Blame the Media for the Koran-Burning Fiasco

September 12th, 2010 at 8:12 am | 42 Comments |

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African-Americans have often complained that when the media goes into a black neighborhood for a story, they always seem to find the biggest knucklehead in town to interview (See Dodson, Antoine), thereby leaving the impression that all African Americans are just like that guy.  If this is not the media’s outright intent, the argument goes, then it is certainly the result of inexcusable negligence.

I’m starting to understand what they mean.

Among many other problems with the story, as an Evangelical, the media’s creation of the Koran-burning fiasco is shamefully offensive, unfair, and dangerous.  The Reverend (?) Terry Jones has a vast throng of 50 followers—that’s fifty people, fewer than can be found at your local Denny’s at 4:00 PM.  His church, the Dove World Outreach Center (Outreach? Mission accomplished!), meets in a metal shack that doesn’t even look big enough to hold all 50 at once.  And Jones builds furniture to sell on eBay to make ends meet.  In other words, the man is a sad little hayseed with no significance whatsoever.

That is, not at least until his moronic Koran-burning stunt got picked up by the media and, well, you know the rest of the story.

Had this been someone with the stature and following of a Franklin Graham or Joel Osteen or Rick Warren, or if the media had shown that Jones’ views were commonplace among Evangelicals, this would have been a very real story.  Instead, the media used this idiot to make us look like ignorant bigots hell-bent on engaging in Nazi-like behavior simply to slake our desire to needlessly make Muslims angry.  No other explanation has been offered as to why Jones deserved all of this attention.  But now Muslims the world over have been exposed to “a Christian pastor” they can only assume is important promising to torch their holy book.  And as a result, those same Muslims only assume many—if not most—of American Christians think burning Korans is just awesome.

Thanks a lot, guys.  Really fine work.

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42 Comments so far ↓

  • BaldGuy

    “And Jones builds furniture to sell on eBay to make ends meet. In other words, the man is a sad little hayseed with no significance whatsoever.”

    Snarkiness for Jesus — how Christian of you. I’m no fan of Jones (or Evangelicalism as a whole, for that matter), but supporting a ministry with secular work was supposed to be a good thing (1 Thessalonians 2:9, Acts 20:33-35, etc.). And I thought Jesus was all about insignificant hayseeds, and overzealous ones at that? He certainly had his share among the twelve.

    The media did not “create” this story, as you state. The story was created by a professing Christian who believes that Muslims are inferior, theologically and morally — not based on study of their faith, but only on the actions of the extremists among the flock. Among Evangelicals (and politicians) he is certainly not alone. But the author seems to think that it is the epitome of persecution when this same standard is applied to the church by the media or anyone else outside the body of believers.

    “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

  • TerryF98

    Cult follower blames media for pumping a story about an even more deluded Cult follower! Popcorn.

  • rectonoverso

    Sure, blame the media for the existence of this fucktard.

    There is no doubt that sensationalism was the initial motivator for covering this story. In the end however it turned out to be a positive since it forced political and religious figures to take a stand and clearly state Kuran burning is un-American.

    In other words, a much needed call to reason in these toxic times.

  • sdspringy

    And who pumped the story, the MSM, or Drive by Media, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, all the Lib outlets overplayed the story.

    Where was the hated FoxNews, way down on the list of outlets pushing the story.

    And is it a important story?? Should the media hype every flag burning, crucifix in urine, Koran burning out there? Aren’t they all expression of our Freedom of Speech? American excising their Freedom of Speech is now News to the Liberal press??

    At least Obama did not feel the need for a Beer Summit.

  • Oldskool

    Inflammatory people like to make news and some yahoos even announce their plans. If pastor guy had kept it to himself and his flock they could have had their little campfire in the backyard without anyone else knowing. But he chose to turn it into a circus, giving interviews and spouting ignorance, claiming his god would want him to do it.

    Blaming the media in cases like this is just a handy canard certain people use whenever someone they identify with make jackasses of themselves.

