Open Mic Comes a Bit Early

Open Mic 1I really liked the idea of an open mic day each week. There are so many issues out there that I am not covering and that people are interested in. So I had decided that I was going to implement this idea…. in two weeks. However, as life is often not what we plan, I have found myself pre-disposed to some important things this evening and will not have the time to write. So the bad news is that I have no new article to present you all with this morning. The good news come on two fronts. The debate on yesterday’s topic seems to be raging and I would like it to continue to do so. And this allows me to do open mic night a week early, albeit without the warning that I had planned to give.

So here is the deal: Tuesday night is when the regular open mic night is going to be going forward. I will not write that in stone. My plan is that it will be every Tuesday. Some weeks may cause it to switch days, but I will let people know in advance when it is going to switch for a week. Open mic night will consist of a short posted article such as this. I may offer some interesting topics. I may not. The point is that rather than hijacking posts during other days of the week, it can be done on this day in this thread. So there are no holds barred in this thread each week. Whatever topics you want to discuss, throw them out there. Start talking about them. See something in the news that you want to debate? Start it here. If I see a topic really taking off, perhaps we can dedicate a future article to that topic with my research included. So let’s have at it. What do you all want to talk about. I will post a few topics to begin, but feel free to add any topics that you want!

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Comments

  1. USWeapon says:

    I find the whole current problem with North Korea somewhat disturbing. As someone who lived in South Korea for 18 months, I have a bit of insight into the issues and realities there. What does everyone think of the current North Korea situation?

    • Then you know the history . . . Since the cease fire all N. Korea has to do is throw out a few insults, rattle a few sabers, and the impotent idiots of the U.N. give them some more “economic” aid and the N.K. leaders live high off the hog for a while longer as their people starve. Kim Jong Il wants some more goodies, thats all it is.

      • Naten53 says:

        What was it Biden said during the election about Obama is going to be tested by the extremists. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

      • Alan F. says:

        Good old Kim just wants his bailout cheque. I too know and have worked with South Koreans (Hyundai Steel) who feel strongly about what they have achieved being the envy of their North. That things were much worse up there than any had seen via the idiot box too was something they assured. It only stands to reason then that during these global “bad times” conditions there are horrible and Kim is feeling the heat.

        Wouldn’t good old Kim be setting up his heir to the throne in short order? I’d guess he’s really going to pull out the stops and try to get some measure of stability for his progeny’s taking the throne. A steady “play nice” cheque would do a lot to solidify things for Jr’s turn at the helm and president Obama has already shown that he’s at the very least open to the consideration of paying ransoms. Insert a Korean “Cha-ching!$!” here.

        • Good point Alan. Obama is just the President that Kim has been waiting for. The great appeaser and asskisser.

        • Danak13 says:

          LOL…Alan……You are correct as far as the past and this is a test for B.O. I hope that he passes the test of not paying off but probably not. NO President of the US should have paid him off. Hope it can stop.

    • Danak13 says:

      I do not think anyone will like my answer but G.A. is correct. The only country that can control N Korea is China, since they have the largest border. N. Korea has always been a step child throwing a fit for oil and food. China let’s them do it so they won’t have to spend the resources. China also MOST always issues a UN Veto if there are stronger sanctions. I am old enough to remember the hacking to death of American soldiers during this “cease fire”. I also am old enough to remember the regimes of the 70’s and 60’s. And this is a cease fire…the war never ended and there is no agreement except the cease fire…which I happen to think is very stupid. However, here is what President Danak13 would do….I would park 2 Aegis Missile interceptor cruised off the coast, alert the air force in South Korea and Japan, and the minute the first missile leaves the ground…blast it. Keep doing that and we use the veto against any more aid to N. Korea. MAKE China step up to the plate. Blockade the ports and check all ships for the delivery of Nuclear devices and spent fuel and Uranium.

      First, N Korea cannot do anything to the US or S Korea or Japan. To do so would invite annihilation. Second, China will not do anything to the US or S Korea or Japan because they have way too much money invested in the US. Besides, they now own Hummer. Each time a rocket lifts off the ground it is a dead one before it reaches atmosphere.

      I do not give a tinkers damn about the people in N Korea for they do nothing. A few dissenters can do nothing a country of dissenters can do everything but they are huddled masses with no gumption or back bone. I know this for I have been there and interacted with both North and South. It is a poor country and to make China step up economically would start hurting China. They would have to or the immigration to China would make the Mexican immigration to the US look like a Kindergarten romp. (whew) I am sure I left something out but that it is in a nut shell.

      What WILL we do??? I am afraid that under this administration, we will simply do nothing and by nothing, I mean more “strongly worded letters” and “more strongly worded rhetoric” will be forth coming. It is unfortunate but I would starve the country, people be damned, and make China step up. That is the rest of the story.

      Ok…BF….I have my flak vest on.

      • D13, I am as hard hearted as you are. I would do the same with maybe more. The only thing I would change is, I would not care what the UN did, I would not send NK a thing, aid or otherwise.

        Let them bluster and threaten all they want. Words are worthless. Haven’t we and the UN proven that to the NKs over the years?

        Stern letters of protest are a joke. I would not attack NK. But I also wouldn’t let them fire any missiles that might hit anybody else either. Those idiots might just be crazy enough to start a war they can’t win.

      • 13,

        I claim little knowledge on N. Korea and do advocate strong US military action when called for. But just do not see this being the case here. Why do we need to be the main player on this? Can Japan, China & S. Korea not deal with them without us? If they were foolish enough to use a nuclear weapon, we should respond overwhelmingly. If the invade S. Korea where we have 30,000 troops, we are committed to a conventional war, where hopefully we just bomb the hell out of them and let S. Korea set up a peaceful government.

        I think our best action would be to cut off all aid and trade, and ignore them until they actually attack us or an allie.

        • I don’t think we can just ignore them LOI. But I do think we should be hands off until they actually do something.

          Kim may just be crazy enough to attack. So ignoring is not an option, but you may just be using that as an expression? If so, OK. I hope he’s doing this just to get attention and hoping for a payoff.

        • Danak13 says:

          Sorry but cannot agree. I STRONGLY disagree with paying him off and waiting for this renegade to do something. Is he not doing something by firing missiles across allied territory? Is he not trying to intimidate by firing long range missiles to get our attention? Is he stupid enough to attack S. Korea? I doubt it and willing to roll the dice on that one. Japan cannot do anything because they are not that large a trading partner. S. Korea cannot do anything because of the political climate. China….well. They can do something. But trade alone, has not worked in the past. N Korea is like a child that throws tantrums….give him an M&M and hope he shuts up. I think he is like Pavlov and the bear. When the jelly beans are gone, what then. Hesitation will give him the time to come up with something bigger.

          • I’m with you on paying him off being wrong.

            If we have reason to think they are trying to export nuclear anything, then we should interdict their shipping as necessary.

            “Is he not doing something by firing missiles across allied territory?” They should be the primary ones to react, we should be in a supporting role.

            “Is he not trying to intimidate by firing long range missiles to get our attention?” That’s where the ignore part plays. Didn’t the navy shoot down a satellite last year? How many hours of US missile attacks have been televised? How many missile cruisers dose the navy have that individually out guns their entire country?

            We should not seek a conflict we can avoid at this time. There are apt to be some that we cannot avoid in the future, so finish in Iraq & Afghanistan. Be prepared for Pakistan and Iran.
            Walk softly, big stick. Maybe conduct a missile exercise in S.Korea that is very visible.

          • esomhillgazette says:

            Not sure if I gave the impression that I thought NK should be paid off or not so let me be clear. I would not be in support of paying them anything. Kim needs his ass kicked. I just don’t at this time believe it’s our job to do. We have enough on our plate now as it is. Besides, Obama ain’t gonna do anything more than maybe use harsh language to them anyway. Same with the UN tooties.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      The supposed appointment of Kim Jong-un and scheduling of more nuclear bomb testing is rattling the cage of North Korea’s one supposed ally – China. I think China has a huge role here in at least getting better insight into whether the next ruler is as crazy as the prior two. On a lighter note maybe Hollywood or Disneyworld can open a satellite office there and that is how diplomatic relations are strengthened.

      • Danak13 says:

        You are correct Ray….China is the key and always has been. Time to get tough with them as well for they really do need our economic survival…for now at least.

        • USWeapon says:

          Depends on what you mean in “time to get tough with them”. They are a sovereign nation, and as such, we can implore them to take a lead role, but we are certainly not in any position to tell them what they will or won’t do. It is an interesting conundrum that the people of the world’s most powerful country believe we have the right to tell any country what to do. Would we take it if China started doing the same back to us, telling us what to do?

          • Danak13 says:

            By tough, I do not advocate war or military options. I advocate economics. Even if we do owe them trillions, they have to ensure that the US is viable so their investment isn’t dog poop.

            As to telling them what to do…I agree. We cannot. Going to the UN is fruitless and always has been. Besides, they have a Veto power. Imploring upon them to do anything has, in the past, also been fruitless; however, I have always believed in the walk softly approach but keep the bat close at hand. I do not know the answer, but the answer lies with China, I feel. Japan is not strong enough and neither is S Korea, other than military options. Kim Jung is a petty dictator but we simply cannot pay him off.

        • esomhillgazette says:

          How do you get tough with someone you owe over a Trillion dollars to?

          • Danak13 says:

            LOL…true.. true .. But the fact that they have an investment in us means they have to try to keep us solvent enough they do not lose.

            I think something economically and reducing the trade deficit with them (China) and imposing the same tariffs on them they apply to us may work. Even playing field for both with the U.S. not being the nice guy but play by their rules.

            • We should reduce our trade deficit and impose the same tariffs as other Nations use on us for ALL our trading partners.

              But for some reason we never do. And we won’t ever IMO.

          • The government owes the Chinese thugs over a Trillion Dollars. Unless you signed an IOU, you do not. Gandhi said the quickest way to over throw a government is to refuse to pay taxes!!

            • Chris Devine says:

              Gandhi was referring to a colonial power. I doubt he’d be very happy to find out that his words were being twisted to support some libertarian free-market ideal.

      • Alan F. says:

        China may indeed have the ability to square things away but its their own best interest to not. China itself has a peasant caste who are also under the yoke and bear the brunt of similar oppression. I watched a Canadian documentary on the child retail market in China under the 1 child program. The footage was a serious bit daring in the taking and subsequent smuggling out of country. It really set me back seeing the level of poverty endured by the peasant class of America’s banker. Sections of China are very well near a 3rd world country and those on the bottom really just “exist” as do their North Korean counterparts. With China being glacial in looking after their own, how can you expect them to take care of another with any haste?

        • Danak13 says:

          True..True…and I am familiar with this. But in retrospect, a failing N Korea economy will hurt China worse, I still think. I have had the opportunity to go to Beijing. You walk down the main street where the hotels are and everything looks fine but try to walk two blocks off the main street and you will be stopped, cameras confiscated and cell phones destroyed. There are tourist areas that are ok but the general population is very third world. AND..I did not see the sun until I got to the great wall. THAT was impressive, however. We had a “shadow” the whole time we were there and we were there visiting..no other reason.

    • The little shit in NK is just a bully trying to get noticed. He unlike the maniacal madmen living in the Middle East is not driven by a false God. I think that given all the other “events” transpiring around the globe, he decided he would do whatever it took to get some attention. I don’t think the man is stupid or maniacally insane to a point that he would actually push a button, especially since he has got to figure his enemies have a lot more boom-boom.

      Barry will keep talking, but what we should do is make certain the bully knows if he does get an itchy trigger finger, it’s likely to get shot off.

    • Black Flag says:

      Though most comments think this is mere saber rattling – I do not.

      Gates put his foot in his mouth by declaring it “unacceptable”. In diplomacy, you better back up those type of words with action or else you look feeble.

      Gates has put the US into a no-win scenario. If the US pays of Kim or backs down, Kim will crow and gain stature in both North and South as the one who can stand up against Japan and the West.

      The alternative is war with North Korea.

      The US interdiction of North Korean ships will set of a chain reaction to full scale war.

      1) US interdicts N. Korean ships – an act of war.
      2) NK attacks US Navy.
      3) US Navy sinks entire NK fleet without a loss.
      4) NK shells Seoul, Scuds US bases in SK and Japan.
      5) US reacts by carpet bombing NK troop concentrations.
      6) NK crosses demarc in a full scale offensive.
      7) ……

      • Danak13 says:

        Hey there, BF. I do not think that N Korea will shoot. Kim Jung needs a legacy and that legacy is as you say….standing up to Japan and the west, and turning over a country to his son. However, I think the U.S. is now considered a nation that will not fight and the edges are going to be pushed. No one abhors war more than I. As you know, I have fought in 4 of them in combat arms. I have been to Korea and seen the mentality of the North and the South. There is war footing there since the so called “peace treaty”. I do not know the answer totally, but I would back up interdiction at sea in search of Nuclear issues. And, if pursued properly, I think it can be a three or four nation interdiction. I also think the threat of that, through China, also has a possibility to work. Who knows. But doing nothing is worse and while avoiding war is preferable, sometimes you have to know when to hold ’em.

      • Black Flag says:

        NK is no wimp.

        1.1 million man army – very well trained and armed. The people are starving to make this army strong.

        The US has not tangled with a significant military force since the Korean War – and the US and Allies didn’t do all that well.

        Kim is dying. There is a power struggle between himself and among his 3 sons for the dynasty. There may even be other powerful individuals inside the NK Army also vying for “Top Dog”. These guys have no qualms about the numbers of their citizens dying for their personal power.

        NK has the ability to hit Japan – the traditional enemy. Japan can build a nuke in 90 days.

        This situation could go nuclear in a matter of days after the first shot.

        Can the US sustain a ground war in Asia, whilst fighting a two or three front war in the Middle East? (if Israel attacks Iran – goodbye to the US Army in Iraq) and suffer 20,000 – 50,000 dead Americans in Korean? While in the middle of a financial crisis?

        Perfect storm?

        • Agree, we should avoid confrontation with them. Clinton should not warn of consequences. I think it unlikely they are seeking a war. But they might like to incite someone else to do so.

          “If we have reason to think they are trying to export nuclear anything, then we should interdict their shipping as necessary.” They will try to sell their nuke to Iran, who would use it on Israel.

          Perfect storm? If Tom Clancy had written a book on how to dismantel the US, would it not read like today’s headlines? Obama’s “brown shirts” are not yet formed and our firearms have not been seized.
          Life is like a box of choclate.

        • Bama dad says:

          BF said:

          “The US has not tangled with a significant military force since the Korean War – and the US and Allies didn’t do all that well.”

          Once the US placed sufficient men and material in theater they kicked NK butt. On November 1, 1950 700,000 screaming Chinese upset the apple cart for sure. For the next 3 years it became a back and forth battle of attrition with no clear winners. You are correct that today’s NK army is a more potent force than it was in 1950 and that we would beat a disadvantage in a conventional war with our commitments elsewhere. 😎

          • Bama dad says:

            😯
            be at – not beat

          • Black Flag says:

            Hmm, we must remember the 1950 non-war.

            NK attacked SK and USA, and defeated American forces in the field.

            Pushed the US to Pusan Pocket. It was only because the NK forces were over-extended in their supply line (still provided then by horses and donkeys) that they ran out of steam before completely obliterating our forces.

            • SFC Dick says:

              Hey now, over extended or noy, Gen Macarthur’s counter offensive and drive to the yellow river was pretty damn significant for an Army being beaten in the field.

              Now the good news. We won grenad because, well, it was grenada. We damn near lost panama, or at least tried our damndest to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory on that one. A significant amount of Panimanians will tell you we really screwed them up and Panama still hasn’t recovered. Dessert storm was a tank battle, not a war and Iraq is looking much bad these days, we’ve been losing in Afghanistan since about 2003, debateable the exact time frame. Point is, Korea was the last time Gemerals got fired. I think Mac Arthur being fired was political “oh geeze, don’y win, the chineese wont like that, they have nukes”. Look a lil deeper folks, the AARs are starting to come out of Iraq and the only reason we didn’t get our asses handed to us is the US fighting man has been making wins where a loss was inevitable. Go to freerangeinternational and poke around a bit, they link to a report detailing the incompetence of command and their malfiesence. Yup, even the vaunted “pope” McChrystal is implicated. Look at Afghanistan, 8 years, EIGHT YEARS! CIC Obama needs to pull a Lenin and fire eveyone above Major and start from scratch. We do not have the command to beat a real army in the field. Sorry, I might be bitter, but I aint pushing a political agenda here. This is not, say again, NOT my last tour here. I’m any where from1 week to 3 weeks short here and still finding missions to volunteer for. I know that even on my last day here, last mission, if I walk away and get home, my bussiness still aint over here. That is why, unlike some others, which I not only understand but encourage some of my younger soldiers that are about to rotate out to sit tight and wait to leave. Me, make no difference, I’m destined for a round three over here.

        • Danak13 says:

          No, BF…they are not a wimp but they are also not that formidable. They do not have the resources to fight a war more than 11 days and we have a contingency plan in place for this; however, your comments are not lost on me. The unknown is the power struggle…not among the brothers but that of the Military. NK was tough with the Chinese involvement but that is all. Yes, there is a 1.1 million man army and yes they are well trained and yes, Japan is the natural enemy. However, in less than 16 hours, their 1.1 million men will be reduced to 300K without the use of Nuclear Weapons. I speak with limited authority here as I have seen the Ops Plans. But make no mistake, we would get our nose bloodied. One thing to keep in mind. We know where their 1.1 million are and they are not on the DMZ…we will know when the movement starts and when war is inevitable. So militarily, I am not worried. We have three carrier groups close at hand.

          Now, you are quite correct as well in the power struggle. I wonder aloud if there is some connection with China on this front..not with us but with the powers to be. I also wonder that when dad dies, if number three son will actually stay in power. I also wonder, that with the country in starvation, not of free will, but that of coercion, if there is not a moderate military. Right now there is an iron hand….but what next? We do not have very good intelligence on this front.

          Lastly, the situation could go nuclear if we let it go nuke. I think that China will not let that happen. There will be no winners.

          To answer one last statement…you are also correct on the perfect storm scenario. A financial crises could also be our secret weapon. The world goes into crises as well in this case. I hope there are some leaders out there that are willing to reign in NK. BUT…to sit back and do nothing is worse, I fear. The same with Iran..the world is watching and Atlas shrugged yet again. No one is stepping up. I am not a real fan of Israel but under a threat and if B.O. throws them under the bus…who can blame them.

          I remember well the crises Kennedy faced with the Soviet regime under Kruschev (sp). I remember school drills for nuclear war. Here we are yet again. This time, NK can export to lawless regimes. SIGH….think I will go have a coke and pizza while it is still not taxed into oblivion.

          • Black Flag says:

            I do not worry about Iran at all.

            They haven’t attacked any country in over 300 years. They’ve had their feast of Empire, and they no longer enjoy the taste.

            But if Israel attacks Iran – and as they and much of the world see no difference between USA and Israel (either Israel is the 51st State or USA is territory of Israel), Iran will punish US forces in Iraq. The scenarios get ugly – including the entire loss of the Army in Iraq.

            If the US wants peace with Iran, the US had better learn how to muzzle and leash Israel.

          • Black Flag says:

            Oh yeah –

            The NK/SK war would practically destroy the NK army in the field – agreed.

            Seoul will be leveled – 11,000 artillery pieces and rocket launchers plus 800 Scuds pounding her…. not a pretty picture for the world in the aftermath …. think the world economy would suffer?

          • Black Flag says:

            And lastly, the NK people.

            Kim is in power because the people, in some manner, allow it.

            They are willing to starve because they have been taught that the monsters – the USA – are at their gates ready to eat their children. So they will suffer Kim so to prevent that.

            That is why any acts of the USA against NK will only seal the Kim dynasty into power. (Unless he and his sons are wiped out too).

            • Dictators are not in power because their people want them to be!

              You are pushing the wrong buttons, BF.

              PLEASE look up the facts before you post.

              • Black Flag says:

                All governments exist by the will of the people.

                When the will changes, so will the government.

  2. USWeapon says:

    A news article on Fox News tonight discussed a report that says the more Mexicans are returning home than fleeing to America. Is this pure economic based behavior? The article is here:

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,524826,00.html?test=latestnews

    • If that is the case, then why do I still have to “Press One For English”? Because if you haven’t noticed it yet . . . The economy really sucks here in the U.S. of A. right now, and I don’t care what the Messiahs village idiots tell you – it ain’t gonna get any better anytime soon!

