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Friday, May 28, 2010


Stan Gibilisco

Much of the media seems to make excuses to the effect that everyone makes back-door deals of this sort at the highest levels, whether technically legal or not; therefore, we ought not to get our knickers in a twist over this particular instance.

My boxers do become bunched, however, when I realize that this scenario is symptomatic of a systemic malady: The definition of legal compliance differs for those few people in power, as compared with the great mass of us who put them there. I suspect that this dichotomy constitutes "the" major source of public discontent these days.

People grow tired of getting ripped off by large institutions, whether in the public sector (as in the Sestak case) or the private sector (as in the BP catastrophe). When the Libertarians finally grasp this fact -- that "the enemy" is not government "per se" but large, powerful, arrogant, bloated, inefficient, and in some cases malicious institutions -- when the Libertarian Party can position itself on the side of the little people in all respects, we might see a three-party system evolve.

Douglas Wiken

Gosh, you guys are really, really short on serious issues. If you care about the wrong kind of influence in government, consider the number of lobbyists per congress member and the amount of money they dump into campaign coffers. A non-paying position is insignificant chicken feed, but may be the best the White House had to offer. In any case, they would have been better off not getting involved. It is really funny to find Republicans supporting a guy who may be able to defeat their Republican candidate and also be an actual Democrat instead of a pale copy of a mirror image of one.


Gee, those silly Republicans are at it again, standing on principle even though it could hurt them in an election. Is that what you're trying to say, Doug?

Stan's right, people are getting tired getting ripped off, lied to and subjected to the arrogance of those in power!

Either Sestak grossly misrepresented his discussion with "White House Officials" (which meant he lied to embellish his status) or there's something wrong with the current explanation (cover-up).

Either explanation is bad.

Douglas Wiken

"Gee, those silly Republicans are at it again, standing on principle even though it could hurt them in an election. Is that what you're trying to say, Doug?"


Those silly Republicans are trying to turn a mouse into a mountain of irrelevant talking points to obscure their own near complete irrelevance in policy issues.


Doug: it ain't the Republicans who have been keeping this story alive. It's the White House with it's Sestak who raised the issue and kept talking about it and the White House, by stonewalling it for months. See my follow up post for more.

Stan Gibilisco

In my opinion, when two or three hundred people exploit two or three hundred million people, it constitutes a mountain already -- no, not only a mountain, but a whole mountain range with volcanoes and earthquakes imminent.

Doug, I do not mean to single out Democrats here, although they're the ones with the power right now. As I recall, late in the reign of "King George the First" (1992), people said that the "current (Republican) adminstration has begun to take on the characteristics of an aristocracy." That discontent propelled Bill Clinton into the White House. Two years later, fears about "Hillarycare" had spooked the electorate enough to cause the (Democrat-controlled) House of Representatives to overturn like a hot pool of lava. The crust sank to the bottom and the red-hot Newt Gingrich rose to the top ...

The current situation resembles 1994 "on steroids." I sense that voter discontent runs deeper now and has greater intensity. But maybe I'm deluding myself. In 1992-1994, I was too busy "burning my buscuits" on the beaches of South Florida, I had no television, the Internet was in its infancy, and all the radio station I listened to were in Spanish (they had the best music for beaching it!). Maybe things were just as bad then, but I simply didn't realize it.

Maybe I should go back there, but no, I've outgrown it, so now I can worry about all these little things, these little molehills such as the apparent drift of the United States political system toward a degree of volatility that we used to ascribe to places like Argentina and Chile and Brazil. I actually have some business moves in mind that I'm putting off until after the election, so I know what sort of "regime" I'll have to contend with. That sort of stuff should not happen in the United States of America.

Douglas Wiken

I am not a bit happy with either current or past messes. We are still getting more not less of the mushroom treatment. Sidetracks into irrelevancy of the "Sesspool" are not really getting to the fundamental seriousness of corporatism in both parties. If there is an issue, it is hypocrisy of the same kind that leads Republicans to believe that all Democratic family values are defective while their values are sterling pure. See Ted Kludt for more information.


Douglas: I like to compare politicians to plumbers. Suppose you have a toilet, filled with waste and filled almost to the brim. You've tried everything you can think of to fix it, but now you need a plumber.

