Can you pick the reality from the comedy? And which is the tragedy?
How it started, under Bush:
Collapse of the world economy was going to happen in 24 hours. $550 Billion / hour drain rate:
Step By Step, Slowly He Turned,
Yeah, I’d put us at about a 7 or so…
And a view of Australia:
Gives you confidence in our systems doesn’t it?
A way out? (Cue: “Beautiful Dreamer”… ) :
How the economy works:
And, an example of applying this in Greece:
But we have a happy ending. Life in a communal environment, free of the cares of money, and ‘low impact’ too:
So “no worries”, who needs money!
Last I looked there was no “Right to be Stupid” in the US Constitution, but who knows anymore, maybe the Supreme Court found one in the “Commerce Clause” and I missed it. You know? For such a simple little document, you can study it your whole life and never really know what it means. It ain’t as simple, nor as straightforward, as it looks in black and white. “We the People of the United States”, take that for example, people may think they know what those seven words mean, but I’ll tell you plain, they don’t! Shhhhh… don’t tell anyone, it’s a mystery.
@ E.M. I shake my head when I think that cartoon bears and comedians make more sense than newscasters and politicians!
That clip with Rep. Paul Kanjorski is one that everyone ought to pay attention to. The part about the electronic bank run deserves to be common knowledge, but I have spoken to very few people who have heard of it. One explanation which I read is that the major European banks were losing hundreds of billions (trillions?) of dollars on their investments in U.S. real estate securities. When they understood the fraudulent nature of their losses, and the unwillingness of Wall Street and the US banks to repay what they (the European Banks) had lost, they started a bank run. This is the pressure which was used to force the Federal Reserve and the Treasury to pony up repayment to the European Banks. The recent release of Fed info is reported to have included some four trillion dollars sent to the European Banks.
@ Pascvaks “Last I looked there was no “Right to be Stupid” in the US Constitution”
Maybe it is included in the Ninth Amendment: “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
One of my favorite amendments! Paraphrased, “The fact that we only mentioned certain rights in the Constitution does not mean that those are the only rights that exist. Any rights which we did not specifically mention are still retained by the People.”
And the Ninth goes along with the Tenth: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Paraphrased again: “The only powers granted to the Federal Government are the specific ones granted in the Constitution, no others. Additionally, the States are specifically prohibited from some powers. All other powers which have not been specifically mentioned belong to either the People, or the States, as provided by their individual State Constitutions.”
Sidebar: Only people have rights. On the other hand, powers can be delegated to Federal or State Governments, or be retained by the People.
So, is there a “Right To Be Stupid”? Maybe it is in the Ninth, or maybe it is a part of the Right to Free Speech, or part of Freedom of Religion. :)
@Jason Calley –
See! I told you it was complicated. But, Jason, doesn’t the “Commerce clause” trump everything? Isn’t it the Joker in the deck? I mean isn’t everything “commerce”?
Interesting question…. Can I reasonably bring suit against some “government mandate” that I do something THEY think I need to do to avoid being “stupid” in their eyes; on the grounds that I have a 9th Right To Be Stupid? Not so hypothetical… Say the New Federal Medical Commissar issues an order that I must lose 50 lbs Or Else (they are now in charge of your body, after all, and have the precedent of talking kids from parents for “medical neglect” as the kid was too fat…) They claim “Medical Self Abuse” (not being clueful about language ;-) and then the question is: Can I counter sue on the basis of “Right To Be Stupid?”
If I have no such right, what can I do that involves ANY risk? It’s demonstrably stupid to smoke, jump out of airplanes, drive a car on the highway (more deaths than anything else so they seem to say each holiday driving season), drink at all, work with toxic metals or in any industry that ever used asbestos (including removal…), have peanuts on ANY property with children (as some day some one will be allergic), work with power tools, take out a student loan to study Social Studies… or have children if you don’t make enough money to support them.
Dare I say it?
