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Is the New Bill Stimulating or Pork?

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Ron
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150 posted 02-19-2009 07:35 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
All this time I thought the plan was geared toward the current situation, not the long term.

And, all this time, Mike, you were right.

The goal of the bill is to spend money. In the short term. As in, NOW.

It doesn't necessarily follow, however, that everything we spend money on has to be only for short term gain.

quote:
Those are Obama's words, not mine. He claimed there would be no pet projects and you are making an attempt to justify them.

Someone has a golf cart for a pet?

Honestly, Mike, I don't care whether an expenditure is for someone's pet project. Every project is someone's pet. Things just don't write themselves into a bill.

There are, no doubt, a ton of items in the bill I don't think are worth the money. Encouraging further research into battery technology isn't one of them. No, it's not essential. But, yea, it is a good idea and if we need to spend money to stimulate the economy let's spend it on some good ideas.

As for the President's statements, I'm going to agree with you that he has to live with them. I seriously doubt this bill (or any) is going to be as squeaky clean as I suspect Obama would have liked. He's discovering, I imagine, that he only gets to run one branch of the government and he probably shouldn't make promises for the branches not under his control. While one might argue he only promised "higher standards," and the bar certainly wasn't very high, I agree the spirit of his promises are certainly being tarnished. I think he, you, I, and the rest of the American public should continue to demand more and expect better.

quote:
If you want to claim that the entire federal budget is non-essential, then why would you, or even Obama, consider this plan essential? That sounds like a little bit of a cop-out to me, with all respect, and a lot of justification stretching.

To me, Mike, essential means you must have it. There is no choice involved.

For example, defense spending is not essential. A lot of countries decide to spend little or nothing on their military. The only reason we spend a whole lot of money on this non-essential is because the majority of people in the country don't like the alternatives.

There is absolutely nothing in the stimulus bill that is essential. Every item in it has alternatives. The question is whether you, I, and the rest of America like those alternatives.

quote:
This was not supposed to be a democratic wish list, Ron.

See, Mike, I think this is the key thing you've apparently missed.

For most of the last two years, the Republicans and Democrats have been explaining to the American people what they want to spend our money and resources to promote. Last November, the public weighed those arguments and made a choice. Unfortunately, it was a pretty overwhelming choice.

A Democratic wish list is exactly what this was supposed to be, Mike. That's what American clearly said it wanted. Or did you really think all those Democratic politicians elected into office were going to start pushing Republican agendas?

If you really want to blame just one person for the power shift in Washington, Mike, I think you know who that one person should be?


rwood
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151 posted 02-19-2009 08:48 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

Um. Yeah. Bush and the GOP's pushed for what they wanted, got it, and they sat there, holding it, like the most enormous pinwheel candy sucker America has ever seen, and now they've had to hand it off to the Dems for their lick at it.

they've all got candy on their face and the public may be suckered into believing relief is in the form of a stimulus package, but I think the only true (long term) relief is a non-partisan plan that calls for America to work together again to produce our own stability and future. Broad prospective, because I'm short on time, but I'll second Reb's link: Why the Economy is Toast.

Catch yall laterz. Welcome back Reb!!!

ciao for now,
reg

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152 posted 02-19-2009 09:16 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

There is no doubt who that one person is, Ron..Bush. And the Democrats were not elected because they had a candidate with great experience. They had a candidate who was not Bush...that was enough. The public didn't weight the arguments and make a choice. They simply voted non-Bush, along with the ones who thought they were going to get a one thousand dollar check when Obama got in. Whatever happened to that one, anyway?

A Democratic wish list is exactly what this was supposed to be, Mike. That's what American clearly said it wanted.

We will have to continue to disagree, Ron. America did not say it wanted a democratic wish list. It said it wanted the democrats to solve it's problems, which is different from watching them go on a shopping spree while the country is going broke. America elected them because it believed, or at least hoped, that they would do the right thing by them....not feather their own nests, districts, and friends' bank accounts with national funds used in the name of emergency spending. Look at the percentage of Americans who are against this bill. Look at the percentage who don't even know what's in it (around 99%, I would estimate) and who are just hoping it's in their best interests.

The democrats have had a great opportunity. They were given power by default and have had a chance to show the American people what they could do. What they have done so far is to propel congress to the lowest approval rating in the country's history and come up with a bill that is so filled with pork that even some of the democrats have a hard time with it. Their greed and their power crusade is slowly destroying their creditability and the country will suffer because of it. If there is nothing in the stimulus bill that is essential, then what is Obama saying when he claims that, without it, the country will go to ruin and never recover? I think he must consider SOMETHING essential there.

