November 28, 2007

FREEDOM versus JUSTICE

I promised I would try to write less, more often. So this is the first in a series of undeveloped, random thoughts that don’t really belong anywhere, but which I find interesting if only for conversation’s sake.





Are you in favor of Freedom? Well, who isn’t?

What about Justice? Put me down for that too.

Everybody wants freedom, and everybody wants justice… but it occurs to me, if you really get down to brass tacks, that pure freedom and pure justice are mutually exclusive.

For example, if one was truly free, utterly at liberty to do whatever one wanted, whenever they wanted to do it, then that person would leave a vast wake of injustice. To walk wherever you wanted: trespassing. To take what you wanted: stealing (or rape if it was who you wanted). If you were absolutely, utterly free you could murder at will. Or perhaps just drive as fast as you want.

The fact that you are not able to do any of these things puts constraints on your liberty. It limits your freedom to act. Thank God.

Likewise, imagine a world where there was perfect justice: no difference in income or lifestyle, no one better off than anyone else. No birth defects. All crimes would be avenged.

What would it take to enforce such equality? Well, it seems like a massive state is the answer, one with the power to tax, hobble, or otherwise coerce the fast runners into slowing down so that everyone comes out equally. (The slow runners cannot do better than their best. The only way to achieve equality of result – the world of “justice” that so many leftists long for – is to pull down everyone to the level of the slowest runner.) It would be a State with the power to abort the physically impaired, and one in which every invasive measure ever conceived was put to use to ensure no crime went unreported or unprosecuted.

A state with the power to enforce equality and bring total justice is a state that needs to be powerful enough to constrain a great deal of freedom.

So if you step way, way back, it seems to me that everyone wants things that are in effect mutually exclusive: rooting for both the Irresistible Force and the Immovable Object. We do this without thinking. And there’s the rub, as usual.

Each person and each society really is longing for what they personally find is the ideal balance between the opposing forces of freedom and justice. People who are more capable, on average, tend to value freedom over justice because it allows them to keep more of their earnings – meaning more of what they put their time, energy, passion and imagination into.

Conversely, those who tend to scream loudest for economic justice either through mental, physical or emotional difficulty, or disadvantages of birth or just plain bad luck find it better to be given money from someone else’s labor since they cannot or will not earn it on a higher level.

When I was a starving college student, I was all in favor of massive income redistribution through taxes and benefits. I personally had no income to be redistributed, so it was a good deal for me. Now that I actually have to pay taxes and give up things, I find the entire idea a little more problematic. The sales tax checks I write go to the California State Board of Equalization, not the California Department of Coerced Larceny – but the effect is precisely the same. The people my money is going to did nothing to earn the money that is being taken from me. And if I don’t give it to them, I lose my freedom.

What I find interesting is that with very few exceptions, those who want freedom over justice, as well as those who want justice over freedom, do so for purely selfish reasons. They want the money to stay with them. This is perfectly understandable to me. As a conservative, I have become comfortable with the idea of personal gain because I happen to believe that enlightened self-interest is a tide that raises all boats. History bears me out in this in no uncertain terms. But I wonder how many people who consider themselves altruistic fully realize that the justice they call for is in fact pure selfishness. If you believe in the idea of Universal Health Care, for example, you believe that I have an obligation to work harder to not only pay for my own health care, but also for that of the next guy who is either unwilling or unable to do so for himself. Is that justice, or is it envy, or laziness, or lack of responsibility, or just plain avarice? That’s up to you.

A world where everyone can do exactly what they want, all the time – the world of perfect freedom – is anarchy. It is a return to the jungle. You can have perfect freedom. It’s not pretty.

Likewise, a world of perfect justice is IngSoc in 1984: grey, forbidding, terrifying and horrific. All of the real horrors in human history come from all-powerful states erected to provide ‘economic justice.’ It’s a charnel house. You can have that too.

What most people want is a reasonable balance between freedom and justice. One of the reasons I am so passionate about defending this society is not because it is perfect – obviously it is not – but because I believe it has achieved as good a balance between freedom and justice as I am likely to see. There are some things I am willing to be taxed for, at the expense of my economic freedom, and there are injustices I am willing to endure, to allow the freedom that leads to the greater good. It is, like everything else in life, a compromise.

Most calls for “more justice” or “more freedom” are really just the cries of people who want to adjust the mixture one way or another, and if you turn a cold eye upon them you will discover that nine times out of ten they do so only because it is in their self interest to do so.







[UPDATE]

[Well, one of the reasons I consider this a fragment rather than an essay is because I obviously failed to be clear on one key issue.

These are not my definitions of freedom, or especially of "justice." Referring to the latter, it is the definition of "justice" put forward by the left: 'economic justice' means to them that there is no major disparity of income.

I would have hoped from the example of the sales tax that I gave that I do not consider forced economic equalization to be the same as "justice" -- merely that others were calling it thus.

I believe, based on the comments I have received so far, that I need to re-write this somewhat. I say this because there is a real and fundamental difference between what I consider economic justice and what socialists do: what they call justice is, to me, egalitarianism, forced equality of outcome, which I and people like me do not consider justice at all.

As always, I have learned a lot from the feedback. I hope to put that wisdom to use in refining and reposting this idea, which I believe has merit despite the messiness of how it is presented above.]

Posted by Proteus at November 28, 2007 6:27 PM







Welcome to the Eject! Eject! Eject! commenter community. Please read and understand the following:


1. This is not a public square. This is a dinner party on personal property. Good conversation is not only tolerated but celebrated here. But the host understands the difference between dissent and disrespect, even if you do not. Louts will be ignored until the bouncers can show them the door.

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Now let's see some distributed intelligence and basic human decency! Don't make me come down there every five minutes!




Comments



[UPDATE TO THIS COMMENT: fixed!! Thanks for the help!]

Hi everyone.

I need some help. When I look at this entry on the main page it looks fine, but when I look at the archived version here:

http://www.ejectejecteject.com/archives/000167.html

I get all kinds of weird characters. Do others see this as well? And does anyone know what to do about it?

BW



Good to have you back.

Fortunately, we have some data on how "freedom" works v "justice". Count me in on the side of freedom, thanks. Seems to better align with human nature. I'll take Silicon Valley over the Gulag any day.



It's due to the character encoding. The post uses characters that are UTF-8, but the archive page is set to iso-8859-1 (if you view the page source, it's one of the first tags at the beginning of the page). I don't know what software your site uses, there may be settings in your admin area where you can adjust it, or you may need to edit your templates.



Well said



Thanks again for a great write up! Like the first person here commented, I think I lean towards freedom over justice; I would rather endure some injustice than have some of my liberties taken away.

On a side note, I'm looking forward with great anticipation to when you broach the topic of global warming!



Thanks, ecurbh.

I think I got it. You are the best!



Traction Control agrees. Thank you, Bill!



I think you are starting with incorrect conceptual definitions that are putting two very compatible ideas in conflict.

There is a vast difference between liberty and license. Liberty is the freedom to act up to the point where you are infringing the liberty of another. License is being able to do whatever you damn well please.

Likewise, justice does not mean everything for everyone must be equal. Justice means the outcome is equal to the action. If you are smarter and work harder than the guy next to you, justice would be that you reap a greater reward. If you violate the rights of another, justice demands that the punishment fits the crime.

I would argue that you cannot have liberty without justice, and that you cannot have justice without liberty.

Freedom is not license.
Justice is not equality.



I certainly prefer freedom to that kind of justice. It's interesting that in common usage, justice has come to mean equality of outcome instead of opportunity. I think it's a sign of how much the concept has been co-opted by people pushing egalitarianism.

Roll back to a more, well, traditional, idea of justice and I think a lot of the conflict goes away. Justice in this sense is a necessary tool to protect freedom.

As far a people advocating egalitarianism out of self-interest: spot-freaking-on.



Just a moment to register some doubts about Stephen Macklin's post. I'm working on a Ph.D in political philosophy, and while Bill hasn't quite expressed it in technical vocabulary, he's hit the nail on the head. There is a tension in liberal theory (read liberal as political freedom, not politically left, cf. Mill) between liberty and impartiality (what a lot of contemporary liberals think justice amounts to). Too much liberty naturally creates a very unequal society as naturally unequal individuals sort themselves out by their native talents, but enforced impartiality constrains individual liberties by leveling the playing field in particular ways (it doesn't have to be all economic, cf. Bill of Rights). I think one of the greatest differences between the contemporary political left and right is where they think the balance point is.



I don't see a need to choose between justice or freedom. The choice to be made is between living alone on your own island and enjoying complete freedom or living in a society where justice is the tool of society used to define the limits of ones freedom with in the society.

In general the rule of justice states that your freedom to swing your fist in the air ends where my nose begins.

Since basically no man is an island I'd argue , if anything, justice supersedes freedom.



I usually agree with you, but I don't agree with you here. And the reason I disagree is that I believe your definition of justice is incorrect.

Justice is, roughly, the recognition that each individual has a specific identity and must be treated for that identity - that you need to assess the virtues and vices he has shown in word and action, and treat him accordingly.

Redistribution is not Justice. It is its exact opposite. By no concievalbe standard of justice can one be punished - have ones property taken - for just for having made it, earned it. This is not justice, it is its exact opposite.



"perfect justice: no difference in income"

Hold on there.. There's nothing at all unjust about differences in income, unless someone's making their money by fraud or theft.

-jcr



I understand what you say Ben, but I think Stephen Macklin is exactly right. In Bill's original post he mis-identifies the concepts of freedom and justice by equating freedom with absolute license and justice with egalitarianism. Perhaps that's how contemporary political philosophy defines these concepts, but in the standard usage it isn't.



The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 11/29/2007 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.



"Most calls for “more justice” or “more freedom” are really just the cries of people who want to adjust the mixture one way or another, and if you turn a cold eye upon them you will discover that nine times out of ten they do so only because it is in their self interest to do so."-Bill

In an attempt to fill in the remaining Tenth, I submit that Justice or Justness denied will throw off any hope of ever having a True scale in which to even begin with.

We must identify and make right that which has imbittered our bellies.




Very nice post.

So, in the question of altruism, is it altruistic to let a student struggle a bit rather than spoon-feed the solution in order to help them better seat the knowledge? Or is it selfishness that you had to struggle so they should, too?

And the bigger question...

And are you fooling yourself that you are altruistic? And how would you tell if you were? Would you be willing to submit to a test?

Clearly you (this is the generic "you", no one in particular) feel that there is a difference between acting altruisticly and acting selfishly. How would you feel if, in order to test whether you really are altruistic, periodically you had, say, to flip a coin and just give away the store (i.e., a portion of your hard-earned effort) rather than require whatever you think of as a quid pro quo for that portion. What would the crux of the test be? It'd be how you feel, deep down, about the coin coming up tails and you giving it away.

Does it grate that you even have to try such a test? Well, for some of us it does, because it uses up resources that we might otherwise apply, in what we think of as, to better effect. Hence, in committing to such a test, know we may deliberate cause a bit of waste to test whether we are as altruistic as we think.

Now, on to my first thought when reading the piece. And I see that others have weighed in on this in several ways. Just my opinion, but...

Justice isn't equal outcomes. Justice is present in slackers getting slack results -- a la The Little Red Hen.

Justice is present in equal starts. And because people don't all start the game (of Life) together, verifying equal starts across time and place can be difficult.

On the other hand, the natural (and occasional) human desire for everyone to be happy, universal happiness, is a noble thought. And equal happiness implies equal outcomes because happiness is outcome-based.

(Oops. There's a thought in here that I've lost somewhere. I'll have to continue when I track it down. Sorry for leaving a cliff-hanger -- or maybe just as well that I've ended the inchoate ramblings.)



A world of perfect freedom would be a world without purchase, where the distinction between being totally bound and totally free would be meaningless. The fact that you can walk from point X to point Y is partly a result of constraints like gravity and friction... creating control surfaces. Absent any constraints there are no control surfaces, so you'd just drift, flailing helplessly in random brownian motion.



Mr. Macklin, Mr. qwer, Mr. Loss, et al, are technically correct (or, more precisely, have used for their analyses more historically accepted and precise definitions of "freedom" and "justice" than Bill did . . . HOWEVER, (i) consider the concept that Bill knew full well he was taking a little "poetic license" in his definitions, and was using this to illustrate what is a VERY REAL tension in our current society - and applying the names that the respective PROPONENTS of the two "opposing" forces apply to themselves - and cut him some slack, and (ii) Bill has, REGARDLESS of linguistics, identified a very real tension which seems to be inherent in humanity. As far back as history provides us any records, there has been a tension between human impulses to control others (whether it be equality of outcomes, or sheer, unadulterated love of power), and a human desire for maximum PERSONAL freedom (or license, if you prefer). The impulses exist; the tension is obvious.

Another way I like to parse it out internally is that wonderful Clinton quote, that to me TYPIFIES modern "liberalism" - "Well, we could give you a tax cut, but you might not spend it the right way." And there it is, folks. Ole Billy Zipperpants (and his harridan spouse, the Hildebeest) want to control you, because THEY'RE SO MUCH SMARTER THAN YOU ARE that they need to make sure you do what is "right" in THEIR view. At the other end of the spectrum, the TRUE "libertarian," or even anarchist, crazies want a society in which there is NO imposed authority - and that is clearly not possible (unless you LIKE the idea of living in a TRUE "urban jungle" - the thought of which puts me in mind of my favorite line from "Braveheart" (slightly modified): "God says he thinks I can take care of myself, but you're all pretty much fucked.")

Liberty is wonderful, as is justice. If DEFINED PROPERLY, the conflicts are minimized, but certainly not eliminated. But I think, as Bill posited it, the conflict is between conflicting human tendencies to authoritarianism and libertinism.



qwer,

Want to quibble with you a little bit - justice is NOT "equal starts" - Bill Gates' kids are NOT getting an "equal start" to my kids, but there is no "injustice" there (at least as far as I'm concerned). "Equal starts" REQUIRES (at least after the first generation, if not sooner), some sort of forced equality of outcomes from the PRIOR generation.

Justice is equality of opportunity for all similarly situated, and elimination (to the extent possible) of structural or societal barriers to achievement (such as REAL racism - Jim Crow laws, "separate but equal," females as "property" of their family or husband, etc.)

And I am NOT an altruist, and I agree with Heinlein's comment that, if you are dealing with someone who PURPORTS to be a true altruist, you are either dealing with an insane person, or KEEP YOUR HAND ON YOUR WALLET. Give me a good, self-interested, RATIONAL person, any time. "Altruists" scare the bejesus out of me. Hillary and John Edwards are out there CLAIMING to be altruists. Anyone here believe either of them???????? Anyone here think either of their (very similar) "altruistic" visions for our country would produce anything but disaster??????

F*** altruists, and the unicorns they ride in on.



Hello Mr. Whittle,

first of all, i am deeply impressed by your writings and their explanation of the American way of life. They showed me why it works and why it works well. Your essays cover a lot of thoughts that i didn't find anywhere else.

Well, until now that is ;)

With "FREEDOM versus JUSTICE" you walk a Path that has been walked before. I think Stephen Macklins comment is right, when he says, that the concepts have to be more precise. The words "liberty" and "freedom" have a lot of different meanings which increases the confusion a lot and have often been misused for political reasons. There are two authors, which i can highly recommend in that matter: F.A.v.Hayek and Ludwig von Mises. They may be known as economists, but what they write goes way beyond economics. They explain exactly why capitalism works and why communism doesn't, and how liberty, justice, the market and the state influence each other.

When it comes to balance between freedom and justice, i think you are entirely right, when you say, the right way is somewhere in the middle, but i don't think it is a compromise between the two. As Stephen Macklins alread wrote, "Liberty is the freedom to act up to the point where you are infringing the liberty of another", which is a sentence defining an exact point between freedom and justice. In practice it may be hard to find that exact point, but in theory it is well defined.

Well, i definitely think your thoughts in your essay go in the right direction and i would like to recommend two really good shortcuts: "Human action" by Ludwig von Mises and "The road to serfdom" by F.A.v.Hayek.

A word of caution. These books are not easy readings and lead straight to libertarianism ;)

I have some interesting links too:

http://www.jonathangullible.com/mmedia/PhilosophyOfLiberty-english_music.swf
(a perfect introduction to these ideas)

http://blog.mises.org/

"There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal" F.a.Hayek

"If one objects to the use of coercion in order to bring about a more even or more just distribution, this does not mean that one does not regard these as desirable. But if we wish to preserve a free society, it is essential that we recognize that the desirability of a particular object is not sufficient justification for the use of coercion" F.a.Hayek

Greetings from Munich, Germany
Kaneda



Remember "Harrison Bergeron"? There's your endpoint of "equality" (or as some people seem to say, "social justice").

Thanks for a thought-provoking post, Mr. Whittle.

--AG



Flagwaver, Hillary and Edwards aren't altruists. Altruism isn't giving someone else's wealth to those you consider less fortunate, it's giving your own wealth to the less fortunate. That's interpreting the term "wealth" broadly to mean anything you have that can be of benefit to others, including knowledge, moral example, etc. as well as economically valuable goods and services. But it has to be your own wealth for it to be altruism.



My first reaction was remarkably similar to some others ... "where on earth did you get that definition of justice ... or freedom " ... and then, reading through the comments, I gained the realization that Bill weasn't out of step ... I was.
While I may not look at freedom or justice in those "eyes" ... it seems quite obvious that a great mant people do ... especially those who "work" for the government.

As usual, Bill, VERY thought-provoking. Would, only, that you actually had some workable solutions so we could keep them from turning this (25 years late) into the world of 1984!



This whole thing is just ate-up.

Freedom does not automatically engender callousness(‘Just because you can, you will.’), any more than Justice demands equality of result.
(by the way – ‘perfect justice’ would not mean that every crime is avenged, but rather that crimes are only perpetrated against bad people, by bad people, against whom crimes are later perpetrated)

And neither one can be institutionalized (read; ‘forced’) – they come from agreement between people; try to institutionalize both or either, and what you end up with is neither - “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” is fine, as long as it’s your choice to conduct yourself that way – it becomes a problem when you try to institutionalize it.

And ‘perfect’ altruism would require that a person knows that he will see absolutely no benefit from his actions - ever. Since you can degree-of-separation that idea out of the realm of possibility, the only way to achieve ‘perfect altruism’ would be to have an atheist sacrifice his own life, in a way that he knows would never be discovered, in an attempt to save the world in which he has essentially no hope of success.

Anything else is just degrees of ROI, and Character is how much attention you choose to give to that ratio ‘going in’.

Societal tensions are caused between people who cannot force themselves to release their own aggrandizing self-images and just understand that.


- MuscleDaddy



Both freedom and justice depends on definitions. Currently "justice" is defined as: whatever "I" want. So "social justice" means take from someone to give to someone else. Most people don't follow up on the ramifications of that definition, ie, everyone winds up with less. Which is "just"....everyone is equally poor...except the annointed doing the redistributing. Excellent post, Sir



Again, these are issues that have been around for a long time in the philosophical tradition, and J.S. Mill grappled with some of them. There was also an intense debate relatively recently between Amartya Sen (the "paradox of liberalism), John Gray, et al vs. the Virginia Public Choicers (like Jim Buchanan) that involved the definition of freedom/liberty and "meddling preferences." The upshot of that debate was that Buchanan suggested abandoning the issue of liberty and freedom, and rested his case on sovereignty (meaning the right to pull up stakes and move elsewhere).

Freedom/liberty are problematic for a number of reasons, although it makes sense to attempt to optimize freedom and responsibility as tradeoffs (another definition of sovereignty, btw).

Personally, I think Buchanan got it right, and Sen and Gray wrong. It IS an issue of sovereignty. Always has been. Always will be.



Slight correction. Buchanan didn't suggest "abandoning liberty and freedom." That would be crazy. Rather, he suggested that the only way to sensibly think about freedom and liberty was by thinking about issues involving state and individual sovereignty. That sidesteps a number of vexing problems imposed by notions of freedom, not least of which is the "degrees of freedom" issue I related above. (Too much freedom leads to impotence.)

Sovereignty involves not merely freedom, but also self-control, etc.. Couching things in terms of freedom vs justice is, therefore, misleading.

Hope I haven't screwed this up too badly. Folks should pay more attention to Buchanan.




Toria, perhaps you would care to elaborate on Bill's logic, or his (to you) lack thereof?

And for those of you who think Bill is messing up his terms, I blame Dougman.



All negitives flow through me, without sticking...like cling-ons stick sometimes after ..oh , never mind.



Economic justice is an oxymoron. Capitalist economies create winners and losers. The problem with capitalism is that it can stratify a society between the super-rich and everyone else. The best answer to date, though by no means perfect, is to adopt a system of progressive taxation. Make more pay more (as a percentage). But money is liquid and tends to flow around barriers like progressive taxation (or campaign contributions). Something like a 10% flat tax might mitigate the distortions caused by government interference in free markets, but it lacks "fairness". The poor pay the same as the rich. But then, when you consider that America's poor are more likely to suffer from obesity than hunger, the facts seem to indicate it's time to move the goalpost.

Capitalism is inherently "unfair". Collectivism is fairness that reduces everyone to a miserable mean. Given that capitalism for all its abuses tends to raise all boats, and collectivism tends to sink entire armadas, I vote for the imperfect former.

What is "justice"? I've read Plato's Republic three times and I still don't know. Which I guess is the point, because Plato didn't know either. I can only defer to America's founding fathers and opt for equal protection under the law (even if the rich can afford better lawyers).

But here's the really cool undeniable proof: Capitalism combined with maximum freedom (not license) has produced modernity. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways: painless surgery, intercontinental travel, refridgeration, electricity, clean water and sewage, a longer life span, time for leisure, instantaneous communication, central heating, grocery stores, human rights, the United Nations . . . umm, scratch the last one, but you get the idea.

The current conundrum in my mind runs as follows: How does humanity manage itself into a global civilizaiton without reverting to tyranny?



Oh Sh_t!
Dougman, you let the Klingons follow you?
You were supposed to ditch them.
Warp 8 to TCL. I've got your back.
-D4



"A state with the power to enforce equality and bring total justice is a state that needs to be powerful enough to constrain a great deal of freedom."

There seems to be an assumption here that "equality" (of outcome? of opportunity?) is somehow required for a nation or a society to have justice.

Justice, however, is upheld by the twin pillars of Reward and Punishment, according to The Glory of God (1853-1892), Who made Justice the central theme of His dispensation, and the Oneness of Mankind the pivotal point around which all other laws and principles revolve.

If we are educated to the spiritual nature of humans (the words we use to think; the words we say to ourselves; the words/concepts we use to guide our individual and collective actions: SPIRIT, human spirit) then we can see that unity is NOT equivalent to uniformity. Harmony of outcomes is NOT predicated on equality of input, either in quality or quantity.

A nation which bases its ideals and its practices on Justice and Courtesy is a nation which safeguards the masses from the few actual and potential, would-be, aggressors, thugs and usurpers.

Such a nation does not need onerous laws or 'religious police' because the people are practicing courteous restraint, with Justice set ever before themselves.

But that's just the way today's Baha'is live their faith.



"How does humanity manage itself into a global civilizaiton without reverting to tyranny?"

Love one another?

That shouldn't be too hard for a world with so many Religions, would it?
Oh, no...Religion has been around forever and a ef'n day but people still don't get it.

I Gno!

FEAR... Yeah, That's it!
Fear and ((Trembling))!



D4
I Wish, wish, wish I could get there now, but for this damned stick up my ass while I'm at work.
"Social Networking and Personal Websites filtered". As well as a long list of other denials...

My Right to Assembly is being infringed upon I tell ya!
But I do acknowledge that had my employer not givin me access to the Net in the first place, I wouldn't be here in the Last place.
Tension! Ain't it grand!



Well, one of the reasons I consider this a fragment rather than an essay is because I obviously failed to be clear on one key issue.

These are not my definitions of freedom, or especially of "justice." Referring to the latter, it is the definition of "justice" put forward by the left: 'economic justice' means to them that there is no major disparity of income.

I would have hoped from the example of the sales tax that I gave that I do not consider forced eqalitarianism to be the same as "justice" -- merely that others were calling it thus.

And as for Toria, I can only assume he or she is from the left, because, as usual, they proceed to call something hogwash without providing the slightest reason why they do so. That's good work if you can get it. Unfortunately, it also makes it painfully, transparently clear that logic has nothing to do with it. If the post was as completely illogial as he or she claims, then dismantling it would be an easy matter. To fail to do so is to admit defeat on the face of it: to telegraph your own failure.

Thanks for stopping by! You illuminate my point better than the entry did.



Hello Mr. Whittle,

first of all, i am deeply impressed by your writings and their explanation of the American way of life. They showed me why it works and why it works well. Your essays cover a lot of thoughts that i didn't find anywhere else.

Well, until now that is

With "FREEDOM versus JUSTICE" you walk a Path that has been walked before. I think Stephen Macklins comment is right, when he says, that the concepts have to be more precise. The words "liberty" and "freedom" have a lot of different meanings which increases the confusion a lot and have often been misused for political reasons. There are two authors, which i can highly recommend in that matter: F.A.v.Hayek and Ludwig von Mises. They may be known as economists, but what they write goes way beyond economics. They explain exactly why capitalism works and why communism doesn't, and how liberty, justice, the market and the state influence each other.

When it comes to balance between freedom and justice, i think you are entirely right, when you say, the right way is somewhere in the middle, but i don't think it is a compromise between the two. As Stephen Macklins alread wrote, "Liberty is the freedom to act up to the point where you are infringing the liberty of another", which is a sentence defining an exact point between freedom and justice. In practice it may be hard to find that exact point, but in theory it is well defined.

Well, i definitely think your thoughts in your essay go in the right direction and i would like to recommend two really good shortcuts: "Human action" by Ludwig von Mises and "The road to serfdom" by F.A.v.Hayek.

A word of caution. These books are not easy readings and lead straight to libertarianism

I have some interesting links too:

http://www.jonathangullible.com/mmedia/PhilosophyOfLiberty-english_music.swf
(a perfect introduction to these ideas)

http://blog.mises.org/

"There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal" F.a.Hayek

"If one objects to the use of coercion in order to bring about a more even or more just distribution, this does not mean that one does not regard these as desirable. But if we wish to preserve a free society, it is essential that we recognize that the desirability of a particular object is not sufficient justification for the use of coercion" F.a.Hayek

Greetings from Munich, Germany
Bruno



That you for that bit of academic blasphemy. One of the points I've made in similar arguments is that the left tries to frame the (Heath care, taxation, etc.) argument as the working class versus the ultra-rich, and like a commenter above mentioned, that's not how it works. The top 5% will go out of country for their medical care, hire lawyers to get around the taxes, relocate to a tax-haven, or otherwise dodge the bullet.
Really, this issue pits the professional middle-class and skilled workers, who get benefits from their jobs and make enough to be actually hurt by taxation, against the unskilled working class and welfare class. Since the welfare class doesn't pay taxes anyway, they have the most to gain of anyone.



Wow, this is the first post I've ever read where I learn more from the comments than the entry.
No wonder Bill thought Ejectia would be a great idea.



Flagwaver -- your analysis looks good to me, and it's always nice to see Heinlein quoted.

As for your point on "equal starts", the family setting and income is one of the things I had intended to factor in that changes from one time and place to another. (Clearly I need to write more clearly. :) Your point is well-taken.

As for your opinion of altruists, I would have to agree in part. (And worse, I have to agree with Heinlein only in part as well.) I certainly wasn't that clear in what I wrote. Some people believe that when one helps one's neighbor it is only for enlightened self-interest -- as in the building up of credit, a loan so-to-speak to be called in when the situation is reversed. Others point to the Golden Rule as to why one helps. But should we call the Golden Rule altruism, or should we call it a facade for enlightened self-interest? I prefer to call it the former. As to the part where I agree with you (and Heinlein -- you're in very good company there), is when some self-proclaimed Altruist wants to help their neighbors with the fruits of my own efforts; and without a bye-your-leave. I believe that these Redistributionists have given, and are still giving, Altruism a bad name.



Toria wrote:
Your thinking is so illogical it pains me.

Sorry it hurts. Please take an Advil for the pain; and illuminate the logical issues so that I understand which areas are problematical. TIA



Whatever else happens, don't let this discourage you from posting before too much refinement in the future- feedback refines ideas much faster and more efficiently than individual reflection.

Just about every good idea I've ever had wasn't any good until it'd been subjected to a hell of a lot of "you are wrong because".



Because, yeah... what LabRat said. I think the discussion in the comments might be more enlightening than 400 repetitions, of "Bill, you are SO right!"

Well, for everyone but Bill, of course... I imagne that doesn't get old... =D



Put one single person on an island and you have both perfect freedom and justice. Put two on that island and look out!



Thank you once again, Bill, for the fortifying dose of mental vitamins! Nutritious and highly relevant food for thought, to be sure. A couple of recurring thoughts that your post very adeptly brought again to mind for me:

The gradual twisting of the term “justice” in recent times has got to be a major linguistic coup for the left, on par with the coinage of “progressive” (implying one who is in favor of progress, as any reasonable person would of course naturally be…). I mean, I think we may have seriously underestimated the importance and implications of this shift in casual usage.

Nowhere do our nation’s founding documents talk about “fairness”, but they sure do call out “justice”, and if folks on the left can get people to think “fairness” when they hear “justice”, it seems to me that they’re scored big time. Everything we were taught as children about our country being founded with strongly declared aspirations toward “justice” is instantly transformed — presto, change-o, 1984-o! — into a deeply institutionalized call for fairness. Imagine (as one has to now) a world where instead of demanding “social justice” people on the left called for “social fairness”. Isn’t it interesting how that simple change of wording immediately decreases the caliber of the ammo? Perhaps then we could all sit down and have a reasoned discussion of the matter. (Or not.)

Secondly: Your point about abstract, absolute freedom in the absence of governance being vulnerable to abuses brings to mind John Locke’s famously eloquent statement on the matter, which I have long treasured and I think hits the proverbial nail pretty squarely on its head:

The end of the law is, not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of laws, where there is no law there is no freedom. For liberty is to be free from restraint and violence from others; which cannot be where there is no law: and is not, as we are told, a liberty for every man to do what he lists. (For who could be free when every other man’s humour might domineer over him?) But a liberty to dispose, and order as he lists, his person, actions, possessions, and his whole property, within the allowance of those laws under which he is, and therein not to be the subject of the arbitrary will of another, but freely follow his own.

Locke, I am told by a friend in academia, is often dismissed nowadays as being "elitist" or whatnot. Clearly there's an imperative that the purveyors of dangerous ideas such as the striving for individual liberty and personal responsibility be dismissed... *sigh*

Thanks to all present, too, for the top-notch comments! MWP’s short but sweet ode to Modernity above hits the essence of it exactly for me -- thank you for that! And in resonance with Pantera’s comment, I was just now sitting here appreciating what a rich, stimulating conversation about important founding American ideas I’m having the privilege of enjoying and participating in here, and chuckling at the unlikelihood that I’ve have ever been able to have such a discussion with a group like this in an expensive university setting (including at the school I attended). We truly have here, in the E!3 comment sections, the primordial essence of Ejectia, and boy is it precious.

Altruists and unicorns … Heh!





Bill,

You need not apologize for a fragment, though your addendum does clarify and refine the thesis. While your readers enjoy a finely tuned essay, there's nothing wrong with tossing out the occaisional bit of chum.

Economic justice is nothing more than code for income redistribution. There is nothing that will corrupt a body politic faster than a chance for one faction to vote itself a pay raise at the expense of another. Plato knew it. He warned explicitly that a democracy of the poor was to be avoided. Latin America is a perfect illustration: oligarchy, populism, dictatorship, and revolution follow one another in a predictable cyclic pattern. I hardly need to mention Venezuala as the current manifestation.

In the United States and Europe politicians on the Left get elected and maintain power with continual promises to take from Peter (producers, corporations, the "rich") and give to Paul his "fair" share. When a nation buys into this scam, it signals that the body politic has been corrupted. The message to citizens is that they have a "right" to consume more than they produce, guaranteed by government. It's bad economics and worse social policy.

Now, if you have a keen eye or have ever worked in government, you will understand the following. The primary purpose of government is to grow itself. The primary ambition of bureaucrats is to create a better position for themselves within the hierarchy. James Madison for all his wisdom missed something when he wrote Fed #10. What happens when government becomes the dominant faction within a nation-state? You get a super-state run from Brussels is what you get. Damn the voters, damn the process, and damn anyone who gets in the way.

This is not good news. But the Europeans apparently prefer to be coddled by a nanny-state even if it means national, cultural, and racial suicide. I think it was Toynbee (or maybe Gibbon), feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, who said that empires don't die from external threats, they die of suicide. It looks bleak.

Except for this "construct" called America. Race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, and language don't count for much (unless the Left gets its way). What do we do better than anyone else? We DO stuff. Like what? It doesn't matter; we DO what needs to be DONE. (That's pretty vague). Maybe, but if it needs DOING, we'll figure it out and devise a plan to DO it. (Americans are arrogant). I'm okay with that. I have a whole list of DO's on my fridge, so get the f*** out of my way asshat . . . socialist . . . bureaucrat . . . pond scum . . . progeny of a hamster and an elderberry tree . . . I got shit to DO.



Mark, you had me first despondent, then cheering with glee. Bravo, and Amen! :-)



"...progeny of a hamster and an elderberry tree..."
Ha!
I fart in your general direction!
I have a deep abiding faith in the general cussedness of the heartland, especially the south. It is no accident that the greater portion of our volunteer military comes from there.



Bill, I posted a message regarding plagiarism of one of your articles at the end of your "SOME OF YOU MAY REMEMBER ME" story. It should have been posted here so you would have a better chance to review it. Hope you check it out. It may be nothing, but wanted you to be aware.

KC



Sorry for the double post. I'm an old sheepdog, and my trigger finger still gets itchy once-in-awhile.



"social justice" of course is an idiocy. hayek coverd that well. and anybody who knows your writing at all understands that you know the distinction.

best wishes on the screenplay, bill. look forward to seeing it in action,



I've always taken issue with Lord Acton. Not everyone with true freedom of action would choose to act on their lowest, basest, most animal instincts. Freedom does not rob one of one's empathy, decency, and honor.

A free man can choose to restrain himself without being coerced into acting as a human, not as an animal.

I more than amply agree that there are many barely humanized individuals out there who cannot be trusted with power, but I am not one of them.

Humans need not be animals.



My best, warmest greetings to All!

I am back in the Hong Kong/China area, enjoying the fruits of Bill's labors, and those of the commentors, from afar once again. It is a glorious thing in which to partake! (Not so much China/Hong Kong, but instead the postings/commentary, just to be clear).

I must wholeheartedly agree with those who have said, (paraphrasing, of course), "Bill, please do NOT be concerned about posting what you might consider an unfinished, or unrefined, or incomplete entry here." As some have pointed out, that gives us in the "unrefined masses" category a chance to, (dare I say it?), contribute to the conversation and development of the logic. It may even encourage a bit of practice at that thing some call critical thinking if they so dare. My guess, and it's only a guess, is that Toria does not so dare.

The absolutely, incredibly, fantastically, awe-inspiringly BEAUTIFUL thing about this E3! "community" is that said practice seems to occur, and be encouraged, and grows, without conscious effort... it almost "just happens." And I love it!

As for my own reaction to the post, Mr. Whittle, I tend to revert to the basics in many of my thoughts. That leads me to take to heart the principle underlying premise of the article, if I may be so bold, as being that "words mean things." In defining Freedom or Justice, or freedom or justice, as the case may be, the premise of the argument, whatever it is, becomes defined. The outer and inner bounds of the playing field, and many of the rules, relationships, and possible moves become enabled or constrained.

As a result, the first thing I try to do in applying thought to a matter is make sure I am clear on the "things" the key words in the argument's statement "mean." The effort spent in this activity by a thinker/analyst/commentor is almost never "wasted," IMnsHO.

In fact, once definitions have been agreed upon or settled, much of the remainder falls neatly into place. At least that has been a part of my own limited experience.

Good Day to ALL! And definitely looking forward to more! Sincere thanks, Mr. Whittle, for the thought provocation!



Bill,

Speaking from the "left" (actually I'd consider myself a moderate but will surly be branded as left here) let me offer a word of caution for your re-write. First most people like myself, most of the left , are not socialist or communist. Most don't believe that equality of outcome is a desired result. So be careul about the first strawman you are already set to put out there. It adds little to the debate of a very important issue. An issue so important we fought a revolution over it. In general we'd argue that shared prosperity is a wanted desire and that the huge income inequalities as we've seen grow ever since Reagan are not based on merit but in fact based on abuse of power and abuse of our democratic and political institutions.

Your rewrite, I'd suggest, should keep in mind he following quotes from past great leaders.


Dwight D Eisenhower

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."


Teddy Roosevelt

"The man of great wealth owes a peculiar obligation to the State, because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government."

Teddy Roosevelt

"The absence of effective State, and, especially, national, restraint upon unfair money-getting has tended to create a small class of enormously wealthy and economically powerful men, whose chief object is to hold and increase their power. The prime need is to change the conditions which enable these men to accumulate power which is not for the general welfare that they should hold or exercise. We grudge no man a fortune which represents his own power and sagacity, when exercised with entire regard to the welfare of his fellows. _– Theodore Roosevelt, speech at Osawatomie, Kansas, “The New Nationalism” (August 31, 1910)"


"The government is us; we are the government, you and I."
Theodore Roosevelt


"Great corporations exist only because they were created and safeguarded by our institutions; and it is therefore our right and duty to see that they work in harmony with these institutions. "
– Theodore Roosevelt

"Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day."
--Theodore Roosevelt, April 19, 1906


"The first stage of fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of State and corporate power." — Mussolini

"The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic State itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group or by any controlling private power."
-FDR


"I hope we shall... crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and to bid defiance to the laws of their country."
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to George Logan. November 12, 1816.


"Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction...by consolidation of power first and then corruption, its necessary consequence. The engine of consolidation will be the federal judiciary. The two other branches, the corrupting and corrupted its instruments."

Jefferson 1821


"I hope we shall... crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and to bid defiance to the laws of their country."
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to George Logan. November 12, 1816.

"Weather the people of the United States are to govern through the representatives chosen by their unbiased suffrages or weather the money and power of a great corporation are to be secretly exerted to influence their judgement and control of their decisions."

Andrew Jackson


" We may congratulate ourselves that this cruel war is nearing its end. But I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow. And the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country then ever before even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless"

Abraham Lincoln




I think this might actually be my first comment on your blog, sir.

I've come by about once a week to look for new material, and I am *so* glad you're back!
My entire family has missed you, and we really look forward to your next essay!



muirgeo
Greetings and well met. Thank you for the many quotations. They help to illustrate the boundaries of freedom in an organized state. The most common link among them is the issue of corruption. I am quite certain, from studying the historical record, that corruption did not originate with the practice of unfettered free-market capitalism. Rather, it has been endemic to every govorning system yet devised by mankind. The problem seems to be one of human frailty and not the product af any specific economic system. Free-market capitalism has proven to be the most efficient engine of production yet devised. Govornments on the other hand are usually inefficient and wasteful as far as production goes, but do very well in the consumption category. Therein lies the basic conundrum which leads to corruption. Any civic arrangement of any appreciable size will need funds to operate. These funds are usually generated by some form of taxation. It is this parasitic arrangement between the means of production and the regulation of a society that creates an environment conducive to corruption. The more the govornment tries to regulate business, the more business will try to influence govornment. It seems then that the best way to limit corruption is to reduce the size and scope of govornment. Attempting to limit "unfair money-getting" only results in an increased tendancy torwards corruption. I am a great fan of T.R. but much of his economic theory was unsound. I hope that I have not created any straw man fallacies here and look forward to any thoughts you might have on the subject.
Welcome to Ejectia!
Svin



svinrod,

Free markets are not perfect nor are governments. However, I do not see them as completely opposed. Markets rely on good government... they can not survive with out government. Likewise, IMO, I still believe government by the people is best. And we truly have lost that.

