Free Markets, Free People


The muse is not with me today

I have no idea why, but I have little desire to write about politics today. Perhaps because it all seems so absurdly screwed up. Maybe because I think we may have crossed some imaginary line and I wasn’t aware of it and this is never going to find its way back to where our founders started it.

I mean, for goodness sake, you have book publishing companies putting warning labels on publications of the Constitution claiming it is a product of its time and doesn’t reflect present values. Really?

Maybe. I mean does anyone think the government we have today and its size, scope and depth of intrusion are anything like the “values” reflected by those who wrote the document? Does anyone think today’s “values” are better than those the publishing company thinks you should discuss with your kids?

There’s a certain level of frustration in tracking this, talking about it and seeing nothing change, and, in fact, watch everything go even further south.

And now we have this legislator for a president who just hasn’t the foggiest idea of what it means to be an executive and a leader. If you’ve been an observer of politics as long as I have, you can see the dark clouds forming on the horizon.

Internationally, it is the usual flash points, but you can see the trouble building and you get the idea that the troublemakers are sensing a weak horse here.

Domestically they’re already here I suppose. We just don’t know if it’s going to be a bad thunderstorm, a torrential rain storm or a freaking tornado. The other day I reported that well over half of all companies – and that’s the conservative number – will most likely be required by law to either change their insurance plans or drop them and pay a fine.

What kind of foolishness is that? Well it is exactly the kind of foolishness that poor legislation, rushed through to satisfy an agenda item instead of the people these politicians serve gets you. And now they’re catching flak and they don’t like it.

We had another melt down by a legislator last week. Bob Ethridge fires at a bunch of students asking him questions on the street. It is unseemly, ungentlemanly and frankly, unacceptable. These “public servants” display more of the arrogance of an aristocracy than they do the humbleness of someone serving the public interest.

And that’s across the board, local to federal, left and right.

There’s an anger festering the likes of which I’ve not seen in a long time. People are angry. Not just the activist right or even the activist left. Good old fly-over country middle America has had enough. Enough of being treated like they’re too dumb to understand. Enough of being characterized as racist or biggoted when they disagree about policy and politics. They are freaking tired of being ignored. The Tea Party movement is only one indicator of this deep resentment that is growing toward government in general and what it takes from them and what it delivers in return. I see the Tea Party as sort of like the statistic for talk radio. Only about 1% of those who listen call a talk radio show. My guess is only about 1% of those who feel like the Tea Partiers show up for their events.

I think this current administration is going to accomplish one thing, and that is bring this all to a head. The federal response to the oil spill has been pitiful. The President and Congress continually ignored the public and rammed this terrible mess of a health care bill through over their objections. The mismanagement of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may end up costing taxpayers as much as a trillion dollars and they’re focused on Wall Street. Congress won’t pass a budget until after the November election – even though it is their job – because it may adversely effect the chances of some members to win re-election.

Well, there’s a real easy way to solve that problem.

Politics has triumphed over good government. Agendas have replaced common sense. On both sides, party seems more important than “the people”. As Glenn Reynolds once described them, we’ve been inflicted with the worst political class in the history of this country. And it is painfully obvious.

Anyway, there’s about 700 words about why I’m not in the mood to write today. These thing come and go and I usually let them run their course. Heck, it may be over in a couple of hours as something jumps off the page at me. But until then, I think there’s plenty in this minor rant to talk about.

~McQ

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39 Responses to The muse is not with me today

  • Good Internal Journaling, McQ
    I know that you have expressed the same frustration and deflated hope that I certainly have and no doubt 90% of those who see the mess before us.
    Just wanted to encourage you in knowing that we are still reading your “uninspired” rants. ¬

  • I feel your pain.¬† We can’t always be a-mused…
    I had the same malady last week.¬† I ascribe it to information over-load.¬† Sometimes, it is just really hard to pick one thing that’s going to hell in a hand-basket when current affairs present such a surfeit.¬† And so many of them portend so much bad stuff…human misery, actually.
    Here’s a nascent thought I’ve been pondering: Is lying the greatest bane of mankind, greater than all others you can name?¬† I think maybe there is a strong case to make that it is, but the argument is still nebulous.

