Some Second Thoughts

I took note to some of the comments yesterday that some took great offense to the fact that I front-load my arguments and have negative things to say up front about some entities. As a result, I went back and read over my articles of the last several months. I can admit that I have become a bit more combative over the last year. Perhaps that should change. Perhaps not. I will have to ponder it a bit before I decide. But I do want to address a few things that will, I hope, help those of you who take so much offense to my words put things in their proper perspective. Maybe it won’t. I acknowledge that there is a chance I am talking to walls who will see the wrong in other’s statements but never their own.

One of the first things I want to point out is that I have grown quite frustrated over the last year with what appears to be a disturbing trend which I feel limits my ability to discuss topics with reason: There is a continual trend of taking what I say, ignoring it, and instead presenting a different position as my position, and then attacking that position. I then spend half the day attempting to explain my position, only to find that I am doing so for naught. Those who altered my stance aren’t interested in hearing what my actual position is and debating that.

Take for example the claim yesterday that I boycott artists and don’t see their works. I was lambasted as foolish for missing out on differing points of view, missing out on great performances, etc, because I am too busy only seeing what I agree with. Was it completely missed that I didn’t see the movie when I had to pay for it at the theater (consumer choice), but I obviously didn’t boycott Damon or the movie, as I watched it in its entirety? And I certainly never even came close to calling for censorship. Then I spent half the day attempting to spell that out to someone who obviously wasn’t interested in the fact that they were presenting my position incorrectly.

This happened just two weeks after I published an article that discussed the fact that I am routinely credited with desiring no government, a position that BF will be happy to tell you I have never taken. It is tiresome to constantly have to spend all my time explaining that you are twisting my position into something it isn’t, which keeps me from ever finding the opportunity to actually debate the actual topic I presented.

Another point of contention is that I front-load my arguments. I agree. I do that. But I believe that Obama is the President who lies the most of any I have seen. I am sorry if that fact offends you. Perhaps you should be offended that he does so in so many cases. His lies are offensive to me. You know what else is offensive? The notion that the wealthy in this country don’t “pay their fair share.” It is pushed by the left in America incessantly, despite evidence to the contrary showing that the wealthy pay the lion’s share of taxes in America. If you want them to pay more I am OK with you saying so. But stop pretending that they don’t already pay the vast majority. The numbers show they do. It is insulting that you keep making that blatantly false statement.

These are two examples of things that draw my ire in the political spectrum. There are others. And they come from both sides, although I admittedly fall closer to the right than the left. That is not because I am a “Fox News lackey” or because I am too stupid to do anything other than accept some conservative talking points. It is because the right is slightly closer than the left to the concepts of individual accountability and personal responsibility that I believe (and note that I say slightly and mean it, the libertarians are far closer than either the GOP jackasses or the Dem jackasses).

Realistically, I am frustrated with both of the parties in Washington. And that frustration and anger with what I see daily in the news has spilled over to SUFA. I don’t apologize for it but I will attempt to temper it somewhat. Not completely. I think the Democrats are full of shit, and I am going to say so up front every time, despite some people’s panties getting wadded up about it. I also think that the GOP is full of shit, and perhaps I will devote a little more time to pointing that out as well. I think Moore’s movies are pure propaganda and he is full of shit (and I HAVE seen them all), so I will say so, despite the fact that you might pull out a fact or two in a two hour flick that was accurate.

And for those that will claim that I am close-minded and that I refuse to listen to alternative points of view, I say that I am willing to bet that I have read, watched, and listened to FAR more of the stuff from the left than you have stuff from the right. My mind is always open, and more importantly, I read everything with my critical thinking cap on. I alter and change my positions as necessary based on what I learn. The fact that you have thus far failed to present a reasoned argument for your position does not mean I wouldn’t listen should you decide to do so.

Black Flag once paid me one of the best compliments I have ever received in the realm of political discourse. In defending me from someone who said I was close-minded and unwilling to listen to reason, he said that one thing that he has seen from me is “that if I am presented with an argument that is logical, accurate, and persuasive, I will absolutely change my position no matter how entrenched I am in my beliefs. To do otherwise would be illogical.” But like BF, I will also see through your bull and your contradictions in most cases. A willingness to change, however, has never been an issue for me in the world of political discourse. I may not always get it right away, but I am always thinking and re-evaluating my positions.

Finally, my second thoughts on the article that I posted yesterday. I was a little fired up at the portrayal of the special forces guys in “Green Zone”. It was offensive to be honest. And the WMD argument is one that is near to my heart. If someone wants to talk that out again, I am willing, but the down side is that there are some things I know that I cannot say. The Colonel falls into the same situation. That doesn’t mean that I have “world altering” information, but it does mean that it will be hard to change my mind and equally hard for me to change yours. But my argument that I can make is that I don’t believe Bush lied. I can’t prove to you that WMD’s were there. But you have absolutely no evidence that Bush lied as opposed to he was just wrong. The entire world believed Saddam had WMD’s, yet you for some reason believe that it was all about Bush lying.

And that was the message of Green Zone. Was it art? Sure. But does it continue the trend of recruiting more people to the false premise that the US government knowingly presented a falsehood in order to trick the world into a war? Yes it does. And that annoys me. And while it wasn’t presented as a documentary, to pretend that in its own subtle ways it wasn’t persuading people to believe that the US government intentionally lied is disingenuous. To make light of it by comparing it to Star Wars or Jaws was obfuscating the issue as well. Doing so was using ridicule to demean rather than arguing the merits.

That being said, I was wrong in what I wrote about some things yesterday. I allowed my annoyance with Green Zone to taint my view. There are plenty of good things that come out of Hollywood as well. Ray pointed out “The Hurt Locker” and that was an excellent example. “Black Hawk Down”, not so much, as I have very strong opinions on that one for personal reasons. Another great point was that “Casualties of War” can be seen in the light of a very different message than the American soldiers are trash viewpoint. Thanks for pointing that out Ray. It was a great point and one I took to heart.

There is a left-leaning slant from Hollywood and LOI and others added some material to show that it exists. There is discrimination against conservative film-makers and actors. And that bothers me. But it isn’t fair of me to simply decry all of Hollywood as anti-American when that isn’t the case. That being the case, I retract the following statements from yesterday’s article:

About Green Zone:

It was no less political than a Michael Moore flick.

About Hollywood in General:

Anything that portrays the American military as evil is hailed in Hollywood. The only thing that gets as much play in Hollywood as anti-Americanism is anti-humanism (See Avatar for a prime example).

It’s all actually kind of disgusting and, in my opinion, presents a Hollywood that acutely despises America.

But I submit that while communism is no longer the threat, Hollywood is far more anti-American now than it ever was during the days of McCarthy. I am not advocating for another McCarty style witch hunt, I am merely noting that things are far worse in la-la land Los Angeles than they were then.

I am sure that there are other things that some of you want retracted. I am open to suggestions. But most of the rest were my opinions and taken on their own weren’t incorrect as I view them tonight.

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Comments

  1. Some Second Thoughts

    You’re right, there’s as much vitriol in this as there was yesterday. Will there be a further retraction the tomorrow, too?

    that some took great offense to the fact that I front-load my arguments and have negative things to say up front about some entities.

    This one (Second Second Thoughts) is a prime example …

    I acknowledge that there is a chance I am talking to walls who will see the wrong in other’s statements but never their own.

    See? Example #1 (I list just one more — there are several)

    and especially Michael Moore’s anti-American ass are creating a hatred of conservatives based on complete falsehoods. Moore does so more than anyone else. His movies have been lies from start to finish, yet there are those who believe every word he says.

    Likes start to finish … a lie in itself. Did you retract this one? I’m not sure.

    These Hollywood country-slandering tales are altering the average citizen’s view of the country they live in. Too many Americans have been indoctrinated into the belief that the American military is evil, the American mainstream is devoid of principles or values, and the mistaken belief that if it weren’t for America, the world would be a happy place where all the people would hold hands, sing, and end all hostilities.

    Example #2

    McCarthyism was a sad chapter in our history. And perhaps it was several decades too early … I am not advocating for another McCarty style witch hunt, I am merely noting that things are far worse in la-la land Los Angeles than they were then.

    This is interesting … sounds like “perhaps it was several decades too early” censorship to me. But then you claim you’re not advocating it … yet things are far worse in la-la land today than they were then. Are you “perhaps” not willing to call a spade a spade again (yesterday you claimed the GOP was correct regarding death panels but “perhaps” should have used a different name.

    Sounds like you’re confused to me.

    I was engaged with another SUFA person when I mentioned censorship. I used it wrong, but it was an easy mistake to make (because of your overall anti-Hollywood/worse than the communists of the McCarthy era theme). Still, I was wrong to claim you advocated censorship. That’s about it as far as I can see (retracting anything). As for two weeks ago, (if I have the correct post in mind) you were dead wrong to hold up a “flawed authority” and therefore opened challenges to it no matter how specific you were being. It’s just a fact of discourse. You don’t get to see “these people were great” when they can be picked apart … their authority is immediately lessened.

    We cannot continue to allow the media and Hollywood to continue to push out their false realities presented as facts. I don’t know how to stop them, but we better find a way or we will all be screwed…

    This really does read as pure paranoia (and perhaps it is because that’s how you feel). I’m sure you know that worded more carefully, it wouldn’t read as bad (bad in the sense of paranoid and thus weak).

    so I will say so, despite the fact that you might pull out a fact or two in a two hour flick that was accurate.

    I only remembered 3 yesterday off the top of my head … I’m positive there were more. I am going to watch 9-11 to see if that movie is “all lies start to finish”. I doubt it …

    The fact that you have thus far failed to present a reasoned argument for your position does not mean I wouldn’t listen should you decide to do so.

    Your facts are in your mind, as usual. At best, delusional (whether BF is patting you on the back or not).

    But like BF, I will also see through your bull and your contradictions in most cases.

    For a guy who tries to distance himself from BF, you sure seem to lean on him when your positions have been butt-whipped.

    But it isn’t fair of me to simply decry all of Hollywood as anti-American

    Good job. That was our point yesterday, USW. The post/attack read more paranoid than fact.

    • Mathius™ says:

      “la-la land Los Angeles than they were then”
      ..
      what’s wrong with la-la land? OK, yes, my family lives there, so that’s one strike against it, but everything else about it is awesome.

      But like BF, I will also see through your bull and your contradictions in most cases.
      I’m still waiting to hear back on why it’s ok to use (socialized) emergency services for disaster prevention/relief/recovery but not for medical care.

      I’m all rested up.. enjoyed watching Boehner and Obama make fools of themselves last night – the missus was pissed that it interrupted The Bachelorette the mindless drivel she was watching. But I’m back, so who wants a piece of me?

    • Charlie,

      For a guy who tries to distance himself from BF, you sure seem to lean on him when your positions have been butt-whipped.

      Reason and logic holds no favoritism to any particular political stance.

      It is not a mystery to this – whether one agrees on a principle is one thing – one can agree with the methodology and conclusions.

      • Hey there, BF and Charlie,

        Wonderful response to whoever wrote the original blockquote; however, it’s one thing to write something (anything!!) yet it’s quite another thing to let one’s written word to be presentable, understandable, and with a degree of clarity for any audience.

        Btw, if USW gets a read of this — my comments on the new look are — fabulous, remarkable, love-it, easy on the eyes, easy reading, and you’ve really produced a winner here. My Compliments! It doesn’t matter to me what the color of the background is and therefore as a suggestion I’d use them all depending of course on the article and or other artwork used on production. However, if there is anything that I’d try to do….and I know this is the retentive side of me…is this red background should be tweeked either to match the SUFA logo, or the logo color should be made to match. Remember that’s only a suggestion. The new look is inspiring!

        jps

    • Once upon a time I believed this web site was an appropriate ground for adult exchange of differing opinion. But after a few weeks, it became obvious this is only a propaganda tool for those who lean to the far right. There is no room for disagreement, any who do are quickly branded as “lefties”, or some other insulting label.

      To the kind host, please go back a year and re-read some posts, and listen to the flavor. Now examine what’s been posted lately, and note the differences. There is no longer any room for disagreement, the agenda is purely and openly far right extremists. To make a valid quote “I acknowledge that there is a chance I am talking to walls who will see the wrong in other’s statements but never their own.”

      Look in the mirror.

      • USWeapon says:

        Interesting that you would say so in a reply to a post that was my doing nothing OTHER than looking in the mirror and admitting that I have grown more that way lately. Did you even read my article above where I said in the second line of the article, “As a result, I went back and read over my articles of the last several months. I can admit that I have become a bit more combative over the last year.” It would appear that you didn’t read that if you are telling me that I need to go back a year and then compare to my posts lately. As for my agenda being purely and openly far right extremist…. You obviously don’t always pay attention my friend. I am far from the far right.

        But your comment is telling. I wasn’t aware that “lefties” is an insult to those on the left. I thought it was an apt description. I notice that you have no qualms with “crazy righties” or “tea party morons”, however.

      • Eman3,

        I do not understand your comment.

        SUFA has MORE “lefties” today then ever before – well represented by the esteemed fellows such as Buck, Mathius, and Charlie.

        And I can attest that none of these fine gentlemen have muted voices here!

        • Mathius™ says:

          none of these fine gentlemen have muted voices

          Then can you explain why I can never seem to get through to you?

          • USWeapon says:

            Don’t confuse muted voices with faulty arguments 😉

            Glad you are back and at us again Mathius!

            • Mathius says:

              Maybe the problem isn’t that I’m muted. Maybe the problem is that he has cotton balls stuffed in his ears?

              Faulty arguments! Ha, good one.. next thing I know you’ll be saying that politicians don’t have our best interests at heart.

  2. You forgot Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan, two films made by “Lefties” that portrayed the heroism of the American Military start to finish. Imagine that, true patriots who will criticize this country when it deserves it (rather than ignore it) and not run around with misspelled signs like way too many tea party morons (you guys really need to get a spell check at those protests).

    I am curious as to why you didn’t list Brothers & Ryan. Is it because of Spielberg and Hanks?

    • USWeapon says:

      I wasn’t attempting to create an all encompassing list. I was writing from the hip and I remembered the ones I did. Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan are both movies that I paid money to own. I enjoyed them both. Spielberg happens to be my Uncle’s best friend. I think he is wrong politically but extremely talented as a movie maker. So there was no reason for the omission. It wasn’t intentional.

      Is there a point to your continued calling of the tea party morons and pointing out that a person or two had a mis-spelled sign? We can find mis-spelled signs examples in every group, so what is the point of you pointing this particular instance out? You are trashing me for being insulting up front while simultaneously being insulting up front…

      • You are trashing me for being insulting up front while simultaneously being insulting up front…

        Nope, my insults are always in response. That said, why would tea party morons bother you if you’re a libertarian (if you are a libertarian)? It could be a response to the constant (never ending really) assault on the “lefties.”

        Just a thought …

        • USWeapon says:

          Nope, my insults are always in response.

          I know that you believe this to be true but it isn’t. The reality is that you are just as guilty of initiating nastiness at times as anyone. I am willing to admit that I do what I do. But you are incorrect if you are claiming that your manner of attacking is always in response only. You are aggressive and just as guilty as I am. And you are actually more likely to attack my character than I am to attack yours. In the end it doesn’t really matter. But if you are going to make a statement such as this, I encourage you to go back and make an honest evaluation with some second looks at your comments. You may be surprised at how often you are guilty of throwing the opening volley…

          That said, why would tea party morons bother you if you’re a libertarian (if you are a libertarian)? It could be a response to the constant (never ending really) assault on the “lefties.”

          It doesn’t bother me. I was merely pointing it out. You make as many statements such as this as I do about “lefties”. Again it doesn’t really matter. I was just pointing it out.

          • The above was an example … I think you know that (lefties) … it was a calm one.

            Okay, so let’s agree to be more civil. I’m fine with that. I have nothing against you. I hope you know that. I don’t agree with your politics but I don’t agree with Doc’s just as much (a very dear friend of mine). We get along because we both know it’s all more a joke (our political system) than anything worth making personal attacks.

            I do believe I respond (and try and point out when I’m not and attacking — I did so the other day to V.H. (or someone) and apologized. I think it was the comment about being “jealous of the rich” … one of the black and white statements that holds as much water as the hole in the center of a donut.

            So, peace, brother. I apologize if I offend/offended (anyone).

            • Terry Evans says:

              Charlie…it could be that where you are from insults are a more accepted way of simple conversation…I don’t really know since I have never been to the Big Apple….however I have stayed in a Holiday Inn Express…and watched probably too many movies that depicted the typical New Yorker in that light. That said, I appreciate your viewpoint…you can never consider too many viewpoints.

  3. Bitch Please… 🙂 Made my day. If I ever get a tattoo that will be it.

  4. And the WMD argument is one that is near to my heart. If someone wants to talk that out again, I am willing, but the down side is that there are some things I know that I cannot say. The Colonel falls into the same situation. That doesn’t mean that I have “world altering” information, but it does mean that it will be hard to change my mind and equally hard for me to change yours. But my argument that I can make is that I don’t believe Bush lied. I can’t prove to you that WMD’s were there. But you have absolutely no evidence that Bush lied as opposed to he was just wrong. The entire world believed Saddam had WMD’s, yet you for some reason believe that it was all about Bush lying.

    I’m no longer willing to let this nonsense go. In a land where people “sell their stories” left and right (it is a capitalist society, after all) … and assuming that you and the colonel aren’t the ONLY two military vets who have something they “cannot say”, how is it nobody felt the need to either get the story straight (as you imply) or just sell it outright? Is the vast left wing conspiracy so efficient they kept the rest of us from knowing? I doubt it … another “secret” that smells is more like it. Bush needed all the support in the world when he was going through it (after his war turned out to be the gigantic bust we’re still paying for), yet no one was willing to speak up on his behalf because the information was too top secret (or whatever secret applies)? Even Julian Assange didn’t get this information?

    Me thinks the evidence supports a series of government lies leading us to war (not just because of WMD) … talk about the goal posts moving, Bush moved them every other day once his Shock and Awe did little more than entrench us in a country we a) had no business and b) had no way of winning.

    • Ok Charlie, game on here….need to ask you a question before I continue, however, and this is a yes or no question.

      Do you feel that Bush influenced and coerced the various intelligence agencies of other countries to support him?

