Who Won?

Who Won?

Bob
Bob

November 3rd, 2010, 12:34 pm #1

The American election is over (thank God!) and they are still tallying up some of the results. But my question is, "Who really won?" Yes, I know that Republicans were resurgent after getting clobbered two years ago (and they swept the state offices here in Ohio). Yes, I know that Democrats maintained their majority in the Senate and held onto a number of governorships. But what was actually accomplished?

I usually vote but didn't this time. The only politician I cared to support was US Rep. Mike Turner, but he had a sizable lead and I figured my vote wasn't going to matter. I didn't want either of the major candidates for Governor, nor for Attorney General, nor really any other office. I watched the negative ads aired by all sides and they further convinced me that most of these people are crooks, incompetents, self-serving liars or all of the above.

Had I lived in some other states, I might have voted simply to try to defeat some of the incumbants. Most notably, Harry Reid of Nevada and Barbara Boxer of California (unfortunately, both won their re-election bids). Even when Americans are offered a choice, they still tend to re-elect the same bums.

One thing we can be sure of: Gridlock continues as the norm in major American politics. The Dems should have had the balls to push for their changes when they had clear majorities in both houses of Congress. Now, they have a split Congress to deal with. I think this shows that neither major party REALLY wants to go it alone -- the Dems and Repubs fear passing any legislation on a partisan basis, as when things inevitably go wrong they don't want to receive the full backlash. Each party wants to be able to say, "Hey, it wasn't just us. Our 'distinguished collegagues' from the other side of the aisle also voted to approve this legislation." I think that is why, two years ago, the Dems/Libs were lamenting the "demise" of the Republican Party -- they didn't like the prospect of having sole responsibility for the outcomes.

I take the current poor condition of the country, and the predictably poor results from our voting process, as additional evidence that the entire governmental system in U.S. is broken and ineffectual. Maybe, as I once posted here, the U.S. is just too big, too "diverse" a country now to operate adequately. Maybe we need to break the country up into smaller entities so that people in various regions can finally have conditions as they want them. I think it is unrealistic to expect that the preferences of those in California will be the same as those in Kansas, Alabama, Ohio or New York. Or that ANY of those preferences would get reflected in votes in Washington D.C. I think the compromises necessary to get anything passed on the Federal level almost guarantee that no one really gets what they want. I won't hold my breath on the break-up of the United States, but I think my country has lost the ability to adequately govern itself.
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Joined: May 9th, 2005, 12:05 pm

November 3rd, 2010, 3:51 pm #2

In other words, you aren't happy and you're a little anxious about the future.

Well, where I live, one congressional candidate has only a 1% lead over the other, so my vote counted.

What other government system would you like? Dictatorships are efficient, if efficiency is what you're looking for. Monarchies are simple in that there's never any question about who the next king will be (usually). Let's see, what else is there?

But you said things are broken. Exactly what is broken? How would you fix it, since you brought it up. How is it that breaking up the country (How about a Commonwealth of Independent States?) would be any better?

My view of the problems is simplistic, I will admit, but we ought to stop fighting endless wars, and spending practically everything on the military. We ought to reduce our debt load. Don't give me this business about how every the share of the national debt for every person is X dollars. Every person doesn't pay taxes and besides, there are corporate taxes. And for heaven's sake, don't privatize social security. It'll be gone in five years. I trust the federal government a lot more than I trust anything about Wall Street.

Wake up, America! Stop electing people that seem to only be interested in helping the rich get richer.
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Bob
Bob

November 3rd, 2010, 4:45 pm #3

I think the govt must reflect the realities of the population it governs, and in this case I think the quality of citizen has declined to a point where the existing governmental structures no longer work. Back in "the good old days", Americans had a greater sense of moral and civic duty than exists today. You didn't need a seperate law to govern every aspect of human behavior, because internal controls were instilled in the young. You didn't have to be concerned walking down a street or engaging in transactions because people back then had instilled in them that they should not assault or rob others. Contrast to today, when ethics are very situational --- it is "only wrong if you get caught" and "you do it if you think you can get away with it." Such attitudes permeate modern American society, from the street thug to the average citizen, to corporate and govt offices. Today, we keep adding laws to try to cover every potential behavi9or, but no amount of laws can make people behave well, and we cannot afford to levy consequences upon every person who violates a law. We thus have a govt that is no longer up to the task of responding appropriately to the actions of its citizens.

