I’m a Travelin’ Man

Open Mic 1As many of you know I am traveling today for the memorial service for my grandmother. While doing so (roughly 14 hours of driving each way), I obviously won’t be able to write a new article for this evening and I didn’t have a guest commentary ready to go for the night. For the record I may also not be able to write on Sunday night as I will be traveling home. But I didn’t want to leave everyone hanging so I figured I would add another open mic night to the site for Friday night. I will hit two topics quite quickly below and then all all of you to add your thoughts and start your own discussions on the topics you want to discuss. It also means that I will be a little unable to get in as much as normal to do things like moderate comments, so if something goes into moderation, it might take a little longer before it gets approved. I appreciate in advance everyone understanding my time limitations for the weekend.

USWeapon Topic #1

Apple’s Rejection of iPhone App Showing Political Caricatures Rankles Creator

iPhone App PelosiA conservative filmmaker in Hollywood thought he had developed a worthwhile iPhone app: a telephone directory listing every U.S. senator and congressman, with caricatures of the legislators drawn by an artist.

But Apple apparently didn’t see the value, and the computer behemoth said a cartoon drawing of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was part of the reason why.

The filmmaker, Ray Griggs, told FoxNews.com that his small firm, RG Entertainment, received a rejection letter from Apple this week calling the caricatures “objectionable.” He added that he has received several e-mails suggesting that Apple stock owned by Pelosi’s husband may have played a factor in the decision.

Read the rest of the article from Fox News:  Apple’s Rejection of iPhone App Showing Political Caricatures Rankles Creator – Science News | Science & Technology | Technology News – FOXNews.com

I found this a bit odd. Obviously the only pictures that were provided were the ones that accompanied the article on Fox News. I personally don’t see the issue around this. Looking at the picture of Pelosi, I don’t see anything objectionable. It isn’t like the caricature of Pelosi was wearing a communist t-shirt or presented with an evil look on her face. I see it as a caricature just like any other that the folks of Mad magazine present on a regular basis.

iPhone App CongressFurther it appears that the caricatures of ALL the members of Congress are fairly similar in nature. The Republicans, Democrats, and Independents all seem to have similar treatment. They are all caricatures. And since when is a caricature that has no message something that people would find offensive? I do not find anything offensive from what I see in the pictures that accompany this article, which seem to be indicative of what the application would look like.

The company that made this application apparently has made some pretty tasteless applications that were accepted by Apple. The shaking baby one and the bloody knife applications certainly seem tasteless and I guess I would have understood if Apple found those offensive. But they accepted those. And rejected this application as offensive. I don’t offer a defense for the film maker who is responsible. He obviously has questionable taste.

But I don’t find this offensive, so I have to question why Apple would reject it as being so. There is certainly the thought that Pelosi’s husband owns a significant amount of Apple stock (which to be fair I have not verified). I personally would lean more towards this being a thing where Congress didn’t like the application. The last thing that they want is easy access for people to be able to contact them. They don’t want to hear from constituents. I am sure they feel that the health care bill has people fired up enough, they don’t want people having easy access to them.

So what do you guys think? What is the deal here with Apple’s decision? The article notes that perhaps Apple is merely being cautious. They fear media backlash if the application went forward. Interesting that they would fear such a fair and unbiased media would have an issue. First remember that Apple is a private company. They can do what they want with no objections from me. I am just wondering why they made this choice. As an iPhone user, I know there are a lot of offensive apps out there that Apple has no issue with. So why the big deal over this one?

USWeapon Topic #2

Fed Cracks Down on Bank Overdraft Fees

Bank Fee Nice DayBanks will have to secure their customers’ consent before charging large overdraft fees on ATM and debit card transactions, according to a new rule announced Thursday by the Federal Reserve.

The rule responds to complaints from consumer groups, members of Congress and other regulators that the overdraft fees are unfair because many people assume they can’t spend more on a debit card than is available in their account. Instead, many banks allow the transactions to go through, then charge fees of up to $25 to $35.

For small purchases, such as a cup of coffee, the penalty can far exceed the actual cost of the transaction.

Under the Fed’s new rule, which will take effect July 1, banks will be required to notify new and existing customers of their overdraft services and give customers the option of being covered. If customers don’t “opt in,” any debit or ATM transactions that overdraw their accounts will be denied, Fed officials said.

Read the rest of the article from Fox News:  Fed Cracks Down on Bank Overdraft Fees – FOXNews.com

So here is an opportunity to put our principles to work. Obviously, the overdraft fees have become a bit ridiculous from the major banks. I have watched as I got hit with some on years past. Conveniently, if you have $100 in your account, and three transactions for $1, $2, and $101 come through at the same time, they will process the $101 first, hit you with the overdraft fee of roughly $29, then do the other two after paying the first anyway, hitting you with that same fee two more times. A reversal of the order they were process would save the consumer $58. But that never happens.

Growing Bank Profit with Fees TableI agree that the big banks have gotten out of control. The fees they collect have become somewhat ridiculous. The practices that they are allowed to use are bordering on criminal. The big banks don’t care a bit about how they treat folks. I recall having Bank of America treat me worse than any other business I have ever dealt with. In fact it seems that bank fees have become quite the little money maker for banks, as the bank fee income growth shows on the chart the the right.

So now the government takes what appears to be a good step for consumers. Holding the banks accountable and forcing them to behave better. They are not going to get a loud outcry from the American public on this one. The people simply are not going to stand up for any big business in America.

So the question becomes whether or not this is an action that should be supported. Obviously, it is an intrusion into private business which is something that many of us are deadset against. But the American consumer has been completely powerless against the big banks. They have banded together and they all do this practice so that the consumer has nowhere else to go. When the industry as a whole bands together at the detriment of the customer, there is little that the customer can do when the service is a necessity. This is the case in the banking industry, as well as the health care industry.

I have no doubt that the private market, when it is truly free, has the ability to cope with this sort of thing. There wouldn’t be nearly as many obstacles to new entry into the market as there currently are. But the situation we are in is not that situation (a truly free market). So what is the right answer here?

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Comments

  1. Bottom Line says:

    1 – People are too sensitive. The term “Policically Correct” wouldn’t exist if everyone was brutaly honest with themselves. PC is bullshit.

    2 – Banks are a scam designed to take your money a nickle and/or dime at a time, and use it to turn a profit. Turn your own profit. Banks are bullshit too.

    • Bottom Line says:

      “Policically Correct”

      lol. I really do need to proof-read.

      • BL,

        you can also try using Firefox as your browser. They have a built in spell check that works as you type. It has saved me several time from posting my absolutely awful typing and spelling.

        • FireFox is great with spell check – I’m hoping they come out with a exposition assist !! LOL

        • Bottom Line says:

          Actually spelling deonst mtatre aynawy bceuaes yuo raed hte wrods nto teh ltetres. Ist’ lal bauot wrod rcegontitoin. llo.

    • Bottom Line says:

      Worker bees can leave
      Even drones can fly away
      The queen is their slave.

      • Great movie. One of the very few I can name that was better than the book. (Along with Starship Troopers, Jurassic Park).

        • Haven’t read the Fight Club book, but did read Jurassic Park, the movie was horrible compared to the book.

          • Really? I thought it was weak by comparison. However, I liked the book ending with the baby t-rex’s much more. I don’t know why they left it off.

          • You should read Fight Club too.. the ending is different. Not as good, but definitely worthwhile. If you aren’t doing much else, you could read it in an afternoon.

        • Bottom Line says:

          That’s three. lol

          1. Womens tennis
          2. People are stupid
          3. Fight Club

          Great movie indeed. One of my favories.

    • Does this mean Nancy had been elevated to the same level as Mohammed?

      I see McClintock (my rep) made your pic. Those in CA know him to be very conservative fiscally although he gets a lot of grief in the local paper from the left.

  2. 1. I think the caricatures are funny, but some folks can’t take a joke. And maybe they’re also afraid folks will actually call? Have you seen the Oba Mao t-shirts? Similar concept and also being banned in China, I don’t know if it’s an insult to Obama or to Mao. BTW they have the shirts at Zazzle.

    2. Banks are crooks. These fees make them a lot of money. Credit card companies do this too, let you get your payment in 1 day late, the late fee puts you over the limit, charge you a fee for that too. Then jack up your interest rate. I think the banks that received Gov’t (taxpayer) bailouts should not be screwing their customers this way.

  3. Wasabi:
    Last time I checked, when we get a credit card, we sign an agreement that state what the rules are. By any definition that I can think of that is called a CONTRACT.

    We have spent a large amount of time on this site lambasting the courts and the Administration for voiding the contracts that are represented by the bond holders of GM bonds. I would also state that one of the main themes of this site is that we need to get the government out of our lives and take personal responsibility.

    Now are you stating that the government should intervene in the contracts that people have for their credit cards? Are you saying that the government should look out for the common man in yet another area? If so, in the quaint verbiage of this site, I am forced to throw the BS flag as well as the hypocrisy flag.

    If someone wants to avoid late fees, overlimit fees, and rate increases, then they should do the rather radical idea of taking responsibility for their finances. They should leave enough room on their cards for the finance charges, (or even more radically, pay off the balance each month), make sure that their payment is on time, and if they do not like the rate increase, close the account.

    • RW-B:

      I award you the gold star of the day.

      While I have not seen your posts of late, you have obviously been listening closely.

      I would add one more action to your list. One that has served me well with credit card companies who abuse the time line between issueing the bills and the required payment date, all of which they totally control. CANCELL THE CARD AND MAKE SURE THEY KNOW WHY.

      Hope you have been well.
      JAC

      • Can I take that home to Mommy??? 🙂

        I agree with you regarding the closure step. I unfortunately been drinking the kool aid about possessions and am now reaping those benefits.

        I would like to post more and be part of these conversations, but unfortunately, I have yet to figure out how to fit 36 hours of work into a 24 hour day. I try to follow along, but even that is a bit difficult.

        • RWB:

          “Can I take that home to Mommy???” You betcha. You earned it. Make sure you put it up on the ice box (fridge for you younguns).

          I hope you at least still possess the possessions and that you have gotten some fun from them. The wages of our sins are a very high price to pay though once they come due, aren’t they.

          Let me help you out with the clock problem. Do like some of the old ranchers I knew. They just set the clock to 5 am when the sun comes up and 5 pm when it goes down.

          So set the clock to 8 am when you start work and 5 pm when you get off. You now have all evening to catch up here and post away. At least until 9 pm, that gives you 4 more hours.

          RW, what line of work are you in? Sounds like self employed to me.

          • RWBoveroux says:

            Help Desk Specialist for a large government contractor in Washington DC. I am the Senior Command Support Specialist. So I am the guy who sits around until one of the big wigs has a problem and then I have to figure it out and solve it immediately. I have fun, but it gets a bit stressful at times!!

    • RW & JAC,

      I throw the BS flag as well,sort of, maybe it just fell out of my pocket.
      While I am not A fan of the government getting into most things, I have an issue with how the banks, phone companies, cable, etc operate. I have read a few contracts in my life and don’t recall most being as complex, with so much small print to read. Do you have to hire a lawyer to open a checking account?

      For the record, I use a “small” bank, house payment is the only debt. But even my bank uses “industry standard” forms. A few years ago, we considered enrolling one son in a Sylvan tutoring program. Their contract required signing an automatic bank draft agreement. I told the manager that was a deal breaker, he said it was their policy, we said goodbye.

      The fact that we sign contracts does not mean predatory companies are not
      looking for “legal” ways to rob the masses. And I am sorry, but think there needs to be some protection. Tonight’s nightmare will feature my wife texting over her limit and A,T&T comes and repo’s my car.

      “You are a phone company, how can you repo my car?

      Sir, did you read your contract?

      With what, a fricken electron microscope?

      Sir, you filled out on the form, the make, model and tag number of your vehicle.

      The sales person said it was part of the new industry standard forms.

      And she was correct, and by providing that information, you placed you vehicle as collateral.

      But you can’t take my car, that’s not right, we can pay the bill right now.

      Sorry sir, I am not allowed to take any payments, only collateral. You can
      make your payment and arrange to have you vehicle returned for a small processing fee. Try not to exceed you minutes in the future.”
      (nightmare ends with a bang)(many bangs)

      • Read contracts.
        If you do not, its your fault.

        Understand what you read.
        If you do not, its your fault.

        If you do not like the terms, do not sign it.
        If you do sign, its your fault.

        Remember, you can change any of the terms you do not like
        But they don’t have to agree to those changes, though.

        Remember, they are selling you something – with credit cards, they are selling you the rent of their money. You can negotiate anything on that contract – including the clause that says they can ‘unilaterally change the contract’. Don’t be afraid to negotiate – anything reasonable, they can change – they want your business.

        But be aware, they may say “No”. So do not be in a position that you need them. Organize your affairs so that you can say “No” too!

        Never become beholden to those that you may owe money too

        Most importantly, teach your kids these lessons before they get into debt.

        • Flag,

          A well thought post. I read and understand contracts, but I am a little better educated than most. And I can see clearly where banks and other large companies are adding complexity and fine print to take advantage of those less educated. Is there some reason opening a checking account should be beyond what a H.S. grad can reasonably do? (Had my first account at 16.)

          Credit card companies don’t care about my business, I pay as I go, usually cash. Kids are being taught, think they will turn out OK, better looking than ma anyway.

          More at 10&11

          • typo, me, not ma

          • LOI – If you think that there is a market that is not being served for a bank that will give out accounts with easy-to-read/simple contracts, then you would be well-advised to start up a bank of your own to go out and capture that market.

            However, I think most people are content to sign away their lives in the future for a little bit of comfort in the present, so you may be out of luck.

            • DKII,

              It is next to impossible for a mere mortal to start a bank.

              Well, not quite that bad – but it is very difficult.

              The cartel is a very tight club.

        • Very good advice BF.

        • Interesting. And I mostly agree (yes, it does happen from time to time).

          But I have a few questions. If the substantial number of consumers are unable to contract with a bank under your guidelines (ie, don’t sign what you don’t understand or agree to – good guidelines, if you ask me), then what should they do with their money?

          Your answer, is to take it out and find an institution which will give them a contract they like. Let’s assume (for now) that that’s not so easy to find.

          So your next answer is probably to take their money home and bury it in a mayonnaise jar out back – preferably in the form of small denomination gold coins. Sound about right?

          Ok, so if I’d got this correct, what you’ve in essence advocated will withdraw billions from banks. Without the money in deposit, the banks cannot make loans. Without loans, small businesses and home-buyers cannot get credit. And we all know what happens to an economy when the credit dries up.

          At long last, the question: in the current political and regulatory environment, what is the better practical approach to this issue? More government intervention to eliminate apparent abuses or the withdrawal of funds by the consumer?

          Again, I know where you stand in terms of morality. And I know that you view all interventions by the government as detrimental to the free market. I am simply asking which you think makes more sense given the current reality – not the reality you would prefer existed.

          Oh, wait, I know. Never mind. The people should pull their money out anyway. This will cause the banks to freeze lending. This will cause a credit crisis. Either the banks will have no choice but to amend their evil ways in order to entice customers back, or the government will have to remove barriers to entry to allow for more competition which will yield banks which can attract these customers.

          Just babbling here, but feel free to respond with your thoughts.

          • Matt:

            Leave your money in the bank, enough that is to deal with bill paying.

            Cash a check as needed to have cash for most transactions.

            Use a check as needed for other transactions.

            Use credit or debit cards only as required by the nature of the transaction.

            Credit unions exist all over the west, and they don’t have all these BS fees. Not sure about he east.

            Get thousands of irate customers to write nasty letters expressing their desire for new business model.

            And yes, consumer action is not only the moral but the most effective and efficient thing to do.

            • Sounds good.

              I just use BofA. I pay my credit card in full every month. I use only BofA ATMs unless absolutely necessary. In all, the only fee I pay to my bank is the implied fee in the form of lost interest on the money in my checking account. I’m pretty happy with my situation.

              • Mathius

                But I have a few questions. If the substantial number of consumers are unable to contract with a bank under your guidelines (ie, don’t sign what you don’t understand or agree to – good guidelines, if you ask me), then what should they do with their money?

                Put it in their pocket or a coffee can.

                No, I’m serious.

                The American public should go to the bank, and remove every dollar they have out, and put it in a coffee can.

                Every dollar ‘we’ remove from the bank, removes $9 from the fractional reserve – the American people can right the great wrong of the economy by driving the economy into deflation.

                Your answer, is to take it out and find an institution which will give them a contract they like. Let’s assume (for now) that that’s not so easy to find.

                Why the rush to stuff it back into the system?

                Take it out of the system.

                So your next answer is probably to take their money home and bury it in a mayonnaise jar out back – preferably in the form of small denomination gold coins. Sound about right?

                Yep

                Ok, so if I’d got this correct, what you’ve in essence advocated will withdraw billions from banks. Without the money in deposit, the banks cannot make loans. Without loans, small businesses and home-buyers cannot get credit. And we all know what happens to an economy when the credit dries up.

                Small business are not getting the loans right now. Nearly 100% of the capital in the economy is being absorbed by the government. No one is loaning to business.

                Credit has dried up in the economy – which is why everyone should be withdrawing cash like crazy and stuffing coffee cans. The people need to recapitalize their own economies by leaving the government-run economy.

                At long last, the question: in the current political and regulatory environment, what is the better practical approach to this issue? More government intervention to eliminate apparent abuses or the withdrawal of funds by the consumer?

                No. That is akin to saying to solve the problem with being poisoned is to eat more poison.

                Really, the solution is easy. End the cartel.

                Again, I know where you stand in terms of morality. And I know that you view all interventions by the government as detrimental to the free market. I am simply asking which you think makes more sense given the current reality – not the reality you would prefer existed.

                Yes, ending the cartel is a pipe dream.

                Therefore, there is absolutely nothing that can be done to relieve the abuse of the cartel. The people have very limited tools – one of them is the wholesale withdrawal out of the system.

                Oh, wait, I know. Never mind. The people should pull their money out anyway. This will cause the banks to freeze lending. This will cause a credit crisis.

                You are confused.

                There is a credit crisis right now.

                But there has to be a credit crisis, because the mess is due to too much credit.

                Interest rates need to be raised to 15%-25%.

                Businesses living off cheap credit must die and their assets liquidated, and whatever remains of their debts will need to be written off.

                People employed by these unsustainable companies must lose their jobs.

                The nation must suffer a severe depression and recession – probably for 2 or 3 years.

                Businesses that have a large ROI will get financed. They will build capital quickly. The economy will slowly start to recover as new, sustainable, capital creation enters the economy.

                People with capital will be looking to place it at 15% returns – real capital – not fiat – will start revitalizing sustainable business.

                Either the banks will have no choice but to amend their evil ways in order to entice customers back,

                Why? There is no other game in town.

                (Famous Riverboat Gambler, Canada Bill Jones, was once found at a poker table in some God-forsaken hole in the wall. His friend called out to Canada Bill, “Bill! That game is crooked!”

                He responded, “I know, but it is the only game in town”.)

                or the government will have to remove barriers to entry to allow for more competition which will yield banks which can attract these customers.

                Why would government do that?

              • yup.. that’s about what I expected. Thanks, buddy.

              • So, Mathius are you of the opinion that the government should increase credit into the economy?

              • If you’re engine is grinding gears, maybe you should consider adding some oil..

              • And, why do you think increasing credit availability will solve the problems of too much credit?

    • I give you another Gold Star! Your mom will be so proud! I wish more people thought like you.

      🙂

    • I fully understand that it is the responsibility of the consumer to avoid these fees. The customer can also pay off the balance if he/she wants to “opt out” of the higher interest rate.

      I don’t expect the govt to pay my late fees. But my point is that the interest rates (cost of money) are outrageous and keep rising. So I don’t want you to think I am against personal responsibility as a solution.

    • Have to agree with the responsibility of the individual. I do not own a credit card. Will not. But it is an individual responsibility to read and understand and make your choice…sign or don’t sign. But, why even use a credit card? I am doing fine with paying cash. If I cannot afford it, I don’t buy it. It is possible to use credit cards responsibly but it is still your responsibility to read and understand every contract you sign.

      My 1 cent worth.

  4. USW:

    One correction is needed in topic one. The shaken baby app and the bloody knife apps that were approved by Apple were not made by the same company that made the application that was rejected.

  5. Regarding the Apple decision.

    A simple case of avoiding the biting of the hand that could be needed to feed you later.

    Regarding Bank Fees.

    Sorry mates, those fees were disclosed in the contracts when you signed up for the account or were changed by notice later, per the terms of the original contract.

