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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #900 on: March 24, 2011, 06:58:42 AM »

http://townhall.com/columnists/benshapiro/2011/03/24/obama_wags_the_dog/page/full/

What is this really about?

As the price of oil skyrockets, as our debt levels rise to new highs and our housing market drops to new lows, President Obama decides that it is a fantastic time to start dropping bombs on Libya. Nobody, including Obama, seems to know what our objective is in Libya. First, it was deposing terroristic thug Muammar Qaddafi; then it was standing up for the United Nations; then it was protecting civilians; now it is some combination of all of them. This is the same man who once explained with regard to Middle East policy, "I can tell you this -- when I am president of the United States, the American people and the world will always know where I stand." Now, finding where Obama stands is tougher than finding a cane-less Waldo in a crowd of Christmas elves.

Meanwhile, the international community floats aimlessly through Obama's sea of foreign policy vagary. For a community organizer, Obama sure has trouble organizing the international community. Perhaps that's because even he doesn't know why we're in Libya.

One matter is crystal clear, however: we're certainly not in Libya for the reasons Obama has articulated.

Let's not deceive ourselves into believing that Obama has become an ardent advocate of Muslim freedom -- only a few short years ago, he was badmouthing President Bush's campaign in Iraq, ignoring Iranian pleas for freedom from the mullahs, and sending ambassadors to parlay with Hamas.

Let's not pretend, either, that America has serious interests at stake in Libya -- we don't. The rebels are backed by al-Qaida, the same people we're supposed to be fighting. Obama criticized the Iraq War for taking our eye off the ball with regard to al-Qaida; now, he's not merely taking our eye off the ball, but he's throwing the game to al-Qaida. Muammar Qaddafi deserves to lose his head, but America doesn't deserve a Libya run by an even worse foe. As for the U.N., we had more allies and more U.N. support for the war in Iraq, which Obama opposed.

As for Obama's contention that he wants to protect Libyan civilians, that also rings false. After all, the best way to protect Libyan civilians is to put highly trained allied troops on the ground in Libya -- as Obama himself has acknowledged. Back in 2007, Obama criticized President Bush's Afghanistan military policy for lack of boots, stating that the U.S. needed to "get the job done ... [which] requires us to have enough troops that we're not just air raiding villages and killing civilians."

So what's this really about? President Obama's war of choice in Libya is, very simply, a wag the dog scenario.

For months now, Obama has remained a non-entity on the Muslim uprisings rocking the Middle East. He has voted present, when in fact he isn't even present. Over the past few weeks, his non-action has begun to affect his public image. No longer is he considered cool -- now he's considered removed and distant. Obama has become Japan's last emperor, hiding behind his title and his advisers while performing ceremonial duties -- and the public has caught on. America knows, in short, that Obama is weak.

So Obama chose this moment to forge forth in a show of strength. Emphasis on the word "show."

Obama has explained that this intervention will take days, not weeks; he has backed down from his original aims; he has attempted to shirk leadership, handing it off to the Europeans (who want no part of it). All of this would seem to imply that he didn't want to be involved. But he chose to become involved in the first place, knowing full well that America could be supporting those who hope to murder us.

There's only one reason for that: he wants to distract the American public from the fact that the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz is an insecure little man behind a media curtain. Obama is wagging the dog not to misdirect attention from a sex scandal, but in order to focus attention on his supposed brawn.

None of it is real. Once again, the military is being used by a Democrat as a political tool to curry favor with the hawkish American public. The American public is being manipulated by a Democrat, once again, because we support the men and women in harm's way. The war in Libya as Obama has organized it is a sham, a fraud and a disgrace.
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ccp
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« Reply #901 on: March 24, 2011, 12:38:59 PM »

I was for invading Iraq 1 and getting rid of Saddam (Iraq).

Bush senior started this whole deal with getting "international coalitions" and making sure we bribe enough countires to sound like they are on our side.

HE started that whole thing.  Bush junior went in to finish the job and started this freedom democracy thing in Iraq two.  I was for that too.

Prominent republicans were against at least Iraq 2 if not 1.

I look back and do not feel Iraq 2 it was worth the American investment in lives, money, time, attention.  Iraq 1 I believe was because we couldn't let Saddam control 25% of more of the World's oil supply.

I am completely against going into Egypt going into Lybia.  I don't know what has gotten into McCain.  Yet IF we are to do it we must win.  Not half hearted.

I do not want America to be the world's policeman (every hot spot) or the world's ambulance crew (every world disaster).

It is bad enough we have ever expanding NANNY domestic goverment, now we are going to have our military be the world's nanny??
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DougMacG
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« Reply #902 on: March 24, 2011, 02:42:34 PM »

CCP, Interesting thoughts.  Where you wrote "Prominent republicans were against at least Iraq 2 if not 1", I think you meant no prominent Republicans opposed? Pat Buchanan excluded.

Whether Iraq was worth it is a tough call, depends on whether a functional society is the result that is not an enemy of our interests.  I am still optimistic.  Saddam deserved deposing.  The Colin Powell we break we fix it doctrine is BS to me. We found it broken.  We could have deposed and left, but only if we were willing to repeat each time a new enemy states emerges. Same goes for Libya. 

The worst thing that happened in Iraq (beyond the fatalities) was that by the end the message became the opposite to the rest of the world, that we did not have the stomach to fight enemies with any consistent staying powers.  Now we hope Ghadafy steps down just as we say we are only staying a minute and won't put a single pair of boots on the ground.  What I read from that is the whole action is a head fake.  We will weaken his forces, scare him a little, then leave him in power and hope his dictatorship benevolence improves.

