You Can’t Handle the Truth (Commission)

It seems to me that Democrats are being a bit bitchy these days. They are like that girl you used to date, who was a complete social retard. You dumped her when you found her rifling through your sock drawer looking for some kind thing you did wrong. Now she still tracks your moves and calls each girl you date and tells her what an asshole you are. In other words, she puts a lot of effort into proving you are bad rather than say… cleaning up her own kitchen. That is the Democrat today…

The Democrats just don’t want to let go of the rhetoric that was so helpful to them throughout the election process. Screams of how Bush was breaking all the laws and was the most criminal President ever. Screams of how his administration was criminal, his Vice President was dangerous, etc. Looking beyond the fact that they are talking about Washington politicians, which is actually listed as a synonym for criminal in my thesaurus, it is amazing how many stones they seem to want to throw from their glass castle.

leahy-scowlingEnter Vermont Democrat Senator Pat Leahy. Senator Leahy wants to start a “Truth Commission”. He began pitching the idea recently saying that “the commission would not pursue criminal indictments but would launch a fact-finding mission to “learn the truth” about the Bush years.” Leahy further stated “the commission would strike the “middle ground” between those who want to prosecute Bush officials for alleged violations of civil liberties and the politicization of the Justice Department and those who want to resist any inquiries into the past eight years.”

Obviously Republicans are not warm to the idea. They get that the last 8 years weren’t the pinnacle of their party, but don’t see the need to take these steps. Even liberals are split on the notion. Some don’t think this commission would be going far enough. Others, including the President, believe that the entire thing would be simply too divisive. 

I have a problem with it for several reasons. First and foremost, the idea of attempting to try a former President in the clown court that Senate Committees have become is what I would consider a dog and pony show by Democrats trying to grandstand and show some sort of moral authority that they certainly don’t possess. This commission wouldn’t be a fair and honest look at the last 8 years. It would be a witch hunt with little difference between it and the McCarthy hearings years ago. 

Second of all, I am getting really sick and tired of listening to Democrats act as if they are appalled by the actions of the Republican administration over the last 8 years. It is akin to a serial rapist being disgusted by a serial killer. Perhaps they should start investigating why so many of their own party members can’t seem to pay their taxes. Perhaps they should take a good hard look in the mirror and admit that every single thing that went down over the last 8 years was done by them too. Democrats voted for the Iraq war and the Patriot Act. He used the power you gave him, and now you want to scream bloody murder. 

Because here is the bottom line for all you Democrats who are going to be offended by what I say. Your party is crooked as all get out, just like the Republicans. I believe we should be forming a commission to investigate and punish every Democrat in Congress that just passed the most deceptive piece of legislation I have ever witnessed. A stimulus bill that was actually a social engineering bill. Bush just listened to our phone calls illegally, you Democrats actually stole money from us, our children, and our grandchildren. You want to investigate criminal activity, start there. 

And follow that up with the act of litigating your way to a Senate seat in Minnesota, where somehow a whole bunch more votes were counted than there were voters. Yet somehow the courts determined that the votes should count. Don’t let something as silly as more votes than voters get in the way of a Democratic victory. Then we can talk about Illinois, where apparently Senate seats are for sale in the Democratic party. One hint, next time do an Ebay auction, you’ll get more money for the seat that way. 

Finally, I am tired of the Democrats acting as though Bush did criminal activities because he authorized torture. Regardless of whether you agree with torture or not, it is a tough call that the President is forced to make and he made it. And that goes for all the decisions that happen in Washington. This idea that the Democrats have the moral standing to prosecute the Republicans is ridiculous. 

Outside of California, Vermont is the most screwed up state in America. Did you know that in their pursuit of “rehabilitative justice”, the last years have seen them give a 90 day probation to a man convicted of systematically raping a little girl every Sunday for 4 years. That same judge gave a 5 year prison sentence to someone for stealing a candy bar. True story. That is criminal. And Leahy, as the Senator from Vermont, can be held just as responsible for that as Bush can for the things that happened during his administration. 

So when I hear Senator Leahy, from one of the most f’d up states in America, stating that he want to use taxpayer money to go on a Republican witch hunt and parade former administration officials in front of Democrats in Congress in order to be chastised and degraded, I say no. Go to Hell, Senator Leahy. You are the epitome of what is wrong with Congress. Hypocritical asshole. Texas Republican Lamar Smith said it best: “For all their talk about change, House Democrats just can’t seem to move on from their party line of blaming Bush. They’ve developed an unhealthy fixation on re-fighting lost battles, even at the expense of the American taxpayer.”

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Comments

  1. I love ponies! Great blog and hope to have some time soon to come back and read more!

  2. Why should Bush be any different than Nixon? To this date, as all right thinking people everywhere know, Nixon was an even greater threat to the Republic than the Civil war! Seriously, it is the disinformation thing. just keep the lies and exaggerations going and they become the truth. Forget the excesses of FDR, the wiretaps, paid spies and telephone bugging that LBJ did to Goldwater and remember the evil Nixon.

    I always wonder how Nixon’s administration would have turned out had he not been a victim in 1960 of Chicago and Texas politics as usual. People usually become paranoid for a reason.

  3. Senator Leahy is one of the biggest hipocrites I have ever seen. If he could only recall how he reacted to Congress when cigar smoking Bill was in the spotlight for “not having sex with that woman”…his reaction was to scream that Clinton not be prosecuted. Now, he is on a witch hunt for GWB, who by the way just exercised the power given to him by Congress that had the power not to give him that power.
    It is also infuriating to me that the Dems scream how GWB ruined the economy, ignoring the fact that he or representatives from the Republican party went to Congress 19 times to have the mortgage giveaways curbed and provide more oversight to limit the giants Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac from lending to people who could not afford to pay it back. Any money spent by the President has to have Congressional approval, so where is their responsibility in this mess…

  4. I hope that “cooler heads” prevail in their dissent to opening up this so called witch hunt. No matter what political persuasion we may adhere to, I think that there are two main points that we all will agree with.
    1- Our politicians,specifically Congress, have totally forgotten WHO they WORK for,and now govern like they are the answer or know what’s really the best for us.
    2- Our country has gone downhill at a high rate of speed due to the parties bickering amongst themselves and trying to backstab whoever is not the majority at the present time!
    If we could ever get back to “for the people,by the people”, we could see REAL change in America!
    Just my two cents and I hope that I have truly found a blog that provokes thoghtful thinking and ideas,versus the eventual shouting,pissing and moaning that happens to the majority of them out there today!

  5. Matt L said

    1- Our politicians,specifically Congress, have totally forgotten WHO they WORK for,and now govern like they are the answer or know what’s really the best for us.

    They know exactly who they work for – their own self interest.

    To expect anything else from anyone is naive.

    2- Our country has gone downhill at a high rate of speed due to the parties bickering amongst themselves and trying to backstab whoever is not the majority at the present time!

    This has nothing to do with bickering – there is no substantial difference in policy between any political party.

    If we could ever get back to “for the people,by the people”, we could see REAL change in America!

    The problem is, this quote has nothing to do with the founding of the country.

    This quote comes from a President who arguably destroyed the essence of America by war (Lincoln).

    As long as we believe we should solve non-violent human problems with legal violence, we will never aspire to anything other than tyranny.

  6. Yea, verily. The entirety of Congress is a corrupted money washing political class in and of itself that has somehow enslaved the American public who has become drunk by the illusion of credit card properity and reality shows. They all need to go… I encourage everyone to visit http://kickthemallout.com and use it as a blueprint for taking back the legislature. Maybe we’re so far up the river its already too late.

  7. Black Flag just a couple of things. First, obviously, I was using sarcasm about who they work for. I realize that they are only in it for what they can get out of it,not any serving the people going on there. However, I disagree with you that it is naive to expect anything else. I do believe that it is possible to elect people who are there to protect our interests, but it will be a process that I am not sure most Americans have the patience for.Second,the”bickering” I refered to was not the idealogical party differences, but their propensity to attack the others party relentlessly, instead of working toether on anything! Finally, please explain your rational for Lincoln “destroying the essence of America”? Not attacking, just looking for clarification. Thanks

  8. G. A. Rowe says:

    Here is a burning question for Senator Leahy, and all the other members of the Socialist Democratic Peoples Party of the United States (after all, lets admit it thats what they have become) . . . When was the last time there was a terrorist attack on the soil of thes United States – and why? President George W. Bush, stated that he would take the war to the terrorists by any means possible after the attack of 9/11/01. Since then not one attack has occured on America soil. That, folks, should be deliverd to Mr. Leahy and his truth commission, because that is just the truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth!

  9. BF,
    The whole anyone who does not oppose government is advocating violence thing has got to stop. It leads nowhere. I understand your position. Obviously there are many who disagree. We can never debate with you on any issue if your fall back argument is supporting government is nothing but supporting legal violence. No one is advocating any violence. We are advocating laws, because without them, our society crumbles. History shows this to be true whether you choose to acknowledge that or not.

  10. SK,

    Unfortunately you are right on with this. As someone upset with both major parties, I am more frustrated with the liberal thought process and the liberal use of the media to spread misinformation to further their cause. It is always odd to me that the Democrats in America seem to be prone to actions that resemble religious zealotry, refusing to listen to reason and arguing on pure emotion.

  11. Terry,
    Therein lies the hypocrisy of the Democratic party these days. They play the blame game better than any. No matter what the situation, ignore your part in it and find a way to lay the blame entirely at someone else’s feet. Hence why we need to get rid of everyone in Congress at this point and start over with people who are interested in serving the people.

  12. MattL,

    I think that you hit the nail on the head there. The bottom line is that the politicians in Washington have forgotten that they work for us. Both sides bicker and point fingers. Neither wants to work together to do what is best for the country anymore. They are only interested in serving their party instead of the people they represent. There will be a day of reckoning. The thing that kills me is the way BOTH parties will rally against someone who is actually interested in following the constitution and doing what is best for his constituents. Ron Paul has stood his ground for a while but gets completely marginalized by his own party.

  13. G.A Rowe,
    Too many people forget that fact. Others try to minimize it by saying he didn’t really stop anything. They ask for proof or say that the lists out there are bogus or not “real” attacks. I don’t know if they have all been stopped or not. The missing $550 billion from September 2008 is troublesome and could perhaps be an attack on the financial systems. But regardless of any other arguments, I believe that the mere threat is awful effective. Terrorists weren’t afraid to attack the US prior to Bush. They attacked the WTC in 1993 and got no real repercussions for doing so. They began to think us weak and unwilling to commit to action. Bush showed them that if he even sees a hint of terrorism, he is going to attack it. It makes a lot of folks in the world think twice before taking a shot at us. They will soon realize that America has a short memory and elected a wimp in terms of protecting our country.

  14. So let me get this straight.

    You think it was OK for the Bush administration to break the Geneva convention and international treaties by using torture, and ignore the constitution by using wiretaps because Clinton was unfaithful to his wife and some democrats have been found to not have paid all their taxes?

    So to continue your strawman argument, the Nuremburg war crimes trials should not have happened because FDR, Churchill and Stalin all cheated on their wives? Oh, and I’m sure some of them did not pay all their taxes either, so lets just call it a wash, shall we?

    There are limits to how much you can stretch these arguments. Even in your ridiculous example, the serial rapist should be charged, yes, but it doesn’t mean that because he hasn’t been charged that the serial killer should go free.

    But you really think not paying your taxes is to wiretapping and torture what serial rape is to serial murder? IF the charges are true (and it is still an IF) then that is what you are implying.

    I agree with a lot of what Bush did and based on the character he has shown, especially as everything came crashing down around him, I believe that much of the allegations against him don’t fit. But there are others in his administration that have a lot of answers to give and they are tarnishing his and the country’s reputation by attempting to avoid accountability for their actions.

    I have defended the US in many arguments with friends and associates over the last eight years, but to be honest, it has become more and more difficult as I saw some in the administration throw out the very principles upon which the country stands for expediency’s sake or, in some cases, revenge.

    The US is a great nation not because it is wealthy or powerful, but because it is both of these without resorting to totalitarian means. You have shown the world that you CAN be GREAT and GOOD at the same time. Don’t let that image be destroyed by the reckless actions of a few.

    USWeapon, I agree totally with you on Ron Paul. I wonder, under what conditions do you believe he would ignore the constitution? I can’t imagine any, because what I admire most about the man is his ability to take the long view. Do you think he would allow unconstitutional actions to be swept under the rug? Would you still respect him if he did?

  15. David,

    I still need someone to explain to me how, if you are a terrorist, or for that matter an illegal alien, you get all the constitutional rights of an American citizen by becoming “feet dry”? This is something relatively new in our country, supported mainly by democrats. During the 2nd World war, there were 12 German Saboteurs put ashore off Long Island and Jersey. One went immediately to the FBI and surrendered. the other ll were apprehended, given secret trials and executed even though not one got to blow up anything. I do not find the members of that generation to be less civilized than us in fact I find them to be more civilized and clearer headed than we will ever be. What did Jack Kennedy say, “tempered by war, strengthened by a hard and bitter peace.” They got it.

    And, I hate to say this, but what is this about torture? What torture? What Geneva convention?
    This is more of the “big lie”. There are laws of war, our enemies at the moment violate every single one of them. They are not legal combatants and therefore are not entitled to the protection of the conventions. Has anyone ever noticed thet the US usually does a pretty good job of honoring the conventions but in our wars we tend to fight , going back to the Japanese, those who have never signed the convention. This actually speaks pretty highly of us both in terms of providing protections to our enemies they don’t deserve and rather clear justification that those we fight are not “good guys”. Again, what protections should foreign nationals have from wiretapping.

    We have all seen the government overreach. they certainly did so at Waco, Ruby Ridge and even some prosecutions of organized crime figures. When they do so they should be slapped down, hard. I, however cannot see or justify treating known terrorists, who routinely kill civilians with anything less than the total contempt they deserve.

  16. History repeats itself. Hitler is credited with inventing the “Big Lie”. When the Dem’s blame Bush for the housing crash, that’s a big lie. The media, the “4th estate” must also be held accountable for pandering these lies to the public.
    Congress reamed the big three, but said nothing to Fannie/Freddie. Where was the public outcry? Why was/is Barny Franks not being hammered for this?
    The answer seems to be that Dems/Reps lie to us frequently, and the media covers for them if it fits their AGENDA.

  17. Sk,

    The US did inter japanese americans during the war. It was a murky area. It took until 1988 for a President of high moral standing to admit that it was a mistake, that it was a result of war hysteria and lack of politial leadership. Who was that President? Ronald Reagan.

    Now if they had been systematically tortured, would it not have been worse?

    I agree that the terrorists are a very murky area. Should the mistakes of WW2 be repeated?

    Are they really ‘enemy combatants’? If so then lock them up as POW’s and don’t let them out until you can safely do so (that’s where the Geneva Convention comes in).

    If they have deliberately targetted civilians to incite terror, or attacked soldiers while not in uniforms of their own (which identifies them as soldiers), then try them for war crimes or as murderers. Even impose capital punishment just as with Timothy McVeigh or Hitler’s henchmen. But use your own laws. Do these guys which we all despise not deserve the same fate as McVeigh (and his dry feet) or the Nazis? Do you think the world would not respect the US’s decision to try them under the same laws and rights that it affords its own citizens?

    Does it make sense instead to shred your own constitution and ignore your own laws because you don’t know what to do just as nobody knew what to do in WW2? Is this not lack of political leadership? Does this not just give more cause to the extremists to say ‘look they have no principles, they don’t even respect their own laws’?

    As to the wiretapping, I personally have no problem with it if it was to give more leeway to ensure that no other 911 plans were in the works. I believe that was the intent of the Patriot Act.

    Where overreaching did occur though, it should be checked (again IF it happened) for no other reason than to prove to the rest of the world that the US will not abandon its core principles, even in the face of adversity.

    A shining example of american transparency in this very area, as embarassing as it was, was the Watergate scandal.

    On so many levels this told the world quite clearly that the US does not accept this type of behavior, even, and especially, from its leaders.

    I love the US, and could not imagine a world in which it didn’t exist. Don’t let the small minded scumbags like Bin Laden and his ilk bring shame to the US. Don’t abandon your principles to him. Don’t give him this victory.

  18. david

    The Neisi were either citizens or legally here, they had all the rights of citizens but Governor Earl Warren (Cal.)and President Roosevelt did not see it that way. Reagan did what Truman should have. they were, thank God, not tortured.

    Terrorists are not murky, they are terrorists. In dealing with the Nazi saboteurs or the infiltrators during the Bulge, there were no mistakes. They were court martialed and executed. The current crop are not enemy combatants they represent no government, they wear no uniform they give no quarter. You can lock them up (Gitmo) but the whiners will want you to let them go. Same whiners could have cared less about US POW’s in Nam who spent more than 7 years being tortured by a country that did not sign the Geneva accords and NEVER gave an accounting of who they held.

    The tribunals are legal, they always have been. No, I do not believe detainees have the rights of citizens, if you believe they do then I have to question your logic. Nurenberg was a tribunal. The world has not and will not ever respect the United States, no matter what. They are jealous and always have been. The world set up the tribunals at Nurenberg, therefore they are sanctioned. Mc Veigh was a US citizen and as such was tried in a US court. Nazi’s were not unless you are talking about members of the German American Bund here in the US prior to WW II. They too were legal residents or citizens and entitled to the protections they got.

    We do respect our own laws. No country in the world offers non citizens or captured POW’s or terrorists the same protection that we do. We just are not willing to make them temporary or (God forbid) permanent legal residents.

    Patriot Act or not, wiretapping is a bad idea. However, like Lincoln, I do not believe that the Bill of Rights is a suicide pact. The wiretapping in question was not domestic but overseas. So far, regardless of what Bora Bora thinks about it, it is legal. By the by, ever hear of “the official secrets act” in Britain? And they are considered a “free” country.

    We did not abandon any core principles. I believe that we just started imposing some things that always were available but had no need to use until the time arose. 3,000 dead citizens later, the time arose.

