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An increasingly conservative Supreme

July 18, 2007

I’ve heard many of my liberal friends less than happy about the number of Supreme Court spots our president will have filled when his term rolls to its ignominious end.  And while it does bother me, I’m not upset by it because I think we’ve relied too heavily on the courts.  The editorial “Supreme success” in the 7 July Economist says it pretty well:

There is no doubt that the new court will annoy liberal America.  It will punch holes in the wall between church and state.  It will uphold some restrictions on abortion.  But the frustrations will not prove as painful as they might seem.  By confirming the federal ban on partial-birth abortion, for example, the court has brought abortion practice more closely into line with popular opinion and internattional practice.  The court could even force liberals to rediscover the lost art of popular persuasion.  And it will force them to be more imaginative in advancing their core ideas.  Its prejudice against race-based affirmative action will force the left to think of better ways of dealing with poverty.  Liberals might experiment with income-based affirmative action, for example, or with vouchers that give more money to the poor.  All of which might do liberalism more good than harm. (emphasis mine)

Mind you, I don’t put much stock in complaints about “activist judges” (which is really any judge who does something you don’t like).  But we liberals are, in our own way, as addicted to force as the faux-conservatives currently running the show.  Conservatives got into power by a long process of persuasion – dishonest persuasion, to be sure, but they got people to vote for them by framing the issues in a way that resonated with voters.  Only the costly and abject failure of “conservative” policies finally tossed the ball over the liberal side of the net, and liberals are busy fumbling it.  We’ve never been good at reaching public opinion, and it’s high time we started studyin’ up on it. 

Categories: Law, Politics
  1. July 18, 2007 at 10:40 | #1

    Very good idea indeed!  It seem in the past few elections Liberals just keep looking more and more like bumbling idiots.  Lack of effective communication is essentially how Gore lost in 2000 (besides the Florida debacle).

    But on the other hand it’s kinda sad that someone running for office needs to spend time and money getting his message across to people that are too lazy to make an attempt to find out.  Me I vote on somebody based on what I read and hear from the candidate.  And based on how they stand on certain issues.  It’s too bad others can’t do the same…

  2. Ted
    July 18, 2007 at 11:58 | #2

    Yeah, I was pretty surprised that the court turned out so conservative, given the kid-gloves treatment that Democrats in congress gave to Roberts and Alito during the hearings.

    Well, just blow me over with a feather.

    Oh, wait, another thing just occurred to me…

    It’s possible that the Democrats in congress are bumbling idiots that are only different from Republicans as a matter of degree.

  3. July 18, 2007 at 12:53 | #3

    Liberals do need to rethink their programs, but they also need to find some way to get their message across that is just as effective as conservative dominated talk radio and FOX News. Maybe the internet?

  4. July 18, 2007 at 20:44 | #4

    could be that the public understands the difference between a liberal and a socialist and are just now starting to realize that the so called liberals they elected to take power in congress are not liberals but socialists. The country will not stand for too much income redistribution..that is the primary reason the so called conservatives have been ion power. But the conservatives are no more true conservatives than the liberals are liberal. Both the democrats and the GOP seem to think that tax and spend is the way to stay in power..and the GOP has out ‘democrated’ the democrats with borrowing and spending.

    Congress now has about the same public approval rate as the administration..namely none. It is gonna be an interesting election year coming up.

  5. July 18, 2007 at 21:08 | #5

    could be that the public understands the difference between a liberal and a socialist and are just now starting to realize that the so called liberals they elected to take power in congress are not liberals but socialists.

    It might help to elaborate here.  Not a single politician elected in the last 20 years has even been close to being a socialist.  Maybe we just have a different definition.

    If you mean that some liberals (and conservatives) from time to time push for a socialist measure to be implemented, well that certainly doesn’t make them a socialist.  It just means they care for the well being of those that pay taxes and work to keep the economy strong.  What the true capitalist doesn’t understand is that true capitalism will never work because those born to unforgiving conditions will never have the same opportunities as those born in more favorable conditions.

    What the true socialist doesn’t understand is that too many socialistic measures lead to a lack of incentives for people to work hard and become successful.  There essentially will be no reason to try hard since you can do nothing and still get by.

