Friday, October 31, 2008

GASP! How Dare He!

Over at Mark's blog, Casting Pearls Before Swine, commenter Wade Moline had this bit of insight about Barry Obumble:

"...he has said the constitution doesn't give government enough power, he has said this country is fundamentally flawed because the constitution is fundamentally flawed."

After reading that, I thought about how in the execution of the War on Terror, President George W. Bush was constantly accused of usurping our rights and, heaven save us! trampling on the Constitution of these here United States of America. Now we hear that Barry is less than pleased with the manner in which the Constitution was written. His words suggest change indeed. But is this the type of change any true American should be expecting? Does the hope expressed by Barely and his minions include a hope to change our Constitution to give the federal government more power? I was under the impression that it was a document designed to limit government's power. This from a constitutional "scholar". Where are all those Bush haters now? Willingly bending over, I'm guessing. "Thank you, may I have another!"


Teresa said...

I'm half-way through reading the second volume of a two volume set that compiles the public and private papers, newspaper articles, pamplets, etc involved in the public debate on the constitution. Ive lost count of the number of people who called it fatally flawed and that it didn't give enough power to the federal government, or that it was fatally flwaed and gave too much, or that it was fatally flawed and gave it out in wrong proportions to the various branches.

And some of these guys helped frame it and ratified it...with the very public observation that it would only work as long as the virtue of the people was in tact and none of them seemed to be able to agree on what that meant...

...doesn't seem like it's that terribly big of a deal to criticize the constitution...the people who made it did it, and continued to do it after it was made the law of the land.

It was generally agreed to have been merely the best document they could manage at the time.

Teresa said...

There is, however, a slight difference between criticizing the Constitution and working to ammend it through proper channels, and doing what Bush does, and just ignoring it.

Marshall Art said...

First of all, the fact that it was indeed ratified and was indeed thought to be the best they could manage says a lot for its validity and soundness.

Second of all, it's very subjective to say that Bush ignored it at all, when he clearly stated that he and his legal advisors felt they were well within the law Constitutionally. More to the truth is that his opponents didn't like his interpretation. No problem. We seriously have trouble with lefty interpretation.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

First of Marshall, the quote you cite is truncated and out of context. The "fatal flaw" happens to be the three-fifths clause, which recognizes the legitimacy of chattel slavery. It seems to me that this was, in fact, a fatal flaw, because in less than a century the spread of slavery led to the abandonment of the Union and a bloody Civil War. So, given that this was the context for the "fatally flawed" phrase, I would be forced to agree with Sen. Obama.

Second, the entire paragraph from which the person you cite quotes mentions the limits not as something to overcome, but as something that is, in general, a good thing. He cites the problems inherent in judicial oversight of such things as school integration and other judicial orders which failed not because of judicial overreach, but, as Obama notes correctly, judges and courts as they exist in the US aren't set up to do Administrative work. Again, he says this is a good thing. He does not support social or cultural experimentation from courts, but understands clearly this is the necessary prerogative of the Legislature. And he applauds this. Your entire post is premised upon a falsehood.


This information is out there, Marshall. All you have to do is spend a few minutes - I really do think you have the time to use Google - and you can find the entire quote, in context, and what Obama actually said (as opposed to all the nutty things people are saying he said). If you disagree with him, that's perfectly fine. Disagree with what he said, however, not with the lies other people are saying about him.

Vinny said...

So Wade makes a claim about what Obama said and you conclude that it must be true. I am glad to see that you are up to your usual discriminating fact checking.

Marshall Art said...

I've been looking and have thus far found only what everyone has been hearing on the talk shows. Even places that claim to have the full transcript present only the written version of what I've heard on the radio. So, as I've begged for too long already, provide links to support your assertions or don't waste my time. As risky as it is to review your links (as so often lefties have wasted my time with links that don't say what they think it says), I still check them out. So, as I am less than accomplished in the art of internet searching, just give a link to what you think supports your side of the debate and spare me the crap about not doing research.

Thus far, as I have stated, I have found nothing that comes close to Geoffrey's understanding of the "context" in which Crock O'Babble made his statements. Certainly nothing that says he supports the Constitution as written as Geoffrey claims. Vinny gives me crap about allegedly swallowing Moline's comments as fact, but apparently I'm supposed to do as much with their side of the story. (BTW, my point was that Moline's statements provoked a thought apart from the Obumble statements themselves. I could possibly have been more clear, but I thought I was dealing with smarter people.)

So there. I've researched to the extent my time limitations allow and have come up empty. Provide a link to support your response or admit you're throwing huge clumps of BS.

Vinny said...

Vinny gives me crap about allegedly swallowing Moline's comments as fact, but apparently I'm supposed to do as much with their side of the story.

No. That would be just as stupid as swallowing what you are swallowing.

