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Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by zimv20, Sep 25, 2003.
Everytime I read a story like this (and they are coming at a far too frequent a pace) the paranoid part of me shouts out for the release of the information of those secret meetings Cheney had with his dear friends in the Energy business. I don't like conspircy theories, but this nonsense could make Earl Warren rise from the grave and take notice.
This is the kind of stuff that will make us vote in a new president,perhaps all those marching democrats have a point?
The problem is, all those guys have been doing deals in the Petroleum Club in Houston since they first hit the executive levels in whatever company they work for. All of them know each other from the various country clubs and all that stuff.
But when it comes to running the complex operations of any oil endeavor, they're indeed a bunch of sharp, competent SOBs. You might be surprised at how many of them started low on the totem pole, too. Some of those old boar dinosaurs can handle Kelly tongs, lay a bead of weld or handle a track-layer with the best of them.
Or to look at it a different way, the White House is so completely tied into the Petroleum Club, they'd be hard pressed to find anyone for this job who isn't one of their old pals.
Yeah, this particular administration, it's the awl bidness. With the Clintons it was the trial lawyers and high-level academics. Back a while it was General Motors and FoMoCo. Carter had his Atlanta Gang.
Top folks in industry have always been on the short list for presidential advisors. They most generally always will be. Which industry(s) or sectors they come from will depend on the background of the particular President.
Any administration is going to have folks they respect and trust. I don't see how it can be any other way. Even the "Good Old Gal" network can wind up with a loose cannon or two...
One of my judgements about candidates--more commonly for governor, as the guessing is easier--is about who they will bring with them if they win. For instance, I've always liked Ann Richards; known her for a long, long time. However, when she ran for governor, she had political debts to groups for which I had little use; folks who were just way too liberal. She won, but had to appoint some real screwballs to various boards and commissions. Shame, too, 'cause Ann's a bright lady.
So you did have a use for, or were ok with, the groups Bush had a political debt to?
mac, I had no great enthusiasm for "Bushworld", but I had even less for the Gore crowd. I tend to hold my nose and vote against whomever I deem most harmful or for the least objectionable. "We're all gonna get shafted; the vote only determines which particular orifice."
My sentiments exactly, except reversed.
Yes, every White House is going to have its friends, but even assuming what you say is so, you haven't shown (for instance) how "trial lawyers and high-level academics" created the naked conflicts of interest we see with the Bush administration and the oil industry.
Well, having watched the changes in the tort liability laws since roughly 1966, and the general behavior and lobbying effects of the trial lawyers, I guess we'll just have to be in some sort of difference of opinion.
Next time you look at what's on top of a stepladder, or what's glued to the inside of a sunvisor on a pickup or van, or just look at a power-lawnmower, you can thank the trial lawyers for the added costs or hassles.
Lordy, I don't know whether or not trial lawyers' effects on stuff during the Clinton years involved any conflict of interest, nor do I care.
Ralph Nader began his hard work of inculcating the wild-eyed need for "safety at any cost" on this country, 40 years back. He seems to have succeeded pretty well, and the trial lawyers love him for it. Lotsa work for them, lotsa money, lotsa more legislation giving them more work. "It's for the children."
Now, this attitude is paying off in that the majority of the citizenry is apparently willing to accept the Patriot Act et seq as a fair tradeoff for less liberty.
So are you blaming the Patriot act on Ralph Nader and the Clinton administration?
Are you saying that a safety sticker on a sun visor is worse or more expensive than the what the oil industry people have given us - huge blackouts - price gouging in California - dirtier air - dirtier water? I have to ask, would you rather have stickers on everything or polluted water?
As long as it's cheaper to pay off a few injured consumers than to slightly modify a dangerous product business is going to put up with the injured consumers.
But I will agree with you that America is now a fearful country I just don't think it's because Nader championed seat belts or some stupid lawyer sued Burger King because the food is fattening. The most obvious thing is TV where everyone thinks psychokillers are rampant and murder is always the top story. Bush does not help by mentioning terror in every other sentence and using it to justify all of his domestic policy.