    • Hey, the economy is so bad I heard they caught a truck load of Americans trying to sneak into Mexico!

      G!

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      What a poorly written story is my 1st reaction. Legals or illegals? I thought they were coming here for free handouts not jobs? Hmmmmm.

      • USWeapon says:

        Is it poorly written simply because it is from Fox News? Or because you don’t like what it says?

    • With all the problems we have had with illegal immigration, who knew that all we had to do to stop them was to collapse our economy?

      I wonder what kind of immigration laws and border security Mexico will establish to keep us out of their Country?

    • Danak13 says:

      Ok…in walks danak13 still with his flak vest on. Being a Texan and living this “immi- (I need your vote)- gration”, I feel as if my rights are being trampled into the dust. I am forced to bi-lingual signs, phone messages, free tuition, free food, free transportation, schools being built that are being “forced” to staff bi-lingual teachers (or no jobs), driving without registration or insurance, DWI’s increased since no enforcement, and a budget expense of $4 Billion in just education alone…so far. Immigration has not helped our economy here at all. Most of the money is being sent back to Mexico. When we walk into our hospitals, the emergency rooms are filled with ILLEGALS with no insurance and the progress is slow because they cannot speak ENGLISH.

      ONE IMPORTANT FACT…..MOST OF THEM ARE ILLEGAL. Key word….ILLEGAL. Get in line and come in legally…they are welcome. I speak with authority because I have patrolled he border as a reservist, I have parents that live in Mexico in San Miguel Allende, and we have a family ranch in Mexico. No, we are not Hispanic. We have to have passports and dual registration. We have to have Mexican passports as well. In addition to Mexican passports, we also have to have immigration papers, FM3’s, and declare and register our cars. We are allowed only ONE car in Mexico. We hire Mexican labor at a rate greater than the government of Mexico requires, and we pay our taxes in Mexico and the US on our revenues in Mexico. Now, we are law abiding Americans in their country…is it too much to expect the same here?

      (Am I vehement on this subject or what)…Since the Feds will not do anything, we at least have a governor that does not take stimulus money, with attachments, but sends the National Guard to the border to patrol and arrest (which State National Guard can do), who is trying to clean up the highways, with much protest from La Raza and other pro immigration without borders groups. We are against vigilante type of violence ( though I could see where it is very easy to do )….so there is a group that is over 500 strong now, that is resorting to economic pressure. When there is an employer that is hiring illegals, they are simply turned in. The pressure is kept on until there is something done. (Radio, TV. Etc) They then organize and are very effective with boycotting those businesses. It seems to be working quite well and California and Arizona are easier places to go and live for the ILLEGALS. It is a sad commentary that this type of thing is needed but to protect our own economy and start reducing cost is what our State is trying to do both from the State Government side as well as the private sector. So….let them go home.

      • I live in Georgia, on the west side of Polk County. We have a tremendous problem with illegals over here also. They are over the place in Georgia.

        In my side of the County the Public Schools are about 35% Hispanic and getting higher every year. I’m not sure how many are illegal but there are some who can’t speak English at the Middle School level. We are required by Law to give them an education.

        We recently made an effort to deny them Welfare and Food Stamps and other State benefits but I don’t know at this time whether or not we were successful.

        One thing I do know. This side of the County is where all of them live. They don’t live nor go to school on the other side. This side is where we don’t meet Adequate Yearly Progress under the No Child Left Behind Act every year. The other side of the County where they don’t live does. Since it is the same School District, you tell me what the problem is.

        This side of our County is also where we have the most DUIs, the most drugs, the most crime, The most pretty much everything bad that goes with illegal immigration.

        I too have no problem with LEGAL immigration. I have a very big problem with ILLEGAL immigration however. So does my Community. We are overrun with illegals getting benefits and taking jobs and being supported without paying any taxes back in to help with the cost.

        Without solving this problem I will always have problems with them.

      • Illegals are a huge problem in Cali. Unfortunately very little is done to keep them out. When I lived in San Diego there was this major problem with the illegals running across the freeway and getting ran down. So what does Cali do??? They put up a sign on the freeway to warn drivers about them. Its a drawing of a man, woman and small child (complete with hair flying behind them)running. I was surprised they didn’t put up a cross walk in the middle of the freeway, maybe a crossing guard.

        When my son was in 3rd grade he was in a class that was 100% taught in spanish. The entire year him and 3 other kids did find a words and crossword puzzles (in spanish). I fought the school that entire year to get him in another class or into home schooling to no avail. My daughters Jr. High school had monthly drive-by drills. Ended up moving out of the area to get them into halfway decent schools.

        Almost all jobs here require you to be bi-lingual. I refuse to learn spanish for a job…let them learn english.

        Legal immigration is just that…LEGAL. Why can’t these idiots figure out that once you quit pandering to the illegals things would be cheaper? No more over crowded classes, no more 6 hour waits in the ER, jobs would become available to LEGAL citizens. Pisses me off to no end.

        • Danak13 says:

          So, how do you REALLY feel?

          • I wish they would all just go home.

            • Chris Devine says:

              Prior to Polk’s invasion of Mexico (the halls of Montezuma) and the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, California was Mexico (in addition to Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, et al.). You can say we stole it fair and square or that we paid fair market value for it or whatever. The fact still remains that the United States ‘appropriated’ Mexican land and many of our neighbors still consider the border to be illegitimate.

              This country was founded by immigrants. We would not be who we are without them. Did the people who came on the Mayflower show up with passports or ask permission from the current inhabitants? Why doesn’t anybody ever complain about the illegal employers who pay substandard wages forcing these undocumented immigrants to rely on social services?

              Why are people so proud of the fact they can only speak one language? In many parts of this world you are expected to be at least somewhat fluent in more than one language. Many countries have several official languages (Ireland, Switzerland, et al.).

              When are Americans going to accept the fact that we have a third world country on our Southern border and that we have done very little to address that issue. We entice their suffering masses with low-wage, unhealthy jobs with no benefits and then complain when they need to go to the doctor or educate their children. Our economy would collapse without this source of cheap labor but nobody has the courage to tackle that head-on.

              • Danak13 says:

                Oh Chris, Chris, Chris…..where to begin. Hmmm..so maybe point by point.

                First, I object to “appropriated” in the sense of something sinister. If you did not mean that, then accept my apology. The Mexican War between the United States and Mexico began with a Mexican attack on American troops along the southern border of Texas on Apr. 25, 1846. Fighting ended when U.S. Gen. Winfield Scott occupied Mexico City on Sept. 14, 1847; a few months later a peace treaty was signed (Feb. 2, 1848) at Guadalupe Hidalgo. In addition to recognizing the U.S. annexation of Texas defeated Mexico ceded California and , New Mexico (including all the present-day states of the Southwest) to the United States.

                To say this country was founded by immigrants is, of course, very true. But is it your intention to say that as we move along and become a country of laws, that immigrants continue to be allowed to violate our laws? If you are saying that immigration is not illegal and that all immigrants have a right to enter without observing our laws, then I take exception. however, I am in agreement with you on the employers that hire and entice the violation of our laws. They should be dealt with harshly (not whips and chains) but put them out of business.

                I am very proud of my heritage and very proud that I speak English and firmly believe that English should be the foundation language of this country. I also happen to think that being bilingual is a good thing but an individual choice. Not forced as it is now.

                Yes, I will tackle the fact that Mexico is a third world country. We tackle the issue by guarding our borders, by addressing the employers that entice workers to cross illegally, and criminalizing and exporting illegals back. Key word is ILLEGAL. We have laws. Obey them or change them. I have NO PROBLEM whatever with immigrant workers. I do have a problem with ILLEGAL entry when it is just as easy to enter legally.

              • Chris Devine says:

                Thanks for the unnecessary history lesson. I think that my reference to the Polk administration and the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo shows that I’m quite aware of the history.

                However, by using passive terms like ‘recognizing’ and ‘ceded’ you hide the fact the we acted as a conquering nation and took the land from the losing side. I think if you’ll read your history a little closer you’ll see that the ‘attacks’ on Americans were anything but clear cut aggression against the United States. In any case how does it seem fair that we settled these border disputes by taking pretty much all of the Southwest?

                While it is certainly preferable for all immigrants to enter using the lawful process, those who are here and working should not be treated as criminals per se. The only reason people seem to concentrate on the immigrants rather than their employers is because the former are an easy target.

                What law says that you have to learn Spanish? It is certainly helpful but far from being mandatory. Are you sure you’re not bilingual already? You speak hegemony pretty well.

        • You tell ’em Kym!!! I tell you, the more you speak your mind, the more envious I am of your husband! :mrgreen:

          • I’m truly sorry. My fingers just went on Autopilot. I was only kidding.

          • There are days I’m pretty sure my husband would ship me off in a crate to just about anyone who’d be stupid enough to put up with me. LOL

            Also, when I moved to get the kids to a better school, it meant leaving my husband there a little over a year to finish his tour there. Guess he got his wish, hehe

      • The solution is so simple. If you can’t get a law passed, then re-define what “illegal” alien means.

        Race remains a concern in the Sotomayor appointment – – particularly because of her strong ties to La Raza, the Latino answer to the KKK.

        As a member of the National Council of La Raza, Ms. Sotomayor said: “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion as a judge than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

        La Raza teaches that Colorado, California, Arizona, Texas, Utah, New Mexico, Oregon and parts of Washington State make up an area known as “Aztlan” — a fictional ancestral homeland of the Aztecs before Europeans arrived in North America.

        http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/11444

  3. USWeapon says:

    GM announced on Monday that they are declaring bankruptcy. This was something most of us saw coming. An article on CNN tonight discussed the question of whether GM will survive despite this move. What are everyone’s thoughts? The article is here:

    http://money.cnn.com/2009/06/02/news/companies/gm_will_it_work/index.htm?postversion=2009060216

    • I listened to an inerview this afternoon with a GM exec. He is totaly in bed with the govt ownership. His comment was something to the effect that GM was lucky because only the Fed govt and Amerian Tax Payers had enought money to buy GM’s assets. If they had been forced into bankruptcy two months ago they wouldn’t of had buyers and would have been lost.

      Any body else getting sick yet.

      BOYCOTT GM AND ANY OTHER AMERICAN COMPANY THAT HAS TAKEN BAIL OUT MONEY.

      BS TO THE BUY AMERICAN CRAP I HEARD THIS GUY SPOUT OFF. THEY ARE NOT AN AMERICAN COMPANY IF THEY NOT ONLY ACCEPT BUT EMBRACE THIS FASCIST OOMPAH/BULLDOOKEY.

      Any one wondering what I really think about this?
      Best to you each morning.
      JAC

      • USWeapon says:

        I am with you 110% JAC. I drive an Infiniti. Better car anyway.

      • JayDickB says:

        AGREE!!!!!!

        The last American car I had was a 1984 Oldsmobile Toranado. Second worst car I ever owned (worst was a 1952 Studebaker Commander Convertible). And the dealer couldn’t or wouldn’t fix the things that were wrong. After a few years, I traded it for an Acura and haven’t looked back.

      • I drive an 05 Pontiac GTO and absolutely LOVE it! It was manufactured in Australia since the american version was the stripped down gutless version. I will never buy another new car again. My husband and I own so many cars and motorcylcles now I could drive a different one to work daily. The GTO and my 66 Bug are my primary rides but have been known to drive the F250 occasionally. An Obamamobile will never EVER be in my driveway.

    • My truck was purchased in `01 when Chrysler was still engineered by Daimler. It still runs better than any new GM or Ford ever has or will. Like wise with the car. Don’t plan on buying anything new at any time in the forseeable future . . . that is unless I win the powerball lottery . . . yeah, right!

    • Naten53 says:

      What about Hummer being sold to the chinese.

      http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090602/ap_on_bi_ge/us_automakers

      I really like the quote

      “GM is close to a sale of its Hummer brand, which is good news for the 3,000 Americans who will be able to keep their jobs, the two American plants that will remain open and the more than 100 Hummer dealers that should be able to stay in business all around the country,” White House spokesman Bill Burton said earlier in the day.

      Since when did a chineese company not have their manufacturing plants in china? Cheap labor, no union, say bye to those jobs.

      • Who in the crap can afford a Hummer to begin with? I don’t know if they’ll lose their jobs or not since there sure ain’t many in China that can afford one.

        The problem I have is why they bought them to begin with? It can’t possibly be to sell them there.

        And another thing. What will The Military do now? Will they buy Chinese owned vehicles? Is it a separate company that makes Humvees?

    • Bama dad says:

      Government Motors will survive but they will never get off the public teat. Only in America could you have a business run by a labor union and government. Labor union wants all they can get from the business; government owes the union which helped them get elected, labor contract negotiations should be interesting. With a setup like that, I am sure they can build a competitive automobile that everyone would want to purchase. Before long the government will be telling us that it is the patriotic thing to do or that we have to buy a GM car. 😈

      • Already here Bama. The head of the UAW said 2 days ago that if the taxpayers want to get their money back, they should buy a GM product.

        How’s that for some damn gall!

        Even IF I could afford to. After that I’ll NEVER buy another GM product. GM is the next AMTrack. They will never see another profitable year.

    • Hey all and Good Morning.

      Living here in the Great Lake State provides Michiganders with a plethora of information on GM and Chrysler, most of which is very one sided. Most discussions centered around job loss, downsizing and companies filing Chapter 11, are riddled with pro-union propaganda claiming these issues are totally the fault of money grubing management. But then that is somewhat expected given the Union’s affliction with a Socialist economy.

      Barry will keep proping up GM with Taxpayer monies until he is either voted out of office, or the people of this nation wise up and make him stop. Taking control of GM and Chrysler was a key cog in the plan to move America towards Fascism, as it enables him to better control a primary economic entitiy. Controling 2 out of the 3 auto manufactures, Treasury, Banks and Wall Street further promotes his desire to grow government.

      Those of us who don’t have our heads up our hindquarters shouted for months to let GM and Chrysler go the way of the Doddo-bird. We believe in survival of the fittest, just like it is in nature. Ford was wise enough not to accept any hand-outs, and had built up cash reserves prior to the whole economic meltdown. In addition they designed and built better cars and trucks focused on what the consumers of those individual lines wanted. As long as the government doesn’t mandate unrealistic “green” demands on the auto industry Ford will stay the only American car company.

      The irony of all this is that the Union serfs have only swapped out one King for another buying into the new kings promise of prosperity, blue skys and butterflys for all. They can’t see the impending doom making its way towards them. If they think its tough negotiating with management for new contracts, wait until they get to deal with the government. Although on the other hand they might just wind up with a job just like every other government employee; overpaid, incompitent, working retired and entitled.

      Michigan will continue to suffer as more and more companies tied to the auto’s either file, move or outsource.

      I have worked in Michigan since 1980 and watched the migration to Texas in 85, 86, and 87 as a result of the last major economic downturn, but this one is far, far worse. Although there are a few prospering companny’s still conducting business in Michigan, the majority are leaving or going belly-up. We have the highest unemployment, and interestingly enough we are also one of the highest paying wealfare/unemployment bennefits states. As an example; wealfare for unwed mothers is infinite in Michigan. I know of one lady who has been on wealfare for 23 years. Detroit and Flint are two of the poorest cities in the country, but yet our Governor keeps looking for ways to tax more and spread the wealth to the entitlement minons. Too bad she wasn’t picked for the Supreme Court spot, it might have given Michigan the break it needs.

      If anyone wants an example of what our country is going look like in the future, just focus on Michigan, the first fascist state in the US.

    • Alan F. says:

      We own (the wife and myself) an `06 HHR LT, a `05 Avalanche and an `05 Silverado HD2500 so we have been very much watching GM’s tale of woe unfold. I believe that without bringing forth massive tariffs against the other manufacturers, GM will never be profitable. Without getting rid of this board of directors before they’ve even taken seat, I can’t see them making another product I would buy unless the Canadian held portion sticks to making great trucks Obama be damned. I lastly believe that Ford is now in a position to crush the other domestics with their new found business advantage, FREEDOM. I’m very interested to see what the F250 and F350 will become in the near future. The president will have to handcuff the foreign car manufacturers and especially Ford to make GM and their green initiative remotely sustainable.

      • Danak13 says:

        I own a Cadillac SRX….and will not buy another. I also have a small Focus for running around and gas mileage. Please do not ask me what I was thinking about getting the Caddy…I am entitled to make my mistakes. I will not make another one along these lines. It galls me to hear that it would be Patriotic to buy GM, now. This is diatribe. It further galls me to think that there will be protectionism coming back ( Great topic here )…

        Right now, I cannot say if I will by another GM product. I think that I will be in a wait and see mode for awhile.

        • Alan F. says:

          We looked at an `08 SRX but the actual mpg being worse than what we were getting from our Avalanche(LT Z71) was the deal breaker.

    • Bama dad says:

      I normally don’t read this paper but here is a good opinion article in The New York Times about GM.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/02/opinion/02brooks.html?_r=1

      • Danak13 says:

        Very interesting article…especially from the Times. Thought provoking.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Brooks is considered a moderate conservative and gives at least some balance to Friedman & Krugman – I like him.

  4. USWeapon says:

    And my favorite for the day is this little gem. A woman here in NC, sued a woman who “stole” her husband. After 50 years of marriage a 69 year old left his wife for another woman, who is 30. The spurned wife then sued the woman who took her husband for doing so. The jury deliberated for 30 minutes, and awarded her $500,000. This has nothing to do with alimony or splitting of shared wealth. It is a punishment verdict for stealing the woman’s husband. I find this both ludicrous and a blatant overstepping of the bounds of law and government. The link is here:

    http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/5265450/

    • Hey, a gold digger found herself a sugar daddy . . . Then former wife wiped her and the sugar daddy clean and got all the loot! ROTFALMAO!!!

      Look . . . I am 65, and I say that any guy in his 60’s who leaves his wif for someone who is almost 40 years younger is nothing but a complete idiot! Does he think VIAGRA will make him forty years younger? All she wanted was his money, and the ex-wife got it all! For once, a jury got it right!

      Some men are incredibly stupid!

      • RWBoveroux says:

        GA:

        I can agree with you up to a point. Yes, all the new wife is interested is probably the old man’s money. However, that does not give the old wife the basis to sue him!! The jury had to be either brain dead or rigged.

    • Thanks for the laugh, USW, I needed that tonight.

    • I think the jury has lost their mind. I think the old bastard lost his mind too. Even if the 30 year old really loved him, she will sexually murder his butt within a year.

      Like Rowe though, I think it’s funny as hell! 😀

    • I gotta give the woman a great big “Atta-Girl” for sticking it to her ex and his new toy! However it is just another example of frivilous lawsuits that should never been heard by a judge and jury, wastes time and money.

  5. O.K., USW, let me throw one up for grabs here, if I may.

    There are some friends and acquaintances of mine out here in the Mojave Desert of Arizona who really want to repeal the XVI Amendment. Does anyone want to start a grass roots movement to do something like that? And if you do, well, just how do we get this thing off the launching pad and into a permanent orbit?

    Or d you think the desert heat has gotten to all of us here . . . ? 😉

    • SFC Dick says:

      G. A,

      Hey Gunny, give me some resoning or insight on why they want to do this. I, on the other hand, will go find out what the 16th amendmant is. Hopefully it has something to do, this whole repeal movement, with taking away unwarranted federal power.

      • RWBoveroux says:

        The 16th ammendment established the federal income tax. It was ratified in 1913.

      • SFC

        How’s it going brother, good to see you are still kicking and screaming. As RW said the 16th is the right of the government to collect taxes. It would take a Constitutional Congress to repeal the 16th. That means that 2/3 of the representatives of the House would have to agree to convene for a Constitutional Congress and then 2/3 would have to vote for the 16th to be repealed; not likely since that’s their income source.

        If we, as a people, were able to put enough pressure on our Representatives to think about it, they might be instilled with enough fear to start acting more responsibly. But, since those morons fear reprisals from their peers far more than they do those that they represent, its again highly unlikely

    • RWBoveroux says:

      GA:

      I think it is time for your friends and acquaintances to get out of the sun and into some very cooler temps. I think their brain matter is melting!! 🙂

      Realistically, there is no way that we can get this baby off of the teat that it is on. Trying to eliminate the Income tax is going to be like trying to get an alcoholic to quit drinking cold turkey. There are too many people who are dependent on this money to just let it go.

      There is also the practical side of how are the Feds going to get the money they need. We mostly agree the there should be VDLG, but even VDLG takes some money. If you do away with the Income Tax, where is this money coming from? The Feds can’t just print it because that would lead to inflation (contrary to what the talking heads are saying, that is what will happen shortly).

