Lessons from Obama (Part 1)…

There are only a few moments when the phenomenal world of the American blogosphere and our own tiny space coincide sufficiently to get people to glimpse at the way things are likely to go with us in a fast arriving future. This morning I have an op ed in the Irish Times, on what the Obama campaign might have to inform Ireland about its own tight insider and highly whipped game of politics.

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  • I still think TV is where campaigning is capturing the massess.

    Obama wouldn’t have spent the amount he did on a 30minute infomercial if the TV isn’t where its won or lost

    Would the same image be created with a 30min Youtube presentation??? sure it went from TV to interent but it started on the TV

    Internet – yes important – but ultimately the humble Television still has the sociable factor – when you’re at the PC you don’t want to be disturbed – (or you’re supposed to be working) hence somewhat unsociable – the TV has the sociability thing that the interent just can’t muster…. TV dinner – TV arguments – family time etc etc

    i know nothing – just a bit of a ramble…

  • Brian Walker

    Mick I’ve got a learning to do. I’m a techno-wobbler , not a –phobe, I don’t really know how to jump into the deep one of the blogsphere and I’m still not convinced I need to. It probably doesn’t help that I’ve been a lifetime supplier of the MSM and am a relative expert there. I’m open minded but frustrated. For example I’ve co-operated with Stephen Coleman on media analysis and am dimly aware of the first faltering steps to create UK On Line. I suffer from a variant of the description given to US American freedom of information – “censorship by disclosure” i.e. there’s so much of it that I don’t know where to turn.

    Last night the BBC had a blogging duo at their Times Square party to dig deep down into the local parties and precincts. But they were mainly used as a gimmick – ie you could only get a snapshot which didn’t begin to compare with the BBC’s gigantic split level set and animated computer map of voting progress in every precinct.

    Drudge and Huffington are among my saved favourites. While they post some original material they seem to rely overwhelmingly on the MSM for main strategic direction. So I treat them as a file.

    My impression is that even in the US and certainly in the UK the internet is used to whip up support in the bases and raise funds. It is not a main agenda setter unless like Drudge someone gets a good old fashioned scoop. Essentially the blogs fill in innumerable gaps and angles that MSM is too cumbersome to cover. That’s great but not central. Their weakness is that they are myriad small silos that don’t much talk to each other and need the MSM or a big space like Huffington to pull them out of the crowd. Unless you’re a fanatic, life is to short to keep combing cyberspace. Am I wrong? Why don’t I know I’m wrong if I am? Is a jealous MSM covering up?

    On the Lisbon Treaty campaign, I’m not in a position to argue but I would point to other factors as well: a complacent cross party consensus that barely bothered to campaign, Libertas’s role at the other pole along with SF and therefore used by RTE to supply balance. I’ve no doubt web resources were helpful to their cause but were they central?

    Blogs range from adjuncts of MSM to small silos and segments. Their greatest strength is diversity of opinion, their greatest weakness is partly a function of that strength, a lack of original research and a reliable fact base. Blogs in academic and other specialist sites are usually dull and fitful. Outside the MSM blogs there are too many enrages and bigots. A huge question that preoccupies you must be : will the blogsphere improve trust in politicians? Not while it’s so partisan, it won’t. In our small neck of the woods that’s why the development of Slugger is healthy, getting in n fast and early as you did to promote dialogue across the divide and communication generally. But Slugger doesn’t seem to me to be typical. It occurs to me I’ve been pontificating with all too limited knowledge. Am I wrong? And post-US election, where do we go from here?.

  • As Watson notes: “Small but well-connected can be more effective than huge and widely disbursed.”

    The internet is a fantastic tool for channelling information to the people that matter: the opinion makers and decision takers.

  • Harry Flashman

    The internet will have the same effect on society and politics as the Gutenberg Bible and the penny press and will be resisted as violently by the establishment as those innovations were.

    It is very much in the interest of the “mainstream media” (yes I know it’s a tiresome phrase but if someone can come up with a reasonable alternative I’ll be happy to use it) to pretend that the blogosphere is the domain of saddos living in their mothers’ basement apartments ranting to other oddballs but that is not so.

    Almost all of the stories (including the stupid ones ie the Palin baby swap story) that got traction in the media originated on the internet while the corporate media types huffed and puffed behind trying to keep up but insisting to themselves that they were the only legitimate journalists and news reporters.

    Expect to see a plethora of big city newspapers in the US go out of business soon, amalgamations in the major networks, in the UK and Ireland a slashing of licence fees and the commensurate howls of outrage from the old vested interests as the new technologies take over.

    Already Mick is in the Irish Times, the old order changeth, and “change” is the order of the day is it not?

  • Big Maggie

    Mick

    With respect, bloggers are getting too big for their boots. They imagine they’re on a par with real journalists. Sure, some of them are: those that ARE journalists. But the difference is that to be a journalist you have to, er, train to be one, to apply for a job, serve your apprenticeship etc. A blogger need only pay someone to host his blog. No other qualifications needed. That’s why I’m with ‘a wile melee’ on the subject of TV.

    And speaking of which, thank Christ the election is over and we can all get back to do what we do best in NI: annoying the fuck out of our neighbours. BTW I hear Caitriona Ruane is organising a Bring Them Home campaign for the 170+ BBC journalists who went to the USA to ‘cover’ the election.

  • Harry Flashman

    Maggie, that’s what very eminent cardinals of the Catholic church said when the idea was mooted that ordinary people should be able to read the Bible themselves in their own language and make their own minds up instead of having very clever professional clergy interprate what was written in the Bible for their benefit.

    Many kings, emperors, presidentes for life have also objected to the idea that their subjects might be able to work things out for themselves, much better to have well trained clerks and bureaucrats tell the ordinary citizen what he needs to know.

    If this election proved anything it is that the mainstream journalists haven’t actually got a clue what is going on and the only way they could find out was by consulting the citizen journalists on the internet in order to discover what the real stories were.

    Is there a load of pish on the internet? Of course there is, but intelligent readers quickly discount that and dud bloggers soon fall by the wayside. I’m afraid the writing is on the wall for the old style media and not a moment too soon.

  • Big Maggie

    Harry Flashman

    That’s fair enough. If you happen to hear a knocking in your water pipes one of these days give me a call. I’ve no experience or training as a plumber but am willing to learn. Oh and I won’t charge you. Internet blogs don’t either. But as me oul’ ma used to say: You get what you pay for.

