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Guilty Spark
08-28-2007, 10:53 PM
with a few unfortunates copping the occasional 'friendly' fire

Which sometimes get covered up. Pat Tillman.

Bosnia is still a major traffic route for Islamic extreamists from the north to find their way into Afghanistan and Iraq.

Taliesin
08-29-2007, 04:11 AM
Mike Whilst everyone here must admire your style of debate

Ie

1. Make a broad statement
2. Be demonstrated wrong
3. Call person who pointed out you were wrong stupid
4. Misrepresent their argument
5. Put forward a different, (although related argument)
6. Swear blind that your latest argument was your original
argument all the time
7. Berate 'Liberals' as the root of all evil
8. Repeat

Now getting back to that horrible four letter word FACT

You stated that Britain - which I repeat is not the same thing as England, needed US military force to prevent invasion.

I pointed out that this was inaccurateand explained why.

You then claimed that US support was essential - and that without it we would have been invaded. I stated that it was arguable but not certain since there were other possible supply sources. I even pointed one out.

Then to test what is laughing called your historical 'knowledge'

I referred to places, times and a quote all somehow relating to Churchill and a quote and asked you to explain their relevance. Which makes your statement that I "should be *for* Churchill and not so against him" amusing . - The problem is I don't think he was infallible - but then it seems I know more about him than you do - still waiting for those answers BTW

I asked you who first declared War on Germany in WWII - you failed to answer that as well.

We moved onto Kosovo - but you had no reply to the points I made on that issue either

And then finally you came out with the argument that I would be speaking German without Churchill and the US I was reminded of two things - Churchill was the British Prime Minister (I can't assume you knew that) and secondly US wasn't actually part of the Soviet Union.

Perhaps since it is only the US doing the fighting - according to you, you can be the one to describe the phrase used by GWB "coalition of the willing"

PS - Leave the credit to Americans wherever credit is due to Hollywood they do it so much better than you. (Although that's not saying much).

Mike Sigman
08-29-2007, 06:18 PM
Without arguing whether there was a direct benefit or an immediate national interest at stake on the ground in Bosnia, there is the small matter of giving NATO a reason for continued existence in the wake of the breakup of the Soviet Union.

For better or for worse, the Bosnian intervention probably extended NATO's life for a decade or three.

You could argue the "for worse" side, but significant segments of both the military and foreign policy communities (some ostensibly "conservative" and some ostensibly "liberal") see the preservation of NATO as a means of projecting American military power as a paramount US interest that was served by that particular intervention.

Whether the game was worth the candle (or the gain was worth the bodies) is another question entirely, and entirely too nuanced for this venue.Well, I don't disagree with anything you've said, Fred, but the point was that the EU could not and did not handle a problem, so it had to go to NATO.... aka the US's military, for the most part. What I was mainly pointing out is the Europe is inept and has a history of making bad decisions about doing nothing substantive to handle their own problems. The NATO discussion is a tangent where I tend to agree with you. The more Europe needs the US for something, the friendlier they are. When they don't need us, to hell with us. Those are our "allies"?

;)

Mike

Mike Sigman
08-29-2007, 06:29 PM
I'm not saying that's all they do, Mike.

They also keep each other out of prison. Like Mark Foley, for instance.

It balances out--at least the way they see it, huh?

David???? What???? Other than being a Democrat disguised as a Republican, what crime did Foley commit? He wrote emails. Even if he'd been a Democrat, you can't put someone in jail for emails, David. What color is the sky on your planet?

Heck, if you're a Democrat, you can drunkenly cause someone's death and still keep your seat (like Kennedy). Or you can have sex with an intern and the Dems will cheer you on.... in numerous cases: Clinton, Gary Studds, Condit, etc.

If you want to debate something, you have to do better than absurd generalities.

Mike

Mike Sigman
08-29-2007, 06:32 PM
Mike Whilst everyone here must admire your style of debate

Ie

1. Make a broad statement
2. Be demonstrated wrong
3. Call person who pointed out you were wrong stupid
4. Misrepresent their argument
5. Put forward a different, (although related argument)
6. Swear blind that your latest argument was your original
argument all the time
7. Berate 'Liberals' as the root of all evil
8. Repeat

Now getting back to that horrible four letter word FACT

You stated that Britain - which I repeat is not the same thing as England, needed US military force to prevent invasion.

I pointed out that this was inaccurateand explained why.

You then claimed that US support was essential - and that without it we would have been invaded. I stated that it was arguable but not certain since there were other possible supply sources. I even pointed one out.

Then to test what is laughing called your historical 'knowledge'

I referred to places, times and a quote all somehow relating to Churchill and a quote and asked you to explain their relevance. Which makes your statement that I "should be *for* Churchill and not so against him" amusing . - The problem is I don't think he was infallible - but then it seems I know more about him than you do - still waiting for those answers BTW

I asked you who first declared War on Germany in WWII - you failed to answer that as well.

We moved onto Kosovo - but you had no reply to the points I made on that issue either

And then finally you came out with the argument that I would be speaking German without Churchill and the US I was reminded of two things - Churchill was the British Prime Minister (I can't assume you knew that) and secondly US wasn't actually part of the Soviet Union.

Perhaps since it is only the US doing the fighting - according to you, you can be the one to describe the phrase used by GWB "coalition of the willing"

PS - Leave the credit to Americans wherever credit is due to Hollywood they do it so much better than you. (Although that's not saying much).Er.... is it the tippling hour over there? Do you even read my posts? For instance, just to take one point above, you say I ignored your question about who declared WWII... go look at my post. England and France did and I said it rather clearly. No more G&T for you, my boy.

Mike

Mike

Mike Sigman
08-29-2007, 07:35 PM
Doesn't the constant vitriol give you heartburn;) Not at all. If I throw an apple core at barking to dogs to shush them, it's not because of "vitriol" (which is your way of subtle name-calling, let's face it).

Here's another of my many small bets. I'll bet if we go back to the posts in "Open Discussion" the anti-American and related posts will far and away exceed posts going the other way? Want to bet? I repeat.... a lot of people like to hurl epithets but they get outraged when the same sort of stuff comes back at them. It's an example of how the smugly righteous always react when it comes back. Sort of like a joke that will work against certain people time after time. Remember my comment about Mowgli taunting the Red Dhole, that I made a year or so ago. :p

Regards,

Mike

Taliesin
08-30-2007, 04:44 AM
Mike

My question, at post 240 was

“who first declared War on Germany?”

Your reply at post 241 was

“Are you really serious? World War II started because England and France kept appeasing and backing down to German demands. Only when Germany invaded Poland, and ally of GB, was England forced to declare war. “

Which makes you wrong. The person who declared war was Neville Chamberlain (the clue that I was asking for a person is in the word ‘Who’). And he was prime Minister of Britain NOT England. (Although I accept that you probaly are unaware, as many English are, that there is a difference)

You insitence that "England and France did and I said it rather clearly". -

I do however accept that you gave the wrong answer. I hope that makes you feel smarter.

Mike Sigman
08-30-2007, 08:03 AM
Mike

My question, at post 240 was

“who first declared War on Germany?”

Your reply at post 241 was

“Are you really serious? World War II started because England and France kept appeasing and backing down to German demands. Only when Germany invaded Poland, and ally of GB, was England forced to declare war. “

Which makes you wrong. The person who declared war was Neville Chamberlain (the clue that I was asking for a person is in the word ‘Who’). And he was prime Minister of Britain NOT England. (Although I accept that you probaly are unaware, as many English are, that there is a difference)

You insitence that "England and France did and I said it rather clearly". -

I do however accept that you gave the wrong answer. I hope that makes you feel smarter.Well, alas, even many history books don't know the difference between England and Britain, either.... so you're going to play "trick questions" with words. How clever. Your character just shines through your prose, David.

Mike Sigman

Hogan
08-30-2007, 08:38 AM
...

Heck, if you're a Democrat, you can drunkenly cause someone's death and still keep your seat (like Kennedy). Or you can have sex with an intern and the Dems will cheer you on.... in numerous cases: Clinton, Gary Studds, Condit, etc...

Mike, there is a difference... It is expected of democrats to act that way, so they are not lambasted if they actually do. Republicans, on the other hand, are not expected to act that way - so they are called hypocrites.

Mike Sigman
08-30-2007, 08:55 AM
Mike, there is a difference... It is expected of democrats to act that way, so they are not lambasted if they actually do. Republicans, on the other hand, are not expected to act that way - so they are called hypocrites.

Yeah, it's an uncomfortable question. I listened to a panel show where they were discussing that same question and 2 of the liberal panel members actually dodged the idea that Democrats are perfectly OK with various crimes by simply admitting "there's a double standard". It was strange to listen to. One of the liberals said that "family values is not a big concern among Democrats", thought about how that sounded, and then tried to back up, got lost, shut up. ;)

Personally, I have a lot of distaste for holier-than-thou types of both political persuasions(take 'em out back and shoot 'em), but the reportage and one-sided outrage *is* simply a dishonest double standard. As William Safire (famous columnist; now dead) once noted, "if John Kennedy's name had been Richard Nixon they would have crucified him for the outrageous things he did." The press is one-sided.

Mike

David Orange
08-30-2007, 11:37 AM
Mike, there is a difference... It is expected of democrats to act that way, so they are not lambasted if they actually do. Republicans, on the other hand, are not expected to act that way - so they are called hypocrites.

You're close, John. Democrats don't rail and rant "against" those things, then try to get away with doing them in secret. Of course, not all democrats "do" those things, but they don't rail against them in public while doing them in public restrooms.

And it's not a matter that Republicans "aren't expected" to do those things. It's very much expected that Republicans will do those things--in secret, of course, because publicly, they attack those things.

Well, like Sen. Craig, for instance. Is he a dem "pretending to be a Republican"? I don't think so.

Did you see his appearance on Meet The Press, discussing Clinton? "I think America needs to know that Bill Clinton is a very dirty, nasty, naught boy!" while shaking his finger. Sounds like he's said those words many times before, but rather approvingly.

So it's not a matter of "calling" them hypocrites. They really are. Like Gingrich and like Livingstone, during the "Clinton affair". Clinton's biggest detractors turned out to have done just as bad as Bill did--in many ways worse.

Gingrich, for instance, went to his wife's bedside when she was recovering from cancer surgery--the day after her surgery--and told her he was divorcing her. I don't know if he explained that he had taken up with his intern or not, but that's what he did. So who is he to point at Clinton?

And Livingstone, a huge finger-pointer at Clinton who maintained that Clinton had to be questioned about his indiscretions under oath because it was vital to determine the character of a public servant who was having an adulterous affair. And Livingstone had to step down because???? He was revealed to have had an adulterous affair.

See? THAT is hypocrisy and it's why the word is used so much about Republicans. And it's not used much about Democrats not because they're "expected" to act that way but because they don't go peeping into people's bedrooms and shouting condemnation of what they see.

It's sad, really, to see someone posture as a moralist in public when he's really just the same as those he condemns. What makes them condemn actions in others, do you think, when they are acting that way, themselves? Do you have any ideas about that?

David

David Orange
08-30-2007, 11:47 AM
If you want to debate something, you have to do better than absurd generalities.

Well, I guess your original point did involve being "crooks" and not just hypocritical perverts, and protectors of child molesters--Hastert, you know...

Well, how about how Haliburton has profiteered from the war in Iraq? How about how companies and contractors like that are raking in the profits while GIs don't have proper body armor or armored vehicles? Can we not afford that because we're letting Haliburton and Blackwater suck up all the money?

That whole fiasco really is nothing but a cover for a massive transfer of wealth to Bush's and Cheney's friends under the cover of a war.

And what about Cheney's energy policy? The American people still are not allowed to know who advised him on that, though we do know that Enron was involved. And what was their "business"? Nothing more than inflating prices. They "traded" energy back and forth among their own make-believe internal "subsidiaries" to pump up the prices before passing them on to the public and Cheney rewarded them for it and used them as the model for America's energy future.

