Guest Commentary – Limits on Knowledge

guest-commentaryGuest Commentary comes to us once again. It has been a really good week for discussions this week. The discussions around health care were especially good. They were, at times, a bit frustrating. Not because of the directions that any of the people took, even when some of them were completely off base. I was more frustrated because of the fact that I was unable to jump in and actually participate in the discussions in a substantive manner, which means I missed out on having some good debates with some of you. I especially was interested in discussing things with “Buck”, so I hope that he will continue to hang around and discuss things with us! As many of you know, next week will be a big week for spending time with family as we deal with the services and taking care of things. So I may not be real engaged next week, but I intend to be far more engaged in the conversations in the weeks to come.

Tonight’s guest commentary is one that I know many of you have been waiting on. Black Flag returns to the guest commentary realm with a follow up to his first article. I hope that everyone enjoys the discussions that are sure to follow from this one…

Limits on Knowledge
by Black Flag

blackflagsymbolMany discussions on the blog hold a particular premise at its core;

“Man has the knowledge or can obtain the knowledge to shape society to his own design“

Many – if not most – people believe that society (politically and economically) can be designed if only we had enough power,
information, and control over the actions of our fellow man.

That belief stands on a premise that social action can be understood as a science.

But it cannot. There is no experiment on human action that can prove a hypothesis that would confirm that action on all humans!

Fredrick Hayek, in accepting his Nobel Prize, gave a remarkable acceptance speech. His was a stern and grave warning to the world about the limits of knowledge in predicting, controlling and designing human action.

He said that the most dangerous person on earth is an arrogant intellectual who lacks the humility necessary to
see that society needs no masters and cannot be planned from the top down.

An intellectual lacking humility can become a tyrant, and an accomplice in the destruction of civilization itself. His speech was an implicit condemnation of a century of intellectual and social trends and a warning to us, his future.

I fear we have not listened well.

Fredrick Hayek: “Yet the danger of which I want to warn is precisely the belief that in order to have a claim to be accepted as scientific it is necessary to achieve more.”

This way lies charlatanism and worse.

To act on the belief that we possess the knowledge and the power which enable us to shape the processes of society entirely to our liking, knowledge which in fact we do not possess, is likely to make us do much harm.

In the physical sciences there may be little objection to trying to do the impossible; one might even feel that one ought not to discourage the over-confident because their experiments may after all produce some new insights.

But in the social field the erroneous belief that the exercise of some power would have beneficial consequences is likely to lead to a new power to coerce other men being conferred on some authority.

Even if such power is not in itself bad, its exercise is likely to impede the functioning of those spontaneous ordering forces by which, without understanding them, man is in fact so largely assisted in the pursuit of his aims.

We are only beginning to understand on how subtle a communication system the functioning of an advanced industrial society is based – a communications system which we call the market and which turns out to be a more efficient mechanism for digesting dispersed information than any that man has deliberately designed.

If man is not to do more harm than good in his efforts to improve the social order, he will have to learn that in this, as in all other fields where essential complexity of an organized kind prevails, he cannot acquire the full knowledge which would make mastery of the events possible.

He will therefore have to use what knowledge he can achieve, not to shape the results as the craftsman shapes his handiwork, but rather to cultivate a growth by providing the appropriate environment, in the manner in which the gardener does this for his plants.

There is danger in the exuberant feeling of ever growing power which the advance of the physical sciences has engendered and which tempts man to try, “dizzy with success”, to use a characteristic phrase of early communism, to subject not only our natural but also our human environment to the control of a human will.

The recognition of the insuperable limits to his knowledge ought indeed to teach the student of society a lesson of humility which should guard him against becoming an accomplice in men’s fatal striving to control society – a striving which makes him not only a tyrant over his fellows, but which may well make him the destroyer of a civilization which no brain has designed but which has grown from the free efforts of millions of individuals.


  1. Bottom Line says:

    My IQ is higher than 90% of our species.

    BF, If I had to guess, you’re in the top 5% or maybe even Menza(top 2%).

    I struggle to understand economic theory. My ignorance combined with the complexity of economics leaves me with little more than a layman’s understanding. But I think I got the point anyway. Correct me if I’m wrong….

    Friedrich August von Hayek basically said:

    Economics is different than other sciences because there is a bit of guess work. (too many variables to figure)

    There is no practical way of determining the value of these variables.

    Any attempt to excert control without knowing all of the answers is more so to the detriment rather than the benefit of economic stability. To try to control it in spite of the uncertainty, creates instability and quite possibly unsustainability.

    His answer: Let the chips fall where they may. It’s still better than wrecking it all to hell while acting like you know all of the answers. Nobody has all of the answers.

    Did I get it? Or am I a retard in comparison?

    • Bottom Line

      I have been measured to a degree to claim if I walk into any completely filled sports stadium in the world, I am assured I have the highest IQ there.

      Some would say though, given the intellectual capacity of those that go and watch sports in a herd, that claim isn’t that hard to make.

      Yes, I am a Mensa member.

      You do get the gist of Hayek’s, (and every Austrian economist) thinking.

      Economics is not a science of formulas like, say, Physics.

      What a ball will do in a gravity field today, that same ball will do -exactly again- in the same field of gravity tomorrow. Physics is a science of formula. And with those formula’s we can predict – and therefore easily use – the universe.

      Because we can predict aspects of the physical universe, we can turn prediction into our design and change the universe to suit ourselves.

      But there is no formula for economics. What may be a desire for Bottom Line today, may not be that desire for him tomorrow. Things that caused him action today, other things may cause him a different, or the same, or reverse action tomorrow.

      There is no formula called Bottom Line that we can use to manipulate you.

      Thus, Mises -the mentor of Hayek- showed that all economics is a factor of Human Action. Not the other way around as Charlie hypothesis.

      Humans action create “economics”.

      Charlie wants to use economics to create human action. Charlie and his kind (included Mathius, and Chris) is exactly what Hayek is warning us about – intellectual elite misunderstanding the limits of their own knowledge – believing economics is a science of ‘formula’ where a ‘tweek’ here and a ‘twist’ there will create a design upon society toward betterment.

      But it cannot. Society was not designed by a man or an elite group of men. It came into being spontaneously out of all of us.

      Any overt human design upon it can only degrade and eventually destroy society.

      • Bottom Line says:

        I woke up a bit groggy and too early this morning. Sinus drainage interrupted my REM state. My eyes were bloodshot and puffy. I was trying to decide whether I was to go back to bed or not. I got up and read “Guest Commentary – Limits on Knowledge by Black Flag”.

        My first thoughts after reaading it was something along the lines of…

        ” What? I THINK I got that. I’m too tired to read it again. Talk about limits on knowlege and humility. Leave it to BF to do an article on something just slightly within my grasp such as economic theory. Who is BF anyway? …the human equivelent of Dr. Spock ?”

        I posted the above and went back to sleep.

        I think today is to be more of a learning experience for me.

        That’s what I like about SUFA. I’m always learning something here. However uneducated, I am still more intelligent than most. Here at SUFA, Most are more intelligent and educated than I. I rather like it as I have a thirst for knowledge. Regularly visiting SUFA is like getting an associates in political/social/economic sciences. And it’s as free a a public library.

        BTW, I like the 0 = God thing. I didn’t quite take it to that level. I was just goofing off with numbers.

      • Reminds me of the differences between identical twins. When even cut from the same cloth and raised in the same environment, differences arise in the individual. None of us are the same and therein the rub lay. We’re as ever changing as the weather and the day we are not so we will not “be” at all.

        Excellent topic BF.

  2. A proof of BF’s thesis would be the group of Combodian punks educated in a French Lycee who came to power under Pol Pot and instituted a further abortion of Mao’s cultural revolution there (“Year Zero”). The killing fields was one result of that insanity.

    Still, that doesn’t preclude a group of people (whether intellectual or not) banding together for the greater good. Certainly this country (America) was born from such a banding together. I think the threat of dictatorial rule always exists (whether under a single fascist or a board of the same) but it isn’t a foregone conclusion (which I think BF suggests).

    People can and do band together for a common benefit. Trickle down free market theories work in theory only (it seems). We’re still smarting from Reganomics today (as our producers seek overseas markets and short change American workers). As populations increase and the global economy finds cheaper sources of production outside our borders, we crash and burn. Whether you blame government or capitalism isn’t going to make a difference for the population that finds itself out of work.

    I too wish we could return to a more simple time (1950’s-60’s) but we’re too far gone now. We could keep jobs within our borders and demand people work for their keep (minimizing welfare) but not without drastic changes in both or economy and government.

    Without government (i.e., no government), today, forgetaboutit … total chaos.

    • Hey Charlie……wasssup? Consider this my friend.

      Classical liberalism holds that individual rights are natural, inherent, or inalienable, and exist independently of government. Thomas Jefferson called these inalienable rights: Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’, because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.” For classical liberalism, rights are of a negative nature—rights that require that other individuals (and governments) refrain from interfering with individual liberty, whereas social liberalism (also called modern liberalism or welfare liberalism) holds that individuals have a right to be provided with certain benefits or services by others. Unlike social liberals, classical liberals are “hostile to the welfare state.” They do not have an interest in material equality but only in “equality before the law.” Classical liberalism is critical of social liberalism and takes offense at group rights being pursued at the expense of individual rights.

      So, is it fair for me to assume you are a modern social liberal? Sometimes, I perceive you are closer to the middle. No?

      On another note…pretty day here. Our cold snap of 70 degree weather is over…back into the 80’s today.

      • Buon giorno, D-13.

        So, is it fair for me to assume you are a modern social liberal? Sometimes, I perceive you are closer to the middle. No?

        I’m almost afraid to answer … truly, because I’m not sure. I was once a bleeding heart liberal (social liberal) but a great part my turn to the right in 2000 had to do with my return to the legitimate arena (workforce) and I was pretty much shocked by the lack of work ethic around me (too many (not all) people seemed to strive to do as little as possible and expect(demand) more for it). They were all democrats (although I think half of them didn’t know what it meant, one way or the other) and I found myself saying, “I can’t be on the same page as these people.” I voted for Bush twice (but that was in spite of his social platform and had only to do with what I perceived as Clinton’s complete lack of national defense). I had voted for Clinton his first term and did not vote at all his second term.

        I am not a proponent of welfare except in genuine cases of need (and then I’m all for it—how that is determined (need) well, that’s a tough one). I abhor the fraud in both welfare and Medicaid and would not expand either without genuine results to the problems first. I want businesses to pay their fare share, though (according to their profits) and not be permitted corporate welfare and/or outsourcing of American jobs. I also think there should be a permanent draft (1-2 years of service for everybody (no exceptions—especially the kids of politicians and double especially during times of war) upon graduation from high school (if for no other reason then to “earn” whatever benefits come from the government after the fact – to include national health care). The fact some of these kids would get some form of discipline and maybe learn to tie their shoes wouldn’t hurt either.

        The other day (Thursday) I took the #4 train to the ferry and two kids were “social rapping”. What they were saying would make truck drivers blush. A train full of people (women and children) and nobody was willing to shut them up. I was trying to read a book and just couldn’t take it anymore. I told them to “take a fuckin’ five minute break already.” They proceeded to rap about how they would take care of me and do “things” to my daughter. I turned red faced. One of them made a gun of his hand and I said I’d break his hand if he did it again (they were 16 or so). Both happened to be black kids but I’ve heard and seen white kids do the same. What pissed me off was the other men on the train (especially black men) who ignored the entire scene. When I was a kid, had I done something like that I would’ve been looking for my teeth (and rightly so). Kids like that I have no use for (whether they’re black/white; on welfare or not). I think there should be some form of 3 strikes law that precludes punks from ruining it for the rest of society. Preferably a one way ticket out of the country to jail, but either is fine with me. I feel the same about those who would abuse the Medicaid and welfare system in general … and as for the bankers at Enron, etc., hanging them in the public square works fine for me too (so I guess I’m not all that liberal). 🙂

        • Ok, who is this and what have you done with Charlie. 🙂

          Wow…you will find that most conservatives (true conservatives) agree with you. I am a fiscal conservative. I can squeeze a buffalo nickel until it farts with the best of them but I am not lost on the actual need of some people. There is a need for some form of social net but not the one we have that perpetuates laziness. You can never…repeat, never….get me to believe that a person born in the “hood” is destined to stay there and is institutionalized in that welfare state. I will never believe it is a way of life that is forced. It is a choice. The poorest of the poor CAN get out. But to “spread the wealth” (ie tax the rich simply because they are rich) is not right. to take from someone simply because he has more is not right. I will fight that forever.

          Socially…I suppose that I fall into the moderate category and stray from the conservative side. (For example, I believe in the woman’s right to choose, however, I do not believe in abortion as a birth control method. Sounds a little contradictory, but to wax philosophical in that animals kill their young does not make it right….but that is my free belief. But I will not burn a building down to prove my point.) However, I am a believer in law….which some are not and view laws as a government control to take freedoms away. I am not Christian Right nor flaming liberal left by any stretch. I also do not give a tinkers damn about what happened 600 years ago and the possible implications on us today. For example, I do not care what happened to the Persians 600 years ago and the atrocities they underwent with the Crusades or the Spanish Inquisition. I will deal with the reality of today.

          Help you any where I come from? I am pure logic, mostly. BF says all the time…”show me where Iran has attacked someone in the last 300 years”. That is not the point. They have done nothing but that is no justification for their actions today, as some will try to iterate. They were ruthless prior to that….more so than we have ever been…but that was the reality back then. Times change.