  • Driftwood

    There is also a grey area between ‘journalists’ (Robert Fisk etc) and ‘commentators’ Jeremy Clarkson anyone? And there is also a glut of blogs which must have small readerships and little or no influence. A few like huffington hit critical mass and attract mass audiences. TV and radio will remain important, but surely, the print media has to contract. Virtually all newspapers are now online, so their printed copy is not really ‘news’ as such.

  • Harry Flashman

    The only difference between Jeremy Clarkson and Robert Fisk is that the former doesn’t hide his prejudices and pretend to be a neutral observer of facts while at the same time pushing his own biased opinions as impartial fact. Sorry but I’ll take the honest Clarkson for all his idiocy any day of the week, at least I know he’s not lying to me.

    Maggie, come around and fix my pipes and if you make a bodge of it I’ll kick your head in and I won’t pay you, that seems to be a fair situation as opposed to the current one where only “professional” plumbers may fix my pipes, charge me extortionately and if my toilet still leaks I can only appeal to a board of supreme plumbers which not surprisingly is made up entirely of “professional” plumbers.

    Oddly enough in this context isn’t it ironic that one of the major news stories of the US election (again gaining prominence through the internet) was about a plumber who was dismissed by old established journalists as not being a real plumber because he didn’t have a “license” from the gub’mint?

    In journalism and plumbing I’ll take my chances with the honest freelancer rather than the government funded fraud, they may well both land me up to my neck in shite but at least I can have my revenge on the freelancer.

    Never trust government workers and monopolists to do what you and your neighbours are pefectly capable of doing yourselves.

  • Big Maggie

    Driftwood

    the print media has to contract

    I agree. So do other media like TV. They’re all fighting over a diminishing piece of the action. Which is why our media are stuffed full of non stories. For instance, did we need to hear from EVERY source possible that Madonna turned 50 or that she was divorcing Whats-his-name? It used to be so that BBC1 differed from BBC2 and the commercial stations. No longer. So what’s the point?

  • Big Maggie

    Harry

    If you think about it your Bible analogy is as valid as my plumbing analogy, which is why I chose it in the first place. The subject is blog writing not blog reading.

  • Mick Fealty

    Did you mention the Reformation and the 16th century Pamphleteers already Harry (it’s my third such gig, but this one gave me much pleasure since they gave a decent slot OpEd rather than a feature place)?

    Brian & BM,

    My father (God rest him) was an old school barman who served a five year apprenticeship in the early thirties in Robinsons. I know he was my Da, but I saw him in action behind the bar and he was a class act at what he did. He was probably one of the last of his type as the trade went down market, part time and became decidedly amateur. Yet many more people go to pubs these days in Belfast than they did back in the forties and fifties when he was at the height of his powers.

    It happens to professions. Many of the skills he learned became redundant, and the demand outstripped the capacity to supply professional full timers. Although, I have to say that a few of the old school still adhere to the old values.

    There are still class acts out there in journalism: we link them when we can.

    But ask yourself: what is/was Real Clear Politics? Four five years ago it was a just a thoroughly good blog, not far in its way from the Slugger model. Now Time owns it and its content is syndicated all over the world in mainstream papers like the IT and the Guardian.

    Last night, Twitter was my main news feed (I took in very little tv). I was picking stuff up instantly from right across the mainstream news channels and getting high level comparative analysis from professionals, academics, PRs and just intelligent and engaged amateurs from all sides. We linked the video of the Black Panthers hours before it made FOX news.

    It’s happening whether people want to accept it, not. You may think the people involved are not worth a second look; nothing is as individual and subjective as an individual’s value path through the morass of the net. It’s as seemingly haphazard as a chapter structures of Joyce’s Ulysses. But that’s both the excitment and the relevance of this technology.

    The genius of the Obama campaign was to do something that was both engaged and ‘new media’ and combined that something (besides raising TV dollars; that the mass market still exists and remains crucially important, even as it is failing to monetise itself) which actually worked on the ground.

  • Harry Flashman

    No it’s not, it’s determining what constitutes fact and news. If the BBC in 1955 said that Prince Phillip being seen with a dolly bird in some dodgy bar in Soho was not news, then it was not news, simple as that.

    If all the main newspapers in the US decided that there was no merit in the allegations that John Edwards was having an affair with a staff worker and in all probability was the father of her baby then there was a time when that would have been an end of it.

    But the alternative media (and yes I include the trashy tabloids in this) thought otherwise and the blogs ran with the story and the stuffed shirts in the mainstream media ended up looking pretty silly.

    The blogs also fired of half a million other hairbrained stories most of which never got off the ground (although amazingly CNN sent a team to Anchorage Alaska within hours of some idiot alleging that Sarah Palin had swapped with her daughter’s baby) because in a free market the quality will quickly assert itself over the trash.

    It is the job of the monopolists in the old media to stifle that free market information, they will be as successful as the Lord Chamberlain of England was in censoring books and plays in 1968.

  • Mick Fealty

    Harry,

    “In journalism and plumbing I’ll take my chances with the honest freelancer…”

    That would be the unlicensed Joe the Plumber then?

    BM,

    “But as me oul’ ma used to say: You get what you pay for.”

    Everybody’s oul ma tells you that, but the net actually inverts that age old proposition.

    Why? Because there is a pay off for offering stuff for free: you become a convener and participant in conversations that make you smarter than your real world competitors.

    Go back to the original IT piece and the role of Politics.ie in the Referendum campaign. David has been running that site as long, if not slightly longer, than Slugger: for free. That investment yielded tangible results for him and Libertas last year.

    Four men (and a woman, I was told afterwards) yes. But the website and what they did with it was crucial. It made them smarter than their competitors, which is one reason why the MSM found their arguments compelling even when sometimes they weren’t.

    But then I have not argued that everything that happens on the net is necessarily good! 😉

  • Big Maggie

    Mick

    Well argued. Not sure I like being called ‘BM’ though. I’ve never been a part of any movement and never wish to be :^)

  • Mick Fealty

    That’s because I tend to keep good intelligent company Maggie on line and off. It wears off on you, eventually! 😉

  • Harry Flashman

    I used to drive to work in the morning and as I did so I listened to the BBC tell me what the important news of the day was, along the way I’d stop off and buy a few newspapers (I was the newspaper buyer in our joint, someone else got the buns and made the tea); the Daily Mail, the Mirror, the Daily Telegraph or Guardian depending on my mood and the Derry Journal if it was a Tuesday or Friday.