The point about coalitions is well put; they are a mixed blessing.  It gives legitimacy but limits the mission to failure, as in the case of leaving Saddam in power with the need to come back later costing far more in lives and dollars.  Who with a straight face believed he would honor his 1991 surrender agreement?

"Iraq 1 I believe was because we couldn't let Saddam control 25% of more of the World's oil supply."

I think it was about the sovereignty of Kuwait and Saudi - regarding oil.  I proposed at the time that if it is okay to invade neighbors for oil without consequence, instead of helping Kuwait we should have invaded Canada.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #903 on: March 24, 2011, 05:58:04 PM »

I stand by Iraq 2.  After some very poor leadership by Bush-Rumbo, we finally got it together only to have the constant drumbeat of defeatism, cowardice, anti-Americanism, and occasional treason of the American Left (progressives, liberals, dems, socialists, Obama, Reid, Pelosi, Kerry, Gore, NY Times-LA Times-and-the-other-Pravdas et al) sabotage us from within and abroad.  I AM NOT saying that many good patriotic Americans were not opposed!  I AM saying that many others crossed the line many times and sometimes crossed it very far.

It we had lost our will after the Surge worked, the whole dynamic we are looking at now would have an entirely different hue.

Instead the accumulating clusterfcuk headed our way began with going limp in Iraq, then Baraq's performancin in Afpakia, and the accumulating momentum of @$%#%^#%& since then.
 
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ccp
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« Reply #904 on: March 24, 2011, 07:23:05 PM »

"It we had lost our will after the Surge worked, the whole dynamic we are looking at now would have an entirely different hue."

Agreed.

However I just don't know that Iraq 2 will benefit this country in the long run.  I guess no one can know at this time.

Iraq 1 did what it was supposed to, but I like George Will (who pointed out in one of his columns back than) still don't like Bush Sr.'s starting this having to seek the approval of the "international community".

Fast forward to the present.  Now we have the One placing our military under the command of other countries or in some way the UN.

To me it is all just an evolution of America's giving it all away.

At this rate OUR military will work for the UN.




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G M
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« Reply #905 on: March 24, 2011, 07:26:14 PM »

"At this rate OUR military will work for the UN."

That's been the left's agenda forever.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #906 on: March 24, 2011, 08:57:41 PM »

"However I just don't know that Iraq 2 will benefit this country in the long run.  I guess no one can know at this time."

1) My point is not that how it turned out was/is a good thing, but that it would have/could have been a good thing but for progressive perfidy; and

2) Thought exercise:  What would things look like now if we had NOT gone in?  What would SH be up to?  Would our troops still be in Saudi Arabia?  Where would Kadaffy be with his nuke program? etc etc etc



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DougMacG
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« Reply #907 on: March 24, 2011, 11:56:57 PM »

Iraq 2 - 'What would things look like now if we had NOT gone in?'

a) Iraq Study Group: part of saying no imminent threat was that Saddam was 5-7 years away (like that is a long time) from nuclear weapons - in 2002 - meaning not until 2007-2009 - 2-4 years ago.  Time flies.  Without Iraq 2, the best info says he would easily be emboldened by now with nuclear weapons.

b) We didn't find WMD stockpiles, but we know he produced and used them previously. ISG said he hid or destroyed them but retained the ability and inclination to re-start.  Pretty likely he would have stockpiles of Chemical and biological WMD again by now, along with nuclear, if not for Iraq 2.

c) ISG said no "collaborative operational relationship" with al Qaida, a straw argument, no one said they were best friends or daily work partners.  Saddam's ties to terror were plenty, 25k checks to families of suicide bombers - that was true,  Harbored other terrorists cf. Abu Nidal, Iraqi passports used in WTC bombing the first time, shared a common enemies - Israel and USA, and Saddam's state newspaper named bin Laden's  targets of 9/11 two months prior - in flowery but prescient, unmistakable terms.  This was entered into the congressional record by Sen. Fritz Hollings D-SC one year after 9/11.  Iraq did not commit 9/11 but Saddam's ties to terror were plenty.

d)http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704050204576218513055705494.html  Iraq Unveils Ambitious Plan to Boost Oil Output‎ - Wall Street Journal - MARCH 23, 2011 - about the only good news in the world today.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #908 on: March 31, 2011, 11:53:20 AM »

Though I have some qualms with it, an interesting paradigm is described in this book review:

Derek Leebaert’s Magic and Mayhem
from The Beacon by Robert Higgs
Derek Leebaert is an interesting and unusual man who combines active involvement in the world of business and government with an intellectual bent and a wide-ranging mind. He describes himself as a management consultant, currently a partner in the Swiss management consulting firm MAP AG. The holder of a D.Phil. degree from Oxford University, he spent seven years as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard’s Center for Science and International Affairs, where he became the founding editor of the journal International Security. Since 1996, he has taught foreign affairs at Georgetown University while continuing his consulting activities.

Of Leebaert’s books, several deal with information technology and several with foreign and defense policies and events. In 2002, his book The Fifty-Year Wound: How America’s Cold War Victory Shapes Our World (Boston: Little, Brown) was published. This 700-page tome is, if not the best comprehensive history of the Cold War, certainly one of the better ones. Packed with carefully documented information, it is critical of U.S. policies and actions in many respects, yet it remains well within the bounds of respectable scholarship in establishment circles, as does everything Leebaert writes. He is not a radical.

