[Masthead] Overcast ~ 65°F  
High: 78°F ~ Low: 54°F
Wednesday, Sep. 17, 2014

A time of extremes

Posted Friday, June 11, 2010, at 1:50 PM

Ever wonder what happened to the middle?

I've found myself wondering sometimes, and Michael Smerconish of The Washington Post tells it well here.

Perhaps that's one of America's problems. We see extremes portrayed from talk radio to "reality" shows to, even, situation comedies and movies.

And being moderate is outdated. Or, according to power-hungry politicians/political hopefuls, just plain wrong.

For example: I'm conservative in that I'm pro-life and believe in traditional moral values. But I'm more in favor of government funds being used to help the truly needy (NOT freeloaders) than many give-no-help-to-anyone conservatives would like -- and I think much, if not most, of the outcry against "illegal immigrants" is actually near-open ethnic-based prejudice against Latinos. I guess that makes me liberal in the eyes of some.

Where are the moderates? I'd like to think we're out here holding our noses at the stench from so many political figures' attitudes and hoping that, eventually, reasonableness can prevail.


Comments
Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

"I think much, if not most, of the outcry against "illegal immigrants" is actually near-open ethnic-based prejudice against Latinos. I guess that makes me liberal in the eyes of some."

Wow . . . the above remark was a bit offensive to say the least!

-- Posted by jaxspike on Fri, Jun 11, 2010, at 2:07 PM

I believe John Q. Taxpayer is tired of taking a beating because most politicians would rather do what is politically correct instead of what is right.

Illegal aliens kill an average of 25 Americans every day, yet when anyone tries to address the problem, the same worn out race card is played.

Liberals SAY they don't want tax money going to freeloaders, yet every effort for welfare reform has liberals rolling out commercials about how granny will be eating dog food if it passes.

Since the 60's we have turned away from punishing criminals and instead try to "reform" them, and we watch repeat offenders use the court and prison systems like a revolving door.

IMHO the current attitude is brought about by the economic situation. During a household financial crisis most folks return to simple basics because there aren't resources for luxuries. The same is happening on a national scale. We don't have time for the liberal pie-in-the sky Utopian pipe dreams.

-- Posted by quietmike on Fri, Jun 11, 2010, at 2:32 PM

Okay, after some reflection I'm going to modify my above statement somewhat about alleged prejudice against Latinos.

"Most of the outcry", as I stated, may be going too far. Maybe I should say "some of the outcry."

I'd agree that illegal immigration is a real problem in border states, and many other areas.

But I just get the sense, based on what I read and hear, that some -- not all -- politicians are trying to subtly play the race card.

Am I misreading America's feelings?

-- Posted by David Melson on Fri, Jun 11, 2010, at 3:10 PM

I would agree that in our liberal entitlement society, nearly anything said about a particular group is considered racist or politically incorrect. For instance, during the last Presidential election, anyone who voted against Obama because of his race was correctly labeled as racist. Yet those who voted for him because of his race were not labeled as such. Why this double standard?

-- Posted by Tim Lokey on Fri, Jun 11, 2010, at 4:21 PM

Good point Tattoos, in the same train of thought people like to imply that any white person who voted for him are lazy low life government sucking bums.Many people are not willing to look outside of their prejudices and see that not everyone makes their decisions the way they do. Some actually think and judge by the issues and what they morally consider to be correct. They are intelligent enough to know they do not need to label those who do not agree with them as substandard or lowly people, instead they can respect the differences for what they are even if they do not agree.

-- Posted by wonderwhy on Fri, Jun 11, 2010, at 5:04 PM

The word illegal says it all. These people are coming here in violation of federal law. David, why don't you try to illegally enter any other country on the face of the earth and find out what happens elsewhere. How about our friends south of the border, how do they welcome illegal entrants?

Most people I know who oppose illegal immigration are not racist bigots who oppose Latinos, rather they are law-abiding citizens who do not like criminals coming into our country, breaking our immigration laws and instead of being punished, receive government funds and services that are not available to our own citizens.

-- Posted by dmcg on Fri, Jun 11, 2010, at 7:54 PM

We have family members who grew up in El Paso, TX so many of there friends are of Latino decent. These friends are probably the most outspoken folks we know who are AGAINST illegal immigration. Are they racist?

-- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Jun 11, 2010, at 8:25 PM

Illegal immigration is a huge problem in all our states, but living in a large metropolitin area, there is definitely a much bigger problem. We have hospitals that are operating in the red, and mostly because of the illegals that are being treated for both minor health problems, to giving birth, and major catastrophic illnesses. Crime is extremely high among these illegals, and if they are caught for these crimes, they sometimes do not even make it into our court sytems. They are deported, and eventually make their way back across the border, to break the law again. For these illegals, crime is a way of life.