    Regarding watergate, a third rate bungled unnecessary burglary became this big thing. When you look at the history of FDR’s transgressions (and I like the guy) JFK’s sharing Judith Exner with Sammy G and the mafia while the press knew and how LBJ got us into Viet-Nam and bugged Barry Goldwater’s campaign we are not so transparent. Sort of falls back on whose ox is being gored.

    We are a whole lot better than 99 percent of the world whether they accept it or not and I still want my original question answered, when did terrorists or illegal aliens gain the rights of an American Citizen when their feet hit the ground on American soil. This is something new. When, how, where and who are my questions?

  19. Good question SK, I don’t have an answer but it’s a darn good question. It should be interesting to see what the others come up with.

  20. Sk,

    Points taken.

    My statements were not to appear naive to the understanding that many things go on behind the scenes that are not transparent, it was more to point out that the US does not need to avoid controversy to maintain its image. It grows in stature in the world when it admits mistakes and does the right thing, however embarrasing.

    The McVeigh comparison was to highlight the absurd notion that giving actual terrorists against the US trials somehow means they will all be released onto the streets tomorrow.

    The dry feet article I’m guessing pertains the the “wet foot/dry foot” policy enacted by Clinton to deal with Cuban refugees. I don’t see how it would extend to Gitmo detainees unless they are cubans and manage somehow to swim to the US on their own.

    Or maybe you are referring to the case of the 17 ethnic Uighurs who were ordered released by a US district court. This is the murkiness that happens when you pick up other people’s trash. Under the US Constitution’s Habeus Corpus rules not superseded by the Military Commissions Act of 2006, these guys can’t be held. Nobody wants them, but they haven’t threatened the US in any way, they are muslim militants with a beef against China. As far as I know, the court did not grant them citizen’s rights, just ordered that they not be arrested.

    The issue of the Gitmo detainees has became so ridiculous that in 2007, then attorney general Gonzales actually tried to argue before a senate judiciary comittee that there is no express grant of Habeus Corpus in the US constitution. If his argument held, this would effectively mean that the government has the right to detain ANYBODY, even US Citizens, for no reason, and hold them indefinitely without charge, wiping out the very definition of freedom in the US.

    Do you see where this madness is leading?

    So what is your solution? Continue to ignore the constitution? Ignore the 6th ammendment and Habeus Corpus as Gonzales suggested and just hope that the government will always do the right thing?

    Don’t get me wrong. I see no easy answers for this either. I’m not a left leaning loon that thinks its a great idea for these guys to be freed and given tea and crumpets, but if the alternative is to hand the government totalitarian powers it would be no contest.

    This is no time to frame the argument as democrat vs republican wrapped in silly tantrums from either side. The mess needs to be cleaned up or either these guys WILL be on the streets, or the US Constitution will no longer be about personal freedoms. Both parties are part of this, both could have made the same errors, both need to solve it.

    On the wiretaps, I was under the impression the issue was domestic wiretaps. Do you have any links citing that this is only about overseas wiretapping?

  21. A “truth” commission will do far more harm. There is a reason for information to remain classified for national security.

    Civil liberties? Is that an American liberty for American citizens, or is America to enforce it around the globe? Wiretaps were violating civil liberties? Calls placed from within the U.S. to overseas locales were tapped, based upon intelligence gathering. I seriously doubt my calls to Ireland were tapped, but perhaps any calls I made to Tajikistan were, if I were on a particular list. Strangely, I do not feel violated. And if I am not upset about my liberty being violated because my calls were tapped in the interest of national security, then why should someone else get upset for me?

    Define torture – anything that makes an individual feel uncomfortable? There are far more effective techniques that involve no physical touch, do not involve temperature extremes, and do not involve uncomfortable positions. They are used effectively, but are not “sensational” news; therefore, they are not newsworthy and not reported. Only the few instances of waterboarding, and the inepts at Abu Garhib were ‘worthy’ of reporting incessantly, doing extreme damage in an already extreme situation.

    The Gitmo detainees, if brought to American soil, will become a dream for martyrdom. There are very few locations in which they can be held – for their safety and for the safety of other inmates. Any volunteers (besides Murtha)? If they are given trials on U.S. soil, and afforded the rights as any U.S. citizen, then what? The trials of the 1993 WTC terrorists released the publicly the U.S. means of obtaining information – which should have remained classified. That information circled the globe and eventually caused grave harm later that could have been averted.

    The detainees, if released, will return to…where? And to what? Even if they were wrongly incarcerated, peace-loving people, they most likely are not such now.

    It is naive, however, to expect sunbeams and gumdrops from external threats by channeling Rodney King. Any ‘information uncovered’ by a congressional commission will instantly become international news. That includes how information was obtained, who obtained it, what was done with it…thereby preventing any additional vital information from being gathered. I would like to be safe and economically sound, thank you. Does anyone disagree with that last statement?

    Yes, Black Flag, I know, I know…government is violence. What is done is done and cannot be undone. We can only go forward, and hope to learn from the past.

  22. David

    For me it boils down to this. The Gitmo detainees have no rights. Period, end of story. They have no constitutional protection unless you accept that anyone, anywhere in the world who comes under US jurisdiction somehow magically becomes like a US Citizen or legal resident. Frankly, I don’t follow. When did this concept come into play?

    Accepting that premise is like being for open unregulated immigration. The country, as we have known it could not survive. At best we would become Yugoslavia, at worst we would just disappear into chaos. It is a connect the dots kind of thing.

    Wiretaps from the US to suspect foreign persons or locations are not pretty but probably are necessary. As previously pointed out excesses will be discovered and stopped. Unless of course they involve a Waco or a Ruby Ridge. Then the government settles but does not apologize and the press becomes the hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil chimps.

  23. SK. Trynosky Sr.

    For me it boils down to this. The Gitmo detainees have no rights. Period, end of story. They have no constitutional protection unless you accept that anyone, anywhere in the world who comes under US jurisdiction somehow magically becomes like a US Citizen or legal resident.

    So, pretending we are judges on the Supreme Court …. 😉

    I would say:

    The Constitution makes no mention of citizenship, nor resident while describing the rights.

    It says…exactly, “the People”.

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    Do you wish to suggest that humans under arrest are not people?

  24. I spend a day away, and this topic goes ballistic!

    (Wait for me…!!)

  25. Sk,

    Habeas Corpus rights are only the rights of individuals against unlawful detention by the state. Basically it means they have a right to go before the courts to find out why they have been detained and seek remedy if they are being unlawfuly held.

    Its a protection offered by most of the free world’s democracies, unlike Russia or China where they can just throw people in jail for no reason and leave them there to rot.

    Without its protections, you are completely at the mercy of the government. Every other right is useless at that point as the government can jail you forever without needing a reason. This is why it is such an important right. If you abandon this part of the constitution, the rest of it is meaningless.

    Habeas Corpus has always applied to anyone in US custody wether a citizen or not. Habaes Corpus was in the orginal US Constitution and was further enhanced with the 6th ammendment (the right to a speedy and public trial).

    Most countries extend this to non-citizens as well so if you visit say Canada, you can’t just be thrown in jail for no reason and without recourse just because you’re not Canadian. This doesn’t mean you become a citizen of Canada though, or have any other rights that Canadians have, so it does not mean you get to immigrate. Even if you are convicted and jailed under canadian law, for any amount of time, once released, you will be sent back home.

    The only way you could plea to stay in Canada was if you were to convince the immigration officials that your home country would kill you if you returned or something equally nasty – generally a non-starter if you are a US citizen (with the possible exception of death penalty cases). This is the problem with the Uighurs detainees.

    I think POW’s have Habaes rights when being held on US soil. They would be subject to Geneva convention rights and would have to be re-patriated once the war is over, except for war tribunals (like Nuremburg).

    TITLE 28 > PART VI > CHAPTER 153 > § 2241 I believe is the relavant law.

    The dilemna of the current situation is that the courts take Habeas rights very seriously, because as I stated earlier, without them, no other rights matter.

    The US Supreme Court will not allow indefinite suspension of Habaes rights meaning eventually (actually, now, as the Supreme Court has already ruled they have Habaes rights and Obama has signed the order confirming it) you will have to charge the Gitmo detainees and try them in some forum, or let them go – or – you can throw out the constitution and adopt the policies of China and Russia.

  26. David,

    Lincoln suspended it. It was one of the ways he kept the border states in the union. The courts held he was wrong, retroactively. German and Italian POW’s during WW 2 did not have habeas rights while all over the US. They were also all over Canada, somewhere in excess of 600,000 of them. They were however, because of their legal combatant status treated under Geneva rules. As an aside, have you heard how they were allowed to attend movies in the American South while black American citizens were not. It is notra perfect world my friend.

    We have already established (I think)that our detainees do not have regular POW status since they were captured outside the laws of war. Therefore, they fall into the category of unwilling guests who are to be made comfortable. Frankly, I agree with you in one sense. they should have been tried immediately. I’m not sure how the whiners would have felt about most sentences. Nobody, least of all me wants to throw out the Constitution. I merely posit the question, Since when are foreign nationals, illegally here or terrorists captured while trying to kill us, given the same rights as citizens? This is something quite new.

    Again, taking that to its logical conclusion, borders do not exist any more. Everyone has the same rights and this country in particular becomes a poor imitation of Yugoslavia (post Tito).

    Flag

    The preamble states “We the People of the United States”. Does that mean visitors too? Here we go again. I “assume” that ordinary convention would dictate that people trying to destroy you, your family, your belief system and your government who are not citizens or lawful immigrants would be excluded. Otherwise, Shwartzinager (Arnold) could run for president. In that case it was specified. Most elected officials (now) and the Supreme Court (in the future) will restrict the word people to the National Guard anyway. Just ask our AG his feelings on Amendment 2. This is the same Supreme Court that gave us Dred Scott. They are human (sort of) and can be wrong. They also live in the “ideal” world rather than the real one.

  27. Sk,

    Lincoln only suspended it in the borders states. Grant suspended it in parts of SC (i think). The WW2 cases were only for specific instances. Bush’s exception was unparalleled as it was a blanket exception that covered the entire world.

    Yeah, nothing is perfect, but I am still not understanding how you equate Habaes rules to meaning there are no borders. Its not even close to the same thing. That free countries have taken the position that the government can’t just jail people with showing cause does not mean that you no longer have borders. Throwing someone in jail because they are in your country illegaly is cause. Just because they get their day in court, doesn’t mean they go free.

    If the detainees would be freed tomorrow, they would be aliens without standing (i.e. illegal aliens) if they were dropped off in the US. In theory they would be arrested unless immigration issues them visas. That is the irony of the situation, and the reason why it is so difficult.

    I think what one major problem with the detainees is that they may not have evidence that they are terrorists (the kind of evidence that would stand up in court), or they may actually not be terrorists against the US (as with the Uighurs). That could be why there have been no trials.

    I’m more than a bit concerned about the way Habaes rights are being thrown around as if they are impediments to safety or something. They are precisely the opposite. Without them, all it would take is one unscrupulous president and you would have a totalitarian state.

    Allowing the government un-restrained powers to start deciding who gets Habeas and who doesn’t is effectively putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.

    Allowing fear to trump principles, especially those as important as Habeas, is exactly how countries end up with dictators. This is precisely how Hitler, democraticaly elected, chipped away at the german state. He didn’t seize power, he was given it, a bit at a time, by a fearful nation.

  28. Bush’s exception was for people who are neither citizens nor legally here. What is so hard to understand about that? How does this apply to people who are Citizens or legally here? If you fear for the future, I agree with you in general. This is why it is so important to speak up for injustice when you see it. Giving rights to terrorists, no, I cannot see that.

    No but the loss of borders is the next step. Just look at the calls for amnesty across the political spectrum. People are rewarded for breaking the law. How are you going to deal with an estimated 10 to 15 million in court?

    So Catch 22 applies if the detainees are released tomorrow. We could pick them up again and incarcerate them as illegals. They would then have their day in court, be released again and be arrested again. Like this makes sense. If they are found innocent, place them in an oversize diplomatic pouch, return them to our embassy in their country of origin and kick them out the door. Remember what a fool Castro made out of Carter, like he had to work at it, by sending us the Mariel boatlift folks. Some of them still may be in federal prisons without trial. The President didn’t have the brains or courage to send them to Gitmo, march them to the gate, open the gate and kick them back into Cuba. What would have been so hard about that. But he was conflicted between his interpretation of the Constitution, his compassion and his confusion.

    If I pick up five guys on the battlefield after a firefight and have only seen one shoot at me, I do not have the evidence to convict four of what, “attempted murder” ? So, I let them go? I go back to my German saboteurs analogy. If they didn’t blow up anything and claimed that they came only to get out of Germany and never had any intention to blow anything up, could we have convicted them? Same with the infiltrators at the Bulge, Many were captured without accomplishing their mission, Were we supposed to hold them over for civilian trial? When, 1948 or 49?

    I feel that you are the one setting a new standard, creating “rights” where none existed before. Our disagreement results from your theoretical approach (which I can philosophically almost agree with) and my practical approach. Again, visualize an attempt to give a “day in court” to 10 to 15 million illegal aliens. It is easier to just give them amnesty. Logic and reality will then tell you in 10 more years you will have a new 25 million illegals, waiting for amnesty. Borders anyone?

    Allowing the government unrestrained powers to say, if you are legally here you have habeas. If you are illegally here, you do not. That is a really simple, non overreaching comment and has been, I believe, the policy in the past. In the late 1950’s President Eisenhower started a drive to send illegals home. It’s not talked about but it worked. They did not have their day in court.

    During the financial meltdown in the ’20’s and ’30’s after the First World War, Hitler and Mussolini both used fear to consolidate their power. The Bolesheviks did it a different way. People feared them. Today, under the new administration the focus of the fear has shifted from the danger of terrorists to the danger of financial meltdown. We are taking on unsustainable debt now to “save us”. If it does not work, what rights will we be willing to surrender?

  29. SK Trynosky Sr. said
    Lincoln suspended it. It was one of the ways he kept the border states in the union. The courts held he was wrong, retroactively.

    They actually said he was wrong to his face, and so he arrested them. They then changed their minds. He let them out of jail.

    Later, after the war, they changed their minds again and said he was wrong and wrong to jail them. He was dead, so he didn’t care.

    SCOTUS didn’t want a repeat of this during WW2 and Roosevelt’s internment camps for the Japanese-Americans, so they said he could do it.

    After Roosevelt died and after the war, they changed their minds and said it was wrong. As if it mattered to the Japanese-Americans.

    German and Italian POW’s during WW 2 did not have habeas rights while all over the US.

    No, because there are different laws that go into effect during a declared war – which is why there needs a declaration of war from Congress.

    Regarding the wars today, can you demonstrate a declaration of war document so to trigger the war law necessary to deal with prisoners?

    They were also all over Canada, somewhere in excess of 600,000 of them. They were however, because of their legal combatant status treated under Geneva rules.

    The concept of “legal combatant” is new and created by the Bush regime. It has no historical reference.

    In war, those that wear a uniform have certain war rights as they are designated to be fighting a war.

    Those that fight without a uniform do not have war rights, they are designated as criminals and are dealt with under criminal law (or martial law, if so declared).

    In both circumstances, the people have some sort of legal status.

    Because this confounded Bush’s desires, he created an never-land – neither solider nor civilian – utterly bizarre.

    We have already established (I think)that our detainees do not have regular POW status since they were captured outside the laws of war.

    Since no war has been declared – and US forces are inside another country and engaging in armed conflict, the US forces are illegally present in a sovereign nation. The US is kidnapping foreign citizens.

    Since when are foreign nationals, illegally here or terrorists captured while trying to kill us, given the same rights as citizens? This is something quite new.

    They are people – and the Constitution is perfectly clear in this regard.

    Everyone DOES have the same human rights – because they are human.

    The preamble states “We the People of the United States”. Does that mean visitors too?

    Are they people? If so, then “yes”.

    Here we go again. I “assume” that ordinary convention would dictate that people trying to destroy you, your family, your belief system and your government who are not citizens or lawful immigrants would be excluded.

    No, they would not be excluded from human rights.

    Acts of violence are dealt with by the appropriate law.

    No different than a citizen who is trying to destroy you, or your family. What difference does being a citizen make?

    Otherwise, Shwartzinager (Arnold) could run for president.

    Ah, hold those horses back up!

    The Constitution explicitly states examples of where citizenship is required.

    That’s my point, SK.

    In certain parts, citizenship is specifically stated in order to obtain certain government rights – such as:
    No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty five years, and been fourteen Years a resident within the United States.

    It is incredibly specific in that it also demands age limits and residency requirements. But those pertain to only government rights. Therefore, POWs from Germany don’t get to be elected President.

    In other parts, however, pertaining to human rights, not government rights, it is fully inclusive – such as:
    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

    Therefore, POW from Germany does get the right to a lawyer if they are accused of a civilian crime.

    Bush’s exception was for people who are neither citizens nor legally here. What is so hard to understand about that?

    Other than being expressly contrary to the Constitution and Law, it is not hard to understand if you want to tyrannize the world.

    How does this apply to people who are Citizens or legally here?

    Easy.

    If you can justify re-writing the Constitution at a whim for your own needs at this time, what’s going to stop a re-writing on other things at a future time?

    If I pick up five guys on the battlefield after a firefight and have only seen one shoot at me, I do not have the evidence to convict four of what, “attempted murder” ? So, I let them go? I go back to my German saboteurs analogy. If they didn’t blow up anything and claimed that they came only to get out of Germany and never had any intention to blow anything up, could we have convicted them? Same with the infiltrators at the Bulge, Many were captured without accomplishing their mission, Were we supposed to hold them over for civilian trial? When, 1948 or 49?

    You are mixing up two, very different, legal systems.
    1- Civilian
    2- War (Armed Conflict)

    There are very different legal codes during times of declared war and armed conflict. They do not apply to citizen law. It is very confusing when you try to apply civilian law in a armed conflict and war law to civilians.

