Tuesday Night… Open Mic Nights

Open Mic 1Well, I was struggling with what night would become the official “open mic” night. It seems to me that Tuesday night is the perfect night for it. Middle of the week so that people are settled into the week. Two posts from me before it, and two posts after it leading up to guest commentary (which I am again running thin on!). So the idea here, just so that anyone who wasn’t part of the discussions leading up to open mic night, is that instead of throwing articles that are off topic into the discussions on other days, we save them for posting on this day. I know some of you read a lot and want to discuss a lot of different topics that I am not covering. This is the time for that. So jump in and discuss what people throw up here. And if there is an article or topic that you want to discuss, start a thread for it by replying to the main article. I look forward to the topics that you guys contribute!

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Comments

  1. USWeapon says:

    USWeapon’s Topic #1

    I found this really interesting. Over the last few months, with underwhelming media attention, home “gender” tests appeared on the United States market that can determine the sex of an unborn baby as early as eight or ten weeks into pregnancy, according to its American design company. I can see the good in something like this. Parents can then plan for the proper sex in painting a nursery, getting toys or clothes, etc… I can also see the bad in this. In China they used to take girls and kill them upon birth because they were only allowed a single child and wanted boys. With abortion a constant, and sensitive, issue, how do you guys feel about the home gender tests? Do you think it will lead to pregnancy terminations because of gender preference from the parents?

    Even if it does, what is the right course of action on something like this?

    • If they can determine gender at 8 to 10 weeks, couldn’t the argument be made that the unborn child is a LIFE?!!! It seems to me that you cannot say that this is a boy or a girl, but it is NOT a human being but just an organism or parasite living off of the mother.

      I wonder how this break through in pregnancy testing will be explained away by the media and the pro-choice groups.

      They keep on coming up with new tests and procedures for unborn children, and then say that it is still the woman’s right to murder the child to avoid the inconvenience.

      You will NEVER convince me that it is just that. MASS MURDER on a daily and national scale.

      • You’re right, Esom, but it’s even easier than that. Ask someone, what the creature inside a woman’s stomach is and you’ll get different responses. A baby, a fetus, a tumor (I’ve actually heard this!), etc. But rather ask what species it is. There is no choice but homo-sapien. Is that not, by definition, a human being? Ask a biologist if an amoeba is alive, of course it is. Now how can you say that a fetus is not? It’s all smoke and mirrors to justify to yourself killing your own baby. Very sad…

    • Uhhh, don’t think this is about picking out nursery colors. This is about wanting the perfect baby and if it isn’t what you wanted….take care of it.

  2. USWeapon says:

    USWeapon’s Topic #2

    North Korea recently convicted two US journalists of the “grave crime of entering North Korea illegally”. The two female reporters were sentenced to 12 years in hard labor camps. The outrage from people here is pretty loud. Most Americans are saying that North Korea has no right to take such harsh actions. And most people in America don’t feel as though the women received a fair trial. So what do we do about this?

    Take this a step further. Given the situation that dominates our news, Gitmo and the prisoners housed there, does the US have the ground to protest North Korea’s actions, or would that make them completely hypocritical?

    • I don’t believe there is any comparision to Gitmo and whatever the NK’s have, but it doesn’t matter. They’ll do what ever they want to because they know we won’t do anything but whine, as usual. Personally, think those two women had no business being there. I’m not impressed by anybody associated with Al Gore. I keep hoping Big Al will travel to NK himself. With a little luck, they’ll lock him up for a few years and do us all favor…..:twisted:

    • I don’t really know a whole lot about their case. Did they enter NK illegally? If so, didn’t they get what they asked for?

      As CP says, it doesn’t matter. NK is just grandstanding to piss us off. We will piss and moan and ultimately do nothing. (except probably pay the bastard off) And after a couple of months they will probably take them to the border and toss them across.

    • Perfect hostage trade – Algore for these two. The End

    • I don’t see that it matters if they entered legally or not. If you go to a foreign country, you are subject to their laws, period. A country like that, who would expect “fair” treatment? They may be heroic, inspirational
      reporters, striving to inform the world of grave injustices, but they were also naieve. Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. Don’t go to Saudi Arabia and drink a beer.

      • I agree that its a matter of sovereignty with North Korea. Its their country and not yours therefore its their laws and not yours. This has nothing to do with detainees or any other such nonsense. Its a matter to the North Koreans of another slight by Americans towards them and please no “Its the North Korean government!” as a Canadian documentary made just a few years back interviewed peasants without government officials about and encountered nothing but hatred for the United States of America whom they have been taught from birth is at the root of all their woes. Something to think about.

        I’d have guessed team Gore might have actually known what they were doing but then again we are talking about zealots of a new religion. Has the term Gorehadists been coined yet?

    • chiefopiner says:

      To me, regardless of the circumstances of how it occurred, these two “reporters” have now become a bargaining chip for North Korea to use with the United States (and that may have been the motivation behind the North Koreans actions in the first place).

      It certainly seems to me it will play into the thinking by the State Department and the administration in dealing with the North Koreans.

      Plus, I have to agree with the sentiments that if you choose to enter another country, especially a repressive one, you are willingly accepting the control that nation’s government and authorities will have over you – regardless of whether it is right or wrong.

      • Too bad Al Gore, or Jimmy Carter, or Jesse Jackson wasn’t kept by the Countrys they have gone to to talk with.

        • Alan F. says:

          I’d guess there are not enough blank cheques left in the Oval Office to pay for putting up with Jabba the Gore. I wonder… with the food shortage in North Korea, the ties of these women to Jabba himself and use of the term “documentary” in describing what they were doing, could the North Korean have merely reacted in fear of an invasion by the calorie crunching dynamic duo of Al Gore and Michael Moore?

  3. I don’t believe gender tests will lead to more abortions. Anybody in this country that would abort a baby because of gender, likely has plenty of other reasons to abort it before they get to that one. As long as people have the freedom to have as many children as they can produce, gender based abortion is a red herring.

    • Richmond Spitfire says:

      Hi Cyndi,

      That was my exact thought when I read US’ posting….

      Regards,
      RS

    • Chris Devine says:

      I agree. The desire to terminate a pregnancy based upon the sex of the fetus is sufficient evidence of a lack of judgment and other necessary skills required to be a competent parent.

    • Sorry, have a friend, now demoted to an acquaintance, who is wealthy and bright He didn’t marry until his 40’s (to a woman 15 years younger) and married well as they say. Has the perfect house, car and children. First child was a girl. Had amniocentisis on the second, found out it was another girl and had her aborted (joint decision) third pregnancy was a boy, they kept him. Kids are teens now hope they never find out what happened.

      Another interesting article a couple of weeks ago in the NYT I think, about scams in China where “brides” are being found for a fee. Collect the dowry and then run away. Same problem in India.

      Again, when you take the morality out of a decision, this is what you get.

      • Chris Devine says:

        They don’t do amniocentesis to determine sex. It’s very risky and only done so if there is good reason to believe there is some deformity or genetic defect. Odds are the pregnancy was terminated due to a real issue, not merely the sex of the fetus.

        • Not true. Amnio can be done for many reasons and age of the mother is one of them. I had one with my third pregnancy with no other risks involved other than my age.

          • Chris Devine says:

            The mother’s age is a reason because of the higher rates of birth defects for older mothers. There are other ways to determine the sex of an infant besides amniocentesis. Using a risky method to determine sex is moronic.

            • Black Flag says:

              I agree with Chris – the test is due to the age of the mother and the higher risk of birth defects.

              Gender determination is merely incidental.

        • Chris, I was told this point blank by my friend along with his reasoning. Reasoning? Perfect American two child one boy, one girl family. That’s why he was demoted from friendship to acquaintance. I’m still stunned at his cavalier attitude twelve years later. Trust me, I wouldn’t make something like this up and he was, prior to his confession to me, a good friend. I never even told my wife about it.

          • Chris Devine says:

            That might have been his reason (or the one he was willing to tell you). However, I doubt any woman in her right mind would opt for an abortion to avoid having a child of one sex or the other. He might have had insecurities about his bad seed that caused a genetic birth defect.

            • Now you are speculating. This was done so matter of fact as to be beyond my limited ability to handle it. This was liek yuppie on steroids.

              • A great many people act with purest practicality in what others see as an emotional situation. Its merely who they are. You seriously don’t think late term abortions and genetic manipulation are on the table because all these people are “crazy”. Not at all, they are just not you or me for that matter and in dealing with them its all any of us needs to understand.

            • Chris. I was going to reply to your statement. But, because this is a very sore and sensitive subject for me, I have decided to stay out of it.

              Every time I get into this subject, it starts making me angry and I don’t want to do that here (or anywhere else). I can’t help my feelings on this matter, but have respect for others views different from my own.

            • Black Flag says:

              I and my wife were much older then the norm to start a family.

              The test was used to check for genetic disorders.

      • SK:

        I don’t doubt your friends reasoning at all. That is the result of conditioned thinking since the late 60’s regarding our population bomb. Only illogical and completely immoral people would have more than two children. If I was limited to two and really wanted a son what would the phsycological pressure be with one girl already born?

        Of course the Zero Population Growth folks forgot to factor in the required birth rate to maintain a culture. Or maybe they did!

        Good Day to You
        JAC

  4. My Topic: I’d like to know more about the September 17/18 $550 Billion dollars that was withdrawn from the stockmarket in less than two hours. This is what sent the economy really tanking. I don’t believe this was yet another convenient coincidence. I find the timing suspicious in the extreme. I want to know who was behind it. It wasn’t until after that point that Obama surged ahead in the pols.

    • USWeapon says:

      Cyndi,

      Excellent topic. I hope that some folks with more information than I have will come forward and share. I remember this and I actually even wrote an article about it back in February. You can find it here:
      https://standupforamerica.wordpress.com/2009/02/16/i-accidentally-hit-10-extra-zeros-at-the-atm-that-day/

      • USW,

        I remember reading that, but the story never got any legs. I saw this today

        http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=washingtonstory&sid=aaaBdVMkjPnU

        I even emailed him that I believe this was done deliberately and that I’d like to know about the 17th of September. Of course, I don’t expect him to look into it. I believe the silence is deafening. It’s quiet, to quiet……

        • CP, this is just one example, and I MEAN just 1, that Obama and his administration and Economic cronies are Economic Morons.

          I only hope they don’t do too much damage before we can get their butts out of there, or can at least take away their ability to do it.

          • I don’t believe Obama and his ‘team’ are ecoomic morons. I believe this is being done intentionally. It is part of the plan. Obama is consolidating his power, just like other dictators have done in the past. He’s doing it for a reason. What is his ultimate objective? The possiblities are very worrisome. Is he another Hugo Chavez? Lenin? Hitler? Is he campaigning for some leadership role in the New One World government? I suspect its the latter. People keep saying that he still talks like he’s on the campaign trail. It sure seems that way to me. So what’s he campaigning for? He already has the US. I think Obama is just the front man for someone else. At times Obama seems like a boob, but how could a boob accomplish the power grabs of Obama? I have lots of questions. I don’t think I’m being paranoid. Too many other people feel the same way. Its for a reason.

            • I’m definitely not a conspiracy theorist . . . bunch of quacks . . . , but Glenn Beck keeps talking about Acorn and some deep stuff going on there that Obama is tired to somehow. I don’t know about all of that. If it came to light that would be the end of this bid for power.

        • All;

          I must have been working my butt off at the time as this is the first I heard anything about this.

          Was it deamed an illegal effort? Were those accessing the funds accessing their own funds.

          Was it a run on the banks so to speak?

          How was it initially reported?

          Anybody have any ideas as to where we can look to garner some details?

    • Cyndi P:

      Here is the response I gave on the post USW referenced above:

      February 21, 2009 at 8:00 pm
      “I hope its not to late to comment on this issue, which I have tried to chase down. There is a logical and non-conspiratorial explanation. Which is true we don’t know but let me explain the possible. If you recall the gov’t at the time had just agreed to prop up one failed investment bank. The market was jittery but sanity prevailed. Then the next bank started going, Solomn or Bear can’t remember now, and the gov’t decided to let it go. Now the banking industry, financial markets and investors didn’t know what to do. The failing bank resulted in an immediate down grade in money markets due to the unknown value of toxic (subprime derivatives) mixed up in the whole thing. Bottom line….one of the major money market funds suddently dropped below $1.00/share in value. That meant anyone in the money market was now losing money, not just holding money at no return (translated: devaluation). Now kicks in that great new gizmo that has fueled our fiance driven economy since Mr. Gore invented the internet: electronic trading. Institutions start selling money market shares as fast as they can to preserve capital. After all, the money market funds were being used as “Assets” on their books, to offest bad debt. The details were not public at the time but what was reported was that the commercial lending “commercial paper” market had frozen on that Wednesday. Fed chair and Sec of Treas went running to the white house where they met with and briefed Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Reid along with Mr. Bush, et al. The $750 billion emergency bank bailout was the result. Funny how Mr. Bush got stuck with the blame by Pelosi and Reid for this bill, when they were in on it from the start and it couldn’t have passed without there concurrance. Now — if my scenario is true then they do know where the money went because the trades are obviously recorded. Im guessing the sellers are some of the same folks that got bailed out later and thats why no one is talking. Of course this could just be a big plot by the private money changers who own the Fed banks and was a deliberate move to destroy us and further their New World Order agenda. Right now, in my frame of mind, I prefer to former scenario. If the latter proves true….well lets not go there just yet.”

      This was my understanding of what happended at the time. I have seen nothing since Feb of this year regarding this event. While the explanation I provided is reasonable and plausible I would like to see the details. Some in the media asked for the detailed trade records under The Freedom of Information Act. The request regarding the trade records was supposed to be issued by late April.

      But I haven’t heard anything. Has anyone else picked up any info?

      • CindyP,
        I didn’t see JACs reply before I replied. He is basically saying the same thing, with a couple corrections:

        The $750,000,000,000 TARP bailout was not directly related to this.

        But the Fed Reserve did inject $105 billion in liquidity to averted an immediate collapse.

        This is the wikipedia article:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_financial_crisis_in_September_2008

        • Sorry, I don’t trust Wikipedia, especially in politics. ANYBODY can post, so in my view, that well is polluted. I believe I read the two hours time frame in Bloomberg, though I didn’t save the article.

          You still haven’t explained the power grabs. What about Rahm Emmamual’s comment about never letting a good crisis go to waste because you can do thinkg you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do? I heard the audio of it. He sounded so smug. And don’t forget smug old George Soros “I’m having a very good recession”. Yeah, to the tune of about billion dollars last I heard. The people who are responsible for destroying MY wealth, and the wealth of millions like me, have simply made an investment. Once they own and control us, they’ll get their money back and then some. The worst part is that we won’t be able to do a damn thing about it. They are systematically destroying the middle class. They are doing so because we are in their way. We do things, well we USED to do things, like use our brains and pay attention, and hold our elected leaders responsible for their actions. DESTROYING THE MIDDLE CLASS IS BY DESIGN. Obama, the Charming Snake Oil Salesman, is part of this. You seem to refuse this is even possible, and I don’t understand why. Maybe you should reread Machalvelli.

          • Cyndi P,
            Sorry, but this wikipedia article isn’t about politics, it’s about finance. The only connection it has to politics is your conspiracy theory.

            Feel free to do your own research about the events of Sept 2008. I’d recommend the Wall Street Journal, but maybe you’d like to find a more ‘conservative’ source. The WSJ has a similar timeline, but I suppose ANYBODY could have written that as well…

            You don’t understand why I won’t consider your conspiracy theory? Because it’s laughable. And you’ve provided no evidence, except that Obama and the Democrats won, and you don’t like that.

            If I presented a “theory” with this type of “evidence”, I’d have 20 people on this site jumping all over me and demanding facts. Why isn’t the same thing expected of you?

            • It doesn’t have to be about politics to be tainted by politcs. Its very hard to find the actual truth anymore, so I have to rely on what I see with my own eyes, and what I know of human nature, hence, my beliefs on what is happening. As for ‘evidence’ trying finding out about the legislation being passed while people like you rant about conservates ‘hating’ Obama and being ‘mad’ about it. And nice try to get others to take your side in this, Todd by asking why they aren’t doing it. Well done! As for your side’s ‘theory, Hello! eight years of anti-Bush and GOP hatred spewed forth by what passes for ‘reporters’. So, since there’s no chance of you taking seriously anything about what the US Government has been up to, I’m done with you now. But I will wish you a very happy serfdom.

        • Todd & CyndiP

          Actually the TARP was a direct result of the meltdown. Rembember it started as a proposal for an open check to start buying the bad assets and gave Treas. Sec authority to act quickly on his own. The proposed legislation came out of the meeting with house,senate, fed, treas and bush that weekend.

          There have been a couple of folks state the biggest run was in fact in one morning. The fed pumped in liquidity but it didn’t work. They had to close the short term window, which means no money for banks to lend to balance the books. As they say, the Shit Hit the Fan.

          I don’t think that proves a conspiracy. Computerized trading can easily explain the volume once the $1.00 threshold was reached. At the same time a conspiracy is not impossible and would not be that hard to pull off, if you had people in the right places.

          You both need to realize that the very wealthy don’t lose money when markets crash. They know how to make money in both directions. Anyone remember how Mark Cuban was able to buy the Dallas Mavericks?

          Personaly, I want to see the records. The whole thing, including notes of meetings held between the white house, fed and treasury. We never will but I want the damn Truth.

          I don’t know about you two but I don’t trust my govt. anymore. It is time for some real transparency. Do you think we are grown up enough to handle the truth?

          Best Wishes to you both this morning
          JAC

          • JAC,

            You’ve restated some of my points, such as, we’ll never know the truth; not trusting the government; a small well placed group of people able to pull something off, etc. I understand that the very wealthy make money in both directions. That’s why I consider their temporary looses as an investment. There may not be proof of a conspiracy, but I’m having a real hard time believing that the powerful high rollers suddenly turned into bumbling fools and brought down the whole thing because of incompetence. They were on top of the system, controlling it, enjoying it, and welding power because of it.

          • JAC,
            Yes, TARP was a direct result of the meltdown, but it was not a direct result of the Reserve Primary Fund “breaking the buck”. Money Market Funds were not even eligible to receive funds from TARP.

            I don’t think that proves a conspiracy. Computerized trading can easily explain the volume once the $1.00 threshold was reached. At the same time a conspiracy is not impossible and would not be that hard to pull off, if you had people in the right places.

            A conspiracy is not impossible, but it is highly improbable. I’m surprised you would give support to such a theory. Does this fit your philosophy of logic, reason, and critical thinking?

            Do you think we are grown up enough to handle the truth?

            If you think conspiracy theories like this are possible, than maybe you’re not ready to handle the truth.

            • USWeapon says:

              I have to agree that I am not sold on the conspiracy angle of this situation. I won’t rule it out of course. Because anything is possible, especially when it comes to our government, but it seems like there is nothing to pin conspiracy on this one. Usually a conspiracy theory has at least one bit of something I can cling to in order to buy in and explore the possibility, but I have not yet found that thread here.

              • Hi USW,

                I understand your point on the conspiracy theory. So what does that leave us with? Choice A: Obama knows best and we’re all in a snit about nothing. Choice B: Obama and his lackeys aren’t actually powerful and wealthy high rollers, but are just a bunch of incompetent fools bumbling along. I’m having trouble accepting either of those choices. Choice A, well, I think we’ve beat that horse enough in this forum. Choice B, what can I say? I’ll go with bumbling idiots don’t generally amass great wealth and power and don’t usually have much success in business, their personal affairs, etc. That said, it IS possible, but do you really think the people who are in the positions of power doing things of great effect, are really just a bunch of losers?

                People like us don’t have the access to documents, information, people, etc., to determined what the truth is. That has been the job of the news media. Of course these days, that part of the job description seems to have been disguarded. If the media wasn’t so blatently in love with Obama, and least somewhat trustworthy, I’d be less inclined to believe in the conspiracy theory.

            • Todd:

              I hope you happen by here again to read this.

              You have completely mischaracterized my comments. Please read them again and tell me where I subscribe to a conspiracy theory.

              I agree it is highly unlikely or improbable. But it is not impossible and that is the critical point. Because it is not impossible and because our govt chooses to operate as some King, immune to any accountability to the people, we can’t disprove it or prove it.

              But it is that which causes the theory to grow. So why don’t they just dump the truth out there and kill the theory? Either A) they want it to exist, and why I don’t know or B) they don’t think we can handle the truth or C) they don’t want us to know the truth.

              So Todd, are you grown up enough to handle the truth?

              What if truth is nothing like what you think it to be and Cyndi along with a host of others turn out to be right? Can you deal with that?

              That was the nature of the question Todd. Perhaps you shouldn’t be so quick to jump the gun next time. If you can assume I place a high value on logic and reason then why would you jump to a conclusion that I discarded them in my comments?

              Bottom line, my comments were a warning to you both. You could both be right or you could both be wrong. Don’t stake out hard positions without all the information.

              • Hi There JAC,

                I don’t what happened to my origianl post, but it went something like this:

                How will I know if I’m wrong? I’m freely willing to admit it, but how do I know? If the outcome is the same whether by incompetence or intent, where’s the proof? I’m not trying to be a smartass here, I’d really like to know because I hate this sick feeling I get everytime I see the news or think about what’s going now.

              • As I said, all the govt has to do is put it all out there for us to see. But we know how that will end don’t we?

                So we are left with multiple possible reasons for events with no way to validate or discard. That creates MISTRUST in our govt.

                So, I share your sick feeling and have for some time. But I’m not ready to step off the edge into the pool of conspiracy just yet.

                Also remember that sometimes we think we see patterns in the middle of chaos, but they just turn out to be part of chaos, nothing more.

                Doesn’t matter to me right now, quite frankly, as my mission is to get rid of all of them anyway. No reason to lose sleep over them anymore, just be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.

                We can’t stop what is headed our way in the next few years. But we can start building the army we need to stop the SOB’s in maybe 2010 or 2012. That would be a very ambitious and even monumental task. Success will depend on just how far they go. They are already thinking about slowing down to confuse us.

                Enough for now Cyndi. Just remember, what they are up to doesn’t matter. What we are up to does.

                Sleep tight and stay free
                JAC

              • Thanks JAC. Have a good night.

                🙂

              • JAC,
                This is from your previous post:

                I don’t think that proves a conspiracy. Computerized trading can easily explain the volume once the $1.00 threshold was reached. At the same time a conspiracy is not impossible and would not be that hard to pull off, if you had people in the right places.

                I did not save you “subscribe to a conspiracy theory”, but that your comments “give support to such a theory.” After rereading your comments, I’ll stick to my original interpretation – to me, this sounds like you’re supporting a conspiracy more than you’re denying it.

                Please tell me how I’ve mis-read your comments?

                Maybe I should just let this be, but this comment in your current post:

                I agree it is highly unlikely or improbable. But it is not impossible and that is the critical point. Because it is not impossible and because our govt chooses to operate as some King, immune to any accountability to the people, we can’t disprove it or prove it.

                But it is that which causes the theory to grow. So why don’t they just dump the truth out there and kill the theory? Either A) they want it to exist, and why I don’t know or B) they don’t think we can handle the truth or C) they don’t want us to know the truth.

