How important are the Wall Street protests? (And some attendant thoughts.)

Don Quixote asked me at lunch today what I thought of the Wall Street Protests.  In one way, I think they’re utterly stupid.  After all, how seriously can you take people who storm Wall Street with this particular list of demands?

Demand one: Restoration of the living wage. This demand can only be met by ending “Freetrade” by re-imposing trade tariffs on all imported goods entering the American market to level the playing field for domestic family farming and domestic manufacturing as most nations that are dumping cheap products onto the American market have radical wage and environmental regulation advantages. Another policy that must be instituted is raise the minimum wage to twenty dollars an hr.

Demand two: Institute a universal single payer healthcare system. To do this all private insurers must be banned from the healthcare market as their only effect on the health of patients is to take money away from doctors, nurses and hospitals preventing them from doing their jobs and hand that money to wall st. investors.

Demand three: Guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment.

Demand four: Free college education.

Demand five: Begin a fast track process to bring the fossil fuel economy to an end while at the same bringing the alternative energy economy up to energy demand.

Demand six: One trillion dollars in infrastructure (Water, Sewer, Rail, Roads and Bridges and Electrical Grid) spending now.

Demand seven: One trillion dollars in ecological restoration planting forests, reestablishing wetlands and the natural flow of river systems and decommissioning of all of America’s nuclear power plants.

Demand eight: Racial and gender equal rights amendment.

Demand nine: Open borders migration. anyone can travel anywhere to work and live.

Demand ten: Bring American elections up to international standards of a paper ballot precinct counted and recounted in front of an independent and party observers system.

Demand eleven: Immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all. Debt forgiveness of sovereign debt, commercial loans, home mortgages, home equity loans, credit card debt, student loans and personal loans now! All debt must be stricken from the “Books.” World Bank Loans to all Nations, Bank to Bank Debt and all Bonds and Margin Call Debt in the stock market including all Derivatives or Credit Default Swaps, all 65 trillion dollars of them must also be stricken from the “Books.” And I don’t mean debt that is in default, I mean all debt on the entire planet period.

Demand twelve: Outlaw all credit reporting agencies.

Demand thirteen: Allow all workers to sign a ballot at any time during a union organizing campaign or at any time that represents their yeah or nay to having a union represent them in collective bargaining or to form a union.

Like the small child who, when told Mommy and Daddy has no money, demands that they buy him things using a credit card, each of the above demands assumes an unlimited pot of money, despite the fact that no one is working to create goods or services.  It is a unicorn fantasy, totally unrelated to the real world.  Only stupid, delusional or drugged-out people would use those demands as the basis for a protest.  I posted the demands on my “real me” Facebook page in the hope that as many people as possible see what lies beneath the drama, excitement and anti-Americanism of those protests.

While the demands may be stupid, it doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous.  You may remember (as I do, in a vague, child’s way), the 1960s campus protests.  Same energy, same selfishness, same ignorance about the way the world works, same aversion to bathing — and they were so terribly damaging to our social fabric.  The protests seized the national narrative and corrupted our world view (and our view of ourselves, as Americans) at a very profound level, one from which we haven’t yet recovered.

DQ is worried, as he thinks that the Wall Street protests are the first shots in a class warfare battle that will see only losers.  (I take that back:  there will be a few winners, including Barack Obama and George Soros, both of whom have deliberately fomented this discord.)  I’m a little more optimistic than DQ, since I don’t believe that the schism in America is either that deep or that Greek (at least not yet).

The riots, though, do leave one with a question:  Assuming things don’t completely implode within the next year, is there currently a candidate on either side of the aisle who can speak to and work with America’s center?  (In answering this question, feel free to consider Obama, Clinton and Christie.)  Of course, that question presumes a political center.  Is there still one?

