A Philosopher's Blog

Cain’s Comments

Posted in Politics by Michael LaBossiere on October 8, 2011
Herman Cain

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Herman Cain recently commented on the Occupy Wallstreet movement and his remarks are rather interesting. He began by asking a question that has become part of the narrative presented by the media and the opposition to the movement, namely”What do they want?” The idea seems to be to cast the protestors as being without purpose. Interestingly, this narrative has been followed by both the allegedly liberal media (which is composed of large corporations) and the Republican candidates.

Cain  also said, “I don’t have facts to back this up, but I happen to believe that these demonstrations are planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration.” While Cain has the freedom to believe what he wishes to believe, he certainly shows a lack of critical thinking skills when he makes such a rather serious assertion while, at the same time, admitting that he has no supporting evidence.

While Cain is willing to accept that the banks played a role in the 2008 melt down, his response is that “We’re not in 2008 — we’re in 2011!” While this is true, he seems to miss the point that what happened in 2008 is rather likely still having an effect in 2011.

He also made the stock comment that the protests “come across more as anti-capitalism.” This does not, in general seem to be the case. Rather, the majority of the protestors seem to be concerned about the excesses of capitalists and the corruption in the current system. Saying that they are anti-capitalist because they are concerned about the misdeeds done in a capitalist system is rather like accusing people rallying against rape as coming across as more anti-sex.

Romney also criticized the protestors, using the stock Fox line that they are engaged in class warfare. If it is warfare, it is a rather peaceful sort of war on the part of the protestors (not as much on the side of the authorities). Also, as noted above, the protestors seem to be mainly concerned about excesses and corruption rather than launching a class war. Of course, the narrative is that any criticism of the system or the wealthy is to be countered with hyperbole and the dysphemism “class warfare.” The real class warfare is, obviously enough, being waged by some of the wealthiest against those with far less political power.

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  1. ajmacdonaldjr said, on October 8, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Cain is correct in so far as the Occupy Wall Street protests were organized by Adbusters, which is funded by wealthy foundations that fund far left groups of young radical who are too ignorant to realize they are being used as a political tool, just as the right has done with the ignorant within the far right co-opted Tea party.

    As for 2011 being any different from 2008, we are in the same depression today we were in then.

    The depression of 1929 was called a “depression” so that people would not think the economic situation was as bad as a “panic”, which is what severe economic downturns had always been called, until 1929.

    The same thing has occurred in our day.

    To call the current economic downturn a “depression” would incite panic, which the powers that be don’t want, so they call it a “recession”, or a “double dip recession” or “another recession”. Anything but what it really is: a “depression.”

    From a 1975 High School history book:

    The phases of the business cycle:

    1. Prosperity: a great output of goods, extensive factory expansion, high prices and profits, easy bank credit, full employment, good wages, and a general feeling of optimism.

    2. Recession: a falling off of demands for goods, decreased production, falling prices and profits, the calling in of bank loans, decreasing employment, falling wages, and a general feeling of caution and worry.

    3. Depression: low production, low prices, little or no profits, widespread business failures, few bank loans, heavy unemployment, low wages, and a general feeling of pessimism.

    4. Recovery: increasing production, rising prices and profits, extension of bank loans, increasing employment, rising wages, and a general feeling of hopefulness.

    Source: American History Review Text (Revised: 1975) New York: AMSCO p.251

    Funding for Occupy Wall Street: The Tides Foundation is the force behind Adbuster’s “Occupy Wall Street”: While Tides makes its name by facilitating large pass-through grants to outside groups, many of Tides’ grantees are essentially activist startups. Part of Tides’ overall plan is to provide day-to-day assistance to the younger groups that it “incubates.”

    See: http://www.adbusters.org/campaigns/occupywallstreet

    See: http://activistcash.com/organization_overview.cfm/o/36-adbusters

    See: http://activistcash.com/organization_financials.cfm/o/36-adbusters

  2. T. J. Babson said, on October 8, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Class warfare? What class warfare?

    Email: ‘Time to kill the wealthy’
    By: Tim Mak
    October 6, 2011 07:27 AM EDT

    Several influential New York state lawmakers have received threatening mails saying it is “time to kill the wealthy” if they don’t renew the state’s tax surcharge on millionaires, according to reports.

