Who He Really Is

If it were our task to vote for the guy least full of crap this election cycle, John McCain would win by many lengths, not that McCain isn’t completely full of it too, it’s just that Barack Obama is so proficient in the art.

Following this European/Middle East tour where Obama has proven popular and electable in a supremely socialist environment, I am not convinced the majority of Americans are going to be sold by a candidate who encourages a population that endeavors to see American superiority and excellence falter; no matter those polls run by the drive by media.

The network anchors are knocking themselves over competing to give the biggest accolades to Obama.   They are comparing his Germany speech to those inspiring and lasting ones by Kennedy and by Reagan, but Obama’s speech had no substance except when he veered off course just long enough to bash the United States and current policies.

His speech was chock full of substance when it declared how bad the United States was as a torturer and as an immoral country driven by greed.   It was chock full of substance when Obama promised much more American tax dollars to be spent overseas to aid poor ailing countries.   Substance only waned by Obama neglecting to suggest these countries embrace the sort of capitalist government which rewards achievement and excellence that has availed the United States with the great wealth we can ostensibly just past around the world.

Sans substance, Barack’s Germany speech highlighted emotion and rhetoric promising change.  

Rhetoric can inspire but when it is connected to bad ideas and corrosive policy it cannot move.   Even while socialist optimism can raise spirits when packaged in the utopian sort of expression Mr. Obama seems to excel at, it will rise only temporarily, until the weight of that socialist policy fully pressures those people expected to carry it solely on their shoulders and who are guaranteed no benefit from it.

Democrat ideology brags we are all in this together and then it proposes only some of us should be burdened with the heavy lifting required to accomplish lofty change.

Obama capped off his overseas campaign on Meet the Press in London with Tom Brokaw.   If you listened to what Obama was saying closely you could decipher what it is he really believes government can accomplish.   Instead of empowering people and protecting the people’s liberties enabling them to excel with the knowledge and expertise of their experience, Obama believes, like Soviet bureaucrats of that failed state, all power and economic decision should be managed by bureaucracy and not the market.

When asked about the many Americans who did not take irresponsible home loans and felt that government should not be involved in a housing bailout , Obama stressed he agreed with that sentiment, but then went on to suggest government’s involvement is required to help people who are hurting but not speculators (how will he manage that?) and to insure housing values do not go down.  

Bad loans promoted by government are what caused housing prices to be artificially high and what caused the mortgage crisis to begin with.   Obama’s ignorance fuels his arrogance that somehow government can fix this problem.

On lost jobs in Detroit, Obama made the moronic proclamation that if government had mandated fuel efficiency standards on the big 3, automakers would not have lost so many jobs.   Obama thinks he knows better than America’s top CEO’s how to run 200 billion dollar corporations.   Again his arrogance shines.   Quality standards, bad labor practices, and high costs had American automakers reeling long before gas prices skyrocketed.

When queried about polls where only blacks were asked about race relations in America (poll results that many white Americans would consider offensive), Obama went on to insinuate black plight has resulted from slavery and that legacy of the past , failing to understand black plight has resulted from the very types of liberal programs promoted by his predecessors which he endorses.  

For an American citizen consumed by the idea that hard work, dedication, and good decisions will reward those who make such endeavors, its thoroughly disheartening to hear the harmonious cacophony which wants to affix all blame for America’s problems on those very guys who’ve started small businesses and who have actually created a few jobs.

There has been plenty of talk that Barack Obama may lose this election because no one knows who he really is.   Jerimiah Wright God Damn America is who Barack Obama really is.   Domestic terrorist Wish we did more William Ayers is who Barack Obama really is.   Central government bureaucrats attempting to control housing markets and jobs formation is who Barack Obama really is.   Assigning white racism to black plight and legacy of the past is who Barack Obama really is.

Acquainting himself with the American people is not Obama’s challenge this election cycle, making sure no one finds out who he really is, is.
 

Copyright 2008 Jim Pontillo

43 thoughts on “Who He Really Is

  1. Prove that Germany or the Middle East is a “supremely socialist environment.”

  2. Your argument sort of falls apart unless you provide evidence. If you have no evidence, you have no argument. The burden of proof is on YOU.

  3. I define “socialism” as any arrangement mandating a tax system which is arbitrarily progressive.

    In other words, if bureaucrats have built a tax system where some citizens pay a higher percentage of income to government than others, you have a socialist construction, whether or not the people voted upon it.

    The more arbitrary this dictate, the more socialist it is.

    Communism is a socialist system where advancement by achievement has completely given way to advancement by submission to party. In other words, advancement can only take place by placating those possessing political power. China and Russia were examples of this until they were both completely crushed economically by their own hand and then chose to pursue a more capitalistic arrangement.