When Clinton had policy meetings he would tell you who was at the pollicy meetings. Cheney keeps everything a secret.
I don't follow this argument either. Personally, I've never been hassled by a sticker. The line of reasoning seems to be that trial lawyers are somehow enriched by product safety rules, when it seems to me, if anything, the opposite would be true.
"But I will agree with you that America is now a fearful country I just don't think it's because Nader championed seat belts or some stupid lawyer sued Burger King because the food is fattening. The most obvious thing is TV where everyone thinks psychokillers are rampant and murder is always the top story. Bush does not help by mentioning terror in every other sentence and using it to justify all of his domestic policy."
Nader is not at all "THE" cause. He is but one of many contributory causes, although he did provide some impetus. Part of iti s the TV stuff about "If it bleeds, it leads"--and we have all manner of worries generated about crime at a time of falling crime rates. Fears about auto safety at a time of declining safety-related events. Fears of "assault weapons", although they've been among the least-used guns in criminal events.
To me, this leads to a climate of vague fears, accentuated beyond rational thought. The fears, then, lead to a desire for "security", whether it be one's lawnmower, one's car or against "terrorism".
"Fear sells", somebody once said; it also generates money. The Democrats want us to send money so they'll win elections and keep the Republican from starving babies. The 'Pubs do the same, but with a different messsage. The NRA wants money to lobby against the gun-graabbers, and the Million Mom March needs money to protect us from the NRA.
And since it's secure employment, bureaucrats want more tax-money to protect us from whatever danger they can dream up.
None of this diatribe means that there are not things about which to worry. Nor does it mean all "programs" should be tossed out. I just think we've gone way overboard in substituting the actions/efforts of others--particularly government--for personal responsibility.
And it's this substitution which allows such things as the Patriot Act. It's just another step deriving from the notion of mandatory seat-belt laws. Same overall mentality.
Now mandatory seatbelt laws caused the sheep like response to the Patriot Act? Come on 'Rat, some things are done for the common good. Seat belt laws save lives. And trips to the hospital that you and I pay for if the person happens to be uninsured. And time that the cops spend at the accident site that they could spend doing something else. And keeps our insurance premiums down.
My major argument with most of your philosophy stems not from your way of life or personal ideals, but from your assurances that if we just give everyone their liberties that everyone will act like you do. If every hunter out there had your love of species and the land they hunt on, there would be no problems. If every driver truly evaluated their needs the way you do, and most came to your conclusion that an SUV just wasn't necessary for them, there would be no complaints from me about SUV's. If everyone who drove their quad was sensitive about where and how they drove it, we wouldn't need restrictions on where and how people operated them.
But, as in most of life, a few A-holes have to ruin things for the majority of people who do make good decisions. Government has a legitimate role in regulating things like seatbelts for the common good. If everyone was insured, and cops time was free, I'd say have at it, don't need a seatbelt if you don't want one. You have the right to make yourself road-pie. But that's not reality.
heh, i think it's a majority of a-holes ruining it for a few bright people...
mac, slow down and read all of my post (typos and all ) where I said that no one thing "causes" this general uneasiness that leads to an accentuated wanting of security.
It has nothing to do with my notions of liberty and responsibility.
I'm saying that for over forty years, now, a major goal in this country has been a growing need for a feeling of security that is beyond any rational level.
I'm not particularly against seatbelt laws. Heck, airbags are good things. Unintended consequence: People with their seatbelts fastened in airbag cars drive harder or more recklessly than those without. But the DEMAND for either these items or for mandatory use stems from this desire for security. Some demands are indeed reasonable.
The idea that for any untoward event, somebody must be at fault, is another part of this same deal. McDonald's coffee is no hotter than that from any coffee maker in most any kitchen in America. At the time of the lawsuit, I dug out a meat thermometer and checked our coffee pot. Same-o, same-o. 186F.