His most recent book, Magic and Mayhem: The Delusions of American Foreign Policy from Korea to Afghanistan (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2010), is a less meaty, but even more critical book. By saying that it is less meaty, I do not intend to suggest that it lacks a great deal of factual evidence or careful documentation, but that it jumps about more, relying more on anecdotes and portraits of key actors, and less on a sustained analytical narrative. Nevertheless, it is a worthwhile book, especially for those who retain their faith that U.S. foreign and defense policymakers actually want to serve the general public interest better, if only they knew how to do so―a view I do not share.

Leebaert focuses on several dimensions of what he calls the foreign policy makers’ reliance on “magic”―a collection of assumptions and convictions about what the United States government can and should do in its dealings with the rest of the world. He calls it magic, he explains on page 1, because “shrewd, levelheaded people are so frequently bewitched into substituting passion, sloganeering, and haste for reflection, homework, and reasonable objectives.” As Leebaert illustrates with a great variety of cases, decision makers forgo careful study, detailed, factual evaluation, and judicious evaluation of alternatives (including the alternative of doing nothing) and instead opt for plunging almost blindly into efforts that almost any serious, informed thinker could have told them were doomed to fail. They are supremely self-confident, notwithstanding their all-too-frequent lack of any real basis for such confidence.

Such decision making almost always represents the work of what Leebaert calls “emergency men”―”the clever, energetic, self-assured, well-schooled people who take advantage of the opportunities intrinsic to the American political system to trifle with enormous risk” (p. 5). “Many people,” he notes, “are ready to play with dynamite” (p. 38). Emergency men may be found in the upper reaches of the government hierarchy―examples include such heavyweights as McGeorge Bundy, John F. Kennedy, Henry Kissinger, and Paul Wolfowitz―but they are also represented by a large number of political appointees at slightly lower levels and by many advisers and consultants, including putative experts on leave from academia or think tanks. All of these people may be distinguished from the officials who occupy permanent places in the bureaucracy in the State Department, the Defense Department, the armed forces, and the CIA. Such long-term functionaries receive relatively generous treatment in Leebaert’s assessment, being credited with greater knowledge of what they are doing and less eagerness to take the next big plunge.

Emergency men do not sit idly by, waiting for an emergency to arise. They look for one, and should they fail to find one, they may try to create one or the impression of one. Thus, Richard Nixon noted that Kissinger “would be ready to spark a crisis over Ecuador did Vietnam not exist” (p. 126). This search is scarcely a modest contribution to the promotion of national security. As Leebaert writes, “[T]he same policy expert who detects a ‘crisis’ will make darn sure that he or she is part of the effort to solve it.  … Emergency men identify a calamity … then sound the tocsin, offer quick verdicts, and jump forth with action-oriented remedies” (p. 126).

To make matters worse, “emergency men, so often synonymous with war hawks, tend to prevail in policy arguments.” They exploit the “‘action bias’ in decision making. Individuals feel compelled to ‘do something,’ anything, when confronting a challenge,” even though “leaving a ‘crisis’ alone can be a better means of handling a problem” (p. 159). All serious students of history are familiar with this pattern. It is the story, for example, of Theodore Roosevelt’s rise to power and of nearly everything Franklin D. Roosevelt and his lieutenants did during the early New Deal. Rare is the government official who goes down in history as a great man because he had the mature judgment and sage willingness to recognize that “doing something” would only make matters worse. Until recently, for example, hardly anyone had credited Warren G. Harding’s hands-off approach to the depression of 1920-21 for helping to bring about a quick, full recovery from this sharp contraction.

Emergency men tend to make a hash of matters for a variety of reasons, and Leebaert devotes the heart of his book to an elaboration of a half dozen chronic problems along these lines. He identifies these categories in the introduction:

A sensation of urgency and of “crisis” that accompanies the belief that most [sic] any resolute action is superior to restraint … joined by the emergency man’s eagerness to be his country’s revealer of dangers, real and imaginary.
The faith that American-style business management … can fix any global problem given enough time, resources, and appropriately “can-do,” businesslike zeal.
A distinctively American desire to fall in behind celebrities, stars, and peddlers of some newly distilled expertise who, in foreign affairs especially, seem to glow with wizardry.
An expectation of wondrous returns on investment, even when this is based on intellectual shortcuts.
Conjuring powerful, but simplified images from the depths of “history” to rationalize huge and amorphously expanding objectives.
The repeated belief that America can shape the destiny of other countries overnight and that the hearts and minds of distant people are throbbing to be transformed into something akin to the way we see ourselves. (pp. 7-8)
 Leebaert finds the origin of this syndrome in the U.S. response to the Korean crisis of the early 1950s, “the moment when magical thinking began regularly to insinuate itself with decisions of ‘national security’” (p. 28). As I have suggested, however, such modes of thought in policy making surely have earlier roots, although perhaps only from Korea onward were they so deeply embedded in defense and foreign policy making, as opposed to domestic policy making. Any activist U.S. government will probably tend toward this sort of “magical” syndrome because of its affinities with important strains in American politics and culture.

