RANGER AGAINST WAR: Comes a Time <

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Comes a Time

My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors' 
--Mending Wall, Robert Frost

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere.
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity. 
--The Second Coming, W. B. Yeats 

Comes a time
when you're driftin'
Comes a time
when you settle down 
--Comes a Time, Neil Young

 Can I look at myself without a word,
without an image,
 without pride?-- 
J. Krishnamurti
 _________________________

There comes a time when we need to stand up responsibly in our own personal lives, and as citizens and neighbors.Or not.

This responsibility is what makes us human; it makes us good citizens. Oh, right, those amorialists among us would dismiss this call to responsibility and call goodness as naive, conservative, or some other vile thing, because "good" is something different to everyone, right? Can't impose goodness; there's no postage stamp celebrating it. But if we are going to be real, let us guess at what being a good citizen is.

We can start with simple goodness: He does not blast his music into his neighbor's yard, and especially not into the evening hours. He restrains his animals, and honors property lines. He basically is not a blight upon the neighborhood, blight being imposing his predilections upon others in his immediate proximity. Goodness beyond that would be opening oneself to one's neighbor as such; this is not required, however. Simple cessation of offense is neighborly.

Beyond this, we need define to ourselves what being a good citizen means. Being a citizen is not an optional designation (for those who choose not to become expatriots); you are a citizen, now, how to make that "good"? Obviously one abides by the basic dictates of citizenship -- recognizing that you do have a responsibility for taking part in the upkeep of your nation. If you do not do that in a hands-on manner, at least you pay taxes, which fund others to do the work. No one likes crumbling bridges or decaying water lines.

What motivated Ranger to write this essay? It is time for him to stand before the mirror and acknowledge some painful insights. This is something he believes we should all do if we believe in the core values that constitute America. Yes ... the scolds among us will mock the very idea.  "Core values", they smirk? Like slavery and women's subjugation? No, we have moved past that, and we have legislated our way out, to the degree that equality can be legislated.

The problem these days is that the things that make us free men are as identifiable as a river crossing covered by a division-level smoke generating company. Our lives are lived over river crossings smoked to conceal both our behavior and that of the enemy. The enemy, as construed by your media, is you, and reality, in no special order.

We live this adversarial relationship every day we read the papers and engage in the rodeo du jour. Oh, today President Obama is a "Bad Man" for his cronyism;, or his "weird penchant for discussing ultra-serious topics, ranging from rape to Benghazi, on late-night comedy shows"; flip that idea for next week's "news". But we citizens are not the enemy -- we are supposed to be the friendlies. Freedom thrives only when leaders and people are observable and accountable. We supposedly took politics out of Boss Tweed's smoke-filled back rooms for a reason, but we are back to secrecy for national security's sake. Unfortunately, we do noty realize that accountability can be had without jeopardizing the safety of the entity you are ostensible protecting.

On the national level, responsibility is not defined by voting for narrow, niche interests, yet more than ever that is the thing that seems to motivate us up off the couch. Who addresses the core issue, either citizen or candidate? We cannot have better candidates until we become better citizens. How to do this?

One must look into the mirror and ask, "Do I have the strength, wisdom, courage and conviction to tell the truth?" One may do this in one's private realm, and also the public. Rhetorical questions may be helpful: "Would I, given the absolute knowledge that an agency were operating in a manner detrimental to our general well-being, disclose classified materials? Could I stand up to the government steamroller?"

Think of the probably thousands of people run over by government tanks in China's Tienanman Square in 1989. It is another aspect of the question: must truth-telling be a sacrificial act? Given a society or a relationship which encourages the health of the system over secret one-sided gain, the answer would be "no". Given a culture which rewards robust competition, that more wholesome friendly participation is not the norm.

Oh, but we have the problem again of the words: "wholesome" and "friendly". The conservatives are happy to define and own the words as a part of their platform, but they do so in a constricted fashion; the liberal's response is to throw the baby out with the bathwater. "Who dares to define 'wholesome'?", they would attack, in a very sophisticated manner, making the one who wishes to use that as a yardstick for functional behavior seem like a hayseed for even trying. Words denoting health and harmony have sadly become by needs, the realm of the religious, the naive, the Conservative cadging for votes among the marks.

But ideas like "responsible", "wholesome" and "friendly" should be part of a functional democracy; if we have let them go in the name of liberality, we are flailing for a reason. You know what the words mean, and the educated among us more or less hew to them (as serves their purposes), but they do not let on to the others that they form a part of the fabric which is the secret underpinning to success.

Sadly the majority of the well-off who understand these terms just smile at the degradation of The Others and call it freedom, but it is their own freedom to make a profit off of the groundling's lunacy. But in the mobius strip that is modernity, we are labeled "loons" for criticizing any behavior as "aberrant", and not wanting to appear retrograde, we shut up.

We treat whistle-blowers like espionage agents, ground like cockroaches in a TexMex bar. If we were real, we would say that Secret Federal Courts and secret military tribunals are more in the evolutionary line of Nazi courts than they are in the liberal tradition of Western law. Who will stand against this, and what do we label such people?

What sort of a Democrat are you?

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41 Comments:

Blogger FDChief said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 10:52:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

But ideas like "responsible", "wholesome" and "friendly" should be part of a functional democracy; if we have let them go in the name of liberality, we are flailing for a reason.

I'd argue that "liberals" (again with these cartoon liberals around here...) don't refute or deny that there are boundaries. Their boundaries are different from "conservatives".

I think the problem you're struggling with is "where do you draw the line".