      • Some countries (those dependent on us — Israel?) probably … I do not know for a fact and wouldn’t presume to know. We dish out a lot of gelt in foreign aid, I think, for exactly these types of reasons (to keep other nation states in our “good” graces). I too believed the lies … I supported both the war and Bush (twice) … in 2006 it became apparent to me I had made a big ass mistake. He (Bush) didn’t just “look” lost, he was. Whether it was Cheney’s never-ending proclamations that he “knew” and “had evidence” that Iraq was aiding Al Qeada or not, he was directly under Bush and Bush didn’t stop him from the nonsense. And then the goal posts shifted … WMD … regime change … stop terrorism … spread democracy … all bullshit in the end. I happen to think the putz was looking to put one up Saddam’s ass for his father (I think he was that petty) but those he surrounded himself with had already planned the invasion 3 months after 9-11 and others had written about such a war long before that (think tanks) … Nope, whether he (Bush) was used by others or not, he was the man in the office and he’s the one selling it in Presidential Press conferences, etc.

      • Removal of known yellowcake

        In 2008, the United States facilitated shipping yellowcake (refined uranium ore) out of Iraq. This yellowcake had been stockpiled prior to the first Gulf War, and was declared to the International Atomic Energy Agency and under IAEA safeguards.[51] More than 550 tons of yellowcake was removed from Iraq and eventually shipped to Canada.

        • Not sure why we would worry about a hostile country without a nuclear reactor having a stockpile of uranium, or that it kept refusing international inspectors to show they didn’t have WMD’s. Saddam did not think we would invade. Had he allowed even French inspectors, there would have been no war.

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

          • Now that is funny. So why didn’t we invade North Korea? They were stockpiling (and bragging about it) …

            Hell, let’s just attack everybody … that’ll solve a few things (capitalism, for one).

            Who are we to DEMAND any national state allow inspectors? Who are we to DEMAND any nation state look after their own defense/offense?

            Sorry, this argument just doesn’t hold water.

            • the UN demanded, similar to what they have done with Libya. You might want to do research before forming opinion’s. Or not. What’s that line, my minds made up, don’t confuse me with facts. Sure, it was all Bush.

              • Oh, right, the UN … and who is the MAJOR funder of the UN?

                No, Bush was friggin’ genius. I don’t know why THE WORLD CAN’T UNDERSTAND THAT.

                Maybe the tea party should amend the constitution and bring back George …

        • THANK YOU! There was probably more too..just didn’t get found yet.

      • Mathius™ says:

        I remember seeing a video – will have to find it – showing Bush speeches and the various timestamps in the lead-up to Iraq. I remember how interesting it was how his claims shifted and changed. First it was they have ABC weapons and are supplying them to terrorists, then it was they are close to building nukes and will supply them to terrorists, until ultimately the infamous “weapons of mass destruction related programs.” It was very striking to me how he continued to push for war (and how the cowards in Congress lacked the testicular fortitude to stand up to it) even as he continued to walk back his own claims. WMD related programs hardly seems justification for a war – at best a surgical strike or embargo, etc – yet even as he switched his terms to weaker charges, his rhetoric remained apocalyptic. It drives me nuts how sheep-like people become when fear is invoked, their minds just shut down as they demand action regardless of the actual magnitude of the threat. This is something Bush/Cheney/Rove understood.

        I’ll try to dig it up.

        One wonders how long it will be until we have a “war on spiders”.. BAH!

        • It drives me nuts how sheep-like people become when fear is invoked, their minds just shut down as they demand action regardless of the actual magnitude of the threat.

          I was certainly guilty … that plus being completely fed up with Democrats abandoning the left … but I’ll guarantee you this: it’ll never happen again. Which is why I could care less about this debt celing fiasco. Even if it is a legitimate threat to the world economy, I don’t give a crap anymore. I refuse to believe anything from any part of this government (federal, state or local). There is no reason to believe any of them about anything anymore.

          • Mathius™ says:

            Charlie, re debt crisis,

            There is nothing to worry about. One side or the other will cave. Neither side will risk being held accountable for tanking the US credit rating (which, by the way, I’m not positive would tank regardless). If history is any guide, it’ll be the Democrats who cave. Regardless, any spending cuts will be reversed quietly when nobody’s looking, any taxes will be pumped full of loopholes, any closed loopholes will be replaced by new loopholes. Nothing will change, it will be business as usual.

            Move along, nothing to see here..

            • Democrats already caved … back when they had majorities in both houses and dicked around for 2 years rather than ram home national health insurance. Never mind the $700 bailout no strings attached. They’re done … yet, unless we hit 10% unemployment, this loser will return to the oval office.

              I’d rather see a meth addict sitting there. At least their unpredictable behavior will force them to actually “do something” besides talk about what he’s going to do (and then walk it back over and over again).

              • USWeapon says:

                I disagree here slightly and this is part semantics and part not. Dems didn’t cave. They were in on it the entire time. Saying the Democrats caved would be saying that they actually have a different stance with the corporations than the Republicans do. And I don’t think we are anywhere near believing that to be the case. The two sides put on a show, pander to their bases, and then do what they agreed to do before the debate started…. business as usual.

        • The world was so much better with Saddam Hussein.

          • Mathius™ says:

            “It’s been six weeks since Saddam Hussein was killed by a pack of wild boars, and the world is still glad to be rid of him.”

            • South Park…It is banned in my house..I googled it 🙂

              • displaced okie says:

                Oh Anita, you’re missing out. Under all the crass toilet humor, South Park is probably the best political commentary on television…kinda sad, but true.

              • NOT! When the school principle starts quoting me back what the kids were saying (from South Park) it had to go! 🙂

          • Iraq sure was.

            We sure were.

            I’m not sure about Afghanistan.

            Smile, Anita, my love ….:)

            • Bitch, Please! 👿 👿 👿

              Love ya Charlie

              • You, my mother, sometimes my wife and always my dog. I think that’s it. My kids reserve judgment.

                But those here shouldn’t feel “picked on” by me … I’ve had so-called left wing bloggers threaten to start the “I hate Charlie Stella blog” …

                Had me anxious for a few days there … any publicity is better than no publicity …

    • USWeapon says:

      I’m no longer willing to let this nonsense go. In a land where people “sell their stories” left and right (it is a capitalist society, after all) … and assuming that you and the colonel aren’t the ONLY two military vets who have something they “cannot say”, how is it nobody felt the need to either get the story straight (as you imply) or just sell it outright? Is the vast left wing conspiracy so efficient they kept the rest of us from knowing? I doubt it … another “secret” that smells is more like it.

      What is interesting is that you will believe it is a lie because a relatively small pool of military people don’t sell the story saying otherwise. You know little of the integrity of those who are granted the clearances in the military. Regardless, the pool would be a small one. On the flip side of this, the pool who would know it was a lie would be gigantic. Yet we haven’t seen anyone sell the “Bush lied” story complete with some sort of proof. With all the intelligence agencies in all the countries and all the liberals in government who would love to prove that Bush lied, no one has sold that story either. As I said, you will find no proof that Bush lied about it as opposed to was simply wrong. Yet absent that proof you are going to believe what you want to believe, despite the fact that doing so isn’t logical based on playing the numbers game.

      Bush needed all the support in the world when he was going through it (after his war turned out to be the gigantic bust we’re still paying for), yet no one was willing to speak up on his behalf because the information was too top secret (or whatever secret applies)? Even Julian Assange didn’t get this information?

      And with the tremendous amount of hatred for Bush throughout the world, no one was willing to speak up and prove that he was lying in order to take us to war. I despise the war. I don’t like that we went there. But I don’t fall into the Bush lied camp.

      Me thinks the evidence supports a series of government lies leading us to war (not just because of WMD) … talk about the goal posts moving, Bush moved them every other day once his Shock and Awe did little more than entrench us in a country we a) had no business and b) had no way of winning.

      And you are free to think whatever you like. I won’t begrudge you for it. As I stated in my original statement. I can’t prove to you that WMDs were there, although the Colonel ever so artfully laid out what can be said. And you are completely unable to provide any evidence that he lied about WMD’s as opposed to he was simply wrong. Absent any sort of proof that he lied, it is a moot argument.

      That all being said, I did not, and will not, offer any of this up as justification for going to war in Iraq. All I said is that I think he was wrong and you think he lied. I think you are wrong, but that doesn’t mean that I disagree with your other premise that we should not have gone into Iraq.

      • With all the intelligence agencies in all the countries and all the liberals in government who would love to prove that Bush lied, no one has sold that story either

        USW. Ever hear this one? If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck … why he wasn’t brought up on impeachment charges remains a mystery. I suspect because they don’t want to set precedent for losing their jobs.

        And with the tremendous amount of hatred for Bush throughout the world, no one was willing to speak up and prove that he was lying in order to take us to war. I despise the war

        Seems to me the entire world assumes Bush lied. There has been plenty of evidence (mostly his own words, by the way) … why the government didn’t impeach him remains as mysterious to me as your unwavering support of truly free markets, even though you’re not really for truly free markets (limited government).

        I think you are wrong, but that doesn’t mean that I disagree with your other premise that we should not have gone into Iraq.

        Fair enough. See, no animus. That wasn’t so hard, was it?

        • USWeapon says:

          If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck …

          Yes I have heard that one. Saddam used WMD’s in the past and constantly told the world he had and was willing to use them. Why is it that you don’t apply the same to him?

          • His prior use of WMD is why I believed he still had them … and he may well have had them and was able to get ride of them because of the broadcasted war intent … but were those weapons an “imminent danger” to the United States. There was NEVER any proof of that claim. Nothing beyond pro war rhetoric. I never believed he’d get us with them, but I was concerned for Israel. My bad. The fact the think tank he put in place once he was president was writing about a potential war with Iraq years before is pretty telling.

            The other reason I tend not to believe our president(s), I would think you’d understand. They don’t seem to tell the truth very often. Yesterday you accused Michael Moore of being a bigger liar than Obama. Did Bush not lie? Or isn’t it more they all lie through their teeth and should never been assumed to be telling the truth. The fact Bush changed the goal posts so often after his war didn’t work also makes me wonder what it was about (the war). He started two UNFUNDED wars and told the country to go out and spend … the oil would pay for the war (lie or misconception)?

  5. Good morning, Charlie…..Try as I might, I am not following your commentary. I am really trying hard but your allegiance to your viewpoints seems to resonate “Charlie is right and everyone else is wrong”….it is what it appears to me,anyway. However, I could be wrong but you know that Colonel’s cannot be wrong….it is in the manual.

    You know that I am a fiscal conservative. I am not a greater good type of guy. I believe in individual responsibility and I am a social moderate.You know this as well and I feel that I have been consistent. But…….I would not walk across the street to piss on a Michael Moore film if it was on fire and in danger of igniting a nuclear weapon. I have seen two of his films and as far as I am concerned, the ONLY truth I found in his films was “The End” when it was over. So, I can make the statement that I have already seen enough and watching another film of his would be a waste of time. ( I am using this example since you and USW have used it ).

    Hollywood is left of center….nothing more. And it is entertainment. But there is a message in most of its movies that is where I would consider anti american and not just anti government. But again, that is my perception.

    But you are fun to spar with…..and I know you better than what you are printing on here.

    USW….you have nothing to apologize for….nothing at all. If you change your opinions just to appease. then you become part of the problem, my brother. Stay the course. You hit one nail squarely……I wish I could talk on a variety of military and international subjects and tell the real truth and not what is depicted by Hollywood and their “artistic license” nor what is printed by the obviously tainted media and their “poetic license”….but I cannot and neither can you. There is great truth in the statement ” Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know “.

    Charlie……when is the next Canoli party? I wonder what Canoli laced with Jalepenos would taste like.

    • You know that I am a fiscal conservative. I am not a greater good type of guy. I believe in individual responsibility and I am a social moderate.You know this as well and I feel that I have been consistent.

      Colonel, good morning, Sir! What does the above have to do with the movies …:)

      But…….I would not walk across the street to piss on a Michael Moore film if it was on fire and in danger of igniting a nuclear weapon. I have seen two of his films and as far as I am concerned, the ONLY truth I found in his films was “The End” when it was over.

      Permission to disagree, colonel, sir. There are FACTS throughout Moore’s films and although I don’t like how he caves in for the Democratic Party (and shits on Ralph Nader when he shouldn’t), I know for a fact some of what he portrays is FACT. It is indisputable fact (easy to fact check). Yes, he has an agenda … and it is a hard slant against the right … no different than the Swift-boating that went on in 2000 but … there are those facts one cannot dispute (at least in the films I’ve seen–I have not seen them all).

      Hollywood is left of center….nothing more. And it is entertainment. But there is a message in most of its movies that is where I would consider anti american and not just anti government. But again, that is my perception.

      It is only Anti-American if you take a rigid stance against criticisms of America(n) … which you do.

      But you are fun to spar with…..and I know you better than what you are printing on here.

      I mostly attacked USW’s original (and subsequent) post because of his front-loaded vitriol. I’ll always attack that. Always. As for left leaning Hollywood … I actually agree … but I disagree that it is a trashing of America (which USW retracted). It is just criticism some (yous) are more sensitive to than others (me).

      USW….you have nothing to apologize for….nothing at all.

      No one is asking for an apology. We are perfectly willing to play this back and forth game over and over. We (lefties) don’t expect to convince anybody on the right here … we just enjoy taking apart their arguments when they front load with assumptions, angst and insults. It’s a pleasure, frankly.

      There is great truth in the statement ” Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know “.

      Great bumper sticker slogan … but that’s about it.

      Charlie……when is the next Canoli party? I wonder what Canoli laced with Jalepenos would taste like.

      I’ll keep you posted. Maybe end of August. Had a great day in the gym yesterday powerlifting (rare days of late). I may have to keep the weight in check for an upcoming meet.

    • Charlie is right and everyone else is wrong

      You’re confusing me with USW, Colonel.

      Besides, I think “most” of the lefties here probably disagree with USW’s declarations of truth/fact.

      • You want to know what I think-I think the so called arguments against USW’s articles has turned into an actual attack against USW – not his words-You want to argue that Hollywood isn’t anti-American-go right ahead. You don’t think he has enough proof to prove his claims-say you think it’s his opinion. But this has gotten to the point of attacking his character because he writes with passion and it sometimes has some rant attached. Something which is quite common in a whole lot of our posts. And NO, I do not want my post to turn into an argument which just prolongs the hurtful crap.

        • I suggest, V.H., you take a look-see at what USW himself admits. Name calling, negative generalizations, fact stating without proving anything … i.e., front loaded angst (for lack of a better term). We on the left feel it is personal as well. In fact, I’d have to be a friggin’ moron to think otherwise. He points and shoots over and over again (at us individual, whether he names us or not). Some of us choose to shoot back (which, quite frankly, once the challenge is laid down, it’s fun). I know I’ve stated this quite a few times in the past (including yesterday). When he stops, I’ll stop. Until then, forgetaboutit … there isn’t anybody here is gonna take swings at me without a return volley.

          If the initial post is front loaded … (which maybe you agree with and therefore don’t take the same issues as us lefties), how else are we supposed to respond? When he gets personal, so do we. It’s pretty simple math.

          • I suggest you quit taking everything so personal Charlie-I don’t believe you were mentioned personally in the first article, I don’t believe you work in Hollywood-We all get angry when we feel our ideas are being attacked-but this is a blog and we are discussing those issues-so if one takes every negative statement as a Personal affront-we might as well forget trying to understand each other at all.

            Actually, I think the problem may be that you guys are men– wayyyyy too much testosterone. 🙂

            • HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

            • I must agree on the testosterone … yes, for sure. Lots of stubborn macho men in here.

              And I know this is true because I was once called a “macho asshole” because I mention on my blog profile that I was into powerlifting. That so-called liberal democrat (who hated that I trashed Obama) felt because I listed powerlifting, I must also “shave my back” … he was certifiable as it turned out, but he did have a point about my being an asshole … maybe the macho … definitely the asshole.

              • USWeapon says:

                Powerlifters…. What macho assholes 😉

                I figured you shaved your back, but that was because you are a Bills fan….

            • V.H.,
              You tell Charlie not to take things so personally, but aren’t your taking things pretty personally in your defense of USWeapon? If USWeapon’s comments “have some rant attached,” why is it a problem when Charlie does the same?

              Is testosterone the only issue here??? 😉 (Ducking for cover!)

              But I do think we could all take the “combativeness” down a few steps.

              • I expressed myself the best I could with Charlie.

                I would say that PMS might be an issue but I’m old as dirt-so that’s not it-maybe it’s menopause 🙂

        • USWeapon says:

          Thank you VH…. I agree that it often seems as though many of the comments are directed at me as a person rather than the point of view or position that I am taking. It isn’t always and I do take my fair share of shots at times. I am a big boy (most of the time) and I can handle it. But I do appreciate you saying so. It makes me believe that I am not quite as stupid or crazy as Charlie and Todd continually tell me that I am.

          • I guess I set myself up for that one …

            🙂

            Peace.

          • USWeapon,
            I believe just a few days ago you were asking how to increase readership/commenter’s here at SUFA? Maybe start with not biting the head off of new commenter’s?

            Eman3 was agreeing with your article. It’s hard to believe you’re serious about being less combative when you take such offense to Eman3’s comments. I also noticed you left off the Perhaps not part of your original article in your comments to Eman3.

            You’ve written articles similar to this in the past. Usually after an article where you went pretty extreme on some topic and took a beating for it. But your little “mea culpa” would be better received if it wasn’t loaded with little cheap shots and your opinions that you state as facts. You get those two mixed up quite often.

            It’s also interesting you “repent” for one paragraph, then many paragraphs telling us lefties all the things we do that piss you off (but thanks for the tips!!), before you finally get back to the topic of the “Green Zone”. Sounds more like an “airing of grievances” than “repenting”! 😉

            And finally your comments here. Claiming that we think you’re “stupid or crazy” is another common theme of your “mea culpas”, and nothing could be further from the truth. But I do agree that many of the articles and discussion here at SUFA have gotten not only more combative, but also more opinion based and less fact based in the past year or so.

            • Who is Eman 3?

              • Eman3 posted a comment above. First time I’ve seen him post here.

