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Free-Speech Wars: On Leaving the Forum or being Kicked Out


From: Bill McGaughey Date: April 14, 2010 9:03 AM

I think the Tea Party represents a threat to media-controlled politics, and it is no wonder that big media are trying their best to discredit this movement.  Although the Tea Party has attracted some press coverage, it communicates primarily through the Internet and through face-to-face events.  

Last Saturday, I went to a Tea Party meeting at a restaurant two blocks away from my home.  One of the leaders of the Minnesota movement, a woman who calls herself Toni No Bologny, called the meeting along with a conservative African American activist and journalist.  So I suppose this was the Tea Party's attempt to reach out to the black community.  Coincidentally, there was a book signing with Mitt Romney in Wayzata starting the same time.  I was able to make both events.

The derailment of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in 2008 illustrates the power of the media in deciding political contests.  Romney was the clear front-runner in both Iowa and New Hampshire.  Then Hollywood put out a film about the Mormon massacre of Oregon pioneers in the 1850s.  Romney's chief rival, Mike Huckabee, made a guest appearance on the Jay Leno show on the eve of the Iowa primaries.  (I hope I have all my facts right on this one.)  Huckabee then went on to win the Iowa caucuses, and McCain the New Hampshire primary, and Romney was not able to recapture the lead.  Even today, Huckabee, who won the recent straw poll in New Orleans, has his own show on the Fox network.  Romney, who has enough money of his own to buy ads, is nevertheless plugging away on the book-signing circuit.  You can see that some media moguls are favoring Huckabee over Romney.

Back to the Tea Party.  I admire them for mounting an effective grassroots campaign.  Hopefully, good policies will follow.



From: Marc Asch Date: April 12 9:40 AM

Kevin and Bill presented what I can only describe as a coordinated whine about the lack of media coverage of the Tea Party Movement.

Please, the TPM is a creation of Fox News and benefits from intense support from it.  Forget looking at a year, in the eight day period from April 6-13, 2010 Fox ran 23 news segments and 73 in-show and commercial
promotions of the TPM. Here is a link to the exact breakdown: http://thinkprogress.org/2009/04/15/73-fox-tea-promos/

The Tea Party Express has received coverage on CNN and MSNBC as it works its way to Washington, D.C. In Oklahoma, Tea Party leaders are seeking an Oklahoma State Militia to "repel" Federal infringements on Oklahoma.  Does this evoke memories of Ruby Ridge, Waco and the Oklahoma City Federal Building Bombing to anyone else?  High on the list of things the militia would protect Oklahoma from is health care reform. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100412/ap_on_re_us/us_tea_party_militia

Is our understanding of the Constitution so poor that people do not know the "ensure Domestic Tranquility" refers to the power of the Federal Government to use force to put down the like of Shay's Rebellion?  Armed citizens hostile to the government were a target of the Constitution.  Why do you think Jefferson refused to participate in drafting it?  He understood it was intended to create a strong central government. Frankly, I am appalled at the lack of historical knowledge or concern for why things were put together in particular ways in the Constitution on the part of most posters, particularly on the Right.

While folks are busy proclaiming the importance of the 10th Amendment for states' rights, they should remember as "originalists" or "strict constructionists" who I would think favor the older language over the newer, that the amendments are exactly that, additions.  The original intent and wording of the Constitution was not about individual or states' rights, it was about creating a powerful central government.   The strong language on individual rights (press, religion, search, seizure, trial by jury etc) were spelled out in grim detail because it was part of an deal to ensure ratification of the Constitution by state Conventions.  The vague language of the 10th was also there as part of
the selling of the document.  It was vaguely worded because they wanted to give as little as possible to the states which were being absorbed by the new United States of America.

The TPM is trying to create something that never existed, just as the secessionists were trying for 40 years to create a right of secession that does not exist. These folks are playing a dangerous game and they will not be happy
until something very tragic occurs and public opinion rejects their extremism in the same fashion as the Republican tirades about
"jack-booted" ATF agents in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City Bombing disappeared.


From: Kevin Kervick Date: April 14 8:02 PM

Chuck wrote:

1. The number one way in which wealth is achieved in the United States is the old fashioned way... it is inherited.

I am not trying to be cute here.  So, I will ask and answer my own question. I don't understand this apparent demonization of successful people.  It seems to me like some people are jealous of other peoples' success and want to get their money for themselves.  So, they try to delegitmize the success of others in order to relieve the guilt they feel from the stealing.  And leftist politicians demigod the issue, contributing to the demonization so they can righteously grab as much of the money as possible.  Obama is the poster demigod with Pelosi close behind.

It has been widely reported this week that in 2009 47% of Americans will be paying zero federal taxes.http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Nearly-half-of-US-households-apf-1105567323.html?x=0

So, we have a situation where 53% of productive citizens are paying for 47% of the other folks, who are in essence a parasitic voter class.  Obama wants that number to go higher so he can get more votes from folls who realize they have someone getting the cash.  I have no problem with dependent seniors (although I believe their families should be helping more) and legitimately disabled or unemployed people being parasites.  But we have a massive intransigent, entitlement class in this country, people all over the economic spectrum from ghettos to bureaucracise to boardrooms, sucking at the trough of productive citizens in the private sector.  I say it this way, which may sound harsh to some of you because one never hears folks in the 47% group expressing appreciation for those that are producing something and generating income to pay for their services, salaries, and entitlements.

Instead we have folks like Chuck telling us that rich people are illegitimate.  Even though they have apperently paid his public sector salary.

This North American culture is only 400 years old.  Unless someone has direct lineage to old country Aristocracy, and those numbers are few, he has either earned his success in America or his parents have earned their success and passed on their opportunities to him or her.  There is nothing illegitimate about that.  This is what good parents do.  They work hard to create something and improve their lot in life so they can pass on something to their kin.  If your parents haven't been able to do that for you, it doesn't give you the entitlement to whine about how greedy someone else's parents are.  It should motivate you to do better for yourself.  I don't care if you come from nothing.  There are a lot of nothings that created something.  It may take your family several generations but it is possible if you take responsibility and work your ass off.  That is the promise of America.  And there is upward mobility here.

