T Nation

Anybody Unpleasently Surprised?


I'm honestly asking this question. I'm not even picking a fight though it will probably end up there, not that that's bad, but it will.

Is there anybody, now that we see clearly before our eyes where our country is going with the far left wing of the Dem power structure in place, who wonders if some of us raving lunatics on the right might have been a bit more justified in our concerns than they did during the campaign?

This is as sober and sincere a question as anybody could ever be asked.

I've had some customers, one in particular who is a black woman probably in her 50's who owns a small interior design business, that got me thinking about this.

She still has all her Obama/change paraphernalia on and in her house. He was on her TV while I was working on her computer last week. I've gotten to know her a bit in the last year and a half, but we've never talked politics at all.

She stood there watching for a few minutes and just simply said something like "I don't know how much I like all this".

She came over and sat next to me and I said "well, what they're talking about certainly isn't what made the United States the United States". She looked at me for about 30 seconds with a sort of half blank half dismayed stare on her face. I went back to working on her machine.

She started talking. What began as a this what I thought when I voted for him picture of regurgitated hope and change ended up being a mildly angry catalog of big government fantasy and intrusion I could have said myself. The more she talked the edgier her voice became. After a pause at the end she says "How is this gonna help anybody but them?"

I glanced at her with a raised eyebrow "I know what you mean" look on my face, but didn't say anything.

She has to represent at least some other people who are beginning to suffer from "what have we done" syndrome.


Honestly, I thought you were overstating the march to socialism issue a little and my prediction was that we would see a somewhat more "center of the road" governing style.

Turns out you were absolutely correct and I should have been asking you for lottery numbers...


Before I even begin to offer an opinion, I need to understand much better where the right is coming from. (By the way, my political leanings are not at either end of the Political Spectrum).

1) Where specifically are the Governmental Intrusions coming from?

2) IF it is in the Governmental intervention in the collapse of institutions central to our economy (specifically the Banks and AIG) and the flow of capital; what would have been the Rights approach and solution? Does the right even feel that these institutions are Central to our economy and the flow of capital?

3) What specific rights and liberties, protected by the Constitution, have been taken away in the first few months of the Obama Presidency? In what ways are they headed in that direction?

4) Does the Right feel that there is ANY place for Social Programs? If so, to what degree?

5) Where would the Right cut most, if not all, Governmental spending?

6) Changing of the Constitution is NOT a simple process of merely electing "activist" Judges to the Supreme Court..far from it. As it should be, Constitutional change is extremely difficult. How is this Administration going to circumvent both public and private "checks and balances" to lead to sweeping Constitutional Changes in 4 to 8 short years?

7) How was America specifically better in 1955 than it is now? How was is specifically better in the 1700's than it is now?

8) What path was America headed on in the 1700's that she has now moved so far away from?

Learning comes with understanding.

If I can understand the Rights concerns more, I could offer a more informed opinion.



Funny thing about Obamas campaign of "Change"

Everybody who fell for it though that he was speaking of the change that they would like. Everybody was happy!
Finally the change which they sought would be brought about!

Naive egocentric suckers! The man has a plan and it has nothing to do with the betterment of the lives of the people who put him in office, or the changes that people THOUGHT he was speaking of when he used such an oblique term to address millions of people.

The yelps and complaints that you are beginning to hear is just the naivity of the libs being shattered as they realize that they haven't been dupped by anybody but themselves.

After all, isn't our election process the ultimate expression of the will of the people?


So the Left AND Right were "duped"?

In what ways?



What is the Rights (or anyone, for that matter)...definition of "Socialism"?

What is specifically being done to change America into a Socialist State?



Much like Tiribulus...these are SERIOUS questions I have in order that I may better understand the fear and paranoia (many would say REALITY) that seems to be engulfing the Right.



The man could sell you your own shoe, what the fuck were people expecting? We would have eaten shit no matter who was in office. The Messiah or Grandpa McCain.


everywhere. Seriously, where are they not intruding?

What do you think would have happened if we didn't bail them out?

how about spending an obscene amount of our money? How much worse could it possibly be? They are deciding how the fruits of our, our childerens, and our grandchilderens labor are going to be spent. They have essentially said that we don't know how to best spend our money, and that they will do it for us.

yep. just not run by the gov't. How on earth did people ever survive before the 60s?

Well, if we cut "most" of it we would be back to mid 90s levels. Again, how on earth did we ever survive the 90s with gov't spending half of what it is now?

bullshit. it is precisely this easy.

how about taking control of Chrysler? How about taking control of banks? How about taking away future income for next 75 years? What do you think energy legislation is going to do? I am sure we won't even notice the difference.

This is a very long list.

