Guest Commentary – Black Swans

guest-commentaryFriday Night Guest Commentary comes to us again. I still have several guest commentary articles I need to go through. I have determined that I am going to make sure that I go through them tonight no matter what else I do. Tonight I offer up another interesting article from Warren Bonesteel, better known as “Bones”. Warren offered a very good article for us last week and I felt as though the reaction from everyone was positive and the result was some well thought out discussion and some interesting debates. This particular article was interesting given some of our discussions this week. As we discuss the problems in federal government and the fact that I feel the real problem lies in the everyday citizens who continue to tolerate bizarre behavior and re-elect admitted criminals, liars, and adulterers. As promised I will offer my continued thoughts on the first article of next week, but this one should keep us on the correct discussion line throughout the weekend. I hope everyone enjoys Warren’s latest offering here at Stand Up For America. I am just happey that he mentions my favorite hero… John Galt.

Black Swans, Susan Boyle, T.E.A. Parties and ‘Going Galt.’
By Warren “Bones” Bonesteel

The Super Bowl drew 90 million viewers after more than forty years of tradition and a lengthy and expensive marketing campaign. President Obama spent two years and hundreds of millions of dollars traversing the nation and the globe in order to become our nation’s chief executive. These are just two recent examples of traditional uses of the media and of political and economic power. For the time being, these traditional methods still possess a whiff of validity and are still somewhat effective.

…for the time being.

Black Swan CloseSo, the obvious question is, if it took that much money and effort on the part of the professional football league to have a successful season and on the part of a major political party to elect a candidate, what’s up with John Galt, Susan Boyle and T.E.A. Parties? Massive amounts of funding and media exposure were not required for these ‘movements.’ The media and the Beltway were completely bypassed. Indeed, those two entities have done almost everything they could think of to ignore these events or to discredit them.

From the tenor of their public proclamations, speeches and articles, the media and the Beltway are experiencing what can only be described as psychotic episodes in trying to understand what is happening. The Washington Post reports that 85 million people viewed Susan Boyle’s performance in less than a week. A little more than a week prior, no one outside of her village knew who she was. By this date, within less than two weeks, more than one hundred million people around the world have listened to her sing. What’s the fuss all about?

A Black Swan. A ‘social singularity.’

The T.E.A. Party protests, by some estimates, had nearly seven hundred thousand protesters. That may be a conservative estimate. Rasmussen reports that one in four Americans know someone who attended one of these protests. These protests weren’t initiated by any PAC or other ‘official’ entity. Promoted by ‘right-wing’ media and organizations afterwards? Yes. They were also promoted by left-wing blogs and groups. Initiated by any of them? No. They weren’t instigated by Rick Santelli or by a soccer mom in the state of Washington. Anti-taxation sentiment has been simmering on the back burner of our society for several years and has been overlooked by the media and the Beltway and was almost ignored by the blogosphere. Republican politicians are being booed off the stage at most of these T.E.A. Party events while Democrats are being booed ‘in absentia.’ What’s going on, here?

A Black Swan. A ‘social singularity.’

Going Galt StatueThe media and the Beltway can’t understand the ‘John Galt’ phenomenon, either. Yet, the effects of so many people ‘Going Galt’ are being felt throughout the economy and throughout our American society. Whether many Democrat voters admit it or not, they, too, have already ‘Gone Galt.’ This phenomenon is also a post-partisan affair. In spite of the massive amount of evidence to the contrary, the media and the Beltway deny that the economic activities of tens of millions of Americans who have ‘Gone Galt’ are having any effect whatsoever. The blogosphere has generally ignored or denied the effects, if not the ‘meme.’ What’s going on, here?

A Black Swan. A ‘social singularity.’

Further, the state sovereignty ‘movement’ has seen bills proposed or passed in more than thirty states, yet the media and the Beltway consider this to be an ‘extremist’ and ‘radical’ issue, in spite of what is clearly stated in the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution and in the Constitutions of many and several states. The media and the Beltway cannot understand this warning, this expression of absolute contempt for the federal government, from more than thirty state legislatures around the nation. The blogosphere has also voiced difficulties in understanding this ‘movement.’ What’s really happening, here?

A Black Swan. A ‘social singularity.’

Four political, societal and cultural Black Swans in a matter of days and weeks? What do they represent? What have we overlooked? If it has been overlooked, why have we missed it?

They are all Black Swans.

Black SwanThe traditional gatekeepers of our culture, information, education, talent, skill, ability, and the traditional political and social controls over these aspects of our society have been almost completely bypassed. We’re on the ‘event horizon’ of what I refer to as a ‘social singularity.’ The event horizon of a singularity is the point beyond which there is no going back and no one really knows what will happen next. All they can do…is guess. That’s also the nature of Black Swans. You never expect to see them. They are the unexpected. They are the unknown, and often, they are the unknowable. Once you see them, once you recognize and know them, there is no going back to the way things were before. It is a phenomenon that is so far out of our league that we don’t know what questions to ask until its too late.

Which are all parts of the reason why the media and the Beltway can’t get a grip on ‘Going Galt,’ Susan Boyle or the T.E.A. Party movement. They don’t even know what questions to ask. Before these events occurred, the media and the Beltway had no idea that any questions were necessary. They’ve never experienced anything like this before. To mash metaphors, our society’s traditional gatekeepers are now fighting a rear-guard action they cannot hope to win. If you don’t understand that against which you struggle, you can never defeat it. They don’t understand Susan Boyle and they don’t understand the T.E.A. Party movement. The ‘Going Galt’ phenomenon is a complete mystery to them, and in their minds and experience, the state’s rights ‘movement’ is meaningless.

What the media and the denizens of the Beltway (Republicans, Democrats, bureaucrats and lobbyists) do understand are traditional ideas of power, influence and money. What they do not understand is that there are many things that cannot be controlled through the traditional means of political power or economic influence.

What I do know is that once you’ve entered the ‘event horizon’ of a ‘singularity,’ no known power on earth can reverse your course. Socially, culturally, economically and politically, we have already entered the ‘event horizon’ of a ‘social singularity.’ There is no going back.

What will the end results be for our societies, our cultures and for our world? No one knows, with any certainty.

…but everyone is about to find out.

Warren “Bones” Bonesteel

Author and Researcher

Sgt USMC 1976-1983

References Provided by Warren

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/taleb04/taleb_index.html

A black swan is an outlier, an event that lies beyond the realm of normal expectations. Most people expect all swans to be white because that’s what their experience tells them; a black swan is by definition a surprise. Nevertheless, people tend to concoct explanations for them after the fact, which makes them appear more predictable, and less random, than they are. Our minds are designed to retain, for efficient storage, past information that fits into a compressed narrative. This distortion, called the hindsight bias, prevents us from adequately learning from the past.

=====

http://tinyurl.com/cj5efs

http://www.washingtonpost.com

How a Villager Became the Queen of All Media

By Jose Antonio Vargas

Washington Post Staff Writer

Monday, April 20, 2009

=====

Susan Boyle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lp0IWv8QZY

=====

A slightly right of center pov:

Glenn Reynolds’, “An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths.”

http://armyofdavids.com/

=====

A left of center pov:

Paul Hawken’s, “Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming.”

http://www.paulhawken.com/paulhawken_frameset.html

=====

A ‘moderate’ pov:

Clay Shirky’s, “Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations.” and his speech, “Gin, Television and Social Surplus.”

http://tinyurl.com/4oqfvc

http://www.shirky.com/herecomeseverybody/2008/04/looking-for-the-mouse.html

=====

“Social Singularity.”

An article by yours, truly. A “Just the facts, ma’am,” pov:

http://www.atlanticfreepress.com/content/view/2579/81/

(Published in the Netherlands, then Thailand and around the world, and was once linked by Instapundit.)

=====

Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s, “The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable.”

http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/

=====

http://jamesvdelong.com/index.html

http://tinyurl.com/cvrgfo

http://www.american.com/

“The Coming of the Fourth American Republic.”

By James V. DeLong

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

=====

http://tinyurl.com/c7grm9

http://www.rasmussenreports.com

“51% View Tea Parties Favorably, Political Class Strongly Disagrees.”

Monday, April 20, 2009

=====

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/going-galt-got-going-last-summer/

“Going Galt Got Going Last Summer.”

April 23, 2009

– by Tom Blumer

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Comments

  1. Another good column, Bones.
    I’m a black swan and a black sheep (without being a “sheep”, of course). I have “gone Galt”.

  2. Its two A.M. here in AZ, I will comment on this after I wake up sometime Saturday . . . 🙂

    • It’s still Saturday here in AZ. At least for the next 25 minutes.

      I agree with Bones completely.

      However, I look at this as an opportunity to re-shape (since BF has trouble with “re-form”) the make-up of our governmental workforce – House, Senate, Presidency and the Supreme Court.

      Those who have read my blogs before know what I mean.

  3. Warren Bonesteel says:

    Thank you, Kent.

    What I’m good at is aggregating and absorbing a massive amount of data and research and sorting out what it all means and how it will – or might – impact the future. In ten years, I’ve only been wrong on two ‘macro’ events. Four years ago, I though the Democrat Party would collapse first, followed by the Republican Party. That trend has obviously reversed itself. The second big event I called the wrong way was the plunge on the DOW. Three years ago, I expected an “L” shaped depression beginning late in the spring of 2008 or just a bit earlier. Instead, we got a longer one to two year trend as a “W” shaped depression. I didn’t anticipate the government’s interference in the markets or its takeover of banks and industries. (In the short-term that slowed the progression of events, but with a greater cost to paid further down the line.) The next downturn should begin in a few days, mebbe a few weeks. We probably won’t see the worst of it begin until next spring…unless Israel bombs Iran or if China and Japan dump the dollar on the ForEx.

    The “Black Swan” article was a result of my research and the data for it showed up as part of a global and national trend. In the short-term, hindsight bias ala ‘Black Swan events’ will get a lot of people killed. This will be the fault of governments and of individuals and groups and ideologies.

    In the long-term, new technologies and a growing social awareness of the power and importance of the individual will eclipse our traditional lifestyles and will ultimately dismantle the traditional power and control paradigms. Ten years from now, a global renaissance will begin. I expect something resembling a global classical liberal or classical libertarian society to arise from the ashes.

    • What do you mean when you say classical liberal? classical libertarian?

      • Never mind-Found the def. on wiki-I do wonder how you think the traditional power and control paradigms are going to change other than being global, which is enough of a change already.

        • V. H.

          Let me offer one idea. Was having this discussion here at home of early morning coffee.

          Name one war in the modern history of man that started spontaneously as a result of the “general populations” deciding they needed to invade or otherwise attack someone. I mean the decision was spontaneously arrived at by the population without manipulation or interference by something called govt or leaders?

          Now imagine a world where the “general populations” can communicate without govt filters or manipulation.

          Let’s take Iran for example. If our govt and the media, who just repeats what the govt says, weren’t harping on Iran all the time, how many of us Americans would know whether it existed or what the hell they were doing. Would any of us care? Would they care if they weren’t being fed the constant din of hatred for the evil empire?

          I see a different kind of world once the people can communicate without the filters.

          I think the factor ignored in all of this is the extent to which those in power will go to make sure they don’t lose power. Can technology and other developments trully override this impediment? I am still not convinced myself.

          Hope weekend is good for you.
          JAC

          • Thanks JAC-So in general his supposition is that through advanced technology enabling a free flow of information both nationally and internationally, between “common men” would eventually strip the governments of their power. Do you believe this means we wouldn’t have government at all?

            • V.H.

              I see a continuation of govt but it could and should look very different.

              At least I hope it looks different.

              This will especially be true between now and complete conversion, if you will.

              I think it will take a very, very long time for humans to give up their tribal identities. Thus they will maintain some form of govt to help them maintain that identity.

              We could actually have an advantage in the new paradigm because of our cultural background, the melting pot if you will. That is the one reason I am concerned with our immigration situation right now. If we get to many to fast we may lose the ability to build a national identity among the new folks. A culture based on the individual rather than a nationality or ancestory. Then we could become as Balkanized as Europe.

              Political and philosophical differences could do the same, if we let the powers that be continue to build the divisions. But probably more over racial lines. That is one reason I think they keep bringing up race. It is not to insult us whities. It is to keep the black and hispanic thinking whitey hates them and is trying to “keep them down”.

              Sorry for the rambling thoughts in response to such a simple question. Things just started popping in my brain so figured I would share.

              Hope all is well with you V.H.
              JAC

          • A lot of information came out of Iran recently thru Twitter even though their government tried to stop it-of course it was hard to know what was true and what was propaganda but it certainly shows that new technology will effect our world. I suspect the government will try to get control of the new technology but I don’t think they can out pace the progress unless they are successful in nationalizing everything.

          • Exactly JAC.

            The division of labor made us prosperous.

            The division or democratization of communication will make us safer.

            The gatekeepers filter the messages to the elites benefit.

            When the people begin to bypass the gatekeepers, the world will shift its paradigms.

    • Bones,

      I think you’re very correct in your assessment of a few days, maybe weeks…

      http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c2f7e3d4-a9e9-11de-a3ce-00144feabdc0.html

      On Wall St: Sentiment remains fragile
      By Henny Sender

      Published: September 25 2009 16:45 | Last updated: September 25 2009 16:45

      Until the last day or two, Wall Street was producing lots of cheerful charts with the lines pointing happily skywards. The stock market is up, and the high yield debt market, where poorly rated companies raise money, is “on fire”, according to the analysts at Citigroup.

      The Federal Reserve, along with other central banks, seems to have successfully flooded the markets with cheap capital, buoying most asset markets in the process. “The Fed is the Great Enabler,” says one senior Treasury official.

      EDITOR’S CHOICE
      Wall St suffers biggest weekly loss since July – Sep-25Long View: Yield curves – Sep-25Whose life is it anyway? – Sep-25IMF defends securitisation markets – Sep-21“The recovery and asset reflation trade continues to work in tandem to push up asset prices across the world,” the economists at JPMorgan Securities in London noted on September 18. They wrote as the stock market continued to rebound and the gap between the yields on Treasury securities and corporate debt continued to narrow. Evidence of this improvement in the corporate debt markets can be illustrated by the reception recently given to a sale by Blockbuster.

      Two months ago, debt capital markets people at JPMorgan were doubtful the retail chain, which rents out DVDs, could raise any money at all from the debt market. Then, two weeks ago, they thought that maybe $340m was possible. When the deal came to market in recent days the offer size was increased to $675m. Every day it seems projections of default rates are being slashed thanks to such refinancings, which offer the hope that companies can survive until the economy gets better. Globally, companies issued $1,500bn worth of bonds, year to date.

      Meanwhile, government programs are single-handedly supporting other asset classes. Indeed, the government has become everyone’s favourite prime broker, financing buyers who would otherwise remain on the sidelines, in an effort to support asset prices.

      “Wherever the government is, there is a rally,” says the head of one private equity firm. “Wall Street is out of sync with the fundamentals but if you fight it, you die.”

