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  • Murderers of the Middle Class

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on May 8th, 2012 (All posts by )

    I was reading about an aspect of the composite New York girlfriend which our current President incorporated in that gracefully luminescent autobiography which apparently very few people read, when I was reminded yet again of how much I despise Bill Ayers. Yep, that Bill Ayers, wanna-be terrorist, influential educationist, neighbor and apparently BFF with said president. My daughter has a word (or several, actually) for people like him, of which the mildest is ‘hipster douchbag.’ It seems that some of the elements of the composite girlfriend have something in common with the girlfriend of Bill Ayers in his bomb-throwing days … the one whose skills at bomb-making were – shall we say – somewhat less than skilled?

    Diana Oughton – like Mr. Ayers and some of his other confreres – came from an embarrassingly well-to-do family. They pleased and amused themselves four decades ago by messing around with violent revolution, bank robbery and the inexpert assembly of high-explosive devices, presumably for the benefit of the working class, the poor, the proletariat, or whatever Marxist euphemism it pleased them to label the recipients of their beneficence. The bomb, which exploded prematurely in March of 1970 in a Greenwich Village townhouse, was made of roofing nails and dynamite stuffed into a length of water pipe; the intended target was a dance at the Fort Dix NCO club.

    Wrap your mind around that for a moment: a bomb, intended to kill as many military NCOs and their dates as possible. This was the time of the draft of American males, and so a fair number of the military personnel targeted may assume to have been men, of sufficient expertise (however unwillingly they might have begun their career in the military) to have had achieved NCO status. Which is no mean thing; generally in the American military, NCOs are the ones who keep things going, who know where everything is, and the really good ones are tapped into a network of their peers, who maintain a kind of equality among themselves. It is an equality of mutual ability and respect, a web of obligation and professional courtesy. It keeps the whole thing running – this network of NCOS. They are just high enough up on the ladder to have responsibility, control and a great deal of latitude in carrying out their duties. Officers have professional responsibility and oversight; but the saying was in the Air Force was that the NCOs ran the place and the officers just thought they did. These are the people that Bill Ayers and his merry band of Weathermen wanted to kill, although I am sure that they told themselves it was because they were part of the war-making machinery behind the popular establishment.

    The NCOs of the larger world – they are the middle class. They are the skilled those who do, the hustlers, who have their hands on the control levers day to day, no matter if they work for themselves, or a larger enterprise. They are a little up from the factory floor, but not in the corner office. They are the owners of small businesses, or working supervisors, as the Air Force professional literature used to describe it. The middle class: not the dependent proles, a thin hair and a paycheck away from disaster, with little leisure or income to spare on the larger matters of the mind, culture or community. They are also not the officer class, the upper classes, with a comfortable cushion of income and property, or even the aristocratic class. Come what may, our American aristocratic class has the means of riding out whatever economic storms may come.

    And one way or another, our American aristocratic class in the media and intellectual circles seem to hate the middle class. Hate them, despise them with every fiber of their being; the ostensible reason is for being square, dull, conforming, suburban hypocrites, (although as a member of the NCO suburban middle class I haven’t found much of that dreaded and much-advertised power-to-conformity on offer. Maybe I just live in the wrong suburbs, but I have never found it so, anywhere I lived since childhood). The working middle class and slightly-above-them supervisory-middle-class and independent-business-owner middle class are also roundly condemned by all the right-thinking intelligentsia for having things, and wanting to live in detached houses with a bit of yard, for liking the utility of large motor vehicles, for wanting to make their own decisions about who they live next to, the schools their children go to, their religious beliefs. Our would-be aristocrats hate the middle class for all kinds of offenses, although I suspect that the real crime of the middle class is our failure to be biddable, and because we are absolutely essential to a well-adjusted and functioning democracy.