The biggest problem I see today is that the economy and people of money run the government. It should be the people running the government.

You stated, "The more the government tries to regulate business, the more business will try to influence govornment."

To further this conversation I would ask how indeed can business influence government?

It's a somewhat rhetorical question.... we all know the answers. But the answers shouldn't be and until we make these answers obsolete we will have corruption that undermines both the competitive nature of the markets as well as our democratic institutions.

I often here the claim that we need to reduce the size and scope of government to limit corruption. On some levels this may be true but if the government is US, We the People ...I'm not sure it needs to be "weakened".


My solutions;

Take the money out of politics. We have many good citizens who cold run the government honestly but money from lobbyist and business promotes the corrupt politicians over the honest ones.

Lobbying for hire should all but be illegal.

Bribes and conflicts of interest should be severely punished.

Elections should be publically funded. Or at least contenders should have the option to accept only public funding.

The election cycle should be shortened.

We should have instant run off voting to promote third parties.

Any public official who broke the public trust should be severely punished.

The government must be open at all levels. Every meeting between a public official should be open to the public with very few exceptions.

At the federal level the abuses of public confidentiality are stunning and need to be stopped.


IMO opinion a weakened government can not enforce the very laws that prevent corruption. The key is to diffuse power throughout the different branches and to have an active and participatory democracy where incumbents don't have such a great advantage and where people run the government not money.




muirgeo,

I try to be open-mined. In that vein, I'm willing to be educated by a display of data.

Most don't believe that equality of outcome is a desired result.

Unfortunately, the leadership of the Left acts this way, their words notwithstanding. In the decision between which to believe, I prefer to believe acts as they speak louder.But, I'm willing to be be convinced otherwise. A quick demonstration that the preponderance of their acts are not representative of this way is in order.

It adds little to the debate of a very important issue.

Actually, as the question of whether the Left leadership does or does not so believe is, for me at least, still open, I think it adds a great deal to the debate. I see no reason to close the debate on this issue prematurely. Perhaps you could supply your reasoning on this point?

and that the huge income inequalities as we've seen grow ever since Reagan are not based on merit but in fact based on abuse of power and abuse of our democratic and political institutions.and that the huge income inequalities as we've seen grow ever since Reagan are not based on merit but in fact based on abuse of power and abuse of our democratic and political institutions.

I don't have a hard opinion one way or the other. So, I'm willing to be educated. A quick demonstration that no "huge income inequalities" are based on merit will, I'm certain, convince me. (And, as you specifically called out Reagan, I'm sure you'll cover why the meritless inequalities began with him and were not present prior to him.)

Re your Eisenhower/T-Roosevelt quotes, it's good that you're concerned with undoing lobbying influence with Congress and the Administration. Perhaps you could illustrate your bone fides by commenting on the current Democrat-leadership effort to reduce transparency in government. I didn't like it when the GOP-leadership did it, but the current Dem leaders explicitly ran in the last election on increasing transparency and reducing corruption, not the other way around.

Re your Mussolini quote, I agree with it. To illustrate your bone fides in this matter, perhaps you could comment on Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and his nationalization of his major industries? By the way, the merger of State and corporate power in Mussolini's fascism was achieved by letting the unions run the corporations. It would be nice to hear from you about undo union power in key industries, say education for example.

Re your FDR quote, perhaps you don't realize that FDR has it exactly backwards. Fascism is the State controlling corporations, not the other way around. I'll give FDR the benefit of the doubt and assume that he didn't know this -- it was all new at the time. But you, certainly, should be aware of this. You are, aren't you?

Re your first Jefferson quote, it has been taken a bit out of context here. Here is a fuller context:

We may sometimes have mistaken our rights, or made an erroneous estimate of the actions of others, but no voluntary wrong can be imputed to us. In this respect England exhibits the most remarkable phaenomenon in the universe in the contrast between the profligacy of it’s government and the probity of it’s citizens. And accordingly it is now exhibiting an example of the truth of the maxim that virtue & interest are inseparable. It ends, as might have been expected, in the ruin of it’s people, but this ruin will fall heaviest, as it ought to fall on that hereditary aristocracy which has for generations been preparing the catastrophe. I hope we shall take warning from the example and crush in it’s birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.

As you can see, he is specifically concerned with the "monied aristocracy" attempting to circumvent governmental laws, and also specifically concerned with a "profligate government", the latter being something which we have today.

Re your second Jefferson quote, it has been taken a bit out of context here. I'm not sure that you are advocating support of slavery. Jefferson was implicitly in his advocation against the federal government adjudicating the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Here is a fuller quote:

Our govmt is now taking so steady a course as to shew by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit, by consolidn first, & then corruption, it’s necessary consequence. The engine of consolidn will be the Fedl judiciary, the two other branches the corrupted & corrupting instruments. I fear an explosion in our state legislature, I wish they may confine themselves to a strong but pacific temper. Protestn Virge is not at present in favr with her co-states. An opposn headed by her would determine all the anti-Missouri states to take the contrary side. She had better lie by therefore until the shoe shall pinch an Eastern state. Let the cry be first raised from that quarter & we may fall into it with effect. But I fear our Eastern associates wish for consolidn, in which they would be joined by the smaller states generally, but with a foot in the grave I have no right to meddle with these things.

Re your Jackson quote, it refers to Northeastern corporate influence on the National Bank. Jackson had been an opponent to the bank since its foundation, primarily on how it favored the northeast corporations rather than the South and West agricultural industries. Jackson succeeded in his desire to remove the Bank, but caused both heavy inflation and an economic panic as a result. Thus, I don't think it particularly apposite to your intent. In fact, it's better as a cautionary tale in meddling with government institutions.

Re the Lincoln quote, I agree with it.

And following this, it seems to me that the vast bulk of the so-called conservatives of this country who refused to vote in the last election did so in order to allow their own bums in Congress to be rousted out. Perhaps it doesn't seem that way to you. And it also seems to me that the principle moderate argument advanced by the Democrat leadership in the last election was to reduce corruption in government. Again, perhaps it doesn't seem that way to you.

In approaching a solution to the problem of corrupive private influence in government, I favor a quote by Justice Brandeis in regards to moneyed corporations, "Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" (Harper's Weekly, 1913, Other People's Money: What Publicity Can Do). Any further control by government of corporations leans too far toward fascism in my opinion. But then, I'm willing to listen.



Take the money out of politics.

A worthy ideal, but I believe that you will only take the honest law-abiding money out of politics. Rather than force the money into hidden byways, I would shine a light on it. Make it easy to use money in politics, and shine a strong light on it. Make it transparent. Otherwise, you punish the law-abiding small-time voters who will lose their influence. You don't want to ask government to control funding for government elections -- that seems a recipe for disaster.

Lobbying for hire should all but be illegal.

Another worthy ideal, but I believe that freedom of political speech is the one essential speech freedom, and throwing it out is to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Bribes and conflicts of interest should be severely punished.

I agree. So, where are they not already severely punished?

Elections should be publically funded.

I agree completely. Let's repeal the current odious government funding of political elections.

The election cycle should be shortened.

For a moment there you had me fooled. Pass laws on how long candidates are allowed to run for office. Good joke, Soviet-style.

We should have instant run off voting to promote third parties.

Interesting idea. Perhaps you could more fully explain your idea here.

Any public official who broke the public trust should be severely punished.

I thought that was the way it is, now. Which laws do you think need strengthening?

The government must be open at all levels.

Are there public officials who aren't? Who are they? What did you have in mind?

Every meeting between a public official should be open to the public with very few exceptions.

What exceptions did you have in mind? I'd certainly like meetings between lobbyists and Congressional members to be transparent.

At the federal level the abuses of public confidentiality are stunning and need to be stopped.

I assume you'll want to replace the current crop of Democrat leadership so as to facilitate transparency in government? Or did you mean something else?

The key is to diffuse power throughout the different branches

I don't quite follow. Did you have an amendment or two in mind?

to have an active and participatory democracy where incumbents don't have such a great advantage

Tell that to California. They may need to hear it.

and where people run the government not money.

Transparency laws would be a great help, here. Again, how do you feel about the current Congressional leadership's reduction of transparency?



muirgeo and qwer,

An excellent series of comments here developing! I appreciate the substantive, meaty, thought-provoking quotes and discussion! From you both! I also appreciate the civility and respect shown thus far!

The "money in politics" issue is a thorny one, that often and easily turns emotional. My own opinion on this particular aspect of the discussion agrees with qwer, emphatically.

Exposing sources and amounts of all campaign funding, with verifiable audit trails especially for PACS and NGO's, will put information into the hands of the people who make up an informed electorate. Shining "the light of day" on the back room funding so influential in so many ways, (e.g., George Soros, et al), should result in a much better-informed electorate making "better" decisions. But there's the rub.

Perhaps, as a part of the discussion, we might address the question of expanding that portion of the electorate that is, and continuously seeks to be, "better informed," since that would seem to me to be a more critical factor than several that have been examined?

And, for clarification, I do not refer to a "better informed electorate" simply as being evident in a higher proportion that "agrees" with me, but rather as that portion of the electorate that actually applies some analytical reasoning to their opinions. That is, how do we "lead the horse to the water," and "make it drink?"

I eagerly await further illumination!



muirgeo
We can agree that the right to govern derives from the consent of the governed. That is a good thing.

I have not advocated for a weaker government as weakness in authority only tends to invite ridicule and contempt.

What I advocate for is a sharply reduced range of Federal programs, agencies, departments, subsides etc...

The primary duty of the Federal Government IMO is the defense of the realm. This duty would include management of the Armed Forces, conduct of diplomacy and the ability to secure territorial borders. It should also moderate disagreements between the states in terms of interstate commerce, but it has abused that function so thoroughly that I believe a new referendum on the scope of federalism is in order.

It should establish and maintain a national currency and and banking system.

There may be other limited functions that cannot be managed by the states such as counter-terrorism and intelligence gathering, but that is a contentious issue that I shall not raise here.

Apart from those listed above, the various states may be the best guardians of the liberty of their citizens.

I do not tend to parse things as closely as qwer is wont to do. If that makes me seem vague, I would be happy to answer any questions in further detail. I tend to rely on a core set of ideas, widely applicable, in evaluating any situation. The promulgation of new rules and regulations is rarely the best answer to perceived problems.

Col. Cooper expressed it best when he stated(and I am paraphrasing here);
"Whenever congress passes a new law, they should be horse-whipped. Whenever congress repeals an old law, there should be a national holiday with free beer for everyone."

My sentiments exactly.

Svin




THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

Some things about living still weren’t quite right, though. April, for instance, still drove people crazy by not being springtime. And it was in that clammy month that the H-G men took George and Hazel Bergeron’s fourteen-year-old son, Harrison, away.

It was tragic, all right, but George and Hazel couldn’t think about it very hard. Hazel had a perfectly average intelligence, which meant she couldn’t think about anything except in short bursts. And George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little mental handicap radio in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains.

George and Hazel were watching television. There were tears on Hazel’s cheeks, but she’d forgotten for the moment what they were about.

On the television screen were ballerinas.

A buzzer sounded in George’s head. His thoughts fled in panic, like bandits from a burglar alarm.

“That was a real pretty dance, that dance they just did,” said Hazel.

“Huh?” said George.

“That dance – it was nice,” said Hazel.

“Yup,” said George. He tried to think a little about the ballerinas. They weren’t really very good – no better than anybody else would have been, anyway. They were burdened with sashweights and bags of birdshot, and their faces were masked, so that no one, seeing a free and graceful gesture or a pretty face, would feel like something the cat drug in. George was toying with the vague notion that maybe dancers shouldn’t be handicapped. But he didn’t get very far with it before another noise in his ear radio scattered his thoughts.

George winced. So did two out of the eight ballerinas.

Hazel saw him wince. Having no mental handicap herself she had to ask George what the latest sound had been.

“Sounded like somebody hitting a milk bottle with a ball peen hammer,” said George.

“I’d think it would be real interesting, hearing all the different sounds,” said Hazel, a little envious. “All the things they think up.”

“Um,” said George.

“Only, if I was Handicapper General, you know what I would do?” said Hazel. Hazel, as a matter of fact, bore a strong resemblance to the Handicapper General, a woman named Diana Moon Glampers. “If I was Diana Moon Glampers,” said Hazel, “I’d have chimes on Sunday – just chimes. Kind of in honor of religion.”

“I could think, if it was just chimes,” said George.

“Well – maybe make ‘em real loud,” said Hazel. “I think I’d make a good Handicapper General.”

“Good as anybody else,” said George.

“Who knows better’n I do what normal is?” said Hazel.

“Right,” said George. He began to think glimmeringly about his abnormal son who was now in jail, about Harrison, but a twenty-one-gun salute in his head stopped that.

“Boy!” said Hazel, “that was a doozy, wasn’t it?”

It was such a doozy that George was white and trembling and tears stood on the rims of his red eyes. Two of the eight ballerinas had collapsed to the studio floor, were holding their temples.

“All of a sudden you look so tired,” said Hazel. “Why don’t you stretch out on the sofa, so’s you can rest your handicap bag on the pillows, honeybunch.” She was referring to the forty-seven pounds of birdshot in canvas bag, which was padlocked around George’s neck. “Go on and rest the bag for a little while,” she said. “I don’t care if you’re not equal to me for a while.”

George weighed the bag with his hands. “I don’t mind it,” he said. “I don’t notice it any more. It’s just a part of me.

“You been so tired lately – kind of wore out,” said Hazel. “If there was just some way we could make a little hole in the bottom of the bag, and just take out a few of them lead balls. Just a few.”

“Two years in prison and two thousand dollars fine for every ball I took out,” said George. “I don’t call that a bargain.”

“If you could just take a few out when you came home from work,” said Hazel. “I mean – you don’t compete with anybody around here. You just set around.”

“If I tried to get away with it,” said George, “then other people’d get away with it and pretty soon we’d be right back to the dark ages again, with everybody competing against everybody else. You wouldn’t like that, would you?”

“I’d hate it,” said Hazel.

“There you are,” said George. “The minute people start cheating on laws, what do you think happens to society?”

If Hazel hadn’t been able to come up with an answer to this question, George couldn’t have supplied one. A siren was going off in his head.

“Reckon it’d fall all apart,” said Hazel.

“What would?” said George blankly.

“Society,” said Hazel uncertainly. “Wasn’t that what you just said?”

“Who knows?” said George.

The television program was suddenly interrupted for a news bulletin. It wasn’t clear at first as to what the bulletin was about, since the announcer, like all announcers, had a serious speech impediment. For about half a minute, and in a state of high excitement, the announcer tried to say, “Ladies and gentlemen – ”

He finally gave up, handed the bulletin to a ballerina to read.

“That’s all right –” Hazel said of the announcer, “he tried. That’s the big thing. He tried to do the best he could with what God gave him. He should get a nice raise for trying so hard.”

“Ladies and gentlemen” said the ballerina, reading the bulletin. She must have been extraordinarily beautiful, because the mask she wore was hideous. And it was easy to see that she was the strongest and most graceful of all the dancers, for her handicap bags were as big as those worn by two-hundred-pound men.

And she had to apologize at once for her voice, which was a very unfair voice for a woman to use. Her voice was a warm, luminous, timeless melody. “Excuse me – ” she said, and she began again, making her voice absolutely uncompetitive.

“Harrison Bergeron, age fourteen,” she said in a grackle squawk, “has just escaped from jail, where he was held on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government. He is a genius and an athlete, is under–handicapped, and should be regarded as extremely dangerous.”

A police photograph of Harrison Bergeron was flashed on the screen – upside down, then sideways, upside down again, then right side up. The picture showed the full length of Harrison against a background calibrated in feet and inches. He was exactly seven feet tall.

The rest of Harrison’s appearance was Halloween and hardware. Nobody had ever worn heavier handicaps. He had outgrown hindrances faster than the H–G men could think them up. Instead of a little ear radio for a mental handicap, he wore a tremendous pair of earphones, and spectacles with thick wavy lenses. The spectacles were intended to make him not only half blind, but to give him whanging headaches besides.

Scrap metal was hung all over him. Ordinarily, there was a certain symmetry, a military neatness to the handicaps issued to strong people, but Harrison looked like a walking junkyard. In the race of life, Harrison carried three hundred pounds.

And to offset his good looks, the H–G men required that he wear at all times a red rubber ball for a nose, keep his eyebrows shaved off, and cover his even white teeth with black caps at snaggle–tooth random.

“If you see this boy,” said the ballerina, “do not – I repeat, do not – try to reason with him.”

There was the shriek of a door being torn from its hinges.

Screams and barking cries of consternation came from the television set. The photograph of Harrison Bergeron on the screen jumped again and again, as though dancing to the tune of an earthquake.

George Bergeron correctly identified the earthquake, and well he might have – for many was the time his own home had danced to the same crashing tune. “My God –” said George, “that must be Harrison!”

The realization was blasted from his mind instantly by the sound of an automobile collision in his head.

When George could open his eyes again, the photograph of Harrison was gone. A living, breathing Harrison filled the screen.

Clanking, clownish, and huge, Harrison stood in the center of the studio. The knob of the uprooted studio door was still in his hand. Ballerinas, technicians, musicians, and announcers cowered on their knees before him, expecting to die.

“I am the Emperor!” cried Harrison. “Do you hear? I am the Emperor! Everybody must do what I say at once!” He stamped his foot and the studio shook.

“Even as I stand here –” he bellowed, “crippled, hobbled, sickened – I am a greater ruler than any man who ever lived! Now watch me become what I can become!”

Harrison tore the straps of his handicap harness like wet tissue paper, tore straps guaranteed to support five thousand pounds.

Harrison’s scrap–iron handicaps crashed to the floor.

Harrison thrust his thumbs under the bar of the padlock that secured his head harness. The bar snapped like celery. Harrison smashed his headphones and spectacles against the wall.

He flung away his rubber–ball nose, revealed a man that would have awed Thor, the god of thunder.

“I shall now select my Empress!” he said, looking down on the cowering people. “Let the first woman who dares rise to her feet claim her mate and her throne!”

A moment passed, and then a ballerina arose, swaying like a willow.

Harrison plucked the mental handicap from her ear, snapped off her physical handicaps with marvelous delicacy. Last of all, he removed her mask.

She was blindingly beautiful.

“Now” said Harrison, taking her hand, “shall we show the people the meaning of the word dance? Music!” he commanded.

The musicians scrambled back into their chairs, and Harrison stripped them of their handicaps, too. “Play your best,” he told them, “and I’ll make you barons and dukes and earls.”

The music began. It was normal at first – cheap, silly, false. But Harrison snatched two musicians from their chairs, waved them like batons as he sang the music as he wanted it played. He slammed them back into their chairs.

The music began again and was much improved.

Harrison and his Empress merely listened to the music for a while – listened gravely, as though synchronizing their heartbeats with it.

They shifted their weights to their toes.

Harrison placed his big hands on the girl’s tiny waist, letting her sense the weightlessness that would soon be hers.

And then, in an explosion of joy and grace, into the air they sprang!

Not only were the laws of the land abandoned, but the law of gravity and the laws of motion as well.

They reeled, whirled, swiveled, flounced, capered, gamboled, and spun.

They leaped like deer on the moon.

The studio ceiling was thirty feet high, but each leap brought the dancers nearer to it. It became their obvious intention to kiss the ceiling.

They kissed it.

And then, neutralizing gravity with love and pure will, they remained suspended in air inches below the ceiling, and they kissed each other for a long, long time.

It was then that Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General, came into the studio with a double-barreled ten-gauge shotgun. She fired twice, and the Emperor and the Empress were dead before they hit the floor.

Diana Moon Glampers loaded the gun again. She aimed it at the musicians and told them they had ten seconds to get their handicaps back on.

It was then that the Bergerons’ television tube burned out.

Hazel turned to comment about the blackout to George.

But George had gone out into the kitchen for a can of beer.

George came back in with the beer, paused while a handicap signal shook him up. And then he sat down again. “You been crying?” he said to Hazel.

“Yup,” she said,

“What about?” he said.

“I forget,” she said. “Something real sad on television.”

“What was it?” he said.

“It’s all kind of mixed up in my mind,” said Hazel.

“Forget sad things,” said George.

“I always do,” said Hazel.

“That’s my girl,” said George. He winced. There was the sound of a riveting gun in his head.

“Gee – I could tell that one was a doozy,” said Hazel.

“You can say that again,” said George.

“Gee –” said Hazel, “I could tell that one was a doozy.”




Here is my two cents


Long Division


Government is by definition
Force, theft, and prohibition
The only things it does well
With any meaningful sense
It must be harshly limited
Or it turns the world to hell

For example it’s just plain sad
Bastions in the love of truth
Math and science have been had
Sacrificed to stupid greed
Led by con-men like
Kerry, Gore Clinton, and Reid
If they win I pity you and I pity me
But more I pity our children
Who never will be free

With a dangerous audacity
Reserved for children
Long divided from the truth
Fools for guilt jump the train
Behind the curtain in a voting booth
Without a clue of consequence
Emoting anger and fear
Just as they’ve been taught to do
By the con-men’s rousing jeer
From a cartoon world of lies

Since I know I can’t live my life for you
I expect you’d know the same for me
But you don’t, and why is that?
You don’t realize what you’ve come to be
Long division hides the fact
If you have to point a gun
and that is what government is
You destroy the spirit and the essence
Your dream is what you dismiss

You refuse to see freedom is not free
But also freedom is not slavery
All of life involves a cost
Like personal responsibility
See the colors of regard
For life's pursuits and liberty
These things you presently cannot abide
Or understand your strategy
Is naught but suicide



Oh, sweet, fragrant flowers of the field...

It is December, and yet E!3 is in bloom.

Thank you.



Liberty: The fundamental inborn right of individuals to go to heaven or to hell in their own hand basket without interference.

Justice: There ain't no such this side of the throne of God.

Law: What we're stuck with in lieu of Justice.



this seems sophomoric to me, like the Idealism I remember from Philosophy 101 - is the table there or not etc.

the cardinal virtues give me a clue (the quote is from EF Schumacher): "Justice relates to truth, fortitude to goodness, and temperantia to beauty; while prudence, in a sense, comprises all three."

freedom, however, is not among them (?)



We might want to consider John Rawls "A Theory of Justice" here. It's a very good place to start.

http://books.google.com/books?id=AjrXZIlbK1cC&dq=justice+as+fairness&pg=PP1&ots=s8wqSGj0jq&sig=co6PMpDacVxLSbFDJGJRyhTw5Js&prev=http://www.google.com/search%3Fq%3Djustice%2Bas%2Bfairness%26sourceid%3Dnavclient-ff%26ie%3DUTF-8%26rlz%3D1B3GGGL_en___US232&sa=X&oi=print&ct=title&cad=one-book-with-thumbnail#PRA1-PR8,M1

(the "restatement" includes his original theory, replies to critics and development beyond the original book)



Sorry - here's a better link

http://books.google.com/books?id=AjrXZIlbK1cC&



Here's a link to the original book -

http://books.google.com/books?id=b7GZr5Btp30C



Ah, yes... and now for a story that is completely off-topic, but which I hope warms the cockles of every AGW alarmist out there...

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,313844,00.html

For your amusement, a study commissioned by the guvmnt (Canada) suggests Canadians give up their beer fridges "for the sake of the planet..."

This is getting serious, folks!



David Wilson | December 1, 2007 7:36 PM --
"this seems sophomoric to me, like the Idealism I remember from Philosophy 101 - is the table there or not etc."

I disagree, with all due respect, Sir.

Philosphy 101, as I interpret the remark, either begins with, or leads to and refines, the definitions of "table," "there," and perhaps, even, "existence, (is)." On the surface, this seems trivial in light of our everyday experience, but may be somewhat interesting as an excerise in "thinking." Educational, even.

However, (as I interpret the essay), if one were to accept the premise that Justice is defined as equality of outcomes, then I fear that one completely cedes all hope of resisting the arguments of the Left in support of the all-powerful, repressive state as the only reasonable arbiter of said Justice.

Without an alternative definition, (dare I say "originalist"?), well-reasoned and clear, the re-definition of the word succeeds by default, and much is lost.

I'll say it again. Words mean things. Protecting those meanings, and insisting on the proper usage of words, is an important front in the defense of Western Civilization, IMHO.



Perhaps, as a part of the discussion, we might address the question of expanding that portion of the electorate that is, and continuously seeks to be, "better informed," since that would seem to me to be a more critical factor than several that have been examined?


I eagerly await further illumination!

Posted by: Paul A.


Paul,

There is so much ground covered above I found this point of your's most significant and easiest to comment on. If anything gives me pause about democracy its this issue.

My first question often to people is what are your sources. That can tell you a lot.

Problem is most people have given up on the system as they feel their vote doesn't count. I think this goes back to money controlling the message and controlling the media.

Other countries have much shorter elections, much less money involved in elections, more diverse media, more informed citizen and by no coincidence far greater voter turn out.

Sorry for this but this George Carlin monologue states the problem as only he can.

George Carlin....vulger content alert! But otherwise very good IMO.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dy4Tg_uR_Bg



I agree that an engaged and educated citizenry is necessary for a healthy democracy, but there comes a point in the history of every civilization where decadence sets in. When the pursuit of luxury and leisure replace virtue as the ruling ethos, that society is due for a fall. Gibbon records that when the Vandal hoard appoached Rome in AD 455, the able youth of the city refused to man the walls. The city surrendered, was subjected to fourteen days of pillage, and its population carried off into slavery. To paraphrase VDH on the subject: The empire fell because its citizens forgot what it meant to be Roman.

Even a cursory look at western civilization reveals many similarities with the past. America has abandoned her democratic principles and entered a stage of oligarchy, more properly a plutocracy, where the population has been disenfranchised by its own indifference and desire for distraction over substance. Into the power breach have moved new players: pollsters, political handlers, pundits, media types, lobbyists, and bagmen to seal the deal with cash. No reform is possible. Witness the last attempt at campaign finance reform. Money is power and it will find its way always into the hands of those who desire power.

Europe is even worse off having succumbed to a state of absolute decadence. The populace has been bought by socialist politicians who promise reward without effort. Affording a welfare state means downsizing a nation's military to the point of impotence. But then what need for a military when the state media has declared there is no threat? Europeans are no longer capable of recognizing the threat much less martialing the spiritual resources to fight it. It's a Roman redux circa AD 455.

Is the West doomed? The demographics have reached a point where recovery in the long term is impossible. But that does not mean America cannot fight the good fight in our lifetime. Even in decline, the Byzantine Empire showed flashes of its old glory and vigor. America is most certainly under assault, both from within and without. While the urban population has settled into a state of absolute decadence, the provinces remain strong. The strength of any empire rests in the provinces. We are strong enough to ward off any threat in the near term, but the long term is unknowable.

The world is moving from a system of nation-states to a globalized society. This move has the potential to end the scourge of war for all time, but at what cost? I see equal potential for a worldwide tyranny. Where lie the interests of elite plutocrats who take shelter in Bermuda and have no loyalty to a populace or national culture? Why would such people care one way or another if the US-Mexican border were suddenly dissolved? No one can see the endgame in this process. It could be for the better, but I think much will be lost in the process.

God save the Republic!



Don't rewrite your essays just because some people have trouble getting their heads around them. If you do that people will nitpick your essays until you find they are not worth writing anymore.

Many a writer has been run off by the nitpickers, don't become another one.



"It would help our understanding of the problem if people would cease confusing liberty and freedom. These words are not interchangeable. Freedom is a condition, whereas liberty is a political ideal. Our constitution was designed to secure the blessings of liberty upon ourselves and our posterity. It says nothing about freedom. Patrick Henry did not exclaim, "Give me freedom or give me death." That statue in the harbor is not the Statue of Freedom. It would be nice if we learned how to say exactly what we mean."

Cooper's Commentaries Vol 12 #5



“If you believe in the idea of Universal Health Care, for example, you believe that I have an obligation to work harder to not only pay for my own health care, but also for that of the next guy who is either unwilling or unable to do so for himself. Is that justice, or is it envy, or laziness, or lack of responsibility, or just plain avarice? That’s up to you.”

The ‘high” philosophical points are well argued above . . . I want to comment on two things (sub-point or, more accurately, one example used in support of Bill’s point and one comment from “muirgeo”)

“Universal Health Care” (does that mean if I am injured on the moon or on my way to Mars that I am automatically covered??) usually is meant to make sure that someone who can’t afford health care has access . . . the problem is that (like most things) the IDEA and the REALITY are two different things . . . it has been my experience (and this is not meant to mean EVERY INSTANCE) that those who require, 1) pre-natal care, 2) emergency care for children (whether it is a true emergency or just the most handy place to take a sick kid), 3) emergency heart attack treatment, etc. usually, 1) have no business being pregnant in the first place (too young, not married, no idea how to afford the kid), 2) has too many kids they can’t afford and no parenting skills or common sense, 3) mistreated their body, is obese, eats terribly or smokes and could give a rat’s behind when these things are pointed out to them), etc . . . so the problem is usually compounded by the complete and total lack of a sense of responsibility which is a major component of both Liberty AND Justice (think about it) . . .

My other point is directed to “muirgeo” with his list of quotes . . . I think that everyone is aware of the fact that them that has both gets and wants to keep . . . there has never been a system where that was not true . . . he warns Bill to keep some thoughts in mind before he “rewrite” and adds,

“ . . . An issue so important we fought a revolution over it. In general we'd argue that shared prosperity is a wanted desire and that the huge income inequalities as we've seen grow ever since Reagan are not based on merit but in fact based on abuse of power and abuse of our democratic and political institutions.”

Those “huge income inequalities” are just what the big **they** have always had and will always have in the future . . . face it , some people have the wealth or the where-with-all or the talent (or the sheer desire) to amass fortunes and they will do so . . . it just so happens that in our *society* we are allowed to try and compete to join the club and we all end up at some point between here and there (or not) but at least we have the **freedom** to try . . . any attempt to impose the right solution to the imagined problem of *too concentrated* wealth through governmental action (other than prosecuting real crime) makes it that much harder for us to try and join the club . . . that’s the distinct difference between the liberal (political def) point of view and the conservative point of view (there are lots of others, but that the one that applies to what I’m saying) . . .

. . . ultimately, both Liberty AND Justice are best served by the statement made by the ultimate essayist, given as a commandment (which is another way to describe REALLY GOOD ADVICE) that says “Love thy God with all your heart, mind, etc . . . etc . . . and love thy neighbor as thy self . . . “ which does two things, 1) loving God takes your eyes off yourself (a GOOD thing, we get into most of our trouble while fixating on what WE want) and, 2) makes sure – if we follow the advice – that we do not injure anyone (intentionally) while exercising our freedoms and also insures that we have an accurate sense of what justice really is . . .



Sebirch
“Love thy God with all your heart,.."

If Truth is God, than I agree.
People can make Gods out of anything and everything.


I thought the ultimate essayist said, before He left us, "Love one another", because He took sin out.
Which begs the question: why do the Christian religions still hold us to sin when He doesn't?



Bill,

Liberty means you get to do what you want. Justice means society gets to do what it wants.

Every society has some liberty, and every individual wants some of the things that society wants. So liberty and justice are not always and everywhere in conflict.

But there is a fundamental rivalry or conflict of interests between what an individual desires and what society desires.

What your essay does is identify this rivalry of interests, and assert that America has found a pretty sweet spot on the spectrum between anarchy and totalitarianism.

And then you make another point which is not so much about balancing the claims of liberty and justice. It is about recognizing that no matter what our ideas are about politics and economics, someone else can look at our ideas and say, "You're just advocating your selfish interests!", and at least nine times out of ten, there will be some factual basis for such an assertion.

By recognizing the fact that others may not perceive us to be as pure or disinterested as we are likely to perceive ourselves, we are hopefully increasing our empathy for those who disagree with us, and increasing our willingness to be personally humble when defending our ideas. We need to be civil and respectful in debate or conflict, except in some of those rare cases when civility and respect are not about to be reciprocated.

I think that this tangential point is the real, somewhat hidden, theme of your essay. Reform the world, because the world needs it, but don't take it personally or nurse a grievance when other people express skepticism.


As for liberty versus justice, I think one key to finding a reasonable balance is, as you suggest, to be flexible and willing to take into consideration what other people think and want.

By engaging others, though, we are prone right away to give too much weight to the justice end of things at the expense of the liberty end. To correct this tendency, we need to factor in at least a little extra liberty to make sure we don't negotiate too much away to society.

For example, tax me, but show me exactly what you're spending the tax revenues on, and cut out any spending that seems only borderline justified from a cost/benefit point of view.


But the most important thing of all, in my opinion, for helping society find the right balance is to nurture one's own talents and character, and encourage everyone else to do so.

If you and I and all our neighbors commit ourselves to working hard and being productive people and citizens, then that is the way to build a happy and healthy community and to help keep the country on the right track.

After all, if you and I can learn how to take care of ourselves, that makes it a lot harder for others to claim they can't manage things without being subsidized.



seems this article touches on how much "cultural common ground" on definitions we have lost over the decades. People have conflated "ethics" with "morality"(i.e. in my book, the moral choice may not be the ethical one - ethics are defined by man, morality is defined by transcendent authority, whether that authority is God, Allah, Vishnu, Odin, The flying Spaghetti Monsters or the big black of the universe, we have folks running around supporting their "different" definitions of freedom (and as one poster pointed out, we may have differing understandings of the political ideal of liberty, but freedom is a transcendently defined condition)

The big change was the progressives of the early 20th, Rawls, Dewey et al...with notions of collective responsibility (to me if everyone is responsible, then no one will be, because they'll all assume someone else has it covered) and its twin collective rights, a new social contract of positive liberty (entitlement to freedom from want), and a notion that man defines his own "morality" through defining (an ever changing, it seems) ethics (and then we get things like Al "no controlling legal authority" Gore.

(ironically it was the old Dungeons and dragons that understood teh distinction in "alignments" good and evil represented morality and lawful and chaotic represented ethics - chaotic good was a noble alignment - but now in literature "chaos" has been used as evil by proxy)

I posit that all us variously "righties" believe three basic things in common:

1) we think there are only ever two entities to consider , the individual and the state - all other groups and collectives may serve for analysis, but should not be the recipients of social policy.

2) we don't create government to do things for us, we create government for the purpose of providing an environment where we can do things for ourselves.

3) There are no political solutions, just political trade-offs. TANSTAAFL.



Thank you Bill for being a true citizen of the United States of America.

You are what the country is all about and I thank you for being part of it.



muirgeo: The biggest problem I see today is that the economy and people of money run the government. It should be the people running the government.

Uhmmm ... I'm not sure of what you're saying here ... in your universe, is the government peopled by robots? or aliens? or?

The problem that we have, as has been stated (almost, but apparently not quite) sufficiently above .. is that the government is created by, populated by, and supported by people. Worst of all, the part o fthe government that should least be subject to human thoughts and desires - the judiciary - is populated by, and run by, people with no mandate to have usurped the power that they have.



Doug Loss,

Look more carefully. I did NOT say the Hildebeest and the Breck Girl were altruists, I said they CLAIM to be altruists - and your response illustrates my point. "Altruism" is often (frequently?) the camouflage worn by authoritarianism.

muirgeo,

Others have subjected your comments to thorough analysis, and pointed out many of the logical lacunae inherent therein (actually, in many cases, as a number of the commenters pointed out, resulting from the Left's continuing campaign to redefine concepts like "equality" and "fairness" and "justice" to fit their own, goal-oriented agenda), but there is one particular assertion of yours I must take exception to - that there is an "unhealthy" income disparity in the United States, which originated with Reagan (?!?!?!???!?!), and which the government must "fix."

First, the United States is the FIRST SOCIETY IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND in which one of the greatest health issues among the poorest clases is obesity. Last statistics I saw indicated that something like 90+% of all households in the US have color TV's, phones, etc. IF there were fabulously wealthy people in the US, and a significant percentage of the population lacked the NECESSITIES of life, I MIGHT grant your premise that there is an "unhealthy" income disparity. As things stand, I reject your premise. Prove to me that (i) there is currently an income/wealth disparity in the US which is, in historical context, out of proportion to all, or at least most, other socities/periods in human history, and (ii) this income/wealth disparity is somehow "unfair" (and define your terms, so that I know what you mean by "fair").

Then, develop for me your governmental "solution" for this (at this point, entirely hypothetical, and, IMHO, non-existent) "problem," and why you believe your solution won't be worse than the "disease" you are trying to cure.

Hell, yes, Bill Gates has RIDICULOUSLY more money than I do - and I think most of his softwares sucks nuts. But NO ONE forces you to buy software from Bill. Warrent Buffett has WAY more money than I and my 100 richest friends put together will ever have - because he's one of the smartest investors in history. Explain to me how EITHER of these results is "unfair"???? "Unfair" to whom, exactly??? And, if your "solution," in any way, shape, or form, involves coercing money away from Gates and Buffett to give it to some "unfortunate" soul (who likely made a lot of bad choices in his/her life), exactly how is that "fair."????

Einstein was, and Stephen Hawking is, far smarter than I will ever be. Why isn't that "unfair"?? Are you going to give me 10 or so of their "excess" IQ points? Michael Jordan is stronger and more agile than I could be if I worked out for the rest of my life. I feel discriminated against!!!!! Give me his jump shot!!!!!

This is why many of us on the right find liberal theories so laughable - they combine total illogic with near-total impracticality. But feel free to show me why I am wrong.



Flagwaver,

I'll be consise for starters. Do you like the MediCare part D drug bill?

Did you think it was/is a good idea?

Do you know the story of how it came about? Do you think it was/is fair?

If you want we could move on to the Farm Bill and Subprime loans and the Ambassador to the Netherlands.



muirgeo,

Gimme a hard one. No, I don't think the MediCare part D drug bill is a good idea, nor do I think it is "fair."

Subprime loans? To quote Herbert Hoover, "They hired the money, didn't they?" - If people are such economic morons (or gamblers) that they got themselves into a bind, why is that my problem??? (Yes, if they WERE fraudulently induced into accepting a loan, different issue, but most of the people having problems with subprime loans weren't "fraudulently" induced into anything; they were just stupid, and/or greedy, and/or bad gamblers). Equally, if some idiot bank or mortgage company made a bunch of bad subprime loans which are now in default, and are losing their @$$es, this is my problem why, precisely??

Look, I understand (not agree with, UNDERSTAND) the urge of the Left, upon seeing what they perceive as a "problem," to jump in with both feet, and "fix" the "problem."

The rub is, (i) most of what the Left perceives as "problems" are simply instances of Darwin at work - some people just aren't as smart, driven, hard-working, successful or, hell, lucky as others - SO WHAT?, (ii) when the Left DOES perceive a "problem," their "solution" always seems to involve government intervention, and/or new taxes, and/or regulation, etc., (iii) most of their "solutions" are, in FACT and in practice, worse than the "disease" they are trying to cure, and (iv) last, but not least, the Left's answer always seems to involve ME being taxed to support YOUR bright idea. When I see what I perceive as a problem, I find a private charity that is addressing same, and give them time and/or money. Look up the "Alexandria House" in Los Angeles. A real solution to a real problem, no government involvement, and almost 100% of every dollar ACTUALLY goes to help these people.

