June 14, 2005

jacksonian democracy

Lost amidst the Michael Jackson trial headlines was news that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in closed session last week approved legislation to reauthorize and expand the Patriot Act. The level of citizen concern over reauthorization compared to interest in the Thriller acquittal is almost as disconcerting as the proposed legislation.

News stories on reauthorization are sadly scant. If you are one of those whose legal curiosity extends beyond local criminal matters and into the erosion of our civil rights legacy, perhaps you will find this resource helpful in locating a few of the limited stories on the subject.

It is very tempting to rehash the old arguments against the wisdom of the original Patriot Act. Tempting because the arguments are incredibly strong and nearly irrefutable to those that practice the arcane and nearly lost art of deductive reasoning. But the irresistible morsel of the moment for me is the opportunity for an I-told-you-so.

The last time around the patriotic block there was some discussion of what lawyers refer to as a “slippery slope”. Slippery Slopes abound in legal tomes and it is perhaps unfortunate that such an important idea is encapsulated in such ordinary and seemingly familiar language.

Perhaps if there were a grand term such as “res ipsa loquitur” to describe the process by which certain detrimental changes in the law gather momentum and sometimes crush the spirit of the well-meaning originators, then we would not garner as much flippant ridicule. While the term may be inappropriately ordinary, the phenomenon in this case is as real and present as it was predictable.

What is telling now is the total absence of discussion of whether the original Patriot Act was constitutionally permissible. It appears that to the extent that the reauthorization debate gets visibility, the reauthorization discussion is going to center around making the act permanent and the expansion of the powers granted.

We have slid down this slope in an entirely foreseeable fashion.

It is hard to know with certainty whether the present intention of the politicians is simply another naked power grab or clever political posturing to attempt to move the center of the debate farther toward the totalitarian end of the scale. Perhaps it is some of both. Either way, the essential Constitutional questions have been taken off the table.

The despair is almost enough to send me to the tabloid rack to get the latest on Michael Jackson too.

The powers that are sought in Patriot Redux truly are as seedy as the most lurid tabloid. The FBI’s desire for these powers is conveniently packaged as necessary for fighting terrorism. But in truth, the FBI has long desired the power to issue administrative warrants to circumvent the need for judicial review for what we would have referred to as 4th Amendment searches in days of antiquity.

By playing the terrorism fear card, Hoover’s boys will undoubtedly get their wish.

The argument usually goes something like “the government needs this power because it is too burdensome to go to a court to obtain a warrant”. Warrants, so they claim, consume too much time and energy for effective law enforcement. The problem with this argument is that it can be used to justify almost any form of civil rights infringement you can imagine. All of our Constitutional protections are burdensome on the government. There are more than a few prosecutors that would love to dispense with a trial because of the undue burden.

But, there is little doubt that there are some situations where it is difficult to obtain a warrant in a useful time frame. Truly, I do wish to help out law enforcement by addressing the genuine requirements of a tough job.

The answer, however, is not to eviscerate our civil liberties, but to make the warrants easier to obtain. It is little known by the general public, but the law has long allowed emergency warrants to be issued by a judge over the phone. That the fact of this real and potential flexibility is never a part of the discussion should give all of us insight into the insidious disinformation campaign that is being waged against our Liberty.

Of course, you will never hear the simple idea of hiring more judges and making minor tweaks in the law. The politicians have an agenda and it has nothing to do with protecting you and me. Does anyone seriously doubt which choice the American people would make if actually given the opportunity? Would anyone assert that the better choice is surrendering to the government the right to molest our privacy without cause rather than incurring the expense of hiring a few hundred more judges to guarantee ready access to an independent deliberative body?

An adequately informed public would render the very question rhetorical.

Our faint hope is that it appears to be more fashionable these days to oppose the President than during the previous legislative rubber-stamping extravaganza. Perhaps the Democrats will smell electoral blood in the water and actually mount an opposition to reauthorization.

But given the tepid response of the American people to reauthorization, I will be surprised if legislative opposition goes beyond trying to prevent the expansion of the Patriot Act Powers. Other issues appear more electorally profitable. The politicians totally get it: Americans do not care about civil liberties as long as the government manages to present the illusion of relative Safety. A moment of national reflection on the wisdom of surrendering six centuries of accumulated personal sovereignty does not seem likely.

Have no doubt: this is one time when we will definitely get what we asked for.

Michael, whatever you do, please don’t move Neverland to Africa: at times like these I really need the distraction.

443 Comments:

Blogger Olan Knight said...

Or as ben Franklin put it:
"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. "

3:49 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

Yeah, old Ben. He was full of one-liners.

Come to think of it, he probably would get along famously with Karl Rove. :-D

3:52 PM  
Blogger Randy P said...

Good quote from ole Ben, but it was a different time, and it took quit a lot before he actually believed those words himself. He tried for quite a long time to keep the English empire together at the expence of some of those liberties he talk about. He also live in a time when "The right to keep and bear arms" meant what it said, militia aside. Different times, different measures.

4:22 PM  
Blogger stilldreamn said...

from The Daily Texan:

"Within six months of passing the PATRIOT Act, the Justice Department was conducting seminars on how to stretch the new wiretapping provisions to extend them beyond terror cases," said Dan Dodson, a spokesman for the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. "They say they want the PATRIOT Act to fight terrorism. Then, within six months, they are teaching their people how to use it on ordinary citizens."

I have been in a snit since the original act was passed, and have been boiling over at the idea of reauthorizing it. At work, I have tried to explain how this Patriot Act has virtually handed the terrorists a victory by scaring us into divesting ourselves of our constitutional rights----running like lemmings over a false cliff of security. The usual response is, "well sure, it's probably unconstitutional, but if it keeps us safe......"

Safe? from whom?

Personally, I fear those who govern me, those who police me, more than I fear those who transparently hate me. Anybody catch the goings on in Tennessee with the latest sting? Five state legislators were caught redhanded selling their influence and votes. Democrats and Republicans were both on the take, although the Democrats did hold out for more money. And these are those who "watch the watchers."

I feel mighty safe in their hands, yes indeed. Let's all get in line for the microchips.

4:38 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

stilldreamn,

I’ve mentioned it so many times, I hesitate again. But I remember the testimony of the FBI before Congress when they had a review hearing on the Patriot Act. In response to some decent questions, the response more than once was “but we would never do that” or “we would never use the law that way”.

Or in other words, “trust me”.

This whole country was founded on taking a suspicious attitude toward Government power. Our government is only trustworthy to the extent that we have tried to keep it under control. I sincerely wish that I could just trust them to do the right thing. What is shocking is that after the revelations of Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, how can anyone just automatically trust this bunch? The government wasn’t trustworthy even under more cool headed administrations.

4:45 PM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

Whether the analogy of the slippery slope, the snowball effect, or the frog in hot water, the desire of man to be cuddled, stroked, and nursed by Uncle Sam is, unfortunately, growing by leaps and bounds. We are all guilty. Some of us bailed off the ship early with states rights, no income tax, and verrrry limited federal government. A few stayed on for the rape of the South through reconstruction to insure the “security” of the Union, the neutering of states rights, and income tax, but bugged out come the New Deal socialism. Even more thought a little social “security” safety nets were not such a bad idea, but government should not be in medicine and sucking up to the U.N. There are those who love the “security” of Medicare, "national" medical insurance, and world treaties galore that promise to protect the planet, but the Patriot Act is an invasion into our personal rights for “security.” Hello? Once we got into the mind set that our security, our personal responsibilities, could be imputed onto government, the seeds were planted, and the trip down the slippery slope commenced. It was inevitable that once we started looking to government for any security, we would look to it for practically all our security.

It’s a tad self-righteous, or at least hypocritical, of us to flip the bird to the Patriot Act after embracing so much of the “security” government has had to offer after much intellectual assent of prior power grabs for security in past years. I see this Act as the next logical sad step in this parade. So....are we going to fume and fuss like widdle children, or are we going to write our congressmen and tell them what we think?

Prof. Ricardo

5:18 PM  
Blogger stilldreamn said...

"So....are we going to fume and fuss like widdle children, or are we going to write our congressmen and tell them what we think?"

ouch.

List of congressmen here
List of senators here

Perhaps it is hypocritical and self-righteous to embrace the security forerunners and damn the end result, but this may be a last straw that spurs voters to action, too. Votes are changed by fussing and fuming, but we need honest, constitionally aware candidates, too.

5:39 AM  
Blogger Randy P said...

Still Dreamin,

What exactly is transparent about airliners and buildings. There is no transparent hate there.

6:45 AM  
Blogger Randy P said...

Prof,

I agree it is in this countries lazy nature to be "cuddled, stroked, and nursed"
Bravo, good points all. I could go on about this being a different world, but most everyone would counter with Nazi Germany or something like that. Big Government = no rights. The more we allow Govt to grow and support the "little people" without them standing up for them selves the more they take the rights of the "little people" away.

6:51 AM  
Blogger Randy P said...

This Act may be cited as the `Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism

6:54 AM  
Blogger Randy P said...

"Any provision of this Act held to be invalid or unenforceable by its terms, or as applied to any person or circumstance, shall be construed so as to give it the maximum effect permitted by law"

This is the first sentence, in the "act" says it all to me. They do not want to overstep the bounds of effect that is permitted by law. So it is up to judges to regulate this thing. And I think to loosely quote Dobson. They are all liberals that liken to terrorists themselves. So we should be alright....right?

6:56 AM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

Randy,

As much as I hate the Patriot Act, I have to tell you that provisions such as what you quote are very common in statutory law and contracts. I personally don’t think that the provision makes it any more pernicious than it already is on its substantive terms.

7:44 AM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

Prof,

I agree with your post in a very broad way. I do think we have developed a security centric mentality that is unhealthy. But social safety nets are not fundamentally inconsistent with a healthier mind-set of self-responsibility.

There was a time in our land that people feared having to take a handout from the government and anyone else. In my view this was a vestigial Puritan thought that severed us well. In the past, self-reliance was ingrained into our social consciousness and personal world-views. It is this fundamental shift that is dampening our resolve to be free men.

That there should be a safety net for those that fall through the cracks is entirely consistent with those old fashioned values. Falling into the net is not properly viewed as good thing, but rather as a limit on the extremes of the vicissitudes of life in the free market.

7:52 AM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

Tony,
Experience and reason prohibit me from agreeing with your following statement:

“But social safety nets are not fundamentally inconsistent with a healthier mind-set of self-responsibility.”

Social safety nets maybe fundamentally consistent with feeding everyone including those who will not work, and medically treating everyone, including those who can not afford it, and other social objectives regardless of merit, BUT social safety nets ARE inconsistent “with a healthier mind-set of self responsibility.”

Right or wrong, safety nets provide shared responsibility when things go wrong. We all know they exist, therefore we conduct our lives accordingly.

People drive their automobiles and take chances today, not like they will have to shell out big bucks if they destroy their auto or someone else’s, hurt themselves or others. They drive like they have a “safety net.” I challenge you to commute anywhere in the Metroplex and expose 2 or 3 of your senses to other driver’s behavior and prove me wrong. These people drive like they are not responsible for anything. This safety net does not produce “a healthier mind-set of self responsibility.”

Its just psychological. Same thing can be said for the economic out-patient care so many adult children receive from their parents. Once the parents help out, the children are addicted to the funds and rarely stand on their own feet knowing that the safety net of dear ol’ Ma & Pa will catch me. Remove the safety net and responsibility returns.

Businesses are entered into with inadequate planning, debt, and a multitude of sins. These people know they have the safety net of “bankruptcy” and not debtors prison.

Take away all safety nets (parents, church, unemployment comp., insurance, welfare, bankruptcy laws, etc.) and see how spending changes. See how risk taking changes. Do you think that change would be toward or away from self-responsibility?

Just arguing ‘cause I can.
Prof. Ricardo

1:48 PM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

Tony,
“That there should be a safety net for those that fall through the cracks is entirely consistent with those old fashioned values.”

Academically speaking, a safety net based on voluntary participation has a profound positive effect on people across the entire spectrum, both givers and receivers. An impersonal imposed safety net has the profoundly negative effect of producing irresponsibility. I know you and others intuitively understand this. However, wonderful as education is, merely knowing of man’s tendency to behave (or misbehave) this way does not dampen our hopes of producing a safety net worthy of our attention. Apparently some in Washington were adamant about developing a safety net against terrorism called the Patriot Act. But as we review the concentration in powers of this Act, will we be consistent in reviewing the concentration of powers in the federal government that has been happening this past century? If, through inconsistency, we can not appeal to principle, on what authority do we base our opposition to the Act? Goring an ox is wrong long before our ox is gored.

Prof. Ricardo

2:28 PM  
Blogger Randy P said...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/14/AR2005061401531.html?referrer=email

There is hope for the world. Also a class on links again would be nice

2:35 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

1) Judges should not be removed from the loop.... like Tony said, hire more and give them 24 x 7 phone/internet access.

2) Keeping judges in the loop doesn't change the fact we live in a different world post-911. Accept more invasive information mining (under judicial review), OR perish. Your/our choice. Nothing wrong with going down (one nuked city at a time) over principle... just be clear in your stated position. I need to know if I'm dealing with people who just don't get what we are up against, or those that do and have made a conscious decision to draw their civil rights line in the sand... no matter the consequences to them or fellow citizens.

3) Prof, no difference between pooling together for military or security (CIA, FBI, etc). I picture Prof standing in his yard in his boxers with his fellow armed neighbors looking south towards the mushroom cloud saying "by god, we can take care of this on our own". Don't be a loon.

Look, I realize facing post-911 reality isn't what we all planned. There was a part of me that knew that day what the consequences were for the rest of my life. There was life before 911, and life afterwards. It will of course be worse the day the first American city gets nuked, but we will always be able to point back to 911 as a clear demarcation. We have a choice... we can make some privacy adjustments or we can perish. It's never going to be the way it was for those of us on this blog... this is going to be a struggle of decades. We waited to long basking in our greedy reality. The fight now really changes to a fight for posterity. Does that future change if we only lose a couple of cities vs a dozen? Is there a threshold of "lost cities" our economy can withstand? If we get that wrong, your kids won't get to exercise your principles.

My country just gave Shrub a second term. I'm much more afraid of my country and the theocracy-lite crowd than my government. That said, I guess that is a chicken and egg thing. Who should I be more afraid of? Shrub or the "mass stupids" that elected him. I vote "mass stupids".

Please give me a world where my biggest concern is my government. What a relief that would be. Of course people had a reason to fear government at our founding... duh... there was a king. I think to carry that type of anal "government is evil" mindset from one generation to another is yet another example why we are not capable as people to evolve. Half of us think goverment is satan, and another half thinks anyone who can't make it in this world should be shot and put out of OUR misery. I ran out of "halfs" but if I had one left, they would all despise taxes to pay for thier government. I guess if we all went back to living in caves and avoiding each other it would be harder for the terrorist to make much of a dent.

Remember these days... bitching about how bad our government is will look pretty good in hindsight.

3:16 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Newsflash:

Government is "us"... "us" acting in a collective fashion via representative democracy to improve our lives. Government safety-nets provide domestic Tranquility and general Welfare insurance for "us".

Every single time you say "government" has become too powerful... you might as well say that "citizens" have become too powerful in thier government and defining their collective laws/society.

Fairly ironic when you think about it. The "limited government" crowd really are for "limited say by citizens" in defining their own government/society. Strange.

3:28 PM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

[Common Good enters from, you guessed it, stage LEFT]

Every single time you say "government" has become too powerful... you might as well say that "citizens" have become too powerful in thier government and defining their collective laws/society.

Soooooo....you’re for the Patriot Act because it empowers the government and therefore “us?”

“I'm much more afraid of my country ...Who should I be more afraid of? Shrub or the "mass stupids" that elected him.”

How about the stupids who so empower an office by making the Constitution a living document, that not having the “right” person in office has become dangerous? The commies say communism works, they just haven’t had the “right people” in their yet. Those misfits who gave us the Constitution - silly boys - limited federal government to that which must necessarily be done at the federal level: interstate commerce, etc. They felt that the closer to local control, the more responsive gubment would be. They gave us Senators elected, not by “mass stupids,” but by state legislatures since the “mass stupids” already had a voice in the House of Representatives.

“I picture Prof standing in his yard in his boxers ...”

Fantasizing again are we? I’m flattered, but still straight.

Prof. Ricardo

5:40 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Prof,

They felt that the closer to local control, the more responsive gubment would be.

It was 1787. The crapper was outside. Dude, get over it and move on.

Fantasizing again are we? I’m flattered, but still straight.

I actually regretted those choice of words... I knew the Prof wouldn't miss that one served up over the plate. :) Just imagery... not hitting on you. :)

Soooooo....you’re for the Patriot Act because it empowers the government and therefore “us?”

I actually haven't studied it or know enough about it... so I'm not for it or against it. I think Tony is 100% correct that keeping judges in the loop should be non-negotiable. I also agree with Tony that any taking away of rights should require a constitutional amendment. I am not informed enough to know if I agree with the premise that the Patriot Act took rights away from me. I've had this discussion with Tony before. My position is that law enforement (CIA, FBI, etc) should be able to make it's case for new powers it needs in the fight against terrorism. Then we (actually our elected types) decide if that's a power they should be granted or not. When the answer is "yes", the first attempt should be to provide those powers within the current laws (i.e. under the constitution). Tony gives a perfect example of expanding judge availability rather than some do it later provision. In some cases, as a last resort, I may be for some powers that would require a constitution amendment (i.e. more information mining from the public). I'm fairly certain that type of public data mining is already going on behind the scenes... I certainly hope so. I guess 911 wasn't enough to get all of our attention. I'm willing to bet that I will have a lot of company with my reluctant acceptance of public data mining after a couple more 911 type events. This is why who we elect to send to Washington is going to become much more important then it has been. We currently have an administration who really thinks we can win this war in the old ways... beat our chest, invoke our powerful military, and come up with catchy little macho phrases like Shock and Awe to impress the world. I don't know how many doses of humility it's going to take, but eventually it will be obvious even to the macho crowd that this war will be different. It's a complex chess board, and making Rumsfeld type blunders like going into Iraq on the cheap is going to cost many more lives than was necessary. Iraq in a civil war will be much worse than Iraq with Saddam... it will actually turn out to be a terrorist haven that never existed. Our future presidents need very, very good brains. It will be much more important that acting on one's gut

btw... government is what we do collectively. If you don't want to be in this together than it's natural you would be against government. Prof, we could do so much better together... the mass stupids need your help and your taxes. :) Oops... don't read anything into that "together" thing.

[Exiting stage left]

8:41 PM  
Blogger Randy P said...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/15/AR2005061501953.html?referrer=email&referrer=email

You would be proud Tony, the house has sent it packing in a monumental vote....

238 to 187 rebuke to the White House

7:18 AM  
Blogger Randy P said...

CG,

You and I would be happy about this, it might not quite go far enough for us, but it would be a start.

New York Times

Raise the Price of Fame

By NORMAN R. AUGUSTINE

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/16/opinion/16augustine.html?th&emc=th

Finally someone that understands the need to control salary and wages for the too rich and not famous enough

7:20 AM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

Prof,

Well, I do agree that an impersonal safety net can promote irresponsibility. Key word is can. I am also aware of the use of programs such as AFDC as a mechanism for social control (there are some fascinating studies out there if anyone is interested). When I suggest that safety nets are desirable, I am not defending the existing safety nets. Any good idea can be poorly implemented. The point I am making is that I do not believe that the presence of safety nets is inherently good, nor that their absence is inherently bad.

Now I must object to your characterization of the Patriot Act as another safety net. The response to terrorism is a response to a largely external threat (whether this is rational is another discussion). I do not think that even the mass stupids implicitly look at these kinds of threats in the same way as they do protections from social failures.

Now your point that we have adopted an attitudes that cause us to seek an unreasonable amount of safety is a good one. I have made this point repeatedly. But the problem is the mentality, not the fact of a few reasonable safety programs. We created the Constitution for greater safety. The Law exists largely for our individual benefit and safety. History is about the quest for ordered liberty. The problem is not the desire for reasonable safety, but rather the obsessive quest for safety.

There is nothing obsessive about recognizing that the free market is imperfect.

Listen, I wish we lived in a society where voluntary participation was adequate. But that is not the world we live in. We live in a world of fallen men. If everybody was in Christ and lived according to his teaching, we wouldn’t need a government in the first place.

9:51 AM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

Randy,

I wish I could be proud, but I will assure you that it is a political act. Some people are simply lining up to make sure they can say they fought the good fight.

Just wait till you see what comes out of committee.

9:54 AM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

Personally, and I know this makes me look really stupid, but I've no fear of the Patriot Act. They can read my emails all day if they want; I just hope they aren't getting paid too much to do it with my tax money. It'd really be a waste. And I hope they don't try and put me away for my "cacti" collection.... cacti It's just a hobby anyway, no one is getting hurt...

The increased number of judges and making them 24/7 with internet/ phone access does sound like a better alternative, but I've really only a superficial appreciation of the topic. I have to admit, I was curious to find out if Micheal was guilty.

12:01 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

Yoshi,

You should fear the Patriot Act because it sets a precedence that the legislature can ignore our constitutional protections with impunity. It destroys the entire Constitutional framework with regard to civil liberties.