    The substantial and prosperous middle classes built creative and technologically advanced societies throughout Western Europe, starting with the Dutch and the English, and moving on to America, to the disgust and dismay of aristocrats – and that includes the traditional blood aristocrats, and the new kind from the 20th century, whose will to power over their fellow citizens knows no bounds. The independent middle class was then and is now most certainly a threat to the power exercised by aristocrats of the blood and the ideology. One can’t help but notice that in the grim swathe cut across Russia, Cuba, Eastern Europe, Africa, Cuba, Cambodia and South America by the ideological fathers of the Weather Underground, the first order of business was the destruction of the successful middle class … either by impoverishing them utterly, or actual physical destruction.

    Oh, the new aristocratic class – no matter what they call themselves, or how they justify their ideology and their actions – at the core of it is their own conviction that all power should reside in the hands of the elite, the aristocrats, themselves. It’s the same old will to power, to have ulimited authority over others … and the middle class stands in the way. Gut the middle class; destroy the American republic as we know it. To destroy the republic; reduce the middle class – it’s as easy as that. And that is why I despise Bill Ayers and his fellow travelers: They were never for the people … they were only for themselves as the new aristocrats, draped in revolutionary theory, instead of purple robes.

    (Crossposted at www.ncobrief.com)

     

    47 Responses to “Murderers of the Middle Class”

    1. ErisGuy Says:

      America has suffered from the rage of privileged class since the generation of Alger Hiss decided Communism was the way to stay in power. Oughton and Ayers were following a well-trod path, if a tad more violently.

    2. tdaxp Says:

      I often agree with your posts, but here I need to strongly disagree.

      The draft is the enslavement (or more techniqually, the reduction to bondaged labor, involuntary servitude) by one part of the population to another.

      It is an evil institution.

      Drafted NCOs are those who decided to actively cooperate with the slavers in exchange for better working conditions.

      I’m not for the murder of any slaves. They no more deserved death than the Jewish Councillors in the Nazi ghettos.

      But attacking the institution of slavery — attackign those who hold slaves in bondage — is hardly an attack on the middle class.

    3. Michael Kennedy Says:

      Diane Oughton was the grand daughter of a successful patent medicine manufacturer whose plant was in Dwight. He eventually developed a residential care facility for patients who were addicted to drugs and alcohol. And various other more vague ailments. After she was killed, we used to visit the place frequently on trips downstate when we would visit family sites in the area, because there was a nice restaurant in the old mansion. The very polite man who seated us and ran the restaurant was Diane’s father, a rather sad man but one who was always polite. The estate was a ruin except for the big house with the restaurant and we have many photos of my kids and my sister’s kids wandering around the grounds in the 80s when we were frequent visitors. I haven’t been there since my mother died in 2011 and don’t know if the restaurant is still there. I doubt Mr Oughton is. Few of the customers knew who he was.

    4. LS Says:

      I always find it interesting that some of the most destructive radicals are unsatisfied rich kids, whether they’re Ayers or bin Laden.

    5. tomw Says:

      Tdaxp: But attacking the institution of slavery — attackign those who hold slaves in bondage — is hardly an attack on the middle class.

      Read it again. How does murdering NCO’s and their spouses/dates attack an institution of ‘slavery’?
      It attacks the people of the middle class, literally.
      The supposed ‘slaveholders’ would be the politicians that enacted the laws you seemingly disapprove of.

      That said, to hear Ayers pronounce the snotty phrase “guilty as sin and free as a bird”, rubbing the noses of the legal system in a mess of their own making is just too much from the man that casually discussed establishment of ‘re-education camps’ and the murder of those who would not be re-educated. He should be brought up on federal civil rights charges and have is ‘pension’ negated.
      The man who was sooo against the establishment living on a public pension is irony on stilts.
      tom

    6. Anonymous Says:

      NCOs…see this rerun of a post from the late Neptunus Lex: Chief Petty Officers.

    7. David Foster Says:

      Anon was me

    8. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

      .>> the saying was in the Air Force was that the NCOs ran the place and the officers just thought they did.

      My own interpretation (based on extensive reading and zero military service, so I grasp it may be worth nothing) is that the officers do the philosophical and high-falutin’ side of things — why war, and what to do in the grand sense of things. The NCOs are the ones who do the day-to-day work of carrying out what they decide to do.

      In corporations, it’s the distinction between an executive board of directors and the day to day operations people.

