It's always tempting to pile onto a particular controversy, and I'm a little late to this party. Most everyone in America by now has heard the basic story of 'Joe the Plumber', and most everyone has their own opinion of his exchange with Senator Barack Obama. Good luck trying to change those opinions, too: either you believe that 'Joe' is a champion of the working class who correctly understands Senator Obama to be a socialist, or you believe that 'Joe' is a fraud, a phony and a tool of the rightists who continue to hold back progress in America. Thanks to the mainstream media we've learned a lot about Joe these last few days, from his unpaid tax lien to his lack of a plumber's license to his divorce to the big SUV he drives.
So Joe is in part a mirror to our own political and cultural beliefs. What we believe determines how we see him.
I confess that I see Joe somewhat differently.
For me, Joe is a neighbor.
I work as an academic physician in Hyde Park, Illinois, home to Barack Obama and a lot of other very smart intellectuals. These folks are often referred to in the media and in political commentary as 'elites': you say that either with reverence or with a sneer depending on your political orientation. Hyde Park is a wonderfully quirky, yeasty community that has more bookstores than bars. It's a different place than much of the rest of America.
Joe wouldn't be comfortable living in Hyde Park. Neither was I, and I tried it.
I've lived in a number of working class neighborhoods, starting with the one I grew up in, a semi-rural tract in Ohio. My father was a technician, and we lived amongst people like Joe: carpenters, teachers, and factory workers. The house on the corner had a welder who spent his spare time refitting tow trucks in his driveway. The largest house on the block belonged to a contractor; he was the kind of man who'd wielded a hammer long enough to remember where he came from and so lived on a block with others like him. The men went to work every morning; so did some of the women, while the rest stayed home and raised the children. You learned a lot as a kid just by watching the adults: they worked, they tended to their homes and their yards, and they looked after their kids. Their pleasures were relatively simple, and a holiday trip for them was heading downstate to see the family or into the woods to hunt a deer.
Joe would have lived there. He would have lived in several more neighborhoods I've lived in as an adult, because they were filled with people like him, even the blue community in a blue state, where the electrician and the corporate vice president shared a driveway. Joe would have been comfortable playing football with his son in the front yard in any of these places, because we were all, despite our occupations and our different upbringings, pretty much the same people.
We remember from where we came. We remember who our neighbors were. Everyone was useful. Everyone had a job to do, and we learned that those jobs were important. Think you're smart because you're a doctor, a lawyer, or an author? Try repairing a broken sump pump. On a Saturday night. Standing in a foot of dirty water. One learned, growing up in a working class neighborhood, that everyone who could do something had a basic worth.
Some 'elite' people understand that as well, but some, perhaps because they've become embarrassed by their upbringing and have been cowed living amongst those who live on a higher intellectual plane, have run away from their former life. They now live in Manhattan but don't appreciate being reminded that they grew up in Manhattan, Kansas. Yes, yes, their political beliefs require them to acknowledge the 'working person', but they've overcome their humble beginnings and want, sometimes desperately, to be accepted by their new neighbors in Manhattan, or Hyde Park, or Berkeley, or Boulder. The working class is an item of study to them, something found in books and journals that describe the 'material dialectic' and the proletariat, something to be molded and 'educated' perhaps, particularly around election time, but nothing to be a part of anymore. They're beyond that.
It's an elitism that requires one to forsake the old ways in favor of the new life. It induces a particular psychology that in the end becomes disdainful of the plumber. Sure he has a life and dreams and plans, but after all, he's just a plumber. He's an object, much like a plunger, and while the elites superficially acknowledge his humanity, they also make plans for him without his consent. Those big plans mean that it's perfectly acceptable to spread his wealth around to other people in other classes: the 'poor', the 'elderly', the 'minorities', all also similarly deconstructed. You wouldn't understand, Joe. Shut up, plumb your pipes and give the man your money.
Joe the Plumber spoke back to the instrument of truth and power, and he has to be punished for that. It's a lesson to all of us. That's why the mainstream media tore into him, why the late-night comics ridicule him, and why Senators Obama and Biden openly mock him on the campaign trail. They understand the danger of allowing a challenge to pass without response.
