Laying Down “The Law”

I hope today finds everyone well. Don’t forget, only 16 more shopping days to get out there and get your favorite blogger a Christmas gift! Tonight I am going to be doing something a little bit different in terms of what I offer. This doesn’t fit quite into the category of philosophy or into the category of commentary. But I think it is a good, and important read. I want to offer a bit of wisdom written many years ago, and subsequently translated from French to English. The author is Frederic Bastiat. And the piece that I am going to discuss here is a work called “The Law.” This essay by Bastiat is a brilliant dissertation on, you guessed it, the law. It is available via Amazon and many other avenues. I humbly recommend that everyone pick it up and read it, twice if necessary, until you understand it well. It is short, only 54 pages, and at last check was only $7.95 at Amazon. Such a short book to read, but one with tremendous impact on those that take the time to read it.

Claude Frédéric Bastiat (1801 – 1850) was a French classical liberal theorist, political economist, and member of the French assembly. Bastiat asserted that the only purpose of government is to defend the right of an individual to life, liberty, and property. From this definition, Bastiat concluded that the law cannot defend life, liberty and property if it promotes socialist policies inherently opposed to these very things. In this way, he says, the law is perverted and turned against the thing it is supposed to defend.

I am quite a fan of Bastiat’s works. I feel as though understanding the concepts put forth in works like “The Law” is the first step in having a far better grasp on liberty and freedom than anyone who ignores his work. Many philosophers have made important contributions to the discussions on liberty, Bastiat is just one of them. But Bastiat’s greatest contribution is that he broke the ideas and concepts down to a basic level and made ideas on liberty so clear that even the uneducated can understand them and statists cannot refute them. Clarity is crucial to persuading our fellow American citizens of the moral superiority of personal liberty. And make no bones about it, persuading many, many more folks of that moral superiority is a key facet of what we are going to have to accomplish in order to right this ship.

I am not going to attempt to share the entirety of “The Law” here. While a short read, it is still too long for this forum. What I am going to do is offer several sections that I think are paramount to understanding where the law is in direct conflict with liberty and personal freedom. We can discuss from there.

The Results of Legal Plunder

It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.

What are the consequences of such a perversion? It would require volumes to describe them all. Thus we must content ourselves with pointing out the most striking.

In the first place, it erases from everyone’s conscience the distinction between justice and injustice. No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree. The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable. When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law. These two evils are of equal consequence, and it would be difficult for a person to choose between them.

The nature of law is to maintain justice. This is so much the case that, in the minds of the people, law and justice are one and the same thing. There is in all of us a strong disposition to believe that anything lawful is also legitimate. This belief is so widespread that many persons have erroneously held that things are “just” because law makes them so. Thus, in order to make plunder appear just and sacred to many consciences, it is only necessary for the law to decree and sanction it. Slavery, restrictions, and monopoly find defenders not only among those who profit from them but also among those who suffer from them.

The Fate of Non-Conformists

If you suggest a doubt as to the morality of these institutions, it is boldly said that “You are a dangerous innovator, a utopian, a theorist, a subversive; you would shatter the foundation upon which society rests.”

If you lecture upon morality or upon political science, there will be found official organizations petitioning the government in this vein of thought: “That science no longer be taught exclusively from the point of view of free trade (of liberty, of property, and of justice) as has been the case until now, but also, in the future, science is to be especially taught from the viewpoint of the facts and laws that regulate French industry (facts and laws which are contrary to liberty, to property, and to justice). That, in government-endowed teaching positions, the professor rigorously refrain from endangering in the slightest degree the respect due to the laws now in force.”

Thus, if there exists a law which sanctions slavery or monopoly, oppression or robbery, in any form whatever, it must not ever be mentioned. For how can it be mentioned without damaging the respect which it inspires? Still further, morality and political economy must be taught from the point of view of this law; from the supposition that it must be a just law merely because it is a law.

Another effect of this tragic perversion of the law is that it gives an exaggerated importance to political passions and conflicts, and to politics in general.

So there you have the first section that I wanted to share with all of you. I see this as an important opening aspect of the law that we have somehow failed to address in today’s current environment. Bastiat clearly saw that those who use morality as a guide would be denounced by those who would pervert the law in a way that benefits one group by punishing another group. One only needs to look at how folks like Glenn Beck, Ron Paul, or even Black Flag, are ostracized in political discourse to see the power of the collective in enforcing law as morality as opposed to seeking truly moral law.

In today’s society this is more evident than even in the time of Bastiat. We have spent 100 years traveling down the path of consistently taking from one group to give to another, endearing the idea of  “the greater good” as a form of moral righteousness. In fact, the idea of the greater good is in direct contrast with morality, at least whenever the promotion of that greater good comes into conflict with one’s natural right to life, liberty, and property. Bastiat saw the danger in this, and the basic lack of morality in pursuing such a belief system.

Is there any need to offer proof that this odious perversion of the law is a perpetual source of hatred and discord; that it tends to destroy society itself? If such proof is needed, look at the United States [in 1850]. There is no country in the world where the law is kept more within its proper domain: the pro-tection of every person’s liberty and property. As a consequence of this, there appears to be no country in the world where the social order rests on a firmer foundation. But even in the United States, there are two issues—-and only two—that have always endangered the public peace.

Slavery and Tariffs Are Plunder

What are these two issues? They are slavery and tariffs. These are the only two issues where, contrary to the general spirit of the republic of the United States, law has assumed the character of a plunderer.

Slavery is a violation, by law, of liberty. The protective tariff is a violation, by law, of property. It is a most remarkable fact that this double legal crime—a sorrowful inheritance from the Old World—should be the only issue which can, and perhaps will, lead to the ruin of the Union. It is indeed impossible to imagine, at the very heart of a society, a more astounding fact than this: The law has come to be an instrument of injustice. And if this fact brings terrible consequences to the United States—where the proper purpose of the law has been perverted only in the instances of slavery and tariffs— what must be the consequences in Europe, where the perversion of the law is a principle; a system?

Ah, that a mere 150 years ago an intelligent guy like Bastiat could only identify two issues that assume the character of plunder in the United States. I don’t inlcude it here, but Bastiat makes it clear that as he speaks to the horrors of legal plunder and socialism, he is speaking of Europe, specifically France and England. His view of the United States was that it was a country of moral law, established to protect life, liberty, and property. In his time, the US was a beacon of hope for a world of intelligent thinkers who saw the evils of an over-reaching government for the destruction it could render upon its citizens. He truly hoped that the failings of Europe and his warnings of such would be enough for such a moral premise as America to ensure that the same pitfalls would not make the United States simply another failure.

And there were those who fought to eliminate these very two issues. In the north, there were those moral folks who refused the idea of slavery. They sought to eliminate it from the equation, and therefore put America back on course. Unfortunately, those same folks, who saw Bastiat’s vision on one issue, completely failed on the other. The sought tariffs on those in the South. The South, on the other hand grasped the inherent flaw of protectionist tariffs (South Carolina as early as the 1830’s wanted to secede because of tariffs), but failed to see the light on slavery.

And doesn’t this speak directly to the situation that we find ourselves in with the two major parties in America? Each sees the fundamental flaws in one issue, only to push for a similar type of flaw in a different area or issue. This is the basis for the cries of hypocrisy from all those free, intelligent thinkers who seek a moral stance, regardless of whether it is a help or a detriment to them personally.

Two Kinds of Plunder

Mr. de Montalembert [politician and writer] adopting the thought contained in a famous proclamation by Mr. Carlier, has said: “We must make war against socialism.” According to the definition of socialism advanced by Mr. Charles Dupin, he meant: “We must make war against plunder.”

But of what plunder was he speaking? For there are two kinds of plunder: legal and illegal.

How to Identify Legal Plunder

But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals. If such a law—which may be an isolated case— is not abolished immediately, it will spread, multiply, and develop into a system.

The person who profits from this law will complain bitterly, defending his acquired rights. He will claim that the state is obligated to protect and encourage his particular industry; that this procedure enriches the state because the protected industry is thus able to spend more and to pay higher wages to the poor workingmen.

Do not listen to this sophistry by vested interests. The acceptance of these arguments will build legal plunder into a whole system. In fact, this has already occurred. The presentday delusion is an attempt to enrich everyone at the expense of everyone else; to make plunder universal under the pretense of organizing it.

Legal Plunder Has Many Names

Now, legal plunder can be committed in an infinite number of ways. Thus we have an infinite number of plans for organizing it: tariffs, protection, benefits, subsidies, encouragements, progressive taxation, public schools, guaranteed jobs, guaranteed profits, minimum wages, a right to relief, a right to the tools of labor, free credit, and so on, and so on. All these plans as a whole—with their common aim of legal plunder—constitute socialism.

Now, since under this definition socialism is a body of doctrine, what attack can be made against it other than a war of doctrine? If you find this socialistic doctrine to be false, absurd, and evil, then refute it. And the more false, the more absurd, and the more evil it is, the easier it will be to refute. Above all, if you wish to be strong, begin by rooting out every particle of socialism that may have crept into your legislation. This will be no light task.

And we get to one of the major points of the essay for me. The identification of illegal plunder. That he states it so flawlessly and so plainly that it cannot be misconstrued by later reading, even after 150 years.

“See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals.”

This is perhaps one of my favorite statements in the entire 54 pages. It can be stated no more clearly than that. If it is taken from one person and given to another, then it has failed the moral litmus test and should therefore be abolished. And this is where I feel as though the “bleeding heart” liberal loses his way (not attempting to pick on anyone here, just a general observation). Because that liberal knows in his heart that taking from one to give to another is wrong. Yet they attempt to use that wrong to make a right. It is noble and honorable to want to help our fellow man. It is evil and immoral to use the law to force another man to help against his will. It is for this reason that I oppose social welfare and income redistribution. Those two things cannot exist on a moral basis. They are a perversion of the moral concepts that what I earn is mine.

I will be interested in hearing what everyone has to say about this little trip into the mind of an early 19th century philosopher. I urge everyone to take the time when you are able to read this little gem of an essay. And once you do, I challenge you to do this: Find fault with what Bastiat offers. Show me where there is a flaw in his thinking. I don’t believe that you can read and comprehend “The Law” and come out the other side still believing that income redistribution, a form of socialism, or forcing one group to finance another, are moral concepts that should be defended.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fr%C3%A9d%C3%A9ric_Bastiat

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Comments

  1. Good Morning!

    Wonder how many “laws” can be written today that follows the line of immoral? Posting fro email comments, as it’s too early to think still, but any law that provides entitlement would qualify in my book.

    G!

    • USW: Another good article. I’ve been meaning to read Bastiat, just never got around to it.

  2. TexasChem says:

    Bastiat is rolling over in his grave right this moment…read this article and you will see why…

    Climate Treaty Reparations would cost $50-$200bn per year

    By Howard Richman & Raymond Richman

    Here’s a quiz. What’s the worst thing on the table at the UN Climate Control Conference in Copenhagen December 7-18? If you guessed cap-and-tax, you would be wrong. The reparations could be much, much worse.

    The draft of the treaty encompasses 181 pages and recites that it shall be the obligation of the developed countries (Europe, United States, Japan, Australia, etc.) to pay the developing countries (China, India, Africa, etc.) huge reparations, annual sums to erase poverty and to share technology with them. Australian lawyer Janet Albrechtsen explains the most recent draft of the treaty:

    Clause after complicated clause sets out the requirement that developed countries such as Australia pay their “adaptation debt” to developing countries. Clause 33 on page 39 says that by 2020 the scale of financial flows to support adaptation in developing countries must be at least $US67 billion ($73bn), or in the range of $US70bn to $US140bn a year.

    How developed countries will pay is far from clear. The draft text sets out various alternatives, including Option 7 on page 135, which provides for “a (global) levy of 2 per cent on international financial market (monetary) transactions to Annex I Parties”. This means industrialized countries such as Australia, if we sign.

    In the behind-the-scenes negotiations, the developed countries have already agreed to pay $167 billion per year, but the developing countries are holding out for $400 billion per year according to BusinessGreen.com:

    Developing nations … are insisting on a minimum of £242bn [$400 billion] per annum by 2020 to help them fight global warming, compared with the developed world’s offer of only £100bn [$167 billion] per year.

    It is not clear what share will come from the United States. But based upon the totals cited by BusinessGreen, it safely can be assumed that Obama will volunteer somewhere between $50 and $200 billion per year by 2020 as the U.S. share.

    The treaty has been complicated by the “climategate” scandal which gives additional evidence of the unscientific behavior of the proponents of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, the backbone of the treaty.

    The scientific consensus that once backed the man-made global warming theory has disappeared, and a new theory, based upon cosmic rays and solar activity, is proving to be much more predictive of climate change, with carbon dioxide playing a minor role if any. If the science backing the treaty is wrong, we shall discover in 10 to 50 years that the world community has wasted tens of trillions of dollars.

    Moreover, the distribution of the benefits and costs of global warming is very uncertain. Global warming would benefit colder countries while harming coastal countries. And carbon dioxide is, in general, a great help to plant life and agricultural production.

    The costs of the treaty, however, are far clearer. The largest share of the burden would be borne by the United States. Students of history may remember that the reparations forced upon Germany by the victors of World War I, resulted in hyperinflation, destroyed the German middle class, and eventually brought Adolf Hitler to power, causing World War II. Economist John Maynard Keynes predicted this disaster at the time. In a 1919 paper (“The Capacity of Germany to Pay Reparations”) he correctly predicted:

    The policy of reducing Germany to servitude for a generation, of degrading the lives of millions of human beings, and of depriving a whole nation of happiness should be abhorrent and detestable — abhorrent and detestable, even if it were possible, even if it enriched ourselves, even if it did not sow the decay of the whole civilized life of Europe….

    Keynes was arguing that Germany would not be able to pay the reparations because it would not have the surplus of exports over imports necessary to pay for them. Germany had had an excess of imports in the years just before World War I, not an excess of exports. Not only that, but it had lost raw materials resources in the peace treaty that were needed for its iron goods exports, and its merchant marine and manpower had just been decimated by the war. Keynes was simply pointing out that Germany could not afford to pay the reparations.

    America is in a similar position. We have had a huge and growing excess of imports over exports for more than a decade. Our manufacturing exports have already been decimated by the currency manipulations of developing countries and by their policies of keeping out American products through one pretext or another. For example, both China and India have labeled their automobile sectors as “strategic sectors” so that they could keep out American produced vehicles through the high tariffs permitted by WTO rules. Using this pretext, China also applies tariffs to American auto parts, motorcycles, and mining machinery.

    China will continue to manipulate the dollar-yuan exchange rate to ensure that new solar panel and windmill factories will be located in China and not the United States. They have already ensured that Chinese-made windmills and solar panels will not contain many American-made parts.

    Basically what this treaty proposes is that the United States go ever further in debt to China, selling China our remaining assets, so that we can pay reparations to the developing countries, so that they can afford to buy windmills and solar panels from China.

    The result would greatly accelerate the present trends. We would become a nation unable to get out of debt, even with the falling dollar. We would stop being an “ownership society” and become, in the words of Warren Buffett, a “sharecropper society.”

    President Obama will pull out all of the stops to get the treaty negotiated in Copenhagen next week and ratified in 2010 by the U.S. Senate. He knows that time is against him. Given time, more and more Americans will discover the new scientific realities. Moreover, his huge Democratic Party majority in the Senate will likely disappear in November 2010, and he may never again get another chance to get the two-thirds vote needed to ratify it.

  3. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    I will be commenting quite a bit about the actual topic of the day just a bit later. Bastiat was brilliant in my opinion, and he is certainly hard to refute.

    For now, even though it is not the current topic of the day, I want all of you who are following “climate change” in any way to read the entirety of the following article. It shows just exactly how “suspect” the “adjustments” to temperature data done by “scientists” really are:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/08/the-smoking-gun-at-darwin-zero/#more-13818

    As you can see, WHATEVER they did to the raw data is complete, utter, and total BS. If you have any friends that are not participants at this site but are following “climate change” in any way whatsoever (even if they believe the religion), please forward the article to them (or better yet, convince them to come here and join the fun!)

  4. From the Desk of Mrs. Weapon,

    Good morning to all!

    First of all, I fell out of my chair last night when Weapon showed me the picture of the pirate cat! If anything, today’s blog will make you giggle like a little girl at this picture.

    But seriously, today’s post provides a clear and concise outline of one forward thinker from the 1800’s who provided the definition of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in such a clear and distinct way. I wish our school systems forced us to read Bastiat during our government classes we all took in high school. By this simple action, a new generation of free thinkers could have been developed and now provide some leadership in this struggling country.

    Weapon will tell you, I have started to get very frustrated with many actions of our government in the last few weeks. Randomly, I will ask him to try to explain to me why something happened, because it just doesn’t make logical sense. As an example, last night I was ranting about the idea of cap and trade. Who in their right mind could ever support this legislation? And my question today, to all of the readers out there, is to explain to me how Cap and Trade benefits anyone? Yes, it limits the amount of toxins released into the air. But didn’t the EPA just do that? Yesterday, the EPA said greenhouse gasses are a danger to public health. Now, the agency has the ability to define new rules thru regulation. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Please, someone, explain how this benefits us? Do we not see the expansion of the government day by day thru regulation, which is not required to be approved by any elected official? Bastiat is rolling over in his grave.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      First of all, Cap and Trade actually does NOTHING to “limit” emissions of CO2, it simply shuffles VAST sums of money around. Industries will have to pay for the “priveledge” of emitting CO2, while others will get “credits” for such things as having a forest on their property. The whole thing is a joke, albeit a VERY expensive joke. All that is going to happen should Cap and Trade pass is that everyone is going to pay a LOT more for their basic energy needs and most of that extra money will be pocketed by people such as Al Gore who are already making a killing on the false claims of global warming. Some of that money will be diverted to companies which produce “green energy”.

