to do with class involved. It is an imaginary conflict between groups of people that aren't that easy to define. As far as I'm concerned (and this is coming from someone who would at best be considered lower middle class, but more accurately poor), I don't care how much money you have or how much I don't have. And I don't propose that people with ridiculous amounts of money pay more taxes so that I can be better taken care of. Between my wife and I, we barely make enough to pay our bills, buy groceries and keep gas in the car. (I confess that we own 2 cars, but one is a base model Altima and the other a base model Versa) My point is, I don't have a Tea Party affiliation, but I do agree with a lot of what they stand for. Some of it is hypocritical, such as wanting a limited government but not wanting to sacrifice any social security benefits or medicare, but all in all, it's a pretty solid group. And I want to know why it's so wrong for states to take away bargaining rights for public unions. The majority of the people in the United States don't even belong to a union, yet they pay the taxes that subsidize all the public unions benefits? How is that fair? I've learned to be a lot more moderate about things, but this union business seems a little out of control.

And I don't propose that people with ridiculous amounts of money pay more taxes so that I can be better taken care of.

Well, Brad, it ain't all about you. Public money pays for a very broad range of things. "Do we need to take care of Brad" is not necessarily the critical metric.

wonkie:

But I really better take a time out for a while. I don't feel like being polite so it is better to take a break on my own than to get kicked out. To quote the song, I wanna to right but not right now.
Time outs make sense for all of us some of the time. Some don't announce them, and just aren't here 24 hours a day. :-)

But we all get enraged at what we should get enraged at, and it's often hard not to want to shout at what or who is in front of us.

Take whatever time you need, wonkie, but know that you are a much loved figure here, and we look forward to your return when you feel more happy chatting and talking with less of your perfectly understandable rage at the awful things that happen making you feel it's difficult to converse.

Yes, we do believe in arguing with each other here, and with those not of like mind.

That's hard, but that's also politics. If we're just an echo chamber: what's the point? The point of politics is to change minds, not feel good and self-righteous. And I say this as someone as prone to the next person to engage in self-righteous denunciation.

But we also can't change anyone's minds if we don't understand why they think the way they do. It's not willful evil.

And I believe in nonviolent change, unless self-defense as an absolute last resort forces otherwise.

Though I have to say that Emma Goldman's “I Will Kill Frick”: Emma Goldman Recounts the Attempt to Assassinate the Chairman of the Carnegie Steel Company During the Homestead Strike in 1892 has been on my mind.

Not that I think anyone should kill anyone. But Emma Goldman was fascinating, and everyone should know the history of the naked battles between capital and workers that aren't so long ago, and live on today.

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