Hugo Chávez Ends Term Limits and Increases Power to Guarantee “Happiness”

Normally I’m not sure how much term limits really help, but perhaps one limit which is necessary is the one on the president. I feared that term limits would be insufficient to protect Venezuela from the abuses of power being seen under Hugo Chávez but we’ll never see if they would have made a difference. The New York Times reports that Chávez is announcing changes to the Constitution which would “allow him to be re-elected indefinitely, a move that would enhance his authority to accelerate a socialist-inspired transformation of Venezuelan society.”

To justify this change, the aim is being said, “to guarantee to the people the largest amount of happiness possible.” To paraphrase Orwell, some people will be happier than others.

The changes would also further centralize control of government under Chávez and weaken the power of regional government. He has already made a number of changes. “He has nationalized telecommunications, electricity and oil companies; forged a single socialist party for his followers; deepened alliances with countries like Cuba and Iran; and sped the distribution of billions of dollars for local governing entities called communal councils.”

We are certainly looking at a considerable difference in degree over the problems we face in the United States with regards to abuse of powers. The problem is that once you begin removing safe guards to democracy you risk falling down a slippery slope as the temptation to abuse power increases.

There was a time when conservatives in this country understood the need to preserve the checks and balances on government which were devised by the founding fathers. Many conservative bloggers are discussing the abuses of power under Chávez. It is bewildering that so many modern conservatives would observe the abuses in Venezuela but fail to respond to the considerable abuses of power by George Bush. Sometimes support for one’s country and the principles it was founded on must come before partisanship. The last time we faced a crisis of this type there were Republican leaders such as Barry Goldwater who ultimately decided that their loyalty is to the country and not to the leader of their political party. That type of integrity has been lost by much of the modern conservative movement.

Update: President For Life Bush? Some conservatives like the idea.

Update II: “Mr. Conservative” Barry Goldwater Became a Liberal Compared to Today’s Conservatives

Update III: This post has received a link from Dr. Sanity’s Carnival of the Insanities for Hugo Chavez’s promise of “happiness.” I wonder if Dr. Sanity realized we are on the same side regarding Chavez and liked here out of agreement, or if she assumed that a liberal blog would be taking the insane position.

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38 Comments

  1. 1
    Rob Hruska says:

    Has Bush revoked term limits? Has he nationalized the airwaves, shut down opposition newspapers, confiscated the oil industry? Pull your head out of your ass. Chavez, who San Francisco leftists have fallen deeply in love with, enough to pass a resolution celebrating his “support for democracy”, is nothing like Bush. And leftist enablers of his regime are a far greater threat to freedom in Venezuela and the U.S. than Bush is.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Rob,

    Before you play the usual right wing game of attacking strawmen, read what I actually said. I noted, “We are certainly looking at a considerable difference in degree…” That does not mean that the increased concentration of power in the Executive Branch under Bush and his disrespect for the rule of law do not present serious concerns. This is a far greater problem than the “leftist enablers” which you imagine as being a threat.

    Have you guys been so brainwashed by the echo chamber created by the authoritarian right that you realy believe this type of nonsene? The gravist risk we have to freedom in this country comes from both rogue presidents like Bush and blind followers like you. Use of a propaganda machine to develop followers with the brownshirt mentality you express, including development of hatred towards an imaginary enemy, is one of the first steps of those who attempt to destroy feedom in democratic nations.

  3. 3
    absent observer says:

    I’m uncomfortably ambivalent about Chavez.

    The abuses under Castro were much kinder than the abuses under Batista. So, it’s not the [nationalizing industry, organizing the people into work parties, banning opposition] that scares me. OK, maybe the banning opposition isn’t so great, except in that the CIA is all-to-often the opposition.

    I get the impression there are two kinds of power in third-world countries: 1) those that can be bought, and 2) those that cannot.

    I kind of admire a benevolent dictator. A malicious one, though, scares the hell out of me.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    Absent Observer,

    Power corrupts. Regardless of intentions dictators rarely remain benevolent.

  5. 5
    absent observer says:

    In third-world countries, the almighty dictator can defend the populace from the almighty corporation.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiquita_Brands_International
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shell_Nigeria
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gap_%28clothing%29
    (insert any corporation here)

  6. 6
    Liberal Journal says:

    Ron,

    Excellent response to Rob.

