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The Obama Presidency

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Is it that hard to understand that invading other sovereign nations makes us less safe?  Let's at least give diplomacy a fair shake.  Sheesh folks.... the same people I see pissing and moaning anytime Obama wants to spend money HERE, are imploring him to bankrupt our children, and granchildren, and grandchildren's children, with these ineffective overseas military muscle exercises.

 

Your presumption of ineffectiveness in advance speaks volumes about the confidence you have in America's military and in the efficacy of military solutions to otherwise intractable international relations problems--when the true course of history is that only minor problems among like-minded powers are solved by diplomacy, while diplomacy with the threat of force behind it and the actual use of force when such muscular diplomacy fails is the real story of international relations because there is no other plotline it can follow.

 

"Diplomacy," you say?  What exactly could we say to North Korea that would not compromise our own principles and would somehow make them feel better about opening up their economy and improving their human rights record?  Your entire argument rests on the assumption--which I contend has less than zero empirical evidence behind it, as all evidence points the other way--that regimes like North Korea and Iran are actually substantively amenable to American diplomacy (as anything other than an opportunity to use us as dupes and buy time to increase their own power vis-a-vis us).  What exactly are you prepared to surrender to North Korea in exchange for the basic human decency that should be the payment-free obligation of every nation on Earth?

 

If we give North Korea yet more foreign aid in addition to everything we've given them over the years since 1994 (at the very least), how are we doing anything other than signaling that the way to get free money from America is to act utterly insane and then offer to back down off that position in exchange for recurring, annual bribes with no accountability and no repercussions for reneging on the promises that went with them?

 

I supported President Clinton in 1994 when he announced the Agreed Framework.  The logic of it seemed both untried and practical, i.e., that we could buy their cooperation less expensively than we could force it.  I do not blame President Clinton for pursuing that route.  However, it has to be concluded at this point that the experiment failed.  That failure cannot be blamed on President Bush, as it was already falling apart when Bush took office; nor can it be blamed on President Clinton, who deserved latitude to give the policy a chance.  However, continuing with such appeasement-happy measures *can* be blamed on President Obama, who has now had nearly sixteen years to learn from the mistakes of his predecessors.  The clock cannot be allowed to restart at the beginning of every presidential administration, or we'll never accomplish anything that takes more than eight years to get done, and every president would be obliged by that principle to repeat the mistakes of his predecessors.

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My point. They hate us whether we attack or not.   may as well attack before they hurt us first.

 

This is not the Roman strategy.  The Romans always had some legitimate or quasi-legitimate pretext for invasion.  So do we (Pearl Harbor, Gulf of Tonkin, Gulf War I, etc.) and that is what we will do with Iran.  Allow them to build nukes, let them think they can get away with using them, allow them to use them and then BAM!  The North Koreans understand this game (they learned something by watching the Japanese) and that is why all they will ever do is saber rattle.  I  think "I'm a Dinna Jacket" does too but I am not sure that his theocratic masters do.  That little submarine incident has me worried though.  Maybe the North thought they could get away undetected.  Small gambles like that sometimes have big costs.  It is really amazing what a roll of the dice Japan took with the raid on Pearl Harbor.  Stupid. 

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However, continuing with such appeasement-happy measures *can* be blamed on President Obama, who has now had nearly sixteen years to learn from the mistakes of his predecessors. 

 

What appeasement has he offered to N. Korea?  Is it appeasement because he didn't immediately declare war when taking office?  A war that we don't have the troops to fight?  Be realistic, man!

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However, continuing with such appeasement-happy measures *can* be blamed on President Obama, who has now had nearly sixteen years to learn from the mistakes of his predecessors.

 

What appeasement has he offered to N. Korea? Is it appeasement because he didn't immediately declare war when taking office? A war that we don't have the troops to fight? Be realistic, man!