    That and the news bulletins on Downtown Radio in the workplace and then the evening news and Newsnight when I got home, were my sole sources of information about the world, I not unnaturally regarded myself as a well informed citizen. I simply accepted everything that I heard from these sources, and in fairness 90% of the time no one lied to me, but the fact remains that some bastards were lying to me all the same and until the arrival of the internet I had no idea how much they were lying to me.

    Like Brian Walker, and no matter how much I might tend to disagree with him in a personal capacity here he was a straight journo in his day (and as was Mick’s Dad in his line of work), there was a hard core of honest professionals but unfortunately far too many frauds entered the game and abused the innate decency and trust that we’d come to take for granted in their profession to sell us dodgy goods. Far too many professionals were prepared to defend the hucksters rather than see any criticism of their business and so the brand was devalued.

    Now we have the unfortunate situation where if we think they’re all a bunch of self opinionated nincompoops and party partisans then we should at least be free to pick and choose, as a result the honest reporters on the internet (step forward Mr Fealty) will succeed and the nincompoops will go under, but at least we the punters now have a real choice.

  • Driftwood

    Harry
    Checking out Fisks wiki, 7 times British press Best Foreign Journalist and sundry other honours. I don’t always agree with his analysis, but its a bit classier than Richard Littlejohn or Tony Parsons.
    Good to see Chris hitchens on the BBC last night, I don’t neccessarily agree with him on a lot either, but good to listen to.
    TV, I tend to go for Channel 4 news because it doesn’t go for the lowest common denominator. Good shows like Unreported World make up for all the dirge sometimes.
    But blogs can be incredibly powerful. Witness Turkey not allowing access to Richard Dawkins’ website.

  • One point I want to make from the Times article is when you say: “Using low or no-cost means of the internet, Obama was able to build significant levels of support in areas of the country where Democrats had traditionally been weak.”

    I think that is almost a romantic notion of the online campaigning.

    The website and online campaign was not no to low cost, it was bespoke and cost a fortune, it raised a fortune but it was far from costing nothing.

  • Dan Breen’s Revolver

    lesson 2:

    The country regarded loftily by many Europeans as hopelessly racist has voted to be ruled by a black man.

  • Harry Flashman

    Who awarded Bob Fisk (by the way don’t get me wrong he’s a superb reporter but unbiased he ain’t) these gongs? Yes, fellow professional journalists, it’s like the guild of horse buggy makers confidently awarding each other prizes while ignoring those upstarts at Ford Motor Company.

    I too like Channel 4, due entirely to the fact that it makes no attempt to hide its bias, that’s fine, I will live with that in the same way as I will read well written blogs whose opinions I don’t share, however I object to people serving up what they describe as professional unbiased reporting but whose malodorously biased stench I can detect from a hundred yards downwind.

    Red Mum, not only was Obama’s net campaigning not free it was in fact hugely profitable, it is now clear that a massive amount of his funding came from dodgy internet donations whereby his staff had intentionally disabled fraud protection systems and allowed vast sums to be contributed from unverifiable and frankly often blatantly false sources (one blogger contributed under the names of Saddam Hussein and Adolf Hitler, the money was taken from his credit card account).

    How do I know this? Well I didn’t pick it up on the news media but it was a big story on the blogs. Clearly such a story was simply too much effort for the staffers at the big networks to check out.

  • Big Maggie

    Harry Flashman

    t’s like the guild of horse buggy makers confidently awarding each other prizes while ignoring those upstarts at Ford Motor Company.

    LOL.

    Just to throw another spanner in the works, I remember reading Jay MacInerney’s novel ‘Bright Lights, Big City’ several decades ago. The protagonist was a cokehead who worked as a fact checker for the fictional equivalent of the New Yorker. It came as news to me that such as thing could be a real job. But it was and still is.

    When blogs start employing fact checkers I’ll start taking them a little more seriously.

  • 6countyprod

    ObamaNation.

    So it begins, and so it shall continue…

  • lardass

    It’s laughable that when a genuine point is made against blogging (those who compare it with real journalism need to grow up) that the bloggers answer in defence of the entire internet. The internet is a fantastic resource, blogging is a miniscule, unimportant part of the overall package.

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    Some perspective, please.

    This is breathless…”There are only a few moments when the phenomenal world of the American blogosphere and our own tiny space coincide sufficiently to get people to glimpse at the way things are likely to go with us in a fast arriving future.”…but I’m not sure what it means.

    Do you mean we can learn things from America?

    (“highly whipped game of politics” eh?)

    You seem to be arguing that it was the bloggers wot won it. Oh, no they didn’t. Not unless the average US political blog does things differently than what’s on offer here.

    For example: “you become a convener and participant in conversations that make you smarter than your real world competitors.” Does UHM quacking away make you smarter? It might, inadvertently, make you (me and everyone else) FEEL smarter but ultimately it devalues your efforts.

    See also: “Far too many professionals were prepared to defend the hucksters rather than see any criticism of their business and so the brand was devalued.”

    Or: “ObamaNation.
    So it begins, and so it shall continue…”

    Stop worrying about side-issues, personalities, self-referencing and encourage more critiquing of policies and issues. Just saying, like…

  • Mick Fealty

    Red,

    Before we go on, here’s Maxwell’s briefing paper: http://url.ie/v79

    I hear what you are saying, and I understand given the ‘preachiness of some of us bloggers, why it reads as naive to anyone holding a limited budget. But I believe the costs are relative.

    – One thing that politics in the states has to do that we don’t is raise shed loads of money for tv ads.

    – We also don’t have the kind of mass market the American pols do, nor the mass costs.

    – The cost savings arise from the savings in office rentals, phone lines etc, that prevent parties from doing the kinds of micro networking that made the Obama thing work.

    – This is a steal for some of the smaller parties with an ideological base who can build momentum in areas they cannot afford to formally organise in.

    What Maxwell seizes upon and which I vicariously picked up from him, is the campaign’s use of ‘franchised marketing’, using small distributed networks and backing them into a mainframe database all parties old anyway.

    He notes:

    …while the new media has been used with great effect to both recruit and help supporters, there is no suggestion that the new media is being used to influence the core messages of the campaign.

    For all the technological enthusiasm, it is still a campaign that is strictly controlled from the centre. It is a ‘one-way’ campaign.

    Hence rather than creating a new paradigm, as some claim, the use of new media has led to a form of political organisation which resembles that of UK political parties in the 1950s: a mass membership, volunteer base with a strong social network and a loose ideological base which gives limited personal support to a strong central party organisation.

    It seems to me that this is a functional way for political parties to leverage the net. More power to the Irish party that picks it up and runs with it.