    Socialism is a stepping stone to possible communism.

  4. It’s pretty obvious you never went on to higher education [or high school history]. You just invented a definition of socialism based on what you want it to mean.

    From dictionary.com:

    1. a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.
    2. procedure or practice in accordance with this theory.
    3. (in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles.

    from Wikipedia:

    Socialism refers to any of various economic and political concepts of state or collective (i.e. public) ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods and services, some of which have been developed into more or less highly articulated theories and/or praxis.

    Socialism is not defined as “progressive tax system” by anyone other than yourself. Usually, a definition of socialism revolves around… social policies!

    Besides your imaginary definition of socialism, you haven’t even proven that there is a “tax system which is arbitrarily progressive” in Germany OR the Middle East, nor have you said how that is different from America.

  5. Well, look at this! Jordan DOESN’T EVEN HAVE A PROGRESSIVE TAX SYSTEM so according to your own fantasy definition, it is not socialist, much less a “supremely socialist environment”!

    http://www.jordanwatch.net/archive/2008/7/630874.html
    “It is argued that although inequality existed under the old social contract, the new social contract may have exacerbated this by removing social protection and subsidies for a large number of the Jordanian population, constructing a non-progressive tax system and declining employment opportunities.”

    But you’re right, Israel IS on the way to communism. After all, they have a progressive tax system and that MUST mean that they are socialists in the vein of Revolutionary Russia and China!

    http://www.worldwide-tax.com/israel/israel_tax.asp

  6. Your quite amazing crumb,

    Seems you went to college and can’t even understand English.

    I didn’t say socialism was a “progressive tax system”, I explained how socialism manifests itself in the real world.

    Any moron can dig up a stupid definition off the internet.

    Understanding how that definition is or is not based in reality is what requires intellect and thought.

    Like I have said before, education doesn’t make anyone smart, it just makes them think they are, and then when they can’t compete with dumb rednecks who make more money than they do, they vote for “socialist” policies.

  7. Some individuals, such as Winston Churchill, have claimed that socialism slowly evolves into a totalitarian regime (communist states) when people begin to defect from supporting it. During his 1945 election campaign Churchill stated that:

    …a socialist policy is abhorrent to the British ideas of freedom. Socialism is inseparably interwoven with totalitarianism and the object worship of the state. It will prescribe for every one where they are to work, what they are to work at, where they may go and what they may say. Socialism is an attack on the right to breathe freely. No socialist system can be established without a political police. They would have to fall back on some form of Gestapo, no doubt very humanely directed in the first instance.

  8. What is the difference between socialism and communism?

    Socialism and communism are alike in that both are systems of production for use based on public ownership of the means of production and centralized planning. Socialism grows directly out of capitalism; it is the first form of the new society. Communism is a further development or “higher stage” of socialism.

    From each according to his ability, to each according to his deeds (socialism). From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs (communism).

    The socialist principle of distribution according to deeds— that is, for quality and quantity of work performed, is immediately possible and practical. On the other hand, the communist principle of distribution according to needs is not immediately possible and practical—it is an ultimate goal.

    Obviously, before it can be achieved, production must reach undreamed of heights—to satisfy everyone’s needs there must be the greatest of plenty of everything. In addition, there must have developed a change in the attitude of people toward work—instead of working because they have to, people will work because they want to, both out of a sense of responsibility to society and because work satisfies a felt need in their own lives.

    Socialism is the first step in the process of developing the productive forces to achieve abundance and changing the mental and spiritual outlook of the people. It is the necessary transition stage from capitalism to communism.

    It must not be assumed, from the distinction between socialism and communism, that the political parties all over the world which call themselves Socialist advocate socialism, while those which call themselves Communist advocate communism. That is not the case. Since the immediate successor to capitalism can only be socialism, the Communist parties,-like the Socialist parties, have as their goal the establishment of socialism.

