Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Around And Around

I recently had the pleasure of coming across a blog called Gun Toting Liberal. I recommend you all check this blog.

“Gun toting liberal, eh,” I thought, “Sounds like my kind of guy”.

There was a post written by a conservative guest titled “Lesson For A Liberal”. You have to hand it to GTL. He knows how to stir up some active comments.

The writer is a golf instructor who was giving a lesson to his liberal student. During the lesson the woman said to him, “The greedy corporations that created this mess will pay for what they did, don’t worry Chris, our President will take care of us.”

Feel free to go read the entire piece, but for our purposes here and now, that clip should suffice.

Friendly guy that I am, I thought I’d leave a thoughtful comment. Soon afterwards, off we went, around and around with my new conservative friend, FandB.

I know this kind of repartee can be annoying to some people, but sometimes I really like it. If you are also inclined to enjoy a spirited exchange, I offer to you this little spin on the carousel for your entertainment and edification.

Comments:
***

Just as it is naive for the Left to believe Obama will "take care of us", we see the mirrored reflection of the Right's similarly misplaced belief in warrantless surveillance by an unrestrained national security state. Our freedoms are protected by enforcement of the Bill of Rights, not by the false promise of hope by Obama, and not by the false promise of safety by Bush/Cheney rogue agencies.

There is a valid argument that the US and the world would be just as safe, if not safer, without an NSA or CIA. Unfortunately these agencies deny us the very facts we need to debate the issue.

And yes, greed exists in corporations. They serve their bottom line. Businesses who grew in the US and were nurtured by American workers, would betray those employees in a heartbeat and send those jobs overseas. Not all of them, but too many have done just that. My wife even had to train her Indian replacement. It is not in the nature of Big Business to be benevolent and merciful.

Dave Dubya

***

People need to accept responsibility for their actions, and they need to understand the effects of their actions on others, including the effects on corporations. Corporations respond to the demand from their customers. If their customers demand lower prices for goods and services than they are able to achieve in the U.S., then there is pressure from their customers to move overseas to lower their costs.

Just as businesses would "betray" the "American workers" who "nurtured" them, the very same American workers would betray the businesses they worked for in a heartbeat if they could buy down the street and save half a buck.

And the American worker is also not without responsibility in this matter. Every year, Workers demand higher and higher pay and benefits (even though their work usually does not improve much, if at all, from year to year). The workers threaten to destroy the business if they don't get what they want. So when it reaches the point where sales decline due to higher prices forced by higher wages, businesses have to choose between off-shoring, out-sourcing, raising prices, or shutting their doors.

When customers demand lower prices, and workers demand higher wages, the business is left with too few options.

Now this is where the liberals jump in and scream that the people running the companies get paid too much, they should cut their own pay. It is a fundamental difference between the free market capitalism that built this great nation, and the socialism that is destroying it. The problem is, the liberals can't see that (1) the big bad CEO doesn't earn enough to make a difference in the above scenario, even if his pay were cut to zero it would have a marginal effect at best; and (2) if companies don't pay enough to attract the talent needed to run the company, it will fail anyway.

If the American workers, who expect to get paid more and more every year, were to develop new ways to do things, better, faster, cheaper ways to produce. And if they were to do it consistently year after year, there would be several differences between the way things are now and the way they could be. America would not have a trade deficit - as long as our quality and productivity improve year after year after year, our goods and services would be the lowest priced and the highest quality in the world. Not only would Americans only want to buy American made goods, the rest of the world would want American made goods. Our unemployment rate would be nil. Our tax rates would be lower. Everyone would be insured through their employers, since profits are high and everyone is working. And on and on...

So I still believe that the American worker CAN make a difference, and should strive every day to make that difference.

The movement away from accepting personal responsibility for your own actions, and toward expecting more and more from the government, has led to the deadly spiral that we are in now.

Remember, the big scary evil "corporations" don't exist in a void, and they don't run themselves. They are run by people, EVERY SINGLE ONE of whom is just trying to make the best living they can for themselves and for their families. The people running the corporations are ALSO American Workers.

FandB

***

F and B- I'm such a dope, all this time reading your posts I always though you just had an odd name that rhymed with Bambi. Then I saw Chris split it with a "&" , now I see the light.