  • Wow!¬† That Etheridge is a total ass.
    If he grabbed me and asked me who I was, I’d tell him and then inform him that if he doesn’t let go of me, I’d swallow his skinny ass with a short glass of water.¬† What an opportunity missed by those students!¬† When will one get an opportunity to break a congressman’s nose and be fully justified in doing so?
    My guess is that the congressman took advantage of their youth and inexperience.
    ¬
    The more I think about it, the more pissed off I become.¬† It’s one of those times when you wish it were you being manhandled by this scumbag.
    Try it on me, you mealy-mouthed milksop!!
    ¬
    Cheers.

    • Ah, the element of surprise Pogue – those kids never knew what hit them.¬† It was brilliant.¬† Congressman Etheridge employs shock and awe on intrusive street mimes thugs kids with loaded questions kids with pointed sticks walkers ….$%#@!!! those kids, what the hell were they doing there ruining the remains of a perfectly good three martooni lunch!!!!

      • Truth is, the students did the right thing.¬† Keep the camera rolling and let Etheridge dig himself deeper – I just think that I might not be able to control myself if someone grabbed me.¬† In fact, I know I can’t.¬† I was once arrested for trespassing outside a club one night because a doorman grabbed me for no apparent reason and I got up all in his face.¬† Trouble was, he wasn’t a skinny ass, he was in fact a rather large dude who was more than able to hold me down until the cops arrived.¬† Nevertheless, don’t f*cking touch me. ;)
        ¬
        $%#@!!! those kids, what the hell were they doing there ruining the remains of a perfectly good three martooni lunch!!!!
        ¬
        That’s the real issue though, right?¬† I know I’m able to ignore verbal confrontations when I’m three sheets to the wind, and I’m a drunken hooligan with piss and vinegar running through my veins.¬† And this Etheridge is a sitting US Congressman!?!?
        Keep your cool, dude.  Even if you think these guys are snot-nosed kids playing cheap games.
        ¬
        Cheers.

      • I’ve always wonder when some politician (most especially the UN diplomats in NYC) will try their odd form of diplomacy (i.e. “dissing”) on some street thug (carrying a TEC-9 or such) and become a pile of hamburger.

    • An alternate theory I’m floating is he was having an acid trip and thought he was Pete Townsend on stage dealing with a climber during a Who concert.

    • Damn straight Pogue.

  • McQI have no idea why, but I have little desire to write about politics today. Perhaps because it all seems so absurdly screwed up.

    You mean that you think that the world is seriously off-kilter and perhaps about to collapse, and this (somehow) is depressing you so much that you don’t feel about writing more about its demise???

    / sarc

    I’m not making fun.¬† It seems that hardly an hour goes by without some news story that reinforces my belief that it’s all about to come tumbling down… and there ain’t a damned thing to be done except hope for the best.¬† Congressmen acting like the French nobility, we’re spending ourselves into an inescapable financial pit, part of the populace believes that it has a right to rob the rest and are aided in this by politicians who buy their votes, Europe and the rest of the developed world is doing even worse, etc., etc.¬† I know people who, when confronted by bad news, wave it away: “I don’t want to hear about it.”¬†I understand them, I suppose, though I also curse them, because their apathy and ignorance enable the clowns who have been and are wrecking our country.

  • It Is sort of like watching 1968, 69 or 70 play out all over again in some ways isn’t it…

    • I wish it was that hopeful.¬† I had in mind 1932… or 1913… 1860… or 409… or any other year prior to a catastrophe.

      My fear is that there will be no recovery from this for the United States.  We will either go down the dark road of dictatorship, or else disintegrate in a civil war.  Or both.

      • Nah, but I’m glad I don’t live on the east coast north of NorthernVirginia, the West Coast below Oregon or around the Great Lakes.¬†¬†¬† Despite what the morons in the mighty blue states do, the rest of the country will remain mostly sane.¬† Course I live in a Republic already….we’ll be fine….chuckle…and we have Pogue too!
        ¬
        I admit, I thought it was gone to hell in 72, but I don’t get quite the same sense this time.¬† Still, if I could skip this, I would.¬† This might be 34 AND 72 AND Carter at the same time.

  • I’m inclined to believe that relatively intelligent people with relatively small differences in their preferred methodology, but an identical preferred outcome,¬†are being set against each other over minutia so they don’t interfere with the real business of our modern government, the enrichment of those in it and those who have bought it.

    But hey, let’s keep arguing about Republican vs Democrat because it has been so very productive.

    • Please expand on the minutiae separating the political poles…

    • I think you have the enrichment part correct, but there isn’t much minutia.

    • Me too. ¬†I want to hear all about the “minutia” that is separating us.

