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English Riots

I will confess to still be digesting the news out of London (and elsewhere in England).

For those looking for info, the BBC has a page dedicated to the events in question.

Specifically I would note this timeline.

The Telegraph has David Cameron’s statement in full.

The only comment I have at the moment is that I have seen a number of people (mostly on G+) who have taken these events as some kind of blanket critique of “the left” (posted, of course, by people who consider themselves of “the right”) which strikes me as unseemly (to be kind).  Why is it that the immediate response of (some) people that whenever there is some sort of violent action that the event has to be made to fit into some simplistic left/right political narrative?  And it is always cast in terms of something like “see how bad the other side is!” so as to both make the person making the comment feel better about themselves while also painting with a very broad brush to taint people who are not involved.

A great example of what I am talking about is the American Glob blog (and boosted by InstaPundit who labeled the following as “some perspective”):

Meanwhile over in England, leftists who agree with Obama policies like wealth redistribution are burning London to the ground. Please remind me… Who are the terrorists again???

It takes a rather odd worldview to try and make riots in London into some sort of analog of American partisan politics.  Not only is it inappropriate tribalism, it is pretty lousy comparative politics.  It certainly doesn’t qualify as analysis.

As best I can tell, the riots did not have a political motivation (the spark/excuse was the police shooting a suspect) and the general tenor appears to be wanton criminality rather than political statement.  Certainly the current economic situation (and the relevant politics) is feeding the behavior, but at this point I don’t think that one can make broad political claims.

As Paul Campos correctly note:

Urban riots are usually complex events, in which people participate for many reasons, ranging from simple boredom and criminal opportunism on one end, to conscious political protest on the other.

These types of events are complicated and one suspects that understanding this particular event will take some time to accomplish.  I certainly am not going to claim to have answers at this point and am skeptical about those who claim to understand the event, especially if they think it fits some simplistic ideological worldview.

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About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. He is the author of Voting Amid Violence: Electoral Democracy in Colombia and is currently working on a comparative study of the US to 29 other democracies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging at PoliBlog since 2003. Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Laurie says:

    While your analysis didn’t take me beyond my own current conclusion of “disaffected youth” the parts about the spin of some on the right is interesting. I can’t tolerate reading these blogs on my own.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  2. Ben Wolf says:

    It’s only the beginning. We’re going to see mass social unrest across the entire planet, and it has nothing to do with the right-left spectrum. This is the result of a global order which has come to resemble a form of 21st Century feudalism, and people are rebelling. They just don’t know who to focus their anger on.

    The partisan left-right paradigm in this country is a propaganda operation. Bait conservatives into leaping at liberals throats and while they battle it out no one notices the international aristocracy solidifying its hold on our democracy and economy. The truth is liberals and conservatives agree on far more than they disagree, and a public which becomes cognizant of that fact is the greatest threat to the oligarchs who control the country. That’s why those oligarchs have heavily funded the Tea Party, an anti-conservative gang of political extremists who in a healthy body politic would be consigned to the margins.

    Just wait, we’ll soon see a series of comments in this thread talking about how “the leftists” need to be gotten rid of because they’re all violent rioters who hate America and want communism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  3. Jay Tea says:

    (Reposted to the proper thread)

    There have been two comments that have summed up the British riots for me so far:

    “The people on the cart are rioting against the people pulling the cart.”

    “What’s the cause of the riot? I’m guessing lack of incoming fire.”

    We’re also seeing Britons banding together to fight the rioters. I, personally, find that encouraging.

    J.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 11

  4. Catfish says:

    these rioters are nothing but hoods and criminals who are hurting innocent people. Simple as that. There is no right or left issue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  5. Dave Schuler says:

    According to BBC’s reports opinion in England is divided between those who see the riots as hooliganism, plain and simple (mostly Conservatives), and those who are looking for some deeper social causes.

    My view is that it’s all terribly sad but otherwise it’s none of my business.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  6. liberty60 says:

    Trying to spin riots as simple thuiggery or as grand revolution seems silly and a product of wishful thinking as Dr. Taylor comments.

    Here in Orange County Ca there was a horrific case of the police beating a man to death just last month. There are massive protests and cries of outrage but no riots.

    Why? Are we better sort of people than the London rioters?

    I don’t think so. We have access to the levers of government and power. In this case, there are investigations and the cops have been suspended pending the outcome and there is a good chance justice will be done.
    In short, we are enfranchised and feel a part of the system.

    I am a white collar professional and about as likely to throw a bomb as a 65 yard pass.

    But strip me of my job, hope for the future, chance for redress and fill the airwaves with nothing but Murdoch propaganda? Then see a man get beaten to death without cause?

    Their rage in London is unfocused but very real.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  7. FireWolf says:

    Here in Orange County Ca there was a horrific case of the police beating a man to death just last month. There are massive protests and cries of outrage but no riots.

    Why? Are we better sort of people than the London rioters?

    I don’t think so. We have access to the levers of government and power. In this case, there are investigations and the cops have been suspended pending the outcome and there is a good chance justice will be done.
    In short, we are enfranchised and feel a part of the system.

    So all of a sudden California is the place of sanity and peace? LOL

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  8. mantis says:

    I don’t think so. We have access to the levers of government and power. In this case, there are investigations and the cops have been suspended pending the outcome and there is a good chance justice will be done.
    In short, we are enfranchised and feel a part of the system.

    Maybe in Orange County you are. Other places, there is less faith. Look at the shooting of unarmed Oscar Grant by a BART cop in Oakland in 2009, the protests of which turned violent. There was a mix of opportunistic criminality and a bit of politic protest, but mostly a whole lot of anger against a system the community believes does not work for them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  9. WR says:

    @mantis: Hmm, I wonder why the poor, minority community in Oakland believes the system doesn’t work for them. It couldn’t be because the government at state and local levels shovels billions to the bankers, agriculture industry, military contractors and then says they’re broke and has to cut off education and support systems for the poor and unemployed. It couldn’t be because major chunks of the federal government has been taken over by a cult that claims they’re all “takers” and “parasites,” and that all government resources should be given to people who already have billions.

    Oh, no. They must just be thugs and criminals.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  10. Jay Tea says:

    @mantis: That BART shooting was, to my eyes, not malicious, but sheer stupidity and incompetence. In the video, every single cop — even the one with the gun — is giving a complete “WTF?” reaction at the time. The guilty cop insisted he THOUGHT he was drawing his taser, and the video backs it up. The verdict of involuntary manslaughter was correct.

    I have a hard time EVER sympathizing with rioters, because my sympathies always lie with the victims of the riots. They had nothing to do with the rioters’ grievances, they just happen to be convenient targets and victims. I have more respect for the asshats who protested at John Yoo’s home over his role in the infamous “torture memo” than these rioters.

    J.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  11. steve says:

    I find it encouraging that the Brits are rioting over something other than soccer.

    Steve

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  12. Jay says:

    Here is a historian’s take on the riots, which I guess could be construed as “from the left” – he thinks we need to look no further than unemployment and the murder of the young carribean man: http://www.juancole.com/2011/08/london-riots-refute-islamophobes.html

    While I don’t see how it would be possible for the UK Gov to hide much about these riots, it does seem weird to me that none of the BBC (or the subsequent mainstream US coverage) mention any motivations of the rioters. It would certainly be convenient for the UK Gov to suppress any legitimate political motivation the rioters have, but until I see any, I chalk this up to rage + opportunity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  13. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: But of course, Jay, you famously have sympathy for no one but the rich and powerful whose ass you are looking to kiss. The poor billionaire who might have to pay a couple extra pennies in taxes is a creature to be pitied; those who were thrown out of their careers when he bought their company and fired them all are just scum and parasites. But as long as you’ve got mommy and daddy taking care of you for life, you don’t have to worry about a thing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  14. WR says:

    @Jay: It seems weird to you that none of the official coverage of the riots mentions the idea that these people are rioting because they are members of what now looks like a permanent underclass created by government policies that transfer a nation’s wealth to the richest few while slashing education and other benefits for the poor and middle class? Yes, it is stunning to conceive of a media made up of wealthy and powerful people who are unable to see the world except through the lens of their own priveleges. I mean, you’d never find anything like that here, would you? You’d never find an entire journalistic class braying for slashes to the social safety net in the name of “austerity” knowing that their multi-million dollar salaries will ensure that they’ll never need that net.

