Open Thread

Chit chat chit chat ... thanks to BJ Lawson for the link to this video:

Comments

Check out this amazing photo

Photo credit: Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

From MSNBC.com
In this June 4, 2007 file photo, Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., right, laughs after saying goodbye to Rev. Jesse Jackson, reflected left, after Obama addressed the Rainbow PUSH Coalition's annual conference breakfast in Rosemont, Ill.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

I imagine

More of them believe that than think that giving more tax cuts to the rich will help them pay for gas and food.

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

That's the essence of the problem.

We're taught to think in terms of class struggles between "rich" and "poor".

But I've grown increasingly concerned that such a dichotomy only encourages folks of different political "parties" to beat up on each other, and ignore the wholesale plundering of our nation by corporate interests allied with a federal government that knows and respects no limits on its power.

It seems that regardless of who is "in power", politicians continue making promises we can't afford to get elected, and our federal government continues borrowing and printing money in an attempt to meet these demands.

Unfortunately, we're running into the limits of this system. The grocery bills and gas prices we're seeing today are driven by our government creating money at an astonishing pace. We've grown the money supply (M3, now privately measured) by over 15% in the past year. Has your pay or benefits gone up by 15%? If not, you're losing out -- inflation is gradually eviscerating all of us, but especially those who are not getting the "first fruits" of government spending.

Will higher taxes fix things? I find it hard to believe that Congress will magically start spending money prudently if it radically increases taxes and reduces borrowing. Additionally, when the government takes money in taxes, how does it decide where to redistribute it? To which bureaucrat will you need to genuflect to get help with your gas and groceries?

What would happen if we tried something different -- how about transitioning to a federal government that follows its Constitutional responsibilities?

Could we do a better job building a just community if we had more local control, and local resources? Or must we rely on politicized carrots and sticks from Washington to build a better society? "Nation building" from Washington doesn't seem to work all that well in Iraq -- why are we so enamored with it here?

BJ

William (B.J.) Lawson
Congressional Candidate, North Carolina's 4th District

William (B.J.) Lawson, M.D.
Congressional Candidate, North Carolina's 4th District

Wow

I love the "Constitutional" responsibilities line.

I really like the idea of gutting things like Social Security and the 40 hour work week in favor of "constitutionalism" and "local control".

Your whole philosophy is absolute and total bullshit. You talk about limiting corporate power, and yet you would take away all power that the government has to regulate business. Of course your immediate argument is that monopolies are solely created by government interference. As if the capital needed to create a new car company or internet provider can just magically spring from the gound.

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

Study economic history more.

The rise of Robber Baron capitalism in the 1800s was not the consequence of free markets. It was a consequence of government intervention in the economy, via hugely protective tariffs, the use of government policy (even violent force) to inhibit labor unions, massive corporate welfare subsidization, and a lack of a strong system to protect private property. To call the 1800s and early 1900s an era of free markets is wrong.

Just curious: do you think oil companies have as much of a hold over energy markets due to capitalism? Or do you think it has something to do with billions of dollars in subsidies and special tax breaks that give them a huge competitive cost advantage over providers of alternative energy forms, or the fact that US foreign policy in entire parts of the world has been geared toward oil interests in a way that socializes their costs?

Furthermore, you are wrong to imply that somehow getting rid of legislative regulations would get rid of government ability to check corporate power. In fact, it is a role of the government to prevent coercion of life and liberty by another agent. For one, getting rid of government regulations would get rid of one of the most effective tools of corporations in establishing market power: the regulatory state, which is created and enforced in a way that squeezes competitors at the behest of large corporations. Secondly, libertarianism very much calls for government to check corporate abuse through the protection of private property rights and enforcement of contracts, which is something that can and should be done a lot better. (That Kelo v. New London hasn't started a movement on this issue is beyond me.) If we were to address negative externalities of corporate power through litigation and penalties, we would be much more effective in combating corporate power, I would contest.

