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The Boutiquification of the Western World

October 1, 2014


Boutiquification?, you ask. Is that even a word? Didn’t I mean beautification?  Or beatification?

No, I really did mean boutiquification: the gradual conversion of our traditional “big box” nations into smaller, specialized, self-conscious, fundamentally narcissistic, boutique-like sub-states based on personal identity, shared tastes — and more often than not, a communal disdain for everyone outside the in-group. I’m surprised that the trend hasn’t been named until now, so I decided to go ahead and christen it myself.

Boutiquification can lead to a literal redefinition of boundaries, as in the case of the secessionist movements gaining traction in Europe and elsewhere. Scotland was expected to secede from the United Kingdom this past month, and only a last-minute collective case of cold feet kept the 300-year-old Union from dissolving before our eyes.

The map of Europe is littered with provinces and cubbyholes where ethnic and linguistic minorities now itch for independence: the Catalans and Basques, Flemish and Walloons, Frisians, Bretons, Welsh, Cornish, Tyrolians, Corsicans and Sardinians — not to mention the members of various Eastern European tribes who found themselves on the wrong side of the boundaries drawn by the Allied victors after the two World Wars.

Europe would do well to remember the breakup of Yugoslavia after the fall of communism. Slovenia and Macedonia went their separate ways amicably enough, but the Serbs and Croats shed copious amounts of blood over Bosnia, a perennial hot spot with no clear ethnic boundaries. Tribalism can be messy.

Surely the U.S. is immune to provincial breakaway movements… isn’t it? We all speak English, more or less… we’re players in a four-century drama dating back to Jamestown… we’ve melted into the melting pot. You know… E pluribus unum and all that.

Secessionists: Still a minority, but a MAJOR minority. Source: Reuters

Secessionists: Still a minority, but a MAJOR minority. Source: Reuters

Not so fast. A recent Reuters poll put the following question to our countrymen: “Do you support or oppose the idea of your state peacefully withdrawing from the United States of America and the federal government?” Astonishingly, nearly a quarter of the respondents answered in the affirmative — even without the bandwagon effect of desertions by neighboring states. Secession fever was strongest, at 34 percent, in the southwest tier running from Texas to Arizona. (There were no separate figures for Texas, but we can only assume the worst).

Among respondents who claimed allegiance to the Tea Party, which in some respects is a political reincarnation of the old Confederacy, a whopping 53 percent salivated over the prospect of abandoning the national ship. In other words, if only Tea Partiers could vote, we’d be the Nation Formerly Known as the United States.

What goes on here? Is the United States an outmoded concept? Can’t we all just get along? If not, shouldn’t we be allowed to shack up, geographically speaking, with people who think like us, vote like us, look like us, have sex like us? Isn’t that what everyone wants?

First of all, it would be impossible to break up the Union according to political leanings. The so-called blue states encompass vast tracts of red country out there in the hinterlands surrounding the big cities. Likewise, the so-called red states — even Texas — include lonely outposts of certifiable, granola-munching, sandal-shod white liberalism, not to mention significant black and Hispanic populations that reliably lean leftward.

In other words, the U.S. is Bosnia on a gargantuan scale — a vast patchwork of conflicting backgrounds, interests and loyalties through which it would be extremely difficult to run anything as simple and consequential as a boundary. So why are the acrid fumes of secessionism bubbling from below?

Simple: American culture has been boutiquified. Most of us relate more readily to our socio-political interest group than we do to our nation.

Tea Partiers believe in Jesus and guns (no conflict there, of course) and find deep fulfillment in their shared Obama-hatred. White progressives revere their organic groceries, Jon Stewart and NPR; they sniff disdainfully at Bible-believing Christians while displaying a somewhat perplexing soft spot for Islam. African Americans now routinely give their children exotic, vaguely Africanesque names, presumably to distance themselves even further from white America. Gays, while embracing conventional bourgeois institutions like marriage, seem more and more like a nation within a nation. Recently, here in Philadelphia, I scratched my head when the Inquirer featured an article about an upcoming “gay jazz festival.” (Apparently segregation is fine when a systematically oppressed group does the segregating… I had to wonder if the Inquirer would publicize a heterosexual jazz festival.)

The Internet has made it all too easy for boutiquified minds to meet and reinforce their biases in congenial precincts. Dedicated lefties, by restricting their reading to the Daily Kos, Salon and Huffington Post, can get all the news that’s fit to confirm what they already believe — and furthermore, they can revel in the shared snarkiness of their fellow-travelers who snicker at the spelling-impaired placards wielded by anti-immigration conservatives. And conservatives, for their part, can enjoy being whipped up into a frenzy of anti-government paranoia by the half-crazed conspiracy nuts who haunt the online underworld.

So what if we splinter into our own political and cultural boutiques? Aren’t we happier among our own kind… people who think like us and share the same tastes in art, literature and pizza toppings? Well, yes — the way ants and honeybees are happy: the happiness of belonging to a homogeneous little colony with a shared vision and a singleness of purpose.  But even the happiest of insects don’t create great nations.

When did we become so tribal… so intolerant of people who don’t subscribe to our own beliefs, lifestyles or taste in cheeses? When did our big-box nation splinter into self-interested, narcissistic boutiques? Do we really want a nation of sub-nations? We’re all Americans on this bus, and we’d better get used to the other passengers or we’re in for a long, uncomfortable ride.

Meanwhile, out there in the deserts of Syria and northern Iraq, a self-styled imam is building the foundation of a future empire that he hopes will stretch across the Old World and reach even to the Americas. Remember the ancient adage “Divide and conquer”? We’ve already divided ourselves, and I’m afraid the united jihadists won’t encounter much resistance from our individual boutiques when they decide to conquer us.


Rick Bayan is founder-editor of The New Moderate.

202 Comments leave one →
  1. Ron P permalink
    October 1, 2014 3:58 pm

    Very interesting article that should open up some very interesting dialogue with your readers. So here goes a few comments.

    “When did we become so tribal… so intolerant of people who don’t subscribe to our own beliefs, lifestyles or taste in cheeses? When did our big-box nation splinter into self-interested, narcissistic boutiques? Do we really want a nation of sub-nations? We’re all Americans on this bus, and we’d better get used to the other passengers or we’re in for a long, uncomfortable ride.”….

    I would offer that this tribalism did not occurred within the “American tribe” until well after so many “foreign tribes” immigrated and refused to become “American”. The Hispanics refuse for the most part to learn English and become part of the American culture. The Middle eastern Muslims immigrated to the upper midwest and refused to accept American values. It has not been so long ago that the Irish, Germans, Swedes and Fins, along with others immigrated to America and cherished the American dream and way of life. I remember my grandfather who immigrated from Sweden in the late 1800’s telling my grandmother to “speak English Anna, you are in America now” when she was speaking Swedish and did not want someone to know what she was saying. That does not happen today in most communities other than maybe the far eastern immigrants that have come to America since the Viet Nam war. I had children on my kids soccer teams from the Greek community that I could not communicate information to their parents because their parents did not speak English and they had been here for 20+ years.

    “Tea Partiers believe in Jesus and guns (no conflict there, of course)” Is that some sarcasm? Are you really going to say someone who is willing to use a gun and murder another person also believes in the teachings of Christ? I find this very hard to believe if that is what you are saying. Yes, I believe in Jesus, God and the teaching of Christ. I also believe that it is our right to own guns without government interference. But God does not say using a gun on another person is acceptable!!!!!! Nor is using a knife to behead someone acceptable and those that do are not tea partiers.

    “White progressives revere their organic groceries, Jon Stewart and NPR;”. You forget to include they also revere income redistribution and disdain personal responsibility when it pertains to family values. They would rather give money to those that will not help themselves than to follow a belief that teaching one to provide for themselves allows those to become better people than to give to those same people support and expect nothing in return. That splits them from the conservative tribe that expects personal reponsibility.

    Yes, we are becoming more tribal, not because Americans want to become tribal, but government policies have promoted tribalism and as those policies increase, tribalism will become worse than it is today. If you ask Americans about immigration and ask in a way that was not a leading question, I suspect you would find most to be accepting of immigration from all over the world as long as those immigrating were expected to learn our language, accept (but maybe not conform) to our way of life and contribute in a positive manner to society instead of immigrating and taking advantage of lax welfare system and health care systems that they are eligible for today.

    • Mike K permalink
      November 6, 2014 6:24 pm

      What kind of scares me isn’t tribalism but the number of posters here who are unknowingly promoting it. Here is the cure: turn off FoxNews. Turn off MSNBC. Turn off CNN. Leave the Internet. Go and talk to your neighbors. Stop placing labels on them and just see them as people instead of (pick one) black, white, asian, hispanic, liberal, conservative, democrat, republican, capitalist, socialist, gay, straight, Christian, Muslim, Jew, atheist. How about just showing respect for a change? Its kind of catchy, like the flu.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 6, 2014 6:40 pm

        Mike, where you live may be much different than many places in this country. How many cities have the black section, Hispanic section, etc. I can’t walk out my door and talk to anyone in my semi rural area without talking to another right wing conservative or right of center moderate. Liberals are few to be seen. We all seem to be migrating into the areas of commonality. Can you go anywhere in Utah and find many that are not Morman or very conservative Christians? How about the Los Angeles area. Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, etc all have their own sections of town and now even the county which covers a vast area.Look at the electoral maps and even in very blue states like New York, there are very red sections of the state. Again those that live there choose to live there because they are with “their people”. Now I do not assume that all towns are like that, I suspect there are places where the blacks, Hispanics, liberals and conservatives have integrated the neighborhoods, but I believe they may be fewer and fewer, and that is why Rick may have wrote this article.

        As for red states, blue states, red districts and blue districts, people talk about gerrymandering, but one may need to look further into this and one may find that people have moved into areas of like thinking and like people, thus causing much of the red and blue we see in all states.

      • Priscilla permalink
        November 6, 2014 6:50 pm

        Have you changed your name again, Ian?

  2. October 1, 2014 5:59 pm

    Human beings are inherently tribal. Not to worry, so are most animals was well.

    • Roby L permalink
      October 2, 2014 9:45 am

      We agree! And if somehow we were left with one tribe, it would immediately fracture into parts.

      • October 5, 2014 10:31 am

        The question is not whether we are tribal but when we coalesce more broadly than a single tribe, to what extent may one tribe impose its values on another.

  3. October 1, 2014 8:23 pm

    My guess is that Americans are no more tribal today than at any other time. It’s just that the internet and other modern communications have made the tribalism more visible. How to go about showing that guess is truth … or not … is a whole other problem.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 1, 2014 11:02 pm

      Peter, not counting the Indians and the Amish, didn’t the Italians, Germans, Irish and others assimilate into America’s culture faster due to movement of people across this country compared to those that have come to America in the last 20 years? I could be very wrong, but it seems to me that immigrants today are not interested in becoming American, but just interested in what America can do for them.

      And yes, I believe that more Americans have become more politically tribal compared to many years ago. We may have voted for a Democrat or a Republican, but we were much more moderate and independent, switching sides depending on the candidate than we are today. McGovern and Goldwater were defeated because people were willing to vote across lines. That does not happen much these days.

      • October 2, 2014 6:41 am

        Possibly. However, to take it out of the realm of opinion, we would have to define what we mean by “assimilation”; devise an objective measure for it; produce relevant sets of data that accurately represent different groups; do the math; compare. Thus my deliberate use of the word “guess” which is based on my long standing anecdotal observation that the human character has not changed over recorded history. Anecdotal, by the way, is another word for guess.

        On the other hand, we do have good data for political tribalism over the last two generations … say … and that does make America look more tribal than the past.

      • October 5, 2014 10:35 am

        Why is the goal assimilation ?

        Are we the Borg ?

        I do not care that hispanics choose not to learn english or maintian their own values.

        I only care that others attempt to impose their values on me.

        The discontent within the US today is not because we have widely disparate values, but because too many are trying to impose their values on all.

    • Priscilla permalink
      October 2, 2014 12:31 am

      I’m gonna go with door # 2- Americans are more tribal these days. At least more so than in the early and mid 20th century, when the concept of the American Melting Pot animated our national consciousness. The whole melting pot theory, that the heterogeneous can become homogeneous, has really passed into history, or, at the very least, has become a “quaint” idea, incompatible with today’s insistence on identity politics and political correctness.

      The NYT today published an article (I’ll link it for anyone who is interested) that posited the idea that Republican outrage at the Secret Service, for its almost unbelievable incompetence, is somehow political, because, after all, why would Republicans object to a crazy person getting into the White House and possibly killing Obama? They hate him, after all, because he is a black Democrat, so that must mean that they would prefer him dead.

      Oh, yeah, tribalism is on the rise, and it is not good. Although, at this moment, I’m more worried about incompetence and Ebola.

      • October 2, 2014 6:54 am

        In a similar comment to Ron P … I’m willing to be persuade that the melting pot is less melty today, but I’d like to see the data on it. Getting that data would be a job.

        As I also said to Ron, political in recent times, America does seem tribal today compared to the recent past. Compared to 1861 to 1865, however, I’d say we’re doing better.

      • October 2, 2014 8:43 am

        Which party exactly is promoting tribalism? While there actually is no official tribe called Hispanics, the demographers and dems certainly cater to them:

      • Roby L permalink
        October 2, 2014 10:30 am

        “The NYT today published an article (I’ll link it for anyone who is interested) that posited the idea that Republican outrage at the Secret Service, for its almost unbelievable incompetence, is somehow political, because, after all, why would Republicans object to a crazy person getting into the White House and possibly killing Obama? They hate him, after all, because he is a black Democrat, so that must mean that they would prefer him dead.”

        I just read the article, I don’t find your take to be in, it other than in a much much milder sense. In other words you have given in to writing just the same sort of divisive stuff you object to from politicians. “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

        That is the problem. We all object to political divisiveness, most especially when “they” do it. Politics as normal. But a person can only change their own habits or try to change those of their own group. Instead we all spend out time trying to change “them.”

      • Priscilla permalink
        October 2, 2014 4:20 pm

        Roby, I think that there is a clear innuendo in that article, and it is that Republicans would not care about the Secret Service debacle unless they could make political hay out of it, i.e. they are not at really concerned with Obama’s safety, because they oppose him. “President Obama must be touched by all the concern that Republicans are showing him these days”?? Come on now, if that lede is not dripping with bitter sarcasm, I don’t know what is.

        And, of course, I was being sarcastic as well in my take on it. Not sure why pointing out divisive innuendo is divisive in itself, but, since you saw it that way, I may not have made my point clearly.

      • October 5, 2014 4:51 pm

        This should give you a clue how deranged the left is.

        They really beleive that everyone that disagrees with them about everything is an extremist hateful hating hater.

        I would also note that often when people are completely wrong about others, it is because they are assuming that the others are like themselves.

        The left does not understand why republicans are upset about lax whitehouse security because if the president were republican they would not care and would be secretly happy if the president were killed.

  4. October 2, 2014 12:13 am

    Let’s see if I can respond to everyone at once. Ron: I agree that immigrants generally used to assimilate more readily in the past, with the exception of the Amish (as you mentioned) and the Chinese who settled in various Chinatowns across the country. There was social pressure to be “all-American.” My parents, both of whom were Armenians born in Istanbul, grew up here and deliberately refrained from teaching me our ancestral language. They wanted me to be all-American, too.

    The ’60s were the turning point, I think. Suddenly ethnicity was fashionable… then came “diversity” and multiculturalism… and here we are with bilingual signs and immigrants who balk at learning English. But I’m even more concerned about cultural tribalism — the fact that a Left Coast liberal and a Tea Partier are almost like two different nationalities now. Blacks are more alienated than ever, the rich are a tribe unto themselves, and feminists are angrier than ever at men (especially white Republican men).

    Peter: We’ve always had our factions, but the Internet has intensified our differences by providing us with convenient amen corners that never existed before. It’s too easy now to ignore our neighbors and gravitate toward all those like-minded souls on political message boards. I saw a revealing stat recently: back in 1960, only about 4% of Democrats said they’d be upset if someone in their family married a Republican (and vice versa). Today, that figure was something like 30% for Democrats and 40% for Republicans. (I’m surprised that Democrats weren’t even more averse to “intermarriage” than the Republicans.)

    JB: Yep, most social animals are tribal. But I don’t remember such bitter factionalism during the years when we were growing up (not until the late ’60s, anyway). Everyone seemed to aspire to the middle-class ideal. Democrats and Republicans didn’t hate each other. Maybe those postwar years were a kind of happy aberration.

    • Priscilla permalink
      October 2, 2014 12:42 am

      Rick, I do think that you underestimate how much people want to NOT hate each other, even in these times of “boutiquification” (great word, btw).

      I would never characterize myself as a Tea Partier, although I am way closer to that identity than I am to being a Left Coast Liberal. Nevertheless, I peacefully coexist – and even share selected opinions!- with friends and family that are LCL’s 🙂 I believe that politicians want and need us to be divided and hateful. They are winning, and it’s a damn shame.

      • October 2, 2014 8:24 am

        Indeed. What part of US society has co-opted the use of the term “war” and apply it to such notions as the “war on women?” Hint: it wasn’t the GOP.

      • Roby L permalink
        October 2, 2014 9:54 am

        “Rick, I do think that you underestimate how much people want to NOT hate each other,…”

        Its a beautiful thought. Priscilla. I think you have something.

