The DHS Outrage. If the Shoe Fits…

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It’s been a busy couple of weeks on the Fauxrage Watch, but there’s no rest for either the wicked or the easily amused. Today’s edition comes from the continuing outburst of indignation over a Department of Homeland Security report (download the .pdf) which warned law enforcement groups about potential “right wing extremists” who may be planning mayhem on the home front. At the risk of being labeled (yet again) some sort of far Left sympathizer, I feel compelled to point out the likely intentional misreading of this, the obvious fauxrage and a brief lesson from the school of “what goes around, comes back around again.”

First, two disclaimers regarding both the title and the banner. For the title, the phrase “if the shoe fits” is generally taken to mean that you’re referring to the person who is offended. (“Who are you calling stupid!?” “Hey, if the shoe fits…”) Not in this case. The point here is that if a label offends you, perhaps you should stop to check and see if that label was really meant to apply to you before you fly off the handle. The shoe in question might have been meant for somebody else.

As to the banner, why is this a case of Obama Derangement Syndrome and not DHS Derangement Syndrome? Because the winner of this edition of the Fauxrage Follies is none other than Michelle Malkin, who cleverly titles her personal piece of pestilence, Obama DHS hit job on conservatives is real. Congratulations, Michelle. Enjoy your award. (Please see the full spread at Memeorandum for the rest of the enraged, offended mob.

So what is it in this report that has the usual list of suspects up in arms? You can download the report or browse the sites yourself for the full measure of atrocity and insult these poor paragons of Right wing fortitude have endured, but here are just a few snippets from the DHS poison pen.

a rise in “rightwing extremist activity,” saying the economic recession, the election of America’s first black president and the return of a few disgruntled war veterans could swell the ranks of white-power militias.

“It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration,”

The possible passage of new restrictions on firearms and the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.

They also mention the tendency towards additional unrest during times of economic hardship. In order to argue against this you would have to believe that such incidents don’t rise during recessions and high unemployment. (Obviously, they do.) You would have to think that either white supremecy groups don’t exist or that they couldn’t be exercised by the election of a black president. It defies belief.

What excuse is provided for this discontinuity? That the DHS didn’t provide specific instances or of known threats currently in progress. Really? That’s your reason? So if they do know of credible plans in progress, they should send them out where the media might get hold of them? And even if not, might they not begin monitoring such groups more closely at a time like this? It boggles the mind.

The real kicker is the horrible “slight” done to veterans. (And yes, I am one, thanks. And you’re welcome.) Here’s our good friend Ed Morrissey at Hot Air on this hot button issue:

Gee, it could lead? What evidence does DHS have of this? Oh, yeah, Timothy McVeigh was a veteran … and that’s it. I’m not joking:

That could be a somewhat compelling element if McVeigh actually was the only one. Unfortunately, only a few hours after he wrote these remarks, I was sitting in on Ed’s daily show when Audrey Hudson of the Washington Times unexpectedly stopped by. (Audrey penned her own column on these atrocities today.) It was Ms. Hudson who helpfully pointed out that her background research indicated roughly two hundred cases of veterans who engaged in such violent, criminal activity.

She’s absolutely correct to point out that 200 is a minuscule number compared to the millions of veterans we have. But the issue remains. This isn’t a slam against veterans, thank you. It’s a sad fact that some people who return from combat suffer from PTSD or other lingering effects, may suffer economic hardship, drug problems, and generally have extensive weapons training and experience in combat. This makes them extremely tempting recruitment targets for some of the most violent fringe groups. Why on Earth would the DHS not be monitoring these hate groups to see if they seem to be targeting any veterans?

We could go on, but the bottom line to this is quite simple. You’re all offended because the report used the phrase “right wing” in it. Well guess what? There are only two wings handy for such references unless you’ve got a third hand the rest of us didn’t get in on. If liberal groups that support gay rights, civil rights for blacks etc. are referred to as “Left wing” groups, what would you call groups that target and kill gays and blacks?

Unfortunately they pick up the term Right wing. And that’s extreme Right wing. Do any of you think of yourselves as extremists? No? Then they’re not talking about you. Now stop and think back on how many times you’ve made reference to fringe Left wing groups like ALF and ELF and the rest of the whack jobs. Did you feel bad about saying Left wing then? Don’t flinch. I’ve seen pretty much all of you use the phrase and hear it on a daily basis. Welcome to the party. Now some of these groups are in the spotlight and you get to enjoy the same broad brush your friends on the Left are constantly painted with.

And while you’re all busy dismissing the “one guy” in Pennsylvania (which nearly every Right winger on that Memeorandum list did) keep the following in mind: Yes, he was “one guy” who was espousing the extreme language of the furthest Right wing. So you think he’s the only “one guy” out there? Do you want the authorities to assume he’s the only “one guy” out there? Or do you think maybe they should be on the lookout in case there’s “one more guy” or one more after that?

The only way this isn’t Fauxrage is if you you think these extremist descriptions apply to you. If you don’t, then you’re dancing with straw men to score cheap political points. If you do, then I hope the DHS catches up with you before you kill someone.

(Fauxrage banner courtesy of T.G. Studios)

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  • http://polimom.com Polimom

    Dang, Jazz — I'm really very glad you posted this. I was about to write my first TMV post in many months. LOL!!!

    And boy oh boy, is the right blogosphere erupting. Malkin, in particular, is in fine fettle. However, I'd like to call attention to two conservative sites that are pushing back against the frothing tide today: LGF and Strata-Sphere.

    Good on 'em. Like Rick Moran, though, they're fighting a tough battle.

  • Braindead

    Frankly let me put it this way. The left loves blacks and gays. The RIGHT KILLS THEM.

    The left wing are good citizens. The RIGHT WING is evil war veterans with PTSD who come home and KILL PEOPLE>

    This is one of those posts referring to one of the government reports who is labeling people. Why is it that right wingers kill people and left wingers..um sing kumbayeah?

    I believe even our government has fallen into the labelling business which then becomes blanket inclusive. Thats my problem with this report and thats my problem with the American Government issuing a report in a polarized political atmosphere saying the “RIGHT” has probable cause to kill people.

    I submit that left, right, up or down…..when people begin blowing up people they left the expedient label behind when they began plotting the deed.

    This report is nothing more then a government run by democrats to further turn this nation FASCIST.

    Those righties are murderers now……even our government is now labelling us as such.

  • CStanley

    Do any of you think of yourselves as extremists? No? Then they’re not talking about you.

    Where have I heard that reassurance before? Oh, yeah, from Bush apologists who said that no one who's not a terrorist should worry about getting wiretapped.

    It really is quite amazing how all of the arguments simply turn on their heads when the party in the majority switches. We ought to just keep fill in the blank template blogposts handy for next time we have a transition in power.

  • http://themoderatevoice.com T_Steel

    The term “Right Wing Extremism” is not new. It's been used for years. For that term to now mean (according to the Right Punditsphere) “conservatives at large” in today's toxic political pool is insanely loopy at best and downright dangerous at worst. Michelle Malkin and Company should be ashamed of themselves (they won't be).

    I'm just shocked at how this as blown up. Should I be shocked? Or depressed?

  • Braindead

    Your point T_Steel is the point I was making.

    In this highly charged political atmosphere the government has the stupidity to use labels. Labeling the right wing as nuts who are most likely going to start killing people.

    Mr. Shaw is trying to put a spin on it. Trying in vain to defend the report when sometimes you just dont defend the indefensible.

    Don't worry Righties. If you are not a murdering savage the report does not target you. Yet in the subtle grand scheme of things to NON political junkies it takes one more chip out of the foundation that is the Right. Conservative.

    Essentially saying to these people…….Left is good. Right is bad.

    Political junkies know what they were TRYING TO SAY………Non political junkies know what they actually did say.

    Left is good……Right is bad.

  • http://themoderatevoice.com T_Steel

    @CStanley:

    Your so right. Downright depressing that your right.

  • http://themoderatevoice.com T_Steel

    Sorry Braindead. I just missed your earlier point. Too much computer time as wore me down.

  • GeorgeSorwell

    OMG!!!!

    It's practically libelous to say Jazz is simply flipping his template now that Democrats are in power.

    ROTFLMAO!!

  • http://www.blogtalkradio.com/msr Jazz

    Mr. Braindead manages to miss the entire point. Neither I nor the report is saying Left Good – Right Bad. They are identifying a group of known people who engage in extreme, frequently illegal and violent behavior. At T-Steel points out, these groups have been, for better or worse, labeled as extreme “right wing” groups. If you are a conservative, a Republican, a voter of whatever stripe getting involved in politics, voting, endorsing candidates, discussing issues, then you are not the tiny handful of people who are stockpiling guns, running sites like Stormfront, building compounds in the mountains and shooting the revenuers.

    THEY ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT YOU.

  • http://www.blogtalkradio.com/msr Jazz

    And as for George's comment, if you wish to feel I''m “flipping my template” you are free to do so. When the Republicans were running everything and the government did things I didn't care for, I published articles criticizing the Republicans. If the government goes astray as I see it now, who shall I take to task? The party that lost the White House and doesn't have enough votes to pass gas?

  • DaGoat

    Where have I heard that reassurance before? Oh, yeah, from Bush apologists who said that no one who's not a terrorist should worry about getting wiretapped.

    Or anyone who's not a terrorist shouldn't worry about the Federal government getting his library records.

    I am guessing the concern will be these kinds of reports will be used as a type of profiling, something that the right has generally been OK with and the left has abhorred.

  • GeorgeSorwell

    Jazz–

    In the interest of clarity, when I said it was practically libelous for anyone to think you'd gone into the tank for the Democrats are in charge, I was saying it was wrong of them to think that.

    And not just a little wrong–so wrong it's funny.

  • mark78

    Perhaps these hacks at DHS could name a specific plot instead of being Stalin level partisans in their use of LAW ENFORCEMENT to go after the opp party. Real liberals don't smear half the country as terrorists for disagreeing with high taxes and excessive government intrusion.

    If this country gets hit by REAL terrorists because of this BS heads need to roll.

    This report is why LEFT WING EXTREMISM is a threat to this country.

  • http://www.blogtalkradio.com/msr Jazz

    @GeorgeSorwell

    Ah, sorry George. My bad. I must be very tired after this day indeed. I don't mind when you criticize me.. I just want to make sure it's for the right reasons. :-)

  • http://polimom.com Polimom

    Methinks mark78 didn't read your whole post, Jazz. LOL!

  • D. E.Rodriguez

    I do not believe the DHS reports refers to law-abiding Americans, or Republicans or Democrats, or Conservatives, or Independents, or liberals, right wingers, or left wingers, or right wing conservatives, or left wing lliberals, or even right wing or left wing radicals or crazies. It refers to right wing extremists, just as reports have referred to left wing extremists.

    But since we are concerned about labeling people or groups, perhaps we should also address recent labels referrring to American Democrats/Liberals as socialists, Marxists, communists.

    Yes, I know, the “government” hasn't used these labels–but plenty of others have.

  • CStanley

    I don't think that my criticism generally applies to Jazz at all- but everyone has their moments. ;)

    Seriously though, I don't at all think that he is a spin meister- far from it. I was just pointing out that that one particular line of reasoning is the exact mirror of how people on the right perceived the criticisms of the NSA wiretapping.