Because DQ and I always have the most interesting lunches, we explored the question of whether there is still a center in American politics.  We decided that it’s hard to find, because there might be one economic center, another national security center, and a third social issues center (covering gun rights, abortion, religion, etc.).  That conclusion saw me launch into my “we need to return as much government as possible to the local level” speech.  Let people set community norms and see which way their money is being spent.  If schools teach creationism along with evolution, see how well those students do in the marketplace of ideas.  If a town decides to spend more on firefighters and less on schools, let it.  These decisions should come from the grassroots, not D.C.

In my ideal world, the federal government would perform core government functions:  interstate roads, national security, pandemic and epidemic prevention, etc.  Local people should be able to control their local lives, provided that they do so within the parameters of the constitution, as passed down to the states through the 14th Amendment (no slavery, no cruel and unusual punishment, right to bear arms, etc.).

All of which leads to my final question:  Can we actually ever shrink the federal government, or are we irrevocably stuck with a centralized status quo?

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Comments

  1. Oldflyer says

    Lots of coverage in the media. NO profiles of the protestors that I have seen.  The ones who spoke on camera looked to be college age, and had the look and speech mannerisms of college students.  They were certainly not part of the proletariat. 
    One girl wanted to take wealth out of the hands of the few.  I could visualize Daddy thinking, well then I should cut off your allowance,  Honey.
    Glad to see the mass arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge.   I hope they managed to keep them in jail for a day or so.  Then we will see how serious they are.
    Being of a cynical and suspicious nature, I also wonder if they are getting extra credit for their social activism.

  2. Charles Martel says

    Some sort of an electronic attack, either by the Chinese, or Iranians, or even the Israelis, could bring down the apparatus of the federal government. No shots fired, justs wisps of ozone rising from now worthless computers. The same kind of attack could be mounted by domestic sources. I’m sure there are rogue patriots deep within the intelligence establishment and the military who would know how to cripple the government if it steps too far.

    Then again, perhaps not. In any case, because we are not cowed children like the Chinese or Europeans, we are fighting back. For now at the ballot box and through our growing alternative media. Then, if Obama and his Marxist enablers decide to play Let’s-Suspend-the-Constitution, let’s see how their pot-bellied cop minions and gangbanger thugs hold up against a heavily armed citizenry that counts millions of patriotic ex-military men among it.

  3. Danny Lemieux says

    The Rosie O’Donnells of the world should know this: the day they come after me will be the day I come after them. They should be very worried about “us”…it won’t be a contest.

  4. JKB says

    Well, we do have a unique system in democracy but it would be unprecedented for power to be surrendered without violence.  Not to mention the deep and abiding whore form of government we have where the Feds give or withhold money in order to exact their desired performance from others.  They do this both domestically and internationally. Ask any girl who has been lured into porn or prostitution, eventually they do things they never thought they would because the money is so good and it is very hard to walk away from that cash.

    As for the poor “Occupiers”, I suspect they are revealing more than they are achieving.  We may end up thanking Obama for drawing the cockroaches out of the woodwork and into the light.  Once seen, the center may just decide to fumigate.  

    It won’t be simple.  They’ve wormed their way deep into society, hiding their true beliefs, perverting the humanities with false descriptions of socialism and generally, ensuring college creates idiots instead of educating and supporting freedom of thought. 

  5. Mike Devx says

    JKB says: As for the poor “Occupiers”, I suspect they are revealing more than they are achieving.  We may end up thanking Obama for drawing the cockroaches out of the woodwork and into the light.  Once seen, the center may just decide to fumigate. 

     Amen! May the law of unintended consequences strike here.  In 2010 we reached, and passed, the tipping point on the center’s growing mistrust of mainstream media, and the endless cries of “racism! racism! racism!” as the race card was played, to no effect.

    Now we have chanting, raving protests as they attempt to repeat the protests of the 60’s.  But what was fresh and energetic then is sad, tired and stale now.  I’m not watching TV, but I’m sure the mainstream media is covering it, and sympathetically.  But the results of this propaganda manipulation may not be *at all* what our leftists expect.  I’ll repeat JKB’s last sentence:

     > Once seen, the center may just decide to fumigate. 

