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GRIDLOCK: The need to clarify context before content

Letter by Gene E Harvey, Puyallup on June 13, 2011 at 11:20 am with 45 Comments »
June 13, 2011 11:20 am

There are two very important aspects to consider in any creative or problem-solving endeavor, appropriate perspective (frame) and thoughtful deliberation or creative activity (image). Appropriate perspective involves accurately identifying the situation and its context that we intend to address. Thoughtful deliberation or creative activity refers to the manner in which we explore solutions or produce a result.

In order to optimally carry out this process in the public arena, one must have a degree of self-awareness regarding our human propensity to engage in self-promoting behaviors, an intention to succeed with minimal adverse effect on others, and a sincere desire to attain some degree of benefit for society as a whole.

Unfortunately, the current political orientations are at logger-heads over ideological differences than in areas of discourse that promise creative solutions reached through a degree of compromise. Republicans, in general, focus on resisting President Obama’s aggressive expansion of governmental power; well beyond any in the history of our republic. Democrats, in an effort to support the president’s far-reaching plans, avoid acknowledging their massive governmental expansion and seem more interested in demonizing Republicans than reaching any degree of curtailing the ever-increasing scope of government.

The expansion of government is a frame issue which means it provides a context for potential discussion. Without clarifying the proper scope of government, no other working out of issues is possible.

Leave a comment Comments → 45
  1. Roncella says:

    Gene, Alot words boiled down to, The Federal Govrnment is Broke !!

    It Must stop spending more than it has to spend. Raising taxes will not help but will hurt the economy and not do anything for increasng needed jobs.

    President Obama has socialistic plans for America. He is trying his best to implement his Obamacare, thats just the first building block he needs to turn America to the far left agenda. This Obamacare is bankrupt according most economists who have read and understand it.

  2. Ron is so wrong on so many points it is difficult to know where to begin. May I suggest that he read Prof. Krugman’s column in today’s NYT for a start.
    The author already has his mind made up about what he calls “Obama’s aggressive expansion of governmental power; well beyond any in the history of our republic,” so he has already taken himself out of the conversation he wishes the rest of us to have. Not the brightest bulb in the string.

  3. Roncella says:

    Publico, You seemed impressed with Krugmans ideas. His ideas are way way way too far out in left feild for most Americans to agree with.

    Gene is absolutely correct about Obama’s wanting to implement his social income re-distribution schemes and far left big Government agenda for America.

  4. Better Socialsim than Fascism.

    Better get the Corporations out of goverment.

  5. LarryFine says:

    Nicely summed up Gene.
    “aggressive expansion of governmental power” is spot on.

  6. Here is the result of the biggest expansion of federal power as delineated by the Cato Institute:

    •a federal government empowered to regulate core political speech—and restrict it greatly when it counts the most: in the days before a federal election;
    •a president who cannot be restrained, through validly enacted statutes, from pursuing any tactic he believes to be effective in the war on terror;
    •a president who has the inherent constitutional authority to designate American citizens suspected of terrorist activity as “enemy combatants,” strip them of any constitutional protection, and lock them up without charges for the duration of the war on terror— in other words, perhaps forever; and
    •a federal government with the power to supervise virtually every aspect of American life, from kindergarten, to marriage, to the grave.

    Unfortunately Obama has retained most of them, and the expansion was created by the Bush administration, not Obama. Obama’s additions have been miniscule.

    Source: Power Surge: The Constitutional Record of George W. Bush
    by Gene Healy and Tim Lynch

  7. Roncella says:

    Tuddo, Your quick fingers on the computer can be helpful sometimes.

    Tuddo, President Bush is retired now, living in Texas and loving it.

    Its President Obama that has been President for 3 years that we are having the discussion about. His desire to distribute the weath, he has stated this many times many different ways, and move the Country to a far left, Socialistic form of Government is very obvious.

    His move to force a majority of Americans onto Obamacare, a bankrupt plan against our desires behind closed doors wheeling and dealing giving all kinds of goodies in order to get other dems to vote for Obamacare, without one Republican voting for it shows his determination to socialize America as rapidly as he possibly can.

    President Obama, Reid, Pelosi and most of the dems. in Congress = massive Government expansion as far as the eye can see.

  8. aislander says:

    tuddo writes: “Obama’s additions have been miniscule.”

    The Justice Department just greatly expanded the FBI’s power to surveil private citizens–within the last few days. THAT would be DURING the Obama admin, if you aren’t clear on that point…

  9. LarryFine says:

    That is an interesting fact aislander.