But, it is a done deal. Put a fork in the Constitution. Legally it is no longer binding.

The effects will not be seen quickly: the loss of liberty has been very gradual. I neither have any personal fear in the sense of the Government finding out something that I need to hide. I am a classically boring individual. That said, I don’t necessarily like them knowing things either. History has shown that secret files get used for vile purposes.

It appears we learned nothing from McCarthyism and Hooverism. “Just trust us” they say.

Yeah, right.

12:08 PM  
Blogger Randy P said...

Communism was completely different, or was it
as noted in this piece about Barry Goldwater and the obvious conclusion

2:49 PM  
Blogger Randy P said...

Hey the link works great...like a new toy for a kid. Hope I do not abuse it, too badly

2:50 PM  
Blogger Randy P said...

What would you make of this CG, and what would you do

4:57 PM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

Tony: “I neither have any personal fear in the sense of the Government finding out something that I need to hide.”

You’re not afraid that they will find the homebrewing inventory and take back to the lab “adequate” quantities for testing? That’s worse than taxes. Hide the suds, its not worth the risk. :-)

Prof. Ricardo

5:03 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Randy,

That's one sad case. I don't think anyone has the right to turn another human into a lab experiment. Looks like it turns out that's exactly what all of the "sanctity of life" crowd was battling for with Shiavo. The baby for sure complicates the equation... I could see hanging on if you were within a week or so. Seems like they need a month or two, plus a potential spread of cancer to the fetus. Some things are just to hard to answer... this is probably one of them. If I was pressed, I would probably have to say in this case pulling the plug is the lessor of two evils.

One thing I am more sure about is this family (the husband) should not be facing financial ruin or a lifetime of debts due to something that could happen to any of us. We remain an immoral society given our current wealth as long as we make excuses to avoid a universal healhcare system.

OT: Iraq. One of my best high school and college friends just lost his younger brother in Iraq. He was the first Colonel to die in Iraq. From where I'm standing, Iraq is turning out to be one very, very bad call... at least how it has been handled.

Third in his class at West Point

6:56 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

Randy,

of course I think if the father wants to keep the baby alive, he should. I would if I were in his shoes. It seems kind of romantic to me. Of course I would have to ask Big Brother to foot the bill.... hopefully the U.S. taxpayer would.

I also read this morning about Terry Schiavo. Bill Frist, the Senator, and a doctor at that, seemed to be saying that she was indeed brain-dead and unconcious of what was happening around her. She was even blind they say, and there was no physical abuse.

Just something to think about.

7:24 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

The Iraq stuff, they need to send more troops and more money. That seems like the obvious solution. The only solution at this point. And forget about any "permanent tax cuts," because "Freedom isn't Free," literally.

We made the commitment, we have to follow through on it....

"Buy the ticket, take the ride," I always say.

7:29 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Yoshi,

I don't know if it's as easy as Buy the ticket, take the ride. For one thing, we aren't on the ride... our soldiers are. The other question I have is "what would happen if we left"? Would the insurgency die with us not being there? Would there be a civil war? What a mess we have gotten into. I have really started to think announcing an exit date may actually be the right thing to do. Maybe a sense of urgency and a deadline would serve a positive purpose. Otherwise, it's really not that hard to imagine a desert\urban version of vietnam.

9:59 PM  
Blogger Randy P said...

CG,

Certainly the insurgency would not die until they had in the seat of power some person or persons that would further their cause.

The major problem with all of this is we are dealing with people that want us dead, not removed from their life, it has gone far past that. They view us a threat to their existence, and they are right.

I do not have a problem with the war, and although I feel the pain of every family that loses a loved one over there, they did sign up, and to think that any one person could be over there thinking that they could have served and never been part of any kind of action is IMO a very naive prospect. Yoshi is exactly right about "buy the ticket, ride the ride" here. If the first gulf war did not wake up the weekend warriors then nothing will. Military life is not a free ride. Yes we are losing quite a few men and women over this piece of property, and when we first went in, I wished that it were not so. I knew that two things would happen.

1. No way we would find actual WMD's.

2. The world would look on us poorly and blame us for the feet dragging and lack of WMDs.

Whether we choose to believe that they are better off or not in that country now is not relevant to facts. I will say this though, we can not leave now. We have committed and leaving would put us in a worse position with the world than if we stayed. I know think of the people being killed every day over there, and again, I do. I my life these are not just faceless people like they are to so many that do not know the bind of serving unselfishly as they do, they are brothers in arm, I see them this way, wish I could be there with them even, they are family. But I can see the difference between what can and can not happen, and we can not leave now.

Personally I think it would be a better world with all of us sitting around singing Kumbaya, but that is not reality and never will be. Things get worse from here on out, and we may be the cause of the worsening or not, but these are the facts. In a society where we have the freedom to create a class of the ridiculously wealthy, and at the same time have desperately poor walking the same streets, everyone will question our authority to make changes in the world. Bottom line though we have saved, every part of the world, at our expense, from certain and horrible regimes, Japan in the 40’s, Germany in the teens and 40’s. And although we were way behind other nations, by the late 1800’s we had abolished slavery, and we continue to strive for an equality that not many countries can claim or try to have. The very countries we are saving for democracy now, are some of the very countries that persecute the worst, for something as simple as religion. And these are not RR people that want to control your Governments with biblical teachings, they are just people living in a hostile world that want to know Christ, and in most cases are willing to give their lives for that want and need. In this country nut jobs like the KKK and abortion clinic bombers, and yes the RR ruin the face of Christianity for not only the extreme left, moderates, but the world also.

I have a dream.

I see a united country that does not kill children in their mothers womb, what should be classified as the most sacred and safe place for a child to be.
I see an equality that is unparalleled in any nation
I see a place where all are welcome and can better themselves
I see a place where poverty is a word used for history only

We have one of the best unemployment rates, in the world
, and people continue to criticize where we are and where they think we are going.

Yes the rich are too rich IMO, and the poor still too many walking around, children go hungry, nough said.

None of this will ever see its fruition.

OK enough soap boxing.

I just do not have a problem with the Patriot Act, I have no problem with library digging and checking on the internet sites visited. I have a problem with where it goes from there. And I agree with Yoshi that I have a problem with how much money we pour into these “fact” finding missions. I also agree that complete removal of judges is not the right direction, but I do think that there should be broader and more invasive monitoring allowed. I also believe that items found in illegal search and seizures should be allowed in court. I think those involved, with the search that is illegal should be penalized more strictly. They should be punished, suspension with no pay, and continued abuse should be terminated. I have a deep spot for police, FBI, CIA. They do a tough job with shackles on and are hampered at ever turn, but I also think that like the military, they should be held to a higher standard or honor than the rest of society. They have an awesome power, and should wield it accordingly. They should not have they same freedoms that are given to the general society, their punishment should be more strict when they cross the line.

Anyway my opinion only.

7:13 AM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

"For one thing, we aren't on the ride... our soldiers are."

-It's dangerous for them, no doubt. But how much more dangerous is it than being an ordinary cop in L.A.? The casuality rate is high, but not as high as most wars. We think if one guy dies a day we have to pull out, that war should be a video game. I don't think we should show any self-doubt or lack of resolve. Our soldiers are facing a minority of renegades who are exploding remote control bombs, which make them seem bigger, more numerous, and more powerful than they really are. The solution for our troops is probably to give them more manpower to cover more ground (assuming that they need that, but I'll let the Defense Dept. make that decision.)

"What would happen if we left"? Would the insurgency die with us not being there? Would there be a civil war? What a mess we have gotten into?"

I think there would be a civil war and too many people would die. Muslim nutjobs would really start pouring in to destroy Iraq. The Iraqis need us to provide some degree of protection until they can get on their feet. These Muslim "bomber" types are going to lose the hearts and minds of the Iraqis every time they kill women and children. In Vietnam, I think it was the other way around...

"I have really started to think announcing an exit date may actually be the right thing to do. Maybe a sense of urgency and a deadline would serve a positive purpose."

-Oh, they'd love that, cheering in the streets and all about how they kicked out the paper tiger Americans. They'd get so cocky they'd really want to blow stuff up here in the USA then...

"Otherwise, it's really not that hard to imagine a desert\urban version of vietnam."

Yea, I keep reminding myself of LBJ when I type this kind of stuff about keeping our resolve. Maybe it is Vietnam part 2, but I think Iraq is much more important to global security than Vietnam was.

Maybe we aren't getting enough reports about the progress we are making there. I never hear of any, but there must be.... I would imagine.... this is going to take time to resolve... everyone should have known that going in that 2 years wouldn't be enough....

10:33 AM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

As for the Patriot Act, I think in any time of war we are going to see a certain amount of loss of freedoms. And the secretive nature of the terrorist cells requires that the authorities have the power to moniter their communications, etc.

Way before the Patriot Act, I once had the drug cops at JFK go through all my bags, read my journal (I had some really lame stuff in there, embarrassing), strip search me (I kept my underwear on, but still I felt a little violated), etc.
Actually, looking back on it, it really pisses me off. If it happened now I'd not agree to the stip search and say "I don't think so," but I was more naive then. In fact, I'd love for that to happen to me again....

The point is though that I can kind of understand the police, and I don't take it that personal. They read my journal, but they were not going to blackmail me with it. They didn't care about my personal life, they just wanted to find drugs, that's it. Nothing more.

If the FBI wants to check the library for people who've been reading how to make bombs, or search the house of a guy who rents a U-Haul and buys a few tons of fertilizer, then go ahead...

After this whole war on terror stuffs dies down, we can scrap the Patriot Act anyway.... right?

10:51 AM  
Blogger Randy P said...

I think then is when we will need it most. We have to figure out which country falls after Iraq. Or we could even use the patriot act to take back our streets from drug dealers. This is all sounding better and better each day

7:33 AM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

Hmm...

using the Patriot Act to come after drug dealers....

we'd just have to build a fence around the ghettos, it'd be a whole lot cheaper than putting the hordes of people in prison....

I know a bunch of petty drug users/ dealers. And I hear stories of their suppliers... and I have nothing but contempt for these pathetic people. But there seems to be so many, I don't think that even if caught, they could be contained. It seems more like a personal, spiritual problem to me than a criminal problem.

I'd love to see all the profits pullled out of drug dealing so these people would have to get real jobs/ education. I think criminalizing it pushes up the street price of the drug as the supply goes down. Plus we have to pay the police and for the drug dealers free rent in jail. It's a win-win situation for them, and a lose-lose one for us.

of course, these drugs like crack cocaine and these other dangerous things like "ice" or whatever it is, I guess there is no way that stuff can ever be legalized b/c it's so dangerous. (or maybe it could be legalized to possess in small quantities, but not sold.)

Drugs are tricky because many people can use them without problems. I have a half a xanex for a plane ride (I'm leaving to Ireland in an hour), and a half for the way back next week.) But I don't have a prescription. On the other hand, I know of people who are hooked on these little pills, dangerously taking 8 in a night and on top of that oxycotins..... and these are legal drugs, technically.


Hey, there is a good topic here.

The Patriot Act being used beyond the purposes of terrorism....

I hope when I check from the internet cafe I see some interesting posts on here....

12:21 PM  
Blogger Randy P said...

So you invision an "Escape from NY" kind of thing with all the dealers in one central location fighting it out in turf wars and all. I like it, let them handle it themselves.

5:30 PM  
Blogger Randy P said...

I guess the biggest issue with drugs that we have created is the crime that goes hand and hand with all the illicit stuff out there

5:32 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

Yoshi,

You touch on some important things. I understand your trying to draw a line for drugs like crack which have little apparent recreational value even for those so inclined to such diversions. The problem is that drawing the lines is nearly impossible. And if you leave certain drugs illegal, then you leave the illicit market in place with most of the same ills. Not to mention the allure of that which is unattainable become itself an attraction.

I think it is so true that the line between what we call legal and illegal is irrational. The number of people wandering around impaired by various prescribed drugs is shocking. It is funny that the prohibitionists feel oddly comfortable with making these choices for everyone else. I know a few people who fit the right-wing prohibitionist mold and have some serious painkillers in their blood stream all the time.

But I guess those are “good” narcotics. The hypocrisy is just amazing.

It is totally unsurprising that the Patriot Act is being abused. The entire act is itself an abuse of the Constitution. This is the nature of law enforcement. Typically the individuals mean well and are just trying to do their jobs. In the process of executing those duties, they continually push the limits. That is why warrants are so critical to the survival of our civil liberties.

Check out this story if you doubt it: http://wireservice.wired.com/wired/story.asp?section=Breaking&storyId=1051751.

And as to the notion that the Patriot Act can be just cleared away when the time comes: that is simply absurd if you understand the principals of Constitutional Law involved. I have harped on this repeatedly but it is because the lawyers that run our country are LIEING to the American people and the damage being wrought is permanent and irreversible.

The reader’s digest version is this: the Constitution limits the power of the government. The government cannot go beyond those limits without a Constitutional Amendment. All of our human rights are protected by this fundamental legal concept.

What the Patriot Act did is clearly and absolutely illegal. The only legal way to curb 4th Amendment protections is through a Constitutional Amendment. What we have been led to do by dishonest power-hungry evil people who are running our land is to forfeit the protection of the Constitution. By our consent through silence we have given to Congress the power to usurp Constitutional protections without the assent of the people.

Frankly, I should write the brief and post it so that folks will get the point and realize that I’m not just ginning up some esoteric argument that only civil libertarian wing-nuts endorse. I just don’t have the time. But I am speaking of ordinary run of the mill con-law precepts that any second year law student can argue.

The next step will be another law that involves another fundamental liberty. Lets pick a popular one: the right to life. I wonder how the Patriot crowd will feel when a law is passed that excepts a fetus from the protections of the Right to Life. They will be screaming from the top of their lungs about the unconstitutionality of it all. But then the government attorneys come to the bar well armed indeed. After all, the 4th Amendment is in the pantheon of most scared protections, but Congress did not need any additional authority to enact and enforce that law.

I’ll tell you: I wish I were exaggerating. But if anything, I am understating the peril that we are under as a result of the Patriot Act. This isn’t about protecting ourselves from terrorism, it is about the conscious consolidation of power into the hands of a few elite. The Democrats and Republicans are joint actors in the atrocity.

The only question remaining is whether in a decade we will have enough remaining liberty that anyone will care about protecting it in the first place.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Randy P said...

libery schmiberty, the right to life issue is already dead with Roe v Wade. Beyond that, if we can not protect those that need protection the most. I don't care. Patriot act all they want. Society is on the down fall and what we need is a little marshal law.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

Randy,

Right to life is certainly not dead with Roe. That is the good news. The Warren Court chose to get creative and expand the illogical construct of “privacy” rights. At the most you can say that Roe stands for the proposition that in the context of a mother carrying a child, her right to privacy outweighs the child’s right to life.

That is as far as Roe can be logically taken.

Roe is bad law no matter where you stand on abortion. I take heart that they did not rule that government could infringe on the right to life of a fetus or anyone else. What they did was carve out some very bad law in order to get to the result they desired. The purposely avoided the right to life issues.

Now, right to life is probably dead as the result of the Patriot Act…but not as a result of Roe.

Marshall law is fine. Martial law sucks and that is where we are rapidly headed. I don’t see much legal difference between the current state of affairs and martial law. I know you weren’t serious, but I think what you said is a prevalent and extraordinarily dangerous mindset.

As has been so often said, if we throw out our civil liberties then the terrorists have won.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Randy P said...

I knew I spelled that wrong, darn it

9:30 AM  
Blogger Randy P said...

We are not throwing out civil liberties, we are ensuring the proper use of techniques for law enforcment. I do say that not know what all is in the Patriot Act does give me cause to pause in my public view. But here on the "blog" I think I can argue that it is not the techniques that were given to law enforcment, it will be how it is regulated and used/abused. Many things are good in moderation, heck even you should see that with your wanting drug use to be legal.

9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At the most you can say that Roe stands for the proposition that in the context of a mother carrying a child, her right to privacy outweighs the child’s right to life.

Nah... at most you can say that a woman was left in charge of her womb rather than old white male Christians. At most you can say that we avoided Saudi style religous police sitting with fathers and husbands at the hospitals during problem pregnancies. At most we avoided the shuttle service from our court houses to our prisons taking our sisters, wives and mothers to jail for making tramatic personal choices.

Common Good

9:38 AM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

Randy,

You say we are not throwing out our civil liberties, but you are incorrect. I won’t repeat to the boredom of all what I have said before. It doesn’t “feel” like we have thrown them out, but legally your protection against government invasion of your human right is now completely gone. I am doing my best to just get over it, but failing miserably in the endeavor. This tragedy is only undoable by some capable leadership that moves quickly. Unfortunately we are moving the other way.

Keep in mind, the discussion regarding whether the police should be given the powers the Patriot Act confers is an entirely separate discussion. While you and I might disagree on what constitutes moderation, if we had enacted these measures legally though a Constitutional Amendment my concern would be far less.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

CG,

I know the pro-choice crowd likes to think Roe settled it, but it did not. As long as the right to life issue goes unadjudicated, there is a strong possibility that abortion can again be outlawed.

Believe it or not, this legal stuff matters. People tend to only see the result and if they like it, they don’t concern themselves with the mechanism. Tolerating result oriented “jurisprudence” is harmful to everyone not just those aggrieved by the instant decision. This will haunt us all regardless of our view on abortion.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

...from our court houses to our prisons taking our sisters, wives and mothers to jail for making tramatic personal choices.

Yup, pretty traumatic decisions: “should I have sex with what’s-his-name again this week, or find someone else?”

If its not human, not alive, not a person, not valuable, not whatever, then why the trauma? No more than having a mole removed, eh? Just a lil’ ole’ pink blob Planet Parenthood told us about. Nothing to sweat over. Not as if it was a life or anything valuable. And if you’re a little late in making the correct decision, there are plenty of dumpsters in the world too. After all, it didn’t become a life along the way, it didn’t change DNA along the way, its physical maturity may not be different for a pre-my outside the womb, than a full-term inside the womb. I say, let’s extend that womb penumbra to include any raising of the child, any financial or emotional help, until the fetus can vote, because, only then can it be whole. Till then, anything goes. I’m with ya C.G.!

Prof. Ricardo
[w/tongue bulging out cheek]

1:37 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

'Not as if it was a life or anything valuable.'

Look everyone, Prof. is starting to become a bleeding heart. I knew all that G8 stuff and anti-poverty talk would start working sooner or later....

I just hope that isn't one of the downloaded auto-responses that most 'pro-lifers' have....

I'm at an internet cafe in Dublin right now. It's really interesting after a few days. The Europeans (at least the Irish and all the other nationalities I'm observing around here) really have soul man.... you don't really realize it until you get here and start interacting with them....

The people seem to smile from the heart.

It's one of those things like driving a Harley, if you have to ask me to explain it, then you'd never understand anyway.

It really makes me wonder just what it is we Americans can't understand....

These Irish/ Spanish/ etc. make even me feel like the Taliban when I'm standing up next to them......

2:01 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

Yoshi,

I totally agree with what you are saying. It seems like the European people I have known really care about relationships. The art of conversation has not been lost in their culture as it has been ours. They seem to care about people and relationships in the way Americans used to once upon a time.

It is almost as if when America finally adopted modernist thinking, we decided to one-up the rest of Europe or something. I can’t quite articulate this well. We have lost something important in our society. Part of me thinks it is excommunicating God from our lives.

While in the UK, don’t fail to try some “real ale”. I don’t know how widespread cask conditioned beers are in Ireland, but I’m sure they are there to be found. It is a whole ‘nother thing from mere beer.

2:09 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Hey, I think we have our first volunteer to drive the prison shuttle. Prof could drive our women to thier new home, and try and save their souls on the trip. Two birds (or chicks) with one stone. Speaking of which... wouldn't stoning save more tax dollars?

2:10 PM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

Sorry, Common, but I’ve worked myself up into a lather.

The scourge of humanity is those dad-blasted fetuses. Think of those poor women who are having to deal with them day-in and day-out. I don’t know why we men have been blessed to have missed this shameful attack, but we need to protect our women folk from these stinkin’ fetuses. They’re everywhere. Somehow they only attack women, and only those of child bearing age. Maybe the medical research community can look into this. There has got to be a cause AND a cure out there somewhere. Where do these suckers come from? It only makes sense that the government should pay for eradicating these parasites preying on our poor defenseless women like this. Think of the cost! The humiliation! The inconvenience! The change in the poor woman’s body after she births one of these atrocious beggars. And I hear if you don’t get rid of it early, it just clings to you around the neck, then starts to suck your juices out. Parasites of the worst magnitude. Worse than ticks. I wonder if congress could do something about this, maybe ban them? I know, I know, I’m for personal liberties too, but enough is enough. Our women folk are worth it. After all, they are “in charge of (their) womb.

Prof. Ricardo

2:19 PM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

... wouldn't stoning save more tax dollars?

Is this a combination of Tony’s drug legalization and your national healthcare idea’s combined?