    Ah, the bafflling weirdness of it all. A ruling class that doesn’t adopt the point of view of the underclass. Who could have imagined such a thing?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

  15. JKB says:

    Whatever sparked the protests, London and other English cities are burning because when it turned to riot, it quickly became apparent that the Leftist dogma of not protecting private property meant the police would not respond to stop the criminals.

    You stop a riot by immediate overwhelming force. An easy solution to this riot since even pensioners have run off the rioters but they have no fear of the police. But even the current right of center government intelligentsia are telling law-abiding, tax paying citizens to let the rioters run, well, riot, burn their livelihoods and steal with impunity. You police with the consent of the law-abiding. By the very definition, criminals don’t consent to policing.

    It is only now, that even citizens unaffected are seeing the complete unwillingness of the government to perform the basic function of government that they are moving to take action. It is now that law-abiding citizens are arming themselves and forming self-defense groups that the government tries to take action. The police have lost, the coming together for the common defense as the Turkish immigrants are reported to have done, means in the future, shop owners will look to to private, perhaps corrupt, organizations for protection of their property and leave the police to flounder for legitimacy in their neighborhoods.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

  16. mantis says:

    @WR:

    I’m pretty sure Jay is talking about shop-owners and others who see their stores and residences damaged or destroyed in riots. I’m in agreement with him. I have more sympathy for them than those doing the damage. Who doesn’t?

    At the same time, the fact is that a community that riots more often than not is simply hurting itself. I understand and sympathize with the reality of powerlessness that motivates many of those who riot, but their tactics are counterproductive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  17. Rob in CT says:

    Unfocused rage, opportunity and monkey-see, monkey-do. Where does the rage come from? I don’t know enough about the situation to answer that, but options include the shooting of a suspect by police, austerity measures by the gov’t, and/or general economic crappiness.

    If one wants to pin this on the moral deficiencies of the rioters themselves, ok, but that doesn’t really answer the question here: if they’re just degenerates, why don’t they do this all the time? Why now? How can it be prevented/contained in future? Options would include more police, harsher penalties (aka “law and order” policies), favored by the Right, and/or more Lefty stuff aimed at trying to get some/most of those rioting to see society as something they are a part of & something they want to preserve, not break.

    Of course it’s hard to sympathize with the rioters. They are breaking stuff of people who haven’t harmed them and they likely have no coherent ideology. Unfocused, violent rage coupled with opportunistic theft is hard to like.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  18. just me says:

    I mostly think the London riots are thugs and bored youth with little else to do but burn down some other guys business or steal their things.

    I doubt the rioters are making a political statement or are politically motivated.

    I think what most seems concerned is that the London Police seem to be unwilling or unable to do much to stop it.

    I honestly don’t understand why people riot-but I sometimes think it just takes a few nuts to get the ball rolling and everyone else joins in for whatever reasons-it is a mob mentality, but my first response to being angered generally isn’t to set my neighbor’s house on fire, turn over his care or start throwing bricks into the windows of store fronts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  19. Jay says:

    @WR: It’s always easy to apply American analysis to other countries (and to be a smart a** about it) without knowing anything about their situations, but since I am not currently in the UK, I’m not going to assume that I can just export Chomksy/Nader/Zinn across the ocean to explain everything.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  20. WR says:

    @mantis: But it’s not about “sympathy.” The people who are doing the rioting are at least self-destructing; many are undoubtedly opportunistic thugs. But Jay uses his great “sympathy” for the shop-owners — a class he despises in general, since they are not billionaires — as an excuse to not understand the actual causes of the rioting.

    You see this happening in England, too. When someone tries to explain what’s driving these people to riot, they are accused of “excusing crminal behavior.” You don’t have to embrace the behavior to understand it, but you do have to understand it to fix the problems.

    Jay doesn’t want to fix the problems. He wants to throw the “bad guys” in jail. Which will solve none of the underlying problems.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  21. WR says:

    @JKB: There is no “overwhelming force” because the conservative government decided to lay off a third of the police in order to privelege payments to bondholders and priveleges for the rich. That is not a “left” position, and it’s fairly despicable of you to blame the actions of your side on the imaginary faults of your opponents.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  22. WR says:

    @just me: Yup, that’s exactly what conservative Americans said about the race riots in the 1960s. Those ignorant black folk were just having a little fun. And it’s what the conservative British said in the early 80s about the riots in England under Thatcher. Just a bunch of yokels who don’t care for civilization.

    Funny thing, though — when government policies were changed in both cases so that the classes who were rioting were actually treated as equal citizens with a stake in society, the riots went away.

    Wonder why that is?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  23. Doubter4444 says:

    @JKB:

    Absolute horse shit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  24. Jay Tea says:

    @WR: I always find it fascinating to find out my own opinions and beliefs by seeing how WR describes them. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a total disconnect from reality. WR lives in his own little universe where those who don’t agree with him OBVIOUSLY have to fit into his simplistic stereotypes; how else can he be the hero without stupid villains to oppose?

    I’m sympathetic with the shop owners because they are the victims here — they had NOTHING to do with whatever circumstances that have led to their losses.

    I am utterly unsympathetic to the rioters, because they have given themselves over to their baser instincts — rage and greed — and are lashing out not at the perceived source of their grievances, but at innocents who simply happen to be convenient.

    WR, of course, sides with the mindless mob because they share his stupidity, and he also lashes out blindly when he’s worked up in his “righteous” rage. And anyone not on his side is the enemy and deserves whatever they get.

    WR chooses to side with the rioters, the looters, and the arsonists, because someone somewhere offended his sense of “social justice,” and therefore someone somewhere (almost certainly not the same “someone somewhere”) must be punished.

    God save us from passionate idiots.

    J.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 6

  25. jan says:

    Liberty60

    Here in Orange County Ca there was a horrific case of the police beating a man to death just last month. There are massive protests and cries of outrage but no riots.

    The man was white. The unconscionable death of a white person at the hands of police takes a different course, than that of a black person. In the OC case, it will be a criminal matter, and solved through the courts. Even if the police involved get off free, there will be no riots in the street, just a lot of deserved criticism/protests and probably some voter backlash.

    This wasn’t the case in the Rodney King beating 20 years ago. Even though he lived, because the police who were involved in his arrest went free, Los Angeles burned, validation given by the “No justice, no peace” chant.

    These are two strikingly similar cases, the big difference being race and survivorship vs death of the given victims.

    The riots in London also involved the shooting of a black man, which ignited what we see today in England. If the man shot had been a Caucasian, Asian etc. would there have been a different outcome? Maybe. Maybe not. But, to rule the backdrop of race or political motivation out is simply putting blinders and ear muffs on. Just look at what happened recently at the WI state faire, where marauding black youth were pulling only white people out of their cars and beating them up, just days before the politically charged recall elections there.

    Steven

    As best I can tell, the riots did not have a political motivation (the spark/excuse was the police shooting a suspect) and the general tenor appears to be wanton criminality rather or than political statement.

    Like you have said in your post, these kinds of events are complicated. However, what takes a criminal action and turns it into a riot cannot totally be assumed to be non-political. After all the very nature of politics is to passionately rally a constituency towards a political cause or highlight a particular grievance.

    For instance, many of you have adamantly labeled the teas engagement in the political process as the prime reason for the downgrade (calling them terrorists). Their objections to a growing government and it’s spending was behind a refusal to go-along-to-get-along in passing a clean debt ceiling without first attaching clear debt cutting contingencies.

    On the other side of the aisle (the progressive side) there have been accusations of the elusive ‘rich’ not paying their fair of taxes, being indirectly cited as the greedy bad guys not supporting our growing government appitite and needs. Such political motivated accusations could also be said to incite, promote and aggravate certain classes to rebel and riot causing an overt break down of society. And, class warfare, combined with racial outrage, is what you are seeing in London today, the human vehicle being so-called hooligans. Just look at the comments of the looters, in saying that rich people can’t stop them.

    This was recently discussed in a piece entitled class warfare has consequences

    Demonizing the “top 2%” and claiming they don’t “pay their fair share” is not harmless when it is the singular focus of one’s political strategy. Isolating “corporate jet owners” may poll well, but as part of an overall class warfare strategy, it simply increases societal tension.