    There are laws that deal with, for example, occupying powers and their responsibility to the citizens (which the US failed to uphold in Iraq – which, no doubt, will result in the USA being sued by Iraq for damages in the future)

    War law and Civilian Law are quite different – pushing them together as one law makes everything very confusing – and doing so risks supporting the destruction of your rights.

  30. Terrorists are not murky, they are terrorists. In dealing with the Nazi saboteurs or the infiltrators during the Bulge, there were no mistakes. They were court martialed and executed.

    NO!

    This is the horrific mistake Bush made.

    He turned a crime into an act of war.

    Terrorists are criminals, and should be dealt with as criminals. Not court-martialed, but civilian court of law, and dealt with in that system of justice.

  31. USWeapon said
    Terrorists weren’t afraid to attack the US prior to Bush. They attacked the WTC in 1993 and got no real repercussions for doing so. They began to think us weak and unwilling to commit to action. Bush showed them that if he even sees a hint of terrorism, he is going to attack it. It makes a lot of folks in the world think twice before taking a shot at us.

    No, Sir.

    They see us as pushing our noses where it doesn’t belong – and that we are very, very easy to provoke into making horrific national decisions to our own peril.

    They know what button to push, and the US acts predictably – and badly.

    • Chicken and Egg, BlackFlag. We do stick our nose where it doesn’t belong. Because of that they don’t like us and want to attack us (although you are smart enough to know that our nose in their business is their rallying cry and not their true reason). We have shown if they do attack us, they are going to get their ass whipped, therefore they think twice. Thanks for the thoughts, but you are trying to turn it around. While it is all cyclical, the fact remains, whether you acknowledge it or not, that the willingness of Bush to engage the enemy DOES have an effect on the enemy’s willingness to poke us with a stick. The school bully may be an asshole and that makes you want to kick his ass. But the fact that he can and will hammer you makes you think twice before you give it a shot.

  32. Flag,

    Where we agree is that wars should be declared. Congress should not repeatedly bug out of its responsibilities. I have not and probably can’t take it to the level you have (If it isn’t declared, it is an illegal war). I hope I have not gotten your position wrong.

    From the above it follows that you are correct in calling terrorists lawbreakers. I will give you the technical point on that.

    So the five guys on the battlefield are in an undeclared war, not wearing uniforms and I capture them and turn them over to civil authority. They are then taken from country X to the USA and put on trial in a civil court. Then what?

    The problem with the Constitution and the courts is that they choose to not just accept what is written but interpret it and treat it as a “living” document. If it is a living changeable document that we have no guarantees. This is how we got abortion and how I suspect got to the place we are guaranteeing rights to non-citizens. By the way, I see a bit of a conundrum in your position. I believe you are pro-life and would agree that there is no right to abortion in the Constitution. On the other hand, the courts have “found” rights for combatants that never existed before. Both positions are a result of an activist court.

    It’s like I tell my less religious friends, “What part of Thou shalt not” don’t you understand. If we didn’t mess around with the Constitution’s meaning so much, the Congress might actually have to do its job.

  33. Black Flag says:

    USWeapon said
    Chicken and Egg, BlackFlag.

    Very much cause and effect.

    Stay home, and most of our international problems would disappear.

    We have shown if they do attack us, they are going to get their ass whipped, therefore they think twice.

    Of whom do you think has learned this lesson?
    Vietnamese? Koreans? Iraqis? Afghans?

    . While it is all cyclical, the fact remains, whether you acknowledge it or not, that the willingness of Bush to engage the enemy DOES have an effect on the enemy’s willingness to poke us with a stick.

    Yep, it sure does. They know exactly how to pinch us so that we insanely kill ourselves.

    SK Trynosky Sr. said
    I hope I have not gotten your position wrong.

    Nope. So far, on the money.

    So the five guys on the battlefield are in an undeclared war, not wearing uniforms and I capture them and turn them over to civil authority. They are then taken from country X to the USA and put on trial in a civil court. Then what?

    On what charge? Attacking foreign troops in their own country?

    In Armed Conflict – so to encompass the ‘undeclared’ nature of these wars – one need not extradite the combatants. Such Geneva Conventions like:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Geneva_Convention
    ….deal with occupational powers rights and duties.

    Quote: The judgement quoted the 1958 ICRC commentary on the Fourth Geneva Convention: Every person in enemy hands must be either a prisoner of war and, as such, be covered by the Third Convention; or a civilian covered by the Fourth Convention. Furthermore, “There is no intermediate status; nobody in enemy hands can be outside the law”

    By the way, I see a bit of a conundrum in your position. I believe you are pro-life and would agree that there is no right to abortion in the Constitution. On the other hand, the courts have “found” rights for combatants that never existed before. Both positions are a result of an activist court.

    I see no contradiction.

    There is no right to kill innocent human life in the Constitution.

    There are expressed acknowledgments of human rights in the Constitution.

  34. Flag,
    It really comes down to some basics where we can intellectually disagree. It is an undeclared war therefore, following your strict interpretation, the enemy hostiles are merely defending themselves from aggression. I contradict myself as a strict constructionist when I say that they can be picked up as unlawful fighters and held.

    The Constitution was established by and for the people of the United States. Should we try to push it’s human rights positions on lets say Afgans or Iraqis, we might have some problems. I feel that the Declaration speaks to all men at all times in all places. The Constitution is ours and unique to us. It travels with us only if we have the intention of staying and ruling, Puerto Rico, American Samoa. Other countries are free to adopt or reject its provisions.

    I see you are an isolationist and I cannot fault you for that. I see the world as kind of a big 1950’s western where the retired gunslinger wants to hang up his gun but just keeps getting challenged by the young buck who wants to make a reputation for himself. It is a real problem stretching back to that 1898 dust up with Spain in a futile attempt to bring Human Rights to Cuba. This of course was followed by the even more futile attempt to “make the world safe for democracy”. Always wondered what would have happened to Hitler had Europe just been allowed to exhaust itself in 1918 and 1919.

    Kristian, see why I told you to hang in?

  35. Sk,

    I see where the misunderstanding is coming from.

    Habeas is not a guarantee of your day in court in general terms, it is only a guarantee that the government can’t hold you in custody indefinitely without bringing you to trial. You have to be in custody (jail, detention centre, etc) for habeas to apply.

    The reason why it is so important is that without the ability to see a judge, you can’t even get a ruling that says you shouldn’t have been picked up in the first place.

    In effect, Bush could have said you, Sk, are an alien and a terrorist and put you in Gitmo. Since you automatically then have no rights to counsel, or to go before a judge, how would you prove him wrong? Maybe he got the wrong Sk. Unless you could get someone on the outside to petition the courts, and you may not even be allowed any contact with the outside world, nobody might know where you were, you would basically be screwed. See how slippery it gets?

    Now if he had just called you an alien and a terrorist, but not thrown you in jail, then habeas does not apply. If you want to sue for slander, then you could go ahead, but wether habeas existed or not would not change your circumstance, nor could you force the court to hear your case by citing habeas.

    If illegal immigrants aren’t in jail, habeas does not apply. Unless of course you think it would be better to arrest them all and then house, feed, and clothe them for the rest of their lives, in order to suspend their habeas rights.

    This is not new rights, it has been enshrined in the constitution since day one, and even applied to the colonies before that. If you think it is wrong, then you will have to take it up with the founding fathers, but I’m thinking you are just mistakenly giving it more weight than it has.

    It is no more ‘giving rights’ to terrorists than it was ‘giving rights’ to the German saboteurs be tried and hung, or to the war criminals at Nuremburg to be tried and hung, the result was dead saboteurs and dead nazis war criminals, sounds like justice to me.

    Both of these groups were tried and dealt with. The habeas issue in the saboteurs case was more to do with the jurisdiction of the military courts over the civilian ones because they were caught on US soil. In effect, they suspended habeas for the civilian court, but the detained prisoners were tried. That is all that habeas demands.

    There is no catch 22. If you are held as an illegal immigrant then you are either deported or allowed to stay under some acceptable status. That is the remedy, they don’t release you and arrest you again ad nauseum, that would be silly. The immigration court would not be allowed to release you with no status anyways.

    The courts are already moving in that direction with the detainees. It may be that some of them were picked up without good cause. That was the problem, ignoring habeas to begin with. Had they tried them in a timely fashion, it would have been much less of a problem today.

    You would have had the opportunity to see if they were really a threat to the US or its allies or not. Now it becomes much more complex.

    Just because it is complex is not a good reason to suspend the constitution though.

    As to the attempted vs succesful argument, there are already many crimes where the attempt is dealt with just as severely as the succesful comitting of the crime. In some cases, like murder, the charges may be less. But being unsuccesful does not mean you are off the hook.

    I’m pretty sure attempted terrorism is just as harshly punished as sucessful terrorism, if not, then it is a simple change in the law, and has nothing to do with habeas.

    Do you see now how the habeas suspensions were dangerous to the US or any democracy? The very first thing a dictator does is make it legal for himself to get rid of his enemies. That way he clears the path to do whatever he wants.

    Thats why there are so many checks and balances in the US system, to make sure that can’t happen, or if it does, that it can’t happen easily.

    Bush asked for powers that in the wrong hands could have turned out very badly. Congress basically rubber-stamped it. Fortunately the courts overturned it, so the system worked.

    This was exaclty the path that Hitler took except he got the courts on board, that collusion is why they had a seperate judges trial at Nuremburg. I’m not even suggesting that Bush is Hitler, but are you sure you would be able to recognize a modern day version of Hitler if you saw him? The original managed to fool a lot of people, including prominent americans.

    Could you imagine the devastation a Hitler type with the military power of the US could do?

    The worst part is, it probably did not make the US any safer than if it had not been done, even though I am convinced that Bush felt it would. Had habeas been in force, then the military would not have been able to drag their heels on this issue and most of the really bad guys would probably be dead by now. Given the mood in the country at the time, and the recent memory of McVeigh, you would not have heard much whining (except from the extreme ones). And the ones that weren’t enemies of the US would not be as hostile as they surely are now.

  36. Black Flag says:

    SK. Trynosky Sr. said
    February 19, 2009 at 4:50 pm
    I contradict myself as a strict constructionist when I say that they can be picked up as unlawful fighters and held.

    As I’ve offered, the Geneva Conventions cover this contingency – they are either prisoners of war under the Third Geneva Convention or civilians under occupying power under the Fourth Geneva convention.

    The Constitution was established by and for the people of the United States. Should we try to push it’s human rights positions on lets say Afgans or Iraqis, we might have some problems.

    The Constitution’s jurisdiction only exists within USA, her territories and areas under her control. That is all – it matters not one wit anywhere else.

    It is meant to govern the actions of the US government.

    It is not a matter of ‘pushing’ rights onto people – it is obeying the Constitution as it pertains to guarding those rights – to all people in the jurisdiction and control of the USA.

    It is a real problem stretching back to that 1898 dust up with Spain in a futile attempt to bring Human Rights to Cuba.

    That ended up with the USA invading the Philippines (to liberate them, of course) and ended up killing a million of them, too. Seems the USA acts in historical circles.

  37. David & Flag,

    I’ve been to wiki and reviewed the sites you recommended. Admittedly, I only scanned them but it became apparent to me that there is a lot of confusion on the issues surrounding the meaning and interpretation of certain aspects of the Conventions regarding unlawful combatants. My original understanding of the terms came out of classes we had in ROTC and later in the Army. Obviously, the US was biased on the issue in ’64 through ’69. After reading what you encouraged me to read I have not really changed my opinion. The conventions only lay out the two classes but they bumble over and refer you to other interpretations. Nothing there is as hard and fast as I would like it to be.

    Same with the US Supreme Court. They have contradicted themselves on the whole POW, habeas, trial, tribunal issue. I’m not surprised. Since the late Warren court, I am one who has believed that the court routinely oversteps its bounds which you can see in my previous comments.

    It is unfortunately the essence of government that each branch and subgroup/agency/lesser court within it wants to expand its power. That’s where the huge growth in government comes from. As a former 21 year employee of the City of NY, I like to cite the following personal experience: In ’73 when I started with the new Program I would spend the next 17 years in, I was a lowly worker. When I had a problem I couldn’t solve or needed intercession with another City agency I would hop on the train and walk into my Commissioners office. He would listen to me, give advice or actually, right there and then, make the call I needed. Seventeen years later, I had moved far up the line becoming an Area Director, responsible for an entire Bronx Planning board, over 3,000 housing units and 150,000 people. If I had a similar problem I would have to go through four other people before I could speak to the commissioner who would then refer me back to an “underling” who rarely had the clout to get the damn thing done. Since the statute of limitations has passed, I must confess I went extra legal from time to time, following the David Crockett maxim “Be sure you are right and then go ahead”.

    Anyways, I believe that the Supreme Court is fallible and has gotten wackier and wackier over the years totally losing sight of reality along the way. As I said before, if the Constitution is “fluid” and a “living”,”breathing” document, the thing becomes a useless piece of trash. Just take a look at some of the cases they have decided to hear over the years that the lesser courts decided correctly but they still felt they had to put their two cents in on. The second amendment always comes to mind. Just what is it about the word “people” that there can be any question about?

    Flag, you of the great mistrust in government seem to say “except for the courts”. Sometimes I feel I would rather take my chances with the oracle at Delphi.

    David, I agree with you on habeas I was not confused. Had they moved swiftly none of this would be an issue. the Bush administration and bureaucracy in general are their own worst enemies.

    Remember that principle of leadership I threw out last week, “Make sound and timely decisions”. Well, former 1st Lt. Bush failed on that one too.

  38. Flag, a follow up if you would.

    I seem to remember that you were dumping on Lincoln a while back. Apparently you see him as the beginning of the end. In terms of expanding the power and intrusion of the Federal Government, you are of course correct. This is another one of those things I have wrestled with for a long time.

    I think what happened more or less comes down to the law of unintended consequences. I doubt that when Lincoln decided to run, he had any intention of creating the behemoth that he did.

    When the South decided to secede rather than remain in the union and fight for States Rights, they set the stage for the very thing they hated most and wanted least, a huge all encompassing
    federal government. Granted, that one option would have been to let them leave but Lincoln did what I believe most of his forebears would have wanted him to do, he said no. As much as I respect the Virginians, up to and including Master Robert, once the game was in play, you can’t quit and take the ball home. True, this was not spelled out in the Constitution but neither was the opposite.

    So, for a long time I have believed the South brought the whole damn thing down on us all.

    In your arguments with USWeapon, I think this is one of the points he is making. If you walk away from the system, you are not going to like what you get. I would recommend an excellent book, “Fighting the Good Fight” by George Marlin. It is a history of the Conservative Party in NY State. It details how the Rockefeller Republican Party was pushed rightward by the Conservatives.

    Unfortunately what they, and I, did not realize was that leftists are like the Grade B vampire movies of the ’40’s no matter how many times you drive the stakes through their hearts, they just keep coming back.

    What was that Jefferson line about Eternal Vigilance being the price of Liberty?

  39. David,

    An interesting piece just came over the wire. The Obama administration has decided to stick with the Bush Administration’s position regarding allowing access to American Courts tpo detainees at Bagram AFB in Afganistan.

    Now let us see what the courts have to say about it.

  40. SK. Trynosky Sr. said

    I seem to remember that you were dumping on Lincoln a while back. Apparently you see him as the beginning of the end.

    It fell apart before him – which is why many States wanted to cede from the Union.

    He solidified the centralization of power into Washington – from that point on, Washington became extremely important to rule.

    In your arguments with USWeapon, I think this is one of the points he is making. If you walk away from the system, you are not going to like what you get.

    Today is very different than any time before – every explosion of freedom comes from the ability of the individual to resist the government.

    Long bow – Magna Carta
    Long rifle – Declaration of Independence
    Hand gun – Minority rights

    Today, one man can control the wealth greater than most countries, and potentially weapons on par with nuclear nations.

    Technology is moving faster than the behemoth can use it – but individuals are more than able to keep up.

    Communication of the Web outwits any attempt of censure and blockage – and with the instant connection to millions of like minds – can mobilize millions in a second.

    The ability of the government to project its violence is diminishing while at the same time individuals ability to resist (or avoid) such violence is increasing.

    Now is not the time to attach one’s star to the belt of government – it is in last dying days.

    What comes after…. (shrug) Dark Ages or a new Age of Enlightenment? We’ll have to see….

    Thanks for the book recommendation – I look it up.

  41. Flag, you of the great mistrust in government seem to say “except for the courts”. Sometimes I feel I would rather take my chances with the oracle at Delphi

    Oh, no. I see the courts as just another arm of the government – it is there to offer the appearance of justice; its job is to reaffirm the government.

  42. Sk,

    Disturbing indeed.

    It will be interesting to see how the courts respond. Unlike the incidents with the saboteurs in ww2, and the german POW’s afterwards, there are no alternative courts or tribunals in place.

    I can’t see them upholding a policy that effectively allows the the US to jail people indefinitely without trial unless they clearly identify them as pow’s. It will be a good indication as to how politicized the courts actually are.

    Obama is already taking heat for this, and with good cause. He has spoken often on the how essential habeas is. If he goes against that now, then he can justifiably be called out as a hypocrite.

    Flag,

    Kind of curious as to how you would reconcile your correlation between arms technology and freedom conceded by governments in the light of Russia circa 1917, Nazi Germany, China, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam etc. In all of these cases personal freedoms arguably diminished, and governments expanded, all while arms technology and availability increased rapidly.

    Everybody and his brother seems to own an AK47 in the middle east, yet many keep driving for less freedoms under sharia law.

    I think we often work under the false assumption that people value personal freedom above all else just because we do.

    What usually happens is that people buy into a particular ideology or world view. Some are based upon personal freedom over all, some ahdere to a particular religious view as being the most important, others stress eliminating or changing class/power structures, etc, etc.