Regarding this line:

"As if the capital needed to create a new car company or internet provider can just magically spring from the gound."

In an economy with a sound financial system, this capital comes from personal saving. It doesn't come from the Federal Reserve fixing interest rates (when Wall Street wants it, no less) to manipulate borrowing behavior and build asset bubbles that pop and bring about recessions, or by giving $200 billion bailouts to large banks when they are having liquidity problems.

Regarding the "Constitutional" line, what's wrong with it? What provisions in the Constitution allow for the existence of, for instance, Social Security or the mandated 40 hour work week? If the government's rule book doesn't allow the people in government to institute certain policies, what makes them so special that they should be allowed to break the rules?

Seriously?

this capital comes from personal saving

Have you seen the startup costs for a business? Do you have any idea how much is required to create the infrastructure for something like cell phones or cable tv? And you think that the cost could be provided for with personal savings? Youre crazy.

what makes them so special that they should be allowed to break the rules?

Do we need a special amendment prohibiting child labor or should we reinstitute that amazing product of capitalism?

Private Property rights, enforcement of contracts, life, liberty.

Where in there does it say anything about checking corporate power?

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

As I posted below...

Public funding of infrastructure is fine. In the cases you mention, I agree that the cost is such that public funding is necessary. But public financing of business startup is NOT necessary. Sure, it's going to require a lot of private financing, and there would surely be lots of screening of clients, but these industries would still be plenty competitive. Also, provided that we had a system where there were not massive incentives for consumers to go into debt (like there is now, via preferential tax treatment of debt relative to saving/equity, a monetary system that distorts market signals to consumers by manipulating the interest rate, etc), we would see much more private saving than there is today.

Furthermore, infrastructure must be funded appropriately, and there must be some system set up to where we don't see public infrastructure Halliburtoned.

Finally, let me ask you this, though: why is it everyone's responsibility for a private enterprise of any kind to start up?

"Do we need a special amendment prohibiting child labor or should we reinstitute that amazing product of capitalism?"

With a quality system of public education at the local level, for one, the need for children to work would be massively reduced, if not eliminated. Secondly, prevention of coercion of liberty entails that forced child labor would be outlawed.

"Where in there does it say anything about checking corporate power?"

Some cases for illustration of my point:

1) If a manufacturer generates pollution (via air or water) that causes damage to private property (be it direct property damage, damage to property value, or damage to a worker's productivity), then protection of private property through litigation dictates that there would be tough liability for doing so.

2) Designers of intellectual property, in a system of private property protection, would not be railroaded by larger corporations. (This would require some government assistance for quality representation of the IP designer, but this is fine with me.)

3) Enforcement of contracts would prevent or establish tough penalties larger corporations from acting in ways that violate their contracts in ways that injure other parties. For example, if there is a stipulation in a contract with a shareholder dictating that a firm must certify the accuracy of its financial reporting, then failing to adhere to this would entail financial penalties.

I've got a couple of points to make here.

>"Do we need a special amendment prohibiting child labor or should we reinstitute that amazing product of capitalism?"

With a quality system of public education at the local level, for one, the need for children to work would be massively reduced, if not eliminated. Secondly, prevention of coercion of liberty entails that forced child labor would be outlawed.

Where do you suppose that high quality education on a local level would come from? Education Elves under a magic tree? Local entities, be they city or county, do not have the funds to approach anything coming close to providing a high quality education. You try getting an intitative passed that would have the burden of the cost of education borne by the local community alone. Worse, the gap between the rich and poor would stretch to unimaginable distances. Rich communities already have an incredible advantage over poor communities. I see that because I work in 5 different counties with different levels of income per capita. My work brings me in contact with the school systems on a regular basis. What schools in one county take as a given are only dreams to schools in another county. If you took federal and state funding out of the education equation, you'd be looking at perpetuating an achievement gap in rural and poor urban areas for generations.