    The Federal govt, let alone the nonfederal Federal reserve, has no business interfering with these fees. If the banks are not processing transactions in order so that they can maximize fees they should be subject to litigation under fraud or other business practice laws. Such a practice would be deemed unethical and therefore void under the principles of common law. The bank would have to make restitution or be shunned, in this case from the State in question.

    Utilize smaller, state chartered banks that are not controlled by the big boys and you will get better service and lower costs.

    • While everthing you said is true, the orginal contract sets the terms and the lender must/does follow it, I sometimes feel these entities are asking for more regulation by their own actions. The recent round of interest rate and fee increases on credit cards is a prime example. I now hear they are going to raise fees or dock the credit ratings of those that either do not use their cards frequently or who pay their bills on time and in full. This despite the fact that they get a healthy fee from the seller on the other end of the transaction and interest rates are historically low at this time. Abuse the citizens and they will find a way to respond. I don’t like regulations either but many of these business look for the quick profit to their own detriment.

      With respect to the banks, I have never overdrawn an account until a couple of years ago when my banking software logged a debit as a credit. As a result, several checks bounced in the fashion USW described. The bank sent me a snailmail letter. In the meantime more checks bounced. When I finally got the notice, I was at the bank headquarters the next morning a 8:30. I objected strongly to all but the first overdraft fees (my fault) since a simple phone call would have brought swift corrective action before more damage had been done. They refused to clear the fees and I refused to pay them and threatened to close the account. They finally relented. As consumers we need to demand to be treated fairly.

      I have done the same thing with credit card companies. When bills are late (mail delays, etc., a very rare occurance) and they charge late fees plus interest, I call and object to the fees. I will pay the interest but not fees since the interest rates are exceedingly high and are punishment enough. Again, when they object, I politely explain, I get 3 credit card applications a week, they need me more than I need them. These are my terms of doing business, take it or leave it. They clear the fees.

      The banks because of their own poor lending practices are now trying to correct the situation by punishing both the abusers and the non-abusers. This is more wealth transfer. Those who have followed good financial practices are again going to be penalized. So our choices are more regulation or no cards and money under the mattress.

      • v. Holland says:

        Okay, I get that all this is covered in a contractual agreement which we sign so they have the right to follow the contract-My problem is that our credit ratings are tied to what they decide to do-if they cancel my card because I don’t use it(which just happened) then I have less credit which makes any charges I make on a card I do use a greater amount of debt to the amount of credit, which lowers my credit rating, which effects my ability to buy a home, etc.- this doesn’t seem fair and shows that the effects of their just following the contract or making business decisions has the ability to effect us without us actually doing anything wrong.

        • The logic of credit has always escaped me. Those with no or little debt seem to be less credit worthy than those with substantial debt. The credit rating system does not take into consideration one’s assets. Assets are not involved until one actually applies for a major loan. It is never a consideration in credit card applications. I can see companies cancelling cards that are not or infrequently used as this frees their assets to be loaned to someone who will use the card. However, this should in no way impact your credit rating eventhough it does. Short sighted business practices such as this are what lead to regulations. Regulations lead to more expensive services. And the spiral continues until the goose is dead.

          • Yes, it does appear that way – but it is a consequence of the “Limits of Measurement”.

            If you do not apply for credit, they cannot measure your credit worthiness.

            Those that have lots of credit and are keeping payments, demonstrate they are (1) a good credit customer (2) diligent in paying – the perfect person you want to load up with more debt.

            Remember, all of this is a game – all games have rules. I mean consider baseball and all the weird rules they have – but to play the game to win, you need to know how to manipulate the weird rules to your advantage.

            Same with credit. Understanding the ‘rules’ (and the bulk of the rules work against you) allows you to find those loopholes to your advantage.

            • Very true, Emilius has better credit than I do. I have a high score – I have always paid off everything in a timely fashion. But she has a higher score – why? She has 10,000 credit cards. Mr. Flag is exactly on point here.

              • …but 10,000 cards, but very little on each card.

                The calculation is:

                amount of available credit/ actual debt

                If you have $100,000 in credit cards, and have used $100,000, your score is very low.

                If you have $100,000 in credit cards, and have $100 in debt, your score is very, very very high.

                This is why paying off a credit cared and then canceling it, is a very bad idea if you want a high credit score.

                Though you lowered your debt, you also eliminated your available debt. Thus your score may actually go down

                $10,000 Loc/$5,000 used = 1/2 debt ratio = average credit score

                $10,000LoC/$1,000 used = 1/10 debt ration = very high credit score.

                (Pay it off)
                $10,000LoC/$0 used = 0/10 debt ratio very high score

                (cancel all your LoC)
                $0 LoC/$0 debt = very high score.

                Now say you had two cards, each of $5,000 for the $10,000 LoC, and you diligently paid off one, while carrying a balance (on the lower interest card). You’ve paid off one card….

                $10,000LoC/$5,000 debt = 1/2 ratio

                But, oops, you canceled the card.

                Your LoC drops….

                $5,000 LoC/$5,000 debt = 1/1 ratio.

                No one will lend to you with a 1/1 debt ratio!

                Therefore, do not cancel your paid off cards until you are debt free

              • Completely correct. All should pay heed. Good credit is very, very important.

                I award you 10 more fiat points.

        • Great points. I have not used a credit card or credit since 1991. Pay cash for my cars and house is paid for….when I pulled my credit bureau, I have no credit rating….with an asterisk. When I called and asked what that meant, they said that I had credit up until I quit using cards…at that time it was good credit. However, I am now penalized for paying my bills on time, do not use credit cards and have no debt…I am not credit worth any longer.

          Go figure. It was recommended that I take out a credit card and use it sparingly to rebuild a credit rating. Of course the ones that suggested that were credit card companies. What a rip off.

    • USW initial post was regarding DEBIT card fees – not CREDIT card issues. A debit card is a tool/vehicle to access YOUR cash stored in a bank. That fact that one uses a debit card or the ATM to get that cash instead of a check or physically accosting a teller (lol)- SAVES the bank money – expenses !!

      I agree that its good to take responsibility for credit cards and read the fine print, but this issue is about stopping a skanky feature of some banks. And Im quite surprised that some banks do this, because I had not heard of this process, and expect that they would lose their customers. But that takes time.

      OTOH – even tho Im sorta jealous that D13 pays cash for everything, that precludes him from probably purchasing anything on the internet. Sorta hard to get a plane ticket with cash also.

      I have only recommended credit cards when folks can and will pay them off monthly in total. Using a debit card or now a pre-paid debit card is great for online stuff. The pre-paid idea is probably how the unions “donated” millions to Obama.

      • Frank

        Prepaid Credit Cards are great for internet and plane tickets.

        It’s fun to watch the ticket agent’s face when they swipe the card, and the name on the card is “Current Member”!

        The only sustainable way to break the rape of the banks is to break the banking cartel.

        But that is only a dream.

  6. iPhone – Now has competition from the Droid – using verizon / google – open software which means no charge to developers. I expect that it may put a big dent in Apple. Also seems that verizons data network is better than ATTs. The way competition works, in spite of govt regulations!

    • Beware open source phones. Imagine, if you will, what would/will happen if/when someone decides to write a virus for it? Know that the Droid is a small computer with substantially more processing power than the Apollo Mission. Open source sounds good, but this thing has a substantial amount of your personal information, and it is attached to your monthly bill.

      So imagine a virus that makes your phone call 900-numbers. Who do you think is going to pay that? Or a virus that allows other people to make calls on your account. Or one that steals your credit card information if you use it to buy anything online. Or on that steals your banking password if you check your balances. Or even one that just turns your phone into a paper weight.

      The downside of anyone being able to write an app for your phone is that anyone can write an app for your phone. You will need to be paranoid and rigorous in checking your apps before installation. And even then, you will never be safe. Ever had a PC virus? I’ll stick with my (somewhat dictatorial) Apple application store.

      • ahh haaa — a new one for twitter – if you have a MAC or an iPhone #youmightbealiberal LOL

        OTOH – good point, but shouldnt iPhone folks be almost as concerned?

        • Not really. It is much more difficult to get a virus into a closed platform. Think about it. What are the ways to get something onto your iPhone?

          Type it in by hand.
          Download from the App Store.
          Download from iTunes directly.
          Sync with iTunes from computer.

          That’s it.

          They are the gatekeepers. They’re guarding all the doors, they are holding all the keys. (points for the reference, but only if you don’t cheat)

          But if nobody is vetting the apps that you install, and nobody is checking that the downloads are what they seem, and if you can modify your own software and firmware, how safe can you be?

          The only way to be safe is to do nothing with your phone that doesn’t come pre-installed or isn’t written by a source you completely trust from website you completely trust (remember, just because it looks like someone you trust made it, doesn’t mean that that’s actually the case). Then you can compare the two phones. You’re trading functionality for security – and I’m not convinced it’s a good trade. (Disclosure: I’m an Apple nut)

          • Thanks for the heads up !!

          • My daughter is sending me one, so I read SUFA all day, every day, no matter where I am !! LOL

          • Bottom Line says:

            Mathius – “They are the gatekeepers. They’re guarding all the doors, they are holding all the keys. (points for the reference, but only if you don’t cheat)”

            BL – Another favorite. I guess that’s four.

            ” I can feel you now. I know that you’re afraid… you’re afraid of us. You’re afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. I’m going to hang up this phone, and then I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.”

          • Or, you can “Jail Break” your iPhone and put any app you want on it.

      • It’s ok, you can just get a new one from the government then.

        • Only if you’re poor. We tax payers don’t get free phones.

        • You know, Naten, it’s interesting to me. On the one hand, I think it’s completely insane to give free phones to people on welfare.

          But on the other hand, with some strict criterion, I kind of like the idea. Here’s why: it provides the unemployed people a means of contacting potential employers. It give the government the ability to track that attempts are being made. This means that, no matter how destitute, you still have the means to seek employment (after all, welfare does no good if you can’t escape it). And the government can deny benefits if you’re just sitting on the couch eating Cheetos instead of looking for a job (after all, why should we pay for people who don’t want to work? I’m all for supporting those who can’t work or find a job, but you get nothing from me if you just sponge off my tax dollars for a living*).

          On balance though, I’m going to have to stick with it being nuts – I just see where they might have been coming from.

          *Seriously, screw these people. They make it so much harder to help those who actually need help.

          • Its a wonder how society survived no cell phones, and indoor plumbing!

            • Yes, amazing, but standards have changed since the 1800’s, no?

              Note, though I didn’t bother listing my reasons, I did agree that the policy is nuts.

          • It give the government the ability to track that attempts are being made.

            Whew – and you were of course 100% behind the patriot act!

            Where is BF when u need him !!

            And I heard that you wrote time and again to your representatives to fund welfare boards for more social workers with the incentive to expose welfare fraud – and while they’re at it to expose some medicare fraud too.

            But you have a point – they cant even find public phones anymore because they were used for drug sales, etc etc .

            maybe you can watch this:
            special on black conservatives in America
            video.foxnews.com/11588195/time-to-be-heard

            • I often get in trouble for a habit of mine. I can usually see both sides even if one side is clearly wrong. Then people get mad at me for explaining the other side as if my explanation is an attempt to justify it.

              A conversation with my mother years ago after a house keeper stole some jewelry:
              Mathius’s Mom: I can’t believe she would do that.
              Mathius: It’s aweful. She probable thought you have so much you could afford to just get new jewelry.
              Mathius’s Mom: How can you even say that? It’s not OK to steal.
              Mathius: I didn’t say it was OK. I was just trying to explain her thought process.

              See the parallels? I do not support the policy as I understand it (though I do not have all the information, but I doubt that would change my opinion).

              I would say that, unlike the patriot act, you probably have the option of getting the phone, so if they were going to monitor your call logs etc, you would have to voluntarily submit to it. So I don’t think that’s a very fair analogy.

              I would absolutely support boards to root out fraud in any and all governmental programs. Provided there was another board to root out fraud in that board.

              Public phones aren’t gone because of drug deals (though interestingly enough, drug deals are the reason you $100 bills are the largest denomination still being minted). The reason is that cell phones killed the pay phone. The costs associated with maintaining stationary public payphones (and collecting the revenue) no longer warrants their existence. As such, they have slowly been disappearing from the US and other industrialized countries. This is Adam Smith’s doing. I am aware of no drug policy related cause, though if you have a source, I’d love to see it.

              What does the black conservatives special have to do with this? I listened to a little, but I’m at work and can’t watch a 15 minute video. Is there a specific time you want me to watch?

              • it all segues somehow.. LOL

                Rout out the fraud in medicare/medicaid first and maybe more folks would be supportive of single payer / public option etc

                The pay phone / drug connection in big cities has been around for years. You’re right – expect that they have been replaced by throw away pre-paid cell phones !!

                black conservatives viewpoint is seldom brought up or recognized, but their viewpint regarding welfare is quite different from what supposedly well meaning liberals think, especially since most or many of them had to survive a ghetto upbringing!

              • Frank,

                Re: Route out fraud.

                The government does not suffer from the effects of fraud, unlike a real business.

                Thus, government has a hard time ‘seeing’ fraud – it has very poor measurements for it to find any but the very, very worse.

              • Failure to ;fix; medicare/medicaid is a prime and valid reason to reject these health plans. Even tho I’d personally love to have a low cost plan, I don’t see it !

                Years ago, I many times pontificated that just because we (government) dont have sales – we still are a business and need to control expenses as any business, have business plans, etc etc – Our budget is our revenue and eventually the taxpayers.

                Of course, I wasnt liked until I left, after 15 years of saving them significant percentage of the budget compared to other entities. Oh well .. ..

              • Frank,

                Do not be confused by government using some tools of a business of being a business.

                Government has no measure of business success as it does not need profit and is unaffected by financial losses.

                Because of this failing, government becomes blind to many of the natural controls a business creates.

              • Govt is blind only if the people in Govt are allowed to be blind.

                The other side of the business equation is the taxpayer. If they fail to do their job, then the govt wont have the same pressures that a business would have.

                Its the same thing when people complain about corporations and executive salaries. Its the shareholders not doing their duty to complain or sell or not buy the stock. I used to remember that there would be a retiree who had a few shares of GE or ATT and would go to the annual meeting and speak her mind !!

              • Frank,

                Government blindness exists because an inability to have a mechanism of measure that exists with business.

                There is no sense of ‘profit’ or ‘loss’ for a government.

                Governments subsidize – thus accepts a loss – which no business can operate.

                Taxpayer: That pressure is moot. There is no way a taxpayer can separate their taxes to be used for “this” and not “for that”.

                Shares and complaints:
                You’re right – the shareholders do not complain when they make money – they don’t care what the CEO gets paid as long as the shares are doing well.

                There are no shares in government. There is no way the government can be ‘fired’.

                The pressure on a company exists because it go bankrupt, the directors and officers can be fired.

                None of this applies to government.

      • Mathius,

        No need to be afraid of ‘virus’ on an iPhone.

        They occur because people do not read the instruction manual.

        There is an app called “ssh” which allows remote access to an iPhone. This is a nice feature.

        However, if you install it, you need to change the ‘root’ password from the default Apple uses.

        Most people forget that part.

        Follow the instructions, and you can Jail Break your iPhone safely, and enjoy it much, much more.

        • True, but let me advise a substantial amount of caution. And the use of more technical expertise than is readily available to the average user. My little brother (a former Apple genius bar employee) jail broke his phone. Even as knowledgeable as he is, he has still had to reformat several times due to corruption of the software.

        • Adding, I’m sure you, Mr. Flag, do not have a jail breaked (jail broken?) phone. How do I know this? Because even though you are free to do what you will with what is yours, the contract you signed when you bought your iPhone specifically prohibits jail breaking as a condition of purchase. Thus, you would be morally barred from doing so. How plead you?

          • I signed no such contract with Apple.

            …and why the heck would I ever pay full retail for anything?

            My iPhone was purchased 2nd hand, from auction of lost and unclaimed goods.

            • Is it morally acceptable for you to not obey the limits you know were placed on an object?

              If I loan someone my iPhone and say, this is only for local calls, and that man then hands it to you, do you consider yourself morally bound by the rules which I have placed on the use of my phone? I know you will say you are not legally or contractually bound, but you know that I have conditioned its use. Can you morally accept the right to make long distance calls on this phone from someone you know does not have the right to assign in the first place?

              Regardless of how the phone came into your possession, it belonged to Apple first. And Apple never assigned the right to jail break their phone and you know it. So, by whatever system of exchanges brought it to you, you know that the right to jail break it remains with its original owner – Apple. Can you claim a right because of an ambiguous providence despite the fact that you know the true owner of that right never relinquished it? Are you not knowingly stealing their right?

              Imagine a man owns a house on a piece of property but he has sold the mineral rights to a third party. He then sells you the house and property. You know, though he didn’t say anything, that the mineral rights did not belong to him and so could not have been part of your purchase. Do you now claim those mineral right?

            • Adding, if the true owner lost the phone and failed to claim it, how can you be sure that he/she forfeits the right to ownership rather than just didn’t know where it was? If they have not relinquished ownership, how can those rights have been assigned to you by a third party? Only one person can own it, and you know it isn’t you.

              Property ownership is an absolute and, under no conditions may you take from another without their permission. Not knowing who they are is no excuse. (We covered this a while back). You are taking possession of an object which does not belong to you. Thus you are stealing. How do you plead?

              • A conversation from a while ago:

                Mathius: Either or. You argue moral absolutes. So I am asking a very simple, absolute question. Is it moral to take gold which belonged to a dead person but which has no living claimant.

                Flag: Moral absolutes? Sure do exist! If you are asking me, I would say “No” (but question whether you are sure their are no claimants?)

                https://standupforamerica.wordpress.com/2009/09/04/obama-and-his-radical-czars/#comment-31881

                Essentially, unless I am much mistaken, your argument is that you may not take something unless you are absolutely certain that it has no legitimate owner. I do not see how buying it from a third party – which you know is not in “rightful possession” – is any different.

        • Mathius said

          Is it morally acceptable for you to not obey the limits you know were placed on an object?

          They are not my limits, they are not my agreement – so why not?

          If I loan someone my iPhone and say, this is only for local calls, and that man then hands it to you, do you consider yourself morally bound by the rules which I have placed on the use of my phone?

          Yes, because you are the owner, and you have set the conditions for its use.

          But I own my phone – not you. I set the conditions of its use, not you.

          Regardless of how the phone came into your possession, it belonged to Apple first.

          It matters not one wit who owned it first. They sold that right to someone else who sold that right to me.

          And Apple never assigned the right to jail break their phone and you know it.

          They have no right on my phone.

          So, by whatever system of exchanges brought it to you, you know that the right to jail break it remains with its original owner – Apple.

          I cannot accept any condition of sale made to another.

          I can only accept conditions of sale made to me. There was no conditions on the sale, including no warranty. I accepted.

          Are you not knowingly stealing their right?

          I and anyone can imagine all sorts of “knowing” and “assumptions” and “claims”.

          I work with real things, not imagination things.

          Imagine a man owns a house on a piece of property but he has sold the mineral rights to a third party. He then sells you the house and property. You know, though he didn’t say anything, that the mineral rights did not belong to him and so could not have been part of your purchase. Do you now claim those mineral right?

          This is a case of fraud on behalf of the seller to resell the same right twice.

          This is not the same case as my iPhone.

          I type very fast. I need to, to keep up with my verbose friend.

          Not fast enough, though.

          Adding, if the true owner lost the phone and failed to claim it, how can you be sure that he/she forfeits the right to ownership rather than just didn’t know where it was? If they have not relinquished ownership, how can those rights have been assigned to you by a third party? Only one person can own it, and you know it isn’t you.

          I have reasonable justification of ownership. A reasonable effort to find the owner was made. A reasonable amount of time passed.

          Further, if the real owner appears one day, and tries to reclaim their phone (such as they registered the serial number, and because of such registration they happen to find me) – they have reasonable claim to get it back, and I have reasonable claim to be repaid for my some or all of my purchase.

          Property ownership is an absolute and, under no conditions may you take from another without their permission.

          I cannot defend a claim from a ghost. A ghost cannot offer a claim. Let the claimant be real, and then we can debate.

          But as long as the claimant is unknown even after reasonable attempts to discover, the property become ‘free’.

          Not knowing who they are is no excuse. (We covered this a while back). You are taking possession of an object which does not belong to you. Thus you are stealing. How do you plead?

          We covered this where reasonable knowledge of ownership DID EXIST.

          Mathius: Either or. You argue moral absolutes. So I am asking a very simple, absolute question. Is it moral to take gold which belonged to a dead person but which has no living claimant.