 

Obviously, declaring war immediately would have been stupid--never mind that, as I've already said on this thread earlier, in case you missed it, that (barring something dramatic like a direct attack on American or allied soil), I would not go so far without South Korean support, which we don't have even now after this torpedo incident, and certainly did not have in 2008.  However, the mere fact that one is prepared for war is often among the best ways to avoid it.  We could have been rebuilding the defense establishment that was essentially left to atrophy after the Cold War and made it clear that we *could* fight North Korea if we had to, and were willing to do so if provoked.  Would that have prevented this torpedo incident?  Maybe, maybe not.  Obviously, we cannot prove either counterfactual.  I am fairly certain, however, that it would not have made our bargaining position any worse.

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Well, the doctrine for post Cold War America's military has always been to be able to fight two wars simultaneously, an ability that we have maintained.  The problem is that after getting involved in one war in Afghanistan, which I believe was necessary, we got mixed up a war in Iraq, an unnecessary preemptive war which has bogged down our "2 front" military.  Had we not made that blunder, our military was well up to the task of backing up more muscular diplomacy with Iran or N. Korea.  I don't think it's necessary to have enough standing military force to fight all our potential enemies at once, nor do I think we could afford it.

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"Of the four wars in my lifetime none came about because the U.S. was too strong."

 

-- Ronald Reagan

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U.S. Is Said to Expand Secret Military Acts in Mideast Region

By MARK MAZZETTI

Published: May 24, 2010

 

WASHINGTON — The top American commander in the Middle East has ordered a broad expansion of clandestine military activity in an effort to disrupt militant groups or counter threats in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and other countries in the region, according to defense officials and military documents.

 

The secret directive, signed in September by Gen. David H. Petraeus, authorizes the sending of American Special Operations troops to both friendly and hostile nations in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa to gather intelligence and build ties with local forces. Officials said the order also permits reconnaissance that could pave the way for possible military strikes in Iran if tensions over its nuclear ambitions escalate.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/world/25military.html?hp

 

More of that Obama being a pushover, I guess!

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http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/income/2010-05-24-income-shifts-from-private-sector_N.htm

 

Private pay shrinks to historic lows

 

By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY

 

Paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history during the first quarter of this year, a USA TODAY analysis of government data finds.

At the same time, government-provided benefits — from Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps and other programs — rose to a record high during the first three months of 2010.

 

Those records reflect a long-term trend accelerated by the recession and the federal stimulus program to counteract the downturn. The result is a major shift in the source of personal income from private wages to government programs.

 

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Tax bills in 2009 at lowest level since 1950

By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY

 

Amid complaints about high taxes and calls for a smaller government, Americans paid their lowest level of taxes last year since Harry Truman's presidency, a USA TODAY analysis of federal data found. 

 

Federal, state and local income taxes consumed 9.2% of all personal income in 2009, the lowest rate since 1950, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports.  That rate is far below the historic average of 12% for the last half-century.  The overall tax burden hit bottom in December at 8.8.% of income before rising slightly in the first three months of 2010.

 

Taxes paid have fallen much faster than income in this recession.  Personal income fell 2% last year.  Taxes paid dropped 23%.

 

Full article: http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/taxes/2010-05-10-taxes_N.htm

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That's income taxes, right, not all taxes?  Even with just personal income taxes, I find myself immediately asking where the trick in the numbers is.  (Numbers are like prisoners.  Torture them enough and they'll say whatever you want them to say, regardless of its veracity.)

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^No, that's all taxes. They're down overall because sales tax is a smaller portion of our income when we don't buy much because of the recession and income tax goes down dramatically when you lose your job and drop a few pay brackets.

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http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=158617

 

Sestak White House scandal called 'impeachable offense'

 

'It's Valerie Plame, only bigger, a high crime and misdemeanor'

 

By Drew Zahn

© 2010 WorldNetDaily

 

If a Democratic member of Congress is to be believed, there's someone in the Obama administration who has committed a crime – and if the president knew about it, analysts say it could be grounds for impeachment.

 

"This scandal could be enormous," said Dick Morris, a former White house adviser to President Bill Clinton, on the Fox News Sean Hannity show last night. "It's Valerie Plame only 10 times bigger, because it's illegal and Joe Sestak is either lying or the White House committed a crime.

 

"Obviously, the offer of a significant job in the White House could not be made unless it was by Rahm Emanuel or cleared with Rahm Emanuel," he said. If the job offer was high enough that it also had Obama's apppoval, "that is a high crime and misdemeanor."

