Thursday, January 26, 2006

Government

Post and discuss

128 comments:

ChristopherCinHawaii said...

I am new at this format so this is a test. I think my idea for campaign reform has merit so here it is for you to diss/cus.

This E-blogger thing is a bit like PhotoBucket, easy once you know how it works, but very cool and give your grandaughter a big hug for helping you.

Election Channel and Election.org
Submitted by Christopher C. in Hawaii

The problem is the influence of big money on government and politicians.

My idea is the Election Channel and Election.org. Every office for election from dog catcher to the president would only be allowed at these locations. A structured format of debates, biographies, position statements, etcetera would be required of all candidates. It could be limited to 6 to 9 months before an election, run and repeated 24/7 and regionalized on cable and the net.
The channels and website used would be owned by the people and facilities made available for the media production candidates would need. All political advertising would be banned. The Election Channel and Election.org could have non-political commercials to help pay for costs. This would not prevent candidates from talking at public events and gatherings but that is reasonably free as far as costs to do.

This would help by making government more responsive to average Americans and their needs because more average Americans would be able to run for office with the outrageous money barrier removed.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

I am not sure what I did to make my name a link to my website. Hope it doesn't piss anyone off. Trying it different this time.

Marilynn M said...

I'm for this almost 100%. I'd also like to see the Election board send ouy a booklet simular to that. California does and I found it helpful. Texas does nothing like that and you are left wondering who the candidates are. I'd also like the candidates to meet for debates in townhall type meetings. They shouldn't be able to run negitive ads about each other. If they have something to say let them say it face to face and be able to defend themselves. There should only be public money spent on campaigns. No one should be able to buy an office.

Dan/Mich said...

Welcome Christopher: Although I hate the current system of massive amounts of money spent primarilly for distortion and smearing, threre's a problem with your solution, it's unconstitutional (violates freedom of speech).
Voters need to stay tuned in between elections. An informed voter is more powerful than any lobbiest.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Dan/Mich to say that this idea is unconstitutional and violates freedom of speech is not necessarily correct. Under current court rulings that may be the status quo but that can change.

Alcohol and tobacco companies are not allowed to advertise wherever and however they see fit and until recently neither were pharmaceutical companies. Is this an exception to the 1st ammendment or was some other legal definition used to achieve this desired goal?

Is it legal to cry ELECTION in a crowded theater or do we restrict that right?

The simple fact of the matter is no ones speech will be censored, prevented or restricted. It will just be placed in the proper location for election campaigns. Under the current system it could be argued that the lack of money is the true violation to freedom of speech.

This is something that can be done by a consensus of the majority through legislation and the courts if needed.

Dan/Mi said...

Christopher, Thanks for the post, When I get a little time I'll take another look at the issue.

Marilynn M said...

Christopher, I don't Know very much about it but they have public funding of state elections in one of the New England states. I think if you take public funds you can't use private funds. They will match the funds spent by those that opt out for the other candidate. It gives me reason to hope.
I like your idea of the television channel. In the off season maybe we could find out how they vote etc. I appriciate the thought you have put into this. I believe it could work.

Judy B. said...

Christopher..
Where have you been hidding?

Washington state sends out a voter's pamplet every state election cycle.
Every person running for office has an opportunity to write something; every initiative or refferendum is posted, as well as positions for and against them. The positions are written by a variety of people/organizations. The League of Women Voters usually takes a position on bills.
This is a good educational tool. People take these to the polls with them. If your state doesn't have this, maybe you should lobby for it.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Judy, I have been lurking and voting at the other site. My back went out and I am one of the 43 million uninsured and the pain wears me out and clogs my head, plus I have continued to work. A friend was here visiting and he tricked me into going to a chiropracter and it has been helping greatly. I also have volunteered to be water boy for a stage production of "Dames at Sea" so I am at rehearsal many nights.

It has been good for me to step away from the computer.

Hawaii does not send out a voter pamplet that I am aware of. Some newspapaers will do a spread on all the candidates. We do not have the intiative or referendum process. Occasionally we will vote on state constitution or county charter changes.

Marilynn M said...

Christopher, Try taking vitamin C and Calcium Magnesium for your pain. It helps. I don't know why, but it does. Sorry about your back. When that hurts nothing is right. Accupunture is also very effective.

Marilynn M said...

Public Funding for Elections
Submitted by Sylvan S. in Texas

The current fundraising process for elected offices forces politicians to spend most of their time raising money. Backers of the candidates that directly or indirectly raise the most funds often have inordinate influence over the actions of those elected. Consequently, the needs and issues of the lower and middle class that don’t correspond with the needs of the upper class and big business are ignored.

All candidates that are able to get on the ballot for any federal elected office are provided funds to run for office from a public fund. The system might be similar to that used in Arizona for state offices.

Without the need to constantly raise money, candidates will be able to spend all of their time communicating and listening to the electorate, enabling more informed decisions at the poles. Candidates would also learn more about the needs of the electorate and, with the reduced influence of others in positions of power and wealth, candidates would not be discouraged from responding to the general public.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

This is exactly the kind of dialogue that needs to happen in order to get control of the government back into the hands of the people. Public funding of elections is central as well as a return to a vigilant media as has been expressed so well by others. Voting reform is needed to get rid of those Diebold hackable machines to cheat on elections.

One of the perks of my idea is that money can be generated to help pay for the system with non-political advertising revenue on the TV station and the web site.

john Ashman said...

The problem, unfortunately, isn't lack of information, it's lack of giving a damn. Half the people don't care and the other half figure they can't change anything. SEIU gave a lot of hope to that group, huh?

I did post an idea that basically was a truth in advertising rule that would impose the same standard of proof as any other corporation. Have an allegation? Prove it. Bush is going to allow more black murders? Prove it. Alito will overturn RvW? Prove it. We should really stick with facts, not speculation or slander.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm way behind on reading for this blog and the SSB one. I skimmed it and I don't want to join in any lawsuit.

Christopher: What sort of regulations would prevent say a million people running for President or any office really?

I totally agree that the way it's happening now only gives our government to special interests, and I like the idea of a channel and website but what would keep it manageable?

BTW that was cool how your name hyperlinks to your webpage.

Debbie B (I posted under deb earlier, but it won't take it this time. I'll sign up when I have time)

Marilynn M said...

Debbie, from what I understand they have to get a bunch of signatures of supporters to qualify for funding. I don't really know. We should do some research and share it. This is an important issue.

Cheryl V said...

I believe that Arizona has the stongest public campaign finance system. I don't remember the details, but qualification involves getting a number of signatures.

Cheryl V said...

Election Reform: Instant Runoff
Submitted by Cheryl V. in Alabama

Problem: I’m tired of having to vote for the lesser of two evils. There are many times that I would like to vote for a candidate, but feel that I can’t because he isn’t a frontrunner. People become frontrunners by selling themselves to big money interests that finance their campaigns.

Solution: Instant runoff voting. You vote for your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices. If your 1st choice is eliminated, your vote is transferred to your 2nd choice.
Repeat until someone has a majority.

Politicians will have to appeal to voters both as the best, and an acceptable backup. Positions and ideas become more important.

Imagine the national conversation we might have had if Clinton and Bush had to appeal to Perot voters
in 1992. Or if Bush and Gore had to appeal to Nader voters in 2000. Maybe we would have had another candidate to consider, or at least more real answers on positions.

As an added bonus, this system saves money because there’s no second campaign and election to pay for.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

During the last presidential campaign, I liked so many of the Democratic candidates, that I found it hard to settle on just one of them. Each one proposed something that I liked, but none of them stood for everything I think we needed.

I don't think of myself as a Democrat per se, but I usually agree with more of what the Democratic Party stands for, than the Republican Party. In fact, sometimes it looks like the Republican Party would try to find a way to charge us a fee for the air that we breathe, if they could get away with it.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Christopher: What sort of regulations would prevent say a million people running for President or any office really?

The same mechanisms that are used now would limit the number of candidates running for each office. That is mostly a function of the party system. In order for a party to get on the ballot they have to achieve minimum signatures and minimum votes each election cycle for that party to stay on the next elections ballot without having to start over again with signatures.

This balanced funding and media access could greatly increase the viability of new parties like Independents, Libertarians(John would like that), Green, maybe even a Workers Party. Ideas and solutions would have a better chance of being heard and discussed with a structured format and when the 30 million dollar 30 second sound bite is no longer part of the equation.

ChristopherCinHawaii said...

Click on my name now and see what I have done with this Blogger dealy.

Judy B. said...

Christopher..
Wow...
When does your book come out?

deb said...

Christopher, you have awesome talent. Thank you for sharing.

Marilynn M said...

Christopher, Very, very good.

Anonymous said...

"This is exactly the kind of dialogue that needs to happen in order to get control of the government back into the hands of the people."

I certainly disagree... money isn't breaking the democratic process.... what is breaking the democratic process, is a BROKEN DEMOCRACY. The system, as designed, doesn't produce representative government --as it allows the same "baby kissing" lowest and lying common denominator majority to steal every "regional" election and silence the political voice of almost half the people.

The solution is "sliced bread simple" allow people to vote for representatives to legislatures (Congress, state legislature) not based on their geography... but based on their ideology. By simply eliminating regional voting districts (a holdover from a time when there was almost no communication/information technology beyond neighbor word-of-mouth) YOU SOLVE ALL THE PROBLEMS bliteing our democracy.... no more two-party control ... no more disenchanted, disconnected, disaffected, hopeless electorate .... no more regional pork... no more voting for a lesser evil... ONE SIMPLE CHANGE and we can have the fair representation and fair fight-- that would even give the defeated a sense of satisfaction.

In 175 words::
Allow Democracy To Evolve
More better detail:
An Unevolved Democracy

Anonymous said...

The links:
http://www.sinceslicedbread.com/idea/15232

http://inmendham.com/discus/messages/12/151.html?1131750060

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Thankyou very much ladies for those kind words. Getting a computer and using Word has made the process of writing so much easier. I thought about writing for a decade and have only begun to spend any real time doing it in the last year. I was largely inspired by the tensions created between personalities at a gardening web site that I frequent and participate in.

Anonymous I have kept an open mind and checked out your idea at the links you provided. The idea of second, third choice voting has merit but your discussion of how it would work sounds incredibly convoluted within your non-geographic setup.

The elimination of geographic boundaries seems very problematic to me. First we would need to get rid of the states in the united States of america. Then you want each voter to vote for the entire Senate and House? It is hard enough to get people to pay attention now. A ballot of candidates that long would turn even more people off.

Even with your system how would the effect of money and politicians need to advertise to get elected be avoided? I disagree with you and think that the money in the system used to Sell candidates is a major problem and would be a problem in any system.

Certainly our "representative democracy" can be looked at for improvements and fine tuning. It just seems to me a better way would be to increase the electability of alternate party candidates, to break up the two party monopoly, who could then represent in the halls of power, "People who aren't where they live, but are what they believe."

Anonymous said...

"sounds incredibly convoluted"

Maybe if you didn't add words, I did not write, you might be able to understand the simplicity. State governor's would still be elected by the majority-- so there still would be States in the United States. As to people not being able to pick two or three people in the entire United States to trust with their vote... that's just preposterous. The system allows people who don't wish to make a whole lot of choices-- to merely vote for someone they trust to make the choices for them. The IMPORTANT thing you're missing is that everyone's vote would be effectively "guaranteed" to gain them a representative who has values substantially consistent with their own... in actual real effect no single voter could lose in a election for state or federal "representative"!!!. If "Instant runoff voting" is like breaking the sound barrier... "unregionalizing" approaches the speed of light... in terms of a quick, easy reform that will blowoff all the lies, corruption, and general shenanigans that has us primed for a Roman burning.

Marilynn M said...