Leebaert’s book contains a number of finely etched cameos of emergency men such as Bundy, Robert McNamara, Kissinger, Douglas Feith, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle, and Paul Wolfowitz. For the latter five―prime examples of the neocon emergency men who played leading roles in bringing about the disastrous Iraq war and the subsequent ill-fated U.S. occupation―Leebaert has scarcely a kind word. He subjects to scathing criticism even Cheney and Rumsfeld, the two who at one time seemed to have had genuine talents and accomplishments. Given that Leebaert seems to be fairly evenhanded―indeed, almost uninterested―in regard to ideology and political party affiliation, his disdain for the neocons is especially striking. In his view, their chief shortcoming was not their ideology as such, but the fact that with their less-than-half-baked ideas about cakewalk victories, Iraqi oil paying for the war, and democratic dominoes falling across the Middle East, among other things, they were simply disconnected from reality.

In view of the stupidity that goes into so many U.S. defense and foreign policies, Leebaert considers why the smart, well-educated people in decision making circles who see through the stupidity do so little to object to or obstruct the disastrous policies as they are being formulated. Part of the answer has already been given: Emergency men who are eager to “do something” tend to carry the day by dismissing those who prefer to go slower as obstructionists, defeatists, and saboteurs. Being on the receiving end of such internecine attacks does not generally promote one’s career. Of course, political leaders tend to surround themselves with cowardly yes men in the first place, so keeping one’s negative views to oneself often seems the obvious thing for such flunkies to do. Moreover, people who take a longer view of their careers must take care not to become known as a troublemaker, a pessimist, or a foot-dragger.  One needs to remain a player.

To be a player entails consulting off and on for government, maybe getting confirmed by the Senate for a job or a sinecure on a presidential commission, participating on panels at the Council on Foreign Relations along with grandees from previous administrations, identifying yourself as an “owl” rather than as a hawk or a dove, and writing books that with any luck can get blurbed by Dr. Kissinger. This opulently carved door opens but narrowly, if at all; it can close completely on those who ask awkward questions or bring up troublesome facts.

In short, go along to get along, even if going along means keeping silent or voicing agreement when the emergency men are barking for precipitous, ill-considered, and potentially disastrous policies and actions.

Besides, if things do go wrong, one can always deflect the blame onto others. After the catastrophe of the U.S. war and subsequent occupation in Iraq, for example, all of the leading neocon warmongers have had the gall to publicly blame those who, they allege, poorly implemented the policies they formulated, while continuing to find nothing wrong with the policies themselves. Political actors rarely admit to having made mistakes in any event, but this blatantly twisted, self-serving interpretation leaves one aghast.

I wonder, however, whether Leebaert himself, notwithstanding all of his astute critical observations about policies and policy makers, also might have fallen victim to the temptation to express himself in a way that allows him to remain a player. As I noted at the beginning of this review, he is clearly a man of some consequence in the establishment. He has all of the right credentials, experience, and connections. His footnotes sometimes document a point as something a general, a diplomat, or another significant decision maker told him in person. Although he levels criticism at some people and some policies, he readily supports others, such as the first Gulf War and the U.S. war on Serbia, that in some eyes (including mine) seem to exemplify all of the foolishness he finds so obvious in other foreign engagements. Had his book ventured beyond the bounds of polite foreign-policy debate, it would not have received, as it has, dust-jacket endorsements by a former secretary of the U.S. Navy, a former vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army, and a former secretary of the U.S. Air Force and member of the Defense Science Board.

Leebaert’s approach to criticizing U.S. defense and foreign policies bears an interesting similarity to the criticisms Ludwig von Mises and F. A. Hayek leveled against socialism. These famous Austrian economists never criticized the socialists as bad people or as people who sought to act in a way that would harm the general public. They invariably gave their socialist ideological opponents the benefit of the doubt with regard to their good intentions. Although this approach has a certain theoretical justification in the development of economic theory, it flies in the face of historical reality. Many leading socialists, especially but by no means exclusively in the USSR, were little short of fiendish. It strains credulity to suppose that they were simply misguided men of good will.

Likewise, much of what seems merely foolish to Leebaert strikes me as the result, not of faulty thinking about policies and their likely consequences, but of the desire for political power and personal aggrandizement and of ideological and political motives that will not bear scrutiny. About such possibilities Leebaert has little―shockingly little, really―to say. In his view, it appears that the emergency men have been good men who allowed themselves to be seduced by “magical” thinking, when they should have gone about their business in a more rational, deliberate, and evidence-based manner. He therefore thinks that a book such as his might well serve to educate policy makers, leading them to abandon magic and to adopt a sounder approach to making their decisions. In this regard, I believe he has slipped into wishful thinking as much as did many of the foreign policy makers he so aptly criticizes.

Whenever we try to understand why policy makers act as they do, we must answer the question: Are they fools or charlatans? Leebaert concludes, in effect, that in the defense and foreign policy realm, they are often fools. I am inclined to the conclusion that they are both. Indeed, they are even worse: all too often, they are fools, bunglers, charlatans, liars, and murderers. Such persons’ playing with dynamite poses a grave danger to the rest of us. By now, we ought to have seen through them and their schemes a great deal more clearly than most of us have.

UPDATE: I have just discovered that my friend Jim Bovard also reviewed Leebaert’s book. His review appears in the March issue of The American Conservative. I recommend it highly. http://www.amconmag.com/blog/worst-and-brightest/ .

http://www.independent.org/blog/index.php?p=9564
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #909 on: April 02, 2011, 10:02:50 AM »

The Morality of Political Ignorance
Ilya Somin • April 2, 2011 3:08 am

Whenever we have an election, pundits and politicians wax eloquent about the supposed need to increase voter turnout. Much less attention is paid to the question of whether the people going to the polls actually understand the issues they’re voting on.