2. It is just as true that the number one way to become poor in this country is to be born poor.  Believe it or not most people currently living  in poverty in the United States are under the age of eighteen years old. amazing isn't it?  They were magically able to start out life in poverty.  They didn't even have to work at it.The number one cause of poverty in the United States today is not being married.  And other bad intergenerational habits.  And the Obama administration is killing the funding for the healthy marriage demonstration grants started under Bush.  Speaking of Bush:

< http://sayanythingblog.com/readers/entry/nearly_half_of_voter_would_replace_barack_obama_with_george_w._bush/>

Why is empowering those with less a threat to us, rather than the massive disparity in power and wealth that they have a bigger threat to us?Because if we punish risk-taking, hard work, and success we will no longer have a meritocracy, or a country.  We are doomed.  The way we punish success is by telling them they are rich assholes and we are coming for their money.

I'll be attending the Tea Party in Portsmouth, NH tomorrow.  The main speaker is Tommy Newberry, author of The War on Success. which addresses this issue.

I mentioned I grew up poor.  Because of my father's depression and my mother's anxiety and depression I grew up without central heat in my house. We lived in a 200 year old house that was in constant need of repairs and drove cars that were someone else's hand me downs.  Despite her limitations my mother made sure that we maintained some semblance of a personal responsibility ethic.  And my father gave us an independent spirit.  It worked just enough so that each of us married well, and have long term marriages today.  We've managed to do a little bit better than our parents, so that each of us is firmly in the middle class.  My dream is that I have learned something and can pass along something to my children, who will be just a bit better off than my wife and I are.  My wife is the daughter of immigrants.  That's basically what it is all about in America.  I had a little help along the way, but not much really.

When I was 24 and married, wife pregnant, and still living the life of a college student I was faced with a decision.  Become a producer or a slouch. I chose the former.  And there for the grace of God go I.


From: Chuck Repke Date: April 14 10:10 PM

Just a couple of quick points. Kevin's response, as has been most of the people I have heard from of  the conservative/tea party types is to attack the poor.  The reason that he  doesn't have all that he wants in life is because all of the poor people living off of his tax money.  Well, Kevin I have never seen anyone of any  credibility suggest that the figure for all of the welfare costs in total to  help the poor is higher than 7.5% of your tax dollar.  So, scream all you  want
to about those blood suckers that you despise but that isn't where your tax  dollars go.  And that isn't why we have the deficits that we do.  

Next Kevin says: "It has been widely reported this week that in 2009 47% of Americans will be paying zero federal taxes" and then goes on about how  awful that is that those poor wealthy half of the country gets the burden of paying for all of the rest.  

I have shared these numbers with you before, in the United States:

1. The top 1% have 34.3% of the wealth
2. The next 19% have 50.3%  of the wealth (84.6% between the two)
3. The bottom 80% have 15.45% of the  wealth

Kevin, with numbers like that, it would not be out of line if the top 20%  of the population in wealth were paying all of the Federal taxes... they have all of the money. I get that you want to keep yours and that you hate the poor put Kevin if they were handed the opportunities that the affluent are I am sure they
would do  just fine.

And, finally, Kevin says, "Instead we have folks like Chuck telling us  that rich people are illegitimate.  Even though they have apperently paid  his public sector salary."
I don't know why you assume to know where I have come from and what I  do.  

I too have come from poverty and was the first one from my family to go to college... So what!  There are millions who haven't been as  fortunate.  And, as to what I do for a living, the bulk of my income comes  from real estate sales, I am a real estate broker, and the other most  significant part of my income comes as a contract lobbyist for a power  company.  Talk about someone with his personal prejudices....you can't be a liberal  
without being a government employee.

I actually function quite well outside of the public sector thank you very  
much.  That is why I sign my posts JMONTOMEPPOF Just My Opinion Not Those Of MY Employers Past Present Or Future


From: Bruce Leier Date: April 15 8:49 AM

Kervick,

I missed it.  There was a question here? (See your 2nd sentence).  I did read a screed that missed (and mis-represented) what Chuck said.  You are becoming a parody of yourself.


From: Bill McGaughey Date: April 15 8:54 AM

I agree that welfare costs are insignificant compared with the cost of health care, military operations, debt service, and other parts of the government budget.  That does not mean, however, that large numbers of people are not heavily dependent on welfare.  It seems to me that government-subsidized housing, for instance, is increasingly influencing the housing market.  

Our society has failed to pursue good job-creation policies.  In the 19th century, shorter work hours helped keep employment stable as labor-saving equipment was introduced.  Academic dogmatists have killed that approach.  We are pursuing a policy of free trade that puts highly paid American workers in direct competition with low-wage workers abroad.  If we had enough good jobs, less welfare would be needed.  However, positive proposals to create jobs, other than government spending, are seldom discussed.

The day of reckoning is upon us.


From: Mike Fratto (forum moderator) Date: April 15 9:21 AM

At last.  I can actually agree with something Bill wrote in its entirety.  "Our society has failed to pursue good job-creation policies.  In the 19th century, shorter work hours helped keep employment stable as labor-saving equipment was introduced.  Academic dogmatists have killed that approach.  We are pursuing a policy of free trade that puts highly paid American workers in direct competition with low-wage workers abroad.  If we had enough good jobs, less welfare would be needed.  However, positive proposals to create jobs, other than government spending, are seldom discussed."

Every time the government creates an effective program of job training and development, Congress eliminates the program or decides the states can operate the program better or they eliminate effective controls over the programs.
I will cite a couple of examples:  The Manpower Development program that was replaced by CETA, the Concentrated Employment training Act; the Work Incentive Program (WIN) replaced and generally eliminated when the Workforce investment Act was passed.