    This is all about the people turning on the left.  It seems to me the left is doing all the work for us, making our job easier and easier.  All their efforts appear to be in vain.  They can’t understand!  It’s always worked before!  Why is none of it working now???
     Book said: All of which leads to my final question:  Can we actually ever shrink the federal government, or are we irrevocably stuck with a centralized status quo?

    I was actually thinking in depth about this today for quite awhile.  Much to say!  But for now, I’ll just make the comment:  It’s not just about shrinking the Executive Branch by abolishing a few Cabinets.  It’s the entire Executive Branch… and the Senate… and the House… and probably even the support staff of the judiciary.  The entire bloated mass has to be shrunk.  How *DO* you go about doing that?  My last comment for now is, that to do this, we need all of our best conservatives in government to be assigning task forces to approach the issue, to have plans in place when 2012 rolls around, that can be implemented immediately.  They need to be approaching this with rigor and vigor and intense purpose.  We need the plans in place by January 2012, ready to go on day one.  It won’t be easy: The huge number of people with a vested interest in Big Government will fight a reduction effort with rabid fury.  Any execution plan had better be very solid; that’s why I wish they were crafting the plans across the entire federal government right now.  You can’t do it by the seat of your pants.   You’ll need an actual, real war plan, and it had better be a truly excellent one.

     

  6. says

    Nobody seems to realize that our affirmative action president fomented this class war.  He blames all American problems on the ‘millionaires, billionaires, Wall Street, hedge fund managers and people who use executive jets’.  This is class war folks.

     

  7. JKB says

    Actually Andrew Breitbart realizes it an tweeted the alarm » Wake Up Tweet of the Day – Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion 

    He’s correct.  We must challenge this.  I had an interesting back and forth in comments at OTB with some Lefties.   They seem very confused about what is capitalism or perhaps they just play dumb to avoid uncomfortable truths.  What I have found is that they operate with a very simplified and erroneous concept of capitalism, socialism, etc. so drawing that out might be a good way to shine a light on them.

    Or perhaps I’m the one confused so I will put it to the class, is this not an acceptable definition of capitalism:
    Well, given that long before the state was conceived of, individuals were accumulating stock, transforming it via labor and then independently trading with others in an equitable exchange of goods.
    Am I wrong in my assertion that capitalism can exist without government but does spur the creation of government to provide for the mutual protection, build/manage common resources, such as roads, and provide a means to settle disputes between contracting parties?  I was assailed with the assertion that capitalism required a strong central state.  Which I find odd since capitalism is the default form of economic transactions that arise when states fail and in criminal organizations, i.e., people collect stock, transform it with labor, then sell it all without any state involvement.  

  8. Charles Martel says

    Regarding Mike Devx’s comment that he’s not watching TV to see coverage of the anti-Wall Street demonstrations, but he’s sure the whore media are making them look as big and important as possible.

    Well, yes. My wife still watches broadcast news, and tonight one of Diane Sawyer’s flunkies on ABC was covering the New York demonstrations as though Something Big were happening. Even so, the story had to acknowledge that the demonstrators had no idea what they were demonstrating for, and that what we were being told to look for was this incredible “potential.”

    At one point the reporter was reduced to extolling how the demonstrators had constructed a temporary settlement that they thought showed how a city of the future might function. This as the camera panned over endless piles of plastic this and that—a classic cluttered, chaotic homeless encampment. I know that I could not have been the only one among a few million watching who thought to himself that when these clueless slobs finally stumble back to their pig pens and classrooms, there will be filth everywhere for the grown-ups to clean up.

    One other thing: I kept looking at the screen and saying to my leftist wife, “Wow, from all the noise and violations of the law, these must be Tea Partyers, right? I mean, only people like that would do what we’re seeing here, no?” Pissed her off royally, and she pretended that “I don’t know.”

    The wheels are royally coming off.

  9. Spartacus says

    Wow.  Comment fodder here like fish in a barrel.  (And tuna, at that.)  Target overload.
     
