Thursday, October 12, 2006

A sense of anger in the air

A couple of times this week I've been having seemingly normal conversations with folks that have suddenly shifted into a sense of doom and gloom, anarchy, societal war, and so forth. These conversations have been with normal, everyday South of Iowa people that are stable pillars of the community. I find this to be a bit troubling.

The first instance was at coffee the other morning. A group meet at the local oil company office for an hour or so - I'm the junior member. While we do get going on politics at times, one conversation ended with something to the effect of "we need a revolution in this country". Not a revolution to turn it into a Communist "Workers Paradise", mind you, but a revolution to re-instill our core values. Our country has shifted too far to the left, destroying family values and the sense of hard work. These farmers believed that the time was coming to take our country back.

The other instance was today with some agronomists from a coop a ways away. The conversation also melded into a similar issue: What has our country become? Who is responsible and what can be done about it?

Is there a profound sense out there that our country is being irretrievably ripped apart? If so, what is causing the fissue to occur? What would cause ordinary citizens, Iowa farmers no less, to contemplate and openly speak about armed revolution?

It seems like liberals are the embodiment of all that is wrong with America to conservatives, and vice-versa. Venom and vile hatred is spewed toward one another, splashing across our faces like hot acid. We blame the other group for destroying our national identity and values; liberals are for diluting morality, killing unborn children, and allowing filth to ride the airwaves. Conservatives want to send children off to war to die for oil, take away freedoms from women and minorities, and turn the country into a theocracy, with Dick Cheney as the high priest.

Where is one safe from this? Where can one go to be with one's "own kind" and not have to deal with the "others"? How do we stop the "hate" coming from the other side? Why can't they just see things our way and leave us alone?

I don't know exactly where we are going as a Nation, but my gut feeling is we are in a for a wild ride for the next few years. I cannot see much, if anything, that will bring this country together and mend the rips in our social fabric.

Was this the sense in the air in the 1850's before The War of Southern Independence?


Blogger noneed4thneed said...

I don't think the divide is left and right. I think it is Big Money and everyone else. Members of both parties have been selling out to the big money interests and that is having a negative effect on everyday people. It has nothing to do with morality and everything to do with the average person get left out. The energy bill that was recently passed has some good things for ethanol, but that was far eclipsed by the tax breaks the oil companies got. The vast majority of Bush's tax cuts go to the wealthy. The pharmaceticul companies are skinning our seniors with the Medicare part D plan. The large ag companies are getting more and more breaks from the government. That l leaves the average person is left paying more for gas, health care, college, food.

10:36 AM, October 14, 2006  
Blogger Jordan said...

Enough with bashing the Bush tax cuts already. It's getting old. And not to mention baselss.

3% of this nation's citizens generate 67% of the government's budget.

The lower 15% of the wage earners in this country don't even pay ANY taxes.

The economy is strong, despite the attacks of 9/11 [and yes, if you read stockholder reports they still reference 9/11].

You sound like a parrot spouting Daily Kos rhetoric. Try thinking for yourself sometime. Hell, try looking at the facts in fron of your eyes.

11:02 PM, October 14, 2006  
Blogger bgunzy said...

Sure, the rich get richer, but that's not the issue; I'm talking about the amount of anger that exists within the ranks of the "common" folk against the liberal elites who want to destroy/unravel our common culture.

Your argument has many socialistic overtones to it.

8:17 AM, October 15, 2006  
Blogger IrishWalsh said...

I can absolutely 100% identify with this feeling. However I feel it has gotten even worse for me because the distaste I used to feel purely for the left has managed to wash over to both sides. I dispise the extreme left for some things they have done to this country, and I am starting to get just as annoyed at the right for not doing a damned thing about it.

Jord and I were talking about this at work yesterday actually and I really believe what we need in this country is a Presidential candidate who is someone who not only CAN bring both sides together, but WANTS and THRIVES on bringing both sides together. As Jordan said, we need someone who will "run on their desire to bring the sides back together". Agreed, we need someone who every day and every decision will try to consider how he can get the whole government involved with input, then take what he feels is BEST, not what matches his party line. Even moreso he needs to make that attitude infectious so Congress will get back to being human beings (were they ever humans?).