Then in an attempt to decentralize workforce programs they created the Jobs Training Partnership Act (JTPA) and created little fifedoms of public and private partnerships in the local communities.  Of course, a lot of politics cam into play as those in the know received government grants to do work at the local level that was being done by your local Job Service/unemployment office.

 


From: Marc Asch Date: April 15 10:20 AM

Kevin Kervick wrote:

So, we have a situation where 53% of productive citizens are paying for 47% of the other folks, who are in essence a parasitic voter class.

Exactly what do I say to someone who calls my 3rd year medical student daughter who is borrowing money to attend school a "parasite"?  But then he is also calling the retired Christian school teachers I know who live on Social Security and have severe health problems that put them past the "donut hole" on drugs to say nothing of the money they owe for other out of pocket health care expenses?
I know what I would like to say but who wants to get thrown off the list.

Jon Stewart said it well.  The mantra of the Right is "You can't tax the rich, they are the job creators.  You can't tax the middle class, they are the job doers.  So who do you tax, the poor." There are those, not believing in therapy or perhaps seeing what Kevin does as not mainstream, who might see him as a parasite.

However, the 47% do pay taxes.  Single mothers working on minimum wages, heads of households of 4 working in many jobs paying above minimum wage fall under outside of income tax, but they and anyone receiving wage pays Social Security and Medicare taxes.  They also pay sales and excise taxes depending on where they live and if they use a phone. But Kevin is not stupid, he knows this.  So why does he throw it out there?  I think because he is conducting an exercise in incitement, not discourse.


From: Marnita Schroedl Date: April 15 12:23 PM

Why is it demonization of rich people to state the truth?  Talk about censuring language to actually call that phrase . . "the easiest way to get rich in the US to be born rich" demonizing the rich . . .How is that demonization of rich people anymore than it is demonization of poor people to state the actual fact that most people who are rich actually were already born with four types of capital firmly in place . . . Human Capital (more than enough labor to get ones basic needs met), Financial Capital which provided access to two key things . . intellectual capital--having the clear brain space afforded by having enough material resources really is a huge help in learning . . . and social capital . . .access to all types of people who also have material resources who because you are just like them are willing to share with them and because you have so much you have an affirmed since of your worth and value in the world.  The poor really only have human capital to exchange for everything they need.  Which is why it is so terrible with the wealthy underpay their poor workers . . .  they are intentionally maintaining a state where the poor cannot move above poverty without being exceptional--having the intellectual ability to think well, even under great duress and exhaustion, being able to save while paying for basic expenses, etc.

How is it populist to identify with the rich and to protect the power and privilege of the wealthy and to blame the poor (the populace)?  As I say beware people who say they are populists but don't care about the population.  It is a red flag that they aren't populists when they expend their energy and ire advocating for inherited wealth and lax regulations against those who hold wealth.  So again . .  not demonizing the rich, but you can't really be a populist who lionizes the rich either . . . if you allow great inherited wealth (which is justifiably argued that a unborn child does nothing to earn to be rich no more than the poor child earned a right to be poor) eventually monopoly will occur.  Just like the game . . . or at some point the poor realize that this notion that this rich have all this wealth because they uniquely deserve it and they cut off their heads a la the French Revolution . . .  So, generally as a high performing producer of great value in my community, I consider it in my best interest to share nicely.   One of the mechanisms with which I can intersect is at the ballot box, to help set  define what how to deliver "tranquility" for this union I love so much.
So one of my obligations as a person who is fortunate to have assets and income greater than 90% of the rest of the people on the planet is to ensure that I am appropriately sharing in for the benefits I receive .  . . In 2008 there was an election.  And all sorts of people--radical anti-business leftists supported Obama like Bill Gates, Jim Senegal (Founder & CEO of Costco . . . as of three years ago, he was still answering his own phone--isn't that cool?), Warren Buffet  . .and they all also support inheritance taxes . . . do you know why?  When your lazy, entitled spoiled child gets your money that you worked hard for . . . It is a new owner of that money . . it is a taxable transaction . .  It isn't staying in the same family unless we are planning for our children to stay babies forever.  They didn't earn the wealth . . . they were born into to . . . and as Bill Gates has pointed out "if my kids can't live on the 20 million I've designated for each of them pegged for inflation, then I've done a horrible job as a parent . . .if they can't build value and wealth in the world after having every advantage."

As I look very much like the offspring of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings . . (some of that history we want to tear off for ourselves . . you know the one that can withstand the truth, that Thomas Jefferson and the other founding fathers were actually white landowners who were humans capable of great good, amazing forward thinking ideas, as well as not walking their talk) . . . see I'm not a sugar plum . . I didn't melt because of the greatness of Jefferson's words aren't contradicted by his very long and well-documented affair that began when his slave Sally Hemings was 14 years old?  But again  . . . what are the things that we can't bear to know about our leaders?  And if not, why not?  Why shouldn't I be allowed the full measure of our founding father's lives  . . .and last time I checked it's still their faces that grace all our bills . . . I do find it offensive that people want to put Ronald Reagan up there with Jefferson, et al  ... and if he was ever put on a bill I would refuse to ever use that denomination as he really created the mess that we are all in . . .the one where middle age and old white guys actually are so self-centered and self-involved to be screaming about their victimization and while at the same time not being willing to look in the face of truth . . . .which is we've traded away our shared prosperity and promise of tranquility for a bunch of silly ideas like suggesting that the easiest way to get rich is to be born rich is demonizing the rich.

