The Death and Life of the Great American Middle Class

I don’t agree with Andrew on the issue of public sector unions at all but at least this post is a good deal more measured than many of his recent efforts. It’s also revealing of a certain mindset that I think a lot of Americans share.

I will try to explain how I see the situation. Here are the talking points you hear from many libertarians and conservatives, in no particular order:

1) The government is out of money, and we need to cut spending or future generations will suffer.

2) Austerity should be for everyone, not just private-sector workers.

3) We cannot raise taxes – even on the rich despite their inordinate wealth and not on corporations despite their extraordinary return to profitability during the jobless recovery.

4) Public-sector workers have unsustainable wages and benefits. They need to be brought in line with the rest of us by whatever means necessary.

5) Union-busting is just democracy in action. Protesting is ridiculous. The Republicans won, deal with it.

6) Passing health-care legislation is tyranny. Tea-party protests are democracy in action. Democrats won, but it’s our duty to obstruct them at every turn.

So this hodge-podge of talking points spins an oddly appealing yarn for many Americans. We must all pull together to sacrifice – but not by raising revenue or taxing those who can afford to be taxed, but rather by laying off public sector workers (since private-sector workers have already been laid off) and cutting back their benefits (since private-sector workers had to have their wages and benefits cut) and busting their unions (because that’s what we did to the private sector). The government is out of money, so we must all tighten our belts. Or, rather, those Americans who depend on public services must tighten their belts. The fabulously rich get a free lunch and are sent on their merry way, lugging along piles of cash and a much more productive workforce thanks to the ever-looming threat of double-digit unemployment.

Meanwhile, as John pointed out earlier, the first wave of 401k retirees is facing a serious crisis. This should come as no surprise. But context is especially important. At the same time that we’re discovering that the 401k model is unsound, we’re also seeing a concerted effort to attack the last bastion not just of unionism in this country, but of pension-based retirement plans. And the even larger picture, if we zoom out a few hundred feet or so higher, is that this is an attack on the middle class and on the future of the middle class in America. Not just on the public sector, but on the entire middle class, private sector included (though those battles have largely already been fought, and the middle class has lost them one by one).

The truth is, the middle class is simply less necessary to the flow of commerce in an economy dominated by a super-rich elite investor class. So policies that favor the middle class in America have slowly been weeded out in favor of policies which tilt toward investment banks and multi-national corporations. Consciously or not, these policies are designed to replace the middle class with a low-paid service class (which nevertheless has access to long lines of credit). This service class has very little political clout, and will have less and less as whatever good service jobs are outsourced or, in the public sector, stripped of collective bargaining rights.

The decline of unions has been a vicious cycle, as the Democratic party has slowly grown more and more dependent on the money and influence of big business rather than organized labor. As a result, the Democrats have become less relevant, a party built on social issues rather than middle-class economics. That’s fine up to a point, but it’s not enough.

So why does Wisconsin matter? Because this is a pivotal battle in that fight. What happens in Wisconsin could be a bellwether for things to come. If Walker wins, expect other like-minded governors to attempt the same thing, and many of them will likely win. If he loses, organized labor may have bought itself a bit more time. But the new class war will continue. Unless the public narrative can be recaptured from the Tea Party and the austerity now crowd we won’t see it end. Unless Democrats wake up to this threat, the party itself could be undone. And we’ll continue to read, over and over, sentences like this one:

At a time when private sector employment is stagnating and wages shrinking, public workers are not going to be able to defend ever-increasing wages and benefits for themselves.

Many of us will accept this unblinkly, never stopping to consider that maybe it’s all backwards, a convenient narrative, a sleight of hand used to turn the middle class against itself.

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, reports all say that the Tea Partiers and union protestors got along well enough in Madison, the two sides mixing amicably. Things remained civil. Perhaps there was some underlying, unspoken realization that never quite bubbled up to the surface – some foggy sense that we are all in the same boat together, and that someone else is sending it toward the breakers. That the storm is rushing in from above, not below.

254 replies
  1. 1
    wormtown says:

    great post. thank you.

  2. 2
    agrippa says:

    Those six points are rhetoric; empty words. They may say that they are serious and they may think that that they are serious. Some people are gullible and will believe anything They are not. They are, in fact, rewarding their friends and punishing their enemies. That is all there is to it.

    Politics and governing are two entirely different things. They are doing politics; they are not doing governing.

    Polticians do not like governing.

  3. 3
    JPL says:

    The Madison Newspaper had a blog about the rally at the State House. A tea party person complained that he paid his own health care so the teachers should also. In order to win this battle the Koch brothers and their followers have to put the middle class at war with each other. It’s not different from the south where they put the blacks against the poor white in order to keep labor costs low. Unfortunately, teachers are now the targets. What group is next?

  4. 4
    anthony says:

    5) Union-busting is just democracy in action. Protesting is ridiculous. The Republicans won, deal with it.

    As libertarians are like to shuffle around democracy and gently tongue rule of law and a republic, I find this remarkable. What kind of democracy crushes unions? A shit one, that’s what.

  5. 5
    snarkypsice says:

    Those last few lines were pure poetry. And so, so true.

  6. 6
    cmorenc says:

    @JPL :

    In order to win this battle the Koch brothers and their followers have to put the middle class at war with each other. It’s not different from the south where they put the blacks against the poor white in order to keep labor costs low. Unfortunately, teachers are now the targets.

    This is exactly the psychological dynamic that’s going on: “I’m struggling, so why shouldn’t you be too, even more so” combined with the dream that “someday I may become wealthy, and if that happened, I wouldn’t want my hard-won stuff sucked off by leeches”.

  7. 7
    PaulW says:

    This needs to be on the front of every newspaper out there.

  8. 8
    morzer says:

    One point that should be added:

    7) When Democrats try and protect the middle class or labor unions, this is class warfare and socialism. When the GOP fights for tax cuts for the rich, this is the American way.

  9. 9
    JPL says:

    @cmorenc: IMO, Walker would have more credibility if he went after all public unions but he didn’t so his comments that bargaining takes to long is wrong.
    In general, as long as factory workers were targeted, people turned a blind eye but now that College educated people are targeted maybe the middle class will wake up. A few months ago that liberal (lol) magazine The Economist has an article stating that if you wanted to achieve the American Dream, move to France.

  10. 10
    E.D. Kain says:

    @anthony: this was one of the many thoughts that were running through my head when I decided I was a progressive.

  11. 11
    agrippa says:

    It is, basically, a top down maneuver to divide the middle class against itself. It has worked fairly well in the past. It worked in the run up to the Civil War; it worked in the South after the Civil War. It worked in industry with the division between ‘blue collar’ and ‘white collar’.

    Manufacturing in the USA is basically gone overseas, so unions – which were never strong – are very much weaker.

    People like the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch have very reason to think that it will work now.

  12. 12
    gnomedad says:

    Before I start whining, this is a great post. But I find that defenses of unions generally slip quickly into preaching-to-the-choir mode, mocking rather than explaining misconceptions. As is often noted, union membership is way down, so there is a huge audience susceptible to envy and disdain.

    As I’ve said elsewhere, I’ve never belonged to a union (by happenstance, not ideology) and my instinct is to oppose employer cartels by anti-trust laws rather that by labor cartels. (So public employees may have a better case for unions than others.) But one bug I find hard to get out of my head is that unions provide better wages for their members at the cost of reducing overall employment in the profession — or, in snarkier language, protecting people who have jobs from people who want jobs.

    Again, I’m not selling these viewpoints, I’m just stating that they trouble me, and I’m willing to be educated. Right now, I’m reading The Economics of Trade Unions in an attempt to gain some perspective.

    Final disclaimer: I totally get that the Rethugs are up to no good here; I’m just trying to clarify my understanding of the role of unions generally.

  13. 13
    E.D. Kain says:

    @morzer: Well actually that one might be true. Fighting for tax cuts for the rich really is the American way…

  14. 14
    Egypt Steve says:

    I have to confess I don’t get it. Do the Trumps and the Kochs of this country, and their political lackeys, really want to drive in their armor-plated limousines from their gated estates to their high-rise luxury office-buildings through streets choked with garbage and teeming with limbless beggars? If so, why don’t they just move to India for the libertarian good life?

  15. 15
    gene108 says:

    I think about the advantages of wiping out the middle class and working class and creating a Third World economy. For example, engaging someone to clean your house or cook for you can be prohibitively expensive in modern America.

    When we have people scraping by on a $1/day, it will be easily affordable for the few who have money to burn.

    Sure there’ll be winners and losers, but all people do is whine about what the losers will lose.

    Doesn’t anybody have the decency to look at how much the winners would have won?

  16. 16
    debbie says:

    Collective bargaining is the new death panel.

  17. 17
    E.D. Kain says:

    @gnomedad: In some countries, part of what unions do is negotiate for full employment. I’d say other forces are more responsible for declining employment. Also, union wages and benefits put upward pressure on wages and benefits for non-union workers. In any case, I know one story about unions is that they create higher unemployment, but I don’t see that evidenced in the unemployment numbers of other developed – but more highly unionized – nations.

  18. 18
    agrippa says:

    “Republicans won. Deal with it.”

    Yea.

    2000 and 2004 were a tie. 2008 Dems won. 2010 GOP won.
    2012? We shall see.

    We do not have a working majority in the USA. At least 40 to 60 % of eligible voters do not vote. Under 30% voted in 2010.

    This is not governing. This is politics.

  19. 19
    Elia says:

    beautiful ending, E.D. Great writing.

  20. 20
    morzer says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    The rich American way, sure. Class warfare for billionaires at 1 o’clock. Bring someone else’s lunch. Seriously though, don’t you think that this stuff about class warfare deserves a mention, and the obsessive insistence on re-fighting the Cold War within America? Why is it that the GOP always has to have an internal war going as well as all the external ones they can manage?

  21. 21
    matoko_chan says:

    and you can deal with this.

    She’s nothing more than a troll, and has written pretty awful racist things. Why we don’t ban her here is beyond me.

    Link please to where i said “pretty awful racist things.”
    this is going on every thread you put up until you provide the empirical data that i said “awful racist things”.
    Are you a gentleman? I demand satisfaction. Its my right, isnt it, Cole?
    And im proud of being a troll….i follow the School of the Master, DougJ.
    ABT.
    But i only troll you. Because i think you are faking it.
    Like DougJ trolled those talking apes “principled libertarians” you are so proud of.
    You are trying relly hard to pretend that didnt happen. Are you too stupid to see it, or too humiliated to acknowlege it?
    In America libertarianism is one leg of the conservative stool. You should call yourself something else if you support civil liberty in America.

  22. 22
    JPL says:

    I think the title of the post is wrong. It should be the Life and Death of the Middle Class. It’s been decided by the overlords that in our economy we no longer need a strong middle class.

  23. 23
    E.D. Kain says:

    @Egypt Steve: I honestly don’t think a lot of people who take the anti-labor position are thinking this through all the way. I don’t think they all mean badly. Whether the Kochs are truly anti-middle-class or whether they are just very ideologically driven and don’t see the end-results of their politics as being anti-middle class, I can’t say. Sometimes what we see as villainy is actually much more boring. I don’t know.

  24. 24
    Zach says:

    Two of the primary reasons people choose public sector work are job security and benefits. This is weighed against the likelihood of faster career advancement in the private sector. Most teachers I know are capable enough people to have obtained much higher wages in other fields. However, the piece of mind that comes with knowing you’ll be able to retire with dignity at a reasonable age is valuable. This is all pretty obvious, but I haven’t seen many folks say it.