    …and, one certainly can’t refute the fact that social tension has been raised, not only in England, but is also bubbling away over here, breaking out in scuffles here and there like in WI.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  26. jan says:

    @Jay Tea:

    Well said, Jay tea. WR has a case of cognitive dissonance in most of his analysis, being edited by his ideological belief system of “social justice.’

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

  27. WR says:

    @jan: Yes, Jan. Slashing health care, ending unemployment, destroying public universities, wiping out government help for the poor and struggling while cutting the taxes of the super rich, that’s not class warfare. Pointing out that it’s happening IS class warfare. Apparently, if none of those irresponsible lefties ever mentioned that the top one percent now owned fifty percent of the nation’s wealth while their taxes were at historic lows, if they never pointed out that Republicans cut education, unemployment, and all other government services those affected would never have noticed, and everyone would be happy happy happy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  28. guy shoots at cop & kills pedestrian + cop shoots back and kills assailant=good days work and deserves a pat on the ass.

    WTF is all this about again? My friend from England is in Alabama right now so we have been following this and I still don’t get it. For reference, he is a college student and doesn’t get it either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  29. mantis says:

    Demonizing the “top 2%” and claiming they don’t “pay their fair share” is not harmless when it is the singular focus of one’s political strategy. Isolating “corporate jet owners” may poll well, but as part of an overall class warfare strategy, it simply increases societal tension.

    So does constantly claiming all union workers are thugs, communists, and evil, while using the power of the government to remove any collective power they once had to ensure they are not ruthlessly exploited and left for dead when they outlive their usefulness. So does constantly moving to dismantle and remove all social safety nets such as Medicaid, Social Security, and unemployment insurance that are the only hope of many in the “lower classes” when economic times are touch.

    Unless you’re worried about corporate jet owning billionaires rioting in the streets, I don’t see how the “societal tension” created by criticizing the policies that enable them to continue to widen the already huge income gap is anything to worry about at all. They can cry to their $250/hour therapists.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  30. Ron Beasley says:

    @WR:
    These movements always originate out of a sense of hopelessness. It’s the same everywhere – the Black ghettos of the US in the 60’s, the Arab Spring, London now. The fuel for the British summer was the drastic cuts in social services by the new government – the shooting was simply a spark. They usually start out peaceful but there are those who will take advantage of the situation to loot and burn. Unfortunately such activity is contagious among those who feel hopeless. People who have jobs and hope don’t do this stuff. The Arab spring has spread to the London summer and will continue to spread – eventually to the US.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  31. JKB says:

    @WR:

    Overwhelming force isn’t always about numbers. Often it is about coordination which the police train to apply.

    In any case, the rioters themselves are making the case that they are looting because they can and the police, legal system and government won’t do much to them even if they are caught.

    This BBC interview with some rioters is worth listening to, even if a native speaker of British English like myself found it hard to understand. Fortunately, ConservativeHome provides the highlights:

    The first line of defence against crime, the justice system, is not seen as sufficiently threatening to deter the youths. One of the group says this would be my first offence, “the prisons are over-crowded. What are they going to do? Give me an ASBO? I’ll live with that.”

    The government has failed to keep order, according to the group. They agree that their motivation is partially that “the government aren’t in control – because if they was we wouldn’t be able to do it could we?”.

    The low rate of arrest of looters is then also brought up as an incentive to loot, with one youth saying “they failed, innit? How many people have they arrested really, though? Ten.” He then says “I’m not really bothered. I’ll keep doing this every day until I get caught.”

    The incentive to make money from their crime spree is clear: one of the youths say he has been looting because he didn’t want to “miss the opportunity to get free stuff that’s worth, like, loads of money”.

    Powerless families are also shown to be a major factor in allowing the looting to take place. One youth admits to warning his family he was going to be present at the riots, and then describes a subsequent telephone conversation with a family member: “He said ‘get home, you’re in trouble’ I said ‘no’ and just put the phone down. They can’t get into town, they can’t get me, and when I get home, nothing’s going to happen to me, I’m not going to get grounded or shouted at. I might get shouted at but that’s it, I’ll live with it and keep doing it.”

    @Doubter4444:
    Would you care to elaborate?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  32. Jay Tea says:

    @WR: Thanks for proving my point for me. You are so fixated on your idea of “social justice” and stereotyping your opponents you can’t even keep in mind the actual topic at hand: the riots in London. You seem to think (for a rather twisted definition of “think”) that if you can change the subject from the riots to your own issues, you somehow win the argument.

    You fail.

    Note that your “class warriors” aren’t doing a damned thing to hurt the “ultra rich.” Their losses will be more than covered by insurance. They’re wrecking the businesses that pay the “class warriors” salaries and sell them goods. The rich ones will rebuild — if they choose to, and in all likelihood in places less likely to get burned down.

    No wonder you’re sympathetic with them. You’re just as stupid as they are.

    To all others: I’ve put off giving WR the smackdown he so richly deserves far too long. Sorry you have to see it — but not that sorry that his humiliation is in public.

    J.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

  33. Jay Tea says:

    @JKB: Hush there. Don’t interrupt WR’s glorious fantasies with harsh reality. They’re noble class warriors, striking back at the plutocrats who are keeping them down. They’re striking blows for Social Justice. Don’t corrupt that with facts, dude!

    J.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  34. anjin-san says:

    Jay – do you seriously think you have ever humilaited anyone but yourself?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  35. Jay Tea says:

    @anjin-san: Well, there was my date to the senior prom back in high school… but I’d rather not talk about that, thank you.

    But here, I’m not humiliating WR. He’s doing that all by his lonesome. I’m just pointing it out.

    J.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  36. An Interested Party says:

    Demonizing the “top 2%” and claiming they don’t “pay their fair share” is not harmless when it is the singular focus of one’s political strategy. Isolating “corporate jet owners” may poll well, but as part of an overall class warfare strategy, it simply increases societal tension.

    As if income inequality itself doesn’t increase societal tension? Please…as for demonizing, I wonder if whoever wrote this feels the same way when certain groups of people are demonized as nothing more than deadbeats sucking at the government teat…

    The Arab spring has spread to the London summer and will continue to spread – eventually to the US.

    And when/if it comes here, can you imagine the reaction from the usual suspects…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  37. Rob in CT says:

    The whole “class warfare” claim from the American Right is amazing to me, given the relative fortunes of our elite (kickass) and the rest of the population (stagnation at best) over the past ~30-40 years. If there’s class warfare going on in the USA, the Rich are winning, handily.

    But yeah, that’s all American stuff. We’re talking about something going on in Britain. This isn’t about us, even if there may be parallels.

    As I recall, the UK has poor social mobility, relative to other Western nations (sadly, as I recall, we’re now running neck-and-neck with them near the bottom). If we’re looking for explanations for rage (to the extent that “rage” really is at the root of this), that’s one thing to consider, along with the shooting.

    Thinking about that isn’t excusing the behavior. If you want to stop crime, you need to understand the criminal to some extent, no?

    It seems to me that orderly societies tend to make judicious use of both carrot and stick.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  38. A general rule of thumb I use is that whenever someone starts talking about “Social X”, they’re usually talking about the something that is really the opposite of X. Works for everything from Social Justice to Social Science.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  39. @Stormy Dragon: What about Ice Cream Social?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  40. michael reynolds says:

    The problem with just saying “thugs” and leaving it at that is that one of the purposes of a civilization is to control those thugs. We do it with force (police) and we do it with education (school) and we do it with money (jobs) and above all we do it with family, all of which are major elements of the matrix of our civilization.

    When jobs fail, and education fails, family fails. Likewise when the police fail, so do jobs because we can’t build businesses in an unsafe environment. And no jobs means no motivation for education. All the pieces of the puzzle interact.

    Those who think all we need is more force on the streets need to look at Syria. They have tanks and massed artillery. Still not working.

    The problem of what to do with inherently dangerous young men (let’s face it, it’s all about young males) is an old one. Different civilizations have coped in different ways, for example, sending their young men off to fight in wars of conquest, or pulling significant numbers of young men in religious vocations where they can be controlled, or marrying them off young or employing them young so that the weight of responsibility keeps them down.

    If we’re having riots (at least if this turns into a regular feature of western civilization) it’s because we’re having a civilizational problem, a failure to recognize the problem, anticipate results such as rioting, and adapt new institutions to an age-old problem.