  7. 7
    Mike says:

    The final premise of the blog is critically flawed, namely that conservatives oppose checks on government, while liberals love freedom.

    This is myopic.

    While Chavez is busy nationalizing telecomunications, liberals in America are busy nationalizing healthcare using the tried and true method of concept erosion where the dicipline of medicine is recast as a “right” and then scooped up by government in stages (first for the elderly, then for the poor, then for the children, then for single moms, etc. etc. until everyone’s health is “owned” by uncle sam).

    Liberals are on an all-out assualt on the bill of rights… trying to quiet conservative voices with the “fairness doctrine”… then there is the second amendment under massive and constant attack.

    You really want to cast liberals as the “checks and balances” party? Give us all a break.

  8. 8
    Ron Chusid says:

    Mike,

    Liberals are not advocating nationalizing health care. Democratic proposals would continue the private practice of medicine. As a physician I find the plans from the Democrats to be quite beneficial while it is the Republicans who have used the power of government to intrude upon health care decisions.

    Only a small number of liberals are calling for resumption of the fairness doctrine. This argument, along with the claims that liberals will take away people’s guns is just a typical conservative scare tactic, along with the cries of “socialized medicine.”

    These paranoid claims of being under attack is just another propaganda technique of the authoritarian right. They keep people like you scared of imaginary threats while they gradually strip away our liberties.

  9. 9
    Rob Hruska says:

    OK, before you spout any more vague, non-specific claims about what the president has done to freedom in this country, please explain to me two things. And please don’t use nebulous accusations of “concentrations of power” and “brownshirt mentality” – unfortunately, since my visit to the Ronald Reagan Conservative Brainwashing Facility, those words mean nothing to me.

    1) What specific civil right did Bush take away from you?
    2) Why have the democrats in congress, stalwart defenders of all people and rights, not revoked this change? They’ve certainly had enough time now. If it was really an infringement on your rights, why haven’t they put an end to it?

    I can answer both of these. This is all a political argument, and like so many on the left, totally without substance, merely intended to sully your political opponent.

  10. 10
    Mike says:

    Ron,

    We all know that guns have *already* been taken due to the weakening of the 2nd amendment under liberal attack. New Orleans had a massive gun confiscation after Katrina, so not only is my caution NOT a scare tactic, it is already a historical fact. Ask the gun owners that have lost their guns if the right is paranoid on this issue.

    Read what I said. I did not say that Liberals are advocating the nationalizing of healthcare. I said they are DOING IT.

    The best way to land a punch is to not tell your target that you are punching them. You just do it.

    The calls for healthcare to become a “right” are coming from the left, and to the extent that they are successful in creating this impression, is the extent to which government will be called to guarantee that right. You fill in the rest, my friend.

    And when you say that only a small number of liberals are calling for the fairness doctrine, you omit the fact that the liberals that are calling for it are not from a hippie commune in the woods of California, they are congressmen lawmakers in Washington DC!

    Will you stand and denounce their efforts to silence people? To denounce their attack on the bill of rights?

  11. 11
    Ron Chusid says:

    Rob,

    “This is all a political argument”

    That’s the only honest thing you’ve said, although not int manner you intend. I’m concerned with principles, but you are preoccupied with playing politics. This is about deteroriation of the checks and balances in our governemnt regardless of party. If the Demoocrats were responsible I’d object too. Instead you ignore what Bush has done because he’s a member of your party.

    “Why have the democrats in congress, stalwart defenders of all people and rights, not revoked this change?”

    The Democrats do not have the power to make any significant changes. They have less than fifty actual votes in the Senate, and sixty votes are necessary to make a difference. Bush also has the Veto power.

    A partial list of abuses of power initiated under the Republicans:

    The Patriot Act and other measures which allow the government to take action against suspected terrorists without due process.

    The firing of the federal prosecutors for poltical reasons, violating the traditional level of independence of the Judicial Department.

    Reliance on political ideology and party loyalty for appointment of judges, which was a major break from tradition which staretd in the Reagan years.