      Much like the “science” of global warming, Cap and Trade is a giant farce.

      Studies are already showing that forests are benefiting from increased CO2 concentrations and are growing at record rates for modern times. This is the way the Earth works… more CO2 is GOOD for plants, they use it to make food, and the plants then emit O2 as a byproduct of their food production. So, more CO2 = more robust and healthy plants, and more oxygen for us to breathe. It is a win-win situation. There still is NO actual evidence that increases in CO2 concentration CAUSE global warming. ALL evidence shows that CO2 concentrations go up IN RESPONSE TO a natural warming trend. In other words, CO2 concentration is a TRAILING INDICATOR.

      I am not saying that we should intentionally pollute the Earth, that would be stupid. However, the assertion that CO2 is a POLLUTANT is total, complete, and utter NONSENSE. CO2 is vital to vibrant, robust, and healthy plant life. Robust plant life is vital to robust animal life. Saying that CO2 is a pollutant is equivalent to saying that oxygen is a pollutant.

      • Peter, on the black market, I have decided to buy a long range missile with nuclear capability and wish to target Copenhagen….please send coordinates. Thank you.

        • Latitude: 55° 43′ North
          Longitude: 12° 34′ East

          You probably don’t need to be much more accurate with a nuke. You’ll probably get your point across.

          And remember, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades [and nuclear strikes].

          I do hope you bought one of those new-fangled eco-friendly nuclear warheads. If it’s not, you’ll probably just make them angrier.

          • But of course, sir……it is eco friendly….how can a nuke that wipes out this conference not be eco friendly? It will rid the world of a lot of bullshit and 1210 limos and 219 private jets. The methane fallout from the conference has to be staggering, therefore, the use of a nuke for disinfectant. Hate to lose Denmark..but there is collateral damage for the greater good….(did I just say that?)

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          You will have to go by what Mathius said. I am sure Google Earth can confirm his coordinates for you.

          • Google agrees. The location is the

            Borgervænget 19-27
            2100 København, Denmark

            And the Google is never wrong. Feel free to punch the coordinates with the utmost confidence.

            • Fueling and setting up coordinates…awaiting the arrival of others.

              • What? You don’t have a solid fuel missle?

                Here is your code to fire the missle:

                1XBT761AA931

              • Don’t you want to wait until Obama arrives next week?

              • Janet Reno says:

                I’ve got my eye on you, D. Don’t even think about it.

              • Heh heh….

              • Ah D13,

                You know full well the GPS system has been temporary altered so to direct any incoming off by 25 km in a random direction.

                If you have a GPS, you couldn’t find your own rear end in Denmark right now.

              • BF…only idiots and car nuts use GPS. Any electromagnetic interference can throw one off and the GPS in the car is only as good as the programmer and Rand McNally. That said, we use GPS all the time in the military it found its accuracy in the field to be within 25 meters. A good sextent is much better allowing for time and no clouds. Laser techonology is even more accurate. (Within 1.2 meters but it must be line of sight) Regular satellite map reading and longitutde and lattitude is even more accurate to within 15 meters on long distances…..but ya ta he…electromagnetic flux will affect a magnetic compass. But I will take 25 KM with a nuke….close enough if you allow for windage.

              • It sounds like your missle is old technology, probably a Titan. GPS wasn’t used for guidance. I think they used ballistics, standard of gravity for the target (?) and other guidance devices but it wasn’t GPS. My physics is really rusty but I remember covering this topic.

      • A friend sent this to me. I have not verified it but it if this is true, the cost is more than just a tax.

        We encourage you to read the provisions of the Cap and Trade Bill that has passed the House of Representatives and being considered by the Senate. We are ready to join the next march on Washington ! This Congress and whoever on their staffs that write this junk are truly out to destroy the middle class of the USA ….

        A License required for your house…no longer just for cars and mobile homes….

        Thinking about selling your house – A look at H.R. 2454 (Cap and trade bill) This is unbelievable!

        Only the beginning from this administration! Home owners take note & tell your friends and relatives who are home owners!

        Beginning 1 year after enactment of the Cap and Trade Act, you won’t be able to sell your home unless you retrofit it to comply with the energy and water efficiency standards of this Act. H.R. 2454, the “Cap & Trade” bill passed by the House of Representatives, if also passed by the Senate, will be the largest tax increase any of us has ever experienced. The Congressional Budget Office (supposedly non-partisan) estimates that in just a few years the average cost to every family of four will be $6,800 per year. No one is excluded. However, once the lower classes feel the pinch in their wallets, you can be sure these voters get a tax refund (even if they pay no taxes at all) to offset this new cost. Thus, you Mr. and Mrs. Middle Class America will have to pay even more since additional tax dollars will be needed to bail out everyone else.

        But wait. This awful bill (that no one in Congress has actually read) has many more surprises in it. Probably the worst one is this: A year from now you won’t be able to sell your house. Yes, you read that right. The caveat is (there always is a caveat) that if you have enough money to make required major upgrades to your home, then you can sell it. But, if not, then forget it. Even pre-fabricated homes (“mobile homes”) are included. In effect, this bill prevents you from selling your home without the permission of the EPA administrator. To get this permission, you will have to have the energy efficiency of your home measured. Then the government will tell you what your new energy efficiency requirement is and you will be forced to make modifications to your home under the retrofit provisions of this Act to comply with the new energy and water efficiency requirements. Then you will have to get your home measured again and get a license (called a “label” in the Act) that must be posted on your property to show what your efficiency rating is; sort of like the Energy Star efficiency rating label on your refrigerator or air conditioner.. If you don’t get a high enough rating, you can’t sell. And, the EPA administrator is authorized to raise the standards every year, even above the automatic energy efficiency increases built into the Act. The EPA administrator, appointed by the President, will run the Cap & Trade program (AKA the “American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009”) and is authorized to make any future changes to the regulations and standards he alone determines to be in the government’s best interest. Requirements are set low initially so the bill will pass Congress; then the Administrator can set much tougher new standards every year.

        The Act itself contains annual required increases in energy efficiency for private and commercial residences and buildings. However, the EPA administrator can set higher standards at any time. Sect. 202 Building Retrofit Program mandates a national retrofit program to increase the energy efficiency of all existing homes across America . Beginning 1 year after enactment of the Act, you won’t be able to sell your home unless you retrofit it to comply with the energy and water efficiency standards of this Act. You had better sell soon, because the standards will be raised each year and will be really hard (i.e., ex$pen$ive) to meet in a few years. Oh, goody! The Act allows the government to give you a grant of several thousand dollars to comply with the retrofit program requirements IF you meet certain energy efficiency levels. But, wait, the State can set additional requirements on who qualifies to receive the grants. You should expect requirements such as “can’t have an income of more than $50K per year”, “home selling price can’t be more than $125K”, or anything else to target the upper middle class (and that’s YOU) and prevent them from qualifying for the grants. Most of us won’t get a dime and will have to pay the entire cost of the retrofit out of our own pockets. More transfer of wealth, more “change you can believe in.” Sect. 204 Building Energy Performance Labeling Program establishes a labeling program that for each individual residence will identify the achieved energy efficiency performance for “at least 90 percent of the residential market within 5 years after the date of the enactment of this Act.”

        This means that within 5 years 90% of all residential homes in the U.S. must be measured and labeled. The EPA administrator will get $50M each year to enforce the labeling program. The Secretary of the Department of Energy will get an additional $20M each year to help enforce the labeling program. Some of this money will, of course, be spent on coming up with tougher standards each year..

        Oh, the label will be like a license for your car. You will be required to post the label in a conspicuous location in your home and will not be allowed to sell your home without having this label. And, just like your car license, you will probably be required to get a new label every so often – maybe every year. But, the government estimates the cost of measuring the energy efficiency of your home should only cost about $200 each time. Remember what they said about the auto smog inspections when they first started: that in California it would only cost $15. That was when the program started. Now the cost is about $50 for the inspection and certificate; a 333% increase. Expect the same from the home labeling program. Sect. 304 Greater Energy Efficiency in Building Codes establishes new energy efficiency guidelines for the National Building Code and mandates at 304(d) that 1 year after enactment of this Act, all state and local jurisdictions must adopt the National Building Code energy efficiency provisions or must obtain a certification from the federal government that their state and/or local codes have been brought into full compliance with the National Building Code energy efficiency standards.

        http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=A+License+required+for+your+home-+Cap+and+Trade&btnG=Google+Search

    • Greetings Mrs Weapon,

      I have a simple, if not ‘outrageous’, explaination, for all things Obama is/will do. Our ‘president’ was placed in office to destroy the United States of America. He will do it economically, legally, and spiritually. His actions, when viewed from this position, not only make perfect sense, but becomes frighteningly predictable.

      Have a great day (while you still can).

      • Cyndi,

        Though I happen to think he’s headed (mostly) in the right direction, a case can be made that he’s doing harm. For the sake of argument, let us assume that the actions he has taken are bad for the country.

        Please explain to me your justification for believing that he was “placed” in the Presidency to “destroy” America. Please provide both evidence for the massive conspiracy to assign the Presidency to him, and for the malicious intent you ascribe to him.

        To clarify, I am not currently discussing whether he is good for the country, but I would like you to back up your implication that he is intending harm rather than doing what he thinks is best and inadvertently doing harm.

        In one scenario, he’s a well-intentioned but misguided patriot. In the other, he’s a Manchurian candidate backed by a massive and powerful conspiracy. You make an extraordinary claim, I request extraordinary proof.

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          I don’t think he was necessarily “placed” in office by anyone, although that COULD have been the case.

          I also do not think that he is a “misguided patriot”. I think that he and Michelle have never had any great fondness for America, and they have never had any great fondness for what they thought that America stood for.

          I do not see it as at all outside of the realm of possibility that they wish to remake America in their own image.

          A “Patriot” would want to preserve what they percieved America to stand for, even if they were a misguided Patriot. I do not think Barack or Michelle understands what America was supposed to be, nor have many politicians over the past 150 years. So, to be fair, Barack and Michelle are not alone.

          What I see happening is that Barack and Michelle have a somewhat warped perception of what America has become, and they recognize that it has become something which was not intended, and therefore they wish to change it. However, instead of changing it back to a place that values freedom and liberty, they seem to wish to change it into a society based on centralized command and control.

          This country was supposedly founded on the principles of freedom and liberty, so even a misguided Patriot would move it more towards that direction I would think.

        • Mathius,

          I’m at work (my day is just starting) so I don’t have time to research and post two years worth of evidence that you and O’bots will dismiss as right wing hate. The evidence is out there IN ABUNDANCE, and if you stil refuse to see it, nothing I do/say will convince you. If you’d like a suggestion of where to start though, take a look at the White visotr’s lists. Some interesting names are there. Also, why not as well for Obama’s personal Blackberry contacts? Am I the only person in the world who remembers that he insisted on keeping his personal Blackberry? Under the FOIA, I believe we can see who he’s been contacting when no one is watching. Obama is not misguided. He never was. Time has already started to show that. How much time do you need? What will it take for you to come to the conclusion that the American people were deliberately mislead and lied to so that Marxists could take over the US Government? I’m guessing that even if we find ourselves living in a dictorship with Obama in the starring role, you’ll still believe Obama ‘meant well’.

        • Matt,

          A short answer to who/how Obama was placed.

  5. USW….pretty good book and I cannot disagree with the following ….

    “See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals.”

    This is great and wonderful as a philosophical statement. However, does not philosophy have to assume that everyone agrees with it for it to be real? Can there be no detractors? And, if one person does not agree with it, then how is it real and wherein does the legitimacy lie? To me, the problem with philosophy, while elegant and certainly worthwhile to espouse, the reality kills it before it gets started. I will specifically use Black Flag (BF) as an example. ( Sorry, BF, but you are one of the most consistent people on here and most controversial ). BF is a philosopher. I do not see anything else about him that says otherwise. He certainly is not a realist and he certainly is not a socialist. He is also not a centrist and he is not ultra conservative. He believes in the literal translation of liberty and freedoms and rights. I have several issues as it pertains to the interpretation of law. BF has a set of core values. He feels that everyone needs to have a set of core values but he feels that there is only one set of core values and his is the only values that he operates from and everyone else is wrong. (Do I have this correct, BF?) My core beliefs and values can be different from yours….yes? no?

    Now, taking philosophy to the realism stage is a gigantic leap and I am not sure if a connection can be made between philosophy and realism. An example, and I once again, pick on BF but I also think that this can go to the very liberal as well. I have the freedom and right to use my own brain and talents and make a product or devise a service. I decide to either trade or sell that service or product to the general public. If I understand BF and others correctly, then once I sell my service or product I have given up any rights to it whatsoever and that, if they wish, it now becomes their right and freedom to do with it as they please which even includes reselling it at a profit. Now, given the fact that I devised whatever this is……do I not, morally, have the right and freedom to not expect someone else to infringe upon my product for their personal gain? If someone does, does that not violate a moral responsibility? Are you not guilty of moral theft even if I have sold it? After all, it is my idea and not yours so why should you profit from it? What if I had a disclaimer on it that says you cannot sell it? Does my disclaimer then become a law and is that law moral? Take it a step further. Let us assume that we all agree that it is immoral to resell and 9 of 10 do not resell this product/idea but one does. And I take offense to it and do something to stop it…..did I just become immoral and, in effect create a law, and, in effect, become a policeman to protect what is morally mine? And if I did this and you claim it is immoral…what gives you that right and what makes you correct and me wrong?

    If I, then, petition a governing body to create a protection of my idea, then does that, USW, fall under protective tariffs and trade? Therefore, does this fall under your definition of legal plunder? (Which I am assuming you are claiming is immoral). So according to USW and BF, any governing body that regulates anything, is robbing freedom and liberty. According to USW and BF, if I get a protective trade or tariff to protect what I consider my property, then I am guilty, by USW definition, of legal plunder. How do you tie philosophy to realism? And, how do you justify the moral ethics without a penalty of some sort to back it up if someone refuses to adopt the general rule of morality or ethics that you do? And what is the general rule? Do not do unto others what you would not want done to you? Is that a rule and, therefore, in effect, a law?

    To take from one who has earned it, and given to someone else who has not earned it….is flat out wrong. I do not agree that it is a cost of society. Taxation is a great example of this. To be fair, then, if there is a cost to society then the cost should be borne equally regardless of income. Just because one has more does not justify the taking of it and absolving the one who has nothing. I can have empathy and even sympathy for the person whom has nothing but do I have a moral obligation to take care of that person or do I have the freedom to extend charity should I desire? To impose a law that takes from me is not only morally unethical, but robs freedoms and liberty. But if I desire to step over this individual and let him starve and die….did I actually violate a moral responsibility other than my own? What if my moral responsibility is different than yours? Who wins?

    So, even I am conflicted. I loved the book and I think this philosophical approach is really great and I can get behind it. But…is it reality? I do not think that morality can be legislated nor assumed. So, in the reality of today’s world…..where is the line drawn? I do not have the answer. To those who say total freedom, then I respond…ok…take my product and resell it…I have the freedom and the my own definition of moral responsibility to stop you. I will shoot you where you stand. With freedom and no law, I have violated nothing….not even morally if mine are different than yours. On the other hand, if you take from me my gain and give it to someone who has not earned it nor deserves it, then you have stolen from me. I did not give it willingly. If I create a protectionist theory to keep my product proprietary, then, I am guilty of legal plunder. But to take ones idea and resell it, to me, is immoral and unethical. So…..where does reality fit in?

    Help me for I am lost. Where did they go? How many of them are there? I must know for I am the leader…signed Barrack (I am holy) Obama.

    I have gone to look for myself. Should I get back before I return, please ask me to wait….signed D13.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      I am not going to go into an in-depth response here. Let’s keep it simple, shall we?

      First of all, not ALL laws are immoral. Any law that flows directly from Natural Law is perfectly acceptable and can be defended as a moral law.

      From that standpoint, try to fix in your mind what actually constitutes theft, and what does not. From the standpoint of a physical product, once you have sold said product, it is no longer yours. You no longer have ownership. There are ways that you could retain ownership and allow others the use of said product, in which case it would still be yours. However, outright sale of a product means that you have given up ownership, unless you and the buyer agree to a binding contract which states otherwise.

      As far as ideas go, our current system has actually muddied the waters quite a bit as to what really constitues “property”. I would suggest you look at some of the traditional definitions of property and see if you think they have been properly applied or mis-applied to various different things. You might find it very enlightening.

      • Who defines this? “First of all, not ALL laws are immoral. Any law that flows directly from Natural Law is perfectly acceptable and can be defended as a moral law.”

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          D13,

          Natural Law is Natural Law. It basically IS the universe. From my point of view, someone else’s acceptance or rejection of Natural Law in no way serves to validate it or invalidate it. A rejection of Natural Law is equivalent to a rejection of reality.

          Check with Kent McManigal, BF, and others. I am pretty sure that you will find that none of us have EVER advocated an absence of “law”. All we have ever done is advocate for the elimination of immoral laws.

          • I agree…but whom or what defines an immoral law? Is not immoroal or moral totally subjective? And I think that is where Bastiat is coming from, but I will research the term Natural Law and see what it offers.

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              D13,

              Natural Law basically states that there are laws that are consistent with Nature. As such, they are part of the reality of the universe.

              A law that is consistent with natural law is therefore inherently moral. In this context, there is no subjectivity involved. Natural Laws and laws which are consistent with Natural Law are moral and anything inconsistent with Natural Law is not moral.

              I believe that BF would say that this is the only way to have a core belief that is completely consistent, which is why there can be no other core belief that is actually valid. He can certainly correct me on this if I am making a misstatement.

              If you believe that contradictions are evil, you must find the core that is completely internally consistent, and has no contradictions.