    • With regard to minutia, allow me to suggest that “minutia” – and “core values” – are in the eye of the beholder.¬† For somebody like me, for example, 2A rights are pretty damned important.¬† For somebody else who doesn’t really care, 2A is “minutia”: “Why on earth, docjim, do you CARE about whether there are laws how many bullets your gun can hold or whether or not you have to register with the police???¬† Haven’t you got anything more important to worry about???”

      I think we can all agree that perhaps the key issue of the day is spending and, by extension, size of government.¬† Is there really that much difference between the parties in this regard?¬† Color me cynical, but I say that the difference is small, a matter of degree rather than of kind.¬† After all, the GOP had their “stimulus” and health care bills; they just didn’t want to spend quite so much or expand government power to quite the same degree as Imeme and his gang, and had not he, SanFran Nan and Dingy Harry so spitefully cut the GOP out of the process, he could EASILY have had bipartisan support for his key legislation so far.¬† Bush had the prescription drug benefit, NCLB and he tried amnesty.¬† Are these things something that even Imeme would oppose in principle?¬† Indeed, Bush (despite being apparently unable to tie his shoes and being totally eeeeeevil) got bipartisan support on these things.

      I think that the truth lies (as it usually does) somewhere in the middle.¬† Yes, there are some fundamental differences between the parties that are not “minutia”; abortion, death penalty, judicial philosophy, gun rights, and defense policy are a few of these.¬† However, there are also considerable similarities between them that can be obscured by the “Republicans vs. democrat” argument.

    • I got a comment over at a “progressive” site yesterday and the comeback was that the country has always been controlled by Republicans and the “rich will never pay their fair share”.¬†¬† The best part was that the topic at hand had virtually nothing to do with either of those topics.
      An important part of maturing is coming to believe that there are people “out there” who are totally unreasonable and there are others with whom you can deal.¬† Since our President hasn’t figured this out quite yet, I really don’t have much faith in him.

  • The ¬†CHOPE malaise.
    Mr. Obama campaigned for the job of chief executive. It was only after he was elected that he informs he is powerless to free us from Mr. Bush. A year and a half after taking office, Mr. Obama shrugs off a vitiated economy as the hopeless mess he inherited. The BP oil spill — made¬†catastrophic by first a lack of urgency and then mismanagement — he somberly tells us is like 9/11 and then heads off to the golf course — which prompts the question, how¬†would ¬†Mr. Obama have managed 9/11?
    ¬
    And it goes on and on and on.
    And that’s the problem. There is just no end to Mr. Obama’s posturing and excuses.
    Here is Mr. Obama in 2008:

    Well, you know, my understanding is, is that Governor Palin’s town of Wasilla has, I think, 50 employees. We have got 2,500 in this campaign. I think their budget is maybe $12 million a year. You know, we have a budget of about three times that just for the month. So, I think that our ability to manage large systems and to execute, I think, has been made clear over the last couple of years.

    Mr. Obama thought to spare Ms. Palin the embarrassment of comparing a mere governorship against his being a community organizer jumped up to the boss of a political campaign. [Pause.] That’s the sort of mush Mr. Obama was elected on and it’s no surprise that it’s the sort of mush he still pushes.
    It is dispiriting.
    DGB
     

  • Well, if the kid would‚Äėve just gave Ethridge ¬†one quick short one to the ‚Äúboys‚ÄĚ,¬† you know, the type of shot where Ethridge would have lost his wind and had to cling to the boy just to stand up…the sick miserable look and¬† panic on his face¬†as more questions are thrown at him. Why, you‚Äôd be smiling right now touting what a great shot under the bow that was for liberty!

    But, as it is, I feel your pain. 

  • …and you get the idea that the troublemakers are sensing a weak horse here.

    Sensing? It’s practically staring them right in the face.

  • pedro is rippin’.¬† that nyt article about the lack of coordination in keeping the oil off the shore line was the last straw.¬† pedro never fully bought into the notion that obama was competent,¬†¬† but expected barry would at least surround himself with competent experts.¬† pedro never expected the second coming of gw bush. ¬† two plus months later and they still don’t have their merde together. ¬†¬† it’s 7:30 am, but i’m ready for a margarita,¬† salt and on the rocks, por favor.

    • Oh you didn”t expect the second comming of G W Bush? ¬† From a political empty suit, with silly half ass maxist ideas, who comes from a party of hacks who don’t give a shit about anything but power and money, who never ran a damn thing in his life?¬†¬† Guess that makes you kinda stupid.