        Just one personal example, my ideological world is far from that of our local Mennonites, as are those of many around here, but I think they are wonderful neighbors and really contribute something to my life.

        I have the same feeling abut the large community of African immigrants war refugees in Burlington, and the Meskhetian Turks who were resettled here over the last decade from Russia.

      • October 3, 2014 11:44 pm

        Priscilla and Roby: I’d like to think that Americans would really like to like one another, but I’ve seen too many vile comments on left- and right-wing websites to believe it. There are some people who (for whatever reason) thrive on hate, and flinging barbs at the political opposition probably gives them an outlet for their pent-up anger. In all likelihood they’re just a small and extreme element that doesn’t reflect the hearts of most Americans. But when I read that 53% of Tea Partiers would like to secede, I have to think there’s some serious, widespread hatred going on.

      • Priscilla permalink
        October 4, 2014 1:05 am

        Rick, I think that, if you let go of the left/right rhetoric, it is pretty clear that Obama is in favor of having politicians call the shots but, when their bright ideas lead to disaster, blaming the private sector for everything that has gone wrong. He is not a socialist, because socialists believe in government ownership of the means of production, which means that government also takes responsibility when things go wrong. And, lord knows, if there is one thing that we know about Obama, it’s that he never, ever, takes responsibility for anything.

        Socialists do believe that their values and ideals are superior to the hoi polloi, and that appears to be true of Obama and his supporters, so perhaps that is where the socialism thing comes in.

      • October 4, 2014 8:32 am

        No, good buddy, you conflate and assume. If a large % of our TP brethren say they want to secede, it does not that they hate anyone. There are many reasons why someone may find this idea appealing without “hate” of another being the driving force.

        My guess that members of the TP are prone to wanting to feel they have more of a say in how they are effected by government (less please) and feel like they are losing that fight (I can understand that as well).

        Moreover, finding the idea appealing and actually doing it if the opportunity arises are two very different things (think Scotland). I think the TP folks are simply frustrated and feeling a bit powerless right now. Hard to blame them, given the media’s reaction to their frustration.

        In the end, I believe the concept of “wanting out” of America is a reaction to the massive overreach by the Federal Government to insert themselves in our daily lives. Many examples abound and the distrust that this particular admin has generated (where are those illegal aliens that you took from the boarder and bussed away?) only adds to this anxiety.

        NSA spies, IRS emails disappear, Benghazi, etc. All of these things erode trust and breed paranoia (for some).

        Me, I am a Federalist. Small and limited govt in DC, thank you.

      • October 3, 2014 11:54 pm

        jb: Both political extremes are fond of extreme language and exaggeration. The left does it, definitely (especially feminists and blacks) but so does the right. I still scratch my head when I hear Obama denounced as a socialist, when, if anything, he’s a willing tool of Wall Street.

      • October 4, 2014 8:36 am

        We disagree once more. Obama is very much a socialist. He simply has not found a way to garner the overall power to pull it off. If Obamacare is not socialist-lite, what is? Is the NSA spying a sign of a vibrant democracy? Really?

        Yes, Obama kiss the butts of the moneyed class because he has not figured out how to legally take their dough without asking.

    • October 5, 2014 4:57 pm

      The evidence on modern immigrants is that they “assimilate” as fast or faster than past immigrants.

      An editor for National Review did an article on this several years ago.

      He started the story with the bias you would expect from the right, a presumption that modern immigrants particularly hispanics were more likely to be criminals, less likely to assimilate less likely to learn english, ….

      After getting into the research he discovered that while Hispanic immigrants are more likely to be lower class, more likely to be criminal, …. that the general population, that they were LESS likely to be criminals that past generation of immigrants, LESS likely to be lower class, and MORE likely to learn english faster.

      Further Hispanics are resolving a more than two century problem in this country.
      They are assimilating the black population.

      • October 6, 2014 11:28 am

        It might be the sheer size of the wave of Hispanic immigrants that gives us the impression that they’re not assimilating… not to mention all the unprecedented bilingual signs. (I think we make it too easy for Hispanic immigrants not to learn English.) But how are they assimilating the black population? From what I’ve observed, Hispanics and African Americans still tend to live in separate neighborhoods, even though many Hispanics (especially from the Caribbean) are also black.

    • October 5, 2014 4:58 pm

      The Chinese did not “settle” into various chinatowns, in the US. They were excluded by law from living anyone else up through the 1960’s.

    • October 5, 2014 5:27 pm

      When I first entered the workforce my world was entirely white, very male, and very straight.
      When I went to the grocery store everyone was white.

      Today, most of the people I work with are not male, not white, and no one cares whether you are straight or not.

      When I was in college it was nearly impossible to be openly gay without loosing your job, or pretty much anything else.

      Today the fight is over whether fundimentalist christians can be forced to provide, wedding cakes, photography, or flowers for gay couples.

      • October 6, 2014 11:29 am

        I agree. There’s intense pressure on everyone to accept the liberal social agenda these days.

    • October 5, 2014 6:01 pm

      I think you are wrong about the “hyper tribalism” of the moment.

      We are in the midst of an anomally in a trend towards greater not lessor accomidation and acceptance.

      The current rhetorical intensity has 3 causes:

      1). The current economic downturn has accentuated unproductive class warfare.
      If we ever get real recovery that will fade.

      2). The Republican party is in the midst of a massive internal power struggle and re-orientation. Contrary to the claims of the left and many here – this is actually a shift left.
      The Tea Party is one facet of that shift. Social conservatives and evangelical christians have lost their hold on the GOP. The winners in this shift have been fiscal conservatives.
      The Tea Party is one manifestation of this re-orientation. The increasing interest in libertarian republicans is another facet. The holy war between the Tea Party and “establishment” republicans is a reflection of this shift. Both groups sought to step into the void as social conservatives waned.

      Given a choice between say Rand Paul or Marco Rubio and Rick Santorum – who would you prefer.

      3). Party due to the shift in the GOP and partly due to failure of their own policies, the left is increasingly desparate. They were massacred in 2010 and it would have been worse but for bad GOP candidates. They held on to the presidency in 2012 only because Romeny – aka Obama lite was an abysmal choice, because they successfully supressed republican votes – enthusiasm for Romney was poor, and because they have whipped their own base to a fevered frenzy with fear. 2014 is shaping to be 2010 with better candidates. the left may mitigate some of its losses with massive amounts of money and more scare tactics.

      But in the long run the sky is falling tactics do not work. Democrats can not motivate their base with fear forever.

      They know this. But have little choice. Progressivism has been an abysmal failure. The hoped for vindication of ObamaCare is not coming and will not be sufficient should a miracle happen.

      The Democratic party must face up to the need for a re-orientation simmilar to that of the GOP, but as not done so yet. Oddly the Bill Clinton “New Democrats” were such a shift.
      But they have been eviscerated. Hillary is NOT the type of democrat her husband was.
      Obama has built a very very successful Democratic political machine – but it is HIS machine, not a democratic machine and it is built around a cult of personality that will not translate.

      The point of this is that the circumstances of the moment are unusual.

      Much of the GOP has shifted to much more moderate positions. That is going to be perceived once the hystrinics wear thin.
      That shift may not make them more palletable to you or many of the other left wing nut moderates of TNM but it is a sufficient shift that they are going to win more and more elections – atleast until democrats go through their own adjustments.

      You should view this as good rather than bad. Things are getting better politically not worse, it is just that change is stressful.

      The truly extreme right has died, the extreme left will likely follow shortly.

      What you perceive as a more extreme Republican party is a less extreme on.
      Did you really think that the disempowerment of the Jesse Helm’s, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson types would lead to some progressive republican revolution – actually you got that, it was George Bush and he was a failure.

      Be honest who is more extreme ? Strom Thurmond or Rand Paul ?

      • October 6, 2014 11:35 am

        I agree up to a point. The GOP might be shifting away from the far right politically, and likewise the Democrats might be gradually abandoning the top-down progressivism of the LBJ era (as I’ve said before, Obama is to the right of Nixon on many issues)… but I think the cultural rift between social progressives and social conservatives continues to widen — with escalating anger on each side. Just spy on some left-wing and right-wing message boards and you’ll see that the two factions are essentially at war… they absolutely revile each other.

    • October 5, 2014 9:08 pm

      Sorry Rick, the internet and a more globally interconnected world is the solution not the problem.

      One thing that is occuring is that the war of ideas can not be fought on each of our desktops.

      Both the right and the left have said many of the same idiotic misperceptions for decades.
      The information age is diminishing the ability to offer many of these idiotic views.

      IT is unfortunately still possible to be willfully blind even self contradictory – Paul Krugman proves that daily. But if you really want to find things out the information is readily available.

      Yes, for many issues there are contradictory sources, but that is still far better than just having to chose between what Talking head A or Talking Head B says some experts you have no real access to say.

      You need to know the GDP in China in 1983 – Google.

      It still requires thought and discernment – but even the required levels of that are slowly diminishing.

      Frankly I think the ferocity of the attacks by the left are because the information available increasingly discredits their world view.

      Starting in the 1970’s slowly more and more of elites responsible for economic choices in the chountries of the world started to grasp that the Statist, Keynes, Socialist crap they had been fed did not work. The consequences of small steps away from that lunacy have been amazing.

      Increasingly today the information and knowledge that was available only to those elites at that time is available to all of us.

      The ever more connected global internet economy has some consequences that are not
      positive – NOTHING is all positive all the time. But those same consequnces are overwhelmingly NET positive.

      • October 6, 2014 11:43 am

        The information is there for people who are actually interested in looking up information. There’s the rub: most amateur political extremists are content to bask in their own amen corners and listen to whatever warped and erroneous information they’re fed.

        If you look at the prominent left-wing and right-wing online publications, you might notice that the headlines tend to be inflammatory — calculated to provoke an emotional response from the faithful. It’s understood that most of these folks won’t even read the article, let alone investigate its truthfulness; they’ll simply post it on their Facebook page and invite a chorus of “likes” or outrage (depending on the article) from their like-minded friends.

    • October 5, 2014 9:20 pm

      Our separation from our immediate neighbors is a consequence of the progressivism not the internet.

      Regulations like Licencing Zoning codes, building codes, property management codes, are all means by which either:

      Experts force on us their idea of the idyllic life style, or our neighbors force heir will on us without having to look us in the eye first.

      Worried about what color your neighbor might paint their house – pass a law.

      Annoyed because one of your neighors burned their leaves before the barbque you did not tell them about ? Ban burning leaves.

      Irrated because your neighbor repairs his cars in his drive way – more regulations will cure that.

      We can always find some compelling reason to go before some local board with some pressing problem that it is easiest for the to solve by passing another law.

      Actually talking to our neighbors, figuring out how to get along, managing some give and take. Those are the casualties of the progressive regulatory society not the internet.

      Tell me why can’t someone fix their care in their driveway ? Or even get paid by their neighbors to fix their cars ? HP, Apple, …. started as garage businesses. Today you need a raft of impossible to aquire permits.

      We know that growth – particularly that of small business is directly and negatively impacted by the scale and breadth of regulations. If you want to make sure the next Apple does not happen – keep passing ever more regulations.

      Little boxes on the hillside,
      Little boxes made of ticky tacky
      Little boxes on the hillside,
      Little boxes all the same.
      There’s a green one and a pink one
      And a blue one and a yellow one,
      And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
      And they all look just the same.

      And the people in the houses
      All went to the university,
      Where they were put in boxes
      And they came out all the same,
      And there’s doctors and lawyers,
      And business executives,
      And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
      And they all look just the same.

      And they all play on the golf course
      And drink their martinis dry,
      And they all have pretty children
      And the children go to school,
      And the children go to summer camp
      And then to the university,
      Where they are put in boxes
      And they come out all the same.

      And the boys go into business
      And marry and raise a family
      In boxes made of ticky tacky
      And they all look just the same.
      There’s a green one and a pink one
      And a blue one and a yellow one,
      And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
      And they all look just the same.

  5. October 2, 2014 8:23 am

    Well, we could ask the question: when did the US start to print ballots in multiple languages so that those who cannot read English can vote? Way to go, you know, promoting assimilation. Why are their signs in Spanish for our local “free clinic?” Is that helping new migrants assimilate? Not really.

    Earlier immigrants learned the language because they had to. When they didn’t (regional isolation, they did not. (See Thomas Sowell’s work on this subject, it is quite excellent).

    A related question might be: which party has done everything in its power to promote “diversity”? and to push for “minority” rights?

    Ah, yeah.

    I could go on. Sometimes, one does not need to look at the “data” to see who is pushing the tribalism for its own political purposes.

    • November 14, 2014 8:20 pm

      Actually, I recall when I worked in Philadelphia there was a sign at one of the trolley-subway stations that said “Do not enter or cross the tracks” in three languages — this was 1964, and since the other languages were Italian and Yiddish, the sign was probably pretty old even then. But I agree, the fact that my sample ballot had to be printed 50% in Spanish gives me some concern. I hope we do not turn into Belgium.

  6. October 2, 2014 10:26 am

    I can certainly relate to the concept of socio-political tribalism as a negative effect on Western society- in that the foundation of modern Western society was based on the coexistence of a plurality of views and beliefs both political, religious and cultural, the holders of whom might not always agree but were willing to live alongside each other in relative peace and move beyond their differences. I would also suggest it is a much bigger issue in America than Europe, much though the rise of nationalism and the far right as well as emerging divisions in the centrist establishment seem to be driving this apart, you don’t get quite the same level of vitriol you do in the States it seems. Most ordinary folks are in fact pretty apathetic as they feel let down by the establishment and powerless in the face of it.

    My major criticisms are two:

    1. That such tribalism and the issue of balkanisation are too strongly conflated here. Whilst many separatist movements do indeed arise from this sort of tribalism, there are also plenty of other justifications for balkanisation that exist. Large nations with powerful, top-heavy governments are quite likely to be subject to corrupting influences, may not be terribly effective and often seem distant from the people they are trying to represent- not a good thing for a democracy. Also, there needs to be some element of shared culture in any given region, and where these differ to much, there is some argument for separation. Even though the United States and Britain share a common language, some common history, values and religion, the differences are enough that we accept the former had to break away from the latter.

    2. The word “boutiquification” doesn’t sit entirely easily with me, as the metaphor it draws from has unfortunate implications- that the supermarkets, big-box stores and other small businesses are somehow inherently better than the smaller and more local “mom and pop” type enterprises, as if somehow greater consumer choice or any other percieved social benefit of the latter was in some way a bad thing.

    On Scotland, I don’t know if the “Yes” side of the independence issue were as seriously in with a chance as all that- it was a near-run thing and they were certainly making as much ground as they could, but only one opinion poll (which can’t always be trusted) but them ahead of the “No” side. (The question posed being “Should Scotland become an independent country?”) That said, even this side of the Atlantic some of us viewed it with some trepidation…

    • Priscilla permalink
      October 3, 2014 9:24 am

      thelyniezian, I agree with you, particularly on your first point. There have been many times, over the past 5-6 years, when I have thought “hell, if Texas decides to secede, I’ll go with them!” But, the truth is that I probably wouldn’t and that that sort of thinking is motivated more by a sense of powerlessness and frustration with an increasingly powerful and corrupt federal government, one that seems completely disconnected from what I view as American constitutional democracy. In other words, I still feel connected to my fellow citizens, but I feel very disconnected from my government, particularly from my president.

      On the other hand, the feeling that “we are all Americans,” is something that, despite the occasional lip service that it receives in political speeches, seems to be slipping away. And slipping away pretty quickly at that, I don’t know if it will get to a point where tribalism ultimately triumphs over nationalism, but there was a time, not so long ago, that I would have said that that could never happen. And now, I’m not so sure……

    • October 4, 2014 12:09 am

      Good points, thelynezian. I go back and forth on the subject of sovereignty for small ethno-linguistic groups. Fragmentation, taken to its limits, would result in a mindboggling array of weak nation-states. On the other hand, groups with a strong ethnic identity probably deserve autonomy at the very least.

      As for boutiquification, I didn’t mean to slight mom-and-pop stores in favor of big-box behemoths like Walmart. I was thinking more in terms of upscale (and uppity) little stores catering to urban snobs. Even big-box stores like Macy’s have capitulated to the boutique mentality. I was shopping for shirts there recently and I had to contend with a dozen designer “boutiques” inside their men’s department. If I wanted to buy a shirt, I was forced to browse through each of those boutiques instead of finding all the shirts in one place. (I gave up after ten minutes and left.)

      I’ve grown just as impatient with all the self-regarding interest groups that have sprouted up in this country, all claiming to be marginalized or oppressed in one way or another. Sometimes I think they wouldn’t have it any other way… some of these groups seem to positively relish victimhood.

  7. Ron P permalink
    October 2, 2014 12:43 pm

    Anyone know how to fix WordPress so I can start getting posting of others comments. I have clicked both boxes next to the “post comment” that say “notify me” and I am not receiving those in e-mail form. Hard to keep up with comments after we get into the 100’s.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 2, 2014 12:44 pm

      Yes, and I was receiving them in the past, this just started.

  8. Roby L permalink
    October 2, 2014 9:46 pm

    The first line I’ll grant you does sound sarcastic, but the rest of the piece is fairly even.

    “Democrats joined in the grilling, and some were as tough as or tougher than any Republican on the Secret Service director, Julia Pierson. ”

    “Not every Democrat sees it that way. Paul Begala, no stranger to partisan warfare as a longtime adviser to Mr. Clinton, said Republican lawmakers were asking the right questions out of genuine concern. “This is totally on the level,” he said. “They’re acting like real human beings and patriotic Americans.”

