Guest Commentary – Goldman Sachs

guest-commentaryWe have come yet again to Friday night. I had a couple of different things in my inbox that I didn’t have time to read all of yet, so I am unsure if what was there was suitable guest commentary material or not. But I saw a familiar name in there who had done guest commentary before. Life of Illusion had offered some more information to me. Knowing this was a name I could trust, I opened his email and found that the information, while not “technically” a guest commentary, was very pertinent to the discussions we have been having all week. LOI offered several different portions of articles that discussed the series of events involving Goldman Sachs. I have followed this saga for some time as, in my opinion, it offers a fairly important glimpse into how high the corruption in our federal government goes.

Life of Illusion has offered a couple of guest commentaries before. I always find that LOI’s input during the discussions and the guest commentary stuff that LOI offers is interesting and well thought out. What I admire most about the guest commentary offerings is research and delving into areas that are not necessarily an area of expertise, but instead an area of interest that LOI was interested in learning more about. This speaks highly! One of the absolute best ways to learn more about something that you know little about is to research a presentation for others. When you are offering a perspective of your own to a group of folks you respect, you want to make sure you don’t make a fool of yourself so you research a little harder and end up understanding things far better than you had intended.

Goldman Sachs FBI DOJThis happens to me all the time as I research stuff. When I have to write nearly every night, I often decide to write about topics that I am certainly not an expert in. I am well read. I feel like I am pretty intelligent, but the vast amount of stuff that I am ignorant about vastly outnumbers what I know well enough to speak intelligently about. I submit that anyone who doesn’t realize this about themselves is living in a fantasy! So I end up learning far more than I probably even need to in order to offer the best information I can. This is why I encourage all of you so often to write guest commentaries. I cannot tell you how good it feels when you see your thoughts and words published. So get to work all of you! And that includes our liberal friends as well. There is no limitation on the content of guest commentary. I welcome viewpoints from the left, right, center, and even outer space! Everyone’s view or perspective is welcome at Stand Up For America. I actually wish I had MORE stuff from the left offered so we could discuss it more and debate the concepts of what is presented.

But let’s get to it for tonight. Life of Illusion offers some perspective from three different sources. Matt Taibbi is a very liberal columnist who has his own popular blog and who also writes for Rolling Stone Magazine. He is also the author of the article that Ray Hawkins suggested the other day on health care. I have yet to find a copy of said magazine, but my search will continue. Glenn Beck is, well, Glenn Beck. Fox News commentator, radio talk host, and entertainer. As I have said, he is sometimes bizarre and always fun to watch, and also fairly honest and oddly accurate with what he presents as fact.

Some Interesting Things About Goldman Sachs

Life Of Illusion

Kathy had a post on July 2, about Goldman Sachs. For some reason, I was the only one to respond. I do not claim to have much knowledge about the economy and such. But I felt it was worth following up on, and trying to put an article together. I had thought the fincial market bubble burst was caused by Freddie/Fannie/Barney Franks/Chris Dodd. It never is that simple, is it? For the record, I don’t claim to have written an article here, just cut and pasted what seemed to fit USW’s needs on length.  I suggest all read the origional’s.

According to MATT TAIBBI, of Rolling Stone:

Matt Taibbi

Matt Taibbi

If you want to understand how we got into this financial crisis, you have to first understand where all the money went — and in order to understand that, you need to understand what Goldman has already gotten away with. It is a history exactly five bubbles long — including last year’s strange and seemingly inexplicable spike in the price of oil.

In 1936, however, Congress recognized that there should never be more speculators in the market than real producers and consumers. If that happened, prices would be affected by something other than supply and demand, and price manipulations would ensue. A new law empowered the Commodity Futures Trading Commission — the very same body that would later try and fail to regulate credit swaps — to place limits on speculative trades in commodities. As a result of the CFTC’s oversight, peace and harmony reigned in the commodities markets for more than 50 years.

All that changed in 1991 when, unbeknownst to almost everyone in the world, a Goldman owned commodities trading subsidiary called J. Aron wrote to the CFTC and made an unusual argument, requesting an exemption. The CFTC, amazingly issued the bank a free pass, called the “Bona Fide Hedging” exemption, allowing Goldman’s subsidiary to call itself a physical hedger and escape virtually all limits placed on speculators. In the years that followed, the commission would quietly issue 14 similar exemptions to other companies.

Now Goldman and other banks were free to drive more investors into the commodities markets, enabling speculators to place increasingly big bets. That 1991 letter from Goldman more or less directly led to the oil bubble in 2008,

What is even more amazing is that the letter to Goldman, along with most of the other trading exemptions, was handed out more or less in secret.In fact, the letters only came to light by accident. Last year, a staffer for the House Energy and Commerce Committee just happened to be at a briefing when officials from the CFTC made an offhand reference to the exemptions.

“I had been invited to a briefing the commission was holding on energy,” the staffer recounts. “And suddenly in the middle of it, they start saying, ‘Yeah, we’ve been issuing these letters for years now.’ I raised my hand and said, ‘Really? You issued a letter? Can I see it?’ And they were like, ‘Duh, duh.’ So we went back and forth, and finally they said, ‘We have to clear it with Goldman Sachs.’ I’m like, ‘What do you mean, you have to clear it with Goldman Sachs?'”

Glenn Beck on Goldman Sachs:

Glenn BeckComplete coincidence today that Goldman Sachs has their profits go up by 65%. Goldman Sachs.  Secretary Paulson runs the treasury. Secretary Paulson comes from Goldman Sachs. Secretary Paulson is saving all of these institutions, except Lehman Brothers.

Lehman Brothers  is Goldman Sachs’ biggest competitor? The very next day AIG, “they can’t fail” and “needs to be saved!” So the former employee of Goldman Sachs, now secretary treasury Paulson decides to bail out AIG. Who is one of the first companies that get the money from the bailout from AIG? Goldman Sachs. So AIG pays Goldman Sachs.

Neel T. Kashkari  was a former Vice President at Goldman, Sachs & Co. in San Francisco. He was chosen to design and oversee TARP. Then, two former employees from Goldman Sachs decided to allow Goldman Sachs to be a bank holding company.

Why would they want to be a bank holding company? That allows them to get even more funds from the government. They cannot only get the TARP funds but they can also get FDIC funds. The SEC doesn’t oversee bank holding companies. The Federal Reserve oversees a bank holding company, so they will be overseen by the Federal Reserve chairman of New York who is also on your board of directors! Which is against the law.

The former Goldman Sachs employee who is now the treasury secretary has signed a waiver allowing him to remain on the board. He doesn’t have to sell any of his stocks. He will  just have the former Goldman Sachs employee write a waiver to the Federal Reserve so the Federal Reserve chair can stay on the board and not only keep his stock but he can buy hang on just a second 52,000 shares of additional stock.” Yeah. So now the guy who’s overseeing Goldman Sachs, the watchdog, buys 52,000 shares more which up until today only made him three million dollars.

The biggest thing that Goldman Sachs was doing was derivatives. What are derivatives?  Goldman Sachs was the biggest derivatives trader and also they the biggest in oil speculation as well?  Goldman Sachs has gotten out of derivatives and oil and energy. They are onto cap and trade. They are the biggest supporters of cap and trade next to GE.  Now they are going to start creating the biggest derivative market of invisible gas for energy.

And from Rolling Stone (more from Taibbi):

Geithner Fox Henhouse CartoonAnd what caused the huge spike in oil prices? Take a wild guess. Obviously Goldman had help — there were other players in the physical-commodities market — but the root cause had almost everything to do with the behavior of a few powerful actors determined to turn the once-solid market into a speculative casino. Goldman did it by persuading pension funds and other large institutional investors to invest in oil futures — agreeing to buy oil at a certain price on a fixed date. The push transformed oil from a physical commodity, rigidly subject to supply and demand, into something to bet on, like a stock. Between 2003 and 2008, the amount of speculative money in commodities grew from $13 billion to $317 billion, an increase of 2,300 percent. By 2008, a barrel of oil was traded 27 times, on average, before it was actually delivered and consumed.

The Housing Bubble?  Barney Franks had help.

In 1994, report by the Government Accountability Office recommended that such financial instruments be tightly regulated — and in 1998, the head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a woman named Brooksley Born, agreed. That May, she circulated a letter to business leaders and the Clinton administration suggesting that banks be required to provide greater disclosure in derivatives trades, and maintain reserves to cushion against losses.

Clinton’s reigning economic foursome — “Greenspan, Summers,especially Rubin and [SEC chief Arthur] Levitt, according to Michael Greenberger — called Born in for a meeting and pleaded their case. She refused to back down, however, and continued to push for more regulation of the derivatives. Then, in June 1998, Rubin went public to denounce her move, eventually recommending that Congress strip the CFTC of its regulatory authority. In 2000, on its last day in session, Congress passed the now-notorious Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which had been inserted into an 11,000-page spending bill at the last minute, with almost no debate on the floor of the Senate. Banks were now free to trade default swaps with impunity.

Goldman Sachs Party CartoonFast-forward to today. It’s early June in Washington, D.C. Barack Obama, a popular young politician whose leading private campaign donor was an investment bank called Goldman Sachs — its employees paid some $981,000 to his campaign — sits in the White House. Having seamlessly navigated the political minefield of the bailout era, Goldman is once again back to its old business, scouting out loopholes in a new government-created market with the aid of a new set of alumni occupying key government jobs.

Gone are Hank Paulson and Neel Kashkari; in their place are Treasury chief of staff Mark Patterson and CFTC chief Gary Gensler, both former Goldmanites. (Gensler was the firm’s co-head of finance.) And instead of credit derivatives or oil futures or mortgage-backed CDOs, the new game in town, the next bubble, is in carbon credits — a booming trillion- dollar market that barely even exists yet, but will if the Democratic Party that it gave $4,452,585 to in the last election manages to push into existence a groundbreaking new commodities bubble, disguised as an “environmental plan,” called cap-and-trade. The new carbon-credit market is a virtual repeat of the commodities-market casino that’s been kind to Goldman, except it has one delicious new wrinkle: If the plan goes forward as expected, the rise in prices will be government-mandated. Goldman won’t even have to rig the game. It will be rigged in advance.

Sources
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/28816321/the_great_american_bubble_machine
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/29127316/the_great_american_bubble_machine/5
http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/198/27840/

Big Government WolfWhile this is not the traditional “Guest Commentary”, I found it interesting to see such similar views, and such similar condemnation from folks such as Glenn Beck, Matt Taibbi, and Rolling Stone in general. Given the discussions yesterday and presentation of the idea of the big banks getting bigger, and my assertion that they are doing so with the intentional help of the federal government, this was a fitting piece for tonight. It seems that Goldman Sachs is also getting much federal assistance from key figures in the federal government.

I submit to everyone, especially some of the folks who seem to have a vast level of trust that the “government” is interested in doing things to help the huddled masses, that this is a prime example of the level of moral ineptitude in the federal play makers. I challenge anyone to tell me how a blatant set of illegal and certainly immoral moves such as what we see illustrated here, in any possible way, bolster your argument that moving towards a form of socialism, communism, or fascism, is a good thing. I know I have read a couple of folks here lately telling me that they would prefer government be involved with everything. That having “government” involved in making rules for business is the only way that morality can be achieved, since a man cannot be trusted but a group of men can.