I could allow people to smoke on my private property
I didn't have to secure myself to my vehicle
Affordable health care
I didn't have to give the gov't $3 to smoke a pack of cigarettes
I didn't have to give the gov't $1 per gallon of gas I put in my car.
I didn't have to save failing banks with a good portion of my income for the rest of my working life.
I didn't have to worry about unelected bureaucracies controling almost every part of my life.

I am sure others can add to the list
8) What path was America headed on in the 1700's that she has now moved so far away from?
less gov't control
more individual freedom


I've definitely been wondering if my father was a little right on the whole obama issue - not that I voted nor like him or his policies so far (I went libertarian) but my dad definitely leans to the extreme right - like Obama is going to be the end of the united states and the usherer of a new world war which I still think is a little extreme, but so far it seems EVERYTHING he has done has been for big government.

Such as bailing out the mortgage companies and including federal oversight of the companies as a condition of the bailout to "prevent a financial crisis like this one from happening again" or adding a "car czar" to the bailout of the auto industry. Personally I would have rather seen the businesses fail and let capitalism run its course instead of becoming more socialist with the government having their fingers into several of our major industries.

The bailouts were probably the worst route to go though - I mean we've spent somewhere along $200 billion on the auto industry alone to keep them from going under and here GM just announced that Monday they are going bankrupt anyways and the government is giving a bankrupt company an additional $30 (billion? million? I couldn't hear on the news station).

I don't care if it is billion or million giving a bankrupt company more money then what we have already thrown out at them is incredibly stupid. I feel like the majority of the people I talk to didn't even want the bailouts to go through but congress passed them anyways which is hardly what I would call voting as a delegate representing majority opinion.

If government HAD to bail out someone, then why the hell couldn't they pay ALL the bailout money (isn't upwards of a $1.3 trillion?) to the banks with the stipulation that it goes DIRECTLY to anyone and everyone that has a debt to pay off a proportionate amount of the already existing debt. I mean seriously - that means people aren't welshing on their debts so the banks aren't failing because they are getting their cash, and because people no longer have to stress about bills they can't pay they have more money to spend. I know I don't know a ton about global economics or finance but it makes sense to me anyways.

Let them fail and let capitalism run its course.



I am less interested in the label, and I have never liked the disproportianility of moving bona fide concern into paranoia. That said, off the top of my head, areas of concern:

  1. Government consumption of resources: whether borrowed, taxed, or both, between the federal government and state governments, more than 50% can be taken out of your income.

  2. Wealth redistribution as a primary federal government policy: anyone paying attention understands the goal of manipulating the tax code to move wealth around (i.e., tax "refunds" to people who don't pay taxes, labeled as "tax cuts"). Also obvious to anyone paying attention is the use of naked money transfers with no limitations in sight - i.e., gobble up national income and dole it out to preferred political constituencies. Which brings me to....

  3. Pure special interest politics: a "bread and circuses" government relationship with society, where your success or failure depends in large part on your willingness to "pay to play" or have the game rigged in your favor.

  4. Government expansion into the private sector: no explanation needed.

  5. Reordering of creditors' rights in bankruptcy: instead of fairly applying the rule of law, the Obama administration is unilaterally rewriting contracts so that favored groups (unions) get priority over non-favored (other creditors), even when their security interests were alerady determined by law.

Also, take the "Bush" test - take any ten decisions/events Obama has been involved in, and attach the name "Bush" to them instead of Obama: aggrandizement of power in the exectuve branch, appointment of questionable characters to his cabinet, using the pulpit of the Presidency to attack private citizens (imagine if Bush had gone after Chris Matthews like Obama went after Limbuagh, or had Bush gone after MSNBC like Obama went after Fox), ramming through legislation without giving the opposition party time to read the legislation, particularly after campaigning for a "five day rule" for more transparency in government...

...the Left would be apoplectic with strident cried of "fascism!!!!". That the individual that is doing all these things is "progressive" insures silence from them, even though, regardless of party, there should be alarm bells ringing.

I don't come to such criticism lightly - normally I am quite intolerant of silly reaction-ism calling everything "socialism" or reflexively railing against "the gummint". But we are living in surreal times, with massive policy shifts in place - and we had better get our act together.

And by "we", I don't mean "the Right" - I mean anyone interested in the long-term viability of a sustainable, healthy republic, which includes far more members than "the Right".


Although, it is worth noting - there are several kinds of "buyer's remorse" popping up. It's no secret that a number of "moderates" are feeling it, and some Wall Street voices have noted it as well.

In addition, a number of far-lefties are grumbling as well, and their numbers continue to rise.