This: for one, the need for children to work would be massively reduced is a ridiculous assertion. The need for children to work had little to do with a high quality education, and everything to do with families not having enough to eat. Children were put to work because their families had nothing and no way to prevent them from being used that way. That's why we have government - to protect the rights of the weak. Where are you going to school, anyhow?

1) If a manufacturer generates pollution (via air or water) that causes damage to private property (be it direct property damage, damage to property value, or damage to a worker's productivity), then protection of private property through litigation dictates that there would be tough liability for doing so.

How would you ensure that corporate interests would not take over the courts where this litigation takes place? How can you ensure an impartial judiciary if everything is controlled by the market?

Further - how would you ensure that corporate interests would not take over the schools in the rosy little scenario you paint?

I'm really beginning to think you don't know what you're talking about.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

As an example.

We are actually lucky in North Carolina because our state makes an effort to provide for education.

I spent a few months in New Hampshire, and there schools are funded almost entirely by local property taxes, and they are run on a town by town basis. So you have Manchester where many schools have failed to make adequate yearly progress 3 years in a row. The dichotomy between school systems where teachers are spending upwards of a thousand dollars a year on paper and less than an hour away there are 4 or 5 students per computer is astonishing.

And its because of local control, with no real statewide funding system. Its a horrific model, and absolute proof of what would happen.

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

I think we're looking at the same problems.

The problem isn't "government", per se. The problem is when we can no longer distinguish between government interests, and corporate/special interests.

But I understand your hostility towards the Constitution. It's shared by many in government today, including our President. You believe it's "bullshit", and the actions of the current administration suggest that they share your belief.

Hostility towards the Constitution is a rare source of bipartisan agreement.

Oh, and about "capital". Now that we have confused capital formation with credit formation in our age of fiat currencies and fractional reserve banking, we don't need capital to "spring from the ground". It's actually much easier than that. The Federal Reserve simply writes a worthless check to the U.S. Treasury, putting zeros in the Treasury's bank account, the Treasury writes large checks to Blackwater, KBR, etc., and the magic of "trickle down" economics makes it all good.

Especially for folks trying to save or earn a living while food, gas, and other necessities start soaring out of reach.

BJ

William (B.J.) Lawson
Congressional Candidate, North Carolina's 4th District

William (B.J.) Lawson, M.D.
Congressional Candidate, North Carolina's 4th District

I believe the money is already there

in the system.

It must be rechanneled, or redistributed, to allow everyone to take advantage of what only some have access to.

Making sure we have a healthy citizenry is certainly a top priority for a lot of people in this country, and I'm sure they're willing to work and sacrifice for it. I am. How about you, Mr. Lawson? Are you willing to redistribute what you pay in health care costs so that more of your neighbors can have access to the same care you have?

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

Whether or not he is willing to do it isn't the point.

The point is that it's unjust to steal someone's property to provide for someone else. If you did this outside of the political realm, it would be theft. If you want to provide more people with access to quality health care (coverage), start up a non-profit enterprise to do it. If Obama people worked as hard in starting an effort like this (or in other private efforts addressing a number of other concerns) as they do for his campaign, they would make a tremendous impact, I would argue a far greater impact than they would be getting Obama elected. There are plenty of virtuous billionaires/millionaires out there (as well as image-conscious corporations) who would jump at the chance to contribute heavily to something like this.

Besides, even if he wasn't willing, should he be judged negatively for that? If so, why? Is it really your role and everyone else's role to impose your own code of values on everyone else and chastise everyone who feels differently?

Regarding the "money being there," right now, the federal government has anywhere from $50-70 trillion in unfunded liabilities over the next seventy-five, depending on your source. FIFTY TO SEVENTY TRILLION! And that's not a figure over a period of time; that is a PRESENT VALUE figure. In other words, right now, we would have to set aside roughly our entire national wealth in a Treasury interest-bearing account for SEVENTY FIVE YEARS in order to pay for the current unfunded liabilities over the federal government. The vast majority of this is in Social Security and Medicare (including $6 trillion in unfunded liabilities for the Part D, the new prescription drug benefit). Adding Hillary's or Obama's health care plans will add even MORE to this; God knows how much more. If we think that the federal government can provide this much and police the world, we are sorely mistaken. Whether we take income, borrow, or inflate to cover this tab, we will be imposing a HUGE and prohibitive tax increase if we expect to have a growing and competitive economy going forward.