Ideally, you'd find a plumber who could fix the problem without making waste
spill over onto your floor.

The next best thing would be to find a plumber who made the toilet overflow a little, but still unclogged it.

The worst would be a plumber who took your money and then denied there was any problem with your toilet.

Republican voters don't think Republican politicians are unfailingly moral. Indeed, Republicans do tend to splash a bit of sewage around. But they are more likely than Democrats to admit that there actually is a problem.

Democrats not only splash sewage around, but they often act as if there isn't a problem with it. Bill Clinton, for instance, acted as if he were entitled to his affairs. Instead of admitting he had done something wrong and apologizing, he had his campaign attack and threaten the women involved in his scandals. And the democrats supported him. Most, even now, treat him as a respected and noble figure.

Democrats, in general, have a tendency to dismiss family values as unimportant. Some actively work against them in the political arena. Republicans tend to take such matters more seriously and they are more inclined to support legislation that favors them.

Douglas Wiken

Democrats, in general, have a tendency to dismiss family values as unimportant.

That is an insult to all Democrats. The idea that Democratic family values are not as good as Republican family values is total humbug. Why Democratic politicians act like limp rags in the face of such insults to them and their supporters is a mystery to me and probably all the other happily married Democrats.



You are clearly right that all Democrats are not opposed to family values - but I think you would have to concede that all opponents of what most people view as traditional family values hail from the far left of the Democratic Party.

The dissension within the Democratic Party over these issues is a big part of why they get so little done when they control the government. Obama's health care plan would have rolled through the Democrat-controlled legislature if it weren't for Democratic dissention on abortion. Issues like gay rights, abortion, and the role of religion are viewed within the Republican ranks in a pretty unified manner. The range of opinion within the Democrats on those issues is about as wide as it gets.

Democrats get branded as anti-family values when they elect pro-homesexuality, pro-abortion, anti-religion people like Obama for economic or other reasons, even though they may personally disagree with him on the family issues. I don't think the Democrats claim to being pro-family values is terribly strong when they are willing to relegate their views these issues to a secondary consideration to their economic concerns. In other words, they are willing to compromise their views on homosexuality, abortion and religion because they like Obama's big government, bash big business and bash the rich economic message so much.

Douglas Wiken

What is anti-family about giving rights to gays, for allowing women to control their own bodies and use family planning for better families? The Republican right redefining policies that actually aid families is a propaganda masterwork.

I have yet to see any evidence that demonstrates in any way that giving gays rights to civil union threatens straight unions. Those in straight relations scared spitless at the mere idea of gay unions must be in some incredibly weak straight relationships themselves. If the Republican Party appeals to such frightened souls, I guess that is OK, but they aren't owned any extra respect for exploiting such fears in the interests of re-election.

The best way to support religion is to carefully maintain the separation of church and state. If there is a threat to any god of any kind, it is actually from the wingnut right attempting to further mix religion and state.



You pranced in here acting like a victim and complaining about how offensive Republicans were when they suggested that Democrats might not have strong family values. And then you proceeded to launch your own offensive claims. You call the opinions of those who disagree with you “propaganda masterwork.” You suggest that parents who use contraception have “better” families than those who don’t. You assume that your opposition can only disagree with you because it is “scared spitless” and you refer to us as wingnuts. By doing so, you lost any sympathy you might have gotten from me by playing the victim card - But I’m still happy to answer your questions.

"What is anti-family about giving rights to gays?"

It depends on the right. Gays have almost every one of the rights straight people have. They lack the right to marry.


Marriage exists to foster the creation of families and the rearing of children. The state supports marriage, because marriage benefits it. Traditional marriage produces strong workers, taxpayers, buyers and sellers, new farmers, new service men, etc. It keeps society going because it produces children. Gay marriage, unlike straight marriage, does not create the conditions in which children are produced or in which they thrive. Study after study has shown that children do best when both of their parents are present and that they need both male and female influences. This is why divorce is often so harmful. Those in traditional marriages receive benefits in exchange for their potential to benefit society. There is no such exchange in a gay marriage.

Now, of course, if you look at it as a civil or individual rights issue, you might conclude that marriage is a right all people should have. And maybe that’s what’s important to you. But by supporting gay marriage over the well-being of children, you place the value of the family below the desires of an individual. Republicans tend to see the family as a higher priority.

