Tuesday Night Open Mic for September 29, 2009

Open Mic 1Tuesday night and time again for open mic. I know that there are a couple of topics already lined up for this as there is the promised discussion between Charlie and myself and a thread that has been requested by Common Man that I also promised to put up. On top of that there are a few different topics out there in the news that I want to touch on so I have a full night planned here on what is supposed to be my “easy” night, lol. I have blockaded the puppy here with me so that he has no choice but to hang out with dad. And I will settle in to begin the discussion with Charlie (or at least to open it as my schedule ends tonight at 4:00 am and doesn’t bring me back to the site until around noon on Wednesday). Then we can get down to business. And once I get this all done I have some comments from yesterday’s post to go back and respond to! Oh the life of a blogger never ends. And to answer Charlie’s first question about wondering how I keep up on the site? I honestly couldn’t tell you. I am not sure that I do. I never feel like I have enough time to do all I want to do for the readers here.

Alrighty, we have some interesting stuff coming up over the next couple of days. I will open the discussion on Iran and Afghanistan in the coming days (in addition to answering somewhat below for Common Man). I also have the next health care article about 50% done. There are some good guest commentary pieces submitted by some of the regular readers here. Along with those I have several good pieces being worked on about Glenn Beck, Racism in the political spectrum, and an opening foray into the apparent desire of South American to increase their stature. The coming weeks will be fun! But on to open mic!

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Comments

  1. USWeapon Topic #1

    An opening to Charlie Stella

    Well, alllllllllll.. righty then. I find myself unsure of where you want to start this conversation Charlie. I am ready to answer your questions as best I can. But I don’t know what they are yet! I do know one of them so I will attempt to answer that and I will address what I have seen you talk about thus far. Then we can go from there.

    It seems the question that I see you most asking is basically this: “how will 304 million people get along without government to keep them in line?”

    I would answer this in a few ways. Let me first say that I am NOT an advocate for the elimination of all government. BF and I have gone back and forth on this issue many times. I simply don’t see a way to eliminate it altogether (I know you are chomping at the bit to get to me BF, but another day my friend). What I am an advocate for is a drastically smaller version of government than what we have. Maybe in the end it doesn’t even get called government. Who knows? But the reasons I believe that government is necessary are not because I feel that people cannot get along without it in the sense that you believe. Therefore for the purposes of this discussion, I will assume the very limited government I envision has no authority to make people get along, force equality, etc. Let’s just say my government idea has the ability to provide for the common defense, build infrastructure, and very little else. In terms of our conversation, my government has no authority or any purpose what-so-ever in the realm of problems we discuss. For all intensive purposes of this conversation, there is no government.

    I have seen the answer thrown out there that it will happen just as your home gets along without government or the way your neighborhood gets along without government. And you feel that while this works on the small scale, it won’t work nationally when 304 million people are involved. I understand that sentiment. I am not sure that I can agree however.

    First, I don’t think that 304 million people need to get along. And while I understand your choice of stating it that way, let’s agree up front that realistically we are talking about regions for the vast majority of interaction. People in Washington State don’t have to have government control their interaction with people in North Carolina. Hoo Ha you say? Well folks in Seattle get along just fine with folks in Victoria or Vancouver. Two different governments yet they find a way to communicate and coexist an hour apart without the coercive power of government to force that to happen. And that is how I imagine a world without the over-reaching federal government would work. Two groups of people separated by only a short stretch of land who worked out compromises and ways to make things happen so that they can benefit each other despite the fact that government on either side had no power to force the other side to comply. That is cooperation on a scale of millions instead of 100’s. So it is a relevant example I think.

    Second, I think that an important distinction here is that a lack of government does in no way equate to a lack of rules. Rules would still exist. They would be created and enforced by the people who have to follow them and the people who are affected by them instead of a group of wealthy elites that neither follow or are affected by them. We do this at the local level already. There are lots of local laws on the books that are not enforceable in the next town, let alone across the country. So each person operates within a set of rules, established by the folks locally who choose to remain in a group society, and are free to leave should the rules be something they cannot abide by. Because these rules are not set at a federal level, they can now move to the next town or neighborhood and still remain close enough to family. As things stand now, you have to leave the country, which means you are essentially trapped unless you are willing to abandon your relatives and friends.

    Third the question is sure to be “but what about conflict resolution or instances where those with no morals get out of line?” This is a valid concern. There is no easy answer. But I think the first thing to analyze is whether the majority of the people are moral. In this country I would say that about 80% are moral at a basic level. The other 20% would probably decrease quickly when they are not afforded the ability to act without repercussions. The old concept of everyone carrying a weapon makes no one a victim is what I mean here. Thus far the vast majority of crimes committed are done with protections in place for the guilty. Someone murders a person and the government ensures they won’t be lynched. When that safety net isn’t there, I bet the vast majority of folks would choose to rethink their wayward course. As for commerce and business, the contract is a powerful tool and can serve us well. Those that break it would be outed publicly and would find that others would refuse to do business with them any longer. They would fall victim to my social darwinism in a hurry.

    So there is a start to the conversation. I look forward to your thoughts and questions. As I said, I will be returning to the site around noon and from that point forward hope to be able to remain active throughout the day to debate this issue. So fire away.

    • Buon giorno (good morning)/pomeriggio (good afternoon), USW. We are ships passing in the early morning; I’m usually up around 3-4 in the morning to head to the gym (off this week because of the meet Saturday).

      1) I’ll start with your Victoria-Vancouver paradigm, but transfer it to Manhattan (because I’m more familiar with the area), although you did point out that Victoria-Vancouver have two separate governments (and I would argue that’s why they get along—it is organized at at least state levels).

      Although I now live in Jersey, in New York there are 5 boroughs (roughly 7 million people total) with one that has wanted to cede from the union, so to speak, forever (Staten Island—one of the two more conservative boroughs). Because of the demographics of an urban area, we have the very rich within blocks of the very poor and although for the most part we don’t have civil or class war, we do have our share of criminal issues (which, when times are particularly tough, like now, exacerbate and spread into other communities). Assuming a much smaller government could oversee the infrastructure needs of 7 million plus, (and assuming you don’t include gov’t regulation of banks/finance in your infrastructure model) there are issues that require enormous regulation and oversight starting with the banking industry that precludes poorer neighborhoods from necessary development (and while it wouldn’t be prudent for them in a business sense to lend money to people not able to pay it back, that doesn’t negate the problem). What happens when landowners (those owning tenements in slums) shut off electricity, don’t repair busted water pipes (this is common every winter in NY), etc. … what you have is a quick road to anarchy. At some point, in underdeveloped areas (that may be literally a few blocks from absurd wealth), people are going to require aid (and at that point, to stem the tide of chaos, the gov’t would have to become twice the size). I’m not saying that that is an answer to one complex problem (to increase gov’t) but without it (regulation for one), what happens is an eventual breakdown (way before the police/national guard are involved). These underdeveloped neighborhoods would have no chance to develop without banks being forced to lend money (or without gov’t grants, etc.); and you can’t ignore what is upwards of 10-30% of 7 million people without an eventual chaotic situation.

      Trust me, I am not a proponent of welfare (unless it is absolutely necessary) and I know there are abuses to the system (probably not as bad or costly as corporate welfare abuse) but there’s no skirting the issue of so many people being left essentially abandoned. Why I used the 300,000,000 figure is because prior to established state lines and government by proxy (troops), this country “developed” at the expense of its native inhabitants (which is no different than the Palestinian issue or any land seized by force). And of the new Americans back then (those from Europe), let’s face it, those with the gelt had a distinct advantage over those without it. And because of the consolidation of that wealth (1% today are more wealthy than 95% of our population), those at the lower end of the spectrum suffer the most (this is one of my issues with inheritance—why I don’t believe in it wholesale). In urban areas, the paradigm of a very limited government seems an impossibility without providing many of the necessities of life. People without work have how else to live? They can’t move next door without upsetting a suburban neighborhood (see those displaced by Katrina moved to Houston, etc.).

      2) Here is where my above response most applies (I think). Imagine what happens when the displaced (who can’t earn a living in urban areas) seek some neighboring refuge (which leads to another concern regarding lack of a strong central gov’t—limited resources, land, etc.). Also, ultimately local laws are subject to federal law. In an extreme case, it was local law theory that led to the Civil War (we can’t forget that states right back then insisted on slavery). What happens if a township and/or state is inhabited over time by the KKK or those in the witness protection program (which is my belief has probably already happened with all the deals this government makes to shortcut their workload)? Something has to regulate laws that are insane (i.e., in Minnesota there are pot sellers doing 10 years—for selling pot!). The Rockefeller drug laws were finally curtailed (somewhat) last year (not even by the federal government–which is scary). And we all know how pedophiles and rapists and murderers are sentenced in some states—3-4 years at best in some cases. Why not make it a national criminal code?

      I can’t address the leaving the country issue because I agree with it, I guess; that a strong central government is required and the price to pay is less than a weak government.

      I’m not sure I’ll be able to answer your response with any speed today, but I’ll try.

      • 3) I forgot Third … I have a problem with the definition of moral (which BF has promised to figure out for me). Aside from sociopaths (who can’t be classified) and assuming your 80% figure is accurate, there are issues that cannot be dealt with at a local level without the potential for discrimination, etc. Even those who are moral (however defined) may have different ideas regarding punishment. Everyone in an urban setting carrying a weapon would lead to war before we knew it (trust me on this) and while our criminal system is insanely skewered, that is part of the morality/value issue that cannot be mitigated by small government (taking a wild guess here, about half the population accepts the government protecting the guilty (alleged?) and about half wouldn’t mind lynching them. Commerce and business … the problem is all the power remains in the hands of the monied (and smaller government only insures the power remains there). I don’t think the social Darwin theory works except in theory; the powerful today are just too powerful to ever lose.

        • Reemmber, in some parts of the country, the monied class is not the factory owner, its the farmer or the rancher.

      • Charlie. what you are missing is hatthe premise of america is that if you DON’T like the local laws or customs in an area, you can then move somewhere where you do. There is a reason that so many are moving OUT of NYC and New Jersey. It’s called too much government. Those people are moving to areas that beeter reflect their needs and desires. If the laws of NYC were extended to the whole US, we’d defienetely have a problem. If the criminal code WHERE YOU LIVE isn’t what you want it to be, then work to change it, AT THAT LEVEL. DON’T try to apply tougher laws to everywhere, because it just doesn’t work. If you can’t get it changed to something you like, MOVE.

        • Red, my man … I moved to Jersey because it was more affordable (buying a house). It also happens to be the most corrupt state in the union–Jersey. Taxes in jersey are as high as anywhere in the country. I can only move where I can work, my man; you ignore that. Imagine the bulk of our minorities? They have less work opportunity than me.

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            Why is it that the bulk of minorities have less work opportunity than you?

            What makes your talents so unique that you are only employable in New York or New Jersey?

            I suspect that if you have talents to be employable in the New York/New Jersey region, you are also employable elsewhere, and are systematically choosing to discount your own choices in this matter.

            • Not at all, Red. I work on computers. Between outsourcing (thank you Bush-Obama) and a horrible economy, my industry (word processing) has completely dried up. It’s in its swan song. My wife is becoming an RN so one of us will be employable in 2 more years (she also works in my field). Our computer work is dead in this country and nowhere does it pay (what’s left) what it pays in NY (in fact, it’s up to 70% less in some states). That’s a big chunk of life right there.

              Minorities (or anyone) who hasn’t even those minimal skills (computers) is even worse off. With close to 10% unemployment, what do they do? Where do they go?

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              What, in your estimation, is the reason why minorities are unable to obtain the skills and education necessary to become employable?

              • Not just minorities. I use them as obvious examples. In urban areas there is no denying how much worse public education is than private. The NY school system is a shambles (and yes, much has to do with the union representing it) but mostly it has to do with incredibly poor standards across the board (most public schools in NY and I’m sure elsewhere, are nothing more than baby sitting services). They can’t hold back kids who can’t read nor do they want to.

                And there’s no doubt people need to help themselves (striving for better) but for every single minority that excels in public schools, there are hundreds who can’t read at grade levels.

                There’s a lot of reasons for the high percent failure of education in minority districts and I’m sure it involves the home as well as the system, but there’s no denying it’s there. Saying “they need to do what I did” isn’t a solution. It’s an answer, but not a solution.

              • It is sort of like you are reading from a twenty year old playbook here. I am born and bred NYC. I too live in Jersey because of the affordability issue but continue to work in NYC in the less than desirable neighborhoods because I am in RE management. Twenty years ago your points would be all true but, the population is up to eight and a half million (about WW 2 numbers). Crime is way, way down, education is better and it’s getting impossible to find a teaching job in NYC as opposed to having to import European teachers a dozen years ago (I helped house some of them).

                If we really want to to help those kids, we will expand the opportunities to include Vouchers. If you are against vouchers then, in my book, you really don’t care. Only by introducing competition into the system will you get the best result.

                What the unions are afraid of is that someone might actually wake up and realize that kids can be educated for less than is currently being paid out. Voucher programs routinely pay only 50 to 70 percent of what the Public system spends. Any large scale voucher program will lead to questions being asked that are embarrasing to say the least. In my own field, years ago, when developers started bringing in projects without government subsidy at 50 % of government cost, huge investigations were launched aimed at shutting down those developers. I know, I was working for one of them.

                When we talk about minorities let us also talk of the Asians: the Vietnamese, the Chinese, the Koreans and Thai’s in the NY system. these poor kids, children of new immigrants blow everybody out of the water, Why?

                The children of West Indian and African immigrants outperform their American black counterparts. An honest statistician could tell you why but no one wants to hear it. We have created a culture of dependency. Welfare reform in the 90’s started changing that but one of the first acts of this new Obama Administration was to do away with the reforms. The Rockefeller drug laws were, from my standpoint as a manager of inner city housing, a God send. For every BS crap story about some poor 18 year old who is doing life for accidentally getting involved as a mule or courier, I’ll personally throw you back fifty cases of drug scum who have been deakling for years, made thousands and ruined hundreds of lives. As my old friend Mike the cop used to say, those lamposts in the street can be used for something besides light. First you give them a fair trial, then you string them up.

              • Good post SK

              • new post to answer. too crammed. go to bottom

              • Why is the answer not the solution? Even as bad as the public education is; if you want to learn and succeed you can. Is the problem that some in society are so used to being spoon fed, they won’t apply themselves, if so what do we owe them?

              • go to bottom for response

          • On the contrary Charlie, many of our minorities have better opportunity for work than you. First, they have affirmative action, which you don’t have. But put that aside. My wife works in the pharmaceutical industry. As such, she is very limited in where we can live. Research Triangle Park here in Raleigh Durham is a mecca for that industry. So we live here. The uneducated and unskilled workers don’t have that obstacle in their way. Regular labor is available everywhere and is demanded everywhere… except the big cities. Because the cities are not nearly able to sustain their populations, the poor are the ones who get left out. If they left the city, their prospects would increase, not decrease.

            • Maybe to work at minimum wage jobs they have more opportunity and although I’ve been victimized by racism on the job (I refuse to call it reverse discrimination), when times were good, I was able to find another job quickly because of experience. But minorities earn below the national average by comparison. Again, though big cities being overpopulated is a reason why small gov’t in those settings wouldn’t work.

              • Do they earn less than the average or minimum wage because they are minorities or because they lack the education and experience of other workers? I realize I am asking for your opinion here. There is no proof either way. Minimum wage puts food on the table when nothing else is available. It isn’t there in the city. Better to move and take that than stay and have nothing.

      • Charlie,

        Allow me to first apologize for the delay. I had quite a day and ended up having to go in to work until about an hour ago. So I will continue this conversation finally! It isn’t like there is any giant hurry I suppose, but I hate that you answered and I wasn’t able to get to it until now. So for the first part, you said:

        Assuming a much smaller government could oversee the infrastructure needs of 7 million plus, (and assuming you don’t include gov’t regulation of banks/finance in your infrastructure model) there are issues that require enormous regulation and oversight starting with the banking industry that precludes poorer neighborhoods from necessary development (and while it wouldn’t be prudent for them in a business sense to lend money to people not able to pay it back, that doesn’t negate the problem).

        I can see your conundrum here. The financing industry won’t do anything to help those poor who need their community better. I understand the pain. This is where I believe that social darwinism becomes a real tough tactic to take, but a necessary one. We have found that when the “free lunch” is taken away from people, they work to better themselves. When it is given to them, they remain dependent and show significantly less self motivation. For example the Clinton Welfare reforms were tough on those who were struggling, but as a result we saw positive progress for single mothers, unemployment among minorities, and ultimately government funds that could be spent elsewhere. Too bad the current Congress voted to eliminate those reforms and undo all the progress.

        Those who want to improve are going to work to do so. Those who want a better life will work to leave their old one behind. I believe in the power of people when they are really against the wall. I do not believe banks should be lending money to those that cannot pay it back. Doing so puts the money of those who earned it at risk. Poor business model, to say the least. To put it bluntly, those areas are filled with people who either will move forward or will perish. If they move forward they become contributors to society. If they perish society will be stronger for eliminating the weaker links.

        What happens when landowners (those owning tenements in slums) shut off electricity, don’t repair busted water pipes (this is common every winter in NY), etc. … what you have is a quick road to anarchy.

        Well in a society of localized leadership, absent government, the likelihood is that those in the wealthy area would not allow the slumlord to participate in their society. Morals would be a bigger player, and they simply wouldn’t accept those who benefitted at the abuse of others. This means that the slumlord would probably be forced to live somewhere in the neighborhood where the properties are. Which puts him at severe risk should he neglect his tenants.

        More importantly, without the shield of government to protect said slumlord, he would have to answer directly to the tenants. With government, tenants who are freezing to death have very limited recourse. Without government, their recourse may be to burn his home, lynch him, or beat him. If he really is a slumlord, I don’t feel sorry for his dilemma. He wouldn’t have government to protect him. Knowing this he would probably treat his properties more like a business, where keeping the customer satisfied is key to success.

        On the flip side of this, the reality is that most of his miffed tenants wouldn’t resort to violence. They would simply strike out for better housing. In a free society, they are not as limited as they are under government control. The tenants would have far more power and far more rights. Slumlords exist because government protects them (after all the government wants money and they aren’t going to get it from the tenants). Furthermore the opportunities are unlimited when you remove government from the equation. Recall that in the old west, where government was not nearly as far reaching, negroes had their own businesses running liveries, saloons, hotels, and offering their labor. Imagine a poor community coming together to take care of each other by creating the businesses and services within the community themselves, without government forcing its antiquated standards, regulations, and rules. If Bob wants to sell tires for $5, and Joe wants to buy them for $5, then the transaction takes place. There is no government to take $2 of Bob’s profits or tell Bob that he has to hire Pete so that he has a culturally diverse workforce.

        At some point, in underdeveloped areas (that may be literally a few blocks from absurd wealth), people are going to require aid (and at that point, to stem the tide of chaos, the gov’t would have to become twice the size). I’m not saying that that is an answer to one complex problem (to increase gov’t) but without it (regulation for one), what happens is an eventual breakdown (way before the police/national guard are involved). These underdeveloped neighborhoods would have no chance to develop without banks being forced to lend money (or without gov’t grants, etc.); and you can’t ignore what is upwards of 10-30% of 7 million people without an eventual chaotic situation.

        When those 10-30% come to grips with the reality that the following is in place, things change dramatically:
        1. There is no government to give them aid. They will live or die on their own work and their own merit.
        2. They cannot attack the wealthy, who have the money to afford better weapons and private security.
        3. They are free to find moral and ethical ways to alleviate their suffering, from moving to starting a business to becoming security for the wealthy.

        Then those 10-30% will begin to change their station in life. Remember that in the early periods of this country, when our government was fledgling at best and unable to do much for anyone, the majority of people were not wealthy. They survived on their own. There was no aid. There was no stealing it because the neighbors didn’t have it either. But they were free to find a way. And they did.

        I know that there are those that feel that the black population that is poor in the inner cities would go mad during this period. It would be short lived, however. The reality is that the country has plenty of room for expansion away from the cities. And the minority populations would quickly realize that the race war they were hankering for is a bad idea when they are outnumbered 4 to 1 by rednecks who know how to use a weapon.

        Trust me, I am not a proponent of welfare (unless it is absolutely necessary) and I know there are abuses to the system (probably not as bad or costly as corporate welfare abuse) but there’s no skirting the issue of so many people being left essentially abandoned. Why I used the 300,000,000 figure is because prior to established state lines and government by proxy (troops), this country “developed” at the expense of its native inhabitants (which is no different than the Palestinian issue or any land seized by force). And of the new Americans back then (those from Europe), let’s face it, those with the gelt had a distinct advantage over those without it.

        But their advantage was only for short term. Because of the opportunities that freedom offered, many of those with wealth were not at the top of the food chain for long. A majority of the wealthy property owners at the time of the founders do not have wealth that continued down through the generations. On the flip side, many of those that started with nothing in this country built empires that continue to feed their descendants.

        And I agree that what was done to the native americans was horrendous. And all of it accomplished at the end of a government gun. The indians were not savages, and would have gladly shared the land with those that respected them. The widespread abuse at the hands of government was the direct cause of the “revolt and hostility” that the native americans were later known for.

        And because of the consolidation of that wealth (1% today are more wealthy than 95% of our population), those at the lower end of the spectrum suffer the most (this is one of my issues with inheritance—why I don’t believe in it wholesale).

        Fear not. Those who inherit wealth they did not earn fall into one of two categories. The first blows it all and each generation has a smaller inheritance until the final generation starts over or dies. The second continues to teach the principles of hard work and contribution to society, which means that the fortune grows, while the contribution to society grows as well. If seven straight generations of a family do good for society and grow their fortune while they do it, shouldn’t they have the right to determine where that money goes? Remember that MOST of the folks that amass fortunes do not will it to their children unconditionally, and some do not will it to them at all. I don’t remember the actual numbers but Bill Gates is willing something like a billion dollars to his children and giving the remainder of his hundreds of billions to charity. It is his money, and that is his choice. Those who start with nothing and make a fortune on hard work rarely want anyone, even their children, to live off their sweat.

        And the majority of that ability for the consolidation of wealth to occur was only possible because of government, not in spite of it.

        In urban areas, the paradigm of a very limited government seems an impossibility without providing many of the necessities of life. People without work have how else to live?

        I addressed the stuff above about how in a free society people would find a way to survive or they won’t. The sad fact is that not everyone is destined to prosper. And those that don’t find a way, will find a shovel and dig their own grave. In Boston, a very urban area at the time of the Revolutionary War, government did not provide any of the necessities of life, or even very much protection for the people who lived there. So is the problem that people are incapable of surviving in that urban area without government providing the necessities of life, or that people have become dependent and forgotten how. Take away the bottle, and the children will learn to actually live.

        They can’t move next door without upsetting a suburban neighborhood (see those displaced by Katrina moved to Houston, etc.).

        A completely different situation with the Katrina thing. The question is why did those in Houston have issue with it? They had issue because those folks were coming in and making a mess of their town. The y brought more crime, more overcrowding, and more problems. All of these things Houston was not prepared to deal with. Would a mass exodus have gone from New Orleans to a single city that could not support it had it not been a government mandate? I think not, they would have dispersed throughout the country, and no major city would have even noticed.

        • USW: No problem on the delay (I totally understand … and excuse mine for being (and continuing throughout the day/night) to be late as well). I’ll try and address your response para by para (or something like that) … I summarized your responses in quotes.

          “If they move forward they become contributors to society. If they perish society will be stronger for eliminating the weaker links.”

          Perish is too ambiguous a word for me. I’m not sure you mean actually perish because that won’t happen without a revolution (of some kind) first. I agree banks shouldn’t be forced to lend, but then what happens to that segment of society? In NY, it’s called gentrification or take a hike and what happened after Manhattan became too expensive to live in is the suburbs were quickly ruined (which then began another round of white flight). Listen, I’m as guilty as the next guy regarding this. I took my kids out of Brooklyn and sold a condo in Little Italy (Man.) to buy a house in Port Washington, Long Island so they could attend better schools. It’s what responsible people have to do or suffer the consequences but what happens when there’s overspill? If perish meant literally, as crude as it might be, it would be easier than dealing with the overflow. I am not a proponent of perishing anybody, so let my last sentence not read that crudely.

          “Morals would be a bigger player, and they simply wouldn’t accept those who benefitted at the abuse of others.”

          I think your paradigm places too much faith in morality (assuming we all have the same definition of it). Many of the slum lords in New York (and probably elsewhere) are very wealthy people so I’m not so sure their counterparts in wealth would much care (that Ivory Tower liberal thing if you need to look away from conservatives). There are liberal rich who wouldn’t conceive of sending their kids to public schools, etc.

          “Without government, their recourse may be to burn his home, lynch him, or beat him. If he really is a slumlord, I don’t feel sorry for his dilemma. He wouldn’t have government to protect him.”

          Well, my sentiment is with you on this, but … we’re talking mob rule here. That never leads to anything good.

          “Furthermore the opportunities are unlimited when you remove government from the equation.”

          I’m not sure that has been the case historically. Opportunities are unlimited when there’s boom in an economy and/or massive resources. Without boom or when resources are scarce there’s very little opportunity.

          “Recall that in the old west, where government was not nearly as far reaching, negroes had their own businesses running liveries, saloons, hotels, and offering their labor.”

          Maybe in the old west, but in the old south they were slaves. And while they had their own businesses in the old west, they weren’t treated as equals (and weren’t officially until 1964).

          “When those 10-30% come to grips with the reality that the following is in place, things change dramatically:
          1. There is no government to give them aid. They will live or die on their own work and their own merit.”

          I think they’d do something before die and it’s a scary thought what that might be.

          “2. They cannot attack the wealthy, who have the money to afford better weapons and private security.”

          That is not a given, USW. See French, Russian, etc. revolutions. They may not win a revolution, but there’d be a lot of dead wealthy should there ever be a revolution. Remember armies made of peasants, etc., aligned with those of their own ilk.

          “3. They are free to find moral and ethical ways to alleviate their suffering, from moving to starting a business to becoming security for the wealthy.”

          When people start from a disadvantage, I don’t think morality and/or ethics gives them any boost. It is a much longer climb out of the pit when you start at the bottom.

          “They survived on their own. There was no aid. There was no stealing it because the neighbors didn’t have it either. But they were free to find a way. And they did.”

          Capitalism worked great early on, but this is 2009 and there just aren’t the same opportunities anymore. And I think you’re wrong about stealing not going on back in the day … there was plenty … pa-la-nty.

          “And the minority populations would quickly realize that the race war they were hankering for is a bad idea when they are outnumbered 4 to 1 by rednecks who know how to use a weapon.”

          Rednecks aren’t the only one who know how to use a weapon, USW. That is a very bad generalization. It isn’t rocket science and in conventional warfare, numbers make a very great difference. Remember there are plenty of former war veterans who stand behind the more liberal causes out there; probably an equal number to conservatives. And for every militia member there’s a revolutionary cadre somewhere. It’s a bad assumption to think rednecks with guns could fend off a revolution (it sure didn’t work for the south during the civil war).

