Saturday, August 11, 2012

not even a fan, but the Hon.Bro.Preznit obviously meant roads and bridges...,



TheAtlantic | President Obama uttered those four little words Republicans never tire of hearing -- "you didn't build that" -- on July 13, nearly a month ago, and yet if you do a Google News search for "Obama you didn't build that" you will turn up nearly 70,000 hits, the most recent posted within hours. It was a self-inflicted wound from which the president's reelection campaign continues to bleed steadily, if not profusely, despite the Romney campaign's not entirely satisfactory assault on the injured tissue. The election drawing ever closer in the mid-August heat, liberals wonder why the issue will not go away, and conservatives wonder why it did not immediately doom Obama's campaign. Both questions have the same answer: Obama made a shift so profound, but so easily misunderstood, that neither side has been able to end the debate, although Obama thus far is winning.

Here is what Obama said at Fire Station No. 1 in Roanoke, Va., (which Obama won with 61 percent of the vote in 2008, an island of blue in the sea of red that was western Virginia). I include the entire relevant quote so there is no question about the context:
There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me -- because they want to give something back. They know they didn't -- look, if you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. You didn't get there on your own. I'm always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don't do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That's how we funded the G.I. Bill. That's how we created the middle class. That's how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That's how we invented the Internet. That's how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that's the reason I'm running for President -- because I still believe in that idea. You're not on your own, we're in this together.
Like any classic, it is just as good the hundredth time as it was the first time and the Romney campaign has kept repeating the snippet, "If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." But by "that," did Obama mean the "business" or the "roads and bridges" of the previous sentence? Let's be charitable and take the White House at its word that the president meant to say "those" and not "that." Is the whole controversy then a Machiavellian construction of the "right-wing noise machine?"

39 comments:

uglyblackjohn said...

I took the 'that' to mean the 'system' which made it all possible - not just the roads and bridges.

Cleggg said...

Whatever it refers to (entrepreneurs, infrastructure, etc.), it sounds arrogant, like a king talking
down to his subjects rather than a president encouraging the people.

We
ALL built "THAT," not some "government program."

The president then says "Somebody else made
that happen." No, nobody else (namely some government program or bureaucrat) "made that happen." WE the people MADE "THAT"
HAPPEN. And the majority of the taxes WE used to MAKE THAT HAPPEN were
collected from the businesses that that WE the
people BUILT. Government doesn't innovate - people innovate.

CNu said...

Um.., I'm going to go with "you have to be deranged or dishonest" to draw the conclusion you expressed above - and - your expression is diametrically opposed to your earlier assertion that "people need to give a damn about people".

John Kurman said...

I'm guessing a Randian, either wittingly or half-. In any case, my sensors do register the usual set of cognitive dissonances that that peculiar religion known as Objectivism requires...

Dale Asberry said...

I'm going with dim-wittingly... that odd, batsh*t crazy brand called a Tea Partier. I've been seeing loads of similar crap cycling through my Facebook newsfeed lately. Only thing missing are comments about the lazy poor and entitlement (code for: lazy, shiftless black people expecting a handout -- but we're not racist, hell no!).

Cleggg said...

Those who care about people don't separate them into qualitative bins (govt vs. people). We are all in this together. WE did build this -- you, me, and anyone else who's paid taxes. Is there a U.S. taxpayer who didn't build IT? If so, please point your finger at them so I can understand who the president was referring to in his negative reference.



Later in that same breath, the president says government research built the internet.

No.

The Internet was conceived and created with three sources of funding (tax, VC, bootstrap) by a bunch or really smart innovators, not government bureaucrats. Moreover, the "government programs" that were originally involved (universities, darpa, etc.) were conceived, proposed, created, and run by those same really smart innovators. There was no elected govt-bureaucrat that came up with the ideas or created anything. State and Fed bureaucrats funneled tax money into the programs because really smart non-govt innovators sat on committees that directed them to do that. And, if you argue that taxes=govt, never forget that taxes are generated by businesses built by innovators.