It's the same message to all of us in fly-over country who work at a job, try to put a little away, and play football with our kids. We can be bitter and cling to our religion if we want (the guns they'll take away), but we'd better pipe down and not ask any embarrassing questions. Let the elites run America the same way they run Europe.
Reminds me of a great quote which was posted in the engineering lab back in my school daze:
"The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water." - John W. Gardner
No, Steve, the guns they won't take away. Not without a lot of "them" dying in the process. Taking away the guns is the first step to the boxcars. This citizen knows that if the SS/SA had met a Jew shooting a Luger or Mauser at them every time they went to "collect" someone, the SS/SA would soon have stopped.
They can certainly kill me, and my family as well, but they can't peacefully disarm me. Not without a fight and I'll make sure they pay dearly for what they get. The minute I hear of the first gun being confiscated forcibly, all bets are off.
The Second Amendment is the MOST important part of the Constitution since it's the one that guarantees all the other parts of it. Any government that openly or clandestinely abrogates the Second Amendment forfeits its legitimacy and consequently any obligation on my part to obey its laws.
They want the Second American Civil War, let them come and try to take my guns.
John McCain thanked Joe Wurzelbacher. He asked Joe Wurzelbacher why he didn't call when the Constitution was attacked. Joe Wurzelbacher said he had a long night and was flying to New York that evening for a sit-down interview with Mike Huckabee on Pravda. They then began kissing.
What should scare the bee-geebers out of everyone is the way Obama and his machine including the MSM went for Joe's jugular for asking a freaking question. Folks, regardless of your ideology, do you really want a "police" state? First they came for the Plumber and it did not concern me. Next they came for me.
Posted by: Jack is Back! ||
10/19/2008 14:27 Comments ||
Yeah, unfortunately a bunch of people on the left seem to be quite okay with a police state so long as it leans in their direction.
The US had huge problems with broker-dealers in the 1930s...Enter the US Securities Exchange Act of 1934. This is one piece of depression era legislation that survives and thank the Good Lord for that.
What the broker dealer act does is (a) ring fence the US broker dealer and (b) limit the amount that the broker dealer can borrow against your securities and the amount of collateral it may take.
I am hardly a lawyer so take the bush lawyer caveat but the way it works is that the broker dealer may not borrow against your securities to finance their own business, only client business. So Lehman Brothers US broker dealer could take collateral of securities and if they had 100 million out on client margin loans the most that they could raise using client securities is 100 million and not a brass razoo more. This is really important because it meant that client assets were not used to finance Lehmans disastrous commercial real estate and other businesses.
Moreover when you deposit a million dollars at the broker dealer and give them the right to repledge those securities they can only rehypothecate 140 percent of your outstanding balances...
So (provided the broker is not acting criminally) you should get the bulk of your money back if the broker dealer fails. And provided the capital requirements are adequate (and they mostly are) the broker dealer wont fail. Even the Drexel Burnham Broker Dealer did not fail....
The result. Whilst Lehman brothers went bust Lehman US broker dealer did not. This pretty well saved the US hedge fund industry.
Europe however was a different story. Lehman Europe failed and the clients of the European broker dealer (read a good proportion of the London hedge fund community) are now queuing as unsecured creditors of Lehman. Many funds have folded. Far more have been nicked. Whilst the US hedge fund business is currently looking dazed, confused and a little problematic the UK business is on life support.
In some sense this is the end of the City of London.
Posted by: Frank G ||
10/19/2008 11:25 Comments ||
Shucks, if Obama isn't elected and can't impose his "Spread the Wealth" plan on you, no need to worry. I just checked with the IRS and they said they would be happy to receive and extra check from you. Here is suggested wording:
My Dearest Panjandrum, err I mean: Sir or Madam:
I was very disappointed that Barack Obama did not win the presidency. However, I whole heartedly agree that I (not we) should "Spread the Wealth". Accordingly, enclose herewith is an extra check that exceeds my tax obligation.
PS. Since I believe that this concept is novel and sound, please refer me to the following:
Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) officials: I desire to allocate 25% of my test score to any student that ranks in the bottom 25%, even though they skipped classes and never did their homework, it's only fair to Share the Wealth.