    In other words, there needs to be a mixture of different theories for a government to be successful.  This is one reason why California has has a successful economy and is starting to grow again.  Arnold, even though he is conservative, has issued many socialist measures that have been successful.  He understands that an economy can take care of itself when those that support it are taken care of.

  6. July 19, 2007 at 14:06 | #6

    “What the true capitalist doesn’t understand is that true capitalism will never work because those born to unforgiving conditions will never have the same opportunities as those born in more favorable conditions.”

    This has always been the fall back position of the left wing and their justification for legalized theft via taxation for the purpose of income redistribution. However, they can never explain how someone such as I who was born to a poor oil field family could have risen from the poor to middle class and have a sister and brother who have done the same. Could be accepting responsibility for our actions, huh? And maybe it was because of some self discipline that kept us in school and maybe it was because we didn’t blow what funds we had on drugs.

    I still contend that those who are poor in the USA are not poor..just in the lowest income bracket. I have seen poor in some third world countries where the conditions you talk about..ie, consequence of birth dictating economic status. However, it was the dictator type governments that didn’t offer opportunity that kept the people poor..not capitalism.

    There is a difference between equal opportunity and equal success. And yes, the consequence of birth will no doubt give some a better opportunity. But that doesn’t justify legalized extortion of their earning just to make sure that everyone is equal. I have said before and I say again..I have more respect for an armed thief than I do anyone who will call for taxes for the purpose of income redistribution. At least the thief is honest about what he is..those who call for income redistribution hide behind the false premise that everyone is or should be equal.

  7. July 19, 2007 at 14:34 | #7

    I think the issue of the supreme court turning more conservative and liberals lack of success with talk radio are related. Liberals are not able to pass legislation not because they can’t get their message out but because their ideas are just not popular with the voting public. I think this is similar to their plight in talk radio. All they can really talk about is how much Bush Administration stinks – and believe me I am no fan. However, when they actually talk about liberal positions, raising taxes, more regulation on businesses, socialized healthcare, etc. people are not going to tune in and listen because those are not popular ideas with the voting public.

    Conservative talk radio is popular because the ideas conservatives talk about are popular. However, the republicans that have been running the country have forgotten what it is that they were elected to do and therefore they have been punished by the voters.

    The republicans have not relied on the courts to pass legislation. However, all of the significant democrat legislation in the past 30 years has been largely due to the supreme court – abortion rights, gay rights, etc. In my opinion if the court had not created these new rights and we actually were allowed to have a decent debate on these issues, our legislators would have a much easier time coming to some sort of consensus on these issues. i think there is a rather large middle ground that many people could live with with if our legislators had been allowed to vote on these issues. I think people on both sides would have come to a sensible conclusion and these issues would have not become nearly as politicized as they have become.

    By and large I believe Americans are libertarians. they don’t like to be told what they can and cannot do, yet they want to be safe but free of government regulation. This tends to be closer to what conservatives speak about – they just have done a poor job, and I mean REALLY poor job executing their ideas.

  8. Ted
    July 19, 2007 at 21:35 | #8

    …if the court had not created these new rights…

    It’s always annoyed me how the court comes up with weird stuff that isn’t in the constitution. It’s like, I’m asking myself, “Where do they come up with that stuff?”.

    Also troubling is that the legislative branch lets them get away with it.

    Thank goodness we now have a majority that doesn’t legislate from the bench.

    The long decline of the Republic is finally coming to an end.

  9. July 20, 2007 at 05:57 | #9

    By and large I believe Americans are libertarians. they don’t like to be told what they can and cannot do, yet they want to be safe but free of government regulation.

    Exactly right.  Then we’re shocked when corporations manipulate energy markets, or a hurricane floods an entire city because deregulation let developers and pipeline channels chop up “wetlands” that protected it.  We’re just amazed when we find ourselves dying of cancer because environmental regulations were weakened and the ones that were left were not enforced.  We stare dumbfounded at reality when children die of asthma because air quality in our cities gets so bad.  We’d wouldn’t want our restaurants to be forbidden the use of trans-fats, but when we wake up after a bypass operation, post-operative pain is a wake-up call.  And welfare to corporations dwarfs that to struggling young families.