So we need public funding for candidates, Election Channel, Election Web Site. Voter pampletts with abiographies, and statements. Town Hall type meetings. I like the sound of it. That and getting rid of the Diebold electronic Voting. We can have no eletronic voting that is hooked to the Internet. We need reciepts and a person needs some kind of assurance their vote is actually registered for whoever they voted for.
How can we do it?

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Anonymous, you need to flesh out your non-geographic idea because yes you are right, I do not understand it or how it will work. There are 100 Senators and about 435 Representatives at the federal level, without a geographic basis how do I vote for all of them on the federal level? Or do you just mean no geographics at the state level? What, splain it to me.

Marilynn, the way to get accurate and fair voting counts is by a scanning technology that reads paper ballots that are saved and available for recounts. The ballots are like fill in the dot scholastic achievement tests used in all highschool and colleges.

Cheryl V said...

We used the scanned paper ballots when we lived in North Carolina. It's the best system I've ever used. All of the candidates are listed, you use a marker to complete the line next to who you want to vote for.

When you put your ballot in the scanner, it spits it back out at you if it is invalid. If you do something like vote for two people. The paper ballots are kept for documentation.

Anonymous said...

An American need never again face the current American horror of voting for Indira Gandhi and up having Adolf Hitler call himself "your" representative. It really is as simple as slicing bread... unfortunately we've just been too blinded by tradition (in the box thinking) to recognize the obvious fact that the emperor's 250 year-old clothes have fallen apart and our democracy is logically naked and revealing its weaknesses.

Here's a brief rundown:
1. hold the loaf of bread with one hand...ie understand that "representatives" represent a fixed number of "constituents" ... your vote only ultimately goes to one "representative"
2. ...carefully move the knife back and forth across the loaf being careful not to cut your hand off ... ie...if the person you vote for already has enough votes to be elected... your vote would go to your next choice (and so on) ... if you don't provide a next choice the person you voted for will give your vote to a person of his choice... say for example you vote for Edward Kennedy but yours is the 20 millionth vote he has received (when he only needed 2 million to be elected )... if you provide no second choice the elected Edward Kennedy would give your vote to someone like Joe Biden (if Biden was short the required number of votes to be elected)
3. apply the topping of your choice ie. Enjoy knowing your voice will be heard in the halls of government because you're vote wasn't destroyed by a political parties control of a geographic district.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

What if Edward Kennedy sucks and he got 20 million votes because he had the most money and the sneakiest and slickest ad campaign? Now you are going to let one man determine where 18 million votes are applied. I still have a problem Anonymous.

Are you saying I get 10 ranked choices(from your description at http://inmendham.com/discus/
messages/12/151.html) from a list of 435 or more for the House of Representatives? Do you expect the voting public to be able to wade through such a list of candidates and make the right choices?

Anonymous said...

I used Edward Kennedy as an EXAMPLE... moron. Obviously you are not capable, or willing to logically discuss this so I will be on my way.. and leave you ostriches to yourselfs. For the record, if you vote for Edward Kennedy or Adolf Bush or whoever... as your first choice and then say he sucks... will then you would be an idiot and probably shouldn't be allowed to vote anyway. Without even trying I could name off people like Ralph Nader or Norm Chomsky, Jerry Brown etc... people wouldn't have to know all 500 or even all 10,000 candidates... all they would have to know is a few (or one) they liked and trusted ... The Real point is, you would be allowed to vote for almost anyone without throwing your vote away-- third-party candidates would have a very level playing field... and MOST IMPORTANTLY people like myself living in districts 80 % controlled by the opposite party would actually have a meaningful vote, in an election for a "representative", for the first time in there life.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Anonymous my questions are very logical and I am quite willing and capable of discussing your idea. You however seem to be perturbed by any question that casts doubt on your own perceived brilliance and resort to name calling after a few posts.

The ballot alone with your "idea" has as you stated 500 to 10,000 candidates for one group of offices. Now you need to add on to this ballot every other state, county and federal office for election. The ballot alone would be more like a telephone book and that by itself makes your "idea" to cumbersome and unworkable. You need to go back to the drawing board and work on the details you put off dealing with earlier.

Anonymous said...

perturbed by any question that casts doubt

You're not casting doubt... you are casting find-any-excuse BS. Read this part again, and explain how the ballot would be too cumbersome.

1. Ballot would provide voter with ten slots or "choices" to fill (1-10).
2. All registered candidates (virtually anyone) would be given an ID number (Ex. DR-1367) to make ballots computer friendly and readable by voting machines.


As stated on the essay, I had this revolutionary idea over 15 years ago. No one over those years has ever come up with the rational argument against moving towards truly representative government... Against having a system, were no elected official was allowed to claim they represent people who didn't vote for them .... NO... instead the argument is always this kind of mush about minutia ... what are you gonna argue next that people can't write down, or remember, a number shorter than a phone number.

There is nothing "unworkable" about this idea beyond the obligation of having to spend your life banging away, with a common-sense hammer, at all the cement heads. If you were going to invent a Representative Democracy, for the first time, tomorrow --would you deliberately create a circumstance that allowed almost half the population to be left unrepresented ?? As stated, the goal is to represent ideology, not geography ..and the goal can be easily reached if you don't contrivance an excuse to run the wrong way .

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

How does your system protect against the undue influence of money spent on advertisement to get any particular candidate in the public eye so that they will know to write that candidates code number on the ballot? The absolute best candidate may be flat broke and no one will ever hear of them in this herd of wanna be politicians. How does a Senator run a national campaign without needing a lot more money or does s/he just campaign in their own geographic population center?

Answer the Money question.

Anonymous said...

I guess this part didn't make any impression on you at all

"No doubt substantial time and thought will have to be given to the design of any new system, but there is little point in describing and debating details until popular support for the overall direction is achieved."

There are literally thousands of people "in the public eye" so to speak... of those thousands I'm sure there is someone you feel confident would not be a liar, and a cheater, a thief, and would do exactly as they promised to do if elected.

There are lots of ways to get around the "popularity problem" one of my sliced sliced bread solutions...
http://www.sinceslicedbread.com/idea/15164
Outlines how to clean Internet indexing of the same money talks problem.

If I was running the country, or my proposed system, I would simply allow every registered candidate (who pays the appropriate perfunctory filing fee) to voluntarily fill out a questionnaire defining their position on current issues and allowing them to provide an essay explaining why they believe, what they believe, and why the voters should vote for them. You just put all this information in a extensively searchable database and the voter could just go online and find a e-harmony style match for what they're looking for.

In many respects, the more choices people have, the less influential money becomes... Think about it ...most campaign financing goes to negative ads ripping your opponent to pieces.. if you have a thousand opponents you're not gonna be able to afford all the mud you will need to win by slinging junk at your opponents. 30 second sound bites outlining what a wonderful guy the candidate is.. only work when people are forced to make a lesser of evils choice. You want to reduce the influence of money... my way is the best way

Marilynn M said...

Anonymous, Having all those candidates sounds like the Iraq election. That worked?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, Having all those candidates sounds like the Iraq election. That worked?

Having a Congress exclusively comprised of lowest common denominator/intelligence majoritarian sellout two-party bumbs is what made the Iraq disaster possible.

It's really a simple question Marilynn, Do you believe all Americans should have their fair share of representation in government, or don't you? Our Current "your vote doesn't count in this district democracy" is fascism and it permits unconstitutional majority tyranny. So keep your low voter turnout.... your preposterous pork-barrel spending.... your big business ownership of government... keep YOUR liars and cheaters and crooks.... and keep proving with your cheap little one-sentence slander rhetoric that you deserve nothing better.

Marilynn M said...

Anomymous, I gave you my opinion. Why do you feel the need to insult me? I guess it's easy when you don't give your name to be rude.

Anonymous said...

Gary Mosher
147 Ironia Rd
Mendham NJ 07945
6'1"
160 lbs
46yrs old
blond hair (long)
...etc ... who with a brain cares.

You compare my proposal to an election in American aggression ruined Iraq that was organized to be as geographically biased as our own democracy-- and which had NO functional similarity to anything I have proposed.... and you have the gall to call me rude!

I see you avoided the question... Why? Are you afraid to admit that you like disenfranchising your neighbors, and stealing their vote! or is it because if you answer yes honestly... Than you would actually have to come up with some rational argument pointing out how my proposal, does not provide full representation, at the best efficiency... and frankly, I would bet my life, on the fact that you can't do that.

Dan/Mich said...

Anon (Gary), Maybe you'd be more effective in selling your plan if you refrained from using the terms "moron", "ostriches" and "cement heads".

Marilynn M said...

I agree with Dan. It wouldn't hurt to be a little nicer. I'm sorry the thing that comes to mind when you want to have hundreds of candidates is Iraq. They didn't get what they wanted.

I prefer the candidates being required to get signatures from those supporting them. That has nothing to do with money.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Gary, I think we all agree that we want a government that truly reflects the diverse ideas held by the electorate and that doesn't shut out the voice of half the population. Because some of us may question your suggested method to achieve that goal does not mean we are against the desired result.

You have offered some seeds of an idea, rated voting and elimination of geographic boundaries. Don't get so stuck in your own method that you disallow refinement to your seed of an idea which may kill it before it has a chance to grow.

Insulting people who wish for the same results as you only makes your idea even less appealing.

Anonymous said...

My style of argument is a reflection of the fact that in 40 years (That's right, since I was 6 years old ;o) I haven't lost an argument that takes place on fair rational ground. If we continue this discussion, experience proves a 99 percent likelihood that your arguments will become circular... you will keep saying their are flaws in the idea... but you will articulate none, that I cannot logically dispose of. What would end the argument, and decisively prove me right is a state willing to try the experiment just once (state legislature election) I guarantee the public will be so overwhelmingly satisfied at actually having someone in government, that actually represents them in every ideological nuance possible-- that the world will be forever changed and the lying cheating and graft running America will be over. I am so confident, that I would be willing to sign a contract permitting an outraged electorate to draw and quarter me in the public square if I'm wrong.

I am, hostile, and willing to exchange rudeness for rudeness... because in practical fact "morons", "ostriches" and "cement heads" are what's keeping this nation and the world stuck in mediocrity, and devolving socially, and intellectually.

The plain simple truth is I've lost all patience... and just about all hope that there are enough people on earth with a brain that works on honest logic to make, "arguing" anything ...anything but a waste of time. You want to call me an arrogant jerk, jackass, moron whenever... I could care less. The only thing that matters is can you argue against what I have proposed with something more substantial than maligning innuendo (irrelevant Association with Iraq) or mush over minutia.... taking a line from the movie Amadeus... you people are like the king complaining that "the song has too many notes"

You might not understand all the references... but this little story might lighten you up a bit.
http://www.inmendham.com/dng/Blogs/trollate.htm

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Gary, I read your story. It is quite illuminating.

May I suggest you step away from the computer, go outside and take a very long long long walk in the natural world and try to reconnect to the real world of living, breathing, made of flesh human beings, plants and animals.

Anonymous said...

See... no rational argument... no logic... just cement-head mush. My perfect record, remains intact, I win the argument battle.. but unfortunately the war for a better world is lost.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Yes Gary you win again. You are The Master of the Universe, The Universe of ONE. Reign on Mighty ONE.

Anonymous said...

So it's my fault that I predicted you will fall into the pattern of the cliche naysayer's -- and start suggesting irrelevancies like I go wash my socks. ...and then not 23 minutes later you prove me right.

Contrary to your perception it is your kind of ignorance that is The Master of the Universe.

I'm just a good rebel soldier who will fade away beaten, but not defeated.

Marilynn M said...

Gary, there is someone in the insult thread that might be interested in conversing with you.

Anonymous said...

Of course, I can give you my opinion of where "you should go"... and your little insult Blog too... But..
The only thing that matters is can you argue against what I have proposed with something more substantial?