    It’s amazing to watch Republicans basically argue that if government spending and hiring mimicked the business cycle (actually, if it slightly lagged the cycle), the world would be a better place. This would be the inevitable result of pegging spending to revenue with balanced budget laws and whatnot. It’s such an intuitively horrible idea to reinforce the effects of a recession.

  25. 25
    walt says:

    The identification of the middle class with corporate America was based partly on the Reaganesque idea that we’re all wannabe entrepreneurs just aching to be unleashed from the heavy hand of government. Private money is exciting whereas government security is boring. But it’s also an idea that the “haves” are entitled while the “have nots” are grasping and greedy. It’s why Walker excluded public safety workers from his anti-collective bargaining effort. The question is whether right-wing overreach is evident in Wisconsin or if the economic situation of the middle class will have to further worsen. Regardless, this is a battle we might well lose in the short run still shift some public opinion. In that case, it becomes a win.

  26. 26
    matoko_chan says:

    @agrippa: until the demographic timer goes off.
    around 2020.

  27. 27
    E.D. Kain says:

    @JPL: True enough.

  28. 28
    gnomedad says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    I’d say other forces are more responsible for declining employment.

    I don’t doubt this, but, you know, ceteris paribus and all that.

    But thanks for your reply, and I’m certainly convincible on the points you make; my point is that I’d like to see these things addressed in between rounds of “Solidarity Forever”.

  29. 29
    Superluminar says:

    I am shocked that libertarians who say they’re all in favour of people’s rights WRT the state are now arguing that the state is right to suppress them. Shocked.

    Alsotoo, Republicans saying that there is nothing wrong with removing people’s rights, even whilst saying a President enacting what he was elected on is Kenyan socia1ism and therefore wrong.

    Irony has been shot, killed, disinterred and made the subject of a shoot-em-up zombie game none of us can possibly hope to win.

  30. 30
    Alex S. says:

    Great piece.
    In an economy with deliberately high unemployment a single worker has got no leverage over any potential employer. After all, a replacement is easily available. Collective bargaining is the only way to go, especially since businesses are represented by similar interest groups like the Chamber of Commerce or the Health Insurance company associations (I forgot the name, but they were pretty important in the health care battle). The problem is that the economy is changing and the old manufacturing jobs are losing their relevance. It is very important that organized labor adapts to these changes and establishes new models of organization, which is why passing EFCA was extremely important.

    Sullivan is beyond hope it seems. So the UK was all but destroyed because of public sector unions? What does he mean? Is he sad over the loss of the empire, or does he mean that the mining unions destroyed the UK and Thatcher was not able to save it, or does he blame the current woes of the UK on public sector unions? Please point out to him that the public sector unions of Wisconsin agreed to lower benefits and that the current battle is nothing but a power struggle.

  31. 31
    JPL says:

    @matoko_chan: So..even if he’s faking it, he writes some darn good posts. According to you he is faking it, but writes arguments that prove that his real theories are false? Do I get it now?

  32. 32
    E.D. Kain says:

    @gnomedad: I’ll try to do a more detailed treatment of it for sure.

  33. 33
    Wil says:

    Conservatism is the enemy of America.

    Waiting for the rest of the progressive nation to catch up to me…

  34. 34
    morzer says:

    @JPL:

    Cunning chap that ED Kain, destroying progressivism from within by advancing progressive arguments and denouncing Republican fiddle-faddle and fraud. Such a wily critter he is!

  35. 35
    matoko_chan says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    I don’t think they all mean badly.

    of course not! they are only taking a reasonable, understandable position. like fetus=slave, IDT, ensoulment, DOMA, market “innovation” or AGW denial.

  36. 36

    I wrote about this today as well. Near as I can tell, the strategy of the GOP over the past 25 years has been to destroy the middle class, and lay the blame on unions and Democrats. Somehow they’ve convinced a big chunk of people that by paying higher taxes and giving away more of their rights to the wealthy corporate elite, they will somehow benefit.

    What we’re seeing is the politics of jealousy and resentment.

    It’s very odd.

  37. 37
    matoko_chan says:

    @morzer: i think hes a faker.
    hes welcome to prove im wrong.
    and also to prove i said “pretty awful racist things” like he claims.

  38. 38
    morzer says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Not odd at all. It’s a very basic human emotion, to resent the fact that someone else has more. The GOP just does a good job of making vulnerable targets available to the resentful.

  39. 39
    Baud says:

    The decline of unions has been a vicious cycle, as the Democratic party has slowly grown more and more dependent on the money and influence of big business rather than organized labor. As a result, the Democrats have become less relevant, a party built on social issues rather than middle-class economics. That’s fine up to a point, but it’s not enough.

    Ah, yes. I remember all the union busting efforts we had to deal with when the Democrats were in control. Oh, wait…

  40. 40
    matoko_chan says:

    @Southern Beale: wrong. their strat has been to racebait and IQbait to win for the last fifty years, since civil rights and the republicans became the southern white supremicist party.
    the “southern strategy” is the purest distillate.
    Extincting the middle class like a Jurrassic super-predator is a side-effect of the destruction of the White Patriarchy Social cohesion model, which imploded when blacks and women got the vote.
    as long as the oligarchs and business class elite had to get right with jeebus and their neighbors once a week there was a brake on survival of the greediest.
    no more.

  41. 41
    anthony says:

    @E.D. Kain Hey, welcome aboard.

    And if the government’s such an awful oppressor why should citizens give away the freedom that collective action brings?

  42. 42
    morzer says:

    @anthony:

    Because collective action is what the One World Government wants?

  43. 43
    Kiril says:

    “unions provide better wages for their members at the cost of reducing overall employment in the profession”

    I don’t think this is how it works. Think about it for a minute. Businesses are never going to hire more people than they need to get a job done. If the job can be done with fewer union workers, then it can be done with fewer workers, period. The role of unions is to negotiate for a larger share of the profits, and if anything, unions will tend to increase employment stability, as when they agree to temporary pay cuts to avoid layoffs during a downturn.

  44. 44
    Superluminar says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but I have a feeling that a certain commenter here has upon her bedroom wall a large, blownup photo of ED Kain, and there is a heart drawn around it in bright pink lipstick which has since been scribbled over in black marker pen, the same pen that has been used to add the legend “i HATTE u cudlip”. Other walls carry a photo of Julian Assange in a similar style of modification, with the word “raPPist cudlip”, and the most recent addition, DougJ, with the words ” i luRve u naow, maSterTroll!!”

  45. 45
    morzer says:

    @Kiril:

    Right. It’s actually a refinement of a classic scare-tactic by corporations:

    Keep your union, lose your jobs.

    In fact, if you look at a good swathe of America, corporations bought companies that had unions, told them that if they de-unionized their jobs would be safe (relatively), got what they wanted, promptly outsourced as many jobs as possible, cut wages for the few workers who were left, and increased their own compensation at the same time. Rinse and repeat.

  46. 46
    Kiril says:

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2.....nt-2439605
    “Sometimes what we see as villainy is actually much more boring.”
    There’s a term for this: the banality of evil.

  47. 47
    morzer says:

    @Superluminar:

    Convincing, although you missed out the key word “bio-luddite” and your spelling is much too good. There’s probably a huge poster of a certain troll in ninja garb and sitting at a keyboard as well.

  48. 48
    Jeffro says:

    So what are we going to actually DO about all this? Where’s the liberal Chris Christie and how do we get him/her a megaphone?

  49. 49
    batgirl says:

    I don’t get the animosity toward teachers who, based on their education levels, take a pay cut to teach. Teacher salary is the one place conservatives/libertarians seem to abandon their free market principles in public education. You want the best and brightest teaching in your classrooms? And you think people make economic decisions based on self-interest? Then if I’m a college graduate, possibly with a Master’s degree, there is little doubt that I can make more money and get more respect outside of public education.

    Who the hell do people want teaching their kids? It is just another example of the American attitude toward education.

    See Rortybomb for more info about average teacher salaries.

  50. 50
    JPL says:

    E.D., thanks for the post. I do find it interesting that Walker can spout about collective bargaining for teachers being bad, but at the same time support the police unions and fire department unions. I know they supported him, but either you support the right to bargain or you don’t. How do ultra-conservatives justify this?
    Thanks again for the post and I’ll check in later.

  51. 51
    bemused says:

    Pitting neighbor against neighbor has worked beautifully for conservatives, particularly when times are tough. I’ve been both an employee and a small business owner and you could always count on employees watching like hawks that no one else was getting more money, bennies, whatever than they were even if it was only in their imaginations. You have to look out for yourself but I’ve seen that taken to obsessive levels ending up with employees biting off their noses to spite their face and they can’t see it. Resentment of others is more powerful. Human nature but R’s are definitely the pros in tapping into that.

  52. 52
    cleek says:

    @agrippa:

    Manufacturing in the USA is basically gone overseas

    just a nitpik.

    based on worth of goods produced, the US is still the number one manufacturing country in the world. China will likely beat us for the top spot in the next year or two, but even then, we will only be #2. that is not “gone”.

    the problem is not that we don’t make anything in the US, it’s that we used to make so much more.

  53. 53
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Great post, EDK, and great comments (from, um, most). But it’s more than just an attack on the middle class, and Wisconsin is more than just a bellwether on union-busting, although both are sadly and undeniably true.

    But there’s even dirtier work afoot. Head over to http://www.ginandtacos.com (and megathanks to John Cole for putting me on to that awesome blog). Read today’s post, “Stand and Deliver.” Ed (not ED) points to Gov. Walker’s 144-page bill and notes that it would bring about privatization of public utilities, no-bid contracts, cronyism, deregulation, and a pretty scary redefinition of “the public interest.”

    And . . . he connects the dots and (surprise surprise) it’s all Kochsucking legislation.

    Go read it.

  54. 54
    morzer says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    That’s one terrifying document. Almost a perfect blue-print for how to screw over the citizens who elected you, and get them to foot the bill, while blaming their fellow-victims.

  55. 55
    matoko_chan says:

    @JPL: ive read him for 3 years. i dont see any real change.
    i see him dipping a toe in the sea of reality and the juicers patting him on the head–aimai said that too.
    let him renounce supplyside economics and the “innovation” of the market, and acknowledge that conservatism is failed paradigm empty of “good” ideas, and ill believe hes changed.
    until then, not so much.
    And HE SAID

    She’s nothing more than a troll, and has written pretty awful racist things. Why we don’t ban her here is beyond me.

    thingS is more than one right? he owes me two empirical links as i see it.
    that is what Breitbart does…..he accuses the other side of being the REAL racists.
    give me data or give me death.
    :)

  56. 56
    agrippa says:

    @bemused:

    bemused – I have seen that same thing myself.
    It explains a lot of what is going on now.

  57. 57
    Scott says:

    @Jeffro:

    There are plenty of liberal Chris Christies out there. But they’ll never get a megaphone because the media desperately wants to avoid giving them the kind of platform they give to the numerous Republican drones who spout the approved talking points.

    @JPL:

    Ultra-conservatives justify it the same way they justify everything: IOKIYAR. There is no intellectual reason.

  58. 58
    Scott says:

    Matoko, getcher own blog. You can control all your front-pagers on your own bloggy real estate.

  59. 59
    Cat Lady says:

    Why does everyone care so much about what Sully thinks in post after post? Just stop it already, who do you think he is? He’s a typical conservative whose self-absorption prevents him from identifying a problem unless it directly impacts him negatively. Is he a proxy for arguing with some imaginary sane conservative? Jeebus, give it up. He’s a narcissistic wanker.