I don't know how you define "crook," but Republicans must deserve their own category as "super-swindle-screwem-thief-masters" or something and that huge, mafia-like organization can absorb and dissipate the blame until no one is blamed at all, but some floor-sweeping schmuck somewhere goes to prison for it.

Who's the biggest crooks? It's hands-down, the Republicans.

David

Mike Sigman
08-30-2007, 11:57 AM
So it's not a matter of "calling" them hypocrites. They really are. Like Gingrich and like Livingstone, during the "Clinton affair". Clinton's biggest detractors turned out to have done just as bad as Bill did--in many ways worse.
I personally never cared much for Gingrich or Livingstone, but neither one of them committed perjury and had their law license revoked for it, David. When you say people are "just as bad as Clinton", a defense of parity that many liberals attempt to raise in order to downplay the magnitude of Clinton escapades, it's not true. I.e., you are not telling the truth, deliberately.

Let Gingrich and Livingston and any other person get their just rewards for whatever they do. That would be fair. What is not fair and is actually duplicitous, is to attempt to downplay the bad someone else did because you're on the same side and a crook is not a crook if he is "your crook".

Clinton avoided the Whitewater scandal ultimately only because Susan McDougal refused to testify, even after having been given immunity by congress. Clinton abused women, even while he was in office as president, but he'd done so before that (interestingly his victims were all Democrats, but Dems turned on them when these women spoke out!): http://www.apfn.org/apfn/Juanita.htm

Clinton pardoned convicted terrorists simply to boost his wife's senate campaign. Clinton solicited and took campaign donations from communist China. Clinton sold stays in the White House. And much more.

Please don't insult our intelligence by downplaying what Clinton did to it somehow being the equivalent of Gingrich or Livingston. That's completely dishonest and humorous to moralize while telling a lie.

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
08-30-2007, 12:10 PM
Well, I guess your original point did involve being "crooks" and not just hypocritical perverts, and protectors of child molesters--Hastert, you know... I'm no Hastert fan. There were many disciplinary actions against criminals in congress that he simply didn't pursue because he thought that would keep things smoothe. Notice that Judicial Watch (which is normally fairly-even handed) has him on the list of crooks: http://www.judicialwatch.org/6091.shtml
Well, how about how Haliburton has profiteered from the war in Iraq? How about how companies and contractors like that are raking in the profits while GIs don't have proper body armor or armored vehicles? Can we not afford that because we're letting Haliburton and Blackwater suck up all the money? I think you're simply showing your ignorance here. Do some research on Halliburton. It's one of only 3 companies in the world that can function on this type of war footing. The other 2 are French and Russian companies. Even Clinton gave "no-bid" contracts to Halliburton for certain circumstances that were the same as the ones you're complaining about. Educate yourself and quit depending so much on your "feelings" to be equivalent to "facts". Trust me, your posting history shows the opposite to be true. That whole fiasco really is nothing but a cover for a massive transfer of wealth to Bush's and Cheney's friends under the cover of a war. Oh stop. You read like the Berkeley Barb. And what about Cheney's energy policy? The American people still are not allowed to know who advised him on that, though we do know that Enron was involved. And what was their "business"? Nothing more than inflating prices. They "traded" energy back and forth among their own make-believe internal "subsidiaries" to pump up the prices before passing them on to the public and Cheney rewarded them for it and used them as the model for America's energy future. So if you were in office and feeling around for candid input from all types of people on a given subject, how candid do you think they'll be if you say that everything they say can and will be used against them by a Democratic Congress as soon as possible???? Think about it. Do you want candid discussions to be overshadowed by every nutball on the planet? I guess not. I guess that's why Hillary did the same private stuff, too, when she sought input for her healthplan.I don't know how you define "crook," but Republicans must deserve their own category as "super-swindle-screwem-thief-masters" or something and that huge, mafia-like organization can absorb and dissipate the blame until no one is blamed at all, but some floor-sweeping schmuck somewhere goes to prison for it.

Who's the biggest crooks? It's hands-down, the Republicans.Look in the jails, David. The vast, vast majority of criminals in US jails are Democrats. Not opinion, David... fact. You obviously aren't used to admitting anything about facts when they disagree with your fanaticisms.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Hogan
08-30-2007, 01:42 PM
...What makes them condemn actions in others, do you think, when they are acting that way, themselves? Do you have any ideas about that?

David

You ever been in a relationship where one party accuses the other of cheating, so much that it seems the accuser is quite paranoid & overly jealous, when, in fact, it is the accuser that was the actual cheater? Does the saying, "doth protest too much, methinks" ring a bell?

As the religious "leaders" wail against sin when they are the sinners, as the cheaters wail against the innocents when they are themselves the cheaters, as the homophobes wail against homosexuals when they are unsure of their own sexuality, as the so called "liberals' believe in free speech when they really don't, you have to see through their false covers & take everything with a grain of salt.

David Orange
08-30-2007, 02:40 PM
I personally never cared much for Gingrich or Livingstone, but neither one of them committed perjury and had their law license revoked for it, David. When you say people are "just as bad as Clinton", a defense of parity that many liberals attempt to raise in order to downplay the magnitude of Clinton escapades, it's not true. I.e., you are not telling the truth, deliberately.

Well, I don't think they're "as bad as Clinton". They are much, much WORSE. Clinton had a girlfriend in the White House. What President hasn't? Seriously. I doubt that there's one of them up there that hasn't had whatever he wanted, pretty much whenever he wanted. If you say GW hasn't, you might want to consider why Jeff Ganon, of "hotmilitarystuds.com" has been in the White House so many times and for such lengthy visits. They're all politicians, all having fought and clawed their way to their lofty positions, all expert at "getting what they want" and the sex drive is just about the strongest human drive. So I doubt that many if any US Presidents have prefered not to take some kind of special reward for all their hard work.

So it's not the adultery that bothers you, as you say....and adultery was not the root of the issue being investigated. That was White Water--a land deal. And they could find no evidence of any wrongdoing in White Water. So they fished and fished and fished until they came up with this business of Clinton's having a girlfriend in the White House and worked and worried and shook their fingers at him and got on TV and called him a "very dirty, naughty, nasty bad boy" (Sen. Larry Craig on Meet The Press, years before he was caught soliciting dirty, naughty, nasty, bad boy behavior in a public restroom). And they managed to get him under oath and ask him....what was it that he "perjured" himself on? "Did you have sex with Monica?" Wasn't that the matter of vital national security importance that they found it worthy to impeach the President (and screw their own careers) over?

Weigh that against George and Company revealing the identity of a CIA operative. I know. To you, a fib about a bj is much more important for (xxxxx--fill in the excuse blank) justification. But the fact is, it was a question they (adulterers all) had no place to ask--especially since this was the tail end.....I say....the tail end....of a stupid, trumped up, dead-end "investigation" that was nothing but a huge Republican rip-off of the American taxpayer, a chance for Republicans to say "semen stain" on TV and print a lengthy pornographic text as a special issue of the Congressional Record, all for the sole purpose of attacking and discrediting a hard-working President for the political benefit of nothing but the Republican Political Party.

Clinton should have said, "I don't play gotcha politics." How did George know to say that? It's because Republicans invented "gotcha politics" and have used it for a long, long time. Dirty Tricks is their business.

Let Gingrich and Livingston and any other person get their just rewards for whatever they do. That would be fair. What is not fair and is actually duplicitous, is to attempt to downplay the bad someone else did because you're on the same side and a crook is not a crook if he is "your crook".

So what was it he did that was so bad? He lied under oath to a Congress full of adulterers who were doing nothing but trying to embarrass him about adultery. Isn't that true? That's hardly being "a crook."

Clinton avoided the Whitewater scandal ultimately only because Susan McDougal refused to testify, even after having been given immunity by congress.

So, they had a weak case. They had nothing. Should they then pursue him and impeach the President over a private sexual affair???? They'd have to take out most of them for that--Democrats and Republicans--though the Repubs tend to lose it long before they get to the Presidency, in some seedy public restroom....sending e-mails to young boys...etc.

Clinton abused women, even while he was in office as president, but he'd done so before that (interestingly his victims were all Democrats, but Dems turned on them when these women spoke out!):

You mean like the Republican hit-squads publicly smeared Anita Hill?

But these encounters Clinton had, as seedy and inapropriate as they were--did any of them have any bearing on White Water? I don't think so. Did any of them have any bearing on the impeachment? I don't think so.

Yes, it was bad behavior on Clinton's part, but I firmly believe that it has always been done by Presidents and that the media were just too deferential to the White House to let it come out. Seems George has regained that deference somehow or they would have hounded him about his drug use and would never have let him go with "I don't play gotcha politics." The question of whether a candidate had ever used drugs had become a litmus test that every candidate had to pass--mostly at the insistence of the Republican Right, which, so characteristically hypocritically, let George have a pass on it, when he is the biggest blow-head that's ever been in office. And lying to the American people as well as Congress????

But I guess he's "your" crook, so you'll let him pass on that. He's not the "same" as Clinton. He's almost infinitely worse.

Clinton pardoned convicted terrorists simply to boost his wife's senate campaign. Clinton solicited and took campaign donations from communist China. Clinton sold stays in the White House. And much more.

Gee. If you're right, maybe the Republicans should have gone after him about those things instead of his affair? Wonder why they didn't??? Maybe there was ultimately nothing to any of it??? Why wasn't he taken to task for it by anyone but you and Rush Limbaugh...and scary woman with the blond hair and the anorexic-looking cheeks?

Please don't insult our intelligence by downplaying what Clinton did to it somehow being the equivalent of Gingrich or Livingston. That's completely dishonest and humorous to moralize while telling a lie.

No. What Clinton did was in no way equivalent to the high moral crimes committed by Gingrich, Livingstone and all their cronies. What Clinton did was adulterous sex. What the Republicans did was tantamount to treason.

David

Mike Sigman
08-30-2007, 03:03 PM
Well, I don't think they're "as bad as Clinton". They are much, much WORSE. Clinton had a girlfriend in the White House. What President hasn't? Seriously. You're a sick puppy. If you say GW hasn't, you might want to consider why Jeff Ganon, of "hotmilitarystuds.com" has been in the White House so many times and for such lengthy visits. You need to take this crap to rec.martial-arts. They'll be glad to point out that Jeff was simply regaling the White House staff with tales about your mom or something, since they make these kind of weird unsupported statements for fun. Not seriously, like you do. That was White Water--a land deal. And they could find no evidence of any wrongdoing in White Water. 40+ indictments. Governor of Arkansas lost his job. You're not in touch with anything remotely resembling facts, are you? ....what was it that he "perjured" himself on? This is one of my favorite ones. The man sworn to uphold all the laws of the U.S..... and you want to question whether perjury applied in his case. Why don't you list the subjects about which sworn testimony in a U.S. legal proceeding doesn't count, David? I'm interested in this idea of selectively enforcing laws.... laws apply to Republicans, but only to Democrats if the Dems approve the application first. Do you realize how bizarre you sound? Of course not. Weigh that against George and Company revealing the identity of a CIA operative. Er, in case you're not just lying and simply don't know the facts, it turns out that anti-war Richard Armitage revealed the name. And since Valerie Plame was not a covert operative, no crime was broken; hence no charges against Armitage. I know. To you, a fib about a bj is much more important for (xxxxx--fill in the excuse blank) justification. Wrong guy. I couldn't care less. Ask Juanita Broadrick about what a nice guy Clinton was. Of course, to a guy like you the rape of a volunteer Democrat doesn't mean much, probably, but then I've always known that you and I were different.
Clinton should have said, "I don't play gotcha politics." How did George know to say that? It's because Republicans invented "gotcha politics" and have used it for a long, long time. Dirty Tricks is their business. "Gotcha politics" started with Bork. And then all the women that revealed they'd been molested by Clinton got their names dragged through the dirt by Clinton and associates. What planet are you on? You don't answer questions when you're wrong, you just bring up new inanities.So what was it he did that was so bad? He lied under oath to a Congress full of adulterers who were doing nothing but trying to embarrass him about adultery. Isn't that true? That's hardly being "a crook." Hello? Is there anybody in there?