          “But their advantage was only for short term.”

          Old money hasn’t changed, USW. It remains at the top of the food chain. I agree it’s still possible to attain wealth in America, but the window of opportunity is substantially smaller and especially for those starting a great disadvantage.

          “Inheritance.”

          My issue with it has more to do with the power families get to maintain politically than it does financially. Our Gov’t is owned by big money and until that hold is released, nothing much will change. I know you’re against National Health Insurance but that’s the best example (from where I sit). I see it as in the best interest of the majority of Americans (and apparently 65% agree), but … the VERY PROFITABLE insurance companies have a hold on Congress that is astonishing. The people who voted these numbskulls into office now have to watch their interests ignored for those of Corporations. France and Holland, the UK, etc. may be politically turning away from socialism (very slightly), but their conservative movements accept the national health insurance that has been part of their system for decades (the way we accept medicare). There’s nothing wrong with it—it works. The Euro dollar is worth more than the American dollar.

          “The sad fact is that not everyone is destined to prosper.”

          Correct, nor is every child a trophy winner in any sport, etc. I agree … but to suggest they can die/perish is not dealing with reality. That isn’t going to happen. I would think if things ever got that bad (where entire segments of society were suddenly left to fend for themselves, you’d have that revolution on your hands and I’m not so sure you’d have the advantage in numbers you’d need to win it. I don’t know but history has proven those at the bottom tend to overthrow the aristocracy (at least temporarily).

          “A completely different situation with the Katrina thing. “

          I agree (completely different issue) .. but that’s my point. Once you have sudden devastation (pulling the plug, so to speak), you have a mess on your hands nobody is ready (or willing) to deal with.

          More later, brother. These lawyer are starting to crank it out.

          • Perish is too ambiguous a word for me. I’m not sure you mean actually perish because that won’t happen without a revolution (of some kind) first. I agree banks shouldn’t be forced to lend, but then what happens to that segment of society? In NY, it’s called gentrification or take a hike and what happened after Manhattan became too expensive to live in is the suburbs were quickly ruined (which then began another round of white flight). Listen, I’m as guilty as the next guy regarding this. I took my kids out of Brooklyn and sold a condo in Little Italy (Man.) to buy a house in Port Washington, Long Island so they could attend better schools. It’s what responsible people have to do or suffer the consequences but what happens when there’s overspill? If perish meant literally, as crude as it might be, it would be easier than dealing with the overflow. I am not a proponent of perishing anybody, so let my last sentence not read that crudely.

            Unfortunately perishing might end up being exactly as it sounds. But I don’t think nearly as many would perish as you imagine, and I don’t think it would be a revolution that would cause it. People would die from health problems, as a result the community would become more health aware and more people would become health care trained because they would see the opportunity there.

            Yes there would be a massive amount of people moving out of the city. I think it is a mistake to assume that this means they would move to the suburbs. They would go and seek better opportunities and for the most part, I believe that would mean really moving, not just slightly moving. They will seek opportunity. They will know that it doesn’t exist in the suburbs any more than it did in the city. They will move on.

            I think your paradigm places too much faith in morality (assuming we all have the same definition of it). Many of the slum lords in New York (and probably elsewhere) are very wealthy people so I’m not so sure their counterparts in wealth would much care (that Ivory Tower liberal thing if you need to look away from conservatives). There are liberal rich who wouldn’t conceive of sending their kids to public schools, etc.

            Liberal or conservative doesn’t matter to me. Yes there are rich that would hold out just as there are welfare queens who would hold out. Both are a vast minority and both will either adapt or perish.

            Well, my sentiment is with you on this, but … we’re talking mob rule here. That never leads to anything good.

            Not necessarily mob rule. There has never been mob rule in history that lasts very long if it does happen. Even pure anarchy and chaos is very short lived as people long for order and peace. Initially violence would increase, this I agree on. But the aftermath would be swift and far more liberating.

            I’m not sure that has been the case historically. Opportunities are unlimited when there’s boom in an economy and/or massive resources. Without boom or when resources are scarce there’s very little opportunity.

            But a boom is only caused by opportunity. Government now attempts to create a false boom (such as the tech bubble) but it never quite works or lasts. Without opportunity the boom never happens. So it works in opposite from your suggestion. Boom leads to increased opportunity I suppose, but opportunity had to be there in the first place, or the boom doesn’t happen at all. As for scarce resources, history shows that resources are not the cause of booms. Booms have happened throughout history with vast resources and with scarce resources. The amount of resources has no play. What does have play is whether the economic, intellectual, and moral pieces are in place. Thus far it seems government does their best to align those pieces only when it serves government’s purpose. I again must point out that the time of our founding was not caused by government, but happened in spite of it.

            Maybe in the old west, but in the old south they were slaves. And while they had their own businesses in the old west, they weren’t treated as equals (and weren’t officially until 1964).

            They were only slaves as long as the government allowed them to be slaves. The second that government no longer supported slavery and no longer protected the slave owners, slavery immediately began to crumble. One slave owner, no matter how powerful, cannot control 500 slaves without a central government system that supports his right to do so and has his back should they choose to revolt. No slave thought he couldn’t beat his master, but he knew doing so was futile in the situation where government supported his owner over him.

            That is not a given, USW. See French, Russian, etc. revolutions. They may not win a revolution, but there’d be a lot of dead wealthy should there ever be a revolution. Remember armies made of peasants, etc., aligned with those of their own ilk.

            There would be a lot of dead wealthy, poor, and in between should there be a revolution. But I don’t think there would be one. I think it is a false assumption to think that a revolution would be the only possible outcome. Let’s take blacks as an example, as there are many who picture the revolution of poor versus wealthy as the inner city blacks revolting against the wealthy whites (which is what I imagine many folks picture when they listen to your explanation, although I could be wrong).

            Blacks in this country are angry. But most are angry with a system that mistreated them, supported their slavery, and didn’t afford them equal rights until the last two decades or so. It is the system that they are upset with. It comes across as racism, but it is really frustration that they feel the system is rigged against them. When the system” is removed, and they have full equality (which they cannot be denied in a truly free society), they will begin to lose that anger. I have decided I will write an article on this very subject so I will stop there.

            When people start from a disadvantage, I don’t think morality and/or ethics gives them any boost. It is a much longer climb out of the pit when you start at the bottom.

            Interestingly it is overwhelmingly the poor that turn to religion. When you are at the bottom is is usually morals and values that help you begin to rebuild.

            Capitalism worked great early on, but this is 2009 and there just aren’t the same opportunities anymore. And I think you’re wrong about stealing not going on back in the day … there was plenty … pa-la-nty.

            Capitalism has always worked…. ALWAYS. Unless government has stepped in and taken the natural mechanisms that control it away. It worked early on because government was small and weak. The strength of capitalism declined in direct proportion to the growth of government and its intrusion into the free market.

            Rednecks aren’t the only one who know how to use a weapon, USW. That is a very bad generalization. It isn’t rocket science and in conventional warfare, numbers make a very great difference. Remember there are plenty of former war veterans who stand behind the more liberal causes out there; probably an equal number to conservatives. And for every militia member there’s a revolutionary cadre somewhere. It’s a bad assumption to think rednecks with guns could fend off a revolution (it sure didn’t work for the south during the civil war).

            Perhaps a bad analogy. I am well aware that not all rednecks can use guns or that all people who know how to use guns are rednecks. I was simply making a point. The point was that the vast majority of angry folks will shy away from violence when they realize that it isn’t like the US taking on Iraq, it is more like the US taking on China. Very few people actually want to die for hurt feelings or for sins of the past. Those willing to die usually are that way because they feel they are threatened now. A free society means they are no longer threatened. Given the choice between some sort of revenge war or moving on and taking advantage of their new found freedom and opportunity, I have faith they will choose the latter.

            Old money hasn’t changed, USW. It remains at the top of the food chain. I agree it’s still possible to attain wealth in America, but the window of opportunity is substantially smaller and especially for those starting a great disadvantage.

            Of course those with the greatest resources remain at the top of the chain. No system of government on earth has ever changed that in the slightest. So what makes you think that what you are supporting will change it. It may move that money and power from one group to another, but the paradigm will remain the same.

            And I point out again that I believe that those starting at a great disadvantage do so because of government, not in spite of it.

            My issue with it has more to do with the power families get to maintain politically than it does financially. Our Gov’t is owned by big money and until that hold is released, nothing much will change.

            And what makes you think that a switch to socialism, communism, fascism, or whatever will change this. Big money owns government is a great argument for eliminating government, but is not a good argument for simply changing the name of the system.

            I know you’re against National Health Insurance but that’s the best example (from where I sit). I see it as in the best interest of the majority of Americans (and apparently 65% agree), but … the VERY PROFITABLE insurance companies have a hold on Congress that is astonishing. The people who voted these numbskulls into office now have to watch their interests ignored for those of Corporations.

            I see it as very bad for the majority of Americans. Hence the entire health care series I am working through. Too big of a topic to cover here.

            France and Holland, the UK, etc. may be politically turning away from socialism (very slightly), but their conservative movements accept the national health insurance that has been part of their system for decades (the way we accept medicare). There’s nothing wrong with it—it works. The Euro dollar is worth more than the American dollar.

            But the Euro health care system is worth far less than the American one.

            Correct, nor is every child a trophy winner in any sport, etc. I agree … but to suggest they can die/perish is not dealing with reality. That isn’t going to happen. I would think if things ever got that bad (where entire segments of society were suddenly left to fend for themselves, you’d have that revolution on your hands and I’m not so sure you’d have the advantage in numbers you’d need to win it. I don’t know but history has proven those at the bottom tend to overthrow the aristocracy (at least temporarily).

            Aristocracy only exists when government sanctions and protects it. Remove that and the power of big wealth is greatly diminished. Consumer becomes king again. Revolution becomes unnecessary.

            I agree (completely different issue) .. but that’s my point. Once you have sudden devastation (pulling the plug, so to speak), you have a mess on your hands nobody is ready (or willing) to deal with.

            On the contrary, when Katrina hit, the number of people ready and willing to deal with it was massive. The problem was that they waited for government to do its thing first. Eliminate that dependency and you eliminate the greatest barrier to people simply helping people, because that is what we do.

            • Good points (several) … must have something to do with my swing to the right 9 years ago … I have to sit on this awhile (of course I saw some argument brewing in my head on a few things) … but you make some sound points.

              It’s going to take me awhile to address #’s 2 and 3. I’m just pressed for time this week. I went in and out here today but now I’m home (2 hour 1 way commute-but I don’t mind because I read like a fiend), I do have some other writing to get to.

              I’ll do my best to have something early tomorrow. If I see something you address in this response above in #2 I may pass on it for the sake of brevity.

              All best,

              Charlie

      • On to part 2!

        2) Here is where my above response most applies (I think). Imagine what happens when the displaced (who can’t earn a living in urban areas)

        And that is the rub on urban areas. They are too urban and cannot possibly support their populations. If New York cannot sustain 7 million people without government assistance, I am willing to bet that in the absence of government, 5 million would leave and start New York #2 and #3. Three separate cities with three separate infrastructures, each capable of sustaining its population. Problem solved. No government required. That is how most of the United States was founded. When the city couldn’t sustain more people, the people moved and started a new city! It wasn’t until big government stepped in and began replacing the need for a city sustaining its population with government handouts, subsidies, and tax breaks that the cities became the massive unsustainable cesspools that they are today.

        seek some neighboring refuge (which leads to another concern regarding lack of a strong central gov’t—limited resources, land, etc.).

        How has a strong central government even begun to alleviate the concerns of limited resources or land? They haven’t. In fact, what they have done is take 100 years to seize control of the largest amount of land for themselves that they could possibly get their grubby little hands on. Leave the city for a bit (which I know you have). The amount of land out there is massive. With a population of 300 million, we have still only developed less than 30% of the land in the United States. Resources are plentiful. The problem is that the government now controls and allocates what we can use. Without government having its hands in the pot, we would have had solar farms, wind farms, electric cars, and lord knows what else long ago. When government is out of the equation, man becomes resourceful. With government he becomes dependent and has his solutions dictated to him.

        Also, ultimately local laws are subject to federal law. In an extreme case, it was local law theory that led to the Civil War (we can’t forget that states right back then insisted on slavery). What happens if a township and/or state is inhabited over time by the KKK or those in the witness protection program (which is my belief has probably already happened with all the deals this government makes to shortcut their workload)?

        My guess is that those cities inhabited strongly with the immoral would quickly lose their moral population. And the immoral would be left with nothing to prey on but each other. If a bunch of KKK idiots want to start a town where they burn crosses and chant we hate blacks all day, I could care less. They won’t be welcome in “SUFAville” (get it Stand Up For America-ville? I crack me up). And I will refuse to do business with them, visit their town, trade with them, recognize them, or anything else. And my guess is that they will quickly find that they have ruined their prospects for prosperity by being hate filled bigots.

        Something has to regulate laws that are insane (i.e., in Minnesota there are pot sellers doing 10 years—for selling pot!). The Rockefeller drug laws were finally curtailed (somewhat) last year (not even by the federal government–which is scary). And we all know how pedophiles and rapists and murderers are sentenced in some states—3-4 years at best in some cases. Why not make it a national criminal code?

        Why does it have to be federally regulated. In Singapore they cane you for stealing. You know what, they don’t have many thieves in Singapore. The thieves go live elsewhere. In South Korea, it is the death penalty for having a weapon. You know what, no one there has a weapon. In SUFA-ville, I would make castration the penalty for sexual assault on a minor. I bet there won’t be many people attempting to accost my youth population. However, if the people of Sufaville want to allow pot, they will, and the people who want to smoke a phattie will move to Sufaville. And I will have a thriving pizza delivery business. Criminal codes don’t need to be the same across the country. What they need to be is effective. A national standard might be easier, but we have already seen that it is not effective.

        In a more direct answer, yes, something has to regulate laws that are insane. That something is common sense and moral integrity.

        I can’t address the leaving the country issue because I agree with it, I guess; that a strong central government is required and the price to pay is less than a weak government.

        Yes, life is harder with a weak government. But the people are more free and they like their life more. Remember that the people that founded this country fled a strong central government to do so. Why do you think that they did that? It certainly would have been easier to stay and take whatever was thrown at them, just as you are espousing here. But I would leave this country in a heartbeat if there was a new America found where my life would be difficult but free.

        John Galt would have come for me. And he wouldn’t have had to take 2 hours to convince me. He would have explained the deal, I would have left the next day, and all of you would wonder why there was no posting on the Stand Up For America the next morning, lol.

        I’m not sure I’ll be able to answer your response with any speed today, but I’ll try.

        As you could see , that wasn’t an issue for you, but it was for me! I am supposed to be off work on Thursday so hopefully I will be more available for discussion.

        • On to part 2 (you’re in “quotes”)

          “If New York cannot sustain 7 million people without government assistance, I am willing to bet that in the absence of government, 5 million would leave and start New York #2 and #3.”

          I’m not as sure about this as you are (and I used to take bets so I might take yours). Once you remove gov’t I think you have quite a problem on your hands. Without having those other cities already in place (almost relocation centers), you have chaos to the nth degree. When the U.S. was founded and today are two very different apples, USW; there were cities on rivers available (for necessary transportation, etc., land wasn’t bought the same way (if at all), the populations were night and day by comparison); we can’t apply when America was founded to 2009. It doesn’t fit. It is a drastically different world.

          “Without government having its hands in the pot, we would have had solar farms, wind farms, electric cars, and lord knows what else long ago. When government is out of the equation, man becomes resourceful. With government he becomes dependent and has his solutions dictated to him.”

          Once you remove gov’t from our system regarding the above, those already in power (money) will just take control of what is left (and there’s no way you’ll convince me that they’re goals will be beneficent, they will be profit motivated [much the way these investment bankers gambled with our money, lined their pockets and left us paying their bills] (and with no regulations because there’s no gov’t); we’ll be back to forming labor unions for the sake of fighting labor abuse. Back in the early days of industrialization, I don’t recall reading about many owners of the means of production concerning themselves with the plight of their workers (i.e., Sinclair Lewis, The Jungle). Case in point: Why/how did the mob (traditional organized crime) start to flourish (as strike breakers! Management put them to work first!). I don’t buy it that powerbases such as the most wealthy are going to do anything other than help themselves at the ultimate expense of the rest of us.

          “KKK Town vs. SUFAville: And I will refuse to do business with them, visit their town, trade with them, recognize them, or anything else. And my guess is that they will quickly find that they have ruined their prospects for prosperity by being hate filled bigots.”

          The problem here is some poor SOB walks through KKK Town and gets lynched. If it’s a free country, whose going to oversee what they do to people that mistakenly wonder into KKK Town? Please don’t say collateral damage.

          “In SUFA-ville, I would make castration the penalty for sexual assault on a minor.”

          Now this I don’t mind at all, but you’re wrong to suggest it would stop pedophilia … or serial killing, etc. I think there are sociopaths that will never be deterred but don’t believe for a second that there aren’t many thieves in Singapore. They have organized crime just like EVERY nation has it. We don’t hear about it is all. Those are fairly restrictive governments that aren’t big on openness. I’m all for a much tougher criminal code (and I was a criminal). Side note: You’ll actually find most criminals involved in the stuff I used to deal with are actually VERY conservative about pretty much everything (but then again, no gov’t meant the booty was for the taking).

          “Remember that the people that founded this country fled a strong central government to do so. Why do you think that they did that?”

          Again, that’s 200+ years ago. It just doesn’t apply to the modern world/modern America. It’s not a valid argument today (or there would have been another revolution by the right long ago).

          On to number 3 … (probably domani (tomorrow)

      • 3) I forgot Third … I have a problem with the definition of moral (which BF has promised to figure out for me). Aside from sociopaths (who can’t be classified) and assuming your 80% figure is accurate, there are issues that cannot be dealt with at a local level without the potential for discrimination, etc.

        Again I would have to point out that the strongest central government on earth has done absolutely nothing to eliminate the discrimination or potential for a “wrong outcome” in dealing with criminals or disputes. The one thing that I agree with in Black Flags constant circles is the fact that you cannot make an argument based on asking the theoretical future meet standards that the current future will never meet either. We must be careful that we don’t fall into a pattern of refusing to accept a possible solution because it is not perfect. In reality, it only needs to be better than the solution we have now. And there aren’t many scenarios that are not better than the strong central government that we have now.

        As for the definition of moral, that is certainly always going to be relative. People in California may find that their definition is different than those in Savannah (A beautiful city, I used to live there). And that is OK. There definitions don’t have to match up. Because the reality is that they don’t have to get along, do commerce together, or anything else. If they want to do commerce, despite their differences, a contract can be written that is acceptable for both sides. If either side breaks it, I imagine that the rest of the country won’t be jumping to do business with the other side.

        Even those who are moral (however defined) may have different ideas regarding punishment. Everyone in an urban setting carrying a weapon would lead to war before we knew it (trust me on this)

        Possibly, but again I point out two distinct facts. Boston in the 1700’s was a place where every citizen was armed. Yet no war broke out between the people. Second, the idea that “Everyone in an urban setting carrying a weapon would lead to war before we knew it” doesn’t sit well with the facts regarding weapons in America today. Our urban areas are chocked full of guns. New York, Detroit, Chicago, LA, Atlanta, etc. have the highest guns per capita in the country, yet no wars have broken out, despite a single distinguishing factor: the VAST majority of the guns are owned by criminals. Add to that the fact that the cities with the strictest laws on handguns are also the cities with the highest rate of gun violence.

        So the evidence says increasing gun ownership decreases gun violence. Decreasing gun ownership increases gun violence.

        and while our criminal system is insanely skewered, that is part of the morality/value issue that cannot be mitigated by small government (taking a wild guess here, about half the population accepts the government protecting the guilty (alleged?) and about half wouldn’t mind lynching them.

        You cannot attempt to define how our theoretical future would deal with our current criminal system. In the free society that would emerge, the criminal system would not be anywhere remotely like the one we have under a strong central government. That strong central government is the REASON the system is insanely skewered. In “my” version of society, crime and punishment would look very different, and the discrimination that we see today wouldn’t happen because people would exist with those who wouldn’t discriminate. It is my contention that the major reasons for discrimination in today’s world are all the result of the government, not in spite of it.

        Commerce and business … the problem is all the power remains in the hands of the monied (and smaller government only insures the power remains there).

        On the contrary, big business only exists in today’s world with a powerful government mandate. Corporations where risk is mitigated by the mythical forming of an entity (which is the only reason corporations are formed, to eliminate risk) are the direct result of big government intervention. The number of powerful companies that fell was far higher before government intervened in the market. Yes, there were those few who abused their workers, monopolized markets and all those other horrible things. But look back at history, monopolies always had government help to get that way. Poor working conditions could have been alleviated with unions, and without government interference.

        We only need big government regulations in commerce because of the already existing manipulations of big government in commerce. Commerce thrived before big government. And it will thrive again when big government falls on its ass.

        I don’t think the social Darwin theory works except in theory; the powerful today are just too powerful to ever lose.

        Again, I have to disagree. The people are having a vast influence on the powerful as we speak. The most powerful group in the world wants to create a vast health care mess and the poor, pitiful people are stopping it in its tracks. The powerful are defeated all the time when government is not there to protect them or alleviate their risks. Take the auto bailouts. Three American powerhouses would be defeated and gone. They produced inferior products and didn’t take care of business. The consumer stopped buying their product. The poor defeated the powerful. But then government stepped in….

        Another example: that woman who staged a “debtor’s boycott” of Bank of America. They screwed her by jacking her interest rate to 30%. She was told to kiss off by the most powerful bank in the US. So she took her message to YouTube. It went viral. They contacted her and lowered her interest rate back to where it was supposed to be. The power of big business is an illusion. The consumer is king and always will be, unless a strong central government steps in and uses force to silence them.

        And I am not powerful in the sense that you mean. But I will say this. Should the need arise, I will bank on the fact that I can use morals, reason and logic and rally as many as I need to take on any powerful person that wants to come get some.

        Social Darwinism isn’t something that works or doesn’t work. It simply is. Eliminate a strong central government from the equation and the weak get weeded out. So it isn’t something you have to agree with whether it will work. It will happen regardless of whether you think it will work or not. It will happen even if no one thinks it will work. Now you can question whether social darwinism is a good thing or not. My position is that it is a good thing and a natural thing. Your position appears to be that it is a bad thing to allow it to happen. I see it as a natural thing and you see it as an avoidable thing. But always increasing the amount of people who shouldn’t survive only means that eventually they will outnumber those that should, and overpopulation for any species is a bad thing, Charlie. It leads us right to where we are right now in the urban areas you are talking about.

        • “Possibly, but again I point out two distinct facts. Boston in the 1700’s was a place where every citizen was armed. Yet no war broke out between the people.”

          Yes, but there was nothing to war against. When there was (the British), they took up arms.

          “Second, the idea that “Everyone in an urban setting carrying a weapon would lead to war before we knew it” doesn’t sit well with the facts regarding weapons in America today.”

          Again, once you put something in the face of any group that is armed (i.e., once you make it a war—and taking away wholesale everything they depend on is akin to starting a war), there is a very good chance they would fight for their needs.

          “Our urban areas are chocked full of guns. New York, Detroit, Chicago, LA, Atlanta, etc. have the highest guns per capita in the country, yet no wars have broken out, despite a single distinguishing factor: the VAST majority of the guns are owned by criminals. Add to that the fact that the cities with the strictest laws on handguns are also the cities with the highest rate of gun violence.”

          Again, these are criminals (for the most) acting independently. There isn’t some banding together for war.

          “So the evidence says increasing gun ownership decreases gun violence. Decreasing gun ownership increases gun violence.“

          I’m not sure I buy that, but even if that is an accurate account, that only has to do with how easy access to illegal guns is (especially in urban areas).

          “On the contrary, big business only exists in today’s world with a powerful government mandate.”

          Yes, but because it (gov’ts) are owned (corrupted) by business.

          “Poor working conditions could have been alleviated with unions, and without government interference.”

          Only if you didn’t mind management hiring the mob as strike breakers; it wasn’t until the mob figured out they could corrupt the unions just as easy when unions actually accumulated power.

          “Commerce thrived before big government. And it will thrive again when big government falls on its ass.”

          I think we’ll see world depression when that happens quickly followed by a revolution … but I’ll be long gone before either happens.

          “The people are having a vast influence on the powerful as we speak. The most powerful group in the world wants to create a vast health care mess and the poor, pitiful people are stopping it in its tracks.”

          Hold on, USW. The Insurance companies/health industry just spend 380 Million in bribes to keep their spokesman (Congress) in order on this. The people have NOTHING to do with it.

          “Take the auto bailouts. Three American powerhouses would be defeated and gone. They produced inferior products and didn’t take care of business. The consumer stopped buying their product. The poor defeated the powerful. But then government stepped in”

          Come on, you’re reaching here. Why stop at the auto companies. What about Wall Street? The powerful extorted this country into paying their gambling debts. What did the people have to say about that? Nothing.

          “The power of big business is an illusion.”

          You’re sounding like a Big Business shill here. Surely, you’re not serious.

          “And I am not powerful in the sense that you mean. But I will say this. Should the need arise, I will bank on the fact that I can use morals, reason and logic and rally as many as I need to take on any powerful person that wants to come get some.”

          It seems to me that big business has conservatives doing their grass roots job for them. Defending patriotism and small government, etc. The fund Congressmen for what they want on the books and then rally the support of conservatives towards ideas that keep them (big business) in power (the status quo).

          “Social Darwinism isn’t something that works or doesn’t work.”

          Yes, but speaking of morality. I can’t think of something more immoral than this concept; to let the weak die off. Seriously, it kind of flies in the face of your morality argument (and if you don’t think so, therein lies one problem with the morality argument—there are several perspectives on what is moral/what is not).

          “My position is that it is a good thing and a natural thing.”

          Then the strong should survive and we’re back to a state of Nature. No government, tough guy wins. I don’t know how you align this with morality.

          “I see it as a natural thing and you see it as an avoidable thing. But always increasing the amount of people who shouldn’t survive only means that eventually they will outnumber those that should, and overpopulation for any species is a bad thing, Charlie. It leads us right to where we are right now in the urban areas you are talking about.”

          So (and I’m being serious here), why waste all that time waiting for them to die off? Why not shoot them? I’m trying to understand your morality argument in terms of social Darwinism. For me they just don’t give.

          I’m off to my power meet … this isn’t going to be pretty. More much later, if I can type. All best. Good stuff, USW.

  2. Common Man Topic #1

    Common Man posted on Monday afternoon the following:

    USW, BF, JAC and D13;

    This is really for Open Mic Night, but my day is already filled tomorrow, so could somebody cut and paste?

    Relative to Iran….What should we do if anything with the the current situation? How should the military be handeling this issue?

