We've moved!

Social Icons

twitterfacebooklinkedinrss feed

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Notes from State Debate: President Obama Is a Socialist

...and Republicans aren't much better!

Between rounds yesterday here in Yankton at the South Dakota State Debate Tournament, I spotted a hammer and sickle floating around Yankton HS:

Hammer and sickle T-shirt at SD State Debate: 'Obama: When He Says Change, He Means Our Country, Not It's [sic] Leadership!'"Obama: When He Says Change, He Means
Our Country, Not It's [sic] Leadership!"

I had just heard Huron senior Kayla Samson deliver an oration on freedom of expression. Now, she was putting her words to work. Done with rounds for the day and not needing to suit up for debate until Saturday morning, she slipped into something a little more comfortable. For Samson, comfortable means branding our President an enemy of freedom.

I had to ask where her critique was coming from. Two words, she said: "stimulus package." She rattled off a list of spending projects* that she says increase government power. (I'm still trying to figure out how the California tattoo removal program increases government power when it's intended to help gang members leave their past behind them, get jobs, and become productive members of society.)

For all her criticism of President Obama's socialism, Samson is willing to call out Republicans for hypocrisy on capitalism and individual liberty. The October bank bailout appalls her. She likes Mitt Romney and contends he lost the nomination last year because he's not the right kind of Christian in the minds of too many voters. She sees socialism and theocracy ascendant—candidates, try tailoring your message for that voter!

The big question: what politician is offering a restoration of the individual liberty and true free market principles Samson wants?

"Me," she says. No hesitation. No teenage girly giggle or upward intonation. She's not kidding. Senator Hansen, Reps. Gibson and Burg, watch your seats!

It was a fascinating conversation, the kind of intelligent and spirited interaction that I hear young people at debate tournaments engaging in every weekend.

My conservative friends, you'll have to tell me whether Samson's politics are a sign that I and my vast left-wing secular humanist conspiracy are winning or losing in our quest to indoctrinate the youth.

Of course, if your metric is commitment to the First Amendment, I'd say we're doing a pretty good job. Carry on, Kayla.

*Both Kayla and I want to be clear: the earmarks Senator McCain and others are making into political hay are not part of the stimulus package (which contained no earmarks at all) but the omnibus spending bill.


  1. Comrade:

    The problem with the Republican party and the Democratic party is that they are pretty much the same. Both parties pushed hard for the complete deregulation of the financial sector. If you had a pulse, you could get a loan for a house. Now we are bailing out the greedy bastards that forced loan officers to push adjustable rate mortgages with zero down.

    Throwing money at the problem will not work because the toxic debt exceeds the total worth of everything in the world.

    It's going to get very ugly and stay that way for a long time. I suspect unemployment going to at least 20%.

  2. Comrade: in Ohio 23 people without a pulse received loans for their house.

    Yes, both parties are about the same - K Street, Wall Street, and the Council of Foreign Relations win all the elections. The parties lack the gall to force Wall Street banksters, broke insurance and auto barons into bankruptcy, to fire dysfunctional boards and management. Obama's failure to force market failure onto the failed will be be his undoing. Impatient? Yes, but days after his inauguration FDR had a bank holiday - shuttering permanently over a thousand, because Hoover's bailouts, like Bush's, and now Obama's - failed.

    Unemployment is now over 14.8% and climbing (scroll to Table A-12); http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2009/03/jobs-contract-14th-straight-month.html

    For suggestions on coping with the economic collapse read and listen to Orlov; http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2008/02/five-stages-of-collapse.html


  3. Finally some young person gets it!

  4. I'm finding the "Obama is a socialist" meme to be remarkably widespread. It's hard to believe that this kind of language has any cultural cache left since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the so-called crisis of marxism are now almost 20 years behind us. I would think 'socialism' wouldn't be such a dirty word anymore.