      What about a national sales tax IF THE INCOME TAX IS KILLED? I am NOT advocating for a new tax that will supplement the current tax structure, but something to REPLACE IT. This way, if your are a gazillionaire and you buy large ticket items, you will be paying more and if you are less affluent, you will buy less and thus pay less.

      • This is the only way I would support ANYTHING like the Federal Sales Tax. IF IT REPLACES ANOTHER TAX LIKE INCOME TAX!!! If it’s just going to be in addition to, then I don’t want no part of it.

        I agree that the Feds will NEVER willingly give up the income tax. They will only supplement it with other taxes. The only way to get them off the public tit is to FORCE them off.

    • Danak13 says:

      Great Idea…but improbable. How about a flat tax or Federal Sales tax.

    • Black Flag says:

      Actually, I think this is a probable source of positive activism.

      Ironically, though impossible to alter the government face (that is via voting) – it is possible (unlikely, but possible) to repeal amendments. It’s happened before – so there is your guide on how to do it again.

      It can work because it doesn’t actually attack the Elite directly – after repeal, the same human face remains – so the Elite aren’t likely to put up the do-or-die defense they would if you were trying to attack them directly. This is more like a diversionary tactic — with a better-than-zero chance of working.

      First thing you need to do, is start compiling email lists of voters

  6. Richmond Spitfire says:

    Hi All,

    How about the issue of legalizing Marijuana? I’m curious as to what you think the pros and cons are. Here is some of my initial brainstorming on Pros & Cons:

    Spitfire’s Pros (on legalizing Marijuana):

    * Increased tax revenue
    * Reduction in a very “seedy” type of population (dealers)
    * Would it really reduce crime?
    * Good sustainable crop for American farmers
    * Aren’t there many other uses for Marijuana, other than getting “high”?
    * America receives all profits; doesn’t go to drug cartels (not sure if this is true as I haven’t done research on whether or not Pot is mainly imported vs. farmers in Kentucky mainly growing it).
    * Would this have a positive impact on reducing some of the Drug Cartels’ hold on America?
    * Is a ‘natural’ medical aid for some diseases

    Spitfire’s Con’s (on legalizing Marijuana):

    * Would “Seedy” population (i.e. dealers) just start peddling worse drugs?
    * Would a good portion of the American population be “high” all the time?
    * Would legalizing Marijuana make it easier for kids to obtain it?
    * Would it free up the Drug Cartels to just run more potent and dangerous drugs?
    * Would Big Brother make it unnatural (i.e. put added chemicals in it to reduce/increase the THC?

    Gosh, I’m sure that I’m leaving out a bunch of things, but I have to leave for my “procedure”…looking forward to any discussion on this?

    Kind Regards,
    RS

    • I don’t see how the legalization of drugs would be any different from the legalization of alcohol. Alcohol is a drug, and lots of people die from its abuse every year ( sorry don’t have the numbers). I just don’t see how anyone can be for legal alcohol and illegal marijuana. It seems that all the same arguments can be made for both. Is it just that one is more socially acceptable? I’d love to hear anyone’s defense of this position.

      I don’t drink or do drugs, so I’m not very passionate about this. I personally think people are stupid to do either one, but that’s just my opinion.

      • Jennie

        Relative to drinking…What if your Irish? If we don’t drink we will dehydrate.

      • In Wisconsin, we need to support our breweries – we are just being patriotic!

      • In Georgia, at least the part I am in. It would seriously hurt our economy to legalize marijuana. All the growers here would have to go out and find a job! 😀

        The market for illegal maryjane would die a horrible death because folks would start growing it in their gardens. There would always be folks out there though that would rather buy it from a store than grow it. Also people who don’t know how to grow.

        I have always thought it should be legalized. Although I don’t partake myself, there is no difference between it and alcohol.

        Other drugs however are out of the question. MJ is not addictive, not anymore harmful to the body than alcohol, and actually helps as a medicinal product.

        You can also make rope out of it. 😉

    • Naten53 says:

      With legalization of marijuana you will get all of the same crap that comes with alcohol. Government funded rehab clinics, hotlines, etc. (don’t we already have this for drugs too?)

      Then you will get the idiots that are stoned all the time because they can get it way easier and then we get the driving under the influence and workplace troubles. Just think, (circle: your are a little tired/it’s allergy season) and your eyes are a little red driving the car and a the cops have a under the influence checkpoint and look at you! You have red eyes and that can of pepsi that has been in your cup holder for three weeks and that candy wrapper on the floor of the passenger side. Looks like you have the munchies seems like probable cause to me. They take you out of your car and have you do tests to determine if they should take you in for a pee test. They ask you to stand on one leg for a minute. You tell them that you had surgery on your knee two years ago and you can’t do that. They don’t care so they take you in when you fall over.

      Little off the wall scenario maybe, but think of how the government is involved in cigarettes and alcohol and picture the outcome with anything that they call a controlled substance. Law suits against manufacturers, raising taxes on it for healthcare….

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Are you assuming there would be an increase in use because it would be legal? Why do assume usage patterns would be any different?

        • Naten53 says:

          Did everyone drink alcohol during prohibition? I would guess only the ones that were willing to risk it. From what I know about the period the speak easies were raided from time to time.

          So yes, I believe that there are people that would do something that is legal if they do not do it currently because it is illegal.

        • USWeapon says:

          Ray,

          I don’t know that usage would be higher. Usage was much lower during prohibition than before or after. But that may not be a comparable statistic.

          I think the logical part of my brain says that usage would go up, at least a little, but I don’t know of anything that would back that up. Do you know of any studies or anything that would show that usage would go up or down or not change with legalization?

        • Alan F. says:

          Very much so. I know many people who have never fought with another physically. MMA becoming popular and accepted as a sport brought them into seeking out a place to “try it” for themselves. Most never tumbled again and a few are permanent residents. If the “feeling” one gets from a combat sport (the chemical reaction of fight or flight in full swing) makes the act something looked forward to all week long, how could direct stimulation without effort not? We’ve even seen such with regard to video games where in the “feeling” becomes an addiction and in many cases leads to self inflicted social and economic hardships. Again if the “feeling” of a video game can have you anticipating the next fix, how could the easy to reach chemical version not? I’ve used instances where I’m not comparing one chemical to another such as alcohol or tobacco to show you the range of addiction. In all cases the addiction is life altering, all consuming and found in a host of different peoples. With the myriad things we as humans do for a “feeling”, why would we NOT see a rise in marijuana use is the unprovable position. As for “drug cartels”, they don’t sell tobacco products but I would wager that a rapid inclusion in their product line were the government to make cigarettes illegal. I also would put it to you that were cigarettes illegal, far fewer children would be experimenting and starting their journey to becoming addicted to ye old cancer sticks this very day.

          Shot down in flames and I have yet to reach into my personal bag of rhetoric. Want to know about addiction, talk to a recovering addict. You also won’t find one true recovering addict who sees your position as anything but uninformed.

    • Danak13 says:

      Oh wow….hmmmm…ummmm….. Alcohol/drugs…not on my resume’. Being a part of the Reserves that patrolled the Texas border, we ran into druggies all the time…better armed than most. I like the idea of legalizing and taking the cartels out of it but what replaces it? Interesting subject but since I do not do either (with all due respect to the Irish) it is not a hot button but should be, I guess, given the facts of alcohol related problems…would “Mary Jane” be the same. As far as medical…what is the difference between Marijuana and Valium or some other impairment drug and operating vehicles or machinery. Would legalizing marijuana then put it in the hands of pharmacies and prescriptions? Would it then be cost prohibitive and bring the cartels back? Mexico is ripe with pharmaceuticals that are much cheaper than the US….and there is a black market for drugs for sale in the US.Anyone that lives here knows this.

      I will read other opinions. Very interesting.

    • IMHO, I don’t think legallizing pot would have much of an affect on it’s use by a vast majority of people. Most adults who don’t smoke, won’t in the future. I do like the idea of taking the business away from the cartel’s. Not sure how much tax benefit it would provide, but they could come up with numbers to finance “Cap and Trade” if they tried hard.

      G!

      • Danak13 says:

        Oh my word, G….you just probably gave the administration a new tactic. LOL

      • USWeapon says:

        Oh no G…. they would expand cap and trade so that potsmokers were required to pay more because of the additional smoke that they are creating. Legalizing pot will ruin the environment. There, now I have officially become an environmentalist…. all I had to do was make a crazy claim about such and bam… I am in there.

    • Spitfire, what an interesting topic to bring up.

      I will never be a user, so no personal stake. First thing, it should be legalized for medical. There are illnesses that it is the best treatment for, even compared to the most expensive manufactured drugs.

      I would favor complete legalization except for the way our laws and health care work. A MJ user will be exposing themself to a substance 20 times worse than tobacco. I am a non-smoker, and should not have to “share” the cost of treating them. Insurance should charge more for people who are a greater risk through their lifestyle choices. No insurance? Sorry, you picked a stupid way to commit sucicide.

      • It is only worse to smoke MJ because of the heat from the smoke. Smoke it in a Bong and you eliminate the heat. It is not 20 times worse than Cigs either. You only smoke MJ at about a 20th of the rate that you smoke Cigarettes. Unless that is, you are a real stoner. 😉

        • I admit my ignorance on this, so thanks for info.

          Kinda funny that Muslims abstain from alcohol, but its ok for them to smoke anything. I think hash is their fav.

          • I USED to be a frequent smoker. Many years ago. Quitting was not a problem because other than liking the high, there is nothing to to be addicted to. Cigarettes and alcohol are many times more addictive. Most of the Anti-drug ads about marijuana just piss me off.

            And it does not lead to harder drugs. Those inclined to do drugs will do them regardless of MJ or not. I know a few who would not piss on MJ that would ingest harder stuff in a second.

            I have actually heard a methhead make the comment that he didn’t smoke Cigs or MJ because they were bad for your lungs.

            I think he was kidding.

        • Chris Devine says:

          Bongs or waterpipes aren’t necessarily any better for you. While the water cools the smoke it also makes it possible to ingest larger amounts. Some evidence shows that the psychoactive components of cannabis smoke are filtered out, making it necessary to smoke even more for the same effect. No form of smoking is healthy, but there are ways of ingesting cannabis without burning it.

    • Before alcoholic beverages were abolished there were moonshiners, then alcoholic beverages were abolished and there still were moonshiners, then alcoholic beverages were again legalized – and there still were moonshiners.

      Moral of the story – if something is legal there will always be someone out there who will illegally produce it.

      Legalizing dope – uh, why do they call it dope? because only dopes use it! – does not solve the problem.

      More taxes? Nope – look at cigarettes (sin tax?)

      Better to legalize prostitution – not.

      Whats the answer – there ain’t one!

      • Naten53 says:

        With today’s alcohol system, mass distributers and distillers, how much money do moon shiners really make? It can’t be that significant, plus with the internet you could probably find thousands of ways to make moon shine yourself, but who would buy it off of you?

        • N53, I don’t know how much you can make, but where I live you can dang sure sell it. I don’t drink and I can tell you where it can be bought at any time.

          MaryJane growth has pretty much taken over ‘Shine making here though. At least with the younger generations with respect to the making and distribution of same.

      • USWeapon says:

        What is wrong with legalizing prostitution? It’s the prostitutes body. You are allowed to charge a fee to an employer for the use of your body to do physical labor. Why should she not be allowed to do the same thing?

        I have yet to hear a valid argument against legalized prostitution.

        • The government has trouble getting their cut, therefore it must be illegal.

        • I don’t understand that either. Some European Countries make a killing off Prostitution.

          Maybe Obama should look into that to fund Universal Health Care. 👿

        • “I have yet to hear a valid argument against legalized prostitution.”

          First of all let me say that neither have I. However “they”, meaning the politico’s, would first use the AIDS epidemic and other STD’s against that bill. Then the religious right would be very loud and in your face with the immorality of legalizing paid for sex.

          Well, the list goes on and on and on and on ad infinitum!

    • I have been a supporter of legalizing marijuana for a very, very long time and yes…I used to smoke it frequently. I also was working 3 jobs and maintaining the family ranch when my dad became ill at the same time, so its not like I sat around watching I Love Lucy reruns stoned all day.

      I believe the tax revenue and restrictions would be on the same level as alcohol. I don’t think the drug cartels main revenue is from pot but more likely from whatever chemical is in high demand at present. (Heroin, Meth & Cocaine are more easily transported and bring in much higher profits.) As far as it being easier for kids to obtain it, ask any kid you know and I’ll bet my bottom dollar they already know 2 or 3 kids selling it.

      Medicinally it does wonders for chemo patients. It helps them regain their appetites and for most tends to calm their stomachs after treatments. I have a very good friend who has cancer and since she got her pot perscription she went from weighing 82 pounds and slim chances of survival, back up to 110 and doing alot better than her doctors ever imagined she would.

      • I agree with Kym. If they legalize it and tax it, that at least would be a tax that was somewhat voluntary…don’t want to pay the tax, don’t buy it. There are going to have to be more avenues for the government to pay the ever increasing debt (IF they even intend to pay down on it).

      • If legalized, you can bet some enterprising Cigarette Company would start manufacturing prepackaged doobies fairly quickly.

        Also some enterprising farmers would begin growing it big time.

      • Alan F. says:

        Don’t kid yourself. Weed is on the menu because of its greater market appeal. Its an easy sell in areas with few pin cushions or ice heads to work from. A friend I grew up with made his living from creative chemical marketing and providing a better selection meant a better clientele and greater market draw. As for your 2 or 3 kids selling it, what’s the going rate and availability? Is it ditch weed, skunk or Manitoba’s finest? Grade makes an enormous difference in pricing and in some cases what weights its sold in. Can’t have someone Bogarting the whole stash if supplies are limited as that would piss off your base. All dealers know, everyone gets a taste.

        So now there is no shortage and prices fall through the floor. Hell lets even go as far as its only 4 times the price of tobacco. You’re pitching more kids would NOT join in on the fun with a bigtime blue light sale and an endless supply for distro? When it comes to kids using abundant cheap hydro, the sky is very much the limit.

        How many you know right now with a license to grow? I know a few. How many you know licensed to carry 300grams personal and 3 kilos dried in house because he was the first and they hadn’t really thought over the practicality of accepting “boiled as a tea” as a method of use? I know only one and I helped him with the inch thick stack of forms he had to submit for acquiring his possession and growers license. I’m not unsympathetic to its place as the calming agent of choice. Its side effects are bush league and don’t lead to the user throwing themselves off a bridge or stepping off the curb into traffic unlike some of the antidepressant candy being dispensed.

        As a med its no different than Oxy or Xanax and I don’t think a doctor has ever been unable to prescribe it, just not willing to for a headache or being cross eyed or a sore back…

    • Richmond Spitfire says:

      Hi all,

      Thanks for sharing your perspectives.

      I smoked Pot a couple of times when I was much younger and personally I just didn’t like the way it made me feel…

      With that said, I’ve been around people who smoke pot (considered potheads) and people who drink alcohol (some of which are considered alcoholics). So, with that said, I feel like I have a bit of insight on this subject…

      In my personal opinion, I would much rather be around a person who has smoked pot vs. a person who is stinking drunk (or at least on their way to becoming drunk).

      A person who has smoked pot seems to be very mellow; and, in some cases, a person who is stinking drunk is repulsive to me in how they comport themselves.

      My biggest issue with pot is the fact that it is illegal and because of that, is a no-no (in my book)…yes…I have broken the law before and I’m sure I will in the future (an example of that is speeding).

      There are many good arguments for and against the legalization of Marijuana.

      Regards,
      RS

  7. Morning All! Seems that our govt is sticking their nose in everything. With healthcare reform around the corner, and taxes a constant issue, here’s an article that might interest you: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31062270/

    • Bama dad says:

      This will destroy employer-provided health benefits and make it where everyone will be on the government heath care dole. 😡

    • Another case of Obama flip-flopping on campaign rhetoric. He is finding once again that running for office and actually being in office are two different animals

      This is like Gitmo. He jumped into office and the first thing he does is sign a Presidential Order to close Gitmo, then discovered that it wasn’t that easy.

      He ORDERS his democratic congressional members to come up with a health care plan, then discovers he has to pay for it somehow.

      He and Pelosi holler that they’ll do things their (the Democrat) way, now are discovering that a lot of things won’t work that way.

      How far are they going to go before they come to the realization that they are destroying our economy? Will thay ever realize it? Is that their plan? Why?

      • Alan F. says:

        All too much a bull’s-eye. Being the president is another game entirely. Love to have been there the very moment, sitting behind that desk in the oval office, he comes to the realization his very own campaign rhetoric was all too naive.

    • I work in healthcare, the biggest problems that exist are government controlled insurance (medicade, medicare and workers comp) and the growing number of welfare rats that live off our dime. All of these drive up the cost of healthcare, which in turn drives up the cost of health insurance to those who work. It’s a vicious circle, and now that govt is getting involved even more, it will get much worse. Hospitals have to remain financially viable to continue to provide services, just like any other business. The more government gets control, the less healthcare that will be available.

      G!

    • Danak13 says:

      VAT on employer provided health care will destroy it. As most of you know, I am a veteran that does go to the VA hospital in Dallas when necessary. I do have supplemental insurance. However, that is gov’t run and it is horrible. The treatment and docs are ok, so far, but to schedule a physical 8 months in advance and then to wait 6 hours for your appointment time and sometimes not make it and then reschedule an appointment for another 6 months down the road….this is just one aspect of gov’t run health care. I vote no.

    • I watched Howard Dean being interviewed on health care (promoting his book).
      He was very clear that the governments role should not be compeating with private providers. Really surprised me that he said that.

      I expect they will pass a record number of new taxes, alcohol, fast food, sugar. When working overtime, you are paid time and a half, makes sense the government should tax you 1 1/2 times more. The riots and rebellion will come when they pass the condom tax.

      • LOI, if Howard Dean is saying it, I don’t buy it. It conforms to the same mold that the government doesn’t want to nationalize banks, or take over car companies. If the government passes some sort of universal health care bill, then by default they will compete with private health care providers. We all know how level that playing field would be.

        You are absolutely correct…taxes of all types and then some they will make up will be on the rise. There is no way around it. This is of course unless you make less than 250K…NOT!!!

        • Alan F. says:

          Its always the case with broad taxation to do it before the consumer. By the time John Q gets to see the cost to him its not obvious as to whom is to blame. We had that happen here with the 37% gas tax. Sure its all big oil’s doing.

          You’ll get it on all energy and consumption will be the target. Its really a pity a the energy Dictator/Chief/Duke is going to have such a horrid time separating “the rich” buying a tank of gas from “the poor”. Mind you if there are rebates involved I see a new cottage industry, “the poor” filling up for “the rich” for a 10% kick. Maybe this is president Obama’s job creation program? “The poor” rise up and become purchasing agents for “the rich”. Maybe they can have booths setup on the gas station’s property like brokerages at the border crossings here. Ah the joy-joy feeling of a self fulfilling prophecy.

    • JayDickB says:

      Obama says that his plan will reduce total health care costs. I think the only way to substantially reduce total health care costs is to ration care. I also think that this is exactly what the Democrats intend to do.

      Look at the UK. They have a board that decides what kinds of procedures/drugs can be used on what groups of people. That’s where we’re headed.

      If there is a “government” plan (similar to Medicare) in the law that passes, it will eliminate all the other plans because the premiums will be lower, maybe much lower. The premiums will be lower because of hidden subsidies and price controls. Once all the other plans are gone, we will have a “single payer” like Canada with the government as the single payer. At that point, the government totally controls health care, costs will increase, care will be rationed, talented people will not select medicine as a career, and the whole health care system will go to hell in a handbasket.

      What we need are reforms to encourage a free market in health care, especially its financing (insurance).

    • Chris Devine says:

      We need to stop referring to health insurance as ‘health care.’ Insurance works by denying coverage from premium paying customers. Health insurance companies, being profit driven, are no more benevolent than government funded health services. You are just as likely (perhaps even more likely) to be denied a procedure or medication by a health insurance company than you would by medicare.

      What we need is to limit the influence of the insurance companies in medical services. Medical care decisions should be made by the patient under the advice of a physician. If we switched to a system similar to the FEHP (Federal Employee Health Plan) everybody could choose their own provider and we could have the bargaining leverage of 300 million people to take care of the price gouging by the insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Health insurance companies spend much more on administrative costs than the government does. Why shouldn’t we go with a system that is more efficient and fair?