 

"In other words, an impeachable offense?" Hannity asked.

 

 

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You really need to wean yourself off the WND, Dano my man.  It's bad for the eyes, not to mention the adverse affects it has on brain function.  Dick Morris and Sean Hannity are also threats to your sanity.  All three put together is outright suicidal. 

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^No, that's all taxes. They're down overall because sales tax is a smaller portion of our income when we don't buy much because of the recession and income tax goes down dramatically when you lose your job and drop a few pay brackets.

 

And there is the catch...it has nothing to do with a conservative tax code.  It has everything to do with lagging income.

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Are you saying the implications implied above aren't valid if Sestak is telling the truth?  All media outlets are reporting on his allegations.  If the allegations are true, what about the commentary in the story do you find to be "insane" or wrong?

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OK, I think I've posted enough on these boards to establish that I'm no great friend of the Obama administration generally.  That said ...

 

STOP WITH THE IMPEACHMENT TALK.

 

Nip it in the bud.  Strangle it in the cradle.  Don't let it get off the ground.  Pick any other cliched metaphor.  For the love of [insert Any Random Deity Here], don't go there.  This is particularly true when we're talking about something that is illegal in the sense that speeding is illegal--yes, it's against the law, but everyone does it and most of them sleep soundly at night.  Field-clearing is a bipartisan pastime and all but impossible to police with any degree of consistency or effectiveness, and this dust-up over what both parties do consistently and shamelessly is a tempest in a teapot.  I doubt there's a presidential administration going back to Washington that is innocent of this kind of chess maneuvering.

 

Quite honestly, I was surprised to learn that there was even a law that would arguably reach and ban this kind of conduct.

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He prefers to attack the delivery, rather than address the allegations.

 

I don't want to ever see you include the word "teleprompter" in another one of your posts.

 

As far as the allegations, unlike you, I don't cream my pants everytime the conservative mainstream media thinks they have Obama caught in some grand conspiracyy, or reports on general American misfortune under his watch (whether it be economic downturn or issues with our military campaigns).

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OK, I think I've posted enough on these boards to establish that I'm no great friend of the Obama administration generally.  That said ...

 

STOP WITH THE IMPEACHMENT TALK.

 

Nip it in the bud.  Strangle it in the cradle.  Don't let it get off the ground.  Pick any other cliched metaphor.  For the love of [insert Any Random Deity Here], don't go there.  This is particularly true when we're talking about something that is illegal in the sense that speeding is illegal--yes, it's against the law, but everyone does it and most of them sleep soundly at night.  Field-clearing is a bipartisan pastime and all but impossible to police with any degree of consistency or effectiveness, and this dust-up over what both parties do consistently and shamelessly is a tempest in a teapot.  I doubt there's a presidential administration going back to Washington that is innocent of this kind of chess maneuvering.

 

Quite honestly, I was surprised to learn that there was even a law that would arguably reach and ban this kind of conduct.

 

Look, I'm not suggesting Obama will be, or should be, impeached for this.  But let's face it...Clinton was impeached for basically lying about getting head in the Oval Office.  I don't see the possibility of it being completely ridiculous in this case, if that is the precedent that has been set.  Likely, no.  But not insane.

 

Argue why it's not an impeachable offense, fine.  But to dismiss it b/c of the source...weak.

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Just checked, pants aren't creamed.  I just reported a story that has been on every mainstream news source, I just happened to like the one on Fox.  You are the one interpreting it.  I suppose you are concerned about the message based on your nervous response.  Calm down, everything will be okay.

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OK, I think I've posted enough on these boards to establish that I'm no great friend of the Obama administration generally. That said ...

 

STOP WITH THE IMPEACHMENT TALK.

 

Nip it in the bud. Strangle it in the cradle. Don't let it get off the ground. Pick any other cliched metaphor. For the love of [insert Any Random Deity Here], don't go there. This is particularly true when we're talking about something that is illegal in the sense that speeding is illegal--yes, it's against the law, but everyone does it and most of them sleep soundly at night. Field-clearing is a bipartisan pastime and all but impossible to police with any degree of consistency or effectiveness, and this dust-up over what both parties do consistently and shamelessly is a tempest in a teapot. I doubt there's a presidential administration going back to Washington that is innocent of this kind of chess maneuvering.