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I know you guys are going to think of this as some kind of "voodoo", but I use tarot cards as a meditation and relaxation tool. I'm not sure whether there is anything to them, but in the past, whenever I've "read" them, the stuff just happened to come true. Anyway, I decided just for the heck of it to "ask the Tarot" how our country would be run with John Edwards and Wes Clark at the helm. In answer to that first question, the card that came up was the Three of Wands upright. I searched online for its meaning (sometimes I also check my tarot books). This is what came up:

Tarot Cards - The Three of Wands
The Three of Wands
The Lord of Established Strength

Divinatory meaning
Upright - Dreams that turn into reality through circumstance and being in the right place at the right time. Successful ventures launched, inspiration and original ideas. Strength coming from successful enterprise due to the courage of one's convictions. Plans and ventures that are moving ahead.


Next, I asked what effect their leadership as President and Vice President would have on the general population of the United States. I was "answered" with The Sun card, also upright.

Tarot Cards - The Sun
The Sun (Le Soleil)
The Lord of the fire of the World

Divinatory meaning
Upright - Contentment and happiness on attaining success. Good Health. Material happiness. Mental, physical and spiritual vitality. New inventors or inventions. Academic and particularly scientific success. Reward. Acclaim. Approval. Children. Abundance of energy. Achievement. Joy and happiness.


Marilyn, I remember your having said you joined a Meet Up America group which, as I understood, is focused on getting John Edwards elected as U.S. President in 2008. And Debbie, you had said earlier on, something to the effect that you think John Edwards/Wes Clark would be a winning combination for U.S President/Vice President. Would the both of you be able to keep the rest of us posted on what's going on with both John Edwards and Wes Clark as any events regarding either of them are unfolding? 2008 doesn't look that far away to me.

Also, what do you guys (anyone reading this) think of Al Gore or Howard Dean? Was "the yell" the worst thing anyone had to say about Dr. Dean? He's another very decent, compassionate man that I would have loved to see as U.S. President.

Anonymous said...

Your 2:57am post on the other board as Christina seemed to reflect the thoughts and perceptions of someone way to intellectually sober to suggest we should let a deck of "playing" cards direct human destiny. Then, as if to add insult to injury you have to "rub in" the fact that the "less evil" political party doesn't have much more than failures and Fruit loops to invest its hope in.

I too have a "meditation and relaxation tool" but I don't talk about how I use it... in public.

BTW: Do YOU think any American should have to endure having a legislative "representative" they didn't vote for?

Marilynn M said...

Howard Dean was my first choice. He is smart, honest, and he was a great Governor. The scream was edited so you couldn't hear the crowd in the background to make him look ridiculous. It was part of the manipulation to get him out of the way. I think he would have won. I don't think he would have conceded until the last vote was counted. I don't think he can run because of being the DNC chairman. That is a shame because he has courage.

deb said...

I jumped on Howard Deans' bandwagon from the outset because he seemed to be the only politician criticising the administration and the war...I will always respect him for standing up for his beliefs (and mine) knowing what the neo-cons do to those that speak against them.

I would have been happy with any of the democratic hopefuls except pro-war Lieberman. Kerry was actually my second least favorite.

Did you notice that right before the Iowa primary that CNN, CBS, fox, ABC and NBC all started repeating that Kerry was the most likely of the democrats to get elected. It was on the radio, too. It was repeated so many times that any American would have been hard pressed not to have heard it repeatedly. My best guess is that if a dem did get in that Kerry would be the most corporate of the bunch, so the media pushed for him.

Marilynn M said...

Exactly right Deb. I felt when they started pushing Kerry it was because they didn't think he could win. I was so pissed. We are being manipulated big time. One good thing is Air America Radio is growing by leaps and bounds. It is our Radio Free America. People can listen on their computers even. I am so happy to see people showing up and posting.

Cheryl V said...

I've been thinking about getting rid of geographical districts and changing to this ideology based voting.

I can hardly find the time to evaluate a handfull of candidates, how am I supposed to consider a hundred or more?

The thought of voting for someone based on their ethnicity is distasteful.

I've tried to think of what sort of groups I might have to choose between. Do we get the doctors vs the welders? How about NASCAR vs gardeners? Will all these candidates try to get pork for their supporters?

We need to improve the polical system, but I don't think that this is the way.

I am in favor of accurate news reporting, public financing, and instant runoff elections.

Anonymous said...

I can hardly find the time to evaluate a handfull of candidates, how am I supposed to consider a hundred or more?

I don't think you're reading/listening very carefully.... I say again, you would not have to know all, or even most, or even a few of the candidates... at minimum all you would have to know is ONE candidate "that you trusted" to use or forward your vote in a manner most conducive to your interests. For example let's say you vote for someone who gets only one vote. Obviously he's not going to be elected... but what he will be able to do, after election day, is broker your vote, with others, to candidates who are electable (just a little bit short of the number of votes needed to be elected) bottom line your vote goes to further causes you care about. Another example, say the election requires 300,000 votes to be elected... and say Howard Dean has 200,000 and Ralph Nader has 100,000 these two candidates could combine these votes and make agreement with each other to represent those 300,000 people collectively...


The thought of voting for someone based on their ethnicity is distasteful.

Regardless of your "distaste" I think "Americans" should have the right to do with their vote what they want --without securing your approval. As someone who doesn't really give a rats butt about ethnicity, I don't wanna get into some argument about this crap... but in fairness, I would say I don't think your statement comes from somebody who spent too much time as a black or even in Arab person in America.


I've tried to think of what sort of groups I might have to choose between. Do we get the doctors vs the welders? How about NASCAR vs gardeners? Will all these candidates try to get pork for their supporters?

You decry voting based on ethnicity... yet you suggest that you might not be able to control yourself and only vote for someone named Cheryl for example! I think pretty obviously, if you have to choose... your choice would be a membership in the "petty naysayer party".


We need to improve the polical system, but I don't think that this is the way.

...will "I think" you have the "I don't think" part right.


I am in favor of accurate news reporting, public financing, and instant runoff elections.

...and if we ever get those things, you will appreciate that it is far short of what is needed.

Cheryl V said...

In other words, I'm supposed to elect someone that I trust. No such politcian exists. This person joins an Electoral College like convention, and they decide who I really voted for.

Anonymous said...

In other words, I'm supposed to elect someone that I trust. No such politcian exists.

Now if this isn't the perfect definition of a cement head.... So you can't name 10 people on the face of the earth you would trust to be a responsible guardian of your vote! I'm about a cynical a person there is on this earth and I know I could list a hundred "public figure types" I wouldn't be afraid to let act in my interest... you're just objecting, for the sake of objecting...WHY? because I have bad breath?... you don't like my face?... my feet are too big?.... GROW UP!!! ...is your kind of silly person that as the "progressive" Democratic Party looking like Pollyannas in Wonderland.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

Anonymous at 4:52 AM,

I'm guessing you're under 40 years old, otherwise you would most likely have remembered reading or hearing about this:

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

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing you're under 40 years old

I'm guessing your about 10 years old and never saw a "reading is fundamental commercial" ... c'mon I point out my age two places.

Remembered reading or hearing about this

Why should I have to remember... I didn't vote for that liar either...and its old news. What is your stupid point? We SHOULD have conversations about what I see in our future when I look at my cats butt... Is anyone here capable of an adult discussion? about something that actually matters?... Why don't you explain to me again why it's good to keep a system that disenfranchises half the population and gives literally millions of people absolutely no reason to vote.

Marilynn M said...

Christen, I had forgotten that. It doesn't do to laugh at other people's beliefs. If you have enough faith in something it works. I'm the last person to laugh.

john Ashman said...

Marilynn, is this what you mean by "growing in leaps and bounds"? Thank god it's not "stagnant"!

The latest radio ratings are in, and they show continued bad news for Air America, the liberal talk-radio network featuring Al Franken, Randi Rhodes, Janeane Garofolo, and others.




While it is difficult to pinpoint Air America's ratings nationally — it is on the air in about 50 stations across the country, and has been on some of them for just the last few months — it is possible to measure the network's performance in the nation's number-one market, New York City.

The new Arbitron ratings for Winter 2005, which covers January, February, and March, show that WLIB, the station which carries Air America in New York, won a 1.2-percent share of all listeners 12 years and older. That is down one tenth of one point from the station's 1.3 percent share in Winter 2004, the last period when it aired its old format of Caribbean music and talk.

Air America debuted on March 31, 2004. In the network's first quarter on the air, Spring of 2004, which covered April, May, and June, Air America won a 1.3-percent share of the market audience. That number rose slightly to 1.4 percent in the Summer 2004 July/August/September period, and fell back to 1.2 percent in the Fall 2004 October/November/December period, where it remains today.

Those numbers are, again, for all listeners 12 years and older. Air America executives, however, often point to the network's performance among listeners 25 to 54 years of age, the preferred demographic target for radio advertisers. But in that area, too, Air America is struggling.

Between the hours of 10 A.M. and 3 P.M., the period that includes Al Franken's program, Air America drew a 1.4-percent share of the New York audience aged 25 to 54 in Winter 2005. That number is the latest in a nearly year-long decline. In Spring of 2004, Air America's first quarter on the air, it drew a 2.2-percent share of the audience. That rose to 2.3 percent in the Summer of 2004, then fell to 1.6 percent in the Fall of 2004, and is now 1.4 percent — Air America's lowest-ever quarterly rating in that time and demographic slot.

The ratings also show WABC radio, which airs Rush Limbaugh, consistently beating Air America in New York City even though Franken had at one time claimed to be beating the conservative host there. In the 10 a.m. to 3 P.M. period in the Winter of 2005, WABC (and Limbaugh) won 2.7 percent of the audience to Air America's 1.4 percent. In Spring 2004, WABC beat Air America 2.7 percent to 2.2 percent. In Summer 2004, WABC won 2.7 percent to 2.3 percent. In Fall 2004, WABC won 3.6 percent to 1.6 percent.

That last number surprised some observers because it showed Air America faltering in October and November 2004, the period when the presidential election was reaching its finish and political passions were presumably at their highest. But even then, Air America's decline continued. And now, it has fallen even farther.



Man, they're really kicking ASS. At this rate, in about 2.7 million years, Rush Limbaugh will have been decimated! :-)

Marilynn M said...

I guess you got your factual information the same place you get the rest of your facts? Air America has 87 stations and XM Satillite Radio. Yes, they are kicking fat oxicontin Rush's ass with normal people.

john Ashman said...

Really? Got a citation for that? I'd love to see it.

skids said...

The Dean Scream wasn't "edited" that's just how those microphones work. As for it being an example of a lack of "self control" actually it wasn't even spontaneous. It was a planned and rehearsed thing, which is why it came off so insincere and geeky. Now whoever suggested and planned it was obviously a lamer, and Dean I hope fired them.

How Deam comports himself: well let's just say I agree with almost everything Dean says, and his decision to say it. I'm glad there's someone like him representing for the many people who feel the same.

Anonymous said...

This subject is Government... right?

John, although merry land's board might be junk... at least she has the "Democratic" decency/integrity not to delete posts like you do on your message board. Although I don't like your style of one linner weapons of mass distraction ... I'm kind of glad you showed up because I'm gonna start looking like Prince Charming by comparison. Just for the record, what do you think of the idea of moving toward a democracy that provides real, and as complete as possible, representation for ALL Americans?

john Ashman said...

Never mind, Marilynn, here are the stats. Rush has 616 stations and over 20 million listeners. If you take Air America's 3 million radio listeners, and add in ALL of XM listeners, and assume zero overlap, Rush beats Air America by 4:1. But, at best, you might be able to 500,000 from Xd, which makes it more like 6:1. If you add up the major conservative radio hosts, they kill Air America by somewhere between 10:1 and 20:1.

john Ashman said...

Anonymous - first, I deleted your post because it didn't follow the rules of my forum. And, I have the decency to be entirely out in the open about who I am and what my belief system is. And I don't start off a conversation with an attack. I may respond, but your post was over the top and belligerent with zero context. If I am remotely rude or belligerent, it is because I am correcting a falsehood or incorrect assumption.