    “Other Democrats said Republicans had good reason to preserve that impression. “So far there is bipartisan outrage and concern,” said Margie Omero, a strategist for Democratic candidates for nearly 20 years who has studied midterm voters in swing Senate races this year. “But at this time of year, candidates will try just about anything to find an opening. It could definitely backfire if Republicans look like they’re making political hay out of a threat to the president’s life.”

    There is, fer gods sake, nothing about “…why would Republicans object to a crazy person getting into the White House and possibly killing Obama? They hate him, after all, because he is a black Democrat, so that must mean that they would prefer him dead.”

    That is just political purple prose, i.e., red meat rhetoric unrelated to the article. Its the kind of blame the other side divisive rhetoric we are trying to deplore here, I think.

    I found “I do think that you underestimate how much people want to NOT hate each other..” much much more musical.

    • Priscilla permalink
      October 2, 2014 11:18 pm

      Well, one out of two ain’t bad…

      • Roby L permalink
        October 3, 2014 12:50 pm

        Well, we are all trying. Sometimes I’m Very Trying myself.

  9. October 3, 2014 10:31 am

    I can’t think of anytime since Obama was elected that he was not attacking some segment of the US, normally anything related to the “other” Americans. You know, the GOP, Tea Party, Fox News, etc. etc.

    Can we all agree that he has no interest in moderation, compromise, or unity?

    If so, produce the speeches or the actions if you can.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 3, 2014 1:33 pm

      JB..You forgot another segment he is attacking. His own advisers who give him advice that he ignores and then when there is a negative outcome he throws them under the bus and blames them for not telling him or giving him bad advice (even though it was the right advice).

      Obama belong to a very unique tribe. It is the tribe that I remember so many years ago when I was in college. It did not matter what the text books said, it did not matter what the “acceptable answer” was to any issue (that was not fact like in math) in areas open to interpretation, you just regurgitated what the professor said in class as their minds were closed to any other possible answers or solutions. Obama does not care what his advisors say until his interpretation to a problem is wrong, then he blames them for incorrectly advising him or not advising him at all.

      We see them turning on him and I suspect the military leadership that would support him like they did so many other presidents will begin to provide answers that will show their lack of respect they have for him in the future.

      • October 3, 2014 2:23 pm

        Indeed, spot on Ron. In fact, the CIA has been leaking memos like mad, showing that Obama has in fact, been briefed in writing on many things he swears he did not know.

        I think Barry is learning that the structure of government is resilient indeed. Panetta’s book is likely to be a best seller as well.

  10. Roby L permalink
    October 4, 2014 10:39 am

    Rick, No place to respond but here, Priscilla’s statement, which I would like to believe, is that “I do think that you underestimate how much people want to NOT hate each other.” That is not the same as liking each other a much larger statement.

    The internet conversations are a statistically biased sampling, they have amplified the hate, there are a disproportionate number of unhinged people in online conversations, and they can tear into each other about movies, diets or tennis players, let alone politics or religion.

    Obama got reelected, that says something about where America is hatewise as well.

    The boutiqueification of America has everything to do with the 500+ TV channels uncountable number of news outlets compared to the situation with 3 TV networks that obtained for most of my life. Now the internet has carried coals to newcastle, a tribe for everyone. As well 9/11 and the financial crisis were sever blows to American confidence and mass psychology that we have not recovered from. It happened in music is well, much to the detriment of popular music. Overall, technology is driving this, humans are the same animal, but given 500 TV channels and the internet we will split into smaller and smaller tribes.

    The Tea party is just a tribe that got media attention and blossomed, now they are stuck having to go further out all the time to stay newsworthy, thus the 53% figure. I was really surprised that the number of potential secessionists was lowest in New England!

    • October 4, 2014 10:47 am

      “I was really surprised that the number of potential secessionists was lowest in New England!”

      I was not surprised in the slightest.

    • Anonymous permalink
      October 4, 2014 1:23 pm

      Roby, I would like to offer support to Priscilla’s comment that most people do not want to hate each other. I would also offer that I believe that the splits that we see and the “hate” that we hear has been promoted by politicians and political parties, not by people, “tribes” or any other social organizations. People believe what they hear.

      Everyone, for the most part, is willing to sit down and talk. From the time one begins to understand social interaction, most people are taught how to talk out problems and compromise. “Do we play baseball or basketball?” “Do we watch Sesame Street or cartoons on TV? Kids make those decisions and go have fun. One has to wonder how congress would make those same decisions!!!

      That same interaction in politics started to decline during the Reagan administration and by the Clinton administration the GOP capped the era of “hate” with their attacks on Clinton and his wondering hands (and other body parts). Then the sealed lid was attached with the election of “W” and the democrats belief he stole that election. How many times do the three leaders ever get together and talk about where this country needs to go? How many companies could survive with their three top executives meeting that same number of times?

      So today we have political parties and action committees lying about candidates and people believing those lies to the point that two people can not have a conversation about opposing views since they are arguing using lies as their basis for their positions.

      When we had three major news outlets, we did not have the polarization of the news like we have today. We also did not have the polarization of the parties like we have today. Both were much more moderate (ie Kennedy;s position on taxes and Nixon being the first to support “Obamacare” like health insurance).

      yes we did have the black panthers, the KKK and many other fringe organizations, but people’s moderate views kept those organizations as fringe organizations. Those still exist today and many other fringe organizations exist today, but we just hear more about them due to the constant news that exist and the lies that are in political ads and lies on the internet that promote fringe ideas.

      Today we have people calling Obama a socialist because of Obamacare. How many called Johnson a socialist because of Medicare? And how many people that call Obama a socialist would agree to eliminate Medicare for seniors. In my book, not many as cutting one dollar from Medicare is a red flag for any politicians and a sure loss in any election. So when is socialism acceptable and when is it not?

      But Obama does have actions that will go down as some of the worst actions a president has ever made. And the books written by former advisers and leaks from secret agencies are going to be the foundation of those ratings once he has left office.

      • ron P permalink
        October 4, 2014 1:24 pm

        That was from me. WordPress is totally messed up on my end.

    • October 6, 2014 3:45 pm

      Good analysis, Roby. I’m hoping you’re right and that the demented verbiage on the extremist sites represents just a small sampling of the public. Unfortunately, these half-cracked articles and comments often show up on Facebook, where they go mainstream.

      As for the proliferation of entertainment options contributing to our tribalization… absolutely. Good grief, I’ve never even heard of most of the TV shows that walk off with awards these days… let alone watched them. How do viewers even FIND these shows, when we have 500+ cable channels, plus the various premium channels, plus Netflix and Hulu and On Demand and now even Amazon — and no TV Guide to look them up (it would have to be the size of a small phone book). Just mindboggling.

      Finally, PLEASE DON’T LEAVE US! Take a vacation, read a book, walk in the Vermont woods… but keep the faith! You don’t have to argue with our resident conservatives and libertarians until you pop an artery. Let me risk popping an artery. (That’s my job.)

  11. Roby L permalink
    October 4, 2014 10:46 am

    Using the New Moderate as a platform for an essentially private conversation about the further and further degrees to which one detests Obama is Booorrring. TNM was not meant to be an anti_Obama echo chamber and it may drive away anyone who is interested in the 10,000 other aspects and angles of Ricks posts.

    I looked at the statistics for all presidential popularity this a.m. for some reason there is not a graph that includes Obama, I guess because the graphs are historical and he is the present. But while he is not popular, with a term average of 48% approval and a present 42% he is not wildly unpopular by the standards of recent history. Nixon, Carter, and W Bush are the outliers at 30% or lower. Conservatives are engaging in wishful thinking in their echo chambers that Obama is a dud of historical proportions popularity wise or that his presidency is truly collapsing. In my eyes he is quite a lousy president, but he is well above Nixon, Carter, and W crisis of confidence wise.

    Why not find a nice juicy Anti-Obama site and vent your spleens there?

    • October 4, 2014 10:51 am

      Once again, if you can find a speech that you believe shows how BO tries to unite Americans, by all means, please produce it. It may be boring to you, but much of what Rick was alluding to sits on the shoulders of Barry and his minions.

      He is not alone. If I were in the WH, I would have a little chat with Harry Reid as well. He has yet to say one thing I find remotely rational and unifying in any way. Joe Biden needs to go to the woodshed as well.

      PS- I could give two shits as to whether BO is popular to the masses. As the masses become more and more made up of illegal aliens, the numbers will necessarily skew. That is what the Dems are banking on.

      And, to disappoint you greatly, I am sticking around. If you want agreement, stay in New England. You will find plenty there.

    • Priscilla permalink
      October 4, 2014 11:24 am

      Unfair, Roby. The main post is about tribalism, not only here in the US, but all over the globe. There is a point to be made about identity politics related to that topic and those who practice it, and even the most ardent Obama supporters, I believe, would agree that he is a practitioner par excellence. Add to that Rick’s comment that tea party secessionists are, by definition, haters and there is disagreement and discussion.

      I have never judged Obama on whether he was popular or not (nor any other president for that matter), but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that, among the liberal Democrat base, he is very popular. So what? Commenters here should stop being critical of him because he is popular with the very people that he panders to?

      By the way, off (but on) topic, my senior honors thesis in college was on the Scottish Nationalist Party. If the conversation ever gets around specifically to that tribe, I have some thoughts as well……

      • October 4, 2014 11:29 am

        As always, well reasoned and sound analysis Ms. Rose!

  12. Roby L permalink
    October 4, 2014 11:19 am

    Stick around, by all means. But your worst and most obsessive behaviors(Obama obsession), like Dave’s worst and most obsessive behaviors, ruin TNM as a place to discuss anything intelligently. Is that really your intention?

    • October 4, 2014 11:28 am

      Well, Roby, you are the only one to complain and I am not the only one to bash Barry. As for intelligence, I think I can more than hold my own against you.

      And, I am waiting for your reference on Obama the Unifier. That is the topic, no?

      Or, we can witness your obsession with the Tea Party.

      Your turn.

  13. Roby L permalink
    October 4, 2014 11:31 am

    And, I am waiting for your reference on Obama the Unifier. That is the topic, no?

    That is the topic, no! See the top for the actual topic.

  14. Roby L permalink
    October 4, 2014 12:13 pm

    I nice little tribe you have here, thus no complaints. Good luck with your echo chamber. I am done for good, post 800 comments about Obama and enjoy.

    • Anonymous permalink
      October 4, 2014 1:46 pm

      I’m sorry Roby, but you can’t go without telling me how you liked the Dave Barry Bad Song book.

    • October 4, 2014 2:04 pm

      Poor baby, can’t fine agreement. Well, you live in the right state for that.

      BTW-you have said this before, yet, here you are .

  15. October 4, 2014 8:51 pm

    OK, looks as if I have to step in and moderate (long A) my New Moderate crew. Can we try to stop jumping on one another here? Good grief, I write a post on tribal animosities and here we are as fractious as Congress on a bad day. You can bet my next column will be on a subject that can’t possibly be steered back to Obama. Maybe the thwarted career of William Jennings Bryan, or the rise of Millard Fillmore?

    • October 5, 2014 9:50 am

      I hear you Rick. The thing is, I lay the blame on Obama and Roby tells me I am a dope. What’s up with that? If he disagrees, he should just say so or tell me where he sees Obama acting as a unifying force in his job as POTUS.

      It is no secret that I hate what Obama has done since he has been in office (and not done, I might add). How does that make me a problem? It’s called an opinion.

    • Priscilla permalink
      October 5, 2014 11:18 am

      Rick, I’m not sure how you discuss tribal animosities in the US without bringing in the current state of American politics, which, almost by necessity, requires expressing opinions about the current president. The president, no matter who he is, acts as a lightning rod for criticism of government policies and politics of the moment. And then, with the passage of time, history judges those policies and politics in context.

      FDR is now considered a super-president, but he was the guy who took 140,000 men, women and children, removed them from their homes with no due process or evidence of guilt, confiscated their property and businesses, and interred them in desolate camps in the desert. Judging him on that action alone, and without any historical perspective, I wonder if he would be routinely placed on the list of greatest presidents?

      So, I don’t think that it is inappropriate to tie back talk of secession to the current administration, and that is, after all, how we got around to mentioning the current president.
      And, when you take into consideration that there have been some very serious and significant federal v. state conflicts over the past few years (immigration, gay marriage, gun laws, public lands, etc), it is fairly easy to see how some might consider secession to be a potential alternative. But, wishing doesn’t make it so, and the fact is that there is no viable secession movement any where in the US at this time.

      There does appear to be an increasing amount of polarization and political tribalism in the US – if it weren’t the case, you would have never written this post. And there is a case to be made that political tribalism is creating serious rifts in the fabric of our nation. But those rifts are not limited to the actions of grass-roots political movements like the tea party – and, in fact, one could make the case that the tea party movement is, in some aspects, an attempt to combat those rifts, at least as they affect socio-economic groups.

      Plus, I really don’t want to discuss Millard Fillmore……

  16. October 5, 2014 10:27 am

    I am not sure I get the point of this.

    Is there some optimal construction of a nation that is well known that should be a goal ?

    The left constantly touts the broad and deep social safetynets of the european social democracies.

    Government of that kind is impossible absent the monocultural nature of those countries.

    Conversely sustaining the disparate multi-ethnic multicultural nature of this country is only possible within the confines of the limited government values that formed this nation.

    The increasing stresses within the US are caused by the effort of the majority to impose its will on all. None of us are in the majority on all issues.

    The declaration of independence is the most eloquent statement of government written.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness”

    You need not share my libertarain values to share in appreciation of the meaning.

    The purpose of government is the protection of our rights.
    That the legitimacy of government rests on the consent of the governed.
    That people have the right to determine their own government.

    Whether Scottland, or the Rocky Mountain states dividing a nation is not an action to be taken lightly. At the same time the UK and the US should be concerned that so many are sufficiently unhappy with their national government that they want to form a smaller government of their own.

    Those who want governments similar to the nordic social democracies need to grasp that those are only possible where there are no minorities.

    You can define the rights of people and the purpose of government however you please,
    but you can not define these contrary to the values of a significant minority within a country.

    Government must represent the lest common denominator of the values of its people.
    The larger the nation the more diverse its people, the narrower the scope of government must be.

    • October 5, 2014 10:35 am

      Sadly, that ship has sailed. Yes, the Declaration is a masterpiece but certain folks don’t understand (or want to) the inherent nature of trade-offs. In short, they want it all.

      Individual freedom and having the state take care of all manner of things are incompatible. Yet, liberals (in general) think the can have the “village” raise their children but still be free to do whatever they want. “Hey man, I have the right to smoke dope and you can provide free day care for my kids!”

      It does not work that way.

      Now on to that diversity thing. I want someone to show me where that is working out. Indeed, we are tribal beings and once one side starts throwing mud (read: we are a nation of cowards) the crap starts to hit the fan.

      PS-I was over at Walmart yesterday and their auto shop was closed. I asked the manager who told me he had no service techs so he had to stay closed. .Seems that between foods stamps, unemployment, and other such social benefit programs, the wages they pay for changing oil are not sufficiently attractive to keep the garage open.

      Ah, the hidden costs of the welfare state.

      Competing with the guy down the street is one thing. Competing with the monopoly that is government is quite another.

  17. October 5, 2014 10:51 am

    Off the subject (but not too far), this is simply a brilliant piece of writing IMHO.

  18. October 5, 2014 6:40 pm

    Love to see that “research.”

  19. October 5, 2014 8:21 pm

    Great post , Rick.I think now is a good time to remember that other greatly diverse conglomeration of tribes from the past–the USSR. Those peoples were allied together under the fearsome yoke of a coercive and terrifying centralized government. At the first opportunity to fragment into separate nations, they did. The increasingly centralized accumulation of power in our current government does not come close to resembling the USSR, but the ongoing celebration of diversity by the left is hard to swallow. The thing that distinguished us so completely from the Soviets was that we were a free people that CHOSE TO UNITE UNDER A SHARED AMERICAN ETHOS–CELEBRATE YOUR ANCESTRAL BACKGROUND AND DIFFERENCES AS YOU SEE FIT, BUT OUR CENTRAL IDENTITY MUST BE AS AMERICANS NOW, IN ORDER FOR THE GREAT MELTING POT TO WORK. Your boutiquification observation is spot on, and it is one more force tearing at the fabric of this great nation.

  20. October 5, 2014 10:29 pm

    Wow! So many of you are so sure things are worse today.

    It is amazing how idylic we recast the past.

    We are LESS tribal. We are more diverse, the melting pot is melting – though we are not and should not be homogenized, just tolerant.

    For a generation even though we have not been politically libertarian, and even though there have been losses as well as gains, the trend withing the country has been a sub conscious libertarian one.

    On issues of rights, where the left and libertarians somewhat align, the world has vastly changed since I was a child.

    Are things perfect ? No. Better, absolutely.

    We have reached a relatively stable compromise on abortion – the most contentious issue of the past generation. Restrictions particularly on late term abortions that are broadly supported are comonplace, but birth control, morning after pills, and early abortions are readily available, and nearly unrestricted, and no one is going to tamper past the edges.

    We have gone from women not having the right to reproductive freedom, to women having the right to have others pay for their reproductive freedom.