                Or how about:

                D) The truth is out there, and you just don’t want to believe it.

                I’ve provided you with the timeline of the week of Sept 14 and what caused the events. What could I – or anyone – provide to you that would prove that a conspiracy did not occur? There’s no government records because there was no government action. Institutional investors pulled their money out of the money market funds.

                It’s pretty much impossible to disprove a conspiracy theory, because you can just deny the source or say there’s more too the story, etc. That is why conspiracy theories thrive – because they can’t be disproven.

                I think I’m grown up enough to handle the truth – but I won’t believe this conspiracy theory just because you think it might/could be true.

                Do you have anything that would lend credibility to this theory?

    • From Wikipedia:

      Sunday, September 14, it was announced that Lehman Brothers would file for bankruptcy.
      The same day, the sale of Merrill Lynch to Bank of America was announced.

      On September 16, the large insurer American International Group (AIG), a significant participant in the credit default swaps markets, suffered a liquidity crisis following the downgrade of its credit rating. The Federal Reserve, at AIG’s request, and after AIG had shown that it could not find lenders willing to save it from insolvency, created a credit facility for up to US$85 billion in exchange for a 79.9% equity interest, and the right to suspend dividends to previously issued common and preferred stock

      On September 16, the Reserve Primary Fund, a large money market mutual fund, lowered its share price below $1 because of exposure to Lehman debt securities. This resulted in demands from investors to return their funds as the financial crisis mounted.

      By the morning of September 18, money market sell orders from institutional investors totalled $0.5 trillion, out of a total market capitalization of $4 trillion, but a $105 billion liquidity injection from the Federal Reserve averted an immediate collapse.

      When the Reserve Primary Fund lowered it’s share price below $1, this is called “breaking the buck”. It’s the first time a money market fund had ever done that. It caused a huge loss of confidence and the subsequent withdrawal of $500 Billion dollars.

      I wouldn’t call that a “convenient coincidence”. It was part of the financial meltdown that was occurring.

      • Todd, the finanacial meltdown that was occurring was deliberately done. That 550 Billion disappeared in less than two hours. Are you saying that all those investors all had the same idea and acted on it within the same two hour time period? This meltdown was deliberately done to put Obama in office. He announced his candidacy TWO YEARS out! It is well known elections can be swayed for economic reasons. A small, well connected group of very wealthy people can come up with a plan and impliment it. The more power Obama grabs, the more muslim butt he kisses, the more Shariah law that comes to the US, the more I will be convinced that the economic meltdown was created to get him in office.

        • Cyndi P,
          According to the sources I’ve looked at, the $500 billion was withdrawn over 2 days not 2 hours.

          And yes, I am saying “all those investors all had the same idea and acted on it within the same two hour time period.” It was actually 2 days, and it was large institutional investors – pension funds and insurance companies – that use electronic trading. When a large money market mutual fund like the Reserve Primary Fund “breaks the buck”, it’s not an indication that there might be some issues with their investments.

          It’s a great big flashing billboard that the fund is going to hell. And after Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, Merrill Lynch was sold in a fire sale to BoA, and AIG got a $85,000,000,000 (yeah that’s $85 BILLION) bailout from the government in the previous 3 days, no one wanted to be left “holding the bag” if the Reserve Primary Fund actually went bankrupt.

          Do have any information to back up your theory?

          I find it extremely highly improbable that “A small, well connected group of very wealthy people can come up with a plan and impliment it” to “put Obama in office” by destroying half the wealth in the world…

          “He announced his candidacy TWO YEARS out!” So did EVERYONE ELSE!

          “It is well known elections can be swayed for economic reasons.” Yes, but not trillions of dollars.

          What motive could they possible have? These very wealthy people are willing to give up half their wealth and throw the world economy into recession because they want Muslim rule and Shariah law?

          It just doesn’t compute to me…

  5. I came across a rumor that essentially said that since Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim he could not take his non-muslim wife with him into Muslim controlled Arab countries. That his “curtsy”(my description) to King Saud was a message to the Muslim world.

    I found it odd that Michelle and the girls never accompanied him to the middle east . . .

    I do not like spreading rumors, so does anyone out there know anything about this?

    • Chris Devine says:

      Two things:

      Obama isn’t a muslim, his father was.

      Protocol dictates that ‘curtsy.’ The Bush family, even though they are close friends of the Saudi royals, were still expected to do the same. The protocol is BS in itself, but so is our support for this monarchy with horrible human rights violations that spawned the majority of the 9/11 hijackers. I wouldn’t take my family there either.

      • I personally find it insulting that President Obama significantly played down/denied his Muslim roots while campaigning, but now touts it as he apologizes for the US on foreign soil.

        • Ah Terry, there’s the rub!! He downplayed this when he was running for Office. Now he sings it loud and clear while apologizing for all the rest of us mean ol’ Americans to the Middle East and Europe.

          • Chris Devine says:

            He’s not apologizing for you. He’s apologizing for the guy he replaced.

            • So, he is apologizing to the world for what? Chasing down those who murdered over 3,000 innocent people? For preventing another attack on American soil for the last eight years? Apologizing for what?

              Like him or not, believe he did some wrong things or not, GWB did prevent those Islamic cult murderers from coming here and killing more of our innocent civilians. BHO just let one of them into NYC. Now, who is going to apologize to the American people when they come back here and kill some more innocent civilians?

            • He should be apologizing to the people of the United States for indebting generations to come.

            • He didn’t say he apologized for George W. Bush. He Apologized for American arrogance, and highhandedness. Sure sounds like the people to me.

              Besides that. I see nothing to apologize for. They sent assholes over here to attack innocent Americans. We sent soldiers over their to kick their terrorists asses.

              The moral of my story is: Don’t send terrorists to attack us if you don’t want a visit from the Military.

              • Chris Devine says:

                The terrorists were mostly from Saudi Arabia. Why did we start a war with Iraq?

                And no it’s not the people he apologized for. It was the previous administration. If you can’t see the distinction then you’re no better than the terrorists who thought it was justified to attack civilians for the actions of our government.

              • USWeapon says:

                Chris,

                So often I can understand your positions, but this one is completely inaccurate. Go back and read that speech again. He is not apologizing for the previous administration, although that would have been in line with his current tactic, which is throw all blame backward and deflect rational thought.

                He specifically stated that he was talking about American attitudes. You are misconstruing the facts here, and letting your opinion get in the way of seeing what he actually said.

              • Chris Devine says:

                “Violent extremists have exploited these tensions in a small but potent minority of Muslims. The attacks of September 11th, 2001 and the continued efforts of these extremists to engage in violence against civilians has led some in my country to view Islam as inevitably hostile not only to America and Western countries, but also to human rights. This has bred more fear and mistrust.”

                “But that same principle must apply to Muslim perceptions of America. Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire. The United States has been one of the greatest sources of progress that the world has ever known. We were born out of revolution against an empire. We were founded upon the ideal that all are created equal, and we have shed blood and struggled for centuries to give meaning to those words  within our borders, and around the world. We are shaped by every culture, drawn from every end of the Earth, and dedicated to a simple concept: E pluribus unum: “Out of many, one.”

                “The situation in Afghanistan demonstrates America’s goals, and our need to work together. Over seven years ago, the United States pursued al Qaeda and the Taliban with broad international support. We did not go by choice, we went because of necessity. I am aware that some question or justify the events of 9/11. But let us be clear: al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day. The victims were innocent men, women and children from America and many other nations who had done nothing to harm anybody. And yet Al Qaeda chose to ruthlessly murder these people, claimed credit for the attack, and even now states their determination to kill on a massive scale. They have affiliates in many countries and are trying to expand their reach. These are not opinions to be debated; these are facts to be dealt with.”

                It is not absolutely clear who Obama meant by “some people.” From my perspective he was referring to policies not attitudes. I think the use of fear and mistrust by the previous administration to manipulate public opinion is pretty obvious.

              • USWeapon says:

                So you are giving us your interpretation of who the President was apologizing for, not the reality of who he was speaking about or the reality of who the muslims he addressed believed he was speaking about. In which case, your interpretation is nothing more than that. My interpretation is different, and my interpretation started spreading a rumor that your interpretation is misguided led by what you want to believe. 😉

              • Kristian says:

                I have to agree with Chris on this one. I watched that speech and then that night I listened to Sean Hannity turn it into something that it wasn’t. I did not hear the president apologize for us in that speech. I am not now nor have I ever been a fan of Mr. Obama, but I’m not going to say that he did something that I know he didn’t just because I don’t like the man’s policies.

              • “If you can’t see the distinction then you’re no better than the terrorists who thought it was justified to attack civilians for the actions of our government.”

                I’m sorry USW. I ain’t letting that slide.

                You know Chris, I am trying to have a reasonable debate. For you to make a comment like that is purely being a true honest to god 100% asshole. I don’t know why I bothereds discussing anything at all with you. So I won’t do it again. I promise.

              • Chris Devine says:

                Are you sure?

              • USWeapon says:

                That was a pretty lame statement Chris. Fall not into the trap that you wouldn’t want others falling into. I assume you smart enough to think for yourself so I disagree with your ideas at times, but don’t deem you too ignorant to know better.

                This statement, along with another that you made below, to JAC I believe, would insinuate that you merely think that those who disagree with you are not smart enough to know better. Perhaps the time has come to reevaluate that position. Men far more intelligent than I disagree with my beliefs, and I dare say that men far more intelligent than you disagree with yours. Attack the position, not the person. Live on the assumption that I am smarter than you are and go from there. I do the same. That leads us to looking at the facts, not the message bearer.

              • Chris Devine says:

                My apologies for being an asshole. You try arguing against a dozen other (frequently hostile) people whose opinions are diametrically opposed to yours. Please forgive my frustration.

                JAC in particular has shown himself to me as someone completely unwilling to see things from my perspective. Furthermore, I don’t really appreciate it when people start responding to my posts by addressing others as if I’m not there.

              • USWeapon says:

                Reply moved to #31 below

      • Protocol dictates that ‘curtsy.’ – So how come I have never seen any other national leader, from any other country or even the U.S., do that before?

    • So, if his dad was a Muslim, does that make him an “apostate” and subject to a fatwah?

    • From http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/l/kathleen-lyday.htm

      “In the past Presidents have been known to follow protocol offering gestures of respect to foreign dignitaries. In 2005 the Saudi King visited George W. Bush at the Crawford ranch where he was greeted by former President with a kiss.”

      So is kissing ok, but not a “curtsy”?

      • TexasChem says:

        historically speaking kissing has both leaders being seen as equals, one bowing shows fealty.

  6. Chris Devine says:

    Here’s my topic:

    How much of our understanding of political issues is based upon the terms used? For instance, would you be more in favor of a “bailout” or an “economic stimulus package?” Which sounds worse, the “inheritance tax” or the “death tax?” Does it make a difference if we use the metaphor “a war on ____” (poverty, crime, drugs, terror, et al.) instead of seeing these problems from a different standpoint (e.g., helping the poor, crime prevention, substance abuse treatment, or prosecuting terrorists)?

    How much effort do you think goes into framing these issues in order to presuppose a method for addressing them?

    • Good Morning Chris, “bailout” or “stimulus?” Niether, government needs to mind their own damn business. Both have been done, and both have failed. Let companies fail that should fail, that’s how we have to live, why shouldn’t they? Death tax? Just another tax, added to the TOO MANY we have. Poverty, too much by choice, eliminate welfare as a lifestyle. Crime, if more people would carry a gun there would be much less crime, agian eliminate welfare. Drugs, don’t care, not part of my life, again, eliminate welfare. Terror, can’t fix hatred.

      Hope you have a fine day!

      G!

      • That pretty much sums my feelings up too G.

      • Chris Devine says:

        As much as I appreciate your perspective, I think you missed my point. ‘Bailout’ and ‘stimulus’ are not two different things, they are the same thing with two different names and viewed from different perspectives.

        I’m curious why you chose ‘death tax’ over ‘inheritance tax.’

        When you fail you don’t take down millions of people with you. So your analogy doesn’t really apply.

        The ‘more guns/less crime’ position oversimplifies the matter in a nation as big as ours.

        Welfare isn’t just for individuals. Bailouts (or stimulus packages, if you prefer) are corporate welfare.

        You can’t just ignore the effects of drug abuse in this country since it is a major cause of other problems.

        You can fix hatred (partially) by not creating new reasons for people to hate you.

        These are all real problems we must face and a big part of how we address them is how we see them.

        • Let’s not start the gun thing again. No matter what you think or feel, the facts are that gun crime has gone down in states with concealed carry’s faster than elsewhere. the facts also indicate that the Feds are reluctant at best to use federal laws to go after formerly convicted criminals who use or possess guns. These folks, in addition to whatever penalty they may incur on a local level are also violating a federal law which prohibits convicted felons from MERE possession of a firearm.

          Sometimes simple solutions are the best. Lock em up and throw away the key.

          You have something on drug abuse. Can you imagine the crime rate without drug crimes? 50% less maybe?

        • Chris, I agree, probably for different reasons, that bailout and stimulus are the same. Bailout + stimulus = the finacial rape of future generations!

          Death tax only occurs when someone dies, and the government retaxes wealth that was already taxed. And death was easier to spell! LOL.

          Investing = gambling. If millions lose, then it is what it is. I fell many times before I learned to walk, and since then I’ve fallen many more times. I lived, they would have as well.

          No such thing as oversimlifying things, facts are facts.

          We agree on welfare, and I still want it eliminated, as it is the cause of alot of the problems you mentioned.

          I don’t intentionally try to get anyone to hate me, but some do anyway, for no other reason other than, I breathe.

          Wording is not important to me, solutions to the problems that actually work would be a nice change. Same problems, different terms, different decade, same useless government bulldookie.

          PEACE!

          G!

    • I do not believe the terms used matter much if you are an informed individual. Bailout or stimulus…both are merely big government using a crisis to further their agenda. As far as the taxes (death or inheritance), both are equally reprehensible…mereley taxing money that has already been taxed. Metaphors…just tell us like it is. It does not matter what you call it, it is what it is. This is simply another tactic to make something appear either worse or better depending on the rhetoric.

      • Chris Devine says:

        Current research in neuroscience supports the idea that it matters a great deal which terms are used and how issues are framed. Not to mention the millions spent by think tanks (historically conservative, but the progressive ones are catching up) to decide how to talk about these issues. It’s not just about spin (it can be), but it’s about supporting one worldview over another by limiting debate within a specific structure.

        • That does not deny the fact that it is simply rhetoric to make something appear either less or more offensive based on the terminology.

          • USWeapon says:

            But once it is found more or less offensive, that helps to form the mindset around the issue. You will be more likely to react negatively to something called a death tax than something called an inheritance tax if you are uninformed, which I think all of us reading this site will agree the majority of Americans are.

            There are millions of dollars spent in this area for a reason. They know the control that a term can create.

            • In that particular example, they should be looking for an alternative to the word Tax…For me at least that carries an extremely negative connotation.

              • USWeapon says:

                Which is another great example. Simply calling some form of collecting money a tax is good enough to make some people rebel against it! 🙂

    • I do feel Chris, that it’s all in the way you put it. As Terry stated, it means jack to an INFORMED individual. But how many folks out there are informed? The mass mob out there takes it as it’s packaged. And for sure, any moron can see that Obama in particular knows how to make anything sound better when he’s trying to shmooze it to the public.

      This tactic is not by any stretch patented by him though. That must be someting you learn in Politician School.

      • Richmond Spitfire says:

        Good Morning Esom,

        Yes…INFORMED is the keyword here…8 months ago, it would have mattered to/affected me…

        Have a great day!
        RS

      • Chris Devine says:

        Then how do you explain why many people continue to support policies that harm them even when they know they are being harmed (e.g., tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the middle class). Even if you point this out to those people who won’t see a dime, they still continue to support such policies and the politicians in favor of them.

        • Maybe because I am NOT being harmed. You see, I don’t believe the Liberal crapola of “tax breaks for the wealthiest at the expense of the middle class”.

          The middle class create no jobs. The wealthy do. While I do think the wealthy should not be given tax breaks Chris, that is because I don’t believe ANYBODY should get tax breaks. Not Wealthy, not Middle Class, not poor. If any pay, we ALL should. A fair or flat tax ACROSS THE BOARD! No exceptions.

          But since this is the way it’s done, than why doesn’t Obama fix it like he promised? Spread that wealth like he said? Make us all equally poor?

          • Richmond Spitfire says:

            Wow Esom…

            Imagine having the IRS being the Internal “Receipt” Service … their main focus is administrative in nature — receiving the 10% and checking it against the list to find out who is naughty or nice…Imagine the huge amount of savings that we, the citizens would have from getting rid of the current IRS Talking Heads who make “mucho dinero” from setting up bulldookey policy that confounds “normal” people. Wow…talk about simplifying things!

            Regards,
            RS

          • Chris Devine says:

            What about the wealthy who send those jobs overseas or south of the border? Do you think they still deserve to pay less taxes? Wealthy people pay more taxes because they use more of the government services that make that wealth accumulation possible (courts for contract disputes, government oversight agencies, infrastructure that make commerce possible, etc.). Furthermore, what’s the point of creating jobs if someone isn’t capable of filling those positions? Without an educated and healthy middle class you can have as many want ads as you’d like but there won’t be any economic growth.

            A flat tax is not a fair tax. It but the tax burden squarely on the shoulders of the middle class. The marginal tax rate of the rich and the poor will decrease, but it will increase for the rest of us.

            • Bama dad says:

              Business leaves because we have the 2nd highest business tax rate in the world. Japan is first.
              😆

              • Chris Devine says:

                Tell these business owners to leave with them. If they want to hire people in the third world, let them live in the third world and sell their crap in the third world.

                Businesses pay taxes because they use public resources to make profits. They want to have their cake and eat it too.

              • USWeapon says:

                Why should they be forced to move away because they make the best decisions they can for their business? That makes no sense.

                If Americans don’t like what they are doing, they are free to not buy their crap. But since Americans don’t care enough about their business practices to make their voice heard with purchasing power, you think the answer is for Americans to get the benefit of the product or services that these folks provide while simultaneously punishing them for providing it in a way they see as most productive. And who exactly is wanting their cake and eating it too?

            • They also leave because of NAFTA, which means they can.

              How exactly would a Flat Tax across the board with no loopholes and no exceptions fall on the middle class? Because that is the Flat Tax I propose. ALL would pay. No one would escape.

              Hell anything would be better than the Tax rapes, uh, I mean, Tax rates we have now.

              • Chris Devine says:

                Because the marginal tax rate would decrease for the rich and the poor. It would increase for the middle class.

              • Your argument is pure unadulterated BS Chris. You equate tax rate to “impact on the middle class”.

                Unless their actual TAXES go up or down there is no impact. Pure fact and science based reality.

                If a Flat Tax rate increased their taxes over the existing rate then they would be impacted.

                The Flat tax would raise the taxes on the wealthy and probably reduce taxes on the middle.

                Now while you blood pressure is rising, the one thing proponents of the Flat Tax forget is that our “income tax” started as a 2% Flat Tax. Gee Whiz. Seems that once you let bad in the door bad grows to something awful. So how do you prevent that from happening again?

              • Chris Devine says:


                Put down your pompoms.

              • Your first graph supports my statement.

                Your second is for a Retail Sales Tax. I did not propose such a tax.
                But it does ignore payroll tax which wouldn’t be necessary any longer with a Fair Tax.

                I like my pompoms.

              • Of course my statements about impact totally depend on the “flat rate” selected. When proposed the rate would have been under 19%, below the effective tax rate paid by most in the mid income brackets, and above the average effective rate paid by the wealthy.

            • Well I guess we are back to “FAIR”. Well since today I get to decide what is fair then I say the flat tax or Fair Tax win.

              Tomorrow we will give Peter B the chance and on Friday Chris you get your turn again. Saturday goes to Esom and Sunday to Spitfire.

              Anyone else want a turn at KING.

              • Richmond Spitfire says:

                Hello JAC,

                I’ve missed you!

                Unfortunately, I have to wait for my “Gender Reassignment” from Big Brother before I can be King for the day! 😥

                Hugs,
                RS

              • Sorry Spitfire I should have explained that King is generic for Ruler, as in Man for humanity.

                There now you can take your turn without waiting.
                Did everything come out OK?

                Heh, Heh, Heh!!
                Big Get Well Hug Today for You
                JAC

            • USWeapon says:

              Wealthy people pay more taxes because they use more of the government services that make that wealth accumulation possible (courts for contract disputes, government oversight agencies, infrastructure that make commerce possible, etc.)

              And when they go to court they pay the court costs. When they use the infrastructure, they have already paid the taxes that created that infrastructure. You are using false arguments here. They already paid the massive tax burden they shoulder which pays for those things.

              • Chris Devine says:

                These aren’t false arguments. Do you really think that court costs cover all the costs associated with running a judiciary?

                You have conceded my point with the statement, “They already paid the massive tax burden they shoulder which pays for those things.”

              • USWeapon says:

                I conceded no such thing. I stated that they already pay the lion’s share of the taxes. And I would say that they already pay far more than the proportion of services they use. On the flip side, the poor do the opposite, use without paying.

                If the cost of the judiciary is more than the court costs, then they should reevaluate the court costs. Sounds like the judiciary is who needs financial regulation, not the businesses.

              • Chris Devine says:

                What do the poor get from civil courts or the SEC?

        • Why is it so hard to understand? If I am Bill Gates and you cut my taxes by $ 100,000,000 or so, do I bury the money in jelly jars in my backyard? Of course not, I go out and spend it on something that someone made. I thereby directly transfer my wealth to that person or those people without the middle man stop of the government.

          One of my very favorite government scams is the so called tax rebate or property tax rebate. You take excess money from me. The fact you can “rebate” it means it’s not needed in the first place. You then return it to me after deducting an administrative fee. Had you not taxed me at a higher rate to begin with none of this doohickey/folderol would be necessary to begin with. But, people buy it and get down on their knees to thank the politicians for their kindness like the medieval lords they have become. The real question is what do they put in the water to make folks so damn dumb.

          • Chris Devine says:

            Wealthy people don’t spend their money as much as middle class do. They save it and earn more money with interest. Bill Gates would put that money into some investment scheme and siphon off more money from the productive portion of the economy. If you give me a tax break I will spend it. Probably every dime. If that’s your argument for tax cuts for the wealthy you need to think it over a bit.

            Your argument about the word ‘rebate’ is exactly what I’m talking about. If it’s called a refund then it falls into the category of it’s yours and being rightfully returned. If it’s called a rebate then it seems like they’re doing you a favor.

            • Chris…you said:

              “Bill Gates would put that money into some investment scheme and siphon off more money from the productive portion of the economy.”

              This speculation, do you have concrete examples?

              • Chris Devine says:

                Bill and I don’t hang out as much as we used to, but I’m sure I could dig up some figures regarding the percentage of income spent versus saved of people in different tax brackets.

              • The next time you see him, tell him my Windows Vista stinks!

              • Chris Devine says:

                That’s why I use a Mac.

              • No wonder you and Bill no longer hang out together!

            • Black Flag says:

              A common misunderstanding about wealth is exposed by Chris’ comment.

              Paraphrased – if money isn’t spent, it isn’t doing anything.

              This is Keynesian thinking, and horrifically wrong.