It is as though folks have come to believe that if we can just pass enough laws, and write enough regulations, we'll have a nice, warm, safe, swaddling cloth world.
And I say it ain't gonna happen, and on balance I'd rather take my own chances than rely on generally ineffective rules and regulations.
But I'm sort of a hard-butt on this. Always have been.
Oh I hate to bring this up but it was actually hundreds of people getting burned with the McDonalds coffee and McDonalds did purposefully raise the temperature of the coffee to cover up the bad taste for the cheaper beans. THe award was for one day of profit that McDonalds made on coffee.
One day of profit (just on coffee) does not seem unreasonable to me especially as they consciously gave out scalding coffee in flimsy cups to people in cars. Scalding so they could use cheaper beans and make more profit. With hundreds of people reporting serious burns in an important area (down there) you would think McDonalds would take some action. Nope! It would mean slightly less profit. I have no sympathy for them.
If you had used the example of the man who sued a nail gun manufacturer because he put a nail gun to his head and shot himself (not accidentally) complaining that there should be a safety that prevents one from shooting ones head then I would have to agree with you. Also suing a restaurant for fattening food is coo-coo.
With this administration the ties to industry are too close. Lobbyists who lobbied the govt. to pollute rivers are now in charge of rivers. Lobbyists who lobbied the govt. to cut down trees are now in charge of the trees. The guy who was the chief Air Force negotiator on that sweetheart lease deal for Boeing Air Tankers just took a job with Boeing. Halliburton gets billions of dollars of no-bid work from former CEO of Halliburton Dick Cheney. Energy policy is set in secret meetings with corrupt energy company CEOs. FCC officials meet 38 times with industry officials, flying all across the country to lavish spreads and meet only once with people for the public interest. 98% of the public was opposed to the new FCC regulations, yet they did what industry wanted! Ignored 98% of the American people in favor of industry!
Care to subsitantiate this claim?
Now you won't find me arguing that there are no silly or frivoulous lawsuits in this country. But you pick the silliest one you can think of and present it as representative of all that is wrong with our legal system. There are times when companies DESERVE to get their butts sued because they cut corners to make a buck. (Kinda goes back the the whole "I've never been hurt by someone getting rich" arguement.)
This is not a B+W issue. There are areas that I think are over-regulated as well as poorly regulated by people with political agendas rather than the good of the people at heart, but I don't pretend they are all on the "other side".
As an aside, the guy who wrote "October Sky" (Homer Hickam) once said that he never would have gotten his interest in science (in particular, rocket propellant) without the old chemistry sets kids could get in the '40's and '50's. Sold today, those kits would be considered tools for terrorists, since there are numerous ways you could make a bomb (that's what a rocket is essentially, an open-ended bomb) out of the chemicals in the kit. His arguement was that we can go to far in regulating saftey, that some risks are required for fun and education.
Now don't you think part of the whole need for security in this country comes from us being scared by the news media, polititians, and others who make money off of fear? For instance, the theme of the Bush admin since 9-11 has been "Be afraid... Give up your liberties for security." News media "Be afraid... watch us to see how bad things are out there." Democrats "Seniors, be afraid... the Repubs want to take your social security and med money away." The drumbeat of fear goes on. Michael Moore actually picked up on this quite well, although I'll wager you'll never watch Bowling for Columbine. Fear drives a whole lot of our society. The grasping for security is a response to that, not the cause of it.
AFAIK, Americans have lived in fear of anihilation by some external boogeyman for over 50 years now, with a short reprieve in the early '90's.
"Now don't you think part of the whole need for security in this country comes from us being scared by the news media, polititians, and others who make money off of fear?"
Well, isn't that pretty much what I was saying when I first wandered off into this?