      • Bama dad says:

        “efficient and fair”

        My brother would laugh at that comment; he loves the efficient and fair way the government runs the VA health care/medical services.

        • Chris Devine says:

          But I’m sure he would also agree that they are completely underfunded. It’s hard to run something efficiently or fairly without the resources to do so. The way our veterans are treated is appalling, forcing us to pay for the treatment of wounds and conditions acquired during service is about as unfair as it gets.

      • JayDickB says:

        I have Medicare. I used to have Blue Cross (it is still my secondary insurance). Neither ever refused a claim.

        But with BC, it would pay part of the bill if I went to a non-participating doctor. Medicare pays all or none. If the doctor accepts Medicare, he can’t bill me for an additional fee (except the authorized co-pay). So, I can’t go to a doctor that won’t take Medicare, and increasing numbers won’t because the fees are low, the hassles are high, and they don’t get paid until months later.

        I sometimes regret signing up for Medicare B. Blue Cross works much better.

        As for admin costs, I don’t believe Medicare is lower. Getting good financial information out of the Feds is like getting it from Enron. (I was a federal auditor for 35 years; I have seen it.)

      • chiefopiner says:

        “Health insurance companies spend much more on administrative costs than the government does.”

        While I agree with this statement in a general sense, the numbers aren’t as wide as we are being led to believe and that’s because we’re not comparing apples to apples.

        Here is a link to a report by the Council for Affordable Health Insurance, yes – a private insurance industry group, that gives reasonable points to consider when looking at the differences of administrative costs between the two.

  8. I'm learning! says:

    I was listening to an advertisement on TV last night when I was making jelly. The station I had on often has a portion of the 10:00 news called “A good question” where viewers e-mail a question in and it is researched. The question last night was “Can minorities be racist?” The first thing that I thought was “YES!” However, by the definition they gave – they are saying for the most part no! They define racist as prejudice + the POWER to oppress the minority.

    Here is a line from the story: “Rhodes said she agrees that there is no such thing as “reverse racism,” arguing that there are very isolated circumstances where minorities can be racist. For example, if a minority were a high-level executive at a company and set a policy in place that actively discriminated against another racial group, that would be considered racism because of the power play.”

    It makes me wonder who really is racist in this country. By definition – wouldn’t it be all those people in power that are forcing companies to hire a certain % of minorities – even if they are not the most qualified of the current pool of applicants for the position?

    http://wcco.com/goodquestion/minorities.racist.scotus.2.1028871.html

    • That’s quite an article. I didn’t know only whites could be racist! I don’t agree with the whole power analogy either. This reeks of wanting a lock on the victim status.

      It looks like this conversation started because of the new SCOTUS nominee and her latina woman vs. white man comment. I believe that comment was racist – I don’t know enough about her yet to decide if she herself is also racist.

      • I'm learning! says:

        I found this definition interesting because this topic has come up at school a couple of times. Once by a middle school – fresh out of college and trying to change the world – substitute teacher that pulled my son out of class and chewed him out because she heard 3rd hand that he might have made a racist comment at a school dance one night. However the “white kids” hear the “Mexican kids” make racist comments towards them in the hallways, or other places in the school, but that never seems to get her attention. Needless to say after the meetings with the principal and that teacher, our son was probably that teacher’s least favorite student and I think she hated us.

        If that is how racism is defined – very few people in the grand scheme of things could be racist. Most people don’t have the power to oppress a group of people. They can be prejudiced, threatening, or for that matter, even do criminal acts against the minority – which should be punishable by the same standards as a criminal act against the majority. I am really sick of race issues. Just because your great, great, great grandparents were slaves, or your great grandmother never had the right to vote doesn’t mean that is an issue anymore! Move on and make something of yourself!

      • Chris Devine says:

        We’re just better at it because we’ve had a lot more pratice it seems.

      • Chris Devine says:

        Saying that someone who grew up poor and worked very hard to achieve might have a better understanding than somebody who grew up isolated and privileged is not a racist comment. You might construe it as such, but given the context it was given in I doubt that it is.

    • It sounds to me like comparing apples to apples. Predjudice, Racism, Racial Hatred. And the difference is?

      If you hate someone because of their Race, that is Racism. Whether you have power over them or not is irrelevant.

      Reverse Racism is still just Racism. This Rhodes must be from another planet or smoking some serious dope. Or maybe she is just a moron.

      • I'm learning! says:

        Considering where she works, you can just sum it up as a professor at a liberal college.

    • Alan F. says:

      Idiocy incarnate. This Dr. Jane Rhodes is just another who had the funding for a 7 year stint in university. Big whoop! What she lauds is imbecilic and I certainly hope for the sake of whatever university she is a product of that her discussion was taken out of context. Racism is negative behavior directed at another with race being the trigger. Plain, simple and unmovable.

      I’m sure if the interviewer posed the question “A Greek and a Turk engage hate at first sight, which is the racist?” she would have answered the lighter of the two. What a moron.

  9. Danak13 says:

    I heard and read speeches about protectionism as a way back from the economic woes. Herein lies another topic. Fire away.

    Other countries practice this to protect their economy with China being one of the worst. Do trade deficits work against us? I believe they do. What is one to do now?

    • USWeapon says:

      Danak13,

      This is a good topic but you should probably define protectionism. It is a term that many may not be familiar with.

      • Danak13 says:

        Thanks USW….trade protectionism is a term that is used to protect American jobs and imports/exports from foreign competitors that have low wage or practically slave labor. Mexico, China, etc. In addition, tariffs or taxes is another word is placed on commodities that are cheaper to import so that price wise they can compare to the higher wage same product. If China makes a product the same as we make here but their wages are 40-70% less and even with transportation, their cost is less than the American product, a tax would be placed on that product to bring it to the same cost. China does this to everyone but insists on no tariffs lower tariffs on their products. Trade deficits occur because of this. The USA is normally a free trade zone but it might be time to level the playing field and treat other countries like they treat us. So, there begins a tariff war. Goods and services and products become the new weapon and trade prices the ammo.

  10. We are in tough economic times, no doubt. Thought this was a humorous way of tracking how we are doing:

    http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/CompanyFocus/how-your-undies-track-the-recession.aspx

    • Oh that was great Kathy! Apparently, when times are tough, most men don’t care how many skid marks and holes are in their undies. They just keep on wearing them to save money.

  11. Question, are environmentalists more concerned with animal than human life?

    Polar bear population in 1975 was 5,000, today its 25,000. And of course, they need protection.

    BILLINGS, Mont. – Two federal judges will decide which states in the Northern Rockies have enough gray wolves to allow public hunting, as the bitter debate over the region’s wolves heads to courts in Wyoming and Montana.

    Environmentalists filed a lawsuit in Missoula on Tuesday seeking to restore protections for more than 1,300 wolves in Montana and Idaho.
    there are now an estimated 1,645 wolves in the Northern Rockies, not including this year’s pups.

    “There’s absolutely no question this population is fully recovered.

    In Wyoming, the complaints have grown as wolves take a bloody toll on livestock and big game herds. Ranchers say the number of wolves shot by federal wildlife agents — 264 last year alone — has not been enough to curb livestock killings that hit a record high in 2008.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31073035/

    • Black Flag says:

      Environmentalists do not care about people at all. To them, we are a virus.

      They do care about power and control of wealth. They want it.

      There is nothing rational at all in any argument or presentation they provide. Its like debating an insane person – reason and logic simply is futile.

      They are becoming the largest and latest threat to freedom.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Would depend on what you define as an environmentalist eh? Pretty strong remarks.

        • Black Flag says:

          A Conservationist cares for the environment for the benefit of mankind.

          An Environmentalist cares nothing of mankind.

          • Bama dad says:

            Careful there BF you are saying something I can 100% agree with.
            😯

          • Alan F. says:

            Absolutely dead on BF. I can tell you first hand also that environmentalists here talk long and often while conservationists do.

          • Chris Devine says:

            I think that concern for the well being of the global ecosystem (which is necessary for the survival of all species including homo sapiens) shows a great deal of care for mankind.

            • Black Flag says:

              The global ‘eco-system’ is completely immune to the designs of man.

              This system has been shocked by asteroid collisions, super volcanoes, etc. and its still here.

              We’re not even a moment’s thought to the Earth.

              Our sole effort, then, is to make the Earth suitable for our life. Conservationism achieves that.

              Environmentalism – which treats man as unnatural – does not.

      • Seems like the Global Warming nutcases have taken hold. That might cost us all alot of $.

        G!

        • Why, I’m suprised at you G! Of course it’s going to cost us money! Hell, when you own the office of President and the Majority of Congress, it’s only natural that soon Laws will be passed to cost all of us money!

          And if it were up to those “environmentalists” we would not be allowed to hunt or grow food or drive cars. Animals would rule the world. Humans would be sacrificed to Animistic Gods. Humans would be a discriminated against minority.

          • Danak13 says:

            Then dinosaurs rule once again.

          • Chris Devine says:

            Before you go insulting people who have concern for animals (besides humans) you might consider that factory farms and agribusiness MNC’s are quite happy with feeding you animals shot-full of drugs and antibiotics to increase their profit margin. The biggest animal lovers I know are farmers. You’d be well-advised to take care of the animals you use to provide your family’s nutrition.

      • USWeapon says:

        My God BF…. You are preaching again… and getting an AMEN from me again. You nailed this statement 100% and I echo it without a single change in wording.

        I hate that I so often agree with you these days. LOL

      • JayDickB says:

        Am I allowed to agree with BF?

        Of course most environmentalists are about power. Most politicians are also about power, keeping power, expanding power.

        Doing good for the citizens? Just a smokescreen; a lie to get elected to more power.

    • Naten53 says:

      Why do you want to kill the wolves, they are only a product of our segregated society. They need the same opportunity that we privileged americans have. We should give them education and the angry farmers diversity training.

  12. Black Flag says:

    The U.S. economy will enter “hyperinflation” approaching the levels in Zimbabwe because the Federal Reserve will be reluctant to raise interest rates, investor Marc Faber said.

    Prices may increase at rates “close to” Zimbabwe’s gains, Faber said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Hong Kong. Zimbabwe’s inflation rate reached 231 million percent in July, the last annual rate published by the statistics office.

    http://bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aIeLg1djbBps&refer=home

    I do not believe he is right. Actually, its more like I pray he is wrong.

    Hyperinflation would destroy Western Civilization.

    We would retract to barter – destroying the prosperity that the division of labor has achieved. Division of labor flourishes because the ability to price nearly every human effort to the minutest granularity can only be done with money/currency.

    The closer we move to barter and away from money/currency, the less adept the division of labor becomes and subsequently, the destruction of prosperity.

    If the US turns into hyperinflation, it will overwhelm all ability to barter. How will someone in NY barter for California food in the middle of winter? It is impossible by the basis of barter to make such a complex trade. NY would starve. California would freeze and grind to a halt (how do they get oil?). Carry this everywhere all at once.

    Complete and total disaster on par with a nuclear war.

    I do not believe the Fed (or Central Banks) will allow this to happen. They will abandon the government to its fate before then.

    Prepare, personally, for both scenarios.

    (Is MadMom here today?)

    • USWeapon says:

      “I do not believe the Fed (or Central Banks) will allow this to happen. They will abandon the government to its fate before then.”

      I believe sir that you are correct. With any luck the people will abondon the current government to its fate shortly thereafter.

    • Hi BF,

      Just stopped in for a second to take a breather from my hamster-in- a- plastic- ball- in- the- middle- of- a- Cat 5- hurricane routine. I’m pretty sure I have spoken with every person in the state of Rhode Island, but I read these news articles and wonder why the heck I bother if it is all for naught and the country is going to hell in a hand basket.

      USW, What do you mean by the people will abandon the current government to its fate? In what capacity?

      • USWeapon says:

        If the government continues to steadily increase its size and scope, and therefore increasing its operating costs (all these programs cost money), it is simply going to become too large to support itself without reverting to some form of truly fascist or communist state.

        So abandoning government to its fate would be to allow the government to perish under its own weight, thus allowing the era of small government and state’s rights to re-emerge under a new banner of liberty! In principle, you are already leading the charge in Rhode Island for the abondonment that I am speaking of, abandoning support for the current reckless practices of big government.

        Did that make any sense at all or am I rambling?

        • Black Flag says:

          USWep is correct.

          This is why I suggest any political intuitive should be local. This is where the future will be rebuilt.

        • I’d like to abandon it now. But I think the government would have something to say about that. Like sticking me in the slammer. So how would such a transition occur in reality without violence?

          It’s being predicted that the government of UK’s Gordon Brown will receive a no confidence vote next week due to his out of control spending and there will be a subsequent regime change. I’m wondering how that will effect the US as Bernanke just told Congress they better rein in the deficit spending, but they seem ill inclined to follow his suggestion.

      • Black Flag says:

        Hi Mom,

        Just wanted to thank you for the email, and to respond to your question.

        The T-bill thing is China moving to short term notes – those can be regularily renewed at the interest rate of inflation vs. long term notes that get the heck beat out of them during inflation.

        A move to short term notes is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

        It risks the Fed’s attempt to keep inflation down – now the T-bills renew quickly and are flipped at every increasing interest rate, which causes further inflation. It is a negative spiral – and that is what concerns the ‘market’ who is watching these notes.

        In tsunami terms, we are witnessing the shore line sucking back toward the sea …. do not venture out on the beach …… !

        • Thanks BF. So do you advocate paying down whatever debt possible? Is that the course of action? Or take money and put it into something concrete and to hell with the debt?

          • Black Flag says:

            Yes, no and maybe.

            What debt? If you have credit card debt – then yes, because:
            1) they can close your account at anytime and force you to pay immediately.
            2) interest rate can be changed at will – and they will follow the inflation rate.

            EXCEPT: if you have no free cash. In that case, you must reserve cash-in-hand (not in a bank) but in your hand of about 2 to 4 months of your most immediate expenses. It makes no sense to pay a credit card, then they cancel it on you – and now you’re out of cash and are caught short in paying your rent/mortgage and food.

            Then you should pay your credit cards….

            EXCEPT: if you really don’t care about your credit rating, then make the minimum PLUS 10% payments, and use the rest of your cash to build your food and supply store. If everything goes sideways, the credit card companies will only make your life irritating – but they cannot kill you, or really, financially hurt you. They are “unsecured debt” – they cannot seize assets to force you to pay. SO if you’re willing to toss out your credit rating, they are little risk to you. Making the payments (plus 10%) will keep them off your back while your building reserves. If it all goes to Hell, you haven’t thrown money into a dark hole at a time you really need it.

            If your stores are up to snuff, then you can start paying of the credit cards….

            EXCEPT: if you think there is great risk of severe inflation. Then instead, buy gold. A few oz. of gold, after the price skyrockets, probably would pay off all your debt. So its a bit of a gamble – the down side, you own some gold. The up side, you could get out of debt instantly.

            So after you have enough oz. of gold that if at $10,000 paid off all your debts, you can start paying off your credit cards…

            EXCEPT: …. if you’re at risk to lose your job due to economic conditions. Throwing money at a credit card – THAT WILL CLOSE IF YOU LOSE YOUR JOB – is throwing it away into a money hole at a time you need it the most. So, build a cash reserve of 8 months of your expenses. (I hope you have a budget so that you know how much you spend as necessary and spend that is discretionary).

            Once you have that, then you can pay off your credit cards.

            Except…. (you get the idea).

  13. Ray Hawkins says:

    Should Bill O’Reilly be Arrested and Charged with Conspiracy to Commit Murder?

    This past Sunday Doctor George Tiller, one of few in the U.S. that performed late term abortions was gunned down inside his Church by one Scott Roeder. Tiller is the eight U.S. abortion provider murdered since 1977 (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/06/01/abortion-opponents-discouraged-doctors-murder/). Roeder has been described by many who were close to him as fanatical, crazy, mentally ill, extremist and so on (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/us_world/2009/06/02/2009-06-02_suspect_in_slay_of_abort_docs_crazy_ex_says.html). What is clear is that Roeder targeted Tiller due to his line of work. Earlier this week several news outlets reported on the potential influence of hate-filled opinion rhetoric, primarily from Bill O’Reilly from Fox. In segments aired by Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, several news clips were played of Bill O’Reilly and his frequent references to Tiller as “Tiller the baby killer” and O’Reilly likening Tiller to the Nazis of WWII (http://mediamatters.org/research/200906020046). So – the question is not whether later term abortions are legal, right, etc. The question is this – if it can be shown that O’Reilly’s rhetoric contributed to influencing or inciting Roeder to kill Tiller, should O’Reilly be charged? Anyone that has followed Bill O’Reilly for more than five minutes is well aware that Bill isn’t much removed from circus clown status, and has been demonstrated to be an immense liar numerous time (Peter Hart’s book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/158322601X/ref=ox_ya_oh_product), but this may have just crossed the line? Has Bill moved beyond just reporting and obnoxious opining to start inciting violence (knowing that what he says is seen as the truth, as knowledge and as fact by people living on the fringe of society)? Do we draw the line legally somewhere here as to what constitutes incitement? My vote? Well – if the evidence shows that Roeder was influenced by O’Reilly I say lock him up. No evidence? Well – maybe and hopefully Bill has a lesson learned – but I doubt it.

    • I don’t think O’Reilly can be charged with anything except having an opinion. I also think Tiller was a baby killer. Unless they throw out the 1st Amendment, that is a non-starter.

      • Chris Devine says:

        The first amendment is only a prohibition against prior restraint. There are many case where people uttering so-called fighting words (used to incite violence) were prosecuted. This is the oft-cited ‘shouting fire in a crowded theater’ example.

    • Should Ice”T” be Arrested and Charged with Conspiracy to Commit Murder?

      Let me tell you a story. A few years back I heard about a rapper named Ice-T who was selling a CD called “Cop Killer” celebrating ambushing and murdering police officers. It was being marketed by none other than Time/Warner, the biggest entertainment conglomerate in the world. Police across the country were outraged. Rightfully so – at least one had been murdered. But Time/Warner was stonewalling because the CD was a cash cow for them, and the media were tiptoeing around it because the rapper was black. I heard Time/Warner had a stockholders meeting scheduled in Beverly Hills. I owned some shares at the time, so I decided to attend. What I did there was against the advice of my family and colleagues I asked for the floor. To a hushed room of a thousand average American stockholders, I simply read the full lyrics of “Cop Killer” – every vicious, vulgar, instructional word:

      “I GOT MY 12 GAUGE SAWED OFF,
      I GOT MY HEADLIGHTS TURNED OFF.
      I’M ABOUT TO BUST SOME SHOTS OFF,
      I’M ABOUT TO DUST SOME COPS OFF…”

      It got worse, a lot worse. I won’t read the rest of it to you. But trust me, the room was a sea of shocked, frozen, blanched faces. The Time/Warner executives squirmed in their chairs and stared at their shoes. They hated me for that.

      Then I delivered another volley of sick lyric brimming with racist filth, where Ice-T fantasizes about sodomizing two 12-year old nieces of Al and Tipper Gore: “SHE PUSHED HER BUTT AGAINST MY ….” Well, I won’t do to you here what I did to them. Let’s just say I left the room in echoing silence. When I read the lyrics to the waiting press corps, one of them said “We can’t print that.” “I know,” I replied,”but Time/Warner’s selling it.” Two months later, Time/Warner terminated Ice-T’s contract.

      Speech by Charlton Heston

      http://www.theblessingsofliberty.com/

      • Simply AWESOME!!!!!!!!

      • Chris Devine says:

        There’s a big difference between O’Reilly and Ice-T. O’Reilly spoke of a specific individual who was later assassinated. Ice-T spoke of an institution. While I don’t condone the violence inherent in either man’s speech, I think O’Reilly is much worse in that he led a campaign against Dr. Tiller specifically.

    • What Keith Olbermann said yesterday is not symbolic. He flatly said a (male) Democratic super delegate should take Hillary Clinton into a room, and only the man should emerge.

      Keith Olbermann is openly advocating the murder of Hillary Clinton.

      http://anglachelg.blogspot.com/2008/04/olberman-calls-for-clintons-murder.html

    • USWeapon says:

      I see your line of thought here, but no.

      Are we going to start prosecuting heavy metal bands and video game manufacturers when someone shoots up a school and says the music caused it? In this case, O’Reilly is in poor taste and out of line (although I don’t know what he said because I don’t often watch him, I see the look of pure shock on Ray’s face as he reads this).

      If O’Reilly can be held responsible for warping the minds of impressionable people on the fringe of society, and prosecuted for such, then I submit that we need to build about 100 new prisons for the plethora of liberal college professors that say far worse things, and do far worse warping of impressionable young minds, than O’Reilly has ever been able to reach.