Furthermore, why is there always this assumption that in order to address a problem, the government needs spend tons of money on it? If we want to fix this health care system, why not get rid of the stupid government policies (benefit mandates; prohibition from buying insurance across state lines; a huge regulatory state that Duke professor Chris Conover estimates imposes a net cost, as of 2004, of $169 billion a year) that have royally screwed it up? Expanding government spending/government's role in the health care sector isn't going to do much to improve our system. Any third-party payment system is going to suffer from the same principle-agent problems of adverse selection and moral hazard. While great government expansion would address the adverse selection problem since it can compel people to participate, it will make the moral hazard problem even worse, since more cases of the problem will arise with greater numbers and observation by a large central authority will be prohibitively costly (to say the least). In order to deal with the moral hazard problem, the government would have to institute draconian restrictions on consumer choice and payment schemes, which will cause all kinds of nasty distortions and effects, with a decline in timely access to quality/specialty care and supply disruptions being prime examples.

Free Market vs Government

Independent Health Insurance Providers apply 20-25% of their gross income on overhead and profits. Thats money that we give them so they can give millions to CEOs and deny coverage to people who deserve it.

On the other hand, Medicare spends 4-5% of their gross "income" on overhead.

But yeah, government is horrible and bad and ineffecient...

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

re:

1) You cite that cost figure without considering what the source of it is, and the source of it is NOT a free health care market. The prominence of private health insurance, and the power of large insurance companies, is not an organic development of a free health care market, but rather the policies devised by the government (tax preference for employer-provided insurance and benefit mandates, for example) to encourage third-party coverage and higher volumes of it, which has contributed to a highly bureaucratized and inefficient system in which insurance companies. So yeah, in your own words, government IS horrible and bad and inefficient.

BTW, private enterprise is not necessarily free enterprise.

2) You assume that that a single-payer system would remain at 4-5% overhead with increased volume. That's quite an assumption, and I would argue a bad one.

I love that comeback

The response of libertarians to every flaw in capitalism is to respond with "well thats not really a free market". Its as amusing as when communists say that the failures of Russia and Cuba dont count because it wasnt really communism.

We live in a world thats a little more complicated than your textbooks indicate.

"Keep the Faith"

"Keep the Faith"

:) Nice to know you were here to catch the b.s. BS

Now, taxes are stealing - that's what Paige said, really. And honestly, I've got no problem with paying taxes for programs that would help everyone. That's why I'm not a libertarian. I have no illusions that I can build roads, provide health care, provide education or provide for a common defense based on my own individual efforts.

We have to work for the common good. I believe that's what most of the 75,000 people who came out to see Obama yesterday thought. I believe that's what most of the millions of people who've already voted for Clinton and Obama think. But I could be wrong. I've been wrong before. Once or twice.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

If it's not a free market, then it's not a free market.

Period. You can't blame free markets for something that free markets don't cause, just as you can't blame communism for something that communism doesn't cause. (In fairness)

I notice that, in all of this, you did not debate me on particular points I raised. Instead, you prefer to take a glib potshot at the philosophy itself

And there is a difference between capitalism and free markets. A system of private ownership of the means of production is enough to constitute capitalism; the government can still be heavily involved in centrally planning distribution of goods and resources in such a system, and more often than not, they do it in such a way that powerful classes are built or to maintain and bolster such classes. Free market economics entails not only private ownership of assets and means of production, but that the government (aside from protecting property rights, enforcing contracts, preventing coercion of life and liberty, and perhaps providing some public goods, which I think it should do) doesn't manipulate the markets in any way.

So you don't benefit from your taxes?