          Flag: Moral absolutes? Sure do exist! If you are asking me, I would say “No” (but question whether you are sure their are no claimants?)

          Essentially, unless I am much mistaken, your argument is that you may not take something unless you are absolutely certain that it has no legitimate owner. I do not see how buying it from a third party – which you know is not in “rightful possession” – is any different.

          Nice try, however, we do know the owner of this gold – the dead guy. This discussion was what to do with gold owned by the dead.

          This is different then unknown ownership.

          I have no idea who owns the phone, dead or alive.

          • Interesting.

            Mathius: Regardless of how the phone came into your possession, it belonged to Apple first.

            Flag: It matters not one wit who owned it first. They sold that right to someone else who sold that right to me.

            False. Apple did not sell the right to jail break their phone. Apple does not release that right as part of a sale. If the phone was stolen, it it their property in entirety. If it was sold, it was sold with that right withheld. Either way, that ownership right was not transferred away from Apple and as such cannot be transferred to you.

            If your credit card was stolen and then a third party knowingly bought it, they would have no right to use it. They know it didn’t belong to the person who sold it to them, they have a reasonable means of finding the true owner. They would not be acting ethically to use it. How, then, can you justify failing to contact Apple simply because the person who sold it to you didn’t mention any strings attached?

            Flag: I have reasonable justification of ownership. A reasonable effort to find the owner was made. A reasonable amount of time passed.

            Have you personally contacted Apple with the serial number to attempt to find the owner?

            Please define “reasonable” in this context. It seemed, in our other conversation, that you placed a high standard on what constituted sufficiency in this regard, but now that barrier seems awfully low.

            Mathius: Are you not knowingly stealing their right?

            Flag: I and anyone can imagine all sorts of “knowing” and “assumptions” and “claims”.

            Flag: I work with real things, not imagination things.

            [also…]

            Flag: But as long as the claimant is unknown even after reasonable attempts to discover, the property become ‘free’.

            In this case, you have a “reasonable” assumption that the owner of this right (to jail break to phone) is Apple. You do not have reasonable reason to believe that was forfeited. Even if you cannot reasonably discover the owner of the device itself, you can reasonably discover the owner of the right to jail break it. Simply contact Apple and ask. You have opted not to do this. So, again, what constitutes “reasonable.” The claimant of that right is a phone call away, yet you do not call (using the iPhone?) and verify this. You willingly choose ignorance as an excuse to exercise a right you can reasonably expect to belong to someone else. Or should the onus be on them to have to find you in order to exercise their right?

            • Mathius

              Mathius: Regardless of how the phone came into your possession, it belonged to Apple first.

              Flag: It matters not one wit who owned it first. They sold that right to someone else who sold that right to me.

              False. Apple did not sell the right to jail break their phone. Apple does not release that right as part of a sale.

              I repeat, the only condition of sale is the one given to me. I care nothing for whatever condition of sale was made upstream. That link was broken as the owner is not known.

              I am not bound to your agreements, only to mine. I have no agreement with Apple.

              If the phone was stolen, it it their property in entirety.

              “Whose” property?

              If it was sold, it was sold with that right withheld. Either way, that ownership right was not transferred away from Apple and as such cannot be transferred to you.

              I do not know what agreement were made “upstream”. You are merely speculating based on the agreement you have.

              I do not speculate on the agreement I have (which is none).

              If your credit card was stolen and then a third party knowingly bought it, they would have no right to use it.

              Bad example. You do not own your credit card – that is explicitly stated on the agreement. The bank owns your credit card, and can demand its return or destruction on a whim.

              They know it didn’t belong to the person who sold it to them, they have a reasonable means of finding the true owner.

              The true owner of a credit card is the bank. Read the back of your card….

              They would not be acting ethically to use it. How, then, can you justify failing to contact Apple simply because the person who sold it to you didn’t mention any strings attached?

              I do not know what agreement was made ‘upstream’ of me. I was not there.

              I know what agreement I have made. None was offered, and I accepted none – other than transfer of cash for the product. Period.

              Flag: I have reasonable justification of ownership. A reasonable effort to find the owner was made. A reasonable amount of time passed.

              Have you personally contacted Apple with the serial number to attempt to find the owner?

              The police did so. Was not registered.

              Please define “reasonable” in this context.

              Something that other reasonable people would do, or want done on their behalf.

              It seemed, in our other conversation, that you placed a high standard on what constituted sufficiency in this regard, but now that barrier seems awfully low.

              I do not think so.

              Mathius: Are you not knowingly stealing their right?

              Flag: I and anyone can imagine all sorts of “knowing” and “assumptions” and “claims”.

              Flag: I work with real things, not imagination things.

              [also…]

              Flag: But as long as the claimant is unknown even after reasonable attempts to discover, the property become ‘free’.

              In this case, you have a “reasonable” assumption that the owner of this right (to jail break to phone) is Apple.

              Apple is not the owner, or they would have demanded the device back. They did not, therefore, reasonably, they are not the owner (or refused to enforce their ownership, and gave it up voluntarily).

              You do not have reasonable reason to believe that was forfeited.

              I do so. They did not claim it.

              Even if you cannot reasonably discover the owner of the device itself, you can reasonably discover the owner of the right to jail break it.

              The phone was given to me with no stipulations. The only recourse you have is to the previous owner – which happens to be a police dept., to satisfy such a claim.

              Simply contact Apple and ask.

              Sorry, young fella, you’ve been outgunned again.

              US courts have already stated that you can do what ever you want on your phone because you own it. The best Apple has done is this:
              Section 2(c) of the Apple iPhone Software License Agreement19 provides that:
              You may not and agree not to, or enable others to, copy (except as expressly permitted by this License), decompile, reverse engineer, disassemble, attempt to
              derive the source code of, decrypt, modify, or create derivative works of the iPhone Software or any services provided by the iPhone Software, or any partthereof (except as and only to the extent any foregoing restriction is prohibited by applicable law or to the extent as may be permitted by licensing terms governing
              use of open-source components included with the iPhone Software). Any attempt to do so is a violation of the rights of Apple and its licensors of the iPhone.)

              Since I have not copied, nor decompiled, nor reverse engineered, nor disassembled, nor attempted to derive the source code, nor attempted to create a derivative work….etc.,
              you have been wholly disarmed and stand naked in the battlefield.

              🙂

              • The Electronic Freedom Foundation has demonstrated in court that ….
                Even more, there a big market for the second hand iPhone, owners of those are not bound by the Apple license agreements. In addition EFF argues that this license agreement is not enforceable in light of other state and federal law principals.

                http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/02/apple-says-jailbreaking-illegal

              • Sigh… I’m getting too old for this..

                Mathius: Are you not knowingly stealing their right?

                Flag: I and anyone can imagine all sorts of “knowing” and “assumptions” and “claims”.

                Flag: I work with real things, not imagination things.

                [also…]

                Flag: But as long as the claimant is unknown even after reasonable attempts to discover, the property become ‘free’.

                Mathius: In this case, you have a “reasonable” assumption that the owner of this right (to jail break to phone) is Apple.

                Flag: Apple is not the owner, or they would have demanded the device back. They did not, therefore, reasonably, they are not the owner (or refused to enforce their ownership, and gave it up voluntarily).

                Apple is not the owner of the device, nor does anyone claim that they are. Apple is the owner of the right to jail break the device. There is a distinction. They have no right to demand the device back but, as with the sale of a house without mineral rights, you can do anything else to it you wish, including hitting it with a hammer.

                Mathius: You do not have reasonable reason to believe that was forfeited.

                Flag: I do so. They did not claim it.

                They do not know you have violated their rights. Call them up and ask. See what they say. See Item F below.

                Flag: I do not know what agreement was made ‘upstream’ of me. I was not there.

                That is disingenuous. There is only one provider of iPhones and that is Apple. They sell retail through their stores and online. In order to purchase, you much contract with AT&T and you much agree to the terms of service, or they will not sell to you. Period. This is common knowledge, and you are not stupid. You know this. And you knew this when you bought your phone. You may not know what agreements were made upstream, but you can make a reasonable supposition. And you have opted not to make a phone call to verify. You cannot hide behind willful ignorance.

                Flag: US courts have already stated that you can do what ever you want on your phone because you own it. The best Apple has done is this:
                Section 2(c) of the Apple iPhone Software License Agreement19 provides that: [blah blah blah]

                We are not talking about legality here. This was a discussion about morality as it pertains to your worldview. That they (may have) no legal recourse is irrelevant. What is important here is that we figure out how you came to be in possession of a right which belonged to someone else (Apple) without their ever explicitly forfeiting or selling it.

                So I think we should take a step back and look at some of your reasoning here.

                Item A. Property rights are absolute.
                Item B. Aspects of property ownership may be separated. That is, you can own a phone, and someone else can own the right to jail break it.
                Item C. If you accept a contract, you are morally bound to follow the terms of that contract.
                Item D. If you misplace your phone and cannot find it, another actor may claim it as their own if they can’t find you after a “reasonable” effort and amount of time.
                Item E. Having so acquired a devise, which is known to be sold only and exclusively with limited use rights, the acquiring actor may then sell the entirety of the device and use rights to a third party.
                Item F. Because the owner of the use rights was not apprised of item E, nor of the intent of the third party to exercise rights which it owns, they forfeit those rights due to failure to demand a cessation of the violation of those rights.
                Item G. Because, in item E, the third party did not agree to limited use – despite the fact that this is a known limitation on all legally sold devices – the third party is not bound by this limitation.
                Item H. Because the US courts will not bind the third party to adherence to the right forfeited under item F, such action is verified as acceptable.

                Items A-D, I will accept here.

                Item E. If you misplace your belongings, it is due to your actions that they have been lost to you. If you drop a coin on the sidewalk, someone else can pick it up. No problem. However, if your property is lost through no fault of your own, you do not forfeit ownership. If, for example, I drive you car, then abandon it somewhere, you still own it – if you later see someone else driving it, you have every right to demand its return. If I abandon my own car, someone else can claim it, and I would have a harder time making a case for its return. In this, Apple has allowed you to own the device. The use right is inherent to the software, and insofar as it physically exists, travels with the phone. Now, your actions can lose your ownership rights, but your actions cannot lose someone else’s rights just as my actions cannot forfeit your car ownership rights. Your losing of the phone can reasonably be said to justify and exchange of ownership for the portion you own, but not of the portion you do not own. That must stay with Apple unless, by their own actions, they lose it. You are saying, in effect, that someone else can give away your rights. In that case, I hereby give Buck The Wala ownership of your house. I will take your bunker for myself.

                Item F. You do not forfeit rights simply by failure to exercise them when you unaware that they are being violated. If you owned a house in Montana, but did not visit for a year, could I move in and claim ownership on the grounds that you did not tell me to leave in a “reasonable amount of time”? Of course not. So how do you make the claim that, because Apple has not contacted you to demand you stop violating their rights, that they have no such rights?

                Item G. It is true that you did not agree to the terms, but you cannot buy something you know the other person does not have and expect it to be binding on the actual owner. I will happily sell you the Brooklyn Bridge. I do not own it, and you know that, but that does not seem to matter. If you give me money for it, apparently, under this logic it becomes your property.

                Item H. While I accept the authority of the US judicial system for legal matters, you do not. In any event, we are discussing your moral views. US law has no bearing on this issue and I find it interesting that you would bother deputizing it. Further, just because something is legal does not make it moral. It is legal to tax you, but you do not consider that ethical. How then can you claim that it is moral for you to claim this right because the law says so?

                It is really very simple. Apple had the right. You have no reason to believe they gave it up. Now you claim the right. Something seems inconsistent here.

                Flag: Since I have not copied, nor decompiled, nor reverse engineered, nor disassembled, nor attempted to derive the source code, nor attempted to create a derivative work….etc.,
…you have been wholly disarmed and stand naked in the battlefield.

                I hate to break it to you, but that’s just a hallucination you seem to be having. It is probably related in some way to the katana sticking out of your chest or concussion you sustained from one of my 9-pounders.

              • Would anyone else care to weigh in? Flag and I could go at this until Judgment Day, and we’d probably be lucky if we could agree that the sky is blue.

                I feel I have made my case pretty well, and obviously, so does Mr. Flag. I think I’ve demolished his case, and obviously, Mr. Flag feels he has demolished mine. One of us is sorely mistaken. I’d like to know from a third party which is the case.

              • Matt:

                I havn’t a clue what the hell you two been arguing about all day. Where I come from a jail break is something bad guys do in order to avoid the noose.

                And what the hell is an i phone. I got a cell phone. I also got a phone that has a circular device on the front with holes for your fingers. Under each hole is a number and some letters. The talking and listening part is connected to the box with the dial by a cord that looks like pigs tail.

                I don’t see any place on either phone for me to use my I to dial up somebody. And even I know you use your ears to hear.

                By the way. Is a I pod similar to a p pod?

  7. Cyndi P:

    My response to your continued discussion of last evening.

    You posted:

    “I don’t believe looking like less of a hypocrit to some is worth the price America will pay.”

    As I said before, the goal of looking or not looking like a hypocrit has nothing to do with the decision to carry out our laws. That is the KEY POINT here. We carry out our laws because they are our laws. Regardless of whether it makes us popular, here or abroad. It is not a popularity contest nor is it a move to create “strength” as a country.

    I submit however, that as a supposed Nation of Laws that we do in fact gain strength when our government adheres to the laws it makes. This is the standard we should hold the Govt and ourselves to at all times.

    “Besides, I thought Obama was supposed to prove to the world how nice we are without Bush around, right? That’s why so many people voted for him, so the world would think well of us again. Isn’t international opinion why Obama goes around apologizing for the US? Obama’s voters want the world to like us again.”

    Again, I have no idea what this has to do with whether we adhere to OUR LAWS.

    “Personally, I don’t give a rats patootie what the world thinks about our laws and if we follow them.”

    What others think is not the issue here. It is what I think, and what YOU should think, and what I pray EVERYONE else thinks who lives in this country. WE apply OUR laws to those COVERED by the laws equally and without prejudice. WE believe in JUSTICE.

    “I still don’t see how this trial makes us stronger.”

    Once again, IT IS NOT RELEVANT WHETHER IT DOES OR WHETHER IT DOES NOT. IT IS ABOUT FOLLOWING OUR LAWS.

    “And that trial by jury, I thought that was a right for American citizens and legal residents only.”

    You are mistaken. That is why I posted the text of the 14th Amendment. Amendment 5 is the Due Process Clause and you will NOT find the word Citizen anywhere in it. Amendment 14 is also called the Due Process Clause as well as the “inclusion clause” (koodos to Buck for this discovery). The 5th grants due process to all “persons”. The 14th prohibits the States from violating the Due Process priveledges of “persons” that are granted by the 5th.

    Keep in mind, if our laws do not apply then International laws, or the laws of some other Nation apply.

    “Do the rights of Americans apply to everyone on the planet?”

    At this point I must assume that you either didn’t read my original post or you are deliberately distoring my comments for some other purpose.

    Obviously American rights are in fact universal as they are “unalienable rights” correct? They apply to “all men” as Jefferson so eloquently stated.

    I think what you meant was whether the legal protections afforded citizens under our Constitution and Laws are universal. The answer is NO. Only those “persons” living within the USA or those “persons” who are “living under our juridiction” are afforded those protections.

    All others are affored those legal protections WE agreed to when we signed the various Treaties that might apply. Thus International Law, to which we assigned our name (USA), is applicable to all “persons” in our custody, that we capture in other locations but outside our jurisdiction.

    If you wish this country to return to its intended roots then you can not be selective in which Tyranny to oppose.

    • JAC: I want the constitution followed.

      Where I get confused is over what an “enemy combatant” is or means. I don’t care where he was captured. He was engaged in a declared war against us. If we captured a VC in Cambodia does that not make them a VC and does that mean that they get a civilian trial in the United States? He was not under our jurisdiction when in Pakistan or Afghanistan. I’m not a lawyer but I would think that means a territory of the U.S. like Puerto Rico.

      These terrorists do not fall under any nation state where traditional rules of POW’s apply. They move around from country to country. We made a decision to bring them to Gitmo and that is under our jurisdiction. Would it have made a difference if we kept them in Iraq or Afghanistan? Something just doesn’t seem right about this matter.

      We are in a war and we have been for 8 years. Do all that we capture on the battlefield need to be issued Miranda Rights? I know that is extreme but not far fetched under this administration. It is either a war or a police action and if it were a police action we would not have the army, navy, marines and air force involved. It’s a war so shouldn’t the rules of war be followed rather than criminal law?

      If it is as clear cut as you portray it, then he is entitled to a trial but I’m not convinced that it is that clear cut.

      • Birdman

        So, I’ll break down your argument, and then the answer will fall out at the bottom.

        Where I get confused is over what an “enemy combatant” is or means.

        Enemy combatant, according to the Conventions, is a uniformed solider of the adversary State.

        He is not a uniformed solider of any State, therefore he is not an enemy combatant.

        I don’t care where he was captured.

        This is very much a key question.

        Jurisdiction is the #1 most important declaration of any law. “Does the Law of Jurisdiction here?” is the first question of all.

        He was captured in Occupied Territory by the Occupying Power. Thus, the USA does have jurisdiction. Further, he status changes to Protected Person, as he is not a enemy solider.

        He was engaged in a declared war against us.

        Either he is a State, and thus can declare war. If you claim him to be a State on his own, then go back to the top of this discussion – he is now an Enemy Combatant, and thus a POW. Trying him with threat of execution is now in violation of International Law and the Articles of War.

        OR

        He is not a State, and thus, CANNOT DECLARE WAR. If this is your claim, continue reading.

        If we captured a VC in Cambodia does that not make them a VC and does that mean that they get a civilian trial in the United States?

        The USA was not the Occupying Power, South Vietnam was – thus, the VC were tried in by South Vietnam.

        He was not under our jurisdiction when in Pakistan or Afghanistan.

        Yes, he is. Were are the Occupying Power.

        I’m not a lawyer but I would think that means a territory of the U.S. like Puerto Rico.

        There too, but that is under a different set of rules that do not directly pertain to Laws of War (unless PR goes into revolt, or insurrection, and there are Articles in the Convention covering that too)

        These terrorists do not fall under any nation state where traditional rules of POW’s apply.

        Then they are criminals under protection of the Protected Persons of the Occupying Power, and are dealt with as criminals under US law.

        They move around from country to country. We made a decision to bring them to Gitmo and that is under our jurisdiction. Would it have made a difference if we kept them in Iraq or Afghanistan? Something just doesn’t seem right about this matter.

        It does not matter where the Criminal Court is convened within the authority of the USA – merely does it have jurisdiction to convene. As pointed out above, it does.

        We are in a war and we have been for 8 years. Do all that we capture on the battlefield need to be issued Miranda Rights?

        Depends on who is captured – a solider or a civilian.

        I know that is extreme but not far fetched under this administration. It is either a war or a police action and if it were a police action we would not have the army, navy, marines and air force involved. It’s a war so shouldn’t the rules of war be followed rather than criminal law?

        Rules of war are being followed (somewhat).

        If it is as clear cut as you portray it, then he is entitled to a trial but I’m not convinced that it is that clear cut.

        It is quite clear once you understand the rules.

        The confusion is that the previous administration tried a whole host of machinations – all illegal – to try to stuff these guys into the “Neutral Zone” where no law applied.

        Slowly the confusion is dissipating.

        • BF..cannot agree with you. A terrorist is not a civilian. That simple.

          • Side note. I fought in Vietnam for two tours…the enemy was never in uniform EXCEPT the North Vietnamese. They, the VC, were still soldiers and still the enemy and got what an enemy deserves.

          • He’s a criminal, and a civilian.

            Unless he has a uniform and a plane with a bomb, then he is a hero.

            • Now, now, Flag.. we were doing so well.. why did you have to off and veer into a gully?

              A pilot dropping bombs on military targets is a soldier (I’m not sure where the hero line is drawn, but he may be that as well). He is protecting his country as surely as you would protect your family from a perceived threat. He just serves a bigger group and has more sophisticated tools.

              Unless, that is, you feel you have no right to impose violence upon those you view as a direct and imminent threat to the safety of your family.

              So, with full knowledge and foresight, I step directly on your tripwire: What’s the difference?

              • Mathius

                Now, now, Flag.. we were doing so well.. why did you have to off and veer into a gully?

                I don’t veer.

                Keep that in mind if you ever play “Chicken” against me.

                A pilot dropping bombs on military targets is a soldier (I’m not sure where the hero line is drawn, but he may be that as well).