    A reverse example of yours is Rodney King, a nobody until someone caught him on camera getting his ass kicked. And because the LA police had already been the source of complaints, the story took off.

  • midcon

    At one point in journalism history, the media was content to report the news. Most of the time the more salacious the better. At this point they, the media is more focused on making the news and in many cases being the news. While I am not an Obama hater, I am not a supporter either and it was clear to me as an independent that the media was driven to elect Obama. Unfortunately, most Americans get their information from the media rather than their own research. How many Americans actually read the health care bill or could even figure out how to get access to the entire bill? We are spoon fed what to care about by talking heads, talk show hosts, pundits, and even s0-called journalists to the point where we have no opinions of our own until we turn on our favorite whatever who informs us of what our thoughts and opinions should be. The individualistic independent American is extinct! Thank God we already won the West, because we sure couldn’t now days!

  • JeninCT

    If a Koran burned in the woods, and no one was there to photograph it, would it cause mass riots worldwide? No. So the author’s point is proved.

    However, if someone draws a cartoon about Mohammed and prints it in a newspaper, watch out. Worldwide riots!

    Part of the problem IS the media, the other part of the problem is that Muslims are easily offended tend to overreact.

  • Rabiner

    JeninCT:

    “If a Koran burned in the woods, and no one was there to photograph it, would it cause mass riots worldwide? No. So the author’s point is proved.”

    Are you naive enough to think that not one of the 50 followers wouldn’t of posted it on youtube?

    While the media may of overplayed the story there was legitimate issues regarding it dealing with national security. And the media didn’t start talking 24/7 about it until after Patreus spoke out against it as a security risk. That was a big story regardless of how it ‘painted’ evangelicals.

    I do find it humorous that the author mentions Franklin Graham and Pat Robertson who are idiots when speaking about Islam. Graham who apparently is convinced that anyone whose parents are of a religion that is passed down paternalistically must have the ‘seed’ of that religion. So that’s how President Obama is Muslim in his eyes. Pat Robertson who consistently fear mongers about Muslims and the imposing of Sharia law. The author may not want to go deeper in criticizing evangelicalism but it’s extremely asinine in its beliefs about ‘the other’.

  • SkepticalIdealist

    Well isn’t this the pot calling the kettle black? Collective punishment of Muslims for the attacks on 9-11? A-OK. The media putting some evangelicals in a bad light by interviewing a pastor that is symptomatic of the hate, bigotry, and idiocy directed at the Cordoba house? Foul play! I agree, why couldn’t they get Tony Perkins, Ralph Reed, or any number of other vile intellectual hit men to hide their hatred behind a veneer of technicalities, fancy words, and obfuscation that would give the appearance of solidity to pure wind?

    You can dress up hatred in a fancy suit and a white smile, but all you’re left with is David Duke. The only thing that really angers you about Pastor Terry Jones is that he lacks the tact and the subtlety of his more evolved socially conservative brethren. The core message is still the same: feed into the base fears of the most reactionary elements of American society, and make the majority feel like their rights are being trampled upon merely by virtue of the minority exercising its right to exist.

  • JeninCT

    Rabiner wrote:

    “Are you naive enough to think that not one of the 50 followers wouldn’t of posted it on youtube?”

    Um, no, I’m not. I was making a point using a play on words about the tree falling in the woods and whether or not it would make a sound if there was no one to hear it. But you already knew that. However, a Koran burning attended by a few people that was simply posted on Youtube wouldn’t generate the type of hysteria that the media generated by covering it ad nauseum.

  • JeninCT

    SkepticalIdealist wrote:

    “Collective punishment of Muslims for the attacks on 9-11? A-OK. The media putting some evangelicals in a bad light by interviewing a pastor that is symptomatic of the hate, bigotry, and idiocy directed at the Cordoba house? Foul play!”

    The media didn’t just interview a bigoted pastor, it became the lead story for a couple of days. THAT is the problem.