    Are there, then, no differences between the Socialist and Communist parties? Yes, there are. The Communists believe that as soon as the working class and its allies are in a position to do so they must make a basic change in the character of the state; they must replace capitalist dictatorship over the working class with workers’ dictatorship over the capitalist class as the first step in the process by which the existence of capitalists as a class (but not as individuals) is ended and a classless society is eventually ushered in. Socialism cannot be built merely by taking over and using the old capitalist machinery of government; the workers must destroy the old and set up their own new state apparatus. The workers’ state must give the old ruling class no opportunity to organize a counter-revolution; it must use its armed strength to crush capitalist resistance when it arises. The Socialists, on the other hand, believe that it is possible to make the transition from capitalism to socialism without a basic change in the character of the state. They hold this view because they do not think of the capitalist state as essentially an institution for the dictatorship of the capitalist class, but rather as a perfectly good piece of machinery which can be used in the interest of whichever class gets command of it. No need, then, for the working class in power to smash the old capitalist state apparatus and set up its own—the march to socialism can be made step by step within the framework of the democratic forms of the capitalist state. The attitude of both parties toward the Soviet Union grows directly out of their approach to this problem. Generally speaking, Communist parties praise the Soviet Union; Socialist parties denounce it in varying degrees. For the Communists, the Soviet Union merits the applause of all true believers in socialism because it has transformed the socialist dream into a reality; for the Socialists, the Soviet Union deserves only condemnation because it has not built socialism at all—at least not the socialism they dreamed of. Instead of wanting to take away people’s private property, socialists want more people to have more private property than ever before. There are two kinds of private property. There is property which is personal in nature, consumer’s goods, used for private enjoyment. Then there is the kind of private property which is not personal in nature, property in the means of production. This kind of property is not used for private enjoyment, but to produce the consumer’s goods which are. Socialism does not mean taking away the first kind of private property, e.g. your suit of clothes; it does mean taking away the second kind of private property, e.g. your factory for making suits of clothes. It means taking away private property in the means of production from the few so that there will be much more private property in the means of consumption for the many. That part of the wealth which is produced by workers and taken from them in the form of profits would be theirs, under socialism, to buy more private property, more suits of clothes, more furniture, more food, more tickets to the movies. More private property for use and enjoyment. No private property for oppression and exploitation. That’s socialism.

  9. Socialist government embody unhealthy extremes. Socialists are now in favor of free education, welfare, and laws to help those who they believe are unable to help themselves. They do not necessarily believe that people should have to work to eat (as instructed in 2 Thess. 3:10), and they want the government to be in charge of the distribution of wealth. While there is a socialist party in almost every country today, nowhere is there a completely socialistic government. This is because socialism is unrealistic and almost impossible to achieve. Socialists try to eliminate certain human attributes such as greed by ending class struggle, and competition for success. Because of the way God made us, it is virtually impossible to have a civilization where people have no control over what they have but are content to let the government hand them what is considered to be fair. Ever since President FD Roosevelt’s “New Deal”, we see evidence of the United States moving toward a socialistic framework through the focus on free health insurance, minorities, welfare, and political correctness.

    In contrast, communism has dominated many countries during the last century. The former Soviet Union was dominated by communism and was a world power until the Cold War ended in 1991 and communism fell causing the Soviet Union to break into the fifteen separate countries as they exist today. As of 2004, China, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, and North Korea are under communist rule. Communism today in these countries goes far beyond the equal distribution of wealth. It prevents citizens from having their own religious and moral convictions, and it employs violence to enforce the government’s mandates.

  10. “I didn’t say socialism was a “progressive tax system”, I explained how socialism manifests itself in the real world.”

    “I define “socialism” as any arrangement mandating a tax system which is arbitrarily progressive.”

    Pretty straightforward there.

  11. “I didn’t say socialism was a “progressive tax system”, I explained how socialism manifests itself in the real world.”

    “I define “socialism” as any arrangement mandating a tax system which is arbitrarily progressive.”

    Pretty straightforward there!

  12. Crumb,
    Its amusing how you establish progressive taxation has nothing to do with socialism simply because you cross referenced it with wikipedia and did not get a word for word match. At some point in life you have to think for yourself. Give that dim bulb of yours a chance to flicker now and again. The whole jist of the article was how unequal taxation methods are a means by which socialism can eek its way into our lives. Your abject ignorance of how unfair this is to those who strive and sacrifice, to be penalised for the higher purpose of rewarding those who didn’t, is staggering.
    I suppose a certain amount of basic reasoning skills are required by the reader, and perhaps this is where the water is a little deep for you.
    I take your neanderthal ramblings personally since I am involuntarily donating 41 percent of my income for the privaledge of leveling the playing field. Of course your ivy-league position of assistant night manager at duncan donuts probably alleviates you of this burdon, so you probably dont sympathise with me much. I am further disappointed (and this one hurts me the most) is that my hard earned tax dollars may somehow of trickled their way down to your mothers basement and into your pockets via the income redistribution highway you liberals covet so dearly.

  13. “I didn’t say socialism was a “progressive tax system”, I explained how socialism manifests itself in the real world.”

    “I define “socialism” as any arrangement mandating a tax system which is arbitrarily progressive.”

    Pretty straightforward there.

    If The US government dropped every socialist program, from welfare to medicare to drug inspection to police and poured all of its money into the military, it would still be a “socialist” state under your definition if it has a progressive tax.

    If the US government employed the flat tax you halfheartedly support, then [according to your theory] it would result in higher tax revenues that could be used to make those socialist programs work better. It wouldn’t be a socialist state under your definition, even if it nationalized all industry.