In my local municipality, there is much talk of the need for "regionalism". The inner city is rife with vice and crime, such that it is practically unlivable. The "solution" proposed by some is to bring the more civilized outlying, suburban communities in with the central city, in hopes that the former will favorably influence conditions in the latter. However, the suburban residents, myself included, are very wary of being drawn into the mess that is the central city. Instead of helping the city conditions improve, the concern is that the city's problems will be exported out to the suburbs, and then everyone could lose.

I view the situation in U.S. as a whole in reverse: We are all drawn into this mess known as "The United States of America". Perhaps the solution is to break up U.S. into smaller entities in hopes that some regions can begin to improve conditions and not be held back by negative conditions entrenched in other regions. There are probably areas of our country that aren't fixable (at least not in the current social & poltical climate), but to the extent that some regions could be rehabilitated, why not give that a chance? Why would we think that laws and attitudes that might work for one part of the country would work for all parts?
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Joined: May 9th, 2005, 12:05 pm

November 3rd, 2010, 6:33 pm #4

If you couldn't be troubled enough to vote, why are you worrying about the way things might turn out anyway?

These are the good old days. If there was ever a golden era when there were no policemen, no jails or prisons, or no crime, I don't know when it was? You are looking at a past that never existed.

Regionalism already exists in this country. Texas already exists as a "small entity." In fact, it even used to be its own country, same as California. I don't know how else you might mean it. If "regionalism" worked, it already would have. I don't know how one region of the country, say Texas, is held back by negative conditions in other regions. Perhaps you could expand on your theory. Which laws work in some places and not in others?

To be sure, we have problems but you haven't touched on any of them, much less the solutions.

Maybe if more people came out to vote...
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 3rd, 2010, 7:46 pm #5

I just don't know how you can think this. I've never seen our country in such a mess. Record deficit, record debt, record unemployment, record foreclosures. Certainly no time since the 1920s have so many people been in economic stress. Yes there has always been crime and jails but when we discussed this before and you insisted that crime is no worse now than 50 years ago- I posted official government statistics showing it is many times worse now:


. . . . . . . .


Yet you ignore the facts and insist I'm the one who is delusioned.
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 4th, 2010, 2:34 am #6

The American election is over (thank God!) and they are still tallying up some of the results. But my question is, "Who really won?" Yes, I know that Republicans were resurgent after getting clobbered two years ago (and they swept the state offices here in Ohio). Yes, I know that Democrats maintained their majority in the Senate and held onto a number of governorships. But what was actually accomplished?

I usually vote but didn't this time. The only politician I cared to support was US Rep. Mike Turner, but he had a sizable lead and I figured my vote wasn't going to matter. I didn't want either of the major candidates for Governor, nor for Attorney General, nor really any other office. I watched the negative ads aired by all sides and they further convinced me that most of these people are crooks, incompetents, self-serving liars or all of the above.

Had I lived in some other states, I might have voted simply to try to defeat some of the incumbants. Most notably, Harry Reid of Nevada and Barbara Boxer of California (unfortunately, both won their re-election bids). Even when Americans are offered a choice, they still tend to re-elect the same bums.

One thing we can be sure of: Gridlock continues as the norm in major American politics. The Dems should have had the balls to push for their changes when they had clear majorities in both houses of Congress. Now, they have a split Congress to deal with. I think this shows that neither major party REALLY wants to go it alone -- the Dems and Repubs fear passing any legislation on a partisan basis, as when things inevitably go wrong they don't want to receive the full backlash. Each party wants to be able to say, "Hey, it wasn't just us. Our 'distinguished collegagues' from the other side of the aisle also voted to approve this legislation." I think that is why, two years ago, the Dems/Libs were lamenting the "demise" of the Republican Party -- they didn't like the prospect of having sole responsibility for the outcomes.