                No, he is a human being – with exactly the same rights as any other human being, no more or no less.

                He is protecting his country as surely as you would protect your family from a perceived threat.

                You have a very skewed measure of ‘protecting his family’ if that means dropping bombs on women and children.

                If we have a measure to declare one man a terrorist, but change that measure when another man has a patch on his arm is illogical and a fallacy of polylogism – different logic for different people.

                He just serves a bigger group and has more sophisticated tools.

                The larger or smaller a group does not change their rights or grant rights to destroy other people’s rights.

                Unless, that is, you feel you have no right to impose violence upon those you view as a direct and imminent threat to the safety of your family.

                I have no right to destroy the rights of the innocent while protecting my family.

                So, with full knowledge and foresight, I step directly on your tripwire: What’s the difference?

                Exactly – there is no difference in any persons rights.

                There are not “more rights for you” and less for them.

                If they are called Terrorists for killing innocent people, then the pilot who drops bombs on innocent people is equally a terrorist.

              • Not necessarily my friend.

                While your moral equivalency may hold, lets also remember that words have meaning.

                Your assertion depends on the meaning and use of various words.

                While the effect of both could be called “immoral” each term has distinct meaning. If they do not, then you can apply one to the other.

              • That’s my point, JAC.

                “They” have used a definition of terrorist, then with polylogism, changed it to exclude their own people.

              • Good point.

                As I recall the U.S. has changed the meaning of terrorist to the point that almost any violent crime would qualify.

              • You have a very skewed measure of ‘protecting his family’ if that means dropping bombs on women and children.

                I specifically defined this as a soldier bombing military targets. Women and children and do not qualify as military targets unless they’re shooting back.

                I have no right to destroy the rights of the innocent while protecting my family.

                Again, I specifically said military targets. No harm to innocents is being justified here, yet you keep inferring that I am attempting to do so.

                If they are called Terrorists for killing innocent people, then the pilot who drops bombs on innocent people is equally a terrorist.

                I think we’re talking at cross purposes here. You, I think, are talking about pilots who bomb civilians versus terrorists who bomb civilians. If that is so, there is an important distinction you are overlooking: intent. Our pilots do not seek to harm innocents, but that is frequently the goal of terrorists. As such, though harm is being done, the necessary mens rea is not present. Though restitution should be made where possible for such accidents, there is nothing criminal about this per say. If I am hunting in the woods and shoot another hunter by accident, I may be at fault and owe his family restitution (though a no-fault accident, I think absolves me, we can discuss this as I think I would be interested in your views), but I certainly haven’t committed a crime (unless there are other factors such as negligence).

              • I don’t veer.

                Keep that in mind if you ever play “Chicken” against me

                I have attached a jousting pole to my Infiniti.

                Keep that in mind if you ever play “Chicken” against me.

              • If they are called Terrorists for killing innocent people, then the pilot who drops bombs on innocent people is equally a terrorist.

                Absolutely not. The word terrorist has a very specific definition. It necessarily has to be about attempting to create fear to influence the actions of others.

                Al Queda wants us to convert to Islam and/or get out of the Middle East. Thus they try to scare us into submission.

                Pilots are not attempting to instill fear in civilians. Even if their actions were deliberate, that would make them murderers, not terrorists.

                So while you can certainly make a case for their actions being immoral, terrorist is an inaccurate descriptor.

          • Think about it this way: if a gang member kills a cop, is he a civilian and a criminal? Yes. So what is the difference? Just the scale and nationality of the individual. That what he did was worse, is irrelevant. And that he is not a citizen is equally irrelevant. He committed a crime. And that he is a member of a group which supports his actions changes nothing.

            Just because he is a member of a terrorist organization (or a gang), does not change the fact that he does not represent a nation in an official capacity (he may be sponsored by a terrorist cell which is in turn sponsored by a state, but that is another matter entirely). He is, thus, a civilian. There is no way around it.

            And, as with out discussion the other day, I think that treating them as special and distinct from the criminal class effectively elevates them. If we say “you’re nothing different than the average hoodlum,” we take away some of the perceived glory of terrorism.

        • I must be misunderstanding something here.. It almost sounds there at the end like you agree with something the Obama administration is doing.

          But let’s clear that up, shall we? (Playing devil’s advocate) By what authority does the US government have the right to try anyone for anything? Shouldn’t this be something, in your view, that is handled privately?

      • Birdman:

        I’ll give it a try but could use a real lawyer for back up if we have one on today.

        “enemy combatant” is something that comes from International Law, aka, The Geneva Conventions. This of course relates remotely to your next comment.

        “He was engaged in a declared war against us.” You see there are even laws and rules that cover this subject. Al Quieda is NOT a COUNTRY and thus there was no “declared war against us”. Groups who DO NOT control a nation state just can’t simply declare war on us and make it a “war”. That is why actions by these types have always been dealt with as “criminal prosecutions” by all countries that I know of, not just the USA. Had he been a US Citizen then he could be tried for sedition or treason perhaps.

        So back to “enemy combatants” and Geneva Conventions, and the like. When WE invaded Afghanistan, indirectly and then directly, we created an official “war” of sorts (like all the others since WWII). At this point we decided to apply international law and Geneva. But obviously those guys we were catching on the battle field didn’t fit the traditional rules of “soldier” and thus POW. So Bush pushed the definitions to try and use the military rules. This created tremendous fog, ambiguity and conflicts with prior laws and precedent. Not in all cases, but in those where we were holding people for actions taken before we invaded.

        And of course 9/11 happened before we went to Afghanistan and created a “war”. That is why the “where” KSM was captured and the reason he was captured relevant. We are not at war with Pakistan and thus we did not capture him on the field of battle.

        Remember that KSM had an indictment hanging on him for the 1990 airline conspiracy. That was a criminal action. By the way, yours truly was caught up in that one. Kind of spooky at the time.

        I totally agree that all of this is enough to drive one crazy and it also angers me at times. But much of our “confusion” and “contradiction” comes from the fact that we are invading countries without a “declaration of war” and then we try to muddy the law to suit our needs once we get there.

        “These terrorists do not fall under any nation state where traditional rules of POW’s apply. They move around from country to country. We made a decision to bring them to Gitmo and that is under our jurisdiction. Would it have made a difference if we kept them in Iraq or Afghanistan? Something just doesn’t seem right about this matter.”

        I think it could be argued that any prisoner held in either of those countries is under our jurisidiction. They are either subject to “our due process” or subject to the Geneva Conventions. I think Bush took that view as well. He just tried to create a category for non-uniformed combatants to apply Geneva. But then they tried to use the category for those captured elsewhere, or who were not engaged in fighting.

        Now, if those prisoners were given to another nation that did not recognize certain International laws they would not be in our jurisdiction. They would be subject to the laws of the host country. If we were to get permission from said country to visit the prisoners to ask questions that would be up to them to decide. SOUND FAMILIAR. Now you know why.

        “We are in a war and we have been for 8 years. Do all that we capture on the battlefield need to be issued Miranda Rights? I know that is extreme but not far fetched under this administration.”

        We have been at war in reality but not necessarily from a technical standpoint. I know, but that is just the way it is. Anyway, that fact doesn’t invoke the need for Miranda on the field of battle in either country, nor necessarily for criminals caught in other countries. Depends on who does the catching I think. I doubt the Obama Admin is going to open up that can of snakes for everyone captured. In fact Holder is sending some of the prisoners back to Gitmo to stand Military Tribunal.

        I do believe the case of KSM is that clear cut. Not part of an army or govt in a country that declared war on us. Crime(s) committed before we invaded. Not on the battle field once we invaded. Captured in Pakistan, not at war with us. I also think he was a Pakistani citizen.

        Let me add this. I am not an expert in international law, or US law for that matter. But it seems to me that the various laws and treaties just don’t deal adequately with the current situation. Once a country engages its military in another country but is engaged against a non government there needs to be clarity as to what rules apply. Perhaps there is clarity and Bush just tried to fuzzy them up. But it sure does seem a little muddy to me.

        But that muddy water doesn’t apply to the case of KSM in my view. Now the trick is to present evidence against him that wasn’t secured by water boarding. As I said, the skill of the attorneys will determine just how big a circus this becomes.

        I will add this also. I do not like nor trust the Obama Administration for reasons I have clearly stated. But this is not one of those reasons. I think that Bush did what he thought was the best for our country on this matter. I think Mr. Holder and Mr. Obama are doing the same. They just happen to have a different view of what that is, but both were/are acting within the boundaries of what they view the rules to be (yes GW stretched them but so does everyone so its not a hangin offense in my mind).

        If I am proven wrong in my trust I will admit it quickly and I will chastize this Administration to no end on the matter. But I figure I’ve got plenty reason to despise them, one more is just a distraction. No reason to risk a penalty for piling on!!

        I know this doesn’t make it all anymore palatable. I wish it had all been differently and without all the confusion. I wish it hadn’t become a political football. But it is what it is. I just want us to follow our own laws. Clearly and with forthought.

        • Birdman:

          I knew I should have just waited. BF’s explanation provides more clarity.

          Except KSM was captured in Pakistan thus it was an obvious criminal arrest.

          • JAC and Black Flag:

            Call Rush and Glenn Beck on Monday and point this out to them. Glenn is on the radio at 9:00 AM Eastern and Rush is on at noon Eastern. I try to listen to them when I can, even if I am on the internet and blogging on this site.

            Maybe our military can give the terrorists a uniform when they capture them since Bin Laden can’t seem to afford them. Maybe we can talk to Pakistan and send over a few tractor trailer loads of uniforms for Bin Laden and his group. I’m sure they will wear them. That may be cheating but what the heck.

            Al Qaeda (spelling?) under Bin Laden declared war on us and we just ignored it. I agree the laws governing POW’s are for nation states. You have to force the rules to fit these types of groups. They don’t fit the definition of enemy combatant under the Geneva rules but they are not really civilians when captured on the battle field.

            I can accept the logic for KSM since his circumstances were unique in being captured in Pakistan. If we capture a terrorist on the battle field in Afghanistan wearing civilian clothes but with a gun and shooting at our soldiers does that mean that he or she gets a trial in a civilian court? When are military courts held versus civilian courts?

            • JAC:

              I know how to avoid this issue. We can pull all of our troops out of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Iraq and then send all the Gitmo prisoners back to Afghanistan. Simple! Problem solved!

              • Birdman:

                Unlike some, I don’t think that will make the underlying problems go away.

                But it would remove any pretense of “moral highground” by the lunatics.

              • Birdman:

                I know its a long read but I urge you to check this out regarding this whole issue or due process.

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

                There is a section near the end that explicitly talks about Bush’s policies.

                It looks like the issue of uniforms is a mistake also. A sign of some sort is all that is needed to get POW status.

                If G.W. had just played it straight, like State Dept wanted, a lot of this confusion and mess would never have happened. And there would be no political footballs to kick around.

              • Re: Uniform.

                “A clear, distinctive markings at a distance…” as been formalized to mean a “uniform” – or a “patch”.

                A flag, however, does not qualify.

                But your clarification is correct.

              • JAC:

                Thank you for the information. This helps explain the situation. I agree that Bush should have followed the State Department’s advice. I may get the Supreme Court decision and read it since it was a 5 to 4 decision. It would be interesting to see what the dissenting opinion was on this matter.

                Sunday is the first day of deer season in MI and my son and I are going to hunt on our property. I need to get to bed.

    • JAC,

      I never said KSM shouldn’t have his trial. He should. I just don’t want it to turn into a circus. I’m not going to spend anymore time and energy on this subject. It is pointless. Obama will continue to ‘fundamentally change America’ and Americans will continue to fight each other while the change contniues unabated. I’ve posted, on yesterday’s post, the articles of others who feel like I do. If your interested, read it. If not, claim the moral high ground and look for the next divisive discussion to focus on. I’m not going to allow myself to be manipulated by Obama or ‘thinkers’ with
      time on their hands. I’m going to enjoy my life while I still can. I’ve accepted that America is self destructing and there isn’t a thing I can do about it. I don’t mean any offense here. I’ve chosen to cope with the situation in my own way. Let the circus begin.

  8. Judy Sabatini says:

    Hello All

    Reading along for now, and I hope you all will have a grand Saturday and Sunday.

    Judy

  9. Philosophically, I wholeheartedly agree with RBW & JAC …. however..

    I think the issue is with the usage of folks bank debit cards, which is a substitute for writing a physical check, not with credit cards which have an extensive contact. I know that I expect that if I use my debit card, and if there isn’t enuf balance, that it would be declined.

    If I did use my debit card and mistakenly overdrew my account resulting in these fees, I would be in the banks office, complaining and probably getting the charges reversed. But too many people let ‘authorities’ such as a bank get away with unreasonable fees.

    I think this is more of a consumer disclosure issue, than a personal responsibility issue.

    Ive noticed over the past few years that people are using their debit card more instead of their credit card. Since we dont have a pin pad – the card charges for the debit card is the same as a credit card. It averages about 3% cost to us. We end up paying that cost, because there isnt the mechanism set to charge the bank for the usage of their card. It is estimated that it costs a bank $2 to process a check. So not only is the debit card saving your local bank direct costs, but the vendor you use takes a hit for the processing costs.

    Because of Visa/MC advertising, we get people (usually young folk) wanting to use their debit card to pay for items even under a dollar !! Unbelievable !

    Many times I have people give me their debit card and then start to write the transaction in their check book(usually woman because they have it in their purse)! And then when I say that we’d gladly accept their check, they say ‘oh that’s ok – its easier this way’ If they seem like they might understand or are regular customers, I explain, when they use a debit card it immediately comes out of their bank account (they all agree), but if they write a check they would get at least 2-5 days of float – friday/weekend – but to the small businessman – the debit money ‘floats’ around the country and maybe we get it in 3-7 days !!

    So I’ve changed my habits, and use cash instead debit card at local merchants especially. Large national firms must have special deals to make it worth it to process debit cards for low amounts.

    • Cash is King, Frank!

      The other important benefit of cash is anonomous transaction. What right does the Bank (therefore the Government) have to know what, where, when and why you have made a purchase?

      Privacy is your right – and worthy of your defense.

      • And EVERY small business would love to just accept cash, but our retail and restaurant (not a diner) would shortly be out of business !

        The restaurant approached 90-100% payments with plastic ! Many days even starting with a cash drawer, there wouldn’t be enuf cash to cover the tips ! Its tuff, then to find the cash to pay the illegals..

        • v. Holland says:

          I wasn’t aware of the problems debit cards cause small business’s-thanks for the information-I will stop using my debit cards in places I feel it’s a problem and I’m ashamed to admit that I have put purchases of less than $5.00 on my card-wanted something didn’t have any cash-will strive to do better 🙂

          • Well the cost eventually gets passed on to the consumer, but when I see the annual cost of processing fees that is quite substantial for a minimal service, I get angry !!

            Years ago(and some still do) many small stores had signs saying no plastic under $5,$10 – but the credit card processing companies put a stop to that – the store would lose the service if they didnt accept ALL amounts.

            I was in a co-op antique store and they had a sign, no plastic under $20, AND $2 Fee for purchases under $50 !!

            I sure dont blame them to cover the pain of apportioning the charges to the renters !!

      • Bottom Line says:

        The more paper trail you leave, the easier you are tracked. Anyone can hack into your info with little effort…unless of course, there is no info.

    • Many vendors are now scanning checks and transmitting the image to the bank. Checks clear much quicker probably in less than 24hrs so there is virtually not float any more.

      In the early years of ATMs, banks charged fees for every transaction. I refused to use them because the teller was free to me and why should I pay for a machine to do all the accounting virtually instantly. Besides the tellers were usually young females with nice smiles.

      I prefer cash expecially at the grocery store as it is much quicker. I also avoid stores that have user service cards used to track individual’s purchasing practices. Recently our local drugstore converted to CVS. I tell the tellers that if they charge me more than the next customer, they can keep the goods.

      • Scanning checks is just another technique of processing payments effectively making the check the same as a debit card, even tho it costs the store more to process per transaction and also the initial cost of the scanner, software, etc BS and it becomes a revenue stream for the processor not the bank or the vendor.

        The credit card processors make a zillion $$$ off the 2-3% of sales ! And as I said – restaurants approach 100% in CC sales. Think about how much it is.. Actually I looked into getting in the business as a rep – and if successful it can be quite a good business, but it seems to tend to be pretty slimy !! Its like multi level marketing in a way, everyone gets a cut on the way to your bank! We’ll see if anyone reads here !! I doubt it – you have to be able to read.. LOL Visa/MasterCard debit cards – no risk and still make a zillion bucks !!

        Banks finally realized that instead of charging you to use the ATM, they really should pay you !! Heck of a lot cheaper than having another bank clerk on the payroll.

      • So the point is that when you use your debit card:

        You save your bank about $2.00 in costs per transaction as opposed to writing a check.

        The vendor/store ends up with about 3% less off the sales prices.

        • When CCs first started it was a paper system. So they must have had rows and rows of data entry clerks. Now it is all electronic and the only real expenses are software and hardware which are one time purchases (no FICA, no overtime, no healthcare…). So CC companies should be/are making a killing. Their big problem has been extending credit to too many people with bad credit. But that is their mismanagement problem.

          I would sure love a businsess where all I had to do was move money from point A to Point B and keep 1-3% of it. I see some gas stations are now giving discounts for cash (as opposed to charging premiums for credit/debit). One station had a flat fee for credit/debit use.

          Although there are times when stores miss an opportunity. Years ago right after we got married, we were buying funiture, obviously a big bill. I asked the salesman if he wanted cash or credit. He said it made no difference. Had he said cash, I would have asked to split the transaction fee with him and we would have been both better off. But he got credit since I got the float on the money.

    • At some places in town they have machines that when you park your car on the street you have to go 10 to 15 cars away to pay and put the receipt on your dash that lists when you got there and how much time you have.

      You can pay with cash or credit. But the minimum for paying with credit is $1.00

      FrankC – I was wondering how do they get away with that if there is a fee for processing credit cards? I have also heard that some places will process credit cards in groups and that reduces the fee, is this true?

    • Frank:

      It is not the responsibility of your bank to make sure that YOU do not overdraw your account. If you have 100.00 in the account, write a 50.00 check and then use a debit card for 55.00, the transaction, more often then not, will go through. When the check appears, you are overdrawn and have NO ONE to blame but yourself. If I was the bank and someone came to complain to me that their account was overdrawn because of this, my initial response would be somewhere along the line of: “it sucks to be you”. I can understand the bank’s idea of refunding the fees because that make the customer happy and it is usually more time and cost efficient. Don’t really think it is appropriate, but understand why it happens.

  10. “Green Week 2009” will seep into everything NBC owns: its networks (CNBC, MSNBC, NBC News, NBC Sports, SciFi Channel, Sundance Channel, Bravo, USA, and Telemundo), its Web sites (iVillage), and even its theme parks (Universal Studios). As a point of reference, last year’s “Green Week” totaled 150 hours of “pro-environmental messages.” So be prepared for re-runs of environmentally-themed Top Chef episodes and “green tips” from the green thumb herself, Martha Stewart.

    Despite NBC’s efforts, climate change advocates and even its own affiliates have given “Green Week” two thumbs down, calling it a “vast green wasteland.” So why has NBC continued this greenwashing charade for the third straight year? Is it just so heart-wrenchingly worried about the environment that it doesn’t care about its low ratings? Perhaps there are other motives at hand, such as profit.

    The answer lies in the owner of NBC Universal: General Electric (GE). In 2005 – just two years before NBC launched its annual “Green Week” – General Electric announced that, by 2010, it would double its investments in “cleaner technologies,” according to The New York Times.

    Jeffrey Immelt, the chairman of GE, promised to increase the company’s annual investment in research on reducing pollution from $700 million to $1.5 billion. He also speculated that, by then, the company’s revenue from green products and services would double to $20 billion. In order to achieve that revenue goal, GE invested about “$160 million in 20 startups in such businesses as wind and solar power, batteries, energy efficiency, smart grid and fossil fuels.”

    Obviously GE, and, by default, NBC Universal, has invested a lot in the green movement. And, as the biggest company in the world in terms of market capitalization, it has the power to insure that its green investment isn’t wasted.

    GE has turned to the government for regulation benefits in its green technology spending. According to The Examiner’s Tim Carney, the company spends “more than any other corporation in America on lobbying the federal government – more than $20 million annually over the past three years.”

    In 2008, GE lobbied for the “Climate Stewardship Act,” “Electric Utility Cap and Trade Act,” “Global Warming Reduction Act,” “Federal Government Greenhouse Gas Registry Act,” “Low Carbon Economy Act,” and “Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act.”