    Gay rights have swung so far that that the religious are now the victims of intense persecution. It is acceptable for men to kiss on main street. It is not acceptable to quietly decline to bake a cake for a gay wedding.

    Drug prohibition is cracking. We are not there yet. We are likely to do no better than decriminalizing marijuana. But who would have bet that in 1974 ?

    Are race relations idylic ? No. Are they better than when Elvis sang “In the Ghetto” ?
    When cities were burning ?

    On those areas that Libertarians align with the Right we have also made great progress, though not without some False steps.

    Nixon was the appogee of the regulatory state. Carter very successfully started deregulation do we need more – much more – absolutely. Reagan successfully cut Taxes, Clinton very successfully cut social programs. Bush and Obama we retrenchment on these gains.
    But the gains are real and have been incredibly successful.

    The past decade and a half have been a mess. Bush was a progressive reversal, Sarbox, and Medicare D, and Obama with PPACA. Once again we have progressive policies and endless meaingless war.

    But I see the current moment and its viciousness as the last gasp of progressivism.
    Dying ideas fight bitterly for survival.

    But it is still dying.

    The past was wonderful. But it was not better than today. and the future will be better still.

    I have fought here before arguing that principle is more important that compromise, that losing honestly and having failure come sooner rather than later is better than a compromise that holds off failure a few more years. I still feel that way, and I still think we are likely to have some serious problems in the future, but absent the progressive idiocy that is reflected in the handling of the great depression and great recession, we recover from failure quickly and stronger than before. Failure is how we purge mistakes, and we have made mistakes that must be purged.

    But the POINT is that what we face in the future are speedbumps – maybe some severe ones, but we will get past them.

    We have more battles and strife and conflict in the future, but our future is brighter than our past. And our past was pretty dam good.

    All here rant that my “extreme” libertarianism is a dark cloud over everything.
    I have zero expectation that the future is going to rigorously conform to my views.
    I also have zero doubt it is going to be more libertarian that the present.
    That scares me a bit. Half steps are very dangerous. California deregulated half the energy market and created a huge crisis. You can not have regulated supply and deregulated demand.

    Some aspects of PPACA are more free market than what existed previously.
    The healthcare exchanges are total idiocy in compared to a real free market.
    It makes zero sense to me why one would choose to have government run exchanges when you for free you can get better.
    But the exchanges for all there flaws are better than the total government balkanization of the market that proceeded them. Further PPACA is destroying employer provided insurance.
    The left hopes this will lead to state provided healthcare, but it can just as easily lead to individually purchased health insurance.
    On NET PPACA is still a collasal failure, the perfect demonstration of the arrogance of a progressive elite that thinks it can manage anything better than people can manage for themselves.

    PPACA may be the last gasp of progressivism. Probably not – but the last big gasp.

    The left – and even moderates here have not yet truly grasped how incredibly well the small steps towards freer markets that were taken nearly a generation ago have worked out.
    But we will.

    The antagonism, tribalism, antipathy that Rick rants about is the battle cries of those who understand and in many cases have benefitted. The south is still the poorest portion of this country as a result of 200 years of corrupt government and freedom for only a limited few.
    over the past generation it has been the fastest growing part of the country. It is not going to remain bottom ranked in everything for long – and in many things it is not.

    Even in many blue and purple states chinks are appearing. Even progressive politicians are pressured to succeed. The greatest failure of the current administration is that Just as with Reagan Obama was told by his own economic advisors to fix the economy first and then all things would be possible. Even his own progressive economic advisors had to be brought fighting to an economic program that was nothing more than a screen for progressive wet dreams.

    I do not know what would have happened had Obama taken Larry Summers advice in 2008 and placed the economy first. I am not sure that was possible. Too few progressives grasp that economics does not bend to ideology. Too many beleive that what they believe in and what creates growth and improved standards of living are one in the same.
    Nor do I beleive that Larry Summers and Christine Romer have between them 1/4 of the economic understanding that Milton Friedman and George Schutlz did in 1980.

    But Obama did not take their advice. I hope he is remembered as the first black president and the last progressive one.

    • October 6, 2014 8:12 am

      You are having a normative argument with yourself. How is that working out for you?

    • Priscilla permalink
      October 6, 2014 8:27 am

      Oddly enough, I was agreeing with most of what you wrote in your comments on this post, Dave. I think that your assertion that most here believe that things are worse today is an overstatement. Peter clearly does not – I have contended that politically we seem to be less inclined toward compromise and more toward tribal, i.e. partisan, conflict, but I’ve also said that I believe that (a la Rodney King), at heart, we all just want to get along.

      I hope you are right about our “bright future.” I don’t see it, but I’d like to be wrong.

      • October 6, 2014 9:01 am

        In general, I do think that most people want to “get along.” That said, I do believe that humans are raised/bred? to value a sense of “fairness” and reciprocation. There is a significant body of research in social psychology that substantiates these tendencies. We want life to be “fair” whatever that means. We also tend to respond when attacked, physically or in other ways.

        The trouble is when this tendencies are exploited for someone’s personal gain. Hence, the hucksters show up and “suggest” that someone got a better deal than someone else, and someone is to blame for that “injustice!”

        When the POTUS compares beheadings by ISIS to a shooting in MO. he is using this exact tactic. When he explains that his son would have looked just like Trayvon, same deal.
        When Eric Holders accuses of us of being a “nation of cowards” well this is the same tactic as well.

        I never met Eric Holder but I am hardly afraid of him or his views on the US. “Bring it on, Eric.”

        But of course, he doesn’t have to debate, since he is the AG. He can simply accuse and walk away. Using one’s skin color as a argument but it hardly is convincing.

  21. ron P permalink
    October 6, 2014 12:25 pm

    Dave you bring up some good points about life being better in the US today compared to years ago that some define as the “good ol’ days”. But there are other issues that have taken place that have changed the country for the worse. And those are the things that seem to have led to a split and further fringing of the political parties. For instance, is the black family structure better today than it was in the 60’s? In fact. how about any family structure in the US? Is the middle class better off today than it was in the “good ol’ days” And i don’t mean owning “things” as being better off. Just because you are in debt up to your eye balls, own two new cars, live in a 4 bedroom house with big screen TV’s in multiple rooms does not make you better off than the same family living in a smaller home, driving 3 year old cars and talking to each other when watching one TV in one room “back then”. Are the kids getting a better education today than they did in the past (as defined by you)? Is the university systems still providing the same quality education like they did in the past?

    The one place I can say myself that we are better off is our medical systems and the drugs we have to treat or prevent illness. But the way government has been involved with the reimbursement (as well as patent protection), it has driven up cost greatly causing other problems for people faced with medical issues.

    So in my mind when one says we are better off today than in the past it really depends on who you are. If I were a black professional male, a gay male, a lesbian, an unmarried pregnant female or a pot head in Colorado, then I could say, yes I am better off today than in the past. I am a senior on Medicare with Medicare part D. so getting that free stuff lets me say I am better off today than before Medicare D. But there are other things that are not better.

    So just look around at what you say it better today and see if those things impact the majority or a minority. I question if they impact everyone.

    • October 6, 2014 2:13 pm

      Great response, Ron. I was wondering if Dave was just one of those genetically hardwired optimists. I think he tends to equate material goods with quality of life, when we know that’s not the case. Yes, life has improved for some groups (the ones you mention, plus the already affluent), but anyone can see that the great postwar middle class is in free-fall, with uncertain employment and unmanageable debts.

      • ron P permalink
        October 6, 2014 2:33 pm

        Rick, two short comments.
        1. Uncertain employment can not be controlled by the employed, so personal responsibility does not come into play if you are doing your job.

        2. Unmanageable debts?? For the great majority of people today, there is not anything called unmanageable debt unless you have had a major medical problem that you could not control costs. You have two choices in spending money. Live within your means, save to buy what you want, buy what you can afford or go into debt up to your eyeballs and live with debt that you can not pay off. That debt was manageable before you went into debt. Buying stuff because you wanted it is not unmanageable.

        How did the depression era teens grow up and spend money on cars, houses and “stuff in their 30’s. Compare that to the spending of today’s 25 to 45 age group.

      • October 6, 2014 3:12 pm

        I wasn’t referring to the American penchant for living beyond our means. Well, let’s put it this way: the system is *forcing* many of us to live beyond our means — with astronomical tuitions, expensive health insurance with loopholes that can bankrupt an average middle-class family, credit card interest rates up to 30%, and yes — uncertain employment, which IS out of the control of the employed so that even a skilled, conscientious worker can find himself unexpectedly out on the street. (And then even the merest necessities force us to live beyond our means.) It’s not just a craving for luxury that’s driving the middle class into debt.

      • October 6, 2014 3:34 pm

        Sorry Rick, no cigar. No one is forced to live beyond there means. Yes, health insurance is expensive, but health care is expensive, and always has been.

        Tuition? A good investment if you choose your major wisely and do well in school.

        Job uncertainty? Always has been with us, always, no matter what your skill level was or is.

        I think I have a better memory than you do my friend.

      • ron P permalink
        October 6, 2014 5:08 pm

        Rick, I think what we need to do is define “middle class”. According to Pew charitable research, it is $33,000 to 64,000 (2013), based on US Chamber of Commerce it is $51,000 to $122,000 (2013) and the census bureau it is $20,600 to $102,000. (2013)

        There is a massive difference between a family of four making $20,600 and wondering where their next meal is coming from and that same family of four making $122,000. There is no way the $21,000 family can not live beyond their means, while the family making $122,000 should never be in debt other than for a house payment. That family should save for every item purchased, save 10-15% for retirement and save enough so the kids education is about paid for, other than what the parents expect the kids to earn to help offset that cost.

        So if we settle on a $70,000 income (122,000 + 21000 divided by 2), then the average middle class family should have no problems owning a 1800 sq foot home, owning 2 cars with less than 100K on the odometer and little debt unless they have medical issues. They may not have all the “stuff” that one gets from debt, but they have to make a choice between wants and needs. The first step is to pay off all debts except the house, save 15% toward retirement, save for the kids education, they buy what ever you want after that with whats left over after they have saved for the cash purchase.

        But think about someone who makes this decision and saves 40K for that new car they have always wanted. They still have a car that does what they need. How hard will it be for many people to decide that this 40K should be spent when it looks much better in an investment than in the driveway. And that is why car companies hate savers!!!

      • October 6, 2014 5:27 pm

        I drive a 9 year old Lexus. Beautiful car, looks like new.

        Paid $9,200 for it last year.

        A new one is near $50K.


  22. October 6, 2014 2:27 pm

    I stand somewhere in the middle here Rick (imagine that). I am loathe to generalize as you are about the ‘middle class” and their “unmanageable debts.” First off, I doubt that most could agree on what constitutes the middle class and I doubt that our conception of what middle class living really is would be the same.

    It is clear to me that from a material perspective, most folks in all classes live a better material life than we did growing up in the 1950s. In effect, that is what economics is all about. Whether that materially better life translates into a more satisfying one is debatable. Clearly for some, it makes no difference.

    The issue that we are discussing crosses economic and emotional boundaries. I am sure that for those who see themselves as “victims” nothing short of total acceptance and adoration will suffice.

    I see this very much in the LGTB population. While many say that want “equal rights” what I really think they want is acceptance of who they are and what they do. That is something that government cannot grant nor enforce although the left clearly thinks that is the government’s role. “You will make our gay wedding cake or we will sue you and have your baker’s license taken away.”

    I think we all need thicker skins. Candidly, I don’t much care what people think of my lifestyle choices or my heritage. I guess if that is your thing, so be it. Just don’t ask me to play along as I am not interested.

    • October 6, 2014 3:26 pm

      It’s true that “middle class” covers a lot of ground. Archie Bunker thought of himself as middle class, and I’ll never forget a magazine article I saw back in the ’70s about Radcliffe graduates; it was called “Daughters of the Middle Class” or something equally ridiculous. So I guess anyone who works for a living could conceivably call himself middle class. (The unemployed and trust-fund types would make up the lower and upper classes, I guess.)

      Again, I think we have to see a difference between material goods and quality of life… and not mistake the former for the latter.

      I agree about the need for thicker skins. Even the concept of “hate crime” gives me the impression that we’re coddling selected groups of people. Why should it be any less serious a crime to beat up a heterosexual white person than a gay guy or a person of color? This is part of the “boutique” mentality that I was writing about… in the world of identity politics, some people seem to be regarded as more “special” than others.

      • October 6, 2014 3:37 pm

        Yes, on the hate crime thing. If I guy belts me in the eye, I pretty much consider that a hate crime, no matter what color skin he or I have.

  23. October 6, 2014 2:29 pm

    PS-the so-called post-war middle class life was no picnic. Most former GI’s bought 900 sq ft homes and owned a ton on them. They worked very hard physical jobs and make enough money for a week’s vacation at the Jersey shore.

    Most had one car and a party phone line. Life was not all that easy as I remember it.

    • ron P permalink
      October 6, 2014 2:46 pm

      JB.. And most paid cash for what they bought except the house and the car and since those were 900 sq ft and many used cars, that was what they could afford. There was very little credit card debt!

      Yep, today we live much better….. 2500 sq ft homes, two new cars (and three or four if you have teens driving since how can they be seen in a 10 year old used car), 60+ inch flat screen TV’s connected to 100+ dollar a month TV package with the NFL ticket, Showtime, etc, cell phones that are not just phones that would cost a few dollars, but phones that connect the whole family for what some peoples food budget cost, etc. And credit card debt in the 5 digit figures.

      And don’t forget the 5-6 digit school debt because kids can’t be expected to go to a state school and work part time to pay for some of it like we did in the 60’s and 70’s. That is not acceptable to make kids pay for some of their education.

      The post war GI’s paid for what they had and did not buy things they could not afford. Now we have had a middle class up until 2008 that bought anything and everything, almost lost everything with the downturn and now the middle class is living more within its means.

      So living within its means, does that mean they are worse off? Yes if measured by stuff they own. Not so much if measured by the amount of debt. But give it time and the debt will be back to where it was just waiting to casue another steep downturn.

      • October 6, 2014 3:31 pm

        It is interesting. I am the son of two depression era parents and of course, my Dad was in the big war. They were by all measure not very good parents in many ways, BUT I did learn some things that have held me in good stead.

        My house, both cars, and my Triumph Bonny are all paid off. I have zero debt. I COULD have lots of debt but have been determined not to do so. There is always more stuff to buy but how much stuff do you really need. Not much, apparently.

        Do I live modestly? By some standards yes, some no. Do I sleep well at night? YES.

        Do I worry about money, NO.

        Do I have a smart phone?


        Life really is not all that complicated.

      • ron P permalink
        October 6, 2014 5:14 pm

        Somehow you sound like my twin. And as my kids get older (they are in their 30’s) somehow money looks better to them in the bank than hanging on the wall as a 65 inch $1000 flat screen TV. They seem to be absorbing some of my money habits, but they will never admit that to me!!!

      • October 6, 2014 5:29 pm

        Yes, we do sound alike. My son and wife were going to buy a new home. Then, he called me to explain that the tax bill would double on the new abode. They decided to build a room in the attic.

        That’s my boy!

        A proud Dad.

        PS-He had a 401K at age 21 and still funds it fully.

    • October 6, 2014 3:15 pm

      Good points… but I think life was more secure. Archie Bunker pretty much knew he’d be foreman at the loading dock as long as he did his job efficiently.

      • November 14, 2014 8:37 pm

        I was able to manage my debts pretty well in the 1970s and eighties. I had some credit card debt but paid it off right away, so I never incurred interest charges. Then Bill Clinton got elected and cancelled the “Star Wars” program, which was the source of the money for my job. I was unemployed for 4 years, and when I did get work, it was at a quarter of my earlier salary.

        It takes more than one’s own efforts to keep one’s own financial head above water.

  24. October 6, 2014 3:36 pm

    Yeah, not really.

    Nostalgia largely. Go back to the period 1929-1949. Think there was job security?

    • Priscilla permalink
      October 6, 2014 11:38 pm

      I believe that this is true. The only job security is a person’s ability to adapt to changing realities. Archie Bunker was lucky that blue collar jobs, such as his, had not yet left American shores, due to the realties of the globalized workforce. His fictional grandchildren would not be so lucky.

      We live in an age of great disruption, but so did the “greatest generation.”

  25. Priscilla permalink
    October 6, 2014 9:13 pm

    It occurs to me that, if we judge the real world based on the internet and social media – which, unfortunately, we often do these days – things will almost certainly seem hopeless and beyond redemption.

    I know that Ron has commented about his experience on another so-called “moderate” blog, where he was made to feel unwelcome for not being sufficiently liberal and I have commented about the almost unbelievably vile and inflammatory comments that I have seen in the course of moderating a few political websites and blogs over the past 10 years or so (and yes, it has been getting worse, which I attribute to the reasonable people getting fed up with the hateful trolls and giving up).

    While websites like to promote reader engagement and interaction through their comments sections, but more recently I’ve noticed that quite a few sites have tightened up their policies and made it easier for moderators to bring down the “ban-hammer” on the worst offenders, mostly because the rude and hateful remarks seemed to be driving readers away from the site.

    The group that posts in this comments section is pretty darn civilized and collegial – and while I recognize that there is a very low bar for what constitutes “civilized and collegial” in the cyber-world, there is still some hope for the real world. So, 1) there is my pitch for Roby to not stay away forever and 2) I think that we at TNM are more representative of the “real world” than the fever swamp trolls of Daily Kos or Newsmax . God help us if I am wrong.