Nothing in Chuck's argument stated that the parent hadn't earned the right to pass Intellectual Capital, Social Capital & Human Capital as well as some of their financial capital . . . Actually, much of the wealth that has been created by generations the government had much to do with the acquisition and maintenance of wealth by one set of our population against another . . . that Blacks couldn't own property and in fact it was illegal to teach us to reach until the mid-1950s . . . yet we were required to sign contracts that were onerous . . . Did you know that if challenged a contract by demonstrating we could read that we could be put in prison . . . So, after the civil war, up until the early 1900s less than 10 percent of the population in American prisons were black . . . partially because it didn't make good business sense to allow your property to be incarcerated . . .but after the civil war, one of the most effective tools that was used to keep blacks in their place was the one-two punch of the illegality of reading with the requirement that sharecroppers have to sign contracts . . . most of these contracts were designed so that the sharecroppers had to pay more than 100% of what they earned and if they protested the terms of the contract they were jailed yet if they didn't they ultimately ended up not being able to fulfill the terms of the contract and feed their families and then the men were still taken and jailed and here is a neat trick that the southern slaveholding states did . . .they then leased these prisoners back to farmers to work for free on their farms . . . It was were the first, second and third, generations of black men in prison came from . . . but I digress . . . because it is clear that history and the ways that landowners and those at the top end of the food chain have been ensured to make more wealth at the expense of the poor and the exploitable all within the sanction of the government . .

Man up . . . Deal with it . . . The easiest way to become either rich or poor is to already be in that state when you enter the world.  Which means that the conservative vision postulated by Kevin that the United States IS a land of opportunity . . although stirring is not grounded in reality.  And no matter how many times you call us names and accuse us of being communists who are attempting to redistribute wealth it is highly undemocratic to let great wealth concentrate in too few hands . . . It isn't healthy for any member of the community (not even the wealthy) . . .  That's why I have all sorts of wealthy friends who know that conservatives aren't populists and also get that it is their moral and civic obligation to share their wealth.

So based on the data that Lynn shared with us yesterday on the make-up of the Tea Party (85% voted republican in the last election)  . . . it really is just a bunch of people that are entitled and peeved . . .older white guys who believe that they DESERVE all the marble and don't like the idea of change one bit . . . But they sure aren't interested in an equitable United States . . they appear only to be interested in ensuring that positive outcomes accrue to them without having to behave reciprocally in the community . . . and given their posture of just not liking Obama . . . they really don't like seeing an inclusive America . . . they don't actually believe that we are all created equally . . . again belying Kevin's assertion that this IS the land of opportunity . . . not one that can or should be to live up to our ideals upon which we are founded.

Look at what we are being asked to accept as any type of rational thought process: "I want my country back."  Where did it go?  Who took it?  No one . . . Other Americans who decided by their votes that your team had been in power at the executive level for 22 of the last 30 years and you screwed up . . .You don't get it back . . . that's a consequence of your own bad public policies and bad governance.  We didn't steal it . . . You squandered your right to lead because your team was so ineffectual at it.  and didn't deliver the outcomes you promised would flow from allowing the largest disparity between the rich and poor this country has seen since 1929.

"We have been taught a pile of revisionist rubbish to suit the political needs of Progressives and Marxists, who need to destroy the collective memories and heritage of our country in order to transform America in their images."  What images would those be?  Whose stories are those.  Whose images don't you want to be a part of our story in this country?  This sentence really stuck out to me, as the history I learned of the US pretty much is all white guys with a few other's thrown in . .  Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, but mostly rich, white guys.  I don't hear many of you talking about what your kids are learning in school, but I have two kids in AP US History right now (A-PUSH) . . . I've flipped through their book and discussed with them what they are learning and it still paints a pretty aggressively rosy picture of our founding fathers, focusing on their words and actions around the creation of the country . . .yet here we have just this bizarre fact being asserted that again has no basis in reality but in a person's brain that defends the rich and powerful against the poor and weak and then attempts to call himself a populist . . .

I privately shared with some of the people on this board about some of my experiences with being denied access to things as a person of color and how that has impacted my life . . . the response to my actual experiences . . .not one word of empathy shown as witnessed by a refusal to respond but frequent e-mails denigrating and calling anyone who disagrees marxists, but the certitude that somehow this country IS a land of opportunity . . . It is shocking how disconnected from reality or even caring for others demonstrated repeatedly by conservative populists . . . makes me think they might be royalists and not populists at all.

m!


From: Wizard Marks Date: April 15 6:42 PM

The Tea Partyers demonstrated at the state capitol today, as expected. They were not as nasty as they were during the Town Meetings about health care this past summer. Interestingly enough, they said that the Republicans were at fault, equally with the Democrats. They also had the anti-Obama signs which I attribute to Minnesota's virulent racism. They also blamed the poor for accepting money from the state, rather than blaming the wealthy for not contributing their fare share to the state. Inside the capitol building, an opposite group demanded that the legislature tax the rich and simultaneously thanked them for taxes that help everyone--roads, parks, schools, etc.

 


From: Rick Mons Date: April 15 6:13 PM

I've tried to be patient and tolerant of Kevin Kervick.  But Kervick's last post  describes those who who don't pay taxes as a  "a parasitic voter class" and further  writes "I have no problem with legitimately disabled
... people being parasites."

I now realize I'm wasting my time.  Worse, I feel complicit reading a forum where a frequent participant describes our son and others who are disabled as "parasitic."  (Our son has Down Syndrome and I'd be far less restrained
if someone used that term within my hearing.)

So, I'll come back when/if someone sends me a private e-mail that Kervick is gone.  I wish most of you well.  Kerick?  No matter how much I profess to be a Christian, I have to honestly say I cannot include him in that group.

 


From: Kevin Kervick Date: April 15 8:00 PM

Hello All:

I think Mr. Mons can dish it out but he can't take it.  The definition of parasite is below and my usage was accurate.

Two definitions of parasite:

Biology. An organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on or in a different organism while contributing nothing to the survival of its host. 1. One who habitually takes advantage of the generosity of others without
making any useful return.  (and cries about how awful the host is -kervick)

I made no criticism of anyone with Down Syndrome at all.  In fact I said I don't mind paying for legitimate disabilities.  But while we are talking, Down Syndrome is not even a disability and Mr. Mons must know that.  Folks with Down Syndrome are now usually participating, productive members of society until later stages when their life span is tragically cut short and their quality of life suffers.  They often have jobs and live fulfilling lives.  If we see them as disabled that reflects our prejudice.