    In both cases, there are some people that have legit concerns and some who are just paranoid- but it's not a very good argument to say “no worries if you aren't doing anything wrong, you have nothing to be concerned about” because a) civil liberties still apply to dissenters right up until the point that they cross the line from peaceful dissent to violence and b) the paranoia won't be assuaged by that line of reasoning because the fear is over how widely the net might be cast (what justifications might be used to profile or target individuals who are engaging in ordinary peaceful protest against the govt and not terroristic or revolutionary activities.

    Jazz is no hack and he's capable of much better reasoning than to use a line like that. I do apologize if it came across that I was accusing him of anything other than a brain lapse.

  • casualobserver

    Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents…………. rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority………based on this sentiment being defined by DHS as one form of rightwing extremism, then I will gladly identify myself, as well as my friends, Thomas, Benjamin and Patrick as guilty parties.

  • CStanley

    But since we are concerned about labeling people or groups, perhaps we should also address recent labels referrring to American Democrats/Liberals as socialists, Marxists, communists.

    Are we allowed to mention that one US Congressman calls himself a Democratic Socialist? I realize you're concerned about people using those terms loosely and prejoratively, DE, but those are actual political philosophies with which some Democrats/liberals in the US agree (at least with regard to socialism- Marxism and communism, not so much.)

  • D. E.Rodriguez

    CS: Sure you may address Representative Sanders as a Socialist (although he is a self-described democratic socialist, but appears as an independent on the ballot.

    But I don't think you should call other U.S. Senators and Congressmen/women socialists or marxists–as many are doing–for the purpose of denigrating them.

    But, feel free, it's a free country

  • HemmD

    If any of you quick to defend the label of right wing extremist, I suggest you have been pallin' around with the likes of Timothy McVeigh, the klu klux klan, and Jim David Adkisson. Adkisson is the guy who shot six in church because he wanted to kill liberals.

    Still feel like affiliating yourself with Right wing extremists? If your not into murder, I believe your not going to be watched. (except maybe you casual :)

  • HemmD

    CS

    Tell me the Republicans that are against the socialism of Medicare or the Tennessee Valley Authority?

    I know, these are not real socialist things. They are just an American effort to solve a problem that Republicans can get behind.

  • GeorgeSorwell

    CStanley–

    You might be surprised how many of the so-called red states get more federal money than they pay.

    Who are the real socialists?

  • Braindead

    Mr. Braindead manages to miss the entire point. Neither I nor the report is saying Left Good – Right Bad. They are identifying a group of known people who engage in extreme, frequently illegal and violent behavior.

    Actually I think you are missing the point of what your trying to defend.

    Why are militia's who stock up compounds in the moutains considered right wing? They believe in what that makes them right wing extremist? So if you come after them and they blow you up then you are a right wing extremist?

    Once again I dont miss the point of anything. I understand propoganda when I see it and this Homeland report is nothing but Propoganda intended to label the right as potential threats.

    No where do I find 99 percent of the right associated with what is considered right wing. But thats not the issue. The issue is to futher propogandize the right as potential threats and loons and nut jobs.

    Do we refer to drug dealers as left wing activists when they are engaged in illegal activity? After all more lefties believe in legalizing drugs then righties hence its a left wing activity.

  • CStanley

    Tell me the Republicans that are against the socialism of Medicare or the Tennessee Valley Authority?
    Is that a serious question? Reagan criticized the TVA if I'm not mistaken, and a lot of fiscal conservatives feel that Bush's expansion of Medicare was a disaster (I pretty much agree.)

    But if you're asking if these things could rightly be called examples of socialism, no, I wouldn't say that, and I don't know anyone of prominence who is doing so. I guess I'm really not understanding your point.

  • CStanley

    You might be surprised how many of the so-called red states get more federal money than they pay.
    No, not surprised, I've seen that many times.

    That's not socialism either, though it is hypocritical for some of the politicians who claim to believe in small federal govt to feed at the trough (and for some of the voters who encourage that.)

    Why is everyone lobbing these questions my way? Are you guys under the impression that I don't know the definition of socialism? Have I applied it incorrectly somewhere?

  • CStanley

    If any of you quick to defend the label of right wing extremist,

    No, I think it's a matter of how broadly the label is appllied. If left wing extremism concerns were expressed over anti-war rallies, I think people on the left would be right to have their antennas up (not to become paranoid, but just to pay attention to the development and any future ones)- and to some extent that's my reaction to this report. It doesn't mean much at all in and of itself, unless it becomes a trend to define right wing activism as a potential threat which could justify targeting of groups or individuals who shouldn't be targeted.

  • casualobserver

    You might be surprised how many of the so-called red states get more federal money than they pay.
    No, not surprised, I've seen that many times.

    George likes to trot out this canard often.

    Hurricane relief, large tracts of federal land and crop drought aid spread over small populations account for those states at the top. Yes, that certainly was greedy on the part of those citizens.

  • Braindead

    U//LES) Threats from white supremacist and violent antigovernment groups
    during 2009 have been largely rhetorical and have not indicated plans to carry
    out violent acts. Nevertheless, the consequences of a prolonged economic
    downturn—including real estate foreclosures, unemployment, and an inability
    to obtain credit—could create a fertile recruiting environment for rightwing
    extremists and even result in confrontations between such groups and
    government authorities similar to those in the past.
    — (U//LES) Rightwing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first
    African American president, and are focusing their efforts to recruit new
    members, mobilize existing supporters, and broaden their scope and appeal
    through propaganda, but they have not yet turned to attack planning.

    Why is it that a group of skin heads……who hate non whites is considered right wing? Does the Republican party hate non whites? Oh maybe they do. Thats why they are considered the haven for skin heads.

    And oh. All those regular republicans who lose their jobs are going to join the skin heads because thats secretly what we all believe in.

    The entire problem with this report is the simple labelling of these hateful groups as right wing.

    I repeat. Do we call drug dealers Left wing activists? Do we call those who believe in immigration….left wing activists?

    BUT….if you are opposed to immigration reform…..your a right wing extremist…….this is a piss poor report and its intended to stir bipartisan anger.

  • Braindead

    Incidently why do these red states get more money then the blue states?

    Simple…….they feed the nation.

  • HemmD

    Which part CS?

    Everybody pays in to take care of a smaller number of people.

    As to Reagan's criticism, is that when they voted to get rid of it? Did I miss those votes? So they criticized these entities but voted for them or left them intact.
    Again, you prefer to change common definitions coming from your side of the aisle when someone brings up a problem with your logic. George's link showing how many red states take in more than they give to the federal government is another good example. Your crowd has been calling the redistribution of wealth to socialism. Want to change this definition too?

  • GeorgeSorwell

    Casualobserver–

    Canard?

    You left bridges to nowhere off your list.

    To say the least.

    CStanley–

    You said this:

    I realize you're concerned about people using those terms loosely and prejoratively, DE, but those are actual political philosophies with which some Democrats/liberals in the US agree (at least with regard to socialism- Marxism and communism, not so much.)

    I added some emphasis to show why I asked you about socialism.

  • Braindead

    Historically, domestic rightwing extremists have feared, predicted, and
    anticipated a cataclysmic economic collapse in the United States. Prominent
    antigovernment conspiracy theorists have incorporated aspects of an impending
    economic collapse to intensify fear and paranoia among like-minded individuals and to
    attract recruits during times of economic uncertainty. Conspiracy theories involving
    declarations of martial law, impending civil strife or racial conflict, suspension of the
    U.S. Constitution, and the creation of citizen detention camps often incorporate aspects of
    a failed economy.

    More bogus hogwash by this report. The exact same thing they are claiming the rightwing extremists are saying is what I heard from the left wing during Bush's tenure. He's going to suspend the constitution, declare marshal law and become King Bush………The problem with this report is the continued use, over and over of the term…….. right wing.

    These groups are just plain nuts and why they keep using this term over and over is specifically for propoganda purposes. There was a strong personal bias in this report and The guy or gal who wrote this should be fired.

  • GeorgeSorwell

    Braindead–

    Then shouldn't they be getting enough money through the market? Why would they need extra federal money?

  • CStanley

    I wasn't aware that I am required to take responsibility for everything uttered by anyone to the right of center, Hemm. Do you wish to take resonsibility for everything said by the left?

    Have I called redistribution of wealth socialism?

    If not, why in the world should I have to defend my views based on something I never said?

    Now, if you ask me whether or not I think that the current administration favors wealth redistribution through the tax code, I would say yes (by Obama's own admission) and if you ask me if I agree with that policy I'd say no. But that's not socialism, and I haven't suggested that it is.

  • JSpencer

    Great post Jazz. Cutting to the chase in this cluttered and insecure political environment is no small feat. The sort of rightwing extremists the DHS is concerned about are real and dangerous people, not your average opinionated republican, or even your average libertarian idealist. There is hardly any reason for outrage, but the usual irresponsible fools will be making plenty of noise and egging on the other usual fools who will be all too willing to rush in. My hope is that the tea party enthusiasts tomorrow have fun schmoozing and venting with fellow conservatives (or whatever they are), get most of it out of their systems, get well publicized, and then get back to the business of being responsible Americans, meaning part of the rest of the country. Maybe then we can all start working together on solving our REAL problems and challenges, not the ones manufactured and blown up by paranoid, addictive and narcisistic personalities with megaphones.

  • Braindead

    George.

    States like Wyoming produce a large volume of Wheat. The products must get to market. The US keeps subsidies on these products to keep the prices down so YOU dont pay so much. There is a huge infrastructure needed to get this to market. Thus you have a state like Wyoming with 450,000 people who produce humongous amounts of food, via wheat, cattle, pigs etc. that needs to get to market. Wyoming Cant feed you without this infrastructure. If those people in New York want to eat, they need to give Wyoming extra money to keep the food flowing to the markets………OR DEREGULATE the exchanges and let them charge what they want.

    Yes they could easily offset their prices via the market but then YOU would be paying 15 dollars a pound for hamburger. 10 dollars for a loaf of bread because they could charge what they wanted without government intervention. The government intervenes and sets prices. You benefit by lower food costs and Wyoming benefits by getting a larger share of tax money to keep the food flowing.

    Its not called the UNITED STATES for nothing.

  • CStanley

    George wrote: You said this:
    I realize you're concerned about people using those terms loosely and prejoratively, DE, but those are actual political philosophies with which some Democrats/liberals in the US agree (at least with regard to socialism- Marxism and communism, not so much.)

    As Dorian understood, I was referring to a specific Congressman who self identifies as a Democratic socialist, and the movement that he represents.

  • GeorgeSorwell

    Braindead–

    You're saying all that extra federal money is covering agricultural production?

    You're saying Wyoming is giving up a huge payday just to be nice to those people in New York?

    I'd sure like to see where you're getting your figures from.

  • Braindead

    Rightwing extremist views bemoan the decline of U.S. stature and
    have recently focused on themes such as the loss of U.S. manufacturing capability
    to China and India, Russia’s control of energy resources and use of these to
    pressure other countries, and China’s investment in U.S. real estate and
    corporations as a part of subversion strategy.