The president, in his speech, gives this idea that "government" is some sacrosanct, self-generative entity - separate from the people that created it. WE created the monster, and we can shut it down when it gets too full of itself and its own assumed powers. As for Ayn Rand (JK), I've read two books (have you?). In Rand, there's both wisdom to be embraced and political-social extremism to be ignored. WRT this conversation, one AS character stands out: Cuffy Meigs.



Reality is - political parties no longer matter. DC is owned by the highest bidders (banking, defense, pharma, etc.. some call it fascism). If you think voting for Obama or Romney is going to change anything of substance, think again. The best symbolic gesture I can do this November is write-in Ron Paul. Besides, the electoral college has placed the results of this election into the hands of less than 1 million voters http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/meet-the-undecided/

CNu said...

The Internet was conceived and created with three sources of funding
(tax, VC, bootstrap) by a bunch or really smart innovators, not
government bureaucrats.


The Internet was conceived by Paul Baran working for Rand and paid for by the government. http://www.rand.org/about/history/baran-list.html period.

The president, in his speech, gives this idea that "government" is some sacrosanct, self-generative entity

Preposterous..., the Hon.Bro.Preznit does no such thing. But whatever dishonest/deranged impulse compels you to put such words into his mouth or such intentions into his misconstrued statements is pretty interesting.

Reality is - political parties no longer matter.

No longer? Cleggg, we'll let you in on a little clue, they never really have. http://cobb.typepad.com/cobb/2012/09/its-the-stupid-economy.html

If you think voting for Obama or Romney is going to change anything of substance, think again.

I'm pretty sure nobody here, (with the possible exception of Big Don) believes any such thing.

Welcome to the spot, pause, take a breath, get your bearings - and browse for long enough to figure out exactly what the prevailing tropes are here before launching into a wrongheaded dissertation - you may even learn a thing or two.

Cleggg said...

"dim-wittingly... that odd, batsh*t craz..."

Hey, thanks for that.

Is this one of those blogs where people substitute name-calling for thoughtful dialogue?

Cleggg said...

Yes, that's my take as well. The president was referring to "system" or "infrastructure." Which made a lot of people very upset. Reality is, WE did built it. There is no "government" separate from its people. The point is not what "that" means, the point is that our president is marginalizing by exclusion. When it comes to infrastructure (or systemics), we ALL built it, and sustain it, and can shut it down when it starts assuming a life of its own.

CNu said...

There is no "government" separate from its people.

Wrong. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/13/opinion/brooks-why-our-elites-stink.html - and terribly naive...,

Cleggg said...

I agree with you. I was speaking hypothetically. Constitutionally, there is no government separate from its people. Our reality is very different, and is on full-color display in Obama's speech.

Cleggg said...

"The Internet was conceived by Paul Baran working for Rand and paid for by the government. http://www.rand.org/about/hist... period."

The Internet was probably conceived by Vannevar Bush in the 1940s with his "memex" proposal. He's the inventor of radar. He conceived the memex where "wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified." About 15 years later, a number of really smart people started to see the physical-virtual connections that could be made. These included the aparnet working group, a group of scientists at UCLA, and many, many others. No "government" thought this stuff up. Really smart, innovative people did.

I'm not going to argue the meaning of "government created it." If you think "tax dollars spent" is the same as "government created" then I'm not going to argue. I see the world differently. Don't confuse "funding" with "innovation" and "innovators." When it comes to large government-funded projects like CERN or Lawrence,
it was NOT some abstract "government" office that proposed the original
ideas. The innovative thinking and initial feasibility push behind
major projects has almost always originated with an individual or a
small group of really smart NGO innovators with big dreams. One of the rare
exceptions is Manhattan, which was born of strategic necessity. But even then, without the unique intelligence of a
few select innovators (Fermi, etc.) who could actually BUILD IT, we
would not have succeeded.

Let's keep our priorities straight. People first - innovators first -
BUSINESS BUILDERS first - you DID build that first - your dreams ARE
smart and innovative first. After that, commerce can begin, revenues can be generated, taxes can be paid, and then, and ONLY then, a government can be formed. Government is subservient (in constitutional theory) to its people. This conversation started because, in reality, we have a government that increasingly thinks itself separate from the people.