              I would argue that Natural Law is internally consistent, because it is the reality of the universe. Therefore, any laws which attempt to deny, circumvent, or outright go against Natural Law are easily found out to be contradictions, and are therefore not valid, moral laws.

              I am not sure if that cleared anything up for you or simply confused you more, but I hope more the former as opposed to the latter 🙂

              • Oh no…not confused at all….but researching the Natural Law and want to read more about it. Right now, I am neutral. But thank you.

            • This is why I think “ethical” is a better guide than “moral”. Morality shifts depending upon your culture and over time(regardless of what is claimed by some religious people). Ethical- right and wrong– is constant. Do not harm those who do not deserve to be harmed right now. That encompasses attacking them physically or economically. Any “law” that facilitates that harm is wrong. Taxation (that “legal plunder”) is a good example, but not the only one.

    • I’ll address this singly first.

      BF has a set of core values. He feels that everyone needs to have a set of core values but he feels that there is only one set of core values and his is the only values that he operates from and everyone else is wrong. (Do I have this correct, BF?) My core beliefs and values can be different from yours….yes? no?

      I think this is one of the harder concepts to understand so though I’ve dialogued on it many times before, I think its worthwhile to do so again (and again and again).

      1) Yes, I do have a immutable core principle.

      It is the ‘thing’ that cannot be judged as good or bad. It is the ‘thing’ that I judge good and bad. It is the ‘yard stick’ – it does not change its length; it determines the length of everything else.

      2) Yes

      And I know everyone has one too – the thing they use to measure the world.

      I believe however that most people have not spent the necessary brain-time to articulate this principle clearly to themselves. I also believe that unhappiness in a prosperous life comes from living in contradiction to one’s core, and made worse if by such contradiction they have become wealthy, they feel unworthy.

      3) False. I do not assume my core is your core.

      Follow:

      -To know I am right and you are wrong requires me to, first, claim my core is right so that I can use my core to judge yours.

      -But if I claim mine is right by premise, why can’t you do the same thing and claim yours is right by premise?

      -Thus, I cannot prove you wrong (or right) by using my core. You cannot prove me wrong (or right) by using your core.

      -Further, the Universe allows an infinite number of right answers to any problem.

      Usually (but not always) we can only apply one right answer to a problem – the rest of the ‘right’ answers are unused and discarded (because the problem is solved!).

      However, that does not apply to the human problem. There are at currently, approximately, 6.5 billion concurrent human problems called “individuals”

      The “answer” to solve the human problem called “D13” can be ‘right’, though wholly different then the ‘right’ answer to solve the human problem called “BF”. We can have 6.5 billion concurrent right answers.

      So, how do I know and declare you are ‘wrong’?

      You can only be wrong if what you believe or do is in contradiction to your core.

      I judge you by your own core belief. My beliefs play no part at all.

      Since the Universe does not allow contradictions, you being in contradiction with your core principle is actualizing evil in the Universe. When you are wholly consistent with your core principle, you are actualizing good in the Universe.

      What my core principle may or may not be plays no part in this regards to you whatsoever.

      So when you misread me, – that is when you hear me when I say “you’re wrong” in so many words – it is that I have found your principle and your belief that you hold to be in contradiction.

      If using your measure of your core principle, you are failing in your belief, then I declare you wrong.

      I have found that because most people have not properly articulated or spent the time articulating their core principle, they accidentally fall into contradiction with it through pragmatism (being ‘practical’) or compromise (“doing a little bad isn’t so bad”). Eventually they drift so far from their core they lose themselves.

      • Understand completely….but you did clear up one thing that I have mis-characterized you on.

        But one thing that is immutable: “they accidentally fall into contradiction with it through pragmatism (being ‘practical’) or compromise (“doing a little bad isn’t so bad”). Eventually they drift so far from their core they lose themselves.”

        However, I am reading things now to see how Natural Law is defined and so far, in my infancy of research, I am finding that most, if not all, are referring to the “Theory of Natural Law”…but I am still researching. Thank you.

        I am afraid that I will fall into the realism of things and that theory, whole interesting, is not always practical…but I am subject to change. However, before I pass MY judgment on natural law vs practical law and its applications, I will research. Again, thank you….you did not answer other than what I already thought after reading through your various posts.

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          D13,

          Do not assume that Natural Law is not “practical”. I have found that in pretty much every case, Natural Law is emminently practical, whereas what you term “practical law” is somewhere between impractical and complete nonsense.

          This is not always the case– occasionally “practical law” is actually quite practical, but in those cases I tend to find it in harmony with Natural Law.

          I know this seems like confusing stuff, but for the most part it actually is not.

          To test whether a law has any real validity or not, simply ask yourself the following question, “If an individual were to perform this action (rather than a government entity), would it be considered an ethical action to take?”

          If you can substitute and individual person into the equation and get an ethical result, then the law is probably ok. If you substitute an individual into the equation and get an unethical result, the law in question is a contradiction.

          • I don’t “assume” that Peter. It is just that in the little time that I have researched it, I have not put it together yet. But I will. I have never dealt with the application of Natural Law before but several of you seem to think that Natural Law supercedes all law and that any law that is conceived by government is a contradiction. However, I am researching and will read it and will talk to my uncle on this same subject….if I can understand his response. How do you talk to an Astro physicist….except a puzzled look…but I bet he has a great understanding of Natural Law. I look forward to some interesting discussions with you and BF. I am not convinced but I will at least leran something new. But I understand both you and BF and your stance and where you come from on this.

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              “several of you seem to think that Natural Law supercedes all law and that any law that is conceived by government is a contradiction.”

              Let me clarify that for you D13:

              I think that Natural Law is the SORCE of all legitimate law, and any law conceived by government which contradicts Natural Law is an illegitimate law. Any law conceived by government which is not in contradiction with Natural Law is fine by me!

              Does that make any more sense?

        • D13,

          The defining moment that civilization was born was when a man chose to follow his principles before he did what was practical, even at the cost of his own life.

          Civilized man, drowning, would not throw off a child on a raft to save himself.

          Practicality demands he does such a thing – civilization demands he drown instead to save the child.

          Thus, a civilized man must chain himself to his principles – no matter how heavy the weight, no matter the height of the sea, the force of wind, the threat to life and limb – least that man becomes the link that fails, where such failure creates the cascade of collapse of all society and civilization.

    • Carrying On….

      Now, taking philosophy to the realism stage is a gigantic leap and I am not sure if a connection can be made between philosophy and realism.

      This is wholly untrue.

      Ideas are the most powerful thing a human has. Ideas have consequences.

      Humans move from Idea to Action. Thus, if we wish to be in alignment with the Universe (which, if we are not, we are killed) then we must test our ideas by reason and logic before we implement them, for we will not survive constant trial and error for long….

      So, establishing a philosophical core from which to build our ideas is vital to sustainability.

      If the foundation is wrong, no matter what we build – it will be wrong too.

      Converting principles into action is hard work. Often, ignoring one’s principles and ‘cutting a corner’ – just as justifying, “just this once time”, attacking a non-violent man – will create a flaw in our progress that will eventually make our structure unsustainable and collapse.

      So we can’t cut corners. Yep, that means the easy answer – beating someone up, for example – is excluded. So guess what? You have to use the thing that makes us human and not animal – think of a better solution. Not a task for the lazy, but if sustainability of society is a necessity, roll up your sleeves and start doing the hard work.

      So, without a immutable philosophical basis to build upon, humanity will simple follow the same cyclical growth to destruction as in our history. Perhaps its time for a better idea?

      I have the freedom and right to use my own brain and talents and make a product or devise a service. I decide to either trade or sell that service or product to the general public. If I understand BF and others correctly, then once I sell my service or product I have given up any rights to it whatsoever and that, if they wish, it now becomes their right and freedom to do with it as they please which even includes reselling it at a profit.

      So here is a good example for what I mean – contradiction of your core.

      You claim you have a right to use your brains and talent to create something.

      Then you go right about claiming I do not have the right to use MY brain and MY talent to create something too.

      You make try to justify stopping me by declaring you ‘thought of it first’ – but you can’t prove that – at best you can say you ‘did it first’ if we use time as our measure.

      Further, whether or not you thought of it first, I have that idea in my head. For you to claim you own my idea, you have to claim you own my head.

      My talent may be the talent of copy. You demand the right to use your talent, but now demand I cannot use my talent.

      Yet, your original premise was self-ownership of brain and talent. Crash! Contradiction.

      So something is wrong with you. Either your core is wrong or your beliefs are wrong.

      Now, you have figure which one is wrong. I cannot help you there.

      • NO I did not get your note, JAC. I will go and look right now. Do not under estimate my ability to reason and understand philosophy. To do so, would be wrong. However, the application of it is something that I conflict with.

        • uh oh,,,,wrong spot…sorry BF. I will finish reading something and then will have to respond to your observation that something is wrong with me because I see something terribly wrong with your analysis but there is something very interesting that I am reading under Natural Law right now that seems to contradict what you are saying in this part of your post but I wish to finish it first to make sure I am not over looking something. One thing that I am finding so far in the infancy of my research….everything all the way back past Aristotle and the Greeks seem to indicate that Natural Law is an ever changing premise and is subjective. But, allow me to finish reading several things that I have earmarked and I will be in a better position to respond….assuming that I am intepreting it properly.

          However, allow me to say that I feel theft is a violation of Natural Law as I currently read it. I also see that moral justice and injustice is a concept of Natural Law as I am reading it. However, I see no difference in stealing a car than stealing an idea. And, so far as I interpret Natural Law both are wrong. But, again, I wish to be more conversant because i do not subscribe to the theory of the Universe as it is applied but I am willing to become read on it.

          I think this is going to be interesting and look forward to the discussions. But, like you, I am allowed my opinions.

          D13

          • However, I see no difference in stealing a car than stealing an idea

            You cannot steal what is not property.

            So does an idea have the same qualities as real property?

            Can an idea be diminished, that is in its use, it is consumed?

            Is an idea like an apple? No. Everyone on earth can have an idea, yet, the one in your head is not diminished.

            Thus, an idea is like open air – it is not scarce, nor diminishable – thus, is not property, thus cannot be owned.

            • TexasChem says:

              Patents are essentially ideas put on paper and they are owned! =)

              • You most certainly own the paper that they are printed on.

                And when I print it out on my paper, I own that paper that it is printed on too.

                And if I build the machine, I own that machine too.

                And since I own what I built, I can dispose of it as I see fit – including selling it.

        • D13:

          I assure you that I do no under estimate your abilities in any way.

          I think the dilemna turns on your view of “practical”.

          In my view conflict between belief systems is not a proof of “impracticality”.

    • D13:

      Philosophy is not inconsistant with reality. It is the search for truth.

      Unfortunately some have developed philosophies that are not consistant with reality.

      Reality is the final test.

      But not the reality that you describe. The fact that there are competing philosophies does not mean that a single philosophy or even set of philosophies are not TRUE. It means that some are WRONG.

      The answer to the test is achieved by application of reason as tempered with logic.

      Have you read the philosophy series under the multi-series tab above??

      If not, or if you have, read the article that summarizes Ayn Rands philosophic system. It contains some hints as to the questions you raise.

      Did you get my note last night regarding the pending blizzard???

      JAC

  6. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    Warning, severe tirade coming…

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/07/noaa-paper-north-american-2008-cooling-attributed-to-natural-causes/#more-13857

    The article which I linked above is an unberable preponderance of complete and utter bullshit. Sorry to be so blunt, but I cannot put it any more “nicely” than that.

    The assertion that 2008 would have been even cooler in the absence of human-caused warming factors is patently absurd. There is NO CREDIBLE EVIDENCE that human-caused warming factors EVEN EXIST.

    Climate is a CYCLE. It gets warmer, it gets colder, sometimes we have up to 30 years of really warm temperatures, sometimes we have a freakin’ ice age that lasts over 1000 years. Hopefully you and I will not live to see one of those, but you never know!

    If you want to have some real fun, ask one of the “scientists” at NOAA to UNEQUIVOCALLY PROVE that 2008 would have been even colder absent the influences of man.

    They can show you MODELS which purport to show that this is the case, but THEY CANNOT PROVE IT. A model is only as good as its own ability to PROPERLY account for ALL VARIABLES, and to show valid results that can be back-tested against actual data.

    There are ABSOLUTELY NO current climate models which give the REAL ANSWER when back-tested against actual temperature data. That should tell you one very important thing, which is this:

    ALL CURRENT CLIMATE MODELS ARE FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED!

  7. Canine Weapon says:

    Saw this.. couldn’t resist posting it here..

  8. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    Truly priceless 🙂

    Seems like there might be a Pirate in Virginia!

  9. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    Here is the text of the actual “finding” by EPA that greenhouse gasses are pollutants and pose a health threat:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/07/the-epa-co2-regulation-dec-7th-2009-a-day-we-will-not-soon-forget/#more-13847

    Please take special note of the ASSERTION that greenhouse gasses are the drivers of climate change. Here is where the finding could potentially get taken to court and thrown out. We have data from MILLIONS OF YEARS of the history of the earth of the following:

    1. Climate changes on Earth ALL OF THE TIME, even before humans were even present.

    2. There is absolutely no evidence that greenhouse gasses have EVER BEEN the CAUSE of any of the changes in climate!

    Just based on those 2 facts, the finding should be thrown out completely.

  10. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    The American Physical Society is starting to demand honesty and integrity. REFRESHING!

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/07/dissenting-members-ask-aps-to-put-their-policy-statment-on-ice-due-to-climategate/#more-13841

    • Tuesday, December 01, 2009
      ClimateGate–Follow the Money
      From the Wall St. Journal.

      “Supply, as we know, creates its own demand. So for every additional billion in government-funded grants (or the tens of millions supplied by foundations like the Pew Charitable Trusts), universities, research institutes, advocacy groups and their various spin-offs and dependents have emerged from the woodwork to receive them.

      Today these groups form a kind of ecosystem of their own. They include not just old standbys like the Sierra Club or Greenpeace, but also Ozone Action, Clean Air Cool Planet, Americans for Equitable Climate Change Solutions, the Alternative Energy Resources Association, the California Climate Action Registry and so on and on. All of them have been on the receiving end of climate change-related funding, so all of them must believe in the reality (and catastrophic imminence) of global warming just as a priest must believe in the existence of God.”

      They were the politicians of our atmosphere.

      http://wenchwisdom.blogspot.com/2009/12/this-just-in-climategate-follow-money.html

  11. I think Comrade Boxer is going to have a tough time prosecuting these folks… 😉

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2009/12/06/did-russian-security-services-leak-climategate-e-mail-messages

    Did Russian Secret Service Leak ClimateGate E-mail Messages?
    By Noel Sheppard (Bio | Archive)
    December 6, 2009 – 22:52 ET

    British newspapers reported Sunday that the e-mail messages involved in the growing ClimateGate scandal may have been leaked to the world by the Russian secret service.

    The alleged motive is to undermine any calls for carbon dioxide emissions cuts out of the upcoming climate change conference in Copenhagen:

    Russia – one of the world’s largest producers and users of oil and gas – has a vested interest in opposing sweeping new agreements to cut emissions, which will be discussed by world leaders in Copenhagen tomorrow.

    As reported by the Daily Mail:

    Story Continues Below Ad ↓

    Suspicions were growing last night that Russian security services were behind the leaking of the notorious British ‘Climategate’ emails which threaten to undermine tomorrow’s Copenhagen global warming summit.

    An investigation by The Mail on Sunday has discovered that the explosive hacked emails from the University of East Anglia were leaked via a small web server in the formerly closed city of Tomsk in Siberia.

    In reality, the Russian connection was first mentioned in a November 20 Nature article the day the e-mail messages came public (subscription required):

    The University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) in Norwich confirmed today that e-mails and documents dating from 1991 to 2009 were illegally copied and subsequently published on an anonymous Russian server.

    A link to the Russian server first appeared on 19 November on a relatively obscure climate-sceptic blog. The server was shut down just hours later, but the stolen material had already been distributed elsewhere on the Internet.

    One of the scientists involved in ClimateGate, NASA’s Gavin Schmidt, confirmed this in a November 23 posting at the global warming alarmist blog RealClimate:

    At around 6.20am (EST) Nov 17th, somebody hacked into the RC server from an IP address associated with a computer somewhere in Turkey, disabled access from the legitimate users, and uploaded a file FOIA.zip to our server. They then created a draft post that would have been posted announcing the data to the world that was identical in content of the comment posted on The Air Vent later that day. They were intercepted before this could be posted on the blog. This archive appears to be identical to the one posted on the Russian server except for the name change.

    Two weeks later, the Mail uncovered more:

    Russia – one of the world’s largest producers and users of oil and gas – has a vested interest in opposing sweeping new agreements to cut emissions, which will be discussed by world leaders in Copenhagen tomorrow.

    Russia believes current rules are stacked against it, and has threatened to pull the plug on Copenhagen without concessions to Kremlin concerns.

    The Mail on Sunday understands that the hundreds of hacked emails were released to the world via a tiny internet server in a red brick building in a snow-clad street in Tomsk.

    The original internet link was quickly removed after the information spread from it like wildfire on to international websites.

    A message written in English accompanied the leaked package of emails. It read: ‘We feel that climate science is too important to be kept under wraps.

    ‘We hereby release a random selection of correspondence, code and documents. Hopefully it will give some insight into the science and the people behind it.’ […]

    Tomcity – the server – and Tomline, its parent company, were unavailable for comment yesterday.
    The firm offers an internet security business to prevent hacking and bugs and the ‘compromising of confidential information’.

    Other divisions of the firm are involved in laying the cable which provides high-speed internet access to companies in the Siberian city.

    The server is believed to be used mainly by Tomsk State University, one of the leading academic institutions in Russia, and other scientific institutes.