    We’d love to have one absolutely pure principle on which to run our government and our society.  It appeals to our sense of individualism, except the light of day shows a deck stacked in favor of corporations and against the individual.

    In fact, as Webs said, running our society is complex and needs a mix of approaches.  It’d be cool if we could just lock in a simple code and hit [Enter] and let it run. The free market is great for lots of stuff and should be the default position, but when it fails, we’re down to judgment calls, balancing one thing against another.

    And we liberals have let a blithering incompetent brand of “conservatives” (as opposed to real conservatives) define us, shape the syntax of every discussion, choose the words we’ll use, and even choose which issues we’ll talk about.  Pathetic.  Time to change that.

  10. July 20, 2007 at 09:08 | #10

    “We’d love to have one absolutely pure principle on which to run our government and our society.  It appeals to our sense of individualism, except the light of day shows a deck stacked in favor of corporations and against the individual.”

    I tend to agree with you on principle – however, I would MUCH rather take my chances with corporations instead of leave things up to the government. Corporations are out to earn money. Increasingly, politicians are not there to “serve” but instead to gain power. This is not a trait unique to liberals but conservatives as well. I view most environmental regulations and “climate change” initiatives as opportunities for politicians to gain more power. I just don’t think corporations are out to destroy individuals. What would be the point. Wouldn’t that be against their best interest? Don’t they need people to have spending power. Conversely, it IS in the best interests of politicians to have more Americans join the welfare roles which in turn makes these folks more dependent upon the government.

    On another note, what is the html code to create that cool text box that you used to quote an earlier comment?

  11. July 20, 2007 at 09:27 | #11

    I would MUCH rather take my chances with corporations instead of leave things up to the government.

     

    A choice to make, certainly.  Only stockholders have representation in corporations; we have at least some representation in government. 

    Here’s the nifty code:

    blockquote.gif

  12. July 20, 2007 at 11:12 | #12

    Only stockholders have representation in corporations; we have at least some representation in government.

    I would argue that everyone has a say in corporations, whether you choose to give them your money or not. The government is the only entity that can force you to give them money. And while we may have a a “vote” in reality it is the lobbyists who have the real say in government.

    I am re-reading the John Adams book by David McCullough and I would have much more faith in government if we had more people that truly veiwed being a member of congress or the administration as an act of “serving the country.” John Adams – who came from a very modest background continually sacrificed his own well-being and future monetary earnings – to accept positions that he was asked to perform. Instead today – and I know there are exceptions – but I see so many politicians who seem to think that politics is a career and they are going to milk it for all it is worth. Tom Daschle’s wife was one of the top lobbyists, and don’t even get me started on Tom Delay. I just don’t think politicians are out for the best interests of America but instead the best interests of themselves. Maybe I am wrong but until congress holds themselves to the same standards as the rest of America I will not trust them.

    That’s enough from me. I have enjoyed this topic even though I have probably veered from its original track.

  13. July 20, 2007 at 12:16 | #13

    until congress holds themselves to the same standards as the rest of America I will not trust them.

    Can’t blame you there!  All the reason a free press is the enemy of crooked politicians.

    I have enjoyed this topic even though I have probably veered from its original track.

    Part of the fun is seeing what tangential thoughts a topic inspires.

  14. July 20, 2007 at 13:15 | #14

    Not to drag you back lastcall, it’s your call to respond or not, but my opinion on the matter is that corporations only care about profits and not how they get that profit.  Corporations don’t discriminate where their suppliers get goods, just as long as they get them.  Sweat shops on American land in the Pacific, that are deemed Chinese soil because we have Chinese immigrants work there would likely become much more prevalent.  It would be Nike times 100.

    A corporation is not going to point out the inhumanity in that and suddenly stop.  And enough people in America don’t give a s*** to not shop at places that get clothing from there.  Because the clothing doesn’t say, “Made from sweatshops on American soil”.  They say “Made in China”.

    Corporations don’t care if they dump chemicals back into the environment, and if we were in a pure capitalist society you can be damn sure corporations would spend thousands on dis-information campaigns.  Because money spent on that is still cheaper than having to be environmentally sound.