    Depening on what your top line priority is, you will push your respective governments to forward your agenda. Unless your top line priority is personal freedom, you will usually be willing to sacrifice some of it in order to acheive your goals. Then it just comes down to a matter of degrees.

    Reductions in personal freedoms may seem an affront to you, to others, lack of a strictly imposed religious codes seems more offensive.

    Some would argue that the simple act of joining a society implies the ceding of some of your personal freedoms, so even we freedom lovers do it to a certain extent.

    In effect, we are all koolaid drinkers wether we admit it or not, we just differ on which flavor is best.

    Often, though, the freedoms that people are willing give up are the ones they personally don’t want, or don’t take advantage of. So they percieve they have nothing to lose. In some cases I wonder, though, if its not actually a secret desire on their part to have society help save them from themselves.

    What is hilarious is when political leaders take up the charge to push these agendas, delivered with pius fervor, only to get caught breaking the very laws they seek to impose on the rest of us. Political hypocricy, who’d have thunk it, but it is fun to watch them squirm.

    Ideologies can’t resist economic realities, however, which I believe is the ultimate mover of political systems. The recent opening up of the former communist states is more a result of this than it is the increased availability of arms to the populace making it possible for them to seize freedoms from their governments.

    Notice how Russia started to close back up again once they saw huge influxes of cash from oil sales? There are still many russians who dogmatically adhere to the communist system.

    On the no government thing, I’m not sure how you could ever achieve it.

    Obviously you need a social hieararchy. Thats all that governments are. I know anarchism claims to not have one, but I don’t think it could maintain that claim with a straight face for very long if it were ever instituted.

    All hierarchies are held in place by force. The ultimate underpinning of that force is the threat of violence. No matter which one you choose, it will need to use violence, or the threat of it, to protect itself from both internal and external threats of violence made against it. It will also need to coerce its members to provide material support for its maintenance (with the implicit threat of violence for non-compliance).

    If your biggest gripe with governments is that they use the threat of violence to keep people in line, how does your philosophy propose a social hieararchy that does not require the threat of violence?

  43. Black Flag says:

    David M

    Kind of curious as to how you would reconcile your correlation between arms technology and freedom conceded by governments in the light of Russia circa 1917, Nazi Germany, China, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam etc. In all of these cases personal freedoms arguably diminished, and governments expanded, all while arms technology and availability increased rapidly.

    The Soviets, Nazis, Communist Chinese, North Korea, Cuba and Vietnam all have/had strict gun control on their citizens. With no surprise, the citizens were abused and violated by their government.

    Everybody and his brother seems to own an AK47 in the middle east, yet many keep driving for less freedoms under sharia law.

    Freedom is not given to you – if you don’t want it, you don’t get it.

    I think we often work under the false assumption that people value personal freedom above all else just because we do.

    I do not get to chose what other people value or not – I only get to chose that for myself.

    However, I believe freedom is the single most important thing you must have. I can’t say it any better than Kent said in his blog,

    http://kentmcmanigal.blogspot.com/

    The Most Important Thing

    Freedom is the most important thing there is. That may be a radical thing to say, but it is true.

    Freedom is the one thing that allows you to pursue whatever else seems most important to you.

    It is the one thing that can allow you to find your value in life; your joy. You can’t be happy without the freedom to be happy, even if you must steal that freedom out from under the nose of those who would attempt to deny it to you.

    Freedom is being able to worship what and how you want, or not.

    Freedom is being able to make your own mistakes and learn from them.

    Freedom is being able to help those around you who are suffering from their mistakes.

    Freedom is being able to try to make the most of your life, as long as you are hurting no innocent person, in whatever way you think is right for you.

    If you don’t have freedom, you have nothing.

    If you have freedom, you may still have nothing, but now you have at least a chance for something.

    Depening on what your top line priority is, you will push your respective governments to forward your agenda. Unless your top line priority is personal freedom, you will usually be willing to sacrifice some of it in order to acheive your goals. Then it just comes down to a matter of degrees.

    And, you know, that is all fine.

    If a person figures out what the core principle is that rules their life, and they are consistent to it, they will do just fine in the world, too.

    The universe allows for an infinite number of right answers to every problem – but you only get to chose one, since one right answer is all you need.

    Some people’s core principle is “order” or “peace”, etc. and they will be willing to sacrifice freedom to get those things.

    All of that is fine for them – and as long as they don’t force me to accept the same things as they do, we’ll all live together just fine.

    Some would argue that the simple act of joining a society implies the ceding of some of your personal freedoms, so even we freedom lovers do it to a certain extent.

    And they’re wrong. Anyone can claim ‘implied’ –something- …. Can you show me the reason and the logic behind this incredible assumption? Most notably, they can’t.

    Ideologies can’t resist economic realities, however, which I believe is the ultimate mover of political systems.

    Economics is the mother of Politics, no doubt.

    On the no government thing, I’m not sure how you could ever achieve it.

    What is so hard for USWep, and others to understand is:

    I don’t need to do a darn thing to achieve it.
    I just live it.

    Obviously you need a social hieararchy. Thats all that governments are.

    Hierarchy is simply another ‘archy’ – the right of the higher class to rule, no different from:
    “Mon” archy – right of one to rule
    “Theo” archy – right of religion to rule
    “Demo” archy – right of the mob to rule.

    They all hate anarchy….
    “An” means ‘no’
    “An” archy means “no right to rule”.

    Government is an entity that claims the monopoly to exert violence within a geographical area.

    Violence and theft is incredibly profitable, and the better organized the violence, the greater the profit.

    The greatest expression of this organized violence is the governments of democracy – capable of seizing nearly 80% of the citizens production.

    I know anarchism claims to not have one, but I don’t think it could maintain that claim with a straight face for very long if it were ever instituted.

    Why?
    Lions Club exists.
    Rotary Club exists.
    The Red Cross exists.
    Not one of these organizations require violence as a tool for economic gain.

    All hierarchies are held in place by force.

    All ‘archy’ (except anarchy) is held together by violence.

    The use of violence to prohibit against and defend from the initiation of violence is a right.

    Anarchists are not pacifists.
    I won’t start a fight with you, but damn well I may end any fight with me.

    If your biggest gripe with governments is that they use the threat of violence to keep people in line, how does your philosophy propose a social hieararchy that does not require the threat of violence?

    But not threatening or using the initiation of violence.

    Go to the ZAP on Kent’s site. He offers quite an excellent explanation of it.

    http://www.kentforliberty.com/zap.html

  44. Flag,

    Thanks for the answers and the link.

    Does the entire site speak to your vision of this society, or is it just the ZAP that you meant me to read?

    With all due respect, it certainly looked like every north vietnames peasant (and many in the south) had weapons. There was that constant stream of arms flowing down the elusive Ho-Chi-Min trail. Most of it carried by small groups of soldiers, I don’t recall any chains around their feet. Were they not vietnamese citizens?

    The period before the Nazis came to power was filled with violence in the streets on a regular basis. Remember the brown shirts? Were these not German citizens? They certainly weren’t part of the existing government, but they were effective in bringing about political change.

    Governments maintain the monopolies over violence in their geographical area primarily to protect whatever ‘archy’ it is supporting. If it allows another ‘archy’ to have its own violence making capability (as Germany did), then it risks being overthrown, often with devestating effect on the populace. This is the internal threat I was speaking of.

    Even an anarchy has such an instrument (e.g. constitutional militia). If another ‘archy’ started to form in its geographical area, how would it respond?

    How well do you think a constitutional militia would fare against a modern professional army if it was invaded? (the external threat) I mean, come on, have you seen these volunteer militias? Would you trust them to hold back Putin?

    If not, then how much money would be required to bring it up to a level that would give an opponent like Russia pause? How could the society raise this money and not call it a tax?

    Your next statement is basically the axiom that power corrupts. This doesn’t only apply to governments. Business too can be corrupt. Many of them are. How would you propose to avoid the corruption of businesses? How would you prevent crime synidicates from gaining power through corrupting the free market as happened in Russia immediately following perestroika? Or like the mob did in 1920’s Chicago?

    The Lions Club and the Rotary Club are volunteer organisations. I was a member of a local Lions Club chapter. It was a night a week away from the wives without guilt, well wife guilt at least. We drank a lot. I think we did other things too, can’t quite remember, lots of knocking on tables with wooden hammers comes to mind. And they pestered us continuously for ‘dues’. Did I mention they had hammers?

    Not sure what your point is, though. Coca-cola doesn’t use violence as a tool for economic gain either. I certainly never saw a Coca-cola employee approach me for money while holding a hammer.

    If you mean that they do charity work that could replace government humanitarian functions, then yes, they don’t support themselves with taxes as far as I know, just guilt mainly (ok, good will too). I also don’t think they are in any way capable of handling massive humanitarian efforts for things like Katrina (although, neither was the government it seems). But if someone needs their tables knocked with a hammer, WE’RE THERE! Lots of groups do charity work, right under the noses of the violent government. I wonder why they haven’t been attacked yet? What was your point again?

    The Red Cross is a bizarre example. Wasn’t there a huge scandal involving their bungling of the blood supply during the emergence of HIV in the early 80’s?

    I know in Canada The Red Cross was stripped of its role in managing of the blood supply after tens of thousands of Canadians were infected with HIV & Hep C from infected blood, many died, directly attributed to screw ups and corruption in the Red Cross. The blood supply is now under government control in Canada.

    A guy I new got caught up in that one. At least I think he did. He used to sell ‘gourmet’ frozen food door to door. You know the stuff, overpriced fish sticks and frozen chicken parts. Then he went on to manage a local youth center, where he quickly embezzled $100K from a local businessman who had donated it to build a kids skate park. From there is was off to the big time with The Red Cross, that was the last I heard of him. Hopefully he is in jail now, with Captain Hindgrinder delivering some sweet karmic revenge (Arghh laddy, bend over and I’ll give ye a fish stick!).

    To answer your question on how joining a society reduces personal freedoms, think of the smallest of human social groups; two people sharing a house.

    Even the two most compatible people will not agree on everything all of the time. They will invariably have to come up with some mutually agreed upon ground rules which end up being limits (however minor) on their individual freedoms.

    You would arguably be freer if you lived alone, but you accept the compromise because you get something in return (companionship, sharing of expenses), but you don’t always get to watch what you want on TV! (substitute any other scarce resource if you like).

    You could argue that you could be part of a society and live by yourself in your own home, but the point still remains. When out and about in the society you will have some rules to follow, you won’t be able to just do whatever you like. And if you never go out in that society, why the heck join in the first place?

    My main point was, I don’t see how an anarchy that proposes no government could stand without eventually having to push its people for money, at the very least to have an army that would stop other countries from walking right in – under the banner of ‘liberating’ you from anarchy mind you. And if the people don’t ‘volunteer’ enough then what? Learn Russian?

  45. Black Flag says:

    David M </b?

    Does the entire site speak to your vision of this society, or is it just the ZAP that you meant me to read?

    Oh, most certainly entertain all of Kent’s site.

    He is one of the most articulate freedom fighters I know of… he speaks simply and without much confrontation (unlike me).

    My harsh rock as a pillow to his soft blanket of calm.

    But his words resonant with me.

    With all due respect, it certainly looked like every north vietnames peasant (and many in the south) had weapons.

    Armed to fight the Yankee – disarmed so not to fight their government.

    The period before the Nazis came to power was filled with violence in the streets on a regular basis. Remember the brown shirts? Were these not German citizens? They certainly weren’t part of the existing government, but they were effective in bringing about political change.

    They belonged to an arm of the government – the ‘opposition party’.

    And, yes, violence does replace the violence of government with (shock to USWep) violence of government. More of the same, but as you note, just different shirts.

    Governments maintain the monopolies over violence in their geographical area primarily to protect whatever ‘archy’ it is supporting. If it allows another ‘archy’ to have its own violence making capability (as Germany did), then it risks being overthrown, often with devestating effect on the populace. This is the internal threat I was speaking of.

    If you analyze it more carefully – every ‘archy’ has devastating effects on its populace.

    I challenge you to find one that hasn’t… 10,000 years you can go back into history if you’d like….

    Even an anarchy has such an instrument (e.g. constitutional militia). If another ‘archy’ started to form in its geographical area, how would it respond?

    As the Swiss said to the Kaiser – “We’ll just have to shoot twice…”

    How well do you think a constitutional militia would fare against a modern professional army if it was invaded?

    Far, far better than the Afghani’s and look how well they did against the Soviets and now NATO.

    (the external threat) I mean, come on, have you seen these volunteer militias? Would you trust them to hold back Putin?

    Lemme see.

    A nation surrounded by the two largest oceans on earth…

    …when the largest military might of Europe couldn’t cross a 40 mile strait…

    …and it took the largest armada in history, the combined armies of England, USA, Canada … all their air force, and every Atlantic ship to invade the occupied territory held by an exhausted foe… and it was not a sure thing….

    …and you honestly think the Russians can invade North America??????

    300 million people holding over a billion guns….

    Closest allies guard the north and the southern borders…

    You think Putin is that stupid????

    If not, then how much money would be required to bring it up to a level that would give an opponent like Russia pause?

    Well, let’s see.

    Since the US spends more on military then the rest of the world combined…

    …about 30% of the current expenditure would scare the hell out of anyone….

    How could the society raise this money and not call it a tax?

    If the nation is worth saving, the citizens will pay voluntarily.

    If the Red Cross can raise money doing what it can do, the US military should have no problem doing what it is supposed to do … DEFENDING THE COUNTRY called USA.

    I build a wall and fortifications to protect myself and my family.

    You come into my compound.

    How much more do you cost me to defend you too?

    Hmm… so why is it so expensive for the government to defend us?

    Business too can be corrupt. Many of them are. How would you propose to avoid the corruption of businesses?

    Don’t buy their products. Yes, its that simple.

    The difference you miss between business and government is that you cannot refuse government. They are immune to your disgust, anguish, anger and …whatever… it just doesn’t care.

    It can be corrupt — you have to pay.

    It kills children — you have to pay.

    It destroys your money — you have to pay.

    Name one business with that power.

    You can destroy a business by saying ‘No, you can’t have my money’

    But the government is deaf.

    How would you prevent crime synidicates from gaining power through corrupting the free market as happened in Russia immediately following perestroika? Or like the mob did in 1920’s Chicago?

    You confuse two scenarios.

    The Russians didn’t corrupt the free market – it never existed there to be corrupted.

    Government cronies seized the government companies, and ‘pretended’ they were capitalists. (shrug) Same animal, different paint.

    The Lions Club and the Rotary Club are volunteer organisations.

    Exactly. Opposite of government which if ‘force’ and ‘coercion’.

    If you mean that they do charity work that could replace government humanitarian functions, then yes, they don’t support themselves with taxes as far as I know, just guilt mainly (ok, good will too).

    There is not one thing that government does that could not be done by the free market, other than destroy and kill non-violent people.

    If you need the latter, government is your tool.

    I also don’t think they are in any way capable of handling massive humanitarian efforts for things like Katrina (although, neither was the government it seems).

    Of course they can.

    Walmart had truck loads of supplies and water for the victims – blocked by the government.

    The free market – on its own – handles the disaster optimally.

    Does that mean everyone is saved? No.
    But government can’t do that either.

    It does mean most are saved in the best way.

    A disaster is a disaster!! People die! Suffering happens! But adding government only makes all of it worse for longer. It disrupts the natural mechanisms necessary for the quickest, most painless recovery.

    Those that need, pay.

    To answer your question on how joining a society reduces personal freedoms, think of the smallest of human social groups; two people sharing a house.

    Ah, but you fall into a fallacy.

    The sum of the parts is greater than the whole.

    You can only have a personal relationship with about 100 people – google “monkey brain”. Beyond that, the rest of humanity is just ‘out there’ – faceless and you couldn’t careless about them.

    Think about it: A child killed in Iraq…meaningless because you don’t know them.

    A child killed of your best friend… heart-wrenching.

    So bringing the terms of society down within a ‘tribe’ size – about 100 – is wholly different then concepts regarding 300 million people or more.

    Communism works!…. in a family!

    In my family it most certainly is this philosophy:

    From those that are able to those that are not…

    I can’t run my home like a capitalist…can you imagine my daughter having to ‘earn’ her room and board? Impossible.

    But I supply, not on economic recovery, but by emotion. Her welfare is far more important to me than mere economic gain. So the massive economic imbalance in the house.

    But it is because I have an emotional attachment – I do not have that with you.

    From you, I want money. I don’t know you and I don’t care. You want something from me, I want value back.

    Communism does not work beyond a tribe or family unit – that is, outside of emotional ties. Capitalism does not work in tribes or families, but works perfectly in a society of strangers.

    Don’t muddle the two. Disaster strikes all who do.

    My main point was, I don’t see how an anarchy that proposes no government could stand …

    That’s ok.

    500 years ago, people believed they couldn’t pray to God without a Pope.

    And those that said they didn’t need a Pope were burned at the stake.

    Those that said they didn’t need God were tortured, then burnt at the stake.

    Today, we look upon those days as barbaric.

    In your life time, your children will look upon these times the same way.

  46. Flag,

    That may be, but I think you have a lot more faith in human ‘goodness’ than I do. Except if these humans are in governments, then for some reason they turn turn evil in your eyes.

    I guess I just don’t feel as oppressed by my government as you seem to. Yes they take my money in taxes, but I do recognize that I get quite a bit in return for this. Certainly more than I could ever accomplish on my own. Less than under your proposition? Maybe, who knows. Just call me a doubting Thomas then. I’ll wait to see one actually work out on any scale larger than a few buildings before I jump in.

    Of course some anarchists say the the native americans actually practiced anarchy. They certainly had no government. Where was the unity and call to arms when the europeans arrived? Oh yeah, they had all been too busy fighting amongst themselves to really get any kind of unified act together. I wonder why that was? I mean they all came across the land bridge from russia. Why didn’t they stay together?

    Is it possible that if there isn’t some kind of unifying hiearchy in place that we humans just break down into our own individual tribes? Kind of like what you pointed out? You know, like how I don’t give a hoot about anybody outside my Fav 100?