The Left's "bright ideas"? Not so much.

Welfare? Pretty nearly destroyed the Black nuclear family. School busing? Actually INCREASED urban segregation. Dept. of Education? We are now spending more (even on an inflation-adjusted basis), and achieving less, than at any time in the history of US public education. ADA? Yes, there are curb cuts, and more accessible bathrooms. But, because employers KNOW what they are letting themselves in for if they hire someone with a "handicap" (or, as I guess is the PC version, is "differently enabled"), they will, to the greatest extent that they can without obviously violating anti-discrimination laws, avoid hiring "handicapped" people. So, are the handicapped "better off" with curb cuts, and no jobs? Kyoto? Don't make me laugh. Not ONE SINGLE COUNTRY that has signed Kyoto has complied with it, and even the "global warmists," like Al "Private Jet" Gore admit that Kyoto, even if fully implemented, would have little or no effect on "global warming."

The Left screamed bloody murder when the Republican Congress forced Clinton to accept Welfare reform. There were no end of horror stories about what the consequences would be. Actual results? Fewer people on welfare, more "working poor," lower poverty rates. Do you hear anyone from the Left saying, "Hey, we were wrong. Sorry about that." Hell, no!

Being a "person of the Left" means that, because you had "good intentions" (and remember what the road to hell is paved with), you aren't responsible for the adverse (and, IMHO, predictable) results of your quixotic urges. "But I was TRYING to help!!!" Yeah? So what? You made the situation WORSE - and you NEVER apologize, NEVER admit you were wrong, and NEVER change your ways.



I want to be the Ambassador to the Netherlands!
Actually, I want to be Ambassador to Hawaii.

As I understand the Part D drug bill, a participant must sign up with a carrier which acts as the middle man between the pharmacy and the government.
The term "Bastard son of a thousand maniacs" comes to mind.



Actually, muirgeo,

Let me expand on my prior answer. What I am about to say is implied in what I posted, but could have been stated better.

Another shot:

If you are conservative, here is something generally approaching what your analytical process is when confronting a "problem:"

1. Is it REALLY a problem? If so, is it a problem of certain individuals? If so, isn't it probably better for them to learn to deal with it?

2. OK, so I've (reluctantly) concluded it is a true "societal" problem (i.e., it is a "problem" resulting only in part from individual actions or bad decisions or poor performance, and there are actual, structural issues which interfere with the ability of the affected individuals to solve their own damn problem). What's the "solution"? Nine times out of ten, a private charity will "fix" a problem more surely, and FAR more efficiently, than any government program could hope to do (c.f., Alexandria House). So, find a charity addressing the problem, and give money and/or time.

3. You VERY reluctantly conclude (and this almost never happens) that individual effort and private charity are not sufficient to address the problem. Someone has proposed a government program to address the "problem." First, very simple, question: What are the chances that the damn program will work, in the first place? (Usual answer, given the "efficiency" of government? Slim, and none - and Slim just left the building.) Second question: What are the chances that the "unintended consequences" (note that I did NOT say "unanticipated" consquences, since, in most cases, anyone smarter than a doorknob would have anticipated them) will be WORSE than the problem you are trying to address? (Usual answer? Substantially higher than 50/50.)

Conclusion: Go home and pour yourself a nice big dram of a good single malt, and read a book. The world ain't perfect. The world ain't even "fair." Bad things happen to good people, etc. etc., et ad nauseum cetera. You can't fix all the world's "problems," and most efforts to do so result in a net increase in "problems."

The left's approach?

1. "Oh, my God! That poor family doesn't have health insurance! That's NOT FAIR!!! The Government should DO SOMETHING!!"

2. Government passes law (c.f., MediCare Part D) "fixing" all or some portion of the problem. Solution is ALWAYS (i) poorly thought out, (ii) far more expensive than promised, (iii) requires a bureaucracy to "implement" the solution, (iv) is DRAMATICALLY inefficient, and (v) creates, encourages or subsidizes some OTHER adverse result which is as bad as, or worse than, the original "problem."

3. Conservatives point out flaws in the "solution." Liberals scream like scalded monkeys - "You're MEAN!!!! You're not COMPASSIONATE!! At least we're TRYING to do something!!!"

4. Problem continues, and grows, along with the "unintended consequences." Liberals hie themselves off to solve their newest "problem," the government bureaucracy tasked with implementing the solution grows by leaps and bounds, the "unintended consequences" get worse (and frequently get their own progam and bureaucracy to address them).

4. IF the Conservatives (those few of us who actually exist) manage to stop, reverse or at least redirect the train wreck started in 1 through 3, above, the Liberals scream bloody murder, and call us names. When our redirection actually improves the situation (c.f., Welfare reform), Liberals are amazingly silent.

Being a liberal means not believing that individuals are able to, or are RESPONSIBLE FOR, solving their own problems. Being a liberal means that you approach every problem with the same solution - more taxes and government programs. Being a liberal means that, when it DOESN'T work (and, indeed, makes things worse), you have no responsibility for either your quixotic "solution," or its adverse consequences. Why? Well, you had "good intentions," of course!! You were TRYING to fix the problem.

Q: If the government solves all of your problems (even assuming it could), what does that teach people, and what behavior does it encourage?

A: It teaches you to rely on the government, and it causes people to become government wards.

If put in a position where they are unable to rely on "government assistance" (whatever form that takes), people become remarkably adept at solving their own problems.

Well, at the end of the day, even though I can demonstrate all of the above with clear, emprical evidence, it is irrelevant. The Left's belief in government solutions isn't a rational policy position; it is a belief system akin to a religion. My folks on the other hand? Well, as my dear, departed Daddy used to say, "Get HELP from the government?!?!?! The government could f*** up a one-car parade! How about I just help myself?"



To disagree with Flagwaver just a bit.
I believe there should be a "social safety net" to catch those that, for whatever reason, cannot care for themselves. But the focus should not be on caring (governments can't care) but only on providing the basics and enabling that person to get back in shape to provide for themselves.



Proteus;
You are essential to the growth and repair to this group of animals. No disrespect intended. I am glad I came across your essays several years ago.
This essay and its comments are certainly a wonderful collage of thoughts on the question of whether we want freedom and justice.

I would hope that 'justice' prosecuted or atoned were 'just-if-I'd' had to be on either side of that law.

I have come to like the way that John Reuben puts it in the start of the song "Freedom" by the Katinas off their album "Roots"
In this I think one could certainly substitute the word liberty and liberated for freedom and free...

"Freedom is not the ability to do what you want to do.
Freedom is not the ability; the right to do what I want to do.
It is the Power to do what you should do.
Freedom is the freedom to love and not hate,
thats when you are free.
If you can't love and can't forgive you are not free."



" ...the Left's answer always seems to involve ME being taxed to support YOUR bright idea." Flagwaver


I just gave you an example of an "answer" from the Right that stole from you to make other people rich off your tax dollars and you agreed with me. That is one on a nearly infinite number of examples of government abuse from the RIGHT costing the average tax payer his hard earned bread to pay for corruption, cronyism and to increase the wealth discrepancy among the hardworking middle class and the power elitist.


Then you went on to question how the sub prime mess doesn't effect you...... indeed you don't even know when you're being pick pocketed.... that's a problem but again this occurred on the Republicans watch and in the name of deregulation.



Flagwaver,


I agree with many of your criticisms of the left. Actually I'd consider myself a moderate.

But the difference between those on the left and those on the right, IMO , is that we on the left do not fear government if indeed it is government of by and for the people.... that's like being afraid of your family.

We on the left understand that no man is self made and that we are all interdependent on each other through the institutions of society. The right has an unrealistic fear and disregard for the good government can do and an over optimistic belief for their perceived degree of independence.



muirgeo | December 3, 2007 7:40 PM --

With all due respect.

I find fault in broadly painting conservatives with a large brush spattered in the mess that results from a too-active legislative body, regardless of which Political Party may be in the majority at a given time.

Simply because particular legislation may result from a Republican, ("right"?, "conservative"?), Congress, hardly makes that legislation, or the consequences thereof, the sole responsibility of that majority party in "power" at the time of passage. Being most generous, the legislative process is a messy affair, entirely more dominated by politics than the core principles of one ideology over another. Compromises occur, oftentimes for the wrong reasons with the wrong results. And just as importantly, core principles can be abandoned, as I believe happened to the Republicans prior to 2006, and which, (also IMHO), led to the drubbing they absorbed in 2006.

In that vein, my opinion is that Medicare Part D as enacted hardly qualifies as an example of something that Flagwaver (or any other conservative arguing core principles) need defend, since there really are very few core conservative principles embodied in that legislation, as I understand it. Frankly, I consider that (Medicare Part D) more of a "red herring" than a valid argument. It may have been passed in a Republican-majority Congress, but it is certainly not the embodiment of conservative core principles as espoused in this thread by Flagwaver and others.

I tend toward the same thought on such huge, complex issues as Farm Subsidies and most other "real world examples" of the implementation of "Republican" so-called core principles. By the time of final passage, one is most often very hard-pressed indeed to find conservative principles intact.

On the other hand, when progressives achieve their tax increases, program expansions, and new entitlements, the values of the opposite side are truly evident, are they not?

Hmmmmmm, isn't that a conumdrum? Oh well, life isn't fair. ;=)



muirgeo | December 3, 2007 7:54 PM --

My apologies, and not to be picky, but I just noticed another small conumdrum, to wit (emphasis mine, added for clarity):

"Actually I'd consider myself a moderate." followed almost immediately by:

"But the difference between those on the left and those on the right, IMO , is that we on the left..."

Just curious... ;=)



muirgeo | December 3, 2007 7:54 PM --

one last little tidbit... You ended that particular post with,

"We on the left understand that no man is self made and that we are all interdependent on each other through the institutions of society. The right has an unrealistic fear and disregard for the good government can do and an over optimistic belief for their perceived degree of independence."

In my mind, that leaves no doubt where you truly fall on the political spectrum, and it is not "moderate" by my reckoning.

I would argue that,
1.) Given the "right" balance between what has been called freedom in this thread, and properly defined justice, then every man is self made,
2.) Any "unrealistic fear and disregard for the good government can do" that the so-called right displays in your opinion, is largely the result of a very real understanding of the harm said "well intentioned" government too often does.
3.) There's another rather broad brush being used, no?

Again, and certainly, with all respect, Sir.



D4 ... we used to have a very effective safety net. It was called a workhouse. People that were unable to manage their lives were given a bed and meals in exchange for drudge work. It was not very desirable and a last resort ... which worked well to encourage people to learn to manage their affairs.
The current safety nets (especially those in Canada that I'm more familiar with) encourage being a loser - they reward you with unearned money to keep your inept life wobbling forward.
As noted in comments above - unearned -- and apparently endless -- charity does not lead to people becoming productive ... it leads to a way of life.
Before government safety nets took away any reason for other nets to exist - family and church took care of providing safety nets. Methinks it was a better world - socially - then.



Muirgeo,

Rather than argue principles (and BELIEVE ME, the "Right" is not AFRAID of government - we despise it, we know it for its INEVITABLY incompetent self, but we DON'T fear it), let me issue you a challenge:

Name me ONE government program which meets ALL of the following criteria:

1. Was devised to address a REAL problem;

2. Actually made the problem it was designed to address better;

3. The unintended adverse consequences thereof were not worse than the original problem it was designed to solve; and

4. It is even REMOTELY CLOSE to being as efficient as the private-sector alternatives it took the place of.

Support your answer with some evidence.

I submit that you CAN'T do it - because there is no such program. And THAT'S why we on the "Right" so despise government. As my dear Daddy used to say, "Government can f*** up a one-car parade." And we're realistic about that. Just because there are some things (national defense, for example) which of necessity must be done collectively, doesn't mean that collectivism is a good answer for ANYTHING. We're human beings, not ants. We're designed by millions of years of evolution to be ornery, cantankerous, individualistic loners. Don't mess with Mother Nature.



Daddyquattro (and, if I'm interpreting your handle correctly, welcome to the club. I've got 4, too),

Define "social safety net" for me. I may, or may not, disagree that we should have one. What I may quibble with is what form it should take. The "workhouse" was one answer. Private charities are another. There's a great old "speculative fiction" story out called "Riders of the Purple Wage." Go read of it, for it is good.



I have not advocated for a weaker government as weakness in authority only tends to invite ridicule and contempt.

What I advocate for is a sharply reduced range of Federal programs, agencies, departments, subsides etc...

The primary duty of the Federal Government IMO is the defense of the realm. This duty would include management of the Armed Forces, conduct of diplomacy and the ability to secure territorial borders. It should also moderate disagreements between the states in terms of interstate commerce, but it has abused that function so thoroughly that I believe a new referendum on the scope of federalism is in order.



I tend toward the same thought on such huge, complex issues as Farm Subsidies and most other "real world examples" of the implementation of "Republican" so-called core principles. By the time of final passage, one is most often very hard-pressed indeed to find conservative principles intact.

On the other hand, when progressives achieve their tax increases, program expansions, and new entitlements, the values of the opposite side are truly evident, are they not?

Hmmmmmm, isn't that a conumdrum? Oh well, life isn't fair. ;=)

Posted by: Paul A.

No Paul you don't just get to say things without supporting data.

Republicans spend more and on stuff that goes more to special interest then improving the over all condition of the country...especially the middle class.

You find one bill proposed by the Republicans during Bush's first 6 years that was aimed at helping the middle class and I'll be amazed. I can find many that the new congress has introduced only to be filibustered by the republicans who's only hope is to make it look like the democrats did nothing .

On spending:

http://home.comcast.net/~markthoma/Graphics/federal-debt-GDP.jpg

It's untrue that the democrats are the big spenders.



1.) Given the "right" balance between what has been called freedom in this thread, and properly defined justice, then every man is self made,


Posted by: Paul A.


I simply don't believe that to be the case and thus that may be what makes me "left". Be clear though that I am no socialist or certainly not a communist as many on the right like to call people on the left with a demeaning of the words true importance and with out any strict reference to those terms definitions.


Anyway I'm a successful patriotic American. But I couldn't have done it with out the guys who fought the Revolution, the Civil War or WW II or the Gulf Wars. I spent the first 20 years of my life taking from society..from teachers from doctors from fireman from military men. I benifitted from our well organized society and its intitutions. From the treasury , to the local library, from our National parks and the roads I used to get to them. From the public utilites to this here governement created internet.

Indeed I'm no self made man and I owe a big debt to society and am willing to pay my fair share to allow those that follow to have the same oppurtunities as me.

IMO this is a WE society NOT a ME society. We the people...NOT ME the people. Likewise the economy exist to serve the people...the people DO NOT exist to serve the economy.



muirgeo,

re: your last post. Pretty words, but they are null-content. EVERYONE benefits by the positive actions of everyone around them. Go back and re-read "Atlas Shrugged." Ayn Rand was NOT saying (and I am not saying) that I don't benefit by the positive, beneficial actions of others. What Rand was saying, and what I believe, is that the positive impact to society as a whole is MAXIMIZED when it occurs as a result of the unfettered and unforced creativity and drive of sovereign individuals - government, at its BEST, is only a pale and inefficient substitute for the positive works of individuals.

Now, take my challenge - find me that government program that meets my criteria. Again, I submit that no such exists.



Name me ONE government program which meets ALL of the following criteria:

1. Was devised to address a REAL problem;

2. Actually made the problem it was designed to address better;

3. The unintended adverse consequences thereof were not worse than the original problem it was designed to solve; and

4. It is even REMOTELY CLOSE to being as efficient as the private-sector alternatives it took the place of.

Posted by: Flagwaver


-Manhatten project
-Hoover Dam
-The National Park System
-The Federal Highways
-The Treasury
-The Patent Office
-The Transcontinental Railways
-The Apollo Project
-The Internet
-The Judicial System
-Head Start
-The VA
-The FDA
-National Public Radio
-FAA
-SEC

Alot of these aren't perfect but we'd not do near as well with out them.

Now I could also list a ton of items that were privatized by the government and have been total disaters...Blackwater, Walter reed, The Black box voting machines.....ect



We're designed by millions of years of evolution to be ornery, cantankerous, individualistic loners. Don't mess with Mother Nature.

Posted by: Flagwaver


Humans are not solitary creatures. We are social creatures....are whole evolutionary success has depended on it. We'd a long ago been extinct if we went are own way. And just look at you...you have a choice. Have you chosen to live alone in the woods or in civil society?

I think the right is the side that's bucking mother nature.

Interestingly I think there is good evidence that "right" and "left" thinking is genetic/evolutionary. We are ying and yang. Both needed to balance the others extremes.

You guys left to yourselves would be constantly at war and with no good art or music. We would deginerate into a massive drug crazed orgy.....balance is good.



muirgeo,

Good to see you're still here.

No Paul you don't just get to say things without supporting data.

Republicans spend more and on stuff that goes more to special interest then improving the over all condition of the country...especially the middle class.

This confuses me. I was expecting you to follow your statement with "supporting data". Is there some special reason you feel that Paul doesn't get to do this, but that you do?

Also, would you mind publishing your definition of the "middle class"? I've always found this an elusive phrase and am trying to figure out how many people of what income bracket(s) you're including.



muirgeo:

Likewise the economy exist to serve the people...the people DO NOT exist to serve the economy.

It's my understanding that your concept was employed extensively in the Soviet Union and found wanting, so I'm unclear by what you might mean. In what way do you feel that the economy can or should serve the people?



muirgeo,

I see you trotted out all the liberal shibboleths - NOW, show me how even ONE of these programs meets ALL of my criteria. You'll find that, with conservatives, bald statements and "appeal to authority" arguments don't work to well. Assume we're all from Missouri - SHOW us. Just ONE of those programs that meets ALL of my criteria, and back up your assertions.



This confuses me. I was expecting you to follow your statement with "supporting data"
Posted by: qwer


I gave a link that showed massive increases in spending to GDP well correlated with republican presidents. It's very impressive and damming of the tax and spend democrat argument. A more honest assessment would be to call them the borrow (from our kids) and spend even more Republicans.



In what way do you feel that the economy can or should serve the people?

Posted by: qwer

The economy exist because of people and government. We set up the rules and pay the taxes so it can work. Thus it should be set up to the maximum benefit of all.

So when some one tells me they succeeded all on their own I can say. Did you? Or did you have the backing of the USofA court system, our roads, our monetary system? Could you have done it with out a corporate charter or the patent office? How about without the policemen and the military?

Bill Gates IS a very rich man. And deservedly so. But would he (never having served in the military himself) be so if he had served in the military? Would he be if not for hundreds of thousands of grunts getting paid $20K a year to protect his butt and his fortune???


So do you believe that people exist to serve the economy? That's scary thought to me. And sounds more like communism or authoritarianism.



muirgeo | December 4, 2007 1:30 PM --

I am in the process of getting ready for the day, and have minimal time right now, but something jumped right off the page at me in the above post which absolutely screams for a response.

You said,
"The economy exist because of people and government. We set up the rules and pay the taxes so it can work. Thus it should be set up to the maximum benefit of all."

I specifically take issue with the statement that we "pay the taxes so it can work."

I submit to you that taxes do not make the economy work.

The "economy" is. It would exist with, or without, taxes. Taxes certainly effect the economy,
mostly to its detriment. Government regulations ("the rules") certainly effect the economy, again (IMHO) mostly to its detriment.

I will be providing supporting article(s) and extending the arguments as time permits, later today, (tonight, your time, as I am corresponding from China).

And, BtW, I misspelled "conundrum" in a previous post. I blame no one, taking full responsibility.
Best reagrds. ;=)



"I blame no one, taking full responsibility."

What have you done!
A-aghh...My strength is beginning to fade...

...I'm melting...

Damn You Paul...



Dougman | December 4, 2007 3:12 PM --

Sheee willakers!!!
I didn't mean it, Dougman!!! I was just tryin' to cut you a little slack!!!! I'm sorry!!! Don't go... PLEASE don't go!!! Hang On!!!

I blame Dougman for that temporary lapse in judgement! ;=)

Better?



I submit to you that taxes do not make the economy work.

The "economy" is. It would exist with, or without, taxes.

Paul A.


Paul,

Are you telling me you don't ride on the roads and you don't use federal currency but that you are a barterer? You store your cash in a mason jar rather then a federally backed bank....oh wait you don't use the currency....nevermind. The economy you and I are doing so well in exist because of government by the people.

Anarchies have economies too...that is true but I'm guessing not what you're advocating. In anarchies the currency is a big club.

There was indeed a time when there were few rules and the economy existed....indeed. Great lords owned all the land and strict property rights were observed...to the benefit of the few who had land. It was the Dark Ages and only a massive plaque freed the people it didn't kill. Eventually this nation was colonized and people suffered under the economy with "no rules"....then we fought a revolution so we could make our own rules. There may be good rules and bad rules. More rules then some of us like and less then others like. But as long as the rules are made by the people that's the best way in my opinion. And there will always be struggle and compromise between those who want more rules and those who feel they need less rules. But that's the best system there is. Either the wealthy elite make the rules or the people do.



One of my favorite authors, Larry Niven, once came up with a set on axioms for how he thought 'the universe works' and called them Niven's Laws. One of them stated:
"The product of freedom and security is a constant.(F × S = k)",
but recently he has unfortunately begun to show signs of moonbatery, and changed it to say:
"Giving up freedom for security is beginning to look naive."
I guess 9/11 affected each of us differently. Ayway, I agree with his original assesment. We cant go to one extreme or the other, but the balance does occasionally get adjusted one way or the other. Not all adjustments are bad. People bitch about increased security at airports (sometimes for personal gain like that ACLU guy), but I am willing to go through a little more pain in the ass at the airport if it means no buildings will be taken down by the plane I am in.



muirgeo:
I gave a link that showed massive increases in spending to GDP well correlated with republican presidents.

This one?

http://home.comcast.net/~markthoma/Graphics/federal-debt-GDP.jpg

It's untrue that the democrats are the big spenders.

If you meant this URL, please note that I get the following result:

The page isn't redirecting properly

Further, I believe that providing information on debt neither addresses nor supports the assertion of yours about which national political party is the bigger spender. But perhaps the "federal-debt-GDP" is misnamed?



muirgeo:
-Manhatten project

The bulk of the work putting scientific principles into practice on the Manhattan project was outsourced by Gen. Groves to large industrial firms, including DuPont and Kellogg Corp. Most people only remember a few of the key scientists involved.

-Hoover Dam

You may recall that Hoover Dam was built by private companies. That is to say, all of the work was outsourced, or to use your word "privatized".

-The National Park System

As for the National Park System, some of the unintended adverse consequences have been the uncontrolled wildfires of 1.4 million acres inside, and outside, of Yellowstone National Park due to its poor land management -- this burn area amounts to more than 50% of Yellowstone's acreage. And among other interesting meddlings by the System was the destruction of the beaver habitats in Yellowstone.

-The Federal Highways

The Federal Highway system was heavily lobbied for by the Big-3 automotive companies. It was viewed by President Eisenhower as a supplement to railroads for national defense transportation, based on his view of how the WWI German autobahn was used; in fact, it started as the 1956 National Interstate and Defense Highways Act. Without lobbying by Ford, GM, and Chrysler it would probably never have passed. Instead of the 12 year, $25 billion plan, the actual project scaled back the roads length, took 31 years and cost $114 (not adjusted for inflation). And your Federal and State gasoline taxes are still paying for it. I, personally, don't believe that it was as efficient as the private sector could have done.

-The Treasury

The Treasury... did you mean the Federal Reserve? The Treasury has had a number of functions over the years, including running the Secret Service and the IRS (now there's a model lacking in efficiency). The Fed was created in 1913, primarily in response to the 1907 economic panic; and it clearly didn't handle the Great Depression particularly well, nor the 1970s large inflation spike. It was created by a group of Wall Street financiers, including J.P. Morgan and Rockefeller and then sold to Congress by President Wilson.Personally, I think that the Treasury, especially the IRS, could use a good outsourcing.

-The Patent Office

The Patent Office has been accepting patents for software, non-mechanical thought, for decades. This has caused a tremendous loss of efficiency in the economy.

-The Transcontinental Railways

The Transcontinental Railways were initiated as a war-time act during the Civil War, and were completed under President Andrew Johnson to ensure national defense in the face of civil unrest, at the time including a movement for California to secede. The actual construction was outsourced to two newly formed companies: the Union Pacific under the unscrupulous Durant and the Central Pacific under the famous railroad "robber-barons" Stanford, Huntington, and Crocker. Additionally, the building also precipitated extensive unrest with some Great Plains Indian tribes -- war parties and such. So, I'm not clear on what part of this you feel is an exemplar government program.

-The Apollo Project

The Apollo Program, started by Eisenhower and cranked into high gear after Gagarin's space flight three months after Kennedy's inauguration, is indeed a monument to central planning and massive outsourcing. However, I'd bet that a hefty competition prize would have resulted in faster results for a lot less expense -- my personal opinion based on the bookends of Lindbergh in 1927 and Rutan in 2004.

-The Internet

The Internet originated as a national defense project to decentralize computer-based command and control communications. Of course, it was wholly outsourced -- to BBN.

-The Judicial System

The Judicial System. Well, in my opinion this doesn't come close to being a "government program". One might as well talk about "Congress". Now even so, could privatizing a major part of the Judiciary lead to much greater efficiency? I would imagine so. Consider just what Findlaw has done to improving judicial decisions -- and that was an indirect advertising freebie.

-Head Start

Head Start. Where do I start. Over $7,000 per child, on average. A true monument, in the grand Lenin style, to the War on Poverty. It's for preschool children from low-income families, and it's declared intent is to "break the cycle of poverty", or more specifically to improve their K-12 educational chances. For a family of 4, "low income" means up to $20,000 -- except that 10% of the families can have significantly higher incomes.

But that's only if the local Head Start program offices abide by the rules. Here's an interesting anecdote from a social worker with his/her heart in the right place: "If a family had one sibling in the program and then starting making more money and was over income what should we have done with the sibling who normally would have priority status? The answer is buried in the paperwork but we would take the sibling and hope it wasn’t our year to get audited!"

An entire cottage industry has sprung up to take this federal money source. Another interesting anecdote is from a San Diego Head Start office. When faced with a report that said up to 30% of the enrolled kids many not be qualified, "Regina Evans, a Neighborhood House executive vice president, conceded that the organization has problems with record-keeping. But she said her compliance director's analysis was flawed and that the number of children in Head Start who exceed the income rules is actually less than 12 percent, which is close to the federal government's allowance of 10 percent." Meanwhile, more than 4,700 kids are on a waiting list to enroll.

There are plenty more anecdotes. In my opinion, Head Start is not remotely close to as efficient as the private-sector alternatives, regardless of the good it provides.

-The VA

If the VA spends about $70 billion annually and has some 230,000 employees, then the average salary is $304,347.83, not counting expendable resources. But even if we say that they use up $10 billion dollars in non-reusables (drugs, q-tips and all) that still leaves an average salary of $260,869.57. I'm willing to try a side-by-side privatization effort, say via vouchers, just to see if the VA really is as wasteful as it looks.

-The FDA

The FDA has had its successes and its failures (e.g., preventing the European Thalidomide disaster, and oddly preventing terminal cancer patients from trying unqualified drugs). It is unclear to me whether it is close to being as efficient as a privatized version; however, I'd certainly like to see a side-by-side multi-year trial be run for pre- and post-market evaluation of food, drugs and cosmetics.

-National Public Radio

National Public Radio is politically a liberal advocate where private liberal advocacy radio has performed poorly since the end of the misnamed "Fairness" Doctrine. In terms of efficiency, it clearly cannot compete with similar private radio.

-FAA

The FAA has already be partially privatized as a result of the 1981 controller's strike. According to the DOT, the privatized air traffic control towers have been both cheaper to run and have had a better safety record.

-SEC

Parts of the SEC's data processing have been privatized. I'm not sure how well privatization would work, but I'd be interested in seeing a side-by-side competition for a segment of the SEC filings as a trial project.

Alot of these aren't perfect but we'd not do near as well with out them.

I disagree. I believe that without most of "them", we could easily afford better private-sector replacements, and have money left over besides. For the couple that I have seen no hard data on, the SEC and FDA, I think that a trial competition with private companies would be fruitful.

privatized by the government and have been total disaters...Blackwater, Walter reed, The Black box voting machines

Would you be willing to provide some supporting data for your bald assertions about these "disasters"?



muirgeo:
I gave a link that showed massive increases in spending to GDP well correlated with republican presidents.

This one? (An earlier post was blocked, I think because of the full URL, hence I'm breaking this one up.)

home.comcast.net / ~markthoma / Graphics / federal-debt-GDP.jpg

It's untrue that the democrats are the big spenders.

If you meant this URL, please note that I get the following result:

The page isn't redirecting properly

Further, I believe that providing information on debt neither addresses nor supports the assertion of yours about which national political party is the bigger spender. But perhaps the "federal-debt-GDP" is misnamed?



muirgeo:
Are you telling me you don't ride on the roads and you don't use federal currency but that you are a barterer? You store your cash in a mason jar rather then a federally backed bank....oh wait you don't use the currency....nevermind.

Again I'm confused. There are currently private roads. There are currently private currencies. Here, in America. Both compete successfully with the government offerings.

Either the wealthy elite make the rules or the people do.

I don't understand why you want to disenfranchise "the wealthy elite". Seems to me that they (including Sen. Ted Kennedy at $35 million, Sen. Diane Feinstein at $40 million, Sen. Frank Lautenberg at $45 million, Sen. Jay Rockefeller at $200 million and Sen. Herb Kohl at $250 million) should have a say in how the rules are made -- after all, they are members of "the people", too.



Whew! That was close.
I'm O-K now thanks to your First Response CPR.
"It's just a flesh wound" :~}



qwer,

I was waiting for muirgeo to give some support to his assertions before I went through roughly the same litany that you did. Excellent summary.

There are a few other problems with muirgeo's list of government "successes:"

Manhattan Project: In addition to your criticisms, what "problem" was this project designed to solve? I thought the liberals had come to the conclusion that our atomic bombing of Japan was a war crime. Germany was in NO danger of getting the bomb. If the US hadn't completed the Manhattan Project, we could have defeated Japan by conventional weaponry (albeit with MUCH higher loss of life), and (at least arguably) there would have been no nuclear proliferation, no "Mutually Assured Destruction", etc. How is this NOT an adverse unintended consequence greater than the "problem" we were trying to solve???

Hoover Dam - in addition to your criticisms, there are the environmental consequences, the skewing of the markets for electricity through government subsidies, and exactly WHAT problem was the Hoover Dam intended to solve, anyway?

National Park System - yep. Fires, fires everywhere.

Federal Highways - same questions as for Hoover Dam. Private toll roads are built for significantly less money that federal highways.

Treasury - like you, I don't even understand this one.

Patent Office - in addition to your criticisms, why is protecting an invention from competition a government function, anyway??? My econ professor used to call patents "prophylactics against progress"

Railways - Don't know what he's talking about, here. These were built by private companies (with government subsidies, to be sure, but they would have been built in any event, and CERTAINLY with fewer unintended consequences).

Apollo - ditto re: Lindbergh and Rutan. In fact, I believe that, had we encouraged the private sector to go into space, instead of FORBIDDING them to do so, we would be MUCH more advanced in space exploration than we currently are. Even with the influence of government, DoD issues, and subsidies (all of which skew the market and render it less efficient), private industry launches payloads, and develops and employs satellites, for a FRACTION of what it costs NASA to do the same job.

Internet - Probably the closest thing he had to a success story - but the "success" of the Internet has NOTHING to do with the problem it was created to solve (secure, redundant communication for the DoD during a nuclear war). The "success" of the Internet wasn't the RESULT of a government program, and it was NEVER intended. It was a lucky accident, and had nothing to do with the purpose of the original DARPANet.

Judicial SYstem - YIKES!?!?!??!?! Are you freakin' KIDDING me??????? The only system which could POSSIBLY be more wasteful, stupid and illogical than our current judicial system AS IT FUNCTIONS TODAY would be trial by combat. It is a DISASTER, in virtually every way. The Supreme Court can't read the freakin' Consitution, the trial courts can't use common sense, and idiots are allowed to waste both public and private time and resources because they spilled coffee on themselves. It has MATERIALLY increased the costs of everything from automobiles to building new buildings, and enormously increased the costs of health care. Jeebus on a pogo stick!!! If that's his idea of a success, I'd HATE to see a failure.

Head Start. Yeah, well, in addition to your litany, there is also this little item that the "gains" that Head Start students allegedly get in early years vis-a-vis their societal and economic peers who DON'T do Head Start? They totally disappear by the fifth grade. Let me repeat - by grade five, there is NO discernable difference in test scores, grades, likelihood of "success" in school, etc. between poor children who DID go to Head Start, and those who didn't. Now, how, EXACTLY, is that solving whatever problem he thinks it is that Head Start was designed to solve????

VA - Well, if anyone who read the papers over the last few years thinks that the VA is a government "success story," there is little I have to say, other than "May I NEVER have to deal with such a "success" in my life!!!"

FDA - Puh-LEEZE. Other than delaying the entry of useful drugs into the market, the FDA has done virtually nothing that could be remotely considered a success. Thalidomide, Phen-Fen, etc., etc. Not to mention ridiculously poor food inspection programs, etc. Underwriters' Laboratories could do drug testing, food inspection, etc. much better, for a fraction of the cost.

NPR - Now I KNOW he's pulling my leg!! If NPR is a success, I NEVER want to see a failure.

FAA - in addition to all of your comments, I have some experience of the FAA. It is absurdly inefficient, made air travel in the US less efficient for years (until Reagan deregulated), and does NOTHING that couldn't be done cheaper and better by private industry.

SEC. Again, YIKES!!! If the purported "problem" that the SEC was designed to "solve" was fraud on the public securities markets, no one with ANY familiarity with the agency or the markets would consider them a success. Enron? Global Crossing? All of these companies were under their regulation BEFORE the frauds occurred. The ONLY thing that the SEC has accomplished in the US is to make it more difficult to obtain capital, and drive the capital raising process more and more into markets where the American public CAN'T participate (private equity funds and foreign markets). Disaster, which never came CLOSE to solving the problem it was purportedly intended to solve.

Government is a necessary evil for some tasks which need to be done collectively - like national defense. It is inept, inefficient, expensive, and almost NEVER the "best" solution.



Muigero – From your post, copied in entirety below, for convenience:

"I submit to you that taxes do not make the economy work.
The "economy" is. It would exist with, or without, taxes.Paul A."

"Paul,
"Are you telling me you don't ride on the roads and you don't use federal currency but that you are a barterer? You store your cash in a mason jar rather then a federally backed bank....oh wait you don't use the currency....nevermind. The economy you and I are doing so well in exist because of government by the people.

"Anarchies have economies too...that is true but I'm guessing not what you're advocating. In anarchies the currency is a big club.

"There was indeed a time when there were few rules and the economy existed....indeed. Great lords owned all the land and strict property rights were observed...to the benefit of the few who had land. It was the Dark Ages and only a massive plaque freed the people it didn't kill. Eventually this nation was colonized and people suffered under the economy with "no rules"....then we fought a revolution so we could make our own rules. There may be good rules and bad rules. More rules then some of us like and less then others like. But as long as the rules are made by the people that's the best way in my opinion. And there will always be struggle and compromise between those who want more rules and those who feel they need less rules. But that's the best system there is. Either the wealthy elite make the rules or the people do."

Posted by: muirgeo | December 4, 2007 4:36 PM"


With all due respect, Sir.

No, I am not telling you that I neither “ride on the roads” nor “use federal currency.”

Nor am I telling you much of the rest that you seem to ascribe to me.

But I reject the premise that, “The economy you and I are doing so well in exist (sic) because of government by the people.”

I re-direct you to the point I was making in my earlier post. To do so, I repeat the relevant portion, (from said post),

“I specifically take issue with the statement that we ‘pay the taxes so it can work.’"
”I submit to you that taxes do not make the economy work.”

The economy does not exist, nor work, because of "government by the people." Governments no more “create” economies than I can “create” a sunrise.

For example, regardless of my actions, and viewing from any perspective on earth, it is a given that within a time-frame of less than about six months, a sunrise will occur.

By the same token, regardless of the government, an economy will exist in any society.

What I take issue with is the implication that government “of the people” need necessarily, and “for the good of all,” control and manage that existing economy, I assume through taxation and regulation.

I also specifically reject the apparent assumption that ”Either the wealthy elite make the rules or the people do.” Is this truly an “either/or” condition? And if not, are you presenting a red herring argument?

What if both the “wealthy elite” and “the people” do nothing more than has already been done?

Would “the economy” continue to “work?” I suspect so.

And who are these "wealthy elite," anyway, and how do I join them?

Just askin'...



Seems like a good time for the LabRat Manifesto.

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But I reject the premise that, “The economy you and I are doing so well in exist (sic) because of government by the people.”

By the same token, regardless of the government, an economy will exist in any society

Posted by: Paul A.


Sure an economy exist regardless of government. But the question is what kind of economy. Sierra Leone has an economy so do India and Ireland.
Then what is it that makes our economy so successful?

I know of no economy run on a minimalist government as you prescribe that is also an economy I'd want to participate in. Can you name one. The closest thing I can think of is the Old West or Alaska in its early days of the Gold Rush.

You have grandiose ideas of how good things would be with out the government but you can't point to any evidence to support your claim.

The most successful economies that have ever existed are the modern day pluralistic democracies run on a regulated capitalistic system.


Regarding the running of the country by either the wealthy elite or the people the point is that the power of the vote should be shared equally and indeed it is not as the wealthy elite have undo access to policy makers and the electoral process.
When people try to tell me how great a libertarian economy / society would be I ask them to show me even one that has ever existed throughout history or one that does exist in the present.


Finally you said,"And who are these "wealthy elite," anyway, and how do I join them?


Do you have $10,000 dollars to spend on a dinner plate at one of their political fund raisers? If so go on ahead and you'll be able to meet them ...if not....then your not one of them and your input to the political process is somewhat like 5/8 ths of a man if even that.



It is not possible to create, improve or "run" an economy by confiscating wealth from some and then giving it to others. To put it another way, stealing is not a productive activity - it is a destructive activity.

And yet that is precisely and only what a goverment that meddles in the economy does. There can be no question that destruction will result - the only question is "How much?".

The governments that meddle the most destroy almost everything. Those that meddle the least destroy the least - but that can still be measured in billions or even trillions of dollars.

We need government to _prevent_ stealing (and other forms of rights violations), not to perpetrate it.

Those that claim there are "benefits" to such meddling are only seeing half the story at best. They are seeing the stolen wealth or what it finances, but not the act of stealing or what that act stopped from coming into existence.

The most frightening aspect of this is that the economic destruction wrought by government meddling is not the fundamental. The fundamental is the _moral_ destruction.

Those who defend such meddling are in the embarrasing position of having to defend the proposition that stealing is moral.

Mark P.



D4,

Thank you.

Don



muirgeo - re: "Government by the people".

I have been trying to figure out what you mean by this statement off and on for the past couple of days of reading the exchanges between you and the others here. Do you mean that we should be run by a pure Democratic process? That every decision should be made by plebiscite? If so, how would we get anything done besides voting?

Contrariwise, if that is not what you mean, then how is what we have NOT "Government by the people", as it was laid out in the Constitution?

Regarding the "wealthy elite" having undue access to policy makers and the electoral process - Originally, as I understand it, only male landowners were given the franchise to vote (though, Article 1, Section 4 says that each State shall decide the Times, Places, and Manner of choosing Representatives and Senators). When the Constitution was written, that was essentially restricting the election process to the "Wealthy elite".