But this post also exposes the difference between liberals and conservatives.  Liberals are overwhelmed by emotion!  One can't use certain words, or express certain sentiments, or risk even the slightest bit of offense to anyone.  Pretty soon, the entire English language will be passe' It is absurd.  Get a life and a backbone for crying out loud.

But since we are on the topic.  I have another theory.  I am pro-choice because I believe the fetus is a parasite to the mother's body so she has a right to get rid of it.  That is her choice.  Does anyone want to debate that argument?

All sarcasm, aside, I think we are actually doing quite well in this forum discussing strong ideological differences with improved emotional reactivity.  We are talking about real philosophies and issues, from different perspectives.  Rick, give me a break with your righteousness.  The stuff thrown at me over the past several months far exceeds anything I have said, and certainly not the use of one accurate albeit strong word.


From: Cheryl Luger Date: April 16 12:30 AM

In the past i have encouraged those (off line) with a variety of opinions to hang in with these forums. i will not un-subscribe over these comments but will hover over the delete button (MOREAND IN  onn=subscribekam

 


From: Bill McGaughey Date: April 16 7:30 AM

Rick Mons has left the forum with a complaint of Kevin Kervick's postings and the remark that he may return if Kervick leaves.  That is, of course, his decision.  I do want to point out that in a forum of diverse opinion no one has a right to expect that opposing views will be screened out.  Kervick stands largely alone in a sea of "progressive" opinion and does help to generate real discussion.
William McGaughey


From: Mike Fratto (forum moderator) Date: April 16 8:28 AM

It is Rick's decision to leave and return when he wants.  It is not for you to discuss that decision.  Frankly, as much as I disagree with I understand Kevin's positions, I really don't know where he stands.  He seems to only publish rants with name calling ala Beck.  Every time I caution him his subsequent posts are much more to the issue rather than name calling.


From: John Ferman Date: April 16 11:34 AM

Both Kervick and McGaughey waste our time with nothing but mal-formed  nonsense posted for their own private enjoyment.  I now suggest that  other readers here exercise what by-gone era communities called  'shunning' - put them in your email clients killfile facility.  Each of us have 1 post per 12 hours - it is a conservative virtue to waste   not, so conservatives here have motivation as well as those who think   progressively and liberally.  I have ceased mining those two's posts   for hints of what their crowd is up to, because there are better  sources for that elsewhere.

 


From: Bill McGaughey Date: April 16 11:55 AM

Mike,  What do you make of John Ferman's latest posting?  Doesn't this violate civility rules?  Bill


From: Mike Fratto (forum moderator) Date: April 16 2:12 PM

Bill, I looked at it.  Only the first sentence comes close to being uncivil.  He expressed an opinion of how you and Kevin come up with what you post.  I would say he could have said it better.  However, if you think this post is actionable, I would have had to suspend Kevin and many others for their posts. 

 


From: Mike Green Date: April 16 1:18 PM

I do too do not like people to leave forums.  I think that it is a reflection in endemic in society.  Most of us here have participated in the intellectual and non-intellectual exercises of Mr. Kervick.  I think we have all given as much as we have taken.  What is entirely clear is that he will not change and he has not influenced the the greater majority of us of the validity of his arguments.  I do think that all have attempted to debate on the issues.  However, the problem remains that there are and have been a good number of blows below the belt that stretch the meaning of the word civility.  The New York Times in cooperation with CBS has performed a poll on the composition of the and ideological stance of these Tea people.  The 18% of the people that identify themselves as Tea Party supporters have many of the following traits in common  (over 45, white, male, wealth, vote republican)  Is this a surprise to anyone??  They are upset because they are not in power anymore.

No shock there.  I think the best ambiguity of this group was yesterday when they were protesting in front of Cape Canaveral because the President was there to announce new avenues in the space program.  What were they protesting.  If you look at the honest poll of the many divergent interests there, nobody really had a coherent answer.  The most I got out of it was that "its ok to support government spending as long as We (tea people) say its ok"  

I am sorry, I have little support for rich white men who do not want to pay taxes, and think they are the only people that do pay taxes. I look at my pay check and see the deductions, the rest of us do the same.  We pay our taxes every day and do not complain.  I am getting tired of this Cultural Revolution of the Right.  They want to have all the power tell the rest of us that they can to it better, and then proceed to attempt an ideological indoctrination.  I think they have been taking too many lessons from the people they hate like Joseph Stalin and Chairman Mao.  

I believe, as a group, we have attempted to debate and to discuss the issues.  But it has become abundantly clear that while many of us are listening, many are too busy trying to expose the rest as "too ideologically one sided."   Well, sometimes the facts speak for themselves and no ideological spin can alter that.  I am also tired of the allegations of the "liberal" media.  Forgetting that the "liberal" media is owned by conservative owners and editors.  There have been few problems with the legitimate press.  But with those few problems there is much that they get right.  The New York times has made mistakes, for example, but the abundance of the material they get correct is overwhelming.  As does the rest of the legitimate news sources out there.  

The point is we debate these points and what is clear we have Cultural Revolution fatigue.  I think the debates as well as the Tea baggers have over grown the tolerance of the rest of the nation.  As this post has attempted to state.  We are tired of the broad platitudes and promises of the Tea baggers.  They offer NOTHING NEW.  They attack any new idea or program to help Americans as too much government intervention.  Yet, they themselves benefit from that intervention.  So, I am arguing that while we should not dismiss members,  I would say that along with the rest of the group, I am growing tired of the twisted platitudes and reposts that seem to go nowhere.  Let's change the subject away from the far right and get back into what's really going on with Americans.  I await both rebuttal and the poison pen.


From: Wizard Marks Date: April 16 2:21 PM

Rick Mons reason for leaving the forum is well-founded. The kind of boorishness which calls a developmentally disabled person a "parasite" is sub-prime behavior. Yet, Kervick indulges in that sort of name calling first to last. It's a shame Mr. Mons has left the forum. Kervick should be the one to acknowledge his behavior and bow out.