    Computer hackers in Tomsk have been used in the past by the Russian secret service (FSB) to shut websites which promote views disliked by Moscow.

    The British Telegraph agreed:

    So-called ‘patriot hackers’ from Tomsk have been used in the past by the Russian secret service, the FSB, to attack websites disliked by the Kremlin, such as the “denial of service” campaign launched against the Kavkaz-Tsentr website, over its reports about the war in Chechnya, in 2002.

    Is Russia behind this leak in order to thwart the climate change conference in Copenhagen?

    Will American media get on the investigation train and start looking into these allegations?

    Stay tuned.

  12. I find this statement interesting, especially the last word – property.

    defend the right of an individual to life, liberty, and property.

    Thru out history, the ‘rules’ and ‘laws’ have been written by the wealthy, the powerful, the elite. And they are usually written to their advantage. Property ownership has been restricted mostly to the rich, and therefore they want government to protect their property.

    Bastiat condemns slavery in the US, but does he care about the living or working conditions of the lower classes?

    Apparently not:

    …the poor workingmen.

    Because that liberal knows in his heart that taking from one to give to another is wrong.

    Does it ever occur to the conservative that giving billions of dollars worth of bonuses to the executives that created our current mess, while the middle and working class are losing their jobs, their homes, and everything they have is wrong?

    Isn’t this taking the wages of the average worker and giving them to the wealthy and powerful?

    The most interesting thing to me is that after 150 years of unprecedented change, when we’ve continued down the path that Bastiat said would lead to destruction, not much has really changed in France, England, or the US. The rich are still rich, the poor are still poor, the working and middle classes continue to slog along chasing the dream that the rich make sure is always just out of their reach…

    Maybe the lesson here is that doom-sayers like Bastiat, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, and Dick Cheney should be ignored. 🙂

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Sorry Todd,

      Your conclusion is false because your premise is false. You mistakenly believe that Bastiat would condone the rich giving each other hefty bonuses while the “poor workingman” was “allowed to suffer”.

      Perhaps you should actually read “The Law” so that you will have a better understanding of his position and his philosophy before you make a rash and unfounded judgement.

      People who come to rash and unfounded judgements based upon a lack of research into the facts should indeed be ignored. Some of the people on your list fall into that category, Bastiat is not one of them.

      You must ask yourself what is moral and what is ethical. If the rich give each other hefty bonuses while actively preventing the “poor workingman” from succeeding, then it is not ethical or moral. Obama, Bernanke, Geithner, Dodd, Pelosi, and their ilk seem to have no problem with this however. There are quite a few “Right-Statists” that ALSO seem to have no real problem with this either.

      My suggestion to you would be to:

      A: Read “The Law” before you jump to any conclusions, and

      B: Reject both the Right-Statists and the Left-Statists because whether you personally admit it or not, they both have far more in common than they have differences.

      If you do both A and B you will be in much better shape.

      • I haven’t read “The Law” yet. I’ll add it to the list, but between 13-15 hour workdays, an MBA, buying a house, et cetera, I find myself with little time to read.

        That said, from what I read of USW’s summary, I’d have to side with Todd. Given that you have read the book and disagree, I have to assume you are correct in your assessment.

        Nonetheless, I award Todd some major points for his eloquent, if apparently flawed, extrapolation.

        I did notice something, however, in Bastiat’s writing..

        When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law. These two evils are of equal consequence, and it would be difficult for a person to choose between them.

        It seems our 19th century friend is aware that sometimes a choice must be made between two evils. Given that he, himself, opened this door, I feel comfortable walking through it. If it is evil to take from one man what is his, and it is evil to allow the suffering of the middle and lower class, then it is necessarily just a question of which is worse.

        I say it’s worse to allow the suffering of the middle class. Todd, it seems, agrees. You, and virtually everyone else here, do not.

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          First of all, Bastiat is actually saying that the evil occurs when man makes law in contradiction to what is right and what is wrong. So he is NOT saying it is necessary to CHOOSE BETWEEN 2 EVILS. What he is saying is that IT IS NECESSARY TO ELIMINATE THE CONTRADICTION, which will therefore eliminate the evil.

          For example, you know that if you came into my house and took money from my wallet which was on my dresser, that would be stealing, which is wrong. Now, you might have a good RATIONALIZATION for stealing my money- perhaps you were hungry and had no money of your own and needed a loaf of bread- but in your heart you still know that stealing is wrong.

          Therefore, you should have ASKED ME for the money to buy a loaf of bread. I MIGHT have said “No”, but you know that asking me would have been the right thing to do.

          Now, here is where the problem comes in. You have a GOVERNMENT which performs the equivalent of stealing money right out of your wallet and mine, under the PRETENSE of using that money to buy loaves of bread for the people who are hungry. They also CLAIM that by passing a “LAW” which allows them to do this, they have SOMEHOW obtained our consent. Because we respect “organized society” we are supposed to respect this “LAW” even though it contradicts what we know to be good and evil.

          This is the problem that Bastiat was addressing. The “LAW”, which we are supposed to respect, as civilized human beings, is in conflict with what we innately and inherently KNOW to be right and wrong.

          We now have a conundrum: Do we choose right and wrong (which now would seemingly undermine “organized society”), or do we support “the LAW” even though we know it to contradict what we know to be right and wrong?

          Bastiat says that they way to eliminate the conflict is to eliminate the contradictions.

          The only VALID laws are those which do not contradict what we know to be right and wrong!

          Seriously, read it, it is 75 freaking pages…

          Ok, and then there is this little jewel:

          “I say it’s worse to allow the suffering of the middle class. Todd, it seems, agrees. You, and virtually everyone else here, do not.”

          Dude, I AM the middle class, so get a grip. I do NOT allow my own suffering. My suffering is caused by the imposition of counterfeit laws which do not allow me to live my own life as I see fit.

          You see, there are laws that FAVOR large government and large corporations. It is not _I_ who “allow” the suffering of the middle class. It is our immoral and unethical societal structures which FORCE suffering upon the middle class.

          I would be stupid as hell to allow for (or even worse yet CAUSE) my own suffering! I am doing everything I can to PREVENT my own suffering and the suffering of those like me or those that have even less means than I do, you are just too dense to see it apparently.

          • That wasn’t very friendly, Pete. I’m done playing with you for now.

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              Did I come off as a bit harsh there? Oh gee, I am sorry.

              I am just tired of people making the assumption that I am somehow supporting the ability of the “upper class” to oppress the middle class and the masses. Such bullshit could not possibly be any farther from the truth.

              What I DO SUPPORT is freedom and individual liberty. If freedom and individual liberty and your own personal talents allow you to make millions upon millions of dollars WITHOUT using force or coercion against others, then good on ya!

              However, if you use force, coercion, and conterfeit laws in order to obtain your millions, then you are inherently evil, and probably support our current “system” which is also inherently evil.

              You see, I do NOT support the people of Goldman Sachs getting huge bonuses. Why not? Because Goldman Sachs makes its money by supporting, actively participating in, and gaming a completely immoral and unethical system (our government). Thus, the wealth of Goldman Sachs can be said to be ill-gotten booty (or is that ill-booten gotty?)

              Some of you would say that Goldman Sachs and other firms like it have made all of their money through the inherent unfairness of capitalism and free markets.

              The REALITY of the situation is that firms like Goldman act in concert with OUR GOVERNMENT to ensure that there IS NO FREE MARKET, and then they go on to make a huge profit from CONTROLLING the market, which is NOT free. Until EVERYONE learns to recognize the difference between a controlled market which is mistakenly called “capitalism” and a true free-market, we are going to have the same confusion.

              So anyway, sorry if I got my dander up, but here are the facts:

              1. I am not rich.

              2. I don’t care whether you are rich or not, provided you do not use force or coercion to earn your living.

              3. If you do get rich without using force or coercion, I fully support your right to do whatever the hell you want with your money. Keep it all for yourself, give it to your kids, donate it to charity, or burn it in your fireplace- makes no difference to me.

              4. If you are rich, I DO NOT support the idea that you have some sort of societal obligation to share with others. If you choose to do so, that is great, but I cannot allow myself to use force and coercion to MAKE YOU SHARE, and I cannot condone anyone else using force and coercion to make you share either.

              • I am just tired of people making the assumption that I am somehow supporting the ability of the “upper class” to oppress the middle class and the masses.

                Ok Peter,
                You say you don’t support the upper class, and I believe you mean that. You talk about your utopia of returning to smaller government, etc. The problem is that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

                So we have two choices – the Republican’s or the Democrat’s.

                After 8 years of the Republican’s pushing too far to the right, now the Democrat’s are pushing too far to the left.

                I don’t expect you to agree with the Democrat’s, but when you push so hard and oppose every move the Democrat’s make just because the Democrat’s made them, you are aiding & abiding the Republican’s and the Upper Crust like Goldman-Sachs, because that’s the only other choice you have.

                The REALITY of the situation is that firms like Goldman act in concert with OUR GOVERNMENT to ensure that there IS NO FREE MARKET, and then they go on to make a huge profit from CONTROLLING the market, which is NOT free. Until EVERYONE learns to recognize the difference between a controlled market which is mistakenly called “capitalism” and a true free-market, we are going to have the same confusion.

                Do you have an example of a free-market that fits your definition?

                2. I don’t care whether you are rich or not, provided you do not use force or coercion to earn your living.

                Do you really believe that all/most “rich” people made their fortune thru their own efforts, and did not use force or coercion of some type?

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                Todd,

                I believe that under the current system, the rich are allowed to make most of their money through manipulation and control of the government, and I define government as the entity with the self-proclaimed right to initiate force against the non-violent. I also feel that it is going to be VERY DIFFICULT to wean the rich off of this habit. Once you have learned that it is easy to make money dishonestly, especially with the active help and encouragement of the government, why would you choose to actively work hard instead? This will probably be the most difficult problem to overcome if society is ever to be based upon a moral and ethical foundation with true freedom and liberty.

                Saying that our only choices right now are the Republicans and the Democrats means that we HAVE NO CHOICES, which is precisely why I do not (and CANNOT) vote for either one.

                The closest thing to a truly free market we had in this country was from 1790-1850 or so, but even then we had tariffs and other trading practices that made it not a truly free market. I doubt that you could find a truly free market anywhere in the world today.

                Simply because you make the claim that a free, morally structured society with a free market cannot happen in our lifetimes does not mean that it is not a worthy goal to strive for.

                It is the people that will not put forth any effort because they do not see it as a realistic possibility that are the biggest impediment to progress.

                Will I see what I desire in my lifetime? I don’t know. It certainly doesn’t SEEM likely, but then again, plenty of things that didn’t seem likely 50 years ago are happening right now, so you never know. I am certainly going to dedicate my efforts to educating people about freedom and liberty and why I feel they provide the best opportunity for successful civilization.

          • Great post and explanation, Peter.

      • Hi Peter,
        Thanks for the suggestions! I wasn’t aware that reading “The Law” was a prerequisite to responding to USWeapon’s article.

        I’ll try to follow your “rules” in the future, but it sure is hard since you seem to make them up as you go along! 😉

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Well Todd,

          Your reply indicated that you really didn’t have any idea of the content of “The Law”, and as someone who HAS read it, it was very clear to me that you were making up your response to the article as you went along 🙂

    • Private Property….

      As above with D13, when one is submersed inside civilization, where initiation of violence is wholly prohibited, how does a man claim exclusive right to use something that he needs for his life?

      In savagery, we’d fight over it – Best Man kills 2nd Best Man.

      But we are not savages.

      So hard thinking work was engaged. An ordered society built an architecture of Private Property where a man could justly claim exclusive use of something.

      Now, using violence to disrupt that claim – that is being savage – was deemed wholly evil.

      So all property rights are a consequence of civilized man organizing his operational principles into reality, and as such, are immutable.

      So what is property? It is something that must be exclusive for its use. For example, only one man can use THAT apple. It cannot be eaten by you and then by me. Thus, it is property – because it is unique, it is scarce. Using it, diminishes it (every bite destroys a bit of the apple).

      Compare that to open air – it isn’t unique, the breath I take doesn’t take yours away. It isn’t diminished, for the same reason – hence, open air is not owned nor property.

      Now, I don’t dispute your complaint that many “artificial” laws have been made by the rich and powerful to enfeeble the poor and weak. However, if we research such laws, they are ‘artificial’ because they contradict Natural Law in some manner or another.

      I champion Natural Law – equal on all men, rich or power, weak or powerful.

    • Does it ever occur to the conservative that giving billions of dollars worth of bonuses to the executives that created our current mess, while the middle and working class are losing their jobs, their homes, and everything they have is wrong?

      Two things for this statement Todd. First, yes it does occur to many conservatives that this is wrong. I have not advocated or supported corporate welfare, which is the legal plunder associated with benefitting the wealthy. As for the wealthy giving each other big bonuses, that is a false argument. A company has the right to do their compensation however they feel best serves their business. Anger that a company gives a million dollar salary to an executive, in my opinion, is the result of jealousy and envy. I would challenge you to prove that those “big bonuses” are the cause of people losing their jobs and homes. You position on this is a great example of the “bleeding heart” mentality that emotion equals fact.

      Second, I find it somewhat amusing that you would level the claim that the example you provide “got us into this mess”. I would submit that what got us into this mess are the very things that Bastiat points out WOULD GET US INTO THIS MESS. You attempt to dismiss Bastiat’s thoughts by pointing out that we are in today’s mess, when dismissing his points are what put us there! Amazing!

      As for Bastiat’s words. He never advocates law being used to support the wealthy and their plunder any more than the reverse. Taking one person’s property and giving to someone else is wrong, period. There was no qualifier of which way that property travels. In fact he is clear in his definitions. He offers the following as well.

      And, in all sincerity, can anything more than the absence of plunder be required of the law? Can the law—which necessarily requires the use of force—rationally be used for anything except protecting the rights of everyone? I defy anyone to extend it beyond this purpose without perverting it and, consequently, turning might against right. This is the most fatal and most illogical social perversion that can possibly be imagined. It must be admitted that the true solution—so long searched for in the area of social relationships—is contained in these simple words: Law is organized justice.

      It seems to me is as interested in protecting the rights of life, liberty, and property of EVERYONE. I agree with Peter. If you are going to make a general claim against Bastiat’s work and say it is irrelevant, you should probably read more than the few paragraph’s that I have offered here. It is a short read. I defy you to read the entire thing and refute it. As I said in the article, it cannot be done.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        As I said above, if a large corporation makes it money through the dishonest manipulation of a corrupt, immoral and unethical system (such are our government and the controlled markets which some of us have falsely labled as “capitalism:), then they have obtained their money through the use of force and coercion, and it is therefore illegitimate wealth.

        Bastiat would not condone the manner in which the Goldman Sachs of the world “earned” their money in the first place, so he most certainly would not condone them handing out big bonuses.

        Now, if you want to make a bunch of money in a truly free market, and then distribute it as you see fit to those that helped you to be successful, then go right ahead!

        You see, this is where a lot of “conservatives” get it wrong. The claim that AIG or Goldman Sachs or Wells Fargo are entitled to do whatever they want with the money which they have earned.

        This is only correct if the money was earned in a truly free market without using force, coercion, or counterfeit laws as a tool to “earn” the money!

        Since there is evidence that the way these firms make there money is by gaming a corrupt, immoral, and unethical system, they cannot really be said to have honestly EARNED the money. As such, restitution would normally be in order, but our corrupt system will not allow for that. Instead, our corrupt system will use its own corruption as further excuse for more immoral taxes and “laws”, thus closing the vicious circle ever tighter.

        • Concern is rising that “no matter who the Democratic nominee is and who wins in November, Wall Street will have a friend in the White House,” said Massie Ritsch of the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign donations. “The door will be open to these big banks.”

          Sen. McCain of Arizona got off to a slow start in presidential campaign fundraising. Having clinched the Republican nomination, he could gain momentum in attracting Wall Street money.

          For now, though, Sen. Clinton of New York is leading the way, bringing in at least $6.29 million from the securities and investment industry, compared with $6.03 million for Sen. Obama of Illinois and $2.59 million for McCain, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Those figures include donations from the investment companies’ employees and political action committees.

          http://articles.latimes.com/2008/mar/21/nation/na-wallstdems21

      • As for the wealthy giving each other big bonuses, that is a false argument.

        This is not false. If you don’t understand this, then you don’t understand how the system works.

        A company has the right to do their compensation however they feel best serves their business.

        Yes, but the system has become skewed. 401K and Mutual Funds are a big part of the problem, because all of the shares they own are voted by the fund managers, not the individual investors. So the fund managers vote to keep their friends in power, and vis versa.

        I would challenge you to prove that those “big bonuses” are the cause of people losing their jobs and homes.

        I can’t prove this, but it is the basis of Reagonomics / Trickle Down Economics. But it doesn’t work because not enough is allowed to ‘trickle down’.

        I find it somewhat amusing that you would level the claim that the example you provide “got us into this mess”.

        Many here like to point out that the government forcing banks to make loans to low income people is the cause. However, this is a tiny part of the banks portfolio and really had no impact. What happened is the banks figured out they could create mortgaged backed securities (MBS) and sell these loans to someone else.

        So the banks business model changed. They no longer made money by making loans and collecting the repayment of those loans. They now made money by making loans and charging a fee for each loan. It didn’t matter if the loan could be repaid, because the bank packaged them as MBS and sold them. All the banks wanted was the fees. So the more loans the better.

        No job? No down payment? $500 for a fee? Yes! Approved!!

        No job? No down payment? No $500 for a fee? Well, lets raise the loan principle by $1000, give you $500 cash, and now you can afford the fee!! Approved!!

        AIG, CDS’s, Credit agencies, etc also played a role, but I don’t have time right now…

        You attempt to dismiss Bastiat’s thoughts by pointing out that we are in today’s mess, when dismissing his points are what put us there! Amazing!