In conjunction with the upcoming Canadian election, political philosopher Jason Brennan, author of the excellent new book The Ethics of Voting, takes aim at this oversight:

Before Canadians head once again to the polls, they should do their homework. This election is an opportunity to make Canada even better, but it’s also a chance to make it worse. Bad decisions at the polls can lead to increased poverty, a stagnant economy, lost opportunities, worse pollution or unjust wars....

Casting an informed vote is hard. Knowing what the problems are is not enough, because the solutions to Canada’s problems are not obvious. Reading parties’ platforms is not enough. Knowing what policies the different political parties favour is not enough, because a voter needs to know which policies have any real shot of working. The Conservatives, Liberals, New Democrats, Greens and others each want Canada to be healthier, happier and stronger. They’re like doctors each offering different prescriptions to cure Canada’s illnesses. Some of these prescriptions will work, some will have no effect and some will make Canada sicker. Voters need to learn how to evaluate these prescriptions....

Voting is not like choosing food from a menu. If a citizen makes a bad choice about what to eat in a restaurant, she alone bears the costs of her decision. But if she makes a bad choice at the polls, she imposes the costs on everyone. Voters are not just choosing for themselves, but for all. If a restaurant offers bad food, diners can walk away or get their money back. This is not the case with public policy. Political decisions are imposed on all and enforced by law. Fellow citizens can’t just walk away from a menu full of bad policies.

Voters face some choices. They can form their beliefs about politics in a self-indulgent way. They can ignore evidence and form policy preferences based on what they find emotionally appealing. They can treat voting as a form of self-expression and ignore what damage they do. Or they can be good citizens. They can form their policy preferences by studying social scientific evidence about how institutions and policies work, and by using reliable methods of reasoning to study the issues. They can work to overcome their personal and ideological biases and choose in a smart, thoughtful way.


Unfortunately, extensive evidence shows that most voters both know very little about public policy and do a poor job of evaluating the political information they do know. Elsewhere, I have argued that such ignorance and bias is actually rational. There is only an infinitesmal chance that any one vote will be decisive. So individual voters have strong incentives to remain ignorant. But not every form of rational behavior is morally defensible. Sometimes, rational individual behavior leads to terrible collective outcomes. Consider the case of air pollution, where individuals might rationally choose not to limit their emission of dangerous pollutants because any one person’s behavior has only a tiny effect on overall air quality in the area. Widespread voter ignorance is a kind of pollution of the political system.

As Brennan notes, many people resist the idea that voters have a duty to become informed because they consider voting to be an individual right that the voter can use however he wants. But voting is not simply an individual choice. As John Stuart Mill emphasized 150 years ago, it is the the exercise of “power over others”:

The spirit of vote by ballot– the interpretation likely to be put on it in the mind of an elector– is that the suffrage is given to him for himself; for his particular use and benefit, and not as a trust for the public. . .

Now this one idea, taking root in the general mind, does a moral mischief outweighing all the good that the ballot could do, at the highest possible estimate of it. In whatever way we define or understand the idea of a right, no person can have a right (except in the purely legal sense) to power over others: every such power, which he is allowed to possess, is morally, in the fullest force of the term, a trust. But the exercise of any political function, either as an elector or as a representative, is power over others.

Like Brennan, I don’t believe that citizens have a duty to vote. Staying home on election day isn’t morally wrong. But if you do choose to go to the polls, you have a moral obligation to your fellow citizens to exercise the power of the ballot responsibility. And that means trying to become a better-informed voter and making a real effort to evaluate the information you learn in an unbiased way.

http://volokh.com/2011/04/02/the-morality-of-voting/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #910 on: April 06, 2011, 01:38:00 PM »

"The protests in Afghanistan about the burning of the Koran in Florida ... are [continuing]. Never mind that nobody even knew about the burning of the Koran -- it happened more than two weeks ago -- until these devout Muslims brought it up. And never mind that the Koran gets burned all the time when Muslims blow each other up in their mosques. And never mind that the U.S. burned Bibles in Afghanistan back in 2009. Do you remember that? ... The U.S. burned Bibles in Afghanistan in 2009 so as not to offend the locals." --radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh

"The pathetically weak responses from within mainstream, i.e., liberal, Christianity and Judaism have only added to the contempt for the Almighty and religion sown by beheadings and suicide bombings in Allah's name. The liberal Christian and Jewish responses have been to attack fellow Christians and Jews who have focused on Islamist terror. Instead of drawing attention to the damage radical Islam does to the name of the Almighty, liberal Christians and Jews focus their anger on co-religionists who do speak out on this issue and label them 'Islamophobes.' That the Almighty is not doing well in the Western world may trouble the Almighty. But it is we humans who should be most troubled. The moral, intellectual, artistic and demographic decline in Western Europe ... is only gaining momentum. And the consequences of that decline will be far more devastating than all the tsunamis and all the earthquakes that may come our way." --columnist Dennis Prager

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ccp
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« Reply #911 on: April 06, 2011, 02:07:15 PM »

As pointed out by another radio host:

Burning the US flag in the US is freedom of speech.

Burning the Koran is moral outrage.

Just ask the MSM, soloDAD, and the rest of the crew.
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G M
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« Reply #912 on: April 06, 2011, 02:36:06 PM »

What if a koran was wrapped in a US flag before being burned? Would it be free speech then?
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #913 on: April 13, 2011, 12:30:17 PM »

Who's the Extremist?
Why are liberals demonizing Paul Ryan's budget plan?