    There is already an undercurrent of that reflex in the US. Given the upheaval moving to such a system would cause, wouldn’t it be likely that some states would want to cede? I can think of a few off the top of my head. Would you just shoot them all twice? How wonderful of you, where do I sign up?

    On the house example, I didn’t specify that you had to be family, or even friends. If I moved into your house, we would be a tribe, but it has no bearing on the fact that one or both of us would have to give up some freedoms. Even if it was just being able to watch whatever we want on TV. We could be anarchists, communists, bhuddists, nihilists, cyclists, or any other ist, ism or archy you want. What does that change? There is still only one TV. You are not dad, I am not your son. We are not a family. We are a society of two. And don’t flatter yourself, just because that is less than 100, doesn’t mean I will actually like you.

    So the Vietnamese hate their government. Oh woe! If only we had guns we could end this torment!!

    In comes the US (cue the trumpets, we will just forget about the french for now and that they actually had been armed for that whole war as well). The government gives the Vietnamese people guns, but only to kill Yanks. No killing government people!!! Huh what? Special government guns? They kill yanks, but the bullets bounce harmlessly off of government wogs?

    Happy days! War is over! We have defeated the yanks! Here is your gun back. We still hate our government! If only we had guns! Woe is us! Why does this sound so much like an episode of the Simpsons. Homer: If only I had a gun I’d show that nasty government. Bart: What about the gun you had? Homer: I gave it back. DOH!

    Could it be that the Vietnamese people (at least the north) went along willingly with the new goverment? Just as the revolutionary Americans went along willingly with their new government after they defeated the British? I mean here they are, they have just vanquished the enemey, they are all holding guns. Yet they hand them back? Why? A promise is a promise? Why didn’t they all just immediately overthrow their government and embrace the obviously superior anarchistic model? They certainly weren’t afraid to fight, they had been doing that for at least 20 years straight by then.

    Why hasn’t any country done that? Governments aren’t some mysterious supernatural power. There is no government making machine that pops governments out to take over the world.

    The Nazis started out as a few WW1 vets sitting around a beer hall swilling beer and bitching about how the government sold them out with the treaty of versaille. Hitler was actually an infiltrator sent by the existing government to spy on them. I guess he forgot his super secret government promise. They used violence from the very beginning before they were anywhere near an opposition party. That was the way it worked at the time. Today they would throw them in jail if they did the same thing.

    I don’t know. Maybe its just a US thing. I live in Canada. They don’t build compounds here. I don’t even lock the doors to my house. My car is usually unlocked too. I don’t fear black helicopters.

    I have my own business, so I deal frequently with government BS. I should be filling out some forms now actually, but meh, they wont shoot me if i don’t. Even if I never pay my taxes they won’t shoot me. They won’t even jail me. Force me into bankruptcy yes, shoot or jail, no.

    The taxes I pay are based on what I earn. If I make more money, I pay more. If I make no money I pay nothing (they actually give me money, not much, but enough to help keep my family fed). In return for this they provide me with clean water, roads, schools for my children, hospitals, police, airports, fire stations, etc..etc..etc..

    One of the products I sell requires certification to a new set of specs released by a large international mega-corporation. If I want to keep selling my product, I have to make it conform. The work I am doing to meet this new spec is more than the sum total of all the asinine documents I have filled out for the government over the last 5 years or more, and worth about as much (i.e. not much). It is the most ridiculous spec I have ever seen, and I have been doing this type of thing for a long time.

    They won’t shoot me if I don’t do it either.

    If I don’t pass the spec with the private company, the will pull my certification. I will lose a significant portion of my income. They don’t care one wit if that would cause me to starve. They certainly won’t be sending me any money. They are not even my customer.

    I have also run into situations where I have lost bids, only to find out afterwards that the buyer was bought off by my competition. Nothing was ever done about it.

    The government up here was involved in a scandal a few years back where taxpayer money was funneled to the coffers of the party in power. Several ministers and a few crown corporation heads’ rolled. The government was drummed out of office during the next election cycle as well.

    Despite having been the major party in power for over 14 years, and one of the country’s founding parties, they were almost wiped out. They still haven’t recovered. For a while the loyal opposition up here (the party with the second most seats in the house) was actually a separatist party that wanted to break up the country. I still didn’t lock my doors.

    On the deals I know about alone, private sector corruption has probably cost me personally about $100K – and again, nothing was done.

    My share of the government scandal was about $50 – heads rolled, governments fell.

    Who is evil again?

    I have small, medium, and large companies and the government among my customers.

    The only trend I can tell you is the larger they get, the dumber they get. This goes for both the public and private sector. The government gets all worried that the taxpayers will find out when they do something stupid because they know we can actually fire their arses, and we have.

    The private sector doesn’t care at all when they blow money. They know the board won’t do a damn thing, and the shareholders are all sheep and have no power anyways. They’ll find a way to cook the books so we all think it tastes just dandy! Until the whole thing come crashing down around us and we are left holding stock certificates whose only use is to wallpaper our outhouses with (can you say Enron, WorldCom, Nortel, I knew you could).

    Yeah I can stop buying from them, but THEY ALL DO IT. So I guess I can just sit here and starve, that’ll show ’em.

    Both the government and the private sector waste enough money on stupidity and entitlements to themselves to make you weep. In one case, the taxpayer pays, in the other, the shareholders. That would be me on both counts, BAAAH! They both suck.

    All power systems are corrupt. Public and private. How does the song go? You can steal more money with a briefcase than you can with a gun. Businessmen carry briefcases, government wogs do too. If you believe only one of the two is willing to rob you, then you are very naive.

    Compared to the rest of the world, though, all in all I feel pretty lucky that we have as much as we do (at least for now anyways).

    Oh, and about the strong ally to the north thing. Don’t believe it. We are just biding our time, waiting for the right moment to strike. We are going to finish what was started in 1812! (its taken us this long to get ready!).

    Don’t tell anyone though. I will give you the signal when its time, 1 if by land, 2 if by canoe invasion over the great lakes.

    And can you keep that Glenn Beck guy quiet? He’s gonna blow it for us. (“They are socialists. They have socialized medicine. They have Nationalized their health care system. Nationalized…Socialism..National Socialism! They are Nazis!!”) Sieg hiel, herr Beck, Sieg hiel.

    (ok, ok, so I made that last part up, but he actually did use that kind of twisted logic to describe the tarp or the stimulus or something the government was doing at one point)

  47. David M

    … but I think you have a lot more faith in human ‘goodness’ than I do.

    It’s only logical that human ‘goodness’ far, far, far outpaces human evil. One merely needs to look at a city.

    It takes years to build a building and minutes to knock it down. If evil was even slightly significant, cities could not exist. Yet, cities abound everywhere. So, there is no tendency to evil as a general condition of people.

    Walk down the street. For the vast most part of your walk, people make way – without any force, violence or government to tell them what to do — it’s natural.

    Humans are social beings. We like to be with one another – we like people by our nature.

    Except if these humans are in governments, then for some reason they turn turn evil in your eyes.

    They don’t ‘turn evil’ — they are evil to begin with, and are drawn into government.

    A person who seeks government office is someone who is unable accomplish his goals/dream without violence. He needs to force people to create his dream. He sees no other way. Government allows him to do this legally. Without government, he’d be a thug, or suicidal in frustration that people aren’t acting the way he likes.

    Now, there is a segment of the population that is brainwashed into thinking that using government to forward their dreams is ‘ok’. They don’t know any better – they were educated into thinking ‘public service’ or ‘helping people’ and their mentors guided them into using legal violence as a legitimate way of accomplishing ‘service’. Usually, though, when they finally get into it, the find out how corrupt and putrid the government is. Depending on there upbringing, some stay on and are corrupted, and others leave.

    I guess I just don’t feel as oppressed by my government as you seem to. Yes they take my money in taxes, but I do recognize that I get quite a bit in return for this.

    Yeah, like I take a dollar and give to government and get 10c worth of service. Or invest that dollar in the free market and get $1.10 back… gee, wonder which one is the real deal.

    Certainly more than I could ever accomplish on my own.

    You couldn’t make a pencil on your own.

    Of course some anarchists say the the native americans actually practiced anarchy. They certainly had no government. Where was the unity and call to arms when the europeans arrived?

    The Apache, who have no concept of a ‘chief’ defeated the Spanish Conquistadors and held off the US government until 1914.

    Is it possible that if there isn’t some kind of unifying hiearchy in place that we humans just break down into our own individual tribes?

    Oh, no doubt. We are mammals – and there is a natural selection that even humans are subject to.

    However, we have a brain like no other mammal. We can think. It seems most people forget that very thing that makes us unique in the known universe.

    wouldn’t it be likely that some states would want to cede?

    There are a number of States today that have propositions tabled that would essentially do exactly that.

    On the house example, I didn’t specify that you had to be family, or even friends. If I moved into your house, we would be a tribe, but it has no bearing on the fact that one or both of us would have to give up some freedoms.

    Are you sure you known what ‘freedom’ is? What do you think is your definition of ‘freedom’?

    Special government guns? They kill yanks, but the bullets bounce harmlessly off of government wogs?

    No, after the war, the government instituted gun control and siezed them. Typically, its called “National Demobilization”

    Here is your gun back.

    Yep, that is about how it works.

    Could it be that the Vietnamese people (at least the north) went along willingly with the new goverment?

    Oh, sure they did.

    They’d rather have a home-grown tyranny instead of a French one, or an American one. Pretty much every person on earth feels the same way …. foreigners are not welcome to rule.

    Why didn’t they all just immediately overthrow their government and embrace the obviously superior anarchistic model?

    Same reason as when the Protestants threw out the Pope, but still kept religion. For 10,000 years or more, people have had a government – it is just as hard to conceive of a no-government society as it was (and is for many) to conceive no God.

    Why hasn’t any country done that? Governments aren’t some mysterious supernatural power. There is no government making machine that pops governments out to take over the world.

    Yes, they are a Power. Violence is incredibly profitable. Organizing violence increases that profit.

    It has been nearly impossible for the common man to resist the organized violence. So he submitted.

    Every time in history when the common man increased his ability to resist violence, human freedoms exploded.

    Today, a new ability for a single man to resist the entire weight of government. A single man can control the wealth greater than nations and control weapons on par with a superpower. We have yet to see the full consequences of this new ability, but we can start to see some of the ripples today.

    Force me into bankruptcy yes, shoot or jail, no.

    Well that depends on level of your resistance.

    Who is evil again?

    You muddle voluntary action vs. coercion.

    You don’t have to do business with the company that demands you meet their spec. If you say “No”, they go away too.

    Try that with the government the next time you need a license.

    What is your definition of “evil”?

    The private sector doesn’t care at all when they blow money.

    Why should you care? It’s not your money.

    Until the whole thing come crashing down around us and we are left holding stock certificates whose only use is to wallpaper our outhouses with (can you say Enron, WorldCom, Nortel, I knew you could).

    Good point.

    When companies make bad mistakes, they dissolve.

    When government makes bad mistakes, it grows bigger.

  48. Well, there you have it.

    For you, government is evil, therefore everything it does is evil. Business is good, therefore everything it does is good.

    Every action taken by government is bad. If they do a good thing, you will find a way to say it is bad.

    Every action taken by business is good. If they do a bad thing, you will find a way to say it is good.

    Got it, thanks for the chat.

  49. Black Flag says:

    David M

    For you, government is evil, therefore everything it does is evil. Business is good, therefore everything it does is good.

    Oh David, do please read what is written, and not what you pretend you read in your head.

    I said Government is evil because it uses force and coercion.

    I made no judgment of “good” or “evil” on business. That’s up to you to chose – with your dollar. If you don’t like a business, don’t buy it or its product.

    Darn simple, isn’t it?

    Every action taken by government is bad. If they do a good thing, you will find a way to say it is bad.

    What good is done by using violence on non-violent people?

    Lots of good for those with the guns, not so good for those without the guns.

    It appears to me, as long as government does good for you, you don’t give a hoot at the harm it does someone else, right? ….

    …except when government does harm to you, you don’t like it, right? Even if that is good for someone else?

    Every action taken by business is good. If they do a bad thing, you will find a way to say it is good.

    Strawman, David. Never said that. I said when business makes mistakes they dissolve.

    Got it, thanks for the chat.

    Hopefully this has cleared up some misconceptions.

    Thanks!

  50. “Hopefully this has cleared up some misconceptions.”

    Yup, you have just re-enforced what I said. I’m telling you, you can save a lot of typing with what I proposed.

    The first part you agree with at least, about government being evil and thus never being able to do anything good.

    The second part is all you disagree with, but you then whitewash the crimes of business and pass them off as simple ‘mistakes’.

    Enron, Worldcom and Nortel were examples of massive corporate frauds, among many other corporate crimes. To call them ‘mistakes’ is laughable.

    When a government taxes, you call it stealing by threat of violence. When a business commits fraud, which is also stealing, you call it a ‘mistake’ and imply that the act of dissolving the company alone makes up for it and shows how much better business is than government.

    This is exactly what I meant by the statement, that you never seem able to admit business is also in the ‘business’ so to speak, of stealing from us. Somehow, the free market will take care of it all on its own, yet you never explain how except to say ‘don’t buy from them;.

    Don’t buy from them? Who cares, Enron was plunderred at that point. They voluntarily closed up shop. I couldn’t buy from them if I wanted to. They had no choice because the debt holders would enforce collection on their debt, and come and take whatever assets they could find, by force if necessary. The bankruptcy just made that process happen less violently so you don’t have debt holders climbing all over each other trying to grab whatever they can get their hands on.

    Now if they had the option to just keep going (which I assume is your system as the debtholders would have had no way to enforce their debt, they would just have to wait for people to ‘stop buying’ from them) and the product they offered was cheaper and just as good as the competition. Why wouldn’t I buy from them? Because they hurt people I don’t know? Aren’t we all capitalists? What if people they hurt are not in my fav 100? Would it be ok then?

    In fact, Enron had a virtual monopoly on the electricity in California at the time through all of their crooked dealings which allowed them to manipulate the market (Which they did regularly, through staged blackouts and rolling brownouts to create a perception of scarcity and drive up the price. You can hear their own traders brag about it on youtube if you like, its chilling). So 30 million americans would have had to just suck it up, or do without electricity by not buying from them. Hmmm…no electricity, no water filtration, no pumping stations, no clean water to drink, no way to put out fires, in a place that gets fires regularly. Yup, that works.

    You showed this as how business alone handles these things and contrasted it to government getting bigger which you obviously see as a ‘bad thing’, so naturally you see the business side as something ‘not bad’, which would be ‘good’. Even though the example of government fraud I used did NOT result in the government getting bigger, some went to jail, by force no less, and all the rest were thrown out of office..we ‘dissolved’ them so to speak. Their party, which is all they care about, has not recovered from the blow yet. Some are out of the politics game for good as their names are now junk.

    So yup, “when business (the examples I specifically used: Enron, Worldcom, Nortel) does a bad thing (commits massive fraud, steals from everyone, INCLUDING their own grannies offering nothing in return which, at least, the government does do when it ‘steals’), you find a way to say it is good (not what a government does, which is ‘bad’, therefore ‘good’)”

    ‘Strawman’ indeed.

    I mean do you see ‘dissolving a company’ as a painful thing or something? Its a form. Not painful at all. Especially when you plunder all the assets before you do it and you get to keep the plunder. You can do it in the morning and still make your 1 o’clock tee-off time. Why would anybody do it any other way? It would become the defacto way to ‘cash out’. The ultimate exit strategy. Your own accountant would call you a fool if you didn’t.

    But so as not to be accused of a ‘strawman’ again, please explain how your system would prevent this.

    (Oh, and to pre-empt your usual ‘it happens now’ non-response response, the current system at least tries to convict these guys and put them in jail. By force if they don’t go willingly. This threat – yes of violence – deters others from doing it, and builds confidence in our economy and debt instruments. Just because it is not always succesful does not mean that your system can do nothing and call it a draw)

  51. Black Flag says:

    David M

    Yup, you have just re-enforced what I said. I’m telling you, you can save a lot of typing with what I proposed.

    Shrug.

    Many read – few understand.

    The first part you agree with at least, about government being evil and thus never being able to do anything good.

    I think you better define what ‘good’ means to you….

    Government cannot do anything without first taking -by force- something from somebody first.

    Read carefully:
    No matter what government does, it always has to start with someone losing something from violence or coercion

    Governments, in contrast to all other organizations, do not obtain their revenue as payment for their services. Consequently, governments face an economic problem different from that of everyone else. Private individuals who want to acquire more goods and services from others must produce and sell more of what others want. Governments need only find some method of expropriating more goods without the owner’s consent.

    The second part is all you disagree with, but you then whitewash the crimes of business and pass them off as simple ‘mistakes’.

    No.

    Unlike government, which is immune from its own failures, companies die.

    Enron, Worldcom and Nortel were examples of massive corporate frauds, among many other corporate crimes.

    And are dead or dying…..

    …unlike government, whose mistakes dwarf these guys, and its solution to its mistakes …. more power!

    When a government taxes, you call it stealing by threat of violence.

    Yes, because you cannot say no.

    When a business commits fraud, which is also stealing, you call it a ‘mistake’ and imply that the act of dissolving the company alone makes up for it and shows how much better business is than government.

    Well, most of the time someone goes to jail, the shareholders lose all their money (the owners), and the company is dead.

    Compare that with government. No one went to jail for 9/11 – government has more money than ever before, and is alive and well.

    This is exactly what I meant by the statement, that you never seem able to admit business is also in the ‘business’ so to speak, of stealing from us.

    Of course not!

    You pay for the goods, and if you don’t want to buy, then don’t.

    Somehow, the free market will take care of it all on its own, yet you never explain how except to say ‘don’t buy from them;.

    *Cough*

    Yes, that sorta gets a companies attention, since its in the business of selling. That is why boycotts work so well against companies, and is pointless as a strategy against a government.