From: Kevin Baumgartner Date: April 16 3:54 PM

Are the State and people of Minnesota better or worse off if Rick leaves this forum?  I say such public threats of leaving a Forum are nothing more than a disguised attempt at curbing the free speech of others who don't share Rick's views...especially when done the way Rick did it AND especially beeeecause RICK did it.  This State, and the people of it, don't need others trying to control the speech of others by ultimately saying (via a whine..that is backed by the likes of Wizard Marks) what other members can and can not say.

If Rick wants to leave, let him leave.  I don't know exactly what Kevin Kervick said and I don't care.  We are supposed to feel bad that Rick wants to leave..or blame someone else for why he is leaving the Forum?  It is his own choice..and, therefore, his own "fault".  Nothing more. A good portion of his overall post is a pot-calling-the-kettle-black.  How many people left this forum because of Rick's posts?  Makes ya wonder.

The irony of such a post coming from Rick is thick... given his past role with this Forum.

And, as a point of fact, Rick claimed to leave this Forum at approx 6:15pm CT on April 15.  Yet, later that day, he went and posted on another Topic in this same Forum.  AND, as of 3:30 pm on April 16, the guy is still a member of this Forum.  So, he is still here folks..   hmmmmm.

Let free speech reign.


From: Gail O'Hare Date: April 16 3:57 PM

I think members have in fact been "dismissed," Mike, and this particular member is egregiously beyond our agreed-upon boundaries.  The issue has nothing to do with being a minority among a largely liberal group. Such discourtesy, such intentional provocation is unacceptable.  I don't understand why Kervick is still allowed to participate.  Surely he has received a warning and may be on the way out the door.

If there are conservatives who regret a lost voice, let them recruit someone who can speak intelligently and without bile.
Gail O'Hare

 


From: Tommy Marver Date: April 16 7:35 PM

I second that also.  Unfortunately we have to legislate, make rules and enforce them for the dumbest and craziest among us.

 


From: Mike Fratto (forum moderator) Date: April 16 10:18 PM

Okay let's top right here.

It is not subject for discussion of Rick's departure. It is also not subject for discussion the operation of this forum on the forum. If you find the need to discuss the operation of this forum you should either send me an email directly or to the Forum managers at: fm@forums.e-democracy.org.

 


From: Dave Hutcheson Date: April 16 10:21 PM

Two new sightings of the Tea Party movement tonight.  On Almanac, on Channel 2, state coordinator Tori Backdahl was on with Dane Smith of Growth and Justice. I missed most of it; near the end Mr. Smith seemed to be trying to fact-check Tea Party assertions that taxes and spending are on an out-of-control upward trend.  While resisting having her facts questioned, Ms Backdahl made the point that what she really wanted was to see people getting involved in monitoring the actions of their federal, state and local governments, making up their own minds about whether their taxes are being wisely spent.  Mr. Smith said he had no quarrel with that, sounded like a good idea to him.. . . "Happy
ending".

Next, on MPR, on the 9 pm hour, a builder from some other state was on 'The Story'.   Again, I missed the first part, but came in on the part where he was telling how his local bank recently tried to call his construction loans, though they were entirely current, which would have bankrupted him unnecessarily and unfairly.  Upon investigating their reasons for their action, he found that the bank's strategy was to turn enough "good" loans "bad" so that the bank would appear "distressed" enough to qualify for the government subsidy flavor of that month.  He presented himself as one who had never paid much attention to politics or government before, but after seeking help from both parties at his state level, his representative in Congress and at least one Senator, concluded he was getting the runaround and gravitated to the Tea Party, eventually becoming a state level organizer.  He said that what he really wanted was to see people getting involved in monitoring the actions of their federal, state and local governments, making up their own minds about whether their taxes are being wisely spent.


From: Neala Schleuning Date: April 17 5:24 AM

Either that, or a new branding of the party, with a toned down party line, is underway.  One of the things that struck me, reading the CBS survey, was that these folks sound just like "regular" Republicans to me.  In a commodity- and celebrity-driven culture, one would have to continually put lipstick on old ideas to get attention.  The social issue messages didn't play very well with the majority.    


From: Kevin Kervick Date: April 17 9:13 AM

I hope everyone out there feels better now.

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the
candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years” – author unverified."

Some attribute this statement to Alexander Tytler, others to De Tocqueville. Whomever the author, the sentiment is what motivates many of us in the conservative movement to speak boldy in the face of what we perceive as either denial or complicity.  When 47% of Americans are not paying federal taxes for whatever reason and when a larger percentage is now making a living off of the federal government in some way (the latest figure I heard was 50%.) we have a national crisis.  So, the time for bold action is now.

This also speaks to why so many are activated now.  The tipping point is here (and Obama knows it).  So, the activism is reaching its peak.

Many folks in the conservative movement fashion themselves as modern day Paul Revere's, riding and shouting at the top of their lungs, using whatever forums available to spread the word about our impending demise.  The British
really are coming again and it is time for serious action.  Now is not the time for sensitivity.  Now is the time for clarity.

I went to two Tea Parties on Thursday.  Both were inspiring.  At the first, a small gathering in Dover New Hampshire, an older women came up to us and told her story of growing up as a Jew in pre-war and the aftermath in Berlin.  She wanted to let everyone who would listen know that she is seeing similar patterns in this country today and she is scared.  At the second event, about 400 people in Portsmouth, a town that has its own glorious revolutionary heritage, but is today the largest liberal enclave in the State, there were several excellent speakers.  One, an immigrant from the Czech Republic, talked about what life was like under Communist rule, with everything being demanded for the collective, and the feeling that one was not free.  It was not until the CR was liberated and she eventually came to America that she experienced what freedon felt like.  She also expressed fear and surprise that the US would be considering a socialistic expansion and remanded the audience to resist.  This is New Hampshire, and her talk was punctuated by chants to "Live Free" "Or Die".  She was an inspiring example for many of us in the crowd.

