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View Diary: Frank Rich on Fox's Shepard Smith (263 comments)

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  •  I think I should switch to Leher (12+ / 0-)

    because when I do watch it is always so much more in depth than anything else out there.  It has an obvious left-leaning bias but that's ok.

    So for TV news I mostly have CNN on but most of the news I get from the internet...CNN, Dailykos, Andrew Sullivan, Drudge, a lot of alternative energy sites.

    I basically don't go on right wing sites and only know about them, ironically, from DKOS.  (Yes, I know Drudge is right wing but I was talking more about FreeRepublic and Redstate).

    I'm not claiming it's a great balance but with work and a kid I don't watch/read as much as I did but what can you do?

    We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

    by theotherside on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 08:28:12 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Sounds like you're doing what you can. (9+ / 0-)

      And that's okay.  I'd be willing to listen to your view on any subject, because you are making an effort to be informed, not just repeating talking points.  My son-in-law is also a Republican who voted for Obama, sees things pretty much the same way you do.  As he puts it, "I didn't leave my party.  My party left me".  
      Part of the reason we're so polarized right now is that we all sense how deeply in trouble we are.  We know we'd better do something and quick, and we all worry we're coming to the point of no return too fast to come to agreement.  
      But I think we'd better try.  Thank you for coming here, stating up front that you're a Republican, and being willing to discuss all the things we're all worried about.  Americans first, partisans second, right?

      •  Amen (10+ / 0-)

        Yeah, I use the Reagan line about not leaving the party, the party leaving me, as well.

        As for the people understanding how much trouble we are in, I'm not completely in agreement.  Those that follow politics (like those of us here) have a reasonably good idea but I don't even think we entirely get it.  For example, progressives tend to dismiss talk about the problems with Social Security and Medicare as "right wing memes".  They also tend to dismiss any discussion about the problems of massive debt and ongoing deficits.

        Of course, the right has there head in the sand about so many different things (healthcare, climate change, peak oil, on and on...).  I look at all these problems and just don't understand how we can get out of them with the current political leadership we have.

        With that said, I'm so thankful to have Obama as President.  He does seem to "get it" and is the right man for the job.  I know none of the Republicans are up for the task and I really have my doubts about Pelosi and Reid (but that is admittedly my Republican bias coming out).  In short, we have lived off of borrowed time for too long.  I don't see any alternatives to raising taxes and cutting benefits and this country is not prepared to go down a responsible, sustainable path.

        We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

        by theotherside on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 09:00:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I suspect we'd agree on some of these things (9+ / 0-)

          more than you think.  On the subject of Social Security and Medicare - what are your retirement plans?  It's irritating (to me, at least) to hear these things referred to as "entitlements" when I've paid into it every 2 weeks for all of my working life.  Pensions, funded mostly by our own money, are disappearing.  What are we all to live on, if not on our "entitlements"?  
          Bush wanted to put all that money WE put into our SS accounts into the stock market, said we'd all make a lot of money that way.  Yeah, right.  Somebody would have made money alright, but it wouldn't have been us.  
          Imagine for a moment what it would be like if nobody ever got a pension, or Social Security, or Medicare.  So we all work until we die?  Contrary to the "welfare queen" mental picture most Repubs hold in their heads, the people we're really talking about are regular folks with little kids, elderly people trying right now to decide which is more important - their medicine or food.  
          Are there abuses in these programs?  Of course there are, and together we could fix what's broken.  But to say we don't care about each other, don't care about what happens to our poor, our children, our disabled, and our elderly, is my idea of Hell on Earth.  
          A civilization can always (and SHOULD) be judged by how well it cares for the weakest among them, the most helpless.  Maybe that's my Inner Liberal coming out, but it's a bedrock belief, and I cannot change it.  
          As for some of our other problems - the deficit has been this bad for a long time now.  It's just that now we have truthful accounting.  Sure it looked better when we left off the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, of course it did.  But it was a lie.  Now, how do we go about fixing it?
          My own opinion - free trade is a joke.  If you ship all your jobs overseas, what's going to happen?  You're going to have a shortage of jobs at home, and your entire economy is going to suffer.  And those companies taking full advantage of cheap overseas labor?  They're economic treasonists, in my view.  And the inability to manufacture is weakening our national security.  Being dependent on anyone other than yourself for needed goods weakens us as a nation and makes us vulnerable.  

          •  I hear you on "entitlements" (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mnemosyne, sherlyle, Matt Z, alexa100

            but I hope that you understand that there is no way that these programs are going away.  The question is how we save and protect them for the long run.  I give Bush credit for trying to change SS but he was, as Obama will be, hamstrung by what is possible.  I haven't read the updated report on SS and Medicare but the numbers from the previous report was that for SS there was a $16 trillion funding gap and for Medicare there was a $28 trillion gap.

            You, being much more liberal than I, would, presumably, want to reduce the funding gap by increasing taxes to a larger degree than I would.  Conversely, I would want to cut benefits (means test, raise retirement age, change bend points, etc.) more than you would.