Clearly the “Right To Be Stupid” must be like the “Right To Privacy”: In there, just not where you can read it directly…
(Sidebar: I note in passing that the “Right To Privacy” that is the basis for legal abortion is seemingly forgotten when it comes to any OTHER privacy. We can be completely monitored from cradle to grave, have our medical records sent to The State, have our entire financial history mandated to be presented annually along with a payment for the privilege, and have police cameras staring in our windows from micro drones or via IR from anywhere… buy hey, that’s not a ‘Right To Privacy’ issue… )
If you insist on the ‘Right To be Stupid’ and how the economy work then I insist on a the old joke from Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy…
The survivors of a colony ship crash (filled with those who were deemed completely useless on the home planet) have put together a fiscal policy.
After much arguing flowers, stones, and wood were dismissed as a currency and they settled on the leaf. Later, at an update of their staff meeting, they noted that since they chose the leaf as their form of currency, everyone is extremely rich. Unfortunately, this has resulted in a bit of inflation, with current exchange rates being three deciduous forests per ship’s peanut and rising. The proposed solution is a massive deforestation campaign to increase the value of all leaves currently held.
…IMHO to some degree it makes sense compared to other ideas.
Well… As one of the most honest and insightful folks in the world is a comedian… All I can say is “contains F bombs and other bits of offensive language” since it is George Carlin:
How the economy really works:
On rights, rituals, and the human capacity for self deception:
On The Tonight show (you just have to love someone who can do this):
On being green (been around a while):
Near as I could tell, he simply observes and states the reality around him and the humor comes from the insanity of what most folks believe…
So, IMHO, the best thing we could do is elect a comedian to be president (Jeff Dunham comes to mind.. he already knows how to work puppets by shoving his hand up … ) as they seem to be more in touch with humanity and reality than anyone in politics.
The one thing that makes me boiling angry is the notion that the US taxpayer will send money to bail out the governments of Europe who wasted their money on irresponsible social spending.
I remember what Thatcher said about eventually running out of other people’s money and here we have Europe picking the pocket of the American taxpayer to fund their addiction to government programs.
If a US lawmaker signs up for sending one single dime of the American taxpayers’ money to Europe to bail out these irresponsible lunatics then they should be immediately brought up on charges and ejected from Congress.
I do not pay taxes to see that Greeks can retire at 50. They should first start off with all the stuff they don’t need in order to survive. First, not one more damned penny for windmills or other “global warming” related nonsense. Not a penny until they get their basic financial health in order. No more windmills, no more solar panels, if they want a reliable source of power they can build a nuclear plant or a coal plant until they have themselves straightened out and they they can go back to wasting THEIR OWN taxpayers’ money.
I am dead serious, if a single dime of my taxes go to bailing out Europeans, then I am going to go off the rails in campaigning against every single member of the government who supports it.
@ E.M. Thanks for the George Carlin links! Yes — one of the true American deep thinkers. And no, I am not one bit joking when I say that. I put him right next to Will Rogers. I saw him on stage twice. Once waaaaayyyyy back in the 70’s and then again about five years ago. Sorry to see him gone.
@ E.M. and Pascvaks both Commerce Clause? The Right to be Stupid? Not to belabor the obvious, but a quick look around makes it clear that RECENT interpretations of just what the Constitution means and what it authorizes are so God awful screwed up that no really cogent discussion is possible. Not that I don’t try, but seriously, compare the rather clear reasoning and interpretation of things in the Federalist Papers (and in the Anti-Federalist papers as well) with what the courts say today, and there is only one conclusion. The “Constitution For These United States” is dead. Blotto. Toes up. Passed beyond the veil.
Pascvaks, I am sure that you know perfectly well, the very limited interpretation that was once the norm for the “Commerce Clause.” The Feds would ensure that commerce between the states was regularized, i.e., that the various states would not charge tariffs on each other, that states would not restrict trade between themselves, etc. Odd, but that interpretation was the standard for almost 150 years, then suddenly the courts find that the men who wrote it did not even understand what they meant.
E.M., same with The Right To Be Stupid — for 150 years everyone thought they had a right to do whatever stupid thing they wished (as long as THEY took the consequences!) and then one day the Feds realize that seven generations of people did not know what they were doing! Wonders never cease — especially when the people in charge find it lucrative to decide something wonderful.