    Notice a trend?

    As Carney said, “In many of GE’s businesses, the profit model appears to be: (1) invest in something for which there isn’t much demand; (2) then lobby to mandate or subsidize it.”

    He gave the example of GE’s “green” investment in wind turbines. GE prides itself in being “one of the world’s leading wind turbine suppliers.” Without subsidies, however, there probably wouldn’t even be a windmill industry. Windmills cannot “reliably produce energy, and certainly not as affordably as traditional fuels such as coal.” Even Germany’s energy agency, which subsidizes its wind industry, has concluded that “spending billions on building new turbines” isn’t “energy efficient.”

    In America, however, GE has managed to not only protect but also expand the large amount of turbine subsidies, including “production tax credits,” government mandates on utilities to buy wind power, and even building wind farms by means of eminent domain. In the end, GE can pay as little as $5,000 for a $15,000 turbine, Reuters reported. The taxpayer, of course, covers the difference.

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/carolyn-plocher/2009/11/13/nbc-kicks-annual-green-week-primetime-climate-hype

    • More blatant media bias. With the three networks getting seven, seven and four million viewers, FOX getting two million, its no wonder most Americans
      are miss-informed. Agenda means more than professional ethics for most, and mega-company GE owning NBC, that’s just capitalism at its finest.

      http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tim-graham/2009/11/15/newsweek-admits-74-percent-gore-letters-are-critical-fail-publish-any

      Newsweek Admits 74 Percent of Gore Letters Are Critical, But Fails to Publish Any

      by Tim Graham, November 15, 2009 – 22:19 ET

      Newsweek has done it again: a few weeks after acknowledging half its letters were critical of Joe Biden (but publishing none of them), they proclaimed their Al Gore cover was unpopular. Forty-six percent of their letter writers wrote on the subject of Gore, and 74 percent of them were critical. Still, Newsweek ran only positive letters. The first, most prominent one (in larger red type) read: “Until each nation makes responsibility for this earth a priority, we will continue to devastate it – and ourselves.”

    • http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2009/11/15/former-cnner-claims-networks-liberal-bias-caused-dobbs-exit

      Former CNNer Claims Network’s Liberal Bias Caused Dobbs’ Exit

      By Noel Sheppard November 15, 2009 – 19:06 ET

      A seventeen year veteran of CNN claimed Sunday that Lou Dobbs’ surprising exit from the network was because “his opinions are out of lockstep with the rest of the mainstream news media.”

      Discussing the issue with Howard Kurtz on CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” Chris Plante, a former CNN correspondent and current talk radio host, said Dobbs, as “the last conservative voice on the channel,” no longer fit in.

      “They had Glenn Beck, he’s gone. They had [Dobbs], now he’s gone,” claimed Plante.

      When Plante said CNN hosts Campbell Brown, Anderson Cooper, and Larry King weren’t “completely neutral,” Kurtz asked, “Are you suggesting that those hosts lean to the left?”

  11. How many mega-companies are there? How many GE’s and Goldman-Sachs? Companies that can buy some governments? GE continued trading with Iran, despite sanctions.
    Goldman-Sachs was involved in the housing crash as well as the oil market when it hit its all time high.

    A,T&T was a government protected monopoly, then it became to big, so the government broke it into smaller companies. My phone bill has gotten smaller.

    I think we need national defense. If the military were dis-banded, other countries would invade. Most Americans have firearms, but very few have jet fighters or missiles. China would go for our resources, ANWAR, Gull Island, etc.. Japan would invade and take over all our best golf courses and Disneyland. Mexico would re-take New Mexico and California.

    So there is need for a defense against another country getting big enough to take what they want, might makes right. What is the defense for companies getting big enough to do the same? GE and Goldman Sachs manipulate our government so they can exploit, we the people. None of us were able to buy a years supply of gasoline like GS, who could buy, sell, re-buy forcing higher prices. It was trading 37 times before reaching the final buyer.

    So, Flag, JAC and all, a little help please. I favor a free market, in general.
    But the big banks, the mega-corporations, should there not be a restriction on how large a company (and government)can grow? It would result in more competition, which should be a good thing.

    • My old friend, LOI.

      You have the cause and effect backwards.

      Mega-corporation exist because big government exists. The former can not exist without the latter.

      Economically, there does exist the economy of scale. A 100 man operation needs an accounting dept., as does the 10,000 man operation. The 100 man operation can be absorbed by the 10,000 man operation, lose its accountants, without a measurable impact on the larger accounting dept. Thus, the 100man Operation now is more efficient (down to 80, minus the overhead of accountants) and can sell cheaper, etc.

      However, there is another curve at play here too – effectiveness. Larger companies required more middle management to translate the desires of senior management and the owners into actions of the workers. Soo, the middle management – simply the communication conduit of the bureaucracy – becomes the largest segment of a company. Corporate effectiveness drops, and suddenly the large company becomes prey to smaller, faster, less red-taped, companies – and is slaughtered.

      The latter is the effect I Guest Posted about “Limits of Knowledge” – management can no longer absorb the vast amounts of knowledge of a company to control and design its purpose – and thus, begins acquiring middle management minds to handle the ‘details’ while senior management handles ‘the big picture’. Because of the limits to Knowledge, size creates an exponential increase in the ‘details’ as the big ‘picture’ grows merely linearly. The “Details” out run “the Big Picture”.

      If this happens inside large companies, it is bizarre not to see it happens in government trying to run entire countries.

      Back to point, mega-companies overcome this natural case by using Mercantilism – that is, violent force in obtaining resources and preventing the faster, smaller companies from existing. It doesn’t matter how badly run – internally – a mega-company is, it has no threat from outside. It can grow endlessly as long as government force – police and military – are there to prevent the nimble from economically feeding on it.

      Big government needs this partnership – and it is a partnership. Big government uses mega-corps to control vast swathes of the economy – Megacorps bring in mega dollars for government – in taxes, employment (and more taxes), cheap foreign goods (marked up astronomically). So mega corps provide the capital, government provides the violence, and (the church provides the legitimacy – the third pillar of tyranny, but out of the scope of this response)

      Hate big companies? Then dismantle big government.

  12. Judy Sabatini says:

    This has nothing to do with the topic at hand, but I feel I have to say this this, so please bare with me here.

    This is for Ray, and although I don’t know if you’ll see this today or not, but I have to say something to you. I just read your post from last night, about when you were at the airport, and Ray, after reading that, it just brought me to tears to read what you have written about that Vietnam Vet. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you said, and what you did when you landed at your destination. If nothing else, I bet it brought that man some pride back when he mostly likely needed it and I bet too, that it made you feel good in your heart for shaking his hand and thanking him for his service.

    You’re a good man sir for doing what you did, and it makes me proud to call you my friend.

    Judy

  13. v. Holland says:

    I personally don’t really have a problem with the legalization of pot-I figure it’s not any worse than alcohol and it might be less harmful to the population in general- I just find it funny that they are basically opening a bar that sells marijuana as the intoxicant instead of alcohol and still claiming it’s for medical purposes-Funny I don’t ever remember having to go out on the town in order to take my medicine.

    PORTLAND, Oregon (Reuters) – The United States’ first marijuana cafe opened on Friday, posing an early test of the Obama administration’s move to relax policing of medical use of the drug.

    The Cannabis Cafe in Portland, Oregon, is the first to give certified medical marijuana users a place to get hold of the drug and smoke it — as long as they are out of public view — despite a federal ban.

    “This club represents personal freedom, finally, for our members,” said Madeline Martinez, Oregon’s executive director of NORML, a group pushing for marijuana legalization.

    “Our plans go beyond serving food and marijuana,” said Martinez. “We hope to have classes, seminars, even a Cannabis Community College, based here to help people learn about growing and other uses for cannabis.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/wtMostRead/idUSTRE5AD06O20091114?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0

  14. Good luck to all my hunting buddies tomorrow!

    There I was back in the wild again.
    I felt right at home, where I be-long.
    I had the feeling, coming over me again.
    Just like it happened so many times be-fore. eh.
    The Spirit of the Woods is like an old good friend.
    Makes me feel warm and good in-side.
    I knew his name and it was good to see him again.
    Cause in the wind he’s still a-live.
    Oh Fred Bear
    Walk with me down the trails again.
    Take me back, back where I be-long.
    Fred Bear
    I’m glad to have you at my side my friend
    and I’ll join you in the big hunt before too long
    before too long.
    It was kinda dark, another misty dusk
    it came from a tangle down be-low.
    I tried to re-mem-ber everything you taught me so well.
    I had to de-cide which way to go.
    Was I a-lone or in a hunter’s dream.
    Cause the moment of truth was here and now.
    I felt his touch I felt his guiding hand.
    The buck was mine forever more!!

    Ted Nugent

    • keep it simple says:

      Willo,

      you have no clue how that link made my day. I’m not a hunter but i love the woods. Also not a fan of loud music but that is definitely one that i crank up. thanks. And good luck to my other half and his buddies in the northern Michigan woods this week.

  15. Judy Sabatini says:

  16. Political whiners abound. I think Pelosi’s pic ain’t ugly enough.

    If you do not want the bank to charge an overdraft fee, then do not spend more than you have!

    Just my not-so-humble opinion.

  17. Watch out for that “bare with me”, could be dangerous. LOL

  18. BEWARE OF THAT UNDERWEAR DUST!!!!!!

    One evening a husband, thinking he was being funny, said to his wife, ‘Perhaps we should start washing your clothes in ‘Slim Fast’. Maybe it would take a few inches off of your butt!’ His wife was not amused, and decided that she simply couldn’t let such a comment go unrewarded.
    The next morning the husband took a pair of underwear out of his drawer. ‘What the heck is this?’ he said to himself as a little ‘dust’ cloud appeared when he shook them out. He hollered into the bathroom, ‘Why did you put talcum powder in my underwear?’
    She replied with a snicker,

    “It’s not talcum powder, it’s ‘Miracle Grow!!!’”

    Some guys just never learn, do not piss off the little woman.

  19. Judy Sabatini says:
  20. Judy Sabatini says:

    A friend just sent me this, and I thought I would put it on here.

    A Tribute to our Flag. Submitted by Bob Thompson, Retired Military Veteran, Panama City, Florida

    The Flag of the United States of America

    If you’re interested, Elvis is singing “America The Beautiful” on this tribute, so have your speakers on.

    If this doesn’t give you chills, you should pack up and move on to another country.

    I Am the Flag of the

    Of America

    I am the flag of the United States of America.
    My name is Old Glory.
    I fly atop the world’s tallest buildings.
    I stand watch in America’s halls of justice.
    I fly majestically over institutions of learning.
    I stand guard with power in the world.
    Look up and see me.

    I stand for peace, honor, truth and justice.
    I stand for freedom.
    I am confident.
    I am arrogant.
    I am proud.
    When I am flown with my fellow banners,
    My head is a little higher,
    My colors a little truer.
    I bow to no one!
    I am recognized all over the world.
    I am worshipped – I am saluted.
    I am loved – I am revered.
    I am respected – and I am feared.
    I have fought in every battle of every war for more then 200 years. I was flown at Valley Forge, Gettysburg, Shiloh and Appomattox.
    I was there at San Juan Hill, the trenches of France,
    in the Argonne Forest, Anzio, Rome and the beaches of Normandy.
    Guam, Okinawa, Korea and KheSan, Saigon, Vietnam know me.
    I’m presently in the mountains of Afganistan and the hot and dusty deserts of Iraq and wherever freedom is needed.
    I led my troops, I was dirty, battleworn and tired,
    But my soldiers cheered me and I was proud.
    I have been burned, torn and trampled on the streets of countries I have helped set free.
    It does not hurt for I am invincible.
    I have been soiled upon, burned, torn and trampled in the streets of my country.
    And when it’s done by those Whom I’ve served in battle – it hurts.
    But I shall overcome – for I am strong.
    I have slipped the bonds of Earth and stood watch over the uncharted frontiers of space from my vantage point on the moon.
    I have borne silent witness to all of America’s finest hours.
    But my finest hours are yet to come.
    When I am torn into strips and used as bandages for my wounded comrades on the battlefield,
    When I am flown at half-mast to honor my soldier,
    Or when I lie in the trembling arms of a grieving parent
    at the grave of their fallen son or daughter,

    I am proud.

    Please forward my message to all who still love and respect me that I may fly proudly for another two hundred years.

    • Judy

      When a sailor retires from the Navy, this is read outloud during the folding of the US Flag that is given to the sailor that is retiring.

      Ellen

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        Morning Ellen

        I did not know that, and thank you for telling me. I liked what it said, just thought I would put it up and share.

        Hope you’re having a good day today.

  21. Why we will lose in Afghanistan

    What we are hardly ever told about the country is that it has been for 300 years the scene of a bitter civil war, says Christopher Booker
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/6570380/Why-we-will-lose-in-Afghanistan.html

    As both Britain and America are plunged into an orgy of tortured introspection over what we are doing in Afghanistan, a further very important factor needs to be fed into the discussion, because it helps to explain not only why we have got into such a tragic mess but also why our armed intervention in that unhappy country is doomed.

    What we are hardly ever told about Afghanistan is that it has been for 300 years the scene of a bitter civil war, between two tribal groups of Pashtuns (formerly known as Pathans). On one side are the Durranis – most of the settled population, farmers, traders, the professional middle class. On the other are the Ghilzai, traditionally nomadic, fiercely fundamentalist in religion, whose tribal homelands stretch across into Pakistan as far as Kashmir.

    Ever since Afghanistan emerged as an independent nation in 1709, when the Ghilzai kicked out the Persians, its history has been written in the ancient hatred between these two groups. During most of that time, the country has been ruled by Durrani, who in 1775 moved its capital from the Ghilzai stronghold of Kandahar up to Kabul in the north. Nothing has more fired Ghilzai enmity than the many occasions when the Durrani have attempted to impose their rule from Kabul with the aid of “foreigners”, either Tajiks from the north or outsiders such as the British, who invaded Afghanistan three times between 1838 and 1919 in a bid to secure the North-west Frontier of their Indian empire against the rebellious Ghilzai.

    When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979, after years of Durrani rule, it was to support a revolutionary Ghilzai government. But this new foreign presence inspired general Afghan resistance which was why, by the late 1980s, the Americans were supporting the almost entirely Ghilzai-run Taleban and their ally Osama bin Laden. In 1996 the Taleban-Ghilzai got their revenge, imposing their theocratic rule over almost the whole country. In 2001, we invaded to topple the Taleban, again imposing Durrani rule, now under the Durrani President Karzai.

    As so often before, the Ghilzai have seen their country hijacked by a Durrani regime, supported by a largely Tajik army and by hated outsiders from the West. One reason why we find it so hard to win “hearts and minds” in Helmand is that we are up against a sullenly resentful population, fired by a timeless hatred and able to call on unlimited support, in men and materiel, from their Ghilzai brothers across the border in Pakistan.

    Only in towns such as Sanguin and Garmsir are there islands of Durrani, willing to support the Durrani government in distant Kabul. No sooner have our forces “secured” a village from the Taleban, than their fighters re-emerge from the surrounding countryside to reclaim it for the Ghilzai cause. Without recognising this, and that what the Ghilzai really want is an independent “Pashtunistan” stretching across the border, we shall never properly understand why, like so many foreigners who have become embroiled in Afghanistan before, we have stumbled into a war we can never hope to win.

    • The picture of the future of the US/NATO army</b.

      Lady Elizabeth Butler's painting 'The Remnant of an Army' depicts Dr William Brydon, sole survivor of the British retreat from Kabul in 1842

    • Judy Sabatini says:

      HI BF

      I don’t think that it’s going to be why we lose there, I hope we don’t, but, I honestly think it’s hopeless. Why? Because, this has been going on for 1000’s of years, and it will continue to go on for 1000’s more, no matter who’s there. These tribes have been at war with each other for so long, that I don’t think there will ever be a peace between them.

      They don’t want our civilization ways, and to me, it looks like they don’t want to be either. Maybe there are some who want it, but look what happens to the women there when they do try and have the things we do here. Either they get whipped or killed by their own. Maybe that’s why so many have left that kind of life, and did come to the U.S. to try and get/make a better life for them selves and family, who knows really.

      I really feel sorry for the people in any of these countries who want a peaceful way of life but are forced to stay for some reason or other. Maybe that’s why so many people come to this country because of the freedoms we do have, at least for now. I see now though, that we are slowly losing it , and I feel for this country and the people in it, and that includes, me, you, our families, everybody.

  22. Hey Birdman,

    Have you read the book “A Time to Stand”, by Jerry Oliver? A few weeks ago, I saw an excerpt from the book and thought of an aquaintance of mine who might like it. I sent him the link and he ordered the book. He brought it over the other day and said I HAD to read it. So I did. WOW. It left me stunned! I can very easily see how it can go from fiction to reality. I think you might be interested. Its about 150 pages.

    Here’s the link: http://booksbyoliver.com/

  23. From Imprimus (Hillsdale College)

    September 2009

    Walter Williams
    Professor of Economics, George Mason University

    WALTER WILLIAMS is the John M. Olin distinguished professor of economics at George Mason University. He holds a B.A. from California State University at Los Angeles and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in economics from UCLA. He has received numerous fellowships and awards, including a Hoover Institution National Fellowship and the Valley Forge Freedoms Foundation George Washington Medal of Honor. A nationally syndicated columnist, his articles and essays have appeared in publications such as Economic Inquiry, American Economic Review, National Review, Reader’s Digest, Policy Review and Newsweek. Dr. Williams has authored six books, including The State Against Blacks (later made into a PBS documentary entitled Good Intentions) and Liberty Versus the Tyranny of Socialism.

    The following is adapted from a lecture delivered on August 2, 2009, during a Hillsdale College cruise from Venice to Athens aboard the Crystal Serenity.

    Future Prospects for Economic Liberty

    One of the justifications for the massive growth of government in the 20th and now the 21st centuries, far beyond the narrow limits envisioned by the founders of our nation, is the need to promote what the government defines as fair and just. But this begs the prior and more fundamental question: What is the legitimate role of government in a free society? To understand how America’s Founders answered this question, we have only to look at the rule book they gave us—the Constitution. Most of what they understood as legitimate powers of the federal government are enumerated in Article 1, Section 8. Congress is authorized there to do 21 things, and as much as three-quarters of what Congress taxes us and spends our money for today is nowhere to be found on that list. To cite just a few examples, there is no constitutional authority for Congress to subsidize farms, bail out banks, or manage car companies. In this sense, I think we can safely say that America has departed from the constitutional principle of limited government that made us great and prosperous.

    On the other side of the coin from limited government is individual liberty. The Founders understood private property as the bulwark of freedom for all Americans, rich and poor alike. But following a series of successful attacks on private property and free enterprise—beginning in the early 20th century and picking up steam during the New Deal, the Great Society, and then again recently—the government designed by our Founders and outlined in the Constitution has all but disappeared. Thomas Jefferson anticipated this when he said, “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”

    To see the extent to which liberty is yielding and government is gaining ground, one need simply look at what has happened to taxes and spending. A tax, of course, represents a government claim on private property. Every tax confiscates private property that could otherwise be freely spent or freely invested. At the same time, every additional dollar of government spending demands another tax dollar, whether now or in the future. With this in mind, consider that the average American now works from January 1 until May 5 to pay the federal, state, and local taxes required for current government spending levels. Thus the fruits of more than one third of our labor are used in ways decided upon by others. The Founders favored the free market because it maximizes the freedom of all citizens and teaches respect for the rights of others. Expansive government, by contrast, contracts individual freedom and teaches disrespect for the rights of others. Thus clearly we are on what Friedrich Hayek called the road to serfdom, or what I prefer to call the road to tyranny.

    As I said, the Constitution restricts the federal government to certain functions. What are they? The most fundamental one is the protection of citizens’ lives. Therefore, the first legitimate function of the government is to provide for national defense against foreign enemies and for protection against criminals here at home. These and other legitimate public goods (as we economists call them) obviously require that each citizen pay his share in taxes. But along with people’s lives, it is a vital function of the government to protect people’s liberty as well—including economic liberty or property rights. So while I am not saying that we should pay no taxes, I am saying that they should be much lower—as they would be, if the government abided by the Constitution and allowed the free market system to flourish.