My comments here the other day came on the heels of that energy.  We simply need to wake up in America.  As I have said here many times we need to cut everything from the Federal budget.  Well, almost everything.  We have to
stop the guilt tripping and the fear mongering with respect to the out of control spending.  And stop demonizing the cutters and the earners.  All of us are going to need to sacrifice something. http://www.federalbudget.com/

Defense, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and bureaucracy have to be slashed immediately.  This healthcare fiasco must be repealed.  And we need a spiritual awakening in this country that gets us back to basics. When entitlement outdistances liberty we are no longer the United States of America.


From: Mike Green Date: April 17 12:24 PM

Ok, I have come in late to this conversation but hey here goes.

I want to know were and WHAT SOURCE you are citing that says 47% of Americans don't pay taxes.  I WANT SPECIFICS.  DON"T say oh everyone knows.  That is a cop out.  GIVE ME FACTS.

If this is the same 47% who are working, they pay taxes every time they draw a pay check, or pay a sales tax every time they go to the store.  If they own a home, they pay property taxes.  So here is the question

1.  WHAT SPECIFICALLY do you mean that 47% of the people don't pay taxes?  cite your sources, credible sources like the CBO, OMB, the Bureau of the Census.  Where and who has some how compiled this egregious statistic.
Statistics don't like, but they can be twisted until you get the full study you cannot make a true analysis.

2.  What part of taxes are you referring.  Do you  mean property taxes, state income taxes, state sales taxes, local sales taxes, federal income taxes, state excise taxes, etc.  Do you mean all types or only a particular kind.  I know that in some way everyone pays taxes.  What I object to is that the rich DO NOT SHARE the tax burden.

Let's be clear I said SHARE in the same level of tax burden.  I did not say they don't pay taxes.  This is the same argument that former President Bush made, "those who pay the taxes should get more of them back"  this is a paraphrase from one of the debates he made with former Vice President Gore.  It's not fair.  The rich do get ALL the breaks and they do NOT share the tax burden at the same level as the rest of us.  I have a hard time being sympathetic to rich people who can afford to lose a days pay and part their cadillac escalades prior to "protesting".  This has been the most comic aspect of the whole movement on the right.  

Oh boo hoo, we should be sorry the rich have to pay more than the rest of us.  I am sorry that is just TREASONOUS.  They would not BE RICH as they are if they did not live in the US which allows them to be as rich as they are.  They are like little children. If you give them one piece of cake, they want it all and have no sense of how much they can eat or what the effects will be.  While we don't like paying taxes, it is our DUTY as citizens to pay taxes.  And the thought that the phantom 47% don't pay taxes is purely a figment of one's imagination.  

As of two days ago the New York Times provided a composite sketch of the 18% of the people who say they are apart of the Tea movement.  Most of them fit into one of four categories (MALE, WHITE, RICH, and Republican)
What a surprise!!!!  It's no wonder they have the ability to get such press, they can AFFORD it.  They probably could outspend most of us.  This is not democracy, this Aristocracy by virtue of money.  You know the golden rule, "he who has the gold makes the rules."  

Its no wonder this group is angry.  First, they are now out of power, they have had a mixed record over the last 40 years, bungling the economy over the 10, and they wonder why the rest of us in the "silent majority" don't just bow down to them and their wisdom.  I have a hard time accepting economic advice from the people who brought us:  1.  the deficit in record form; 2. the banking crisis; 3. enron; 4. the mortgage/insurance crisis; 5. getting us into a war with no end in sight and no plans for the peace.

This is a mess and they deserve all the credit.  Now, has the new administration done any better.  Well we could do a lot worse.  It took 8 years to get into this position it will take more than 3 to get us out.  Even then I don't agree with many of the programs of the new administration.  And before I hear all the poison pens, no I was not an Obama supporter to begin with.  But I do think that whatever may be said of the new administration, I do think that the larger part of the administration is at least not stuck in the old Cold War frame of mind.  This has been the problem of the last 3 administrations.  They have not known how to react in a world after the Cold War.  

This aside,  we need to take both sides to task.  The first task is to state where these Tea people get the idea that 47% of Americans don't pay taxes.  I want evidence on that statistic before I agree to debate on this issue again.  If they cannot produce that statistic, then they don't have the proof they claim they have and all their other arguments are just as week.

 


From: Wizard Marks Date: April 17 1:24 PM

PBS, 4/16/10, 9 p.,. hr.: "He said that what he really wanted was to see people getting involved in monitoring the actions of their federal, state and local governments, making up their own minds about whether their taxes are being wisely spent."

This made me laugh at the tea party and the Republicans in general. This quote was from a construction company owner who admitted that he had never gotten involved in monitoring government functions until his bank called in his loans to help the bank qualify for bailouts.

Yet he assumes, as did Tori Backdahl, that people were not monitoring government.  In his aha moment--that the bank was screwing him (this after investigating the bank)--he blamed the government. Hello? Earth to Tea Party...  Because of the mess created by 40 years of largely Republican rule, the government had to bail out banks as a result of their nefarious practices.

I would speculate that Construction Dude is of the middle or upper middle class and is complaining that he isn't getting his fair share of the pie. When government bails out the excesses of Wall Street, they create infrastructure which requires construction. The assumption that the rest of us are not monitoring government, ala Tea Party premise, is a wrong assumption. We are monitoring and coming to different conclusions.

In general, the middle class has a preponderance of persons (in the second or third generation middle class) who envy the rich and despise the poor and, as a consequence, misdirect their anger. The basic assumption is greed. If everybody can't be rich, then they are going to make damn sure they get enough of the pie to survive and propagate. Dandelions do the same thing. The basic assumption is that the greedy rise, the meek fold, devil take the hindmost.
The rest of us who understand that the tax structure is at fault, regulations or lack of same are at fault, and that while everybody cannot be rich (and many care not that they get rich) there is an advantage to making sure that many more than presently do so, get a better share of the resources of our single planet.

What kind of planet will we be?  Which premise has some potential to create peace? Do we want to progress to a quasi-civilized species or remain a species of nose pickers? It's a no brainer.