      I get the impression is that a good team is an intelligent officer willing to listen to what his NCO tells him to do, but smart enough to figure out the limits of the abilities of both of them, so as to select carefully which direction to go when there is a difference of opinion — To wit, “which is worth more in ‘this’ instance — book learning or prior experience?”

    9. Bill Brandt Says:

      I am at work so I can’t give the time our own in-house NCO deserves on her article (will do this evening) but wanted to comment on our NCOs – Robert Kaplan wrote 2 excellent books on our military – one – on the Army and Marines and the other on the Air Force and Navy – Google him in Amazon (trying to change a bit bit of software now – but 2 take home points (he had others but 2 that stuck in my mind:

      1. What has made our military so exceptional is the quality of our NCOs and how they function.

      2. What has made our Navy exceptional is its ability to resupply at sea.

      Got to get back to work now –

    10. David Foster Says:

      “Fancy what a game of chess would be if all the chessman had passions and intellects, more or less small and cunning; if you were not only uncertain about your adversary’s men, but a little uncertain also about your own . . . You would be especially likely to be beaten if you depneded arrogantly on your mathematical imagination, and regarded your passionate pieces with contempt. Yet this imaginary chess is easy compared with a game man has to play against his fellow-men with other fellow-men for instruments.”

      –George Eliot, from Felix Holt the Radical

      Obama, and those who think like him, really have problems with the fact that the chessmen have passions and intellects, and would much prefer to play conventional chess to the realistic human game described by Eliot.

      During the run-up to the last election, some media type was talking about Obama’s wonderful ability “to play 3-dimensional chess.” I’ve never seen any evidence that Obama is particularly good at 2-dimensional chess, let alone the 3-D kind, but if he were that would be almost irrelevant to real executive skill, which requires understanding Eliot’s point.

      The hostility and contempt for the middle class…especially the lower middle class…is closely tied to the belief that *doing* is trivial, and that one can be a thinker, directing the doing performed by lesser minds, without having oneself ever been a doer or having any substantive understanding of the work to be done.

    11. tdaxp Says:

      Tomw,

      “The supposed ‘slaveholders’ would be the politicians that enacted the laws you seemingly disapprove of.”

      Yes, you are correct.

      Draft-eras NCOs are hardly the power elite.

      Nor were the slave-supervisors in the American South.

    12. Bill Brandt Says:

      I have always believed that what makes America exceptional is its middle class – and the ease of moving up – look at most of the wealthy – they were middle class.

      With few individual exceptions there is no “leisure class” in America.

      I wouldn’t call Ayers and his ilk “intellectuals” but pseudo intellectuals – most of the leftist revolutions – Castro, Lenin – have all been comfortably middle class “fighting for the worker” – whether the worker wants their help or not.

      And I believe Obama is disdainful of the middle class – he is more influenced by Ayers than his handlers (and MSM) want you to know.

      But his policies – and what they are doing – can’t be hidden.

    13. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

      >>> I suspect that the real crime of the middle class is our failure to be biddable

      LOLZ, reminds me of this classic strip:

      The Emergency Monarch System

      In case you’re unfamiliar with the word in this context.

      >>> But attacking the institution of slavery — attackign those who hold slaves in bondage — is hardly an attack on the middle class.

      Believe me, I’m being polite to say, when you make apologies for these SOBs, you class yourself as the same kind of despicable swine they are.

      Attacking men and women who serve their country — voluntarily or involuntarily — to say nothing of those who happen to be associated with them who are not in the military — is evil, pure and simple.

      >>> The supposed ‘slaveholders’ would be the politicians that enacted the laws you seemingly disapprove of.

      Exactly. But that’s far more risky — attacking the power elite is dangerous as all f***. Then you get not just the police but the fbi, the cia, the nsa, and a host of other alphabet police coming after your lousy stinking ass.

      It would be an honest attack on “the system”, if you chose to make one. But it would take balls to do it, and, let’s face it, these scum-sucking pigs have none whatsoever.

      >>> the man that casually discussed establishment of ‘re-education camps’ and the murder of those who would not be re-educated.