    Expansion of wiretapping and ignoring the FISA court

    Use of torture and rendition

    The K Street Project

    Increased secrecy and classification of presidential papers, including those of Reagan and George HW Bush after Bush took office

    Harrassment of physicians for prescribing controlled substances for pain control

    Restrictions of use of medical marijuana, sometimes ignoring state laws

    Restrictions on funding of stem cell research

    Interference in many other areas of health care including end of life decisions, abortion, and contraception

  12. 12
    Ron Chusid says:

    Left out one major one–The Bush administration’s abuse of executive privilege to prevent testimony before Congress.

    Bush also has a long history of deceiving Congress in order to get through what it wants not that the Republicans cared when they were in control. Under the Republicans, Congress virtually ignored its oversight responsibilities over the Executive Branch.

    Besides the recent cases, there’s the manner in which the Bush adminstration prevented accurate testimony on Bush’s Medicare plan from being presented to Congress by threatening to fire the Medicare administrator who planned to testify.

    There’s the entire “war on science” where federal agencies present conclusions based upon political instructions as opposed to scientific facts.

    Bush also mislead Congress and the American people with the manner in which he dishonestly presented intelligence information. The Plame case also demostrated how they made a concerted effort to discredit someone who tried to expose their actions.

    Before the Iraq War begain Bush began shifting resources appropriated for Afghanistan for use in Iraq.

  13. 13
    Rob Hruska says:

    — That’s the only honest thing you’ve said, although not int manner you intend. —

    So if I disagree with you, now I’m a liar?

    —The Democrats do not have the power to make any significant changes. They have less than fifty actual votes in the Senate, and sixty votes are necessary to make a difference. Bush also has the Veto power.—

    This hasn’t stopped them from endless efforts to surrender Iraq to the terrorists, has it? Really, that was weak!

    —The Patriot Act and other measures which allow the government to take action against suspected terrorists without due process.—

    Only a brain-dead liberal would fight to make sure terrorists had due process, while American lives were at stake.

    —The firing of the federal prosecutors for poltical reasons, violating the traditional level of independence of the Judicial Department.—
    Not illegal, or even unusual. Bush fired, what, 13 of them? Clinton fired ALL Of them and put his cronies in their place to make sure he never got investigated.

    —Reliance on political ideology and party loyalty for appointment of judges, which was a major break from tradition which staretd in the Reagan years.—
    Laughable. This has always been the case. See: The Supreme Court, since time immemorial.

    —Use of torture and rendition—
    Suspected, not proven… not that this would stop liberals from accusing a sitting president in wartime of illegal acts. And you wonder why people think you’re unpatriotic…

    —Increased secrecy and classification of presidential papers, including those of Reagan and George HW Bush after Bush took office—
    All of Hillary Clinton’s documents from her attempted takeover of the health care system have been locked away until after the election. Really open and transparent, bud.

    —Harrassment of physicians for prescribing controlled substances for pain control—

    Yeah… right… pot makes you paranoid, dude.

    —Restrictions of use of medical marijuana, sometimes ignoring state laws—
    Federal laws supercede state laws. Wake up…

    —Restrictions on funding of stem cell research—
    No, restrictions on how many aborted fetuses can be used for it. Nice try.

    —Interference in many other areas of health care including end of life decisions, abortion, and contraception—
    Really? Like what? I haven’t seen condoms disappearing from the corner store. Although there were some guys in dark suits hanging around the feminine hygiene section… I think you’re right!

  14. 14
    Ron Chusid says:

    Rob,

    Thanks. You have proven my point far better than anything I coud write about the right wing’s total lack of regard for separation of powers, civil liberteis, and due process.

    Each of these items have been well documented. Real conservatives who are concerned about civil liberties and limiting the power of government have also written on these abuses. Unfortunatley the authoritarians who have taken control of the conservative movement have driven most of them away.

    Your responses display a profound lack of knowlege of the issues with multipe incorrect statements. Befoe worrying about what is going on in other countries. you should educate yourself as to hat is really going on here as opposed to repeating right wing talking points.

    It is hardly worth going thru all your nonsense, but to briefly review them:

    Democrats have made no efforts to surrender to terrorissts. Even if you twist things in that manner, note that they haven’t had the votes to pass anything. You are clearly more interested in taking cheap political shots against your opponents as opposed to showing any concern for principles, which is a common component of the authoritarian mind set now displayed by conservatives.