  • Mick Fealty

    lardass,

    Tell us more?

    billy-Joe,

    Glad to see you’ve come back to being yourself again. I may ‘seem’ to you to have argued that, but I have done no such thing.

    Trolls are an occupational health hazard of operating in an open commons. Closing off the commons (some MSM blogs simply will not allow anything that criticises the blogger/paper and consequently there are no conversations there whatsoever) is effectively cutting off your nose to please your face.

  • @Mick I’m not saying it shouldn’t be done – far from it and indeed more is being done than is being given credit for/understood or appreciated. I just had to point out that what you said about Obama’s use of the internet was far from free, far from it. There was a serious cost to doing it all, well worth it of course and bloody brilliant too, but still a serious cost.

    I can’t open the link by the way.

  • Dave

    “The genius of the Obama campaign was to do something that was both engaged and ‘new media’ and combined that something (besides raising TV dollars; that the mass market still exists and remains crucially important, even as it is failing to monetise itself) which actually worked on the ground.”

    What genius? The pendulum swings back and forth in US and European politics where there are two main parties: Republicans or Tories do 2 or 3 terms and then Democrats or Labour do 2 or 3 terms (one term if they make a mess of it). The Democrats had the advantage of a $600 slush fund to spend on advertising in the pro-Democrat mainstream and Internet media (and profit signs ensured that media competed feverishly with each other for a share by proffering pro-Obama pulp). The Democrats had the advantage of two deeply unpopular wars and the advantage of offering a youthful candidate who wasn’t pro-war, compared to the Republicans who proffered a tired old warhorse like McCain. Americans can’t afford anymore wars. They know it. They’d no intention of voting for a man who sang “Bomb, Bomb Iran” when a third war loomed with Iran. The Democrats had the advantage of the financial markets going haywire in the closing stages of the campaign. The Democrats had the advantage of bribing the bottom 60% of Americans who contribute only 0.6% of income tax with a cheque from the federal government (a Welfare cheque disguised as a ‘rebate’ for the 40% who don’t pay any income tax at all and, ergo, have no rebate entitlement) if they voted for Democrats. Naturally, they would factor their own selfish gain and would vote Democrat as designed. Given that everything was going the Democrats way, the Democrats failed spectacularly to capitalise on it, never managing to get more than a single digit lead over a Republican. Genius? No, good old-fashioned clienism, appealing to selfish interest at the direct expense of the national interest.

    The Democrats used the Internet media to engage in the negative campaigning and double-messaging that they were cute enough not to do in the mainstream media. For a practical example of deniable double-messaging, after Joe the Plumber questioned Obama on how his tax policy would penalise entrepreneurs, Obama let it slip that he favoured redistribution of wealth, thereby opening up debate in the mainstream media about the degree to which socialist dogma informed Obama’s economic view. This was a legitimate debate about stealth/incremental socialism, but had been successfully censored thus far. The people then began to wonder exactly what Obama meant by his unspecific mantra of change. Change suddenly made Americans nervous. Was there a duplicitous agenda here to introduce socialist dogma into government by the backdoor, by presenting it as something else? So, to counter this, you suddenly had a flood of Internet blogs – who had been repeating the slogan of change – shift to implying that change actually meant no change – things would be as American as they ever were but just a little ‘fairer.’ Since the slogan of Change was Obama’s (and Blair’s) principle mantra, they couldn’t qualify it in the mainstream media without de jure contradiction of it, so they used the deniable Internet blogs to qualify it for them, allowing them to play it down in a way that they wouldn’t have to acknowledge as formally linked to the Democrat propaganda machine. in this regard, the Internet media were just campaign patsies, much like the mainstream media.

    Incidentally, as journalists and bloggers rush to mark the interpretation territory now that the Republicans have lost the public’s support (rather than the Democrats winning it), perhaps they could do it without the sycophantic hype? Even sober bloggers like Archbishop Cranmer are losing the run of themselves in the rush to find an angle and stake it, transmogrifying a Chicago bagman into Saint Paul:

    “President Obama will be African American in a manner which will conceal elements of its radical characteristics and beliefs. He will be black to black people, and not so black to the white people. He will be a Muslim to the Muslims, and a Christian to the Christians. He might even become a Jew to the Jews. Such accommodation is essential for building trust and arriving at consensus. The Apostle Paul understood this, though he maintained core beliefs.”

    Pass the sick bucket.

  • PaddyReilly

    The interesting thing about this election is that it will lead to a repeat of the Éamonn phenomenon. For those of you not old enough to remember, a frequent conversation in the 60s went:-

    –But ma, I don’t want to go to England to work. They’re stuck up and they don’t like Dogs, Irish or Coloureds!
    –Nonsense! Look how well Éamonn Andrews did!

    Now, up and down the Union, in homes and Welfare Buros, we can expect to hear:-

    –How I is can find de work when de white racist mothers is oppress and discriminate de poor brothers?
    –Bullshit! Look at Barack Obama!

    It was a very astute move on the part of America’s urban white population to vote in Obama. It deprives a very considerable swathe of the feckless male black population of their best excuse.

    And anyway, Barack ain’t a proper brother. He was brung up white. And none of his forebears were slaves.

  • Mick Fealty

    Red,

    It’s a download, so it may be misfiring. Try this: http://url.ie/v7p.

  • spanishroomscrumpy

    HF

    far too many frauds entered the game and abused the innate decency and trust that we’d come to take for granted in their profession to sell us dodgy goods. Far too many professionals were prepared to defend the hucksters rather than see any criticism of their business and so the brand was devalued.

    For a media brand that’s been devalued try your heroes – you remember them, the expert prognosticators over at FOX news; this clip of the funereal atmosphere at FOX as Karl Rove realized Ohio was lost just as he was talking about how vital Ohio was for McCain is the funniest thing I’ve seen all election.

    http://tinyurl.com/5zzdev

    By the way Flashy, it’s morning in America, as a certain Great Communicator used to say. You do remember what we were all we’re supposed to find out on the morning of Nov. 5, don’t you?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Dave:

    Obama let it slip that he favoured redistribution of wealth, thereby opening up debate in the mainstream media about the degree to which socialist dogma informed Obama’s economic view.

    Quotations from that well-known pioneer and defender of socialism, Adam Smith :

    It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.

    And, of course,

    What improves the circumstances of the greater part can never be regarded as an inconvenience to the whole. No society can be flourishing and happy if the greater part of the members are poor and miserable.