I agree that Obama is finding out that he heads only one portion of the government but, if he can't even control Pelosi and Reid, how is he going to control anything else? I actually feel sorry for the man, in a way. They are running amok under his name and he will be the one to take the fall if things don't work out while Pelosi will be smiling and saying "Don't look at me. I'm not the President",  when, in fact, she is.
Brad
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153 posted 02-19-2009 02:58 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
Many liberals think that the plan is too small. Many conservatives and libertarians think it will prove wasteful, ultimately ineffective, and that we shouldn't be trying to prop up housing values anyway. And this is surely the fear behind the gist of what Obama has done so far: it avoids the brutal re-balancing of the right while lacking the full metal Krugmanism of the left. Maybe this is a pragmatic sweet spot. Or maybe it's falling into some kind of ghastly, protracted abyss. I do not pretend to know.

--Andrew Sullivan

I think that sums up where we are right now. Nobody is really happy with the bill, but nobody knows what's going to happen next. I may have posted something about this from Samuelson, I think. The economic situation has been in I-don't-know land for quite a few years now.

Oh and Mike, it's not just America's economy that's tanking, it's everybody's.

For Friedman fans, what happens now? What happens when protectionist proponents start upping the ante?

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154 posted 02-19-2009 04:02 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Oh and Mike, it's not just America's economy that's tanking, it's everybody's.

Brad, does that mean Bush collapsed the economy of the entire world????

Ron, your comments have been rolling around in my brain the entire day while working. I'm having a hard time with them.

For example, defense spending is not essential. A lot of countries decide to spend little or nothing on their military. The only reason we spend a whole lot of money on this non-essential is because the majority of people in the country don't like the alternatives.

Do you actually believe that? really? Without our military we would be speaking German, Japanese or Arabic. Without our military there would be no United States, we would not have won World War 1, the allies would not have won World War II and we would have been under Nazi rule for the past 60 years. Can you possibly believe that, if we did not have the best military in the world, no one would be interested in taking us over, with our riches and natural resources? How in the world can you come up with that conclusion? People don't like the alternatives? You mean like living under foreign rule? Do you blame them? The countries that spend little or nothing on their military have little to defend. Would you equate us to them? There's a reason why rich people put more locks on their doors than the poor. Even the lady we both admire stated there should only be two objectives off the government (1)maintain a strong military and (2) collect taxes.

To me, Mike, essential means you must have it. There is no choice involved.

There is always a choice, Ron. One may call air essential, but one can jump in the ocean and drown if they want to. Food is essential but you can starve yourself to death. Your statement would be more correct if it read, "There is no choice involved, unless you want to survive."

Without a strong military, we would not survive. Are you sure you want to call that non-essential?
Ron
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155 posted 02-19-2009 04:54 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Your statement would be more correct if it read, "There is no choice involved, unless you want to survive."

That is sometimes the alternative.  

Fine. "Unless you want to survive" it is, then.  

quote:
Without a strong military, we would not survive. Are you sure you want to call that non-essential?

Of course we would survive, Mike. Germans survived, didn't they? Japanese survived. Even Jews survived.

It probably wouldn't be the kind of survival you'd like, but it would still be survival. For most.

You're going off on tangents, though, Mike. The point is that you're trying to herd everyone else into using your definition of essential. Or, at least, your implied definition, since you haven't actually given one directly.

What parts of the stimulus bill aren't "essential?"

I doubt there is any one part that is essential "unless you want to survive." Just as there is no single part of the military that is essential "unless you want to survive" (well, except maybe the Marines). I mean, why is it that every branch of the service has its own air force? Except for the Air Force, which I guess can't have its own air force since it IS its own air force? Yea, I suspect there's a lot of non-essential stuff.  

quote:
I agree that Obama is finding out that he heads only one portion of the government but, if he can't even control Pelosi and Reid, how is he going to control anything else?

Pelosi and Reid don't work for President Obama, Mike. Indeed, our system of government is designed to specifically avoid exactly what you are suggesting. If you need to blame someone for Pelosi and Reid, you need to blame the voters who put them in Congress and their fellow legislators who are the only ones with the direct power to rein them in.