    We don’t have large standing armies anymore, we don’t have a frontier or an empire, we don’t have a landscape dotted with monasteries hungry for new recruits, we don’t have large extended families, we don’t have much in the way of youth employment, all we have is entertainment. And the problem with giving young men nothing to do but entertain themselves is that setting fire to cars and breaking windows is a hell of a good time.

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  41. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: The fact that you can’t tell the difference between sympathizing with an action and understanding the reason for it is merely one more bit of proof that you are as hollow and vapid as you make yourself appear. No doubt you were among those demanding that we drop atomic bombs on Iran because “they hate us for our freedom” a few years back.

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  42. Jay Tea says:

    @michael reynolds: God help me, I find myself largely agreeing with michael. (We will now pause a moment while michael calls his local suicide prevention hotline.)

    To carry it a bit further, a lot of conservatives say that it’s been several decades of liberal social engineering that has helped devastate the family structure in the lower socioeconomic strata. For example, welfare is set up to “punish” fathers and husbands financially — so it’s no surprise that marriage and legitimacy and identified fathers are way, way down. You get more of whatever you subsidize — and if you subsidize single motherhood, then you push away fathers and husbands. They’re poor, but they’re not stupid.

    Another factor is that part of the definition of government is that they must — absolutely must — have a monopoly on force. No one else can be allowed to “win” a battle but the forces of the government. And by tolerating these riots, they’re losing that monopoly.

    J.

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  43. WR says:

    @JKB: They’re rioting because they don’t have any reason not to. They believe that they have been excluded from British society, and therefore they have no interest in following its norms. And from their point of view — note to idiots like Jay Tea: this would be their pov, not mine — if the entire social structure is set up to benefit the rich and the laws exist only to protect the rich, why should they feel obligated to obey those rules?

    There are two ways to handle this. You can beef up the police force and imprison or kill enough of them that they fall back into line for a while. Or you can work to make a more inclusive society.

    In the 60s when the ghettos were in flame, we chose the latter course. In South Africa, of course, they went the first route. You can see which way worked out better for the ruling culture.

    Oh, and one more thing to consider. I know that Republicans loathe social programs and education because it requires them to pay a little of their money in taxes. But if you think that kind of system is expensive, wait until you see what it costs to maintain the police state that’s the alternative.

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  44. jan says:

    @mantis:

    So does constantly claiming all union workers are thugs, communists, and evil, while using the power of the government to remove any collective power they once had to ensure they are not ruthlessly exploited and left for dead when they outlive their usefulness. So does constantly moving to dismantle and remove all social safety nets such as Medicaid, Social Security, and unemployment insurance that are the only hope of many in the “lower classes” when economic times are touch.

    Just rampant disingenuousness and over-the-top mischaracterization in that paragraph. No where have I seen any reasonable publication (reasonable is the key word here) that has described unions workers that way, unless union actions warranted it. Some of the protests at the WI statehouse were scary hostile. Republican senators were harassed, tailed, and swarmed as they tried to make their way to work. That was inappropriate, bully-like behavior, and overbearing.

    At one time there was exploitation of the worker. But, now that has turned where there is actually more exploitation going on by the worker towards the employer, and bleeding over onto the welfare of the country. Pensions and benefits, in almost every state, are bankrupting them. Michigan’s car industry was ground out of existence by the unions not wanting to give in to any negotiations. Now, most of that industry is gone, and Michigan has become littered with deteriorating neighborhoods and ghost towns. It has only been those states who have gone head-on with the unions, such as WI, Indiana, NJ, even NY under Cuomo that are finally getting some kind of grip on stabilizing their economy. RTW states are doing better than ones that are union dominated as well. The proof is out there. But, all you can do is want to go backwards, grasping onto faded and false premises…

    Also, no where, no way is anyone, right or left, trying to dismantle medicare or SS. There have been reforms offered, most of which don’t apply to the current senior population. But, this is how you hysterically stretch the truth, and consequently hinder anything of value from getting done in Congress, or anywhere else.

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  45. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: Yes, Jay Tea, it’s all the fault of welfare. If this society had never attempted to help people in poverty, they’d all be standing tall and proud. Next up from Jay Tea: A quote from Bachmann’s favorite book about how slavery was really an act of kindness from good Christians.

    Because there’s always a way for a good rightie to rationalize keeping one segment of society in brutal poverty and subjugation in such a way that it’s an act of generosity.

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  46. mike says:

    @WR: yeah WR b/c more education is always the answer – put more money into education – just hire more teaching – build more schools – pump more money into education – explain that – explain how that will work – please elaborate. I will support that premise if you can articulate how that works – don’t just say it, explain it. Do you teach a class? What would the subject be? Do you build a school to teach the class in? How many schools do you need?

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  47. michael reynolds says:

    @Jay Tea:
    Thanks for the partial agreement, but the right wing nonsense about marriage and welfare is absurd.

    Families are economic units. The reason we don’t have extended families anymore is because they don’t make sense economically because the free market has altered the way we work and acquire property. Unless you want to go back to the days of the family farm and the family-run baker, butcher and blacksmith, you need to understand that the marketplace created and thrives upon this new granularity, this new addition of women to the marketplace, and the subtraction of children from the labor force as they add years of education.

    Blaming welfare is absurd. It’s economics. It makes sense for women to work rather than stay home. It makes sense for kids to get a deeper education. It makes sense in a mobile, tech-driven society. The nuclear family is an adaptation to those economic realities.

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  48. WR says:

    @mike: I don’t understand your ranting at all. Maybe you should have paid a little more attention in class. I certainly believe that slashing public education is a disaster for our country and for our young people. Apparently you think they should grow up stupid so they can join the Tea Party…

    As your your bizarre set of questions, I do indeed teach, although it’s graduate courses in a state university. I didn’t actually have to build the campus, because there was a time when Republicans didn’t have much power in this state, so the people of California built the greatest public university system in the world. Which is now being dismantled thanks to people like you.

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  49. WR says:

    @michael reynolds: Blaming welfare is particularly absurd, because the kind he’s blaming hasn’t existed in this country for the last fifteen years.

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  50. Ben Wolf says:

    @Jay Tea: No government in history has had a monopoly on the use of force. Like the free market, it’s somethng which has ever existed.

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  51. michael reynolds says:

    @WR:
    And yet it continues in the fevered imaginations of the right wingers.

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  52. mike says:

    @WR: You wrote “Oh, and one more thing to consider. I know that Republicans loathe social programs and education because it requires them to pay a little of their money in taxes. But if you think that kind of system is expensive, wait until you see what it costs to maintain the police state that’s the alternative. ”

    I was simply responding and asking what you would teach – you want to add more education – and money for education and I am asking how that will fix it – I am not disagreeing with you – I am just asking how specifically do you mean that would fix it. What type of social program would fix what is going on in England? Trust me I am not a tea partier. I am asking a simple question. Watch the labels partner, you alienate people who may actually support your position but I am trying to figure out what you are advocating.

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  53. Eric Florack says:

    It takes a rather odd worldview to try and make riots in London into some sort of analog of American partisan politics.

    So, why then did Obama campaign across Europe, if not to show he was embracing their economic social-welfare model? Strange way of attracting domestic voters, don’t you think… that is of course unless they too share the social welfare wet dream.

    All across Europe, and in Greece, and in the US, what we are witness to is the end of the social welfare state. And are we having riots in these places as well?

    As demonstrated in Greece and in the UK, this collapse has little if anything to do with the conservatives in each of the affected countries. Rather, what we see is socialism collapsing under it’s own weight. Countries trying to keep the socialist model propped up have spent themselves into oblivion, including these United States under BHO.

    Now of course some yahoo will cite that mega moron, Krugman, saying “we are not Greece”… (chuckle) Of course not. Whereas Greece was only leveraged at 150% of GDP, we here in the states, (assuing you include state and local governments as liabilities) are leveraged at something on the order of 160%.

    The social welfare state is unsustainable. The one advantage of Obama’s presidency is that lesson is being learned, bigtime. The outstanding question is, if we will survive the lesson.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 8

  54. @Eric Florack: Either that is simply one long non sequitur (at least as it pertains to the line you quote–indeed, my whole post) or you are proving my basic point (or both, really).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  55. michael reynolds says:

    @Eric Florack:
    Yep, that’s some prime grade stupid right there. If there were a market for non sequitur you’d be a rich man.