“What is anti-family about allowing women to control their own bodies and use family planning for better families?"

The answer is right in the question. You’re focused on allowing women “to control their own bodies.” There’s nothing family-oriented about that. It’s about a woman’s “own body.” And, indeed, it is all about preventing a family from being created. Your focus, once more, is on an individual’s choice, rather than on the creation or development of a family.

Furthermore, the most extreme form of contraception, abortion, hurts the family in a rather obvious way. It kills off one of its members.

And I dislike your notion that women who use contraception necessarily have “better families”. My parents have six kids. I am number three. Every one of us who has reached college age has gone to college and graduated. My eldest brother earned his undergraduate degree from Washington and Lee University and his doctorate from William and Mary. My older sister is working on earning her doctorate in mathematics. My younger brother will be attending Washington and Lee in the fall. I have no doubt my youngest brother will do as well. His grades are excellent and he is a musical genius. Even my youngest sister is in the gifted program at her elementary school. So! You tell me. What is so wrong with my family? How would we have been better off if my parents had used contraception to stop one of us from being born?

Douglas Wiken

I did not say anything was wrong with your family. And the comment calling it a GOP masterpiece of propaganda is actually a realization of their skill at framing issues in irrelevant ways. It suckers a lot of people. The National GOP had a "southern policy" aimed exploiting racism to turn southern Democrats into Republicans faster than Blacks could vote against the GOP.

The "northern strategy" was to convince Catholics who generally supported Democratic work and economic policies that a single issue..abortion...was reason for Catholic Democrats to switch to the virtuous GOP.

The two GOP strategies worked and Democratic strategists have failed to counter that skillful bit of redefining issues in strange ways.

If you feel really good about being played a sucker by the National GOP, I guess that is your right, but don't expect rationalizations for those GOP policies to be overwhelmingly successful in persuading anybody but yourself of anything.


I suppose I might be more persuasive if I called my opponents suckers and implied they were similar to racists.

Roger Meyer

Returning to the Sestak issue,sometime during the Clinton Administration, Congress passed and Clinton signed legislation making it a federal crime to offer money or other benefits to influence an election. That is a paraphrase of the exact language but the intent seemed to be (maybe a court can decide) that to offer some one a position if they endorsed your candidacy or contributed to your race became illegal. Did the same go for encouraging some one to drop out of a race by offering them a financial inducement or other benefit (again maybe a court should decide). The law may be stupid and it may have occurred from time immemorial in politics, but nevertheless it is the law. I believe laws mandating seat belts are ridiculous, but if I am caught not wearing one I will pay a fine and rightfully so. Just because we believe a law is silly and "it is violated by everyone" doesn't give us a free ride. If for no other reason, the Sestak issue needs to be investigated because it may have violated law. If we don't care about that law, why should we care about other campaign or electoral violation laws?


Douglas railing about GOP propodanda is rich

Libs aren't pro-abortion - which would be accurate language - they are 'pro-choice'

People opposed to homosexuality on the basis of legitimate moral convictions are labeled 'homophobic'

If you legitimately feel that affirmative action programs are economically harmful to the minorities they are intended to help, you are a 'racist'

The liberals and their media supporters are the absoulte masters at spinning opposition into ugly labels.

Political correctness is nothing more than the liberals overwrought attempt to sieze control of the Englsh language and to spin everyone opposed to their thinking as morally or intellectually deficient, and to categorize their positions as the high moral ground. For Douglas to defend homosexuality as a 'family value' is akin to what Linclon once described as "but a specious and fantastical arrangement of words by which a man can prove a horse—chestnut to be a chestnut horse."

The notion that Catholics and blacks who support the GOP have been somehow hoodwinked by Republican propoganda is an insult to the intelligence of blacks and Catholics - and indicative of the arrogance of liberals - they honestly believe that anyone who does not agree with them is either evil or dumb enough to have been conned. The notion that good, intelligent people look at their agenda - and choose to join a tea party is byond the comprehension of the self-absorbed liberal mindset.

Try to hijack the language and control the discussion all they might, the American people are smart enough to now what ideas like 'family values' mean and they are speaking louder and clearer than they have in a long time and the Democrats controlling Washington are rightfully scared to death.