As I say though, I am as guilty as anyone of a love for history, and a desire to discuss dead people and what they thought. I just love talking about Hamurabi, and The Roman Republic… and the U.S. Constitution. It is strange though. I can talk about Hamurabi and it does not bother me. I can talk about the Roman Republic and wax eloquent. But somehow…when the subject is ancient American history, I still tear up a little and my jaws still torque somewhat if I try to talk deeply about the Constitution. I still think about how long it took and how much it cost to get it in the first place — and I think about how much it has cost (and will cost) to be rid of it.
The American Constitutional “Time Machine” – The United States Supreme Court. (Ahhhhh… if they only knew what the meaning of “is” is.)
It started, IMHO, with Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase. They chose expedience (and likely made the right decision) but the result was seeing the constitution as more of a ‘strong suggestion’ than definition of the possible.
It really picked up steam with Wilson (who wished it gone) but it was FDR and the “New Deal” that lit it afire. Aside from the amendments added, there was also a broad move to ignore AND a packing of the Supreme Court. THAT then lead to the notion that The Seers and NOBODY ELSE could know what this inscrutable Sanskrit said… and gave the free hand to reinterpret at will.
To tis day, the Progressives laud FDR and the flexible constitution… (See the latest Obama speech…)
So yeah, at this point with even the Republicans happy to ignore it (and for several decades, so it’s not just a quirk… from about Nixon on…) I’d have to say that there is NO US Constitution in any practical sense. We have a series of case law and Supreme Court rulings, nothing more. (There is a minor Shadow Show of claiming to find a constitutional basis, but that is more a game of “hide the ruling in the funny words” like writing Haiku as a challenge, than anything real.)
I’ve read it. I have a copy on my headboard. It isn’t all that hard to understand at all. Yeah, a couple of words have changed meaning a bit (such as the meaning of ‘regulate’) but if you have an old dictionary it’s not a hard thing to figure out.
Most offensive to me is that the INTENT is crystal clear, consistent, often repeated, and well attested in the supporting documents (like the Federalist Papers): LIMITED central government, DISTRIBUTED authority (to the States and the people), BOTTOM UP authority and rights – delegation, and NO authority for the central government to medal in commerce other than to make sure the states keep a ‘free trade zone’. That no one in Washington today recognizes that intent is just horrid. Oh, and people are supposed to be free from the tyranny of the government…
I agree with the George Carlin stuff, except for the one where he discusses rights. He says, “You have no rights,” and he says it like we should perish the thought. “They were made up,” he says, like the tooth fairy. Being the smart man that he was I’m disappointed he said such a thing, because if most of us were to believe that, then some powerful minority will assert that they *DO* have rights…over us and our stuff, using the principle that might makes right! They’ll say, “Fine. You don’t think you have a right to property? It’s ours. All of it. Hand it over. Oh, and by the way, you’re our slaves now.” If you protest and say, “You can’t do that,” they’ll say, “Yeah, and who’s going to stop us?” We’ll become nothing more than primitive tribes, or at best a collection of fiefdoms all over again, with warring factions killing each other for power. The basis for the idea of rights in the American system came out of this idea that humans had certain natural abilities and proclivities, and that a peaceful, free society should channel them in constructive ways. It was also the primary principle by which we would distribute power. Give that up and power will be concentrated in much fewer hands than it is even today. Not a wise thing to do.
For those that wish I suggest a study of the Bar Associations, specially the New York Bar. In the run up to the war of 1812 the New York Bar sided with the British Bar in that all Americans severally and individually owed the British the $40 million that the United States borrowed to back the currency after the start up of the US government. After the 1812 war an amendment was passed ( the real 13th Amendment) in 1819, “That no American could be a member of a bar association”. This was the law of the land until Lincoln made a deal with the New York Bar to suspend the constitution to institute the war draft and income tax. This is why a shop keeper in Illinois could read a law book and declare him self a lawyer. Part of the orders to Union generals was to burn all the records of the southern state legislatures so that after the war it could be and was argued that there was no record of passage of the required number of states in 1819.