Secondly, one of my SEIU ideas was to have internet voting via a government assigned, SSN-linked e-mail address. This would allow for referendum voting with ease and would allow greater participation in the democratic process. It would allow for a person to know immediately, via e-mail, if someone else has voted for them and how that person voted, so they could contact an election official immediately to have that vote thrown out and replaced with a legitimate vote (as a fail safe). IOW, you get an e-mail receipt for your vote, and once it's entered, unless it is contested within a certain time period, your vote stands. I think that idea explains my belief in true democracy so we can get past the two party system from hell.

Anonymous said...

I also had a referendum proposal:
http://www.sinceslicedbread.com/idea/15200

Personally, I'm not in favor of "binding" referendums as the general public is usually good at understanding broad principles... but really bad at acquiring a required knowledge base to understand details.

Your proposal seems more concerned with how we vote... rather than what we are allowed to vote for.. would your proposal eliminate geographic districts in elections for a Representative ? . What's the sliced bread number, I would like to read the actual proposal.

Regarding the U>S. actual voting process... I certainly think it should be consistent for all Americans... it is plain ordinary fact that the inferior voting equipment in poorer districts gave George Bush his electoral college victory in the first election. What was just plain bizarre was the Supreme Court using the Equal Protection argument to defend not counting votes in Florida... and yet they don't think it violates equal protection for poor people to vote with a device that is statistically proven to be less reliable... and to destroy a higher percentage of votes.

I personally think there is a way to do secure electronic voting.... Unfortunately, I think the general public will be about as accepting as they were of food irradiation. A side benefit of my proposal is that constituents would be informed who their rep. is-- making fraud fairly easy to detect.

For the record... here's what John deleted on his board... I don't think it was either unfair or over the top. Considering what this two trillion dollars (by the time it's over) hunt for Al Qaeda will cost us in standard of living... also considering how little we spent attempting to "eradicate" right wing, conservative, child molester friendly, Timothy McVeigh's.

John A. in New Mexico: Until Al Qaeda is eradicated, I'm willing ...[to compromise American liberty and justice]

Well then John you might as well just get to the logical conclusion and formally tear up the Constitution and Bill of Rights. As long as the "infidel" remains on Arab soil Al Qaeda will survive, as long as we keep killing, it will thrive. As we create orphans in the Middle East, birth rates rise amongst the most ignorant portions of their population... the median age in Iraq is now something like 17 and watching your crusades do its "Ugly greedy American" thing isn't inspiring anything but seizing hate. http://inmendham.com/discus/messages/1/99.html?1127665109

I'm far more annoyed that we have police doing nothing but sitting around on roadways looking for speeders when they should be catching real criminals. I notice liberals aren't concerned with this draconian and fascist activity

As someone who has been fighting the "draconian and fascist activity" of local Conservatives/Republicans I'm admittedly more concerned that my local corrupt conservative government will use its corrupt police force to do far worse than issue me a speeding ticket. I have to deal with lying, unprincipaled, dirt bag "conservative" judges breaking court rules to deny me "on the record" justice and a local town council threatening to "condemn his [me] goddamn House" ... so your fear Liberals BS rhetoric isn't going to work on me.

Cheryl V said...

John A. in New Mexico: Until Al Qaeda is eradicated, I'm willing ...[to compromise American liberty and justice]

I've finally understood why Osama has never been captured.

john Ashman said...

Care to explain, Cheryl, how you can reconcile those statements?

And do you think that, when the NSA is monitoring the phone calls of a suspected terrorist from Pakistan or Somalia and that person calls the US, that the NSA should just hang up because the terrorist is calling the US? Because we don't want to impinge upon the receiver of that phone call? Or do you think alarms and red flashing lights should go off.

The same people that complain that we didn't do enough before 9/11 are now complaining we are doing too much. Please explain.

Anonymous said...

I'll explain, that a bunch of right wing nutty Conservatives [often on the radio] got everyone into a panic because the FBI was cracking down on child molesters and back woods racists who were amassing weapons arsenals-- as "retribution" Timothy McVeigh massively destructs a bunch of women and children. Has anyone suggested we monitor the telephone conversations of right-wingers spouting anti-government or anti-democratic rhetoric ?? The hypocrisy and duplicity is glaring!!!

Cheryl V said...

All I'm saying is that it is the Administration's best interest not to catch Osama. If they catch him, they lose their excuse to spy on us.

How do we determine that someone is a suspected terrorist? Their intelligence hasn't been too accurate lately. Besides, they had information on the hijackers before 9/11. It hadn't been translated yet due to a backlog.

All this program does is create massive amounts of useless data to wade through when they could be doing something much more usefull.

john Ashman said...

"Has anyone suggested we monitor the telephone conversations of right-wingers spouting anti-government or anti-democratic rhetoric ?? The hypocrisy and duplicity is glaring!!!"

Really? Could you explain how a foreign terrorist threat is the same as Bubba up in the woods playing survivalist? My brother's father-in-law is the kind of guy on whom Janet Reno might want to spy. But he's also the nicest guy in the universe and would be exactly who you'd want to know if the shit hit the fan.

It wasn't right wing radio that was the problem, it was attacking a compound of crazy law breakers in a way that *maximized* the potential for bloodshed. Reno passed up the opportunity to pick up the crazy guy unarmed, in town so that they could make a big military show of it. The same way Clinton passed on picking up Osama because they didn't think they could convict him in court very easily. Quite frankly, if Bush Jr had been in the White House in the 90s, Waco wouldn't have happened, Elian Gonzales wouldn't have happened, Ruby Ridge wouldn't have happened, Oklahoma wouldn't have happened, 9/11 wouldn't have happened and Osama would have been killed our captured before planning ever took place. I noticed civil liberties groups never complained too much about Janet Reno and her "shock" tactics. If she or Clinton were Republican, there would have been revolts in the streets.

dnavidson said...

anonymous at 1:55am
"linner weapons of mass distraction"?

If you have already graduated from high school, please get a job and stop living off your parents. You might also try communicating like an adult, otherwise you're just wasting your time here. There are plenty of other blogs for kids your age where you might feel more at home.

Cheryl V said...

John A
"Could you explain how a foreign terrorist threat is the same as Bubba up in the woods playing survivalist?"

Consider this:
The country's second largest terrorist attack was Oklahome City. Home grown, right wing, militia.

john Ashman said...

"All I'm saying is that it is the Administration's best interest not to catch Osama. If they catch him, they lose their excuse to spy on us."

C'mon Cheryl, to you *really* believe that the administration wants to spy on us *so* badly that they'd leave Osama out there? Heck, they just killed a bunch of people in a miscalculated attack trying to get Zawahiri. It would be a major bump in his polls to get Osama.

"All this program does is create massive amounts of useless data to wade through when they could be doing something much more usefull."

Wouldn't you want them to decide what is useful or not? Wasn't that you complaining about what happens when you put bureaucrats in charge of specialists? Let's let the CIA and NSA do their job and protect us.

john Ashman said...

"Consider this:
The country's second largest terrorist attack was Oklahome City. Home grown, right wing, militia."

Consider this:

The event at Waco that unbalanced this guy was caused by an incredibly overreaching use of force by a Democrat. If a Republican were in office, it never would have happened. And that's just the reality of the situation, because it would have been handled properly.

Janet Reno thought she's go in, guns a blazing and sho'em what fer when she could have walked up with a few agents and tapped him on the shoulder. We had a similar incident here where they could have arrested the guy at work, but the came in guns pulled in the middle of the night, he tried to defend his family and killed a cop. Needless death due to stupidity on the part of the police.

The difference here is that, to Janet Reno and many Democrats, it is Americans who are terrorists, whereas the Republicans know who the real terrorists are.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

David Koresh? in Waco, if I remember the name properly was not much different in his thought process than Jim Jones at Jonestown in Guyuana. 900 dead with poisoned Koolaide. There was never an option with David Koresh for a peaceful solution. His God had told him otherwise and you always listen to and do what God tells you.

Anonymous said...

"There are plenty of other blogs for kids your age"

Is there any sadder state of desperation, than the intellectually bankrupt attempting to use the illiteracy of the messenger... as an excuse to reject the message. Maybe we should go through all the slicedbread ideas and automatically eliminate any that have typographical errors... It takes a person of real substantial character to understand the vital importance of a miss-placed "character".

"Bubba up in the woods playing survivalist"

yes... religious nut in Afghanistan cave is a big difference...not!

"he's also the nicest guy in the universe"

Except for the extreme anti-social psychology, the cliche racism and desire to marry his 12 year-old granddaughter... and of course the underground bus full of weapons... there is probably absolutely nothing to fear or dislike.

"It wasn't right wing radio that was the problem"

yeah...it is always those damn followers who are to blame--- accept in the Arab world, there it's them damn leaders.

"attacking a compound of crazy law breakers in a way that *maximized* the potential for bloodshed."

That's exactly how I would describe Bush's approach to international diplomacy.

"Reno passed up the opportunity"

I don't think Reno knew where Waco was until after the stuff hit the fan.

"if Bush Jr had been in the White House in the 90s"

Rome would be burning now, instead of 10 years from now. Bush is the last sign of the coming apocalypse.... Violent answers to world problems has been made obsolete by technical progress... there is simply no future in it... unless of course you don't mind "eradicating" a few million people... or maybe a few hundred million at a time.

"Waco wouldn't have happened"

That's right, the seven seals would be a best seller and half of taxes would be Mrs. Crazyass and wearing burkas.

"..and Osama would have been killed our captured before planning ever took place."

Would they have arrested him on the former president's yacht... or would they have waited until he went to buy some toothpicks.

"shock" tactics

What I found "shocking" was that it took weeks for that shock wave to stop negotiating with the "moral conservatives" holding children as hostages.


"Wouldn't you want them to decide"

I think I would prefer giant ants... the "them" of Cheney, Wolfowitz, the Donald..etc make the CIA of the '60s seem well balanced by comparison.

"The event at Waco that unbalanced this guy"

he was unbalanced-- by conservative talk radio making these lunatics into historical figures in the rebel cause of freedom to be an exploiter of women, children, and anything else that's easy to shoot, rape, or pillage.

"Republicans know who the real terrorists are"

I guess it takes one to know one...no how about... but unfortunately they don't know what real intelligence is... or ....but unfortunately they don't know where the real weapons of mass destruction are...etc.

Anon said...

I really have a hard time watching Bush talk. I can not believe that he brought up the wire tapping in the state of the Union.. especially about the 2 people connected to 9/11. That whole theory has been totally disproved.

dnavidson said...

anonymous at 4:12 (Gary Mosher),
I read your story. I'm so, so sorry about that remark. I really thought you were just some punk teenager who jumped onto this blog to have fun insulting people.
Do you feel all right today? You probably just need to sleep a little more. Staying awake for days on end can wreak havoc on anyone's mind and disposition. Try to get some sleep, okay?
It's not that we all think your ideas are wrong, it's just that you need to have a little more patience with people if you really hope to ever get them across.

john Ashman said...

"There was never an option with David Koresh for a peaceful solution. His God had told him otherwise and you always listen to and do what God tells you."

Actually, there was. They had been observing him for weeks, if not months, tracking his every move. They could have picked him up on the street very easily. Yes, they were a bit loopy and paranoid, but gee, what do you think might make a paranoid cult with guns go off? Maybe assaulting them with tanks, helicopters and automatic weapons? I mean, c'mon, worst police enforcement blunder ever.

john Ashman said...

"Bubba up in the woods playing survivalist"

yes... religious nut in Afghanistan cave is a big difference...not!


Well, you know, I grew up with these types of people and, while they don't much like government, they pretty well leave everyone alone and do their own thing. There's a difference between going out into the woods and living off the land and being forced to hide in a cave.

"he's also the nicest guy in the universe"

Except for the extreme anti-social psychology, the cliche racism and desire to marry his 12 year-old granddaughter... and of course the underground bus full of weapons... there is probably absolutely nothing to fear or dislike.