      Let us not forget the numbers involved for those who could not be “re-educated” — and which were openly discussed as being on the order of 25 MILLION people or more, out of a national population of about 225 million, or 1 in 9. This ambulatory %$$#&&%## humaniform sack of excreta was advocating not just murder but GENOCIDE. There is a special place in Hell waiting for this bastard.

      “Just leave me alone with him for ten minutes… while you’re running for the doctor and the priest… ten minutes, that’s all I ask.”

    14. Gringo Says:

      Even if Bill Ayers had never involved himself in the Weathermen bombings, he still would be considered a despicable person. In 1974 Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn were two of the four coauthors of the 1974 work Prairie Fire, which advocated dictatorship of the proletariat for the US. The book was dedicated to a number of “political prisoners,” among which was Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin of Robert Kennedy. Dedicate a book to Robert Kennedy’s assassin. Yup, that’s the ticket.

      Nor has Billy Boy learned much in the ensuing decades. The 1970s cheerleader for dictatorship of the proletariat morphed in to a cheerleader for Thugo Chávez’s dictatorship in Venezuela. Long live the Bolivarian Robolution! Yeah, right.

      Ditto his wife Bernadine.

    15. Ginny Says:

      this is great – beautifully put – but sad. I don’t know how far back it goes. The sixties’ “philosophy” (ah, sometimes scare quotes are appropriate) came out of communism; I’ve known few communists (and occasinally you ran into one then and even now who self-identifies) that weren’t exactly the kind of people who wanted to talk about the best restaurants and the best wine, the best handbags and “style.” That aside, though, it does go back to romanticism and Rousseau and Godwin. It is idiotic. It should be satirized. And still they take themselves seriously and destroy as they slouch through life.

    16. Amerigo Vespucci Says:

      Ayers was a fringe character who, when he grew up, remained on the political margins within the education niche. The suggestion that he had much to do with what’s become of America’s middle class is without foundation.
      Globalization, de-unionization and banking deregulation are what happened to the American middle class…

    17. Amerigo Vespucci Says:

      Banking deregulation in that the “freedom” of investment banks to pile on collateralized debt obligations at 30-to-1 leverage led to a collapse that in turn froze credit, in turn causing a much more severe, more prolonged dive in housing prices than would have otherwise been the case.
      Ayers? Nothing to do with it. He’s a strawman if there ever was one…

    18. Michael Kennedy Says:

      Ayres was a rich boy who thought he was smarter than the rest of us and got away with stuff because of his rich father, influential in Chicago far past the point of such a person in any other city (unless he were black). The Weathermen had almost no discernible effect on US society.

      NCOs and chief petty officers make their services run. The great different between the German army and the armies they faced was the high quality of their noncoms. This affects things at the squad and platoon level which is where war takes place. Only submarines and bombers are officer directed, Most German and Japanese fight pilots were NCOs.

      The banking industry was severely affected by two factors. One was the erosion of standards for lending that came from the CRA, courtesy of the Democrats. Banks were told to lend money to non-credit worthy applicants because they were seen as privileged classes by being minorities. This policy was enforced by ACORN and other pressure groups with lawsuits. The second force was the artificially lowered interest rates. This was Greenspan policy to keep the markets inflated,. They wanted a bubble to take the place of the internet bubble which popped in 2000. The people who were writing mortgages were dissociated from the peoplele who would service them through the 30 years of repayment. Nobody cared if they were repaid. They were quickly sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on the “greater fool” theory. I’ve been around for a long time and cannot recall a time like 2005-2008. It was an anomaly like no other, TARP was almost as bad a one but the customer was allowed to go broke. The financial institutions were protected and these has fueled a lot of there resentment since.

      If I had seen in time what was happening, I could have made some money from the situation but it was unique and, therefor, hard to visualize. Of course, the market forces were distorted by politics. GM should have been allowed to go bankrupt, Some of the banks should have done the same and the assets auctioned off to ascertain their true value. Now, we have zombie banks like Japan had the past 20 years, kept alive to avoid admission of failure.