  14. Crumb,

    I have never censored your comments, and they are now restored.

    I have adjusted our spam filter, so hopefully this will not happen again, even though you are so mouthy.

    As for taxes and socialism—I’m pretty simple minded. If we have a flat tax, politicians cannot use class warfare for nefarious purposes. In the US 75% of all jobs are created by the small businessman. I might add these people often fall into the 250K-500k income range you and Obama like to call rich.

    Meanwhile, they do not have access to the special tax breaks that big corporations get, and the people making under 50K per year are convinced these small businessmen are rich and ought to pay more.

    These “get the rich” policies encouraged by democrats are supported by the low income classes.  These policies attack the very group that is most likely to create jobs for the lower income classes.

    Here is a post I think you missed:     http://formykountry.com/?p=98

  15. Sweet jesus your spam filter is crazy here. I didn’t expect it to put up all of them all at once. Sorry about that.

  16. The middle class is always the most heavily taxed. They were the most heavily taxed under Rome, under Feudalism, under Capitalism and under socialism. If it was any kind of “get the rich” policy, it would be targeted at the rich. The middle class are most capable of paying taxes without being powerful enough to weasel out of them. Even under a flat income tax rate, the middle class suffers the most from property taxes, sales taxes and all those other taxes because they buy a ton of stuff but don’t have the incredible wealth for those taxes to be negligible. Regardless, a progressive income tax is not the defining characteristic of socialism.

    I’ve also never seen anyone calling for “get the rich” policies. The closest I have ever seen in any reasonable political discourse is “wealthy people draw on resources both human and capital more than anyone else, and they are capable of contributing much more to society, so they should contribute more.” There’s no ludicrous Democrat conspiracy to “get the rich”. Not that anyone considers a salary under $1,000,000 to be upper class these days.

  17. Crumb,

    “Wealthy people draw on resources both human and capital more than anyone else…” Precisely! If they didn’t, what motivation would they have to provide jobs or to invest? It is their anticipation of reward which encourages their investment and job creation. Mitigate their rewards and you reduce their willingness to provide jobs and tax revenue.

    If this is fact, then why do Democrats embrace such policy?

    Because Democrats care no more about the poor than they do the wealthy. The political establishment is largely made up of individuals who found they could succeed in the bureaucratic environment where their ability to climb was tied to political wrangling and emotional plea free from the turmoil of excellence demanded by capitalism and the private sector.

  18. Nobody in politics cares more about the poor than the wealthy. Politicians are mostly corrupt or centrist enough to be ineffective. I’m talking about the people who vote for these politicians. Regardless of whether or not they support every element of these policies, and regardless of whether or not these policies really cause the effects you describe, people are not going in with a “screw the rich” attitude. That attitude is largely fabricated by their political opponents.

  19. Crumb,

    Sake Mike works for a big paper company and he is in the Union.

    He will talk for hours how his “colleagues” want to “tax the rich” and “get the rich”, because the rich “are all screwing the little guy”.

    I didn’t know how rich I was, running my own little company I started with only $2000.00 working twenty hours a day seven days a week where I could barely pay my bills, until Mike notified me that all his good working buddies complain how guys like me have either been given money by a rich daddy or screwed every employee they have to get where they got.

    Just for the record Crumb, in a couple of months I am going to be making the final payments on my house. I must be rich, right, to be able to pay off my house by the age of 46?

    I purchased it in 1994 for $215,000.00 and borrowed $100,000.00 dollars on it one time to keep my business alive. Meanwhile many of Mike’s buddies who make less than me have over-extended themselves purchasing million dollar homes (because California real estate is ridiculously over priced) and now the evil banks are foreclosing on them because they can’t make the payments they agreed to make.

    Our moron President and moron Congress have just created a bill to give these idiots relief…and both moron candidates for President think it’s a good idea.

    There is a point where people need to feel pain to learn. Our scumbag politicians try to relieve pain during voting season by compounding interest my children and grand children will not be able to repay.

    When the catastrophe comes, little countries like Canada, intertwined in America’s economy are going to feel the pain as severely as we do, and “rich guys” like me who have paid off all their liabilities will make ends meet running very small inconsequential businesses totally not motivated to build jobs since we will be the ones everyone blames for their misfortune.

  20. “Rhetoric can inspire but when it is connected to bad ideas and corrosive policy it cannot move.”
    I wouldn’t be so sure. If the government were not so bureaucratic it might be able to do some real damage. Luckily, the bureaucracy and military-industrial complex will likely impede Obama. Here’s an article I wrote called “How Obama Feeds on Republican Successes” if you want to take a look: http://www.killerbuffalo.com/?p=82

    It discusses how Bush’s success in preventing another terrorist attack and McCain’s triumphs in the troop surge have added credibility to Obama’s argument that the country is safe, troops can soon be withdrawn, and we need to create a dialogue with terrorists.