The "Cold War" came as a jolt. We'd just won WW II, and Oops! A supposed ally suddenly threatened to slowly take over the world. Now, the actual effort at threat on the part of the USSR was real, although many of their smaller efforts here, there and yonder were overblown. Doomed of thier own inertia, you might say--non-fertile ground.
Anyhow, that's part of why I say no one thing CREATED the situation. It's an aggregation of media excitement, of Nader nattering, of environmental doomers, of anti-gunners, of car-safety folks' commentary--and a lot of other stuff...
My example of the McDonald's coffee is just that: It's an example of just how far beyond reason we've gone/are getting. It does not serve to obviate the need for redress when truly wrong actions have been done.
Another example of how far things go: Check out a powered push-type lawnmower. It logically has a little spring-loaded, hinged flap at the rear so you won't pull it back over your toes. That's good. But, it will also have a "Dead man's" throttle and probably a clutch. The reason? Some guy sued a manufacturer because when he picked up a mower by the shroud to trim his hedge, he cut off his fingers. And now a gazillion people gotta pay extra for "safety" because Dudley Doofus had a case of the terminal stoopids. Rudy Redneck, of course, will dig out some baling wire and bypass the Dead man controls...
One of the scarier articles I'd read in a long time appeared in the Atlanta paper after the Olympic Park bombing: 53% of those polled would give up some freedoms to have more security.
And now we have a very few griping about the Patriot Act, while the majority of the population is nodding in agreement with Ashcroft.
What I'm saying is that I connect this exaggerated need for safety and security with the acceptance of the Patriot Act. Too many people do indeed look upon government as Big Nanny.
No conservatives at fault here.
My objection is your portrayal as this soley being the fault of liberals.
Like I said, I don't pretend it all the fault of "the other side".
mac, no intent to say, "It's the liberals' fault.", although my examples are most likely as seen from a conservative viewpoint...
As for the seatbelts/airbags = more reckless, there's some insurance company data. Police reports about tickets and causes of wrecks, plus make/model of cars allow some correlation. Not sure I'd accept it as absolute, but when people feel safe they tend to push the envelope, whether consciously or unconciously.
My take on the seat belt issue is this:
I grew up in MT in the days before mandatory helmet laws. There was nothing greater than flying down the highway on my Yamaha with the wind flying through my hair. Mandatory helmet laws were an invasion of my right to choose! Fast forward to college and a Bianchi took the place of my Yamaha. Helmets were still for wimps and I was damned if I was going to wear one.
Until the day I was cycling home from work and heard a crash a couple of blocks ahead. A car didn't see a motorcycle and pulled out in front of it. The car was at fault. The guy on the motorcycle landed on his head, he wasn't wearing a helmet. He had long blond hair and it was floating in a pool of blood. In the paper the next day I read that he died en route to the hospital and that he was only a year older than I was.
I bought my first bicycle helmet a few days later and never ride without it. There may be some truth to the matter about people who feel safer tend to drive more recklessly but in the end it's the other guy you've got to watch out for. It's been proven time and time again that seat belts and air bags work. It took a long time for society to realize that and just as long before police and judges started enforcing the law. All government regulation isn't bad and sometimes we do need to be protected from ourselves or at least machines that truly can be unsafe at any speed.
I don't know if that guy would have survived the accident if he had worn a helmet and I don't know if my bike helmet will save me should I ever have an accident but the odds are in my favor so I'm going to keep wearing it.
Incidentally, about 8 or 9 years ago, the Seattle School District along with the police dept. started a bicycle helmet awareness program. They went into the classrooms of 2nd graders and on up and talked about the importance of wearing helmets. Local bike shops offered discounts to kids who completed bicycle safety courses and the police gave vouchers to those whose parents couldnt' afford helmets. The city of Seattle without passing any laws and with very little financial outlay was able to get kids to wear helmets to the point where not wearing a helmet was a very uncool thing to do.
Some may say this was social engineering but I say it was a common sense approach to a very serious issue.