The teachings of many law schools is that the states lost all standing with the civil war and had become vassals of the Federal Government.
Remember Lincoln was assassinated because he had created a military dictatorship. pg
I too think we have ‘natural rights’… but even when I don’t agree with George Carlin, he makes me think… and laugh ;-)
Fascinating bit of insight. I have to admit that having been force fed more Lincoln that I wanted in school I’ve remained woefully ignorant of what actually happened. My “B.S. Detector” had just gone very loud and glaring at all the crap being pushed about him in school and I’d figured it wasn’t worth spending brain cells on it… but it looks like some of what really happened might exist somewhere. Wonder if O’Reilly’s book does it justice?
I’d always wondered how he could just declare himself a lawyer, but figured it was part of the general lack of ‘regulation’ then…. Glad we have so much regulation now, so folks like him can’t just up and get things done ;-)
I haven’t read the book but I do watch O”Reilly everyday. I doubt he questions much of the myths of how wonderful the Great President Lincoln was.O”Reilly was a Jr High school teacher of english and of history. I doubt that he is a deep thinker or researcher. Just an opinion. pg
Aside; When asked about the deal with the New York Bar. Lincoln said to a reporter ” that he would make a deal with the devil himself if that is what it takes to save the Union”. pg
it’s more of those emanations from the penumbra or whatever that guy in the black dress said.
“It really picked up steam with Wilson (who wished it gone) but it was FDR and the “New Deal” that lit it afire.”
The fed, taxation, and the League of Nations was Wilson. Gave Hoover and FDR the tools to destroy. FDR was really a Utopian even compared to Wilson.
1913 – Federal Reserve Act
1914 – Antitrust legislation that established the Federal Trade Commission. 1916 – Signed law prohibiting child labor.
1916 – Limiting railway workers to an eight-hour workday.
1917 – Asked U.S. Congress to declare war against Germany.
Successfully led the United States to victory in World War I.
1918 – Announced The Fourteen Points as guiding principles to the world after World War I. His allies adopted the “Treaty of Versailles.
1918 – Proposed “League of Nations” but failed to convince Congress to pass the enabling legislation and thus the United States never joined the “League of Nations
At least Congress at the time understood how the US being involved in an external organization would be a major contradiction to self gubmint.
Remember, “Silence is Consent”; well it is if you’re a backwoods lawyer or a member of the New York Bar, and when the cops take their orders from any fool with a gavel, and …. (this is depressing). The root of all failure is the People, it’s “We The People” that fail. Think about it this way, time makes everything and everyone pass, now imagine what time does to words on a piece of paper.
It, US, started with “We The People” (we didn’t really, but let’s say we did). Over time things change. No one remembers very much very long. If “We The People” get too hyper we can always have another “Civil War”. But usually a war doesn’t achieve what people wanted (even if you win) and in the end they get something totally different, but everyone’s so tired of fighting, and most of the trouble makers are dead, so we kind’a fall in line and move on the way the biggest, bigmouth pollywog thinks we should. Every war this country has had has brought big changes to the way “We Think”, and act, etc.
We never were one people, nor ever united in thought or anything else. We’ve always been a left and a right and a big middle. We’ve always been more concerned about making a living and getting by. Over the course of our history we’ve invented many myths and fairy tales of who we are, and we use them to sway each other and justify our momentary vision about where we’re going.
All rights do belong to the people, and they do come to the people from God in my humble opinion, and if the people ain’t happy, or content, or OK, or at least wishy-washy, or whatever, than everything’s hunky-dory because they (The People) ain’t revolting and taking those rights back and away from the idiots they entrusted them to to run the country. It’s a lot like buying stock. You can make money and be happy but you also gotta’ watch the market and your broker, you just can’t buy and forget about your investment. That’s very bad for you and your investment. Oh yes, and you ain’t alone, there’s a lot of folks just like you (and a lot who aren’t;-) and if things ever get out of hand and the system don’t work any more there’s always… tomorrow?