      Still, the correction in equity markets at the end of this week shows just how fragile sentiment is beneath the easy money now sloshing around the globe. This is largely because investors perceive that the government is the only source of liquidity, and that liquidity has to be temporary.

      Sadly, the government isn’t just everyone’s favourite financier, it is virtually the only financier around. And there is a limit to how much the central bank and the government can, and should, do. Underneath the euphoria, is a certain ambivalence and even schizophrenia. The securitisation market, for example, was at the heart of the crisis. Complicated structured financing with super high – and undeserved – ratings fuelled the huge growth in credit, was largely responsible for asset bubbles and allowed banks to leverage up way beyond what was prudent and sustainable. It was the perfect example of bad money driving out good.

      “CDOs destroyed prudent lending in America,” says this private equity executive. “It was like a nuclear bomb to good lenders.”

      Now, the government is keeping the securitisation market alive – at least the secondary market. And the few new securitisations getting done are also getting done with government support. There were about $1,000bn in new issues in 2007 and this year the figure is likely to be less than 20 per cent of that. “Without government leverage, there is no securitisation,” says this Treasury official. That in turn suggests that any lift to asset prices may well prove temporary.

      At some point, given the constraints on the government and the moribund state of the securitisation market, the banks will need to pick up the baton to facilitate growth. But at the moment, banks are more likely to be a drag on growth.

      One chart that makes for particularly sober reading comes from JPMorgan’s Eye on the Markets dated September 23, which shows bank lending growth has collapsed to a fifty-year low. It makes sense on an individual basis for banks to rebuild their capital. But their (belated) search for more stability and safety comes with certain costs. Until the banks begin lending again, the sense of fragility is bound to increase.

  4. Ray Hawkins says:

    Interesting article selection given what was posted yesterday…..

    Point One – I would have expected to you to at least inform of the role of entities such as Americans for Prosperity (the front group for conservative billionaires David and Charles Koch) and FreedomWorks (fronted by fringe right winger Dick Armey with deep deep funding from the Scaife Family) in the so-called TEA Party movement – it was not as grass roots and organic as one would think.

    Point Two – I do not agree that any of the aforementioned are Black Swans. A Black Swan is something that exceeds the ’15 minutes of fame’ and has sustained impact on history. Susan Boyle does not qualify as she is too recent a phenomena, and if hsitory tells us anything, she will be forgotten about soon enough by the masses (or at least until Simon Cowell finds his next big thing to make money off of), TEA Parties have little history behind to show if they have demonstrable issue-impact or if they are merely flash in the pan lets-get-a-bunch-of-poeple-together-to-bitch-about-anything efforts, and “Going Galt” – again I would point to size, impact and durability – none of which this meets. State sovereignty – not a black swan either for the same reasons already mentioned. Understand I am not trying to piss on the movements – I have written before that ‘from the roots’ movements that truly and organically represent the will of the people are good things – even wherein I may disagree with something philosophically.

    My general criticism is that in connecting mysterious dots between Susan Boyle and TEA Parties and John Galt and State Sovereignty – the common thread being this social singularity – I am having a tremendously hard time allowing for credibility to this article. I also find it very odd that USW selected this article immediately following an article where he generally chastises the electorate for having the attention spans of a ferret high on crack. It is that phenomena that gives us a Susan Boyle – certainly one cannot credibly think that she will be packing venues like the LA Coliseum for the next 25 years. So to do I scratch my head regarding the TEA Party movement – imho ‘more ‘ must happen to substantiate a claim that this is a social singularity rather than a one or few times event that dies out when people realize they still have grass to mow and soccer games to take kids to.

    Just remember how much of a sage people thought Mark Penn was and how he ended. I’m not equating Bones with Penn – merely pointing out that social singularities are usually termed as such a posteriori.

    My two cents.

    Thanks

    Ray

    • I think USW putting this article next to yesterdays makes perfect since-Yesterdays article speaks to how our complacency has gotten us to this point with our government and this one shows hope that the electorate is waking up.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Waking up – yes (and in most cases as well funded under the covers as the Left – don’t be tricked or fooled)

        Susan Boyle – one big WTF

        Social Singularity – uh – not quite

        • I really don’t know who has financed what but if I go to a tea party as a citizen, as a voter and MY reason for going is not to further any political ideology but to try and get the government under control-to try and make them follow the Constitution and to listen to their constituents instead of their Huge Powerful Party in place of the people does it really matter IF some unknown party is financing the event.

          As far as whether or not this is a “social Singularity” or not-today is the first time I have ever heard the word-so I will listen and learn-but I do believe that the overall dissatisfaction that most of our citizens have for the government and the media outside of just party ideology means something unusual is a foot.

          • V,

            What I think Ray is refusing to acknowledge is the fact that a majority of Americans are dissatisfied with government. It seems that he feels the dissatisfaction is merely generated. I agree there are some powerful and wealthy groups helping to push that sentiment. However, a refusal to see that it is rooted in genuine dissatisfaction is a mistake the Republicans have already made and the Democrats are not far behind.

            USW

            • Ray Hawkins says:

              USW – I do acknowledge – where I stop is that do most people understand why? When people say they oppose Obamacare – do they know exactly what “Obamacare” supposedly is? Or, do they spew more verbal ejaculate (sorry – haven’t used the phrase in a while) they picked up on talk radio or blogs? Take it one step further – all the pinheads that say they support it – do they really know what they are supporting w/o mouthing off more sound bites?

              Recognize also – what are the roots of this dissatisfaction and have people really thought through this? Lower my taxes – sure! What I am willing to give up if anything? What are you really pissed about and more importantly – what are the remedies?

              • Ray,

                So you sit in the same camp… assuming that the ignorant masses simply aren’t smart enough to know what they are doing. Perhaps they don’t. But I would submit that you are missing the point. If they are this upset about something, it they are this willing to accept whatever a talking head on the left or right tells them, that speaks to an underlying mistrust of government that allows them to accept the worst things they hear as fact. If someone told me “Ray Hawkins killed and ate small children”, what I know of you would make me question the truth of that. If someone says the same of a politician, people seem to accept it as possible. That is because underneath it all they know that something is amiss with our representation’s moral compass.

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                USW – I simply ask that people make an effort to get it right – get pissed and get organized and get active – but make sure you know what the hell it is you’re really getting flamed about. Its way I went apeshit over the stupidity of the birthers. Look – POTUS, if all holds true, will give you more than enough reason to reasonably challenge him. Anything else (you listening Sean Hannity) is a distraction. I get infuriated when I hear a Republican Senator aggressively advocate opposing healthcare reform not because of differences in opinion in what or how things should be done – but simply because they want to see a POTUS from the other party fail. Sorry to be brute – by fight like a F’in man, not some shitbag who can be sold to the highest bidder and wound up like a toy that then helps drive the fear, uncertainty and doubt we all already have.

    • Yes, lord knows Ray, I certainly don’t ever allow for any opinions different than mine to be expressed on this site.

      As for your assessment of yesterday’s article, I don’t think you have fully processed it if the only opinion you came away with was I blame complacency for our current situation.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Don’t sell me short – I didn’t respond to anything from yesterday as I was traveling – and quite frankly – there was not a lot to logically respond to. Glenn Beck has good sound bites from time to time – yeah ok – I get it. So does the left – crazy people can still seem to make sense from time to time – the second I say “yeah I agree with what Beck said” I’ll have a JAC or Peter or someone else philosophize that I agree with all the assumptions that may have been made leading up to Beck’s words. I read yesterday as more foundation laying I guess – not much to fire away at – much the same as I never really countered the whole foundation setting months ago with all the Ayn Rand bullshit that was a very thinly veiled attempt to throw some left leaning frogs into the pot of slowly boiling water (but nice try!). 🙂

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Other opinions – hey – its all good! But Susan Boyle? C’mon – credibility falls off the table with something weak like that.

    • I believe Ray that you mistaken the essence of the Black Swan

      It is not Susan Boyle. It is what Susan Boyle represents.

      She did not come to global fame through the typical means and processes.

      The phenomena of reality TV offering undiscovered talent is changing movie, tv, and music industries.

      Susan became famous, not because she was on TV – but because she was on the Internet – her story went viral on the ‘net and it translated to a massive career that was as typically denied the likes of her.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Black Flag – must you argue with me for the sake of arguing? I suppose you do.

        What do we have that demonstrates Susan Boyle is enjoying “a massive career”? What the hell does that mean anyway?

        Simon Cowell and group will milk the poor Miss Boyle until that well runs dry – and if history is any lesson – that will occur upon the very next season of Britain’s Got Talent.

        She became famous because some relatively smart people used an existing media to help push their product. Remove “You Tube” and insert “My Space” and tell me if the same logic applies. Wherein if this was written 3-4 years ago then you’d stake the claim that My Space was the major transforming force in culture and information – whereas now it is a cesspool of pedophiles, soft porn, hackers, and struggling musicians. Sorry to burst your bubble – but Susan Boyle is likely not much more than the Tila Tequila of 2009-2010.

        • Only you could possibly make a good situation look bad.

          You weep because she will have no ‘fame’ next year…

          …while completely ignoring that she would never had any fame at all without the show nor the internet.

          You certainly live in a black cloud, sir.

          • Ray Hawkins says:

            Says he with the black hat…….

            “Only you could possibly make a good situation look bad.”

            – A catty but not unexpected response. You continue to fail to see that her ‘fame’ and ‘popularity’ is at the hands of some people that will make their money off her and then discard her when the next Susan Boyle comes along. I actually enjoy her singing – I enjoy most all in that genre incl Callas, Sutherland, Brightman, Bocelli, etc. She is the end product of business transaction that is more likely to lose luster than to have a durable career in Turin, Sydney, London or New York.

            “You weep because she will have no ‘fame’ next year… …while completely ignoring that she would never had any fame at all without the show nor the internet.”

            – I only weep that a talented person such as her will be discarded when she is no longer lining the pockets of people she neither knows or sees. We are all poorer because of it. She was already popular/famous in England due to the show that airs in England. Her popularity was merely pushed beyond those borders. That it didn’t originate here in the U.S. is of no consequence – people can be famous elsewhere w/o being famous here.

            “You certainly live in a black cloud, sir.”

            – says he with the black hat and black flag.

            • You continue to fail to see that her ‘fame’ and ‘popularity’ is at the hands of some people that will make their money off her and then discard her when the next Susan Boyle comes along.

              And without them, she would have never had a chance.

              So, for your moral idea of ‘good’ would be not for her at all to have a shot at fame, because others will also have benefited.

              Bizarre.

              She is the end product of business transaction that is more likely to lose luster than to have a durable career in Turin, Sydney, London or New York.

              At least there was some luster to lose.

              Your way, she didn’t have a chance – and for you – it seems- is better.

              I only weep that a talented person such as her will be discarded when she is no longer lining the pockets of people she neither knows or sees.

              The ONLY OTHER OPTION was for her to live without any fame at all.

              “You certainly live in a black cloud, sir.”

              – says he with the black hat and black flag.

              Exactly. I know where to put the black – and it certainly not seeing her fame as ‘bad’.

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                “And without them, she would have never had a chance.

                So, for your moral idea of ‘good’ would be not for her at all to have a shot at fame, because others will also have benefited.

                Bizarre.”

                – She never would have had a chance? A chance at what? Fame in UK? Fame in US? Fame internationally? I think your hat keeps falling over your eyes – in her scenario she is likely to have far less control over her own career than through other means – the contestants sign their lives away regardless if they win or not. True – had she come up through other means, she would still be making other people money, but she would likely have far more freedom in her career otherwise.

                “At least there was some luster to lose.

                Your way, she didn’t have a chance – and for you – it seems- is better.”

                – Some luster to lose? Sure. I’m just trying to be a realist BF. Take a gander at the winners of that program (either UK or US version) and tell me how their careers have collectively ended up. Is there a chance that a major opera house signs her and she launches a fabulous career? Sure. But – the two opera singers that went before her have not enjoyed that career path, making it less likely but not impossible for her.

                “The ONLY OTHER OPTION was for her to live without any fame at all.”

                – Huh? I thought you were more logical than that. Even the farmer that won the most recent iteration of the US version of the show already had a succesful band and a loyal following – a measure of fame, albeit local to the area where he lives – it just doesn’t make for good TV if that side of the story is told. Its better if he is posed as a chicken catcher on a farm who is dirt poor and broke.

                “Exactly. I know where to put the black – and it certainly not seeing her fame as ‘bad’.”

                – Her fame is not ‘bad’ – I merely try and step back and ask why and what and realize she’ll be discarded soon enough – which sucks because she has a great voice.

            • Ray, I’m really not understanding your point-She has been given a huge opportunity to succeed by those people you are criticizing-whether those people make money or not-whether or not she is a continued success is up to her and the public. The people promoting her will continue to promote her if the public wants her because she will make them money, which means she will make money, lots of people will make money-How is it suppose to work.

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                V – merely trying to be realistic on the situation and to offer that Susan Boyle and how Susan Boyle became the famous Susan Boyle was not a valid example of the so-called Black Swan.

              • Do you and BF have the same definition of what a Black Swan is?

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                Hmmmm – probably not.

              • A Black Swan is a highly improbable event with three principal characteristics:
                it is unpredictable
                it carries a massive impact
                and after the fact, the vast majority of the people concoct an explanation that makes it appear less random and more predictable then it was.

                This latter characteristic makes preparing for and profiting from Black Swan events every more impossible.

              • Okay, I would say from the definition-calling Susan a black Swan is a stretch because she doesn’t fit the definition completely but her experience does follow the basic premise of a black swan, so I really have no problem with the author using her as an example.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Ray,

      You MAY be right… there may be no significant paradigm shift any time in the near future…

      OR

      You MAY be dead wrong, and we may be smack in the middle of a paradigm shift which is incredibly significant.

      If the second thing is actually what IS occurring, and you are unable to recognize it, then you might be a member of those ignorant masses that have no idea what is going on around them, yes?

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Peter – the narrowness of your response would lead me to question how you would choose to define what a paradigm shift is and what precisely you are referring to as the current paradigm shift or shifts? It still is not clear to me why any of the aforementioned would qualify as paradigm shifts, unless one holds a terribly loose definition of what that means. Define what you mean Peter – that way I’ll know not to bring a baseball bat to a hockey game.

        Thanks – look forward to your response.

  5. Patricia Donwen says:

    Excellent article, Warren! Keep up the good work.

  6. Happy Saturday!

    Hopefully, your weather is better than mine.

    Good article Bones, provides much food for thought. I would like to add my idea of a “Black Swan”. It’s the MSM and Obama’s overuse of the term “crisis”. First it’s the banking crisis, so let’s spend a trillion and bail them out (argghh), then it’s the economic crisis, so lets spend another trillion on a stimulus and omnibus bill, now, for some reason, the MSM has declared the Healthcare debate as a “crisis”. Let’s not forget the global warming crisis.

    I would say that the real “crisis” is the fact that Obama and the Obamanots can’t seem to tell the damn truth! We have a “truth crisis” The black swan sighting is minor, this is more like running into Sasquatch.

    G!

    • Forgot to check the little box again!

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      G!