For example; I think that secret prisons aren't "wholesome". I think that the current U.S. level of tolerance for putting people in secret prisons is ridiculously high.

But the only people fighting these secret prisons are the farthest Left liberals, people that the mainstream Democratic Party considers dirty hippies and the GOP considers outright traitors, worse than 1,000 Bradley Mannings.

So how does that square with "liberals" jettisoning "wholesome" as a social standard?

But...there are a LOT of other people in the U.S. who are fine with such prisons. Or secret courts. OR "targeted killings".

How am I going to ever agree on a standard of "wholesome" with those people, both of us seeing ourselves as patriotic U.S. citizens?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 11:04:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

So I'm tempted to agree with you that much of what I see in the U.S. is beyond what I'd agree is "responsible" or "wholesome".

If it was up to me I'd flat-out ban "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" (and 99% of all other "reality" television for that matter...), the 15% tax rate on interest income, practically everything on MTV and VH-1, car stereos capable of being picked up on seismographs, fat people wearing spandex, The 700 Club, pedophile priests, gay bashing, and anything involving hipsters drinking PBR.

But...who says I get to make those decisions?

Who DOES get to make those decisions?

I may not like seeing waggling bottoms in rap videos. I sure as hell do everything I can to hammer into MY kids that a woman's bottom is important because there's a woman attached to it and not as a piece of meat. I'd like to live in a country that didn't encourage people to think like that.

But...

How to push back the current standards and NOT go all the way back to putting that butt into a pair of baggy bloomers? Or treating that butt like some sort of Holy Hand Grenade of Sin? How do you change the standards without teaching my daughter to be ashamed of her butt, or ashamed of herself?

Because when you look around at the cultures that DO work hard at punishing the sort of butt-waggling exhibitionism they usually use some pretty harsh measures, and mostly on the women belonging to the butts rather than the man behind the camera or the man in the director's chair or the man writing the checks to the company paying for all that butt-waggling...

And that's just about music videos. How the hell do you find some sort of "community standards" on everything from tax policy to gay marriage?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 11:22:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Chief,
Let's not talk the hot button issues used by both political viewpoints.
Let's stick to what is a little more concrete and palpable.
Let's just get back to basics -the things that u mentioned.
Things like secret prisons and all the related garbage.
If that cannot be resolved then the rest of the stuff is OBE.
jim

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 12:45:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Chief,

Using your tush example, the very reasons you are hesitant to even approach the issue reveal the hardcore lack of liberalism in our society.

A liberal society could talk about self-respect without having to wait for Madonna or Whitney Houston to say, "Respect yo'self", or "The greatest love of all is" -- loving me (knowing what fans we both are of Ms. Houston.) The society that was free would hold men as accountable for degradation and objectification as it holds the woman.

It would not have to take a phony circuitous route that tells women, "Self objectification is your right", and then hopes that girls and women settle at some reasonable limit (there's that pesky word, "reasonable".) You state that any discussion of standards would likely send us back to the chastity belt. Why is that?

ISTM that is a sort of fear. Why can't we say that rapper Nelly's "Tip Drill" sliding a credit card down a women's backside is not O.K.? If you don't teach your daughter, who will?

Didn't our parents mentor us in ways to think productively? We may outgrow it, but the architecture is there. I would say your father's lessons and example are the reason you are a good man, no?

To Jim: I'd argue the obverse -- if you cannot find a common cause and a moral ground, how DO you expect to spontaneously understand that secret prisons are not o.k.? Anything goes, right? Oh, and they must have been "bad men" who deserved such treatment.

Moreover, with no morality, "getting by" becomes the higher social imperative; people who get caught and shuttered away are just plain stupid, yes?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 5:23:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

jim: Like I said; if I was Emperor of the U.S. the "Patriot Act" and all the related sneaking and snooping would be among the first things I'd 86.

But...look at what's going on in D.C.; my Senators are running around like their hair is on fore telling people that if they knew what was REALLY going on in these secret intel programs they'd lose their shit. And they can't even get a majority of their own colleagues to agree to try and force the Executive Branch to tell We the People what they're doing...

How do you think it'd play out if we put it to a vote; you wanna bet that there'd be a huge minority that voted for the secrecy? I would.

How are you going to get any sort of broad agreement on what you and I would consider a sane level of secrecy with that going on?

Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 8:46:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

Lisa: Here's the thing, though: I do "...hold men as accountable for degradation and objectification as it holds the woman." More so; I hold my gender to a pretty high standard. We get more of the goodies and more of the power and wealth - we should respond by showing the greater responsibility.

But that's not the issue you're making here; it's trying to get the U.S. as a society to do that. And, clearly, there are as many people on the other side of this issue as there are on "mine".

And the question comes down to; who gets to decide? If I get to be the Social Morals Proctor all that butt-waggling would get the chop.

But what if it turns out to be Reverend Pantisniffer from Bugtussle, whose idea of decency is enforcing sodomy laws on married couples and outlawing vasectomies and contraceptive devices so God's babies and bloom in every womb across the land? Where would HE draw the line?

No argument that I don't like a hell of a lot of pop culture. I don't think that a lot of it is "OK". I teach my kiddos that, that's my way of fighting back.

But when you ask someone to "do something" about the credit-card-butt-crack sliding you open the door to a hell of a lot of possibilities. You might get me, and then those buttcracks would be covered but still nestled in a bikini bottom. But if you get Reverend Pantisniffer you might end up in a chador (and jim still gets his Speedo because the Lord reveres a Man's Potentcy, right?) instead.