 

Quite honestly, I was surprised to learn that there was even a law that would arguably reach and ban this kind of conduct.

 

Look, I'm not suggesting Obama will be, or should be, impeached for this. But let's face it...Clinton was impeached for basically lying about getting head in the Oval Office. I don't see the possibility of it being completely ridiculous in this case, if that is the precedent that has been set. Likely, no. But not insane.

 

Argue why it's not an impeachable offense, fine. But to dismiss it b/c of the source...weak.

 

This isn't the court system.  Just because a "precedent" has been "set" doesn't mean that it needs to be maintained when it's a fracking stupid precedent.  I defended GWB from all the Kucinitwits with their impeachment talk, too, who made basically the same argument with respect to the alleged "high crimes and misdemeanors" of the previous administration--i.e., that Clinton was impeached for less.  Well, maybe Clinton was impeached for less, but if so, the problem was with the Clinton impeachment, not with the Bush and Obama non-impeachment.

 

Precedent is a poor substitute for merit.  I appreciate the fact that when something has been done once, it's easier to do it again.  That doesn't mean that it's right to do it again.

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Look, I'm not suggesting Obama will be, or should be, impeached for this. But let's face it...Clinton was impeached for basically lying about getting head in the Oval Office. I don't see the possibility of it being completely ridiculous in this case, if that is the precedent that has been set. Likely, no. But not insane.

 

Argue why it's not an impeachable offense, fine. But to dismiss it b/c of the source...weak.

 

In Clinton's defense, he was not impeached for lying about getting head, he was impeached for lying to Congress while under oath.  A slight difference, but a difference none the less.

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Look, I'm not suggesting Obama will be, or should be, impeached for this.  But let's face it...Clinton was impeached for basically lying about getting head in the Oval Office.  I don't see the possibility of it being completely ridiculous in this case, if that is the precedent that has been set.  Likely, no.  But not insane.

 

Argue why it's not an impeachable offense, fine.  But to dismiss it b/c of the source...weak.

 

In Clinton's defense, he was not impeached for lying about getting head, he was impeached for lying to Congress while under oath.  A slight difference, but a difference none the less.

He was impeached for lying about getting head in the Paula Jones sexual harrassment trial, not for lying to congress but yes it was under oath.

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You really need to wean yourself off the WND, Dano my man.  It's bad for the eyes, not to mention the adverse affects it has on brain function.  Dick Morris and Sean Hannity are also threats to your sanity.  All three put together is outright suicidal. 

howzabout instead of resorting to your usual slash-and-burn knee-jerk response when dealing with an allegation against Obama, we all wait for an investigation into this matter to play out to see whether or not there was wrongdoing. But I guess it's easier for you just to lash out than deal with any unpleasantness, isn't it?

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My response had nothing to do with Obama.  It was genuine concern for my dear friend's well-being.  You have to admit that you don't see a trifecta like that (WND-Hannity-Morris) all that often in one short post.  Although your plea for everyone to keep an open mind is a welcome change of course from your usual MO.

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OK, I think I've posted enough on these boards to establish that I'm no great friend of the Obama administration generally.  That said ...

 

STOP WITH THE IMPEACHMENT TALK.

 

Nip it in the bud.  Strangle it in the cradle.  Don't let it get off the ground.  Pick any other cliched metaphor.  For the love of [insert Any Random Deity Here], don't go there.  This is particularly true when we're talking about something that is illegal in the sense that speeding is illegal--yes, it's against the law, but everyone does it and most of them sleep soundly at night.  Field-clearing is a bipartisan pastime and all but impossible to police with any degree of consistency or effectiveness, and this dust-up over what both parties do consistently and shamelessly is a tempest in a teapot.  I doubt there's a presidential administration going back to Washington that is innocent of this kind of chess maneuvering.

 

Quite honestly, I was surprised to learn that there was even a law that would arguably reach and ban this kind of conduct.