Fair Housing Authority: My house is 2400 square feet and knowing that the national average is about 800 sq feet, I desire to have three more families move in with me to Share the Wealth (despite that when I first got married we lived in a 100 square foot house in my in-law's garage and washed dishes in the bathtub).
DMV: After 45 years of hard work, I now own a Lexus and know that most can't afford such (even though my first car was a beat-up VW), so I wish to make it available to any licensed person driving a Yugo, AMC Gremlin or like-kind vehicle. I will leave the Shell credit card on the seat, too.
Alcohol Beverage Control: I have a pretty good wine cellar and know that many are drinking some pretty bad stuff out there (like Charles Shaw, Ripple, etc). I want these people to Share the Wealth, too and never that my first hit was Boone's Apple Wine no one in our affluent society should suffer such humiliation anymore.
Nielsen Media Research: I wish to write them a letter encouraging that when they accumulate their weekly ratings, the consistently high-scoring Monday Night Football games must share their ratings with the PBS's "Watching the Grass Grow" mini-series. See, competition is BAD and Spreading the Wealth is good.
National Organization for Women: I have a really hot wife who's nearly a 10 and some of the guys (generally those who skipped school and never did their home work) are walking around with gals that are in the 2-3 category now, that's totally unfair. Hence, I want to Spread the Wealth and share my wife with these guys or alternatively allow the gals free facial reconstruction, nose and boob jobs and unlimited charm-school courses. I hope NOW is OK with this since they can be fickle; e.g., when they don't say a peep about honor killings...I know they really want to but haven't had a chance to get around to that minor matter because the glass ceiling is so far away for American women like Mrs. Obama and Nancy Pelosi. I know that next year NOW will Share the Wealth of Convictions with the women in Afghanistan.
NBA: Notwithstanding that I'm a middle-aged white guy, 5'10", I've always wanted to be an NBA star, so perhaps the NBA can put me in the starting line-up so I can benefit from the Sharing the Wealth program, too. Don't worry about the ratings since the Nielsen people will soon have the magic formula to please everyone and make life fair and don't think that we won't go after those boxed seats either all my life I've spent in the nose-bleed seats eating hot-dogs while the fat-cats dine on chateaubriand. Well, that will end.
Democrat National Committee: Since Obama has been more effective and seemingly harder working at acquiring campaign funds, which has resulted in a 4 to 1 advantage, he should Spread the Wealth and give a large portion to McCain. I don't want to hear the, "That's different" excuse.
Billboard: I'm totally disappointed that the music of Madonna & P. Diddy are always on top, so I want them to give out their scores to others, like the Gregorian Chant Rappers. Madonna, the Bush-hating, soon to be Trivial Pursuit answer to "What pop star is deathly afraid of aging", can't oppose that, can she?
NFL: During all games, the underdog will be spotted whatever the Vegas spread is. Hence, when the Titans play KC tomorrow, at the opening kick-off, the scoreboard will show: KC 14-Titans 0. I know Spreading the Wealth is gonna drive the bookies crazy, but that's the price to pay for fairness.
I like the Political Toon I saw this AM - an older or elderly woman walks into a Bank and tells it that becuz US Taxpayers are funding the Wall Street/Bank Bailout Scheme, she as a US Taxpayer is now a de facto PART-OWNER OF THE BANK AND DEMANDS TO WITHDRAW HER "FAIR SHARE/PORTION" OF THE BAILOUT FROM THE BANK'S COFFERS, WHICH OF COURSE THE BANK CAN'T AND WON'T DO FOR VARIOUS REASONS. THE TOON'S MESSAGE IS PRETTY DAMNING TO BOTH BANKS AND THE US CONGRESS/GOVT.
Another POL TOON is even more damning as per AIG fiasco > TWO AMERS are railing about HOW THE CONGRESS/GOVT. HAS THE MONEY TO BAIL OUT the AIG Company = INCOMPETENT BANKS, AND GIVE AIG CEOS A REASON TO GIVE THEMSLVES A HIGHER SALARY AS A REWARD FOR FAILURE OR CORRUPTION, WHICH THEY USED TO PARTY "LIKE IT WAS 1999" = 2099, BUT CONGRESS/GOVT DOESN'T HAVE ENUFF MONEY TO PROTECT THE BORDERS OR STOP ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION OR STOP PAYING US TAXPAYER-FUNDED PUBLIC BENEFITS TO PERENNIAL ILLEGALS.