            What is NOT acceptable to me (and hopefully to you) is to merely push the cost from seniors and boomers onto Gen X and their posterity.  Dems are in power and I hope they address these issues BUT the problem is that they simply can't propose a solution (like Bush couldn't propose a solution) because any solution will include tax increases AND benefit cuts and there is just no constituency to do this even though it is not only the right thing to do but the only thing we can do to save those systems.

            We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

            by theotherside on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 11:52:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I've often said (11+ / 0-)

          that I espouse very liberal views for very conservative reasons.

          First, I believe in doing things at the local scale. I believe local problems are best solved through the initiative of local residents. I believe in local business, responding directly and efficiently to the needs and tastes of its community. I think that, on a small scale, direct democracy is a good thing; no one knows better what a neighborhood needs than the residents of that neighborhood. This is why I object to policies that favor large corporations over small, locally owned businesses; that force uniform planning and development standards on communities at the expense of continuity with local institutions and traditions; and that raise obstacles to financing of small-scale projects, making it impossible to get things done without a rich and powerful "fairy godmother."

          Second, I believe in self-sufficiency, of being able to provide for one's own basic needs, which is why I'm dismayed by corporate practices that uproot the livelihoods of entire communities, sometimes entire regions, and by our flight from manufacturing goods for domestic consumption and profligate spending on imports.

          Third, I believe in neighborliness, and so I deplore the blasting of the American social fabric into 300 million individual, self-interested "consumers" with no responsibility for one another's well-being, as well as the aforementioned corporate disregard for communities.

          Fourth, I believe in the family. My parents have been married since 1963 and raised my sister and me in a loving, welcoming, morally authoritative (not authoritarian) home. I saw what divorce did to the families of many of my friends growing up. In our atomized society, I believe we should do everything in our power as a nation to provide more opportunities for shared bonds of kinship and mutual support. Therefore, I support gay marriage without qualification -- for that matter, support any sort of household arrangement entered into by mutually consenting adults. Why shouldn't we allow two men or two women to share ownership of property, tax benefits, health insurance and hospital visitation rights? For that matter, why shouldn't we allow five heterosexual single mothers to do the same, so that three can work while two take care of the kids? Or a nuclear family with a bachelor uncle, or any other extended family? And why do we allow such a low minimum wage that all the adults in a family -- and sometimes one or more of the kids -- are forced to work to support the family at or above subsistence level? I believe it's a good thing for children to be looked after full-time by a parent; I don't care which one, and I don't believe this should be used as an excuse to force women out of the workplace. But for a parent to stay at home, it has to be economically feasible.

          Fifth, I am not a moral relativist. I believe that morality (as distinct from custom or convention) is absolute, being rooted in our common humanity and the fundamental principle of not causing harm to other human beings. I consider certain actions to be objectively, unequivocally wrong. I believe that human rights are a moral imperative, and I believe the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be the best expression of them to date. Consequently, I'm dismayed whenever the government allows, let alone encourages, any person or entity to profit from the exploitation, deception, manipulation or neglect of another. And I believe we need to reestablish our moral power in the world by implementing a foreign policy in which we protect our own prerogatives without violating the prerogatives of others.

          Sixth, I believe in a competitive market economy. But a purely laissez-faire economy doesn't remain competitive for long. An effectively functioning market economy has to be regulated in such a way as to preserve numerousness of participants, freedom of participants to enter and exit, products of comparable quality, and the availability of complete and accurate information to buyers. In our economy, many participants grow so huge as to be able to distort market forces, create barriers to entry and generate a fog of misinformation. Current lingo calls these entities "too big too fail." I call them too big to exist. I'm all for reducing waste, but government has to be large enough to keep the largest businesses under control. When corporations outgrow government, they effectively become government -- witness United Fruit and the East India Company. And while government is at least nominally obliged by its mission statement to look after citizens' interests, corporations are under no such obligation.

          Seventh, I believe in fiscal responsibility. Deficit spending in good economic times is reckless to the point of immorality. The government should tax and spend just enough to carry out its core mission of establishing justice, ensuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense and promoting the general welfare by providing an economy of scale that allows us to obtain more value than we could achieve with a smaller effort. There is too much government spending that doesn't meet this standard of utility. That being said, our military budget is preposterously outsize, relative not only to the spending of other nations but to our own needs; and thanks to the damage wreaked on communities by indifferent corporations, our spending on welfare is far above where it ought to be, too. Military and welfare spending are drains on our ability to generate and reinvest capital; we need to rebuild our domestic manufacturing sector to create the kinds of stable jobs that reduce the need for welfare payments. The goal of every anti-poverty program should be to make itself obsolete. Then there's personal fiscal responsibility. Should we be buying so much on credit, just because it makes the GDP look more impressive? Should companies be allowed to offer riskier and riskier loans for more and more unreasonably priced homes? And should every household be trying to provide for all its needs alone, without any cooperation? Privatization is inherently wasteful. A single community park provides more benefit for its cost than two dozen yards with pools and playground sets. A neighborhood movie theater is better than a hundred home theater systems. And a clean, safe, punctual public transportation system in a well-designed transit-oriented neighborhood offers vast savings, in the long run, over single-occupant cars running willy-nilly over a sprawling landscape.