        The fact is that we’re been in these types of messes before, and we’ll be in them again, because we aren’t smart enough to avoid them. However, we always seem to survive, and eventually come out stronger. I think that will happen again, which makes Bastiat’s doom-sayers predictions irrelevant.

        As for Bastiat’s words. He never advocates law being used to support the wealthy and their plunder any more than the reverse. Taking one person’s property and giving to someone else is wrong, period. There was no qualifier of which way that property travels.

        It seems to me is as interested in protecting the rights of life, liberty, and property of EVERYONE.

        Yeah, he says it applies to everyone, but in 1860’s Europe it was Upper and Lower Class. Only the Upper Class owned property. Government and Laws were used to protect the property of the Upper Class.

        I agree with Peter. If you are going to make a general claim against Bastiat’s work and say it is irrelevant, you should probably read more than the few paragraph’s that I have offered here. It is a short read. I defy you to read the entire thing and refute it. As I said in the article, it cannot be done.

        As I said to Peter, if reading “The Law” was a prerequisite to responding to your article, that should have been stated – maybe a few days in advance so we could have time to read it.

        Otherwise, it would just be you and all those who agree with you discussing it, while those of us who disagree would be reading the book.

        At least I’m trying to discuss the article you presented. Most of those on the right started hi-jacking the discussion ASAP.

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          “Yeah, he says it applies to everyone, but in 1860’s Europe it was Upper and Lower Class. Only the Upper Class owned property. Government and Laws were used to protect the property of the Upper Class.”

          Yes Todd, and if you would actually READ “The Law”, you would understand that those were EXACTLY THE TYPES OF LAWS THAT BASTIAT WAS AGAINST!

          Come on now… you can do better than this, you are saying that because Europe was upper and lower class and because Bastiat was AGAINST counterfeit laws that were used to protect the property of the upper-class, that somehow meant that he was FOR such laws.

          That makes no sense….

    • Todd,

      “Property ownership has been restricted mostly to the rich, and therefore they want government to protect their property.”

      You might want to do a bit more research, as the history of the United States has many examples of “free land”.

      http://www.nps.gov/jeff/historyculture/upload/homestead.pdf

      • LOI,
        Since the discussion was about Bastiat, I was referring to landownership previous to his time.

        But even the ‘free’ undeveloped land out west hardly compares to the developed land in the east in value.

        And while individuals could get 80-640 acres, railroads and mining companies got their pick of land, even if that meant kicking previous homesteader’s off their land:

        But these gifts paled in comparison to federal railroad grants, which reached thirty million acres during the 1850s.

        Also, the land had to be worked and be productive for the individual to retain it, and the westward expansion greatly benefitted the US, so it wasn’t a ‘free’ give-away.

        • Todd, I can agree that both sides have used government to enrich themselves, and land is a good example.

          You said “Does it ever occur to the conservative that giving billions of dollars worth of bonuses to the executives that created our current mess, while the middle and working class are losing their jobs, their homes, and everything they have is wrong?”

          Sorry, but isn’t it Obama, Pelosi and Reed who are guilty of that? When the “conservatives” protest, you say “Maybe the lesson here is that doom-sayers like Bastiat, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, and Dick Cheney should be ignored.”

          Obama promised change. You say “not much has really changed in France, England, or the US. The rich are still rich, the poor are still poor, the working and middle classes continue to slog along chasing the dream that the rich make sure is always just out of their reach…”

          Obama, Pelosi and Reed changed the welfare reform act, that was reducing America’s poverty level when the Stimulus re-expanded welfare. What is better, slogging along, chasing that dream, or trading it for poverty existence where you are poor, but don’t have to work. You get “free housing”, but its a shithole. And coming soon,
          free healthcare. I hope it doesn’t turn out like government housing.

          http://www.heritage.org/Research/Welfare/Test031501b.cfm

          Reducing Poverty Opponents of welfare reform charged that reform would throw millions of children into poverty. In reality, child poverty has dropped substantially since reform was enacted, from 20.8 percent in 1996 to 16.9 percent in 1999. (See Chart 2.) The black child poverty rate and the poverty rate of children in single mother families are now at the lowest points in U.S. history. States with strong workfare systems have tended to have more rapid declines in child poverty than have states with lenient work requirements.

  13. Judy Sabatini says:

    HEY All

    What Wikipedia says about Natural Law.

    Hope all is doing well today.

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

  14. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/

    I think that this site is exceptionally good, in spite of its name 🙂

  15. Buon Giorno all!

    I’m back (at least for a little while) and the first thing I did (at the suggestion of USW) was google this Bastiat fella … and to stir the pot (from the left) here is what immediately struck me (just a few paragraphs into it): When Bastiat was twenty-five, his grandfather and benefactor died, leaving the young man the family estate and providing him with the means to further his own theoretical inquiries.

    I’ll assume that anyone who begins (or is gifted) an unfair advantage will certainly champion the cause of absolute liberty but one has to wonder how they might feel starting from the barest bottom (say, as the uneducated son of an third generation uneducated working slob). Likewise, Karl Marx didn’t have to work very hard when offering his version of how we all should live.

    My beef with Bastiat (as with any philosopher leaning on morality) always returns to definition of moral. If one doesn’t accept another’s definition, the point becomes moot.

    Now go easy on me … I’m still recovering from recently being labelled “the new voice of right wing america” …

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      “I’ll assume that anyone who begins (or is gifted) an unfair advantage will certainly champion the cause of absolute liberty but one has to wonder how they might feel starting from the barest bottom (say, as the uneducated son of an third generation uneducated working slob). Likewise, Karl Marx didn’t have to work very hard when offering his version of how we all should live.”

      Ok Charlie, I will go easy on you, just answer the following questions:

      1. Why do you say his advantage was “unfair”? What about him inheriting money is “unfair”?

      2. How do you explain those that come from much more humble beginnings and still reach the same conclusions reached by Bastiat? There are plenty of people that have started out poor as dirt that are philosophically in complete agreement with Bastiat, so how do you explain that phenomenon?

      And yes, that was “going easy on you”. I was originally going to be MUCH more difficult 🙂

      • Take it easy, Charlie, I’ll take care of these softballs.

        1. What did he do to earn this advantage? Nothing but have the luck to be born into this situation. Thus he had a huge unearned advantage over his peers. By what definition is this “fair”?

        2. How do you explain those that come from affluent beginnings and still reach the same conclusions reached by Charlie and myself? There are plenty of people that have started out rich that are philosophically in complete opposition with Bastiat, so how do you explain that phenomenon? (See, if I turn your question around, it remains meaningless)

        This is like playing tee-ball.. let’s try something a little more difficult. 🙂

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Mathius,

          1. Whether he received his property as a gift or whether he earned it himself, it is still HIS property by right. What would be UNFAIR would be for you or anyone else to take it from him.

          2. You didn’t answer my question, you merely asked me a question. Answer mine first and then I will be glad to give yours a shot.

        • Thanks, Matt … I got a feeling they’re loading up right now …

          • Loaded up on Red Bull, that is. But Pete’s on a timeout right now. So I leave him to you until he can learn how to play nicely with others.

            I’ll hunt some other game in the mean time. Rumor has it there’s a pirate in these parts I can shoot from a helicopter. I’ve got a fix on his pirate-Jeep, so all I have to do is wait.

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              Hey Matt, you started it by making your unsubstantiated claim that I “supported the suffering of the middle class”, so I retroactively put you in time out for starting the uncivil behavior.

              You seem to think that your own incivility should get a pass while mine should not… why is that?

        • Matt:

          You have taken the LAZY man’s way out.

          Rewording questions is not an answer.

          Answer the questions Peter asked, then move to the next.

          A man leaving his wealth to his family is totally fair. If ALL wealthy men have the same opportunity. If the rules for earning and retaining and giving one’s property are the same for everyone then it is FAIR.

          To use Charlie’s example:

          The game of football is fair to all because the rules are the same for all.
          Just because the Bills Suck doesn’t make the game unfair. It just means the Bills Suck.

          The wealth or lack thereof of those who posit philosophical theories has no bearing on the ideas they put forth. You, Charlie and Todd are using the traditional socialist trick of trying to discount one’s opinions and ideas because they happen to be wealthy.

          In my view it is a quite pitful practice. “They were all rich white men therefore……..”

          Is that the sum of the intellectual defense of socialism?

          • For starters, I completely acknowledge that I am lazy. Stipulated, and irrelevant.

            Rewording questions is not an answer. Sure it can be. His question was how do I explain that poor people reach Bastiat’s conclusions. I, of course, cannot answer that. They reach his conclusions because they reach his conclusions. His logic appeals to them. The implication that he would draw from this is that Bastiat’s logic, therefore, is correct. By drawing the inverse parallel (that affluent people reach my conclusions), I show that it is irrelevant. Just because people believe certain things does not make them correct. People used to know that the world is flat, and they knew it because someone’s authority and logic convinced them of its truth – does that make it right? Reversing a question is simply a rhetorical method and should not be condemned on its face.

            Answer the questions Peter asked, then move to the next. As I said above, I cannot, but then again, the question is irrelevant, so I feel no great need to do so.

            A man leaving his wealth to his family is totally fair. If ALL wealthy men have the same opportunity. But not all people’s parents are wealthy. So only some have the opportunity to inherit. Just as we acknowledge that the sins of the father should not be passed to the son, why should we accept that what the parents do right should get passed along. Tabula rasa. A blank slate for all. I’m playing a bit of devil’s advocate here, but I think you’re going to have to try harder if you want to convince me that it’s fair.

            Try this another way. Imagine an island where the only jobs available are given to tall men. Thus only tall men have money to pass to their children. Because all people (tall and short) have equal opportunity to pass what they have to their children, you would consider this system fair. But then the children of short parents still have no chance of getting anything. This is not fair. It is only fair if everyone starts even and the discrepancies are based on difference inherent to the individual and their personal actions. Anything else is a rigged system.

            The game of football is fair to all because the rules are the same for all.
            Just because the Bills Suck doesn’t make the game unfair. It just means the Bills Suck.
            Cheap shot. But it would cease to be a fair game if one side were allowed to use steroids and the other wasn’t. This is what’s happening. The Bills aren’t allowed to ‘roid up and then they lose and everyone pretends that it’s a fair system. It’s not.

            The wealth or lack thereof of those who posit philosophical theories has no bearing on the ideas they put forth. You, Charlie and Todd are using the traditional socialist trick of trying to discount one’s opinions and ideas because they happen to be wealthy. Actually this is exactly wrong. Charlie, Todd and I are arguing that it’s irrelevant. Peter was the one who asked me to explain why some poor people agree with Bastiat and I pointed out that there are rich people who disagree, thus wealth is irrelevant to the discussion.

            In my view it is a quite pitful[sic] practice. “They were all rich white men therefore……..”

            Is that the sum of the intellectual defense of socialism? Again, not quite. I am not condoning anything against someone because they happen to be rich, white and male. Rather, I am suggesting that it is unfair to give a massive advantage to someone just because they happen to be the child of a rich white male. An advantage that a child of a poor white male has no chance to get. Everyone isn’t playing with the same set of rules. Thus unfair.

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              Well Mathius,

              You are twisting reality to suit your needs quite nicely!

              You see, the free market is like (to use Charlie’s analogy) football.

              All teams operate under the same set of rules. Some teams are successful, others are not.

              In a free-market capitalist system, your father and my father would both operate under the same set of rules. It is POSSIBLE that your father might be highly successful, while mine might not be. As a result, you might inherit his wealth, but I might inherit nothing. However, THERE IS NOTHING UNFAIR ABOUT THIS, because my father and your father WERE INDEED operating under the same set of rules, therefore you cannot claim it was unfair.

              You are trying to claim unfairness because under the same set of rules, 2 different people had different OUTCOMES.

              OUTCOMES do nothing whatsoever to determine FAIRNESS. The only thing that determined fairness is if the original set of rules was ethical and consistent. What you do with yourself and what you are able to give to your children once those rules have been established is your own business.

              You have to decide for yourself which you actually want. Do you want a set of rules which are fair and ethical (which is what Bastiat wants in “The Law”), or do you want a set of rules which contradict ethics in the name of trying to equalize outcomes?

              As long as the rules are fair and ethical, your outcome and my outcome are highly likely to be completely different. Just because they have different outcomes does not indicate unfairness in any way.

              You seem to want to rewrite the rules of football so that every team ends up 8-8 (to again use Charlie’s analogy).

            • Matt:

              Todd raised the issue of STATUS relative to the efficacy of the right to own property. It is a standard socialist attack on the concept. You defended Todds’ position.

              Thus the monkey of proving your point that it somehow affects the truth of the argument, is on you not Peter.

              Peter’s question was raised because Todd raised the issue. Which he has done before and I believe you have as well.

              As for the rest of your response your position is based on the confusion over fair rules versus what you see as fair outcome. You somehow equate fairness of opportunity on equality of economic or some other arbitrary measurement.

              Your island example is flawed from the premise that only Tall men get jobs. If the rules are fair then no such rule would exist.

              So is your steroids example. The rules are the same. A team using steroids is cheating, they are violating the rules of the game. They are using the protection of govenment to steal from the honest teams to give themselves an advantage they are unable to achieve for some reason only known to them.

              Now for the meat; “I am suggesting that it is unfair to give a massive advantage to someone just because they happen to be the child of a rich white male. An advantage that a child of a poor white male has no chance to get. Everyone isn’t playing with the same set of rules. Thus unfair.”

              Please provide some logical and reasoned explanation as to why this is NOT FAIR.

            • Matt:

              P.S.:

              “Just as we acknowledge that the sins of the father should not be passed to the son, why should we accept that what the parents do right should get passed along.”

              This is a fallaceous conclusion. You compare “sin” which is a condition of conduct, or behaviour to the physical nature of property.

              They are not equal in their nature and thus your use of the comparison is a fallacy.

          • Why do you assume a man leaving his wealth to his family is totally fair?

            I think it is totally unfair. What have his family (assuming you mean children) to do with his wealth?

            And the Bills suck because their owner is cheap (and incredibly stupid). Now, the stupid part we can do little about, but his being greedy and not spending is why they suck (as opposed to teams that do spend). Talent going to the highest bidder (while I’m totally against this capitalist paradigm) will make the highest bidder the better team but how is that fair (if one owner hasn’t the means to offer the higher bid)?

            Let’s stick to real life … how and why do you assume inheritance is fair?

            • wealth to his family is totally fair

              Because it is his property, and as such, he can dispose of it in any manner he sees fit.

              If you wish to disturb private property, you will significantly risk the unraveling of the core of society, and its destruction.

              Ideas have consequences, Charlie.

        • Wait Matt, my point giving friend…I do not understand. So what if it is luck? Who cares how? Would you say the same of a person going to Las Vegas and getting lucky? Gaming, Matt, gaming. 🙂

          we have people all the time pulling welfare because they are not working and they have not earned it.

          Please tell me the difference?

          • Vegas is a great comparison.

            If you put a dollar on black and I put a dollar on red, our odds are the same. One of us will probably end up a dollar richer (or it could land on 0 or 00 and then we both lose). This is perfectly fair. We both have a chance of winning.

            But in terms of inheritance, the poor child has no chance of winning because they aren’t given that first dollar to gamble with. It’s not their fault. They didn’t choose the risk and lose. They didn’t do anything wrong. They had no opportunity to change their situation. So you have an opportunity they do no. So if the ball lands on black and you’re lucky, great, but it’s still not fair to the poor kid who wasn’t given the chance to play.

            • Bingo (so to speak) Mathius!

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              Mathius,

              Once AGAIN you mistake equal outcomes with FAIRNESS.

              They have nothing to do with each other.

              In fact, when you attempt to FORCE equal outcomes, you are BEING UNFAIR.

              I am not sure that you will ever actually “get” that concept, but I am putting it out there anyway.

              At any rate, should you have any children, please make sure to donate all of your wealth to the government upon your death in order to be true to your core principle 🙂

              We wouldn’t want your kids to start out with an unfair advantage now, would we?

              (I am saying that with my tounge firmly planted in my cheek by the way, so don’t take it wrong… just trying to point out that if you did leave any inheritance to any of your progeny you would be a hypocrite under your own “rules”)

            • And of course if I put my money on a number and you put yours on black I will get a greater return for incurring the greater risk.

              Using your logic that is UNFAIR.

              Yet you could have played the number if you chose.

            • Matt,
              Life is just not “fair” in the way that you want it to be. It’s not fair that you were born smarter or better looking or more talented than someone else either. How are you going to fix those “injustices”? Shall we feed the smart children lead to dumb them down so it’s “fair”? Maybe we can give all men a chance to have sex with the good looking women, so it’s not unfair to the ugly guys and find some way to cripple the talented athletes. When you try to make life “fair”, you only end up creating more injustice.

              • Harrison Bergeron (a Kurt Vonnegut short story makes Jennie’s point very well) … but it isn’t about suddenly making everything fair. To gradually offer at least a level playing field (over time) isn’t a bad idea. We don’t have to cripple athletes or dumb down, but perhaps let everyone try and start from a similar point (i.e., no inherited wealth, etc.).

              • We do start at the same point – you are free to earn your own way as you see fit. How can anyone ask for more?

            • So the answer is to ensure that everyone is placed at an equally low status? Nonsense.

              The child born to a wealthy parent is lucky. Just as the child born to two tall parents is lucky, as they have a greater chance of making millions in the NBA. The child born to a smart set of parents has anunfair advantage being born smart. That is how life works. I consider myself extremely lucky, as I was born smart and healthy. I was also born poor. I am now middle class, through hard work. I believe that I have the right to save my money and pass it on to my son, so that he gains whatever advantage I can provide for him. Who are you to take away my right to do so?