I submit that the wealthy have more of a vested interest in the legislative process, because they can be affected more by the passing of laws than people with less wealth can. Especially now, when there are so many who believe that they are owed a livelihood, and the wealthy can be pointed to (because of class warfare, whose flames are frequently fanned by the Left) as a source of "free money" for any and all programs that would take from them and distribute it to the leeches on society.

Another point regarding your desire of "Government by the People": When people who are living from the largesse of the Government are allowed to vote on how the Government will spend its money, then they will support any programs that will make their lives more confortable, and more people will take the easy road and join the ranks of the leeches. Once this reaches critical mass (and we are nearly there), all laws will be decided by the non-producers, and the economy and society will begin a downward spiral from which there is no hope of recovery, because more and more burden will be placed on the producers, until they no longer have the will or the means to produce enough to support the non-producers. Heinlein called this the "Bread and Circuses" dilemma - "Once the people learn that they can vote themselves Bread and Circuses, that society is lost."



Flagwaver - While it has been grossly inefficient, especially in recent decades, along with many other flaws, I would say that the Patent Office has a legitimate Governmental function, by protecting the creator of an invention from theft (or at least providing a legal backdrop by which he can recoup the damages done by that theft), Patents encourage those who would otherwise not even try to create new things for fear that their work would avail them nothing.

Again, in its present form, the Patent Office is not performing its function at all efficiently or effectively, but I think the idea of Patents is good. All we need to do is gut the current system, and perhaps have a review of the applications by outside groups which have skills in the area that the invention would be covered by. They could then advise the Patent Office people on whether it meets the criteria of uniqueness and non-obviousness that a Patent is supposed to meet.



WayneB,

If you take the position that an idea, or other "intellectual property" IS, indeed, "property," then it is a legitimate function of government to protect that "property" from theft. To my mind, this leads to two questions: (i) First, OBVIOUS question is, is ANY idea "property"? If not, what are the requirements for an idea to become "property"? (ii) Second question: What is considered "theft" of an idea? If I use your idea, I don't take it from you. You still have the ability to use it. If I find a way to use your idea, perhaps modified, which is better than what you are doing, should the government prevent me from doing that? Just asking.

Whether you agree or disagree with the concept of the government protecting intellectual property, there can be NO QUESTION, factually, that this limits progress, since it prevents people from using these ideas in new and more creative ways.

And, I agree, that way the PTO operates today is ridiculously inefficient. I could tell you stories . . .



muirgeo | December 4, 2007 11:20 PM --

Good Morning, (Evening), Sir!

Please allow me to clarify a few things that may (or may not) have been "cloudy."

Again, for the sake of clarity, I copy from your post:

"I know of no economy run on a minimalist government as you prescribe that is also an economy I'd want to participate in. Can you name one. The closest thing I can think of is the Old West or Alaska in its early days of the Gold Rush.

You have grandiose ideas of how good things would be with out the government but you can't point to any evidence to support your claim. "

First, while I generally subscribe to the belief that "That government is best which governs least," I do not here propose anything near a "minimalist" government or advocate a return to earlier days of near complete laissez faire economic policies. If I projected that, then my bad. Please accept my apology in that case. I was primarily taking issue with the apparent position that governments create economies, which they don't. I do believe they will generally attempt to "manage" and "control" economies as part of the ever-present conflict between Freedom and Justice, the parent topic of this thread.

Put another way, I have no "grandiose ideas of how good things would be with out the government." (emphasis mine). My own opinion is that generally you are correct in saying that:

"The most successful economies that have ever existed are the modern day pluralistic democracies run on a regulated capitalistic system."

I beieve the key words in that expression to be pluaralistic democracies and regulated capitalistic system. Despite concerns we might share about "undue political influence" wielded by the "wealthy elites," (perhaps a topic for another day), I think we can agree that we operate within a pluralistic democracy, or at least a fairly reasonable facsimile of a republic. I think we can also agree that our economic system is a "regulated capitalistic" one.

I believe our principal differences center around the degree of regulation we each believe appropriate.

Flagwaver and qwer have both posted significant lists of examples where the federal government would do well to, in fact, minimalize its involvement. Those have, to date, gone substantially without rebuttal, and so I believe they stand at this point?

For expansion, clarification, and background on my own opinions and position, I will separately post links post this morning to several articles by two contemporary authors whose writings are most illustrative and informative. Those two authors are Thomas Sowell and Walter E. Williams. (I will post the specific links separately to prevent delay in presenting this post). Their articles are archived at TownHall. May I cordially invite you to peruse their thoughts?

A second area in which I perceive we have differences to explore is in the use of our federal income tax system for both "social engineering" and "wealth redistribution." Again, to keep this post (somewhat) brief and (hopefully) focused, I hope to defer discussion of those topics to another series of entries, with your concurrence, of course.

Finally, may I say that I am enjoying this discussion, and trust we can continue to explore the topics in mutual respect and in the absence of enmity.

Respectfully.



A few links to articles on-topic by Thomas Sowell and Walter E. Williams, as promised:

On "Political Solutions":
http://www.townhall.com/columnists/ThomasSowell/2007/10/30/political_solutions

On "Straight Thinking 101":
http://www.townhall.com/columnists/WalterEWilliams/2007/06/27/straight_thinking_101

On "Economists on the Loose":
http://www.townhall.com/columnists/WalterEWilliams/2007/07/18/economists_on_the_loose

On "Stupid, Ignorant, or Biased?":
http://www.townhall.com/columnists/WalterEWilliams/2007/09/19/stupid,_ignorant_or_biased

There are many more interesting articles at the site from which those are listed.

Enjoy with your morning tea (Hey!, Maggie!), or coffee!

Best Regards.



"separately post links post"

D_mn you, Dougman!!! You must be lurking around here somewhere! And healthy again! Turn that cloaking device OFF! Let me SEE you!!!



government of the people .... what a concept.

When you start really low on the bush, you can see how well this works. Local government gets to set local (property) taxes. Usually they have a vested interest in keeping taxes low for people who can vote them into office ... so we get homestead exemptions. When we amass enough wealth to buy a vacation place, well ... we're not residents there, so we can't vote and have no input on the taxes. And ... golly gee ... the taxes are higher (no homestead exemption) for non-residents.
Strangely enough ... all those vaunted services the government offers that muirgeo values so much ... are not provided to those people who pay the higher taxes.

Or, an example that annoys me even more ... visit any city on business and stay in a hotel, rent a car, and fly in and out and see how democratic the taxation is ... Houston is my favorite example ... the last time I rented a car at IAH, I got to pay 100% tax ... yep, the bill was double what the rental charge was ... I was supporting a county, a city, a state, a stadium, an airport. The airport, at least, I was making use of .... the rest? Not so much.

I was quite amused at the list of "success stories". Head start was intended to address the "fact" that poor people had less of a chance in the education system than others? Hmmm ... wouldn't a rational choice have been to do something about the teachers? Head start was just another attempt, as our own dear governor Jennie (in Michigan) baldly stated, of getting the children at an earlier age ... to "educate" (read: indoctrinate) them. Head Start took a problem that didn't exist, and created a monster of a problem. Considering Head Start ... how exactly did we end up with ebonics?

The National Park System is another good example .... what, exactly was the problem they were trying to fix?

But the funniest one of all was listing NPR ... National Propaganda Radio ... which has to be a government program because it would have died a long time ago without constant government input. I really have to side completely with Flagwaver on this one ... I cannot think of a single government department, or project, that isn't wasn't and won't be a boondoggle.



The question came up: Should the economy serve the people or should the people serve the economy?

I think that this is a false dichotomy. I believe that the economy should not serve all the people. Those who are too lazy should be encouraged to work for what they get. Those who are too stubborn to work for someone else should be encouraged to work for themselves, and prosper or suffer accordingly. I'm all for helping my neighbors. I'm against someone I don't know telling me that I have to help their neighbors. I don't think that these beliefs of mine fit into the Procrustean bed this question creates.

Also, a number of claims have been made here about the nebulous middle-class. Given this focus, here's a definition of middle-class families to use (extracted from quintiles for 2004 at pubdb3.census.gov/ macro/ 032005/ hhinc/ new05_000.htm).

The income range for middle-class families is $38k to $78k with an average of $57k. If we restrict to only married-couple families, the income range is $49k to $86k with an average of $65k, so it pays to be married -- an average of 14% extra.

Note that the range can be "explained" by the choice of jobs/careers and especially by the skill/seniority within a chosen career. A young family just starting out will likely earn less than the earnings made after 20 years upward on the career path. This is what I'm talking about when I say, the "middle class".



While your terms are imprecise, I understand your thrust, Bill - in a sense, it's the constant battle between Order (or Law) and Chaos. (but not Good and Evil, that's a different scale)

Pure Order, to paraphrase L. E. Modesitt, leads eventually to sterility and death, while Pure Chaos leads to dissolution and death. Finding the right balance permits life. Similarly, pure anarchy and pure tyranny are merely two sides of the same coin of Evil, in the end.

(To get esoteric, you can even apply the balance of Good and Evil - without the capacity for both, you don't have humans, and you don't have Free Will)



just a parting though that struck me as I was reading the latest response from Paul A. .... muirgeo has made much of trying to avoid undue influence from "wealthy elites". I find that rather interesting as I'm having trouble trying to think of any of that ilk that might be on "our side" (the right). Those having been seen to influence decision making in the past several years -- Gates, Soros, Kennedy and other aforementioned Dem politicians, Buffet, and the like ... all happen to be firmly entrenched on the left to far left. Whereas the vast majority of the middle class he feels is being ignored by the Republicans are firmly centrist to somewhat right.



muirgeo:
The economy exist because of people and government. We set up the rules and pay the taxes so it can work. Thus it should be set up to the maximum benefit of all.

I agree with the first two points. I think in this last point you meant to say "Thus it should be set up to the maximum benefit of those who pay taxes". Right? (I'm assuming that you believe the people who do the the setting up of the rules are already well paid.)




Paul and others gotta see patients here shortly so I can't write as much as I'd like.

Mostly a quick thanks for some excellent and cordial debate.
Too often these become terse and unproductive.

I am a listener to all views my sources are varied and I try to keep an open mind. Heck my first 5 presidential votes were for Republicans or Libertarians.

Thom Hartmann from Air America Radio has a great show. Often his first segment is a lively discussion with a conservative writer or commentator. The discussions are insightful and always cordial. Its very heartening to see such healthy and respectful debate. The world/country needs much more of it.

Anyway, I'd love to try to get Bill onto the show with Thom...he's just the kind of guy who would put in a great discussion with Thom.

Also, Thom guarantees all opposing views go to the front of the phone line unlike many other hosts.

Anyway when time allows I'll try to address some of your well made points.

Regards, Muirgeo




Just a few points about my post from yesterday.
First of all, I didn't write it. The LabRat Manifesto was originally posted here.
It was intended to be the TOS for entering Ejectia!

Secondly, it wasn't posted as an admonition. Quite the contrary. I'm very proud of the level of discourse that happens here. To the point that I'm tempted to play Devil's advocate just to keep Muirgeo from feeling dog-piled.

I just though it would be a good time for a little reminder.

As you were.

-D4



This isn't meant to be facetious, but I wasn't aware that Air America was still a going concern. Did someone rescue them yet again?



This isn't meant to be facetious, but I wasn't aware that Air America was still a going concern. Did someone rescue them yet again?

IIRC, it was sold under bankruptcy to one Stephen L. Green back in February. It's premier star, Al Franken, dissociated himself and is currently running for the Senate in Minnesota. Many of the other hosts are still there, with the highest rated hosts being Randi Rhodes and Thom Hartmann.

Hartmann is an interesting fellow. He's written several books, has an unusual evolutionary theory about the origin of ADD/ ADHD, and is a 911 Truther. Hartmann also has a book on why JFK was "really" murdered, called Ultimate Sacrifice. His 2006 book, Screwed, is about the current Republican war on the middle class, or as the book describes itself:

The American middle class is on its deathbed. People who put in a solid day's work can no longer afford to buy a house, send their kids to college, or even get sick. If you’re not a CEO, you’re probably screwed.

Personally, I'll believe in ADD when reliable quantitative tests for it are actually developed. Also, he may have a different definition of the middle class than I.



I was primarily taking issue with the apparent position that governments create economies, which they don't. I do believe they will generally attempt to "manage" and "control" economies as part of the ever-present conflict between Freedom and Justice, the parent topic of this thread.
Posted by: Paul A.


Yep. You are right. Governments don't create economies. But I'd counter that economies are better off with good government then with bad government and certainly better off then with no government at all.



"I believe our principal differences center around the degree of regulation we each believe appropriate."
Paul A

I'd agree here. Although I'm gonna fall on the side of good regulation is not uncommonly better than NO regulation and obviously better than poor regulation.

But in general my biggest gripes are with regulations, rules and processes that, IMO, give undo favor to those who already have over those who don't.

I think the transfers of wealth that happen in our country happen more before the paycheck is cut than after taxes are paid.

Corporate welfare and white collar crime IMO are far greater problems then social welfare and petty crime.



Time out! Okay, gang, you gotta admit, muirgeo got game. He (she?) is hanging tough against multiple opponents in this match. I like the dude alot. So how about a round of applause? Let's show some appreciation before the next gang tackle. Muirgeo you rock!



The National Park System is another good example .... what, exactly was the problem they were trying to fix?

Posted by: Pete in Midland


I think you could find the answer to this by having a candidate run for office on a platform that included dismantling the National Park system and seeing how and why he lost the election so severely.

Here's a couple of quotes that can say it better then me as to what problem the National Park System solves.


President Franklin D. Roosevelt:

"There is nothing so American as our national parks.... The fundamental idea behind the parks...is that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us."

Wallace Stegner, 1983:

"National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst."


It's true that Walt Disney wanted to develope some of our most spectacular national parks and that Yosemite Valley could have been a useful reservior....THESE are the problems OUR national parks solved.



But the funniest one of all was listing NPR ... National Propaganda Radio ...

Posted by: Pete in Midland


I'd be curious to know what your best sources are.

Multiple studies have found NPR viewers to have a much better knowledge of current issues and a higher general level of education.


One study found that people who listened predominantly to Fox News were something like 60% likely to believe Saddam Hussian bombed the World trade center. While NPR viewers were far less likely to believe the fallacy.

No I'll argue this one a bit with you as its a great example of the success of a government program over a "freemarket" program. For profit news and programming is TERRIBLE.


Gotta go but also NO National Parks have very little to do with forest fires. The rampant excess to sell off our fires for corporate welfare and the poor management practices and now climate change have far more effect.

In fact I think their are several studies that show our Parks and Wilderness areas have had less impact from fire ther private lands and managed public forest.



(i) First, OBVIOUS question is, is ANY idea "property"?

I would hope that anything I had to do the studying and research to create that had not been done before would be considered my property. What incentive would there be to create something new if any other company could tear it apart to see how it's made, and then start making it themselves? Especially if it cost significant amounts of money to develop?

(ii) Second question: What is considered "theft" of an idea?

Actually, I was using "theft" as a shorthand convention for "Deriving economic benefit from the marketing of a product or process which was created by the inventor without his permission". If there were no such thing as intellectual property, one could get richest by employing industrial espionage and doing no actual research on their own.

If I find a way to use your idea, perhaps modified, which is better than what you are doing, should the government prevent me from doing that?

When you were not the creator of the idea in the first place, then yes. If you did not expend the effort to develop it, and merely reaped the benefits from my work, how is that different from someone in your office taking credit for a project that you did all the work on? Is that right?

And, finally:
Whether you agree or disagree with the concept of the government protecting intellectual property, there can be NO QUESTION, factually, that this limits progress, since it prevents people from using these ideas in new and more creative ways.

Actually, I DO question that this limits progress, because I contend that without those protections, there would be no incentive for independent creation of those ideas. True, there would still be the generation of ideas by people working for companies which would then put their ideas into practice using their existing infrastructure, but people are consistently more creative if they have a vested interest in it. People are just not as inspired when they know that their work is going to make someone else richer. In a sense, it's like paying taxes that you know are going to be funding someone on welfare. Why work hard so someone else can reap the benefit?



Multiple studies have found NPR viewers to have a much better knowledge of current issues and a higher general level of education.

One study found that people who listened predominantly to Fox News were something like 60% likely to believe Saddam Hussian bombed the World trade center. While NPR viewers were far less likely to believe the fallacy.

No I'll argue this one a bit with you as its a great example of the success of a government program over a "freemarket" program.

Studies are fun. Here's a quote from one of my own informal studies. Howard Kurtz said of NPR, Washington Post, October 19, 2003:

The ball is hit back and forth, across the net that divides the media landscape, from those who cheer Fox to those who swear by NPR.

And are there other studies which conclude that NPR is biased to the left? Yes. For example, the recent "Project for Excellence in Journalism and Harvard's Joan Shorenstein Center" said:

The anti-GOP attitude also lives on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition." There, Democrats were approvingly covered more than a third as often as Republicans. Negative coverage of Democrats was a negligible 5.9%. It seemed to be reserved for Republicans, who were subject to one-fifth of the program's disparaging reports.

And how about studies of the relative intelligence of rank-and-file Dems vs GOPers -- a recent Pew Research Center study said:
Republicans and Democrats are equally likely to be represented in the high-knowledge group. But significantly fewer Republicans (26%) than Democrats (31%) fall into the third of the public that knows the least.

Personally, I don't rely on others' studies much. :)



BTW, a study that found "people who listened predominantly to Fox News were something like 60% likely to believe Saddam Hussian bombed the World trade center"?

Now, *that* is too funny. Possibly phoned in from Bellevue?



Only the truly powerful ideas get shelved kicking and screaming Bill.
Have you ever heard of the Velocer-Ender PWC brake?
My nightmares come when a little girl dies on a jetski and her father dies two days later. Fifteen miles from my home in Homosassa, Fl.
You disappear for the heart wrench of those you know will be affected by this...time. It's something like defeat heaped on top of the still burning coals of a dream. You hope they will still be smoldering enough to rekindle the fires at daybreak.

You have assembled an army of influencers here. We are not going anywhere. Attention span is long with these. Take a fresh grip.



Okay, gang, you gotta admit, muirgeo got game. He (she?) is hanging tough against multiple opponents in this match.

Indeed.



I'm with Mr. P.
You go muirgeo!
I haven't agreed with you yet.
But I haven't totally disagreed either.
I could site studies that put the average Rush listener in the upper 80 percentile. Maybe.
Google time.



Mark William Paules | December 5, 2007 5:56 PM --

Professor Paules, how can you bring yourself to encourage this?!?!?!

I'm shocked... shocked, I tells ya'!

/sarc (applies to the above, just in case...)

Seriously. Indeed, Mr./Ms. Muirgeo has "game." And I feel certain there is more to be seen!



Morning, Paul A.
Nothing like a good joust, eh?



The compliment having been made, there are just a few little nits...

I quote:

"I'd counter that economies are better off with good government then with bad government and certainly better off then with no government at all."
and,
"Although I'm gonna fall on the side of good regulation is not uncommonly better than NO regulation and obviously better than poor regulation."

Both very general statements that, on the surface, would seem "intuitively obvious," and difficult to counter, although I'm not certain I completely understand the second.

But here I go back to basics, again. Definitions. Detail. And who decides? "Freedom," "Justice," balance.

What is "good" government vs "bad" government? What is "good" regulation vs. "poor" regulation?
And, again, who decides? Because therein lies the power, IM(ns)HO.

Should, or should not "government" be societally neutral, and stay out of the realm of "social engineering"? Am I correct in hearing you position against "corporate welfare," but justify at least some "income or wealth redistribution?" Philosophically, aren't the two synonomous? A corporation is, after all, simply a legal "body."

And just, exactly, what does the word "is" mean?
;=)



daddyquatro | December 5, 2007 8:14 PM --

Indeed, D4... Are we having fun, yet? Wonder what that lonely fella over there quietly watching from the sidelines thinks... Say, doesn't that guy look like Bill's picture???

Dougman, what are you doing!!!
;=)



F-F-F-FREEZING.
BRrr, It's COLD!



why yes, I do applaud muirgeo for hanging in there. I have to admit that in my experience he's quite unusual, a leftie who doesn't just sling and run.

Of course, like D4, I have yet to find myself in agreement with him on anything.

muirgeo, you responded to my question on what problem National Parks solve by responding I think you could find the answer to this by having a candidate run for office on a platform that included dismantling the National Park system and seeing how and why he lost the election so severely.

I'm sorry ... was that supposed to be an answer to my question? I asked what problem it solved, not whether it could now be dismantled.

It's funny, as well, how you choose your studies. I have seen the Err America style polls showing that NPR is unbiased. And I have to admit that I that poll exactly as believeable as most everything on Err America. I won't defend Fox News (other than to say that they appear to be the only media source that even attempts to portray both sides) because I will have to admit ... I don't watch 24 hour news channels. I get my news from as many sources as possible, and tend to weigh the potential validity based on whether it is presented as data (as opposed to cBS style opinion) and the hostory of the source.
I wince everytime I watch the "news" and see that their idea of reporting an event is to interview people who were there or heard about it ... instead of simply reporting facts.

Rather than depend on subjective studies, I find it easier to turn on the radio and listen, and make up my own mind.
I have.
National (left wing) Propaganda Radio.
Taxpayer funded.
Pull the funding and see if it lasts as long as Err America managed to do in any of its 3 incarnations.

I'd still like to hear your definition of "successful" based on the government programs you mentioned.

And once again, thanks for continuing to step up to the bat ... dialogue is actually much more fun (and useful) than being in an echo chamber.



Indeed, muirgeo deserves props for (i) hanging in there, even though heavily outnumbered (I agree with several who noted that Lefties tend to fling poo and run when faced with significant, determined opposition), (ii) conducting a CIVIL debate (again, that Leftie "fling poo" thing), and (iii) being far more rational (even when, IMHO, dead wrong) than is typical for a Leftie.

Good on you, muirgeo!! May your tribe increase!! (I firmly believe that our whole country, and especially our political process, suffer terribly from the INABILITY of the two sides to have a civil, informed, rational debate on most of the topics that divide us - start discussing abortion with a Leftie, and NO MATTER HOW calm you stay, they begin frothing at the mouth within a minute and a half, guaranteed).

So, even though I disagree, sir, I salute you for your efforts, your civility and your willingness to hang in.



A Day to Remember.

Off-Topic, perhaps to a degree. But certainly related to the terms "Freedom," "Justice."

http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/events/wwii-pac/pearlhbr/pearlhbr.htm

An infamous day.



The Dougman strikes again!!!

Here, in China, it is December 7, 2007. My apologies for the "early" post.



Pete in Midland,

Let me retry on the National Park Service. What problem did it set to solve?

It set out to solve the problem of the loss of our natural heritage.

More specific and per the Act of Congress that addressed the issue;

The latter Act states:

"The Service thus established [the National Park Service] shall promote and regulate the use of the Federal areas known as national parks, monuments and reservations hereinafter specified by such means and measures as conform to the fundamental purpose of the said parks, monuments, and reservations, which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." [1]

How can that be bad? What are the alternatives?



A word on Air America Radio. They have no doubt a left bias. Just like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other conservative talk show host they don't deny their bias.

But I listen to them all regularly. Far and away I find Air America way more accurate,informative and well referenced.

Hopefully there are some out there who listen to both sides regularly as I do and we can compare notes.



WOW! Here's a GREAT one. Go to the Sean Hanity web site and look at the current poll.

The question is;

"Iran
The US has known for a while that Iran has been developing nuclear weapons. Now Israel and other countries are showing more concern towards the matter.

How much of a threat do you think Iran is to the United States and our allies?"

Possible answers;

- A great threat
- We should keep an eye on them
- Not too much of a threat


INCREDIBLE! Anyone even care to defend the question as ligitimate in light of the NIE's recently released findings?



tsk, tsk. And JUST when we were all having such a good time complimenting muirgeo.

Let me take the less consequential one, first.

National Parks. Muirgeo, I doubt if many (possibly any) of the people on this board would necessarily advocate dismantling the National Park system. That having been said, (i) you are dead wrong about the impact of the National Park system, and the National Forest system (different agencies, but the same "management" program) on incidences of catastrophic wildfires, so, I would submit, this government program has had unintended adverse consequences which are severe, indeed, and (ii) you ask what could possibly be wrong with the National Park system? It took land and resources out of private hands, and turned it over to the government. There is LITERALLY no way to calculate the positive things which might have been done with these properties, had they not been "warehoused" by the government. Now, each of us can decide for ourselves if the tradeoffs mentioned above are "worth it," but to pretend there ARE no tradeoffs is either being disengenuous, or being naive.

As for the Hannity question, you are missing so many pieces to this puzzle that it is hard to know where to beging. OF COURSE it's a legitimate question, and if you think the NIE (even ASSUMING it is anywhere near accurate, which I'll address in a minute) said, or even IMPLIED that Iran is not a serious threat, you need to read it, carefully.

First, it is a well-known FACT that the CIA and State Dept. have a very strong, institutional "anti-Bush" bias. The two authors of the NIE are NOTORIOUS Bush-haters. That they may have "skewed" their conclusions for political reasons hardly strains credulity.

Second, again, READ the damn thing. All that they said is that they found new evidence which led them to conclude, with a high degree of confidence, that Iran mothballed its nuclear WEAPONS program in 2003. They were unable to state whether or not it had been recommenced after 2005. Iran CONTINUES to enrich uranium to weapons grade (which they publicly ADMIT - Ahmedinijad spoke of "3,000 centrifuges," and the intelligence estimates from sources I find reliable talk about at least double that number). In addition, there is publicly available information (go to Google and spend 15 minutes searching, and you will find gobs of stuff) indicating a high likelihood that Iran purchased nuclear technology and information from that rogue Pakistani nuclear scientist (I'm blanking on his name).

Finally, when the NIE was announced, Israel reacted by making it VERY clear that they felt that the NIE was overly optimistic, and perhaps even "cooked," to achieve a result. They continue to believe that Iran is moving forward with many aspects of their program, if not the whole thing. Most people who follow intelligence matters concur that the Mossad is the best out there. The Israelis believe (with ample justification, IMHO) that they are the primary target of any future Iranian nuke, and they are justifiably skeptical of anything aimed at taking pressure off of the Mad Mullahs.

Heck, even that idiot El Baradei, and the IAEA, have reacted with a degree of skepticism to the NIE - and they were the ones preaching restraint, previously.

Finally, we KNOW (not think, KNOW) that the Iranian government is actively and directly intervening against us in Iraq, supplying weapons to al Sadr's Mahdi Army, as well as al Qaeda.

In light of (i) the indications that the NIE might very well be agenda-driven, (ii) the fact that Iran admits publicly to continuing its uranium enrichment program, (iii) the fact that, even if you believe the NIE (which, frankly, I don't), ALL that it says is that they believe, with a high degree of confidence, that Iran mothballed the WEAPONS DESIGN portion of their program in 2003, and we don't know what the status was after 2005, (iv) the fact that the most capable and most self-interested intelligence service in the world flatly disagrees with the NIE, and even the (ridiculously prone to provide cover to dictatorial regimes seeking nukes, IMHO) IAEA is skeptical, and (v) the fact that Iran, as a government, is actively engaged in anti-US military activity in Iraq . . . in light of all of this, how can you even suggest that Hannity's question is anything but serious and thoughtful?

If this is an example of why you think Err America is "way more accurate,informative and well referenced," I wouldn't brag about it.

Iran is, unquestionably, a threat - certainly more to Israel than to the US, but their active pursuit of both nuclear weapons and ballistic missle technology should concern ANY thinking American.



muirgeo,
I'll take a shot at the how dangerous is Iran question. Recently the Israeli Air Force destroyed a nuclear facility under construction in Syria. Intelligence reports indicate that nuclear material was being shipped from North Korea to Syria to be manufactured into a nuclear weapon. The facility and nuclear material were paid for by Iran. Even without a weaponization program of their own, Iran is still trying to develop a nuclear missile strike capability.

Much like mobilization drove the European players into war in 1914, the attempt to radically change the existing balance of power in the M.E. could have devastating unexpected consequences. Iran is playing dangerous games with the lives of it's own people and apparently doesn't give a rat's ass about them, much less the U.S.A, Israel, or Europe. In this context the NIE is totally meaningless.

When the left claims that we went to war for oil they are at least half right. We went to war to assure the free flow of oil from the region to all who desire to purchase it. Iran can destroy much of the infrastructure in neighboring countries from port facilities to desalination plants and render these areas uninhabitable. Entire populations would be forced to relocate due to a lack of potable water and food deliveries. Iran can accomplish all of this without resort to nuclear weapons. A strong U.S. presence in the region is keeping Iran from threatening it's neighbors in this manner. If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, the U.S would have to neutralize the threat or withdraw from the region. Israel does not have the option to withdraw.
All this info can be verified in open sources.
Best regards~Svin



"(ii) you ask what could possibly be wrong with the National Park system? It took land and resources out of private hands, and turned it over to the government."
Flagwaver


No way. Almost all of the National Park Land was NOT in private hands before being converted to National Parks. It was joint owned by ALL Americans. That's just an untrue statment.


What grounds would anyone have to sell it off to private interest under the objections of the majority ownership?



"There is LITERALLY no way to calculate the positive things which might have been done with these properties, had they not been "warehoused" by the government."


Or the negative things.



"Now, each of us can decide for ourselves if the tradeoffs mentioned above are "worth it," but to pretend there ARE no tradeoffs is either being disengenuous, or being naive."
Flagwaver


We each have and thus my previous comment on some one running for office with selling off the parks as part of their platform. Americans have overwehlmingly decided they favors our National Parks as they are.



muirgeo,

If real estate is not owned by the government, who is it owned by??? Whether the land on which the National Parks are located was, or was not, ostensibly "owned" by the government prior to the dedication of the parks is beside the point. The government gained its "title" to the property by. . . claiming it. Period. "No one's on this property (well, no one other than a few pesky redskins), and no one has recorded a title deed, so its ours." That is LITERALLY how it happened. Had the government not, by fiat, declared its title to that land, who would own it, now? Private citizens would.

And, yes, negative things MIGHT have been done with SOME of the land - but, again, I submit that there is no way for you, or anyone else (myself included) to know, or assert, that the current use is more beneficial than the alternative. YOU, PERSONALLY, may approve of the tradeoff, but on an empirical, quantitative and qualitative basis, that is simply an opinion. Your assertion was, in effect, that no one could question that the National Park system was an unequivocal "good thing," and had no negatives. My point was simply that this is your OPINION, and nothing more.

Now, deal with your (jaw-dropping) assertion that it is indefensible to even suggest that Iran might be a threat. THAT one's a corker!!!!



From the NIE report;
Iran: Nuclear Intentions and
Capabilities

http://www.dni.gov/press_releases/20071203_release.pdf

• We assess with high confidence that until fall 2003, Iranian military entities were
working under government direction to develop nuclear weapons.
• We judge with high confidence that the halt lasted at least several years. (Because of
intelligence gaps discussed elsewhere in this Estimate, however, DOE and the NIC
assess with only moderate confidence that the halt to those activities represents a halt
to Iran's entire nuclear weapons program.)
• We assess with moderate confidence Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons
program as of mid-2007, but we do not know whether it currently intends to develop
nuclear weapons.

Again from Sean Hannity's poll question.


"The US has known for a while that Iran has been developing nuclear weapons."


The NIC is composed of our 14 most signiificant intelligence agencies.

My position does NOT require me to summarily question these peoples motives. The people in the agencies are often conservative and very patriotic.

To put their motives to question over those of a president and a vice president who have been so wrong and so "untrue" is beyond me.



The government gained its "title" to the property by. . . claiming it. Period. "No one's on this property (well, no one other than a few pesky redskins), and no one has recorded a title deed, so its ours." That is LITERALLY how it happened. Had the government not, by fiat, declared its title to that land, who would own it, now? Private citizens would.
flagwaver

Wow. You are really stretching your arguement here. I guess the proper answer to, "... who would own it, now?" would be the Redskins??? The only other option would be that private citizens claimed the land and each started their own little nation????



Wow. You REALLY don't know much about NIE's, do you? First of all, yes, the NIC consists of (basically) all of our various intelligence agencies - but a NIE is written by one or more individual analysts, usually chosen for their knowlege of the subject matter (i.e., in this case, long history on the "Iran desk"). I did NOT question their patriotism - I questioned whether they had an agenda, and whether than might have affected their conclusions. You choose to believe them; I do not.

Your quotation from a summary of the NIE simply reinforces my point - the NIE did NOT say what you implied it did.

Finally, you did NOT address any of my other points, such as Iran's admitted continued uranium enrichment, active military intervention in Iraq, the opinion of the Mossad and even the IAEA that they are skeptical of the NIE conclusions. I repeat - Hannity's question is both timely and thoughtful. Even if you DO believe the NIE, the question stands, and there is MORE than ample reason to ask it.

As for your obvious lack of understanding of my point about land ownership - if the US government had not claimed the land, and acquired fiat title, private citizens would have. Where do you think private land ownership comes from, originally? Claim by what is know as "adverse possession" (frequently codified in various homesteading or resource claim statutes). I repeat - if the government hadn't claimed the land, it would have been claimed by private citizens. You are entitled to your opinion as to whether that would have been "better" or "worse" than the current arrangement.



At the risk of appearing to "pile on," I must jump in here, also.

Consider the implications of the NIE report from strictly a best case/worst case risk/benefit perspective.

I copy below just that portion of the report that Muirgeo presented, for convenience. I ask that you read it carefully for what it does not specifically say:

"• We assess with high confidence that until fall 2003, Iranian military entities were
working under government direction to develop nuclear weapons.
• We judge with high confidence that the halt lasted at least several years. (Because of
intelligence gaps discussed elsewhere in this Estimate, however, DOE and the NIC
assess with only moderate confidence that the halt to those activities represents a halt
to Iran's entire nuclear weapons program.)
• We assess with moderate confidence Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons
program as of mid-2007, but we do not know whether it currently intends to develop
nuclear weapons."


Best Case:
The assessments in the report are 100% correct, and Iran has not been actively pursuing any nuclear weapons capability, neither weapons core (fissionable material) development, nor machining/assembly expertise, nor shaped explosives timing, nor any of the other technical difficulties that must be solved to actually produce a fission weapon since 2003. (But up until 2003 for some time prior, Iran was actively pursuing a nuclear weapons capability, and, oh, just by the way, we have no idea nor do we make any assessment as to how far down the path they got.

Worst Case:
The assesments are 100% incorrect, and Iran is covertly proceeding "hell bent for leather" down the path to a weapon, as the enriched uranium inventory builds.

Given the potenial consequences of either case, are you saying, Sir, that you have the "warm and fuzzies" about the risk posed by Iran to its immediate neighbors, to Israel, and even directly to the United States, and that, therefore, the question is nonsense? Is that what you mean by,

"INCREDIBLE! Anyone even care to defend the question as ligitimate in light of the NIE's recently released findings?"

With all due respect, as always, please lift your head out of the sand, Sir.



Since Flagwaver mentioned the NIE, here's a post at RightWingNews that talks about that, with a quote from John Bolton.



I'm not gonna get side tracked on all these other issues.

My point was that Sean Hannity claimed, "The US has known for a while that Iran has been developing nuclear weapons."


Which is simply not consistent with the best facts/evidence as put forth by the NIC/NIE.

Me and the folks at AirAmerica choose to believe our intelligence officers... Hannity's position and those of you who defend it are on the side of Hearsay and innuendo.

I'm sorry that one victory for AirAmerica IMO. I really don't think I'm the one being unreasonable or irrational.



Heck, even the Washington Post is sounding the "let's not get carried away" note about the NIE.

With all due respect, muirgeo, your reaction, and that of most left-of-center folks I've heard comment on it, has little or nothing to do with the ACTUAL substance and conclusions of the NIE, and everything to do with your dislike of Bush, and agenda to "play nice" with Ahmedinijad and the Mad Mullahs - as opposed to treating them the way they should be treated, which is harshly, indeed.

The NIE (i) doesn't say what you cite it for, (ii) at least bears a substantial risk of being "agenda driven," (iii) bears a more-than-slight risk of being DEAD WRONG, (iv) doesn't address what the status of the Iran nuclear program was at the time it was purportedly mothballed, (v) doesn't address their current intentions, (vi) doesn't address their admitted continuing uranium enrichment program, (vii)is being viewed skeptically by Israel AND the IAEA (and when was the last time Israel and the IAEA agreed on ANYTHING?!?!), and (viii) doesn't say what they are doing, or intend to do, NOW. And you're excited about this why????



muirgeo,

I simply CANNOT let you get away with this nonsense.

"Me and the folks at AirAmerica choose to believe our intelligence officers..."

Since WHEN?????? These are the same intelligence agencies that developed the brief presented by Colin Powell to the U.N., and on which we relied to invade Iraq. Remember, "Bush lied, people died"?????? Don't give me that, "we choose to believe our intelligence officers" nonsense, unless you are prepared to disavow and condemn the continuing Left cant of "Bush lied." End of story.

In addition, my remaining points have NOTHING TO DO with innuendo and hearsay. Ahmedinijad HIMSELF has publicly admitted that Iran CONTINUES to enrich uranium. The Mossad AND the IAEA are skeptical of the NIE. It is a FACT that Iran continues to take an active military, anti-US role in the Iraq war. You may not LIKE what these imply about the NIE, and what it REALLY says and doesn't say, but you can't dismiss them as hearsay and innuendo.

And if you think this is a victory for Err America, I can understand why you claim that it is "way more accurate,informative and well referenced" than right-wing shows - you (like most other lefties) simply believe what you want to believe, regardless of the facts.

And, in this case, if the US based policy on your Pollyannaish beliefs, it would be putting me and mine in serious danger. I hope that W has sense enough to IGNORE the NIE, and keep the heat on Iran. No other policy makes any sense at all.



muirgeo,
"Me and the folks at AirAmerica choose to believe our intelligence officers..."

Ummm...Are these the same intelligence sources that y'all have been denouncing for the past several years about sexing up the Iraq intel?
Give me a break.
Cant have it both ways.
Best regards~Svin



Far and away I find Air America way more accurate,informative and well referenced.

As can be judged from the quality of detail provided by our AirAm supporters on the NIE discussion, YMMV. :)



Cant have it both ways.

Actually, I think that muirgeo *can* have it both ways. It just requires a detailed explanation for the change in believability from the past distrust to the present trust -- if that's what he's done. The fact that it appears wholly opportunistic doesn't mean it really is so. But the lack of explanation for this perceived reversal *does* tend to give credence to that viewpoint.



qwer,
Perhaps you are correct. You usually are. Mayhaps the success of the "Surge" in Iraq has convinced our new friend that the agencies directing our foreign policy are benign and effective as opposed to evil and incompetent. An increasingly large segment of the population seems to be coming to the conclusion that success in the M.E. is possible. I'm sure all the patriots at Air America will soon be on board.
Best to all~Svin



I miss John Bolton. Glad to see his article discussing the NIE in the Washington Post today:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/05/AR2007120502234.html

I give weight to his observations far beyond those of the cloudy opinions fouling Air America, NPR, most of the MSM. Even Hannity and Fox have not yet been as sharp and on point respecting this topic. RTWT.



All wrong again fellas. The administration has you so fooled you are believing THEIR propaganda and their re-writing of history.

I listen to AirAmerica and a lot of stuff from the left and most of their criticism is with the administrations DISTORTION of the intelligence presented to them by our good intelligence officers. They also had serious problems with Rumsfeld's Orwellian Ministry of Intelligence he set up with the pentagon OUTSIDE of the normal scope of our intelligence. They and the right wing propaganda machine have you believing their re-write of history.