    • ron P permalink
      October 6, 2014 11:15 pm

      Priscilla, and one might add to the very nice and thoughtful comment that what one writes can come off completely different than when spoken. When one speaks, those that are the target of the comment also hear the reflection in the voice, the look on the face and the environment that the comment was made. Make it in a blog and the reaction could be completely different

  26. ron P permalink
    October 8, 2014 1:41 pm

    Rick your comment “White progressives revere their organic groceries, Jon Stewart and NPR; they sniff disdainfully at Bible-believing Christians while displaying a somewhat perplexing soft spot for Islam” ….seems to be supported by the following.

    Seems to me that we have the ACLU and other progressive organizations taking anything out of school that has to do with western religions to the point the Christmas is non existent and the break is not the winter break, but they do not say a thing about religion being taught in school, even if all religions are covered.

    Turning this around, one has to wonder how this would be viewed by the progressives if the class was ask to design a pamphlet explaining Judaism or Christianity. I suspect there would be much greater resistance on their part.

    I also question where was the atheist in this regard as they also should be the ones resisting anything religious. Could be they are in the progressive grouping displaying a soft spot for Islam.

    Does this support some of the previous comments made many time on your site that most anything is acceptable as long as it is in the progressives agenda. but anything outside their agenda must be banned?

  27. Priscilla permalink
    October 9, 2014 11:30 pm

    So, apparently, an actress named Raven Symone ( I vaguely recall her), who appeared on The Cosby Show and was also a Disney star, was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey. Ms. Symone is a gay, multi-racial woman. In the interview, she talked about her antipathy toward labels in general, and said that she considers herself “American,” not “African American.”

    She has, unsurprisingly, but sadly, been vilified for this. In her response to critics who accused her of trying to deny her “blackness,” she said, “What I really mean by that is I’m an American. That’s what I really mean. I have darker skin. I have a nice, interesting grade of hair. I connect with Caucasian. I connect with Asian. I connect with Black. I connect with Indian. I connect with each culture.”

    Poor baby. She still believes in the melting pot.

    • October 10, 2014 7:51 am

      I saw the interview. I thought Oprah was going to have a cow, which at her current size, is not unimaginable.

      Now, that was a hater comment, wasn’t it? Roby will lose it when he reads it.

  28. Pat Riot permalink
    October 13, 2014 10:24 am

    Must we murder everyone else at the supermarket to fill our cart?

    At one point in our history, let’s say when H. Ford was producing black Model A cars, it was suddenly possible for Americans to be divided into “people with cars” and “people without cars.”

    It was not possible, then, to be divided into loyal Camry owners, Chevy truck lovers who hate Fords (perhaps with decal on the rear window of someone peeing on the competitor’s truck), Corvette enthusiasts, a member of an “Import Tuner” low-rider club, etc. etc.

    Don’t make me list the number of domestic and imported manufacturers, the crazy number of models/styles of cars, and lots of niche groups and fun stereotypes (female senior in a large white Cadillac in NYC vs. bearded man in camo in a black monster truck in Tennessee vs…) Instead, agree that a significant amount of our American culture was changed by cars, and that as far as “car styles” we have been fragmented, or boutiquified.

    Well, you must also soon concede that our thinking—our very thinking, as individuals, as a “culture,” and a “nation,” has also been fragmented and boutiquified, and, yes, more than it was before.

    I say that Rick has, for quite some time already, earned the right to coin words.

  29. Pat Riot permalink
    October 13, 2014 10:30 am

    Not convinced we are more fragmented and boutiquified than before, and that it is ominous and dangerous? You think because we had different opinions in the past that not much has changed? GAWD, if you were playing darts in a tavern some of your darts would be in the dark paneling and in the bartender’s forehead.

    You already know there was a time when it was not possible for Grandma to watch Hallmark channel fairytales while Mom watches the Lousy Man Network (LMN) while Dad watches endless equipment advertisements on the Outdoor Channel while once-innocent daughter desensitizes to human torture and other casual evils on Game of Thrones, and all of the above in separate rooms in an oversized McMansion. Compared to entire family watching a black-and-white program together, that is FRAGMENTATION.

    Now another thing you Moderates already knew: there can be too few choices (Communist China, tied up in someone’s basement, add your own example ) and, yes, there CAN BE TOO MANY CHOICES for our own good (adolescent American boys forming their first sexual understandings from porn, including high-end production of… fill in the blank, I’m still clinging to a few timeless values), and then there is healthy MODERATION.

    Ranges and breaking points, people. There is fragmentation AND homogenization occurring between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans right now, as we speak (read).

    Of course, of course, some of the fragmentation is healthy and some of it is unhealthy, and some of the homogenization is healthy and some of it is unhealthy. Snore. You know you can think of several good examples for each of the 4 categories of the previous sentence…examples of “politically correct” homogenization that are bad, examples of less provincialism that are healthy, fragmentation that provide added market competition that drive prices down for consumers, fragmentation that numbs us into perilous indecision…snore. Don’t force me to sound more pompous with lots of detailed illustrations!

    “Oh yeah, well who’s to say what’s healthy and…where do we draw the line, and…”
    We are to say. It’s part of our job, as humans. One of the tasks for animals with thinking capabilities who want to survive: promote the healthy things and learn which unhealthy things to discard.

    Do we have to murder everyone at the supermarket to fill our carts?

    Certainly it has been proven possible for human beings to function and prosper together while they have different ideas. Simply follow some agreed-upon rules in public areas, then go to our private space to do our private things. Libertarians feel free to support this. The agreed-upon rules can gradually be amended as needs change. Constitutionalists feel free to say Amen.

    • Priscilla permalink
      October 15, 2014 10:32 am

      I like your comment very much, Pat (thumbs-up, as they do on Facebook). One of my huge concerns about today’s political discourse (and not just political, although “discourse” seems to be one of those words that is almost always preceded by the same adjective, similar to “reckless abandon”) is the prevailing and uncompromising mindset that disagreement is dangerous, and that “standing on principle” requires distrust of one’s opponents, making it difficult to function and prosper together when we disagree…..which, as you point out. WE ALWAYS HAVE.

      Wasn’t the whole, entire idea behind the United States of America the idea that compromise is a good thing? That protest movements, social struggles and political parties are good for bringing these disagreements into the public forum where, as you note, we can come up with some “agreed-upon rules” going forward.

      The problem is that, in any compromise, each side needs to give up something of value in order to get something of value. In our current polarized political world, that idea has become toxic….the message is that giving up anything to achieve compromise is not to be tolerated. This message is powerful on both sides of the political aisle and in the culture wars (why do we even call them “wars?). There is room for everyone to disagree and debate, but our political and cultural leaders have decided that concessions=defeat, so we have to choose sides and fight it out, until one side wins and one side loses. Kind of un-American, really.


      • Pat Riot permalink
        October 15, 2014 1:36 pm

        Yes, Priscilla, too many un-American things in ‘merca today!

        I agree with you that the message that “giving up anything to achieve compromise is not to be tolerated” is an unhealthy and divisive message way too reinforced today, esp. in “political discourse” (yes interesting how words get linked together in usage), but in other realms too, in our…what should I call it…warping, struggling, confused but still sometimes heroic society (not easy putting a label on all that is going on these days!)

        I say part of the blame lies with some of the manipulative marketers behind our mass media culture that pushes to gain attention to sell products and increase their bottom lines. I notice NFL rivalries are being pushed a little more this year. Recently a young girl wearing a Dallas Cowboys jersey in a restaurant in Philadelphia was verbally harassed to the point of fearing for her life, and she fled the place. God help us! Rivalries can be fun…in MODERATION!

        Besides the giving up things for compromise, there’s also sometimes the “3rd option” where everybody wins.

        I enjoy many commenters here on TNM, but I think you, Priscilla, have been the most consistently reasonable–a strong voice of reason, and I’m glad you’re out there!

      • Priscilla permalink
        October 17, 2014 8:05 am

        Thanks, Pat – likewise, I’m sure! And, of course, that poor little girl was likely dealing with an Eagles fan….I’m sure even Rick will agree that they reside in an “amen corner” all of their own 😉

  30. Pat Riot permalink
    October 13, 2014 10:32 am

    Another scenario is for the agreed-upon rules (behavior/culture) to be manipulated for increased profits by corporations and individuals now more powerful than nations full of fragmented, powerless, voiceless, confused humans, which brings us back to Rick’s warning of Boutiquification.

    Again, I say Rick has, for quite some time now, earned the right to coin words. And I second the motion to beware of too much fragmentation and Boutiquification (not to be confused with local economies, which are good).

    Peace! Rationality and Peace!

  31. Priscilla permalink
    October 17, 2014 8:15 am

    Kevin Williamson (who we have linked to several times before) has a great post this morning, which discusses, in part, the dangers of political compromise:

    “Unlike senators, governors have to do things — “governor stuff” — which means that they have to make compromises, that they cannot be ideologically pure, and that they have to live in the real world. That leaves them vulnerable to puritanical homilies from senators, as in the ridiculous 2012 Republican primary that found former senator Rick Santorum and businessman Herman Cain, both of whom were far from the levers of power for excellent reasons, preening and posturing, as Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, a governor and a former governor who had faced very different challenges, were raked over the coals for having taken reality into account as executives. Romney’s rivals pronounced themselves shocked that Romney had governed as though he were in one of the country’s most left-leaning states, and Perry’s opponents were scandalized that the governor of Texas took into account the large number of illegal immigrants residing there.”

  32. Pat Riot permalink
    October 17, 2014 11:09 am

    Wow…learned a new word from Kevin Williamson: micturate, as in our two party system, and cultural decline, contribute to too much micturating on political “opponents.”

    In 1780 there were about 2,800,000 citizens living in an America trying to mind its own business, whereas now there are 310 million boutiquified American consumers, and mulit-national corporations jockeying to re-shape the “global economy”. A 3rd party? How about 5 parties that evolves eventually into no parties. Represent by issues and accomplishments.

    Just a dream? Remember typewriters? Execs said people would never use “personal computers”. 3d printers? I think a 3D printer was just sent in orbit to the international space station. Dare to dream! Don’t let “what is” dictate what can be!

    Peace. Rationality and Peace!

  33. Pat Riot permalink
    October 17, 2014 11:14 am

    Oops. “mulit-nationals” should have been mullet-nationals: short in the front and sides, long in the back.

  34. Pat Riot permalink
    October 23, 2014 9:11 am

    I heard two pundits on TV yesterday talking about the fragmentation of American society into….into what?

  35. Ron P permalink
    October 23, 2014 1:04 pm

    How does this comment relate to what Rick wrote. Not sure but here it goes anyway.

    Over the past two weeks, much has been written about ebola, the risk for healthcare workers, the precautions taken to protect the workers and the government response.

    To address the government response first, the main constitutional requirement of government is to protect the people. In this regard, the government has failed miserably. IMHO, no individual from the impacted nations should be allowed to enter the US without being quarantined for a period of 21 days to insure they are not carrying the virus. In addition, no individual that has worked with patients and is being monitored should be able to fly or take cruise ships, or other means of close transportation. They should be actively monitored. The response of the NIH and CDC should become Obama’s Katrina and Tom Frieden should be Obama’s “Your doing a hell of a job Brownee”. Brownee worked for President Bush during the hurricane and became the point of attack by the press. And now we get an ebola expert with no health experience at all!

    As for the hospital treating the ebola patient in Dallas, the CEO, the Vice President in charge of the infectious disease department, the director of the infectious disease department and the medical director liaison for that department should all be terminated since they allowed healthcare workers to be exposed to the virus without adequate training and protection. It is the responsibility of that departments director to know the requirements for protection and when watching those dress on the TV in Africa treating patients, it does not take an expert to know you leave no skin exposed and do not use surgical tape to cover skin that is not protected by the medical suits. It is the responsibility of the VP and CEO to insure that employees in director positions know the rules to insure safety. In situations such as this, their number one priority is to also know personally what the requirements are and to insure their employees are adequately trained. The same holds true for the medical director that works with the infectious disease department.

    All failed to insure employee safety and as with the governments continued failure to protect the public, all need to be replaced as soon as possible. But the media will continue to protect Obama while the “good ‘ol boys” network will protect the incompetents running the Dallas hospital that allowed two individuals to become exposed. No accountability will be required until the next crisis and no accountability will take place then either.

    There is a management principle developed by Laurence Peter that states employees will advance to their level of incompetence and failure and the work will be accomplished by those under that person that have not reached their level of incompetence. In this instance, no one was trained beneath the infectious disease department director and those above him/her, so failure within the hospital occurred

  36. Pat Riot permalink
    October 23, 2014 6:18 pm

    Ron P, well said.

    While it is not expected for everyone to suddenly be an expert on ebola, the common sense of temporarily closing borders, etc, is expected, until more can be known.

    Your comments can be connected to Rick’s post about boutiquification (fragmentation of our society) because such failures of the system can occur and then be swept under the rug more easily when the populace has so many distractions and is disengaged into 300 million custom silos. Divide and conquer. Back to Dancing with the Stars, or whatever, for so many folks.

    • Ron P permalink
      October 23, 2014 11:01 pm

      Pat, your comment about common sense is spot on. From stupid decisions made by school officials such as suspensions for kids in elementary school for saying “god bless you” when another child sneezes to picking an ebola czar with no healthcare experience, our country is in for a hard run until common sense begins to raise its head again.

      Just tonight they announced that a doctor who returned from Africa now has ebola in NYC. Had he not been and expert in ebola and its symptoms, one can only guess the magnitude of this happening to someone without this experience and running around the city before reporting to the ER.

      Is asking people coming to this country from Africa to stay inside and away from others for three weeks really inhumane? Or is allowing people to go anywhere at anytime without regard to the possibility they may have the disease inhumane?

      It is really scary when the government does not make decisions to protect the public.

      • October 24, 2014 6:39 am

        Reminds me of the AIDS debacle back in the 1980s. We can’t possibly “stigmatize” people with the disease, so it spread beyond what it needed to.


      • Priscilla permalink
        October 28, 2014 8:19 am

        I continue to be flabbergasted by the federal government’s response to the Ebola outbreak. I mean, even by my (admittedly low) standards of judging this administration, it sometimes seems as if there has been no effort whatsoever to contain the disease, and multiple decisions made that would put the public at risk (sending 4000 American troops to West Africa, refusing to stop issuing visas to or instituting a temporary travel ban against travelers from the “hot zone” countries, attacking states’ efforts to implement mandatory quarantines, etc…..

        Mind you, I am not saying that the government is trying to spread Ebola. Just that it doesn’t seem to be serious about stopping it.

        And, I find the constant recriminations from many liberals over “needless panic” to be insufferably sanctimonious and hypocritical, particularly in light of the fact that many of these very same people stoke panic over climate change disaster, with less empirical evidence. There was a 5 year old kid tested in NYC the other day (come to think of it, I don’t think the results have been released yet), whose family had just recently arrived from West Africa and the kid was admitted to the hospital with a very high fever. And this kid had been to school! You can bet that, if I were the parent of another child in that school, I would be panicking. Rightfully so.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 28, 2014 11:57 am

        Priscilla, add to your comments the fact we have governors that make a decision to quarantine people returning and then turn tail and run when Washington puts pressure on them for doing the right thing (Cuomo, NY). I do not agree with what they did with the nurse in New Jersey, sticking her in a tent somewhere on hospital property, but asking people to stay away from others for 21 days does not seem to be excessive.

        I remember entering the service and when we arrive at the naval station boot camp in San Diego, it was divided into two areas with a creek running between those. After 3 weeks we were able to “cross the river” where the activities were somewhat less strenuous. I later found out that this was done to isolate the new recruits and to keep any virus from spreading to the whole camp. If someone came down with something, no one “crossed the river” until that outbreak was eliminated.

        It is just common sense which our country has lost so much of over the past few years.

  37. October 28, 2014 8:23 am

    Oh , you are so dead on here, PR. Yes, climate change, income inequality, minimum wage policy and of course, don’t forget the war on women.

    These are all disasters that need to be dealt with NOW, along with amnesty for all who vote democrat party lines.

    Ebola? Oh, what could go wrong there.

  38. Ron P permalink
    October 28, 2014 12:01 pm

    Well here’s another question for everyone. How’s the IRS working out for everyone? Anyone making deposits of less than 10K on a regular basis. Hopefully you are not one that they come and seize your funds.

    And I believe they have stopped that practice as much as I believe they lost all the emails of the former director and can’t recover them from any source.

    • Priscilla permalink
      October 28, 2014 2:43 pm

      Ron, the whole IRS thing is beyond belief….well, it’s not that I don’t believe it, but I find it hard to believe that there is not more widespread anger at the way the most powerful government agency has so abused its power.

      From what I read, not only have hundreds of perfectly legal accounts been seized, but, if you are one of the unlucky ones, getting your money back will cost you so much in administrative and legal fees that it will hardly be worth it. Most of the accounts seized have been from small cash-only businesses that have never been in trouble with the law, and still have no pending charges against them. And now, no money – or at least a lot less than they should….

      What a disgrace.

      • Ron P permalink
        October 28, 2014 4:42 pm

        Priscilla do your really believe “I find it hard to believe that there is not more widespread anger at the way the most powerful government agency has so abused its power” when there is only one news agency that is reporting this issue? Only the people watching Fox news have heard anything about this or maybe a few local stations that have picked it up.