              When someone forgoes spending and saves, they are making a choice to delay their economic desires into the future.

              When someone spends today and does not save, they are making a choice to satisfy a desire today at the sacrifice of satisfaction tomorrow.

              The free market responds by using the freed up capital of the saver to make the goods demanded by the consumer. Without the saver delaying his consumption, there would be no way for the market to provide the goods to the consumer because both people would be simultaneously demanding goods NOW. The market cannot respond to both equally.

              By saving, the saver allows the market to focus on those who are demanding – and thus allow the market to provide the goods at a far lower cost than if there was only consumers and no savers.

              There is great value in delaying satisfaction to the future, and a very large premium charged to those that demand immediate satisfaction. This manifests by the surcharge on the use of borrowed capital (interest).

              The reason prosperity exists is because the wealthy do not spend. By providing the freed up capital because they have delayed their consumption, it allows the market to provide the goods and services the rest of us demand today.

              • USWeapon says:

                Excellent reply

              • Chris Devine says:

                What you are saying seems to make sense as long as the amount needed as capital and the amount saved and available are on par. However, the amount of capital amassed by people like Bill Gates probably far exceeds the amount needed. Furthermore, I am not talking about credit. I am talking about tax refunds spent. If you return taxes to someone who spends most of their paycheck, then they will probably spend the excess. If you return the money to people who already have an excess there is no reason to believe that the extra money saved will be required as capital for loans.

              • Black Flag says:

                see #23

              • Great explanation.

        • Chris:

          You have fallen victim to your own point. “(e.g., tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the middle class).” is the same general type of statement as those you posed above. It is a slogan instead of a name but it is used on the “left” to inflame but not inform.

          This, in my opinion, falls along the lines of the term “subsidize the rich” or “loopholes” to describe legitimate tax deductions. All such terms are deliberately used to reach one segment of the population.

          Some of the most interesting stuff to come out of new studies is the hypothesis that “liberals” and “conservatives” seem to be hard wired. We are predisposed to a certain philosophical bent if you will. It supports my observations and confoundment of many years but I still don’t understand how there could be two so distinctly differenct groups within a population, and how genetics affects this.

          It also doesn’t explain “converts” like myself. Perhaps we fall in the spectrum between the “hard” left and right.

          Got any thoughts on this part of the topic?

          • Chris Devine says:

            It’s not genetics. It’s exposure to the environment. There are very few strictly conservative or strictly liberal people. Most people have a conservative viewpoint in some areas and a liberal viewpoint in others. Libertarians can be said to be socially liberal but fiscally conservative. See what I mean?

            The whole notion of a spectrum is also a bad way to look at things. Lakoff uses the example of Chuck Hegel and Joe Lieberman. They agree on nothing but they’re both considered moderates. There is no such thing as a moderate viewpoint.

            Framing the issue doesn’t mean spinning. You can’t understand anything without a frame of reference. Frames can be constructed honestly or dishonestly (the latter is where propaganda and spinning are). There are no neutral terms, per se. However, if you make the frame explicit then you can judge for yourself if it makes sense or seems manipulative.

            Tax breaks, cuts, or refunds all elicit a different frame describing a real world phenomenon: wealthy people pay less taxes (as a marginal tax rate) than people in the middle class. It is not ‘inflaming’ if you are honest about how you see the big picture.

            • If its all environment then how do you get a conservative in a family of liberals and visa versa?

              • Chris Devine says:

                The simple answer is your family members aren’t the only ones whom you deal with and learn from.

                Most of us have both the conservative and progressive frame built into our neurons. We use them in different areas. That’s why you can have people who are mostly conservative but care about the environment (hunters, fishers, hikers, etc.) It also explains why you can have people with empathy for the suffering of Americans who are against open borders. Make sense?

              • I understand the assumptions made and the conclusions reached. It does not make sense and I do not agree with Mr. Lakoff’s conclusions regarding cause and effect. I think he is guilty of using the science side to rationalize his ethical/political side.

                The conservative/environmentalist comparison is a good point. Those who grow up using and living on the land are usually much more in tune with it and have a strong “conservation” ethic. As in wise use. Their other political views are not all formed by the “strong father” model either.

                Perhaps they are consistent with their life experiences. I think you are also missing the point of this work. THe frames are not built into the nuerons. They can effect which connections or combination of neurons are used. The “frame” is then associated with the “circuit” selected.

                Your comparisons are as bad as Lakoff’s. Such as empathy for suffering and opposition to open borders. The implication is that you are not empathetic if you are against open borders. Lakoff used this little trick in several of his comparisons during the talk you linked.

                The field of study is producing some very interesting and enlightening information. But I see it is already being twisted to meet the agenda of those who wish us to conform.

                By the way, the “progressives” have had the monopoly on “think tanks” for almost 100 years. They are called Universities.

              • Chris Devine says:

                I’m pretty sure I’m not missing the point. I’ve read a fair amount of Lakoff’s work, including the science behind it. Metaphor is central to how human cognition works. Words like ‘frame’ are just labels we use to describe the neurological circuits.

                This field has been twisted already by guys like Frank Luntz. Lakoff is just trying to untwist it and use it for the benefit of most people, not just the richest amongst us.

                The reason you can’t understand my examples or Lakoff’s isn’t because they are bad, it’s because your brain has been wired in such a way as to interpret them as bad.

                Universities and think tanks have different purposes. Universities are meant to foster an environment of open discussion and research. Think tanks exist to push a particular agenda. Besides, do you really think the progressives are running all the business schools?

              • USWeapon says:

                “Universities are meant to foster an environment of open discussion and research.”

                You can’t honestly make that statement in today’s environment and do so with a straight face.

        • USWeapon says:

          I can only speak for me on that one Chris. I support what I do because I try my best to support what makes sense to me. I see the treatment of the wealthy by the left as ethically flawed, morally flawed. There are lots of positions that I take that are not in “my” best interests because I have to remain true to what I believe. For example, I think that individual liberty trumps most things, therefore, regardless of how horrible I think abortion is, I cannot bring myself to think it is right to tell someone else what to do. I am middle class, but I do see the wealthy as having a gigantic impact on the economy. Logically, the position of the left doesn’t make any sense to me. And I cannot support income redistribution (how is that for a “framing” term?).

          • Chris Devine says:

            The wealthy do have a big impact on the economy (both positively and negatively). The government resources used to facilitate and regulate commerce disproportionally benefit the wealthy, that’s why they pay more taxes. Arguments to lower the tax burden of the wealthy usually disregard this fact. When was the last time you had to rely on the courts to settle a contract dispute?

            • If govt stopped all its facilitation and regulation of commerce there would be no need for the “disproportionate benefit” to the wealthy.

              They do not pay more taxes because they receive more benefits. They pay more because of jealousy and envy that has been beaten into the phsyci of America.

              With that said, there are places where they do receive greater benefit, indirectly, and one could justify a progressive rate or a use/benefit tax. But regulation of commerce is not it. Bad example.

              • Chris Devine says:

                Your ‘politics of envy’ crap is about as tiresome as the cries of socialism. Wealthy people do in fact use more of the government’s resources. Where is your evidence to support your jealousy claims?

                Without regulation of commerce we would have air we couldn’t breathe, water we couldn’t drink, food we couldn’t eat, etc. Ever read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair? Before we had government regulatory agencies it was a free-for-all that benefited the robber barons. Is that what you want to go back to?

              • Ever hear of nuisance lawsuits?

                By the way Sinclairs world was the one created by those following the eventual outcome of true altruistic ethic, not an ethically based free market capitalism. Some can be sacrificed for the good of others. That was and has been the rationalization of pollution and environmental degradation for many decades.

                I have shown you how this could be done without all the Federal regulation and enforcement. ONce again it is called the courts and the effect of a free market. And of course your response once again ignores the key point that MY world requires conversion from one ethic to anohter before it can be implemented.

                A daunting task yes, but one that is achievable. In fact I would say it has a greater chance of success than the current system or the “improved more efficient” version you support.

              • Chris Devine says:

                What are you talking about? The Chicago stockyards were hardly an example of altruistic behavior.

                You have postulated how these things could be done without government regulation and I have shown where lack of regulation has caused problems in the past (to put it lightly).

                Good luck with your free market crusade. Be careful what you wish for…

              • USWeapon says:

                “Wealthy people do in fact use more of the government’s resources. Where is your evidence to support your jealousy claims?”

                Wealthy people also pay the majority of the income taxes in America. But where is your evidence to support your claims that they are using more of the government’s resources?

              • Chris Devine says:

                Who benefits from the all the government agencies that facilitate and underwrite commerce? It’s certainly not guys like me.

            • USWeapon says:

              However, when they rely on the courts to resolve a contract dispute, they pay the court costs associated with doing so. How is it that you continue to miss that part of the equation. If the courts were being accesses for “free”, as you insinuate, I submit that Americans would be resolving EVERY contract in court.

            • I am really not sure I understand this argument. If everyone pays a 10% tax the wealth still pay the lions share. he poorest on the scale make 0 money and pay 0. The more you make the more you pay in tax. SO if the wealthy benefit the most from government…they would still pay the most.

      • Esom,

        I think Chris is correct on this. Even intelligent, informed individuals will be influenced. It is like a subliminal message, and works on your subconscience.

        • I only used the example he gave LOI. Ya’ll are right however. It is almost like the Pied Piper Syndrome. The sheeple just follow right along.

        • JayDickB says:

          I like Esom’s “hillbilly common sense”.

          I have learned to ignore labels. The devil is ALWAYS in the details. Check the details to find out what something really is.

          When I hear a label that sounds good, my subconscious starts ringing alarms rather than accepting a logical meaning.

          • JDB, I think a lot of us have learned to start listening better and finding the meaning behind political rhetoric. Others however, will never learn.

            We hillbillys are more skeptical and used to looking behind meanings of our “betters” for practicality.

            City slickers are more used to living on Government, Law, and slick talking jabberjawing from their politicians.

            • Esom;

              I think those of us who are by definition “Hillbilly’s” or “Rednecks” have had the advantage of growing up in a family unit that puts great stock in Common Sense.

              BTW: Do you know what a Hoosier is? It’s a Hillbilly that ran out of money on the way to Michigan.

              Having that common sense is best when dealing with the fork tounge devils in Washington.

              As my grandfather use to say when he thought when a polotitian was spouting bull “Don’t piss on me and tell me its raining”

    • Chris Devine says:
      • I want everyone to absorb Chris’ response to our discussion above.

        “The reason you can’t understand my examples or Lakoff’s isn’t because they are bad, it’s because your brain has been wired in such a way as to interpret them as bad.”

        Let’s see if any of our new thinkers can uncover the implications.

        • Chris Devine says:

          I fully expect and encourage you to think about it. Read as much as you can and judge for yourselves.

          JAC, I think you, more than anybody here, is so wrapped up in your own BS that you can’t even take a step back and seriously consider an alternative viewpoint.

          • Step back and consider and alternative, absolutely.

            Accept it as truth without question, never.

            Have I found a solid reason to change mine, NO!

            So thank you for recognizing my committment to the truth and the need for freedom.

            • Chris Devine says:

              Who here is arguing against the need for freedom? Get down off your soapbox.

              • You believe that one group can impose its will another. Using the coersive force of govt to get one group to obey the will of the other.

                Please explain how this furthers individual freedom or liberty?

              • Chris Devine says:

                I think you misunderstand freedom. Freedom is not some limitless commodity that can be accumulated or destroyed. Freedom is the balance between competing interests. Without some form of institution to handle these conflicts all that would remain is violence.

      • And here is another nice little comparison for you all to consider.

        “And no it’s not the people he apologized for. It was the previous administration. If you can’t see the distinction then you’re no better than the terrorists who thought it was justified to attack civilians for the actions of our government.”

        Anyone see the false connection created thus rendering your position impossible to defend?

        • Chris Devine says:

          It’s not a false connection. The connection is very real. The people who attacked us couldn’t distinguish between civilians and the policies of their government. Those who can’t see that Obama was apologizing for the policies of our government are just as bad in this realm.

          JAC, for someone who holds reason in such high regard, you sure seem to be awfully short on it in practice.

      • I’ve read through Chris’ links. I just want to say thank you to JAC, USW, BF for the recent articles on reason, philosophy, etc. to help me process this BS.

        • Chris Devine says:

          Kathy, they only gave you one side—their side. That’s why my links and posts seem like BS. They contradict what you have been told.

          • Kristian says:

            Chris,

            Not trying to pick a fight here, but your response to Kathy makes her sound like she isn’t using the brain that God gave her. They didn’t give anyone’s side in those philosphy discussions. They were speaking of philosophy and showing us how to determine what our philosopy about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is. Now, if by using the tools that she was given to determine her philosphy says that what she read in those links is BS that doesn’t mean that she was pursuaded by anyone’s philsophy but her own.

            • Chris Devine says:

              They certainly did give one side and one side only. By relying upon the philosophy of Ayn Rand and her followers they presented a view of philosophy and reason that are heavily tilted towards one side.

              Perhaps I assumed too much by Kathy’s comment, but it seems like a fair assessment since nobody seems to take my philosophical arguments seriously even though they are based upon a rather broad education in philosophy. The fact that I am dismissed outright tells me that their view of philosophy is so narrow as to be considered a caricature.

              • TexasChem says:

                Possibly the fact that you’re being dismissed outright should give you doubt that quite possibly your beliefs are not as solid as you thought.

              • Chris Devine says:

                I didn’t say it happens everywhere, only here. I wasn’t talking about my beliefs, but my understanding of philosophy in general. I still think that relying on just Ayn Rand is unproductive. You can’t consider yourself informed until you’ve looked into more than what you agree with. That’s why I’m here. Why are you here?

              • Black Flag says:

                Well, if it is any consolation, I read your arguments.

    • Chris,

      Good morning and good topic. I have to agree with you on this. Why did abortion get re-named “pro-choice”? Its simple marketing. Pro-life sells better than anti-abortion. Clinton and the gun ban media start calling semi-automatic rifles “assault weapons” and now it is acceptable and understood by all. (military def. is it must be capable of fully automatic fire to be an assault weapon) Add to that all the news stories on violence in Mexico show pictures of grenades, rocket launchers and anti-aircraft machine guns when they explain the US is the primary supplier of firearms to the drug lords. Media term is “framing”, and it is a deliberate method of making the audience associate things, even if they are not related. You can legally purchase semi-automatic firearms in America, go to a gun store and ask to buy a grenade, good luck.

      And where have the terrorists gone? They are still blowing up everybody they can in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      The end of the Global War on Terror — or at least the use of that phrase — has been codified at the Pentagon. Reports that the phrase was being retired have been circulating for some time amongst senior administration officials, and this morning speechwriters and other staff were notified via this e-mail to use “Overseas Contingency Operation” instead.'”

      So there are no more “terrorists”, wow, do I feel safer.

      • Chris Devine says:

        Colin Powell suggested after 9/11 that the issue be treated more like a fight against international criminals, not a war against a faceless enemy. You can prosecute terrorists and bring them to justice, but how do you wage war on a tactic? There are still terrorists out there (arguably there are more terrorists because of our invasion of Iraq). Pretending we are at war with ‘terror’ won’t fix anything.

    • Chris:

      You are absolutely correct in that there is considerable thought given to the names and terms used. This has been the case for a very long time now. We basically live in a world filled with PROPOGANDA created by both sides, and sometimes other sides. Of course it works because of our short term view and our desire for “sound bite” type answers to everything.

      It goes beyond simple slogans to the revision of definitions as I have shown earlier. In addition to this politicians and corp. executives discovered about 15 years ago that they could hire ex media types to teach them how to handle interviews and other media communications. These consultants taught everyone how to handle those contentious questions and tense situations by simply staying on message and not responding. The result is the interview that has the same one or two answers for any question posed.

      Another manifestation is the use of “talking points” in almost everything we see from the media and politicians. Sean Hannity is probably the worst I have seen from the right. The main stream media is awful at it. Someone runs with a story and the rest follow, including the same lead in and tag lines.

      As a society we are being pulled and pushed by all those who should be informing us. It actually is getting easier to tell what new legislation or some new program will do. It is the opposite of its title.

      The only disagreement I have with your comments so far is that the effect of this type of manipulation has been known for quite some time and is not the result of recent study. We may be finding our where in the brain this occurs but the fact it doest has been used by Propogandists since the beginning of the last century.

      This is a good topic and I’m glad you raised it.
      JAC

      • Chris Devine says:

        The effect has been known about for a long time. However, it is only recently that the underlying neurological reasons why it works are being discovered. It has been estimated that 98% of what we consider reason occurs on the subconscious level due to framing. I don’t mean this in the manipulative sense, but strictly how we have learned to view the world in every way.

      • I think it was first used in the US extensively during WW1. Then by FDR, who greatly expanded the PR departments of all federal programs.
        Dept. of Agri. went from ten PR people to about 200.

        • Chris Devine says:

          I got news for you. It’s not just the government. Marketing and PR departments for corporations are huge.

          • USWeapon says:

            Yes it is used by anyone with a message or program that needs framing, including giant corporations. Tobacco, Oil, and any other big corporation will use whatever they can to do what they want.

    • Black Flag says:

      Chris,

      Very good point. Words do presuppose a framing of the discussion – it is meant to invoke an emotion that, one way or another, is attempting to influence attitude in contrast to reason.

      This is why reason is so important – it refuses such emotion.

      • Black Flag says:

        PS: I am quite guilty of ‘framing’ as anyone. Hence, my use of terms of ‘evil’ ….

      • Chris Devine says:

        I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: your view of reason has been shown to be incorrect. Human beings are incapable of using reason without emotion. Look for current research in mirror neurons.

        • Black Flag says:

          And I say it again:

          You notion of reason is flawed.

          It is reason that is in conflict with emotion.

          What you seem to misunderstand, Chris, is that humans are completely capable of reason, for the conclusions of reason are then tested against the Universe.

          If the test fails, reason fails. If the test succeeds, then reason succeeds.

          • Kristian says:

            BF, I wanted to run this by you. Humans do reason emotionally, I agree with Chris on that to a point. But even emotional reasoning is ok as long as the situation in question is responded to reasonably. Does that make any sense? I know what I’m trying to say I’m just having a hard time articulating my thoughts.

            • Black Flag says:

              I think I understand what you’re saying.

              I have no complaint against emotion – we are emotional beings.

              I suggest that emotion establishes our goals. I do most of the things I do daily in response to my emotional attachment to my wife and child.

              How I do these things I typically use reason. I use reason to accomplish the tasks that satisfy the goals I derived from my emotions.

        • Chris;

          You say that humans cannot reason without emotion, how is it then that if someone comes up to me and asks “What is 2+2?” I can respond with “4” and not have any emotion involved. I didn’t take long to come up with the answer becasue it is a fact that has been in my head since kindergarden, and I didn’t need to think about my feelings in order to answer the question.

          I can logically figure I need to aim high when shooting at a deer some 250 yards away when my rifle is zeroed in at 100 yards and although there is some excitement relative to the hunt the function of aiming and shooting the gun has no emotionality.

          Please explain

          • Chris Devine says:

            Simple arithmetic isn’t a good example. Most of the issues we deal with are far more complex. Regarding your shooting example, there are many things your body does unconsciously while shooting that cannot be a result of conscious reasoning.

            Nobody rides a bike by thinking about every muscle that needs to be contracted in a specific sequence while maintaining balance and steering. Most of what we do is done without reasoning in the classical sense.

            • Black Flag says:

              That maybe true, but this no proof of a lack of reason.

              You dismiss arithmetic – though that is a direct proof of reason, and use simply biological functions as a proof against reason.

              Bizarre.

              • Chris Devine says:

                Arithmetic is a proof of reason in a very limited case. I didn’t dismiss it. All thought isn’t arithmetic or even comparable to arithmetic.

                Most issues we deal with require a frame of reference. That frame of reference is never neutral and often presupposes a particular solution. “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like nails.”

                Your arguments for economics, freedom, etc. are all based upon your frame of reference. There are assumptions you make unconsciously that make what you say seem obvious to you. I have tried to point these assumptions out in the past. I view things from a different perspective. That is why they seem so obviously wrong to me. Unless we are willing to acknowledge these assumptions and frames of reference we will continue to argue at cross purposes. Calling my conclusions bizarre and assuming I am ignorant about economics isn’t going to get us anywhere.

              • USWeapon says:

                So if you are operating from the wrong assumption, are we not supposed to point it out? Just accept it and move on. Then there is no purpose to debating the issues at all. We will never come to any conclusion because we start running two different races from the beginning. I have not said that you are stupid or that you are ignorant. But I will challenge your assumptions when I believe they are wrong.

              • Black Flag says:

                No, sir. You’ve skipped the important step once again.

                The Universe couldn’t careless what your frame of reference happens to be!

                It, therefore, is the test.

                Test your reasoning against the Universe and it gives you the perfect, ultimate frame of reference.

                You can be as emotional or psychotic or irrational as you please – the Universe will still give you the perfect response.

    • USWeapon says:

      Chris,

      I think that this is a great topic. I agree that the terms used are a big part of the battle for hearts and minds, and those that frame the issue using them have generally done so with great care and caution in doing so. The recent decision to change the terms around the war on terror are an example of how important those in charge think that the terms used are.

      bailout and economic stimulus are two different things in my mind, but I see your point on them. The bailout was for failing companies, the stimulus was meant to be for the economy in general. But that distinction does not change the relevance of your post. I think that these terms are WELL thought out in terms of how they will impact those that read them. A couple more examples: Climate crisis vs. Global Warming vs. Temperature Cycles. Or Torture vs. Enhanced Interrogation. Socialism vs. Fascism vs. Regulation. The choice of wording is a very well thought out part of framing the issue. I tend to, when writing my articles, try to simply use the term that everyone will recognize.

      • Chris Devine says:

        The problem is that using certain terms reinforces a specific viewpoint, even if you are arguing against it. George Lakoff wrote a book titled Don’t Think of an Elephant that addresses this issue. If you say to someone, “whatever you do, don’t think of an elephant” the first thing that comes to mind is…

        Neutral terms are almost impossible to come by. The only thing we can do is to be honest and explicit in our discussions about the frames we are using.

    • The power of repeated suggestion is quite evident in our society today. I have noticed as of late that there are certain commercials that run at certain time slots around certain programs that promote the “right” to health care. These commercials ran the most during the latest American Idol series. GE is one of them that now runs something about how they are now committed to your health care . . . General Electric, the worlds largest jet engine manufacturer is now into health care?

      There was a big hullaballoo made way back in the first part of the 20th Century about subliminal messages integrated into movie films. After some folks were subjected to the message to by a certain brand of tooth powder, which they immediately did, there was a law passed to make that sort of thing illegal.

      However, advertisers now know that it does not take a subliminal message but a repeated vague suggestion in order to get the message across. It was done most effectively with the shoe-in election of Obama by the MSM almost completely ignoring the GOP and portraying Obama in a better light than Hillary.

      We now have an entire generation of young folks believing that they have an actual right to free health care.

      And guess who gets to pay for that free health care . . . It ain’t gonna be General Electric!