  10. The fact that Bush is retired does not absolve him from responsibility. Cheney either. History will ultimately be the judge and history will not come from these pages, I would guess.
    I do not object to what the FBI is doing to protect us and to enforce laws. Do you?

  11. Prof. Krugman is not so much about ideas in today’s NYT as he is about facts. I know that bothers some, but give it a try anyway. Don’t let the facts stand in the way of your education.

  12. aislander says:

    Publico: Krugman believes in Keynesian stimuli, and the FACT he doesn’t seem to get is that they never, ever work. Krugman is “about facts…” GMAB

  13. Bush may be gone but the mess he made is still with us.

    Islander,
    With 90% of the nation’s wealth in the hands of 5% of the population wealth redistribution of wealth through the creation of living wage jobs in the USA needed. Not more trickle up greed.

    “Massive government expansion” The only thing worse than an oversized government is a weak undersized one such as the GOP/Tpots are pushing.
    Islander,

    How did the DOJ expand FBI authority?
    By reauthorizing parts of the Patriot Act!

    Many more small government R’s and T’s voted for the reauthorization than voted against it.

    Now isn’t that and interesting fact.

  14. aislander, Ann Coulter was laughed out of the studio by people presenting real facts when she said what you are quoting about Keynesian stimuli never working. Its on youtube and other places all around the net.

    doublethink, as described in the novel 1984 is the best way to describe the revisionist history and myth that the far right has created. They actually believe their own propaganda.

    Ignore the factual evidence, just claim supply-side economics works and forge ahead, even though we have tried supply-side anti-Keynes for several decades now and look where we are.

    Have faith in and worship Coulter, the goddess of doublethink, for she is never wrong. ha ha ha

  15. I imagine this is what the posters here are talking about, since this is the buzz on Fox. (and yet they claim not to just parrot Fox talking points – ha)

    The administration wants to add four words — “electronic communication transactional records” — to Section 2709 of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which already allows the FBI working with the NSC (under the Patriot Act) to spy on almost all electronic communications in the US.

    Don’t get me wrong, I do not like the provisions at all, but if you buy the necessity, like the right wing apparently does in its support of the Patriot Act provisons that allow the FBI access to the spying on US citizens’s communications, then the extension of the provisions to the most prevalent form of terrorist communications to the list of information allowed to be reviewed is logical and not a big expansion.

    Personally, I hope it will be found unconstitutional, like a lot of the national security letters were until they hit the activist right-wing Supreme Court.

    amazing that the right wing suppots it when Bush does it, but attacks it as some kind of conspiracy when Obama does it.

    The 1986 law was passed to support privacy, but during the Bush administration it was turned into a law that supports anything but privacy.

  16. LarryFine says:

    … so aislander is correct… the Obama administration not only re-authorized but expanded the much maligned Patriot Act… kooky.

  17. LarryFine says:

    … amazing how when it was enacted under Bush the left became incontinent and attacked it as some kind of conspiracy or power grab…. but under Obama…. crickets.

  18. Larry, yes, unfortunately, Obama is not far from being right of center, much against the far-right pilloring of him and much to the chagrin of the progressives.

    If people are sincere and not just making anti-Obama sattements, then perhaps you would write your Congress reps to support Patrick Leahy’s proposed amendments that would make it more difficult, not less difficult, to wire tap and to spy on private citizens communications.

    Be aware if you support all things Republican, however. They firmly support the new Obama initiative and are opposed to making it necessary to get a court order to listen in or obtain records. By using your GPS, they say, you are acknowledging the right of the government tro track your whereabouts.

  19. aislander says:

    tuddo: I saw the CNN discussion and all I heard was Spitzer’s giving his opinion. He certainly didn’t refute Ann’s contention. Please cite an example of Keynesian stimulus having worked that doesn’t begin with the words, “It would have been SO much worse if we hadn’t…”

    I can give numerous examples of spending and tax cuts working to rev up the economy, though, the first only seven years after the institution of the income tax…

  20. You can not give examples of tax cuts working to rev up anything other than the bank accounts of the uber wealthy.
    Stop making stuff up aislander.

  21. LarryFine says:

    I admire aislander for ignoring the stalker… the stalker who violates forum rules and gets away with it.

  22. aislander says:

    xring writes: “Better Socialsim than Fascism.”