Rudy Guilianni was the person we were talking about. A pro choice, pro gun control Republican who had numerous Democrats in his mayoral staff. I don't know if he is the right guy to bring the parties back to civil discourse or not. I don't know if he is electable or not, though each passing day makes me think that he is.

But I absolutely do understand how people feel, I feel it to. I just think that fighting tooth and nail to destroy "all things liberal" and "all things conservative" is going to end up destroying the country as we know it.

10:05 AM, October 15, 2006  
Blogger noneed4thneed said...

So you don't think people are mad that oil companies have record profits while gas prices are at an all time high? Or Drug companies have record profits while people have to decide to pay for rent or their drugs, or wages are flat, while CEO's are getting huge bonuses. I agree that the economy is doing good for people who don't work for their money and own a bunch of stocks. Unfortantely, I am guessing that the majority of the people that bgunzy were talking about in his original post don't own tons of stock and actually work for a living. If you asked these people, they would say the economy is not doing well and will cite higher health care costs, gas prices, and higher college tuition. costs

10:35 AM, October 15, 2006  
Blogger Gavin said...

Liberal elites want to unravel our common culture? Where do you even come up with this nonsense?

It's the Bush administration right now that's messing up essentially everything in America, besides the economy (which is only good do to a spike in corporate profits -- noneed is 100% correct in his assessment).

And that's not a left-right criticism, either. Bush and company are extreme idealogues that mask their destructive policies under the guise of stuff like you're talking about, this "liberal elite destroying our culture."

Give me one example of this. I hold that it's utter nonsense.

3:04 PM, October 15, 2006  
Blogger bgunzy said...

Noneed - Sure, health care expenses are high, fuel costs have risen, and some people's wages haven't increased to match it. However, this stuff happens, and here in The South of Iowa we attempt to deal with it, rather than bitch and complain (although that does come in the first stage, then we figure out what to do).

I don't rely upon Washington or Des Moines for solutions; I see them oftentimes as the problem. A oil company CEO making millions doesn't bother me as much as Steve Green/Ako Samad and the CIETEC scandal. The oil CEO, even though it is a massive amount, worked for his money; Ramona Cunningham just had to sleep with Archie Brooks for hers.

Sure, I do not like our trade deficit, or debt levels, our basically being sold to the Chi-Coms. This needs to be fixed, absolutely.

Gavin - Hollywood. There's my example. When you've got adulteress sex being portrayed on national TV at 7:30 in the evening, suggesting that this is OK to do, then I call this an example of unravelling our national fabric and culture. Who runs it? Liberal elites. Any more questions?

BTW, I am not defending GW Bush - he is not a great leader. However, the alternative was worse. John Kerry is the embodiment of liberal elitism. Bush ain't far away from him, however.

I say Ed Fallon for President!

5:25 PM, October 15, 2006  
Blogger noneed4thneed said...

You mentioned CIETEC. What about the $9 billion of tax payer money that is unaccounted for in Iraq by Halliburton? Does that bother you?

If you like Ed Fallon, you should take a look at Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin. They have similar positions on many issues. They both have thrifty spending habits and respect for privacy.

6:44 PM, October 15, 2006  
Blogger Jordan said...

Russ Feingold? Are you friggin' serious?

Can you get more socialist than this: "So you don't think people are mad that oil companies have record profits while gas prices are at an all time high? Or Drug companies have record profits while people have to decide to pay for rent or their drugs, or wages are flat, while CEO's are getting huge bonuses."

Where are the people who are deciding between drugs and rent? Proof? It's a nice sound bite for a TV commercial. And when did record profits become a bad thing?

I believe in capitalism, you obviously do not. I believe in letting the market reward hard work, you obviously do not. I do not believe it's the governments responsibility to fix every inequality in the obviously do, eh comrade?