 


From: KR Schiebel Date: April 17 1:44 PM

They are using the incredibly misleadng figures from the Tax Policy Center:
http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxtopics/federal-taxes-households.cfm

But the same study also states: "More than Two-Thirds of Households That Paid No Income Tax Paid
Payroll Taxes" And further identifies the non tax payers as: "Who Paid Neither Income Nor Payroll Taxes? More than half were elderly. Nearly one-third were nonelderly with income under $20,000. Just 1 in 7 was nonelderly with income over $20,000.

I find it very interesting how the anti-taxers pushing this figure contradict themelves when they imply the low end income earners should have their taxes raised significantly to contribute just a pittance to the larger pool of tax dollars.

 

 

From: Tommy Marver Date: April 17 2:37 PM

This article by Keith Hennessey is a great explanation why 47% don't pay any federal income taxes.  I would be interested in seeing how many more would be paying the if the child tax credit had not been increased by the Bush administration and the Republican congress.

 

From: Bill McGaughey Date: April 17 2:57 PM

Kevin Kervick incorrectly stated that 47 percent of Americans are not paying "federal taxes" when he should have said "federal income-taxes".  Mike Green’s reaction, however, was to suggest that he might be making the whole thing up.  No, the 47 figure has been traced to the Tax Policy Center which is associated with the Urban Institute and Brookings Institute.  What do you have to say for yourself, Mr. Green?  An overreaction, perhaps?

Green has provided a demographic breakdown of people active in the Tea Party movement - MALE, WHITE, RICH, and Republican - which are pejorative terms for persons of a certain political persuasion.  Green thinks these types of people can get good press because "they can afford it".  When did white people or males as such ever get good press?  I’d be interested in the documentation for this.  I'd also like to know why these types of people are inherently "angry" - which, in code language, means being driven by passion rather than reason.  A little too much stereotyping for my tastes.

If I had to stereotype the Tea Party activists, I would have to say that females are disproportionately represented in leadership positions.  I had a chance recently to meet the leader of the Minnesota Tea Party - Toni Backdahl, who calls herself "Toni No Bologny".  She told me that she has no reputation to protect.  I told her that she stole that line from me.  You can tell, I admire Toni and what she is able to do.

Gender politics seems to be different in the Democratic and Republican parties.  The Democrats elevate female candidates because they are female.  Republicans elevate them because of who they are individually - Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, or whoever.  As a result, you don't find men grumbling but admiring the pushy, outspoken women.  I think the Republican view is healthier in that respect.

Even so, we need to get back to policy discussions.  I think Kevin Kervick was trying to point out the danger of depending on the government for our livelihood. There's something to that argument.  Are we over the "47 percent" issue?

 


From: Mike Fratto (forum moderator) Date: April 17 3:38 PM

You are out of line.  I am tired of having to tell you to be nice.

You now claim that MALE, WHITE, RICH, and Republican -  are pejorative terms for persons of a certain political persuasion.  Come on give us a break.  Those terms were used in a poll and reported.  You cannot start claiming that Rich white male Republican is now pejorative when that, in fact, is the demographic of the Tea Party.

A simple response would have been sufficient.  There is no need for you to get on Mike Green the way you did.  The comment you made is pushing the line of civility.

Frankly you may have quoted your source accurately, that doesn't mean Mike was wrong in asking his question nor does it mean your source is factual.  Regardless of any of these facts or errors, the comment that Mike was referring to was the quote that 47% of people don't pay taxes.  He was asking for a source.  You did not provide such a source.  You changed the quote.  Even your comment shows that you, and not the previous poster, are only talking about a specific tax.  That would have been fair.  Yet because someone challenges you or someone else to prove their statement you have to .

Unfortunately, this forum has lost a number of new members in the last few weeks thanks to the tone of the comments coming from only a couple of posters. 
I don't know how to say this any other way.  If you can't play nice you can't play here.

 


From: Bill McGaughey Date: April 17 6:03 PM

Am I being barred from posting further messages in this forum?

 


From: Mike Fratto (forum moderator) Date: April 17 9:20 PM

No I have not said that.  I did say if you can't play nice you can't play here.  I know you can post provocative and interesting posts.  I am hoping that is what you will choose to do.


From: Mike Fratto (forum moderator) Date: April 17 11:59 PM

I want to move away from the tone of some of the posts we are currently getting in this forum. A recent post claims the demographic rich, white, male Republican is a pejorative term for persons of a certain political persuasion. I don't know how the demographics of a group of people is pejorative. None of the four nouns and adjectives mean anything but what they have always meant. There is no hidden meaning behind any of these terms. They are not pejorative or demeaning in anyway individually or grouped together.

Making such a claim is intended to incite other posters and a violation of our rules.

Its unfortunate that some members think they have to add side comments meant to get in a last word or to move the discussion off of the topic. It has happened way to often in the last couple of days.
Please follow the rules about civility. I would also ask you not to respond to posts that attempt to incite if you can't stay on topic.

I would also ask you to do what I fail to do many times, write your post, save it in your draft file for a while and come back to it. If it looks okay to send, then send it. If you think someone may be offended by the words you use try using other words or rephrase your comments. As a last resort, if you can't fix it consider deleting it.

Remember that a fantastic post may be marred by some comments meant to raise an otherwise barred issue.

Its unfortunate that it has come to this. However, I will suspend any member who posts anything that I think is intended to incite people. Please do not send me comments about how you think this term or that term is offensive unless you can show me how the writer posted it with intent to be offensive. By the way that does not mean that you can post what you want and argue you didn't intend it to be offensive. You should know what is or may be offensive to various groups of people and you don't get to claim offense for the sake of making the claim. If you want to complain about a post send me your comments by forwarding the specific posts. Be very specific of your objections.

One final item. The inability of members to stay away from some of the above concerns has raised suggestions that we may need to put the US Forum on hiatus for a few weeks. I am against that action. However, I need your cooperation. If stricter discipline doesn't work maybe its what we need to do.  

This is not for forum discussion. Therefore, I caution you to be sure who is in your address box if you intend to respond.

 

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