The point is that it's unjust to steal someone's property to provide for someone else.

I am so sick of this meme. Everywhere you go and everything you do you realize benefits from our "welfare" society. Utilities, services, infrastructure, agriculture, REGULATIONS, etc., etc.

In the absence of collective responsibility, this country would have never achieved a fraction of what we have.

No kidding.

Never drove on a public highway. Never attended a public school. Never went to bed knowing that god forbid should a fire break out in the home, a publicly supported fire department would respond to call for help through a publicly funded 911 system. Never went to a public park. Never got sick and went to a hospital that receives public funds.

"meme" is a good word for folks like that. Break it down, it becomes Me!Me!

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

Pell Grants

There was a guy at work who was a so called Libertarian and everytime he started on the "it's not in the constitution so we shouldn't use tax money to fund it" rant, I always asked him who gave him the Pell Grants that put him through college?

"jump in where you can and hang on"
Briscoe Darling to Sheriff Andy

Just to clarify.

I am NOT against the concept of taxation, per se. For a tax to be just and worthy, I have two criteria:

1) The tax must be voluntary.
2) The tax must be consistent with the role of government.
3) The tax must produce the least amount of inefficiency, or perhaps even be socially efficient.

Income taxes and broad-based consumption taxes constitute this type of tax, and they are the most economically taxes there are, as they tax the very activities (work, saving, investment, consumption) that lead to growth, and neither are voluntary. On both counts, as much as I hate the income tax, I hate the FAIR Tax just as much. (Sorry, Beej)

Some examples of taxes I'm fine with include:

1) Pigovian Negative Externality Tax (taxes on things like pollution, cigarettes, etc. that produce negative cost externalities to the economy and, ultimately, represent damages to private property)
2) User fees (direct fees for government services; things like the gas tax, and even property taxes, can be conceived as user fees, as gas taxes pay for the public roads we drive on and local property taxes could conceivably pay for the law enforcement at the local level that protects our property)
3) Some Excise Taxes (they still cause inefficiencies, and they're not completely voluntary, but provided that there are numerous substitutes for a taxed good and that excise taxes cause the least inefficiency possible, I'll go for them if they're necessary to fund what I view to be the

Furthermore, I'm not against public education. I thought I had made this clear in another post. Public education is one of the things that the government can provide that increases economic growth (by building human capital). Most libertarian economists you talk to will freely acknowledge this. (Pretty much every economist, in fact; except for some intellectually masturbating contract theorists.) Heck, I'm not against publicly-funded financial aid; I would like to see MORE of it for public universities, in fact. (I also think MORE money should be spent on public education.) I just want public education to be funded in a just way, I want it to work, and I want families to have access to alternatives if it's not working. (Yes, I support vouchers.)

Codified regulation, I contend, is a net negative for society. Ultimately, it causes two problems. It either squeezes small competitors relative to larger competitors, or (in a global economy) contributes heavily to chasing industries out of the country. But the government can't just industries run willy nilly, I acknowledge. The answer is a STRONG system of protecting private property and enforcing contracts, with tough liability as a consequence of abuse. This way, larger competitors can't strong arm smaller ones in the market by using a corrupted system of direct regulation, and there's an incentive for everyone (i.e., to not have John Edwards come after you) to be on their best behavior.

Furthermore, I really hope you're not arguing that agricultural subsidies are a net positive for society. Nearly every single economist, left or right, will knock you senseless for this assertion.

Regarding collective responsibility, it depends on what you define to be the collective responsibility. If you define protection of property rights, enforcement of contracts, provision of public goods that truly both enhance the functioning of a free market and society and increase productivity (like public infrastructure and, even though it's not a pure public good by definition, public education), and preventing one agent from coercing another's life and liberty (which would entail provision of law enforcement, national defense, and perhaps other services) as collective responsibility, then I'm with you. But I don't view making sure everyone has the same or at least a minimum standard of living as collective responsibility, nor do I view the building, enrichment, and sustenance of powerful (even legacy) corporations as collective responsibility.