      O’Reilly may not be a good guy, but held liable in circumstances such as this, foolishness.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Lets’ re-phrase a bit here:

        First off – nothing O’Reilly says really shocks me – similar to Rush or Hannity or Keith himself I often laugh and then try to see (a) any truth and (b) what is the bs factor? My question was intended to be more towards what are the limits of the 1st and what level of proof would be required to prosecute for incitement. Perhaps there is a good reason that many of these are not pursued (yes – Ozzy fan here) or are thrown out. The speculation (and it is mere speculation at this point) was that O’Reilly knew he was riling up pumping up the fringe on this and just went with it because that is how his brain works. That I find far more scary than what Ice T – posing as ‘art’ – to advocate killing cops. Or, think of it this way:

        When younger I worked as a counselor at a day camp – volunteered one summer. The attendees had less than optimal mental capacity. One counselor, ignorant in her own ways, thought it’d be funny to talk one of the attendees into pushing one of the others. Well, he did. He pushed, and pushed, and pushed – and broke several bones in the kids face, broke an arm, several ribs and ruptured an eardrum. Roeder was thought to also have diminished mental capacity. I doubt O’Reilly knew this or even knew Roeder specifically – I’ll leave that to the cops. Maybe he isn’t held liable in a Court of law, but where is the accountability for a guy that may have known he was throwing gas on a fire?

        • If he had openly called for the killing of this doctor there would be a case, in my opinion.

          • Ray Hawkins says:

            JAC – may be right on that – not sure what incitement is really meant to cover/address. And yes folks – I know many other examples of talking heads could be pointed to.

        • USWeapon says:

          I agree it is reprehensible. But we could find example after example of this every day. On all political sides. From all types of people. I don’t know where the line is on this, and I understand your position, especially since you don’t like O’Reilly to begin with. If it were Pelosi I would probably feel the same and perhaps lose my objectivity. I don’t care enough about O’Reilly one way or the other, but I see so many examples of where this could be applied if we wanted to. I think it creeps too close to the “thought police” line.

          • Ray Hawkins says:

            USW – thoughts on what ‘incitement’ really is then as a crime? I guess it is called “encouraging or assisting” a crime. Wonder if we have any LE or lawyer-types that read here. Anyone?

      • Chris Devine says:

        How many liberal college professors have a nightly TV show on a major network with millions of audience members?

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Chris,

          The scale has nothing to do with it. If a liberal college professor were to make the statement that Americans were the equivalent of the Nazi’s in Germany in the 1930’s and 1940s and therefore deserved to die, then one of the students decided it would be a good idea to go out and kill Americans, it would not matter that the college professor only had access to a few classrooms full of 50 or 100 students each year. It would matter that the one student did what the professor seemed to be advocating.

          The same is true of O’Reilly. Regardless of how big of an audience he has access to, if he advocates for the killing of a specific person or a specific group of people and ONE MEMBER of his audience acts on what he is advocating, he is as responsible as the college professor in the first example.

          Any “sane” person would also realize that O’Reilly is a person who is paid to do the job of being an offensive bloviating opinionated bastard supposedly aligned with conservative ideals, whereas the professor is supposedly a person who is paid to educate college students.

          Advocating violence against a person or a group of people has no place on the airwaves OR in the classroom or lecture hall.

          • Chris Devine says:

            I’m guessing you’re referring to Ward Churchill. Regardless, equating the American institutions involved in unprovoked acts of aggression with the Nazi’s is not the same thing as singling out one man for continuous scrutiny and vilification on television.

            Furthermore, saying that acts of terrorism (committed by people who fail to distinguish the difference between a country’s institutions and its citizens) are understandable is not the same thing as condoning them.

    • bama dad says:

      Ray
      If you want to go that route then a lot of our political leaders need to be charged with the murder of army Private William Long. He was killed by Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad who said he was angry about the killing of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact you could even charge Barry with murder for releasing the classified documents that inflamed Muslims worldwide.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Incitement has been around since common law and is on the books now under the 2007 Serious Crimes Law – just interested in where they draw the line. If it is ‘un-enforceable’ then why have it? (imho)

  14. Black Flag says:

    Either someone is reading this blog, or the synchronicity of this article is amazing…

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601039&sid=ar2de0RP4ebo&refer=home

    Rand’s Atlas Is Shrugging With a Growing Load

    Imagine a novel of more than a thousand pages, published half a century ago. The author doesn’t have a talk-radio show and has been dead for 27 years.

    As for the storyline, it is beyond dated: Humorless executives fight with humorless public officials over an industry that is, today, almost irrelevant to the U.S. economy – – railroads. The prose itself is a disconcerting mixture of philosophy, industrial policy, and bodice-ripping: “The wind blew her hair to blend with his. She knew why he had wanted to walk through the mountains tonight.”

    In short, you would think “Atlas Shrugged” might be long forgotten.

    Instead, Ayn Rand’s novel is remembered more than ever. This year the book is selling at a faster rate than last year. Last year, sales were about 200,000, higher than any year before that, including 1957, when the book was published.

  15. Black Flag says:

    Another blow to those who believe “voting” makes a difference….

    In a direct snub against the voters in California

    California averts meltdown, passes balanced budget; Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger expected to sign

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/us_world/2009/02/19/2009-02-19_california_averts_meltdown_passes_balanc.html

    Senate Minority Leader Dennis Hollingsworth warned the crippling effects of passing the state’s largest tax increase in California history.

    No brainier, of course. Voters said “NO”, but who cares?

    There is no power in the citizen’s vote. So, when the voters say “NO” overwhelmingly, what do they get as they reward? The largest tax INCREASE in their history

    Who says votes matter? Anyone? Anyone? Convinced of its futility yet?

    And they press yells “and they cut expenditures”… So who wants to know what they cut?… Let’s see hands…. Ok here it is.

    and to eliminate new office furniture budgeted for the state controller.

    WOW! What a sacrifice! NO NEW FURNITURE!!

    😈

    • Danak13 says:

      I know that I am asking for this….(donning flak jacket)…. but you said..

      “Another blow to those who believe “voting” makes a difference….”

      What is the alternative?

      • REVOLT!

      • Black Flag says:

        Revolt! -> No.

        Government LOVES violence – it feeds on it. Revolt empowers it – it gives government justification to attack the citizenry.

        Alternative – do not vote. Boycott the beast in all manner and things.

        • Don’t vote??????? Why not just withdraw from society altogether and live in the woods? I could, could you?

          Are you waiting with baited breath for the collapse? What then, step in a seize control?

          I have gained a great deal of respect for your knowledge these past few weeks, however I still question your reason and logic.

          There must be a method to your sanity, care to share?

          • Black Flag says:

            See Post #25

          • Black Flag says:

            Obviously, voting accomplishes absolutely nothing.

            So what is the purpose of voting?

            If the government was going to ignore the vote anyway why did they put the population through the illusion?

            Because the vote proves your acceptance of the system.

            Until the people figure out the system is organized against them, they will stop supporting the system.

            As long as the illusion that the people can control the system (by voting), the system will continue to rape the citizens because the control is an illusion.

            Stop living in illusions and the truth (and path to the future) starts to become clear.

            As long as illusions block your vision, the path will never be clear.

            • Black Flag says:

              Voting is like a kid’s car seat play steering wheel – the child pretends he’s steering the car, but it’s completely an illusion to entertain the child.

              Time to stop being children, not?

              • What I am hearing here is that you and USW believe that we must allow the current regime to fizzel out based upon the idea that their ideaology is invalid. No spark no fire.

              • USWeapon says:

                Woooah now, don’t go lumping me and BF in the same boat just yet. I will try to find time shortly to give a better answer than that.

              • Black Flag says:

                Yes, I’m trying to seduce USWep to the Black Side of the Force …. the Force is strong with him and he is resisting…. but resistance is, eventually, futile 😆

              • The Borg said resistence is futile. NOT the black side but the DARK side of the force . . . or so my nine year old grandson tells me! 😉

              • Black Flag says:

                That would be a copyright violation!

                AH, the Borg – mindless obedience to the State ….

                I hope you see the irony of my statement, then.

    • I just don’t think I can see winning an arguement with you on this one BF. I’ll just slide on by.

  16. Black Flag says:

    http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Business/Mint+account+missing+gold/1656084/story.html

    Gold Missing from the Canadian Mint.

    Ooops, someone did an audit, and found metal missing. Bad auditor. They’re not supposed to look behind the curtain.

  17. Black Flag says:

    Northwestern Mutual Makes First Gold Buy in 152 Years (Update2)

    If a bank starts buying gold…..

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=email_en&sid=ajf0L9wTPq6Y

    • Northwestern Mutual is an insurance company. So tell us non-economists what this means…..

      • Black Flag says:

        As the article states – they are concerned about the valuation of their financial (ie: monetary) assets and wish to hedge against inflation (ie: really high inflation) with gold bullion.

        When a bank – who pays big dollars to guys to figure things out – comes up with this solutions, it is a serious warning to us peons.

  18. BF, Your just full of wonderful economic news today! Can you add some input for us dummies, my brain is still stuck on philosophy LOL.

    G!

    • Black Flag says:

      The stock market is up. Why?

      The bad news wasn’t quite as bad as they thought it would be.

      Go figure that one out! 🙄

      Every fundamental (other than commodities) is done at equal or more percentage points then last quarter.

      Commodities are up 40% since last year. Expect food prices this fall and winter to start spiking. Why? People still need to eat. Food prices have a direct relation to oil prices. They are going up, primarily due to uncertainty in the Middle East and Korea, and that China is increasing her own imports.

      Hint: Buy extras of those commodity and consumable things you like (and can store) that are on sale. Instead of your normal purchase, buy 3 to 5x more.

      Hint #2: If you’re a single woman, marry a farmer. I’m not joking. They will survive (if not thrive) and will emerge among the top wealthy (again).

      If you’re a farmer, do not sell your land. You will become the new-rich in 25 to 50 years.

      The rest of us, conserve capital (if you can) and be ready to move into commodities. They are the only ones that will grow (leaps) in the future.

      RE: the link below

      While I don’t agree, necessarily, with some of the reasons (such as Global Warming), I do believe enough of the other reasons and fundamentals more than suffice this advice.

      http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?we_cat=16&art_id=82779&sid=24057633&con_type=1&d_str=&fc=1

  19. Danak13 says:
  20. Whats everybody think about the latest “Power Grab” to have the FDA take over the cigarette companies?

    I don’t recall seeing this new transgression up on the White House web site for 5 days, does anyone else; talk about ‘transparent’ its so transparent it wasn’t there.

    • CM, Transparent apparently means invisible!

    • All;

      I have been reading and following this site for some 4+ weeks, and I must say it is blessed with a great many thoughtful souls. Everybody seems to be fairly well in tuned with reality, common sense and good ole American pride; yet I don’t hear a lot of solutions being presented. Why not?

      There has been some discussion about a third party and starting at the local level, but has anyone taken the first step?

      I know that a lot of us write our Congressmen and Senators, but do any of them respond with anything other than a form letter; MINE DON’T.

      Has anyone been published in any or their local papers, other than ‘responces to the Editor’ section?

      Is anyone running or planning to run for a local, state, or federal position?

      Has anyone taken the Tea Party idea and thought about using it as a catalyst to promote the idea of a reforming government?

      Does anyone attend their local or state governmental functions?

      Does anyone have the ear of a Congressmen or Senator?

      Has anyone formed a protest group, scheduled and participated in a peaceful rightous protest at their own capital?

      Has contacted their Congressman/Congresswoman and asked for a meeting to discuss a Bill or Act to repeal any of the current wrongs we are dealing with?

      I am not writing this to piss anyone off, quite the contrary. I just think that given the intelligence displayed in those that take the time to speak we might think about how we organize a plan to take back our liberty’s.

      My friends and I have written our Representatives and Senators on a number of subjects, as well as Barry. We all got back the same basic form letters relative to the topics we addressed. This along with the fact that they all support Barry tells me that they either don’t care what I have to say, or I don’t matter; or both.

      So what do we do?

      Maybe this can be a guest commentary

      • CM, I’ve taken the “learn as much as I can” approach. That is to gain the knowledge to develope a plan, or help be a part of a plan’s inception. I think all the philosophy stuff is leading to that plan, but haven’t gotten there yet. In the meantime, I’m getting ready for what may become an economic collapse of our nation. I have a plan for that.

        I’ve gotten the same responses from my elected whackballs. They simply don’t listen or care, and never will. They reside on a different planet than us. All the greatest empires were destroyed from within, and our out of control government are heading down the same path.

        PEACE!

        G!

        • G-Man/JAC

          Is letting it run it’s course an option? What if Barry’s plan pushes us into an economic melt down, what then? Is it every man/woman for themselves, dod-eat-dog, survival of the fittest mode of operation?

          If so, me and mine will be fine, but what about the nation as a whole?

          I know everyone out there is dealing with economic challenges, but letting it get to a point like for example Michigan could very well lead to a colapse of a nation. That is what worries me the most. I certainly don’t give a shit if the current government falls apart, I pray for that. Its the impact on national security, our nations welfare as a whole and the overall liberty.

          I think it was Franklin that said it (I’m sure I will be corrected here if I am wrong) “For evil to win all that has to happen is for good men to do nothing”

          Yeah I know that isn’t a direct quote, but it says the same thing.

          I know that one voice is easily drowned out in a crowd, but a united group driven by faith and conviction devoted to a rightous cause can make history.

          Again, I ask What do we do and how do we start?

      • But first you need to know EXACTLY what it is you want to “take back”.

        Are you ready to adopt an ethic of prohibiting the initiation of coersive force against others?

        Are you ready to adopt a political system of laissez-faire capitalism?

        Based on the discussions I see here today there are still many who are not ready.

        If you are not, then you are simply trying to “take back” what you already have.

        The details of what is needed to gain “power” is easy. Getting those things done is very, very hard. But deciding what you want when you get there is much harder.

        We can’t keep screaming for “return of our liberty” then propose another govt law or program. It is a contradiction.

        Sorry for spilling the rain but this is critically important.
        JAC

        • JAC

          Maybe a common cause that we can all rally around is to displace all those currently holding an office, or are in an appointed seat.

          Yes we could dig through the barrel and look for the few good apples, but it just ain’t worth the effort; start over

          Maybe as a collective we just say NO! No to everything that goes against our common sense.

          Everybody on this site has a voice, but it is just one voice. It needs to be a collective shouting at the top of our lungs STOP THE MADNESS!!!!!!

          I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Folks like you and USW and BF are obviously far more educated and worldly wise, but I do know that many a change was realized by a single spark and a commitment to fan the flame.

          I feel there are some sparks a’flying on this site and just maybe we can come up with the tinder to start a fire – what do you think????

          • CM:

            First of all, if I thought it was absolutely hopeless I wouldn’t spend another monment reading, talking or posting on this site.

            Now if we want a fire we need dry sticks of the right size and texture, not the same wet sticks. We need to find the right dry sticks before we can light the fire. If we don’t pile the rocks around it correctly and clear away the dead crap the fire will get away once we light it.

            Please don’t ever put down your own understanding or intelligence. I have not seen one person post here who I would consider a “dull knife”.

            Where do you stand on the key philosophical principles proposed by Rand, in my last article?

            Answer that question and then I will tell you how close we are to answering your other questions.

            JAC

            • Jac;

              Sorry for the delay, work was calling and then my son brought my 11 month old grandson over to play; and play we did. All other things in life are suspended when my grandson visits.

              Just joking about the knife thing, i’m actually above average.

              I will get back to you on the A. Rand thoughts, but my day is already moving at 110 MPH.

              I will tell you that BF has drawn out some old ideals that require attention

            • JAC;

              Post my comments this morning I read today’s post. Given the subject matter I am driven to respond to this there.

          • CM, No one here is more pissed at what is happening to our Country than me. Just thinking about it drives me up the flipping wall!

            But, I have learned from reading here and at other sites that we cannot just jump out onto the streets without first having a plan.

            I have become dedicated almost exclusively to this site because here plans are being made with lots of thought provoking information. We cannot remove anything in Government with force. The best we can hope for is to change it over time. Change. Not Revolution.

            That time may come, but I hope I don’t see it. That will be a disaster even if the people “won”.

      • I'm learning! says:

        I’m with G-man and JAC on this. I didn’t like what was happening in our country, but really didn’t understand the repercussions of the things that happened (Is TARP good or bad?, What does the price of gold have to do with me? What if the car companies fail?) Now I feel more comfortable having conversations with people about issues, (even if I am often sharing the ideas that have come from people on this site). But we need to know what we are fighting for before we can effectively fight (and too many people don’t know this). If we don’t know, then we will be just as ridiculous as everyone else. I remember when I first came to this sight, I would read comments by BF and think WOW – (while rolling my eyes and shaking my head wondering where in the world this guy came from). Now after a few months of reading his postings – the way he phrases things and can back it up – both through links to things he has read or through explaining his thought process, it is more of a WOW (I’m in awe). I don’t agree with 100% of everything I read, but I find it easier to form an opinion! I don’t think we as a country have much time to change what is coming, but it needs to be an intelligent approach. I hope some how, some way it works out!

  21. Danak13 says:

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/06/02/obamas-outreach-muslim-world-carries-high-political-stakes/

    Be afraid here….be very afraid. I feel this is the wrong path but I will watch and wait. Having been very well briefed on the Persian Empire…this is so wrong. But, like it or not (I do not) he is my President. I will watch.

    • D, What’s your take on this.

      • Danak13 says:

        G Man…this is going to be tough for me because I have been in that part of the world for a long time. I have also been briefed by some of the top “non radical” clerics on the beliefs of the Muslim world. I have talked in depth with some locals that were not afraid to speak their minds and it all scared me. So much of this goes back to the Persian Empire so long ago and the fact that the war with Religion is not over and never will be. They firmly believe that they are predestined to be the world power. Go ahead and talk to some of the Mosques here in the US. It is a scary thing. They have been believing this for the past 600 years.

        I have been told by clerics, that the Western World, not just the US, is in a no win situation from the radicals. Any sign of weakness or capitulation by any of the Western World will be a victory for the hard liners. There is a more moderate movement afoot now..especially in Iran which has greater economic woes that we do but this moderate movement is still too young (in age…avg age is 19-24). The older Clerics still hold a great deal of power but are well up in age (over 75). Attrition is what will eventually moderate the Muslim world. However, in Egypt and Saudi, there are monarchy’s that are prevalent. But even those are moderating ever so slowly. So, I feel that B.O. needs to not throw Israel under the bus. He needs to keep the big stick in plain sight for that is all they know. He needs to not apologize for past deeds and or misdeeds no matter how small. The Western World sees apology and recognizing misdeeds as strength and leadership…not so in the Muslim world. If B.O. wants to try to play nice….ok. But do not give away anything at all to achieve being well liked. I am telling you, my experience in that part of the world, tells every fiber in my body that any capitulation will not achieve the desired result. That part of the world is very adept at negotiation… B.O. will not be able to “smoooze” them with rhetoric and teleprompters. This is a big boys game now and the Muslims know how to play.

        You want a great insight…visit a local Mosque. The ones in Texas are scary. You will have to be invited but you can get in.

        • Mike M. Houston Texas says:

          What is Obama doing here? I cannot verify it but it has been reported “during the campaign” his father was agnostic. Now all of a sudden his father is “Islamic”? So he is going abroad and speaking more lies? I agree it is very scary. I have read quite a bit on this today and here is the real problem for B.O. The people there all want to see real action not pretty speeches. He has no money to throw at them he already gave that away. Once his pretty speeches turn into just words with no action behind them. I assume their reaction will be more of the same and maybe worse.

          I really dont get all the bending over backwards he is doing to impress this population. The radicals dont care and the common people dont have the wherewithall to change anything.

          I dont see the gain on any front.

  22. Pinocchio, Snow White and Superman are out for a stroll in town one day…….
    As they walk, they come across a sign:
    “Beauty contest for the most beautiful woman in the world.”

    “I am entering!” said Snow White.
    After half an hour she comes out and they ask her, “Well, how’d you do?”
    ” First Place !,” said Snow White.

    They continue walking and they see a sign:
    “Contest for the strongest man in the world.”

    “I’m entering,” says Superman.
    After half an hour, he returns and they ask him, “How did you make out?”
    ” First Place ,” answers Superman. “Did you ever doubt?”