Now to our school system. In many of the areas in our large city, the teachers must speak Spanish in order to teach these children. Why should we have to accommodate these illegals with our tax money. If they want to come over here, then let them go through the proper channels to become a citizen.

Am I a racist? Are our politicians racist? Absolutely not.

-- Posted by cookie on Sat, Jun 12, 2010, at 8:01 AM

I totally understand what you mean. I consider myself moderate because I agree with parts from both sides of the fence. I believe in abortion and medical choices are up to the individual, not the government. But I believe that our tax money should not used to fund them.

I believe that people do need help, and I have no problem in using tax money to help them. But there should be a cap on it. Because there are people who abuse the system and live their entire lives off of public assistance. And when their children have children, they repeat the same. I mean why should they go out and try to get a better education or job and get out from under the assistance and pay for everything theirselves? I mean they can just sit back and collect those checks every month and never have to do anything.

As for illegals, I don't care what country they come from, Mexico, Iran, Germany, whatever. If they are here illegally then they should be deported. There are so many immigrants who come here through the proper channels and do what they are suppose to do and consider themselves as American citizens before actually becoming legal. They worked hard to learn our language and laws. They didn't ask that tests, etc be changed to their language. They adapted.

I am not a racist, and I have no problem with any nationality or colors, but I have a problem with people who break the law to come into the US, no matter what the reason is for, and steal our tax money to pay for everything.

-- Posted by PrpleHze on Sat, Jun 12, 2010, at 9:25 AM

the open borders system is, and has been, bad public policy. yet we continue to pay nothing more than passing notice to the fact that it was spurred by powerful interests coveting cheap labor at a time when the free market system would have seen labor with bargaining power. instead of blaming those who are actually responsible, the anger seems to be focused on the immigrants themselves. they are nothing more than people just like ourselves, who would do whatever they have to do to improve the lives of themselves and their children.

so, i do not believe that opposition to an open borders policy is racist. however, blaming the immigrants, rather than the very white people who are responsible for the open borders policy is misguided. and it doesnt take more than a cursory reading of the racist invective amongst these responses (or any on this topic) to recognize that the racists among us are loving this opportunity to spew their poison.

-- Posted by lazarus on Sat, Jun 12, 2010, at 12:31 PM

lazarus,

Are we a nation of law or anarchy? This has nothing to do with race! Impugning racial indignation where none is merited is a low blow used by screw-headed liberal ideologues to pump their own "superior" egos. If foreigners are allowed to break our laws, why can't our citizens? Why am I under the scrutiny of our legal system? Why should I be responsible for financially supporting criminal behavior of people who are here illegally?

I have a family member who is a LEGAL immigrant. He has been made to jump through numerous hoops and spent thousands of hard earned dollars to continue his quest toward citizenship. Why? Because that is the legal way to do it. Why should he be subjected to all these steps and procedures when others simply walk into our land and then are treated like royalty? He gets NO governmental assistance, no free health care, nothing!

You tell me, is that fair? Is that what we have become? A nation who condones criminal activities from some while law-abiding humans are made to jump through hoops? It becomes obvious that the true racists are those who disparage the legal immigrants and codle the lawless!

-- Posted by dmcg on Sat, Jun 12, 2010, at 5:17 PM

You tell me, is that fair? Is that what we have become? A nation who condones criminal activities from some while law-abiding humans are made to jump through hoops? It becomes obvious that the true racists are those who disparage the legal immigrants and codle the lawless!

-- Posted by dmcg on Sat, Jun 12, 2010, at 5:17 PM

Actually, that is lazarus' point... we have blindly allowed these companies, both small and large, to continue to allow cheap, undocumented labor into their payrolls in order to reap higher profits. When government began to levy taxes or fees on every job sent overseas the response was to "keep jobs in America" by paying extremely low wages to folks who just so happen to not have a shred of documentation. THAT is the result of unregulated business, and corportism run a muck!

You can blame the "illegal" immigrants all day long (and yes, it is illegal and I condemn it), but they wouldn't stay here or want to come here if SOMEONE wasn't paying them. Why would you risk your life to cross a guarded border just to escape Mexican drug wars? Their is a financial incentive, guaranteed.

Isn't it ironic, though, that in order to decrease the amount of illegal immigrants staying in the United States, you need MORE government organizations/troops or MORE tax payer dollars...

Illegal immigration has been around for centuries, how do you think this country started?

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Sun, Jun 13, 2010, at 3:05 PM

Isn't it ironic, though, that in order to decrease the amount of illegal immigrants staying in the United States, you need MORE government organizations/troops or MORE tax payer dollars...

-- Posted by darrick_04

Nonsense. Cut out welfare, food stamps, medical care, Western Union transfers, government housing and all other benefits to anyone who cannot prove the are a legal citizen.

Eliminate all federal funding to any "sanctuary cities".