    “It’s time to tax the millionaires!” reads the email, according to WTEN in Albany. “If you don’t, I’m going to pay a visit with my carbine to one of those tech companies you are so proud of and shoot every spoiled Ivy League [expletive] I can find.”

    State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos reportedly received the email, as did State Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari. The governor’s office did not tell the New York Daily News whether the governor received the email.

    The email, with the threatening subject line of, “time to kill the wealthy,” was detailed and disturbing.

    “How hard is it for us to stake out one of the obvious access roads to some tech company, tail an employee home and toss a liquor bottle full of flaming gasoline through their nice picture window into their cute house,” wrote the author of the email.

    The email references terminology that has been used in the “Occupy Wall Street” movement — that the1 percent, the super rich, are exploiting the remaining 99 percent of Americans. The angry message demanded that Albany politicians “stop shoveling wealth from the lower 99 percent into the top 1 percent” and “set aside your ‘no new taxes on anybody’ pledge.”

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1011/65307.html

    • ajmacdonaldjr said, on October 8, 2011 at 2:12 pm

      Class warfare = the federal progressive income tax.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 8, 2011 at 4:45 pm

      One or even a few threats does not make class warfare. Assuming, of course, the mails are genuine. You need one class against another based on class identity. This would seem to entail more than just some threats via the mail but a class movement involving a mass of people. Now, if masses of people were attacking the rich and rising up against the system with arms, then we would have some genuine class warfare on the rich.

      People in office routinely get wacky mail and emails-often using whatever is in the news as the focus.

      • WTP said, on October 8, 2011 at 9:54 pm

        “Now, if masses of people were attacking the rich and rising up against the system with arms, then we would have some genuine class warfare on the rich.”

        “The real class warfare is, obviously enough, being waged by some of the wealthiest against those with far less political power.”

        Are the rich really rising up against the masses with arms?

        “he certainly shows a lack of critical thinking skills when he makes such a rather serious assertion while, at the same time, admitting that he has no supporting evidence.” So the difference between HC and yourself is that when you make rather serious assertions, you simply don’t admit that you have no supporting evidence?

        • WTP said, on October 9, 2011 at 8:23 am

          And furthermore, one man’s (and not even an especially conservative man) experiences expressing his views amongst the political left…

          http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124000847769030489.html

          Of course, I know you will say the topic was different, etc. etc. all of which I acknowledge. However the rhetoric and justifications for their actions parallel.

  3. magus71 said, on October 8, 2011 at 10:10 am

    The Economist:

    http://www.economist.com/node/21530104

  4. WTP said, on October 8, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    • magus71 said, on October 8, 2011 at 1:18 pm

      See, Mike. You’re wrong about what these people are about.

      I have no respect for them.

      The woman at the end pretty much says it all, doesn’t she?

      Disgusting.

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 8, 2011 at 4:38 pm

        But does one person define an entire movement? Should, for example, the Tea Party be defined by the worst member that the left can find? Should Christians be define by the Nazis who claimed to be Christians?

        • T. J. Babson said, on October 8, 2011 at 4:52 pm

          The Tea Party has a clear goal of trimming the size of government and making government live within its means. The Tea Party is also against the tax-payer funded bailouts of Goldman Sachs, GM, etc. These are the issues that unite the Tea Party–not social issues.

          What is the goal of these Wall Street protests? What do they want? And will Obama bear any responsibility for any violence that results after he has whipped up anger against “millionaires and billionaires”?

          • magus71 said, on October 9, 2011 at 1:40 am

            Compare the Tea Party’s manifesto to the demands of this crowd: Have you ever even read this Mike? Or would that ruin your “Tea Party’s out to destroy democracy” bit?

            http://drudgeretort.wordpress.com/2010/04/27/tea-party-manifesto/

            1. Protect the Constitution

            Require each bill to identify the specific provision of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to do what the bill does. (82.03%)

            2. Reject Cap & Trade

            Stop costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumer prices, and weaken the nation’s global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures. (72.20%)

            3. Demand a Balanced Budget

            Begin the Constitutional amendment process to require a balanced budget with a two-thirds majority needed for any tax hike. (69.69%)