    You can hear theory about how organizations are like people all day long, but the problem with Capitalism is greed will win out, monopolies will run the show, and the middle and poor classes will get poorer.

    Consequently the idea that pure capitalism will fail was one of the first things I learned in my macroeconomics class.  Along with the idea that any pure *ism (socialism, communism, etc) will not work.  Governments need to be flexible and have the ability to apply the best policy for a specific situation.

  15. July 20, 2007 at 14:51 | #15

    A couple corrections, Webs:

    Webs: “…<strike>if we were</strike> (whether or not we’re) in a pure capitalist society you can be damn sure corporations <strike>would</strike> spend <strike>thousands</strike> (millions) on dis-information campaigns.  Because money spent on that is still cheaper than having to be environmentally sound.

    Protecting cigarettes, fighting streetcars, seat belts, and airbags, denying unlined gas tanks, SUV rollovers, global warming emissions and Firestone tires, greenwashing British Petroleum (nearly everything they do), sugar-coating insurance companies, obfuscating trans-fats,

  16. July 20, 2007 at 15:23 | #16

    I may have misrepresented my position on a few things. Obviously there needs to government regulation to protect us from things like monopolies, pollution, sweatshops, etc. However, too often the only “solution” the government has is more taxes. Too much profits being made the only companies – tax them more. Car companies make cars with poor gas mileage – tax them. Companies pollute the air – tax them.

    The free market has already fixed a number of these problem. Why is GM and Ford struggling right now? Because they put all of there eggs in one basket – the gas guzzling basket. Why are Honda Toyota doing so well, because they invested money into cars that get GREAT gas mileage at a time when gas was SUPER cheap.

    I know there are instances (probably many instances) of sweatshops all across Asia – but what we forget is how much many of those countries have improved due to US Corporate investments. Too often we compare their standard of living to ours when the comparison should be their standard of living now vs. what it was 5 or 10 years ago. Globalization and corporations have improved the standard of living for countless people.

    Thanks for dragging me back in DOF.  :-)

  17. July 20, 2007 at 16:03 | #17

    Right you are that the farsighted companies like Honda are doing better!  And they deserve to.  The nearsighted companies are doing badly, and they deserve to!  And our government should allow them to fail!  No more subsidies for failing companies, not even ones that make patriotic appeals.

    Thanks for dragging me back in DOF.

    Oh, that was Webs.  He’s good at that ;-)

  18. July 20, 2007 at 16:07 | #18

    Sure just blame Webs :-P

  19. Ted
    July 20, 2007 at 16:38 | #19

    I would MUCH rather take my chances with corporations instead of leave things up to the government. Corporations are out to earn money. Increasingly, politicians are not there to “serve” but instead to gain power.

    So let me see if I understand this:

    What you’re saying is that if you had a preferential choice of two institutions that guide society, side-by-side, you’d pick corporations over government.

    Because? Corporations are results oriented and market tested, but government is corrupt.

    Is that about right?

  20. July 23, 2007 at 18:53 | #20

    Oh my, this is why I don’t generally respond to blog posts about politics. OK, OBVIOUSLY we need a government. Government has a place. The powers of the government are very clearly lined out in the constitution. The purpose of the government is defined very well in the preamble of the constitution.

    What I meant by the statement above us that if there is a problem that does not involve national security, law enforcment or certain other areas where the government clearly has a defined role, I would much rather allow the private sector to be a major part of the solution. We have many examples of the government running limited areas of our lives that are generally run by the private sector. For instance, those of you that favor universal health care provided by our government, I urge you to look at the care our veterans currently receive. I also think that more government participation in education is not necessarily the answer. How much has our education improved since the creation of the DOE?

    Does the private sector need regulation? Yes! But the main purpose of the regulation should be to insure competition. I have a lot of faith in our free market system. It is perfect? No. Is it the fastest solution? Not always. Does the free market react to what the public wants? Generally yes.

  21. July 23, 2007 at 19:32 | #21

    I apologize if I mischaracterized your argument, lastcall – please know reasoned disagreement is ALWAYS welcome here! 

    Would you describe yourself as a libertarian?  As many examples as you can give of government incompetence I can give counterexamples of destructive private avarice.  Both need the bright light of a free press to keep them ‘honest.’  We should treat any interference with a free press, including excessive centralization of press ownership, as an assault on freedom. 