    They continue walking when they see a sign:
    “Contest! Who is the greatest liar in the world?”
    “I’m entering,” says Pinocchio. After half an hour he returns with tears in his eyes.
    “What happened?” they asked.
    “Who the hell is Nancy Pelosi?” asked Pinocchio.

    http://thebobofiles.com/

    • An Old Ranchers Outlook and Common sence Approach to Life

      While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75 year old rancher, who’s hand was caught in the gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually, the topic got around to Obama being our President.

      The old rancher said “well, ya know, that Obama is a ‘post turtle'”.

      Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a ‘post turtle’ was.

      The old rancher said, “When your driving down the country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that’s a post turtle.

      The old rancher saw a puzzled look on the doctors face so he continued to explain. “You know he didn’t get up there by himself, he doesn’t belong up there, he doesn’t know what to do while he’s up there, and you just wonder what kind of dumb ass put him up there to begin with!

      I love old ranchers!

      G!

  23. Danak13 says:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/usDollarRpt/idUSSP41201020090603

    The latest on the economic front and maybe some back up to what I was saying about Korea and china.

  24. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    As we all have seen, the stock market has (largely) been going up for a while now (today is an excepetion to that). Here is my take on what is happening:

    Is the economy improving? On average since Obama has entered office, 20,000 jobs have been lost PER DAY. Housing prices are still falling, consumer spending does not SEEM to be falling precipitously yet (but it WILL once the newly unemployed finish maxxing out their credit cards), defaults on home mortgages, car loans, personal loans, and credit cards continue to rise.

    So, given all of the above, what excuse does the stock market have to RISE?

    If you want to cheat and look at MY answer, here it is. The large investment banks that have been “bailed out” by the government are throwing their newly minted monopoly money into the stock market as a way of bolstering their balance sheets and showing a so-called profit. Little or none of this money is getting out into the actual economy, but it is giving the stock market a nice little dead-cat bounce!

    As the pace of layoffs and defaults continues unabated and the value of the dollar continues to fall (already down about 5 cents vs the Euro in the past 5 weeks), this so-called rally will be clearly unsustainable and the market will again test previous lows.

    Should the previous lows in the market fail to hold, DOW below 5000 becomes a real possibility, at which point you will see a run on the banks that makes 1929 look like a picnic.

    Don’t ignore BF when he advises you to buy gold if you are in a financial position to do so.

    If the situtation with NK or Iran gets out of hand, the collapse will happen even faster.

    • I'm learning! says:

      I have always wondered – why gold? If you stock up on gold, who’s to say all of a sudden something else is more valuable – the thing to own.

      • Black Flag says:

        Good question.

        Let’s review what, why and when gold is useful.

        Gold has traditionally been the metal of money –

        For the last 10,000 years, Gold has been considered valuable – regardless of what century, what people, what culture or on what continent.

        Nearly every peoples on the Earth, no matter where on the Earth, no matter what era of history has valued gold.

        There is no compelling reason why this has changed today.

        So gold is a timeless store of wealth.

        Gold is a hedge against inflation and high inflation, but not so much during hyperinflation.

        It is NOT an investment that will make you rich. It is a hedge – it will prevent you from being wiped out by government financial mismanagement – but there is wide margin between wiped out and rich. Gold will help you not be wiped out, and that’s all.

        To help understand, an oz. of gold could buy a nice pair of shoes and a good suit in 1890, 1930, 1950, and 2009.

        So holding gold will save your capital but will not increase your capital.

        So its a nice thing to have when your currency (since most people hold their capital in currency) is hit by inflation.

        For example, buying – say 6 oz. @ $1,000 – can pay off your house when inflation hits 20% – gold will push around $5,000 to $10,000. Sell those 6 oz. @ $10,000 – and take the $60,000 and clear your mortgage. That’s what gold is good for – inflation protection.

        But during hyperinflation – nobody trades anything for anything – including gold. Everyone hordes their goods – you’ll end up giving your gold away for a day’s worth of food.

        It’s only use in hyperinflation is that, eventually, some sort of new currency will be in place. You then convert the gold into that currency and get a small head start on everyone else. But you have live long enough to do that.

        If the choice is between food and supply storage and gold, buy the food storage. Once you have 6 to 8 months supplies, and you still have cash, you can start to consider gold.

        Other uses for gold is bribes. If martial law comes to be, and you’re on the wrong side of the ‘line’, gold becomes handy to buy your freedom.

        Another one, is if you’re on the move – mass migration or relocation (due to government action or war). It allows you to carry considerable and negotiable wealth with you.

        In all cases, be quite about your holdings. Gold is easy to trade for nearly anything – thus, a target for theft.

  25. Black Flag says:

    I often suggest that the best tactic to defeat government is to do nothing.

    I offer this little blurb to explain.

    To understand government power and its extent, allow me to build a philosophical workspace.

    I am an ardent student of Aikido – a martial art developed around the philosophy of the Perfect Warrior – that is, to use self-defense to protect themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury.

    “The Way of the Warrior has been misunderstood. It is not a means to kill and destroy others. Those who seek to compete and better one another are making a terrible mistake. To smash, injure, or destroy is the worst thing a human being can do. The real Way of a Warrior is to prevent such slaughter – it is the Art of Peace, the power of love.”

    One of the tenets of Aikido is move within your opponents “edge of Power”.

    I am 5″10 and 160 lbs. and I practice with a fellow who stands 6″5′ and weighs 275 lbs. of hard muscle (ex-Pro Football Player).

    If I attack him, his size and strength easily overwhelms me. If I attempt to resist and pull back from him, his grip on me pulls him into my ‘space’ – and again, his size and strength overwhelms me.

    But between attack and retreat, exists his “edge of Power”

    When I neither push toward him, nor pull back from him – he is helpless and completely in my Power. All I need to do is move my own body in harmony with his strength, and I merge his strength into my will.

    With no effort, I can turn his grip.
    With no effort, I hold his massive hand by my fingers.
    With no effort, I can turn his fingers with mine to any direction I choose

    Then by moving my body, and by not try to move his, his body follows his hand which is following his fingers which are directed by my fingers which are following my body and he is tossed through the air like a falling leaf.

    It is when I am between attack and retreat that effortlessly I can move, even in his grip. His energy on me is in harmony with my motion – it has no other place to flow except where I will it.

    This is the same philosophy to use against government. Often you hear in my post saying “Do nothing, and government will collapse”.

    If you attack government, it will easily overwhelm you. If you try to run from government, it will find and destroy you. It is when you do neither – then it is completely helpless. Apply no energy, and it will begin to fade.

    Like Aikido, the People will become invincible because they offers no resistance energy nor attack energy – thus, there is nothing for the government to attack nor defend. Without energy, the government weakens.

    • BF

      This one will warrant thought, but then again maybe not.

    • USWeapon says:

      Are you really a student of Aikido? I was a student of it for 5 years. I think perhaps Ray may have studied it in the past as well, although I can’t remember for sure.

      • Black Flag says:

        Yes, indeed.

        In my younger teenage years, I was very competitive in martial arts – won a couple of national championships in my weight class. As I got older, other interests reduced my competitions, and I continued to train irregularly.

        When I turned into Black Flag, the aggressiveness and attack mentality did not sit well with my philosophy of peace and non-violence. I fell completely out of martial arts for a number of years.

        Humorously, I happened to be reading an article about movie star martial artists – and who was real and who was ‘faking’. Steven Seagal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Seagal) was rated “totally 100% real”. Hmm… doing what? Aikido.

        So out of interest, I read upon on Aikido and its philosophy immediately resonated with me!

        Been at it for awhile now.

        It is one of the components to my success at the Poker tables and my success at the WSOP – the same mental spirit works wonders everywhere!

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        The Tae Kwon Do program, while following many of the traditional Korean elements also combines components of Judo and Aikido. In my Aikido studies I have been ‘redirected’ by other students and instructors 1/2 my size (I am 6’2″, 230).

    • chiefopiner says:

      Years ago I had some training in Akido as our personal defense training in corrections. Loved it and continued to practice and use it long after. I always remember our instructor telling us that we should not stop the attack on us, but redirect it and allow it to flow through us using our attacker’s energy.

    • Godzilla says:

      Hey all, I studied Aikido as well. The instructor used me as the demonstration dummy for the women in the class. I’m 6’3″ and 240 so he let them throw me all over the place to give them confidence in themselves. This worked out well for me, I learned how to roll/tumble, AND I got a lot of dates! I also learned to never skip a class as you are the demonstration dummy for the instructor, only skipped once!

  26. How does one ignore the government? They will inflict violence on me if I do so. If I do not pay income taxes, they’ll send me to jail. If I don’t register my car and continue to drive it on the streets, they will eventually send me to jail. If I fail to pay property taxes, they’ll slap a lien on my house and won’t allow me to sell it.

    I know what you say works in practice, but in a limited capacity. There is a guy I’ve met in here in RI known as Charles the junkyard philosopher (I’m not kidding). He has gone to court to claim himself a sovereign individual- I have seen the paperwork and he has one of the best lawyers in the state. His grandad told him when he was young to never buy into the system and left him enough money to buy an all cash business. So he has never paid income taxes. Does not have a SS#. Does not sign anything. He has managed to get a driver’s license through court order without signing it. He’s a crazy genius. But knowing him, I’m pretty sure how he lives would not work in most instances, for most people. I should get him on here this blog he and BF would have a field day.

    • Black Flag says:

      First, understand the philosophy (post #25).

      Anytime you energize the government, you will lose. The government, though infinitely stupid, makes up for it with:

      1) numbers – you will always be outnumbered
      2) tenacity – it never sleeps, nor does it ever give up
      3) care-less – it cares for nothing but its power
      4) and most of all – it is the ultimate expression of violence.

      It feeds on YOUR ENERGY. If you fear it, it eats you. If you fight it, it kills you. If you run, it hunts you. If you join it, it consumes you.

      The only thing left is – nothing –

      No fear, no fight, no run, no join.
      How can it respond? With nothing. It has no energy and begins to fade. Government cannot do nothing, so denying it something to do kills it.

      Government is like Antaios, the son of Gaia of the Earth, and it was from her that he drew his invincible power. He was defeated by Hercules when Hercules lifted him off the ground – and his power faded.

      Government needs your energy – any of it. Deny this, and government wilts.

      The number #1 thing government cannot survive is you ignoring it.

      Hold that philosophy, and then your path will appear.

      • Black Flag says:

        That’s strategy – now tactics.

        I can offer some – however, I offer this warning first.

        You are in a struggle with the most powerful of foes.

        You will be operating at a distance where the shine and glean of its fangs will be very, very visible.

        The moment you fear, you’re toast. The moment you run, you’re done. The moment you strike at it, you’ll never see the morning.

        It’s like walking past the largest, hungriest lion.

        But if you can do it, you’ll be free – and I mean really free.

        But that still means you have to be very careful.

        Are you ready?

        • amazed1 says:

          BF….I don’t like jail…is what you are suggesting going to get me there in fast order?

        • Black Flag says:

          NO! I do not, ever, suggest you operate outside of the law!

          You never have to break any law to be free! If anyone says you do, they are dead wrong and so will you!

          The government, in its heart of hearts, knows it is illegitimate. It knows it is evil.

          Thus, it is more than willing to let those that understand it’s nature seize their freedom – as long the government continues to rule the rest.

          The government fears that the masses may actually believe the Black Flags and when they do that’d be the end of government.

          So government lets Black Flags be free – BF’s tend to keep themselves away from the People and their misguided thoughts and, as long as the People are unwilling to listen to Black Flags, all is good (for government)!

          To be a Black Flag, however, will mean you will probably have to give up some things that you hold very dear.

          That is what stops most people in their tracks – they can’t bear to leave those things behind.

          It is brutally tough to give up things that perhaps you may have even fought and nearly died for.

          But one has to remember that much of what the State is and has offered you is just an illusion – in fact, you’re not really giving up anything but that illusion when you turn Black Flag.

          But illusions – especially ones you’ve believed all your life – are hard to surrender. Believe me, I know.

  27. That’s a tough one for me. I’m a fighter by nature. I’m not being facetious with this question, but do I just sit like a blob while they haul me off to jail for ignoring their will? Not open my mouth in court when they drag me there?

    • Stop taking their money and their “benevolent” benefits.

      • I don’t get any benevolent benefits. Private school. No SS, Medicare, Medicaid, no benefits of any kind. To what benefits do you refer?

        • Black Flag says:

          Well, you’re off to a roaring start!

          Now, we’ll have to work on paying tax.

          Do you work independently, or are you employed?

        • Yes, good start.

          Don’t take public transport.

          Cancell all credit cards and bank accounts with companies who took TARP, but make sure they know why.

          Who hall your trash? If its city then haul your own if you can.

          Lobby local elected officials to stop taking federal money.

          Boycott companies who take bailout, and let them know why.

    • Black Flag says:

      Exactly, JAC.

      First step, stop using government. Don’t participate, period.

      A personal example, pertinent to a recent blob of USWep, is that I avoided marriage license.

      I could not imagine inviting an entity of evil into my most personal relationship. So we got “married” on a yacht presided by a very spiritual, mutual friend with only close friends and family.

      We homeschool – and pay for everything ourselves for our daughter’s education. No government loot (and thus, no government chains).

      • I feel like I’m reading a mystery novel here……

        Driver’s License? File taxes? Pay FICA?

      • Black Flag says:

        If you don’t own a car, then a license isn’t’ necessary….

        😆 Just kidding…

        International driver’s license – small fee, drive anywhere.

        File what tax? Who pays tax and who pays FICA? (PS: Not rhetorical questions, but leading questions…)

        • amazed1 says:

          People who work for wages pay taxes….me thinks I see a piture coming into view

          • Black Flag says:

            🙂

          • amazed1 says:

            How do we prevent paying real estate tax?

            • Black Flag says:

              1) Live where there is no tax.
              2) Rent.
              3) Organize the real estate in a way where the local government gives an incentive (no tax) to foreign ownership of property.

              Now, it is not always possible to avoid tax.

              Remember, as USWep says occasionally, that government does provide services that the they have wrenched out of the hands of free market – and they are now the only providers.

              The goal is to organize yourself in a way so NOT to pay tax for things you do not want – but if you want a sewer, you’re going to have to pay some fee to someone. If the sole provider is a government, so be it.

              Also, paying tax to a city is a lot more palatable then paying tax to Washington. At least you can see your money being spent and you do have some measure of civil activism that is effective at the local level.

        • Black Flag says:

          Sales Tax – some States have a rebate program for foreigners

          “The Louisiana Tax Free Shopping Program (LTFS) celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2009. Louisiana was the first state to initiate a program of this type, offering international visitors tax-free shopping while traveling within the state.”

  28. Black Flag says:

    Chris Devine

    A carry-over from :
    https://standupforamerica.wordpress.com/2009/06/01/building-a-foundation-for-resurrecting-america-part-v/

    Explain to me then why half of the Fortune 500 companies incorporate themselves in Delaware. Personally I think it has more than a little to do with Delaware’s extremely lax laws regarding incorporation.

    Certainly. What would you expect? It is not unreasonable to pay as little as possible for your own creation.

    Corporations started as government chartered ventures meant to provide a single service or good for a limited time. As corporations shifted to multipurpose, immortal, limited liability bureaucracies, governments have become less and less capable of managing their influence over the democratic process. The balance of power has shifted to the market side.

    Corporations are wholly beholden to its God and Creator – the government.

    Companies act no different then humans do in the face of the Creator. They want to ‘merge’ with its spirit.

    SO do companies. They will naturally want to merge with their creator – government. It is very easy to understand why government and corporations a symbiotic with each other. One generates money, the other gives power.

    Eliminate government, so goes away corporations.

    While I agree to an extent with your comment about the tyranny of the majority, I think that a balance can be maintained between individual rights and the needs of communities and the nation as a whole. In my opinion democracy is the best option to provide such a balance. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.

    Such as system requires that the vast majority be ‘vigilant’. But the mass majority is far too busy with their lives to be so.

    There can be no balance between individual and the community if the individual loses his rights. A community is merely an extension of the individual. There is no grant to a community that can be made that gives it more rights than an individual.

    100 people giving grant to a community protection service gives such service exactly the same right to protect those individuals as a single man has to protect himself. The service does not get 100x more rights.

    Thus, if the ‘community’ self-justifies a breach of an individuals right – it is the community action that is wholly illegitimate.

    NGO’s do not solely rely on government funding. I’d be surprised if all the capital for the World Bank was to be found in treasuries and not private banks.

    World Bank gets all of its funding from governments – mostly from the USA and the UK.

    The World Bank is one of two major financial institutions created as a result of the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944 – when the agreements were signed to set up the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

    • Chris Devine says:

      The notion of individual rights is meaningless in the absence of others in a community. I disagree with the way you see a community as “an extension of the individual.” Nobody ever came into existence isolated. We are born in the presence of at least our mother. We are raised by families and communities. We owe more to the community than it does to us individually. Trying to justify your rights to go against the will of the community is behaving like a spoiled child who thinks his parents have no right to discipline him.

      While a community protection service may not get 100 times more rights it does wield much more power. When that power is used against the will of those who granted it the power (viz., the community) then it is up to the community to put that power in check by working together, not separately.

      Regarding the World Bank, I think you missed my point. I wasn’t arguing against who chartered the WB but who controls it and benefits from it. You will be hard pressed to say that the average American or Briton gains much from the institution and even harder pressed to say that the countries it loans money to benefit at all. These institutions serve the wealthy interests in the first and third world, not the majority of their populations.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Chris,

        Why do we “owe” anything to the community? I can see “owing” something to my family perhaps, since they put forth the effort and footed the cost for raising me, and they put up with all my BS when I was a child and a young adult, but the community?

        I went to first parochial and then private school. I went to a private college. I have never been on the government dole of any sort. I never used government-backed student loans or grants while in college.

        There have been a few very rare occasions where I had need to involve the police or fire department in a situation, but I pay for these services through State and Local taxes.

        If you are saying by “I owe the community something” that it is somehow my responsibility to provide food for the family in some other part of town that I have never met simply because they have experienced hard times, then that should be my choice through donation to a church or private charity. The Government should not force me to support individuals or families unknown to me and unassociated with my family just because they are in the same community, and especially if they are in a different community.

        For example, I do not know you personally from Adam. If you fell on hard times and needed assistance, I would rather have the option of offering you my personal support because I sort of know you from this website as opposed to the government taking my money by force and handing a portion of it to you.

        If Altruism and Philthropic Behavior is a CHOICE, it could be seen as a virtue. If it is FORCED through threat of jail time for not paying taxes, it is no longer an individual virtue, but theft by the Government.

        The Government tries to paint paying your taxes as a virtuous thing to do, but this would only be true if paying your taxes was voluntary. As it is, you are FORCED to pay your taxes and have no say in how the money is used once you have paid into the “system” so there is no altruism or virtue involved whatsoever.

        • Chris Devine says:

          You aren’t seeing the big picture. While you may have avoided government funding all your life as best you could, there is no way for you to have avoided the safety, security and stability provided to you and others through the involvement of communities and governments. These things are not a ‘pay per play’ service to be optionally taken advantage of.

          In addition, just as you owe your family a debt of gratitude for raising you, your family (and everybody else’s) owes a debt of gratitude to the community at large. Without the infrastructure provided by families, communities, and governments you would not have prospered. Pretending that you did it all by yourself or with only the support of your family is pure denial as far as I see it.

          Freedom as an individual is meaningless. Since everything that you are and everything that you do is made possible by living in a civil society, the least you can do is pay your dues (i.e., taxes). There is nothing immoral about giving back at least as much as you’ve taken.

          • You are placing characteristics on a community that simply don’t exist. A community is not a living organism. It does not act in unison of thought or purpose. And it certainly does nothing as an entity to support me or provide for my well being.

            It is “some” of the individuals in a community that may provide me with the support you describe. But that is because they interact with me as individuals, not as some mysterious collective group. The police and firemen protect my property and I along with others have decided to pay taxes to support them. Our decision has forced others to do the same whether they liked it or not.

            My doctor, dentist, store owner, golf course manager etc etc all provide services to me if I and when I want them. My business interactions are with individuals not the community. They may live close to each other but that is all.

            And exactly what “stability” has any community or government provided me that I can not acquire without them?

            The only security govt can give that I can’t is an army to keep some dip stick on the other side of the world coming here to take my land. And that is only because I don’t have enough money to fund it. If I did I would and then I wouldn’t need that govt function either.

            If someone attacked my niegborhood some of us would throw in together to defend it. But we would be acting to preserve our individual property and families by making a decision to increase our numbers in force. We are not fighting to protect our neighborhood.