          Religion, no matter whose, is a reality. Philosophically, they are all ok but the practical applications are not ok. I do not like Christian missions in foreign countries anymore than I like theirs here. But when philosophy is replaced by realism under the disguise of philosophical reason, I draw the line. Politics, Religion, economics…it does not matter. You are basically good…I am basically good. I will pick up a stranger and dust him off and send him on his way. I will not step over him and pay him no mind. I will not feed him, clothe him, educate him, or pay him, but I will offer a kind hand and help him on his way. No entitlements.

          Fair enough…I think you and I are actually pretty close. I am just a little more military than you but that is ok as well.

          • BTW…your answer was just fine. Do not be afraid for I will not attack you for your beliefs. I may disagree but will not attack.

            • D, no problem with disagreements (what discourse is all about).

              I’m probably equally military; I was all for both wars until I realized they were terrible choices for 2 reasons (1) I no longer believe either was a direct threat (and Afghanistan could have been handled from the air alone for all we’re getting out of it) and (2) we put handcuffs on our soldiers (always it seems).

              That said, when I say tax the rich, I don’t mean for the sake of them having money but … they should pay a tax proportionate to their benefit (i.e., a company earning $400 million a day should NEVER get corporate welfare, yet it happens all the time).

              I do, however, believe in a mandatory draft for the sake of “earning” national health care (if nothing else).

              We’re cool, brother. What I can’t stomach anymore is these two parties making fools of us all. I’d prefer my paradigm of a more socialist structure, but I’d just as soon take absolutely no government over what we have today. I’m sick of rewarding these bums (and that’s what they are–bums).

              Just back from the gym … still debating whether I want to give another meet a shot … it kills my diet but I always feel better knowing I can defend myself (somewhat) from punks on trains who insist on pushing the limit. Every time I think about Thursday night, I can feel my blood boil. A train full of people and these two punks felt they could just yap without consequence. And I’m sure had it come to blows, I would’ve been the one arrested.

          • TexasChem says:

            BF says all the time…”show me where Iran has attacked someone in the last 300 years”.

            Correct, he has said that.He also forgot to state that although they have not attacked direcly they encourage and fund other Arab Islamic communities to do… “TeRrOrIstS.”

            • No different then the USA.

            • TC,

              I don’t have it set up to block words here. I figure we are all adults and if someone says something I think is out of line, I hope to catch it and correct…

              So no need to use those filter tricks here… The word Terrorist will go through just fine! The only word I have currently set to auto moderate is Piano… I get a lot of spam from some idiot running a piano site and his “posting name” changes every day but always includes piano.


        • SK Trynosky Sr says:

          Mostly take the “A” myself, sorry I wasn’t there to get your back. Would have been fun.

    • Charlie:

      I’m not sure if you ever read F. Hayek’s book, The Road to Serfdom, but it is worth reading, even if you disagree with it.

      Basically, all the ism’s (statism, communism, socialism, fascism) lead to tyranny. Democracy cannot work in such systems. You cannot plan an economy. Too may people in government believe that they can plan and control the economy.

      The greater good eventually leads to tyranny.

      • I will take a read (right after Atlas Shrugged) from pure interest.

        • TexasChem says:

          Patrick Rothfuss has a book out called (The Name of the Wind).

          I read quite a bit and can honestly say that I have not enjoyed a story like the one mentioned above since I first read Tolkiens (The Hobbit) 25 years ago.

          I highly recommend it.Very entertaining page turner that you wont be able to put down till’ it is finished!

        • You are reading Atlas Shrugged? I am stunned! It is a great book.

          • It’s on my to read list (two books away but I read 2-3 a week).

            I’ve read a ton of Buckley so I’m not sure I’ll be overwhelmed, but I look forward to it.

    • Charlie,

      I think you have only looked at one side of Reganomics, and discount the effects of other influences, simply because they
      coincide with your bias. Carter/Clinton’s FORCED expansion of home loans to low income is one example.

      • No doubt the low income loans were a bad idea … but what about this last banking crisis (the shakedown last year). My wife and I were approved for a $770,000.00 loan. We took $100,000. There’s no way in hell we could’ve paid off a 770K loan (without me going back to crime). That was insane. And the clowns in the same position who took 770K were no better than the bankers who offered it … but it comes to the same thing–no regulation/no oversight. They gambled and lost and we all paid for it. And NOTHING, not a single piece of oversight legislation has been passed since (while CEO’s of bailed out companies have actually gone above and beyond what their corporate salaries/bonuses were before they failed). Personally, i think the legislators who handed them OUR money and those who took it should be clipped (for lack of a better word).

    • SK Trynosky Sr. says:

      It is not Reganomics. We have met the enemy and he is us. Keep repeating that to yourself. It hurts, I know, it hurts me too to realize it. A publically owned corporation has a duty to maximize profits to its stockholders. Therefore, it takes the past of least resistance and does it’s manufacturing where it is cheapest, a place like China. The investor , including the largest liberal institutions like Columbia, Harvard and Yale are happy, the CEO is happy because he keeps his job and the consumer (to dumb to see its his job next) is happy because he gets to buy mass quantities of cheap junk.

      The theory behind Reganomics I believe is so simple people miss it. If you allow people, even rich people to keep their own money, they will spend it. They will not put it in the mattress or open money bin #5 like Scrooge McDuck. They spend, we sell and we make money. When Carter put on a luxury tax he destroyed all the small boatyards on the East coast. The rich went to Europe and Asia for their yachts where there was no 10% extra.

      Keep saying it until it hurts, we have met the enemy and he is us. Unfortunately.

      • You nailed it SK Trynosky Sr. Americans are their own worst enemy. My mother angry with me because I’m looking for a new country to call home. She says I should stay and fight for America. One of the many things I learned during my now ended marriage, is that you can’t save someone who won’t save themself. Most Americans don’t want to save themselves. They want the government to save them, or Obama. How do you stop that? You don’t. So remember, you can’t save someone who won’t save themself. Say it till it hurts.

        • SK Trynosky Sr. says:

          Cindy, do not give up! There is no other place. We have been forced by events occurring now to lead, follow or get the hell out of the way. See my # 25 or # 26 below.

        • SK Trynosky Sr says:

          Cindi, I had meant to do this earlier, my apologies to you on behalf of the male gender. It is unfortunate that one of the “benefits” of the 1960’s was the production of generations of men who can’t commit, to anything. As a veteran, some would say survivor (don’t tell my wife) of 37 years of marriage, I never once seriously thought of walking away or retreating into a cocoon when things got tough. We were both in our upper 20’s when we married. For us, I think that was a good idea.

      • An excellent observation SK. I have said for years that when we go on a punish the rich kick, the only ones punished is the consumer. The wealthy pass the costs on to us. Or they take their businesses to more profit friendly locales.

        The interesting thing is the way that the politicians have conditioned America to hold the idea of making a profit to be a fault. Capitalism is evil, in their eyes, because people profit from it. It is like bizarro world.


        • If they want to leave the USA with their business, nationalize it. They are taking their money, not their production. Nationalize it and return it to the actual producers (the workers). Owner gets to leave, jobs stay, x% of profit goes to infrastructure costs, etc.

          It’s a thought.

          • SK Trynosky Sr says:

            Again, it is the stockholders who actually own the corporation. They do not make the day to day decisions that’s for the board. Those are the folks who take the plant to Asia.

            The part I find disgusting is where the holders of huge blocks of stock as investments, (that’s not you and me) conveniently ignore what is going on at the stockholders meeting and fly under the cover of the radar and our ignorance about how the market operates and take absolutely no flack for allowing the Corporations to go offshore.

            If you know anyone who works in the market ask them about the big institutional investors, hospitals, universities, churches and (love it) unions. I did not know about this until a few years ago when it was explained that daily crashes were on automatic since so many institutions had automated buy-sell orders ready to go. If a particular stock fell a certain amount in a day, the institution(s) unloaded all their holdings at a certain price accidentally guaranteeing a crash. By and large this has been corrected. A human rather than a machine now has to make the call.

            So, Nationalization would take away ownership from the stockholders of publically traded companies by and large, ending the influx of new capital and guaranteeing a government subsidized inefficient company (by definition I’m afraid).

            My solution would be a knowledgeable public boycotting there folks. Remember a boycott did work very well on disinvestment from companies doing business in South Africa. However as the man said on the HBO show the other night, where else are they going to go to buy their clothes?

            The answer, ultimately, has to be some form of protectionism coupled with a willingness on the part of an EDUCATED consumer to live with less to preserve their and their children’s future.

            How we could possibly ever get to that point, I can’t tell you.

            Quick question, what do you call a country that exports all its natural resources and imports finished goods?

            Give up?

            A Colony.

            • The answer, ultimately, has to be some form of protectionism coupled with a willingness on the part of an EDUCATED consumer to live with less to preserve their and their children’s future.

              I can live with this, but I’m sorry to say I think you’re right about the consumer … too many seem oblivious to anything outside of a very small vacuum of interest (too often defined by electronic toys).

              I see people on trains/ferry’s, etc., playing with their little gadgets (text messaging, watching videos, playing games) and I’m thinking: “Boy, are we all in trouble.”

              • SK Trynosky Sr. says:

                Worst part is that the little gadgets possibly could have been made here instead of abroad and that’s just for openers.

                My friend, we have life way too easy in this country. I liked that Kennedy inauguration speech, you know, the part, “Born in this century, tempered by war and strengthened by a hard and bitter peace”. That was my parents generation. I recommend to anyone who is interested the last four page chapter in Stephen Ambrose’s book “Citizen Soldier”. I challenge you to read that and not come away with a whole new view of the supposedly sterile 1950’s and early ’60’s. Would that the majority of us boomers and our offspring had some of those challenges today.

                Some of us did, Viet-Nam, the Civil Rights movement etc. but the bulk sat it out using the much lauded “protest movement”: as an excuse to get high and get laid. Hey, don’t give me any BS, I saw it, I was there as usual with eyes and ears wide open.

  3. I think that you need to extrapolate a little further, BL. Friedrich August von Hayek was a classic liberal, which is not the same definition as liberal is today. Classic Liberalism follows the belief of personal freedom and to government by the people and for the people, but differed from earlier forms of liberalism in its commitment to free markets and opposition to tariffs and government monopolies. This, in itself, is not the mantra of liberalism today, which is the direct opposite. Classic Liberalism stresses laissez-faire economics and Originalism…..very much like that of the Jacksonian Democracy of the 19th century.

    The philosophy of classical liberalism includes the importance of human rationality, individual property rights, natural rights, the protection of civil liberties, individual freedom from restraint, equality under the law, constitutional limitation of government, free markets, and a gold standard to facilitate global free trade and place fiscal constraints on government.

    According to Razeen Sally the “normative core” of classical liberalism is the idea that a laissez-faire economic policy will bring about a spontaneous order or invisible hand that benefits the society, though this does not necessarily prevent the state from providing some limited basic public goods.

    I feel that his warning was meant to ensure that there is no variation of this if one is to remain truly free. let the markets decide and gold becomes the standard bearer. However, this definition and style of liberalism has been hijacked and he saw this coming. I also think his warning, using the economic philosophy, is that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The Liberal Left has hijacked the term liberalism to a completely different meaning today and the term today is a pariah on laissez-faire economic policy. It does not believe in it, as I interpret, it and that is evident from the postings on this blog.

    So, letting “the chips fall where they may” is an over simplification but pretty close IF and only IF the free market truly reigns without interference with the use of the term free. Allow the markets to decide but where the philosophy falls short, as all philosophy does, is that man, in his infamous infinite wisdom (my terminology), seeks control and power through alternative means and understands that a truly free market will mean THEIR destruction. But again, that is philosophy and not reality. The reality is that government leaders, in their exercise of power, have convoluted and bastardized the true meaning of Classic Liberalism.

    So, carefully disguised trade restrictions and trade barriers have prevented truly free global economic trade. When that is prevented, then you have Obamamania claiming that the exercise of power over the free market is the only way to save an ailing economy. In America, we proved the theory of Classic Liberalism but we did not understand the power we manufactured. It begat hedgemony and the control of other economic societies through……..economics. Did not really need bullets and bombs.

    I think that is the reasoning that BF is intending here. want to fix our economy….let it go. No restrictions. But the world has to cooperate…hence the term philosophy. Everyone has to fall into line (or the majority) or it will not work.


    • D13,

      Good morning sir, enjoyed your post. And I’m going somewhere I do not wish to go. I believe in the principals of free market, and I fear a totally free market. Goldman-Sachs, for example, has shown it will manipulate markets for financial gain, leaving wreckage in its wake(Ex.,housing and oil). When a company grows large enough it can manipulate world markets, and has demonstrated profit and greed are its only principals, what kind of world will that lead to?

      • Yes…very good point….that is why I emphasized the “philosophical”. BF and I do not agree on very much at all….but I understand that he is a philosopher of sorts. It took me awhile to understand where he comes from. Philosophically, he is correct. When he quotes most people, he is quoting their philosophy and it really looks good on paper. But, in reality, it just does not work that way…why? Because, as I stated, man, in his INFAMOUS wisdom (my terminology), will not allow pure and true freedoms….which should come with integrity. Power corrupts…and power without checks and balances, will corrupt absolutely. However, checks and balances are a control mechanism, which in the philosophy of BF and Classic Liberalism contradict each other. This is where BF comes from. Unfortunately, the reality is as you see it.

        So you are correct and your travels today did not fall on deaf ears. Quite often, my stances deal with reality and looking it in the face. Realism will outweigh philosophy each time when integrity of all parties is questionable.


        Have a wonderful day, sir.

        • TexasChem says:

          I have been away from the site for too long!Responsibilities at work (60 to 84 hours a week) have kept me living as a slave to the chemical industry, gentlemen!Work, sleep and sometimes eat, work, sleep, work, sleep and sometimes eat.