    And it is important to remember what makes the free market work. Is it a desire we all have to do good for others? Do people in New York enjoy fresh steak for dinner at their favorite restaurant because cattle ranchers in Texas love to make New Yorkers happy? Of course not. It is in the interest of Texas ranchers to provide the steak. They benefit themselves and their families by doing so. This is the kind of enlightened self-interest discussed by Adam Smith in his Wealth of Nations, in which he argues that the social good is best served by pursuing private interests. The same principle explains why I take better care of my property than the government would. It explains as well why a large transfer or estate tax weakens the incentive a property owner has to care for his property and pass it along to his children in the best possible condition. It explains, in general, why free enterprise leads to prosperity.

    Ironically, the free market system is threatened today not because of its failure, but because of its success. Capitalism has done so well in eliminating the traditional problems of mankind—disease, pestilence, gross hunger, and poverty—that other human problems seem to us unacceptable. So in the name of equalizing income, achieving sex and race balance, guaranteeing housing and medical care, protecting consumers, and conserving energy—just to name a few prominent causes of liberal government these days—individual liberty has become of secondary or tertiary concern.

    Imagine what would happen if I wrote a letter to Congress and informed its members that, because I am fully capable of taking care of my own retirement needs, I respectfully request that they stop taking money out of my paycheck for Social Security. Such a letter would be greeted with contempt. But is there any difference between being forced to save for retirement and being forced to save for housing or for my child’s education or for any other perceived good? None whatsoever. Yet for government to force us to do such things is to treat us as children rather than as rational citizens in possession of equal and inalienable natural rights.

    We do not yet live under a tyranny, of course. Nor is one imminent. But a series of steps, whether small or large, tending toward a certain destination will eventually take us there. The philosopher David Hume observed that liberty is seldom lost all at once, but rather bit by bit. Or as my late colleague Leonard Read used to put it, taking liberty from Americans is like cooking a frog: It can’t be done quickly because the frog will feel the heat and escape. But put a frog in cold water and heat it slowly, and by the time the frog grasps the danger, it’s too late.

    Again, the primary justification for increasing the size and scale of government at the expense of liberty is that government can achieve what it perceives as good. But government has no resources of its own with which to do so. Congressmen and senators don’t reach into their own pockets to pay for a government program. They reach into yours and mine. Absent Santa Claus or the tooth fairy, the only way government can give one American a dollar in the name of this or that good thing is by taking it from some other American by force. If a private person did the same thing, no matter how admirable the motive, he would be arrested and tried as a thief. That is why I like to call what Congress does, more often than not, “legal theft.” The question we have to ask ourselves is whether there is a moral basis for forcibly taking the rightful property of one person and giving it to another to whom it does not belong. I cannot think of one. Charity is noble and good when it involves reaching into your own pocket. But reaching into someone else’s pocket is wrong.

    In a free society, we want the great majority, if not all, of our relationships to be voluntary. I like to explain a voluntary exchange as a kind of non-amorous seduction. Both parties to the exchange feel good in an economic sense. Economists call this a positive sum gain. For example, if I offer my local grocer three dollars for a gallon of milk, implicit in the offer is that we will both be winners. The grocer is better off because he values the three dollars more than the milk, and I am better off because I value the milk more than the three dollars. That is a positive sum gain. Involuntary exchange, by contrast, means that one party gains and the other loses. If I use a gun to steal a gallon of milk, I win and the grocer loses. Economists call this a zero sum gain. And we are like that grocer in most of what Congress does these days.

    Some will respond that big government is what the majority of voters want, and that in a democracy the majority rules. But America’s Founders didn’t found a democracy, they founded a republic. The authors of The Federalist Papers, arguing for ratification of the Constitution, showed how pure democracy has led historically to tyranny. Instead, they set up a limited government, with checks and balances, to help ensure that the reason of the people, rather than the selfish passions of a majority, would hold sway. Unaware of the distinction between a democracy and a republic, many today believe that a majority consensus establishes morality. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Another common argument is that we need big government to protect the little guy from corporate giants. But a corporation can’t pick a consumer’s pocket. The consumer must voluntarily pay money for the corporation’s product. It is big government, not corporations, that have the power to take our money by force. I should also point out that private business can force us to pay them by employing government. To see this happening, just look at the automobile industry or at most corporate farmers today. If General Motors or a corporate farm is having trouble, they can ask me for help, and I may or may not choose to help. But if they ask government to help and an IRS agent shows up at my door demanding money, I have no choice but to hand it over. It is big government that the little guy needs protection against, not big business. And the only protection available is in the Constitution and the ballot box.

    Speaking of the ballot box, we can blame politicians to some extent for the trampling of our liberty. But the bulk of the blame lies with us voters, because politicians are often doing what we elect them to do. The sad truth is that we elect them for the specific purpose of taking the property of other Americans and giving it to us. Many manufacturers think that the government owes them a protective tariff to keep out foreign goods, resulting in artificially higher prices for consumers. Many farmers think the government owes them a crop subsidy, which raises the price of food. Organized labor thinks government should protect their jobs from non-union competition. And so on. We could even consider many college professors, who love to secure government grants to study poverty and then meet at hotels in Miami during the winter to talk about poor people. All of these—and hundreds of other similar demands on government that I could cite—represent involuntary exchanges and diminish our freedom.

    This reminds me of a lunch I had a number of years ago with my friend Jesse Helms, the late Senator from North Carolina. He knew that I was critical of farm subsidies, and he said he agreed with me 100 percent. But he wondered how a Senator from North Carolina could possibly vote against them. If he did so, his fellow North Carolinians would dump him and elect somebody worse in his place. And I remember wondering at the time if it is reasonable to ask a politician to commit political suicide for the sake of principle. The fact is that it’s unreasonable of us to expect even principled politicians to vote against things like crop subsidies and stand up for the Constitution. This presents us with a challenge. It’s up to us to ensure that it’s in our representatives’ interest to stand up for constitutional government.

    Americans have never done the wrong thing for a long time, but if we’re not going to go down the tubes as a great nation, we must get about changing things while we still have the liberty to do so.

  24. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    Gold:

    $1135 per ounce and still rising….

  25. More to love about socialism

    UK State to Take Unborn Baby

    From the desk of A. Millar on Sat, 2009-11-07 10:55
    Kerry Robertson, 17, and Mark McDougall, 25, haven’t broken any law. But they are on the run from the authorities, and from their home in Dunfermline, Scotland.

    Less than eight weeks ago the couple were excitedly planning their wedding. They had booked church ceremony for the 5th of September, a Saturday. She had already chosen and bought her wedding dress. They had bought the rings, and invited 20 guests. Two days before the big day, however, social services told them that their wedding would have to be cancelled. Fife Council wrote a letter, objecting to the marriage, to Dunfermline Register Office, who consequently refused to marry the couple.

    Social services claim Kerry cannot understand what marriage means, because she has learning difficulties. They are mild, it seems. She is able to read and write, and is going to college to “catch up.” Her partner Mark told the Daily Mail: “’I didn’t even know she had learning difficulties until we’d been dating for two months.”

    Kerry is 29 weeks pregnant – with a boy they have named Ben. “Although Ben isn’t born yet,” Kerry says, “I already love my baby and know I will be a good mum. Mark and I talk to him inside me every day and tell him we love him. We’ve already bought him clothes and my cousin, who recently had a baby, has handed down a beautiful crib for him.”

    Social services say that Kerry – a college student – isn’t intelligent enough to bring up her child with Mark. They plan to allow the couple only a few hours with Ben after he is born. Then Ben will be taken from Kerry and Mark, and placed with foster parents.

    Willie Rennie is the MP (LibDems) for Dunfermline and West Fife. I’m sure he would love a polite letter or email drawing his attention to the plight of this family. He can be reached at:

    Fax: country code +020 7219 2810

    Email: renniew@parliament.uk

    • Judy Sabatini says:

      Hi LOI

      She might have learning disabilities, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t know what the meaning of marriage is. How about people who have down syndrome, they marry, have kids, lead a somewhat normal life to the best of their abilities, and yet, no one tries to interfere with their lives that I am aware of of.

      I really feel for them and what these authorities are trying to do to them. My heart goes to them. I think I’d run too if I knew that some one is out there to try and take my baby away from me after giving birth. Big deal, they get to spend a few hours with him, then he is snatched away from then and put into foster care. This makes my heart ache for this couple, who can’t even get married.

      • Agree, I just hope the US reverses course, or that’s us in a few years, or government mandated abortion. Sorry, I forgot to provide the link.

        http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/4160

        • Judy Sabatini says:

          Is anybody really intelligent enough to raise kids or know the true meaning of marriage. I say it comes with time and lots of practice, you eventually get it right.

          Like the saying goes, raising kids doesn’t come with manuals. If they start mandating abortions because some one isn’t intelligent enough to raise kids, or get married, then we are all in trouble. Doesn’t China already do that if you already have one child, they force the woman to get an abortion, or that if you see you’re having a girl, you can then abort it?

    • First part of the problem, the Daily Mail.
      Please, please, please select any other paper than that Nazi supporting waste of paper, they have a long history of “forgetting” to put in important parts of stories.

  26. Fantastic.

    Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Michael McLendon (top political appointee to the VA in 2005):

    if the veterans “believed in God and country . . . they would not come home with PTSD.” [note: he denies making this statement]

    And from the article, “During the Iraq war, however, the great difficulty veterans experienced in getting psychiatric care—greater than before—was not a product of cost-cutting, but of conviction: many Bush administration officials believed that soldiers who supported the war would not face psychological problems, and if they did, they would find comfort in faith. In a resigned tone, one prominent researcher who worked for the VA, and asked that he not be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the press, explained that high-ranking officials believed that “Jesus fixes everything.””

    We can do better for our returning troops than this. And we owe them at least that much. Hopefully this is being fixed.

    http://bostonreview.net/BR34.6/mckelvey.php

  27. I watching the Japanese market open last night and gold, on its first trade shot up $12/oz.

    This morning

    Gold = $1135 !!!
    Silver broke $18
    Platinum $1430!!, up $40

    • How much is yellow cake going for these days?

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        If I was being flippant I would say “Ask Ahmadinejad” 🙂

        It is interesting to note that the dollar has been holding relatively steady at 1.50 Euros and about 90 yen for the past several weeks, and yet gold continues to shoot up. I think this is a reflection of loss of confidence in most world “currencies” at this point – Gold is suddenly rising at the same rate relative to all 3 of these.

      • Uranium (yellow cake) is falling, down $1 a pound to USD$45/lb.

    • Gold = $1142
      Plat = $1444

  28. I want some!!!!

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,575312,00.html?test=latestnews

    Don’t these folks talk to the Algorians? Just wait until it melts then pick them off the surface.

  29. Government is the monopoly on the use of force in a spefic geographic area.

    Food for thinking today. Relates to many of our issues.

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

    I bet some of you thought Black Flag just makes this stuff up.

  30. Terrorism, a definition.

    After all, we need to make sure we are using the same one.

    But alas, there is not single definition.

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

  31. Figured I should add this one as it is referenced as an alternative to the meaning of “terrorism”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violent_non-state_actor

    • Precisely my point – polylogism.

      The State defines itself out of its own definition, even though it the actual action it undertakes is identical.

      • Wrong conclusion.

        Polylogism is not at play.

        The same logic applies to all sides because the definitons are universal, not changed to fit the player.

        The definition has to depend on state sanction as the definition of State is the root definition in the discussion.

        As we accept the base definition of state then the non state definition must follow from it.

        Put poly back in the barn and get out another horse to ride.

        • JAC,

          I disagree. Polylogism is the play.

          The definition changes depending upon who it is applied to.

          As pointed out before, a definition which excludes the definer is an act of polylogism.

          • “Ethnic cleansing is what is done to Jews, but not by Jews”

            “Taxes is not theft because it the State defines taxes as not theft”

            “Terrorists kill innocent people, except for the Army which says it is merely the collateral damage of war”

          • BF

            Sorry but you are still wrong;

            The definition isn’t developed by the state it is developed by us to describe the state.

            Legal = state violence or state approved violence.

            Illegal = all other violence, no state approval.

            Why is the state approval needed for legal?//

            Because STATE = MONOPOLY on violence.

            All states = Monopoly on violence.

            Taxes are theft because “monopoly on theft” is not part of the definition of govt..

            • Terrorism is an action, not a noun.

              Terrorist is a noun, describing the entity that uses terrorism.

              If the definition you offer was, indeed, accurate then “Terrorist States” as applied to entities such as Iran, Libya, etc. is a non sequitur.

              So, which way do you want to go in this fork of the debate road?

              • We are discussing Non state actors, not “terroists”.

                That is why the alternative definition was proposed as I understand it. To escape the rhetorical usage (polylogism)and to be consistent with philosophical definitions of “STATE” used since the 19th and 20 th centuries.

                Terrorist and terrorism may have good definitions but there have been far to many used to say there is a settled meaning. And that is of course, because one always wishes to use it on the other.

                It some respects I would say this is still not polylogism, because there is no logic used in the range of definitions nor their applications.

              • Below, too squishy!

              • I see we are running diverted thought-threads.

                What about Non-state actors are we discussing?

              • This started with me posting the Violent Non-State Actors as a substitute definition. It was proposed to resolve the polylogism problem with how “terrorism” is applied.

                You then said this was polylogism. I think you focused on the part of the WIKI article below the definition, where they discuss problems with the word “terrorism”. If you look closely they point out that many groups considered VNSA would not meet the three part criteria for terrorist.

                Your comments caused me to realize that if “legal” violence is defined according to the definition of govt then all violence other than govt sponsored/approved/conducted is “illegal”.

                Its an interesting dilemna created by the definition of govt itself. At first I thought something was wrong in the reasoning.

                So as I was running errands this afternoon I pondered this problem. I could find no contradiction of dilemna.

                Violence on the innocent is immoral and illegal, period. It is only the formation of govt that has a monopoly on the use of violence that creates the concept of “legal violence.” Thus all violence other than govt approved is “illegal”.

                The one hole in the definition (wiki’s) is that it assumes violence in self defense is in fact legal ONLY because the State useually approves it. While it is a right the issue of “legal” vs “illegal” does go back to govt’s presence however. So again the contradiction was removed.

                Hard to believe I could think about that and not cause an accident. Talking on cell phones is easy compared to this.

                Doest that all make sense now?

              • Yep, and you hit all the points.

                It was me fighting too many battles on different fronts about the same topic.

                Your concise review above is immune to much debate.

                Thanks!

  32. OT OT OT – Judy joke time !!

    Everything’s connected !! Were we talking about phones?

    Phones In Church

    A man in Topeka , Kansas decided to write a book about churches around

    The country. He started by flying to San Francisco and started working

    East from there.

    Going to a very large church, he began taking photographs and making

    Notes.

    He spotted a golden telephone on the vestibule wall and was intrigued

    With a sign, which read “Calls: $10,000 a minute..”

    Seeking out the pastor he asked about the phone and the sign. The

    Pastor answered that this golden phone is, in fact, a direct line to

    Heaven and if he pays the price he can talk directly to GOD.

    The man thanked the pastor and continued on his way. As he continued to

    Visit churches in Seattle , Phoenix , Salt Lake City , Reno , Denver ,

    Oklahoma City, and around the United States , he found more phones,

    With the same sign, and the same answer from each pastor.

    Finally, he arrived in Maine , upon entering a church in Fort Kent , Maine .

    Behold – he saw the usual golden telephone. But THIS time, the sign

    Read “Calls: 35 cents.”

    Fascinated, he asked to talk to the pastor, “Reverend, I have been in

    Cities & towns all across the country and in each church I have found this

    Golden telephone and have been told it is a direct line to Heaven and

    That I could talk to GOD, but in the other churches the cost was

    $10,000 a minute.. Your sign reads only 35 cents a call.

    Why?”

    ( I love this part…We love Maine …………)

    The pastor, smiling benignly, replied, “Son, you’re in Northern Maine now …

    You’re in God’s Country, It’s a local call.”

    American by Birth – A “Mainer” by the Grace of God!

    (ED) I’m sure there’s God’s Country all across America rural areas, however, Northern Maine (1st congr district) was the ONLY district which voted for Perot !!

    Within minutes of that election, the local paper got several liberal ex NYTimes editors who always wanted to live in Maine !!

    • Judy Sabatini says:

      Nice one Frank.

      How are you doing today? Good I hope.

      • Not bad – waiting on pins & needles for the Droid phone that my daughter sent me via 2 day FedEx – because of the w/e will be 4 day fed ex, so that Mathius can laugh as I get wiped out !!!

  33. Mathius said

    You have a very skewed measure of ‘protecting his family’ if that means dropping bombs on women and children.

    I specifically defined this as a soldier bombing military targets. Women and children and do not qualify as military targets unless they’re shooting back.

    So, if bombing a target kills women and children, what do you call it?

    Further, in the doctrine of Total War, what classifies as a military target? (Or more specifically, what is excluded?)

    I have no right to destroy the rights of the innocent while protecting my family.

    Again, I specifically said military targets. No harm to innocents is being justified here, yet you keep inferring that I am attempting to do so.

    Please provide your logic that makes ‘military’ targets have less rights than non-military targets.

    If they are called Terrorists for killing innocent people, then the pilot who drops bombs on innocent people is equally a terrorist.

    I think we’re talking at cross purposes here. You, I think, are talking about pilots who bomb civilians versus terrorists who bomb civilians.

    If that is so, there is an important distinction you are overlooking: intent.

    So your argument is: When shooting at a man who is trying to kill my child, I happen to hit your wife – I am not guilty of murder and am justified in killing your wife.

    Our pilots do not seek to harm innocents, but that is frequently the goal of terrorists.

    No! You are confused about both the military goal and the ‘terrorist’ goal.

    The military does not care about what may or may not be in the way of a target. They will kill innocent people so to achieve success.

    Terrorists attack the legitimacy of government or the occupying forces. Often, that means exposing the inability of the government/occupying power’s inability at protecting the civilians, and at provoking them to overreact to the provocation.

    As such, though harm is being done, the necessary mens rea is not present.

    Absolutely it is. Doctrine of Total War claims that those that support the enemy are the enemy.

    If you can justify bombing civilians (by accident) they can justify their actions equally as well.

    Though restitution should be made where possible for such accidents, there is nothing criminal about this per say. If I am hunting in the woods and shoot another hunter by accident, I may be at fault and owe his family restitution (though a no-fault accident, I think absolves me, we can discuss this as I think I would be interested in your views), but I certainly haven’t committed a crime (unless there are other factors such as negligence).

    Your analogy is wholly incorrect.

    The purposeful desire of dropping a bomb on a target has the ‘mens rea’ of destruction and killing. Death and destruction is “not an accident”.

    I have attached a jousting pole to my Infiniti.

    Keep that in mind if you ever play “Chicken” against me.

    Using the “G” Coupe, for your car (just a guess)
    VEHICLE EPA Classification=Subcompact

    ENGINE = V6,3.7L, 330HP @ 7000, Torque 270 @ 5200

    Base Curb Weight (lbs) = 3633

    My Car,
    Magnum SRT-8

    VEHICLE EPA Classification=Large

    ENGINE = V8,6.1L, 424HP @ 7000, Torque 420 @ 5200

    Base Curb Weight (lbs) = 4083
    …pic, even the right color too!

    You’re too small, too slow, and under powered.

    You have no hope.

    Absolutely not. The word terrorist has a very specific definition. It necessarily has to be about attempting to create fear to influence the actions of others.

    Quote:
    Terrorism is the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion. At present, there is no internationally agreed definition of terrorism.[<-so much for you 'specific' claim]

    Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror), are perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a lone attack), and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants.

    Therefore, my description still stands.

    Pilots are not attempting to instill fear in civilians. Even if their actions were deliberate, that would make them murderers, not terrorists.

    “Shock and Awe” doctrine.

    Shock and awe, technically known as rapid dominance, is a military doctrine based on the use of overwhelming power, dominant battlefield awareness, dominant maneuvers, and spectacular displays of force to paralyze an adversary’s perception of the battlefield and destroy its will to fight. The doctrine was written by Harlan K. Ullman and James P. Wade in 1996 and is a product of the National Defense University of the United States.

    So while you can certainly make a case for their actions being immoral, terrorist is an inaccurate descriptor.

    Using the very definitions above, I think my case is rock-solid.

    • So, if bombing a target kills women and children, what do you call it? An accident.

      Further, in the doctrine of Total War, what classifies as a military target? (Or more specifically, what is excluded?) It depends on how you frame things, I’ll admit. You do not willingly pay taxes, but pay as a result of the treat of government force. So you financially support the government’s violence on others. Does this make you a “combatant” in the doctrine of total war? I would think so, because you are a part of the support mechanism of the war engine they are fighting. None-the-less. We generally reject this doctrine. But this makes it kosher to bomb civilians, so the pilot in question would still not be a terrorist.