    More partisan hackery by whomever wrote this report. For the past 8 years under Bush this was the repeated meme of those who hated Bush and blamed all the worlds ills on him. Now suddenly this is an exclusive right wing feature???

  • kathyedits

    But if you're asking if these things could rightly be called examples of socialism, no, I wouldn't say that, and I don't know anyone of prominence who is doing so.

    That's the point.

  • Braindead

    Nope not saying that at all George. The question becomes why does all those red states get more tax dollars per capita then does a blue state.

    The reason is simple they have a whole lot more infrastructure then say New Jersey per capita.

    Wyoming is the 9th largest state in the Union but has the least population. Per capita its very expensive for that state to keep up its infrastructure to get this food to market. Im sure it stuns you to realize that those evil red states are necessary if YOU want to eat. But there you have it. They might get more tax dollars then New York per capita but there is a legitimate reason they do and it benefits all Americans.

    The federal government just didnt arbitrarily decide to give red states more tax dollars then blue states as much as you would perfer that to be so, so you have something to beach about.

  • StockBoySF

    GeorgeSorwell, “You might be surprised how many of the so-called red states get more federal money than they pay.”

    That's true, thanks for the link. I agree with you.

    And (I hope every Republican out there is listening because this is aimed at you….) I think the easiest way to remember it (based on the link) is that with the exception of Texas, EVERY red state receives more in federal taxes than they pay in. (I define “red state” as a state that voted for McCain in 2008.)

    Too bad the blue states can't take the red states' advice and distribute the wealth (taxes) where it's created. In such a situation bet the red states with low state taxes would need to raise state taxes on their citizens pretty quickly. And you can bet they'd claim that Obama was being unfair because he was taking money away from them.

  • CStanley

    Which part CS?Which part of what? Sorry, maybe it's the late hour and blog fatigue, but I'm not following you.

    As to Reagan's criticism, is that when they voted to get rid of it? Did I miss those votes? So they criticized these entities but voted for them or left them intact.
    Still not getting your point, sorry. I think that the TVA budget was scaled back, and the criticism of it through the years has led to parts of it becoming self funding instead of federally subsidized. I don't know much detail, but since I'm not sure what point you're making I don't even know whether to agree, disagree, or look for more facts to make up my mind one way or the other.

  • GeorgeSorwell

    CStanley–

    Dorian understood you to be using the term socialism loosely and perjoratively, right?

    So tell me more about this congressman. What movement does he represent? Who else is in it?

    And if I can point you to single Republican congressman (or congresswoman) who expresses unusual beliefs on a very popular Fox News program, is it fair to refer to those actual political philosophies with which some Republicans/conservatives in the US agree–as if they were mainstream? Or would you feel I was being pejorative?

  • CStanley

    CStanley–

    Dorian understood you to be using the term socialism loosely and perjoratively, right?
    You'd have to ask Dorian that question.

    So tell me more about this congressman. What movement does he represent? Who else is in it? Bernie Sanders, Democratic socialist movement. He's registered independent but there is a Democratic Socialist Party of America (you'll have to research it yourself to find out 'who else is in it' as I don't have that information handy.

    And if I can point you to single Republican congressman (or congresswoman) who expresses unusual beliefs on a very popular Fox News program, is it fair to refer to those actual political philosophies with which some Republicans/conservatives in the US agree–as if they were mainstream? Or would you feel I was being pejorative?
    If you presented that as evidence of mainstream, then that would not be a fair representative. I did not make any claim that Bernie Sanders represents the median of the leftwing of US politics, if that's what you are trying to say.

    I put the question to Dorian to see if the concern over semantics meant that he would think it wrong to mention the affiliation of this member of Congress. He answered the question in the negative, to say that there's not a problem with stating this. I guess the reason I ask is that obviously in Europe, there's no stigma toward democratic socialism, or even purer forms of socialism in some countries, and I'm wondering if liberals in this country will begin pushing for acceptance of the term here. Dorian seems very concerned about the label being applied (which is based, I'm sure, on misapplication of it, but I wanted to find out his opinion on using the term where it was accurate.)

    It was a question based on curiosity, not an attempt to defame or distort, or to paint with a broad brush.

  • GeorgeSorwell

    Braindead–

    Don't put your words into my mouth.

    I didn't call anyone in Wyoming or any other red state “evil”. That was yours.

    And I'd still like to see your figures.

    Because I'm pretty sure blue states also contribute to our agriculture. Like the dairy farmers of rural upstate New York. And they can't take the subway to get their milk to market, since they're a long way from Manhattan.

  • CStanley

    But if you're asking if these things could rightly be called examples of socialism, no, I wouldn't say that, and I don't know anyone of prominence who is doing so.

    That's the point.

    What? That TVA and Medicare should be called socialism? Maybe TVA in it's initial form, but not now as far as I know. And how is Medicare an example of government control of means of production?

  • GeorgeSorwell

    And StockBoySF made a good point about state taxes.

    Don't those red states have low state taxes?

    Maybe if they'd charge enough to pay for their own infrastructure, they wouldn't need a federal subsidy?

  • TheMadKing

    And I quote: “Now stop and think back on how many times you’ve made reference to fringe Left wing groups like ALF and ELF and the rest of the whack jobs. Did you feel bad about saying Left wing then?”

    A very good point, guy. The May 2008 report on Ecoterrorists was very specific, naming ALF, ELF, all their well-documented crimes and their very real threat to national security.

    This current report doesn't even name Aryan Nation and Stormfront, two groups who DO require watching. But is does label as suspicious groups AND individuals who adhere to certain political POVs like anti-abortion and anti-illegal immigration, even those supporting States' Rights, which has been enshrined in the 10th Amendment to the Constitution. Are States' Rights advocates suspect now, too? According to DHS, yes.

    Let us put the shoe on the other foot. Suppose last May's DHS report was as non-specific as today's, lumping pro-abortion, pro-illegal immigration, anti-war demonstrators and anarchists all in the same Left wing Extremist Threat category, even individuals who subscribed to any of those political POVs?

    You would call it nothing less than Bush's Night and Fog decree. Which begs the question: are Night and Fog decrees only acceptable when it is political opponents who are targeted? If so, what does that make you?

    That part's easy. It's make you all you claim to despise.

  • CStanley

    I've already said that I think it's hypocritical of GOP politicians to try to bring home pork, but I think you guys are stretching the point without enough fact to back all of your conclusions. Sparse population does make a difference (the same size land area has fewer taxpayers, but you still need a highway to get across it) and I imagine that the ag stuff pointed out by someone (CO?) is probably part of it too. And although I'm not a fan of ag subsidies, I think we do have to acknowledge that everyone (blue and red states) benefits from lower food prices even if that money flows more to the breadbasket states when the checks are cut.

    Anyway, you'd need to gather all the data about how the money is allocated if you want to make your case that the red states are unfairly funding their basic infrastructure needs. It's probably partly true, but not to the extent that you're claiming I'll bet. Personally I would prefer that all states handle more of their own expenses, and that we then greatly reduce the federal tax- because that keeps the money closer to home and more accountable, and cuts out a middle layer of beaurocracy and some of the perverse incentives that drive up costs.

  • SteveK

    Wyoming – Receives $1.11 for every $1.00 it pays to the Federal Government

    Agriculture in Wyoming
    http://www.classbrain.com/artstate/publish/arti

    Top 5 agriculture exports, estimates, FY 2001
    Overall – $53 million
    Rank among states – 44th

    ——

    California

    Receives $0.78 for every $1.00 it pays to the Federal Government

    Agriculture in California
    http://www.classbrain.com/artstate/publish/arti

    Top 5 agriculture exports, estimates, FY 2001
    Overall – $8,698.5 million
    Rank among states – 1st

  • StockBoySF

    Braindead, concerning your argument that red states feed blue states and that the people in Wyoming “produce humongous amounts of food, via wheat, cattle, pigs”. From Wikipedia:

    “…Wyoming’s gross state product was $27.4 billion…. The mineral extraction industry and the travel and tourism sector are the main drivers behind Wyoming’s economy. The Federal government owns about 50% of its landmass, while 6% is controlled by the state. Total taxable values of mining production in Wyoming for 2001 was over $6.7 billion. The tourism industry accounts for over $2 billion in revenue for the state.
    In 2002, more than six million people visited Wyoming’s national parks and monuments….
    Historically, agriculture has been an important component of Wyoming’s economy. Its overall importance to the performance of Wyoming’s economy has waned. However, agriculture is still an essential part of Wyoming’s culture and lifestyle. The main agricultural commodities produced in Wyoming include livestock (beef), hay, sugar beets, grain (wheat and barley), and wool.”

    Also Wyoming does NOT have income taxes for individuals or corporations (which is my point exactly…. these states use federal money collected in taxes from other states).

    With regards to other red states feeding the blue states…. Oh please…. there are plenty of blue states that are just as important (or more important) than red states… What about California, the ultimate blue state? From Wikipedia: “Farming-related sales have more than quadrupled over the past three decades, from $7.3 billion in 1974 to nearly $31 billion in 2004.” California produces more agriculture than Wyoming produces of EVERYTHING (mining, tourism and agriculture). FYI…. California's GDP is over $1.8 trillion dollars…. Wyoming's is $27.4 billion.

    Then of course we have other blue (based on 2008 presidential vote) such as Florida (I hear they grow food there), Minnesota (“The state is the U.S.'s largest producer of sugar beets, sweet corn, and green peas for processing, and farm-raised turkeys.”), Illinois (“Illinois's agricultural outputs are corn, soybeans, hogs, cattle, dairy products, and wheat. In most years Illinois is the leading state for the production of soybeans, with a harvest of 500 million bushels (14 million metric tons) in 2004. Illinois is ranked second in total corn production. Illinois' universities are actively researching alternative agricultural products as alternative crops.”), Iowa, and other food-producing blue states.

    Wyoming isn't even in the top ten wheat producing states (but blue states such as Washington, Colorado and Minnesota are.

    I think California (and New York) would do just fine food-wise if Wyoming were to become snowbound.

  • HemmD

    OK CS

    Would you mind producing the list of socialists in Congress? You may wish to dispute that you said that, so please just provide the list of Democrats that ” are actual political philosophies with which some Democrats/liberals in the US agree ” They're not socialists, they just agree with socialism. CS, you split hairs to maintain a debate.

    Additionally, “If left wing extremism concerns were expressed over anti-war rallies, I think people on the left would be right to have their antennas up” I take it you were too young to remember the undercover work carried on to track the SDS, the Symbionese Liberation Army, and the Black Panthers. These left wing extremist groups were watched for good reason.
    When this government starts using undercover agents to infiltrate legal right wing groups like Bush did with legal Iraq anti-war groups, then you have reason to worry. Until then, perhaps your concerns are more about debate and less about privacy.

  • Don Quijote

    States like Wyoming produce a large volume of Wheat. The products must get to market. The US keeps subsidies on these products to keep the prices down so YOU dont pay so much.

    Most of the agricultural subsidies exist to put a floor under prices, if there wasn't one most farmers would go out of business in no time.