David Harsanyi | April 13, 2011

All of you yahoos who support Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plans aren't just misguided anymore; you're nihilists. After all, if $38 billion in illusionary cuts to the federal budget—1 percent, or less than the amount the national debt grew while everyone was gabbing about cutting 1 percent—is, as the esteemed Sen. Chuck Schumer explained, "extremism," we're going to have to ratchet up the hyperbole.

Rep. Ed Markey, member of the large political party that never resorts to boorish demonizing, recently explained at a progressive shindig that fiscal conservatives have a desire to "destroy the whole wide world." (Yikes!) And when you believe morality springs from the wisdom of technocrats and Washington spurs prosperity and taxpayers have an ethical obligation to pay for the abortions and highbrow radio networks of their more enlightened neighbors, it probably seems as if the whole wide world is crashing around you. The rest of us can only dream.

Markey went on to claim that Republicans wanted to "shut down the Internet" when they had voted to strip censors at the Federal Communications Commission of the power to regulate the Internet. Conservatives wanted to padlock the Web by keeping it open? As devious plots go, this one is as counterintuitive as it is dastardly. No, the Web has never been regulated, and it seems—to the untrained eye, at least—to function more efficiently and freely than any industry overseen by a three-letter acronym. But that's probably the problem.

The irascible Markey, author of the cap-and-trade regulatory scheme, also groused about Republicans (he must have forgotten to mention the Democrats) who are attempting to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its power to regulate carbon dioxide—or, in other words, everything. Asserting that this is a tad too much authority for unelected bureaucrats to have is—and I'm loosely paraphrasing here—analogous to repeatedly shivving Mother Earth in the back, according to Markey. Democracy, you see, is vital in free society except when the issue is too vital for democracy.

And so it goes. The Democratic mayor of Washington, Vincent Gray, called on citizens to "fight back against oppression." What oppression, you ask? Riders to the 2011 federal budget would end taxpayer funding for abortions and allow a handful of poor kids in D.C. to once again escape public schools. (Talk about fighting oppression.) Choice, as you know, is tyranny. Sometimes.

When Ryan released his long-term budget plan, aimed to bring spending and revenue into equilibrium in a quarter-century, the thoughtful rhetoric continued. The always rational New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who's already spent your great-grandkids' 401(k) accounts in his columns, called Ryan's plan "extreme," "unprofessional," "nonsensical" "crude nonsense," and accused the author of "haplessness" in one brief blog post.

Others claimed it was a "war on the poor" or, alternatively, a "war on the weak," because to the left, subsidizing the health care of the elderly and poor through the private delivery systems we use, rather than a plodding government system they want us to use, is the moral equivalent of rolling tanks into Grandma Edna's nursing home.

Forget cuts. We just need to tax more. It's patriotic, noted former Secretary of Labor, professor, political commentator but nonexpert on American history Robert Reich. And if you complain about taxes, interim Democratic National Chairwoman Donna Brazile will tell you it's driven by racism—which makes complete sense when you're plum out of rational arguments.

These are the allegedly reasonable, the self-styled moderates and the grown-ups. And that should make any "extremist" proud.

David Harsanyi is a columnist at The Blaze. Follow him on Twitter at davidharsanyi.

http://reason.com/archives/2011/04/13/whos-the-extremist
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #914 on: April 14, 2011, 11:51:05 AM »

American Patriot Defined
This Patriots' Day, the 236th Anniversary of the Opening Salvo for American Liberty, The Spirit of Their Sacred Honor Endures
"Citizens by birth or choice of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations." --George Washington
A young reader in the Czech Republic contacted me recently with a question. (Yes, The Patriot Post's message of Liberty is global.)

She wrote, "We as a Czech family subscribe to The Patriot Post and read it with great interest. My homeland has been subject to the tyranny of Nationalist and Marxist Socialism. Could you please help me understand the difference between 'patriotism' and 'nationalism'? In Europe, anyone who puts his country first is called a nationalist and this pejorative term is equated with patriotism."

I responded, "Nationalism refers to a blind allegiance to the state, no matter what the nature of the state may be. American Patriotism refers to the steadfast devotion to the fundamental principles of our nation's Founding, individual Liberty as 'endowed by our Creator,' and the extension of that legacy to our posterity. American Patriotic devotion to Liberty will always be in contest with allegiance to the state or its sovereigns, especially when it manifests in some form of Socialism."

It is easy to understand how a Czech student might find it challenging to distinguish between patriotism and nationalism. Sadly most American students, heirs to the great legacy of Liberty bestowed upon them by generations of Patriots gone before, also can't articulate the difference.

In the early morning hours of the first Patriots' Day, April 19th, 1775, farmers and laborers, landowners and statesmen alike, pledged through action what Thomas Jefferson would later frame in words as "our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor." Thus began the great campaign to reject the predictable albeit tyrannical order of the state and to embrace the difficult toils of securing individual Liberty. It was this as-yet unwritten pledge by militiamen in the Battles of Lexington and Concord, which would delineate the distinction between Liberty and tyranny in Colonial America.

Why would the first generation of American Patriots forgo, in the inimitable words of Samuel Adams, "the tranquility of servitude" for "the animating contest of freedom"?

The answer to that question defined the spirit of American Patriotism at the dawn of the American Revolution, and to this day and for eternity, that spirit will serve as the first line of defense between Liberty and tyranny.

In the first months of the American Revolution, English author and lexicographer Samuel Johnson, a Tory loyalist, wrote that American Patriots' quest for liberty was nothing more than "the delirious dream of republican fanaticism" which would "put the axe to the roots of all government." Johnson concluded famously, "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."