              • I found him 🙂 Sorry I must of missed him before. don’t see where he was agreeing though. Which is his right-hope he posts more-instead of writing us off. I’ve found being on this site that I have to open my mind, not take stuff personally from either side-because both sides are against me at times 🙂 Although I have never felt really attacked-it seems some people feel that way-I don’t.

            • USWeapon says:

              Eman3 was agreeing with your article. It’s hard to believe you’re serious about being less combative when you take such offense to Eman3′s comments. I also noticed you left off the Perhaps not part of your original article in your comments to Eman3.

              Eman3 made the statement that I should go back and read what I have written and I will see that I have written differently as of late. I copied and pasted the part that was relevant, that I specifically stated in my article that I had gone back and read and found that I have written differently of late. What I planned to change, or not change, was not relevant to what was being discussed.

              And finally your comments here. Claiming that we think you’re “stupid or crazy” is another common theme of your “mea culpas”, and nothing could be further from the truth.

              You should go back and read the comments, Todd. I have been called crazy many times over the last few months, and stupid, foolish, and uneducated at times too. Maybe people don’t actually think those things of me, but when they type them out why would I think otherwise?

              But I do agree that many of the articles and discussion here at SUFA have gotten not only more combative, but also more opinion based and less fact based in the past year or so.

              Yes, which is why I am putting some thought into how I should proceed.

            • USWeapon says:

              And I am not sure where you thought Eman3 was agreeing with my article. He was doing little more than stating that I am “x” as though I hadn’t already stated “x” in the article. It was as though he was correcting me rather than agreeing with me, despite the fact that I had said exactly what he was saying. It is an odd way to “agree” with someone. But I don’t think I went overly aggressive towards him. I pointed out where I had said what I did and he apparently didn’t read closely enough. I even called him my friend and didn’t otherwise assault his character.

              • USWeapon,
                He was agreeing with you by stating his opinion – that agrees with your article.

                Maybe it wasn’t “word-smithed” perfectly, but there are also many little clues in his message that make me think English is not his first language (hoping I do not offend Eman3 if he ever returns). He didn’t get all the little nuances of the English language correct – and you jumped all over him for that.

                I even called him my friend and didn’t otherwise assault his character.

                What? “You obviously don’t always pay attention my friend” – you called him “my friend” – right after assaulting his character. Or am I reading the little nuances of your post wrong?

                Oh, and I forgot about this last night:

                Interesting that you would say so in a reply to a post that was my doing nothing OTHER than looking in the mirror

                Nothing OTHER than looking in the mirror? You spent more time telling us lefties all the things we do that piss you off and all the things that make you such a great guy than you did “looking in the mirror”.

              • Mathius™ says:

                Todd,

                You seemed stressed.

                Do you need me to send Black Flag over to your house to give you a back massage? I hear he has magic fingers.

    • USWeapon says:

      Ah Colonel…. I won’t be changing my beliefs to appease anyone…. ever. I will change them only if presented with an argument that shows that I am wrong in what I believe.

      Of all those who frequent SUFA, I always know that you understand exactly how much I DON’T say when I write. I actually debated writing publicly for quite a while to determine whether I thought I had the sense to know when to keep my mouth shut. I feel pretty good about how I have done so far. No one has shown up on my doorstep at least.

  6. Charlie says ” It is only Anti-American if you take a rigid stance against criticisms of America(n) … which you do.”

    AH AH AH …Charlie…you know me better than that. I have been most critical of the United States Government and its policies in certain areas and will continue to be so….however, I DO get the hackles raised when I see depictions of raping and murdering soldiers as normal when it is less than 1 percent and depicted as the NORM. As to the Special Forces……there is no film maker that knows the internal workings….none.

    • I have been most critical of the United States Government and its policies in certain areas

      You make my point, sir. Exactly … “certain areas” = Democratic policy.

      Do the special forces set policy? I think not …

      As to raping and murdering as a “norm”. I’ve yet to see a single film that portrays that (just haven’t seen enough, I guess). Suggest one and I’ll take a look-see. I notice USW doesn’t like to include Band of Brothers or Saving Private Ryan in his collection of “fair” Hollywood flicks. I asked, he’s probably busy right now, why? Is it because two lefties produced it (Spielberg & Hanks)?

      • Platoon, comes to mind. It is a sorry rendition of the Vietnam war..the only real truth in that movie was the burning of the “honey pots” and the final battle……everything else was bullshit. Apocalypse Now is another bullshit movie. Hamburger Hill was another bullshit movie.Even John Wayne in the Green Beret was not truthful…Colonels do not go on snatch and grab missions, for example.

        • Okay, I saw all of the above. Platoon, if I’m not mistaken (perhaps just perceiving it differently) offered two sides of a bad situation (Defoe, the good sargeant & Berenger, the bad sargeant). I have no first hand knowledge … but there was that Lt. Calley situation and I’m sure quite a few more (perhaps less drastic) situations. I cannot speak to what happens in war but there’s no way I’m willing to excuse everything that goes on in war. Perhaps it was best we never went there …. or Iraq … etc., but Platoon, I thought, was offering two stories juxtaposed against each other. I did not find it all that anti-military (more anti-war).

          As to Apocolpyse … it was Coppala’s rendition of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (and a very good one, I thought) … never promoted (I don’t think) as a factual account of the Vietnam war … a rendition of fiction, yes …

          Hamburger Hill … I forget this one. I’m sure I saw it. I will again today, or soon, if I can find it on Netflix. Can’t speak to it until then.

          • Platoon….forget the good guy bad guy approach…..it showed soldiers slaughtering pigs in a maniacal way, beating the crap out of villagers, raping minors, smashing the head of a mentally disabled boy, 100 percent smoking dope and sucking on gun barrels, etc…..

            The point is that it depicts the WHOLE army as that type pf soldier…and even Vietnam that drafted……the combat soldier was not at all like that. They were not potheads and murderers and rapists…..and to the uninformed, a normal army.

            Apocalypse now….showed commanders that flew around in t shirts and surf boarding in mortar attacks and burning out villages with napalm in the process…..bullshit,,,but to the uninformed…..normal.

            There is no need to pick apart movies……they should be viewed as entertainment and not taken serious but the slant is there.

            AS I said, The Green Berets with JOhn Wayne glorified war and depicted Colonels capturing North Vietnamese Colonels……bullshit. To the uninformed…..truth.

            But enough of this.

        • Naten53 says:

          what about “Kelly’s Heros” now that was a good movie

  7. by the way … the Bush was eventually lost and in over his head, this moron last night is likewise lost and in over his head. I can’t believe he did that bend over speech for what I can only assume was to make Boehner and the GOP look evil. All I thought (and I hate both parties equally) was, “What a dick.” Didn’t somebody get tossed off MSNBC for the saying the same thing.

    Obama yielded once again. He’s lost … a bunch of rookie lunatics beat him into the ground. Zero leadership.

    And unless unemployment climbs above 10%, he’s President for another 4 years.

    This is where I agree with BF … this country is better of slaying each other in the streets than letting either of these two parties “govern” anything.

  8. And look at this! I forgot about it. My post yesterday paying tribute to a fan of mine’s (there are only 5 ot 6 out there) uncle … a retired WWII veteran marine. It’s the Uncle Howard piece. A red through-and-through, lefty, whackjob, not paranoid about Hollywood type like myself paying tribute yesterday to a former US Marine … and I visited Gettysburg … again. What’s up with that?

    http://temporaryknucksline.blogspot.com/2011/07/gettysburg-dons-uncle-howard-happy.html

  9. Interesting tidbit……… GE is moving it’s x ray division to China with a $2 billion investment eliminating over 2,000 jobs here……..and the head of GE is the Chairman of President Obama;s job council.

    Interesting tidbit number two…..former head of CBO….Director Doug Holtz-Elkin says that the CBO mislead the American people and under estimated Obama’s healthcare costs by one trillion dollars. YOu remember the CBO….the supposedly nonpartisan agency.

  10. Ray Hawkins says:

    @USW – bringing over from yesterday – I think the Lauryn Hill comment you referenced has been disputed by Snopes (and many other sources): http://www.snopes.com/quotes/lauryn.asp

    I’d offer that I think there are a lot of motivations into what goes into making a movie/TV Program/etc. At the end of the day the movie must make money – I suppose someone motivated merely to convey a message may not care if it loses money or breaks even. For sake of argument – the product must deliver at some level. Ever since films have been made there has been the use of real-life scenarios, events, occurrences to help build a storyline – or it is the entire storyline. Its very easy to watch a film like JFK and forget that you are watching a film/entertainment – wherein an objective of the Director may have been to offer what they think is the version of events as they happened. I spent years reading books, attending lectures, watching film and so on, with respect to the JFK assassination – in the end I am left at “inconclusive” – it was certainly easy to watch JFK and suddenly think that is exactly how it all went down.

    I do wonder if there is additional layer of sensitivity involved anytime a movie plays that doesn’t show a Special Operations soldier in anything but the most positive light — or shows something false about the soldier – and I’d guess also it is because many moviegoers do not distinguish between fantasy and reality.

    Additionally – for years “Deer Hunter” was one of my most favorite films. I do not recall ever watching it (even when I was very young) and thinking that the Russian Roulette scene was representative of what always happened to captured soldiers in Vietnam. I thought, “its possible”, but I simply watched right though it as part of the overall storyline, not as a unique event meritorious of decomposition to find a larger message.

    • Howdy Ray……here is something I think you may be in the ball park on…

      Ray thinks…. ” I do wonder if there is additional layer of sensitivity involved anytime a movie plays that doesn’t show a Special Operations soldier in anything but the most positive light — or shows something false about the soldier”

      D13 raises an eyebrow and nods affirmatively …. You may have something here. We train very hard and we get to know each other so well, that we are sensitive to abnormal depictions of Spec Ops….because we are a family as close as out own personal families. So,anytime,there is a depiction of a Spec OPs soldier…….it probably hits a raw nerve. Good observation.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        @D13 – what is important for us to remember is that us civilians can, by definition, never comprehend or fully appreciate the sacrifices a Delta or Seal or Green Beret makes. I will make no argument for censorship – but merely say the lowest level of wisdom in a filmmaker should avoid presenting a quasi-based-on-real-events story that depicts Spec Ops guys in a bad way – just to make a buck or a name. If there is a pure non fiction “we are presenting a documentary” story to tell then tell it with precision and care. Some “approach” I’ll call it when a story involves child abuse or rape.

    • USWeapon says:

      @Ray Hawkins

      @USW – bringing over from yesterday – I think the Lauryn Hill comment you referenced has been disputed by Snopes (and many other sources): http://www.snopes.com/quotes/lauryn.asp

      I saw this last night and eventually went over and read it. I am mistaken then and should have researched it prior. Although in my defense I was only using it as an “off the top of my head” example, not as proof of anything. And whether she said it or not, I thought that she had and still didn’t refuse to hear her music so my example is still valid. However, I was apparently dead wrong on whether she really said what I claimed, so perhaps I will be less reluctant to purchase her music in the future (is she still making music? )

      I’d offer that I think there are a lot of motivations into what goes into making a movie/TV Program/etc. At the end of the day the movie must make money – I suppose someone motivated merely to convey a message may not care if it loses money or breaks even. For sake of argument – the product must deliver at some level. Ever since films have been made there has been the use of real-life scenarios, events, occurrences to help build a storyline – or it is the entire storyline. Its very easy to watch a film like JFK and forget that you are watching a film/entertainment – wherein an objective of the Director may have been to offer what they think is the version of events as they happened. I spent years reading books, attending lectures, watching film and so on, with respect to the JFK assassination – in the end I am left at “inconclusive” – it was certainly easy to watch JFK and suddenly think that is exactly how it all went down.

      A very good explanation of your thoughts and I don’t disagree. My issue with some of the movies when writing yesterday’s post was with the concept that it is easy to forget it is a movie and not a documentary. Because I think in a culture where “Bush lied” is everywhere in the media despite a complete lack of any evidence that such is true, people not only forget it is a movie, but it also further entrenches the falsehood as a truth. The movie makes the premise that Bush lied more believable. It is artistic license and the director gets to tell the story his way. I understand that. But while I will acquiesce on my going too far with my article yesterday, I do still believe that Hollywood in its own subtle way is having big impacts on large parts of our society, and not always in a positive way.

      I do wonder if there is additional layer of sensitivity involved anytime a movie plays that doesn’t show a Special Operations soldier in anything but the most positive light — or shows something false about the soldier – and I’d guess also it is because many moviegoers do not distinguish between fantasy and reality.

      100% agree. I think that there is definitely an additional layer of sensitivity in this area. D13 discusses the reasons below and says it better than I could.

      Additionally – for years “Deer Hunter” was one of my most favorite films. I do not recall ever watching it (even when I was very young) and thinking that the Russian Roulette scene was representative of what always happened to captured soldiers in Vietnam. I thought, “its possible”, but I simply watched right though it as part of the overall storyline, not as a unique event meritorious of decomposition to find a larger message.

      I loved that movie as well. I think we could each offer thousands of examples of movies that didn’t make us think it was how things were. But as you mentioned with “JFK”, there are other examples of movies that have that exact effect on people. Oliver Stone certainly made a movie that convinced some people that his version of reality in that movie was the truth. The same can be said of Green Zone, although I admittedly butchered the message in my presentation.

  11. Additionally – for years “Deer Hunter” was one of my most favorite films. I do not recall ever watching it (even when I was very young) and thinking that the Russian Roulette scene was representative of what always happened to captured soldiers in Vietnam. I thought, “its possible”, but I simply watched right though it as part of the overall storyline, not as a unique event meritorious of decomposition to find a larger message

    That’s pretty much how I view most movies, although I am appalled at some specific scenes that might rock my world (emotionally). I still get very angry at Nazi Germany when viewing a holocaust movie (reading Sarah’s Key now so I’m sure to be pissed at France again soon), but … I think JAC pointed this out earlier … agenda pendulums swing all the time … I agree the media is mostly left (as probably are most actors/actresses) but while they may try and influence us all, I don’t think they seek to “trash” America … and USW redacted that (to his credit).

  12. Kristian says:

    It’s been such a long time since I posted on this board, but I read every article that you post USW. I find that I agree with most and that our thought processes are much the same. But I swear there are times that your articles and the ensuing arguements make me miss my husband. We used to debate like this, but without the name calling! He was a registered Republican but he could be very liberal in his views! Anyway, I wanted to thank you and everyone here at SUFA for helping me to keep him alive in my mind and my heart. It is greatly appreciated!

    • USWeapon says:

      What a very kind thing to say Kristian. Any time that I can keep the memory of a loved one alive in someone’s mind I am truly humbled that I have had that sort of positive impact. I think I can speak for all of SUFA when I say that we are humbled and honored that you would share such kind thoughts. I will sleep with a smile tonight.

    • Ditto USWep’s comments.

      Great gratitude to you and your lost loved one.

  13. Ray Hawkins says:

    My view on WMD and Iraq and lying/being wrong may be unique to me……

    A case for going to war with Iraq was made based on the argument that Iraq possessed WMD’s and were an imminent threat to the United States.

    To my understanding it was thus presented as fact that WMD existed and without direct and immediate intervention there was a threat to the United States.

    Fact 1: Iraq had WMD
    Fact 2: A WMD attack by Iraq was considered imminent (“about to happen”)

    I do not consider the burden of proof to rest with me to demonstrate those facts are not indeed facts but something else (“a lie”, “a misrepresentation”, “A whoops!”).

    The burden of proof rested with the CIC and was to present sufficient evidence to me, to my fellow Americans, to Congress, to the World that those two statements were indeed facts.

    Concrete proof was never offered that WMD existed. A lot of circumstantial evidence was provided (supposed satellite imagery of mobile weapons labs) along with a continual repeated message of parts of statement #2. Does that mean Bush lied? I guess it does not with respect to that fact/statement. Maybe he was wrong. Maybe whatever we thought was WMD was moved stealthily in the middle of the night. But here is the rub – when we say WMD and attach imminent threat to it – that means there is a fully baked weapon ready to go – not symbolic bags of fertilizer setting about waiting to be made into a bomb. I also find it troubling that for all the spy satellite and intel that existed to “evidence” WMD – none is “available” to show the world what happened to the stuff. That it what makes it feel like a lie to me. I won’t call it a lie from here forward – but boy does it feel like we’re mincing words like a politician.

    No proof I am aware of has ever been made available to evidence the state of the threat. I always thought that was an important criteria no? Its the same criteria used today by the right (and true – many of us from the left) to decry Libya involvement. Threat imminence (likelihood of occurrence) may be tough to prove – but should that not be the most critical of criteria to have passed in order to launch an invasion. The sole act of possessing WMD does not address the issue of occurrence likelihood. Merely owning a gun does not establish criteria to assess the likelihood of the same person robbing a bank. Thus – to assert that the Iraq had WMD AND the use of said WMD was an imminent threat carries forth that there was some evidence to assess the occurrence likelihood. To my understanding – that case was never really made (or made very well – e.g. cables or comms outlining U.S. assets as targets). For me – this doesn’t get the luxury of some squishy wording for us to say “he was merely wrong, not lying” – if the evidence does not exist then you are lying. I assess this one as a lie – and a humdinger of one.

    Please correct me where I have this wrong.

    • Kristian says:

      I don’t think you have that wrong at all Ray. I think when it comes to the magnitude of a suituation such as that it requires all manner of proof and not merely suppostion.

    • when we say WMD and attach imminent threat to it – that means there is a fully baked weapon ready to go

      Absolutely … and I fell for it myself. It’s one I can’t walk back … and neither should the Bush administration. The further justifications for the war (regime change, spread democracy, fight them there to keep us safe here) were coverups that made them look more guilty than they already were. Why we’re still there today (Iraq & Afghanistan & now playing with Qadaffi) is beyond insane.

      If there was any “genuine” concern for national debt by either party, those wars would’ve ended yesterday (long before then).

      I’m comfortable, having voted for Bush twice, to say he lied us into a war. I’m also comfortable saying the same about Obama (lying) about pretty much everything else he claimed he’d do. And to think Bush managed to get so many Dems to vote along with him throughout his 8 years, including at the end when his administration proved a clear disaster on all fronts) and then seeing how this talkfest (Obama) can’t get anybody (even in his own party) to do anything … well, it’s pretty impossible for me to have the least bit of faith in anything this government does. The one thing I’m confident of is that big business owns and runs it … and we’re all paying for it.