Dave W. (I catch on so fast!)- The government overstepping the line with U.S. Citizens is indeed a serious issue and a big problem that is compounded by technology. However, I dare say the vast majority of spying is much more innocuous and safe from abuse than you may realize. Back in the old days, an overseas spy might befriend and pay a janitor to get the trash out of some dictator's office to get a sense what was going on. Now, with so much information being created and stored electronically, agencies use different methods of gaining information. As powerful as the tools are to gather information, the agencies struggle with the problem of netting "dolphine with the tuna". And when it comes to phone calls, e-mails,texting and such, there are millions of worthless "dolphine" information for the few tuna they are after. It is hard not pull in sometimes unauthorized information on U.S. citizens, but my opinion is that it is a very rare day when one of those "Alphabet" agencies actually wants to have infomation on a U.S. citizen that it wasn't authorized to have.

Mike Hatcher

***
FandB,

Personally, and like many other Americans who may still have an income, I will always spend a little more on products made in the US over an import. That is, if I even have the choice.

I must say I’ve never heard that the reason for the horrific job losses in the US is the irresponsibility of workers looking for lower prices and their greed for better wages. But it’s OK, I guess, for the company and its bosses to do what it takes to achieve those same things. Executive and CEO pay has risen exponentially, often regardless of performance, while economic stagnation and depression close in on most Americans.

I’d like to see someone explain that to the unemployed. I suppose that’s why there’s Fox News, eh, F and B? F and B... Hmm, why does that ring a bell? Listening to the shrill cries of the Right, you’d think the middle class was expanding out of control and lynching the rich, instead of shrinking into a distant memory. An informed middle class is exactly what the ruling political and corporate elite want to suppress.

And say, don’t those trade deficits and job losses have something to do with corporate friendly “Free Trade Agreements”?

I am also surprised to learn that corporations are run by people who, unlike those selfish laborers, are free from the influence of greed; even the Wall Street banksters, I suppose.

Well, that’s “Free Market Capitalism” for you. It’s a good thing they have reverse socialism to bail them out. We all work for them now. That is so much better than that evil kind of socialism that uses tax dollars to provide public services like police and fire departments and infrastructure. If someone doesn’t have the sense of personal responsibility to put out his house fire, or catch the arsonist burglar who broke into his house before he started the fire, then he gets what he deserves, right?

You know what else liberals can’t see? They can’t see “free trade” and “free markets”. They see a revolving door relationship between politicians and corporate lobbyists. They see two thirds of corporations paying no income taxes. They see Big Business filling the campaign funds of both parties. They see corporatocracy. They see the golden rule where those with the gold make the rules.

You’re right FandB, American workers can make a difference. As long as they shut up, accept a lower standard of living, give up on health care, and gratefully serve their corporate masters for minimum wage.

Mike,


Remember this line? “Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way..." – G. W. B. 4-20-04

We liberals, and conservatives who understand the Fourth Amendment, call that a lie.

It may well be that “the vast majority of spying is much more innocuous and safe from abuse,” but the fact remains it has been, and is done, without Constitutional accountability and oversight. Journalists were specifically targeted and had their phones and email wiretapped. At least that was the case with James Risen of the New York Times. Perhaps he was being punished for reporting illegal surveillance by the Bush Administration. (There goes that pesky First Amendment as well.) Just how much warrantless spying on innocent Americans for no probable cause is acceptable? And just who do you trust with that power?

Do you trust the likes of General Michael Hayden? Maybe you remember he was the former NSA director who was rewarded with a new job as CIA boss by Bush/Cheney.

And do you remember Hayden being questioned by reporter Jonathan Landay in January of 2006?

Landay of Knight Ridder began his question by stating that "the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution specifies that you must have probable cause to be able to do a search that does not violate an American's right against unlawful searches and seizures." Hayden then interjected: "Actually, the Fourth Amendment actually protects all of us against unreasonable search and seizure. That's what it says."

Landay politely corrected him, saying, "But the measure is 'probable cause,' I believe." But Hayden insisted: "The amendment says 'unreasonable search and seizure.'" When Landay continued, "But does it not say probable--" he was interrupted by Hayden, who said, "No.... The amendment says 'unreasonable search and seizure.'"

Astoundingly, Hayden then said, “Just to be very clear, believe me. If there’s any Amendment to the Constitution that the employees of the National Security Agency are familiar with, it’s the fourth. And it is the reasonableness standard that is in the Amendment.”

So, here it is:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

This leaves me with some questions.

Why would our corporate media allow such ignorance of our rights by powerful leaders go unreported? Could it be their tight relationship with the telecom industry that was soon granted immunity for their part in the illegal surveillance? Why do they attack a constitutionally protected free press as the dreaded “liberal media” and embrace unconstitutional abuse of power by radical dishonest Right Wing conservatives?

And one more question. Except for the Second Amendment, why do Right Wing conservatives dismiss and scorn the Bill of Rights?

-Dave Dubya

***
Dave Dubya: ” I will always spend a little more on products made in the US over an import” — not enough people are willing and then actually follow through and do it. That’s a large part of the problem.