  7. Bama dad says:

    Good morning all.
    Did any of ya’ll see Chris Matthews and Evan Thomas on Hardball last week? It was an Obama love/worship. Here is part of the transcript:

    EVAN THOMAS: Well, we were the good guys in 1984, it felt that way. It hasn’t felt that way in recent years. So Obama’s had, really, a different task We’re seen too often as the bad guys. And he – he has a very different job from – Reagan was all about America, and you talked about it. Obama is ‘we are above that now.’ We’re not just parochial, we’re not just chauvinistic, we’re not just provincial. We stand for something – I mean in a way Obama’s standing above the country, above – above the world, he’s sort of God. He’s-
    MATTHEWS: Yeah.
    THOMAS: He’s going to bring all different sides together. It’s a very different-
    MATTHEWS: Can he – well, here’s Ronald Reagan. Let’s take a look, a little Friday night nostalgia. Here he is speaking about peace and reconciliation at Normandy back 25 years ago. Let’s listen.
    RONALD REAGAN: But we try always to be prepared for peace, prepared to deter aggression, prepared to negotiate the reduction of arms, and, yes, prepared to reach out again in the spirit of reconciliation. In truth, there is no reconciliation we would welcome more than a reconciliation with the Soviet Union so together we can lessen the risks of war now and forever.
    MATTHEWS: Let’s talk about the difference. He was talking about the evil empire, trying to reconcile with the people of Russia and the Soviet Union, but not the country. Barack Obama the other day was saying, yesterday, that we don’t have an enemy out there per se. We have people who choose extremism, but Islam’s not our enemy. That’s not the evil empire.
    THOMAS: But Reagan did it with a very – for the first term it was a clenched fist. I mean, we ramped up the cold war before we ramped it down. We built up our military. We – all of this D-day stuff was about war. That was about fighting.
    MATTHEWS: Right.
    THOMAS: Reconciliation only after the fighting. That’s not – Obama’s not doing that. Obama – we’ve had our fighting. Obama is trying to sort of tamper everything down. He doesn’t even use the word terror. He uses extremism. He’s all about let us reason together. I think he has a much tougher job, frankly, because-
    MATTHEWS: What’s his shtick? Reagan had the United States arms race, winning the arms race. And we had the threat of high frontier, we were going to beat the Soviets at technology.
    THOMAS: I don’t think he has – his shtick is he’s the teacher. He’s the teacher. He is going to say, ‘now, children, stop fighting and quarreling with each other.’ And he has a kind of a moral authority that he – he can – he can do that-
    MATTHEWS: If there’s a world election between him and Osama Bin Laden, he’s running a good campaign.
    THOMAS: Yes, he is.

    These two boys have a serious man love for Obama. 😈

    • Man, that sounds like they want to have his children! If this kind of thoughts are widespread, I don’t feel very good for the Country’s chances. What a crock!

  8. Her’s a topic. Is Sonia Sotomayor truly a racist? According to some news sources she is. This is from World News Daily:

    “Over the past two days, Sotomayor has been heavily criticized for her racially charged statement: “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” ” I cut this and pasted at the top for a reason. To me, knowing the context in which she said this, it was NOT a racist comment. I know that if a white male had said basically the same thing, he would have been railroaded right out of the running. But I can think on my own and when she made the statement, she was talking about her experience of growing up in the Barrio.

    However it does bother me that she has not said it once, but 3 or 4 times. It also bothers me because she seems to have that “empathy” crap that Obama wants. A judge should not use empathy to decide any cases. Your job is to appply the LAW, not empathy.

    Then I have this:

    “According the American Bar Association, Sotomayor is a member of the NCLR, which bills itself as the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S.

    Meaning “the Race,” La Raza also has connections to groups that advocate the separation of several southwestern states from the rest of America.”

    La Raza is a Latino Racist Hate group. No different from the KKK, or the NAACP. If she is a member of this crap, she should not only be dismissed from consideration from the SC, but dismissed from any judges office.

    But I can also face reality. She won’t be. She will be confirmed and we will have us a racist Latino on the SC. Especially since no one seems to believe in reverse racism. What does anyone else think? This is just my opinion. I have seen this evidence in more than 1 place though.

    • If she is or ever while serving as a judge, was a La Raza member, she should not be considered. But why is the media not asking these questions? She should be excluded by her judicial activism remarks as well, but that’s why they want her appointed.

      Its just some more change we can believe in.

      • LOI. I ask these same questions. Why is the Media not at least looking at this?

        I could never be a politician. I don’t care if it cost me my job and position in their stupid “Party”. I would scream from the rafters against her if this were true. I have heard several Democruds daring the Republicans to challenge her.

        That would just be an asswhippin’ I’d have to take.

        • You’d probably be great in the VDLG. VDLG would encourage that sort of behavior, no?

          • No violence except in retaliation.

            But from a purely strategic point of view, if we let Esom loose once in a while the rest of the VDLG will appear moderate, yes?

            OTFLMAO
            Good day Michelle.
            Get us up to speed on N.Idaho teaparty and Spokane teaparty fight with Spokane Elephants.
            JAC

    • Mike M. Houston Texas says:

      Well lets first look at the complete reverse before I answer. If any judge said “being white gives me a richer…..than any latina”. The response from the media would be 24/7 and howling for his head. Yes it was racist IMO.

      While this really bothers me that we have a media that acts the way they do I am more concerned with the rate at which she has been overturned. Not sure if its right but 60% rings a bell. I know we cannot always be right but as a judge I would have your batting average is better than 40%. So we are saying that 6 of every 10 judgements she has made were inaccurate. If she is put on the court we can look forward to 60% of her opinions, which are wrong, being crammed somewhere.

      • Mike, I’ve read that same statistic. Another way of looking at it – would you go to a surgeon who you know has a history of being wrong 60% of the time?

      • chiefopiner says:

        From a Newsweek story on checking FactCheck.org:

        Q: What percentage of Sonia Sotomayor’s opinions have been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court?

        Have Judge Sotomayor’s decisions really been overturned 80 percent of the time as Rush Limbaugh stated on May 26?

        A: Three of her opinions have been overturned, which is 1.3 percent of all that she has written and 60 percent of those reviewed by the Supreme Court.

        The complete article is here: http://www.newsweek.com/id/199955

      • That is also a very good point Mike. I again ask why this is not being fought over harder by the Republicans? They are afraid of the reaction from the Latino community. Which is exactly what Obama and the rest of the Democraps counted on.

        Anyone with eyes and a working brain can see she isn’t a good pick. Especially for the Supreme Court.

  9. Well i just wnat to vent on a couple of different topics today.
    First is North Korea, I have little doubt that they are using the two women as a tool to get whatever they want. That is a situation that has had the heat put up on it. But like Mexico not a situation anyone is talking about to the degree that they should be.
    Second: As a gay women, I am seeing the signs of the Clinton time in Obama. Love to talk and support the gay community during election time, but come Jan 20th…nothing. My biggest idea that I hope that would change is Dont Ask, Dont Tell. I truly believe that when someone goes of their own will to defend their nation, who they sleep with at home is not important. As long as they are doing their job. Once again, I dont think this will changed by this President.
    As far as the Middle East, I dont think we need anymore apology we need action. Time to put our foot down and protect our interest not theirs. Same goes with Mexico and immigration.

    • Ellen

      I see a lot of things Obama crowed and sang Kumbaya about during the election that he sings a whole different tune about today.

    • Danak13 says:

      Ellen, I will respond to part two of your topics: If you have read my posts, you know that I was in the Army for 40 years. Nuff said about that. However, you must understand the warrior mindset when it comes to the military. I simply could care less about sexual orientation. I do care about the functionality of the unit and the mindset of the majority of males that feel that homosexuality is still a pariah and that includes the children of the 60’s and 70’s. It is best that a homosexual keep it quiet. You cannot change a person’s feelings with a law. Like it or not, the reality of this is significant. As a former commander of troops in the field in both peacetime and combat, ANY warrior that did his or her job deserves commendation. Gay or straight, black, brown, white…whatever. In the FIELD, we are dependent upon one another….orientation be damned. BUT what does happen is when these same soldiers socially interact, it is different and they are shunned and it has been mostly my experience that most of the gay community in the military carry a large chip on their shoulder which is detrimental to the unit morale. This is the reality…good or bad. So, for now, it is best to keep quiet. The ramifications in combat and in the field are drastic. In an all male unit, if a male soldier approaches a female soldier…all is well. But if a male soldier approaches another male soldier, and that word gets around, then that person will be ostracized and no one will team with him. Sorry, but that is the way of the world right now. On the supportive side, I have never seen a coward gay soldier either. He can shoot as straight and as accurately as anyone else. He/she is just as brave and compassionate. Just as heroic. And dies, just as easily. Perhaps the time will come with just easy acceptance but forced acceptance will simply exacerbate the problem. A commander must deal with reality.

      • Chris Devine says:

        Those same reasons were used to argue against desegregating the military based upon race. Soldiers, sailors, airman, and marines DO need to get over it. Now. That is reality.

        • There are two ways of solving or changing major social norms. One is shorter but carries with it a bundle of unintended effects.

          One is as Chris suggests, GET OVER IT. Examples include Roe v. Wade and the polarization created by a ruling of the court. At the time the nation was working towards an acceptable resolution. The court short circuited this.

          The other is through education, pursuasion and time. The best example is smoking. This habit has been is serious decline for many years. Without govt dictate. It wasn’t unitl the govt started setting rules for who, when and where that the issue started to polarize folks.

          My question is why we are still having the same attitudes among our military personnel after 20 years or more of sensitivity training and social tolerance being taught in public schools? Could it be that the perceived govt intrusion into the issue on one side has undermined the education side? I don’t have a solid answer.

          I only suggest that when we make a decision to go fast vs. slow we better understand the consequenced of both decisions.

        • Unfortunately Chris…it is not that easy. I wish it were. you cannot force acceptance..it must take root.

      • Danak- Like you I served in the military. I was lucky enough to station for the first 5 year with people who just didnt care. Then I saw the other side the last part of my time in the service. Where the comments about homosexuals where everywhere. So I understand what you are saying, and yes there is going to be issues.
        But the reality is that a soldier is a soldier. They bleed, fight and die the same why. And the idea that will think it is okay to kick someone out solely based on being gay is not right. 90% of the time they are solid soldiers who would have had good solid careers. Sad that we can not come to compromise on this.

        • Ellen….no one will be kicked out of the service and no one is asking for that. This is not where I was headed. I do not care if they are in the service or not and they are soldiers, as I said. But the reality of it within the ranks…not elsewhere is to just be quiet and do your job.

          If a soldier is gay, there is no procedure for “kicking out”…and there will not be.

      • Danak:

        “In an all male unit, if a male soldier approaches a female soldier…all is well. But if a male soldier approaches another male soldier, and that word gets around, then that person will be ostracized and no one will team with him.”

        I remember, and I am sure you do to, when the potential for a male soldier approaching a female soldier was the primary reason given for not putting women in combat units. Now you say it is OK. Perhaps the simple placement of women in the units resolved the perceived problem?

        By the way, I say it is not OK. No soldier should be “approaching” any other soldier any where near their duty areas. Sexuall advancements or encounters are potentially life threatening to everyone in a combat zone, regardless of who the partners are. Sex and the perception of intamacy is a source of real problems for any team. Jealousy can get people killed. In a combat zone the potential of collateral damage is great. I am very concerned with stories coming out of Iraq regarding the sexual behavior of our troops.

        There is going to be more to PTSD this time around than the old “shell shock” if these stories have any truth to them. I wonder if the VA will acknowledge these mental trauma as covered treatment?

        I am not trying to be harsh. Just reread my comments and wanted to make sure you know that. I do have concerns about how this is all playing out. I am very concerned about the attitudes you describe in our military today. I believe Don’t Ask Don’t Tell should be applied to all military personel regardless of orientation. I also don’t think that anyone should be discharged upon discovery, except the mixing of officers and lower ranking staff.

        Hope you have a great day
        JAC

        • JAC….top ‘o th’ mornin’ to ya….

          You are on target and my zeal to keep things short, I sometimes do not get my thought out completely. It used to be a no fraternization issue but it is not any more. Put two genders together, regardless of policy, and you will have normal hormones take over. They WILL interact. It really does not matter whether combat units or not but more important in combat units to NOT have it. In the 80’s, as a senior tac officer in charge of OCS, I had to respond to the fact that we were, by edict, required to combine males and females in the field and tactical problems. This meant, that 15 day field exercises were combined. As you know, there are no trees and gulleys out there marked “men” or “women”. There are no separate showers units in the field. A lister bag was hung in a tree. MANY times, in making rounds, if a male and female were on guard duty together, there was interaction. The problem is still no solved but pure combat units now do not have women (except flight units).

          “By the way, I say it is not OK. No soldier should be “approaching” any other soldier any where near their duty areas. Sexuall advancements or encounters are potentially life threatening to everyone in a combat zone, regardless of who the partners are. Sex and the perception of intamacy is a source of real problems for any team.”

          Correctomundo…my friend.

          “except the mixing of officers and lower ranking staff.”

          This does not happen much anymore. It did back in the 90’s when we all sang KUMBAYA….but it was proven quickly that fraternization did not work. There were times when, as a Colonel, I had young LT’s call me by first name and their sgts called them by first name…it only happened once with me for I corrected the situation quickly. But, familiarization breeds contempt and there are places that it should not exist.

          • An LT called you by name???!!!! Holy Smokes!! I can’t even comprehend doing that when I was in. That was in early 80’s so I do know how Fraternization was frowned on. But calling anyone from E-5 up was verboten to call by anything but their rank or in the case of officers, “sir”. (or ma’am.)

            • Danak13 says:

              Yup…he only did it once.

              • Man I would have loved to be a fly on the wall. Ain’t nothin’ like watching a Senior officer gnaw a chunk off someones butt.

                I watched a Major General use a Captain for a chew toy once. But only as long as I was still in view of it as I didn’t want to be noticed. I was just an E-2.

              • Danak13 says:

                2nd Lt’s are like a breakfast cereal. They go to the academy and get so pumped, they are out to conquer the world. As a Colonel (full) I really do not have to resort to yelling.,..I just take very small chunks but very painful. Did not want to throw the lad under the bus…but also, did not want the familiarity. He was a neophyte but all around good officer.He just needed…ummmm…some “positive re-inforcement”… 🙂

  10. Bama dad says:

    Can someone explain to me how illegal immigrants have constitutional rights when they are not citizens???????

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090608/ap_on_re_us/us_immigrants_raids;_ylt=AjkG.7UQU7j.JxgUXFioPEWFws8F

    • Bama Dad;

      In my opinion its about the vote and beefing up the numbers of voters supporting their cause. Both Bush and Barry worked to increase their voting numbers by providing every advantage they could to those coming into the country; legal or otherwise. I think they feel that if they can get them in, give them most of the rights of a citizen under the guise that we are a passonate people and always willing to help the down trodden, then they sheeple will accept it and start supporting it as a human rights issue.

      I believe that the real objective here was just to increase the vote numbers by appealing to the race who could vote. Working to get the illegals legal was a longer term effort to accomplish the same; increase the numbers. All the crap being spouted in Bush/Barry speaches was just that; crap. It really was about increasing the popularity of their individual parties.

    • Chris Devine says:

      Because our Constitution applies to all people on U.S soil, not just citizens. There are only a few things in the Constitution that are limited to citizens (political office is the only thing I can think of o ff the top of my head).

      • Chris

        Legally you cannot vote unless you are a citizen of the US. The VP and President are the only positions within government that requires you be a native (born in the US). As an example Arnold could hold pretty much any office other than those two if he chose to run.

    • Good Morning Bama:

      I believe the answer to your question lies primarily in Section 1 of Amendment XIV. This section extends due process to “nor shall any State deprive and person of life, liberty, or property, wihtout due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the wqual protection of the laws.”

      This provision uses the term “person” rather than “citizen” which is used in this section and elsewhere. The result of court rulings is that this provision extends our due process and equal protection to all “persons” located “within its jurisdiction” (i.e., The States or US Govt), not just citizens.

      Citizens have certain priveleges but all “persons” get treated the same if they are within US jurisdiction. So you see, your question also addresses that of why the prisoners in Cuba were found to have the same rights as what we view as citizens. They are “people” living within our “jurisdiction”. The legal issue was whether a “base” on foreign soil was the same as territorial lands. The courts said YES.

      Does that help?
      JAC

  11. For the Vet’s in the group:

    This is more of a personal issue, but then maybe not. As I have indicated in past post’s my son did 2 tours in Iraq as a Combat Medic with the 3rd ID. He has been diagnosed with PTSD as have about 30% of the guys who were in his platoon. A couple of years back I did some research and discovered that as many as 30% of the returning Iraqi Vet’s had some degree of PTSD. I also learned that the average amount of time spent in combat was 2.5 times higher than the average WWII Vet and 1.5 times higher than the average Viet Nam Vet.

    BTW: According to the study Combat was defined as the time involved engaging the enemy or combatant, i.e being fired upon. I will try and find the study if anyone is interested.

    I understand the reasoning and logic for more combat time in Iraq, but why the signifigant increase in PTSD? Was it more brutal than Nam or WWII? Are the troops less prepared? Were the tactics an issue? Did the troops returning from WWII have PTSD, but we were not able to diagnose it at the time? My uncle was a WWII vet, a sergeant in the Army, landed on Normandy and fought in the Battle of the Buldge. He was awarded the Bronze Star as well as the Silver Star and had numerous other comidations. (Interestingly, other than my father none of the rest of the family new any of this until his passing) He was a good man and never showed any sign of mental anguise as far as I new.

    I would really like USW, SFC, and the other Vet’s involved here perspective.

    USW; If this is not something you want as a topic then you have my personal email and you can give it to those Vet’s who would like to respond.

    Also: My son has been to the VA here in Detroit, but does not want to go back. He says that nobody really listens and those individuals assigned to process him are pretty mechanical. They did recommend counsling, but the wait and bullhockey you have to go through to get in is somewhat overwhelming. Are there other entities or organizations he can reach out too?

    Although his symptons seem to have lessened these past months he still has issues with sleeping, sometimes going 2-3 days with less than a couple of hours each night. He is off the sauce and is now raising my grandson, but has had a difficult time dealing with authority and keeping a job.

    Although this is a personal challenge I think it is one that most of us can relate too, and I am a firm believer in getting as much information as I can to aid in the issue.

    I look forward to everyone’s thoughts.

    • I highly recommend two books to you by Johnathan Shay, a VA psychiatrist. One is called “Achillies in Viet-Nam” The other “Odysseus in America”. You must read these books to fully understand what your son is going through and why. PTSD, shell shock, combat fatigue have been around for 4,000 years or so.

      I have been interested in the field for many years, Combat stress along with heroism under fire are subjects crying out for more study.

      I too had uncles who fought in WW 2. One was at Anzio, and came home with PTSD. He was one of the few survivors from his unit. The other was in the Hurtegen forest and served, we think, as a designated sniper at age 29. I always thought his mood swings were just normal. After my own Army (non combat) service, I asked my Mom. She said the war “Changed” him. I never would have known except by asking someone who knew him before.

      Medics carry around more guilt than most. It is always the ones “they lost” to them. If you read the follow-up to “Blackhawk down” that medic is still carrying it around.

      Please, please, please read those books. Get in touch yourself with Shay if you have to. Your son needs to talk. My son, a former ambulance platoon leader says the VA pays lip service to Shay but there are other Docs and Hospitals out there who use his methods.

      I would call the Vietnam vets organizations and there is a new Iraq and Afghan vets organization out there too. Do not wait.

    • Here it is: http.//iava.org/

      I went to a lecture last year by one of the founders, they are to the new vets what the VVA was to vietnam vets. check them out

    • Danak13 says:

      I can and will respond. I have seen combat in Vietnam (2 tours), Kuwiat, Bosnia, and Afghanistan. You also know that I just recently retired after 40 years and I have PTSD and it is not fun. Post Traumatic Stress can occur with any traumatic incident. It does not have to be war. So, I will try to nutshell my experiences and observations here. The recurring visions and dreams that haunt me to this very day are from the Vietnam experience. Iraq vets had a different form of fighting…and that is clearing urban areas. Every time a soldiers steps foot for patrol, you must expect combat. Clearing houses and putting up with IED’s, I feel, is more stress than what I went through, except perhaps Nam. Clearing villages and jungle areas were bad enough and we had “booby traps” that we had to look for all the time but we did not have towns with high roofs and windows. We did not have the constant threat of IED’s the size of what the soldiers are going through now. We had punji sticks and smaller blasts that were designed more to cripple than to kill.

      PTSD was a syndrome that was not diagnosed until the Vietnam War because so many soldiers withdrew from society. We also came back to a public that was hostile towards us. Many a time I was spat upon and had garbage thrown in my face simply for wearing a uniform. When your countrymen shun you and PTSD was thought to be a wimps dilemma, then things were kept bottled up. Many a time in the Vietnam War, a soldier would be walking the jungle trails in one week and 72 hours later be on his way home with no down time. (This changed in Kuwait as they learned lessons from Vietnam). It was and is not uncommon for a soldier to be sitting in a restaurant and flinch or jump or even hide when a sudden loud noise happens. My point is the stress level of the Iraqi Vet would possibly be greater. In Vietnam, we dealt with brutality. We dealt with “terrorism” in that whole villages would be massacred…women degraded and children and babies skinned alive and left for the flies and animals. We saw people nailed to trees and village huts. We saw decapitations and dismembering of our troops. It is no reason that a 18 year old, or even in my case, a 22 year old, seeing the horrors of combat and brutality are snapshots that are indelibly ingrained in or minds. I subscribe to the theory that we can bury our past, but it will never go away. To this day, when it rains and I am outside, just the smells bring back memories.

      My father fought against the Japanese in WWII. He never talked about it either. Would just mention that he had a job to do, like every other American at the time, and he did it. I have an uncle that was in Korea (the Forgotten War) and it is the same. Never talked about it. I will talk about it now but only to other vets or counselors. Your son will need understanding and when he is ready to talk, he will. I cannot say how long his will last. He will have to recognize it and deal with it. no one can do it for him but there are counselors available and ready to assist. I am now volunteering to talk with vets and be part of the solution because it helps me to talk about it. Please be patient with a soldier if he does not wish to talk to non vets about combat. This is a club and a lot of vets feel that if you have not been there you cannot talk about it. There are times when I am asked questions like,, did you kill anyone? What was it like? I bet it was cool? Most combat vets will not answer or give a glib answer but the thoughts and visions instantly return. Your son needs to be counseled and the Veterans Administration, despite its short comings, do have great counselors. I know..I still get counseled…I still see the ghosts. I was in the 5th Special Forces in Vietnam, 49th Armored Division/36th Inf in Kuwait/Bosnia/Afghanistan. Vietnam was my toughest and most brutal. BUT… I did not clear urban areas. We met the enemy face to face in open combat. Clearing urban areas is a special tactic that is now only being done by the military. I do not know what your son encountered but I will say that it was horrible. It always is. Children and innocents die and that is a tragedy.

      It is unfortunate that the VA in Detroit is that way. It is not that way in Dallas. But they are mechanical by sheer volume. I will say this to you. I will be happy to exchange personal e mails with you and your son and help in any way that I can. Vets do this. I stand ready and up to the challenge and I am sure that it will help me as well.

      Sorry I went so long…but I have been there, am there, and will deal with it. So will your son. It will not be easy but, again, I am here. Let me know what I can do.