Unlike King George's partisans, however, American Patriots were unwaveringly loyal to something much larger than a mere man or geo-political institution. They pledged their sacred honor in support of Essential Liberty as "endowed by our Creator" and enshrined in our Declaration of Independence and its subordinate guidance, our Constitution.

It is this resolute devotion to the natural rights of man, the higher order of Liberty as endowed by God not government, which defines the spirit of American Patriots, and has obliged the animated contest of freedom from Lexington Green to this day.

In all the generations since the Revolution, and loudly again in the present era, the essence of Johnson's denigration of patriotism has been repeated by all statists, who augment their disdain for Patriots with words like "fascist, nationalist and jingoist."

These statists, Democratic Socialists in the current vernacular, would have you believe that they are the "true patriots," and only they deserve to be the arbiters of Liberty. But caveat emptor: As George Washington implored in his Farewell Address, "Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism."

Liberty, as affirmed through natural law, is an abject affront to Socialists, who can claim dominion over others only if they supplant Rule of Law with their own rule. For such statists, the notion of serving a higher purpose than oneself is enigmatic; consequently, there is a raging ideological battle between Democratic Socialists and Patriots across our nation today.

Our steadfast support for Liberty and limited government is diametrically opposed to the Socialist manifesto of the Democrat Party, as reframed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933, and renewed by every Democrat president since.

Regardless of how statists choose to promote Democratic Socialism, like Nationalist Socialism, it is nothing more than Marxist Socialism repackaged. Ultimately, it likewise seeks a centrally planned economy directed by a single-party state that controls economic production through regulation and income redistribution.

Mustering in response to the current threat of tyranny, the Tea Party movement is the latest incarnation in the lineage of American Patriots serving a cause much greater than our own self-interest. It is a direct ideological descendant of the Sons of Liberty who, in 1773, boarded three East India Company ships and threw 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor, the first Tea Party.

According to the Democratic Socialists of Barack Obama's ilk, the Tea Party rank and file are an "angry mob" who are "waving their little tea bags" while they "bitterly cling to guns and religion." Indeed, the spirit of American Patriots is anathema to these statists.

In fact, today's Patriots are much like those of previous generations.

We are mothers, fathers and other family members nurturing the next generation of young Patriots. We are farmers, craftsmen, tradesmen and industrial producers. We are small business owners, service providers and professionals in medicine and law. We are employees and employers. We are in ministry at home and missionaries abroad. We are students and professors at colleges and universities, often standing alone for what is good and right.

We are Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and public servants standing in harm's way at home and around the world, who are loyal, first and foremost, to our revered oath to "support and defend" our Constitution.

We are consumers and taxpayers. We are voters.

We are not defined by race, creed, ethnicity, religion, wealth, education or political affiliation, but by our devotion to our Creator, and the Liberty He entrusted to us, one and all.

We are Patriot sons and daughters from all walks of life, heirs to the blessings of Liberty bequeathed to us at great personal cost by our Patriot forebears, confirmed in the opinion that it is our duty to God and Country to extend that blessing to our posterity, and avowed upon our sacred honor to that end. We are vigilant, strong, prepared and faithful.

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« Reply #915 on: April 15, 2011, 02:54:27 PM »

Again.  No answer about where is the birth certificate.  No answer as to why he is suppressing it.  He is obviously covering up something.  Some think it specifies he was born a Muslim.  Personally if that is the issue then I don't see the big deal at this point.  Even Chris Matthews, "why not just show it"?

***Obama jokes about 'birther' controversy egged on by Trump and Palin

Arizona Legislature gives final approval to controversial 'birther bill'

While campaigning in Chicago yesterday President Obama startled audiences when he cracked wise about the ‘birther’ controversy, finally addressing the issue that is again sweeping across the media.

The President jabbed at claims made by celebrities and conservatives, making a joke of their challenges to where he was actually born.

‘Birthers,’ such as potential 2012 GOP candidates Sarah Palin and Donald Trump, have publicly questioned whether Obama was born in Hawaii or in Kenya.
 Hometown hero: Obama wore a Chicago Bulls cap at a fundraising kickoff event for the Democratic National Convention and his 2012 re-election campaign at Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois
‘I wasn't born here,’ Mr Obama said, before the crowd of 2300 that quickly fell into a pregnant pause.

‘Just want to be clear, I was born in Hawaii.’
 More...Now it IS regime change: Cameron, Obama and Sarkozy promise to keep bombing Libya until Gaddafi is gone
In her father's footsteps: Gaddafi's daughter Aisha whips crowds into a frenzy as she calls on West to 'leave our skies'
Horror of the bakery queue: Women and children among 16 killed in rocket blitz by Gaddafi's troops

His joke came as the Arizona legislature approved a final proposal requiring presidential candidates to prove they are U.S. citizens before their names can appear on the state's ballot.

It would become the first state to require such proof if Governor Jan Brewer signs the measure into law.
  Chi-town: Obama talked up his old friend and colleague Rahm Emanuel at the Chicago event while the crowd went wild for their home town hero

Speaking with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos yesterday, Obama surprised again by at last directly addressing the issue that he has brushed off in the past.