    • Consider this… Iraq had WMD’s (Chemical) and used them. This is fact. He used them against his own people and he used them against the Iranians to great effect. Having said this, it is conceivable to make the safety assumption that he would still have them and use them in the event of an attack. No one has asked my opinion on this particular issue.

      Right or wrong, we went to war in Kuwait. In my opinion, it ended too early. My Spec OPs days were over in 1990 because as a Major, I had nowhere to go career wise. I was reassigned and became armor branched and was in command of a tank battalion that was part of the end run that closed the highway from Kuwait City to the Iraqi border. I still have visions of allowing the trapped Iraqi Guard to escape to Iraq as part of the cease fire. They drove past our positions with their tank weapons pointing to the rear with their white flags and laughing a waving as they were taking their “booty” back to Iraq. We knew then we would be fighting them again. We did not finish the job.

      Fast forward….Bush II wanted to finish the job that “daddy” did not do. Hussein gave him plenty of reasons with the violations of cease fire and the no fly zones were being violated as well but it was not enough to convince the world to finish the job. Hence the WMD. The threat was there and the fact that he used them before was pretty strong evidence but what was not known was that the manufacture of chemicals had ceased but not verified and the rhetoric continued that he had them. Psychological warfare is very effective and his staff ( Husseins )knew that. Bolster that by the fact that he would not let anybody in to verify…increased the speculation that he still had them. Bush did not have to manufacture a lie and I do not believe for a minute that other intelligence operations were complicit in a lie.

      We also know that there was a massive move of equipment prior to our invasion. No one is sure what was in it but a convoy of 15 trucks and trailers went to Syria. There was another move of aircraft to Iran. Iran kept the aircraft and its contents and Syria kept the convoy and its contents. Wonder what was in those moves of equipment?

      Fast Forward…..the decision was made with faulty intel and no new intel. The assumption was also made that chemicals would be used if an attack happened. So, WMD became the justification. Right or wrong….it became the justification. After the invasion and nothing was found except a few rounds of dated chemical warheads, then the speculation could be made that there were NO WMD’s. There was plenty of evidence that something had been moved but we simply do not know what it was. That became the battle cry of the left. No proof.

      My opinion of the Iraq war is that it was ill conceived and should not have happened. Taking out a despot while there are many others is not a good policy. Supporting despots worse than him…..is a worse policy. I did not support the war at all and still do not. I do not support the war in Afghanistan nor Libya. But I also do not believe that Bush deliberately lied to get us into a shooting war. But that is my informed opinion.

      • I might add that, in Kuwait, when the Iraqi Guard moved past our position, our chemical alarms went off. That would indicate chemical warheads in the tank rounds being allowed back into Iraq. However, none of my men tested positive for anything. Just know that the alarms went off.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        @D13 – thanks for your response – to clarify:

        “The threat was there and the fact that he used them before was pretty strong evidence but what was not known was that the manufacture of chemicals had ceased but not verified and the rhetoric continued that he had them.”

        This is a key point – this notion of a threat – even if I accept that he had WMD – there is no credible evidence (or is there?) that there was an imminent threat to the U.S. Not that prior use against the Kurds or Iranians was ok – but I don’t recall anything but thin rhetoric with respect to the occurrence likelihood of WMD being used.

        I’m still dismayed that with all the $$$ spent on intel that we could not pre- or post- identify what left the borders. It does not add up.

        • The only credible threat to the US would have been during the attack. There was no credible threat prior to invasion. If you remember, we had four US soldiers that were contaminated with chemicals in a bunker. From residual chems…..but that residual would not have been there after 18 months so that can assume that they were there…..but like a murder weapon…they were not there to be found.

      • USWeapon says:

        Thank you, Colonel, for such a well worded response. I was going to reply to Ray and was lamenting that I didn’t think I had time to do so in the manner that it deserved. Then I read your response and realized I could copy and paste it and do just as well. I echo your thoughts exactly.

  14. 😐

  15. In her 2005 autobiography, she writes that she was manipulated into sitting on the battery, adding that she had been horrified at the implications of the pictures and regretted they were taken. In a recent entry at her official website, Fonda further explained:

    It happened on my last day in Hanoi. I was exhausted and an emotional wreck after the 2-week visit … The translator told me that the soldiers wanted to sing me a song. He translated as they sung. It was a song about the day ‘Uncle Ho’ declared their country’s independence in Hanoi’s Ba Dinh Square. I heard these words: “All men are created equal; they are given certain rights; among these are life, Liberty and Happiness.” These are the words Ho pronounced at the historic ceremony. I began to cry and clap. These young men should not be our enemy. They celebrate the same words Americans do. The soldiers asked me to sing for them in return … I memorized a song called Day Ma Di, written by anti-war South Vietnamese students. I knew I was slaughtering it, but everyone seemed delighted that I was making the attempt. I finished. Everyone was laughing and clapping, including me … Here is my best, honest recollection of what happened: someone (I don’t remember who) led me towards the gun, and I sat down, still laughing, still applauding. It all had nothing to do with where I was sitting. I hardly even thought about where I was sitting. The cameras flashed … It is possible that it was a set up, that the Vietnamese had it all planned. I will never know. But if they did I can’t blame them. The buck stops here. If I was used, I allowed it to happen … a two-minute lapse of sanity that will haunt me forever … But the photo exists, delivering its message regardless of what I was doing or feeling. I carry this heavy in my heart. I have apologized numerous times for any pain I may have caused servicemen and their families because of this photograph. It was never my intention to cause harm.[31]

    During her trip, Fonda made ten radio broadcasts in which she denounced American political and military leaders as “war criminals”. Fonda has defended her decision to travel to North Vietnam and her radio broadcasts.[32][33] Also during the course of her visit, Fonda visited American prisoners of war (POWs), and brought back messages from them to their families. When cases of torture began to emerge among POWs returning to the United States, Fonda called the returning POWs “hypocrites and liars”. She added, “These were not men who had been tortured. These were not men who had been starved. These were not men who had been brainwashed.”[34] Later, on the subject of torture used during the Vietnam War, Fonda told The New York Times in 1973, “I’m quite sure that there were incidents of torture … but the pilots who were saying it was the policy of the Vietnamese and that it was systematic, I believe that’s a lie.”[35] Fonda further stated that the POWs were “military careerists and professional killers” who are “trying to make themselves look self-righteous, but they are war criminals according to the law”.[33]

    The POW camp visits also led to persistent rumors that were circulated widely in the press and decades later on the Internet and via email. Among the most recent rumors were claims that when meeting the POWs, Fonda had spat on them and called them “baby-killers”. Other rumors stated that after the POWs attempted to sneak notes to her with their Social Security numbers written on them she had then turned them over to the North Vietnamese, which lead to prisoner abuse at the hands of the North Vietnamese. Fonda has personally denied these claims.[36] Interviews with two of the alleged victims specifically named in the emails found these allegations to be false as they had never met Fonda.[33]

    In 1972, Fonda helped fund and organize the Indochina Peace Campaign.[37] It continued to mobilize antiwar activists across the nation after the 1973 Paris Peace Agreement, through 1975, when the United States withdrew from Vietnam.[38]

    Because of her time in North Vietnam, the ensuing circulated rumors regarding the visit, and statements made following her return, resentment against her among veterans and those currently serving in the U.S. military still exists. For example, at the U.S. Naval Academy, when a plebe shouts out “Goodnight Jane Fonda!”, the entire company will reply “Goodnight bitch!”[39] In 2005, Michael A. Smith, a U.S. Navy veteran, was arrested for disorderly conduct in Kansas City after he spit chewing tobacco in Fonda’s face during a book signing event for her autobiography My Life So Far. He told reporters that he “consider[s] it a debt of honor” stating that “she spit in our faces for 37 years. It was absolutely worth it. There are a lot of veterans who would love to do what I did.”[40][41]
    [edit] Regrets

    In a 1988 interview with Barbara Walters Fonda expressed regret for some of her comments and actions, stating:

    “I would like to say something, not just to Vietnam veterans in New England, but to men who were in Vietnam, who I hurt, or whose pain I caused to deepen because of things that I said or did. I was trying to help end the killing and the war, but there were times when I was thoughtless and careless about it and I’m very sorry that I hurt them. And I want to apologize to them and their families. […] I will go to my grave regretting the photograph of me in an anti-aircraft gun, which looks like I was trying to shoot at American planes. It hurt so many soldiers. It galvanized such hostility. It was the most horrible thing I could possibly have done. It was just thoughtless…”

  16. A Funny-well I think it’s funny-Read it in the comment section.

    BigSoph

    July 25, 2011 @ 8:51 am
    The environmental movement switched from environmentalism to socialism a while back
    They are all watermelons now… green on the outside but red all the way to the core

  17. @Charlie – you seem to often confuse me with JAC…..do we look alike or something? 😉 I made the pendulum comments about Hollywood.

    @D13 (good morning) – Colonel, so we just chalk up a war to some typeof misinterpretation of information? Everyone is forgiven, no one erred? Our intel people (civilian and military) were completely honest in their work and interpretations (regardless of the historically tarnished reputation carried by the CIA at the minimum)? There were some hardcore hawks who wanted the Iraq fight – and if in getting their way they knowingly “missed” (i.e. ignored) intel info, then they lied by omission.

    This whole “imminent use” claim is getting the BS flag from me. North Korea has the nukes and makes threats all the time, so tell me – where was the war to save us from the despotic NK regime?

    You, USW and others who have “inside” information will believe it not a lie. Those who are not privy to that information may choose to believe the leaders lied. That will not change. Even if you and USW presented your inside info, you’d likely be called on to prove it – and if you couldn’t/wouldn’t then you’d be in the same position as Bush & company – some would disbelieve you and call the stuff a lie, others wouldn’t.

    It’s human nature to judge, we do it all the time. That “fact” will never change.

    • Plainly, I’m sorry. I get confused easily … as you know.

      And I agree with your post above. All of it.

      The shame is we’re still dicking (for lack of a better word) in both Iraq & Afghanistan, with soldiers being mauled and killed and at a cost that would certainly help cut our deficit if anybody in Washington “really” cared about our debt.

      And for what? it’s a mystery even bigger than why my beloved new york state buffalo bills remain undefeated in 2011 …

      I love typing that. Undefeated Buffalo bills … we rock.

  18. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    A note on “the debt crisis” and the US “credit rating”, since at least one of you mentioned it briefly today:

    The US already doesn’t deserve anything near an AAA credit rating, that rating has already been a fantasy for some time.

    Moody’s (among others) is understandably reluctant to reduce the US credit rating.

    However, several credit rating services have threatened to downgrade US Debt EVEN IF there is an agreement to raise the debt ceiling. If there is no evidence of a CREDIBLE attempt to get our financial house in order, it is very possible that our credit rating will be reduced EVEN IF the debt ceiling is raised.

    The US only has 2 choices at this point:

    #1 Devalue the dollar VERY quickly (might result in hyperinflation)
    #2 Continue to devalue the dollar not-quite-as-quickly

    They will do everything that they can to try to ensure outcome #2, but keep in mind, even outcome #2 is BAD.

    Let’s just say gold is still cheap at $1600.00, and silver is an incredible bargain at $40.

    • Why are those the only two options?

      Wouldn’t a constitutional amendment to balance the budget with raising the debt ceiling work to stop a downgrade? And why do they have to devalue the dollar-wouldn’t Real spending cuts accomplish the desired effect.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        How would “real spending cuts” be accomplished?

        What are the chances that a balanced budget amendment would pass? (You need approval of 75% of the States, which might happen, but then you also need the approval of the House, Senate, and President as well).

        The point is, EVERYONE wants cuts, but NO ONE wants “THEIR” piece of the pie to get any smaller. This is a fatal contradiction which makes “real spending cuts” the realm of fantasy. As such, unless somehow that fantasy becomes reality, you are left with option 1 or option 2.

        The projected deficit for next year is 1.7 Trillion. The proposed cuts are in the neighborhood of 0.12 Trillion per year for 10 years. That means that even with the proposed cuts, the deficit next year will still be 1.58 Trillion, which will add 1.58 Trillion to the debt. This obviously does not make the debt any smaller… rather, it still makes it 10% LARGER in only 1 year. That is why the 2 options I mentioned are the only two which I foresee as plausible.

  19. Black Flag once paid me one of the best compliments I have ever received in the realm of political discourse. In defending me from someone who said I was close-minded and unwilling to listen to reason, he said that one thing that he has seen from me is “that if I am presented with an argument that is logical, accurate, and persuasive, I will absolutely change my position no matter how entrenched I am in my beliefs. To do otherwise would be illogical.”

    This is true.
    I did say this.
    And I still stand by what I said. It is one of the things I do admire about USWep, he is hard-nosed for reason, a stubborn donkey for real facts, and irritatingly demanding for logic in argument.

    the fact that I am routinely credited with desiring no government, a position that BF will be happy to tell you I have never taken.

    Happy? No. It means I still have a lot of work to do to convince USWep of this.

    But the fact is the truth as presented: USWep has NEVER advocated for a total elimination of government.

  20. 8)

  21. Buck the Wala says:

    For all those who like to claim the gobbledy gook that businesses, absent taxes, would lower prices (as taxes would no longer need to be paid) therefore reducing costs to consumers, any thoughts on the ‘tax holiday’ for airlines with the FAA shutdown??

    Since the FAA shutdown, so does the authority to impose taxes on airline travel. But did the airlines reduce fares? Of course not – they simply raised their fares to what tickets + such taxes had cost last week, meaning you and I pay the same and the airline companies get to earn more for the same ticket. Interesting…

    • Maybe because they know it’s only temporary-and correct me if I’m wrong(seriously) but aren’t airlines raising their prices to cover rising costs- maybe they feel this is an opportunity to off set some of those expenses.

      • Buck the Wala says:

        If its only temporary, then there could still be a temporary fare reduction.

        From my knowledge, the hike is not to cover rising costs, as the cost of a ticket is always changing. The hike is simply a maneuver to put some additional money into their coffers in the hopes no one would notice (as hey, ticket costs the same to me!)

        • The cost of fuel alone-affects the cost of tickets-so deciding not to temporarily lower the price to pay for some of that fuel-makes perfect sense to me. Whether one wants to see it as greed or as being sensible in a time of rising costs to do business-is up for debate but I see it as common sense.

      • Interestingly enough – in the article I read the price increases are selective. For instance Alaska Airlines isn’t grabbing (or wasn’t in the article) the opportunity to get the money in their bank account and so some competing airlines are not increasing the rates in airports serviced by Alaska Airlines (such as the example in the article – Seattle).

        The airlines can spin it anyway they want – but that telling little tidbit puts lie to any explanation they give.

        I agree with Buck.

        • Buck the Wala says:

          Its absolutely ridiculous — coincidentally, some of my outrage may, just may, be as a result of my waiting to book airfare specifically for the tax holiday. Imagine my suprise Saturday morning when I went to book….

        • Interesting point-but is it selective in a bad way or just the power of market forces. Competition usually brings prices down.

          • Buck the Wala says:

            “the power of market forces”???

            No – it is a selective practice chosen to try to deceptively bring in additional revenue with the hopes it would go unnoticed.

          • So when the price of gas goes up at your local station you attribute that to the cost of making and shipping it? Never thinking it may be a case of grabbing every penny of profit that can be made from it?

            It’s like the untaxed fees airlines charge, paying not one penny in tax on them – which Congress looked at after seeing billions made by the airlines in untaxed fees in 2009. No greed there either.

            I’m still in agreement with Buck on this.

            • Buck the Wala says:

              But where we may disagree is my conclusion that the absence of any government intervention/regulation is most certainly not the answer.

              • Maybe Buck. But I will say that this would be an area I find government to be good (to some degree). What we would disagree over may be the determination of what is rational and/or reasonable regulation of the industry.

                Generally, because humans can be so exploitative of other humans there will always be some form/size of government instituted by societies (yes BF, I know….I know) by demand of that society. I believe we just differ on what is/would be good government versus bad/poor government. For instance, I took a lot of heat over my article on the wildfire – yet, for the most part, all of the government involved in fighting that fire would fall into the good category – not that I got any leeway on that at all. 🙂

              • Buck the Wala says:

                Not sure how much we would really disagree then — though we may be at odds over the effectiveness or need of specific regultions/proposals, I have long argued the need for smart, effective regulation.

                The wildfire article was interesting to read — plenty of government involvement there!

              • As well as plenty of non-government helping hands. I guess I did a poor job in that article of not getting across my primary point of people helping people without the need for any laws/rules/regulations/government to compel such behavior. ::sigh:: Maybe next time I’ll do a better job of getting my point across. 🙂

            • No, I’m not saying that greed doesn’t ever have anything to do with what they do-but I am saying that they lost a lot of money in 2008 and 2009 and that putting money in the “coffers” doesn’t always equate to greed. Companies need money in the coffers to have cash flow and to get through the lean years. And the fact that they didn’t lower prices in the short term does not prove that they wouldn’t do so in the long term if taxes went away. I think market forces would force them to lower prices in the long term.

              • Nor does it prove they would lower prices in the long term.

                I expect any business to have greed in their thinking where their profit line is concerned – it’s not necessarily “bad” greed either. But I believe – personal opinion – that the airlines have their golden goose in being able to charge untaxed fees to consumers. Like the government they’ll grab all they can in any way they can. One of many reasons I won’t fly anywhere anymore unless their is a critical emergency and time is of the essence.

              • Buck the Wala says:

                “…I won’t fly anywhere anymore…”

                Sorry but I refuse to sacrifice on my travel due to some higher costs. BF would probably turn around and argue that since I’m willing to pay the higher cost being imposed, this is the free market at work and nothing wrong with that, but just because I am willing to begrudgingly pay (as there is just no alternative — travel or what? don’t travel? ha!) does not mean that there is nothing wrong with this practice.

              • What do you think about this article-I haven’t done much research into the airlines specifically-so knowing whether it is true is hard-but the greed line-although true in many instances can be attached to anything business does.

                Analyst Interviews: Airline Industry Outlook
                By Zacks Investment Research on April 12, 2011 | More Posts By Zacks Investment Research | Zacks.com

                In a major turnaround, the airline industry recorded $16 billion in profits last year, after losing $16 billion in 2008 and $9.9 billion in 2009. But 2010 was most likely an earnings peak, as a host headwinds have come together to bring down industry profits.