The President's principle tool in our system of checks and balances is the veto. And you know what, Mike? I would personally LOVE to see Obama veto any bill that has even a smidgeon of pork in it. If he did that -- AND if the American people supported him in it -- things would finally change in Congress. That's not very pragmatic, however, and I don't know if any man has the courage to do it. Sure would be something to watch, though.  

quote:
The democrats have had a great opportunity. They were given power by default and have had a chance to show the American people what they could do. What they have done so far is to propel congress to the lowest approval rating in the country's history ...

It feels a bit like déjà vu, doesn't it, Mike?

You pretty much just described the situation in September, 2001. Except it was the Republicans instead of the Democrats, and it was the Executive branch instead of the Legislative. Following the immediate aftermath of 9/11, President Bush's approval rating topped out around 90 percent, the highest of any president in the 70 year history of the Gallup Poll. Bush had the opportunity, Mike, to unite this country as no man has done since George Washington.

Unfortunately, I think we both know that didn't happen. Having enjoyed the highest approval ratings of any President, Bush left office with a rating of about 22 percent -- the lowest of any President in history. By way of comparison, both Reagan and Clinton left office with a 68 percent approval rating. Recent one-term presidents, George H.W. Bush left office with a 54 percent rating and Jimmy Carter escaped with a 44 percent rating. Even Richard Nixon squeaked through with 24 percent.

Yea, Mike, the public had a candidate who was not Bush . . . and that was enough. It's got to be a little frustrating to realize we get to blame the next eight years on George, too?  


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156 posted 02-19-2009 06:02 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

What parts of the stimulus bill aren't "essential?

Ron, I'm not trying to herd anyone anywhere. I agree with you. I don't find any part of it essential, either. My only "gripe" was that you referred to the military as non-essential to the country and somehow gave the impression that the non-essentiality of the military went along the same lines as the non-essentiality of the stimulus bill, or , in other words, if you consider the military actually essential, then you must do the same for the stimulus bill. Nice to see that you actually don't find the stimulus bill essential on it's own merit.

Not sure I understand your trip back to Bush, Reagen and Carter unless you are saying that, if Obama goes down, it won't be the first time in history. I agree with that, too.

All politicians work for the voters? Blame the voters when the politicians turn out to be nogoodniks? Please......

Sure, Obama has veto powers. Would he use them? Maybe in a few years when he actually does have some experience. He wouldn't dare now, and he knows it. They would just spank him like a small child.

It's got to be a little frustrating to realize we get to blame the next eight years on George, too?

...and don't think they won't! Hopefully they will only have four and not eight  
Brad
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157 posted 02-19-2009 06:35 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
does that mean Bush collapsed the economy of the entire world????


That's not an outrageous thing to say. What country is the engine that runs the world? Who ran that country?

But it wasn't Bush as such, I think it was a bizarre passivity that left both the Dems and GOPers struck dumb by an Executive run amok.

Why do you think I keep bringing up constitutional reform for the executive? Why do you think I bring it up now after Bush has left office? Because it wasn't a personality, it was systemic ambiguity that caused this problem.

And that's gotta change.

Huan Yi
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158 posted 02-19-2009 07:36 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


"But it wasn't Bush as such, I think it was a bizarre passivity that left both the Dems and GOPers struck dumb by an Executive run amok."

An Executive
which had no luck trying to bring
more control and regulation to Fannie Mae
and Freddie Mac.

Which anyone can see on U-Tube.


.

Bob K
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159 posted 02-19-2009 08:55 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K




quote:


An Executive
which had no luck trying to bring
more control and regulation to Fannie Mae
and Freddie Mac.

Which anyone can see on U-Tube.




     This doesn't even pretend to be objective.  "Anyone can see" is the fallacy called argument by authority.  Anyone can see it, therefore it must be true.

     It may or may not be true.  Each argument must be considered on it's own.  The authorities considered here seem to come pretty exclusively from the right.  Would anybody care to guess what the left wing folks would say to this?   In fact most of the press and opinion that seems to get quoted here seems right wing.  This isn't a bad thing but it does seem to belie the claim that the press is pretty uniformly liberal, doesn't it?

