We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Wednesday, May 21. 2008
It's an election year - the time when politicians and their fellow job-seekers work their butts off trying to convince you that you have big problems and that your life is difficult - and that only they can fix that.
They want to be important and powerful.
Truth is, America has essentially no serious problems. It's quite remarkable, really.
We are the most prosperous nation in the world. We are the most powerful nation in the world. We are materially the best-off people in the world. We have more freedoms than anyone else in the world. We have more opportunity for everyone than anywhere else in the world. We reward effort more than anywhere else in the world. "Tolerance"? We tolerate things and people that few in the world would tolerate. We speak our mind freely, and dispute fervently. We have the lowest unemployment rates in the world, and our work ethic is the envy of every nation (except France, where they do not seem to like to work). Our blue-collar workers have two houses, $100,000 boats, and send their kids to college. Our most unfortunate have hot water, TVs, DVD players, and obesity problems. Our wealthiest are the most generous in the world. Our middle class is the salt of the earth. We are the most charitable nation on earth. We are the most conservation-minded nation in the world (or maybe on a par with England). Our educational systems educate kids who are ambitious about learning as well or better than any other nation. We go to church, and we value things greater than our our comfort and pleasure - but we rightly love the latter. We read books, news and the internets to our heart's content. We believe that every honest citizen deserves respectful behavior, and we do our damndest to provide justice for all. Our medical care is the most advanced in the world, and it takes very little effort for the most unfortunate among us to access it (via Medicaid, Medicare, and simple charity). Our only external enemies are ignorant loonies who hate almost everybody - but if they get the bomb, that would be a real problem - but one we could solve in 15 minutes if we decided to.
What a great country we are blessed with.
We are at the point at which our "problems" are gripes and bitches and minor details (see my recent post on Spencer's law) rather than major structural or institutional problems. Yes, we have an illegal immigration issue - but it's because most of the world wants to come here for freedom and opportunity. So enforce the laws. Gas prices? Gimme a break. A global market issue that pols can do little about. Energy prices? Readily solved by nuke plants. The housing market? Just a healthy bust of a bubble that dinged some reckless risk-takers but which provides cheaper homes for buyers. Iraq? If we can help those folks out, it will be to our credit, and we have fine guys and gals willing to fight and die for the cause. The economy? This normal rhythmic slowdown (not even a true recession except for Wall St. banks) will sort itself out in due time.
The working poor? Everyone who works should earn a living wage, I believe, but nowadays married immigrants will send one to work at WalMart, and one to do landscaping - and they end up with a middle class income of around $35,000 - not poor, and with excellent job benefits. Racism? We have a black guy who could be our next President. Global warming? Gimme another break. Some warming would be good for everybody. Just ask a Minnesotan.
So what change do people want?
Don't have as much money as you want? Who does? Envy the rich folks you read about? Go work for them or sell them something, and benefit from their wealth (and in the meantime, work on your envy problems). Want life to be easeful and totally secure? Get a government job or move to France (but don't decide to try to start a business there: it's almost impossible). Freedom, like religion, is not meant to be easy and stress-free - such things are far too valuable to be easy. Freedom is messy, and freedom requires that people be grown-ups and take responsibility for their lives.
In America in 2008, the only serious problems we face are the problems which our Founders intentionally handed us - the eternal problems which are our proud inheritance: maintaining freedom from the powers of our own government, and protecting our freedom from the external forces which threaten our personal freedom and our country. The former, I believe, is more of a challenge than the latter: we will, in time, always succeed in the latter when we want to.
But how do you run a national campaign on that? (Unless you are Ronnie Reagan.)
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Refreshing perspective from all the overbearing 'pot bangers' on the left and right.
RE: Energy prices? Readily solved by nuke plants.
Nuke plants will take at least 10 years to build and will be very expensive. Read that 85% of our energy comes from oil and gas. Can't run transport trucks on nuclear power and the pols are blocking access to new sources of oil and gas.
"Nuke plants will take at least 10 years to build and will be very expensive."
Good reason to get started then. The price of these things has been coming down, though.
"Can't run transport trucks on nuclear power and the pols are blocking access to new sources of oil and gas."