This is what IS good about this internet and the modern recorded media. We can go back in time and see just who said what.

DAILY KOS Feb 02, 2003

http://www.dailykos.net/archives/001383.html

So while the Pentagon's propaganda (er, I mean "intelligence") wing continues to spew unsupported allegations of links between Saddam and Al Qaeda, our real intelligence agencies, trying to do an honest job, are finding otherwise.
Posted February 02, 2003


Same story different day!! This stuff is treasonous from my point of view.


And here's a great point of view as to why we shouldn't even be in the Middle East at all.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldgbOxDX6DE



OK so I've been pretty ruff on you guys so here I'm throwing you all a bone.

So here I am one day all excited to see if I finally found the FDR DNC convention speech in Philadelphia ? 1936 and this is what I got.

It's an abomination but funny as all heck!!! Enjoy!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-SoFdFbfZw



Muirgeo, please, help me to understand. I am having some difficulty.

You say,
"My point was that Sean Hannity claimed, "The US has known for a while that Iran has been developing nuclear weapons."

Which is simply not consistent with the best facts/evidence as put forth by the NIC/NIE."

How is Sean Hannity's statement inconsistent with the very first of the "Key Findings" you yourself quoted?

That was:
" We assess with high confidence that until fall 2003, Iranian military entities were
working under government direction to develop nuclear weapons."

I would also point out to you, Sir, that neither you, nor I, nor ErrAmerica know the "best facts/evidence as put forth by the NIC/NIE,", as all we got is the Key Findings portion of the NIE. The actual facts and evidence are classified, and will not be released to the public.



Comments on posting w/o reading all the comments:

Here is my thinking on Justice:
Real, unmodified justice, is innocents being protected, good rewarded and evil punished. Any adjective on justice and we're no longer talking about people getting what they deserve, but about changing "systems" and sneaking socialism or communism, the ultimate injustice, into the culture. I talk about what I see today, and certainly some things that are just have been called social justice. But this is not always the case, or the word wouldn't need modification. Increasingly I see social justice used for taking what some have earned and giving it to those who have not.

I don't see Freedom and Justice in much conflict, though I do see, as I noted above, words misused often. Justice is not equality--if you earn a private Jet doing work uncoerced, legal, and moral, and I spend my time in ways that bring in no income, Justice is you keeping your jet, and me my time. Taking your jet and splitting the difference with me is no Justice but the opposite, and not really freedom either, for you have been made a slave to me.

Of course, perfect Justice is impossible in a world where people can be born retared or handicaped, and a decent society has makes sure these sorts of people are taken care of.

But I, as a young married man with some debt and an okay paying job, want no elevation by the state in the name of "equalization" or Justice, though it would ease my mind to have my debts paid and own my own home or what have you.

Also, though, I don't think perfect Freedom is really anarchy--anarchy is freedom only for the strongest individual, or the strongest gang. For the rest it is servitude in the form of extortion or worse. Freedom REQUIRES law and order, though of course there are unjust laws that limit freedoms rather than protect them.



(Rereading what I just wrote, I would change in the first paragraph that communism is the ultimate injustice to something like "has invariably resulted in ultimate injustice" to be more precise.



I have seen this sentiment in prior comments on this site, and I want you to rethink it:
[quote]And I am NOT an altruist, and I agree with Heinlein's comment that, if you are dealing with someone who PURPORTS to be a true altruist, you are either dealing with an insane person, or KEEP YOUR HAND ON YOUR WALLET. Give me a good, self-interested, RATIONAL person, any time. "Altruists" scare the bejesus out of me. Hillary and John Edwards are out there CLAIMING to be altruists. Anyone here believe either of them???????? Anyone here think either of their (very similar) "altruistic" visions for our country would produce anything but disaster??????

F*** altruists, and the unicorns they ride in on.
[/quote]I assume you have read prior posts by Mr. Whittle (Tribes, iirc) where he talks about stopping to help people in accidents, holding people's hands until paramedics arrive, etc. This is altruism. There is no way he can expect his single action to have such a profound effect on society so as to have it ever reciprocated back to him in his lifetime. By he is giving his time and potentially endangering himself out of concern for someone else's well being.

Altruism could be foolish, for example, sacrificing much for little gain for others, but it isn't by definition and contra Rand it is not a vice.



Muirgeo,
There comes a time when productive discourse becomes only a means to argue. You are a master of rhetoric and I salute you for that accomplishment. Rhetoric, however, can only serve to disparage your opponents, not their ideas. I have read your arguments and find them wanting. As a matter of fact, I find your reliance on concepts such as class warfare and income inequality to be old and banal reflections of the Marxist theocracy(i.e.the real opiate of the masses). Although many here applaud your fortitude, allow me to suggest that you will be much better received amongst your fellow travelers at, say, Huffpo. I am an old man. I do not intend to spend the rest of my life educating the likes of you. Please take your rhetorical skills elsewhere.

Ejectians. I am not a censor but I think that this well has become dry.

MG~All best to you, but I am retiring from the field now. I have heard it all before. Allow me to say that in my youth I have actually been there and done that.
There are people here that can confirm that.
Auf Wieder Sehen!
Svin
P.S.
No lie. Basil Riverdale actually stole my copy of "Steal This Book"
Can you get any more left than that?
Ah Youth.



(sorry for the multiple replys, last one tonight)
Bill wrote:
These are not my definitions of freedom, or especially of "justice." Referring to the latter, it is the definition of "justice" put forward by the left: 'economic justice' means to them that there is no major disparity of income.

I would have hoped from the example of the sales tax that I gave that I do not consider forced eqalitarianism to be the same as "justice" -- merely that others were calling it thus.
----
I appreciate this point, but I care about real justice, and when the term is being used to mean economic equality, even in a devil's advocate sense, what room is left for righting genuine wrongs?



Randy, welcome!
According to Dictionary.com an altruist is "a person unselfishly concerned for or devoted to the welfare of others"
The key word here being "devoted".
I came out of the grocery store the other day. In front of me in the parking lot was a older couple. (I'm guessing in their 70s) The old man asked me for a jump; he already had the cables in his hands. Of course, I helped them. Does that make me an altruist or just a nice guy?
Neither actually, just putting a small deposit in the bank of Karma. I've been there. Once locked the keys in the car and left the lights on. If I were really altruistic, I would be "devoted" to helping others not just availing myself of the random acts of kindness that present themselves.



Well... I'll just say everything in moderation, including "altruistic acts." Devotion is indeed a strong word (though I'm not sure if concern and unselfish are equally strong) so I'll agree that it's possible to take things too far. (I'd call too far becoming a burden oneself, probably.)
If you think moderation in altruism means that you are "kind" rather than "altruistic", I'll accept those terms.
I trust the profit motive as much as the next guy, but as a flaw, altruism is maybe the last I'll criticize.

(And having read subsequent comments more carefully, certainly join you in decrying protestations of "Altruism" as a means to mask robbing Peter to pay Paul in order to make Hillary feel better.)
(Sorry for all the "" marks and quibbling over terms. ;)



muirgeo,

Now I am getting disappointed. You looked like "the real deal" when you first showed up, but as the pressure increased, you moved more certainly into leftist "cantu et respondu" - First, Bush DID NOT "cook the books" on the Iraq intelligence. That shibboleth has been murdered a hundred times over. Bluntly, EVERYONE (and I do mean EVEREYONE - I am not limiting this just to John Kerry, Bob Kerrey, Bill and Hillary, etc., etc. - I will throw in the UN, the NYT, the Washington Post, etc.) believed Saddam had WMD (whether or not he did, I will not debate in this thread - however, I will observe that there is significant evidence that the WMD were there, but they were either moved, or we haven't found them, yet).

Look, you cannot, on the one hand, assert "appeal to authority" ("Me and the folks at AirAmerica choose to believe our intelligence officers"), and then, on the other hand, question that same authority. Not that I expect you to agree or believe, but I have some substantial experience in matters related to intelligence, and I can say this with some knowledge whereof I speak - our intelligence agencies are POLITICAL entities. The internal, inter-agency and inter-governmental politics are extreme and intense. If you want to assert, on the one hand, that the authors of the NIE you are citing (known Bush-haters) COULD NOT have skewed their conclusions to fit their agenda, but Bush could have forced the entire US intelligence apparatus to skew their INTEL to fit his agenda is . . . well, Alice in Wonderland is probably about right.

I didn't fully believe Colin Powell, and I don't believe the current NIE. There are AMAZING sources out there, accessible to anyone with a computer. Do some research, draw your own conclusion.

But you still have a problem. Even if I accept that the NIE is GOSPEL, there are all the other issues I (and others) have raised. Your original assertion was that Hannity's question was irresponsible and indefensible - and that is clearly wrong.

If you wanna play with the big boys, you gotta deal with ALL the evidence, not just the pieces you find convenient. Address ALL of my points, and I might regain some of my respect. Continue to stick your fingers in your (virtual) ears and yell "neener, neener, neener," and I'll think you're another Lefty with a truth allergy.



Paul, you wrote

"How is Sean Hannity's statement inconsistent with the very first of the "Key Findings" you yourself quoted?"


Come Paul... the NIE claims they've not pursued nuclear weapons since 2003. Hannity's quote is from today...2007.

And here I'm already the one being labeled "argumentative".



No prob, Randy.
We excel at quibbling here.
Uohh, but what you said.
The profit motive is a flaw?
Offering my best to my fellow man and expecting a profit in return is a flaw? Not to go totally Randian here but the beauty of capitalism is the OMG! justice of it. If you don't like my stuff, don't buy it. If I want your stuff, I have to give you something I value in return. And both of us win.



Enough with policy and procedure.
I'll ask you one question muigeo.
Without any ifs, ands, or buts....

Does a person have an inherent right to the fruits of their labor?



Flagwaver,

You and Sean Hannity are claiming the following statement is true, "The US has known for a while that Iran has been developing nuclear weapons."

YOU are making the claim of a positive assertion.... YOU need to supply the evidence. SHOW ME!

Hint: don't look to any of our 14 Intel Agencies... they don't have any.

Mossad? Of course they have NO bias on the issue.... but still what's their evidence?

The Hannity statement is unsupportable by any factual evidence you can present. I definitely can't deny that there is some remote chance he IS actually right but he IN FACT HAS NO BASIS to make the claim or you to back it.


Typical conservative hypocrisy. When defending your political ideology piles and piles of scientific evidence isn't enough to convince you of the truth of something you don't want to be true such as anthropogenic global warming. Yet simple hearsay and unsupportable innuendo is plenty enough evidence when an issue is one you desire to be true.



Does a person have an inherent right to the fruits of their labor?
Posted by: daddyquatro


Absolutely!

Does said person owe nothing to society?



Chill it back a notch guys.

muirgeo,
When a government organizes mass rallies with thousands of people chanting "Death to America!"
I don't need any more evidence to conclude that they really don't like us.
Even the possiblity that such a government could possess Nucular[sic] weapons raises my hackles.
I'm not saying to nuke them tomorrow, but to take the word of a sworn enemy (not by our words but by theirs) seems to be the greatest mistake.



Absolutely!
Does said person owe nothing to society?

Nope. Their labor is what they contribute to society.
If they feel so inclined, they may help any an all. But no one has an entitlement to what they have honestly earned.



So who pays for the army, the treasury, the roads ect.? You're assuming they took nothing from society in the process of growing their fruit. Come on at some point you have to admit we don't live in an anarchy and that'd never work. You're being unrealistic.



Regarding Iran... remember they are people just like us. Most of them love America. We need to keep them on our side.

http://www.time.com/time/europe/photoessays/vigil/index.html

We need to be strong and on our guard but we need to stop bullying others around as well.

http://groups.colgate.edu/aarislam/response.htm


We need to bring all our troops home and close most of our overseas bases. We need to mind our own business. I'm sick of my country being run by imperialist pigheaded warhawks.

Defend the homeland strongly and if anyone dare attack show them no mercy but for Christ's sake show some courage and true strength. We're much better then all this.



We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Yep, I'll pay for that.

I just think the "general Welfare" part has been taken a little far.

And now I've got to crash. Way past my bedtime. Until tomorrow.
-D4



Ok, muirego.
Now I'm going to call flamethrower.
"imperialist pigheaded warhawks"
You have left the realm of civilized debate.
And now I'm going to bed.
-D4

PS- don't feed the troll.



daddyquatro | December 7, 2007 12:21 AM --

Hate to say it, D4, as I had some "high hopes." But this,
"I'm sick of my country being run by imperialist pigheaded warhawks,"
would seem to expose the true colors...

No critical thinking here, nothing to see... Move along.

Sleep well, and sending YOU a "Good Morning!" as I prepare to rest.



I'm afraid the troll lost my brief admiration even before I choked on comingling "intelligence gathering" and "The people in the agencies are often conservative and very patriotic. "

... when ... in fact ... all the evidence in the past 17 or more years suggests that one of the greatest enemies of the American people are the State Depeartment and the CIA. In between being laughably wrong and incredibly uninformed, they usually appear to be working against our best interests and ofttimes appear to be working FOR the other side.
I'll have to agree completely with Paul A. .... no critical thinking ... move along.



Svin,

I can barely recall the days of yore (mainly because we were so addled by drugs), but I do know that we wasted a pretty good slice of time before hard work and vested interest changed our politics. If I did steal "Steal This Book" it was likely because the adolescent ideas of Abbey Hoffman appealed to my own adolescent brain, a thoroughly intoxicated mind full of youthful idealism and psychotropic stupor. Wasted time indeed.

And yet today I am no doctrinaire conservative either. I recently ditched my Republican party membership in favor of Independent. I fear I am falling into cynicism. But who is really to blame when the party leadership has abondoned principle in favor of compromise for the purpose of maintaining a seat in congress? I go to the polls now only to throw my "no" vote at the useless bond issues that clutter the ballot. Such measures always pass anyway; I presume that the body politic thinks it's getting something for nothing.

I restate my earlier position: The United States is an oligarchy. Europe, too, only more so. I believe this to be a natural evolutionary cycle. Let us hope that the first global empire does not fall to an organization like the U.N. . . . appropriately named as in UNelected, UNprincipled, and UNaccountable. The pendulum forces of history swing to and fro, all I can do is avoid getting hit.

There are shoals ahead, unkown and unforseen, rocky shores that can wreck the ship of state. I will not board the ship of fools. Iceberg ahead! But no one is listening. Humanity muddles on. My best answer: Ad Astra! Get me off this rock.



Yeah, guys, in addition to the namecalling and hysteria, muirgeo is a typical leftie - find ANYTHING, no matter how partisan, unreliable or twisted-out-of-shape it has to be, which supports your worldview, then stick your fingers in your ears and yell, "neener, neener, neener!" at ANY contrary view.

Hey, troll, it took me exactly two minutes to find this story (there are better ones out there, but I wanted to illustrate both your laziness, and your fundamental and intentional twisting of the truth):

http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/11/08/5099/

Now, if the PRESIDENT of Iran is stating IN PUBLIC that he has 3,000 centrifuges operating "around the clock" enriching uranium, AFTER the date that the NIE says they suspended their weapons program, which one of us is being unrealistic and hypocritical.

Thought experiment: What if they "suspended" their weapons program because they were finished (i.e., had all necessary designs and engineering completed), and only needed sufficient quantities of fissionable material? Wouldn't their conduct look a lot like it does now (i.e., no further obvious work on weapons design, full speed ahead on uranium enrichment)??? And you think WE'RE out there?!?!

Now, go back under your bridge until you are ready to debate like an adult.



"The profit motive is a flaw?"-Daddy
Nah, what I said is:
"I trust the profit motive as much as the next guy, but as a flaw, altruism is maybe the last I'll criticize."
While slightly unclear, what I meant is that as much as profit motive can be relied on, and having stated that altruism may be a problem in the extreme, I think *altruism*, even if called a flaw is not one to really worry about (so long as it is genuine and not phony.)

Profit motive is no a flaw, though of course I suppose it could be taken too far as well.



So the name-calling and personal attacks begin. The false welcomes and fake courtesy have given way to upset and rage at my lack of easy defeat and willed submission. I refereed to our leadership as pigheaded ect. not anyone here. That's obvious in context. But you all were just looking for a way out IMO. The troll card your frequent last resort. It's cowarly and unoriginal. If I truly thought my countries leaders were awful and treasonous regardless the merits of my case wouldn't you think me NOT a patriot if held silent. It's not that you don't like trolls it's that you don't like strong willed people who love their country as much as you but see its redemption from taking another path.

I've enjoyed the debate until now. I'm up for the greatest of scrutiny and good heated respectful debate. You all really belittle yourself when you resort to pulling out the troll word. It's often the last line of defense for a losing argument. I'm staying above that.

Dissent is the highest form of patriotism. This president has been caught in blatant lies while again saber-rattling us towards unnecessary and potentially devastating conflict with Iran. I don't question your Patriotism or honesty for siding with the man. I do question only question your objectivity and simply try to appeal to reason with evidence, facts and good counter-arguments.

What I see here is putting one's political ideology ahead of country and reason. I see cognitive dissonance. This isn't a baseball game were you pick sides and stick with them because they are the home team. We now have leadership that is devastatingly mis-guided and I have unlimited numbers of conservative minded people who are on my side of the debate.

Anyway enough. If anyone is still interested I'll carry on if not we can leave it as is.



In stark contrast to intellectual retards like "Toria" above, i find your logic impeccable. I've lived in a society of forced equality/justice - IT DOESN'T WORK. People (read: far-left) who pine for complete freedom and justice have a fairytale vision of what it would be like - which, unfortunately, is impossible in the real world. Whether they like it or not, injustice and restricted freedom are inherent to human nature.



"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."

This is such a canard.
Dissent is a right, allowing it is patriotic, but dissent in and of itself is only patriotic if what you are dissenting against is itself unpatriotic. And it would be a "highest form" of patriotism only if it invovled some sacrifice and actually mattered.

Spouting off online tired cliches (like saber-rattling)and slandering the president ("lies" that are nothing of the sort) for political gain during wartime... is something less than "the highest form of patriotism."

The nie report on Iran has had so many holes poked into it by now that clinging to that one bit of counter evidence in light of the flood of dangerous signs about Iran is absurd. (Quick recap--Attacking US forces in Iraq, verifiably producing weapons grade radioactive materials, threatening other countries [there's some sabre-rattling for you], arming terrorist groups in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, brutal "justice" in thier own country, etc.) They would be a threat even if they had no hope of ever making a Nuclear bomb... given that we know for sure they were at one time persuing one, and are making some of the materials... I don't know how you can deny it.



muirgeo,

If you want to prove yourself the courageous intellectual warrior you so obviously believe yourself to be, DEAL WITH MY EVIDENCE. I've given you proof that Iran CONTINUES to produce weapons-grade fissionable material, and admits it (hell, BRAGS about it) publicly.

Here is a link showing evidence of Iranian military weapons being imported into Iraq, and used to kill US soldiers (there are THOUSANDS of such links, but I'm giving you one).

http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=8259

Here are links showing Iran's continued financial and military support of Hizbollah and Hamas:

http://www.usip.org/events/2006/0817_iran_hezbollah.html

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1138622510341&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Here is a link regarding the IAEA responses to the NIE (read, especially, paragraphs 2, 6 and 7):

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-7126061,00.html

Now, show us your chops - DEAL WITH SOME FACTS.



muirgeo:
This is what IS good about this internet and the modern recorded media. We can go back in time and see just who said what.

DAILY KOS Feb 02, 2003

www.dailykos.net/ archives/ 001383.html

Perhaps you don't quite realize how this looks. Have you ever thought about linking to a primary source? Linking to a well-known leftist blog which in turn links to two major leftist newspapers (one of the links is already broken and the other requires registration so I can't tell if it is also broken) is not something likely to persuade. It's like one leftist journalist quoting another leftist journalist to make his/her point.





Svin:
Perhaps you are correct.

But actually, I believe we won't see the conversion details forthcoming -- hence, you'll have been correct all along.

I'm sure all the patriots at Air America will soon be on board.

I think that the ship has sailed without them. Something about getting damp.

No lie. Basil Riverdale actually stole my copy of "Steal This Book"
Can you get any more left than that?

Not sure. Steal it back? ;-)



muirgeo:
piles and piles of scientific evidence

Which fields of science did you have in mind? As I recall, intelligence work isn't scientific.



muirgeo:
We need to be strong and on our guard but we need to stop bullying others around as well.

groups.colgate.edu/ aarislam/ response.htm

Sorry, but I couldn't find a mention of the US bullying others around at this site. Did you mean a different link?



muirgeo:
I'm sick of my country being run by imperialist pigheaded warhawks.

However disappointed you are, being impolite is unlikely to open eyes or win converts to your beliefs.

You would probably get better mileage out of your feelings by trying to provide evidence of the imperialism, the stubbornness and the overarching desire for war -- if you can.



The muirgeo dialogue looked like it was going to be a very interesting conversation of ideas. He lasted a couple of rounds (days) but his left leaning - same old playbook offense finally comes falling down.

Thanks to you all (flagwaver, qwer , D4 etc..) it was fun while it lasted, but I knew it eventually fall apart.



Mark Paules:
I recently ditched my Republican party membership in favor of Independent.

My own belief is that being a member of a party means you get two votes instead of just one. Before the actual election vote, you get to vote for that party's candidate. I may not particularly like any of the political parties, but at least I can annoy one party more by voting in their primaries.



muirgeo:
This president has been caught in blatant lies

Assertion after assertion. Lacking evidence, I can't bring myself to find favor in your style of argumentation.

I see cognitive dissonance.

You may very well see it -- even if it isn't there.

I have unlimited numbers of conservative minded people who are on my side of the debate.

Proof by numbers is unlikely to prove useful here -- even if you had provided a scrap of evidence for it.



muirgeo:
Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

On the contrary, I believe that supporting our Constitution and Laws is the highest form of patriotism.



muirgeo:
Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

On the contrary, I believe that supporting our Constitution and Laws is the highest form of patriotism.

Posted by: qwer


And when you have a president who violates his oath of office to protect the constitution and fellow citizens make all sorts of excuses for him...then it's time for dissent.

My friend the tides aren't going your way. Even among our military this administration is finding less and less support. There exist no shortage of constitutional scholars who contend this president has violated his oath of office on multiple occassions and on multiple grounds.

This is a president who uses terror and fear to rule and consolidate his power.



Jack Cafferty, no leftie, spells it out.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOTpWnH4avI



And here we see it, folks. The good muirgeo is, in fact, deep in the throes of Bush Derangement Syndrome.

muirgeo,

unsupported assertions are not argument. Citing "Daily Kos" (who makes NOTHING but unsupported assertions) is not argument. Accusing me of not providing supporting evidence (when you have provided NONE), and then refusing to deal with it when I DO provide such evidence, is not argument.

What you are doing is the equivalent of a kindergartner having a tantrum - lots of noise, but no content, no logic, no evidence, no thought, just naked emotion and screeching. Seriously, come back when you're ready to debate like an adult.



muirgeo,
If President Bush has done what you say he has then he is much more in your camp than ours. You should be proud!
Then again totalists are by nature stabbing each other in the back to gain advantage. Which is one of many reasons why it is a bankrupt, murderous philosophy

Failing temptations reach

Is it love or guilt?
To find kinship and acceptance
With twisted celebrating victims who stopped short of healing?
Dupes, who splayed naked
To the experts of the “con”,
Believe in the Noble Lie...
That legalized plunder is good and just.

Is it love or fear?
To align with slave mongering elitists
Void of absolutes except
Their own separateness and superiority
Addicts to the sweet intoxication
Of hollow narcissistic action
Subordinating responsibility
Full in the face of consequence

Will we only see when death tattoos our eyelids?
That failing temptations reach
To coerce another human being
Reconciles the healing truth
With the heroic standards we bear
And tempers slavery’s wicked lash
With the golden rule

Legalized plunder
Is neither good or just
We must refuse to join
In the wrong doing
Let’s kick those bastards out instead
And get them into therapy
Or outlast them till they’re dead



muirgeo:
And when you have a president who violates his oath of office to protect the constitution

This is a president who uses terror and fear to rule and consolidate his power.

More assertions without evidence. I'm beginning to sense a pattern here.



Here again I can demonstrate unequivocally how incoherent your arguments are.

svinrod said,
"Ummm...Are these the same intelligence sources that y'all have been denouncing for the past several years about sexing up the Iraq intel?
Give me a break.
Cant have it both ways."

I showed you a post from Daily Kos (which would be the y'all he was referring to) that shows that we'all were NOT denouncing the Iraq intel but rather that we were in disagreement with the Iraq intel as presented by the administration. We understood it to be forced intel by the administration telling intel to put out what the administration wanted to hear. Also distorted presentations of the intel to the public by this disgraceful administration.


Then Flagwaver blames me for sourcing Daily Kos..WTH???? Of course I quoted Daily Kos because the post shows that WE DID NOT doubt the Intel community around the Iraq Intel. Again we complained of evidence of the administration forcing the intel community to put out what it wanted to hear.

For example the suppoesed aluminum tubes for an Itraqi centrifuge were correctly identified by the Intel community as NOT being for nuclear purposes while the Administration continued to push the LIE that they were.



CNN's Jack Cafferty is another interesting fellow.

The last time we got a tape from Osama bin Laden was right before the 2004 presidential election. Now here we are four days away from hearings starting in Washington into the wire tapping of America's telephones without bothering to get a court order or a warrant, and up pops another tape from Osama bin Laden. Coincidence?

See CNN: The Situation Room January 19, 2006, 16:00 ET, Transcript

For more interesting quotes, Whoppi Goldberg introduces Jack Cafferty on CNN's leftist program "The View". Here, at 1:38, Cafferty endorses Ron Paul, and his isolationist approach to foreign relations, and calls all other Dems and GOPers all the same.

I can see why Cafferty likes Ron Paul, and Dennis Kucinich for that matter.



muirgeo:
I showed you a post from Daily Kos

I believe I've already indicated the problems with that post from Kos. Did you have anything from a reliable source?



qwer,

Wow! Let me simplify.

Rightie: You guys on the left didn't trust the Intelligence reports on Iraq. You're being hypocritical.

Leftie: Yeah we did. No we're not.

Rightie: Prove it.

Leftie: Gives post dating from BEFORE Iraq war by leftie source that shows support for Intel agencies and NOT for admin.

Rightie: but I already said I had a problem with your source.

Leftie: You made an accusation about the left...I sourced a leftie post...how is that not a reliable source???

qwer..I can't lower things any more than that.

And the link DOES work in case that's what you were talking about.

JAH...eeezzzzzzzze!



muirgeo:
Let me simplify.

I'll try to simplify in reply, perhaps I misunderstood.

DAILY KOS Feb 02, 2003

www.dailykos.net/ archives/ 001383.html

So while the Pentagon's propaganda (er, I mean "intelligence") wing continues to spew unsupported allegations of links between Saddam and Al Qaeda, our real intelligence agencies, trying to do an honest job, are finding otherwise.

So, here you appear to provide a link to Kos in support of your assertions about "Pentagon's propaganda" and "our real intelligence agencies".

And when you did this, I followed the link to read the Kos page. The Kos page made a number of claims. To back up their claims, they linked to two further sources.

One of the sources was Kos, itself, except that link does not work -- thus there is no way of continuing to determine if they have any evidence other than their own circular argumentation. Dead end.

The other source link led to a NYTimes login page. As I choose not to log in, that ends the trail. However, I would note that just as I do not take Kos' word for facts, neither to I take the NYTimes word for facts -- so I doubt logging in would have changed matters.

To put it simply, I do not find the evidence of your claims of "Pentagon's propaganda" and "our real intelligence agencies" reliable.



Muirgeo,
You have conjured me out of retirement once again. As I understand it, Y'all is singular and all Y'all is the plural.;)

I thought that Colin Powell's performance at the UN was a dog and pony show. I lost all respect for the man after that. Of course, I lose respect for nearly anyone that interacts with that misbegotten organization(except for Bolton).
Of course the intel was bogus. Did you really think that we would televise our latest intelligence gathering techniques on world-wide TV? The invasion of Iraq was necessary for sound geo-political reasons. Nation-States project their political power militarily. It is the nature of the beast. It will never change. Look what is happening to Europe since they abondoned the concept of military prowess. Your isolationist policies are incompatable to a globalized world. You cant win the ballgame by playing defense all the time.

When we all stayed on topic about freedom(liberty) and justice(equality)we all got along pretty well together. One of my oldest and dearest friends(I was best man at his wedding over 20 years ago)holds a worldview almost identical to yours. Perhaps he was even more extreme, as he was one of those threatening to leave the country should Dubya be re-elected. Eventually it became crystal clear that there were just certain topics that we could not discuss. We are still best of friends to this day.
It is obvious to everyone here(with the possible exception of yourself)that you will never, ever, be able to convince this particular civitas of certain of your views. Sometimes, in polite company, there are subtle hints about where those boundaries might lie. I aplolgize if I have over-personalized things in my previous posts, but sometimes the repetition gets tedious.

We return now to our regularly scheduled programming.

"Dec 7th, 1941. A date which will live in infamy"
FDR



Thanks for your words of wisdom Svin.
For my part, I will offer my apology for throwing out the "T" word last night. (I really should have gone to bed earlier.) But you must know, muirgeo, when you start throwing around terms like imperialistic and warhawk my eyes glaze over and anything else you say after that takes on the tone of one of those mechanical parrots that repeat back whatever you say to it.

But there is beauty.
In a little less than a year from now, we will elect a new president, and, for the 44th time! there will be a peaceful transition of civilian authority. Bushitler will retire from the stage but the challenges to the Rebublic will remain.



It is obvious to everyone here(with the possible exception of yourself)that you will never, ever, be able to convince this particular civitas of certain of your views. Sometimes, in polite company, there are subtle hints about where those boundaries might lie.

Posted by: svinrod

That's important svinrod, because I too have very good friends and a brother who are political opposites but we all get along.

I don't expect to change anyones mind. I seriously think ones political leanings are highly genetic. At our old age we found who we are and aren't likely to change. But change does come to younger minds. I followe dmy big brothers belief and voted for republicans or libertarians intmy first 5 presidential elections but then I found myself. And it leads me to conclude there is a reason, I think I said before, a ying and yang, balance that makes society work at all.

But genetics is indeed not the final word and likely explains the aparent current swing back towards moderation by the forces on the left and the misdeeds on the right.

I can accept the many differences of my fellow countryman be they atheist, religious fundamentalist, cops or robbers, young and old , gay or straight, pretty or ugly or of any nationality...for I'm a liberal my job is to be open minded to all things..... the one thing I know is none of us truly has any clue just what the hell we're doing here...but for me it sure is fun to talk about it. If I leave the world just a little better then I found it...my last breath should be good.

Please lets rise above....fellow coutrymen and work this through. Lets be big and have heated debate and then turn and laugh at ourselves. I bet we're all good men. There are 50 of you for every 50 of me and at some point we must find common ground.

The common ground is Freedom and Justice from a government run by elites to one truly representative of the peoples will.

No comments on the FDR You-Tube video?



Bushitler will retire from the stage but the challenges to the Rebublic will remain.

Posted by: daddyquatro


You sure? Because some of us are very concerned of the private miltary firms that have become so powerful.

Does any one on the right here have concerns about the private military with regards to freedom and justice?

If they turned we would all fight together against them right? And yet we all know some one who is a part of that military.



muirgeo:
Please lets rise above....fellow coutrymen and work this through.

Would you mind starting the apologies?

It seems to me that you have decended into name-calling rather than reasoned dialogue with your impolite treatments of Donald Rumsfeld ("Rumsfeld's Orwellian Ministry of Intelligence"), of (I presume you meant) the current Adminstration ("imperialist pigheaded warhawks"), of President Bush in particular ("This is a president who uses terror and fear to rule and consolidate his power").

Re: I refereed to our leadership as pigheaded ect. not anyone here.

This may satisfy *you* as a defense, but I find it churlish; akin to walking into a dinner party and calling the host's 2nd cousin a lout. It's only suitable if the host agrees, and in this case you found no agreement.

Re: My first question often to people is what are your sources. That can tell you a lot.

Indeed. I was hoping you could beef up yours.



muirgeo:
You sure? Because some of us are very concerned of the private miltary firms that have become so powerful.

I'm betting my future on it. YMMV.

Did you want some firearms training just to hedge?
Given your level of concern, have you joined a militia, yet?



muirgeo,
The FDR video. I did not like it one bit. I am no big fan of FDR but I thought the vid was pointless, vulgar,infantile, and disrespectful.

Just my opinion. You asked.

I really disliked the George Carlin video. What an arrogant and condescending ignoramus. He verbally ass-rapes his audience and they applaud him for it.

Once again, just my opinion, even though you didnt ask. Nothing personal though.

I am intrigued by your notion that political preferences may be genetic. Dont believe a word of it, but it is an interesting idea to play with. Let me see if I can remember all of my incarnations. My dad was Air Force. I have a scrap book of paintings from kindergarten through third grade. All images of aircraft and airshows(well, there is the occasional tank or cannon). So I guess I was raised as a cold warrior kid.

Discovered sci-fi in Jr. Hi. Kurt Vonnegut was cool. Robert E. Howard too. Heinlein, Asimov and the rest in High School.

Attended college and started down the political road. Read all of Hunter S. Thompson and some Ben Burroughs. Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. Tuned in Turned on dropped out with Timmy Leary, Grateful Dead and Dylan. Just Guess what my politics were like then.

Then a few years later I read Atlas Shrugged. My worldview and my life were profoundly affected. I started to make something of myself. Ronald Reagan got elected(I voted independant for John Anderson IIRC). By Reagans second term the awful Carter economy had been ended. We bought our first house and first new car. I had turned into a Republican of Randian bent. I am still cynical, like my friend Mr. Paules and I take nothing at face value.

Reading Bill Whittle's essays seemed to bring everything together for me, and when I met this on-line community I realized that the world was not populated by fools(completely).

I dont really know if this supports your genetic theories or not, but I hope you can see the inherent intelligence manifested by many of the people posting here( I do not include myself in that group, I am still in awe).

Anyway, Hope you dont find this as boring as it probably really is. I'm going to start drinking now, so any future posts tonight may not be coherent.

Best to all
Svin



Svin, I'll bite. Interesting yet unkown facts of World War II:

Chaing Kai-Shek was a graduate of a Japanese military academy. He understood early on that Japan lacked the resources to conquer China. Chaing believed Mao the more serious threat, but he was persuaded by the US State Department to suspend hostilities with the communists in order to unite China against Japan.

An obscure Chinese by the name of Charlie Soong (Sung) made a fortune selling Bibles in China. The family had converted to Methodism. He sent his daughters to be educated at Wellsley. The eldest daughter married Dr. Sun Yat Sen. The second married China's wealthiest banker, the third would become Madame Chaing Kai-shek, but only on agreement that the generalisimo would convert to Christianity. Talk about well-connected!

Yamamoto, the man who said after Pearl Harbor "I fear all I have done is awaken a sleeping giant" was killed in the only known airborne assassination. An obscure company clerk serving in San Francisco, I man I knew personally, decoded an intercept that the admiral would be visiting frontline units around Rabaul. A squadron of P-38's arrived over his destination as the Japanese transport plane was approaching the runway. The kill was confirmed when US naval intelligence picked up an explosion of Japanese radio traffic across the Pacific.

A submarine captain by the name of Fluckey penetrated Tokyo Bay, loosed everything he had, saving the last torpedo for the submarine net that guarded the entrance. His ship escaped. When the USS Pueblo (memory fails, it could have been the Mayaguez) was seized by the North Korean navy, a single non-com by the name of David Watson was in charge of files on the N. Korean navy. A panel of egg-hats was assembled to investigate. Now an admiral, Fluckey entered the room, surveyed the host, looked at the only non-com in the room and said, "come here son, you and I need to talk." The late Dave Watson was my dispatcher at Metro Messenger.

By chance the son of Dwight Eisenhower needed an office in NYC, there to produce a book published as "The Bitter Woods". He moved in to share space with a certain Charles M. Sherover (the same man who held the intercept about Yamamoto). The work became a collaborative effort. Forty years later I found all the orignal photos for the book abandoned in a garage in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They passed briefly into my hands. Today, brother Svin holds the lot in careful stewardship at his small redoubt in WestbyGod.

Ain't history wonderful!



Svin:
I voted independant for John Anderson IIRC

There seems to be an interesting resemblance between Anderson and Ron Paul. I wonder if Paul can get 7% of the vote.



muirgeo,
There you go again. You have one perfectly coherent post and then the parrot comes back out.
"You sure? Because some of us are very concerned of the private military firms that have become so powerful."

I'm assuming you mean companies like Blackwater. Most of those guys are ex special forces; Navy Seals, Army Rangers, etc. It would be hard to find a more patriotic group of guys. They are simply using the skills their country taught them to make some real bucks for a change.

I can just imagine their reaction when they get the corporate memo.
"Tomorrow we start a coup to maintain the GWB regime. Camo optional."
Snort



Ditto Daddyquatro. I'm much more worried worried about the anger of dailyKos and huffington post than of Blackwater.

But I'm curious who murigeo knows that is a part of the US military or private contractors. I suspect one doesn't actually know them and still fear their insurection.

(BTW, has anyone read Empire, by Orson Scott Card?)



And now for something completely different...

Ninja Country Riverdance



"Paul, you wrote"How is Sean Hannity's statement inconsistent with the very first of the "Key Findings" you yourself quoted?"

Come Paul... the NIE claims they've not pursued nuclear weapons since 2003. Hannity's quote is from today...2007.

And here I'm already the one being labeled "argumentative".

Posted by: muigeo | December 6, 2007 11:01 PM "

Frankly, Sir, a condescending, elitist attitude as evidenced in the "Come, Paul..." lead-in to your statement is at the very least irritating. My question is a serious one, and was not treated as such in the reply.

I will grant that Hannity's use of the present perfect continuous tense in the construction of the question, ("has been developing," see http://www.englishclub.com/grammar/verb-tenses_present-perfect-continuous.htm ), gives rein to interpret the statement of the premise for the question as implying that said development of nuclear weapons continues to this day, which might on the surface and in isolation allow one to dismiss the question as illegitimate due to a false premise. But only if the follow-on assumption is that said development has, in fact ceased.

However, neither the question Hannity posed, nor the NIE, for that matter, exist in a vacuum, neatly segregated and campartmentalized for debating purposes only.

As others have cited, Iran openly admits to continuing (since 2003 and to this very day, to our knowledge), to operate its gas centrifuge uranium enrichment activities at its Natanz facility, and even admits to (or brags about) desires to expand the scope and size of that activity. Said continuing operation of the centrifuges, even granting the dual-use "cover," should give one considerable pause, and not be considered irrelevant, as it appears you do, IMHO.

Futhermore, this, (emphasis mine),
"however, DOE and the NIC
assess with only moderate confidence that the halt to those activities represents a halt
to Iran's entire nuclear weapons program.)"

And This, (emphasis mine),
"We assess with moderate confidence Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons
program as of mid-2007, but we do not know whether it currently intends to develop
nuclear weapons."

give me significant reason to be, at the very least, extremely skeptical of the much-touted "conclusions" of the NIE.

Intelligence is far from being science. And in most of the science with which I am familiar, a study is considered pretty well worthless unless the conslusions are supported to a mathematically rigorous 95% confidence level. I must very seriously doubt that this assessment we discuss even approaches 75%, if that, in its entirety, and in its principle conclusions as touted by its "supporters."