Don't get me wrong; I'm agreeing that 1) I think that a hell of a lot of pop culture is damn sleazy and degrading and 2) I wish I could "do something" about that.

My problem is that I ALSO see the can of worms we would probably open "doing something"...

I don't have a good answer. It's really all I've got for you. All I can say is that I'm doing what I can in my little family, community, and school...

Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 8:57:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

Chief, I actually hear you/feel you on all of this. However, as Lisa asks, why must the extremes be the only options?

Also, one of my main gripes with cartoon liberalism is that it seems to believe we are a direct democracy - if the people frantically want this or that then we have to make this or that law/policy.

This isn't true. We are a *Constitutional* republic.

It doesn't matter if a bunch of us are wetting our panties in fear of terrorist attacks or whatever. The Constitution has something to say about all the stuff we want to do to, ostensibly, keep ourselves safe from the boogey men.

The Constitution, man. The ignoring of which is where I take as much issue with liberals as I do with conservatives. Both sides want to pretend it doesn't exist whenever pushing for an implementation of their view of how life should be lived. Both sides have declared the C irrelevant. Bush says it's just an old piece of paper, but the lib.s say the same, adding - and thus denigrating - that it was created by a bunch of old white elitist slave holders.

If we had the courage and conviction to uphold the C, then a lot of our problems would dissipate. The C should be a rallying point for Americans.

Currently, the debate in this country seems to me to be about what kind of concepts should replace the C. Hence the intensity.

Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 9:10:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

P.S. I like to think that conservatives want to conserve the original ideas put forth in the C better than progressives; who want to "progress" beyond it. I know it is not that clear cut. I resent having to make a choice based on extremist thought.

Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 9:14:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

To Chief, and no1,
I'd suggest as i always have that the center is not holding in the US.
What Chief describes as the far left REALLY SHOULD BE THE CENTER LEFT.
We should all be on board with no torture, no elective aggressive wars and all attendant beliefs.
If the center would hold then the rest of the stuff we are discussing would be mere irritants and just out there as our society has always had it's outliers.
Who cares what the extremes advocate or do IF THE CENTER OF BOTH PARTIES HELD FIRM?
The point is that both parties are so far out of whack that we'll not ever reorient without a major incentive, which in the US always equates to something bad happening.
Just look at how we lost our cookies over something as simple as 9-11.
That's my take.
jim

Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 10:30:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

no one: The problem with that logic is that the Constitution isn't the winds. It's just the course. The Framers were smart enough to understand (unlike its ridiculous "originalist" interpreters) that the United States, assuming it lasted long enough, was likely to confront issues completely unforeseeable to them. Therefore they intentially made the document broad enough to accomodate the changes that would accompany those issues.

BUT...this means that a LOT of the Constitution (and the amendments - just look at the huge variety of opinion regarding what exactly the Second Amendment means...) isn't directly applicable to solving "who gets to decide" about everything from secret prisons to butt-crack-credit-card-sliding.

Not to mention that in some cases, there really IS only "the extreme". Torture is torture; it's forbidden under the Bill of Rights. ANY torture is torture and, if you are intent on following the letter of Constitutional law should require the indictment, prosecution, and (if convicted) sentencing of the torturers and those who commanded the torture.

And, yet...where are we?

So I disagree on "replacing" the Constitution with something else. Instead it's the same old fighting over the legal system we choose and our courts rule fits within Constitutional guidelines. Just as there were people in 1858 who argued that it should be legal to own a human being because of the economic realities there are those today who argue that it should be legal to torture one because of the politico-military realities.

Again; this comes back to "who gets to decide".

Pre-"movement conservative" days we had a pretty solid social "center" that agreed on a hell of a lot. Some of it was pretty nasty - in those days we were happy to have the CIA skulking about deposing and assassinating furriners we didn't like - but we at least agreed on quite a bit.

When the GOP opened the Big Tent to the Birchers and the remnants of the American Aparthied movement and the anti-flouridationists that consensus went out the window. The old "social liberal/economic conservative" Republicans became RINOs and were driven out.

Right now the GOP has to tremble in fear of the flying monkeys of the Far Left. You can't agree to raise the debt ceiling without getting primaried by someone who thinks that the Congressional Democrats are secretly planning to enact Agenda 21 and steal all our golf.

That's made it damn near impossible to return to any sort of "non-extreme" solution.

Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 10:46:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

jim: see my reply to no one above.

The political "center" in the U.S. has shifted so far right that I, who grew up in the Sixties and Seventies, can barely recognize it. This is a tremendous victory for a political faction - the former Taft Republicans, the commie-hunting, "Who Lost China", taxation-is-theft wing of the GOP.

I WISH that there was a "Far Left" in the U.S. with the sort of influence to pull things back towards the actual center, but for all the made-up nonsense about job-killing, tax-mad, do-it-if-it-feels-good liberals look around at the actual "liberals"; Clinton with NAFTA and welfare reform, Obama with Romneycare, secret prisons, drone wars, and widespread spying. This is the Left Wing that is "so far out of whack"?

The sad part, jim, is that is IS the "center" of both parties that have coalesced around the Washington Rules, that is fine with all that spying and bombing and offshoring and giving-tax-money-to-needy-corporations-but-not-to-needy-negroes. It's only the whackaloon Right and Left - the crazy Paulite Right and the incoherent and impractical Green Party Left - that even attempt to shake this nasty imperial consensus.

So...I wish I had a better answer for you. But as you probably know, I'm convinced that this country is in deep, deep trouble, and the fact that I can't find a good answer to this problem has a lot to do with why I believe that...

Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 10:54:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

Correction: "Right now the GOP has to tremble in fear of the flying monkeys of the Far Left." should read "...flying monkeys of the Far RIGHT."

Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 10:56:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Flying monkeys hew to all political stripes; I’d suggest that was Freudian, but I am provocateur :)

As far as legislating what is civil – healthy behavior, we do this when it behooves us. I came across a relic from Nixon’s presidency last night, The defunct Office of Noise Abatement and Control (PNAC)[thank you Uncle Ronnie].

“But several years following the passage of The Noise Control Act of 1972, this 60-person bureau, anchoring the middle concern of the EPA’s Office of Air, Noise, and Radiation, was not only flexing some regulatory muscle and protecting Americans from the health impacts of ever-increasing noise levels, but also pursuing loftier goals.”The Looming Death of Natural Silence.

I see noblesse oblige is not dead, which is gratifying (“We get more of the goodies and more of the power and wealth - we should respond by showing the greater responsibility.”)

This is too black-and-white: “giving-tax-money-to-needy-corporations-but-not-to-needy-negroes.” Blacks are not the only needy people in our country, and I’d suggest that more assistance has been geared to specifically helping blacks après-civil rights than whites. Needy is needy.

Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 2:25:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

"We should all be on board with no torture, no elective aggressive wars and all attendant beliefs."

Well, sure Jim. But who isn't on board with that other than a few Dr. Strangloves, who, I admit tend to be found on the right. I still think they are a small minority these days - though you would have found a few more of them 10 or 12 years ago.

Let's not forget that a lot of progressives were for the recent wars - though they tried to couch their blood lust enthusiasm in terms less barbaric than revenge or imperialism. Something about bringing democracy and women's rights, if I recall.....

"What Chief describes as the far left REALLY SHOULD BE THE CENTER LEFT"

As far as torture and war and drone killings and domestic spying/eavesdropping go, yes. Agreed. Again, I try to talk to a lot of people of many different stripes and I don't hear very many thinking what the government is doing in this regard is ok. Oddly, now that their man is in office, I hear more lefties excusing the government's behavior than back in the Bush days.

Who is it that thinks these things are good? Do you personally know anyone who does? I don't.

I know a few talking heads/pundits who are down with it. We all know they are paid mouthpieces.

So almost nobody likes what the gov't is up to, but progressives spend their time jawing off about Trayvon and gay marriage. And how we need more govt to get us all of the equality and shit we want. Gov't does bad, but we need more of it. Disconnect anyone?

The right wing?I dunno. They seem to want to keep gov't small and out of our lives and wallets. I can dig that.

Starve the beast seems reasonable if it's an evil beast.

Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 3:38:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

Getting back to the C, I would say that the notion of small gov't - federal at least - is in line with the spirit of the thing.

Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 3:45:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

Lisa: "This is too black-and-white: “giving-tax-money-to-needy-corporations-but-not-to-needy-negroes.”"

I'm not sure what's too black-and-white about it. Look at the ridiculous Farm Bill the House GOP crafted; billions for agribusiness but not one cent for food stamps. Hey, I like farmers too, but the quid-pro-quo for years was that the liberals were willing to kick down bucks for Flav-r-pac if the GOP would knock out a couple of dollars for the po' folk. The House GOP - terrified by those flying monkeys I was talking about - decided that "compromise is for pussies" and axed the food stamps.

Seems pretty black-and-white to me.

"Blacks are not the only needy people in our country, and I’d suggest that more assistance has been geared to specifically helping blacks après-civil rights than whites. Needy is needy."

First; yes, poor people come in all colors,

Second; no, there is no evidence that it's any easier to get public assistance if you're not white, and,

Third; one of the biggest problems with the rise of the Regressive Right has been the obsession with the notion that you've just cited - that somehow public assistance is a negro racket. Go all the way back to Reagan's "Welfare Queen" and black bucks buying steaks with food stamps. The reality is that us white folk take the lion's share of public assistance. The myth is that programs like SNAP and unemployment insurance exist to take white folks' tax dollars and give them to the negroes.

Until we can drive a stake through that canard we'll be fighting this damn fight over and over until Doomsday...

Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 4:22:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

"The right wing?I dunno. They seem to want to keep gov't small and out of our lives and wallets. I can dig that.

Starve the beast seems reasonable if it's an evil beast."


I'm not sure where to start with the crazy contained in these three sentences. Let's start with this one:

"evil beast"

You know we live in a republic, right? Our government isn't forced upon us by a foreign power, or the end result of a monarchical coup. We vote for the fucker and everything. Our government is, in teh end, what we're willing to fight for it to be and make it be.

This notion of "government isn't the solution it's the problem" is among the most pernicious lies every invented and, I can't avoid pegging it where it emerged, it's square on the modern movement-conservative GOP. It's an excuse for letting or making your government govern badly.

Because the bottom line is that in a large, wealthy, powerful nation there will always be big players vying for power and wealth. If you "keep government small and out of your lives and wallets" what will you get?

Pastoral peace?

No.

You'll get Megacorp moving in next door and deciding that the neighboring property is just perfect for a high-level radiation waste disposal facility. It will be Mammoth Mining dumping sludge into your water and toxins into your air. It will be FlamoBaby making your kids' clothing out of flash paper because it's cheaper.

Meanwhile it'll be your neighbor who decides to raise pigs next to your day-care center or race his street rod down your residential street.

It'll be JetHummer Air that decides to skimp on engine maintenance the week your family flies to Florida for vacation...

In other words, what will replace the government - the one organization you CAN influence, at least in some small ways - will be large economic organizations, businesses, and other groups or individuals, many of whom will be richer and more powerful than you are.