    Americans need to be told over and over that as long as we act like crabs in a bucket to the amusement of our galtian betters, like crabs, our labor will be harvested in a similar fashion.

  60. 60
    Wil says:

    @bemused:

    I’ve been both an employee and a small business owner and you could always count on employees watching like hawks that no one else was getting more money, bennies, whatever than they were even if it was only in their imaginations

    This irritated the hell out of me too, but just as a temp worker at a long-term temp job I had. The incredible secrecy and social pressure against telling what you earn or revealing what anybody else earns (if you happen to know) is entirely a conservative/employer construct.

    It’s even defended by otherwise liberal people as “nobody’s business” and other crap like that.

    I ruffled feathers by complaining about the unwritten rule that nobody should ever say what they were paid, and then saying what I was paid, and also giving a basic run-down on what other people were paid (since I’d seen a payroll form someone had left out detailing the pay rates for contractors) without mentioning any names specifically.

    The idea that who gets paid what should be a great big secret is another way that workers get manipulated…resentments that others are suspected of making more, and if you are getting paid more than others, fear of the lower-paid if they find out what you are getting.

    Transparency, as usual, is the enemy of conservative ways of doing things, and ideally can result in more fairness for all.

  61. 61
    debit says:

    @batgirl:

    Who the hell do people want teaching their kids? It is just another example of the American attitude toward education.

    They don’t want anyone teaching their kids. Go look at the comments on any science article on Yahoo news. They almost all amount to: “History is stupid! Science is stupid! This is a waste of money!” I weep for their children.

  62. 62
    Bob says:

    We should also point out that states that have banned collective bargaining for teachers have the worst education outcomes because politics trumps facts.

    Texas history books are being rewritten by politicians instead of historians. Continued falsehoods and nonsense about the Civil War still abound. Sullivan still seems to have this Saint Reagan and Thatcher complex without really acknowledging that what they did didn’t match with their rhetoric.

    Sullivan doesn’t get this. Especially funny is how his personal education was funded, and he doesn’t see that stripping educators of rights means poorer outcomes for future generations, either because teachers go into other fields or get fired when any parent can get one fired for having differing views on how to teach a child.

    He doesn’t understand that his rhetoric actually means sacrificing the future of America (in education, in health outcomes, middle class power) for a nation where we are ruled by people with money.

  63. 63
    gnomedad says:

    @Kiril:

    Businesses are never going to hire more people than they need to get a job done.

    True, but this is not the issue. The concern is that if increased labor costs are passed along, demand for the product will be reduced. I agree that this depends on a number of assumptions that can be challenged, but it’s not absurd.

  64. 64
    morzer says:

    @Bob:

    Sullivan also fails to understand that not all unions are the same, and that the unions who want to preserve collective bargaining in the US are not the same as the British unions that were sometimes trying to preserve genuine abuses of the system, often by maintaining their apprenticeship system. It wasn’t, for example, unknown for them to insist that a certain job be kept, even though the person being paid for it no longer had anything to do after technology had changed. People were, literally, paid to sit and do nothing while others worked. Sullivan simply doesn’t know enough about either group of unions to make an intelligent contribution to the debate, which is why he goes back to Thatcherite propaganda and applies it to a totally different issue.

  65. 65
    DBass says:

    I’m a long-time reader, first-time caller here on Balloon Juice. I came first to the site to repel at JC’s early obnoxious rants against anti-war types, and I stayed after he very coolly changed his mind. Usually, one or the other of you says it better than me, but I’d like to chime in on WI- I’m a native, and I live a five minute walk from the capitol here in the People’s Republic of Madison.

    I’ve attended portions of the protest on campus and at the capitol, and Saturday’s pro-Walker folks were a new presence. People should understand that in Wisconsin, we aren’t well-described by divisions like liberal-conservative or Republican-Democrat. The most meaningful divide here is between people of urban and non-urban areas. Southern WI is urban and progressive; the other half of the state’s population…isn’t. That’s why we’re a perennial swing state.

    I’m protesting because unilateral removal of collective bargaining seems like an uncomplicated infringement of fundamental first amendment rights. But I’m not surprised to see a vocal opposition, and they’re not all merely stupid or misinformed. The major thrust of their best argument is that the benefits of public spending tend to accord most to the urban areas of the state.

    Before Walker was a national outrage, there was his first dick move in office: he refused the Fed stimulus money to build a light-rail line between Madison and Milwaukee. It would have connected the state much more closely with Chicago, which benefits…well, no one who voted for Scott Walker, anyway. Similarly, while there are DNR, police, and schools in more rural areas, publicly funded activity also occurs largely outside of where the Walker constituency lives.

    The long play, to me, is restoring the sense of the integrated and inter-dependent urban-rural economy. Wisconsin is home both to productive, sustainable agriculture and natural resources, and to a highly productive, world-class research university (only Harvard receives more federal research funding than UW).

    I think that Saturday’s civil tone of respectful disagreement reflects the fact that both sides are capable of understanding their own role and that of their opposition in that integrated framework. Also, Sconnies are smarter and more mature than they’re given credit for. And more attractive, too.

    That aside, the best antidote to divisive partisanship would be an economic vision of the future that includes everyone. Until then, kill the bill!

  66. 66
    Scott says:

    @debit:

    Well, commenters on any online news site tend to be universally psychotic. There do seem to be an awful lot of them, but I hope they’re not representative of the rest of the country…

  67. 67
    agrippa says:

    I was hoping that a recession would not occur. I was sure that there was going to be one; but, I was hoping that there would not be one.
    I am not surprised by what has occured since 2007.
    I knew that economists and Congress and the WH would do next to nothing about the recession. The tea party is typical divide and conquer. people can be relied upon to buy into it. They always have, no reason for now to be any different.

    Because the Dems did next to nothing useful after 2008, I expected people to stay home and for the GOP to win in 2010. It was just a bit bigger than I expected.

    The GOP, now, is going according to the script. But, the public is fickle over the short run. In 2012, it may not turn like the GOP hopes that it will.

    I do not expect politicians to turn into statesmen and actually attempt to govern. That takes a measure of honor, integrity and courage that is very rare. Not just in politics; but, life overall.

    I see years of economic stagnation and political gridlock.

  68. 68
    kay says:

    @Cat Lady:

    Why does everyone care so much about what Sully thinks in post after post?

    I was wondering when he’d realize he knows nothing about 1. Wisconsin, 2. labor issues in the upper midwest,3. collective bargaining.

    I think he focuses on governors because there are no serious or rational conservatives at the federal level. I think that’s a mistake, unless he plans to really bone up on state issues. He simply can’t use this broad brush to paint Wisconsin as Virginia. They’re not the same place.

    I would think a states’ rights local control conservative would get that, but apparently not.

    *I enjoyed your post, E.D.

  69. 69
    LevelB says:

    I am a civil servant (engineer) in a small(er) federal agency. Between my military service in the mid 70’s (followed by college and grad school), followed by my hiring at my agency in 1984, I have served 8 presidents, beginning with Nixon.

    E.D. is exactly right about the erosion of rights in the middle class. We can read any number of census studies or posts by Krugman, but I see this in my life every day.

    When I entered the job market after grad school with my masters in engineering, I applied for a job with the civil service. My fellow students were incredulous, as my pay and benefits would be greatly reduced compared to the private sector, but I was willing to trade the better pay for a job where I would not be continually transferred.

    Fast forward 27 years. I now have a ‘great’ salary and ‘killer’ benefits, although I am still in the SAME job, with basically the same pay scale and benefits. I have advanced in my job, but the biggest change by far is the loss of jobs and benefits in the private sector.

  70. 70
    Walker says:

    This point is problematic:

    3) We cannot raise taxes – even on the rich despite their inordinate wealth and not on corporations despite their extraordinary return to profitability during the jobless recovery.

    By cannot, you must mean that it is politically infeasible. Because Krugman has shown with data time and time again that the central premise of lower personal income taxes and economic activity is false. Hell, unless the person is a retiree or lives solely off investment income, high state income taxes won’t even get the person to move. All empirical data supports higher taxes, not lower.

    On the other hand, I do not see why it is more politically infeasible than the alternatives we are facing now.

  71. 71
    agrippa says:

    @cleek:

    cleek, a bit of hyperbole.

    Actually, automation has a lot to do with the reduction in manufacturing jobs.

  72. 72
    bemused says:

    @Wil:
    Another problem is when one dept working on a job/project that has nothing to do with the other depts, does exceptionally well and get rewarded with a bonus or something perk. The other depts think they should get the same.

  73. 73
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Egypt Steve: Yes. They would move to India, but the golf courses aren’t as good, BJ Singh notwithstanding.

  74. 74
    Keith G says:

    @gnomedad:

    But one bug I find hard to get out of my head is that unions provide better wages for their members at the cost of reducing overall employment in the profession

    It’s a trade off- one of very many trade offs that occur in a complicated economic system such as ours.

    Eg food safety regulations increase the cost of food, but we view the overall impact as a social good.

    I want to explore this in greater depth, but my bus stop is near.

    Later

  75. 75
    LevelB says:

    Hmm. Meant to write ‘benefits’ not ‘rights’ above. Oh well.

  76. 76
    morzer says:

    @kay:

    People ought to realize that Sullivan knows nothing about Britain either. He has no grasp of economics, social systems, or, for that matter, how people live outside the charmed circles of Harvard and the Beltway. He’s inhabited those for virtually all of his working life. You can’t expect someone who is so willfully ignorant to do anything but peddle second-hand ideology along with a lively dose of personal prejudice and almost complete irresponsibility.

  77. 77
    matoko_chan says:

    @Scott: i liek all the frontpagers except for EDK. even mistermix :)
    How would you feel about someone that accused you of saying “pretty awful RACIST thingS” and then couldnt/wouldnt provide a single link?
    like the NAACP chief feels about Breitbart maybe?

  78. 78
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @cleek:

    the problem is not that we don’t make anything in the US, it’s that we used to make so much more.

    We actually make more than we ever did, but with far fewer people.

  79. 79
    SteveinSC says:

    @cleek:

    based on worth of goods produced, the US is still the number one manufacturing country in the world.

    Just a “nitpick”, but most of that is high-end stuff, you know Fighter-bombers, bunker-busters, 767 aircraft, land mines, tear gas,aircraft carriers, submarines, clusterbombs, etc. sold to the hottentots of the world. Little warmongers who steal from their people to kill their people. America: Arms Merchant to the World. Now that’s real manufacturing!

  80. 80

    E.D. Kain:

    If that really was you, thanks for reading and commenting on my post! I’m honored …

  81. 81
    Barry says:

    @gnomedad: “But one bug I find hard to get out of my head is that unions provide better wages for their members at the cost of reducing overall employment in the profession—or, in snarkier language, protecting people who have jobs from people who want jobs.”

    (a) The economists who always say that are also always against unions (and the working and middle class).

    (b) We’ve spent thirty years trashing unions, under the promise that this would yield good things. So far, it’s yielded sh*t for the vast majority of the American people.

  82. 82
    Zach says:

    @LevelB: Great post. Care to address whether it’s possible to deal with whatever level of belt tightening the House GOP has arbitrarily assigned to your agency? I’m familiar with this sort of thing on the state side (every governor-elect promises to tighten the belt, and then finds out that’s impossible), but don’t know if that’s the case at the Federal level. The few Feds I’ve spoken to don’t seem so concerned about the pay freeze and whatnot, but perhaps they’re just happy to have a job at all.