     Those who claim that the election was won by Obama because  the electorate thought "anybody but Bush" seem to be attempting to rewrite history.
1)  Don't I recall that these are the sane folks who were defending almost everything that Bush did throughout at least the last year, when I've been present to witness and take part in these discussions?  If they feel that there was something wrong with Bush, why were they defending him and approving the policies that they claimed the whole country supported — that any real American would support — the whole time?  It seems that they have changed their position without having actually acknowledged the true magnitude of the disaster that the last eight years have been for the country.  And 2) They suggest that the last election was anybody but Bush when I seem to recall that they actually supported a candidate from the Republican Party that they insisted provided a clear alternative, at least at the time.  They weren't talking about Anybody But Bush then.  Only now, when they seek to minimize the accomplishment of the President's accomplishment and the extent of his mandate do they seek to do so.

     If the President's bill is flawed, and it certainly must be, then it seems to me that it would be more useful to talk about the flaws in the bill itself, and to raise some sort of suggestions for ways the parties might work together in a more cooperative fashion.  This sort of division was wretched when the Republicans were doing it during the last administration and surely it's no better today when the Republicans see the Democrats as doing it.
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160 posted 02-19-2009 09:22 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Bob, I have no doubt you said something relevant in that offering because you normally do, but it may take a few readings to find out what it is.
Ron
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161 posted 02-19-2009 09:55 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
The authorities considered here seem to come pretty exclusively from the right.  Would anybody care to guess what the left wing folks would say to this?

I wonder if Einstein was from the right or from the left? And if he had decided to change sides, how much would that have affected the speed of light?
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162 posted 02-19-2009 10:15 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Einstein was a genius. Geniuses don't get involved in politics...they just try to survive politicians.
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163 posted 02-20-2009 05:25 AM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

The concept of determinedly left and right politics, like the promotion and encouragement of all extremes, was "invented" by, and is perpetuated by, those with power and/or intelligence in order to manipulate those without much power and/or intelligence to ensure a permanent core base of support for a particular cause or person.
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164 posted 02-20-2009 04:07 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Well, you may be right, moonbeam, but that could be a touch of over-analyzation, too.

Left and right are labels. We live with labels and have since the beginning of time. We use labels for groups, nationalities, jocks/nerds, and even hair color. Are blondes really that dumb? Are redheads really that feiry? Using labels are a part of the communication humans use to converse and have been used since Adam and Eve were referred to as "leafies" (maybe) While I'll agree that some of them may be caused by manipulation in order to give masses a specific mind-set (like brunettes creating the mind-set that blondes are dumb), I don't see that happening with respect to the political labeling. Right indicates conservatives, left indicates liberals. Conservatives don't complain about being called right-wingers and liberals don't complain about being referred to as left-wingers, any more than they complain about having a donkey as their political symbol. There are no built-in insults in either label, so behind-the-scenes manipulations to use them makes little sense. It is simply labeling for convenience sake.

How did this "right" and "left" labeling get it's start? Rumor has it that it was fashioned after observing the movement of a clock hand. When the hand moved to the right, all was as it is supposed to be. If it moved left, it was going backwards. Like I say, that's just a rumor with no basis in fact, and may not even be true....maybe.
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165 posted 02-20-2009 06:02 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Obama said Friday that residents of the U.S. Gulf Coast still are trying to rebuild three years after Hurricane Katrina and have not received the support they deserve from Washington.

His words amounted to sharp, though indirect, criticism of former President George W. Bush's oversight of the Katrina recovery efforts. Katrina was blamed for more than 1,600 deaths and $41 billion in property damage.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-02-20-obama-stimulus_N.htm?csp=34

How much of the stimulus bill was set aside to help counter the effects of Katrina? Three guesses..bee insurance? Sure. Hookers off the streets? of course. Golf carts? Why not? Victims of Katrina? maybe next time...
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166 posted 02-20-2009 06:06 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

BTW, Chris Dodd told Bloomberg news today that the nation's banks may have to be nationalized.

One of the best things to invest in right now is Vaseline.
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167 posted 02-20-2009 08:39 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     I would find it helpful if Mike or somebody who feels that this stimulus bill is bad for the country might be specific about what exactly they think is bad.  Petroleum jelly, Mike's last specific suggestion, is probably one administration behind, considering the profits the oil companies made over the last eight years due at least in part to the policies of the Bush Administration.  The democrats should not be left out of blame on that one entirely either, I must hasten to add, and I once again suggest the same book by Greg Pallast that I recommended prior to this past trip to Upstate New York.  It ruffles feathers on all sides of the aisle.

     I am astonished at the sudden inability of folks to tell the difference between left and right, though I hope it is the beginning of a period of willingness to seek common ground between us.  I think there is more actual common ground than folks at the more extreme ends of either party would have us think, and that we may have to find it on our own, despite them.