I mean, IF drowning government in the bathtub would mean that my life would be simpler and less stressful I'd be all for it. But that would assume that the powerful entities that the government is useful for engaging and containing some of their worst impulses are equally interested in my welfare and not their own or their bottom line. And I have no idea how anyone would believe that.

Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 4:34:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

Speaking of flying monkeys.... The left has had its chance. It's Nobel Peace Price awarded champion was elected X2 and he has not only taken over the driver's seat from right wing Bush, he's headed down the same road and stepped on the accelerator so as to get there faster.

At some point, where the rubber hits the road, we need to get realistic.

We need someone more left than BHO? Yes, surely that is the answer. There must be a budding Pol Pot or Mao out there, just waiting for the right moment in some commune (maybe a commune in the PNW) to emerge and save the day.

Good luck getting that guy elected.

More better lefties, indeed.

At some point, where the rubber hits the road, we need to get realistic.

Until then the only realistic plan is to starve the beast.

Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 4:38:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

"As far as legislating what is civil – healthy behavior, we do this when it behooves us. I came across a relic from Nixon’s presidency last night, The defunct Office of Noise Abatement and Control"

You make my point for me, Lisa.

This "behooved us" back during the end of the era I'm talking about; the Great Political Peace that was destroyed by the civil rights era, the defection of the Dixiecrats to the GOP and the rise of the Regressive Republican Party.

For a brief period - from the late Sixties to the early Eighties - we had people on both Left and Right that agreed that the problems we were creating to our air, land, and water should be managed better. We created agencies like the EPA and OSHA and the FHWA to deal with industrial and commercial acts that - while they were very profitable to the individual businesses - were not in the public interest.

Remember Love Canal?

Yeah, that stuff. "We" all agreed that making sure we didn't have more Love Canals was a good thing.

Then came the "Reagan Revolution". Regulation = bad. "Free Enterprise" = good. Things like your noise pollution office, regulating those noisy businesses?

Bad.

So in 1981 the director of ONAC was informed that the Office of Management and Budget was eliminating all funding for ONAC per executive order. Congress that year obligingly zeroed out the ONAC budget.

Then-President Reagan said that he was doing this because "noise pollution was merely a state and local matter."

Problem? The State of Oregon has about 1/10th the budget of, say, Boeing-Vertol. Or Intel. Or Microsoft.

So by killing the federal regulatory agency the de-regulators effectively left the noise pollutors "regulate" themselves.

How well do you think that worked?

Hmmm...

Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 4:44:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

"You'll get Megacorp moving in next door and deciding that the neighboring property is just perfect for a high-level radiation waste disposal facility. It will be Mammoth Mining dumping sludge into your water and toxins into your air. It will be FlamoBaby making your kids' clothing out of flash paper because it's cheaper."

Megacorp, Megagovt......what's the difference? They're both going to screw me and you. In fact, I think they are same entity.

Until you can tell me how to make them separate, you can save all your high falutin' ideology for fellow dreamers.

I know, I know....."Maybe I'm a dreamer, but baby I'm not the only one.....".

"the one organization you CAN influence"

Really. Vote for crazy megacorp prop #1 or crazy megacorp prop #2.

Again, how did "yes we can" work out for you?


Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 4:45:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

Look, guys. We can stand around here all day debating the pros and cons of small government versus large, more regulation versus less, who did what to whom when and all we're going to do is end up shouting our original ideas at each other; there's not much room for change when the viewpoints are so mutable.

But the original question you asked in your post, jim and Lisa, was "why can't we come up with a working agreement on things like "responsibile", "wholesome", and "friendly". And I'd suggest that a lot of that is that there is little or no agreement in modern U.S. society about exactly what each of those words MEAN, much less what constitutes "responsible", "wholesome", or "friendly" behavior. I can tell you that what they would mean to me is very different from their meaning to Reverend Pantisniffer or to the hippie hanging out his crib down in Eugene.

You get that sort of agreement when you have a very homogeneous society. That's Japan. And they have tentacle rape.

Us? Ain't ever gonna happen.

Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 4:52:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

"Megacorp, Megagovt......what's the difference? They're both going to screw me and you. In fact, I think they are same entity."

Only if we let them.

If we wanted to kick the crony capitalists out of government we could. Public fund elections. Outlaw lobbying. Force disclosure of political contributions and prohibit all of them above a tiny amount. Prohibit the easy employment of former government officials in businesses and business execs in government.

All sorts of people have suggested all sorts of ways to get the damn corporations out of the government's pocket; if you really think that they're "the same entity" you're either being silly, deliberately blowing smoke, or should have stayed awake in goddamn American Government class.

And you're seriously saying that you don't see the difference between a mining company dumping slag in your drinking water and the EPA trying to stop them?

If so suggest you need to stop drinking that water. Or that Kool-ade. It's making your brain all soft and squishy.

"Until you can tell me how to make them separate, you can save all your high falutin' ideology for fellow dreamers."

I just did.

If you think that's "high falutin' ideology for fellow dreamers" you're the sort of simple sonofabitch the crony capitalists dream of - a walking mark with a "fleece me" sign taped to your ass.

The notion that we need to keep government, business, and religion all out of each other's pockets is democracy 101, it's what the Founders and Framers expected us to do; to keep faction and private interests from controlling our government.

But your "oh, they're all evil and bad" is the sort of thinking that's given us the government we have now, deeply in hock to the big monied interests that really DON'T have your and my best interests in mind, other than as a sort of meat ATM machine to extract profits.