    I think with this next one, Dave, he might have been referring to you.

    This disposition to admire, and almost to worship , the rich and powerful, and to despise , or , at least neglect persons of poor and mean conditions, though necessary both to establish and to maintain the distinction of ranks and the order of society, is, at the same time, the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments.

    So far, we have established that your definition of socialist dogma includes anyone who works to make affordable privately-owned housing available to the masses (Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative Party) and anyone who thinks that redistribution of wealth is a good idea (Adam Smith and most centre-right Conservatives in the world, including in the Republican Party). Next you’ll be telling us that Milton Friedman is a Marxist.

    Sadly, I think your definition of “socialist” is “anyone who wants to help poor people”. If that’s the case, I hope you can recover your humanity and compassion some time soon.

  • Rory

    This episode of the Radio 4 programme Iconoclasts in which, “Andrew Keen, one of the pioneering entrepreneurs of the internet boom, argues that Web 2.0 is an anarchic movement that destroys culture of real value”, followed by discussion from a panel of the not-quite-so-great but striving-to-be-good, and broadcast earlier this evening, addresses sticky issues on this topic, and more, and I would recommend that others might listen to it.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00f80w5/Iconoclasts_Episode_2/

    I would also welcome some brave soul who might care to write an opinion of the programme (preferably after listening) and perhaps lead a discussion.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Rory,

    I think control, and then democracy, always prevails out of anarchy in the end. As a case in point, I refer you to Wikipedia (which is closer to the “control” stage rather than the “democracy” stage), which started out as – intentionally – an anarchy.

  • Mick Fealty

    I did a session on You and Yours last year with that guy. Never answers a straight question.

    I’ll listen, but this is what I’ve said on the matter before: http://tinyurl.com/6h85gf

  • Dave

    Comrade Stalin, rather than waste my time typing to someone whose politics was decided once and for all time by reading Marx, I’ll post a link to a post of mine from yesterday.

    http://sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/campaign-notes-from-penn/P25/

    The only comment I’ll add is that it is possible for non-socialists to also want to see all strata of society do well and that the actual point of difference is the economics of attaining a shared agenda. It is, however, a fact that the bottom 40% of American workers pay no income tax at all and that the bottom 60% pay only 0.6% of the tax take. In effect, the top 40% are carrying the bottom 60% who are getting a free ride at their expense. That is not sustainable, and making big government even bigger as Obama proposes to do will cause a critical failure (as outlined in the above link) as the laws of economics come into play. The problem that socialists have is that they despise the class of people whom they depend on to provide the economic prosperity for the classes of people whom they embrace. Biting the hand that feeds you isn’t good practice. 😉

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    I didn’t read the Irish Times link, merely your intro and I stumbled across this. The thrust of some of your recent comments seem to trumpet the power of blogging.

    Ahem: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/oct/24/blogging-isnt-dead

    We could argue the accuracy of the claims made in the link but it’d be a stunningly boring exercise.

    You might want to consider your ‘play the ball not the man’ mantra. Often, criticising the buffoons we elect is valid. Instead slugger offers endless rehearsing of the over-familiar, self-satisfied, smug positions many people hold. It makes the whole debate stale and wearisome.

    Never worry about who is posting, consider what they are saying.
    You could delete the worst excesses of some of the worst contributors. Alternatively you can write articles such as the one above but have a look at your ‘councillors of the week’. It died after four and some of those were a joke. North Down ‘ladies’ with no policies etc.

  • latcheeco

    Mick,
    The standard of MSM journos (especially local affiliates) is often so bad here and they’re so corporately slanted that unless that changes eventually everybody with half a wit will be getting real news and views online from blogs if they are not already, butI doubt it sways opinion too much yet(but of course “half a wit” still rules out vast swathes of the population forever, myself included).
    I might be unique but if I wanted an honest heads up (because you really get both sides) about the north i’d go to slugger way before the likes of bbcni(just look at their coverage of last Sunday compared to Slugger’s whatever side you are on).
    BJR,
    Give UMH a break, its good to talk or do you think the blogasphere should be restricted just to smart people like yourself. Get somebody to remind you how Gusty Spense was “turned” into a socialist. Jesus Mick’s practically one of us now 😉
    Dave,
    Boo frickety hoo, the pendulum swung so far left in reaction to and because of the bollix the right made of things over eight years. Cometh the hour cometh the (black/white) man. Your democratic nightmare is only beginning because if he runs the country the way he ran his campaign the country will be trying to get the Constitution changed in 2016 to get him a third term 🙂 Young smart people rock!
    Your tax analysis conveniently leaves out the taxes people pay on everyday things like food, clothes,gas etc. which hit the poor harder than the rich. Here’s an idea for you:more people with more money buy more things. Trickle down economics is pish down economics

  • Dave

    “Boo frickety hoo, the pendulum swung so far left in reaction to and because of the bollix the right made of things over eight years. Cometh the hour cometh the (black/white) man. Your democratic nightmare is only beginning because if he runs the country the way he ran his campaign the country will be trying to get the Constitution changed in 2016 to get him a third term 🙂 Young smart people rock! ”

    Obama was elected with 52% of the popular vote. That is called crawling over the finishing line – his righteous wind must have been mere flatulence. If his campaign qualified his as president, then it is his campaign manager who is so qualified. And as the slim margin of victory shows, his campaign sucked. Lastly, unlike the LaLaLand that his sycophants inhabit, Obama will have to take a crash course in reality wherein he will discover that raising taxes slows economic growth, causing those folks he made promises to lose their jobs. In addition, the stock market reacted to his election today by crashing 500 points. Get used to it, because your dollar is going to crash next as this clown learns why being a good teacher/community worker doesn’t qualify you for anything in particular even if it does help the short-sighted to mistake you for the next messiah rather than just being a very naughty boy, apparently.

    “Your tax analysis conveniently leaves out the taxes people pay on everyday things like food, clothes,gas etc. which hit the poor harder than the rich. Here’s an idea for you:more people with more money buy more things. Trickle down economics is pish down economics”

    And here’s a novel concept for you: try earning the income to fuel your demand-side economics rather than rely on the productive members of society to earn it for you, parasite.

  • Dave

    One of the ironies of American politics is that a new majority class of citizens who pay zero or nominal income tax was created under Bush. A second irony is that Bush – from the Reagan party of small government – made government 43% bigger during his tenure (Clinton made it 23% bigger).

    The creation of this new class as a majority of citizens has very worrying implications for democracy in America. While it is unavoidable that there would be representation without taxation, it is avoidable and it is not acceptable in a democracy that all representation is subject to the veto of those who do not pay income taxes.