  21. He will talk for hours how his “colleagues” want to “tax the rich” and “get the rich”, because the rich “are all screwing the little guy”.

    Yes, it’s not some jealousy thing. It’s “They get all this thanks to our labours and what do we get in return?”

    “Our moron President and moron Congress have just created a bill to give these idiots relief…and both moron candidates for President think it’s a good idea.”

    What else can they do? Let millions of Americans become homeless bums unable to hold jobs? The real estate system is imploding on itself, and it’s taking people with it – not just idiot CEOs or ignorant home buyers. There’s not going to be a solution to the problem, but the least the government can do is try to hold it all together until the economy can heal itself. If they let a huge festering wound of millions of homeless, unemployed, newly impoverished Americans open up, it’ll take even longer to repair.

    “There is a point where people need to feel pain to learn.”

    Feeling a credit crunch and tightening your belt is different from having your knees broken and being thrown into the rapids. Without security of home, people lose security of transport and jobs and insurance and everything else. Patching up this problem is going to maintain thousands of employable Americans that can contribute to paying down the debt faster. Not that it’s even a drop in the bucket compared to the trillions of war debt already accumulated.

  22. “rich guys like me … totally not motivated to build jobs since we will be the ones everyone blames for their misfortune.”

    I don’t understand. Are you the only businessman in the world who hires people out of the goodness of your heart? FDR and his COMMUNIST policies did that under the New Deal, hiring people to rake the government lawns back and forth, over and over, all day for a paycheck. Employers hire employees because they need labour done. It’s not some big moral decision, it’s not affected by the employer’s morale. If you need labour done, you need labourers to do it. You’re motivated to build jobs because it’s in your own best interests.

  23. Hey Crumb,
    You got me thinking just like you now.
    Why dont we bail all the criminals out of prison, you see they got themselves into THEIR mess too – why should they have to pay for the stupid decisions that got them there? I’m sure they could play the “ignorant card” as well as any homeowner. I cant see a moral or ethical difference in their plight, then that of someone who KNOWINGLY falsified documents (its called fraud by the way and you generally end up in prison, not in a McMansion for your efforts).
    They both come down to excepting the consequences for ones action. Granted I dont lump mortgage benders in with rapists and such but the central theme for both should be blind.
    Maybe I should bring this up to the 9th circuit court, They seem to have a firm grip on reality!!

  24. Mortgage brokers should have been more responsible than to give money to people who could clearly never pay it back. If a bum has a sign that says “travelling cross-country, need $” and you give $50 to him despite seeing the empty wine bottles all around him and smelling the alcohol on his breath, it’s your own fault you lost your money instead of using discretion.

    The current prison system in the US and other countries is broken as hell. What’s the goal of the corrections system: punish people arbitrarily, or correct their behaviour so they do not become a repeat offender? There’s not really any doubt that prison is one of the worst environments in the world and is NOT conductive to reformation. Many people go in and come out worse than before! So, yes, I would release many of the people in prison because they shouldn’t suffer forever for their ignorance. The entire prison system needs massive reforms – prisons should be reserved for repeat offenders and dangerous offenders, not fraudsters and muggers and drug users.

    America’s prison system seems to be especially cruel among the first-world nations, with 1% of the US population behind bars and more prisons being built all the time, with people pushing for more and more minimum sentences and for politicians to be ever tougher on criminals [not crime, criminals]. This whole attitude of “well THEY did it THEY should suffer until WE say it’s okay not to suffer anymore” is a depressing systemic lack of empathy or humanity.

  25. I’m scared to death that Obama will be elected.
    If we thought we had problems now, they will be very small in comparison to what Obama will try to do to this country.

    I’m, just praying that McCain will win.

    We can thank Greenspan, Mortgage brokers and Real estate brokers for the mortgage crisis. Greenspan was crazy for allowing the interest to go so low. The real estate and mortgage brokers were just plan greedy.