Marshall Art said...

Once again, Vinny, the point of posting Moline's comments was thought that it provoked. But at the same time, it occurs to me that perhaps like Geoffrey, you don't buy the understanding of Obama's remarks that are shared by most on the right. Do you, as does Geoffrey, claim to have the whole story which has yet eluded my search? If so, and you do, then provide a link wherein I might educate myself. What could possibly be the point of holding such information back? Do you guys care so little for your fellow Americans that you would refuse to enlighten them? Perhaps I've not stated it enough, but I blog to learn as well as opine. Help me learn, oh lefty learned ones, won't you?

Vinny said...

[I]t ocurs to me that perhaps like Geoffrey, you don't buy the understanding of Obama's remarks that are shared by most on the right.

Since I don't have any idea what remarks you are referring to, it is impossible for me to say whether I share your understanding. All I know is that you "heard that Obama is less than pleased with the manner in which the Constitution was written." As far as I can tell, you don't even know what the remarks were. You simply know that someone else interpreted some unidentified remarks as confirming your negative view of Obama.

Vinny said...

BTW, should you happen to identify specific remarks, I will be unable to explain my understanding until Monday as I will be in Indianapolis over the weekend canvassing for Obama.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

OK, Marshall, here's the YouTube link. Sit and listen, and think while you do so.

He is focusing on the failures of the Civil Rights movement because it didn't focus on grassroots organizing, but relied on a judicial strategy. He is quite clear that (a) the courts aren't able to do things because the Constitution doesn't allow it; (b) doing the work of fundamental social change is and should be the provenance of the legislature. Does his constant talk of "redistribution" mean he is a Marxist? Hardly. It only means he is looking at ways to enact policies of economic democracy.

Marshall Art said...

The links not working. I'm having trouble with my computer at present but am anxious to check out the link. I must state, however, that based on your past performance, I don't expect to agree with your interpretation of his words. Hopefully, my family computer wizard, expected to visit Sunday, will correct my technical difficulties. Then, I can proceed to correct your difficulties understanding what your read and hear.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Well, I tried it and the link doesn't work for me, either, so here's the URL, just copy & paste, it's a little over four minutes from a 2001 radio interview done on WBEZ, Chicago's public radio station.

Now, as to whether or not we agree on "interpretation", the whole thing hinges on what, exactly, Obama is talking about here. His argument, in context, seems to be that the courts aren't very good at Administrative work. He admits his bias as a legislator, and says that serious work on economic justice and democracy, which can be called redistribution, is better done by the Legislature. No argument so far. The issue, then, is whether the redistribution of wealth in society is a good thing or bad thing.

This misses the point that government is never neutral about the distribution of wealth, precisely because it cannot be. Whether it is stifling economic growth through central planning, or encouraging economic democracy and entrepreneurship through a combination of pro-labor and pro-small business policies, even general, non-tax policy impacts the question of the distribution of wealth.

As to direct taxation and how it impacts wealth distribution, the commonly heard argument that the rich are overtaxed because they pay more taxes than other social cohorts misses a couple glaringly obvious points. First, they pay more because they have more to pay. Whether in sales taxes or income taxes - the rich buy more, and they have higher incomes so, of course, they pay more taxes. This is kind of "Duh."

The other point, often elided over, is that, as a percentage of total income, or purchasing power when speaking of sales taxes, the rich find it easier to pay more money because, even though the current highest tax bracket is, I believe 31% or 32%, it is far easier for someone to pay 31% of $1.5 million, say, than it is for a couple to pay 24% on $52,000. The persons in the lower tax bracket may, indeed pay not only a smaller portion in taxes, but a smaller actual dollar amount, but at a social cost that is far higher, because it removes much more disposable income from the overall economic pool, reducing the ability to purchase goods and services. Raising the highest tax bracket, as Obama is suggesting, to around 30%, while lowering the middle and lower brackets, would do two things. It would allow middle-income earners to keep more of their money for discretionary spending, rather than squirreling it away for tax time. Also, while generating more revenue at the higher end, it comes at a lower social cost, because a 4% jump in the income tax on someone earning even half a million dollars a year, is less of a burden, and certainly doesn't reduce that person's (or family's) purchasing power.

Marshall Art said...

Thanks for the address. I'll dig it later. But for now, the question is whether or not the federal gov should be redistributing wealth at all. Yes, it's true that the wealthy have more to spend, thus the higher tax doesn't impact them personally as much. But that's not the issue at all. The issue is taxing them more for the purpose of programs for which the federal government has no business furthering. Right now, without any changes to the tax rate at all, there is more than enough money sent to the treasury every April to cover that which the feds are mandated to do. Everything else should be cut, and cut drastically. Prosperity is the result of the actions of the people, not the federal government. The federal government only gets in the way