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Bob K
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since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860


50 posted 05-21-2008 04:30 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Balladeer,

          You really should read the whole of my post, and not simply the part that agrees with you.  I try to be even-handed because I believe the truth doesn't fit into narrow boxes on the left or the right, though I'm much more inclined to see things from the liberal left or further.  There's nothing wrong with listening to Limbaugh or Fox if that not where you stop listening.  If you were on a jury and doing your duty correctly, you would be obligated to listen to both sides with reasonable objectivity before making a decision.

     I've heard sound bite compilations as well.  Any number can play.  I've never heard one for the word "pro-active" which I first ran across in a book on psychotherapy about 25 years ago.  The authors apologized for using it, acknowledged it was jargon, and said that it was better that the customary usage "active" because it meant more active than active.  It sounded like E-Z-Grow to me then and it sounds like E-Z-Grow to me now, but the word has grown like a weed.  You could do one heck of a video montage of stuffed shirts using that word too.  If you wanted, you could edit them down by name, or weight, or hair color or, yes, even political party and make any group look spectacularly like foolish stuffed shirts.  If Limbaugh picked the word "gravitas," which is straight Latin, you can imagine how many times through history somebody must have done the same thing, tagging another group as stupid for the use of that word.  Greeks versus Romans.  Romans versus Goths.  Eastern Empire Versus Western Empire.  We have thousand of years of history to choose from.  It must have been done thousands of times.

     A tax cut to inject money into the economy is an economic maneuver, like a left turn or a right turn in a car.  Any two given drivers can make one and state the need for one.  Their words may even be similar in saying why the maneuver is needed.  

     What makes one useful and makes the other dangerous is the context.  One may lead to a broad highway, the other to a brick wall.  The context of the Kennedy tax cut was a tax structure where the top tax bracket was about 90%, and where the United States itself was the place where it made the most sense for capital to be in the world.  If capital were to be freed up, the United states is where it would most likely come, right?

     Today the top tax rates have been in the mid thirties, well below the place where Kennedy cut it to.  Further cuts do not pay for themselves, they cost the government and the economy money and they make the government and the economy and the country weaker.  The capital that is freed up by the tax cut does not tend to stay in the country because this country is no longer the best place in the world to put down your economic bets.  In this economy, in this country, tax cuts are a full speed left turn into a brick wall.  To use Kennedy's comments to sell them is, at a minimum, deceptive and misleading.  

     The maneuver is the same, but we're not at the same place on the highway.

     The maneuver allows the multinationals to become less entangled legally with this country and those companies who have previously had to comply with U.S. law and to do business in a way that is compatible with U.S. interests, are now able to sever their interests from those of the U.S. without any apparent consequences.  Bechtel and Halliburton are examples.  While the current tax cuts may in fact be good for those companies and their investors, they do not appear to have anything to recommend them for the U.S. public at large.  I wish they did.

     If indeed The Republicans National Committee or whomever paid for the ads in question used Kennedy's words while understanding that this was the actual situation, then "sleazy" seems to be at least a gesture in an appropriate direction.  I would have difficulty imagining The Party as a whole being unaware of the differences the past thirty years have brought.

     No orange socks in my drawer, Mike.  I still look at them longingly in the Liberal Shoppe, every time I go in to get my spark plugs changed at the Barbara Streisand tune-up Center.  But my wife is afraid all my Liberal friends will think I'm a hunter.  I tell her it's unlikely, with the amount of time I spend looking for a good boat, one large enough to allow me to do comfortable flip-flopping on all the important issues.  ELaine says, though, that Flip-flopping is not just for Democrats any more.  I can't tell you how sad that makes me.

     I shall probably have to look into the Kennedy tax cuts.
I never knew very much about them, and I do have to thank you for bringing them to my attention.  Your assertion that they were much more favorable for the rich
seems in particular curious to me, so I'd like to start out there.