If there was enough nuclear power, it could be converted into whatever form trucks can be made to use, like electricity or hydrogen. But you're saying, 'push for more drilling to meet current needs'. I hear you. Sure, do that too. All for it.
The Toshiba mini-reactor:
I like that mini-reactor. Unfortunately you'll never, ever get that approved in dense urban areas where it's needed most. Someone will say 'three mile island' and they'll prevent anyone from installing them. Doesn't matter how you demonstrate it, doesn't matter who speaks up for it. Won't happen. Sorry to say.
Even in exurban areas this will be a problem. Nukes have a strong NIMBY factor. People want the energy, they want the 'green', but they don't want it built near them. Hell, even the ultralib Kennedys didn't even want an offshore wind farm 'ruining their view', let alone anything with 'nuclear' in its name.
In other countries, it might be a different story. Maybe they'll sell some in China and India.
Very interesting Skook. But at what date might it get approval for consumer use from all the required US agencies? The energy crunch is now. Luckily, I think the Sask. and North Dakota oil shales are now hopping with roughnecks, but cap and trade should kill that.
Someday when the big North American cities are freezing in the dark, all will be forgotten and the oil sands developed by the suddenly heroic roughnecks of Saskatchewan and North Dakota. :-)
And then, some latter-day Thomas Hart Benton can portray them on the murals in the city halls and courthouses of the future. Just wait - it will happen.
It is one likely scenario Skook but as Mr. B's post points out there is no reason we have to accept it. I do like those murals though. heh.
Energy prices are a function of the stupid pols who won't allow us to expand energy, i.e., gas/oil/coal/refinery production in our own territories.
I don't think cap and trade can get implemented anytime soon. It's a sound bite that confirms that the politician's concerned.
Hope you are right phil g.
Carbon is traded now.
Here is the link to the Chicago Exchange and its members.
Gee......... Great post, B. Succinct yet covers it all. Upbeat and uplifting. You made me feel proud.
Notice how the commentary instantly went to griping and whining.
Very perceptive Meta. :)
Nice to be reminded of what a great country this is... well said Mr. B.
Sorry if I am whining. Was not my intent to complain about your well written post Mr. B. Would post a pic of kittens as a peace offering Meta, if I had one. /sarc
Why maybe even a political speech... any McCain campaign workers read here I wonder.
Aren't we functioning as McCain --or better said, 'conservative'-- election campaign workers? By jawing to that effect on these blogs? If not then i need to reorient my conveniently self-serving rationalizations, alas.
Good point, and one would hope that we are. But as we have no demographics of those who read the blog are we preaching to the choir or to the masses that haven't heard the word. Tis the former I fear instead of those who most need to hear. And do we need rationalizations in seeking good harmony and cheer?
It will be interesting to contrast the all is doomed and everything must be changed message versus the American is great and could be even greater.
I'll take the America is great every time...and I believe most Americans will as well.
want a problem? look for the union label.
Very rosie but, me thinks, we face a very seriousus enemy, Islamo-fascism, in the War on Terror.
Ronnie Raygun ran from it and then aligned with it.
Thanks be to God, we have a warrior in John McCain to face them down and continue the struggle to defeat them.
America is at war.
Yes, we are. But that doesn't mean we can't mention what we are defending. Even more important to do so now.
Islamofacicm is a serious problem all American's must face down.
Yes, mention what we defend but come on, lads.
Truth is, America has essentially, a very serious problem.
Jephronol prepares to lead Justinian and Bunctious to the still.
Hey! Where'd ya' get a photo of my sisters, and who's Jephronol?
Everything in this post is true, but it appears to me that we face an internal threat that is like a metastasizing cancer. The patient appears vigorous and healthy but a ticking time bomb is present within. Our media, academia, entertainment industry, and one of the major political parties are so infused with neo Marxist and fundamentally anti-American beliefs that on our present trajectory we are at most one generation away from abandoning the core principals that alone have allowed this great nation to thrive for the last 200 years. I'm much more concerned about the enemy within than the Islamofacists. Sorry to rain on the parade folks, but there it is.
Well Paul both you and Leag have true points... and I agree that yours may be the more serious of the two. As well I don't think there are many here who would disagree with you one bit.