    That aside, it's amazing how many people mistake public investment in public infrastructure--which the stimulus bill is--for worker owned means of production--which the stimulus bill is not; the stimulus bil has literally nothing to do with socialism.

    On the other hand, the government (in the form of the both the Treasury and the Fed) has taken large equity shares of many financial institutions, but has exercised very little in public control of those institutions, which is why we are still getting unacceptable bonuses paid to Wall Street CEOs and other unaccountable behavior. A little socialism might go a long way in causing our financial sector to share our values, at least until we can break up the "too-big-to-fail" entities and sell them off, maybe even with a modest profit for the taxpayer, though I wouldn't hold my breath on that one.


  5. Socialism to my way of thinking means from each according to his means to each according to his needs, and that is exactly what Obama wants and is doing. He stated exactly this to Joe the Plumber. He plans to use taxes to accomplish this, regardless of his spin of tax cuts for 95%. Welfare for most cases as many of these recipients pay no taxes; Social Security and Medicare (payroll taxes) don't count as income taxes. You can spin all you want, but O is not capitalist, wants to redistribute wealth, and thinks the gov't holds the answer to all our problems.

  6. If the term socialism is to have any meaning, it has to start with the idea of the control of major industry by the state. It's all well and good to quote Marx's dictum about means and needs, but the fact remains that efforts to restore a quasi-adequate social safety net are a far cry from socialism.

    Capitalist governments all around the world take certain steps in the form of social programs to try to keep their poorest citizens from starving to death. They also make use of progressive taxation where the richest members of society must contribute a portion of their gains back. The belief that the rich in society are beholden to share some of their wealth is not a socialist concept: if I may quote John McCain, "When you reach a certain level of comfort, there's nothing wrong with paying somewhat more."

    Some nations have very successfully nationalized some major industrial sectors (I refer of course to the terrible gulag states of Scandinavia) and I wish the U.S. would get serious about finding ways to adopt some actually socialitic concepts to our society. I have seen no sign that Obama is interested in this, however. His proposals continue mainly to focus on neo-liberal ideas, such as leveraging private capital in public/private parternships that depend heavily on taxpayer subsidy to private corporations and otherwise incentivizing private organizations to do the work better carried out by a public enterprise. I'm not giving up on Obama yet this early in his term, but it is unfortunate that our national dialogue has drifted so far rightward over the last 30 years that many individuals seem to believe that having a functioning government whatsoever represents socialism.


  7. Let's plan a huge bailout without anybody to administer it. The Treasury Department has the top guy but no one under him to help administer the program. While the potential deputy appointees are being checked out for skeletons in the closet and to make sure that they actually did pay taxes, the country slips closer to depression because no one knows whats going on.

    You gotta love politicians.

  8. I have heard: The people of Denmark and Sweden are relatively happy with their "socialist" systems, and trust their governments more than we do.

    There is a gigantic difference between "socialism" and "communism" in the historical sense. The former is "state ownership of capital." The latter involves the overthrow of existing regimes by any means necessary (including violent revolution) and the installment of a "dictatorship of the proletariat."

    The hammer and sickle on that T-shirt is not only disingenuous, but irrelevant.

    I do not believe that "socialism" or "communism" will ever work in the United States of America. The people won't accept either, once they realize what they're getting in the bargain.

    Just as G. W. Bush was the best thing to happen to the Democrats since Richard Nixon, Barack Obama may be the best thing to happen to the Republicans since Jimmy Carter.

    Of course, I could be wrong.