So you're saying that my brother's father in law is an anti-social, incestuous racist? I'm guessing my brother and sister-in-law will be surprised to hear about that. What the hell are you talking about?

"It wasn't right wing radio that was the problem"

yeah...it is always those damn followers who are to blame--- accept in the Arab world, there it's them damn leaders.


Well, 99.9999% of "right wing radio" listeners didn't go out and blow something up.

"attacking a compound of crazy law breakers in a way that *maximized* the potential for bloodshed."

That's exactly how I would describe Bush's approach to international diplomacy.


Really? If *only* Janet Reno had tried years of diplomacy before storming that compound. No, unlike Mr Bush who actually tried to convince Saddam to comply with his promises, Janet just showed up and *attacked* the compound by dropping people on roof tops with guns. The bloodshed and death was inevitable.

"Reno passed up the opportunity"

I don't think Reno knew where Waco was until after the stuff hit the fan.


That is probably true, so I can't actually blame it on her, it was the ATF that screwed the pooch on that. She was responsible for the whole Elian Gonzales embarrassment. I'm starting to confuse some of these dates in my mind.

"if Bush Jr had been in the White House in the 90s"

Rome would be burning now, instead of 10 years from now. Bush is the last sign of the coming apocalypse.... Violent answers to world problems has been made obsolete by technical progress... there is simply no future in it... unless of course you don't mind "eradicating" a few million people... or maybe a few hundred million at a time.


No, it's not about eradicating people, it's about eradicating tyranny and oppression. Take away those things and you take away the motivation for terrorism. Almost all terrorism stems from oppression, real or perceived.

"Waco wouldn't have happened"

That's right, the seven seals would be a best seller and half of taxes would be Mrs. Crazyass and wearing burkas.


???

"..and Osama would have been killed our captured before planning ever took place."

Would they have arrested him on the former president's yacht... or would they have waited until he went to buy some toothpicks.


No, I do believe they'd have arrested him on a plane that was stopped in UAE, as I recall. Clinton turned down their offer to detain him for us.

"shock" tactics

What I found "shocking" was that it took weeks for that shock wave to stop negotiating with the "moral conservatives" holding children as hostages.


Well, you know, you screw up a situation that badly, you just have to wait it out and try not to make it worse.

"Wouldn't you want them to decide"

I think I would prefer giant ants... the "them" of Cheney, Wolfowitz, the Donald..etc make the CIA of the '60s seem well balanced by comparison.


And they're three of the most gifted people in government. Okay, maybe Cheney and Rumsfeld. But if that's you're opinion, go for it.

"The event at Waco that unbalanced this guy"

he was unbalanced-- by conservative talk radio making these lunatics into historical figures in the rebel cause of freedom to be an exploiter of women, children, and anything else that's easy to shoot, rape, or pillage.


Ah, I see, so anyone who's a conservative wants to exploit everyone and everything. Gee, what president did we have that was famous for exploiting women and was accused of rape? Hmmmmm. It wasn't that long ago, but the name escapes me. And, gee, wasn't that a Democrat that shot a goose so he could further his chances of being elected? And what was the name of that DNC chairman that got rich on the failed Global Crossing venture. Oh, well, maybe I was just hallucinating........

"Republicans know who the real terrorists are"

I guess it takes one to know one...no how about... but unfortunately they don't know what real intelligence is... or ....but unfortunately they don't know where the real weapons of mass destruction are...etc.


Gary, I can see why you always think you win arguments. Most of your arguments are so utterly crazy and paranoid that most people probably just walk away shaking their heads.

dnavidson said...

John, did you read Gary's story? Here's the link he posted above:
http://www.inmendham.com/dng/Blogs/
trollate.htm
For the most part, I think you have been respectful -- in your own "point/counterpoint" way (excepting of course the sexist comment you made about Marilynn's granddaughter). But after you read Gary's story (check the Home Page, as well), you might understand why you would want to go a little easier on him than on everyone else.

Anonymous said...

they pretty well leave everyone alone and do their own thing

Accept when they shoot doctors, or send letter bombs, or blow up clinics... or massively destruct a building full of children.

What the hell are you talking about?

You brought up your family as vague useless evidence... speculation consistent with probabilities should not be unexpected.

Well, 99.9999% of "right wing radio" listeners didn't go out and blow something up.

Well neither do 99% of fundamentalist Muslims ....especially when you stay out of their country ....one doesn't have to wonder very hard what the red necks would be doing if there were international towel headed "peacekeepers" roaming our streets in armored vehicles enforcing gay-rights or some other "human right" abhorrent to the right wing.

Saddam to comply with his promises

News flash --there actually were no.. that's NO ...WMD found. ....just as the inspectors predicted.

Janet just showed up and *attacked* the compound by dropping people on roof tops with guns. The bloodshed and death was inevitable.

That's not even close to what really happened... you're starting to sound like a cult member.

Almost all terrorism stems from oppression, real or perceived.

Right, and who's doing the oppressing ...Control freak Christian capitalists who have no concept of ethical decency -- but think they have a right to preach to the world with cruise missiles in hand.

Clinton turned down their offer to detain him for us.

If they had offered to kill him that might have been worth a thank-you very much... but how could we possibly prosecute him? and where would you have the trial... not in my backyard dammit.. the CIA made him for Christ's sakes.

you screw up a situation that badly, you just have to wait it out and try not to make it worse.

maybe they should have tried sending him a birthday cake, and a Bible, and maybe they could of traded some nuclear-weapons for the release of the children.

most gifted people

I'd pay real money to have one of those guys straped to a lie-detector test... they're just egomaniacal, greedy sociopaths .... you could dissect them down to the molecular level and you wouldn't find an atomic particle of integrity.

Ah, I see, so anyone who's a conservative wants to exploit everyone and everything

I really really don't know how you missed it... its friggen obvious!

"exploiting women"

I'm sure there is no chance it was women exploiting sex.... I mean that never happens!

shot a goose

Defending the scum Democrats I would like to replace with honest Progressives elected through a truly representative democracy ... isn't a game by much feel like playing.... but I will simply say we been shooting a lot more than geese the last four years.

Most of your arguments are so utterly crazy and paranoid

Well yes you have to be pretty paranoid to defend the Bill of Rights....As for crazy... I think that's one of those "I'm rubber you are glue" kind of things. I think it's pretty obvious our home planets are very very far away from each other.... and we're not going to do any converting. What really pisses me off is I'm pretty certain there's not going to be any future history (thanks to you club waivers) to point out how right I had it.

most people probably just walk away shaking their heads.

yeah well "most people" believe some infinite intelligence just poofed out nowhere to create a universe were glorified giant magnets, with some abundant underarm hair, and who thrive on killing and eating each other, are the definition of "intelligent design".. .. the only question left unanswered is do their/your little brains rattle when the head shakes.

Anonymous said...

dnavidson, You got me reading some of my old stuff... and I found this kind of prophetic quote

""I am feeling humble and quite disappointed in myself for being such a poor advocate that I cannot sell an idea as logical as sliced bread. Unfortunately, who else does the issue have? ""

On this page:
http://www.inmendham.com/dng/Blogs/netart2.htm

dnavidson said: ...you might understand why you would want to go a little easier on him than on everyone else.

Ridicule with no factual substance... it's argument that often works on the weak minded ...but it's kind of like using teeth in a boxing match, and real fans of good argument or not going to be impressed. Strictly speaking, there's no audience here and Navids mugging for the camera just looks ridiculous.

john Ashman said...

"Accept when they shoot doctors, or send letter bombs, or blow up clinics... or massively destruct a building full of children."

There are crazy people in every part of life. You have left wing people doing the same. Some people are just crazy.

"Well neither do 99% of fundamentalist Muslims ....especially when you stay out of their country ....one doesn't have to wonder very hard what the red necks would be doing if there were international towel headed "peacekeepers" roaming our streets in armored vehicles enforcing gay-rights or some other "human right" abhorrent to the right wing."

Well, you know, I suppose we could just stop responding to spouse abuse calls because "she probably wanted it"

"News flash --there actually were no.. that's NO ...WMD found. ....just as the inspectors predicted."

Actually, there were a few, just pretty mediocre ones, so technically, you're incorrect. In any case, that wasn't the issue. It never was. Saddam had an obligation to allow the inspectors unfettered access to the country to VERIFY that. And the inspectors said that he was not cooperating. And not only that, but not producing witnesses, threatening them, monitoring them, blocking inspectors in "instant" traffic jams to buy time for the workers at a facility. Now, if he had no WMD, a smart person would say "hey, have at it, let's get it over with". Instead, he acted as if guilty and didn't allow the process to be played out as it was supposed to happen. IOW, he violated the ceasefire and we took our right to end it.

"That's not even close to what really happened... you're starting to sound like a cult member."

Gee, what was it like then, when you drop people on roof tops and make a paranoid group of people feel like the *very* thing of which they were frightened was indeed happening. If a guy is dangerous and has an irrational fear of spiders, do you drop a bucket of tarantulas on his head? Worst police enforcement mistake ever. I shouldn't have said Janet though as she did come in during the middle of it.

"Right, and who's doing the oppressing ...Control freak Christian capitalists who have no concept of ethical decency -- but think they have a right to preach to the world with cruise missiles in hand."

Hey, that's why I'm for less government power, not more? Makes it hard for people with a different belief system to make me follow theirs.

"If they had offered to kill him that might have been worth a thank-you very much... but how could we possibly prosecute him? and where would you have the trial... not in my backyard dammit.. the CIA made him for Christ's sakes."

That's the point. Clinton thought the only way was to prosecute them. I mean, really, that's why we have a CIA, to get around things like that. bin Lauden doesn't play by rules, we didn't need to on this one.

"maybe they should have tried sending [Koresh] a birthday cake, and a Bible, and maybe they could of traded some nuclear-weapons for the release of the children."

Maybe it should have been handled properly in the first place.

"I'd pay real money to have one of those guys straped to a lie-detector test... they're just egomaniacal, greedy sociopaths .... you could dissect them down to the molecular level and you wouldn't find an atomic particle of integrity."

That's your opinion, I don't share it. I didn't know integrity came in particles.

"I'm sure there is no chance it was women exploiting sex.... I mean that never happens!"

That's what I'd assumed until a darker pattern emerged. Whatever happened to being moral enough to say "no, it's wrong and I'm married". If you can screw over your wife and child, who can't you screw over?

"Defending the scum Democrats I would like to replace with honest Progressives elected through a truly representative democracy ... isn't a game by much feel like playing.... but I will simply say we been shooting a lot more than geese the last four years. "

The goose was just a metaphor for opportunism and expediency. I prefer other characteristics in a leader. Maybe I'll see more of them someday.

"Well yes you have to be pretty paranoid to defend the Bill of Rights"

Well, you're not doing a very good job.

"What really pisses me off is I'm pretty certain there's not going to be any future history (thanks to you club waivers) to point out how right I had it."

Yeah, bummer that. If only we could see the breadth and depth of your wisdom.

"yeah well "most people" believe some infinite intelligence just poofed out nowhere to create a universe were glorified giant magnets, with some abundant underarm hair, and who thrive on killing and eating each other, are the definition of "intelligent design".. ."

Yeah, well, unfortunately, it's a natural instinct and brain function used to explain the unexplainable and unknowable. It will take a lot more time for it to fade away, like a vestigial tail. I consider it to be a crutch, but, with the advent of education, a less dangerous one.

Anonymous said...

"left wing people doing the same"

my memory fails me?

"Well, you know, I suppose we could just stop responding to spouse abuse calls because "she probably wanted it"

Considering the context of the discussion this trivial and preposterously irrelevant reply has no reasoned response beyond a big juicy raspberry.

"so technically, you're incorrect."