          Had a few minutes to browse through the last few articles and commentaries and had to give D13 a hearty “thumbs up” agreement with this post of his! =) Straight as an arrow and to the point.I love honest remarks from honest people saying their thoughts through words!

          • Good to see you here again TC. I hope work will remain sane enough for you to become a regular again!

    • D13

      You made a lot points here, and your follow up that I will address, simply because you’ve come nicely to a point where rational discourse is possible on them with you.

      But to start; though your description of liberal philosophy is accurate enough, I would say you are incorrect in assigning Hayek or Mises or myself to it.

      It is, in my opinion, important to understand that the Austrian school was very, very strict in avoiding attaching moral labels to human action.

      They did not subscribe to claim that Communism was “bad”, or Socialism was “bad” or Democracy was “good”. Individually, they may have had an opinion but science is not based on an opinion – it is based on theories gained from observational fact.

      What Mises and Hayek did was to explain that if a force is applied to prevent this action of free men, the consequence will be that free men will ‘do this’ instead. There was no judgment on whether the force applied was ‘good’ or ‘bad’, or that the decisions of free men were necessarily good or bad as a consequence.

      Simply do this, and this will happen.

      What they further stated, however, was if -politically- you claimed the use of force was to cause this ‘consequence’ (claimed to be a ‘good’), if however that was not the consequence, then the actor’s action missed that goal, then the use of force would be, logically, ‘not good’.

      So when actions under the broad stroke of communism was to obtain a consequence that was offered to be a ‘good thing’, Mises demonstrated a theoretical base -decades before communism fell- that their action could not produce the ‘good thing’ at all, and would in fact devastate everyone who tried.

      He was proven right – and continues to be proven right over and over.

      My point – do not fall into the trap that Mises or Hayek were out to create a ‘new world’ of their design.

      They had no design. Like I have no design.

      They simply said “Free men’s action is, and always will be, the most effective and efficient means to improving prosperity and social order and any interference on the actions of free men will always produce degradation, decay, stagnation and quite possibly the total destruction of society

    • Bottom Line says:

      D-13 – “I think that you need to extrapolate a little further, BL.”

      BL – I think you just extrapolated for me. Thanks D-13. It’s always a learning experience here at SUFA.

  4. BTW, BF….very interesting article. Nice job.

  5. Ray Hawkins says:

    Oh Obtuse One – interesting post – a few questions it hath wrought:

    “Many – if not most – people believe that society (politically and economically) can be designed if only we had enough power, information, and control over the actions of our fellow man. That belief stands on a premise that social action can be understood as a science. But it cannot. There is no experiment on human action that can prove a hypothesis that would confirm that action on all humans!”

    – From a certain perspective you are correct. But know also that the physical sciences is not static but evolving also – evolving to mean that there is that which we do not yet know that could render existing conclusions to not be 100 percent correct (e.g. research in efficacy of solar thermal versus photovoltaics). It does not mean I, or one, should inherently reject something based on the characteristic of knowledge that there are things that I do not yet have the ability to know – it simply means for most of us, that there is a currency in knowledge – a ‘workability’ most of us are comfortable with – a utility of knowledge. That exists even for many of the physical sciences, but that doesn’t halt their research. From a social sciences perspective, you are erroneously assuming it attempts to confirm a hypothesis for all possible cases: “confirm that action on all humans”. I would suggest or agree here that any social science researcher that is attempting to prove a hypothesis as such should and would likely be rejected. I’d be interested in hearing/seeing research that is accepted that meets this criteria you have established. What it does do is attempt, for a certain scope, to prove/disprove certain null hypothesis, irrespective of methodology.

    “To act on the belief that we possess the knowledge and the power which enable us to shape the processes of society entirely to our liking, knowledge which in fact we do not possess, is likely to make us do much harm.”

    – Your operative phrase here is “entirely to our liking” – which is incorrect. Those who implement or shape a society or entity entirely to ‘a’ liking do always fail. I see little to no reason to abide by a thought that any political party, elected official, leader, or official attempts to shape as such – our society always rejects any efforts to do such, and it is why extremists do not run things – even as liberal or conservative as one may appear – they almost always move to the center.

    “But in the social field the erroneous belief that the exercise of some power would have beneficial consequences is likely to lead to a new power to coerce other men being conferred on some authority.”

    – Again – you have missed the mark here Flag. Interesting that again you use an interesting qualifier such as “likely”. At any rate – you ignore aspects of acceptance theory in followership was has been in the vernacular (and tested, and re-tested) for over 70 years. Significant research has been done to demonstrate the influence followers have over/with leaders – and you can apply that a priori and a posteriori to almost any recent POTUS.

    “Even if such power is not in itself bad, its exercise is likely to impede the functioning of those spontaneous ordering forces by which, without understanding them, man is in fact so largely assisted in the pursuit of his aims.”

    – Using the word “likely” again – interesting. Anyway, to what are these spontaneous ordering forces to which you ascribe? Let’s say for example, that an exercise of power by my government is to pass laws that govern which behaviors are legal and illegal (power by the way that I have granted to them). An aim of mine is to ensure that in the confines of my home I protect my family from reasonable and foreseeable threats. Now, some of those laws are going to put a fence around what measures I can implement in pursuit of my aim. I cannot place ‘hot’ gun batteries around my property pointed at my neighbors. I cannot dig and fill a moat with crocodiles around my property. Have I been impeded in the pursuit of my aims? No. From a spontaneous ordering perspective, I would do nothing. My aim or objective would be met by an organic process by which external forces would not limit or preclude protection of my family. This is only partially true. In my neighborhood, most but not all neighbors look out for each other. However, since my home has been broken into, I cannot claim that spontaneous ordering forces worked – Rothbard would thus be wrong. In so many cases the “minimal state’ along with spontaneous order is not only preferred but required.

    “We are only beginning to understand on how subtle a communication system the functioning of an advanced industrial society is based – a communications system which we call the market and which turns out to be a more efficient mechanism for digesting dispersed information than any that man has deliberately designed.”

    – Flag – that is a very interesting, albeit alexithymic conclusion. In aligning this view in social versus physical science I have to question then why you would believe this to be true? How so is it that it is a “…more efficient mechanism for digesting dispersed information than any that man has deliberately designed”? That strikes me as wholly egregious to your early points on proving/disproving, and in referencing Hayek (whom I do not entirely agree with), with respect to accounting for the complexities of the market and an inability to account for all variables all the time. Please do explain.

    Thanks all,


  6. I feel that this may have been aimed, somewhat, at me. Some thoughts:

    How many things has man said to be unknowable, but then figured out anyway? (See, flight, illness, electricity, etc). We say that things cannot be known because we lack either sufficient knowledge or the tools to obtain sufficient knowledge. Once we obtain these, the goal posts are simply moved. This is hardly intellectually fair.

    Man, like all living things, exists as a function of biology. I am that I am, and I will be as I will be, and I will do as I will do all, in strict accordance with the biology and chemistry of my brain as it interacts with the world around it. That we as yet fail to understand completely this process is irrelevant. I submit that it can be known. Biology is simply applied chemistry. Chemistry is simply applied physics. Physics is simply applied mathematics. We simply lack sufficient knowledge and I reject as patently false your claim that sufficiency knowledge cannot be obtained.

    I offer you, in counterpoint to Hayek, Arthur C. Clarke: “If a distinguished but elderly scientist says something can be done he is probably right on the other hand if he says somthing cannot be done he is almost certainly wrong.”

    To claim that we cannot understand human nature is simply false. We understand some of it, just not all. We do not understand everything there is to know about electricity, but this does not stop us from harnessing it to build computers. We do not know everything there is to know about genetics, but this does not stop us from harnessing what we do know to breed better crops. That we do not understand everything about human nature (and the interactions between humans) does not mean that we cannot successfully utilize what knowledge we do have. In founding this country, the Founding Fathers understood even less than we do today, but still managed to engineer a good and just society. As we learn more, we will become more successful at this.

    Time will show which of us is correct. We are just in the early phases of learning. All is knowable. God does not play dice.

    • The ball-shot whistled pretty close to your ear, huh? 😉

      • I deflected it with my katana.

        • Indeed.

          The problem with single-shot weapons, it takes time to reload, unfortunately.

          I am working on responses to you, Ray, Tex, and D13 – bare with me – USWep always picks my busiest weekends to guest post me! 😉

    • Mathius,

      I think it would be more fair to say that it was aimed at all who believe that we have the ability to control the market. While you have been a vocal proponent, you are certainly not alone in the way that you see things.


  7. TexasChem says:

    Without delving too far into the philosophical theories of minds greater than my own I would like to try to simplify my view of our world economy for you BF.

    The world is made up of many nations.These many nations have MANY rulers whether they be democracies, communists, socialists or kingdom.Whether these rulers are known publicly or not makes no difference to the people being ruled.It just is.These rulers power over their nations and people is measured against their physical material assets and banking accounts.In their geographical area of influence and power their word is law.

    Imagine a kingdom with no king.A feudal system governed by Dukes and Barons with a desire to further their own individual belief systems and desires.

    Mankind has always been this way and will continue to be this way no matter how civilized we supposedly become.There has always been the haves and the have nots.Always the ruled and the ruler.My belief is that our kingdoms are not being governed with good lords.By not being good lords I am implying they do not care for their people.Only their own paricular whims.Evil is evil and good is good.Contrary to what most people believe people are not inherently good.A poorly ran kingdom will always fail.A kingdom ran well with its peoples needs and freedoms met prospers.Evidently we have poor lords determining our needs and freedoms do we not?

    Thaht be moi two jots wohrth of thott wit’ this suhbjekt!
    Moight I suhgest a dowse uf’ cider wit it!

  8. In the world of manufacturing (chemical processes etc.) there is a theory called statisitical process control. This theory says that one can control the process by analysis of the statistics. Some knowledge of the parameters needed to control the system are required but for complex systems it is not necessary to have a complete physical model (understanding) of the process. A process that is varying about a set point by less than 3 standard deviations is considered in control. Beyond 3 standard deviations, one can apply corrective measures. So knowledge of the systems standard deviation from the mean or set point is required. Applying corrective action when the deviation is less than 3 standard deviations will actually make control worse and can drive the system into instability. It is also important to know the time constant (reaction time) of the corrective measures. For example, your potatos are boiling too hard so you turn down the burner. 5 seconds later they are still boiling too hard so you turn it down again. But it takes a minute or more for the mass of the burner and the pot to cool down and reduce the boiling rate. Hence the second input may have driven the process below the boiling point once enough time has past.

    The stimulus approach to economic corrections is an attempt to apply this theory. The markets are under performing so we take corrective action. If we are not satisified with the result in 6 months, we may take corrective action again. The net result is that we can over stimulate the economy and make it worse in the long run. Also, if the initial corrective action is too much or targeted to the wrong part of the economy, it can do more harm than good. Note much of the current stimulus plan has yet to be spent and they are already talking about a second round.

    Unfortunately, the world of economics is vastly different than the physical world. In the physical world, processes follow the rules set down by nature. We may not understand those rules, but they exist and are constant. In the economic world, we are dealing with human beings that can and do change behavior based upon their current perception of reality. Thus the rules are fluid and statistical process control as used in the physical world will not work.

    So a hands off approach is probably best as the system will self regulate. However, there is a role in this (in my opinion) for government. There role is to set the rules of fairness and honesty. For example, how did Enron get so far down the path that they went. First it is not surprising that individuals would dream up schemes to make money in shady fashions. However, the watchdogs, auditor firms, failed to meet their responsibilities because they had become consultants on top of being impartial observers. As such, their observations were skewed because they too were making money off the shady deals. Thus it is appropriate for government require that auditors be single purpose.

    Government’s involvement in subprime loans was also a bad control input. It violated the long standing rules of good lending practice, which is that the borrower must have a financial stake in the colateral (down payment) and must be financially able to repay the loan. For the borrower, it was easy money and profitable as long as housing prices escalated. For the lenders, most knew the risks which is why they sold the loans to the FM’s as quickly as possible or repackaged them as derivatives and spread the risks to others. Government violated thier role and caused the problem by actively demanding changes to good lending practices established over centuries.

    • TexasChem says:

      Your post sounds like (engineer speak). I like it.Makes sense to me.

    • I too like your explaination…..but self correction is what caused or at east heaped on the great depression. That is the reason our government made a choice to meddle in our system. Sad thing is they are apt to do more harm than good.

  9. Totally off topic here, but, BF how was your poker game last night?

  10. v. Holland says:

    Because of my limited understanding of economics, I try to fall back on common sense. So here goes-I don’t believe that the free markets can be completely free because of the greed of man-so we need controls to stop things like monopolies- but I think that we have had so many years of controls added and changed and taken away and put back that our current system is so tied up in knots-that no one can figure out how to untie the mess-so we must back off and let things fall where they may. We must start to deregulate, we must stop the government from stepping in and manipulating everything -We need to try and cut the knot out and start over.

    • TexasChem says:

      I agree.Who do yee think be pushing the buttons on those controls though?

      Joe the plumber or the likes of George Soros?

  11. Great article BF! Great posts by all! I find it nice to be associated with so many smart people who can talk about anything and not only make it understable to the likes of me, but not want to rip each others heads off during the discussion.

    I especially took notice of Charlie’s post and his story of his train ride. I had a discussion about the lack of “personnal resonsibility” in people, and I equated it to welfare and the mentallity it has produced. I think Charlie’s experience is an example of that attitude and mentallity that will eventually lead to the next war. These people do not care about anyone except themselves, and have no remorse for their actions. It is widespread, and it is not going to go away, but will just get worse.