    The power of this group is predicated on the assumption that it is proper for the majority to be designated as freeloaders, enjoying a lifestyle that is only made possible by the hard work and enterprise of those who pay taxation. This majority group now has a vested interest compelling the minority group to pay higher taxes, for the more taxes the minority group pays, the better off the majority group will be (for as long the minority group endure this arrangement). In addition, the political class can now cater to the whims of this group, knowing that it will secure re-election if it continues to promise them greater rewards from the state. Obviously, you can’t appeal to this majority groups selfish interests by promising them a tax cut, so instead you appeal to them by offering them free money that is to be ‘redistributed’ from the minority group. This majority group must be told that they have a ‘right’ to the wealth of the minority group and that it is ‘fair’ that the minority group should agree to this arrangement. It is the minority group who are ‘selfish’ if they disagree rather than the majority group who are ‘selfish’ for seeking income that others have earned. So, now that this new majority class of freeloaders was created by Bush, it will be expanded in numbers by Democrats (the core group of 40% who pay zero income tax will expand to 49%) and sustained by promotion of an entitlement culture.

    Fortunately, however, the fatal flaw in this profoundly anti-democratic and cynical manipulation is the economy. High taxes and big government spending will cause the faltering economy to lose further momentum and government spending continues to outstrip revenue, debts mount, fiscal and trade deficits soar, unemployment keeps climbing, etc. Demand-side economics causes money to exit the economy as production dips further, international competitiveness is lost and the currency depreciates. Then folks begin to realise that the folks who created the wealth aren’t creating as much of it as they used to because, surprise, surprise, they don’t have as much to reinvest in the economy and they’ve been disincentivised, so they decide they are better off with in an economy that is run on free market principles and small government – and conservatives return to power.

    As Washington experiments with European social democratic models, the emerging economies that are focused on prosperity and wealth-creation rather than redistribution will prosper and America will not recapture its role of global economic power. And as it all inevitably comes to pass, just remember that this is one mess – this creation of a new majority class of non-taxpayers who vote according to short-term selfish interests – that you really can blame on the Republicans. 😉

  • Earnan

    Dave

    Great posts. I, for one, cannot to give more of my paycheck to an ever expanding bureacracy-after all, they know what to do best with it.

    As a government contractor, I see just how hard most federal employees work and just how efficient there programs run.

  • latcheeco

    Comedy Dave,
    “Parasite” LMAO, first one to call names loses :)Cheer up comrade.My taxes may actually go up under Obama’s plan but thanks for the financial/life advice.How did trickle down economics work out for the economy remind me again? How did giving tax relief to the rich work out again? Remind me again what qualified Bush/McSameold.
    So Obama only crawled over the finish line? Really? LOL, Sho nuff a damned close run thing from where I (and apparantly everybody else but you)saw it, I mean he just squeeked scarlet red Indiana didn’t he, nothing to brag about though.
    Only people earning over $250,000 are productive then?Really? LMAO Would that be Enron, Lehman Bros, AIG, WAMU type of productive? Tell that to the next soldier/ cop/ nurse/ teacher/ sales clerk/ waiter/ plumber/journalist/ clergyman/civil servant/small business owner you meet. They only exist to serve the super rich right and tough luck on them if the system looks after the few at the expense of the many.
    Stock market fluctuations are now Obama’s fault because he won and they weren’t happening before he came.Nope no way its all Pelosi Reid and Obamas fault; everything was going swimmingly under the Republicans until they spoiled it. Catch a hold of yourself man.

  • latcheeco

    Dave,
    Would those economies run on free market principles be like say… China? A shining example and there was you fearing for democracy in the U.S. Production of washing machines will of course dip because more people can buy washing machines.What was I thinking? Of course one porsche is worth 100 washing machines to the economy, right? What was I thinking? And a company making 110 bucks on 1 unit sold with lower upper bracket taxes is much better than making 180 bucks on 2 units sold with lower middle class taxes.

  • Dave

    Well, insofar as I could decipher a sentient thought in the second of your two disjointed rants above, you agree to be arguing that the argument for supply-side economics only applies to upper income groups. If so, I think that is probably true. Which, of course, is why I argued that tax cuts should not be given to lower income groups. 😉

    Poor folks will buy more of whatever they buy if they have more money in the demand-side of the argument, but most of what they buy will be produced in the emerging economies that are prospering via the economic models that America is jettisoning in favour of the Keynesian quackery that serves as a justification for big government and nothing else.

    Contrary to what you might think, rich folks are more concerned about creating wealth than they are about spending or hording it in shoeboxes under the bed. They are the people who are best qualified to reinvest that wealth into the economy, not the government or the folks who don’t have any wealth.

  • Harry Flashman

    “Sho nuff a damned close run thing from where I (and apparantly everybody else but you)saw it”

    Then you and everyone else was letting themselves be deluded by all the razzmatazz and not looking at the numbers. Obama’s percentage of the popular vote was a mere fraction higher than Bush’s in 2004, I don’t recall any street parties and breathless TV talking heads talking about how Bush had “united the nation” with his “landslide” back then.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not being churlish, Obama’s victory was truly well won and hard fought for and as someone who wishes the US well I hope he turns out to be a great president but we mustn’t be blinded by the historic nature of the first black man winning the presidency by turning it into something it isn’t.

    Furthermore at an election when the Republican brand should have been unwinnable the Dems didn’t manage to achieve their 60 seat majority in the Senate that they actively sought. At the same time several very socially conservative referendums concerning gay and family rights issues were passed easily.

    The US is still, just as it was under Bush, a 49%/49% country with victory in presidential elections going to the 49% which can persuade the undecided 2% in a handful of swing states to vote for their guy. There is no sweeping mood of optimism and unity in the US, just among the supporters of the candidate who won. People should realise that Barack Obama is every bit as divisive a character as George Bush.

    I wish it wasn’t so and I hope it will change, maybe next time around if he does a good job he will be returned with a Reagan like landslide and then we can talk about a truly transformative election but don’t delude yourself that anything more historic in political terms other than a black man becoming president (a fantastic even in and of itself of course) took place yesterday, it didn’t, in political terms it’s business as usual and the old arguments will continue to rumble on.

  • brendan,belfast

    Was it you Harry who was telling us all a few weeks ago that McCain was 100% certain to be elected?, that Palin was a good pick?