Tom said...

I think both sides in this debate are grappling a little bit with caricatures of each other.

CNu said...

lol, as contrasted with Romney's sociopathic out-gassings?

CNu said...

I'm not getting any indication thus far that John Kurman's sensors were off - and - at this juncture Cleggg has made the preposterous claims concerning the Hon.Bro.Preznit's remarks and intentions.

Dale Asberry said...

Eh, not really, unless uttered nonsense says it's deserved. But I will belittle Randian Objectivism without mercy. The name-calling was fairly directed at the ideas being Randian rather than at you personally. The rest of my comment was really directed at the nonsense I've been seeing on FB. Of course, feel free to belittle me for spending time on Facebook...

Cleggg said...

It's looking more and more like the majority of politicians, and bankers, fit a sociopathic diagnosis. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/many-wall-st-execs-says-050334637.html

Dale Asberry said...

To see what "people centric leadership" looks like in these parts:
http://subrealism.blogspot.com/search/label/People%20Centric%20Leadership

CNu said...

lol, who exactly do you believe funded the research of Vannevar Bush at MIT? Who do you suppose is the single biggest funder of advanced research at MIT today? Who do you suppose employs 80% of working physicists and computer scientists in North America today?

I was tempted to say your "hairsplitting" but what you're doing is nowhere near the precision of rhetorical hair-splitting. For the most part, it sounds like disingenuous crazy-talk.

This conversation started because you made a preposterous, partisan, crazy-talk claim about the Hon.Bro.Preznit's remarks that is a flat out lie and misrepresentation.

The government doesn't think anything at all. It merely serves at the pleasure of elites who think and demand certain baseline policies, procedures and operations. The primary driver of innovation in the 20th century was industrial scale warfare. The american warsocialist state and american warsocialist operations, distinctively and exclusively creatures of government and corporatist governance are the indispensible drivers of modern american innovation.

We have now reached a point where american elites are increasingly removed from the wants and needs of the american people and the american people are deemed more of a liability than an asset and will be dealt with accordingly.

CNu said...

more and more?!?!?!?!

No. Same as it ever was..., http://hypertiger.blogspot.com/

Dale Asberry said...

You really oughtta take a look around

CNu said...

Speaking of naval funding, Kurman's next-to-last post was serendipitously on point http://johnkurman.blogspot.com/2012/09/subsidize-me.html

Cleggg said...

"lol, who exactly
do you believe funded the research of Vannevar Bush at MIT? Who do you
suppose is the single biggest funder of advanced research at MIT today?
Who do you suppose employs 80% of working physicists and computer
scientists in North America today?"

I'm guessing that the majority of U.S. computer scientists are employed in the private sector. As for academics, it is mostly funded by tuition, private industry, and taxpayer dollars. I don't see a distinction between government and "all people" -- unlike Obama's speech. But since it's all "crazy-talk" anyway, I'll be on my way and let you boys enjoy your little in-group. Bye!

Cleggg said...

Dale, I will take that advice.

Cleggg said...

Perhaps so.

CNu said...

It's ok to not know.

Better still, to not guess or make uninformed assumptions and instead, simply ask.

You should try it.

The Navy is the single biggest research funding source at MIT and has been for generations.

I don't see a distinction between government and "all people" -- unlike Obama's speech.

lol, at your adamant refusal to surrender your cherished illusion about Obama's position, intention, and meaning. And yes, because it's so completely wrong, and you're so firmly committed to it, it IS crazy-talk. (and no, I'm not a partisan supporter of the Hon.Bro.Preznit and his particular flavor of banksterish corporatism.)

Cleggg said...

"...because it's so
completely wrong, and you're so firmly committed to it, it IS
crazy-talk."

CNu, I think, in fact, you have failed completely to understand my point (whether that point is right or wrong is another issue). Your blog post is focused on the meaning of "that" -- but I could care less about the meaning of "that" - or if the president really meant "those" -- or whatever. Let me spell it out for you. No, wait, let me ask you a question first.