     Anyway, if there are actual specifics in the spending package that are difficult, maybe we can talk them out together and reach some sort of consensus attitude on them together.  Money will have to be spent on the stuff that's been neglected.  We've allowed termites to get at the foundation of the country while we've indulged ourselves in country-club memberships that we can't afford.  We've forgotten that we need to get the kids educated and that it's polite to keep our religion the bedrock of our lives and not to push it off on other people.  If we set a good example, then other people will come to us.  We've forgotten that it's not a sin to be poor and that the poor and disadvantaged  need to be treated with dignity.  There but for the grace of God, as folks used to say.  These too are solid American values.

     I'm getting too vague.

     Bring in the stuff that you don't like about the spending bill.  Let's look together.  I won't claim to have all the answers, or even to agree with everything that's there.  But that sort of dialogue seems to offer some change of bringing us together, and I confess a weakness for that sort of thing.  Maybe we can work on skill at accomplishing it together.

     At least it's a proposal.

Sincerely, Bob Kaven
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168 posted 02-20-2009 10:35 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
I am astonished at the sudden inability of folks to tell the difference between left and right ...

I think you, and perhaps others too, missed my earlier point, Bob.

I can tell the difference between left and right just fine, but will typically choose to ignore it. It doesn't matter to me whether Einstein was conservative or liberal, and I don't think it greatly matters to the speed of light, either. You earlier said that "the authorities here seem to come pretty exclusively from the right," and suggested we should hear what the left wing folks had to say.

That's fine. But, I don't care if a source is right or left. I only care if they're right or wrong.

Einstein, whatever his philosophical leanings, was a whole lot more right than he was wrong. Ultimately, that's all that matters.


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169 posted 02-21-2009 03:35 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Ron,

     I've been reading a recent biography of Maimonades, the philosopher, who makes the point that Spinoza makes.  I am able to say so because the biography tells me so, not because of any depth of philosophical savvy, but it's a point that I'd thought about previously and one with which I am in agreement.  Good and bad, they say, are consensus values.  They depend on the culture and the time and the place and what the folks think is right.  I am against cannibalism and feel quite good about this value.  I would not fit in well with certain cultures in New Guinea and in the Amazon Basin who not only disagree with me, but feel there's something especially appropriate in the practice.  I happen to feel my values are superior, as, I suspect, do they.

     "Right" and "wrong" in this case are synonymous with "good' and "bad," and are matters of local consensus.  If things get sticky between those who hold my values and those who hold their values, the differences may be settled by force, and a larger consensus will be imposed.  Kuru may have some effect in the debate as well.  Actual proof holds little if any sway in the discussion.

     Einstein's notions about "right" and "wrong" in terms of his theory of relativity, on the other hand, did depend on proof.  "Right" and "wrong" in this case are synonymous with "true" and "false."  These are subject to scientific test and proof, and this is pointed out both by Maimonades and Spinoza.

     When most if not all the speakers here voice points of view from one part of the political spectrum, your ability to discriminate the degree of truthfulness amongst them is beside the point.  That is, unless you happen to believe that the truth lies only in that spectrum and in no other.  In that case, there's no problem at all.  You may choose between a whole alphabet of political opinion and choose the truth between A and C.  Especially if A and C are all that are encouraged.

     I think your rhetoric in this case depends on confusion between these two different cases of right and wrong distinguished by the philosophers.  You may indeed have a solid point in there someplace, but I'm not sure what it is.  Could you try again?  

     Einstein's brilliance was of a limited kind.  As long as he was talking about physics, the man really was superb.  As far as human relationships and politics went, near as I can tell he wasn't any more expert than anybody else and he knew it.  As far as genius goes, I guess, to have some idea where your actual limitations lie may be as good an indication as any.  I should be half that smart.

Sincerely,  Bob Kaven

    
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170 posted 02-21-2009 05:03 AM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

Yes Mike, sure, they are "just" labels.   Which surely is exactly the point.  Labels are by definition not true.  They can't be because they seek to pigeon-hole uniqueness.  What they do is to remove a little (or a lot) of a subject's individuality and perhaps humanity.  They offer a easy lazy way for people to think about themselves and their lives.  And for other people to think about them.  

"I'm middle class = I will have 2 kids, a 9 - 5 job and live in suburbia."