    – Thirteen demands?  Thirteen?  Really?  Who is their messaging consultant?  Twelve is the last of the “cool” numbers for awhile on the number line.  Thirteen, and you just look like a bunch of maroons.  (Oh, but that was a given anyway, wasn’t it?)
     
    – My gut reaction  to the demands parallels those of a couple of others here:
       Plan A: Chuckle quietly as voters relegate them to the ash heap of history.
       Plan B: 7.62.
       Plan C: See Plan B.  Repeat as necessary until unable.
     
    – Is there still a political center?  I don’t think so, and watching the Dems play canola oil Twister (TM) in trying to pacify their various factions these past few months has convinced me that they in particular no longer have a key that can depress all the washers in the lock simultaneously.  As is so often the case, their success has been their undoing.  Throw a bone to the Israel-haters, and lose a bunch of Jews; throw a bone to the Jews, and lose a bunch of Israel-haters.  Hajj Ibrahim al Jihadi to the Seventy-Two White Raisins in the sky, and lose a bunch of the anti-war crowd; take a pass on hajj-ing Ibrahim, and lose a bunch of the “hey, we don’t like getting blown up” crowd.  It’s like the Far Side cartoon with a sweating and timid-looking fellow down in Hell, looking at two doors labelled “Damned If You Do” and “Damned If You Don’t,” and a devil there prodding him and saying, “Oh, come on, it’s one or the other!”
     
    I have this theory that God is able to take (e.g.) 539 different prayers from 539 different people, and find a common solution that interweaves and answers all of them.  Not necessarily with “Yes, of course — here you go,” but answers them according to His will.  Now, at the risk of insulting The Almighty by stating something so completely obvious… Barack Obama is not God.  He doesn’t answer prayers any more than he makes the oceans recede, and he doesn’t solve 539-variable equations no matter how much time he has to chew on them while travelling between 57 of the states.  He can no longer fool enough of the people enough of the time.  So the Hope & Change Rainbow Joyride of United Unicorns is just… over.
     
    On the other side?  I think there’s still a right-of-center “center,” but it might be a stretch to say that center is sufficiently “centered” as far as the electorate as a whole is concerned.
     
    – Can we shrink the behemoth?  Gradually?  No.  Not that it isn’t worth trying, but there is too much mass and inertia in the system there is, and its natural instinct is *still* to grow.  (I think it was SADIE who suggested that the bureaucracy has become “self-aware.”)  Any sensible attempt to trim it down would begin to lose steam after its “first 100 days” or whatever.  But wonderful (and terrible) things can happen in turbulent times, and turbulent times are headed this way whether we like it or not.

  10. Libby says

    The protesters demands are simply delusional! What’s disconcerting is that they’re being treated as legitimate solutions while at the same time Tea Party participants are depicted as unhinged. It’s like some kind of upside-down reality.
    I’m going to have to agree with Breitbart’s tweet that we can’t afford to laugh off these people. They not only have the support of the media & Democrats, but they have one thing that most Tea Partiers and regular folks don’t have: free time. Just as the Wisconsin protests have lingered for months now, after most of us have focused our attention on other issues or our own lives, I can just imagine these occupiers stretching this out for weeks and months. What happens then?

  11. Danny Lemieux says

    What total losers! Let them remain there as symbols of Obama’s America. Let the mass media slobber take them seriously and totally discredit themselves in the process. We need more “man in the street” interviews with these losers. Me? I try to scrutinize them closely so that I can better recognize them to make sure they never step anywhere near any place of employment where I influence hiring.

    What many people forget is that the student protest of the 1960s and ’70s turned most people OFF from the Left and led to Richard Nixon being elected.

  12. Danny Lemieux says

    Come to think of it, I just realized how clever Book has been to juxtapose this post on America’s Losers with her post on the discontinuation of flogging. Hmmmmm!

  13. Mike Devx says

    Spartacus says in #10: Can we shrink the behemoth?  Gradually?  No.  Not that it isn’t worth trying, but there is too much mass and inertia in the system there is, and its natural instinct is *still* to grow.