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  56. sam says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    @Eric Florack: Either that is simply one long non sequitur (at least as it pertains to the line you quote–indeed, my whole post) or you are proving my basic point (or both, really).

    Well, it is Bithead.

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  57. Jay Tea says:

    @Ben Wolf: OK, let me clarify: a monopoly on the “legitimate” and “successful” use of force. That is a major factor in Mexico’s troubles right now — the drug cartels are successfully using violence with impunity, and that is threatening the very existence of the government. Along with a lot of other factors, but that’s a huge one.

    J.

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  58. WR says:

    @mike: First thing I’d do is raise teachers’ pay. Make teaching a first class education. Make it possible to live a good middle class life on a teacher’s salary — even while repaying student loans. I’d invest in educational infrastructure, modern schools with contemporary technology.

    But the disconnect here is that I never even brought up the idea of adding money to education, since that’s simply not a possiblity now. I was railing against governments that are currently slashing education funding, sticking dozens of extra kids in every class, letting buildings rot away.

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  59. Jay Tea says:

    @WR: Make teaching a first class education. Make it possible to live a good middle class life on a teacher’s salary — even while repaying student loans.

    First up, what the hell does that first sentence mean? Even for WR, it’s incoherent.

    Second, teachers already make, on an average, over $50K a year. That’s pretty good money.

    Third, the problem with student loans is that the price of a college education has skyrocketed over the past few decades, far in excess of inflation and any rational explanation. That’s the real problem there.

    J.

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  60. sam says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Families are economic units. The reason we don’t have extended families anymore is because they don’t make sense economically because the free market has altered the way we work and acquire property.

    What’s always, always intrigued me about conservatives is their championing of an economic system, capitalism, that, in the words of George Will, destroys capitalist values. Schumperterian creative destruction on the social level is the natural progress of a capitalist system. Capitalism empowers individuals, and the natural result of this empowerment is the seeking and finding of new ways of being-in-the-world. This goes right by your average conservative. Witness the general right-wing freakout over gay marriage. It’s not a matter of holding two contradictory ideas at the same time — they can’t even conceptualize just how radical capitalism is vis-a-vis their pet theory of the “proper” social order. This knot in their thought processes cannot be untied. It is defining.

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  61. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: It’s the wrong word. Supposed to be profession.

    And I’m sure 50K a year is great money if you live in Teapot, Idaho. Or 1975. It doesn’t get you very far in a modern city.

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  62. mattb says:

    At the risk of a thread hijack:

    @JayTea wrote: Third, the problem with student loans is that the price of a college education has skyrocketed over the past few decades, far in excess of inflation and any rational explanation. That’s the real problem there.

    This is a point we can both agree on. And the first part is going to cause a lot of problems for the forseeable future — in particular in medical career.

    As for the second part, actually there are a number of rational explanations — its just that most people don’t like hearing them.

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  63. @WR:

    If this society had never attempted to help people in poverty, they’d all be standing tall and proud.

    Well, Jay is right that eliminating welfare entirely would have prevented the riots, if only in that the dead are generally considered to form rather ineffective mobs.

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  64. @Steven L. Taylor:

    What about Ice Cream Social?

    My rule only covers the use as an adjective, not as a noun.

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  65. michael reynolds says:

    @sam:
    You’re right. I don’t think conservatives actually get free market capitalism. They talk about it as “magic,” and confuse it with some sort of virtue, ascribe moral characteristics to it, and actually tout it as an element in maintaining the world as-is. The free market is closely analogous to evolution in its complete indifference to morality or virtue or anything beyond its own non-conscious, non-intentional needs.

    They don’t seem to understand that if we follow market precepts which favor the efficiency of the tractor and the combine over the labor of strong sons and willing hands, we get the end of family farming. If the free market requires semi-skilled industrial workers it will pull them from family businesses, school them, and then feed them to the factories. And if market forces dictate that Home Depot triumph over the local family-run hardware store it won’t just shut down the store, it will redefine the family that owned and operated the store.

    They embrace, nominally at least, a raucous, unpredictable, endlessly mutating system and call it “conservative.”

    But then, they aren’t always too bright.

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  66. An Interested Party says:

    For example, welfare is set up to “punish” fathers and husbands financially — so it’s no surprise that marriage and legitimacy and identified fathers are way, way down. You get more of whatever you subsidize — and if you subsidize single motherhood, then you push away fathers and husbands. They’re poor, but they’re not stupid.

    Considering that there are far more single parent households than those that receive welfare, your little theory could use some work…

    Just rampant disingenuousness and over-the-top mischaracterization in that paragraph.

    Umm, not really…sites that you have linked to have referred to unions in such negative terms…you must have skipped over such things when you were cutting and pasting…

    Also, no where, no way is anyone, right or left, trying to dismantle medicare or SS.

    Yet more fertilizer spread by Jan’s fingers…the Ryan Plan certainly will dismantle Medicare…

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  67. @michael reynolds:

    They don’t seem to understand that if we follow market precepts which favor the efficiency of the tractor and the combine over the labor of strong sons and willing hands, we get the end of family farming.

    And good riddens. If you’ve ever known someone who had the misfortune of being born on a small farm and essentially being trapped (“willing hands” my ass) there for their entire lives like some feudal serf, you’d realize who great it is that far fewer people are getting stuck in that life. I once had a friend who’s dream in life was to be a short order cook, but was stuck living on a small cattle ranch in Oklahoma, growing increasingly more bitter about it as the years went by.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  68. michael reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    And good riddens.

    You’re preaching to the choir on that. I’ve been a high-class drifter most of my life now, and was a low-class drifter before that. You’d need a gun to keep me on a farm.

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  69. Eric Florack says:

    @WR:

    Hmm, I wonder why the poor, minority community in Oakland believes the system doesn’t work for them. It couldn’t be because the government at state and local levels shovels billions to the bankers, agriculture industry, military contractors and then says they’re broke and has to cut off education and support systems for the poor and unemployed. It couldn’t be because major chunks of the federal government has been taken over by a cult that claims they’re all “takers” and “parasites,” and that all government resources should be given to people who already have billions.

    Oh, no. They must just be thugs and criminals.

    Exactly. And as one who lived through the 60’s, I can tell you that was the exact attitude of many who blamed the riots thereof, on exactly that. “They must be just criminals”.

    @Stephen You seem to be right on line with this, in your response to me:

    Either that is simply one long non sequitur (at least as it pertains to the line you
    quote–indeed, my whole post) or you are proving my basic point (or both, really).

    That is only a non sequitur, if you’re keen to disconnect the rioting and unrest we see world-wide, and the inability of governments to, in each case, pay for the socialist programs they’ve set up, and which the poor (And the not-so-poor) now consider their ‘right’. I suggest this is the root cause in each case, in each country mentioned and more.

    The rest of my comment follows, if you’re willing to admit that the reason the tensions have gotten so high as to get riots going, is government cutbacks. Watch for France to be next, as the government makes cuts to save itself there.

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  70. WR says:

    @Eric Florack: But of course it’s not the inability to pay for the social programs, it’s the choice not to. We would have no problem funding SS and Medicare had we not chosen to fight two unnecessary wars while slashing taxes for the very rich.

    It’s the old Republican game — when you’re in power, loot the treasury and throw the spoils to your friends. Then when you’re out, scream that the government is broke and we have to screw the poor.

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  71. anjin-san says:

    Exactly. And as one who lived through the 60′s, I can tell you that was the exact attitude of many who blamed the riots thereof, on exactly that. “They must be just criminals”.

    Well, there are small minded assholes in every decade. Yourself for example.

    I lived through the 60s too, and some of that rioting took place right up the road. Kids who were not into being forced into a slave army to fight people halfway around the world who did not threaten us in the slightest.

    And then there were the riots in black neighborhoods. Yea, it’s shocking that black folks had enough of being used for target practice in this country.

    Did some outright criminals and thugs join the fray? Of course. Such people tend to be opportunists.

    If people are shit on enough, hungry enough, hopeless enough, and desperate enough they will turn to violence. “Conservatives” seem to be preparing their rationalizations for one of the almost certain outcomes of their political agenda.

    One of the functions of the tax dollars that conservatives whine so endlessly about is essentially to buy off the poor in this country by providing a certain comfort level in return for a modicum of peace and stability. It’s not a perfect system, but it has worked reasonably well.