    If they launch against Israel how should we respond, if at all?

    Are they a real threat?

    What about Afganisan? Should we bring the boys home and let that country to it’s own fortune or demise?

    Both my son and my nephew have spent 2 tours in Iraq and they both say we should get out and leave them to their own fate, we are not going to convert them to a Democracy or Republic.

    I value your opinions, please respond

    Black Flag, I would appreciate you taking a moment when you have time to copy your reply to this over here so that the conversation can continue here. I will reply as soon as I can as well.

    • Here’s one take on what to do about Afgahnistan…found it on Atlas Shrugs.

      Afghanistan: Fatal Misunderstanders of Islam, “When you treat the Afghans with kid gloves, they will bite off your hand”
      Here is a Marine Corps Sergeant Major driving home the points I have been making for months on Afghanistan (and as recently as yesterday).

      From the blog “let them fight or bring them home” (hat tip D. Andrew Bostom)

      Jim Sauer is a retired Marine Corps Sergeant Major and combat veteran with over thirty years of service. Since retiring he has worked in support of U.S. Government efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Israel.

      From the Sergeant Major

      Once again, 1st Sgt Bernard hits the nail directly on the head. His mission is not “anti-war” nor is his aim bellicose. His position is sane.

      There have been some phony arguments put forth for another “surge” in Afghanistan. We need not a surge of troops, we merely need to let our forces there do what needs to be done – kill the enemy.

      There is this misconception of Afghanistan in particular (and Islam in general) that somehow we can bring Central Asia (and the rest of the Islamic world) kicking and screaming into the 21st Century through good will. This is simply not the case. There is no amount of money to spend, infrastructure to build, schools to provide, hospitals to heal, or good will that Americans can display toward the Afghan people that will produce a lasting effect. I was once told by an accomplished Afghan intelligence analyst that, “you can rent an Afghan, but you can’t buy him.”

      The hard fact is that the “hearts and minds” of the Afghan “people” are not for sale! The descendants of “The Great Khan” and their tribal cousins have no interest in being Westernized in any way. And, the human sewers that serve as their political leadership can only be rented. Americans are interlopers in a land where interlopers generally have their heads lopped off.

      Nobody read their Kipling. (I know, “who or what was Kipling?” Look it up.) Americans do not know their OWN history (except the spun trash that passes for “social studies” in our heavily socialistic high schools) much less the history of Afghanistan. And, this includes our political leadership! Ask an American on the street – or a congressman in the House – to point to Afghanistan on a map, and they will probably start with their finger cautiously orbiting somewhere over Rhode Island.

      This writer spent thirty years listening to and deciphering military acronyms and idiotic jargon. The catch phrase today is “COIN” – Counterinsurgency doctrine. Our political and military leadership act like this is some sort of secret knowledge – Gnostic esoteric knowledge – that is now coming to light. That is crap. There is nothing new here.

      Counterinsurgency predates Rome. In modern times, the first COIN doctrine called Small Wars Manual was written by the U.S. Marine Corps in 1935 with the final edition being published in 1940. The first few decades of the 20th Century saw Marines intervening as “State Department Troops” from Central America and Hispaniola to China and the Philippines. The Small Wars Manual is a compilation of information describing nation building, establishing “constabularies”, civil affairs, infrastructure repair, election management, donkey packing and inspiration, river crossing, intelligence gathering, psychology and ethnicity of native peoples, disarmament of the populace, force composition, supply and logistics chains, public image (both in the target nation and in the United States), and everything else it takes to drag a Third-World backwash into the current day and age. There is even a section on inspecting the feet of native troops for bunions, corns, and severe trichophytosis (athlete’s foot).

      The manual is also full of contradictions. If one were to summarize in a sentence or two the center of conflicting mass, one might say, “Try to be nice, but if they don’t go along with the program manipulate them. If that doesn’t’ work, kill them – every one of them.” It reminds one of a quip from Vietnam that went, “Let us win your hearts and minds or we’ll burn your damn huts down.”

      It seems our current crop of political and military geniuses think that COIN can be conducted in a sanitary manner. This belief is insane. The “small wars” of the 20th Century were every bit as dirty and brutal as any conventional war ever fought.

      Legendary Marine Corps hero and two time Medal of Honor recipient Major General Smedley Butler wrote of his “COIN” experience a short tome titled “War is a Racket”. It spelled out the misuse of American forces and the waste of American lives during the first three decades of the 20th Century. General Butler was an unlikely critic of the use of military force – the more reason to heed his caveats.

      Though published in 1940, the intervening years of conventional war (World War II and Korea) saw the Small Wars Manual fade into disuse.

      The formation of the U.S. Army Special Forces in the 1960s led to an attempt to bring COIN doctrine to Vietnam. While this effort met with some success against the Viet Cong, the introduction of North Vietnamese Army (NVA) forces diminished the strategic effectiveness of the Special Forces effort. Further, as the NVA entered the fray and the war progressed, the Viet Cong themselves, although diminished by the Special Forces effort, became more sophisticated with regard to their remaining cell structures, logistics, and weapons employment.

      There are several things to consider:

      1. With the exception of Malaysia, there have historically been very few – if any – real, long lasting counterinsurgency success stories.
      2. Wars are like fingerprints and snowflakes – no two are alike
      3. The sophistication of the insurgency with respect to tactics, weapons, as well as ethnic loyalties to and from the populace, can negate COIN efforts.
      4. The subtleties and grace of Tae Kwon Do are nice, but there’s nothing like a good punch in the mouth.
      COIN may be a legitimate strategy in a limited sense when the “insurgents” are seen as outsiders – or at least trouble makers with a foreign ideology – by the native population in a fixed geographic region. However, the insurgency we face is not limited to Afghanistan. It is a global movement. Civilian casualties must be avoided whenever possible – not at all costs. There is no excuse for the wanton slaughter of innocents. However, if a COIN strategy is to succeed, our political and military leadership must demonstrate the willingness to adjust the tactics used in the battlespace in order to allow our troops to kill the enemy.

      When The Great Khan rode through Central Asia in the early 13th Century, he did not take into consideration public opinion. He had lands to conquer, people to rule, and resources to exploit. He spread fear and misery across Persia and into Europe. Whether an Afghan is Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, or Turkmen, some – the real Afghan warriors – still have the spirit of the Mongol Horde in their blood.

      That having been said, their blood has been thinned by time and centuries of misery. The current crop of Afghanistan’s “Warriors” is almost exclusive to the opposition. The true believers are fighters – cowards too, but fighters nonetheless. By contrast, the bulk of the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) are not fighters, nor are they “true believers”. They are simply cowards – frauds – corrupt to the core by any standard and an apostate to their own faith. They are slovenly, drug-addicted, dimwitted, and totally unreliable at any level. Like the Taliban, they are brutal to their own countrymen. They thrive on their petty powers and refuse to shoulder any burden or responsibility. Does this sound too harsh? Not for the Marines and Soldiers who have been killed by the treachery of ANA and ANP who have purposely led them into ambush.

      According to the great military minds of our time, these ANA/ANP forces can be trained and formed to fight their own war. At what cost? How many American lives? How many taxpayer dollars? It would take decades if it were simply a matter of sophistication and military training. However, the obstacle is the way and philosophy of life in the Islamic world.

      Iraq is a case study in deception. You have been told by the media and our politicians that the Iraqi Army is now capable of maintaining order in Iraq with limited U.S. support. Well, read the news. Iraq is still in chaos. As we withdraw it will become worse; Sunni v. Shitte, Kurd v. Sunni and/or Shitte. Arabs are as brutal as Central Asians. However, they are even worse soldiers, and bring new meaning to the term cowardly. An American colonel who tried to train an Iraqi brigade regularly quips that his greatest accomplishment in twelve months was to get the Iraqis to use the toilets. He was not exaggerating. Americans have no idea how screwed up the world is east of Greece. Iraq is not yet a success story. The insurgency is just laying low. The Muslim mind thinks in terms of years, decades, and centuries – not election cycles. You will hear optimistic talking heads speak otherwise. They will tell you of the great success in Iraq. You will even hear this occasionally from Soldiers, Marines, and “Operators” who have had good experiences with the Iraqi forces. However, their experience is the exception.

      Americans have been conditioned and have become accustomed to tiptoeing about, fearing to offend anyone – even those who are offensive to the bulk of humanity. Thus, there is not an American politician or a media guru who will speak the truth clearly.

      Although this writer has read extracts from the Koran, there is no claim from this quarter to any real Islamic theological scholarship. My understanding from Muslim acquaintances is that a true Muslim understands the Koran as literally as an Evangelical Protestant understands the Bible. Those who do not are apostates. Relying on the New Testament we believe that “By their fruits ye shall know them.” This is how we know them:

      · Dismemberment of American soldiers in Somalia while Somali Muslims danced in glee – October 1993.
      · The celebrations in “The Arab Streets” (include all of Islam from Gaza to Indonesia) after the bombings of the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and the downing of United Flight 93, animating Muslims throughout the world to joy and celebration – September 11, 2001 and the weeks following.
      · Dismemberment of Americans from Blackwater in Fallujah complete with the hanging of burned bodies from a bridge to the delight of the Muslim crowd – March 31, 2004. · Decapitations of Nick Berg, Daniel Pearl, Kenneth Bigley, and others at various times and places.
      Lest we think that this barbarism is reserved for Westerners, Islam promotes:

      · Honor killings of girls and women not only in Islamic nations, but right here in the good ‘ol USA.

      · Child brides.
      · Conversion killings of anyone even thinking about leaving the Islamic faith. · Child abuse and indoctrination via children’s cartoons (Muppets no less!) that make sport of killing Americans and Jews and portray us as pigs and dogs. (You can find them on YouTube!)
      · Punishing children for petty theft by having their arms broken beneath the wheel of a truck. (You can find this gem on YouTube as well!)
      · Slavery in all its glory. Both for labor and sexual purposes. This is rampant in the Islamic world particularly among our Saudi “allies”. Victims are Indonesian, Sri Lankan, Filipino, Indian, and from any country where one could be lured with the promise of an escape from poverty. Some victims are from the West. · Cruelty in all its forms to one and all.
      Having spent the best part of five years in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Israel (Gaza/West Bank), I can tell you that I have personally seen an adult man take off his shoe and beat a toddler around the head and shoulders with its heel. The little boy was wearing only a dust soaked shirt that came up above his belly. Yet, not a tear fell on his dirt-smudged cherubic face. He fell down breaking his fall with his tiny hands, but would not – or could not cry. I have seen an adult man suddenly and repeatedly strike a burka-wearing woman with a stick when she tried to exit a compound through a gate without a male escort. I have seen a man beat a donkey on the legs and back with a club until the panicked, pleading, and bleeding animal fell to the ground.

      Kabul has astounding traffic tie-ups. Road rage is limited because one never knows if the other guy may have a flamethrower in his vehicle, but the cursing and honking is legendary. In the spring of 2007, during a massive, two-hour traffic jam on Jalalabad Road, I watched as an Afghan driver and his assistant got out of their flat bed truck in an attempt to beat the heat by lying down in the shade under the tires. The truck was hauling two large containers of medical supplies marked with a Red Cross. The driver apparently forgot to put out the tire chalks, and the truck rolled over both men crushing their heads like peas. Nobody – nobody – lifted a finger to help them. Their bodies were simply pulled to the side and the honking and shouting went on as usual. Life means nothing.

      Apologists will bring up the crimes of the West – especially the Crusades. The fact is that the Crusades were waged to counter the Seljuk advance on Byzantium and the atrocities inflicted on Christians and Jews in the Holy Land. The Crusades were waged during a period of time when life in general – not to mention war – was totally barbaric. That degree of barbarism is unimaginable to modern Western sensibilities, but still considered absolutely reasonable by Muslims. Had the Crusades not been waged; had the Habsburg Monarchy not turned back the Ottoman tide at the end of the 17th Century; had Isabel of Castile not driven the Moors from Grenada, you would not be reading this diatribe. You would be illiterate, ruled by a tyrant, and squatting on the dirt floor of a mud-brick shack picking your nose.

      On September 24th, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the United Nations General Assembly. He basically put the world on notice. Israel will not tolerate any more nonsense from the Islamic world. In contrast to the incoherent rambling of Gadhafi, the rancorous rants of Ahmandinejad, and the lame political oration given by President Obama, Netanyahu made his points with force, conviction, and clarity. Speaking of Islam he stated:

      “In the past thirty years, this fanaticism has swept the globe with a murderous violence and cold-blooded impartiality in its choice of victims. It has callously slaughtered Moslems and Christians, Jews and Hindus, and many others. Though it is comprised of different offshoots, the adherents of this unforgiving creed seek to return humanity to medieval times. Wherever they can, they impose a backward regimented society where women, minorities, gays or anyone not deemed to be a true believer is brutally subjugated. The struggle against this fanaticism does not pit faith against faith nor civilization against civilization. It pits civilization against barbarism, the 21st century against the 9th century, those who sanctify life against those who glorify death.”

      President Obama and General McCrystal need to review their history. When you treat the Afghans with kid gloves, they will bite off your hand.

      Jim Sauer is a retired Marine Corps Sergeant Major and combat veteran with over thirty years of service. Since retiring he has worked in support of U.S. Government efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Israel.

      • Cyndi,

        A good find, thanks for sharing. I was worried you might have been out trying to surf the “big one”. Glad you are OK. I have not found something I’m looking for yet, but this was interesting.

        http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA432422&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf

        I just skimmed the history and conclusion, PG 13-20.

      • The near-sightedness of the West will be our doom.

        Where as one complains that an extermists decapitates an handful of people, they ignore their own military slaughtering hundreds at a time from above – obliterating their bodies into little pieces with bombs.

        The bizarre reality – killing hundreds from above is ‘good’ – killing one by beheading is ‘bad’.

    • All I ever here about Afganistan is that the Taliban and Al Queida are financed a lot with drug money. So pull our troops out if this is the case and burn their money gardens down.

      It’s kind of hard even for me to face the fact of our troops fighting and dying everyday for NOTHING. And don’t kid yourselves. Obama was elected by calling that the “good” war. That was before the election and that was 9 months ago. Not to mention it was a Campaign Promise, or in other words, A DAMN LIE.

      Since Poppy production and Opium are such big money producers for them, burn the damn things down. It’s not like you can’t see them from the air.

    • Relative to Iran….What should we do if anything with the the current situation?

      We should engage the Iranians diplomatically. They are not an unreasonable people.

      The USA administration must realize this (and this is the key for us, the PEOPLE, to understand)

      Americans sit on the Eastern and Western borders of Iran, and we have hundreds of thousands of troops in command.

      Americans have multiple bases from which to assault Iran in the North.

      Americans are sailing two (and at times three) full naval task forces in the South of Iran.

      The USA – by policy and action – has surrounded Iran.

      If we, the PEOPLE, do not understand how Iran feels, we are ignorant.

      If the USA was surrounded in the same way by, say, Russia – would you not be somewhat seriously concerned of the motivations of Russia?

      Now, add in that the USA has already perverted your democratic processes, overthrown your democratic leadership and installed a horrific regime that created what was known as the most vicious Secret Police in the world – exceeding the KGB.

      Now, how would you respond??

      The difficultly in answering your question is that the USA has purposely acted and created this situation.

      So asking now ‘how should we deal with Iran’ is actually very bizarre.

      If, suddenly, you or I got control of the administration, our first step would to relieve the Iranians of being surrounded.

      No person or nation will react well with threats on every front.

      But, we must remember – right now – this is strategy by design that has been in play since the fall of the Shah.

      What I am saying is – the USA is provoking the Iranians on purpose.

      How should the military be handeling this issue?

      Now, this is interesting.

      The US military are very aware that Iran would, asymmetrically destroy the USA.

      We are in a bizarre situation – it was supposed to be the civilian government holding back the military from action – we have the military holding back the civilian government from devastating action!

      We must pray that the US military remains the sanest part of this issue!

      If they launch against Israel how should we respond, if at all?

      Of course, a response must be made.

      There is no cause – Iran initiating on Israel or Israel on Iran – that can be allowed.

      No matter which way, the USA will be devastated. The USA must actively – for the survival of this nation – must block any offensive action, regardless of who starts it.

      Are they a real threat?

      No.

      Nearly 300 years, Iran has not initiated an attack on any nation.

      They had their fill of Empire. They are not interested.

      They will respond – devastatingly – to any attack on them.

      Both the IAEA and the NIE have reported that Iran is NOT engaged in nuclear weapon development.

      But as Ms. Clinton has said, there is nothing the Iranians can do to prove that to her – if her own NIE can’t prove it to her – well…(shrug)

      What about Afganisan? Should we bring the boys home and let that country to it’s own fortune or demise?

      Yes. No more need be said here.

      Both my son and my nephew have spent 2 tours in Iraq and they both say we should get out and leave them to their own fate, we are not going to convert them to a Democracy or Republic.

      Typically, boys on the ground really know what needs to be done.

      I agree with their assessment.

      • BF,

        Are you trying to say that the US installed the current regieme? I call BS. We DID usurp the democratically elected government to install the Shah, 40 years ago. It was action by the curent regieme that ousted that governemtn fro the current theocracy.

        Are you also saying that we should treat action against Iran by Isreal the same as we would treat action against Isreal by Iran? So is it do nothing, and not come to the defense of an ally, or is it just shoot anything down, no matter what direction its flying in?

        • Redleg s

          BF,

          Are you trying to say that the US installed the current regieme?

          No, I did not say that.

          I call BS. We DID usurp the democratically elected government to install the Shah, 40 years ago. It was action by the curent regieme that ousted that governemtn fro the current theocracy.

          You have it correct – but you do not expand on it completely.

          The overthrow and subsequent installation of the Shah resulted in the decimation of the moderates.

          The only thing left under the Shah was one group that enriched themselves at the expense of the people, the vast majority of the people terrorized by the Shah’s secert police, and a group of zealots who actively resisted the Shah’s regime who were immune to the earthly bribes of riches and immune to threats of death by the hands of his tyranny – the Mullahs.

          If by US policy – you polarize a policitacl spectrum into terrorized people on one side – and an zealotry on the other – you have what you have today (after it blows up).

          You have the people who now cheer the zealots who relieved them from their tyranny.

          Not not misunderstand that all actions of consequences – and such actions of political machinations of the USA in foreign countries creates massive unintended consequences that may eventually cause more severe circumstances in the future.

          Are you also saying that we should treat action against Iran by Isreal the same as we would treat action against Isreal by Iran?

          Yes, and please understand why.

          If Israel attacks Iran – Iran will respond against the USA – but Iran cannot respond militarily.

          It will respond economically.

          It will shutdown the Gulf and destroy whatever remains of a global economy.

          The US will economically collapse.

          So is it do nothing, and not come to the defense of an ally, or is it just shoot anything down, no matter what direction its flying in?

          The survival of the USA depends doing just that.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        BF,

        Your premise is based upon your statement that the Iranians are not an unreasonable people.

        You use the fact that they have not attacked another country without provocation in the last 300 years.

        If it is indeed true that the Iranians are a reasonable people, then your approach has merit.

        However, what if it turns out to be true that the GOVERNMENT of Iran is an unreasonable government? What if it turns out that the characterization of the Iranian government as a regime which wishes to wipe Israel (and not just Zionism) off the map is actually a valid characterization?

        I have no doubt that in the main, the PEOPLE of Iran are generally reasonable people.

        I have significant doubt that the Government of Iran adequately and accurately represents the will of the reasonable people of Iran, which is where I feel your reasoning may possibly fall apart.

        The potential danger that we face is not from the “reasonable people” in Iran. The potential danger is from the government of Iran, which has been painted as an incredibly unreasonable government.

        There are several possibilities:

        1. The government of Iran is actually reasonable, and has merely been painted as unreasonable by our propaganda and the propaganda of Israel.

        2. The government of Iran is reasonable, but their reason and our reason are not one in the same. To the government of Iran, it may be perfectly reasonable to attack Israel or to obtain nuclear weapons and threaten to use (or actually use) them against Israel or western interests.

        3. The government of Iran is inherently unreasonable.

        I would agree with the philosophy that the only justifiable use of force is in response to violence, and if #1 above is the case, it is likely that diplomatic efforts would indeed avert a crisis involving the use of violence.

        However, Israel would probably be prudent to prepare to defend itself in case #2 or #3 are a better reflection of reality than #1 is.

        The main problem is, Israel seems to be advocating a PRE-EMPTIVE attack on Iran in response to a PERCEIVED THREAT, and that would, of course, involve the initiation of force against those who, at this time, are non-violent.

        At what point are defensive measures in a case such as this justified? I assume that it would take an actual attack of some sort on Israel by Iran for Israel to be justified in using force in response?

        For a moment, let us simply assume the absolute worst. Assume that Iran actually wants to not only obtain a nuclear weapon, but they also want to offensively use such a weapon directly against Israel. If it could be demonstrated that this was actually highly probable, what would be the proper course of action to take to ensure that it did not happen?

        I know that you believe that my scenario is extremely improbable rather than highly probable, but what would we do if the scenario I have concocted was actually real?

        • PeterB in Indianapolis said

          However, what if it turns out to be true that the GOVERNMENT of Iran is an unreasonable government? What if it turns out that the characterization of the Iranian government as a regime which wishes to wipe Israel (and not just Zionism) off the map is actually a valid characterization?

          The onus on such a belief or claim rests on you – the one who claims this.

          It is not in the best interest of Iran or the Mullahs to be wiped out in a war.

          The irony of the West’s attack on the President of Iran is that he is a moderate. He is battling the Mullahs who have enriched themselves at the cost of the people. The Mullahs are as corrupt as any politician.

          He is trying to wrestle the moral basis of Iran from out of the corruption of the Mullahs. Yet, the West is undermining him – and ironically, empowering a corrupt zealotry leadership.

          Iran is no less complex then the USA. There are opposing forces and politics and issues that are all tumbling – like in any nation-state.

          We in the West, most unfortunately, are beholden to the Main Stream Media – and they purposely distort the image of Iran for political manipulation purposes. It is very difficult to get ‘the truth’.

          One of my key sources is STRAFOR – the founder and CEO sits on the Council of Foreign Relations. They have consultants on the ground all over the world returning analysis. I use them for economic insights regarding international business – since I do most of my work internationally, they provide a core in depth analysis for me before I happen to step in a cow pie.

          I suggest that you sign up for at least their free service.

          The regularily give assessments about Iran and other international hotspots.

          It will give you a core background and understanding outside the MSM twists and perversions.

          However, no matter who prevails in Iran – neither sides best interest is a war with anyone. The Mullahs would lose their wealth – as would the people.

          If it could be demonstrated that this was actually highly probable, what would be the proper course of action to take to ensure that it did not happen?

          Then action would be required.

          But at no time and in no case has this been demonstrated – in fact, the opposite.

          One must be very careful in creating monsters in the closet.

          At some point, you might actually believe in them and as a result end up burning down your own house.

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            BF,

            I acknowledge that my scenario COULD BE the “monster in the closet”. Sometimes that monster is actually very real.

            You assert that the President of Iran is a moderate trying to wrest power from the Mullahs.

            I assert that the Presidential Candidates in Iran must be approved by the Mullahs prior to even being allowed to run for the office of President.

            The Mullahs would not logically allow someone opposed to them to obtain a position of power. Since the Mullahs control Iran, it is not logical that they would allow a moderate who was opposed to them to have any power whatsoever within the government.

            Therefore, I believe that your supposition that he is a moderate that wishes to battle the Mullahs is highly unlikely.

            I believe that he has the seal of approval of the most powerful of the Mullahs, or he would not be President. It would be counter to the best interests of the Mullahs to allow anything else.

            • PeterB in Indianapolis

              I acknowledge that my scenario COULD BE the “monster in the closet”. Sometimes that monster is actually very real.

              You assert that the President of Iran is a moderate trying to wrest power from the Mullahs.

              I assert that the Presidential Candidates in Iran must be approved by the Mullahs prior to even being allowed to run for the office of President.

              No, he does not.

              He needs to be approved by the Ayatollah – who is balanced between supporting the Mullahs and supporting the Government.

              They have a real power sharing constitution – the President controls the Army, the Ayatollah controls the Guard.

              No one wants a civil war.

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            You make the claim that by wiping out Iranian democracy and installing the Shah, this WIPED OUT THE MODERATES and allowed the Mullahs to come to power.

            You then claim that the current President of Iran is a moderate…

            This seems like a big contradiction to me.

            If the Mullahs are in power because the moderates have been wiped out, why would the Mullahs allow the installation of a moderate as president?

            • To explain:

              It has taken – as noted – 40 years to rebuild a semblance of a moderate in Iran.

              It is a slow process with many baby steps. The current President is the latest baby step.

      • All;

        I appreciate the insight and thoughts on my post. I am still eager to hear JAC and USW’s thoughts.

        If we were to pull all troops out of the Middle East and keep our noses out of their lives I wonder how that would effect the future?

        Israel can and will defend itself, and most likely come out on top.

        BTW: Oil is the reason for Iraq, but why in the hell are we in Iraq? Was it due to the initial invasion of Russia?

        CM

      • BF…this must be how Israel feels about being surround by her enemies….hum never thought of it like that.

        • Sure …. if she was surrounded.

          There are no Iranian Aircraft carriers in the Med.

          Egypt has no army to her East.

          Jordon has no army to her West

          Lebanon has no real army – and Hezbollah has no real offensive ability other than missiles. They have no planes, no navy and no tanks.

          Syria has no navy, but tanks, air force and army. But – Israel was able to fly and bomb Syria without a loss and Syria was unable to respond in any way not even capable of spitting.

          So, please show me how Israel is “surrounded” because I simply can’t see it.

    • From a Soldiers perspective: D13 (Read this very carefully. S O L D I E R S perspective)

      I am not as accomplished on the battlefield as a 2 time Medal of Honor winner as has been posted. Even being Texan, I try not to brag about my military service except for the length of it. I am proud of 40 years of service. (April 1, 1969 – April 1, 2009). In that time, I fought in campaigns in Vietnam, Bosnia, Kuwait, and Afghanistan. I do have some hardware to pin on and will list some of them here for credibility. Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star (1), Bronze Star (2), Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Award with “v” device, Purple Heart (3) and various other American and foreign awards. I am Special Forces qualified, Ranger Qualified, Air Assault qualified, Rigger certified (which means I jumped out of perfectly good aircraft) and dual branched in Infantry and Armor. I was enlisted turned officer (Mustang) and have also numerous enlisted awards and this is all the talking I am going to do about medals and such. All this means nothing except that I was scared on the battlefield and did things to be un-scared and got recognized for it. Having said all this, I will throw in that I am well educated and well read and an intellectual equal to anyone with a whole lot more of life’s experiences to draw from than most. From a soldiers perspective…..please read.