  • pampl

    “The author may not want to go deeper in criticizing evangelicalism but it’s extremely asinine in its beliefs about ‘the other’.”
    Let’s not tar all evangelicals with the same brush. It’s an enormous, world-wide movement.

  • Rabiner

    Pampl:

    “Let’s not tar all evangelicals with the same brush. It’s an enormous, world-wide movement.”

    If you wish not to have evangelicals painted with the same brush then you should choose your leaders more wisely. When large segments of the Evangelical population decide to follow Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Tony Perkins, and Franklin Graham then how else is one to come to a different conclusion? All of these ‘leaders’ have shown intolerance of the ‘other’ and consistently demonize them.

  • balconesfault

    springy wrote: And who pumped the story, the MSM, or Drive by Media, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, all the Lib outlets overplayed the story.

    You’re forgetting David Petraeus. Do you hate the troops?

    midcon: How many Americans actually read the health care bill or could even figure out how to get access to the entire bill?

    I would daresay that almost all Americans have not read in entirety virtually any of the bills that they choose to support or kvetch about. In fact, legislation is so complex that I don’t even expect any Congressperson to read in the entirety every bill – that’s what they have staffs filled with experienced and knowledgable professionals for, to go line by line through each bill for the exact legal implications of every clause and term that no Congressperson could do on their own were they the most devoted Evelyn Woods student.

    We must trust our elected representatives – that is the nature of a representative democracy. And that means we must trust our elected representatives to assemble staffs consisting of the best and brightest – that is the nature of having a government more complex than required for a town of 20,000 people.

    So sorry for the mini-rant – but that just seemed a silly question.

  • balconesfault

    Let’s face it – if it weren’t for the launching pad that this story had coming off of the Cordova House apoplexy being demonstrated very publicly by many many prominent evangelicals in America, it would have probably garnered little or no attention.

    As it is, evangelicals should be happy – it gave them a chance to draw a line in the sand …

    “We may be willing to countenance and rally behind some of the most offensive examples of religious bigotry seen in America in decades, but even WE have our limits!”

  • pampl

    Rabiner: I’m an atheist, so I’m not in charge of choosing Evangelical leaders. Even if I were an Evangelical, I wouldn’t be a Southern conservative, unlike every example you gave, so clearly I wouldn’t be represented by those “leaders”. You’re still tarring hundreds of millions around the world with the actions of a few high profile cases, which is no different than for example using Iranian imams to tar all Islam.

  • anniemargret

    jenin: “The media didn’t just interview a bigoted pastor, it became the lead story for a couple of days. THAT is the problem.”

    Couldn’t disagree more.

    The problem is that a supposed Christian minister decided to burn dozens of Qu’rans to emphasive what a ‘terrible religion’ it is and was willing to take death threats along with his colleagues to make the point.

    ANY American, in the woods or out, who are deliberately poking Muslims in the eyes while we are waging TWO wars should be called out on it. I’m glad the media reported the incident. Rabiner is correct. There is nothing today that can be hidden. In point of fact, this man wanted everyone to hear his message and he got it. What he didn’t realize, of course, is that the entire Pentagon and SecDef and President and SecState were going to come down on him…hard. As they should .

    The problem lies with right wing nuts – who are insistent on provoking hate and fear under the guise of ‘Christianity.” If there is a Middle Eastern WWIII, we will know where to put the blame.

  • anniemargret

    Franklin Graham is odious. He ought to be ashamed of himself.

    The only true Christians left in this country are the Quakers.

  • pampl

    As long as we’re assigning groups blame for bad individuals, the Quakers have to answer for Nixon

  • anniemargret

    Rabiner: One of the reasons I no longer embrace organized religion (Catholicism) is the notion that only one religion can be the path to spirituality and God.

    The notion that Christianity is the one, true, religion is one that is still taught in schools and churches in this country and around the world. Very few students learn comparative religions, which of course, adds in a bit of ignorance to boot.