  83. 83
    kay says:

    @morzer:

    I’ve defended him here forever, because I realize he’s a conservative and not a liberal.

    Two things though. Broadly, going forward,I’m thinking “opposes torture” is a really low bar for identifying allies, “opposes torture” should be a given, and I think I have (finally) had it with Sullivan.

    He’s exhausting. I want out of this “relationship”:)

    Not that he’ll be losing any sleep over that.

  84. 84
    matoko_chan says:

    look juicers. i have read this guy for 3 years. we have corresponded in email. i usta be a conservative.
    i dont see any change on his core beliefs. he was a civil “libertarian” before.
    but in america libertarianism is one leg of the conservative stool. Look at CATO, look at Reason….those guys all say they are civil libertarians. civil libertarianism is ANTIPATHIC to conservatism. EDK supported DOMA, mused about whether the teabaggers were “really” racists, “understood” how someone might believe fetuses are slaves, and generally deplored the state of civil liberties while holding the socons jackets as they sought to impose illiberal RELIGIOUS doctrine on the rest of the citizenry.
    i repeat, i see no change.
    if hes changed, show me the data.
    and incidentally, show me the linkS where i said “pretty awful racist thingS”.
    ;)

    sure, i believe in redemption. but i dont think EDK has wholly abandoned the failed paradigm of conservatism.
    id welcome proof.

  85. 85
    Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac says:

    Can we please build in an “ignore Matako_chan” button for E.D.’s posts please.

    Also, great post. I was thinking this same thing this morning. The national reporting on this is stomach churning, with the exception of Maddow. They have all played it as “Unions vs. Govenor”, while that isn’t the situation at all.

  86. 86
    E.D. Kain says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: thanks, I’ll go check it out.

  87. 87
    gnomedad says:

    @gnomedad:
    I will add that my basic assumptions are quasi-libertarian in that I think all concentrations of power are dangerous. However, I also believe that a society that utterly lacked concentrated power, if such could be achieved, would be unstable. Power (like shit) happens, and the best strategy seems to be balancing power — public vs. private certainly, and perhaps also employers vs. labor unions. In my ideal society unions would be unnecessary because anti-trust enforcement would force employers to compete for labor and there would be a social safety net for workers with obsolete skills and the disabled and elderly. But I don’t know whether this is achievable.

  88. 88
    Barry says:

    @gnomedad: “But one bug I find hard to get out of my head is that unions provide better wages for their members at the cost of reducing overall employment in the profession—or, in snarkier language, protecting people who have jobs from people who want jobs.”

    A second comment – the elites don’t have any bug in their ears; they know what they want to do, and the only question is which group is it opportune to attack at a given time.

  89. 89
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    @Egypt Steve:

    Do the Trumps and the Kochs of this country, and their political lackeys, really want to drive in their armor-plated limousines from their gated estates to their high-rise luxury office-buildings through streets choked with garbage and teeming with limbless beggars?

    Yes…

  90. 90
    matoko_chan says:

    @Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac: ill build it for you if EDK will just provide the linkS where i said pretty awful racist thingS.
    :)

  91. 91
    morzer says:

    @kay:

    I used to read him, but more for the occasional links to interesting sites than his own ranting, which, as someone who knows British politics and history, I could see was nothing more than standard Thatcherite ranting, without any regard for the realities of life for most people. His analysis of American politics seemed to me to be mostly a series of personal crusades, which very occasionally coincided with my viewpoint, and again were not backed by much in the way of facts. I gave up on him about six months ago, and very seldom venture back. These days, I get my occasional dose of Sullivan simplex via Balloon-Juice.

  92. 92
    morzer says:

    @Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac:

    Cleek’s pie filter works like a charm in Chrome.

    Just sayin’.

  93. 93
    E.D. Kain says:

    @Walker: these are just talking points.

  94. 94
    Zach says:

    @morzer: “People ought to realize that Sullivan knows nothing about Britain either.”

    This is particularly true of the NHS. I would bet that Sullivan would argue that the fact that you don’t (generally) need to wait in line for medical care in America is a good thing when it is, in fact, wasteful. Or that experts deciding which treatments are worth the cost saves a ton of money and raises the standard of care for everyone. To Sullivan, paying two to three times as much per capita for healthcare is simply the cost of living without socialism, and he’s not open to changing this even though nationalizing healthcare is the quickest and most painless way to almost entirely fix the budget gap for decades. Much better to make millions of people work a few extra years to save a small fraction what we can save on healthcare.

  95. 95
    gnomedad says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    We actually make more than we ever did, but with far fewer people.

    This is one of the reasons universal health care is so important — I believe the employer-based model creates a steep entry cost to hiring people, so you need to wring as much work as possible out the people you do hire. So we end up with two classes of workers: the overworked and the unemployed. If these entry costs could be reduced, we’d have a better shot at reducing the work week as technology increses productivity. Maybe. See also US vs. Europe.

  96. 96
    Chad N Freude says:

    Yesterday I went to see the excellent Spanish Oscar contender for best foreign film, “Even The Rain”. A film production crew goes to Bolivia to make a socially conscious film about Columbus and Spanish exploitation of the indigenous people and become embroiled in a battle over globalist control of the water supply of the indigenous (not of European descent) citizens. The filmmakers exploit the indigenous actors hired to play their ancestors. Protesting crowds, riots, corrupt officials, exploitation of the working class: I expect that Republicans will hate it. The film was completed well before Egypt, North Africa, and Wisconsin erupted. Very well acted and directed. (I’d like to see a double feature consisting of this film and “Atlas Shrugged”.)

    @E.D. Kain & @JPL: The title is correct if ED wants it to be greatly influential.

    And ED, I’ve been reading BJ since before John’s enlightenment, and you seem to be repeating history (but not as farce).

    ETA: Fixed bad link (I think).

  97. 97
    TJ says:

    It should be:

    1. The holdings, income, and ROI of the wealthy must increase every year without fail. Preferably by 10%+.

    Everything else flows from that.

  98. 98
  99. 99
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    @batgirl:

    Who the hell do people want teaching their kids?

    Jesus, of course.

  100. 100
    matoko_chan says:

    @morzer: oh haay, morzer. tell me, when does Asiangirlman start her posting tenure with the apes discussing philosophy ….. conservatives discussing science …. libertarians discussing science crewe?
    In the country of the LoOGies the one-eyed man woman is king.
    :)
    Conservatism–where even the smart people are retards.

  101. 101
    SteveinSC says:

    Working brain + ignore reality = libertarian
    Working brain + accept reality = progressive

    Q.E.D.

  102. 102
    gnomedad says:

    EDK refuses to confess!! Perhaps we should get out the comfy chair!!!

  103. 103
  104. 104
    LevelB says:

    @Zach: Thanks.

    The pay freeze will not directly affect the ability of my agency to perform it’s mission. However, because of how our retirement benefits are structured, a lot of my colleagues are considering an earlier retirement. If those positions are not filled, there could be some problems.

    Yes, we are glad to have jobs.

  105. 105
    matoko_chan says:

    @gnomedad: ill just take links, for a start.

    She’s nothing more than a troll, and has written pretty awful racist things. Why we don’t ban her here is beyond me.

    give me data or give me death.
    ;)

  106. 106
    matoko_chan says:

    @SteveinSC: win.

  107. 107
    Stillwater says:

    Good post, EDK. One crucial thing going on here, and about which I agree, is that Wisconsin is a test case for the rollout of even more systematic restructuring of the US labor market. What’s happening there is no mere accidental clash of politics and ideals: it is, in my opinion, an entirely predictable consequence of global trade policies which encouraged the race to the bottom by promoting capital flight from wealthier countries to those with the lowest wages and fewest restrictions on corporate profit-seeking.

    The chickens, as they say, have come home to roost. How do you think the almighty Invisible Hand deal with US labor from here on?

  108. 108
    E.D. Kain says:

    @gnomedad: certainly power is always a problem, but that’s why checks and balances are needed, and unions are one such.balancing force.

  109. 109
    Chad N Freude says:

    @morzer:

    It wasn’t, for example, unknown for them to insist that a certain job be kept, even though the person being paid for it no longer had anything to do after technology had changed.

    I believe this has sometimes been the case in the US, too, but not on the scale of England.

  110. 110
    morzer says:

    @gnomedad:

    We could always burn a copy of Atlas Shrugged and watch his reaction…..

    But most likely matoko_chan would swoop in on a ninja skateboard and yell “Dude, you have no Atlas Shrugged!”

  111. 111
    kay says:

    @morzer:

    It’s too bad, because his weighing in on Wisconsin (I think he should have said “I don’t know anything about that”) has colored my whole view of the site. All the baubles (cute links, etc.) and such look silly and indulgent, now.
    Nothing wrong with silly and indulgent, but that wasn’t why I went there. He’s making a basic mistake, IMO. He’s looking to state conservative leaders on national policy, but he isn’t looking at what they’re doing in their states. Quoting Christie on Medicare or SSI is fine, but Christie can say anything “bold” he wants on those issues, because he’s not a federal actor. It was my understanding that the whole conservative theory on states as laboratories was supposed to start with the state. His near-worship of Mitch Daniels isn’t informed by working knowledge of Indiana. It has to be, or it’s theory.

  112. 112
    Chad N Freude says:

    Why do people keep responding to matoko_chan. His/her (I really don’t know which) comments are like static in a radio broadcast.

  113. 113
    morzer says:

    @kay:

    It’s the same thing with those who big up Barbour – and refuse to ask just what he’s actually done for Mississippi. Not a whole hell of a lot, as far as I can see. Same with Huckabee. They’ve been governors – but their record really isn’t up to snuff.

  114. 114
    E.D. Kain says:

    @Stillwater: mercilessly and with an iron fist.

  115. 115
    gnomedad says:

    @gnomedad:
    Hmm, three successive ballbats just disappear. Over-enthusiasm filter?

  116. 116
    mistermix a.k.a. mastermix says:

    @matoko_chan:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=“pretty+awful+racist+things”+site:balloon-juice.com

    Seems like the only person saying that about you on this site is you, not EDK.

    And, to forestall your next barefaced lie, this yields nothing:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=“pretty+awful+racist+things”+site:ordinary-gentlemen.com

    So, link or it didn’t happen, and if it didn’t, we can add “liar” to “troll” on your B-J resume.

  117. 117
    morzer says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    Damn it, ED Kain, you are getting almost shrill these days.

    How’s your rendition of the Internationale?

  118. 118
    morzer says:

    @mistermix a.k.a. mastermix:

    Can’t we just note her appalling prose style? Her other crimes pale in comparison.

  119. 119
    Bethanyanne says:

    @matoko_chan: “A fanatic is someone who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.” Winston Churchill

  120. 120
    Allan says:

    Notice what we’re NOT talking about in this era of structural unemployment and underemployment, rising worker productivity and corporate profits.

    1. Reducing the 40 hour work week gradually to 35 or less.
    2. Mandating a minimum amount of paid time off for all workers, starting with one week and gradually increasing to 6.

    Shortening the work week and/or increasing the amount of paid time off are two ways that businesses would find it useful to increase their staffing numbers to maintain coverage for shifts necessary to operate.

    But instead we’re fighting for our lives not to become slaves.

  121. 121
    Joey Maloney says:

    I listen to Diane Rehm in the mornings (actually it’s late afternoon here, but her mornings) and her first hour today is about Wisconsin. But she introduced her first guest as being…wait for it…from the Cato Institute.