      As to Cyndi’s post, those revelations come from combat experience and having been there. There is nothing worse that seeing mankind as it really is in these situations. There is nothing harder to understand, than in our protected world here, the real world is not like us at all. We are so far ahead of the real world, it is laughable and this bull shit of trying to dumb down to be like the rest of the world is, as stated, bullshit. However, I have been in Vietnam with restricted fire zones, free fire zones and no fire zones. Meaning, in a no fire zone, we could not shoot the enemy even if we saw them. We could not fire unless fired upon…which is also bullshit. In war, there should be no “rules of engagement”. Rules of engagement got us killed under the pretense of political consideration and there is none when the bullets fly and men die. The United States is the only military that uses these complex rules as our enemies sure do not. I have seen the enemy fire from schools, hospitals, mosques and religious sites and from behind civilians who all know that we would not return fire when the answer should be that civilians are expendable and accepted casualties of war. It is that simple. When the enemy leaves no choice, then we should have no choice.

      So, in Afghanistan, if we are there to fight…then fight…..or leave. We are taught to do one thing. Kill and destroy. Let us do our job or do not send us. But once the decision is made, let us do our job. No one likes innocent civilians to be killed…NO ONE. But they are there and they are victims by their own people. The atrocities listed in the post by Cyndi are real. A supposedly peaceful nation of Islam, simply is not peaceable. Honor killings are not peaceable. Beating women is not peaceable and it does happen. So, in the real world, it is nasty. As far as Afghanistan goes….fight or leave. Preferably…leave. We are not going to change their way of life nor should we. The only thing that has changed in the last 10,000 years are the weapons. The tribes will still hate each other and fight. If we leave that region, and I mean totally leave, nothing will change. So, in Afghanistan, leave it. Leave it now or fight it to the end but there will be no end. You can conquer it militarily but then you will have nothing but land. The people do not want us there. Then, poison the poppy fields and keep poisoning them for decades to come. Kill the drug trade. That will stop it and it matters not about the economy in Afghanistan. We owe them nothing.

      Iran will become the big boy on the block and export their brand of hate under the guise of being the new messiah of the Islamic world. There is no one there to stop them. GOD is not going to stop them. The Saudis and Egypt will not stop them. I have read and thoroughly understand the Quran and the Islamic way. I have studied it because we are going to fight it eventually and it is NOT a peaceful way of life and will not be. The Iranian people, as nice as some want us to believe, are not in charge and dialogue with them will not work. The clergy is in charge….end of sentence. What they say goes and I see no moderation at this time. Talk all you want. Iran is not to be feared as BF will try to have you believe. They cannot mount an attack that would be any larger than a fart in a whirlwind. They cannot over run Iraq at this time and American soldiers will not die in the thousands, much less the hundreds, much less the tens. We can pull completely out of the mid east and Iran will not stop. BF is wrong here. I know this for fact. I know their army, I know their capabilities and I know their Navy and have the current facts to back it up. Most of their army is conscript and cannot fight. Their Navy , all 11 vessels of it, would not get out of the harbor. Their air force is decimated and out of date. They can put on a good show but would not get close enough to fire any Exocet or like weapon. They cannot close the Straight or the gulf. It simply will not happen nor be allowed. Do not fear Iran except for its brand of religion that will continue to be exploited through out the region. Pulling out of the region will do only one thing…..save American lives. It will not save anything else over there….only make it worse. But let that be their problem and that of Russia and China.

      Israel is really easy…..Leave it alone. It will defend itself just fine. Israel should recognize a Palestinian State and Hamas as the elected group. Israel should get out of the West bank and let Hamas and the Palestinians have it. Set up a safe zone of five miles and have only three entry points. But recognize the Palestinian State only under one premise. If Israel gets just ONE rocket…..then scorch earth it. If it happens again, do it again. And if the money can be legitimately traced to Iran, hit Iran. Syria will do nothing and neither will Egypt because they recognize that Israel is the only country that can actually stop Iran in that region. Jordan will do nothing because it needs the US. All we need to do is supply Israel with the tools to defend itself. However, if Israel were to recognize Palestine….do you think that Syria, Jordan, and Egypt would? The answer is……no.

      As to the UN……well, the UN is nothing. It will be nothing and will do nothing except take our money. That is all. It is toothless and has no will.

      The biggest enemy that we have? Us. We are our own worse enemy and unless we do something to stop the current trend, we will defeat ourselves.

      This….from a soldier’s perspective as requested.

      • Thank you for your valuable insights and especially for your service.

      • “However, if Israel were to recognize Palestine….do you think that Syria, Jordan, and Egypt would? The answer is……no.” D13 if you don’t mind, could you elaborate and tell us why ?

        • Certainly. In all of my briefings and intel, that the public will never see, is that Iran perceives itself to be the “new Coming”, so to speak. The ruler of the Islamic world. The clerics in charge over there (Iran)are not the same as the ones in charge elsewhere. They (elsewhere)do not want this. Consequently, they do not want to recognize Hamas, which is directly funded by Iran and they do not want Iranian influence to gain control. If Palestine is recognized by Israel, and Hamas is recognized by Israel, the next fight will be between the Islamic factions in that region and those factions do not want Iran.

          Israel will be on the side line. Hamas will try to bring Israel in, but the best thing to do is leave them alone….which Israel will probably not do. However, you do not see Syria and the Saudis aiding Hamas right now. Even Syria has closed the border crossings into Palestine. It is warring factions……..same as 10,000 years ago.

      • esomhillgazette says:

        D13, You have said it much more eloquently than I ever could. Also, from a soldier’s point of view, which I do not have. I have never thought once that one soldier or sailor or marine in the United States Military should have to die over there in that shithole. I am patriotic and if I thought for one minute that America might get gain from it I would support it.

        As you said and I have said on here before, we are not going to change one flippin’ thing over there. Those folks will kill each other off regardless of what we do so we should just back out and leave them with it. The worst way we can hurt Al Queida and The Taliban is to burn their damn poppy fields down. Isn’t it funny that the press can take film of the poppy fields but we can’t either find them or could it be we aren’t ALLOWED to find them?

        Your service to America is greatly appreciated, at least by the people who count.

        • “The worst way we can hurt Al Queida and The Taliban is to burn their damn poppy fields down.”

          Because that wouldn’t increase the price of their crops at all. 😉

          No, the best way to destroy them financially is to end the evil and destructive War on (some) Drugs completely and once and for all.

          • bottom line says:

            I can’t help but to agree Kentmcmanigal. I spent a couple of years doing search and seizure type counter-drug ops in the carribbean. It was a joint(CIA FBI DEA ATF NAVY, COAST GUARD)effort and a complete waste of time, money, energy and resources. Illegal drugs are governed by the laws of supply/demand like everything else. America wants it’s drugs. And America is getting it’s drugs with a much greater speed and efficiency than the “WAR ON DRUGS” can keep up with. Why waste the money fighting it?

      • There is unfortunately only one good reason to stay in Afghanistan. Should we withdraw, we will be inundated with Afghan refugees for the next forever years. Every damn time we screw up we get the privlige of hosting the ones who would rather run than fight. It never ends.

      • D13,

        Thanks for your insight. You’ve given me plenty to think about. I wished I’d served with you back when I was in uniform. I think I could have learned a thing or two from you.

    • BF has mentioned Stratfor’s site before. Here is their perspective on Iran and Afganistan:

      http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20090928_obamas_move_iran_and_afghanistan

  3. USWeapon Topic # 2

    Extended School Year Would Have Dire Economic Effects, Critics Say

    If the academic year gets pushed deeper into summer, as President Obama is advocating, the grumbling will not be limited just to students and teachers who will be forced to spend more days in school.

    Critics say the president’s call for a longer academic calendar and a shorter summer vacation will bring on a host of unintended consequences — including increased costs for school systems, major cuts to the nation’s hotel and tourism industries, and a serious blow to summer camp operators.

    Obama says kids in the U.S. spend too little time in the classroom, putting them at a disadvantage when competing with students in other countries. The president has suggested that making school days longer and extending the school year will increase learning, raise test scores and close the achievement gap.

    Read the rest of the article at Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/09/28/obamas-extended-school-year-dire-economic-effects-critics-claim/

    I am interested to hear everyone’s opinion about this particular issue. I have issue with Obama’s calls for a longer school year and shorter summer vacation for a very simple reason. I see it in the exact same light as every other program where the government throws money at education in order to improve it. Throwing good money after bad is never the answer.

    I agree that the US kids are at a disadvantage when competing against kids from other countries. The statistics certainly seem to back that claim up. But it seems to me that the answer is not to require that our children increase the amount of time that they spend in a broken system. The answer should be to figure out why our system doesn’t produce results. My opinion is that parents don’t put enough emphasis on education, and that means kids don’t work hard at it, while other countries do a better job in that area.

    Additionally, the entire education system is broken with standardized testing and tenure for teachers who have no business in front of a classroom. The curriculum stinks, as it seems a fair amount of teachers have an agenda they want to push rather than simply teaching the facts (revisionist history comes to mind). Their is no ability to discipline children who disrupt the classroom anymore. And we have become such a society of pansies that we don’t want any children to “feel bad” so we eliminate failure by pretending it doesn’t exist. There seem to be a lot of things that are broken in our education system. The length of the school year is not a logical fix for our concerns. Obama needs to wake up on this one. I applaud his wanting to make education better, but I wonder why the idiots in the federal government can’t seem to see all the issues that it seems everyone else in America sees, and then address those instead.

    • Hmmmmmmm?!

      To extend the school year into summer . . . . . Hmmmmm?!

      These schools will have to spend more money on A/C units for the classrooms rather than educational materials. Not good.

      School buses (since it is a Federal Law that children be bussed) will have to have A/C units installed adding to the cost and lowering the amount of money for educational materials. Not good.

      My predicted results: The continuation of the “dumbing down” of America’s school children until they all become Obamatrons! Really not good!

    • I read that article a few days ago and I have a solution to how America can improve their education system.

      Parents can actually get involved. Parents should be checking their child’s homework and then teaching the child on how to fix what they did wrong. A little one on one teaching goes a long way.

      Ask any homeschooler.

    • Why not, instead of just throwing federal money at it with no solution, you just quit dumbing down our children? Do not set ONE standard. One set to make us all equal, or in the reality, dumber?

      Let someone with actual exceptional teaching experience make up tests for placement, and then place the kids according to their learning capacity? Every child is not Einstein. Neither are they Forrest Gump.

      Oh, and do this at the STATE level at most. Let the Feds mind their own damn business.

    • USW,
      “The length of the school year is not a logical fix for our concerns. Obama needs to wake up on this one.”

      I do not think Obama is sleeping on this, its just not really about “fixing” education any more than they were/are trying to fix healthcare. Its about control and power. They have examples of what helps and works, and they push policies that are proven to be ineffective instead. Obama, Pelosi and Reed want a dependent class they control to keep them in power.

      “Summer is a crucial time for kids, especially poorer kids, because poverty is linked to problems that interfere with learning, such as hunger and less involvement by their parents.

      That makes poor children almost totally dependent on their learning experience at school, said Karl Alexander, a sociology professor at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University, home of the National Center for Summer Learning.

      Disadvantaged kids, on the whole, make no progress in the summer, Alexander said. Some studies suggest they actually fall back. Wealthier kids have parents who read to them, have strong language skills and go to great lengths to give them learning opportunities such as computers, summer camp, vacations, music lessons, or playing on sports teams.

      “If your parents are high school dropouts with low literacy levels and reading for pleasure is not hard-wired, it’s hard to be a good role model for your children, even if you really want to be,” Alexander said.”

      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/09/27/obama-proposes-longer-school-day-shorter-summer-vacation/?test=latestnews

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        So because the disadvantaged parents are “incapable” of providing a solid learning environment for their own kids during the summertime, we will just go ahead and have a government mandate that ALL KIDS have to go to school, even in the Summer! Sure! That makes sense!

      • esomhillgazette says:

        The stupidity of our Federal, and in several cases, State Government, is appalling.

    • Schools should get back to teaching the three Rs, history and science, and quit teachinag all of the touchy feely stuff. In addition, not every kid is cut out to go to college. recognize that, and give those kids who aren’t the tools they need to survive in a blue-collar world.

    • I see two issues with the education system in america. Fisrt is parents who have no interest in their childs education and future. Second is a culture of mediocrity that does not encourage children to do their best. There is no incentive for being the best anymore. Niether of these problems can be fixed with more money or more time spent in school.

    • Extended School Days:

      Has nothing to do with education.

      It has everything to do with Socialized Day Care.

      Summer puts a huge burden on two-working parents. Obama is offering Day Care to these families.

    • Longer academic time will not equate to smarter time. School is an individual responsibility. We can provide the best schools, the best teachers, and even mink lined desks…but until the student, under parental guidance, instills ethics in the child….longer classroom time will not beget smarter children.

      • I agree but we need to realize that probably isn’t gonna happen so we must get the truly disruptive kids out of the classroom, instead of letting them stop the education of the others and quite frankly in a lot of cases threatening their very lives.

  4. USWeapon Topic # 3

    Obama’s Olympic Error

    Mayor Daley, rocking a 35 percent approval rating, says that the Games would be “a huge boost to our economy, raising it to a new level. The Games will help us recover sooner from the recession that still grips our nation and enable us to better compete in the global economy.”

    There is only one problem with this argument: the history of the Olympic Games almost without exception brands it as a lie. As Sports Illustrated’s Michael Fish – an Olympic supporter – has written, “You stage a two-week athletic carnival and, if things go well, pray the local municipality isn’t sent into financial ruin.”

    In fact, the very idea that Chicago could be an appropriate setting for the Olympics might have been hatched by Jon Stewart for a four-year supply of comedic fodder. To greater or lesser degrees, the Olympics bring gentrification, graft and police violence wherever they nest. Even without the Olympic Games, Chicago has been ground zero in the past decade for the destruction of public housing, political corruption raised to an art form, and police violence. Bringing the Olympics to this town would be like sending a gift basket filled with bottles of Jim Beam to the Betty Ford Clinic: over-consumption followed by disaster.

    Read the rest of the article at the Huffinton Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dave-zirin/obamas-olympic-error_b_302025.html

    It seems that the conservative talk circuit is attempting to make a really big deal about the fact that Obama is heading over to make this pitch for the Olympic games. The rub seems to go this way: “There are so many things he needs to be concentrating on that his taking the time to fly to Copenhagen is absolutely unacceptable. He should be here making decisions about Afghanistan, health care, and the economy.”

    I don’t buy any of that rhetoric. I chalk it up to people who will bitch about anything the President does no matter what. Chicago is home to the President. I would expect no less from him than that he would do whatever he can as the President of the United States to bring the Olympics to his hometown! Of course he is going over. It’s 24 hours folks. Not a big deal at all. So don’t let the conservative talking heads make it a big deal.

    Now as for whether Chicago should be hosting the Olympics in the first place…. I tend to agree with the author’s position that the answer to that is “NO”. Chicago is as politically corrupt a town as I have ever seen. And it has far too many issues. I could literally see so much corruption, pay to play schemes, and financial shenanigans happening in Chicago if this were the case that I simply cannot fathom how it would be a good thing for the country. Anyone visited Atlanta since the Olympics were there? Absolute Craphole.

    • He is ignoring our commitment to Afghanistan in favor of being a lobbyist for the city of Chicago?

      He doesn’t belong in the White House . . . He belongs in a nut house!

      However, that is just my personal not-so-humble opinion!

      • GA Rowe

        I agree that he is stalling on Afghanistan. I would like to see him engaging on this topic harder than he has shown thus far. To hear that he has had only one meeting in all this time with the top leader on the ground there is very troubling. What is further troubling is his not jumping to meet the request of the top commander after claiming for the last 10 months that Afghanistan is the priority and the one we need to focus on and win in.

        I don’t really much care for him taking the time to go and do this. Every minute he is doing something like this is another minute he isn’t here meeting with advisors on how to screw us better.

        USW

        • I have to agree with that US. While I agree with G.A. that he has more important stuff to do, at least it gets him out of our hair for a day or so.

          I wonder though, how much money he will appropriate for the city of Chicago to subsidize them when his worldwide worshippers give the Olympics to them because of his influence?

    • ” – Mayor Daley, rocking a 35 percent approval rating, says that the Games would be “a huge boost to our economy, raising it to a new level. The Games will help us recover sooner from the recession that still grips our nation and enable us to better compete in the global economy.” -”

      If they want to attract businesses and tourism they could try making it a nice place to go. I think there were more school related killings in Chicago last year than in the entire Southeast of the country. Raise your hand if you want to pick up your family and put them in a school there!

      USW – its possible that Atlantla is more corrupt than Chicago. It may not be but it has to be close.

      • The only reason Atl is not as corrupt as Chicago is because it is smaller and doesn’t have as much experience at it.

      • Interesting stats from Wikipedia about Chicago:

        The racial makeup of the city was 41.97% White, 36.77% Black, 4.35% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.36% Native American, 13.58% from other races, and 2.92% from two or more races. 26.02% of the population were Hispanic of any race. 21.72% of the population was foreign born; of this, 56.29% came from Latin America, 23.13% from Europe, 17.96% from Asia and 2.62% from other parts of the world.[

        In 2005, 75% of murders involved a firearm, and 11% were the result of a stabbing. 41% of domestic murders were stabbings. 10% of murders in 2005 (39) were the result of an armed robbery, 9% were of undetermined cause, and at least 30% were gang altercations. Over 40% of victims and 60% of offenders were between the ages of 17 and 25. 85% of victims and 93% of offenders were male. 76% of victims were African American (77.4% of offenders were), 18.3% were Hispanic (17.3% of offenders), and 5.6% were white (5.3% of offenders). The African American murder victimization rate was approximately 34 per 100,000; the Hispanic rate was 11 per 100,000, and the white rate 3 per 100,000. Over 75% of victims and 88% of offenders had a prior arrest history. 11% of armed robbery victims were female, 50% of domestic victims were female, and 7% of gang-related victims were female. 31% of armed robbery victims were over 45 years old. 29% of domestic-related murders were committed by women. A disproportionately high number of robbery-related murders involved African American offenders murdering Hispanics and whites. From 1991 to 2005, 19.2% of armed robbery murder victims were white, and only 4.3% of armed robbery murder offenders were white.
        (2005) Victims of gang-related murders: 70% African American, 26% Hispanic, 3% white; 93% male. Offenders in gang-related murders: 76% African American, 20% Hispanic, 3% white; 99% male. Victims of domestic-related murders: 79% African American, 10% Hispanic, 11% white. Victims of armed robbery–related murders: 68% African American, 13% Hispanic, 19% white, 89% male. Offenders in armed robbery–related murders: 87% African American, 9% Hispanic, 4% white; 93% male.

        Absolutely want to take my family there. 😕

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Hmmm… throughout the history of Chicago, the city has been run by nothing but Democrats.

          I thought that the Democrats were supposed to HELP MINORITIES and PROTECT THE DOWNTRODDEN AND DISADVANTAGED!

          I don’t think that this was the kind of “help” that the minorities, downtrodden, and disadvanted had in mind when they signed up for the program…. Of course that matters not at all, because whenever the next election is in Chicago, they will sign right up for the same program yet again…

          Sigh.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Who cares if Mayor Dailey is rocking a 35% approval rating.

      We are talking Chicago here! One of two things will happen. Either he will be re-elected in a landslide, or he will be defeated in the primary by another corrupt demcagocat who will replace him as mayor.

      Regardless of his approval rating, there will be no significant change in the way Chicago is run.

    • Does hosting the Olympics have long term financial impact? Is hosting at all subsidized by the taxpayer? I’m not familiar with the funding of these events, buy it just doesn’t seem like something we can afford right now.

      I also feel that the corruption (potential, in all fairness), factor is huge and this is again more payback for Obama’s cronies than it is about pride/patriotism, as he certainly hasn’t shown much pride in America thus far.

      Michelle Malkin has done a lot of looking into these corrupt connections; check out her site.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Generally, taxes do play a large part in funding an event like the Olympics.

        Generally an event like the Olympics, even in a city like Chicago, require the construction of new venues to host the events. Some existing venues are used for certain events, but then other new venues must be built near the existing venues, because all of the events must be held within a small geographic area. It would make no sense to have Olympic Basketball in downtown Chicago, and hold the swimming events in, say, Naperville.

        The construction of new venues is usually from a mix of private funds and taxpayer dollars. In the short-term, the economy is stimulated. There are construction jobs, there are security jobs. There is tourism, and all of the other goodies that go with such an event.

        After the event is over, the jobs are over as well, and the city generally ends up with a bunch of expensive sporting venues which they are not going to tear down, but they have little actual use for. What happens then is that the venues become a huge expense to maintain while providing very little economic benefit.

        • In Beijing they literally began tearing down several of the facilities built specifically for the Olympics the week after they were over.

          Because they were not needed.

        • esomhillgazette says:

          Yeah. We got Turner Field, Dorms for GA State U, and a purty fountain out of the Atl Olympics.

          And during the contruction phase we got to watch as mostly illegal aliens built all of it.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Oh, and I forgot to mention, that in Chicago, all of the construction and security contracts will go to whichever companies contribute the largest amounts to the Mayor’s Reelection Fund.

        But, that goes without saying in Chicago 🙂

      • I found this information on the estimated cost of the Olympics. Doesnt seem worth it to me
        Ellen

        http://www.parade.com/news/intelligence-report/archive/090705-does-it-pay-to-host-the-olympics.html

    • Bee in my Bonnet says:

      When the Olympics came to Montreal in 1976, no one at the time would have believed that we would still be paying off the debt 30 years later!! Isn’t Chicago already closing down the government a couple times per month because there of a lack of money? The only ones to prosper from this venture is Valerie Jarret and her cronies.

    • I agree with USW….taking the time away from here is beneficial except the taxpayer money to double the trip…..His wife and entourage going first and then BO second….what a grand waste of taxpayer money and one hell of a carbon foot print…lol

    • I think you have to follow the money a little bit. If Obama gets the Olympics to Chicago, they will no doubt get some federal money, say 100 million goes to the city and then to various contractors. Contractors will then make 10 to 20 million in campaign contributions to various politicians.
      So at no cost to himself, Obama might make himself and his supporters millions. There is no down side for them, its not their money they spend.

  5. USWeapon Topic #4

    Whitman: I focused on family instead of voting

    Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman said Tuesday that it wasn’t until she was a chief executive in Silicon Valley that she realized why she should vote after sitting out elections for decades. “I was focused on raising a family, on my husband’s career, and we moved many, many times,” she told reporters. “It is no excuse. My voting record, my registration record, is unacceptable.”

    Opponent Steve Poizner has said Whitman should drop out of the race because Californians won’t elect someone who didn’t vote for most of her adult life. His spokesman, Jarrod Agen, said Tuesday’s explanation is still unsufficient.

    “Too busy to make a single vote for 28 straight years? No one is buying that,” Poizner spokesman Jarrod Agen said.

    Read the rest of the article at MSNBC (if you dare go near that nest of vipers): http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33080550/ns/politics-more_politics/

    I have to say that if I was in California, I would have issue with this being raised as such a big issue. Voting is a right in this country, not a requirement. To me this says a ton about exactly what I was discussing during yesterday’s articles. Politicians who don’t want to have an honest debate about the issues or political stances, but who instead want to attempt to ruin the other candidate with irrelevant emotional appeals. If Poizner keeps it up, California voters should reject him as well simply based on his tactic of playing political games rather than debating what is best for the state.

    The interesting thing in my thoughts as I read the article was the never ending Black Flag call to not vote. We won’t get into that debate again right now, but it is interesting how this little game being played out gets people in the mindset that not voting is nearly as bad as adultery. A political candidate that doesn’t vote! Blasphemy! While I am not sure that refusing to vote is the answer, I do acknowledge, begrudgingly, that it certainly always seems that no matter the side, everyone is concerned if people don’t vote. Perhaps BF has something there in that they need that legitimacy, even if I do disagree with refusing to vote at this point.

    • I have not missed an election since I became eligible to vote.

      Having said that, well that is just me and I do not speak for anyone else. I do not hold it against anyone that has not ever voted – Why? I believe that this is a free country and you are free to vote or not vote – THAT IS YOUR RIGHT!

      I have and will continue to defend your free right to choose to not vote if that is your choice.

      Heck, I will even defend BF’s right to be a self-proclaimed Anarchist.

      But then again . . . that is just me and I do not speak for anyone else.

    • bottom line says:

      This subject is one that I have a certain level of internal conflict over. I wont say that I don’t vote, but thus far, I haven’t. I believe in voting, but not for the lesser of 2 evils…not for someone that KINDA represents me. Nope, sorry. I reject that. Either they represent me or they don’t. And from what I can see, no one up there represents me. There isn’t much of a choice for an asymmetrical political ideology.

      In the “08 election, as usual, most of them dropped out. Ron “galt” Paul seemed like a real possibility on the surface, but further examination reveals discrepencies. RP talks alot ’bout liberty. Sure, get rid of the fed, legalize everything, VLDG and liberty! Sounds great, but what about abortion? Dr. Paul is staunchly anti-abortion. Just my opinion, but telling someone they cant have an abortion is not much different than mandatory sterilization. Liberty? Sure, if you say so. And what exactly is a Liberpublican? I smell hypocrisy and bovine feces. Sorry Dr.Paul, You don’t get my vote. Who’s left after that? Osama, Hitlery and McSame? All of which advocate amnesty for illegals…Sorry, You DEFINATELY don’t get my vote. Illegal immigration has had a huge, direct, and adverse effect on my life. Call martial law if you have to, but I say round them up and kick them out. I’ve been to Guantanamo. Don’t tell me a fence can’t be built.
      The candidates that are just on the ballot but have no campaign, are more difficult to research. I won’t vote out of ignorance either. Not with MY vote. Keyes keeps popping up on the ballot. Maybe he thinks he has something to offer America. Perhaps I’ll not be so complacent and instead call him up to ask a few questions…starting with if he intends to run in 2012.
      There’s also the question of the legitimacy of the count. I won’t even go into it. I’m not sure I’m motivated enough today to argue the details.

      But above all that I have mentioned, I at least have a choice.

      Thanks once again for indulging in my ramblings. Have a great day everyone.

      Bottom Line

      “Freewill” – Rush 1980

      There are those who think that life has nothing left to chance
      A host of holy horrors to direct our aimless dance

      A planet of play things
      We dance on the strings
      Of powers we cannot perceive
      ‘The stars aren’t aligned
      Or the gods are malign…’
      Blame is better to give than receive

      [Chorus:]
      You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice
      If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice
      You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill
      I will choose a path that’s clear
      I will choose freewill

      There are those who think
      That they were dealt a losing hand
      The cards were stacked against them
      They weren’t born in Lotusland

      All preordained
      A prisoner in chains
      A victim of venomous fate
      Kicked in the face
      You can’t pray for a place
      In heaven’s unearthly estate

      [Chorus]

      Each of us
      A cell of awareness
      Imperfect and incomplete
      Genetic blends
      With uncertain ends
      On a fortune hunt that’s far too fleet

      [Chorus]

      • BL I hear you but there is never going to be a candidate that you agree 100% with unless you are the candidate. Bottom Line for????????????