              • USW: I’ll guarantee that you’re version of poor can be bested by an even more poor poor (so to speak). It isn’t about taking away … it’s about “there but for the grace of God” … why shouldn’t people born with lesser means be uplifted so they have a chance to do better?

                It seems to me the Ayn Rand argument is immoral here; you were born lucky, tough noogies to those who weren’t. That is immoral to some (me included), but I do understand what you’re saying. I just don’t agree with it.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                Why is that unfair Charlie?

                To you it is apparently more fair to take away (steal from) those that have, in order that those who do not have are allowed to “start at the same point”. The problem is, your “solution” only addresses one thing, MONEY. It does not address intellect, talent, work ethic, social skills, and a host of other things that make us individual human beings. Because we are all individuals, you cannot “equalize” all of these things.

                If a rich man bequeaths his fortune to his son, his son might start a successful new business with it and hire thousands of people. He also might sit on his ass and squander the money. You cannot predict which.

                If you take that money from the rich man’s son and “spread it out” among thousands of “the poor”, it is not going to give any of them the individual ability to start that successful business and hire thousands of people, because by “spreading it around” you have diluted it to the point where economically speaking (from a growth standpoint) the money has become largely useless.

                If you give one, or maybe a few individual poor enough of the rich man’s son’s money that they have the potential to start a successful business, some of them might do that and hire thousands of people. Others might sit on their asses and squander the money. You cannot predict which will happen.

                Since you cannot KNOW that stealing the rich man’s son’s money and giving it to “the poor” will result in a better outcome than letting the rich man’s son keep his money, the only moral thing to do is support the fact that it is rightfully his property (because it is).

              • Nah, education comes with the advantage; without it, no tmany would do so well and those who have in the past would have a much more diffficult time of it today. don’t buy it.

              • How does education relate to inheritances? Most kids get educations from their rich parents while they’re alive, not after they’re dead.

                The net result of an inheritance tax is that a small family-owned business must be sold upon the death of the owner in order to pay the taxes on it.

              • Peter B,

                If you want to see a great example of what happens when ‘poor’ people get a pile of money they haven’t earned, just look into what happens in the Marshall Islands. The US government leases areas of an atoll. The Marshallese government is paid over 10 Million dollars a year. This arrangement has been in place for decades. I’m not sure what the popluation of the Marshall Islands is but it seems to me that there should be plenty of money to go around. In addition to free money, some residents of Ebeye work on the US base. It is well known that workers support entire extended families. Members of the royal family can confiscate whatever property or belongings of the people they want. The Marshallese workers in the retail shops on the base are expected to allow the upper classes to steal from the shops. If they don’t do this, they then usually receive a beating when they leave the base. If they do allow the theft, they lose their job if discovered. Ebeye has intermittant electricity and not much in the way of clean drinking water. The US Government has provided the Marshallese government with equipment and personnel to rectify the problem many times. However, the result is always the same. Assests are plundered and equipment in neglected until it fails. Then the ‘rich uncle’ is expected to provide more stuff in addition to the stuff that is regularly provided. If you want to see what Ebeye looks like, you can probably find it on google maps. Its a shanty town. Majuro is the captial and it isn’t much better. I understand that landowners who receive a stipend from the US government live very comfortably in Hawaii and California. It seems that giving poor people money they don’t have to earn results in corruption and lots more poor people.

              • Charlie’s “system” would harm those who have done nothing to deserve being harmed. That makes it evil. Even if it were wrong to see a mugging and not intervene (which I would say it is), it is much more wrong to be the mugger (which is what “levelling the playing field” equates to). If Charlie wants to level the playing field he is free to sell all his possessions and distribute them as he sees fit. Once he advocates taking the possessions of others he has stepped over the line and become the mugger. This goes way beyond “morality” or “immorality” and into the zone of universally right or wrong. Taking the possessions of others against their will is always wrong, no matter if you call it “taxation”, fraud, theft, or welfare.

              • That is one way to look at it, Kent. The other (and the way most see it) is that people agree to work in commune for the betterment of the greater good.

                The way I see it, if you have food and watch someone starve, you’re evil. There’s that morality glitch again.

          • Female welfare addicts (those underserving of aid) should have a chip inserted so they can’t reproduce and/or the males something similar. Both, upon committing welfare fraud, should be granted a one-way ticket to squalorville.

      • I forgot to mention I’m a Bills fan (extra doses of sympathy more than appreciated). I had to turn off the game last Thursday night … we’re pathetic.

        #1) The gift advantage increases one’s ability to enhance one’s education, standing, etc. He didn’t “earn” his advantage (as you point out in question #2). His advantage was literally gifted to him. I do have issues with inheritance for those types of reasons (I’d want them much more structured) but it is a distinct unfair advantage for the fact he never “earned” it.

        #2) Hard work … earning one’s way toward advantage but the number of those who succeed is far outweighed by those who never get the chance and/or succeed AND how much of the success rate is actually “earned” versus pure luck or some other circumstance(s)? Bill Gates started out (not poor at all) but he’s certainly grown into a giant (and is a decent guy for all his philanthropy) but the accumulation of his wealth had little to do with “his” actually earning it (by the sweat of his bro or what’s inside it). Capitalism and those actually producing his product earned it for him.

        Remember, go easy … I’m still licking my NFL wounds …

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Charlie,

          I know this probably did not happen in your case, but theoretically, lets say your father gives you 5 million dollars.

          Here are some questions for you:

          1. Does it REALLY make any difference if your father gives you the 5 million dollars before or after he dies?

          2. Just because the money was given to you, does that somehow mean that it is not your property?

          I don’t have any problem with you saying that someone who is given 5 million dollars has a POTENTIAL advantage over someone who starts out with nothing. However, there are plenty of people who start out with this advantage and do nothing of any value anyway, while there are people who start out with no advantage and still do great things.

          Oh, and by the way, if you do think that someone is somehow not entitled to property simply because it was given to them rather than earned, I would suggest that you donate any holiday gifts you receive to charity, since you are not entitled to property which was given to you by the rightful owner 🙂

          • No difference, the gifted $5 million is no good under any circumstance. But it isn’t so much the money, but rather how it was/is accumulated I have a problem with.

            I’m against inheritance the way it currently stands (I want structure) with the balance going to the (uh-oh, he’s gonna say it again) greater good …

            I NEVER get anything for Xmas anymore … not since my misspent youth.

        • Charlie, Nice to hear from you again!

          As I was reading along today, I couldn’t help but have a hard time understanding your ideology. Si, I’m gonna try, and correct me when I’m in error.

          You said : #1) The gift advantage increases one’s ability to enhance one’s education, standing, etc. He didn’t “earn” his advantage (as you point out in question #2). His advantage was literally gifted to him. I do have issues with inheritance for those types of reasons (I’d want them much more structured) but it is a distinct unfair advantage for the fact he never “earned” it.

          And: I’m against inheritance the way it currently stands (I want structure) with the balance going to the (uh-oh, he’s gonna say it again) greater good …

          Now help me understand this. You would take the inheritance, because the child did not earn it. Let’s use $5 Million for this test. Charlie takes inheritance of $5 Mil, and splits it with 500,000 less fortunate people (the greater good). The inheritance was stolen because the child did not earn it, given to 1/2 a million poor people, who also didn’t earn it. One week later Charlie now has 500,001 poor people on his greater good list.

          And one wonders why the poorest regions of this country have been under Democratic rule for decades. 🙄

          G!

          • Remember G, I voted for Bush twice (ouch … ouch again).

            I’m a socialist, though … but at least 500,000 are equally poor as opposed to 1 being rich and 499,999 poor (slaves to the rich).

            It works for me.

            • Or Charlie, Let the one rich guy take his inheritance, start a business that grows and provides employment to hundreds or thousands of the poor, and maybe we’d have less poor. Then maybe a couple of these employees team up and start their own business and grows to employ hundreds or thousands, and the cycle repats itself until there are only 500 poor people, and 1000 rich people, and 485,000 have better lives because of the jobs they have. This is exactly why socialism has never worked, it is flawed in theory and takes oppurtunities from people who would like to better themselves.

              It is nice to talk with you again, hope today finds you well!

              G!

              • Your paradigm was viable up until the 50’s, G-man (and it worked very well). Now we have swollen populations and the technology that puts people out of work (global markets and no regulation permit the owners to seek cheap labor elsewhere) and we’ve begun to spin back towards the 1 rich guy and 499,999 poor slobs.

                I’ll be gone on my journey home so I won’t see all of you for a while (or until tomorrow).

                Have a great evening.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                Actually, technology creates jobs, it does not destroy them, and an increasing population leads to increased productivity.

                The US as a country and nearly all other countries in the world are currently materially better off than they were in 1950, so your argument doesn’t really hold water.

              • Okay, then you explain why all the tech jobs are going, going and nearly gone?

                Soon I’ll have to revert to my evil ways and become a street capitlaist.

            • v. Holland says:

              But Charlie with just a little time you would find that those who are equal for this short period of time will not be equal for long-because people are different-are we then to do it again punishing those who do well and rewarding those who don’t, eventually those who do well will either revolt against the unfairness of taking what I have busted my behind to make for myself and for my children, or they will quit busting there butts. Then where will we be-look at the results of welfare and you will see the answer. You cannot take the human factor out, this world is not a utopia and man will only we punished for succeeding so long before they do one of the above-I suspect most people do without in their lifetime in order to leave a little security to their children, if you take that ability away-I’m simply not gonna work that hard and I’m gonna buy what I want not save.

              • V, I totally agree with what you say (after there is an equality to start from) and at that point, I’m fine with elminating welfare, etc. (to those who choose to do nothing with themselves). I’m not a bleeding heart by any stretch of the imagination. The issue for me is that there is way too much of a gap as it stands now (and ever increasing) because of the inherent inequities of our system over time.

              • v. Holland says:

                Charlie, after a few years you will have children who through no fault of their own will start from an unequal point because their parents wasted their money-their are always gonna be people who start at a disadvantage-all the good intentions in the world will not change this- and if you put all the power in the hands of government-then the elite will always have plenty but the poor and the middle class will not even have a change of bettering themselves-it seems to me that you are talking mostly about the inequality of the black population because of slavery-so why would you suggest basically causes all of us except the elites becoming slaves to the elites(government) through socialism.

    • Charlie,

      “I’ll assume that anyone who begins (or is gifted) an unfair advantage will certainly champion the cause of absolute liberty but one has to wonder how they might feel starting from the barest bottom”

      What does that have to do with his thoughts? Accept or reject them on the merits and logic, not any of his personal status. We have all seen movies where a dog wakes the family and saves them from a fire. By your premise, its a stupid animal, we should all go back to sleep and burn up?

  16. Judy Sabatini says:

    Cartoon of the day.

  17. Judy Sabatini says:

    Obama’s 47 Percent Approval Lowest of Any President at This Point

    By Bill Sammon

    President Obama’s job approval rating has fallen to 47 percent in the latest Gallup poll, the lowest ever recorded for any president at this point in his term.

    President Obama’s job approval rating has fallen to 47 percent in the latest Gallup poll, the lowest ever recorded for any president at this point in his term.

    Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and even Richard Nixon all had higher approval ratings 10-and-a-half months into their presidencies. Obama’s immediate predecessor, President George W. Bush, had an approval rating of 86 percent, or 39 points higher than Obama at this stage.

    White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said he doesn’t “put a lot of stock” in the survey by Gallup, which has conducted presidential approval polls since 1938, longer than any other organization.

    “If I was a heart patient and Gallup was my EKG, I’d visit my doctor,” Gibbs said in response to questions from Fox. “I’m sure a six-year-old with a Crayon could do something not unlike that. I don’t put a lot of stake in, never have, in the EKG that is daily Gallup trend. I don’t pay a lot of attention to the meaninglessness of it.”

    The new low comes as Obama struggles to overhaul the nation’s health care system and escalates America’s involvement in the Afghanistan war. He is also presiding over a deep and prolonged recession, with unemployment at 10 percent.

    “There’s no doubt Obama’s 47 percent is mainly a result of the continuing bad economy,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “But there is also a growing concern about government spending and debt, and a sense that Obama is trying to do too much, too soon.”

    He added: “President Obama has reason to be concerned about his ratings. Even in tough times, presidents have usually been able to stay above the critical 50 percent mark in the first year, when the public is most inclined to give the new incumbent the benefit of the doubt.”

    When Gallup began taking presidential approval polls 71 years ago, Franklin Roosevelt had been president for more than five years. During his remaining time in office, his job approval rating never fell below 48 percent.

    The next 11 presidents, both Democrats and Republicans, all had higher job approval ratings than Obama at this stage of their tenure. Their ratings were:

    — George W. Bush, 86 percent
    — Bill Clinton, 52 percent
    — George H.W. Bush, 71 percent
    — Ronald Reagan, 49 percent
    — Jimmy Carter, 57 percent
    — Gerald Ford, 52 percent
    — Richard Nixon, 59 percent
    — Lyndon Johnson, 74 percent
    — John Kennedy, 77 percent
    — Dwight Eisenhower, 69 percent
    — Harry Truman, 49 percent

    The poll is an average of a three-day tracking of 1,529 adults taken Dec. 4-6. It has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

  18. v. Holland says:

  19. The difference between the two extreme groups we have, the Statists/modern progressives and the anarchists/”Black Flags” comes down to a pretty simple philosophical difference:

    Statists believe that the ends *always* justify the means. Thus the most horrid crimes can be committed as long as you have a lofty goal in mind.

    Anarchists believe that the ends *never* justify the means. Thus the most offensive outcomes can be allowed to occur because there is no way to prevent it.

    Most people try to live in the middle, but as soon as you allow a noble “ends” to justify a questionable “means” even just once, then the standard for how good an “ends” must be to justify a bad “means” will eventually get lower and lower until you end up with a fully totalitarian and savage system.

    • Anarchists believe that the ends *never* justify the means.

      Well, Black Flags don’t believe that necessarily.

      What we do believe is:

      “Take care of the means, and the end will take care of itself”

      If you think about it, you will see that is quite a bit different than what you said.

      • Sure. But if I were to propose to you, that if you kill one person you could save a million, you would not take that action. Of course, you would rightly argue that you could not have perfect knowledge of the future outcome of present actions anyway.

        The imperfect knowledge is what causes the line to slip inevitably towards Statism when you try to straddle the middle – if the “ends” turn out to be not so good as advertised, then you’ve already taken the action and justify it to yourself as being all right. Thus, the line moves.

        A Statist would personally execute a million people to save a million plus one. And eventually the imperfect knowledge would result in the deaths of millions to save just a handful – or none at all.

        But yes, the difference is mainly one group prioritizes the ends, and another the means.

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          “Sure. But if I were to propose to you, that if you kill one person you could save a million, you would not take that action. Of course, you would rightly argue that you could not have perfect knowledge of the future outcome of present actions anyway.

          The imperfect knowledge is what causes the line to slip inevitably towards Statism when you try to straddle the middle – if the “ends” turn out to be not so good as advertised, then you’ve already taken the action and justify it to yourself as being all right. Thus, the line moves.”

          You see, the problem is exactly what you stated! I CANNOT have prior knowledge that my action will have anything like the result which you claim!

          We now know that killing Adolf Hitler in oh, say 1935 or so, would have potentially saved over 6 million lives. However, if I had been alive in 1935, you could not have convinced me to kill Hitler, because I would have known that killing is immoral/unethical, and you could not have PROVED to me that Hitler was going to be a monster.

          Of course, the way to prevent Hitler from happening would not have been to KILL him, it would have been to allow Germany to have a freedom after World War I and not use force and coercion to destroy the German economy and control the people of Germany.

          If we had not systematically done everything we could to demoralize the German people and destroy the German economy after World War I, it is pretty unlikely that Hitler would have ever gained any sort of prominence or power.

          • @Peter,

            I agree, that is how you would justify your own prioritization of the means. I’m sure Mathius or Charlie could give some eloquent speech on their own prioritization of the ends. In fact I’d be interested in hearing it.

        • But if I were to propose to you, that if you kill one person you could save a million, you would not take that action. Of course, you would rightly argue that you could not have perfect knowledge of the future outcome of present actions anyway.

          Exactly. There is an infinite number of solutions to a problem, so killing an innocent person is not a good one.

          Further, if you can justify killing innocents for a million, what about 999,999 or 999,998 or …. two…or one?

          What if that one to die is your wife/son/daughter/brother/sister? Would you still do the killing or would you invoke, then, a different logic?

          And because we cannot know the future, we can only do the moral right thing today.

          Like Poker, the outcome is not in your complete control – actually only just a bit of it – the rest is in flux due to the Universe and billions of other situations and decisions.

          So we must separate the outcome from the play.

          This is the only way you can consistently win in poker, and it is the only way you can consistently win in life. It does not mean you always win, it does mean you will play your best.

          Do the right thing, and let the end figure itself out.

      • How about

        The means make the ends just.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      I personally think that the the ONLY way to get to the “end” which you desire is to use “means” which you can justify rather than rationalize.

      If your means are just (moral/ethical), then your end product will be such as well.

      I believe that the Statists believe that you can reach a morally desireable “end” by using immoral and unethical “means”. For example, “Yeah we are using force or the threat of force to take money which you have rightfully earned away from you, but we are feeding the poor with it!”

      See, they are using an evil means to accomplish a “good”. Feeding someone who cannot afford food is good right? I mean, even I think feeding someone who is in need is good…

      This is exactly the contradiction Bastiat talks about. You CANNOT use a law which is not good (a law which allows for theft) in order to accomplish something which IS good. Such a law causes society to collapse, because most people are perfectly capable of RECOGNIZING the contradiction, but most people are ill-equipped to figure their way OUT OF the contradiction!

      If I am to support “civilized society”, then I MUST support the STATE and the LAW; and yet I know that a law allowing for theft is immoral, so now what do I do???