      I hope Romney will have the guts and the support in Congress to unwind this mess. I just can’t see Obama passing the smell test.

    19. Bill Brandt Says:

      Something I read from a tribute blog to Neptunus Lex (I have the URL at home) – he wrote of their NCOs (was it linked here? A memory is a terrible thing to waste ;-) ) – anyway I had forgotten – the Navy at E7 and above – a Sgt First Class in the Army?) – they have different uniforms – Chief Petty Officers?

      Lex wrote a wonderful piece on the value of those CPOs and how they run the Navy –

      You are right about the German Army and NCOs MK – it is also what makes our military exceptional. And GM should have been allowed to let their policies of the last 40 years come to fruition.

      But there I suspect I am preaching to the choir ;-)

    20. tdaxp Says:

      @IGotBupkis,

      While your description of me as “Swine” is hardly useful to anyone as such, it is an indication you’re incapable of making (or unwilling to make) a rational argument in support of your beliefs, and instead resort to ad hominem attacks.

      @ChicagoBoyzModerators,

      How do you expect to have a reasoned discussions when comments like @IGotBupkis’s are not deleted? Who wants to waste time with that kind of nonsense?

    21. Jonathan Says:

      IGBupkis, let’s keep the discussion civil and not personal.

      Tdaxp, you posted provocative comments, which is fine, but if you do this you should expect that some people will respond harshly. Maybe they shouldn’t but why let some anonymous commenter push your buttons?

    22. Sgt. Mom Says:

      Because I believe deleting comments is a slippery slope, and resort to it rarely and only in extreme circumstances. You are free to debate or fling chairs at each other … or just scroll down past each other’s comments. This is a free country still, and this is a blog … not a university campus.

    23. tdaxp Says:

      Jonathan, Sgt. Mom,

      Well said, both of you. :-)

      Because I enjoy thinking about topics, some of which are emotionally loaded, people unable or unwilling to rationally discuss those subjects just waste my time, hence my policey on trolls at my own blog. Of course, this is site is yours, and a much more permissive policy toward idiotic namecalling is acceptable, too. :-)

    24. Michael Kennedy Says:

      Someone who equates defending your country to slavery does not deserve a reply so I ignored that post. It seemed to be bait for intemperate responses, which it got. I spent my time in the Air Force and wasn’t all that happy about it, especially when I was pulled out of medical school in 1961, but I consider anyone making the “slavery argument” to be a fool.

    25. Percy Dovetonsils Says:

      Banking deregulation in that the “freedom” of investment banks to pile on collateralized debt obligations at 30-to-1 leverage…

      I keep hearing this, and I keep wondering; what exact regulation(s) was/were turned over to allow this activity? Seriously – the only major regulatory changes I can think of over the past 30 years is the end of the Glass-Steagal’s prohibition against banks doing investment banking, and the allowance of interstate banking on a widespread basis. Not sure how either of these led to the evil “30-to-1 leverage” mentioned.

      However, a very strong case could be made that investment banking’s shift from a partnership structure (where partners were on the hook for losses) to a publicly-traded structure (where it’s the shareholders’ money on the line) led to excessive risk-taking. When it’s your partnership stake on the line, you’ll be a hell of a lot more cautious than if you can just stick the shareholders with the losses.

      Michael, you noted the “Greenspan put,” in the form of sustained low interest rates after the Internet bubble. One thing no one ever, ever mentions is how this led to the construction of sub-primes, CDOs, SIVs, and the rest of the financial engineering structures. These that were created to meet customer demand for yield in a low-rate environment. If rates weren’t so artificially low, you wouldn’t have had this demand.

      People always harp about the “greedy bankers” who created this stuff – well, they did so in response to the demand by such scoundrels as pension funds and endowment managers. “Greed” goes both ways.

    26. Mike Doughty Says:

      Well, thinking about a topic is one thing, and making idiotic comments about it is quite another. When you make idiotic comments, you shouldn’t be surprised to be called an idiot. After all, actions DO have consequences. I’m a rather temperate guy, but the slavery comment pushed my buttons, too.