        • bottom line says:

          I don’t expect 100%. Allow me to explain it the way I did to BF the other day.

          Q: What would you rather have for dinner?
          (A) Frog turd soup
          (B) Cow puke caserole

          The obvious answer is…
          (C) A medium cooked grilled porterhouse, deep fried jumbo shrimp, a baked potatoE, salad, french bread, and a glass of wine.

          Yes. I know, option (C) isn’t available as fine dining isn’t available in the area anymore/yet. But can I at least get a hot dog? Beans maybe? Rice? ANYTHING EDIBLE? …something that isn’t gonna make me vomit?

          And to respond to part 2 of your reply(Bottom Line for????) Is that what I think it is? What exactly do you mean by BL4??

          • Which office are you running for?

            • bottom line says:

              LOL! The notion that a populace would hire a redneck nobody house painter to run the world/towns/districts/neighborhoods is hilarious…Hey, didn’t a nobody painter get elected to an industialized nation in turmiol once? WOW, I just got chills. That’s spooky. Can we drop this subject?

      • Regardless of Dr. Paul’s opinion on abortion, the real issue is, would he try to enact FEDERAL legislation to outlaw it? ifthe answer is no, then what is the problem? IF all he wanted to do was to try to get Roe v. Wade ovturned, then again, what’s the issue? it put the issue at the STATE level, where it belongs.

        • bottom line says:

          Good point. It wasn’t so much the moral, or legal aspects of abortion though, but rather the hypocrisy of his idealism and party affiliation. To me it appeared subtly hypocritical and unclear where he stood. Personally, I don’t care about the abortion issue. Kill YOUR babies all you want. Just don’t kill MY babies. I’m liable to go batshit nutz and snap your neck for it.

    • I believe voting is important but I don’t think it should be used as a reason to disqualify someone from running-there are a lot of people who haven’t been involved who are starting to wake up to whats going on in our government-I have no idea what this woman’s reasons are but to disqualify her or someone else on this basis just might disqualify an honorable person who is going into politics for the right reasons.

  6. This post is in response to those who believe the ‘isolated’ incidents of young school children being taught to sing praise to Obama are anomalies. Is this a coincidence??

    http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/kidskit

    or this?

    http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/kidshome

    I’m finding it harder to think it is.

    • bottom line says:

      If it looks like a duck…

    • Richmond Spitfire says:

      Oh Cyndi…

      I was really worried for you and the possibility of a Tsunami…I am so happy to see you posting this morning.

      Best Regards,
      RS

    • Hi Cyndi, Like the others, was worried about you when I heard of the Tsunami situation. Are you close to all that? Fill us in.

      As far as that Kids for BO stuff……

      Was there anything like this out there when Bush, Clinton, anyone was President? I realize the internet somehwhat makes this more easy to get out, but this seems so over the line to me I can’t even believe it. What is this honoring…..HIM????

      • Thanks ya’ll, for your concern. Everyone here on the atoll is safe and sound! Ya’ll are the BEST! :0)

        The ocean here is very deep, so the energy from the tsunami just goes around us. We’re at about 8.5 degrees N. latitude, where Samoa is about 12 degrees S. latitude. We had several hours warning. I’m not sure of the speed a tsunami travels at, but I know its pretty fast. Thing important thing though, is that we’re all safe and sound, high and dry. Thanks again for your concern. What a great group of folks we have here. 🙂

        As for videos of kids singing praise to President Bush, I never heard of any until yesterday. I’m very skeptical of their authenticity. President Bush was cast by the Left as a tyrant. Don’t you think those videos, if they were in existance at the time, would have been broadcast over and over again just to make the point?

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          If videos of children signing the praises of President Bush had actually in fact existed at the time when he was President, you can bet your bottom dollar that they would have been played over and over again by the mainstream media.

          Since they were not, there is about a 99.999% probability that such videos did not exist at that time, and are far more recent fabrications.

  7. Richmond Spitfire says:

    To all my dear Marine Friends here:

    “Once a Marine, Always a Marine” — drummed into me by my dear Father who was made into a real man at Paris Island, SC!

    *********From my father to you!************

    Two Radical Arab Terrorists boarded a flight out of London . One took a window seat and the other sat next to him in the middle seat.

    Just before takeoff, a U.S. Marine sat down in the aisle seat.

    After takeoff, the Marine kicked his shoes off, wiggled his toes and was settling in when the Arab in the window seat said, ‘I need to get up and get a coke’

    ‘Don’t get up,’ said the Marine, ‘I’m in the aisle seat, ‘I’ll get it for you.

    As soon as he left, one of the Arabs picked up the Marines shoe and spat in it. When the Marine returned with the coke, the other Arab said, ‘That looks good, I’d really like one, too.’ Again, the Marine obligingly went to fetch it.

    While he was gone the other Arab picked up the Marines other shoe and spat in it.

    When the Marine returned, they all sat back and enjoyed the flight.

    As the plane was landing, the Marine slipped his feet into his shoes and knew immediately what had happened. He leaned over and asked his Arab neighbors.

    “Why does it have to be this way? How long must this go on? This fighting between our nations? This hatred? This animosity? This spitting in shoes and pissing in cokes?”

    THE FEW. THE PROUD. THE MARINES.

    ****************************

    I wish all of you a blessed day!

    Best Regards,
    RS

  8. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    G-Man made an interesting point yesterday regarding “law enforcement” and specifically police.

    The police (aka the government) do not exist to “protect you against violent crime”.

    If someone wants to snatch your purse or steal your wallet, they will do so. If someone wants to break into your house and steal your stuff and/or kill you, they will do so. Sure, if a would-be pickpocket or purse-snatcher happens to see a police officer nearby, he may decide the risk is too great, and forego stealing your stuff… FOR THE MOMENT. However, the majority of the time, there is no police presence in your current location, so the thief has no “deterrent” to taking your stuff if that is what he wants to do.

    Carrying a holstered weapon will deter a thief from stealing your wallet or purse. Having an obvious security system protecting your home will deter a thief or murderer from breaking into your home. Having a security guard at your home will deter someone from violent acts against you. Having vigilant neighbors that are willing to look out for each other will deter a criminal from violent acts in the neighborhood. The Police do no such thing, unless they just happen to be randomly patrolling your neighborhood at precisely the right time.

    Now, we even have so-called “identity theft” where a theif can use electronic means to obtain your personal information (all of the “numbers” which the government claims constitute “you”) and steal from you without ever being directly present! Do the police protect you in any way whatsoever against this? Nope. The best protection you have against this comes from a private company that charges $10/month for their services.

    All the police can do in the event of a violent crime against you is attempt to catch the criminal AFTER THE FACT. IF they manage to catch the criminal, and IF they don’t bungle the investigation, and IF they amass enough “credible evidence” and if the lawyers don’t bungle the court case, the person that did violence to you will be PUNISHED.

    Punishment after the fact is not equal to protection from the event occurring in the first place.

    In a free society, there is no reason why an individual, a neighborhood, a community, a town, or a city could not hire a security force. Hell, they could even call them “Police” if it makes you more comfortable.

    However, in a free society, the individual, or neighborhood, or town, or city could not use the threat of force to collect money to pay for the security force, because to do so would be coercive.

    So, the town or city would have to come to an agreement with the residents as to what the cost of hiring/providing a security service would be, and the residents would have to agree to pay for such a service.

    This is a subtle, but important, distinction. Right now, by living in a city, you “agree” to pay for security services (police); HOWEVER, it is not an “agreement”. You have no option to “opt out” of the security service, nor do you have any inkling as to how much it really costs, or whether that cost is worthwhile for the services provided. You also have NO INPUT into what services are provided and what services are not provided.

    In a free society, those that wish to pay for security services (which I bet would be the majority of people) would negotiate the terms of the agreement with those providing the security services as far as services provided and costs.

    Of course, in a free society, you wouldn’t have any “counterfeit laws” that these security services would be wasting their time trying to “enforce”, so that would greatly free up their time to focus on important things, like providing you with the services you agreed to pay for.

    Mathius brought up a question yesterday as to what happens if a guy stabs you and then runs away in such a free society. This is a pretty good question! Let’s say that even though the free society has a security force which you have agreed to pay for, you STILL get stabbed by someone, and they flee the scene while you are writhing on the ground.

    What would some of YOU think that the logical consequences would be in a free society?

    • That is a good question.. so why am I hearing crickets in response?

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Because,
        A.) the question requires serious thought and analysis, which takes time 🙂

        OR

        B:) there are no “good answers” to the question I have posed, in which case you are right and BF and Kent and I are completely wrong, and there is indeed no way for a free society to actually function.

        However, I am pretty sure it is option A.

    • What most people do not understand is this;

      With the way our laws are set up – the constitution, remember? – law enforcement cannot “prevent” a crime from happening. All law enforcement can do is react to a crime that has happened. The prevention of crime is the individuals responsibility, i.e. don’t put yourself in a position to become a victim, and remember that a lock is meant only to keep an honest man honest.

      Not even the Soviet Union could prevent crimes from occurring – one of the worst cases of a serial rapist murderer in the history of modern man occurred within the walls of the Iron Curtain.

      Do not complain about police not preventing crime because crime prevention is not their job – that is your job!

      Remember that when government takes away your right to own and carry a firearm you are no longer a citizen, you are now a subject!

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Which is precisely why the 2nd amendment exists.

        The right of the people to keep and bear firearms shall not be infringed.

        We need to all be reminded that some of the strongest wording in the english language is the words “shall” and “must”. These carry far more force than “should” and “may”.

        In this case, the word chosen was “shall”, and it was chosen for good reason.

        “An armed society is a polite society.” Robert A. Heinlein.

    • “what happens if a guy stabs you and then runs away in such a free society”?

      Not a very good question IMO. What happens in our society if such a person is not caught? It happens. There will always be some fringe that refuses to abide by the rules of decency.

      My question, in that free society, what happens when you catch the violent criminal? And this goes to my position that SOME government is necessary.

      “So, the town or city would have to come to an agreement with the residents as to what the cost of hiring/providing a security service would be, and the residents would have to agree to pay for such a service.”

      I can say from personal experience that there are American cities that use
      private, contracted companies to provide their police, fire and ambulance services, and it is arguable that they are both better and more cost effective.

      Warning, I tried to do a search for US cities with private police and got hit with a likely virus. I could not close and had to kill power to escape.
      Re-booted and did a scan, so I think I’m clean now.

      • I hear Hardin, Montana has some private police taking over. Lots of unknowns as to what it is all about at this point. CNN has implied it might be Gitmo West?

        • BILLINGS – American Police Force officials showed up in Mercedes SUV’s that had “Hardin Police” stenciled on the vehicles. The twist, the city of Hardin doesn’t have a police department.

          Two Rivers Authority officials say having APF patrol the streets was never part of their agenda. “I have no idea. I really don’t because that’s not been a part of any of the discussions we’ve had with any of them,” said Two Rivers Authority’s Al Peterson.

          As it stands now the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Department is contracted to patrol the city and APF has no jurisdiction. If that was changed Peterson says it would have to go through the city council.

          http://www.kulr8.com/news/local/61320122.html

          I think it was a American Police site that tried to hit me with a virus, so be careful. Where cities use private police, they still have to be state certified law enforcement officers, just like any employed by a government, so same standards. One plus, they would not have the same immunity from lawsuits that government provided enforcement enjoys.

        • Kathy:

          Hardin has an empty prison. They offered to take Gitmo prisoners in hopes of inreasing the towns employment.

          Their own Congressmen and the Governor have openly opposed it.

          So the “private police” would actually be contracted prison guards.

    • It depends on how the “free society” is organized. There is not only one possibility since there is no formula for “a” free society.

      Say there are competing “security companies”. In this case they have an interest in finding an aggressive person to keep him from attacking again, and possibly targeting one of their clients. In such a case, they would be liable for any harm their client received if they were not able to prevent it.

      If, instead of the “private security” scenario, you have hired an “insurance company” which would insure you against such events, they would want to find the attacker in order to extract restitution from him (or from his insurer) in order to recover the money they had to pay you or your survivors. They also would want to make certain the attacker is not one of their clients to protect themselves from future liability, and they would want to prevent the attacker from attacking another of their clients.

      There are even more ways this could be resolved. Think and see what you can come up with on your own without falling back on coercion.

  9. Mike M. Houston Texas says:

    Sorry for the delay I was getting some work done. I did want to address Ray’s points on ACORN.

    Ray, on acorn. There is a very fine distinction in my mind as well as others. So for sake of argument lets lay it out.

    Pros per their PR:
    The help the needy
    They help with voter registration
    They organize and take care of the community

    Cons:
    Voter fraud
    The videos

    So lets say I help thousands all the while supporting fraud, prostitution, under age servitutde, and tax evasion.

    I am sure the Nazi party helped some people while incinerating thousands, I am sure the emperor of Japan helped some people while raping China, I am sure Genghis Khan helped some people while beheading many others. When you cross the line the game is over Ray. If you want a defensible position then make sure its defensible. There recent PATTERN of transgressions is a clear indication they must go. There are many organizations that can provide the same services without the laundry list of transgressions. I dont understand the argument because I helped X number of people that gives me the right to screw over these other people. It just doesnt wash.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Alleged “good deeds” cannot provide cover for proven misdeeds, regardless of the organization. The misdeeds ALWAYS outweigh any “good” which may have been accomplished.

      Doesn’t matter whether the organization is a “not-for-profit” or if the organization is…

      YOU GUESSED IT 🙂

      The Government!

    • “There recent PATTERN of transgressions is a clear indication they must go.”

      Does that apply to Congress too?

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        It SHOULD apply to congress, but clearly, it does not.

        More and more people are (thankfully) starting to see that there is a big problem with that.

      • Mike M. Houston Texas says:

        Yes it does. If we could figure out a way to make sure the next guy wasnt just like the one we were replacing it would be even better. There must be a politician cloning facility somewhere. Training = two courses.

        1.) plunder the American people.
        2.) spin everything so no one can actually get the real truth about anything.

        Go to Washington you graduated.

  10. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    Government derives it’s authority based on the assumption that most of the people actually want to behave badly most of the time.

    Free society is based upon the observable FACT that most of the people actually behave quite well towards each other most of the time.

    Examine your day-to-day interactions with other people. I would imagine that you could demonstrate that the overwhelmingly vast majority of your interactions with other people are fine and dandy.

    There is no denying that REGARDLESS OF THE ORGANIZATIONAL NATURE OF SOCIETY, there will always be people that wish to use theft and violence rather than productivity in order to provide for themselves. A free society does not put these types of people into positions of power (as some of you claim it would). A free society actively seeks to DENY these types of people power!

    A “governed” society gives these types of people easy access to power and an easy means to be non-productive and steal from everyone else in order to provide their own sustenance.

    All you have to do is examine the recent “economic crisis” in order to PROVE this. The corporate banks, which ramapantly deceived the people and destroyed the wealth of the people, were bailed out by the government. Nothing whatsoever was done by the government to restore wealth to the people who had had their wealth destroyed. Nothing beyond a few token wrist-slaps was given to the thieves who destroyed the wealth of the people. In the main, those that caused the disaster were rewarded handsomely, and those that were the victims were largely ignored.

    This is what “government” does. Go back through history and you will find countless examples of the corrupt within government shaking hands with the corrupt who support the government, while the people derive no REAL benefit whatsoever, beyond perhaps subsistence-level “handouts” from the government.

    The government “gave” nearly a trillion dollars to the big banks, to prevent them from “collapsing”. What was the net benefit to you?

    At best, you probably got no raise this year. At worst, you lost your job. So this action by the government helped you HOW? By CLAIMING to have prevented an even worse economic disaster, which would have devastated you even more! However, it is impossible to PROVE that the government prevented anything whatsoever! It is impossible to PROVE that if these banks had simply been allowed to collapse the outcome would have been any worse.

    Many people I have talked to think that all the government did was delay the inevitable and that the collapse will be all the more severe when it does indeed come. This is also not possible to PROVE, yet history may well prove it to be the correct conclusion.

    Government is NOT out to protect YOU. Government is out to protect ITSELF.

  11. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    I made this point yesterday, but a lot of you might have missed it.

    The government can print all of the money it wants to print.

    The government spends far more money than it takes in in “revenue”.

    Given these two facts, what is the REAL REASON for taxation?

    Clearly, we are not “paying for services provided by the government”. The government can, and does, print all of the money it wants. The government can, and does, raise money by selling our “debt” to both people within this country and people (and governments) around the globe. The government can, and does, spend far more than it raises through either taxation or the sale of bills and bonds.

    Since it can easily be demonstrated that the government can and does do all of these things, what is the REAL justification for taxation? The way the government runs itself, taxation is clearly unnecessary, and yet they do it anyway! Why?

    If the government provided clearly defined services, and taxes were the payment for these clearly defined services, and the government was not allowed to spend more than it took in in revenue, THEN TAXATION WOULD AT LEAST MAKE A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF SENSE.

    The government is demonstrably not run that way, so obviously taxation does not serve the purpose of “funding government services”. That being the case, what is ther real purpose?

  12. FDIC Discloses that its Broke…..

    http://rightsoup.com/fdic-discloses-that-its-broke/

    If one of our financial friends would explain, I’d appreciate it!

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Simple explanation:

      The FDIC collects “premiums” from banks to ensure that any deposit you make in that bank is insured up to $250,000.

      The FDIC has used the money in their kitty to sieze banks which it deemed to be “insolvent” thus protecting your deposits in that bank by directly siezing the bank and auctioning off the assets to another bank (usually Morgan Stanley or Goldman Sachs).

      However, because the FDIC auctions these bank assets to the mega-banks at pennies on the dollar, the FDIC has now run out of money, so any deposits you have in any bank, though technically insured up to $250,000 are no longer really insured, because the FDIC does not have any money to cover any claims.

      Great way to run the government, no?

    • It is obviously a sign that things are not good.

      But, one must be very careful in reading what the sign says, what it is meant to say to you and what it means to you.

      They are three different things, so bare with me.

      What the sign says:
      -small banks are failing, and the FED is refusing to bail them out. They go bankrupt, their assets are bought up by a Big-5 bank at pennies to the dollar, and the depositors are paid out of the FDIC.

      What the government wants you to think:
      -banking with a independent bank is a ‘bad thing’ and aren’t you lucky the FDIC was there to save you. It is so bad that the FDIC is begging for more money to save you

      What it should mean to you:
      -big banks are gobbling up little banks like crazy. This is centralizing the banking cartel into 5 majors – themselves all owned by the government. FED is saving big banks, it has poured hundreds of billions to save them. It is letting little banks die on the vine.

      This gobbling cannot affect the people – so the FDIC is paying off the depositors.

      This is a red herring. Nothing changes in the economy. The amount of money does not change – paying of a depositor is simply returning the same paper that was deposited back to the depositor.

      Deposits are held by the FED. When you put a dollar into a bank – it is a dollar in the FED. When you take it out, or it is given back to you, it is a dollar less in the FED.

      Remember, Americans are lousy savers – this sounds like a crisis (and in one manner, it is), but there is a lot of money in the FED – far more than any deposits in small banks.

      FDIC will get a ‘loan’ from the FED – left hand paying right hand.

      But the reality – small independent banking in the USA is over.

  13. Because there is no clear line between sickness and health, and where you stand on the continuum is bound up with individual choice, the more medical services are provided by the State as a part of welfare, the more the programs reinforce the conditions that bring about the need to make use of them.

    Socialized medicine must fail for the same reason all socialism must fail: it offers no system for rationally allocating resources, and instead promotes the overutilization of all resources, ending in bankruptcy

  14. Getting on the email list.

  15. http://www.gata.org/node/4213
    GATA Says Much of U.S. Gold Reserve is Encumbered – CBS MarketWatch

    Essentially, instead of ore, the Gold Reserve is full of paper.

    One day, that paper will need to be replaced by real ore.

    The day before, you better have bought your gold.

  16. Here’s the best “for the layman” writeup on Steve McIntyre’s debunking of Mann’s Hockey Stick. This is important.

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2009/9/29/the-yamal-implosion.html

  17. Richmond Spitfire says:

    Okay…so this is up for vote to rename my employer’s volunteer organization (I’ve mispelled some words intentionally):

    1. B@nk of @merika Community Volunteers
    2. B@nk of @merika Neighborhood Service Corps
    3. B@nk of @merika Volunteer Corps
    4. B@nk of @merika Volunteer Service Corps

    Should I apply Black Flag’s philosophy and just not vote? My husband says that I should suggest Bankorn! lol

    Best wishes to all today,
    RS

    • Definitely #1, after Acorn and Obama being a community organizer-I think the word community in the title sets off peoples – “what the heck is this” button

    • Voting for something that does not compel and coerce you to accept if you do not agree with is Ok.

      If we are voting for what color to paint the walls of an office – and the vote goes against me – I am free to move office, find another place of employment or whatever. Voting here is just fine.

      The problem with voting in Politics is that if the vote goes against me, and 51% say its the law to plunder the other 49%, the 49% cannot move, their property is locked, and if they resist, they are murdered. Voting here is not fine.

  18. v. Holland
    Carry over from yesterday…

    Part of my problem with a Non Government is that when you create that organization system you are in danger of creating a system that is a government in everything but name but one that possibly has less checks and balances than we have now. That is why I keep wanting some kind of outline-I can except that people who support anarchy don’t know exactly how everything will work and perhaps people could have a discussion on how it might work just as we discuss how to try and fix our present government, that conversation might help us solve some of our present problems a lot more than just arguing over which is better

    Your concern is precisely why we (or I guess, “me”) spends so much time arguing about the basis of such a system and the requirement to establish a moral basis.

    We already know what happens when an immoral basis is used.

    We must be clear to define better a system that is sustainable for the future.

    As far as knowing how ‘everything’ will work – it is impossible. I urge you to pick up the book The Black Swan to understand why it is impossible.

    But quickly, imagine yourself to be a soul alive 500 years ago.

    There was only one way to pray to God, and it was the Church via the Pope.

    Imagine someone trying to explain to that soul that it was 1) possible to talk to God without a Pope 2) have as many different religions at the same time 3) switching between such religions at a whim. Imagine trying to explain to him what “Freedom of Religion” meant.

    Since there is no reference point for him to understand. His paradigm was too strong for him. Even Luther had no idea what would be the outcome from his complaints regarding the Church.

    As Karl Marx responded to the same question you posed – “What would (….) be like?”

    He said: “I have built you the Kitchen. What meals that may be cooked in this kitchen I do not know”.

    Same here. The reasoning:

    If we build a system based on a moral foundation in the hands of free men, the consequences of that system has the optimum potential of providing a prosperous, sustainable, moral society

    If we build a system based on an immoral foundation in the hands of slave masters, the consequences of that system will be inferior to the former

    • bottom line says:

      BF FOR PRESIDENT!

    • I am still thinking about your words but for now I can just say that I don’t think that our government was formed on an immoral basis-I think the moral principals it was founded on have been corrupted by man-just as a non government society formed on a moral basis could be corrupted by man. I understand your theft analogy and I agree upto a point, but I also see that if one wants to live in a society, that man has a responsibility to pay his reasonable part for the military and other things. The debate to me is on what is reasonable and what “other things” are every citizens responsibility.

      • The basis of this system
        is predicated on this:

        “….the monopoly on the self-claimed right to initiate violence on non-violent people”

        All LAW requires the application of violence – force, coercion – whatever you want to call it.

        When you use LAW to enforce a MORAL, you are using violence on a non-violent person.

        As soon as this is seen as a legitimate use of LAW, society begins to crumble.

        Since LAW (violence) can be used to enforce one’s OPINION upon non-violent people, the system becomes a tool of those very violent and evil men who wish to FORCE their OPINIONS, who wish to extract unearned wealth by using VIOLENCE upon non-violent people.

        Society, thus, begins to collapse.

        • BF-I cannot argue with you on the point that creating laws gives government the right to enforce them and they can be used immorally-that does not mean that setting up laws is immoral-it just shows that man can create immoral laws.

          Violence on non violent people-I’m certainly not going to say that our government doesn’t do this because they do-we have many bad laws but I would not call it violence to enforce laws that force people to honor their legal obligations or to pay a reasonable tax. i suppose it depends on your definition of violence-if someone owes me a lot of money for my labor and they refuse to pay me-I feel they are attacking me and my families security, hence I could define their non compliance to our contract as violence so enforcing the law wouldn’t be violence on non violent people.

          I do agree that any form of government opens the door to everything you stated but no laws and no government also opens doors and as you said it is impossible to know what doors it would open but it is possible to make reasonable assumptions.

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            BF has never taken the position that there should be “no laws”.

            You make a very flawed assumption if you believe he has ever taken that position.

            • My understanding is that BF believes in natural law-I consider these laws to be the same as moral laws-so I see this statement by BF” When you use LAW to enforce a MORAL, you are using violence on a non-violent person.” as a contradiction.

              • Your consideration is incorrect, V.

                As I’ve already laid out – the only right one has to use violence is to respond to an attack of violence.

                The rest of society norms are merely RULES – and have no right to use violence to enforce them – since there is no violence to defend against.

              • I have re- read what you wrote and I agree per your definitions you are not being contradictory.

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            You seem to believe that law = government. Is that true?

            • “Part of my problem with a Non Government is that when you create that organization system you are in danger of creating a system that is a government in everything but name but one that possibly has less checks and balances than we have now.”

              The above is what I think.

            • Let me put it this way Peter I see structure = government. I simply cannot comprehend how you can create a structure that doesn’t create a government and if you actually have a society without government then having true structure seems impossible which would result in chaos.

              • Structure that is voluntary is not government. The one thing that distinguishes government from anything else is the fact that you are not allowed to opt out; it is not consensual. It is a monopoly on force-it is “legalized” theft and murder. No other structure is that way. My family is “structured”, but they can not enforce anything upon me that I don’t consent to, at least at some level. I can just ignore them and there is nothing they can really do to me.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                You see, you are defining government as structure.

                BF is defining government as the monopoly of the self-claimed right to initiate violence on non-violent people.

                This is part of the problem. The two of you have not agreed on a consistent definition of government.

              • Precisely, Peter which is why I demand such definition.

                V. Hollands definition is incomplete

                — I have structure, but no one confuses me with “government”.

                The challenge most people have is an incomplete ideas of government – or it is a wish about government that they want.

                However, it offers a fatal understanding to hold a fantasy or incomplete definition of government.

                All this work to put in place a sustainable system will fail again if done without the complete understanding of the beast they are dealing with.

              • V. Holland

                You offer precisely the situation and horror that manifests itself into tryanny.

                On one hand you say

                Violence on non violent people-I’m certainly not going to say that our government doesn’t do this because they do-we have many bad laws but I would not call it violence to enforce laws that force people to honor their legal obligations or to pay a reasonable tax.

                Talk about a contradiction.

                Taxation is an act of violence.

                It is coercion to money from people under the threat of coercive violence and thus is violence – ask the Browns about not paying taxes.