    The end of this will come with the fall of the economy, bad inflation, or even hyperinflation, will force these people to the streets, and the war is on. I’ll be in the country, organizing the men to defend our land, and when the enemy is almost exhausted, we will finish them off. Hope you don’t live in the city, you may have to fight your way out.


    p.s. Sorry about the rant!

    • HEY G

      Why apologize, you spoke what you think and we shouldn’t have to apologize for our thoughts. Within reason of course.

      BTW, How goes it with you?

    • GMan….kids are raised with no respect. They don’t respect themselves, thier elders or authority. The bad part is…our society not only condones it they cultivate it. Wait 20 more years……Bad became good when worse came along.

  12. Don’t know if this has anything to do with BF’s topic for today, but I think it kind of fits and the choices we make.

    Supreme Court to Examine Life in Prison for Juveniles

    The Supreme Court is being asked to say that locking up juveniles and throwing away the key is cruel and unusual — and thus, unconstitutional.

    Joe Sullivan was sent away for life for raping an elderly woman and judged incorrigible though he was only 13 at the time of the attack.

    Terrance Graham, implicated in armed robberies when he was 16 and 17, was given a life sentence by a judge who told the teenager he threw his life away.

    They didn’t kill anyone, but they effectively were sentenced to die in prison.

    Life sentences with no chance of parole are rare and harsh for juveniles tried as adults and convicted of crimes less serious than killing. Just over 100 prison inmates in the United States are serving those terms, according to data compiled by opponents of the sentences.

    Now the Supreme Court is being asked to say that locking up juveniles and throwing away the key is cruel and unusual — and thus, unconstitutional. Other than in death penalty cases, the justices never before have found that a penalty crossed the cruel and unusual line. They will hear arguments Monday.

    Graham, now 22, and Sullivan, now 33, are in Florida prisons, which hold more than 70 percent of juvenile defendants locked up for life for nonhomicide crimes. Although their lawyers deny their clients are guilty, the court will consider only whether the sentences are permitted by the Constitution.

    The Supreme Court’s latest look at how to punish young criminals flows directly from its 4-year-old decision to rule out the death penalty for anyone younger than 18.

    In that 2005 case decided by a 5-4 vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion talked about “the lesser culpability of the juvenile offender.”

    “From a moral standpoint it would be misguided to equate the failings of a minor with those of an adult, for a greater possibility exists that a minor’s character deficiencies will be reformed,” Kennedy said.

    Yet Kennedy also acknowledged the possibility that for the worst crimes and the worst offenders, “the punishment of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole is itself a severe sanction, in particular for a young person.”

    Both sides point to the same basic facts — the rare imposition of Draconian prison terms on people so young — to make their point.

    The state of Florida, backed by 19 other states, argues it should retain flexibility in sentencing so that “particularly heinous acts that stop short of causing death” can be punished vigorously.

    Life without parole “is appropriately rare and reserved only for the worst of the worst offenders,” crime victims’ groups said in court papers.

    Most victims of juvenile violence also are young, the victims groups said, citing Justice Department statistics. “Softening sentences for juvenile offenders puts actual children in harm’s way — innocent ones, not those who have committed violent crimes,” the victims’ groups said.

    Opponents of such sentences said, however, that most states have in practice rejected life terms for juveniles when no one was killed. The 109 juveniles serving terms of life without parole are in Florida and seven other states — California, Delaware, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska and South Carolina — according to a Florida State University study. More than 2,000 other juveniles are serving life without parole for killing someone.

    Only 9 people in the country are serving life sentences for crimes committed when they were 13. The number rises to 73 when 14-year-olds are added in.

    No other country allows life sentences for young offenders, opponents say.

    Beyond the infrequency of such punishment, lawyers for Graham and Sullivan argue that it is a bad idea to render a final judgment about people so young.

    “They are unfinished products, works-in-progress,” said Bryan Stevenson, who will argue Sullivan’s case at the high court.

    Actor Charles Dutton, former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson and others who committed crimes as teenagers have weighed in against life without parole sentences. Corrections officials, psychologists, educators and even some victims also have taken Graham’s and Sullivan’s side.

    “The crimes that these guys committed were grotesque,” Simpson said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “I’m sure people will say Simpson’s gone soft in the head.”

    The Wyoming Republican served 18 years in the Senate, but as a teenager, he pleaded guilty to setting fire to an abandoned building on federal property and later spent a night in jail for slugging a police officer.

    Simpson said he sees no good argument for refusing even to review their sentences after the passage of time.

    “When they get to be 30 or 40 and they been in the clink for 20 years or 30 or 40 and they have learned how to read and how to do things, why not?”

    If a prisoner shows he is not fit to be released, “throw him back in,” he said. “That’s better than saying ‘Sorry, we can’t look at that file because you were sent here for life.”‘

    As their cases come to the court, Sullivan’s and Graham’s interests are not strictly aligned. The justices could, for example, decide that life sentences may be inappropriate for 13-year-olds, but allow them for older teenagers.

    Such a decision could help Sullivan and another Florida inmate, Ian Manuel, who wounded a woman in a shooting when he was 13. But it could leave Graham with his sentence unchanged.

    The cases are Sullivan v. Florida, 08-7621, and Graham v. Florida, 08-7412.

  13. posting for comments

  14. Sorry BF, this has nothing to do with your topic, but I felt compelled to put this up.


    PELOSI: Buy a $15,000 Policy or Go to Jail
    JCT Confirms Failure to Comply with Democrats’ Mandate Can Lead to 5 Years in Jail
    Friday, November 06, 2009

    Today, Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee Dave Camp (R-MI) released a letter from the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) confirming that the failure to comply with the individual mandate to buy health insurance contained in the Pelosi health care bill (H.R. 3962, as amended) could land people in jail. The JCT letter makes clear that Americans who do not maintain “acceptable health insurance coverage” and who choose not to pay the bill’s new individual mandate tax (generally 2.5% of income), are subject to numerous civil and criminal penalties, including criminal fines of up to $250,000 and imprisonment of up to five years.

    In response to the JCT letter, Camp said: “This is the ultimate example of the Democrats’ command-and-control style of governing – buy what we tell you or go to jail. It is outrageous and it should be stopped immediately.”

    Key excerpts from the JCT letter appear below:

    “H.R. 3962 provides that an individual (or a husband and wife in the case of a joint return) who does not, at any time during the taxable year, maintain acceptable health insurance coverage for himself or herself and each of his or her qualifying children is subject to an additional tax.” [page 1]

    – – – – – – – – – –

    “If the government determines that the taxpayer’s unpaid tax liability results from willful behavior, the following penalties could apply…” [page 2]

    – – – – – – – – – –

    “Criminal penalties

    Prosecution is authorized under the Code for a variety of offenses. Depending on the level of the noncompliance, the following penalties could apply to an individual:

    • Section 7203 – misdemeanor willful failure to pay is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year.

    • Section 7201 – felony willful evasion is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment of up to five years.” [page 3]

    When confronted with this same issue during its consideration of a similar individual mandate tax, the Senate Finance Committee worked on a bipartisan basis to include language in its bill that shielded Americans from civil and criminal penalties. The Pelosi bill, however, contains no similar language protecting American citizens from civil and criminal tax penalties that could include a $250,000 fine and five years in jail.

    “The Senate Finance Committee had the good sense to eliminate the extreme penalty of incarceration. Speaker Pelosi’s decision to leave in the jail time provision is a threat to every family who cannot afford the $15,000 premium her plan creates. Fortunately, Republicans have an alternative that will lower health insurance costs without raising taxes or cutting Medicare,” said Camp.

    According to the Congressional Budget Office the lowest cost family non-group plan under the Speaker’s bill would cost $15,000 in 2016.

    • Bottom Line says:


      Must you prompt me to indulge in such fantasies. If I could only get that close I would…well,…nevermind. hehe.

      • Couldn’t resist, but she needs it desperately.

        • Bottom Line says:

          Reading your post makes my blood boil Judy. I assume you read my post about the A,B, or C thing. I’m not sure anything pisses me off more than coersion. I’d rather die on my feet than live on my knees. Liberty vs Death. A life without freedom isn’t really a life in my opinion. Coersion doesn’t work on me.

          Q: How can you control someone who is willing to do anything to aviod control, even to the point of dying as a means of circumvention?

          A: You can’t. You’ll just have to kill them.

          I’ll probably die of a gunshot wound someday. hehe.

          Long live Patrick Henry and William Wallace! FREEDOM!!!

          See, Ya done got me all fired up. lol

          • I’m so sorry BL, didn’t mean to, I just happen to see that and thought I’d post it. Makes me mad too ya know. Nothing like losing our freedom that so many have died for.

            • Bottom Line says:

              Actually I should have stated it differently.

              I.E. “This situation has me all fired up.”

              You’re just the messenger. Right?

  15. From Nevada State Congressman, Dean Heller.

    Heller Takes to the Floor in Opposition To Pelosi Health Care

    (Washington, DC) – Today U.S. Congressman Dean Heller (R-NV) took to the floor and gave the following speech in opposition to the Pelosi Health Care Takeover Act (H.R. 3962):

    Thank you, Mr. Speaker –

    Thank you, Ranking Member Camp, for your hard work producing a Republican alternative that does not raise taxes, raise premiums, increase our debt, or increase healthcare costs.

    Recently, Democrat leadership stated that getting votes today will be easier because Democrats want to go home.

    The Pelosi healthcare bill cost Americans 5 million jobs.

    Despite national unemployment at 10.3% and my home state of Nevada over 13% unemployment – we are moving forward with this bill.

    For the majority, this is fine – if Members of Congress get to go home.

    This legislation raises billions in new taxes on small businesses, and increases healthcare premiums by $15,000 per family on average.

    As long as the majority gets to go home, this does not matter.

    This bill cuts $500 billion from Medicare, affecting more than 20,000 seniors in my district, and also avoids meaningful medical liability reform.

    But the majority will support it to go home.

    The bill’s individual mandates will result in 9 million Americans paying a new tax or facing criminal penalties. These penalties include a $250,000 fine and five years in jail – for failure to pay the tax.

    However, this doesn’t matter as long as the majority gets to go home today.

    Mr. Speaker, this bill lacks enforceable citizenship verification provisions. As many as 8.5 million illegal immigrants would be eligible for taxpayer-subsidized healthcare under this legislation.

    But if the majority gets to go home, it simply doesn’t matter.

    Yet the height of hypocrisy is that Members are not required to participate in this government-run healthcare program.

    Unfortunately, the strategy to pass this massive bill hinges upon Members of Congress wanting to go home instead of passing legislation that will help the American people.

  16. BF, et al, D 13, Charlie, BL, Lof I, G-man,

    Pursuant to my openly honest statement of Nov 5 concerning written and verbal communication, this is indeed one of those times where I must reflect before aspiring to comment. There exists an awful lot of rhetoric in the comments, as well as some degree of personalization. In short I have always understood economics to be one of the philosophic disciplines rather than a science and BF did a magnificent job with regards to methodology while offering his synopsis.

    D 13 is in exemplary form today and my hat is off to you, sir. Predicated upon your discourse on the subject of ‘rights’; moreover, with shameless promotion on my part, please see The Thinker’s Founding Father’s Quote Friday. The Thinker is just over in USW’s blogroll.

    Charlie brilliant point regarding ‘minimizing entitlements’ and if I may add that The Center for Immigration Studies and The Pew Research Center have some extraordinary data that may interest you or your premise.

    Ray Hawkins Kudos baby! Extremely well-articulated. And in finale I have two matters that I implore anyone and everyone here (due to respect!) to please assist me with:

    One, by an attack does one mean against a nation and on that nation’s ground? Or can an attack be against one’s own citizenry? With this in mind, I would argue strongly that Iran has indulged in both. Two, be honest with yourselves here, please; from my earliest days in graduate school I had a professor who adamantly espoused that there is no such thing as “human nature.” If there was he always stated, what is it? I, along with him, do not feel as though there is any such issue that is human nature. Although I would be hard pressed to defend that violence, war, power, and greed are not. Thank you very much,


  17. Human nature is the concept that there are a set of characteristics, including ways of thinking, feeling and acting, that all ‘normal’ humans have in common.

    BL, I took these lines from your link above and want to ad that our ways of thinking, feeling and acting sound like they’re are going to be a thing of the past after this Administration gets through.

    I don’t think the constitution was written for that to happen. I have never been so angry with any administration than I am with this one. Especially after the way Obama handled the Ft. Hood speech. Sounded like he was at an award show instead of a news conference.

  18. v. Holland says:

    Everyone probably already knows but the Health Care Bill passed in the House 220-215 one republican voted for it- Cao-LA. Just really feel sick at my stomach right now.


    The Man Who Predicted the Depression

    We ignore the great Austrian at our peril today.

  20. House narrowly passes landmark health care bill

    WASHINGTON (AP) – In a victory for President Barack Obama, the Democratic-controlled House narrowly passed landmark health care legislation Saturday night to expand coverage to tens of millions who lack it and place tough new restrictions on the insurance industry. Republican opposition was nearly unanimous.

  21. Gold Advances to Record in New York, London After Jobs Data

    By Nicholas Larkin and Chanyaporn Chanjaroen

    Nov. 6 (Bloomberg) — Gold rose to a record in New York and London trading after a report showed U.S. employers cut more jobs than forecast in October, boosting demand for the metal as store of value.