It'd be foolish to predict what 2012 will look like, but:

  1. Centrists are not supportive of Obama's economic policies, and that will get worse

  2. Far-left, antiwar types feel like they have been lied to, and could peel off in a 3rd party event...there might even be something worse than a Bush: someone who says they are the anti-Bush but acts just like Bush. True Believers are particularly intolerant of hyopcrites...ask left-wing crackpot Ted Rall:

[i]MIAMI â?? We expected broken promises. But the gap between the soaring expectations that accompanied Barack Obamaâ??s inauguration and his wretched performance is the broadest such chasm in recent historical memory. This guy makes Bill Clinton look like a paragon of integrity and follow-through.

From health care to torture to the economy to war, Obama has reneged on pledges real and implied. So timid and so owned is he that he trembles in fear of offending, of all things, the government of Turkey. Obama has officially reneged on his campaign promise to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. When a president doesnâ??t have the nerve to annoy the Turks, why does he bother to show up for work in the morning?

Obama is useless. Worse than that, heâ??s dangerous. Which is why, if he has any patriotism left after the thousands of meetings he has sat through with corporate contributors, blood-sucking lobbyists and corrupt politicians, he ought to step down now â?? before he drags us further into the abyss.

I refer here to Obamaâ??s plan for â??preventive detentions.â?? If a cop or other government official thinks you might want to commit a crime someday, you could be held in â??prolonged detention.â?? Reports in U.S. state-controlled media imply that Obamaâ??s shocking new policy would only apply to Islamic terrorists (or, in this case, wannabe Islamic terrorists, and also kinda-sorta-maybe-thinking-about-terrorism dudes). As if that made it OK.

In practice, Obama wants to let government goons snatch you, me and anyone else they deem annoying off the street.

Preventive detention is the classic defining characteristic of a military dictatorship. Because dictatorial regimes rely on fear rather than consensus, their priority is self-preservation rather than improving their peopleâ??s lives. They worry obsessively over the one thing they canâ??t control, what George Orwell called â??thoughtcrimeâ?? â?? contempt for rulers that might someday translate to direct action.

Locking up people who havenâ??t done anything wrong is worse than un-American and a violent attack on the most basic principles of Western jurisprudence. It is contrary to the most essential notion of human decency. That anyone has ever been subjected to â??preventive detentionâ?? is an outrage. That the president of the United States, a man who won an election because he promised to elevate our moral and political discourse, would even entertain such a revolting idea offends the idea of civilization itself.

Obama is cute. He is charming. But there is something rotten inside him. Unlike the Republicans who backed George W. Bush, I wonâ??t follow a terrible leader just because I voted for him. Obama has revealed himself. He is a monster, and he should remove himself from power.

â??Prolonged detention,â?? reported The New York Times, would be inflicted upon â??terrorism suspects who cannot be tried.â??

â??Cannot be tried.â?? Interesting choice of words.

Any â??terrorism suspectâ?? (can you be a suspect if you havenâ??t been charged with a crime?) can be tried. Anyone can be tried for anything. At this writing, a Somali child is sitting in a prison in New York, charged with piracy in the Indian Ocean, where the U.S. has no jurisdiction. Anyone can be tried.

What they mean, of course, is that the hundreds of men and boys languishing at Guantánamo and the thousands of â??detaineesâ?? the Obama administration anticipates kidnapping in the future cannot be convicted. As in the old Soviet Union, putting enemies of the state on trial isnâ??t enough. The game has to be fixed. Conviction has to be a foregone conclusion.

Why is it, exactly, that some prisoners â??cannot be triedâ???

The Old Grey Lady explains why Obama wants this â??entirely new chapter in American lawâ?? in a boring little sentence buried a couple of paragraphs past the jump and a couple of hundred words down page A16: â??Yet another question is what to do with the most problematic group of Guantánamo detainees: those who pose a national security threat but cannot be prosecuted, either for lack of evidence or because evidence is tainted.â??

In democracies with functioning legal systems, it is assumed that people against whom there is a â??lack of evidenceâ?? are innocent. They walk free. In countries where the rule of law prevails, in places blessedly free of fearful leaders whose only concern is staying in power, â??tainted evidenceâ?? is no evidence at all. If you canâ??t prove that a defendant committed a crime â?? an actual crime, not a thoughtcrime â?? in a fair trial, you release him and apologize to the judge and jury for wasting their time.

It is amazing and incredible, after eight years of Bushâ??s lawless behavior, to have to still have to explain these things. For that reason alone, Obama should resign.

Ted Rall is a columnist for Universal Press Syndicate.[/i]




This is problem that I have...

Analyzing more what someone else has done than suggesting what should have been done.

When faced with the same daunting financial meltdown...what would the Right have done, and why would it have been so much better? I personally think that ANY President...Right or Left...would have been approaching this financial crisis by spending a lot of money, simply because the crisis had no precedent. (Note: the world in 1929 is not the World of 2009).