    You totally misunderstand due process. You cannot declare first that someone is a terrorist and then say due process does not apply. Terrorism can be fought efectively without sacrificing principles of due process

    With regards to judges I was speaking of Federal judges below the Supreme Court level. They were not political appointees as they now are before Reagan.

    The use of torture has been quite well documented.

    Clinton did not fire attorneys as Bush did. It is customary to replace them at the start of a term. What Bush did is unprecidented.

    Clinton’s documents are not available because of the regluations which George Bush put into place which decrease public access to documents.

    I am a physician, and do not use pot. so don’t dismiss all the medical issues which you are quite unfamiliar with as being paranoid from pot. The actions to restrict use of pain medications has been a complaint of medical organizations. Saying Federal law supercedes state law is no answer on medical marijuana. The Republicans in Congress have repeatedly blocked attempts to change the laws. They Bush administration also has the discretion as to whether they take action against physicians who prescibe medical marijuana who are following the rules of their state. Besides, what happened to the conservative idea of state’s rights? You only apply it when you need it.

    You didn’t deny that the Bush administration has restricted funding for stem cell research. You are entitled to any opinion you choose with regards to abortion, stem cell research, contraception, and end of life decisions. You do not have the right to impose these religious views upon others. Many of these problems stem from the Republican’s disregard for separation of church and state. You may come up with all the rationalizations you like, but it comes down to imposing your religious views upon others, in violation of one of the fundamental principles this country was founded upon.

    Nobody said anything about condoms disappearing. However women are having problems obtaining Plan B in some areas.

  15. 15
    Ron Chusid says:

    Rob,

    A few additional points.

    Under the present law, Bush could declare that you are an enemy combattant, seize your property, and throw you in prison without a trial. Do I think he will do that to most Americans? No, but why take the chance with Bush or any future president. There is a need for due process to prevent the types of abuses which commonly happen in dictatorships in the future.

    This isn’t about Democrats vs. Republicans. It is about the fundamental principles uoon which the nation was founded. In past emergencies, such as the Civil War we had presidents act outside of the law. However they wouldat least go to Congress afterwards and have their actions approved. Bush argued that he did not even need to seek this type of retroactive approval. Bush’s expansions of executive power are more dangerous as they are for an unspecified perios of time as the “war on terror” can turn into a perpetual state of war.

    Again, this isn’t just about Bush. The office of the president has more power than ever before. No one person should have this much power, regardless of party. I wouldn’t want Hillary Clinton or any Democrat to have this type of power any more than I want Bush to have it.

  16. 16
    absent observer says:

    I’m sure that power corrupts. But third-world countries do not exist in a vacuum. They are preyed upon by powerful corporations that extract natural resources, poison environments, and impoverish everyone except the ten officials getting bribed.

    Castro has put a stop to foreign predators. If Chavez does this and nothing more, I’ll consider him a net benefit.

  17. 17
    Ron Chusid says:

    Absent Observer,

    You do have a point about the actions against third world countries, but I do not see instituting a dictatorship as a good cure. I guess I’m making a political variation on the age old medical principle, first do no harm. We need a better cure for the types of problems you are concerned about.

  18. 18
    Rob Hruska says:

    —Castro has put a stop to foreign predators. If Chavez does this and nothing more, I’ll consider him a net benefit.—

    These have always been the excuses despots use to consolidate wealth and power. Amazingly, some in America profess to believe in free speech and democracy, yet abandon them immediately when a foreign dictator speaks the magic words “equality”, “fairness” and “justice” – none of which are ever seen again in that society.

    Americans who really believe in freedom and democracy rightfully hate that sort of person.

  19. 19
    Ron Chusid says:

    Rob,

    Finally something we agree with. Most liberals would also agree with you. Now, if only you could recognize the threats to freedom at home from the actions of the Bush administration.

    It is not a matter of left versus right. While there is a difference in degree, both Castro and Bush present the same types of problems. Labeling one of them left and one right does not excuse the actions of either one.

  20. 20
    Rob Hruska says:

    No, but there is certainly the level of the infringement that must be considered, even if you agree that there was an infringement. Not everything Bush has done strikes me as a paragon of liberty, but the relatively minor changes that were enacted with the Patriot Act hardly rise to the level of authoritarian. This is evidenced by the fact that the Democratic congress has done little to change them, or even try to change them, and what changes have been enacted have gotten at least some conservative support.