    Bullion is heading for a ninth consecutive annual gain and approaching $1,100 an ounce for the first time as investors seek to protect their wealth from the threat of inflation and the debasement of the U.S. currency

  22. Thought this might be an interesting watch.

    Subject: Fox News Sunday 11/8

    This Sunday Fox news, is going to air a very important
    documentary about Barack Obama, Sunday night at 9 PM Eastern. The report
    will go back to Obama’s earlier days, showing even then his close ties to
    radical Marxist professors, friends, spiritual advisers, etc. It will also
    reveal detail his ties to Rev. Wright for 20+ yrs. How he was
    participating with this man, and not for the reasons he states! The report
    has uncovered more of Obama’s radical past and we will see things that no
    one in the media is willing to put out there. It will be a segment to
    remember. Mark your calendar and pass this on to everyone you know: Sunday
    night, 8 PM. CT ; 9 PM ET. Democrat or Republican, this report will open
    your eyes to how YOUR country is being sold down the road to Totalitarian
    Socialism. If you care about the direction of our country, pass this
    notice on to everyone you know.


    • Some more to think about:

      “This is a perfect example why I refrain from watching the news
      on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN or NSNBC. Fox was the only news to report this (20
      Aug 2009).”

      “Today even though President Obama is against off shore
      drilling for oil for this country. He signed an executive order to loan 2
      Billion of our taxpayers dollars to a Brazilian Oil Exploration Company
      (which is the 8th largest company in the entire world) to drill for oil
      off the coast of Brazil. The oil that comes from this operation is for the
      sole purpose and use of China and not the USA. The Chinese
      government is under contract to purchase all the oil that this oil field
      will produce, which is hundreds of millions of barrels of oil”. We have
      absolutely no gain from this transaction whatsoever.

      Wait it gets more interesting:

      Guess who is the largest individual stockholder of this
      Brazilian Oil Company and who would benefit most from this? It is American
      Billionaire, George Soros, Liberal businessman who is a radical left wing
      supporter, finances as well as other
      liberal programs and was President Obama’s largest and most generous
      supporter during his campaign. If you are able to connect the dots and
      follow the money, you are probably as upset as I am. Not a word of this
      transaction was on any of the other news networks.


      • I had already finished my research on George Soros back in Novemebr of 2008 and knew the working relationship Soros has with the Democratic Party.He practically owns it.This man believes in everything the direct opposite of what I consider traditional American values.


        What the WSJ has to say. They do not mention Soros or the Chinese. So we bash the home grown multinational oil companies and then give (loan) money to a nationally owned foreign one. Petrobras is nationally owned. What’s next, do we send money to Chavez?

      • Seems to me like this executive order should be brought under investigation as an ethics violation.

        The dots to connect Soros and Obama are there through the lefts’ Soros funded organizations.Campaign contributions, campaign funded staff etc. can all be traced back to him through the shadow party.

        • Bottom Line says:

          Texas Chem – “Seems to me like this executive order should be brought under investigation as an ethics violation.”

          BL – That’s a good idea TC.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        G-Man, TexasChem, other – this claim of Executive Order and other associated matters is, ahem, bullshit.

        You see, I thought, wow – this would be astonishing if it were true. So, with a little time to piss away, I went hunting for the supposed Executive Order ( – you guessed it – it does not exist. So – figuring there may be a chance this is one of those ‘reading the tea leaves’ things I did some quick Googling and hit the standard Factcheck posting on this matter. I know you guys will claim bias, but they cite the references right on the page devoted to this: http:// /2009/09/ bogus-brazilian-oil-claims/.

        I also Googled the first paragraph of G-Man’s posting – interesting that it comes up almost verbatim to a screed posted by a nameless staff writer for the Fillmore Gazette, only there version includes sourcing to, ahem, the Glenn Beck show.

        So – not much left here. It appears that it was another bogus accusation/claim email (Factcheck is not the only one to have refuted it).

        So G-Man – why would you post it?


      • Ray Hawkins says:

        G-Man, TexasChem, other – this claim of Executive Order and other associated matters is, ahem, bullshit.

        You see, I thought, wow – this would be astonishing if it were true. So, with a little time to piss away, I went hunting for the supposed Executive Order ( – you guessed it – it does not exist. So – figuring there may be a chance this is one of those ‘reading the tea leaves’ things I did some quick Googling and hit the standard Factcheck posting on this matter. I know you guys will claim bias, but they cite the references right on the page devoted to this: http:// www. factcheck. org /2009/09/ bogus-brazilian-oil-claims/.

        I also Googled the first paragraph of G-Man’s posting – interesting that it comes up almost verbatim to a screed posted by a nameless staff writer for the Fillmore Gazette, only there version includes sourcing to, ahem, the Glenn Beck show.

        So – not much left here. It appears that it was another bogus accusation/claim email (Factcheck is not the only one to have refuted it).

        So G-Man – why would you post it?


        (breaks in links by me to go around moderation filter)

        • TexasChem says:

          The Wall Street Journal reported:

          [The U.S. Export-Import Bank tells us it has issued a “preliminary commitment” letter to Petrobras in the amount of $2 billion and has discussed with Brazil the possibility of increasing that amount. Ex-Im Bank says it has not decided whether the money will come in the form of a direct loan or loan guarantees.]

          The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is the official export credit agency of the United States federal government.It is an independent agency within the Executive Branch of our government.Whether or not Obama signed an executive order giving the go ahead makes no difference in the world.The bank operates within the Executive branch and there is no way in hell Obama and his administration would know nothing of this since they are essentially the Executive Branch of the government!The fact remains Soros did own a substantial bit of the company and still does as it was his biggest holding.

          • Ray Hawkins says:

            Ok Texas – did you bother to read the press release from EXIM? Here it is:

            The loan is for Petrobas to buy U.S. – made oil field equipment. And that is that a bad thing why?

            If Soros was in on the take, why would he REDUCE his shares in Petrobas prior to the loan?

            Shoot me some facts TexasChem – I am more than willing to change my position on this but you and G-Man have proven zilch.



            • TexasChem says:

              The loan is for Petrobas to buy U.S. oilfield equipment to drill and process their

              offshore oilfields. The company will make billions. The shareholders will make

              incredibly enormous sums of money as well, no? A classic case of one hand washing the


              Nothing wrong with that until you bring government ethics rules into play. I did

              read EX-IM’s release and fact checks. Both very similiar and both blaming Bush for

              it at the end of their explanation, even though Obama had been President for several

              months before the deal was tableled. Makes no difference who appointed whom to oversee

              the bank. Deals can be struck and people can be bought. What does make a difference is

              who was responsible at the time.

            • TexasChem says:

              OMG Jeesh Ray!

              Ray stated:”If Soros was in on the take, why would he REDUCE his shares in Petrobas prior to the loan?”

              1)You can bet your entire life savings that he made money off his sale of the shares.

              2)He bought back in with shares that pay 10% more dividend!

              3)A blind hungry grizzly bear will always find something to eat, regardless of the


  23. My dearest Flagster,

    A good article, especially like that its shorter than many of your posts. You said,

    “Man has the knowledge or can obtain the knowledge to shape society to his own design“

    Many – if not most – people believe that society (politically and economically) can be designed if only we had enough power,
    information, and control over the actions of our fellow man.

    That belief stands on a premise that social action can be understood as a science.

    But it cannot. There is no experiment on human action that can prove a hypothesis that would confirm that action on all humans!”

    While in the larger sense, you are correct. On a smaller scale, we do have enough knowledge to make limited adjustments to our society. Admittedly, that knowledge is incomplete, but you do not have to have perfect knowledge to make all decisions. Mankind has improved domestic animals by selective breeding for thousands of years, before genes or DNA was even a concept.

    So if, as a society, we were to decide poverty is “bad”, there are actions we can take that will reduce poverty. From my last guest article,

    “Prolonged welfare dependence reduces children’s IQ levels. Out-of-wedlock childbearing and single parenthood are the principal causes of child poverty and welfare dependence in the U.S. Children raised in single parent families are more likely to: experience behavioral and emotional problems; suffer from physical abuse; engage in early sexual activity, and do poorly in school. Boys raised in single parent households are more likely to engage in crime; girls are more likely themselves to give birth outside of marriage. These effects are the result of the collapse of marriage per se rather than poverty; a poor child living with a mother and father united in marriage will do better than a similar poor child living in a single parent home.”

    We have the limited knowledge of the cause and effects of entitlement programs on society. And they are effects we deem to be “bad”. And you are correct that had we (the government) not meddled, our society would be more prosperous. With this limited knowledge, should society not act to improve itself? And yes, I am saying, we should stop all entitlement programs(that would be an action, counteracting previous meddling).

    This can also be applied to a larger scale. History has many examples now of those societies that are successful, and those destine to fail. Communism, socialism, etc. have proven to be poor models, when compared to those with free markets. Seems pretty simple, the more you regulate and try to control, the more unintended consequences will undermine your intentions.

    Having wonderful weather, hope all are enjoying the weekend.

  24. Judy Sabatini says:

    Thought I would go ahead and use my real last name, nothing to hide here. Some of you already know it, but for those who don’t here it is.

    BTW you pronounce it


    Just got tired of using my last initial.

    • Hey Judy Sabatini! Nice to meet you! I am Willo, Willo May, but then again she may not 😉
      I always use my middle name coz it breaks up the monotony. But if I used all my names?
      Willo Jean Ann Krebs Fish May
      How’s that for a moniker?
      Hope everyone is having a good Sunday. I’ve been washing walls and painting trim. Cleaning up the joint for company over Thanksgiving.

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        Hey Willo Jean Ann Krebs Fish May nice to meet you too. Couldn’t see just using my first name then my last initial, no big deal to me, it doesn’t matter who knows my real name.

        Been having a fairly quiet day so far. My youngest son is doing drill and will be over after wards to collect his laundry and have some dinner with us. I’ve been making up for lost time, and catching up on my spring cleaning from this past spring. I’ve been cleaning this joint just because it needs it, no company, and boy do I have some major cleaning since I’m not working anymore.

  25. Judy Sabatini says:

    Read in the paper this morning that the health care bill passed

    220-215, and it suppose to take affect in 2013. According to Pelosi, if you don’t get health insurance, you’re looking at either a $250,000 fine or 5 years in jail. SERIOUSLY? What are they going to do, put 3 million people in jail if they don’t have it?

    I read that on the Drudge report yesterday.

  26. SK Trynosky Sr says:

    Cindi, US, and others.

    I thinks that we have been unfortunately tasked with being leaders. That, as the great communicator used to say, we are the last best hope, the shining city on a hill.

    As Charlie pointed out this morning our fellow citizens are deep into their I-pods which to me, is very similar in result to being taken over by a pod as in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. As Cindi pointed out, help! I want to leave! I need someplace else! But alas, there is no place else. We are in fact the last best hope. All those wonderful travel brochures on New Zealand don’t mention there are no Gun Rights there. Without an armed citizenry freedom is temporary at best.

    I digress, What I would like to say is that we here, are all leaders, even those who strongly disagree with each other have the ability to respect each other. That is in stark contrast to what is going on out in the real world. We, I think, are more in tune with those disagreable and disagreeing founding fathers than our compatriots today.

    So, I suggest that we lead. Not necessarily that we all run for office but that we get or stay involved. I decided a long time ago that Scoutmaster was about the highest rank I ever wanted to or would attain but I like to think that I lead the kids. My secondary MOS in scouting is teaching the three citizenship merit badges. I would suggest that to all of you. You are nothing if you are not good citizens. The kids need exposure to that they are not getting it at home or in school. So, sign up for something, lead in Scouting, the School Board, Community watch or whatever.

    In keeping with that I would now like to lay out the eleven rules for leadership and have you all, if you would, comment on them. There is a reason in my madness, humor me.

    1. Set the example

    2. Be technically and tactically proficient

    3. Know yourself and seek self improvement

    4. Know your men and look out for their welfare

    5. Keep your men informed

    6. Ensure that the task is understood, supervised and accomplished

    7. Train your men as a team

    8. make sound and timely decisions

    9. Develop a sense of responsibility among subordinates

    10. Employ your command in accordance with its capabilities

    11. Seek responsibility and take responsibility

    You can all figure it is military, which it is, extra points for anyone who can tell me when and where it first showed up. To the ladies out there, the use of the term “men” is generic, no insult implied or intended.

    I shall now retire to the Middletown NY Gun Show. I, as Doug would say, shall return somewhat later maybe with that reasonably priced .45-70 1873 US cavalry carbine I covet but can’t afford.

    • SK Trynosky Sr,

      I completely understand what you’re saying. Here’s the situation where I am. I’m on an overseas US Amry base. Anyone who makes a habit of stepping out of line finds themselves out of a job and on the next aircraft heading to the US. My unpopular political views are already fairly well known. I have to be careful or else.

      Whenever I speak to my friends about what’s going on, they look at me like my Obama Derangement Syndrome is flairing up again. They really don’t want to hear my ‘crazy shit’. How am I supposed to get through to them? They either tune me out or dismiss me out right.

      The mother and father in law of the man who heads up the sceurity force whose officer took down the Ft Hood shooter, are part of this group of friends. (They are very aware of the problem that lead to the shooting.) Jack and Sheila were not presnt when a dicussion of the situation took place. All the politically correct crap was being spouted. The surprise, the outrage, the EXCUSES that were being made for the shooter. I finally piped up and said something with the words ‘going muslim’, similar to going postal. My boyfriend called me a racist. I told muslim isn’t a race. Then my friend told me I’m prejeduced. Let’s see, I catch flak for my comment, and the guy who commits mass murder gets a pass. And you wonder why I’ve given up on America?

      Today is Veteran’s Day. I can’t bring myself to attend the ceremonies. Today’s America is NOT the country I served from 1983-1988. I can no longer pretend it is. America used to be the best country on earth. I’m not so sure it is these days. And if things keep going the way there are, it damn sure won’t be. You’re right that America needs good leaders. Unfortunately, most Americans aren’t interested at this time. I’m not going to waste my time with people who don’t care or are actively working against me. When the brown and stinky hits the fan, they might be interested. Maybe. Until then, I’m underground.