I'm often superficially incorrect... but "technically" I know my stuff... if you're going to include anything that can be converted into a weapon of mass destruction, than I think technically you're insane... in the hands of a meagerly competent engineer, a common DVD recorder can be easily converted into a device capable of causing substantial damage to the eyesight of thousands of people in a matter of seconds. Open one up sometime in check out all the labels... you might see some of the light I am talking about.


"allow the inspectors unfettered access....inspectors said that he was not cooperating"

Most of the inspectors on the ground had no substantial complaints --the political management did what it was selected to do... it contrived a crisis


"Instead, he acted as if guilty"

No, I think he acted as if rational.... realistically he had the most powerful nation on earth planning invasion... it would of hardly been rational military strategy to paint giant bull's-eyes on every strategic element of his defense infrastructure.

"IOW, he violated the ceasefire and we took our right to end it."

No one has a "right" to make this colossal mess based on lies.

"Worst police enforcement mistake ever."

One of your standard exaggerations' --- I think all rational people know that sometimes success and failure can hinge on minuscule miscalculation and bad timing... Just like with high-speed police chases there is a cost-to-benefit analysis that I think is much more complicated than your simplistic condemnation of the results in this one circumstance.

"Hey, that's why I'm for less government power, not more?"

So you're for trillion dollar wars, perpetrated in atmosphere of absolute recklessness... but at the same time government should have less power. .... .... ... sorry brain freeze.

"bin Lauden doesn't play by rules"

and we do?

"That's your opinion, I don't share it. I didn't know integrity came in particles."

I think I successfully made the "particular" point I was after.

"Whatever happened to being moral enough "

you jerks can't even get past ethical enough

"Maybe I'll see more of them someday."

yeah, in a herd of flying pigs.

"you're not doing a very good job."

you should talk.

"If only we could see the breadth and depth of your wisdom."

If you live another 10 years ...I think there's a good chance... it will come right after the bright light and just before the rumbling sound gives you a queasy feeling.

"I consider it to be a crutch, but, with the advent of education, a less dangerous one."

Religious Lunatics fly airplanes into or buildings... and it's your conclusion that is the crutch they're using for brains ain't no problem.

john Ashman said...

"my memory fails me?"

Earth Liberation Front, for one. Not as deadly thus far, but who knows what the future brings. Greenpeace is really starting to push the boundaries. Then there were those folks who killed a cop during the 60s. There have been quite a few liberal groups that have crossed the line into violence.

"Considering the context of the discussion this trivial and preposterously irrelevant reply has no reasoned response beyond a big juicy raspberry."

If that's all you can muster......

"I'm often superficially incorrect... but "technically" I know my stuff... if you're going to include anything that can be converted into a weapon of mass destruction, than I think technically you're insane..."

Perhaps. I'm just saying that they've found mustard gas shells and, as I recall, one or more that contained a nerve gas. But most were in pretty sad shape, so they weren't nearly as dangerous as a guy with a machine gun. My point is, weapons that were illegal under the ceasefire agreement. I also believe that *Saddam* believed he has some WMDs stashed away. And, there are still unaccounted for weapons that could just be buried somewhere. It certainly wouldn't have been hard to hide some anthrax or destroy it in the days leading up to the war. We may never know, but the possibilities exist.

"Most of the inspectors on the ground had no substantial complaints --the political management did what it was selected to do... it contrived a crisis"

But many of them did have substantial complaints. If the police serve you a search warrant and you lock them out and run in as though you're trying to hide something, how long do you give them to knock down the door? 12 years? Or 12 seconds?

"No, I think he acted as if rational"

Piss poor acting job.

".... realistically he had the most powerful nation on earth planning invasion... it would of hardly been rational military strategy to paint giant bull's-eyes on every strategic element of his defense infrastructure."

We already had a giant bullseye on every strategic element of his defense infrastructure. All he had to do was avoid having us pull the trigger by cooperating. If Saddam had wanted, he could have pulled a Qaddafi and made Bush look stupid by saying "come on in, let me show you around, I love the UN!" and sanctions would have been lifted, Bush embarrassed, Saddam could have gone back to killing people and, if he'd wanted, restarted all his programs. Saddam has to be the stupidest man alive. Why would someone go out of their way to look guilty?

"No one has a "right" to make this colossal mess based on lies."

Too bad there were no lies. Mistakes, yes. Lies, no.

"One of your standard exaggerations' --- I think all rational people know that sometimes success and failure can hinge on minuscule miscalculation and bad timing... Just like with high-speed police chases there is a cost-to-benefit analysis that I think is much more complicated than your simplistic condemnation of the results in this one circumstance."

My point is, if you have the opportunity to arrest someone peacefully and safely, but instead, you escalate the conflict by making it seem like an attack, then you've made a colossal error. And that's exactly what happened.

"So you're for trillion dollar wars, perpetrated in atmosphere of absolute recklessness... but at the same time government should have less power. .... .... ... sorry brain freeze."

No, I'm for freedom and democracy for everyone. And defense (and associated offense) is a legitimate purpose of the federal government, unlike, say, welfare.

"bin Lauden doesn't play by rules" - "and we do?"

Relatively speaking, yes we do. I think we need a few less if we're going to fight an enemy that has none.

"you jerks can't even get past ethical enough"

And you can't refrain from calling people names in an argument.

"If you live another 10 years ...I think there's a good chance... it will come right after the bright light and just before the rumbling sound gives you a queasy feeling."

Well, that's why we need to stop some of these government now, not later. If we take the same attitude we took towards bin Lauden - "how cute, he tried to blow up the WTC, but failed, I'm sure he learned his lesson" - then it is very likely that some of us will get that queasy feeling.

"Religious Lunatics fly airplanes into or buildings... and it's your conclusion that is the crutch they're using for brains ain't no problem."

Religious doesn't just describe a belief in God, it can be zealotry of any kind. And the more insular and hateful a group gets, the more dangerous it becomes. That's why I meddle so much.

Anonymous said...

I will only answer a few to wind down this circular waste of time.

Earth Liberation Front,...Greenpeace ...during the 60s.

No wonder my memory failed me.

We already had a giant bullseye...

First say he had secrets... then you say we already knew everything... sorry that logic doesn't work for me.

Saddam has to be the stupidest man alive.

His son's Larry and Curly were also prizewinners before their deaths.

Why would someone go out of their way to look guilty?

I think it depends on how you were looking at it... I was rather impressed when he let inspectors have full access to those missiles in the South... at any rate I will agree that Saddam Hussein won't be remembered for his military strategy.


Too bad there were no lies. Mistakes, yes. Lies, no.

Before the president's War of the Union address, the media was already reporting some "irregularities" regarding the intelligence out of Africa.... it is a lie when you are forewarned-- that the intelligence may be suspect. Convenient oversight is no accident and semantics don't change what it was.

and associated offense

pretty good 1984 doublespeak

I think we need a few less [rules]

Torture begets Torture and "associated offense" will beget "associated offense"
Eye for an Eye...everybody's blind ...The End!

And you can't refrain from calling people names in an argument.

"unethical" is not a name, it is a description... like a liar!

Well, that's why we need to stop some of these government now

coincidentally that's exactly what "they're" saying.

insular and hateful

Add petty resentment of the poor and I'd say that pretty much sums up the Republican Party.

john Ashman said...

"First say [Saddam] had secrets... then you say we already knew everything... sorry that logic doesn't work for me."

No, I'm saying that we knew where to bomb, if necessary. At least most of it. But he simply wouldn't allow access for the inspection teams.

"Before the president's War of the Union address, the media was already reporting some "irregularities" regarding the intelligence out of Africa.... it is a lie when you are forewarned-- that the intelligence may be suspect. Convenient oversight is no accident and semantics don't change what it was."

Yes, but there was also some evidence that there was communication over nuclear materials. Yes, some of that evidence was over emphasized, but gee, that's what politicians do.

"Torture begets Torture and "associated offense" will beget "associated offense"
Eye for an Eye...everybody's blind ...The End!"

Really? So, gee, so if we torture someone, how do they up the ante, beyond sawing people's heads off? It's like saying we'd better not piss off the Germans because Hitler might kill a few Jews. Hmmm, I think some idiot actually made that argument.

""unethical" is not a name, it is a description... like a liar!"

Well, I'm sure you've had some interesting descriptions attached to you as well.

"Add petty resentment of the poor and I'd say that pretty much sums up the Republican Party."

I've never known a Republican to resent the poor. Lazy? Yes. Drug-addicted? Yes. Well, not resent, maybe look down upon. They resent the government for taking their money and facilitating bad behavior.

Anonymous said...

"wouldn't allow access for the inspection teams."

I think that's infinitely debatable... but who's got infantine time.

"what politicians do. "

Excuses for bloody WAR should be a little better than that.


"Really? So, gee, so if we torture someone, how do they up the ante, beyond sawing people's heads off? It's like saying we'd better not piss off the Germans because Hitler might kill a few Jews. Hmmm, I think some idiot actually made that argument."

It's bad enough when so many people make their comparisons to the worst, rather than the best... when America gives up on having higher ethics than "guerrilla" armies the world truly is lost... The great irony of pompous conservatives complaining about cultural devolution when their gutter ethics are in fact a primary cause.

"interesting descriptions attached to you as well."

...dishonest will never be one of them.


"They resent the government for taking their money and facilitating bad behavior."

Call a spade a spade... "we the people" taking their money.... in an effort to facilitate a minimally decent standard of living.... 90% of welfare goes to families with dependent Children--- I would approximate [personal opinion] that 90% of those people shouldn't be allowed to have or raise children. "Conservatives" are the ones who like to perpetuate poverty --by subsidizing the importation of foreign desperation and obstructing rational family planning. If we just paid poor people not to have babies... in few years welfare would be an artifact and we would get twice our money back in net savings... but then you conservatives wouldn't have some 3 cent BS issue to distract from the trillions YOU throw to the unproductive wind with the really dumb welfare program of unrestricted inheritance. More than half of out country's wealth is in hands of people who did absolutely nothing meritorious to earn it-- now that's a welfare program in need of abolishing.

john Ashman said...

"Excuses for bloody WAR should be a little better than that."

Perhaps, but there were others. In a "marketing" decision, they decided to focus on WMDs, rather than the *primary* reason, which was failure to comply with sanctions and fully disarm under UN supervision. The other reason was regime change, a stated policy of the US and the establishment of a Democracy in the middle east as a seed. Of course, people like yourself are the reason they had to dumb it down to WMD, since the complexities of the middle east are over most Americans' heads.

"It's bad enough when so many people make their comparisons to the worst, rather than the best... when America gives up on having higher ethics than "guerrilla" armies the world truly is lost... The great irony of pompous conservatives complaining about cultural devolution when their gutter ethics are in fact a primary cause."

I'm not exactly an advocate of "torture", you brought it up. Fortunately, I'm not a conservative, either. My point is that our enemy actually thinks that are weakness and deference to our captured is a sign of obvious weakness. Their values are 180 degrees from ours and you can't transfer ours to them. They see us as weak, soft, decadent. Our queasiness about what they consider to be small potato "torture" just emboldens them. They think we're pussies. At least, right up until a marine guns them down.

"...dishonest will never be one of them."

Intellectually dishonest, I'd say. Or maybe just random. I can't tell.

"Call a spade a spade... "we the people" taking their money.... in an effort to facilitate a minimally decent standard of living.... "

That's calling a spade a butterfly. Why don't *you* "the people" come to my house and demand my money? If you demand too forcefully, I get to shoot you. Theft is theft. The reason is unimportant.

"Conservatives" are the ones who like to perpetuate poverty --by subsidizing the importation of foreign desperation and obstructing rational family planning. "

Perhaps, but it's not like kids in the US don't know what a condom is. I was an expert in all forms of sex (theoretically, anyway) before I took my first "health class" and that was way before the internet. People get pregnant because they're stupid and impulsive. Not because they don't know the basic facts.