  • CStanley

    @ Hemm: I don't think I'm the one splitting hairs here. I pointed out one US Congressman who doesn't eschew the label, and I was asking Dorian whether or not that made a difference in his opinion, since he's repeatedly stated opposition to people on the right calling liberals in the US “Socialists”. He answered, as I thought he probably would, that yes, that does make a difference and I agree that there's a distinction between using a label accurately vs. not accurately, and with the permission of the person being labelled rather than putting something on them which they reject as the proper term for their ideology.

    On the of extremism and government monitoring, you are making my point for me. If the govt monitors groups which have crossed the line, fine, but if it's using potential threat of all groups that dissent from the current adminstration's policies as an excuse to infiltrate or monitor those groups, then that's not acceptable (no matter which party is in power and which side of the political spectrum is being targeted.)

    Why is it that when I express opinions you seem to be looking for some ulterior, nefarious purpose to the comments (ie, your repeated reference to my desire to 'spit hairs to maintain a debate' and speculation that my 'concerns are more about debate'?) If you don't want to accept my words at face value, then please feel free to skip over my comments but if you want to discuss our varying opinions then you'll need to stop with the speculation (and veiled accusations) about my motivations.

  • Don Quijote

    Wyoming is the 9th largest state in the Union but has the least population. Per capita its very expensive for that state to keep up its infrastructure to get this food to market. Im sure it stuns you to realize that those evil red states are necessary if YOU want to eat. But there you have it

    I don't want to hurt your feelings, Braindead, but you really are brain dead.

    Now France, a country the size of Texas and a population of 60 million somehow manages to produce more than enough food to feed itself and to be one of the largest food exporters in the world. Now the Blue States on the Atlantic coast which are far less densely populated than France should have no problems producing more food than they could ever consume. So really we don't need the Red States.

  • Braindead

    I can see all the braindead people have been actively googling overnight to support their socialism is alive in America.

    Isnt that really what your trying to advocate that because those evil red states get more dollars per capita that socialism is a good thing?

    Wyoming produces per capita way more then california does. California has 55 million residents. Wyoming has 450 thousand. Now why dont we just throw Wyoming out of the United States. Its obvious that they have nothing to offer. Why do you think the US government put their nuclear missiles in Wyoming?

    Why do you think that states like Wyoming get more tax dollars when they have a substantial amount of their missile wing located in the state? Do you think that might have something to do with per capita spending? How about North Dakota and South Dakota on that list. Texas with the largest military base in the world.

    Where I come from speaking the truth is more important then looking up figures on Wikia. Spin it all you want.

    The reason red states get more per capita is because they are less populated states who have more land area that has to keep their larger infrastructre greased to keep America turning. There is a reason why you pay Wyoming 1.11 per citizen vs 78 cents per California citizen……….

    Those numbers you are quoting is dollar per citizen….totally misleading and you guys are spinning this out of control to distort anything Im saying. Thats okay. Thats what you do well because you want to continue to preach that we really are a socialist country so that when Obama makes the switch it wont hurt so much.

    Spin away…..distort that stupid chart which ignores the fact that wyoming gets 1 billion in federal dollars and California gets 100 billion……….(thats an example).

  • Braindead

    I don't want to hurt your feelings, Braindead, but you really are brain dead.

    Trust me Don……coming from someone like yourself who quotes the communist manifesto is not going to hurt my feelings. AS to france. I doubt very much the dont import and export products.

    You guys are obsessed with wealth redistribution. You are obsessed with the gleeful fact that those poor red states are welfare cases. All the more reason for them to pull out of the union. They are not needed in the liberal version of socialist America.

  • JSpencer

    My dream is to see the United States become more united, and less a family of squabbling brats. There are clearly interests in this country who gain from promoting the latter view regardless of the fact it tears this country apart. As far as I'm concerned, those interests are irrational and sociopathic in nature.

    Constructive (even passionate) criticism = healthy for the country
    Demonizing, negatavism, & distortion = not healthy for the country

  • CStanley

    DQ, your conclusions aren't at all supported by your evidence. France is pretty self sufficient with regard to it's food supply, but that's because of geographical conditions amenable to agriculture. Do you not get that certain regions of the US can support certain crops and others can't? You think that NJ and Maryland are going to become large scale grain and rice producers?

    Why would you even want to advocate for that, rather than have each region do what it does best for the good of the whole nation?

  • D. E.Rodriguez

    Good Morning.

    Wow, I see it has been a busy night.

    Since I see my name mentioned a couple of times, here is what CS posted/asked:

    “But since we are concerned about labeling people or groups, perhaps we should also address recent labels referrring to American Democrats/Liberals as socialists, Marxists, communists.” [This was from my previous post]

    Are we allowed to mention that one US Congressman calls himself a Democratic Socialist? I realize you're concerned about people using those terms loosely and prejoratively, DE, but those are actual political philosophies with which some Democrats/liberals in the US agree (at least with regard to socialism- Marxism and communism, not so much.)
    —-

    And here was my reply:

    CS: Sure you may address Representative Sanders as a Socialist (although he is a self-described democratic socialist, but appears as an independent on the ballot.

    But I don't think you should call other U.S. Senators and Congressmen/women socialists or marxists–as many are doing–for the purpose of denigrating them.

    But, feel free, it's a free country

    Have fun

  • Don Quijote

    AS to france. I doubt very much the dont import and export products.

    They do, but they export far more than they import…

    Most of the agricultural subsidies exist to put a floor under prices, if there wasn't one most farmers would go out of business in no time. EXACTLY. DUH.

    Bur you told me that I was going to pay $15 for a burger, implying that the subsidies were there to support the customer and not the producer.

    You guys are obsessed with wealth redistribution. You are obsessed with the gleeful fact that those poor red states are welfare cases.

    Really, most of couldn't give a shit, the problem is that when ever people who live in Blue States think that raising taxes to help our fellow citizens, the fine people living in the Red States start calling us all sorts of ugly names, and blocking the legislative process, this despite the fact that they are the largest welfare queens of them all.

    It's a lot like listening to the fine people of Oklahoma talking about sexual morality and family values, highly humorous once you realize that it's one of the States with the highest teen pregnancy rates, highest abortion rates and divorce rates.

  • HemmD

    Cs

    You are the one who used the plural when using the socialist tag, not me. If one is not “some”, please explain. Basic pronoun agreement is not splitting hairs.

    As to my questioning your debating technique, What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

    In the previous thread about Obama's popularity, you deflected my point by questioning the reliability of polls instead of addressing my point.

    Here, you wish to deflect my point that causal labeling on your part (socialism) is a matter of not the common definition used by your side, but just the academic one. The faithfulness to the accurate meaning of words is your purpose, then why haven't you jumped into the many times right side bloggers have misused this word?

    I've observed that deflection on a footnotes to a point made become your technique to not address points under discussion. A case in point is this reply. I requested your list (implied by your general statement using “some”; your response is provide one. I am asking for the same attention to detail that you regularly employ when responding to a point.

    “If the govt monitors groups which have crossed the line, fine, but if it's using potential threat of all groups that dissent from the current administration's policies as an excuse to infiltrate or monitor those groups,”

    I wasn't here then, but did you raise your concerns for this when Bush was president? Question. Historically, the right has been the only side who's used infiltration of legal groups, so stating fears that Obama would do this is historically a stretch.

    I will provide examples to the last statement as you wish. I'll start with Watergate.

  • Don Quijote

    DQ, your conclusions aren't at all supported by your evidence. France is pretty self sufficient with regard to it's food supply, but that's because of geographical conditions amenable to agriculture. Do you not get that certain regions of the US can support certain crops and others can't? You think that NJ and Maryland are going to become large scale grain and rice producers?

    CS,

    Braindead told us that if it wasn't for the Red States, people in the Blue States would go hungry.

    Now the Northeast may not be able to grow rice and other semi-tropical staples, but they can produce more than enough Corn, Rye, Wheat, Barley, Potatoes, Fruits and Vegetables to feed themselves.

    BTW New Jersey has a large agricultural sector

  • CStanley

    Red States start calling us all sorts of ugly names, and blocking the legislative process, this despite the fact that they are the largest welfare queens of them all.

    But again, DQ, you're really not providing evidence to support that kind of accusation (and name calling? Is it fair game to call Red Staters names and advocate secession as you did in a comment above, because of your perception that you're being called names?)

    When you look at the discrepencies between the various states in recieving aid, if I remember correctly from that chart the ones who get more than they put in are getting back at something like $1.3 per dollar- a difference which is probably almost completely explained by higher per capita federal allotments to those states. When you spread infrastructure costs out over a much smaller number of taxpayers, the per capita amount is going to be higher for the smaller population. It's disingenuous to portray that as some kind of welfare when those citizens aren't getting anything more than anyone else- they're just the same type of infrastructure stuff (which after all, is in the federal budget because we recognize that the people in NY need roads to travel on to get to other parts of the country too- and need routes for food and other goods to travel on) but there are a lot fewer people paying into the federal pot in those sparse, rural states.

  • CStanley

    @ Hemm: A Congressperson is elected, presumably by people who support what he/she believes in. The term 'Democrats' includes both elected officials and the voters who put them in office- thus one representative is (by definition) the representative of a group of people (thus, plural.)

    I've observed that deflection on a footnotes to a point made become your technique to not address points under discussion
    I really resent that accusation and I feel it's unfounded. I described above the issue of the use of plural 'socialists'. Every time I'm asked to defend what I write, I attempt to do so- which seems quite honestly to lead to an endless series of additional, nitpicking complaints.

    I wasn't here then, but did you raise your concerns for this when Bush was president?
    A more accurate question IMO to assess whether or not I'm consistent would be to ask whether I felt that leftwingers were justified in questioning Bush's policies toward dissenters, and the answer to that is yes (provided those questions weren't unfounded or paranoid in nature- which is the exact same sentiment that I now agree with from the right- not to accuse this administration of any wrongdoing based on this report, but being vigilant in case this is used to justify the inexcusable politicization of monitoring.

    In the previous thread about Obama's popularity, you deflected my point by questioning the reliability of polls instead of addressing my point.
    Huh? What point did you make that I failed to respond to? If I did so, it was simply because I didn't note it, not a deliberate attempt to deflect. If that ever happens, feel free to redirect the question as I'm not in the habit of ducking questions.

    The faithfulness to the accurate meaning of words is your purpose, then why haven't you jumped into the many times right side bloggers have misused this word?
    I'll again respond by asking why you put that responsibility on me, and ask if you would similarly accept responsibility for correcting any misstatements from the left side of the spectrum?

    Historically, the right has been the only side who's used infiltration of legal groups, so stating fears that Obama would do this is historically a stretch.
    Oh, come on now! You've never heard of COINTELPRO, an operation that extended decades through multiple administrations of both parties, and infiltrated extremist groups and dissenters from both sides of the political spectrum?

  • Don Quijote

    But again, DQ, you're really not providing evidence to support that kind of accusation (and name calling? Is it fair game to call Red Staters names and advocate secession as you did in a comment above, because of your perception that you're being called names?)

    I didn't fall off the back of the Turnip Truck yesterday, we can go back and find a long list of threats and insults hurled at liberals, and parts of the country that the Republicans didn't care for such as New York and San Fransisco over the last twenty years by Republican officials and their supporters. Now I know that since the “ONE” has been elected, we are suppose to forget every thing that happened prior to the election.