    But the notion is the problem. If a person believes only THEY can find a direct link to God, then it is no surprise that these “christian’ leaders like Graham, Robertson, Perkins, etc… find it necessary to point out the inadequacies of other religions.

    And it leads to hate. It leads to violence. A pox on them all.
    PS: The only spokesman from the religious corner these days speaking out loudly on this subject is Rev Wallis of Sojourners. He’s at least is trying to push back against religious fascists.

  • anniemargret

    pampl: Touche! ;-)

  • JeninCT

    anniemargaret wrote:

    “The problem lies with right wing nuts – who are insistent on provoking hate and fear under the guise of ‘Christianity.” If there is a Middle Eastern WWIII, we will know where to put the blame.”

    Nonsense. The blame lies with those who will riot and murder because they are offended.

  • anniemargret

    And why would they be ‘offended?’ Perhaps because there is now a raging Islamophobia pervading the right wing of the Republican party. They won’t be happy until they see the uprising and more violence. Then they can ‘prove’ they were right.

    Nope . If cooler heads prevail, we will contain the extremists without engaging a billion Muslims. Or if the Islamophobes have their day, welcome to WWIII. You cannot use hateful, inciteful rhetoric or taunting and then think it will have no consequences. What we are seeing now is a pervasive mocking and taunting of all Muslims….and very dangerous…..and very stupid… course to take.

  • jakester

    Blame the messenger for the message, that has gotten to be the standard con-tard refrain for so long. God they need some new scripts and slogans.

  • freedomrings

    NPR’s On the Media had a story this week saying that the burning was big news in the muslim media weeks before it was picked up in the US. Petraeus’ statement was largely in response to their coverage, not the US media.

    That being said, it wouldn’t have been such a big deal in the US except that it was a sensational story that fit nicely into the narrative following the cordoba house fiasco. People taking steps in the direction of intolerance shouldn’t be surprised if their news narrative takes into account the direction they’re walking. As someone above said, palin and the rest should be happy that this gave them an opportunity to draw a line in the sand

  • ggore

    The Fred Phelps Westboro Baptist Church loons in Topeka, Kansas have been doing Koran burnings for years, and the media has wisely decided those people are crazy enough to not bother covering them. Now I would hope they decide this guy in Florida is just another ignorant fool with no followers and should deserve the same treatment.

  • JeninCT

    anniemargaret wrote: “And why would they be ‘offended?’ Perhaps because there is now a raging Islamophobia pervading the right wing of the Republican party. ”

    You are naive to think this is merely an American right wing problem. Haven’t you been paying attention to what’s been happening in Europe?

  • anniemargret

    Who cares about Europe? Isn’t that what right wingers say all the time?

    I care about *this* country. I care about the fact that there is a hyping up of anti-Muslim fever with hateful rhetoric or at least, suspicion, that will lead to more hate and violence. Bet on it.

    Words matter.

    If Americans won’t be part of the solution, they become part of the problem.

  • anniemargret

    ggore: Actually I think it is much better for these fools to be highlighted. Americans need to know who among them are the instigators. The reason Pastor Jones finally backed down was because he was made to realize the severity of what he was trying to accomplish.

    This is an important dialogue for Americans . We are involved in two wars, and despite the one slowing down now, our imprint is on the Middle East forever. How do we accomplish our goals? Is our goal to restore peace in the world, lead the world into peace? If so, then we keep our eyes on the extremists only. We engage moderates in the Muslim world to work with us, not against us. We respect our own American Muslims who also died on 9/11 and were first responders.

    We do not tolerate hate-speech in whatever form it takes. The backlash against Pastor Jones was good. It opened up that Pandora’s box for everyone to see. Most Americans understood the dangers. The man opened himself up for excoriation and disrespect. So let the other ‘Qu’ran-burners’ come forward. Let’s see who they are. Let’s see who the race/culture/religious baiters are.