Given the level of corruption, lack of morals, and amount of helping big business screw over consumers that is coming from the highest levels of the federal government, I challenge you to show me how your argument is not rendered completely moot. Because the group of men running this country into the ground, continue to show me that TRUST is the absolute last thing I should be giving them.

Thanks again to Life of Illusion for putting this information together so that we could all share it and discuss it.

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Comments

  1. GreaterGoodscs says:

    This government is owned by big money and has no interest in helping “the masses” … the regulations in place (essentially an unregulated market) were bought and paid for. If there were any genuine oversight, their profits would have been limited and or at risk (what free market is supposed to offer).

    Goldman, et al own the government. Give it back to the people (socialism) and spread the wealth.

    Fortunately, I’ll be going to see my mommy today so I won’t have to read all the “slavery” arguments from the libertarians … how Obama and his crew are looking to take your guns, enslave you, etc. I see that as living in a constant state of paranoia.

    “Workers of the world unite …” – you know who

    • bottom line says:

      fascism

      1-A political regime, usually totalitarian, ideologically based on centralized government, government control of business, repression of criticism or opposition, a leader cult and exalting the state and/or religion above individual rights. Originally only applied (usually capitalized) to Benito Mussolini’s Italy.

      2-By vague analogy, any system of strong autocracy or oligarchy usually to the extent of bending and breaking the law, race-baiting and violence against largely unarmed populations.

      How can you own yourself? The corporate and politicals realms are the same one.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      First of all, giving the government back to the people would imply LESS government, not more.

      Secondly, how much are you gonna PAY Goldman Sachs to give back the government? The reason I ask that is that is the only way you are gonna convince them to “give” it back, and they are going to want a LOT of money in exchange for “the return of the government to the people”.

  2. Good morning GG!

    You said: This government is owned by big money and has no interest in helping “the masses”

    I would agree with you on this, they have no interest in the masses, only their power and the power of the elite.

    You said: Goldman, et al own the government. Give it back to the people (socialism) and spread the wealth.

    The problem here is that we agree that neither entity have interest in the masses. Socialism would only make this problem far worse than it is today. As a side not, your second quote contradicts the first, as they are opposite realities, therefore can’t act in unison.

    You said: Workers of the world unite

    Yes, this needs to happen to destroy the power. With the right plan, the workers could destroy it.

    Have a great visit with your mom today!

    G!

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      G – just noting that your statement:

      “You said: Workers of the world unite

      Yes, this needs to happen to destroy the power. With the right plan, the workers could destroy it.Yes, this needs to happen to destroy the power. With the right plan, the workers could destroy it.”

      …..sounds very Marxian – it gave me a good chuckle. Karl would be proud of you.

      Have a good one…..

      • Ray, Got a chuckle from your “marxian” remark. I don’t know a lot about Marxists, guess I need to learn more, but I stand by my words, the Free loving people, eg. workers, need to really stand up, not the Unions, they are a minority and only want money and control.

        I hate being controlled, don’t work for me! If you like it, may God bless you!

        G!

        • GreaterGoodscs says:

          Karl had it right … but many of Jesus’s statements (and I should point out I’m an atheist) and beliefs were distorted by those in power (whether for propaganda purposes or to govern).

          Karl had it right … the greater good can ONLY be served by all chipping in. Private property/enterprise, etc. is a phallacy.

          I noticed BF the other day mentioned home schooling. I don’t know where I stand on it because of what probably happens with it; the idea that parents brainwash children with their own core beliefs. At what point do parents let their children’s liberty flourish? Certainly not while they are restricting their knowledge, right? Isn’t that too slavery?

          I’m going to the movies so I won’t be around for a while (and will miss the bricks being tossed my way). You guys are still all right by me …

          • Havn’t anyone noticed that Marxism failed!

          • SK Trynosky Sr. says:

            Duh, like having the state brainwash your children is preferable to parents instructing them in their (the parents) values?

            Don’t get that one at all. Seems to me that it should have been relegated to the dustbin of history along with Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

            Now, years ago, when I was fighting the battle of the ’60’s there was this young SDS fellow at my college. His answer to everything was to shout “Power to the People!” I finally had enough and mentioned to him that if the people really had the power he wanted them to have he would find himself swinging from the end of a lamp post. Still feel that way.

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            Why do people persist in the foolish belief that taking care of your children is akin to subjecting them to slavery?

            Is it the ONLY argument that a liberal can come up with? “Your children don’t have liberty so you are a hypocrite of some sort”?

            Come on now… if we cannot all recognize that children require guidance and that the best source of that guidance comes from their own parents, then we have no common basis whatsoever to be even having a logical discussion.

  3. Thought I’d add this form the article above:

    And instead of credit derivatives or oil futures or mortgage-backed CDOs, the new game in town, the next bubble, is in carbon credits — a booming trillion- dollar market that barely even exists yet, but will if the Democratic Party that it gave $4,452,585 to in the last election manages to push into existence a groundbreaking new commodities bubble, disguised as an “environmental plan,” called cap-and-trade.

    Let me add this news report:

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/08/28/hold-breath-epa-expected-declare-carbon-dioxide-pollutant/

    With all this information, how can we not believe that this “cap and trade” legislation has nothing to do with Global Warming. As I replyed to Black Flag yesterday, this, IMHO, is nothing more than a Ponzi scheme, at proportions never seen before. The government and Wall Street, only want to fill their pockets with more stolen money. What will it come to for this Bulldookie to finally end?

    G!

    • G!,

      The only one’s who believe, are still drinking that Obama special mixture of kool-aid. Nice post.

      President Obama has said he prefers that Congress act to pass the legislation rather than address climate change through administrative action. He said he wants a bill that utilizes market-based solutions to reduce carbon pollution and transition to a clean energy economy that creates millions of green jobs. The EPA is unable to use market solutions and lacks the authority to tax.

      Obama prefers…..like he won’t figure out a way to use the EPA, not legal? We have seen the law does not apply to him.

      I would add that anyone who supports him on healthcare is not thinking. Whatever deal he made behind closed doors with drug makers will be good for him, his party, and at the peoples expense.

      And good morning G!, thanks for the info.

      • Morning LOI, Great article. Always learning more about the curruption we all face each day.

        You wrote: transition to a clean energy economy that creates millions of green jobs.

        If I could ask one question of everyone, what defines a “green job”? Trash collector? Coal miner assassin?

        G!

      • Add this to the list of govt. run business (name one). In the middle of the worst unemployment in decades, here’s how the govt. treats people:

        http://news.aol.com/article/amputee-todd-cohen-told-to-get-a-job/645621?icid=main|htmlws-main|dl1|link5|http%3A%2F%2Fnews.aol.com%2Farticle%2Famputee-todd-cohen-told-to-get-a-job%2F645621

        Granted, the man could work, if there were any jobs available that he might qualify for, I thought this was a good example of the govt. giveth, and they can certainly take it away (healthcare anyone).

        G!

    • Read, realize and remember every single time someone yaps about “global warming, cooling, neutrality… stupidity!” as its always always always about ye old $$$.

      http://masterresource.org/?p=4293

      http://masterresource.org/?p=4355

      I also believe these may just be the only honest brokers in the Cap & Tax game.

      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/08/19/uk-arrests-in-carbon-credit-trading-scam-organized-crime-said-to-be-involved/

  4. USW,

    Thanks for polishing up a very rough first draft. I have been putting off finishing it, but yesterdays article on the banks got me off my tush. Sorry for the late entry, next one will be more timely.

    I will be AWOL today, family thing, will try to check in Sun. PM.

  5. LOI – Great article.

    Why would anyone believe that socialism would help anything? It would just give government more power to screw things up.

    Never forget:

    Politicians seek power.
    Power corrupts.
    Politicians are, or will be, corrupt.

    The longer any politician has been in office, the greater the likelihood he/she will be corrupt and the more corrupt he/she will be.

    Hillbilly logic at work.

    • GreaterGoodscs says:

      So, Jay … are politicians people?

      If so, wouldn’t they seek power whether in gov’t or not?

      What do you do when 304,000,000 all want their own slice of a finite pie?

      Bada-boom, bada-bing. It’s a free for all (i.e., all against all).

      • Black Flag says:

        Correct.

        So a moral society organizes itself under moral rules – establishing exclusive ownerships over vast resources (called private property) because at some point there will exist but one person who determines how that one ‘thing’ will be used.

        We can organize such rules by reason (free market systems) or by arbitrary (irrational) means which will require force and coercion since they are unreasonable.

      • Some people seek power outside of government. But no power in private life approaches the power that can be had in government. So, seekers of great power naturally gravitate toward government.

        As to 304 million seeking a slice of the pie, the obvious answer is to make the pie bigger so that everyone gets plenty. Never knew of a government that can do that.

    • Jay,

      Thanks, it makes me wonder a bit where JAC & Flag have said big business is only possible because of the government’s interference with the free market.

  6. Black Flag says:

    There is not much, economically, I agree with in the post.

    In 1936, however, Congress recognized that there should never be more speculators in the market than real producers and consumers. If that happened, prices would be affected by something other than supply and demand, and price manipulations would ensue.

    In a free market, there is no case that can be made that proves this contention.

    It does not matter how many ‘play’ in a market – consumers are king.

    If a price is too high, it matters not how many ‘flip’ a product between themselves – the consumer will not buy the product.

    The ‘speculator’ ends up holding too much product purchased at too high a price – and, eventually, requires to liquidate at fire sale prices.

    And what caused the huge spike in oil prices?

    Wars in the Middle East.

    but the root cause had almost everything to do with the behavior of a few powerful actors determined to turn the once-solid market into a speculative casino. Goldman did it by persuading pension funds and other large institutional investors to invest in oil futures — agreeing to buy oil at a certain price on a fixed date. The push transformed oil from a physical commodity, rigidly subject to supply and demand, into something to bet on, like a stock. Between 2003 and 2008, the amount of speculative money in commodities grew from $13 billion to $317 billion, an increase of 2,300 percent. By 2008, a barrel of oil was traded 27 times, on average, before it was actually delivered and consumed.

    The fallacy here is to assume that oil -which IS subject to supply and demand- did not suffer supply and demand risk.

    As war threatened the Gulf, with Israeli provocations toward Iran, Iraq remaining unsolvable, Afghanistan spiraling out of control, Georgia and Russia at war, Ukraine and Russia nearly at blows (threatening all of Europe’s Energy supply), Venezuela nationalizing its oil fields… with oil demands of China ever increasing – the Caspian Sea Chess Game threatens half the worlds supply.

    It is of no surprise (except maybe to Rolling Stone magazine) that oil prices are highly unstable!

    Now, the rest of the article.

    Most certainly the flush and over abundance of fiat money and easy credit of the FED is the root cause of the perversions of the marketplace. With unlimited access to funding, all sorts of bizarre trading scheme’s are invented.