Holy smoke.... you need help.

Mike

David Orange
08-30-2007, 03:06 PM
I'm no Hastert fan. There were many disciplinary actions against criminals in congress that he simply didn't pursue because he thought that would keep things smoothe. Notice that Judicial Watch (which is normally fairly-even handed) has him on the list of crooks:

Right. And he was the Head Republican in his realm...it rots from the head, it stinks from the head. A rotten head on a rotten body. The lot of them are crooks.

I think you're simply showing your ignorance here. Do some research on Halliburton. It's one of only 3 companies in the world that can function on this type of war footing.

I'm not saying it was crooked that Haliburton got the contract to service the war. I'm saying that the whole war was cooked up for the specific purpose of providing them with a massive conduit of unaccountable US taxpayer monies. A big war-supplying company needs a big war, right? George did it for Cheney's company. Treason.

Even Clinton gave "no-bid" contracts to Halliburton for certain circumstances that were the same as the ones you're complaining about.

But Clinton didn't start a war to enrich Haliburton and the scale of profits from that action don't approach the scam they're running every day in Iraq.

(concerning the super-secret list of attendees at Cheney's super-secret energy policy development sessions) So if you were in office and feeling around for candid input from all types of people on a given subject, how candid do you think they'll be if you say that everything they say can and will be used against them by a Democratic Congress as soon as possible????

I'd just be glad it wasn't a Republican congress. Nonetheless, it was "public" energy policy for the future of the nation. So why should their schemes be kept secret? We know that these were consummate schemers, after all. Cheney was serving them.

Second....let's see...it seems that there was no "Democratic congress" way back in those days before all the perverts were revealed and the Republicans screwed themselves out of office.

No, back in those days, a serious betting man would have put all his bets on the Republicans. They had a total lock-down on everything, no Dem proposals or investigations could get off the ground and the Bush administration had no fear of ever being held accountable for anything. Even today, with a "Democratic congress," we still have not gotten any serious details of what the fourth branch of government--Cheney--did in those meetings. So don't try that evasion.

Do you want candid discussions to be overshadowed by every nutball on the planet?

No. You're right. They should only be known to a tiny handful of the wealthiest scam artists in the world.

Look in the jails, David. The vast, vast majority of criminals in US jails are Democrats. Not opinion, David... fact.

And a mighty fine fact it is, too, Mike. Where did you get a fine fact like that?

Oh! I see you used your "Factorator 7000" to manufacture it!

Nice work....

Oh, but what's that little thing there???? Could that be a flaw in your "fact"?????

The real fact is, most criminals in the US jails are of "NO" political affiliation. Most of them do not vote, don't know who the candidates are and couldn't really reliably tell you who is in which party. Most prisoners in the US couldn't tell you how many branches of government there are, who's in which branch, how they relate to one another or anything else. At best, they can relate to slogans and because Republicans deal almost exclusively in slogans (http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D8R5J3RG0&show_article=1), they would probably "agree" more with Republican slogans.

The one place you may be correct is in the prison population convicted of non-violent drug crimes. Most of them probably aren't that much more knowledgeable about specifics, but they probably know that Democrats are far more likely to advocate releasing non-violent drug offenders, so they would probably identify as "Democrat" more often than as "Republican".

On the other hand, people who murder other people, especially with guns, tend to be right-wing and control-centered, so the murderers are proably Republican-leaning.

Tell me again where you got your Factorator machine? Limbaugh? Anne Coulter???? You need to get a better one.

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D8R5J3RG0&show_article=1You obviously aren't used to admitting anything about facts when they disagree with your fanaticisms.[/QUOTE]

Maybe, but I sure don't "admit" a "fact" like you excreted above.

David

David Orange
08-30-2007, 03:14 PM
You ever been in a relationship where one party accuses the other of cheating, so much that it seems the accuser is quite paranoid & overly jealous, when, in fact, it is the accuser that was the actual cheater? Does the saying, "doth protest too much, methinks" ring a bell?

Yes, it does. It reminds me of the unforgettable Clinton "impeachment" fiasco, where several Republican adulterers were caught with their pants down and lost their positions of dignity while Clinton continued in office until the lawful and just completion of his term.

You see, if a Democrat is gay, he will most likely flat out tell you he is gay. Or she, as the case may be. But a Republican will rant against gays, though he is continually compelled to go into places like public restrooms or the House Page pool and troll for gay sex.

I personally don't agree with gay sex, but I'm not going to condemn people who have gay sex with consenting adult partners. I don't understand their motivations and I cannot be their judge. I can just say it's not for me.

But people who do like Larry Craig, Newt Gingrich, Old What's-his-Name Livingstone (as well as Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter) deserve disgrace.

David

David Orange
08-30-2007, 03:42 PM
You're a sick puppy.

I'm a realist, Mike. And you know it. They're politicians and they go for what they want and they don't give up until they get it. No matter how sick it is. Look at John "Edna" Hoover....cross-dressing at high-level Washington parties, yet he held all the politicians in fear that he would expose their sexual indiscretions.

And if I weren't right, there would have been no indiscretions for him to threaten to expose.

(concerning my claim that no evidence of any wrongdoing was found in the White Water investigation) 40+ indictments. Governor of Arkansas lost his job. You're not in touch with anything remotely resembling facts, are you?

Sorry, I thought the context made it clear: no evidence of any wrongdoing by Clinton. They could find nothing on him there, so they went to adultery.

This is one of my favorite ones. The man sworn to uphold all the laws of the U.S..... and you want to question whether perjury applied in his case. Why don't you list the subjects about which sworn testimony in a U.S. legal proceeding doesn't count, David?

Maybe when it's a kangaroo court?????

And if it is a kangaroo court, the "judges" shouldn't be surprised when their case bounces back right on top of them, as it did in the Clinton "impeachment".

I'm interested in this idea of selectively enforcing laws....

So is the Bush administration and the entire Republican party. They simply want to do what they want to do and have no questions asked and no answers given--especially under oath. Clinton should have just refused to answer any of that garbage that was irrelevant to any interest of the US Congress. That was nothing but a Republican Party attack in the guise of a congressional hearing.

...laws apply to Republicans, but only to Democrats if the Dems approve the application first.

You mean just sort of opposite the way it really is, where Republicans answer for nothing and can create super-secret versions of special laws that are not bound by foolish things like the constitution or the checks and balances of the various branches of the government? I see.

Do you realize how bizarre you sound? Of course not. Er, in case you're not just lying and simply don't know the facts, it turns out that anti-war Richard Armitage revealed the name.

Uh...yeah....supposedly...but how did Armitage find out?

You can play games all you want, but the truth, and you know it, is that Karl Rove put that word out and he did it with Bush's approval for the sheer purpose of discrediting Wilson. Say what you like about Plame and the value and correctness or error of Wilson's report, the Bush Administration, through it's super-toady Karl Rove, exposed the identity of a CIA operative and endangered all her contacts everywhere she had worked. I'm sure you'd like that done if you were one of her undercover contacts in an unfriendly country or on a sensitive mission. I'm sure. It was a crime, far bigger and deadlier than Clinton's lying about oral sex.

And since Valerie Plame was not a covert operative, no crime was broken;

Exactly. The crime remains intact.

hence no charges against Armitage.

There was no charge against Armitage because ROVE broke the news.

Ask Juanita Broadrick about what a nice guy Clinton was.

He's a politician. Not quite as bad as most of the Republicans, but you could go a long way in filth and vileness and still be well below the level of a good Republican.

"Gotcha politics" started with Bork.

No it didn't. It started with asking every political candidate if he'd ever smoked marijuana or used cocaine. Then it spread into every area as the Drug War hysteria spread into every nook and cranny of American life. Of course, Bush had complete impunity and a Secret Service guard detail while he was a stoned drunk doper, so he never had to worry about being arrested for that, but the media should never have accepted that little brush-off.

And then all the women that revealed they'd been molested by Clinton got their names dragged through the dirt by Clinton and associates.

Like the Republicans did Anita Hill.

See, I'm not defending the Democrats for everything they've ever done--just knocking down your completely baseless claim that they are bigger crooks than the Republicans. That's the point here. I'm not defending what Dems do--just proving again and again that it's not only not worse than what the Repubs have done, but that the Repubs really have done much worse, much more and on a scale that dwarfs the Democratic misdeeds.

What planet are you on? You don't answer questions when you're wrong, you just bring up new inanities. Hello? Is there anybody in there?

Ooops. Almost missed that one--thought it was something several other people had posted to you....an easily understandable mistake.

David

Mike Sigman
08-30-2007, 03:53 PM
I'm a realist, Mike. And you know it. Of course.... it's just so obvious! Did you see my famous post on "self-perception disorder" (SPD)? Ta ta, for now.

Mike

Hogan
08-31-2007, 08:19 AM
...
But people who do like Larry Craig, Newt Gingrich, Old What's-his-Name Livingstone (as well as Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter) deserve disgrace.

David

We are all hypocrites at some point in our lives, do we all deserve disgrace over just being hypocritical??

Unless you break the law, of course, then you do deserve punishment....

David Orange
08-31-2007, 12:33 PM
Of course.... it's just so obvious! Did you see my famous post on "self-perception disorder" (SPD)?

No, I didn't see your post on SPD.

But did it disprove my point that politicians are basically self-serving and driven by human passions? They want power, possibly more than anything else. But what is power for? For most people, it's a means to get more money, which is usually a means to get more sex.

That is realism and you know those things to be true.

Otherwise, explain the behaviors of such Republicans as Gingrich, Livingstone, Foley and Craig.

And then explain how you still believe that Democrats are bigger or more prolific crooks than Republicans.

The Democrats that are crooks are petty compared to the global scale of deceit and ruin perpetrated by Republicans.

David

David Orange
08-31-2007, 12:50 PM
We are all hypocrites at some point in our lives, do we all deserve disgrace over just being hypocritical??

Sorry I was a bit testy in my reply to your last. On re-reading it, it didn't seem as aggressive as I first perceived it, so again, sorry if I replied a bit harshly.

In answer to your question, we deserve disgrace in proportion to our hypocrisy. If I denounce using a commercially popular toothpaste in my weekly newspaper column (as I did in college once), then my roommate discovers me using that very brand of toothpaste (as he did), then I deserve a degree of embarrassment and/or disgrace in proportion to that hypocrisy. I said using that kind of toothpaste meant that you were overly influenced by the marketing culture. I hardly realized that that was the kind of toothpaste I had been using since I lived with my parents. That was embarrassing and I deserved it. But no one person and no group of identifiable people was injured or degraded by that comment--or only very mildly.

If, however, I had passed laws against that toothpaste and had described its users as sick people, dirty, nasty, naughty bad people, I would deserve quite a lot of disgrace for it. If I turned out to own stock in the company, I would deserve even more embarrassment and disgrace for it.

Does that answer the question?

Unless you break the law, of course, then you do deserve punishment....

Well, some laws more than others.

Do you believe you should have to pay $1000.00 for wearing a halloween mask on the street when it's not halloween? Or for spitting on the sidewalk? Or for not getting out of your horseless carriage and ringing a loud bell three times before crossing an intersection? I believe there is a law on the books in Alabama against carrying an ice cream cone in your back pocket--no joke.

The point is that many laws are way past their usefulness and should not be enforced. And most of those kinds of things are not enforced.

On the other hand, individuals like Larry Craig and Mark Foley, Newt Gingrich and (Henry?) Livingstone pass laws for all kinds of underhanded and devious reasons and those laws become the law of the land. You might say, "Vote them out and get an honest man in the office." But among other laws, the vote reapportionments that keep their party in power and the party keeps the man in place because he plays their game. Think Tom DeLay. And remember that in cases of redistricting, Alberto Gonzales, as US Attorney General, overwhelmingly ruled in favor of Republican plans that either gave them or retained them in majority voting blocks.