    I have a bigger tax bill than most people in this country, but as I enjoy a sunny afternoon in the pleasant and safe neighborhood I live in, it seems like a decent investment in a society that allows me to live very comfortably. Ponying up so that we don’t have people living in abject poverty in this country is part of the deal.

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  72. @Eric Florack: You see, “non sequitur” means “it does not follow” and it does not follow that, for example, Obama’s tour of Europe means that it makes sense to connect US partisan politics to the riots in England.

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  73. Eric Florack says:

    But of course it’s not the inability to pay for the social programs, it’s the choice not to. We would have no problem funding SS and Medicare had we not chosen to fight two unnecessary wars while slashing taxes for the very rich.

    There, we disagree, and so too, do the numbers.
    Even assuming, for example, that we were to confiscate all the money the rich have, it won’t put a dent in the bill directly caused by socialist spending alone. Not even close.

    If people are shit on enough, hungry enough, hopeless enough, and desperate enough they will turn to violence. “Conservatives” seem to be preparing their rationalizations for one of the almost certain outcomes of their political agenda.

    As to the first part, agreed. But I hardly consider not getting a handout being shit upon.
    As to the second part, that outcome is certain, even absent any input by conservatives. We’ve outspent the whole of our GDP, Anjin, on socialist wet dreams. The money’s gone. There’s no way to get it back. You can make the sign of the O and scream “tax the rich” with your fingers in your ears, all you want, but it’s not going to change it.

    Nor will it in the other welfare state countries, as mentioned. The party’s over.

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  74. Eric Florack says:

    You see, “non sequitur” means “it does not follow” and it does not follow that, for example, Obama’s tour of Europe means that it makes sense to connect US partisan politics to the riots in England.

    OIf course I know what it means. But of course there IS a connection in all of it……. the socialist welfare state. Which is exactly why he went over there.

    The riots we see in the countries mentioned and more are the direct result of the collapse of that welfare state which Obama loves so.

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  75. @Eric Florack: Sorry, I am going to stick with my assessment that statements (made by you) like this:

    So, why then did Obama campaign across Europe, if not to show he was embracing their economic social-welfare model?

    Do not follow from statements (made by me) like this:

    It takes a rather odd worldview to try and make riots in London into some sort of analog of American partisan politics.

    Which is the connection you made in your original comment.

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  76. anjin-san says:

    We’ve outspent the whole of our GDP, Anjin, on socialist wet dreams

    Sure thing bit. We have spent none of it on a “defense” budget that outstrips what the rest of the world put together spends. Or on corporate welfare for the likes of Exxon/Moble and Chevron, already rich beyond the dreams of avarice. Or on pork flowing directly into the troughs of folks like your friend Michelle Bachmann, who has not let the fact she is already wealthy affect her appetite for federal dollars flowing into her pocket in the slightest.

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  77. anjin-san says:

    Oh, and let’s not forget the 17 billon in US taxpayer cash that the Bush admin flew into Iraq, where it simply vanished into thin air…

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  78. @michael reynolds:

    Of course, if there were a market for non-sequiter, salsa velcro armadillo.

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  79. matt says:

    @Jay Tea: I just find it extremely hard to believe someone is SOO incompetent that they went against their muscle memory and reached for their gun instead of a tazor all the while never noticing the completely different grip feel and weight of the tazor. Tazors are ALWAYS put in the same spot on the belt (just like their service pistol has it’s own spot too) and cops are trained down to muscle memory to know which weapon is what. I’ve watched the video and I see either complete contempt for the “perp” or downright ridiculous levels of incompetence. If you’re going to claim incompetence then the whole police department needs a good cleaning because everyone from the captains who recruited and trained that officer to the higher ups needs to be replaced.

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  80. anjin-san says:

    You can make the sign of the O and scream “tax the rich

    Hmmm. Can you show anyplace I have ever said “tax the rich”? What am I saying? Of course you can’t.

    BTW, our household income is within shouting distance of the 250k a year barrier that the right seems so fixated upon, and we have a decent shot of getting over that hump in the next few years. If I get there I might think wistfully of a month in Tuscany or a new Porsche as I pay my taxes, but I will write my check to uncle without whining. Grown men should not whine bit. Apparently no one has every told you that, but I am telling you now.

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  81. ponce says:

    The riots we see in the countries mentioned and more are the direct result of the collapse of that welfare state which Obama loves so.

    And the rise of a state that eric and his fellow wingnut wankers love so where cops think they can just gun brown people in the streets with impunity…

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  82. WR says:

    @Eric Florack: You keep talking about spending on socialist dreams. Are the last two wars socialist dreams? Are the tax cuts for the rich socialist dreams? Are subsidies for ADM and EXXON socialist dreams?

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  83. An Interested Party says:

    You will have to forgive Eric…he’s so far in the land of delusion that he thinks the President is a socialist and that the majority of the country wants the second coming of Calvin Coolidge…sadly, for Eric, neither of these things are true, but who are any of us to get in the way of his delusional wet dreams…

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  84. Ben Wolf says:

    @Eric Florack: Cuts in the Euro zone are not the same as cuts in the U.S. Euro members don’t have control of their monetary policy, and therefore are revenue constrained. They in fact are forced to balance the books through fiscal policy, the inevitable social result of which will be the breakup of the Euro zone. The United States is an autonomous currency issuer with a flexble exchange rate: it is not revenue constrained and can in fact afford to fund social programs to a far greater degree than Europe. Contrary to the idea our deficit spending is unsustainable, the very real danger of deflaion indicates the U.S. is not engaged in enough deficit spending.

    The fiscal situation of the U.S. and the Euro are entirely different animals.

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  85. Catfish says:

    @WR: The riots of the ’60’s in US cities were well planned by underground radical groups and made it look like the inner city residents did all of the destruction and looting. Why would these people destroy their own homes, businesses, and neighborhoods? They never considered that they were living in poverty and slums. Indeed, they had a lot of pride in their communities, schools, and businesses. They took care of themselves and each other. It was when the federal government started all of the welfare programs that this changed for the worse.
    The riots in London could be well trained and funded anarchists, maybe communists.

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  86. Catfish says:

    @WR: How about Obama’s 2 trillion dollar “stimulus” fund that opened up the treasury to every politician’s pet projects? How much did that create jobs? How much did it lower the unemployment? How much did it help small businesses?

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  87. anjin-san says:

    Indeed, they had a lot of pride in their communities, schools, and businesses. They took care of themselves and each other.

    You have to love this fantasy the right has. Poor folks were humble yet self-sufficient and standing tall until LBJ came along and destroyed their families.

    In my family, we know a little bit about what poverty, real poverty can do to a family. My grandfather grew up in French coal mining country. 11 kids, 5 did not live to reach 18. Grandpa was sent down into the mines when he was 9 and almost died. As soon as he was able, he scraped the money together to get to America, steerage. He hated his memories of the old country and never looked back.

    Largely due to good public education, I have had a wonderful life and the worst day I have ever known was far better than what my ancestors knew. But hey, lets flush public education. People who can’t afford Stanford can probably still find work, the ruling class needs servants…

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  88. JKB says:

    @Jay Tea:

    I thought you were joking when you offered your advice but WR’s response to me is completely devoid of factual evidence. I suppose in one of the many parallel dimensions these rioters are following his playbook but not in this dimension.

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  89. Ben Wolf says:

    @Catfish: The stimulus was heavily criticized by proponents for being too small and being poorly structured, but the answer to your question is: more than nothing.

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  90. An Interested Party says:

    The riots of the ’60′s in US cities were well planned by underground radical groups and made it look like the inner city residents did all of the destruction and looting.

    Hmm…could be, could be…but let’s look at another comment of yours…

    The riots in London could be well trained and funded anarchists, maybe communists.

    Hmm…I’m trying to remember, who was it during the 1960’s that accused all those “racial agitators” of being communists? Hmm…that’s right, it was people who wanted to keep segregation in place…of course, then as now, it’s all the fault of the communists…

    It was when the federal government started all of the welfare programs that this changed for the worse.

    Oh absolutely, because before the government did those things (and I’m not arguing for or against those programs), all those people lived in the land of milk and honey…

    How about Obama’s 2 trillion dollar “stimulus” fund that opened up the treasury to every politician’s pet projects? How much did that create jobs? How much did it lower the unemployment? How much did it help small businesses?