      It is possible that Obama and his crew realize that there REALLY IS a crisis, and the REAL crisis is a lack of faith in government by the people. In one very real way, loss of faith in government by the people really IS a crisis, especially for those in power.

      The attempt to paint ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING ELSE as a crisis is Obama’s attempt to put focus on all of the problems that IT REQUIRES GOVERNMENT TO SOLVE. If the government proves capable of solving these terrible problems, he figures that faith in government will be restored.

      However, enough people have lost faith in the government, that they do not even want the government to ATTEMPT to solve the problems, and that creates a HUGE problem for not only Obama, but the rest of the Statists as well.

      If the people are no longer willing to look to the government to “solve all of our problems”, the government will suffer a legitimacy crisis (which will be a real crisis) and the outcome of that could either be absolutely horrible, or very good.

      Most likely, it is going to be absolutely horrible followed by really good, or absolutely horrible followed by unimaginably horrible.

      It is that last option we must work to prevent.

  7. Greatergoodcs says:

    Susan Boyle … talented and nuts.

    Some tea baggers (especially those who couldn’t bother to make sure of the spelling on their protest signs and thus destroy any credibility they had–especially when demanding proper English (spelled Englsh)) weren’t far off the crazy mark either.

    Harrison Bergeron (written by a very liberal Kurt Vonnegut) one-ups John Galt in my hero department (regarding bad government/the terror of government), yet I don’t see how we permit free markets to continue to ruin the economy. I know, I know, you guys think the market isn’t free enough. I think it’s way too deregulated.

    We’re both (you and I) in the significant minority and probably because of what USW calls mindless majority (of the masses). I sure can’t argue with that (most of the our population is too busy playing with toys to notice they can’t read anymore).

    Tough one to call. I do understand the fear of gov’t (because ours has been so corrupted), but I don’t think deregulation is the way to go. I’m not positive how to fix it but I know this (capitalism) no longer works (for the greater good).

    Okay, fire away … but read Harrison Bergeron. I promise you’ll enjoy it (and remember it comes from a dreaded liberal).

    • GG:

      You need to look much deeper for the understanding.

      Deregulation in itself is not an answer. First you must remove the Power to regulate. It is the Power that is the corrupting factor. If we were to simply start cutting back regulations, without fixing the underlying problems, we just get what we already have. The tribe in the majority gets to use the Power to their advantage. Those not in power, including those who don’t pay attention, lose.

      The current system places an dishonest broker in the middle of every dealing between two people. Remove the broker, eliminate the need and ability to corrupt. Let the two people figure it out on their own.

      Free market capitalism is not your enemy GG. It is simply the only moral system for free men and women. Because it eliminates the corrupt middleman who has the power to control the deal. It requires that we are free to choose and deal with whom we want in the way we want.

      Of course if you don’t support freedom of the invividual as a core value then there is no need to consider free market capitalism at any depth. Just continue on the path you are on.

      • JAC,

        Your point can be easily proven by looking at the healthcare issue. The insurance industry IS regulated by each State, but yet it is broken. Without these regulations, the free market of supply and demand being an interstate business instead of an intrastate business would have deemed all this Federal reform donkeydookie a moot point. It’s a crisis all right, a truth crisis!

        G!

        • But lets not forget the distortion that the Federal creates by controlling almost 50% of the total market (medicare, medicaid, VA, and Indian Health programs). Of course Medicaid and Medicare are the two biggest distortionists in the group.

          The other key point is that STATE regulations themselves do not foster free markets within the state boundaries. I submit that many states could improve the situation by just doing that one thing alone.

          Hope you had a good week G.
          Here’s to a fine weekend to boot.
          JAC

      • Greatergoodcs says:

        Freedom of the individual is too ambiguous a concept. I don’t believe humans left on their own can be trusted (if that helps); the stronger and/or smarter will always win out. That might work for social darwinists, but this aint the jungle. I don’t buy into it because not all of us get to start with the same advantages/disadvantages. There’s no way you can argue (for instance) a child born into poverty has the same chance as a kid born on Park Avenue. Which one is more free? Why?

        • GG, Your saying that you do not trust in yourself to make important decisions?

          • Greatergoodcs says:

            Yes, Gman. If you left me alone with half a dozen cannoli and told me not to touch them, I’m not sure I’d leave them be.

            Likewise, if there were two plots of land along a lake and four of me, I’m afraid the stronger of me would take the two and leave the other two holding their shvances.

            I’m being honest. I don’t trust human nature, no way.

            • GG:

              I think you are being honest because what you describe is completely consistent with your philosophical principles.

              Committing violence upon innocent is perfectly good by your philosophy, as long as the ends are in alignment with your goals.

              You have done a wonderful job of showing us all why the philosophy of Altruism can only result in the slaughter of millions.

        • GG:

          Please explain your statement: “Freedom of the individual is too ambiguous a concept.”

        • Some would say that the Fifth Avenue child has a handicap while the one in poverty has all the incentive he needs to succeed. Would you trade your life for that of Paris Hilton? Rags to riches in 3 generations and back to rags again in the next 3. We all come into this life naked with nothing. What we do with our lives is up to us, not our parents not our teachers, not our government. No teacher can make a child learn, they present the information. Some package it better than others. However, it is up to the child and the child alone to do the learning. That learning can end at kindergarten or last a lifetime.

          Just like a bad teacher in school can stifle a child’s learning process, an overregulated, paternalistic, top down government structure can stifle the individual’s incentives to succeed in life. The welfare system in this country has done just that.

          • Greatergoodcs says:

            “We all come into this life naked with nothing.”

            Sorry, but that image just doesn’t hold water. We may come in naked but what happens next (and why it happens) is a direct consequence of how wealthy or poor we are. Incentive is a wonderful thing and I’m all for it, but to suggest we all have the same fair shot at achieving is not being honest.

            • So what is your solution, elevate the poor at the expense of the rich? Look at the Kennedy cousins. Some have succeeded on their own, some have traded on the family name, others have abjectly failed. For the latter, I would suggest that family wealth and position was a burden. Now look at the many athletes and movie stars (I choose them because they are visible to the public) that started in lower echelons and moved up by hard work. I think this class of people far out numbers those that inhereted wealth and went on to succeed despite it.

              When I was born, my dad was a hired hand on a farm. This was a subsistance life style that depended at times on the rabbit population and on growing and canning lots of vegitables. I was the second person in my extended family with a college degree and the first with a Ph.D. Outside of a scholarship that waived tuition (which was minimal back then) at a state school and teaching and research assistantships (which required work on my part), all of it was paid out of my own pocket. This took effort and sacrifice on my part. It meant the postponement of many worldy things.

              There was a picture that cirulated around recently showing Michelle O. serving food in a soup kitchen. It showed a young man taking her picture with a Blackberry. We make choices in life that determine what our life will become. This young man chose to buy an expensive phone rather than to purchase food.

              So I choose not to envy or resent those have but to take care of my own future. Life is what we make of it.

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                Ah, but T-Ray – sometimes we make assumptions based on limited to no facts don’t we? Sorta like those mind-bending pictures where, depending on perspective two people may see two different things but never what the other sees.

                Here is a link to the picture you reference: http://www.indenvertimes.com/michelle-obamas-soup-kitchen-duty-for-the-homeless/

                1. Why would you assume it is his phone?

                2. Why would you assume he does not purchase food?

                3. Why would you assume that, if the phone were his, it is his only conduit to information and communication that many of the rest of us take for granted?

              • Yes it is possible he was a tourist using a borrowed phone. It is also possible that all the air molecules in my office will end up in the far corner of my office leaving me temporarily in a vacuum. I choose to believe the most likely scenerio, that it is his phone and that he is there to receive free food because he cannot aford food. If he is not hungry, then step out of line and let the hungry through.

                When I was in college, the HP35 calculator was introduced. I certainly could have used it to crunch numbers for my research. However, I chose to eat rather spend hundreds of dollars for such a tool. Again it is choices. So assuming this young man is possibly homeless and certainly hungry, he has chosen one of the most expensive toys he can buy. Not only is it an expensive phone but it comes with continuing monthly expenses.

                To this day I do not have satellite or cable TV. I would like to have it now since digital TV is iffy in my area. But I put paying for my wife’s medical expenses first. I do have a cell phone, but only because I need to be accessible at all times should the medical need arise. If it wasn’t for that, the cell phone would go.

                P.S. My phone is not a Blackberry. Choices.

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                So skepticism periodically escapes you – that is certainly your right. A picture is not only worth 1000 words but at least more than one perspective – denying that and denying the inherent likelihood only shows ignorance, not insight.

              • Ray, I chose that image as an example of choices that we make. It is really immaterial whether what the exact conditions were when the photo was snapped. The issue is people born into wealth have more opportunity than the poor. We all get to define success for ourselves. We all get to set our own goals. We all make choices in life to accomplish those goals. If someone decides to have a Blackberry and flat screen TVs in every room but forego purchasing food, I have no symapthy. If one chooses material things or instantaneous pleasure over planning a future through hard work and education, again I have no symapathy. Their goal in life is failure. Why should I pay for it.
                I have tried to give examples in my life that illustrate the point. We are what we make of ourselves.
                So now I sign off to watch a football game on my only analog TV and hope the signal holds.

        • “The smarter and strong always win out”

          Typical contradiction in your understanding.

          Government does not change that. All that happens is those that are inclined to do violence seize government and overcome the weak anyway.

          No matter what system you desire – the stupid and the weak cannot prevail – for if that was the case, society and humanity would collapse.

          • Greatergoodcs says:

            “No matter what system you desire – the stupid and the weak cannot prevail – for if that was the case, society and humanity would collapse.”

            So why not kill them off and have done with it?

            Oy-vey …

            • (So why not kill them off and have done with it?)

              We’re getting there, quicker than anyone thinks. Not by choice, but by force.

              This land will always be free, as long as it is the home of the brave! (somebody said this, can’t remember who)

              G!

              • Greatergoodcs says:

                My God, do you really think that Americans are more brave than other peoples? Tell me you don’t really believe that.

                Nationalism isn’t all its cranked up to be. Think about it. We’re no different than any other people; no more brave or weak or strong. You’re kidding yourself if you think otherwise.

                Then again, it’s that theory that got us in over our heads in … let’s see: Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.

            • Because it is evil to kill another innocent human being.

              I understand that is not obvious to you.

              • Greatergoodcs says:

                just an innocent human being?

                How do you define innocent, sage of the free?

                How can killing not be evil?

                You’re tripping over your own feet again …

              • Innocent: those that are doing no harm to another human being.

                Killing not evil: When done in defense to those that are willing to kill or steal from others.

                GG, you’d lose a debate to a sack of bricks. They don’t contradict themselves but it is all you can do.

              • Greatergoodcs says:

                Only in your warped mind, BF. And as you qualify as a sack of bricks, you prove your theory wrong.

        • Your entire statement is laden with Value assumptions which you do not share.

          So what VALUES are you using to determine who starts ahead, who gets ahead, and most importantly, what it is that makes it ahead vs behind?

          • Greatergoodcs says:

            Your entire statement is laden with ambiguities.

            YOU need to define what YOU want from me much more specifically than YOU have been.

            • One thing..

              A lack of contradictions and reason.

              But, that is impossible for you.

              • Greatergoodcs says:

                Ever notice how you and maybe one other person in this room (which is laden with conservative philosophy) agree on your absurdity?

                The fact we don’t agree is proof your theory of a government free society would fail. But you keep on trucking, brother … eventually even you will believe what you espouse.

              • As you refuse to acknowledge reason – no proof can be made to such an irrational man as yourself.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      GGcs,

      There is no need to “fire away”.

      You see, you believe what you believe not only in your mind, but on a “gut level” as well. As such, any argument counter to your position, no matter how reasoned, is futile. Not because your position is correct (far from it) but because, within yourself, you have made your position unassailable.

      So, why would I attempt to “fire away” at a position, no matter how incorrect I believe it to be, if you have turned that position into your own “impregnable fortress”? To fire away at it would be a waste of good ammunition.

      You have taken a postition and determined to defend it with all of your strength regardless of whether that position is right, wrong, or indifferent, which makes you immune to logic and reason.

      You might claim the same of me, or BF, or JAC… However, even we realize that SOME of the points you make have a certain amount of validity although we feel that from those points you have reached the wrong conclusion.

      You claim that certain concepts are “above BF’s head”, which is a pathetic attempt to demean him. The concepts you espouse are ones that BF is INTIMATELY familliar with. He has examined the postion which you hold so dearly, applied logic and reason to it, worked out the logical consequences of following the path which you follow, and rejected it as a path littered with constant contradiction.

      I find it highly amusing that you claim it to be “over his head” when I suspect that he has spent far more time examining the very position that you hold than you have yourself.

      So, don’t expect me to “fire away”. I can recognize an extremely well-defended position which holds no strategic value and recognize that to attack that position would be a complete waste of my resources.

      • Greatergoodcs says:

        “You see, you believe what you believe not only in your mind, but on a “gut level” as well. As such, any argument counter to your position, no matter how reasoned, is futile. Not because your position is correct (far from it) but because, within yourself, you have made your position unassailable.”

        Interesting thesis, Peter … and you should pay a tax for borrowing it from me since it’s what I’ve been accusing BF (and I guess you) of all along. You start with an unassailable (I’ll add absurd) position (total freedom) and instead of defending it (because you can’t), you attack other positions.

        I think Bones nailed the two of you guys with this stuff (and it was fun to watch), but Bones has far more patience than I to deal with BF and/or your nonsense.

  8. Susan Boyle = Not the point.

    Technology allowing millions to share information without govt filter = The point.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      JAC – uh, nice try

      You’re asserting there is no ‘government filter’? Why or why not?

      What counts as a “hit”? (hint: there is a whole lot of ‘it depends’)

      Would there be motivation to artificially inflate numbers?

      There are filters everywhere JAC – just many are not so apparent.

      Ask yourself why the Green Revolution was not mentioned by Warren and Susan Boyle was?

      • Are you claiming that our Govt is controlling the information we currently get over the internet or via cell phone?

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          JAC – I asked you sir……curious on your response

          • No govt filters in the USA.

            why? Because I have not found information to the contrary.

            What do counters have to do with govt filtering information?

            I am guessing the “supposed” green movement wasn’t mentioned because it has been a slowly growing and evolving development. It does not represent the type of event the author is discussing. But then perhaps you should ask the authore not me.

      • Ray, what’s your own definition of the “green evolution”?

  9. Black flag

  10. Is this what we have to look forward to? Don’t get insurance, go to jail. And on top of it all, it’s going to be handled by the IRS. Nothing like getting reemd.

    Under the health care bill being considered in the Senate Finance Committee, Americans who fail to pay a penalty for not buying insurance could be charged up to $25,000 by the Internal Revenue Service or face up to a year in jail, according to congressional analysts.

    That’s just one of the concerns Republicans say the Democratic-run Congress is ignoring in the rush to pass legislation to overhaul the nation’s health care system.