Sweet freaking Jesus. Lurch as SecState and that useless RINO squish Hagel as SecDef? If I were a serving officer, I'd be drafting my resignation letter right now...
Posted by: RIcky bin Ricardo (Abu Babaloo) ||
10/19/2008 2:12 Comments ||
I quit reading at the baldheaded Sam Joe the plumber Wurzelbacher
Republicans hope the wall-to-wall coverage of the attack by the baldheaded Sam Joe the plumber Wurzelbacher on Obamas plans to increase taxes for those earning more than $250,000 a year has halted the Democrats momentum.
Hummmm -- how dumb of this reporter... Women of baldheaded men, unite!!!! In an effort to slime our Joe the Plumber, the media now adds, he's baldheaded.
The force of Joe lovers has now grown to include.. baldheaded Sam Joe the plumber" supporters.
Here are some of the things we might look forward to in the next two years -
- Tax increases (obviously)
- Restoration of welfare through "tax credits" (= direct cash payouts).
- Outlawing of semi-auto assault rifles
- Outlawing magazines over X rounds for non-military rifles
- Fairness Doctrine
- Net neutrality
- Internet tax
- Socialized health care & eventually rationing
- Withdrawal from Iraq
- Deep defense budget cuts
- End of missile defense
- End of illegal immigration enforcement, border security
- End of secret ballot for union elections
- On the spot voter registration (just show up)
- Federal funding of ACORN and other leftist groups
- Participation in Int'l Criminal Court
- Support international regulations on securities markets, banking
- Support global carbon tax
- Billions of new taxes on corporations through "carbon credit" payments
- End of standards in public schools
Some other possiblities:
- Prosecution of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld for war crimes
- New laws against home schooling
- Outlaw fee-for-service health care & doctor choice
- Mandated drug prices (=stifle new drug research)
- Authorize increase of Supreme Court from 9 to 12, then put in lefty justices
- Abolish Electoral College
- Reparations payments to blacks for slavery
- End of tax exempt status for churches preaching that homosexuality is a sin or other "political" speech
- Expanded "hate speech" laws to include any speech that is politically incorrect
I share Ebbomp's view and posting. Add to this list new protections for abortion and bold new laws on health care and life sustaining measures for the aged. No need to look after the elderly, they are consumers vs producers and didn't vote for Obama anyway. He has left to last possibly the most damning of all, that being the "hate speech" laws. The politcal decent crowd will close the barn door on descent and replace it with a new brand of political correctness and fear. This is clearly one of the reasons that talk radio and Fox News have been fighting Obama so vigorously. The light at the end of the tunnnel is The One!
All this stuff we developed for crowd pacification, supposedly for Iraq, but wouldn't deploy there for "humanitarian" reasons? They're going to use it here.
We were idiots to believe in the war. We SHOULD have told all the Noo Yawkers that if they cared about their war dead they should have sent a couple of their o-so-special policemen-and-firemen to NWFP to arrest the Taliban and get beheaded instead.
The Northeasterners are the sort of people to fuck up the occupation of Iraq On Purpose and then turn around and endorse the other party after escaping all blame.
Fox Noise announced this morning that the White House was summoning both political parties to discuss the "danger of terrorist attack immediately following the election." No mention of where the "attack" might be coming from.
Slightly off topic...Glanter, how the heck did you paste that pic into the body of your comment? I've never been able to figure out how - the best I've been able to do is add a link to the pic's website.