      Thanks for the apology on useless men. I agree wtih you. The feminist movement really didn’t help women. Okay, so I don’t have to put up with sexual harassment on the job and I can work in a non traditional job skill. I have no way of knowing if I’m getting paid equally or not. Those are the positives. The negatives are far too many to list. Suffice to say, the women’s Lib movement, at BEST, was a wash so far as I can tell. And no, I’m not offended by your using the male gender in the generic, but thanks for considering my feelings.


      • SK Trynosky Sr says:

        Look up Socratic method. It’s harder to do than direst, in your face, screaming confrontation but does get the job done over time. It’s also how they used to train you to be a therapist. Maybe the two have more in common than I thought. Asking “Why do you think so?” and getting an answer other than “because it is”. Starts them on the road to recovery. If they say because it is, then run don’t walk away. Those folks are dangerous to your mental health.

        Go teach girl scouts or boy scouts their merit badges. When you teach Citizenship or American Heritage, you just have to be fair. But these days, I find that fair to the kids is actually telling them things that they have never heard before. Cit in the world is fun because they can finally be told the difference between a republican Democracy and totalitarian communism.

        • I’ve tried that. They don’t want to go there. I believe the reason for this for this is that they may have to admit there’s a problem. Once they do that, they are then obligated to work toward resolution of the problem. In other words, they have to deal with the problem. They don’t want to do that because its so much easier to ignore what’s going on, believing that “it can’t happen here”, that Cyndi is just crazy, their favorite show is on TV, etc. If they pretend there’s no problem, then there’s no problem!

          • SK Trynosky Sr says:

            Boy, you really have some winners out there. Maybe you should get copies of Sinclair Lewis’ book
            It Can’t Happen Here” and pass them out. Then again, Lewis expected it would come from the right, it might play into their fantasyland view of the world. It is sometimes so hard to break people of their time honored beliefs, especially when they only hang out with their own kind and kind of reinforce each other all the time.

            I’m dealing with that now. #1 son has, since he got out of the Army in ’02 being hanging out with a very liberal crowd. He took a job in DC with Homeland Security and married a girl from the EPA. When I talk to them it is all I can do not to blow a gasket. Their patronizing tone drives me wild. That’s not to mention that there is some kind of correlation between the herd instinct they seem to have and the ability to develop a depth of knowledge. Worst of all, this was the kid who turned me on to Rush Limbaugh when he was a high school freshman. Go figure!

            • I feel your frustration. I think your son maybe doing the same thing as my friends here. Its so much easier to go along and get along. I know with my friends, part of the problem is that we, I include myself, have it so good, we believe we can afford to ignore what’s happening. I live/work on a overseas military base. We have our housing provided for us FREE of charge. Those of us in the bachelor quarters, have a meal card. We go to the chowhall for three meals to eat as much as we like. For FREE. The only thing we pay for out of pocket is our telephone. We have very little crime here. The streets are pretty safe anytime of day or night. We ride bikes everywhere we need to go. We have beautiful beaches, a marina with private yacht club, a scub club, and plenty of other recreational opportunites. No one flies onto this island without clearance. If you don’t have the proper paperwork when you arrive, you’re shipped to the nearest Marshallese island for their immigration service to deal with. Of course, there are trade offs to living in a place like this. Everything we do is controlled; right down to which seashells you can send home to your family. I think people fall into the trap of believing that government really can provide a nice life for the great unwashed. All anyone here needs to do is look around and enjoy. Just don’t think too much.

              A similar phenomena may be happening to your son and the majority of Americans. Life is still pretty good. It always has been, overall. Its easy for them to believe that things will never change for the worse. I have to fight this kind of thinking myself. Its so much esier to tell myself that it doesn’t matter who’s on top because the view never changes when you’re on the bottom. I’m reminded that things can change, and for the worse, everytime I go over to the nearest island and see how those people live, and think about the reasons for it. So, I guess what I’m saying, is the most Americans have the luxury of ignoring what’s happening in the nation’s capitol.

          • Cyndi, I know a few of those people too. “I’m going to keep my head in the sand (or up my ass is more like it) and then I won’t know what’s going on and so then I won’t have to deal with it”

            • Hi Kathy,

              I wonder what they’re reaction will be when things can’t be ignored anymore. I have a feeling its going to be ugly. One of my co-workers is from the Dominican Republic. He sees what’s happening and isn’t too happy either. I mentioned to him that I’d rather be surrounded by poor people who know how to be poor, than the neuvo-poor. He agreed. I’ve noticed people who have always been poor can find happiness. I wonder how poor people that weren’t always poor, will find happiness?

    • BF, LI, Judy, Cyndi, Ray, TexasChem, Weapon, and the Distinguished SK Trynosky Sr, and others,

      Thank you for taking the time to assist in my understanding of ‘human nature.’ Although I think we missed the mark (my fault) I still don’t believe that there is anything such as human nature. Sorry.

      Furthermore, thanks for coming over to have a look at what the Founders thought vis-a-vie ‘rights.’

      This House of Representatives voting has sickened me tremendously…puke! Therefore, I wrote about it and the sheer irresponsibilty of Congress and the Administration. I do agree with SK Trynoski Sr., inasmuch as when the ‘ruling elite’ no longer take to representing the people it therefore becomes incumbent upon the people to make matters right. Thank you again!


  27. Not to hijack the thread or anything but this is current news and you guys know sooner or later it will come up.If this attack at Ft. Hood doesn’t illustrate the dangers of the Islamic culture being integrated into America along with all the politically correct bullshit rhetoric being spewed then I have no idea what could.I am sick of hearing people say what right do I have to judge.It’s not judging its making decisions based upon probability of incident occurence.

    Memo to ABC: There’s a Reason He’s Not Called Smith
    By C. Edmund Wright

    Diane Sawyer – either espousing her editorial fantasy or a quoting a third hand comment from an anonymous “military wife” — was dreadfully upset that the mass murderer from Fort Hood was not named Smith. One can only imagine how thrilled she’d have been had he been named something like, oh I don’t know, Palin.

    From what I can deduce, had his name been Smith it would be much easier for the Diane Sawyers of the Jurassic media to cover up what they fear really went on here. (In perhaps a related story, none of the 9-11 attackers were in the Smith family either.) And what appears to have gone wrong is that a poster child for every wrong headed politically correct liberal program our great military has been forced to accept blew a gasket and took 13 un-armed American soldiers out. Predictably blew a gasket I might add.

    While many facts are yet to be determined, what we do know is that a man not named Smith — but named Hasan — had some decidedly un-Smith like beliefs and he was rather adamant about espousing them. That is to say, this well paid U.S. Army Major held some beliefs strangely coincident with the very people that most U.S. Army Majors are fighting against. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer the idea that sympathy with the enemy is called “treason” rather than the modern touchy feely idea that it is simply a “healthy diversity.”

    Such diversity wasn’t too damned healthy for about 45 soldiers, now was it? According to the coroner’s report, many are even beyond sensitivity training at this point. Where is George Patton to slap some sense into someone when you need him?

    We also know that a major who happens to be a devout follower of Islam — the well documented religion of peace — strode into one of the principal gathering points at Fort Hood and shot 40 some unarmed military personnel. Among them was a pregnant woman.

    We also know that Major Hasan, quite consistent with many who follow Islam — that well documented religion of peace — was quite taken with the idea of the Middle Eastern homicide bombers. He is known to have compared them with valiant U.S. soldiers throwing themselves on a grenade to save buddies. Now I hate to quibble, but isn’t a suicide bomber actually the opposite of those diving on a grenade?

    And while we’re on the subject of Islam — that well documented religion of peace — Hasan apparently agreed with Bin Laden’s PR department that what the U.S. is doing in Afghanistan and Iraq is occupation. Further, the U.S. military is just a bunch of infidels. Hasan has indicated he was in favor of our losing the wars in both theatres.

    Now in a country that would not stand for the idea of Derek Jeter switching to Philly red in the middle of the World Series, what sense does it make to have Major Hasan in our military? For crying out loud, “don’t ask don’t tell” should not apply to the notion of whose side you are on!

    In reality though, this was not even a case of don’t ask don’t tell. No one had to ask Major Hasan to get him to tell people what he believed. He was against the war in Iraq, against the war in Afghanistan and allegedly verbally pro-Allah as he was gunning down unarmed American soldiers.

    Imagine in World War II if an American officer had shouted “Heil Hitler” as he was killing un-armed soldiers. Would there be any soul-searching debate about “PRE-traumatic stress syndrome” and other gobbledy goop? And if his name were Schmidt — oddly close to Smith actually — would Diane Sawyer be in a snit?

    Of course, this would never have happened in WW2. Things are different today. Somehow our military remains the best in the world while accommodating all kinds of fast track programs for psychiatrist officers whose name sounds a lot like those on the roster at Gitmo while ignoring the detail that he might be anti-American.

    And that’s the real story here. He was not named Smith. He didn’t act like a Smith or talk like a Smith or have allegiances like a Smith. He was so not-a-Smith that someone should have noticed. Or more to the point, our military should not be so eaten up with political correctness that the many who did notice were forced to shut up about it. This was so utterly predictable, which is to say utterly preventable.

    That’s not to say folks named Hasan should not be in the military. It just might be a good idea if they held onto some mudane Smith type attitudes, like perhaps being pro-American. This is not discrimination. ALL soldiers, regardless of their name, should be pro-American at a minimum. Surely this is logical.

    Of course, what else is predictable is how the media is covering it. In the words of an NPR report: “we know he took his faith seriously, but we can’t say for sure that was a factor.” Right. That’s exactly what they say about anyone who bombs an abortion clinic, as we know. Finding out that Hasan is a follower of Islam is harder to discover in most reports as was the fact that Eliot Spitzer was a Democrat.

    Equally predictable is our President — who is also not named Smith by the way. Barack Hussein Obama was giving “shout-outs” to folks at a speech related to native Americans at the Department of the Interior shortly after the news of the Fort Hood tragedy broke. This is not George Bush rapidly finishing a two-minute story to the school kids he was already in front of after hearing the horrific news of 9-11 whispered into his ear. No. This was a President who had time to delay, cancel or at least, reprogram a very non-crucial photo op in light of the news.

    The only thing missing was Jeremiah Wright hootin and hollerin about “America’s chickens” and high fiving and so on. I mean, God bleep America, we deserved it, didn’t we? At the very least, Obama’s reaction can charitably be characterized as cold. And not cool at all.

    Now all we can hope is that the Army and the FBI will have the courage to look into the reasons his name was not Smith, and what light that might shed on what happened. Like many, I suspect that there is a relationship there. We can only hope that the FBI will reverse their decision to not even “discuss” the idea that terrorism was involved.

    • I watched the CBS evening news the night of the incident at Ft. Hood. Katie had his picture and name which obviously was not European. Despite 10-15 minutes on the story, she did not once mention his religion, family history, or the words he used while committing the act. I found all of that information and much more on the internet a few minutes later. So they had the information but filed to transmit it. And they wonder why they are losing customers.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        T-Ray – all the networks had already been pumped (during the day) false information from the military regarding the supposed death of the shooter – information that, to the last I heard, there was still no explanation why they falsified it or if they did actually know at the time they were falsifying it. So I ask you – outside of reporting the basic facts, why would they report anything/everything the military gives them when they already know they’ve been given wrong information?

        • Ray..since I am familiar with what happened ( I spend my time under contract with the 3 corps there.)The military, justifiably, uses misinformation with the media all the time. As a matter of record misinformation saved about 1000 lives in Desert Storm. We used CNN purposely because we knew that Saddam Hussein watched it religiously. As a commander, I refused to allow imbedded journalist because we knew they were not honest and they always….almost ALWAYS did not report what we told them and that included Fox news. Any commander, now days, that allows journalists on a sensitive mission is not very smart….actually plain stupid.

          To tell the media the man was dead was designed to smoke out others. I know you will disagree with this as well, but there are things that the public do not need to know right away. So, be prepared for the media to not know everything right away. If you noticed the interviews, the post commander would not answer speculative questions at all and rightly so. I am not in the position any longer to deal with media but even if I am in the future, I will refuse to talk to them. Always have…always will.

          • I also might add, why would the media report something unverified anyway….besides ratings.

          • D13, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your take on everything, but especially military. We are so fortunate to have you on this blog.

          • Ray Hawkins says:

            D13 – I can understand and have no issue with the combat perspective. I find it a little far fetched that any potential additional gunmen were glued to the TV in the minutes/hours immediately the original shooting. Anyway – my issue is that when network TV pulls back and does not immediately report all ‘facts’ people bitch. And when network TV reports all the ‘facts’ people bitch also. Go figure.

          • Judy Sabatini says:

            Can I say something here about CNN? When my son was in Iraq fighting that Al Sadar back in 2004, CNN reported something that was even true. My son said when they got back to base camp, was in the mess hall watching the news, CNN was all they got, anyway, he said they had reported about the fighting and how many U.S. military had gotten killed and where the fighting was taken place and how many Iraqis supposedly got killed.

            Anyway, my son said whatever they were reporting was completely wrong, because they had just gotten back from where CNN was suppose to be at reporting the news events of what was going on, and how the Americans were killing innocent people and all. My son said, they had all looked at each other and said What are they talking about, none of that happened, and we were just there. He said that happened more than once from CNN whike he was there. He was in Najaf fighting when CNN was there, but they seemed to be reporting about things that didn’t even happen.

    • Murphy's Law says:

      TexasChem- great post! Very well written and you have nailed it on the head with this one. It’s posts like yours that keep me coming back to this blog….