    “The American people expect us to get this right and to do it in an open, honest and bipartisan debate. That’s what they deserve,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., in his party’s radio and Internet address Saturday. “But that’s not what they’re getting from the Democrats on Capitol Hill.”

    The Senate Finance Committee is the last of five committees to take up health care legislation, which tops President Obama’s domestic agenda.

    The committee chairman, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., negotiated with top Republicans for weeks before talks broke down. Baucus’ bill leaves out a primary demand of many Democrats — a government insurance option — and it has a lower price tag than other Democratic proposals.

    But the legislation includes an individual mandate penalty that could go as high as $1,900. Thomas Barthold, chief of staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation, told senators that the IRS could take legal action against those who fail to pay the mandate penalty.

    In a handwritten note to Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., Barthold said violators could be charged with a misdemeanor and could face up to a year in jail or a $25,000 penalty.

    Isakson and other Republicans say the Baucus bill is too costly and would require too much government intrusion into the health care system. Only one Republican, Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, appears to be considering supporting it.

    At its core, the bill is designed to expand health insurance coverage to millions of people who lack it, employing a new system of federal subsidies for lower-income individuals and families and establishing an insurance exchange in which coverage would have federally guaranteed benefits.

    Insurance companies would be prohibited from refusing to sell insurance based on a person’s health history, and limits would be imposed on higher premiums based on age.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      Judy – not trying to hijack – but how are Ensign’s indiscretions playing out back there?

      • It’s not being mentioned that much anymore. People I think here are more concerned with this health care bill and with Reid. We are getting pretty fed up with him and his BS. His son Rory is thinking about running for governor in the next election. No way, no how. We’re doing all we can to get rid of Reid.

        BTW, how’s the baby doing? Haven’t heard much about that.

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          Judy – I guess I wonder where the line is drawn between saying our elected officials are human versus holding them to a higher standard. The whole John Edwards sorta tipped the cart for me – so anytime I see these stories like Ensign I just cringe. Anyway…..its to the people of Nevada to decide and not me.

          The baby is doing great – I was a single Dad for several days last week while the Mommy traveled. Now I am traveling for school (a residency in Atlanta of all places). I will say this – I have all the respect in the world for single parents, even after a few days as a single Dad I was exhausted – but delightfully so – I have always wanted to bear the burdens of being a parent.

          Thanks for asking Judy. 🙂

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      I sincerely hope that if this is enacted millions of people completely drop their insurance coverage completely AND REFUSE TO PAY ANY MANDATED PENALTY!

      Let’s see if our government is willing to send millions and millions of people to JAIL for failing to carry health insurance!

      I would just love to see 25 million or so people immediately drop all coverage if this thing passes. Sadly, for a lot of people like me, dropping all coverage would not be practical because I have a son who amasses tens of thousands of dollars per year in medical bills, but in principle I would love to drop my coverage if this BS goes through.

  11. Got this in my email box today.

    Dear Patients First Supporter,

    The most prominent issue in Washington today is, of course health care reform. During the August Congressional recess Americans all across the country rose up and expressed concern. We told Washington that we want real reform that puts patients first.

    With Congress now back in the ivory tower of Washington they have turned their backs on real Americans and are moving quickly to ram their idea of reform through Congress. Senator Baucus is presiding over a Senate proposal that could result in a Washington takeover of your health care. Dressed with most of the same toppings as previous bills that we roundly rejected during the August recess, the bill differs in form only.

    Senate leadership is trying to pass a bill out of committee as early as this week. Why are they in such a hurry? This bill represents one of the largest expansions in government in our lifetimes. The reason is simple – keep Americans from seeing the details of a proposal that puts one-sixth of our economy in the hands of Washington bureaucrats.

    We, the American people, deserve to see what changes are being proposed when it comes to our health care, especially if it will mean delayed or even denied care. Yet leaders in Congress are determined to circumvent established procedure to ram through a health care bill that imposes significant tax increases, regulations and government control over you and your health care.

    Yesterday the Senate Finance Committee voted down an amendment which would have required that actual legislative text and final Congressional Budget Office score (cost of the bill) to be posted for the American people to review before the Senate Finance Committee votes on final passage.

    On Tuesday during Committee markup, Senator Baucus told the Finance Committee staff to just read the HIGHLIGHTS of the bill being proposed when he realized consideration of all of them would take longer than his Friday deadline to vote his proposal out of committee. So forget about legislators reading the entire bill, Senator Baucus has determined that we don’t have time for committee STAFF to even read the bill!

    Of course, this leaves one wondering who IS reading the bill?

    But wait, that’s not all. After rushing Baucus’ proposal through committee, Senate leaders are still considering using reconciliation to pass a health care bill – a “nuclear option” that would change the rules to force the bill through with only 20 hours of debate, no amendments, and just 50 votes instead of the traditional 60 vote requirement to end debate and pass legislation.

    We have the right to know what’s in that bill. We all must act now to ensure that normal Americans are put first. True health care reform must put patients first if it is to succeed. We must all speak up now to tell Congress to slow down and show us the bill before voting on it.

    As developments occur in the health care debate, make sure to check out our blog at http://www.JoinPatientsFirst.com, and our Facebook page. A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll shows nearly 50% of Americans oppose a public health care plan administered by the federal government. Let’s make sure they realize there are consequences if they ignore the rules and ram through legislation that puts health care decisions in the hands of Washington bureaucrats.

    Sincerely,

    Patients First Team

  12. GG’s concept of mankind and whether man can or can’t get along if left to their choices, has me purplexed. In rebuttle, I present a group of men, left to their choices:

    G!

  13. Warren Bonesteel says:

    Someone seems to have slipped solipsism and sophistry into his words at the same time.

    So, let’s add a tablespoon of Tytler’s Cycle to the mix. This is a rather strong flavor and must be attenuated somewhat with the use of Kress’s 60 Year Super-cycles. For the current dish, this means that we must fully understand that we are already living under a tyrannical autocracy. A dictatorship in all but name. The Tytler Cycle in this dish must be stirred in slowly over a low heat and allowed to simmer.

    Add a pinch of Kondratyev Theory. Add a dash of Schlesinger’s “The Cycles of American History.” Toss in a evenly measured cup of Miller, Joubert and Butler’s, “The Rise and Fall of Civilizations.” For flavoring, we’ll add the entire text of Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” speech.

    For side dishes, we’ll have John Adams’ letter to H. Niles, 13 February, 1818; Thomas Jefferson’s letter to Roger O. Weightman, June 24, 1826.

    As a foundation for the presentation of the meal, and to set the mood, we’ll have Ray Kurzweil’s “The Law of Accelerating Returns.” Served in a chilled glass, it has a light and sparkling flavor, which is perfect for this meal.

    Remembering, as we partake of these wonderful fishes: “The Question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”

    “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”
    Thomas Paine
    The Crisis: PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 12, 1777

  14. Hey ya’ll,

    If any of you have been looking to buy a little bit of silver (coins), this website sells in smaller quantities. A roll of Morgan Silver dollars (20 ea) is $440, but you can buy as few as 5 ea……They sell gold, and other coins too.

    http://www.amgoldtrust.com/12.html?sm=34581&psid=4C5eC0n5q-yK5akjE0-2

  15. Ray,

    It never fails that each time I go to the grocery store, I see someone pull out their foodstamp card all the while flapping their gums on the newest fad phone that cost’s more money than they make a year. I also volunteer at the local mission to serve the poor and homeless food during the holiday season. This is a very common sight where free meals are given, unfortunately, the picture that you are discussing is very likely exactly as has been presented, someone who don’t need the free meal, taking avantage of the situation.

    We also have many churches that give groceries away each month. Sadly, I’ve overheard full time employees where I work discussing what time they are meeting to get their free food.

    These are sad times, and many people are just sad excuses for humans.

    G!

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      G – I have experienced the same thing – just a few weeks ago I was in the local Giant. I had a cart and saw a woman with her young son with arms full of groceries so I let them ahead of me in line. Most of the goods they paid for with their public assistance card. The child pulled out a cell phone and dialed someone that was not answering. My first reaction may be the same as yours. Or – maybe the phone was a donated phones – perhaps from the same program I have donated phones to in the past that can be provided to low income folks that cannot afford a land line. I’m just sayin’………

      On the realism note – there are plenty of shitbags out there that take advantage of the system. A few months ago at work we has a canned food drive. I washed in astonishment as people cherrypicked items right out of the bins – people where I work that make good money.

      • The GOOD morals of people seem to be getting lost somewhere. Something as simple as using a government aid card, then getting into a Cadillac Escalade, or, as in your case taking food destined for the poor, can sure piss off a GOOD person.

        I think that there are GOOD people by the droves, who for some reason have been gettin pitted against one another, for all the wrong reasons. Unlike what GG thinks, I still think that when all hell breaks loose, people will again come together, and simply survive.

        Maybe someday, we can all look back at this time in our lives and laugh at how some simple political differences can cause difficult times, and such devisiveness, amongst generally GOOD people.

        G!

      • Cellphones are free here and its the service contract the cost. Its not that way in America Ray?

        • Alan,

          For the most part we must pay for our cell phones. The higher priced ones can cost around $300. The service, IMHO, is far too expensive for something that is a nicety. When most of us grew up, the closest thing to a cell phone of today was only seen on Star Trek.

          G!

      • Double realism Ray. I worked the Christmas food hamper program for nearly 2 decades, Meals on Wheels and as a Kinsmen member for about the same. There were many requests for aid coming from people who had that big screen TV I couldn’t afford, a snow machine I couldn’t afford and managed to take advantage of our local travel agent’s discounted vacations I also could not afford. I’ve met a host “playing” the “poor me” system and they indeed sour the effort.

        In doing 16 or more hours a week of volunteer time locally and provincially since 1988, you get a balanced opinion having been directly exposed to the reality of what’s wrong with one person’s situation and another’s taking advantage of what “a situation” can provide. Charity too needs policing. Some of society’s victims are very much not.

  16. Ray

    She never would have had a chance? A chance at what? Fame in UK? Fame in US? Fame internationally?

    Yes, yes, yes and yes

    I think your hat keeps falling over your eyes – in her scenario she is likely to have far less control over her own career than through other means

    What other means??? She would not have a career to control!

    If there were other means, they would have been applied long before now

    Since they had not – this opportunity was considerable

    – the contestants sign their lives away regardless if they win or not.

    Or, the alternative – have nothing to sign and no possibility of a win.

    True – had she come up through other means, she would still be making other people money, but she would likely have far more freedom in her career otherwise.

    What other means???

    If they existed, they would have happened. They did not happen – they did not exist for her.

    – Some luster to lose? Sure. I’m just trying to be a realist BF. Take a gander at the winners of that program (either UK or US version) and tell me how their careers have collectively ended up.

    Vs. NO CAREER AT ALL

    I suggest that something is infinitely better than nothing.

    Is there a chance that a major opera house signs her and she launches a fabulous career? Sure. But – the two opera singers that went before her have not enjoyed that career path, making it less likely but not impossible for her.

    Vs. absolutely impossible if she had not take this path.

    – Huh? I thought you were more logical than that. Even the farmer that won the most recent iteration of the US version of the show already had a succesful band and a loyal following – a measure of fame, albeit local to the area where he lives – it just doesn’t make for good TV if that side of the story is told. Its better if he is posed as a chicken catcher on a farm who is dirt poor and broke.

    I thought you were discussing the artist career. Who gives a hoot about ‘how it plays’.

    He wanted a big audience. For you, you would deny that to him because you do not like how some other businessmen offered the deal.

    But you have no deal at all!

    – Her fame is not ‘bad’ – I merely try and step back and ask why and what and realize she’ll be discarded soon enough – which sucks because she has a great voice.

    If she is, she is.

    If she isn’t , she isn’t.

    But at least she is in a position where there is a chance

    And all you do is complain about those that made that chance for her happen. Without them, she’d be left with you, and you offer zero chance because you have nothing to offer.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      No proof, no proof, no proof and no proof. Never is permanence BF.

      You assume that since something had not been previously applied it will never be applied. And you call me the doomsayer?

      A win only in the context of the show and not other avenues of launching or enhancing their careers. Other means exist, that they have not occured or, more appropriately, intersected with her does not mean they never will as you suggest.

      Something is inherently better than nothing. That something may be tempered if she ends up worse the wear. She has already spent time in a mental hospital so her ‘net net’ may already be in deficit. Doesn’t mean she doesn’t try or stick with it to see where it goes.

      Maybe he wanted a big audience, maybe he just wanted a crack at some one time money and could give a hoot about a long term career. The record for that group of artists does not show the odds get more favorable for them. For every Daughtery there are a lot of Ruben Studdards and Bianca Ryans.

      • Ray

        Given that it did not occur prior to the shows, she took the opportunity when it was presented.

        Therefore Ray, she never had the chance except the one she took!

        The proof, Ray is reality. She had no opportunity, and these guys gave her one. No one else, including you, did that.

        Whether she ends up worse for wear is not your concern. It is her concern. She is making her own decisions for herself – and I trust she knows what she wants better than you know what she wants!

        And, you prove my point. You know Ruben and Bianca. You did not know them at all before.

  17. Ray Hawkins says:

    ….moved from above…..

    T-Ray Said:

    “Ray, I chose that image as an example of choices that we make. It is really immaterial whether what the exact conditions were when the photo was snapped. The issue is people born into wealth have more opportunity than the poor. We all get to define success for ourselves. We all get to set our own goals. We all make choices in life to accomplish those goals. If someone decides to have a Blackberry and flat screen TVs in every room but forego purchasing food, I have no symapthy. If one chooses material things or instantaneous pleasure over planning a future through hard work and education, again I have no symapathy. Their goal in life is failure. Why should I pay for it.
    I have tried to give examples in my life that illustrate the point. We are what we make of ourselves.
    So now I sign off to watch a football game on my only analog TV and hope the signal holds.”

    – I was merely pointing out that you should exercise caution when asserting what you think is fact. Your example is no more symbolic than me saying a picture of a priest touching a child is emblematic of sexual misconduct. Assumptions matter. Facts matter. I share no sympathy either for someone who intentionally makes poor choices to place ‘nice to haves’ over ‘have to haves’. I don’t agree that their goal in life is failure – that expresses conscious decision that I’m not sure exists. Enjoy the football game!

    • No one in life plans to fail but as the saying goes, “Fail to plan, plan to fail.”

      All three of my teams lost today, so no joy in Hangtown.

  18. I happen to be reading “The Black Swan”

    Taleb does a great job proving the free market capitalism is by far the best economic system possible.

    By showing that the economy is infinitely too complex for central management, he goes to show that as the economy is decentralized to individual free choice actually provides the optimum solutions.

    Further, he shows that since many businessmen make economic errors (primarily by ignoring black swan outliers) they actually are subsidizing society by losing money. They are giving people more value than asking in return – hence, losing money. He applauds the power of free market capitalism for (1)offering the potential for black swan outliers to maximize the profit and prosperity for society (Command economies by there design -Socialism, Facism, Statism, etc. put most of their effort in avoiding black swan outliers and thus, miss the single greatest prosperity opportunity)

    (2) allow massive, recurring, trial and error to solve infinitely complex economic problems (where Statism demands central planning which has NO ability to solve infinitely complex problems.