    I couldn’t buy from them if I wanted to.

    So what is your care? Its not your money that was lost.

    If it was, then you bought shares (badly). Too bad. Be smarter next time.

    Why wouldn’t I buy from them?

    Why not?

    You’re so confused. You are attributing YOUR actions to be based on someone’s else who you don’t have a clue about.

    Take care about yourself in the free market. That is why it works. Don’t worry about the other guy. He is free to make his own decisions – you do not have to worry about it.

    Because they hurt people I don’t know? Aren’t we all capitalists? What if people they hurt are not in my fav 100? Would it be ok then?

    You have no ability to determine someone else decisions in a free market.

    People make free choices for their own benefit or loss – this is not your concern. That is what “freedom” means….

    In fact, Enron had a virtual monopoly on the electricity in California at the time through all of their crooked dealings ….

    ….with government who prevented any competition.

    I mean do you see ‘dissolving a company’ as a painful thing or something?

    I guess you’ve never lost money in a business.

    I think you’re confused about freedom.

    Freedom does not make you suddenly good or bad.

    It does not make you suddenly rich or poor.

    It does not make you healthy, or sick.

    It does not make you pretty or ugly.

    It just makes you free.

  52. Yup, figured this would be the response.

    Spend half of it restating a point that I already shortened for you. Twice now.

    Blame the government for Enron. Without evidence of course. Ignoring the very real danger that monopolies pose, especially in vital resource areas, without offering any solutions on how to avoid this. When all else fails….

    Didn’t explain how your ‘non violent’ system would put people in jail.

    Completely missed the point about how if businesses can just dissolve themselves, keeping all their assets, and ignoring their debt, that they would all eventually do this and nobody would ever invest or lend money to a company again. Except you of course, with your crystal ball to guide you.

    I have lost money in a business, had I been able to just ignore debt, I would not have, but then, someone else would have. I would have just stolen it from them.

    Never even discussed the concept of freedom in my post, yet you blather on about it.

    Looks like your a 9/11 conspiracy theorist as well.

    Shrug. No real point in any discussion any more.

  53. Spend half of it restating a point that I already shortened for you. Twice now.

    Because your ‘shortening’ is inaccurate.

    Try answering my questions – it may enlighten you.

    Blame the government for Enron. Without evidence of course.

    You are new here, right?

    Do you REALLY think I make statements like that without KNOWING what I talk about?

    “State lawmakers expected the price of electricity to decrease due to the resulting competition; hence they capped the price of electricity at the pre-deregulation level. Since they also saw it as imperative that the supply of electricity remain uninterrupted, utility companies were required by law to buy electricity from spot markets at uncapped prices when faced with imminent power shortages.”

    Just who is in charge of getting electricity to residents? A public utility, which, in the absurd American lexicon, means ’state run’ and ’state managed’, perhaps with a veneer of private trappings.

    All of centralization and cartelization began nearly a century ago, as Robert Bradley points out in Energy: The Master Resource, when industry leaders obtained what was known as a regulatory covenant. They received franchise protection from market competition in exchange for which they agreed to price controls based on a cost plus formula – a formula that survives to this day.

    Ignoring the very real danger that monopolies pose, especially in vital resource areas, without offering any solutions on how to avoid this. When all else fails….

    A monopoly can only exist by writ of government – and that is what makes it dangerous.

    Didn’t explain how your ‘non violent’ system would put people in jail.

    Why should non-violent people go to jail?

    Completely missed the point about how if businesses can just dissolve themselves, keeping all their assets, and ignoring their debt, that they would all eventually do this and nobody would ever invest or lend money to a company again.

    I’m not aware how a bankrupt company can keep their assets – that is opposite of what happens.

    I have lost money in a business, had I been able to just ignore debt, I would not have, but then, someone else would have. I would have just stolen it from them.

    You better also define “stealing” too.

    Never even discussed the concept of freedom in my post, yet you blather on about it.

    What part of the FREE market did you miss?

  54. More blather.

    I am fully aware of your position on governments. You do not need to explain over and over again.

    From your same wiki article:

    “…many trading strategies employed by Enron and other companies violated the anti-gaming provisions…”
    “Electricity prices in California’s spot markets were affected by economic withholding and inflated price bidding, in violation of tariff anti-gaming provisions.” <–This was the killer

    So Enron broke the law. It does not matter that the government set up the system. Had Enron not broken the laws, this would not have happened.

    Seriously, go listen the the traders themselves. They were colluding with the utilities all the way. Nobody in the government was pushing them to do this.

    Not to mention that Lay and Skilling were colluding with the auditors to cook the books. They continued to push the stock on investors and employees with fake books while they were secretly (and illegaly) selling their stock behind the scenes. No government pushed them to do this either.

    The entire company was rotten from top to bottom. But the kind of raping and pillaging that you would allow would make Lay and Skilling look like rank amateurs. They would be kicking themselves that they didn’t wait for your system.

    I asked:

    “When a business commits fraud, which is also stealing, you call it a ‘mistake’ and imply that the act of dissolving the company alone makes up for it and shows how much better business is than government.”

    You answered:

    “Well, most of the time someone goes to jail,”

    I stated:

    “Didn’t explain how your ‘non violent’ system would put people in jail.”

    You answered:

    “Why should non-violent people go to jail?”

    Ergo, there are no rules as long as violence is not involved.

    Thus:

    “I’m not aware how a bankrupt company can keep their assets – that is opposite of what happens.”

    Simple.

    In a world with the credo “Why should non-violent people go to jail?”, I just keep my assets and don’t pay any debts. Or sell the assets, keep the cash, and do as I please. Wag your finger at me, big deal.

    All that behind the scenes colluding that Lay and Skilling had to do to drain the assets wouldn’t be required.

    They would have just sold everyting off and pocketed the money. Voila. You could wag your finger at them all you want too, they would have billions, what would they care? There’s a reason they call it fuck-you money.

    Now run through every other company in the US. The officers could just help themselves to all the assets, goodbye working everyday, hello Fiji! Any islands for sale?

    Now that’s a stimulus package we can all get behind! Except for those who are left behind. Like you, wagging your finger. Have fun with that. Maybe they’ll send postcards. Ooops, the mail system was sold off. Oh well, they’ll think about you though, and have a drink in your name, since you made them all rich.

    I define stealing as taking property that does not legally belong to me. Most everybody would agree with that definition.

    I’m sure you have some bizzaro definition, it should be good for a laugh at least. I know you already define taxes as stealing (yes, you do not have to go into your long diatribe yet again, I GET IT ALREADY.) so your definition will already not match mine, or most other sane people, but since we are in bizarro world, maybe sane means pretzel!

    Of course, my definition would not matter in your world anyways. Stealing would not matter at all as long as you didn’t do it with violence because:

    “Why should non-violent people go to jail?”

    Let the pillaging begin!

    • It sure is interesting to watch others pick away at you BF. However you have never answered one question that I have asked of you. Or at least I don’t remember the answer so I am asking again. We all have read your views, and you are entitled to them. You seem to believe that the government is bad, and that it doesn’t matter what we do because even if the good people enter government they will somehow magically go rogue and turn bad. If we don’t have enough good people in this country to fill the government with honest folks who will hold to good principles despite the “sweet taste of power”, then how on earth would your society of people free of government ever survive? I mean if you can’t find a couple thousand good folks that we can trust, how is it that a society with no hierarchy exercising some model of control will allow for the happy utopian society that you think we will have? If every human is too weak to resist the allure of power in government, then I submit to you that every human is too weak to resist the allure of power through survival of the fittest. At least with government there is a way to stop some of that and if we have the right people with the right principles in government, things can be much better. Just some food for thought.

  55. I find myself taking Flag’s position here in his continuing conversation with David. Last night someone sent me a Fox clip on Freddie Mac- Fannie Mae. It’s on you tube but has to be viewed through the Canadian version. Why this is so is a good question. It might very well be censorship couched in other terms. Assuming that the current economic collapse was caused by the housing collapse, that is directlty attributable to Freddie Mac-Fannie mae, Barney Frank, the Democratic Party and Bill Clinton. All these nice folks knew that there were huge risks in sub prime mortgages, were informed of such by the Bush administration BEFORE 9/11/01, by various congressional leaders, by Greenspan in 2003 and 2005 and still deliberately did nothing. Enron got away with what it did because government did nothing and allowed it to happen. If I were to suppose why, I would guess that it was an attempt to grab and keep power. “Look what we did for you”! After the collapse, it was all Bush’s fault. Obama just blamed Bush again the other night for God’s sake.

    Looking at what has happened in Washington in the last 30 days is frightneing. Congress might as well go home, permanently. We will be governed by “czars” and executive orders from this point on. We have just seen the biggest executive power grab ever and it was applauded by those who most heatedly condemned Bush for far lesser offenses. Speaking of applauded. Did anyone besides me note the resemblence between Ms. Speaker’s wild enthusiasm the other night and “The Stepford Wives”? Robowoman anyone?

  56. So its ok to allow rampant pillaging of the country because you hate the democrats and see them as having caused every problem, even Enron that they were nowhere near?

    You might want to check to make sure there is no baby in that bathwater you are throwing out.

  57. I am against rampant pillaging, I just want to make that clear. What I want is honesty and responsibility. I like “The buck stops here”. Regardless of who Pres. Obama thinks created the mess. It is his responsibility now, one that he wanted, one that he told us he was prepared to handle. So he should shut up about who he thinks is responsible and do something.

    As far as democrats are concerned, I believe Franklin Roosevelt, with all his faults saved this country from fascism prior to WW 2, harry Truman drew the line in Berlin and Korea when it had to be drawn as well as having the guts to end the war with the bomb. JFK and Richard Nixon were almost clones on issues. Kennedy initiated the concept of tax cuts as stimulus, faced down the Soviets in Berlin and Cuba and unfortunately did not live long enough to resolve Indo China the right way. Besides, both of my parents were denmocrats and I liked them.

    Enron is small potatoes. It is also symptomatic of what happens when morality (gadzooks!) goes out the window with the bathwater as it has. So, David you and I could get into a real pissing match over whose scandal is worse. Piddling little Enron which made energy more expensive in California or Freddie Mac-Fannie Mae which may, by the time it is all sorted out, have tanked the world economy and created sorrow, pain and suffering to rival the 1930’s and 1940’s. It does not take a rocket scientest to figure that out, merely a student of history.

  58. I am in absolute agreement with you.

    I too think it was a stupid comment by Obama because it was meaningless and just drives more partisanship.

    We don’t need the fireman arguing with each other over which hose is better, we need the fire put out.

    You won’t get a scandal pissing match out of me, because I don’t think anyone is sinless enough to start casting stones. I find the petty finger pointing on both sides hypocritical and totally unhelpful. I actually read your previous post as doing this very thing, thus my rather terse response, your follow up has cleared that up for me.

    I’m curious about your comment on Roosevelt. I’ve seen a lot of critism that the NRA was facist in nature, what specifically do you think Roosevelt did to counter facism? I’m trying to get a better understanding of his presidency, given how we may be facing similar times. Any input would be appreciated.

  59. Black Flag says:

    David M

    …electricity prices in California’s spot markets were affected by economic withholding and inflated price bidding, in violation of tariff anti-gaming provisions.” <–This was the killer

    Explain why that is against the law and why you think this is ‘wrong’?

    So Enron broke the law.

    Did they attack someone?

    It does not matter that the government set up the system.

    OF course it matters! By the act of government, they ensured that this would happen!

    Had Enron not broken the laws, this would not have happened.

    Of course it would!

    Any time you force a company to sell below what it can buy, disaster will happen….

    Seriously, go listen the the traders themselves. They were colluding with the utilities all the way. Nobody in the government was pushing them to do this.

    They created the market for this to occur – in a free market, it would have been impossible.

    Not to mention that Lay and Skilling were colluding with the auditors to cook the books.

    First, that were not ‘cooking’ the books.

    The government changed the rules on how to account for income – which allowed companies to book future contracts as current income – and further, if the contract went bad, they could deduct the losses as a tax credit – not from their income as a loss. The government wanted to manipulate the marketplace by increase what is know as the “velocity” of money – by booking contracts without payments received, ‘air’ money was created (and spent).

    It made business sense to book as many contracts as possible – and as with WorldCom, enter into reciprocal deals with other vendors – you make a contract with me, book as income – I do with you, book as income – and repeat as many times as necessary.

    We both can claim we earned millions – and never have to exchange a cent as each of our contracts exchange out.

    They continued to push the stock on investors and employees with fake books while they were secretly (and illegaly) selling their stock behind the scenes.

    Anyone with a independent brain could see what was going on – if you can do arithmetic, of course.

    Worldcom was a supplier of mine – great deals were to be had….

    I’m a smart guy, and one of the top in my field, so I know the industry I’m in very well.

    And simply math told me Worldcom could not be doing what they claimed.

    So what should I do?

    First, make a clause in the contract that guaranteed my contract even on bankruptcy – make it reciprocal – so they accepted it because they thought they were protecting themselves from my bankruptcy, when I really was protecting myself 🙂

    Then, I watched the market – and one day, I was able to buy an option @ 1% the current stock price which guaranteed me the right to sell at that price for the next 120 days.

    85 days later, Worldcom collapsed. My contract held up post bankruptcy and I made a mint.

    The entire company was rotten from top to bottom.

    But do remember that they went to jail.

    Who went to jail for the lost $1 trillion of the US military? No one.

    Who went to jail for the debacle of 9.11? No one.

    Who wen to jail for the economic debacle of today? No one.

    In fact, NO ONE WAS EVEN FIRED in any of the events – each magnitudes worse than the combined Enron/Worldcom etc.

    “Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling reported to federal prison …”

    “Ex-WorldCom chief executive Bernard Ebbers was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years in prison..”

    “Mark Swartz, former Tyco CFO, also gets 8-1/3 to 25; both men fined, handcuffed, sent to jail.”

    Mark Swartz, former Tyco CFO, also gets 8-1/3 to 25; both men fined, handcuffed, sent to jail.You answered:

    Ergo, there are no rules as long as violence is not involved.

    There are a lot of rules regarding responses to non-violent, but immoral, action.

    You just have no right to use violence, that’s all.

    I just keep my assets and don’t pay any debts. Or sell the assets, keep the cash, and do as I please. Wag your finger at me, big deal.

    And good luck having anyone ever do business with you.

    Hope you have the ability to grow your own food, supply your own oil, and more or less live on your own…because not one person will sell you anything or buy anything from you.

    Good luck!!

    I define stealing as taking property that does not legally belong to me. Most everybody would agree with that definition.

    Not bad, but what do mean by “legally”?

    “Why should non-violent people go to jail?”

    Correct.

    Let the pillaging begin!

    Unless you had a gun….

    USWeapon

    then how on earth would your society of people free of government ever survive? I mean if you can’t find a couple thousand good folks that we can trust, how is it that a society with no hierarchy exercising some model of control will allow for the happy utopian society that you think we will have? If every human is too weak to resist the allure of power in government, then I submit to you that every human is too weak to resist the allure of power through survival of the fittest. At least with government there is a way to stop some of that and if we have the right people with the right principles in government, things can be much better. Just some food for thought.

    Your first fallacy continues about government.

    Government is attractive to those that need to use violence in enforce their ideas,etc. on non-violent people.

    These people would do it directly, but that would make them criminals.

    But if they do exactly the same thing but using government, they are not criminals.

    Thus criminals are very attracted to government, it gives them a great deal of immunity.

    In competition with those types, you believe you will be successful? Either you must use their tactics – and be evil yourself – or you will lose the competition.

    Why Bad Men Rule

    by Hans-Hermann Hoppe

    One of the most widely accepted propositions among political economists is the following: Every monopoly is bad from the viewpoint of consumers. Monopoly is understood in its classical sense to be an exclusive privilege granted to a single producer of a commodity or service, i.e., as the absence of free entry into a particular line of production. In other words, only one agency, A, may produce a given good, x. Any such monopolist is bad for consumers because, shielded from potential new entrants into his area of production, the price of the monopolist’s product x will be higher and the quality of x lower than otherwise.

    This elementary truth has frequently been invoked as an argument in favor of democratic government as opposed to classical, monarchical or princely government. This is because under democracy entry into the governmental apparatus is free – anyone can become prime minister or president – whereas under monarchy it is restricted to the king and his heir.

    However, this argument in favor of democracy is fatally flawed. Free entry is not always good. Free entry and competition in the production of goods is good, but free competition in the production of bads is not. Free entry into the business of torturing and killing innocents, or free competition in counterfeiting or swindling, for instance, is not good; it is worse than bad. So what sort of “business” is government? Answer: it is not a customary producer of goods sold to voluntary consumers. Rather, it is a “business” engaged in theft and expropriation – by means of taxes and counterfeiting – and the fencing of stolen goods. Hence, free entry into government does not improve something good. Indeed, it makes matters worse than bad, i.e., it improves evil.

    Since man is as man is, in every society people who covet others’ property exist. Some people are more afflicted by this sentiment than others, but individuals usually learn not to act on such feelings or even feel ashamed for entertaining them. Generally only a few individuals are unable to successfully suppress their desire for others’ property, and they are treated as criminals by their fellow men and repressed by the threat of physical punishment. Under princely government, only one single person – the prince – can legally act on the desire for another man’s property, and it is this which makes him a potential danger and a “bad.”

    However, a prince is restricted in his redistributive desires because all members of society have learned to regard the taking and redistributing of another man’s property as shameful and immoral. Accordingly, they watch a prince’s every action with utmost suspicion. In distinct contrast, by opening entry into government, anyone is permitted to freely express his desire for others’ property. What formerly was regarded as immoral and accordingly was suppressed is now considered a legitimate sentiment. Everyone may openly covet everyone else’s property in the name of democracy; and everyone may act on this desire for another’s property, provided that he finds entrance into government. Hence, under democracy everyone becomes a threat.