Douglas Wiken

For Douglas to defend homosexuality as a 'family value' is akin to what Linclon once described as "but a specious and fantastical arrangement of words by which a man can prove a horse—chestnut to be a chestnut horse."

Above is what is known as a strawman argument. Much easier to attack your misinterpretation of an opponents argument that actually argue against the actual position.

I am not defending homosexuality as a "family value" and the writer knows that. What My position is not an advocacy of homosexuality, but questioning what threat homosexual unions are to straight unions and relationships. That the GOP has convinced people of that being a problem or threat continues to amaze me.

Just as some might be awed by the skill of a stealthy art thief but appalled at the theft, I am somewhat amazed at the skill of GOP propagandists to twist logic so that people will vote against their own best interests, but also appalled at the consequences of that skill.


You wrote that anyone opposed to gay marriage is, by definition, in an "incredibly weak relationship" and a "wingnut". Silly me for thinking that such statements demonstrated support for gay marriage on your part. Apparently your sole intent was to insult heterosexual conservatives.

Actually Douglas, the case is made against gay marriage in churches and syngogues all across the United States on a regular basis. All you have to do is show up at one and you can hear the whole nine yards.

The Christian community - 'wingnuts' and 'teabaggers' as the intellectual left calls them, does not have to make the case against gay marriage - all they have to do is show up and vote no ... which they have done every time the issue has been raised. The burden of proof is on the gay community, who have yet to make the case why society should grant special rights to participants in a relationship that does not meet either the moral/religious or biological requirements for such a relationahip, and in no way benefits society as a whole.

Why such concern for separating church and state? There is no constitutional basis for it. Is the consideration of Judeo-Christian ethics and morality in legislating perceived as that great a threat by the left?

Douglas Wiken

I think there should be a clear distinction between civil unions and marriages sanctified by religious ceremonies. The state can set standards for the civil unions and the churches or the wood fawns for all I care can decide what it takss to qualify as their religious test for marriage. I really don't care what churches do or don't say about homosexual relationships...whatever..the idea that church ritual and myth is somehow superior to any other kind of logic is not the basis for any kind of rational discussion of political issues.

We might as well start off by saying the god of green cheese on the other side of the moon that the cow jumped over is a superior source of information that is only filtered down to the true believers who thus have superior positions on issue by virtue of their affiliation with the Church of Moon Green Cheese.

Judeo-Christian ethics not perverted by special political interpretation are no threat to left nor right. Unfortunately, religion almost always perverts politics in ways which end up killing too many of the rest of us. 2000 year old enemies are the consequence of Judeo-Christian (Abrahamic?) religion injected into politics and separated from any kind of rational ethical reasoning.



It is apparent that the smarmy, smart-assed insults of conservatives is nothing more than an appalling ignorance of the thoughts, principles and actions of the founding fathers and the very basis for the formation of the United States. There is nothing that can be written in a blog comment to make up for such a lack of basic civics and history knowledge.


Great exchange! Thanks to all. I will add one little bit to the conversation. I am in favor of same sex marriage and opposed to alternative forms of marriage like civil unions. One does no favors to this essential institution by diluting it with alternatives. Marriage is about commitment. Commitment means surrendering some freedom of choice for a greater good. So long as that is understood, I think that the extension of marriage to include same-sex couples might be a very good thing for the couples and for marriage.

Unfortunately, the gay marriage lobby views the institution as a grab-bag of goodies to be distributed. See liberalism. Moreover, there is a strong resistance to marriage in the male homosexual community in so far as marriage means limiting sexual opportunities. I don't believe for a moment that conservatives in particular or Republicans in general are better people than their leftist counterparts. But the powerful emphasis on sexual freedom that has characterized modern liberalism surely presents problems for the effective institution of gay marriage.


"the powerful emphasis on sexual freedom that has characterized modern liberalism"

I find it interesting that 'modern liberalism' is for more government control of our lives, and greater restrictions on individual freedoms across the board - guns, taxes, speech, religion, property rights, ... you name it - expcept in matters related to sex. With regard to homsexuality, abortion, birth control, and in all matters sexual (but only matters sexual) - liberals are fanatical about individual rights and crusade more fervently than the NRA to get government out of our lives.

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