    Government, inserting themselves into the economy under the guise of ‘regulation’ distorts the financial business to warp around the distortion.

    Government finds itself causing turbulence for its own financing, and creates another warp to try to fix the first warp, and so on, until it has no idea what warp is causing what turbulence or what damage such turbulence is doing to the economy.

    It’s like playing Monopoly while able to photocopy the money – doesn’t matter where you land, you can afford the rent or buy the property and fill it with hotels. The paper money is making all the players “Game” rich.

    …until the game ends.

    Now Government inserting itself FULLY into the economy and will certain stop all the turbulence — by stopping the entire economy and grind it into deadlock.

    As the economy stagnates and dries up, government will continue to scratch its head wondering why nothing is working while ignoring its own leviathan body-dam.

    There is only three things that will happen from this point on – it be pushed out of the way by the force of its own creation -fiat money and exploding deficits- creating a tidal wave disaster of inflation that will wipe out the entire economy – OR cement itself permanently as a Socialist dam, and dry up into dust the entire economy and turn the whole nation into copies of Detroit OR it will figure out how to move its way OUT of the economy, slow enough not to cause a flood, but fast enough to prevent the financial drought and dust bowl.

    But believing government will willingly remove itself out of the economy is a fantasy.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      BF – just dropping in to point out that the entirety of the Taibbi article was not posted herein. The spike in oil prices has been attributed by multiple reports to the speculative markets run by assholes like Goldman and Merril. This has been discussed in this blog before.

      • Black Flag says:

        Hi Ray,

        There is no economic explanation that speculators create bubbles.

        1) Division of labor – many hands in a product.

        2) Speculators – many hands in a product

        3) Economics does not need to determine in its calculation whether a hand adds value – if a price is paid, obviously value has been traded.

        4) Division of labor is the reason of economic prosperity. The greater the division of labor, the greater the prosperity.

        5) Therefore, speculators – as a part of that division increase prosperity; they do not detract from it

        We can go into why this is (that is, what service they bring to a marketplace)

        • Speaking to my ignorace on this area of expertise here, but can speculators not falsely inflate prices in teh marketplace? There has been widespread reports of the speculators doing just that through manipulation of the market. So while your premise seems like it could be true, can the bad side of speculators also be true?

          • Speculators can use price manipulation tactics such as squeezing or hoarding just as the oil producers themselves can but the effect they can inflict on the market is actually small. Their whole game is following trends not creating them.

      • Agreed Ray. Interestingly, while Taibbi certainly appears to dislike Goldman Sachs a lot, and I am sure that could sway his conclusions a bit (although I am not claiming it did, only that it could), his article is quite interesting and informative. I would be interested in someone like BF reading it in its entirety and offering his thoughts.

  7. Black Flag says:

    Greatergoodcs

    Don’t forget these still unanswered questions….

    Ah, morality? Define it? I suspect our perspectives on it are vastly different. And that doesn’t make it impossible to come up with a basic set of rules based on a compromise of the definition. As I said earlier (the yes and no) answer I gave. It isn’t a black/white answer because there is none.

    But there is!

    I believe you still confuse “there must be only one right answer” with “there are many right answers – you only need one”.

    I cannot determine whether YOUR answer is right or wrong (ie: your belief is right or wrong) from my reference of my belief. I have no objective measure from which to judge.

    However I can judge you the same way the Universe judges you – Are you consistent (that is, without contradiction) in your belief – I can measure that – with reason and logic tests.

    How does a man reason with another man?

    How does one man know that the other is a reasoned man?

    So, if you CAN recognize reason – by what path should a man follow – one of reason or one of fallacy?

    Slavery is immoral, right?

    So if we find slavery today, is it still immoral?

  8. GreaterGoodscs says:

    BF: let me turn it around on you (since you never answered my question). Let’s strip gov’t away. Poof, it’s gone. Now we have 304,000,000 people in America (some natural born leaders, some natural born proactive personalities, some slackers, some lunatics, some so handicapped (mentally and/or physically) they can’t support themselves).

    Explain your way out of that mess and I’ll join your army.

    • Black Flag says:

      Its called freedom and the free market.

      Every person has a right to be the person they can be.

      No amount of force or violence on innocent people will make YOU a better person.

      Society organizes itself in a way that respects the inherent rights of every man – this is called MORALITY.

      No amount of violence or force or money or anything will solve all crime, killing, death, pain, poverty or hunger.

      There will always be suffering

      The best system is one of freedom, for it begets morality – and moral action achieves the optimum for all of mankind.

      • GreaterGoodscs says:

        You’re stuck on this one word: Morality. That is a nebulous term (not everyone agrees with what is moral). For instance, if I’m correct, you think individual freedom supercedes all else and is moral. I think otherwise. Who is right?

        multiply that by 304,000,000 and give me an answer I can work with.

        • Black Flag says:

          Morality, like all abstract thoughts, is merely a definition.

          We can define it, can we not? I mean – it is a word you think you have an understanding to its meaning, right?

          Who is right

          The one is is reasoned.

          The irrational man does not need to prove anything – because he is irrational, he cannot prove anything.

          The reasoned man must prove his action.

          I cannot demand from you a proof that fits my core belief – you aren’t me, and therefore there is no objective reference for us to measure against.

          But I can demand consistency – no contradiction – between your core belief and your outcomes.

          By this method, I am not using my belief – but yours; I am holding you up against yourself – you are your own reference – to see if your actions are consistent and without contradiction.

          • GreaterGoodscs says:

            Pure gibberish. There are still 304,000,000 individuals waiting for direction (or do they go off and do live 304,000,000 separate lives, whether they clash or not–and they will).

            Orrr …. I’m waiting for your answer to their problem. As I understand you, it has all to do with a morality based society that will come about because …?

            Ultimately, I find your core argument to be unrealistic. At least as unrealistic as any assumption that gov’t could cure all ills (which it can’t). The object is to limit suffering, not observe it.

            Individuals have to give something of themselves (some degree of freedom, if you insist) in order for what I see as a moral society to achieve the greater good.

            You call that giving something up “slavery.” I say that’s stretching the definition to fit your thesis; most people do not consider government as slaveholders (nor should they), nor do they see paying taxes, etc., as being robbed. They accept some needs can only be realistically provided by and through government.

            • GG, I think what BF is getting at is far different from what you are talking about.

              We, as a people, cannot take care of one another until we first take care of ourselves. You may believe that you have a core belief, but in your first post today, you contradicted yourself.

              I’m not going to badger you with philosophy, not my style. You have had a difficult road to travel, and you have some hard feelings about it. That’s OK, we all have walked a mile or ten in your shoes. Don’t worry about the 304 million out there, worry about you first, everyone else will be fine without your help. When you have “you” as your #1 priority (being yourself and closest family members), the take some time to figure out where you can help others.

              Just my humble opinion!

              G!

              • GreaterGoodscs says:

                G-Man: What if oen (me, for instance, as an example) cannot take care of myself?

                Isn’t the rest of society morally bound to help?

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                Nope.

                If you cannot help yourself, then you had better hope that you have FAMILY to help you.

                If your family cannot help you, then you should hope that your friends can help you.

                If your friends cannot help you, you had better hope that people within your community are willing to help you.

                “The general populace” has no moral obligation to do anything. You cannot “morally obligate” a MASS of individuals. MASSES of individuals HAVE NO MORALS. Only the individuals themselves have morals.

                That is where you are confused.

            • v. Holland says:

              You are arguing that government is necessary and I actually agree that it is-but you are using terminology like “some freedom” and in other posts “balance between” when you are promoting complete Socialism-I do not understand how these moderate terms you are using fit in with your conclusion that socialism is better than smaller government.

              I’m going to be gone a lot today too-will check in whenever I can

            • Black Flag says:

              Reply below, in case you missed it.

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              Interesting that you are so quick to dismiss BF’s statements as pure gibberish.

              Are you saying that the logic of his statements is faulty? If so, please specifically demonstrate how.

          • Ray Hawkins says:

            You can define your own morality but that does not define mine – that is an issue that has been fought over since since caveman A met caveman B.

            What you may see as irrational I may see as rational.

            We’re are imperfect beings – to assume we shall all in accordance with the same morals, principles, etc. is impossible. Differences will at some point breed disagreement which will at some point breed conflict. You know as well as anyone that no economic theory is correct 100 percent of the time – and while certain theories can be predictors of human behavior – they will not get it right all the time.

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              Morality is really simple actually. Your attempt to make it seem complicated is counter-intuitive.

  9. Black Flag says:

    Busy day – popping in and out when I can!

    Cheers!

  10. Black Flag says:

    GreaterGoodscsComment:

    Pure gibberish.

    If I am using words you do not understand, let me know.

    There are still 304,000,000 individuals waiting for direction (or do they go off and do live 304,000,000 separate lives, whether they clash or not–and they will).

    You advocate rules for society, true?

    There are only two ways rules exist – reasoned or irrational.

    Which one do think would work best?

    Orrr …. I’m waiting for your answer to their problem.

    You have many errors in logic and reason.

    One of your dominate errors is called “Fallacy of Conclusion”

    Simply, just because you want something to be true does not make it true.

    This is demonstrated by your continuing need to start at consequences, and try to develop some system that creates such consequence.

    This is trying to understand the effect without understanding its cause.

    The better way is to establish truththe means make the ends.

    You cannot start with evil and think it will make a good.

    So, we better start with a ‘good’ first, right?

    As I understand you, it has all to do with a morality based society that will come about because …?

    Because we have rules.

    What matters is – how do we know a rule is a ‘good’?

    The object is to limit suffering, not observe it.

    You do not reduce suffering by increasing it.

    You do not reduce suffering by transferring it.

    You do not reduce suffering by harming innocent people.

    You do not reduce suffering by inflicting violence on non-violent people.

    Individuals have to give something of themselves (some degree of freedom, if you insist) in order for what I see as a moral society to achieve the greater good.

    “Greater good” cannot exist since it cannot include everyone.

    Thus, you are contradicting yourself.

    You wish to cause suffering to innocent people so to reduce suffering for other people.

    Now you see why reason is important? It actually helps avoid making critical and vital mistakes such as that.

    You call that giving something up “slavery.”

    Slavery is a man forced by coercion to work for another man.

    I say that’s stretching the definition to fit your thesis; most people do not consider government as slaveholders (nor should they), nor do they see paying taxes, etc., as being robbed.

    Because they change the definition to rationalize their chains.

    A definition does not change because of it is a different person doing the action.

    • BF, I find it interestiing that GreaterGoodscs seems to choose to ignore me, which is fine, as I take no offense. I’ve asked some clear questions over the last few days, made them simple (so I can understand them, LOL), but yet, no acknowledgement. My offer to GG is still open, and will remain until some form of communication can be established.

      Judy, Hi Girl, hope is all well with you today!!

      G!

      • Hey G.