Prof. Ricardo

2:24 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Yoshi,

Dude... if you are wearing your pro-Shrub or "I Love Gitmo" T-shirts, change immediately. You may just get the wrong kind of interaction. Texas taliban may not play well there. I can't make too much fun of Texas. One of my senators spent the day yesterday on the senate floor calling global warming a myth and a hoax. He is becoming more isolated, however. One by one, the conservative senators are peeling off and saying global climate change is real. Of course, they still want to deal with it in a volunteer private sector fashion. I always assumed our elected types (at least the senators) must be much smarter than the rest of us. Well, I was really, really wrong. Someone who says global climate change is real, and in the next sentence says for profit business competitors will work this out amoung themselves on a volunteer basis should be put on Comedy Central.

Glad to hear there are some good souls out there. I guess here we concentrate on saving them... and then figure our work is done.

2:27 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Part of me thinks it is excommunicating God from our lives.


It is almost as if when America finally adopted modernist thinking, we decided to one-up the rest of Europe or something.

That's ironic, because it would seem the main "one-up claim" that is heard most often is Europe has become godless, and we are superior because we are a Christian nation. I wonder if it has very little to with religion, and very much to do with our culture of self-interest and greed. Our so-called party of god (Republicans) is now in charge of everything. You would think if your theory was accurate, we would have seen a trend of less polarization as god was brought to the public square by this president.

I would love to see the party of god be the party of the Gospels. A party of the Gospels would refuse to accept a shared existence of mass wealth and mass poverty. A party of the Gospels would solve social injustice... one way or the other... private or public. Instead, the religious thread of the nation is one of intolerance and absolute truth. I'll take absolute love and absolute results for the poor and the needy. I'll take a lot less focus on one's taxes, and much more focus on those in need. I'll take a lot less focus on discerning between the deserving and undeserving poor. In short, I would take a lot less self-interest greed, and more collective thought. A more collective society by definition is more interested in relationships. If all we are teaching the kids is to "go get theirs" and make sure "your government doesn't tax you too much"... we get what we deserve. The argument that we have to be this way because of religion or founding principles just makes no sense.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

CG,

When I said excommunicated God I mean something more than simply being godless. I mean that in some circle, God has become and obscene world. In those circles that still speak the name of God, often they have no spiritual or intellectual connection with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This has been the focus of much of what I have said here. The so-called religious right are often people who have substituted self for God but are not aware of what they have done.

While “old” Europe has turned away from God in a spiritual sense, they have not so thoroughly excommunicated it from their lives as have we. We have substituted the dollar sign for the cross and a straight party ticket for communion.

3:32 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

I think one of the differences is that these people here in Europe live in closer proximity to each other and have to basically 'share' more from the get-go. It makes them more social than we are.

I get here and I'm at first thrown off by the fact everyone isn't a selfish individual (like I am) and that everyone doesn't hate each other (as they do in Texas in my general experience).

3:18 AM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

Excerpted from: http://wid.ap.org/documents/scotus/050623kelo.pdf re: Eminent domain decision SUSETTE KELO, ET AL., PETITIONERS v. CITY OF
NEW LONDON, CONNECTICUT, ET AL.
---------
JUSTICE O. CONNOR, with whom THE CHIEF JUSTICE, JUSTICE SCALIA, and JUSTICE THOMAS join, dissenting.

Over two centuries ago, just after the Bill of Rights was ratified, Justice Chase wrote:

“An ACT of the Legislature (for I cannot call it a law)contrary to the great first principles of the social compact, cannot be considered a rightful exercise of legislative authority . . . . A few instances will suffice to explain what I mean. . . . [A] law that takes property from A. and gives it to B: It is against all reason and justice, for a people to entrust a Legislature with SUCH powers; and, therefore, it cannot be presumed that they have done it.” Calder v. Bull, 3 all. 386, 388 (1798) (emphasis deleted).

Today the Court abandons this long-held, basic limitation on government power. Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded. i.e., given to an owner who will use it in a way that the legislature deems more beneficial to the public- in the process.
....
Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms. As for the victims, the government now has
license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more. The Founders cannot have intended this perverse result. .[T]hat alone is a just government, . wrote James Madison, .which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own.. For the National Gazette, Property, (Mar. 29, 1792), reprinted in 14 Papers of James Madison 266 (R. Rutland et al. eds. 1983).
-----End of Excerpts-----

Paul Harvey noted this morning that the wall of Communism fell in Europe and was raised yesterday in New London, Conn.

Prof. Ricardo

9:04 AM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Prof... comrade, sorry to see you have your immenent domain panties is such a wad. It must create some real tension in a libertarian capitalist such as your self. On the one hand, the private property rights of that sweet 87 year old widow who has lived in that house all her life. On the other hand, a city floundering in debt, seeking to resolve the problem in the american capitalist way... screw the one with less money. I'm sure all your friends here in Curmland will join me in hoping you can work this out.

btw... Tom Cruise declared this week that any self inspection should be done drug free... keep that in mind.

10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'By your fruits you shall know them....'

A smart guy said that once...

Tom Cruise, in my opinion, despite the fact he does have a really sexy girlfriend 14 years younger than him, doesn't impress me (other than his girl, of course).

I think he's kind of a flake.

So the moral of the story is...

use drugs..... with good judgement...

I actually took a half tablet of some ecstasy last night. I didn't even feel anything physical, the dose was too small... but I did figure out what to do with my directionless life for the next year....

all for the small price of 10 dollars!!!

11:07 AM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Tom Cruise... I think he's kind of a flake.

I nominate that as the biggest Curmland understatement of 2005. If there was ever someone with a Napoleon complex that could probably benefit from a little ritalin, Tom would be our boy. The scarey thing is he has convinced himself that he has a functional brain.

2:49 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Looks like that should be eminent domain.

1:50 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

I guess people who don't believe Cheney and his "last throes" comments are just less patriotic. Lie us into war, lie during the war, and have your party lie for decades after the war. Can't you just hear the Inhofe's of 2025 saying "if it wasn't for the cut and run crowd, we would have won in Iraq". Very, very sad.

So how many here really buy the line "fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here"? Sure... all of those suicide bombers recruits energized by Iraq were just about to board planes and head to the US.

Bush energized the hornets nest based on lies. I would say faith in Shrub is in it's "last throes". Even the mass stupids that gave this guy another 4 years are starting to figure it out. It should be interesting to hear our C student world leader make his case tonight. I wonder if he may finally be guilted into squeezing out an ounce of truth. Nah... what was I thinking.

Last throes my a$$

9:24 AM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Cheney... "depends on what your definition of throes is".

9:30 AM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

CG,

How anyone can continue to be taken in by the political spin machines that are the Democratic Party/GOP/“liberal” press simply amazes me.

Like most propaganda, the notion that we either fight them there or fight them here has some truth to it. The most effective propaganda is that which is truthful. People lose track of that. Most of what Göbbels produced was not lies. He took truth, wrapped it in patriotism and Nazi spin and moved the people through their response to symbolism. Not that Göbbels and his progeny are honest, but rather they are just sophisticated in their use of information. They were not above lying when necessary and they certainly did not report inconvenient facts.

Cut forward to today and you see much the same techniques being applied today. Look at how the government is spending significant money buying opinions and promoting itself. We are far closer to the ugly propaganda machines of the past than people are willing to admit.

Certainly tying up resources over there limits their ability to apply those resources here at home. But in all of this one must take the long view and ask what happens when the troops come home. What is the net result. And how much protection has it actually bought us in the end. My suspicion is that the War in Iraq has done very little to account for the fact that we have had no more large scale incidents in America since 9-11. My hunch is that the illegal round-up of folks coupled with a myriad of illegal and problematic secret government activities is the reason that there has not yet been another event.

Understand that police state policies have worked every time they have been applied. And applying those policies here means that Bin Laden accomplished his mission.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

A despondent Common Good pondered thusly: It should be interesting to hear our C student world leader make his case tonight

Of course, this “C student” we learned recently had better grades than the John [hide-your-records-at-all-cost, BTW, did-you-know-I-was-a-hero-in-Vietnam?] Kerry candidate he ran against. It seems the utter brilliance from the podium has more to do with philosophical agreement rather than actual educational prowess of Sen. Kerry.

I wonder if he may finally be guilted into squeezing out an ounce of truth.

If by “truth” you mean saying anything that will please you, no that is not likely. Similar to “throes” and “is,” it matters what the definition of “truth” is as well. These living definitions, like the Constitution, are hard to get a grip on since their meaning is not fixed in the minds of a bunch of “mass stupids” that tried to elected the lesser “C student.”

Prof. Ricardo

12:52 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

CG & Prof,

Pondering the relative intelligence of these two is just flat irrelevant. They are both woefully inadequate individuals for a variety of reasons.

I don’t have to get to the fact that the President is an idiot in order to make that case. Similarly, just because Kerry is clearly smarter means little about his suitability for office even in a purely relative sense. Perhaps I might care to make such measurements in a close comparison between two worthy men. As it is, it is like trying to compare two Orangutans and decide which is more offensive, the ball scratcher or the nose picker. Bottom line is that with either choice you still are looking at an Orangutan.

1:02 PM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

Tony: “My suspicion is that the War in Iraq has done very little to account for the fact that we have had no more large scale incidents in America since 9-11.

True. However, not cowering like a Democrat president would have done, probably had a significant affect. Defensive strategies certainly have done their part (hassling old ladies in airports, etc.), but trying to appease, and whimper, and “understand them,” and a myriad of wussy responses I can just picture the mass stupids who voted for Kerry doing would have done nothing but embolden them into knowing what weaklings and cowards we Americans must all be. Coming out of a blind-sided first punch swinging, regardless of which bystanders are hit for being too close, demands a little respect. We may not have “deterred” those still alive who intend to do terrorist activities here. However, like the death penalty, you deter the one at the end of the rope.

Prof. Ricardo

1:11 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Tony,

We are far closer to the ugly propaganda machines of the past than people are willing to admit.

Just consider the staged Shrub town halls where people have to swear on oath to be there. Also... watch tonight in Shrub's speech where he uses Fort Bragg as his marketing backdrop.

Prof... buddy, you need to learn what we are up against. A forceful display of might only works on deterrables (sp??). The variety that crashed into the Twin Towers and blows themselves up in the streets of Iraq are un-deterrables. They were our enemy before Iraq and are certainly our enemy after. You don't think all of the cells sitting here in the US just said... "man, I think we will fly over to Iraq and fight the US there" do you? So did Iraq move more from the deterrable category to the un-deterrable? That would be a big DUH. Throw US western capitialist gasoline in the middle of poverty in the middle east, and you just may help recruiting... you think? Iraq was a wet dream for Bin Laden recruiting. We should have stopped at Afghanistan. Iraq may or may not have been on the play list eventually... but not now and not how this was handled. Here's an idea... maybe before you try and democracize a country you spend a couple of years (maybe 5) planning for what comes after the invasion.

That's the best Shrub supporters can do... point to Kerry or someone else to sidetrack from Shrub's miserable performance. That's really all you have at this point... I don't blame you.

Watch for those Shrub props tonight... you know those soldiers behind Shrub who will never get one of those $125,000 tax breaks.

Mass Stupids rule... yee-frickin-ha.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

One thing I will definitely not be doing tonight is watching Shrub.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

That's the best Shrub supporters can do... point to Kerry...

Your comment “Even the mass stupids that gave this guy another 4 years...” refers to an election, a choice, meaning you thought the “mass stupids” could have chosen better. You referenced his school grade. When I brought the facts to you laid bare, you say “the best Shrub supporters can do... point to Kerry.”

You said that Pres. Bush lied. However, the mass stupids have redined “lied” into meaning wrong, not deception. Bush relied on military intelligence, not just the U.S.’s, but three other nations as well. All said WMD’s existed. If you had listen to President Clinton, Senator Kerry, and a boat load of Democrats over the past decade, you would have seen a general consensus of fear of WMDs in Iraq. If you had read the 9/11 Commission report, you would have seen President Bush’s reluctance to involve Iraq in military action. I’ve quoted these items at length for you in Wilderland. Deception, or a “lie,” would mean that the president knew one thing, but put forth something different in order to deceive the public. Now, unless you are damning all politicians for attempting to put forth a good face, referring to President Bush statements on terrorism and our response as lie after lie after lie is disingenuous at best on your part. If you want to argue wise responses, catch a fire. I’d love to hear your suggestions not involving twelve step programs for terrorists.

... you know those soldiers behind Shrub who will never get one of those $125,000 tax breaks.

I am well versed on tax law. How about give me the circumstances under which a person would get a $125,000 break. This could be fun.

A forceful display of might only works on deterrables...

A journalist ask General Schwartzcroft how do you fight terrorist who are willing to die for their cause. He said, “oblige them.” If they are bent on our destruction and they are “undeterrable,” then their destruction must be our goal here and abroad. BTW, Japan was undeterrable till they saw the light. A bright light.

Prof. Ricardo

3:21 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Prof,

If you need to believe Shrub did Iraq because of WMD, then go ahead. It just simply isn't the truth. Thomas Friedman called Bush on the WMD BS before the war ever happened. Friedman was for the war, but because of the chance to plant a democracy in the heart of the middle east. That would have been a fair debate... the American public should have had the chance to real debate. If that had happened, and the public still backed the war, then the public support during these hard times probably would have been much higher. Too many of us just feel lied to at this point. Even if we were wrong (and we are not), it represents an incredible failure of an American president to communicate with the public before a war. I think our system has some very basic flaws beyond my personal opinion of Shrub. We need to get back to everyone in Congress being on the hook when voting to go to war. We have proven that we are capable of electing a C student, and leaving it up to that one individual to make this type of catastrophic call.

Downing Street memo

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

I'm convinced if the public knew the real truth, this would be an impeachable offense. Lie about sex... impeachable. Lie a nation into a war... patriotic.

How about give me the circumstances under which a person would get a $125,000 break.

Easy 1) be a US citizen in the year 2004 2) Have $1 million in income 3) have the GOP tell the public millionaires need another $125,000 in tax breaks to energize the economy, and they need to be made permanent ... guess we need a permanent energy injection 4) have the public accept this immoral padding of the rich while an economic lower class makes the only sacrifice of life and family members over in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Like I said, simple really.

A journalist ask General Schwartzcroft how do you fight terrorist who are willing to die for their cause. He said, “oblige them.”

I heard him say that also, and I agree. This has nothing to do with Iraq. In fact, it is the opposite of Iraq. If you don't create more undeterrables with the great Iraq Amway movement, you have to kill less of them. You can use that $200+ billion to protect our ports and borders, and sniff out the bad guys (sniff them out much more agressively then Curm would allow).

There is still a slight chance Iraq could turn out to be a source of hope and example for it's middle east neighbors. If I have to answer the question today "was Iraq worth it"?... my answer is "no". I can think of very few things I would most like to be wrong about. A post-Saddam thriving Iraq would be fantastic.

BTW, Japan was undeterrable till they saw the light. A bright light.

Prof, this is exactly the difference I'm trying to point out. Japan was never the type of undeterrable we are talking about with terrorist. Japan was a nation, and was not willing to sacrifice the entire nation. There is no analogy to be made with the Al Qaeda movement. There is no nation (although Iraq may become it) that these suicide types claim. There is no nationalism which ranks higher than the indiviudal's movement.

btw... I watched a Frontline or Nova show once on the decision to drop the nukes on Japan. I would not be near as quick to pull that out as golden moment of the US as you. Did you know we burned several major cities and it's inhabitants to the ground before the nukes. Just fried entire cities of millions... burned them alive. Then we did the nukes because the burning wasn't enough. I hear the reasons... saved thousands of US soldiers and just have to wonder about that call. I guess someone was going to be the first to actually use nukes once they were invented. I guess the human race needed to have that lesson early. Don't know... like I said, not nearly as likely as you to pull that out as a shining US moment in creating deterrables.

Don't worry Curm... we will watch Shrub so you don't have to.

4:51 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

You don't have to watch the prez either because:

1) you know what he will say
2) it will be full of lies, and
3) the balance will be nothing but spin.

There really is no point to listening. With Clinton, the three items were the same, but at least he was a good speaker. Shrub doesn't even have that going for himself.

4:56 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

" Bush relied on military intelligence, not just the U.S.’s, but three other nations as well. All said WMD’s existed."

I think the way that works is other countries sub-contract intelligence gathering to the U.S.
So when Portugal's intelligence, which they get from us in the first place, says Saddam has WMD, it doens't really say much. Nice try though.

"If you had listen to President Clinton, Senator Kerry, and a boat load of Democrats over the past decade, you would have seen a general consensus of fear of WMDs in Iraq."

Kerry was just jumping on the bandwagon to get elected, as well as the other "democrats," playing the patriot card. As for Clinton, he bombed Bagdad a few times and effectively destroyed Saddams' weapons manufacturing ability years ago.

To put it simply, Saddam was like a dog on a leash, all bark, no bite. I think everyone (except the really uneducated ones out there who think Saddam is Osama) knew this. As C.G. says, there were theorectical reasons to oust Saddam, but not WMD. Even if Saddam had them, they'd still be a threat only to Israel (a little one though, comparatively). It's not like they'd shoot a nuke across the Atlantic and hit Dallas.

I thought from the beginning W. Bush was lying to justify the war. I just had a gut sense...
I think W. Bush is probably a decent guy, just naive. He thought this whole operation would be easy... and the lie wouldn't come back to bite him in the ass. But it didn't pan out that way... oh what a tangled web we weave....

Hindsight being foresight (of course about 90% of the planet had the foresight!), there was no reason we just couldn't have increased diplomatic pressure and other last resort means on Iraq for another 20 years if need be... we could have kicked him out peacefully by now if we'd stayed on his butt like W. Bush had been doing up to the eve of the war.... we should have just kept it up...

So Ssddam killed 300 thousand people over 25 years in power, and we go in and get another 100 thousand (according to the Red Cross), we haven't really much helped the situation....

I heard the U.S. military is having a hard time recruiting soldiers for the U.S...... however, with Abu Graib and Gitmo, they've had loads of success recruiting the terrorists!

7:08 AM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

Tony,
You don't have to watch the prez either because:

1) you know what he will say
2) it will be full of lies,


At least you went into this thing with an open mind bent on an objective assessment. No preconceived notions of the outcome to blur your judgment.

Prof. Ricardo

9:07 AM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

Yoshi

I think the way that works...So when Portugal's intelligence....says Saddam has WMD, it doens't really say much. Nice try though.

It’s nice how your hypothesis (“I think,” admittedly unproven) has the power of trumping fact. Bravo!

As for Clinton, he bombed Bagdad a few times and effectively destroyed Saddams' weapons manufacturing ability years ago.

Are you equating the distraction from Impeachment week surgical strike that “effectively destroyed Saddams' weapons manufacturing ability?”

“To put it simply, Saddam was like a dog on a leash, all bark, no bite....So Ssddam killed 300 thousand people over 25 years in power.”

I would avoid that bark if I were you.

“I think everyone ...knew this. As C.G. says, there were theorectical reasons to oust Saddam, but not WMD.”

Yoshi, It’s all high and mighty to claim clairvoyance after the fact, like every two bit palm and tarot card reader. Of course there are those who claim they knew there were no WMD before hand. But there are people claiming all kinds of things all the time. There is a general hatred of President Bush that transcends common sense. Its hard when you're caught up in the lather to see it but it really has been entertaining to watch. Contrary to the opinion of everybody on the blogs, I didn’t want Bush to be president for a number of reasons. But good gosh almighty, If you could only see the frothing mouths of so many otherwise reasonable folks jumping on every Michael Moore type “fact” as a reason to vilify him–It’s just more entertaining than I can stand–and I can stand a lot!

It's not like they'd shoot a nuke across the Atlantic and hit Dallas.

Whether Iraq or anyone else, 9/11 showed us that great destruction could happen without a military force/weapons being inbound from afar.

I thought from the beginning W. Bush was lying to justify the war. I just had a gut sense...
I think W. Bush is probably a decent guy, just naive.... and the lie wouldn't come back to bite him.


Make up your mind. Is he decent or is he a liar? I don’t see how you can equate the two.

“(T)here was no reason we just couldn't have increased diplomatic pressure and other last resort means on Iraq for another 20 years if need be...

Well, when you rely on international organizations on the take, like the U.N., and other nations on the take, like France and Russia, and they subvert your “diplomatic pressure,” what have you accomplished?

"I heard the U.S. military is having a hard time recruiting soldiers for the U.S...... however, with Abu Graib and Gitmo, they've had loads of success recruiting the terrorists!"

Lawmakers return from Gitmo
“It was really an eye-opening experience,” Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) told The Hill. “We found a well-run and well-organized camp. Everything we heard previously was negative, but what we saw was much different from what we had heard and read about.”

Give credit where credit is due. The liberal media and the Democrats.

Prof. Ricardo

9:14 AM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

I think you can be a decent guy and tell some lies. I tell them all the time.... people hid Jews from the Nazi secret police and lied... if lies don't hurt people..... I see no problem with lies per se... Bush misled the public, exagerated the facts... thinking we'd knock ol' harmless Saddam out in ten minutes (which we did). What he didn't count on was inheriting a giant version of the West Bank.

So, to make up my mind.... I think W. Bush is a decent guy who doesn't have a lot of experience and has a lot of people with perverse incentives giving him bad advice (do you think oil companies were pushing for invasion?). You could say he's in the pocket of certain interest groups....