 

Look, I'm not suggesting Obama will be, or should be, impeached for this.  But let's face it...Clinton was impeached for basically lying about getting head in the Oval Office.  I don't see the possibility of it being completely ridiculous in this case, if that is the precedent that has been set.  Likely, no.  But not insane.

 

Argue why it's not an impeachable offense, fine.  But to dismiss it b/c of the source...weak.

 

This isn't the court system.  Just because a "precedent" has been "set" doesn't mean that it needs to be maintained when it's a fracking stupid precedent.  I defended GWB from all the Kucinitwits with their impeachment talk, too, who made basically the same argument with respect to the alleged "high crimes and misdemeanors" of the previous administration--i.e., that Clinton was impeached for less.  Well, maybe Clinton was impeached for less, but if so, the problem was with the Clinton impeachment, not with the Bush and Obama non-impeachment.

 

Precedent is a poor substitute for merit.  I appreciate the fact that when something has been done once, it's easier to do it again.  That doesn't mean that it's right to do it again.

 

Never said it was right, only that the discussion of such isn't illigitimate.  There are certain known facts that don't make this much of a stretch.  But if you're going to argue whether he should or should not be impeached that's something else.  The merit of the law is not an effective tool for arguing why you broke it.

 

Specter converted to the Democratic party so the Senate could have a filibuster majority.

Sestak, who just defeated Specter, claims the White House offered him a position to withdraw from the race.

 

I don't find that to be all that implausable.  The White House does what it can to ensure Specter remains in office.  After all, it was his conversion that effectively got the health care bill passed, which Obama is staking his first term on.  Whethe it should or should not be illegal to make such an offer doesn't come into play here.

 

 

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http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2010/05/exclusive-senate-judiciary-committee-republicans-atorney-general-eric-holder-special-prosecutor-sestak-job-offer.html

 

Political Punch

Power, pop, and probings from ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper

 

 

Exclusive: All 7 Republicans on Senate Judiciary Committee Ask AG Holder to Appoint Special Prosecutor to Look Into Alleged Sestak Job OfferMay 26, 2010 1:19 PM

 

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder today, all seven Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee "urge the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Congressman Joe Sestak's claim that a White House official offered him a job to induce him to exit the Pennsylvania Senate primary race against Senator Arlen Specter."

 

The seven – Sens. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Jon Kyl or Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina,  John Cornyn of Texas and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma – allege that the offer would appear to violate federal criminal laws, including 18 U.S.C. 600, which prohibits promising a government position “as consideration, favor, or reward for any political activity” or “in connection with any primary election or political convention or caucus held to select candidates for any political office.”

 

 

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Other than Independence Day, which is more of a celebration than a somber occasion, I can't think of a more important day than Memorial Day for the President of the United States to be in Washington DC.

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I contend that the Republican Party is "in schism" on the issue of immigration, and that issue is fundamentally dividing the party (between the business interests and the anti-Mexican set).  Adding to this is the matter that the Republican Party has no message and no platform to present to the American voters.  Now this:

 

How Obama Haters May Help Democrats in Midterm Elections

 

by Mark Halperin, Time Magazine

 

the finale:

 

In the run-up to the 2010 midterm elections, we have already seen that the anti-Obama forces are expressing their disagreements with the Administration in terms far more personal than political, tinged with an apocalyptic irrationality. The centrifugal force exerted on conservative leaders toward the extreme wing of their party is bound to lead to even more magnified rhetoric in the next few years. The contrast between those excessive attacks and Obama's famous cool will serve him, and the Democrats, well.

 

 

Within the overheated conservative bubble there is little room for discussions of serious policy alternatives to deal with America's problems, reminders that the country is typically drawn to optimistic candidates (like Reagan and Obama) and weighty appeals to the center of the electorate. If Obama is the worst President ever, as conservatives seem to believe, why do they need to say anything more than that to take control of Congress and then get rid of him? But while the conservatives' ultimate condemnation rallies their core supporters and resonates with some centrist voters, over time it is unlikely to produce a majority against the Administration.

 

 

It can't be pleasant for Obama to be the subject of such attacks. And solving the country's major problems in a bipartisan fashion will be difficult under these rancorous circumstances. But as long as those trying to beat him are blind to the fact that tens of millions of voting Americans think Obama is doing a fine job, this President has a great ally in his enemies. 