    And not all governments are incompetent.  Our government suffers from “Not Invented Here” syndrome.  We’re very reluctant to look at how other countries do what they do.  Some do a great job and we should steal their ideas.

    In the example of education (and hey, the DOE is the only government agency with a crappy cartoon of a lil’ red schoolhouse over their door), you are right that they have done a spectacularly incompetent job.  But education in our country is very decentralized, and some countries that are kicking our asses on tests actually have very centralized education departments.  Even those which use free-market vouchers require that all certified providers hue to a very strict content standard from their centralized education agency. 

    However, I would end most government subsidies of industry, agriculture, and businesses.  I think if Chrysler had been allowed to fail, GM and Ford would not be in trouble today.  They’d be thriving, innovative car companies in full competition with Toyota and Honda.  And if we’d stop subsidizing the oil companies, conservation would practically take care of itself.  Hummers wouldn’t look nearly as attractive with $6 gas, and the few people who would drive them anyway would be fine with me. 

    US politics – far too much public relations, not nearly enough science, statistics, and economics.

  22. July 23, 2007 at 19:35 | #22

    Lastcall, no one here is trying to upset you or anything, we were just trying to fully grasp what you were saying.  You have to remember that the Internet brings with it many wackos :-p

    Still I would hate to see you go because some of us disagree with your stances.  The power of blogs is that we all have the opportunity to learn, grow, and discuss issues that are important to us.  Some abuse this opportunity, but that is their waste.  If you stay and comment on this post and/or others I would be happy to read what you have to write.

    That being said…

    For instance, those of you that favor universal health care provided by our government, I urge you to look at the care our veterans currently receive.

    I am surprised in the above you use health care as an example of where you trust private sector over public.  Considering as a nation we spend more money than any other country on health care, but are generally placed at least the twenties on quality.  Meaning we are getting a horrible return for our money spent.

    It’s the only industry in America that has that kind of c***py return on investment.  And really I think c***py is an understatement here.

    And the VA is a poor example cause Bush has cut benefits and spending on Veterans every chance he’s had.  So the VA system is doing bad, but not because it’s socialized, but because it’s poorly implemented and poorly maintained.

    Social programs give the government the opportunity to provide a means so that their people can be strong, supportive, tax paying citizens.  Some will abuse this, and some governments will do a poor job of implementing the systems.  But that just shows things need to be changed or tweaked, not that social systems as a whole are a failure.

  23. July 23, 2007 at 20:11 | #23

    I appreciate both responses. I was really referring to Ted’s response above. I felt the two sentences he pulled from my previous post made me look like one of the internet quacks that you speak of.

    To answer your questions – yes, I am a Libertarian idealogically. I generally feel as if I have to vote for the lesser of two evils. I must admit that in the past I was a pretty staunch conservative up until the present administration really made me take a look at what I believe.

    The examples I used probably were not the best the examples to use. Maybe Social Security would have been better. I agree with you DOF that corporations should not be subsidized. I absolutely believe that the GM subsidies simply prolonged the inevitable. Same with the airlines and other corporations that have received federal subsidies. I wonder how you feel about farm subsidies?

    The problem as I see it with healthcare and Social Security and any other socialized program is that we then live at the mercy of the government. That is not how this country is supposed to be. Right now every election we have to hear about all of the scare stories about social security. Imagine the increase in these scare stories if the health care system is run by the government. I think the main problem with healthcare is that it is not truly a free market. We have HMO’s setting prices. We have bureucrats deciding what treatments are necessary. You will not convince me that this will improve by creating a universal healthcare system.

    As far as the VA system goes, Bush did not exactly inherit the bastion of a world wide healthcare model. As much as I hate to defend Bush, I think he is hardly to blame for the current status of the quality of care the VA provides.

    Finally, I do appreciate the discourse on this site DOF. I discovered your site when I was doing research for purchasing a Mac. I have been drawn to your site ever since. (although I am ready for more computer talk.)

  24. July 23, 2007 at 20:30 | #24

    Glad you like the site, lastcall!  I do try to make it a good place.

    (although I am ready for more computer talk.)