      “This is a blog … not a university campus”. Excellent…..I do believe that wins the prize for the day.

    27. tomw Says:

      Percy Dovetonsils:People always harp about the “greedy bankers” who created this stuff – well, they did so in response to the demand by such scoundrels as pension funds and endowment managers. “Greed” goes both ways.

      Yes, the bankers created this krep, and sold it as Grade AAA or similar securities with gilt edging and all… The bond rating institutions went along for the ride… with none of their skin in the game.
      I’d like to have a car that goes 80mph and gets 100 mpg. Let’s get the bank to create one of them. After all, people are greedy and want things…
      Come to think of it, where’s my flying car, by the way?
      So now pension funds and endowment managers are scoundrels? I think the investment bankers are the scoundrels, along with the raters.
      Additionally, why in Gods name are Fanny and Freddie hooked to the Guvmint at all? Who owns them? Sure isn’t the FedGov. Some how we have privatized the reward and publified(??) the risk. {IDK the word, but the meaning should be clear} I could add the USPS being under Congressional control while it is NOT a gov’t entity. What’s up with that???

      tom

    28. Percy Dovetonsils Says:

      Oh, Tom… note that “greed” was in “quotes.” Meaning sarcasm. Obviously I need much larger air quotes.

      Endowments and pensions have funding targets to meet, pensions in particular. When the Fed kept rates so low for so long in the 2003-05 period, these parties were desperate to find yield to meet these targets. They hit up their investment advisors, who found quant jocks to construct structures that paid out 6% in a 3% world.

      So by “greed” – sarcasm alert – I meant that it wasn’t like the blushing virgins of the endowment and pension world were seduced and then abandoned by the caddish I-banks. These are sophisticated investors, and many of them combined to create a willing market for this “krep” – enough so to encourage the development of more “krep.”

      Or as Charles Prince of Citigroup said, “when the music’s playing, you’ve got to dance.” And then the music stopped.

      Additionally, why in Gods name are Fanny and Freddie hooked to the Guvmint at all? Who owns them? Sure isn’t the FedGov.

      Actually, they pretty much are. Fannie and Freddie stock is delisted, and the companies stagger on due to the support of the Feds. Our own version of a Japanese zombie bank.

    29. tdaxp Says:

      Michael,

      Before your post I could honestly say that I have only encountered “I disagree with that comment; therefore, I will not discuss its merits” from Leftists. They seem very fond of that sort of closed-mindnedness, esp. with regards to questions of race or sex.

      I can no longer make that claim.

      Live and learn! :-)

    30. David Foster Says:

      Re the housing bubble/collapse, part of the problem was the construction of quantitative models which supposedly could be used to evaluate the risk of bundles of mortgages, and particularly the excessive credence place in these models. (And, of course, pension and fund managers whose jobs depended on hitting certain return targets had definite psychological incentives to believe these models.) The argument was that it was like insurance: some loans would surely go bad, but statistically, the pool as a whole would be profitable. But insufficient attention was given to the coupling effects and the feedback loops that exist in the mortgage world.

      Basically, PhDs with IQs of 140, working with MBAs with IQs of 130, made lending decisions in the aggregate that wouldn’t have been made in the individual cases by old-line loan officers with IQs of 110.

    31. Bill Brandt Says:

      @David – don’t you think too – an element of greed – or at least suspending belief – was a factor?

      All the way up to this I wondered how “subprime” mortgages could be offered and wondered about the promised huge increase in mortgage pmt amt – I think a lot of people used these to speculate – assuming they would be “out with a profit” before the pmts ballooned – then too we were all told a house is your best investment.

      There was some aspect of tulip mania right near the top.

      I feel bad for just the middle class families caught in this – trying to buy a simple home for their families (the subject line of this post) …OTOH I heard of a Bakersfield farm worker making $14K qualifying – and buying a $775K house….

    32. David Foster Says:

      BillB…”don’t you think too – an element of greed – or at least suspending belief – was a factor?”

      Of course. In many cases, the models were used to justify what someone wanted to do anyhow, just as astrological forecasts were probably used in prior eras.