In Alabama several years ago, a state legislator was stopped for speeding on the freeway by a local police officer through whose town the freeway passed. This legislator was going at some awful dangerous speed and the officer pulled him over. The legislator claimed immunity because he was supposedly on his way to a legislative session. He also complained that he didn't have time to "fiddle around going 65 miles per hour all day," though that was the law that all the people were obliged to follow.

Did he change the speed limit? NO. He pushed through a law to prevent local officers in towns of less than some huge population from stopping speeders on interstates that passed through their towns. And the good buddy legislative system here passed that law with little opposition. That legislator is still in the legislature and Alabama has some of the most dangerous roads in the United States.

So maybe you're due for punishment if you break a law, but that doesn't mean you "deserve" it--especially when self-interested yokels are passing the laws for their own benefit in one way or another.

David

Mike Sigman
08-31-2007, 05:50 PM
But did it disprove my point that politicians are basically self-serving and driven by human passions? They want power, possibly more than anything else. But what is power for? For most people, it's a means to get more money, which is usually a means to get more sex. As long as you're stereotyping, couldn't you apply the above statement to Hispanics or blacks or whatever? That is realism and you know those things to be true. Ditto to the above, as long as we're stereotyping. Otherwise, explain the behaviors of such Republicans as Gingrich, Livingstone, Foley and Craig. Er.... they don't foam at the mouth so they must not be normal like Alabamans? And then explain how you still believe that Democrats are bigger or more prolific crooks than Republicans. Why do you think Dems are trying to get convicted felons the right to vote? What percentage of convicts are Democrats? Most of them.The Democrats that are crooks are petty compared to the global scale of deceit and ruin perpetrated by Republicans.
The three most corrupt States in the U.S. are Louisiana, New Jersey, and Illinois. All run by Democrats. The metro cities with the highest murder and crime rates are all run by Democrat governments and the majority of voters in those cities are Democrates. I thought you were a "realist"?

Mike Sigman

David Orange
08-31-2007, 08:19 PM
As long as you're stereotyping, couldn't you apply the above statement to Hispanics or blacks or whatever?

The statement applies to all humans: "For most people, (power is) a means to get more money, which is usually a means to get more sex." Politicians are "special humans," driven to rise to control over others. And my statement stands that they are basically self-serving and driven by human passions. Surely you're not saying that most of our Presidents have been faithful monogamists? Our congressmen have proven that they are not. Most of our governors prove that. I don't see what your complaint is. I'm just countering your own stereotype that all democrats are "crooks" and the ridiculous claim that the majority of prisoners in America are "Democrats." Since you can't prove either of those goofy claims, you're just attacking my arguments. That's fine. My arguments stand firm.

Er.... they don't foam at the mouth so they must not be normal like Alabamans?

Gingrich, Livingstone, Foley and Craig???? That ALL foam at the mouth. What are you talking about?

Why do you think Dems are trying to get convicted felons the right to vote? What percentage of convicts are Democrats? Most of them.

Well, that's accuracy in statistics, isn't it? As I said before, most convicts are convicts precisely because they pay no attention to anything beyond what they want to steal. They're neither dems nor Repubes. They will vote for the one who convinces them he will help them. Non-violent offenders tend to be a little smarter and they do lean dem. But the right-wing control-nut gun murderers tend Repug.

David

David Orange
08-31-2007, 08:22 PM
The three most corrupt States in the U.S. are Louisiana, New Jersey, and Illinois. All run by Democrats. The metro cities with the highest murder and crime rates are all run by Democrat governments and the majority of voters in those cities are Democrates. I thought you were a "realist"?

But the most corrupt organization works on the national level and sucks the money and life out of all the people--except the wealthy. It's called The Bush Administration and its lapdog, The Republican Party.

http://news.yahoo.com/edcartoons/bensargent;_ylt=AoPRJlw.ZiLaYiaqkwEmLUkDwLAF

Guilty Spark
09-01-2007, 03:19 PM
I think this thread is a great example of the US presidency, the election campaign and politics surrounding it.

It basically boils down to each side bringing up screw ups on the other side with what appears to be an attempt to discredit them or say hey they are more corrupt than we are.
As if whoever has the least amount of black marks against them wins? Lesser of two evils.

Reading these posts both sides seem equal in terms of mistakes corruption and unethical behavior.

Both sides are so busy watching over their shoulders for a dagger in the back that someone is going to get the country in the chest with a spear.

Here is a challenge, little cliche perhaps but I'm honestly curious.
Can someone on either side (republican or democrat) come up with 3 things that the other side can be applauded for?
Something without even the slightest bit of sarcasm. An honest job well done for something.

Ryan Sanford
09-01-2007, 06:49 PM
Can someone on either side (republican or democrat) come up with 3 things that the other side can be applauded for?
Something without even the slightest bit of sarcasm. An honest job well done for something.
I'm not a part of the argument, but I'm gonna butt in for this one. :)
I'm very liberal, firstly....
What I like about Republicans is that at one point in time, the Republican party was really wonderful. This t-shirt matches my views closely. :D
http://www.t-shirts.com/printed/default.asp?sid=287568510917&cmd=enlarge&type=I&item_id=9904&shirt_id=2008

Mike Sigman
09-01-2007, 07:04 PM
I disagree with some of the conservative blogs that say that it's not "hypocrisy" for someone like Craig to declaim homosexual tendencies (worthy of its own thread, I think)... the reasoning being that according to the Dem claim of "hypocrisy", a black lawmaker decrying affirmative action would be a hypocrite and that's obviously not so.

I say Craig was a hypocrite and, while I acknowledge that legally he was not actually caught in a solicitation or sexual misconduct act, it still seems fairly clear that something was amiss that completely contradicted his "family values" stance.

However, the puzzling thing to me is that the idea of "family values" is actually the butt of the joke by the Dems. Now remember that Dems have kept Barney Frank in office even after it was clearer that Barney Franks was running a male prostitute service from his house than Craig was guilty of sexual misconduct. The Dems kept Ted Kennedy in office after he negligently killed someone and hid out for 14 hours in order to let the blood alcohol level go down. The Dems kept Clinton in office even after impeachment, his partner in crime refusing to testify in Watergate even though granted immunity, selling the Lincoln Bedroom, certain proof of Red Army campaign contributions, and so on. In other words, the question of "hyprocrisy" is weird, since the complete lack of values while pretending to have some is the hallmark of Democrats.

I asked a newpaper friend of mine why they slant the news in the favor of Democrats.... his answer boiled down to "because it's the right thing to do". In other words, there's a pretend-moralism that justifies doing non-moral things. The same justification for every evil that has ever been seen in the world. Where were these so moral Democrats when Clinton was actually caught perjuring himself, etc.? Calling for it to be ignored. Where were the Dem "anti-war" people when Clinton went to war against Bosnia? Absolutely silent.

Let's don't hear about "hypocrisy" unless we point out all cases of it.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
09-02-2007, 06:05 PM
Ah, here's a columnist at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette who says it even clearer:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07245/813801-373.stm

Mark Gibbons
09-03-2007, 02:26 PM
....

Let's don't hear about "hypocrisy" unless we point out all cases of it.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

I don't think anyone is well enough informed to report all cases of hypocrisy and I don't think I'd have time to read all of them. I am interested in hearing about the more blatant cases and instances involving restriction of civil liberties.

Maybe more on topic. I really don't understand why what we are doing in Iraq is still called a war. I thought we won the war against Iraq, the Iraqi army is gone, Saddam also. The occupation may not be going so well, but the fear of losing a war shouldn't be what keeps us there.

And if we are fighting a War on Terror then we're using the wrong weapons. Tranquilizers and drugs work to eliminate terror. Guns just increase it.

Mark

Neil Mick
09-03-2007, 06:06 PM
Sorry for the delayed response. I just got back from a week in the desert.

I do not.
They are enemies of humanity I would say.

Well, that is your value-judgement. Others could claim that the US foreign policy, with its cavalier disregard for "collateral damage," is a far greater enemy of humanity.

Does that mean that we have to attack ourselves, too? :hypno:

Have you ever seen those little videos of 8 year olds running around dressed like terrorists with AK47s and fake suicide bombs strapped to their chest?

Have you ever seen an illegal invasion pimped as a video game, nonstop on the major TV-waves?

The sum total deaths of ALL suicide bombers cannot even hope to match the "shock and awe" kill-ratio. So, who's the "enemy of humanity" now? IMO, Grant: you are making a value judgement, based upon emotions.

Thats not right Neil. That's like teaching (and training!) our kids to hate blacks, muslims, chinese. Training kids to make war. That's against the Geneeva convention you often site the US as breaking from.

You're right: it's so wrong. But, it is not an excuse to bomb, invade, or occupy ANYONE. Certainly, bombing, invading or occupying doesn't exactly stop the abuses, now does it (cf, Iraq)?

The UN Treaty is quite specific about what conditions are acceptable for invading another country. Our wholesale disregard for the UN Treaty and the Geneva Conventions makes US the "enemy of mankind," far worse than Hamas, if you want to get technical about what constitutes "enemies of mankind."

It sets them on a course that has a good chance of seeing them detonating themselves in a market. Not on at all. We should train children to live not to die.

Yep, total agreement. No question, that you are right. But, please: let's not pretend that we are "saviors of humanity," in allowing a 35+ year illegal occupation to continue. Certainly, elevating Hamas and Hezbollah to "enemy of mankind" status is exactly how we got into the mess of Iraq, in the first place, with W's constant carping of "Saddam = Hitler," while "W=Churchill."

A really good clue as to whether your country is heading into dangerous, hubristic and mendacious adventuristic foreign policy is to elevate your "enemy" into some terrible menace that must be crushed immediately.

If you want to stop suicide bombings, try eliminating the REASONS for suicide bombings, rather than these uber-violent "targeted killings" that the IDF so love...taking out a whole city-block, to kill one man.

I'm just betting that those innocent survivors of the "targeted op" aren't exactly regarding the US or the IDF as their "saviors..." :rolleyes:

I'd prefer not to get into a Hamas/US/Israel/Hez argument with you. That's your bread and butter and heading off topic. (I know you didn't bring it up first)

Hamas and Hezbollah are not mu "bread and butter." Frankly, it gets tiring bringing them up all the time: but they seem to take the place of the eevel (fill in the blank here), and they get mentioned a lot. In another era, I'd be talking about Communists, town-drunks, immigrants, or the IRA...take your pick.

The title of "enemy of humanity" gets tossed around, a lot.

I'll just say that I think the US and Israel are in bed together, Hamas and Hez Act like terrorists and are willing to use those tactics to achieve their goal and I got a kick out of Hamas getting elected in a democratic like manner. I'd have loved to see the US higher ups with stunned looks on their faces saying 'Didn't see that one comming'.

Oh God, that would have been great. My kingdom to be a fly on THAT wall, with the smallest camera in the world... :D

When you're looking down a scope you have a tendency to get tunnel vision. You're so fixated on what you're looking at that you loose your prehepheral vision. Perhaps tunnel vision would have been a better word to use.

Ah...but you're not looking down a scope NOW, are you?? (unless, Canadians use some REALLY different hardware for their PC's :hypno: :) ).

Still, some people are just blind. Like a parent who loves their child so much they can see no wrong. Then they turn around get caught up in drugs and the parent gives them money "for school trips" kinda thing.

true.

Neil please, internet polls?

I don't tend to quote internet polls. Besides, we're talking about Iraqi's, after 6+ years of a brutal occupation, with no end in sight, and now noticeable improvements (just the opposite, in fact...) So, it's hardly a stretch to consider that most Iraqi's want us to take our weasel-words of "freedom," and "democracy:" pull up our stakes for surveying those nice, permanent military bases; and take our highwayman oil-laws (now rejected by the Iraqi parliament) back to the US...they don't want us there. Would you? Would YOU want another country occupying your land and home, after patently demonstrating how ineffective they really are at keeping the peace?