                Because you excuse this use of violence on non-violent people you poison yourself and everything else.

                If you can justify just one case where you believe you have a right to use violence on non-violent people, you allow me to justify any case that I can use violence on non-violent people – and the race between evil men to hold that mantle of the right – legal violence – is on, once again in your system.

              • It would only be a contradiction if I believed that taxing people is committing violence on non violent people-I do not-I no more believe that the government sending me a bill to pay my fair share for the services they provide is committing violence than I do the utility company sending me a bill for supplying me energy is violence and I believe that if they don’t have the right to make me pay than that is allowing me to steal from them or from society as a whole. Now again I freely admit that the government having this right does open a door that allows them to become immoral and they have. We need to do everything possible to make the government smaller.

              • V.H.

                If you don’t pay your power bill they turn off your power and you burn wood instead.

                What happens when you don’t pay your taxes?

  19. From an email

    A lengthy but interesting reminder —

    Geert Wilders is a Dutch Member of Parliament.

    America as the last man standing

    ‘In a generation or two, the US will ask itself: who lost Europe ?’

    Here is the speech of Geert Wilders, Chairman, Party for Freedom, the
    Netherlands , at the Four Seasons, New York , introducing an Alliance of
    Patriots and announcing the Facing Jihad Conference in Jerusalem .

    Dear friends,

    Thank you very much for inviting me.

    I come to America with a mission. All is not well in the old world. There is
    a tremendous danger looming, and it is very difficult to be optimistic. We
    might be in the final stages of the Islamization of Europe. This not only is
    a clear and present danger to the future of Europe itself, it is a threat to
    America and the sheer survival of the West. The United States as the last
    bastion of Western civilization, facing an Islamic Europe.

    First I will describe the situation on the ground in Europe . Then, I will
    say a few things about Islam. To close I will tell you about a meeting in
    Jerusalem .

    The Europe you know is changing.

    You have probably seen the landmarks. But in all of these cities, sometimes
    a few blocks away from your tourist destination, there is another world. It
    is the world of the parallel society created by Muslim mass-migration.

    All throughout Europe a new reality is rising: entire Muslim neighborhoods
    where very few indigenous people reside or are even seen. And if they are,
    they might regret it. This goes for the police as well. It’s the world of
    head scarves, where women walk around in figureless tents, with baby
    strollers and a group of children. Their husbands, or slaveholders if you
    prefer, walk three steps ahead. With mosques on many street corners. The
    shops have signs you and I cannot read. You will be hard-pressed to find any
    economic activity. These are Muslim ghettos controlled by religious
    fanatics. These are Muslim neighborhoods, and they are mushrooming in every
    city across Europe . These are the building-blocks for territorial control of
    increasingly larger portions of Europe , street by street, neighborhood by
    neighborhood, city by city.

    There are now thousands of mosques throughout Europe . With larger
    congregations than there are in churches. And in every European city there
    are plans to build super-mosques that will dwarf every church in the region.
    Clearly, the signal is: we rule.

    Many European cities are already one-quarter Muslim: just take
    Amsterdam ,Marseill and Malmo in Sweden . In many cities the majority of the
    under-18 population is Muslim. Paris is now surrounded by a ring of Muslim
    neighborhoods. Mohammed is the most popular name among boys in many cities.

    In some elementary schools in Amsterdam the farm can no longer be mentioned,
    because that would also mean mentioning the pig, and that would be an insult
    to Muslims.

    Many state schools in Belgium and Denmark only serve halal food to all
    pupils. In once-tolerant Amsterdam gays are beaten up almost exclusively by
    Muslims. Non-Muslim women routinely hear ‘whore, whore’. Satellite dishes
    are not pointed to local TV stations, but to stations in the country of
    origin.

    In France school teachers are advised to avoid authors deemed offensive to
    Muslims, including Voltaire and Diderot; the same is increasingly true of
    Darwin . The history of the Holocaust can no longer be taught because of
    Muslim sensitivity.

    In England Sharia courts are now officially part of the British legal
    system. Many neighborhoods in France are no-go areas for women without head
    scarves. Last week a man almost died after being beaten up by Muslims
    inBrussels, because he was drinking during the Ramadan.

    Jews are fleeing France in record numbers, on the run for the worst wave of
    anti-Semitism since World War II. French is now commonly spoken on the
    streets of Tel Aviv and Netanya , Israel . I could go on forever with stories
    like this. Stories about Islamization.

    A total of fifty-four million Muslims now live in Europe . San Diego
    University recently calculated that a staggering 25 percent of the
    population in Europe will be Muslim just 12 years from now. Bernhard Lewis
    has predicted a Muslim majority by the end of this century…

    Now these are just numbers. And the numbers would not be threatening if the
    Muslim-immigrants had a strong desire to assimilate. But there are few signs
    of that. The Pew Research Center reported that half of French Muslims see
    their loyalty to Islam as greater than their loyalty to France . One-third of
    French Muslims do not object to suicide attacks. The British Centre for
    Social Cohesion reported that one-third of British Muslim students are in
    favor of a worldwide caliphate. Muslims demand what they call ‘respect’. And
    this is how we give them respect. We have Muslim official state holidays.

    The Christian-Democratic attorney general is willing to accept Sharia in the
    Netherlands if there is a Muslim majority. We have cabinet members with
    passports from Morocco and Turkey .

    Muslim demands are supported by unlawful behavior, ranging from petty crimes
    and random violence, for example against ambulance workers and bus drivers,
    to small-scale riots. Paris has seen its uprising in the low-income suburbs,
    the banlieus. I call the perpetrators ‘settlers’. Because that is what they
    are. They do not come to integrate into our societies, they come to
    integrate our society into their Dar-al-Islam. Therefore, they are settlers.

    Much of this street violence I mentioned is directed exclusively against
    non-Muslims, forcing many native people to leave their neighborhoods, their
    cities, their countries. Moreover, Muslims are now a swing vote not to be
    ignored. I

    The second thing you need to know is the importance of Mohammed the prophet.
    His behavior is an example to all Muslims and cannot be criticized. Now, if
    Mohammed had been a man of peace, let us say like Ghandi and Mother Theresa
    wrapped in one, there would be no problem. But Mohammed was a warlord, a
    mass murderer, a pedophile, and had several marriages – at the same time.
    Islamic tradition tells us how he fought in battles, how he had his enemies
    murdered and even had prisoners of war executed. Mohammed himself
    slaughtered the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza. If it is good for Islam, it is
    good. If it is bad for Islam, it is bad.

    Let no one fool you about Islam being a religion. Sure, it has a god, and a
    here-after, and 72 virgins. But in its essence Islam is a political
    ideology. It is a system that lays down detailed rules for society and the
    life of every person. Islam wants to dictate every aspect of life. Islam
    means ‘submission’. Islam is not compatible with freedom and democracy,
    because what it strives for is Sharia. If you want to compare Islam to
    anything, compare it to communism or national-socialism, these are all
    totalitarian ideologies.

    Now you know why Winston Churchill called Islam ‘the most retrograde force
    in the world’, and why he compared Mein Kampf to the Quran. The public has
    wholeheartedly accepted the Palestinian narrative, and sees Israel as the
    aggressor. I have lived in this country and visited it dozens of times. I
    support Israel . First, because it is the Jewish homeland after two thousand
    years of exile up to and including Auschwitz , second because it is a
    democracy, and third because Israel is our first line of defense.

    This tiny country is situated on the fault line of jihad, frustrating
    Islam’s territorial advance. Israel is facing the front lines of jihad, like
    Kashmir, Kosovo, the Philippines , Southern Thailand, Darfur in Sudan ,
    Lebanon , and Aceh in Indonesia . Israel is simply in the way. The same way
    West-Berlin was during the Cold War.

    The war against Israel is not a war against Israel . It is a war against the
    West. It is jihad. Israel is simply receiving the blows that are meant for
    all of us. If there would have been no Israel , Islamic imperialism would
    have found other venues to release its energy and its desire for conquest.
    Thanks to Israeli parents who send their children to the army and lay awake
    at night, parents in Europe and America can sleep well and dream, unaware of
    the dangers looming.

    Many in Europe argue in favor of abandoning Israel in order to address the
    grievances of our Muslim minorities. But if Israel were, God forbid, to go
    down, it would not bring any solace to the West. It would not mean our
    Muslim minorities would all of a sudden change their behavior, and accept
    our values. On the contrary, the end of Israelwould give enormous
    encouragement to the forces of Islam. They would, and rightly so, see the
    demise of Israel as proof that the West is weak, and doomed. The end of
    Israel would not mean the end of our problems with Islam, but only the
    beginning. It would mean the start of the final battle for world domination.
    If they can get Israel , they can get everything. So-called journalists
    volunteer to label any and all critics of Islamization as a ‘right-wing
    extremists’ or ‘racists’. In my country, the Netherlands , 60 percent of the
    population now sees the mass immigration of Muslims as the number one policy
    mistake since World War II. And another 60 percent sees Islam as the biggest
    threat. Yet there is a danger greater danger than terrorist attacks, the
    scenario of America as the last man standing. The lights may go out in
    Europe faster than you can imagine. An Islamic Europe means aEurope without
    freedom and democracy, an economic wasteland, an intellectual nightmare, and
    a loss of military might for America – as its a llies will turn into
    enemies, enemies with atomic bombs. With an Islamic Europe, it would be up
    to America alone to preserve the heritage of Rome , Athens and Jerusalem .

    Dear friends, liberty is the most precious of gifts. My generation never had
    to fight for this freedom, it was offered to us on a silver platter, by
    people who fought for it with their lives. All throughout Europe American
    cemeteries remind us of the young boys who never made it home, and whose
    memory we cherish. My generation does not own this freedom; we are merely
    its custodians. We can only hand over this hard won liberty to Europe ‘s
    children in the same state in which it was offered to us. We cannot strike a
    deal with mullahs and imams. Future generations would never forgive us. We
    cannot squander our liberties. We simply do not have the right to do so.

    • When I read things like this, I can understand the feeling of the pagan Romans and their vitriol they had against the surge of Christianity.

      Now, its Christianity’s turn to use the same vitriol, the same misunderstanding, the same rhetoric to attack another religion….

      History doesn’t repeat, but it sure does rhyme.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        You believe Islam to be a religion of peace.

        A member of the Dutch Parliament believes Islam to be not a religion, but a system of oppression and domination.

        Do you agree with his population and statistics as to the number of Muslims in Europe? Do you agree that they show no signs of attempting to assimilate into European cultures?

        If you are right, and Islam is a religion of peace, then we have nothing to fear.

        If he is right, and Islam is a political system which is at its root expansionist, then we do indeed have something to fear.

        So BF, how do we know that you are right?

        You point to various historical examples, and you CLAIM in each case that the only violence ever perpetrated by Muslims is always in response to violence initiated against them by someone else.

        You theorize that if all violence against Muslims would stop, then all violence by Muslims against others would stop.

        How do we know that that theory is indeed correct?

        Are we also to believe that the expansionist policies of the former Soviet Union were always only in response to violent actions or threats of violent action against them by the West? Are we to believe that because the Russian people are basically good people, the Soviet Government really did not have expansionist desires of its own, but merely did these things as a response to Western violence?

        I think you potentially make a critical error when you label our government as “evil” (which it is), but fail to label other governments as “evil” (which they are).

        The truth is, Western governments are evil, but they at least make a pretence of supporting freedom and liberty. Other governments are ALSO EVIL, and many of these other governments make no pretence whatsoever of even giving lip-service to the concepts of freedom and liberty.

        To trust the government of Iran simply because the people of Iran are “basically good” makes no more sense than trusting the government of the US simply because the people of the US are “basically good”.

        The people of the US at least have the illusion of having some power and control over our own government. Currently the people in the Islamic world, at least in my view, do not even have an illusion of power or control over their own governments.

        Perhaps you believe that the Islamic people do actually have power and control over their own governments and we just fundamentally disagree on that.

        In my own mind, if it makes no sense to trust my own government, it makes even LESS sense to trust someone else’s government.

        • Peter, you have nailed what is my concern with the whole Islam-thing. What is it really?

          Is it a religion of peace or a system of oppression and domination?

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            Mine as well.

            If it can be demonstrated that it actually is a religion of peace, then that is one thing.

            If it can be demonstrated that it is a system of opression and domination, then that is a different beast entirely.

            There are people attempting to demonstrate that it is a religion of peace. There are also people that are attempting to demonstrate that it is a system of oppression and dominance.

            Neither side seems to be completely trustworthy and believeable.

            The other possibility is that the people, in general, who practice Islam truly believe that it is a religion of peace, but the governments of those people wish to used it as a tool of oppression and dominance, which again would pose a huge problem.

            • From FOX

              RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — A prominent Muslim cleric has criticized a new Saudi university launched by King Abdullah for allowing men and women to take classes together.

              Sheik Saad Bin Naser al-Shethri, who is a member of the powerful government-sanctioned Supreme Committee of (Islamic) Scholars, was quoted Wednesday in the Al-Watan daily as demanding an end to coed classes at the newly opened King Abdullah Science and Technology University.

              “Mixing is a great sin and a great evil,” al-Shethri was quoted as saying. “When men mix with women, their hearts burn and they will be diverted from their main goal (which is) … education.”

              • OK – I think there’s a joke waiting on that……”When men mix with women, their hearts burn ….” line.

                Open mic – stand up stage – who’s got a good one to go along with this?

        • Peter

          So BF, how do we know that you are right?

          You point to various historical examples, and you CLAIM in each case that the only violence ever perpetrated by Muslims is always in response to violence initiated against them by someone else.

          You theorize that if all violence against Muslims would stop, then all violence by Muslims against others would stop.

          How do we know that that theory is indeed correct?

          Try this scenario – I will replace Islam with Christianity and exercise the same demand upon it.

          Here goes:

          The greatest wars in human history have been Christian-nations instigated.

          I could list for weeks the atrocities – historical and current – done by Christians.

          I can suggest that 95% of the people in US prisons claim to be Christian.

          How much evidence do you need to prove that all Christians are evil?

          Get my point?

          They are human beings – real people just like you. There are some bad ones but most of them are good.

          They love their children.
          They want a better life for their children than they have.
          They work hard.

          They have a deep and long history. When the Christian world was wobbling in the Dark Ages, the Muslim world was the most advanced civilization in this part of the world. You can do mathematics because of them. We have chemistry because of them. We have medicine because of them. They held the knowledge of the antiquities which they shared with the West – starting off the Renaissance.

          And…
          They pray to the same God you do.

          They may hold different cultural nuances then you – but who is right? Not you, nor them – but for each to their own.

          If – by a policy – you believe they are that different from you – you will create an ill-fated consequence that will cause great suffering on them and on you.

          All change in the world begins with ourselves.

          When we change how we see others guess what? They change before our very eyes.

          You can change your view on others – and make them monsters. Guess what, you created monsters.

          You can change your view on other – and make them friends. Guess what, you created a friend.

          The choice is in our hands – not theirs.

          ….

          • To understand how easy this is:

            In 1944, our greatest enemy was Japan and Germany and our great friend was Russia.

            In 1960, our greatest enemy was Russia and our great friends were Japan and Germany.

            Who changed?

            We did.

            • Dead wrong, BF, you are dead wrong with that statement.

              Who changed? Japan and Germany changed, that’s who changed!

              Who changed them? WE DID!

              Why did Communism fail in the Soviet Union? We made it fail by out spending them militarily at every turn and causing their bankruptcy.

              Capitalism works and Communism fails.

              End of story.

              • Japanese are still Japanese – not Nips.

                Germans are still Germans – not Krauts.

                And sorry, the battle was not Communism vs Capitalism

                It was Socialism vs Mercantilism.

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            BF,

            You submit that they are a reasoned people, and we got all of this great knowledge from them (in the past).

            You submit that they are no different from us. I submit that YOU MAY BE WRONG ON THIS POINT.

            In order to be logical and reasonable, you must understand logic and reason. One COULD argue that these things are innate, but I don’t think that is the case.

            I believe that we still have access to the tools that teach us how to use logic and reason.

            I am not sure that the average Muslim has access to the tools which teach him to use logic and reason.

            If you are taught from birth that your religion is the one true religion, and that the followers of all other religions are unbelievers and heretics and as such may be treated as second-class citizens at best, or as animals at worst, you MIGHT overcome that indoctrination using logic and reason.

            However, if you do not have access to the tools needed to fully understand and use logic and reason, you will have no means of overcoming your indoctrination.

            So, I do think that it is very likely that the average Muslim is different than you are or I am.

            You and I can analyze the statement “Islam is the one true religion, and all who do not follow it are heretics and unbelievers” and we can recognize it as indoctrination. My personal feeling is that the average Muslim lacks the tools to even analyze the statement and decide on its validity one way or another.

            We know for a fact that our own government seeks to “dumb down” education in an attempt to stop the masses from being able to think for themselves. I personally have no doubt that governments in Islamic countries ALSO DO THIS, and especially in a country such as Iran, which is a theocracy, they probably do it very effectively.

            • “If you are taught from birth that your religion is the one true religion, and that the followers of all other religions are unbelievers and heretics and as such may be treated as second-class citizens at best, or as animals at worst”

              That is exactly what I was taught, and how my parents still believe. (Christians of the Southern Baptist sort) Fortunately, they don’t act on it, but it does taint their lives.

      • My dear Flagster,

        I hope you do not take me as being one who is anti-Muslim. I am all for live and let live, as well as an eye for an eye. Don’t try to kill or enslave me & I will respond in kind. I think the US has been successful in the past with immigration because of assimilation, and that is where Europe and the US is failing now.

        From above,
        “And the numbers would not be threatening if the Muslim-immigrants had a strong desire to assimilate. But there are few signs of that. The Pew Research Center reported that half of French Muslims see
        their loyalty to Islam as greater than their loyalty to France . One-third of French Muslims do not object to suicide attacks. The British Centre for Social Cohesion reported that one-third of British Muslim students are in favor of a worldwide caliphate. Muslims demand what they call ‘respect’. And this is how we give them respect. We have Muslim official state holidays.

        Muslim demands are supported by unlawful behavior, ranging from petty crimes and random violence, for example against ambulance workers and bus drivers, to small-scale riots.”

        http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/4097

        Sweden tops European rape league Sweden has the highest incidence of reported rapes in Europe — twice as many as “runner up” the UK, a new study shows. Researchers behind the EU study, which will be presented on Tuesday, conclude that rape appears to be a more common occurrence in Sweden than in continental European countries. In Sweden, 46 incidents of rape are reported per 100,000 residents. This figure is double as many as in the UK which reports 23 cases, and four times that of the other Nordic countries, Germany and France. The figure is up to 20 times the figure for certain countries in southern and eastern Europe.

        • Turkish Vote May Decide German Elections

          From the desk of Thomas Landen on Fri, 2009-09-25 09:47

          It has become a pattern in several European countries: The Muslim electorate tips the balance towards the Left. In Germany, too, Turkish immigrants are likely to play the pivotal role in the general elections next Sunday. All the parties are hoping to attract their votes.

          http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/4101

        • Last week was al-Quds (or ‘Jerusalem’) Day. It sounds as if it could be an ancient religious festival. But it is not. This annual event – usually held on the last Friday of Ramadan – was founded by Ayatolla Khomeini, as a day to oppose the “usurper Israel.” Today it’s also an occasion for hardliners of all stripes, around the world, to celebrate Iran’s clerical regime and its client, the Lebanese-based terrorist militia Hezbollah.

          In Tehran, president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at an anti-Israel march, and, once again, referred to the Holocaust as a “myth.” “The very existence of this regime [Israel],” he said, “is an insult to the dignity of the people.”

          http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/4100

        • the French are inching closer to a definitive measure that will allow Islamic law to enter into the French legal framework. All this is happening with the support of President Sarkozy’s UMP.

          The French Senate passed the bill on June 9. It was then that they introduced the amendment on Islamic “sukuk”

          http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/4098

    • …Barack. Hussein. Obama. mmmmm, mmmm, mmmmm.

      Mr. Wilders must have cried on 4 November 2008.

    • bottom line says:

      very interesting

    • This goes hand in hand in what I have been told…..by Muslims. This goes hand in hand in what I have been told by the Mosques in Dallas, Arlington, and Fort Worth and I named them. There are not very many of them here…Hand in Hand…..not one would stand up against and publicly renounce the violence. Question for you BF….. you and I have lived among the Muslim communities abroad. I have fought with them and against them. Those that I call friends have all stated to a man (women are not allowed to speak up) that Islam is the way of the world and violence is a method…perhaps not agreeable, but a method recognized to promote it. Do you actually feel that this is acceptable and do you actually think that this is not an aim?

      I challenge each and everyone of you…go to any mosque in your area and ask the hard questions. That is a challenge… I have done this and reported what I found. I have named the mosques and their location by address.

      Side note to this….I have also found a movement afoot in the Arlington, Texas mosque to try to Instill Sharia Law in the Muslim section of Arlington ( and there is a Muslim section )and have the local laws changed to accept it. It failed of course and should have failed.

      You trust it if you wish. I will not.

      • Yes, and I’ve lived in it.

        And the women speak up just fine – believe me, I know.

        This is not any different then the “Red Scare” where there were Communists under every bed.

        Or WW2, with “Japs” and “Krauts” running around….

        The more they are pushed to the edge – the more they do become extreme – what do you expect?

        I remind you, again – it is “US” that is in “THEIR” countries by force of arms.

        They may believe Islam is the way of the world – again, what do you think they would say? – that though they are Muslim, they think Buddism is the way of the world???

        I ask Christians and they say the same thing about their religion! Why does this so surprise you about them?

        The use of violence to push an ideology is not theirs alone, is it? And as many of the Muslim faith I know, they denounce violence.

        Perhaps it was where you were?

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          I am sure that many of us can find INDIVIDUAL Muslims that denounce violence.

          However, how many GOVERNMENTS of Islamic countries have actually denounced violence?

          We know, BY DEFINITION that government is violent. We also know that it is very likely that the best interest of a government of an Islamic country probably does not coincide with the best interest of the US government.

          I think you make a dangerous error in judgement when you say “Muslims are basically peaceful people” and then conclude that Iran would pose no threat if we “made nice” with them.

          It is not the PEOPLE of Iran that concern me.

          It is not the PEOPLE of the US that concern me.

          It is the GOVERNMENTS of these two countries that concern me. Whether the PEOPLE of either country denounce violence or not is totally irrelevant.

          The governments of BOTH COUNTRIES are, by definition, violent. The governments of these countries have ideologies which are NOT COMPATIBLE.

          When two violent governments have ideologies which are not compatible, conflict is EXTREMELY LIKELY, regardless of whether the people denounce violence or not.

          This is especially true with a country like Iran, where the people have precious little influence on the government whatsoever currently. Of course, in the US we don’t have a whole lot of influence over what our government does or does not do either, but at least we still seem to have SOME influence.

          • Show me one government ANYWHERE that has denounced violence. Not “redefined” it, but renounced it as an option against “others” AND “its own” people.

        • Yes, BF, I have heard the women speak up….privately but they will not publicly. Even in the US, they will not publicly. I see it everyday in the Walmarts and Sams…walking two steps behind, when with their men, and not saying anything. Never looking anyone in the eye. Not even saying hello in return.

          It matters not whether we are in their country by force of arms. I do not agree with it now and did not then even though I fought there. Yes, they are family people and their children play and sing songs just like anyone else. BUT the main thing that I have seen…..it is all done privately. In the mid 80’s, my son reached out to two different sects and asked them to spend the night. One was a black friend of his that was a really nice young man. He spent the night with my son but could not return the favor because my son was white and his parents would not allow it because of the social implications of a “white” boy in a black neighborhood. His parents were sorry but it could not be done. The second out reach was to a young Muslim boy that was in his class. They were pretty good friends at school and even played basketball together…but that was as far as it went. He could not spend the night because of religious concerns telling my son that he was not allowed by his parents…why? Because I was in the military and because my son was not Islamic. So much for fitting in and this was in the 80’s, for crying out loud.

          BF says: I ask Christians and they say the same thing about their religion! Why does this so surprise you about them?

          D13 responds: Please do not take me out of context. I have seen all religions claim theirs is the best. Of that I have no problem….my problem lies with their lack of repudiation of violence and if it takes that to push their religion, they are ok with it. THAT is the context I was referring to, as you know. Religion is more powerful than money and government. It is the most powerful motivator that I know and have experienced. My problem lies in the fact that their laws are fine in their country but to try to force them here is a MAJOR problem that I see. We may be a melting pot but we do not change our way of life and our foundation. You, on the other hand, see it differently. You pitch your way…and I mine.

          BF says: The use of violence to push an ideology is not theirs alone, is it? And as many of the Muslim faith I know, they denounce violence.

          D13 says: Did not use to be. Do you know of another now? And I agree with you, privately “some” denounce it. But none stand up in front of their leaders and publicly denounce it….even here in the US.

          Hope you and yours are doing well.

          D13

          • D13
            *Condemnant quod non intellegunt

            “We condemn what we do not understand”

            Yes, BF, I have heard the women speak up….privately but they will not publicly. Even in the US, they will not publicly. I see it everyday in the Walmarts and Sams…walking two steps behind, when with their men, and not saying anything. Never looking anyone in the eye. Not even saying hello in return.

            I do not know if you have lived with them or not. I have. The women have a voice and they make themselves heard, believe me.

            They may chose not to engage in trivialities like a western woman might, but they rule THEIR house.

            They see Western men as weak – Western man require their wives to go to work and not stay at home to care for the children because there is not enough food to feed their families because the men are too weak or stupid or lazy to provide enough for their families.

            They see Western men as impotent – Western men need to go to men’s clubs to watch women – who will be mothers to children – take off their clothes to the goggling eyes of impotent men. Same goes for Men’s magazines and the selling of sex and pornography in general. They see it degrading women –mothers, wives, daughters, sisters- in the worst way possible.

            They see Western people as morally corrupt – we cheer and idolize movie and music stars – whose real lives are nothing but vile, immoral, bizarre and destructive. They see the West as confused – we wish our children to behave like good moral people, but we allow our children to chose as their examples and mentors people who are movie stars!

            It matters not whether we are in their country by force of arms.

            Of course it does! I do not think you would like the Brazilians if they occupied your country and killed your family!

            I do not agree with it now and did not then even though I fought there. Yes, they are family people and their children play and sing songs just like anyone else. BUT the main thing that I have seen…..it is all done privately.

            Yes, this is true.

            They are very private and shun public displays.

            As I once detailed in my past, I had a very long term, very deep and loving relationship and I can count on two thumbs the number of times we held hands in public.

            They are a very trust based culture, and require a long series of confirmations of actions before they trust you into their family or do business.

            Once such trust is gained, however, there is nothing they will not do or provide for those they trust.

            You may think this is strange and foreign for a culture like the West that glorifies criminals and those that steal from people.

            You do not hear those that condemn violence because you are not listening for it.

            Hope you and yours are doing well.

            Thank you, and my wish of happiness to yours as well.