Posted by: Ricky bin Ricardo (Abu Babaloo) ||
10/19/2008 16:05 Comments ||
that works, but FYI: some sites really really don't like hotlinking though, as it hits their site's bandwidth to upload your pic everytime someone loads that comment. Don't be surprised if what you linked turns out to be a blank page with a warning later that day
Posted by: Frank G ||
10/19/2008 16:57 Comments ||
ahhh.... Tears of The Sun. Good flick, watched my DVD (again) last month
Posted by: Frank G ||
10/19/2008 17:07 Comments ||
"that works, but FYI: some sites really really don't like hotlinking though, as it hits their site's bandwidth to upload your pic everytime someone loads that comment"
Is there a better way to make the picture appear, Frank? One that won't piss off another website owner?
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut ||
10/19/2008 17:48 Comments ||
Oh, and by the way, re #23:
Hubba hubba! That shines my brass. :-D
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut ||
10/19/2008 17:52 Comments ||
if you have your own site, Barbara, copy/DL the pic there and direct the link to that (with all the due permissions required, of course, *wink* *wink*)
Posted by: Frank G ||
10/19/2008 18:28 Comments ||
ION RENSE > MAKOW: WILL LEAN YEARS LEAD TO COMMUNISM; + WAFF.com > GLOBAL SLOWDOWN [Decline] THREATENS MILLIONS OF JOBS IN CHINA, in Pearl River Delta includ Hong Kong + Many parts of Southern China. 1/4 of HK's Small- to Medium Biz's = Enterprises may becom bankrupt in next three months, + CHINA PUTS RAILWAYS IN THE HEART/CENTER OF NEW ECONOMIC STIMULUS PLAN [Post-US Bailout], as coupled wid new proposed Agriculture-Land Reform Policies.
* TOPIX > A SHORT PERIOD OF GLOBAL DECLINE AND RECESSION - DON'T BET ON IT!? The gross consequences of the US Crisis on international Lenders and Nation-specific Economies is NOT to be quickly corrected by the new Bailout, as the latter may firstly LOWER AMERICA's CREDIT RATINGS FOR A TIME WHICH IN TURN WILL FURTHER EFFECT PRO-US INTERNATIONAL LENDERS AND GOVTS VEE INTENSIVE PAN-ECON DEVALUEMENT UNTO NEW DEBTS. AMERICA's LOVE OF PERENNIAL DEFICIT SPENDING-BUDGETING [technically. National Bankruptcy = Banruptcy Leveraging] IS COMING HOME TO ROOST.
For the first time in my life my hair has grown long enuff to touch my shoulders - the Vietnam War Counterculture e.g. "HAIR" = AGE OF AQUARIUS - has finally caught up wid me. Its either that, or JACKY CHAN-JET LI in THE MONKEY KING.
Many men on my Father's side have receding hairlines or are de facto bald, so it remains to be seen iff I can succesfuly avoid "the Hair Gene" [hair loss]. I AM TEMPTED, THOUGH, TO TRY GOING FOR THE FULLY BALD LOOK i.e. BEYOND MY NORMAL ARMY = FATHER-KNOWS-BEST CREW CUT.
All I would need to is to find a proper HIPPIE CHICK to have nasty sex with and plan "the Revolution".
We may eventually have a civil war, a tax revolution or maybe Atlas will Shrug...I'm starting to warm to the thought of all three...BTW - some people will do just enough to make no more than $249K...God bless'em.
Having closely followed the debate on terrorism for a decade, I am mystified by the suggestion made by those who have transformed Batla House in Delhis Jamia Nagar into a pilgrimage site that the Indian Establishment has come to view every Muslim as a terrorist. Which person of consequence has said so? What is the evidence that the Indian State views 13 per cent of India as outlaws?
No political party and no political and religious leader have made such a preposterous suggestion. Yet, for the past month, important bodies of Indias Muslim community and secular politicians have worked themselves into a frenzy about the complete equation of Muslims with terrorism. What began as a run-of-the-mill protest by a nervous ghetto and a grandstanding Vice-Chancellor has escalated into a mischievous movement to scare Muslims into seeking the protective embrace of sectarian groups. Mobilisation through fear and panic has become the signature tune of those who want to divert attention from terror and confine the Muslim community to an emotional ghetto. Worse, there is an organised attempt to coerce a confused Government into abandoning the war on terror with the threat of withdrawal of political support by an entire religious community.