                The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects 2011 profits softening to the level of $8.6 billion from its previous expectation of $9.1 billion. The factors weighing on earnings include the escalating fuel prices, weak traffic volumes and the March 11 catastrophe in Japan, which are expected to suppress demand for air travel.

                Worldwide air freight volumes rebounded in 2010 to the 2008 peak level. This rebound was particularly apparent in Asia, where volumes were well above previous peak levels established in 2007. Air freight is expected to be unchanged in 2011 due to excess capacity and yield pressures as demand softens.

                As stated by IATA, Asia-Pacific is expected to generate $3.7 billion in profits in 2011, the highest in the industry, outstripping other regions. However, the region’s profits would be down substantially from the 2010 level of $7.6 billion. Despite the strong economic growth, aggressive inflation measures in China are weakening the demand for air travel in the country.

                North American carriers are facing challenges from rising fuel prices. Profits in the region will likely fall to $3.2 billion from $4.7 billion reported in 2010. Growth in Europe is also lagging due to the ongoing banking and government debt crisis. European airlines’ profits are expected to drop to $500 million in 2011 from $1.4 billion in 2010.

                The African air carriers are expected to break even in 2011 compared to profits of $100 million made in the prior year. Strong economic growth and high demand for air travel will be offset fully by intense competition from Middle Eastern carriers. Middle East air carriers reported 2010 profits of $1.1 billion. The IATA expects this profit to slide to $700 million in 2011, owing to political instability in that region. Latin American carriers’ profits are also expected to decline to $300 million from $1 billion in 2010.

                Persistently rising fuel prices since last December have surfaced as a major headwind to the airlines industry. Crude oil prices are currently trading around $110 per barrel, representing the steepest rise in more than two years. Oil prices have already risen more than 21% this year due to the ongoing economic unrest in the Middle East.

                Following the massive earthquake and Tsunami in Japan on March 11, air carriers introduced drastic cuts in their capacity. Fears of flying to Japan are increasing, owing to the still-unsettled nuclear situation, and the demand for air travel in the country is dropping, hurting the overall airline profitability.

                However, the carriers will likely be able to handle this situation as conditions stabilize in Japan. In all probability, the capacity cuts are temporary, and should last only for the next two–three months. Also, the carriers are combating rising fuel prices with higher fares and extra fees.

                OPPORTUNITIES

                We believe industry consolidation and various ancillary revenues will boost profitability and cost performance of most air carriers going forward. This is an opportune moment for companies to consolidate in order to regain their lost profits post-recession and operate more effectively.

                Ancillary Revenue: A number of supplementary revenue streams helped the airline industry gain ground in 2010 after two years of drought. The airline companies are enforcing fees on baggage, reservation change, pet travel, food and beverage to add to their revenue streams. These are expected to enhance revenues in 2011. The IATA projects total revenue of $594 billion for 2011, up slightly from $565 million reported in 2010.

                Consolidation: Airline companies are consolidating in order to restore profits. The first consolidation in the industry was Delta Air Lines’ (NYSE:DAL) successful acquisition of Northwest Airlines in 2008. The merger catapulted Delta to the position of the second largest airline in the world, generating significant cost savings for both.

                In October 2010, United Airlines merged with Continental Airlines and formed a new company — United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL). This merger created the world’s largest airline, overtaking Delta Air Lines.

                The third merger, between the discount leader Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) and fellow discounter AirTran Holdings (NYSE:AAI) announced in September 2010, is underway. The acquisition of AirTran represents a unique opportunity for Southwest to expand its presence in key markets. Southwest will gain a valuable market presence in Atlanta, the busiest airport in the U.S. The transaction is expected to complete in the second quarter of this year.

                Technology Upgrades: Air carriers are involved in numerous technology upgrades and system automation for various activities such as airline reservation system, flight operations system, website, maintenance and in-flight entertainment systems. These upgrades enable companies to perform better, lower costs and enhance customer service.

                WEAKNESSES

                While the long-term outlook for the industry has improved, near-term risks remain. These include volatile fuel prices, economic weakness, the disaster in Japan, government regulation, unionization, airport infrastructure constraints and safety concerns. Some of the major risks are discussed below:

                Oil Price Volatility: Airline operations are geared toward aviation fuel prices, a major variable cost. Oil prices, though high currently, remain well below the 2008 levels of over $140 per barrel that had ravaged the airlines industry. Since, airline companies have limited ability to pass on increased costs of fuel to their customers, they have to absorb the impact on their profits.

                In order to offset the increased burden of high oil prices, airlines are levying additional fees and charges on customers. Hedging strategies could also be profit protection tools, and will be used extensively. We believe the overall airline industry fuel expenses will increase by $10 billion to $166 billion including the impact of fuel hedging (50% of expected consumption).

                Japan Disaster: The March 11 catastrophe interrupted air traffic at most Japanese airports. The disaster not impacts the near-term air travel growth outlook for Japan, but also has negative effects on other countries as well. Japan’s domestic airline market, which according to IATA generates about $19 billion in annual revenue, has been hit the hardest.

                Outside Japan, air travel in China has suffered drastically as 23% of its international revenue is generated from Japan. Taiwan and South Korea were also affected as these generate about 20% of their international revenues from Japan flights, followed by Thailand (15%), the U.S. (12%), Hong Kong (11%) and Singapore (9%).

                The major U.S. carriers cancelled most flights to and from Japan following the calamity and rerouted their flight structures. The airline companies had offered several alternatives to exchange or refund of ticket and also waived fees for passengers rebooking flights to Japan. These moves have raised operating costs of the carriers even more.

                Further, in a move to control the situation, major U.S. airlines are cutting their Japan capacity owing to the demand slump. Delta announced its intention to cut capacity by 15% to 20% and suspend services to Tokyo’s Haneda airport through May. United Continental is expected to slash 10% of its capacity in April and 14% in May for the flights operating between Tokyo and U.S. cities like New Jersey, Los Angeles, Seattle and Washington. Additionally, the company is planning a 4% reduction in capacity by September.

                The natural disaster also took a toll on American Airlines, a wholly owned subsidiary of AMR Corporation (NYSE:AMR). The airline has suspended two of its six daily flights to Japan between April 6 and April 25. Further, Asian carriers were also affected. Japan Airlines reduced its weekly flights to 14 from 21 round-trips between Tokyo Narita and Honolulu.

                Unionization: The airline business is labor intensive. Most of the employees are unionized and depend on various U.S. labor organizations. The relation between airlines and labor unions are governed by the Railway Labor Act, which states that a collective bargaining agreement between an airline and a labor union does not expire, instead it becomes amendable as of a stated date. Failure to amend terms and conditions suitably may lead to work stoppages or strikes, hampering operations.

                Federal Regulations: The airline industry is highly regulated, particularly by the federal government. All airlines engaged in air transportation in the U.S. are subject to regulations implemented by the Department of Transportation (DOT). Further, airlines are also regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration, a division of the DOT, primarily in areas of flight operations, maintenance and other safety and technical matters.

                Currently, we have a long-term Neutral rating on Delta Airlines and Southwest Airlines. However, we have an Underperform rating for United Continental Holdings as it is cutting its capacity more than its rivals to combat the difficult situation arising from the Japan crisis as well as high fuel prices. We believe the reduced capacity will lower down the United Continental’s profitability going forward.

                http://www.dailymarkets.com/stock/2011/04/12/analyst-interviews-airline-industry-outlook-3/

              • And that’s cool Buck, Your choice and rightly so, as mine is not to.

                We have have different “breaking” points in making our stands. 🙂

              • The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects 2011 profits softening to the level of $8.6 billion from its previous expectation of $9.1 billion. The factors weighing on earnings include the escalating fuel prices, weak traffic volumes and the March 11 catastrophe in Japan, which are expected to suppress demand for air travel.

                Well heck, that makes me sympathetic to the airlines grabbing the amount of the suspended tax to their coffers! Sheesh.

                VH – I don’t follow the industry that closely, but when they talk profit they’re saying ALL their obligations/costs have been met. Seems they’ve about made up for their losses of the 08-09 time frame with this years profit projections. I really see no reason to disbelieve this article atm, so the airlines can cry me a river when they give out stories of how they have to raise fares to cover operations. BS.

              • Buck the Wala says:

                Sort of brings to mind the oil companies crying about any talk of ending their tax subsidies…all the while as they rake in record profits…

              • But think about it-if we are going to accept these figures-they lost about 26 billion in 2008 and 2009-in 2010 and 2011 they should make 24.6 billion-that doesn’t even cover their two year loss-So in reality-they didn’t make a profit. So how much money did they need in their greedy coffers to carry this business through these loses-instead of going broke.

          • Competition usually brings prices down.

            When it isn’t a rigged deck. When isn’t it a rigged deck?

            • Competition usually brings prices down

              Why do you believe competition “brings down prices”?
              What economic theory are you using that explains this?

              • Now BF you know that I do not know the names of economic theories-I was simply making an observation-just because an airline raises their prices in one area and doesn’t in another isn’t necessary based on greed but on market forces-their competition in that area had lower prices -so they kept lower prices-hence competition caused them to keep their prices lower.

              • V.H.

                I was simply making an observation

                Excellent – the first step in understanding is always observing the Universe.

                Your basic analysis here is generally correct – all other things being equal. If competition does not react to your rise in prices by rising theirs, the initiator often will retract his increase, even suffering a small loss as to maintain a presence in that marketplace.

                Price wars have this effect both ways -as above and where some competitor will dramatically cut prices, but no one else follows. The price cutter gets completely consumed, and unable to meet demand – all the while operating at almost no (or potentially negative) profit – where his competition accepts the overflow at the full price and benefits from the new “market awareness” a price cut generated. How many times have you gone to a sale, found it sold out, but still bought something at retail?

        • So…don’t fly.

    • Buck,

      taxes had cost last week, meaning you and I pay the same and the airline companies get to earn more for the same ticket. Interesting

      I think you mean you are “surprised” … they did not reduce fairs.

      But that merely is your misunderstanding of value and prices and leads back to my dialogue with JAC regarding taxes and “who pays the tax”.

      The value proposition of air travel has a “price” from the airline and a “value” from the consumer.

      As I explained to JAC, when the price is lower than the perceived value, a trade will happen.

      You hold a belief that price is calculated FROM costs but it is not! Price is calculated from the value offered to the customer – the quip: “What the market will bear” derives from this aspect.

      When the cost of delivery of a good or service declines, the value offered to the customer does not decline – so why would an airline lower its price? Only in the strange world of “cost plus” pricing methodology would such a thing happen, but such methodology is (thankfully) very rare in pricing for the market place.

      Get your economics straight, and you will be less surprised by the outcomes.

      …but it is always interesting.

    • Freedom?

  22. Any thoughts-I find-I like their standing up

    House GOP revolts against Boehner plan

    By Stephen Dinan and Sean Lengell

    The Washington Times

    12:07 p.m., Tuesday, July 26, 2011

    House Republicans do not have enough support to pass their debt-ceiling increase plan on their own, a top conservative said Tuesday as his party’s leaders tried to cobble together a coalition of Republicans and Democrats to put the bill over the top.

    “There are not 218 Republicans in support of this plan,” Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican who heads the powerful conservative caucus in the House, told reporters Tuesday morning.

    That means Speaker John A. Boehner will have to rely on Democrats to pass the $1.2 trillion spending cuts plan — support Democrats’ top vote-counter said he’ll be hard-pressed to gain. Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer said “very few” Democrats will vote for the Boehner plan, though he acknowledged there could be some.

    A vote in the House is expected Wednesday, and Republican leaders are trying to round up enough support to pass their version. They hope that if it can pass the House, that will pressure Senate Democrats to drop their alternative and accept the GOP’s plan.

    Mr. Boehner’s bill would reduce future discretionary spending by $1.2 trillion, grant an immediate debt increase of $1 trillion, and set up a committee to work on trillions of dollars in future deficit reduction either through more spending cuts or tax increases, which would then earn another future debt increase. It would also require both the House and Senate to hold votes on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

    But conservative Republicans in the House, many allied to the tea party movement, said they don’t just want votes on the amendment, they want an assurance it will be sent to the states. Mr. Jordan and other conservatives said they would prefer the Senate vote on the debt increase the House passed last week, that includes deeper spending cuts and requires both chambers approve a balanced budget amendment and submit it to states for ratification before any debt increase happens.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/jul/26/house-gop-revolts-against-boehner-debt-plan/

    • Buck the Wala says:

      Thoughts: just goes to show the need for compromise, something that is surely lacking.

      The Dems don’t have the power to push through legislation imposing substantial raises in revenue absent some cuts to spending. The GOP doesn’t have the power to push through legislation imposing substantial cuts in spending absent some raises in revenue. The solution doesn’t seem all that difficult to me. But what do I know…

      • IN the end, a small number of conservatives in the house will get their way … translation: business/corporations will get its way … again.

        Democratic majority in 2008 … business gets a $700 no strings attached bailout.

        Divided Congress in 2011 … business will get to avoid taxe increases and reduciton of loopholes (while continuing to outsource–as the Colonel pointed out today–Obama’s friggin’ “jobs” Czar sending work to China). You can’t make this shit up. Seriously …

        What to do? Either vote both parties completely out of office (at all levels of gov’t) or have a revolution … I like the revolution idea best. Let the chips fall … I say the numbers alone will lead to a more socialist/communist end result. Maybe not. I’d live with the opposite so long as “this” government is eradicated.

        • What to do? Either vote both parties completely out of office (at all levels of gov’t) or have a revolution … I like the revolution idea best. Let the chips fall … I say the numbers alone will lead to a more socialist/communist end result. Maybe not. I’d live with the opposite so long as “this” government is eradicated.

          Actually if this is the route things go I think – IMO – we will see different outcomes in different areas of the country – and gone will be a single national government over the continental US.

          But heck, what do I know? I can’t even seem to pick winning lotto numbers. 🙂

          • I think that might work, Plainly (different outcomes around the country) … maybe it’s the way to go. Dismantle this mess of corruption we have now and start over.

            Lotto … it’s the new American dream. My mother at 81 continues to buy them and every once in a while I’ll tell her she won and bring her $50 or $100 bucks (she doesn’t win) and she gets “somewhat” excited … but she wants the mega bucks … so she can give it to her kid/grandchildren …

            Bookmaking taught me not to gamble … yet every once in a while I am tempted to buy one of those lotto tickets …

            Too bad you and I didn’t get a piece of that $700 billion ticket Wall Street won with a few years ago, eh?

            • Too bad you and I didn’t get a piece of that $700 billion ticket Wall Street won with a few years ago, eh?

              Oh but we did get a part Charlie. Part of the bill that is. 🙂

        • Buck the Wala says:

          Oh don’t get me wrong, I don’t entirely disagree. I just wish for a world where the Dems would actually stand up for the principles they espouse during campaigning and where the GOP understands the need for compromise. Clearly it will never happen and as you and Mathius discussed earlier – there will be a cave (by the Dems…again) and the corporations will prevail…again.

          • I used to wish for that world (Dems stood for principle) and was fed up mid-Clinton).

            I’ll give this to the tea party (and I disagree with them on the vast majority of issues), they pulled together and effected change. While so-called liberal democrats line up to support Obama in 2012 (which, quite frankly, is unbelievable to me at this point), the tea party forced it’s party of choice (GOP) to pay attention. The so-called liberal democrats always wind up with their thumbs up their asses wondering “what happened?” What happened is they never grew the balls necessary to put fear into their party of choice. Threaten to break away and give the next election or two to the GOP and the Dems will have to pay attention also. What, is there such a big different between which party runs things? You can damn sure fool me. It’s money that wins every time … makes no difference which party’s strings its pulling. A very good writer recently told me that voting against Obama would be the “height of irresponsibiity” for democrats. I like the guy too much to slap him silly (verbally, of course). Height of irresponsibility to abandon Obama? For liberals? Sweet Jesus, it’s no wonder the tea party kicked their asses six ways to Sunday (not to me anyway). No wonder at all …

            • Buck the Wala says:

              I don’t disagree with ya here Charlie…

              But at the end of the day, I will be pulling that lever for Obama — for fear of a Bachmann as the alternative… If the GOP hasn’t gone so far to the right in recent years, I’d be willing to put up with a more conservative government for a few years to get a real liberal nominated and elected. Sadly, with the current crop of GOP front-runners, I don’t think I’m willing to put up with that option.

              • Now come on, Buck, they haven’t been THAT effective (tea party). Bachmann will never win a national election for dog catcher, never mind President. Romney probably won’t win. Unless we hit 10% unemployment, the putz in the white house will get another 4 years to dick around and do nothing (but sell “audacity of a dope” books). What if it were Romney and he won? Do you really think there’d be a difference? A substantial enough difference to not start a democratic liberal revolution against the party? Look at what has gone down since this moron took office … big business, as much as it got away with under the other moron (Bush), never had it so good. They whipped his ass when he had a two house majority … now they’re whipping his ass with a bunch of rookie right wingers. When does this guy take some credit for being completely inneffective. Tiny case in point. Under the other moron (Bush), I was working 7 days a week. Now I’m unemployed and forced to change careers (at great personal financial cost). I’m one shmuck. Forget what he did to unions by ignoring his 2007 “comfortable shoes” pledge. Obama has done more to hurt American labor than the last 3 Republican Presidents combined. That’s a fact. Why do the lemming thing and “hope” for something better? You can forget Bachmann and Perry, etc. The only fool who has a chance out of that pack of losers is the used car salesman (Romney). If Christie ran, Obama would lose outright. Christie isn’t going to run … I don’t think. Even if he does and he wins … so what? Four or eight years where the Democratic party learns a lesson. To wit: Don’t “assume” the liberal wing will blow you when it comes time get it up.

                Let me be less graphic. Don’t assume we’re going to support you after you’ve taken 400 shits on our faces.

                Honestly, sometimes I can’t stop myself …

              • Buck the Wala says:

                I’ll wait and see who gets the GOP nomination.

              • D13 for President!!!!

              • for fear of a Bachmann as the alternative

                And this, unfortunately for liberals, is how they come up short every time. Fear. By the time the GOP has a nominee (probably Romney), the Democratic Party will have scared it’s liberal wing back in line … and their effectiveness will never reach beyond the borders of their local areas of populace domination … and they will not have learned the lesson of the tea party.