“I’ve never heard that the reason for the horrific job losses in the US is the irresponsibility of workers looking for lower prices and their greed for better wages” — I realize it is a bitter pill, and not very PC, but in order to solve a problem, you have to attack the root cause, not the symptoms.

Businesses ONLY sell what people buy. The buyer is ALWAYS in control, not the seller.
Most people have trouble understanding this concept. They are used to being controlled by government and have forgotten that government should not be the one in control.


Your next paragraph, Dave Dubya (hmmm…why does that sound familiar), is just a feeble attempt to bash the right and is completely meaningless, especially in terms of fosteriing a productive discussion on the serious, but solvable, issues that the U.S. now faces.

All of your questions were answered in my first post. All of the corporate actions you disagree with are brought about through the actions of businesses trying to satisfy the needs/desires of consumers. It isn’t the other way around as liberals would like you to believe. If everyone took responsibility for their actions, stopped buying foreign made products, demanded U.S. made products, etc., all these things would change.

“Two thirds of corporations paying no income taxes” is SHEER FABRICATION on your part Dubya. Making up statistics is no way to make meaningful contributions to improving the situation in the U.S.

Your comment regarding what American workers are capable of is about as pessimistic as you can get. It just shows how deeply ingrained the lack of understanding goes.

FandB

***

GTL,

I must thank you for this opportunity to engage in friendly discourse and debate. It’s a good thing to see two sides presented without shouting and interruption.

FandB,


I see you prefer a black and white world of absolutes. "Businesses ONLY sell what people buy. The buyer is ALWAYS in control, not the seller." While that may provide some comfort to a right wing belief system, it does little to aid in one's grasp of realty. The minimum wage employee who must spend the bulk of his paycheck on gas to get to his job is not in control. The same worker is also mandated to buy insurance for that car. That is not in his control.

My comments are not so much "a feeble attempt to bash the right", but simply my effort to bash what is wrong. (IMHO, that is.) I happen to agree with conservatives who support the right to firearm ownership, but it's sensible to regulate and to deny that right to psychotics and criminals. And I agree with them that abortion is a horrible thing. However I do feel it is not up to a man, or the government, or some church to make what is clearly the woman's personal painful decision..

True liberalism dwells in thoughtful, fair-minded people who yearn for a government that works for the public good. You may be surprised to learn most folks embrace both liberal and conservative ideas.

Both progressive and conservative interests in our Constitutional directives to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty” are undermined by corporate agendas. Liberals were called traitors when they questioned the motives of war profiteers/mongers Cheney and Rumsfeld. The Right accused us of “hating America” by objecting to Bush’s illegal, corporate telecom-assisted domestic spying. Those same voices are now howling about some foreign born socialist who wants to destroy capitalism while palling around with a terrorist. Give me a break.

Liberalism TM exists primarily in the fevered fantasies of right wing propagandists. It is not in the corporate-bought government of the United States.

My pessimism is grounded in the historical facts from Reagan’s “trickle down” myth to Bush/Cheney’s Enron/Halliburton style corporatism. Corporatism, masked as conservatism, has been the guiding force in US Government policy for 30 years now

I will not go in circles with you over these issues. I will, however, assert myself when accused of dishonesty. (“Two thirds of corporations paying no income taxes” is SHEER FABRICATION...) If you want sheer fabrication, I suggest tuning in to Rush Limbaugh, Bill O Reilly, Sean Hannity and their countless legions who can only make their points by outrageous comments and sheer fabrication. Feel free to fact check those folks if you have the curiosity that is obviously lacking in their listeners.

My “fabrication” is from the General Accounting Office report mentioned by many sources, excluding Fox News, of course. I have included a couple for you. I accept your apology.

---
Christian Science Monitor April 19, 2004

The April 2 release of a General Accounting Office report on corporate taxes could hardly have been better timed to get press attention. Just as millions of Americans were filling out their federal 2003 tax forms to beat the April 15 deadline, the GAO study indicated that most corporations owed no taxes from 1996 to 2000, a boom period for corporate profits.
Those untaxed corporations earned $3.5 trillion of revenues.
---
SF Chronicle Wednesday, August 13, 2008

When the taxman cometh, most corporations wave him on by, according to a government study released on Tuesday.
About two-thirds of U.S. companies and foreign firms doing business in this country paid no federal income taxes from 1998 to 2005, according to a study by the Government Accountability Office. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., called the report "a shocking indictment of the current tax system."