    Consequently, under democratic conditions the popular though immoral and anti-social desire for another man’s property is systematically strengthened. Every demand is legitimate if it is proclaimed publicly under the special protection of “freedom of speech.” Everything can be said and claimed, and everything is up for grabs. Not even the seemingly most secure private property right is exempt from redistributive demands. Worse, subject to mass elections, those members of society with little or no inhibitions against taking another man’s property, that is, habitual a-moralists who are most talented in assembling majorities from a multitude of morally uninhibited and mutually incompatible popular demands (efficient demagogues) will tend to gain entrance in and rise to the top of government. Hence, a bad situation becomes even worse.

    Historically, the selection of a prince was through the accident of his noble birth, and his only personal qualification was typically his upbringing as a future prince and preserver of the dynasty, its status, and its possessions. This did not assure that a prince would not be bad and dangerous, of course. However, it is worth remembering that any prince who failed in his primary duty of preserving the dynasty – who ruined the country, caused civil unrest, turmoil and strife, or otherwise endangered the position of the dynasty – faced the immediate risk either of being neutralized or assassinated by another member of his own family. In any case, however, even if the accident of birth and his upbringing did not preclude that a prince might be bad and dangerous, at the same time the accident of a noble birth and a princely education also did not preclude that he might be a harmless dilettante or even a good and moral person.

    In contrast, the selection of government rulers by means of popular elections makes it nearly impossible that a good or harmless person could ever rise to the top. Prime ministers and presidents are selected for their proven efficiency as morally uninhibited demagogues. Thus, democracy virtually assures that only bad and dangerous men will ever rise to the top of government. Indeed, as a result of free political competition and selection, those who rise will become increasingly bad and dangerous individuals, yet as temporary and interchangeable caretakers they will only rarely be assassinated.

    One can do no better than quote H.L. Mencken in this connection. “Politicians,” he notes with his characteristic wit, “seldom if ever get [into public office] by merit alone, at least in democratic states. Sometimes, to be sure, it happens, but only by a kind of miracle. They are chosen normally for quite different reasons, the chief of which is simply their power to impress and enchant the intellectually underprivileged….Will any of them venture to tell the plain truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the situation of the country, foreign or domestic? Will any of them refrain from promises that he knows he can’t fulfill – that no human being could fulfill? Will any of them utter a word, however obvious, that will alarm or alienate any of the huge pack of morons who cluster at the public trough, wallowing in the pap that grows thinner and thinner, hoping against hope? Answer: may be for a few weeks at the start…. But not after the issue is fairly joined, and the struggle is on in earnest…. They will all promise every man, woman and child in the country whatever he, she or it wants. They’ll all be roving the land looking for chances to make the rich poor, to remedy the irremediable, to succor the unsuccorable, to unscramble the unscrambleable, to dephlogisticate the undephlogisticable. They will all be curing warts by saying words over them, and paying off the national debt with money no one will have to earn. When one of them demonstrates that twice two is five, another will prove that it is six, six and a half, ten, twenty, n. In brief, they will divest themselves from their character as sensible, candid and truthful men, and simply become candidates for office, bent only on collaring votes. They will all know by then, even supposing that some of them don’t know it now, that votes are collared under democracy, not by talking sense but by talking nonsense, and they will apply themselves to the job with a hearty yo-heave-ho. Most of them, before the uproar is over, will actually convince themselves. The winner will be whoever promises the most with the least probability of delivering anything.”

    • I see your point, but I also believe you to be using a fallacy. Your belief is that you must use evil to defeat those who have used evil. There are good people who want to be in government too. Unfortunately many of them have fallen into the same tactics. I simply believe that a new era is coming where I will not have to do so. Perhaps I am simply being naive, but I don’t think so. People are frustrated and angry. Rally them to the cause, show them a better way. They will take it because most people are good. I will not become what many politicians are. Perhaps that means the farthest I go is writing this blog. But i will take my chances. Because I simply don’t believe that your tactic will work. We don’t need to argue the point of your tactic of ignoring government again. I get what you believe. I just just don’t think it works, so I feel we need to take some action. This action is mine. It may work, it may not, but I can say I followed my conscience and did what I could to make the country better, to make people’s lives better. Even if I am wrong, I like saying I tried better than saying “I told you so”.

  60. So today’s system is, with its ability to send people to jail by force, is your answer to how your system with no force will do what again?

    Had your system been in force, none of these guys would be in jail. And, once again, just because the current system fails to get all the bad guys doesn’t excuse your system that will got nobody.

    “And good luck having anyone ever do business with you.

    Hope you have the ability to grow your own food, supply your own oil, and more or less live on your own…because not one person will sell you anything or buy anything from you.

    Good luck!!”

    Rofl, this is classic.

    Nobody will take any of the billions that Lay would have?

    Which of course totally contradicts your earlier statement of:

    “Take care about yourself in the free market. That is why it works. Don’t worry about the other guy. He is free to make his own decisions – you do not have to worry about it.”

    So which is it?

    How do you propose to get everyone to not take Lay’s money?

    Even if by some magical means you got him ‘blacklisted’ all over the US, what prevents him from just going elsewhere?

    • Excellent point about no one taking Lay’s money David. This is one of the reasons why I have always scoffed at the idea that a world with no government cannot and will not be able to enforce their rules. So long as there are people who need to eat, someone will be willing to do business with the man on the justification of taking care of their family. Lay wouldn’t be well liked, but he wouldn’t have to care.

  61. Oh, and as to your question.

    “Not bad, but what do mean by “legally”?”

    Go dictionary.com it yourself if you don’t know what it means.

  62. Black Flag says:

    No, David,

    I want you to tell me what you think “legally” means …. from your own understanding of the term.

  63. Black Flag says:

    David M

    So today’s system is, with its ability to send people to jail by force, is your answer to how your system with no force will do what again?

    In a society that does not use violence on non-violent people becomes, quickly, a society built on trust.

    To grasp this concept, think about how international business operates.

    You can make all the contracts you want with S. Koreans, good luck enforcing them.

    So, how do you do business with S. Korea?

    Think about it for awhile, and I’m sure you’ll start touching some of the concepts of non-violent enforcement in society.

  64. Flag, I won’t play any silly games with you. I speak english, you speak english, we have dictionaries that define what all these little squiggles mean. Make use of them.

    Are you gonna answer me on how Lay will not be able to spend his billions in your system?

  65. Looks like we cross posted.

    So basically you got nothing.

    Didn’t think so.

  66. Oops, silly me again. Not answering your question.

    “So, how do you do business with S. Korea?”

    Look up what a ‘letter of credit’ is.

    Do you honestly think any company would just send money to a foreign country where litigation is difficult, and hope they get their goods?

    Do you think any sane company in S Korea would ship goods and just ‘hope’ it gets paid?

    Honestly Flag, do you live on the same planet we do?

  67. Black Flag says:

    Good for you, letter of credit.

    So how does that get enforced?

  68. Black Flag says:

    And come on, Dave!

    As I said, I’m interested in what YOU think “legal” is….

    Because I think you have a contradiction in your belief about it…. I don’t ask question to piss you off.

    I ask questions because most people ‘think’ they know what they are talking about, but really haven’t thought it out.

  69. Black Flag says:

    “Take care about yourself in the free market. That is why it works. Don’t worry about the other guy. He is free to make his own decisions – you do not have to worry about it.”

    So which is it?

    How do you propose to get everyone to not take Lay’s money?

    Explain why I want to stop you from taking his money?

    It’s not my money, and I’m not you. What part is there for me to play here?

    Even if by some magical means you got him ‘blacklisted’ all over the US, what prevents him from just going elsewhere?

  70. Black Flag says:

    Even if by some magical means you got him ‘blacklisted’ all over the US, what prevents him from just going elsewhere?

    Have you worked internationally?

    When you go into a new country, everyone is suspicious of you. Without references, you’re pretty well stalled in doing things.

    Yes, they may take your money, but they won’t do business with you.

    Just like one of the robbers of the Great Robbery in London who escaped to Latin America.

    He came home broke – because everyone there knew he stole the money, they charged him a lot more for everything – knowing he had no where else to go. Eventually, they bankrupted him, and without money, they wouldn’t do a darn thing for him. He came back to jail, where at least he could get fed.

  71. Black Flag says:

    Your belief is that you must use evil to defeat those who have used evil.

    No, I believe exactly opposite.

    However I believe you have to a lot stronger than your opponent – probably by an order of magnitude – to defeat him.

    He gets to use every tactic you get PLUS he gets to use every tactic you don’t get.

    I simply believe that a new era is coming where I will not have to do so.

    I see nothing in the dynamics of government and politics that is any different then in the past.

    I repeat, forget national politics – you have no chance whatsoever.

    If you can’t avoid wanting to do politics, keep it local – perhaps, just maybe, you might not be poisoned with power – but I honestly doubt it.

    The best anyone can do get a job and do it well and create wealth – you will do infinitely more good for yourself, your family, your friends, your neighbors and your country than any politics.

    but I can say I followed my conscience and did what I could to make the country better, to make people’s lives better. Even if I am wrong, I like saying I tried better than saying “I told you so”.

    Why do you think its right to use legal violence on non-violent people?

    I’m all for making the country better – but the ‘means’ of how that is done is rather key in determining what is ‘better’.

    “Take care of the means, and the end will take care of itself”

    • I haven’t advocated it being right to use violence on non-violent people. That is a common mantra of yours but does not apply to all. There are plenty of politicians who wish to use influence to get things done. You can’t get past the violence argument. I can. I simply am not going to continue arguing it. Because I don’t advocate violence and no matter how many times you claim I do, it won’t become true. That doesn’t mean I don’t think there will be times when violence happens or that violence is warranted. I am not as anti-violence as you, admittedly so, but I am also not nearly as pro-violence as you would have others believe. You know that deep inside, but you try to marginalize my thoughts using the argument anyway. You are correct that the means is key in determining what is better. Your false assumption is that I want to force people to my belief. I don’t. I want to espouse my belief and if the believe it they will come along. If not they won’t. If I create a better America where the citizens have more rights and freedoms, I will have accomplished my goals, whether those citizens choose my beliefs or not is irrelevant, so long as we stop allowing crooked politicians to dictate them to us.

  72. Black Flag says:

    David and USWep

    I get the feeling that you have some yet unreconciled sense of “justice”.

    You do not like immoral people ‘winning’. You dislike it so much, you’re willing to attack them (directly or indirectly with government violence) – even if they didn’t do a thing to you, or ever used violence themselves.

    You do not like people losing money to liars….so much so you’re willing to do violence on liars, even though they may not have lied to you, nor ever used violence themselves.

    You are more than willing to do violence to non-violent people because your sense of morals has been contradicted – am I right?

    • You are more than willing to do violence to non-violent people because your sense of morals has been contradicted – am I right?

      I guess that depends on your definition of violence. I get the feeling that your definition will be very broad and very encompassing where mine is simply different. Putting someone in jail is not violence. It is punishment. It becomes violent only if that person violently resists serving the punishment for his crimes. We simply disagree on what constitutes rule of law and what does not. You don’t want any rule of law, just rules with minimal enforcement capability.

  73. The same way we enforce everything else by the courts, if necessary, and if one party is in breach then they will face sanctions, backed up by force if necessary.

    You will note however that at no time is your money in jeopordy. That is the reason why the system is in place. You will never have to litigate in S Korea, they will never have to litigate in the US. It is the beauty of the system.

    Not many companies just go on trust, you would be considered irresponsible if you did. I have many clients in the clothing industry, a major import here, and this is how they handle virtually every transaction. If it was really small, they might just go on trust, but it has becaoe such a habit that it was matter of course for most things. Even with suppliers they have been dealing with for years.

    One thing you have to keep in mind, is that many manufacturers require credit to make the things you want. Their bank will not just give them credit because they say you placed a big order, they don’t just ‘trust’ people either. They will want something more solid than that, the LC helps them a lot in this regard. So many times, even if you fully trust your supplier and he fully trusts you, he will need an LC to handle the trust the bank requires.

    Goods are ‘traded’ at mutually agreed upon places (usually ports defined as the FOB) which have fully bonded warehouses to protect the goods until the necessary legal documents are provided for release and all the customs requirements have been met.

    These warehouses require background checks on all their employees because they are granted special status from the governments with regards to duties and tarrifs. They are closely monitored. Nobody trusts anybody.

    The common carriers that carry the goods are also rigorously scrutinized to make sure that they are ‘fit’ to offer the transportation services they offer.

    Both parties would insure their goods to the trading point. If you were in the business and you didn’t, your boss would have your head.

    Nobody just ‘trusts’ anybody in international trade. The landscape is littered with the corpses of people who have lost their shirts because they didn’t know what they were doing on this. If you ever get into the import/export business, make sure you hire someone who knows what the heck they are doing, or be prepared to go out of business.

    All of this is done to give people confidence that they can trade internationally. If it was not in place, you would see virtually no trade in the world.

    To explain the basic process for you, here it is:

    Your S Korean supplier agrees to sell you goods, you agree to buy them. The amount is $1Mil
    lets say.

    There is no way in heck you are just going to send them $1mill and hope. There is no way in heck they are just going to ship you $1mill of goods and hope. Their bank might not even let them if they were silly enough to try.

    You go to your bank and purchase a letter of credit. The bank will expect full payment for the face value immediately ($1Mil + the fee, usually a few perecent, sometimes higher)m they don’t trust you either. They hold it in a trust account for you. Should the deal be terminated, they will refund your money (less the fee of course). Terminating an LC is not a quick thing, they will dot all their i’s and cross all their t’s before doing it. Your funds may be tied up for a while. Nobody trusts anybody.

    On your LC you spell out the conditions underwhich the the money will be released to your supplier’s bank.

    Usually these include a turn over of ownership point (FOB) as well as any other stipulations. This should always include an inspection of the goods (to make sure it is the goods you ordered and that they are in good condition). If you don’t do at least this, then good luck.

    Your bank then forwards a copy of the LC to your supplier’s bank which confirms with your supplier that the funds are secured. They will generally review the LC conditions before they accept as well.

    Now that your supplier is confident he will get paid, he ships the goods (usually using a freight forwarder, a common carrier/bonded warehouse/logistics entity) to the desination. He will insure the goods while in transit, he generally pays for this and the carrier fee because the goods still belong to him. If they are lost or stolen before the FOB point, that is his problem, not yours.

    Once the goods arrive at the destination point (FOB), they are held in a bonded warehouse until the release documents are recieved. At this point, the goods still belong to your supplier.

    The inspector will inspect the goods. This can be you, or a proxy of yours. If the goods pass inspection, the inspection document is forwarded to your bank to allow for the release of funds.

    Your bank will release the money to your S Korean partners bank and forward the release authorization to the bonded warehouse and the goods are now yours.

    Make sure you have the money for any customs or tarrifs, the bonded warehouse will not release them until you pay them. And of course their fee is payable before they release too. You delay, they keep your goods and charge you storage fees as well.

    I once had a freight forwarder say they lost my goods (I nearly had a heart attack). It was a few days before they found them, then they milked me for the storage. I could have fought them, but then I would not have my goods. Not only is there no trust in international trade, they are always ready to fleece you at every turn.

    That is it in a nutshell. There are many different flavors of this, but they amount to pretty much the same thing. This is how almost all international transactions are handled, even between partners that know each other and have worked together a long time.

  74. “Have you worked internationally?”

    Have you travelled internationally? Why would Lay need to work another day in his life. He just got billions.

    “Explain why I want to stop you from taking his money?
    It’s not my money, and I’m not you. What part is there for me to play here?”

    I didn’t. You did.

    “Hope you have the ability to grow your own food, supply your own oil, and more or less live on your own…because not one person will sell you anything or buy anything from you.”

    You keep contradicting yourself.

  75. Black Flag says:

    USWeapon

    I haven’t advocated it being right to use violence on non-violent people. That is a common mantra of yours but does not apply to all.

    You want to make laws to enforce morals, right?

    There are plenty of politicians who wish to use influence to get things done.

    Then make a movie, write a book, go on a speech tour.

    If influence is your method, politics has no place.

    Because I don’t advocate violence and no matter how many times you claim I do, it won’t become true.

    If you don’t need it, why do you want it?

    but I am also not nearly as pro-violence as you would have others believe.

    It is not my intention to paint you violent.

    It is my intention to demonstrate a contradiction. One who professes to not using violence while actively supporting the use of violence.

    I want to espouse my belief and if the believe it they will come along.

    Then go Gandhi – avoid politics and take to the street promoting your message.

    If your message is truth, you will have followers. If it isn’t, it wasn’t truth.

    I guess that depends on your definition of violence.

    An physical action or threat of physical action that causes physical harm.

    Putting someone in jail is not violence.

    ….Threat of harm ….

    It becomes violent only if that person violently resists serving the punishment for his crimes.

    No, it simply moves from threat to actuality. It was always violent.

    We simply disagree on what constitutes rule of law and what does not.

    You have never reconciled why some laws are broken is criminal and other laws that are broken are not a crime.

    David M

    RE: Letter of credit….

    The same way we enforce everything else by the courts, if necessary, and if one party is in breach then they will face sanctions, backed up by force if necessary.

    But what court in the US can force someone in Korea to pay? Send in the US Marines?

    You will note however that at no time is your money in jeopordy.

    Actually, and in fact, my money (or product if I’m the other side) is ALWAYS in jeopardy until the completeion of the transaction.

    That is the reason why the system is in place. You will never have to litigate in S Korea, they will never have to litigate in the US. It is the beauty of the system.

    So why do they ship you the product, if you can’t enforce upon them?

    Not many companies just go on trust,

    The number one major big point, Dave, is that companies MUST interact on trust –

    – which is why I’m crow-barring you through the ‘letter of credit’ thinking.

    At some point in the transaction, trust is a requirement!

    In the terms of the letter of credit, that might not be actually between the original parties.

    he will need an LC to handle the trust the bank requires.

    Yeah, you know LC’s well.

    The trust is not between you and your supplier – it is between the issuing and accepting banks. They have to trust each other.