                And they’ll get their assess kicked all over again.

              • I’ll vote for D13 anyday..

  23. Reading some of the comments regarding Airlines, Pricing, and its economics makes me shake my head while remembering what Hayek said (paraphrased):

    “The economic understanding of the common People is so dismissal as to be equal to the extent of the scientific understanding of a man 5,000 years ago”

    • A way of saying “we’re a bunch of morons….: huh? 🙂

      Oh well, we can’t all be “educated idiots”

      • Plainly,

        It is not your fault.
        Economics as taught today is alchemists preaching that iron can mutate into gold. The modern world of Keynesian economics is suffering under the Ptolemaic belief of how the Universe revolves around the Center of the Earth – and one risks a hanging for saying otherwise.

        Thus, it is no wonder to me, (but a suddenness) that the vast majority of People do not have a speck of sense of how Economics operates, how prices are created, what “value” means, what is money, etc. etc. and make up all their own little pet and irrational theories trying to make sense of it.

        Learning proper economics is a lot of hard work.
        Who here has read Mises “On Human Action”?….probably just me. 1,000 pages long building the underlying economic theories that explain the world…yet no one reads it.

        So, who then has read Hazlett’s “Economics in One Lesson” – nope, no one I bet. Here is a human readable book that explains the basics, but not even this easy readable and enlightening book gets anyone reading it…..

        …so the irrational pet theories continue to be thrown about….

        • BF – I freely admit to being economics “challenged in my understanding of the whole philosophies/platforms of economics. I also admit to having read neither of the books you spoke of. I operate off the – shall we call it the emotional theory?

          The prime reason why I don’t really involve myself in the big economic debates here. I read along and try to understand the information, yet let my thinking come to what I see as reasonable ideas on what is and why it occurs.

          I don’t know whose theories are “correct” in the end.

          • Plainly,

            whose theories are “correct” in the end

            Oh that is the easiest part.

            The one that explains cause and effect the best.

            For example, if you came to Buck and asked “what will happen to the price of a product when the manufacturing companies costs go down?” He probably would have said “the selling price would go down” – because he is a believer in cost+ pricing for all goods and services … except his.

            If you asked me, I would have responded “nothing, all other things being equal”.

            One only need to look at, say, a software developer where the cost of making the first copy of a program is massive, but the cost of every other copy is nearly zero. Do you see them sell the first one at -say- $1 million, then every other copy at, say 1c?? No.

            The price they charge is based on what they believe the market may value the product, not on how much it cost to make it.

            The cost of making is very important for if they cannot charge a price high enough to cover their costs, they will go bankrupt. But the price they offer is not based on that cost, it is based on the value to the market place.

            • BF,

              Yes, that makes sense to me. I’ll call that the “easy” aspects of economics. Where it gets difficult for me – and gives me headaches when I try to understand – is all other stuff. Like the FED for instance, or government impact on the economy using different theories of economics, etc.

              Just pass me the aspirin so I can get rid of the pain in my forehead as I try to figure out right and wrong there.

              • Plainly,

                Like the FED for instance, or government impact on the economy using different theories of economics, etc.

                Right – so let me help a bit here too.

                I’ll assume you are not interested in the easier route, and reading some books – and that you are interested in long, deep, headaches trying to figure it out for yourself.

                So, simply apply a handful of first principles:
                (1) People do not like to be manipulated or forced into any action..
                (2) People chose their own happiness or values.
                (3) People tend to chose the easier way vs the right way.
                (4) People avoid pain and seek pleasure.

                Sloowwwllly apply these root principles to the problem and you will more likely then not get close enough to the right answer.

              • Actually this one sounds worth trying out:

                Hazlett’s “Economics in One Lesson”

                I’ll be checking Amazon for it.

              • Thank you. It is bookmarked for possible use on Friday (payday)> Once the bills are paid and I have met all our obligations I will apply any extra to this purchase.

                I know, shame on me for being fiscally responsible – unlike government.

              • Mathius™ says:

                (3) People tend to chose the easier way vs the right way.

                Ooh boy.. that one sounds like it could have been one of Mathius’s Laws. Sort of a combination of #2 and #3?

                #2: People. Are. Selfish.
                #3: People. Are. Lazy.

    • And here I thought I was being quite logical 🙂 where do you think I went wrong?

  24. VH – down here:

    V.H. says:
    July 26, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    But think about it-if we are going to accept these figures-they lost about 26 billion in 2008 and 2009-in 2010 and 2011 they should make 24.6 billion-that doesn’t even cover their two year loss-So in reality-they didn’t make a profit. So how much money did they need in their greedy coffers to carry this business through these loses-instead of going broke.

    I should ask – are we saying the airlines lost their profits for those two years and only made operating expenses? Also, having taken a couple of finance classes in college (not enough to make me knowledgeable to any great degree) I learn about the accounting practices that can so interestingly turn a successful year into a “bad” year. I’m not saying that is happening – but it makes me wonder.

    • In my world a loss means your income didn’t cover your expenses-what do I know of the accounting practices of companies the size of airlines. 🙂

      • So generally would we all – yet I did learn that “loss” can also simply be breaking even too. In then end we’d have to pick apart their accounting practices to know for sure wouldn’t we? 🙂

        • Plainly,

          It is simple. Did they have more cash in the bank at the end of the term then before. Screw “accounting” principles – most of that crap is for tax purposes (and tax avoidance purposes).

          • Well that is the question isn’t it? I suppose we could ask them, yet somehow I doubt the answer we’d get back would be louder than the crickets chirping in the field.

    • Of course it happens…..the name of the game is cash flow…not profit and loss unless you are a public company begging for shares of stock…Equipment heavy companies use a great little item called accelerated depreciation. Depreciation = cash. A GREAT cash flow item,but a loss on the books. That is why you can have companies flush with cash but in a loss situation and paying no tax.Everyone does the same thing when it comes to equipment or heavy assets. Pretty simple actually.

      • Well, yea-but depreciation is a loss-eventually that equipment will have to be replaced. I don’t consider that shady accounting.

        • V.H., D13,

          Actually do this experiment.

          If you had NO tax, and no law requiring you to report your income, how would that equipment be truly accounted for?

          “A cost”

          You took $1 million out of your account and replaced it with a machine.
          Your bank account is down $1 million.
          There is no trick here.

          Depreciation is a concept only if there is taxation, and is used to delay some money from being taxed

        • This is where you are wrong….depreciation is NOT a loss in reality. It is an accounting scheme that allow it to be a loss…..When you buy a lawn mower, when it wears out, you replace it with your own money.

          Depreciation is not a loss…it is cash in the bank and a way to have the taxpayer replace your equipment when it wears out AND you get to expense it to lower your income taxes at the same time. I will try to simplify it…and if you already know this, I apologize for patronizing what you may already know. I will keep it simple.

          VH has a business That requires a large piece of equipment. That equipment is bought for $10,000. IT has a normal life of 7 years. Normal depreciation is 10,000/7 or $1428.57 per year write off. However, you are allowed to have accelerated depreciation and can write off this same equipment over four years… 10,000/4 = $2500 per year. That is 2500 in your account in cash (depreciation=cash) and you get to expense it as well and reduce your income tax by whatever amount it is. So, technically, the taxpayer picked up the expense of your equipment, you put 2500 plus lowered tax into your account and your P/L shows a loss. At the end of 4 years, you still have three years left on the life…you sell it, pay tax on the lowered price and bank the rest, buy a new piece of equipment and do the same thing over and over again. So, there is a loss on paper but not in your bank account.

          • Crap-something else I’m gonna have to rethink 🙂 I see where accelerated depreciation can be a bad thing-you explained it well. Would you feel the same way about showing this as an expense-if they actually used the normal life of the equipment?

            • YOu are not forced into accelerated depreciation….it is a decision based upon the viability of your company. You can use the useful life depreciation if you wish. Most people do not understand how depreciation affects a balance sheet and cash flow. It is a HUGE item to industry. So, from my standpoint, I would ascertain whether the useful life is the way to go or accelerate it. I would run a 7 year pro forma to see the impact vs a four year pro forma. BUt what the hell….remember that I am just a retired old Colonel who knows nothing.

  25. Buck

    Sorry but I refuse to sacrifice on my travel due to some higher costs. BF would probably turn around and argue that since I’m willing to pay the higher cost being imposed, this is the free market at work and nothing wrong with that,

    Correct.

    Since you value your travel, you are willing to pay for it.

    but just because I am willing to begrudgingly pay (as there is just no alternative — travel or what? don’t travel? ha!)

    \

    Or train, or ship, or car, or walking…. all of which, for you, provides less value then flying.

    does not mean that there is nothing wrong with this practice.

    *sigh*
    So you do not think you have a right to price your services based on your own wishes, but must price your services based on your “cost”?

    Yet, you demand airlines do differently then you!

  26. @ Plainly……I did not imply that the war was justified and that it was an oops……all I did was said consider this. I am well aware that people will judge no matter the evidence….Look at the recent Casey Anthony case. HOw many think she is guilty? There is no proof. Same issue. I understand that. I do not see conspiracy around every corner as most do. I do not trust government….never have…never will.

    I usually stay quiet on intel because (1) I cannot say anything about it and (2) people think that Wiki is the cat’s meow and if it is not on the internet it must be a lie. So I stay out of it usually….so just consider the WMD issue and it is a logical conclusion that he had them because he already killed thousands. Logical that they are there….there were several individuals that wanted to fight Iraq…especially the second time around…and I can see that since the cease fire was being violated…..he did not need WMD’s to start the war….the cease fire violations already carried the penalty….which included war again.Why the WMD issue us beyond me but it is there.

  27. I did not mean to imply otherwise sir (like a good ex-NCO the “sir” always comes out with a smile on my face to keep from offending the Act of Congress designated officer and gentleman – 😉 ). I apologize if it appeared to you that I was implying otherwise.

    I understand the whole intel/classified info stance. Been there, done that. I would stay quiet as well since the federal accommodations for doing otherwise are not to my liking in any way, shape, or form.

    My point was/is in alignment with yours. I don’t trust government, nor the politicians controlling it. They lie, they omit, they slant as it fits their needs. What we, individually, call what Bush did is open to our individual interpretations was my point. One would say lie, while others would say misinterpreted.

    Either way it was wrong. Blood spilled for no good reason when we leave other nations alone (rightly) in the same or similar circumstances. Our service personnel and many Iraqi’s (or Afghans, or Libyans), civilian and military, pay the price of our failure to use our military to only protect us from direct attacks upon our lands.

    Bush did wrong, period. I don’t give a tinker’s damn on how it was justified. In my heart there was no justification for it and so therefore I consider his actions a war crime. That is my personal opinion of course. Along with a buck twenty-five it’ll get you a cup of coffee at Denny’s.

  28. OH, he’s made his billions, he pushed for these regulations, and now he’s running from them. Don’t know anything about hedge funds but I really question the government “making” them go away.

    Last updated: July 26, 2011 8:57 pm
    Soros to close Quantum fund to outsiders

    By Dan McCrum in New York
    George Soros, the billionaire hedge fund manager, is closing his Quantum fund to outside investors and returning their money.

    Quantum, which will continue to manage about $24.5bn of Soros family money, blamed the decision on new financial regulations requiring hedge funds to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    “An unfortunate consequence of these new circumstances is that we will no longer be able to manage assets for anyone other than a family client as defined under the regulations”, Jonathan and Robert Soros, Mr Soros’ sons and Quantum’s co-deputy chairmen, wrote in a letter to investors on Tuesday.

    New regulations require hedge funds with more than $150m under management to report details about investments, employees and investors, and also makes them subject to possible inspections by the SEC. Mr Soros’ decision contrasts with his own reputation as an advocate for both government and corporate transparency.

    A spokesman for Mr Soros declined to comment.

    Quantum is returning about $750m of capital to outside investors, according to a person familiar with its decision. Keith Anderson, chief investment officer since 2008, is also leaving the fund.

    The move brings an end Mr Soros’ four-decade career as a hedge fund manager. A Hungarian emigré, he made more than $1bn in 1992 betting that the UK would be forced to devalue sterling and pull out of the European exchange rate mechanism.

    Mr Soros started Quantum in 1973 and developed a reputation for trading on instinct .

    Since inception, Quantum has returned roughly 20 per cent annually. At the end of June, however, the fund was down 6 per cent year-to-date. Speaking in April, Mr Soros told a panel of investors that “I find the current [market] situation much more baffling and much less predictable than I did at the time of the height of the financial crisis”.

    After the technology bubble burst in 2000, Mr Soros returned most of Quantum’s outside capital, or about 40 per cent of the $11bn it then had under management, in order to concentrate on his philanthropic work through the Soros Foundations.

    The remaining capital was largely farmed out to other hedge fund managers. Mr Soros returned to active management in 2007, during the early stages of the financial crisis.

    “He’s 81 years old in an industry where many people retire early, and with his tremendous success he’s one of a very select group who can just decide that he doesn’t want to deal with it,” said Leor Landa, a hedge fund partner at law firm Davis Polk. “Most sizeable hedge fund managers would not view the incremental resources that go into SEC registration as enough of a reason to shut down.”

    Other hedge fund veterans including Stanley Druckenmiller, who managed Quantum in the 1990s, and Carl Icahn have also recently decided they will no longer manage other people’s money.

    “It demonstrates that hedge funds, at least as we once knew them, are gone, replaced by far more transparent entities,” said Anthony Sabino, professor at the Tobin College of Business.

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/42bd6288-b785-11e0-b95d-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1TErNzY00

  29. I disagree here slightly and this is part semantics and part not. Dems didn’t cave. They were in on it the entire time. Saying the Democrats caved would be saying that they actually have a different stance with the corporations than the Republicans do. And I don’t think we are anywhere near believing that to be the case. The two sides put on a show, pander to their bases, and then do what they agreed to do before the debate started…. business as usual.

    You are 1000% right here. My mistake using “cave” … both parties are owned.

    • Great video … but I have to wonder: Isn’t the Special interests that “own” the government (and are therefore entrenching themselves in an expanding government) the corruption in the first place? Do we really think that freeing up regulations (kind of like the Supreme Court’s ruling to allow special interests to donate to campaigns directly) would solve this problem? It seems to me, so long as big money gets to buy the government, our angst should be directed in that direction. Get rid of “this” government, sure. It is nothing more than a pawn used by corporate interests.

      Or we could all work for the government and get those nifty paychecks and benefits. The greater good making $170K a year? Sounds pretty good to me!

      • I’d like to know what the Fed payroll is for 21 mil. Way to play around with OPM- other people’s money! Then tack on State payroll, WTH? It’s no wonder its going to take 369 years at 100 mil/ day to get us out of debt. SCARY!

  30. BF….I don’t get it. I do not understand why people use value in their decisions on a daily basis and the ridicule the value process at the same time. It makes absolutely no sense in the world. Economics is not that hard to understand unless you are going to play the Macro game. They want to punish a company for not lowering prices during a non tax day or week….and say that it is not fair. But they do not scream and yell when the government imposes a tax that is passed on to the consumer. Value is perceived by the individual…..if they do not like something then do not use that service. It is that simple or am I missing something.

    I can understand that most do not know hoe macro and micro economics works…..neither do most economists. I can even understand the confusion on how a company can be flush with cash and show a loss on the books because cash flow is multi-faceted…..but I do not understand the mindset that when value is perceived and taken, then it is has to be a fault of the market if they do not like the prices. Simply do not use the product. What am I missing?

    • Buck the Wala says:

      I understand where you and BF are going with this, I really do. If I as a consumer value the airline ticket at $1,000 (cost inclusive of tax) then there is no reason for me to value it differently absent the taxes. $1,000 is $1,000.

      But, and here’s the rub that got to me with the whole thing — I have heard people argue here something to the tune of taxes, which are passed on to the buyer, artificially raising the price of goods. Implicitly this means that, absent the $100 in taxes, that $1,000 ticket is really $900. If this is the case, then the tickets should have dropped to reflect the $900. Not to mention the deceptive practice being employed here of raising the price to bring in additional revenue in the hopes no one would notice.

      • I really was not aiming at you in particular, my barrister friend, but you were the catalyst that got me to thinking. A question for you…you have used the word “artificially”…”deceptive practice”….in your answer….artificially I can see where you are headed…..but deceptive practice eludes me. Could I impose upon you to explain your reasoning here for me…..(keeping in mind that I am dumb old retired Colonel who knows nothing). THanking you in advance….D13, the Immortal.

        • Buck the Wala says:

          Perhaps deceptive isn’t the right word. But the companies are clearly not being honest here; all evidence points to the companies raising the prices (coincidentally by the exact amount of the taxes that were being collected) in the hopes no one would be the wiser. Actually, maybe deceptive is the right word afterall.

          By the way, don’t use “The Immortal” – absent my second cup of joe this morning, I initially read it as ‘The Immoral” – but I knew that had to be wrong!!

          • Ahhh……not had your second yet….understand….please….my immoral days were in college, Remember that all of us “Colonel types” always think we are Immortal…..we are but a step away from the “star”…..however, I did not make it. My politics kept me from being promoted. But, I am Special Forces trained….eat bugs and stuff….jump out of perfectly good airplanes with a bed sheet designed to get me on the ground basically intact, carry all sorts of firepower and rain destruction and mayhem on the “bad guys”, and go home for a beer. (or I used to do that). So, that makes me an Immortal in my own mind, doncha know.

            Now, on to the important stuff. Ok…I am interpreting your point as if there is a tax free time, and a company or suppler decides to keep the prices the same and not tell any body, then that is deceptive, in your legal trap mind. Interesting concept.

            • Buck the Wala says:

              I’m still not in love with the term deceptive. What I’m trying to get at here is the fact that companies decided to take advantage of this situation by quietly increasing the price of the ticket so they mirrored what people were paying inclusive of tax.

              Not so sure about the eating bugs thing, but otherwise I’ll eat pretty much anything. And loved jumping out of that plane several years ago – gotta do that again sometime real soon. Trying to get the Mrs. to join but she’ll have no part in that!

      • Buck,

        I have heard people argue here something to the tune of taxes, which are passed on to the buyer, artificially raising the price of goods.

        Then those people who make this argument are absolutely wrong.