"If we just paid poor people not to have babies... in few years welfare would be an artifact and we would get twice our money back in net savings... "

How about if we just have sterilization as a prerequisite for family aid? Too PI for Democrats. It's one thing to compensate for stupidity, it's another thing to reward it and let more of it happen.

"but then you conservatives"

Who do you mean by "you conservatives"?!? Do I have mice named Reagan and Bush in my pocket?

"wouldn't have some 3 cent BS issue to distract from the trillions YOU throw to the unproductive wind with the really dumb welfare program of unrestricted inheritance. "

Oh, yes, I'm sure it's a diversionary policy.

"More than half of out country's wealth is in hands of people who did absolutely nothing meritorious to earn it-- now that's a welfare program in need of abolishing."

Well, too bad it's really not *any* of your business what someone does or does not pass onto their kids when they die. Besides, the best way of destroying a family fortune and getting it back into the general population is to give it to the kids who spend it like water. The alternative is to tie it up in the government who will waste it, but not as quickly or as efficiently as a bunch of idiots.

john Ashman said...

BTW, I'd love to see you produce that "More than half of out country's wealth is in hands of people who did absolutely nothing meritorious to earn it" statistic. It simply isn't true. The fact is, most wealthy people earned it the hard way. Relatively few really wealthy people had it given to them. Look at the top wealthiest people. They almost all started with nothing.

Anonymous said...

"complexities of the middle east are over most Americans' heads. "

I would certainly include you, Bush, and the ignorant electorate among those Americans.

"Their values are 180 degrees from ours "

Generally their man who believe in a fair fight if it's an option ... we are pussy girlymen who push buttons and have big brother nuke stand right behind us. I have absolutely zero respect for religious "moral" dictatorships... backed by a majority are not. But it doesn't get any uglier than the American arrogant bully we have become... The founders of our country fought a guerrilla war until a professional French army came to the rescue... There is no hypocrisy worse than to deny your own history.

"Intellectually dishonest, I'd say"

you say a lot of stuff you don't prove with facts or logic.

"Theft is theft."

That's right... and money for nothing is theft.

" I get to shoot you."

Hopefully on a future bastille day ...you will get what you deserve first.

"People get pregnant because they're stupid and impulsive."

Exactly, so pay them [in the capitalist ethic] to be smart and responsible.
http://www2.sinceslicedbread.com/idea/16148

"Sterilization as a prerequisite for family aid"

I'd vote for it... as long as a fair arrangement is created to deal with the liability problem in the inevitable cases where something will go horribly wrong. ...but I would still prefer a plan that helped prevent the first irresponsible pregnancy. As a practical matter the first child does more social damage than the third fourth fifth ...

"Who do you mean by "you conservatives""

As you talk like someone somewhere right of Adolf Hitler I guess calling you a conservative is like calling a ostrich just another bird.

"Oh, yes, I'm sure it's a diversionary policy."

The tax burden of reckless war verses child welfare really does make it obvious.

"Well, too bad it's really not *any* of your business"

The king could not have said it better himself ...How very American of you.

"spend it like water"

Exactly, on nonsense like gold toilet seats, that produce no productive industry and no social good.. Every dollar represents blood and sweat when we allow it to be gratuitously wasted --we commit nothing short of a willful murder. As the recent coal miner incidents demonstrate real lives, and real suffering, are the chips being played with... and people who can't take that seriously don't deserve to play in the game.

"Government who...will waste it"

until Republicans changed the rules... most government spending went to pay decent people, a decent wage, for doing reasonably decent work-- who would inturn spend that money creating demand for necessary products and services. Now a large portion is just going back to the extravagant unearned controllers of the nation's equity.

"I'd love to see you produce that"

I read a rather involved study on a credible source a couple of years ago... when I get some time I will try find a similar source.... as I'm also curious if anyone has any more recent exact figures. ... this article certainly indicates I'm not just blowing smoke... I think the numbers get even more revealing when you look at the second, third, and fourth 400.

Quoting zmag.org

Many Forbes 400 members made their money the old-fashioned way. They inherited it. "Born on Third Base," a study by the Boston-based United for a Fair Economy, shows that a majority of the Forbes 400 inherited their way onto the roster, inherited already substantial and profitable companies, or received key start-up capital from a family member.

According to United for a Fair Economy, 42 percent of the Forbes 400 were Born on Home Plate. They inherited sufficient wealth not just to make them rich, but rich enough to make the Forbes 400 lineup. These include older billionheir dynasties like the Rockefellers and duPonts, and newer family fortunes from companies like Wal-Mart and the Gap. The Waltons of Wal-Mart hold positions 9 through 13 on the Forbes 400, with a combined $32 billion.

Multimillionheir Steve "flat tax" Forbes can relate. He inherited the leadership and majority stock in Forbes, Inc. from his father. The Forbes family is conspicuously absent from the 400, but Fortune magazine pegged Forbes's personal wealth at $439 million in 1996, enough to make that year's cut.
--------------------------
The higher one goes up the income scale, the greater the rate of capital accumulation. Economist Paul Krugman notes that not only have the top 20 percent grown more affluent compared with everyone below, the top 5 percent have grown richer compared with the next 15 percent. The top one percent have become richer compared with the next 4 percent. And the top 0.25 percent have grown richer than the next 0.75 percent. That top 0.25 owns more wealth than the other 99¾ percent combined. It has been estimated that if children's play blocks represented $1000 each, over 98 percent of us would have incomes represented by piles of blocks that went not more than a few yards off the ground, while the top one percent would stack many times higher than the Eiffel Tower

Judy B. said...

Spies, Lies and Wiretaps
The New York Times | Editorial

Sunday 29 January 2006

A bit over a week ago, President Bush and his men promised to provide the legal, constitutional and moral justifications for the sort of warrantless spying on Americans that has been illegal for nearly 30 years. Instead, we got the familiar mix of political spin, clumsy historical misinformation, contemptuous dismissals of civil liberties concerns, cynical attempts to paint dissents as anti-American and pro-terrorist, and a couple of big, dangerous lies.

The first was that the domestic spying program is carefully aimed only at people who are actively working with Al Qaeda, when actually it has violated the rights of countless innocent Americans. And the second was that the Bush team could have prevented the 9/11 attacks if only they had thought of eavesdropping without a warrant.

Sept. 11 could have been prevented. This is breathtakingly cynical. The nation's guardians did not miss the 9/11 plot because it takes a few hours to get a warrant to eavesdrop on phone calls and e-mail messages. They missed the plot because they were not looking. The same officials who now say 9/11 could have been prevented said at the time that no one could possibly have foreseen the attacks. We keep hoping that Mr. Bush will finally lay down the bloody banner of 9/11, but Karl Rove, who emerged from hiding recently to talk about domestic spying, made it clear that will not happen - because the White House thinks it can make Democrats look as though they do not want to defend America. "President Bush believes if Al Qaeda is calling somebody in America, it is in our national security interest to know who they're calling and why," he told Republican officials. "Some important Democrats clearly disagree."

Mr. Rove knows perfectly well that no Democrat has ever said any such thing - and that nothing prevented American intelligence from listening to a call from Al Qaeda to the United States, or a call from the United States to Al Qaeda, before Sept. 11, 2001, or since. The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act simply required the government to obey the Constitution in doing so. And FISA was amended after 9/11 to make the job much easier.

Only bad guys are spied on. Bush officials have said the surveillance is tightly focused only on contacts between people in this country and Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Vice President Dick Cheney claimed it saved thousands of lives by preventing attacks. But reporting in this paper has shown that the National Security Agency swept up vast quantities of e-mail messages and telephone calls and used computer searches to generate thousands of leads. F.B.I. officials said virtually all of these led to dead ends or to innocent Americans. The biggest fish the administration has claimed so far has been a crackpot who wanted to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge with a blowtorch - a case that F.B.I. officials said was not connected to the spying operation anyway.

The spying is legal. The secret program violates the law as currently written. It's that simple. In fact, FISA was enacted in 1978 to avoid just this sort of abuse. It said that the government could not spy on Americans by reading their mail (or now their e-mail) or listening to their telephone conversations without obtaining a warrant from a special court created for this purpose. The court has approved tens of thousands of warrants over the years and rejected a handful.

As amended after 9/11, the law says the government needs probable cause, the constitutional gold standard, to believe the subject of the surveillance works for a foreign power or a terrorist group, or is a lone-wolf terrorist. The attorney general can authorize electronic snooping on his own for 72 hours and seek a warrant later. But that was not good enough for Mr. Bush, who lowered the standard for spying on Americans from "probable cause" to "reasonable belief" and then cast aside the bedrock democratic principle of judicial review.

Just trust us. Mr. Bush made himself the judge of the proper balance between national security and Americans' rights, between the law and presidential power. He wants Americans to accept, on faith, that he is doing it right. But even if the United States had a government based on the good character of elected officials rather than law, Mr. Bush would not have earned that kind of trust. The domestic spying program is part of a well-established pattern: when Mr. Bush doesn't like the rules, he just changes them, as he has done for the detention and treatment of prisoners and has threatened to do in other areas, like the confirmation of his judicial nominees. He has consistently shown a lack of regard for privacy, civil liberties and judicial due process in claiming his sweeping powers. The founders of our country created the system of checks and balances to avert just this sort of imperial arrogance.

The rules needed to be changed. In 2002, a Republican senator - Mike DeWine of Ohio - introduced a bill that would have done just that, by lowering the standard for issuing a warrant from probable cause to "reasonable suspicion" for a "non-United States person." But the Justice Department opposed it, saying the change raised "both significant legal and practical issues" and may have been unconstitutional. Now, the president and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales are telling Americans that reasonable suspicion is a perfectly fine standard for spying on Americans as well as non-Americans - and they are the sole judges of what is reasonable.

So why oppose the DeWine bill? Perhaps because Mr. Bush had already secretly lowered the standard of proof - and dispensed with judges and warrants - for Americans and non-Americans alike, and did not want anyone to know.

War changes everything. Mr. Bush says Congress gave him the authority to do anything he wanted when it authorized the invasion of Afghanistan. There is simply nothing in the record to support this ridiculous argument.

The administration also says that the vote was the start of a war against terrorism and that the spying operation is what Mr. Cheney calls a "wartime measure." That just doesn't hold up. The Constitution does suggest expanded presidential powers in a time of war. But the men who wrote it had in mind wars with a beginning and an end. The war Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney keep trying to sell to Americans goes on forever and excuses everything.

Other presidents did it. Mr. Gonzales, who had the incredible bad taste to begin his defense of the spying operation by talking of those who plunged to their deaths from the flaming twin towers, claimed historic precedent for a president to authorize warrantless surveillance. He mentioned George Washington, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt. These precedents have no bearing on the current situation, and Mr. Gonzales's timeline conveniently ended with F.D.R., rather than including Richard Nixon, whose surveillance of antiwar groups and other political opponents inspired FISA in the first place. Like Mr. Nixon, Mr. Bush is waging an unpopular war, and his administration has abused its powers against antiwar groups and even those that are just anti-Republican.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is about to start hearings on the domestic spying. Congress has failed, tragically, on several occasions in the last five years to rein in Mr. Bush and restore the checks and balances that are the genius of American constitutional democracy. It is critical that it not betray the public once again on this score.

Marilynn M said...

Thank you Judy! That is exactly right. I wish it had been in every newspaper in the country.

Cheryl V said...

Surveillance Net Yields Few Suspects
NSA's Hunt for Terrorists Scrutinizes Thousands of Americans, but Most Are Later Cleared

By Barton Gellman, Dafna Linzer and Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, February 5, 2006; A01

Intelligence officers who eavesdropped on thousands of Americans in overseas calls under authority from President Bush have dismissed nearly all of them as potential suspects after hearing nothing pertinent to a terrorist threat, according to accounts from current and former government officials and private-sector sources with knowledge of the technologies in use.