I take the current poor condition of the country, and the predictably poor results from our voting process, as additional evidence that the entire governmental system in U.S. is broken and ineffectual. Maybe, as I once posted here, the U.S. is just too big, too "diverse" a country now to operate adequately. Maybe we need to break the country up into smaller entities so that people in various regions can finally have conditions as they want them. I think it is unrealistic to expect that the preferences of those in California will be the same as those in Kansas, Alabama, Ohio or New York. Or that ANY of those preferences would get reflected in votes in Washington D.C. I think the compromises necessary to get anything passed on the Federal level almost guarantee that no one really gets what they want. I won't hold my breath on the break-up of the United States, but I think my country has lost the ability to adequately govern itself.
I don't think anybody "won" in this election. Yes, the Republicans made big gains- but will it solve our problems and make the country better? No, it will just mean more gridlock and posturing so nothing is going to get done for the next two years.

I said back in 2007 that anyone who wanted to be president in 2008 was nuts because it was a mission doomed to failure. The problems we have took years to create- and will take years to repair and there is nothing that anyone can do to make it happen as fast as people want.

The irony is that all I hear from conservatives is "we want less regulation and smaller government". Can't they understand it was a lack of government oversight that got us in this mess? For years now rules and regulations that were put on the banking and investment industries after the crash of '29 have been repealed at the bequests of big money lobbyists. So without such regulations they went crazy with greed and created the banking collapse that has cause all this. What we need is MORE regulation of banks and brokers- not less!

But don't depend on voters for rational thinking. We just elected as governor a guy who headed a company that bilked millions of dollars in Medicare fraud. When asked to testify about this- he pleaded the fifth. His opponent even had a campaign ad on showing this- so did my fellow citizens demand he be punished for ripping off the government? No, they elected him governor. Go figure.
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Joined: May 9th, 2005, 12:05 pm

November 4th, 2010, 10:42 am #7

I just don't know how you can think this. I've never seen our country in such a mess. Record deficit, record debt, record unemployment, record foreclosures. Certainly no time since the 1920s have so many people been in economic stress. Yes there has always been crime and jails but when we discussed this before and you insisted that crime is no worse now than 50 years ago- I posted official government statistics showing it is many times worse now:


. . . . . . . .


Yet you ignore the facts and insist I'm the one who is delusioned.
Why did you only go back to 1960? I was looking at some randomly selected cities on the Detroit Free Press web site that summarized FBI crime statistics between 2009 and 2004 or 1005 (already don't remember). I selected nine different cities, some because I either lived there or was familiar with them and a few more just to round it out. I did that because someone stated that "home invasions were going up, up" on another web forum. What I found was this:

First off, there is no legal definition of home invasion in the United States. It is a media buzzword, just like cop killer bullets, Saturday night special and hair trigger. Second, in eight out of nine of the cities, crime went down or stayed virtually the same in all categories that I noted, which was violent crime, including murder and robbery and property crime, including burglary. In one case they went up before they went down to lower than the base year. Admittedly, it was random but I didn't cherry pick to get results I wanted. Nor were the results rates but simple counts of reported incidents. I looked up rates somewhere else a few months ago and discovered that the crime rates in my home town of less than 10,000 were very, very high, though the absolute numbers were still very, very low.

I also noted that Bakersfield, California, and Birmingham, Alabama, had much higher murder rates than El Paso, Texas, which I had expected to be rather high but it wasn't. The statistics as presented were by state and city, so where I live, Fairfax County, Virginia, was not given (in the place I looked).

Overall crime statistics for the whole country make about as much sense as the average rainfall for the whole country. Funny thing is, every time there is a so-called crime control bill, more things end up being illegal.

My point in this thread is that I have no reason to believe that people in the past respected the law or were any more moral than they are today. I'm not sure if crime statistics proves that one way or the other. I've even been hearing talk of some people actually advocating a violent overthrow of the (that is, the current) government if they don't get their way. Who do you suppose taught them that? On the other hand, it might make a difference as to who one is referring to in 1960 about who was respectful about the law, etc.