Just above we were talking about how the US ELECTION was rigged, I have a feeling you believe it was too. If you can rig the us election are you really going to trust a pool on the net?

No, Grant: you are misinformed. Read again:

The USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll of 3,444 Iraqis, the largest and most comprehensive poll in Iraq since last year's invasion, was administered by the Pan Arab Research Center of Dubai.

Interviews were conducted between March 22 and April 2, with the exception of the governate of Sulaymaniya where interviews ran through April 9. All interviews were conducted in person in the respondent's home, with an average interview length of 70 minutes. The cooperation rate — the percentage of those contacted who agreed to be interviewed — was 98%.

Besides, the US election does not = a poll. Different animal.

Right, and the forces there are intercepting a lot of it.

Noo...the forces there are inspiring a lot of it. D'ya think that foreign insurgents are coming to Iraq for the dates?

Yes or no answer, do you think if 'we' left Iraq today they would settle down and we would see less fighting and death?

I'll answer your question with a question: if you had an arsonist loose in your house and half the first floor was ablaze, with the guy hellbent on igniting the rest--do you think, if you pulled out that arsonist NOW, that you would see less destruction?

In one word: yes. You would see less fighting and death. But, the damage is already there...the fire is ignited and spreading. But you can at LEAST remove the cause of the fire, before it spreads to the rest of the house (or, outside the metaphor, the Middle East).

This occupation could well destabilize the whole Middle East. Bush Co all but acknowledged that, when they sent all those lovely new violent toys to Iraq's neighbors.

Right. And even if you managed to get a great leader the other party would go into overdrive trying to drag them down. If it was because they wanted what's best for the country I could understand it. I don't feel they do. They bring them down because THEY want to be in power. It's greed pure and simple.

Yes, but history has shown that leaders in the Executive and the House CAN sometimes rise above petty politics and do the right thing. It happened during the Nixon scandals and impeachment-process. It will probably happen again.

Letting someone else do the driving isn't always a bad thing, if gives you a chance to watch for other threats.

No...so long as they don't drive us all off a cliff, in the process... :freaky:

In Afghanistan and Iraq it's the guys in the back seat's and the guys in the back of the vehicles that pick out the fellows in the crowd with cell phones in their ears counting vehicles on their hand as they pass by. When you're not driving you can get a better picture.
Problem with politics is that EVERYONE wants to be the driver. You're parties should work together and not work at making each other look incapable of doing the job.

Frankly, Grant: I have a much more cynical view, than I suspect you do. I believe that the two parties are simply two hands serving the same master, in sum. One party is hardly better (or more distinguishable) than the other...they both commit crimes, take money from large corporate interests, and faithfully pay back their benefactors by screwing the little guy. It's why our national health system is such a mess, among other things.

Yup, liek you said, thats not passing out blank checks and it shouldn't be given to contractors and companies who were friendly to your political party and donated to your campaign. You scratch my back I scratch yours. Another huge problem with US politics.

Yes. I think a REALLy good indicator of the mendacity of the US Occupation is in how little business they give to Iraqi companies. All those no-bid contracts to Halliburton, et al (that in turn, built nothing and pocketed the $$) could have well gone to the Iraqi's, who would have been far less a target for insurgents, than the US Army.

Mark and Grant

Thanks for the intervention, but as an ex-rugby player I have to say my remaining teeth are in excellent condition.

Thank god for that! :)

***************************************

Cntrl+F is a pretty cool feature, in fora. You can find out how many times certain person(s) repeat a phrase, if you do a word search.

Know how many times I was called a racist, within this thread?

6. By one person. All using the same context.

After one week, this thread is still open. No warnings (I imagine)--nothing. No acknowledgement that someone stepped out of line.

Awhile ago, I had an extended dialogue with Jun about his new rules. I thought he was being too eager to shut ppl down. In protest, I stopped posting here for about 6 months.

But, I never, never said that NO moderation is the way to go! :eek:

Now, I suppose, the "new etiquette rules" here call for hashing out epithets as a means to prove that "your view" is "right." :disgust: It's a real shame. :(

Neil Mick
09-03-2007, 06:15 PM
Actually Santa Cruz is part of a 'country'(California) that has the 7th largest gross national product in the world and the healthiest farmland anywhere in the U.S. as well as a direct, independent relationship with China.

Feel free to call us when your country needs help. Because we are a large radius of generosity surrounded by collapsing 'reality'.

Score ONE for Jen!!! :cool:

Neil Mick
09-03-2007, 08:48 PM
Of course.... it's just so obvious! Did you see my famous post on "self-perception disorder" (SPD)? Ta ta, for now.

Mike

My god...Mike and I actually...agree! :eek: :eek: :eek:

(*looks out window*) Ehm,,,no...the sun's still up...altho the lunar eclipse was out last week...perhaps it's the herald of a New Age...:D :D

Michael Varin
09-04-2007, 05:06 AM
Here is a challenge, little cliche perhaps but I'm honestly curious.
Can someone on either side (republican or democrat) come up with 3 things that the other side can be applauded for?
Something without even the slightest bit of sarcasm. An honest job well done for something.

1. Inflationary monetary policy
2. Redistribution of wealth via taxation
3. Confusing unalienable rights with revocable privileges
4. Using coercion to bring about reform
5. Equating democracy with freedom

There actually isn't any fundamental difference between the two parties, at least not with the major players. Take a look at any of the major candidates. Any two of them could run on the same ticket. They differ in style, but not objectives.

Mark Freeman
09-04-2007, 12:12 PM
Sorry for the delayed response. I just got back from a week in the desert.(

An AQ training camp perhaps? It's obvious Neil, you are a true enemy of the free world;) :D

regards,

Mark

Taliesin
09-04-2007, 12:13 PM
No 5 should be confusing Capitalism (Plutocracy) with Democracy

Mark Freeman
09-04-2007, 12:20 PM
No 5 should be confusing Capitalism (Plutocracy) with Democracy

Why not just make it No 6. ?;)

Taliesin
09-04-2007, 12:24 PM
Mark

Are you channelling someone?

If so then channelling the same person, I have to point out

1. That sort of humour 'proves' you are anti-American

and

2. If yhou disagree you must be stupid.

No prizes for guessing who I/We are channelling

Mark Freeman
09-04-2007, 12:33 PM
Mark

Are you channelling someone?

If so then channelling the same person, I have to point out

1. That sort of humour 'proves' you are anti-American

and

2. If yhou disagree you must be stupid.

No prizes for guessing who I/We are channelling

"doo doo doo doo....doo doo doo doo", how weird is that? :D

Neil Mick
09-04-2007, 02:46 PM
An AQ training camp perhaps? It's obvious Neil, you are a true enemy of the free world;) :D

regards,

Mark

More, like, "enemy of 'democracy and freedom.'" Me, and about 48,000 others...

http://www.xeni.net/images/bm2003/mannequin-playa.jpg

I think this thread is a great example of the US presidency, the election campaign and politics surrounding it.

It basically boils down to each side bringing up screw ups on the other side with what appears to be an attempt to discredit them or say hey they are more corrupt than we are.
As if whoever has the least amount of black marks against them wins? Lesser of two evils.

You forget the machinations of both parties to squash debate, or input, from the 3rd parties, or even non-mainstream views from their own party. I would just love to hear one "Presidential "debate that deals SOLELY upon the *#(@&$#-'ed-up electoral and voting process. Or, how about a 60-90 minute debate on election funding, versus public campaign financing? Where are the vows to limit large corporate contributions? Or, how about calls for investigation into hackable electronic voting, or funny-business of using "caging lists" to exclude A-A's in Florida ('00); or the meltdown in Ohio ('04)?

A good chunk of the campaign financing for Bush ('00 and '04) came from real estate. A good chunk of financing for Gore ('00) and Kerry ('04) also came from real estate. Are there differences? Some: but our broken electoral process means that those with money (big corporate) can take the most advantage of elections, and thus gov't.

Reading these posts both sides seem equal in terms of mistakes corruption and unethical behavior.

Both sides are so busy watching over their shoulders for a dagger in the back that someone is going to get the country in the chest with a spear.

Here is a challenge, little cliche perhaps but I'm honestly curious.
Can someone on either side (republican or democrat) come up with 3 things that the other side can be applauded for?
Something without even the slightest bit of sarcasm. An honest job well done for something.

Republican

1. John McCain's attempts to introduce laws limiting torture and extroadinary rendition.
2. Richard Nixon established the EPA.
3. Ron Paul.

Democrat

1. Sen. Robert Byrd frequently stood up and protested about the wrong direction that Congress was heading, as early as 2002.
2. FDR: the New Deal (esp the WPA), and Social Security
2. Dennis Kucinich

As individuals, some of the Repub-Dem's have good intentions. As a bi-party system supposedly representing the interests of the American people, they succeed only in presenting sham debates, while protecting the interests of the top of the economical pyramid.

Michael Varin
09-05-2007, 04:09 AM
No 5 should be confusing Capitalism (Plutocracy) with DemocracyWhy not just make it No 6. ?;)

How about confusing capitalism (free-market) with "capitalism" (private enterprise - gov't partnership)?

Like it or not, capitalism is the only system that is compatible with a free society, and the only system that leads to continual improvements in living standards of the masses.

And it's probably more "democratic" than the democracy that everyone touts these days.

Taliesin
09-05-2007, 11:30 AM
Michael

I must admit whilst I have heard these argument's for years as I am of a generation that used to be known as 'Thatcher's Children' - a group who would have been far better off as political orphans.

Lets start - there is no county in the world that has or wants a free-market - Any Americans who want to argue will find have to explain their own anti-trust laws.

Capitalism is NOT the only system compatible with a free society. (After all the USSR was the most Capitalist Country in the world) - but then there are different kinds of capitalism - fragmented elite and state. In fact it can only be argued (just) to be compatible when subjected to Democratic limitations. - Freedom is consistent with democracy not capitalism

Nor can it reasonably be said to "continual improvements in living standards of the masses."

After all capitalism is where one small group hold propriety ownership of the mean of production, financial and material and exploit that for their own benefit. - So it is not automatically the same as private business.

Next look and what business is for and what the consequences of that are

1. Businesses are for making MONEY - nothing more nothing less

2. The consequences are that when it comes to luxuries - there will be continual improvement, because nobody really needs their product - after all why buy a new, car, phone, computer, if its no better than the one you have got. - which can and does lead to significant technological developments.

3. When, however it comes to necessities this tend to lead to a 'race to the bottom' - where the goods or service are run on the basis of as cheap and as poor as possible - which is why most Brits suddenly appreciate the NHS when they see the system in the USA, why water companies pay dividends instead of investing in maintenance and repair, etc.

The consequence is usually a county with wonderful toys (TV's X Boxes) but very poor essential services - health care, schools, etc

Does any of this sound familiar.

David Orange
09-05-2007, 10:50 PM
However, the puzzling thing to me is that the idea of "family values" is actually the butt of the joke by the Dems.

No, it's not "family values {the values}" that Dems joke about: it's "family values {the false and hollow slogan of Republicans}) that's the butt of the joke. When George the First harped on "family values" but undertook "family destructive" policies, it became clearly just a slogan without real meaning. That's the joke. Most Dems are more loving within their families than are Republicans.

The Dems kept Clinton in office even after impeachment, his partner in crime refusing to testify in Watergate even though granted immunity, selling the Lincoln Bedroom, certain proof of Red Army campaign contributions, and so on.

You mean Americans didn't vote Clinton out after he survived the Republican assassination attempt? Maybe it's because people really hated the Republican hypocrites more than they hated Clinton??? They sure didn't give George a majority in the next election. Why, if it hadn't been for his brother, the Governor of Florida.....

Where were these so moral Democrats when Clinton was actually caught perjuring himself, etc.?