      D13

      • Danak;

        Appreciate the support, and especially your efforts now and in the past. I hope that you obtain peace and happiness.

        I will let my son know.

        I don’t have a problem with anyone here having my personal email, but I already get an average of 80-100 each day realtive to business, so I will ask USW to send it to you and yours to me.

        CM

        • I know in my state there are volunteer groups that help vets. Here thye offer cousling and other vets who have been through this also, come and help. I would look at anything like this near you. It will take time, he has to do it as he feels comfortable. No time table when it comes to this. Best of luck to the both of you.

    • Kristian says:

      CM,

      My husband is a vet and he was medically discharged over 24 years ago. He was discharged with a back injury received while on duty. His back has deteriorated to the point that he can no longer hold a regular job. This has caused him to suffer from depression. He goes to the VA and he hates it but he doesn’t have regular health insurance and unfortunately we cannot afford to put him on my health insurance through my job. He sees a psychiatrist/psychologist through the VA but he only sees this doctor about once every four to six months. It’s ridiculous. And trying to get the VA to compensate him for all of this is insane. He has had a claim filed with them for the entire 2 and a half years that we have been together. Basically what it comes down to is they are so understaffed and underfunded that it seems like they don’t care. I think that they do they just don’t have the man power. I also think that a lot of it is beuracracy plain and simple. Has your son filed a disability claim with the VA? If he hasn’t he needs to. It will take a while but he’s earned it.

      • I,too, go to the VA hospital and they are so understaffed. The doctors do what they can but I am sure that you have seen the waiting lines and the 8 hour delays and sometimes even days. Disability claims, like civilian insurance, will be denied at first. Keep with it and kick it up channels. Can you imagine what a National Health Care would be like/

      • Kristin

        He has seen the medical team a few times and is recieving medicine for his sleeping problems and codiene for his back. He has minor back problems as a result of several IED’s.

        I don’t know the details of his claim, but I know that it seems to be a never ending struggle to get anything done. He is also dealing with the fact that he is a recovering Alcholic. although that seems to be in check.

        All the best to you and your husband. Those who served deserve all our support and a great deal more from the government.

    • SK,

      I have one thought about the differences in these conflicts. Nam, WW2, etc., you had a clearly reconized enemy. In Iraq, the man, woman or even child approaching you may be your enemy. I don’t know if that makes a difference, but that’s my two cents worth.

      • Same issue in Nam….many a woman carrying a child had a weapon and knew that Americans loved children and would hesitate. Really plays on the mind and creates a numbing effect.

      • It all sucks. Think about the Civil war soldier who had to stand side by side and guess who would be taken out by the unrifled musket fire. How bout being on a tanker in a convoy and watching the gas tanker next to you take a torpedo. None of it encourages an easy return to normalcy.

        I have some cop friends, some handled the streets well, others brought it home with them and their marriages and lives dissolved. You have to be able to disconnect and that is the trick and what frankly, must be researched.

        That Nam mantra, “don’t mean nothin”. really says a lot

    • Chris Devine says:

      It might be more of an issue of diagnosis and reporting. The levels might have been similar but the odds of being diagnosed as a victim of PTSD might have been lower for many reasons.

      I remember the story about Patton being forced to apologize to a soldier he called a coward for suffering from shell-shock.

      There have been stories about doctors being discouraged from making such diagnoses lately:

      http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2009/04/10/ptsd/index.html

      • Chris, you do have a point here. When funding becomes a problem…so does diagnosis.

      • My son tells me the funding issue mostly revolves around the disability angle. Uncle sugar is unwilling to pick up the tab long term for PTSD.

        Anybody in any war getting shot at in any way is subject to PTSD. Think of what it must have been like in the Mighty 8th in ’43 or early’44. Those bomber groups took over 26,000 dead in the ETO. Greater losses than the USMC in the pacific. Yes, the numbers are hard to believe but they are true.

        Then there was the catch 22 insanity. take off, fly to Germany, lose half of your group, 8 to 10 planes, and come home to England a warm bed a good meal and the requirement to do it all over again the next day.

        Dave Garroway, the original host of the Tonight show used to tell a story. He was a collector and kept a Norden Bombsight in his den back when they were almost free as surplus. One day a tradesman came in to price out some rug replaccement. He spotted the bombsight and asked garroway if he knew how it worked. dave said no. the guy explained he was a bombadier in the war and volunteered to demonstrate. they took it off the shelf, put it between two end tables and the guy knelt down. He started explaining the technical adjustments for range, height airspeed etc and then put his eye on the eyepiece. dave said that for the next ten minutes the guy flashed back to a mission. He was talking to his crew on the B-17, telling the pilot what he saw and went right through from the IP to the “bombs away”. He then fainted. When he woke up, he had no knowledge of what had just happened. Human beings were not designed for that type of stress. Bless em all.

    • Black Flag says:

      Common Man,

      The primary reason, IMO, that PTSD is higher in ‘Nam and Iraq/Afghan because the number of troops actually doing the fighting is smaller and concentrated.

      In WW2, where millions of men were in uniform, the number actually in combat was far smaller percentage then today – and under less intense circumstance. What I mean by the latter is that combat is combat to be sure – however, today the threat is not a defined enemy on a front, but the constant unrelenting stress of guerrilla warfare. Troops today are under threat 24/7 – there is no respite – no place while ‘in country’ to escape.

      • BF;

        It would seem that as the world grows older, the wisdom of the peoples diminishes.

        It seems that as wars progress throughout history the anguish endured (both physically and mentally) increses in intensity and effect dispite the number of countries involved.

        I have come to the conclusion over the past few years that it is a stupid and senseless way to resolve differences. I do understand the need to defend one rights and I shall never be made a victim, however it seems that only those that do the fighting suffer. Those that invoke seem to be the only beneficiaries.

    • I am a Viet Nam Veteran, I have a nephew who is currently on his second tour in Afghanistan, and my son is on his second tour in Iraq. My nephew is a CWO2 in the Army, My son is an E-9 in the USMC. They both have troops who have been in extensive combat situations and have been experiencing PTSD type symptoms. The advice they give their troops is to seek both spiritual and medical assistance for counseling.

      Upon my return from Nam, I too had problems. My first marriage went real bad and dissolved in a messy divorce. Other things happened that I will not go into, but if it weren’t for a very savvy chaplain (who, incidentally was a Rabbi – I was Catholic born) and a competent psychologist, my life would have been a complete disaster.

      You do not have to be a religious man to seek help from a good chaplain, and it does not have to be in your own religion either, but a good clergy does one a world of good. Problem is to find a good clergy. Same goes for a psychologist, which I would recommend over a psychiatrist. PTSD is not insanity, just a normal reaction of a human who has been subject to things that we humans do not normally engage in and experience. In Nam we were subject to those things for a prolonged period of time, and in the middle east our troops are not only subject to them for a prolong period of time, but repeatedly so. This type of warfare has its toll on an individual and just doesn’t go away. Anyone who has been there, from WW1 to the present, will tell you that these experiences stay with you for the rest of your life. Your son needs some assistance in dealing with what he experienced, and once he gets that he will be better able to cope with his world around him.

      I hope that I have been of some help.

      I do not like dealing with the VA either. I don’t know where they get those folks, but they all seem like automatons – pre-programmed to be as obnoxious and indifferent as hell!

  12. Has anyone noticed that the EU is moving to the right even as America is moving to the left? In ALL elections in the EU, the people have chosen to move to the right. The people there are fed up with Social Democracy and are electing officials who are more Center Right. It is going slow and will contiue to do so because they didn’t get there fast either.

    It seems that even the EU is beginning to realize that Socialism does not work. Hmmmm. I wonder why The American Government thinks it will work here?

    They are also discovering in a hurry the mistake they have made allowing all the muslims and especially encouraging them to immigrate to Europe.

    I will post a link to some of this info.

    • Esom, I too, have read some things about this and have seen the changes in Europe’s elections. Social engineering will not work. There is a definite centrist movement afoot over there.

    • Here is a link.

      http://redstatepatriot.com/2009/04/heirs_to_fortuyn.php

      I will try to find more, but this is pretty detailed.

    • USWeapon says:

      I don’t think that the question you asked has an answer. You ask why the American government does not see this and act accordingly. The reason, in my opinion, is that they are not concerned with what will “work”, they are only concerned with what gains them power and allows them to further the other agendas that they have.

      The happenings in Europe are a good sign. It means that even in the presence of a government and system that overwhelmingly supports it, the people will eventually wake up and move back towards the right on their own. It is partly because I have seen this that I have continued to say that we, as a country, will come around, but it will take time, the same way it took time over there.

    • So if your standing on the left end of the see saw and you move three feet towards center you are “moving to the right”.

      Have you reached center yet?

      Has the see saw moved yet?

      Of course not, you are still on the left.

      Would the conservatives of Europe be like our Republicans? Just the slower version of fasciolism?

      Sorry for being a little snippy but I think you now know the answer to your question.

      JAC

      • It will take a lot more than just one little EU election to bring Europe around – The EU is not at all like the US, the US is a country of States whereas the EU is a group of individual countries . . . or something like that. Did not understand it when it formed and still do not – I actually thought it was formed just to have a common currancy . . . ?

        Europe has always been pro socialism, after all that is where it was invented. We, the US, on the other hand escaped the insanity of Europe to form our own country – that our politicos now are trying to make us more like Europe???????

        Wot a MESS!

  13. There have been comments about applying what works as policy in the US. Of course, that is not what our government is doing. From the Bobo Files.

    The Golden State as Metaphor: California Agonistes

    The demographer and economic trend guru Joel Kotkin recently asked the rhetorical question: Can California make a comeback? . Dr Kotkin’s answer to his own question is discouraging. In short, California can make a comeback but it would require a political revolution in a state where well-funded and somewhat fanatical special interests consisting of the public sector unions and the environmental lobby strangle any attempts to adopt policies in the interests of all Californians.

    To better understand the features of the “California disease” it is helpful to look at California’s so called Golden Age where the political establishment worked very closely with the private sector to create an economic miracle. The Golden Age of California is generally thought to have spanned the period of 1950 to 1975. During that time California enjoyed a growth rate that lead the nation and the prosperity was wide spread. This period saw consistent increases in real incomes for middle class Californians. The policy mix that brought about this sustained level of economic growth and expansion also achieved an enviable level of social cohesion with nearly everyone benefiting from the uplift of the economy.

    The key policy driver for California’s Golden Age was a bi-partisan emphasis on the expansion and improvement of physical and other infrastructure assets. Whether a Republican or Democrat was in power, a pattern of continuous reinvestment in infrastructure was maintained. During this period the California University System, the California Water Project, a huge expansion of the road network, various energy projects, and the State Park System were created and funded. These projects uniformly lifted middle call incomes and quality of life. During this time the percentage of state income devoted to social programs was about %15 and the amount devoted to general infrastructure was 85%.

    In the time since California’s Golden Age, the proportion of social spending to general infrastructure spending has been flip flopped. 85% of spending in California is now devoted to the welfare state and infrastructure spending with the remaining, paltry 15% going toward infrastructure spending. In conjunction with out of control lawyers and regulators the inversion of social spending away from infrastructure and the simultaneous breakdown of the pro-growth bipartisan consensus is almost entirely responsible for California’s current plight. The once magnificent infrastructure plant in California is now becoming decrepit, needing billions of dollars in upgrades and retrofits.

    Tragically the Obama Administration is looking to extrapolate the bad California model on a national level. The recently passed stimulus bill maintains a 85% to 15% ratio of social welfare spending to infrastructure spending. The paltry amount infrastructure spending in the stimulus bill is further diluted by Team Obama’s bizarre obsession with wind and solar power. The U.S. economy desperately needs immediate investment in nuclear power, oil exploration, roads, and energy transmission. All of these needs are largely ignored in the Obama budget.

    What we we have to look forward to is out of control public sector unionism, frivolous lawsuits, brownouts and a crumbling physical infrastructure. Americans have traditionally been strongly pro-growth and somehow this consensus will have to achieve political expression before we officially descend into the status of a banana republic.

    http://thetradingmastermind.com/newday/?p=185

    • Yup…California is as screwed up as a soup sandwich. God help America if it becomes anything like this state.

    • The Sheeples Republik of Kalifornia . . . Our own “Banana Republik” is somewhat shaped like a banana so they do not have far to go . . . 😉

  14. I'm learning! says:

    Here is a new tax for you. I guess the millions that musicians make just isn’t enough!

    http://kstp.com/news/stories/S968700.shtml?cat=1

    • Chris Devine says:

      That’s not a tax. It’s a royalty. I guess it’s time to switch to public radio. No commercials and no top 40 garbage.

      • Yes, I agree..if the tax is put on the radio stations, that eventually gets to the musicians…it is a form of royalty.

      • I'm learning! says:

        I agree that it is technically a royalty. But that should be in the contract with the record company if they feel they need the royalty. Again, in my mind, this is something else the government should stay out of.

      • Chris Devine says:

        I tried to post some links about this but they haven’t shown up. This is a battle between ASCAP and the RIAA. The royalties are already being collected. The question to be decided is who the money goes to: publishers or artists.

        The next time someone asks why the wealthy pay more taxes this is why. The government resources being used to fight this feud (and others like it) cost money. Those who benefit should pay for these resources.

    • I agree that it sounds more like Royalties to me also. So why ar they calling it a tax? And why is it moving through Congress in a bill if it is not a tax? Are we now going to bail out record labels? When does this insanity end?

      • Oh…make no mistake…it is a tax. Let me see….what is that poem…If it walks like a duck….

    • On the news this morning, Obama was pushing “pay as you go”, which sounds great. But if there are no limits on what and how much we can be taxed, then what spending limits do they really have?

      • JayDickB says:

        If Obama says something that sounds good, immediately take the following steps:

        1. Hold on to your wallet while you

        2. Check the details.

        There’s a catch in there somewhere.

    • Chris Devine says:

      Here’s a little perspective on this:

      http://www.futureofmusic.org/articles/pprsrfactsheet.cfm
      http://www.industryears.com/presshead.php?subaction=showfull&id=1242825252&archive=&start_from=&ucat=2&
      http://www.futureofmusic.org/research/radiostudyexecsum.cfm

      This issue isn’t about taxes. It’s about who gets the money that’s already being collected. This is a fight between ASCAP and the RIAA.

      Next time you ask why rich people pay more taxes this is why. The government resources being used to mediate this fight between wealthy interests is exactly why these people pay more taxes and should do so.

  15. Danak13 topic: It appears that the bond holders in the Chrysler bankruptcy got shafted….thoroughly. I will ask this question. Why would you, as an investor, now invest in any large unionized company ( or non unionized )on their bond drives when no consideration will be given to secured creditors in the event of bankruptcy? What a massive nail put into the coffin of our economic system. There are other avenues of investment available that I will now pursue. No more bond buys for me.

    • I'm learning! says:

      I was thinking the exact same thing this morning. What incentive to we have to “invest in America” when the government will just do whatever they want with companies!

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Notice how the Supreme Court failed to rule on the actual case, but instead issued a 2-page unsigned ruling that simply stated that the people who brought the case had not done enough to prove that the case had merit.

      What a bunch of garbage. Hundreds of years of consistent bankruptcy precedent was clearly violated in the case of the Chrysler bankruptcy, yet the Supreme Court finds that the case has insufficient merit.

      I wonder how big of a Christmas gift Roberts, Alito, and Thomas are going to get from Obama for going along with THAT unsigned piece of BS. I find it totally unsurprising that not a single Justice had the courage to sign that piece of toilet paper.

      • “What a bunch of garbage. Hundreds of years of consistent bankruptcy precedent was clearly violated in the case of the Chrysler bankruptcy, yet the Supreme Court finds that the case has insufficient merit.”

        Can you believe it? I read the “opinion” and no signatures. It is amazing how the Supremos clearly did not rule but copped out on insufficient evidence in the face of precedent and prior law. SIGH!!!!

    • From Newt:

      “Between 2000 and 2008, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union gave $23,675,562 to the Democratic Party and its candidates.

      In 2008 alone, the UAW gave $4,161,567 to the Democratic Party, including Barack Obama.

      In return, the UAW received 55 percent of Chrysler and 17.5 percent of GM, plus billions of dollars.”

      • Chris Devine says:
      • I’m not sure I would trust Newt as a valid source. He might have a bias on the UAW, and he’s been known to inflate ‘facts’.

        The UAW got big shares of GM and Chrysler because in past negotiations, the UAW agreed to take on future health care costs for retires in return for large lump-sum payments. GM and Chrysler could not make the payments, so the UAW got stock instead. They will need to sell the stock to meet the health care costs, so their ownership will be short lived.

        It was not a political pay-off.

        • Danak13 says:

          Quite the contrary, Todd. It became a payoff when the bankruptcy rules were changed to not honor the secured creditors over the union. It does not matter how many jobs were on the line, secured creditors in the past have always had precedent. Now, the rules have changed. This will not be a one time deal. I reiterate and suggest that any one who buys a bond in GM or Chrysler now is not thinking rationally. I will not support GM or Chrysler…not because of them but because the bankruptcy courts have been manipulated by this administration and the rules have now changed. As an investor, I will not invest in any company that has received bailout and is controlled by czars…..

  16. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is repeating the same act over and over again and expecting different results.”

    We have seen “hard” socialism fail in the USSR and China (China wasn’t an economic world power until they allowed the majority of their economy to at least resemble capitalism).

    We see “hard” socialism continuing to fail in North Korea and Cuba.

    We have seen “soft” socialism fail in Western Europe.

    What makes any of us think that the US can do socialism any better than any of these other countries? Is there some sort of US ingenuity that will make socialism finally work, or are we fooling ourselves and is Einstein laughing at US?

    • Did you feel Atlas today??? Shrugged hard.

      • Atlas’s shrug knocked me off ever caring again what the Supreme Court does. They are now outside my moral principles

    • Chris Devine says:

      You are confusing failed socialist states with changing policies in mixed economies. This whole ‘socialism’ BS is getting pretty tiring. We are not headed towards socialism or fascism or any other -ism. We live in a mixed economy that has aspects of capitalism and socialism. We are never going to have complete state ownership of all manufacturing. Nor are we going to have completely unregulated markets. We need private ownership in some areas and public ownership in others. The distinction usually has something to do with the role of the government to empower and protect its citizens. It doesn’t make any sense to me to let drug companies be in charge of drug safety just as it doesn’t make any sense to me for the government to manufacture televisions.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        I would argue that we are clearly headed towards government ownership of a great deal of formerly private institutions. Take as case in point AIG, many large financial institutions, and GM.

        What evidence do you provide that this trend will do anything other than continue?

        There is a difference between the government having an agency such as the FDA to regulate drug companies vs. the government OWNING the drug companies. Or to put it in terms of what has already happened, there is a difference between the government regulating the banking industry and the government OWNING the banking industry.

        I would personally say that anyone that cannot see the clear trend in increasing government ownership of formerly private entities has some serious blinders on.

        • Chris Devine says:

          When the government nationalizes the oil industry and the pharmaceutical industry and other industries with record profits these days I’ll be worried. Until then I’ll consider this a bailout that shouldn’t have been necessary in the first place had deregulation not created these monsters.

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            Chris,

            What is this deregulation of which you speak? Banks, drug companies, oil companies, and virtually any other large company that you speak of are all still highly regulated. In some ways, they are regulated more now than they have ever been in the past.

            Yes, some aspects of these businesses have been “deregulated”, but the majority of costs for (for example) an oil company remain #1 exploration and development and #2 costs associated with regulation. In the case of drug companies it is #1 cost of research and development and #2 costs associated with regulation.

            • Chris Devine says:
            • Peter,
              You list Oil and Drug companies as highly regulated. They are also highly profitable. Is there a connection?

              In banking and insurance, there are no (or very few) regulations on derivatives, which were the main cuase of the current financial mess.

            • Chris Devine says:

              Who’d you get those figures from? The drug companies? I have a hard time feeling sorry for an industry that makes billion$ profiting off of a product meant to save lives by jacking up the price here in the States. The same drugs are way cheaper elsewhere, but because our politicians are bought and paid for by Pharmaceutical firms we pay through the nose.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                Chris,

                This is one place where I can agree with you. Our politicians ARE indeed bought and paid for by large financial firms, drug companies, and oil companies as well as the auto industry. This is the main reason government is so hasty to bail them out if they seem about to fail.

              • Black Flag says:

                Hence – REGULATION – is the problem, Chris.

                As long as government – by the power of the FDA – disallows competition, you are assured of distortion.

                You’re an interesting fellow, Chris – argue FOR regulation while refusing to accept and raging against its direct consequence – MONOPOLIZATION.

              • Chris Devine says:

                Monopolization is not a necessary consequence. If anything these problems can all be attributed to the undue influence that millions of dollars in campaign funds and lobbying efforts.

              • Black Flag says:

                Monopolization is ALWAYS the consequence of government economic favoritism.

                If the government invoked no power into the economy, no entity would bother bribing the government.

              • Chris Devine says:

                Presumably the places where you can buy the drugs for cheaper also have regulation, so it’s obviously not regulation that is the problem.

                Please explain how the FDA disallows competition? It seems to me that drug safety testing encourages fair competition amongst manufacturers of products that do what they say they do.

              • USWeapon says:

                Who is the competition to the ridiculously high prices the FDA mandates in order to get drugs approved? Who is the competition to the ridiculous amounts of inane and unnecessary amounts of paperwork and bullshit procedures that the FDA requires? The FDA is a BS organization that has single handedly ruined the US pharma market. And they get to be this way because they have a federal law in place that does not allow another company to do what they do better, cheaper, and faster. You want better priced drugs? Eliminate government from the equation.

              • Chris Devine says:

                You still haven’t explained how these same companies continue to make record profits while selling their products in other countries at a much lower price.

                Do you remember the Fen-Phen and Vioxx debacles? That’s what happens when you let these companies determine for themselves what is safe. If you remove the government from the equation you’ll only get more of these tragedies.

              • USWeapon says:

                Oh before we get into bashing the pharma companies, I have to admit that my wife is in that industry and I, therefore, have some strong feelings here and also some insight that I think many do not have. I am now mulling over in my head the idea of a separate article just on this.

              • I'm learning! says:

                I think that would be an awesome idea. I refer to my chiropractor before my Dr. about 99% of the time with my family. Not that I don’t believe that the medical community should not be used, but many major issues can be resolved before they become major using alternative medicines. I dealt with planters fasciitis in my heels for years. I know people that had spent hundreds and even thousands with foot dr’s and orthotic’s. My chiropractor used a treatment that has been done in Canada and Europe for 20 – 30 years. But the FDA finally approved it for limited uses. I had immediate relief with the first treatment. After about 8 treatments – $160 total. I haven’t had an issue for 2 ½ years now.

                Something stinks in the pharmaceutical/medical world. I am grateful to know the person I know!

              • Kristian says:

                I suffer from that too. What kind of treatment is this?

              • I'm learning! says:

                Kristian, I will leave my reply below #20?

          • IMO it is lack of oversight and not deregulation that caused this mess…

            • USWeapon says:

              I believe that you are correct Terry.

            • Chris Devine says:

              What’s the difference?