    Then we can decide as a nation if this the route we will take. Because hate rhetoric has consequences. The history of the world proves that.

  • jabbermule

    anniemargaret: “And why would they be ‘offended?’ Perhaps because there is now a raging Islamophobia pervading the right wing of the Republican party.”

    Read this Washington Post article from yesterday, and when you’re finished I would appreciate if you refrained from characterizing conservatives as bigots and racists in the future:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/10/AR2010091002679.html?referrer=emailarticle

  • anniemargret

    Jabbermule: I do not think all conservatives are bigots and racists. I never said that. Please do not put words in my mouth . I do not subscribe to the some/fall fallacy.

    However, I think conservatism has been co-opted by the extremists and extremist talk. How do you then, explain the rise of Palin/Beck/Limbaugh, all of whom were race-baiters and culture warriors?

    Where was the outcry from those conservatives in high positions of power against these voices of extremism? Very few, if any, politicians of power on the conservative side spoke out against them, even when the Tea Party had members holding up despicable racists signs? If conservatives want to change the image that America has, then it is their job to revoke the extremists in their midst. If they do not do that, choosing instead to ignore it then they are enablers.

    Islamophobia is coming from the right, not the left. Anti-Muslim fervor is coming from the right, not the left. Culture warriors come from the right, not the left. The ‘real America’ crowd comes from the right, not the left. The Tea Party still reveres Palin and Beck. Sorry, I have no respect for those two extremists who have fanned the flames of resentment, fear and division among Americans.

    Have you listened to Newt Gingrich lately?

  • jabbermule

    anniemargret: “How do you then, explain the rise of Palin/Beck/Limbaugh, all of whom were race-baiters”

    Judging by your post, it’s clear you didn’t read the article. You have no answer for a sound, principled argument for conservatism, therefore you resort to cheap tactics like calling your political opposition “racist.” But, I suppose if you employ enough mental gymnastics, you can ascribe a racist intent behind the call for any change in current government policy. With that in mind, please explain to me how the following ideas are “racist”:

    1) Limited government through adherence to the Constitution
    2) Support of free market capitalism
    3) Fiscal responsibility

  • Rabiner

    jabbermule:

    They aren’t racist ideas but they sure are so damn generic that they mean nothing when attempting to create legislation.

  • jabbermule

    Rabiner // Sep 13, 2010 at 1:49 pm:

    “They aren’t racist ideas but they sure are so damn generic that they mean nothing when attempting to create legislation.”

    We’re getting off-topic, but here you go:

    1) Limited government through adherence to the Constitution:
    Stop big government nanny-state entitlement spending. We have a social safety net already; now, let people decide if they’re going to be successful or not without government interference…that’s the essence of freedom. Also, make current tax policy permanent.
    2) Support of free market capitalism:
    End the adversarial relationship between government and business by adopting a low tax, low regulation, pro-growth strategy for business. Why do you think businesses are fleeing California and flocking to places like Texas and Utah? Also, end corporate welfare in order to stimulate entrepreneurship and keep everyone on a level playing field.
    3) Fiscal responsibility:
    Introduce a balanced budget amendment, and stop spending more than we have.

    Happy?

  • Rabiner

    Jabbermule:

    Happy that you gave specifics. Pretty funny all three generic slogans have to do with tax cuts in the end.

    What does ‘make current tax policy permanent’ and limited government through the adherence to the Constitution have in common? Nothing since taxes are Constitutional. If we let those tax cuts expire they’re still Constitutional.

    But lets say you make those tax cuts permanent and you adopt a balanced budget amendment (which is stupid to begin with), then you have to cut that social safety net that you mention already exists and military spending to boot. Not that I’m against reducing the size of the military however.

    Business has low taxes, the problem is complicated tax codes. I think regulations are just fine as is, what regulations are so problematic? Perhaps you should change this to ‘laissez faire’ capitalism.