      • “Guess that makes you kinda stupid”
        Pretty rude way to talk to a guest of our country!—–CONEBREAD

      • pedro is a kind, openminded muchacho.¬† pedro likes to give everyone a fair shake before he dismisses them.¬† pedro gave w a shake, and w replaced career pros with hacks like brownie.¬† adios w.¬† pedro was ready to pull the lever for mccain,¬† but then noticed gramps was foaming at the mouth and putting a kook named sarah a heartbeat away from the button.¬† adios gramps. ¬† pedro gave obama a shake, and he gave us more of the same,¬† plus health care.¬† adios obama.
        ¬
        kyle my amigo,  you sound like you were born angry.  have a drink.   pedro is already floating away to happy land.  la cucaracha, la cucaracha!  ya no puede caminar.
         

        • Pedro may just be the slick version of Erb. He laments that he is seeing Obama as the second coming of W, who put a hack like brownie in charge; completely ignoring the fact that Brownie not only did some prior planning, but that his plan worked, and the Federal response was actually larger and faster than what was called for. He was scared that a ‘kook’ like Palin would be a heartbeat away from the button, but not only was the VP on the other ticket a less-qualified kook (that fought McCain when he tried to adress the housing/credit crisis well before it got out of hand), she was more qualified and less kooky that the guy he did vote for.¬
           It boils down to moral equivalence and ignoring facts that were known a long time ago.

  • “A man can learn only two ways, one by reading, the other by association with smarter people.”—Will Rogers
    Suck it up and get back to writing. Some of us depend on you.——-CONEBREAD

  • Time has a way of changing everything from values to politics to culture to economics to religion to life in general.¬†¬† An older generation always thinks something has been lost along the way, the younger folk look to create something new.

    And, though many of you want to blame Obama, the US took a very wrong turn in the last decade by engaging in two needless wars, and deregulating the economy and feeding a bubble with low credit and high deficit spending during an economic boom.¬†¬† Keynes himself noted that in booms you spend less and even build surpluses to have money to stimulate the economy in the next downturn. ¬† This started in the 80s when US public debt went from 30% of GDP to 60% of GDP, and private debt started to climb dramatically, creating an illusion of good times (“morning in America”). ¬† ¬† The anti-Keynesian approach of the “bubble years” doomed the economy and put us in a huge hole — economic recession alongside deep debt.¬†¬†¬† The libertarians have been proven wrong in their argument that it’s government or markets.¬† Yes, Hayek was right that markets are better than central planning.¬† But markets need a regulatory framework and rules of the game in order to function — markets need a strong state.¬†¬† World wide where markets do not have a strong legal framework supporting them, they give way to corruption, organized crime and economic weakness.¬†¬† The de-regulation of the economy since the 1980s opened the door for a massive ponsi scheme, a transfer of wealth from retirement saving boomers to investment bankers and Wall Street insiders.¬†¬† That’s one reason people are mad — the state did not fulfill it’s regulatory role and protect them from insiders out to take their wealth.

    • Excuse Me?

      That‚Äôs one reason people are mad ‚ÄĒ the state did not fulfill it‚Äôs regulatory role and protect them from insiders out to take their wealth.

      You know there has to be two to tango -¬† yeah, lets try someting, count with me – that’s one – two.¬† Bernie Madoff got away with murder but there were co-conspirators in each homicide he committed – his victims.¬† Bernie Madoff never once held a gun to the head of an intended victim in order to get the money out of their shaking hands.¬† His victims sought him out, came knocking on his door, begging him to take their money.¬† Was he blameless – NO!¬† He showed them doctored documents and skewed spreadsheets portraying a fraud.¬† And it was that alone that convicted him.¬† Had these people invested their money with him and the money had gone the way many billions of other people’s wealth (and over $150K of my own money) went in the days when the stock market was tanking, then he could have just shrugged and gone about his business – shit happens!

      But the Stock Market tanking was not done in a vaccuum.  Nor was it done behind closed doors, curtains, blinds or any other such obscuring device.  It happened in plain sight in front of everyone who could see or hear.  And with every Stock Portfolio, there is included a simple disclaimer РBuyer Beware!  Or words to that effect.