    There are no absolute freedoms in this society or any other.

  21. 21
    Ron Chusid says:

    Rob,

    “but there is certainly the level of the infringement that must be considered,”

    I’ve said all along that this is a matter of degree. This is like being a little bit pregnant.

    No president in our history has abused power in the manner that George Bush did. Lincoln got us through the civil war without throwing out the checks on the Executive Branch which Bush has ceased. These are not minor changes, and the lack of checks can make them much worse. There is no need to risk this.

    “This is evidenced by the fact that the Democratic congress has done little to change them,”

    Not true. First of all, you can’t get out of your partisan mind set. What George Bush has done is wrong, even if the Democrats have gone along. This is a matter of principle, not blindly supporting one party.

    In fact a majority of Democrats have tried to change them, but didn’t have the votes. While it wasn’t enough, it was the Democrats who got the sunset provisions added to the original Patriot Act. As I’ve already mentioned, the majority of Democrats who would like to make changes do not have enough votes to make changes of consequence, and some attempts have failed. Other things are still under investigation, with the Bush administration hindering the investigations.

    There are no absolute freedoms, but preserving the freedoms we do have is a challenge which we must face regardless of party. Our freedoms have never been challenged to the degree which they are under Bush.

  22. 22
    absent observer says:

    Rob Hruska, where is the double standard you speak of? I submit that third-world countries are better with a benevolent dictator than with a banana republic. E.g., Castro > Batista. So, you think it’s hypocritical to support the lesser evil over the greater evil? This strawman of libertarians as unRealists has to be burned down.

  23. 23
    absent observer says:

    No one is saying Saddam Hussein is better than Castro. Obviously, a dictator can be more or less abusive, just as a father can be.

  24. 24
    Mike says:

    Time out Ron,

    Rob specifically asked what civil rights you have that have been stripped by the current administration.

    You went right ahead and avoided answering him, diving into the standard leftist talking points on abuses of power, including failure to adhere to tradition in employment of federal prosecutors.

    How does such a rant answer his very clear and very specific question? It seems to me that you punted.

    I will agree that indeed, some of the actions by Bush following 911 have the potential for abuse, and are a matter of some concern, but I also know that where abuses happen, they will be challenged in court, and the matters resolved, so my concerns are not especially high. Also, the Patriot act provisions have a time limits built in as a guard against the kind of antics that Chavez is puling off.

    You also did not respond at all to my last. An oversight? Or is it a concession?

  25. 25
    Ron Chusid says:

    Mike,

    I didn’t punt. I gave a long list of areas of concern. Just because you and Rob do not understand the significance of these does not mean I did not answer his question or that I punted. If you fail to understand the problems here, you really are demonstrating my point that many on the riight have lost their traditional concerns for such issues and are ignoring the very real threats to liberty in this country.

    The Patriot Act is only one of the problems I listed. Citing the sunshine provisions is not a very good defense of Bush considering that it took the Democrats to get this added.

    The firing of the federal prosecutors is a far more serious action than a “failure to adhere to tradition.” The “tradition” that is being violated is the independence of the department as the Bush administration used the prosecutors for poltical reasons and fired those who didn’t go along.

    I believe I’ve already commented on all your points above. Some matters have been repeated and may be included in responses to other comments.

  26. 26
    Ron Chusid says:

    Mike,

    I see that you did have a second comment which I didn’t notice.

    You make the same flaw I’ve noted in Rob’s arguments in turning this into a partisan issue as opposed to looking at the principles. Even if your incorrect statements about Democrats were correct, it would not affect my argument in the slightest. If Bush does something worng, it wouldnt’ make it any less wrong if Democrats were to do the same or worse. Defending liberty is not about blindly following one polticial party. It is about keeping a close watch and on both parties.

    The other falacy in your argument is to use “liberals” as if it was one homogenous group. You act as if you can find a minority position among liberals which you don’t like that you can attribute it to all liberals. There are liberals who are for gun control and there are liberals who are opposed. There are liberals who support the fairness doctrine and those who don’t.

    The fairness doctrine, which only a small number of liberals are even talking about, is not even a civil liberties issue as it applies to the publica air waves and would continue to allow conservatives to speak. There certainly are problems with restoring it, but it is not a matter of free speech. Saying that some members of Congress are speaking about it changes nothing when they are a minority of one party.