To be sure, many of the nonpayers were small or new companies that probably made no money. But the report said that about a quarter of large corporations - ones that had more than $250 million in assets or $50 million in gross receipts - paid no taxes. In 2005, for instance, 3,565 large U.S. companies and 998 large foreign-owned companies operating here did not pay any income taxes.


Dave Dubya

***

“The minimum wage employee who must spend the bulk of his paycheck on gas” --- as I said, we need to get to the root cause of the problem. Why is this employee only earning minimum wage? Trying to solve the wrong problem does not bring us closer to a solution that is equitable for all.

“mandated to buy insurance for that car” --- This varies from state to state. Who is responsible for this nanny-state law? (Hint: It usually falls under the same political discussion as 'Affordable Health Care')

“woman’s personal painful decision” --- why is the decision painful? Because every woman who has an abortion knows that she is killing her own child. That's why.

Why do liberals not have empathy for the baby that is being executed, often through excruciatingly painful and Torturous “procedures.” Who is protecting their rights?

Liberals are OK with torturing babies to death, but if we waterboard a murderer we should be hanged for Treason. Hmmmm.... Something's not quite right in the liberal camp.

“True liberalism dwells in thoughtful, fair-minded people who yearn for a government that works for the public good.” --- That sounds like conservatism to me.

“undermined by corporate agendas” --- They are also undermined by the left wing socialist agendas.

Regarding the whole “war profiteer” scenario you brought up, have you looked at what is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan lately? Yeah, looks like Bush and Cheney were right. Again.

“I will not go in circles with you over these issues” --- Heh, I don’t blame you.

Dude. Apology not tendered. Don’t make so many assumptions. :-) You back-pedaled on that fallacy yourself, even after giving it a decidedly leftist spin.

It is funny how the lefties repeatedly single out three or four conservative talk show hosts and then throw out their little snipes, like ‘fact check them’. Maybe the lefties who believe the venom spewed by the New York Times, MSNBC, most of the other MSM outlets, CNN, etc. should do a little Fact-Checking themselves rather than believing everything uttered by The Party of Hate and the new official State-Run Media.

(Hint: When a company doesn’t pay income taxes, it usually means the company did not make any money. Just as Joe Private Citizen doesn’t pay any income taxes if he has no taxable income.)

Why do the lefties always try to spin it to look like the companies made tons of money and paid no taxes.

(Another Hint: People (and corporations) don’t pay taxes on assets, gross receipts, or revenue. They pay taxes on Net Income, i.e. ‘Taxable’ income)

FandB

***

Hi, FandB,

I am delighted to see you are agreeable to some of my points, just as I agree with some conservative views. See, we can make progress. Even though such agreements may be similar to Sarah Palin and a geologist agreeing that the Earth is old; old, as in six thousand years to Sarah, and old as in billions of years to the geologist.

What, no apology? I guess if you’re never wrong you never need to apologize. (Hint: I originally said “income taxes”. You copied and pasted that, remember? Thanks for clarifying, though.) In good faith I provided the documented source of my corporate tax point and you rejected it with your un-documentable claim of fallacy. I understand. Righties do tend to confuse journalism with liberalism, and right wing ideology with fact.

Speaking of journalism, since Fox “news” is not journalism, and thus also never wrong, I agree with your suggestion to fact check the rest of the corporate-owned media. I remember when the New York Times parroted the Bush Cheney lies about Saddam’s “nukular” weapons, sinister aluminum tubes, and scary mushroom clouds. I also remember the Times telling us, on Bush’s behalf, about Saddam training al-Qaeda in chemical and biological weapons. (After no evidence was found to support their propaganda, Cheney wanted to waterboard Iraqis to get them to “confess” to these falsehoods.)

Yes, the corporate media do tend to drink that right wing kool-aid, don’t they? And since media ownership has not changed since back in 2002 and 2003 when they were whipping up war fever, your “state run media” description has a certain ring of truth to it. Why didn’t you and Rush tell us back then that the media was state run? Oh, maybe it’s because progressives were making similar accusations.

And I’m with you buddy, I never blindly believe anything uttered by the Party of Hate, or democrats either, for that matter.

I won’t pick at any of the other unsubstantiated assertions you made. Instead I’ll just respond to a few of your questions, and then I’ll shut up like a good little liberal and let you have the last word.

“Why is this employee only earning minimum wage?”

He’s getting minimum wage because the company will not pay him more. The Right hates the minimum wage and thinks it’s too generous, remember?

“...mandated to buy insurance for that car” --- This varies from state to state. Who is responsible for this nanny-state law?”

That would be the insurance companies, not those socialists.