    Click. I love Diane Rehm and I don’t always mind listening to guests who are mendacious or tendentious or infuriating, but please, not all 3 at once.

  122. 122
    A Farmer says:

    E.D., this whole civil society thing is taking you a really long way from Libertarianism. Protecting the middle class, I like it.

  123. 123
    eemom says:

    VOTE HERE!!!

    TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!

    Which is more exhausting, useless, distracting, and drainative of attention rightfully focused on substantive points of discussion in YOUR Balloon Juice world?

    Andrew Sullivan ____

    commenter “matoko” ____

    VOTE NOW!!

  124. 124
  125. 125
    Chad N Freude says:

    @eemom: Matoko is the clear winner. Sullivan writes in English, with spelling, punctuation, and stuff.

  126. 126
    Stillwater says:

    @Matoko_Chan: M_C, you’ve confessed to the prior sin of being a conservative, yet you are clearly reformed. Why the insistence that EDK has not experienced a similar awakening? I think you’re being unfair. And anti-empirical.

  127. 127
    matoko_chan says:

    @mistermix a.k.a. mastermix: wallah.

    he said it here.
    at Balloon juice.
    your search-fu is weak, mistermix.

  128. 128
    matoko_chan says:

    @morzer: lawl! i would so do that. im against book burning on principle.

  129. 129
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @mistermix a.k.a. mastermix: God help me, I don’t want to do this, but m_c is right that E.D. Kain made that statement about her. Link here. If I remember correctly, m_c’s racist utterances were last summer during her “IQ is genetic” rants. I am sure links can be found if someone cares enough to look.

  130. 130
    matoko_chan says:

    @Stillwater: he wont give up on the “innovation” of the market. ax him.
    and his co-bloggers are retards.
    he should at least have shame.

  131. 131
    matoko_chan says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: how is that racist? i admit to being an IQist.
    when i say IQ here you bioluddites swarm me as a racist. i dont see the connection, sry.

    give me data or give me death.
    hopefully your search-fu is l33t3r than mistermixs.

  132. 132
    mistermix a.k.a. mastermix says:

    @matoko_chan: You can feel free to put the correct link that will find that post in Google here so we can all marvel at your search-fu. Or perhaps you just kept that link in your titanium grudge carrier so you could trot it out on demand.

    So do you deny that you’re angry with EDK because he wouldn’t publish the essay you sent him for LoOG? Seems like you’re nursing hurt fee-fees, and taking your pain out on the rest of us.

  133. 133
    matoko_chan says:

    praps Cole could delete some comments that embarrassed mistermix and EDK?
    in the interest of “civil discourse”
    hahahahaha

    these things do
    best please me
    which befall prepost’rously
    oh lord what fools these mortals be.

    ABT.
    ;)

  134. 134
    Stillwater says:

    @matoko_chan: I also believe that one of the virtues of a healthy market is that it promotes innovation, so I certainly don’t think that’s a devastating criticism. But more to the point, if external behavior is evidence of inner processes, then EDK has surely changed his views on several important topics that typically divide conservatives from progressives. For you to insist it’s a head-fake, even as he’s undermining all his credibility as a True Conservative Voice seems like your discounting lots of relevant evidence here, and are basing your judgment on an inherent bias towards a preferred view – the kind of thing you say you reject.

  135. 135
    Allan says:

    matoko is a derailing troll, and you’re now talking about her instead of the death of the American way of life. The Koch brothers thank you.

  136. 136
    Paul in KY says:

    @Alex S.: Back in the days of pre-WW II Conservative England, the leaders of that party openly talked about wanting ‘3 men for every job’.

    Real buyers market when you have that. Was one of the main reasons PM Attlee came in in 1945.

  137. 137
    E.D. Kain says:

    Yes I did say that and yes I do think race-based distinctions of IQ are racist. Derbyshire and Steve Sailer are racists, their biodiversity nonsense is racism dressed up in fancy clothes, and m c echoes this nonsense.

  138. 138
    matoko_chan says:

    @mistermix a.k.a. mastermix:

    he wouldn’t publish the essay you sent him for LoOG

    i have an email where i withdraw the essay. he never said he wouldnt post it, he said he was considering it, and that took time.
    do you want to see the emails?

    You can feel free to put the correct link that will find that post in Google

    Dude….why should i have to that? i wasnt being sneaky… you set yourbigself up, searching for bolded text, not me.
    you beclowned yourself here.
    im innocent…..this time.
    ;)

  139. 139
    mistermix a.k.a. mastermix says:

    @E.D. Kain: matoko_chan pimped Derbyshire when she was a conservative? I don’t know how she lives that down, ever.

    As @Allan points out, she’s obviously a conservative troll trying to derail the discussion here. It’s a common Rovian trick to call others something that you are yourself. I think I understand her much better now, thanks.

  140. 140
    Paul in KY says:

    @eemom: I prefer matoko to Sullivan. Not even close.

  141. 141
    matoko_chan says:

    @Stillwater: but i have empirical data going back 3 years. he still hasnt said anything different in my observation.
    and he still refuses to come clean on the fetus=slave eumeme.
    he now says “understandable” instead of “reasonable”.
    big whup.
    same thing.

    a question for you then….do you think there are any “good” ideas left in conservatism? i think “innovation of the market” is an empirical fail.
    without regulation, the market is simple survival of the greediest.
    this is EMPIRICALLY true.

  142. 142
    matoko_chan says:

    @Stillwater: but i have empirical data going back 3 years. he still hasnt said anything different in my observation.
    and he still refuses to come clean on the fetus=slave eumeme.
    he now says “understandable” instead of “reasonable”.
    big whup.
    same thing.

    a question for you then….do you think there are any “good” ideas left in conservatism? i think “innovation of the market” is an empirical fail.
    without regulation, the market is simple survival of the greediest.
    this is EMPIRICALLY true.

  143. 143
    Nicole says:

    @mistermix a.k.a. mastermix: I think I found the thread. It’s from May, 2010 and EDK is nowhere on it.

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2.....rummy-men/

    Somewhere in the 70s is when it all gets going.

  144. 144
    matoko_chan says:

    @mistermix a.k.a. mastermix:

    matoko_chan pimped Derbyshire when she was a conservative? I don’t know how she lives that down, ever.

    well i can….if Cole will let me publish the mails.
    EDK conveniently forgets my spectactular beatdown of the Derb at TAS, doesnt he?
    /sideways smile
    im banned at Secular Racists Right now too. “David Hume” and i were co-bloggers at GNXP once too. ;)
    dem nah liek meh
    go for it, mistermix. ban meh. i double dawg dare you.

  145. 145
    Stillwater says:

    @matoko_chan: i have empirical data going back 3 years.

    When you, also, were a conservative?

    Some forms of conservatism have good ideas, but those ideas are not exclusive to conservatism. All ideas that are uniquely conservative tend to be bad ideas. But why should this matter wrt EDK? You’re the only one calling Kain a conservative anymore.

    ‘Innovation’ has a non-ideological meaning in which the sentence ‘healthy markets promote innovation by encouraging investors to develop new products’ is (empirically) true, and not inconsistent with liberal, or progressive, ideology.

  146. 146
    Shadow's Mom says:

    @walt: @SiubhanDuinne: These actions by the new Republican majority *sigh* are the natural outgrowth of the New Public Management philosophy of the 80s and 90s. This is all about approaching government service provision by applying ‘free market’ and ‘entrepreneurial’ approaches. NPM leaves out any application of public interest, including equality, equity, justice, and the common good, out of its managerial philosophy because the aggregate self-interested choices of the ‘customer’ supersedes any notion of public interest.

    NPM is losing favor, rapidly, among those responsible for actually managing public sector services and poses a real danger for democracy as described here. The philosophy with which these governors are approaching their roles as public servants is important to the conversation. These Republican governors do not seem to see themselves as serving the common good or the public interest.

    The rising philosophy for public sector administration is the New Public Service, which promotes public service that focuses on citizen engagement and public interest.

  147. 147
    mistermix a.k.a. mastermix says:

    @Nicole: I assume this is the stuff EDK is talking about. Seems like a reasonable statement on his part to call this kind of thing racist.

    The left is just as epistemically closed on IQ and heritability as the right is closed on global warming.

  148. 148
    matoko_chan says:

    @Nicole: link comment were i say “pretty awful racist things” please.
    is asserting race exists as a construct racist of itself?
    but race exists.
    is asserting the biological basis of intelligence racist?
    but intelligence exists….and there is a hereditary component.
    EMPIRICAL DATA BITCHES.

  149. 149
    Shadow's Mom says:

    These actions by the new Republican majority sigh are the natural outgrowth of the New Public Management philosophy of the 80s and 90s. This is all about approaching government service provision by applying ‘free market’ and ‘entrepreneurial’ approaches. NPM leaves out any application of public interest, including equality, equity, justice, and the common good, out of its managerial philosophy because the aggregate self-interested choices of the ‘customer’ supersedes any notion of public interest.

    NPM is losing favor, rapidly, among those responsible for actually managing public sector services and seems to pose a real danger for democracy as described here. The philosophy with which these governors are approaching their roles as public servants is important to the conversation. These Republican governors do not seem to see themselves as serving the common good or the public interest.

    The rising philosophy for public sector administration is the New Public Service, which promotes public service that focuses on citizen engagement and public interest.

  150. 150
    dcdl says:

    The sad thing is that some people who are union members vote against their own interests and don’t necessarily understand the history nor what the union does.

    I was talking to a lady who has family that has a history of working in the union and in fact she’s always worked for a union. In one breath she would go on about her great wage and then say unions pay to much. Then she blamed Democrats and unions for the recession. Then she talked about how you have to know people to get into a union and such. I eventually just told her she was wrong and if she thought getting a non union job wasn’t clicky she was wrong, and then changed the subject. It was to mind boggling talking to her.

    I have been union, federal worker, contractor for a federal agency, and have worked in the private sector. What I have found is that if there were no regulations and protections for employees, the work environment, etc employers wouldn’t care what happened. If a business has both a union and non union members then overall there is normally is better safety records, overall better benefits, and better workplace benefits.

  151. 151
    rikyrah says:

    this blog has been doing righteous work, telling it like it is and what’s at stake. I am very thankful that I can spread the word.

  152. 152
    matoko_chan says:

    @mistermix a.k.a. mastermix: why is that racist? it is empirical. it isnt even original– its from a book called Designer Evolution, a set of essays by people like Aubrey de Grey and Arthur Freitas. do you want cites?
    am i being racist when i call people that dont believe in the heredity component of intelligence bioluddites?
    im so confused.
    ;)

  153. 153
    Allan says:

    @eemom: I can avoid Sully by not reading him, and I can live with people talking about what he writes here. And when people are talking about what he writes, they are exchanging ideas and discussing political philosophy. The troll to which you refer does not post any thought- or debate-provoking content, it simply derails every conversation to make it all about the troll.

    And for some reason people here can’t resist feeding the troll. I have no pie filter, and yet it’s quite easy for me to mentally substitute a nice slice of pie when I see its handle. But since other BJers are determined to engage with it, I find the overall quality of commenting here is diminished by its endless derailing.

    When Sully starts filling every comment thread at BJ with semi-literate tirades about how we’re all cudlips, you might have a competition, but for now, I vote to ban the troll.

    Thanks for asking.