Hey, I'm all for profit. I just don't want my banker to be able to use my government to squeeze it out of me.

And how the hell did we get here from the original point of this post?

Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 5:08:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

"Again, how did "yes we can" work out for you?"

For me? Enh. Better than it would have under a President McCain and Lady Nutball of the Northwoods.

But I don't get this. For all the "Change" and "Yes we can" bullshit rhetoric what we have in the White House and Congress are pretty much what 40 years ago would have been Eisenhower Republicans.

I am baffled by the amount of ire being thrown at this President. I don't particularly have any affection for him and his policies - they're too conservative for my liking, especially economically, where the Obamites suck up to Big Finance like a goddamn vacuum cleaner - but he's about the same exact place, politics and economics-wise, as Ike was. And nobody seems to be trying to insist that the late 1950's were some sort of hell on Earth.

I just don't get it, guys...

Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 5:13:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

"Our government is, in teh end, what we're willing to fight for it to be and make it be."

I think this may be the problem.

Our Constitution - which spells out our system of gov't and our civil liberties? Yes, sure. That is something to fight for.

The gov't itself? No. Wrong. We do not fight for Bush or BHO or Ted Kennedy or Orin Hatch or Nixon or whomever gets elected next cycle. They are supposed to fight for us.

"We vote for the fucker and everything"

This just amazes me. Did you vote for being spied on and tracked by the NSA? Did you vote for drone assassinations? Did you vote for GITMO? Did you vote for cont. war in Islamic lands?

Come on. Tell me how your vote is goin' change things. Who do you figure the candidates will be in 2016? Which ones will stop the shit you hate and start the shit you love? Even a little of it when it comes to the things that count?

How many times do you have to be lied to before you wake up?

Yes we can....LOL

Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 5:16:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

Chief, I still feel you, but seriously, "If we wanted to kick the crony capitalists out of government we could. Public fund elections. Outlaw lobbying. Force disclosure of political contributions and prohibit all of them above a tiny amount. Prohibit the easy employment of former government officials in businesses and business execs in government."

And the foxes confess that it was they who ate the chickens and they go home and some vegetarian kangaroos take over guarding the hen house.

Not going to happen.

Seriously. How do you get the crooks to stop stealing when they make that laws that govern themselves and when stealing is paying off real nice year after year?

Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 5:21:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

And that is my point. Either show me how to fix it and then start fixing it - or starve the motherfucker to death. Since you can't do the former, then let's try the latter.

I do not think this is a redux of the Ike years. I do not recall from history books (I wasn't alive then) Ike torturing, starting wars of choice ........ gov't was a lot smaller. Deficits were a lot smaller. The economy was a lot better. How far do you want me to go with the list of things that were different and, arguably, better under Ike than BHO? I don't a comparison at all between the two men or their presidencies.

Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 5:27:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

"But the original question you asked in your post, jim and Lisa, was "why can't we come up with a working agreement on things like "responsibile", "wholesome", and "friendly". And I'd suggest that a lot of that is that there is little or no agreement in modern U.S. society about exactly what each of those words MEAN, much less what constitutes "responsible", "wholesome", or "friendly" behavior."

Yeah, You're right. We are just shouting original immutable positions at each other.

So back to the original question about civility.......we can't agree any more because the Ike years are gone. We are now truly multicultural and with so many cultures having equal say we get a big assortment of perspective on what civil or not or even if civil matters.

With modern liberalism we are not allowed to call something ugly and uncivil as it is. Rather we must be accepting. The culture degrades predictably.

It's kind of like modern so called art. Even a monkey can create it by throwing shit at a canvas. Who dares say that it isn't the equivalent of Rembrandt?

Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 5:35:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

Last word from me today - going back to something I missed upthread - is that, sure, you get the EPA blocking some negative externality (as we economists types call it), but the same gov't bails out the banksters that funded the megacorp that dumped the chemicals in your drinking water in the first place. And while you're feeling good about saving your family from toxic shit in your water (they have to throw you a bone once in a while, doggie) they're off on the next big money making scheme - maybe involving starting a land war in Asia. Your kid, that you saved from the toxic dumping by voting for the EPA friendly candidate, can't pay for college loans because the job opportunities are so dismal because the gov't/bankster/megacorp alliance , in its quest for ever increasing profits, sent all of the jobs overseas whiling issuing bogus home loans that ruined the housing industry, which, as a lynchpin of the economy, dragged everything down further. So he - your kid - joins the military to pay for college and after graduation gets sent to Asia to fight said senseless war and gets killed or mutilated. You get upset and join some antiwar protests. The gov't doesn't like to be criticized, especially by a veteran (in your case). So they use all of their surveillance technology to spy on you and get/manufacture some dirt. You get put on some lists. All of the sudden you are fired from your job or you get your door kicked down. You get hassled at airports. You're on a blacklist. If you've been loud enough and persistent and persuasive enough in your protests you are accused of having sex with an underage girl or something like that. You're ruined.

You should have stayed home, happily gnawing on your EPA bone and forgetting wars and torture and all that; it gov't business after all and they know best.

Now, was the gov't helpful or unhelpful to you in the balance? Is that a gov't that represents you or not?



Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 6:11:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

OK I lied. Back on the original topic.....

"There comes a time when we need to stand up responsibly in our own personal lives, and as citizens and neighbors.Or not."

Not. Not any more.