The game plan is insidious but it has already had a measure of success. Under pressure, the Delhi Police has more or less put on hold the follow-up investigations into the terrorist ring that was operating in Delhi. Mercifully, the Gujarat and Maharashtra Police have not followed suit. In other words, there have been no attempts to explore the wider links of the cell operating from Batla House. Have the leads given by Gujarat Police been pursued? Has there, for example, been any follow-up of why the group maintained close links with some who nominally claim to be journalists?
There is an orchestrated attempt to undermine the faith of Muslim in all the institutions of the State. There is, per se, nothing out of the ordinary in the demand for an inquiry into the Batla House encounter made, among others, by the Minority Cell of the Congress Party. It is routine for all those with any grievance to put forward such proposals and it is not obligatory for any Government to accede to the protesters. Yet, there is something sinister in the demand by Samajwadi Party MP Abu Azmi that 25 per cent of any inquiry panel must comprise Muslims. From here to the demand that Muslims must be tried only by Muslims is a small jump and this jump will, probably, be made during the General Election campaign.
Other institutions, too, are being transformed into extensions of the ghetto. The Minority Commission has turned into a sectarian pressure point and spends taxpayers money sloganeering. The National Integration Council meet last week had the usual quota of chief ministerial platitudes but beyond that it was turned into an unreal demonstration of a bid to cripple the fight against terrorism. One participant confided that there were moments the NIC resembled a working committee meeting of the pre-1947 Muslim League.
Likewise, a function last Friday in Aligarh Muslim University to commemorate the 191st birth anniversary of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan turned, predictably, into a political demonstration of angst. But it was also marked by a very revealing assertion of separateness. According to the Indian Express, the audience jeered as a students dupatta slipped off her head while she was on stage to talk about Sir Syed. In her confusion, the student looked around. Someone pointed at the dupatta. Only after she pulled it back did the audience let her speak.
The innocuous incident raises a pertinent question: Have public-funded universities like AMU and Jamia Millia accepted Mushirul Hasans assertion that we owe no explanation to anyone except ourselves and to our faith as their operating principle?
A dangerous social divide is being created between those who believe that terrorism must be stamped out and those who want to give the terrorists a protective cover built on a religious identity. The Muslim community must not allow itself to become a shield for those who want to disfigure India. Treason cant be made respectable.
Increasingly Pakistanis have to square up to face what could be a defining moment in their lives. They can either crawl into shelters and take refuge, trembling with fear and anxiety, or face up to what is now a reality of life in Pakistan. If they choose the latter, they must be ready to face it with courage, fortitude and resilience. So far it seems Pakistanis are either not comprehending what is so obviously staring them in the face or they are recognising it but are paralysed with fear and doubt. In this uneasy status quo, life as it is usually lived has all but come to a stop.
Not that this part of the world was famous for its high-quality night life, its great tourist havens or its magical realms of shopping delights, adventure, excitement and the time of your life. It was always a pale substitute for tourism in any sense of the word, notwithstanding Neelofer Bathktiar's "Destination Pakistan" claims made at that time. For years and years, there was a miniscule trickle of tourists who braved the elements, lack of infrastructure and other creature comforts to experience a rugged, off-the-beaten-track experience. But that number got smaller and smaller. I think it is safe to surmise that there was a time when the tourism department officials outnumbered the number of tourists who actually arrived. The blessed ministry in Islamabad which neither had funds or the drive or the motivation, half-launched harebrained schemes, held seminars where boring speakers meandered endlessly into abstractions of tourism, passed resolutions, attacked the goodies and went home. The great potential of the country was constantly held up till it almost became a substitute for the actual business itself. Figures were fudged, a talent which finds extraordinary practitioners in the fair capital of the country.
Continued on Page 49
NEW DELHI -- India's growing political and defence relations with the United States have apparently left Pakistan's military establishment ill at ease. Islamabad has vehemently protested the visit of US army chief General George Casey to 'disputed' Siachen, reflecting the deterioration in its relations with Washington. The Siachen is a 6,300 metre high lifeless glacier in the Karakoram range of Kashmir.
However, India and the US have refused to attach importance to Pakistan's burly indignation over Gen Casey's visit.
Continued on Page 49
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
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Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
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