7:38 PM, October 15, 2006  
Blogger bgunzy said...

Yes, the "lost" money for Halliburton does bother me, a lot. So does sending our troops overseas to try to force people to be free. I'm no fan of this war; it was flawed from the beginning, IMHO. The only thing we can do now is muddle our way through it to the point where we can extract ourselves. I don't know how/if that will happen, however.

7:41 PM, October 15, 2006  
Blogger IrishWalsh said...

Why are oil company profits relevant to this blog post, and why are they even important at all? The oil companies make a smidgen of what the government makes on a gallon of gas, and they have no expenses on providing that gallon. (yeah I know road maintainance, do the math it's bunk excuse) And Congressmen have the gawl to bring oil execs up to testify about their profits in a dog and pony show! If everyone saw how much they paid in tax each time they fill up like when they buy a shirt there would be hell to pay. Instead it's rolled into the price so when people want to get all huffy and point fingers they can go straight to the oil company.

Except of course when the price goes down, then it's Bush's doing to affect elections. Absurdity. When you become so blinded by your bias you seriously need to step back and take a look at your viewpoints.

Why am I even addressing this? Noneed's ability to hijack a post or comment thread is starting to become legendary. I am still reeling over his tribute to his fallen soldier friend that he twisted into a anti-war post. Still never replied to be about how your friend felt about the war before he signed up to fight in it did you Momma Sheehan? Is that what your friend would have wanted?

7:50 PM, October 15, 2006  
Blogger noneed4thneed said...

Wow, thanks for calling me a legend. I never thought my blogging was that good.

As for my family's friend, I don't know how he felt and will never know.

The oil companies profits are relevent to this post, because I disagree that the divide in this country is left vs right. It is big money vs everyone else. The media (which is corporate owned) tells us that is left vs right and many people believe it. However, if we as a nation change our priorities a little then we can have an economy that helps everyone. That won't happen until we have a government that puts the priorities of the average person right up there with so-called economic development.

I am not talking about socialism where the government gives everything to everyone. I am talking about not giving $8.5 billion in tax breaks to oil companies in the past energy bill, not letting the Pharmacetical industry write the Medicare Part D bill, and corporations dodging their tax bill by moving their headquarters to the Cayman Islands and shipping our jobs overseas. Then a person who works for a living can be taxed up to 30% of their income, while some rich person who sits by their pool and earns stock dividends is only taxed 15%.

Make it a playing field for everyone and we all will succeed. This has nothing to do with left vs right.

8:29 PM, October 15, 2006  
Blogger noneed4thneed said...

Yes, I am serious about Feingold. So are the 27 counties in Wisconsin that Bush won that Feingold also won in his re-election in 2004. Feingold got over 143,000 more votes than Kerry and outperformed Kerry in 71 of 72 counties in Wisconsin. What does that mean? It means that a lot of Bush voters voted for Feingold. Some of his positions are liberal, but some of them aren't. His appeal crosses party lines.

8:45 PM, October 15, 2006  
Blogger Jordan said...

Dude seriously,

"while some rich person who sits by their pool and earns stock dividends is only taxed 15%."

Start backing your crap up. Just because you say something, doesn't make it true.

"Wow, thanks for calling me a legend. I never thought my blogging was that good."

That makes two of us.

8:57 PM, October 15, 2006  
Blogger IrishWalsh said...

1. I called your ability to hijack a thread or blog post for your own delusions, legendary. Not your blogging ability.

2. You are speaking only for yourself and an extreme fringe of people who think this country is divided along corporate profit lines. Nobody else cares. No, seriously. Ask around outside your circle.

3. Tax breaks for Oil companies? So what your saying is they want to keep alive an industry that is a friggin CASH COW for the government?

4. I noticed you failed to address the "record profits" that the government is making in taxes off our gas. In most states around 8 times oil company net profits.