    The specific law that initiated that stimulus carried a price tag of $787 billion and over a third of that was for tax cuts, you know, those things that so many people tell us will cause magic to happen…apply your questions to that third and let us know what answers you get…

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  91. What a shocking turn of events, my business was attacked a few nights a go by small scale riots. All of our timber stables and outdoor buildings was destroyed. I’m extremely unhappy about the speed of which the UK police have handled things.

    Equestrian Buildings

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  92. Ben Wolf says:

    The riots in London could be well trained and funded anarchists, maybe communists.

    Catfish dosn’t like riots. Catfish doesn’t like communists. Therefore, the riots must be caused by communists.

    This sort of ultra-simplistic thinking is why we’re in such a deep economic mess. And yet when you engage these people it becomes clear they think they’re Rhodes Scholars.

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  93. Ben Wolf says:

    You stop a riot by immediate overwhelming force.

    So you approve of the Boston Massacre. Perhaps if the British had listened to you and shot even more civilians it would have kept the colonies in the Empire! I’m sure the Americans would have backed down had the Redcoats been even more brutal.

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  94. Rob in CT says:

    One of the functions of the tax dollars that conservatives whine so endlessly about is essentially to buy off the poor in this country by providing a certain comfort level in return for a modicum of peace and stability. It’s not a perfect system, but it has worked reasonably well.

    I have a bigger tax bill than most people in this country, but as I enjoy a sunny afternoon in the pleasant and safe neighborhood I live in, it seems like a decent investment in a society that allows me to live very comfortably. Ponying up so that we don’t have people living in abject poverty in this country is part of the deal.

    BING-EFFING-O.

    I wrote up a very similar post yesterday but ultimately got sidetracked and never posted it. In short, I’ll add this:

    If the choice is between paying for a police state and a welfare state (and I think that’s basically right), I’d rather pay for the welfare state (obviously, a mix of both is actually required, but we’re doing shorthand here).

    Currently, the USA is dealing with the fact that we’re spending for: a) a welfare state; b) a police state (war on drugs); AND c) the most expensive military machine ever, and we don’t want to pay for all of those things. So something has to give. The contemporary Right is all about making sure the bill is paid via cuts in a), not b), c) or via higher taxes. The Left is busy doing what it often does: flail about ineffectually.

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  95. WR says:

    @Catfish: You’re absolutely right. Now you should tell us the rest of the story — how the riots were planned by a conspiracy made up of liberals, Russian commies, and the space aliens who are held in area 51…. and that you are the only one who knows this and they’re all trying to kill you for your sacred knowledge.

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  96. WR says:

    @Catfish: Now that $800 billion has magically become two trillion? If it had reached that number, it would have done a lot more good, especially if so much of it hadn’t been pissed away in useless tax breaks to mollify Republicans who hate spending except when they’re doing it.

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  97. anjin-san says:

    how the riots were planned by a conspiracy

    Don’t forge the socialist jihadists…

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  98. anjin-san says:

    OIf course I know what it means.

    I don’t think you do…

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  99. michael reynolds says:

    @WR:
    800 billion, half of which was tax cuts.

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  100. Rob in CT says:

    $787B, as I recall. I thought it was ~1/3 tax cuts, not half, but whatever. Point is, the actual spending component was maybe $500B.

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  101. Eric Florack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Steven, do you deny that the commonality is the government’s inability in each case is the social welfare state collapse?

    Can you show anyplace I have ever said “tax the rich”?

    Ah, so the claim of being richer than most and being quite willing to cough up, has no implications on where the taxes should get paid, eh? As in…

    I have a bigger tax bill than most people in this country, but as I enjoy a sunny afternoon in the pleasant and safe neighborhood I live in, it seems like a decent investment in a society that allows me to live very comfortably. Ponying up so that we don’t have people living in abject poverty in this country is part of the deal.

    Oh, and, Anjin? While I hae he editor open,

    One of the functions of the tax dollars that conservatives whine so endlessly about is essentially to buy off the poor in this country by providing a certain comfort level in return for a modicum of peace and stability. It’s not a perfect system, but it has worked reasonably well.

    If I were to utter something of the sort, I’d be called an elitist, racist, and a whole bunch of other things… and rightly so. And you’d be screaming the loudest. According to you, the only thing to be done with the poor is buy them off.

    I think better of them… As Reagan showed us, what they need is for government to stop getting in the way of job creators. The poor are like anyone else. They tend to act exactly as they’re expected to act. Liberals get what they expect, and it costs us all.

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  102. Eric Florack says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    uts in the Euro zone are not the same as cuts in the U.S. Euro members don’t have control of their monetary policy, and therefore are revenue constrained.

    So are we, in a different sense… there is no possible way to get the enough revenue to pay for the social programs the left loves so. We’re currently at 150% of our GDP in debt.

    Currently, the USA is dealing with the fact that we’re spending for: a) a welfare state; b) a police state (war on drugs); AND c) the most expensive military machine ever

    The biggest chunk of which is by far, the social spending. . THe remainder doesn’t even come close to the money being spent on social spending.

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  103. WR says:

    @Eric Florack: Funny, we were able to pay for all our social programs AND balance the budget when Clinton was president, back before taxes were slashed by a feckless Republican president — specifically and deliberately to run up a massive deficit so that people like Bit could use that as an excuse to kill the social programs for anyone but himself.

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  104. Ben Wolf says:

    @Eric,

    There is no reason to consider our current level of spending unsustainable. Spending and taxing should be tailored to what will most benefit the private sector in creating healthy economic activity, and right now the signalling in the form of deflation is crying out for expanding the money supply through greater spending. That is what the markets want.

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  105. Craggy says:

    Well guys – sorry to disappoint everyone but the left/right issue has nothing to do with this issue and I’m a Brit living in Britain.
    A guy with a record of gang membership is stopped by police investigating a cop-shooting. He draws a fake gun and is shot. A week later a community protest about the shooting turns to violence when 2 police cars are set alight. It gets out of hand and every scumbag in London with access to Facebook and Twitter is called up to go looting and pillaging. Next night other cities get the same treatment from the same breed of 12-20 year-olds who fancy a new laptop, pair of sport shoes or Wiii. On day three the ordinary citizens take charge, courtesy of social media and clean up their neighbourhoods, the police sweep up 1000 looters thanks to CCTV footage being posted and the scumbags being “shopped” by their neighbours. Simple as that – muslims, sikhs, christians, jew and aetheists, left and right wing standing together against criminal low-life and winning. Just what you need across the pond!

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  106. WR says:

    @Craggy: Yes, the rioters are all scum. Nicely done, sir. Now you don’t have to spend a second wondering why this happened. Just bad guys. Go back to sleep.

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  107. anjin-san says:

    Ah, so the claim of being richer than most and being quite willing to cough up, has no implications on where the taxes should get paid, eh? As in…

    No implications at all. That is simply one of the moronic conclusions you often jump to in the mistaken belief that you are perceptive. I speak only for myself, and I certainly make no claim to be rich or anywhere near it. We are two fairly successful working professionals, that’s it.

    If I were to utter something of the sort, I’d be called an elitist, racist, and a whole bunch of other things…

    bit, no one will every call you an elitist. You would never make it past the outermost gates of the elite. I suspect you know this, and it is one of the reasons you are so angry. As for race, I never mentioned it here, nor inferred it. If you are called a racist, it is probably because you say things like “Obama is no more than Jimmy Carter in blackface”.

    According to you, the only thing to be done with the poor is buy them off.

    Where did I say that? Nowhere. The “buying off” is simply a mechanism for maintaining relative peace and stability. There are a lot of things that can be done for the poor. Maintaining affordable quality public education, for one. If you really thought better of the poor you would not be working so hard to destroy it.

    As Reagan showed us, what they need is for government to stop getting in the way of job creators

    Hmm. The Bush administration was all about “getting out of the way”. Cheney, the most powerful Vice-President in history, was one of America’s leading businessmen before becoming VP. Where did all this leave us? Oh yes, on the verge of a depression.

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  108. Eric Florack says:

    : Funny, we were able to pay for all our social programs AND balance the budget when Clinton was president,

    Um, no, we weren’t/ At no time did Clinton not borrow to cover the bills. Never,.
    Try again.