            4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform

            Adopt a simple and fair single-rate tax system by scrapping the internal revenue code and replacing it with one that is no longer than 4,543 words — the length of the original Constitution. (64.90%)

            5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington

            Create a Blue Ribbon taskforce that engages in a complete audit of federal agencies and programs, assessing their Constitutionality, and identifying duplication, waste, ineffectiveness, and agencies and programs better left for the states or local authorities, or ripe for wholesale reform or elimination due to our efforts to restore limited government consistent with the US Constitution’s meaning. (63.37%)

            6. End Runaway Government Spending

            Impose a statutory cap limiting the annual growth in total federal spending to the sum of the inflation rate plus the percentage of population growth. (56.57%)

            7. Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-run Health Care

            Defund, repeal and replace the recently passed government-run health care with a system that actually makes health care and insurance more affordable by enabling a competitive, open, and transparent free-market health care and health insurance system that isn’t restricted by state boundaries. (56.39%)

            8. Pass an All-of-the-Above Energy Policy

            Authorize the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries and reduce regulatory barriers to all other forms of energy creation, lowering prices and creating competition and jobs. (55.51%)

            9. Stop the Pork

            Place a moratorium on all earmarks until the budget is balanced, and then require a 2/3 majority to pass any earmark. (55.47%)

            10. Stop the Tax Hikes

            Permanently repeal all tax hikes, including those to the income, capital gains, and death taxes, currently scheduled to begin in 2011. (53.38%)

          • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 10, 2011 at 7:08 pm

            That does seem to be the talking point: “what do they want?” At this point, it mainly seems that they want to express their discontent. Perhaps some leadership will emerge and the movement will become more cohesive.

            Obama does not seem to be an anger whipping sort of guy.

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 10, 2011 at 8:25 pm

              Is this part of the message?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 11, 2011 at 3:00 pm

              Is that the official spokesperson?

        • WTP said, on October 8, 2011 at 9:44 pm

          One person? Mike, did you not claim above “He also made the stock comment that the protests ‘come across more as anti-capitalism.’ This does not, in general seem to be the case.”? Does Breitbart not repeatedly ask “Capitalism, thumbs up or thumbs down”? Is the answer from everyone who responds a unanimous “Thumbs down”?

          Are you being forthright and honest in your responses here? Or are your responses here sophistry?

          BTW, any intention of discussing the fundamental aspects of economics I raised in my post on other thread? A simple “no” will suffice.

          • magus71 said, on October 9, 2011 at 1:35 am

            You’re trying to wiggle, Mike. That person felt very comfortable among that crowd.

            By the way, there were several people interviewed, not just one.

            Your instincts are not as well honed as mine. You’re a better intellectual, but your street smarts aren’t up to snuff.

    • T. J. Babson said, on October 8, 2011 at 4:42 pm

      Turns out I was three rows away from Andrew Breitbart on an airplane about 3 weeks ago. Like me, he was flying coach. I don’t think may people on the plane realized who he was.

  5. ajmacdonaldjr said, on October 8, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    I once encountered a communist/socialist at a protest in Washington offering books by Marx and Lenin regarding communism. I asked the guy: “Are these books for sale?” and he said: “Yes, they’re $5”. I told him: “That’s very capitalist of you comrade. You should offer me these books for free, because, by asking for $5, you have just destroyed your own philosophy!” He said: “Yeah, we hear that from time to time.” LOL Needless to say, these types are too ignorant to realize they are against “plutocracy”, not “capitalism”.

  6. FRE said, on October 8, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    What Herman Cain says and what he actually knows may be two entirely different things.

    Cain is a politician. Politicians often say what ever they think will be most effective in winning them support. What they say needs to be examined with that possibility in mind. Thus, the implication that Cain believes that the protesters have no clear purpose may be wrong.

  7. WTP said, on October 8, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    “it is a rather peaceful sort of war on the part of the protestors (not as much on the side of the authorities).”

    Yes, those nasty, unnecessarily confrontational and aggressive authorities:

    http://news.yahoo.com/us-protesters-clash-guards-washington-museum-225350979.html

    What exactly do they want from the Air & Space Museum?

    There certainly is a lack of critical thinking skills here.

  8. WTP said, on October 9, 2011 at 8:16 am

    You’ve got to think for yourselves. You’ve got to be individuals.