    Socialism IS fascism, and who can make a persuasive argument that we are not experiencing a degree of fascism in this country right now? Actually, we have been fascistic in varying degrees since the Wilson admin, and possibly since the first Roosevelt…

  23. Here we go again……

  24. My father was part of the CCC, the great infrastructure and training impetus that kept people working and allowed young people to get training in real crafts and skills. – a Keynes success story

    Your limit on language is telling. Of course things can get much worse. Most of the time we balance on how much we really want to invest in one economic theory or another, and we hedge our bets. We have never gone “all the way” with Keynes, who felt a huge dose of public spending and a moderate tax rate stimulates weak economies. Even Roosevelt could not get all of his programs passed through a moderate Congress.

    Republicans and conservatives convinced Roosevelt that he had gone too far and he eliminated and pulled back his “stimulus” programs for the 1938 election and for the two years thereafter. The economy started sinking rapidly again and unemployment rose almost back to where it was when Roosevelt took office for the first time until money was pumped into new infrastructure building and investment in new technologies just emerging. GDP rose rapidly and unemployment dropped again rapidly to 8%in 1941 from 13%.

    Then came WWII, with the biggest proof that Keynes’ theories work, with massive spending in the public sector on technology, training and infrastructure. Government-led rationing was soon replaced with a boom-time economy. Eisenhower continue the Keynes approach with his highway and military modernization and moderately high taxes with selective trade restrictions.

    Since Reagan we have tried the supply-side, more or less, with the Bush tax cuts pusing us way over into the anti-Keynes arena. Selective use of trade restrictions was in Keynes economic bag, also, but we embraced free trade like it was the Holy Grail.

    If anti-Keynes worked, we would be in Nirvana right now. We have the lowest tax rates in a century, free trade, low interest rates for corporate borrowing and the least banking regulations since Roosevelt, extremely low government investment in infrastructure. Why aren’t we wallowing in prosperity?

  25. aislander says:

    tuddo writes: “Why aren’t we wallowing in prosperity?”

    Too much government spending, too much debt, too much regulation, too much Keynes, too much “stimulus,” too much taxation–just too much government. Wealth doesn’t COME from government; wealth GOES to government. It’s called “killing the golden goose…”

  26. The golden goose is manufacturing. When we manufactured we prospered. There are very few good manufacturing jobs available to stimulate our economy.

    The economic stimulus we see today stimulates China’s economy, not ours.

    We have a huge hole in our money bucket. It needs to be plugged. Free trade needs to be changed to fair trade.

  27. Tuddo,
    Believing their own propaganda and ignoring factual evidence is one of the things that contributed to the downfall of the USSR.

    Islander,
    Socialism is not Fascism. As I have shown several times.

  28. xring, our history is one of being a practical nation, trying things out to see if they worked, searching for ways to expand freedom to all citizens by allowing equality of opportunity for all and choosing policies that help our nation, not hurt it.

    The Ayn Rand vision of a society unencumbered by any restriction on personal greed and the triumph of the rich over the people they stomp on along the way is the economic religion of the day and will be worshipped no matter the results or who is sacrificed on its altar.

    Ideology sometimes stood in the way of progress, but the vast majority usually is able to see what works, vote for the person not the party. Ideology and propaganda may work in the short run, even for a generation or two, but facts, evidence and a can-do attitude will win the day.

    It is harder now that good journalism is shouted down by the huge amounts of money supporting propaganda machines, but I still have hope that most people can see through that stuff. Real information takes longer to explain than the one liners invented by media mouths, and attention spans are getting so short it must fit into a Tweet.

    Look at aislander’s retort at 9:10 and his statements on facism. They are religious responses, written by Fox’s priests and shouted in a frenzy of worship. Those of us who use facts and science are just poor sinners in that church.

  29. Roncella says:

    tuddo, You have a selected idea of what has made and makes America that shining cigty on the hill.

    tuddo, let me remind you that there are thousands coming across our southern and northern borders and entering the U.S. on visa’s that hope to eventually become American Citizens.

    You Liberal/Progressive types who find fault with America on so many different fronts really don’t understand just how good you have it living as an American in America.

    Folks outside of this Country have first hand experience and appreciation of America, its Constitution, its many freedoms, its opportunities, on and on.

    Thats one of the big differences between being Liberal as opposed to Conservative in your thinking and beliefs. Conservatives are proud to be American and proud of America.

    Liberals make excuses and appoligize for all the short comings they see in America present and past.