        There is no such thing as a producer or a seller “artificially” raising prices.

        There is a price – determined by the seller. Period.

        The reasons he may choose such a price are multi-fold and subjective to that seller.

        He may make up “excuses” and “explanations” in an attempt to appear “objective” in his choice for a price, but price is a subjective value of the goods by the seller and really, no one needs to justify their subjective value.

        Pick a number out of a hat for all economics cares about choosing a price – as long as the price is higher than your cost, and lower than the value of the goods in the eye of the buyer, you will be self-sustaining.

        • Buck the Wala says:

          Yes the sellers have a price. No issue there.

          The government imposes a tax, which the seller collects from the buyer. The buyer pays this tax. The sellers price is unchanged. A $900 ticket is $900 + the $100 taken by the government. The ticket remains $900.

          Absent the tax, the sellers price should remain the same. That is my issue.

          • I see where you are headed now…..my mind is becoming clearer due to an influx of Dublin Dr Pepper (real cane sugar). Hmmmmmmm….so if the seller raises the price 100 bucks to keep it where it was, that makes the ticket price 100 bucks more expensive…..and if the tax comes back and the price still does not change, then the seller gives up the 100 bucks again…..but is that deceptive?

            • Buck the Wala says:

              Again, not married with deceptive as the term. It’s something alright!

              And by all indications thus far, it is expected that the airlines will keep in place the higher price even with the return of the tax.

          • Buck,

            You are as confused about tax as you were during the discussion of “who pays the tax” in a past thread.

            You are still stuck in the “cost plus” pricing fallacy.

            Tax is a cost to the seller – and it is paid out his pocket, not the consumer.

            The consumer sees a value of a good/service as “X”, and pays “Y” (which is some amount less than “X”). Period.

            The seller gets “Y” in his pocket.
            From “Y” he has to pay his costs, one of them being, say, his employees and one of them, say, is the tax.

            From your point of view, if he fired one of his employees, you should be charged Y-(cost of employee) now! But I do not think you think that.
            Yet, from your point of view, if his tax cost goes down, you should be charged Y-(cost of tax)!

            • Buck the Wala says:

              BF, we’ve gone through this before, and sorry to say, but sales tax is a cost to the buyer. Perhaps it is technically a cost to the seller, but one that is immediately passed on to the buyer.

              The seller collects the tax; the buyer pays the tax.

              But I’m not gonna go down this rabbit hole again, sorry.

          • Buck,

            The government imposes a tax, which the seller collects from the buyer. The buyer pays this tax. The sellers price is unchanged. A $900 ticket is $900 + the $100 taken by the government. The ticket remains $900.

            Do you apply this theory to other costs?

            Do you say “the price of the ticket is $100+ the cost of the paper to print it on, therefore the “real” price of the ticket is $100, not $105?”
            Then do you say “the price of the ticket is $105+ the cost of the ticket handler, therefore the “real” price of the ticket is $100, not $105, and not $125″
            Then do you say “The price of the ticket is $125+ the cost of jet amortized, therefore the “real”price of the ticket is $100, not $105, not $125 and not $225”
            Then do you say…..

            Just curious to what depth your pet theory flows…. or does it just get triggered when the word “tax” is applied and you a different theory for all the other costs.

        • But people with this view are absolutely wrong-is that not an overstatement. Is it not assured but isn’t it a lot more probable that a decrease in prices would occur if taxes went away.

          • Correction-It is not assured

          • V.H.

            No.
            It is not a matter of “probability” whatsoever.

            There is a potential that prices may fall due to competitive pressure which has NOTHING to do with a reduction of costs.
            Should one competitor improve his costs, he will have an advantage of selling at a lower price while maintaining his profit vs. his less effective competition.

            But with a tax, it is placed broadly on ALL sellers in such a market – the costs go down equally upon all sellers – there is no real competitive advantage gained by anyone over anyone.

            Now, it does give room in their profit to play against one another to gain market share by changing their prices but this strategy existed before the drop in taxes too so why would the removal of a tax suddenly create a circumstance that already existed?.

            They already could use price for market gain before tax relief – this did not change after tax relief – they still have it.

            All taxation places massive distortions upon a market place.

            Tax is a cost to the seller – but since a tax tends to apply to all sellers, the change in such taxation applies to the costs of all seller.

            This gives the appearance to the less economically observant, such as Buck, to assume such a cost is on the buyer because of the broad application of the cost. But it is not truth – it remains a cost to the seller even if it is applied broadly on all sellers.

  31. D13,

    It is that simple or am I missing something.

    It is that simple, and no sir, you are not missing anything.

    I can understand that most do not know hoe macro and micro economics works…..neither do most economists.

    Macro is very easy to understand too, but most people have this mistaken understanding of what “economics” is.

    Economics explains cause and effect.

    But most people believe Economics is a tool to generate only positive outcomes for themselves

    So when Buck is angry that the Market place punishes poor economic behavior, he claims “the Free Market FAILED” – because he thinks Economics must provide only positive outcomes and anything less means failure of the system.

    He has not understood that the Market place is working perfectly by removing poor economic decisions.

    Economics can tell him “doing this will create this consequence”. If the consequence is what he desires, then his decision to do such an act would be a “good decision” – but if he does not wish the consequence, but still acts this would be a “bad decision”.

    • Buck the Wala says:

      I never said ‘the Free Market FAILED’, did I? At least, I don’t believe I did. Not sure how you walk away from this by stating that ‘the market place is working perfectly by removing poor economic decisions’ though.

      All I said was that it is interesting to watch as companies increase their price in the absence of a tax, which by (I believe) your admission artificially inflated the price to begin with.

      • Buck,

        In past arguments of the Free market you have used such a term – however, I did appear that the comment related to this thread, and it did not. My apologies for bringing in an old comment to make a recent point.

        No where do I claim “artificial” price increases in this example.

        An “artificial” price can only arise by a dictate of the violence providers – who set a price and enforce it by the point of a gun.

        • Buck the Wala says:

          Correct me if wrong here, but is that not your argument with taxes? The government, by threat of force, is imposing a price (by way of a tax to be added to whatever price is set by the seller).

          No worries of bringing in past comments – I do it often myself.

          • Buck,

            So let’s work this mind experiment:

            Government is NOT determining the price, the seller does that.
            Government is NOT determining the value, the consumer does that.

            If the cost of the service is HIGHER than the value of the consumer, no sale occurs.

            Does government collect the tax from the consumer even if there is no sale? No. Therefore, the tax cannot be paid by the consumer

            Does government collect the tax from the seller AFTER the sale? Yes. Therefore, the tax is paid by the seller.

            Tax is a cost to the seller, no different from any other costs of doing business, such as say gasoline is to a truck driver.

            If he drives when he has a customer, but when he drives he spends money on fuel.
            When he does not drive and parks, he has no customer, and thus spends no money on fuel.

            If his fuel costs go down, do you believe he should give back the difference to his customer?

            • Buck the Wala says:

              As I’ve said — government is determining an increase in the price of a product through the imposition of sales tax. The seller’s responsibility is to collect that tax and pass it on to the government. The buyer’s responsibility is to pay the tax.

              Does government collect the tax from the seller even if there is no sale? No. It is a tax imposed on the sale itself, which the seller passes on directly to the buyer. Hence, artificial increase in price.

              • Buck,

                As I’ve said — government is determining an increase in the price of a product through the imposition of sales tax. The seller’s responsibility is to collect that tax and pass it on to the government. The buyer’s responsibility is to pay the tax.

                Here again is an example of utter confusion.

                The buyer’s responsibility is to pay the tax..
                But how can that be? The buyer says “no”. Does the government come and collect anyway? Of course not! No sale occurred! Therefore it cannot be the responsibility of the buyer to pay the tax – if the buyer is responsible, the tax MUST BE PAID REGARDLESS.

                This is what occurs with income tax – you have to pay whether or not YOU SPEND. This is a tax that the consumer IS responsible for.

                Does government collect the tax from the seller even if there is no sale? No. It is a tax imposed on the sale itself, which the seller passes on directly to the buyer. Hence, artificial increase in price.

                See below about your pet economic theory of “cost passing”.

  32. BF says: “but most people have this mistaken understanding of what “economics” is.”

    D13 concurs:” Yes, it is NOT what is taught in college in the basic economics course. IT is misleading. Economics is purely cause and effect….but to most, that is hard to grasp. I am not implying that is the case with Buck…he is pretty straight forward and I think that he is saying the same thing but I was not pointing him out but was pointing out that most think that way.

    • Mathius™ says:

      Everything is cause and effect. Everything.

      Economics is not completely understood – I suspect this is because human beings are not completely understood. I understand, of course, the field broadly, and I get (generally) the stance of Mises/BF. I also get (generally) the stance of Keynes. I am not sold either way – I am an econ/finance major, pretty sharp, pretty knowledgeable, I have given it a lot of though, etc, and I am as yet unable to reach any sort of conviction. So I always find it suspect when there is a broad debate with highly knowledgeable and intelligent people on both sides, yet someone will step into the fray and declare with absolute conviction that he knows the absolute irrefutable truth and that he is 100% right and everyone who disagrees is 100% wrong. It makes me uncomfortable. There’s too much of the fanatic in it.. Maybe he’s right, but it just spooks me.. it’s been my experience that most of the time the truth is somewhere between the sides.

      Maybe it’s just me..

      • Not you at all, my friend. I am supposed to understand it as well……and there is premise enough to go around. I have always found that there is cause and effect…..nothing will change that. Pretty good understanding to live by……..unless you are wiped out on grog and RB……then it does not matter.

  33. Hi-Peter

    I caught your answer on the comment page but unfortunately it was gone by the time I could answer. And I don’t remember which page the original post was on 🙂 but okay-I understand now-it isn’t that they can’t -it’s that they won’t. That I agree with 100%

  34. Buck,

    You example how a pet economic theory and its application creates massive confusion.

    but sales tax is a cost to the buyer.

    Example is right here.

    Your pet economic theory holds that costs to the seller are really a cost to the buyer.

    Thus, in your point of view, your house is a cost to your employer, as is your car, your food, your TV, …. all of this is really a cost to your employer and not to you.

    Because of this pet theory, you hold that should a cost no longer occur, the buyer should no longer pay it. Therefore you must hold that when you no longer pay for your car, your employer should equally no longer pay it for you – that is, lower your “income”.

    Yet, none of this occurs.

    Your pet theory does not explain reality whatsoever.

    Your income does not fall, sellers do not reduce their price when their costs go down, and consumers have no idea what “costs” the seller has or has not.

    But you maintain your pet theory in the face of contradiction to reality, so you have to explain the difference of observation and prediction with another pet theory – this one is called “deceptive practices”.

    Because the reality does not fit your theory, you believe some other force is in play distorting reality from your theory – and this for you is “deceptive practice”, that is, the seller is hiding, lying, deceptive, cheating, stealing from the consumer.

    Now, you hold THIS pet theory as dearly as the first one, so now you advocate real violent force to attack sellers who, in your pet theory, are lying, cheating and stealing from you.

    And if such pet theories are broadly held by society, utter confusion, disorder, destruction and slaughter begins to rise.

    • I was gonna ask-why this distinction was so important to you-but you just answered that question. I just wanted to bring up the fact that the seller has to pay all the expenses related to collecting and paying this tax-so whatever position you take-the existence of the tax increases cost on the seller.

      • V.H.

        I was gonna ask-why this distinction was so important to you-but you just answered that question

        Often such distinctions are not important – like saying the “sun moves across the sky”.

        This is not at all what happens – the Earth actually turns and the sun itself does not move relative to the Earth at all. But though in err, the statement is harmless and most of the time describes the situation – though incorrectly – but the err does not impact whatever the dialogue and discussion.

        But if one is discussing planetary motion, it is an important distinction. Ptolemaic theory that held that the Sun did the moving failed to explain a number of physical events. Holding onto this erroneous understanding created serious errors elsewhere.

        This is Buck’s problem. Normally simply saying “costs are passed to the consumer” – though in err – is harmless most of the time.

        However, if one invokes political action on the basis of this erroneous understanding, serious and dangerous consequences occur.

    • Buck,

      You can see the destruction of such pet theories under the guise of “price gouging”.

      There is a sudden shortage of an economic good in the face of massive demand, the price of the good suddenly jumps in price.

      The People, holding pet theory of Buck’s are OUTRAGED! They demand heads and sanctions and prison terms for these sellers.

      And happily in comes violence providers and the sellers are forced at gun point to sell at a price that is out of line with the demand -resulting in total exhaustion – resulting in far worse shortages of the economic good causing even more suffering and more demand for the good, and the People are OUTRAGED because they now hold Buck’s 2nd pet theory of lying, cheating and stealing, and demand more heads and sanctions and prison terms for hoarders and once again happily in comes the violence providers and steal the goods of other people at the point of a gun and distribute it to those that demand but did not earn.

      …which of course completely exhausts the entire supply of the good…

      With no one willing to sell into this market, and no willing to even admit they have such a good to sell, the entire supply dries up – at the same time demand reaches is pinnacle.

      Then people start to die….

      • Buck the Wala says:

        Wow, you’re on a roll today!

        “demanding heads and sanctions and prison terms for these sellers.” Not even close, BF, not even close.

        And this is why I will not go down this rabbit hold today. Not to mention its lunch time.

        • Buck,

          Not even close

          Actually, dead on. This is exactly what happens when gas prices go up – the People demand heads and sanctions and prison for oil companies executives for “gouging” at the pump.

          Do you deny these FACTS?

          • Buck
            http://sports.yahoo.com/olympics/news?slug=ro-london_olympics_2012_hotel_price_gouging_072711

            Some comments:
            ….
            Yet, while sports fans can appreciate those personality traits in the men and women who will compete for gold in London next summer, they are less welcome when the perpetrators are hotel managers and owners seeking to make a killing from the sports world’s quadrennial extravaganza.

            Oh, yes.
            Rooms are in high demand.
            Prices go up.

            Evil “perps” are the reason and they are “killing” us.


            With the Games now just a year away, British hoteliers have already put steps in place to ensure they strike gold at the expense of international visitors who are left with few alternative options.

            Oh, the sin!

            Rich people, paying $$$$ thousands of dollars $$$$ for tickets to watch other people contort, twist, break, their bodies on display are furious they have to actually pay for their hotel rooms and are left “with few alternatives” – such as not wanting to watch in on TV


            Price gouging has become a serious concern as the London hotels – many of them burned by the recent economic downturn to have ravaged the United Kingdom – are acting in unison to pump up prices and give themselves a much-needed fiscal boost.

            Right.
            “Excuse us losing money so we can “artificially” pump up prices.”
            “If we didn’t lose money last year, we would be really nice people and give our rooms away today. ”

            Such crap.
            Prices go up because demand goes up. There are only so many rooms – scarcity – with more demand then rooms.
            Thus Price is the mechanism to distribute scarce resources

            The other method: rationing at the point of a gun, which is exactly what the People here are idiotically demanding.

            With Games organizers powerless to prevent price gouging, the losers will be tourists and sports fans from around the globe, with many forced to either shorten their trips or even reconsider them altogether.


            “I had been planning this trip for a couple of years, but now I will either have to go for only one week instead of two at best,”

            Oh boo hoo!
            “I am so flithy rich so to spend tens of thousands of dollars and these darn hotel guys want their cut!”


            said Timothy Clark, a physical therapist from Irvine, Calif., who attended the last two Summer Games in Athens and Beijing.

            Bet he doesn’t believe he “gouges” his customers, yet, seems to charge them enough for him to globe trot to these games!


            Virtually all London hotels have at least doubled their prices for the Games’ two-week period, with some – especially those close to the key Olympic sites in Stratford, which is east of the city – inflating things even further.

            Oh my gawd! It is a systemic disease afflicting all hotel owners!

            “INFLATION!” – which simply proves this author is utterly an economic idiot.


            The Evening Standard newspaper reported that one four-star hotel had jacked up its prices from a typical rate of $300 per night to more than $1,600 while the event is taking place, a theme repeated around London.

            LoL – jacked up! Repeated theme! Such eloquence!


            Trade authorities have urged their members to retain realistic pricing to avoid damaging the reputation of the London hotel business, but their pleas seem to largely have fallen on deaf ears.

            Damage their reputation! Like having clean, safe rooms for their guests???

            Nope, the only reputation that matters is “we must be so cheap”.

            “Hotels appear to be gripped by a frenzy of greed,” Mario Bodini, general secretary of UKinbound, the trade union for tour operators, told the Financial Times.

            Yep, because you can’t get the goods you want at the price you demand, it is not due to your own desires, wants, and needs trade off – it is only due to those darn greedy people who have the goods and do not want to part with them!!


            Even London mayor Boris Johnson, a controversial and often outspoken character, waded into the discussion. Johnson attacked the hotel owners, likening them to Arthur Daley, an unscrupulous fictional businessman from a 1980s television series.

            Yep, that is what they want to happen – they want the violence providers to act.


            “We mustn’t be seen as sharks through the actions of the short-sighted Arthur Daleys out there who want to cash in on the Games,” said Johnson. “Their actions could ruin the excellent work put in by the rest of the tourist sector, with repercussions for decades to come.”

            Yep, they are sooo short-sighted, unlike him, who was so clueless that he didn’t bother building his own set of hotels.

            Now he is envious of those men who did.

            One leading hotel offered a four-night package in one of its suites for an extraordinary $59,000.

            Yet, obviously, someone paid it. What a sin!


            The stance of the London hotels has caused businesses in other parts of southern England to sense an opportunity to profit. The local tourism board in the county of Suffolk, more than 70 miles from central London, has launched a campaign aimed at attracting Olympic tourists put off by the sky-high costs in the capital.

            LoL!
            Exactly!
            Competition to the rescue!


            Some fans are playing a game of cat and mouse, taking a risk by waiting and hoping that room rates drop nearer to the Games.

            LoL!
            Exactly!
            Discerning consumers to the rescue!


            “I remember being quoted exorbitant figures a year out from Athens,” said Robert Johns, a 51-year-old Olympics fanatic who has saw his first Summer Games in his hometown of Los Angeles in 1984 and has not missed one since. “Then with a couple of months to go they started dropping and fell to quite a reasonable level.

            LoL!
            Exactly!
            Competition to the rescue!

