The “good life” was a definition that recently surfaced to the center of attention at a political online discussion in which conservatives used the term to describe what conservative politics offers… A chance at the “good life”.

As one of the conservative participants put it so eloquently… I prefer to live in a country, and have a form of government where I do have a chance at the good life however slim it might be. What the libs want for this country would mean ZERO chance of my ever becoming rich.

That’s a new one one me, I guess I need to brush up on the “liberal agenda” 😉

For the sake of argument, I mentioned that perhaps there is more to the good life than getting rich. I suggested that my own life is pretty good, I have a good job, great family, nice house in a nice neighborhood… Of course, there’s always more that I would like, but when I look at other people across the world, it’s not too hard for me to see that the American middle-class is a pretty damn good place to find the “good life”.

Then I made the big mistake. (Folks, never do this when talking to conservatives about economics or politics…) I pointed out how I thought the liberals created the American middle-class. Well as far as I can tell, the middle-class emerged out of the Progressive era as a result of political compromises with workers’ movements. As someone else on the discussion board pointed out…

“[FDRs] new deal enshrined them [protections] after ordinary Americans organized, struck, negotiated, stood their ground and refused to acquiesce to industrial feudalism. Without the New Deal, we might have had a real revolution…”

I can see that compromises like that tend to avoid the bloody alternatives. The Magna Carta for instance is probably a contributing reason why the English never had a violent king-killing revolution like the French and Russians did. In any case, the FDR compromises and resulting “social” programs initiated a promotion in living standards for the working class family, much like what the poor Russian people thought communism was going to do for them, but didn’t.

Although it’s flamboyant capitalism that gets the limelight, I think that behind the scenes, it’s our modest version of socialism that makes America so attractive to immigrants. They see every American with a personal car and TV – as materialistic and attached to vibrant capitalism as that seems, it’s the government enforced wages and compensation that increased the savings and purchasing power of the working class, which led directly to the opportunity to tap their savings and hence one of the multiple orgasms of capitalism, consumerism. Dwellers of the third world already see the success stories of capitalism in their own countries, the treads of the boots that crush them.

I wouldn’t even call myself a socialist, at least not an anti-capitalist, there’s a lot to be said for the incentives and dreams of capitalism. I value the mix of both that we have here in this country, which was the point of my argument. We incredibly lucky Americans benefit from the best of both worlds. These whiny conservatives should look around and see how lucky they are, most of them *are* living the good life. It would be nice also if they understood that socialism is just as important to their current good life as capitalism is before they go pissing on it. (Talk about biting the hand that feeds…) After all, it’s nice to dream about making it big, and it’s nice to work toward it too, but for the enormous majority of Americans that try but don’t make it, they can still count on minimum wage, health benefits, human resource departments, overtime pay, 40/hr work weeks, weekends, vacations, maternity leave… All those things brought to them by the very liberal notion of social obligation.

I went on to explain how capitalism, with it’s dedication to a disinclined market, is a functional, bi-polar model that really only works for those who have actually achieved a position of control. Everyone else gets the Newtonian equal and opposite force. In other words, to make money, you have to take it from someone. So to put this in simple terms, anyone dreaming about making it big in capitalism is currently under attack by those who are already there and if they aren’t pinned down to the dirt, chances are they have some liberals to thank.

And after my explanations, what kind of response do you think I got? Well, here’s another quote…

“The “good life” consists of the total absence of people with a mediocre education attempting to use government to give everyone else their own particular definition of the “good life”. Simply put this means…the absence of liberals…even the worst evangelist cannot use government to enforce their vision without becoming a liberal in the process.”

oh, well.

Once again, I find myself rolling my eyes up at the sophomoric character of Bushes so-called solutions.

This time it’s the overly obvious trick of lowering school standards so that even with a student body of drooling idiots the school can claim a stellar success rate. The Texas assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) was championed by Bush, then still a presidential candidate and governor of Texas, as a method of holding Texas schools responsible for student performance. Well, anyone can make the test super-easy so the students all get high grades. Dugh. This article compares the high scores that students from Houston got on TAAS and the embarrassing scores the same students got on the Stanford tests. Roughly a 70% on the TAAS equates to a 30% on the SAT. Using national scales, Texas students have proven either to have made no real progress or have actually fallen behind compared to students from other states.