  20. Yesterday I read an op ed by Thomas Sowell and without fail he always accurately gets to the point and does it effectively. One of his statements said that at the turn 20th century Argentina was one of the riches countries in the world before they started on a progressive path. He was comparing some of Mr. Obama’s polices with Mr. Peron’s polices. I found the Argentina statement hard to believe so I did a little research.

    From Wikipedia:

    Argentina increased in prosperity and prominence between 1880 and 1929, while emerging as one of the 10 richest countries in the world, benefiting from an agricultural export-led economy. Driven by immigration and decreasing mortality, the Argentine population grew fivefold and the economy by 15-fold.

    I skipped the Depression and war years as things sucked for them during the depression and improved during the war years like the US.

    In 1946, General Juan Perón was elected president, creating a political movement referred to as “Peronism”. His hugely popular wife, Evita, played a central political role until her death in 1952, mostly through the Eva Perón Foundation and the Peronist Women’s Party. During Perón’s tenure, wages and working conditions improved appreciably, the number of unionized workers quadrupled, government programs increased and urban development was prioritized over the agrarian sector. Formerly stable prices and exchange rates were disrupted, however: the peso lost about 70% of its value from early 1948 to early 1950, and inflation reached 50% in 1951. Foreign policy became more isolationist, straining U.S.-Argentine relations. Perón intensified censorship as well as repression: 110 publications were shuttered, and numerous opposition figures were imprisoned and tortured. Over time, he rid himself of many important and capable advisers, while promoting patronage. A violent coup, which bombarded the Casa Rosada and its surroundings killing many, deposed him in 1955. He fled into exile, eventually residing in Spain.

    Does any of the above policies sound familiar?
    How about:
    1. popular wife
    2. unionized workers quadrupled
    3. government programs increased
    4. urban development was prioritized
    5. promoting patronage

    Is the US going to turn into a Banana republic?

  21. From bif time Leftist Gore Vidal..

    http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/the_way_we_live/article6854221.ece

    Today religious mania has infected the political bloodstream and America has become corrosively isolationist, he says. “Ask an American what they know about Sweden and they’d say ‘They live well but they’re all alcoholics’. In fact a Scandinavian system could have benefited us many times over.” Instead, America has “no intellectual class” and is “rotting away at a funereal pace. We’ll have a military dictatorship fairly soon, on the basis that nobody else can hold everything together. Obama would have been better off focusing on educating the American people. His problem is being over-educated. He doesn’t realise how dim-witted and ignorant his audience is. Benjamin Franklin said that the system would fail because of the corruption of the people and that happened under Bush.”

    I think Mr Vidal is right about the dictatorship part, but I disagree it will be due to Obama’s incompetence. I think its part of the grand plan….but, that’s just me.

    • I read the whole article….what a pig.

      • Merely the effort to stay relevant. It’s the one thing all listening to the aged need to keep in mind during the conversation.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Vidal is right about 3 things… The shrinking of the American Intellectual Class, the fact that America is rotting away at a funereal pace, and the idea that a dictatorship is an actual possiblity.

      I am amazed at his capacity to attribute these phenomena to all of the wrong causes and still reach plausible conclusions.

  22. I have been looking into how much we lose in fraud and waste with government contractors. Needless to say it is sad. My question is if a company continues to have violations, why do we keep giving them money? I would never hire a company again if they tried to cheat me on something.

    http://www.contractormisconduct.org/

  23. 47% will pay no federal income tax

    http://money.cnn.com/2009/09/30/pf/taxes/who_pays_taxes/index.htm?cnn=yes

    I am so so thrilled to be able to contribute my portion.

  24. Will we hear of this from any of the media?

    http://hotair.com/archives/2009/09/30/obama-wh-bribing-dem-challengers-out-of-primaries/

    How do take control of the elections? Remove all opposition (just like BO did in Illinois) OR bribe them to stay out!

  25. Everyone planing to party tonight?

    The Empire State Building is set to be illuminated in red and yellow lights to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the bloody communist takeover.

    The tower is lit in white most nights, but nearly every week gets splashed with color to honor holidays and heroes — red, white and blue for Independence Day, green for St. Patrick’s Day, true blue for New York’s Finest.

    The building’s managers say they have honored a host of countries, including Canada, India and Australia, but as of Wednesday that list of honorees now includes one of the world’s last great authoritarian regimes.

    Tourists were squirming as the city’s 102-story landmark — which gained a special significance for New Yorker’s after 9/11, when it again became Manhattan’s tallest building — was being converted into a shining red beacon for Chinese communism.

    “I think it’s a bad idea,” said Dick Paasch, 69, from Billings, Montana. “The Chinese Revolution … in the years 1958-1960, there were something like 26 million people starved to death. Why would we want to celebrate something like that?

    From FOX

  26. Hi Ya’ll!

    I thought of an excellent definition of government (as we know it today).

    Government can be defined as a word or phrase accompanied by an unusual facial expression when considering the thought of seeing Nazi Pelosi on the cover of a magazine, wearing only a thong!

    G!

  27. I’ve taken a Stratfor report to help our merry band get a handle on some balance reporting of Iran.

    Russia, Ahmadinejad and Iran Reconsidered
    by George Friedman | July 20, 2009

    At Friday prayers July 17 at Tehran University, the influential cleric and former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani gave his first sermon since Iran’s disputed presidential election and the subsequent demonstrations. The crowd listening to Rafsanjani inside the mosque was filled with Ahmadinejad supporters who chanted, among other things, “Death to America” and “Death to China.” Outside the university common grounds, anti-Ahmadinejad elements — many of whom were blocked by Basij militiamen and police from entering the mosque — persistently chanted “Death to Russia.”

    Death to America is an old staple in Iran. Death to China had to do with the demonstrations in Xinjiang and the death of Uighurs at the hands of the Chinese. Death to Russia, however, stood out. Clearly, its use was planned before the protesters took to the streets. The meaning of this must be uncovered. To begin to do that, we must consider the political configuration in Iran at the moment.

    The Iranian Political Configuration

    There are two factions claiming to speak for the people. Rafsanjani represents the first faction. During his sermon, he spoke for the tradition of the founder of the Islamic republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who took power during the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Rafjsanjani argued that Khomeini wanted an Islamic republic faithful to the will of the people, albeit within the confines of Islamic law. Rafsanjani argued that he was the true heir to the Islamic revolution. He added that Khomeini’s successor — the current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — had violated the principles of the revolution when he accepted that Rafsanjani’s archenemy, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had won Iran’s recent presidential election. (There is enormous irony in foreigners describing Rafsanjani as a moderate reformer who supports greater liberalization. Though he has long cultivated this image in the West, in 30 years of public political life it is hard to see a time when has supported Western-style liberal democracy.)

    The other faction is led by Ahmadinejad, who takes the position that Rafsanjani in particular — along with the generation of leaders who ascended to power during the first phase of the Islamic republic — has betrayed the Iranian people. Rather than serving the people, Ahmadinejad claims they have used their positions to become so wealthy that they dominate the Iranian economy and have made the reforms needed to revitalize the Iranian economy impossible. According to Ahmadinejad’s charges, these elements now blame Ahmadinejad for Iran’s economic failings when the root of these failings is their own corruption. Ahmadinejad claims that the recent presidential election represents a national rejection of the status quo. He adds that claims of fraud represent attempts by Rafsanjani — who he portrays as defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi’s sponsor — and his ilk to protect their positions from Ahmadinejad.

    Iran is therefore experiencing a generational dispute, with each side claiming to speak both for the people and for the Khomeini tradition. There is the older generation — symbolized by Rafsanjani — that has prospered during the last 30 years. Having worked with Khomeini, this generation sees itself as his true heir. Then, there is the younger generation. Known as “students” during the revolution, this group did the demonstrating and bore the brunt of the shah’s security force counterattacks. It argues that Khomeini would be appalled at what Rafsanjani and his generation have done to Iran.

    This debate is, of course, more complex than this. Khamenei, a key associate of Khomeini, appears to support Ahmadinejad’s position. And Ahmadinejad hardly speaks for all of the poor as he would like to claim. The lines of political disputes are never drawn as neatly as we would like. Ultimately, Rafsanjani’s opposition to the recent election did not have as much to do with concerns (valid or not) over voter fraud. It had everything to do with the fact that the outcome threatened his personal position. Which brings us back to the question of why Rafsanjani’s followers were chanting “Death to Russia?”

    Examining the Anomalous Chant
    For months prior to the election, Ahmadinejad’s allies warned that the United States was planning a “color” revolution. Color revolutions, like the one in Ukraine, occurred widely in the former Soviet Union after its collapse, and these revolutions followed certain steps. An opposition political party was organized to mount an electoral challenge the establishment. Then, an election occurred that was either fraudulent or claimed by the opposition as having been fraudulent. Next, widespread peaceful protests against the regime (all using a national color as the symbol of the revolution) took place, followed by the collapse of the government through a variety of paths. Ultimately, the opposition — which was invariably pro-Western and particularly pro-American — took power.

    Moscow openly claimed that Western intelligence agencies, particularly the CIA, organized and funded the 2004-2005 Orange Revolution in Ukraine. These agencies allegedly used nongovernmental organizations (human rights groups, pro-democracy groups, etc.) to delegitimize the existing regime, repudiate the outcome of election regardless of its validity and impose what the Russians regarded as a pro-American puppet regime. The Russians saw Ukraine’s Orange Revolution as the breakpoint in their relationship with the West, with the creation of a pro-American, pro-NATO regime in Ukraine representing a direct attack on Russian national security. The Americans argued that to the contrary, they had done nothing but facilitate a democratic movement that opposed the existing regime for its own reasons, demanding that rigged elections be repudiated.

    In warning that the United States was planning a color revolution in Iran, Ahmadinejad took the Russian position. Namely, he was arguing that behind the cover of national self-determination, human rights and commitment to democratic institutions, the United States was funding an Iranian opposition movement on the order of those active in the former Soviet Union. Regardless of whether the opposition actually had more votes, this opposition movement would immediately regard an Ahmadinejad win as the result of fraud. Large demonstrations would ensue, and if left unopposed, the Islamic republic would come under threat.

    In doing this, Ahmadinejad’s faction positioned itself against the actuality that such a rising would occur. If it did, Ahmadinejad could claim that the demonstrators were — wittingly or not — operating on behalf of the United States, thus delegitimizing the demonstrators. In so doing, he could discredit supporters of the demonstrators as not tough enough on the United States, a useful charge against Rafsanjani, whom the West long has held up as an Iranian moderate.

    Interestingly, while demonstrations were at their height, Ahmadinejad chose to attend — albeit a day late — a multinational Shanghai Cooperation Organization conference in Moscow on the Tuesday after the election. It was very odd that he would leave Iran at the time of the greatest unrest; we assumed that he had decided to demonstrate to Iranians that he didn’t take the demonstrations seriously.

    The charge that seems to be emerging on the Rafsanjani side is that Ahmadinejad’s fears of a color revolution were not simply political, but were encouraged by the Russians. It was the Russians who had been talking to Ahmadinejad and his lieutenants on a host of issues, who warned him about the possibility of a color revolution. More important, the Russians helped prepare Ahmadinejad for the unrest that would come — and given the Russian experience, how to manage it. Though we speculate here, if this theory is correct, it could explain some of the efficiency with which Ahmadinejad shut down cell phone and other communications during the postelection unrest, as he may have had Russian advisers.

    Rafsanjani’s followers were not shouting “Death to Russia” without a reason, at least in their own minds. They are certainly charging that Ahmadinejad took advice from the Russians, and went to Russia in the midst of political unrest for consultations. Rafsanjani’s charge may or may not be true. Either way, there is no question that Ahmadinejad did claim that the United States was planning a color revolution in Iran. If he believed that charge, it would have been irrational not to reach out to the Russians. But whether or not the CIA was involved, the Russians might well have provided Ahmadinejad with intelligence of such a plot and helped shape his response, and thereby may have created a closer relationship with him.

    How Iran’s internal struggle will work itself out remains unclear. But one dimension is shaping up: Ahmadinejad is trying to position Rafsanjani as leading a pro-American faction intent on a color revolution, while Rafsanjani is trying to position Ahmadinejad as part of a pro-Russian faction. In this argument, the claim that Ahmadinejad had some degree of advice or collaboration with the Russians is credible, just as the claim that Rafsanjani maintained some channels with the Americans is credible. And this makes an internal dispute geopolitically significant.

    The Iranian Struggle in Geopolitical Context
    At the moment, Ahmadinejad appears to have the upper hand. Khamenei has certified his re-election. The crowds have dissipated; nothing even close to the numbers of the first few days have since materialized. For Ahmadinejad to lose, Rafsanjani would have to mobilize much of the clergy — many of whom are seemingly content to let Rafsanjani be the brunt of Ahmadinejad’s attacks — in return for leaving their own interests and fortunes intact. There are things that could bring Ahmadinejad down and put Rafsanjani in control, but all of them would require Khamenei to endorse social and political instability, which he will not do.

    If the Russians have in fact have intervened in Iran to the extent of providing intelligence to Ahmadinejad and advice to him during his visit on how to handle the postelection unrest (as the chants suggest), then Russian influence in Iran is not surging — it has surged. In some measure, Ahmadinejad would owe his position to Russian warnings and advice. There is little gratitude in the world of international affairs, but Ahmadinejad has enemies, and the Russians would have proven their utility in helping contain those enemies.

    From the Russian point of view, Ahmadinejad would be a superb asset — even if not truly under their control. His very existence focuses American attention on Iran, not on Russia. It follows, then, that Russia would have made a strategic decision to involve itself in the postelection unrest, and that for the purposes of its own negotiations with Washington, Moscow will follow through to protect the Iranian state to the extent possible. The Russians have already denied U.S. requests for assistance on Iran. But if Moscow has intervened in Iran to help safeguard Ahmadinejad’s position, then the potential increases for Russia to provide Iran with the S-300 strategic air defense systems that it has been dangling in front of Tehran for more than a decade.

    If the United States perceives an entente between Moscow and Tehran emerging, then the entire dynamic of the region shifts and the United States must change its game. The threat to Washington’s interests becomes more intense as the potential of a Russian S-300 sale to Iran increases, and the need to disrupt the Russian-Iranian entente would become all the more important. U.S. influence in Iran already has declined substantially, and Ahmadinejad is more distrustful and hostile than ever of the United States after having to deal with the postelection unrest. If a Russian-Iranian entente emerges out of all this — which at the moment is merely a possibility, not an imminent reality — then the United States would have some serious strategic problems on its hands.

    Revisiting Assumptions on Iran
    For the past few years, STRATFOR has assumed that a U.S. or Israeli strike on Iran was unlikely. Iran was not as advanced in its nuclear program as some claimed, and the complexities of any attack were greater than assumed. The threat of an attack was thus a U.S. bargaining chip, much as Iran’s nuclear program itself was an Iranian bargaining chip for use in achieving Tehran’s objectives in Iraq and the wider region. To this point, our net assessment has been accurate.

    At this point, however, we need to stop and reconsider. If Iran and Russia begin serious cooperation, Washington’s existing dilemma with Iran’s nuclear ambitions and its ongoing standoff with the Russians would fuse to become a single, integrated problem. This is something the United States would find difficult to manage. Washington’s primary goal would become preventing this from happening.

    Ahmadinejad has long argued that the United States was never about to attack Iran, and that charges by Rafsanjani and others that he has pursued a reckless foreign policy were groundless. But with the “Death to Russia” chants and signaling of increased Russian support for Iran, the United States may begin to reconsider its approach to the region.

    Iran’s clerical elite does not want to go to war. They therefore can only view with alarm the recent ostentatious transiting of the Suez Canal into the Red Sea by Israeli submarines and corvettes. This transiting did not happen without U.S. approval. Moreover, in spite of U.S. opposition to expanded Israeli settlements and Israeli refusals to comply with this opposition, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will be visiting Israel in two weeks. The Israelis have said that there must be a deadline on negotiations with Iran over the nuclear program when the next G-8 meeting takes place in September; a deadline that the G-8 has already approved. The consequences if Iran ignores the deadline were left open-ended.

    All of this can fit into our old model of psychological warfare, as representing a bid to manipulate Iranian politics by making Ahmadinejad’s leadership look too risky. It could also be the United States signaling the Russians that stakes in the region are rising. It is not clear that the United States has reconsidered its strategy on Iran in the wake of the postelection demonstrations. But if Rafsanjani’s claim of Russian support for Ahmadinejad is true, a massive re-evaluation of U.S. policy could ensue, assuming one hasn’t already started — prompting a reconsideration of the military option.

    All of this assumes that there is substance behind a mob chanting “Death to Russia.” There appears to be, but of course, Ahmadinejad’s enemies would want to magnify that substance to its limits and beyond. This is why we are not ready to simply abandon our previous net assessment of Iran, even though it is definitely time to rethink it

    • Has anyone noticed how Iran and the Olympics have taken the attention away from Healthcare reform and the Cap and trade bill introduced in the senate. Not to mention that the talk about North Korea has fizzled.

      If my opposition to Obama’s policies makes me a racist, would it then be safe to say that my opposition to Pelosi’s and Frank’s policies would make me a male cheuvenist (SP) and a homophobe?

      Is my idea expressed yesterday about defending one self with the use of deadly violence make me an evil person? I would imagine that a few folks here would not want to come to my neighborhood if a totally free from government world, for what reason, I do not know!

      Cheers!

      G!

      • Is my idea expressed yesterday about defending one self with the use of deadly violence make me an evil person?

        No, as long as

        Clear and
        Present
        Danger Doctrine was properly met.

  28. Humor time, where is that doggyweapon?

    “Life is a series of accidents, one after another.”

    Divorce at 65 MPH

    A married couple is driving along a highway doing a steady forty miles per hour. The wife is behind the wheel. Her husband, a divorce lawyer, suddenly looks across at her and speaks in a clear voice, “Darling,” he says, “I know we’ve been married for twenty years, but I want a divorce.”

    The wife says nothing, keeps looking at the road ahead, but slowly increases her speed to 45 mph.

    “I don’t want you to try and talk me out of it,” he says, “because I’ve been having an affair with your best friend, and she’s a far better lover than you are.”

    Again the wife stays quiet, but grips the steering wheel more tightly and slowly increases the speed to 55 mph.

    The husband confidently says, “I want the house.” The wife knows he has the skill to get the upper hand in a divorce proceeding. Up to 60 mph.

    “I want the car, too,” he continues. 65 mph.

    “And,” he says, “I want the bank accounts, all the credit card, and the boat.”

    The car veers towards a massive concrete bridge. This makes the husband nervous, so he asks her: “Is there anything you want?”

    The wife at last replies – in a quiet and controlled voice. “No, I’ve got everything I need” she says.

    “Oh, really?” he says with derision. “So what have you got?”

    Just before they slam into the wall at 65 mph, the wife turns to him and smiles. “The airbag.”

    • Two old guys, one 80 and one 87, were sitting on their usual park bench one morning.

      The 87 year old had just finished his morning jog and wasn’t even short of breath. The 80 year old was amazed at his friend’s stamina and asked him what he did to have so much energy.

      The 87 year old said “Well, I eat rye bread every day. It keeps your energy level high and you’ll have great stamina with the ladies.”

      So, on the way home, the 80 year old stops at the bakery. As he was looking around, the lady asked if he needed any help. He said, “Do you have any rye bread?” She said, “Yes, there’s a whole shelf of it. Would you like some?” He said, “I want 5 loaves.

      She said, “My goodness, 5 loaves…by the time you get to the 5th loaf, it’ll be hard”

      He replied, “I can’t believe it, everybody in the world knows about this rye bread thing but me.”

    • Subject: Important Math Formula

      This equation should be taught in all math classes!

      From a strictly mathematical viewpoint it goes like this:

      What Makes 100%? What does it mean to give MORE than 100%? Ever wonder
      About those people who say they are giving more than 100%? We have all
      been to those meetings where someone wants you to give over 100%. How
      about achieving 103%? What makes up 100% in life?

      Here’s a little mathematical formula that might help you answer these
      questions:

      If:
      A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z is represented as:
      1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.

      Then:

      H-A-R-D-W-O-R-K
      8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%

      and
      K-N-O-W-L-E-D-G-E
      11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%

      But,

      A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E
      1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%

      And,
      B-U-L-L- S-H-I-T
      2+21+12+12+19+8+9+20 = 103%

      AND, look how far ass kissing will take you.

      A-S-S-K-I-S-S-I-N-G
      1+19+19+11+9+19+19+9+14+7 = 118%

      So, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that While Hard work
      and
      Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude
      will get you there, it’s the bullshit and Ass kissing that will put you
      over the top.

      • Interesting.. very..

        and now an observation:

        Mathius = 91%

        Life of Illusion = 164%

        Black Flag = 55%

        PeterB = 66%

        US Weapon = 114% (US Weapo = 100%)

        GreaterGoodCS = 137%

        Richmond Spitfire = 186%

        G-Man = 35%

        Thus I conclude that I get the best results without being full of bullshit. MATH! It’s a big part of Mathius!

        • That’s cool, I’m the farthest from bullshit. Matt, your alot closer than I am!!

          G!

          • Richmond Spitfire says:

            Dear Mathius,

            You know…growing up, my best friend’s father used to look at me and say, “Richmond Spitfire, you are so full of bull$hit that your eyes of turned brown”.

            Wow…I guess you’ve just proven that he was right…

            Hugs from from Richmond “tail between her legs” Spitfire who has hurt feelings. 😦

    • It takes a Professional

      A father walks into a bookstore with his young son. The boy is holding a quarter. Suddenly, the boy starts choking, going blue in the face. The father realizes the boy has swallowed the quarter and starts panicking, shouting for help.

      A well dressed, attractive and serious looking woman, in a blue business suit is sitting at a coffee bar reading a newspaper and sipping a cup of coffee. At the sound of the commotion, she looks up, puts her coffee cup down, neatly folds the newspaper and places it on the counter, gets up from her seat and makes her way, unhurried, across the book store.

      Reaching the boy, the woman carefully drops his pants; takes hold of the boy’s testicles and starts to squeeze and twist, gently at first and then ever so firmly. After a few seconds the boy convulses violently and coughs up the quarter, which the woman deftly catches it n her free hand. Releasing the boy’s testicles, the woman hands the coin to the father and walks back to her seat in the coffee bar without saying a word.

      As soon as he is sure that his son has suffered no ill effects, the father rushes over to the woman and starts thanking her saying, “I’ve never seen anybody do anything like that before, it was fantastic. Are you a doctor?” “No,” the woman replied, …….. “Divorce attorney”

    • An old one,

      Rednecks…
      Hello, is this the Sheriff’s Office?” “Yes. What can I do for you?” “I’m calling to report ’bout my neighbor Virgil Smith….He’s hidin’ marijuana inside his firewood! Don’t quite know how he gets it inside them logs, but he’s hidin’ it there.” “Thank you very much for the call, sir.” The next day, the Sheriff’s Deputies descend on Virgil’s house. They search the shed where the firewood is kept. Using axes, they bust open every piece of wood, but find no marijuana. They sneer at Virgil and leave. Shortly, the phone rings at Virgil’s house. “Hey, Virgil! This here’s Floyd….did the Sheriff come?” “Yeah!” “Did they chop your firewood?” “Yep!” “Happy Birthday, buddy!”

    • Subject: The new supermarket

      The new supermarket near our house has an automatic water
      mister to keep the produce fresh. Just before it goes on,
      you hear the sound of distant thunder and the smell of fresh
      rain.

      When you approach the milk cases, you hear cows mooing and
      witness the scent of fresh hay.

      When you approach the egg case, you hear hens cluck and
      cackle and the air is filled with the pleasing aroma of bacon
      and eggs frying.

      The veggie department features the smell of fresh buttered
      corn.

      I don’t buy toilet paper there any more.

  29. All;

    The season is upon us, at least here in Michgan. Tomorrow is “Opening Day Archery” and we are promised a superior weather focast; frost, clear skys and no wind; can I get a “Thank you Jesus!”

    I have a new spot next to a small brook in between to major criter trails so I am as giddy as a school boy, and won’t sleep much tonight. There is nothing like the pre-dawn in the woods to cleanse a soul.

    It will be a sadder opening day as we lost our good buddy Robert Kowalkowski last week to cancer, and as such he will only be with us in spirit.

    For those of you who don’t know, Bob was a 12 year veteran guard for the Detroit lions (66-79), a great friend, a superior hunter and gracious man. He will be greatly missed. The woods will be void, but we have the memories.

    So, with that I sign off for today, and I am in the woods tomorrow, so good night and keep the faith.

    PS: To those within these ranks that also enjoy the hunt; shoot straight, appreciate what the Great Spirit has provided, enjoy the woods, and take a moment while you set in solace to remember those who have gone to the next journey.

    Cm

    • Good Luck CM!

      I too will say final goodbyes to a fellow hunter tomorrow.

      Our season opens Saturday!

      G!

    • Perhaps the Lions long overdue win Sunday was for him. Enjoy the hunt and be safe.

      • Hi Kathy,

        One of the most anticipated days of the year is the first of rifle season (the Monday after Thanksgiving) in these parts. More money is spent that weekend than any other weekend of the year.
        It’s strange, but after Monday, I can walk all day and not see a hunter for the remaining two weeks. I hunt a 36,000 acre tract, that on opening day is loaded with hunters, the day after, not any.

        I’m bow hunting this year for first time in many years, I finally have the time. It will be nice to spend an extra week hunting with the Old Man this year.

        G!

  30. Sex, Scorn and Videotape……

    This might fall under the “more information than we needed to know”, but at the same time, it gives some insight into the sick, manipulative minds of politicians and what they think they can get away with.

    http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=0C37094B-18FE-70B2-A8F59E203F00FA20

  31. Leading UK Climate Scientists Must Explain or Resign

    This week’s claims by Steve McInyre that scientists associated with the UK Met. Office have been less than diligent are serious and suggest some of the most defended building blocks of the case for anthropogenic global warming are based on the indefensible when the methodology is laid bare.

    It is indeed time leading scientists at the Climate Research Centre associated with the UK Met. Office explain how Mr McIntyre is in error or resign

    http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2009/09/leading-uk-climate-scientists-must-explain-or-resign/

    • Red is where you ‘cherry pick’ your data to prove your conclusion.

      Black is what happens when you use all the data – obviously, there is no ‘warming’.

      • Why do these people get away with this? Al Gore should be brought up on fraud charges, or at the very least punched in the eye!

        G!

  32. http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=TX-PAR-EUY06&show_article=1

    Iran to propose third-party uranium enrichment

  33. SK: 20 year old playbook? … I don’t think so. My sister passed last year but was in the system (English as a 2nd language) for 20+ years and there’s no way education in the public school system is better. I was brought up in Canarsie (that high school was disbanded for poor performance 2 years ago—it is now a bunch of little schools). Teaching jobs aren’t available, my friend, because everybody who’s been laid off in the corporate world has fled to take teaching jobs (I know of many personally). And there are still the remnants of imported teachers (only they’re mostly from India). I have NO problem with vouchers, but the NY public school system is an atrocity, end of story (and the unions are part of the problem).