Mike, what you fail to realize is that the majority of Americans understand what happened there. They understand that Clinton was backed into the corner by people like Larry Craig, who were operating purely for their party's gain, and they don't like it and they don't hold it against Clinton. Most Americans feel that what the Repugs like Craig and Gingrich and Livinstone did was far worse than what Clinton did. Most Americans still laugh at the Republican hypocrites over that.

That's what you need to realize.

David

HL1978
09-05-2007, 11:44 PM
The three most corrupt States in the U.S. are Louisiana, New Jersey, and Illinois. All run by Democrats. The metro cities with the highest murder and crime rates are all run by Democrat governments and the majority of voters in those cities are Democrates. I thought you were a "realist"?

Mike Sigman

Having grown up in New Jersey, I only wish others knew how true this was, they would be shocked at the extent of the corruption, missmanagement, and crime stats. Read the star ledger some time and you will see plenty of stories. Politicians affiliated with the democrats more often than not are involved, though this may have to do with a large democratic base outside the wealthly northwestern counties.

Its also the only state I have ever lived in where the teachers union had billboards all over the state, plus taxes are crazy because the whole state has to subsidize the educational costs for Newark and Camden.

Michael Varin
09-06-2007, 03:27 AM
Lets start - there is no county in the world that has or wants a free-market - Any Americans who want to argue will find have to explain their own anti-trust laws.

How can a country want something? Do you mean gov't officials and elitists? I agree, because in a free-market the elites lose all of their control. Any American who claims we are operating in a free-market is delusional. Look at what I said earlier. We don't have a free-market, and that's the problem. We have never had a completely free-market, but it is much less so now.

If you meant people when you said country, why would they not want a free-market? A free-market is simply individuals engaging in peaceful, voluntary exchange. If you respect individual rights, you must support a free-market!

Capitalism is NOT the only system compatible with a free society. (After all the USSR was the most Capitalist Country in the world) - but then there are different kinds of capitalism - fragmented elite and state. In fact it can only be argued (just) to be compatible when subjected to Democratic limitations. - Freedom is consistent with democracy not capitalism

You'll have to explain that comment about the USSR.

As far as I know, democracy is not an economic system, so please tell me, which economic systems are compatible with a free society?

Democracy must be limited to be consistent with freedom.

Nor can it reasonably be said to "continual improvements in living standards of the masses."
How are the masses living today compared to 400 years ago?

After all capitalism is where one small group hold propriety ownership of the mean of production, financial and material and exploit that for their own benefit. - So it is not automatically the same as private business.

That is a terrible definition. Maybe that is the old Soviet "capitalism"?

From The American Heritage Dictionary:
An economic system, characterized by open competition in a free market, in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to increasing accumulation and reinvestment of profits.

Next look and what business is for and what the consequences of that are

1. Businesses are for making MONEY - nothing more nothing less

2. The consequences are that when it comes to luxuries - there will be continual improvement, because nobody really needs their product - after all why buy a new, car, phone, computer, if its no better than the one you have got. - which can and does lead to significant technological developments.

3. When, however it comes to necessities this tend to lead to a 'race to the bottom' - where the goods or service are run on the basis of as cheap and as poor as possible - which is why most Brits suddenly appreciate the NHS when they see the system in the USA, why water companies pay dividends instead of investing in maintenance and repair, etc.

Actually, central banks are for making money.;)
Businesses are for making profits. What's wrong with that? Profits (gained in a free-market) mean you are good at delivering a good or service.

If competition is present all goods and services will be delivered better or at a lower price. It doesn't matter if it is a luxury or a necessity.

The consequence is usually a county with wonderful toys (TV's X Boxes) but very poor essential services - health care, schools, etc

Does any of this sound familiar.

If there is any truth to your observation, it is that gov't has stayed out of the "luxuries," allowing continual progress, but interfered with the "necessities," stifling progress.

The problems in health care and education in the united states stem from gov't interference.

Taliesin
09-06-2007, 04:31 AM
Michael

Interesting arguments

My view of capitalism - is the Marxist one (He originated and defined the term) - that I included in my thread. In the USSR the means of production were controlled by a small group - the Communist Party (only very few Soviets were actually members of the party). So I stand by that point.

As far as how the masses lives are different from 400 years ago - for far to many - not to different - particulaly those in sweat-shops working to provide ever cheaper goods as part of the virtuous 'free-market'. (Monopsoly explaoitation)

For those of us lucky to live in countries that have investing in things like Education and Health Care pretty good - so my economic model is Kenysianism (pretty much the same as FDR's was)

I do disagree with your definition 'free -market' - is more often one that allows large organizations and powerful elites to maintain control as there is nothing to prevent monopolies and cartels, even Monopsolys and all the attendant exploitation. All things that undermine "individuals engaging in peaceful, voluntary exchange."

It also undermines your belief that a "free-market supports individual rights".

But then in the UK we see a clear difference between a 'free' and a 'fair' market. - Some products are specifically promoted as fair trade - to identify that a fair price is paid to the original producer, rather than exploitation through Monopsoly power.

As far as the difference between luxuries and necessities - for developments need to be made in order to achieve profits in business that provide luxuries (Fair point companies make profits)

However your assertion that "Profits (gained in a free-market) mean you are good at delivering a good or service". - Well I can think of a few Enron customers who may disagree.

And in the British Experience - privatisation of necessities has led to a significant decline in the quality of services - because you can still make a profit with an inferior service when you have a captive market. - Either you simply bump up prices and milk your captive market, or you cut prices and cut operating cost (staff, development, etc even more) - or you do both (which makes provision of necessities very different to provision of luxuries)

Which makes your statement that

"If competition is present all goods and services will be delivered better or at a lower price. It doesn't matter if it is a luxury or a necessity".

A touching statement of belief rather than objective fact.

Michael Varin
09-07-2007, 06:43 AM
My view of capitalism - is the Marxist one (He originated and defined the term) - that I included in my thread. In the USSR the means of production were controlled by a small group - the Communist Party (only very few Soviets were actually members of the party). So I stand by that point.

That is what I figured you were getting at, but it has absolutely nothing to do with free-market capitalism. Generally speaking, any systems the USSR used are the worst for mankind and the closer a country approaches them, the more worried its citizens should become.

I'm still curious. Which economic systems are compatible with a free society?

As far as how the masses lives are different from 400 years ago - for far to many - not to different - particulaly those in sweat-shops working to provide ever cheaper goods as part of the virtuous 'free-market'. (Monopsoly explaoitation)

For those of us lucky to live in countries that have investing in things like Education and Health Care pretty good - so my economic model is Kenysianism (pretty much the same as FDR's was)

If truly free trade was in effect, developing countries would not be exploited, but that is presently not the case.

Keynesian economics is an abomination. It and its derivative monetarist economics have done much harm. It was only latched onto because it advocates "management" by the gov't.

I do disagree with your definition 'free -market' - is more often one that allows large organizations and powerful elites to maintain control as there is nothing to prevent monopolies and cartels, even Monopsolys and all the attendant exploitation. All things that undermine "individuals engaging in peaceful, voluntary exchange."

I so badly wish we could discuss this in person. What you have just stated is a classic misunderstanding, and most certainly not a definition of "free-market." Gov'ts create monopolies, not the free-market. Almost every instance of a monopoly is because it was granted by the gov't. In the rare case a monopoly arises, it only exists because it is serving its customers better than anyone else can. When that condition ceases (and gov't has not intervened), the monopoly will cease. Cartels exist due to licensing and regulation (also because of gov't). Only through gov't can your competition be forcibly eliminated.

I'm not familiar with the term "monopsoly." Did you mean "monopsony" (one buyer)?

It also undermines your belief that a "free-market supports individual rights".

Do you have a clear understanding of what rights are, and where they arise from?

But then in the UK we see a clear difference between a 'free' and a 'fair' market. - Some products are specifically promoted as fair trade - to identify that a fair price is paid to the original producer, rather than exploitation through Monopsoly power.

Price controls and protectionism hurt the consumer. Monopsony, like monopolies and cartels cannot continue to exist in a free-market.

As far as the difference between luxuries and necessities - for developments need to be made in order to achieve profits in business that provide luxuries (Fair point companies make profits)

However your assertion that "Profits (gained in a free-market) mean you are good at delivering a good or service". - Well I can think of a few Enron customers who may disagree.

Again, Enron was NOT operating in a free-market. Private-enterprise does not mean free-enterprise. People have to be clear on these things, or we will continue to be misled.

And in the British Experience - privatisation of necessities has led to a significant decline in the quality of services - because you can still make a profit with an inferior service when you have a captive market. - Either you simply bump up prices and milk your captive market, or you cut prices and cut operating cost (staff, development, etc even more) - or you do both (which makes provision of necessities very different to provision of luxuries)

I don't live in your country, but you should look into this "privatisation" and you will most likely see that there was no competition and heavy regulation.

If you adhere to collectivist beliefs, be they socialism or fascism, that's OK (well, not really, since they are cruel and belittle human life), but you must argue your position honestly, and be properly informed. What is the foundation of the belief? Why do you personally advocate that system? Who stands to benefit and at who's expense? These are questions that I feel too few people ask of themselves.

Taliesin
09-10-2007, 04:32 AM
Michael

Interesting opinions

For myself

I'll stick with the definition of Capitalism established by the guy with whom it originated.

I'll also stick to the definition of a 'free-market" being a market without constraints (therefore free). -

monopsony" (one buyer) - is exactly what I meant.

However, you are not going to get anywhere simply stating belief and that 'real' free markets are not free, that it's about individuals - which sounds nice - but unless you establish an 'equality of arms' - amongst all individuals (both providers and purchasers) - then your argument falls flat. (of course establishing equality of arms would require some form of regulation)

As far as privatisation was concerned the point was to introduce competition - which led to 'race to the bottom' competition.

With regard to Keynsianism - How Dare FDR follow a policy which pulled the USA out of depression. Although I have no problem on a social provision based economy rather than a consumer based one.

And for monopolies I'd say Governments prevent monopolies - I'd ask you to look at the 'Anti-Trust Laws of the USA, the Anti-Monopoly legislation in the UK, and the EU - 'abuse of a dominant position' rules.

As far as your question

"Do you have a clear understanding of what rights are, and where they arise from?".

Do you have any idea how complicated a question that is.

The simple answers is - of course not - because nobody does (there is no established consensus and never has been). As far as rights in the legal context.

There are 'contractual rights' - rights you obtain and/or grant upon entering into what you accept is a legally binding agreement

The are what may be described as 'Tort-Based Rights' - This is a bit more tricky - but these are the rights established by the court System (at least the Common Law One) that you should not be unfairly suffer from what may loosely be described as unfair actions on the part of another (ie Negligence, Defamation etc)

There are statutory rights - rights specifically granted by a duly authorized legislature

There are 'Human Rights' - although given these are taken to derive from individual treaties ratified by a body with appropriate authority.

There are rights granted under such treaties that provide 'Humanitarian Protection'.

There are also arguments put forward for what are know as 'Natural rights - rights granted by 'God or Nature' - which supporters say are knowable through a view of the world and deductatble from that knowledge and opponents, and most famously opposed by Jeremy Bentham who famously said "Rights are an absurdity, Natural rights are an absurdity on stilts".

Still if you want to argue for 'free-trade' the way you understand it you need to explain how you believe it is possible to establish it
Although you will have to consider the difference between the world today and the one Adam Smith (who I presume is your hero) lived in.

Mike Sigman
09-10-2007, 09:50 AM
With regard to Keynsianism - How Dare FDR follow a policy which pulled the USA out of depression. Although I have no problem on a social provision based economy rather than a consumer based one.
Ermm... the idea that FDR's policies pulled the US out of the Great Depression are fairly old-fashioned. It's pretty well-established that World War II finally pulled the US out of the Depression. In fact, there's some recent, trendy book by some economists showing (once again) the same thing, but I haven't been motivated to find and read it.