"There is a general hatred of President Bush that transcends common sense. Its hard when you're caught up in the lather to see it but it really has been entertaining to watch."

-I agree completely. Actually, there could be a documentary about this..... I had a discussion about W. Bush with this woman from Washington state...I think she represented the typical Bush-basher... I wish I could articulate how to describe our conversation... They think Bush personally profits from Iraq... like he owns Halliburton, etc. I can say many of these "anti-war" people don't care about anything or anyone at all, and then suddenly they care about "no war" at all costs, and nothing else. It's completely irrational, and it's a fashionable trend.

However, I will say... I never noticed any anti-Bushness in the mainstream until the Iraq war build-up.

"Whether Iraq or anyone else, 9/11 showed us that great destruction could happen without a military force/weapons being inbound from afar."

-What we learned on 9/11 is that great destruction can happen when a few religious nuts who can fly a plane get a box-cutter on a commercial airliner.

"It’s nice how your hypothesis (“I think,” admittedly unproven) has the power of trumping fact. Bravo!"

-Actually, I know that's how it works (other intelligence agencies from smaller countries get their intelligence from the CIA, etc). I was just being modest by saying "I think." I could prove it but it would simply be busywork for me. Just taking a moment to ponder it should be sufficient. Do you think Portugal has secret agents spying in Iraq?

"Well, when you rely on international organizations on the take, like the U.N., and other nations on the take, like France and Russia, and they subvert your “diplomatic pressure,” what have you accomplished?"

Put inspectors in there around the clock.... not the ultimate solution... but better breaking it and then having to buy it.... and besides.. if the inspectors find nothing.... then what was the reason to invade in the first place?

10:06 AM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

As for Abu Graib and Gitmo, I'm not one of these people who want Rumsfielf to resign, yada, yada, yada.

I think it was just a few white-trash soldiers that slipped through the cracks. We can't micro-manage every GI out there.

On the other hand.... putting people away with no legal recourse or rights, as the British used to do to the Northern Irish, only helps recruit more "terrorists." Just ask the Irish themselves. People see the blindfolds and the implication of torture (whether true or not) and want to sign up and join the anti-American movement.

10:11 AM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

Prof,

I actually think I am pretty open minded on issues. What I am sick and tired of is politics. If I thought for a second that suddenly Shrub would transform into an issues oriented leader, I’d be the first to tune in. And if you have missed it the past hundred times or so I’ve said it, I hold our entire political ruling class in contempt. Shrub is just the focus because he is currently the head cheese.

That political speeches will be predictable and full of lies is an objective assessment. I continue my quest for someone to rise above the political fray. Until that happens, what actually comes out of the mouths of these dolts is no more relevant to what actually happens than is the zodiac.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Prof,

There is a general hatred of President Bush that transcends common sense.

Not really. We have a president and his geek advisor Rove go out of their way to divide this nation. It would be bad enough in normal times, but Shrub was willing to do this in our time of crisis post-911. Shrub was willing to win an election by gay bashing and playing on the religious tensions in America. Shrub was willing to sell this war to the mass stupids by carefully crafting language that tied Saddam to 911 and Al Qaeda. Prof, that should be impeachable. Even while our lower economic class soldiers were dying in Iraq, Shrub didn't blink an eye in pursuing his faith-based ideology of lower taxes and favors to the economic winners in our society. Didn't even slow him down. Didn't even seem to occur to him that it might be immoral to give millionaires a tax break and ask them to sacrifice NOTHING while the poor folks died in Iraq. Of course, our society should be condemned for that also by looking the other way and "getting ours", but only one of us is the the leader of the free world. We expect them to be better than "us"... even when that "us" is a majority. I had one of my wealthy friends tell me "the tax cut for the wealthy was way overdue... they had been carrying more than their fair share for a long time". This from a friend with multiple homes, flies on private planes, belongs to a couple of country clubs, owns several buildings in our city, etc. How do good people (and this guy is a good guy) get to the point where the blinders are on so tight that they can't accept they have "enough" and it's time to address scary wealth gap trends in this society. He told me once he hopes America will never change where we hate the rich. My answer was, I agree, but it won't be caused by the poor folks if it ever comes to that.

I would acknowledge one thing as a Shrub hater, and that is I generally hate the current flavor of conservatism. I would hate any spokeman for that movement. I hate the idea of becoming theocracy-lite, and the stupid push for more religion in the public square. Read my lips... I have no interest in participationg in YOUR (not your as in Prof) religion. Knock yourself out, believe what you want... but do it in private. This is a pluralistic nation so it can't be a Christian nation anymore than it can be a Muslim or Atheist nation. Curm will call this anti-religion but it's actually anti-participating in someone else's religon. Big difference. We have to define tax rates and common good and social justice together... it's inevitable. We don't have to define each other's religion together, and we shouldn't. Believing that no public building should be allowed to be decorated as a church is not anti-religion, but rather pro-religion. Also on the hate list is the minimum tax worship with very little concern to collective common good. People who measure thier government by thier tax bill are simple minded fools. I can think of only one positive the conservative movement offers... and that would be a voice for fiscal discipline. Of course, you don't even get that with this crowd in the White House. They are too busy starving the beast in their drunken ideology stupor. They are like a bunch of frat boys trying to win intramural flag football rather than serve our society.

I try and limit my hate to ideology rather than those that believe ... but I think this prez deserves to be the exception. I don't say that lightly. I can't imagine the weight on his shoulders. But then I remember those are real people and real families devestated by Iraq... and those are real devestating consequence for hosing this entire Iraq fiasco. At this point it occurs to me that "being fair" towards our prez doesn't carry the day.

Colin Powell got it right. "We can't win the war on terrorism until we win the war on poverty". What he forgot to mention was even if we start tomorrow, it would be too late. Living in our nationalism blinders cost us big time. I rant about needs within our borders (i.e. universal healthcare), but let's face it... Yoshi's global poverty rants are the one's we should pay attention to regarding terrorism.

I wish we (US citizens) were not so split on the idea of what America should be... but we are. Religion and taxes seems to head the list. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for this 200+ year experiment.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

Yoshi,

I hold Rummy accountable for the policy that let Abu Ghraib happen. You are a very forgiving soul I think. I personally can not get past the fact that he was well aware of the torture friendly policy. This cavalier attitude toward human rights is clearly coming from the top.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

CG,

You are misrepresent or misapprehending my position again. The only area in which I see a human rights problem respecting our government and religion is in public schooling. There is not only a de facto imposition of a religious viewpoint on people, there is also and intent to impose a particular view on the part of many inside this government institution.

Generalizing further from my statements regarding this point is unfair and incorrect. I totally endorse our protections under the establishment clause and free exercise clause.

11:07 AM  
Blogger Common Good said...

I asked this question to Tony... either before the war or soon after it started... can't remember. Maybe someone else would have some thoughts on the matter.

Question:

Is it ok for a US president to sell a war to the population in a dishonest fashion if he is convinced that the war has to happen, and being totally honest would not get public backing? Let's say Bush and company decided they needed to plant a democracy in the middle east for our long term interest. Just assume that was the only reason that made Iraq the right choice to this administration. They talked about it, and decided that the public would not agree to a war to democratize Iraq. So they consulted their Frank Luntz marketing (sleeze) types... do some polling, and figure out the war could be sold with proper crafted language using 911, Bin Laden and Al Qaeda.

Who is ok with that? Do citizens have the right to know the truth even if it might mean they will make a fatal decision.

Yoshi... I don't buy the grunts did the torture thing on thier own. It's documented fact that Rumsfeld had orders for at least 2 weeks that allowed some of this stuff. I'm not one of those "never do torture" types. I think any decent human being would do whatever was required in the ticking nuke time bomb scenario... in fact, I think we should formalize public law stating when it is legal. I went a couple of rounds with Tony over this... he is happy with leaving those responsible for protecting us in legal jeapordy when they have to do what they have to do. I don't see how any Gitmo prisoner could possibly rise to the ticking nuke scenario... i.e. I don't see how Rumsfeld, Bush, ?? could make the call that torture was ok in the Iraq setting. I think Rumsfeld should go because I am convinced he had a "minimum troup level theory" that he tested in Iraq, and that test cost more American and Iraq lives.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Randy P said...

Well my personal opinion is that it is a good idea to stir it up and get the crazies on one side or the other, then we can tag them, and put them away.

It sure is noce to see that so many people can jump on a band wagon with unfounded non-truths and claim Bush knew that there were no WMD's in Iraq and lied, but the facts are not quite that damning about this. I do agree that if there is founded truth about it then why have the Dems not pulled a panel or commitee together to find out the "real" deal. Cause it ain't true. What we have here is a failure to comunicate and the lies come from the other side of the isle. Frankly for Micheal Moore to call his "film" a documentary is ludicris and should be evaluated and sued for libal by the justice Dept.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Randy P said...

CG,

I could cut and paste your rants about Bush from the DNC web site, get some of your own opinions

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Either we have some liars, or some really dumb-ass people in charge.

I prefer the liars.

12:28 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

"with unfounded non-truths and claim Bush knew that there were no WMD's in Iraq and lied, but the facts are not quite that damning about this."

Hmm. Let's look at the facts.

1.) Weapons inspectors were in Iraq, not finding anything, and everyone knew it was just a bone to throw the public while the troops got ready. There was never any serious intent to let the inspectors do their job.

2.) The big oil companies were lobbying for invasion. Also it is a coincidence that Iraq is sitting on the 2nd biggest oil elephant there is. Hey, we live in the real world, that's a valid reason to get rid of a despot.

3.) Okay, everyone can agree the general public was manipulated to equate Saddam Hussien with Osama bin Laden. Just listen to some of those silly country songs such as "Have you forgotten?" which perpetuated that myth to the mentally challenged country music fans in this country.

They pulled the hysteria trick on us. The imminent danger implication. I was talking to my ex-step-dad the other day, he was rapidly supporting the "New World Order" of Bush and how his "kid wasn't going to be nuked by Saddam." No one could be that ignorant and stupid if the so-called "liberal" media didn't perpetuate the WMD claims. Liberal media my butt. They are owned by corporations, how liberal could they really be? Just because rich people want their daughers to be able to have abortions, they are still 99% conservative.

If anyone can't read between the lines, then ..... OJ Simpson might want you for jury duty some day....

Say what you wish about Micheal Moore. I have my own criticisms of him....not a big fan either personally.
However... those clips of Bush smugly and confidently saying Saddam "has 'em" is absolutely classic.

1:57 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Anon,

Either we have some liars, or some really dumb-ass people in charge.

I prefer the liars.


LOL. Good point. It really could be worse than being lied to. What if we have dumb-ass liars?

Randy... those are my own opinions. If someone else is repeating them, just proves there are a few more non-mass stupids out there. :)

Tony made the same comments about Michael Moore's movie. I will make the same challenge to you that I made to him... "what specifically were lies in the movie"? Whether anyone like's Michael Moore is a sidebar to me... I want the list of lies everyone claims. We can hold them up to the light of day and see if you have a case. I will say this... even if the entire first half of the movie was a lie (which I don't believe), the last half was dead on. That was the half of the movie where he showed how the military recruited more heavily from the mall on the poor side of town. That simple statement about the hypocrisy in our society was worth the movie ticket to me.

So what were the Michael Moore movie lies?

The Bush's family affair with the Suads... don't think so, may I recommend American Dynasty. Yoshi is wrong... the Bush's have been profiting from their government jobs and ties to the military, CIA and the Sauds for decades.

Maybe it was a lie that the Taliban visiting Houston over the desired UNOCAL pipeline... or maybe the lie is just about the powers at be behind the scenes beeing all lathered up at the overthrow of the Taliban. Probably just coincidence that Hamid Karzai came right out of employment from UNOCAL.

Oh, maybe this is the lie. The one where Moore points out none of the Congress critters have any of their kids at risk in Iraq. There are some now I believe, but I think his point was pretty frickin valid.

Maybe recruiting the poor kids for the military from the mall on the wrond side of the tracks was a lie.

I need to watch that movie again and jot down the details/charges.

2:14 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

"what specifically were lies in the movie"? Whether anyone like's Michael Moore is a sidebar to me... I want the list of lies everyone claims."

I don't think it was that Moore was "lying," so much as misrepresenting the truth (similar to what W. Bush did with the WMD claim.) I think he exagerated the claim about the bin Laden family flying out with no questions...

I think he implied that Bush and the bin Laden family had some kind of connection with each other, as in were in cohoots with each other.

As far as the Bushes gaining from the war, I think it's indirectly enough that we can't really infer that W. Bush started a war so that his stocks could go up a little bit.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

Common Good: “Shrub didn't blink an eye in pursuing his faith-based ideology of lower taxes and favors to the economic winners in our society.

Oh goody. I like playing this game where I ask you to define what you just said and you avoid answering me. Define economic winners in our society?

Didn't even seem to occur to him that it might be immoral to give millionaires a tax break and ask them to sacrifice NOTHING while the poor folks died in Iraq.

So while military actions exist the people back home should suffer under the recession without economic relief? The government can’t order everybody to make double or for things to cost less. However, they can lessen their (goverments's) own impact on individuals via the amount of tax taken.

Of course, our society should be condemned for that also by looking the other way and "getting ours", but only one of us is the leader of the free world.

This strikes at such basic common sense I hardly know how to answer it. I certainly hope you think that all nations should try and improve. I hope that’s what you mean by the “collective common good,” is, improving the lot of all persons. It is impossible for you and I to be equal in any sense of the word. We were born with different talents, to different parents, at different times, an infinite number of variables. To equalize us only in monetary wealth is short sided and obsessive. There is so much more to life than money. To claim wisdom to reallocate other people’s wealth even IF that were the only difference between people would be beyond the definition of arrogance. Nations, societies, & men striving for the common good (hopefully) have attempted a number of ways to achieve success. In different ages, success might have meant living through the winter (re: Jamestown 1608). Success might be affording college for your children...And might I add, its my responsibility to define my success and achieve it my way. I have defined success differently than so many parents. So many parents are looking at how to get rid of their children so that they can pursue their own pleasures and endeavors. My children’s maturity and character are my current pursuit. We have gone about our pursuits differently. I dare not impose my definition of success on another and I pray they do not impose theirs on me. But whatever our success is, and the world mostly looks up to the U.S. as successful, do you dare to say our successful society should be condemned for “getting ours?” The nation that got it right should be ashamed of getting it right? There has never EVER EVER EVER been a nation as generous as ours. No nation has ever as individuals or collectively as a nation through their government given as much as we have to other countries. For that to occur two things had to take place. Prosperity and Generosity. Both noble goals...for which we should be condemned? Do you see how ludicrous the philosophy of envy is?

Prof. Ricardo

3:14 PM  
Blogger Randy P said...

And why is it that an establishment of "marraige" and it's definition is gay bashing. They are short steps from same sex marraige to animal rights to marry people. Or when ManBla files suit in a couple of years. All things that we are openning the doors to

3:31 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

Speaking of much more important things....

anyone planning to watch any of the Live 8 concerts? Live 8

ABC to broadcast Live 8 concert special

4:20 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Prof,

"getting ours" was in reference to our (US) tax breaks at a time of war... not a reference to foreign aid. Conservatives can't even give up the "lower tax rate mantra" to pay for a war. What is the rest of us being asked to sacrifice while the soldiers are dying... not even a temporary increased tax bill. Sorry my friend, envy is the wrong call... the word is greed. You can package it up in any "wealth redistribution" or "we can't be equal" mantra... and it still comes out greed. We give less than 1% of GDP in foreign aid... save your breath, you come out looking silly... oh, and GREEDY. :) Yoshi tells me if the US gives .7% of GDP instead of our .2% (??) we can put a major dent in world hunger. No offense but I will skip right past the Prof envy charge and eagerly give my added tax contribution. It's a no-brainer... doesn't even become a conversation accept with conservatives. Some people actually think our prez in full bravado mode claiming what American's are made of is a better fight against terrorism than the US yelling in the public square we gladly accept the challenge of .7 % to feed the hungry. When I hear people say we are the most generous nation in the world my response is 1) so what, we are the richest 2) explore the numbers, not that impressive as a percentage of our wealth. I'm not a bit impressed with our generousity... inside our borders or out.

Typical conservative beliefs:

1) the government should not be involved in social justice (i.e. taking care of the poor, federal safety nets).
2) this is a Christian nation, and Christian's should define government and have special rights (i.e. they get to put their religious stuff up in public buildings and schools but nobody else)
3) no such thing as common good beyond the military, FBI, CIA.
4) Christians get to decide what factions get EQUAL rights.
5) When in doubt, bomb them.
6) You do everyone else a favor when you pay your tax bill
7) The womb is the government's domain.
8) The best society is one where everyone is in this alone.

liberal beliefs:

1) taking care of the poor and needy and defining common sense safety-nets is EXACTLY the government's job.
2) We are a pluralistic nation and nobody gets to put their religious stuff up in public buildings.
3) In order to be a moral society we have to have robust shared collective common good beyond the military, FBI, CIA. Otherwise we might as all well go live in caves or the woods.
4) Race, gender or sexual preference can't be used to restrict any individuals EQUAL rights.
5) When in doubt, feed them. Face the stark reality of poverty on the planet. Educate our children accordingly so future generations can live without the blinders. Quit perpetuating the myth that we really can call ourselves generous given our wealth.
6) Paying taxes is the cost of civilization. Paying higher progressive tax rates is the cost of doing well in this country. Much higher priority to have universal healthcare than second homes.
7) The womb is the mother's domain.
8) The best society is one where we are all in this together.

Pick your side. I have. I don't even respect the other side anymore. That can't be healthy. :)

4:57 PM  
Blogger Randy P said...

CG,

You missed on one very important item. Conservatives do not believe that the womb is the Govt domain. It is in fact, without question though the domain of a new life that should be protected. A "woman's" domain is her vagina, and that is where it should stay. It really makes me wonder about you when you continue to spout off about poor people and forget all about the poor baby that has no protection or rights. They are the beginning of our future. And with half the 25 million that were aborted since Roe v. Wade we would not have, or could logically push off the Social Security problem for another 100 years or so. Really how do you sleep at night.

5:14 PM  
Blogger Randy P said...

I guess you can see that I too have picked my side and lack any respect for the other side.

5:15 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Randy,

That's all we can really do... spend some serious effort deciding what we believe in (which automatically puts us in a minority), and then stick with it. You seem to be a one issue guy, but that's your call. I don't always sleep at night, but abortion certainly isn't the reason. I'm just as amazed at the other side who will fight to their last breath to bring more poor souls into this wretched planet... and then once here, turn them lose to survival of the fittest. I find the conservative version of pro-life to be really pro-birth... once here, not really that interested. I guess if someone falls through the cracks god intended it to be that way. At least a liberal pro-lifer battles for all life... a little more consistent in my book.

Check this out:

We may have more money, but our neighbors to our North is light years ahead of us on the sexual tolerance issue

The Capitol building was just cleared. They think a small airplane was heading towards conservatives.

5:43 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

The whole idea of anyone taking a side that doesn't overlap with the "other side" seems really strange to me.

"Yoshi tells me if the US gives .7% of GDP instead of our .2% (??) we can put a major dent in world hunger.."

Not only that but we'd put these regions on the path to economic self-sufficiency, stabilized governments, etc.

Not to mention, for baby lovers like Randy (that's a compliment), 6000 children a day could be saved from a mosquito bite, another 1500 from HIV/ AIDS, etc, more from diarrehea, lack of clean water, etc.

And we are going to make that target of .7%, it's going to take a little time, but we'll get there.

Randy, the only problem I have with your Conservative = Pro-Life is that is doesn't really seem to be that way. Only the "religious" element to conservatives are against abortion. Basically, you are just in a coalition with others who are pro-choice but who want the "conservative" government.
I can assure you that as long as RICH people's daughters still get pregnant, there will be safe and legal abortions, "conservative," or "liberal."

The BEST way to stop abortions is for people to develop a sense of community, or neighborliness, etc. We got to have each other's backs... if a woman gets pregnant, one without a proper family, she has to have community support.

You know how ostracized a girl is in our society who has a baby? I always try to show respect for them and not pass judgement, but all around me I hear people condemning them and their "F**k trophies."

This self-interest, individualistic rat-race to the top of the corporate world, materialistic values, etc, is why we have abortions.

Also Randy, how do you feel about "the Pill?" Because that kills a human life as well. I'm against abortion, but I'm not against family planning (the traffic is bad enough already). I draw the line at being a fruitcake at first month of pregnancy. Technically though, a one-celled embryo is a life.

5:49 PM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

Common Good: "getting ours" was in reference to our (US) tax breaks at a time of war... not a reference to foreign aid.

I know it was.

Conservatives can't even give up the "lower tax rate mantra" to pay for a war.

Tax is to pay for government, not to punish or exact justice upon the governed. If we need 1.4 trillion and we are taxing 1.6 trillion, then we need a tax cut. The reverse is true as well. After 9/11, commercials stopped, comedians stopped, sports stopped. The contrast between ultimate tragedy and the superfluous day-to-day distractions was acute. But eventually, and necessarily, we all turned back to everyday life. Sports, comedians like Leno, and yes, even tax relief in the midst of the Summer of 2000 stock market tank, the following recession, and the uneasiness in the economy after 9/11. Auto dealers financed vehicles for 0%, massive rebates, etc. The government passed tax laws to help stimulate the economy. F.Y.I., greedy businesses need incentive to hire people. Mere kindness is not enough, they want to know if it will benefit them. If they get a temporary help from lower taxes, they might be able to hire someone they might not otherwise could hire.