There was a time when immigrants wanted to be good Americans. I used to listen to the stories of one old man (a WW1 vet) that had come to this country in 1916. He immediately enlisted to fight in the war. Afterwards he got married and set out to make a life for himself and his family in his new homeland. He told me that every day he and his wife (who was from his native country) would sit down and study and learn some new English words. On the weekends they would go to upper scale department stores and watch Americans; how they acted what they purchased. They sought to imitate these behaviors because they wanted to be GOOD AMERICANS. They had children and worked hard (tailor was his profession). They would take the children on these department store excursions and have them observe and learn. The children went on to become college educated professionals - a lawyer, an engineer and a doctors wife who organized and managed the doctor's office. The Doctor himself was an immigrant's son from the same origin.

No longer. All of that would be considered "square" and "conservative". Now it is considered better to maintain one's cultural identity - even if that culture was inferior and non-productive. Moral equivalence, cultural equivalence, unthinking acceptance for acceptance sake is the rule of the day.

Regardless of the value of a culture, maintaining an identity separate from AMERICAN is not conducive to a unified society with unified values. And a house divided.........

Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 6:43:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Nikolay Levin said...

No one, FDChief; its a little late on my end so I'll only take the time to point out on thing.

That the debate is, you guessed it- ass-backwrds.

More on that when I rest up and have the time.

For now, now one. My e-mail has gone haywire, so if you can do something leave another contact in addition to a confirmation. I'll see what I can do about it tomorrow.

Friday, August 9, 2013 at 1:29:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Chief,
Per the IKE years. Let's throw in the Truman years also.
Believe it or not i remember these well as the son of a coal miner.
During the Korean war there was a WHOLE LOTTA SHAKING GOING ON between the UMW and the federal gov't and i remember the strikes and the company police.
As a American Studies grad i know the Presidential wars started with Korea and that the POTUS tried to nationalize the mines. Yep we were fighting the commies, but we wanted nationalized mines to create steel for foreign wars.
These were not good times in my memory.
Now for IKE. I remember the recession , the fall of coal mining due to natural gas coming of age and more use of electric heaters due to TVA and other developments maturing, thus less demand for coal.(Hell in the 60's JFK locked horns with the steel industry and started buying Jap steel for DOD use.)
The mines closed up and steel industry went foreign. My Dad a honorable WW2 vet ended up as labor in Ohio factories.
I do NOT remember IKE with warm fuzzy memories. I imagine he did enjoy his golf games while i used out door toilets and lived in a company house with a coal heater.
I don't see the progress from then to now.
I take care of myself and mine.
jim

Friday, August 9, 2013 at 10:11:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

jim: Yep. What you said.

My old man and the other WW2 vets came back to what they thought was going to be a big break from the old rules. The little guy was going to get a fair shake; the power of the plutocrats and the owners was going to get taken down a peg, and things like the GI Bill, decent union wage jobs, the new highways and factories were going to make the U.S. more like what it said it was; a republic, where one man, one vote meant something.

Yeah, in retrospect they were kidding themselves, but, hell, it was a hell of a great idea, wasn't it?

But beginning with Truman and continuing through the Ike and Kennedy years all the way through Johnson's time all the power and influence that the Depression had caused the people who had run - and still thought they SHOULD run - things to cough up were clawed back.

The came the civil rights era and the bargain that FDR made with the Dixiecrats - a better life for the workingman IF that better life wasn't shared with the niggers and spics and other darkies - fell apart. Suddenly working class white guys realized that all this talk about "equal rights" meant that the darkies could move into your neighborhood and go to your kids' school.

Suddenly worrying about the boss screwing you over seemed less important than making sure your tax dollars weren't going to get the darkies' kids into a college you had to get a second mortgage to send YOUR kid to...

And then came the Reagan Revolution and the Dead Hand of Regulation was lifted and the Great Bird of Capitalism was gonna fly free and make us all happy and rich.

Yeah. That worked.

So the bottom line now is that those of us scuffling to stay out of poverty have fewer options. Colleges are spendier, jobs are fewer and poorer paying, "productivity" is up and wages are down (meaning we work harder for less...), our legislators are happy to toss shovelfuls of cash at F-35 fighters and foreign adventures but God forbid your highway bridge or your riverbank levee need fixing.

And yet here WE are, arguing about who should get to decide who does or doesn't get to slide a credit card up somebody else's asscrack.

How fucking stupid ARE we?

Friday, August 9, 2013 at 1:51:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

My old man came back from WW2 and became a big city lawyer (being shot in the knee ruined his dream of being a pro boxer). How the hell a college educated man becomes an enlisted Marine E2 is beyond me. He told me he was in a hurry to kill Japs and thought OCS would delay that pleasure for too long.

Any how, though raised as such, he was not a working man. He was an elitist all the time I knew him.

I suspect the way I was raised is still ingrained in me. So my comments here are no doubt colored by my background.

Keep that in mind when I say that I firmly disagree with this:"And yet here WE are, arguing about who should get to decide who does or doesn't get to slide a credit card up somebody else's asscrack."

The debasement of culture effects everyone. You can try to take care of your own, but the rot will catch up with them. We are all in this together and are only as strong as the weakest link.

If people are enjoying low ass crack entertainment then we have a problem. I note that should one travel abroad, say Europe, young people, old people, sit around enjoying their drinks and talking politics. They go to the opera, to fine art museums.

Young people here are only interested in the next edition of Ass Crack and that is what they discuss.

How can we have a democratic republic when everyone's head is up an ass (crack)?

How can we have a successful society when the educated and financially productive are denigrated for being "elitists"?




Friday, August 9, 2013 at 3:56:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

"How fucking stupid ARE we?"

Americans are pretty fucking stupid. And we get the government we deserve for being so stupid. Only so many hours in a day, you know. You can use them to better yourself and society or you can watch ass cracks.