        All is well with me. Went grocery shopping, the bank, had to get smokes, and gas, then came home. Was sitting on the couch to do some reading, and fell asleep for an hour. Man, I was tired. Can’t do that during the week, so I try and sneak in a nap on Saturdays. Besides, it wouldn’t look too proper for me sitting at my desk at work napping, now would it.

        How are things with you? Left you an email last, did you read it? Is it still cold there and rainy? It’s nice hear today, not nearly as much smoke as we had yesterday. They said the winds are suppose to shift, and blow the smoke out. Not as hot today either as yesterday, only about 85 to 90, which isn’t too bad.

      • GreaterGoodscs says:

        G-man, sorry. I was out after my “Pure gibberish” post. I just posted (Sunday morning) a reply to one of yours. This is reply 2.

        I’m not buying into the philosophy because it doesn’t apply. I assume we’re talking about the real world. BF (perhaps you too) label(s) things evil, moral, rational, irrational but provide no viable answer. It is all philosophical … makes for an interesting term paper but is equally as useless as either major political party in dealing with the real world.

        So, my question remains unanswered. 304,000,000 people are waiting for direction.

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          No, they aren’t. They are perfectly capable of setting their own direction. They do not require mine or yours.

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Also, it isn’t 304,000,000… it is about 6 Billion with a B. Why should whatever system you propose limit itself to some arbitrary lines on a map?

  11. Hey Guys

    Just thought I’d pop in and say HI.

    BTW BF, when is you second article coming out?

    Judy

  12. Ray Hawkins says:

    The Government has enabled and supported what Goldman has done (removing barriers to Goldman). By removing the enabler you are assuming some other actor (the free market) will step in and Goldman will be held in check. I find that odd – these folks deal in instruments you never see, markets you have never heard of, and have webs of relationships the best forensic accountants in the world have trouble un-screwing. That they would be able to operate almost completely behind closed doors is not an answer that seems to make sense to me. The answer is within – the change agent to actualize that answer has always been impotent to do anything.

    • Black Flag says:

      What you fail to add to your calculation was that it was never a free market – it was always a government controlled and government manipulated market.

      Goldman Sachs cannot print currency – nor lower interest rates by demand.

      These forces allowed many parts of the economy to warp and distort outside of what would occur in a free market. Goldman Sachs happened to be part of that distortion – but they were not the cause of the distortion – but a consequence

      • Seems to me the government manipulated the market so as to favor Goldman. Many key players in the government were Goldman people, so what else would you expect?

        The more government you have (e.g. socialism), the more of this corruption you will have because the government will have more power, as if it doesn’t have enough already.

        As usual, government is the root cause of the problem.

  13. Black Flag says:

    Ray Hawkins

    You can define your own morality but that does not define mine – that is an issue that has been fought over since since caveman A met caveman B.

    True – and violence is one way to reconcile moral differences.

    However, I suggest an alternative.

    Since I cannot judge your core moral belief from my core more belief (ie: no objective frame of reference), the only tool that remains is to judge your actions by their consistency to your belief, thereby using your frame of reference to judge your action.

    If you say one thing and do another, I can conclude this
    …either your principle or your actions are evil, since they contradict each other.

    What you may see as irrational I may see as rational.

    1+1=2. Black is not white.

    These are not judgment calls. If claiming up is down, you irrational – whether your name is Ray or Black Flag or GG.

    If your premise of argument is faulty, it will be exposed by a contradiction in test against the universe. The Universe is never wrong

    We’re are imperfect beings – to assume we shall all in accordance with the same morals, principles, etc. is impossible.

    As I repeat:

    There are infinite number of right answers to every problem, but you only need one

    The requirement is NOT 100% agreement – it is unnecessary.

    The requirement is rational rules that are consistent with the Universe and your own core principle.

    Differences will at some point breed disagreement which will at some point breed conflict.

    Arguing that 1+3=4 while I argue 2+2=4 does not need conflict to resolve. We can both be right at the same time.

    You know as well as anyone that no economic theory is correct 100 percent of the time

    False. Economic, like any action in Nature, always precedes precisely as it will.

    Economics is the science of human action. It is VERY determinative of consequences of one action vs. another action.

    Economics does not determine right or wrong – just like gravity doesn’t determine right or wrong – it just “is”.

    – and while certain theories can be predictors of human behavior – they will not get it right all the time.

    Humans are complex – but economics does not need to deal with your decision process – it is not there to determine your value for a thing.

    To you, you may value clumps of dirt, where as I may not. Economics doesn’t care.

    What economics says “You will not voluntarily part with your dirt at a price lower than your value for that dirt”.

    Does that help you a bit to understand the role economics plays?

    • BF,

      I can agree that judging someone against contradictions to their core as evil is possible. You stated:

      Since I cannot judge your core moral belief from my core more belief (ie: no objective frame of reference), the only tool that remains is to judge your actions by their consistency to your belief, thereby using your frame of reference to judge your action.

      If you say one thing and do another, I can conclude this
      …either your principle or your actions are evil, since they contradict each other.

      So when this is applied to a society, how is order to be maintained if, for example, an action is in complete harmony with the person’s core principle, yet at odds with what the general population sees as moral. Ray’s core may allow for him to murder someone, therefore no contradiction exists. How then, do you determine what is morally acceptable in a society? Obviously murder is an extreme example (but then again so is left handed blonde people). But what happens when there are vast differences in moral beliefs yet no contradiction in the cores?

      • But what happens when there are vast differences in moral beliefs yet no contradiction in the cores?

        That’s when people like me show up, to fix it!

        G!

      • GreaterGoodscs says:

        Thanks, USW, for asking an excellent question. I’ll go one further.

        There are 304,000,000 people … half have irrational moral belief … how does the other half handle all that “evil”?

        Oy-vey …

        By the way, one of my son works for Goldman Sachs … his dept. was outsourced long before GS had their lackies in the gov’t fork over our money to bail them out. Do you think our gov’t required GS to end their outsourcing? Answer: No way (who’re the slaves)?

        If this economy were any more “free”, those of us with jobs would be getting paid at soup kitchens.

        • GG, Good morning sir! I will try and answer all your questions as best I can. Love that morning coffee!

          We all have philosophical morallity, most is good, some are not so good. Sadly, there will always be evil people on earth, as I’m listening about the 11 year old who was abducted 18 years ago and kept in a shed. The people like the man that did this, often force people away from their core moral beliefs, and many want to just kill this guy and get it done with (can’t blame them for what they feel). But, it won’t happen, because the core moral belief takes over, despite the anger.

          I’m curious as to why you think that 304 million people need direction? I do not require any assistance to live day to day, like a vast majority of the millions. Not only am I able to survive without any assistance from those who think I need it, I don’t want them in my life at all. There are five circles in my life, the first circle is the smallest, it represents me. The next circle is my inner family circle (within my household). The next is bigger, that’s my outer family circle (all my relatives). Then the next circle is my social circle. These are my friends, coworkers, and anyone that I chose to be in that circle. I have control of who is in this circle. The biggest circle is everyone else on the planet. The folks in this circle should not interfere with my other circles, it’s not their business, and I don’t want in their business. My other circles keep me plenty busy and I do not have time for
          all the rest.

          Hope that helps!

          G!

          • GreaterGoodscs says:

            I think we can all “reasonably” come to define morality (that which is defined as “good” vs. “not good”) but that doesn’t change the fact there would be those who don’t agree.

            If 304M have no direction, you have chaos (contrary to BF’s insistence that somehow morality will prevail). 304M doing what they want (pursuing their individual “freedom”) will supercede morality (for morality is NOT going to be universally defined).

            The guy who kidnapped the girl … should be put through a meat grinder (very slowly) but you’re right, nothing like that will happen. And as irrational as my preference (the meat grinder) may be, it is my core belief of what should happen to him. Ipso facto, a clashing of morality (because not everybody will opt for the meat grinder).

            • Let’s look at your comment for a moment:

              If 304M have no direction, you have chaos (contrary to BF’s insistence that somehow morality will prevail). 304M doing what they want (pursuing their individual “freedom”) will supercede morality (for morality is NOT going to be universally defined).

              What I will disagree with in your statement is that peoples morals will suddenly change without some form of government. Here’s where we probably disagree, you believe people are inherantlty evil, and I think people are inherently good.

              It has been said by many that we are the most generous people (as a nation) on the planet. That could not happen under your premise. An example would be the MD telethon, that has raised billions of dollars over my lifetime, to help those that suffer from MD (Muscular dystrophy).
              This supports my belief, can you give an example that supports yours?

              The meat gringer sounds good to me! LOL

              G!

              • Hi Guys.

                I think that guy who kidnapped Jaycee should be castrated if you ask me, then put away for the rest of his life.

                But, that’s my opinion.

                Judy

              • Judy, rape is not a crime of passion. It is a crime of power or slavery. Castration will not take away his desire to use power control. I say cut off his penis….then he has the want to…but can’t. Or better yet cut them both off.

              • Murphy's Law says:

                Hi Judy……

                Let’s castrate him with a dull and rusty knife, then do to him what he did to Jaycee. Isolate him in a soundproof room, no outside contact except for a big burly “caretaker” who brings him his food and makes him his girlfriend. No medical care either, just like Jaycee.

                This is of course tongue-in-cheek, but what I really wish is that monsters like this guy and his wife should be wiped off the face of the earth. I just don’t think anyone like them should be allowed to live especially supported by taxpayer money. But they are in California, where there is no capital punishment. I guess they can support him…..it’s their tax dollars.

              • I think that anyone who thinks as that guy did should either be taken to the town square and hung, or taken to the same place and a bullet put in the back of the sick freaks head.

              • GreaterGoodscs says:

                For every MD telethon, there are countless stock crooks out there (boiler rooms) who steal the money from mostly elderly people with a smile on their faces (not to mention the Bernie Madoff’s of the world).

                2 for the meat grinder is a start!

              • see below, too squished

  14. Black Flag says:

    USWeapon

    Speaking to my ignorace on this area of expertise here, but can speculators not falsely inflate prices in teh marketplace? There has been widespread reports of the speculators doing just that through manipulation of the market. So while your premise seems like it could be true, can the bad side of speculators also be true?

    Define “bad”?

    In a free market, let’s take these two scenarios:

    1) Producer “falsely” increases his price – that is, he is charging higher than the market can bear.

    Consequence: the consumer withdraws his purchases, lowering demand.

    The producer needs to sell to earn. This charge vs. buy price dance occurs all the time – but in the end, the consumer always wins because, in the end, the consumer has what the producer wants more than his own goods – that is, the most demand commodity of them all – money.

    Consumer holds the money.

    So, substitute “speculator” instead of producer. Nothing changes. The consumer is still the holder of the money, the price dance still occurs, etc.

    So, from the consumer’s point of view, there is no difference.

    2) Producer to speculator. Here, again, nothing changes. The speculator is the consumer – the speculator is holding the money – so this dance doesn’t change either.

    The speculator provides a vital function – price calculation – for both the consumer and the speculator.

    The speculator gives the producer a ‘known’ price for his good – the producer can make calculations of his production vs. costs, etc. with a perfect knowledge of what his goods will fetch in a market place.