 

http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/08599199305000;_ylt=AjswMm0bEtmtK3CF5T4UUUpH2ocA;_ylu=X3oDMTM1MjA3ajNlBGFzc2V0A3RpbWUvMjAxMDA2MDIvMDg1OTkxOTkzMDUwMDAEY2NvZGUDbW9zdHBvcHVsYXIEY3BvcwM1BHBvcwM1BHNlYwN5bl90b3Bfc3RvcmllcwRzbGsDaG93b2JhbWFoYXRl

 

 

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I think the Democratic Party is largely divided on the immigration issue, too: globalists and immigrant-rights groups vs. protectionists and unions (who disapprove of the circumvention of federal labor protections and the undercutting of the labor market).

 

But I'm not arguing that the GOP is not a house divided on this issue.  Both are.  Which is perfectly fine with me.

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The overall issue of immigration is not as partisan as people make it out to be...  The method of dealing with "illegal immigration" is much moreso and there doesn't appear to be a middle ground.

 

I also don't think that it is any shock that the radical fringes tend to push people away from their "wings".  The radical left and radical right both tend to turn off the average voter with their rhetoric and theatrics.  I just wish more people would realize that just because you have leftist views, does not make you a card carrying member of PETA, ACLU, Team Pink, whatever.  Similarly, just because you have conservative views, does not mean you own an AK-47, have a white hood stashed somewhere around your house, or a framed picture of Dick Cheney on your mantle.

 

Most Americans, I would think, are not that far from "Center".  The problem is, we have these divisive issues that have First Amendment overtones which people will never agree upon - abortion, flag burning, gay rights, etc.  We, as a Country, seem to have a major problem with agreeing to disagree.

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The problem is that with the increasing erosion of federalism over years, we're losing the institutional *ability* to agree to disagree.  We still have it on some matters--for example, concealed carry standards can vary from state to state, and in some states, even from municipality to municipality within a state (which at times might even get too cumbersome to manage, but I'd rather deal with units too small than too large, personally).  However, we don't have it with respect to some of our most divisive social and economic issues.  Sometimes there are good practical arguments in favor of that, sometimes not, but regardless of the relative justifications of the moves of various issues into the federal ambit, the fact remains that so much is decided at the federal level now that we're often stuck with one-size-fits-all policy whether it's good for the country or not.

 

But just from a practical perspective: Suppose we could agree to disagree about the Arizona law, but then New Mexico decided it wanted to go the opposite way and have every city in the state be a sanctuary city?

 

What if Louisiana wanted a complete ban on all offshore drilling and Mississippi wanted to hand offshore drilling permits out like candy on Halloween?  Is there room there for an agreement to disagree?

 

There are many issues on which I think there could and *should* be room for agreements to disagree.  I'd have no problem seeing cannabis legal in Illinois but not in Iowa, for example.  I'm perfectly fine with different concealed carry standards in different states (as long as they're all above constitutional minimums).  Unfortunately, while I do wish the federal government would let us go different ways on more matters than it does, even I will admit that not everything lends itself to going separate ways.

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I contend that the Republican Party is "in schism" on the issue of immigration, and that issue is fundamentally dividing the party (between the business interests and the anti-Mexican set).  Adding to this is the matter that the Republican Party has no message and no platform to present to the American voters. 

 

1.  I don't think the immigration issue, at least in regards to Arizona's law, is really dividing anyone.  There are disssenters, but it's mostly supported by majorities in both parties.

 

2.  The message and platform is simple:  The economy is bad; we need to cut spending and stop expanding government.  The EU is paving the way for what America should NOT do.  Spending and high taxes are causing governments to default and it's crushing the European economy...and Obama is following the European economic model that is about to fail.  So let's do something else, like take alook at the government more like what it has become - a business - and balance the budget and work out efficiencies in government programs to reduce debt and get the econmoy moving again.

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So let's do something else, like take alook at the government more like what it has become - a business - and balance the budget and work out efficiencies in government programs to reduce debt and get the econmoy moving again.