          Eighth, I believe in noblesse oblige. You can probably identify better than I the chapter and verse in which it's said, "From those to whom much is given, much shall be expected." Nothing has been expected of the luxury class in this country for the last 30 years except that camera crews be let in occasionally to film their opulent homes for entertainment programs. Thirty years of productivity gains, and three-fifths of Americans have nothing to show for it but stagnant wages and increasing unemployment. All the gains have been reaped by those at the top, and hoarded. This is why I believe in a steeply graduated income tax with a high marginal rate on luxury incomes. The 1950s and early 1960s, supposedly a golden age of broadly shared prosperity, featured among other things a 70 to 90 percent top marginal income tax rate. I believe we could manage 60 percent on household incomes over $250,000 today. Things can hardly get any worse.

          And speaking of productivity, ninth and last, I believe in rewarding work. No one who puts in a full week's work in a job that's essential to the smooth running of our society should be unable to support his or her family, period. And I believe that if all the gas station attendants, fast-food cooks, grocery cashiers and vegetable pickers in America stayed home tomorrow, we'd be hurting a lot more than if all the hedge fund managers took the day off. But without the right to unionize freely, working people will never get the rewards they've earned.

          "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

          by Geenius at Wrok on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 10:07:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  comments like this (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bablhous, Matt Z

            make me wish there was a hotlist for comments.

          •  Nice comment, Geenius (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Matt Z

            Your tax comments are kinda scary to me but even though I'm "conservative" I find much to agree with.

            I'm particularly drawn to the concept that if you do a fulls day work that you should be able to have enough food, shelter, transportation and healthcare for you and your family.  The problem is that conservatives don't think like this and progressives tend to only come up with ideas from 60 years ago.

            It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on the Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) and/or Digital Socialism, if you are aware of either of these ideas.

            We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

            by theotherside on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 12:07:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not aware of either nt (0+ / 0-)

              "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

              by Geenius at Wrok on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 02:20:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Here are some links that I think (0+ / 0-)

                you would be interested in given your comments on what you believe in:


                Essentially, the basic income guarantee ensures that all Americans have a certain income that ensures nobody is in poverty.  There is a group that is something like the US BIG group that promotes a version of it.  I won't link to it because they don't have any means test or work requirement and is something I could therefore not support.

                Digital socialism, as far as I understand it, is to allow technology to create a collectivist body in a voluntary fashion.

                Here is a  link on it:


                We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

                by theotherside on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 03:16:26 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  "I didn't leave my party. My party left me." (10+ / 0-)

        I started to realize that back in 1994.  It took me until 2000 to leave the GOP, which I had considered myself since I registered to vote in 1978.  Then it took me until 2004 to realize that I had become a Democrat and act on it.  I'm much happier here.  So are the rest of my family.  They all left the party before I did, including my mother, who did get out the vote for Goldwater in 1964.  Last year, she did get out the vote for Obama--in UTAH!  Thanks to her efforts, along with those of many others, she turned Salt Lake and Summit counties blue.

        "The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butthead." ~ Paul Krugman.

        by Neon Vincent on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 09:04:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Lehrer's newscast and PBS (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mnemosyne, bmcphail, Matt Z

      looks "leftwing" to you because it operates in the "center" of the western jounalistic tradition.

      Americans would find the mainstream news outlets in all western democracies to be "leftist", just as America's media describes the mainstream method of delivering health care in western democracies as "socialist".

      America has no left and there is a concerted effort to demonize the center.

      My God, where do "Liberal" parties fall in the western political tradition.
      In the USA the word Liberal became so abused that this website has to call itself progressive.

      Paradox? The word "progressive" actually was a Marxist term for "fellow traveller."

      America needs a left.  Look what the Democratic Party CAN'T do even with the nominal hold The White House, and both houses of Congress.

      •  Perhaps (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        But when Republicans say that there is a liberal bias in the MSM I think the main point that they/we mean is that to us Dems are left and we find it difficult to believe that many (especially on Lehrer) vote Republican.

        Now, progressives would rightly point out that just because you are a Democrat doesn't mean that you are a leftist and I can understand that.

        As far as what Dems can and can't accomplish, they are in a tough position.  They can't raise taxes in this economic environment and it is (IMO) morally reprehensible to continue to have government programs/services without fully paying for them (ie balancing the budget).

        Thank goodness that America (and more importantly the Dems) were able to produce somebody like Obama.  He has the right tone and temperament for these times.

        We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

        by theotherside on Sun Jun 14, 2009 at 02:17:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Hi everyone (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mnemosyne, Matt Z

      Thanks for the insightful comments on this orginal posting.  Great stuff.  

      I happen to think that Jim Lehrer is more to the right than the left but that being said.. does a very good job of hosting with their guests.  I with they had more progressives on the show though.

      Thanks again for the great reading.

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