    We ARE individuals…

    I couldn’t stomach the whole thing…perhaps there was an “I’m not” guy, but I doubt it.

    • T. J. Babson said, on October 9, 2011 at 9:40 am

      I’m with David Bowie on this one:

      • dhammett said, on October 9, 2011 at 10:27 am

        Perhaps it never is or was what we thought it was or could be. . .This from 2007. . . You recall. . . The pre-Obama era. . .

        http://www.thefot.us/fincher.html

        “While David Bowie and Pat Metheny are supremely talented in music, their politics are waaaaay to the left. However, when I read stories like that of Hollis Wayne Fincher, I cannot help recalling the following lyric from that wonderful theme song from The Falcon and the Snowman.

        ‘A little piece of you, A little piece of me will die … This is not America.’ ”

        Almost always a call for rebellion from some quarter, isn’t there?

  9. A J MacDonald Jr said, on October 9, 2011 at 9:25 am

    Institutionalized class warfare = The current federal progressive income tax system

    Chants of “Tax the Rich!” are not coming from the right, but from the left. The progressive income tax scheme has been the means used to destroy the middle class and the protesters on the left are too ignorant to realize they are only attempting to worsen our current condition by calling for even more unfair taxation on the wealthy. Washington is our problem, not Wall Street. Everyone wants “Justice” but they are too ignorant to know what “Justice” is.

  10. dhammett said, on October 9, 2011 at 10:38 am

    “Everyone wants “Justice” but they are too ignorant to know what “Justice” is.”
    Correct me, if I’m misreading that sentence. “Everyone” (including you, I presume) is “too ignorant to know what ‘Justice’ is.”
    Seems all of us (“everyone”, including you and me) are in deep s**t, doesn’t it?

  11. magus71 said, on October 11, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Waaaaay off subject, but being on leave and drinking Heineken can do that. Just received an email from a friend who’s a US Customs and Immigration officer. One line reads: “I’m taking the mandatory organizational resilience course where they explain that ICE agents should stop using their service sidearms to blow their brains out and get help instead.”

    I laughed out loud. I do love black humor.

    • dhammett said, on October 11, 2011 at 12:10 pm

      Even blacker and just as off-subject. Perhaps they should give a mandatory course like that to soldiers who return home from Iraq and Afghanistan. If it cuts the number of suicides from 36 to 34 would it be worth it?

      http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/woundedplatoon/view/

      Program begins:
      Narrator: “In the past five years, Fort Carson, Colorado has seen 36 of its soldiers commit suicide.”
      Soldier: “I thought that my time in this place was over. . .that I didn’t want to live anymore.”
      “Narrator: “17 have been charged of murder, attempted murder, or manslaughter.”

      • magus71 said, on October 11, 2011 at 12:22 pm

        Actually, the Army has instituted a massive campaign to stem suicides. I think there’s something like 40 hours of mandatory training each Soldier has to take part in, usually in 2 hour blocks.

        I predicted 2 years ago that the effort would do nothing and may even make things worse. I seem to have been proven correct, as suicides continue to rise through the training. I’ll do some research, but I think there are studies that show seeing a psychiatrist can actually make problems worse. I think Mike’s written or spoken of it.

        My theory is the cascade effect is at work. And the power of suggestion. No doubt the Army life is tough, especially through the wars and to this generation. Though the military life has changed in the last 40 years, it hasn’t changed as much as civilian life.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 11, 2011 at 2:55 pm

          Ironic, but true-seeing a professional is statistically less effective than other means of treatment (at least in the last studies I reviewed).

      • magus71 said, on October 11, 2011 at 12:25 pm

        That’s a very good documentary. Saw it on television.

        • dhammett said, on October 11, 2011 at 1:18 pm

          I don’t know when they instituted the mandatory training, but the Frontline program seems to indicate it wasn’t in place in 2010 when the documentary was aired. If it was, there certainly wasn’t any serious follow-up. Playing catch-up with a flood of returnees who have had three, four, and even more tours of duty would make it rather easy to predict the likely failure of such a program instituted at such a late date.

          Of course, this would not be the first time the military was late to the show. How long, in terms of mangled and dead Americans, did it take for the military to get adequate body armor and adequately armored vehicles to soldiers in Iraq?