Great Nations are Built on Great Myths!
And as long as most of the folks are OK,
So too is the nation.
@Pascvaks and E.M.Smith:
I like the idea that our rights come from God, though I’m more of an agnostic on whether God exists. I’m not a literalist with the Bible, and I don’t find scientific justification to say that God (or many gods) do *not* exist (though I find no justification in the same vein to say that he/she/them does/do, either). I thought about this some, and I came to the conclusion that “good religion” is healthy for our civilization, because if people respect the idea that everyone’s rights come from God, then they’ll think twice before violating them, because they’ll have a sense that that would offend Him. However, if people were to think that our rights are just an abstract concept we ourselves made up, then people will be tempted to violate them, because then “It’s my word against yours. You say you have X rights. Well I disagree!” Secondly, it allows people to make up new rights whenever they want. After all, they’re just something we made up. We can make up more! I saw progressives say this in my neck of the woods back when the health care bill was being discussed. “We decided we wanted the rights to free speech, religion, etc. We can say we have the right to health care as well, because it’s what we want.” To that I say, “I have the right to a billion dollars and a mansion. Gimme!” There’s got to be some constraint to this, or else it leads to chaos.
For those who cannot accept the idea of a god, though, I say that it’s valid to think of our natural rights only coming from Nature. You can think of them as validating the positive aspects of ourselves, what we’re capable of.
I’m of the opinion that “rights” are something we can have as long as it does not remove something from another person… So a “right” to “free” health care can not exist as it requires taking money from someone else. A right to free speech does not diminish someone else, so can exist. A right to an abortion hinges on when that OTHER person comes into existence… so is controversial. (My ‘dodge’ is that “life does NOT begin at conception, it never ended.” so the spark of life began a few billion years ago and never ended in that ‘line’. So a living human genome exists all the way through from both parents and into the single fertile cell of conception and you have to address when a cell line gets ‘human rights’ straight up without appeal to ‘start of life’ but to functional human character…)
So can EVERYONE get justice without harm to others? Pretty much, so we can have a ‘right’ to a speedy and fair trial by a fair legal system. Can EVERYONE get free food without taking it from someone else? Nope. So not a right… (It MAY be something a government still desires to provide, but it is not a right…)
So it goes…
From whom do such rights come? IMHO, we discover them from the fundamental nature of existence. You can call that “physics of distribution” (taking from one to give to another under the ‘no can do that’ rule); or you can call it God, or simply “human nature”. Or ‘fundamental truths’. Doesn’t matter much to me.
Your freedom ends where my nose begins or is it my freedom ends where your nose begins. OH WELL it’s one of those or both. pg
Or: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
(To which I’d add “But be ready to beat the snot out of them if they don’t ‘get it’ and try to just ‘do it unto you’ in return”… ;-)
A long time ago in a school far far away
A Nun put it this way
‘God is beyond our comprehension
He/She/It is someone that we cannot
Even begin to comprehend’
I liked that Nun
Her words stay with me still
I think she pretty much said it all
So I gave up trying to comprehend
And just accept that there is
Something or Someone out there
That I just can’t begin to understand.
Another of those little bumps in the road
You might say that comes up now and then.
It helps me to think this way
Cause there’s just so much to see and do
I really don’t have time to spend any on
The current financial crises, the climate change doctrine, peak oil, immigration policies, all are related.
Here’s one that I hear people take for granted. What about a right to an education? I’ve heard liberals say that since I was a kid. In my view you have a right to pursue that, but you do not have the right to an education supplied by someone else. That has to be negotiated. When you get right down to it, though, this “right” liberals speak of really means “access.” So when they talk about a “right” to health care, they’re talking about “access.” The problem is how that access is provided, because it always comes with strings that screw it up. Same with education.
That’s basically what I was getting at. Your natural rights are things that come from you, not from someone else. The exceptions I’ve seen in the Constitution are civil rights like a speedy trial, trial by jury, copyrights, and patents. Those are rights granted by government in the interest of preserving freedom, and encouraging new ideas to be generated, though in the last few decades or so it seems to me the government has allowed copyrights and patents to be abused to the point that they discourage new ideas.