  • JeninCT

    jabbermule wrote:

    anniemargret: “How do you then, explain the rise of Palin/Beck/Limbaugh, all of whom were race-baiters”

    “Judging by your post, it’s clear you didn’t read the article. You have no answer for a sound, principled argument for conservatism, therefore you resort to cheap tactics like calling your political opposition “racist.””

    jabbermule, anniemargaret simply prefers to whine about Palin and Beck and paint the entire right wing with the same broad brush, even though she has no idea what they’ve said beyond a few soundbites because doesn’t read anything that might possibly enlighten her.

    And annie, you should care what’s happening in Europe, because it will be here shortly and doesn’t need a visa.

  • jabbermule

    Rabiner // Sep 13, 2010 at 3:11 pm:

    “What does ‘make current tax policy permanent’ and limited government through the adherence to the Constitution have in common?”

    Limited government is the key phrase. Lower taxation > the government has less money > the government does less and lives within its means. The size and scope of government is inversely proportional to how much freedom we have, and a government with less money is a smaller government.

    “But lets say you make those tax cuts permanent and you adopt a balanced budget amendment (which is stupid to begin with)”

    And what exactly is so stupid about expecting our government to live within its means? You do it, I do it, and we should expect no less of our elected officials. I’m tired of politicians ‘kicking the can down the road’ when it comes to deficit spending and the national debt.

    “…you have to cut that social safety net that you mention already exists”

    No, you don’t. That’s your interpretation, not mine—I merely want the government to stop expanding the welfare state.

    “Not that I’m against reducing the size of the military however.”

    Neither am I.

    “Business has low taxes, the problem is complicated tax codes.”

    You just made an argument for a flat tax with no allowable deductions.

    “I think regulations are just fine as is, what regulations are so problematic?”

    Perhaps you should come to California and try to get a job. Companies are fleeing this state because of the regulatory environment.

  • anniemargret

    jabbermule, Jenin:

    So what’s that again? We should read the voice of reason in the WaPo article of ‘sound, principled conservatism’ but then try to weigh it against the likes of a Newt Gingrich? A Newt Gingrich, professor, smart, supposedly intelligent, who is now race-baiting and addressing the lowest common denominator to win votes?

    That is your problem. It is not me, with ‘sound bites’ but the fact that Republicans policy issues are being driven into the gutter. I would say the ‘sound bites’ are emanating from within, and they sure don’t sound pretty.

    btw…jenin…for someone who likes Palin and when asked why says ‘I just like her’ – it is a little baffling that you would accuse me of ‘sound bites!’

    Frankly, I DO know some common sense conservatives and I hope and wish their voices can rise above the nastier tones that everyone is hearing and reading since Obama took office. I happen to think that this country benefits when we have less division and some cooperation from both parties.. then the people win, and not just the politicians.

  • Rabiner

    jabbermule:

    “You just made an argument for a flat tax with no allowable deductions.”

    Actually I would make the argument for a VAT instead of business taxes since you can’t hide income in overseas accounts with a VAT like you can with the current business taxes.

    “Perhaps you should come to California and try to get a job. Companies are fleeing this state because of the regulatory environment.”

    You mean the State I’ve lived in all my life? The biggest problem with California’s government is Prop 13 and the 2/3rd requirement to pass a budget. At least the second of these problems may change with the upcoming elections since there is a ballot initiative to fix it.

    “And what exactly is so stupid about expecting our government to live within its means? You do it, I do it, and we should expect no less of our elected officials. I’m tired of politicians ‘kicking the can down the road’ when it comes to deficit spending and the national debt.”

    I’d rather our government have the ability to deal with large unforeseen issues without having the Constitution dictate draconian cuts. How would a Balanced Budget Amendment work when WW2 happened? Raise taxes on everyone to pay for it right then and there? When there was no real commerce anyways since we mobilized for total war? The Balanced Budget Amendment sounds nice until you look at the practicality of it. It has nothing to do with me not wanting government to balance the budget and reduce our national debt but I don’t want to hamstring government to deal with large scale problems that arise.