    The speculator gives the consumer a ‘known’ supply and price, regardless of demand.

    It is the speculator, for a very small fee, that removes most of the risk of price/demand from both consumer and provider.

    If there is a wild bubble, it is the speculators that are at the top of risk – they are absorbing most of it.

    The weird and bizarre financial instruments were created to try to spread the risk around to a larger group.

    The market for these instruments existed only because there was a huge flush of fiat cash due to artificially low interest rates.

    A company could borrow money – at artificially low interest rates and invest the borrowed cash for higher returns from these investment vehicles.

    The artificially low interest rates told capitalists that there was a pent up demand for more services and products (then there really was) – thus, more commodities, thus, more opportunity to earn a profits from the speculation.

    However, the amount of goods in the economy did not reflect this demand (because it was an illusion due to low interest rates). It was the speculators bidding against each other for goods that simply were not needed by the economy. The biggest losers were the speculators.

    If the speculators are the banks….

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      BF,

      I disagree with you to some extent here, though not totally.

      Speculators cannot control the price of any given comodity FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME, but I believe that they CAN and DO attempt to control the price of given comodities OVER SHORT PERIODS OF TIME. Eventually their self-created bubble does collapse when the consumer is no longer willing to pay the inflated price for the comodity, but until the consumer reaches that breaking point, many speculators make out quite well if they time their exit from the market correctly.

      The speculators that get hurt are the ones who come late to the party and jump in at the high point and refuse to admit that the party is over.

      Take for example the Hunt Brother’s manipulation of the silver market. If you were a speculator, and bought large positions in silver early on, you helped to drive the price up. If you then were smart enough to get out before silver collapsed, you made a fortune. Sure, there were plenty of people who didn’t get out until after the collapse, but there were plenty of people that did get out at the right time and made a boatload of money as well.

      The problem with a commodity like oil is that it is even more prone to manipulation than silver, because everyone NEEDS it. People are going to buy it regardless of price because there are not currently viable alternatives. Sure, they are going to buy less of it and cut down on the amount they need as much as possible, but no one has the ability to say, “Oil is just too darned expensive, we are going to stop buying it altogether.”

      • Black Flag says:

        Speculators cannot control the price of any given comodity FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME, but I believe that they CAN and DO attempt to control the price of given comodities OVER SHORT PERIODS OF TIME.

        The key to understanding the relationship between speculators and consumers/producers is to understand that there is nothing different between them!

        A Speculator to consumer interaction is the same as a producer to consumer interaction.

        A speculator to producer interaction is the same as a producer to consumer interaction.

        There is nothing any different between the consequences – a speculator does not create “a new thinking of consumer relationships”

        If you hold that a speculator can increase his price over the short term – it is the same example and consequence as if a producer increased his price over the short term.

        One does not need to study ‘a new economic relationship theory’ simply because you insert a speculator into the relationship.

        As far as oil:
        Whether it is oil, gold, copper, sugar – all follow the economic theory.

        Certainly, there are a few buyers at any price. However, in a market place there are also more sellers at a high price.

        The rules of supply and demand do not change just because it is oil or cars or screw drivers.

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          I agree that the economic theory does not change. I simply feel that it is actually possible for speculators to be able to manipulate prices using that economic theory.

          If there was not money to be made in speculation, people wouldn’t engage in it.

          • Black Flag says:

            There is lots of money to be made in speculation – but manipulation isn’t where that win is.

            The money is made by exchanging risk.

            The speculator exchanges contrary risk between consumer and supplier.

            Consumer wants firm supply, so will pay a small margin to guarantee that.

            Producer wants a firm price, so will pay a small margin to guarantee that.

            The speculator bridges these two contra-risk factors and makes a profit by doing so.

  15. I hear they want to ban smoking in the military again. Some soldiers are okay with it, but a lot of them are totally against it. Aren’t they under enough stress, and now they want to put them under more, by banning smoking.

    If you go to the Fox web site, and skim down, you can read the article for yourself. They’re worried about soldiers smoking when at any given time, they can be killed. Please give me a break. Don’t know what’s going on here, when they want to take that away from our troops. As some of them said in the article, smoking helps calm them down, especially after fighting like they do.

    To me, it’s like trying to quit drinking coffee in the morning. If I don’t have that first cup, I have a headache for the whole day. Granted, I’m a smoker, and it does help relieve stress when I get uptight or crabby. I don’t smoke that much, but enough to help get that stress off.

    I say, if these soldiers want to quit, fine, let them do it on their own, in their own, don’t force them. Let them enjoy it.

    To all you military out there, if you got em, smoke em and enjoy.

    God Bless Our Troops.

    Judy

    • I don’t know how the soldiers are now, but if they’re anything like we were, they’re going to have a small revolt on their hands when they try to take their smokes away. Most especially the ones in Combat Zones. Ain’t nuttin’ like a good smoke to calm down the nerves after a hard firefight.

      If the Military does this (which sounds just like them) there will be a whole lot of cheatin’ goin’ on.

      • That was me, forgetting to put my name in. Sorry. :-(

        • Hi Esom

          No apology necessary, I knew it was you because it says so at the top.

          I think they have to be absolutely crazy to ban smoking in the military. Like you said, and like my son said when he was in Iraq. After the fighting that he went through, he said, they all practically lit up. He said if they ban smoking in the military, then there is going to be an awful lot of pi$$ed of guys.

          He said it was bad enough when they went through basic, but to ban it completely, they have to be dumber than a bag of broken rocks.

          My son smoked pretty heavily while in the Marines, but when he got home, he lightened up quite a bit. Now he doesn’t smoke anymore at all. Quit almost 2 years ago. Like he said, being as to how he wants to be a doctor, how would that look if he had a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. He also quit when he was in the big brother, big sister program, and wanted to be a good role model for his little brother.

          Hope your day is going good.

          Judy

    • Chris Devine says:

      As a veteran, a child of a veteran (who died at 58), and a struggling ex-smoker I think I can see both sides of this. When I was a kid my dad used to buy smokes at the commissary for about $10/carton. There were always cigarettes in my house. He told my brother and I that he’d prefer we didn’t smoke, yet he never tried to hide them from us. As a result we started smoking in our early teens. To make sure he never ran out, he started buying extra cigarettes to replace the ones we pilfered.

      When I joined the military at seventeen I had already been smoking for a few years. Cigarettes were off limits during boot camp, but at tech school they were fair game again. Even though I had abstained for weeks the first thing I did when I got a chance was to run to the exchange and buy a pack of Marlboro Reds. Then when school started we were on a 50/10 minute schedule for eight hours a day, five days a week. Instead of smoking when I really wanted one I started smoking on a set schedule. Anybody who’s taken Psych 101 can figure out what that does to an individual’s relationship to an addictive substance. Thereafter I was heavily addicted.

      I didn’t successfully stop smoking until I was 24. By that point I had been smoking for ten years. I quit for three years but soon found myself back in school and in stressful situations. I also had a new group of friends who were smokers too. Instead of realizing that cigarettes never cured stress (they only numbed some of the effects) I started smoking again. It wasn’t until earlier this year that I stopped again.

      The argument that soldiers should be allowed to smoke because their job is inherently dangerous isn’t very compelling to me. The fact is cigarettes reduce your fitness. Choosing to make yourself unfit when your life may depend upon that fitness at any given moment is a bad idea. The military has plenty of authority to regulate the lifestyles of GI’s. One could argue that soldiers should be allowed to smoke a joint to relax when off duty or snort a few lines of speed to keep them alert while standing watch. If your counterargument to that is that weed and speed are illegal then ask yourself why. Then ask yourself how cigarettes and booze are any better than pot or speed.

      The military is the biggest institutional parent around. People volunteer to join and should know full well that the biggest paradox of military life is that you sacrifice most of your personal freedoms to protect those same freedoms for everybody else. A complete ban on smoking in the military has been a long time coming.

      • Chris

        I congratulate you on quitting. But, there are those who might not want to quit, and forcing them to, I think would only make it worse. Especially if it’s cold turkey. I know, some can do it that way, but for others, it can be very difficult.

        I’ve tried quitting several times, but had no luck. I became a horrible person because of withdrawal symptoms, so I went back. That is the only vice I have, and I rather enjoy it. Yes, I know, it’s the #1 killer of people because it causes cancer. I know, because my dad had cancer, had a lung removed, ended up getting brain cancer, and that’s how he died. That was 11 years ago this coming November.

        My son quit by using the patches, but he said he had some really weird dreams using them.But like I said, it’ll be 2 years for him this November. My husband tried quitting, no luck for him either. You have to want to quit I think, and have the motivation to quit, but there lies my problem, I don’t want to. My mother who is 87 also smokes, smokes like a chimney stack, has emphysema, but very bad. Her doctor said, that at her age and this stage of her life, why make her quit if she enjoys it. Probably do her more harm if she quit than to continue .

        I personally think they should just leave it alone, or maybe let the soldiers themselves decide if they want to quit or not. Don’t force it on them.

        Judy

        • I meant not very bad for my mom who has emphysema, not VERY BAD. My mistake there.

        • Chris Devine says:

          Having stopped for long periods on a few occasions I’d like to point out that the irritability is only temporary. You’ve just got to remind yourself and others that it will pass. Also keep in mind who’s holding the cigarette. It’s your choice (even if it is hard).

          I also forgot to mention why I quit this time. My mom came to visit and ended up in the hospital for a week due to complications from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). I took her to the hospital on Thanksgiving day (talk about cold turkey). She’s now on oxygen all the time.

          My brother still smokes and I still give him grief about it.

          Regarding service members they should just enforce a zero-tolerance policy and stick with it. Eventually everyone will adapt. However, I would hope that they have the wisdom to address it without overly relying on punitive measures. They should do it with empathy and understanding, but with firm resolve to improve the health of all. Sound reasonable?

          • Sure, sounds reasonable, But I really doubt it will happen. For what I read, it said it might not happen for another 10 years. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

            Chris, I’m sorry about your mom, and I hope things will be okay, I truly hope that. My mom uses Advair every morning, but I wonder if it really does any good. Like I told you, she has a mild case of emphysema and her doctor just says go ahead and let her smoke. Who knows how much longer she has anyway, and like he said, why bother to make her stop now.

            Getting back to stopping smoking in the military, guess it’ll be like the jails and prisons as well, since they banned smoking there too. But I really think it should be up the individual not a mandatory thing. But, that’s just my opinion.

            My youngest son, who is the one who is in pre-med right now, always tells us we should quit too. He said, if he can quit we can. But like I told him, I think it depends on the person. If they want to quit, they will, if not, then why try and make them. Maybe sometime down the road, I will, but I’m just not ready too yet.

          • Chris,

            I don’t use tobacco at all, but I don’t really understand your position on banning smoking in the military.
            They volunteer to defend our freedoms, but you think its OK to take away a personal freedom?

            We are all going to die. We have no say in that. If we make good choices, we may live longer, and dodge a few bullets. But life belongs to each individual person, good or bad choices are up to each of us. Maybe it makes life more enjoyable, to try to live it, not just to exist.