Mike

Fred Little
09-10-2007, 01:08 PM
Ermm... the idea that FDR's policies pulled the US out of the Great Depression are fairly old-fashioned. It's pretty well-established that World War II finally pulled the US out of the Depression. In fact, there's some recent, trendy book by some economists showing (once again) the same thing, but I haven't been motivated to find and read it.

Mike

Basically correct and there's a wide consensus among economists and political scientists on that point.

There's also a pretty compelling line of scholarship arguing that the benefit of FDR's economic policies was less the ending of the Depression and more the prevention of the both the Communist revolutions and Fascist takeovers that occurred almost every place else in the industrialized West during the Thirties.

I'm willing to credit him with knowing where the stepping stones were and see no need to claim he walked on water....

Best,

FL

Mike Sigman
09-10-2007, 01:15 PM
Basically correct and there's a wide consensus among economists and political scientists on that point.

There's also a pretty compelling line of scholarship arguing that the benefit of FDR's economic policies was less the ending of the Depression and more the prevention of the both the Communist revolutions and Fascist takeovers that occurred almost every place else in the industrialized West during the Thirties.

I'm willing to credit him with knowing where the stepping stones were and see no need to claim he walked on water....
I'd agree with that. However, during those times there were a lot of people who were admiring of Hitler or of "Uncle Joe" Stalin and it's easy to back-read and misunderstand what those two represented at different times in their history. Historical accident is a slippery eel in the arms of history.

Best.

Mike

Gernot Hassenpflug
09-10-2007, 04:38 PM
Every time I chance upon a decent discussion of history, I grow more disappointed with my history education at school :-(

Michael Varin
09-10-2007, 08:17 PM
With regard to Keynsianism - How Dare FDR follow a policy which pulled the USA out of depression. Although I have no problem on a social provision based economy rather than a consumer based one.

And for monopolies I'd say Governments prevent monopolies - I'd ask you to look at the 'Anti-Trust Laws of the USA, the Anti-Monopoly legislation in the UK, and the EU - 'abuse of a dominant position' rules.

I'm sorry, David, but you are terribly mistaken on both of these points. What you have stated is the court historian version, the official story if you will. Please, dig a little deeper. Any earnest research will reveal that those ideas are false.

Governmental interference with the money supply caused the great depression and FDR's (and Hoover's) policies prolonged it. Not to mention they left us with problems that we haven't been able to address to this day.

I'd ask you to look more closely at the USA's anti-trust laws and research their history. Laws are often given misleading names that hopefully appeal to the public, ex. the Patriot Act. Anti-trust laws were the attempts of politically influential businesses to cripple their competition.

"Do you have a clear understanding of what rights are, and where they arise from?".

Do you have any idea how complicated a question that is.

I just provided an answer to this question on another thread. It was fairly concise, so here it is again:

A right is something that you don't have to ask permission to do, and has no conditions or limitations. On the other hand, a privilege is something that requires permission, and can be revoked at any time. Rights pre-exist any governments or other groups. They are expressions of the nature of man. All rights can only be understood through property, the most basic of which is the individual's own body.

Still if you want to argue for 'free-trade' the way you understand it you need to explain how you believe it is possible to establish it
Although you will have to consider the difference between the world today and the one Adam Smith (who I presume is your hero) lived in.

These aren't new ideas that I just came up with. One way would be the classical-liberal method, which is the basis of the American political structure. A constitutionally limited republic; laws only protecting life, liberty, and property; sound money; minimal taxation -- formerly known as laissez faire.

Adam Smith isn't my hero, but I'd love to know how today's world is so different that freedom is no longer important.

There's also a pretty compelling line of scholarship arguing that the benefit of FDR's economic policies was less the ending of the Depression and more the prevention of the both the Communist revolutions and Fascist takeovers that occurred almost every place else in the industrialized West during the Thirties.

Well, I guess if you just become a Communist/Fascist country, there is no need for a "takeover." So in some sick, twisted way this maybe true.

Taliesin
09-11-2007, 07:55 AM
Michael

You have to come up with something better than - I don't agree therefore you are wrong. We already have one poster who believe that is gospel.

As far a I am aware Anti-Trust Laws inthe USA established to break the various cartels or 'rings' as they were known at the time. However the fact that a bigger, company can buy out a smaller more efficient one and thus eradicate competition does not strike me as a good idea. The idea of preventing that is at the heart of fair competition. - and BTW I also pointed out UK Monopoly Law and EU 'Abuse of a Dominant Position' - You also failed to answer why countries that rightly or wrongly put business at the heart of their economies - all take steps to prevent monopolies and maintain competition.

I will also say that, unlike you, I am not a fan of 'Natural Law' arguments, - God/Nature gave us abilities - rights are a societial (primarily legal) concept - after all simply because nature gave me the ability to break your grandmother's neck (to use an unlikley example) does not mean I am entitled to do so. - You definition sounds like it's pulled out of a law undergrad's textbook on natural law. Still if you wish to equate abilities with rights - that's up to you. (I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this point).

As far as Adam Smith is concerned - you have promoted an idea of free trade as a matter of individuals. As far as I am concrened you cannot have freedom without equality. - Although my question was how to establish that equality.

Michael Varin
09-12-2007, 04:37 AM
You have to come up with something better than - I don't agree therefore you are wrong. We already have one poster who believe that is gospel.

I didn't say that. I said, you don't have your facts correct, therefore you are wrong. I also encouraged you to research these matters further.

As far a I am aware Anti-Trust Laws inthe USA established to break the various cartels or 'rings' as they were known at the time. However the fact that a bigger, company can buy out a smaller more efficient one and thus eradicate competition does not strike me as a good idea. The idea of preventing that is at the heart of fair competition. - and BTW I also pointed out UK Monopoly Law and EU 'Abuse of a Dominant Position' - You also failed to answer why countries that rightly or wrongly put business at the heart of their economies - all take steps to prevent monopolies and maintain competition.

The anti-trust laws penalize efficiency and encourage companies to please politicians not consumers. I could give you a long list of sources to back any points I make, but it still falls on you to take the time to read them. Here are two excellent reads: Antitrust and Monopoly: Anatomy of a Policy Failure by Dominick Armentano; Man, Economy, and State by Murray Rothbard.

As I said monopolies don't last in a free-market unless they are benefiting the consumer, and in that case, there is no problem. Anti-trust laws are a form of protectionism, that may protect some businesses, but at the cost of everyone else. To stay in business you either have to be good at delivering goods and services, or pay off the right politicians. One is a free-market, which leads to progress; the other is what the countries you mention have in various degrees -- socialism, which destroys progress. It is foolish to believe that all wealthy, big-businessmen are advocates of the free-market; most are not.

I think the utter absurdity of anti-trust laws can be summed up by the 1944 ruling against Alcoa, where the judge found them guilty of possessing "superior skill and foresight."

"[Alcoa] insists that it never excluded competitors; but we can think of no more effective exclusion than progressively to embrace each opportunity as it opened, and to face every newcomer with new capacity already geared into a great organization, having the advantage of experience, trade connections and the elite of personnel."

They were punished for excellence.

Did you know that the entire Japanese electronics industry was the result of antitrust regulations on RCA, which resulted in the company licensing their products to Japanese companies? The rest is history.

The list goes on and on.

Talk to any small businessman. Ask him how gov't regulations affect his business.

Terms like "fair competition" are amusing. When Mike Tyson was in his prime should he have been forced to go into the ring with his shoe-laces tied together and one hand behind his back? I mean it wasn't fair how he just beat all those guys up. Life isn't fair, and that's a good thing.

I will also say that, unlike you, I am not a fan of 'Natural Law' arguments, - God/Nature gave us abilities -
I can tell you're not a fan of Natural Law, but it is the only system they holds up to reason and inquiry.

rights are a societial (primarily legal) concept - after all simply because nature gave me the ability to break your grandmother's neck (to use an unlikley example) does not mean I am entitled to do so. -
You're still struggling with this notion of rights. You may have the ability to break my grandmother's neck, but you do not have a right to break her neck. However, in this situation, my grandmother does have a right to shoot you in the face.

You definition sounds like it's pulled out of a law undergrad's textbook on natural law.

Thanks for the compliment. It came right off the top of my head. I was just showing that this isn't as complicated of a matter as you are trying to make it.

This is simple, fairly short, and offers a better explanation than I can give:

http://isil.org/resources/philosophy-of-liberty-english.swf

As far as I am concrened you cannot have freedom without equality. - Although my question was how to establish that equality.

This is an either/or and equality cannot actually be achieved. Establishing equality is ugly and will cost freedom. Freedom doesn't need to be established, just get out of everyone's way. Which is more important to you freedom or equality?

Taliesin
09-12-2007, 06:51 AM
Michael you are back to assuming all products and services are equal.

You still have come up with an argument that competition in provisions of necessities is necessarily beneficial. All you've got is arguments based on what happens when the product's/services are luxuries (And i agreed that competition as far as those matters are concerned - remember)

By the way Natural Law argumetns of rights do not in the slightest stand up to examination

Taliesin
09-13-2007, 04:02 AM
Michael

I thought what would happen if you did have a country with no Government, no pesky laws or regulations (at least none that are recognised and enforced), no restrictons on possession of a gun (no laws means no ownership) wouldn't that be a perfect capitalist, utopian paradise.

Then I though of a country that for several years had no Government, no effective laws, no regulations, no restrictions on ownership of a gun, no restrictions or limitations, a true free market

The name of this undoubted paradise? - Somalia.

Michael Varin
09-13-2007, 06:11 AM
Michael you are back to assuming all products and services are equal.

You still have come up with an argument that competition in provisions of necessities is necessarily beneficial. All you've got is arguments based on what happens when the product's/services are luxuries (And i agreed that competition as far as those matters are concerned - remember)

Is raw aluminum ingot a luxury or a necessity?

Please define necessity.

The "necessities" That I imagine you are referring to are mostly delivered by gov't (monopoly), private companies with gov't granted monopolies, or heavily regulated industries (water, waste disposal, electricity, postal?, education, defense, police, courts, health care).

So are you in favor of monopoly or against it? Or does it depend?

Economic laws are always the same, whether you like it or not.

By the way Natural Law argumetns of rights do not in the slightest stand up to examination

Please elaborate.

If there were no States, no Nations, no Gov'ts would man still have rights? Would there still be such a thing as justice? Would ethics exist?

Then I though of a country that for several years had no Government, no effective laws, no regulations, no restrictions on ownership of a gun, no restrictions or limitations, a true free market

The name of this undoubted paradise? - Somalia.

Good job! I doubt most people realize that Somalia has no central gov't. The interesting thing is, Somalians are doing better now then when they had a gov't -- especially in the north. Somalia is developing faster than neighboring countries, and most of the problems they are having is from outsider interference (UN, US, AU, Ethiopia) trying to re-establish a democratic central government.

Paradise? Probably not, but I was never talking about paradise.

Besides, you can't compare Somalia to the US or UK. Only to their own situtation. Why don't we hear that they are doing fine without gov't for the last 15 years?

Wait a minute. 15 years without gov't does sound like paradise!

Fred Little
09-13-2007, 09:42 AM
In re: Rights vs. Privileges

Human rights naturally belong to humans.

Corporations are not humans.

Therefore, any discussion of corporate rights must begin with the acknowledgment that so-called "corporate rights" granted to fictive entities operating under the doctrine of "corporate personhood" are, in fact, privileges of a lesser order than "human rights" held by humans.

Humboldt County, California has revoked those corporate rights by the successful passage of Proposition T in June 2006. (http://www.alternet.org/workplace/61737/) It is the largest, but not the only, municipality which has revoked those rights as regards campaign contributions.

Taliesin
09-13-2007, 12:46 PM
Michael

Since you have moved the debates on monopolies - I am against private monopolies as far a necessities are concerned. I am less concerned with publically owned monopolies. As far a luxuries - I don't care.

