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View Diary: Something amiss with anti-Obama Fla. urologist (353 comments)

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  •  can we retire the term "fiscal conservative"?? (8+ / 0-)

    what's it mean, anyway?

    i have yet to find anyone who thinks that "throwing money" at a problem is the solution everytime.

    when i hear someone say (s)he is fiscally conservative i ask, "what's that mean?"  

    usually (s)he replies "i don't think welfare is always the answer"

    to which i counter:

    1. "i don't know the answer myself but how large you think the welfare population is?"
    1. "what's the yearly cost of welfare?"
    1. "who is eligible and what benefits does welfare include"?
    1. "who comprises the recipient population?  what are the demographics?"
    1. "when did public assistance programs start?"
    1. "what was the rationale for it?  i assume research has been done showing the cost/benefit analysis.  what does it show?"
    1. "do you believe in the common good?"
    1. "what's social capital and how has it changed over the past 50 years?"
    1. "what other programs do you not support?"
    1. "if these programs were cut off tomorrow, what impact on the economy, and therefore on my pocket and yours, what impact would that have?"

    when the other person doesn't specifically mention welfare, but just "small government" or "anti-wasteful spending" i ask

    1. "define wasteful spending"
    1. "i'm no economic historian, but when did things change?"

    The United States has long touted its status as a creditor nation as a symbol of overall economic strength.  That, too, ended in the Reagan era.  In 1986, the net international investment position of the United States turned negative as US assets owned by foreigners exceeded the assets that Americans owned abroad.  The imbalance has continued to grow ever since.  Even as the United States began accumulating trillions of dollars of debt, the inclination of individual Americans to save began to disappear.  For most of the postwar era, personal savings had averaged a robust 8-10 percent of disposable income.  In 1985, that figure began a gradual slide toward zero.  Simultaneously, consumer debt increased, so that by the end of the century household debt exceeded household income.

    - Andrew "Da man" Bacevich, Limits of Power

    1. "What do you think about the Iraq Wars?"
    1. "how do you as a citizen, distinguish between necessary and ethical wars?"
    1. "what's your understanding of the military-industrial complex and its role in determining foreign policy?"
    1. "do you know of any waste in government spending on these wars?"
    1. "do you think any future spending on the 'blowback' from our current wars is wasteful?  how do you justify it?"
    1. "on the topic of lobbyists, how much do lobbying firms earn annually from their clients, and how much money do these lobbying firms get from the government -- our money, mind you-- FOR their clients?  how involved do you think lobbyists are in making policy?  how many lobbyists are in washington?  do they run washington, or does the president?"
    1. "who was David Graham Philips and what was the treason of the senate?"
    1. "would you support a new Grace Commission, one that looked into the "sordid history of privatization in all its details"?

    on the topic of the financial collapse:

    1. "when you think about the individuals culpable for the financial collapse, what is the color of the face of these individuals?"
    1. "what do you think led to the financial collapse?"
    1. "do you think the government should allow an entire market and system to exist based on commodities that have no instrinsic value? what is the risk in allowing such a system to continue"

    on the role of government in business:

    1. "what do you think about the relationship between government and businesses and labor and consumers?  should there be any protection for quality of life, safety of products, wages, and what about benefits?
    1. "what was the ICC"?
    1. "What is the Sherman Antitrust Act?"
    1. "Do you think corporations have any loyalty to country, to a nation?  How does the answer affect what you think their motivations are?  Is it possible that corporations may try to weaken the laws through their lobbyists and purchased congressmen just to increase the bottom line and benefits for shareholders, the country be damned?  would such a scenario be realized in the push for unnecessary wars?"
    •  Used to be what Repubs who didn't give a fig... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ..about gay marriage or any of the other social crap called themselves.

      That was before they went nuts with the country's credit cards.

      Jesus was a Socialist.

      by Bush Bites on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 10:27:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wish I could write this comment on the back of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      plankbob, primarydoc

      my hand!

      Thanks, primarydoc, for great contribution to my mental health!

      We work in the dark. We do what we can. We give what we have. Our doubt is our passion. Our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.

      by cultural worker on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 11:15:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  While one might hope such tactics are effective (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Meteor Blades, wmholt

      I find it just entrenches folks further.  They don't want to have to pass a test to have their opinions. I can't say I blame them really, I don't think I can answer half your questions either and I spend a lot of time thinking and reading about politics. Just because someone else knows a lot of details doesn't make their overall approach to a problem right OR wrong.

      Sometimes things are just scaly and stink and your gut tells you it's rotten fish. You don't need to be a fisherman and know where it was caught and how it was caught and what species it is, what it would taste like if it were fresh, what the spawning season is or whether it's endangered.. blah blah blah. Your experience tells you it's rotten fish. In fact, most people have neither the time nor wherewithall to approach problems in life by spending the kind of personal resources you're suggesting they should.  It wouldn't be an efficient way to run a society if everyone had to be an expert on everything.

      So, if you want to convince someone that stinking pile of rotten fish is actually a gourmet dish of Rakefisk you have to appeal to the emotions as well as the mind.

      This is something that we as a community often either forget or don't really understand. Bombarding people with questions and facts, or being dismissive about their views isn't going to convert one single person. They are going to shut down and their views will become invulnerable to any logic you throw at them. I can't tell you the number of times I've read diary's about how someone left someone else speechless after attacking what their views are, usually in public, and everyone here applauding them. While there are times for this (speaking up against racism, sexism, hatism) in order to shame people just smiting them with your mighty facts on a political point isn't going to accomplish anything. You have to actually have a conversation. And despite what I often see here, and elsewhere, that involves listening more intently than just looking for factual errors and weaknesses in their knowledge to attack. There are no judges, no points, no one is keeping score.

      Listening means trying to understand why they feel the way they do and being gently persuasive about your own views. I think the goal on these blogs is sometimes more along the lines of feeling smug or vindicated or to revel in hollow victories instead of actually changing anything. A lot of the diaries here, no matter how well written, are screens for projecting or venting, trying to force rather than convince. That's why the Republicans reiteration of 'forcing it down our throats' hits such a chord with them. Because the only ones having a real conversation with them are the other side. That's why Obama needed to be out there all year having a conversation with all America about health care.

      Don't get me wrong, it's good to have facts to assist in persuasion but it's better to be effective.

      We're all one heartbeat away from Forever.

      by KS Rose on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 01:40:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  perhaps it's in the way i ask my questions (0+ / 0-)

        years of seeing patients has helped me with my bedside manner.  that and my gray hair certainly help when i'm trying to persuade.

        online is a completely different story.  ask MB. hehe.

        •  and of course the questions in the parent post (0+ / 0-)

          wouldn't be asked in a rapid fire manner.  if you're going to have a dialogue, you  must listen, reflect, and if further clarification is necessary, ask questions not with the goal of defeating the other, but rather, arriving at a better judgment.

    •  Critical thinking... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's nice to see someone asking the right questions.

      Thanks for the comment. It was educational.

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