A second point I'm trying to make is for people to have more faith in this country, in its democratally elected government and in the future, as well as themselves. You can argue with that all you want and I imagine you will. There are too many people who seem to want only to tear down all the progress we've made since 1960 (your base number) and to return to those golden pre-1960 years. Tell me you're not one of them.
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Bob
Bob

November 4th, 2010, 12:55 pm #8

If you couldn't be troubled enough to vote, why are you worrying about the way things might turn out anyway?

These are the good old days. If there was ever a golden era when there were no policemen, no jails or prisons, or no crime, I don't know when it was? You are looking at a past that never existed.

Regionalism already exists in this country. Texas already exists as a "small entity." In fact, it even used to be its own country, same as California. I don't know how else you might mean it. If "regionalism" worked, it already would have. I don't know how one region of the country, say Texas, is held back by negative conditions in other regions. Perhaps you could expand on your theory. Which laws work in some places and not in others?

To be sure, we have problems but you haven't touched on any of them, much less the solutions.

Maybe if more people came out to vote...
Blue: I believe that everything impacts everything else in a discussion like this. I dont pretend to know or to be smart enough to consider all the variables. But, I will start with a small piece to try to illustrate when I mean.

I believe that government the personalities that govt attracts seek power and control. If given the opportunity, governments seek to increase rather than decrease power . . to concentrate that power in the fewest hands (theirs) that they can. While this represents personal ambition (broadly applauded in American culture), it is often not a good thing for a society. There are important institutions, most notably the family, that have an important part to play in the healthy functioning of any society . . yet, such institutions can be harmed by interference from govt and having their roles usurped by govt.

Analogy: A person breaks a hip. Govt experts could rush in with a wheelchair and say, In order to get any help from us, you must use this wheelchair. Our experts say you need it. The govt could claim that it is only doing what is best for the individual and trying to be of help. But, what occurs? If the person agrees to use the wheelchair in order to get other govt help, they become dependent upon that wheelchair. Their bones soften and their muscles atrophy. It doesnt take long for the person to be completely dependent upon that wheelchair for their mobility. Later attempts might be made to try to restore the persons ability to bear weight and walk, but that will likely fail. The opportunity for the person to regain their walking has passed. A well-meaning govt has promoted the persons loss of ambulation. Now, the person is even less able to help themselves and more dependent of the govt than they were or needed to be.

So it is with institutions like the family. True, there may be locations and segments of society that have lost any semblance of the family unit (lost ability to walk) and now are dependent upon govt (law enforcement, the courts, social service agencies, schools) to file those roles for individuals that families used to provide. But I think you would agree not all locations and segments of American society are in such straits. Many/most people still have somewhat-functional family units . . maybe not great, maybe not functioning as well as they might, but still some resource there. But, to enact legislation that treats EVERYONME as if they lack semblance of family . . to increasingly have govt trying to replace the functions of family . . . that further undermines and damages the institution of family.

So, you may ask, how does this relate to any of the problems now facing U.S.? Recall my comments about internal controls on behavior and how (in my opinion) past generations had instilled in them such internal controls more than current generations have, and that this change correlates with declines in our society. Who/what instills those internal controls? Families! Or should I say, hopefully families do! It is not govt. It is not university or govt experts. It is not legislation or funded programs. We tried all those latter things, and they have been woefully inadequate replacements for functioning families.

What I am trying to say is: Government cannot . . must not try to. . replace families. Yet, that is what I see occurring in many respects, and to the detriment of modern American society. We talk about wars . . we talk about education . . we talk about debt . . we talk about health care . . . but nothing in our country matters or will work if the family institution continues to be undermined. While some parts of the country would resist or not be able to benefit from a resurrection of the American family, other parts of our country (I think, first and foremost, the southeastern U.S.), could readily flourish if a more localized govt were allowed to operate in accord with the wishes of the people in that region. A regional govt that reflects the people it purports to serve, rather than the current one-size-fits-all govt that presumes that everyone is dependent upon it and imposes its will across a large nation.