    (3) allow failure to profit society by allowing companies to undersell their product to the market, and push valuable resources away from those that do not use them well and towards those that use them better. (where Statists – and government, regardless of disaster is prevented from failing)

  19. Mathius

    Why do you believe that productive people would cease to be productive under communism? When you tilt the balance in favor of laziness (as in communism) or immorality (as in anarchy), people will behave that way.

    Absolutely incorrect.

    Communists are not lazy. That is a massive, erroneous, un-demonstrable claim.

    The reason communism destroys productivity is because communism destroys economic calculation Without the ability to calculate economically, the allocation of scarce resources to economical production is flawed. Too much will be sent to one place, too little to other places.

    As time goes by, the distortion magnify – and productivity stagnates – exasperating the calculations and allocations.

    An absence of government would make it easier to get away with being immoral. Since being immoral grants certain substantial benefits (easy money by stealing, etc), the thing that holds many in check (ie the threat of the government catching and punishing you) is taken away.

    Your claim is that government is necessary to prevent immoral people from acting.

    But government is made up of the very same immoral people who want to stop from acting.

    That makes government immoral.

    All government does is centralize and magnify all the defects and evil of human character.

  20. Warren Bonesteel says:

     While promising you liberty, if your society is only capable of delivering irresolvable dilemmas and catch-22’s, one after another, after another, your society has gone insane.

     In a democracy, if freedom is culturally obligatory but is also socially and politically forbidden, your social contracts have completely broken down.

    How do you have a positive impact upon such a society? Do you, personally and individually, initiate strategies and tactics to offer a positive impact upon the freedoms and liberties of individuals within such a society? …or… Do you ceaselessly whine and complain about your own society and political environment while doing absolutely nothing about it? Doing the latter invokes the cultural freedom to complain, but also invokes the excuses provided by societal and political restrictions on your freedoms which prevent you from actually doing anything. Is the man who embraces the latter conviction a free man…or is he merely a slave to his own appetites and fears? Such a man is a slave to anyone who comes long and promises him something for nothing. You complain about the slavery of others to our present societal and political environments, but are you not slaves, yourselves?

    Mouths’ a’move or mouths’ a’brawl?
    Twitter and bite, and byte of twit!
    With brevity and the soul of wit,
    And split of hair and whine so fine!
    Where might be a place to dine,
    With ‘few courageous men, so fit,
    Whose words by deeds are thus acquit?
    With such men, I stand ‘gainst all.

    • he merely a slave to his own appetites and fears? Such a man is a slave to anyone who comes long and promises him something for nothing

      Exactly, Bones.

      Such a man refuses to use his principles to guide his actions, and justifies his actions as “practical” and “pragmatic”.

      When psychopaths rally the people by promising milk and honey – justifying killing stealing from the people to provide it – the people find themselves being led by psychopaths!

      Then comes the day they are aghast by those they call ‘leaders’ – watching the destruction of the society, the vast murder of human beings and the massive theft of wealth. Yet, it is they, the People, who failed their principles.

  21. Ray Hawkins says:

    Black Flag – sent u private note for consideration. Thanks and goodnight to all.

  22. You know its bad when the French are tougher then the United States….what a change:

    Sarkozy: “We live in the real world, not the virtual world. And the real world expects us to take decisions.”

    “President Obama dreams of a world without weapons … but right in front of us two countries are doing the exact opposite.

    “Iran since 2005 has flouted five security council resolutions. North Korea has been defying council resolutions since 1993.

    “I support the extended hand of the Americans, but what good has proposals for dialogue brought the international community? More uranium enrichment and declarations by the leaders of Iran to wipe a UN member state off the map,” he continued, referring to Israel.

    The sharp-tongued French leader even implied that Mr Obama’s resolution 1887 had used up valuable diplomatic energy.

    “If we have courage to impose sanctions together it will lend viability to our commitment to reduce our own weapons and to making a world without nuke weapons,” he said.

    Mr Sarkozy has previously called the US president’s disarmament crusade “naive.”

    Ouch.

    This on top of The Telegraph calling him President Pantywaist last week in response to his roll back of the missile shield:

    Despite propaganda to the contrary, 58 per cent of Poles were in favour of the missile shield. But small nations must assess the political will of larger powers. Thanks to President Pantywaist’s supine policies, the former satellite states can see that they are fast returning to their former status. The American umbrella cannot be relied upon on a rainy day. They have been here before. Poles remember how a leftist US president sold them out to Russia at Tehran and Yalta. The former Czechoslovakia was betrayed twice: in 1938 and 1945.

    If the word is out that America is in retreat, it will soon find it has no friends. The satellites will pragmatically accept their restored subordination, without openly acknowledging it, and co-operate with their dangerous neighbour, ushering in a new generation of Finlandisation.

    At least some in the world are starting to dig their heads outta the ground on this President.

    Full remarks of French President Sarkozy:

    France fully supports your initiative to organize this meeting and the efforts you undertook with Russia to reduce nuclear arsenals. But let us speak frankly – we are here to guarantee peace.

    We are right to speak of the future, but before the future there is the present, and at present we have two nuclear crises.

    The people of the entire world are listening to what we’re saying, to our promises, our commitments and our speeches, but we live in a real world, not a virtual world.

    We say: reductions must be made. And President Obama has even said, “I dream of a world without [nuclear weapons].” Yet before our very eyes, two countries are currently doing the exact opposite. Since 2005, Iran has violated five Security Council resolutions. Since 2005, Secretary-General, the international community has called on Iran to engage in dialogue. An offer of dialogue was made in 2005, an offer of dialogue was made in 2006, an offer of dialogue was made in 2007, an offer of dialogue was made in 2008, and another one was made in 2009. President Obama, I support the Americans’ outstretched hand. But what did the international community gain from these offers of dialogue? Nothing. More enriched uranium, more centrifuges, and on top of that, a statement by Iranian leaders proposing to wipe a UN member State off the map.

    And now the AP is saying that secret nuclear facility is just one of a network of them…..

    The revelation suggests a network of facilities, including ones with centrifuges that would enrich uranium at much higher speed and efficiency than previously known sites

    ~~~
    George Perkovich, an Iran expert at Washington’s Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, suggested Iran must be building at least one other unreported facility, a uranium conversion plant to provide feedstuff for the newly disclosed enrichment plant. That’s because the Iranians’ known conversion plant, at Isfahan, is under IAEA oversight.

    “Why would you have a secret enrichment plant under a mountain if you don’t have a secret conversion plant?” he asked.

    Mark Fitzpatrick, a senior fellow for nonproliferation at the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, said there has been suspicion for some time — but no concrete evidence — that Iran had been working on a second uranium conversion facility to supplement the one at Isfahan, and he agreed that if Iran had an enrichment plant, it would also need a facility to produce the gasified uranium.

    Iran kept a nuclear facility secret, actually a network of them, and now because Obama says it’s time to stop talking the Iranians will suddenly come to their senses.

    Give me a break.

    Everyone knows Obama would never take the action needed to show Iran that we mean business. He will hem and haw, talk and talk, and at the end of the day Iran will have a nuke.They will use it if developed.Those in full knowledge of Irans’ intent with nuclear weapons in my opinion will be guilty of allowing it to happen.

    Look at it this way gentlemen.If Canada continually stated “We shall not rest until America is destroyed.All Americans are evil pigs and should be annihilated.”If Canadians continuously bombarded us with mortars and rockets and sent suicide bombers into our cities.Then Canada initiated a weapons program to develop nuclear arms would we stand by and let them do it?

    I fault Israel not in the least for what is about to happen.They will take out the Iranian threat not only to themselves but to we Americans and I for one will be very thankful to them for it.

    • Iran will allow UN to inspect nuclear site

      Salehi said there was nothing secret about the site and that Iran complied with U.N. rules that require it to inform the world body’s nuclear agency six months before a uranium enrichment facility becomes operational.

      “Under (NPT) rules, we are required to inform the IAEA of the existence of such a facility 180 days before introducing materials but we are announcing it more than a year earlier,” he said.

      but Israel refuses any inspections on their sites

      “Iran since 2005 has flouted five security council resolutions. North Korea has been defying council resolutions since 1993.”

      And Sarkozy of course ignores the 131 UN resolutions that Israel ignores
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_Nations_resolutions_concerning_Israel

      …. hypocrites in action.

    • TexChem

      Israeli attack on Iran will provoke Iran into a massive, asymmetrical response that will completely devastate the United States.

      The Persian Gulf (please note the name) will be closed – and will crush the already-weakened global economy. You thought it was bad now…..

      And, the risk to the Armies in Afghanistan and Iraq would be massive. The Israelis would accomplish the worse possible scenario – uniting Islam. It is probable that the US and NATO would lose their armies.

      The US military knows this. They will not allow Israel to -by proxy- destroy the USA.

      • Flag,

        A quick question. Isreal seems to be in between a rock and a hard place, would it not be possible that Isreal would not attack Iran in a conventional manner, but rather use a Nuke (if they actually have them).

        G!

      • Warren Bonesteel says:

        Google: The Sampson Option.

        Also, Israel has at least 200 nuclear weapons of various sizes and designed for a variety of tactical purposes. By some accounts, they have as many as 400 nuclear weapons.

        If Israel is forced to invoke anything resembling The Sampson Option, within a month’s time, around half of the Muslim population on earth will be dead of radiation poison, starvation and disease. A number of Majority Muslim Nations will lose their major cities along with huge swaths of their infrastructures. Admittedly, the survivors are gonna be pretty upset.

        Plus, there’s that whole nuclear winter scenario if they do invoke anything resembling The Sampson Option. All by themselves, Israel could create a global nuclear winter lasting three to five years.

        Love them or hate them, Israel is not a nation that anyone needs to back into a corner.

        • I worry about the 1300 Russian nukes – they will not stand by and allow an insane use of first-use nukes.

          They will pummel any nation that does – including the USA.

          MAD doctrine at work….

    • And let’s play your game of analogy.

      Mexico and Canada invaded and occupied the USA during a global war – even though the USA was neutral. Both nations seize your oil supplies for their use for the war.

      After the war, you elect your President. But the Russian KGB in partnership with the Chinese Secret Police overthrow him, so that the Chinese and Russians now can own and control the oil they stole during the war.

      After you overthrow their puppet, they convince Cuba to attack you, and fund Cuba with WMD’s to use against you. When you finally stand to win the war, both Russian and China threaten to invade directly unless you sign an armistice. The war killed 2 million Americans.

      Then Russian invades two neighboring nations under false pretense. You are surrounded by the most powerful nation on earth on two fronts. They sail three battle fleets at the ready to attack you.

      You want to use nuclear energy – for even though you are an oil exporter, you actually have very little energy production for your own use – you import your fuels.

      But Panama – who has run an illegal nuclear weapons program – has decided to deny you your sovereign right.

      …..

      Frankly, the moderation that Iran has offered to the United States, UK and Israel is amazing. If this situation was played anywhere on earth, I doubt that nation would have been so conciliatory as has been Iran.

      • Next question, What if Iran keeps with their desires to destroy Isreal and fires first?

        • Iran has no desire to destroy Israel, so the question is moot.

          • PFFFFT>>>>…..

            You are clearly mistaken here BF.Teheran had a holocaust research conferance in 2006.A purely systematic method that he is employing with the intention of destroying the moral basis for the existence of the state of Israel as a home for the Jewish people.

            In an interview to the al-Alam Iranian television network during the Islamic Convention in Saudi Arabia, Ahmadinejad declared that Israel’s existence was “the main obstacle faced by the Islamic nation.” Recently, in April 2006, the Iranian president defined Israel as “a rotten and dried-up tree which will be destroyed by one storm.”

            • Texas, is the best you can do simply a bunch of rhetoric about rotten trees?

              Do you really believe that when an AGW claims a skeptic is a “holocaust denier”, the Skeptic IS a holocaust denier????


              Iran’s ambassador to the UN nuclear watchdog Ali-Asghar Soltaniyeh has blamed Israel as the ‘main obstacle’ in the way of a nuclear-free Middle East.

              Soltaniyeh said on Thursday that Israel was hampering international moves by ‘not adhering to the NPT’ and not putting its nuclear installations ‘under the IAEA fully scoped safeguards’.

              “If the Israelis were not obstacles, we should have had a nuclear free zone for the last 30 years. Therefore this is the main obstacle.”

              That’s all I could find regarding obstacles and Israel in the top 25 hits.

              If you link something else, I’ll read it.

  23. Israel is not threatening to commit genocide nor wipe a nation off the face of the earth either BF.Why you defend Islam is beyond my ken.I know you are aware that Mohammad used Islam as a political tool of ruthless conquest.You are up to date with your history.It is not and NEVER has been since its inception into existence been the religion of peace.Have you ever researched Mohammads Ummahs?

    http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2009/09/iran-oks-iaeas-mohamed-mostafa-elbaradeis-offer-to-inspect-second-nuke-bomb-plant.html

    • Keep repeating that lie, TexChem and you will get your war.

      Iran has not made any threat to wipe out Israel – they demand regime change in Israel – the end of Zionism.

      Israel is committing genocide – its called Palestine – if you forgot.

      I defend people. Islam is not a problem until the West makes it a problem.

      We did it once in the past. Invade the peace of the Islamic people, kill a million of them and hold their country in hostage for 300 years.

      The result was Islam overrunning Spain and threatening France and conquered Europe up to Vienna. The West was lucky at Vienna…..

      You complain about Mohammad – but where is your complaint about the Christians? Empty ….

      I have studied – intensely – all the world’s major religions. You are, unfortunately, filled with those that wish to rationalize a great evil upon mere people for simply being people.

      I sincerely hope wiser men are at the helm of the military of the USA then when the Crusaders listened to the harping of Christian psychopaths and forced Islam to unsheathe its sword.

      • Warren Bonesteel says:

        Polemics and sophistry are useful in small doses, but only if you are actually seeking the truth as based in factual evidences and truths. Reality has a way of intruding upon one’s suppositions. You may or may not know something about religion, Black Flag – whomever you are – but you obviously know very little about history.

        The Ottoman Empire lasted until WWI, with bits and pieces of it continuing its existence until after WWII. During WWII, Nazi Germany allied with Muslims in a war against the Jews and Jewish allies in the Middle East. There were also Muslim SS units throughout Eurasia, mostly in the Middle East and Southwest Asia.

        Additionally, The Crusades in The Middle East were in direct opposition to Muslim military incursions into Europe. The extant Muslim empire moved into an economic and political position of power, primarily due to a number of rather severe natural disasters and pandemics in Europe (during the period prior to The Middle Eastern Crusades), which literally decimated the population of Europe. Once political and economic stability began to return, the Europeans fought back, pushed the Muslims out of Europe and eventually brought the fight to the Middle Eastern home of the Muslim empire.

        It is not such a one-sided or black and white discussion as you make it out to be.