     As always, very interesting, especially when we get as concrete as we can.  Both of us.  It tends to strip away party rhetoric on both sides, and gets us down to what people need and how are we getting it for them or preventing them from having it.  Returning vets, the poor, the displaced, the crazy, the retarded, the elderly, the corporations, the services such as fire police and other public safety services, roads, all these things are often beyond the ability of any single citizen to support, and we must count on each other in some way.  We have a lot to talk about, and it all seems fascinating discussion.  What about individual responsibility?  I thought I'd toss that in as well.  Hope all is going beautifully in Sunny Florida, YrS, BobK.


Dear Icebox,

           Why did we return to Nixon?

     I think it was because the country was split about the Vietnam war.  Johnson who had served as a lightning rod for opposition to the war made the decision to withdraw from the race because he was so unpopular.  He had a 35% approval rating.  He was smart enough to know he was in disgrace.

     The two emerging candidates on the Democratic side were Eugene MacCarthy and Hubert Humphrey, and they were campaigning on issues around the Vietnam war.  Humphrey, as sitting Vice President was stuck defending the unpopular war; though he was personally against it, to say so would have made him seem like a wimp without personal integrity.  When Martin Luther King was assassinated, the entire country exploded around issues of race and violence.  George Wallace, former Governor of Alabama, entered the race as a third party player and took the State of Alabama, normally a Democratic State at that time.  When Robert Kennedy entered the race and breathed new life into the Democrats, it seemed that they would win anyway.  The riots declined, the country grew quieter, and Nixon, who was running on a Law And Order ticket, began to slide back in the poles.  When Kennedy was assassinated the whole thing blew up again, and the race went to Nixon because of the divisions with the Democratic Party, and the violence inside the country at the time, largely due to the feeling of helplessness among minorities and the feelings of rage among the working class toward them.

     In addition, the Republicans promised a speedy end to the war, but in fact expanded it and kept it going until 1975.

     In other words, Nixon offered an easy solution to the chaos that people saw around them in 1968.  I believe we are still paying for that decision, whether it was the correct or incorrect one.  I believe, of course, incorrect.

My best to you, BobK.  

Not A Poet
Member Elite
since 11-03-1999
Posts 4427
Oklahoma, USA


51 posted 05-21-2008 05:15 PM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

quote:
If indeed The Republicans National Committee

Bob, now that we're all trying to be very particular and accurate in our choice of words, please refrain from referring to The republican National Committee as "The Republicans National Committee." [Emphasis mine.]
Balladeer
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since 06-05-99
Posts 26302
Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA


52 posted 05-21-2008 07:14 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Good question, icebox. The GI's caught in the augmentation from 800 up to 16,700 sent to Viet Nam under his rule may not have shared the belief that it was Camelot.
Bob K
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since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860


53 posted 05-21-2008 09:18 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Not A Poet,

                     I am sorry, and of course you're correct.  In my case my spell check didn't catch the typo, and I'll try to proofread more closely.  The conversation is so lively at this point that I'm more focused on trying to be coherent and to iron out the leaps in logic and continuity and to prevent my own glaring prejudices from tainting what I'm trying to say too badly to catch some of these important points.  As I said earlier, you've been extremely gracious, and I'll try to make a point of doing better.

     Balladeer is absolutely correct about the upgrade in forces in Vietnam during the Kennedy era.  Kennedy had a sort of romance with the the notion of special forces and he was a romantic about the spread of communism and the cold war alike.  I think he missed the dimension of that conflict as civil war and I think he missed how thoroughly we had been bamboozled by the French into pulling their chestnuts out of the fire.  I hope he would have thought to correct his mistakes himself, since he's always been something of a hero of mine; one of that peculiarly Democratic kind (maybe not, I hope) who can be heroic and have flaws as well.

     There's a wonderful novel by Charles McCarry called The Tears of Autumn about Vietnam, Kennedy and the Diems that feels like a Greek tragedy.  McCarry is, in my opinion, one of the better novelists of our time, though greatly under-appreciated.  Many academics would probably want to run me out of town for suggesting this, but I hold by the opinion stubbornly.
McCarry was a former C.I.A. case officer and can make sentences contradance and chapters waltz until they very politely bow to you and smack you in the face.