        This too will pass into the night just as the Sergeant Tamoreesee issue has passed into the night.

        If you live in Russia, you are well aware that the government is corrupt and your assets can be seized for no reason. In America, the large percentage of people trust the government to do whats right, but for the most part, our government is not much better than Russia’s. What our government does best is convincing the people it can be trusted, which I am beginning to understand more and more that it can not. It has taken me some time to come to that conclusion and have called other nuts when they have made comment like that. Now I guess I am one of those I called nuts.

      • Priscilla permalink
        October 29, 2014 10:11 am

        I guess I am one of them, too. I was reading excerpts from Sharyl Atkisson’s new book that is coming out this week, and it is absolutely hair-raising. She’s the CBS reporter who is alleging that her investigations into Fast & Furious and Benghazi led to her being put under surveillance, likely by the the FBI or CIA.

        I’d like to be able to dismiss her as a tin-foil hat nutjob, but her story is all too believable.

      • October 29, 2014 10:25 am

        Yes, it is creepy. I swear that with all the “fantasy” that we see on TV, people have become immune when they read about the real thing.

        I am almost ready to use the word “dystopia” but not yet. I hate that word, so academic speak it is.

  39. Pat Riot permalink
    October 29, 2014 8:17 am

    Ron P it sounds like you held out for a long time, like I did, having faith in “the system”. You did say above that “In America, the large percentage of people trust the government to do what’s right…” Actually only 13% of Americans currently trust the federal government to do what’s right some of the time or all of the time (Washington Times, CNN, others…) Trust in the federal government hasn’t been above 50% since before Watergate. Americans do trust their local gov’t more than State and Fed, typically in the 70% range through the years.

    Lax borders, millions and billions overseas while the U.S. rots, bankrupts, and forecloses all over the place, plans for a North American Union to facilitate commerce…the list goes on and on. How many actual examples do we need in our face to realize that powerful capitalists don’t want an American populace with a strong voice, or a solvent, sovereign U.S., in the way of their plans?????? The fragmentation/boutiquification of American culture greatly, greatly, greatly assists the dismantling. Remember how good of a speaker Obama was? Where are his speeches to pull us together? Where are his fireside chats to unify and inspire? I’m surprised the puppet masters holding his strings don’t have him make a few more here and there to make the agenda less obvious.

    • Anonymous permalink
      October 29, 2014 9:22 am

      Given Obama’s history, it was folly to assume that he would ever be a ‘unifying force.” There was simply no evidence for it. However, in the public school education system this is zero training in critical thinking: how to examine an argument or hypothesis and determine its validity.

      This guy was a showman from day 1 and it was quite easy to deduce what was to come. I am not surprised one bit.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        October 29, 2014 10:42 am

        I agree he was too slick from the beginning, and we shake our heads at how many bought in so enthusiastically. Sadly some still are bought in. I moderate my disgust by telling myself some were bought in to hope, and noble ideas, and not the figure head. And then I look at the warped fascination so many have with celebrities, and I stock fresh canned goods in the pantry, shaking my head…

  40. Pat Riot permalink
    October 29, 2014 9:19 am

    Gradual. Surreptitious and gradual. The erosion of the constitution and individual rights. Have you seen the new depictions of the American Revolutionary period on the History Channel in which the founding fathers and other colonists are subtly portrayed as womanizing, selfish tax evaders? Who funded those re-writes?

    So instead of focusing on the landmark documents that swung power from top-down tyranny to The People, from ridiculous divine right monarchs to self-determination, some people on this planet want to gradually bring out the human imperfections, to de-glorify our very foundations. But not too blatantly, that would be too fast.

    Some, like Dave, apparently, are fooled into thinking that more and better products, and other conveniences, are a good trade for rights and common sense.

    What I dislike about the sky-is-falling “shock jocks” like Alex Jones, Gerald Celente, and an increasing number of others, is that they don’t balance out their messages by offering enough viable solutions other than buying gold, T-shirts, and whatever other merchandise their selling, but, blast it, they’re onto a lot of very real facts.

    Bond with your circle of family and friends, get out of debt, wake up and get civic, ‘merica.

  41. Pat Riot permalink
    October 31, 2014 2:21 pm

    If too much boutiquification/fragmentation is people unable to find common ground, niche groups vehemently blaming other groups to the left, right, and center, then what is the opposite of boutiquification? Unification? What, like the throngs that raised their hands as Die Fuhrer rode by? Nationalism like after 911 when the one Dixie Chick opposed the Iraq war and she was demonized as unpatriotic and essentially silenced? No, not the other extreme. What does a healthy alternative to boutiquification and fragmentation look like?

    • Ron P permalink
      October 31, 2014 3:40 pm

      Pat, I might suggest in politics compromise like we witnessed with the Simpson-Bowles commission.

      Or the silent majority that lets the fragments on each side dictate policies and is unheard.

      In health could it be those that consider other individuals safety instead of their own personal freedoms for 21 days after returning from work in Africa and stay isolated to insure they do not spread a disease.

      In the younger generations, could be the majority of students in high school as opposed to the jocks that make fun or bully the nerds or the cliques that isolate certain students because of their looks, grades or other personal details do not fit the cliques expectations.

      Might it be the immigrants that accept the American way of life, learn the customs and language without giving away their own upbringing.

      Or could it be just plain people using common sense in their personal lives and expectations of others instead of the stupidity we see from our government leaders, civic leaders, school administrators, healthcare leaders (CDC) and extremist on both sides force feeding their own agenda’s?

      I suggest that we see a healthy alternative daily in our lives, but we just do not recognize it because the most vocal are the fragments or “boutiquified” in our society today. The problem with this is more and more will be forced to become a member of one side or the other, leaving fewer in the healthy grouping we now have.

  42. Pat Riot permalink
    October 31, 2014 6:43 pm

    Ron, I say you are correct that we see healthy alternatives daily in our lives. I believe commenters here have touched on it before how our “news” favors the anomalies and the negatives. Millions go back and forth to work each day, but the accidents are reported, as one real and metaphoric example.

    Rational discourse in general is one healthy alternative. That is why I keep stopping back to TNM!

  43. October 31, 2014 7:30 pm

    In response to All: I don’t believe our current president is a double agent for a foreign entity/government/religion, However…if he was a double agent, bent on the demise of our nation, I really can’t think of anything he would have done differently over the last six years.
    Think about it–am I missing anything?

    • Ron P permalink
      October 31, 2014 11:15 pm

      I think what you are missing is all the other countries realize how inept and incompetent this man is, so they would not have him in a heart beat. It took our absurb political system that allowed this man to reach his level of incompetence.

  44. Ron P permalink
    October 31, 2014 11:18 pm

    Not that many people care one way or the other, especially our leaders in congress and the white house, but something good did happen this evening.

  45. Priscilla permalink
    November 6, 2014 10:43 am

    Hey, Ron, I thought of you right away when I read about Sgt Tahmooressi – it is great news that he is free, although, apparently, Greta VanSusteren and Montel Williams had more to do with his release than anyone in the government, which is pretty disturbing. But let’s take great news where we can get it, right?

    What is your take on the election results in your state of NC? Did you expect Tillis to win?

    I hope that the Republicans don’t take the impeachment bait that Obama is hanging out there, with his threat to grant amnesty to millions of illegals. It is so infuriating to have a president who would make that threat, but it will be even more infuriating if the GOP falls for it, rather than getting to work at passing incremental legislation that will help to roll back some of the economic damage that has been done over the past 6 years.

    I believe that Obama wants to be impeached, so that his last 2 years will be all about him, and he can play the victimized hero to what is left of his adoring fans… better to do that than to precipitate a constitutional crisis, and draw all attention away from the work of Congress, now that it is under control of the opposing party?

    Fingers crossed, the GOP appears to be slightly less stupid than they were a couple of years ago……

    • Ron P permalink
      November 6, 2014 3:42 pm

      Priscilla, I will say that I, along with many friends and family, were very surprised that Thom Tillis won. Had it not been for the Libertarian who took 4% of the vote attracting many of the Hagan supporters, she most likely would have pulled it off. It had been reported about 2/3rds of the Libertarian voters had Hagan as their second choice.

      But now the work begins. Does the GOP go into organizational meetings united or divided? Does the Ted Cruz wing of the party support Mitch, or does Cruz attempt to take command? That will be the first telling issue when the new congress meets. Then, does the GOP work like Ronald Reagan in issues where bi-partisan compromise can bring about meaningful legislation, or does the house and senate pass Ted Cruz led legislation to abolish Obamacare without an alternative, push immigration reform that moderates will have a hard time swallowing, anti gay marriage legislation, etc that will create the appearance of intolerance in the GOP and therefore lead to the almost shoe-in for Hillary for President and a return to a Democrat senate in 2016. I hold my breathe as I have low expectations the GOP can compromise on anything.

      I would hope that those that cherish the leadership of Ronald Reagan will follow his example of compromise and getting things done for the good of the country. But I fear from the rhetoric I am already hearing from both sides (Obama saying he is going forward with his immigration directives and Ted Cruz refusing to say he will support McConnell for majority leader) that the GOP will head down the path of confrontation and inaction instead of compromise and positive results.

      As for the sergeant, there was one other individual that played a large part in his release and that was kept in the background for most of the time. Gov. Richardson, the former New Mexico governor, helped in his release, although most of this has been muted in press releases. It appears Mexican politicians want it believed that no politicians played any role in his release. One thing for sure, no one can get it wrong that Obama nor his cronies played any role!!!

      Now I would hope that the GOP takes a lesson from Virginia and does not bail out on any other candidate like they did Gillespie. Had they spent some money in that state, they could have taken that seat also!!!

    • Ron P permalink
      November 6, 2014 6:26 pm

      Priscilla, I forgot to mention one fact. And I will now so everyone does not think I lost my mind. When I say the GOP should compromise, I am not talking about compromise with Obama. That is impossible. They will get spun into the web just like the spider that attracts it prey into it’s web and devours it.

      When I say compromise, I am talking about the GOP working with moderate democrats like Manchin from West Virginia or a Warner from Virginia, along with others, that may result in legislation where they have 67 votes that passed the legislation and makes a veto much harder.

      If I were in leadership, I would work my ass off trying to make Obama an insignificant blob on Washington D.C golf courses by passing as much veto proof legislation as possible. Would I get everything I wanted. No!! But I would get many of my goals achieved and set the stage for a Republican victory in 2016.

      • Priscilla permalink
        November 6, 2014 7:08 pm

        I was listening to a clip of Chris Matthews from the other night….he was upset about Obama’s “my way or the highway” reaction to the GOP takeover of Congress. Matthews said something that I totally agreed with (rare enough, I don’t usually agree with his positions) – that is, Obama is always talking about finding “common ground” with Republicans, but is unwilling to compromise in any way. So, basically, the “common ground” MUST be the Republicans going along with his ideas. He seems to be unwilling or unable to negotiate and “horse trade” in the manner of the Founding Fathers or, for that matter, most good politicians. There is no give-and-take in his world. Only you give and he takes. So his “solution” to illegal immigration is that he issues an order (very possibly unconstitutional, btw) and then the Congress passes a law that institutionalizes his fiat and he signs it…..making his fiat constitutional after the fact, I guess. If the Congresses law does not dovetail with the order already issued, then he vetoes. Voila! Obama’s brand of compromise.

        So, yes, Ron, I agree that compromise is not possible with this president, and I hope that, now that the GOP has gained control of Congress, it will become obvious who the “party of no” has been all along.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 6, 2014 10:25 pm

        Priscilla, i was also listening to Fox news tonight and they had Ron Fournier on the panel. He stated the thing that made him so frightened about this president was the White House staff that have told him that Obama is terrible at negotiations and the same situations that occur with domestic policy occurs with foreign policy.

        What great news when he is in negotiations with Iran over nuclear weapons. Hopefully we can withstand another 26 months of this man and then move on. No matter who is elected, they will have to be much better than what we have.

        When historians begin writing about this administration and more internal staff books begin hitting the shelves, blacks will wish they never saw Obama as their first black president. If another black runs, he will have to blame Obama’s 50% white blood for his ineptness.

  46. Anonymous permalink
    November 6, 2014 1:02 pm

    You have two cows.
    You sell one and buy a bull.
    Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.
    You sell them and retire on the income.

    You have two cows.
    You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.
    The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.
    The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.
    You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows.
    No balance sheet provided with the release.
    The public then buys your bull.
    You have two cows.
    You shred them.
    You have 2 cows.
    The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away…
    You have two cows.
    You go on strike, organise a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.
    You have two cows.
    You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.
    You then create a clever cow cartoon image called ‘Cowkimon’ and market it worldwide.
    You have two cows.
    You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.
    You have two cows, but you don’t know where they are.
    You decide to have lunch.
    You have two cows.
    You count them and learn you have five cows.
    You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.
    You count them again and learn you have 2 cows.
    You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.
    You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you.
    You charge the owners outrageous fees for storing them.
    You have two cows.
    You have 300 people milking them.
    You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity..
    You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.
    You have two cows.
    You worship them.
    You have two cows.
    Both are mad.
    Everyone thinks you have lots of cows.
    You tell them that you have none.
    No-one believes you, so they bomb the **** out of you and invade your country.
    You still have no cows, but at least now you are part of a Democracy…..
    You have two cows.
    The one on the left looks very attractive.
    You have two cows.
    Business seems pretty good.
    You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.

    Been laughing at the top of my lungs for 15 minutes. Coworkers think I’m nuts. Must go change my pants too.

    • Anonymous permalink
      November 6, 2014 1:07 pm

      Canadian Capitalism: You have two cows. Come to think of it, they look more like a pair of moose – in fact, yes they are. One speaks French, one speaks English. One fights to create a new country, the other won’t let it. They both play ice hockey rather well.

  47. Ron P permalink
    November 8, 2014 12:51 am

    Well Priscilla, it looks like you and I , along with “Anonymous” are the only ones left. I would have thought all the others who comment would have had something to say after the election.

    I find it very disturbing that the President is following the same path in Iraq as Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson followed in Viet Nam.(See article attached 1/2 way down) A few soldiers now, a few more later, a few more…. Seems like he does not pay attention to history or he would know he won’t be able to go down this path.–politics.html

    Sure looks like wanting to work together got off to a good start. I wonder what universe this guy is really living in? It sure does not look like reality.

    • Priscilla permalink
      November 8, 2014 8:16 am

      Well, Ron, I’m hopeful that most of the “regulars” (including our host!) will return at some point. I think that Rick has been busy with some other writing endeavors……don’t know where JB is at the moment – maybe taking a break from political talk? And Roby says “no mas” to any political speech that is hurtful to that Special Snowflake (we won’t mention his name), who chose to become the Leader of the Free World but never seems to have the slightest idea of what is going wrong in his own administration. I suppose he may come back if we promise to play by his rules.

      As far as Special Snowflake sending more “non-combat” troops to Iraq? Yep, we are going down that same path of advisors, then “non-combat”troops, etc. etc…….and with no AUMF of course, since that pesky old Constitution is such a bother. Just as we have been hearing that there will be an agreement with Iran that may not be called a “treaty” because….well, if it were a treaty the evil Republican Congress would have to ratify it.

      If anyone in this administration paid attention to history (I seriously doubt that they’ve even studied it with any seriousness) we might not be traveling this path.

      • November 8, 2014 9:14 am

        To the libs like Roby, speaking poorly about Obama is about the same as slandering the prophet muhammed. Personally, I am OK about dumping on both.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        November 8, 2014 4:07 pm

        haha Special Snowflake haha!

    • November 8, 2014 9:12 am

      I have been on the road. In fact, I was in Boston when the “great butt whipping” went down. It was awe inspiring. Lots of liberals in denial and all.

      That said, I keep my expectations appropriately low. Politicians are largely cut from the same cloth. I vote for the lesser of two evils,

      On a more positive note, Terry Branstad was elected the governor of Iowa for the sixth time. I know Terry and he is actually a very different kind of pol. I genuinely like the guy, he is a model for what a “public servant” should be.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 8, 2014 1:56 pm

        And we can only hope that the left will continue to go down this road and blame the American people for their problems as she does 1/2 way down this article.

        Excellent example as to why so many people do not believe in personal responsibility today. If something bad happens as a direct result of your actions, blame someone else!

      • November 8, 2014 2:19 pm

        Yeah, its ALWAYS the other guy. I tell my management students this: When you screw up (and you will) own up to it RIGHT AWAY. Your employees know you screwed up and they are simply waiting for you to get real with them. They will return the favor when the time comes.

        Alas, with the pols, it is always somebody else’s fault. Make them totally look like the assholes they are.

  48. Pat Riot permalink
    November 8, 2014 9:09 am

    U.S. President Barack Obama is an excellent team player.

    He was advised at length before he ran for the office of the POTUS that there would intense criticism and hatred as they pushed forward with plans. Would he be able to hang in there for the team? He has, admirably.

    George W did his share for the team, ducking shoes at the podium, being referred to as stupid and semi-literate, and now bass fishing in Texas (what kind of fish they have in Uruguay?)

    2 trillion added to the national debt for Iraq and Afghanistan. The contractors and the suppliers, and the suppliers to the suppliers, have done very well. They’ve purchased new machinery, hired new workers, even built new plants and warehouses. Global re-structuring takes time, and time is money. Confidentiality agreements have been signed. The team is doing well. 300 million Americans couldn’t stop the team because most don’t understand. Many have been re-wired not to care or to think there’s nothing that can be done about it.