      • T. J. Babson said, on October 11, 2011 at 2:24 pm

        http://johntreed.com/headline/tag/freakonomics/

        In recent years, the media have run multiple stories about high suicide rates in the U.S. military. These seem to be a good example of media bias and media and public innumeracy.

        The media generally hates the military and war. Suicide rates fit their bias that the military and wars are bad.

        Innumeracy is the mathematical equivalent of illiteracy. Neither the media nor the public understands the meaning of statistics.

        One question the media rarely addresses is whether the numbers they are complaining about are really as bad as they say or imply.

        Here are questions I generally do not see answered in media stories about military suicides.

        • Is the military suicide rate higher than the civilian suicide rate for person of the same age and gender? One article I saw did address that and, in fact, the civilian suicide rate for the same ages and gender were higher than the military rate. Stories saying or implying that high suicides in the military proves the military and the war are bad actually should have said civilians are more likely to kill themselves than military personnel.

        About the only media types likely to do that story are Fox News’s John Stossel or Freakonomics author Steven Leavitt.

        140 Army guys committed suicide in 2009 out of about 700,000 active duty soldiers, a rate of 140/700,000 = .02%. According to Wikipedia, the male suicide rate for the entire U.S. in 2005 was 17.7 per 100,000 or 124 for a group of 700,000. That does not take into account age. Military are younger than the population as a whole. Also, only 90 have been confirmed as suicides. The other 50 are suspected to be suicides.

        • What percent of the suicides had served in a war zone? One media story said many had not.

        • What percent may have been copycat suicides inspired by the suicide of another person at their base and the way he was honored afterward?

        • Are military suicides cause by being in the military per se, by serving in a war? Or are they caused by inadequate military budgets that make military service more stressful than in the past and inadequate number of persons in the military to share the burden of deploying to war zones?

        • If you adjust for thing like criminal convictions (of which the military has more than its share), smoking, excessive drinking, and so on, known characteristics of the military as a group, do you find anything unusual about the suicide rate in the military? I suspect the type of people attracted to the military in non-recession years is a type that has higher suicide rates regardless of whether they join the military. I’m speaking in general of the group, not about every single individual in the military.

        • Is there a common cause or are there many categories of causes including marital problems, drug use, brain injuries or illnesses, side effects of prescribed drugs, and so on?

        The Marine suicide total for the first 10 months of 2009 was 42. With 203,000 marines that’s a rate of 20.7 per 100,000.

        The military authorities need to keep an eye on suicide rates and reasons with an eye toward preventing those that are preventable. But the American people should not be using suicide rates that are arguably normal in such a large group of young men. The military bureaucrats almost always overreact to bad publicity, thereby harming the effectiveness of the military as a result.

        • magus71 said, on October 11, 2011 at 3:07 pm

          Couple of observations. Yes, I’ve seen that comment about suicide as it coincides with age, so when it’s stated that Army suicides are now higher than civilian suicide rates, it’s not true if we consider age brackets.

          However, I believe the number of suicides has doubled in 10 years in the Army. That being said, as the post TJ displays says, criminality may have something to do with this. Or just plain personal problems. The number of “waivers” for pre-military criminal behavior, drug use and other issues doubled after 2003.

          Off the top of my head, 1/3 of soldiers who kill themselves have deployed to a war zone.

          I was at a speech given by the Sergeant Major of the Army. He stated that the common denominator in many of the suicides was relationship problems. Lt. Col. Dave Grossman’s (PHD) theory is that the video game age is affecting the sleep of soldiers. While that may seem simplistic, I think he may be on to something. We know that chronic sleep deprivation can lead to depression. The deployment cycles hurt marriages, especially in the age of throwaway relationships.

          My overall view of the military is that is a slightly above average slice of society that at least keeps people busy and pays them, thus making them less likely to become suicidal. Plus, if you’re in a downward death spiral of self destructive behavior, the military will likely kick you out before you end it. I’d like to see what the suicide rate for enlisted people who serve one term and leave is. I do know that the rate of violent crime for soldiers and ex-soldiers is much lower than the average person’s rate, despite some bull crap lies the NY Times printed. Rolling Stone Magazine tries it, too, with their Kill Team article. I actually boycotted Old Spice products because they advertise in Rolling Stone, but after Rolling Stone printed about 4 hatchet-job articles in 4 months attacking the military and getting some basic facts wrong, I wrote to Old Spice and told them that despite the fact my grandfather, father and myself had always used their products, I could no longer buy their stuff because they paid RS mag money.