    I’ll write more on this matter here should it ever become a real issue. As for now the fairness act is really not on the table and is just something that the right is bringing up to attempt to make them look persecuted. Unlike conservatives (as well as some liberals) who take a knee jerk positon regardless of the facts, before I write about legislation I will need to see the actual proposals to review the pros and cons. Should there ever be a serious proposal to restore the ideas under the fairness act I will need to see the specifics to comment. I am not going to write about a threat to civil liberties which is far more imaginary than real at this time.

    Using New Orleans as an example of liberal beliefs is quite falacious considering the number of liberals who spoke out against the confiscation. The post-Katrina situation is hardly a good example considering what an unusual situation it was.

    Your comments on health care are total nonsense. None of the plans offered by the Democatic candidates involve nationalizing of health care. That’s just a common scare tactic without any basis in fact. The real problems we have now are corporate influence on health care and the restricitons upon medical practice imposed by the Republicans.

  27. 27
    Mike says:

    Hi Ron,

    You are being unfair.

    You criticise me for: “turning this into a partisan issue” when your blog, that we are responding to states: “There was a time when conservatives in this country understood the need to preserve the checks and balances on government.”

    Your charge is correct, but it is you that are primarily guilty.

    Next.

    You say I have made incorrect statements about The Democrats, yet you can not point out a single example.

    Next.

    You criticize me for using use “liberals” as if it was one homogenous group”. Yet you state: “There was a time when conservatives in this country understood the need to preserve the checks and balances on government”.

    Once again, your charge is correct, but yet again, it is you that is primarily guilty.

    Anyone that has argued politics for more than a week should know better… “liberals” and “conservatives” simply are not used as homogenous groups… they are understood to generally identify ends of a political spectrum model. For you to even raise this issue says “straw man” about as loudly as I have ever heard it.

    A bogus and pointless criticism.

    Next.

    You falsely believe that the fairness doctrine can not be a civil liberties issue since the airwaves are public. That is brazenly false. If gays were not allowed to march on public roads, would you say that civil liberties were not in question? If there was a Fairness Doctrine that said that any Gay March event that did not invite Christians to join with them in their march to present an anti-gay position, would result in the march being disallowed… you would spit fire, and you know it. You would scream that civil rights were being violated at the top of your lungs.

    Since the previous incarnation of the Fairness Doctrine is known to have silenced practically all political discussion on the airwaves in the past, it would be foolish to pretend that it’s desired return by liberals would have any other result. They want it back for a reason.

    Next.

    You Missed the Point of New Orleans, as you called my concerns about 2nd amendment attacks as a “scare tactic”. I offered it as positive proof that it was historical fact, and NOT fictional at all. It is proof that the liberal attacks on the 2nd amendment have weakend it to the point that guns have been generally and broadly confiscated from law abiding citizens, and NEVER returned.

    Liberals are eroding the Bill of Rights. New Orleans is the proof that earlier warnings by conservatives were 100% correct. The NRA’s dedication to the principles of liberty and the bill of rights has come with constant warnings that the confiscation would one day occurr, and now it has.

    Next.

    “Single Payer” health plans have been all the rage since Hillary Care ™ was first floated by the Clintons in the 1990’s, and can you tell me who the “single payer” is in this concept? That’s right. The government.

    Would you be foolish enough to suggest that our Army is not nationalized becuse the government is the “single payer” for it… paying monies to private companies to produce the materials used by the army?

    When the government pays for everyones “health care” (whatever that is), are you uninformed enough to believe that they will pay with no strings attached? Do you really believe that they will not determine what they will pay for and what they will not?

    Any government financed and regulated body IS a nationalized entity. If you, as a doctor, answer to the government, and are paid by the government, they they own you. I don’t care what flowery language you might use to disguise it. “Single Payer” my butt.

    Already the governmental arms of medicine are so massive that they threaten to bankrupt the country, growing at an alarming rate.

    Medicine is already one of the most regulated human activities if not the most in this nation. And the Clintons have not even got their wish yet.

    Clearly, the “Public Schools” are nationalized. How did that happen, my friend? When did it happen? Local communities slowly, over time, have been handing over their schools… that at this point, teach at the pleasure of the state, using state mandated curriculum, and can not run without state funds. Teachers are state tested, and state approved.