    Now as far as Secession goes, I am not a supporter, on the other hand, if the welfare states want to secede, I am not going to stop them nor am I going to shed a tear when they are gone.

  • CStanley

    Yup, you can find those kinds of comments as well as the derisive ones about 'flyover country', people who cling to their Bibles and guns, etc. Tit for tat, I guess.

  • SteveK

    “I can see all the braindead (sic) people have been actively googling overnight to support their socialism is alive in America.”

    The guy who fails to document any of his nonsensical declarations / claims is now upset with those who do!.. Too funny.

    Between 'Braindead' and TMV's “nouveau Joseph McCarthy” this has been a very entertaining thread.

  • CStanley

    nouveau Joseph McCarthy

    Ah, keeping it classy as always, eh, Steve? It's always so good to know that people here welcome all viewpoints.

  • StockBoySF

    Braindead…. you're the one who stated that the people in Wyoming “produce humongous amounts of food, via wheat, cattle, pigs” and that the people in the red states feed the people in the blue states. I don't see how my Wikipedia figures which clearly show that Wyoming does not produce nearly as much in food as some blue states is spinning the facts. Or the fact that some blue states are the top producers in certain food products….

    Instead you start talking about per capita this and that…

    While I will admit that the highway system may account for some necessary higher spending per capita in red states I'm not convinced that the federal government just spends on highways in those states. And besides that extra spending does create local jobs which in turn help the economies in those states…. While taxpayers like myself in California are funding these projects.

    Just to be clear I am not calling for a change to the government spending… Because there will always be disparity caused by issues like highways. But I am pointing out what I think is a ridiculous outcry by Republicans on high taxes when their economies are stimulated by government spending with my tax dollars and these same Republicans also complain about Obama redistributing wealth…. when the federal government has been redistributing wealth for decades and the Republican states are the primary beneficiaries. So we may all benefit from the infrastructure, but those states also receive economic boosts in the form of jobs.

  • SteveK

    “It's always so good to know that people here welcome all viewpoints.”

    They certainly are and I'm sure glad that that you feel good about it.

    Speaking of points of view… I particularly liked the original McCarthy's. They helped America turn away from hateful rhetoric and get back to business.

    FWIW – He never produced a 'list' either, some even think he made the whole thing up!

  • CStanley

    Stockboy, you're sort of going back and forth here and I think that everyone should acknowledge that we're short on facts to back up a lot of the assertions being made here. As long as those assertions are just being stated as opinion, fine- no one has time to do endless research on this. But you seem to admit that the infrastructure costs being spread over widely differing populations makes a difference, but you don't know how much of a difference- but you're still mad at the hypocrisy of people who probably don't share your assumption about the inequity of it all. You're taking the fact of the $1.31 on the dollar or whatever it is, making your own assumption which you admit isn't that cut and dried- and then feeling that it's so hypocritical that other people don't agree with your assumption.

  • HemmD

    CS
    Let's start at the top.

    Let's start with the basics:
    Socialism
    “any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.”
    /www.merriam-webster.com

    Social security: “The comprehensive federal program of benefits providing workers and their dependents with retirement income, disability income, and other payments. The Social security tax is used to pay for the program.”
    http://www.investorwords.com/4617/Social_Securi

    The government owns social security, administrates, and distributes the benefits of this program. This is a socialist program.

    Your response, you discounted my calling SS socialist by saying no one of prominence calls it such. If prominent people don't want to acknowledge that, maybe it's merely politically expedient to not do so.

    “Tell me the Republicans that are against the socialism of Medicare or the Tennessee Valley Authority?
    Is that a serious question? Reagan criticized the TVA if I'm not mistaken, and a lot of fiscal conservatives feel that Bush's expansion of Medicare was a disaster (I pretty much agree.)”

    Yeah, it was a serious question, and you dodged it.
    You ignored the point I did make in that post. Republicans have consistently voted for this socialist program but choose to hammer Democrats for being socialist. Criticizing something is not the same as not supporting it through their votes.

    Stating that no one believes something does not make it so.

  • CStanley

    Yeah, sure, Steve.

    And the famous 'list' was a product of the HUAC, which was separate from McCarthy's activities.

  • CStanley

    Hemm, I'm through responding to your questions that impugn my motives. How many times during that exchange last night did I say that I wasn't following you, or as you even quoted me here, asking you if that was a serious question because I didn't get it?

    But you call those responses “dodging”.

    And no, I still disagree that social security is socialism because the government doesn't 'own' anything (true in more ways than one, since it doesn't even maintain a real set aside fund as it should.)

    Sorry if we disagree on the terminology, but you seem to want me to accept your definition so that you can do a gotcha on Republicans who, if they accept YOUR definition, would then by hypocritical for supporting these programs. (Meanwhile, of course, some Republicans don't even support them and are hammered by their political opponents for THAT position. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.)

    Why is it a problem, since these definitions can be twisted to cover a lot of ground and entrap people, to say that we should stick with textbook definitions? I'm happy to then point out that a lot of rightwingers aren't doing this when they complain of socialism (when usually their complaints center around stuff that might correctly be called redistribution or collectivism.)

  • CStanley

    Criticizing something is not the same as not supporting it through their votes.

    Sounds like an issue to maybe take up with Democrats vis a vis the Iraq War.

    Meanwhile, I'll continue to accept that what a politician says and what he does are almost always two different things; partly that's because the say what they think we want to hear, and partly it's because even the ones with conviction sometimes know they have to choose their battles.

  • kathyedits

    <o>What? That TVA and Medicare should be called socialism? Maybe TVA in it's initial form, but not now as far as I know. And how is Medicare an example of government control of means of production?

    I believe Hemm answered this question quite cogently. I will just say that Republicans in Congress and conservatives in general love to argue that national health care is socialism. “Creeping socialism,” I think is one of their favored expressions for it. Yet, not one of those Republicans in Congress, or any other Republican public figure that I know of is saying or would say that Medicare is socialism, or advocate repealing it.

  • JSpencer

    “Yet, not one of those Republicans in Congress, or any other Republican public figure that I know of is saying or would say that Medicare is socialism, or advocate repealing it.”

    Righto. Not much crying of socialism and wealth redistribution when it comes to social security and public education either, not to mention the military industrial complex. Funny how those double standards work. ;-)

  • HemmD

    Cs

    You don't accept a dictionary definition of socialism, nor do you accept an accepted definition of social security. Is your definition somehow secret?

    I want you to accept that definition because a reasonable person would accept the logically constructed argument. The fact you wish to impune my intentions as merely a means of gotcha is your problem. I am only trying to avoid the problem highlighted in “Through the Looking Glass.”

    'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone,' it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.'

    “I initially thought we came at things from different perspectives that made for some interesting exchanges.”

    We do, and the only way we have had those interesting exchanges is by agreeing on terms, logical argument, and a common respect.

    One of the unstated problems that adds to confusion is that we hold these conversations in a virtual room where there's lots of screaming, so following what I or you say amongst the general cacophony is difficult at best. By the time I put together a reasoned response, 14 other people have replied and muddied the thread of our conversation.

  • CStanley

    Hemm- I explained that I DO accept that dictionary definition but I also explained why social security doesn't fit the definition. There is no 'means of production' being controlled by the government there.

    So what I'm saying is that you want everyone to accept your interpretation of the definition, and when they don't you consider them hypocrites- but I just showed you why it's not a case of hypocrisy if one doesn't interpret the definition the way you do. You're asserting that words have specific meanings, and the part of the definition of socialism that you're leaving out is that government owns and controls industries- that's the precise part of it that conservatives/capitalists reject, so that's why it's important to note that this is why social security isn't a big problem for most conservatives.

    Kathy: I do think it's correct to say that many/most GOP are incorrectly lumping all single payer type of proposed systems and inaccurately calling that socialized medicine. Most people who are more informed will accept that some forms of nationalized systems like Canada and UK have government control over the actual healthcare delivery, while other countries have the govt agency acting more or less as the insurer/payer. I'm fine with accepting that distinction although I would argue against both types of proposals- but it's accurate to say that a lot of people want to fearmonger over the socialized medicine term.

    @ Hemm:
    One of the unstated problems that adds to confusion is that we hold these conversations in a virtual room where there's lots of screaming, so following what I or you say amongst the general cacophony is difficult at best. By the time I put together a reasoned response, 14 other people have replied and muddied the thread of our conversation
    Right. Which might back up my complaint that you're accusing me of dodging when I asked for clarification and you didn't provide it at that time, so I answered the best I could without really understanding what you were asking. You could have come back this morning, read my response, and then said, “No, that's not what I was asking, it was this…”

  • Braindead

    Its okay to have some socialist programs. I have never been against those.

    Its quite another to fake out Americans with Cap and trade and tax the shit out of all of us.

    Its quite another to take over General motors. To take over bank after bank. To take over Insurance companies. IN colorado the budget is not balanced. They are advocating taking over the private trust funds of companies for workers compenstation to balance the budget.

    Private citizen power grabs by the government with a fascist left who wants to destroy political opposition and continually points out how all us Red staters are welfare recipients.

    LIke I said and will continue to say….the progressive left is nothing more then commies in sheeps clothing trying to kill the opposition so they can have their nirvana which time and again through out history has been shown to not work and be the most inefficient form of government their is.

    Good luck with that one.

  • CStanley

    @ Kathy:
    Yet, not one of those Republicans in Congress, or any other Republican public figure that I know of is saying or would say that Medicare is socialism, or advocate repealing it.
    I'm not sure if he advocates wholesale repealing of Medicare or not, but you'll find one of those guys right here, Kathy:
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul143.html

    That brand of conservatism exists even if it's in the minority (just as there are some fiscally conservative Democrats, the Blue Dogs.)

  • ErnestNorsworthy

    Since most do not know what the TVA is, please see my website http://norsworthyopinion.com where I have written extensively on the subject.

    Briefly, the Tennessee Valley Authority is a New Deal left- over that should have been abolished many years ago. A federal agency, the TVA has absolute authority over the lives of 8 million people in their use of electricity in an 80,000 sq-mile territory covering parts of seven southeastern states.

    FDR wanted to have “little TVA’s” with the help of Sen. George Norris all over the U.S. – A total nationalization of electricity. The congress had enough sense then not to go that far in the late 1930s. But the concept seems to raise its ugly head with some of Obama’s pronouncements on his energy policies.

    TVA is a current example of government-run electricity production – isn’t that an example of socialism?

    Ernest Norsworthy
    [email protected]

  • HemmD

    Cs
    “and the part of the definition of socialism that you're leaving out is that government owns and controls industries- that's the precise part of it that conservatives/capitalists reject”

    The government owns the retirement industry for every American it requires to contribute to SS. If that's not an industry with income, output in the way of retirement benefits, I guess we have to agree on a definition for industry too.

    “Commercial production and sale of goods.”
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/industry

    This is just like the insurance industry without the profit margin. Government flood insurance is another example.

    Sure, you can have a private retirement fund, health care, etc. but you are mandated by law to participate in this government program.

    As to the cacophony, don't these people realize we're trying to talk here? I guess I need to realize you don't see my posts in glowing gold leaf to distinguish them from everybody else. I see your's that way.