    I am working on a Linux review similar to the Mac review I did earlier.  Hint: it isn’t likely to make Webs very happy. ;-)

    I wonder how you feel about farm subsidies?

    Living in Illinois you might expect me to say; “Well farm subsidies are an exception!” but actually I hate them.  Instead of helping the poor buy food (which is how they’re always sold in congress) they end up keeping innovation from bringing food prices down.  And in the form of “food aid” exports, they have the perverse effect of putting third-world farmers out of business, resulting in the very hunger and starvation they’re intended to prevent, to say nothing of political instability that follows. 

    Sometime I’ll do a post on ethanol and its energy balance.  Still looking for really solid data.  Most of what I have found has been from advocacy groups but the rest indicates that grain-based ethanol is a wash, energy-efficiency wise, and cane-based ethanol is pretty hard on rain forests and food crops.  Both kinds raise food prices.

    The VA is a convenient thing for candidates to talk about, but in practice they always get the short end.  Veterans can be mostly counted on to vote ‘hawk’ so there’s little incentive for either side to do anything for them.

    What I would do for veterans: stay the hell out of foreign wars to the greatest extent possible.  Maybe kill a new aircraft carrier and give the dough to the VA under a strict policy of “the press can come in and look at anything they want.”  It’s a hospital/social-services agency, for gossakes – the only secrets should be the clients’ medical records. 

    You will not convince me that this will improve by creating a universal healthcare system.

    That’s OK, I feel pretty much the same way in reverse.  What we have in health care in this country is a pretty clear case of market failure, and others do it better.

  25. Ted
    July 24, 2007 at 00:49 | #25

    I appreciate both responses. I was really referring to Ted’s response above. I felt the two sentences he pulled from my previous post made me look like one of the internet quacks that you speak of.

    I have that effect sometimes. It’s not easy being Ted.

    Yes, I did pull those phrases out, not because I thought that you were a quack but because I thought that you were giving the Libertarian angle without being forthcoming about it. From your enthusiastic comments I placed you as a young and earnest Libertarian.

    Politically, I don’t really get along with libertarians because I consider them socially destructive; they want the military; they want property protection laws and I guess that’s about it. Everything else should be dissolved regardless of how many people need it or vote on it.

    They can’t get elected themselves, but they are pretty smart and are the bug in the ear of conservatives so their ideas filter to the top both in Republican and Democratic administrations.

    Now, one of the things that libertarians don’t like are new laws and regulations (i.e. government interference in the marketplace and social programs). However, I can’t figure out how people with a fast crowding population, with a growing economic divide, get to relate to each other in a law & regulation-free land with few social programs. Another thing that I find particularly vexing is their dependence on The Constitution for several reasons.

    1. The Constitution is a 200+ year document; it’s a pretty good document, but it’s somewhat parochial to think this is as good as things will ever get. Some European countries review their constitutions routinely with input from social (and actual scientists). They view their constitutions as living documents that should reflect the world that they live in. We have that same argument here in the US but mainly it’s academic—Strict Constructionists etc.

    2. The Constitution appears to be subverted on a routine basis, particularly by the executive branch when it refuses to enforce some aspect, or when it simply invents silliness that it claims; such as signing statements that bypass legislation. Relying on the constitution is getting arbitrary and capricious with each passing day.

    Don’t take it wrong, I’m willing to listen, I’m willing to debate a point or two if you care. But if you show up with a political angle, there are people out here that will say, “Oh,—Lets talk about that. We’ve heard something like that before.”

  26. July 24, 2007 at 12:09 | #26

    Another thing that I find particularly vexing is their dependence on The Constitution for several reasons.

    OK, I am trying to avoid painting anyone as the “internet quack” however, I am trying to understand exactly what you are saying. Our constitution is the law of the land. It is the highest law of our land and it is the ruler that the supreme court is supposed to judge all other laws by. The flexibility of the constitution allows amendments to be made so while it is over 200 years old it has been changed 27 times if my memory serves correct.

    I think your frustration, and certainly mine, is when the constitution is subverted. This is what should be changed. The constitution is fine. I wonder whether the more “conservative” court will actually be more friendly to George Bush. I could actually see this court being less friendly to many of the provisions of the patriot act and other terrorist preventative measures that Bush Administration has tried to use.