            This whole concept of the living community is a myth, created by fairy tales of the golden period when Arthur and the Knights of the round table ruled Camelot. My family which supported me, and kept me alive as best it could, did not provide much for me once I was able to do so on my own. That is the case for most folks. Of course maybe that is why so many parents and the govt are now trying to keep kids dependent on families for so long. It is good practice for confincing them they need a “group” for shelter, protection and peace.

            By the way, nice trick there trying to equate a familiy with a community and government by lumping them in one list.

            We are a tribal animal because it suits our individual needs and allows greater efficiency. It offers some added protection from attack by other tribes. But the group does not provide any consious actions to give benefits.

            I “OWE” no one anything, especially some nebulus entity you call community. If others trade or interact with me I will do so as I choose and on terms agreeable to us both. If they should elect to help me in some way I will probably choose to help them some day. And that would be out of gratitude and self interest, not out of some distorted sense of “duty” or because I “owe” them in any way.

            Chris tell me this. There are obviously many of us in this world that understand freedom in our way and wish to live in a free country. Why is it that those of you who support the statist model have to have ALL the available real estate?

            This Nation was founded on the principle of individual freedom and liberty. If you don’t believe in those why not just move to the other 80% of the planet where your philosophy has long been accepted?

            Why do you all feel compelled to destroy what we had and remake in your image?

            If there is some other place you will give us to live please tell us where it is. I am just guessing that you might find your community a little less crowded soon after.

            Perhaps you will concede a few states to us, but then I guess that would violate your sense of National Community. We would just be a collection of “spoiled children” living in the tree house out back.

            So where else can we live? Just tell us, Please!

            • Chris Devine says:

              Here’s an analaogy:

              The basis of all life on Earth is the cell. All life occurs on the cellular level and all cells come from pre-existing cells. Cells form tissues, tissues form organs, organs form organisms, organisms are part of ecosystems.

              Likewise, the basis of human experience is in the first person (i.e., the individual). All experience occurs in the first person and all humans come from other humans. Humans form families, families form communities, communities form nations, and nations form the totality of human civilization.

              However, just as cells do not and could not live in isolation from other cells or the environment, human beings do not and cannot live in isolation from the social groups we comprise.

              Do you seriously believe that any of the examples you have provided could ever exist in isolation or that anybody could exist without relying on other people. Cooperation is not a luxury, it is a necessity. Anybody who believes that human beings could exist in the numbers we exist in without some form of mandatory cooperation is deluded. The only people who gain from professing such nonsense are the vultures who prey upon individuals and small groups.

              You can go anywhere you want. But the rules of nature don’t change from location to location.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                Mandatory cooperation is not a rule of nature. Far from it actually.

                Society is not NECESSARY, it is convenient.

                “Civiliaztion” as you call it, ain’t so civilized.

                Sorry, we are just going to have to agree to disagree here. The concept that I “OWE” you something simply because you happen to nominally exist in the same society that I do is absurd.

              • Chris Devine says:

                Society is necessary. If it’s possible to grow up outside society, how come you didn’t? It’s obvious that growing up in a society is possible. We all do it everyday. It remains to be seen whether it’s possible to live outside society on a planet with 6 billion people. You can argue hypotheticals all day long if you’d like. I’m talking about what we know already works. Cooperation and obligation to your fellow man, woman, and child is not optional. We might not force you to fulfill your obligation, but that doesn’t make it go away.

                The lack of civility in civilization is a direct result of people refusing to fullfil (or even admit they have) an obligation to something bigger than his- or herself.

              • Chris Devine says:

                Society is necessary. If it’s possible to grow up outside society, how come you didn’t? It’s obvious that growing up in a society is possible. We all do it everyday. It remains to be seen whether it’s possible to live outside society on a planet with 6 billion people. You can argue hypotheticals all day long if you’d like. I’m talking about what we know already works. Cooperation and obligation to your fellow man, woman, and child is not optional. We might not force you to fulfill your obligation, but that doesn’t make it go away.

                The lack of civility in civilization is a direct result of people refusing to fulfill (or even admit they have) an obligation to something bigger than his- or herself.

          • amazed1 says:

            Chris,
            I think that most people on this site are willing to pay a fee for the services they deem necessary. The problem is simple in away……If Chris fell on hard times and needed groceries, Amazed could give him a ben and he could eat for a couple of weeks…..but if the government takes 100 for her pocket to give to Chris by the time the government get done Chris only gets a 20. Lots better to take out the middle man and give Chris what he needs. I would feel lots better about where my money was going and Chris would not be hungry. Government is not a very efficent machine.

      • Black Flag says:

        Regarding the World Bank, I think you missed my point. I wasn’t arguing against who chartered the WB but who controls it and benefits from it. You will be hard pressed to say that the average American or Briton gains much from the institution and even harder pressed to say that the countries it loans money to benefit at all. These institutions serve the wealthy interests in the first and third world, not the majority of their populations.

        Since the only beneficiaries of the World Bank are NGO’s and Governments, I would suggest that is who benefits from it.

        If you see corruption is such distributions and the pain it causes real people – I would suggest it is government-to-government action – since that is all it is!

        Take government out of the equation – then REAL PEOPLE make the difference.

  29. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    Chris brings up the interesting idea that if human beings are not forced to cooperate, all hell will break loose.

    Why, may I ask, is this the case? What proof do you provide? What evidence do you have that “forced cooperation” is a law of nature?

    I cannot see this at all. The only thing I OWE to any other individual is to respect their rights, which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. ANY action I take which violates those rights is incorrect. ANY action that a government takes that usurps these rights from me OR FROM ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL is also incorrect.

    The government employs force (or threat of force through coercion) to make me give money to people who I do not even know and I am not in any position to evaluate the position of these people and determine whether they are genuinely in need of assistance or not. I have to place my FAITH in the government that THEY KNOW BETTER THAN I DO who needs and is entitled to my assistance.

    I call bulldookey. Sorry, but the government has never shown that it is capable of such a determination.

    What Chris seems to miss, is freedom is based upon the fact that you CANNOT initiate violence against the non-violent. His response seems to be that people are going to initiate violence against the non-violent anyway, so it is better to have the government initiate violence against everyone (or at least coerce people to behave the way the government wants people to behave through threat of violence) in order for society to actually function. However, if this is correct, then there can be no such thing as freedom, and freedom is just an illusion.

    You cannot simultaneously believe in the natural rights of man of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and also believe that a coercive government is required in order to FORCE people to behave the way you want them to behave.

    These 2 premises are contradictory.

    • Peter has just moved up to Graduate School.

    • Chris Devine says:

      It’s not about ‘forced’ cooperation. I’m talking about every little thing you do that either helps or hinders the person next to you. Holding a door open for somebody else or paying your taxes and everything below, above and in between. You did not grow up in a vacuum. You grew up taking advantage of the support and interaction of everyone around you. You postulate that it’s not necessary. If that’s the case then show me somebody who does or has.

      You miss the point altogether about force. Force is used to make people comply. That’s pretty much the definition of force. However, things work much better if you accept that teamwork and community are expected, not voluntary. If you mess up bad enough every group will use force against you. That’s the purpose of a justice system, to determine whether force is warranted.

      I never said to have faith in your government. I propose that you take serious your obligation as a citizen to keep an eye on your government, not just belly-ache when it doesn’t serve you. If it’s screwing up do something, and keep doing something until it changes. Governments are necessary given the numbers of people we’re dealing with. You can’t just fly by the seat of your pants with 6 billion people. The institutions are flawed but they’re the only thing we have. Ignoring the need for management doesn’t fix anything.

      Your two premises are not contradictory. No right is an absolute right. There are natural limits to your rights, and these limits are every bit as self-evident as the rights they curtail. Your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose. Likewise, your right to eat at the potluck is limited by your willingness to bring as much as you take. If you want to eat at home alone, feel free. But if you come over to the gathering you better do your best to share.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        “…teamwork and community are expected, not voluntary.”

        Expected by whom, and why?

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        “Your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose.”

        Precisely. In fact, I do not even have the right to swing my fist and stop in front of your nose without hitting you, if that action is an implied threat to force you to act in a certain way.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        “Ignoring the need for management doesn’t fix anything.”

        If everyone were to respect the rights of every other person to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the need for “management” would disappear.

        • Chris Devine says:

          That’s an awfully big ‘if’ and I still disagree. It’s not just about non-intervention, it’s about necessary participation.

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            I am free to participate in decision making that affects the life of another individual provided that the other individual grants me that right. If they do not grant me that right, then I have no business interfering in their business, providing that their business is not impinging upon my rights or the rights of others.

  30. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    “Do you seriously believe that any of the examples you have provided could ever exist in isolation or that anybody could exist without relying on other people. Cooperation is not a luxury, it is a necessity. Anybody who believes that human beings could exist in the numbers we exist in without some form of mandatory cooperation is deluded. The only people who gain from professing such nonsense are the vultures who prey upon individuals and small groups.”

    First of all, yes, people can and do exist without relying on other people.

    I could, if I chose to, go off to a remote place miles from anyone else, build a dwelling using the materials available, make tools using the materials available, eat and drink from the vegetation and water available, and have no need whatsoever for any human interaction. This would be boring. Man IS a social animal, so people who choose to live in this way tend to go a bit insane.

    Man tends to organize himself into at least small groups because one man recognizes that he is not good at EVERYTHING. Because of this, man organizes into societies so that the people who are good at hunting can hunt, the people who are good at fishing can fish, the people who are good at building things can build, the people who are good at making tools can make tools, etc.

    This is all done through THE CHOICE TO COOPERATE. None of these people in such a society is FORCED to cooperate in any way.

    The need for government or “forced cooperation” comes in when a person or people within the group or a person or people from outside of the group act in a way that initiates violence against one or more individuals in the group, even though the individual(s) was (were) behaving non-violently and not usurping the rights of anyone else within or outside of the group.

    In this way, a “true commune” made up of a group of people that choose to live together, support each other, and provide for each other while each respecting the rights of every other individual is an ideal society. The participants in such a society freely choose to associate with each other, respect the rights of each other, and live in harmony.

    If one person in such a group decides that one other person has too much food because they are too good at farming and are not sharing enough of their produce, so by golly they are going to make a rule forcing them to share more food, then that society goes out the window.

    Some of you are going to say that modern society is far too complex for such simple rules to apply, but ask yourself WHY?

    Carefully examine WHY and try to figure out where the inconisitencies truly lie.

    • Chris Devine says:

      Perhaps you could go out and live by yourself. But all 6 billion of us couldn’t do that. You’re trying to carve a bigger slice of freedom than everybody and justifying it by saying that it’s your right to do so. The pie is only so big and there’s still a bunch more people left. First come-first served isn’t morality, it’s predatory.

      The division of labor isn’t for the sake of convenience. Survival of the human race depends upon it. From the smallest group to the largest there must be efficient cooperation to avoid waste and duplication of effort.

      The simple reason why modern society is far too complex can be found right here:

      http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        I have seen the population clock before, and to it I say “so what?”. It does not provide any compelling reason why modern society is far too complex.

        • Chris Devine says:

          Scarcity. There isn’t enough to go around if you take more than you need. Did your parents ever tell you to take a little bit and go back after everyone else has had a chance?

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        The population clock provides no compelling evidence that the concepts of individual freedom and liberty can no longer work. I will agree with you that due to the large population of the planet, things must be done to promote economies of scale.

        The main point is NOT whether one man can be an island (which is indeed possible), but whether it is possible to have a society in which the mutual respect of the rights of every individual is paramount.

        I argue that such a society can exist without the existence of a coercive government. In fact, a coercive government cannot exist in such a society, or the society is self-contradictory.

        Be careful here, because I am not saying that the use of force is not allowed, I am merely saying that neither the government nor the individuals in the society are allowed to initiate the use of force against the non-violent. There is a difference here.

        • Chris Devine says:

          It is obviously possible for one man to be an island. The question is whether 6 billion men, women, and children can be islands (obviously, no). Respect for others means willingness to cooperate in addition to the furthering of individual aims. However, since families, communities, and nations were here first our duty is to them primarily.

          Societies may have existed in the past without some form of coercive government. You just ask the offending member to leave and everything goes back to normal. But we’re in a situation where everybody is brainwashed into thinking that when a conflict arises personal needs are more important than those of society. Personal freedoms should be maximized, but not at the unequal expense of others.

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            Personal freedoms CANNOT BE maximized at the unequal expense of others. Logically that makes no sense. That is the whole point!

  31. This exchange should be must reading for anyone who would like some insight into the workings of the Liberal mind and the ethics it supports.

    A few days ago I posted the Wiki definition of Altruism as described by its philosopohical creator.

    In Chris’ words here we see the modern manifestation of that philosophy.

    “The lack of civility in civilization is a direct result of people refusing to fulfill (or even admit they have) an obligation to something bigger than his- or herself.”

    Now can anyone describe the potential political systems and outcomes that might evolve from this ethic?

    Anyone else get a little shiver running up their neck?
    Maybe that was Mr. Jefferson rolling over.

    • Chris Devine says:

      Democracy is the end result of this ethic. I think Thomas Jefferson would be quite happy with my argument in favor of public service.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Jefferson was vehemently opposed to democracy 🙂

      • Actually it is not. And I only wish I could see first hand Mr. Jefferson’s response to your argument.

        I’ll give you a hint. Mr. Hamilton would be standing with you. So where would that put Jefferson?

  32. Chris:

    Since you ignored my questions I have posted them again here. I would like a response please.

    Chris tell me this. There are obviously many of us in this world that understand freedom in our way and wish to live in a free country. Why is it that those of you who support the statist model have to have ALL the available real estate?

    This Nation was founded on the principle of individual freedom and liberty. If you don’t believe in those why not just move to the other 80% of the planet where your philosophy has long been accepted?

    Why do you all feel compelled to destroy what we had and remake in your image?

    If there is some other place you will give us to live please tell us where it is. I am just guessing that you might find your community a little less crowded soon after.

    Perhaps you will concede a few states to us, but then I guess that would violate your sense of National Community. We would just be a collection of “spoiled children” living in the tree house out back.

    So where else can we live? Just tell us, Please!

    • Chris Devine says:

      Your notion of freedom is a myth so you might as well pack your bags for Fantasyland. Individual freedom is meaningless in the absence of others with whom you must balance that freedom. You can’t just start from scratch and say this side’s mine and that side’s yours. We’re already here and the choices need to be made jointly, not separately.

      There has never been anywhere like what you’re describing and it certainly wasn’t what our framers had in mind.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Chris,

        How do you KNOW that individual freedom and liberty are not PRECISELY what the founders had in mind? I have read a LOT of Thomas Jefferson lately, and I agree that he would probably be proud that someone chose to serve their community and to help others, but conversely, he would be ABHORRED that the government was FORCING people to do this.

        What you are implicitly and explicitly saying is that either the concepts of individual freedom and liberty do not exist or that they are outdated concepts.

        If either one of these is the case, then your logical conclusion would be that the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness cannot be the foundation for a society, becuase these concepts either never existed or were never natural laws, they are only dated concepts.

        If this is what you truly believe, then we will have to agree to disagree (’cause there ain’t no way we are ever gonna agree on that one!)

        If you wish to have a society in which the government controls the populace and tells the populace precisely what is and is not acceptable, you seem to be in the process of getting your wish. However, your wish is not my wish, and by imposing this wish upon me you are violating my unalienable natural rights.

      • And so you have avoided the answers once again.

        Give me a location not some left wing rhetoric about fantasyland.

        Once I have enough real estate to live on with my clan we will find out if you are correct. Until then you are simply spouting assumptions and unfounded conclusions, you are rationalizing your atruistic ethic. Go ahead. I want no part of it.

        So where do I go to get away from you and yours?

      • Black Flag says:

        Do not impose upon me, I do not impose upon you.

        The one that imposes is the one who does evil.

        What more balance is necessary?

  33. Black Flag says:

    Chris Devine

    The notion of individual rights is meaningless in the absence of others in a community.

    I disagree.

    Since the building block of all human organizations starts with the individual, it is therefore must hold that any ‘notion’ of rights also derives from that source as well.

    That alone provides ample meaning.

    Indeed, a man alone holds exactly the same rights as the same man in a community. It matters not one wit the size or composure of any group – a man’s rights remain the same.

    I disagree with the way you see a community as “an extension of the individual.” Nobody ever came into existence isolated. We are born in the presence of at least our mother. We are raised by families and communities. We owe more to the community than it does to us individually. Trying to justify your rights to go against the will of the community is behaving like a spoiled child who thinks his parents have no right to discipline him.

    By reduction, a community does not exist if there is nobody. An individual exists if there is no community.

    Therefore, a community is nothing without an individual – it is the individuals that give creation to that community.

    While a community protection service may not get 100 times more rights it does wield much more power.

    Oh, indeed. Outnumbered 100 to 1 – in battles of violence, the odds are in favor of the largest number.

    However, this matters only if the principle you adhere to is one of violence! If the principle you hold is one of reason – numbers do not matter

    Which principle do you hold on to, Chris – violence or reason?

    • Chris Devine says:

      Your ideas concerning reason are outdated and have been demonstrated false by current research in cognitive science. What is the point of postulating a theory on false grounds?

      http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/open_university/archive/2006/11/04/60751.aspx

      It’s not about violence, it’s about expectation. People often do things because they understand it as the right thing to do. Not everybody does. Sociopaths rarely if ever have feelings of empathy. But that doesn’t mean we have to treat everybody like a sociopath, threatening them with violence or incarceration. A great deal of people will do the right thing, following the good examples of their peers. If we expect people to behave in a positive way, we must make those expectations explicit and well known.

      If, on the other hand, we convince people that concern for their peers is secondary or counterproductive we will only continue to exacerbate the suffering of the human race. But not all will suffer. A select few will benefit greatly from the fairy tale that selfishness is the only path to enlightenment.

      • Black Flag says:

        The question is brutally simple – you either support the application of violence on non-violent people

        or

        you don’t.

        Which one, Chris?

        • Black Flag says:

          PS: Whether you believe reason is outdated or not matters not one wit.

          All it proves is that debating a savage is unreasonable task, and not worthy of effort.

          • Chris Devine says:

            I didn’t say reason is outdated. I said your understanding of it is. Reason is not a faculty of the human mind that can be isolated from wants, desires and emotions. The way we think about things is very much influenced by the terms we use to understand them. The frames we are given and construct ourselves limit how we understand the world around us. it is impossible to isolate yourself from them. You can’t reason from some neutral territory. All thinking is done on the front lines, conscious or otherwise.

            • Black Flag says:

              Reason is not removed from that at all – it is the tool that discovers the best means of obtaining our needs et al from the universe.

              The Universe is consistent – and perfectly reasoned. The only way we can thrive is to use reason to discover the paths by which we can use the universe’s bounty for our needs/et al.

              If we use emotion or twisted notions of reason, humanity will be wiped out – the Universe has no care for unreasoned actions.

              • Chris Devine says:

                Reason cannot be separated from emotions. The human brain is incapable of doing so.

              • Black Flag says:

                Reason is separated from emotion – they are exactly opposite.

                Emotion may be one (of many) ways to define a goal, but it is reason that offers the path to achieve goals.

              • Chris Devine says:

                Theoretical constructs of reason may indeed be in opposition to emotion. However, the physical limitations of the human brain make it impossible to separate the two. I’m talking biology, you’re talking metaphysics.

              • Black Flag says:

                I do not agree – nothing in biology offers anything for which you to claim such.

                Emotion is part of the human condition – but I can reason independent of emotion.

              • Black Flag says:

                Perhaps, you cannot – but that is your limitation and not necessarily mine.

              • Chris Devine says:

                Read what George Lakoff has to say about this in The Political Mind. He has plenty of support for this in current neurological research.

                I’m sure you think you can reason without emotion, but I’m telling you it’s impossible for everyone with a human brain.

        • Chris Devine says:

          I’m not a big fan of violence. But I think my ideas about what violence consists of are probably a great deal broader than yours. Taking more than you need in a world of six billion people is an act of violence even if nobody was there to stop you.

          • Black Flag says:

            Violence is its meaning is clear – impose upon another man.

            “Need” is a subjective, and determined solely by the individual for himself. “Taking” by violence is evil. “Earning” is non-violent, and not evil.

            • Chris Devine says:

              Your notion of violence is far from self-evident and it relies upon a distinction between earning and taking that merely hides unstated assumptions of yours regarding the individual use of resources.