            • These are my simple definitions:

              Oversight – watch what someone is doing, step in if they go to far
              Regulation – tell somoeone what they can and can’t do

              I agree oversight is better, but the point is neither was done.

              • I believe the rules were in place but the lack of oversight to enforce them caused problems.

                I think that the Madoff ponzi scheme is a decent example of that…

              • Black Flag says:

                Todd, what right was violated by Madoff?

              • Hey, I didn’t bring up Madoff!! 🙂

                Fraud and thief?

              • Black Flag says:

                Not a thief.

                Everyone who gave him money did so willingly.

              • What about fruad?

                And why is there no “reply” button in your comments?
                Are you trying to stop dissent?? 😉

              • USWeapon says:

                It only allows a certain number of levels on replies. So when the reply button goes away, that means you have to go down below and start anew. Yes, dissent is being thwarted any way that I can thwart it, lol.

              • Black Flag says:

                Too deep of embedding – moving to bottom

              • Danak13 says:

                Madoff is a wimp compared to what congress is doing….disgusting.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        “It doesn’t make any sense to me to let drug companies be in charge of drug safety just as it doesn’t make any sense to me for the government to manufacture televisions.”

        By the same argument, it doesn’t make any sense for the government to manufacture cars either, but that seems to be where we are at….

        • USWeapon says:

          That is exactly the thought that popped into my mind when I read that from Chris, Peter.

        • It wasn’t the governments idea to get involved in GM and Chrysler. They came looking for help.

          Should the government have said no and let them file chapter 7 bankruptcy?

          • YES

          • Black Flag says:

            YES

          • Danak13 says:

            Not only yes…but hell yes.

          • Richmond Spitfire says:

            Oui, Si, Ja, Affirmative!

            • Speaking as a resident of Michigan for 25 years now

              Absolutely and positively YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

              • Birdman says:

                I worked as a supplier in the automotive industry and I was opposed to the bailout.

                As I recall, Congress refused to grant any money to the automotive industry. Bush then used TARP money to bail out the industry. TARP money was never approved by Congress for bailing out the auto industry. Congress should have screamed bloody murder and challenged his actions but he got away with it. The state of Indiana tried to get the Supreme Court to rule on 2 issues: (1) the illegal use of TARP money to bail out the auto industry; (2) placing secured creditors at the bottom of the list to be repaid debt that they were due. The Supreme Court dodged the issue. The current President now has more unchecked power to do whatever the hell he wants. Had the Supreme Court ruled 9 to 0 in favor of Indiana on both issues this would have been a serious blow to the POTUS.

                I would like to know what GM and Chrysler did with all the bail out money. I think I know the answer. They used it to meet their legacy costs on pensions, healthcare plans, paying their workers, etc. Any normal, well run business is able to take an economic downturn and layoff workers and then recall them when business picks back up. The automotive industry cannot because they pay their union workers almost their full wage when laid off (this has nothing to do with job banks that were eliminated). The auto industry has ongoing financial obligations to the UAW whether they are selling cars or not. They need a huge amount of cash to meet those obligations and when they were not selling cars the government had to step in to help them meet those obligations.

                The automotive industry earned the right to go bankrupt. Management should have said “NO” to the Union’s demands several decades ago and taken a strike and hired permanent replacements to operate the plants. It would have been ugly but it was needed. Management caved in and granted the UAW whatever they wanted. The auto industry gave up their right to manage their plants years ago. The industry then took it out on suppliers by forcing them to pay up front for business (this is extortion but they got away with it) and then requiring suppliers to reduce their prices by a certain percentage each year. This placed all suppliers in serious financial distress. The Big 3 knew their supply base was captive to their business — the supply base invested billions in building specialized plants with specialized equipment and they could not walk away from their huge investment so they gave in. I can tell you horror stories of how they treated their suppliers. For the last 10 to 15 years the Big 3 survived by squeezing money out of their suppliers in any way possible. If you invested in new technology to reduce costs in your plant, GM wanted to know about it so that they could demand a price decrease from you. GM wanted to share in the savings. For a period of time, GM could grant the UAW wage and benefit increases and then require the suppliers to pay for it.

                I have no sympathy for the former big 3. The UAW ruined the industry and weak management allowed them to do it. I will never purchase a GM or Chrysler car again. The UAW know they won and they didn’t have to give up any major concessions in their pensions, healthcare or wages.

          • IMHO… 🙂

            With the loss of GM and Chrysler there would be:

            1. Many bankruptcies in the auto parts supply chain
            2. Even more dealerships closed (I want to say “all” but you know how that goes…)
            3. Unemployment would skyrocket
            4. Welfare costs would skyrocket
            5. Tax collections would shrink
            6. Loss of manufacturing base, which has already been shrinking

            A lot of trickle-down costs…

            What about the AIG and Bank bailouts?

            Same effect in the financial markets…

            • Black Flag says:

              It is a requirement of correction.

              Maintaining a destructive economic entity because the short term pain of its loss will result in a longer, worse destruction of the economy.

              • Yeah, but that’s a tough pill to swallow…

                But, we don’t seem to have a problem “demanding” that less developed countries de-value their currency, raise interest rates, etc, before the US or the IMF gives them aid or a loan…

                Do as I say, not as I do 😉

              • That is true because the same people are involved in both.

                Perhaps if we left them alone and quit trying to centrally plan their lives as well we would all be better off.

                Don’t assume our governments hypocrisy applies to those of us who didn’t want the govt to interfere in this last mess. Even if they did cause it.

            • Todd: I honestly believe you are overstating the problems that would have occurred in the auto industry. Bankruptcy does not eliminate it reorganizes and reprioritizes. Much pain yes.

              AIG and Banks: Yes same answer.

              Now please try to think about what would really be different. Banks are still not loaning money and investors are running off shore.

              Had we let the system work Banks would be making only small low risk and investors would still be here. Because they know it will get much better.

              Think of these economic cycles as the symptoms. We keep treating the symptoms to reduce the pain, but we never treat the disease. It continues to fester until one day…..it kills us.

              • The auto companies were talking about Chapter 7 – liquidation.
                Not chapter 11 – reorganization.

                If AIG had failed the world economy would have collapsed. The derivatives they created are the weak, water soluble glue holding the financial markets together…still just barely.

                Banks would not exist and the only use for currency would be burning for heat…and wiping your…

          • USWeapon says:

            YES

          • Congrats Todd: You may have been the first here to ask a yes/no question that got more than 2 responses.

            I might have you write my questions for me from now on.

            • If you ask a dumb enough question, you can be fairly certain of the answers you’ll get! 🙂

          • Yes….Yes..Yes
            The UAW kept their jobs….who save the dealerships and their jobs???

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            RESOUNDINGLY….

            YES!

      • Chris, always remember to never use the words always and never!

      • USW,

        You need save this post from Chris, and repost in the future when not he will be able to deniy what’s happened…..

        :smirk:

        • Chris Devine says:

          What makes you think I’d want to deny it? Anybody who’s familiar with my posts should know that I’m no hypocrite. They may disagree with my ideals and conclusions, but I doubt anyone here would say I’m dishonest.

        • I’ll save Chris’s post too and we’ll see in the future who is right…

    • Black Flag says:

      Socialism is the natural outcome of all democracies.

      The people believe they can vote themselves richer by stealing from each other. The outcome is laws that take from group 1 to give to group 2, then laws that take from group 1 and give to group 2.

      Every iteration increases government action inside an economy leading to Social Fascism.

      It is an enviable as gravity on a object with mass.

      • Black Flag says:

        Er…. take from one group and give to another…then back again….

        Anyway, I think people get what I meant.

      • Chris Devine says:

        Case in point?

        From your perspective it seems inevitable. From mine it seems completely avoidable.

        • Black Flag says:

          It cannot be avoided as long as people can vote to steal from one another.

          It can only be avoided if you disavow democracy.

          • Chris Devine says:

            Good luck with that. Let me know how it works out for you.

            • Black Flag says:

              Hence, socialism and its destruction of society cannot be avoided in a democracy.

              As I’ve stated before, Democracy will be known in history as the worse form of government enacted by mankind.

              By combining defuse responsibility with unlimited justification, the horrors it will deliver upon mankind is unending.

              • If we had a Republic that may not be so, however our Republic has evolved into a Democracy by way of the goverment actions and the sheeple mentality of entitlement.

              • Black Flag says:

                Republics still carry the same systemic moral contradiction on violence.

                That is why there has never been a Republic that has survived itself. They have all degraded into tyranny.

              • That’s not why BF. They’ve all degraded into tyranny because people are greedy and want to control others by force. In other words because people are not virtuous. That’s the same reason that anarchy cannot work. If people could really govern themselves . . .

              • I think you’re agreeing with BF…

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            Go back to my article of April 4th if you want to be reminded of how democracy only works until the masses figure out that they can vote themselves endless access to the treasury:

            https://standupforamerica.wordpress.com/2009/04/04/peter-b-in-indianapolis-bread-and-circuses/

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Case in point is in a democracy, who are the people most likely to vote for? The politician that tells them it is necessary to tighten their belts and make sacrifices, or the politician that promises to give them the most stuff?

          • Black Flag says:

            The core issue is deeper and systemic.

            It is the belief that by violence, a man can obtain the goods to satisfy his needs.

            All democracy does is defuse the responsiblity – instead of a man with a gun stealing from his neighbor, it is many men with guns stealing. Which one IS the man who stole? No single one – the endless loop of pointing fingers insures no one is guilty.

            (Game theory where two men are accused of a crime and each testify that the other one is guilty – the conclusion can be only 1) – both are guilty (and therefore an innocent man is punished) or 2) both go free).

            Adding unlimited justification (power of the majority) makes any cause worthy of violent action.

            Until society demands that violence cannot be legitimized, society will suffer tyranny.

          • And of course this is supported by the ethic that an individual or smaller group should be subserviant to, or sacrificed for, the good of the larger group.

    • Black Flag says:

      And contrary to Chris, a mixed economy is fascism. That is, government controlled economy.

      There are only two paths – freedom or government – there is no third way.

      Every form of intervention generates an imbalance that calls forth a next step toward markets or toward further intervention.

      The choice determines whether the social system will be pushed toward the economics of freedom and prosperity or that of socialism and poverty.

      A ‘mixed economy’, in short, attempts to combine policies that are internally contradictory.

      • Chris Devine says:

        There are a few more aspects to fascism besides a government controlled economy (e.g., racism, xenophobia, extreme nationalism, etc.) A regulated economy is not fascism.

        You can’t rely on industry to regulate itself, or solve its own contract disputes, etc. As long as the government only acts within its bounds (i.e., protection, regulation, empowerment) then there is no conflict. Problems also arise when corporations take over governmental roles. Let them stick to manufacturing widgets and the government can build roads.

        • JayDickB says:

          Chris,

          Why couldn’t a state franchise a private company to build, operate, and maintain a road (freeway type), collect tolls, and make a profit? I kind of like that idea given the sorry state some of our interstate roads are in.

          • JayD: The govt is contracting for a wide variety of services that is much like the franchise you mention.

            Federal employees unions hate it and the Democrats try to stop it as they view this as privatizing the govt.

            The real issue is that if it can be shown to work then it would be impossible to justify govt doing it anymore, wouldn’t it?

          • Chris Devine says:

            The answer is that in many case the profit motive is contrary to the purposes of a government (i.e., to provide a necessary service to it’s citizens). In business if a profit can’t be made then the service is changed or abandoned. Some things need to be provided regardless of their profitability. Roads, defense, health care, and law enforcement should not be operated on a for profit basis.

            Besides, by giving these roles to private companies you aren’t reducing the amount of ‘government’ in your lives. You are only moving it into the private realm and making it less responsive to democratic principles (and turning public funds into private profits).

            • Black Flag says:

              I totally disagree.

              Your assumption is that defense, roads, etc. has no value!

              If people seem to think an IPod has value, it cannot be claimed that a roadway has none!

              A profit allows the provisioning of that service/good to be sustainable.

              If it is being provided at a loss, it is a demonstration that something in the provisioning is wrong.

              Masking this error by violence of government will not solve the error – but likely perpetuate it until the error wipes the whole system out

              • Chris Devine says:

                I said no such thing. It’s obvious they have value. What I said is that the profit motive is at odds with the reasons they need to be provided. When a profit serves as the reason for providing a service then that service must adapt to ensure profitability. Health insurance is the perfect example.

                I’d argue that access to basic medical care is a human right, not just for those who can afford it. By relying on insurance companies to manage the costs of health care we have ended up with a system where claims are denied, procedures are unavailable, and some people go without altogether. Meanwhile the insurance companies are making money hand over fist.

                Health insurance is a profitable industry, but at what cost? Do you think the DoD should be run by for-profit contractors (e.g., Blackwater)? What about police and fire departments? Do you think it would be fair to tell someone that his house or business must burn down because he didn’t pay his fire bill?

                The profit motive is merely one way to allocate services. Another way is to pay for them using public funds (aka tax revenues). In my view the fact that everybody needs a particular service is a pretty good reason to keep it in the public domain. This doesn’t mean it can’t or shouldn’t be run efficiently. But trying to make money by putting out fires seems or fighting wars pretty ludicrous to me.

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              The profit motive is most certainly not contrary to the reason for the existence of a road! People use that road to get to work (make money). Transport companies use that road to transport raw materials to make into finished products and then use the road to take the finished products to a store to sell (make money).

              Please explain why a private company should NOT be allowed to run and maintain a road for a profit? It is already being done with the Chicago Skyway and the Indiana Toll Road.

              • Chris Devine says:

                Toll roads are a special case. Would you advocate for all roads to be privately owned and maintained for profit? I take the Dulles toll road a couple of times a year. As far as I can tell the toll just serves as a deterrent to keep traffic down on the bypass.

                Regardless, I’m not a big fan of toll roads. I’ve read that it often costs more to collect the toll (in administration costs) than the toll is worth.

              • Richmond Spitfire says:

                Hi Chris,

                I live in Richmond, VA. A few years ago, the Pocahontas Parkway (SR 895 – East/West) was constructed to connect Chesterfield County to the far East End of Richmond where I295 and the airport was located. Please note that this reduced approximately 20 miles (going north or south, then East to get to that area); from a time perspective, it’s reduced the commute time to the airport by approximately 30 minutes (depending on traffic).

                From Wiki:

                The highway was built without the use of toll revenue bonds through an innovative public-private partnership. Though the road had been planned for many years, sufficient state and federal construction funds were not available when the road was finally desired. In 1995, the Virginia General Assembly passed the Public-Private Transportation Act allowing private entities to propose innovative solutions for designing, constructing, financing and operating transportation improvements. An acceptable proposal was submitted jointly by Fluor Daniel and Morrison Knudsen, and an agreement was reached.

                In May 2006, the Pocahontas Parkway was acquired by Transurban, an Australian corporation that runs toll roads. Transurban, which owns and operates the CityLink tollway in Melbourne and the M2 Hills Motorway toll road in Sydney, said that it had agreed to acquire a 99-year concession on the Pocahontas Parkway for a total cost of $US611 million ($A815 million). Transurban has 100% control of the parkway.

                *******
                The cost of using this very short Toll Road is somewhat expensive $2.75 one way – It does use the Smart Tag Technology along with Toll Booths that you must exit to if you don’t have the Smart Tag.

                Anyway…my belabored point here is that there are many ways for me to get to the airport…about 5 that I can come up with right now…I can either spend 45 minutes trying to get to the airport via the old way or spend about 15 minutes getting to the airport via the new, quick way…

                In addition, I have a savings of gasoline due to being able to use this new road…

                It’s up to me as a consumer…Do I want to pay to $2.75 or do I want to twiddle my thumbs in traffic…

                Guess what…I happily pay! My 30 minutes is worth way more that $2.75! Heck…I’d pay that much anyway in the gasoline that I consume using the old way.

                Thanks,
                RS

        • Black Flag says:

          The increase or decrease of violence by government matters not in economic terms. The effect of fascism in economic terms is the degree of control it applies into an economy – whether it is by force of arms or by force of inflation.

          Industry regulates itself perfectly when the consumer is king. Voluntary economic exchange creates the optimum conditions where the supplier of a good (a good he no longer desires) is completely beholden to the consumer (who has exactly what the supplier wants – money).

          Because government desires that money – but has nothing inherent to offer (and must, therefore, take from the people first) – it needs to insert itself into the economy to seize its goods/services.

          Corporations, as a direct consequence of government law are a problem. Corporatism is a concurrent and fatal disease of government action.


          Fascism is a religion. The twentieth century will be known in history as the century of Fascism.

          Benito Mussolini

          Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.
          – Benito Mussolini
          It is the State which educates its citizens in civic virtue, gives them a consciousness of their mission and welds them into unity.
          Benito Mussolini


          The keystone of the Fascist doctrine is its conception of the State, of its essence, its functions, and its aims. For Fascism the State is absolute, individuals and groups relative.

          Benito Mussolini

          • Lets also not forget that fascism does not require “racism” or “militarism”. That is part of the definition applied after Hitler.

            It does require “nationalism” and a “national sense of mission”. Thus the need for “crisis”. It keeps us focused on “National” threats or needs.

          • Black Flag:

            You comment that industry regulates itself perfectly well when the consumer is king and that is probably correct most of the time. I am not an environmentalist but I believe that industry should be regulated in some ways. The steel town that I grew up in used to dump hot waste water directly into the conemaugh river before there were any pollution controls. The river was dead. All stones in the river were colored red from the pollution. Fish could not live in the water and you could not drink the water. I know we want VDLG but I don’t want to see industry dump waste products in our rivers. How do we address this problem? Are you OK with some types of sensible environmental regulations?

            • Black Flag says:

              I’ll respond Reverse your posting.

              No.

              I’m in favor of human rights.

              It is against my rights to be poisoned.

              It matters not how that poison is delivered.

              The free market is not a defender of human rights. If you ask it to be, you will be disappointed.

              It is a consequence of human rights

              If someone is trying to kill you (whatever the means) it is your right, by moral means, to stop them.

        • Bama dad says:

          Chris says:

          “You can’t rely on industry to regulate itself, or solve its own contract disputes, etc.”

          How is the UAW going to negotiate with management for a new labor contract now that they are part of management? 😈

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        We are seeing right now the results of trying to apply concepts to the economy that are mutually contradictory.

        For example:

        Problem: Too many people took out loans they could not afford to pay back at interest rates which would effectively prevent them from making payments on the loan once the “teaser” rate reset to a higher level.

        Solution: Give the banks Billions of dollars to make up for their losses, but do almost nothing for the people who got said loans and now stand to lose their homes.

        WHAT?

        I know, the government put forth some PALTRY (especially by comparison) sum of money which is supposedly dedicated to helping these people avoid foreclosure, but I have seen precious few examples of anyone actually avoiding the loss of their homes as of yet….

        If the government were truly interested in helping these homeowners (and not simply helping the banks) the government could have used 750 Billion dollars and simply paid off a bunch of mortgages, thus ensuring that the people got to keep their homes AND the banks got the money back that they thought they had lost due to these bad loans.

        Of course, that wasn’t what the government was actually interested in accomplishing, so what was it they were REALLY trying to accomplish?

        • I’ll be perfectly honest with you. I could use some refinancing. My payment is not THAT high that I’m in danger of losing it. But I sure could use some room under my budget. But I’m too afraid of Government strings to even try. They have strings on everything else.

          • Black Flag says:

            For anyone who has a mortgage, I would strongly urge that they convert them to long-term 30 year fixed rate.

            Anyone holding a 5-year term mortgage is holding on to a ticking nuclear bomb. You will lose your house in 5 years

            • USWeapon says:

              I agree completely.

            • BF,

              Can you please clarify or post a link to where/how you came to this conclusion? My sister got one of Obama’s mortgage plans and couldn’t be happier. Are people who got saved by Obama safe from this, or are they to be the first ones to get it?

              • ooohh Cindi, just reading “saved by Obama”, gives me the creeps.

              • Can you send me a link, please? I don’t think I’ve read that one.

              • Black Flag says:

                Google “Peter Schiff”

                He has a number of videos and commentary about our economic situation. I agree with most of his conclusions.

                The reason, however, is very straight forward.

                The amount of currency ingested into our economy is huge with all these bailouts and Fed budget deficits.

                The reason we haven’t had inflation in the past is because all of this currency has been bought by foreigners – China being a large one.

                In other words, the USA has exported its inflation.

                But consider that the Chinese have been buying $200-400 billion or so of USA securities annually.

                We are now asking them to buy $3 trillion. They have no feasible way of doing this (if they even want to buy any at all – or worse, decide to sell what they have).

                Any not purchased by foreigners will then need to be bought by private money. It is inconceivable that much of that will be bought at all.

                This leaves only one other option – the Fed. The Fed will have to monetize this by buying US Treasuries directly (that is, ‘print money’).

                Therefore, instead of exporting inflation as the US has done for the last couple of decades, the entirety of inflation will land directly on the US population.

                $3 trillion infusion of currency into this economy will push inflation rate to at least 20% – perhaps 100% per year. If it goes higher than 100%, the USA will collapse into total chaos and take most of the world’s economy with it. This is known as, quote, “An incredibly seriously horribly bad thing” – it will be equivalent to a nuclear war.

                But lets hope that it won’t go above 100% (I believe the Fed would abandon the government before the Fed allowed the destruction of Western Civilization).

                But it will be around 20%-25%.

                If you have to renew your mortgage in 5 years – your interest rate will explode from ~4% to 25% or higher. Imagine your credit card interest rate as being your PRIME interest rate.

                I cannot see the typical American family capable of supporting such payments.

                It is not likely that your income will keep pace with inflation – firstly, it always lags in the best of scenarios, and it is very conceivable the government will put in place wage/price freezes. Thus your income will not keep pace with inflation – but your house payment will!.

                $250,000 mortgage @ 5%=$1,420 per month

                $250,000 mortgage @ 25%=$5,211.45 per month

                Thus, the strategy is to lock in an low interest rate for a long term – 20 to 30 years. Yes, you pay a bit higher rate – but in 5 years, with interest rates at 25% – you’re still @ 5%.

                In other words, your mortgage is being paid off by inflation.

                Eventually, wage controls will be removed and your income will climb up to market rates.

                $60,000 (2010) = $183,000 (2015) @25% inflation.

                But your house payment is STILL $1,400 a month = moving from 28% of your gross income to LESS THAN 1% of your gross income!!!

                The fastest way to become a millionaire is to borrow a million bucks today, over 30 years, and let inflation pay it off.

                This is the important point

                This is the strategy the government is using to pay off its massive debt.

                The entire strategy of government is to borrow big today, and let inflation pay it off tomorrow!

                If this is the strategy of government – be wise to believe this is exactly what the government is designing the economy to do

                Betting against the government here is a 100% a losing bet.

                Get on the side of the line of government and plan your strategy to align with theirs. It is your survival plan.

              • Thanks BF. I’m glad you think the Government is doing all this crap just to pay off the debt, because if that isn’t what they’re doing, its likely they really want to destroy Western Civilzation as we now know it. Most times though, I think destruction is what they’re after. The middle class is in their way, and we’ve got to go.

              • Black Flag says:

                They have a tiger by the tail.

                They have maneuvered themselves into assured destruction.

                They either tank the economy and the nation and civilization, or they implode.