        • dhammett said, on October 11, 2011 at 3:22 pm

          TJ:

          The author raises many issues. Yes. It would indeed be important to know how many soldiers passed through Fort Carson in the years 2005-2010. Yes. It would be very useful to know for certain whether those 36 “suicides” were indeed suicides. I’m not so certain what bearing identifying “copycat suicides” might have, unless identifying copycat suicides in the civilian population could be achieved with accuracy also. But. I’d certainly want to know that the military for certain attracts certain types in a significant number. The author writes ” I suspect the type of people attracted to the military in non-recession years is a type that has higher suicide rates regardless of whether they join the military.” Well, what if I suspect the opposite? What if I suspect there’s no difference?

          “Is the military suicide rate higher than the civilian suicide rate for person of the same age and gender? One article I saw did address that and, in fact, the civilian suicide rate for the same ages and gender were higher than the military rate.” Do you see a problem with that language? What article he saw? In “FACT”? We don’t even get to see the article he saw to corroborate his claim.

          It would seem it would be important to know about the various causes, but only for purposes of future prevention of suicides in the military. After all, a suicide is a suicide, if we’re concerned about proving or disproving that civilian and military suicides occur in equal numbers

          I’m not certain what the author means by “But the American people should not be using suicide rates that are arguably normal in such a large group of young men.” What people? Using the rates for what?

          If you’d only be willing to recognize the same kind of complexity behind other issues (particularly ones where others may disagree with you ) it would be refreshing. This is the kind of article and these are the kinds of questions I raise when I ask 4, 6, or more questions that ought to receive consideration by people on the “other side of the issue”. Those people, often I’ve noticed, move on to another article, possibly because they don’t want to think about the possible answers to the many-faceted problems surrounding an issue.

          • T. J. Babson said, on October 11, 2011 at 10:36 pm

            dhammett, I am always on the side of truth and individual freedom. I hate lies, and I hate people who think they know what is best for other people and so want to tell them what to do.

            • dhammett said, on October 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm

              TJ:
              But I’ll bet that you’re not always on the side of ‘absolute, unconditional’ individual freedom. And I’m not playing word games here. When you say “always on the side of truth and individual freedom” and you don’t qualify the phrase “individual freedom” my understanding and, I would assume, the rightful understanding of many others, is that you’re putting no limitations on the concept of “individual freedom. Not ‘most individual”. Not ‘ individual freedom up to a point. Just individual freedom. Period.

              You probably see the complexity behind the individual freedom issue, and I’m sure you have views on issues such as drug legalization, religious freedom, child pornography, gun control, etc. that differ with the views of others. Does that mean those others are not on the right side, or the side of truth, or does it mean that they, too, are caught up in the complexity inherent in human activity?

              Sorry. You’re wrong. I’m right.

              Sorry. You’re right. I’m wrong.

              Ever notice how a person who declares himself ‘a social conservative but a fiscal liberal’ or ‘a fiscal conservative but a social liberal’ often consigns himself to a no man’s land? The purists on either side refuse to or cannot accept the possibility of such a strange animal and label him a fence-sitter. He can’t make up his mind. And we know people should be able to make up their minds in a black- and-white world.

              So the person declares himself an Independent .The purists begin clamoring for his vote. But truly independent (with a small ‘i’) voters are harder to pander to because there are damn few of them.

              I don’t claim to be among the true independents. I’ve said before I consider myself a sensible social liberal and a mostly fiscal liberal , especially when it comes to social concerns. I’d vote for a a conservative if he served my personal social interests. I considered voting for McCain despite some problems in the early part of the decade. He lost me completely when he chose his running mate.

  12. magus71 said, on October 11, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Doing some research after watching that video that TJ posted. The man uses the term “Plutocrats”. This has become a fashionable term used by the Left. Paul Krugman just published an article entitled: Panic of the Plutocrats.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/10/opinion/panic-of-the-plutocrats.html

    Another point of interest is that the term Plutocracy was essentially coined by the fascists in Italy and Germany when they tried to portray America as a capitalist system held captive by a few rich people. Interesting to me because that seems to mimic the ideas of many posters on this blog. Also, the author of this book: ” Triumphant plutocracy: the story of American public life from 1870 to 1920″

    http://books.google.com/books?id=JULLSNa-aLEC

    is a former senator of N Dakota ( a long time ago) and thought the Russian Revolution was a great thing. Hmmm.