    I hope that it will be possible to shrink the size of government gradually, or incrementally.

    In other words, if the national government must shrink by 40% for us to survive *long-term*, does that 40% reduction have to happen within one presidential term of four years?

    Or can you make specific targeted reductions at specific times (when the political will exists), and aside from those, simply shrink the government via attrition (eg, a hiring freeze across the entire national government for twenty years?)

    My last paragraph is too simplistic – extremely so – but it would serve as the core of a “model” for reducing the government.  You could, for example, campaign on, win, and then perform the promise of abolishing the Departments of Education and Energy in the 2012 term, and also promise to cut the responsibilities, staff and budget of the EPA by half as well.  You could also promise to institute a hiring freeze (with notable exceptions) such that all other departments should plan to see a reduction of 5% over that four year term.  You could promise that if attrition alone weren’t making sufficient progress towards that 5% within the first two years, then in the third year forced layoffs would occur.

    If incremental reductions are simply not possible due to the nature of the beast, then I think we’re in big, big trouble.  That would mean that reduction is only possible by reaching the point of systemic emergency and total collapse.  (In other words, you can plan for it if possible, or else it will HAPPEN TO YOU via collapse and disaster.)  If it can’t be done, then the American experiment is a failed experiment, and any future experiment in government philosophy that can succeed long-term will have to have restrictions on the size of government embedded within a Constitution somehow.  We tried it with “enumerated powers” and checks and balances, relying on Governor Morris’ ambiguous Constitutional language and Supreme Court decisions based on those ambiguous phrasings, and the jury is still out whether our Founding Fathers’ attempt will suffice.

     

  14. suek says

    DQ…

    You asked about the SEIU…I read an article yesterday that said that indeed, they _were_ involved. I’ll try to find it – and will post it if I do.

    Additionally, this AM, I’ve read that sympathetic demonstrations were occurring in many cities internationally. Can you say “international communist movement”? I knew you could. And would!

    “Demand ten: Bring American elections up to international standards of a paper ballot precinct counted and recounted in front of an independent and party observers system.”

    Actually, I could join them on this one. Read an article the other day about some group hacking into the Diebold voting machines, and for a total investment of $26, were able to completely change a voting ballot to whatever they wanted. Since I absolutely believe that Dems will lie cheat and steal to get the power they want to transform us into the USSA, I’d like to see good old paper ballots publicly counted and accounted for.

    I also agree with them that there are some Wall Streeters who should be in jail. However I think they should be demonstrating about that at the White House.

    As for the debt forgiveness…. I like that one. Of course, if you actually _got_ total debt forgiveness, fat chance anybody is ever going to loan anybody anything ever again. Say goodbye to credit cards, mortgages (good luck buying or selling a house) car loans – and college educations. Oh yeah…college educations should be free. Let me know when the college profs start declining salaries…

  15. suek says

    heather…

    I agree. New York is _not_ San Francisco. October in New York is actually a pleasant month. November?? not so much.

    I have to wonder where they’re getting food. Are Portapotties available?

    Sleeping out and generally just socializing is free…. And the word is that nobody seems to be worried about bathing. But the other necessities?? Welfare? Unemployment? Comments have been made about parental support – I wonder if we’re also talking major taxpayer support, one way or another…

  16. jj says

    Of course the SEIU is involved.  Of course Trumpka is involved; so are Van Jones and Stephen Lerner.
     
    I’d be a little careful, here.  Only because offal such as Jones and Lerner warned us all about this months – even years – ago.  This is simply Step 1 of what they seem to think they have planned.  Let us not forget: had there been a clueless reporter, microphone in hand, working the crowd in the St. Petersburg streets of 1917, the initial reaction would probably have been much the same: a bunch of dopey kids, no clear – or clearly enunciated – goals, no real idea why they were there.  A familiar sight.
     