      Please provide your logic that makes ‘military’ targets have less rights than non-military targets. If you and I argue and eventually come to blows. Regardless of who started it (generally a matter of opinion, as both sides usually view themselves as the victim), it is acceptable for me to hit you. You are, within the bounds of this situation, a combatant, or military target. It is not acceptable for me to run to your house and harm your family. Though you will certainly surrender to protect them (then general hope of the terrorists), they are not party to our dispute and are out of bounds – regardless of the fact that they support you. You, however, are not innocent – since you participated in the escalation to violence – but your family is. Thus I can harm you, but not them.

      So your argument is: When shooting at a man who is trying to kill my child, I happen to hit your wife – I am not guilty of murder and am justified in killing your wife. Not quite. You are not guilty of murder, but you are still responsible. Murder requires the aforementioned mens rea – criminal intent. You are responsible for an accident. Under your guidelines, I may be entitled to restitution, but not for murder. My loss is equal but the cause is not. I would suggest, in this scenario, that the man trying to kill your child is responsible, but that’s beside the point. Murder requires intent, manslaughter does not. To put things in perspective, imagine I have the flu. I work with you and, though I take a sick day, I still infect you first. You then die from the flu. Did I murder you? I am the proximal cause of your death. No, it was an accident. There needs to be something I did wrong in order for me to be responsible. I needed to be negligent, or I needed to be proactive, but if sh*t just happens, that is not murder.

      If you can justify bombing civilians (by accident) they can justify their actions equally as well. How? They knowingly flew plains into occupied buildings. The pilot hit the wrong target. In your previous scenario, you killed my wife by accident, but you can still justify it as an unintended consequence of protecting your child. You did nothing wrong, though you may still be responsible for the harm. If you shot my wife in order to convince the man threatening your child that you are crazy and shouldn’t be messed with, then I think you did do something wrong. See the difference?

      The purposeful desire of dropping a bomb on a target has the ‘mens rea’ of destruction and killing. Death and destruction is “not an accident”. it has the intent of causing death and destruction to an enemy combatant. Death and destruction in the wrong place is an accident. If you are at the shooting range and some fool is downrange at the wrong time and you hit him, did you have criminal intent in doing so? You meant to do acceptable violence (to the target), but wound up doing unacceptable violence (to the fool). Do you contend that this was “not an accident”?

      [Your car is] too small, too slow, and under powered. In addition to the flux capacitor, I’ve made a few other very special modifications. You are no match for me, old man. My car is named Odin, and no without reason.

      Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror), are perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a lone attack), and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants. Challenge. Even with this definition, the pilots neither deliberately attack nor specifically disregard the safety of non-combatants. They make every practical attempt to avoid civilian casualties. In a forum full of vets, does anyone care to back me up on this? The fact that they kill civies anyway is a result of the law of large numbers. Fire enough bullets and you’re going to hit something you didn’t want to. Fire even more than that, and you’re going to many civilians. It is unavoidable, but their safety is not deliberately disregarded.

      “Shock and Awe” doctrine. Cowboy leadership at its absolute worst. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, which I am not confident he deserves, he was attempting to shock and awe the military into submission. That said, even if he was attempting to cow the populace, civilians were not targeted for violence as part of shock and awe, nor was their safety deliberately disregarded. So even if the intent was to scare civilians, this fails by your definition: “and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants.”

      Me: So while you can certainly make a case for their actions being immoral, terrorist is an inaccurate descriptor.
      BF: Using the very definitions above, I think my case is rock-solid.

      Using the very definitions above, I think my case is rock-solid.

      • Hi Matt and BF!
        As I read along today, I could only wonder why death is included in the definitions. Terror, is an emotion of extreme fear, dead people don’t fear. The threat of death, at any given moment would be an event of terror.

        Terrism is a emotional and political term, as it has been used , evades the true meaning of terror. With that in mind I offer the G-Man’s definition of terrorism.

        Terrorism is The Obama administration combined with a Democratic controlled Congress. They are scaring the crap out of people!

        LOL! Hope you guys are having a good day!

        G!

      • Mathius

        It depends on how you frame things, I’ll admit.

        My point exactly.

        It is a fallacy to create a definition that purposely excludes oneself from it, so to avoid becoming what you are defining.

        “Murder is the killing of innocent people except when Black Flag does it, it not murder but an ‘accident'”

        You do not willingly pay taxes, but pay as a result of the treat of government force.

        So you financially support the government’s violence on others.

        No, I do not support that at all. The government uses stolen loot to do violence.

        A criminal who steals your credit card, who then uses that to buy a gun to kill someone does not make you at all culpable to his crime.

        Does this make you a “combatant” in the doctrine of total war? I would think so, because you are a part of the support mechanism of the war engine they are fighting.

        I do not support the doctrine of Total War at all. The doctrine is self-serving, full of polylogisms and a threat to every human being on earth.

        Whether or not I pay or not for government, Total War makes me a target. It makes everything a target.

        If you and I argue and eventually come to blows. Regardless of who started it (generally a matter of opinion, as both sides usually view themselves as the victim), it is acceptable for me to hit you.

        You describe Law of Mutuality. However, that is not what I asked.

        I asked why military targets have a different set of rights then civilian targets.

        So your argument is: When shooting at a man who is trying to kill my child, I happen to hit your wife – I am not guilty of murder and am justified in killing your wife. Not quite. You are not guilty of murder, but you are still responsible.

        No, I am guilty of murder, Matt, in most jurisdictions.

        “Voluntary Manslaughter”…”Imperfect Self-Defense”…
        In some jurisdictions, the successful invocation of such a defense reduces a murder charge to manslaughter. Most jurisdictions do not recognize imperfect self-defense.

        Murder requires the aforementioned mens rea – criminal intent.

        …not ‘criminal intent’, but just ‘intent’ – which is why most jurisdictions see the killing of the innocent, even with imperfect self-defense, is murder.

        The use of violence was a conscience act – not an accident. Shooting at the attacker was purposeful – just because you missed does not mitigate your intent -which was to shoot a weapon with the purpose of inflicting violence.

        If you can justify bombing civilians (by accident) they can justify their actions equally as well. How? They knowingly flew plains into occupied buildings. The pilot hit the wrong target.

        Oh?

        Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, has been killed in a US air strike….

        Major General Bill Caldwell, a spokesman for US forces in Iraq, said the strike was carried out by two F16s, which dropped two 500lb bombs on the house after it was established that Zarqawi was inside….

        Maj Gen Caldwell said six people died in the raid,Only two have so far been identified.

        US forces knew that the house was occupied by women and children. They initially bombed the house with two, 500lb. bombs.

        They hit the target – purposely.

        Death and destruction in the wrong place is an accident. If you are at the shooting range and some fool is downrange at the wrong time and you hit him, did you have criminal intent in doing so?

        Intent – since my intent was death, I succeeded. Again, as above, this is still considered murder (in most jurisdictions).

        [Your car is] too small, too slow, and under powered. In addition to the flux capacitor, I’ve made a few other very special modifications. You are no match for me, old man. My car is named Odin, and no without reason.

        Youth is wasted on the young. They always learn, too late, to never tangle with the Gray Backs.

        Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror), are perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a lone attack), and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants. Challenge. Even with this definition, the pilots neither deliberately attack nor specifically disregard the safety of non-combatants.

        As exampled above, they most certainly do.

        Further examples;
        LAHORE: Of the 60 cross-border predator strikes carried out by the Afghanistan-based American drones in Pakistan between January 14, 2006 and April 8, 2009, only 10 were able to hit their actual targets, killing 14 wanted al-Qaeda leaders, besides perishing 687 innocent Pakistani civilians. The success percentage of the US predator strikes thus comes to not more than six percent

        Missing 94% of the time is not just careless but most definitely is a callous disregard of civilians.

        They make every practical attempt to avoid civilian casualties.

        I do not believe your contention is wholly valid, given examples provided.

        With a failure of 94% of these so-called “practical attempts” – your case is falling apart.

        In a forum full of vets, does anyone care to back me up on this? The fact that they kill civies anyway is a result of the law of large numbers. Fire enough bullets and you’re going to hit something you didn’t want to. Fire even more than that, and you’re going to many civilians. It is unavoidable, but their safety is not deliberately disregarded.

        Really?

        The Bombing of Dresden by the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and United States Army Air Force (USAAF) between 13 February and 15 February 1945 remains one of the most controversial Allied actions of the Second World War.
        Today’s historians estimate a death toll between 24,000 and 40,000[7]

        Bombing of Tokyo
        Changing their tactics to expand the coverage and increase the damage, 335 B-29s took off[1] to raid on the night of 9–10 March, with 279 of them[1] dropping around 1,700 tons of bombs. Fourteen B-29s were lost.[1] Approximately 16 square miles (41 km²) of the city were destroyed and some 100,000 people are estimated to have died in the resulting firestorm, more than the immediate deaths of either the Hiroshima or Nagasaki atomic bombs.[2][3]

        …so on, and so on.

        “Shock and Awe” doctrine. Cowboy leadership at its absolute worst. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, which I am not confident he deserves, he was attempting to shock and awe the military into submission. That said, even if he was attempting to cow the populace, civilians were not targeted for violence as part of shock and awe, nor was their safety deliberately disregarded. So even if the intent was to scare civilians, this fails by your definition: “and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants.”

        More evidence that contradicts your claims:

        British intelligence officials believe Saddam Hussein escaped America’s devastating bomb attack on a building where the Iraqi leader was thought to be meeting.

        They say he may have left minutes before four 2,000lb bombs obliterated the restaurant in the al-Mansour district of Baghdad.

        The restaurant is reported to have housed an underground bunker system.

        The bombing left a 60ft crater and there were local reports of surrounding homes being destroyed and several civilian bodies being pulled from the rubble.

        Iraqi rescue workers said up to 14 civilians were killed, including a child.

        Me: So while you can certainly make a case for their actions being immoral, terrorist is an inaccurate descriptor.
        BF: Using the very definitions above, I think my case is rock-solid.

        Using the very definitions above, I think my case is rock-solid.

        Sadly, it proves my point – that rhetoric and polylogism remains the excuse for slaughter.

        • BF:

          ““Murder is the killing of innocent people except when Black Flag does it, it not murder but an ‘accident’””

          Are you arguing that INTENT has nothing to do with the determination classification?

          Seems you argued against such a proposition not long ago.

          • No, this was a demonstration of the polylogism – where the entity defines themselves out of their own definition so to prevent its application on them.

            I just used me to enhance the example.

  34. I haven’t seen anyone answer yet about Nancy Pelosi’s husband but the wiki entry refers to this article which says he has $5 million in stocks for apple.

    http://www.rollcall.com/features/Guide-to-Congress_2008/guide/28506-1.html?page=5

    • Apple’s market cap is 187 Billion. I don’t think they’re cowed by $5 million. They may be more afraid of pissing off congress. Do not meddle in the affairs of politicians, for they are subtle and quick to anger.

      Nobody is particularly clear on the rules that govern what apps get passed and what don’t. They reject a lot of apps, and I think that baring good reason to believe otherwise, this is probably just coincidence.

  35. Sky gazers in India can expect celestial fireworks tomorrow

    Sky gazers can look forward to an exhibition of celestial fireworks over the next two days as the night sky will be lit up by the Leonid meteor showers expected to peak Tuesday.

    The Leonid showers, known for their outbursts over the period 1998-2002, are the most famous meteors observable during the year. Amateur astronomers in the capital can see about 100 to 300 shooting stars every hour for the next couple of days.

    NASA readies space shuttle Atlantis for launch

    The US space agency was readying the space shuttle Atlantis and its crew of seven astronauts for an imminent launch to deliver a load of spare parts to the International Space Station (ISS).

    Liftoff is set for 2:28 pm (1928 GMT) Monday from the Kennedy Space Center near Florida’s Cape Canaveral, NASA said Saturday.

    ====

    Ok, hold that horse up!

    Launching the Shuttle into a meteor shower…. anyone awake at NASA????

    • Oh ye of little faith . . . it went up just fine. So what do you say about the ISS being brought back down until the leonid shower is over with?

      Just asking. B)

  36. I think many folks here would be interested and supportive of reason.com – seems they need $$ ..

    Support Reason.tv because you won’t see this Al Sharpton clip anywhere else. bit.ly/2eMT6d

    Support Reason so we can bring you magic moments lk whn B.O’Reilly threatened Jacob Sullum to stay away from his kids! bit.ly/1K87Bq

    Can government save the airlines? And rescue us from cheap ticket prices too? bit.ly/2wCxpu

    The Great Reason Begathon Continues: Support us and help us influence the next John Stossel, Drew Carey, and … bit.ly/oTRGC

    • Or try it with the http ..

      I think many folks here would be interested and supportive of reason.com – seems they need $$ ..

      Support Reason.tv because you won’t see this Al Sharpton clip anywhere else. http://bit.ly/2eMT6d

      Support Reason so we can bring you magic moments lk whn B.O’Reilly threatened Jacob Sullum to stay away from his kids! http://bit.ly/1K87Bq

      Can government save the airlines? And rescue us from cheap ticket prices too? http://bit.ly/2wCxpu

      The Great Reason Begathon Continues: Support us and help us influence the next John Stossel, Drew Carey, and … http://bit.ly/oTRGC

  37. Judy Sabatini says:

    And just how should this case be handled? If her mother did kill her little girl, then I hope to God, she will rot in prison for the rest of her life, with a big picture of her daughter staring back at her that she won’t be able to remove from the wall. To do such a horrible thing to a child, your own child, then just leave her in the woods like she did.

    SANFORD, N.C. — A missing 5-year-old whose mother was accused of offering her for sex was found dead off a heavily wooded road in a rural area Monday, ending a weeklong search, police said.

    Searchers found Shaniya Davis’ body early Monday afternoon about 100 feet off a road southeast of Sanford, in central North Carolina, Fayetteville Police spokeswoman Theresa Chance said. She declined to comment on a cause of death or the condition of Shaniya’s body.

    “We’ve got a lot of people out at the scene right now that are torn up,” Chance said. “Detectives have been running off adrenaline to find this little girl and to bring her home alive. You have a lot of people in shock right now.”

    Two people have been charged in her disappearance, one of them her mother, Antoinette Davis, 25. Police charged Davis with human trafficking and felony child abuse, saying Shaniya was offered for prostitution.

    Davis was calm and quiet during a five-minute court appearance in Fayetteville on Monday afternoon. She provided one-word answers to the judge’s questions and held her hands in front of her, without handcuffs. She requested a court-appointed attorney and did not enter a plea.

    Her sister, Brenda Davis, 20, said outside that she does not believe the charges.

    “I don’t believe she could hurt her children,” Brenda Davis said. The sisters were able to speak at the jail Sunday, and Brenda Davis recalled that her sibling said she would not do that to her daughter.

    Authorities also charged Mario Andrette McNeill, 29, with kidnapping after they said surveillance footage from a Sanford hotel showed him carrying Shaniya there. Authorities said McNeill admitted taking the girl, though his attorney said he will plead not guilty.

    Davis reported Shaniya missing Tuesday. Authorities first arrested a man named Clarence Coe, but charges against him were dropped a day later when investigators tracked down McNeill after receiving a tip from a hotel employee.

    Additional information led investigators to a search site near Sanford on Sunday. They continued searching Monday, scouring miles of landscape, roads, ravines and fields on four-wheelers and with helicopters.

    After Shaniya’s body was found, a solemn group of searchers met quietly at a nearby fire station to ensure that all volunteers were accounted for.

    “We were hoping that someone could carry her home,” said Syd Severe, 42, who came from Raleigh to help with the search. “It’s just sick.”

    A cluster of emergency vehicles and law enforcement personnel gathered where Shaniya’s body was found, about a quarter mile from N.C. Highway 87. Authorities blocked access to the road, a rural area popular with hunters that is less than a mile from a large lakeside community.

    Shaniya’s father, Bradley Lockhart, said he raised his daughter for several years but last month decided to let her stay with her mother. He had pleaded for her safe return.

    “I should’ve never let her go over there,” he told The Associated Press on Saturday.

    Before Shaniya’s body was found, he said on CBS’s “The Early Show” Monday that he remained hopeful someone would bring his daughter somewhere safe, such as a police station or hospital.

    “They can drop her off at Walmart, I don’t care,” he said.

    A man who answered the phone at the Lockhart home Monday afternoon declined to comment.

  38. There are now reports of fake 400 oz gold bars in Oct. of this year. The report from Hong Kong said that the bars were gutted and had tungsten inside instead. The finger was first pointed at the Chinese for making the fake bars. The Chinese have pointed the finger at the Clinton Administration for the problem. Saying that they gold plated tungsten blanks and sold them on the open market. Many of these fake bars might possible be in the GLD ETF holdings! Nice way to hide them!!

    From the GLD Prospectus on page 11:

    “Gold bars allocated to the Trust in connection with the creation of a Basket may not meet the London Good Delivery Standards and, if a Basket is issued against such gold, the Trust may suffer a loss. Neither the Trustee nor the Custodian independently confirms the fineness of the gold bars allocated to the Trust in connection with the creation of a Basket. The gold bars allocated to the Trust by the Custodian may be different from the reported fineness or weight required by the LBMA’s standards for gold bars delivered in settlement of a gold trade, or the London Good Delivery Standards, the standards required by the Trust. If the Trustee nevertheless issues a Basket against such gold, and if the Custodian fails to satisfy its obligation to credit the Trust the amount of any deficiency, the Trust may suffer a loss.”

    Tungsten is almost the same density and weight as gold at about $10 a lb. This would make the fraud almost undetectable without an lab assay of the bar(s) in question.

    The report says that possibilly up to 60 metric tons of 400 tr oz gold bars may be gold plated tungsten instead. There are betweeen 5,600 to 5,700 of the fakes 400 oz bars out there.

  39. JAC and BF,

    The most common, and simplest definition by most I know, is that a terrorist is a fanatic Muslim extremist. Whils that may be one good point, I can think of many more that would qualify under the actual actions of people.

    First, I do not believe that Islamic Jihadists are any different that militant murdurers of any other religion, race ect. They are what they are, murdurers. The KKK did the same thing, but based on race back in the day. The problem I have, and question the Islamic Jihadists, is why they are willing to kill fellow Muslims for THEIR cause. It’s all bullcrap to me.

    If a parent of three young kids the age of 5 to 14 had a pediphile move in two houses up, would that parent not be in fear for the children? Does the street gang that controls an entire neighborhood in the city not qualify as a terrorist organization? Why aren’t these people considered terrorists in the purest form?

    Just some questions I thought I’d ask, based on the true meaning of terror, not the political one.

    G!

    • Bottom Line says:

      G,

      I have to agree with you that there isn’t much difference between a gang and a terrorist organization. We try to classify this and that, but the bottom line is that they are all a problem regardless of their reason. Call them what you want, they are all killers.

      Personally, I don’t give a damn what reasons or affiliations the Ft. Hood killer had…He killed people, there is no doubt of his guilt…Just take him out back and shoot him. WTH were the cops thinking? Why didn’t they just unload on him?

      • BL, From over a decade of personnal experience in training the art of marksmanship, cops are the ones I want actually shooting at me when things go to hell, they can’t hit themselves in the foot when they have too, LOL.

        Whoever took Hasan down did so with the intent to kill him, no doubt in my mind on that, but he survived, now he has to deal with the outcome of his decision. The best thing that could have happened in that scenario was the the shooter live and pay for his actions, death comes far to easy for his type, living will be his hell!

        Hope today finds you well!

        G!

        • Judy Sabatini says:

          Hi G

          Saw you here and wanted to say Hi, hope you’re doing good.

          Judy

          • Hi Judy,

            Doing well, looking forward to the next deer hunt. Have my kid in lockdown for awhile, have to try my best to get her to understand right from wrong. Hope you and the family are good as well, tell all I said hello.

            G!

            • Judy Sabatini says:

              Won’t ask. Hope you have better luck next time around, Family is doing good, keeping busy, staying out of trouble. I’m just trying to keep from going nutso here without working. Plan on looking after the first, I hope.

              Glad you’re doing good.

        • Bottom Line says:

          Yeah I know the cops meant well. I wasn’t really trashing them, I just wish that when these guys go postal, the cops would forget about arresting them, and just kill them. After they wounded ’em enough to neutralize, keep shooting ’till their dead. Save the tax payers some dough. Bullets are cheaper than imprisonment.

          • Bottom Line says:

            And yes, today finds me well. I hope the same for you sir.