                The government bet against the marketplace – and the marketplace ALWAYS, eventually, wins.

                In every case in the last 10,000 years of government – when the government went against the marketplace, the government lost – badly.

              • Black Flag says:

                …and usually the government failing takes with it its citizens.

                The last big one resulted in the Dark Ages.

                It is not impossible that history may repeat itself this time.

            • I can remember a time…not to long ago…interest rates were 20% a lot of good home owner suffered with balloon notes. Lots of empty houses. If this happens again the banks wil have a different class of people of the bankrupcy roles. The banks will be holding alot more property than they are now. Bad trip if this happens in the next 2-3 years.

  17. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    Since the inauguration of the Obama administration, unemployment has risen from 7.9% to 9.4%. In spite of this, the economists in the Obama Administration are claiming that the economic stimulus package spending which has already occurred has created or saved 150,000 US jobs.

    How do you feel about this statistic? I would argue that it is possible to judge if a job has been created (the job did not exist before, and now it does exist), but how do we judge if a job has been “saved”? Is it possible to know that a job would have been eliminated in the absence of the economic stimulus spending, but that job has been retained because of the spending?

    Also, is it possible to claim that ANY jobs have been created or saved when on average about 18,000 jobs have been lost per day since 1/20/09?

    The economists claim that the economy would be even worse off absent the government spending, so even more jobs would have been lost. Is this true, false, or unable to be honestly determined?

    • Black Flag says:

      What determines a ‘good’ economy?

      Job loss is a requirement of a economic recovery – industries that required a continuation and expansion of inflation can no longer sustain themselves.

      The people working for these companies are then forced to find gainful employment elsewhere – the interim is unemployment.

      Creating a ‘soft landing’ delays the recovery and often makes it worse.

    • JayDickB says:

      “Created or saved”, especially the saved part, is too nebulous to be taken seriously. It’s political smoke and mirrors in its purest form. Obama is a master of this.

      Its probably hard to prove, but I think we would have been much better off if Government spending had not been increased. Government spends money poorly in that government expenditures seldom create wealth. Business expenditures, especially capital investment, usually create wealth. This is true because businesses spend their own money and if they don’t do so wisely, they lose their money. Government spends others’ money and if they don’t spend it wisely, there is no adverse consequence.

      That’s why tax cuts are so much more stimulative than government expenditures. Government expenditures generally waste resources that have been taken away from someone who probably would have used them in a way that would create wealth. There are exceptions, of course, but this is the way I think it goes.

      That’s why European economies have performed so much worse than ours; their governments spend a much higher portion of GDP. The higher the percentage of GDP controlled by government (all levels), the worse the economy will perform, over time.

    • C. unable to be determined. or b. false

      All this grandstanding about 150,000 jobs being saved is soothing words for the sheeple to graze on ’till the Government can get their mind on something else meaningless.

      Even IF they could prove this, what is 150,000 jobs saved in over 300 MILLION people?

    • Black Flag says:

      Further to add complexity, many of the ‘green shoots’ employment numbers reflect a decrease in economic output – from a high-value job to working at McDonalds.

      It also masks the change of job from full-time-long-time jobs to part-time-high-turnover jobs. A person who is hired/fired/hired is counted twice in the ‘new’ job count.

      The chatter about “green shoots” is hype. The economy has no place for unemployed people to find jobs at today’s wages. The wages asked by these people must fall dramatically for them to find work.

      Review the graphs here:
      http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2009/06/job-openings-vs-unemployed/

      The information shows that this recession is far worse than any before – and will last longer than any before.

      The present recession is notable for its relentless increase of long-term unemployment. People who are laid off do not find jobs. This is unprecedented in the post-World War II era.

      This recession is deep. It has undermined the nation’s central financial institutions as no post-War recession has. Banks are hunkered down. They keep excess reserves at the FED.

      Long-term unemployment could continue at high rates for years.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        I have to completely agree with this assessment. The vast majority of jobs available in the US today are service-sector jobs. As such, a majority of them require little to no education or skill. I am NOT saying that none of the jobs require any education or skill, but the number of unskilled jobs or “semi-skilled” jobs is vastly outgrowing the number of “skilled” jobs.

        Unskilled jobs will only pay the market rate for unskilled labor. Skilled jobs have to pay the market rate for skilled labor.

        A shrinkage in the number of available skilled jobs creates greater competition for the skilled positions. This drives the wage for the skilled jobs DOWN. An increase in the number of skilled workers being forced to join the labor force for unskilled jobs creates increased competition for unskilled jobs, and drives the wages down for unskilled jobs.

        Unless there is a MAJOR CHANGE in the economy, we are going to continue to see a loss of skilled jobs and further wage dilution.

        Let’s be honest… many MANY people who still are employed are rapidly reaching the point where they can only afford their rent (or mortgage) plus the cost of food, gasoline, and monthly expenses, and then THERE IS NOTHING LEFT OVER!

        If there is nothing left over, demand for all products and services is reduced, thus causing the economy to shrink even further.

        The only “green shoots” I see is from the stuff they are smoking in DC if they really think there are any meaningful signs of economic improvement.

        Without a radical change to the economy which causes a massive increase in the availability of jobs that require actual skill, there will not be any improvement.

        Some people hope that the new “green technology” will be the answer… we will see how that works out.

      • Actually you can’t be counted twice in new Job Numbers.

        Most folks don’t realize these numbers are based on “surveys” not hard core data or such things as unemployment filing.

        The data is collected at a point in time each month. Thus you can only be counted in the group you occur at the point of survey. Your status may change next month but it does not affect the prior numbers, etc.

        The effect BF refers to is a movement of employment that could reflect short term jobs and rapid turnover. There are other ways to identify if this is happening.

        • Black Flag says:

          I agree – and are massaged with seasonal adjustments, economic variations, and a host of subjective situational multipliers, divisors, etc.

          (and alignment of the Sun, Moon and Planets with astrology predictions…:) )

    • The majority of the jobs that are or will be created by the stimulous package are short term projects at best. Example ~ $300,000 (or whatever the amount) to put new grass in at the white house. Sure they may have hired 30 or more people to prep the jobsite but once that grass is planted and growing…jobs done! Back to the unemployment line!

      • USWeapon says:

        Kym,

        That amount for new grass on the national mall was $200 MILLION!

        • Holy Crap!!!! And I thought $300K was outrageous!!!

        • I’ve seen that lawn up close and I have installed several lawns, including sprinklers.

          If I bid $150 million would you think that was a bargain?

          There is no grass known that could withstand the kind of traffic I saw on the mall in just one weekend day. That is why it is actually a mix of grass and low weeds.

          I was very disappointed by it all actually. The White House lawn though, now there is a lawn and garden.

      • From an article in the St. Petersburg Times Newspaper on Sunday.

        The Business Section asked readers for ideas on “How Would You Fix the Economy?”

        I think this guy nailed it!

        Dear Mr.. President:

        Please find below my suggestion for fixing America ‘s economy.

        Instead of giving billions of dollars to companies that will squander
        the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan.

        You can call it the Patriotic Retirement Plan:

        There are about 40 million people over 50 in the work force.

        Pay them $1 million apiece severance for early retirement with the
        following stipulations:

        1) They MUST retire. Forty million job openings – Unemployment fixed.

        2) They MUST buy a new American CAR. Forty million cars ordered – Auto
        Industry fixed.

        3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage – Housing
        Crisis fixed.

        It can’t get any easier than that!

        If more money is needed, have all members of Congress and their
        constituents pay their taxes…

        • Black Flag says:

          LOI,

          Get out your calculator.

          What is 1,000,000 times 40,000,000?

          40,000,000,000,000 or $40 TRILLION – or about 4 times the entire capital in the US economy!

          And you thought Obama’s $3 trillion stimulus was bad….

          Can I say…

          Hyperinflation????

          This would devastate the world economy – end civilization as we know it.

          • I hope Pelosi doesn’t get the same email I did.

          • Black Flag says:

            LOI,

            What typically happens here is someone muddles the British numbering system and the American one. Yes, the British billionaire is much, much richer than an American billionaire.

            Americans count:
            One hundred
            One thousand
            One hundred thousand
            One Million
            One Hundred Million
            One Billion

            British count:
            One hundred
            One thousand
            One hundred thousand
            One Million
            One Hundred Million
            One Thousand Million
            One Billion

            Makes a difference of 10 times 🙂

    • “Created or Saved” – more dubious lingo from the White House where nothing can be proved so they are always correct with their numbers.

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124451592762396883.html

  18. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    Sort of a continuation from a topic above. I hope a lot of people throw their 2 cents in on this one because I want to see the diversity of what people think on this particular issue:

    Are businesses capable of self-regulation?

    Is the free market capable of causing businesses to regulate themselves?

    In the absence of government regulation, how would the free market prevent issues such as pollution, low wages, etc.?

    (For example, we know that in countries that turn a blind eye to low wages and large amounts of pollution from industry, products are very cheap to make, but these countries [for example China] are not true free-market economies either!)

    Does human greed prevent a true free-market economy from becoming a reality? If not, why not?

    • Black Flag says:

      Issues such as pollution have nothing to do with free market systems – pollution is a human right violation. You do not have the right by your action to poison me.

      In your example, government turns a blind eye to human right violations because it is in the Government’s best interest to do so, not the peoples. Government anti-pollution legislation is actually laws that ALLOW POLLUTION! It is not the free market that demands pollution.

      Free market system is consequence of freedom – it is not a giver of freedom

      Human greed is the main driver of human prosperity.

      The desire to have more goods for one’s self requires a man to provide more value to the market place. It is in his greed that he trades what he produces (but no longer desires) for things that he does not have (but desires).

      Low wages, in a free market system, is the payment for value delivered. If the effort is worth less, wages are low. If the effort is valued, the wages are high.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        OK, I can see that, but one could also argue that in the absence of regulation, a company which pollutes the air, water, and land in the making of their product may be able to make the product more cheaply than a competitor who is following sound environmental practices.

        As a consumer, it is more likely that I am going to buy the cheaper product even if that manufacturer is polluting the air, water, and land. What is the free-market incentive for me to purchase the more expensive product from the company which is taking measures to reduce or eliminate pollution in the making of their competitive product?

        You can say that pollution is a human right violation, but in the absence of a regulatory body, how does the free market work so that the pollution producing business fails and the clean business succeeds?

        I know that there are certain people on this site that would argue that the free market system does NOTHING to prevent the pollution-causing industry from succeeding, so that is what I am trying to get at 🙂

        • Black Flag says:

          OK, I can see that, but one could also argue that in the absence of regulation, a company which pollutes the air, water, and land in the making of their product may be able to make the product more cheaply than a competitor who is following sound environmental practices.

          Mixing apples and oranges.

          Your question needs to be directed to the society, not the free market.

          Are the People willing to suffer an attack on their rights or not? If yes, then pollution will be accepted. If not, then pollution will not be accepted.

          This will be the case whether the pollution comes from a organized economic groups (ie: company) or an individual.

          If the People do not accept pollution and do not accept a violation of the right, then they will act under that condition.

          The free market is still a free market.

          You can say that pollution is a human right violation, but in the absence of a regulatory body, how does the free market work so that the pollution producing business fails and the clean business succeeds?

          Let me rephrase into an equally valid example – but easier to wrap our brains around.

          “You can say that killing is a human right violation, but in the absence of a regulatory body, how does the free market work so that murdering businesses fail and the ones that do not murder succeed?”

          Does that help clarity?

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            In this case, no, does not really help with clarity. I would argue that the average Joe that goes into Target to buy a shirt does not even make ANY sort of conscious assessment of whether it is better to buy the $25 shirt that is made from hand-loomed cotton as opposed to buying the shirt off of the clearance rack that is $5 and was made at a sweat-shop in Malaysia with horrible working conditions and high pollution emissions.

            To the average person, it isn’t that this stuff doesn’t necessarily matter, it is that this stuff does not even ENTER THEIR MIND when they go into Target to buy a shirt.

            It is more like “This one on the clearance rack is 5 bucks and it looks ok, so I am gonna spend 3 minutes in this store, spend only 5 bucks, and get the shirt that I need and get the hell out!

            The people will accept the pollution in order to save $15 on the shirt virtually every time in my experience, and will not even stop to think of the source of said shirt.

    • I don’t know because I’ve never seen a free market economy before. Ours has not been such in my memory. By this I mean of course how long I’ve been IN the economy.

      There are regulations and laws to govern the economy. Always have been. At least for several decades. As far as I can tell, you can’t have a free market economy that Government is involved in.

      I read somewhere that although Bush is known as the Deregulator, he actually had more regulation passed under his watch than any other President before him. Some folks forget that it was Clinton who deregulated Wall Street. Mostly because that’s what the Democraps said.

      If anyone thought Obama was actually going to come out and admit that his plan for economic recovery was dookey this early, they are sadly in la-la land. I doubt he will ever admit that unless the economy just uotright collapses. And I sure hope that doesn’t happen.

    • Peter B: How many of your examples would be serious problems if the majority of us operated on an ethic of self interest and non-initiation of force against others. Do unto other as you would have them to unto you?

      I think it would shrink the problem to nothing more than we currently have when looking at violent crimes. It becomes a civil action to remedy. Of course you also have Boycott.

      You have provided a good example of why we need to make sure we have the right ethics identified when we start constructing political solutions. We can not adopt the non violent ethic then construct govt solutions to all our problems. We have to work our brains harder to come up with non-govt answers.

      That last was more for everyone.
      JAC

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        JAC,

        I am not disagreeing with you or with BF at all. I guess what I am pointing out is that (in my view anyway) it is going to be exceedingly difficult to convince ol’ Average Joe that he should be boycotting the company making the $5 shirts and buying the $20 or $25 shirt from the responsible company instead.

        This is (as they say) where the rubber meets the road. If Joe has a choice between an irresponsibly made $5 shirt plus a burger, fries and a Coke vs. a responsibly made $20 or $25 shirt with no burger, fries, or Coke, it is VERY likely he is gonna pick the $5 shirt regardless of who made it or how.

        So, what number of us choosing an ethic of self-interest and non-initiation of violence would be necessary to prevent the irresponsible production of the $5 shirt? If no one produced the $5 shirt, would we all be forced to buy the $25 shirt, or would other market forces then exist that would either push our own wages higher or push down the cost of the quality shirt?

        It may sound silly, but these are the things that keep me up at night 🙂

        • Its not silly and it to keeps me up and working hard. As I said, I have notebooks filled with the how to.

          Some take many pages before I find a flaw and start over. Usually becasue I don’t trust in my own base (ethic) and politic.

          I knew you were agreeing I was using your question to provide an answer to the broader audience.

          We need to think about EDUCATION as part of the solution.

          I do think courts and civil law would solve much here, instead of Fed agencies.

  19. I almost forgot. I had promised to report back on my discussion with the lawyer sister in law from Calif.

    She confirmed my understanding that the REAL legal issue before the Supreme Court was whether the Citizen Initiative to Amend the Constitution was legal. The opposition claimed it was a “Revision” and therefore could not be done by initiative. The Court held it was an amendment.

    Now with that she had now knowledge of all the other language cited by the court in rendering their decision. I have not seen the entire thing. It almost sounds like they were addressing other issue that might have been raised but were not the real legal issues being decided.

    Bottom line, only slightly more enlightening. Will need to see the actual conclusions to better understand.

    My promise has now been fullfilled. I only wish the answer was fuller in itself.
    JAC

  20. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    What I am trying to say is that you are asserting that pollution is a human rights violation, with which I can pretty much agree. Pollution can cause death, so it is violating my right to life.

    That much I understand. What I want to KNOW (or what I fail to understand) is the following:

    In a large and diverse society is it possible (absent a governing entity) to ensure that all shirts will be made by people making the choice to produce said shirts in a responsible manner? If so, how?

    I can only determine my own morals and ethics. I can use free-market forces to try to influence the decisions made by a company that makes shirts, but I cannot determine their morals and ethics for them.

    If company A chooses to make shirts in a responsible manner and those shirts cost $20, I can choose to buy those shirts because I like the fact that company A is not violating anyone’s human rights by their behavior.

    If Joe chooses to buy a $5 shirt from company B even though company B pollutes when it produces shirts, I cannot do much about that. If enough Joe’s buy enough shirts from company B, then company B will continue to exist, and it is even possible that responsible company A may even cease to exist because it cannot compete with company B.

    So, in this way, in spite of my decision to support the company that isn’t violating any human rights, company B thrives anyway.

    So, the direct question is, in a society without a governing body, what prevents this scenario from happening? It would be nice if everyone supported company A and caused company B to go out of business, but again in my experience the average Joe at Target just wants to grab his $5 shirt off of the clearance rack and get out of there.

    To phrase it another way:

    Company B cannot initiate violence against the non-violent; therefore, company B cannot produce shirts in a way that pollutes the environment. Ok, fine. But WHAT MECHANISM PREVENTS THEM FROM DOING IT ANYWAY???

    • Black Flag says:

      In a large and diverse society is it possible (absent a governing entity) to ensure that all shirts will be made by people making the choice to produce said shirts in a responsible manner? If so, how?

      Responsible? That’s subjective.

      But, not violating human rights? Again, it is not a job of an economy to protect human rights

      A free economy is a consequence of the protection of human rights

      And yes, it is entirely possible to organize society morally in a way that protects human rights.

      I can only determine my own morals and ethics. I can use free-market forces to try to influence the decisions made by a company that makes shirts, but I cannot determine their morals and ethics for them.

      You can determine if they violate human rights, or not.

      If company A chooses to make shirts in a responsible manner and those shirts cost $20, I can choose to buy those shirts because I like the fact that company A is not violating anyone’s human rights by their behavior.

      If Joe chooses to buy a $5 shirt from company B even though company B pollutes when it produces shirts, I cannot do much about that. If enough Joe’s buy enough shirts from company B, then company B will continue to exist, and it is even possible that responsible company A may even cease to exist because it cannot compete with company B.

      It is entirely up to the people that share the same society with Co. B to enforce (or not) human rights. If they chose to allow themselves to be slaves, then they will be slaves.

      You have no right to interfere with the choice of Joe. If he is doing you no harm, you have no right.

      So, in this way, in spite of my decision to support the company that isn’t violating any human rights, company B thrives anyway.

      Disgusting things happen – disgusting people live. However, disgusting is not a right violation.

      Joe, buying immoral shirts, is disgusting – but he is not violating your rights.

      Company B cannot initiate violence against the non-violent; therefore, company B cannot produce shirts in a way that pollutes the environment. Ok, fine. But WHAT MECHANISM PREVENTS THEM FROM DOING IT ANYWAY???

      Exactly the same mechanism that prevents you from murdering your neighbor.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Thank you for the well thought out and very explanatory post! I think I got it! 🙂

    • No, free markets will not produce perfectly humane and fair practices, but neither will any other type of market. It is human wickedness that causes the problem, not the type of market. Free markets will get the closest however, because they empower individuals to make the best decisions for themselves. When govt makes the decisions they trample on somebody.

      Govt CAN regulate business to a degree without destroying the free market. The degree is measured by the effect the actions of one individual or company have on another. In the case of pollution, govt can say, Company A, you cannot harm others in their land, air to breate, etc. and so you must install the latest pollution reducing technology or you will be shut down (or something to that effect.)

      Monopolies are a case of where the govt should legitimately interfere, because they actually prevent the free market.

      In the case of the low wages, the worker is part of the market and can compete for a better wage. Workers can also voluntarily band together in unions within their company. (Todays unions are something else entirely).

      • Michelle,
        Who decides what “degree” of regulation is acceptable?

        If monopolies exist and they are charging too much for their services, shouldn’t a free market naturally cause competition that would correct that?

        • Very Good Todd

          Dead On!!!

        • No, that is not what a free market is, you are describing chaos. A free market is where competition and individual choices determine what goods and services are produced and where people work. Government’s job is to ensure that competition and freedom are preserved, this includes forbidding monopolies and protecting the human rights of individuals. That is the measuring stick of regulation. Does the regulation protect citizens in a way that they cannot protect themselves?

          • Michelle,
            I wasn’t disagreeing with you about the need for regulation, just questioning how you determine the ‘degree’.

            What would be your answer to this question:

            Who decides what “degree” of regulation is acceptable?

            Since Obama and the Democrats are in the majority, do they get to determine the “degree”?? 😉

            I agree with you definition of “Government’s job”, but others out here will not!!

      • Michelle:

        To my knowledge no monopoly has ever existed without support of govt., at least for any significant amount of time.

        Without govt to restrict the access to markets a new competitor arises who offers greater return on investment by improving productivity. If the big boy cuts costs to prevent access the consumer wins.

        There is this myth that monopolies raise prices to gouge everyone. The opposite was true in the cases of unprotected monopoly. But Teddy R. wanted them killed to protect the little guys. So we killed companies that offered lower costs as “predatory” in order to protect the consumer from “lower costs”.

  21. I'm learning! says:

    Kristian – sorry I coulden’t respond above for my treatment of planters fasciitis, it just go too narrow.

    It’s called Cold Laser Therapy. Laser light seems to stimulate cells to start working again. It will help reduce inflammation. They just put the laser in certain spots (normally several spots) for about 20 – 30 seconds. No pain, all gain. It heals you from the inside out vs. things like ultrasound goes from the outside in. Also, the laser can reach deeper into your body.

    I fell and messed up my knee about a month ago, could barely walk, it healed much faster using 3 treatments of that. I wasn’t walking much for about 2 days, then by the 4th & 5th day, walked several blocks from the hotel we stayed at to the show we saw! For me it is $20 per treatment. I can’t even walk into the clinic for that!

    I googled it when he first did it. I found an article that said vets use this on horses also to help with healing! They also said the laser has no effect on healthy, normal functioning cells. It just stimulates the unhealthy ones.

    • Kristian says:

      Your primary physician did this for you or you had to go to a specialist? I really need to do something about mine bacause I get tired of wearing heels all the time. That is the only time that my foot doesn’t hurt, when I wear heels. My doctor says it’s because the weight is off of my heel and on the toes. My husband and I like to spend a lot of time in Disney and it is hard to walk around the parks when I end up limping after a couple of hours.

      • Heels help mostly because your plantar fascia, the tendon running from the ball of your foot to the heel, is no longer stretched so much, it’s getting a break. It’s my experience that regular doctors know nothing about these sorts of injuries. A podiatrist would know much better, but it is expensive.

        It’s caused by weight bearing excersise. Running a great deal puts stress on the plantar fascia as does being overweight. Bad shoes will excaberate the problem and heels are bad shoes. Part of the problem may be a shortened achilles tendon, because of wearing heels frequently, which casues your plantar fascia to take more of the stress when the heels come off.

        I’m a runner and it’s a common running injury, so I’ve had it before.

        I treated mine by stretching gently and icing my feet several times a day. Stick your feet in a tub of ice water for about 15 min.

        I have never heard of the treatment that “I’m Learning” suggested but it sounds good. American doctors are a big priggish and stupid about refusing to look at alternative treatments to traditional western medicine, but that attitude seems to slowly be changing.