If such a confidence level in the matter of the acqisition of nuclear weapons capability by a regime such as Iran gives you the "warm and fuzzies," and allows you to dismiss the question out of hand as to whether Iran posses a threat, so be it. But due to the potential consquences, I cannot and do not.

I still consider the question quite legitimate, and its answer of considerable imprt to the nation specifically, and Western Civilization in general.

With all due respect, Sir.



Bill, Must be fun to walk out to the old fire pit, pull two of the planks from the foundation of western civilization off the woodpile - freedom and justice - lean them together all alone, place a few well chosen words underneath, light a single match and carelessly flip it into the middle and walk away knowing the small flame will attract those wandering in the dark forest to come, each bearing their own fuel for the fire, until after a week or so a small tent camp of has been formed around a healthy campfire and the fire pit radiates a glow which lights the faces and warms the core of those who gather. I know there could have been a . in there somewhere but it was a run-on thought so a run-on sentence seemed appropriate.

If you did not know this would happen; now you do.


Nice to see the old gang and a few new faces around the fire engaged in a mostly civil discussion of issues that actually matter.

Nods to Paul A., qwer, d4, Otto, WayneB, Pete, Prof Paules, MD, LabRat, Svinrod, others

Randy Miller, Flagwaver, Well Met!

Dougman, Haven't I see you a$$ hanging around somewhere else? Perhaps if you covered that thing you would not have to be standing around with you backside to the fire all night.

In my opinion, the NIE is a political document. I base this on the contrast between the leading finding published as the talking point and the body of the disclosed document. I will not rehash the whole discussion but, if you have not already seen it, Powerlineblog.com has had what I consider a sound analysis of the issue over the last few days with links to out of character supporting positions from a range of media sources.

Basil, You tell of a piece of history and documentation in WestbyGod that has me wishing for another opportunity to make the beer run from the Castle to the Trollheim Rathskellar laden with Pilsner Urquell - a new favorite - and other fine selections for the season. If the host of Trollheim Rathskellar, Sir Svin, will have us, perhaps after the snow melts we can have a springtime meeting of the Amateur Philosophers Society and Gun Club and find some time to get a look at some of those photos. I know it is a long shot for you but there is nothing wrong with dreaming.

Sure is nice to see some light and warm bodies in the place. Funny how just a few weeks ago I was hanging here all alone and then I go away for a few weeks and now the place is rock'in. Hmmm. Checks armpits Maybe it is not so funny. ;-)



qwer,
"Looks like one of those Gay, Irish, Ninja, Sushi bars."

Randy,
I thought I'd read most of OSC but that one doesn't ring a bell.



Now, qwer, that's a hoot!
Thanks for the interlude. I needed that!



And great to see you stoppin' by, Unq!
Don't be gone so long next time, eh?!?



Mornin' Paul A.
Never thought to ask. What's your latitude?
In other words, how's the weather?



Evenin', D4...
22 23 47 14 N, 114 06 34 19 E, according to Google Earth. Weather is "sunny" through high pollution from the mainland, probably upper 60's and lower 70's.

Pleasant, if one does mind breathing a lot of "stuff...

Your neck 'o the woods?



We may break a record here in H-town. Highs on Saturday and Sunday in the low 80s.
Not feeling a lot like Christmas. There's always a lot of stuff in the air here as well, but at least it's good, clean American stuff.



Hmmm. I notice that muirgeo STILL hasn't addressed the substance of my critique of his adulation of the NIE. Never mind.

Unquiet - if you are a devotee of the writings of Dr. Whittle, you are a friend of mine.

I hope Bill gets Ejectia up and running soon; this is too good a group of troops to let dissipate into the ether.

Question/thought experiment:

Consider what the state of the US would be if we adopted Heinlein's governmental structure (only veterans can vote) from "Starship Troopers."

Would we be better off, worse off, or . . . ?



Hmmm. I notice that muirgeo STILL hasn't addressed the substance of my critique of his adulation of the NIE. Never mind.


Posted by: Flagwaver


What's there for me to address. You think the report from our 16 intelligence agencies is bogus. That's a mighty claim backed by nothing factual. It's also a damming accusation of our intelligence agencies. Yet our own president was quoted as saying, " the report is a result of better intelligence". In short your critique is simply your opinion and I'm supposed to take it as a serious challenge to what is known by our 16 intelligence agencies.


This is standard operating procedures for the defenders of this president. Don't like the facts....question their authenticity. Attack the messanger. Don't like a person (John Kerry) attack him even if it means reducing the meaning of a purple heart to something given away on a whim. Don't like the scientific consensus on climate change, Attack their scientist motives as political.

The facts around the Iranians nuclear program are not even anything new to us keeping an open mind on them. I could point you to articles from 1,2 and 3 years ago that suggested the program was not being developed for weapons purposes. I read Scott Ritters book over a year ago that told me the same thing. (Target Iran)

But still all this time the administration has been IMO knowingly misleading the public on this issue in an attempt to move people to his will using fear and scare tactics. That's horrible leadership.



Here's Bolton and Hannity pushing the deception.

http://thinkprogress.org/2007/12/07/hannity-bolton-nie/

The difference between fuel grade and weapons grade uranium is MASSIVE. Massive degrees of technological ability are required to make the transition. Iran has every right to develop fuel grade uranium to run the Nuclear Plants we helped them build years ago. Remember we gave them arms for hostages.

But every-time you hear Iran is enriching uranium Bush and his entourage deceive the people by implying they are enriching to weapons grade which is basically NOT true.




OK,
Now I'm going to use another "T" word. Tedious.

I'm going to ask a simple question muirgeo. There are three premises that you may challenge if you can.

1. Iran is a theocratic society.

2. Mass demonstrations occur in Iran only by government sanction.

3. Said mass demonstrations always include the phrase "Death to America."

The question...

Is the government of Iran our enemy?



muirgeo:

You say: "But still all this time the administration has been IMO knowingly misleading the public on this issue in an attempt to move people to his will using fear and scare tactics."

You provide absolutely no evidence, much less proof, for this assertion, but you continually excoriate those of us who know better by claiming we do the same, about John Kerry (plenty of evidence), global warming (nothing remotely resembling consensus there, and science isn't an consensus operation anyway). Don't you see the beam in your eye, my friend? Cognitive dissonance, anyone?



Oh, and do you know what's required to make weapons grade uranium from fuel grade? Centrifuges, lots of them. Maybe 3000 or so would do. But you certainly don't need that many to make enough fuel grade uranium to power the entire country of Iran. Proof? No. Evidence? Definitely. And the technological ability needed isn't as massive as you think. At any rate, it's purchaseable from A.Q. Khan, the North Koreans, and probably some rogue Russians. I was a nuclear missle crewman in the army so I have some direct knowledge of this.



I keep hearing the term "middle class". What exactly is the middle class, that small group that has no say in government? There is no middle class anymore, government made sure to destroy that logic, there are only rich and poor now. Right and Left, no middle. Could this be the problem?



Flag, I have thought extensively about that question: should we have a right to vote? Should we cater to illegals just because they are a substantial populace? Should we allow slaves to be free? Who exactly does vote, and why? The 14th ammendment addresses the problem of people born in the United States, but no one seems to care that all these ammendments destroyed the constitution. Rights should be earned, not given, much as respect is earned. I would love to debate why ignorant people have the right to vote, but would lose that debate, I am too ignorant to discuss ration and reason, not to mention logic. I guess I am just a part of the "middle class".



Rik, amendments by definition cannot destroy the constitution. They may change it in bad ways, and we can all think of a few that have. But they don't destroy it.

And no one earns rights. Rights are just that, rights. You can earn privileges. The "constitutional" rights you may be thinking of are in actuality natural rights preexisting any government. The Bill of Rights in the constitution merely prevents (in theory) the government from interfering with these inherent rights.

And as for the disappearance of the middle class, that would mean that people are poor right up until the point they become rich. I suppose you could define things like that, but it's pretty silly.



muirgeo, thanks for the link. The interview fragment being posted under the banner "Braindead Media" might have been a clue for me to understand the bias behind the discussion in the comments - although among the fifty or so comments I found not one that managed to "rise above" the level of name calling and other ad hominems with which you have characterized your opposition. Quite to my disappointment, no substantial or factual argument was to be found.

The interview was a distant and watered down presentation pointing to Bolton's original article in the WaPo, toward which I and Flagwaver had provided you with a link. Did you read it, or had you already decided that it was a deception not worthy of your attention?

The difference between E!3 and ThinkProgress is not least measured by the response to controversy. Can you see by now that the attempt is made here to engage constructively? Would you expect the same quality of dialogue to appear anywhere on TP?

D4 and Svin et al, yes this is tedious. It may seem fruitless to try to convey a sense of the magnitude of say 3000 anything when the ears upon which the words fall are counting only fingers and toes. At least that's what it looks like sometimes. The problem is that it's not really that the opposition is stupid (clearly there is some capacity to process language) but rather that there is a willful ignorance, a refusal to incorporate reliably afforded experience, the switch thrown by an emotional reflex with the bias contained and undisturbed by this fear of looking at contrary information, frustrating the connections required for understanding. This the opposition takes as a victory. I see it as an utterly human failure. Yet the attempt must continue to get rational substantive argument into the debate. It's too dangerous to allow someone without navigational skills to captain the ship. If we allow the sheer banality of the argument to cause our withdrawal by fatigue, who will take the wheel? We might feel that we are big enough to tolerate the risk or the insult, and allow them to enjoy themselves the fantasy of steering. But when you see an iceberg, can you trust they will respond to your warning? Only if they are open to the possibility that the warning is real. And with the monolithic walls of the echo chamber standing as a barrier, who knows if the message will ever span the gap.

Sorry if this seems a bit dark, it's currently 15F below zero. My warm and fuzzies are cleaned out and temporarily empty.



Is the government of Iran our enemy?

Posted by: daddyquatro


Absolutely they are! But the people of Iran are not. Further, the doctrine of pre-emption is the doctrine of cowards and war profiteers.

We need to defend the homeland. If and when attacked return with all fury as in operation Desert Storm ...leave....in/out minimal cause.....maximal deterrence effect for the future.

We STILL are the leaders of the Free World...lets act like it and do something different. For the first time in all of human history lets be the worlds first country to lead powerful and benevolent.



muirgeo:

You provide absolutely no evidence, much less proof, for this assertion, ...... Cognitive dissonance, anyone?

Posted by: Doug Loss


Do I really have to show you the tally's of the number of times the words terror, 9-11 and WMD's were mentioned at the RNC convention, the president continues to use fear as his prime policy directive and then just look at the difference between the Republican and Democratic presidential debates. The Republicans are arguing over who will be the first to destroy the islamist or to attack Iran.


Cognitive dissonance is when conflict arises between ones perception of the world around him and the facts that are contrary.

Doug do you believe the President only new of the details of the NIE report for 2 days prior to their release as he claims?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeXb1oS3OUw

Oh I know you don't like Keith Oberman but he provides the best summary on some of these issues. Rather then attack the messenger tell me specifically of what points he makes that don't hold to the facts.



Muirgeo,

My apologies for one thing - I had posted a post with links showing:

1. Ahmedinijad ADMITTING, publicly, that Iran was still enriching uranium (note: Unless you have SUBSTANTIAL college-level atomic physics, I can't give you the details in any meaningful way, but your statement that the difference between fuel grade and weapons grade uranium is MASSIVE is just ignorant. The PROCESS is identical. The level to which the target fissionable is enriched is a result SOLELY of how long the process is carried out. So what makes you so sure Ahmedinijad is turning off those centrifuges SHORT of weapons grade???? The NIE doesn't say so. The IAEA doesn't say so. But you seem convinced. Whatever, I choose not to be so trusting.)

2. The reaction of the IAEA (DECIDEDLY lukewarm) to the NIE.

3. Information on the "anti-Bush" credentials of the authors of the NIE.

For some reason (I didn't even swear, that I recall) Bill censored the post. Bill, whatever I put in there that drew your ire, I apologize for.

Muirgeo,

I DID give you facts, but I somehow transgressed in the process. I will re-locate and repost those links, without editorial comment. Hopefully, that will mollify our host.



Tedious.

Posted by: daddyquatro

It can be tedious for several reasons. Maybe I'm being hardheaded. But another reason is possibly because I make a good point based on facts. In such a case it will be tedious to disprove or to counter my argument.

So when I state, factually , that Sean Hannity and John Bolton have decidedly misled their audience about the differences of making fuel grade uranium versus weapons grade uranium I assume you are NOT talking about this sort of thing right? I mean you do agree with me right? Because if not this will indeed be tedious for you but indeed very simple for me. You could go on and on and on along all sorts of unrelated tangentials while for me it's a simple matter to point out their deception using easily available scientific facts on the issue.



Otto Gass, showing the reason I call him Otto(Auto) Focus.



I haven't entered this fray up till now because I don't like the arguments on either the left or right. I don't care much for ideology because it doesn't address national self-interest, or more to the point the vested self-interest of whatever party or individual is in power. Allow me to illustrate with an analysis of North Korea.

Kim Jong Il whatever his professed ideology is the kingpin in a criminal syndicate. His "government" makes its money in the following ways: gunrunning, narcotics trafficking, bootlegged cigarettes and pharmaceuticals, kidnapping, and extortion. How do we know this? It wasn't till the US Department of the Treasury managed to get Kim's overseas bank accounts frozen that North Korea finally came to the negotiating table with any real intent to bargain. What then is the purpose of the North Korean nuclear program? Like any mafia threats must be backed with serious muscle in order to be credible. Kim's nuclear program was never anything more than a means to bully regional powers into more bribes and payoffs. It's completely logical if you accept that diplomacy (even for the sake of extortion) must be backed by military force before it becomes credible.

Let's apply the same analysis to Iraq under Saddam. The Iraqi dictator twice attacked a neighboring state with the intention of securing a specific resource: oil. Saddam understood that control of Middle East oil would make Iraq a superpower. The income derived from a near monopoly would allow him to build an ever more lethal military capacity. This in turn would allow him to project state power even further afield. Was the first Gulf War all about oil? Absolutely it was. Bush senior understood this. There was not a statesman anywhere in the world who did not. Whatever cover was offered by UN resolutions, the United States and her allies were obliged to stop Saddam out of strategic necesssity. Saddam's mistake was building an army on Soviet models, something the US was well-prepared for.

We move on a decade later to Gulf War II. Middle East terrorists had finally landed a severe blow to the American mainland. The US could no longer afford to ignore minor provocations like the USS Cole and the bombing of US embassies in Africa. It was the professed aim of Osama bin Laden to rebuild the ancient caliphate with its center in Baghdad. Look at Iraq on the map. The very shape of the nation evokes images of a keystone. And so it is. Whatever the pretext for invading Iraq, it should be clear that Bush II ripped the heart right out of Osama's plan. We find proof in Al Qaeda's reaction. Every available resource was ordered to Iraq to repel the invader. Osama knew it was a do or die gamble for his organization.

Okay, so where does that leave the US in terms of strategic position? The US military now controls the keystone to the region. We can strike anywhere from the Sudan to Syria to Iran in mere minutes. Enemy states must contend with a large US force right in their midst. So, what's up with Iran?

The purpose of the Iranian bomb is to give the mullahs reach and a credible military threat. Ahmadinejad is a puppet of the mullahs. He is not the leader, merely a mouthpiece for one or another faction within the ruling theocracy. So what is it the mullahs want? First, the theocrats in Tehran must guarantee their own survival. The nation rests on some very shakey ground. Half the population is ethnically something other than Persian. The possibility exists for ethnic civil war. The other half of the population is a seething mass of discontent that must be kept down by the heavy hand of a police state. What is a mullah to do?

First, we should understand that the mullahs are corrupt very much in the manner of a Kim Jong Il. Whatever the professed religious ideology, the mullahs are a mafia. They live with every luxuary and advantage while the great mass of the population struggles for daily necessities. The strategy is as follows: (i) send terrorists abroad to keep your enemies engaged or off balance (Lebanon, Gaza, and Iraq) (ii) use Ahmadinejad to distract the West from the real issues that involve national and self-interest. (iii) build a bomb to increase state power through diplomacy via extortion.

Would the mullahs actually use the bomb against Israel? Probably not. It's an endgame that would guarantee the extinction of the mullocracy. The threat of having a bomb is far more useful than actually detonating it. But it's most certainly in Israel's strategic interest to eliminate Iran's nuclear program if it means damaging the mullocracy.

Diplomacy and military power are flip sides of the same coin. You can't have one without the other. Ideology, media coverage, and posturing at the UN only serve to distract a populace from the real issues of power politics. In the end, each nation will do what serves national interest. That much is true for all players.



Flagwaver - I doubt Bill did anything to it. We've had a couple other posts disappear mysteriously around here. One of mine did a few weeks ago, and there was DEFINITELY nothing in it to upset anyone. There's even a post by daddyquatro asking where it went (I just don't remember which page it was on).



muirgeo - I have yet to feel anything close to fear-mongering from the Bush administration compared to the fear-mongering I feel from the Church of Global Warming. With the attempts of the Left to paint the War on Terror as merely a bumper-sticker slogan, people NEED reminding of why we're doing what we're doing.

I don't happen to think that a particularly good job is being done, because I think that much more detail into the strategic desirability of having a stable, semi-democratic government in Iraq should be presented on a regular basis, but I don't consider reminding people of 9/11 and how much damage could be done with WMDs to be fear-mongering, especially when there have been attacks using WMDs which have been foiled IN THE YEARS POST-9/11.

about one of them.

An official involved in the inquiry in Jordan told AFP news agency: "We found primary materials to make a chemical bomb which, if it had exploded, would have made nearly 20,000 deaths ... in an area of one square kilometre.

If the attacks are being planned (even if they have so far been foiled), then how is it fear-mongering?



Missing posts?
Sorry, I was hungry.



WayneB,

Global Climate change is already "attacking" our country. (worsening storms, fires and droughts). Iran has never attacked our homeland and I really don't think they will. That's NOT a plea to put down our guard. I just think our military actions are actually making the terrorist threat worse.

The aborted terrorist attack you point out was made more likely IMO by our military actions in the region and likewise it , like others, was not thwarted by our military actions but by good intelligence.


The war in Iraq has been incredibly costly in lives and money and has been a completely inefficient operation. Iraq did not attack us on 9/11...nor Iran. They were mostly Saudi and Osama has all but been forgotten...TERRIBLE JOB! This path will never resolve the issues...I don't want more of the same nor do most Americans because we've seen it for the failure and waste that it is.



Otto,

Is there a difference between P1 and P2 centrifuges, which are used for uranium enrichment? Which do the Iranians have? Did Haannity or Bolton discuss the issue?



Unquiet,
Hail Stranger! Thought you had dropped off the face of the planet. We have been snowed in here at Trollheim for the last couple of days. My wife has only endured it by finishing off the last of the Spaten and the Paulaner. Desperate times indeed. Glad you enjoy Pilsner Urquell. It is one of my favorites as well.

This years Deer Hunt was successful. My hunting partner took a small button buck in the first few hours of opening day. Who says that an AK-47 is not a good deer rifle? Anyway, we had the beastie skunned and gutted in a few hours. Carcass and gutpile went into the firepit and completely disappeared by end of day. The Freezer is well stocked with venison. I'll send you some pix.

We will be in town the day after Christmas if you want to share a cup of Joe or a pint of amber.

Best to all~Svin



Iran's enrichment program:

http://en.rian.ru/world/20070902/76156437.html (NOTE: a RUSSIAN source! Please PARTICULARLY note paragraph 6!!)

http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=50833&NewsKind=Current%20Affairs (NOTE: paragraph 2)

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2006-04-12-irannuclear_x.htm (NOTE: lefthand sidebar, which explains, much better than I could, in layperson's language, the significance of the number of cascading centrifuges. There is NO reason for the numbers they are installing OTHER THAN an attempt to make weapons grade fissionables.)


IAEA Reaction:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,311826,00.html (PLEASE NOTE: very important, in light of the other links I am posting!)


http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1132475683499&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull


(NOTE DATE!!!)


http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-un5dec05,0,5853640.story?coll=la-home-world

(NOTE: last paragraph - in the "diplomatic" language of the IAEA, this is, INDEED, "damning with faint praise"!!!)

I had another link, but now I can't find it, that gave the full text of El Baradei's reaction - which as much as said, "Now we can rely on diplomacy to force Iran to come clean" - meaning? He AGREES they are a problem, he was just concerned about us using military force.)

bona fides of NIE authors, and the NIE itself:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,331497068-111322,00.html

http://warincontext.org/2007/12/06/news-analysis-opinion-nie-reverberations-continue/

http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071207/NATION/112070099/1002&template=printart

http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071208/COLUMNIST14/712070364/-1/NEWS

http://www.metimes.com/International/2007/12/07/the_iranian_nie_winners_and_losers/7533/

NOW respond



muirgeo,

How is it that I KNEW, without you having to say anything, that you were an Al Gore, global-warmism "true believer"??? No better proof could be offered that you are an anti-intellectual, anti-factual, anti- evidence, anti-scientific hysteric.

"Global warming" is the greatest single anti-scientific fraud perpetrated on mankind.

http://www.financialpost.com/story.html?id=c47c1209-233b-412c-b6d1-5c755457a8af&p=1

(NOTE: Read ALL Of the linked articles)

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/02/070228-mars-warming.html

http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=17977

http://www.ucar.edu/news/record/#kyoto

Refuting your claim re: global warming and hurricanes:

http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/~tk/glob_warm_hurr.html


Global warming exist (in amounts and degrees FAR smaller than that LIAR Gore suggests) from many causes, one of the LEAST Of which is human activity. Global warming (AND cooling) occur naturally, in cycles, over an over. We WILL survive any POSSIBLE climate change shown to be likely to occur. There may actually be BENEFITS to global warming:

http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=13860

http://www.nationalcenter.org/KyotoQuestionsAnswers.html

http://www.stanford.edu/~moore/health.html

You, and Al "LYING SACK OF SHIT" Gore are, indeed, anti-scientific hysterics to the extent you continue to trumpet this anthropogenic global warming nonsense.

If this is an example of your, and Err America's, and the Left's, reliance on "FACTS", please spare us. This is simply quasi-theological Gaiaism. Not science, not fact, not rational, not important, not controllable by ANY human activity or lack thereof.

The Earth gets warmer. The Earth gets cooler. It is NOT primarily (or even significantly) caused by human activity. There is (at this level of our technology) exactly SQUAT we can do about it. Deal with it.



AARGH!!!! I just posted a long post, FULL of links re: "glow bull warming," and got it censored, AGAIN!!!

Bill, what am I doing wrong????????



"THE SCIENCE IS IN; GLOBAL WARMING IS A FACT."

I remember well when that statement came out because the story was everywhere all at once. It was being heralded as revealed truth in print, tv, and radio journalism. My natural cynicism informed me that someone was trying to stampede public opinion. Not long after, the term "global warming denier" became an epithet. How curious.

Anyone who understands the philosophy of science knows that the science is never in. Any scientific model is subject to tweaking, refinement, and eventual discard in favor of a better model. What was I being asked to accept? A model so perfect, so well-tested, so beyond dispute that no one could question it. But if the theory is so perfect then why the effort to stampede opinion and label disagreement as something on a par with holocaust denial? I'm sorry, but real scientific debate is never closed.

What's it all about then, eh? Maybe certain politicians were manipulating the idea for political advantage? Like they had just manipulated public opinion on the war to retake congress? Of course, once the Democrats regained power, they did nothing about the war even though they controlled the purse and might have cut off funding at anytime.

Does anyone think the Kos Kiddies will someday wake up and realize they're being used? The only Democrat who really believes what he says is Dennis Kucinich, but then he's a simpleton.



Flagwaver,

Come on 10 links? I DID go through them but it's the posters job to distill the details for others to keep the debate some what simplified.


Below is my one link (hint hint) to a good summary article on the issue. Best estimates are that Iran is 1 year to 10 years away from having a bomb. Best estimates seems to show they are not actively pursuing a weapon. Best advice ; boring as it may be , continue IAEA inspections and diplomacy. No need for bombing or guns now or in the near future as there is no immediate threat. Their incursions into Iraq are another topic.

http://icga.blogspot.com/2007/12/national-intelligence-estimate-about.html


Michael Pollak said...
Just as a factual point, the NIE's forecast on when Iran will have "enough" enriched uranium to have a bomb has been superseded by last month's interim IAEA report. I say this as a person who is against both military strikes and coercive economic and political sanctions -- i.e., I don't think that Iran having "enough" fuel to make a bomb should be a trigger for anything. But just in the interest of our side getting our facts straight, I believe the IAEA report (and accompanying material) makes the following points:

1) Iran fed 690kg of uranium feedstock into its enrichment facility between Feb and August, and 550kg between August and November, when the report was released. That suggests that either Natanz is getting bigger, or running more smoothly, or both.

2) The 1240kg total of 0.7 percent pure feedstock should have yielded about 100 kg of fuel-level enriched uranium, at 4-5 percent.

3) Bomb level is 80-90 percent. You can get bomb level enriched uranium from fuel level enriched uranium by feeding it over and over through the enrichment array. It takes a couple of months.

4) To make a simple uranium bomb, you need 20-25kg of bomb-level uranium. To get that, you need about 650kg of fuel-level uranium.

5) All that is to say that, on the basis of the figures that Iran has released to the IEAE, they should have "enough" fuel to make a bomb in less than a couple of years -- i.e., before 2010.

I hasten to add that the IAEA says with high certainty that not a single drop has been diverted. And now, according to the NIE, there has been no bomb development program for years -- and without a bomb device, making the fuel doesn't get you a bomb. And that the best solution to all this is a global compromise between the US and Iran, with the US publicly respecting Iran's sovereignty and giving non-invasion and non-subversion pledges, and lifting all economic sanctions, and Iran in return agreeing to the Additional Protocol, which would all the inspectors to be sure as it is possible to be that bombs were not being made.

But IMHO we should drop the suggestion that Iran is far away from enriching enough to make a bomb. They seem to have actually been surprisingly successful at enrichment lately.

December 4, 2007 11:48 PM
Farideh Farhi said...
Michael, your point is well taken but I think the estimate may not be only based on the quantity of low-enriched uranium that can be produced over a period of time but also the capability of equipment at Natanz to transform the low-enriched uranium into highly enriched uranium. This is at least what the Washington Post story states:

"critical information was gleaned from non-clandestine sources, such as news photographs taken in 2005 depicting the inner workings of one of Iran's uranium enrichment plants, an official said. Those photos helped persuade analysts that the Natanz plant was suited to making low-enriched uranium for nuclear energy but not the highly enriched uranium needed for bombs."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/04/AR2007120402408.html?hpid=topnews

I am not a scientist, so I cannot say if photographs can be this revealing. I also don't get why this information could be gleaned from a photograph and not relayed by the IAEA itself. But the distinction between quantity and the capability to do something with that quantity is reportedly embedded in the estimate.

December 5, 2007 2:18 AM




Anyone who understands the philosophy of science knows that the science is never in.

Posted by: Mark William Paules


A generalization not always true.

The science IS in on the spectral properties of the CO2 molecule. Every single one of them in existence does not absorb radiation in the UV range very well but does absorb very well in some of the infrared ranges. The spectral absorption properties of this molecule ARE not in dispute.


Further regardless of our knowledge nature has the absolute answer and our political discussions on the issues will not effect her response to the level of CO2 we put into her atmosphere. The issue IS settled with nature and her laws of physics.



On the origins of Bush Derangement Syndrome.

I remember watching election night returns back in 2000. Early on the media declared Florida had fallen to Al Gore. I considered the small sample they were offering as proof and knew something was amiss. But the only person who disputed the conclusion was Mary Madeline. What was going on here? Another effort by the press to stampede public opinion? Or was I just being cynical?

But the press would not relent and everyone knows the whole sordid story from hanging chads to the court rulings. Bush was accused and remains to this day convicted of stealing the election. There and then did the vitriol begin with never a let up by those convinced they'd been had by a right-wing conspiracy.

We can thank a partisan press for our present poisoned politics. They tried to steal an election with biased reporting, and when the plot unravelled, they did everything possible to cover their tracks. Fortunately, the muse of history has a long memory.



OK, NOW I call "bullshit" on muirgeo. First, I was a loser because I didn't provide evidence. NOW he is too damn lazy to read the posts.

Typical of a lefty - "Digest it for me, so I don't have to read, or think."

Sorry, you'll have to exercise your eyes and brain, or exit this debate. You are proving yourself to be an intellectually lazy, bumper-sticker thinker. Either READ the evidence you demanded, and respond to it, or admit that your opinions are manufactured by others, and you swallow them whole.



Must be fun to walk out to the old fire pit, pull two of the planks from the foundation of western civilization off the woodpile - freedom and justice - lean them together all alone, place a few well chosen words underneath, light a single match and carelessly flip it into the middle and walk away knowing the small flame will attract those wandering in the dark forest to come, each bearing their own fuel for the fire

Elegant.



A re-try on my "glow-bull warming" links:

http://www.financialpost.com/story.html?id=c47c1209-233b-412c-b6d1-5c755457a8af

(sorry, muirgeo, I can't predigest your meal for you - you have to read ALL the installments, AND the links - sucks to try to be informed, doesn't it????)

http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=17977

Global warming and hurricanes (WHY do you lefties continue to propagate flat out LIES to bolster your weak arguments??????):

http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/~tk/glob_warm_hurr.html

http://www.globalwarming.org/node/430

And, if Gore TRULY believed the bullshit he preaches, would he act like this????

http://algorescarbonfootprint.com/


And even if it IS true:

http://www.globalwarming.org/node/526

http://www.misunderstooduniverse.com/Global_Warming_Benefits.htm

http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=13860

http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/NussbaumOnDesign/archives/2007/02/gores_carbon_fo.html

http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2006-08-09-gore-green_x.htm

Argue the science if you want, but the only person who claims "the science is settled" is someone who is afraid of debate - or a demagogue or a liar.



Flagwaver,
Posts with multiple links sometimes get swallowed by the automated screener. One link per post will usually assure that the post goes through.

Regarding Global Warming and ruling through the use of fear and intimidation. This has been a tactic of the left for as long as I can remember.

Back in the 70's it was overpopulation that was going to destroy civilization. There were going to be so many people we would all starve to death. People spoke of euthanasia and sterilization to stop the scientifically proven and indisputable facts about overpopulation.

You know what? It never happened! Technology and the free market system once again proved quite capable of handling the problem without so much as a hiccup.

Same thing happened with Earth Day and recycling. We were all going to be buried under mounds of trash if we did'nt recycle. So we all had to pick through our trash and seperate this garbage from that. It got to the point that Volvo claimed that their cars were now 80% recyclabe. Sweden was on the forefront of the recycling craze. then after 20 years of this nonsense, Swedish scientists announced that it was more efficient to just burn all the damned trash to produce electricity. Amazing waste of friggin time and effort.

Then there was the dreaded Ozone hole. Nobody knew how long it had been there and nobody knew the normal rate of variation but OMG! we spent billions and billions converting all our air conditioners to r-134 and got rid of all those nasty aerosols. At least the U.S. did. The rest of the world? Excluding europe, not so much. Does anybody think that we magically fixed the Ozone hole in a mere twenty years?

Gine me a break and a shot of whiskey to go with it! The loony left has been perpetrating this crap since before Woodstock. News flash: Chicken Little! The sky is not falling! The world is not running out of food! The ozone hole is what it is! All this fear mongering by the left is just an anti-capitalist power grab and re-distribution scheme. It is anti-american at its very core, and I question the patriotism and motivation of anybody who perpetrates this B.S.

So, Yeah. I guess I kinda agree with you. Dont waste your breath on the loonies. They have an agenda that never changes and they never admit that they are always and everywhere proven to be Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

Thanks. I feel much better now.



Wow, svin, WAY TO BRING THE PASSION!!!

I agree with you - the left historically screams, yells, rants, raves, insists on some sweeping "reforms" that cause more problems than they solve, and then they . . .

go on to the next manufactured "crisis," leaving the rest of us to deal with the consequences of their silliness.

Being a lefty means NEVER having to say you were wrong.



Either READ the evidence you demanded, and respond to it, or admit that your opinions are manufactured by others, and you swallow them whole.

Posted by: Flagwaver


Apparently you didn't read MY post. I told you I did read all 11 off your links.

I bet there are some here who would side with me that 11 links is a bit much.

I think I've posted in TOTAL that many links.....HONESTLY...did you read or watch all of them?


And no where did I call you a loser.



Yes, I did. Most of them, I was already aware of. I read information from BOTH sides of any serious debate - how do you know if your position is sound, if you don't analyze the opposition???

Now, respond - or, again, admit that you get your opinions handed to you, and regurgitate them by rote. Either you can analyze and defend your position, and analyze and critique the opposition - or you are a "dittohead" (and there are FAR more of them on the left than on the right).

I gave you your evidence. Iran IS a threat. Their nuclear weapons program IS an issue (notwithstanding the NIE, and whether or not you believe its conclusions). I've given you MORE than ample evidence to demonstrate that (as well as to demonstrate that the whole anthropogenic global warming scam is just that, a scam).

Either (i) bring more persuasive evidence to contradict what I provided, (ii) conclusively show the flaws in my logic based on my evidence, or (iii) STFU.



Flagwaver,
Thanks.
You do pretty well in "The Arena" yourself. If only there were some more worthy oponnents.
(sigh)



muirgeo:

You said in response to my charge of cognitive dissonance against you: "Cognitive dissonance is when conflict arises between ones perception of the world around him and the facts that are contrary."

Q,E,D, Well, perhaps cognitive dissonance isn't applicable if you absolutely refuse to notice the facts. In that case you don't have cognitive dissonance, just delusion.



On posts being "swallowed" or delayed through the bit bucket cascading centrifuges of the internet...

I had one go off onto the netherworld responding to Muirgeo on the Hannity question debate that contained a single link detailing use of the present perfect continuous tense. Innocuous of itself, but perhaps my tone was a bit too harsh. I have not tried to repost, the thread having gone beyond that, at this point.

Regarding the Anthropogenic Globa Warming hysteria...

Muirgeo, the spectral absorption properties of CO2 are indeed pretty well "settled" science, at this time. But CO2 is only one part of the picture. CRITICAL THINKING, if you are at all familiar with the concept, demands that one consider the entire picture, and reserve any final determination or conclusion until at least all known factors have been appropriately considered.

What about water vapor? It is a far greater component of the lower atmosphere than CO2, and a far more powerful regulator. It is also even less impacted by man's activity than CO2, which itself is actually quite limited.

What about sun spot activity? At this time, predictions might indicate cooling!

What about the fact that, regarding the reconstructions of extended histories of "global temperatures," the increases in CO2 concentrations lag the increases in temperature by hundreds of years? That is, temperatures rise, then CO2 increases?

What about the reconstructed, corrected temperature measurement histories that put the lie to the assertions that the warmest years of the last 100 occurred in the 1990's, blowing Mr. Hansen's NASA-based advocacy out of the water?

What about the assertion I have seen that anything approaching an "average global temperature" is by definition mathematically meaningless, within the construct of mathematical chaos theory, the closest theoretical description of atmospheric dynamics?

Since there is a demonstrated reticence to actually read and understand links, I'll not provide them at this time.

I merely pose the question: Is your entire faith in AGW entirely founded on the absorption spectrum of CO2? That is the only thing close to "settled science" that you cite, and it is, IMHO, a miniscule element in the scheme of atmospheric temperatures.

If so, your thinking on this matter shows the same weaknesses as have been amply demonstrated on the matter of the Iran nuclear question.

Feh...



On the origins of Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Posted by: Mark William Paules

I had to comment on this BDS because it keeps coming up.

To me BDS is better addressed to the people who continue to support this president, his administration and the current republican leadership in spite of their massive failings on so many fronts.

You might have a point if it were just lefties screaming about this incompetence but IT IS NOT.
Their are all sorts of conservatives, x-military soldiers, generals, administration officials who are coming out and agreeing that this has been one of the most incompetent, corrupt and secretive periods of leadership that our country has seen.

BLOWS me away that anyone still supports these guys. Heck like I've said I'm an X-republican voter but they lost me during their petty dogging of the Clinton administration.


Has even a one of you ever seen the movie No End in Sight? I'm watching it now and the amount of gross incompetence since the fall of Bagdad is stunning. Rumsfeld was incredibly incompetent.

Some one brought up the idea that only those who served should be able to vote....maybe not a bad idea especially if you also stated you couldn't hold public office either. Then just about NONE of these guys would have been at the helm through these last 7 years of disaster.



- the levels of CO2 were increased during the early industrial revolution and sure enough temperature increases FOLLOWED the CO2 increases.

Umm... I believe if you look at the geologic record you will find that this is absoluty the opposite of reality.

Please stop citing propoganda as facts.

If you give me a hockey stick I will club you with it.

Please go home. It is dinnertime and your parents are worried about you.

As they should be.



Here's carbon dioxide levels kinda inching their way up in the early 1800's

http://www.global-warming-and-the-climate.com/images/co2-increase.jpg

And temperature reconstructions showing multiple lines of evidence that the temperatures started increasing around the mid 1800's

http://i177.photobucket.com/albums/w219/fermiparadox/gl_chart_lg.jpg


As well as the instrumental record showing increasing temperatures late 1800's or even early 1900's....certainly after we started increasing levels of CO2.


svinrod..why so angry? There's 10 or more of you and I'm not the one throwing ad homs, threats and losing my cool. I think it says a lot.


Enough for now guys. I'm, feeling a lot of anger I'll leave this thread and at least wait until the next one. If some one has a specific reply to me or a question I'll be glad to respond.



Oops the instrumental record and one based on glacier melts to boot.

http://co2.cms.udel.edu/images/ClimCh_image002.gif

http://tinyurl.com/235w92



I'll leave this discussion too. muirgeo has (I hope unknowingly) tried to pass off absolute falsehoods as the truth, and is completely unwilling to credit hard evidence to the contrary. I strongly doubt he was ever a Republican, as we've all heard just such assertions from far-leftists in an attempt to bolster their credibility with us. I suspect it's in their playbook, although you'd think they'd realize that we don't believe them by now.

He said: "Simply NOT true the reconstructions STILL show that all of the 10 warmest years have occurred since 1990." That sir, is an absolute lie. You can't possibly not know you're lying. Therefore, nothing else you have to say is worth consideration. Be gone.



Folks,

Muirgeo demanded "evidence" to support my arguments, and when I provided it, he complained because I gave him TOO MUCH evidence. He has STILL not responded to my evidence.

He asserts that the "science is settled" on global warming, and then, when we question him AND PROVIDE EVIDENCE, he falls back to a series of unsupported assertions.

He argues via all of the classic logical fallacies - argument by appeal to authority (and what WEAK authorities they are!!), by straw man, by "post hoc et propter hoc" and then accuses US of being illogical and not listening to "facts."

He is SLIGHTLY more rational than your average lefty - but, at the end of the day, he is an anti-intellectual, anti-scientific "true believer" in the Church of NPR and Err America. I fear he is beyond redemption.



Been busy today with other things, but I thought this might come in handy somewhere. Have fun, but be nice.

IAEA "items" as of 15 November 2007 (from GOV/2007/58):

1) P-1 Centrifuges: Per IAEA, Iran's statements about P-1 research are inconsistent with IAEA findings.

2) P-2 Centrifuges: Iran has admitted constructing P-2 centrifuge rotors at its Defense Industries Org site. [NB, the point is that a P-2 centrifuge cascade is a few times more efficient than the existing P-1 cascades.] Iran has agreed to discuss whether it will reveal it's current P-2 design mechanisms with the IAEA.

3) Contamination: Iran has not responded to IAEA questions about discovered uranium particle contamination.