    As far as libertarians go – I am one idealogically but not a registered one. I think while there are some great mainstream libertarians, I think the party itself is run by some kooks. However, I think many of their ideas are positive. This really is not different than either of the two major political parties. The Democrats have George Soros running their side and the Republicans have the Christian Coalition running theirs. SO what do we do. We look for the best people and the best ideas to fix things. I just happen to think the Libertarians are espousing some of the best ideas. The fair tax plan that Neil Boortz has been pushing, along with congressman John Linder is one of my favorites. Neither major party has put forth many ideas lately. I can pretty much sum up each parties ideas since the last election.

    Dems – Bush lied, out of Iraq now.

    GOP – Stay the course, the troop surge is/will work.

    There you have it. Those are some really great ideas. I sure am notivated now to go vote.

  27. Ted
    July 25, 2007 at 08:36 | #27

    In post 20:

    For instance, those of you that favor universal health care provided by our government, I urge you to look at the care our veterans currently receive.

    In post 23:

    As far as the VA system goes, Bush did not exactly inherit the bastion of a world wide healthcare model. As much as I hate to defend Bush, I think he is hardly to blame for the current status of the quality of care the VA provides.

    and then DOF says:

    Maybe kill a new aircraft carrier and give the dough to the VA under a strict policy of “the press can come in and look at anything they want.” It’s a hospital/social-services agency, for gossakes – the only secrets should be the clients’ medical records.

    I think you are conflating “The Military” with the VA. They are separate cabinet level positions, with VA the second largest expenditure after the military. Walter Reed and the general disregard of the military (not veterans) is mostly the fault of this administration and the miltary. Walter Reed is a military hospital, and military doctors in command positions aren’t exactly the brightest bulbs. Additionally, many of the horror stories about transitioning to VA that you hear are politically motivated by the current military lackeys—for example, they classify psychological problems as pre-existing, etc., thus making recently transitioning military work extra hard to get proper care. The problem is in the handover from the military to the VA.

    On the other hand, if you Google “veterans administration healthcare comparison”, you can see how many studies were done comparing VA healthcare system to civilian systems. Surprisingly a large number of studies put the VA ahead.

    You can even go directly to the VA websites to look through the client surveys. Nicholson, was a tool, but there are many dedicated “bureaucrats” out there.

    Additionally, consider that when athering statistics such as mortality rates, the VA has less of an opportunity for patient dumping than for-profit organizations that want to game the numbers.

    I just happen to think the Libertarians are espousing some of the best ideas. The fair tax plan that Neil Boortz has been pushing, along with congressman John Linder is one of my favorites.

    This Neil Boortz fellow; can you elaborate a little on his ideas. I don’t think I’ve heard of him. How does his fair tax plan go?

  28. July 25, 2007 at 08:48 | #28

    I think you are conflating “The Military” with the VA. They are separate cabinet level positions… Additionally, consider that when athering statistics such as mortality rates, the VA has less of an opportunity for patient dumping than for-profit organizations that want to game the numbers.

    You’re quite right, I was. That’s a really good distinction.  And also a good point that the VA has a patient-base going in with a rather unique set of challenges.

  29. July 25, 2007 at 10:38 | #29

    The VA is basically screwed cause Bush cut back funding.  The system wasn’t the best when Bush got a hold of it, but it was his decision to cut funding to the system so he has to take some of the blame for it. 

    As the system stands now it seems the Veterans I have talked to see to think a little funding would make a difference.  That’s not to say all problems would be solved, but I don’t see how it could hurt.  Part of the problem with Walter Reed was constant budget cut-backs, along with other obvious issues.

    Fair Tax:
    Here’s something I found, but that’s about it.  I seems you have to buy the book to learn more, and unfortunately the link above is an editorial.

  30. July 25, 2007 at 10:54 | #30

    I’m not sure a discussion of Neil Boortz is appropriate here but since you asked I will tell.

    First of all, I don’t think the Fairtax plan is actually his plan but he has been the biggest advocate.

    I know to many people any talk of abolishing the IRS is going to sound extreme but if you read the plan it really makes sense.