 

Don't forget about world peace too ;)

 

Things are easier said than done folks.  Nobody.... let me say that again, NOBODY.... is against a balanced budget.  Nobody is aganst getting the economy moving again.  Nobody wants inefficient government.  Nobody is trying to pull the plug on Granny.

 

Our biggest problem today is distrust amongst the various factions.  All these ulterior motives getting tossed about usually only exist in the minds of those pointing the finger... a sort of "you smelt it, you dealt it" scenario.  We have to accept that we are far from homogeneous and we think about things from different angles and view situations from very different perspectives.  And we are better for it.

 

To me, the moment we all start to think alike is the moment we stop being Americans.

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The message and platform is simple:  The economy is bad; we need to cut spending and stop expanding government.  The EU is paving the way for what America should NOT do.  Spending and high taxes are causing governments to default and it's crushing the European economy...and Obama is following the European economic model that is about to fail.  So let's do something else, like take alook at the government more like what it has become - a business - and balance the budget and work out efficiencies in government programs to reduce debt and get the economy moving again.

 

This is completely incorrect assessment of what is happening in Europe.  There is a vast difference between the southern European economies that are suffering from an inability to adjust prices because they don't control their own currency and the northern European states who don't need the currency to inflate.  There's vast differences between the fiscally irresponsible Greek government and the fiscally responsible but trapped Spanish government who can't adequately respond to the effects of their housing bubble.

 

There are many ways to view the present US and world economy, but the primary characteristic of the current US economy is a high unemployment rate.  Immediately balancing the budget and dropping the unemployment rate are two things you can't do at the same time.  I'm not sure why balancing the budget is a present priority since it hasn't been balanced since before 2001.  Certainly an unbalanced budget didn't cause the massive unemployment we see today.

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There are many ways to view the present US and world economy, but the primary characteristic of the current US economy is a high unemployment rate. Immediately balancing the budget and dropping the unemployment rate are two things you can't do at the same time. I'm not sure why balancing the budget is a present priority since it hasn't been balanced since before 2001. Certainly an unbalanced budget didn't cause the massive unemployment we see today.

 

I agree that an unbalanced budget didn't cause the massive unemployment that we see today, any more than the balanced budgets of the late 90s caused the extremely high employment of that period.  Where we really disagree is on the point that "the primary characteristic of the current U.S. economy is a high unemployment rate."  The U.S. economy has many characteristics (and not all of them are bad, though most are less than stellar at the moment).  The federal deficit is one of them, and it has been growing in salience simply because it's been growing so much in size, and because we're seeing other countries suffer greatly because of unsustainable, deficit-financed spending when the spigot is finally cut off.

 

People point out that America is not Greece because America controls its currency and therefore can inflate its way out of its debt.  True--but that prospect is extremely galling for people like myself who save aggressively, and inflation has proven ruinous even to those with no savings when it gets above a certain point.  The Carter years are fading from memory, but they shouldn't be.

 

There are other major characteristics of the American economy besides unemployment and the federal deficit, too.  The deficit is the one that worries me the most, however.  It isn't just the inflation temptation, either, though that's certainly part of it.  In a broader sociological sense, the federal government's profligate borrowing acts as a social signal to the rest of the country that spending more than you have year in and year out is perfectly fine, even if you have no plan to pay it back and are simply borrowing to finance current consumption.  All you need is a good excuse as to why such-and-such item on your wish list "can't wait."  As a bankruptcy attorney, this hits very close to home for me, because this is how a great many people get themselves into trouble.  Yes, the federal government is not a typical consumer because the consumer, like Greece, cannot print money to pay back debt with devalued money.  The mentality is the same, however, and the consequences of printing money to pay debts is more subtle than default or restructuring, but in many ways just as dire.  In addition, it's very hard to impress upon people the importance of self-restraint (particularly when self-restraint means a lower standard of living in the short term than one could enjoy by borrowing beyond one's means) when the nation's leaders simply will not practice it.

 

Personally, I believe America should have more than a balanced budget.  If anything, we should be the world's largest creditor nation.  We were once.  The population of the time did not appear to be incredibly miserable for the experience (certainly not significantly less happy than today with the crushing debt burdens of our stimulus, bailouts, entitlements, and other big-ticket programs).

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