4) Polonium-210: Iran has not responded to IAEA questions about its polonium-210 research and related bismuth acquisitions.

5) Gchine Mine: Iran has not responded to IAEA questions about this uranium mine.

6) Green Salt: Iran has not responded to IAEA questions about this project. [NB, conversion of uranium ores (mainly UO2) to UF4, a greenish crystalline form -- a key waystation to UF6.]

7) HE Testing: Iran has not responded to IAEA questions about HE testing (including a high-speed camera observed during a 11/1/05 visit to the Iran Parchin Military Complex of the type capable of imaging implosion-triggering for nuclear weapons).

8) Arak: Iran has refused IAEA access to it's heavy water production plant (called IR-40). [NB, the point is that, as opposed to it's light-water plants, it is very easy to produce plutonium at a heavy water plant.]

9) UF6: The IAEA is aware of ~ 266 tons of uranium which has been converted to hexaflouride form. [NB, the point is that this is the form used in centrifuge cascades.]

10) Insight: The IAEA claims its "knowledge about Iran's current nuclear programme is diminishing" due to lower quality cooperation by Iran.

11) UNSC Enrichment: Iran has not suspended its uranium enrichment programs per U.N. Security Council decisions.

12) Support: The IAEA states that Iran is reporting reactively (in response to external discovery) rather than proactively (prior to discovery).

13) Undeclared: The IAEA states that it is not confident, and "is not in a position to provide credible assurances", that there are no undeclared Iranian nuclear materials/activities under weigh. It states "This is especially important in the light of Iran's undeclared activities for almost two decades"



Not that it will dent muirgeo's extraordinary faith in global warming, but here is a report that is pretty much definitive:

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/abstract/117857349/ABSTRACT?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0



When some one calls me a liar when I fact I'm right that requires a reply.

Paul A. said,
"What about the reconstructed, corrected temperature measurement histories that put the lie to the assertions that the warmest years of the last 100 occurred in the 1990's, blowing Mr. Hansen's NASA-based advocacy out of the water?"

I replied,
"Simply NOT true the reconstructions STILL show that all of the 10 warmest years have occurred since 1990." muirgeo

Doug Loss said,
That sir, is an absolute lie. You can't possibly not know you're lying. Therefore, nothing else you have to say is worth consideration. Be gone.

Here's the data;

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.D.txt

OOPs that's not the data....I bet that is what you were spoon fed from your biased sources. Something you wanted to here or something that wasn't really relevant but fit well with your beliefs. So you took it in as fact with out need for questioning.
Of course none of us clarified what we were talking about. I'm not sure you guys even knew what you were talking SPECIFICALLY about. I suspect it was adjustments to the US annual mean temperature trends. In which case you'd be right but on an insignificant point.

What I was talking about was the more pertinent and significant GLOBAL trends. The adjustments did not effect them significantly.

And see I'm right. I did not lie. The warmest 10 years have been all since 1990 and every year since 2000 has been in the top ten.

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2.txt



Well group, I thought muirego had game, but he is now revealed as a doctrinaire liberal. But aren't they all? We have been reduced to arguing over what in essence is a religion.

I submit that contemporary liberalism is a sign of cultural decadence. Its policies erode personal responsibility in favor of a collective mentality that must ever defer to the higher powers of its god: government. Politicians are always quick to capitalize on such sentiments by buying the votes of those who believe government can and will provide for their needs. The result is a transfer of power from the ruled to the rulers. The body politic once seduced quickly becomes dependent.

When a free press buys into the "narrative" the process is complete. Amorphous bromides like tolerance, diversity, and multi-culturalism become revealed truth. The populace is easily manipulated by one manufactured crisis after another, all the while the new elites accrue more power to themselves.

Look to Europe for the end result. The populace is so coddled that it can no longer apprehend danger much less summon the energy to fight it. The future is sacrificed for an easy life in the present. Europe to the world: "Please, just let us die in peace." Challenged by the new demographics, cynical politicians take sides with the enemy, offering concessions for votes, selling out the native population, in an effort to maintain power till the bloody end.

What tyranny lies ahead in a global collectivist world? Redistribution will reduce everyone to a sad mean. All the while, elite bureaucrats gather unto themselves power, privlege, and prerogative. We can look forward to a soviet redux writ large over the entire planet.

Muirgeo is a fellow traveler and true believer. It's useless to argue. He knoweth not what he sayeth. A revealed truth has been handed down from on high and he willingly kneels and kisses the ring of tyranny. Humanity is slow to learn and so history repeats.

God save the Republic!



muirgeo - You can show me graphs to your heart's content. There does appear to be some amount of warming in the past century, but it's barely above the noise level.

However, until you show me why Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus are all warming at the same rate (adjusted to their distance from the Sun), I won't believe that any warming on the Earth is caused by Man, and not the Sun.




The Soviet Style control methods are indeed very effective at getting people to neutralize themselves. A sad testament to the fact that many are lost each day in the battle against forgetting. This isn't rocket science Muirgeo. To get to the truth of something kiss it to its basic premise. The foundation on which all the other arguments and theories are based.
Totalism, of which all central control, Big govt.,Power worshiping, Slave mongering, Death purveyors are a part(and yes there are definitely those in our Govt like this regardless of what letter is in front of their name... and it is these same people we rail against for their betrayal of the oath they took when elected)is based on destruction. And with nothing to replace the established institutions but the thug, that is all it will ever be. All the Kos crap you can conjure is just slick spin and fodder for brain neutered sheep that emote ignorant and many times purposefully ignorant. Im not saying you are purposefully ignorant, I don't know you well enough to say, 100%. If you come at things from a totalist direction as you seem to, I pity you. There is nothing positive or constructive you can bring to the world that won't be negated by your choice of philosophy in the end.

REFLECTION IN THE MIRROR

The Democrat Party
Suffered an ironic, covert death.
Killed by the same flesh eating rot,
That killed one hundred million,
With it’s breath.
Falsely, crying horrible foul,
To the GOD they disavow.
And wailing louder still,
When we refuse to bow,
To what these tyrannical appeasers,
All along should have known.
The reflection in the mirror
Is a creation all their own.
Look deep into the glass,
Betrayers of life,
To whom the mulct paid,
Is the sound of chains,
And the sickly smell of clotting blood,
Sweet in your nostrils.
You purposefully ignorant minions,
Stride heavy booted,
Down the slimy slope to hell.
Where the lust to control presides!
And human life has no worth,
But to honor slavery’s knell,
With liberty’s dearth.



The global warmongers are adhering to the theory that "global warming exists, we're witnessing its occurrence, therefore, we're its cause." Temperature data has been shown to be unreliable. For instance, many NOAA temperature sensing stations are placed in areas which are prone to local environmental influences. There are stations that are placed within 50 feet of man made structures, placed near asphalt tarmacs, etc. These factors would show a substantial daytime increase in temperature, and are, of course false.
As to CO2 emissions, the greatest source of CO2 is the earth's oceans. CO2 is more soluble in cold water than in warm water. Therefore, the oceans release more CO2 AFTER they have warmed than when they are colder. Conventional warmongering has it backwards. Atmospheric CO2 is not the cause of global warming, it's the result. And consensus, by the way, means nothing in science.



Fantastic brinster! First you claim we can't tell if its warming because measurements are to inaccurate. Then you go on to say it is the warming that's causing CO2 to increase. Not real consistent of you brinster, especially when I posted above links showing CO2 increases occurred well before temperature increases.

Then WayneB's comment about all the planets warming.... hilarious....the level of debate here on the subject of climate change is so low I feel like I'm debating 4th graders.



Gee, thanks!
Too inaccurate, by the way...you should slow your typing down.



muirgeo,

as to your comment about feeling like you are debating fourth graders - we certainly know that feeling, in your case.

WayneB and I BOTH provided you with EVIDENCE of planetary warming throughout the Solar System. Your only response has been that the assertion is "hilarious." Glad you think REAL science is "funny" - we feel the same way about your junk science.

Again, either DEAL with our evidence, or STFU.



By the way, muirgeo, let me make this easy for you - I would agree that there is evidence of SLIGHT overall temperature increases on Earth. (Please note, however, that references to temperature records more than 50 or 60 years old are useless - both accuracy and precision (you DO understand the difference, don't you?) are not "apples to apples" to current measuring systems; any differences are LITERALLY impossible to rely on, as they are as likely to result from lack of measurement precision as from any other source).

There is some evidence of SOME human impact on temperature - in particular, there is convincing and reliable evidence that human cities are, and have been, "heat islands" since AT LEAST the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Temperature data outside urban areas is both less detailed (fewer and less frequent measurements, and in fewer sampling spots) and generally less reliable.

As to the effect of CO2 on so-called global warming, WayneB and others are indeed correct that there is SUBSTANTIAL scientific dispute over whether CO2 increases precede or follow warming trends (the link is the first one in my post - read it carefully. There is an entire installment on CO2 measurements and the dispute). The "greenhouse" effect of CO2 is miniscule compared to the "biggest" greenhouse factor - water vapor. CO2 caused "greenhouse" effect is less than a rounding error compared to water vapor. There is also the inconvenient fact that a single major volcanic eruption produces more, and more efficient, greenhouse gases than all human activity for several years.

"Anthropogenic global warming" is a theory, with SOME factual evidence, the analysis of which is open to significant dispute. "Anthropogenic global warming through CO2 emissions and greenhouse effect" is a half-assed theory, with little solid evidentiary support, most of which has been presented in a VERY skewed fashion. Witness that a BRITISH court has forced a disclaimer to be given with every showing of Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" propaganda film.

Finally, EVERY source which has evaluated the likely results of STRICT adherence to the Kyoto Protocols (which, by the way, not a SINGLE signatory has done) would have a negligible effect on "global warming," even ASSUMING it exists, and is caused in part by human CO2 emissions.

"Anthropogenic global warming through CO2 emissions and greenhouse effect" is nothing more than a secular Liberal religion. Preach your dogma all you want, but don't expect us to buy it. And don't expect us to support the desctruction of the US economy to accommodate an unproven and jiggered "theory," particularly when even the PROPONENTS agree that their "solution" will have a negligible effect. We're not that stupid. And, I would note, neither is that liar Gore - if he TRULY believed the crap he preaches, he wouldn't live like he does. He is a lying demagogue.



Flagwaver, what you said. Our little friend's purpose here isn't to impart any wisdom. He/she/it started out speaking reasonably, and engaged in some decorous debate, but when "imperialist war pigs" was entered into the conversation, the human's true colors came out...and it's been downhill ever since.



Flagwaver,

You all claim I am tedious but the climate change issues you discuss in your last post I've already refuted in MY prior post. I can only assume you didn't read my post because your repeating the same bunk.

I could cut and past from my prior post to debunk just about each one of your fallacies.

So here you pick your one very best bit of evidence against climate change and i'll respond in complete detail with the scientific evidence to show you that you are wrong. We will stay right on track with no deviations or side tracks until we settle the given issue.

Be prepared to be educated on the matter.

Anyone...pick one......will reply in a coupe hours once I drive home from these beautiful mountains.



muiergeo states "We will stay right on track with no deviations or side tracks until we settle the given issue." Well. How very kind of you to define the topic of the debate. As I recall, Bill's last post was about justice and freedom. He has promised us a post about climate change. Perhaps we should wait for him to produce it. Have you actually read Bill's essays?

One of the most insidious tools of the left wing propaganda machine is their ability to define the very topics to be debated. The MSM latch on to every negative nuance that can be ferreted out from a particular report and keep repeating the same unsupported allegations over and over again. By the Gods they do Joseph Goebbels proud.
This is mind control. We spend our time debunking the wildest speculation and then they simply create another scary monster and then we have to debunk that. Why do we let them convene the court, appoint the judges, introduce their "evidence" and allow them to treat us like defendants? It is time that we set the terms of debate. I do not feel the least bit hypocritical about going off topic here because that is what has already been done. I propose that we retake our community and discuss issues that ,in point of fact, are real problems.

Muiergeo. How would you like to talk about Hillary's campaign finance scandal. Would you give us your thoughts about the Clinton's connections to NORINCO and her husbands transfer of missile technology to the Chinese communists.

How about we discuss real treason. The MSM compromising military programs while we are at war. How many American deaths have they caused.

How about we discuss DDT. Lets talk about the 35 million Africans that have died of malaria since the enviro-whackos banned it's use. Every time I see those TV commercials to send a mosquito net to Africa it makes want to retch. Talk about genocide.

Lets talk about how the former president's wife can buy a house in New York, don a Yankees cap and buy a Senate seat, having never lived there before.

Lets talk about Harry Ried and Nancy Pelosi and their attempts to drag defeat from the Jaws of Victory.

The tedium mentioned earlier is the result of the fact that we are tired of the same left wing talking points. They have been thoroughly discredited, but apparently you need to actually drive a stake through their hearts, cut off their heads and sew their mouths full of garlic before they are laid to rest.

As a final note. The hockey stick reference in my earlier post was not a threat. It referred to the now famously discredited "Hockey Stick" climate graph and was merely a rhetorical flourish, as you well know. Don't flatter yourself. Guilty as charged on the ad-homs. I suppose you don't realize how incendiary some of your own remarks are. Oh well. C'est la Guerre!
Svin




svin, I dug you in front on the hockey stick. Private Giggle, reporting for duty.

They do have a way of moving the goal posts when they find they've lost the point(s). They just don't recognize when the game is over.

Think I'll pop a PU myself and try a batch of D4's chili.



oh, and muirgeo, don't bother cutting and pasting links you've already presented. Sheer repetition does not constitute truth - unless you mean to arrive at the Pravda Truth of the Day. The concept of debunking requires the application of reliable data, not to found within aphoristic formulations.



...not to be found...

Dougman, please...



muiergeo states "We will stay right on track with no deviations or side tracks until we settle the given issue."
Svin


Amazing Svin.....I did NOT define the topic. In fact, I asked Flagwaver to choose ANY TOPIC HE WANTED. I only requested we stay on that topic ONCE chosen. Get your story straight before you make obvious and verifiably inaccurate statements.

Man Svin you can even state what I said acuratly. How are you to actually discuss any topic cogently.

Sure you pick your topic and lets follow it through. Hillary whatever you feel is a significant issue that separates our two ideologies.



Muiergo,
Here is the full quote. "So here you pick your one very best bit of evidence against climate change and i'll respond in complete detail with the scientific evidence to show you that you are wrong. We will stay right on track with no deviations or side tracks until we settle the given issue."

Can't you even read what you have written?

My main issue is the Second Amendment and the liberty and justice that that it ensures.
How do you feel about the pending supreme court case in particular and 2A issues in general. Perhaps if we can establish a base line agreement here, we can continue in that vein until we can see where our differences begin.

Svin




I'm gonna take the way back machine. 3 days.

"muirgeo,
When a government organizes mass rallies with thousands of people chanting "Death to America!"
I don't need any more evidence to conclude that they really don't like us.
Even the possibility that such a government could possess Nucular[sic] weapons raises my hackles.
I'm not saying to nuke them tomorrow, but to take the word of a sworn enemy (not by our words but by theirs) seems to be the greatest mistake."

Posted by: daddyquatro | December 6, 2007 11:31 PM

Your reply to that topic...

/snip a couple of links

"Regarding Iran... remember they are people just like us. Most of them love America. We need to keep them on our side.
We need to be strong and on our guard but we need to stop bullying others around as well.
We need to bring all our troops home and close most of our overseas bases. We need to mind our own business. I'm sick of my country being run by imperialist pigheaded warhawks.
Defend the homeland strongly and if anyone dare attack show them no mercy but for Christ's sake show some courage and true strength. We're much better then all this."

Posted by: muirgeo | December 7, 2007 12:10 AM

So your response to a foreign government calling for the death of America was to insult the American government.
Regardless if you agree or support the current administration, I would hope that you would at least admit that they are superior to that of our enemy. Which you did acknowledge.

Is the government of Iran our enemy?
Posted by: daddyquatro
Absolutely they are! But the people of Iran are not. Further, the doctrine of pre-emption is the doctrine of cowards and war profiteers.
We need to defend the homeland. If and when attacked return with all fury as in operation Desert Storm ...leave....in/out minimal cause.....maximal deterrence effect for the future.
We STILL are the leaders of the Free World...lets act like it and do something different. For the first time in all of human history lets be the worlds first country to lead powerful and benevolent.
Posted by muirgeo at December 8, 2007 8:00 AM

Once again dissing your own government in favor of genuine religious zealots.

I'm sure it is morally comforting to be so absolutely sure of yourself. I don't envy the job of President. My gut reaction to 9/11 was "Sea of Glass" Thank G_d we had a man with a bit more circumspection at the helm.
Do you really prefer the Mullahs to your own President?



19,000 scientists can't be right.

http://www.oism.org/pproject/





D4,
Damn! Thats gonna leave a mark.
Svin



The following is best done in your best over-the-top Walter Konig accent:

Comrade, Brinstersky, I find your entry disturbing. Global warming eez fact. Has already been decided by supreme soviet. Now we must build camp for 19,000 scientists. But it will be nice camp, like winter wonderland, where scientists will learning to concentrate harder on truth. Eez why we call it concentration camp . . . ha, ha, ha! You know what is "chiska", comrade? Eez like cleaning garage, but only people get thrown out. In English, eez called purge. New soviet man does not question party decisions. Eez only his place to implement policy.

Muirgeo, you are good lad. Have'ed nice position for you with NKVD. Maybe even be party boss of small soviet. Job come with own personal Makarov and two mags: Time and TNR. I know soviet pistol eez somewhat underpowered. Best to use'ed only to back of head.

Will be fun time for all when Madame Clin-tone is made head of party. Like good old days under Uncle Joe Stah-leen. He was'ed leader who understood power. And what's another 20 million dead after the first hundred mil, give or take? One death is a tragedy. But a million is just a statistic.



Ya Comrade Pauleski. I cannot wait until Her Highness seizes feelthy petroleum company profits to give free health care to proletariat.



Kapitan,
Quadrotritichaelie wuz inwented in Sovjet Union!

Where are the Nukular Wessels?



My main issue is the Second Amendment and the liberty and justice that that it ensures.

Posted by: svinrod


That's your biggest concern? The presidents funding a massive private army that will make any pea shooter you carry irrelevant. Yeah definitely you should be able to buy guns. Back ground checks seem completely reasonable to me to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

My last gun was stolen years ago but the last 7 years have made me think to bring my family of 4 into the local shop and buy one good rifle for me and my 3 ladies.



19,000 scientists can't be right.

http://www.oism.org/pproject/

Posted by: brinster

I always love that one. MY NAME IS ON THE LIST! I put it on there just to show how meaningless the list was.



Migeuro,
My diploma from Gunsite(orange) was accepted as prior experience for further training at agua negro. Are you quite sure that you want to pursue this line of reasoning.

No. This is not a threat. I just think that it is fair to let you know who you are dealing with.

Oh, BTW. What do you think of proposed litigation that people who have their weapons stolen should be prosecuted as criminals?

Just askin,

Svin



Muirgeo
"The presidents funding a massive private army that will make any pea shooter you carry irrelevant."
The President (BTW it is customary to capitalize the highest office in our land) can't fund anything.

Section 7. All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills.

You've got to do better than that. The President doesn't spend the money: Congress does.

Next!



Mr. P.
Your Chekhov impression was spot on.
Bravo!



muirgeo,you are correct. With your name on it, it would be meaningless.
And the other 18,999 are automatically invalidated, of course.



But seriously folks . . . I've been ponderng a point of economics. Anybody invested in the market should be aware by now of the so-called sub-prime mortgage mess. Now as I understand it, a bunch of people took out mortgages they couldn't afford. The lenders disbursed the cash on a wink and a nod. Then the scam goes belly up. Banks suffer massive losses and people lose their homes. I'm really sorry, but I file this one under "tough luck, asshat." But now I am led to understand that the Bush administration has unilaterally declared a moritorium on ARM readjustments as written in the original contracts. WTF? I didn't know any branch of the government had the right to abbrogate contracts between private parties(?).

I understand that '08 is an election year. I know that the fallout could cause a recession. Okay, the whole sub-prime business was a scam. But is not the potential buyer responsible for checking the math and deciding on that basis whether a home is affordable or not? It's a simple equation that does not require even algebra. Is a major bank staffed by MBA's not knowledgeable about the "paper" they're buying when they invest in mortgage derivatives? Am I the only one familiar with the words Caveat Emptor?

Will somebody please explain to me how the market will work off the excesses if government attempts to interfere in the correction process? Left to itself the market will always correct. Government can only distort the process.

Is that a cloud I see over the market? Good God! It's Mothra! No, Godzilla! RUN! Leviathon is loose upon the land. The government has arrived to fix the problem. RUN FOR YOUR LIVES EVERYONE!



Staggering, really, the amount of energy spent on deception. Why would anyone be as proud as muirgeo of sabotage, unless the delusion became all powerful? You'd think you might want to keep the communication open so you might still have some influence. Unfortunately, the examples are now sufficient even for my slow wit to abandon any hope of trust or goodwill. Dude, I can't believe a word you say.



I am quite sure now that DDT was removed from the list of accepted pesticides because it posed a mortal threat to constituents of the Democratic Party. Crushing them one at a time between two rocks is indeed a tedious business.



Mr. P.
As I understand it, no federal money will be spent. Unfortunately precedents exist; Chrysler, the bail out of NYC.

Still waiting for muirgeo to make his choice.

GWB or Ayatollah:
Which would you believe?

BTW, I tried to shout out to GHS about the comment spam.



Once again dissing your own government in favor of genuine religious zealots.

I'm sure it is morally comforting to be so absolutely sure of yourself. I don't envy the job of President. My gut reaction to 9/11 was "Sea of Glass" Thank G_d we had a man with a bit more circumspection at the helm.
Do you really prefer the Mullahs to your own President?

Posted by: daddyquatro


You're make false inferred conclusions.

I can "diss" my government and NOT be in favor of the zealots.

I can dislike the Mullahs and still not agree with Presidents approach to them.


You know what really bugs the crap out of me is all those quotes I can find from the Sean Hannitys, the Tom Delays and the George Bush's about how we were gonna get our boys killed in Bosnia.

My God the hypocrisy!
If only the last 7 years were one tenth as competent.



muorigo,

Effing never mind.

Svin



muirgeo,
"You know what really bugs the crap out of me is all those quotes I can find from the Sean Hannitys, the Tom Delays and the George Bush's about how we were gonna get our boys killed in Bosnia."

Nice try.
Not gonna go there.

I have, three times, offered you a choice. Do you give the benefit of the doubt to your own government (freely elected and subjected to endless and rigorous scrutiny) or the reign of the mullahs?

Given the choice, muirgeo, who would you believe?



You wanted a single topic.
There it is.
Answer the question, as posed.
Personally, I disagree with much of GWB's administration...
But in the realm of national security, I would much rather be the "strong horse"

/waiting for jukes and jives and shifting sands.



muirgeo,

I don't speak for anyone (either on this site or outside it) other than myself, but you are turning tedious tendentiousness into an art form. I will give you ONE more chance to prove you are something other than a leftist bumperstickerspouter - fail this test, and you don't exist in my universe.

1. Glow-bull warming. ABSOLUTE proof that ALL planets in the solar system are warming, roughly proportionately to the demonstrated warming (much lower than what you and Al Gore CLAIM) on Earth. Why is this not a complete and sufficent explanation for your so-called "anthropogenic global warming"???

2. Iran. 3,000 cascading centrifuges (that they ADMIT). 160 were sufficient to create fuel. WHY the additional 2,840?? Why the barium and polonium?

You have dealt with NEITHER of these bits of evidence.

You have actually not dealt with ANY of the evidence I've offered you (your claims to the contrary notwithstanding). Deal with these two - clean, lean and straight up. I MIGHT be willing to reconsider my revised conclusion that you are a troll - but, frankly, you've got a long row to hoe. You went from "rational" to "bumper sticker nitwit" in about 10 posts, and the curve has accelerated since then. Stop spouting slogans, stop exposing your neuroses, just DEAL WITH THE EVIDENCE.

1. Solar flux is increasing (the sun is, like most stars, mildly variable - solar energy is BY FAR the most important factor in the average temperature of Earth). Deal with it.

2. Iran has ADMITTED to an enrichment program which cannot POSSIBLY be explained by ANY commercial need. They are buying barium and polonium (used for weapons, but NOT for commercial uses). This is consistent with no nuclear program HOW, exactly????? Deal with it.

Or, once and for all, STFU.



Thanks for that, Flagwaver.
But I would still reduce it further with the Iran question.
(without the f-bomb)
"Do you give the benefit of the doubt to your own government (freely elected and subjected to endless and rigorous scrutiny) or the reign of the mullahs?"

That's the question.



Do you give the benefit of the doubt to your own government (freely elected and subjected to endless and rigorous scrutiny) or the reign of the mullahs?

Given the choice, muirgeo, who would you believe?

Posted by: daddyquatro

OK I believe my government. I believe the 16 National Security agencies that wrote the NIE that said that Iran is not presently pursuing nuclear weapons.

I further believe them because not even George Bush himself or DICK Cheney has come out to try to disagree with their report.

Now regarding the president...It is clear that up until August he was pushing the rhetoric that Iran WAS pursuing nuclear weapons. Then, watching his press briefings as detailed on the Keith Oberman link above, in August he obviously got word of the soon to be released NIE (long suppressed by DICK) and then Bush changed his wording from they ARE pursuing to they MIGHT be pursuing. Then the President got caught in a bold faced LIE trying to claim he knew nothing about the NIE until 2 days prior to its release. The Lying Sack of Cute, Dana Perenio accidently outed him during a press conference as did another aid. PRESIDENT CAUGHT LYING OUTRIGHT!!!. I trust my government... not the Mullahs or our lying President Cheney or his puppet Bush.


That's not Bush Derangement Syndrome... That's a patriot paying attention and watching out for his country.



muirgeo | December 9, 2007 6:24 PM --

"The presidents funding a massive private army that will make any pea shooter you carry irrelevant."

Pardon the pun, but I cannot resist. That came in from WAAAAYYyyy out there in left field! :=)

Haven't heard that one before. Educate me, please.



I didn't say "believe"
I said "give the benefit of the doubt"

You have answered my question.

In the face of unknowable facts, you choose to believe the mullahs.

And make grade school jokes about the Vice-President as well, 10 extra bonus points!

And slime the press secretary! 100 extra bonus points!

And make the obligatory "Cheney really runs things" reference. 1000 extra bonus points!

Quoting Keith Oberman: 10,000 extra bonus points!

I apologized before. No apology now.

Be gone Troll.
We are done with thee.



Hey, Paul A.
'bout lunch time there?
I'll probably get this figured out when you come home for good.
re:Muirgeo
s/he thinks the President can spend money without congressional approval. Shadow government, black helicopters, that kind of thing.
I saw an interesting article about the "stuff" in the air over there. Seems that the Chinese diesel is very high in sulfur and about 80% of vehicle traffic is diesel trucks. Go figure. You can find the link at Insty.
Be well.
-D4



1. Glow-bull warming. ABSOLUTE proof that ALL planets in the solar system are warming, roughly proportionately to the demonstrated warming (much lower than what you and Al Gore CLAIM) on Earth. Why is this not a complete and sufficent explanation for your so-called "anthropogenic global warming"???


First of all there is NO firm evidence that ALL the planets in the solar system are warming. YOU CAN NOT substantiate that. Actually I think you made it up. You won't be able to reference a credible source. There is likewise no evidence that the changes in Mars polar ice caps are a global phenomenon. Further the changes in Mars widely fluctuating climate are thought to be related to dust storms.

The implication that all planets are warming is meant to imply that some common natural mechanism must be warming them. One problem...the Sun, the most likely common mechanism... has not been warming recently. If anything it has had steady or decreased output over the last 30-50 years.

From NASA:

Recently, there have been some suggestions that "global warming" has been observed on Mars. These are based on observations of regional change around the South Polar Cap, but seem to have been extended into a "global" change, and used by some to infer an external common mechanism for global warming on Earth and Mars. However, this theory of a Martian global warming is debated.

http://aom.giss.nasa.gov/srsun.html


So in summary;

No one claims ALL the planets are warming

Mars warming is not even known to be global

Mars Warming is related to dust storms

Solar output does not explain warming on Earth, Mars, Neptune ect because the solar output has been steady over the last 30 - 50 years.



Additional links



Oops;


additional links on Mars climate;


It's dust Dude;

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/releases/2001/release_2001_199.html



ahh, the sifting sands.
I could give a sh_t less about Gorebal warming.
You wanted a topic. This is it.

You choose to give the benefit of the doubt to a government that you acknowledge to be our enemy.
I personally don't care if the next President is Rep. or Dem. as long as they take their responsibility to defend the nation seriously. You may believe that GWB has overstepped his authority but... I would still rather be "the strong horse"

/expecting more jukes and jives and shifting sands

ONE TOPIC
you asked for it.



ONE TOPIC:

Do I give the benefit of the doubt to my government:
Free Speech
Free Press
Religious Freedom
Women's Suffrage
Equal Rights
Gay Rights

Or the Mullacracy:
Repression
Repression
Religious Police!
The Burca
What black people?
We don't have gays!

I have yet to see a march down any American street calling for "Death to Iran"
But that happens on a daily/weekly/monthly basis in Iran.
If you acknowledge that the government is totalitarian and that government is our enemy, why would you give the benefit of the doubt to them and not to us?



ONE TOPIC
Iran is our enemy. Muirgeo said so.
And I have links to prove it.



D4,

The leadership of Iran is our enemy. The people are not. They pose no likely near term nuclear threat and thus there is no reason to attack them at this point on that basis.

I'm not choosing them over us. So stop implying that I am.

What do you suggest we do at this point, nuclear, strategic, invade or more diplomacy? I choose the later.

I think there is a long term history with Iran that has to be considered. We went into their country first and not the other way around. And that's what I mean about are government being imperialistic and warhawks. We have our nose in every body else's business and we sure wouldn't tolerate anyone doing the same to us. Much as I dislike Bush I would indeed strike back if a foreign country tried to take him out and interfered with our government.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldgbOxDX6DE



Oh, and Muirgeo.

"Solar output does not explain warming on Earth, Mars, Neptune ect because the solar output has been steady over the last 30 - 50 years."

You don't say?

http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20030320/

The "money quote?" (Study published ~ 2003, emphasis mine).

"In this study, Willson, who is also Principal Investigator of NASA's ACRIM experiments, compiled a TSI record of over 24 years by carefully piecing together the overlapping records. In order to construct a long-term dataset, he needed to bridge a two-year gap (1989 to 1991) between ACRIM1 and ACRIM2. Both the Nimbus7/ERB and ERBS measurements overlapped the ACRIM 'gap.' Using Nimbus7/ERB results produced a 0.05 percent per decade upward trend between solar minima, while ERBS results produced no trend. Until this study, the cause of this difference, and hence the validity of the TSI trend, was uncertain. Willson has identified specific errors in the ERBS data responsible for the difference. The accurate long-term dataset, therefore, shows a significant positive trend (.05 percent per decade) in TSI between the solar minima of solar cycles 21 to 23 (1978 to present). This major finding may help climatologists to distinguish between solar and man-made influences on climate."

"NASA's ACRIMSAT/ACRIM3 experiment began in 2000 and will extend the long-term solar observations into the future for at least a five-year minimum mission."

More can be provided if needed.



daddyquatro | December 9, 2007 10:23 PM --

Let's just say the air around here is quite "substantial..." Over the weekend, I could just barely see across the harbor in Hong Kong at some times, and that's not much more than about 1/2 mile or so? It gets bad. I've had chest congestion and a cough since arrival, and will have it until I get back, around Christmas.

'Bout time for you to be waking up, before long. Best wishes for a good day!



Oh... and Muirgeo...

"Solar output does not explain warming on Earth, Mars, Neptune ect because the solar output has been steady over the last 30 - 50 years."

You don't say?

http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20030320/

Article published in 2003. The "money quote..." (emphasis mine).

"In this study, Willson, who is also Principal Investigator of NASA's ACRIM experiments, compiled a TSI record of over 24 years by carefully piecing together the overlapping records. In order to construct a long-term dataset, he needed to bridge a two-year gap (1989 to 1991) between ACRIM1 and ACRIM2. Both the Nimbus7/ERB and ERBS measurements overlapped the ACRIM 'gap.' Using Nimbus7/ERB results produced a 0.05 percent per decade upward trend between solar minima, while ERBS results produced no trend. Until this study, the cause of this difference, and hence the validity of the TSI trend, was uncertain. Willson has identified specific errors in the ERBS data responsible for the difference. The accurate long-term dataset, therefore, shows a significant positive trend (.05 percent per decade) in TSI between the solar minima of solar cycles 21 to 23 (1978 to present). This major finding may help climatologists to distinguish between solar and man-made influences on climate."

"NASA's ACRIMSAT/ACRIM3 experiment began in 2000 and will extend the long-term solar observations into the future for at least a five-year minimum mission."



Solar activity. It's tied in, but there's nothing to say that it's THE answer. However, I'd like to point out my own brother, who is one of the most radical leftists I've ever met. He also has a lifelong interest in science of all kinds. He regularly examines information on NASA websites and others. In a recent conversation I had with him, he pointed out his own memories of the "global cooling" scare of 30-40 years ago, and told me that he had done some of his own research. It showed that sunspot activity seems to be tied in to the global cooling/warming cycles. Then he told me that, in the past year or so, sunspot activity has been at a record low level, a PHENOMENALLY low level, in fact. NASA figures put it at 59 or so in the past year, and without any power of 10 included. That is a straight 59 sunspots in the past year. He says that, if the sunspot theory is true, we should see some cooling in the next few years.

Whatever causes these cycles to take place, historical evidence does suggest that we are due to begin a cooling phase about now. Time will tell. Will it finally wake people up? Or will someone come up with the bright idea that we overcompensated for greenhouse gases?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Any claim that human activity can affect something as massive as a planetary climatic systemm indicates a humongous amount of hubris on the part of the theorist.



Paul,

TSI is NOT increasing. The degree of the trough increased between the last 2 cycles which is significant but does NOT explain the warming trend over the last 50 years.


From the article;

"Although the inferred increase of solar irradiance in 24 years, about 0.1 percent, is not enough to cause notable climate change, the trend would be important if maintained for a century or more. "

And further this trend is in no way known to have caused significant warming of the other planets.


OK so you haven't made a conclusive counter point. My point holds It's NOT the Sun. You want me to write the authors of the article to prove it to you?



I tried posting this last night, with no success:

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/abstract/117857349/ABSTRACT?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

It's the abstract (with link to the full article) of a recent article in the International Journal of Climatology that pretty much shoots all muirgeo's claims out of the water.





Folks,

muirgeo has failed his test. He responded (inaccurately on facts, taking ONE quote from ONE report out of context), supplied NO analysis and did not indicate how his cited report contradicted the reports I cited. Paul A. then came along and completely drove a stake through the heart of the argument muirgeo was apparently attempting (pathetically) to make.

He has NEVER dealt with or responded to (even in the weak fashion he responded to the evidence of increasing solar flux) to my evidence on Iran's continuing enrichment programs.

His idea of humor is grade school puns on the Vice President's name.

His BDS is manifest.

He speaks in leftist bumperstickers, supplies nothing but more bumperstickerists to support his "arguments" (Keith Effin' OLBERMANN??!?!??!! Any you expect me to take THAT seriously?!?!??!)

I hereby declare muirgeo an irredeemable troll. He is not worth debating, even if he were willing (or even ABLE) to do so.

Someone find us a RATIONAL lefie - assuming that is even possible.



And just in case ANYONE has any lingering doubts about how completely full of crap muirgeo is (of COURSE he/she believes our intelligence agencies - the very ones they accuse of "cooking the books" to justify Iraq!?!?!)

Here is from the Telegraph:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/12/09/wiran109.xml

Interesting, no?

Gee, the CIA fooled by Mideastern despotic regimes??? THAT'S never happened before, has it??

Lefties are like the Queen of Hearts - ready to believe seven impossible things before breakfast.



I've tried to post a link to this twice, with no success. Here is the information about it, you'll have to look it up for yourself. The article is "A comparison of tropical temperature trends with model predictions," from the International Journal of Climatology (http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/4735/home). Here is the abstract:

"We examine tropospheric temperature trends of 67 runs from 22 Climate of the 20th Century model simulations and try to reconcile them with the best available updated observations (in the tropics during the satellite era). Model results and observed temperature trends are in disagreement in most of the tropical troposphere, being separated by more than twice the uncertainty of the model mean. In layers near 5 km, the modelled trend is 100 to 300% higher than observed, and, above 8 km, modelled and observed trends have opposite signs. These conclusions contrast strongly with those of recent publications based on essentially the same data."

It pretty definitively dissolves muirgeo's claims.



muirgeo says "DICK Cheney" and "(long suppressed by DICK)" and "our lying President Cheney or his puppet Bush".

I can understand why you would not want to respond about the NIE anymore in the face of the November IAEA report.

However, changing subjects isn't a license to be impolite -- especially after it having been mentioned before.

I would like you to take your churlish behavior to another site, perhaps Kos, where this behavior is common and accepted.



Here are the facts

The issue is falgwaver cclaimed several planets were warming and provided no evidence.

I said solar warming does NOT explain the current warming and provided evidence.

Here it is again.

http://aom.giss.nasa.gov/srsun.html


Can anyone claim the solar irradiance is increasing?

Even Pauls attempt at showing one increase in the last trough was excluded by the authors as explaining the current warming.

Flagwaver...you claiming I failed doesn't make it so.

I'll stay on topic.

TSI has not increased...it doesn't explain the warming and your point of warming planets is silly and unverified.

You not winning the debate on this one issue. I've provided evidenc and you've provied shouting and hear say.

Is that all you got.

Argue the facts...stop the name calling.


Has TSI increased?

Do you have refrences on the "warming planets"?

Admit your wrong or my next step will be to write to the authors of the paper Paul cited to show how wrong and foolish you all are on this issue.



GAZE



(http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/4735/home). Here is the abstract:

It pretty definitively dissolves muirgeo's claims.

Posted by: Doug Loss

WHAT THE HECK??? You guys are senseless. That article doesn't even address solar effects on climate. It's an analysis of spatial variability and regional changes.

How is that pertinant? My Gosh you guys ...can see how ridiculous you are being?

The topic is weather solar output explains our warming or the suppposed warming on other planets.

And I am right in saying that there is no hard evidence to support the claim that the current warming is soley from the sun.

You guys will lose this arguement because I know the data but I will not back off because this is Flagwavers chosen topic.



However, changing subjects isn't a license to be impolite -- especially after it having been mentioned before.

I would like you to take your churlish behavior to another site, perhaps Kos, where this behavior is common and accepted.


Posted by: qwer


Oh come on. I've called our leaders names and so have you guys. You guys have called me all sorts of names and I have not called you names.

Personal attacks are bad smearing are leaders...I think you're a big enough boy to handle that.

But what I think you can't handle is the factual content and logic of my post....so now you cry for censuroship on rather silly grounds that I some how hurt your feelings by smearing our VP who has about a 9% popularity rating nationwide....he deserves a lot more then a smearing. He deserves to stand in front of a court for treason and outing a CIA spy working to prevent terorrist from getting nuclear material.



Oh please. Valerie Plame wasn't covert by the definition of the pertinent law, as agreed by the person who WROTE the law. She couldn't be outed, as she wasn't under. If anyone could have been charged with that crime it would have happened; Fitzgerald was hot to bring someone down. But the best he could do was Libby, for misremembering some conversation from years past.