    But – just as there were those of us in the streets of the 1960s for no reason more complex than free beer, a socially acceptable means of skipping class, and easy access to hippie/protester girls – (they weren’t all like Bernardine Dorhn, for whom hygiene was optional; lots of them washed) – there were plenty of wolves in those streets too.  And though such as Abbie Hoffman, Bill Ayers, and Tom Hayden have ultimately emerged as figures largely of fun, they weren’t kidding when they were planting bombs, robbing banks, and joining with such never-less-than-serious people as the Panthers to overthrow the existing order.  The Panthers were on the streets for two reasons, and they were serious about both of them: 1)knock down as much of society by whatever means they could, and 2) screw as many of the dopey little white girl protesters from the suburbs as they could get to before being hauled off to jail.
     
    At this point we’re just seeing Step 1 – the morons.  But there are a lot of them, and their numbers will grow, as they find out that their college degrees increasingly qualify for them for nothing more than jobs at Burger King – because there aren’t any other jobs. Wall Street has decided that it’s cheaper to have the factory in Botswana than it is to have it here – and these dumb-ass kids aren’t wrong about the long-term deleterious effects of that kind of thinking.  Or the effect that it will have on older and rather more serious members of their cohort, like the SEIU, AFSCME, the UAW, et al.
     
    I wouldn’t brush it off quite so lightly.  What we’re seeing is morons, yes: Step 1.  Keep your eyes on the shadowy undergrowth, though – the wolves are out there.  Maybe we don’t see them yet – but they’re there.  How do I know that?  Because I listen to Trumpka.  I listen to little Jimmy Hoffa.  I listen to Van Jones.  I listen to Stephen Lerner, and the old Piven bitch.  These aren’t kids, they aren’t morons, and they aren’t kidding – any more than Ayers was in the days when he blew up cops.
     
    I look at the interviews on the tube and I laugh, sure.  I also keep an eye on the trees, because there might be something hiding behind them.

  17. Mike Devx says

    SueK points out:
    “Demand ten: Bring American elections up to international standards of a paper ballot precinct counted and recounted in front of an independent and party observers system.”
    Actually, I could join them on this one. 
    —–

    I concur.  I’m a software guy, and the thought of a voting system that is entirely electronic scares the holy crap out of me.  A verifiable paper trail is absolutely critical to the integrity of our voting system.

    When a voter votes electronically, a local paper copy must be produced that has a “vote Id” – not tied to the voter, but just an id.  The voter must be able to review the paper printout to ensure it matches.  Then he or she must be able to deposit it in a secure locked box.  The vote transmitted electronically must have that “vote id” attached to it.

    The concept of a “vote id” can be a randomly generated 20 character sequence.  All you know at the end is that you have (for example) 4,367 votes from that precinct with a unique id each, and you  had 4,367 voters who voted.  And you can identify each individual electronic vote with an actual paper vote.

    You can’t tie any particular voter to any particular voted sheet, thus preserving the sanctity of the secret vote in exactly the same way we always have ensured it.  But you’ve got the paper trail ensuring that the electronically transmitted votes from that precinct match what was actually voted/chosen.

    To not have a paper trail is to BEG for corruption of the voting system to occur.  It’s like leaving your front door wide open with a sign saying “Take anything you want from my house. Please!”

     

  18. Charles Martel says

    To echo jj’s warning, a slightly altered version of what the newspaper reporter Ned “Scotty” Scott said at the end of Howard Hawks’s great B-movie masterpiece, “The Thing” (1951):

    “Watch the trees, everywhere! Keep looking. Keep watching the trees!”

  19. says

     “capitalism is the default form of economic transactions that arise when states fail”

    Actually, I think that when states fail the default form of economic organization is *feudalism*, in which economic management and the management of violence are closely coupled, ie by the local baron managing his estates and defending them from adjacent barons (or seeking to expand them by violence he initiates.) Capitalism can only exist when the organization of violence is separated from economic activity. 

  20. says

    I think there is much to be said for paper-based voting. Even if electronic systems could be made 100% secure, they will not be *perceived* to be 100% secure, because they are essentially black boxes. This reduces the legitimacy of the government and spawns conspiracy theories.