  26. Crumble,
    I cant believe anyone would consider releasing muggers and drug dealers from prisons could somehow benefit society by virtue of they’re not being as bad as murderers and rapists. You contradict yourself saying prisons should only be for repeat offenders etc. Well who do you think those people are? Keep letting them loose and you are creating repeaters. Lawmakers know this thats why politicians push for higher minimum sentences, its in the behalf of outraged citizens who are sick of liberal judges and their bleeding heart leniency with the rest of us having to pay the consequences for their lack of insight. Moreover what about the victims of these crimes? Never a peep about them from sec-progs ever! Your only sympathy lies with the creep and his “feelings” never the victim with his/her head bashed in bleeding on a sidewalk whose life is devastated from there on out. Thats probably my biggest bonepicking with liberals in general, the fact that they believe there is good in everyone and they all deserve a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th chance and cannot come to grips with the fact that there ARE bad people in this world! You mentioned that we should be harder on crime and not criminals, I dont even know what that means, you must explain that one to me some time because I’m so stupid I’m thinking its the CRIMINALS committing these crimes, when all along its been the crime itself! Boy do I have egg on my face now or what.
    This reminds me of those gun control nutjobs who steadfastly believe guns themselves cause crime and if there were less of them there would be no crime because there are no bad people in the world, just good people who see a gun and just have to rob and murder people with it because of its amazing mesmerizing qualities. I’ll tell you right now you could pile guns all up and down my street, I could wade through them knee deep on my way to work each day yet I would never think of picking one up and robbing a bank with it. I guess I just need to look harder

  27. “What’s the goal of the corrections system: punish people arbitrarily, or correct their behaviour so they do not become a repeat offender?”

    I never said “don’t both dealing with criminals!!” I specifically said that the system needs to be about reformation and rehabilitation. And I never said dick all about drug dealers, but people who smoke a joint and get thrown in prison for a decade. It’s not like leaving them out on the loose will result in murder and rape and death after death. How exactly does society benefit from locking these petty criminals away for years, in an environment where they can only get worse? Prison CREATES worse criminals.

    I never said we should be harder on crime and not criminals. I said that we should work with convicted criminals and those at risk of committing crime [read: The Poor] to prevent that from occurring, or occurring again.

    Oh wait, you’re just making up what you want me to have said and arguing against that. Why am I even defending myself against you when you aren’t attacking me, but a ridiculous strawman argument?

  28. You are right in one respect, prison can create worse criminals and sometimes does, I dont deny that. But the general emphasis in virtually all state or federal run prisons is on rehabilitation. Some will benefit some wont. They get their funding by trumpeting these programs and being periodically inspected for accountability. Again there are bad apples out there but these prisons offer counseling and help for inmates who would never have an ear on the outside or a care if they lived or died. Its can be a good thing ESPECIALLY for a small timer as he can see first hand what lies ahead for him and hopefully thwart an otherwise wasted life. As for getting ten years for smoking a joint, that would seem more like an exception than a rule. Even within the 3-strikes that only involves felony and I believe spilling bong water on yourself is still only a misdameaner offense in most states.

  29. What I am saying though, is that the prison environment itself is counter-productive. Norway has a [pilot?] program where they isolate dangerous criminals from society, but without putting them in the claustrophobic, abusive prison society. I can’t find the program right now, but the simple version of how it worked is that convicts were taken to a separate but still normal society. I believe there was a murderer, a sex offender and a few others, living together in a house on an island away from the town. They worked together and lived together with the justice system officials in a low-tension environment [no uniforms or batons or threats of violence etc]. The convicts never tried to escape, because they were being treated fairly and the low [but still present security] didn’t feel like as much of an oppressive threat.

    Effectively this system treated the convicts like children without condescending to them. Like children living with their parents, the convicts learned proper conduct and behaviour, they learned useful skills and performed chores and worked to support themselves [it may have been a farm on the island, I cannot remember for sure]. The “parents” were authoritative but fair, and rewarded good behaviour with staff-escorted visits to town. This system is less focused on an abusive child-rearing system of rehabilitation and more on a nurturing child-rearing system of rehabilitation and re-socialization. Belting and screaming and spanking; focusing on punishment, bad consequences and fear – versus rewarding, encouraging and educating; focusing on teaching, good consequences and trust.

    Remember that there were very, very few prisons before the 1980’s compared to after. Somehow, society got on without imprisoning every thief and drug dealer and vandal. In fact, studies in Michigan suggest that the prison population explosion may be responsible for more broken families and MORE crime.

  30. I believe your intentions are noble yet flawed as justice is not meated out under your scenario. I believe a convicted person should serve his sentence however harsh that may be THEN go through your nurturing rehabilitation before being reintroduced back into society – I would have no problem with that.

    For example here we have someone who maybe beat a guy to death on a subway platform for his cigarettes (a clear threat to society in my opinion) and he ends up in club med. Its like one of those whats wrong with this picture moments. To me he has hoodwinked the whole system. On the learning channel they run a documentary called lockdown where as in most prisons similar types of tier programs which you admire are in play, and of course that is where all the hard cons want to be. The cushiest lilly in the pond – who wouldn’t. They earn their position there through progressive steps and are quite convincing in their craft. Its somewhat successful as the rebound rate back into the lions den is only about 15 percent. I dont wish to be a cynic but what they do under the watchful eye of security and what they would do back in society (which is where they proved their inability to function in the first place) is a risk in which I would not care to take, especially if some innocent persons life hangs in the balance when he runs out of cigarettes and his only incentive not to kill again is he might have to go back to where all his friends reside and he was sung lullabys to sleep each night – talk about your scared straight!