Folks, muirgeo is, at this point, doing NOTHING but proving his troll status beyond contradiction. I provided him links, as did Paul A, relating to solar flux and he . . . posts a SLIGHTLY relevant article, that does NOT contradict either of the posts mentioned, calls names and then denies it and . . .

STILL hasn't responded re: Iran's enrichment program.

There is only one thing to do with this sort of troll:

I am GAZING at muirgeo.



Doug you are wrong! The CIA confirmed she was covert. Sorry but )*&^ &%^^$..what makes you guys think you can just change the truth? Shame on you! It's Orwellian the crap you guys convince yourself to believe.

http://tinyurl.com/3yl776

Deniers of truth AMAZING! and dangerous.



Folks, muirgeo is, at this point, doing NOTHING but proving his troll...

Posted by: Flagwaver

I'm sure you think thats true It's obvious because you guys simply and childishly believe only what you want to believe.

No I'm the one standing on the bridge looking down gazing. Pitiful! You got nothing but name calling.



Gawd! My eyes are starting to glaze over......

All y'all need to quit feeding the troll. This has gone beyond tedious.

Hey Svin! Done any shooting lately?



More facts from me and more tedium and glazed eyes for you.

http://www.livescience.com/environment/070312_solarsys_warming.html





Hey Don,
Last session was with Unquiet. The swinging link on my Para-Ordinance broke(again). Probably time to replace the springs. Estimate about 10,000 rounds through the gun to this point. I'm actually pretty impressed with the P-14's reliability considering it has had a pretty rough life(it is my daily carry piece on the mountain). Bears are scary!

If I go to town, I usually carry one of the throw-away "Mouse Guns". That Hi Cap 1911 is a friggin brick to conceal. I might even consider trading it for a commander size single-stack, but intel. reports indicate that practically no-one is producing reliable out-of-box guns anymore. You have to buy it, break it, send it to the factory to fix it, and then send it to a real gunsmith to fix it right. May be best to stick with the devil I know.

Had a session before that with Rocketguy. Now that man can shoot for sour owl-jowels! Damn fast and damn accurate. You dont want to be on his bad side. Now if I could only get him to go .45ACP instead of glock-rockin.

Terminal ballistic evaluation of the russian 7.62X39 on whitetail deer. At approx 50 paces, bullet entered left chest cavity just behind and below shoulder. Tore the top half of the heart completely apart. Exited exactly opposite of entry point leaving a quarter sized exit hole. Although bullet(124 gr JHP SC) was not recovered, expansion seemed to be excellent. Huge blood trail. Deer made it about 20 paces before he knew he was dead. Venison....UMMMmmm!

How are things in NoCar?
Best~Svin




muirgeo:
Please lets rise above....fellow coutrymen [sic] and work this through.

and

smearing are [sic] leaders...I think you're a big enough boy to handle that.

muirgeo can't seem to rise very high.

But what I think you can't handle is the factual content and logic of my post

Is it odd that he left off the part about his not wanting "to respond about the NIE anymore in the face of the November IAEA report"? Or is it his lack of ethics?



Svin:
practically no-one is producing reliable out-of-box guns anymore.

Try Kimber.



Hey this thread is about freedom. There is no greater freedom then the freedom of free-thinking.

When one has to deny obvious facts, claim things that aren't so and ignore common sense... he is no free man.

The Sun is not the cause of the current warming.

Valerie Plame was covert.

Iran is not an immediate threat to our national security.



speaking of global warming (I, too, well remember the nuclear winter warnings, the Silent Spring warnings, the Tail Gunner Joe scares, etc) ... we're finally starting to get back to "normal" winters in Michigan ... snow, snow and more snow .... this'll be the first time in 10 years that I drag the snowmobile out of the garage before Christmas (actually, I could have dragged it out several weeks ago). It looks like all those snowmobile trails that have lain fallow for so many years will see h4eavy traffic again ... if folks can afford the gas prices.
According to the reports I saw this morning ... the ice packs are within a snowfall of being back to "average" and the southern ice cap has increased in size by over a million square clicks.
Actually, it appears (to me) like the only thing saving us from quick return to the Little Ice Age is all the hot air from the true believers. LOL.
I haven't unpacked my heavy parka since I left the arctic ... but it's starting to feel like I might soon need it.
And here I was rooting for the global warmongers so that I could ride my motorcycles year 'round ... sigh.



qwer,
Kimber would be my first choice. Unfortunately, they are not immune from the generally bad field reports. Sources say that they have expanded their product line so much that they have practically given up on quality control. Their service department is not getting high marks either. I really like the melt-down treatment on their compacts. No sharp edges. The Colonel was pretty adamant about the importance of dehorning a sidearm. Ooooh, I want one dammit!
Any personal experiences with them?
thanks~Svin



Any personal experiences with them?

Yes. I have a couple recent models (a 5" and a 3") and know several others who have them as well -- none have needed a gunsmith or to go back to the shop. They are typically a tight casing fit out of the box, but FTCs stop before a hundred rounds. (I think I had 3-4, IIRC.) The 3" is "carry melted" -- seriously dehorned. I bought Kimber for the 1911s to avoid a gunsmith, and it has worked out as planned.



muirgeo, assertions are not facts. Shout them as long and loud as you like, they still won't be.



qwer,
Thanks. That is encouraging. Wanna trade for a "slightly" used Para?;)
Any good holster recommendations? I prefer leather. Have always used a Galco Yaqui Slide, but may want to upgrade. I use a regular strong side outside belt carry with little or no cant.



For OWB I recommend a thumb strap. I use a Heine DOJ but there are other good holsters out there.



muirgeo, assertions are not facts.
Posted by: Doug Loss


Data showing total solar irradiance trends as measured by scientific devices ARE NOT ASSSERTIONS!

An official CIA document stating the status of an officer IS NOT AN ASSERTION.



qwer,
Thanks again. The DOJ is exactly what I have been looking for. Unfortunately they are not taking new orders at this time. As regards a thumb break. Is that for concealed carry or "Duty" carry. I have never had retention problems with the Yaqui. Even when my tractor flipped over and threw me arse over teakettle, the para stayed put. Is the thumb break just to keep BG's from grabbing it, or do you feel it is just more secure that way even for concealed carry. I have malf nightmares about everything, and I have 1 Bianchi with a thumb break that is just not easy to operate. Question. Does a thumb break slow you down in an emergency, or can you train past that?
Svin



Most of my guns are pretty ugly. All but one was purchased used, and everyone seems like it's seen some pretty significant use in the field. I dehorned my 1911 as per Svin's recommendation with a rat-tail file. No big deal. Another scratch or two isn't going to degrade its utilitarian value. It's a boat anchor to be sure, but I have an aversion to polymers.

My turkey gun looked even worse when I bought it, but it's amazing what you can do with camo tape. The clerk at the gun store threw in a full choke at no extra; I couldn't say no at $185 for a 12 guage, pump-action Remington that will handle magnum shells.

The worse thing I own (aside from an SKS) is a Ruger 22/10 magnum bought new. The trigger breaks like a brick, but I hardly want to shell out another $300 for a decent trigger because 22 magnum ammo ain't for plinking. Trade anyone? I have 2400 Cabela's points to sweeten the deal if anyone's interested. I need a tier one .30 cal. hunting rifle to replace a Russian sniper rifle. Mind you, 7.62x54R is a very nice round and the trigger is very, very good when you get used to the take-up, but Russian bolt action is really substandard.



Svin,
The thumb strap is for open carry. The gun is hung out for all to see, so you want it to be more difficult to be grabbed right off of your belt.

The thumb break shouldn't slow you down at all (well, maybe a tenth second depending on practice). You don't actually try to unbutton it. Just sliding your thumb into the break with minor force should cause the strap to separate easily -- done as you grip in one fluid motion. If you can't slide your thumb down and break it unbuttoned (with the pistol in the holster) then likely there is something wrong with the thumb break button. (For the DOJ, the strap buttons only when cocked and locked.)

As always, practice is the thing.



MWP,
Hail and well met again! How are things in the beautiful(but hippie infested) environs of the high desert in N.M. Keep the guns. You regret nearly every one that you sell. I have heard that there is a guy named Bill Jean(s)? who is running excellent social shotgun courses a few hours north of Tuscon. He is into celtic art as well. I have a link somewhere that I can send if you want. Gotta get back out there at least one more time before I can't no more. The wif and I are going skiing in Ithaca New york for new years. Gammill's wifes new company is picking up the tab(I have done some graphic design work for her). Wonder how these old legs will do in the snow after all this time.
Get a SOCOM M14A1 in scout configuration for the .30 battle rifle, or contact DCM for a M1.
Best~Svin



Mark,
Can't beat the price of a Nagant. If you want to replace one battle rifle with another, consider the CMP -- get yourself a Garand. Milsurp ammo cost is near the same. And who can argue with that kind of history.



qwer,
I am in agreement as to your holster evaluations. Guess I'll train me up with a thumb break.
Thanks again
Svin

Dougman, I meant M1A1 Dammit. Dont you ever sleep?



Unfortunatly I gotta keep on going...and going...and going...until I SNAP



Just thought this might be of some interest:

Iran aims for 50,000 atomic centrifuges in 5 years





Doug Loss,
Since most of the rest of the world's intel agencies seem to strongly contradict the NIE, why do you suppose that they issued such a bogus report. Is it just internal politics, or is it part of our own disinformation program against Iran?
Best~Svin



I suppose it could be part of a disinformation campaign, but if so it doesn't make sense. This NIE has limited our ability to influence Iran outside of military action, quite a bit. A successful disinformation campaign should increase your operational options, not decrease them.

No, my money is on it being just what John Bolton called it, an attempted putsch by elements in the permanent government against the Bush administration. The goal for them isn't the good of the country, but the good of the permanent government (the liberal bureaucracies at CIA, State, etc.).



Doug Loss,
If you and the esteemed Mr. Bolton are correct, those responsible should be dropped off the back of the boat forthwith.

As far as disinformation goes. If we were actually planning an attack soon, wouldn't it be useful to give them a false sense of security? Rather like those two Japanese diplomats negotiating with Sec. Hull right up to Dec 7th.
Just Musin,
Svin



For anyone objectively interested, I found the article below and its links to be of interest.

Many of the links in the article are to some of the more recent papers and peer reviews.

http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=c9554887-802a-23ad-4303-68f67ebd151c

Enjoy in good health!



Doug & Svin,

Has it not been the case for the last seven years that every criticism, tactic, and policy from the left has been designed to hurt George Bush? It's as if the president has been forced to fight a rear-guard action, in essence a domestic civil war, even while taking the fight abroad to our avowed enemies. Another bogus report is just more of the same. Recent criticism of supposed "torture" . . . more of the same. It's BDS writ large across a giant tapestry. Whatever it is, it's Bush's fault.

What disturbs me more than the calculated lies, the distortions, and the overt treason from the left is the agenda left unsaid. The disloyal oppositon isn't merely socialist, or collectivist, they're Bolsheviks. And before you accuse me of rhetorical excess, consider Elian Gonzalez and Waco. Where were the outraged howels from the left over using a SWAT team to repatriate a 6 year old to Cuba? Where the cries of indignation when an entire community was burned to the ground by Janet Reno? Isn't this the party that prefers negotiation to violence?

The pattern does not bode well for the future. I can only hope that the utter incompetence of the left reveals itself to the common sense of ordinary citizens before the trend becomes terminal.

God save the Republic!



Isn't this the party that prefers negotiation to violence?

Well, the Dem leadership facade is certainly that way.

I try to separate the Dem (and GOP) leadership from its registered members -- principally because there are so many Democrats out there that seem to believe things that are different from their leadership -- e.g., the mid-west Dems strongly support gun-ownership (and, for example, the Ohio GOP leaders don't -- maybe they're from the Rockefeller branch). Of course, there is a sizeable minority of Dems that side with Marx and it overlaps heavily with another sizeable minority who've bought in to the 7 years of anti-Bush conspiracy theories.

But the GOP has it's own out-of-step leadership problems what with the earmarking, the budget overspending, and its own liberal elitist Rockefeller wing still fairly strong.

My guess is that the mismatch between leadership behavior and grass roots expectations will limit any Dem government control to short duration. If they don't like 'em, they won't vote for 'em.



MWP,
Well said. When are we going to have the backbone to take this fight to the streets and eradicate the Bolsheviks where they live. The notion that they may regain political ascendancy in the near term makes me um.. apprehensive? They are the ones that ought to be afraid. It may well be time for Caesar to cross the Rubicon, but in this instance to save the Republic.
Ad Astra~ Svin



Heh. I was nearly accosted by a couple of Truthers (911truth.org, ya know) this afternoon in Cincinnati.

I was heading back from lunch with the guy who finally got me a job again (Yay, Robert Half Technology!), when I passed one guy holding a sign with the website name on it, and another passing out fliers. Fortunately, there was someone between them and me, so I was saved from having to talk with them on a full stomach.

Later, of course, I thought about going back and spewing all their nonsense myself, in a comically tragic voice, just to irritate them, but I just couldn't pull it off.



I didn't read too far down the comments section before posting, but these comments are fantastic. It makes me think of conversations at my local Ron Paul meetup group. +T on bringing the real debate. -Fuss



For those interested -- a news article at the Senate's Environment & Public Works page.

Skeptical Scientists Urge World To ‘Have the Courage to Do Nothing' At UN Conference

The web page includes links to recent peer-reviewed studies that "cast considerable doubt about man-made global warming fears".



John Fuss,
OMG! A Paulian! :>)
No offense, dude.
A lot of what Dr. Paul has to say makes sense but his chances of actually being elected are somewhere between slim and none.



qwer,
Paul A. beat you to it.
And from China no less.



Svin,

Things are quiet in NC. I *may* have time this weekend to make some noise. Got a "Sweet 22" mounted on the stealth 10/22 and a "Sweet 17" mounted on the Savage. Now to sight them in...

BTW: I've got a Springfield commander .45 milspec that I'm happy with so far. Several of my friends have Springfields and are happy with them. I bought mine based on their advise.

MWP,

I've got an FN M50 in that ought to make a good hunting rifle. Mauser 98 converted to .30-06 in 1951. It's out of my Dad's estate and I'm trying to sell it for my Mom. Bore looks good but I haven't shot it yet. If I can't sell it, I'm going to buy it and take it out to CO for a truck gun. I don't think the coyotes will mind that it's a converted mil. piece.

Also, it shouldn't cost $300 to put a good trigger in the .22 Mag. I put a Clark (I think, have to check) in the mini sniper 10/22 for about $70. Made one h of a difference.

Don



OK, here's what I get from the NASA data. Using the data from this page, I copied the Annual Mean data into MS Excel and generated this graph. The jagged line is the raw information, and the smooth one is a Trend Line generated by Excel. It clearly shows a warming trend beginning about 1895, then peaking around 1940, cooling from about 1940 to about 1975, then beginning to rise again. The peak of the trendline does appear that it will be higher than it was in the '30s, but it should begin to turn around sometime in the next 10 years. Best guess based on the data would be that the trendline will start going back down in about 2015.

Side note: I later added the 5-yr average data and did a trendline on that, and it came out essentially the same as the one in the image.



Well, that's the first time I got the red & blue Moderation page. I've had a couple of posts just disappear, but haven't had that one happen before.

Let's try a slight modification:

OK, here's what I get from the NASA data. Using the data from this page: ("data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.D.txt"), I copied the Annual Mean data into MS Excel and generated this graph. The jagged line is the raw information, and the smooth one is a Trend Line generated by Excel. It clearly shows a warming trend beginning about 1895, then peaking around 1940, cooling from about 1940 to about 1975, then beginning to rise again. The peak of the trendline does appear that it will be higher than it was in the '30s, but it should begin to turn around sometime in the next 10 years. Best guess based on the data would be that the trendline will start going back down in about 2015.

Side note: I later added the 5-yr average data and did a trendline on that, and it came out essentially the same as the one in the image.



Nuttin' but love for you gun guys: I love football, but I don't listen to sports radio.
The Chase Lounge is open for business. There's a chat link on the left.
Please don't expect too much. I ain't Bill. If there's any interest we might be able to make things more interesting.



qwer,

Any recommendations for a SOB holster for the Springfield commander size .45?



Don,
A "newbie" shooting an OOB Springfield took the "E" ticket at school. Springfield is on my list, but they don't offer some stuff I like. Life is a trade-off(not a compromise).

Got any pictures of the FN M50?

I have an old Argentine Mauser with a short barrel and turned down bolt that is stamped NATO 308 1961.

Is this the same gun?
note-gun has no stripper clip cut and no gas relief port.

Best to all~Svin

P.S.
Best regards to the members of the "Amateur Philosophers Society and Gun Club
of Ejectia"

I do believe that we have just delivered our first successful "Pistol Whippin".

Regards~Svin



Svin,

I can get some pix of the FN but it would look like the Argentine. I've got a Mauser 98 stamped Peru that's a .30-06 as well and the two guns are basically the same. Page 38 of "The Standard Catalog of Military Firearms" has a picture at the top of the page that looks like the FN except for that weird magazine extention. On the FN it's flat in front of the trigger guard.



Sorry I missed you Don
Feel free to leave comments.
The Chase Lounge is open 24/7.



Heh heh...I'm having too much fun with words, I ought'a be locked up ;~}

Universal Health Care

Roget's New Millennium™ Thesaurus - Cite This Source - Share This
Main Entry: universal
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: worldwide
Synonyms: accepted, all, all-embracing, all-inclusive, allover, astronomical, broad, catholic, celestial, common, comprehensive, cosmic,...

Hey, I 'm all four cathol...Oops..I mean "Universal" Health Care. A-ha hahaha...(cough)..(cough)...(acht put-uey)...

O' Lord, I AM twisted and bent

D__gm_n




What would the last day of Hanukkah be without a dedication of lights.

Children of the exile, Feast!

"Energy source of northern lights found"

Tue Dec 11, 6:21 PM ET

SAN FRANCISCO - Scientists think they have discovered the energy source of the spectacular color displays seen in the northern lights. New data from NASA's Themis mission, a quintet of satellites launched this winter, found the energy comes from a stream of charged particles from the sun flowing like a current through twisted bundles of magnetic fields connecting Earth's upper atmosphere to the sun.



D4,

I'll be back.



MWP,
Well said. When are we going to have the backbone to take this fight to the streets and eradicate the Bolsheviks where they live.

Posted by: svinrod

Svinrod,

Would you like to expound upon this sick statement? You do know wire-tapping and reading e-mails by your government have been made legal. You still gonna be happy with these orwellian authoritarian rules when your commander in chief is a girl or a black guy? I won't be. And if a democratic president comes to lead us most supporters of his party will insist he reverse these trends of government secrecy, power consolidation and violations of the constitution. As opposed to now when we see some who claim to be patriots but make vile statements like yours and support these anti-american unconstitutional policies.

A coward hides behind his guns and veiled threats when beaten down with words and facts.



Vis-a-vis my mention of the permanent government:

Shadow Warriors



You're joking, right muirgeo? The left in this country has shown tendencies toward brownshirt behavior to a vastly greater extent than anything the right has done. The fascists were socialists, after all...



Doug you're ridiculous.

The closest thing we've seen to the Brown-shirts is Blackwater.

Then it's funny you link to a book that has a nut-cake other upset that some one leaked about our black site torture prisons.

Nope there's little doubt that its people like you who would have sided with the fascist (in fact history shows the right DID side woth Hitler) and that would likely side up with Blackwater when the come to...how's svin say it?.."eradicate the Bolsheviks where they live.."

But again you've only got guns we have words so it's really not much a match.



muirgeo, you really don't have a leg to stand on here. The fascists and nazis were definitely socialists and clearly said so. And who is it that tries to shout down and physically assaults speakers with an opposing message in the US today? It's not the right, my friend. This isn't opinion, it's fact. And you can call someone a nut-cake, but I notice you didn't even attempt to refute any of the statements he made. Try, why don't you? You can't, of course, because they're true.

Yes, you have words. Many words, tubs full of them. What you don't have is truth. In short, you are a liar.





- Doug you're ridiculous.

1. Namecalling? Check.

- But what I think you can't handle is the factual content and logic of my post
- Please lets rise above....fellow coutrymen [sic] and work this through.
- smearing are [sic] leaders...I think you're a big enough boy to handle that.
- It's obvious because you guys simply and childishly believe only what you want to believe.

2. Illogical? Check.

- STILL hasn't responded re: Iran's enrichment program.
- Is it odd that he left off the part about his not wanting "to respond about the NIE anymore in the face of the November IAEA report"?

3. Changes subject when faced with difficult facts? Double-check.

Recommendations?

- Be gone Troll.
- Folks, muirgeo is, at this point, doing NOTHING but proving his troll status beyond contradiction.
- I hereby declare muirgeo an irredeemable troll.
- All y'all need to quit feeding the troll.

Seconded. (That is to say, "Fourthed".)



Paul A. beat you to it. And from China no less.

Good job. Didn't recognize the URL match.



Don,
Any recommendations for a SOB holster for the Springfield commander size .45?

My apologies. I'm not an SOB kind of guy. ;-) I only do strong-side OWB or IWB, so I'm not the guy to give you a recommendation.



muirgeo,
You are a paranoid, a lunatic, and a traitor. In short, you are the very embodiment, nay the archetype, of the disloyal opposition. What is worse, you are boring and predictable. There is not an original idea in your head. You regurgitate anti-American hogwash and wonder why everyone here loathes you.

Should the traitors in congress ever actually achieve their goal of defunding the troops and rendering they and their families sacrifices tragically meaningless, I would pray that Gen, Petraeus lead his legions directly to the capitol and hang those self serving bastards from the nearest lamp post.

I applaud my government for utilizing every means possible to track down terrorists, shut off their funding, root out their supporters and kill them dead.

I am not scared of the government. The FBI has my fingerprints. I have been through numerous background checks to obtain my CCW. I assume that all e-mails can be read, and all phones could be tapped but what do I care? I have already decided how I shall stand when the balloon goes up.

Go peddle your fear and loathing elsewhere. I'm not buying any. What will you do when they come for you. Whine at them? Throw a thesaurus at them? You are a useless appendage to society. Too puny to do anything other than be a nuisance and too weak to defend it.

Go back to the pasture with the other sheep. Don't worry. The sheepdogs will defend even the likes of you.

Svinrod



qwer,

Not a problem. I'm looking and just thought I'd check.



Here's something more on the lines of an Ejectian concept (I think):

Fuel cells help make noisy, hot generators a thing of the past





Looks like I have to post interesting links one at a time:

Making gas out of crude oil







MWP,

re: my earlier post

The trigger is a Clark.

http://www.clarkcustomguns.com/index.htm



3. Changes subject when faced with difficult facts? Double-check.

Recommendations?

Posted by: qwer

Nope. An outright lie. The subject was solar radiation and global warming. I showed graphs that expalined that solar output leveled off while the warnming continued. It went without rebuttal.

The only counter was Pauls graph in which the author admitted the trend he was talking about didn't explain the warming. And his graph confirmed that total solar radiation was not changing. It was the same data I showed.

Then in a Planes, Trains and Automoiles fashion you guys tried to change the subject to something "macho" like guns. Yeah lets talk about guns since we can't rebut the facts before us on solar radiation trends. LOL. How about those Bears..yeah go Bears...Oh and I have a Crossman pump BB gun that'll drop a pigeon at 10 paces just LIKE THAT!!!



For those interested.

"A new study comparing the composite output of 22 leading global climate models with actual climate data finds that the models do an unsatisfactory job of mimicking climate change in key portions of the atmosphere."

"The 22 climate models used in this study are the same models used by the UN Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC), which recently shared a Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore."

From PhysOrg:

New study increases concerns about climate model reliability





Don, thanks for the tip. Im going to look into it. The 22/10 is actually a nice little tackdriver, and in magnum it's got pretty good reach to boot.

In the hunting department, I didn't draw a permit this year, but my buddy from school got a nice 4x5 elk measuring a respectable 260 with Boone and Crocket. I'm looking at elk steaks for Christmans . . . Booyah!

Meanwhile, White Sands has expanded hunting parties now to four per permit for Oryx season. It's the most totally cool hunt this side of Africa. How often in one lifetime do you get to hunt African antelope on a nuclear test site? I'm going to apply in March. Let you know what's up if I draw. I'll need some drivers (driving the herd, not the vehicles).



Paul A. has popped into the Chase Lounge for a quick one If anyone cares to join in.

The long leg bar stools are order.



P.S.

New Mexico has no stated season for trolls, but I'm pretty sure they qualify as varmints. I've noticed the locals deal with the problem by dropping nail bombs and sundry explosives from bridges to the environs below where trolls tend to congregate. Never ever throw garbage off a bridge. If you feed trolls they will multiply. A word to the wise . . . and all that.



qver, brinster, flagwaver,

The topic was solar radiation and warming...you're trying to change the subject with another bogus and unrelated reference.

This is way too complicated for you too understand but the links you both placed reference the same research article which is debunked here by actual climate scientist.

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/12/tropical-troposphere-trends/#more-509



Mark,

Calling people trolls when you obviously can't handle the true issue being debated really just makes you look pathetic....like a forth grader and is about as original as....well as original as something not very original. Grow up dude.



I've been lurking for years. It's time to come out of the shadows. Some of you may have heard of "Glacier Girl", the P-38F recovered from under the ice in Greenland. http://p38assn.org/glacier-girl-recovery.htm It was landed there in July, 1942. Fifty years later a dedicated group hauled it to the surface to begin restoration. It was 268 feet below the surface of the glacier. If it was buried under accumulation, that works out to 5.36 feet per year, on average. Anyone out there an authority on the flow dynamics of glacial ice? Could aircraft "glide" down over time? Or, does it actually snow enough in Greenland to accumulate 5+ feet of ice per year for fifty years? Any thoughts? Anyone?



Michael Medved has identified the GOP VP candidate, well ahead of time. Interesting.

Running Mate Rules



Thomas Sowell explains his short list of book gift ideas.

Christmas Books



Yo, qwer.
Join us in the Lounge.
Click on my link.



Thomas Sowell has a good article on the vagaries of defensive shooting.

"People for whom indignation is a way of life -- and there seem to be an increasing number of such people -- repeatedly have outbursts of outrage whenever the police fire a lot of shots at some criminal."

"People who have never fired a gun in their lives, and have never had a split-second in which to make a decision that could mean life or death for themselves or others, are often nevertheless convinced that the police used excessive force."

"As someone who once taught pistol shooting in the Marine Corps, it has never seemed strange to me that the police sometimes fire dozens of shots at a criminal."

At Last!



Posted by: qwer | December 12, 2007 7:56 PM --

Just another reason you have to like Thomas Sowell!!!

Best, to All...



qwer ... I got bored reading all the refutations of the "science" behind the global warming drek ... I find it very easy to determine the veracity of the wailers and whiners:
Anyone who asserts Al Gore as a valid and reliable source is authomatically an ignorant fool.
Anyone associated with the United Nations is automatically a deceitful, lying fool.

Saves me a lot of time ... while I sit in this 'global warming' trying to keep warm ... LOL ... at this rate, I think my heating costs will soon exceed my monthly taxes ...



pete, I know what you mean. :)



And now for something different...

The Sandbox Boys sing that old Christmas carol,
"The Restroom Door Said 'Gentleman'"



"And for three Mars summers in a row, deposits of frozen carbon dioxide near Mars' south pole have shrunk from the previous year's size, suggesting a climate change in progress."

Probably just a typo. ;-)



Bill's original post seems to hit on the slim but crucial difference between "freedom" and "liberty." "Liberty" includes the concept of "virtue." That is, responsibilities that the assumption of which makes one a man. Hence, "justice" is a required component of "liberty," if not "freedom."



KY Rifle,
Good points. The founders often mentioned that to institute democracy amongst a civitas without virtue would be a disaster. Responsibility is a core component of virtue. Thus, responsibility and democracy are bound together.

"Apart from the obvious disadvantage of being unarmed, it renders one despicable."
Niccolo Machiavelli~The Prince



Even if one grants every single bit of recent warming (about .6 degrees) to man-made carbon dioxide, that still leaves a number of problems for the kind of catastrophist scenarios that could possibly justify the kinds of economic interventions required to substantially decrease man-made carbon emissions. Every climate scientist agrees that CO2 has a diminishing-returns effect on climate; each increment of additional CO2 has a smaller effect than the one before it. CO2 alone can't cause more than 1-2 degrees of total warming.

The additional warming posited by the IPCC (which is more like 4-8 degrees over the next 100 years) all comes from posited positive-feedback processes from things like humidity, cloud cover, and ice albedo. They depend on climate being dominated by positive feedback processes, which presents two big issues.

1)No natural process that we know well is dominated by positive feedbacks. It's why things like nuclear fission aren't generally found in nature.

2)If climate is dominated by positive feedbacks, why have none of the massive disturbances of the past resulted in runaway warming? We've had meteor strikes, the kinds of volcanic eruptions that all but block out the sun for years, disturbances big enough to wipe out most of the life on earth at a swipe, and yet the earth's climate still returned to slow oscillations around a moderate middle point each time... almost as if climate were actually dominated by negative feedback processes.

Arguing about just how much CO2 and warming to date is man's responsibility is somewhat beside these points, which I very, very rarely see acknowledged at all by climate alarmists- probably because all their solid data is about CO2.



I'm betting on global cooling. Buy that goose-down parka on sale this summer. ;-)



I'm betting the issue of global warming goes away completely in the face of the next manufactured crisis designed to herd the sheep toward a goal designed around someone's political ambitions. But me, I'm cynical, so pay me no mind.



Mark- reading the science parts of the IPCC and then reading the summaries is very, very illustrative of just how much the actual scientific debate (which, on the technical side, has been mainly an honest and interesting one) is removed from the media debate.



LabRat,
Exactly. The Summary was written and published 3 months before the report -- politically, so that no one could double-check it against the report until the media frenzy had time to take hold. Very cute plan.



Regarding the NIE even the Pres and the VP agree with me;

Today, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino rejected the partisan witch-hunt into the intelligence community. “They assessed all of the intelligence,” she declared. “I think that they should be supported”:

PERINO: The bottom line for the president on the NIE was that the 16 intelligence communities — community — came together. They assessed all of the intelligence. … And I just don’t know if there’s need to have a second look at it. […]

QUESTION: So is it safe, then, to draw from that that the president is fully confident in the information contained in the NIE?

PERINO: The NIE — the president accepted the results of the NIE.




Hey, LabRat!
Long time no see, around here anyway :>)
The greatly vaunted consensus is only evident in the summary, which was written by three guys.



A foot of GW in a day back East.

"A winter storm responsible for deaths in the Midwest blasted the Northeast on Thursday, dumping snow and sleet and clogging some of the nation's most heavily traveled highways. Some parts of the Northeast could receive up to a foot of snow."

Storm Blasts Northeast With Snow, Sleet



Has that idiot Shrub been playing 3-D chess while his opponents, foreign and domestic, gleefully eye their position and plot their next moves on the global checkerboard?

In his best Texan drawl... Awwww shucks. You got me again. I never did understand them complicated checkers rules. All that jumping and moving diagonally just don't make any sense too this ol' Texan. Well anyway, I guess that NIE right there counts as my turn. I got some weeds to clear down at the ranch. Give me a call if you need anything. We can talk about what y'all think YOU need to do.

Your move!

http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/12/mindreading_george_w_on_the_mi.html

Explain to me again why his opponents, foreign and domestic, think GW is so stupid? No, actually, please don't. I read the paper, so I see that every day.



Posted by: Unquiet | December 13, 2007 8:36 PM --

Saw that, read it, but didn't want to blow Shrub's cover... So, "be vewy, vewy quiet, Unquiet...We awe hunting da wombats!"

Just sending you a hearty "Hail and well met, my Friend!" ;=)



Unquiet - That's quite an article there in the American Thinker. Sounds like something Bush would do, too.

Regarding Iran, what I've been concerned with is the possibility that, if they do get a nuclear weapon, then rather than try to threaten us with it, they will try to ignite the Islamic world by using it on one of the other Islamic countries, and blaming Israel. Imagine if Syria or Lebanon got hit. The rest of the world might not believe that Israel did it, but the Islamic states would. This could be a uniting factor that neither Bin Laden nor Saddam have been able to pull off.

Not saying that they would definitely do that, but I was afraid that they would consider that an acceptable loss in order to, "bring back the 12th Imam".



Wow!

Looks like I will have to move AGW to the top of my to-do pile.

Having skimmed these commments, I would like to say something, however. I have had a great many trolls in these comments sections over the years. I know what they look like, and how and why they behave as they do.

That said, I can say with conviction that "muirgeo" should not, under any circumstances, be considered a "troll." He has provided evidence and links, and kept his argument civil and on-topic in the face of being greatly outnumbered.

In saying this I mean no disrespect to my friends who are exasperated by his doggedness. But I have looked at this comment thread and seen nothing more and nothing less than a person passionately defending their position with links (which I have followed) and what seems to me to be remarkable restraint.

A a person who has been called a Nazi, Fascist, Homosexual, Communist, Idiot and Cannibal, I can say that the temptation to question the motives of someone in heated argument is almost irresistable. I do it all the time. But the argument should stand or fall on the basis of the argument.

Now the problem with this topic is that it is a perfect storm (if you will pardon the expression) where there are very wide data sets and lots of opportunities to poke holes in the opposition when errors in methodolgy can be found. I'm going to try and stay away from that if I can.

What I want to look at is how politics and science intermesh, for there is the real nub of the issue. I believe if the GW data were to remain exactly as it were, but the POLITICAL solutions were to be somehow magically reversed ("The way to deal with climate change is to increase human freedom and grow capitalist economies, especially that of the United States") then 95% of the people in this fight would immediately change sides regarding the scientific evidence.

Does that make sense?

Anyway, that is where I am headed with this. And I realize now that like the 'Race" essay I am about to write, my effort to find the reasonable middle will likely do nothing more than piss of people on both sides.

Well, we have to follow our own hearts come what may.

New (minor) post later today or tomorrow at the latest. And this latest LGF / GOV feud has had me thinking it's time for me long-delayed essay on race next. This GW issue will not likely be resolved before the end of the year, methinks.

BW

PS And how this debate has me pining for Ejectia! That will be a glorious place when it finally comes. Ah, well. On to making money so we may have the means to follow our dreams...)



For something a little different...

A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, 'I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.'



qwer,
That joke was just offal.
Svin



Have we not yet been sufficiently punished?



I think that the defining principle we need to consider whenever discussing freedom vs. justice (or freedon AND justice, if you prefer) is the fall. We humans were created good, and there is much goodness in us still. However, we also live simultaneously in sin, and are contaminated by it. So, we cannot be trusted with absolute freedom, or the world would be unlivable. On the other hand, do we really want true justice? Every bad act punished? EVERY bad act? Be honest. We all commit bad acts. Oh sure, most of us won't commit genocide, or pour poison into the city drinking water, or drive five miles with our turn signal on, or any other capital crime. But we all do bad things, so if there were absolute justice, we would all be under punishment. The balancing factor is God's saving grace in Christ, for Whose sake God postpones judgement and punishment in order to allow men and women to come to Him for forgiveness. In the mean time, we live in the shaddow lands between Heaven and Hell.



Freedom doesn't imply an absence of consequences.

Justice doesn't imply that free choices were not made. If you think about it, our system insures that a free choice was made before it administers justice.

As far as global warming - as on of the candidates mentioned last night, what do you have to lose? If you take the steps to develop alternative fuel sources, clean up the environment, eliminate dependency on foreign oil, eliminate most of the world's current conflict, etc, and it turns out that global warming does not exist, what harm have you done?

If you do nothing and it turns out that global warming does exist, what harm have you done?



Web: Look up the numbers on how much it would cost to even slow down growth on carbon emissions, let alone actually abate. We're not talking simple, commonsense measures, we're talking hundreds of trillions in costs- and preventing most of the world from ever becoming the developed world at all.

It's relatively easy to reduce or eliminate atmospheric pollutants like sulfur dioxide, because they mostly come from impure energy sources. But CO2 is the byproduct of combustion itself- almost all means of efficiently generating energy, including those necessary to life itself. You can't easily even BEGIN to reduce it significantly without huge costs.



Web,
What candidate said what you quoted?



Bill,

Don't worry about rewriting this. Your point comes across perfectly. Anyone who is analyzing the precise definitions of the words you use is missing the boat. Keep it simple.

Mike Perry



Yeah, I wouldn't consider this an essay either.



>>Likewise, imagine a world where there was perfect justice: no difference in income or lifestyle,

One's wealth, income, and style of life are all existential facts, having nothing to do with justice whatsoever.

Anyone saying otherwise is either trying to sell you snake oil, or pick your pocket.



In 1970, the year of the first Earth Summit, the crisis was global cooling. By the time the Kyoto Treaty made its appearance, it was global warming.
I notice the common term now is "global climate change."

Sooner or later they'll figure it out.
And I suppose I'll begin to pay attention when the climate PhDs construct a model that accurately forecasts, uh... let's say, 10 days into the future.



The protection of property rights, or rights in general all of which have their foundation in property rights, gives you the maximum of both freedom (I will say "liberty" which is a different thing) and justice possible, and it treats every citizen equally.

There is no liberty that violates another person's rights (I do not have the liberty to steal from you, or to burn down your factory). Likewise with justice. In its most basic form, justice is the protection of rights, or more accurately, it is retaliation for the violation of rights. That, then (the issue of rights) is the yardstick by which we may judge what is liberty and what is justice. It's usually not even slightly difficult, nor does it necessarily have to involve one's specific self-interest to understand it.



The liberal illuminati want to take away our freedom of speech, and they're doing so. Also, they're prohibiting a lot of things, speech included, and if you violate their new set of rules, justice will kick in, and we're all doomed!



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Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It's very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker.



Dumme Sprüche beim Abholen der Bierzeltgarnituren mit dem Twingo. Blöde geguckt als alles locker rein passte.



Hands down, Apple's app store wins by a mile. It's a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I'm not sure I'd want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.



The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod's. It works well, but isn't as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that's not an issue, but if you're planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod's larger screen and better browser may be important.



This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like 'Mixview' that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you're listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of "neighbors" will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune "Social" is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.



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Keep studind more Eject! Eject! Eject!: FREEDOM versus JUSTICE, hat is a great subject!



Keep studind more Eject! Eject! Eject!: FREEDOM versus JUSTICE, hat is a great subject!



Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass' favor.



The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it'll do even better in those areas, but for now it's a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod's strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.



Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass' favor.



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Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass' favor.



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If you're still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you'll know which is right for you.



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The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it'll do even better in those areas, but for now it's a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod's strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.



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Christian News: A-list actor Tom Truong said: "If you are a soldier, you must move to where I live and do your best to protect the citizens that belongs to God's Kingdom (located in the Chicago land area) a new kingdom made by God. a new Kingdom that truely belongs to me, your King of Kings and Lord of Lords."



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The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod's. It works well, but isn't as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that's not an issue, but if you're planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod's larger screen and better browser may be important.



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Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It's very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker.



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Hands down, Apple's app store wins by a mile. It's a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I'm not sure I'd want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.



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Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass' favor.



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The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it'll do even better in those areas, but for now it's a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod's strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.



The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it'll do even better in those areas, but for now it's a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod's strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.



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Between me and my husband we've owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I've settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.



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Hands down, Apple's app store wins by a mile. It's a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I'm not sure I'd want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.



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Sorry for the huge review, but I'm really loving the new Zune, and hope this, as well as the excellent reviews some other people have written, will help you decide if it's the right choice for you.



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Hands down, Apple's app store wins by a mile. It's a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I'm not sure I'd want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.



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