    Because of that trust relationship, they demand a massive amount of ‘information’ from you – for they are committing their reputation on your behalf – and they want to know what they are getting into.

    Nobody trusts anybody.

    Somewhere somebody has to trust somebody, eventually.

    It sometimes not obvious, like LC’s – where it is the banks trusting each other – and when this gets disturbed, like it has during the economic chaos – trade stops.

    I had a satellite photo of thousands of ships dead stopped in the Indian Ocean because the banks stopped honoring LC’s (it was a couple of months back).

    If you ever get into the import/export business, make sure you hire someone who knows what the heck they are doing, or be prepared to go out of business.

    Wise council.

    So, following that you have a strong grasp on how LC’s are handled between banks, how do you think this may work between individuals?

    Have you travelled internationally? Why would Lay need to work another day in his life. He just got billions.

    He’s in jail, by the way.

    Again, why does this bother you if in fact he skipped off?

    If you lost money, I’d suggest it was your fault for blindly giving it to him.

    (I’ve spent more of my life out side of the country then inside, with numerous international businesses and consulting – from India to the Africa and the Congo to Latin America)

    “Explain why I want to stop you from taking his money?
    It’s not my money, and I’m not you. What part is there for me to play here?”

    I didn’t. You did.

    I didn’t lose any money, nor gain, nor play with Lay. Why should I care?

    You keep contradicting yourself.

    If you think that, the odds are that you are confused 8)

  76. Black Flag says:

    To answer Dave and USWep on what might happen in government-free world.

    Here is what really happened when the fans and the players got fed up with police brutality….

    (I do not condone initiation of violence, ever….)

    http://www.tooshocking.com/videos/6041/Fans_Get_Even_With_Riot_Police

  77. “So, following that you have a strong grasp on how LC’s are handled between banks, how do you think this may work between individuals?”

    It can’t work between individuals otherwise companies would do that now. It is the disinterested 3rd parties that creates the confidence for both parties.

    It puts a firewall between us, that allows for us to deal with institutions of our own countries. That avoids having to resort to litigation in the other one’s country. The system is made so that he cannot screw me and I cannot screw him. That is the reason for the other parties. Without the 3rd party, we are back to the default position and we would lack confidence.

    “But what court in the US can force someone in Korea to pay? Send in the US Marines?”

    I would never have to sue anybody in Korea, so nope, not even relavant here. That is the beauty the LC.

    I deal with companies in my country, he deals with companies in his.

    If I did ever have cause to sue anybody in Korea, I would not need marines, I would just go to Korea and hire a Korean lawyer. Its just very expensive, and time consuming, so nobody wants to do that, and who knows what arcane law might limit my suit.

    “At some point in the transaction, trust is a requirement!”

    Nope, you don’t need ‘trust’ anywhwere. The courts will resolve it for you if anyone breaks their contracts. I suppose you would say I have to ‘trust’ the courts, but that is the case in all things in any country. If you have no laws or courts, then you have chaos.

    “Because of that trust relationship, they demand a massive amount of ‘information’ from you – for they are committing their reputation on your behalf – and they want to know what they are getting into.”

    Nope. Have you ever bought a LC?

    Not unless I am asking them for money. I cannot affect their reputation at all, they only handle the cash, which I have given them. They are not physically involved in the goods to be transacted at all. There is no difference than if I bought a bank draft from them.

    They have a single job, to execute the parameters of the LC. That is all. If they fail in this, they can be sued.

    “Actually, and in fact, my money (or product if I’m the other side) is ALWAYS in jeopardy until the completeion of the transaction.”

    Nope.

    Your money is in a bank account at all times, just like I imagine your money is now. So it is in no more jeopardy than it would be had you not decided to buy from Korea. Unless you normally keep your money under your mattress, but then if your house burns down, you’re really screwed.

    If I just ‘trusted’ my Korean supplier, and sent him money, then I would be in jeopardy as if he does not deliver, I have to go to Korea to sue.

    Your goods are also in about as much jeopardy as if you had them in your warehouse. The boat could sink – your warehouse could burn down, the boat could be robbed – your warehouse could be robbed not much difference. But be careful where you buy space on boats, if your container is at the top of the pile (which is a really cheap spot to get) it might fall off, and often does (that is why it is cheap, and expect to pay a HUGE premium on insurance, if they will insure it at all). I can tell you about a certain container of foosball tables that are somewhere at the bottom of the Pacific right now.

    Unless you didn’t buy insurance. Then, yup, you are in jeopardy unless the stuff you are buying is really cheap by the pound. Without additional insurance, I think common carriers are only responsible for about $2 a pound or something, even if they caused the loss. But if you didn’t buy insurance for your warehouse either, then you would get $0 if it burned down, so in theory, you would be in less jeopardy.

    The only jeopardy we all feel is the same nagging doubt that we might have overlooked something. We always feel safer when it is actually in our hands. Remember my near heart-attack? It was because I didn’t buy insurance. What an Idiot I was. We all makes mistakes though, we just need to learn from them. No sleep for 3 days…I learned.

    You see our systems do not rely on trust at all, otherwise we would never need courts. Have you seen the backlogs in the courts? If you don’t know what you are doing however, the courts may not be able to help you.

    “He’s in jail, by the way.

    Again, why does this bother you if in fact he skipped off?”

    He is actually dead, but anyways.

    Again you have totally missed the point. Lay was an example that we were using to try and test how your system would handle an Enron type scandal.

    Here is the scenario, please pay attention!

    Ken Lay in current system – with courts that can put people in jail, by force if they resist:

    Embezzles billions from Enron.
    Gets convicted.
    Goes to Jail.
    Other company officers see that he went to jail, think twice about stealing from their companies.

    Ken Lay in non-violent anarchy system – with no way to put him jail:

    Embezzles billions from Enron.
    Nobody can do anything to him
    Lives life of luxury, never having to work for the rest of his life
    Others see him get away with it, they begin to do the same thing, companies all over the place go bankrupt

    That was the comparison, try to follow it a little better than you did the LC explanation.

    Does anyone else see us going around in circles here?

  78. I guess we are going to see the legal system play it out with Bernie Maidoff. Now there’s a scandal and he has apparently been doing it long before Enron.

  79. David M

    It can’t work between individuals otherwise companies would do that now. It is the disinterested 3rd parties that creates the confidence for both parties.

    I completely agree – that is how it can work between individuals is a trusted third party between them … an honest broker

    Fantastic! We’ve figured how a non-government society can do business!

    “At some point in the transaction, trust is a requirement!”

    Nope, you don’t need ‘trust’ anywhwere. The courts will resolve it for you if anyone breaks their contracts.

    No, actually regarding LC’s the courts have the same limitations between banks in different countries as you have with business in different countries.

    They have no better ability to enforce a contract then you do.

    However, it is in their best interest to maintain a pristine reputation as an honest broker – they make so much money for ‘nothing’ (other than selling their trust) that “cheating” simply isn’t an option.

    “Nope. Have you ever bought a LC?”

    Yes. And dealt with international finance in amounts exceeding billions of dollars.

    I was involved in laying one of the largest capacity oceanic fiber optic cable systems in the world….

    But that’s another story….

    They are not physically involved in the goods to be transacted at all.

    There is no difference than if I bought a bank draft from them.

    Oh, much different. A bank draft is a negotiable instrument where as a LC is not.

    They have a single job, to execute the parameters of the LC. That is all. If they fail in this, they can be sued.

    Good luck suing a S. Korean bank.

    …Unless you didn’t buy insurance.

    Then I trust the insurance company to pony up on the loss…..

    No matter where you want to cut the cloth, you have to cut some sort of trust line.

    You see our systems do not rely on trust at all, otherwise we would never need courts.

    Courts are only (and at best) a local jurisdiction component – useless and pointless outside of that.

    Trust is the most important aspect of international business.

    Trust companies (the name says it all) proliferate in off-shore jurisdictions – for a reason.

    He is actually dead, but anyways.

    Yea, you’re right. I confused him with the WorldCom CEO.

    He was murdered or committed suicide.

    I mean, days before the court date, he dies – and the government suspends their case – allowing his family to save their fortune… (wink, wink) He threw himself on a sword to save what was left for his family.

    Again you have totally missed the point. Lay was an example that we were using to try and test how your system would handle an Enron type scandal.

    EXACTLY!

    So, WHY DO YOU CARE? It didn’t affect you, right?

    So what is your pony in this race?

    Ken Lay in current system – with courts that can put people in jail, by force if they resist:

    But even today, why do I care?

    ..bankrupt everywhere…

    Nope.

    Because after ‘some number’ you would stop trusting these liars.

    You would stop giving your money away without really working to figure out what is going on.

    I told you my story – it’s true! Any one with half-a-brain could see it.

    But because you (the universal you) live in a world where you are taught that someone else will protect you, you blithely threw money at them.

    Your fault for not thinking.

    Once the illusion of the safety net is gone – you’ll be amazed how focused people become in figuring out liars.

    Does anyone else see us going around in circles here?

    A spiral, sir, a spiral … and you’re getting closer to the center….

    😉

  80. (I do not condone initiation of violence, ever….)

    http://www.tooshocking.com/videos/6041/Fans_Get_Even_With_Riot_Police

    So, review this clip again.

    Some non-violent fool interrupts a game of soccer.

    The police chase him down – and while holding him down with 5 officers – one starts pounding him in the kidneys with the point of a riot stick.

    A soccer play can’t stand the brutality and decides – by himself – to stop it.

    He is assaulted by another policeman after his initial rush. He is ready to fight back while outnumber 6 to 1 by the police.

    With the example of one free man who refuses to accept the violence, the crowd reacts – IN FAVOR of the the soccer player.

    The police, suddenly overwhelmed, bail.

    One policeman is cold-cocked and collapses unconscious to the ground.

    The crowd begins to assault him – defenseless – while his buddies (the other cops) run for cover.

    The same crowd that refused to witness the violence of the police begin to refuse the violence on the fallen policeman – a group surrounds him on the ground and push away the angry mob.

    The mob stops pounding the policeman.

    A group of leaders out of the crowd begins calming the crowd – and it ends –

    …no guns. No death. No gunships. No army.

    People, on their nature, are horrified by violence. They react – overreact – and are pulled back – naturally because they are human.

  81. David,

    I got it from my father who was around at the time. If you were a 15 year old, like my dad was in ’32, your father just died, leaving you in charge of a mother and four younger siblings, you would have been ripe for the picking. The whole country was ripe for the picking in ’32. My Dad saw, in his life two men who frightened him in the US, Huey Long and Bobby Kennedy. While I may not completely understand his reasoning , I respect it. He felt, as an adult, that FDR did what he did, not for personal aggrandizement but to hold the country together. He saw a very real possibility that someone like Long with his “two chickens in every pot” and common man crap could walk away with all the marbles. Next thing you know, we are in WW II, on the wrong side.

    Every time I talk with my fellow conservatives about FDR, I drive them nuts. Sometimes, extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary actions. It’s like Lincoln with the Bill of Rights and Habeas, he had to do it. The strength of this system left to us by the founders is that it has, so far, self corrected when the crisis passes. I don’t know what FDR was planning with the court packing he proposed. Seems like a really bad idea. Same with some of the recovery acts like the NRA. The point was he never packed the court and when the courts struck down his programs he didn’t ignore the courts but found new ways to inspire and keep people’s eyes on the ball.

    And, I do think that was what he was all about. Nothing was bringing the country out of that depression. His line, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” is as true today as it was then. If we give in to baseless fears and lose sight of who we, as a country are and our potential, then it is all over. Roosevelt knew that, so did Ronald Reagan with his “Shining city on a hill” rhetoric. people have to be reminded of who they are and what they have accomplished. I feel that was Jimmy Carter’s biggest weakness, he played to the negative, our time was over, we had to get used to less. I think that Obama, otherwise a bright guy, is headed in that direction.

    So my Roosevelt feelings are very subjective and based a lot on my own family’s experience at the time. As strongly as I am wedded to the two term concept, if I were FDR in 1940, I would give my eye teeth to see the whole thing through. He loved the job but it killed him. Had he lived to finish out that 4th term would he have stepped down? Would he have presided over the dismantling of a lot of his social programs which were no longer needed? We will never know. I have always felt that the democratic party uses him like it does JFK. They are both trotted out every four years and invoked as if either of them would applaud or approve what has happened to that party since. If you see where most modern day conservatives are, the Franklin Roosevelt of 1940 or John Kennedy of 1960 might just find a place at the table. Roosevelt, after all, was a Neo-con.

    My Dad was an optimist, who loved this country. He never did get to finish school or accept that football scholarship. The fun part of growing up with him was never being able to say anything without being able to defend it. You could not just blurt something out in front of him and get away with it. Be it something like, resolved FDR was a Socialist would result in week long arguments. If I happened to say it was a nice day, we could usually resolve that in a couple of days. This made me, unfortunately or fortunately like John Adams, obnoxious and disliked.

  82. Sr,

    Well put and thanks for the perspective.

    I too get bugged when people insist on putting labels on others and assuming that all their actions must now fit into the pardigm that has just been imposed. They will insist every action that the person does is further evidence, and it is almost always the negative aspect they emphasize. Should they clearly take an action that is at odds with the label, then they are accused of being duplicitous or lacking ‘principles’.

    So conservatives are heartless brutes who only care about themselves, and liberals are bleeding hearts and lazy bums, and we are all stuck to choose which of these two brushes we must paint ourselves with when no rational person would choose either one.

    Who but a raving lunatic would insist that there is always and ever only one solution to a problem? Only one approach to consider? We define insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, yet we insist that people do precisely this and condemn them if they don’t.

    So yup, Roosevelt was socialist so everything he did must have been to further that goal. When he did things that clearly weren’t, well then he must have been just trying to fool us.

    Your father taught you well. He taught you to resist dogmatic thinking. To never just assume anything because someone told you. To always think critically.

    It can be taken too far, though, like your ‘nice day’ example, and people turn off. Its tough finding the balance between playing the very important devil’s advocate role, and just being a contrarian. Pick your battles is probably the best guide here. I wish I would remember my own damn advice sometimes.

  83. “No, actually regarding LC’s the courts have the same limitations between banks in different countries as you have with business in different countries.

    They have no better ability to enforce a contract then you do.”

    Neither bank has a contract with the other bank, they have not signed anything between themselves.

    When the bank holding the LC recieves the supporting documents it is supposed to send the money to the other bank, the other bank just waits to receieve it, it doesn’t really care if it ever does or not, the other bank is not its client.

    “Yes. And dealt with international finance in amounts exceeding billions of dollars. ”

    So when you asked “So, how do you do business with S. Korea?” you are either an international finance ‘expert’ who never heard of an LC before, or, you purposely left the concept out hoping none of use would know about it to support your argument, or, you are a ‘professorial’ type who is just looking to see if we are knowledgeable enough to receive your ‘pearls of wisdom’. Kind of like how you keep asking me for the definition of ‘legally’ as if I am some how don’t know the english language or what it means.

    “Oh, much different. A bank draft is a negotiable instrument where as a LC is not.”

    ‘Is like’ does mean ‘is the same as’.

    When Forrest Gump said ‘Life IS LIKE a box of chocolates’ he did not mean ‘Life IS a box of chocoloates’, learn to tell the difference. Or are we going to get into a dicussion of what the word ‘is’ means?

    “Good luck suing a S. Korean bank.”

    Sigh. I would never HAVE to sue the S korean bank. If they don’t release the funds, my customer does not get my goods. Just like Walmart does not HAVE to sue Mastercard because they declined my credit card, even if they did so with no good reason, while I was trying to buy something at their store. They just don’t give me their goods.

    “So, WHY DO YOU CARE? It didn’t affect you, right?
    So what is your pony in this race?”

    Again, totally missed the point.

    “A spiral, sir, a spiral … and you’re getting closer to the center….”

    Yeah, kinda like a toilet, which is where I feel most of my time has gone talking with you.

    I’m done.

  84. Typo correction.

    When I said:

    ‘Is like’ does mean ‘is the same as’.

    I meant to say:

    ‘Is Like’ does NOT mean ‘is the same as’.

  85. Ugh..”is the same”, god I wish there was an edit…

  86. David M

    said
    Neither bank has a contract with the other bank, they have not signed anything between themselves.

    When the bank holding the LC recieves the supporting documents it is supposed to send the money to the other bank, the other bank just waits to receieve it, it doesn’t really care if it ever does or not, the other bank is not its client.

    I will rephrase – the bank has no way to enforce itself on the other bank when one bank completes its transaction and the other bank does not.

    So when you asked “So, how do you do business with S. Korea?” you are either an international finance ‘expert’ who never heard of an LC

    Oh, I heard of the before – the purpose of my questions was not to ‘learn’ – it was to expose that already, today, are the processes and trust mechanisms to support the anarchy of international trade.

    You asked “How would anarchy do….” and you told yourself your own answer.

    If I told you the same thing, you wouldn’t believe me. Hopefully, you believe yourself.

  87. “So, WHY DO YOU CARE? It didn’t affect you, right?
    So what is your pony in this race?”

    Again, totally missed the point.

    No, sir, that is the point.

    You want to push your nose into something that does not involve you.

    I want to know why?

  88. Black Flag says:

    Ugh..”is the same”, god I wish there was an edit…

    hear Hear

    • Unfortunately having a comment edit feature is up to WordPress. I am at their mercy on that one.

  89. Ok…so this is the first time I’ve had an hour or more to kill since Christmas and I’m finally getting a chance to read a couple of these… you’ve got some fiesty readers!

    I’m a little concerned about your intro:

    “They are like that girl you used to date, who was a complete social retard. You dumped her when you found her rifling through your sock drawer looking for some kind thing you did wrong. Now she still tracks your moves and calls each girl you date and tells her what an asshole you are.”

    I seem to be the only one who found comedy in that… really? The complete social retard? Just how many chicks have you got calling Jenn to tell her what an asshole you are?

    🙂

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