    P.S.
    Jim,
    sorry to of strayed from the original theme of this weeks narrative about Obama, especially with that brilliant last nugget about his real challenge being not found out who he really is, that nails it right on the head, but sometimes that crumble needs a spanking.

  31. What’s the justification for punishment in the first place? It achieves nothing and lowers trust in the system that needs their trust in order to reform them. Punishment has never, ever worked as a deterrent. Why else would there be so many people in prisons, on death row? The whole enterprise of the penal system is based on an archaic “eye for an eye” philosophy – it’s based on retribution, not justice. You may as well allow revenge killings and vigilantes to roam the streets.

    I specifically said that dangerous and repeat offenders [up to a judge to decide who is who] should be locked up because they are a threat to society and likely cannot be rehabilitated. We will still need prisons, but much fewer with a much lower population. Lock up anyone who has a high probability of committing another violent crime, and anyone who is a repeat violent offender.

    What I’m saying is that non-murderers and non-repeating violent offenders shouldn’t be thrown into prison with the worst members of society. Thieves and guys who get in bar brawls and drug dealers and maybe even manslaughter convicts; they should all be rehabilitated for society’s greater benefit. Prisons are expensive, they’re a destructive environment, they break up families and they take away potentially productive members of society. Rather than being of further detriment to society, the justice system should try to right wrongs by recasting criminals as productive citizens.

    This isn’t really that optimistic either, it just expects the government to put a little thought into justice instead of cynically locking everyone up in pressure cookers of vice. Hm. Popularly elected governments being sensible about criminals. Never mind.

    I guess my argument is that the “Tough on Crime” rhetoric is really “tough on criminals” and extends harsher and harsher punishments towards progressively less dangerous offenders. “Tough on Crime” doesn’t solve crime at all; it even correlates to higher crime rates. It doesn’t work.

  32. “What I’m saying is that non-murderers and non-repeating violent offenders shouldn’t be thrown into prison with the worst members of society.”

    Well if not than what do you do with them? kick them loose? Surely you aren’t espousing anarchy.

    “the justice system should try to right wrongs by recasting criminals as productive citizens.”

    Well just where will they do this at? and no matter at what facility this were to take place at you would could still decry it as harsh and inhumane and no one could argue the difference as one mans sinner is another mans saint.
    What does recasting mean if not to hold court with him somewhere somehow and decide his fate via common sense and all your well meaning criteria.
    This in itself I am sure you or someone could fein to find a violation of his rights as most well meaning liberals dont take to kindly to authority of any kind pronouncing judgement on someone who is a PRODUCT of such a horrible society as ours in the first place and how dare we cast the first stone etc etc etc. You yourself admit prisons are a necessary evil, its just to what degree of depravety the inductee has to perform in order to be allowed into this exclusive club in which our opinions differ. I say follow the laws of our land or vote to change them, and you champion drawing a line somewhere so blurry between kick em loose and let em rot that no clear thinking body could ever make such a blanket destinction. Just another “why cant we all just get along” liberal monkey wrench to throw into very complex and admittedly flawed, yet at least functioning, justice machine.

    • Is this really about plpoee who bought a number of houses in a kind of speculative fashion, or is it more like a lot of plpoee who otherwise couldn’t afford a home and got a bit hoodwinked by the financiers creating questionable finance tools that perhaps should have been better regulated in the first place?

  33. “Well if not than what do you do with them? kick them loose? Surely you aren’t espousing anarchy.”

    Society somehow managed to survive for decades without collapsing into anarchy, and that was before the massive amount of prisons built under the “Tough on Crime” regimes. We should learn from the past, and see how they dealt with things.

    I already outlined what to do with them. Most criminals are not going to re-offend in the first place, and most crimes are not severe enough to merit being locked up in a hellhole for any period of time. The rest can get rehabilitated.

    Someone who has defied another’s rights [security of person is the main thing I am thinking of] has violated the social contract and is no longer entitled to their full rights. Everyone agrees on that. Some criminals need to be dealt with more harshly than others.

    It is very easy for a judge to draw the line. Is this person likely to kill again? Is this person a repeat violent offender? Has this person failed numerous court-ordered restraints and requirements? Most sex offenders would be tossed in prison under this system too, I should imagine. People who have not harmed others don’t need to be locked away, they’re not dangerous at all. Many others may have committed a crime due to drug addiction and should be treated for that addiction and given a secure place away from the dealers back home. Many others have stolen huge sums, or repeatedly commit smaller crimes, or have anger issues that make them violent.