But still, this is America. And I think it will take more than another generation to kill her off. And one of the reasons I think that is due to the medium we are conversing on right now. I'm not saying it will work miracles... it will still be a long slow slog. But the media doesn't control the entire message anymore. And that gives me hope that we may stay the tide... and reverse what at times seems an inevitable flow to the left.
At heart I guess I'm still a believer in Manifest Destiny... I won't give up until I'm dead.
You might be surprised how much 'the better old days' of this country look exactly like today.
A timely reminder Mister Snitch... the more things change... etc. I see that reminder as justification for my thoughts that this country will continue on as the best hope for mankind.
Remember when Japan started making inroads with cars back on the late 70's? The world was going to be 'Japan Inc.', America was through. America and musical theatre are always at death's door.
Hahaha... 'musical theater'... :)
Rockefeller Center, remember when some Japanese outfit bought it? right before Tokyo went bust?
Right! Wasn't that Mitsubishi? Yeah, they were going to BUY the whole country. Wow that takes me back.
yep -- Mitsubishi (in WWII, makers of the famed Zero, or Zeke, fighter aircraft). Company formed from merger of two prewar concerns, Duyugada Motors and Itchipusi Industries.
I'm not "whining," and I'm not "griping;"
but, I'm telling you, folks, that we have a Freight Train coming toward us, and pulling the blankets back over our heads, and going back into "dreamy-land" isn't going to help.
All you need to know at a glance:
You see, guys, our production, even with ANWAR, and the Outer Continental Shelf, couldn't be much more than 8, or 9 million barrels/day. We Use 20 Million bpd. How much the world "produces" isn't important to us. What's important is how much the world makes available for
hahahahaa -- no not at 'rufus dead' -- as mr. snitch's absurd being
Colorado and Utah has oil enough in shale deposits to rival OPEC's reserves.
It's time to get to it.
Know what a ''shortage'' is? it means you can't get it at ANY price wherever one develops. Longer term investors should be trying to buy in on the coming cracking BOOM in tellecommuting. And the nukes it'll take to power it.
Not an expert but I read that there are no rigs available even if the oil is available. Read all the rigs are leased at least three years out. Have to build more rigs first. Faster please.
Was just watching the heads of the oil companies being questioned in Congress by Dick Durbin. I think depressing is the right word for it. Not as depressing as Habu with a spray can, but close.
Day rates for all types of offshore platforms are now very strong:
And the Brazilians are wasting no time:
"Guantanamo Dick" Durbin is imho a preening, posturing, dishonest, despicable clown of a shameless opportunist, and i would not let him into my front yard much less near the silverware. or in my case the mixed plastic and tinware.
C'mon Buddy, don't sugarcoat it, give it to us straight. We can take it. Old joke, I know, but I couldn't pass it up.
Where do I get one of those blue collar jobs that will enable me to buy two houses, a $100,000 boat and send my kids to college?
Well, you can be the guy who did the remodel on our last house. More money than I've got, that is for sure. Now he lives in a huge log house in Kalispell MT on plenty of land. Not too bad.
But it is an great country with few problems.
I just read that to preserve the Kennedy DNA from Teddy the family will place him in a cryogenic room with Red Sox great Ted Williams.
They just figured that two Teds were better than one.
aargh, . . . . not dead,
gasp, . . . wheeze . . .
ethaaanol . . .
Rufus lives! This must be the next episode...
In a certain way I feel sorry for Teddy. He was the only brother (Joe was already dead) who didn't get some of Marilyn Monroe. Iguess he made up for it with Mary Jo but she has been unavailable for comment......
Ted, be a gentleman and open my door would you? Ted...Ted...Teddy ..glub...burble..burble
Believe it or not, that's Habu's screen saver.
(I'm not actually sure what I meant by that.)
Mary Jo'll be waiting just inside the Pearly Gates, brandishing a rolling pin and tapping her foot ...standing in a puddle of water ...checking her watch (which must be one of those waterproof models) ...waiting.
That was a great post, Mr. Barrister. In a more perfect world, John McCain [or, even better, the senior Mrs. McCain] would have read this, and would bring it to Johnny's attention [he listens to his Mother, as all of you should]. Then McCain could lift your cogent, clear prose and use it, over and over, in his campaign speeches until at least a modicum of what you said would filter in to the heads of the grown-ups out here in flyover country. And McCain would win in November. In a more perfect world.