5. Actually, no need for a #5. Lets all just sing a song. Noneed, I think you know the lyrics, care to lead us off?

Unbreakable Union of freeborn Republics,
Great Russia has welded forever to stand.
Created in struggle by will of the people,
United and mighty, our Soviet land!


Sing to the Motherland, home of the free,
Bulwark of peoples in brotherhood strong.
O Party of Lenin, the strength of the people,
To Communism's triumph lead us on!

Through tempests the sunrays of freedom have cheered us,
Along the new path where great Lenin did lead.
To a righteous cause he raised up the peoples,
Inspired them to labour and valourous deed.


In the victory of Communism's deathless ideal,
We see the future of our dear land.
And to her fluttering scarlet banner,
Selflessly true we always shall stand!

9:39 AM, October 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When Chuck Grassley starts channeling Paul Wellstone's ghost, you know its time for term limits.

9:51 AM, October 16, 2006  
Blogger bgunzy said...

Term limits - they're a good thing, as Martha would say.

11:49 AM, October 16, 2006  
Blogger IrishWalsh said...

Thirded. I like Chuck, but time for a fresh batch of cookies in the Capitol.

5:21 PM, October 16, 2006  
Anonymous Dorf said...

Maybe Oil companies are making record profits because they are selling a record amount their product? Damn capitalism!

Summer time, people take vacation, so demand for oil is up, so the supplies are down which drives up the price.

Summer ends, so demand goes down, so there is more supply.. so price goes down.

It's the free market baby!

It's not perfect, of course. Oil speculation makes the price go up or down. (Not sure if it is a good thing or not.)

But over all... it's supply and demand.

10:02 AM, October 17, 2006  
Blogger bgunzy said...

Now that corn is over $3/bu, will I be forced to pay a "windfall" profit tax? What about back in 1996 when it got to $5/bu?

I guess I don't get too concerned about the mechanisms of the "free" market, such as what determines our oil, corn, and cattle prices, as much as I used to. There are more "paper" bushels of wheat being traded at Chicago, Minneapolis, and Kansas City exchanges than there are bushels in the United States. Last week our corn and soybean prices jumped 30-40 cents? Why? Australia's wheat crop is a disaster. Speculators and large funds jumped in with lots o' cash, thinking it was time to run up the market.

6:20 PM, October 17, 2006  
Blogger noneed4thneed said...

The problem isn't their record profits. The problem is they are getting $8.5 billion of your tax dollars in the last energy bill. Do they need that money since they are getting record profits?

8:15 PM, October 17, 2006  
Blogger Jordan said...

Noneed you would make a horrible small business owner. Sometimes you have to spend money to make money. Notice the record tax revenues being generated right now?

Now if we could only control pork spending...

9:41 PM, October 17, 2006  
Blogger bgunzy said...

I'd like to know what kind of "corporate welfare" oil companies are getting. I don't doubt there are some special deals they get that the rest of us don't.

That being said, how many of the world's oil companies are private/not owned by the government? Citgo is owned by Hugo; the Saudi and Iranian oil productions are owned by their governments, as well as many other nationalized companies.

The 8.5 billion in subsidies our country gives to oil companies might be a "drop in the bucket" compared to the underwriting other countries do to their oil companies, given their output.

I agree with Jordan - the pork spending is what needs to be curtailed, although even this might not make as big of a dent as one would think.

11:42 PM, October 17, 2006  
Blogger bgunzy said...

NoNeed, do you think the CEO of Exxon-Mobil ought to be forced to give back some of his salary, or the whole company should pay a windfall profit tax? What if they didn't receive any money from the government? Should they still be taxed extra for benefiting from supply and demand?

11:45 PM, October 17, 2006  
Blogger Jordan said...

We could call this new windfall profites tax the "Capitalism Tax Works Tax..."

7:53 AM, October 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No need: If you are so concerned for the price of gas to the consumer, why don't you and Russ get behind a proposal to reduce the tax on gasoline. Oil companies simply pass it along to us. I don't recall how much per gallon is made up in taxes, but the price of gas is the smallest component.

11:58 AM, October 18, 2006  

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