    It is the judge’s discretion as to who deserves prison and who can be rehabilitated and who can go free with restrictions. It has always been a judge’s discretion that determines how the law is carried out, and I don’t intend to change that. The justice system just needs to be changed so that prison isn’t the default solution to every crime.

    This is not some “why can’t we get along” malarkey but an interpretation of justice that does not equate to “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”.

  34. I’m also not suggesting that this be the specific outline of the new system. It’s just an outline of a suggestion of an alternative to bulk imprisonment.

  35. crumb (AKA straw man, full if shit, scumbag),

    look Dumass non-repeating violent offenders / non-murderers are scumbags. If the cop pulls over someone who’s drunk/high and he decides to go easy on the drunk/high drive like have him park the car and walk home just because he has no recorded doesn’t mean the drunk driver want drive drunk again. Now if the cop takes him to jail and it cost him Lot’s of money and time, he problem wont drive drunk/high again now that justice…
    In 2006, an estimated 17,602 people died in alcohol-related traffic crashes
    Three in every 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lives

    “I specifically said that dangerous and repeat offenders [up to a judge to decide who is who] should be locked up because they are a threat to society and likely cannot be rehabilitated.”

    Trial by jury is a legal proceeding in which a jury either makes a decision or makes findings of fact which are then applied by a judge. No ONE judge should decide who is who……..

    Stages of a Criminal Case Arrest, Booking & Bail , Arraignment, Plea Bargain, Preliminary Hearing, Pre-Trial Motions , Trial, Sentencing, Appeals WHAT WRONG WITH THAT??????????????

  36. Sake Mike apparently doesn’t understand a bloody thing I said, nor does he understand who sits on the supreme court [hint: it is not a jury!]

  37. Still, not an ounce of consideration for the victim.
    I believe the victims rehabilitation in the form of knowing what they went through will not happen again to them or anyone else because our judicial system is a “punitive” one, is number 1 in my opinion. I dont give a ratsass about some perps likelihood of recommitting again or not, because he shouldnt have the chance until he’s paid for what he’s done and given SOME peace of mind to victims everywhere. We all have to take responsibility for our actions – period.
    Liberals on the other hand have a central theme of NEVER taking responsibility for ANYTHING in life, whether its a bullshit mortgage application or a child molestation or even murder. Its all OK because in libland nobody ever is guilty because somewhere in their past they were denied a cookie from their selfish uncle thus resulting in the harboring of unkindly thoughts towards society, hence the murder. Its perfectly logical and I’m sure the state, with my money, would even pick up the tab for some bifocaled, well suspendered and properly bearded psychiatrist to attest to all this. Never mind 200 years of judicial trial and error in this country, that was all for naught, because we just cant be denying people cookies and expecting them NOT to knock over liquor stores and murder people as a result.
    It would be unfair to innocent psychotic, drug-ravaged, mudering, freakazoids everywhere!

    Oh, and those victims, they can go to hell because they dont understand. Its a liberal thing.

    Go OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  38. Have you ever been the victim of a traumatic crime? Vengeance does not always solve that trauma! Are rape victims who develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder “rehabilitated” by the knowledge their rapist is locked away for life? I would say no! Since when did victim’s rights mean “the right to see the most severe punishment come down on the guilty”?

    This obsession with retribution our justice system has goes back to Babylon and beforehand. Should we start cutting of thieves’ hands to stop them from stealing? Should we castrate adulterers, mangle drunk drivers, rape rapists? The only difference between “an eye for an eye” and what we have now is that our system is more “humane”. It still doesn’t solve the ruddy problem! I don’t give a shit if it’s achieved by brainwashing or re-socialization, it’s still better than smacking them on the ass and letting them free to DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN!

    What’s more irresponsible? Training a dog to heel and obey then taking it for a walk, or locking it in a kennel and beating it for years, then releasing it into a park full of children?

  39. Why be so negative about the Europeans? Their culture is far superior to America and they understand that quality of life and national identity are more important than a dogmatic commitment to free markets which only alienates people from their national community.

    PS. please note that not being totally committed to the neoliberal super-project does not entail that you are a socialist.

  40. Matty matty matty,

    We fought a WAR with the europeans because they wanted tot ax us! the revolution was about true liberty, the free market that guarantees us our freedoms for all time! you must be a socialist revisionist if you think the founding fathers didnt believe in the free market! it’s too bad our liberal indoctrination camps in the ivy league are ruining minds like yours, turning potential Matt “Reagan” Matts into Matt “Stalin-Hitler” Matts!

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