            But the ol’ London mayor is economic moron – and sits ever ready to force his idiocy on the People.


            “The hotels that price gouge are the greedy ones, and I’m sure they will benefit from it in the short term because there will be people prepared to pay inflated rates.

            Boo hoo – some people see the price as not an issue….

            But there you go, Buck – my point in print.

            Economic pet theories of economic morons gone wild.

            • Funny how people don’t care when these businesses are losing money. They will happily take the discounts but will complain to the end of the earth when the business takes advantage of an opportunity.

  35. Mathius,

    Economics is not completely understood

    Neither is physics or chemistry completely understood – such a thing is humanly impossible.

    But that does not mean we do not understand anything. The fact, we do understand quite a bit, and are adept at using such understanding to our benefit.

    I am as yet unable to reach any sort of conviction.

    Fair enough.

    The test: apply the theories to reality and see which one best explains cause/consequence.

    • BF says: “Neither is physics or chemistry completely understood”

      D13 asserts: I beg to differ, sir. I drink beer (chemistry)…I drink too much beer (more chemistry)….I fall down (physics).. I fall down really hard (more physics)

      Conclusion: I drink, I get drunk. I fall down. ( Understand it completely ) 🙂

      Levity is sometimes warranted.

    • Mathius™ says:

      apply the theories to reality and see which one best explains cause/consequence.

      In progress……………..

      (I’ll let you know if I ever reach a conclusion.)

      Neither is physics or chemistry completely understood – such a thing is humanly impossible.

      I reject the notion that anything is “humanly impossible.” The time is rapidly approaching when we will be able to augment our own minds. Once that happens, we’ll be able to figure out better ways to augment our minds. Then even better ways. Eventually, everything will be within our reach. 100 years, 1,000 years, 10,000 years.. it makes no difference. We will figure it all out.

      How many examples can you think of in history of something that was supposed to be forever out of reach of humanity? How many of those objects have fallen one by one? Electricity? Flight? Heavier than air flight? Eradicating an entire disease? Reaching the moon? Sequencing the human genome?

      “When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.” – Arthur C. Clarke

      • Mathius,

        We will figure it all out

        No, sir, we will never figure it all out – the Universe is built upon a series of equations (problems) of whose solution is another equation (problem). The Universe is built upon Chaos – infinitely scalable on both sides (large to small), incalculable in its entirety, but establishes patterns AFTER effect.

        The Cause/Effect nature of the Universe is solely due to the chaotic nature of the Universe. The future cannot be known, the Universe must act to determine it.

  36. Mathius,

    How many examples can you think of in history of something that was supposed to be forever out of reach of humanity? How many of those objects have fallen one by one? Electricity? Flight? Heavier than air flight? Eradicating an entire disease? Reaching the moon? Sequencing the human genome?

    Do NOT confuse our application of our understanding to be the same as understanding

    We do not have a clue of what electricity “is”. No clue. But we do know how to use it.

    We have no clue to what “causes” gravity. No clue. But we know how to use it.

    We have no clue to why some diseases appear – where do they come from? But we know how to manage it.

    We have no clue to how the Moon came to orbit the Earth – but we can go there.

    • Mathius™ says:

      Right, right, right.. but that’s moving the goal posts.

      We said flight was impossible BECAUSE we didn’t understand aerodynamics and pressure differentials. We did not have a clue how flying works, no clue. But birds seemed to be able to use it. Then we figured it out. Now we know how it works. They said we’d never understand it because it was BEYOND human understanding – turns out it wasn’t.

      So we haven’t figured out how the Fundamental Forces yet… we’re getting there. Give CERN another decade or two.

      • Mathius,

        We said flight was impossible BECAUSE we didn’t understand aerodynamics and pressure differentials.

        Flying is an engineering problem and not a scientific problem.

        Is this distinction clear? Most people do not know the difference.

        Give CERN another decade or two.

        CERN already demonstrated exactly my point.

        It has shown that there is even another set of universal laws that govern things even smaller than quarks. The general feeling out of CERN is “here we go again” –

        • Mathius™ says:

          So your argument boils down to this: because we have, thus far, always found layer below layer below layer, it must always be so that there there is no “bottom” layer.

          Did I get that right?

          • Mathius,

            No, you did not get it right.

            My argument is:
            The Universe is Chaotic – the solution to an equation always create a new equation, endlessly.

          • Mathius,

            Navier-Stokes equations rule the universe – the effect of these equations is that the answer presents a new variable, requiring another Navier-Stokes equation to solve it, which creates a new variable, requiring another Navier-Stokes equations to solve it… so on forever.

            • Mathius says:

              This bothers me. I’m not sure what a Navier-Stokes equation is, nor why it should rule the universe. I haven’t (yet) taken the time to look it up, so for all I know, you could have made it up and posted a wikipedia article to support your position.

              That said, if it is true (and I do not accept that it is, and will not without MASSIVE proof), I have an explanation. The only plausible explanation is that the entirety of the universe as we know it is a computer simulation. Because it is a simulation, and because the programmers were either too lazy or too knowledgeable to program all the laws of the (real) universe, they took a shortcut. This explains why some particles behave one way when they are observed and another when they are not observed – this is exactly how video games operate to save on processing. It also explains why there would be a never-ending series of “new variables”: the simulation is making things up as it goes along and just creating new variables to plug in the places where things wouldn’t otherwise make sense.

              The universe is deterministic.

              And the edge of the visible universe is the clipping plane.

              • Mathius,

                The universe is deterministic

                Yes, it is.
                You need to “do something” to “see what happens” – and yes, God plays dice and awaits with bated breath, as you do, to see what roll comes up.

  37. See, this is where someone needs to please pass me the aspirin!

    I look at Buck’s straight-forward statement on the tax being paid by the buyer (as passed on by the seller) and I say – “yup, agreed.” Then BF wades in and turns what appeared to be a quick puddle splash into a swim across the lake. I’m trying to follow the thinking………….

    Oy vey, I’m confused and my head hurts. 😯

  38. ABC, CBS and NBC’s coverage has placed the overwhelming majority of the blame on Republicans’ doorstep.

    MRC analysts watched all 202 stories on the debt ceiling from July 1 through July 22, looking for statements which assigned blame or responsibility for the failure to reach a settlement. Of the 85 stories that included such statements, the skew was lopsidedly anti-Republican, with 56 stories (66%) mainly assigning them the blame for the impasse. Even though Democrats control both the Senate and the White House, only 17 network stories (20%) suggested they bore more responsibility, a greater than three-to-one disparity (see chart). Twelve stories offered a balanced discussion of which party ought to be blamed.

    [METHOD: Analysts reviewed each story, then tallied all reporter statements and soundbites which clearly assigned responsibility to Republicans or Democrats. If the majority of statements within that story assigned blame to one party or the other, it was scored as “blaming Republicans” or “blaming Democrats.” If the story contained a balanced number of statements, it was recorded as “balanced.”]

    Of the Big Three networks, NBC was the most likely to pin the blame on the GOP, by a 27 to 6 margin (with four stories assigning equal blame). On CBS, 19 stories blamed Republicans vs. nine which tilted in favor of blaming Democrats (and five balanced), while on ABC, ten stories singled out Republicans for blame, vs. only two that painted Democrats as responsible and three suggesting equal responsibility.

    Read more: http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/geoffrey-dickens/2011/07/27/mrc-study-abc-cbs-and-nbc-cast-gop-debt-ceiling-villains-0#ixzz1TKLGVOa5

  39. until 2008, the budget for the United States remained reasonably under control. This can be seen in Chart I:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/07/what_a_spending_solution_would_look_like.html

    Chart I is very important because it shows the level of spending as a percentage of GDP that the country has experienced over the last two generations. There was some unpleasantness in spending in the 1980s but that was ultimately wrestled back down, as a percentage of GDP, by the economic growth spurred by the Reagan policies and the Gingrich/Clinton spending control in the 1990s. Note that even the “high spending” Bush years are not out of line with historical experience, and these numbers include all federal spending encompassing, for instance, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The dotted line is at 19% of GDP which is widely thought to be the maximum amount of revenues that can be extracted from the economy and still have us be the strongly growing free-enterprise economy that we have traditionally been. Even at the height of World War II, in 1944, tax receipts did not exceed 20% of GDP. Beyond 19%, we get onto the unfavorable part of the Laffer Curve where higher tax rates result in lower tax revenues.

    What has happened during the Obama administration? Take a look at Chart II:

    Oops! Spending as a percentage of GDP has exploded on President Obama’s watch (the vertical orange line is at 2009, the first year of the Obama administration).

    The important thing about this spending, running this year, the last point on Chart II, at about 25.4% of GDP, is that the administration has no plans to bring it down by a substantial amount. This is not “crisis spending” but in the mind of the president, just the “new norm.”

  40. Many people — politicians and pundits alike — prattle on that China and, to a lesser extent Japan, own most of America’s $14.3 trillion in government debt.

    But there’s one little problem with that conventional wisdom: it’s just not true. While the Chinese, Japanese and plenty of other foreigners own substantial amounts, it’s really Americans who hold most of America’s debt.

    Here’s a quick and fascinating breakdown by total amount held and percentage of total U.S. debt, according to Business Insider:

    Hong Kong: $121.9 billion (0.9 percent)
    Caribbean banking centers: $148.3 (1 percent)
    Taiwan: $153.4 billion (1.1 percent)
    Brazil: $211.4 billion (1.5 percent)
    Oil exporting countries: $229.8 billion (1.6 percent)
    Mutual funds: $300.5 billion (2 percent)
    Commercial banks: $301.8 billion (2.1 percent)
    State, local and federal retirement funds: $320.9 billion (2.2 percent)
    Money market mutual funds: $337.7 billion (2.4 percent)
    United Kingdom: $346.5 billion (2.4 percent)
    Private pension funds: $504.7 billion (3.5 percent)
    State and local governments: $506.1 billion (3.5 percent)
    Japan: $912.4 billion (6.4 percent)
    U.S. households: $959.4 billion (6.6 percent)
    China: $1.16 trillion (8 percent)
    The U.S. Treasury: $1.63 trillion (11.3 percent)
    Social Security trust fund: $2.67 trillion (19 percent)

    So America owes foreigners about $4.5 trillion in debt. But America owes America $9.8 trillion.

  41. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    Gee, who would have predicted this?

    http://finance.yahoo.com/banking-budgeting/article/113200/fed-monetary-policy-recession-marketwatch?mod=bb-budgeting

    Some people probably even think it sounds like a good idea….

  42. Just did a quick google for “fact check” on michael moore’s Capitalism, a love story and here’s the results:

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2009/oct/01/michael-moore-movie-factcheck/

    doesn’t like like he lies all that much to this site …

  43. Just did a google for “misspelled tea party signs” and without scrolling down, 7 out of 8 (not 1 or 2) … the 8th was a duplicate of one of the first 7 … uh-oh …

    • Mathius™ says:

      Some of those are pretty funny.. “Make English the Offical Language”.. priceless

    • USWeapon says:

      Half are probably doctored pictures 🙂

      There are plenty of mis-spelling fools in all parties my friend. I know that you are not insinuating that Tea Party folks are less intelligent than say, Code Pink or Westboro freaks. I don’t care how they spell, I care what they believe. The world is filled with brilliant people who cannot spell, or even read for that matter.

      • The world is filled with brilliant people who cannot spell, or even read for that matter.

        I’ll concede that if you concede that not all brilliant people are against socialism/communism … 🙂

        • USWeapon says:

          Certainly. There are some very smart people out there who are all for socialism/communism. I happen to believe you are a pretty smart guy, Charlie, despite the fact that I disagree with your positions. I have never been of the opinion that all liberals are stupid (or conservatives or anyone else as a whole group). Misguided or wrong, yes, but not stupid.

          It just annoys me when that is leveled as the reasoning for dismissing the Tea Party’s positions. An inability to spell has nothing to do with their positions.

          • Mathius says:

            To me, it’s not so much a question of intelligence as and inattention to detail. If something is important, which surely our government is, and you are upset and looking to, not only make, but broadcast your position via poster at a rally, shouldn’t you take the time to check spelling on words you’re not sure about? Shouldn’t you take the time to show your friend and make get their opinions?

            If a person can’t be bothered to make sure that they’re conveying himself/herself in a manner which is consistent with the gravity of their intended message, why should I believe that this is a person you has taken the time to verse himself/herself in the facts before loudly decrying their outrage?

            If a man can’t be bothered to comb his hair and put on a suit when he goes to an interview, what assumptions do you make about him?

            • Mathius™ says:

              For example, the pathetic number typos, grammatical errors, and word-substitutions I made in that post reflect the fact that it was casually posted on a blog – if it were a term paper or a letter to my congressman, I would have checked it thoroughly and presented as something other than a gibbon with an internet connection.

              “a question of intelligence as and an inattention to detail”
              “looking to, not only make state, but broadcast”
              “gravity of their his/her intended”
              “a person you who has taken the time”

            • At least they took the time to make their own signs. One could argue the competition was too stupid/uninvolved/paid (you pick the adjective) to make their own and had to accept professionally printed ones.

            • There is a huge difference between lack of education and lack of intelligence.

          • To me, it’s not so much a question of intelligence as and inattention to detail.

            I’m with the Westchester Kid on this. Here I make tons … TONS of typos, etc., and on my blog 1/2 tons … but anything work related/school, etc., I triple check.

            It was just a joke, USW … me semi-stirring the pot … Now he’s a genuine question I know BF’s answer to. Is a person “evil” (in the traditional sense of the word–not the Ayn Rand definition) if they are “misguided” and believe in socialism/communism? The fact you use misguided gives me the sense they are not evil …

            • USWeapon says:

              No, I am not nearly as quick to label someone as evil. I understand BF’s position on this and I won’t yet call him wrong, but I am just not there. I certainly don’t think someone is evil simply because they believe in socialism or communism. When one starts to take by force something that they are not entitled to, I have a problem with it for sure. But I have stopped short of determining that they are evil. I think that a lot of people do a lot of different things in this world with the best of intentions. They think it is the right thing to do or they think that the action they are taking is legitimate or good in the long run. I think that is where most who fall into the soc/com belief are. I think they are dead wrong. I think what they believe will absolutely ruin society as we know it and will most certainly usurp my liberty. But I think that many of them believe what they do without being evil, they just are not seeing the consequences the same way I am seeing them. For all I know, I am dead wrong, but I doubt it 🙂

              But to classify as evil I generally feel like you have to intend to do bad things. Does that make sense?

        • No 😀

  44. A warleader in Somalia has more economic sense then most Americans.

    Al-Shabab, which is aiming to overthrow the government and impose Sharia law [in Somalia], imposed a ban on the WFP in February 2010, saying that they had received complaints from local farmers that the WFP’s food aid made it harder for them to sell their own products at a sustainable price.

  45. Canine Weapon says:

    USW,

    I have no issue with the red. I rather like it. But I really liked the recent postings board that used to be at the top-left. Any chance you can bring that back in some way or another? If not, no worries.

    • I’m with Canine. It was a lot easier to find the last few posts …everything else is fine.

    • USWeapon says:

      Sorry Puppy….

      I used to have a left and right sidebar. I changed to only having a right sidebar and tried to not have too much on it. I may eventually bring back the left sidebar as well, especially since I can now have a different layout (ie no sidebars) on the actual page of the article. But until that left sidebar does decide to come back, I added the recent comments to the right sidebar under the poll.

      • Mathius™ says:

        Oh sure.. just goes to show SUFA’s endless discrimination against the left.. get rid of the left sidebar, sure.. it’s not like the left has anything to offer 😛

        • USWeapon says:

          That Lefty sidebar was too often refusing to make sense and it often twisted my intent to present things in a way I was not supporting. If only the two political parties were as easy to get rid of as the sidebar was….

  46. Canine Weapon says:
  47. @ Buck…..I already know your thoughts on this….but do you see a trend likely or is this just Texas taking its own stand?

    Perry Signs ‘Loser Pays’ Bill

    Published : Wednesday, 27 Jul 2011, 7:59 PM CDT

    Associated Press

    AUSTIN, Texas – Some Houston-area Republicans are set to join Gov. Rick Perry for the ceremonial signing of a new law intended to limit frivolous lawsuits.

    Perry will tout the so-called “loser pays” bill Wednesday in Houston. The measure, which goes into effect Sept. 1, will levy fees on unsuccessful plaintiffs and allowing meritless suits to be dismissed early in the process.

    Perry made the measure a top priority for the Legislature, saying Texas needs to crack down on junk lawsuits.

    Some plaintiffs who sue and lose will be required to pay the court costs and attorney fees of those they are suing.

    Trial lawyer groups and the AFL-CIO opposed the measure, arguing it would give corporations the upper hand in lawsuits and prevent individuals with legitimate claims from filing suit.

    • Buck the Wala says:

      Unfortunately (at least in the context of blanket ‘loser pays’ – as I’ve said I’m not knowledgeable on the specifics of the Texas law), this seems to be a trend. Very unfortunate.

      • Was wondering what was going on beyond Texas borders. I am just very active in the State politics right now and as I read the law from a layman’s point of view…it is blanket. There are a few exceptions but they have to be extreme. However, one up side to it for Texas is that with the tort reform several years ago, the elimination of lump sum awards in W/C cases, and award limits, it sure has brought a lot of companies into Texas. With loser pay, we are hoping to further stop harassment liability suits, ambulance chasing, and frivolous class actions.

        Our next stop is a very strong immigration policy. Not against the immigrants per se but the environment that invites them in. Texas is developing its own migrant worker visa program since the Fed program does not work.

        THanks for your reply.

  48. Ray Hawkins says:

    Just a reminder…..

  49. Hello there, USW. Papadawg/G.A. Rowe here. From the beginning of this article I see that you are beginning to learn a most valuable lesson in life – No matter how you express your personal opinion, you just can’t please everyone.

    That is why I state my opinion up front and never change. Just like what has happened on Capitol Hill this past few weeks, if you try and alter your position to satisfy your detractors – you will wind up becoming one of them. A lose-lose situation all around.

    Welcome to the real world of Progressive Communism. The more you try to negotiate, the more you sound like you are surrendering.

    Even though I haven’t been on here in quite a while, I see that nothing has changed . . . “they” all want us to compromise so much until we end up sounding just like “them”.

    Until next time . . .

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