    Could The American People rally, stand up for themselves, demand to be truly represented? They could. We’re seeing flashes of it. Good ideas surfacing here and there, but they’re too fragmented (oh! pulled back to Rick’s post!) To make sure they don’t figure out how, the team will keep up the pressure. Long-term medical care for wounded veterans and replacements of military equipment will add 2 to 4 more trillion to the disempowerment, disenfranchisement of the American masses. Open the borders. The young adult children of hard-working Americans having trouble finding work is one of those many details that can be made to seem like trivial whining in the face of the daily onslaught of horrible news. Keep it going. Keep it up. Oh the gradual dismantling is an exquisite pleasure for the team!

    Probably better to leave the future in the hands of the clever oligarchs than the delusional masses anyway.

    • November 8, 2014 9:15 am

      George Soros behind the curtain? I would be so.

      • Pat Riot permalink
        November 8, 2014 3:51 pm

        Cartels behind the curtains. Not drug cartels and small-time thug cartels. We’re talking ocean bound shipping lines, ruling families, industrial-military complex cartels. We’re talking about multi-national corporations and groups of multi-national corporations. They get their way in a small, weak country by buying off the officials. In America it has been a slower process. That pesky Constitution! Those annoying common people who think their opinions matter!

    • Ron P permalink
      November 8, 2014 1:47 pm

      Pat..Your comment “Could The American People rally, stand up for themselves, demand to be truly represented? They could. We’re seeing flashes of it.” ……This happens many times, but much of their efforts are crushed by the courts.

      The tenth amendment reserves that the federal government will only have powers that are given to it by the states. In instances such as gay marriage, the federal government recognizes gay marriage if the marriage occurred in a state where that union is legal. In many states, there have been laws written and amendments to the states constitution that declares the state will not recognize gay marriage. The people in those states stood up for themselves, but now the courts are interfering with those rights. Gay marriage laws ae being struck down by activist judges.

      We also see instances where the federal government has interfered with “life” while allowing a state to write its own law concerning life. On one hand the federal government gets involved with abortions and ending life through the federal courts, while on the other hand allows Oregon to have a “death with dignity” law that allows one to commit suicide with the help of a physician and no law enforcement agency takes action. If a state can have a law allowing one to take a life, why not allow a state to protect a life?

      Then we see where the federal government has laws against marijuana, states are passing legislation to make this legal and the feds decide to ignore the federal law in most cases.

      My point: Yes the American people can rally, stand up for themselves and demand to be represented. But when they do, the federal government should get the hell out of the way and follow the constitution that gives it only the power the people see fit in giving it.

      Problem is, the feds are like Bermuda grass. Once it is in the neighborhood, it spreads its coverage everywhere, no matter if the people want it or not.

  49. Pat Riot permalink
    November 8, 2014 4:05 pm

    Yes, Ron, too much Bermuda grass! Yes, the feds (some fed departments) are over-reaching for the team. We need enough federal regulation to keep cement dust out of our food, so to speak, and to defend ourselves against enemies (attacking enemies, not perceived, rationalized, potential ones). Power should be with the States, and with the People, per the 10th Amendment. Amen!

  50. November 13, 2014 4:37 pm

    Hey there, remember me? Sorry to have been AWOL, but Priscilla was right: I’ve been preoccupied with the launch of my new e-book, a grimly humorous essay collection called “Extremely Dark Chocolates.” (Two more collections will follow over the next few months, and I still have to publicize the first one.)

    At this point I’m heartily weary of party politics — the arguments never end and the various online amen corners keep polarizing us beyond any hope of reconciliation. The results of the recent election have left me indifferent. The gridlock will continue. But so will The New Moderate.

    I’m fascinated by “narratives” now: how the true believers in feminism, free-market capitalism, socialism, gun rights, gay rights, white privilege and the “war” on “unarmed black teenagers” tend to ignore any evidence that doesn’t support their beliefs. It’s probably a natural human impulse to want a spotless narrative to believe in, but most of those perfect narratives simply don’t square with reality.

    I’m waiting to see what happens in Ferguson if Officer Wilson gets off without being indicted. Did any of you see the list of “suggestions” handed over to the Ferguson police by the demonstrators? That they’re not supposed to respond if rioters throw water bottles at them? Granted, I don’t think anyone should die for throwing a water bottle, but it really took chutzpah to create a separate standard of acceptable behavior for black demonstrators.

    I’m starting to feel that a race war (in some form or other) is almost inevitable now. There’s just so much accumulated bad blood: blacks certain that their difficulties are the result of overt white racism; whites resenting blacks for their high crime rates and dependence on the dole — not to mention the fact that we’re not allowed to criticize them for any reason whatsoever. Something’s got to give…

    • November 13, 2014 5:26 pm

      Rick I understand your frustration with the current state of affairs in D.C. One can only hope that the GOP will find a group of moderate democrats and work with them to pass legislation that is veto proof.

      As for Ferguson, nothing good will come out of that town. Too many outsiders are their to stir up trouble. The residents that do not want trouble are the ones that will get hurt.

    • Priscilla permalink
      November 14, 2014 9:07 am

      Keep in mind also, the possible ramifications of the upcoming executive amnesty on race relations. Blacks are not at all enthralled by the President’s intention to legalize millions of Latinos…..many see it as a violation of his “commitment” to them, since it will be the new legalized Hispanics who will disproportionately impact the job opportunities and wages of blacks.

      I think that, in many ways, the kind of race demagoguery from Democrats that we have seen in Ferguson has been a red herring, to distract blacks from the fact that it will be a Democrat President who will “betray” them. Obama has been threatening amnesty for years now, but not following through….and many political observers have seen his reluctance as part of a strategy to goad the GOP into passing an amnesty, so that it would not be on his watch that blacks were pushed further down the ladder of opportunity and entitlements.

      I’m not saying that blacks will turn to Republicans – they almost certainly won’t, due to the ironclad narrative, pushed over the last few years, that Republicans are racists…….but I do think that whatever “race war” comes about from all of this evil and irresponsible action – and non-action – from our politicians on both sides of the aisle (I give extra blame to the Dems and have extra disdain for the GOP) will be one that none of them, or us, are prepared for.

  51. November 14, 2014 9:15 am


    Yes, well said. Think about this scenario: The GOP doesn’t bite and Barry has to use his “executive” powers to grant amnesty.

    This hurts the Dems with many independents and in the end, the black voter. Where will all of these new students who were and are, “legalized” go to school? Well, not in the best schools, but in the worst schools. How long will that take to ensure these schools never get better? In fact, they will get worse and pretty darn quickly.

    Even the most loyal (blind) black voter will understand who brought the third world to their own school.

    Now, it will take someone like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, or the like to KEEP POINTING THIS OUT in two years.

    Let’s hope all of the above doesn’t happen.

    • Priscilla permalink
      November 14, 2014 10:35 am

      We can only hope that it doesn’t.

      I am particularly disturbed by the refrain, which I hear daily, coming from politicians and media type on the left, that this amnesty is somehow comparable to the Emancipation Proclamation. That allowing non-citizens who have come here – or sent their children here – of their own free will, and lived in blatant violation of our nation’s laws, need, somehow, to be regarded as victims! (Yeah, yeah, I am in total sympathy over the true “Dreamers,” those who were brought here as babies or toddlers and have known no other home – but even those kids need to assimilate, which many have not. Plus, there are not that many of them…maybe a million or two at most.)

      I know that if Dave were here, he would be talking about the wonderfulness of immigration, and how it strengthens our culture. And, I would agree that LEGAL immigration does that. But what we are about to experience with the de facto legalization of up to 10- 20 million people, is not going to be pretty or wonderful. Keep in mind that all of those “children” who came here in the early part of the year, and were shipped out to families all over the country, will now be legalized, and their families will be able to come hear and be granted green cards, licenses and paths to citizenship. If there are a million kids, that means possibly 3-5 million more, not even counting the adult illegals who “come out of the shadows.” This is no way to conduct an immigration policy.

      By the way, I encourage all of you to buy Rick’s new book, out on Kindle, “Extremely Dark Chocolates: Bitterly Amusing Thoughts on Aging, Insanity, Death, Extinction & Other Inconveniences ” Unsurprisingly, a great read!

      • Priscilla permalink
        November 14, 2014 10:37 am

        “their families will be able to come HERE**” (I am offended by my own grammar 😉 )

      • November 14, 2014 12:09 pm

        I will buy Rick’s book. Perhaps, he can buy mine? Actually, the price is over $100 so, forget it, Rick.

      • November 14, 2014 1:37 pm

        Priscilla, I agree with some of what you have said, but I also have some disagreements. I agree that the dreamers should assimilate just like most all other immigrants have except for many in the Asian communities, especially in the western states. Where I have some issues with the policies of our government is the years that they have given defacto legal status to illegal immigrants, allowing up to 5 million to become of age, marry and have children of their own. With those families, we have two choices. Allow the illegal parents to stay along with their citizen children, or send the parents back, while causing the children to become “orphans” and placed in foster care in the USA or sending american citizens to a foreign country with their parents.

        Can you imagine the outrage from many sectors of the country if we did deport the parents. Had the laws been enforced since the 90’s, we would not be facing this problem. But now with the illegal children becoming of age and having children of their own, we face a social issue where the GOP can not win.

        The GOP loses if they do nothing (conservatives) and the lose if they do something (deportation) since the moderates and liberals will go against them when all the news of comes out about American citizen children being forced to leave and go to a country which they do not know, the living conditions are much worse than the USA and in many cases do not know the language.

        This problem has been created over a 20+ year span. It is not new, so we have both parties to blame.

      • Priscilla permalink
        November 14, 2014 11:56 pm

        Ron, I think we probably agree on most of this. I am totally agreeable to amnesty for illegals who were brought here by their parents at a very young age, and who have lived and worked here all of their lives. And, although I believe their parents should pay a price, literally, for breaking the law, I have no problem with granting a special path to citizenship specifically, and only, for true “dreamers.” The parents, no. They could be spared deportation, provided that they have committed no other crimes, but I see no justice in leapfrogging them over all of the people waiting to come here legally and become citizens.

        But the children that most concern me are the ones from Central America, unaccompanied by their parents, who flooded over the border in the past 2 years, in buses and vans – literally caravans of them – and were warehoused in southern Texas, before being shipped to foster families in every state of the union. Under the executive order planned by Obama, if the NYT and Fox News are correct about the details of it, their parents and family members will now be permitted to legally enter the US. One has to wonder if this was all part of a plan. I can’t imagine all of these hundreds of thousands of mothers and fathers sending their young children alone to the US, if they did not expect to eventually be reunited with them.

      • November 15, 2014 9:07 am

        To me, amnesty technically means to not prosecute illegals for their crimes. A next step is to say that they can stay here in some green card status. The last step is to say, Its OK, you are citizens, with all the rights and privileges of say, me.

        That later stance is really not OK with me in any way. If you want to be a citizen, you need to get in the back of the line and do it the way someone today would have to do it, legally. Then, you get to vote and gain all the goodies of Welfare, SS, Foot Stamps, and the like.

        That said, this is all a bunch of nonsense. We have been down this road twice before and each time, “it was the last time.”

        The illegals don’t believe us when we say that. Why would they?

        Who is funding all these efforts to pass “immigration reform?” Certain big businesses. Do you think they are spending their capital on this issue because it is the “right thing to do?”


      • November 15, 2014 1:38 pm

        JB, Take a look at and review the current limits. They don’t make any sense in this current era. We can allow a limit of 675,000 immigrant visas into the country yearly, with 480,000 of those for family members. If you are here legally, then you can file to have your parents or other relatives to come here legally. The others are restricted to work visas with a targeted limits of 40,000 per work status (professional, manual, etc)

        This tells me that children that are citizens can petition to have their parents stay here permanently. So guess what, come here, have kids, then the kids can petition to have you stay.

        Like I said, our immigration policies are out of date, just like most of our governmental regulation, but politics gets in the way of sensible legislative updating.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 15, 2014 1:22 pm

        Priscilla, you are right about what we agree on. I would not support the immigration of parents for the children that came here over the past 12 months either.

        I can also support the dreamers staying here if they are high school age and have been here a number of years, along with their parents until the dreamers have finished school and are self supporting. If that means after college, that would be fine. Then the parents can go back home and get in line with others. The dreamers could be given a special exemption to stay since they most likely would be filling a need in our job market. This would also apply to the parents who have children born in America and those kids are citizens.

        But all of this is based on some sensible legislation that improves our immigration policies that are archaic and need updating. People say we need the high tech guys and gals coming to America to make us more productive. I say we also need the manual laborers that fill positions that citizens will not fill. For a number of years I watched buildings being added to our healthcare campus and the whites and blacks worked those jobs where their comfort was not infringed upon, like painters, plumbers, electricians, etc. If the position was one that was outside in the 90 degree, 70% humidity weather like brick masons, you could bet you would not see many whites or blacks doing that job. It was all Hispanics. My daughter and her husband just had a house built. Anyone working outside in the summer heat was Hispanic.

        If we can’t get sensible legislation signed to improve the bad policies now law, then we will just have to live with what we have now, and do what we can to stop any further erosion of the laws that are not being enforced by anyone in the federal government.

      • Priscilla permalink
        November 15, 2014 10:11 am

        You are speaking rationally and with common sense, JB. So, of course, that means that your view of amnesty must be wrong, and that you are a hateful person. How could you be so cruel as to think that taxpayers should deny benefits to non-citizens who have sneaked into this country specifically to get those benefits?

        And, the truth is, a great many illegals, maybe even most of them, have no interest in becoming citizens. That process requires that they learn some basic facts about our system of government and agree to participate as voters and taxpayers. They just want amnesty and green cards.

      • November 15, 2014 11:00 am

        You are correct, P. I am going to kill myself later today. That will appease the progressives, for a day or so.

    • November 14, 2014 1:21 pm

      “Now, it will take someone like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, or the like to KEEP POINTING THIS OUT in two years.”

      If Ted Cruz can just keep pointing this out, the GOP will be fine. But I doubt he can just keep pointing it out. I have full faith in him to find a way of shutting down the government, thuis leading to a democrat revival for 2o16

  52. November 14, 2014 1:46 pm

    Would sure be nice if that worked in politics.

  53. November 14, 2014 9:53 pm

    Please read “The Big Sort” by Bill Bishop. I think a lot of what he says is relevant to this topic.

  54. Priscilla permalink
    November 17, 2014 12:55 pm

    “The number of immigrants added to the labor force every year is of a magnitude not seen in this country for over a century,” Obama noted. “If this huge influx of mostly low-skill workers provides some benefits to the economy as a whole—especially by keeping our workforce young, in contrast to an increasingly geriatric Europe and Japan—it also threatens to depress further the wages of blue-collar Americans and put strains on an already overburdened safety net.”
    ~Barack Obama 2006

    Obama spoke the truth in 2006. Since 2009, not so much.

    • November 17, 2014 1:27 pm

      Then Obama needs to tell the blacks and welfare whities that will not work to get off their lazy asses and work in those positions that the Hispanics are willing to take.

  55. Pat Riot permalink
    November 19, 2014 11:43 pm

    I am one who is angered by illegal immigration, but if we actually, realistically, legitimately got our borders under control (say spent the trillions here at home instead of in Iraq and Afghanistan), then I would be willing to bend on amnesty for the ones already here, just to get it over with and move forward. How many of you would also give in regarding amnesty if we first truly got our borders under tight, state-of-the-art control?

    • Ron PRon P permalink
      November 20, 2014 12:26 am

      Pat, I would also want our archaic immigration policy changed. Why have a 675,000 limit with 485,000 coming for relatives in this country already and then only 7% of the total immigrants from one country. I have no problem allowing many more legal immigrants to come as long as they can fill a productive need in this country. And when looking at many Hispanics in the country right now, most want to be productive, but our laws keep them in the underground economy. (These numbers are rounded or very close to accurate)

      Then look at the number of illegals in the country now and the vast majority are (1) dreamers brought to the country at a very young age or (2) they have children born in America that are citizens, but they are not themselves or (3) they are married to a legal citizen, but they are illegal.

      Find a better way to secure the border, update our immigration laws to allow more into the country to fill a need, eliminate the 7% rule, make changes to our current laws to recognize the dreamers, parents of citizens and those married to citizens and I would support “amnesty” for some others who have been here working and other legalization changes as long as those individuals that are felons are prosecuted for crimes and not just deported so they can come back and commit more crimes.

      Right now all the border patrol is doing is the same thing a fisherman does for sport. Catch and release, only to catch the same fish the next time they go out. Many people already know we can’t deport nor arrest 10+ million illegals. Only those that believe the far left and far right rhetoric think that would be possible.

      • November 20, 2014 9:16 am

        You are making a number of assertions/assumptions for which you likely have no data. I could easily argue against each of them but what is the point. This issue is like every other progressive idea that comes down the pike. People simply get tired of resisting and give in to get over the issue and gain some peace and quiet.

        Abortion, same sex marriage, affirmative action, wars, etc. You name it, the agitators always win, eventually.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 20, 2014 1:55 pm

        JB..Maybe I read this wrong concerning limits. Let me know.

        Click to access how_us_immig_system_works.pdf

        To avoid moderation, check the next message.