Next time, before you guys label someone, make assumptions about all of their stances on issues, and attack them, try building the discussion a bit more to see if there are any nuances there. I get really sick of getting labeled and attacked by right-wingers when I talk about drugs, foreign policy, prostitution, and other issues. You guys don't want to be like right-wingers, do you?

The tax must be voluntary?

I think that would be called a contribution, not a tax.

:)

PS Taxes are already voluntary. You can volunteer not to work for money or buy anything or drive a car or own a house and you won't have to pay any taxes!

Call it what you want.

Voluntary taxation, that is.

What I mean by voluntary is that you can exercise your liberty, broadly speaking, without having to pay a fee for doing so. Income taxes and broad-based consumption taxes force people to pay a fee if they want to generally exercise their liberty to work or consume. Pigovian taxes charge a fee for coercing someone else's liberty, user fees charge a direct fee for using a service (voluntarily), and excise taxes, while not completely voluntary, are greatly reduced in their involuntariness.

Thanks for engaging in civilized discussions with me, btw.. I don't greatly appreciate having my views immediately labeled as "bullshit" by some on here (I'll go ahead and single out Blue South and Linda for this). This doesn't really contribute to any kind of progress, and in fact really makes me want to go nuclear. (Figuratively speaking, of course.)

Glad you're here.

It'll all work out. Even in calls of "bullshit" progress can be made.

Thanks for your positive spirit. BlueSouth and Linda are good people. They're just tired of fighting back against what feels like an avalanche of free-market fanaticism lately.

Yes, I did label it b.s.

I think it's bullshit. I'm not a libertarian - I'm almost as far from being one as you can get. I believe in a strong central government that regulates business and provides education and health care. I don't mind paying taxes for it. I'm actively working to bring this country closer to that.

You talk about you want "voluntary taxation", but you want litigation, which means you want courts, which also means you want employees of the courts, which means that there must be a permanent infrastructure for them. So there's a judicial system that must be paid for. Your filing fees on your litigation isn't going to pay for everything - and the courts that are set up for your protection should you ever want to file a lawsuit against someone who has damaged you or your property have to be in place in order for you to do that. As you say, we don't want these things "Haliburtoned", so we need to be sure we've got a reasonable, responsible way to oversee this court system. Supremes and such come to mind. I imagine that not many of the justices are going to volunteer to serve just to wait and see who you decide to sue.

Also, this court system you want to be able to avail yourself of should you so desire will need to have something codified so that the judges are not left only to their own personal opinion. I guess we need laws. There's the legislature. Now in NC, we have a supposedly citizen legislature. We ask ordinary folks like you and me to take leave of their jobs and work in Raleigh - stay there when the lege is in session - all for the whopping sum of $14,000 a year. So what has happened in NC? People who afford to have run for the legislature. They are retired. They are rich. They are not you and me. But I digress.

You want schools to run on local funding only. That would seem a reasonable request - but as an educator, I'm deeply concerned by the knowledge that most people in my area vote against any increases for the schools. We've got children sitting in mobile classrooms instead of solid buildings, having to cross the campus to use the restroom no matter what the weather, and then when they get to the restroom, the warm water (which is needed to kill germs) doesn't work when they wash their hands. And we couldn't get two different initiatives passed to pay for improvements to the schools. Forget about teacher pay. They don't want to hear it. Teachers get 2 months off, you know! They shouldn't get paid the same as real people!

Yeah - I called bullshit on your ideas - and Mr. Lawson's - because I think they are. This is BlueNC - and most people here are a little left of center. I'm more left than most of them.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

What in the world are they teaching

these days?

1) The tax must be voluntary.

Even if enough "volunteers" donated funding allowing the Federal government to meet the bare bones requirements to protect private property and the other (few) things you've detailed as the role government should play in our lives, this would shift even more of a burden to the truly "responsible" citizens in our society, instead of promoting responsibility, which I thought was one of the goals of Libertarianism.