    • dhammett said, on October 11, 2011 at 6:37 pm

      Is this some kind of “guilt by word- association” game?

      “. . .Nixon [that’s Nixon with an (R). . .] political strategist Kevin Phillips wrote in “Wealth and Democracy” that America was becoming a plutocracy, government by the wealthy.”
      http://www.dailypress.net/page/content.detail/id/532575/Speak-loudly-and-dodge-responsibility.html?nav=5097

      Moyer’s NOW in 2002:
      BILL MOYERS: “Are you going to join the Democratic Party?”

      KEVIN PHILLIPS [ with an ‘I’]: “No, I don’t think the Democrats have done anything that I should say, uh, warrants, uh … but I’m certainly an Independent more than a Republican at this point. ”

      Is that worth an “Hmmm?”

      • magus71 said, on October 12, 2011 at 1:12 am

        Actually, it further reinforces a point I was trying to make. Was America a plutocracy back in 1889, 1972, or is it now? Mike writes a lot of articles indicating that he thinks we’re becoming a plutocracy. It’s one of the things that makes him think democracy is headed toward destruction in America. As if things are changing. But they’re not. It’s the same thing with the anti-war crowd that thinks the world is more violent than ever, when really, it’s less violent than ever.

        • dhammett said, on October 12, 2011 at 8:42 am

          Rather, it would seem to me to indicate that the perception of what and when America was becoming, became, or will become a plutocracy has and is shifting and that people of different ideologies view the subject from different angles. Phillips, for example, was a Republican during Nixon’s administration, but he didn’t write “Wealth and Democracy” until 2002. His view that the country is inexorably becoming a plutocracy seems to have shifted his political orientation a bit toward Independent. Or perhaps he became an Independent first, then began to see things in a different light and began to sense that plutocracy was on the horizon.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 12, 2011 at 1:39 pm

          If you look at the time of the robber barons, a case could be made that the republic was, in fact, in danger. Interestingly, it was a Republican (Teddy) who came to the defense of the country. While I don’t agree with Teddy Roosevelt on every point, he seems to have been right in his view that business should play within the rules and that the national good is, in fact, worth protecting.

          If I am wrong in my assessment, I can be faulted for that. However, can I be faulted for my concern for the country?

          • WTP said, on October 12, 2011 at 2:08 pm

            Whenever you hear a man speak of his love for his country, it is a sign that he expects to be paid for it.” – H. L. Mencken

            • dhammett said, on October 12, 2011 at 3:27 pm

              “It is sweet to serve one’s country by deeds, and it is not absurd to serve her by words.” –Sallust

              “You’ll never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the human race.” –George Bernard Shaw

              O, the infinite variety of the opinions of man, eh?

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm

      Actually, the concept of the rule by the wealthy goes back at least to Aristotle. He does a rather good job laying out various government types.

      The expanding rule by the wealthy is rather clearly a threat to a democratic system insofar as the non-wealthy have their political role diminished. It should be noted that this does not entail that being wealthy is anti-democratic. The danger is when wealth is given too much influence in politics and this becomes a matter of law.

      • magus71 said, on October 13, 2011 at 1:32 am

        But was or has America ever been a plutocracy? I’m not justifying robber barons. I’m asking if this another instance of hyperbole that doesn’t hit the core of the real problem. The real problem is not rich citizens.

        I’m not talking about the idea of rule by the rich. I’m talking about the reality or non-reality of it occurring in the US. I don’t see that issue being any different than it ever was. I do see government spending as being much different.

        • dhammett said, on October 13, 2011 at 8:23 am

          And there are the main questions for consideration. We’ve identified the 99%. They’re not rich. How many of our leaders at the federal level, in all three branches are rich? Are 99% poor? At what point are smaller numbers of rich citizens in seats of power and on the political power periphery and essentially “ruling” the ever larger and ever (relatively) poorer 99%?


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