      For Bastiat, the answer is to FIND WAYS OF SOLVING PROBLEMS which avoid the above contradiction!!! That is, use moral and ethical MEANS in order to achieve morally and ethically desireable ENDS and then you won’t have this problem!

      🙂

  20. Judy Sabatini says:

    Thought it was time for a couple funnies

    The Nuns And The Blind Man

    It was a hot day outside..so the three nuns decided to take off there clothes and bolt the door to there church.

    Since there was stain glass windows, nobody could see inside, and the door was locked.

    The nuns were busy doing renovations when a Thud, Thud, Thud hit the door.

    The shocked nun ran to the door and pulled her clothes up over herself, when she asked “Who is it”?

    The reply from behind the door was “It’s the blind man”.

    The 3 nuns looked relieved when they heard he was the blind man, no sight no problem they figured, and let him in.

    Upon opening the door, in entered a burly man in coveralls and said “Holy shit sister nice tits!! … Where do you want your blinds? “

  21. Judy Sabatini says:

    > Three Rednecks were working up on a cell phone tower:

    > Cooter, Ronnie and Donnie.

    > > As they start their descent, Cooter slips, falls off

    > the tower and is DRT (Dead Right Thar).

    > > As the ambulance takes the body away, Ronnie says,

    > ‘Well, someone should go and tell his wife.’

    > > Donnie says, ‘OK, I’m pretty good at that

    > sensitive stuff, I’ll do it.’

    > > Two hours later, he comes back carrying a case of

    > Budweiser.

    > > Ronnie says, ‘Where did you get that beer,

    > Donnie?’

    > > ‘Cooter’s wife gave it to me,’ Donnie

    > replies.

    > > ‘That’s unbelievable, you told the lady her

    > husband was dead and she gave you beer?’

    > > ‘Well, not exactly’, Donnie says, ‘When

    > she answered the door, I said to her, “you must be

    > Cooter’s widow”.’

    > > She said, ‘You must be mistaken, I’m not a

    > widow.’

    > > Then I said,

    > ‘I’ll bet you a case of Budweiser you are.’

  22. Judy Sabatini says:

    Subject: HOLY SOAP

    Two priests are off to the showers late one night. They
    > > undress and step into the showers before they realize
    > > there
    > > is no soap.
    > >
    > > Father John says he has soap in his room and goes to get
    > > it, not bothering to dress. He grabs two bars of
    > > soap, one
    > > in each hand, and heads back to the showers.
    > >
    > > He is halfway down the hall when he sees three nuns
    > > heading
    > > his way.
    > >
    > > Having no place to hide, he stands against the wall and
    > > freezes like he’s a statue.
    > >
    > > The nuns stop and comment on how life-like he looks.
    > >
    > > The first nun suddenly reaches out and pulls on his
    > > manhood. Startled, he drops a bar of soap.
    > >
    > > “Oh look,” says the first nun, “It’s a
    > > soap
    > > dispenser.”
    > >
    > > To test her theory, the second nun also pulls on his
    > > manhood. Sure enough, he drops the second bar of
    > > soap.
    > >
    > > Now the third nun decides to have a go. She pulls
    > > once,
    > > Then twice and three times but nothing happens. So
    > > she gives
    > > several more tugs, then yells,
    > >
    > > “Holy Mary, Mother of God, hand lotion,
    > > too!”
    > >

    • Judy,

      You bad girl, LOL

      Stewart: Obama Should Count Sex Acts To Boost Low Job Numbers

      http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2009/12/08/stewart-uses-crude-sexual-humor-bash-obamas-jobs-summit

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        Not me LOI I just receive them then I in turn put them here, you are the bad one for reading them. LOL

        • No, I am the bad one because I do so enjoy fish…

          • Judy Sabatini says:

            That was funny as heck. I’m still laughing at it. Thanks.

          • A three-year-old boy went with his dad to see a new litter of kittens.

            On returning home, he breathlessly informed his mother, “There were two boy kittens and two girl kittens.”

            “How did you know that?” his mother asked.

            “Daddy picked them up and looked underneath,” he replied. “I think it’s printed on the bottom.”

          • A Widdle Wabbit

            A little girl walks into a pet shop and asks in the sweetest little lisp, “Excuthe me, mithter, do you keep wittle wabbits?”

            The shopkeeper gets down on his knees, so that he’s on her level, and asks, “Do you want a wittle white wabby or a soft and fuwwy black wabby or maybe one like that cute wittle brown wabby over there?”

            She in turn puts her hands on her knees, leans forward, and says in a quiet voice, “I don’t fink my pyfon weally gives a thit!”

          • The Late Goldfish

            Little Tim was in the garden filling in a hole when his neighbor peered over the fence. Interested in what the cheeky faced youngster was up to, he politely asked, “What are you up to there, Tim?”

            “My goldfish died,” replied Tim tearfully, without looking up, “and I’ve just buried him.”

            The neighbor was concerned, “That’s an awfully big hole for a goldfish, isn’t it?”

            Tim patted down the last heap of earth then replied, “That’s because he’s inside your damned cat.”

          • Bear Warning!

            After a number of attacks on hikers and campers in Alaska, the Department of Fish & Game released the following advisory:

            We advise that outdoorsmen wear noisy little bells on their clothing so as not to startle bears. We also advise outdoorsmen to carry pepper spray with them in case of an encounter with a bear. It is also a good idea to watch out for fresh signs of bear activity.

            Outdoorsmen should recognize the difference between Black Bear and Grizzly Bear droppings. Black bear droppings are smaller and contain lots of berries and squirrel fur. Grizzly bear droppings have little bells in it and smell like pepper.

    • Judy, I think you posted you don’t care for modern music. While I like some of the old stuff, there are still a few good songs coming out.

      Enjoy, and a good night.

      Take your head around the world
      See what you get
      From your mind
      Write your soul down word for word
      See who’s your friend
      Who is kind
      It’s almost like a disease
      I know soon you will be

      Over the lies, you’ll be strong
      You’ll be rich in love and you will carry on
      But no – oh no
      No you won’t be mine

      Take your straight line for a curve
      Make it stretch, the same old line
      Try to find if it was worth what you spent
      Why you’re guilty for the way
      You’re feeling now
      It’s almost like being free
      And I know soon you will be

      Over the lies, you’ll be strong
      You’ll be rich in love and you will carry on
      But no – oh no
      No you won’t be mine

      Take yourself out to the curb
      Sit and wait
      A fool for life
      It’s almost like a disease
      I know soon you will be

      Over the lies, you’ll be strong
      You’ll be rich in love and you will carry on
      But no – oh no
      No you won’t be mine

  23. Judy Sabatini says:

    Angel Knocking
    at the Door

    There came a frantic knock

    At the doctor’s office door,

    A knock, more urgent than

    he had ever heard before.

    ~~~~

    “Come in, Come in,”

    the impatient doctor said,

    “Come in, Come in,

    before you wake the dead.”

    ~~

    In walked a frightened little girl,

    a child no more than nine,

    It was plain for all to see,

    she had troubles on her mind.

    ~~~

    “Oh doctor, I beg you,

    please come with me,

    My mother is surely dying,

    she’s as sick as she can be.”

    ~~~~

    “I don’t make house calls,

    bring your mother here,”

    “But she’s too sick,

    so you must come or she will die I fear.”

    ~~~~

    The doctor, touched by her devotion,

    decided he would go,

    She said he would be blessed,

    more than he could know.

    ~~~~

    She led him to her house

    where her mother lay in bed,

    Her mother was so very sick

    she couldn’t raise her head.

    ~~~~

    But her eyes cried out for help

    and help her the doctor did,

    She would have died that very night

    had it not been for her kid.

    ~~~~

    The doctor got her fever down

    and she lived through the night,

    And morning brought the doctor signs,

    that she would be all right.

    ~~~~

    The doctor said he had to leave

    but would return again by two,

    And later he came back to check,

    just like he said he’d do.

    ~~~~

    The mother praised the doctor

    for all the things he’d done,

    He told her she would have died,

    were it not for her little one.

    ~~~~

    “How proud you must be

    of your wonderful little girl,

    It was her pleading that made me come,

    she is really quite a pearl!

    ~~~~

    “But doctor, my daughter died

    over three years ago,

    Is the picture on the wall

    of the little girl you know?”

    ~~~~

    The doctor’s legs went limp

    for the picture on the wall,

    Was the same little girl

    for whom he’d made this call.

    ~~~~

    The doctor stood motionless,

    for quite a little while,

    And then his solemn face,

    was broken by his smile.

    ~~~~

    He was thinking of that frantic knock

    heard at his office door,

    And of the beautiful little angel

    that had walked across his floor.

    ~~~~

    Share the Blessing of Heavenly Love!

  24. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    An “end” cannot be measured in terms of right, wrong, fair, or unfair, it is simply an end.

    We can only measure the MEANS which were used to attempt to reach that end in those terms.

    For example, let’s say I want to have more money (end). I can:

    A: Go out and TRY TO steal it, or

    B: Go out and TRY TO earn it.

    Neither A nor B is a GUARANTEE OF SUCCESS. I might fail at trying to steal money, just as I might fail at trying to earn it. However, we KNOW that to try to have more money by doing A is wrong, while trying to have more money by doing B is ok.

    Those that wish for equality of OUTCOMES will tell you that if you cannot be successful at B, then we will go ahead and do A for you so that you can have more money, but since WE are doing A FOR YOU, you don’t need to feel bad about it.

  25. Charlie Stella said “If you can stand living with Buffalo Bills paraphernalia, you’re more than welcomed.”

    I don’t care about sports of any kind one way or another so it won’t bother me at all, but some of that paraphernalia might have to be shoved aside to make room for the collections and weapons I will bring with me.

  26. Charlie Stella said “I’m already a slave. Anyone on the short end of the stick is.

    I’m not a slave, yet I’d bet my situation is worse than yours, at least right now. Not than I want to get into a contest over it. You choose to some extent where to hold the stick, or whether to even take it, when it is handed to you.

  27. Charlie Stella said “How bout we split the apple?”

    Then everyone starves in most real life situations. If the owner of the apple chooses to share, that is great. If he is forced to “share” he is not sharing, but being attacked. I would not take the stolen section of apple, except to hand it back to the rightful owner in that case. I might negotiate for it, though. What can I offer in exchange? Companionship? Assistance? Knowledge? A future payoff of more apples?

  28. TexasChem says:

    Ok so back to Natural Law.I propose that from Natural Law; society has gathered various morals, values and ethics to become what it is today.Which in my opinion is still far from being an ideal society.

    The Sophist Antiphon believed the idea that all laws are merely conventions and that what is “natural” is the pursuit of self-interest. Human nature, in other words, is grounded in egoism. Morality, law and justice are at best the embodiment of enlightened self-interest. Thus civilization is a product of artifice and expediency; it is not a moral Jello mold.

    This leads me into the premise that human nature and society have been entertwined in a coevolutionary process.I propose that until humankind can realistically apply Natural Law in its basic form and understanding (God),without influence from ego and self interest then society cannot evolve further than what it has.

    🙂

    • Tex:

      The application of Natural Law REQUIRES the influence of EGO and SELF INTEREST.

      Until we embrace those values we will continue to destroy our own.

      The golden rule of do unto others comes from ego and self interest. It is the expression of what it takes to preserve SELF in a way that fullfills our EGO.

      Morals don’t, or at least shouldn’t, come from Laws, natural or otherwise. The concept is that Natural Law represents the underlying Morality that developed over thousands of years of mankinds attempt at becoming more civilized.

      • TexasChem says:

        JaC stated:”The application of Natural Law REQUIRES the influence of EGO and SELF INTEREST.”

        TC:If natural law deems good that which is known self-evidently to be good, according as it tends towards the fulfilment/betterment of a person then what need do we have of ego or self interest in regards to its application?

        JaC:”Until we embrace those values we will continue to destroy our own.”

        TC: I agree as long as you are speaking of embracing Natural Law and not ego and self interest! 😉

        JaC:”The golden rule of do unto others comes from ego and self interest. It is the expression of what it takes to preserve SELF in a way that fullfills our EGO.”

        TC:Agree somewhat but disagree as well…bout to get off work will reply later.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        JAC, you have hit on a key thought here.

        The “law” is “do unto others as you would HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU”

        This means that if you treat others with dignity and respect, you are attempting to increase the chance that others will treat you LIKEWISE. If you do not attack a non-violent person, you are hoping to decrease the chance of others attacking you without provocation.

        The key is DECREASING THE CHANCE.

        No matter how we personally behave, there will always be evil people in the world. Bad people will do bad things, regardless of how you personally behave. However, the majority of people will, in fact, treat you the way that you treat them!

        If you show someone by your actions that it is ok to steal food in order to provide it to the hungry, then you have condoned theft. If you have an excess of food and you choose to give some of that food to the hungry, you have condoned being charitable.

        If you go out and show hungry people how to grow their own food, catch their own fish, hunt for their own meat, and various other skills, you have condoned teaching.

        Government forcing you or I to give the fruits of our labors to others = bad
        You or I choosing to freely give the fruits of our labors to those in need = good
        You or I teaching others to provide for themselves = good and productive

  29. You have to love un-biased reporting, no interjecting personal opinions, no cheap tricks to mis-lead the viewers, like standing in the ocean….

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/brent-baker/2009/12/07/nets-panic-clock-zero-life-death-effort-avoid-global-catastrophe

    Nets Panic: Clock at Zero in ‘Life and Death’ Effort to Avoid ‘Global Catastrophe’
    By Brent Baker
    December 7, 2009 – 23:59 ET

    “Facing a clock some say has ticked down to zero, today 192 nations came together to take on a potential global catastrophe,” a dire ABC reporter Bob Woodruff ominously intoned from Copenhagen on Monday’s World News with “Saving the Planet?” on screen.

    Those attending the conference on climate change “where an official said today the clock has ticked down to zero and it’s time to act,” NBC anchor Brian Williams warned, “say it’s so late in the game, so much damage has been done, they fear they can already see how this ends.” Anne Thompson then declared: “This is about life or death — 192 countries are here in Copenhagen to cut the carbon emissions changing the climate and threatening the very existence of some nations and their people.”

    Echoing that theme, CBS’s Mark Phillips stood in water up to his neck and then became completely submerged to illustrate the feared impact of rising sea levels: “The Maldives have become the canary in the global warming coal mine.”

    NBC and ABC raised “ClimateGate” in passing – without actually using the term – only to dismiss the revelations. “The man who leads the U.N. panel that blames human activity for climate change said the science is broad and consistent,” Thompson reassured NBC viewers. Woodruff applied the “denier” pejorative as he asserted “climate change deniers say these e-mails are proof humans aren’t causing global warming,” but “U.S. officials say the evidence proves otherwise.”
    Story Continues Below Ad ↓

    Ending on an upbeat note, at least in the eyes of liberals, Woodruff contended “one thing the U.S. has in its favor here in Copenhagen is a new President with star power who is more willing to negotiate a climate treaty than his predecessor.”

    On Monday’s CBS Evening News, Phillips set up his stunt of standing in rising levels of water:

    No place in the Maldives is higher than 7 feet, ten inches above sea level. 80 percent of the land lies three feet or less above the waves. And sea levels are predicted to rise by as much as 23 inches this century according to the UN’s climate change panel. Other, more recent studies using newer data have warned the world’s oceans may rise even higher. Even the least bad scenario for sea level rise would have the place looking like this [standing in water]. Worst predictions would have the place looking like this [water up to his neck]. Or worst of all, like this [submerged].

    • LOI,

      What a shame these people are to the term “press”. ARRGGHHH!

    • On another note, Obutthead will be going to Copenhagen, and may enter into a treaty that may cost billions in tax dollars. I would like to know where the Constitution gives the POTUS or Congress the power to collect taxes to give to other nations? I’ve read the whole darn Constitution and can’t find it. All I can find is that taxes are to be used for the citizens (US) benefit. Nowhere does it say they can tax to give to other nations. I need some help here!

      G!

      • TexasChem says:

        This mess is going to come to a huge head and cause cicil unrest.These policies that are being implemented or so far out of the American norm that there will be no way around it.

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        But G, don’t you know they can change the constitution to suit themselves as they see fit too. Seems to me, if they see something in the constitution they don’t agree with, then POOF!, that goes away, and they slip what they want in it.

        But, that’s just my opinion.

        • This actually normal for people in power. It happens at work all the time with the Bargaining Unit Contract, that for some reason, management thinks they can just change it on a whim. That ain’t happening at work, why then should I, or you, or us, allow it to happen in D.C. The question is how to attack it and change the mentallity.

          G!

          • Judy Sabatini says:

            That’s a hard one, and I recall you asked that a while back.

          • I was in management and always followed the contract. It was always the Union trying to stretch the language to suit their needs and/or convince an arbitrator to rule in their favor on gray language. I was outnumbered 3 to 1 in union meetings. It was fun to listen to the Union and then hand them the contract and ask them to point out to me what in the contract was violated. They usually could not or cited some language that had nothing to do with the matter. If the Company and Union agreed to contract language, then follow it to the letter. Sounds like hospital management doesn’t know labor relations very well.

            As far as following the Constitution, good luck with that. It isn’t going to happen. The genie is out of the bottle and there is no way to put it back.

            • BM, It was that way when I chose to become a Rep. I changed that mentallity, because it’s far more important to work with the company, than to continue to handcuff it. I don’t choose to file grievences, they choose that path for me, as I always try to fix the issue first. I do not like the Union mentallity at all, and can do without it, but do what I do for the good of both the members and the company. If the company fails, everyone fails!

              G!