    The other issue with unions is defending bad teachers (never mind those sitting on their ass getting paid to do nothing because they were brought up on any number of charges, including sexual assault). Again, I have no problem with vouchers here, but there’s no defending how bad the NY public school system is.

    My sister taught Asians, Chinese, Latinos, Africans … because they are immigrants coming from a land ass-backwards and they appreciate the opportunity. Okay, I’m with you there, but … how do you undo generations of ignorance and no appreciation for opportunity? You can’t just say, “Oh, well, tough shit, the Chinese do so much better.” And it isn’t ALL ASIANS that do so well. The numbers of Asians (on the whole) who fall between the cracks isn’t far behind other minorities.

    The same goes for West Indies, etc. They come from an impoverished nation and see the opportunity and seize. I’m with you there. Much like my grandparents (and probably yours) but that doesn’t change the face of the problem we already have. And again, not all West Indian, etc., black are outperforming. There are many who adapt to a less than acceptable culture.

    Rockefeller drugs laws sure did a lot to clean up New York. Yeah, keep dreaming. Your friend Mike the cop sounds like a genius (sarcasm intended). My grandfather owned a tenement in the South Bronx back in the day (Fort Apache). It was ruined by drug addicts, deadbeats, etc. What makes you think filling jails for 30 years on some dopey drug law changes anything? There are still neighborhoods in NY (Washington Heights for one) where the Rockefeller drug laws don’t seem to have worked very well but I can name a slew more if you’d like. It isn’t Baltimore yet, but unless you have $750K to buy a house in a “better neighborhood” you’re moving out of town to raise your kids for any number of reasons (education probably primary).

  34. Richmond, BofA in the news again today – the CEO resigned. Good? or doesn’t matter?

    • Richmond Spitfire says:

      Hey Kathy,

      Not sure yet…just got back to the house from meetings and dinner…I just don’t know what to say…I guess I’m not too shocked.

      Best Regards,
      RS

    • Alert in Michigan says:

      Thanks for the info; I’ll read this later tonight. I’ve been wondering what would happen to US national debt in the event of collapse or secession or…whatever.

    • Wow, I guess there are a lot of ways at looking at things and this author certainly has a unique way of having us prepare for our collapse. I guess that it’s true, when you don’t have much, you don’t have as far to fall, so in that sense I would agree that the USSR was better prepared.

      Slide 27 is particularly interesting. Don’t strive for economic success so you won’t fall too hard. I’m sure there are a lot of people that would go along with that concept.

      I guess the message here, is if everything is government run (that damn US medical sytem that runs for profit), you will have mediocrity your entire life and then in the case of a collapse, you will be prepared.

      BF – you wrote the script for Screen 21, didn’t you.

  35. bottom line says:

    For no particular reason I thought some Johnny was on order. Enjoy.

  36. Tood

    No, that’s just your vision because you believe all government is evil.

    No, Todd

    It is not a “belief” – it is by Definition – it is important to understand that.

    I am not arguing from a basis of mere “belief” but one from axiom and reason.

    I did not start this path in the middle, and make a series of assumptions based on what I wanted – I started from an axiom and saw what came from the application of logic and reason. I said to myself – what the conclusion is – is.

    Remember, I was a Statist when I started this journey.

    Your version of society requires that it be established on a moral basis. But that will never happen – it’s just a fallacy on your part.

    There is only two ways to organize society – moral or immoral. Do have another way?

    If there is not another way, you cannot claim “fallacy”, right?

    If society is organized on an immoral basis – society cannot sustain itself – it will collapse You understand that, correct?

    If society, for example, legitimizes theft – then people will stop earning for their needs and steal it. It is a lot easier to steal then work for something. You see that, right?

    But if no one produces, this society will collapse – there is nothing to steal anymore. Nobody will work because someone will steal it.

    So when we organize with an immoral basis, society will eventually collapse as it is not sustainable. Any argument here?

    So, we still have the choice though – we can chose immoral if we want. We have made that choice – justify violence upon non-violent people. This has made this society unsustainable – and we are seeing that today. People believe they can use the power of government violence to seize the goods to meet their needs.

    What is your argument, for or against, this praxeologyy??

    So before we answer the rest of your post – we need to flush out at this point here. If we do not understand each other at this point – the rest of the discussion is moot.

    • Black Flag … DOC just chirped in at Knucksline. I think you’ll enjoy him.

    • Black Flag,

      I agree society should be organized on a moral basis, but have you looked out the window lately? Not much moral character out there. By your definition, our government is immoral because the people are immoral.

      That brings me back to my original question – how your society would function without government? Especially when a large part of the population (numbers, not percentage) is immoral?

      As a follow-up, and maybe this is the real question – how do you get from our current society to your Utopia? Maybe crash land on an island Utopia? Even that didn’t work out so well – after 500 years of trying. 😉

      I read #18 above, and you seem to be implying that we can’t envision it because we are blinded by our current reality? If that’s the case, how do you know it will be better? It might sound great, and it might start out great, but it might turn into feudalism. Ask CyndiP about that. 😉

      You’re willing to throw away a pretty good country, and take your chances? I’d suggest you try it somewhere else and let us know how it works out. See #1 above – USWeapon, Redleg, and PeterB seem to think relocation is an acceptable solution for the less fortunate – maybe it should apply to you as well. 😉

      One more thing – See #19 above – I think you’ll remember it.

      When you can get the people on this blog to agree to act on a moral basis, we can talk. Until then, your version of society remains a fallacy.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        “I agree society should be organized on a moral basis, but have you looked out the window lately? Not much moral character out there. By your definition, our government is immoral because the people are immoral.”

        Wrong Todd,

        You agree that society should be organized on a moral basis AS DO MOST OTHER PEOPLE. Therefore, the reason that government is immoral is NOT that the people are immoral, as I can easily demonstrate that the vast majority of the people are NOT IMMORAL.

        If you will notice, the more immoral and corrupt that the government has become, the more immoral and corrupt the people have become! (Not the other way around).

        You are claiming that the government is a natural product of an immoral society. The reality is that a moral society will be corrupted by an immoral government.

        All you have to do for evidence is look at anyone’s stories of the past! Old folks will always tell you how much simpler things were “back then” and how people got along better, and went to church, and helped their neighbor, etc. etc.

        Why is this no longer the case? Because the government is immoral and has gotten more and more blatant in its corruption, which has, in turn caused the corruption of the society which is governed.

      • Todd

        See #18 – Beck Thread

  37. Bama Dad: Sorry, got destracted by home invaders … you’re right about people working hard and I have no problem with major consequences for those who don’t but … when I say it’s an answer, not a solution, I mean it’s too big a problem to just say, “tough, go work harder” … there’s a lot more involved than walking away (which is essentially what NY public schools do now–they pass kids who can’t read or write and then community colleges take those same kids’ money and give them a year of remedial classwork and pass them on (for more dollars) whether they deserve it or not. Right now, simple 4 year degrees are so diluted, they’re essentially worthless. College has become big business and if we don’t bite the bullet and accept the fact we’re going to have to sacrifice a generation (or more) to revamp the education system (and not pass kids for “showing up and not shooting anybody” and leaving them back 2 or 3 times and then kicking them out if they continue to screw up) we’re in for even more unemployables … and that, in urban areas, is just adding fuel to a fire about to explode. And, yes, unions too need to back the hell off and allow incompetent teachers to be fired, etc., no doubt about it. I was in a union for 10 years. I know how bad they can be. In NY, however, they became a very necessary evil because of unregulated labor laws … and like major sports, etc., they are out of hand.

    I’m with you on the lazy factor … there are plenty scamming the system, no doubt, but it won’t get solved by pulling the plug anymore than we already have.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Hmmm..

      It AMAZES me that after DECADES OF DEMOCRATIC CONTROL and DECADES OF THROWING MORE AND MORE MONEY AT THE EDUCATION “PROBLEM” in New York, all that seems to have happened is that the problem has gotten even worse!

      Pretty effective “solutions” they have there, no?

      • Well, I don’t want to burst your bubble, Peter, but America vs. Europe, we’re way behind. Our kids read less (more toys) and our school system just isn’t so hot across the board. I’m not sure you can say money is being thrown at the NYC problem when starting salaries for teachers is 20K less than what word processors start at, but if you say so.

        I think it has a lot more to do with social promotion and and resistance to getting it right (leaving back those who refuse to help themselves and then kicking them out at some point) than it does with the money being pissed away.

  38. Todd,

    In response to your posts on yesterdays topic, I would like to clear up a few things. My goal in life is peace and happiness, not war. However I do see how you may see things the way you do. My posts were intended for when we find ourselves free of government control, in the beginning, not the long haul. It also is a reflection of where I currently live (top 10 most dangerous cities in the U.S.). It’s a good lesson for me to look at things, that would be happening in my environment. I have no desire to be in Power, I would like to be able to be at peace. I spend each day with eyes wide open, because our society has gone to shit. Each day I awake, it’s how many people got shot or killed on the morning news. I would like a much better news report, but because of all the laws that protect the sick F$%ks on our streets, it is what it is. Given the chance, I could do much to change it, but I can’t.

    G!

    • G-Man,

      From yesterday – if nothing has changed, then why all the protests now? Why weren’t there Tea Parties and anti-government rallies by the conservatives last year? Or the year before? Or the year before that?

      My posts were intended for when we find ourselves free of government control, in the beginning, not the long haul.

      But if you’re Judge, Jury, and Executioner in the beginning, it will remain that way in the long haul. Once vigilantism starts, you will not be able to stop it. If you want a society organized on a moral basis, you have to start there.

      It also is a reflection of where I currently live (top 10 most dangerous cities in the U.S.)

      As I said to Black Flag: See #1 above – USWeapon, Redleg, and PeterB seem to think relocation is an acceptable solution for the less fortunate – maybe it should apply to you as well. 😉

      But seriously, why do you choose to continue living in a place like that? Because of family and friends? You’re all in danger.

      Maybe I feel different because I live in a rural area. Crime is not low here, it’s non-existent. My wife locked the doors once, and guess what – I was locked out when I came home! Turns out there’s a house key on the key ring with the car keys (duh!), but I never take the keys out of my truck, so…

      Two neighbors come over to use my workshop occasionally, whether I’m home or not. I do the same at their houses. I once borrowed my neighbor’s bulldozer – for 3 days – before he noticed it was ‘missing’. He called me, not the sheriff.

      I agree crime is out of control in many areas, but vigilantism is not the answer.

      • Good Morning Todd!

        I must not be writing it the way I think it, LOL, but I’ll try again.

        I would be engaging in self defense, not vigilantism. The only issue would be with people attacking me or family or neighbors. I would not go looking for these people.

        Moving to a rural area is the plan, hopefully, if things go bad, it is a slow change. The self-defense rules would still apply, but would most likely not be needed.

        Sounds like you have a nice place in the country. I live here for now, mainly for the work, which is secure. Once the daughter graduates and goes on her way, all options are open.

        I’ll be back on later today, have some traveling to do, maybe we can continue later.

        G!

      • and yet Todd, you speak of looking out your window and seeing a lot of immoral people…..

        Big contradiction here. You seem to live in a very safe place and be surrounded by good, moral people. Why then, do you have such disregard for people in general?

        Also, why weren’t people active before? I don’t know why it’s taken people so long to wake up. I have had concerns for many years, and have done some ‘minor’ things like write an occasional letter, but it wasn’t until this past election season and was uncomfortable with all the options and did a lot of research that I really decided I needed to either put up or shut up. I decided to put up and have now attended several rallies and health care forums. I was honestly very nervous at that first tax day tea party on the capitol in Madison. I’d never done anything remotely like that before and all I’d seen of activism was code pink and Cindy Sheehan-types. I’m not the “lay in the road” or “scream in the face” type of person and wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at every single event I’ve attended at how knowledgeable, respectful (and clean) the crowd is, and the message isn’t about being a Dem or Repub.

        I wonder too, what happened and why people didn’t get involved long ago when, for instance, social security was introduced. But I also know, that I can’t worry about what did or did not happen in the past, but hopefully can make an impact on where we are headed. I am greatly concerned about our country and what it will be like for my kids and future generations. I do not like the direction we are headed and if there is one thing that I am thankful to Obama for, it’s that he’s moved with such speed with more government control programs. I agree with Glenn Beck when he says that McCain would be doing much of the same, but at a slower pace and we would have put up with it longer before speaking up. Kind of like you put up with a wound that is bleeding a little but not one that is gushing blood. Obama is the gusher-type of wound.

        Longer post than I intended, but as a co-Wisconsinite, wanted to explain my own take.

        Speaking of which, are you ready for the big showdown on Monday night? I really hope our Green and Gold can take care of that Purple #4!

  39. v. Holland

    It would only be a contradiction if I believed that taxing people is committing violence on non violent people-I do not-I no more believe that the government sending me a bill to pay my fair share for the services they provide is committing violence than I do the utility company sending me a bill for supplying me energy is violence and I believe that if they don’t have the right to make me pay than that is allowing me to steal from them or from society as a whole.

    But sir, you have a problem with your analogies.

    If I do not want the good of the utility company, I do not pay and they do not provide.

    What happens if I do not want the ‘goods’ of government. Why do I still have to pay?

    If I buy a Big Mac and you buy a Big Mac at the same store – we pay the same.

    Why does the government – by force – make me pay more (or less) than you for the same services (as you claim they are services)?

    Again – you see violence but because it contradicts your position you chose to change the definition of violence to exclude government before you admit you are in contradiction.

    Such self-delusional tricks do nothing to solve the problems you are facing today.

    • “What happens if I do not want the ‘goods’ of government. Why do I still have to pay?”

      I agree that we are paying for numerous things that we should not pay for-but there are things like defense that we All benefit from as a society and if you live in a society you have an obligation to pay your part. You can call it stealing to force you to pay but you can also call your not paying stealing from society. I am repeating myself now but I simply do not see this as a contradiction. I don’t believe I am contradicting my beliefs, maybe yours but not mine. The rest of your arguments are things that government shouldn’t do and I would be more than happy to have them change but the fact that man has corrupted government does not mean that the basis of government isn’t moral. Having a society run without government may promote the right to more freedom but I’m not at all sure that it would promote more morality or more actual day to day freedom in our lives. Now I’m tired and I’m gonna go to bed-Have good dreams, BF and good night.

      • I agree that we are paying for numerous things that we should not pay for-but there are things like defense that we All benefit from as a society and if you live in a society you have an obligation to pay your part.

        Good sir, let me go slowly here.

        You think defense benefits all of us

        It is incredibly arrogant to assume everyone thinks the same as you

        So, because you think it is important – you justify forcing everyone else to do your pay for it – including me, who does not believe it is that important.

        You chose defense.

        But Charlie (aka GG) chooses Health Care.

        You go bonkers on Charlie because he believes it is so important to force people to do the Health Care thing – it upsets you!

        But he is using no argument different then youas long as someone thinks it is important enough – forcing others to do the same is ok!!

        So all the feet you stand on are wiped out when you complain about any of Charlie’s position –

        The shock of irony! By arguing against him, you wipe out your own feet!

        • v. Holland says:

          There is a difference between heath care and defense-I have the ability to pay the doctor or the hospitals as I use them-Defense-I simply can’t come up with a way to pay for it as I use it. So all that leaves is paying my part of societies bill-as far as whether one wants it or not-they do use it.

          • There is in the services – but not one bit in the justification.

            You most certainly have a way to pay for it! You do you think you pay for the food on your table?

            The aggregate cost of providing food to you, on a daily basis, runs about $1.4 trillion.

            You got that money?

            So, you’re argument is – “MY Gawd! I don’t have $1.4 trillion – thus I need government to steal it from everyone and pay for it!

            But – you snap out of it – and find you pay about $300-600 a month…. for the food you need!

            Everyone else buying what they believe they need do the same thing.

            The whole immense infrastructure of global food provisioning exists because of you by your free choices.

            This is the economic lesson I deliver to everyone on this blog all the time.

            Things that are valuable to human beings are an economic good/service.

            All economic goods/services obey exactly the same Laws of Economics – there are no exceptions.

            Defense is no exception to the Law of Economics.

            If it is deemed valuable by the People, People will voluntarily purchase it up to the value the deem.

            • v. Holland says:

              I’m not sure I understand your words.I pay my part of the process of providing food when I buy the food, the amount I am responsible for is decided by how much I use. The more I use the more I pay-if someone else uses less they pay less. With defense how can my cost be calculated by how much I use. If I decide to pay for a military and my brother decides he doesn’t want too-the cost isn’t lowered-it is just put on my shoulders to pay then when the military is used he benefits even though he didn’t share the cost.

              • v. Holland

                I’m not sure I understand your words.I pay my part of the process of providing food when I buy the food, the amount I am responsible for is decided by how much I use. The more I use the more I pay-if someone else uses less they pay less.

                With defense how can my cost be calculated by how much I use. If I decide to pay for a military and my brother decides he doesn’t want too-the cost isn’t lowered-it is just put on my shoulders to pay then when the military is used he benefits even though he didn’t share the cost

                So, what you want to do is because your brother does not see value you want to force him abd steal money from him because you think it is important even though he does not!

                And you think your justification is different from Charlie or Chris on Health Care!

                Let me clear, again.

                Law of Economics applies to Defense like it does to Health Care.

                If you believe you are getting value – you will pay – if you don’t you will not pay.

                The way defense can be provisioned without having to steal money for it will be worked out by the free market like it figured how to get gas to your car and food on to your table.

                Also consider this.

                I build a wall to protect my family. You come to visit. How much more did the wall cost me to protect you? Do I have to rebuild my wall every year to continue protecting me?

                Defense should be come cheaper on a per capita and over time.

                Yet, as long as government runs it, the opposite it is true – it becomes more expensive per capita and over time.

                When one sees such things, you can guarantee it is because it is a perversion of freedom and economics.

                Therefore, it is as it stands worse then optimum – and attempting to keep such perversion in place prevents defense from being effective and economically optimized.

                If you are happy paying trillions for junk service – keep it under government control. If you are not happy doing that – then, guess what needs to be changed?

              • v. Holland says:

                #43

          • Health care, “national defense style”- Force everyone to take the exact same medicine no matter if they are sick or not. Force people to smoke (or other unhealthy behaviors) while ignoring those who point out that it is counterproductive and actually endangers health rather than protects it.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        V. Holland,

        Can the government print all of the money it wants, anytime it wants, to pay for any program it wants?

        Can the government issue “debt” in the form of T-Bills and Government Bonds and such, and then “sell” that debt to citizens of this country, citizens of other countries, banks, governments, and anyone else that is willing to buy this “debt” as a means of funding our government?

        Can you say that the government “Bills you for services provided?” They do not “bill you”. They take money directly out of your paycheck before you even receive the money that YOU HAVE EARNED. This is not “sending you a bill”, this is stealing money which you have earned before you even get it.

        Every April, does the government figure out whether you have overpaid or underpaid your taxes and send you a bill for the remainder that you owe or send you a refund? No, they MAKE YOU figure that out for yourself, and either send them even more money than they have already collected from you, or YOU send THEM a bill demanding the refund of the amount overpaid.

        You have no ability to:

        1. Select which services you desire to pay for and which you do not.

        2. Make any input into what services are provided and what services are not provided.

        3. Make any input into whether the cost of any service provided is reasonable or not.

        Because of all of these reasons, taxes resemble, in NO WAY WHATSOEVER, billing for services rendered.

        How does ACTUAL billing for services rendered work?

        1. You select a service which you desire.

        2. You shop around to get the best deal on the service.

        3. You pay for the service UPON COMPLETION (you might make a partial payment before hand, but you would never pay in full for a service before receiving the service!)

        4. If you are unhappy with the results of the service, the service provider generally provides warantees or guarantees which allow you to recover all, or at least a portion of, your money.

        How do taxes resemble that in any way whatsoever?

  40. Here’s something to think about. On Evil…..

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/10/sympathy_for_the_devil.html

  41. v. Holland says:

    “So, what you want to do is because your brother does not see value you want to force him abd steal money from him because you think it is important even though he does not!
    And you think your justification is different from Charlie or Chris on Health Care!
    Let me clear, again.
    Law of Economics applies to Defense like it does to Health Care.
    If you believe you are getting value – you will pay – if you don’t you will not pay.
    The way defense can be provisioned without having to steal money for it will be worked out by the free market like it figured how to get gas to your car and food on to your table.”

    If a service is essential for the survival of society and there is no way to calculate how much people owe based on their usage or a way to exempt them from usage if they don’t pay then I see their refusing to pay as taking my labor to pay for their needs(stealing) Your stating that this difference WILL BE figured out or that people will pay for what they deem necessary doesn’t negate the truth of my comments, you will in all probability still have people who will not want to pay and whether or not it can be figured out in an equitable way is doubtful.

    “Also consider this.
    I build a wall to protect my family. You come to visit. How much more did the wall cost me to protect you? Do I have to rebuild my wall every year to continue protecting me?”
    This is only one aspect of defense you may be able to protect someone else without raising your cost on a limited local basis. But that is all. It is impossible for the military to protect all of the country without protecting non payers when the payers and non payers are together in the same area, which doesn’t even bring into consideration the things that they do that stops actual attacks which protects all of us.

    “Defense should be come cheaper on a per capita and over time.
    Yet, as long as government runs it, the opposite it is true – it becomes more expensive per capita and over time.
    When one sees such things, you can guarantee it is because it is a perversion of freedom and economics.
    Therefore, it is as it stands worse then optimum – and attempting to keep such perversion in place prevents defense from being effective and economically optimized.
    If you are happy paying trillions for junk service – keep it under government control. If you are not happy doing that – then, guess what needs to be changed?””

    The fact that government waste money is true but it shows the immorality of man not that the basis of government is immoral. Just like the misdeeds of some corporations doesn’t show the basis for corporations is immoral just that man can be.

  42. v. Holland

    If a service is essential for the survival of society

    So is eating food!

    and there is no way to calculate how much people owe based on their usage or a way to exempt them from usage if they don’t pay

    How do you know? You’ve never tried – because you never cared to try. It’s not your line of business, so why would you bother?

    It’s like you trying to figure out how to charge for access to long distance transfer services – do you know how to do that?

    Does that mean it can’t be done?

    Since humans have figured out ways to set price and receive payment and deliver product on such a vast number of products and services – it is BIZARRE to believe it cannot be done on an economic good that has been known by humanity for 10,000 years!

    This isn’t something new!

    then I see their refusing to pay as taking my labor to pay for their needs(stealing)

    Why?

    They obviously DO NOT WANT THE PRODUCT! Why should a Quaker pay for the military?

    Your stating that this difference WILL BE figured out or that people will pay for what they deem necessary doesn’t negate the truth of my comments, you will in all probability still have people who will not want to pay and whether or not it can be figured out in an equitable way is doubtful.

    So, based on some non-thinking (that is, you haven’t figured it out, primarily because it doesn’t matter to you)– you have doubt, and because of doubt, you believe justifies stealing money from people!

    “Also consider this.
    I build a wall to protect my family. You come to visit. How much more did the wall cost me to protect you? Do I have to rebuild my wall every year to continue protecting me?”
    This is only one aspect of defense you may be able to protect someone else without raising your cost on a limited local basis. But that is all. It is impossible for the military to protect all of the country without protecting non payers when the payers and non payers are together in the same area, which doesn’t even bring into consideration the things that they do that stops actual attacks which protects all of us.

    So what?

    That was exactly my point.

    I did not charge you fee for using my wall to protect you. It’s already paid for. Protecting you is a freebee because the value of the wall for me was to guard my family – you are simply a bonus.

    The fact that government waste money is true but it shows the immorality of man not that the basis of government is immoral. Just like the misdeeds of some corporations doesn’t show the basis for corporations is immoral just that man can be

    Government is immoral because it applies violence on non-violent people.

    Companies do not coerce or use violence against me – I can chose with whom and for what I do business with. I cannot do that with Government.

    You rant against Chris and Charlie for doing the same thing you are doing – justifying coercion upon non-violent people for something you think is important.

    Sir, this is why you will never win your argument against them.

    • v. Holland says:

      I actually think I have already given my reasons for what I believe on all your above points and I don’t believe they are contradictory just not the same as yours.

      • Yes….but…

        …don’t expect to be successful against Charlie or Chris with any reasoning about whether government should or should not be involved in Health Care on a moral basis.

        The best you can do is debate cost, function and access, etc.

        But you will not prevail if the argument depends on any moral grounds.

        Cheers!

  43. The UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has thanked Iran for providing the agency with information about the construction of its new pilot enrichment plant.

    “With reference to the letter of 21 September 2009… from HE Ambassador Soltanieh to the Director General of the Agency Dr ElBaradei, I wish to thank the Islamic Republic of Iran for providing the Agency with information about Iran’s activities related to the construction of a new pilot enrichment plant,” read a letter by the IAEA to Iran, a copy of which was obtained by Press TV.

    Iran agrees to send uranium abroad after talks breakthrough
    Provisional deal offers hope of defusing crisis

    Iran agreed in principle today to export much of its stock of enriched uranium for processing and to open its newly revealed enrichment plant to UN inspections within a fortnight.

    The agreements, struck at negotiations in Geneva with six major powers, represented the most significant progress in talks with Tehran in more than three years, and offered hope that the nuclear crisis could be defused, at least temporarily.

    http://lataan.blogspot.com/2009/10/irans-latest-moves-will-be-blow-for-us.html
    Agree or disagree with this blogster – there are other opinions out there too.

  44. The two tools for the Internet that amazes the most….

    Google – I can find anything about almost anyone and anything almost instantly.

    Wikipedia – accurate enough to give me enough search parameters to use on Google for detail if I need it.

  45. Richmond Spitfire says:

    Hi all,

    This video is an interview of a woman in Indiana who was arrested for purchasing .6 grams of cold medications ABOVE the amount allowed by law for a certain time period.

    http://www.foxnews.com/video2/video08.html?maven_referralObject=10358007&maven_referralPlaylistId=&sRevUrl=http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,560153,00.html?loomia_ow=t0:s0:a16:g4:r5:c0.000000:b28110826:z10

    Her husband had a cold…she purchased the 1st box of cold meds for him. Her adult daughter got a cold a couple of days later and she then purchased the 2nd box of cold meds for her.

    7 police cars showed up at her house a few days later at 6:30 in the morning. A local newspaper had a headline something to the effect of 16 Busted in Drug Roundup with her picture plastered underneath it.

    The Sheriff was interviewed and said that it was unfortunate, but that for the “Greater Good”, these laws needed to be in place.

    The DA was interviewed and basically said that she had to enforce the laws on the books.

    This woman has been put thru Hell….

    UNBELIEVABLE…

    RS

  46. Hey, I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog!…..I”ll be checking in on a regularly now….Keep up the good work! 🙂

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