            • Chris Devine says:

              It’s simple. Smoking reduces the fitness of our service members. Given that the military has free reign to impose fitness standards and limit the freedoms of its members, it seems like a no-brainer that they should ban smoking.

              Anybody who’s ever served in the military knows what I mean about the paradox of giving up one’s freedom to protect that of others. Drive onto any military installation and you give up your 4th Amendment rights. Probable cause is not necessary.

              Smoking doesn’t make life more enjoyable. All it does is scratch an itch that will kill you eventually and make you suffer terribly along the way.

              • Chris,

                I understand your position, and agree it reduces fitness.
                But there is where we part. I guess it’s where JAC and that damned Flag keep driving us to look, what are our core principals? I don’t think they have the right to say to a grunt, you can’t smoke.
                Maybe on duty, but what about on leave? Do they test them after they return?

                Gotta go,
                good night to you.

              • Chris,

                Is there any freedom or right that you could not come up with a justifiable excuse to trample on. The military has fitness standards and those standards are tested via a physical fitness test that must be done every 6 months and passed. So long as the soldier passed the physical fitness requirements the military has in place, there is no reason, or more importantly, no RIGHT for folks like you to tell them what to do to their own body.

                Smoking doesn’t make YOUR life more enjoyable. But I hesitate to believe that you have the knowledge to speak for everyone in the world.

              • I have to butt in here if you don’t mind.

                My oldest son is in the National Guard, has been for 7 years, he smokes, he takes the required test, and you know what, He passes every single time.

                When my youngest was in the Marines, he smoked like crazy, took the required test, and passed.

                Everybody who smokes, including me, knows it’s bad, but I for one enjoy it. To ban it from the military I think is just plain wrong.

                I agree with you USW, what about when these guys are on leave, or go out for the evening? What are they going to do, run a tobacco test on them and see if they smoked. Heck, they already have mandatory drug testing, if you flunk it your out for what I understand. If they are in a combat situation, and smoke, it won’t hinder their thoughts like drugs would. Ask my youngest son when he was in Iraq, twice. Ask him if smoking at that time didn’t help relieve stress. He was there in 2004 thru 2005 fighting that Al Sadar in Najaf for 3 straight weeks, and you tell me that isn’t stressful enough. Take that away from them, and I think it’s only going to cause more trouble.

                Chris, I don’t know when you were in the military, or if you have ever been in combat, but please don’t think for a minute that taking away these guys smokes will do them any good. As long as they pass the tests that are rquired of them, then I say, leave them alone, and let them enjoy what ever joys they have.

                Sorry if you think I’m ranting on you, I’m not, it’s just my mother bear comes out and defends her cubs, no matter how old they are.

                BTW, my oldest son is 27, and my youngest will be 24 in November. I was 13 when I started to smoke, quit when I got pregnant, but started up again afterwards. Yes, I know we weren’t a very good role models for our son”s. But I don’t think we should be judged on that either. They knew the risks involved in smoking, but decided to do it anyway.

              • Chris Devine says:

                It’s not my excuse. You should know yourself the military has complete domain over your life. There are lots of things you’re not allowed to do even if you can pass the test every six months. When you sign on the dotted line Uncle Sam owns you. G.I. stands for general issue.

                Have you ever smoked? Ever felt compelled to pick over butts in an ashtray to get something to smoke because you ran out of cigarettes? Ever drive twenty miles to get off base to buy a pack at a 24hour convenience store? Sounds real enjoyable. Having people suffer from withdrawal during combat seems pretty ill-conceived.

              • (Currently, anyway-) Military members are volunteers, so those in charge can do whatever they want to them. If enough people protest, they’ll quit or not join in the first place, and those in charge will either have to revoke the policy or come up with other incentives like higher pay. It’s not about freedoms or rights at all in this case, except the freedom of an organization with voluntary membership to impose whatever rules it likes on its members.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Smoking should either be totally legal everywhere, or totally illegal everywhere.

      This business of having it be legal (so the government can still tax the hell out of it), but then putting more and more restrictions on it (because it is unhealthy) makes no sense.

      It is the whole personal responsibility thing again.

      If I choose to smoke (I personally do by the way), then I should be the one responsible for any health problems that I get due to smoking. I should not count on “society” to pay for the fact that I got sick due to a choice that I made.

      Perhaps those of you in favor of big government would favor mandatory smokers insurance for people who smoke, and if they couldn’t afford it they simply would not be allowed to smoke? That would be a big-government solution to the problem that ALMOST makes sense :)

      • Chris Devine says:

        Masturbation is legal. Do you think people should be allowed to do that everywhere?

        • Black Flag says:

          You are allowed to do whatever you want on your own property.

          You are not allowed to do on my property what I do not wish.

  16. Alittle off subject, but even some of the elected ones are seeing the mess this country may be heading toward.

    http://www.chickashanews.com/local/local_story_239102559.html/

    G!

    p.s. Note the sentence about heading toward a revolution.

    • Here’s a pot calling the kettle black statement:

      White House spokesman Bill Burton said Thursday that without health reform the entire U.S. economy faces ruin.

      “If we don’t do something, not only is health care going to be in crisis, but the deficit will — we just will not be on a fiscally sustainable path as it relates to the deficit,” he said.

      • Morning G

        Well, it looks like at least a couple there are doing the right thing, and are opposing it. Amazing how everything is going to be a crisis. Wouldn’t be if they just left things alone.

        Hope all is going good for you today.

        Judy

        • Hi Judy, All is well, cool and damp here. We really havn’t had a summer and fall is right around the corner. Global warming my eye, LOL.

          The problem is government can’t stay out of trouble, much less our business. If they were abducted by aliens I would not shed a tear.

          G!

          • But, I’m afraid if that happened G, the aliens would throw them back.

            Still on the warm to hot side here, although, it suppose to start cooling down tomorrow. Instead of the 90’s, suppose to get into the 80’s. Can’t wait for fall, I’m summered out.

            Judy

  17. Black Flag says:

    Alan F.

    Speculators can use price manipulation tactics such as squeezing or hoarding just as the oil producers themselves can but the effect they can inflict on the market is actually small. Their whole game is following trends not creating them

    Many try to ‘corner the market’ but all fail – ask the Hunt Brothers – because as long as no one by coercion is forced to buy, the consumer stops buying.

    Exactly Alan – they make money by following the wants of consumers, not by twisting them.

  18. *wanders in a day late*
    Great guest post LOI! And good comments all, as well.
    My mind is in the cleaning and canning tomatoes mode. Perhaps I can make more sense later ;)

    • Thank you, would like to say that Kathy is the one that caught this, just everyone else had moved past her post, and didn’t respond. Maybe Ray can find that next Stones article when it become available, and share with us.(did I really just ash a liberal for information?)LOL

      Ray, fair warning, I have a thought for an article that will challenge every liberal! It might even be to controversial for USW to publish(or too dull and boring).

  19. v. Holland says:
  20. Health Care Reform Used as New York Crime Ploy

    Sunday, August 30, 2009

    NEW YORK — Police say attackers used health care reform as a ruse to approach their victims and then shot two and pistol-whipped another in a Long Island home.

    Suffolk County police said Saturday that a 26-year-old woman was arrested on attempted murder and burglary charges in the attack Friday in Huntington. Two men were arrested on the same charges earlier. Information on the suspects’ arraignments wasn’t immediately available Saturday night.

    Police say the three told the home’s residents they were selling insurance, referring to President Barack Obama’s push to overhaul America’s health care system. Police say the suspects then forced their way in, demanded money and attacked the victims.

    The victims’ conditions weren’t immediately available.

  21. Here’s a nice little video that spells things out quite nicely. If you have virgin ears and can’t handle some politically incorrect language, this is not meant for. For everyone else, enjoy!

    G!

  22. I think Reid should go of business. He has a lot of nerve saying that, then expecting us Nevadans to vote him back in. I wouldn’t vote for him with a ten foot pole. I sure do hope that somebody beats the pants off of him come next election. He needs to retire and fade off into the sunset.

    __________________________________________________________________

    The publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Sunday accused Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, of “bullying” his newspaper by telling an employee he wants the Review-Journal shut down.

    Sherman Frederick alleged in a column in his newspaper that the “full-on threat” was made during a brief exchange between Reid and the newspaper’s advertising director Wednesday at a luncheon for the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce.

    Frederick said that as Reid shook the employee’s hand, he said, “I hope you go out of business.”

    While acknowledging that his newspaper does not always see “eye to eye with him on matters of politics,” Frederick noted that ad director Bob Brown has “nothing to do with news coverage” or opinion pages.

    It’s unclear whether Reid’s comment was meant in jest. A representative for Reid could not be reached for a response.

    But Frederick apparently did not take it lightly.

    “Such behavior cannot go unchallenged. You could call Reid’s remark ugly and be right. It certainly was boorish. Asinine? That goes without saying,” he wrote. “But to fully capture the magnitude of Reid’s remark (and to stop him from doing the same thing to others) it must be called what it was — a full-on threat perpetrated by a bully who has forgotten that he was elected to office to protect Nevadans, not sound like he’s shaking them down.”

    In excoriating him, Frederick referenced Reid’s upcoming 2010 election — which a recent poll published by the Review-Journal shows is a tough race for the powerful incumbent senator.

    “No citizen should expect this kind of behavior from a U.S. senator. It is certainly not becoming of a man who is the majority leader in the U.S. Senate. And it absolutely is not what anyone would expect from a man who now asks Nevadans to send him back to the Senate for a fifth term,” he wrote. “So today, we serve notice on Sen. Reid that this creepy tactic will not be tolerated.”

    • Hey Judy,
      The man is a moron. They all are, thinking that they know what is right, wrong and good for “we the people” who they seem to forget they work for.
      I cannot wait until 2010. I will be so happy when Reid and Pelosi (hopefully) are relegated back to the rock they crawled out from under!
      Just my 2 cents, but hey :)

      • Hi Willo

        Reid needs to go back to Searchlight where he came from. I think they have caves there, not sure, but if there is, he can go there. That LVUN coach Tarkanian is planning on running against him in the next election. He’s a republican, and I hope he wins. Reid has been in way too long. Time for him and the rest of the lot to just go away.

  23. GG, You are correct, there are way too many crooks in our society; and government is the leader of the pack!

    How was the movie?

    G!

  24. Black Flag says:

    USWeapon

    An action is in complete harmony with the person’s core principle, yet at odds with what the general population sees as moral. Ray’s core may allow for him to murder someone, therefore no contradiction exists. How then, do you determine what is morally acceptable in a society? Obviously murder is an extreme example (but then again so is left handed blonde people). But what happens when there are vast differences in moral beliefs yet no contradiction in the cores?

    Left-handed Blondes is actually not extreme. Nazis had made law defining very specifically what sub-human was, and used it to ’round up’ degenerates.

    There isn’t really “vast” differences in moral beliefs – the ones that are ‘bad’ are self-destructive – such as “belief in murder or theft”; no society can hold this up – society collapses and destroys itself. This is why there is no society that ordains murder.