What I DO agree on (that has been put forth so far); is:

1) Deficit spending is a terrible "policy"...but it didn't begin with this President. Nor did Wealth Redistribution, special interest Politics or Goverment consumption of Wealth.

Tiribulus seems to suggest "he saw it coming" when it was already present.

I have NO defense whatsoever for the wastefulness and spending of the U.S. Government, and will never ever try to. But I also will not accept that somehow it began with this President.

2) The Auto companies should not have been given such large sums of money, and should have preceded to bankruptcy (like they are now). However, my question wasn't about them; it was about the Financial System bailout.

And dhicky...this "Utopia" of the 1700's and 1955 is leaving out a LOT of harsh realities, one of which are the individual freedoms we all, and many of you, claim to cherish.

Thanks, but no thanks...I think I'll take living in 2009, problems and all, over the 1700's.

Tiribulus...thanks for starting another great discussion...

I hope I'll learn something.



I could go to the hardware store and buy a gun or silencer.
My wife could elect to have a midwife of her choosing to help her give a birth at home. (Most states won't allow it at all. Idaho just requires licensing as of about a month ago.)
Students weren't accused of academic misconduct for having ideas different from school -- http://www.thefire.org/index.php/article/10645.htmlpolicy.
I didn't have to get a license for my dog.
I could take MAG-10
You could ride in the back of a pickup (still can in Idaho though)
I could keep chickens in my yard

Shall I continue?



I could totally have been a rich man if I'd just asked Trib for those damn numbers. Blast it all...now I have to pay off my college loans the hard way!

As for this situation, I hoped it wouldn't happen, but I rather suspected it would during the campaign, so I can't say I'm surprised at the direction. I tried to keep my suspicions mostly to myself (except, I am sure, on this here PWI forum) because I'm in a college town and everyone is a raving lunatic here. I am surprised at the speed at which he is going.






Bolt put into words much more cogently than I could have what I feel is wrong here. However, and I do like you as a voice of reason within these forums Mufasa, I think this statement is just plan wrong.

The economic crisis could use its own thread to discuss fixes. there have been several of varying degrees of seriousness. In any case, it's not something that can be stated in very concise manner easily.

Also, a good part of your first post here was answered already--you asked about intrusions, you asked about rights and liberties. The most disturbing thing here is the Ted Rall column. This is very real, and about as un-American as you can possibly get.

As for anyone on an anti-gun stance, that column describes the exact scenario we "yokels" are so hellbent on keeping as much firepower as we can. I don't want to drag this into a gun thread (gag!) but the 2nd amendment IS the final check on shit like that.

Aside from that I would name nationalization as an intrusion. Moves to take ownership stock in companies the gov't has given money to, etc. That is the definition of a move towards socialism--the gov't owns shit instead of the private sector. Notice I did not say we WERE socialist as a country. But that is precisely the direction those moves take us towards.

Also let us consider the financial enslavement we have just witnessed. We as a people are now beholden to a debt that even the most optimistic of economists see as unsustainable, and unpayable. In a few short months we have tripled (or was it quadrupled?) the size of the budget deficit.

It is irresponsible. That's OUR money not theirs.


My bad...

MAG-10 wasn't around in 1700.


Midwives...yes (but greater than 50% mortality among women, with untold morbidity)

Automatic weapons and silencers...no

And head injuries are a MAJOR contributor to total medical cost, that few individuals can pay for.

Are you willing to have your family scoop you off the pavement...bring you home...and put a wet rag on what used to be your forehead, in hopes that you'll get better?



Of course deficit spending and redistribution started a very long time ago. However, this president is looking to take them to levels heretofore never imagined. That's what Trib says he saw coming.

As for the harsh realities of 1700 and 1955, yes, absolutely. Civil rights, conveniences, a lot of things were different. However, my freedom as a person is now much less than it was before. I would rather have that freedom.

Besides, you didn't ask whether we'd rather LIVE in 1950 or 1700. Not many here would. You asked what was different (in concept and example) that we felt was lost along the way.

I don't like the fact that if I don't buckle MY seatbelt in MY car I could be ticketed for MY safety. Well shit, don't you think that's sort of MY decision given that it's MY life at stake? If I want to take risks with MY life, who the hell is anyone else to tell me I can't do that? ESPECIALLY any gov't body. If you're not my family, go ahead and keep your mouth shut on my doings, ya know?

Sure thats a minor thing, more of an annoyance than anything else really, but I could add serious things to the list and go on all day. And yes I know that particular example is a state law thing and not federal. But it's just a symptom of a larger problem at play here.


I don't disagree, Aragorn, with what you've written.