      The thing is, when you go up to the level of abstraction required for assessing the risk on a pool of thousands of mortgages, the kinds of “tacit knowledge” or intuition which you could use for an individiual borrower no longer work. The increasing abstraction of decision-making, while it does have some benefits and is inevitable to some extent, also creates new categories of risk.

    33. Jonathan Says:

      The models were flawed, but without Fannie Mae and the CRA-driven mortgage bubble the failures might have occurred earlier, at much lower systemic cost.

      Flawed financial models are always with us. In the normal course of affairs they fall out of favor as the people who rely on them lose money. Remember “portfolio insurance”? The 1987 stock market crash instantly put an end to that practice. In the case of real estate the federal govt, by easing credit and pushing mortgages for political reasons, not only postponed the reckoning but also contributed to creation of a low-rate interest environment that encouraged investors to reach for yield.

    34. Dick Says:

      Txdap says:

      How do you expect to have a reasoned discussions when comments like @IGotBupkis’s are not deleted?

      Txdap says:

      Before your post I could honestly say that I have only encountered “I disagree with that comment; therefore, I will not discuss its merits” from Leftists. They seem very fond of that sort of closed-mindnedness, esp. with regards to questions of race or sex.

      Motes, beams, etc.

      Txdap’s original claim equating military draft service in a Republic to chattel slavery is morally repulsive (especially in its context of justifying / excusing a domestic terrorist nailbomb attack against attendees of a military dance). And I concur with the others that there are indeed some claims that are simply not worth dignifying with a response.

    35. tdaxp Says:

      To cross-reference some threads [1]…

      ‘As an aside, while I have plenty of conservative friends who are ignorant, I have only ever experienced purposeful ignorance from liberals

      “To me, neither of his pieces are worth thinking too hard about because they are both products of bigotry.”

      I think this sort of mental intolerance is only possible among those who have been in the majority so long that they have lost the everyday ability to seriously consider emotionally charged ideas they disagree with. I’m sure they can if they try — it’s just they value both their own minds and divergent views so little they don’t bother’

      [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2012/04/14/group-differences-visualized.html#comment-1167154

    36. Percy Dovetonsils Says:

      … don’t you think too – an element of greed – or at least suspending belief – was a factor?

      “Greed” goes up and down the line from the little guy all the way up to the head of Goldman Sachs. I have relatives who got got into flipping condos, one at a time, in Florida. It was “easy money,” until the music stopped. Now they are stuck with an unsellable property that they are renting out at a pittance.

      BTW, if you haven’t read Niall Ferguson’s and Moritz Schularick’s “The End of Chimerica (http://www.hbs.edu/research/pdf/10-037.pdf), do so posthaste. It focuses on a macro level effect on Chinese currency intervention and its fundamental influence in causing the financial crisis, but check out the third paragraph, page 6. In 70 words, they sum up the grievous U.S. fiscal and policy errors that also led to this disaster, including (direct quote):

      “last but not least, the willingness of Anglo-Saxon households to turn themselves into highly leveraged, unhedged investment vehicles that speculated on real estate.”

      To come up with a fiasco this all-encompassing takes the efforts of a multitude.

    37. tomw Says:

      One thing that occurred to me in 2006/7 when my spouse desired to purchase in SoCal was that housing prices were astronomical. So out of whack with my understanding of ‘money finance affordability REALITY’ shlubbed together in my head.
      How could it be possible for Joe Selonko, the accounts payable manager at the local Chevy dealer afford a $500k home? Even with two incomes, the monthly payment would be way off the net-to-debt numbers that had been the norm for .. well a long time.
      I said, sotto voce, that there is no way this can continue. It is impossible. I demurred on the short sale purchase of a home in Temecula, for several reasons, among them this feeling / ‘knowledge?’, arousing the enmity of my wife. Subsequently, the house her realtor daughter pushed me to purchase at the ‘bargain’ price of $360k, sold for around $270k. My amateur ‘nose’ told me the cheese was too ripe, and stay away. Why would anyone who had an ounce of common sense purchase into that market? It was by plain mathematics un-sustainable. There weren’t enough $150k a year salaries to pay for all these 1/2 million homes… even today.
      tom

    38. David Foster Says:

      The role of the media in all of this was nontrivial. There were very few articles in mainstream publications, and remarkably few even in business publications, that offered a contrarian view to the conventional endlessly-rising-prices wisdom.