    “No, you don’t. That’s your interpretation, not mine—I merely want the government to stop expanding the welfare state.”

    You’re been unrealistic. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Veterans Affairs and Interest on the debt comprise 61% of our 2010 FY budget. This also happens to be roughly what is expected to be our revenues for this year as well. So everything afterwards would need to be cut including every dollar on our military to balance the budget while maintaining those tax cuts you want to make permanent. So Lets see, you wouldn’t cut any of our entitlements, maintain the tax cuts and somehow balance the budget? When you wake up from the dream get back to me on how that’s done.

  • jabbermule

    Rabiner // Sep 13, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    “You’re been unrealistic. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Veterans Affairs and Interest on the debt comprise 61% of our 2010 FY budget. This also happens to be roughly what is expected to be our revenues for this year as well. So everything afterwards would need to be cut including every dollar on our military to balance the budget while maintaining those tax cuts you want to make permanent. So Lets see, you wouldn’t cut any of our entitlements, maintain the tax cuts and somehow balance the budget? When you wake up from the dream get back to me on how that’s done.”

    Thanks for making my point for me. Our entitlement state has grown to the point to where we can’t afford it any longer, and now the Democrats want to add more to it?

    Just where do you think the money comes from to pay for all these government programs? Here, let me save you the trouble: it’s called taxation of a robust private sector. Yet, while the private sector in this country is in the toilet, Obama ignores it completely and prefers to continue spending money we don’t have on more and more entitlements, more infrastructure, saving public employee unions—if you’ve ever studied business on any level, you would understand that these are all cost initiatives and add no wealth whatsoever to GDP.

    So, what do we do? Continue to bury ourselves in debt by doubling down on all the things that got us here in the first place? Increase the national debt to the point that we can’t even pay the interest and our bond rating as a nation sinks to B-?

    Just who in the hell do you think is going to pay for all this shit with which we’ve been spoiling ourselves as a nation for the last god damned 50 years?

  • jabbermule

    Rabiner // Sep 13, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    “You mean the State I’ve lived in all my life? The biggest problem with California’s government is Prop 13…”

    By the way, I agree with you on Prop 13—effing disaster. Not the only thing wrong with the state, but that’s a conversation for another time.

  • Rabiner

    jabbermule:

    I don’t see how I’m making your point for you since you said specifically: “No, you don’t. That’s your interpretation, not mine—I merely want the government to stop expanding the welfare state.” So clearly you didn’t say that you’d cut current entitlements yet say that because I showed how they’re unsustainable under current taxation rates that I’m making your point for you? Makes no sense.

    ” Yet, while the private sector in this country is in the toilet, Obama ignores it completely and prefers to continue spending money we don’t have on more and more entitlements, more infrastructure, saving public employee unions—if you’ve ever studied business on any level, you would understand that these are all cost initiatives and add no wealth whatsoever to GDP”

    I’ll take issue with your comment regarding infrastructure and public employee unions (aka teachers, firefighters, and police officers). Infrastructure and eduction actually add wealth to GDP long term as they increase the human capital of the workforce and spur commerce by having better functioning roads and other infrastructure types (electric grids, sewage treatment, water desalination, and so on). The entitlements are questionable since you can be referring to unemployment benefits which do not add wealth or health care reform which can cause workers to be healthier and thus more productive.

    I’m personally fine with higher taxes for the current level of services being provided. If we’re going to provide them, I figure paying for them is a good idea. Especially considering taxes are at historic lows.

    I am curious however about why you oppose Prop 13. I have a few issues with it. First it makes California overly reliant on income taxes and other fees for revenue which makes their income stream fluctuate too much depending on the business cycle. Secondly it discourages new investment since it creates barriers to entry for business. I’m torn on the Residential property portion of Prop 13 but I think it keeps people from leaving their current dwelling since it then forces people to either pay market rate property taxes if they move or their extremely below market rate property taxes on their current property.