“Have you looked at what is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan lately? “

Yes, I have. Obama is escalating the war is Afghanistan. That would be a “surge” to you folks on the Right. And like the escalation in Iraq, many more of our troops will have their lives sacrificed to a political/corporate agenda. Many more will suffer long term disabilities and PTSD. These vets will need to be treated by government run health care systems supported by our tax dollars, right? You do support our troops, and would gladly contribute your tax money for their care and rehabilitation, wouldn’t you? I would hope you’d not want to cast them into the streets and say “It was your own irresponsibility that got you wounded. You’re on your own.”

I see the Iraqis STILL want us out of their country and celebrated the day our military committed to remain on their bases outside of their cities. Both countries have untold thousands of terrified civilians paying the price for our wars of terror. I see innocent lives still being blown away in both countries. Innocent American, Iraqi, Afghan, and Pakistani blood still pours into the ground. Halliburton/KBR profits are up. Mission accomplished.

For the cost of Bush’s war for re-election, political capital, and profits for his cronies, we could pay for health care for every American. That paints a pretty clear picture of Neocon values, doesn’t it?

“Why do the lefties always try to spin it to look like the companies made tons of money and paid no taxes?”

Because it is true. Since you have such high regard for responsibility, who do you think should be responsible for paying the tax dollars required to finance the above-mentioned wars? Is it asking too much for corporations who profit from wars to pay some taxes to wage them? Who should pay the taxes to build and maintain the infrastructure, public services, legal system, military, law enforcement, etc.? If corporations bear no responsibility in supporting these “socialist” institutions and public works, even though they freely avail themselves of said services and infrastructure, then that leaves the rest of us to pay for it all. The public gets stuck paying for the facilitation of corporate profit. It looks like we have a new guiding economic principle in the USA. Private corporate profit is to be extracted at the public’s expense.

There are your Fair and Balanced responsibilities, eh?

One thing I hope you understand, FandB, is we both love this country and want what is best for our land and its people. At least I hope you love this country more than you love right wing conservatism. Although our visions of those ends differ, we can co-exist as long as we respect each other’s right to disagree. I won’t call you a goose-stepping fascist if you don’t call me a treasonous commie. ;-)

Dave Dubya

*
You’ll have to go over to GTL’s blog to see FandB’s “last word”. But first I want to show how I explained something for FandB at a different post.

*

You obviously have it in for “corporations” for some reason, and that is jading your perspective.

FandB


***
FandB,

Don't get me wrong. I give my hard earned money to corporations. All I want in exchange is what I pay for. Isn't that fair? I do not want them buying off my representation in government with money they get from me or anyone else. That is what happens when corporate money fills the campaign coffers of politicians.

And to see them get away with not paying their taxes is an insult to me.

Government policy bought by corporate money and influence is Corporatism. That is antithetical to the principles of democracy.

I am not against capitalism, I am against corporatism.

I am not against corporations, I am against corporatocracy.

All that money greasing the skids for Big Business and special interests takes all the democracy out of our government.

So you see, I am an old-fashioned American, just like you, who values my freedom, self determination, and representation along with taxation through a free democratic republic.

Dave Dubya


*
I tried to be the gentleman and offered FandB the last word. He graciously obliged. Then, wouldn't you know it? True to the nature of right wing conservatives everywhere; he took the last word, right after he took the second-to-last word. He took one more delusional jab about liberals being “OK with torturing babies to death”. There's just no satisfying them is there?

7 comments:

betmo said...

you are definitely a bigger person than i am dave :)

an average patriot said...

Last word yeah! You are a good one Dave that was quite an exchange!

Tom Harper said...

Interesting back-and-forth. I haven't been over to the GTL site for awhile (I still have it linked on my blog). I remember some intense discussions there; mostly civil at least.

Brother Tim said...

That kind of back and forth makes my typing fingers tired. I prefer to go downtown and try slamming a revolving door; the end results are the same, but it's much better excersise. :)

Dave Dubya said...

If you good folks managed to make it all the way through this, I thank you for your patience. If not, I completely understand.

Of course, there can be no real debate with a Right Wing Authoritarian personality. Debate requires mutual acceptance of definitions of terms and documentable fact and evidence.

It can be draining to go through this type of dialogue. It always ends up being one side using facts and logic while the other whips up an emotional cyclone. I wouldn't enjoy this type of thing all the time, but I confess to finding sport in it on occasion. The differences are illuminated and we get a peek into what gets absorbed by the right wing propaganda sponges.

Anonymous said...

Gee, Dave Dubya, I stumbled across this post by accident but I must say I am humbled and flattered all at the same time.

:-)

F&B

Dave Dubya said...

Hi F&B,

Nice to hear from you.

Thanks for the visit, and thanks for the dialogue.