    Maybe when you have lived another decade, you will realize what his happening before your eyes.

  28. 28
    Mike says:

    And having said all that, thank you for allowing me space to respond on your blog. I sincerely appreciate it.

  29. 29
    Ron Chusid says:

    Mike,

    “You are being unfair.”

    No, it is you who are being quite unfair in your misrepresentations of what I have written.

    “You criticise me for: “turning this into a partisan issue” when your blog, that we are responding to states: “There was a time when conservatives in this country understood the need to preserve the checks and balances on government.”

    Your charge is correct, but it is you that are primarily guilty.”

    Totally untrue. I have dealt purely with issues as opposed to party. I have favorable posts and unfavorable posts on members of each party. Conservative views have change dramatically over the years.

    “You say I have made incorrect statements about The Democrats, yet you can not point out a single example.”

    I gave several examples, including your mischaracterization of Democratic views on guns, health care, and the fairness doctrine.

    “You criticize me for using use “liberals” as if it was one homogenous group”. Yet you state: “There was a time when conservatives in this country understood the need to preserve the checks and balances on government”.

    Once again, your charge is correct, but yet again, it is you that is primarily guilty.”

    Not at all. I am differentiating between traditional conservatives (who have largely been driven out of the conservative movement) and conservatives who now dominate, recognizing a considerable difference in views between conservatives. I have many posts here on that topic. In contrast your comments have been quite misleading as you take the view of liberals and claim it is held by all liberals.

    “Anyone that has argued politics for more than a week should know better… “liberals” and “conservatives” simply are not used as homogenous groups… they are understood to generally identify ends of a political spectrum model. For you to even raise this issue says “straw man” about as loudly as I have ever heard it.

    A bogus and pointless criticism.”

    This is not bogus, pointless, or a straw man argument. Your failure to understand this creates much of the confusion in your comments.

    Your analogy between the airwaves and roads regarding the fairness doctrine is not a valid comparison. They are quite different situations. Again, this is irrelevant as you are incorrect in your claim that liberals want to bring back the fairness doctrine. This gets back to the problem which you blew off above of attributing a view to all liberals because of handful of liberals have talked about it.

    “Liberals are eroding the Bill of Rights. New Orleans is the proof that earlier warnings by conservatives were 100% correct. The NRA’s dedication to the principles of liberty and the bill of rights has come with constant warnings that the confiscation would one day occurr, and now it has.”

    More mischaracterization of the views of liberals. Liberals opposed the confiscation in New Orleans. (I’m sure you could find some liberals who supported it, but that gets back to the problem of you attributing views held by only some liberals to all liberals.)

    “”Single Payer” health plans have been all the rage since Hillary Care ™ was first floated by the Clintons in the 1990’s, and can you tell me who the “single payer” is in this concept? That’s right. The government.”

    More misrepresentation of the views of Democrats. Clinton opposed a single player plan. Of the Democrats now running, only Kucinich supports single payer. Clinton, Obama, Richardson, Dodd, and Edwards have all offered plans which are not single payer. (Actually I have no idea off hand where Gravel stands, but that hardly matters.) Michael Moore, a true supporter of government run heatlh care (and who is far to the left of the Democratic Party) criticizes even Kucinch’s plan as not going far enough as all Democratic plans preserve the private practice of medicine.

    When discussing single payer you also confuse payment for health care with delivery of health care. Most advocates of single payer plans support either Medicare For All or a similar program. Under such programs delivery of health care remains private. I run a private health care practice and bill Medicare along with other payers. One difference is that Medicare is far less restrictive on both physicians and patients than many private plans are. There is certainly the possibility that things would be different if there was a single payer plan and no competition from private plans, but we cannot automatically assume what would happen. Besides, single payer is not on the table unless you think Kucinich has a chance of winning.

    “Maybe when you have lived another decade, you will realize what his happening before your eyes.”

    I’ve been in medicine for well over two decades. When I was younger I believed some of the nonsense you write. Living in the real world and dealing with both government and private organizations on a daily basis has demonstrated how inaccurate such conservative clams really are. Conservative ideology just doesn’t fare very well when confronted with reality.