We give less than 1% of GDP in foreign aid... save your breath, you come out looking silly...

Maybe you can help me here. How much are we supposed to give? No, not that silly promise of .7%. That is not an authoritative objective amount. How about 10% of GDP? 50%? We’re pretty wealthy, how about 30% to our government and 50% to the rest of the world? If not why not? Who are you to say that living on 20% of the wealth in one of the richest nations is not enough? How about a cap on wealth at $250,000? House + vehicles + retirement + the shirt on your back. That is billionaire territory compared to the poor nations of this country. Can you condone a wealth gap any greater? That would definitely reduce the wealth gap that so many whine over. And what is your incentive to work when you hit that magical wealth cap? Nada. What will you tax? It sure won’t be productivity and prosperity. Nix retirement, nix incentive, nix dreams, nix the lottery, nix life insurance, nix it all.

I tried to find the “taxmemore” web site from the Arkansas politician but it didn’t last. Not many takers. I wonder why?

Prof. Ricardo

6:53 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

Yea, since we are all relatively anonymous, I guess we can just all admit whether or not our "spouses" use "the Pill" or any other unnatural form of family planning.

BECAUSE..... if anyone does.... then technically they are aborting their "human life" children.

This is because when the egg is fertilised, it passes through the uterus and doesn't attach itself... then it dies a premature death. It's a morning-after pill, essentially.

Now I will be quite suspicious of anyone who doesn't have 7 kids like my Catholic grandma, or 8 kids like her Catholic sister in New Jersey. Or 10 kids like the family that sits behind us at church. How many of us Pro-Lifers here are hypocrites?

Do we rationalize it and say that a mere embryo doesn't deserve the same rights as a more developed fetus...? To be honest, I personally think there is a difference between the two. Though I respect a mere embryo, I don't think it deserves rights.

6:54 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

"Maybe you can help me here. How much are we supposed to give? No, not that silly promise of .7%."

Silly promise? That's not what the word's leading economists are saying. And that's what was PROMISED.

"That is not an authoritative objective amount."

-Yes it is. Again, that's what the world's leading economists are saying. But what do they know anyway?

"How about 10% of GDP? 50%? We’re pretty wealthy, how about 30% to our government and 50% to the rest of the world?"

-So we have jumped from .12% of GDP to the Professor's suggestion of 50%. C'mon. Now that's silly. .7 percent will not kill the golden egg goose, it'll make it stronger. There are stategic reasons, as well as basic human reasons, for wanting to aid the poor.

50%, as you know, will kill the goose. It's not an all or nothing world. It would still be 1/10th of military spending.

Now back to everyone's position on the pill. I want to "out" all the closet abortionists in the room.

7:18 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

Prof. wrote:

"If we need 1.4 trillion and we are taxing 1.6 trillion, then we need a tax cut."

-Yes, IF. IF we have a surplus, we need a tax cut. Briliant!

However, IF we are running a deficit, we might need a raise in our taxes. I think what Common Good means is if we are going to use the credit card to pay for the war, the rich shouldn't be getting tax breaks so that I have to pay the inevitable bill down the line....

7:40 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Yoshi,

"The whole idea of anyone taking a side that doesn't overlap with the "other side" seems really strange to me."

Well, let me challenge that. If you are an independent thinker, you will look at the issues and decide where you stand. It just so happens that my views seem to align almost perfectly with the democratic platform. I don't start as a Democrat team player... I just happen to pretty much agree with their positions, and hardly any of the conservative ideas... other than there does need to be a voice of fiscal discipline (not that the current conservatives in charge are doing that). That's just how it works out for me. For other's like Tony who is slowly developing a more liberal side (very slowly) ... it's more complicated because of the abortion issue. I'm convinced a conservative would never be elected again in this country if we had the technology starting tomorrow that would prevent all unwanted pregnancies (some kind of switch that has to be turned on to become pregnant). Take the abortion issue away, and conservatives don't have a fighting change. Gay bashing and cries for theocracy wouldn't win elections without the abortion issue.

I think what Common Good means is if we are going to use the credit card to pay for the war, the rich shouldn't be getting tax breaks so that I have to pay the inevitable bill down the line....

Folks like Prof are absolute types... compromise isn't in the cards. When he doesn't want to deal with a reasonable idea of .7% federal foreign aid because it goes against his ideology/belief system.. he morphs the discussion into silly levels that no one is asking for. Your statement is pretty much on target. Anything we don't pay for now goes on your tab. This is how I view taxes... sorry for those who already heard the rant too many times.

1) We decide via representative democracy federal common good
2) We then determine tax rates (progressive or otherwise) to fund these needs. Note: we define needs before we define tax rates. People who start the discussion with my tax rate should never be more than x% are fairly useless.
3) #1 represents fixed government costs. Other things like wars come along that have to be added to the tab. Part of the war expense is in the fixed cost section... we pay for the Pentagon in peacetime or war. However, the lion share of Iraq is non-fixed costs... and they have to be added to the tax tab. Shrub is either willing to pass this on to posterity, or it's part of the starve the beast strategy where they can finally starting dismantling the New Deal. It's obviously the latter... the Social Security private accounts was the first warning shot across the bow.

Prof said: How about a cap on wealth at $250,000?

Ben Franklin actually proposed something like that for his state constitution. Go figure... could have been a founder intention. I actually wouldn't rule the concept out. If you follow the logic I set out above, you start with common needs, and then fund it. Depending on circumstances and the general welfare and tranquility could require some forms of caps... never say never. I would think it would just take the form means testing and very high progressive tax rates. If you are a billionaire and get taxed 75% on earning... I won't be crying a river for you. If you take your blanket and go home that even better... someone without "enough" can step in and get "enough". Paul O'Neal said something once that made me dislike him (I liked him more after I read his book). He was responding to CEO compensation in public companies. He said "he never understood the logic of cutting down the tall trees". To me, that is backwards for a moral society. We should strive for 99% sturdy trees rather than 1-2% Redwoods. You know... water the sapplings rather than paying special attention only to the mature trees.

I think old Ben was on to something... someday the majority of us will quit buying the unlimited greed and wealth in this society. There is no logical reason for us to treat our society as the playground for the few. Call it envy if you must... I call it common sense.

The US conservatives are a unique breed... they can only be found here. Our neighbors to the North appear to be Dems. Europe appears to be Dems... they pretty much expect government's job is to take care of the poor and the needy. This current brand of conservatism will be temporary IMO. Globalization will isolate such thinking and it will eventually shrivel and drown in the bathtub (That's for you Grover Norquist).

Say no to the greedy side... vote Dem.

9:03 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

Well, this was a great discussion so far. Really enjoyed it!

A few comments. While I disagree with Prof on many things, I do love how he draws some of the issues out. The fundamental problem with wealth transfer is establishing limits and criteria. Unlike conservatives, I do not think that problem is insurmountable. Unlike liberals, I do not think that problem is unimportant.

I am amused that at this juncture Prof takes another stab at calling Americans generous. While I try hard to be “tolerant” of different viewpoint, I have crept over to where I find that claim simply absurd. Yes, we need to define our terms but the meager amount we give doesn’t hardly deserve wasting our breath over the issue. We should really be discussing how much more is morally correct. That more intriguing question is far more difficult.

I am almost in hysterical fits over the assertion that voting Dem is inherently less greedy. Seems like when I look at the actual voting record of the left side of the isle, those pesky little fellas look almost as greedy as the GOP types. Seems like I remember the mid-nineties budget battles and them defending statistically insignificant budget differences as if they were the moral champions of our day. Other examples of Dem hypocrisy abound.

But hey, if a bunch of empty rhetoric works for you, I am happy for you. I’ll stick with actual facts and behavior and judge that. Just don’t’ come here with silly partisan sanctimony and expect to proceed unmolested.

10:46 PM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

[Sorry, having html issues. Previews good, posts messed up.]

Yoshi, “So we have jumped from .12% of GDP to the Professor's suggestion of 50%. C'mon. Now that's silly. .7 percent will not kill the golden egg goose, it'll make it stronger.

My point is, if we are a slacker country in need of shame and condemnation if we give any less than .7%, then that is not the target, but the minimum, if that. If we fall short, short of what? A promise? Fine. But, why .7%? What is the formula? Why not .701%? And if pure greed is what is driving this country, and the wealth “gap” is so intolerable, why not more, a lot more? If you want a really narrow wealth gap, and apparently to some people that is a good thing, then we’ve either got to get the world on board for making quite a bit more (not $25/month like Cuba, but $2,500/mo.), or we need to really bring in some oppressive tax rates to punish those silly enough to have acquired wealth.

Common Good was partly right when he said: “Folks like Prof are absolute types... compromise isn't in the cards.

I don’t want to tax the snot out of Americans because C.G. feels we ought to be. I want a principle or objective standard to go by. I want a reasonable course that not only will not kill the goose, but won’t strangle it leaving it blue in the face gasping for air. Being a numbers kind of guy, and a cautious tightwad type that analyzes things to death, I took the 2005 GDP of 12,042 billion and divided it by the US population of 296,490,000 and got GDP per person of $40,615, not per bread-winner, but for every man, woman, child, elderly, poor, and illegal. I’m not ashamed to tell you for my 4 family members, we’re not making the cut. But if I multiply $12 trillion times .7% divided by the population, that gives me an international welfare rate of $284/US person. So my 4 member family will represent $1,137 going overseas. That is a small % of my representative GDP of $162,460., but a very large portion of my actual one bread-winner family income. Maybe you could step up to the plate and pay my portion.

The expected US government receipts this year are $2.036 trillion. Divide that by the US population resulting in $6,867/ US person, OR $27,468 for my family of four. Once again, as patriotic as I hope to be, my family falls short in paying these kinds of taxes. I guess people like me ask ourselves how much federal government do we really need? Those figures do not represent our state taxes and local taxes paid through sales tax, real estate taxes, state portions of fuel tax, those multiple charges on your phone bill, ad nauseam. And to think some persons are looking to shift 1/7th the economy, healthcare, from private to governmental control. I know its silly of me to worry and use concrete examples for anything, but I feel that it is better to stop suffocating the goose now, rather than apply the paddles and try CPR later.

Prof. Ricardo

12:30 AM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

So the question is:

"Can we afford .7%, and how could it be paid for?" And will it make a noticeable effect on the lives of ordinary Americans such as ourselves?

Valid questions which I will return with soon in detail.

7:17 AM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

According to my source, which is a book and so I can't link it. Gladly send you a copy though (or link to Amazon), it's a great book.

$ 75 billion is .7% of our GNP.
$ 15 billion is .14 % of our GNP, and is what our "Official Development Assistance."

(During the time of the Marshall Plan, we spent 2.0 % of GNP).

Should I repeat that: $75 billion.
And the ONE Campaign itself, is asking for much less, a mere $40 billion.

So .7 % is not the "minimum" that Prof. implies, but rather the maximum, the longshot gift of God, Hail Mary of a request. 7 cents out of every ten dollars is what it would take to do it right.

I'm going to do this is segments so people won't get bored with such long responses from me. I want people to retain this stuff.

7:49 AM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

So answer number 2 is about "if you want a really narrow wealth gap" and how much Prof.'s kids are going to starve if we do this... (there is a strange irony in Prof's concern for children here).

The goal is to end "extreme poverty." NOT TO EQUALIZE INCOMES OR CLOSE THE GAPS BETWEEN RICH AND POOR. The rich are merely giving the poor some assistanec to pull themselves out of the poverty TRAP they are stuck in(trap, as in, can't escape).

Can we afford it? Well, first, five donors are already making the .7 %, 6 more have scheduled to, and all donors, including the U.S.A., have promised "concrete efforts" to achieve.

Common Good. Listen. To get from today's .14% level to .7% of GNP we would need an extra tax of 0.55% of GNP.

So we'd have an extra .55% of income tax to change the lives of 1 billion people, give them a future of economic hope and health rather than a downward spiral of death and despair.

But there is more. As you know, the top four hundred taxpayers in the year 2000 had a combined income of $69 billion, or $174 million per taxpayer. Now if you take the most successful countries in Africa: Uganda, Senegal, Botswana, and Nigeria, the combined income in 2000 was $57 billion. That equates to 161 million people on average of $350 a year. The rich have benefited disproportionately from the economic and tax changes of the past twenty years. Prof, don't kid yourself to think they are out there toiling in the hot sun working..... I could care less if Paris Hilton has to downsize her pink private jet plane.

Basically, the point I'm getting at is that some of Bush's tax cuts for the richest, the mega-rich, could cover the tab, without the Prof's or my taxes ever being touched.

8:19 AM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

One more thing....

I just want to say that this is not a partisan issue, not one that Americans are taking sides on... (all except the Prof.)

Randy, just wanted to tell you the Ruport Murdoch, the guy who owns FOX NEWS, is giving the ONE CAMPAIGN free airtime. FREE airtime. He said he wasn't going to lead the charge but that he would do whatever he could to help. Pat Robertson, the big cheese on the religious right, went on ABC's Nightline June 24 to ask all Americans to sign the ONE Campaign and the letter to President Bush.

This is a conservative movement just as much as it is a liberal movement.

And back to the rich paying slightly higher taxes to finance this .7%, they will benefit from increased international trade with new developing markets. Think U.S. construction firms didn't benefit during the Marshall Plan? Think Bill Gates, aside from just being generous, isn't planning to sell a few MS Windows in these regions he is helping? It's going to be a symbiotic relationship.

8:44 AM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Never said there wasn't limits to wealth redistribution, in fact I have made the specific point here that we can't kill capitalism... quit making stuff up.

One party's entire platform is fighting for the middle and lower class... the other's is business and the religious right. Keep equating... and keep looking silly.
Note, that certainly doesn't mean everyone batting for the left in Washington are outstanding characters. In fact, if they were doing their job they would be even more in a minority given our current conservative RR revival going on.

The point of wealth redistribution isn't equal lives or envy. Grow up and have an adult conversation. :)

Isn't really sad Yoshi has to convince anyone about the .7%.

9:12 AM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Prof... if I were king and setting up the tax code in this country, your tax would either not be impacted or at a very minimal level. The ugly wealth gap bloat is in the top 5%... more specifically in the top 1-2%. It's insane that society has accepted this. To put it simply... I would tax the frickin hockey out of the top 5% and wouldn't lose a bit of sleep. The louder the whining, the more I would know society is doing the right thing. Is there anyone more unattractive than a multi-millionaire claiming they are taxed too much.

9:21 AM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

Just another observation.

Perhaps what we should do rather than discussing taxation is to discuss spending prioritization. Do any of us doubt that if it were important to us, that we could find Yoshi his extra $60 Billion out of the federal budget. I’ll bet eliminating the Congressional Country club alone would net a good chunk of the first billion.

Bottom line is that this is about alms giving, not wealth transfer per se. Clearly we do not have the national character to take care of the most miserable of our planet. And when I think about this truth and reflect on the claims of the Religious Right of ours being a Christian nation, it makes me feel physically ill. Given our national behavior of late, such a claim is seriously insulting to our Lord.

9:43 AM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

"Bottom line is that this is about alms giving..."

I see it less as alms-giving and more as targeted investments in economic infrastructure: transportation, health, vaccinations, agriculture, water wells, education, etc.

Aside from development spending we need to reform global trade rules that are skewed toward rich-world producers.

These together will lead to economic growth and put these countries on the path to self-sufficiency and integration into our global capitalist system.

We have the technology now, the riches now, unlike anytime in history. This is completely feasible. There are thousands of lives already benefitting from the President's global AIDS plan. That's proof these things can succeed right there. Now we just have to scale things up. We have the ability to do this, we just lack the political will.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

Yoshi,

I don’t disagree that there is a self-interest rational for addressing starvation. And that is probably the argument most likely to get people’s attention and succeed. But my point is that is sad. The bare facts that people are starving and we can fix it should be enough to motivate a moral people. Your realpolitick answer is correct, but I find it extraordinarily sad that it has to be made as a primary argument.

9:56 AM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

well, it's not just starving....

To my understanding, 6000 children die of a mosquito bite.

Then there is dirrehea. AIDS. TB. Filthy water. Etc.

You are right though Tony. Self-interest long-term strategic reasons should be SECONDARY. There should be a primary, deeper human need at the individual level that wants to do something.

10:07 AM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

Bush Calls for new initiative Link

10:33 AM  
Blogger Randy P said...

"We may have more money, but our neighbors to our North is light years ahead of us on the sexual tolerance issue"

Not sure why the band wagon has to be same sex marraige for equallity. I think it is pretty clear that this is one more step closer to No-Age barrier marraige for groups like ManBla and the like. I agree that equallity could be a better issue, and all things considered there are still some pretty racial people out there in america, but frankly they have that right. And no to answer you I am not a one issue guy, I do not fall on abortion as my only platform issue and dwell solely on that. I have issuses with the war, but I do not believe that it was a lie, I think the intentions were good. I am not happy with any lose of life, especially on foreign shores, but it is an all volunteer military, and with the way things are heating up in the world, and with Sept 11, 2001, I have no sympathy for the military personnel in Iraq at the moment. Personnel over there are either lifers, or those that joined after Afgan and knowing full well that this would be a fight and loss of life would be an issue. Can we do better for them, YES, should we, YES. Did we have less in WWII, Korea and Vietnam, YES can they complain...only moderatly IMO. They know the hazard, and they also know their responsibility.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Randy,

I do not fall on abortion as my only platform issue and dwell solely on that.

Yeah... my point really wasn't to label you, but rather to make the point that many continue to vote Republican simply because of the abortion issue. Let's face it... the Gospels definitely more closely match the Dem platform than the Republican... other than the abortion issue. The majority of this country are middle class or lower, and common sense dictates most would not tolerate such narrow excess wealth and corporate favortism unless there were social issues at play. There would be a minority that might rationalize this based on libertarian views... but it wouldn't be enough to carry the day. Corporate america will succeed at treating the rest of us as pawns as long as abortion remains an issue. I guess pro-lifers can claim that's what we (including those falling the laissez-faire cracks) deserve.

We will just have to agree to disagree on the morality of our current volunteer military practice. Every single one of us should share some burden when our soldiers are dying. We can't even share in the pain of temporaty tax hikes to cover war. For the vast majority of our population, the Iraq war is like some movie on TV. We have some real blinders on when we accept the sacrifice of the few under the banner of a more efficient military. Any of us can drive trucks down the IEDs laden roads... doesn't require some volunteerism from poor family kids. You frame this as "not being sorry for the soldiers". I frame it as "being embarrased at us allowing only a few to sacrifice during war". If the deal is I pay an additional $1000 per year to fund the war, and in return I don't have to get blown up by an IED in Iraq.... only an idiot would complain about that deal.

Bob Costas was standing in for Larry King Tuesday, and asked Senator McCain a couple of questions. The first should sound familiar.

COSTAS: Senator McCain, I hope this question doesn't seem impertinent, but we often hear that if these terrorists are not confronted in Iraq, they'll be in New York or wherever. What is to stop them from being in New York simultaneously, if they could get here? We know that they would if they could, and they still might.

MCCAIN: Because I believe, Bob, that Iraq would turn into a hotbed of radical Islamist extremism and training, with equipping. It would be a center for Islamic extremism, and also a failure on the part of the United States would set a chain of events in motion, particularly in the Middle East, that would eventually reach the shores of the United States, I believe.

Note: McCain really didn't answer Costa's (and the one I have been asking) question.

COSTAS: Senator McCain, we are where we are, and most people believe that if we just up and left, chaos would ensue. But suppose, for the purposes of this exercise, there were two buttons in front of you. You could only push one. If you push button number one, the best possible realistic outcome, as we speak now, ensues in Iraq. If you push button number two, we never went there in the first place. Which button would you push?

MCCAIN: Oh, by far, button number one. Look, I believe we're making progress towards a democracy in Iraq. That's already having an effect in the region. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Libya has already had an effect. There was a bad guy. Weapons of mass destruction or no weapons of mass destruction, the sanctions were eroding, and if Saddam Hussein were still in power, he would be attempting to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction.

Wonder how long button number one will still be defended... another year, two years...

It sounds like we are already at button #2... hope I'm wrong.

1:03 PM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

Yoshi: “So .7 % is not the "minimum" that Prof. implies, but rather the maximum, the longshot gift of God, Hail Mary of a request.

IF you haven’t noticed, I’m razzing my friend Common Good over his obsession with “wealth gaps,” the fact that somebody is getting paid a lot for whatever they are doing, or that they didn’t blow it all on entertainment rather than invest it in Microsoft stock ten years ago. The 50% of course is ridiculous. However, the only definitive goal I’ve gotten from him is that the wealth gap must be minimized and they way to do that is confiscate from those at one end and redistribute it (less processing charges for gov’t of 96%) to the other end of the spectrum. He, or you, have not defined who the poor are, who the wealthy are, what are our optional methods of addressing these issues, why those not wanting to participate are required to, why those already giving to organizations should continue after said mandatory plan is installed, how do we compare the various methods for efficiency of transfer, etc.