              • G-Man:

                Found this on another site:

                Obama Orders 1 Million US Troops To Prepare For Civil War

                The European Union Times reports that Russian Military Analysts are reporting to Prime Minister Putin that Barack Obama has issued orders to his Northern Command’s (USNORTHCOM) top leader, US Air Force General Gene Renuart, to “begin immediately” increasing his military forces to 1 million troops by January 30, 2010, in what these reports warn is an expected outbreak of civil war within the United States before the end of winter.

                According to these reports, Obama has had over these past weeks “numerous” meetings with his war council about how best to manage the expected implosion of his Nations banking system while at the same time attempting to keep the United States military hegemony over the World in what Russian Military Analysts state is a “last ditch gambit” whose success is “far from certain”.

                And to Obama’s “last ditch gambit,” these reports continue, he is to announce in a nationwide address to his people this coming week that he is going to expand the level of US Military Forces in Afghanistan by tens of thousands of troops, while at the same time using the deployment of these soldiers as a “cover” for returning to the United States over 200,000 additional American soldiers from the over 800 bases in over 39 countries they have stationed around the Globe bringing the level of these forces in America to over 1 million, a number the US Military believes will be able to contain the “explosion of violence” expected to roil these peoples when they learn their economy has been bankrupted.

                Continue reading here . . .

                The Times ends their article with this:

                What remains to be seen, and these reports do not speculate upon, is if the citizen-soldiers of the United States will fire upon and kill their fellow countrymen during the coming conflict, but if history is to be our guide clearly shows this will be the case as the once great American Nation continues its headlong plunge into the abyss of history. May God have mercy upon all of them.

                Then on December 7th:

                More Scrub-A-Dub-Dub

                Two days ago, I posted an item from the European Union Times, “Obama Orders 1 Million US Troops To Prepare For Civil War.”

                As of 0700 hours, this morning, the entire European Union Times website has disappeared from the Internet. The Internet Archive — the Wayback Machine — has “no matches” for the website or the article.

                I can understand the site being hacked by Obots, but what happened to the stuff in the Internet Archive?

                I assume the archiving process is an automated one. So even if someone hacked the European Union Times, there should be pages archived, but there are none. It would have taken some form of human intervention to do such a thorough job of scrubbing all instances of the European Union Times’ web pages.

                However, there are 149,000 items returned in a Google web search for “European Union Times” — I expect that page will disappear shortly — seeing that Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt is such a big Obama supporter — Obama returned the favor by appointing Schmidt to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

              • Reply below at the bottom, too squishy here.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Actually G, the Constitution states that ANY treaty which is ratified is BINDING. Therefore, if we sign off on a treaty which says we are obligated to pay taxes to other nations and that treaty is ratified, we are bound by that treaty.

        • I would agree with you there, but is it Constitutional? Nothing says they can tax to give to other nations, and I say PERIOD, on that. If D.C. does this, then they would be in violation of the Constitution. At least that my understanding of the words in the big C. 🙂

          • GMan

            Sorry my friend.

            If the Senate ratifies it, it becomes law.

            Then if Congress passes said taxes or includes said expenditures in the budget it is legal.

            Remember the other name for the tax clause?

            Its called the General Welfare provision.

            The courts have pretty much ruled that Congress may tax for anything it desires and because it has the authority to tax, it must also have the authority to create the need for the tax.

            While I agree it is not in the document, we must remember that the document has been revised by the Supreme Court. It is their interpretation we are living with.

            Sorry to leave you with such a sour thought so late in the evening.

  30. Todd, Matt, Charlie and others of like beliefs.

    Fair is NOT a right.

    Fairness exists when we all have the same right to act in accordance with our own ambitions, conditions, and abilities.

    Acting in accordance with our ambitions, conditions, and abilities in pursuit of a flourishing life is a right.

    • I concur JAC!

      Life could never be fair under the Liberal Left mentallity. What they consider fair to one, is inherintly unfair to another.

      How are Ya today?, Well I hope!

      G!

      • GMan

        I am very well thank you.

        I think the whole “life isn’t fair” mantra was invented by a socialist.

        It immediately causes us to try and identify the “unfairness” about life.

        Life is fair because those that have life are alive.

        The rest is up to them.

        Hope you are well also.
        JAC

        • Doing well, Thanks for asking (although I’m still poor and life just ain’t fair 🙂 ).

          I found this interesting, and it may fit in with many discussions here. Does this say that the best representatives are the loners of the world?

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

          I’m what one would qualify as a loner. I do not conform to the ideologies of those I’m around (especially at work). As a union Rep, I represent members based on the facts, not with emotions. I’m usually up against as many as five members of management, and have never lost when they are wrong. But, I do not defend the guilty with the same vigor, rather try and change the attitudes of the guilty and of management, hopefully, for the betterment of both.

          Would like to hear your opinion on this rather old experiment. It may prove helpful in the future.

          G!

          • GMan

            Interesting link. I had not heard of the Asch experiments.

            While experts say they are different it would appear that the phsychology discovered by Asch is related to the Group Think phenomina

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

            Years ago, when working for dear Uncle Sam, I was called a Maverick. Didn’t bother me although I knew full well it was meant as a perjorative.

            Then another fella came along and told me he had been reading some book, wish I could remember what it was, that pointed out that virtually all the great advances of civilization were the result of ideas or actions by Mavericks.

            Inventions, philosophical concepts like Liberty, economic concepts like Laissez Fare Capitalism, and political concepts like a democratic republic.

            Even the success of great companies could be traced to a Maverick who stepped outside the box and took a chance on his/her beliefs. When the crowd wanted to go the other way.

            Maverick is just another name for non conformist. Be proud, you are a leader of humanity.

            I do think the findings of this study are valid. That is I have seen the effect in real life situations. I didn’t know it had a name.

            Group think I have also seen and can usually spot quickly. It is equally dangerous as it actually prevents feasible options from even being considered.

            One of the first studies of the effect of Group Think on major political decisions was the Bay of Pigs. It was a classic analysis of how the psychology worked and how people went along because they thought everyone else already agreed. Yet very few had actually agreed. It was all a perception based on assumptions.

            See any similarities to current events?

            Good night my friend.

            Dream of wide open spaces, tall grass swaying in the breeze, and the scent of pine on the air. Feel the warmth of the sun on your face and of freedom in your soal.

            JAC

  31. When I saw this video 4 years ago, I was impressed. 4 Years later, it’s somewhat inspiring. Merry Christmas Everyone!

  32. Reply from post #29.

    Birdman,

    Not a surprise and have heard some whispers of this many months ago. Our good Colonel, who has much knowledge of this has expressed his concern in past posts.

    In my humble veteran opinion, this is a major mistake. Our kids will not shoot at us, even if ordered to do so. This move is to quell the innercity mess that will occur, if the economy collapses (which I feel is likely).

    I do talk to many military folks still, they do not like what the govt. has become, and will side with the people after the innercity mess is squashed. The problem is within the cities, not outside of them, as our men and women know damn well that that attacking the citizens outside of the cities would be suicide for this country, and they won’t let that happen. The civilian gun owners will not stay in the cities, and 80 million well armed Americans is not what the military wants to deal with in a guerilla warfare environment, they would lose and they know it.

    There is a reason why this country has not been invaded, it’s us, the armed civilians, and our kids, those that wear the uniforms in our military. Just plan on getting into the country and organize quickly. I’m ready!

    G!

  33. Judy Sabatini says:

    Always liked this song.

  34. Judy S.

    Just got back on line a couple of hours ago. Got 9″ of global warming in the form of Sierra cement Sunday night. Power went off at 3:15 am Monday morning and just came back on at 4:30 pm tonight. 37 hrs and 15 min in the dark and off line. Monday morning I could hear tree limbs snapping about every 5 min. I must have lost 2 dozen tree limbs but no damage to structures or vehicles. The neighbor had a big mult-trunk (5) live oak come down across his drive. About 9:30 Monday morn, I went over and started chain sawing since he and his wife are elderly and not in good health. Eventually 2 other neighbors should up with saws and the owner came out and got his Bobcat out. We had it cleared by 12:30. Roads are mess here with thawing during the day and refreezing at night. I couldn’t go to work Monday or today because the daycare people for my wife could not get out.

    How did you fare in Reno? The storm has moved on to the midwest now but they are better prepared than we are. Calling for temperatures in the low 20’s tonight.

    • Judy Sabatini says:

      Hi T

      WOW!, Sounds like you guys got hit worse than we did. Sure was nice of you to help your neighbors like that, and very nice of the others to come help out too.

      We didn’t do too bad, about a foot down here on the valley floor, depending what part of the city your live in. All schools were closed yesterday, and I mean all of them, even the university was closed. Today, there was a 2 hour delay. Streets are icy, had to go to the bank today, and that was a fun drive, didn’t slip much though, used to driving in it since we’ve been here for 19 years.

      We didn’t lose any power here, actually there was no wind, so that helped out. It got down to 2 last night, with a high of 15 today, with a low of -4 for tonight, and a high of 29 for tomorrow. We’re suppose to get another system in Thursday through the weekend, but not as bad as this one that just passed. Suppose to be a little warmer and wetter. Ski resorts are too happy about that because it makes it more slushy for the boarders and skiers.My son’s are snowboarders and they’re not too happy with the wet stuff.

      The snow we have now is starting to freeze especially on the driveway, but we do have a big pile of on the side of the house that was shoveled. I don’t like snow, I hate it, and it’s too damn cold can’t get warm.

      Hope you don’t get the new one that’s coming in. My sister said it even snowed a bit in Pinole and that is very unusual.

      • Schools here have been closed for 2 days with some already anouncing closures for tomorrow. I had not openned the freezers until this afternoon. I found the refigerator freezer was thawing significantly so moved everything over to the large freezer. Then I dragged the generator onto the deck and was trying to get it started when the power came back on. We had to eat about half the ice cream but I am not going to complain about that. My arms and back are sore from all the work but that will pass. I found my truck is almost useless in this stuff. Too light in the rear and too hard tires. If I had to live in snow country again, I would have real snow tires and about 500 lbs in the back.

        I need to stock up in some things. No oil for my lamp or fuel for my Coleman lantern. I had to cook my eggs on the gas grill outside. Since I was in camping mode, I threw caution to the wind and had bacon with my eggs. I will say life is quiet without electrical appliances but it gets dark awful early.

        I am not even going to try to catch up with all the discussion on this site as that would take too much time.

        Tomorrow should be more normal, hope to get to work since they are screaming for me. They were planning a rescue mission, to move us to a hotel and provide the daycare for my wife.

        At least it is not as cold here as in Reno. The next storm looks to be mostly rain at these elevations. Have a good night.

  35. Judy Sabatini says:

    Don’t know if anybody seen this, but thought it interesting.

    WASHINGTON — Democratic senators say they have a tentative deal to drop a government-run insurance option from health care legislation.

    No further details were immediately available.

    But liberals and moderates have been discussing an alternative, including a private insurance arrangement to be supervised by the federal agency that oversees the system through which lawmakers purchase coverage. Additionally, talks centered on opening up Medicare to uninsured Americans beginning at age 55, a significant expansion of the large government health care program that currently serves the over-65 population.

    Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa told reporters he didn’t like the agreement but would support it to the hilt in an attempt to pass health care legislation.

  36. Judy Sabatini says:

    Hey, T, I’m getting off for the night, if you get a chance, come back tomorrow and we can finish this conversation.

    Hope to see you then.

    Night

    Judy

  37. Answering Cyndi/Pete way up above:

    Not to worry, Cyndi. The good old US &A has remedied the problem; we now give all our money to the RICH (see George Bush sponsored and more than accepted by Obama, et al., bailouts).

    • That’s a cop out Charlie. GWB is Obama’s dead horse to beat. Care to try again?

      • Cop out how? It wasn’t Bush who started the bailout process? Check your facts.

        Obama went wild with them, yes, but don’t forget that 12 Republicans held out (from $700 billion) for another $150 billion in perks for their states (totalling $850 billion) to start the ball rolling.

        No cop out. I think both Bush and Obama are twins — both useless, but there’s no way GW gets a pass on what he started (forget the rest of his incompetency–i’m talking about the bailouts). He’s the first to start it–AIG …

        • I wasn’t talking about Bush and AIG. You’re trying to change the subject. Nice try.

          I believe the thread was about giving the rich man’s money to poor people, not corrupt politicians paying off their corrupt buddies. For the record, I have always been against the bailouts and many things that Bush did/didn’t do. I’m not a member of the Republican party so don’t frame your arguements in that vain. My boyfriend has been doing that for several years and I can assure you’ll get the same result he does 😉 You’re now communicating with an independent thinker.

          The RMI is a fine example of the actual results of ‘wealth redistrubution’. I think you’ll find it very enlightening if you take the time research the situation.

          Just giving money to poor people doesn’t solve anything. In the case of the RMI, the problems stem from the cultural values and a corrupt government. Throwing money at a situation isn’t going fix anything. Liberalism demands that we respect other cultures. Actually, I’m good with that. But until the mind set of the individuals involved change, their situation will not change. If the individual is trapped in a corrupt system, nothing will change. Giving money to corrupt governments only encourages more corruption. If we accept the liberal premise that all cultures are worthy of respect and equally good, then we cannot do anything to encourage a change of mindset in that culture. That would be disrespectful/wrong. So, as I see it, we have three choices. One we can keep giving money to a corrupt system and get more of the same, or we can disrespect the culture and try to change it. The third choice is to keep our money and leave them to it. I support option three.

          • Cindy, your boyfriend (of course) is right …

            Now, corruption filters down, my dear. Trust me on this one (it really does). And nobody wants to ad hoc give money to the poor. I can’t address it all here and make you agree. I’m against capitalism (bottom line) and think it needs a gigantic overhaul (commingled with socialism).

            I’m ducking flying objects now …

            But whether money is parceled out to the poor or the rich seems to make no difference to all of us in the middle (or those in the middle) … they get to pay for it … so we’re in agreement there.

          • Cyndi … 🙂

  38. Charlie Stella said “…people agree to work in commune for the betterment of the greater good.”

    But “the common good” is a terrible lie that is used to cause much harm to the innocent. Almost every evil act perpetrated has been said to be “for the common good” by the perpetrators. If people choose to work together for that which they think is good, that is great. When they are enslaved, which is what you are advocating, that harms more than it helps. I am perfectly willing to help others who need it, and would applaud you for doing the same, but I will defend those who do not wish to help (for whatever reasons, whether I agree or not) from your predations. This is the difference between doing what is right and being a thug/thief.

    Charlie Stella said “The way I see it, if you have food and watch someone starve, you’re evil. There’s that morality glitch again.”

    Which is why “morality” fails as a measure of right or wrong. Your first duty is to your own life. Extinction is the alternative. You can choose to help others, and you should in most cases, but no one should force you to or they are harming you without actually helping the starving person. The root cause of their starvation has not been addressed. After my food is gone, who would you steal the next meal for the starving person from? Would you steal food from someone else on my behalf? No thanks. You are just advocating a warm fuzzy version of “an eye for an eye”.

    • Good point (about morality) Kent. I agree – bad to use it (which is why I don’t).

      But if self preservation is the way to go, what is to stop someone from stealing from you? Why wouldn’t they? Therein lies the rub (for me). If we take self preservation as the primary goal, why shouldn’t one about to starve steal to survive? Now, you don’t get to bring morality back into it (after saying it’s not a good measuring point—which I agree).

      I don’t think it’s warm & fuzzy but understand why you do.

      • Self defense. Right and wrong (which is not “morality”). Self preservation makes being a thief a poor choice, unless government steps in and makes parasitism safer by criminalizing self defense. This is something all governments do in order to protect their own parasites, as well as to provide job security for themselves.

        Morality is whatever your particular culture adds to the basic “right and wrong”, which is why it varies so much from culture to culture. Initiating force and initiating deception are basic “wrongs”. The rest is just fluff added by priests and states.

        • But what if the thief is aggressive and good at it? I’m misunderstanding, I think. What is to stop someone well armed from seeking self preservation through force? I may think it is wrong, but if he needs to survive, how do I argue with it?

          • He can “seek” self preservation through force, but your absolute human right to self preservation through force, plus that same right of anyone else who thinks it might not be good to have an aggressive thief running amok, is how you argue with it. No one’s “need to survive” trumps anyone else’s. Especially if they decide to initiate force or fraud/theft in order to do so. This may or may not be “immoral” in a particular culture, or may be self-justified by an individual based upon his circumstances, but it is still universally wrong.

            See, “morality” says theft is OK if you call it “taxation” in our culture. It says kidnapping is OK if you call it “arrest”. But these acts initiate force when they are directed against those who have not been caught in the act of aggression, and in the case of “arrest” nothing is done to return the victim to the “pre-aggression condition”. Taking from the “haves” to give to the “have-nots”, when the property in question did not get stolen directly from the “have-nots”, is still theft.

            Will some aggressors get away with their aggression and theft? Probably. They will under any system. Don’t compound that injustice by adding more injustices. Instead, remove the barriers that prevent the only real justice from happening.

            I am not one of those who claims that an aggressor “gives up his right to live” (or any other rights) by his acts, but I do think if he is killed during his predations the defender should never be punished in any way.

            • I understand now what you’re staying, Kent … and I can see how well-intentioned people (such as yourself) can desire a gov’t free society, but I don’t trust the multitudes in such a state (of nature) for lack of a better term/phrase. And without getting into the BF argument regarding distrust of one vs. distrust of many, I guess I’m of the belief that such a state would lead to chaos (or some form of it) that would render the weak (for whatever reason) at the mercy of the strong (intellectually, financially, etc.) and that doesn’t work for me.

              Thanks for explaining it. I do appreciate it.

              • Charlie, I don’t really trust “the multitudes” either. That’s part of the reason I don’t support allowing the worst of them to gang up on the rest of us and call it “government”; thereby giving themselves a pass on their aggression and theft.

                After all “If men are good, you don’t need government; if men are evil or ambivalent, you don’t dare have one.” ~Robert LeFevre

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