  • CStanley

    OK, and there you go, Kathy and Hemm- Ernest stepped in and provided another example of someone criticizing TVA because it's socialistic in his opinion. This is what I'm saying- I've definitely heard that sentiment expressed among conservatives even if it isn't the mainstream GOP opinion. Is the Democratic party more pure and unified on any issue than that? Should they be? I thought the complaint generally was that the GOP is too ideologically rigid, yet here's an example of some people holding one view and some holding another, and yet you complain that there isn't a unified voice against these things because then the right would be more consistent.

    And look, I've thought of a way to express, I think, what the basic issues in this discussion have been which hopefully you two might agree with.

    First, there's the point that socialism is a boogyman term and is often used for the purpose of fearmongering when it's incorrectlly applied.

    Do we all agree so far?

    Then there's my thoughts on how to deal with that, which is to apply the definition of socialism quite narrowly and avoid use of the term unless it's a precise fit. The reason for this is that it avoids the prejorative so that the discussion can accurately focus on the specific policy merits or negative qualities. I tend to think that terms like redistribution or collectivism are more accurate if labels are needed at all.

    You guys seem to feel that the way to deal with this is instead to go ahead and allow loose application of the term, but then to point out that this means that some very well accepted programs also fall under that categorization- and thus the GOP is hypocritical to accept those, but reject new proposals which you feel are similar.

    My beef with that is that it does in fact put you in the position of entrapping conservatives, and if we're going to engage in good faith discussions I think it makes sense for my side to 'give' by losing the 'scary' terminology altogether while your side refrains from saying that since we accept “X”, we are disingenuous for not accepting it's offshoot “Y”.

    I do apologize for presuming that the attempt at 'gotcha' was deliberate, but I hope with this explanation you can see that I feel that's the result of your line of reasoning even if malicious intent isn't there.

  • CStanley

    Agreeing to disagree on the industry definition for now, Hemm- read my last comment and see if you don't agree that we could bypass all of that to facilitate better discussion IMO.

    Gotta run to pick up my tax return and get it in the mail now. Ain't capitalism/socialism/redistribution/social welfare/infrastructure investment/collectivism grand??

  • HemmD

    Same here, Doctor's appt

    Attack you unfairly later CS

  • kathyedits

    CS,

    The Blue Dogs are not fiscally conservative. They just don't believe in spending money on domestic social programs.

    Even they would not call Medicare socialism or advocate repealing it.

    But you are certainly correct in saying that Ron Paul is one public figure who opposes the expansion of Medicare and calls Medicare socialism where other people can read him or hear him.

    Of course, a fairly large number of Republicans oppose the expansion of Medicare and might be willing to say so publicly. I'm not sure if they would call it socialism outside of their living rooms, though.

  • kathyedits

    Sounds like an issue to maybe take up with Democrats vis a vis the Iraq War.

    Absolutely. But you're a little late to the dance, CS. We Democrats, independents, liberals, lefties, and progressives have taken that issue up with Democrats in Congress for oh, I don't know, maybe five, six, seven years now?

  • kathyedits

    This is what I'm saying- I've definitely heard that sentiment expressed among conservatives even if it isn't the mainstream GOP opinion. Is the Democratic party more pure and unified on any issue than that? Should they be? I thought the complaint generally was that the GOP is too ideologically rigid, yet here's an example of some people holding one view and some holding another, and yet you complain that there isn't a unified voice against these things because then the right would be more consistent.

    But this is not what I'm pointing out here. I mean, I definitely DO think that Republicans are ideologically rigid. But what I am talking about with the Medicare/socialism example is internal consistency. You pointed out one conservative public figure — Ron Paul — who calls Medicare socialism in public and also opposes its expansion (although this too was not what I was talking about — I was talking about Republicans saying Medicare is socialism and should be repealed).

    I have no problem, in terms of consistency, with someone like Ron Paul. I find his ideas abhorrent, but he IS consistent. He doesn't call domestic programs in which the federal government controls or manages the distribution of goods and services socialism and simultaneously tell senior citizens that he is foursquare behind Medicare.

    I *don't* think that Republicans OR Democrats should all believe the same thing. But I *do* think that Republicans and Democrats should be *internally* consistent in their political philosophies and values — which would mean, in the instance under discussion, that you would not have any individual, single Republican leader condemning and opposing increased government spending in a deep recession because it's “socialistic”, or opposing universal health care because it's “socialistic” and at the same time either outright supporting or refusing to criticize Medicare on the same grounds. That's hypocritical.

  • http://www.whyweworry.com ChrisWWW

    Let's just sit back and laugh at the bleating rightwingers who — only months ago — were ardent supporters of the unbridled Surveillance State.

    Nothing to hide, nothing to fear, eh?

  • CStanley

    @Kathy:
    The Blue Dogs are not fiscally conservative. They just don't believe in spending money on domestic social programs.

    I'm having another “tomato- tom-ah-to” moment here.

    Absolutely. But you're a little late to the dance, CS. We Democrats, independents, liberals, lefties, and progressives have taken that issue up with Democrats in Congress for oh, I don't know, maybe five, six, seven years now?

    Of course a lot of you have (and others are partisan watercarriers who haven't complained about that.) I have my own thoughts on why the Dems in Congress haven't been responsive to you, but that's probably a discussion better left for another day. My point was that this happens all the time, in both parties- that we the people elect them because we want them to act on an issue in a particular manner, but then that doesn't happen. I guess the way I phrased it made it sound as though I didn't think anyone was holding the Dems feet to the fire, but I meant it more for Hemm himself to see that as an example of why you can't look at results and then presume there was no will to do a certain thing if it doesn't actually happen.

    I definitely DO think that Republicans are ideologically rigid. But what I am talking about with the Medicare/socialism example is internal consistency.
    Balderdash. Sorry, but there's always a tension between those two things. Since conservatism's guiding principle is to conserve the status quo, the degree of internal consistency that you require would mean that even more so than now, they'd have to reject ANYTHING new. You know very well that if that were the case, you'd attack on that basis, so it's a case of any stick being good enough to beat 'em with.

    I mean I get that this is just how you feel, and that's why you reject conservatism- that's how I feel about liberal/progressivism. But it's not going to win you any arguments with me or other conservatives. You'll have to admit that everyone has principles but also recognizes modifications of those principles since the way we deal with apples isn't necessarily the same as the way we deal with oranges. That's not hypocrisy, it's reality and pragmatism.

    There's also the fact that conservatism recognizes that the status quo today isn't the same as the status quo ante. So, for instance, some conservatives might want to repeal much of the New Deal while others want to keep what works and trim back the rest. That's not hypocrisy either- it's two different channels of the same general philosophy.

  • GeorgeSorwell

    Braindead–

    Where I come from speaking the truth is more important then looking up figures

    Where I come from, we like to (in the words of Ronald Reagan) trust, but verify. Ya know? Just saying something is true doesn't make it true.

    I see that you personally are not necessarily opposed to some socialism. But surely you are aware that many on the right use the word socialism like a blunt instrument.

  • Braindead

    Actually the left has a very ingenious plan. Obama himself said it the other night.

    Now is not the time to be fiscally responsible. So we must spend.

    The plan is to get all the crap they want in place and once its in place then we as Americans must pay for it because we know it cannot be undone. Hence the penchant for fascism by the left. The need to marginalize the opposition and to turn on the Corporate America and demand that they be punished for their transgressions all the while slipping in the back door this massive deficit which will then become law and will henceforth and forever be funded.

    Taxes will rise. Even the democrats are now starting to admit that. Cap and trade will cause prices to escalate and with the printing of money….yep we got inflation on top of 20 trillion dollar deficits.

    But no matter, the left got its way.

  • CStanley

    I *don't* think that Republicans OR Democrats should all believe the same thing. But I *do* think that Republicans and Democrats should be *internally* consistent in their political philosophies and values — which would mean, in the instance under discussion, that you would not have any individual, single Republican leader condemning and opposing increased government spending in a deep recession because it's “socialistic”, or opposing universal health care because it's “socialistic” and at the same time either outright supporting or refusing to criticize Medicare on the same grounds. That's hypocritical.

    So, on the Dem side with regard to foreign policy, is it also internally inconsistent when Obama orders a troop surge in Afghanistan while Kucinich speaks out against that escalation? Why don't the arguments (articulated now by Kucinich) about how this won't be won militarily and a troop surge is a futile waste of manpower, lives and resources apply here as they did in Iraq according to the Democrats?

    Isn't it true that this represents a normal difference of opinion in interpretation of a set of facts, and not actually hypocrisy? Each man has his reasoning and rationale for coming to his conclusion.

  • HemmD

    Kathy

    “Even they would not call Medicare socialism or advocate repealing it. ” That was my ultimate point i was trying to make. Republicans refuse to call Medicare socialism only because it's politically convenient not to do so. That way, they're free to bash those liberals for all it's worth.

    The reason for my tedious breakdown of terms with CS is simple:
    If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, and produces duck eggs, I think it's ok to label it a duck. Her original casual reference to some Democrats and liberals as believing in socialism is just a demonstrated willful blindness.

    She and I have narrowed it down to the term “industry”, one word from the original definition of “socialism”. That will result in only two or three more words to define, but maybe I'm just optimistic. :)

    In the mean time, Democrats are socialists but Republicans are not…….both nebulous and convenient.

  • jchem

    @ Chris: “Let's just sit back and laugh at the bleating rightwingers who — only months ago — were ardent supporters of the unbridled Surveillance State.”

    There was certainly a lot of anger about that unbridled Surveillance State — Dems in Congress were going out of their way to find a TV camera to say how much of an infringement it was on our civil liberties. So, now that many of those policies are being continued, what happened to all of that outrage? I know Glenn Greenwald remains up in arms about it, but I haven't seen too many faces complaining about it now that Obama is doing it.

  • http://www.blogtalkradio.com/msr Jazz

    Holy cow, you people never stop!

  • GeorgeSorwell

    I think you'll find the graphic accompanying this blog post explains it all.

    One hundred and first!!

  • kathyedits

    I'm having another “tomato- tom-ah-to” moment here.

    Why?

    Sorry, but there's always a tension between those two things. Since conservatism's guiding principle is to conserve the status quo, the degree of internal consistency that you require would mean that even more so than now, they'd have to reject ANYTHING new. You know very well that if that were the case, you'd attack on that basis, so it's a case of any stick being good enough to beat 'em with.

    There's always a tension between what two things?

    Conserving the status quo does not explain why the same Republicans who attack national health care (e.g.) as “socialism” do not attack Medicare (e.g.) as socialism. I don't follow how that connects to “rejecting anything new.”

    So, on the Dem side with regard to foreign policy, is it also internally inconsistent when Obama orders a troop surge in Afghanistan while Kucinich speaks out against that escalation? Why don't the arguments (articulated now by Kucinich) about how this won't be won militarily and a troop surge is a futile waste of manpower, lives and resources apply here as they did in Iraq according to the Democrats?

    CS, the above doesn't make sense. If Kucinich is arguing now against a surge in Afghanistan on the grounds that this won't be won militarily, and if the Democrats made the same argument regarding the surge in Iraq, where is the inconsistency?