  • Mick Fealty

    BJR:

    Glad you managed to motivate yourself sufficiently to follow at least one of the links. 🙂

    Although quite seriously, I am not quite sure what problem(s) you’re raising here?

  • billiejoe_remarkable

    Problem? More an observation – although I am sure you are well aware what I am on about.

    The PR spin you gave this site seems, ahem, some distance from the reality.

    Verbose tracts like great dumps are left steaming away: “although this subject has been done to death I feel it’s important that the world hear my rambling, dreary opinions over a week later”. (Even you have returned to the brand Ross Bore-athon. Tsk)

    And banal repetition. “I see some unheard of councillor has said Gerry Adams attended an IRA funeral in 1987. How can this man live with himself? etc etc etc…

    Start a thread called The Troubles and then the mindless sectarian shit can be cut from topical relevant threads and dumped in there. It’ll soon become a horrifying thread of useless childish slobbering that most will probably (hopefully) avoid. At the very least delete the ranters and the sectarian jibes. People might stop writing it if it gets deleted mercilessly and quickly.

    Just a suggestion…

    Et maintenant je vous quitte. Bon chance or in your case adh mor

  • Harry Flashman

    No Brendan I predicted McCain would win and as it turned out I was wrong, fine, but only an idiot ever says anything is 100% certain in politics and I am not an idiot.

    As regards McCain’s campaign Palin was a shrewd move, he would have lost even heavier if he hadn’t got her, you might not like Palin but a lot of Republicans who were decidedly unsure about McCain came on board after Palin was picked, rest assured they will be putting her forward as a candidate in 2012.

  • Mick Fealty

    I got a bit of stick for mentioning Slugger in the CIF piece, but it’s not even mentioned in the IT OpEd. It looks like you are peddling hard to get right off the point.

    I’m not the only one making the case for greater utility. Dan in the Sunday Times: http://tinyurl.com/5kqmqw

    Good item on Irish Election too (with interesting quotes from Micheal Martin and video from Zac Exley, which starts 22 minutes in):
    http://tinyurl.com/5kqmqw

    No problem with what you suggest. We did have a team of volunteer mods a few years back, but it got messy and fell apart in the end. People were never sure if they were the only ones working.

    I do think that the ‘messers’ put people off should be penalised more consistently for ‘messing’. But I’ve never been able to crack it.

  • Mick Fealty

    Billy,

    Here’s a real piece of promotion of Slugger: check out Bob Piper’s comments: http://tinyurl.com/6kmhcm

    And Shane has good advice for mainstream journalists engaging with commenters (engage with quality, not the trolls): http://tinyurl.com/5xw7l4

  • spanishroomscrumpy

    HF

    You didn’t just predict McCain, you were being a complete ear-ache about everything Sarah Palin, and while trumpeting the McCain-Palin “lock” on the election your bluster was in full Flashy flow, to wit:

    but then again what do I know, I’m just a thick, illiterate, brain damaged, “Aussie”, Fox watching, bollocks spouting know-nothing aren’t I?

    We’ll see in the morning of November 5th, won’t we?

    But I guess even when you’re dead wrong you’re still dead right, eh Harry?

    God help Slugger if McCain *would* have squeeked it; the crowing from your end would have shut down the server.

    As it is, as shamelessly as you continue to share your advanced political theories with us all, at least we can take comfort that google knows where to find you. Fox-watching bollocks spouting know-nothing gets it for me every time.

  • Harry Flashman

    Spanish old boy it may have escaped your notice but this is a political website where people express political opinions, I predicted, wrongly, that Obama would lose, fair enough Obama won by a small margin so I was wrong.

    Get over yourself mate, it’s called political debate, sometimes you call it right sometimes you don’t, wind your pompous neck in chum, ease off on the spittle flecked hysteria otherwise you’ll just making a bit of an arse of yourself.

  • Children, children… You’ll both have Billy JOe chiding me and calling for your heads if this goes any further…

  • Harry Flashman

    Sorry Mick but just have a look at who started the personal abuse, you’ll find (as usual) it was not me.

  • spanishroomscrumpy

    Peace out

  • Hugh Dubh Oneil

    “because in a free market the quality will quickly assert itself over the trash.”
    hahaha.

  • latcheeco

    Dave,
    Cheers again for the compliments and kind words and yes the second post was a bit rushed but I was busy at the time of writing, happily sponging off some millionaires toil, so apologies. I still haven’t seen any evidence of where and how your much more enlightened theories (as opposed to my rants) have been successful in any economy anywhere. But please feel free to elucidate any time.

  • Dave

    Well, Latch, you’re welcome to my kind words, and you’re also welcome to explain to me why demand-side economies failed to stimulate the growth and merriment that you think it capable of when the Federal Reserve flooded the consumer with cheap credit for most of this decade. I think the end result of that entire demand-side consumer spending con was massive debt, bankruptcy, job losses and even a recession, and not the predicted economic boom. But maybe I’m dreaming and demand-side economics and big government actually worked and much merriment abounds.

    Contrary to popular misconception, the Laffer curve doesn’t mean that cutting tax will counter-intuitively increase tax revenue. It only works if under within specific parameters. So, cutting income taxes sans discrimination and citing supply-side economics as the rationale is misguided. The top rate of income tax in the US reached 91% at its peak. The trick is not to kill the golden geese while you steal as much of those gold eggs as possible as you change the curve.

    America was a fine example of the free market system before big government. Politicians love big government because it increases their power, influence, importance, prestige, etc. They do this for their gain as a ruling class, not your gain. If you want conmen, chancers and hacks to have ever more control over your life, sobeit. Your freedom vanishes along with your prosperity.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Comrade Stalin, rather than waste my time typing to someone whose politics was decided once and for all time by reading Marx, I’ll post a link to a post of mine from yesterday.

    Dave,

    Your contribution on the other thread (a link to a highly partisan op-ed piece in the WSJ) does not address the apparent fact that your daft definition of “socialism” incorporates Adam Smith and Margaret Thatcher. I’d like us to get over what you mean by “socialism”, because I see little point in arguing with someone who arbitrarily redefines the dictionary to suit himself.

    The only comment I’ll add is that it is possible for non-socialists to also want to see all strata of society do well and that the actual point of difference is the economics of attaining a shared agenda.

    Well, would you do us a favour and define that point of difference ? Because your definition up until now has been sufficiently vague to classify several champions of capitalism as “socialists”.

    It is, however, a fact that the bottom 40% of American workers pay no income tax at all and that the bottom 60% pay only 0.6% of the tax take.