        Now, if you wish to disparage early Christian religions for their crusades against innocent European peasants and ‘heathens,’ have at it. Disparaging them under false pretenses for merely defending their lives against an empire that openly wanted to control the world? Well, let’s stick to the historical evidence and not just cherry-pick our facts and make false statements about them, shall we?

        • Black Flag – whomever you are – but you obviously know very little about history.

          Good sir.

          It is poor manners to make rude assumptions.

          Muslim SS

          And, sir, I will remind you, there were Christian SS units throughout Russia.

          I also remind you the Nazi German was a Christian Nation.

          Genrikh Yagoda, who was Jewish, was charged with implemented Stalin’s collectivization orders and is responsible for the deaths of at least 10 million people. He is also responsible for establishing and managed the Gulag system.

          I certainly hope you hold a higher standard of understanding then being merely entangled in religious-based prejudice.

          Additionally, The Crusades in The Middle East were in direct opposition to Muslim military incursions into Europe.

          For one who claims such historical knowledge, I am amazed that you make such a simple error.

          “The Crusades originally had the goal of recapturing Jerusalem and the Holy Land from Muslim rule and were launched in response to a call from the Christian Byzantine Empire for help against the expansion of the Muslim Seljuk Turks into Anatolia.”

          Now, if it is your opinion to suggest the ancient Turkey was “European”, I can understand your statement.

          However, if it is not – and it is not, since it is part of Western Asia, I can only suggest you are confused in your reference.

          Further, quote “The result was an awakening of intense Christian piety and public interest in religious affairs, and was further strengthened by religious propaganda, which advocated Just War in order to retake the Holy Land from the Muslims.

          How things change, how things stay the same.

          The extant Muslim empire moved into an economic and political position of power, primarily due to a number of rather severe natural disasters and pandemics in Europe (during the period prior to The Middle Eastern Crusades), which literally decimated the population of Europe.

          I concur.

          The result of all this mess was the death of 1/3 to 1/2 of Europe.

          Amazingly, there are many who wish to make the same mistake again –

          It is not such a one-sided or black and white discussion as you make it out to be.

          I never suggested such – in fact, that is exactly my point.

          I suppose you missed my ‘hypocrite’ comment.

          As long as the West is blinded in one eye, acts one-handly, give one-sided in support and neck deep in hypocrisy, the consequence will be severe.

          Well, let’s stick to the historical evidence and not just cherry-pick our facts and make false statements about them, shall we?

          I will be watching to see if you hold yourself up to the same demand you make of others.

    • Islam is already united with the OIC.56 Islamic states strong BF.

      Demanding the end of Zionism is pointless since it began in 1882 with Jewish immigration to Palestine.127 years ago.The UN approved the formation of Israel in 1948.So a once ousted people from their homelands return to reclaim it.

      Islam does not accept any other religion than Islam.Period.Islam is a problem.It’s CORE idealogical intent is to convert or destroy other religions.Have you ever visited and Islamic Blogs BF to actually see what they think and feel about the west?I urge you to do so.

      Israel is not committing genocide.I am not aware of any ovens nor gas chambers nor military execution squads murdering Palestines.

      Iran was conquered or liberated from the Persians by the Mongols militarily starting in 1219. Iran then became a legitimate part of the Mongol homeland. Tamerlane, who was part Mongol, also ran the place. All in all, the Mongol liberation of Persia lasted for two and a half centuries, not much different from the length of the period of Arab rule of “Palestine,” after which Iran was lost to Turkic tribes. I guess that means he Turks also have a legitimate claim to a homeland there!

      Now if the fact that some Arab armies once conquered the Land of Israel is thought to confer upon them rights of sovereignty and even statehood, why should not the Mongol conquest of Iran do the same? Besides, Iran was once a Mongol state, as recent as 550 years ago, whereas the last time the Land of Israel was an Arab Palestinian state was, well, never.

      Not only should Mongol rule be restored to Iran as the only legitimate rulers of the place, but these days the Mongols make far better neighbors than the ayatollahs. The Mongols have no nuclear plans and have never met with the pagans from the Neturei Karta. The Mongols would surely put the Persian Gulf petroleum to better use than the Holocaust Deniers in Iran these days, like developing yak milk production capacities.

      So, I say, end the illegal occupation once and for all. Liberate Iran from the imperialist colonialist occupation of the Iranians! Restore it to its proper owners – the Mongols!

      😉

      • Since the area was all originally Egyptian, let’s call it even and return it to them, TexChem – that will solve the problem.

      • Warren Bonesteel says:

        I find it interesting that BF employs Augustinian sophism when attempting to ride what appears to be a favored hobby horse. If the Christians are so very evil and are so full of lies, why employ their methods of argumentation? It makes little sense, really. In a fashion, it still addresses the original topic, for today’s educational philosophy in America is primarily founded upon sophistry. As with Augustine’s exegsis and hermeneutics, the facts really do not matter. All that matters is winning the argument. i.e., forcing your views upon others primarily through the use of appeals to emotion. The use of sophistry is the use of the traditional power and control paradigm to attempt to exercise tyranny over others. The useage of Augustine’s sophism has permeated every aspect of modern global society – religious, secular, political, economic and scientific, from Marxist to self-described conservatives, most people use sophistry instead of the correct and traditional use of rhetoric, which employs reason, logic and facts.

        My earlier responses were with the idea that if he wants to attempt to hijack the discussion to disparage Israel and Christianity? Well, ok. I can go there. Happily enough, his chosen topic still fits within the framework of the original discussion.

        In short, BF is the pot calling the kettle black.

        Religious based prejudice, Black Flag? Are you not making an assumption? At best, I am a heretic. At worst, in the religious language, I am a simple unbeliever.

        Shall we discuss the facts or shall we use sophistry?

        As for Anatolia, can you say, ‘Constantinople’? Holy Roman Empire? It did not fall under Ottoman control until around the 14th century.

        Be aware that I have no love of religion.

        • Warren Bonesteel

          If the Christians are so very evil and are so full of lies, why employ their methods of argumentation? It makes little sense, really.

          But of course, I could be like you, purposely misinterpret my statements and attempt look scholarly

          Sadly, it makes you merely piteous.

          In short, BF is the pot calling the kettle black.

          No sir. I am calling your kettle black.

          Religious based prejudice, Black Flag? Are you not making an assumption? At best, I am a heretic. At worst, in the religious language, I am a simple unbeliever.

          Sir, I have not used religion as an excuse as you (and others have).
          In my response to religious dogmatic prejudices, have used religious knowledge.

          Those impressions are Islam as an religion is evil- to which I have demonstrated equal or worse atrocities in the name of Judaism or Christianity.

          When questions of political action such as the Palestinian issues and threats upon Iran with nukes – my answer has been political in response.

          When the rationalization of political action is embedded in a dogmatic religious prejudice, I have responded by providing a mirror of hypocrisy.

          It appears you got a vision of yourself in that mirror and did not like it.

          As for Anatolia, can you say, ‘Constantinople’? Holy Roman Empire? It did not fall under Ottoman control until around the 14th century.

          Sir, don’t be gauche.

          I stated that the consequential invasion of Muslims that ending at Vienna was a consequence of the Crusades.

          It was the European Crusaders that invaded Asian Muslims in a responses to an Asian Muslim invasion of an Asian empire.

          The wars of empires are nothing new. The difference this time was the religious propaganda that was used.

          You attempted to provide a geographical confused response by claiming that the Asian Muslims invaded Europe FIRST.

          I corrected your mistake.

          The conclusion of this incursion of Europe into Western Asia ended up with Muslims fighting at the walls of Vienna.

          Nothing to date you have provided contradicts this.

          I expect that should satisfy this discussion, not?

          Be aware that I have no love of religion

          God needs no religion – Gandhi

          • Warren Bonesteel says:

            How many logical fallacies an you fit into one diatribe? It is truly a thing of wonder!

            Your worst logical fallacy, sir, is that I am a religious man.

            A Tu Quoque Texas Sharpshooter, shooting at Strawmen,too! An interesting way of ‘raising the bar.’

            Please, sir. You are obviously an intelligent man. You can do much better than this.

            • I am guessing your first language is English – however, my doubts are increasing.

              I made no such such a claim of your religion, religious tendencies, nor any belief other than you said you “do not love religion.”

              I guess the quote from Gandhi was too sophisticated.

              Gandhi was saying if God doesn’t need religion, why should we (ie: humanity)

              Hope that helps.

          • BF Stated:”Those impressions are Islam as a religion is evil- to which I have demonstrated equal or worse atrocities in the name of Judaism or Christianity.”

            Yes but can you demonstrate equal or worse atrocities attributed to Judaism or Christianity as relates to modern history?

            I’m quite certain that if it came to that showdown you would run out of ammunition in (glance at second hand on my watch) 5 seconds.

            Christians aren’t strapping bombs to themselves and blowing themselves up in the name of God to kill infidels.They are not blowing up planes or taking hostages.They are not killing to push their political agenda and idealogy upon others.

            I’m not saying that there are not some whacked out versions of christianity nor that there are not evil people pretending to be christian.But, yet BF; they are not truly christians are they?They are mislead with misinterpretation of scripture.

            I am amazed at the amount of people that do not realize the contribution the people of Israel have made to world culture and society.A lot of you say like to say the Judea concepts of right/wrong are just natural law.Think on how this idealogy has benefited western civilization.Then think what Islam has to offer western civilization now in modern times.

            • Bush initiated the most recent middle-eastern wars- and the torture that was pursued- in the name of Christianity (without quite saying it so openly). You can say he did his evil act because he is “not really a Christian”. Yet, the Muslims who hate the stupid acts of the violent Muslims have said the same about them: that they are “not really Muslims”.

              Listening to Christians who I know (and who I KNOW really ARE Christians) advocating nothing short of genocide, I cringe and fear what comes from two violent, hate-filled religions clashing and making the rest of the world pay for their turf war.

              That doesn’t even begin to cover the abominations cheered in the name of “The War on (some) Drugs”, “illegal immigration”, “being tough on crime”, and dozens of other “Christian” causes.

              I wouldn’t give you 2 cents for either religion.

              • Genocide??? Shed a single tear for Iraq or Afghanistan then cry a river for all those places like Darfur. Try blaming Christianity in these instances and your ignorance is shown as complete.

              • For Dafur?

                So, let’s go through some Christian genocides.

                The biggie – Nazis. Germany was a Christian nation.

                Providing more would be just ‘piling on’, Alan, and that’s unsportsmanlike.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                Is the Dharfur genocide BASED UPON religion?

                Was the genocide by the Nazis BASED UPON religion?

                Was the Genocied by Stalin’s Russia BASED UPON religion?

          • Greatergoodcs says:

            BF, you’ve met your match (in obita dicta) … you’re called out and you revert to, well … what was it you called it … ad hominem.

            Go get’m bones.

  24. Further replies will need to wait until later.

    ..past bedtime…

    Good night, Bones.

    Excellent article today.

  25. “Free people can say “no”.

    Free people can refuse demands for their money, time, and children.

    Slaves cannot.

    There is no freedom without the freedom to say “no”.

    If someone demands that you do something and you can say “no” and refuse to do it, then you are a free human being.

    If you can be forced to do something or surrender something that you do not wish to, then you are a slave.

    No other test need be applied” — Michael Rivero

  26. “Switzerland joined Europe’s passport-free area in 2008 and ended all passport checks in March on flights to and from the 24 other countries participating in the agreement. Even before then, it rarely closely monitored the identities of travelers from neighboring European countries entering Switzerland.”

    This tidbit comes out of an unrelated article.

    It is a sign of the times – and a bad sign – where the two freest nations on earth – are being forced to provide passports for crossing their mutual border after 150 years without such a requirement – and Europe after 2,000 years of warfare are eliminating such requirements.

    America is becoming an imprisoned nation.

    • Greatergoodcs says:

      America is becoming an imprisoned nation.

      No ad hominem here (I truly believe this). You’re paranoid or nuts or both.

  27. This seems to be an appropriate pic for just about every blog !!

    http://ontarget.intermod.net/if-a-man-yells

  28. “Gentlemen, the time is coming when there will be two great classes, Socialists, and Anarchists. The Anarchists want the government to be nothing, and the Socialists want government to be everything. There can be no greater contrast. Well, the time will come when there will be only these two great parties, the Anarchists representing the laissez faire doctrine and the Socialists representing the extreme view on the other side, and when that time comes I am an Anarchist.”
    more William Graham Sumner quotes

    But I do not believe that time has come- YET
    I am in fact an optimist, PeterB, and have great faith in the American people.

  29. Frederick Douglass:

    ” Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will.”

  30. Bf, if you’re out there, I’m still waiting for that story you were going to tell me 3 weeks ago. Anytime you’re ready.

    Judy

  31. Civility towards one another seems to have gone astray. I always try and be civil to another person, even if they aren’t. How can we get civility back? Always to be polite to others, whether they’re polite to you or not. Always have a smile on your face. Open a door for some one.Offer to help a person if you see that they might need help, even if they turn you down. Hug somebody, even if it’s a total stranger. The list goes on and on. You pick.

    10 Thoughts on Incivility in America

    How long will America tolerate hate and rudeness in our public dialogue?

    Incivility takes on many forms. It can be found in the gestures of a stranger amidst the morning commute, in a stolen moment at a music awards ceremony or on the lips of a Congressman on Capitol Hill. Is it possible to heal the character of America? The following are 10 thoughts on incivility in America:

    1. Where there is no demand there will be a reduced supply.

    2. One breaks the cycle of rudeness when one focuses on others rather than one’s self.

    3. It is possible to make clear one’s position without seeking to destroy or defame another.

    4. With public notoriety there should come responsibility and accountability.

    5. Reclaim the art of listening and you will foster understanding.

    6. We should seek to win over our opponent and at the very least gain his respect for the dignity with which we speak our convictions.

    7. We should do what is right not because we seek self benefit but because we stand on high moral ground.

    8. Respect for others begins with self respect.

    9. “I’ve seen too much hate to want to hate, myself.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    10. In denouncing the rude and vile we join our collective voices to reclaim civility in America.

    Civility goes beyond public apologies after the damage is done. It must emanate, not from polls and focus groups but rather from character and honor. Good people will sincerely disagree and the issues that divide us by their very nature impassion us.

    The question is: How long will America tolerate hate and rudeness in our public dialogue? Perhaps the scriptures identify the need of the hour in the simplest of terms: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” (Matthew 7:12)

  32. Late to the party here, but wanted to thank and compliment Bones on another good article.

    It also appears you’ve run into our resident angry poster, Ray, and our resident arguer, BF. You seem to be doing just fine with both of them!

  33. Warren Bonesteel says:

    As for a few others who post here? Well, let’s say that I’ve dabbled in sophistry. Sometimes I am tempted into playing for a round or two. Generally speaking, I consider it to be a child’s game.

    If you study the underlying philosophy of sophistry, it is merely a constant and never-ending appeal to emotion which is thinly veiled with the external appearance of reason, intellect and maturity. It is argumentation for the sake of argumentation. Black Flag is very good at exercising the most negative aspects of sophistry, actually.

    Sophistry is also a part of the traditional paradigm that will soon be at an end. Future currency in society will be based upon credibility and trust, and sophists can never be trusted.