    The analogy often made with ATMs in the banking system is invalid: in banking, you can always do an after-the-fact comparison of what the system says with your own records. Not true in electronic voting.

    A delay of a few days in getting the results tabulated won’t really do anyone any harm. 

  21. Spartacus says

    Devx,
     
    Yours is an extraordinarily sensible and logical approach, worthy of its extraordinarily sensible and logical originator.  But — holding my nose and and borrowing a bit from Adlai Stevenson for a minute — we need a majority.  And the majority are regrettably fickle and easily distracted, scared, or demagogued.  Reasonably good people, mostly, but not political junkies, and just trying to navigate their way through life, without much time for public policy analysis.  Taken collectively, they can do really well at the ballot box when holding fast to eternal principles, but are easily scattered away from specific, wonkish details which require constant application over a period of years to work.
     
    We had Gramm-Rudman, and numerous smaller attempts to get things under control, and every time, if they were anything other than window dressing, they were gutted just as soon as the ruling class got a new idea or two about Other People’s Money that they’d like to spend.  Politics is ideally a very boring thing, but we really could use a bit more panic right about now.  (But carefully considered panic, of course.  ;) )

  22. Mike Devx says

    David Foster says,
    > A delay of a few days in getting the results tabulated won’t really do anyone any harm.

    I don’t even thing there needs to be a delay.  You report the electronic results.  As a followup, paper ballots then get checked overnight, or the next day, and compared against what was reported for each precinct.  The paper ballot process is overseen by all interested parties.  If there happen to be any discrepancies, the results are modified and may become contested.  99.99% of the time, they won’t be contested due to any such discrepancies – because any such discrepancy indicates only one of two things: software incompetence, or political corruption.  No company can survive such software incompetence; and the political corruption possibility will draw interested parties to it like honey draws flies.  The discrepancies simply will become extreme rarities, as with ATM malfunctions or theft shenanigans.

     

  23. Mike Devx says

    Spartacus 28: But — holding my nose and and borrowing a bit from Adlai Stevenson for a minute — we need a majority.  And the majority are regrettably fickle and easily distracted, scared, or demagogued.

     Spartacus, I’m usually quite cynical in my “realist outlook”.  And I am on this issue of reduction of size of government.  But I’d like to see it given a shot, because I don’t want us all to just sit around waiting for the collapse of everything we love.  So I would support anyone advocating an incremental approach OR a whole-hog, slash and gut it all fast approach.  Either way is fine by me right now.  I would even support limited tax increases IF two things occurred: 1. The spending cuts were extensive and draconian, and were absolutely GUARANTEED to take place BEFORE the tax increases, and 2. The tax increases were guaranteed to be directed solely towards debt reduction.

     
     It’s the nature of the government beast that tax increases inevitably lead to the government expanding the size and scope of its power.  So I doubt my scenario above would ever come to pass.  Spending cuts only!  It’s the way to go.  You can’t trust these SOB’s with tax increases that are *supposed* to relieve debt burden.  It never happens.

     

  24. SADIE says

    Apologies, but I must interrupt this thread for a QOTD for those of us who have been following “Fast & Furious.”
     
    Cheryl Atkinson (CBS reporter)
    “They will tell you that I’m the only reporter, as they told me, that is not reasonable. They say The Washington Post is reasonable, the LA Times is reasonable, The New York Times is reasonable — I’m the only one who thinks this is a story, and they think I’m unfair and biased by pursuing it.”
    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/10/04/cbs-reporter-white-house-doj-yelled-and-screamed-at-her-over-fast-and-furious-scandal/#ixzz1ZqdBxzRz

    AND…. On the other side of today’s QOTD coin: Pass this bill message from the campaigner-in-chief.