  • http://www.whyweworry.com ChrisWWW

    There was certainly a lot of anger about that unbridled Surveillance State — Dems in Congress were going out of their way to find a TV camera to say how much of an infringement it was on our civil liberties. So, now that many of those policies are being continued, what happened to all of that outrage? I know Glenn Greenwald remains up in arms about it, but I haven't seen too many faces complaining about it now that Obama is doing it.

    Greenwald is pissed about it. I'm pissed about it. Olbermann is pissed about it. Andrew Sullivan is pissed about it. Talking Points Memo has had some scathing posts about it.

    With the exception of me, that's the some pretty high profile outrage from what are usually Obama supporters.

  • jchem

    Chris, give yourself some credit — you're in some pretty good company, and you're consistent. Perhaps I should have been a bit more clear about pointing fingers at the politicians. At any rate, it appears we'll get an answer on just how far this whole thing goes:

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily

  • CStanley

    If Kucinich is arguing now against a surge in Afghanistan on the grounds that this won't be won militarily, and if the Democrats made the same argument regarding the surge in Iraq, where is the inconsistency?

    In Obama's position.

  • http://www.whyweworry.com ChrisWWW

    jchem,
    I agree about the politicians. With the exception of Feingold, Paul, Kucinich and maybe a handful of others, Congress is all to willing to cede more and more unchecked power to the presidency. As long as it can be loosely defined as “defense”.

    When you look at the last few years when the Congressional Democrats were in power, they did little more than pay lip service to antiwar and civil libertarian positions. Under their watch we got retroactive immunity for telecoms, more authorization for wars and no pushback on the elimination of habeas corpus.

  • CStanley

    I'm having another “tomato- tom-ah-to” moment here.

    Why?

    Because I see no distinction between 'fiscal conservative' and 'not wanting to spend on domestic programs'. In order to be fiscally conservative, one has to limit discretionary spending.

  • CStanley

    Hemm:
    Her original casual reference to some Democrats and liberals as believing in socialism is just a demonstrated willful blindness.

    And your continued misrepresentation of my statements after I've taken the time to respond and explain my statements is just a demonstrated continuation of carrying on in bad faith, Hemm (or the only other possible explanation would be dimwittedness and inability to understand my statements, which I don't believe is the case.)

    Enough already.

    What's really ridiculous is that you keep carrying on, I guess to try to draw criticism to me as though I was tarring and feathering Democrats with that label, when you and Kathy are the ones who keep insisting that several existing government programs ARE examples of socialism, so you guys are the ones who are claiming widespread acceptance of it and trying to assert that Republicans accept socialism in those forms but pretend to reject it overall.

  • CStanley

    There's always a tension between what two things?

    Internal consistency and flexibility. Almost by definition, because being internally consistent means sticking to a rigid set of ideological principles instead of examining each situation and making adjustments as required.

  • kathyedits

    Because I see no distinction between 'fiscal conservative' and 'not wanting to spend on domestic programs'. In order to be fiscally conservative, one has to limit discretionary spending.

    The assumption there, of course, is that domestic spending is “discretionary” by definition, but military spending is not. No one who questions the necessity of almost any spending on domestic social programs while almost never questioning the necessity of any military spending can be accurately called fiscally conservative.

  • HemmD

    CS

    You used the word first to describe some democrats.

    I demonstrated that programs Republicans regularly vote for are by Webster's definition, socialistic. You agreed with Webster's definition, but then said it didn't fit because Social security was not an “industry”.

    I then used a dictionary definition of “industry.”

    “Agreeing to disagree on the industry definition for now, ”

    Why? Is this definition one I made up? I gave common everyday examples of such “industries” and even included the private sector retirement fund industries as one of my examples.

    You choose not to define your definition of socialism but have repeatedly stated that I've somehow got socialism and industry both wrong. You became angry when I accused you of deflecting. If not deflection, when has the Dictionary's definition not been an authority for the words we use?

    I repeat, throughout this entire thing, you have merely said my definition does not work. What definition does? You have used a word to describe some Democrats, but leaves out all Republicans. What definition do you use that does that?

  • kathyedits

    Internal consistency and flexibility. Almost by definition, because being internally consistent means sticking to a rigid set of ideological principles instead of examining each situation and making adjustments as required.

    Then they need to articulate the difference. If Republicans/conservatives in Congress oppose domestic spending because it's socialism, then they oppose Medicare because it's a domestic program. So they need to state, clearly, out loud, and in public, that Medicare is socialism but they won't vote to repeal it because there is another outweighing factor (which is….) or they need to stop opposing domestic spending on the grounds that it's socialistic. Because if domestic spending is socialism, and socialism is always bad, then one cannot support some forms of domestic spending and not others without clearly explaining why domestic spending is socialism and thus bad, but *this* particular domestic spending is not socialism and thus not bad (or is socialism but is not bad).

    It simply does not work to scream “Socialism! Communism! The Soviet Union!” at every single piece of spending on social programs and/or human needs that comes down the pike while continuing to support programs like Medicare.

  • kathyedits

    when you and Kathy are the ones who keep insisting that several existing government programs ARE examples of socialism…

    When or where did insist that several existing government programs are examples of socialism?

  • kathyedits

    In Obama's position.

    Using your logic.

    Using mine, the two men just take the same sets of facts and see reasons to come to differing conclusions.

    Are you trying to say that if *Obama* opposed the surge in Iraq he should not be authorizing a surge in Afghanistan? If that's what you're trying to say, I agree with you.

  • CStanley

    I agree- that's been my position all along. I stated that I agree with you that the GOP is disingenuous when they object to certain spending bills and programs as socialistic, and it's pretty obvious that this is an intentional attempt to scare people off from those programs (instead of taking the more difficult but more honest approach of explaining what it is we oppose about those spending programs.)

  • CStanley

    when you and Kathy are the ones who keep insisting that several existing government programs ARE examples of socialism…

    When or where did I insist that several existing government programs are examples of socialism?

    If I have misunderstood, I apologize but I thought you had expressed agreement with Hemm and he has quoted a dictionary definition of socialism and then stated that he sees social security meeting that definition. I then disagreed with that interpretation.

    I also thought that this was your position about Medicare- that the GOP is dishonest not to admit that it's a form of socialism. Again, I dispute that- I don't think any of that meets the strict definition of socialism- and just as the GOP is dishonest to try to portray all Dem domestic spending programs as socialism, I don't think it's any more honest to try to force the GOP to say that those existing programs that THEY support are socialism. Those are two arguments that are the different sides of the same coin.

  • CStanley

    Are you trying to say that if *Obama* opposed the surge in Iraq he should not be authorizing a surge in Afghanistan? If that's what you're trying to say, I agree with you.

    Yes, sort of. I'm saying that according to the 'rules' you set for internal consistency, that would be the case. And I see you're following your own rules. :)

    Those aren't exactly my rules though. I do think that there has to be a compelling explanation for why one conclusion was reached in one case and a different one in the other- and I'm not at all sure that Obama has made that case. However, as a general rule I do allow for the idea that there could be some such compelling reason- thus, flexibility even though I still expect some measure of internal consistency.

    So there again- the tension between those two concepts. If one requires really strong internal consistency, as you apparently do, you sacrifice somewhat the flexibility part. I assume you aren't 100% rigid about this rule, but whenever you allow for some flexibility you have to then accept that there's the possible criticism of the disconnect between two situations being decided differently as a sign of internal inconsistency.

  • CStanley

    I repeat, throughout this entire thing, you have merely said my definition does not work.

    Hemm, the problem is that you cut and paste a definition (which I accept) and then you interpret it in a way that I don't accept- yet you act as though your interpretation is the only possible one.

    I should have been more clear in that comment I quickly jotted about 'agreeing to disagree', what I meant was disagreeing (again) on your interpretation. You quoted the definition of industry as sale of goods and services and did a hand wavy thing about the 'retirement industry'. What?? Retirement is a good or a service that can be sold? It might make some sense if there were actual retirement accounts set up within the social security system, but you know very well it doesn't operate that way. SS is strictly a transfer of funds from current workers to the government and then back to retirees.

    Can you at least admit that two people can accept a dictionary definition but then one interprets it to say that a certain thing fits that description while the other person disagrees with that interpretation?

    And then concede that what I'm doing here is simply disagreeing with you, not refusing to accept dictionary definitions??

  • HemmD

    CS

    I suggest you merely Google “retirement industry.” Somebody's making money from this non-existent industry. I got 23 million responses. Do I need to demonstrate this too?

    Accounts are how private business does this, so SS is not an industry because the government does hold separate accounts. I guess those reports I get that show what i will receive based upon what I contributed are not specific enough for you? If you put in more, you get more – just like an individual account.

  • CStanley

    Did I say that there is no such thing as the term retirement industry, or did I say that your reference to it fitting the description of the government social security program is not accurate?

    A retirement account is a good which can be sold (or brokered), but since there are no accounts being bought or sold under the social security program, that makes the definition of industry that you quoted inapplicable.

    Yes, I realize they do things differently when it's a government program. That's why this isn't an example of the government running an industry though.

    Any lightbulbs going on yet??

  • HemmD

    CS

    You've outdone yourself. The fact that you can't sell a fund due to the fact that is part of a mandatory government program means its not socialism.

    What's the going price of your 401k? Limited by law too? Your argument has made the perfect circle. SS can't be a socialist program because you can't apply free market principals to it.

    Your absolutely right CS, socialism is not socialism if you can't sell parts of the socialist program in a free market. Catchy definition to use.

  • kathyedits

    If one requires really strong internal consistency, as you apparently do, you sacrifice somewhat the flexibility part.

    No. CS, you are still not understanding my point. It's not the inconsistency in and of itself that I object to. It's not being honest about why you are upholding a value in every instance but one. Republicans who conspicuously omit Medicare from their list of socialistic domestic programs that should be deep-sixed. Is there something about Medicare, some mitigating factor about that particular program, that makes it legitimate and important despite the fact that it's creeping socialism? What IS that factor?

  • junker_joe

    Nah, you have it backwards. It is rising fascism that this report is warning of. And hey, if you don't like the report then maybe you evil SOBs should stop coming home from the wars and killing people.

  • CStanley

    I guess the lights are just permanentlly out, so I'll probably have to give it up.

    It's not that the 'thing' is not allowed to be sold- it's that there's no THING. I'm glad you like those quaint statements you receive from SS about how much you've paid into the system, and how much you will receive, but you are kidding yourself if you believe that this represents a 'thing' which you have purchased.

    And yes, that does mean that it no longer fits the definition of 'industry' (by the definition you quoted and agreed to.)

    There's also the fact that there still is a private 'retirement industry'. If our government had socialized this INDUSTRY, then there would be no such thing as private retirement plans. And that of course is the facet of socialism that conservatives reject, and it hasn't happened. Ergo your complaint about how conservatives are hypocritical for accepting the SS program while fighting against other programs which they claim are socialistic in nature is bogus, because the nature of the complaint against socialism is not present in the current situation of social security. There are absolutely no restrictions on anyone from having private investment accounts for retirement- in fact that is encouraged under our current system. Mandatory participation in SS has nothing to do with that, because the government is not controlling the sale of the good or service of retirement accounts IN ANY WAY.