  28. Judy Sabatini says:

    I don’t care what his name was/is, what I care about, is why this individual was still practicing psychiatry when he had failed 3 evaluations. How could he have possibly even talked to the soldiers who had come back from Iraq or Afghanistan about their problems, when he obviously had his own, and the hatred he seemed to have harbored against the military and the men and women in it?

    Fine, he was against the wars in the middle east, did he have to shoot and kill 13, plus wounding those other 31 people. Sorry, but if he felt so strongly against the wars and he himself was to be deployed, and didn’t want to go, then he should have just shot himself.

    That is something I can never figure out, is why these disgruntled people has to take other lives first, then shoot themselves. Just shoot yourself, don’t take others with you because you’re mad at being fired, or having to go where you don’t agree with what’s going on. Good Lord, I lost my job, but you didn’t see me go shoot my brother in law for selling his business to our cousin, then not keeping me on because he wanted to hire new people.

    • Judy, the answer is very simple, however, the general public does not know. A doctor is given a direct commission as a Captain simply because he is a doctor. He does not have to go through OCS, combat training, evaluations or anything of the like. As a retired Colonel, I had to go through OCS and all the required training….doctors, lawyers, and nurses do not. For him to be promoted to Major, all he has to do is be “board certified” in his field. It matters not what his OER (Officer Evaluation Report) states. The fallacy of direct commission of professional people is just that….their promotions are not related to efficiency reports.

      What should actually happen now…other than what should be a public hanging by a rope made of pig intestines, (he cannot get into Islam heaven for his virgins)are the officers that knew this and fired him from Walter Reed and sent him down to Texas. Those officers might as well have pulled the trigger with him. His Islamic motivations were well documented and this political bullshit kept him in the Army. ANY officer guilty of political correctness over the welfare of soldiers, needs to be “keelhauled” under and Aircraft carrier then demoted and booted from what ever service he/she is in. ( I might mention that being keelhauled under an aircraft carrier is serious business).


  29. Judy Sabatini says:
    • Bottom Line says:

      Pense – “I think the American people are deeply frustrated with a liberal establishment in Washington, D.C. that is ignoring their will,” Pence said. “If Democrats keep ignoring the American people, their party’s going to be history in about a year.”

      BL – I don’t think he gets it. BOTH parties stand a chance of being history. The article is just more Republicrat vs Demopublican BS rhetoric. I’m not buying it.

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        I think if anything there will be major changes in the next election, not sure what though, but I hope this means the dems can kiss their sorry behinds good bye.

  30. One of the reader comments to a link one of us posted (can’t remember who). Here’s the link. Good find to whomever it was.

    “Bring it. If living as a slave to communism is the only way to show idiots how horrible it is, bring it. It will be a real mess, but one that true Americans can clean up. Then, after watching their loved ones get machine gunned into a ditch, the idiots might become patriots.”

  31. Off Topic, but, Wow. Has anyone else heard of snipers at protests? D13, is this SOP for something like this? I’ve never heard it mentioned before.

    A Report From a Health Care Deform Protester
    AZ_Conservative sent us this comment which was posted at Sipsey Street Irregulars:

    Anonymous said…

    November 6, 2009 8:37 AM

    I was also there, this gentleman beat me to the mail I’d planned to send.

    I kept fuming as each successive speaker droned on about “cost” and etc, to the point I finally yelled “IT’S THE **CONSTITUTION**, STUPID!” It’s not about “health” or even “care” – it’s about POWER! How many would dare speak against the regime knowing THEY get to decide whether you live or die?

    I had a hard time concentrating on the speakers because I just couldn’t stop focusing on some other things.

    I counted 11 snipers on the roof of the end of the Capitol building nearest where I was standing. I found it hard as hell to listen knowing I was in someone’s crosshairs.

    I made a point of pointing this out to as many sheeple as possible: “You want to know what they think of you? Count the snipers on the roof right there.”

    What was truly amazing to me was the number — all — who reacted in total horror and hadn’t even noticed them. Total “condition white.”

    There was a large part of the crowd who decided to go across the street to the Cannon/Rayburn/Etc buildings to visit their Reps’ office. I didn’t even try because… well… Let’s just say I wasn’t going to submit to the metal-detector and leave it at that… M-kay?

    I had a seat on a low wall across the street and waited for the crowd to thin a bit.

    While waiting, I saw some very interesting things…

    First, an ambulance came screaming up the street. When it stopped, several very healthy-looking well-dressed men in black suits poured out of the back and hustled down the street. Best-dressed EMTs I ever saw, and “when did they start carrying their EMT gear inside their coats? If I didn’t know better I’d think those were sub-machine guns!

    They went down the block and into a well-guarded side-entrance into the building. In case my sarcasm is too thick this morning, these were SS or military men using an ambulance for “cover.”

    Next we saw several people bodily carried out of the building by the local jackboots, including a priest in-collar who had to have been pushing 90 years old. The crowd, naturally, was a bit unhappy about this.

    What was especially striking was that these folks who were carried out were tossed into the back of the aforementioned ambulance – now surrounded by more uniformed thugs which had descended like insects on a fresh carcass.

    After a bit, a half-dozen of the DC Jack-boots showed at the door, each carrying a dozen or more sets of zip-cuffs, and fanned out to block the entrance. Most of the sheeple headed off at this point – the thugs’ intimidation tactics having done their job.

    A few – apparently made of stouter-stuff – stayed to argue with them a bit, at which point I headed over to try to find out what was going on. What I heard did nothing to quell the rage I’d been building all day…

    The priest and those carried out with him had apparently taken a copy of Princess Nancy’s bill to her office and began shredding it. This led to their being charged with “littering” and the “criminals” who did the littering – politely refusing orders to leave – were bodily removed.

    Best of all, the building was then declared “closed” — because it was now “a crime scene.” I wish I were kidding, but I swear upon everything I’ve ever considered holy that every single word is true, and happened just as I described.

    The mention of the arrogant display of weapons is absolutely true, though the men I saw displaying them were utter morons… They were so utterly confident in their powers of intimidation that they possessed no tactical awareness whatsoever. I’ve successfully resisted the urge to say more on THIS topic…

    In sum, I was stricken once again by the startling difference between us and the lefty-protesters… Once again there was not a single piece of trash to be seen anywhere, and the crowds were utterly polite to each other and the uniformed thugs as well.

    Of course I continued to count the numbers of rooftop snipers all along the area until I finally quit in disgust.

    I had a bit of a rough night, and still can’t help pondering the fact that there were literally dozens of my countrymen were pointing rifles at us. I still wonder “what are these men thinking as they look down their barrel at a peaceful citizen seeking only to let his government know that he doesn’t want what they’re pushing?

    If the street-level thugs are any indication, they wouldn’t think twice about murdering anyone who dared question their authority…

    OTOH, had even a fraction of the crowds present decided to storm the buildings … well… ’nuff said.

    I’m sickened and saddened by the whole thing…

    Lastly, if you REALLY want to be sick, take a look at the huff-po article on “the 12 most offensive signs” they gleaned from their infiltration of the event, most especially the comments. The indignation displayed by those sewer dwellers is the least of their delusions – and these people VOTE, which removes the last of MY delusions that the ballot-box has much hope of solving any of our most pressing problems.

    God help us, and God Save Our Republic!

  32. Before you all condemn everyone who claims Islam as their religion and call for drumming all Muslims out of our military, I suggest you read this article. All the way to the end.

    I think you will find that is almost always the case in situations like this that there were many warning signs along the way. People simply don’t recognize them or they ignore them for whatever reasons.

    I am with D13 on this one. There were people who either knew or were responsible for knowing.

    • JAC,

      I read the article. The Hollywood Lefty, Kamran Pasha, lost me when he referred to the “Islamophobe community”. Insulting people who have genuine concern over a REAL problem, is not the way to open dialog. That said, I don’t doubt that most muslims want ZERO part of jihad. If they did, things would be much worse. However, this whole article smacks of taqiyya; telling the infidel what the infidel wants to hear.

      How is this sort of violence prevented in the future? For starters, stop with the PC BS. Let the muslims serve if they really feel the need. Muslims who spout the jihad language, and imams who preach jihad, should get a closer look by law enforcement, AND be dealt effectively. Better to err on the side of caution. If the feelings of muslims are that easily hurt after all that has happened, then they need to consider MOVING to an islamic country, as opposed to turning the US into an islamic country.

      • TexasChem says:


        If I told you I had a potatoe sack with an eight foot taipan in it and a stack of Benjamins as well.

        Then I told you I had just fed the snake so its poison sacs shouldn’t contain as much poison. Would you still

        reach inside to fumble around trying to find the money?

        I think you would not. You would by my reckoning make your decision based upon the probability of incident

        occurence and consequences. My belief that my life and my families lives have way more importance than being

        politically correct and even Heaven forbid; accepting someone elses religious beliefs that even has the slightest

        possibility of harming me or mine.

        • Tex Chem:

          I urge you to re-think what it is you are stating. You are expressing the same rationale used by the Kahns, Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot.

          Someone poses a threat so I lump all the someones together and give them a choice. Convert, leave or die.

          That my friend is the eventual outcome of this kind of thinking.

          This does not mean that there are not people in this country, who believe in Islam, who are dangerous. But to lump all Muslims together is not just irrational it is dangerous. It will bring the destruction of the very country we are trying to resurrect.

          Cyndi is closer to the correct approach but still a little to quick with the lumping. This guy it looks like attended the same training as some of the 9/11 guys. The people around him, his fellow Muslims, had problems with his political views and his distortions of Islam. So lets focus on the mosque, the dude doing this indoctrination, and the dude who did the crime.

          • TexasChem says:

            “Someone poses a threat so I lump all the someones together and give them a choice. Convert, leave or die.”

            That is not my belief Jac, that is a belief by the radical Islamic community. The same belief

            you just stated is a belief written in the Quran by Muhammad. Islams founder.

            • TexasChem says:

              Well actually it’s convert, pay tax or die but hell looks like were moving towards that

              already with Health Reform!

            • Tex

              Perhaps I am wrong but your post sure does look to me like your throwin your loop around an entire religion. That by definition includes all its members.

              If you are not then that is all I am cautioning against here. We must not condemn the religion outright because to do so condemns all who practice ALL sects of that religion. That includes the peaceful.

          • “Cyndi is closer to the correct approach but still a little to quick with the lumping”

            Hey….I resemble that remark!


      • Hey, JAC…..The problem is now a matter of trust. Since one never knows, I am afraid that the Muslims in the armed forces…even those that are fighting their own, are not going to be trusted and that is a shame but I understand it. If I was sharing a foxhole with one, I am afraid that I would keep a wary eye open. Not fair….but understandable. Reality.

        The real culprits here are the officers that knew this. This man ( the Major ) should have never been allowed to stay in the Army, much less government service. I can see no excuse to his behavior…..even assuming that he was harassed. Harassment is no excuse whatsoever. There are avenues he could have taken. Hell, if he had gone through OCS..he would have seen harassment at its finest. When I was a Senior Tac Officer in charge of OCS, my job was to break people. We usually started with a class of 250 and graduated around 50. My job was to verbally tear them down, put them under stress, and make them lose their tempers. We did not touch them but did not have to….breaking egos is much easier. So, harassment is no excuse. We do not want officers that cannot handle stress.

        PC is a cowards way out…pure and simple…. and the officers that knew of his behavior and did nothing….are cowards. If they were more interested in preserving their careers than protecting others…that makes them cowardly and it violates their oath and violates their integrity.

        • D13

          My dear Colonel you and I are in complete agreement this evening. Especially the last comment. I was trying to be little nicer but what the hell. I would only add “incompetent” to the adjective.

          The Cowboys must have the game in hand for you to be visiting now.

          I experienced a taste of your stated training when in college. Our Frats hell week was designed by 4 ex green berets returned from Viet Nam in mid/late 60’s. Unlike other houses there was not a single physical event. It was the most grueling psychological experience of my life. And that was only 7 days long, not the full OCS drill. I might add that that experience has served me very well ever since. I would liken it to the forging of steel, for those that survive.

          By the way, I haven’t heard of anyone who has actually seen or heard any of this supposed harrassment. Have you? This could very well be the creation of a man who was going mad.

          Best to you and yours

          • Ya know, JAC….you are right. I have not seen anybody either…now that you mention it….just sound bites.

    • Hi JAC, Absolutely there were people that had come across this man and heard him speak his beliefs, but due to political correctness and/or fear of retribution for speaking out against a protected class, said and did nothing. PC run amok again.

      There seems to be a real contradiction of what Islam is – even to its followers, let alone to those of us outside the Muslim faith. So just how are we supposed to deal with it?

      • Kathy,

        That’s a very good observation. If the followers of Islam can’t agree on the practise of their faith, just how are we supposed to deal with the problems?

        I’m beginning to wonder if there is something else besides PC at work here. Could it be that some factions WANT this type of violence so that the public will DEMAND that guns are banned? This seems cynical even to me, but……

        • Cyndi

          While I do not dismiss all such thoughts, some are too plausible, I think you can put that one to rest.

          This is a break down in protocol and responsibilities first.

          Second,it is a breakdown in the “awareness” of the regular troops and citizens that were around this guy.

          It may be that his being in uniform contributed. Which would you call the FBI over? The guy next door ranting about Allah and the evil U.S. or a Colonel in uniform expressing his distaste for two wars he views a wars against his religion. I am just guessing here but suspect that to some the fact he was a soldier alayed what would have been their normal fears. It may have created a fog that affected the Bullshit detectors if you will.

          We must figure out how to deal with the various factions just as they, or anyone, learns to deal with the various factions of Chrisitanity.