Stop mollycoddling illegals caught crossing the border.

Reputation costs almost nothing and works even when no one is there.

How many American teenagers have vandalized cars in Singapore lately? ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_P._... )

Set that type of example, and they'll stop coming.

-- Posted by quietmike on Sun, Jun 13, 2010, at 7:14 PM

Quietmike,

You completely ignore the fact that thousands of people have to be ON the border to prevent the aforementioned from even happening... and do you really see the U.S. deporting 12 million humans? You think the economy was on the brink in 2008, wait and see what happens when you suddenly take 12 million folks out at once... Wal-Mart would crumble.

Since the 1980s welfare roles and government growth decreased during one administration's tenure and it wasn't Reagan, Bush 1, or Bush 2, or Obama...

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Sun, Jun 13, 2010, at 8:03 PM

Is this what happend to Mr Bell's blogs?

-- Posted by Chef Boy R.D. on Sun, Jun 13, 2010, at 10:15 PM

Why does someone need to be on the border to require proof of citizenship for government benefits???

Are there welfare offices set up on the border like taco stands in south Texas?

You are right, welfare roles decreased under Clinton's term, but, as always, CONGRESS controls budgets...not the president.

Do you remember Clinton shutting down national parks and having a layoff of federal employees during Christmas of '95 in protest of welfare and other cuts in the budget?

But you want to give him the credit for it now???

-- Posted by quietmike on Mon, Jun 14, 2010, at 3:51 AM

Yes.

-- Posted by wonderwhy on Mon, Jun 14, 2010, at 8:43 AM

darrick_04, you make it sound like the demise of Wal-Mart is a bad thing? Maybe if that was to happen, then Target would come in and take its place and I know I would be much happier since it seems Wal-Mart employees here are never appreciative of me doing business there anyway.

Anyway, there are laws against illegal immigration and they should be enforced because if we can not enforce those laws then why should people follow other laws that make up our nation. Also you do not need thousands of people at the border to stop illegal immigration . . . all you have to do is put intense pressure on businesses that hire such individuals and those that house them. Have strict fines that hurt these businesses and individuals financially so that they will realize that what they are doing wrong.

BTW . . . where is Michael Bell? I am not really a fan of his but I also do not believe in censorship. I saw he had a blog piece labeled Southern Traditions which I was going to read but then when I looked for it last night it was gone.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Mon, Jun 14, 2010, at 8:57 AM

I think Michael got in over his head when he started in with the pure white race thing and ranting against mixed race couples.

-- Posted by wonderwhy on Mon, Jun 14, 2010, at 9:54 AM

Yes

-----posted by wonderwhy

That's not surprising coming from you.

-- Posted by quietmike on Mon, Jun 14, 2010, at 11:18 AM

Thank You.

-- Posted by wonderwhy on Mon, Jun 14, 2010, at 11:55 AM

Thanks wonderwhy . . . I guess it was for the best that I did not read that post by Michael because I definitely would have disagreed with his view.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Tue, Jun 15, 2010, at 11:30 AM

Jax,

It was a bit much, even for Michael.

-- Posted by gottago on Tue, Jun 15, 2010, at 3:54 PM

Maybe Mr Bell can get treatment for his anger issues while he is off here.

-- Posted by Chef Boy R.D. on Tue, Jun 15, 2010, at 6:35 PM

David Melson, I am unsure if your questions were rhetorical in nature, or if you are actually curious. The subject has always interested me. The way I see it, you are not misreading anything. I appreciate the blog topic and the link to the article. The article you linked to could easily be expanded into a formidable book full of much needed information though. To explain the phenomenon you describe requires an attempt to understand an exceedingly complex amalgamation of forces.

I cannot even begin to explain my own understandings in shorthand, but I may be able to point you in the right direction. In general, there are just a few issues to focus upon, but each of those has many relevant factors. The basic issues are the biases (both intentional and unintentional) of the providers of information, the biases (both intentional and unintentional) of each individual percipient, and the various motivations (both benign and malicious) for manipulating those biases.

Some great historical examples of ideologies that have been instrumental in shaping what we experience today are Edward Bernays' "Propaganda" and "Engineering of Consent", Walter Lippmann's "Public Opinion" and "The Phantom Public", and John Dewey's counter "The Public and its Problems".

If you use these paradigms to frame the problems you alluded to, and then superimpose the psychologizing aspects that have become so prevalent in our modern society, the overall picture should come into somewhat clearer focus. If you want, I have a ton of research material and could also give you a list of relevant biases and keywords to keep in mind when considering the popular stances of political self-identification, which are largely framed to be divisive and distracting.

quiet mike, Your understandings exemplify amazingly well the way in which biases are an effective means of directing sentiment. How can you justify not crediting (or blaming) Clinton with welfare reform when it was a platform upon which he ran originally? Moreover, how can you associate the government shutdown with the welfare reform? They were not even remotely related. The shutdown was an attempt to fulfill the Contract With America's budget objectives, and the major sticking point was health care (Medicare & Medicaid). In this particular instance, it was not the congress that was wholly responsible for the budget. That central conflict was the entire motivation for the shutdown, and the president basically won in the end.