  154. 154
    matoko_chan says:

    @Stillwater: but…empirically, have we seen that WORK in the last 20 years? no.
    it is conservative in that it is anti-empirical.
    i repeat, this is the civil libertarian headfake EDK has been doing for years.
    they ALL do this.
    they deplore the illiberal tendancies of the base but never seek to correct them.
    because they cant….like they cant turn off the birtherism/racism.
    EDK has just told a buncha lies about me to discredit my attack on him.
    that is verry conservative, now isnt it?
    and im spoiling your wunnerful reality show of EDK’s show “conversion”.
    well pardon me if im just a tad skeptical.

  155. 155
    matoko_chan says:

    @mistermix a.k.a. mastermix: am i being racist when i call people that dont believe in the heredity component of intelligence bioluddites?
    Are the Left and the Right races naow?
    i thought they were political ideologies.

  156. 156
    matoko_chan says:

    @Allan: I AM TROLL!
    hear meh rawr.
    ;)

    ABT.
    i learned that from the Master.

  157. 157
    matoko_chan says:

    @mistermix a.k.a. mastermix:

    Seems like a reasonable statement

    hmmm….where have i heard that before?
    oh, yah…..FETUS=SLAVE is a reasonable statement, right?

  158. 158
    matoko_chan says:

    @mistermix a.k.a. mastermix: just have EDK give the linkS where i say “pretty awful racist thingS” and ill stop.
    or he could………you know…..apologize.
    :)

  159. 159
    Chad N Freude says:

    @All the matoko_chan racist discussion: Does Race Exist?

    One thing I like about this blog is the way it motivates me to look for information and stuff.

  160. 160
    matoko_chan says:

    @Chad N Freude: what does that have to do with me?
    that isnt my discussion.
    i learned about race as a construct in my cognitve anthropology class.

  161. 161
    Keith G says:

    @matoko_chan: M’am, there was a time quite a bit ago when you would type something marginally worth a thoughtful follow up.

    Presently your typing serves only to make any given thread about you. If you have any philosophies or rationals, they seem to be only superficial cards you play to reflect back onto your seemingly needy personality.

    Any ideas you advocate suffer at the hands of your silly persona.

  162. 162
    mistermix a.k.a. mastermix says:

    @matoko_chan: I don’t see a need for EDK to apologize, and your need for that is clearly driven by some imagined slight you felt after he rejected some of your writing for LoOG.

    You’re not the first would-be author who feels that way when their writing is rejected, and you won’t be the last. It’s clear from the gibberish that you spew that you’re unable to produce a few paragraphs of coherent, reasoned prose, so all you have left is trolling, which is a medium that lends itself to the kind of keyboard diarrhea that characterizes your output here.

    Now, if you want to prove me wrong about something meaningful, change your handle to give us all a link to your blog where you make some reasoned arguments. Until then, you’re a cudlip.

  163. 163
    Chad N Freude says:

    @matoko_chan: I suppose you took the course in cognitive anthro before Gravlee et al: Race, Genetics, Social Inequality, and Health was published.

    And what Keith G said @161 is absolutely true.

  164. 164
    Peter says:

    Holy god, matoko_chan, that was some HORRIFYINGLY racist shit you said in that thread (and is starting to leak over to this one). Even if you didn’t stumble around shrieking “NIGGERS ARE ALL MORONS” doesn’t mean we can’t see the obvious implications of what you’re saying.

  165. 165
    morzer says:

    Guys,just put matoko_kook on REDACTED and ignore her.

    Starve the beast.

    Now, what about the American middle class?

  166. 166
    matoko_chan says:

    @mistermix a.k.a. mastermix: he didnt reject my writing. i withdrew it. wanna see the mails?
    he never said he wouldnt post it. i decided i didnt wanna post with retards. ;)
    @Chad N Freude: @Peter: cite please.
    give me the link. quote me.
    EDK, same thing. please quote me where i said “pretty awful racist things”.
    were you lying, like you are lying about rejecting my post?
    you never rejected it.

    again, i dont think EDK has changed.
    ive been reading him for 3 years.
    im giving links.
    shouldnt he extend me the same courtesy?

  167. 167
    Stillwater says:

    Matoko, I’ve always liked the perspective you bring to discussions – even when you wrote in code. But – and I don’t mean this to sound concern-trollish – you’re losing ground on this EDK fixation. The evidence over the last few weeks is decidedly against you. So, you can either stick with an empirically inadequate theory about EDK’s deeper beliefs and motives, or you can change your view to accommodate that new evidence. People’s views change. Yours did. Cole’s did.

    EDK may never be a progressive to your liking, or fully renounce all the ideas he once held, but that hardly means the content of his recent posts – or any of his posts, for that matter – ought to be reflexively discounted.

  168. 168
    matoko_chan says:

    @mistermix a.k.a. mastermix:

    if you want to prove me wrong

    i already did that when you called me a liar.
    im calling EDK a liar.
    he is welcome to prove me wrong.

  169. 169
    matoko_chan says:

    @Stillwater: at this point i just want him to retract one single lie.
    this one.

    She’s nothing more than a troll, and has written pretty awful racist things. Why we don’t ban her here is beyond me.

    think of it as an honesty test. this is the interwebs.
    and the interwebs is forever. if i said that, shouldnt there be a link?
    this is what conservatives do.
    they attack arguments against their position with adhom.

  170. 170
    Mr. Poppinfresh says:

    I honestly don’t know why Cole puts up with this idiot. The fact that she’s so high on eugenics and so insanely hateful of libertarians, despite them being ideological kin in many ways, tells me she’s either a troll or someone with more than a few shorted wires.

    The diction is a tipoff- sounds like a lot of crazy people I know who mis-process data and come to TIMECUBE! conclusions.

  171. 171
    bloodstar says:

    @matoko_chan:

    is asserting the biological basis of intelligence racist?

    In fact, the very definition of racism is the presumption of superiority on the basis of race alone. That somehow genetics make one race superior to another.

    So yes, in fact, your belief that there is a genetic bias towards one race over another WRT intelligence is the very definition of racism.

    Race and intelligence has been discredited for a very long time. You discredit yourself with your continued belief in a racist ideology.

  172. 172
    matoko_chan says:

    EDK may never be a progressive to your liking, or fully renounce all the ideas he once held

    and fair enough.
    but im a troll.
    i troll him on his old positions like DougJ trolled the LoOGies.
    but his response to my trolling is to lie about what i said to try to discredit me.
    what does racism have to do with libertarian civil liberty ideology?
    He tried to slur me with racism to discredit my arguments.
    He can deal with the consequences his bigself.
    mistermix is doing a damn shabby job of protecting him.

  173. 173
    Chad N Freude says:

    @matoko_chan: You want a citation for

    If you have any philosophies or rationals, they seem to be only superficial cards you play to reflect back onto your seemingly needy personality.
    __
    Any ideas you advocate suffer at the hands of your silly persona.

    How about [1] Virtually all of your comments.

  174. 174
    matoko_chan says:

    @bloodstar: cite please.
    link where i SAID “pretty awful racist things”.
    what you think i said doesnt count.

  175. 175
    mistermix a.k.a. mastermix says:

    @matoko_chan: I don’t want to see the emails, I want to see evidence that you can put together a few coherent paragraphs. You chose to misunderstand what I wrote, as usual, to evade that point.

    What it sounds like to me is that you submitted some of your usual word salad, EDK wasn’t receptive to your tripe, and you preemptively withdrew it as soon as you sensed he wasn’t interested in your crap writing.

    But no matter, you can prove that your stuff was worthy of publication by getting a free Blogger (or WordPress, or Tumblr, or Posterous) account and posting it there, for all of us to see and critique. I’m pretty sure you won’t, but you can prove me wrong pretty easily.

  176. 176
    matoko_chan says:

    @Chad N Freude: no, she says patiently.
    i want a cite for where i said “pretty awful racist things”.

  177. 177
    matoko_chan says:

    @mistermix a.k.a. mastermix: read my lips. he never rejected my essay. if he told you he did HE IS LYING.
    what does racism have to with my questioning EDK’s civil libertarian chops?
    isnt he obviously trying to slur me as a racist with more lies?

  178. 178
    mistermix a.k.a. mastermix says:

    @matoko_chan: Show us the essay and let us judge.

  179. 179
    TooManyJens says:

    If people can’t stop feeding the troll, can we at least have a troll open thread so she can stop making this one all about herself?

    I mean, I get that the troll is more important than the death of the middle class, but it would still be nice to keep this somewhat on topic.

  180. 180
    Chad N Freude says:

    @matoko_chan: Why don’t you post an explanation of your thoughts on the relationship of IQ to genetics, how you reached your conclusions, thus showing why your statements on the subject have been rationally arrived at and are not racist?

    This assumes that you can write coherently and write something that doesn’t scream “I’m a Level 5 narcissist, look at me!” Both are dubious propositions.

  181. 181
    Chad N Freude says:

    @matoko_chan: And I should provide this because I said what?

  182. 182
    matoko_chan says:

    i think mistermix needs to question his own motivations at this point.
    EDK is his pet convert, his star pupil.
    and mm has been quite invested in trying to rehabilitate the LoOGies after Our Own DougJ rudely and mercilessly trolled them.

    there is no altruism in nature, is there mistermix?

  183. 183
    eemom says:

    I will observe, not for the first time, that although John’s “almost never ban” policy is a fine one and really contributes to making this blog what it is…..no rule is without exceptions.

    A legitimate use of banning or “time-out”, imo, is when a troll persistently, repeatedly and WILL NOT STOP-edly, disrupts the discussion on the TOPIC of the thread.

    It should also be noted that “time out” is a standard measure of containing out-of-control CHILDREN.

    Jussayinzall.

  184. 184
    matoko_chan says:

    @Chad N Freude: correct. EDK said it, and it is his duty to provide the cite.
    mybad.
    ;)

  185. 185
    matoko_chan says:

    @Chad N Freude: what does that have to do with my questioning EDK’s civil libertarian chops? that was the topic when EDK decided to slur me with an apparently random accusation of racism.

  186. 186
    Chad N Freude says:

    Oh, wait, I forgot about this little discussion of IQ and genetics.

  187. 187
    morzer says:

    Guys, you can do this the easy way, or you can do it the hard way.

    The easy way: Cleek’s pie filter or simply ignoring teh Krazy Kooky Klown.

    The hard way: pissing about trying to debate a whack-job as if they were rational or interested in a real debate about important issues.

    So far, you’ve taken the hard way, and the thread has been hijacked to buggery.

    Just sayin’.

  188. 188
    Chad N Freude says:

    @matoko_chan: It has something to do with refuting the slur.

  189. 189
    matoko_chan says:

    @eemom: they are prolly discussin this right naow. EDK and mistermix are for.
    unsure of anyone else.
    why not take a commentariat vote, eemom?

    democracy si!

  190. 190
    matoko_chan says:

    @Chad N Freude: well, i need to see what EDK thinks i said before i can refute it, right?

  191. 191
    Chad N Freude says:

    @morzer: Yeah, but it motivated me to find some interesting stuff about IQ, genetics, cultural anthro, etc.

  192. 192
    matoko_chan says:

    @Chad N Freude: that is a mitzvah, then.
    :)

  193. 193
    morzer says:

    @Chad N Freude:

    Which would be fine and good and noble, if it had happened on a relevant thread or an open one – but we were trying to talk about how the GOP is fucking the American middle-class in their increasingly destitute middle-class asses, right?

    Please, put matoko_chew-toy down now.