"I'm a Democrat = I dislike all Republican values"

"I'm Hutu = I kill Tutsis"

Persuading people they are part of a collective (ultimately, and ideally for the perpetrators, without them being entirely conscious of the persuasion) is pretty much vital for the long term survival of a movement.  A core set of people who accept their label or badge to the point where they see everything the opposing badge does or thinks as bad or wrong without really engaging their brains, is therefore the covert goal of most centres of power.

Do you think that's unduly cynical?  
Ron
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171 posted 02-21-2009 09:23 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Einstein's notions about "right" and "wrong" in terms of his theory of relativity, on the other hand, did depend on proof.

Not really, Bob. That's why, a hundred years later, it's still call the Theory of Relativity?

Einstein's notions about right and wrong depended on convincing arguments. His notions held up over time because they worked.

You can label your authorities conservative and liberal if you like, but for me it won't make their arguments any more or any less convincing.

quote:
Labels are by definition not true. They can't be because they seek to pigeon-hole uniqueness.

I absolutely agree with what you mean, Moon, but not necessarily with what you say. And the distinction is probably the difference between what Mike and Bob are saying and what you and I are trying to correct.

Labels are useful, and can indeed be true, when they are applied to things. If Bob wants to tell me that this argument is conservative and this one liberal, I'll likely nod my head and agree. Or not.

I'm with you, however, when Bob or anyone else starts applying those labels to people. In my opinion, such labels are not only untrue, but they discourage us from taking a deeper look. Oh, he's on the left? I don't really need to listen to what he has to say, then, do I?

Labels in the real world are a bit like stereotypes in writing; they have their uses, but should generally be avoided. They teach us nothing.


moonbeam
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172 posted 02-21-2009 03:12 PM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

quote:
I absolutely agree with what you mean, Moon, but not necessarily with what you say

Story of my life Ron - comes from having a mouth faster than my brain (bigger too).  

(Gawd I was just itching to put an exclamation after that.  You are a nasty killjoy Ron   )
Balladeer
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173 posted 02-21-2009 05:52 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Bring in the stuff that you don't like about the spending bill.

Bob, the thread is littered with things we don't like. You have search engines. How about YOU bringing in things you don't like about it? If you can't find any, then it will be assumed that you can't find any at all that bear scrutiny. If you can, then we can learn something from your viewpoint. We've done our homework. Feel free to do yours.....
Brad
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since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


174 posted 02-21-2009 06:09 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad


quote:
     I've been reading a recent biography of Maimonades, the philosopher, who makes the point that Spinoza makes.  I am able to say so because the biography tells me so, not because of any depth of philosophical savvy, but it's a point that I'd thought about previously and one with which I am in agreement.  Good and bad, they say, are consensus values.  They depend on the culture and the time and the place and what the folks think is right.  I am against cannibalism and feel quite good about this value.  I would not fit in well with certain cultures in New Guinea and in the Amazon Basin who not only disagree with me, but feel there's something especially appropriate in the practice.  I happen to feel my values are superior, as, I suspect, do they.

     "Right" and "wrong" in this case are synonymous with "good' and "bad," and are matters of local consensus.  If things get sticky between those who hold my values and those who hold their values, the differences may be settled by force, and a larger consensus will be imposed.  Kuru may have some effect in the debate as well.  Actual proof holds little if any sway in the discussion.


Well, Bob, this is trickier than that. You're trying to resurrect the fact/value dichotomy. See Hilary Putnam's essay "The Collapse of the Fact/Value Dichotomy." As much as I'd like to discuss this aspect in more depth--Maybe another day?--I'm stuck with the incongruity of your example with the point you are trying to make.

First, let me see if I understand your points correctly:

1. Good and bad are normative. The norms are determined by a community.

2. True and false are not. They are determined by the world.

3. Ron mistakes (1) for (2).

So far so good.

But how does this mesh with a lack of leftist material on this thread? Why is that a bad thing if this thread is subsumed under (1)?

I agree that there's not enough leftist material in this thread, but cannibalism, your example, already gives us the reason for that. Leftist material, argument, and stance are not the norm of this community.

How do you get leftist material on the table?

If I'm right about this community, right and wrong have to be a factor for that to happen.  You, we (Bob and Brad) have to look for arguments that work, that get us through this crisis quickly and with as little pain as possible.

Let Republican governors knowingly hurt their constituents for a principle that they never followed anyway. Let's get it right (and since nobody really knows how to do that, we're going to have to experiment).  

 
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