This is getting long. I have more to say, but I will pause for now and let you respond if you wish.
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Joined: May 9th, 2005, 12:05 pm

November 4th, 2010, 2:50 pm #9

I agree with some of the things you say. But government is all about power and control: that's the general idea. And besides, nobody works for the federal government or any other goverment entity (state or local) that doesn't want to. That's also a given. Likewise, public officeholders want those jobs. They aren't forced on anyone. However, I believe that those who talk small government are no different, simply for the same reasons. It doesn't follow that those who want to be in government actually will have the government do anything at all. But as Will Rogers said about Herbert Hoover, "he didn't do anything but that's what we wanted done!" But perhaps I'm being unkind to Hoover.

Your analogy of the wheelchair is pointless. You need a better one. My mother was an invalid and died before the age of 50, so use a different example, please. In any case, I don't see how government is interfering in the American family unit. Maybe we could make divorce illegal. We could call it a defence of marraige act or something like that.

To move on to your next paragraph, how exactly do you expect society to function without law enforcement, public schools, courts and so on? There were certainly courts around at the time of the revolution and the writing of the constituition but law enforcement was something else. Public schools were not yet common and they aren't mentioned in the constitution either. Only the federal government doesn't operate any public schools except overseas.

So you need to give a good example of treating everyone as if they lack semblance of family. What function of family does government replace anyway? I just basically disagree that there used to be any more internal controls than there are now. You are speaking too vaguely.

Local government does mostly operate with the wishes of the people, or at least a simple majority of the people. But you forget that one of the functions of government, as I see it, is to protect the minority (here meaning anyone not defined as part of the majority) from the majority. How else are you supposed to be guaranteed your rights under the constitution? I just don't see where you keep coming up with this "one size fits all" theory of government.

Here is just one example: I live in a state that actually shut down public schools in some places rather than integrate. You may argue the point but seperate is rarely equal. Is that the way you would like government to function, to satisy the wishes of the most powerful at the expense of the least powerful?
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Nat
Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 4th, 2010, 3:08 pm #10

Why did you only go back to 1960? I was looking at some randomly selected cities on the Detroit Free Press web site that summarized FBI crime statistics between 2009 and 2004 or 1005 (already don't remember). I selected nine different cities, some because I either lived there or was familiar with them and a few more just to round it out. I did that because someone stated that "home invasions were going up, up" on another web forum. What I found was this:

First off, there is no legal definition of home invasion in the United States. It is a media buzzword, just like cop killer bullets, Saturday night special and hair trigger. Second, in eight out of nine of the cities, crime went down or stayed virtually the same in all categories that I noted, which was violent crime, including murder and robbery and property crime, including burglary. In one case they went up before they went down to lower than the base year. Admittedly, it was random but I didn't cherry pick to get results I wanted. Nor were the results rates but simple counts of reported incidents. I looked up rates somewhere else a few months ago and discovered that the crime rates in my home town of less than 10,000 were very, very high, though the absolute numbers were still very, very low.

I also noted that Bakersfield, California, and Birmingham, Alabama, had much higher murder rates than El Paso, Texas, which I had expected to be rather high but it wasn't. The statistics as presented were by state and city, so where I live, Fairfax County, Virginia, was not given (in the place I looked).

Overall crime statistics for the whole country make about as much sense as the average rainfall for the whole country. Funny thing is, every time there is a so-called crime control bill, more things end up being illegal.

My point in this thread is that I have no reason to believe that people in the past respected the law or were any more moral than they are today. I'm not sure if crime statistics proves that one way or the other. I've even been hearing talk of some people actually advocating a violent overthrow of the (that is, the current) government if they don't get their way. Who do you suppose taught them that? On the other hand, it might make a difference as to who one is referring to in 1960 about who was respectful about the law, etc.

A second point I'm trying to make is for people to have more faith in this country, in its democratally elected government and in the future, as well as themselves. You can argue with that all you want and I imagine you will. There are too many people who seem to want only to tear down all the progress we've made since 1960 (your base number) and to return to those golden pre-1960 years. Tell me you're not one of them.
Frankly I have a hard time understanding the gist of your rambling last post but Ive come to the conclusion its pointless debating this with you anyway since for whatever reason (perhaps your childhood experiences) you have a erroneous mindset of history that even hard statistics can't change.

As to why I only went back to 1960 it's because thats as far back as I could find any data on. I'm sure that if I could have found data before 1960 it would have been even lower since it was in the 1960s when the rising trend began.
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