  30. 30
    Ron Chusid says:

    Mike,

    An addition to my response to your false claim that I’m lumping all conservatives together in the manner in which you are lumping liberals togethee:

    When you tried to make this case, you quoted me out of context to try to give a twisted version of what I was saying. Not only has the differences in conservative thought been a common topic here, it is briefly addressed in the portion of my statement which you left out.

    I wrote, “It is bewildering that so many modern conservatives would observe the abuses in Venezuela but fail to respond to the considerable abuses of power by George Bush.” This is contrasted with more traditional conservtives. You demonstrate my case when you defend Bush on these issues. Would you really argue that there aren’t many conservatives similarly defending Bush?

    You can’t have it both ways. You can’t simultaneously argue that conservatives do not believe what I say many conservatives believe, and then go ahead and express that very view.

    My point has already been demonstrated at that point. Your attacks on liberals are totally irrelevant. Even if your false claims as to liberal beleifs were correct, it still wouldn’t affect the argument I am making here.

  31. 31
    Rob Hruska says:

    That was a very well thought-out response, Mike. Kudos.

  32. 32
    Ron Chusid says:

    Rob,

    I’m not surprised you liked it, considering it consisted of a pack of right wing talking points which are untrue.

    It is a shame that you guys are so programmed by right wing propaganda that you can only respond to repetition of the same talking points, and any other ideas are beyond your ability to process or comprehend.

  33. 33
    Rob Hruska says:

    Which talking points are untrue? That the states run the schools? Is that untrue? Are his opinions “untrue”? Not everything you disagree with is a lie, I keep telling you that.

    Maybe some day you’ll respond to the issues that are brought up here, instead of immediately going into Smear the Messenger Mode.

  34. 34
    Ron Chusid says:

    Rob,

    I’ve demonstrated that multiple statements alleged to be fact from you and Mike are untrue. Nobody’s impressed with your strawman tactics such as youir comment on the schools. That is not what has been disputed.

    “Maybe some day you’ll respond to the issues that are brought up here, instead of immediately going into Smear the Messenger Mode.”

    No Rob, it is you who came here with your ad hominem attacks and have avoided any meaningful discussion of the issues. It’s you who have repeatedly distorted what I have said in order to attack strawmen rather than respond to what is being discussed. Then you whine when I call you on it. If you can’t take the heat…

    It is you who have repeatedly called me a liar in the responses to various posts, generally after I’ve presented facts to demonstrate you were wrong. You have yet to present a single fact to refute what I am saying.

    From here on in, unless you can engage in civil discussion your comments will not be put through. You’ve had plenty of opportunity to express your views but instead you waste my time with your inane attacks.

  35. 35
    Ron Chusid says:

    Rob,

    To add to the above, you show no comprehension of any political discussion outside of your narrow frame of defend Republicans/attack Democrats. As an independent I find that a total bore. You need to look at princples first, not altering the principles to fit the current positions of your party.

    Your responses totally confirm what I write about in this post about what has happened to the Republicans as the far right extremists took over the Republican Party. You consistently find rationalizations for Republican abuses of power and think that attacking Democrats is a meaningful response. You tactic is especailly lame as it is based upon misrepresentation of the views of others as opposed to dealing with actual views.

    You need to turn off the talk radio, stay away from the far right wing blogs, and start looking at the real world.

  36. 36
    Brett says:

    when arguing politics, physicians shouldn’t brag about their profession. Most doctors haven’t even reached the 18th century when it comes to political philosophy.

  37. 37
    Ron Chusid says:

    Brett,

    “Most doctors haven’t even reached the 18th century when it comes to political philosophy.”

    That might also apply to most professions as most people do not consider political philiosphy in much depth. In a discussion where right wingers bring up the usual scare tactics of “socialized medicine” it is meaningful to bring up direct experience in the area where they are babbling without understanding of the field.

    It is far more productive to base arguments on actual facts as opposed to broad generalizations. This includes the right wing claims that Democrats support socialized medicine and to claims about “most doctors.”

  38. 38
    Jared J. H. Catapano says:

    This one’s for you, tyranny!  Looks like Chavez is going the exact opposite of the Left.  Unbelievable…

    http://politic.ology.com/2009/02/16/recent-achievements-in-tyranny/

    -Jared J. H. Catapano (ology.com)

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