    (Floor Action) — In a lively spat on the Senate floor on Tuesday, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) attempted call up President Obama’s hallmark “jobs plan” for an immediate vote in the upper chamber. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who supports the legislation, however, blocked the vote.
    “What I am trying to do here today by requesting this vote on the president’s jobs bill . . . is to honor the request of the president of the United States that we vote on it now,” said McConnell. “He has been asking us repeatedly over the last few weeks that we vote on it now.”
    “I think the president of the United States whose polices I generally do not support . . . is entitled to know where the Senate stands on his proposal that he has been out talking about . . . and suggesting that we are unwilling to vote on it,” he said.

  25. Mike Devx says

    suek,

    That is a *great* high level summary on the worst of Fast And Furious (aka GunRunner), in your #33.  Thanks!

    Either Eric Holder knew about it, lied under oath, and should resign and be prosecuted.
    Or he didn’t know about despite all the emails, and is incompetent, and should simply resign.
    Either way, he must resign!  (But will he, will he?)

    And then the question becomes, if he knew about it, did Obama know about it?  And what were the goals of this program?

    Either way, the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms) is dangerous and out of control and housecleaning is needed there.  That link left out significant details at the BATF level that are, quite simply, an outrage.

    And yes, a special prosecutor is *definitely* appropriate for this scandal!  We need the truth.

     

  26. SADIE says

    I won’t keep my head in an oven waiting for heads to roll. The agency has been headless since 2006. It’s more than curious that it is the same year that the Democrats had control of both houses and all three by 2008. So, you have to ask yourself – Who’s been running the show and how many other agencies are involved and who’s been running them. Does the buck stop at the DoJ and does the ‘change’ stop in the West Wing. I have never witnessed any of the rat bastards from Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae prosecuted  – they walked and walked with a truck load of money, lots of it – and all of it OURS! I’d call them all whores, but that wouldn’t be correct – whores do it for nothing, prostitutes charge and in the end, we’ve been screwed with our clothes on! Was it good for you?! [rant off]
     
     
    ATF has not had a permanent director since 2006 when the Senate first got the power to confirm directors.

  27. Libby says

    Here’s their game plan w/the Wall Street protest (originally targeted for May)s – straight from the SEIU wolf’s mouth:
    “Lerner said that unions and community organizations are, for all intents and purposes, dead. The only way to achieve their goals, therefore–the redistribution of wealth and the return of “$17 trillion” stolen from the middle class by Wall Street–is to “destabilize the country.”
    Lerner’s plan is to organize a mass, coordinated “strike” on mortgage, student loan, and local government debt payments–thus bringing the banks to the edge of insolvency and forcing them to renegotiate the terms of the loans.  This destabilization and turmoil, Lerner hopes, will also crash the stock market, isolating the banking class and allowing for a transfer of power.
    Lerner’s plan starts by attacking JP Morgan Chase in early May, with demonstrations on Wall Street, protests at the annual shareholder meeting, and then calls for a coordinated mortgage strike.
    Lerner also says explicitly that, although the attack will benefit labor unions, it cannot be seen as being organized by them. It must therefore be run by community organizations.”

    Read more – including the transcript: http://www.businessinsider.com/seiu-union-plan-to-destroy-jpmorgan#ixzz1Zt2wVbaW

  28. Spartacus says

    Devx,
     
    I regret to report that, upon closer inspection, there is actually no daylight whatsoever between our respective positions.  In principle, I am not averse to further debate — it would certainly be interesting — but in practice, I’m not entirely sure what my next line of attack would be against “your” position.  ;)

  29. Mike Devx says

    Ah, Spartacus, that’s only because I argued myself around in circles and ended up at your position. :-)

    Actually, I have only a hope that the American people are undergoing a dramatic shift of opinion toward lesser government, but the shift is only at the beginning.  After 150 years of progressivism and government expansion – ever since the end of the Civil War – we just may be at another historical shifting point.

    I have to hope that.  Because without that shift, neither approach works.  Nothing works.  Look at Greece today.  Their people have deliberately, consciously chosen national suicide, and that’s what they’re going to get.  Like lemmings over the cliff.  Will they ever recover from what’s about to hit them?  The same will be true for us some unknown number of years down the road, without such a shift in our American consensus opinion.
     

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