Friday, August 9, 2013 at 4:00:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous CholoAzul said...

In this age of DoubleSpeak, 'liberal' and 'conservative' increasingly mean the same thing in practice.

Did prison populations plummet under liberal administrations over the last 50 years? Did CEO compensation tank? The stock market return to sane levels?

The only reliable metric is 'haves' and 'have-nots', and that dividing line is edging close to the edge of the cliff for the 'nots'.

The finger-pointing should be up, not left or right.

Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 2:18:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Chief,

You set up the dichotomies, but then blame the regressive Right for entrenching them. You say the gov't is o.k. with,

"giving-tax-money-to-needy-corporations-but-not-to-needy-negroes."

Who are these needy negroes? As you later say, they are a subset of needy Americans. So why harp on the color line? You understand this, so why propagate the paternalism of the "needy negro" canard? Intelligent people like you should not further this Manichaean thinking.

It is not fair to cast Obama as Ike ("he's about the same exact place, politics and economics-wise, as Ike was. And nobody seems to be trying to insist that the late 1950's were some sort of hell on Earth.") Apples and oranges, here.

1950's America was prosperous and civil in a way we have not been since that time, and please don't say that's cos "negroes knew their place," as the paternalism and low-expectation of such a statement is painful. If blacks have been liberated to be themselves, and being themselves is corrosive to both themselves and the greater society, then we need to look at that, sans judgement or fear. And blacks are not the only ones self-degrading.

Bill Cosby and others have been skewered for saying this, and we seem to feel that this is solely the domain of other blacks to question it, anyway... but are we not a society at large? Is it not the cohesion of the gestalt that matters? Jefferson was right -- slavery + race relations will be the lasting misery of this nation. It will not be overcome using the tools (or lack thereof) which we currently possess.

If you think talking about Nelly's misogyny is a sidetrack to what ails the country, I would propose that the lack of agreement on how we deal with minorities (women, blacks, etc.) is tainting everything up to our DoD policy. How do we deal with Muslims and dark people? That shame is a gift that keeps giving, and will ultimately drive our country down.

Unless we could get clear about what is acceptable to us -- what is in accord with our national character. Not in accord with our failures and faults, which have largely been amended, but with our higher ideals.

As no one writes,

"With modern liberalism we are not allowed to call something ugly and uncivil as it is. Rather we must be accepting. The culture degrades predictably."

Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 1:23:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

no one,

I just noticed your comment here:


The debasement of culture effects everyone. You can try to take care of your own, but the rot will catch up with them. We are all in this together and are only as strong as the weakest link.


This is precisely my thinking. What dreadful paternalism for the supposedly enlightened Left to explain away the debasement as "just something these people like", or to look away and feign that the degradation does not poison the entire well of State.

We are indeed in this together, and in order to live not as base animals, we need define "debasement", and think and speak honestly about our willingness to accommodate such behavior. It is disingenuous to turn away and say, "Well, I won't do it, but who am I to say ..."

We "say" what's acceptable every time we form or interpret a law, and those decisions form the highest directive for our population. You may not be able to legislate away vile misogynistic behavior, but you can certainly call it for what it is, and suggest and model a better path.

Sunday, August 11, 2013 at 3:01:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

Lisa, well, first off, the truth is that nobody is suspending judgment of what's decent and what's low. Chief is being disingenuous when he asks "who gets to make that decision?". He certainly makes the decision as do all liberals of the ilk that irks. I can think of a dozens things I could say, right now, right off the top of my head, that would get a chuckle out of some folks, but would send liberals into a tizzy, because, the utterances are "insensitive" to some protected pet disadvantaged group. They would yell at me and tell me just how "wrong" I am, how "inappropriate", etc. So the decision - the judgment - is made.

Chief, IMO, is very clever in his arguments, but I remain totally unmoved and I wonder why the need for so much cleverness.

I have already confessed that I am an elitist of the old school variety. I was raised by Emily Post. I have lost a lot of the technique over the years and the different roads I've been down, but the spirit remains.

IMO, The modern liberal just wants the freedom to exercise potty mouth, be rebellious against the established system while being ensured that it will still provide for him despite the lack of effort to conform and work hard, enjoy porn and personally be as sexually freaky as possible and to brag about it in public without repercussions. It's basically the quest for a perpetual childhood in a utopian sandbox where every child is accepted and cared for equally regardless of where their little self explorations take them.

Any words that might rock this cradle are deemed wrong, bad.

People need leadership. Enlisted men are enlisted men and require officers for a reason.

I do not want the perpetual happy sandbox crowd leading this country. I am interested in leadership from people who have demonstrated true moral courage and true successes in the adult world.

Sunday, August 11, 2013 at 6:26:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger no one said...

btw...I honestly don't care what consenting adults do, sexually, behind closed doors. I think a healthy sex life is important for an over all healthy happy life.

I do have a problem when sexual practices/orientation becomes the stuff of endless national discussion and a primary source of media entertainment.

I also care when I am not allowed to have an opinion wherein I find any of it unappealing.

If you're going to throw your private intimate life out into the public and into my face, then I'm going to tell what I think about it. Only a spoiled child would only see one side of this coin.

Sunday, August 11, 2013 at 6:49:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

No 1,
we went to a annual gay pride type of affair conducted by the City of Tallahassee, and it was very correct EXCEPT for the lesbian fire chief of Tall. sticking her tongue repeatedly down anther womans throat.
This is a bridge too far.
jim

Monday, August 12, 2013 at 7:07:00 AM GMT-5  

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