7 cents out of every ten dollars is what it would take to do it right.

And then poverty is irradicated? Wait. Is that .7% per year? Every year? Or will it go down as a percentage because it is working and “done right?”

If the need does not go down as a percentage of GDP, can we then assume that the poor ...have not pulled themselves out of the poverty TRAP they are stuck in(trap, as in, can't escape). ? If the assistance works, by definition, the poor would be getting out of the poverty trap and would not need our assistance, thus lowering their need for assistance and the budget, no?

And can you think of situations where the poor are ready for help, we give it to them EXACTLY what they need, and they still don’t make it? How about the confiscation of white farmer’s farms in Africa by dictators and hooligans? Isn’t troublesome governments the main inhibitor to past, present, and future aid doing its work?

If the goal is to end "extreme poverty", then those impoverished MUST improve their lot, not because they are fed by someone else, but because they genuinely support themselves, year after year, generation after generation. When you have otherwise reasonable people in this country (Common Good, five Supreme Court Justices) abandoning the concept of private ownership of property, the bedrock of EVERY prosperous nation, how do we expect extreme poverty in other nations to decrease when they don’t have a clue what freedoms are necessary for commerce to thrive to support themselves and their families? There are a few minor cases where Tsunami, weather, etc. made someone fall on bad times. That is NOT the cause of the worlds poverty. Political, cultural/social, and even spiritual issues need to be addressed. I’d write the 40 billion dollar check out of the US Treasury myself TODAY if I thought just 5% of those people receiving help (dictators not included) would achieve a level of ½ our stated poverty level. Today!!!!

Governments hostile to economic, and therefore political, freedom are your enemy. Remove that blockage and the aid discussion is superfluous, because the word “widespread” would never have to precede the word “poverty” again.

Prof. Ricardo

1:05 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

Button one will be defended at least through the next Presidential election cycle. That is the nature of such things. As long as the GOP is succeding, the will claim they were correct and admit not even the slightest mistake. The only way that will change is with a sound electoral defeat in which case they will start admiting some problems around the edges and new faces will emerge that are in the public mind unconnected with the debacle.

The error people continue to make is that the substance matters to the politicians. No substance matters except the substance of the votes at the polls.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Tony,

they will start admiting some problems around the edges

nah... many still claim we lost Vietnam because of a cut and run mentality. I'm sure Inhofe could clear it up for you.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Question for the pro-lifers:

When we outlaw abortion should we

1) Outlaw it first, and then contruct the enforement scheme

or

2) Plan and develop the enforcement scheme, and then outlaw it?

Seems like a fair question... plan for post-Iraq or just do Iraq and wing it.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

CG,

I don’t see any need for designing an enforcement scheme. We have the police department, courts and the rest of the criminal justice system already. What about it seems complex?

1:25 PM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

Common Good: “Prof... if I were king and setting up the tax code in this country, your tax would either not be impacted or at a very minimal level. The ugly wealth gap bloat is in the top 5%... more specifically in the top 1-2%.

How much tax do the bottom earners pay?
If you are married filing joint, <65 yrs, 2 kids under 17:
If your income is: $20,000___ your tax is -1,388. You actually get a refund. Negative tax.
If your income is: $30,000___ your tax is -1,207. You actually get a refund. Negative tax.
If your income is: $40,000___ your tax is -26. You actually get a refund. Negative tax.
Your breakeven income, where you pay your first dollar of tax is $40,150!
Let’s add another child as po folks often do.
If your income is: $40,000___ your tax is -1,456. You actually get a refund. Negative tax.
Your breakeven income, where you pay your first dollar of tax is $49,950! Tax? $1.
With 4 children under 17?
If your income is: $50,000___ your tax is -1,456. You actually get a refund. Negative tax.
Your breakeven income, where you pay your first dollar of tax is $59,750! Tax? $6.

All of these people did not have any other favorable tax benefits. No itemized deductions, no capital gains break, no deductible college interest deduction, no qualified dividends. Purely ordinary income.

So Common Good, A family of four makes $40,000 and pays no income tax, still gets a check from the government for $26, How much of a refund should they get under a tax cut plan? Are they burdened with taxes? Shouldn’t a tax relief come from those actually paying tax?

Let’s look at the other end of the Spectrum.
The top 50% pay 96.03% of the total income tax collected.
The top 10% pay 64.89% of the total income tax collected.
The top 5% pay 53.25% of the total income tax collected.
The top 1% pay 33.89% of the total income tax collected.

To be in these exclusive clubs, how much did you have to make?
50% club = $28,528+
10% club = $92,754+
5% club = $127,904+
1% club = $292,913+

C.G.: “The ugly wealth gap bloat is in the top 5%...I would tax the frickin hockey out of the top 5% and wouldn't lose a bit of sleep.

So you want to cap family incomes to no more than $127,904/year? Everyone pays their current tax + the tax of the 5%ers portion which is 53.25% of the tax and all incomes above that figure? I’ve given you plenty of rope. Now as king setting up the tax code, re-shift the numbers while not killing capitalism.

Prof. Ricardo

PS “The louder the whining, the more I would know society is doing the right thing.

It’s not about the common good. Your constant theme is you despise the wealthy. It comes through in your wealth gaps, tax the hockey, two homes and a jet, hatred of Bush. It was the theme of Perfectly Legal, the book you recommended to me. It oozed out of nearly every page of his book. I have erroneously called this envy. Jealousy is closer. That is, one hostile toward a rival or one believed to enjoy an advantage. Come over from the dark side C.G. so that socialism farce will not be with you. :-)

2:23 PM  
Blogger Randy P said...

Yoshi
"F**k trophies."

That used to be a compliment when I was doing what I aught not to do. ;>.

“This self-interest, individualistic rat-race to the top of the corporate world, materialistic values, etc, is why we have abortions.”

Really, cause we had some control at one time, and the liberal courts that decided a woman’s discomfort out weighs the life of a child. Poppycock.

“Also Randy, how do you feel about "the Pill?"”

Well tanks for the hard one. My belief says let good figure it out for you, but my human says I don’t have a problem with it. So although I am not as torn with this issue (meaning I am OK with the Pill), I still question my thinking on that, cause it is “of the world” and not “of God”.

“Yea, since we are all relatively anonymous, I guess we can just all admit whether or not our "spouses" use "the Pill" or any other unnatural form of family planning.”

We do not use the pill! But I am not condemning those that do. Again it is a conundrum that we find ourselves in on issues like these. So I guess that we can assume that abortion has to be listed of the pill, when we make these illegal we can make abortion illegal. How far are you planning on taking this argument, You are talking about saving 6000 kids in other countries with our money that secularly we can not force someone else to “give” away to any body else, “we are not a Christian nation”, and you can not see or feel a drive to save those tens of thousands here in the states. Poppycock.

“This is because when the egg is fertilised, it passes through the uterus and doesn't attach itself... then it dies a premature death. It's a morning-after pill, essentially.”

Tanks you Yoshi, my 8th grade education did not take me quite that far.

“Now I will be quite suspicious of anyone who doesn't have 7 kids like my Catholic grandma, or 8 kids like her Catholic sister in New Jersey. Or 10 kids like the family that sits behind us at church. How many of us Pro-Lifers here are hypocrites?”

Thanks for the vote of confidence, some of those “good” people out there have had a few miscarriages in their lives. Appreciate you bringing that to light again.

“Do we rationalize it and say that a mere embryo doesn't deserve the same rights as a more developed fetus...? To be honest, I personally think there is a difference between the two. Though I respect a mere embryo, I don't think it deserves rights.”

We are talking about a difference between whole sale slaughter and a happy medium. I want to also go on record as stating I am basing this opinion of mine on a secular view of protecting the unprotect able. And comments like bus drivers to cart of the young women to jail because they will be heading there in droves it ludicrous also.

“Silly promise? That's not what the word's leading economists are saying. And that's what was PROMISED.”

When was this promise anyway, was it Shrub that laid it out, and when did that happen? Just asking.

2:35 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

"And then poverty is irradicated? Wait. Is that .7% per year? Every year? Or will it go down as a percentage because it is working and “done right?”"

Exactly. It will take some years of course.... 20 maybe?

Just look at Bangledesh, or even better, India. Or China. These countries may be poor, but it is similar to what immigrants went through here in the USA at the turn of the century. They were poor, but not for too long....

"There are a few minor cases where Tsunami, weather, etc. made someone fall on bad times. That is NOT the cause of the worlds poverty."

-Prof., I just was in Colorado rafting a few weeks ago. Way up in the mountains. I noticed it was hard to find a restaurant that didn't have a monopoly, and crap food and service on account of this fact. So I look around and started thinking. The population density was very thin relative to land mass. No markets. Similar to Africa. Hours into the mountains must mean high transport costs. Similar to Africa. So then I understood why no one was investing there in more restaurants and shops that we take for granted in DFW. I was really surprised to see such a town in America. It had a tourist industry, and that was it. (I had a new appreciation for Fort Worth after this, frankly there was little to do up there but raft and camp.) But it made me realize how it must be in Africa, cut off from the outside world. By contrast, look at the port cities. East Coast, West Coast, Chicago, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, etc. That's where all the money is. Adam Smith even talked about Africa's lack of access to navigable waterways and proximity to markets. And that was a few hundred years ago, but still true today. (however, technology, good governance, infrastructure investment, removal of internal and external trade barriers, etc. can overcome this handicap.)

Add in factors such as malaria, how many sick days do you think that causes? These are some geographical problems, as well as problems with the global trade order, that also contribute to poverty. There are external problems.

Political, cultural/social, and even spiritual issues need to be addressed.

-Yes, they do. On our side and their side, apparently. Zimbabwe is a great example of despots ruining a country. But that is merely one country, there are many countries in Africa, if you did some homework, that are making great changes and simply need outside investment (Uganda, Senegal, Botswana). I could break it down for you, but I'd literally be putting up a book on this site... no one wants that... better I refer the actual book.

"And can you think of situations where the poor are ready for help, we give it to them EXACTLY what they need, and they still don’t make it?"

-Can you? Personally, I can't. Not when the money was well monitered and coordinated. Not when their weren't ulterior motives on our part. We eradicated smallpox and the measles worldwide. We rebuilt Europe and Japan. I believe we will succeed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Look at Eastern Europe. We bailed them out after the fall of the Berlin Wall. They are doing great now, and we averted a potential catastrophe. Without our help those countries would have collapsed.

"How about the confiscation of white farmer’s farms in Africa by dictators and hooligans?"

-Terrible thing what has happened in Zimbabwe. That country has been ruined by this policy.

"Isn’t troublesome governments the main inhibitor to past, present, and future aid doing its work?"

-Yes, there are problems regarding this that we can solve. Consider George Bush's Millennium Challenge. Bush pays smart people to figure that stuff out for us. We will improve the lot in Africa, but there will obviously still be problems with corruption, violent crime, etc. Those things tend to diminish as incomes rise though, don't they?

"If the goal is to end "extreme poverty", then those impoverished MUST improve their lot, not because they are fed by someone else, but because they genuinely support themselves, year after year.."

-I understand that. That ulitmately has to happen. And that's my theory. However: the people at the very bottom, in EXTREME POVERTY, not moderate poverty, not relative poverty, but EXTREME POVERTY, CANNOT improve their lot without outside assistance. They need a boost up to the ladder of self-perpetuating economic growth. After that economic growth should be endogenous. Just investing in fertilizer or more productive agricultural techniques, for example, could help a farmer run a surplus for the first time, give him some savings, capital accumulates, and things start falling into place from there.

Then there are the issues of the tariffs (ex. 164% tariff on peanut farmers in Uganda).

If you want a good book on the subject, or two.... check these out...:

Jeffrey Sachs' book

William Easterly’s Book

Amazon is really cheap... they must love me, I spend loads of money there.

3:16 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

Man, I really need to get a life.
But here goes another one...

Randy wrote: "When was this promise anyway, was it Shrub that laid it out, and when did that happen? Just asking?"

Shrub signed on to it March 2002 in Monterrey, Mexico. Google the "Monterrey Consensus." That should take you there.
________________________________
As for miscarriages. Sorry. There have been many in my family as well. Which brings me to this question: I had an 11 year cousin killed on a horse 2 years ago, and several "cousins" and "aunts/uncles" who died during miscarriages. I did not grieve for the miscarriaged ones, but I certainly did for the cousin. And honestly, I think the miscarriages were never "really alive." It died before it ever really existed. Well, it existed, but you know what I mean.

However, in the same sense I am concerned with global poverty issues, I am concerned with unborn children. I know they dream... and feel pain.. that's good enough for me to agree they deserve rights. And even though I wouldn't equate a first trimester with "murder," I'd certainly think it was wrong and carry lots of guilt if my partner were to ever have one. It would be a spiritual guilt though, and not a legal one.

Now, I think we should outlaw abortions but leave loopholes in certain extremely rare situations, but as I implied earlier, they'll be knocking on doors arresting people for using the pill. Because the pill does KILL embryos. And that makes us half-ass pro-lifers at best. I'm all for the happy medium myself. Put everyone on the pill, and severely restrict abortions. But that's not what the Pro-Lifers are after. (I think deep down for them it's more about people having sex that they are against and less about the "sanctity of life". It's sub-conscious though, they don't even realize it.)

3:45 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Tony,

I don’t see any need for designing an enforcement scheme. We have the police department, courts and the rest of the criminal justice system already. What about it seems complex?

LOL. I had already practically written your exact response in my head. :) I don't blame you though. Following through with honest debate and an honest look at the law enforcement consequences is always avoided by the other side.

How about sentencing guidelines... for abortion and attempted abortion.

If a female is caught at a clinic (scratch that, meant back alley) what's her sentence. Jail after baby is born. Birth at the prison.

What's the threshold for clinic searches by the FBI? Will the patriot act cover it.. or will judges be in the loop.

Does the father who pressured the female to get the abortion face any legal consequences?

What's the law regarding problem pregnancies? Should the doctor's have to consult with the judge before saving the mother?

Is abortion sentencing the same for minors as adults? What about the mentally challenged? If someone commits murder, and are found incompetent, they go to the funny farm. Same with the incompetent mothers?

What's the law regarding a US citizen flying overseas for an abortion? If these mothers can still be prosecuted, wouldn't that mean the government would end up in the business of monitoring pregnancies? Maybe employer pregnancy tests.

Should we expect a new robust federal backed adoption department? Will it be legal for a mother to give up her child to adoption? Will she have any say in it, or since this is federally backed with our tax $, does the mother just give the baby over to the state?

Same sentences for doctors as mothers?

Yep... looks like we would be good to go the day after the Supreme Court says "no abortions for you". That local police department and court system will be all over such a simple problem.

It was a fair question. Pro-lifers should step up to reality and include a clear statement of consequences of their desires. You carry that burden because your side of the argument includes legal consequences. When you make something illegal, it requires sentencing guidelines and law enforcement procedures. It's not already covered.

3:45 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Prof,

To me Envy and jealousy implies wanting something for yourself from someone else. I assume you are making those charges about me. I don't want anything from the wealthy for myself... other than a more moral society where the government serves as a safety-net for the population.

Besides, once we tax the hockey out of the wealthy there is nothing to be jealous about. You can't be jealous of property that no longer exists. :)

3:58 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

CG,

I think you were being very unfair when you said, “Following through with honest debate and an honest look at the law enforcement consequences is always avoided by the other side.”

I have never avoided that discussion. Never. I think it is a bit of a stupid discussion because it is freaking simple and obvious to me. But I’ll indulge you because I’m in a good mood and I hate to be accused of issue avoidance…which you well know and are using as a clever ploy to get me to say some things so that you can turn around and tell me how unreasonable I am.

How about sentencing guidelines... for abortion and attempted abortion.

It would be murder: same guidelines apply. And yes, this includes the death penalty.

If a female is caught at a clinic (scratch that, meant back alley) what's her sentence. Jail after baby is born. Birth at the prison.

Murder is murder. You look at the criminal intent like any other crime. Pregnant women go to jail all the time.

What's the threshold for clinic searches by the FBI? Will the patriot act cover it.. or will judges be in the loop.

Well, I detest the Patriot Act so I won’t answer in those terms. But it would be a criminal investigation and police would need a warrant to do a search. You are correct however that the Patriot Act compromises those legal protections in profound ways. Besides, abortion clinics would no longer exist because they wouldn’t have much work to perform.

Does the father who pressured the female to get the abortion face any legal consequences?

It depends on whether the father committed acts in furtherance of the crime. Just like any other criminal prosecution. Pressure probably does not rise to the level of accessory before the fact but depending on the extent of coercion, it certainly could.

What's the law regarding problem pregnancies? Should the doctor's have to consult with the judge before saving the mother?

Gads, at least you did ask one good question. I’d say if the decision is close he would definitely want to go to court and get adjudication. This one is probably worth more discussion but I’m going to deal with all these silly questions for now.

Is abortion sentencing the same for minors as adults?

Of course not. Criminal law has never held minors to the same standards as adults until recently. No reason to change centuries worth of law.

What about the mentally challenged?

Hey, this may shock you, but this is well settled law too. You have to be able to appreciate the result and quality of the act to be convicted of a crime.

If someone commits murder, and are found incompetent, they go to the funny farm.

Yup. Just like any other murder. Are you seeing a pattern here?

Same with the incompetent mothers?

What does this have to do with abortion? Happy to clarify here, but I really don’t get your question.

What's the law regarding a US citizen flying overseas for an abortion?

In general, US Courts do not have jurisdiction over crimes committed in foreign territories.

If these mothers can still be prosecuted, wouldn't that mean the government would end up in the business of monitoring pregnancies?

Of course not. If there were probable cause to believe a crime was to be committed, then they could get a warrant and investigate. Of course people who love the Patriot Act would probably demand warrantless access to all kinds of stuff, but that is not my view.

Should we expect a new robust federal backed adoption department?

I don’t see the need, but I’m open to thinking about it. There is a lot of infrastructure out there for the adoption business already.

Will it be legal for a mother to give up her child to adoption?

I don’t have a clue why you are asking this. Why would I oppose adoption? I think you are insinuating that I would force a mother to raise a child she does not want which is pretty far flung from anything I have ever said.

Will she have any say in it, or since this is federally backed with our tax $, does the mother just give the baby over to the state?

Mothers have always had a lot of say in the adoption process. The only thing she would not be able to do is kill her child and skip the decisions.

Same sentences for doctors as mothers?

No, I would tend toward harsher sentences for the doctors because they do not have the emotional distress to mitigate the criminal state of mind. But this is still nothing any different than other criminal prosecutions.

Yep... looks like we would be good to go the day after the Supreme Court says "no abortions for you". That local police department and court system will be all over such a simple problem.

I see your sarcasm and find it amusing. If we come to a consensus that this is in fact murder, then it truly is no more complex than any other murder prosecution. You only find it complex because you disagree.

It was a fair question. Pro-lifers should step up to reality and include a clear statement of consequences of their desires. You carry that burden because your side of the argument includes legal consequences. When you make something illegal, it requires sentencing guidelines and law enforcement procedures. It's not already covered.

I have never shrunk from nor avoided the topic. And it is already covered. Abortion, when we finally have the good sense to declare it as what it is, is not a new crime. Rather, it is a very old crime. Indeed, the very first crime.

4:41 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Prof,

I never said I agreed with the Supreme Court Eminent Domain ruling. Didn't say I disagree either.

Seems kind of strange we would become sensitive to Eminent Domain at this point since we Eminent Domained it up the Indian's a$$ to get this country in the first place. Speaking of Indians... has anyone else kept up with the Jack Abramoff lobbist story.

What a sleeze

Tony,

In general, US Courts do not have jurisdiction over crimes committed in foreign territories.

Hey... I see a business opportunity on the horizon... although it would represent kind of a reverse form of Darwinism.

I don’t see the need, but I’m open to thinking about it. There is a lot of infrastructure out there for the adoption business already.

You think just maybe adoption needs may ramp up a bit when we outlaw abortion? Yeah... silly... this stuff all works out.

Well, the fun part for me on this topic is I can call you the "result oriented one".

I'm ready to try out this illegal abortion thing. The Republicans own every branch of government. Why don't they make this happen. I would like to try it out for the rest of Shrub's temporary stay in Washington. I particularly want the Republicans to push for the death sentence for the mothers. I am already feeling a rush of male empowerment. Much better to be a male in your world then a female. Of course, I expect many of those female soldiers to feel a little less motivated to fight for a country that owns her womb.

Cheers... can't wait for Theocracy America. Sounds like some kind of RR theme park.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

The faggots are coming, the faggots are coming

That was suppose to be a play on "the British are coming" in case anyone has a very dirty mind. :)

Wonder how the world will get along without religious intolerance. I guess this is one of those mind so open brain falls out times Tony talks about.

11:00 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

CG,

I’d love for you to explain how I have been result oriented. How I have tortured my legal argument to get to a specific result? I’ll be the first to admit that my view on abortion colors my legal outlook in a general way, but I try hard to make a consistent legal argument. And in the past I have very clearly articulated what I think would be the sound legal argument in favor of abortion. But since you disagree, you call me result oriented. I don’t think that flies, but hey, you are welcome to your opinion.