    A successful society exists because the core is moral – for example, Western society rests upon moral basis of what is commonly called “10 Commandments” – don’t kill, steal, covet, lie or fool around with another man’s wife – look to God (not government), honor your parents, and finally “Do unto others as ye have them do unto you” – as you can see, many of the problems we have are due to not paying attention to these simple standards.

    You will also find that all successful societies hold -in different words- pretty much the same basic moral values. You’ll find unsuccessful attempts – such as Socialism – contradict one or more of these basics.

    In the case of individuals; the root of moral principle is the Law of Mutuality - what I do to you give you the right to do to me.

    In the case of the murderer, it is obvious that holding such principle does not lead to long term success – everyone would have the right to murder him.

    Should such a man ignore the Law of Mutuality; it does not matter.

    It is like gravity – you can pretend it doesn’t exist, but gravity doesn’t care.

    One may believe “Good for me but not for you” but the Natural Law of Man does not accept that. It always demands, “What right do you have that I do not have?” In history, we have had men answer that with “God made me so” (Monarchies/Theocracies primary rational) and have made such rhetoric stick -but only with massive amounts of coercion.

    But mankind continues to question such rhetoric, so today, that claim rarely holds up. The point though, is that all principles past and present have been challenged with demonstrating some rational for the existence – tested by the Law of Mutuality.

    You know you have a moral (vs immoral) principle if that principle when it can be held and used by another person and you are still satisfied with the results. It passed the test of Mutuality.

    Lastly, the goal in articulating one’s core principles accurately is to allow others to understand them.

    Mankind needs to live – and therefore it is more reasonable to find those conflicts that our principles may create and work to mitigate or avoid them for mutual survival and to cooperate in areas where the principles align.

    GreaterGoodscs

    There are 304,000,000 people … half have irrational moral belief … how does the other half handle all that “evil”?

    How do you know their moral belief is irrational, GG? You have to, first, test to see if it is reasonable, right?

    So how do you test it, GG? How do YOU know?

    PS: Still waiting for answer to the questions asked above

    GreaterGoodscs

    I think we can all “reasonably” come to define morality (that which is defined as “good” vs. “not good”) but that doesn’t change the fact there would be those who don’t agree.

    There will always be those that do not agree to live by reason – but that does not dismiss OUR JOB to do so.

    Most people are alive because they operate reasonably – the Universe is very harsh on those that operate irrationally – they tend to die.

    So, to act morally one needs reason, right?

    If 304M have no direction, you have chaos (contrary to BF’s insistence that somehow morality will prevail). 304M doing what they want (pursuing their individual “freedom”) will supercede morality (for morality is NOT going to be universally defined).
    .

    Your argument suffers further problems.

    You believe YOUR organizing principle will survive 304 million different opinions, but fail to grant others the same benefit of the doubt? Why is that?

    I await your reasoning to why you believe 304 million people will follow your principles in lieu of any other?

    What if oen (me, for instance, as an example) cannot take care of myself?

    Isn’t the rest of society morally bound to help

    If society is not the cause of your inability, they cannot be obligated to help.

    You will need to go to the cause of your inability and demand that cause to fix its effect.

    Society MAY voluntarily help you – but voluntary is not obligation.

    I’m not buying into the philosophy because it doesn’t apply.

    Prove it.

    Let’s here the reasoning.

    It is irrational to dismiss a reasoned argument without providing the reasoning.

    So, my question remains unanswered. 304,000,000 people are waiting for direction

    If you cannot tell right from wrong, how will know my answer is right or wrong?

    How do you know which direction is the right direction, GG?

    What is your tool or method to know the right way vs. the wrong way?

    Karl had it right … the greater good can ONLY be served by all chipping in.

    What is your proof? Given that 304 million people do not think the same as you, how will you convince them you are right?

    Private property/enterprise, etc. is a phallacy.

    It is, in fact, a requirement – even in Marxism – which is why Marxism failed – it was self-contradictory.

    Someone must decide how a piece of property gets used. That person is the owner. You cannot have ‘no owner’ since ‘no one’ would decide.

    In the end, there is ALWAYS a form a private property. The next question is; how is it determined?

    I noticed BF the other day mentioned home schooling. I don’t know where I stand on it because of what probably happens with it; the idea that parents brainwash children with their own core beliefs.

    Vs. a group of strangers brainwashing the children?

    You most certainly have the right, GG, to abdicate your responsibility for raising your children into the hands of total strangers.

  25. Black Flag said

    “There is not much, economically, I agree with in the post.”

    Thems fighting words!

    And what caused the huge spike in oil prices?

    “Wars in the Middle East.”

    Ok, you may be smarter than me, better looking, drive a cooler car, but I don’t buy it here. The middle east wars and the time line for the oil price spikes do not match up. I will concede, they would be a factor, but were actually pretty stable during the price spike. I think Goldman was playing a ponzi scheme with oil futures, and others jumped on board, as they expected. Have you looked at what their profits were?(are they a customer of yours? full disclosure!!)

    Look at the housing bubble, Goldman plus Franks, and again its all a ponzi scheme, selling, re-selling, always raising cost driven by market demand. What is a house or loaf of bread worth? Whatever you are willing to pay for it.

    They differ from others that they had a free pass from the government, while their competition operated at a disadvantage.

    And for the record, I bet I’m a better dancer than you!

    • Black Flag says:

      Life of Illusion

      And for the record, I bet I’m a better dancer than you

      That, sir, may be actually be true!

      Ok, you may be smarter than me, better looking, drive a cooler car, but I don’t buy it here

      LoL – you’ve seen my picture?

      . The middle east wars and the time line for the oil price spikes do not match up.

      What you read in the MSM, vs. what the market plays are not aligned. The scope of speculators are 3 to 12 months in advance (if not longer for some portfolios) – what may have happened months ago causing a distortion today or what may happen months in the future are all stuck inside the price today.

      I will concede, they would be a factor, but were actually pretty stable during the price spike.

      Wars are not stable.

      Credible threat is not stable.

      Give me a date and I’ll research the “stress points” surrounding that particular time. To quote the Terminator “I have detailed files…”

      I think Goldman was playing a ponzi scheme with oil futures, and others jumped on board, as they expected. Have you looked at what their profits were?(are they a customer of yours? full disclosure!!)

      I do not disagree (as I said in the post and I quote another post)
      Only these days, the carry traders don’t have to go abroad to find the low interest rate. We’ve brought it home to them. They borrow cheap thanks to this conglomeration of explicit and implicit guarantees, and lend out at higher rates. If your cost of capital is artificially cheap, all sorts of trades that would never be profitable in a free market suddenly become profitable.

      Look at the housing bubble, Goldman plus Franks, and again its all a ponzi scheme, selling, re-selling, always raising cost driven by market demand. What is a house or loaf of bread worth? Whatever you are willing to pay for it.

      Such bubbles always depends on artificial cheap credit

      You can certainly point to any number of companies, and millions of people all taking advantage of such easy credit – but the root cause is easy credit.

      And Goldman’s wasn’t the one able to print the money.

      • Flag,

        A good answer except is Goldman a current or former customer? Don’t answer, then you might have to kill me.

        “Such bubbles always depends on artificial cheap credit

        And Goldman’s wasn’t the one able to print the money.”

        But Goldman seemed to have their credit line guaranteed. I think my point here is it’s not a single issue. Were the wars 90% or 20%. Same question for Goldman. And what other factors am I unaware of, that played a significant role? But Goldman having a SECRETE exemption on commodities trading is pretty significant.

        No, I haven’t seen your picture, just read Judy’s description. PS, I lied about the dancing and the car.

        Will leave you for tonight, spousal leader taking over. A pleasant good night to all.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        BF,

        If Goldman’s people run the Federal Reserve and the Treasury, then Goldman does indeed have the power to print money any time they wish to.

        • Black Flag says:

          Many banks have ‘representatives’ in the FED – and yes, they all supported the gross expansion of the money supply and cheap credit.

          The banking system does not run for the benefit of the people – it runs for the benefit of the elite.

  26. Black Flag says:

    LOI

    But Goldman seemed to have their credit line guaranteed. I think my point here is it’s not a single issue.

    The cause is certain – the turbulence and consequences -intended and unintended- are still echoing through the economy.

    When you artificially lower credit below what the capital in the economy represents, what would not have been profitable is profitable – but only because of the distortion, not because it made economic sense, but because it made business sense

    I am not defending Goldman, et al. However, if we do not recognize the root of the problem, we will make the same mistake again, but with different players.

    Were the wars 90% or 20%. Same question for Goldman. And what other factors am I unaware of, that played a significant role? But Goldman having a SECRETE exemption on commodities trading is pretty significant.

    But there had to be government – distorting the economy by its perverted laws – that caused the need for an exemption! No law, no exemption needed!

    It’s like tax breaks – it only exists if there is a tax. So if one hates tax breaks, eliminate taxes!

    No, I haven’t seen your picture, just read Judy’s description. PS, I lied about the dancing and the car.

    My pic is on USWep’s Facebook site as a “friend”

    Dancing – I try but I will never win “Dancing with the Stars”;

    The car, though – Top speed: 170 mph (though I’ve only had it to 160 (indicated)
    0 – 60 mph 5.4 seconds
    0 – 1/4 mile 13.9 second

    It dances much better than I do :)

    • What type of car do you drive again?

      • Black Flag says:

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/dodge-magnum-srt-8/

        Same color as in the photo (of course)

        • So, you drive a black Magnum. Nice car BF. I always thought they were nice looking cars. I like the black Dodge Chargers myself. But, I drive a 1995 Chevy Lumina.

          • Judy,

            Have you seen the new Challengers? They are the closest to a true muscle car throwback look I have seen. It is the first Dodge produced in many, many years that I would happily own. If I wasn’t so happy with my Infiniti, I would own one right now.

        • Nice. Now that you tell me again I remember you mentioning that before, I just wasn’t able to recall what you drove. I currently drive an Infiniti G35 S. I don’t know all the specs, but it is a quick little car. I have really allowed it to grow on me. I used to hate the Infiniti’s but then in 2007, they changed the lines on them and it made all the difference in the world for me. When we were shopping for a new car, I was looking at BMW, Mercedes, Nissan, Acura, and a couple of others. I almost bought the BMW 545, but something didn’t fell quite right for me. So I was giving up the search for a new car for the time being. Then my wife suggested I drive the new Infiniti. The first time I drove it, I knew I was going to own it. I drove it home that night.

          Mrs. Weapon drives a Volvo XC90 (volvo’s SUV), which she lovingly refers to as “The Tank”. She absolutely loves her truck (she is a truck girl, not a car girl).

          • Black Flag says:

            I can say that this is the best car, overall, I’ve owned.

            Safe for the family – completely surrounded by crash bars and air bags (5 star all’round) and blast-quick.

            If I had a choice between a Ferrari or this car, I’d keep this car.

            (and I love Ferrari’s)

    • Murphy's Law says:

      BF-

      You like to dance? Ballroom? (you mentioned Dancing with the Stars)

      Just curious- I’m a ballroom dancer myself.