In that same sentence, who is "you"? What group of people is the president pointing at when he says "you" (didn't build that)?

Cleggg said...

By the way, not sure where you got your data, but my guess was correct. The "government" does not "employ 80% of ... computer
scientists in North America today" -- http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm#tab-6

CNu said...

lol, he's addressing himself to delusional, Randian, "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" hypocrites who stand squarely on the shoulders of the american system of production, which system of production was MASSIVELY subsidized in the 20th century by the federal government. Historically, you can situate the beginning of the contemporary system of production to WW-II - principally through and by the same interlocking directorates and advisory councils which brought an end to the Great Depression by establishing a beachhead in the White House and the Congress - which beachhead has only increased rather than eroded - after WW-II morphed into the Cold War and the military industrial congressional complex.

"You" would be precisely that same set of ahistorical liars like Mitt Romney and the Bain capital vultures who've never created a plugged nickel of value, but who have raped, pillaged, and looted the American system of production exclusively toward the end of enriching themselves and everybody else be damned. Matt Taiibbi knocks that one out of the park http://subrealism.blogspot.com/2012/09/greed-and-debt-true-story-of-mitt.html

CNu said...

note to self, the very same crimogenic bust-out specialists whom the Hon.Bro.Preznit and his AG Holder have lacked the testicular fortitude to prosecute http://subrealism.blogspot.com/2012/08/nary-iota-of-testicular-fortitude.html

Cleggg said...

Now we're on track. For a 20c "system of production subsidy," I suggest cheap, abundant energy was #1, not govt policy. And I would suggest that expensive energy is now having the opposite effect on production and prosperity. Energy as a percentage of disposable household income has nearly doubled in just 10 years, after remaining relatively flat for the prior 60 years.

Ideology aside for a moment, the people that started businesses that generated the lion's share of taxes that built the infrastructure of this country are the true "you" that BUILT THAT, along with all their executives, managers, laborers, stakeholders, suppliers, environmental value, adjunct community, and customers (see "B Corp" Charter). Richard Florida's research shows that only a small percentage of people are "innately entrepreneurial." Perhaps 10% of the population has the genetic factors that propels them to take entrepreneurial risks that build businesses that generate taxes that build infrastructure. Are you one of them?

Government is not human, any more than a corporation is human. Govt is nothing but a proxy that (in theory) reflects the people's will. Government doesn't create or innovate, it doesn't make wealth, it simply takes wealth from the wealth-makers and sticks it into a large policy grinding machine that redistributes the wealth as (in theory) we-the-people direct it (>80% to defense, health, and entitlements). By this definition, we ALL built "that." No USA citizen hasn't had a stake in "building that." And that's what's wrong with the president's speech. You, Mr and Mrs American, DID built it. The president shows a chillingly polarizing ideology in his statement. There is, in fact, no U.S. citizen who POTUS can rightfully point to and say "you didn't built that." I don't care what your politics are, that kind of rhetoric is not unifying or presidential. It unnecessarily partisan and polarizing.

I dislike Romney, and cringe to think of him as president. But regardless of what you think about his business practices, they are all legal AFAICT. If you're upset at people profiting from legal activity, you should address the law, not the individuals. Same for taxes - Romney appears to have paid all the taxes he's legally required to pay, as distasteful as that is. Looks like he pays around $3M/yr on dividend income. Average per capita Fed income tax is around $8,500. Romney's taxes are equivalent to 350 average workers. If you don't like his business practices, then address the laws that allow him (and thousands of others like him) to prosper. But don't tell me that he, or anyone else in this country, "didn't build that."

John Kurman said...

Oh, it's much worse than that. The massive 20th C subsidies are dwarfed by the massive leveraged subsidies of the 19th C fed gov. Consider, breadbasket America primarily from the Dept. Of Agriculture (back when it was kick-ass), the Railroad Act, the Homestead Act, and the grandaddy Louisiana Purchase and Mexican War, the removal of pesky indigenous peoples, &c &c. If you live west of the Mississippi, you're very existence has been subsidized by Uncle Sam.