      So the next time you want to put the economic machinations of this country on trial, have the courtesy to show the evidence for what it is – Most people invested their money and did not have a clue what they were doing but one thing drove them on and it was greed.¬† I got out of the market about half way down the slide.¬† Why not earlier?¬† I was greedy!¬†¬† I wanted to believe it was merely a simple correction that would even out and continue its move up the rails that we had all gotten so used to seeing.¬† It didn’t stop sliding and much like the Dot.Com bubble of the late 90′s, it continued to fall – hard.¬† I pulled out at just about the break even point for me.¬† The monies I have left¬†were the monies I originally put into the market.¬† My losses were paper losses, i.e. the increased stock prices that I had been able to take advantage of, like everyone else.¬† The difference for me was I knew better and knew where that bottom line was.

      Where you should be aiming that smoking gun of your at is at the mortgage institution like Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae, who laundered dirty goods inside AAA rated securities that blew to hell when the housing bubble busted.  You should be aiming your gun at Congress who rewrote the rules to allow Freddy and Fannie to launder those dirty goods and who are considering another $180 Billion to bail them out again.  The machinations of Freddy and Fannie were done behind closed doors, away from the light of day and it is there the anger of America should be directed.

      I agree with you there needs to be some comeuppence and payback but I disagree with you as to your aim.  Put the crosshairs where they belong and it is squarely on the sights of government intervention that you should be aiming.

      • I think your aim is partisan.¬† Yes, criticize Freddie and Fannie, but the problem runs through the entire financial system.¬† And yes, government is to be criticized — starting in the eighties we had deficit spending during booms, de-regulation, and regulators not understanding the system.
         

        • “regulators not understanding the system.”
          ¬
          Ah, yes, but the election of the Messiah has corrected all those misunderstandings right?
          You argue against yourself and don’t even realize it.

  • “the state did not fulfill it‚Äôs regulatory role and protect them from insiders out to take their wealth.”
    Yes, God help us if we have to take care of ourselves eh?¬† Imagine being responsible for yourself, imagine reading the mortgage document you’re signing, the rules your saving, checking, 401K accounts are controlled by.¬† Imagine doing all those things before you sign a document making you legally responsible for things.¬† WOW, it’s going to be scary to be an adult huh Professor Erb?

    • But of course, I jest – after all, imagine saying “AYE” to a 2000+ page bill which enacts legislation that will fundamentally alter 1/6 of the US economy without having first read it.¬†¬† Imagine being asked to sign it before it’s even really out of committee.¬†¬†¬†¬† Imagine passing it and THEN discovering what you’ve done.
      ¬
      THIS is the ‘STATE’ you describe., THESE are the people you believe can regulate an economy, control industry, make decisions that effect the most intimate details for our lives.
      ¬
      Rather than want LESS of this sort of brain addled meddling and finger poking, you think we need MORE.¬†¬†¬† I’d almost rather deal with the mafia, at least I understand they aren’t pretending they’re there to ‘help’ and everything they’re doing is in my best interest.¬† Organized Crime?¬† I have more fear of organized government.
      ¬
      But you, so clever, cannot draw the line between those two points.

      • You’re mixing up issues, looker.¬† The point¬† is that markets operate only when there are clear rules of the game, either cultural (in small, simple systems) or legal (in larger systems).¬†¬† Lack of regulation allows powerful people to control information and manipulate the market.¬† It is very naive to just say “people should be responsible.”¬† That’s like disagreeing with laws against rape because “women should learn self-defense and be¬† careful.”

    • Yes, in a fantasy world that would work, looker.¬† But in the real world there needs to be regulation because people do not take care of themselves.¬†¬† That brings down everyone, that leads to corruption and control by organized crime.¬† It leads to failed markets.¬† Markets do not function without regulation.¬† In very small systems it can be shared norms and rules, but at the state level you need it from government.¬† Otherwise, the system cannot function.¬† That’s basic economics.

      • “People do not take care of themselves” – a gross over simplification which demonstrates¬† you’re an elitist (gee, what a tremendous surprise….)
        Your contention is that people are unable to take care of themselves individually.¬† Yet somehow through the magic of the collective¬† they become able so long as they live following the dictates of the herd (government), more specifically the dictates of self proclaimed wise men such as yourself.¬†¬†¬† It’s the foundation and justification for priesthoods and aristocracies throughout history.
         

      • Lost in this is the fact that sub-prime lending wasn’t a free-market concept, but something that was invented because of a combination of government interference and lawsuits by community organizer that felt it was ‘unfair’ that certain demographics had a lower percentage of home ownership just because of low credit scores and inability to pay.
        Basic economics limits how much risk a large company exposes itself to, only government interference from state and higher levels allowed the housing bubble to get out of control.

        Just because communism fails above the micro level is no reason to allow that to be projected on capitalism.

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