    The main points are:
    1. No one pays taxes on any income up to the poverty level. This is covered by receiving a prebate – a check from the government to cover taxes that most people would pay on that part of their income. 
    2. Income tax and corporate taxes are abolished – replaced by flat 23 % sales tax.

    Benefits:
    1. With no corporate taxes, more incentive to do business in US vs. “offshore. Manufacturing jobs will come back to US.
    = more jobs, better jobs.
    2. Since taxes occur at the point of sale instead of withholding income, EVERYONE will pay taxes. No more loopholes, even drug dealers will be paying taxes.
    3. Simple tax code, no need to hire people to do your taxes. NO MORE FILING ON APRIL 15.

    This is a a very brief overview. Please do not take my word as the   gospel.

    Here are a couple links to learn more.

    Facts from the Fairtax. org page
    http://www.fairtax.org/PDF/FairTax-Fundamentals_and_facts-070122.pdf

    Here is a link to the book. I would lend mine but I gave it away.
    http://www.amazon.com/FairTax-Book-Neal-Boortz/dp/0060875410

    Finally, here is the site for Neil Boortz. He has a blog that he maintains daily called Neals Nuze.
    http://www.boortz.com

    Hope this answers your questions.

  31. July 25, 2007 at 11:03 | #31

    I’m not sure a discussion of Neil Boortz is appropriate here

    I checked the rule book and there’s no rule against discussing Neil Boortz.  There were a few celebrities who were against the rules, but I can’t tell you who they are ;-)

  32. July 25, 2007 at 12:31 | #32

    Okay, I am now a huge fan of the FairTax, but not of Neil Boortz.  Read his news on prunes
    <blockquote>Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Democrat Party candidate John Edwards, is starting to get all of her fruits and vegetables locally. Why? Because apparently these fruits and vegetables have a carbon footprint. Yup … when you transport fruit you have to burn fossil fuels .. and that means your next apple is actually causing (gasp!) global warming! The lovely Elizabeth says “I live in North Carolina. I’ll probably never eat a tangerine again.”

    These global warming nut-case cultists want to run our country! They want to charge you extra for your fruits and vegetables because of their carbon footprint! Problem is, we have just enough idiot voters out there to put them in office!<blockquote>
    So if I read him correctly he seems to be denying the science of Global Warming, and yes I know I am reading between the lines a little here.  Anyone who denies such a thing can only be listened to for so long.

    Probably half the reason why so few congress folk are willing to support the FairTax is because of this guys involvement.  He just sounds like a more intelligent and less hypocritical version of Limbaugh.

  33. July 25, 2007 at 12:53 | #33

    As I suspected, a discussion of Neil Boortz will probably lead to a whole new forum and I am not sure i want to head that way. Let me just summarize my feelings about him this way.

    1. While frequently labeled a conservitive he is a registered Libertarian. He provides a unique perspective. He does not toe the line with the Libertarian party though as he disagrees with a number of their positions.

    2. He is a far superior debater than any other talk show host I know.

    3. He can be a little harsh at times, however, when compared to a number of other people – Mark Levin, Michael Savage, Al Frankin, etc. he is not nearly as bombastic or caustic.

    Glad you enjoyed the Fairtax plan webs05. While it may not have much of a chance to pass, it does have bi-partisan support. For every democrat (or republican) that sign up to co-sponsor the bill, that new sponsor must find someone from the other party as a co-sponsor. John Linder is trying to make it a true bi-partisan bill.

    Also, if you choose to by the book, I believe that the proceeds all go to Fairtax.org. I don’t believe Neil Boortz is making any money off the book.

  34. July 25, 2007 at 13:08 | #34

    He is a far superior debater than any other talk show host I know.

    Don’t watch the Daily Show much?

    Al Frankin

    It’s funny to read a description of Al as bombastic or caustic.

    For every democrat (or republican) that sign up to co-sponsor the bill, that new sponsor must find someone from the other party as a co-sponsor. John Linder is trying to make it a true bi-partisan bill.

    That is a damn good idea for a bill!

  35. July 25, 2007 at 13:57 | #35

    Oh, please, Webs – Al Franken, while hilarious, and hardly ever bombastic, is often caustic.  You could use him for drain cleaner.

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