  • CStanley

    Kathy
    YES!

    The mitigating factor is that Medicare is a program for a specific subset of the population that needs assistance. It's a safety net sort of program (though some conservative/libertarians would reject that as well, because it's a pretty big net.)

    I understand your frustration since that point is not often made- the GOP who speak about creeping socialism are preaching to the choir and conservatives get their meaning but you are scratching your head (kind of like I've been in this whole thread, as I felt that I accidently wandered into a talking point of the left- you understood perfectly why Hemm brought up TVA and SS and asked why GOP never complain about them, and I had no idea what he was talking about.)

    But that's why it would be nice if we could all stop talking past each other. Ignore what this party or that is saying, and talk to each other as normal human beings, explaining to one another why we believe X but not Y.

    Anyway- I could say a lot more but have to run…working today so I'll not be online much.

  • kathyedits

    I thought you had expressed agreement with Hemm and he has quoted a dictionary definition of socialism and then stated that he sees social security meeting that definition.

    I would agree (and it's plainly true) that programs like Medicare and Social Security — indeed, pretty much all programs in which the government subsidizes or pays for the human needs of Americans in specific areas of life — are socialistic in that they are examples of government controlling the distribution of a particular product or service, but I don't take that to mean that the U.S. government is trying to impose socialism on the country, or turn the U.S. into a “socialist state.” The fact is that most countries in the world that are not dictatorships or failed states have some elements of both socialism and capitalism. Most normal healthy countries (i.e., not dictatorships or failed states) are mixed economies — to greater or lesser extents. Sweden's political/economic system is democratic socialist; our system is capitalistic, but with elements of democratic socialism. Countries that are totally socialistic or totally capitalistic tend not to work very well.

    I also thought that this was your position about Medicare- that the GOP is dishonest not to admit that it's a form of socialism.

    No, that is not my position. My position is that the *GOP* — or large swaths of it, and certainly the current GOP leadership in Congress — consistently attack human needs programs and domestic spending in general because, they say, “it's socialism.” That being the case, I am quite certain that these same GOP leaders think that Medicare “is socialism.” And socialism in their view, by definition, is bad, always and forever and with no exceptions, ifs, ands, or buts. However, no Republican in Congress who wants to remain in Congress would ever attack Medicare on the basis that “it's socialism.” So they don't.

  • kathyedits

    The mitigating factor is that Medicare is a program for a specific subset of the population that needs assistance.

    Well, so is unemployment insurance. So is the food stamp program, and the school lunch program, and Head Start. So is welfare — not just cash assistance but related welfare programs like rental assistance (which I am getting as an alternative to being evicted and having to live in a homeless shelter). Republican leaders in Congress and conservative media pundits and bloggers all attack these programs as “socialism.”

    In an economy that is run according to undiluted, unfettered capitalism, having a “safety net” for people who need assistance would not be regarded as either desirable or necessary.

  • HemmD

    CS

    Mistaken again.

    SS “sells” the promise to pay their “customers” reaching retirement based upon the payments received for that customer's account number, aka their Social Security Number. That promise is the product that is sold.
    Your reclassification of “thing” sounds Clintonesque.

    ” There's also the fact that there still is a private 'retirement industry'. If our government had socialized this INDUSTRY, then there would be no such thing as private retirement plans.”

    Monopoly is no requirement for socialist program. Besides, “Monopoly” is a free enterprise term; You again wish to describe one system in terms of another. That kind of comparison is specious. The total dominance you require is just making stuff up.

    The TVA, your favorite socialist program co-exists alongside private power companies. Your logic would require that we do not call China a Communist state because they allow free Enterprise. The totality you require is not required by anyone but you.

    Christine

    You have questioned every term, and still wish to do so. There's a simple enough answer to this, PRODUCE your definition of socialism. I've been doing the heavy lifting through all this, and you have merely issued edicts condemning my efforts. You've argued authoritative definitions of socialism, social security, industry, and your latest, “thing.” At the same time, you used a word that you define in some secret way that does not conflict with those definitions of terms I have cited.

    If you can't produce this definition, I'm done with this. I'm done because you really are demonstrating a lack of good faith. If you're going to use a term, at least have the common courtesy to define it when asked.

  • ErnestNorsworthy

    HemmD –

    I’m sure you did not brush over intentionally the significance of TVA’s role in the federal government.

    Not quibbling over definitions, it is my understanding and long held belief that a “socialistic society” is one totally controlled by government. Can it be partly socialistic?

    In TVA’s case, I believe so. It is because TVA is a federal agency (TVA Act, 1933) with most unusual powers (‘flexibility of a corporation with the power of government – eminent domain’, said FDR) that operates beyond anything resembling our free-market system or of any other federal agency.

    The fact that the TVA exists in a huge taking by the TVA, essentially by dictatorial power, that impinges on the lives of over 8 million people does not mean that the TVA “co-exists” with surrounding investor-owned electricity producers. TVA has an inviolable “fence” some 2500 miles long. No sneaking in and stealing power customers even though their rates may be cheaper.

    The confusion planted by the TVA for 75 years claiming they’re just good old business people trying to get along with their neighbors is falsity personified. Stop. TVA is a federal government agency. Does that need further defining?

    I hope some of you have the chance to read some of my articles about the TVA at http://norsworthyopinion.com

    I believe the nationalization of the electric power industry in America has never been a closer reality, if I read some of Obama’s energy aims correctly.

    Ernest Norsworthy
    [email protected]

  • CStanley

    Hemm, give me a break. You're now trying to claim that the 'goods and services' in the definition of 'industry' can be an abstract promise? That's beyond ridiculous, and I really think you need to hang up your hat on this one (really, it's OK to admit that you overreached with your argument- you'll look much more respectable if you just own up to that instead of continuing to stretch.)

    I mean really. By your logic then, another example of socialism would be the Declaration's 'promises' of right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Does that mean that the government controls the 'happiness' industry?

    You have questioned every term, and still wish to do so.

    OK, for about the fifth time…I AM NOT QUESTIONING A SINGLE TERM. I accept the dictionary definitions that you've provided for socialism and for industry- in fact, I'm trying to persuade YOU to follow those definitions instead of stretching them beyond belief.

    Arguing in good faith doesn't mean I have to agree with your interpretations when they're quite obviously wrong. If you have to stretch a point to talk about promises as commodity, I'm sorry but it's not going to fly.

  • CStanley

    at least have the common courtesy to define it when asked.

    I did. Over, and over. My definitions for socialism and industry are the ones you produced from the dictionary, but not the twisted ones that you produced with your interpretation.

    And I've said this repeatedly, but you keep saying that I have not explained what my definitions are. Who's arguing in bad faith?

    Monopoly is no requirement for socialist program. Besides, “Monopoly” is a free enterprise term; You again wish to describe one system in terms of another. That kind of comparison is specious. The total dominance you require is just making stuff up.
    I didn't use the term monopoly, you did.

    I realize you introduce that term because the conditions that I wrote about would be like a monopoly in a free enterprise system, but in this case government having total ownership of a segment of the economy (an industry.) But the term monopoly applies to a situation in a capitalist economy when one private company controls an entire industry without competition. So, you're right in saying it's a free enterprise term, which is why I didn't use it. You brought it into the conversation- that's supposed to be my bad?

    Your logic would require that we do not call China a Communist state because they allow free Enterprise.
    Say what?? You do realize that Communism is a political term, not an economic one. Why would my logic then lead to that false conclusion?

    But yes, according to my logic, China doesn't have a purely socialistic economy. In fact, it's more correctly termed a socialist market economy. which is gradually being transformed into a more capitalist one as nationalized companies are being privatized.

  • CStanley

    @ Kathy- I believe you're right about Medicare/Medicaid. I spoke imprecisely there- what I was getting at is that both of these programs are designed to meet needs of specific subsets of the population whose ability to pay for healthcare is at risk. The idea for retirees, of course, is that lack of salaried income would require them to have very high savings/investment to pay for healthcare at the time of their life when they're statistically going to have the most healthcare expense.

    Now, before you go off on me and say that these days EVERYONE is at risk of being able to afford healthcare, I get that argument. But just because the solution of a govt run program works for one segment of the population doesn't automatically mean that this should be the only solution we consider.

    And this is my problem with the entire way that you frame these arguments. It's like “Well, if conservatives accept this degree of government social welfare, there's no reason they should object to a higher and higher degree of it.” That's illogical, and it's intellectually lazy.

    I've agreed with you that the GOP is lazy in it's arguments to support its positions- but I'm now also trying to point out that yours too are 'preaching to the choir'.

    You are also correct when you write about the continuum between capitalism and socialism or a social welfare state (and there too, I'll criticize the GOP for disingenuousness by often not admitting to that.) But accepting some level of these kinds of policies (whatever you want to call them- and I keep trying to stick to very narrow definitions of socialism simply because that term is too politically loaded) does not mean that one is a hypocrite if one feels there's a line to be drawn with how far we go with it. You obviously would probably disagree with those lines- but if you'll stop and think about it, there's nothing hypocritical about the idea of lines or limits.

    Imagine a number line with pure free market capitalism at one end and pure socialism at the other. Although I reject the definition of 'socialism' for social welfare programs, they would certainly be placed a bit away from the pure capitalist end of the line. The level to which we've now made that move, and accepted those programs, does not in any way mean that further movements shouldn't be questioned. And part of the reason for questioning it is our belief that a certain degree of capitalism is necessary to support and sustain the social welfare safety net. Look at the problems that the European social democracies had in the 70's – 80's (and what I believe they're headed for now- unsustainability.)

    So, anytime you want to argue for increasing the 'safety net', you still have to make your case all over again, for why and how it can be done successfully in your opinion. You can't just say that the need is there and so this is the solution to that need- because if we don't have a way to pay for that solution then you're creating more problems down the line.

    And when you frame your arguments as you are doing, you're leaving yourself wide open for one of the main arguments conservatives have with liberals- namely, the 'creeping' or 'slippery slope' problem. If you're going to argue for expansion of all existing programs by saying “well, you accepted it at that level therefore there's no reason you shouldn't accept more of it, and you're a hypocrite if you don't” then we're going to continue to be highly suspicious anytime you introduce ANYTHING, because we'll see that it's always the start of something that you intend to keep expanding.

  • granna23

    You say, quote: That could be a somewhat compelling element if McVeigh actually was the only one. Unfortunately, only a few hours after he wrote these remarks, I was sitting in on Ed’s daily show when Audrey Hudson of the Washington Times unexpectedly stopped by. (Audrey penned her own column on these atrocities today.) It was Ms. Hudson who helpfully pointed out that her background research indicated roughly two hundred cases of veterans who engaged in such violent, criminal activity.”

    “such violent, criminal activity” as McVeigh? I don't think so . . . I'm sure we would have heard about it. Ok, so just what kind of “violent criminal activity”? And what percentage of the military veterans is 200 over the past – um, how many years? How does that compare to the general population? It's all pretty vague, yet the message seems clear. If a person is a part of one of these mentioned groups, that person is MORE LIKELY than the average bear to be involved in the “emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.” And, if you react to these bogus charges, you are deranged. Add yourself to the list.

    Nope, sorry, I'm not drinking the kool-ade.