            • Gut feeling says…. We should meet and have a cold one if we are close enough! Felt like you for along time!

              Fight the Good Fight!

              G!

              • Bottom Line says:

                I equate the postal whacko with a gun to a rampant elephant in the town square. Nevermind the rest, just kill it. It’s clearly a threat, so take it down now.

                As far as havin’ a cold one,…might be a while, but sounds great.

                Fighting the fight is all we can do.

                Life isn’t about the destination.

                It’s about the journey.

    • G_Man

      I’m stepping on egg shells here but let me offer the following from one of the WIKI posts above.

      Whether some or all VNSAs are terrorist organizations depends on the applied definition of terrorism. (“One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”). And vice versa, not all forms of terrorism are conducted by VNSAs (i.e. state terrorism).[citation needed]

      Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those acts which:[citation needed]

      1. are intended to create fear (terror) among a broader public, and
      2. are a policy and perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a materialistic goal or a lone attack), and
      3. deliberately target (or disregard the safety of) non-combatants.

      Most VNSAs do not meet all three of these criteria, and therefore should not automatically be identified or associated with terrorism.[citation needed]

      For instance, criminal organizations (like the Mafia, Yakuza, or Mara Salvatrucha) do not legitimize their strategies by referring to an ideological goal, and insurgents or liberation armies do not necessarily target non-combatants.[citation

      So your gang would fall into the “criminal” cagegory. They may terrorize folks but they are not a terrorist group nor do they practice terrorism.

      Does that help muddy the water even more??

      • JAC,

        Great post! I live two lives, one in the city (Youngstown, Ohio), another in the hills of PA. There is a monumental difference in these places.

        Drug dealers are terrorists in Y-town, but do not pose a threat in PA. I equate that to the meanning of “terror” and the threat of harm. While I’m not threatened personnally in Y-town, it exists. If you check the FBI stats, Y-town is #3, as of last check, in the country in shootings. Nice!!!

        The so called terrorists, the muslim extremists, don’t want to come here, LOL!

        I guess my point was that the term “terrorist” and “terrorism” has many different meanings to many different people. After all, a man eating grizzly could terrorize a community in Canada, so why can’t an American gang member do the same in a small town in Idaho?

        G!

        • GMan

          That in a nutshell was the point of Black Flags arguments.

          The word does not have a universal definition for one. This allows folks to accuse others of being terrorists for committing the same acts as those doing the accusing.

          And second, it has become a politically charged pejorative (nasty name) to be thrown around primarily at muslim groups. Yet from their perspective it is not they that are the terrorists.

          I’m thinking we need to get the Grizzly or Grizzlies to your Y-town and not Canada. And if some gang tried the same thing in a small town in Idaho they would be shot dead. The event would be noted in the local paper as a “mass suicide”.

          Look forward to hangin with you in those PA woods some day.
          Live Free my friend.

          JAC

  40. Charles Krauthamer (sp?) finally came out and sait that he doesn’t consider the Pentagon to be a civilian target. How easily these little details evade us.

    Another thing that caught my attention is Obama talking to the Chinese about freedom, including internet access. What an example he is setting with the way he deals with folks who disagree with his political goals.

    mmm mmm mmm

    • Wasabi,

      Being politically correct is not me, so I will say that Obama is a back stabbing, two faced lying piece of rat poop. He may be the worst form of terrorist in the world after we see what his policies hold.

      Hope you are well today!

      G!

  41. If You Believe in Intellectual Property, How Do You Teach Others?
    http://mises.org/daily/3864

  42. The deliberations of the individuals which determine their conduct with regard to money are based on their knowledge concerning the prices of the immediate past. If they lacked this knowledge, they would not be in a position to decide what the appropriate height of their cash holdings should be and how much they should spend for the acquisition of various goods.

    A medium of exchange without a past is unthinkable. Nothing can enter into the function of a medium of exchange which was not already previously an economic good to which people assigned exchange value already before it was demanded as such a medium.

    But the purchasing power handed down from the immediate past is modified by today’s demand for and supply of money. Human action is always providing for the future, be it sometimes only the future of the impending hour. He who buys, buys for future consumption and production.

    As far as he believes that the future will differ from the present and the past, he modifies his valuation and appraisement. This is no less true with regard to money than it is with regard to all vendible goods. In this sense we may say that today’s exchange value of money is an anticipation of tomorrow’s exchange value.

    The basis of all judgments concerning money is its purchasing power as it was in the immediate past. But as far as cash-induced changes in purchasing power are expected, a second factor enters the scene, the anticipation of these changes.

    He who believes that the prices of the goods in which he takes an interest will rise buys more of them than he would have bought in the absence of this belief; accordingly he restricts his cash holding. He who believes that prices will drop restricts his purchases and thus enlarges his cash holding.

    As long as such speculative anticipations are limited to some commodities, they do not bring about a general tendency toward changes in cash holding. But it is different if people believe that they are on the eve of big cash-induced changes in purchasing power. When they expect that the money prices of all goods will rise or fall, they expand or restrict their purchases.

    These attitudes strengthen and accelerate the expected tendencies considerably. This goes on until the point is reached beyond which no further changes in the purchasing power of money are expected. Only then does the inclination to buy or to sell stop and do people begin again to increase or to decrease their cash holdings.

    But if once public opinion is convinced that the increase in the quantity of money will continue and never come to an end, and that consequently the prices of all commodities and services will not cease to rise, everybody becomes eager to buy as much as possible and to restrict his cash holding to a minimum size. For under these circumstances the regular costs incurred by holding cash are increased by the losses caused by the progressive fall in purchasing power. The advantages of holding cash must be paid for by sacrifices which are deemed unreasonably burdensome.
    “A medium of exchange without a past is unthinkable.”

    This phenomenon was, in the great European inflations of the ’20s, called flight into real goods (Flucht in die Sachwerte) or crack-up boom (Katastrophenhausse). The mathematical economists are at a loss to comprehend the causal relation between the increase in the quantity of money and what they call “velocity of circulation.”

    The characteristic mark of the phenomenon is that the increase in the quantity of money causes a fall in the demand for money. The tendency toward a fall in purchasing power as generated by the increased supply of money is intensified by the general propensity to restrict cash holdings which it brings about. Eventually a point is reached where the prices at which people would be prepared to part with “real” goods discount to such an extent the expected progress in the fall of purchasing power that nobody has a sufficient amount of cash at hand to pay them.

    The monetary system breaks down; all transactions in the money concerned cease; a panic makes its purchasing power vanish altogether. People return either to barter or to the use of another kind of money.

    The course of a progressing inflation is this: At the beginning the inflow of additional money makes the prices of some commodities and services rise; other prices rise later. The price rise affects the various commodities and services, as has been shown, at different dates and to a different extent.

    This first stage of the inflationary process may last for many years. While it lasts, the prices of many goods and services are not yet adjusted to the altered money relation. There are still people in the country who have not yet become aware of the fact that they are confronted with a price revolution which will finally result in a considerable rise of all prices, although the extent of this rise will not be the same in the various commodities and services.

    These people still believe that prices one day will drop. Waiting for this day, they restrict their purchases and concomitantly increase their cash holdings. As long as such ideas are still held by public opinion, it is not yet too late for the government to abandon its inflationary policy.

    But then, finally, the masses wake up. They become suddenly aware of the fact that inflation is a deliberate policy and will go on endlessly. A breakdown occurs. The crack-up boom appears. Everybody is anxious to swap his money against “real” goods, no matter whether he needs them or not, no matter how much money he has to pay for them.

    $20 $16
    Murphy’s Guide to Mises

    Within a very short time, within a few weeks or even days, the things which were used as money are no longer used as media of exchange. They become scrap paper. Nobody wants to give away anything against them.

    It was this that happened with the Continental currency in America in 1781, with the French mandats territoriaux in 1796, and with the German Mark in 1923. It will happen again whenever the same conditions appear. If a thing has to be used as a medium of exchange, public opinion must not believe that the quantity of this thing will increase beyond all bounds. Inflation is a policy that cannot last forever.

  43. Mathius

    Sigh… I’m getting too old for this..

    Mathius: Are you not knowingly stealing their right?

    Flag: I and anyone can imagine all sorts of “knowing” and “assumptions” and “claims”.

    Flag: I work with real things, not imagination things.

    [also…]

    Flag: But as long as the claimant is unknown even after reasonable attempts to discover, the property become ‘free’.

    Mathius: In this case, you have a “reasonable” assumption that the owner of this right (to jail break to phone) is Apple.

    Flag: Apple is not the owner, or they would have demanded the device back. They did not, therefore, reasonably, they are not the owner (or refused to enforce their ownership, and gave it up voluntarily).

    Apple is not the owner of the device, nor does anyone claim that they are.

    Good. As they are not the owner, like you are not the owner, they have no right to tell me what to do with my property – as that right is a right of ownership.

    Now that you’ve agree to this – most of the rest of your post is merely pixie dust.

    Apple is the owner of the right to jail break the device.

    No, they are not. It is not their device, as you have admitted above. Either I am the owner or I am not. Since I am the owner, they are not.

    The do not own the Jail Break. They did not do it. Someone else did.

    There is a distinction. They have no right to demand the device back but, as with the sale of a house without mineral rights, you can do anything else to it you wish, including hitting it with a hammer.

    You are confused about the differences. Mineral are absolutely separated from the use of the surface. My phone cannot be separated from itself.

    What action I do to the phone is mine to do, not yours to do, and equally, not Apple’s to do.

    Mathius: You do not have reasonable reason to believe that was forfeited.

    Flag: I do so. They did not claim it.

    They do not know you have violated their rights. Call them up and ask. See what they say. See Item F below.

    I have not violated their rights. Again, you are confused about a right. My actions do not impose upon them. As you noted, they are ignorant. If you are ignorant of my actions (that is, they have no effect on you) I have a right to do such action.

    If you cannot tell whether I have done an action or not done an action – then the action I do is wholly in my right

    Flag: I do not know what agreement was made ‘upstream’ of me. I was not there.

    That is disingenuous. There is only one provider of iPhones and that is Apple. They sell retail through their stores and online. In order to purchase, you much contract with AT&T and you much agree to the terms of service, or they will not sell to you.

    No, I do not need a contract with AT&T – I have no such animal at all. I did not buy it from Apple, nor did I buy from AT&T.

    Why you want to bring in unrelated third parties to a transaction they are not at involved in is a bit of a strawman. Your argument is that to sell you my car, I need the permission of Dodge. But I do not, and neither do you – and here, I do not need a thing from Apple or AT&T, so they are not here in this transaction.

    Period. This is common knowledge, and you are not stupid.

    You know Dodge makes the Magnum. So what?

    I own the car, not Dodge. It matters not one wit what Dodge believes, wants, or anything about the car – since the action undertaken has absolutely no involvement with them

    If you want to take it in for warranty work then the become involved and it is their choice whether to honor the warranty or not.

    Same here. I purchased the phone with the full knowledge there was no warranty. So Apple is complete out of the picture.

    You know this. And you knew this when you bought your phone.

    I know the manufacturer, as I know the manufacturer of my car. So what? I still own both the phone and the car, they do not.

    You may not know what agreements were made upstream, but you can make a reasonable supposition. And you have opted not to make a phone call to verify. You cannot hide behind willful ignorance.

    1st, I am not party to any agreement that I did not agree to nor sign. Don’t care what YOU may have agreed to, that your business.

    You cannot compel me to accept an agreement you sign. You are the signatory, not me. You have no action to me to force me to accept an agreement you made with others.

    Flag: US courts have already stated that you can do what ever you want on your phone because you own it. The best Apple has done is this:
    Section 2(c) of the Apple iPhone Software License Agreement19 provides that: [blah blah blah]

    We are not talking about legality here. This was a discussion about morality as it pertains to your worldview. That they (may have) no legal recourse is irrelevant. What is important here is that we figure out how you came to be in possession of a right which belonged to someone else (Apple) without their ever explicitly forfeiting or selling it.

    They did sell it, with the phone.

    So I think we should take a step back and look at some of your reasoning here.

    Item A. Property rights are absolute.

    Yes, and if you sell your property the property is not yours any more.

    I think we’ll need to discuss what is property and what is not – I think you’re confused on this point, but it is just a guess of mine.

    Item B. Aspects of property ownership may be separated. That is, you can own a phone, and someone else can own the right to jail break it.

    No, that is not correct. Where you can separate minerals from surface on land – because they are physical and real, you cannot separate the phone from the phone

    Item C. If you accept a contract, you are morally bound to follow the terms of that contract.

    I have not accepted any contract. In fact, it was sold with the expressed statement;
    no warranty, no guarantees, no return.

    Item D. If you misplace your phone and cannot find it, another actor may claim it as their own if they can’t find you after a “reasonable” effort and amount of time.

    It wasn’t misplaced.

    It was lost (or stolen).

    Item E. Having so acquired a devise, which is known to be sold only and exclusively with limited use rights, the acquiring actor may then sell the entirety of the device and use rights to a third party.

    I do not know what deal the previous owner has had. As I said before regarding CCards, anyone can change what ever deal they want. This may have occurred. I know I’ve done so with Microsoft, as an example. Why do not believe this could be done here too?

    Item F. Because the owner of the use rights was not apprised of item E, nor of the intent of the third party to exercise rights which it owns, they forfeit those rights due to failure to demand a cessation of the violation of those rights.

    Apple has had plenty of opportunity to test this clause.

    The person who actually created the Jail Break is well known by name and address.
    I believe he has made himself ‘glow in the dark’ purposely for Apple to bring an action.

    Apple has not acted on him at all – even though this is the most clearest opportunity to exercise such a position.

    But, they have not. Ergo, they are aware such a ‘right’ probably does not exist for them to exercise.

    Item G. Because, in item E, the third party did not agree to limited use – despite the fact that this is a known limitation on all legally sold devices – the third party is not bound by this limitation.

    I did not agree, and right there ends your complaint. I own the phone. Since it was not a condition of the sale to me, I have no limitation upon me.

    If you have any complaint at all (in the world by the rainbow, way, way up high in the sky) it will have to be against the person who sold the phone, not me. If they failed to forward the contract, then you can try to sue them.

    Item H. Because the US courts will not bind the third party to adherence to the right forfeited under item F, such action is verified as acceptable.

    The courts have reviewed the matter at other times of similar issues.

    They have found in this and previous cases that (ownership is sacrosanct.

    You either are or are not the owner.

    Ownership determines rights of action on a good. Apple does not own the product. The courts therefore have a very closed mind about post hoc claims of rights on products sold with ownership transferred – and this is their opinion to original purchase.

    They are even more closed minded about “used” sales – for the very reason I described above, that one person cannot bind a third party to an agreement, whether it is Apple or the original purchaser.

    Apple certainly could make it a condition of sale that there cannot be any resale of their product, and that any lost or recovered stolen phones are required to be returned to Apple.

    Your credit card company makes this very clear, both in contract and on the back of your physical card. Apple did not do this.

    Items A-D, I will accept here.

    Item E. If you misplace your belongings, it is due to your actions that they have been lost to you. If you drop a coin on the sidewalk, someone else can pick it up. No problem. However, if your property is lost through no fault of your own, you do not forfeit ownership.

    I agree. However, time is a factor. Eventually, ‘abandon all hope’ and the property becomes free.

    If, for example, I drive you car, then abandon it somewhere, you still own it – if you later see someone else driving it, you have every right to demand its return.

    I agree.

    If I abandon my own car, someone else can claim it, and I would have a harder time making a case for its return.

    Actually, not at all.

    A Volkswagen van, stolen in 1976 was purchased by a fellow who restored it to perfect condition, and then sold to as a collector’s item to a fellow in Germany. While awaiting to be placed in a container, the port police ran the serial number and found it stolen. They seized the vehicle, and returned it to the rightful owner – the insurance company – who might put it up for auction.

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/11/06/california.stolen.vw/index.html

    If the original owner was found, their claim would still exist and be valid.

    In this, Apple has allowed you to own the device. \

    They have not ‘allowed’ any such thing. They sold the right. They hold no other right to ‘disallow’ or ‘allow’ anything!

    The use right is inherent to the software, and insofar as it physically exists, travels with the phone.

    You cannot make a contract with the phone. You can only make a contract with a person. Whatever deal was made between Apple and the original owner was theirs to make.

    It still does not bind me to it.

    Now, your actions can lose your ownership rights, but your actions cannot lose someone else’s rights just as my actions cannot forfeit your car ownership rights.

    Your losing of the phone can reasonably be said to justify and exchange of ownership for the portion you own, but not
    of the portion you do not own. That must stay with Apple unless, by their own actions, they lose it.

    Their action was to not defend their claim to the originator of Jail Break. They probably found it impossible to demonstrate ownership, or damages. (No harm, no foul)

    You are saying, in effect, that someone else can give away your rights. In that case, I hereby give Buck The Wala ownership of your house. I will take your bunker for myself.

    Nope, that is exactly my point. You cannot bind me to your agreement with Buck.

    Further, Apple has specifically stated – as presented to you in their own words – that Jail Break is not a problem at all. They are concerned about reverse engineering the software.

    Item F. You do not forfeit rights simply by failure to exercise them when you unaware that they are being violated.

    Apple is aware. They know everything about Jail Break and have not exercised any action at all – for the above reasons I’ve given already, IMO.

    If you owned a house in Montana, but did not visit for a year, could I move in and claim ownership on the grounds that you did not tell me to leave in a “reasonable amount of time”? Of course not. So how do you make the claim that, because Apple has not contacted you to demand you stop violating their rights, that they have no such rights?

    Because they have no rights that have been violated. You have yet to demonstrate what ‘right’ has been.

    I even helped you on the bizarre notion that perhaps there was some sort of carry-through agreement. I posted exactly Apple’s statement. Even they say you’re smokin’ weed.

    Item G. It is true that you did not agree to the terms, but you cannot buy something you know the other person does not have and expect it to be binding on the actual owner. I will happily sell you the Brooklyn Bridge. I do not own it, and you know that, but that does not seem to matter. If you give me money for it, apparently, under this logic it becomes your property.

    Good point here. If there exists such a ownership, then let Apple defend it.

    They have not, even with more than plenty opportunity. Therefore, I doubt they see such ownership, or it is so tenuous, they see no value in enforcing anything.

    Item H. While I accept the authority of the US judicial system for legal matters, you do not.

    In some civil matters where they are not in a conflict of interest (unlike in criminal court), they are pretty reasonable. They do try to use some logic sometimes. It is when they are in a conflict of interest that they tend to go bizarre.

    So I use them when their rulings and thinking makes sense to me too. I ignore them when they are bizarre. What do you do?

    In any event, we are discussing your moral views. US law has no bearing on this issue and I find it interesting that you would bother deputizing it.

    Why not?

    Good reasoning and logic, no matter who it comes from –even from you- always gets a hearing from me.

    Further, just because something is legal does not make it moral. It is legal to tax you, but you do not consider that ethical.

    I call it evil.

    Ethics have nothing to do with this taxation. This is not a matter of using foul language in public. Taxation is a threat – to the death if necessary – to take my money.

    How then can you claim that it is moral for you to claim this right because the law says so?

    I claim the right because it is my right – immoral or not. Matt, rights do not carry a label of moral or immoral. They are a right or they are not.

    You have a right to tattoo your body with gross and indecent pictures. That is probably immoral in many people’s eyes, but it is your right.

    The challenge you have with many of your arguments even beyond this one is that you believe morals and rights are essentially the same thing.

    Because of this confusion, you believe what should be moral should be exercised has a greater right, even if it destroys real rights – such as care for the poor.

    Because you have moral=right=’Rights’ confusion, you have no problem destroying the fabric of society to enforce what you believe is ‘morally right’.

    I think I have found a core misunderstanding of yours. We will need to flesh this out some more!! 🙂

    It is really very simple. Apple had the right. You have no reason to believe they gave it up. Now you claim the right. Something seems inconsistent here.

    Prove they have the right. I have even helped you by posting the exact wording. You keep claiming it, but yet, it remains undiscovered.

    Flag: Since I have not copied, nor decompiled, nor reverse engineered, nor disassembled, nor attempted to derive the source code, nor attempted to create a derivative work….etc.,
…you have been wholly disarmed and stand naked in the battlefield.

    I hate to break it to you, but that’s just a hallucination you seem to be having. It is probably related in some way to the katana sticking out of your chest or concussion you sustained from one of my 9-pounders.

    Nice try avoiding Apple’s own words.

    Your katana is made out of wet noodles, and what you thought was gunpowder for your cannons was actually black pepper.

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