With regard to your questions

"If there were no States, no Nations, no Gov'ts would man still have rights? Would there still be such a thing as justice? Would ethics exist?"

No - Rights are a societal concept - without that framework to provide legitmacy all you have is abilities. (To Fred - since rights are a societal concept society can grant lesser rights to corporate persons than Human Beings - but there still needs to be a society)

Yes - Although it would be even more poorly understood than it is now, and there would be no external objective framework - it would be a purely subjective concept of whether an individual considered an outcome 'fair' (consider the term 'poetic justice').

Yes - ethics are a personal and contextual value system of right and wrong. You do not need a society to have your own subjective idea of what is right and what is wrong.

Moving onto Somalia

Michael I very disappointed you have things backward. The Ethiopian Troops invaded after the Islamic Courts Union had taken over and effective established a Goverment (albeit unrecognised internationally, like Somaliland), they didn't invade when there was no Government. There is a Government there now - although still almost entirely dependant on Ethiopian troops and fighting continues. - so you have a point about outside intervention possibly making things worse - After a form of government was taking hold.

The Background - Somalia had no effective Government 1995 - 2006 just competing/warring majority 'Clans'.

Then last year the Islamic Courts Union took over and established some form of Government and Sharia law. This was considered a significant improvement for both business and human rights (except by the USA and Ethiopia)

Ethiopia then invaded in 'support' of the 'Trasnsitional Government' (Powerless Government in Exile). Bringing Somalia back to civil war. - which is pretty much where we are now.

When you talk about northern Somalia where exactly do you mean Somaliland?, Puntoland? (Both that effectively have governments of their own).

In answer to your question

Why don't we hear that they are doing fine without gov't for the last 15 years?

Somalis were not by any stretch of the imagination doing 'fine'. Just think how bad things have to be for Sharia law to be considered an improvement. (Or you could dig up the Amnesty International, Human Rigths Watch, US State Dept reports for that time).

I also point out that I have represented far too many Somali Refugees over the years (minority clan mainly) to have any illusions that Somali's were doing 'fine'.

It wasn't reported because the news agencies and 'audience' were not interested. Pretty much as they weren't interested in the 'brotherwar' that broke out between the PUK and KDP when the Kurdish Autonoumous Area was established.

I've also ask you to note that the evidence does not support Somali's "doing better now".

UNICEF warns of critical levels of malnutrition amongst Somali children

NAIROBI, 12 September 2007 - Following a recent nutrition survey, UNICEF and its partners estimate that 83,000 children in central and southern Somalia suffer from malnutrition - 13,500 of whom are severely malnourished and at risk of dying.

"These children urgently require attention to ensure that they survive," said UNICEF Representative to Somalia Christian Balslev-Olesen. "UNICEF is very concerned that their numbers might increase with continued civil strife, limited humanitarian access to these areas, food insecurity and a depressed economy," he added.

Malnutrition is not new to Somalia, however such critical levels in a region known as the country's breadbasket are alarming and point to a deteriorating humanitarian situation. In fact, an earlier comprehensive nutrition survey conducted in May in Middle and Lower Shabelle (bordering Mogadishu) had already indicated that 17 per cent of children under five years of age suffer from global acute malnutrition – a figure that is above WHO emergency threshold levels (>15 per cent).

"Children and families in this region have recently gone from one shock to another" said Balslev-Olesen, "and with the next flood season around the corner, it is important that peace building efforts are intensified to ensure that UNICEF and its partners can address the underlying causes of these problems as well as the immediate needs."

UNICEF currently supports 60 selective feeding programmes in Central and Southern Somalia. These centres treat about 15,000 malnourished children each month. But in order to scale up its activities and reach the thousands of additional children at risk, issues of security must be tackled.

"We appeal to all parties involved," stressed Balslev-Olesen "to establish peace so that we can work with communities to meet the needs of these children."

The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in Somalia has increased from one million to 1.5 million since January 2007. Most of those in need are children and women.

About UNICEF
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

Pictures available upon request.

For interviews, please call:
Christian Balslev-Olesen, UNICEF Representative, +254 722 514 569 or +254 733 629 933
Nuradin Derie (for interviews in Somali), +254 722 582 646

For further information, please contact:
Misbah Sheikh, OIC Communication, UNICEF Somalia Support Center, Tel: +254 20 762-3958
Mob: +254 736 397 771, Email: msheikh@unicef.org

(End)

Somalia Faces Bleak Future But Hope Endures

By Darren Taylor
Washington
10 September 2007

Conflict continues in Somalia, the Horn of Africa country that's been ravaged by violence for almost two decades. Innocent civilians are caught in fighting between members of Islamic militias, and troops from Ethiopia and Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG). Human rights monitors say thousands of people have been killed or displaced. A recent national conference called to set the agenda for more inclusive politics in Somalia has instead resulted in further division. In the final part of a series focusing on Somalia, VOA's Darren Taylor looks at the future of the country.

"Somalis in general want peace. The problem of course is that many Somali elites have armed themselves and are only pursuing a peace that they are willing to live with, that they would benefit from. So the average Somali – man, woman and child – ends up suffering because of the nefarious interests of a few," says Dr. Andre Le Sage, an analyst at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, a US government think tank in Washington, and a former political advisor in the process that resulted in the formation of the TFG.

"The folks who are stoking problems in Somalia are a minority in that country. And you have that minority in almost every country in the world if there is lawlessness. But when democratic governments are in place, most people want to go on with their lives, take care of their families, put their children through school, and Somalis are no different," says Prof. Abdi Ismail, a Somali academic who teaches at the University of Minnesota.

But, at the moment, there can be no "getting on with their lives" for Somalis, whether they're still living in the country or in foreign lands, for their homeland continues to be torn apart by violence.

Many Somali analysts, including Dr. Mohamed Diriye Abdullahi, a linguist and historian based in Hargeisa in Somaliland, say the only way to ensure peace and prosperity in Somalia in the future is for the international community, and especially Ethiopia, to allow Somalis to "sort out their own problems."

"The main problem in Somalia is the outside intervention, outside actors. The problem is Somalis are so weak that any country, by using a few million dollars, can influence the situation in Somalia. And that is what has been happening for the last 16 years," says Abdullahi.

"We had interference from Kenya, Ethiopia and even tiny Djibouti. And then from the bigger powers, like the United States and the European Union, and they are always interested in getting their own outcomes from Somalia."

Some observers accuse the US of selfishness, of only being interested in Somalia because of its potential to become a haven for terrorists and therefore a direct threat to America, and they accuse Ethiopia of having helped to rig the outcome of the process of negotiations that resulted in former military leader Abdullahi Yusuf being elected president of Somalia's TFG and appointing many members of his Darod clan to senior positions in his administration. Such a scenario, they say, allows Ethiopia to maintain its hegemony in the Horn of Africa by having unfettered influence over a friendly, but essentially weak, Somali administration.

Afyare Abdi Elmi, a Somali international relations specialist at the University of Alberta, says Liberia and Sierra Leone only experienced harmony when their respective warlord leaders, Foday Sankoh and Charles Taylor, were removed from the peace process.

"Somalia is no different. Rewarding warlords will not bring peace to the Somali people. These individuals committed heinous crimes and they are not interested in peace or democracy. The United States should help in establishing a commission of international inquiry that investigates Somalia war crimes," Elmi states.

Instead of encouraging flawed reconciliation conferences, events he says omit key players in the conflict and simply serve to set the stage for more violence, Elmi is convinced that the US should encourage efforts by countries such as Saudi Arabia to mediate in Somalia.

"The Saudi government has helped mediate similar conflicts in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. Moreover, most Somalis consider it a neutral country and it has a close relationship with Washington. It can also influence the Islamist groups as they are indispensable for ending the conflict," Elmi reasons.

Some Somali analysts also mention Yemen as the possible host of an all-inclusive peace summit for Somalia in the near future.

Le Sage agrees that the international community should make more efforts to involve "allies that have common interests in Somalia and might have better contacts with some segments of Somalia's political leadership, as divided as they are. So working with and through and in conjunction with Saudi Arabia, Yemen and other countries makes perfect sense."

But even if this were to happen, says Abdullahi, Somalis should still be "left alone" to negotiate their own future. He says there's an encouraging precedent for this.

"Here in Somaliland, people left the leaders alone and look at the result we have: a stable democracy. We had negotiations and conferences, we established a bicameral parliament and now we have peace. And we have no terrorists here. If you leave people alone to sort out their own problems, they will come up with solutions."

But Omar Faruk, the chairman of the National Union of Somali Journalists, says abandoning Somalis in the "high hope" that they'll solve decades of strife on their own would be "wrong…. The international community withdrew from Somalia in the 1990's, and that prolonged the crisis and the conflict. The US-led UN troops left from Somalia in the 1990's, while the conflict in Somalia was only starting. And at that time we had only two main warlords. Now, we have more than 30 equal-power warlords – either in the government or not in the government."

The only way forward for a lasting peace in Somalia, he says, is for the international community to continue to pressure the factional leaders.

"We need the international community to be present on the ground, as peacekeepers, and at the same time to push the different political groups to reach a solution. We do not need less international presence in Somalia; we need much more. But it must be in the form of a legitimate peacekeeping force, with no sinister motives," Faruk says.

Ismail says unless there's major reconstruction and development in Somalia, there'll be no peace, and what's needed is for international donors to make substantial financial commitments to the country.

"Very significant amounts of money, carefully monitored, that will be invested in the infrastructure of Somali society, the rebuilding of the country – ports and airports and schools and roads, water systems, electricity, security, education, health – those kinds of things. If that is done, then it will create jobs in the country. Many of the young people who have nowhere to go will see that as a new hope for them, and the revival of the Somali society will take place. There will be little need for young people to join warlords, or to join Islamist militants, or whatever group," he says.

Prof. Ahmed Samatar, the dean of international relations at Macalester College in Minnesota, says he and other Somali academics have often discussed the future of their impoverished, violent homeland.

"We have made some calculations, and we think that an investment of about a billion dollars a year for about five to six years in those kinds of social infrastructure and economic infrastructure will put new energy into the revival of Somali society and its own institutions."

But Samatar also believes that a "moderate Islam" has a major role to play in Somalia's future.

"This is a society that has to rise from the ashes. And the only way in which you can rise from the ashes is to retrieve some of the fundamental cultural foundations of that society. Islam is a Somali phenomenon. The Somalis cannot be non-Muslims. There are many in the Somali society who understand that an Islam that is cosmopolitan, that's connected to the world, is the key to rehabilitated, democratic politics."

Prof. Hagi Mukthar, another prominent Somali academic in the US, says no "proper" development will happen in Somalia unless there is a "large scale disarmament process, supported by the world, to get rid of all the weapons in the country. Otherwise it will remain in disarray. You can't have people running around a country carrying weapons of mass destruction and expect there to be peace and political negotiation."

But Mukthar isn't optimistic. He foresees the circle of ethnic violence continuing in Somalia.

"No clan until today (has) really won over another clan. There was no loser, and there's no winner. It's always like this," he says.

"One area where we are failing hopelessly is that you never hear Somalis speaking about the rule of law. I've never heard of any place that has undergone a crisis of such magnitude, and nobody talks about what has gone wrong, about who is who in the whole scenario."

He warns against a "growing apathy" among Somalis.

"Other nations, in the aftermath of a civil crisis, there's always a great shout amongst the people for the rule of law to take precedence in establishing order. If you look at South Africa, Rwanda, Liberia and Sierra Leone – there were processes there that allowed the people a bit of justice. Why is this not happening in Somalia? It worries me a great deal. There are no calls for any tribunals, or for any justice, in Somalia."

Tom Porteous, the director of Human Rights Watch in London, warns that the Somali state cannot be rebuilt in a "human rights vacuum. All the parties to the conflict at the moment have committed very serious violations of international humanitarian law. Those violations continue, and as long as they continue, it's going to be extremely difficult even to start rebuilding the Somali state."

(End)