The truth is that there is plenty of infrastructure to deal with higher birth rates. But it is also clear that the birth rate would not inevitably skyrocket. If it does, then the tragedy of abortion is even larger in scope than I realize. What would in fact happen is that a large percentage of those abortions will not occur because women will make better choices.

But even if for the sake of argument we assume that each abortion prevented is instead a live birth then I am unmoved. We are dealing with humans and they deserve our assistance and care. Remember I’m not the zero social safety-net guy. I understand there are monetary ramifications to criminalizing abortion. As I have said elsewhere here, a cost-benefit analysis is not a moral measuring stick for right and wrong.

As I’ve said repeatedly, it still comes down to whether a fetus is human or not. Where you come out on that is determinative. Unfortunately there is no clear objective test on that point. You have no greater claim to objective fact than I on the subject.

Actually, I have been having some parallel correspondence this week with some articulate folks not of this community. I keep raising the fact that I have advocated a logical bright-line test for humanness and am willing to consider other definitions. It is intriguing that I have had zero feedback from the abortion rights crowd wherein they were willing to hazard a definition of some kind.

Which is not to say I am making some grandiose conclusion about the vacuousness of the abortion rights viewpoint. Rather, I note that for all the criticism and moral certainty I hear from that camp, they really do not have an answer to the only real question before us. It is as if the lack of easily measurable objective evidence renders them unable to render a well formed and logical opinion.

Frankly, as appalling as I find the view, I have more intellectual respect for the extremist crowed that asserts that infanticide is morally justified because at least they are drawing a rational, albeit heinously immoral, line. That sick and depraved crowd at least understands what they are advocating with clarity.

I also find your comments about the nation owning a women’s womb down right hilarious. Or it would be if not for the gravity of the topic. Hey, if this possibility troubles you, think about how the nation owns all parents and hold them accountable for how they treat their kids. How appalling that is! Children place a great burden on Moms in particular and perhaps in a narrow sense that is unfair. Then again, the Mother-child connection is a wondrous thing to behold so it is a hard thing indeed to determine which gender is the more impaired.

The clear truth is that nobody owns a mother’s womb but the mother. And nobody owns the life of a fetus but the child in residence. At times of great medical peril, those rights may get extraordinarily hard to balance, but in the vast majority of cases, it is actually not complicated at all.

I wish I shared your “fear” that somehow the GOP would get abortion law in American changed. But the truth is that abortion is far too popular for the GOP to actually effect real change. They do not care two whits about the principals involved and unless popular sentiment changes, the status quo is what we will have. All the moral rhetoric from politicians on both sides is empty of actual principled beliefs.

Lastly, I would add that I relished your marvelously ironic comment when you said, “I particularly want the Republicans to push for the death sentence for the mothers.” It is ironic because the choice of abortion is a choice to not be a mother. Seems like if the fetus is not a child, then a pregnant woman is not a mother. I’m not a psychologist but I think there is something subconscious there that is revealing.

Come on CG, either it is human or it isn’t. Give me your definition of humanness. I may disagree, but if you will make the case, I’ll at least respect you in the morning.

11:36 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

Having just completed a book on Paul Revere’s ride today, I’ll share something intriguing, yet obvious once you hear it. Revere never shouted, “the British are coming”. At the time the break was not complete and Americans considered themselves quite English. What he in fact did say was variations on, “the Regulars are coming”.

Whatever you want to say about the Spanish, in my view Port and paella justify their entire national existence.

11:42 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

"As I’ve said repeatedly, it still comes down to whether a fetus is human or not..."

That's a hard answer for people to admit to.... it makes things so inconvenient. However, it's hard to lie to yourself about the complexity and "humaness" of a fetus.
People who go through with it must put on emotional/ mental blindfolds. They have those ultrasounds that can really amaze you, I don't know how anyone could carry through with an abortion after seeing that....

I also think if people sub-consciously knew abortion wasn't an option, they'd be more careful.
(And that in theory would slow the birth rate down). Adoption would have to be made easier however... or we should all invest together on a franchise of orphanages. We'll make a fortune.

But for folks like Randy and Prof, my only concern is as Tony implied, that the "GOP" don't really care in principal and just use the issue to get votes. I was thinking last night that as long as rich peoples' daughters want abortions we are going to have them. That's just the way it is. So ultimately, this is a battle for hearts and minds...

What someone needs to do is run "propaganda" on TV airtime with fetuses in the womb. That would get people thinking.... hmm, I just had an idea for myself for a student film class I'm taking....

"I’m not a psychologist but I think there is something subconscious there that is revealing."

-I hope you don't mind but I'm going to steal this subtly hilarious phrase to humiliate/ impress people with my clever witty come-backs :)

7:27 AM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

The Faggots are coming! The Faggots are coming!

Sorry, couldn't resist:)

8:08 AM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

Yoshi: “But for folks like Randy and Prof, my only concern is as Tony implied, that the "GOP" don't really care in principal and just use the issue to get votes.

Things are not always what they seem. Like the Disenfranchised Curmudgeon, I believe both parties are political beasts that serve there own interest and do not represent me.

The pre-War-of-Northern-Aggression Democratic Party probably best represents me. These folks had a strong Calvinist, states rights, limited government, and personal liberty leaning. The South inhibited the North’s side stepping of the Constitution at its whim. This Calvinist strict Constitutional interpretation angered the North far more than any abolition bent. It was necessary to crush the South. That’s why Sherman cut off communications with Lincoln as he plunged deep into Georgia burning everything in his path. That is why “reconstruction,” the utter rape and humiliation of the South, solidified the South into what we now call Yellow Dog Democrats. They viewed the atrocities of the North as so vicious and despicable, that they and their descendants would never, ever become Republicans like Lincoln and the North.

Even after the parties switched ideologies and Democrats are now the party of strong centralized government and godless practices, much of the South still cling to the party of their ancestors. You’ll find many strong Christian believers embracing the party of abortion, trusting in government for social change, and the party of sexual deviancy. To us Southerners, the Republicans descended from Satan, and the Democrats are rushing to embrace him.

Let me represent myself on these blogs, and resist the temptation to associate me with the parties that claim similar ideologies.

Prof. Ricardo

9:09 AM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

Prof,

I think your civil war summary is a tad bit revisionist in its emphasis, though correct as far as it goes. While undoubtedly there were many Southerners who were sincere on the states’ rights matter, the instant right the cared about was the Constitutional protection of slavery. In the American Civil War context state’s rights and slavery are different sides of the same coin in the same way the privacy and abortion function today. Just to connect the dots clearly, what I’m saying is that abortion rights advocates don’t care about privacy per se, they care about the women’s right to do as she wishes.

I wish more people could perform independent apolitical analysis. It is shocking how deeply ingrained the political mindset is in Americans. We indeed need to all represent ourselves and if we would but stop and take a cold hard look at the political reality before us, we would see that this two-party monstrosity serves nobody’s agenda but that of the politicians themselves.

So tell me sir, if you are of this mindset do you vote for the Constitution Party? Based on what I have read in your posting, that would seem a good fit.

9:28 AM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

"Let me represent myself on these blogs, and resist the temptation to associate me with the parties that claim similar ideologies."

okay, from now on I will no longer associate you with either party....

10:05 AM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Tony,

Rather, I note that for all the criticism and moral certainty I hear from that camp, they really do not have an answer to the only real question before us.

This is going to be hard for you, but I'm going to break it to you anyway. Moral certainty or absolutism is an illusion... a constructed crutch to face an evil reality. The crutches can help us get through that reality, but they work against men doing the best they can to make decent pluralistic societies. Some of us have decided man is in this alone and all we can do is make the best of it. Without the crutch of absolute truth, we make collective decisions for a pluralistic society. We do the best we can... and don't beat ourselves up over some perceived rule book. I have to decide between two bad choices... abortions or criminalizing our women. Not a tough call for me. I actually have the view that the rights of those here fighting the good fight should trump the rights of those "not here yet". You can conduct this argument based on some "sanctity of life doctrine" or "when conception reaches critical mass", but it won't change the fact I'm not willing to criminalize our women over the choice to end a pregnancy.

OK.. had my yearly abortion debate. That should about do it for me in 2005. We can do this again in 2006. In the meantime, someone should start planning those silly details and consequences of making abortion illegal. That would be a good community website project idea. Have all of this all worked out including death sentence guidelines for the mothers (oops.. for the would have been mothers).

10:07 AM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Hey... here's your chance pro-lifers. O'Connor is stepping down. Looking forward to the future 5-4 vote. Theocracy is right around the corner.

Bork is on CNN slamming O'Connor. Turns out she was an "activist" because she was pro-choice. Seems like a guy that needed Borking.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

CG,

Geeze. You usually seem like such a bright guy.

My plea for some time, and in my query to you, has been to get people to develop a consensus definition suitable for a pluralistic society. Yes I want to also convince people that my view is correct, but that is moral debate that is waged in hearts and minds, not a legal one. I think you often forget who you are talking to. Unlike the radical left and right, I can actually separate those two things in my mind.

So back to you…propose a definition. Or make a cogent defense that having our law wander around aimlessly for want of a definition is a good thing. Using your terminology, when does conception reach a critical mass? And if you feel too uncertain about that, then what is certain enough that you can build law around it? Are you in the camp that supports infanticide? I know you are not, so what is the distinction between 36 weeks of gestation and a new born baby?

Again, I am trying to get at a process whereby society can come to a consensus we can live with. You sound passionate on the point so why retreat from the discussion?

The intriguing thing is while you have harshed me repeatedly for an alleged unwillingness to deal with the allegedly tough questions on how criminalization would work, you are the one ducking the only really tough question in the entire debate. I responded to you litany of what I called silly questions with a lot of detail not a single item of which you refuted as impractical or illogical. Your response is to retire from the field of discussion with the critical question unanswered as to what your opinion in fact is.

Of course you know that I will have a few words about Truth as well. You said, “Moral certainty or absolutism is an illusion... a constructed crutch to face an evil reality. The crutches can help us get through that reality, but they work against men doing the best they can to make decent pluralistic societies.”

My turn to break the hard news. Moral relativism and utilitarianism is a constructed crutch to enable those who are seeking meaning and order to cope with their evil selves. The crutches can help you get through that reality for a while, but they work against society being able to grapple with the tough problems and lead to the destruction of civil order as people founder in their ability to firmly grasp the world around them.

10:35 AM  
Blogger Randy P said...

CG you should be proud

10:35 AM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

Hey, think about it...

we say the Iraqi regime under Saddam killed 300 thousand civilians.....

But... according to my statistics.... 1 in 3 pregnancies is ended by abortion! How many million does that make?

I don't think they had that in Iraq!!!!! Almost positive they didn't.

So who are the evil ones?

Maybe they should invade us now?

Or we should invade them and give them a bunch of porno and abortions like we did in 1970s Iran and today in Afghanistan. Those God-loving Muslims will take it and like it when our guns are pointed in their dirty faces.
(that's a joke, btw).

10:56 AM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

Prof,

I think your civil war summary is a tad bit revisionist in its emphasis, though correct as far as it goes.

Since I don’t smoke crack, I’m fully aware that my own bias and ideology, my world view, colors my historical interpretation. Hopefully it’s a purdy color. :-)

In the American Civil War context state’s rights and slavery are different sides of the same coin in the same way the privacy and abortion function today.

I think more so today than back then. Sure, slavery was a sore spot. More in the South though. Two thirds of all pre-war abolition material was printed in the less populace South. Since 1808, none could be brought into the U.S. I was surprised 2-3 weeks ago on the History Channel that they quoted Lincoln correctly at the beginning of the war that he didn’t care about the slaves. He’d just as soon ship them back to Africa. He sure didn’t want them to go north. 18-24 months into the war, as politicians do, he repositioned himself to be the great emancipator. Great guy.

I wish more people could perform independent apolitical analysis. It is shocking how deeply ingrained the political mindset is in Americans.

The familiar is too comfortable. It doesn't require effort.

So tell me sir, if you are of this mindset do you vote for the Constitution Party?

As a matter of principle, yes. In the last election I voted the less evil of the two lessers. Howard Philips used to be the Constitution Party Presidential candidate. Brilliant wonderful man. His son, Doug Phillips, has an incredible ministry in the homeschool movement. His company is at the bookfair every May, and on occasion he gets a chance to speak. Well worth your effort to hear. His web site is excellent and I have a number of his tapes on various subjects.

Y’all have a happy and safe weekend. “Death to all Tyrants!” (from Support Your Local Sheriff). Happy Birthday U.S.A.!

Prof. Ricardo

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blog ONE

Dear Friend:

Yesterday, something significant happened. In the long walk to justice for the world's poorest people, President Bush made an important speech and committed to doing more to fight malaria, put kids in school and overcome extreme poverty in Africa.

You, as ONE, called for this action. And President Bush heard you, one million voices strong.

We can do even more together: Ask your friends, family and colleagues to join ONE.ORG.

You called for the U.S. to do more to beat malaria, and yesterday, President Bush asked the world to join in an increase of funding that could cut in half malaria deaths on the African continent. You called for the hope and future afforded by education, and President Bush said that "we must work for the education of every African child," announcing steps toward this goal with teacher trainings and girls scholarships.

In 24 hours, the world will start converging on ten cities for the historic Live 8 concerts. As billions take part in Live 8 around the world this weekend, we'll raise our voices as ONE to encourage our leaders to accelerate and implement these bold commitments at the G8 - and do even more to make poverty history.

Ask three friends to join ONE today!

Let's get LOUDER at LIVE 8 and raise the world's voice as ONE.

Thanks,
The ONE Team

11:02 AM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

Prof,

Keeping coming here because I want to beat that lesser of two evils thinking out of you. You seem too sensible a guy to buy that old stinking vile crock of excrement.

We will have to have civil war chat someday. I relish that stuff.

Have a great weekend

11:03 AM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

Wow! This is amazing!!!!!

Even Toby Keith is supporting the ONE Campaign now, he's playing the Live 8 show in Philadelphia!!!!

And NASCAR drivers are supporting it too!!!!

Feel better now Randy?

Cats and Dogs are finally living together!!

Prof.- now it's your turn to come to the light side of the force...
Just bring your sunglasses though.... it's much brighter over here....

AMEN!!!!

11:06 AM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

Anonyoshi,

You know, if you keep quoting things giving credit to Shrub, I’m going to lose some respect for you.

Shrub did not hear anyone’s voices. I don’t think the man listens to anyone other than maybe Carl Rove and perhaps Laura. I wish this was because of some popular groundswell, but I think that is a tad naïve.

11:07 AM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Tony,

Geeze. You usually seem like such a bright guy.

Getting older... having more senior moments.

Randy... confused, what am I suppose to be prowd about. That was a link to some golf tournament. Nothing about my golf game lately shouts "Proud". More like "Fore....".

Prof... your historical interpretation is purdy, but some of us are wondering what color the sky is in your world?

11:20 AM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

CG,

So you are officially dodging the question. What a fraidy-liberal. At least apologize for accusing me of ducking.

I have a new nickname for you: Scooby-Doo.

11:34 AM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

Tony,

As long as checks are going to be cut, that's what is important. He is making concessions at the very least, some good ones that will effect a lot of lives.... if he makes a 60% improvement instead of a 100% improvement, I'll still take it.

I think the President is hearing the "groundswell," and it is swelling. When NASCAR racers are advertising the issues behind the White Bands, and Toby Keith is playing live audiences, you know it is swelling. Pat Robertson himself went on Nightline to ask Americans' support. This is riding on the tsunami wave.... and we have to keep it going....

Americans are ready for an issue we can unite on.... this is it.

As for W.Bush, he still has some Congressional restraints, hurdles, etc. He can do more... but he and Congress both need massive public pressure.....

What's naive is thinking we can't do anything as a people and so we don't bother to try.

11:58 AM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

Besides, once the President makes a promise like that publicly, he has to deliver, otherwise activists will keep on replaying the clips over and over and over again.....

12:00 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

Yoshi,

I admit that I am a bit of an idealist on this, but I for one do not credit people for doing the right thing if their motivations are entirely wrong. In fact, I give credit to people who act consistently with a principle even if I disagree.

12:06 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

Well, I understand you don't credit someone (yea, probably W. Bush is making political moves). But we take what we can get and try and make them feel good for giving it and try to get them to give more. If we criticize him too harshly there could be a backlash.

You can flatter someone into doing the right thing...

I was in Poland once and I used "positive energy" to flatter 3 cops out of bribing me on 3 separate occasions. All I did was talk about how much I loved the Polish people and how my grandfather always wanted me to return (total lie)to his homeland. At that point, the cops just bowed in and let me go with a reluctant smile.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

interesting

12:21 PM  
Blogger Randy P said...

hey, maybe we can institute a clause in the Patriot Act and get it to cover those women that are pregnant. This way we could actually keep track of it all, and not require the doctors to void the client/doctor relationship

12:23 PM  
Blogger Randy P said...

Be proud that they were having a tournament to benefit a school of minority students from lower income families. Trying to help out man...Did you read it at all?

12:33 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

I wondered what that was about Randy. I just saw a gold tournament, I thought it was some kind of inside joke between you and C.G.

12:39 PM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

Tony, “Keeping coming here because I want to beat that lesser of two evils thinking out of you.

What percent agreement with a candidate is necessary for him to earn my vote?
If I agree 85% with one candidate, but he has a core belief wrong, say abortion, would that preclude him from receiving any vote? If a candidate has a core philosophy down pat, but has integrity or moral issues, in your view, is that candidate worthy of a vote? My vote in November was between one who could shame his party and one who could shame his country. One of the two candidates was revered in the Communist world as a hero of the war. It wasn’t Bush. Both of the candidates may not represent your exact views. One of them would utterly defile and soil the office by his presence. He had to be defeated. The swiftboat vets knew it. The current military knew it. Apparently enough of the American people knew it...but just barely enough. If one votes for a candidate that he knows can’t make it by a large margin, and thereby takes a critical vote from the lesser of two evils, then HE HAS MADE A DECISION for the greater of two evils. You may see them as equals. I do not. Bush was never my choice because he was not grounded in Constitutional principles. Reagon could back up every position he took grounded in fundamental positions of liberty. His speeches are pure educational material on our country, its history and founders, and economic principles. Bush feels this way or that. I don’t think he can back up a whole lot. Kerry has strong convictions. The only problems are: ½ of them contradict the other half, and he’s not afraid to take a rock solid vacillation on any side while it’s popular. You and I evaluated their differences to exist in different degrees. I support your right to shun hypocritical parties. I support my right to minimize the damage an imbecile like Kerry can do. I miss the symbolism the old voting booths provided, whereby “behind the curtain” one could vote as best they thought. Isn’t it great we live in a land where our fore father’s designed such a system.

Prof. Ricardo

2:33 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

Prof,

Well, that is the way the lesser evil argument always runs every time I hear it. I could type you up a nice little litany on why Kerry would’ve been the lesser of the evils to many people.

Here is my fundamental disagreement. You said, “One of them would utterly defile and soil the office by his presence.” The truth is that either would defile the office. I will no longer even consider the question of which would defile the office less. If that is the question we are asking, we are already hopeless.

The truth is we have major systemic problems that are leading us on a rapid path to destruction. The lesser of the evils perpetuates that path. By voting for Shrub you guaranteed that there would be no significant changes on issues you deal with. You signed on to the half-measures of appeasement that the major parties throw their political bases to keep them in the fold.

I know what this is like in totality. I hate to admit it, but I pulled the GOP straight ticket lever for a lot of years. One of those shameful indiscretions of youth for which I pray forgiveness. My own eyes were opened by the behavior of the GOP during the mid-nineties budget battles wherein they left no doubt about their absolute contempt for the principles they purported to hold dear.

As I have said, I am a slow learner.

The real question is do you want to make a difference for America. My conviction is that voting for the two parties is the path of mutual assured destruction. Neither side will ever get what they want and by handing over control to the ruling elite, and in the process of subscribing to the two-turf theory of governance America will be systematically destroyed.

A consistent movement of as little as ten percent of voters to a third parties would permanently change our political landscape for the positive and make substantive change possible.

How much does someone have to agree with you to deserve your vote? For me personally I would have to say very little except for three important things: 1) abortion, 2) other civil liberty issues, and 3) not from one of the two ruling parties. For me, everything else is trivial in comparison. Until enough people agree with me on #3 we will never regain our hope.

America is in its death throes. There is no time for the lesser of evils. We need quality Americans dedicated to doing what is right for the country. My ever increasing fear is that the political mindset is so deeply ingrained that it is already too late.

3:09 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

Let's start a relevent new party. Tony, you can be President.

Prof.-you can be Chairman of the FED and/or Sec. of the Treasury.

Common Good- Secretary of Defense.
Randy, you'll be head of the CIA.

I'll be Secretary of State & National Security advisor.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

My son want to head Dept. Of Transportation and Racing. My daughter wants FCC with full cell phone privileges.

Prof. Ricardo

3:59 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Yoshi,

Are you kidding... the liberal over the DOD. I can be quite hawkish... but I would want universal healthcare for those that survived the nukes.

I would rather be an activist Supreme Court justice blocking theocracy. Sure, a bit of a stretch, but you did start this by nominating Tony as president. Jeeze. :)

Randy, no I didn't read all of your link. I scrolled down a little and there were no golf babes so I lost interest.

