A Delightful Post from CONTRARY BRIN

Why the Candidates Should (But Won’t) Stipulate

Take the day in 1992 when both Republican Senator Warren Rudman and Democrat Paul Tsongas made headlines declaring that everybody was at fault for the country’s fiscal condition at the time, from then-President Bush to the democrat-controlled Congress, to the American people. Responsible economists later credited Rudman and Tsongas for spurring reforms that helped lead to the Clinton era surpluses.

Around the same time, retired senator and conservative eminence gris Barry Goldwater denounced the followers of émigré philosopher Leo Strauss – so-called “neocons” – for hijacking Goldwater’s beloved movement over cliffs of romantic delusion. A more recent example of post retirement candor came When G.W. Bush’s ex-Treasury Secretary, Paul O’Neill, revealed a swamp of backroom dealings and ineptitude, explaining that he was “old and rich” and unafraid to speak his mind. On the other side, some claim that Senator Joe Lieberman really came into his own when he ran as an independent, shrugging off party discipline (if such a thing exists, among democrats.)


The article goes on to point out that candor is almost suicidal under the rules of our current system. Excellent thought. What I found more interesting was Brin’s awareness of Leo Strauss, the man behind the curtain of much of the modern Neoconservative movement. I wouldn’t have expected a scientist to have read so deeply into politics.

Yes, Strauss is mentioned in the histories you can find on the web about Neoconservatism but few point out his critical role in the movement, nor do they emphasize the manipulative nature of his teaching. The articles talk about Strauss teaching about a return to Classical values – this is utter nonsense, Strauss was designing a new political elite from his students, manipulative and power hungry. We will be dealing with his minions for decades to come. He planted the dragon seeds that bedevil our foreign policy even today. And they will be pulling many other strings as well.

So, Mr. Brin has impressed me and I wish him well. I think we share many of the same thoughts.

James Pilant

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Joe Lieberman Wants You To Be Patted Down

The web site Firedoglake put this little video together. They really don’t like Joe. Of course, I loath him, so I have no problem with putting this up.

Once again, Lieberman supports intrusions into your privacy.

Do you like what you saw?

Don’t let the government treat you like this. This is insane.

James Pilant


I teach Business Ethics. What happened in the health care debate in the last few days is to ethics what a fire hydrant is to a dog. I am enraged. Does anybody at any time, talk ethics about this issue? And I am definitely absolutely not talking about joe lieberman’s, “I am standing for God and country based on how pettily I can act at the moment.” Revenge is not ethics.

How do I explain any of this to students? Health care reform makes them buy private insurance? Whose idea of reform is this? What do I tell them? Their government’s cure for rising health care costs is to make them buy insurance from private companies? How do I explain the importance of ethics, honor and duty, when it is not rewarded? What kindness, consideration and care have the insurance companies done to merit this? Have they been free of fraud and wrong doing?

Should I just re entitle the class Anti-Ethics: how to get ahead and don’t worry, God won’t get you later?

I can’t explain this to ME. There is no way anyone could have told me this debate would work out this way.

I believe in democracy, that people should have some kind of say in how the government functions. I believe that we are in a serious crisis in the field of health care and that it is severely damaging the country not to mention causing death and suffering for many people.

For decades, in poll after poll, the American people have said over and over again that this system is not working. In Congress over the last few days a consensus has been reached to strengthen the current system, essentially rewarding the same actors and fools who have created this crisis in the first place.

We as a free people will be forced to buy private insurance. Let me explain private to you. If the government does it, I can vote, I can complain and the government can make changes. Elected people like staying elected and even fairly small threats to their electability will motivate them. Private industry has a different motive, profits. I have no way of influencing their decisions. None. Zip. Zero.

You might say: Well James, you can buy another insurance policy, get something cheaper. Really? The insurance companies have an exemption from the anti-trust laws. They do not have to compete. With the government mandate that I have to buy insurance, I am being tied and fettered, thrown helpless into the profit making hands of an insurance company. I will be fined, possibly imprisoned if I do not. I can be relatively confident that the government and private industry will make sure I either pay or suffer.

I could go on for page after page, but what’s the point? I’m not a lobbyist. I don’t make campaign contributions in the thousands of dollars. I have e-mailed my representatives with no response at any time on these issues.

As far as I can tell in the minds of those people I had the misfortune to vote for, I don’t exist. My life has no relevance to the people in Washington.

So, tell me, what do I tell my students?

James Pilant