    • Certainly one can be boring, but I am most certainly not that.

      Typically those that claim that I use emotional arguments are those that have no arguments themselves.

      Thus, I charge Warren. He stepped into muck by making claims on fact which were -bluntly- wrong and hence, missed the mark.

      Certainly those that are steeped hypocrisy are best exposed by the mirror of hypocrisy. As I said before, I do not believe he liked that image he saw of himself.

      • BF Stated:”Thus, I charge Warren. He stepped into muck by making claims on fact which were -bluntly- wrong and hence, missed the mark.”

        Geographically he was wrong but politically and financially he was correct.The fact remains that European countries had a vested influence in Constantinople due to its location as a trade route and being a christian population, settled by Europeans over the course of its history.

        • Warren Bonesteel says:

          So…when did your ‘Asian-Arabs’ take over Anatolia? (Constantinople.) Was that, perhaps, during the 14th century?

          • I wonder when the First Crusades seized Jerusalem, slaughtering nearly the entire population of the defending Jews and Muslimes -men, women and children-
            … let me check my calender – Oh! Look! That was that in…1099!!

            (Also known as the 11th Century)

            • Warren Bonesteel says:

              I call ND, dir! That’s a red hereing and you know it!

              • Nonsense, sir!

                For I stated, originally, that the assaults of the Crusaders invasion of the Holy Land in 1097, culminating in the fall of Jerusalem and the hundreds of years of occupation until the fall of Ruad in 1302 would lead to the battle at Vienna in 1529 – the peak of the Muslim incursion into Europe.

                Or are you also, now, denying the slaughter?

    • Greatergoodcs says:

      Yes, Bones, BF is a master of saying much and nothing at the same time. He starts from an indefensible position (no gov’t at all; the idea that 300,000,000 individuals could co-exist because of “reason” that precludes forming social contracts/gov’t) and never answers a simple question: How do the 300,000,000 (or 300,000) … or 300 … or 3 individuals co-exist without rules/gov’t, etc. BF insists once you have rules, you have slavery (should one of the 3 or 300 or 300,000 or 300,000,000 not accept the other 2, etc. (god forbig there are 3, etc. different wants/desires/needs); slavery is evil and the universe will not accept the contradiction that permits 2, etc. (or all 3, etc.) of the people “agreeing” to co-exist and abiding by rules each of them individually may not like (because they would then be slaves and thus evil exists).

      Oh, and I forgot “savage”. God forbid one of them is violent and the other two have to restrain him, they are savages for doing so.

      Oy-vey … and I’m clueless?

      • No sir, you are unreasoned.

        My request was simple – adhere to reason.

        You refused.

        By definition, you are a savage.

        QED

      • Oh wow. Could you have mischaracterized BF’s position any more completely?

        Rules do not equal government.

        I need no government to get along with any of the people I encounter (be it 3, 300, or 300,000,000- although in my entire life I have never interacted with even 300 at one time, but that is a common statist misdirection which ignores reality), yet I do live by rules.

        Those who initiate force are subject to self defense (“restraint”). No one has ever said that their actions would have no consequences.

        I realize it is the only way to make statism seem “necessary”.

        • No worries, Kent.

          GG is immune to logic and reasoning.

          • Greatergoodcs says:

            GG thinks the two of you are immune to oxygen … maybe for a bit too long now (seriously).

            Who sets up the rules? You? Great, multiple that by 300,000,000 and have a festival … or tea bag party.

            Oy-vey … vey iz mir …

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              GG,

              Proving yourself to be immune to logic and reason by your own statements isn’t going to win you the argument.

        • Kent stated:”I need no government to get along with any of the people I encounter (be it 3, 300, or 300,000,000- although in my entire life I have never interacted with even 300 at one time, but that is a common statist misdirection which ignores reality), yet I do live by rules.”

          Perhaps you get along with those others you have encountered because they realize they must conform to governments laws and not act upon any desire to steal or otherwise harm you.Punishment is a fine deterrant.

          • Punishment as deterrent only works on those that seek to do violence.

            • We have over 2 million incarcerated criminals in the U.S. today BF.Noted not all were violent crimes.I don’t have those statistics but from my first career in criminal justice I know for a fact that 99.9 percent of those are exposed to violence while incarcerated in some form or another.Actually any form of violence you can think of plus many more you can’t imagine.

              I venture to say your chances of stumbling upon a violent human being at some point in your lifetime is inevitable so why make a statemnt leading others to believe that if you can just not seek to do violence yourself it would lessen your chance to encounter a violent person?

              Methinks that line of thought would only lead to a body becoming a statistic.

              • Because, as you said, if one does not initiate violence on other people, you will lower the amount of violence.

                If you add to it, it will increase.

                If you do not add to it, it will decrease.

                It is not a statement of helplessness.

          • By this logic, you seem to be saying that the only reason I don’t victimize others is fear of punishment, since I was including my own actions in my statement. That is not the case. I also don’t believe that it is the case for the behavior of others around me.

            I break a lot of government rules and laws (and so do you whether you admit it or not, since many “laws” are contradictory). So “fear of punishment doesn’t seem to work too well. Yet, I don’t attack others. Not because of government or its counterfeit “laws”, but because of my ethics.

            My experience proves to me that this is the major factor in how people relate to one another. I am not so different from others.

      • I will offer BF a defense here. One thing that I can say with certainty is that he has never, not once that I have seen, argued that society should or would work without rules. He only said that it could and should work without rulers. Big difference there. Not taking sides, just pointing out my own observation.

        USW

        • Greatergoodcs says:

          Okay, so I ask again, without government, who sets the rules?

          Don’t forget amongst the 300,000,000 there will be those who don’t believe in a higher power. How are rules defined without agreement between co-existing peoples? Why should they co-exist if they have different wants/needs? I’ve been asking this of BF for, oh,I don’t know, a few months now and I’m still waiting for an answer. What he usually responds with is a question.

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            GG,

            The rules are set by the people, generally of small, localized areas. I have no need for rules that come from Chicago, or LA, or Washington, or Seattle, or Atlanta or.. anywhere other than WHERE I AM.

            My area has nothing in common with those other areas other than a desire for free commerce and trade, and the rules for free commerce and trade can be worked out by agreements between various places wishing to have commerce with each other.

            If San Francisco were to declare itself a Communist Empire tomorrow, what the hell should I care, as long as I am not living there? As long as they do not try to make rules and FORCE ME TO FOLLOW THEM, it is of absolutely no consequece to me what rules they make there.

            You seem to be under the illusion that merely because all 304,000,000 people live in some place defined by random lines drawn on a map that they all not only DESIRE the same rules, but they all REQUIRE the same rules.

            I personally don’t give a crap what “rules” they have in Washington DC… I do not live there. When they claim that all of their rules MUST APPLY to all 304,000,000 people regardless of whether they live in Washington DC or Fargo, North Dakota, they have failed to apply any logic whatsoever to their dealings.

            There are VERY FEW laws in a place such as Washington DC that are even vaguely wanted or needed in Fargo, North Dakota. Fargo, North Dakota should still obviously desire free commerce with surrounding areas, states, and probably the entire country, and maybe the entire world.

            However, it is not necessary, and it doesn’t even make any sense whatsoever, that Fargo, North Dakota is REQUIRED to have precisely the same rules as LA, or DC, or Seattle.

            Also, you LOVE to claim a “lack of regulation”.

            To anyone who claims that there is insufficient regulation in this country, I suggest you sit down with the Code of Federal Regulations and give it a read.

            It should only take you about 300 years to actually read through the entire thing at a normal reading pace (and that is longer than this country has been around by the way)… if you are STILL convinced that we don’t have enough regulation in this country after reading the entire CFR, I am not sure what to tell you.

            The CFR doesn’t include any “regular” laws either… it is JUST REGULATIONS. So, if that isnt enough light reading for you, when you are done with the CFR, read all of the Federal, State, and Local laws that you are subject to.

            That should keep you busy.

            • Greatergoodcs says:

              Busy? You prove my point without having to read beyond your absurd (and contradictory) statement about living in a local area. Ha, what a joke! You assume all those in your area are going to put up with your vision of a free society? That would be amusing if you weren’t serious.

              As regards SF, DC, NY, etc., what happens with expansion; when some of those people with their own sets of values move next door to you? Are they joining your localized rules (which is a form of gov’t whether you want to acknowledge it or not)?

              Brother, you talk about contradictions … funny stuff.

          • The rules evolved as humans evolved. They can be expressed simply: Don’t attack others, and don’t steal (which is still just an attack). Anyone who is not mentally damaged (physically or emotionally) accepts this. Some people have been brainwashed (damaged) by a collective to think that people who are not in their “in-group” don’t count. But they do.

            • Greatergoodcs says:

              “Don’t attack others, and don’t steal (which is still just an attack). Anyone who is not mentally damaged (physically or emotionally) accepts this. Some people have been brainwashed (damaged) by a collective to think that people who are not in their “in-group” don’t count. But they do.”

              So that’s it? Those are the rules for 300,000,000 to live by. Good luck in your “free” society! Smart money says it won’t last more than a month.

              • Why? Do you wish to attack others? How long do you think you will survive as a predatory parasite (if that is what you are hinting at)? Remember that all “laws” against self-defense are wrong and would be gone.

  34. Very possibly, I’m off base here.

    I’m starting to see, in some, what I see in government, Smart, but, maybe not. I like the history and economic opinions, let’s let them be just that, opinions. I do not believe there are any experts, in any form, but well educated, knowledgable people who can share their knowledge with those who want to listen. I listen, whether I believe is still my choice, and I thank all of you who contribute!

    G!

  35. I love this guy!…

    Lt Colonel Allen West:

    About 62 years ago the world came together and established something that was very long overdue, the State of Israel. When one considers the travails of the Jewish people since the 7th century it should bring shame upon the face of the world. These persecutions began with their being forced out of the Saudi peninsula and the Levant by muhammad and his successors.

    The horrors of the inquisition in Spain among other wrongs brought upon the Jews in early Europe followed. When we failed to learn from that lesson, the world would witness the supreme horror in Europe of the Holocaust. Finally, we learned the lesson. We made a commitment and established a Jewish homeland, fully recognized.

    Now we face the resurrection of the original enemy of the Jewish people, a resurgent islamic fundamentalism evidencing itself in totalitarian, imperialist design. This time it has morphed itself using 21st century technologies still retaining a 7th century mentality, utilizing terrorism internationally to promote its perverse aims.

    One of those objectives is the destruction of the State the world agreed to support in creating, Israel.

    In keeping with previous traditions established by muhammad, the modern islamic warriors promote taquiyya, lying to promote islam. They also, just as muhammad, use the Treaty of Hudabiyya as a model to delay and deceive their enemies until they are ready to strike. Under Yasser Arafat some 200 agreements were never honored.

    Why would be trust any word coming from the mouth of the psychopathic delusional leader of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? The mad mullahs, insane imams, and combative clerics are again calling for the supremacy of islam, no different from earlier centuries.

    Israel faces groups such as Hamas which in its charter commits to the destruction of Israel. They face Iran who has committed to destroying the Jewish state and driving its people into the sea. When asked to depart from southern Lebanon, Israel complied, yet they now face Hezbollah in the north. In Egypt the muslim brotherhood is complicit in enabling Hamas to receive materiel support and funding through the series of tunnels.

    And there are those who demand more land be ceded by Israel and settlements halted? The end result will be a Country with the width comparable to the distance of New York’s JFK to LaGuardia airports. Each time Israel has given back terrain it has become a launching point for terrorist attacks.

    We are dealing with an enemy that has no regard, nor respect, for negotiations, compromises, and certainly not appeasement. Matter of fact it is deemed weakness and only encourages them moreso.

    I do not support any creation of a Palestinian state, to do so would be to create a terrorist state. There is already a state for the Arabic people residing in the region called Palestine, Jordan. If the Arabs can build an indoor ski slope in Dubai, they can resolve the issue of their Arab brothers and sisters. Instead, they use them as pawns in an international game of extortion and use the subsidies provided not for humanitarian gain but for more weapons, for jihad.

    I do not support any division of Jerusalem. If I recall from history and the Old Testament, David, Son of Israel built Jerusalem and his son Solomon made it great. The muslim claims to Jerusalem are based upon a very contentious story concocted by muhammad, and of course the latter conquering of the city even by Salahaddin. One flag will fly over Jerusalem, the Israeli flag, never any other, certainly not a UN flag.

    Lastly, we must move away from the antiquated world government organization called the United Nations. We recently saw what type “leaders” are allowed a stage before this body politic. It is time we create a new organization which is based upon Nations with like political structures, Republics and Democracies. I advocate Israel being part of this structure, perhaps an expanded NATO, but something with teeth, and principled member Nations. We face a dangerous committed enemy, we are all targets, not just Israel.

    And if we fail to believe that last sentence, ask those who lost loved ones on 9-11 in America, on 3-11 in Madrid, and in the London bombings. We just dodged a terrible blow here in America, again, while promoting “Islam on Capitol Hill”. Funny, the attendees blamed their fear of reprisals for not having more persons participate. This on the same day, 25 September 2009, that a Jordanian illegal immigrant was caught sitting in a “supposed” car bomb and dialing up the cell number to detonate in Dallas.

    Genesis Chapter 16, verses 11-12 states, “And the Angel of the Lord said to her (Hagar): Behold you are with child, And you shall bear a son, You shall call his name Ishmael, Because the Lord has heard your affliction. He shall be a wild man; His hand shall be against everyman, and every man’s hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”

    Ishamel of course became the beginning of the Arab people….and God’s word is immutable truth.

    In closing, there are battle lines clearly drawn, I know where I stand, and that is to support the State of Israel. The lessons of history have been learned by me and I offer one simple retort, “Not on my Watch”.
    Steadfast and Loyal
    LTC(R) A B West

    • Certain aspects of Ishmael’s character were described to his mother before he was born. It will be remembered that when Hagar found that she was pregnant she scorned her mistress, Sarai, for her barrenness.

      Sarai, in her turn, afflicted her maid until Hagar fled from her presence towards her own country of Egypt.

      Then, while resting in the wilderness of Shur, by a well of water, the angel of the Lord found her. She was alone and desperately unhappy but the Lord heard her affliction and sent His messenger to strengthen and inform her of what he intended to do for her child

      “I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. … Behold, thou (art) with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael (God shall hear); because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand (will be) against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all .his brethren” – (Genesis 16:10-12).

      In the strength of the Lord’s promise, Hagar returned to her mistress and gave birth to her son.

      “And Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bore, Ishmael” – (Genesis 16:15).

      “And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.But my covenant will I establish with Isaac” – (Genesis 17:20-21).

      “A wild man” does not mean in the sense of a wild beast but rather in the way a free animal runs wild.

      Quote:
      “In Ferrar Fenton’s translation it is “a free man” and James Moffatt makes it “a wild-ass of a man,” which is the literal translation.

      His very freedom and independence have put the Arab in the position of opposing those with a more settled way of life.”