    I’m not disputing this (yet), but I’d like to see where those numbers are derived from. If I can’t trust you when you use words like “socialist”, I’m not sure that I can trust your numbers.

    In effect, the top 40% are carrying the bottom 60% who are getting a free ride at their expense.

    Federal income tax is not the full story of the federal tax burden on people, though, so talking about a free ride seems excessive.

    That is not sustainable, and making big government even bigger as Obama proposes to do will cause a critical failure (as outlined in the above link) as the laws of economics come into play.

    We’ll see about that, once we can have a closer look at your sources.

    The problem that socialists have is that they despise the class of people whom they depend on to provide the economic prosperity for the classes of people whom they embrace. Biting the hand that feeds you isn’t good practice. 😉

    It’s been very good practice in the past. Since we’re in the business of posting partisan articles, how about this one which shows that the stock market always produces better returns for the Democrats ? If the Democrats and their socialism damages the economy and the long term prospects for ordinary people, why isn’t this reflected in stock market returns ?

  • latcheeco

    Again Dave,
    The era you’re talking about was the era of Bushenomics so blame the little guy if you want because he was borrowing to survive but the period when the US was at its most prosperous came as a result of socialist programs like the GI bill and extending HS school education which made the middle class bigger and wealthier and thus lifted all ships (according to Comrade Greenspan anyway).
    America was a fine example of the freemarket when the middle class were given a fair shake. Still no examples of Trickledownopia to give? Again you ignore the fact that the poorest people don’t pay income taxes because they frickin can’t; because they are now so poor and the rich are so rich, moreso now than at any time in US history in fact. Might this strangling of the wealth not be related to the present economic gloom? That’s why the government gives the poorest money back at tax time, to reimburse them for the other revenue taxes exacted which disporportionately hurt them most like gas, utilities,food,clothing etc.

  • latcheeco

    Flash,
    Of course you’ll know that Fix News last night revealed your beloved great white dope didn’t know that Africa was not one country and she couldn’t name the three countries in NAFTA. And you thought her pick was genius why again? You thought handing her the keys to leadership of the Western world would be a sublime choice why again?

  • Dave

    Comrade Stalin, are you implying that the figures in the WSJ are inaccurate? If not, why do you feel the need to point out that the WSJ is pro-business? It would be very surprising if it wasn’t. Its figures are accurate, and if you wish to contend otherwise, rather than simply imply it, then you should produce figures that support your contention.

    I wonder if you really expect me to take seriously your claims that my understanding of socialism is confused because Adam Smith supported a tax policy that included a fairness doctrine wherein those who can afford to pay more do so for the benefit of those who cannot. I have never claimed that everyone should pay exactly the same amount of tax. It is not sensible for you to attempt to argue that those who favour redistribution of wealth (a socialist policy) are actually advocating laissez-faire doctrines because of Smith’s tax policy or that those who promote affordable housing schemes cannot possibly be socialists because Margaret Thatcher sold council houses at a discount to lower income groups.

    As I have pointed out, President Bush – from the party that is depicted as the party of small government – actually increased the size of government by 46% during his two terms. And as I have also pointed out, President Bush – from the party that is depicted as the party of supply-side economics – actually predicated his fiscal and monetary policies on demand-side economics. What do you think the Federal Reserve was doing by using monetary policy to stimulate consumer spending? It was manipulating the economy on the demand-side. Does that mean that Alan Greenspan isn’t an advocate of Milton Friedman and free market economics after all? Would you claim that can’t possibly be an advocate of deregulation because he (was) is a regulator? Would you claim that all governments are Keynesian because all governments engage in public spending? No, so your comments about Adam Smith and Margaret Thatcher are silly, and you are capable of better.

    There are very few ideologues where money and power is concerned. Politicians, as a class, are mostly amoral – pathological liars, megalomaniacs, sociopaths and confidence tricksters excel in that dismal profession. These shape shifters will pick-and-choose from whatever dogma is most expedient at the time, so you usually end up with mix of them, inherited and improvised. Socialist systems import free market dynamics from capitalist systems, and vice versa. China is a mix, New Labour and the Tories are virtually identical.

    I would see socialism as now lacking a formal definition in its applicable contexts, thereby allowing its dogma to be incorporated by stealth even in countries such as America which were anti-socialist. Much like the manner that the liberal left (another loose group) got much of their preferred legislation passed: not by claiming that such legislation was important (and frightening the conservative horses), but by downplaying its importance as simple ‘fairness’ that no sensible person would object to. It really has to be a qualitative assessment, determined by emphasis on what are regarded as socialist elements.

    To me, that emphasis is on big government (again I’m fully aware that the Republicans are now the party of big government and Democrats are to become the party of even bigger government); a belief that free markets (as if there is such a thing in an overregulated environment) is evil and that the public needs to be protected from them by ever-increasing layers of regulation; a belief in the goodness and wisdom of the State and its ruling class; a belief that business people exploit workers rather than help them by providing them with employment; a belief that people are incapable of prospering without the support of the State; a belief that the working class and not the entrepreneurial class create wealth; the creation of an entitlement culture that promotes the concept that people who don’t work or don’t prosper have a right to benefit from those who do, ect – not all that different from the actuality and a good guide to tell a duck from a rabbit by the sound of the quacking.

  • Dave

    [b]Continued[/b]

    The reason no party advocates traditional socialism is because folks understand that it doesn’t work. Instead, they seek a system that allows the entrepreneurial class to work their magic (as only they can) and for the less talented classes to live off the wealth that is generated by the entrepreneurial class. That’s tacky and self-serving, of course – but that is the core dynamic of the socialist. I think one area where they’ll come unstuck in the US with stealth socialism is in creating a ‘them and us’ class as has been done by creating a new majority class of non-taxpayers and taxpayers (with the non and nominal taxpayers comprising 60% of the voters who contribute a tiny 0.6% of income tax revenue and the other 40% of voters who contribute 99.6% of the income tax take.

    Sorry I can’t provide you with a better definition than that in the modern fluid context, but it is the socialists who have deliberately obfuscated it.

  • spanishroomscrumpy

    Dave

    Socialism too obfuscated?

    Hmmm, guess that means it should be with us for quite some time then, just like Freedom and Liberty. Oh, and supply-side economics as well – to think we used to reckon that was about reduced government spending…that was before W created the trillion-dollar deficit with his version of them.

    Semantics…who needs ’em, eh?

  • spanishroomscrumpy

    latcheeco

    Great White Dope – nice one. It’s the continuity with GWB that works for me.