    39. Bill Brandt Says:

      @Tom – someone said sometime that one’s “gut instinct” should usually be followed. At that same time I couldn’t figure out why somebody in their 20s-30s could be driving a $100K + car.

      I suppose the answer – with hindsight – was leveraging already leveraged houses. What’d they call those loans – lines of credit? The radio ads were everywhere.

      I had a neighbor – retired – owned her house – just had to buy one of these huge homes one sees in CA – hardly any yard – 4,000 sf (and more) moved in and told me some years later it was the dumbest thing she ever did – and she was in her mid 60s.

      Then I have wondered about Bay Area real estate for 40 years – thinking there must be a correction coming. There’s been small ones but then it continues up…since the 70s.

      I think LA is the same way…

    40. Jonathan Says:

      David,

      During the mid-2000s there were many discussions on blogs, including this one, about the overpriced housing mkt and likelihood of a correction. Almost everyone I know who pays attention to markets thought it was obvious that there was a bubble. But I agree that mainstream media were very slow to acknowledge the issue. My guess is that this deficit resulted from a combination of 1) financial ignorance on the part of the journalists, particularly the younger ones who often wrote the articles and 2) media reluctance to risk alienating developers, lenders and real-estate agents who were a big source of ad revenue.

    41. Dick Says:

      Txdap says:

      How do you expect to have a reasoned discussions when comments like @IGotBupkis’s are not deleted?

      Txdap says:

      I think this sort of mental intolerance is only possible among those who have been in the majority so long that they have lost the everyday ability to seriously consider emotionally charged ideas they disagree with.

      You should put down the shovel and stop digging.

    42. tdaxp Says:

      Dick,

      If you’re unaware that attacking the validity or normative worth of an idea is rational, though attacking the speaker is not, you have a long way to go.

      Don’t worry. That’s what we’re all here for. :-)

    43. Dick Says:

      Txdap,

      No one in this thread has demonstrated their “mental intolerance” or that they have “lost the everyday ability to seriously consider emotionally charged ideas they disagree with” by insisting that the blog moderators must censor another commenter before a reasonable discussion could take place.

      Except for you.

    44. Dick Says:

      Please excuse my repeated mistaken misspelling of Tdaxp’s name as “Txdap” throughout this thread.

    45. Bill Waddell Says:

      “Oh, the new aristocratic class – no matter what they call themselves, or how they justify their ideology and their actions – at the core of it is their own conviction that all power should reside in the hands of the elite, the aristocrats, themselves.”

      True, yet here we find ourselves faced with the choice between two solidly entrenched aristocrats this Fall.

    46. Glen Says:

      Growing up as the son of an Air Force NCO during the 1960s, stationed a McGuire/Ft Dix no less, I feel qualified to throw a few comments out.
      While we were not stationed at McGuire/Ft Dix in 1970, being 11 years old I remember the flavor of the time. (we were stationed at another air base at the time) One thing about military bases at the time was the large number of children, like me, running around. We played basdeball all day in the summer, road our sting-ray bikes everywhere, ran througth the woods looking for reptiles and amphibians and would run throught the DDT cloud following the mosquito abatement truck in the early evening. While we were not out running around later into the evening, if Bill, Diane, Bernadine and friends had been successful in their terrorist action I thinks it’s quite likely that “children” would have been killed and maimed by these clowns. Children of the middle-working class.

    47. Mark A. Flacy Says:

      The draft is the enslavement (or more techniqually [sic], the reduction to bondaged [sic] labor, involuntary servitude) by one part of the population to another.

      In your mind, perhaps.

      Drafted NCOs are those who decided to actively cooperate with the slavers in exchange for better working conditions.

      Really? You cannot think of any other reason that a draftee might wish to become a leader?

      You should get out more.