Here’s the kicker… Bush was so “proud” of his state’s education program that he hoisted Houston’s superintendent, Rod Paige, to Washington as the education secretary and made Texas a model for country! The education law that Bush signed, “No Child Left Behind” gives public schools 12 years to match Houston’s “success”. My sides hurt from laughing.

Ah hell, read the article it’s full of lame excuses by Paige and item after item of hard cold facts that make the case clear… As Daniel Kortez of the Harvard School of Education says… “When all is said and done, Houston looks average or below average.” But that’s okay dubya, play the shell game with the scores then pass a law that says all other states should be like Texas. After all wouldn’t it be easier to fool the American people if they were all idiots? There ya go.

Hannity was interviewing (or should I say cross examining) Robert Kennedy Jr on the show the other day and Kennedy mentioned that according to estimates by the National Academy of Science, over 30,000 people will die each year from increases in pollution as a result of Bush’s so-called Clean Air Act.

Let’s see, 3,000 people died in the biggest terrorist attack in US history and Bush takes the country to war “to make the world safe”, yet he has no problem signing a bill with the potential to kill 30,000 people each year…? I’m not trying to downplay the 9/11 attacks, that was a horrible thing, but I just can’t get past the numbers. I mean if the objective is to make the world safe for American citizens then wouldn’t a threat to 30,000 American lives be a concern? Would those 30,000 deaths be more significant if they exploded in balls of fire instead of dying quietly in a hospital bed?

Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe that our president is on our side.

This is a quote from an anonymous Bush-fan on the Hannity discussion site a few days ago.

Basically, President Bush showing up in Baghdad sends a clear message to the Butcher that while he can’t make public appearances anymore, the President of the United States could.

…and my response:
Bush had to sneak in, only stayed for 2 hours, and then tip-toed out again. I applaud him for taking the risk to boost morale amongst our troops, but I don’t call that a message to the Iraqis. I don’t know why people regard Iraqi’s as less intelligent than ourselves. They are no doubt, flooded with media coverage of the visit (after the event), but it seems likely that they have a culture of their own where value is found in people being real. Sooner or later, they are going to completely disregard any Bush PR as being distrustful, if Bush doesn’t come out and show himself in the flesh, if nothing else to show his bravado. (To the Iraqis, not just his own troops)

Look at the few clips that we ever see of SH… He’s always surrounded by crowds and holding some kind of a weapon. We see Bush all the time, surrounded by screened out reporters – not the same thing. All I’m pointing out here is that SH *is* Iraqi… His approach to PR is probably more on target with Iraqis.

I think the message was that Bush had to sneak in and out. For crying out loud, he had to sneak out of his ranch, at 05:00 am, without even telling his family. “President’s security can’t even trust their own.” There’s a nice message.

You seem real hung up on stacking up munitions to measure strength, but these Iraqis, arabs in general, obviously know how to network, they know how to infiltrate and terrorism is their weapon of choice. Their religion tells them that victory is not a function of firepower.

So, maybe the whole thing was another PR stunt and the US is actually in total control and Bush could have just as easily flew in on a balloon, it still wouldn’t matter… The fact remains that the media coverage tells the story of a sneak out the back window. The Iraqi’s are bound to feel more confidence in their ability to have an impact on the President of the USA.

But wait, there’s more…

The fact that the media coverage made no comment on who may be causing the “landing with no lights” caution, any of the agitators may be getting the same high from it, including OBL.

and finally, the thing that makes sense of all of this…

The war in Iraq is a cash cow. The School of International Affairs at the George Washington University estimates $202 billion by 2010, based on existing contracts. The seed money is all collected through federal tax, making it a socialist engine. The only engine that doesn’t take supply-side fuel, but that’s okay if you can segregate the tax brackets. In anycase, that last $87 billion of socialist money, will return high yields for the investors.

The risks are accepted and sometimes even beneficial as in the case of emotional risks to US troops that spawn political support, which is crucial for any socialist engine.

Darkwind, It seems we have radically different perspectives on all of this.
“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary saftey deserve neither”
– Ben Franklin, 1759