Bush has recently described the warrantless operation as "terrorist surveillance" and summed it up by declaring that "if you're talking to a member of al Qaeda, we want to know why." But officials conversant with the program said a far more common question for eavesdroppers is whether, not why, a terrorist plotter is on either end of the call. The answer, they said, is usually no.

Fewer than 10 U.S. citizens or residents a year, according to an authoritative account, have aroused enough suspicion during warrantless eavesdropping to justify interception of their domestic calls, as well. That step still requires a warrant from a federal judge, for which the government must supply evidence of probable cause.

It's a long article, the rest is at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/04/AR2006020401373_pf.html

Marilynn M said...

Does anyone else wonder why they dumped this mess on the FBI? They have to know that nothing is coming from it except they are overloaded. Maybe it's to keep them busy?

Anonymous said...

go vote
http://abrij.org/ssb/

deb said...

From a speech given by former CIA agent Jim Marcinkowski
Delivered in Washtenaw County, Michigan, February 8, 2006

We fought the Soviets and I fought the Soviets because they had a fatally flawed, intolerable system of government where (and think about this):

The government was always right and never apologized;

Any dissent was suppressed, ridiculed, banned or worse;

Secret prisons were denied and never acknowledged or spoken about;

The torture of captives (in Lubyanka) was condoned;

State incarceration was not subject to the checks and balances of a legal system;

Economic plans, like for oil, were established/determined in closed sessions between politicos, commissars and production managers, far outside public view, and where government claimed privilege in so doing;

Wages were set at the lowest common denominator, no matter what Bloc country you were in;

Government agents had access to your medical records, your library records, your telephone, and your e-mail.

A place where judicial power and judicial review were proclaimed concepts, but simply ignored in application;

Where criminal records of young adults were closed to all but the military;

Where a Constitution was a mere facade and ignored by state actors.

Any dissent, debate and protest were deemed unpatriotic;

The public media was bought, paid for, and provided by the state;

The military clandestinely and shamelessly influenced the national media and public opinion;

A place where wrong was declared right;

Where tapping a phone was like tapping a pencil;

Where lying was considered a patriotic skill;

The extraction of natural resources was paramount to any concern for the environment and the impact on the health of its people;

Where the use of “state secrets,” (those things embarrassing to the government) were confused with legitimate issues of “national security”;

A place where "secrecy" and "national security" were used to control debate;

Where legitimate secrecy, was subject to political use and abuse;

Where "legislators" were mere mouthpieces for and rubberstamps of whoever was in power;

Where you lived and died with the permission of the government;

A place where foreign policy was more important than domestic concerns;

Where fear was used as a political weapon and an acceptable means of control;

Where the best medical care was reserved for the influential;

Where wealth was concentrated in the top 5%;

A place where there was no middle class - just a small economic and political elite, and the working poor.

The Soviet Union- A people’s paradise where the people were in control of their state - but we here in America knew better and we fought the Soviet system with everything we had because we could not endure a Soviet style system here in the United States.

To read the entire speech posted on a blog click here

dan said...

Deb,
Your link didn't work. I found the speech.

The Jim Marcinkowski Speech

dan said...

Deb,
RE:The Jim Marcinkowski Speech

I read the speech and I believe you focused on the most thought provoking part. Americans need to remove their blinders. They feel good about promoting freedom around the world and barely notice their own slipping away.

Cheryl V said...

Deb,
That's a powerful speech. Everyone should read it & think about it.

deb said...

I typed CIA "agent" on that post without thinking. The speech said he worked for the CIA...but that doesn't necessarily make him an agent. Plus, I don't think anyone can ever tell that they were an agent. Sorry:)

deb said...

And yet another fascinating Homeland Security story...Pay too much and you could raise the alarm

dan said...

Deb, Thanks for sharing that incredible story. I feel like our Homeland Security is some demented combination of the Keystone Cops and the Gestapo. With all the websites we visit, we may be high on their watch list.

dan said...

I think you may enjoy reading about a recent Bush Executive Order
as reported in the "Onion".

Department of Corruption,Bribery and Incompetence

deb said...

LOL Dan. If dems manage to override the black box voting machines in 06 I have wondered which of the numerous crimes should take priority with a dem Congress.

I think the first investigation needs to be our media. I'd like to hear some feedback from y'all on this, but I know that the media has been brainwashing the citizens of this country to buy into this agenda that supports government power being in the hands of corporations. I believe that we should hold them legally accountable for their actions. I don't see why the country shouldn't force them to pay restitution to the point that the debt accumulated since 00 is their responsibility. Jeff thinks it's nuts...what say ye?

I'm for impeaching the members of the Supreme Court that made a "one time ruling" to stop the vote count in Fla. in 00. Then impeach pretty much everyone in the executive branch. Of course file criminal charges against the corrupt members of Congress themselves, but these charges should be filed in the order of who has done the worst damage. Are there enough lawyers in the country for all of this?

Am I dreaming?

dan said...

Deb,
You must know by now that I hold your opinions in the highest regards, and I wouldn't dismiss an idea of yours out of hand, but I remain skeptical about the lawsuit you propose. It's likely that I lack much of the information you have and that might make a difference.
You've convinced me that Fairness Doctrine needs to be re-instated and that the concentration of media outlets has not only degraded the quality of news coverage but also resulted in a "corporite bias". I also know that ratings drive programing and that any sense of obligation to inform the public is rare.
What I'm not aware of is that this sorry state of journalism is caused by collusion among the corporate owners. Have they broken any laws or is it just that they all belong to the same country clubs as the Washington power brokers?
Voters can get the information they need if they'd only show some interest. If the best news program is in the same time slot as Wheel of Fortune, what do people watch?
I don't think your idea is "nuts". I'm just not sure if it has enough merit.

dan said...

"Am I dreaming?"

No Deb, I think there's reason for optimism. The neo-con's political machine is beginning to self-destruct. It was amazing to watch citizens finally getting angry and Republicans scrambling to distance themselves from the President.

I don't blame you for wanting to impeach the whole bunch of these scoundrels. After the way they hounded the Clintons for eight years, getting some revenge is tempting and justified.

The uproar over the Dubai Ports World deal was exciting to watch. I hope voters realize they have the power to end the war, get national health care, fix Social Security and anything else they want. Maybe they're finally paying attention.

deb said...

Restoring the Fairness Doctrine will be a big step in the right direction toward unbiasd media. However, I would seriously like to see a public debate on the power of the media which would show how the media selectively chose sides on so many issues. The war in Iraq being the most important, but also SS and the medicare prescription plan. If these media outlets were penalized for their one sided slant they would be less likely to do it.

We (citizens) missed our chance with the Iran/Contra affair to put an end to the neocon machine. Are dems too nice? Maybe it was just that Ollie North was so likeable. More realistically, basically good people can't imagine that these figures who give speeches and seem to care, actually have hearts of stone.

If we are able to gain the majority in Congress we will have to be vigilant in order to make government work for us. I imagine the neocons would have a plan in place to change the focus and they will have the media backing them up. I think of how Clinton was hit with gay rights in the military the day he took the oath.

One of the things that I worry about is, if we have a dem Congress, how the media will spin problems to be the fault of the dems. I mean...Everything good in the 90's was because Reagan and Bush I set it up that way and it just took a few years for it all to fall into place correctly...right? NOT

I am working to get 2 Reps. in Congress from NC. The one from my district is DLC, but in another district we have a *real* progressive. I intend to make sure that both know who I am, and hopefully will be able to offer suggestions that are heard by them if they make it to the House.

dan said...

Deb, Re:
"..I would seriously like to see a public debate on the power of the media which would show how the media selectively chose sides on so many issues.."

I'd welcome such a debate. An essential component of a free society is an effective flow of unbiased information. Our media deserves failing grades for it's performance. I've been frustrated that the conservative mantra of liberal bias has been unrelenting and highly sucessfull. Maybe a debate over the Fairness Doctrine would expose the Media's failures. If not, the lawsuit you propose would put a spotlight on the issue. If that's what it takes, then in the words of G.W.B. "bring it on".

I know I've been ambivilent about the lawsuit idea and remain skeptical about it's chance for success, but the debate it would generate could make it worthwhile. Plus, I can't easily dismiss an idea that you've clearly given a lot of thought to.

Also, your point about the harsh treatment the Democrates are likely to face once they're in the majority is well taken. The "train wreck" they'll inherit will be difficult and time consuming to rectify and the media will brutalize them at every opportunity.

The two candidates running for Congress in N.C. are very fortunate to have your support and would be wise to listen to your council.

deb said...

Thanks for the encouragement Dan.

My family thinks I step over the line with some of my suggestions for holding the neo-cons accountable, and most of my family are very bright dems. (Except for a sister...an engineer and faux news fan...and a brother...also an engineer...who's very wealthy, but may have seen the light). However, from time to time, I do admit to saying things like those running the country should be masked and sent to gitmo as a prisoner just to check out how humanely our prisoners are being treated;)

Most of my life I've been so centrist that if you stuck a pin in the most "average" American I would squeal. I'm now being accused of becoming *radical*, but the reality is that with my kids growing up I had the time to investigate the lead up to the war and continued reading and seeing what has been/is happening. And a lot of what is happening is truly unbelievable!

Maybe it is a stretch to believe that MSM should pay for what they have done, but I like dreaming of undoing at least some of the damage:)

PS The Daily Show has some of the highest ratings and is consistantly anti-war.

dan said...

The mainstream press might consider you radical but we both know the true radicals are running the country.

Judy B. said...

Deb... You go girl
I really admire your grit.
Just keep remembering my husbands bumper sticker...
"If the people lead, the leaders will follow"...

dan said...

Deb,
I thought of you when I read this Will Durst column. You've metioned that occasionally you sound a bit extreme to your family. Have them read this and you'll sound tame in comparison.

Impeachment? Hell no, impalement.

deb said...

LOL Dan...Durst has quite a few adjectives that I hadn't even thought of.

deb said...

Weakening Private Pension System

dan said...

Thanks Deb. This legislation is a typical Republican product, study a very real problem for a year then make things much worse.

dan said...

Police State Files

What's happening in our America?

deb said...

A clip from the article Dan posted:

"As the released documents make clear, that, and only that, was why they became targets: because they opposed the war in Iraq. An FBI document from 2002 notes that the center is "a left-wing organization advocating, among many political causes, pacifism." Pacifism! Egads! Aside from the fact that pacifism is a set of personal moral beliefs -- not a "political cause" -- is pacifism, in our militarized 21st Century America, the new Red Scare? Seems so. Just ask the Quakers."

Just think of how much money and people power must be being wasted spying on those of us who would like to see the neo-cons booted out of office. My feeling is that we are probably converting large amounts of NSA spies to start voting democrat. If they are reading the larger blogs (and I really have no doubt that they are) then they are getting the same education that we are.

Check this out...leave it running as it will change colors through time.

Blueing of America

dan said...

Deb,
I just loved that map...you made my day!

You don't sound very grateful to this Administration for protecting you from the big, bad pacifists.

Judy B. said...

That map is a great political tool.. Mid America is up for grabs, if only the Dems can put together a platform that will appeal to the majority...

Dems need to Talk about health care... many (most)rural Americans do not participate in a company sponsored healthcare program... they have to buy it themselves and it costs a lot...
Talk about energy.. gas, diesel alternative ...wind power , solar...
Farmers know about wind.. every farm used to have a windmin to pump water, etc.. talk about other crop options besides corn for fuel... come up with a energy plan

Talk about the economy... the deficit and how the GOP has screwed Amereica...
Those are the three winning issues in mid america... and across the country

deb said...

Judy, those 3 issues are exactly what I used in my brief to Kissell's campaign. Plus, of course, restoring the Fairness Doctrine and equal rights for all. Thank you and Dan for your input.

Oh, btw, I'm working on the Fairness Doctrine from a state angle. If states pass such a law then the major TV networks will have to adapt nationwide because they show the same stuff all over the country. And it's so much easier to have the ear of a member of the state legislature.