4:34 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

Speaking of theocracy, Common Good, there are about to be two empty seats on the Supreme Court.

Will be interesting.

4:46 PM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

Tony, By voting for Shrub you guaranteed that there would be no significant changes on issues you deal with.

And by abstaining from voting, the political situation changed how? You took a protest position. So did I. You protested the current two parties. Bravo.

I protested a man who figuratively hocked a luggie on Old Glory for his internationalist allegiances and socialist bent.

You signed on to the half-measures of appeasement that the major parties throw their political bases to keep them in the fold.

But I’m not in their fold. If I vote for one Republican, one Democrat, one Constitution party candidate, and one Libertarian, do they all get to count me in their fold? I think not. Since you didn’t vote for Republican, can the Democrats count you in their fold and vice versa?

Don’t pull that half-measures of appeasement crap with me. The GOP got their last dollar from me early in Reagon’s administration. I vote the best person for the position. The Libertarian Party has received votes from me in the general elections. However, they tend to be pro-abortion (which you dislike) and for legalizations of drugs (which you are for). The Socialist part has stepped back because the Democrat party was doing everything they wanted to do. Ditto Green Party. The Ross Perot Party ( I forget what its called) is solidly anchored in confusion - their just against everybody. You’re stuck with the Constitution Party as well. Not a bad Party to be stuck with.

America is in its death throes. There is no time for the lesser of evils. We need quality Americans dedicated to doing what is right for the country. My ever increasing fear is that the political mindset is so deeply ingrained that it is already too late.

Tony, our children (collectively) are educated to hate history, shun discernment as being judgmental, abandon absolutes, and embrace government as the answer to whatever the social question is. People get their politics from talking heads that tell them what to think. In THAT environment the political mindset IS deeply ingrained. Don’t think of us now. Think of your posterity for generations. The single biggest difference you can make, is not refusing to come out and play on election day, but altering how our children are educated so that learn real history, so that they can have a real perspective with which to hand the Christian worldview that you want to instill in them. We’ve tried letting the government raise our children in secular humanism. You see the mess we’re in. Here in TX, the great political/financial debate is how we can afford more secular humanism for your children, and why are they being left behind? Your greatest protest vote is to not sacrifice your child on the alter of “public” school, and likewise, to help your neighbors withhold theirs.

Prof. Ricardo

4:59 PM  
Blogger Randy P said...

I was just pointing out that some of us are trying to help the less fortunate out there. We typically raise over 100K for scolarships to an academy in Dallas. That was all, didn't mean for CG to question everything to death, thought he would be interested that we were looking out for the common good

5:32 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

Bravo Randy!

You participated....?
Keep up the good work then....

5:37 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Randy,

Sorry, I didn't pick up on the fact you were involved in that effort. I second Yoshi.. a tip of the hat to you sir.

6:55 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

Tony and Prof speak of "real history."

What is this supposed to mean? We must learn "the truth" about how those mystical beings started this great country? I'm joking a little, but I am also sincerely interested. Is there something I am missing?

I could use some more early American history.

Amazon link me a few books and I'll get started....

Prof, don’t even think about suggesting this one

7:00 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

Prof,

Sorry if anything I said seemed personal. It is perhaps one of those situations where things that are said probably seem more personally directed than they really are. In general, I agree with your last post.

For the record (again), I have never suggested that my abstention from the last election (or the several before) meant anything more significant than the truth that I find the alternatives so repugnant that I cannot vote for them. This is the angst I have often expressed. I genuinely care about America’s futurre. That I can not vote for these buffoons is perhaps a weakness.

But this is why I trouble myself to write here and participate in messageboards elsewhere. I am very cognizant to the social responsibility to do something. I am convinced that however limited the impact may be, my words here are far more significant than a vote for the lesser of many profound evils might be. You can call this exercise a form of repentance with some accuracy.

The Constitution party comes up short in my view because of their overtly religious nature. It has been about four or five years since I have delved into them. I am prepared to be corrected on my perception.

You have never been more correct when you say that we shun history. It is very sad to me. I think about this with regularity and I am determined that my Son will not share that fate. Luckily, he has taken to history subjects with some enthusiasm. The sad truth is that my six year old knows more about a number of American history topics than probably seventy percent of adult Americans. I only wish that was the ridiculous statement that it should be. I have said for some time that my primary objective in life is to raise my kid right: it is the greatest contribution I feel I have to make in life at this point. While you and I might disagree on many things, we are truly united on this point my friend

12:46 AM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

Yoshi,

Hmmmm…don’t know if I ever used the term real history. History, like any other subject, lives in the domain of subjective interpretation. Unfortunately most of what we learn through the school system and popular accounts is not very accurate or illuminating from the conceptual standpoint. In history as much as any other subject you must consult a wide variety of sources and determine which are worthy on your own.

Still, there are some reliable texts that I can recommend with enthusiasm. If you are interested in early American histry, there is no doubt in my mind that Boorstin will not fail you. His widely acclaimed and Pulitzer prize winning trilogy, “The Americans” is an excellent resource:

The Colonial Experience

The National Experience

The Democratic Experience

I could produce a pretty long list for you Yoshi, but nothing is as useful as Boorstin. Let me know if you want to narrow the topics down a bit and I’m sure I can get you some guidance.

12:57 AM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:55 AM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

Tony, it was Prof. who used the word "real history," but I assumed you had a similar feeling.

The implication is that we (people like me) don't learn the "real history," and if we only did, THEN we would understand about yada, yada, yada. I hear this type of stuff when I hear Limbaugh or Hannity or whoever, as if there are some secret manuscripts that proves W. Bush is the reincarnation of G. Washingtion and that Benjamin Franklin and Tom Jefferson wanted us saying the Our Father in schools.

Nonetheless, I imagine there is some truth to this, that I am missing a more classical, intellectual understanding of U.S. History, and that I should learn more about say...for example.... the Civil War. I have a rudimentary understanding of it. Basically wasn't it that the South wanted to exploit slave labor, have them work for free and get rich off the backs of Africans (HOLY COW I JUST FIGURED OUT WHY PROF. IS SO RELUCTANT ABOUT THE ONE CAMPAIGN!!!! It's in his Confederate blood!!!!), and the North laid down the law with the South Saddam Hussein-style (It's okay when we do it, of course).
Isn't that the Civil War, in a nutshell?

All jokes aside, any essential history books Prof. or Tony (or whoever) would recommend, I'll pick them up. Tony, your books were less than 1 dollar on Amazon. I'll put them in my book list, behind "Mere Christianity."

8:38 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

Prof. Ricardo,

I was thinking about your "corruption" theory. It only makes partial sense. Countries like Bangledesh, India, etc,
(despite being poor, they are quickly growing out of their own poverty), are also JUST AS CORRUPT.

Yet they grow economically.

So Prof., you must add some more variables to your equation.

Also, you wouldn't believe how many times I heard from patriotic Economists about how "communism doesn't work." I'm going to start being the thorn in the side in classes, "what about in China?"

Looks like they are kicking ass and taking names to me... communism or no communism...

9:36 AM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

Yoshi,

was thinking about your "corruption" theory.....Yet they grow economically.

My “theory” is not exactly a corruption theory. It is more like a liberty/capital/human response theory. “Corruption” is not the cause, but a characteristic of atheist systems of government that are hostile to private property rights. Humans may be mass stupids in Common Goods book, but they tend to avoid pain and seek pleasure. They analyze ROI (return on investment) of their efforts.

If you ask somebody to work like crazy for someone else, their question is “what’s in it for me?” In a country where you are not allowed to reap what you sow, few people sow. However, in these countries the black market thrives. It thrives because the people receive something for their efforts. The level of economic growth is very proportional to the level economic freedom that exists. In China, the Communist government has learned well that a little economic freedom pays excellent dividends. So does stealing rather than inventing. They copy Microsoft programs and others and pirate it around the country. There is no respect of software licensing laws, particular from the U.S.

Also, you wouldn't believe how many times I heard from patriotic Economists about how "communism doesn't work." I'm going to start being the thorn in the side in classes, "what about in China?"

The advantages of stealing ideas, products, ignoring patents, etc. from the industrialized nations that created them, the advantages of not following any environmental strangulating laws or even a care of pollution to interfere, the advantage of not having OSHA, FDA, DOT, EPA, to hamper what economic freedom they do have, is very real, very significant. It is not the Communist strangled part that is thriving and driving China, it is the hundreds of thousands of factories that give hope to the workers that they can keep some of their efforts. A very un-communist characteristic.

Looks like they are kicking... communism or no communism...

Looks can be deceiving if you didn’t notice the details.

Prof. Ricardo

12:12 AM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

“Corruption” is not the cause, but a characteristic of atheist systems of government that are hostile to private property rights.

I'll just state my similar idea. Corruption is caused when civil servants, or whoever, don't get paid. Naturally they have to "supplement" their income. This is a self-perpetuating downward spiral. Poverty causes corruption, and corruption causes more poverty... and so on...
For them it's like stealing pens at the office.

There is a book, called the "Mystery of Capital." The Mystery of Capital
It discusses lack of property rights, and thus, lack of access to collateral for borrowing capital. Interesting book.

But you seem to be implying that private property doesn't exist in Africa. I bet if I went there with some cold cash I could buy any private property I wanted to in 20 minutes. I should check a sample of countries individually...

Of course, a country like Congo, with internal military conflicts... of course...


As for China:
“Looks like they are kicking... communism or no communism...”

Looks can be deceiving if you didn’t notice the details.

(I'm actually playing devil's advocate here. China is growing like a mofo, and they've reduced poverty very successfully. But my take is that they aren't REALLY communists. Only in the name. That's why they are succeeding. The moral is political freedoms are one thing, economic freedoms are another.)

9:52 AM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Yoshi,

The moral is political freedoms are one thing, economic freedoms are another.

Yeah, that's something I never get. People always collapse economic systems and moral/religious systems into one... i.e. godless communism... as if an atheist in not capable of believing in property rights, and a Christian is not capable of liberal socialist leanings. Jeeze... I'm busy fighting against the merging of church and state... now I have to add the merging of religious belief and economic systems.

btw... Yoshi... I saw a Nightline episode where (lucky I was sitting down at the time) both Pat Robertson and George Clooney appeared together promoting the ONE campaign... they even said nice things about each other. Maybe god really spoke to Robertson rather than Oral Roberts. :) Probably... I drive by Oral Roberts Univ all of the time, and it appears to be a bit past it's prime.

6:58 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:10 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

Common Good,

the irony is that if you were really serious about Christianity, I mean, if you were going to put 100% into it, you'd probably be some mystic and take a vow of poverty and be like Mother Teresa.

Jesus also said, "give to Caesar what is Caesar's," basically saying we need to pay our taxes. Of course, real Christianity has since been sold out.....

The whole idea behind the religion is that this life is really nothing, that it's the "next life," the place where the streets have no name, that matters.

So the whole idea of accumulating material goods AND still calling yourself a Christian is really ironic. It's like a KKK member's cute little blond daughter marrying a big, muscular black guy.

Speaking of the ONE Campaign and Pat Robertson, Ruport Murdoch IS giving it free airtime, and the AIM instant messager has a link to it... plus there was Live 8, the biggest concert in world history...

When school starts I'm going to bombard the campus with this stuff, and try to get TCU involved as well...

10:34 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

This could make my year... Karl Rove in prison.

Squeal Karl

Oh Karl, your cellmate wants to introduce you to some affirmative action

8:50 AM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

8:55 AM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

Very interesting.....

What kind of person would sell out a U.S. secret agent?

9:03 AM  
Blogger Common Good said...

Yoshi,

I agree... if the US RR form of Christianity was worth a darn, they would spend all of their time on such things as the ONE campaign, rather than belief reenforcement campaigns like religious symbols in Courthouses or political campaigns against gays. In short, it appears the RR spends much more time trying to convince the world they have the right answers rather than living those right answers.

9:08 AM  
Blogger Common Good said...

What kind of person would sell out a U.S. secret agent?

The same people who think the public didn't have the right to know the real reasons for war... the same people who think leadership means making the decisions for the nation rather than with the nation... the same type of people who brag about creating reality. In other words... a pompus, arrogant Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rice, Rumsfeld, etc. Karl may take the fall on this one, but there is corporate america and a puppet president giving him marching orders for every step.

9:15 AM  
Blogger Randy P said...

It is a nice step up to see you on the band wagon for conspiracy theories about everything that is unproven, and only political rhetoric from the left.

Very shamefull

11:19 AM  
Blogger Common Good said...

CommonGood Fakenews Associated Press
Tuesday, July 5, 2005; 12:51 PM

During Grand jury testimony it became apparent that Jeff Gannon's services at the White House went far beyond adminstration planted questioning. Karl Rove was asked is it true that you engaged in sexual relations with Jeff Gannon while you formulated the grand election plan of gay bashing to win a second term for this adminstration? Karl's response was it depends on what you mean by the word "is"... besides previous White House precedent holds that oral sex is not really sex.. It was not clear whether Karl was the actor or recipient of the non-sex oral sex. Many of Karls's Republican supporters where seen with signs that said "What happens in the White House stays in the White House". The equivalent of the blue dress was not found, although several tattered cigars were found around Karl's desk.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

CG is giving new meaning to the risk associated with an open posting policy.

1:26 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:09 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

Randy,

I haven't seen any of this stuff about Karl Rove in the mainstream press, and honestly, I don't really even know who he is (Bush's manager and advisor, I surmise.) So I don't yet believe it. I'm curious to see if more comes of this though...

However, there is no question that SOMEONE "outed" a secret agent, for such obvious reasons that no one even has to repeat them, because it's the first thing that naturally comes to anyone's mind when they hear about it.

Randy, sometimes you sound like a defense attorney for O.J. Simpson.
I would take you more as the prosecuting type....

3:10 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

I was just reading "Rush Limbaugh's" webpage criticism about "Live 8."

Poor guy has a very limited understanding of the problem.

He says "Capitalism" is needed. Poor guy needs to learn what captilism is, he thinks is just a fancy word you say.

Rush, sweety-poo, you can't have capitalism, without CAPITAL! There has to be a minimal infrastructure in place, among other things....

I wish I could sit down with that guy. Of course, he's about as real as Hulk Hogan, so I guess there would be no point. He's "news entertainment" as Wrestling is "sports entertainment."

Capitalism doesn't come out of no where, out of thin air. They have capitalism anyway.... too much of the wrong kind: unregulated, that's the problem. Drugs, guns, diamonds, etc. You name it, you willing to pay, you get it.

And everyone knows that Africans cannot export to rich world markets because of farm subsidies (hey, attack liberals about that why don't you?). How can they have capitalism when they are blocked from our markets?

Duh!!!!!!

Futhermore, even Adam Smith wrote about Africa's geographical problems, and it's distance from European markets.

Buy hey, what does that idiot liberal Adam Smith know? He's just a "democrat."

He sounds like one of those pro-choicers that say when a baby becomes viable he deserves rights. As if you can put a baby on the street and it would survive without food and water, without parents. The same way "capitalism" won't survive without any nourishment.... Africa is too vulnerable now to not need assistance....

Hey Rush, why don't we pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq and stop spending money on development there too, since it won't work. Everyone knows those new governments are unproven.... let's cut them off and let the market just work its magic....

Christ, I hate cynics. They think they are so freaking clever, when they are actually simply ignorant of the issues and ultimately naive.

Also, South Africa, be assured, and this is for you Prof., is much more free for business than here. The red tape and regulations, etc., are much smaller than here in the U.S.A. I could start a business much, much easier there than I could here.

5:21 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:23 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

One last thing.... for anyone who reads or hears about "all the money we gave with nothing to show for it,"

a.) The money has lots to show for it. One child's life is enough. Just go ask people whose lives have been improved significantly.

b.) money we did give was not for development. It was buy-off money for despots. We bought teams, the Soviets bought teams. We gave grants for weapons so they could purchase FROM our weapons manufacturers. That's not aid, that's money laundering to the companies that sold the weapons. Prof.-You are an accountant right, you know how to follow the money. If the money goes into (or never leaves a Western bank), money meant to go to Africa but instead diverted to a despots private account, the Western banks are culpable. They want those deposits to make loans against....

We all know how it works.....
the way some of us on here try to play dumb and naive really gets on my nerves sometimes....

It's time to take the planks out of our eyes...... we gave with the right hand and took back more with the left hand.....

Man, this really wants me to buy a ticket to Africa and leave next week.... and get back by mid-August...

5:33 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

I noticed Rush kept his mouth shut and didn't criticize Bill Gates giving his speeches.


I guess he knows when to hold his tongue after all....

7:05 PM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

Gates said, if successful Live 8 will prove to be the "best thing humanity has ever done".

7:07 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

Yoshisauraus,

Man, you sound uptight today. Perhaps you need to visit peyote place or something.

I'm sorry to hear you hate cynics. I guess I am something of a cynic myself. Of course, I'm a selective cynic. I'm very cynical about politics but far less so about important things.

I hate to admit it to you, but I am increasingly cyncial on important things to, or at least I am when it comes to the affairs of men. How anyone could be a freaking humanist is beyond me. Perhaps I'm just bitter because I have two different virus spybot scanners running in the background becuase surfing the net for ten minutes without a carefully configured firewall is so "stupid" these days. Oh how far we have come.

You said, "It's time to take the planks out of our eyes...... we gave with the right hand and took back more with the left hand....." Geeze...the mixed allegories give me head spins. But for the record, I support the translation of "logs" in our eyes. I just can't bring myself to equate "Planks" with hypocrisy and lack of awareness of sinfulness.

I may be a sinner, but at least this Plank is fully aware.

12:25 AM  
Blogger Randy P said...

I am more the prosecuting type, but I take the bill of rights very seriously. Even if I think that portions of it could be done better to help the common good.

8:39 AM  
Blogger Prof. Ricardo said...

Yoshi: "Rush Limbaugh's"...He says "Capitalism" is needed. Poor guy needs to learn what captilism is..., you can't have capitalism, without CAPITAL! There has to be a minimal infrastructure in place, among other things....”

Sorry to disagree, but capitalism only refers to a system of operating with assets, not the quantity of assets. As necessary as quantity is desired, I can have a stone, you can have a stick, and we can enjoy capitalism.

“They have capitalism anyway.... too much of the wrong kind: unregulated, that's the problem.”

Capitalism is an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market. So says Merriam Webster. All systems use capital. It is the rights to own, direct, operate, and benefit from it that is determined by the system. Capitalism is synonymous with “free enterprise,” that system by which one can freely exchange and benefit from ones dealings with their own capital. The freest form of capitalism is “unregulated.” As regulations increase, freedom and therefore capitalism decrease. By stating that their “capitalism” is “of the wrong kind: unregulated,” you are stating that their system of FREE enterprises is not UN-FREE enough, is not properly encumbered by restrictions (regulations) from outside, namely government. Since you did not name specific regulations, you left the door open for interpretation to mean you desire general or any regulations that would take capitalism and morph it into socialism.

How can they have capitalism when they are blocked from our markets?

Is this a contradiction? You said Africa has capitalism (assuming you know what it means (given your statements above that is a dubious claim)). You said not only does it have it, but it is of the purest form, “unregulated.” Now you state apologetically that with farm subsidies and geographic problems that they are excused from being real capitalist.

The same way "capitalism" won't survive without any nourishment.... Africa is too vulnerable now to not need assistance....

Capitalism survives by a commitment to freedom, to the idea and justice of allowing man to own and direct his own capital. The ideology of seeing capitalism, countries & continents, as constantly needing paternal nourishment, oversight, and direction flies in the face of Adam Smith’s invisible hand and is the greatest threat to capitalism and freedom.

Prof. Ricardo

9:10 AM  
Blogger yoshitownsend said...

I hate the spybot scanners situation too.

I was a little uptight yesteday...
I should post a link the Limbaugh stuff... I wonder what the others have to say....

Rush did have one link from an economist I admire that was "critical" of Live 8, but when I actually READ the article it was actually just streamlining some of the details on how to make it really work better (not saying it would be a failure.)

That whole "Africa needs capitalism" excuse is so ignorant. That falls into the "partial-birth abortion PROPONENT" category for me.

There IS ALREADY capitalism there. Go there as a tourist. Buy whatever you want in the shops. Does anyone realize how many Europeans buy houses along Africa coasts? There are resorts along the coasts... Go to CapeTown and you will not even be able to discern the difference between Malibu, CA and CapeTown. Except CapeTown is nicer in parts....

The rich are rich because they are rich. When you are rich you generally stay rich. The poor are poor b/c they are poor. In Capetown, I saw Ferraris driving around, gorgeous super-models sitting in the cafes, etc./ then I went to the shantytowns where, well, you don't DARE get out of your car.

Saying Africa needs capitlism is like saying we need capitalism in our "ghettos." Things are just a little more complicated than that.

It's not despots... (entirely)

That's capitalism.... I hate to break it to people. There aren't Soviet style bread lines in Africa. It's not communist.

(If the Live 8 seems over-simplified, it's because they want the general illiterate American public to digest it. It has to be simple. If you want to go further and get into a complex discussion and learn EXACTLY what the strategy is, the exact history is, you are going to have some books to read. And God knows Americans don't read... we need sound bites.)

9:15 AM  

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