  194. 194
    Chad N Freude says:

    @matoko_chan: No. Go back and read @Chad N Freude. You can show why his slur is without foundation because you don’t hold the racist opinions he thinks you do, whatever your (uncited) comments were.

  195. 195
    Chad N Freude says:

    @morzer: You’re right. I’m stepping away from it now. But it’s really, really hard for me, being a rationality junkie and all.

  196. 196
    Sebastian Dangerfield says:

    @Cat Lady: Yeah, we’re all a bit Sully-obsessed here.

    One reason is that during some of the darkest of the Bush years, the fact that one self-identified conservative actually strayed off the reservation looked like progress. The fact that he never revisited the underlying habits (vices) of mind that led him to embrace odious policies was rather overlooked — in part because he shore write purty when he’s in full-on moralizing mode. So I think some of us really were duped into thinking that he had (or thinking we could realistically hope that he would) come around to a full-on embrace of reality and compassion toward those who aren’t just like him (or those whose struggles are not at a convenient distance and ‘picturesque’ enough to call for changing the color of his blog format for a while). So that’s a big part of it.

    Another part of it is that he’s without a doubt pretty influential for a blogger. It’s pretty hard to quibble with the idea that he commands much greater mindshare than, say, BJ. Thus it does, much as I hate to say it, actually matter what he says to a significant degree.

    But in the end, he’s racist-theory-embracing, elitist, self-absorbed, utterly conflicted and compromised, Tory shitbag.

  197. 197
    Stillwater says:

    @morzer: Maybe. But I don’t think M_C is a kook – I think she’s got a bug about EDK. And not without merit. But also, M_C has trolled conservative blogs for years now, calling them out on their bullshit, pushing back against the non-sense. I’ve seen her reduce Riehan to public wimpering on his own blog, and that’s worth something.

    Countering the conserva-tide is like a mission to her, or so it seems to me. She’s just having a hard time letting go of EDK as a target.

  198. 198
    morzer says:

    @Chad N Freude:

    I know, I know. I spent months trying to reason with her. And yet, here we all are.

  199. 199
    McJulie says:

    @DBass: The major thrust of their best argument is that the benefits of public spending tend to accord most to the urban areas of the state.

    And that argument is almost certainly bogus, unless Wisconsin is significantly different from other states. The overwhelming pattern is that urban areas generate more tax revenue than they get back, while rural areas receive more than they generate.

    Yet, people in rural areas tend to think it’s the other way around. Why do they think this?

    1. Because people they perceive as their own lie to them about it all the time.

    2. Because the spending that benefits them is invisible to them — infrastructure that they take so completely for granted that they are unable to see it as the result of public spending. Re: how bent out of shape farmers get whenever the government tries to take away something (land or water or whatever) that, in fact, the government handed out in the first place.

    3. Because they have a lot of free-floating resentment over the way urban areas dominate the cultural landscape and any elections that are a statewide numbers game (like senators and presidents) and so they like to lash out whenever possible. They have constructed a narrative to support this lashing out as a rational act, but that’s all post-facto.

    4. Because they just don’t like cities. That’s why they live in rural areas in the first place. So again, they construct post-facto rationalizations for why cities are evil and must be punished.

  200. 200
    Chad N Freude says:

    @morzer: And it hasn’t escaped my notice that everybody else left quite a while ago. I’m joining them now.

  201. 201
    matoko_chan says:

    @mistermix a.k.a. mastermix: why? i was just doing my troll job and questioning EDK’s civil libertarian chops when he apparently decided to slur me with a random and unsubstantiated accusation of racism.
    and then he apparently told you that i was mad because he had rejected an essay. i can show the mails where he didnt reject it. hes lying if he told you that.
    i presume you want to judge the quality of my essay so you can claim you would have rejected it.
    what does that prove? that EDK would have rejected it?
    but he didnt.
    EDK didnt reject it. i withdrew it.
    time travel to the past is impossible because of closed form time curves.

  202. 202
    matoko_chan says:

    @Stillwater: all he has to do to reduce his target signature is be honest.
    im seeing an accumulating body of evidence that he cant be.

  203. 203
    eemom says:

    Morzie, I get what you’re saying…..but when has any blog thread ANYWHERE been able to abide by the simple, sensible logic of “Don’t feed the troll”?

    It just doesn’t happen.

    I have concluded there must be some deeply ingrained troll-feeding instinct hard-wired into the human psyche.

  204. 204
    matoko_chan says:

    @Stillwater:

    I’ve seen her reduce Riehan to public wimpering on his own blog,

    one of my finest moments. he said i had ruined blogging for him.
    lawl.

  205. 205
    eemom says:

    @Stillwater:

    I’ve seen her reduce Riehan to public wimpering on his own blog.

    Fer realz?? Wow.

    Now that’s a link I’d like to see.

  206. 206
    Chad N Freude says:

    @eemom:

    I have concluded there must be some deeply ingrained troll-feeding instinct hard-wired into the human psyche.

    Speciesist!

    ETA: I also like to see how far a troll can carry a non-argument argument. It’s beginning to look like To Infinity And Beyond.

  207. 207
    matoko_chan says:

    i dont want to ruin blogging for them….i just want to ruin lying for them.
    and EDK responds to my accusation that hes lying about being a civil libertarian……..with lying?
    shockant.
    ;)

  208. 208
    Stillwater says:

    @matoko_chan: Yup. That was priceless.

  209. 209
    mistermix a.k.a. mastermix says:

    @matoko_chan: Since you won’t post a link to your own blog, I’ll pick a couple of my personal favs:

    I really think GW is doing a bitchin’ job of pressing the War on Terror. He is a warrior first class, decisive and fierce, as concentrated as a laser sight. I’m glad we’re on the same side.

    http://quantumghosts.blogspot......ience.html

    Normally, I just love the Instapundit

    http://quantumghosts.blogspot......again.html

    Really, it is annoying. I understand George Bush perfectly. It is my curse, my geas. Often I violently disagree with him, but I always understand his logic and motivation.
    Because we’re both birds.
    We’re platonists: we see the world from the bird’s eye view, or bird perspective.

    http://quantumghosts.blogspot......frogs.html

    Was it irony? 11-dimensional chess?

  210. 210
    morzer says:

    @eemom:

    Did I mention, dearest, that when you get all cold and formal and logical, as you did at #183, it’s really quite exciting?

  211. 211
    morzer says:

    @mistermix a.k.a. mastermix:

    I will observe, not for the first time, that I rarely resort to the more distasteful popular abbreviations of essentially vulgar activities designed to pander to the degraded popular taste of our era, but after reading your superb fisking of the matoko_chew-toy record, I am left with but one response:

    ROFL LMFAO

    I remain,
    Morzer

  212. 212
    matoko_chan says:

    you see juicers….EDK wants you to love him. Aimai saw that.
    i find that kind of sad.
    i actually dont want you to love, and i dont give a shit if you hate me.
    i just want you to tell the truth.
    it doesnt matter if the truth is rude or ugly or uncomfortable.
    sore wa inotchi innosensu
    maybe im naive.
    but i believe this.

    Lin: We got loyalty even in my line.
    Batou: There’s loyalty that protects secrets and loyalty that protects the truth. You cannot serve both masters, so which loyalty is yours?

  213. 213
    Stillwater says:

    @eemom: Can’t find it, but it was beautiful. Can’t recall exactly, but I think the context was Reihan posting some playful bit of conservative nonsense, and all the commenters were joyfully playing along, then MC shows up to blast him for pumping bullshit. He had a big sad, and just wimpered about how MC had wouldn’t let him just post stuff, ya know?, and that she’d taken all the fun out of blogging for him. MC trollery at it’s best.

  214. 214
    matoko_chan says:

    @mistermix a.k.a. mastermix: i got the luck, didnt i? they fooled me.
    why not link some stuff from post my “reversion” to liberalism?
    you can follow my evolution….that is why i doubt EDKs is sincere.
    i said i was a conservative….but i evolved.
    you are cherry picking from when i was conservative. i was fucking linked at NRO and Instapundit. I guest posted for PW. i corresponded with Manzi and Derbyshire. Bill Frist took birdflu questions from an anime ‘toon when he was the FUCKING SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE. i was a co-blogger at GNXP. what do you not understand about that?
    when EDK posts saying he was WRONG about DOMA and the crap he pimped to the base, mebbe i can believe in his “reversion.”.
    this is more representative of who i am today.

  215. 215
    matoko_chan says:

    @Stillwater: my best moment as a troll was when Dr. Frist took birdflu questions from an anime toon.
    epic.

  216. 216
    Stillwater says:

    @matoko_chan: Link?

  217. 217
    gex says:

    This has always ever been the conservative view of our economy. Conservative and libertarian. Weave back all the myths about hard work and merit, and you see that the people on top benefit the most from all of society while begrudging the people who make them rich even the basic necessities. I’m glad you are coming along, just as I’m glad Cole came along. But damn, it sucks that you guys had to see the consequences start to play out before realizing what this has always ever been about. There is no fiscal argument from the right that isn’t right out of Atwater’s playbook. And this is how they get the white working and middle class to destroy themselves. Tribal identification and religious economic ideology.

  218. 218
    Chad N Freude says:

    @matoko_chan: OK, so you can write coherently. Why all the word salad blenderized comments?

  219. 219
    matoko_chan says:

    sweet baby jeebus your search-fu sucks.
    realservatism.
    even the title still makes me giggle….poor reihan trying to re-invent the rotting corpse of conservatism into something more palatable.

    The line is “Can’t shake the devil’s hand and say you’re only kidding.” Small point, to be sure.
    __
    Your characterization of my views bears no resemblance to reality, Matoko. I have to say, I’m impressed by your ability to single-handedly destroy this blog by driving away lots of commenters and bloggers, which was evidently your goal. Congratulations to you on a hard-won victory. Your scabrous, contemptuous tone has made blogging here the opposite of a delight.
    __
    — Reihan · Jan 20, 09:22 AM · #

  220. 220
    Paul in KY says:

    @Sebastian Dangerfield: That’s why I like matoko better. As wacked as she is, I can see she’s basically on my side, so I will cut her some slack.

    Sully is a Limey, POS, Glibitarian wanker & cudlip-fellator.

    Also, too.

  221. 221
    bago says:

    I’ve had an interesting progression. I was born in Alaska, the child of workers who were imported into the government bought state to build an oil pipeline. I enjoyed my communal wealth redistributed checks cut from the Alaska Permanent Fund as I was growing up, home-schooled until I could handle a private Christian school, safe from secular media, and in my teens nursed upon the rhetoric of Limbaugh, and was never a stone’s throw away from a copy of the National Review. I turned 18 and left home to work at a job earning twice as much as my parents, and was seduced by the notion that I alone had earned every penny, and every penny was mine. Naturally, a subscription to Reason was in my future.

    Then of course I began to live outside my parents’ home, and my work had brought me into reading about the connectionism of Hayek, the computational theories of Turing, and the linguistics of satan himself, Chomsky. I was knee deep in fags, liberals, and Hayek. What is a young mind to do?

    Stay tuned for part two of “I got older and changed my mind”, book 1 of the learning series.

  222. 222
    matoko_chan says:

    @Chad N Freude: its shorthand dude.
    you are supposed TO READ THE LINKS.

  223. 223
    matoko_chan says:

    @gex: i haz a better excuse. i was raised republican. guns, dogs, and pony club. one of my ancestors summer homes is in the Guggenheim Foundation….they give tours.
    the first time i voted it was for Bush. my family had a fucking party.