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  109. Eric Florack says:

    Where did I say that? Nowhere.

    Aha. So, saying,

    One of the functions of the tax dollars that conservatives whine so endlessly about is essentially to buy off the poor in this country by providing a certain comfort level in return for a modicum of peace and stability. It’s not a perfect system, but it has worked reasonably well.

    Should not be considered as a statement of support for such a system? Get real. You got caught in your own nonsense, Anjin. Game, set, match.

    If you really thought better of the poor you would not be working so hard to destroy it.

    Education would improve for all, if and when the government gets out of the business. As would most things. But you’re so dedicated to government, you can’t see past your nose on such matters.

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  110. Eric Florack says:

    So we see Ann Althouse was assaulted just recently.The story is here.

    Does anyone not understand that this is part and parcel of the riots we see around the world in response to the setbacks the left has been seeing? The social welfare state is coming unglued the world over and leftists with it. The desperaation of the left is seen in their thug behavior. It’s never been far from the surface…(consider union thugs as an example)…. But now as exasperation increases… It becomes more obvious, and in your face.

    And yet we still have the usual suspects denying there';s a connection.

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  111. Eric Florack says:

    Hmm. The Bush administration was all about “getting out of the way”. Cheney, the most powerful Vice-President in history, was one of America’s leading businessmen before becoming VP. Where did all this leave us? Oh yes, on the verge of a depression.

    Trouble was, he didn’t get government out of the way, but increased it’s scope, in such matters as with all others. I say again, Bush was no conservative, but at best a centrist.

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  112. anjin-san says:

    Game, set, match.

    Another self-declared victory for you, eh? One suspects those are the only kind you have ever known :)

    Should not be considered as a statement of support for such a system?

    Work on your reading comprehension bubba. Clearly, I do support such a system. It is a moral imperative that the richest society in history not allow abject poverty, and maintaining a reasonable level of peace and stability is mission critical for society as a whole.

    What I did not say is that “the only thing to be done with the poor is buy them off”. These are words you tried to put in my mouth, something you do frequently in the absence of the ability to think or debate very well.

    Education would improve for all, if and when the government gets out of the business.

    We had fine public education in this country before the right declared war on it.

    But you’re so dedicated to government

    Not really. I have been in the private sector my entire working life, which is going on 40 years now. Fortune 500 , SMB & entrepreneurial. People who are not dogmatic nitwits see that government is a necessary element of our society and that it fills roles that the private sector can’t. I don’t love the government, I actually like it a great deal less than you think I do. I simply see that it is necessary and want to make it work as well as possible.

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  113. Eric Florack says:

    Work on your reading comprehension bubba. Clearly, I do support such a system

    Actually, given your history, the only thing that is clear is that you do support such a system.

    People who are not dogmatic nitwits see that government is a necessary element of our society and that it fills roles that the private sector can’t.

    Thomas Paine had it closer than you… it is a necessary evil. And evil of course is to be avoided wherever possible. Sadly, that’s something liberals such as yourself have never understood.

    We had fine public education in this country before the right declared war on it.

    No, that we didn’t. It got worse as the left gathered control over it.

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  114. anjin-san says:

    Thomas Paine had it closer than you… it is a necessary evil. And evil of course is to be avoided wherever possible

    Well, folks such as yourself seem to be more in favor of the greater, and unnecessary evil that would be the police state we would need to repress the poor if we dismantled the welfare state. Given your history, I suspect you would find a comfortable niche for yourself in an authoritarian state.

    And, as you yourself are saying, Paine declared it to be a necessary evil. I suggest you deploy the Googles, look up the word necessary, and get back to us.

    No, that we didn’t

    Actually, we did. At least in California. That’s where my experience is, it may well vary from state to state. When Pat Brown was gov. California public institutions were the envy of the world.

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  115. Eric Florack says:

    Well, folks such as yourself seem to be more in favor of the greater, and unnecessary evil that would be the police state we would need to repress the poor if we dismantled the welfare state

    I disagree that it would be needed, Anjin… assuming government got out of the way of the job creators, we’d not have whole generations of dependency on the government… rather, we’d have self-reliant people..

    When Pat Brown was gov. California public institutions were the envy of the world.

    When it cake time to pay for it, you mean?

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  116. @Eric Florack: This is yet another example of “it does not follow logically”: you cannot claim that a) there were riots in London and b) Ann Althouse was assaulted, so therefore a and b are connected, save in the sense that human being were involved in both and that one can claim that politics were relevant in some general sense in both cases (which is true of my most interactions involving human beings).

    You have gone from: a claim that Obama took a tour of Europe, so therefore it is fair to connect the London riots to US left/right politics and now you are connecting the London riots to a single action in Wisconsin. From there you generalizing the that “the social welfare state and “the left” are coming “unglued.”

    This is not logic. This is not evidence-based reasoning. This is just a combination of smidgen of confirmation bias alongside a heapin’ helpin’ of just claiming things are what you what them to be (with a side dish of hyperbole).

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  117. anjin-san says:

    assuming government got out of the way of the job creators, we’d not have whole generations of dependency on the government… rather, we’d have self-reliant people..

    So basically, you are pining for a return to the good old days that labor enjoyed in the 19th century. 2% of the population owns pretty much everything, and everybody else had best be happy with whatever crumbs are offered them. If you are not happy, well there is another poor SOB who is paid to crack heads open.

    Meanwhile, we can have the same sort of wonton environmental destruction that was common back then, but on a much greater scale due to population growth and technological advances. So the self-reliant poor people will have an opportunity to live knee deep in toxic sludge.

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  118. Eric Florack says:

    This is yet another example of “it does not follow logically”: you cannot claim that a) there were riots in London and b) Ann Althouse was assaulted, so therefore a and b are connected, save in the sense that human being were involved in both and that one can claim that politics were relevant in some general sense in both cases (which is true of my most interactions involving human beings).

    Again, the obvious (and often stated) connection in bothcases is the collapse of the welfare state. Why is that so hard for you tofathom?

    You have gone from: a claim that Obama took a tour of Europe, so therefore it is fair to connect the London riots to US left/right politics and now you are connecting the London riots to a single action in Wisconsin.

    You do undertsand the concept of an example, right?

    And Ajnin, your logic escapes mere mortals.

    So basically, you are pining for a return to the good old days that labor enjoyed in the 19th century. 2% of the population owns pretty much everything, and everybody else had best be happy with whatever crumbs are offered them. If you are not happy, well there is another poor SOB who is paid to crack heads open.

    As someone who has dealt with unions and the thugs therein most of his adult life, your claim of cracking heads falls on rather stoney ground, Anjin. Similarly, your love of the EPA, which I see as one of the largest job killers in the history of the world.

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  119. Eric Florack says:

    This is yet another example of “it does not follow logically”: you cannot claim that a) there were riots in London and b) Ann Althouse was assaulted, so therefore a and b are connected, save in the sense that human being were involved in both and that one can claim that politics were relevant in some general sense in both cases (which is true of my most interactions involving human beings).

    Let’s see if you can address this one, Steven:

    What is the cause of the unrest in England?
    What is the cause of the unrest in Greece?
    What is the cause of the unrest in France?
    (You can add examples if you like, though I doubt you will)

    And finally, how are these not all directly connected to the collapse of the social welfare state?

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  120. @Eric Florack:

    Again, the obvious (and often stated) connection in bothcases is the collapse of the welfare state. Why is that so hard for you tofathom?

    Perhaps my difficulty in fathoming your theory is the lack of any evidence of the collapse of the welfare state or really any direct evidence that said alleged collapse is the reason for the incidences in question. Minor details, those.

    You do undertsand the concept of an example, right?

    Indeed. Of course, it is helpful if, in an attempt to make an argument, that the example fits that argument logically.

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  121. @Laurie: You do realize that, for example, austerity measures in the UK don’t equate to the collapse of the social welfare state? This is not a minor fact.

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  122. anjin-san says:

    I curious bit, have you ever read any books on American history? This “everything was fine until the government got involved” attitude speaks of a profound ignorance of much of our history.

    Of course, you think “The American Thinker” is a credible source, so it follows that the line between actual history and fiction is pretty blurry in your mind.

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  123. anjin-san says:

    As someone who has dealt with unions and the thugs therein most of his adult life

    No doubt you called upon your police explorer training and gave them a sound thrashing.

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