     My thesis is that even in Camelot, the guys swamping out the stables never had a chance to look up far enough to get dazzled by the stars.  Let alone if you were in some foreign country and the people you were trying to help were trying to kill you.  I don't suspect that's all that different now, Mike, do you?

     Bill Mauldin pretty much had the mind set covered in all those Willie and Joe cartoons back in WWII.

     Not A Poet and Balladeer, I'm grateful for all the let-me-have-a-look-at-the-facts folks out there.  Democrat or Republican, they're hard to find and well worth working at in order to keep the dialogue going.

Sincerely, BobK.

    
Balladeer
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Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA


54 posted 05-21-2008 11:46 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Actually, Bob, truth be known, I considered JFK larger than life also. I admired him very much and, as far as Viet Nam is concerned, it wasn't a good idea to escalate it in the way he did but I have read  articles, and I believe them, that, if he had lived, he would have started pulling them out during his second term, realizing the mistake made. Unfortuntately, LBJ was not JFK. I admired the way he handled the Cuban missile crisis and the way he stood up to big steel...he was a "presidential" president.
Not A Poet
Member Elite
since 11-03-1999
Posts 4427
Oklahoma, USA


55 posted 05-22-2008 10:24 AM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

I was not a fan of JFK before but he certainly won my respect, and even admiration, in his handling of the Cuban missle crisis. Unfortunately, I can't think of any redeeming qualities for LBJ.
Balladeer
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since 06-05-99
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Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA


56 posted 05-22-2008 11:01 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Few people can, Pete...
Bob K
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since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860


57 posted 05-22-2008 11:57 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



I remember my very great anger at LBJ and the way he dealt with Vietnam and the people who disagreed with him about it.  I found that especially difficult from a Democratic President, who should have thought several times over about the wisdom of fighting a land-war in asia and taking the side of a corrupt political dictatorship whose pretenses to representing democracy were pretty clearly a tissue of lies.  We chose them, I think, because they represented themselves as anti-communist, which was probably true enough, not because they had any love for democracy.  Good reasoning for a fine senate majority leader, whose concern must be party loyalty and party legislative agenda; not so good for a President, whose goals must be on a more strategic level than that.

     On the other hand, LBJ did get past the Kennedy civil rights package, which had been stalled in the Senate and which looked like it might go down the tubes before Kennedy's assassination.  He did get many of the Kennedy social programs passed and he did get funding and support for the space program passed and continued.  Many of these things he did at enormous cost to the Democratic coalition that had kept the Democratic party in power for much of the time since 1932.  What had been a solid Democratic southern vote shifted almost en masse to the Republican party in reaction to the new Democratic stand against segregation and racial discrimination.  That part of what had been the Democratic party has been an enormous management problem for "The Party of Lincoln" ever since, as the formerly Dixicrat part of the Republican Party has very different feelings about Mr. Lincoln than the rest of the Party, and the former Dixicrats have demanded a large voice in the running of the party today.

     While the Democrats are reasonably free to celebrate the extension of civil rights, having shaken free of the Dixicratic burden, the Party of Lincoln, paradoxically must sell the legacy of the great Liberator down the River, having happily accepted the far-right burden of the Dixicratic vote in return for power.

     Both Democrats and Republicans probably have LBJ to thank for this massive political redistribution of power.  My thesis, of course.  I'd love to hear how somebody else reads it.

     But I do believe that the civil rights and economic stimulus and social support packages supported by Kennedy did get through both Senate and Congress by dint of LBJ's careful navigation.  I think he accomplished that, and that it's probably unfair to take that away from him.  Just as it's unfair to make excuses for him about his failed Vietnam policies.

     Thoughts or comments on this.  I know Folks may not agree, so I'm interested in how and where.  Sincerely, BobK.
 
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