@ Mark “The exceptions I’ve seen in the Constitution are civil rights”
How nice to see someone draw the distinction between natural rights and civil rights! Yes, natural rights are the intrinsic rights we have by virtue of being human. Civil rights are actually privileges, the things to which we have claim because of the governmental system we have created. Free speech is a natural right. Voting is a civil right. Religion (or lack of) is a natural right, food stamps are a civil right. Not a complicated distinction, but a LOT of folk never see the difference.
But natural rights… where do they come from? E.M. beat me to it: “IMHO, we discover them from the fundamental nature of existence.” I would say that natural rights come from the same place that the laws of physics come from. For example, where do the laws of gravitation come from? (And I will use Newtonian gravitation.) Well, the Laws of Gravitation are actually a human description of something that existed prior to and more fundamentally than the Laws. Gravitation was always there as a phenomenon, but what makes the Newtonian Laws true is that they give an accurate description of how unfettered things move due to gravitation. They give correct descriptions, and they make correct predictions. I would say that the same general principles hold for the idea of inalienable natural rights. Human society based on the principles of natural rights leads to a society where each person more fully realises his free will and acts more closely in accordance with his desires. The concept of free will leads to a culture where human achievements and happiness self maximise. In short, the idea of natural rights is true because — just like laws of physics — it works better than anything else we have described!
If someone ever comes up with a theory of human nature that works better than the theory of inalienable natural rights (and by that I mean “allows individuals more unfettered action in accordance with their own desires”) I like to think that I would convert to it.
The present web of “crap” around patents does not discourage new ideas, they just discourage sharing them with anyone ;-)
FWIW, about once a year I come up with some “bright idea” that would benefit the world greatly that I do not share nor attempt to patent. WHY? Because the first few dozen were so painful.
A few dozen of them were later patented by others as they figured them out too. (no big surprise). 4 were granted patents by folks who worked for me ( I abstained from the patent application even though they were my ideas for bogus ideological reasons). Several recent ones were not followed up as they would create new weapons that would not be something I’d want in the hands of the present administration. (Shades of John Galt… Where is Gnomish when I need him…)
The basic point? We grow faster in freedom as I exploit my ideas; we grow more slowly when I only get a small share (after corporate “take” and legal crap) and we stagnate when I “give up” …
(I do miss Gnomish… I just asked him to dial it back a bit, not ‘go away’… oh well, Lord Knows I’m not perfect, especially in communications… Maybe someone can wake him up…. )
As much as I love George Carlin as a comedian and human being, and as much as his observations of human nature were so often insightful, he simply has it all wrong when he talks about “big corporations.”
There’s not enough space to get into the full argument, as all here would appreciate, but I’ve worked in “business” for 30+ years and have been close to many Fortune 50 CEO’s and believe I do understand how big businesses work — after all, that’s what they pay me very well to do: share my expertise. Big corporations are, in themselves, positive forces for human good. Can they go rogue with criminal leadership (Kenneth Lay, Bernie Ebbers)? Sure. Can they do stupid things, like AIG and Lehman, due to greed? Sure. Are they inherently bad? Are they the pupeteers of government? Are they the evil-doers who take everything away from you that they can: the fruits of your labor, your rights? No. Sorry, wrong boogey-man.
Government still owns the police. We, the people, still elect our government. We may elect representatives who take our freedoms away. We may fail to elect representatives who give our lost freedoms back to us. But, big corporations are not much more than tools to more efficiently organize human labor to lalow us to have our freedoms at lower total cost.
We in the developed world who live longer, healthier lives than any group of people have ever had before; whose lives have greater freedom from destruction by the acts of others than anyone has ever had before; whose lives involve more choice and opportunity to self-actualize than anyone has ever had before, owe much of that to big business and how it can organize the results of those freer, more self-actualized lives.
Sorry, big business bashers rarely do so from any real knowledge and experience of how that part of our collective world works.
And that’s the short overview of the story.