John Kurman said...

"synchronicity" is my middle name.... when "danger" isn't.

CNu said...

[govt] it simply takes wealth from the wealth-makers and sticks it into a large policy grinding machine that redistributes the wealth as (in theory) we-the-people direct it (>80% to defense, health, and entitlements).

mmh, hmm....,

No.

1. Government is not now nor has it ever been directed by "we the people"
2. Government DOES direct wealth buidling by concentrating its activities in certain sectors.

For example, the DoD is the largest energy consumer in the U.S. ecology and the largest single energy consumer in the world. It can easily determine energy policy by concentrating its activities in certain sectors, as for example the nuclear power industry which was built up during the 1950's and 60's, coal gasification (which it could do now with a Sasol-like South African movement in that direction) Star Wars - which produced inexpensive, mass produced computing processors and revolutionized computing at the personal level, NASA, the Internet, etc, etc,etc....,

You, Mr and Mrs American, DID built it.

You didn't build jack shit peasant, so stop energetically whooping your gums about some ridiculous Randian ideological nonsense.

The president shows a chillingly polarizing ideology in his statement. There is, in fact, no U.S. citizen who POTUS can rightfully point to and say "you didn't built that." I don't care what your politics are, that kind of rhetoric is not unifying or presidential. It unnecessarily partisan and polarizing.

OK, you may go.

you're just an obsessive moron with a hard-on to make something out of whole cloth with which to attack the Hon.Bro.Preznit. Again, I'm not a fan, and I'm not defending the man. It's just that your attack is about the stupidest, most disingenuous, and the flimisiest route of attack on this president and his center right policies.

But don't tell me that he, or anyone else in this country, "didn't build that."

lol, microencephalic cretin..., GTFOH with all of that nonsensical backwards-ass gas.

You haven't built a dayyum thing in your life, and if you want to suck up to an oxygen-thieving parasite like Romney, good luck with that.

CNu said...

Thank you sir for the historical depth-shot!

Cleggg said...

"You haven't built a dayyum thing in your life"

Guessing about 100x-1000x more than you, mi amigo, including commerce, social ventures, community service. One of those 1000 Ted talks? Yeah, that's me. Something you use every day? Yeah, that's one of my companies.

You're still blaming people, rather than a system. Good luck with all those demonized scape goats "out there." You're missing the point (of life).

I will GTFO of your little inbred church now. When you wake up from the dream, start doing something demonstrably unifying and positive for this country and this world.

CNu said...

Dood, you come here spouting ambien induced incoherence personified by the sock-puppet in chief, yet have the audacity to accuse me of "demonizing scapegoats"?!?!?!?!

rotflmbao..., trigga please....,

As for your novice life-coaching advisements, GTFOH again..., if the point is to get onboard with your cocaine intoxicated Randian chindribble, save that douchery for someone suffering a significant brain injury and corresponding cognitive deficit.

In the last year alone, I've done more in this community for deserving constituents than you've accomplished in your entire lifetime. The difference between you and I is that you want "credit" for your contributions, that you suppose yourself to be special, and that you think you contribute to history, all the while failing to recognize the simple and indisputable fact that you're not even capable of an internally consistent political expression in a blog's comment section.

I repeat, you haven't built a dayyum thing in your whole and entire life, and if you can pretend that Romney is deserving of anything other than complete and unrelenting scorn, then there's a significant probability that you're more than just a little bit psychologically unhinged. Oh well, a peasant gotta do what a peasant gotta do....,

DD said...

Cleggg will fit in fine, the full contact mental jousting takes awhile to get used to.

CNu said...

I hope so. He stirred the pot nicely enough and claims to have substantial bona fides. While BD doesn't offer to routinely take on the entire barroom single-handedly pursuant to his beliefs, he's not scurred to keep it 100% and at the same time deeply subrealist. I respect that degree of integrity above all else.

Golddigger Prank Exegesis....,