  9. Smart Kid!

  10. California Tattoo removal program? I'm confused. Why is it that everytime someone makes a poor decision, it is then the governments job to help even the score. We all have set-backs. We all make poor decisions. I thought the process was too make us stronger and to allow us to learn from our mistakes. Does not anyone understanding that life is not fair. We don't all get to have the same things. Does anyone understand that if you own a home and have a car, you are in the top tier of wealth in the world. Yet, we all compare ourselves to our neighbor. If they have a $450,000 dollar house, I should have a $450,00 dollar house. If they have a Harley, I should have a Harley. The problem is nobody is content, happy, or thankful for what they have. Now, the government says, I see you can't afford these things, let us help you. Let us even the score. Sure, we understand that you did nothing to deserve these things on your own. Sure, we realize that someone obviously has mislead you to this terrible decision you have made. Don't worry, I feel your pain and want to take it away. I am the leader of the people. No doubt, there has been corruption. The corruption that everyones individual greed has been the primary reason for our ills. I do not own a Mercedes, because I can't afford it. Yet, somehow, by some mysterious force, I am happy. I have a Profession I love. I have a family that I support and that supports me. I do not own a yacht, a Harley, a sports car, a vacation home, I will not inherit any money from my family, because there is none, I do not own land for hunting, I have never been to Europe, I have never been to the East or West coast, I have bills. Yet, somehow I am happy. Why, because I have learned that life is not fair, but life in these United States of America is the best thing anyone could ask for. If you tell a child he or she is not good enough. They believe it. If you tell a nation the same thing, apparently as evidenced by Cory's grim hope for this nation, you will believe it. I suggest people start being content. Start being thankful. In addition, start making some common sense decisions based on needs rather then wants or what they believe they are entitled to. I'm tired of hearing, its not my fault, therefore "Big Brother" come remove my tattoo.

  11. The statement is provocative, childish, and reckless.

  12. Instead of smart kid, more like clueless kid - probably taking her clues from misinformed Limbaugh, parents or clergy. Where did she learn much of this - in the socialist school she attends, at the socialist library in which she studies under the socialist law enforcement and fire protection, or at the local socialist swimming hole?

    Mitt Romney?! He's a K Street and Wall Street puppet - probably the leading puppet from the last campaign. And to label Romney as the wrong kind of Christian implies that being the right kind is a requirement of office. The US is not a Christian nation - check out the US Treaty of Algiers. We should expect more from a debater.

  13. On Mitt Romney: Samson wasn't saying that Romney is the wrong kind of Christian. Samson was saying that too many voters apply that sort of religious test to Romney and anyone else whose religious views don't conform to the "norm." The impression I got from my conversation with Samson is that she agrees that religion should not set the public agenda.

  14. Here's a pretty complete one-stop link (if there ever is such a thing), on the banksters' Wall Street, K Street, Pennsylvania Avenue self-licking ice cream cone.


    Read it and weep for our Constitution.

  15. Anonymuos 9:43 is exactly the type of American we need more of! Wonderful post!

    I heard something on radio or TV today that made my mouth fall open. Apparently many people think that Uncle Sam really is a rich uncle, that the gov't just has a supply of money. These people don't realize that the gov't has no money except what we pay to it to support it. No wonder that these same people think the gov't can answer their every need. And O is playing these types of people like a fiddle.

  16. Denninger nails Obama's failure, though it's not yet complete but public opinion will soon come around to his failure if not corrected. (Denninger slightly lets "the government" off the hook since Greenspan and other bubble blowers and bubble blowing politician cheerleaders exacerbated the bubbles.) Regardless, his post is worthy.

    The "Bezzle" Defined
    Karl Denninger Mar 8 2009 http://market-ticker.denninger.net/authors/2-Karl-Denninger

    -if you find this informative, check out it's predecessors:

    and the darker: http://market-ticker.denninger.net/archives/852-Whats-Dead-Short-Answer-All-Of-It.html

  17. Thanks for the link!

    I'm especially glad for it, because I probably wouldn't have otherwise read your great blog. Sounds like Kayla Samson is a speaker to watch! I'm seeing a lot of growth in the "new libertarianism" you're seeing here--a platform opposed to both socialism and theocracy--among young people here in New England too, and I'll be eager to see what happens with it in the next few years.


Comments are closed, as this portion of the Madville Times is in archive mode. You can join the discussion of current issues at MadvilleTimes.com.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.