I am not even a Clinton fan. As a matter of fact, I would personally rate him only slightly above Gingrich. You however should have liked him. He was one of the most business-friendly and fiscally conservative presidents who has held the office in many decades. I bet you were supportive of Gingrich though, the tax and spend Republican who's constituency represented one of the wealthiest, and most generously subsidized, in the nation.

Your assertions are without merit and lack any semblance of historical accuracy. They are based entirely upon the way in which the information was presented to you and the way in which you internalized that information. I only mention it because I have pointed it out in the past, and you refuse to give an inch, while repeating the same easily verifiable fallacies. To imply that Clinton was compelled by outside forces to reform welfare, or that the reform was otherwise imposed by any other authority, is absurd.

-- Posted by memyselfi on Wed, Jun 16, 2010, at 2:29 AM

i won't give Clinton credit or blame because presidents don't write budgets, congress does. No matter what his campaign promises were, a president can only approve or veto budgets that congress sends him.

I personally consider medicare and medicaid welfare. Since welfare is no longer an actual government program, I use welfare as a catchall term to describe all the various "gimmie" programs.

I would suggest you take a look at deficit spending in relation to congressional majority instead of which president was in office, I'll bet you'll see a noticeable trend.

I challenge you to show how republicans supporters are more "subsidized" than anyone else.

As for the wealthiest....you say that as if it were something to be ashamed of????

-- Posted by quietmike on Wed, Jun 16, 2010, at 9:46 AM

quietmike, I understand what you are getting at, but that is not exactly how it works. Presidents originally write the budget proposals, then congress is provided an opportunity to approve or modify, and then resubmit the appropriated budget to the president for consideration. At that point, the president may sign or veto the bill/s. It is at that point that you claim the presidents "ONLY" authority is to approve or veto the bill, but in all actuality, the president retains "THE" authority to approve or veto the bill. The way I see it, you grossly underestimate the power of the veto, and of the bully pulpit's considerable ability to procure its objectives. If you refuse to praise or blame to Clinton specifically for his own policies, that is entirely up to you, but please do not attempt to revise history, or misrepresent the political mechanics involved, in order to justify your understandings.

No, you may have used the word welfare to describe all entitlements, but I have not read where you have referred to the "gimmie" spending in the form of government contracts and subsidies as welfare.

I do not need to look for a correlation between spending and legislative control. I can count on a few fingers the times that the Republicans have controlled congress in the recent past. There is no trend. There does appear to be a pretty solid relationship between the party who writes the budgets and the deficits they produce though.

I never intended to imply that all Republicans were generously subsidized, just specifically the district Gingrich represented. I only included the information about their demographics so that you would not assume that he represented a constituency comprised largely of Reagan's "Welfare Queens" or your own "Taco Stand Benefit Thieves". The point being, the considerable amount of pork he was bringing home went largely without comment while he hypocritically disparaged all entitlement spending.

-- Posted by memyselfi on Thu, Jun 17, 2010, at 3:39 AM

memyselfi,

If you believe that the president's "bully pulpit" should get the lion's share of the credit and blame, does that mean Clinton should be left with the blame of legislation passed after the Exxon Valdez spill that caps the cost of oil spill cleanups charged to oil companies at $75,000,000?

Just asking for consistency's sake.

-- Posted by quietmike on Thu, Jun 17, 2010, at 7:32 AM

I am afraid I have to plead ignorance about the specifics you pointed to. I do not know of any legislation passed during the Clinton years that would provide for anything similar. The was some legislation passed at either the end of Reagan's second term, or the first of Bush's that produced similar results though.

Not that the specifics matter anyway. Just for the sake of consistency, yes, any legislation not enacted through an override of presidential veto falls directly at the feet of the executive branch.

Whether or not Clinton enacted any similar bill, depends largely upon whether or not one actually crossed his desk. Like any other president in recent memory, he would not have neglected the opportunity to transfer the risks of private investment to the public, while ensuring that the profits are gleaned by fewer and fewer private hands.

If you enjoy looking for trends, the trend toward risk transfer is a telling one, and party affiliation has absolutely no bearing. At least not the way I see it.

-- Posted by memyselfi on Thu, Jun 17, 2010, at 7:06 PM


Respond to this blog

Posting a comment requires free registration. If you already have an account, enter your username and password below. Otherwise, click here to register.

Username:

Password:  (Forgot your password?)

Your comments:
Please be respectful of others and try to stay on topic.


David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.