  224. 224
    Allan says:

    Matoko. I have to say, I’m impressed by your ability to single-handedly destroy this blog by driving away lots of commenters and bloggers, which was evidently your goal. Congratulations to you on a hard-won victory. Your scabrous, contemptuous tone has made blogging here the opposite of a delight.

    This.

  225. 225
    matoko_chan says:

    @matoko_chan: lol….i think that was the essay i wanted EDK to use.
    it was during the pre-release conservative pissiness about Avatar.

  226. 226
    matoko_chan says:

    @Allan: have i driven you out Allan?
    alas, then i have failed.
    i go now to commit seppuku in shame for my lost honor.

  227. 227
    Paul in KY says:

    @matoko_chan: Wouldn’t you have done that 4 or 5 years ago…

    Cudlip ;-)

  228. 228
    Chad N Freude says:

    @matoko_chan: Actually, dudess, I do read most of your links. Do you read any of mine?

    I was, of course, referring to stuff like

    i repeat, i see no change.
    if hes changed, show me the data.
    and incidentally, show me the linkS where i said “pretty awful racist thingS”.
    ;)
    __
    sure, i believe in redemption. but i dont think EDK has wholly abandoned the failed paradigm of conservatism.
    id welcome proof.

    Maybe it’s just bad typing, but I find it hard to read — it just looks garbled to me.

    And I REALLY don’t understand why you scream at EDK and don’t marshal an argument showing that [clears throat, quotes self]

    post an explanation of your thoughts on the relationship of IQ to genetics, how you reached your conclusions, thus showing why your statements on the subject have been rationally arrived at and are not racist?

    Oh, wait, I keep forgetting that you’re a narcissist.

  229. 229
    Ash Can says:

    @DBass: Late to the party, but DBass, this was a terrific comment. Please don’t be a stranger here. :)

  230. 230
    licensed to kill time says:

    m_c steele, the cudlip on the tracks of (thread) progress.

  231. 231
    gnomedad says:

    @Stillwater:

    Some forms of conservatism have good ideas, but those ideas are not exclusive to conservatism. All ideas that are uniquely conservative tend to be bad ideas.

    Hmm, I’d wimp out and say “almost all”, but I like this formulation and will steal it for my toolkit.

  232. 232
    morzer says:

    post an explanation of your thoughts on the relationship of IQ to genetics, how you reached your conclusions, thus showing why your statements on the subject have been rationally arrived at and are not racist?

    IQ is a meaningless and socially biased measure, and has been recognized as such by any serious student of the relevant fields for some time now. There is no reason to fabricate a relationship between an arbitrary and unscientific measure and a developing scientific field like genetics. I therefore conclude that the whole question and controversy has no hard science behind it, will produce no useful results if pursued, and should be abandoned sine die. I do not see that this is in any way a racist conclusion.

  233. 233
    matoko_chan says:

    @Chad N Freude: ffs sake i was questioning EDK’s civil libertarian chops and he slurred me with an accusation of racism out of left field.
    if you wanna talk about genetics and IQ, get cole to start a thread on it.
    if you want me to refute what EDK THINKS i said, w/e the hell EDK is refering to… then FUCKING QUOTE IT.

  234. 234
    matoko_chan says:

    @Paul in KY: dunno. id have to retrieve old mails.
    boring.

  235. 235
    Chad N Freude says:

    @morzer: I agree with you about this, but it’s not so black and white (pun intended). See the link I posted @163. Very interesting reading, by people who know what they’re talking about (and will therefore never be BJ commenters).

    What set this off is apparently some stuff m_c posted on the subject, and if she wants to show that EDK is wrong, she could post an analytic, non-defensive defense.

  236. 236
    Susanna K. says:

    “The storm is rushing in from above, not below.” For now. Another 20 years of this, and the situation will be reversed.

  237. 237
    Gravie says:

    A dear friend of mine just lost her job of many years with a major corporate entity. She was very, very good at her job. She worked weekends, nights, 60-80 hours a week as a white-collar professional. As an exempt employee, she was not entitled to overtime — therefore she was doing the work of 1.5 to 2 people for the pay of one. And not a princely sum, either.

    She was summarily fired for having taken too many sick days, even though she had not exceeded the maximum allowed.
    When I asked what the HR person who sat in on the firing offered in her defense, she said “Oh, he doesn’t represent us; he represents [the company].”

    And now there’s no recourse for her. Fighting [the company] is futile. They have exceedingly deep pockets and have in the past crushed anyone foolish enough to take them to court.

    So there you have it. All bow down to our corporate overlords, because that’s how it is when you’re out there on your own.

  238. 238
    Paul in KY says:

    @matoko_chan: Oh, I was just joking. You sorta teed it up for me.

    Checked out your blog, for some reason the photo would not display, I only got an ‘x’ in the picture.

  239. 239
    Paul in KY says:

    @Gravie: Very, very sad. She is eligible for unemployment & needs to take everything she is entitled to, in that regard.

  240. 240
    matoko_chan says:

    @Chad N Freude: how can i show EDK is wrong when he won’t post the statement he interprets as “pretty awful racist things”?
    phrenology? Vulcan mind meld?

  241. 241
    matoko_chan says:

    @Paul in KY: there are very few identifiable pics of me on the interwebs.
    heres one.
    Cole has one.
    ax him for a peek.

  242. 242
    Paul in KY says:

    @matoko_chan: I can see you are quite cute from the pic. Thanks & keep on calling em out.

    I haven’t asked the proprieter for anything since I needed some way of non online paying for Balloon Juice swag & he basically told me to fuck off. No problem, as I gather he has told many others that as well :-)

    Edit: I’m in moderation. First time in awhile for that.

  243. 243
    morzer says:

    @Chad N Freude:

    Well, I would make a distinction. IQ is a worthless measure. We’ve known that for a long time, just never quite admitted it publicly, because of the whole IQ industry and mythology. Genetics (and genetic differences between groups) are a totally separate issue – and the link you provide to the way it’s reshaping our understanding of medicine is a good place to begin. My whole issue is that matoko keeps trying to drag in a discredited measure and builds a whole racist edifice on that measure. We know that your IQ score is affected by your social and familial background, we know education changes your score for the better, we know that the IQ test favors certain groups. I’ve got an immense respect for genetics, none whatsoever for the IQ charlatanry. (I will add that it doesn’t help the case for IQ to be so poorly represented by an immature and ill-informed troll!) Either way, we shouldn’t be wasting time on the IQ/genetics non-connection. There are so many more interesting things to think about, and so many more urgent causes we should be upholding. Indulging matoko really doesn’t get any of us further forward, and it does distract us from things that matter.

  244. 244
    Ari says:

    @cmorenc:

    Thank goodness, this is a point that I’ve been chewing over without good articulation all weekend I think. There’s something very… reactionary and fear/hate-based in the position that, “I’ve been struggling for a while, ergo, I think I will punch you in the nose.” ..And I’m pretty sure that that’s what our teachers tell our elementary school kids NOT to do. …At least until they’re all laid off. :P

  245. 245
    David Brooks (not that one) says:

    @Zach:

    I would bet that Sullivan would argue that the fact that you don’t (generally) need to wait in line for medical care in America is a good thing when it is, in fact, wasteful.

    If Sully claims that, then he is indeed living in the past of the NHS (as am I, except for occasional visits back home). The most recent scorecard by the Commonwealth Fund (2008) shows that “% of sick adults who could get an appointment on same or next day” is 46% in the US, 57% in the UK. “Difficulty getting care on nights, weekends, holidays” shows a similar disparity.

    There are some metrics where the US does better, but this isn’t one of them. But Sully wants to believe it (and thinks it’s still 1970 in the UK), and it fits certain prejudices, so it must be true.

    Not to mention that, for too many people in the US, the waiting period to see a doctor is infinite.

  246. 246
    Jrod the Cookie Thief says:

    I guess for a narcissistic asshole like matoko, the pressing issue of whether EDK is pure enough and the outcomes of blog conversations from months ago are far more important than the tiny, minor issue of union-breaking being used to dismantle the middle class.

    Gotta keep our priorities straight! Keep fighting that good fight!

    (Dammit, somebody give this idiot a ban. A couple weeks should be fine. Every goddam thread EDK writes being about matoko’s idiotic vendetta is getting reeeaaaheeheeelly tiresome.)

  247. 247
    Keith G says:

    @Jrod the Cookie Thief: Agreed to infinity.

    When some one repeatedly uses (and derails)threads to settle a totally off topic score, they may need a simple reminder of community norms – and I do not type that lightly.

  248. 248
    Stillwater says:

    @matoko_chan: What about the mermaid? Is that you?

  249. 249
    matoko_chan says:

    @Stillwater: yup
    @Keith G: i think honesty shouldbe a community norm. EDK inserted a racist slur into a discussion of libertarianism in America.
    i want to see the link he made that conclusion from.
    or praps he just pulled it out of his ass.

  250. 250
    Stillwater says:

    @matoko_chan: See, in that one I can almost see the contours of your face. Now I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for you. Do you go to school in Boulder?

  251. 251
    Jay W. says:

    some foggy sense that we are all in the same boat together, and that someone else is sending it toward the breakers.

    Great post and great points, but what worries me is that other group of Americans that doesn’t even know we are in a boat. As you say, they just accept that unions are bad. Not for idealogical reasons or even personal reasons. Just because that’s all they have heard for the last thirty or so years.

    The boat will sink or weather the storm because of those people not in spite of them.

  252. 252

    […] E.D. Kain thinks that the current mess in Wisconsin is proof a sustained assault on the Middle Class by conservatives and libertarians: So why does Wisconsin matter? Because this is a pivotal battle in that fight. What happens in Wisconsin could be a bellwether for things to come. If Walker wins, expect other like-minded governors to attempt the same thing, and many of them will likely win. If he loses, organized labor may have bought itself a bit more time. But the new class war will continue. Unless the public narrative can be recaptured from the Tea Party and the austerity now crowd we won’t see it end. Unless Democrats wake up to this threat, the party itself could be undone. […]

  253. 253

    […] E.D. Kain on the death and life of the American Middle Class. I’m enjoying reading E.D. Kain’s political dilemma and how he is trying to work it out […]

  254. 254

    Ronald Reagan gave us the myth that “the rising tide lifts all boats.” Has his aspirational vision born fruit? For the top income earners, yes. That luxury yacht sailed off successfully.

    But for the rest of us, real wages have increased only incrementally, if at all, in the last 30 years. The rising tide that took the wealthy into higher income brackets threatens to drown the middle class.

    We live in a consumer-driven economy. The business leaders of America need to understand that for their business to succeed, they need consumers – with paychecks that support consumption. Increasing productivity by shedding workers comes with a very high price. But that’s a long-term view, and these days, those in the C-suite are focused, for the most part, on short term gains.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] E.D. Kain on the death and life of the American Middle Class. I’m enjoying reading E.D. Kain’s political dilemma and how he is trying to work it out […]

  2. […] E.D. Kain thinks that the current mess in Wisconsin is proof a sustained assault on the Middle Class by conservatives and libertarians: So why does Wisconsin matter? Because this is a pivotal battle in that fight. What happens in Wisconsin could be a bellwether for things to come. If Walker wins, expect other like-minded governors to attempt the same thing, and many of them will likely win. If he loses, organized labor may have bought itself a bit more time. But the new class war will continue. Unless the public narrative can be recaptured from the Tea Party and the austerity now crowd we won’t see it end. Unless Democrats wake up to this threat, the party itself could be undone. […]

Comments are closed.