        • I'm learning! says:

          Before my chiropractor got his laser, he suggested stretching the foot in the morning, icing and rolling the heel on a golf ball to loosen it up in the evenings. It would temporarily help, but then I would feel better, quit doing it, and it came back. He tried laser for the first time on a Tuesday. The next morning, I used to stretch my foot out before getting out of bed, and I had very little “tightness” at that point. I did another treatment on Thursday and Friday then spent the entire day on Saturday walking around the state fair with no pain whatsoever!

      • I'm learning! says:

        I went to my chiropractor. He has the equipment for it. It isn’t very widely used yet. I don’t know of a good way to find a dr that has it. My chiro is closed Wednesdays. But I can ask him if he knows of a website or something that lists doctors that use it. I just googled cold laser therapy today (I haven’t done that for a couple of years). There does seem to be much more information out there now! So it must be gaining in popularity.

    • BF, sounds like a treatment for the ankle. How is that coming along?

      • Black Flag says:

        Hurts like….

        Quite funny. So I went to get it X-ray’d – I thought I broke it.

        Doctor comes back saying, no, really bad sprain, ripped tendons, but it’ll heal.

        Then he asks – “But what happened, oh, 5 or so years ago?”
        HuH?

        The X-ray shows that I broke all the bones on the top of my foot! They’ve healed – but without a cast…!!

        (Shrug) I can’t remember!!

  22. Danak13 says:

    Please, Please tell me that I did not just read in sky news and confirmed on the radio, that the FBI has been given orders to read Miranda rights to captured battlefield combatants held in American custody IN AFGHANISTAN. It is all over the news here in Texas. That the FBI is to treat these combatants as law breakers and not warriors. HOW UTTERLY STUPID IS THIS????

    And, I do not want to read any diatribe that they are not combatants. This is crap.

    D13 (pissed again)

  23. Black Flag says:

    Chris said:

    What you are saying seems to make sense as long as the amount needed as capital and the amount saved and available are on par.

    There is no “requirement” one way or the other.

    I want to make this very clear, Chris. Economics is not a discussion of right vs wrong.

    It is a discussion of “if you do this thing, the consequence of that thing will be this”

    Capital is the excess of earning over consumption. It can only exist is some one spends less than they consume.

    If more people ‘save’ then people ‘consume’, the aggregate is an increase in available capital.

    Like any commodity, and excess of capital lowers its cost.

    The decrease in cost of capital makes marginal expenditures viable.

    This generates an increase abundance and greater array of goods and services, provided at cheaper price.

    This entices consumption, and less saving.

    Less saving reduces available capital.

    Capital costs increase, denying funds to marginal expenditures.

    The array of new services/goods slows.

    Prices increase, lowering consumption, and increase savings.

    Return to top.

    Furthermore, I am not talking about credit.

    I am.

    What I am NOT talking about is inflation – that is, government expansion of the money supply.

    I am talking about tax refunds spent. If you return taxes to someone who spends most of their paycheck, then they will probably spend the excess. If you return the money to people who already have an excess there is no reason to believe that the extra money saved will be required as capital for loans.

    Money does not sit in someone’s pillow case.

    Either it is spent (consumed) or it is saved (capital). “Saved” means it is either invested into shares, invested into bonds, invested into treasuries, or deposited in the bank.

    • Black Flag says:

      …deposited into a bank, which then lends it out to be consumed, or invested into …..(ibid)

  24. Black Flag says:

    Todd, re: Fraud

    If I lied to you, what violence has been done?

    • Lying doesn’t violate your ethics that this free market is based on?

      • Black Flag says:

        Why would it?

      • Black Flag says:

        Todd – PS: that was a leading question 🙂

        • If anyone/everyone can lie, it will destroy the free market you propose.

          One of the tenents of the free market “pure capitalism” is the assumption that everyone has “perfect” information, and all decisions are made based on logic and reason, and not emotion. If lying is part of the ‘pure capitalism’, perfect information is not obtainable and the system will fail.

          • Black Flag says:

            NOO! It will NOT!

            Free market holds no such requirement!!

            It always surprises me by how much people infuse demands into freedom.

            Freedom does NOT require “perfect” anything – let alone information.

            It couldn’t care less whether you make your choices by reason or emotion.

            All it cares is that you make your choice VOLUNTARILY.

            That’s it! No magic@

            • I’m not talking about personal freedoms, but how a truly free market economy would work. My last Econ class was a long time ago so I might not state this correctly, but the idea is that all information must be shared so that all participants have ‘perfect’ information and can act on it correctly. As soon as one participant has better information, their actions skew the market causing inequities, which cause other incorrect decisions and the free market to slide into chaos…

              • Black Flag says:

                There is no difference between a free market and personal freedom.

                The former is a consequence of the latter – if you aren’t free, then neither can be the marketplace.

                I will contradict your Econ prof.

                Perfect ‘information’ can never be achieved.

                Economics is very much like Quantum Mechanics – knowing one part of the information changes other parts of the system.

                As Hayek pointed out and Mises calculated, there exists no mechanism that can communicate perfect information or knowledge to any participants in any market system.

                This is the reason why central planning and Socialism always fails (and thus, can NEVER succeed) – it cannot obtain the information it needs to make the perfect central planning decisions it needs to replace the ‘invisible hand’ of the free marketplace.

                The free market distributes the decision process into millions of hands, each person making their decisions based on their individual desires. The balance of opposites plus unity of alignment guides the free market place to its optimum.

                There is (and always is) a case that someone may have MORE knowledge about something then someone else – in fact, all market systems require this. This is not a defect in the system, but its advantage.

                Consider the opposite, that is, no one had any knowledge – or the knowledge is faulty and wrong. What decisions are made from that point? Disastrous ones!

                A system that rewards better knowledge will cause the participants to seek better knowledge – driving even better decisions.

              • Chris Devine says:

                Does the phrase ‘insider trading’ mean anything to you? If better information provides an advantage then deceit and subterfuge seem inevitable. How does that sound fair? The point of laws against insider trading is to mitigate the effects of dishonesty while still rewarding risk.

              • Black Flag says:

                see #34

    • Well, first of all, if you keep lying and stealing from me, I’m gonna bring a whole lot of woop-ass down on you, so that’s what violence will be done! 😡

      They need to make a simley with a Black Eye! 🙂

      • Black Flag says:

        Now, you’re getting it!

        If actions are voluntary – then you better make wise choices.

        The question becomes = “Can you trust me?”

        The onus IS ON YOU – the one giving trust – to determine that!

        In freedom, trust is the MOST IMPORTANT ETHIC one can bring. It is EVERYTHING!

        Have you ever wondered, that cross diverse societies over time, HONOR and TRUST has been held so high?…to a point people will kill their own family for breaching trust and honor?

        Trust and honor cannot be enforced ONTO someone – it must always be given with the possibility of betrayal. Thus, it is ALWAYS GIVEN (in a free society) very, very, very rarely.

        TO be given trust from someone in a free society is probably the greatest offering one can give another. Trust means you can act without proof.

        This is gained by time. Lots of time. Decades. Centuries, of consistent, moral, trustful actions.

        When a family has earned such level called trust, they will kill their own blood to keep it. That is how valuable it is.

        When government steps in and removes the requirement of that onus ON YOU – it destroys trust.

        Madoff did nothing violent. The people deferred their onus to a stupid, violent, careless, and care less entity – government – to determine if Madoff was real.

        Shock! The made the stupidest mistake and blew it. And they DESERVE IT.

        Madoff did nothing if no one gave him their money. The people who gave him their money deserve everything they got.

        • Black Flag says:

          From Peter Jones, London Telegraph

          To an ancient Greek, nothing was more precious than honour (tîmê).

          The root of this word was financial — what you were worth.

          And what you were worth was judged not by your own values (note ‘value’), as by other people’s assessment of you.

          Most officials in Athens were appointed by lot and for one year only.

          (BF: See! My idea of a lottery to chose representatives had roots from Ancient Greece!)

          They did not serve an elected parliament but the whole citizen body (Athenian males over 18), meeting roughly every week in Assembly.

          This body was sovereign, deciding every course of state action. The same people also had total control over the courts.

          Each official had to report regularly to the people, and could be arraigned at any time. At the end of his term, the people subjected him to a full audit.

          Within 30 days of laying down office, he presented his financial accounts (public funds received and expended), which were checked against documents in the state archives. That test passed, a board heard any charges of general misconduct.

          There were penalties for breaking the law, taking bribes, embezzlement, and so on. Punishments could range from fines through exile to execution.

  25. Chris Devine says:

    I’m done for the night. Next time some of you assume I’m some elitist know-it-all why don’t you try slugging it out with a dozen or so people by yourself in an forum of opposing viewpoints.

    Good night.

    • Black Flag says:

      I know how you feel – but you’ll get use to it.

      It’s like playing Chess with 20 people at the same time – you build techniques after lots of practice.

      • Black Flag says:

        PS: Chris,

        I’ve truly enjoyed your posts, comments and wisdom.

        I sincerely hope you’ll be a regular here.

        BF

  26. BF, Hope this doesn’t effect you.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,525708,00.html

  27. Black Flag says:

    Why you don’t use a mattress as a bank
    Israeli woman mistakenly junks $1 million mattress

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090610/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_million_dollar_mattress

  28. Judy S. says:

    My son sent me this, and I thought maybe you all would like to read it, and give some feedback on it. Thank you

    WOW!!! This lady should run for President!! She is right on the money, and
    she’s not afraid to take credit for it either!! She left her name and phone
    number at the end!

    This letter you are about to read was written by a 4th grade teacher this
    past week. She even gave the world her telephone and fax numbers. We are in
    dire need of more true American citizens who are proud of OUR United States
    of America. WAKE UP AMERICA . . . please . . . before it is too late!

    April 27, 2009

    The White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
    Washington , DC 20500

    Mr. Obama:

    I have had it with you and your administration, sir. Your conduct on your
    recent trip overseas has convinced me that you are not an adequate
    representative of the United States of America collectively or of me
    personally.
    You are so obsessed with appeasing the Europeans and the Muslim world that
    you have abdicated the responsibilities of the President of the United States
    of America. You are responsible to the citizens of the United States.

    You are not responsible to the peoples of any other country on earth. I
    personally resent that you go around the world apologizing for the United
    States telling Europeans that we are arrogant and do not care about their
    status in the world. Sir, what do you think the First World War and the
    Second World War were all about if not the consideration of the peoples of
    Europe? Are you brain dead? What do you think the Marshall Plan was all
    about?

    Do you not understand or know the history of the 20th century? Where do you
    get off telling a Muslim country that the United States does not consider
    itself a Christian country? Have you not read the Declaration of Independence
    or the Constitution of the United States? This country was founded on
    Judeo-Christian ethics and the principles governing this country, at least
    until you came along, come directly from this heritage. Do you not understand
    this?

    Your bowing to the king of Saudi Arabia is an affront to all Americans. Our
    President does not bow down to anyone, let alone the king of Saudi Arabia.
    You don’t show Great Britain, our best and one of our oldest allies, the
    respect they deserve yet you bow down to the king of Saudi Arabia. How dare
    you, sir! How dare you!

    You can’t find the time to visit the graves of our greatest generation
    because you don’t want to offend the Germans but make time to visit a mosque
    in Turkey. You offended our dead and every veteran when you give the Germans
    more respect than the people who saved the German people from themselves.
    What’s the matter with you?

    I am convinced that you and the members of your administration have the
    historical and intellectual depth of a mud puddle and should be ashamed of
    yourselves, all of you. You are so self-righteously offended by the big
    bankers and the American automobile manufacturers yet do nothing about the
    real thieves in this situation, Mr. Dodd, Mr. Frank, Franklin Raines, Jamie
    Gorelic, the Fannie Mae bonuses, and the Freddie Mac bonuses. What do you
    intend to do about them? Anything? I seriously doubt it.

    What about the U.S. House members passing out $9.1 million in bonuses to
    their staff members — on top of the $2.5 million in automatic pay raises
    that lawmakers gave themselves? I understand the average House aide got a 17%
    bonus. I took a 5% cut in my pay to save jobs with my employer.

    You haven’t said anything about that. Who authorized that? I surely didn’t!
    Executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be receiving $210 million in
    bonuses over an eighteen-month period, that’s $45 million more than the AIG
    bonuses. In fact, Fannie and Freddie executives have already been awarded $51
    million — not a bad take. Who authorized that and why haven’t you expressed
    your outrage at this group who are largely responsible for the economic mess
    we have right now.

    I resent that you take me and my fellow citizens as brain-dead and not caring
    about what you idiots do. We are watching what you are doing and we are
    getting increasingly fed up with all of you. I also want you to know that I
    personally find just about everything you do and say to be offensive to every
    one of my sensibilities. I promise you that I will work tirelessly to see
    that you do not get a chance to spend two terms destroying my beautiful
    country.

    Sincerely,

    Every Real American

    P.S. I rarely ask that emails be ‘passed around’………….

    PLEASE SEND THIS TO YOUR EMAIL LIST……it’s past time for all Americans to
    wake up!

    Ms Kathleen Lyday
    Fourth Grade Teacher
    Grandview Elementary School
    11470 Hwy. C
    Hillsboro, MO 63050
    (636) 944-3291 Phone
    (636) 944-3870 Fax

  29. Richmond Spitfire says:

    Hi All,

    Does anyone know if the U.S. Penny will become defunct?

    Also, due to the copper content, is a Penny worth more than a penny? Is it likely that copper will skyrocket?

    Thanks,
    RS

    • There is always that chance. It is a big psychological hurdle though to do away with it. Older folks, like me, might actually remember when you could buy something with it.

      Sorry, they took the copper out over 20 years ago. You now get a copper plated zinc slug. Last time copper had a big run up they were hoarding and melting the old ones.

      • danak13 says:

        Let’s see if I remember… Tootsie roll pop, wax coca cola bottle with sugar water, bit o honey, banana boat square, one thin mint, ummm…Can’t remember more right now. Ages me tho.

        • Double Bubble, Bazooka, root beer barrels. Put two of those little Lincolns together and get a glass of seltzer. handful of peanuts out of machine, jawbreaker etc, etc.

    • Black Flag says:

      It is probable, but not due to copper.

      With inflation, the penny has become quite redundant as a transaction – and the transaction costs of the penny is becoming the concern.

      It hasn’t been discarded for that very reason – inflation. To discard the penny, the government would have to admit that they have destroyed the value of the dollar to the point that currency is becoming – redundant.

      When the penny disappears, be very worried.

    • Richmond Spitfire says:

      Okay..Thank you for the replies on that…;)

      Regard,
      RS

  30. Judy S. says:

    BTW, I didn’t mean for that last post to sound the way it did, so please don’t take it the wrong way as if I didn’t want to put it here because it wouldn’t go somewhere else, because I planned on putting here as well, so a lot of people can see it. Again sorry if it sounded otherwise.

    Judy Sabatini

    • Black Flag says:

      Judy,

      I think USWep will be impressed that you think his blog is tied into the heart beat of America.

      I can’t think of a better salute to him then that!

      • Thank you Black Flag. USWep is a very knowledgeable person, and I really enjoy reading his daily writings. I’m glad you think he’ll be impressed and yes I think his site is The Heart Beat of America. I hope the letter that teacher wrote will go places. Again, thank very much.

  31. USWeapon says:

    USWeapon said:

    That was a pretty lame statement Chris. Fall not into the trap that you wouldn’t want others falling into. I assume you smart enough to think for yourself so I disagree with your ideas at times, but don’t deem you too ignorant to know better.

    This statement, along with another that you made below, to JAC I believe, would insinuate that you merely think that those who disagree with you are not smart enough to know better. Perhaps the time has come to reevaluate that position. Men far more intelligent than I disagree with my beliefs, and I dare say that men far more intelligent than you disagree with yours. Attack the position, not the person. Live on the assumption that I am smarter than you are and go from there. I do the same. That leads us to looking at the facts, not the message bearer.

    Chris Devine said

    My apologies for being an asshole. You try arguing against a dozen other (frequently hostile) people whose opinions are diametrically opposed to yours. Please forgive my frustration.

    JAC in particular has shown himself to me as someone completely unwilling to see things from my perspective. Furthermore, I don’t really appreciate it when people start responding to my posts by addressing others as if I’m not there.

    • USWeapon says:

      Am I guilty of starting my response to you that way? I don’t ask to be a smartass, I ask honestly. I have read about 500 comments today and tried to respond to a bunch so I am unable to remember everything that I have said in my replies.

      I understand your position as a single voice against a lot of opposition. I appreciate the apology, but it isn’t needed. I am not upset with you in any way. I know that when we get into these discussions and debates, things have a tendency to heat up a bit. I will do my best to make sure that I do not get ignorant. I don’t feel that you have been ignorant to me, which I appreciate. But I know how tough it is to be the opposition to a group. Try not to get frustrated. I WANT to understand your position. I think you are wrong. I think I am right. But I am willing to debate it and figure it out. You make some strong arguments. I think some strong ones are mounted against you as well. It isn’t easy because neither side is going to simply accept the other point of view. It will have to be proven right or wrong.

      As for those who you feel are not engaging you in good faith. I suggest that if you feel that way you can break off the debate with them with a quick explanation that you feel this is the case. You can then focus on those that are willing to hear you out. I can say that JAC has, in the past, always been willing to hear out different positions. But he will not concede a point unless there is reason to do so. Perhaps when the two of you engage, you should both try to be a little more clear in explaining where you are coming from. That might help. It might not. If not, I understand if you decide not to engage him. But much like I would say to anyone not willing to engage you, there is much to be lost by not engaging those who are the most opposed to us.

      I will say that I truly appreciate your perspective on things and hope that you will continue to stick around.

  32. One final topic – does anyone know who said this:

    “I speak today as both a citizen of the United States and of the world. … My people have sent me here today to speak for them as citizens of the world, which they truly are, for we Americans are drawn from every nationality represented in this chamber today.”

  33. So does anyone see a similarity between Reagan’s speech about being a world citizen and Obama’s?

    Would all the criticism aimed at Obama also apply to Reagan?

    Or is there some imaginary difference that you can use to applaud Reagan’s comments while still criticizing Obama’s?

    • Actually I see very little similarity except the general tone that the US is part of the world. Reagans intro clearly states that he is representing the citizens of America as citizens of the world. I think Mr. Obama’s speech was more about who we are and we have erred and lets move forward. Different goals and approach. I wouldn’t put it past his folks to take a little from Reagan and tweek it to sound Obama though. They did that in the campaign.

      Todd, I did not have all the heart burn over Mr. Obama’s speech. Some heart burn but not as much as others and I do think some talking heads went out of their way to find things that were not there, at least on the surface. However, I don’t trust the man so who knows what he really means.

      The Pres’ speech did contain some comments that indicate to me that he views himself as more than just our President. He did in essence apologize which is OK to a degree, but I personally think he went over a little.

      Where I had real heart burn was when he stated we have no business telling others what to do then went on and told everyone what to do. So if he wasn’t speaking on our behalf when telling them what to do who was he speaking for?

      While only a little related I want to make something clear for the record. I do not accept this premise that we US citizens are somehow separate from our govt. If we are a democratic republic and we elect our govt officials, who then carry out certain policies on our supposed behalf, and we re-elect them, then how can we be viewed as separate?

      WE are ultimately resonsible for the actions of our govt. More so than the citizens of many govts in the world that we detest. We can not preach about individual responsibility and then push the ultimate responsibility away when we wish. That is a contradiction.

      Of course this leads to the dilemna of “I didn’t vote for the guy”. If I don’t vote for him am I absolved of his crimes and thus our societies crimes? In a free country with minimal govt I might be able to make that argument, or at least I could try real hard. But in a society that operates on the ethic that the group is primary, how can I dissolve myself from the collective actions of the group? I can’t even start the agrument let alone make it stand.

      I see you were up very late.
      Hope all is well with you today
      JAC

  34. Black Flag says:

    Chris Devine said

    Does the phrase ‘insider trading’ mean anything to you?

    Sure, and there is nothing wrong with it.

    If better information provides an advantage then deceit and subterfuge seem inevitable. How does that sound fair?

    I am smarter than you. Is that not fair?

    Ah, the question of fair applied to knowledge is a senseless question – its like asking what color is the number 9.

    Better information ALWAYS has an advantage! No law will change that fact.

    The point of laws against insider trading is to mitigate the effects of dishonesty while still rewarding risk.

    No law mitigates the effect of dishonesty. What the law actually does it INCREASE dishonesty.

    Since a person has completely abdicated their responsibility of determining honesty and truth and given that responsibility to an entity that has no motivation, no risk, no alignment, no care, is violent, is stupid (ie: government) the net result will be more dishonesty.

    If I give you my money without doing MY DUE DILIGENCE on you, it is MY FAULT.

    If I let someone else make the determination of your honesty, IT IS MY FAULT if you cheat me.

  35. Black Flag says:

    Chris

    Public vs Toll Roads – demonstrates again the perversity of the economic insanity of Socialism.

    Traffic Jam = The mating of Capitalist car makers and Socialist Road builders.

    By offering a road at ‘no cost’ for use, it is consumed to exhaustion = traffic jam. There is no financial incentive for people alter their driving habits, so they all pile onto the roadway at a whim.

    Toll roads precisely eliminate traffic jams by the same economics of any good/service – the higher demand, the higher the price; lower demand, the lower the price.

    Those that are more time-focused will pay higher, and those that are more financially-focuse will pay less.

    • Chris Devine says:

      Ever heard of carpool lanes?

      You hit the nail on the head with the capitalism bit. People have been encouraged to abandon efficient public transportation in favor of inefficient single passenger automobiles. People have been encouraged to buy huge SUV’s for use on paved roads.

      Give people real alternatives, not just ones that will make the auto and oil industries a few quick bucks.

      • Black Flag says:

        Yes, and that works terribly.

        All things of man’s creation serves some economics.

        Socialists purposely ignore economic measures, and replace them with bizarre political measures – praying that it will still offer the same economic intelligence as the economic measure (yes, I know Socialists thinking is contradictory – but it is what it is).

        So instead of price/quality – the create some subjective, political measure – passenger capacity.

        Of course, it doesn’t work. Most people do not live with the people they work with.

        Most people are not capacity challenged – they are time challenged.

        So, as always, the Socialist system does nothing to resolve the problem – traffic congestion. It instead creates a Political Elite – those that favor the Socialist thinking and surrender their convenience and time in favor of government blessing.

  36. Black Flag says:

    Michelle

    That’s not why BF. They’ve all degraded into tyranny because people are greedy and want to control others by force. In other words because people are not virtuous. That’s the same reason that anarchy cannot work. If people could really govern themselves . .

    .

    Because I believe you and hold different definitions of anarchy – I’ll make a bold assumption that what you meant was “chaos”.

    Correct. There are evil people who believe that violence on non-violent people can be justified. That is called “Government”.

    People can govern themselves when no one imposes upon them.

  37. Black Flag says:

    Michelle

    No, that is not what a free market is, you are describing chaos. A free market is where competition and individual choices determine what goods and services are produced and where people work.

    It is VERY important to understand a point, Michele.

    Competition does not make a free market. Competition is a consequence of a free market.

    You can a free market and no competition and it is still a free market.

    Government’s job is to ensure that competition and freedom are preserved, this includes forbidding monopolies and protecting the human rights of individuals.

    So, if government violates human rights, what do you call it?

    The only way a monopoly can exist is by a writ of government.

    The conditions of a free market exclude the capability of monopolies.

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