      And at the death of Abraham, both his sons presided the funeral.

      “And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron” – (Genesis 25:8-9)

      ——

      Persecuting a people so to provide land to another will only create another persecuted people.

    • An honest view of history is refreshing in our current and dangerous political climate.

      My family and I recently went on a long delayed trip to D.C. and spent some time at the Holocaust museum.

      Chilling and sad.

  36. The cost of hypocrisy,

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/25/jose-alencar-brazil-vp-sa_n_300187.html

    Jose Alencar, Brazil VP, Says Country Should Build Nuclear Arms

    The unambiguous global lesson – without nuclear weapons, you will be subject to the whims of those that have nuclear weapons.

    The NPT has been perverted by the nuclear powers, subjects those that sign to threats of bombing, while those that do not sign are protected by the Great Powers and allowed to own clandestine nuclear weapons.

    • Warren Bonesteel says:

      Black Flag, the constant use of straw men and red herrings is a bit hypocritical on your part, is it not? It isn’t very creative and is often a sign of intellectual weakness of some form.

      ‘Black Flags’ and the use of aliases normally indicate that the employment of such reveals that someone has something to hide…

      Black flags are not only a symbol for anarchists, but are also a symbol of a need to be quarantined from the rest of the population. Semiotics is weird that way. Symbols often have multiple meabings, even within the same cultural background.

      Have you ever read Robert Kegan? Perhaps, Bruce Charlton is more your style?

      You really are beginning to bore me, here….as in you are displaying open signs that you are, in fact, nothing more than an immature boor.

      Tit for Tat with Forgiveness and Nice with Retaliation. Ad hom for ad hom…and I can be very creative. If you play nice, I’ll play nice, but you show no signs of being willing to play nice with anyone but your own Mr. Johnson.

      Sophistry cuts both ways, you see.

      • Sir,

        Is the best argument you have merely some diatribe regarding my Screen name???

        • Warren Bonesteel says:

          Oh, I’ve already proven my reasoning abilities, here, BF. As with many narcissists and other sociopaths, you’re too self-involved to understand that, however, so I chose to point out the obvious.

          Remember: If you’ll play nice, I’ll play nice, and thus far, you haven’t been playing nice with anyone at all.

          I have made one mistake wrt you, though. I mistook your very real cleverness for intelligence and education.

          • Now, you are merely insulting.

            I guess you are demonstrating the level your intelligence and education.

            • Warren Bonesteel says:

              Have you not insulted everyone who responded to you, w/o regard to their feelings or other considerations> The answer is , yes, you have. But you thought of it as no insult when you did so. Is that not a sign of a sociopathic personality? Have you not revelled here in your superiority over others, if only with a wink and a nod? Is that not the sign of a narcissist?

              Instead of admiting to your mistaken knowledge of history, have you not changed the subject, or claimed that you were referring to another period? Is that not the sign of a neotenous and perhaps even damaged psyche?

              Even now, you mistake the example, the metaphor, the allegory, for the point of the whole discussion. This is a sign of an undeveloped and underutilized intellect.

              Semiotics and linguistics reveal much about ourselves and about those around us.

              Your actions throughout this discussion have only proven my original point for me. The point I made in the article. You have been and remain the perfect example illustrating my point. A living, breathing example of what is wrong and of what is ill within our society and in our political discourse.

              ewfore you continue to examine others sop assiduously, Black Flag, you need to examine yourself with the same vigor. From your words here, it is obvious that you have never done so and will quite probably never do so.

  37. BF Stated:”I wonder when the First Crusades seized Jerusalem, slaughtering nearly the entire population of the defending Jews and Muslimes -men, women and children-
    … let me check my calender – Oh! Look! That was that in…1099!!
    (Also known as the 11th Century)”

    Wait a minute stop, WOAH! You seem to forget the very reason the crusades happened in the first place BF.You cannot state the second time the city was seized and hope to have a valid point.Like I said above Bones was correct.Jerusalem was first sacked by ISLAMIC Turks.Europe responded by sending the crusaders to protect Constantinople.

    The Byzantine Empire was in trouble.

    For decades the Turks, fierce nomadic warriors recently converted to Islam, had been conquering outer areas of the empire and subjecting these lands to their own rule. Recently, they’d captured the holy city of Jerusalem, and, before they understood how Christian pilgrims to the city could help their economy, they mistreated Christians and Arabs alike. Furthermore, they established their capital a mere 100 miles from Constantinople, the capital of Byzantium. If Byzantine civilization was to survive, the Turks must be stopped.

    Emperor Alexius Comnenus knew he did not have the means to stop these invaders on his own. Because Byzantium had been a center of Christian freedom and learning, he felt confident in asking the Pope for assistance. In 1095 AD he sent a letter to Pope Urban II, asking him to send armed forces to Eastern Rome to help drive out the Turks. The forces Alexius more than likely had in mind were mercenaries, paid professional soldiers whose skill and experience would be more efficient in defending Byzantine lands than that of peasant armies. The emperor did not realize that Urban had an altogether different agenda.

    • TexChem

      As already stated to Bones, the wars of empires are nothing new.

      We can play the movie called “History” backward all you want, and point to each other the exchange of territory and rise and falls of empires.

      However, what was unique was the proclamations of Religious Propaganda that accompanied the First Crusade.

      The Pope promised of indulgences. This, they take to mean the freedom to commit any sin they like. They lost no time in taking advantage of these indulgences.

      Along their advance, they slaughtered relentless.

      Jerusalem, it is estimated that 40,000 Jews and Muslims were slaughtered in two days. (Armstrong, Holy War: p. p179)

      It fermented a horrible consequence – a Holy War.

      [The Crusaders] brutality horrified the Muslim world. “Amongst the Moslems, who had been ready hitherto to accept the Franks as another factor in the tangled politics of the time, there was henceforward a clear determination that the Franks must be driven out,” writes British historian Steven Runciman.

      “When later, wiser Latins in the East sought to find some basis on which Christian and Moslem could work together, the memory of the massacre stood always in the way.”

      The lesson of history – brutality and persecution is not forgotten and carries forward into future generations.

      We, in the West, forgot that before. We will suffer again if we forget that again.

  38. In the endless argument between BF and Bones, I have noticed one thing: All of this is over which disgusting collective “started it”. I think both are depraved and culpable. The back-and-forth has only illustrated this beyond a shadow of a doubt. It is a “chicken and the egg” situation where each evil act can be found to be revenge for a previous evil act by the other evil side.

    Coercive collectives will inevitably lead to this sort of thing.

    • Exactly, Kent.

      “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God”

      • Greatergoodcs says:

        Bible quotes! Oy-vey … surely we can do better than that.

        “Take the alligator pears. Take all the alligator pears and keep’em, see if I care. You know how many alligators it takes to make an alligator pear? Wellk don’t let it happen again.” – Groucho Marx

    • Precisely. How far back in Islam’s or the Holy Roman Empire’s glorious history would you you go? After defeating the Bizantine Army, the armies of Islam captured Jerusalem in April of 637 A.D. (or CE if such is your preference).

  39. Warren Bonesteel

    Have you not insulted everyone who responded to you, w/o regard to their feelings or other considerations> The answer is , yes, you have.

    “Everyone?”

    I am not aware of the poll you’ve taken to give such an indubitable conclusion. It seems I didn’t get your questionnaire.

    I hope you don’t mind if I see your data and the supportable statistical analysis for such a claim.

    I have insulted some, this is true. And those that such insults have injured their feelings, I have apologized.

    But you thought of it as no insult when you did so. Is that not a sign of a sociopathic personality?

    I am not a psychologist. We can’t be study everything, can we?

    However, considering that your first response to me, personally, began with a unveiled insult, perhaps – again – you are looking in the mirror at your own personality?

    Have you not revelled here in your superiority over others, if only with a wink and a nod? Is that not the sign of a narcissist?

    Mirror, mirror on the wall ….

    Instead of admiting to your mistaken knowledge of history, have you not changed the subject, or claimed that you were referring to another period? Is that not the sign of a neotenous and perhaps even damaged psyche?

    Sir, I am not mistaken of history.

    You made a claim that the Crusades was a response to incursion into Europe by Muslims.

    Allow me to produce you in quote:The Crusades in The Middle East were in direct opposition to Muslim military incursions into Europe.

    By fact of history, your claim has been shown to be false.

    The Crusaders invaded the Holy Land in 1097. As you provided yourself, Constantinople fell in 1453.

    My argument was that the siege of Vienna in 1529 was a consequence of European involvement in Holy Land in 1097.

    Even now, you mistake the example, the metaphor, the allegory, for the point of the whole discussion. This is a sign of an undeveloped and underutilized intellect.

    Given your errors of history, I will also hold your ability to read ‘signs’ under a great deal of suspicion.

    Your actions throughout this discussion have only proven my original point for me. The point I made in the article. You have been and remain the perfect example illustrating my point. A living, breathing example of what is wrong and of what is ill within our society and in our political discourse.

    Though I appreciate your article, your diatribe directed to me that followed was, though humorous and entertaining, was also anemic.

    Hope you’ll do better in the future, sir.

  40. BF feel free to pile away. You state that Germany’s war was based upon the Christian religion and I’d like to hear the theological ties to Hitler’s self mandate. Feel free to add more too but I’m only going to be going back anywhere from a few days ago to a decade. I don’t feel like beating the Beilstein for taking up shelf space.

    • Being a Christians in a Christian Nation certainly didn’t stop him – and, in fact, supported him.

      Perhaps one needs to look over and above religions to recognize that men bent on destruction will use whatever tools they need to mangle the minds of the People to support them in their quest – whether it is religion, patriotism, nationalism, etc.

  41. This is what happens when you have an inexperienced pantywaist administration bent upon apologizing and eating crow to every nation in the world.Oh Obama is also giving 400,000 taxpayer dollars to Gaddafi charities?Blow American airplanes up and America will give you lots of money!

    http://cbs2chicago.com/local/kirk.gadhafi.charities.2.1205623.html

    September 28, 2009

    Gaddafi proposes ‘Nato of the South’ at South America-Africa summitHannah Strange in Caracas

    Colonel Gaddafi proposed an African-Latin American defence alliance yesterday at an intercontinental summit hosted by Venezuela.

    At the South America-Africa summit on Isla Margarita in Venezuela, the Libyan leader joined the host, President Chávez, in calling for an “anti-imperialist” front across Africa and Latin America.

    President Mugabe of Zimbabwe and President Zuma of South Africa were among almost 30 leaders from across the two continents present as Mr Chávez sought to promote his socialist policies abroad, urging a new world order that would confront Western dominance.

    “The world’s powers want to continue to hold on to their power,” said Mr Gaddafi, who had a white limousine flown to Venezuela to meet him at the airport. He then met Mr Chávez in his trademark Beduin tent by a hotel pool. “Now we have to fight to build our own power,” he said.

    The leaders were to agree a range of joint projects in areas including energy, mining and agriculture, with Mr Gaddafi, in particular, expected to sign several accords with Mr Chávez.

    Venezuela also stoked the controversy over the Iranian nuclear programme with the revelation that it was working with Tehran to exploit its uranium deposits.

    Rodolfo Sanz, the Mining Minister, said that Iran was helping Venezuela to detect resources, raising international suspicions at a time when voices in Israel and the United States are accusing Caracas of helping its ally to evade sanctions on its nuclear programme.

    • As long as the US provocation of “preemptive strike” doctrine continues resulting in wars upon non-threatening nations, this will push the rest of the world into the “Enemy of my enemy is my friend” doctrine.

      • Ummm… I just thought Obama was offering the hand of friendship/cooperation/acknowledgement to these despots?I see what that has led to.Seems to have emboldened them quite a bit.

        • Tex,

          No one really trusts the USA anymore.

          One day a ‘friend’ – next day, you’re conquered.

  42. Fall of Jerusalem, in response to the sack of the Christians…

    It was the fall of 1187, and an emissary from the besieged city of Jerusalem had come to beg Saladin, the sultan of Egypt, for mercy.

    After barely four days of assaults, the Christian defenders saw that Saladin had them hopelessly outmatched. Waiting in his tent outside the city’s walls, the Muslim ruler knew both sides had a lot riding on the outcome of this battle.

    For the city’s defenders, the prospect of Saladin’s wrath loomed. The last time Jerusalem was sacked by an invading army–a Christian one–its narrow streets ran red with blood. For Saladin, his honor depended on capturing Jerusalem. All summer his armies had battled their way north through the Holy Land, sweeping through the Christian fiefs like an angry desert wind, with only one goal: recapturing the holy city that had been occupied by European invaders for 88 years.

    Now the sultan stood on the hills north of Jerusalem. But the Christian emissary trudging toward him had no prize to offer, only surrender. For days Saladin’s men had bombarded the city from the heights to the north, finally breaching St. Stephen’s Gate. The few defenders who remained knew that prolonging the fight would only worsen the consequences of defeat.

    And so a triumphant Saladin entered Jerusalem on Oct. 2, 1187. For the sultan’s army, it was a moment of both joy and sadness.

    The Christians had profaned some of Islam’s holiest sites. The al-Aqsa mosque had been used as a stable for horses. Pieces of the rock from which Mohammed was said to have ascended to heaven had been chipped away to sell in Constantinople.

    But the victorious Saladin forbade acts of vengeance.

    There were no more deaths, no violence.

    A token ransom was arranged for the thousands of residents.

    Saladin and his brother paid for hundreds of the poorest themselves and arranged guards for the caravans of refugees.

    Sound familiar? If not, don’t feel bad. Saladin doesn’t get much play in Western history books.

  43. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    I am not sure whether it is really the case or not, but it seems like BF’s whole argument actually hinges on the fact that Ishamael was actually born before Isaac, so Islam is really the older of the two religions, not Judaism.

    Of course, by the traditional view, Judaism as an established religion, has been around far longer than Islam, and God brought the Jews out of slavery in Egypt and delivered them to the promised land (Israel) shortly after the time of the death of Moses, so historically, the Jews have claim to Jerusalem dating back to the death of Moses or so roughly… do the Moslems have claim dating back farther than that?

    🙂

    • Ishamael did not found Islam. Mohammud did in the 7th century CE.

    • Peter

      Sure do!

      Melchizedek is an enigmatic figure twice mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, also known as the Old Testament. Melchizedek is mentioned as the King of Salem -he blessed Abram, and received tithes from him, Genesis 14:18-20

      Melchizedek was the patriarch of Abram (Abraham) and King of Salem – believed to be by many historians Jerusalem.

      • Oh, that means that both the Jews and Arabs have equal share of Jerusalem if it was the property of Abraham according to Jewish Inheritance law.

        http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/law/lwsch/journals/bciclr/23_2/01_FMS.htm

        And more,
        According to the Hebrew Bible, the Jebusites (Hebrew: יְבוּסִי, Modern Yəvusi Tiberian Yəḇûsî) were a Canaanite tribe who inhabited and built Jerusalem prior to its conquest by King David;

        Certain modern archaeologists now believe that the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites under Joshua simply didn’t happen, and that the Israelites actually originated as a subculture in Canaanite society;

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