      • Black Flag says:

        I go dancing with my wife when she feels she needs to be tortured….

        ..I’m not that bad..but I am a far better poker player than I can dance… :)

        I would love to dance ‘better’ – one day I get serious and take some lessons.

  27. Black Flag says:
    • Looking forward to your article on Wednesday BF. That’s if you still plan on putting up then.

      Going to go for tonight, work tomorrow

      Have a good night BF.

      Judy

  28. Black Flag says:

    New 9/11 Video.

    Why do the windows of the WT7 bust upward if the collapse started downward?

    Why do the steel core of WTC2 remain after the collapse – only to dissolve in dust moments later?

    http://www.picassodreams.com/picasso_dreams/2008/11/new-footage-of-wtc-7-collapse.html

    • SK Trynosky Sr. says:

      OK
      #1 air pressure

      #2 Peeling a banana but no innate strength in the core.

      C’mon, all you engineers out there, explain this better than I can, I’m only a crummy combat engineer with some extra practical experience.

      • Black Flag says:

        SK,

        1) How does air pressure bust a window bottom up when the collapse is top down?

        2) It sustained the maximum damage at collapse – the collapse passed – then it evaporated into dust – no banana does that.

        • SK Trynosky Sr. says:

          1. damned if I know but what would cause it bottom up anyway. Don’t say explosives because they wouldn’t cause it either. I guess a lot would depend on the window design. Which was the weakest side?

          2. A banana has structural integrity, The core at the WTC was attached to all the horizontal joists and supports. When they went they damaged the verticals. They were able to sustain themselves for a fraction longer than the internal and external framing. Think of the banana skin as being filled with jello. Rip the skin fast enough and the jello stands, for a second or two.

          That’s why I want the engineers to speak up.

          • Black Flag says:

            1) Of course it was explosives detonating in advance of the collapse. Nothing else can do it.

            To have the building fall into its foot print, you start bottom up – the basement collapses so that the 1st floor falls into it – then 1st floor is blown – so that the 2nd floor falls into it….so on.

            2) SK – they did not fall over – they dissolved.

            Your claim “..fraction of a second..”-watch again. They were there much longer than a fraction and ‘disappeared’ – they did not fall over (or there would have been the steel core laying across the street – there was no core lying across the street.

            If the steel was ‘jello’ it would have be smashed during the collapse – but it was not.

            What turned the core to jello after the collapse?

            • SK Trynosky Sr. says:

              I absolutely hate conspiracies. For 40 years, until I actually got to the Texas School Book depository and walked to the grassy knoll I believed it was a set up. Any moderately competent rifleman who was a stone cold killer could have made the shot. I’m surprised he missed on the second shot.

              Now, I’ve replayed the video several times. To take down a structure of that size (I’m not talking height but length and width), would have required ringing the building with explosives. Every vertical column would have had to be blown on the same level. The video shows, except for the right side of the structure the random blow out of windows. The right side shows a vertical blow out not a horizontal. Basing anything on windows blowing out would require knowing the type of windows used, how they were secured and a look at the internal schematic of the building (where are the shaftways?). Remember this was the building that had the 40,000 gallon fuel tank on the seventh floor. In the few apartment house fires I have seen, the steel is heated enough to twist like a pretzel. Add the weight of 30 or more floors on top of a five hour or so fire and the sucker will fall. Anybody who says that they have never seen a steel structure fail because of fire does not know what they are talking about. Steel and concrete overpasses fail when a tanker burns underneath all the time. Just had one by the Throggs Neck Bridge a month ago.

              Back to the core. I am not an engineer, don’t pretend to be one am just a talented amateur. Follow me here, there is the inner core and the outer wall, connected and mutually supported by interior horizontal joists and hangers. All those joists and hangers are attached by bolts to the exterior walls and the inner core. The inner core because of it’s smaller size, tends to support itself better than the outside walls do. When the joists collapse with the weight of the poured concrete on top of them, they rip out the connecting plates to the core weakening the vertical structure which cannot stand independently anyway. It was not engineered to stand on its own.

              Add to that the old maxim that when more than two people share a secret, its not a secret anymore.

              C’mon engineers and firemen for that matter, join in.

              • Black Flag says:

                SK Trynosky Sr

                I absolutely hate conspiracies.

                But they surround you. Anytime two or more people work together to force an outcome, you have a conspiracy.

                For 40 years, until I actually got to the Texas School Book depository and walked to the grassy knoll I believed it was a set up. Any moderately competent rifleman who was a stone cold killer could have made the shot.

                The key, SK, is not THE SHOT, but ALL THE SHOTS.

                There were at least 4 (even though the commission said only 3), and probably 5 shots.

                I’m surprised he missed on the second shot.

                He missed the first shot. Photo evidence shows both the motor cops and the Prez beginning to look around for the location of the noise…

                Further, have you seen the limo window? It was hit just above the sunshade. Please explain how a downward shot would hit the window ABOVE the Prez.

                Now, I’ve replayed the video several times. To take down a structure of that size (I’m not talking height but length and width), would have required ringing the building with explosives.

                Not true.

                Thermate charges at key structure points – like any typical building demolitions.

                Every vertical column would have had to be blown on the same level.

                There was only one core – the middle core – and it required to be sliced at multiple levels – a picture of such a slice is here.

                The video shows, except for the right side of the structure the random blow out of windows. The right side shows a vertical blow out not a horizontal.

                I agree – with the windows blowing out vertically as well -…. except from bottom AND preceding the center line collapse.

                Basing anything on windows blowing out would require knowing the type of windows used, how they were secured and a look at the internal schematic of the building (where are the shaftways?).

                Probably – however the path of blow out is bluntly observed – bottom to the top, BEFORE center-line collapse.

                Remember this was the building that had the 40,000 gallon fuel tank on the seventh floor.

                No, this was the building that was not hit by a plane.

                This was the building that was reinforced by FEMA to withstand a near-hit nuclear explosion.

                This was the reinforced building that was the command center of the Emergency Response of the whole of New York City.

                Further, there was no 40,000 gallon fire – I’m sure you’ve seen real building fires such is in Madrid – and that building did not fall down.

                Further, fuel cannot burn hot enough to melt steel. That is physics, sir.

                In the few apartment house fires I have seen, the steel is heated enough to twist like a pretzel. Add the weight of 30 or more floors on top of a five hour or so fire and the sucker will fall.

                Prove it, sir.

                No steel frame building ever in history before or since 9/11 has collapsed due to fire. (Picture to follow as a reply so to prevent “moderated post”)

                Anybody who says that they have never seen a steel structure fail because of fire does not know what they are talkingabout.

                No, sir. We are talking about a steel frame building.

                Please provide one other example — just one….

                Steel and concrete overpasses fail when a tanker burns underneath all the time. Just had one by the Throggs Neck Bridge a month ago. Back to the core.

                “On Friday July 10, 2009 at about 5:00 a.m., a construction worker’s blow torch sparked a three-alarm fire on the bridge during maintenance work to replace the deck.[2][3] The fire closed the bridge for much of the day, sending traffic in both directions to the nearby Whitestone Bridge. Approximately 140 firefighters were needed to put out the fire, which lasted at least seven hours, and was fought from the scaffolding below the deck and from boats on the water.[4] Traffic lanes on the Queens-bound side of the bridge reopened in the afternoon before the evening rush hour, but only two Bronx-bound lanes were reopened later in the evening.[5] The third lane remained closed due to repair work for exactly a month when it reopened on August 10″

                I couldn’t find where it collapsed.

                Oakland Bridge
                (see pic in another reply)

                Please note the overpass – an asymmetrical collapse – if fire was the cause of WT7, it should have fallen OVER , not straight down.

                Please explain how a building collapsed directly into its foot print

                I am not an engineer, don’t pretend to be one am just a talented amateur. Follow me here, there is the inner core and the outer wall, connected and mutually supported by interior horizontal joists and hangers.

                If you’d like, I can send you the complete blue prints of the WTC towers.

                You will note that these is NO WEIGHT BEARING on the outside wall. The entire design placed the weight on the main core.

                The collapse as hypothesized by the government is impossible.

                All those joists and hangers are attached by bolts to the exterior walls and the inner core. The inner core because of it’s smaller size, tends to support itself better than the outside walls do.

                SMALLER SIZE!@!

                Eek! (pic and info to follow)

                When the joists collapse with the weight of the poured concrete on top of them, they rip out the connecting plates to the core weakening the vertical structure which cannot stand independently anyway. It was not engineered to stand on its own.

                In fact, it was. It was OVER engineered, in fact.

                Put it another way – if this was a design flaw, that a mere fire could collapse such a building, why hasn’t there been a massive investigation on other buildings? Do you not think this is a serious fault if true?

                But it cannot be true – since it never has before or since.

                Add to that the old maxim that when more than two people share a secret, its not a secret anymore. C’mon engineers and firemen for that matter, join in

                Obviously your maxim cannot be true or war secrets couldn’t exist.

                It is incredibly easy to orchestrate many operations with such operations isolated in a way to ensure the knowledge of the whole is contained.

              • Black Flag says:

                Windsor Hotel – Madrid

              • Black Flag says:

                Oakland Bridge

              • Black Flag says:
              • Black Flag says:

                JFK Limo bullet hit

              • Black Flag says:

                JFK Bullet in front windshield

              • Black Flag says:

                Please remember SK, that the Prez was in the backseat – then the Governor – and then (wait for it) a glass separation then the front seat.

                There is no ‘crack’ in the glass separator (not hit by a fragment).

                However, there is a bullet hole in the trim and a cracked windshield.

                There is no way a bullet could leave the Prez. compartment, and curve ball to hit both the front windshield and the trim, while shooting down, while isolated by another plate of glass.

              • Mr. Flag sir!

                I disagree, what else can I say. To me the very concept of such a conspiracy flies in the face of reason. While not an engineer, I have a certain amount of practical experience and that experience including some photos of warped,fire damaged I beams from jobs I’ve been involved in lead me to believe I am correct. This in turn allows me to sleep at night.

                WTC 7 did have it’s fuel tank for the boiler located, for reasons known only to the designer on an upper floor. That fuel burned for hours before the collapse.
                Mayor Guillaini took a political hit for having his emergency management HQ there. I figured it was an in your face move to terrorists after the ’93 bombing. Turned out he guessed wrong. As you stated, steel does not melt but it will deform. Remember how those Union Boys back in the war of Northern agression rode South and tore up the tracks, heated the rails and hairpinned them? Grierson raid I thiunk. All that weight on top of poorly protected beams that have cooked for hours equals collapse. I know I won’t convince you but it is my, and a few engineers I know, opinion.

                Re: Kennedy, let’s not even go there.

                Thanks for the opportunity to duel again.

              • Black Flag says:

                WTC Core exposed during construction – yes, that thing in the center taking up almost all the building

  29. Black Flag says:
    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Pretty cool stuff!

      • Black Flag says:

        Beyond cool – it visually proves our theory of molecular structure. I mean, we can see the electron probability cloud

        I wonder why the edges are brighter than the middle?

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