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Saturday Night News Roundup

Saturday Night News Roundup

So, what happened with Benghazi? Hillary Clinton went in front of the Senate and the House and Republicans had nothing. Basically, they rehash the same old arguments and the same old allegations. The bottom line, as I see it, is that our embassy in Benghazi was attacked. Neither President Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton attacked our embassy. Instead, our embassy was attacked by a group that was some sort of offshoot of Al Qaeda. I do not think that the American people learned anything.

I have no idea what’s going on in Mali.

obama shooting skeet

Sometimes I wonder what they are thinking in the White House. How did they decide releasing a photo of the president shooting skeet at Camp David was going to quell the clamor from gun advocates? This is just like the birth certificate debate. Now they’re going to say he didn’t shoot enough. Now they’re going to say that the picture was Photoshopped. Now they’re going to ask for a picture of him shooting a gun when he was a boy because you can’t love guns unless you actually shoot them as a child. Will the nonsense never cease?

Cardinal Roger Mahony stated that he did not know how to deal with the child sex abuse cases. I guess this is supposed to be an excuse.

Last year, I tried to keep up with some financial data. I tried to keep up with the bank problem list. These are institutions that the Federal Reserve worried about. The unofficial list declines to 822 institutions.

I guess I should’ve started this post with Friday’s news that the economy added 157,000 jobs in January. As I’ve stated on a number of occasions, the economy needs to do better. We truly need for the economy to take off. We need more stimulus.

Hey, it is Saturday night. Are you looking for a good scandal? How about the Nebraska lieutenant-governor resigning abruptly after it was found out that he called four different women on his government issued cell phone?

By |2013-11-03T18:18:22-04:00February 3rd, 2013|Economy, Obama administration, Party Politics|Comments Off on Saturday Night News Roundup

Conservatives and Government

Bush and the size of government

A couple of days ago, one of my commenters correctly mentioned that conservatives want a smaller government and that conservatives have no desire to eliminate government. I can agree with both of these statements. The problem is that conservatives have no desire for government to look out for the people, whereas I believe that liberals see government as a counterbalance to the excesses of business.

The good news is that we can follow conservative philosophy for nearly 100 years. Conservatives like to write. The 1935 book, Our Enemy, the State, written by Albert Nock, is an excellent example of conservatism at its best. The things he writes seem almost exactly like Ronald Reagan. “Wherever the state is, there is a felony.” This is right out of Reagan-speak. He wailed against the New Deal as a “coup d’état.” He talked about the people ripping off the hard-working few — rich businessmen.

We can even go back to the 1880s and 1890s to see an example of conservatism at its best. Look at the combination of the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Federal Trade Commission. (The trend may have started earlier, but I cannot find any specific documentation of this.) Richard Olney was a staunch conservative and railroad lawyer who was appointed to be Attorney General. He made his name by attacking the Sherman Antitrust Act. Now he’s been placed in a position where he can actually appoint people either to enforce or not enforce the law. He chose the latter. The essence of conservatism, as I see it, is summed up in the famous letter he wrote to his old railroad boss.

“The Commission, as it functions have now been limited by the courts, is, or can be made, of great use to the railroads. It satisfies the popular clamor for government supervision of the railroads, at the same time that that supervision is almost merely nominal. Further, the older such a commission gets to be, the more inclined it will be found to take the business and railroad view of things. It does becomes a sort of barrier between the railroad corporations and the people and the sort of protection against nasty and crude legislation hostile to railroad interests… the part of wisdom is not to destroy the Commission, but to utilize it.” – From Thomas Frank’s The Wrecking Crew

Therefore, over the last 30 years, we’ve seen examples of this throughout Republican administrations. James Watt was an attorney who made his living attacking environmental protections and touting the EPA as being unconstitutional. Reagan appointed him Secretary of the Interior (the EPA is under the Department of the Interior). Although James Watt was the most egregious example, there are literally hundreds of examples throughout the Reagan and Bush administrations. The Securities and Exchange Commission was headed by somebody who did not believe in regulating Wall Street. The agency was packed with like-minded individuals. The Justice Department filled the Civil Rights division with lawyers who did not believe the 1964 Civil Rights Act was constitutional. The Justice Department actually decreased the funding to this department while Bush was in office.

The examples of conservatives using the government as a tool for business and de-funding agencies which could not align with their vision of the function of government are simply too numerous to name. The one thing that modern conservatives like Grover Norquist have done is make government work for them, make government work for business. The quickest way to become a millionaire during the Bush administration, besides winning the lottery, was winning a government contract. Privatization was the way to go. The brilliance of the conservative strategy was to sell privatization to the American people. The sales pitch was that government was inherently inefficient and that business was efficient. Therefore, if we could get the government to work more like a private business then everything would be great. The only thing that would be better would be to privatize portions of the government. This is what happened during the Bush administration.

So, in conclusion, my commenter was 100% right when he said that conservatives do not want to eliminate government totally. Conservatives simply want government to work for big business.

By |2010-06-08T14:42:49-04:00June 8th, 2010|Bush Administration, Business|Comments Off on Conservatives and Government

America has changed

I don’t think that the tea party is going to be able to take America back to the 50’s, too much as changed. A friend of mine sent me an e-mail which really illustrates this point. He wrote:

Amid all the clamor in public debate —every now and then a snapshot speaks volumes about our culture –as does people’s reaction to the photo.

Look at the next photo in the attached photo gallery. For some reason it touched my heart about America —and I couldn’t stop gazing at it. Black and Brown Presidents walking in front of an incredibly diverse crowd of school children and a few adults. Compare it w White House lawn photos of 50’s , 60s and even 70’s.

Click on photo for larger image

The wide eyed joy and wonderment on the kids faces. A few other adults who are more sanguine either due to maturity or detachment. The seriousness of the task that Secret Service agents bring to their jobs at all times.

How America has and is changing.

What’s more—this is the type of photo that probably elicits very different reactions—particularly on the eve of an anticipated divisive immigration reform debate—based on the viewer’s life perspective. It touched me very deeply.

It reminds me of 2 other photos that offer similar commentary on different world views.

The famous 1965 photo of Cassius Clay standing triumphantly over a fallen Sonny Liston (click on photo to see enlarged image) while the background was full of “objective “ journalists and photographers with looks of disgust and amazement on their faces.

The 1974 photo of Ali’s knockout of George Foreman in Zaire with a background picture of unanimous unadulterated ectasy amongst the Black Africans.

This one is similarly etched in my mind as an updated snapshot of where we are in history.

By |2010-05-20T15:38:49-04:00May 20th, 2010|Domestic Issues, Race|Comments Off on America has changed
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