Oh, and by the way, the great state of Texas already has one nuclear power plant. Now if we can just shut the whining Democrats up and build another, our electrcity worries would be more under control.
The only thing i can figure re nukes & popular opinion, is that voters do NOT want Homer Simpson in charge of safety procedures. I say, that's STUPID, that all they need to do is petition Mr. Burns to re-assign him.
Patrina, you out their honey? Lets not war. Do I get a peace offering of kittens like Meta did? I'm still taking odds on Teddie, still 5 to 1. Ciao bella, capite, Giacomo jappy, whada you say?
Nice post Mr B your right on many levels. We all lucked out, we won the cosmic lottery, we were born in America thank GOD for that!!!!
In America in 2008, the only serious problem we face is the problem which our Founders intentionally handed us , the eternal problem which is our proud inheritance: maintaining freedom from the powers of our own government, and freedom from external forces which threaten our personal freedom.
A look at Aristotle's Politics and The Statesman and you'll see that our Founding fathers were running into a problem outlined a few thousand years prior to "intentionally handing" them to us...come on get it right.
Aristotle was followed throughout philosophy and political history by almost all giants who wrote on governments and power. Perhaps I am misinterpreting the statement or perhaps it should read that we were handed an age old problem. As it stands it is patently untrue.
Truth is, America has essentially no serious problems
What follows in this thread is candy cane sweet , however the thread is one huge Non sequitur..it does not follow.
The challenges we face today are perhaps the most threatening to this countries continued existence since the Civil War. This country was even less threaten in WWII than it is today.
Now I can write 800 more words listing those challenges or the readers here can put their thinking caps back on and save me the trouble. Is it nice to take a reading break from reality by being told all is A-OK, sure, but it doesn't alter the facts.
But one thing is true. All have seen a non sequitur in all it's glory.
I said no problems except.....
The point is that the pols invent problems. My point is that we have the two problems we always have - defending freedom.
The Pols "invent" the problems?
OMG man you can't possibly be serious? Are you talking about our pols or all pols worldwide?
Either way for every problem you can list the pols invented I'll be happy to match, double, or triple the challenges that nature and the universe of man creates.
The pols end up having to address the problems and making hard decisions, charting solutions, and implementing change. all within an adversarial paradigm.
Did the pols "invent" the various churches molestation of children? "Invent" hurricanes and droughts, earthquakes and terrorist attacks?
he meant that pols politicize everything and add layers of new problems in that way. not that pols cause hurricanes.
((cleaning out old files -- found this old saved email from 2004))
At about the time our original 13 states adopted their new constitution, in the year 1787, Alexander Tyler (a Scottish history professor at The University of Edinborough) had this to say about "The Fall of The Athenian Republic" some 2,000 years prior.
"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship."
"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
From Bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage."
Professor Joseph Olson of Hamline University School of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota, points out an interesting fact concerning the 2000 election: the murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by Gore=13.2 and by Bush=2.1
Professor Olson adds: "In aggregate, the map of the territory Bush won was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens of this great country. Gore's territory mostly encompassed those citizens living in government-owned tenements and living off government welfare..."
Olson believes the U.S. is now somewhere between the "complacency and "apathy" phase of Professor Tyler's definition of democracy; with some 40 percent of the nation's population already having reached the "governmental dependency" phase.
Please help everyone realize just how much is at stake in this Election Year and that apathy is the greatest danger to our freedom.
You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time
Way to go Habu. Think ya killed that thread really dead. ha
Maybe it can still be jump started. You might like this one too.
From sda...Y2Kyoto goes postal....
Patrina that you? You never posted back to me from my post #25. any kittens for me ? Capite!!!
GOOD POLITICS DOES NOT GUARANTEE GOOD DESIGN! WHen are we going to address the issue of train service, rapid transit, meglev, whatever you want to look at we will have to do it and fast. But, oh dear, woops should I dare mention the most hated of all thoughts with regard to energy and mass transportation? two classes of services pays the way! One class for the grafiti artists and one class for the expresso sippers with their morning NYT.