          By my reckoning you must be up and about. Hope the sea breeze is fresh and the sun most warm.


          • Hey JAC,

            I guess you’re probably right. I just have to wonder sometimes because its all so predictable. First the attack, then questions of how this could happen, the moments of silence, and then the calls for outlawing guns. When I think about the assaults on the 2nd Ammendment, I can’t help but think that there are people who want this to happen so they can use it to their advantage. I wouldn’t put it past some of them to look the other way. But I’ll go with your assessment. 🙂

            Its Monday afternoon, about 20 minutes to 4pm. Its a beautiful day out, as was yesterday. Not good for sailing as there’s very little wind. If we were to manage getting anywhere, we could find ourselves stranded if what little breeze there is, suddenly isn’t. Its a 19 foot sail boat with two paddles tucked in the hold, but I wouldn’t want to have row back from anywhere! Of course, we could radio in for a tow back to harbor, but I imagine there would be a certain amount of ridicule invovled. 😉 Barry and I got plenty of sun yesterday when we went snorkeling. My skin is fine but his is a little crispy feeling. We’re having an inside day……

            • Cyndi:

              “First the attack, then questions of how this could happen, the moments of silence, and then the calls for outlawing guns. When I think about the assaults on the 2nd Ammendment, I can’t help but think that there are people who want this to happen so they can use it to their advantage.”

              You are correct that there are people, even groups of people, who look forward to the next event so they can spout their rhetoric and push their agenda. But the anti gun crowd is not the only such group.

              During the initial coverage of Ft. Hood Fox news kept asking the “terrorism” question. Everyone said there is no indication, then the Fox talker would say “yeah, but we can’t rule it out, right?” Subtle pushing of an agenda and one that feeds into paranoia of many.

              Fox should be slapped around for the stuff I saw Thursay PM and early Friday.

              Glad you had a good weekend. Cold rain, freezing with scattered sun today. Felt great outside in my warm coat with the warm sun and cold breeze on my face. Snow in the mountains around town.

              Well I am off to bed so I’ll see ya on the upside.
              Have a good one tomorrow.

      • Kathy:

        How are you this fine evening. Yes there were people who had contact and said nothing.

        I think it is leaping to conclusions that PC run amok or fear of retribution was the cause for them not speaking out. His fellow Muslims who on hindsight realize something was wrong could have said something but didn’t. They would not have been criticized for speaking up.

        It is possible that the fear of being labled as over sensitive against muslims may have entered someones thought process. But that should never have entered the equation for his superiors.

        I am just cautioning against reaching simple answers for complex events. Your statement is a conclusion for which none of us have enough information just yet.

        I urge patience and calm. As for how to deal with the bigger issue I think you need to study a little about Islam. I am no expert but I know enough to know that this is not one singular unified religion. Like Christianity they have one book with thousands of “men” interpreting it and teaching their own versions of what it means.

        I would also urge you to seek out someone of Muslim faith. I happen to know several who are NOT of mideastern decent nor “African American” and are completely American. They all converted. I also know one Iranian who escaped when the Shaw was desposed. He is the most interesting because he has told me the zealots are distorting the religion for their own purposes. Yet he alos has told me that the Iranian President’s speeches about Israel don’t say what our translators tell us he said. He sees the speeches as a prediction of history due to Israels behavior, not a threat to make it happen. Friends of mine questioned another Iranian about the same accusations and got the same answer. Bad translation by the U.S. and Israel, and of course our media.

        Just thought I would add that last part for digestion.

        As for the bad apples, we need to focus on the apples and in some cases, boxes of apples. But we need to make sure we don’t condemn every and all apple orchards because we become afraid.

        Also remember that on the other side of the world there are people who want to kill us who are making the same arguments to their muslim populations that some here are expressing. When we start screeming against Islam they use that as their proof and then scream against the infidel, which we in turn use as our proof and scream against the Muslim.

        Envision two angry men facing in opposite directions, back to back, but each has a mirror in front of him. What each of them sees in the mirror is himself and his angry enemy at his back, into infinity. You can see this gets dangerous in a hurry.

  33. Off topic, but here a WTF Alert for everyone. I think Black Flag gets a point…

    Owens Breaks 4 Campaign Promises in first hour in Congress
    Northern NY News
    Written by Nathan Barker
    Friday, 06 November 2009 12:04
    GOUVERNEUR, NY – Congressman-elect Bill Owens was sworn in at noon today.

    Owens indicated in a press release released shortly afterwards that he was now in favor of the the “Affordable Healthcare for America Act” bill in direct contrast to his earlier position during the election campaign.

    According to, Mr. Owens assured voters that he felt the public option had no place in the health care reform bill. Contrary to that position, Mr. Owens now indicates that he intends to vote in favor of the bill even though it now contains a public option.

    UPDATED: A spokesman for Congressman Owens indicated correctly that Mr. Owens had recanted his solid position against public option later in the campaign, clarifying that he did not wish public option to be a ‘litmus test’ for the Health Reform bill and that on Oct. 30th, several days prior to the election, in a debate had stated that he generally supported the public option as it was now written (at that time.)

    Mr. Owens also indicated during his campaign that he was firmly opposed to cutting Medicare benefits, taxing health care benefits, and increased taxes on the middle class in any way as you can see clearly in the screenshot below, taken directly from Mr. Owens’ campaign website.

    Click to enlarge image

    The House Health reform bill contains sections that cut Medicare benefits, tax existing health care benefits, and increases taxes on the middle class, yet Mr. Owens stated today that he will now vote in favor of those things contrary to what he had promised the voters of NY’s 23rd Congressional District that he would vote against.

    Mr. Owens indicated in his press release today that “This legislation will reform the insurance industry and provide increased access to affordable healthcare without taxing healthcare benefits, cutting Medicare benefits or raising taxes on the middle class, and that is exactly the direction we need to go.”

    When The Gouverneur Times attempted to contact Mr. Owens to clarify this information, we received no direct response to our phone or email inquiries. Both and the Congressional Budget Office agree that HR 3962 contains potentially hundreds of billions of dollars in planned cuts to Medicare, yet Mr. Owens indicates that he supports this legislation and says that it does not cut Medicare benefits. Either Mr. Owens has been snowed or the public is about to be.

    HR 3962 also includes a range of various taxes on middle-class families as well as language to repeal tax relief already in place. Has Congressman Owens blindly followed Ms. Pelosi’s rhetoric in believing that the end to a tax cut is not the same thing as an increase in taxes or is he hedging his bet with very carefully chosen words?

    HR 3962 now also contains language that allows illegal immigrants to be covered under the legislation. When The Gouverneur Times attempted to contact Mr. Owens for clarification of this language, we received no response other than the press release heretofore mentioned. Specifically, we asked if illegal immigrants would be forced to purchase healthcare insurance as citizens will be and whether or not they would be forced to do so at standard rates or if they would qualify for the public option subsidy.

    The Associated Press said this morning that: “House leaders said that, in keeping with the Hispanic Caucus’ demands, there was not likely to be any prohibition added to the House bill against illegal immigrants shopping in the exchange.”

    In a speech made to Congress a short time ago, President Obama had stated that the bill would not contain support for illegal immigrants – a statement for which he was called a “liar” by Rep. Joe Wilson. Rep. Wilson was severely chastised for his comment at the time though it would now seem to be true.

    The mixed-up mess that was the 23rd Congressional District Special Election was a close race between Democrat Bill Owens and Conservative Doug Hoffman. Many feel that it was unlikely Mr. Owens would have won those crucial few thousand votes if the voting public was aware of his intent with regard to the Health Care bill. The majority of residents in this district do not support the Health Reform bill as it is now written and many feel like they’ve become victims of a fraud perpetrated by their chosen candidate.

    Breaking campaign promises is not unusual for politicians… it’s a cliche. This is almost certainly a record though. Mr. Owens broke no less than 4 promises in his first 24 hours in office.

    • Judy Sabatini says:

      Hey Cyndi

      I read in the paper this morning, that they’re saying they consider anyone who makes $88,000 a year for a family of four is considered at poverty level, what considers less than $88,000 a year for a family of 4? We’re a family of 2 who was making $40,000 to 50,000 a year, but with me not working right now, I guess we’re considered curb level poverty.

      • Wow. Reno is kind of expensive to live in, isn’t it? I was there a few years ago and it was well out of my price range. I was pretty surprised because it didn’t seem all that wonderful. Don’t get me wrong, it has its good points but I had to look for them. It might have had something to do with spending most of my time downtown. I don’t much care for city life.

        • Judy Sabatini says:

          Downtown sucks, I admit that. Most of the casinos have closed up and everything is going to the south end of town. Actually no, it’s not that expensive here compared to say like Cali is. Rent is cheaper, but it depends on the location. During special events, they do have a tendency to raise the prices of things.

          Hoses go anywhere from $50,000 on up to the millions, there again, depending on the location. I found grocery stores to a lot cheaper here too. About what time of year were you here, do you remember? Curious. JAC used to live here, ask him, but if I recall, it was when he was younger.

          • Judy Sabatini says:

            There are good points here. In the winter, there is ice skating downtown, skiing in Tahoe, Mt. Rose, and several other places, during the summer, there is Hot August Nights, Street Vibrations, Hot Air Balloon Races, Air Races and several other things that go on. In Genoa, there is what you call the Candy Dance, Civil War reenacting, but that goes from Feb thru Oct. There.s several things to do here, just have to find them.

          • We were there in October. I don’t recall the year, but I remember the DC Snipers being arrested while we were there. My ex is/was into acting and modeling. We were in Reno for the Romantic Times Convention. We were in the show where they declare Mr. Romance. My ex was a contestant; an unlikely one I might add. Most of the guys who participate are the typical beefcake types you see on the cover of a romance novel. In fact, these are THE guys. Yeah, they’re really nice to look at, but IF and this is a big ‘if’, you can get one to actually speak with you, they don’t usually have much going on upstairs, if you know what I mean. (See guys, women are the same as you when it comes this topic) Reno was okay for a week but I enjoyed going to Virginia city and then to Carson City. I thought the surrounding area was very nice. We were living in Florida at the time, so Nevada was quite a change.

        • Cyndi:

          Reno is only expensive if you want to do anything besides work and sit at home in front of your T.V..

          As Judy said, I was born there but left in late 70’s. Wasn’t that expensive back then but when population exploded so did the prices of everything.

          • Judy Sabatini says:

            Come on JAC, it isn’t that expensive, yet. Hey look at Vegas, and how that place exploded, we’re not that big yet, but I think in due time, it might be. To much building going on, too many people coming in, too much traffic now, not enough jobs. I know, I’m looking. Don’t get me wrong, there are jobs, but you have to have a degree in something, or be bilingual, which leaves me out for now.

  34. Hey BF, great article and it makes a lot of sense to me. I’m beginning to think there is truly a right brain/left brain difference in people, which might be one reason why the ideas on how to fix are so different.

    This wasn’t the Part Two that I was expecting from you but would make sense as a lead-in to it?????

    Also, I’ve no doubt you are smarter than (I’ll say most – keep your ego in check) people in sports’ stadiums – especially if the Packers are playing and Dom Capers and Mike McCarthy are on the sideline. They have called some really dumb games recently.

    • TexasChem says:

      I am middle brained. I do have better blood circulation through the right side of my brain though! 😉

  35. Hey did everyone see the NFL-on-Fox broadcasting from Afganistan today? How cool was that? Then, at the end of their show, when each guy made a little statement about their experience while there and then Bradshaw breaking into “God Bless America”? I was so proud!

    Don’t you just wish we’d hear just a little bit of that from our President?

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      Easy Kathy – because people would bitch and complain that he is (a) wasting tax payer money and/or (b) that it was politically motivated or not sincere.

      • No, not even to travel there. Just to say some of things those guys did and to do so sincerely.

        But speaking of wasteful travel and the costs…..

        BO and Education Secy Duncan travelled to Madison this week for a two-hour visit to a high minority, high poverty level school. The airplanes that bring in his cars, the security, the inconvenience to people getting through their day, due to roads, exits, etc. blocked off via his travel route. How absolutely insane. All for a few picture ops? What is the purpose?

        AND…….what kind of carbon footprint??????

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        Hey Ray

        To get off the subject here, but have to know. How’s the baby doing? Getting big I bet, huh. Haven’t asked you in a while and thought I would.

        Hope all is going well with you and yours.

      • Ray:

        I wanted to address your comment about T.V. coverage of the shooting and why or why not networks said what they did/didn’t say.

        I think alot of this is caused by the network’s perception that they have to go to 24/7 coverage on something like this. That creates huge voids in new information flow. They get lazy, sloppy and quick to jump for anything that will let the writers/editors create new lines for the talking heads.

        The less new info there is the more talking heads, experts and other such pundits who have even less information get put on the air.

        I happened to be stuck in a motel room with a TV Thurday afternoon, evening and all day Friday. I can’t begin to tell you how glad I am I no longer have TV at home. If I could just get sports and the old movie channels I might reconsider.

        The other obnoxious event I saw was all the Republican electeds standing in front of the anti health care demonstrators giving speeches about freedom and liberty. It gave me a most sick feeling in my stomach and a most throbbing ache in my head. If I could have I would have reached through the screen and strangled the SOB’s.

        And shame on the protesters for letting those cowardly scumbags get on the stage in the first place.

        Hope all is well.

  36. Judy Sabatini says:

    Well, I’m out for the night.

    Good night to all and have a good day tomorrow.

    Pleasant dreams everybody.


  37. I like this. It is like I point out: complex things organize themselves, when allowed to, from the bottom “up”. If someone tries to “organize” them from the “top” down, it all falls apart and harms innocent people. Good post BF!

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