    • Chris Devine says:

      An individual could not have come into existence without a community. Killing everybody else off in your theory doesn’t make individuals more important or primary. It leaves them abandoned and doomed to extinction.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        “An individual could not have come into existence without a community.”

        By that argument the definition of “community” has just become “one man, one woman” 🙂

        • Chris Devine says:

          That’s where it starts, but not where it stops. There are six billion people on this planet. Communities can be formed from any group, regardless of size.

      • Black Flag says:

        That is a strange statement –

        An individual – by fact – can exists without an community.

        The argument of “killing everyone” is a red herring.

        The fact remains, that a community does not exist unless there are individuals – individuals exist without community.

        • Chris Devine says:

          They won’t exist for very long.

          “Killing everything,” while metaphorical, is by no means a red herring. You postulate a notion of freedom originating from the individual. I’m telling you that freedom is meaningless in terms of just an individual.

          • Black Flag says:

            It is not meaningless at all – it exists in a singularity – for that is exactly how it works!

            A man, alone, therefore has no man imposing upon him – he is free.

            A man, in a group, with no man imposing upon him – is still free.

  34. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    Just a sidebar on the concept of “collective rights”.

    I think that innately we all have a basic understanding of the concept of individual rights (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, property, etc.)

    Do we have any sort of innate basic understanding of “collective rights”?

    As far as human beings go, what, precisely, is this collective entity that supposedly has rights?

    In the case of bees, the workers collect the food for the hive, the drones are basically the concubines of the queen, and the queen produces all of the offspring. In this way, the survival of the queen is paramount. Bees are essentially a “collective”. The workers and the drones live to make sure that A) the queen lives and has the resources necessary to produce offspring and B) the hive has the resources necessary to house and feed itself so that A) will happen.

    In the case of humans, THIS IS NOT NECESSARY. We do not need a queen to produce all of our offspring, and we do not need drones whose sole purpose is to fertilize the queen.

    Of course we DO need workers in order that people have their basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, etc.

    So, what do you all think? Since the only true “rank” of human is the “worker”, does a society based the concept that all of the workers have the same inalienable rights make sense? Or are we really some sort of “collective”.

    Secondly, is it possible for the needs of the many to outweigh the needs of the few (or the needs of the individual)? I would argue that this is IMPOSSIBLE. All individuals have the same basic needs.

    As I see it, we are faced with two possibilities. Either human beings are individuals and have individual rights, or human society is a collective and the individuals of the collective have no “rights”, simply an obligation to support and promote the on-going survival of this collective.

    So which is it folks?

    Or even stranger, do individuals have rights WITHIN the collective, and if so, what are these rights? Can these “rights” be changed or abridged if they are suddenly deemed harmful to the collective for some reason? If they can be changed or abridged, then were they ever and actual “right” in the first place?

    I know it has been a few days since this open mic started, but hopefully a few people will jump back and bat this back and forth for a while.

    • Chris Devine says:

      Are you joking? “[T]he only true “rank” of human is the “worker”.” Do you seriously believe that everybody on this planet works for their nectar?

      Collective rights are as easy to understand as individual rights (unless you’re a fan of solipsism). All you have to do is believe that others are as important as you are. Notice I didn’t say ‘more important’ but ‘as important.’ If you admit to yourself that your aims and goals will have effects on others, then you already understand the concept of collective rights. There is nothing contradictory in the notions of individual and collective rights. They are not mutually exclusive. Sometimes they coincide (in the case of projects that require cooperation for something that will benefit many people). If you don’t help us build this road, we might let you drive on it anyway but we’ll keep your lack of help in mind if you’re ever need a ride somewhere. Sometimes they conflict (like your desire to smoke in a crowded room of non-smokers). If you light up that stogie we might not throw you out, but don’t expect to be invited again.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Chris,

        What you seem to fail to see is that the concept of individual rights TAKES CARE OF THE WHOLE THING!

        Every man has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This right is equal among all men; therefore it is impossible for the rights of one man to supersede the rights of any other man.

        Also, YES, the only TRUE rank of the human is the “worker”. Prove to me otherwise. The keyword there is TRUE.

        You are operating under the assumption that I believe that the American system in place from the late 18th century until now has been “correct” and that it is somehow OK that there are people who have gained wealth through the exploitation of others.

        This is NOT the case! The fact that certain people are able to accumulate wealth through the exploitation of others (violating their individual rights in one or more ways) is an indication that the system is FLAWED.

        I would argue that in a non-flawed system where every individual respects the individual rights of every other individual, it is STILL POSSIBLE that some individuals are going to be able to amass great wealth due to them posessing skills that allow them to create a product or service that everyone thinks is wonderful and they simply must have it.

        As long as this wealth is acquired without violating anyone else’s individual rights, there is no problem with this. Also, as long as this wealth is not used to control or manipulate other individuals (thus violating their individual rights), then this is also ok.

        You seem to be of the opinion that the ONLY way to earn a good living or amass great wealth is by violating the individual rights of others. On that I disagree.

        As for your example of smoking:

        Smoking is (supposedly) a legal activity. I have the right to choose to smoke. This right does not supersede anyone else’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Therefore, if I am in a crowded room and wish to smoke, yet someone else asks me not to, as my smoking might be damaging to their health, my only courses of action would be to put the stogie out or to take it outside and smoke it there. Choosing to smoke it inside in spite of being asked to do otherwise would not make sense.

        • Chris Devine says:

          Individual rights do not take care of the whole thing. The notion of individual is meaningless in the absence of a group (and vice versa). Individual rights are not the building blocks from which collective rights are formed. The rights of a group cannot be broken down into the individual rights of its members. They are of two different domains. Removing yourself from the group doesn’t make the notion of a conflict disappear. Conflict presupposes another party.

          Individuals can expect to be given freedom within limits that don’t violate the needs of the group. Freedom doesn’t exist without the concept of limits. A castaway on a deserted island cannot be said to be free. A hermit isn’t free. These individuals have not found perfect freedom in their isolation, they have made it meaningless.

          Regarding your bee example, I think you have created a faulty analogy. You can’t compare human civilization to a hive. If anything we are closer to herd or pack animals. In these groups of animals the division of labor isn’t absent (making them all workers). There are mothers, fathers and children. Hunters and protectors. Scouts and sentries. Trying to say that all humans are workers is pure nonsense.

          You are asserting that your system is flawless. That’s easy to do when it’s never been put to the test. I’d say the onus is on you to prove your system to be flawless rather than assuming that my flawed system is worthless or incapable of improvement in its application.

          American prosperity is a direct result of our violation of the rights of groups and individuals. Saying that accumulation of wealth is possible without conflict is lunacy. Compromises must be made. The goal should be to maximize utility and minimize conflict. Rights of any sort cannot even be imagined without reference to some notion of conflict.

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            “The notion of individual is meaningless in the absence of a group (and vice versa). Individual rights are not the building blocks from which collective rights are formed. The rights of a group cannot be broken down into the individual rights of its members.”

            And therein, dear readers, lies the exact philosophy of what we currently refer to as “the Liberal”

            “Individuals can expect to be given freedom within limits that don’t violate the needs of the group. Freedom doesn’t exist without the concept of limits.”

            Individuals can EXPECT TO BE GIVIN FREEDOM WITHIN LIMITS???” Given this freedom by whom? Who gave them the authority to give this freedom away??? Makes no sense whatsoever.

            Individuals HAVE FREEDOM. FREEDOM IS. The limit which is placed upon MY freedom is that I do not have the right to violate YOUR individual freedom, and you do not have the right to violate MY individual freedom.

            Any action that either one of us takes that violates the freedom of the other is incorrect. THIS is where the limits lie. The freedom is not given to you or to me by ANYONE.

            You are not free to do anything you please. That is NOT what freedom means. You seem to THINK that is what I am saying, and it is quite clearly NOT.

            • Chris Devine says:

              Get off your soapbox and respond to me, not some invisible audience.

              Freedom does not exist in a vacuum. Freedom implies limits: freedom to do x, y, and z in spite of some conflict that might prevent you from exercising that freedom.

              Freedom comes from consensus and compromise. It does not originate out of thin air. The fact that you refer to one man’s freedom violating another man’s freedom shows that conflict is a necessary concept to even have a notion of freedom.

              • Black Flag says:

                Freedom doesn’t exist in a vacuum – it exists in the individual.

                Freedom does not imply limits – it implies reason – “for me to be free, I must allow you to be free as well.”

                Freedom does not come from consensus – it comes from a lack of initiation of violence.

                Your consensus that allows you to self-justify attacking non-violent people is merely an act of evil – and not a measure of freedom.

              • Chris Devine says:

                The fact that you yourself cannot refer to freedom without appealing to notions of force or violence is proof positive that freedom implies conflict.

              • Black Flag says:

                No, it implies A LACK of Conflict.

                NO Conflict= does not exist.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                You didn’t answer my question Chris, who is the ultimate arbiter of what freedoms I am allowed to have and what freedoms I am not allowed to have? Who gave the authority to this ultimate arbiter to determine this?

                I am not on a soapbox at all here. I am not preaching to an invisible audience. I am trying to get you to logically think through your position and provide me with an answer that makes sense.

              • Chris Devine says:

                There is no ultimate arbiter. It takes consensus and compromise. You can’t appeal to anything beyond agreement.

              • Black Flag says:

                There is ALWAYS an ultimate arbiter – the choice becomes ‘what/who will that be’

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                I have my rights and you have yours. The only thing we can determine through consensus and compromise is which rights we are willing to GIVE UP.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                No, conflict is NOT necessary in order to define freedom. Freedom is defined by the actions I am allowed which do NOT promote conflict, so it is, if fact, the opposite of what you suppose.

          • Black Flag says:

            Individual rights is the only building block of collective rights.

            Whether alone or in a group, a person’s rights do not change.

            The group’s rights derive from the individual – the group, regardless of numbers, has no more rights than the individual – as you’ve agreed already above.

            An organization with no individuals has no rights, because, without any individuals the organization does not exist.

            The organization gains its rights as soon as one individual joins (and thereby creates) the organization. The organizations rights do not increase nor decrease as more individuals join the group.

            • Chris Devine says:

              I never said that “the group, regardless of numbers, has no more rights than the individual.” There is conflict inherent in any discussion of rights. The compromises and decisions of individuals and groups help delineate the limits of rights. The lines are never clear-cut and compromise is often difficult. It’s messy work, but ignoring that conflict exists is not going to result in any coherent utopian philosophy.

              • Black Flag says:

                No, you said

                While a community protection service may not get 100 times more rights

                I merely flipped the negation. The meaning remains the same.

                …unless of course, you believe a group DOES have more rights than any individual in that group….

              • Black Flag says:

                There is conflict inherent in any discussion of rights.

                No, there is not.

                If you find conflict in rights, then you’re not dealing in rights at all – you’re dealing in violence and “Might is Right” derivations.

                There can be NO CONFLICT if you do not impose upon me nor I upon you.

                It is the moment you impose upon me – an act of initiation of violence – is when conflict is engaged.

  35. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    If “humanity” is truly a collective, then would it not be better to be the Borg? If the survival of the collective is paramount, then individuality is not required, nor is it even desireable. The sole function of the “individual” should only be to perform functions which promote the survival of the collective. Any other function would be superfluous.

    Any being not performing a function deemed necessary for the survival of the collective should be assimilated (forced to join the collective and perform a function which will promote the survival of the collective) or should be exterminated because they are a threat to the survival of the collective.

    This is the (seemingly) extreme outcome of viewing humanity as a collective. Individual freedom is not only NOT REQUIRED if humanity is a collective, it is NOT DESRIEABLE. The resources of each individual MUST be directed in a way as to promote the survival of the collective. Individual freedom is anathema to this concept.

    The hierarchy would go something like this:

    The collective exists. The collective must survive. Each unit in the collective is comprised of many beings, and each unit has a responsibility to perform a specific function necessary for the survival of the collective. Each individual in each unit of the collective has no actual importance, because if an individual in a particular unit of the collective is lost, it can be replaced by another individual able to perform the same function. Therefore, no freedom is required, nor is it even desireable.

    That is one possibility.

    The other possibility goes like this:

    I as an individual have the primary responsibility to provide myself with the means of survival.

    As a part of this means of survival, I can have a family which not only promotes my survival, but promotes the survival of my genes in the population.

    As a further part of this means of survival, I can choose to rely on the skills of others. Others may possess skills which I do not have or may be more skilled in certain areas than I am. In return for the use of their skills to help promote my own survival and the survival of my family, I can A) allow them to use my skills in areas where they are less skilled in order to aid them in supporting their own survival or B) give them something of value which they can then use to acquire the skills of others as a means of promoting their own survival.

    As a further means of promoting my own survival, I can form an organization of people which will help to promote the survival of each individual within the organization. Individuals can be free to participate in this organization, or not. If an individual chooses to not participate in the organization, they do not receive the benefits of being in the organization, but they also do not have any obligation to the organization.

    So which is it? Do individuals form organizations in order to help promote their own survival and the survival of their families, or do organizations use individuals to promote the survival of the organization? In the case of individuals forming organizations to promote their own survival, individual freedom can exist. In the case of the organization existing and using individuals to ensure its continued existence, individual freedom is not required, and is actually a threat to the organization, so it should be stamped out.

    • Chris Devine says:

      This is not an either/or proposition. Individual rights and group rights are not mutually exclusive, nor are they contradictory even if they occasionally conflict. Your insistence upon seeing this as a winner-take-all proposition is what is causing all the confusion.

      Believe it or not, sometimes people have things in common. When they do, they often form groups to work together to promote their common interest. Sometimes these common interests go against the interests of another group or even an individual. Imagine a group of people who think it shouldn’t be permissible to build a strip club next to an elementary school. The developer who wants to build and operate such an establishment has one interest and the group of people who agree he shouldn’t be able to have another interest. While the group is comprised of individuals, the important aspect is what they have in common as a group and what they can accomplish as such. They could individually express their interest to the developer or the planning board, but odds are they would accomplish more if they banded together and represented themselves as a collection of individuals (aka group).

      Now imagine a group of people who live in the same neighborhood. These people have something in common (viz. they don’t like another group). When an individual who belongs to the latter decides to move into the former’s neighborhood a conflict arises. If the reason the first group doesn’t want the individual from the second to move into their neighborhood is considered illegal, then the individual has the right to ask the government to help him and the government has an obligation to do just that. In other words, the government’s obligation is to enforce the obligation of the discriminatory group not to discriminate illegally.

      The question is not “which came first, the group or the individual.” Nor is it, “who has ultimate responsibility for the survival of the species.” The question is whether the rights of one man are more important than the rights of a group (or vice versa). But this isn’t a question that can be answered for all cases at once. This question must be answered on a case by case basis, determining whose rights are more important in any given instance.

  36. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    As a corrilary to what I posted in #35:

    Individual freedom brings with it individual responsibility. Who is responsible for my survival as a human being? Ultimately, I (AND I ALONE) am. I can choose to avail myself of the skills of others as a means of promoting my own survival, and depending on my skill set, IT MAY BE REQUIRED that I rely on the skills of other individuals as a means of promoting my own survival.

    Does this make other individuals RESPONSIBLE for my own survival?
    NO!

    If others choose to avail themselves of my skills as a means of promoting their own survival, does that mean that I am then in turn responsible for their survival? NO!

    Take Black Flag for example. I do not know Black Flag personally. If Black Flag were to die tomorrow, I would mourn his loss because through this blog I have gotten to know him somewhat. Other than that, his death would have NO BEARING WHATSOEVER on my life. To some of you, that may sound harsh. I suspect that to Black Flag, it probably doesn’t.

    As long as I did not personally do anything which violated Black Flag’s right to life, I bear no responsibility for his death.

    For the sake of argument, let us now say that Black Flag suddenly lost his job, and he did not have a sufficient store of food and/or things of value to ensure his own survival. Because he did not have these things, am I in some way OBLIGATED to provide these things for him until he again acquires the means of providing these things for himself? Again, NO! Sounds harsh again, doesn’t it? But wait! By not giving BF food, money, etc. am I not now becoming responsible for his death? Am I not infringing on his right to life? Once again, NO! Black Flag, having his own free will, has his own responsibility to provide these things for himself. If I CHOOSE to help BF in his time of need because I think it is the right thing to do, then that is fine. BF can choose to accept my help or reject it. IF I attach strings to my help that would infringe upon BF’s rights, then he would be wise to reject my help. For example, if I were to say, “I will help you, but only if you agree to be my servant and follow my orders from here on out” I suspect that BF would recognize my “help” for the trap that it actually was and would reject it.

    Also, if someone were to tell me that I was REQUIRED to help BF whether I wanted to or not, and by choosing to NOT help him I would be fined or go to jail, that someone would be using the threat of violence against me and the threat to deprive me of MY freedom to force me to act in a certain way.

    Now, let’s get even more complex. Let’s say that BF becomes physically or mentally disabled to the point where he is unable to provide for his own means of survival. Should we help BF to survive in that case? YES, BUT (you knew there was going to be a but… didn’t you) we should only provide that help to BF of our own free will. We should not be FORCED by anyone to provide him any help.

    Now, some of you are saying, “but if we don’t MAKE people help out people who are in need, some people will choose to simply NOT HELP others!” Ummm… yeah. Can’t argue with you there, can I? The question is, what right do any of us have to FORCE anyone else to help someone if they do not wish to?

    The VAST majority of us are taught that to help someone who is in need is a virtue. I can agree with that (provided you do not attach any freedom-reducing strings to the help). However, if one is FORCED to help others when they are in need, all virtue of the act disappears.

    As a final thought, should we, as individuals, be concerned about things like the environment? This would be a yes. Right now, the Earth is the only place that we, as individuals and as a species have to live. As a result, any action which is DEMONSTRABLY harmful to the environment could result in the reduced ability of an individual to survive. Notice that I capitalized the word demonstrably there! Also, note that I am NOT saying that we should not use the resources provided to us by this planet as a means of promoting our own survival. What I am saying is that we need to use these resources in a responsible manner which does not impact the right of any individual to survive.

    If you accept that individuals have freedom, you must also accept that individuals have individual responsibility.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      “Now, let’s get even more complex. Let’s say that BF becomes physically or mentally disabled to the point where he is unable to provide for his own means of survival. Should we help BF to survive in that case? YES, BUT (you knew there was going to be a but… didn’t you) we should only provide that help to BF of our own free will. We should not be FORCED by anyone to provide him any help.”

      Please notice that I very carefully used the word SHOULD here. In spite of the fact that BF has become disabled, there is still no REQUIREMENT for anyone to help him at all.

      • Chris Devine says:

        You make it seem like somebody is forcing you to feed a starving man at gunpoint. The issue is whether the government has an interest in reducing the suffering of its citizens, not whether individual citizens should be forced to help other people survive. We as a nation improve our odds of succeeding (both individually and collectively) when we work together to create an equitable system that promotes hard work and mitigates the effects of chance or bad luck. Bad weather happens. Accidents happen. Criminal acts happen.

        If we want to get past these setbacks we must use our collective resources to bring stability back into the system. If we just sit around waiting for charitable vigilante to step forward and offer help we take the chance of losing valuable time and prolonging the unnecessary suffering of individuals and groups. Telling someone that its his responsibility to pay for his medical care when he can’t work due to injury seems pretty damned mean. Likewise, relying on individual volunteers to help him when we could have procedures in place already seems imprudent.

        Freedom and responsibility may be related, but it doesn’t mean they are causally related. If they are then it is also true that group freedom implies group responsibility. If we as Americans expect to prosper as a group then we must be expected to take responsibility as a group.

        • “You make it seem like somebody is forcing you to feed a starving man at gunpoint.”

          They are; combine the IRS with Welfare and that’s basically what’s happening right now.

  37. Black Flag says:

    Read what George Lakoff has to say about this in The Political Mind. He has plenty of support for this in current neurological research

    I’ll look for it – thanks.

    However by the fact mathematics and science exists demonstrates that emotion is not required.

    I agree many use emotion as a substitution for reason, and are confused in claiming they’ve ‘reasoned’ their arguments.

  38. Black Flag says:

    http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0704/0704.2630v3.pdf

    I think this might have some interest for you, Chris.

    Cheers!

    • Chris Devine says:

      “We favor theories that are simple, beautiful, precisely formulable mathematically, economical in their assumptions, comprehensive, unifying, explanatory, accessible to existing intuition, etc.”

      So, human beings prefer easy to understand solutions for complex issues. Tell me something I don’t know.

      I’ll read it over in detail tomorrow. Thanks.

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