2) The tax must be consistent with the role of government.

As defined by who? Or what? The Constitution? Does that include Amendments? If so, does it include all of them? As you can guess, our (your and my) opinion of what government's role is (or should be) is apparently vastly different, as (probably) is our interpretation of the Constitution.

3) The tax must produce the least amount of inefficiency, or perhaps even be socially efficient.

Again, you or I would have differing opinions about whether something is efficient or not.

Furthermore, I really hope you're not arguing that agricultural subsidies are a net positive for society. Nearly every single economist, left or right, will knock you senseless for this assertion.

I wasn't talking about net positives for society, I was talking about benefits to you individually. Government programs (including subsidies) have generally kept food prices down for consumers, so when Paige goes grocery shopping, the percentage of his net income that he spends for food is considerably less than most of the rest of the world.

I am (almost totally) against subsidies, as they are currently being used, which is to pay for crops not produced. If it were up to me, our farmers would produce as much food as they possibly could, flood the world market, bringing prices down across the boards, and our government would purchase anything that wasn't selling quick enough and give the food to hungry people.

Well, there's *something* there

"in the system", all right. You might call it money, or you might call it an unsustainable mountain of debt. In today's odd world, they're actually the same thing.

David Walker presents pretty compelling evidence that we can't keep doing what we've been doing without serious consequences.

When's the last time you contemplated the nature of money?

And regarding health care, that ground has been plowed extensively here (and below):

http://bluenc.com/david-price-has-another-challenger-.-.-.#comment-75525

BJ

William (B.J.) Lawson
Congressional Candidate, North Carolina's 4th District

William (B.J.) Lawson, M.D.
Congressional Candidate, North Carolina's 4th District

"We are a self-reliant people..."

"We are a self-reliant people, and we are an independent people, but we are not a people that turns our backs on each other. We are a people that depends on each other, that believes that all of us have to rise together, or all of us will fall together."

-Barack Obama, Portland, Oregon 05/18/08

Awesome.

I just saw this reported on CNN, and it took my breath away. I hope they all vote.

I'm an idealist without illusions. JFK

That's an awesome crowd. I just wish he had gone

after Kentucky with a bit more energy. Seems like Obama is willing to concede the Blue Grass state way too easily. An aggressive campaign there could have paid dividends later and across the nation.

Person County Democrats

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

A crowd like this in NC?

I'd love to see Obama come to Carter-Finley Stadium sometime before the general election. Think this area could fill the stadium? I certainly do!

Love the photo.

Happy Birthday Rep. Miller!

Keep up the good work!

I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero—that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I found it, and standing for freedom, truth and justice. - Bill Hicks

Great book about NC politics

Parodox of Tarheel Politics by Rob Christensen

It gives a great history of why our politics are so screwed up.

"jump in where you can and hang on"
Briscoe Darling to Sheriff Andy

You sure that's not just

Christensen's coverup for why he doesn't know what the heck he's talkin' about sometimes? :D

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Big Money in Local Politics

The NC Justice Center is hosting hosting a Crucial Conversation Luncheon on "Big Money in Local Politics" next Wednesday, May 28th with guest speakers:

* Mark Kleinschmidt, Chapel Hill Town Council
* Russ Stephenson, Raleigh City Council
* Diane Tworog, Associate Director Common Cause North Carolina
* Rep. Pricey Harrison of Guilford County

It's getting more difficult in North Carolina's major cities for the average citizen to afford to run for local offices. As the cost to compete for City Council and mayoral races increasingly exceeds six figures, fewer people are willing or able to run for office and wealthy special interest money is dominating more campaigns. Common Cause North Carolina will release results of a statewide study on this issue. Municipal elected officials will discuss their first-hand experience with the growing problem of big money politics at the local level. It should be an interesting discussion.

Pre-register for the luncheon:
http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/cms/2008/05/28/crucial-conversation-luncheon-big-money-in-local-politics/

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McCain - The Third Bush Term