      • November 20, 2014 2:07 pm

        The number of illegals is around 12 million. The number of children of illegals is 5.1 million. (See 5th paragraph)

        I can also find data on the number of individuals married to illegals, but that is far less than the “citizen kids”. And if you think about parents, the number of illegals with “citizen kids” has to be greater than 5.1 million, so I would argue that more than 1/2 of the illegals have legal kids.

        Point is that will be a PR nightmare. I can imagine what a good PR company could do for the Democrats on attacking the GOP on how they either made 5.1 million orphans or deported 5.1 million citizen children to a foreign country.

        This whole issue is a PR nightmare as no one is willing to do anything about the mess we now have.

        As for the work ethic of the Hispanics and welfare, I could be incorrect since the government help is high in that community, but could it be reduced if they were in the legal workforce and not the underground economy.

        And last, how many illegals work on farms, chicken processing plants and other jobs you would not find most American willing to fill, even at twice the minimum wage.

      • Priscilla permalink
        November 20, 2014 5:08 pm

        Ron, I do understand the PR problems that politicians who oppose amnesty face….but that is precisely because of the way that pro-amnesty politicians and media types have framed the opposition. No one wants to create orphans or deny immigrants the right to work. The bipartisan bill that passed the Senate last year created a guest worker program and basically granted a path to citizenship for young people who had lived here most of their lives. There is no question that politicians from both parties wanted the system fixed…

        Now, though, I think that there is justified anger over the way this is being forced upon the country; and anger not only from Republicans, who once again, just like with Obamacare, have had no opportunity to present their plan, but from traditional Democrat constituencies.

        You are no doubt right about many Hispanic immigrants being willing to do the jobs that Americans won’t do. But there will not be as many millions of jobs as there will be newly legalized bodies to fill them. American citizens will absolutely suffer the loss of jobs and benefits to these people. The Chamber of Commerce is practically salivating over the influx of millions of unskilled workers who will be thrilled to get minimum wage, while businesses lay off the American workers who have been earning a bit more,plus benefits. And we will all pay for it, no matter what is said tonight. Even if the new green cards don’t come with Obamacare, hospitals will not be able to tun away those who seek care – legally and morally, we need to provide care, whether we can afford it or not.

        The President could have waited one more month, challenged the GOP Congress to put a bill on his table and signed it into law. PR nightmare or not, the fact that he would not do this, but chose to act unilaterally, makes it incumbent on the GOP to oppose his action.

        Again, Obama has created needless crisis and drama for the sake of political gain. I applaud the Republican leadership for trying to respond to this in a lawful and dispassionate way, but I don’t know if they will be able to succeed with demagogues on both their right and their left.

      • Ron P permalink
        November 20, 2014 5:51 pm

        Priscilla, I guess I am starting to sound like a left wing radical on this subject. There is a legislative process where the Senate passes a bill and the House passes a bill and then it goes to conference to work out the differences. Once that happens, it then goes to the president for signature.

        It is my understanding the Senate passed a by-partisan bill that was not amnesty, but opened the pathway to legalized status for many, while the house tried to pass a border funding bill, but did not address the issue of immigration. So if this is true, then I blame the GOP house leadership as much as I blame the democrats for the mess we now have since they did not do an immigration bill with border funding that they sent to the Senate. They could have demanded border funding and border security and I bet the Senate would have included that in their bill.

        And I blame the president for not doing something in his first two years when he could have had any legislation passed that he wanted, but failed to address this issue.

        It is my understanding that this executive order takes place sometime in June 2015. That gives the GOP time to get off their ass and come up with their own plan. I could be wrong on the effective date.

        But given the directives that are shown in the following article, I agree with most of what is being done. I just do not agree with the way it is being done.

        But then, I don’t agree with much of how things are being done to run this country today. Being from finance in the healthcare industry, doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, vendors and employees all negotiated and compromised to obtain the best deal possible for their particular interest. With a congress full of attorneys and lifetime left and right wing politicians, negotiations is difficult, compromise impossible..

      • November 20, 2014 6:21 pm

        The GOP position is essentially this. This is the third wave of amnesty that we will have suffered since the 1960s. Each time before, we were told that the border would be secure. each time, that never happened.

        This time, they would like to take on the border and THEN deal with amnesty.

        I am behind them 100%.

        Otherwise, what is the point?

      • Priscilla permalink
        November 20, 2014 6:54 pm

        Lather, rinse, repeat….

        I think that JB is correct in saying that what most Republicans have been saying ( as well as what most Americans believe) is that amnesty alone will never solve the problem. Yet for all of the blather that we hear about “comprehensive immigration reform,” from Democrats, things like border control and enforcement, not to mention health screening and other public safety concerns never become the priority.

        I have a dear friend who is from Columbia. She is in her late 30’s and has lived in the US since she was 13. Her parents had green cards and both worked here until her father became disabled from a back injury. He collects disability from his his company, but it is so little that he moved back to Columbia, where he can live comfortably on that amount. Her mother has cancer, so she stays here, with my friend, most of the time, because she needs the high level of medical care that she would not get in Columbia. And, my friend? She is well-educated, although currently unemployed and collecting . She has never taken the US Citizenship Test, because in her heart, she is a Columbian and sees no reason to spend the money to become a citizen of a country that has provided for her, but for which she has no real loyalty.

        I have called her out on this, and she says she understands why Americans feel negatively about the millions of Hispanics who do not have a love for this country, even though it is their home. But she says that’s just the way it is. Interestingly, she is not in favor of amnesty, because she thinks it’s unfair to people like her, who followed the rules.

        If immigration is to make this country more vital and stronger, I think that immigrants must have “skin in the game.” But many don’t, and our government is encouraging people to come in and take what they can get, because it’s all about keeping a large pool of cheap labor and easy votes for entitlements.

    • November 20, 2014 9:00 am

      “How many of you would also give in regarding amnesty if we first truly got our borders under tight, state-of-the-art control?” First of all, many people use the word “amnesty for something that really does not deserve the word. A real amnesty — where the illegals are simply treated identically to the immigrants who obeyed our nation’s immigration laws — would never be acceptable to me, though ideas such as the proposals of George W. Bush — which have been labeled “amnesty” by some — might be. They need to pay something toward the money we have spent on their support, start learning English, and possibly a few more things before they should be considered for legan status.

  56. November 20, 2014 9:12 am

    If amnesty means citizenship and benefits, entitlements and voting, then no F’ing way.

    And, know that what it means.

    • November 21, 2014 2:07 pm

      JB..Does it really matter what Obama does with immigration? The laws are not being enforced today and the borders are not tight enough to keep more immigrants from coming in. So what has changed other than a few words on paper?

      Does the GOP really want anything to happen, or is this just some more good political crap to keep stirring the anti-Obama pot?

      The only good thing I can say about this whole mess is it has moved the GOP from their incessant social values platform to something else.

      I doubt that anything good will come out of DC, regardless of who does what as they are most all losers and only have three things in mind. Themselves, their supporters and their party. Screw the USA as it is just a throne in their side.

      Going to the polls and holding your nose when voting should not be the way of a democracy. There should be some good choices in the federal level of elections.

      • Priscilla permalink
        November 21, 2014 2:29 pm

        I disagree with you on this, Ron. It matters very much what Obama does on immigration, if he is going to legalize illegal behavior without the Congress. Which IS what he is doing. If he wants to pardon all of these millions of people, that is his power and right, but that is NOT what he is doing. He is saying that he is not going to enforce the law that he has sworn to uphold, and, furthermore, he is going to reward the lawbreakers with work permits and entitlements. And, that unless the Congress votes to do the same, he will veto and his order will stand in place of the law.

        That is what dictators do, not US Presidents, and I would take the tea party and all of its kooks and PR disasters over a lawless president.

      • November 21, 2014 5:23 pm

        Priscilla, I don’t think I commented in the way I wanted it to come across.

        Yes it makes a difference as to how this is done and it make a difference if he enforces the laws or not.

        So with that said, what difference our we going to see in the immigration enforcement policies that have been going on for 25 years? This is not a problem that has happened just in the last 6 years. We did not go from -0- illegals to 12 million in 6 years. And how many illegals are being deported each year now? Do we restrict education to illegal aliens? Do we restrict healthcare to illegals? Are schools and hospitals required to report suspected illegals to authorities so they can be rounded up and deported? Can police arrest individuals based on suspected undocumented status?

        My point is the laws have not been enforced over many many years under multiple administrations and I doubt we are going to see any difference going forward.

        The dems want the immigration issues to stay like they are so it is a political issue for the elections to attract liberal voters. The GOP wants the immigration like it is because it allows more than the allowable number of Hispanics into the country to work in the agri business, poultry business and construction where they can get cheap labor.

        I am very negative on this issue and I don’t think the GOP is going to do one thing to work out solutions to the problems that we have along with the Dems who did nothing when they had control of both chambers.

        I also don’t think the current immigration problems can be fixed with a band-aid. The whole immigration law needs rewriting to bring it up to 2014 standards, not something written in 1952 and updated in 1965. In fact some limits by countries have been on the books in some manner back to the late 1800’s or early 1900’s.

        It will be a cold day in hell before our congress will ever agree to rewrite the immigration laws for the good of the country while cutting out the PR for the political issues and the large corporations getting cheap labor.

        Having this issue open is good politics for both parties.

      • November 21, 2014 5:51 pm

        Dead on, as usual, Priscilla.

        This guy IS worse than Hitler.

      • November 21, 2014 3:05 pm

        As I see it, the problem is deeper than just immigration. The issue is that we have a POTUS who acts like he is an F’n dictator and no one in Congress seems to care enough to stop his sorry ass.

      • November 21, 2014 3:19 pm

        “… no one in Congress seems to care enough to stop his sorry ass.” The problem is that the Democrats in Congress don’t have the numbers to pass Obama’s program through the Congress, so they’re happy to see him do it by executive order, while the Republicans in Congress don’t have the numbers to make an impeachment stick. So even if there are a lot of members of Congress who do care, neither party can really do enough to stop Obama.

      • November 21, 2014 5:33 pm

        This is a legal question that most may not be able to answer.

        How can congress file charges based on harm other than to begin impeachment proceedings based on his decision to not enforce the laws on the books?

        I think only individuals or classes of individuals can actually take the government or representative of the government to court under specific regulations. I do not believe congress can do this since they have not been “harmed” in some manner as a collective group or individual.

        And who wants the GOP bogged down in impeachment proceedings for 2 years when he will be out of office before those are concluded.

        This looks like a lose-lose situation for the GOP and Obama is playing “Rope-A-Dope” seeing if the GOP will fall for it.

  57. Priscilla permalink
    November 20, 2014 10:02 am

    I do believe that this imperial amnesty is being ordered so that the newly elected GOP Congress will freak out and lose focus on the legislative agenda that it has planned. Of course, the idea that he might be able to engineer another shutdown must be extremely attractive to the President, although despite the freakout that his last shutdown caused, look how the election turned out……

    The liberal talking point that Reagan and H.W. did this same thing is inaccurate and offensive to any student of history – but it does underscore, yet again, how little any liberals really care about history. In both of those cases, the Congress was overwhelmingly in favor of a limited action and passed legislation. But, whenever Democrats REALLY cross the line, they love to say that the GOP did it first.

    Anyway,as much as this unconstitutional power grab disgusts me, I think that the GOP Congress should keep its head, and come into office in January fully prepared to repeal most of Obamacare, pass the Keystone Pipeline, and rescind funding for as much of this amnesty as possible. I would expect the Republican governors, especially in the border states, to press lawsuit after lawsuit on behalf of their citizens, who are going to suffer economically when the huge influx of new illegals begin to flood the border, hoping to cash in on Obama’s amnesty (all they have to do is say that they’ve been here for 5 years….who can disprove it?)

    I read something the other day that really struck me….the author said that liberals had successfully “weaponized compassion” and that once that became their tool, they stopped worrying about whether their programs were effective, useful, harmful, or even deadly, because the sole justification for anything became “compassion” – as defined by them, of course.

    Weaponized Compassion. So, you can do great harm and still claim that you are “doing good.” It’s actually quite scary, no?

    • November 20, 2014 11:35 am

      Extremely well written (as usual). Am I wrong but doesn’t the GOP have the numbers to override a POTUS veto?

      If so, waiting is absolutely the way to go. Repeal every damn thing this guy has ever done. Humiliate him as he deserves to be.

      • Priscilla permalink
        November 20, 2014 12:29 pm

        eh, unfortunately, it takes a 2/3 majority in the Senate -67 votes, if all Senators are present – to override. 😦 Ain’t gonna happen.

        On the other hand, the bills can still pass, and force Obama to veto legislation that had huge bipartisan support, such as the Pipeline, and the most destructive parts of Obamacare. If nothing else, it will reveal to whom he is truly beholden (the Green lobby, Big Insurance, etc) and possibly slow down his agenda.

        I do think that, at this point, with nothing to lose for himself, he doesn’t really care if Dems are hurt by his policies, so I wouldn’t bet on anything much getting through. But denying or rescinding funding is the power of Congress and does not need a supermajority, so that is a strategy.

        The GOP always must consider 2 opponents, even 3…..the Democrats, The Media, and, sometimes, their own ideological right wing. It seems that, for the moment, conservatives and moderates in the party are on the same page. It won’t last, but maybe they can get something done while it does…….

      • November 20, 2014 7:01 pm

        The GOP will have only 54 seats at most in the Senate, assuming Cassidy beats Landrieu in the runoff. They need 67 to override a veto. They will have somewhere in the vicinity of 240-245 in the House. They need 290. So no, they do not have enough votes to override a veto.

  58. Priscilla permalink
    November 20, 2014 11:17 pm

    Interesting….I feel like Obama’s whole amnesty speech was like a bluff. If the situation was so urgent that he had to issue an executive edict and circumvent Congress, then why is nothing going to happen until mid 2015? It’s like he had to get this off his plate, so that he could tell the Latino community that he did something. And if it could rile up the GOP, so much the better. But an unconstitutional nothingburger, if you ask me…..

    Next up, riots in Ferguson. Because racism, of course.

    • November 20, 2014 11:32 pm

      Might this be his way of becoming relevant again.

      After all the comments made above, which I agree with for the most part, I still think it would be better to scrap all of the current laws and regulations and rewrite the immigration policies of this country, This update needs to address the the current illegal immigrants, the need for stricter border enforcement and the need to address the need for immigrants to fill jobs. In 2012 there were about 12 million undocumented aliens, with 75% of those from Hispanic countries. There were also 4 million from non-Hispanic countries which means many of those came into the country by other means. That also needs to be updated in any legislative changes.

      I suspect we are in for two more years of listening to people argue on TV about who did or did not do something to address this problem. Obama just formalized what has been going on for years. And I would not be surprised if the loudest arguments come out of the GOP letting the Liberals sit back and smile as the GOP eats their young.

  59. November 21, 2014 5:53 pm

    When FDR tried to pack the SC, he was stopped. Why can’t the GOP motion the SC for an injunction? Is the President a king because the GOP doesn’t have the votes?

    • November 21, 2014 8:47 pm

      “When FDR tried to pack the SC, he was stopped.” First of all, he tried to pack the Supreme Court by getting a law through Congress. Unlike Obama, who is doing things by executive order, so Congress can’t block him. Secondly, the Democratic Party was not unified in FDR’s day. Many Southern conservatives were members of the Democratic Party, so his majority in Congress was not really the entire Democratic caucuses. And third, conservative justices started to die off or vote to sustain FDR’s policies, so in the end, FDR won anyway.

    • November 21, 2014 9:31 pm

      JB..There are too many moving parts in this to say what can and can’t be done. One thing I have heard is Obama is using “resources” as his basis for making these changes. The department responsible for immigration, which also includes border patrol has a certain amount of money. I have heard that he is directing more of those funds to be used for increasing border security and also increasing funding for tracking down and deporting those accused of criminal behavior. To do those things takes funds from other immigration enforcement activities, which means leaving the dreamers and parents of dreamers alone.. So I doubt that the SC could do much since he is “just directing” where funds should be applied under the budget approved for that department by congress. And congress does not micro manage where funds are spent within departments.

      Now the irony of this whole thing is the GOP is getting what they want as part of this action. More border security and more enforcement against criminals. (If in fact this happens)

      Right now I don’t think anyone has the whole story as to what is going on. The GOP is talking one set of facts, the Dems another set of facts and someplace there is a third set that is the truth.

      But the one thing I do question. If you are now here illegally and you are part of the 4 million, all you have to do is apply or report to the INS and begin the process to stay here un-harrassed for the next 26 months until the new president takes office. If you are 1/2 as skeptical about the US government as I am, who the hell would risk reporting to get two more years. You are setting yourself up for easy identification for later deportation. That’s like someone stupid enough to trust the IRS to help them with tax problems.

      • Priscilla permalink
        November 22, 2014 1:07 am

        Excellent point, Ron. A few commentators have noted that, for all of his pugnacious bravado, Obama’s Executive Order, by definition, is temporary. I doubt that anyone with a green card is going to be deported, but stranger things have happened, and the political fallout from this is going to be so toxic that anything could happen.

        What I think WILL happen now, is a border security bill. Ironically, the EO may have made this even more likely, since Obama has now taken the amnesty question off the table temporarily, but without dealing with the urgent border issues that it creates.

        Will he have the cojones to veto a fair and effective border security bill? I wouldn’t put anything past him at this point, but I’m guessing he would not. Silver linings, perhaps?

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