  30. aislander says:

    tuddo writes: “Those of us who use facts and science…”

    This howler comes at the end of a broadside filled with tuddo’s opinions, supported only by bromides and aphorisms–not one lonely fact in the crowd…

  31. aislander says:

    I have supported my contention that fascism is a type of socialism with facts, not the opinions of interested academics who have a leftist axe to grind. I have shown the common philosophical roots of progressivism and fascism. I have quoted the opinions of contemporary progressives, who, when they weren’t praising Lenin, were praising Mussolini and even Hitler. I have shown the similarities between fascist solutions and progressive ones. I have quoted the main figures of fascism, who always described themselves as socialists. I have shown that fascism always begins as a revolutionary movement, rather than a conservative reaction to revolution (in spite of communist orthodoxy’s trying to claim the opposite). I have command of objective facts. Now I’d sure love to see some of the same from the apologists for the left. And–by the way–if you guys AREN’T socialists, why the ego involvement with trying to deny fascism’s association WITH socialism…

  32. LarryFine says:

    Home run ai !

    LMAO “bromides and aphorisms”…

  33. getting a little defensive there aislander.

    Yes, it is true, you have successfully regurgitated Goldberg’s argument with his citations on several occasions.

    But you have not dealt with the reality that several authors of the source materials cited by Goldberg have criticized him for not understanding the original source materials. Nor have you dealt with the reams of printed material from “contemporary progressives” that directly contradict the Goldberg decontexturalized, cherry-picked quotes.

    Goldberg’s methodology (and hence, yours) is akin to what Creationists do to scientifi-cate their absurd beliefs. Arguing with you on this is just as much a waste of time as trying to convince a true believer that a continental flood could not possibly have resulted in the flow pattern of water necessary to erode the Grand Canyon.

  34. aislander says:

    Be specific, beerBoy. WHAT authors of “original source material” have said what you impute to them? Seems as though those people would all be long dead, so I doubt they are protesting TOO much. Please cite SOME of those “reams of printed material” that contradict what some prominent progressives clearly stated. I am surpassingly eager to see those things, but not what some lefty academic SAYS they said. I am quite willing to stipulate that Hitler himself said many contradictory things, depending on his audience and immediate goals, sometimes praising Christianity, for example, and other times condemning it…

  35. aislander says:

    …and just WHY are you so compelled to defend socialism as being the UNfascism? After all, YOU’RE not a socialist. Are you…

  36. Responding to criticism with an ad hominem attack. Isn’t that in some manual somewhere?

    I recoil at the postmodern dissolution of meaning. I find your “analysis” and conclusions to be a part of the distasteful slide into meaningless goo.

    I believe in pragmatism (not the philosophy but the approach). Ideologues, like you, think they know the one answer to everything that should be applied without moderation. You are like a carpenter with only a hammer in his tool box – a useful tool to be sure but not the best tool for all jobs. Capitalism (real capitalism that funds the manufacture of real products not virtual financial speculation schemes) has its place – so does Socialism. Regulation – where proven necessary (like in the banking industry) – has an important role too.

  37. Just remembered where that particular ad hominem approach came from – kind of a hybrid between Perry Mason speculative accusation (“what if I told you that I had in my hand….”) and Joseph McCarthy (“i have a list of known communist sympathizers”).

    Hey aislander, have you stopped beating your wife?

  38. aislander says:

    I didn’t think you’d step up…

  39. aislander says:

    …and WHAT ad hominem attack? I merely asked a couple of questions…

  40. I merely asked a couple of questions…

    Again….have you stopped beating your wife? And….have you stopped abusing the neighbor’s kids?

  41. aislander says:

    A “why” question provides plenty of latitude for explanation, beerBoy–hardly the same as the examples you give in which “yes” and “no” are both self-condemnatory. Besides, I didn’t ask you if you had stopped being a socialist. I merely stated that you aren’t one. Are you?

  42. aislander says:

    …and there is no question that you ARE rushing to the defense of the good name of socialism, so the “why” of it IS pertinent. Hardly the type of entrapment for which you provided the classic examples…

  43. Because I believe words mean something and I find the post-modern tendency to redefine words abhorrent. Which is exactly what Goldberg did with “Liberal Fascism” (as well as those who coined the term “islamofascist”)

  44. aislander says:

    I agree regarding “islamofascist.” I believe the more apt word is “islamonazi…”

    As for “liberal fascism,” the term was coined by the socialist H.G. Wells, if I recall correctly (and even I DON’T recall exactly, I do know the term was coined by one of the left’s own, and NOT Jonah Goldberg)…

  45. aislander says:

    I do admire your persistence, though, beerBoy. Unlike some of your fellow travelers, such as xring and tuddo whose tactic seems to be to stay away from the discussion until some time has passed, only to reappear and claim prior victory, tut-tutting at my intransigence and stupidity for carrying on the argument in the face of their famous triumph–which never occurred. But still, you do evade some simple questions. As for changing the meaning of words, look at the abuse the word “liberal” has suffered over the past hundred years or so…

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