‘Most people feel pretty confident the President was born where he says he was, in Hawaii. He doesn’t have horns ... we’re not really worrying about conspiracy theories or birth certificates,’ he said.***
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #916 on: April 22, 2011, 07:59:35 AM »



I want to talk a little more this holiday week about what I suppose is a growing theme in this column, and that is an increased skepticism toward U.S. military intervention, including nation building. Our republic is not now in a historical adventure period—that is not what is needed. We are or should be in a self-strengthening one. Our focus should not be on outward involvement but inner repair. Bad people are gunning for us, it is true. We should find them, dispatch them, and harden the target. (That would be, still and first, New York, though Washington too.) We should not occupy their lands, run their governments, or try to bribe them into bonhomie. We think in Afghanistan we're buying their love, but I have been there. We're not even renting it.

Our long wars have cost much in blood and treasure, and our military is overstretched. We're asking soldiers to be social workers, as Bing West notes in his book on Afghanistan, "The Wrong War."

I saw it last month, when we met with a tough American general. How is the war going? we asked. "Great," he said. "We just opened a new hospital!" This was perhaps different from what George Patton would have said. He was allowed to be a warrior in a warrior army. His answer would have been more like, "Great, we're putting more of them in the hospital!"

But there are other reasons for a new skepticism about America's just role and responsibilities in the world in 2011. One has to do with the burly, muscular, traditional but at this point not fully thought-through American assumption that our culture not only is superior to most, but is certainly better in all ways than the cultures of those we seek to conquer. We have always felt pride in our nation's ways, and pride isn't all bad. But conceit is, and it's possible we've grown as conceited as we've become culturally careless.

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.We are modern, they are not. We allow women freedom, they do not. We have the rule of law, they do not. We are technologically sophisticated, they are the Flintstones. We have religious tolerance. All these are sources of legitimate satisfaction and pride, especially the last. Our religious pluralism is, still, amazing.

I lately think of Charleston, S.C., that beautiful old-fashioned, new- fashioned city. On a walk there in October I went by one of the oldest Catholic churches in the South, St. Mary's, built in 1789. Across the street, equally distinguished and welcoming, was Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, a Jewish congregation founded in 1749. They've been across from each other peacefully and happily for a long time. I walked down Meeting Street to see the Hibernian Society, founded in 1801. My people wanted their presence known. In a brochure I saw how the society dealt with Ireland's old Catholic-Protestant split. They picked a Protestant president one year, a Catholic the next, and so on. In Ireland they were killing each other. In America they were trading gavels. What a country! What a place. What a new world.

We have much to be proud of. And we know it. But take a look around us. Don't we have some reasons for pause, for self-questioning? Don't we have a lot of cultural repair that needs doing?

***
Imagine for a moment that you are a foreign visitor to America. You are a 40-year-old businessman from Afghanistan. You teach a class at Kabul University. You are relatively sophisticated. You're in pursuit of a business deal. It's your first time here. There is an America in your mind; it was formed in your childhood by old John Ford movies and involves cowboy hats and gangsters in fedoras. You know this no longer applies—you're not a fool—but you're not sure what does. You land at JFK, walking past a TSA installation where they're patting the genital areas of various travelers. Americans sure have a funny way of saying hello!

You get to town, settle into a modest room at the Hilton on Sixth Avenue. You're jet-lagged. You put on the TV, not only because you're tired but because some part of you knows TV is where America happens, where America is, and you want to see it. Headline news first. The world didn't blow up today. Then:

Click. A person named Snooki totters down a boardwalk. She lives with young people who grunt and dance. They seem loud, profane, without values, without modesty, without kindness or sympathy. They seem proud to see each other as sexual objects.

Click. "Real Housewives." Adult women are pulling each other's hair. They are glamorous in a hard way, a plastic way. They insult each other.

Click. Local news has a riot in a McDonalds. People kick and punch each other. Click. A cable news story on a child left alone for a week. Click. A 5-year-old brings a gun to school, injures three. Click. A show called "Skins"—is this child pornography? Click. A Viagra commercial. Click. A man tried to blow up a mall. Click. Another Viagra commercial. Click. This appears to be set in ancient Sparta. It appears to involve an orgy.

More Peggy Noonan
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.You, the Kabul businessman, expected some raunch and strangeness but not this—this Victoria Falls of dirty water! You are not a philosopher of media, but you know that when a culture descends to the lowest common denominator, it does not reach the broad base at the bottom, it lowers the broad base at the bottom. This "Jersey Shore" doesn't reach the Jersey Shore, it creates the Jersey Shore. It makes America the Jersey Shore.

You surf on, hoping for a cleansing wave of old gangster movies. Or cowboys. Anything old! But you don't find TMC. You look at a local paper. Headline: New York has a 41% abortion rate. Forty-four percent of births are to unmarried women and girls.

You think: Something's wrong in this place, something has become disordered.

The next morning you take Amtrak for your first meeting, in Washington. You pass through the utilitarian ugliness, the abjuration of all elegance that is Penn Station. On the trip south, past Philadelphia, you see the physical deterioration that echoes what you saw on the TV—broken neighborhoods, abandoned factories with shattered windows, graffiti-covered abutments. It looks like old films of the Depression!

By the time you reach Washington—at least Union Station is august and beautiful—you are amazed to find yourself thinking: "Good thing America is coming to save us. But it's funny she doesn't want to save herself!"

***
My small point: Remember during the riots of the 1960s when they said "the whole world is watching"? Well, now the whole world really is. Everyone is traveling everywhere. We're all on the move. Cultures can't keep their secrets.

The whole world is in the Hilton, channel-surfing. The whole world is on the train, in the airport, judging what it sees, and likely, in some serious ways, finding us wanting.

And, being human, they may be judging us with a small, extra edge of harshness for judging them and looking down on them.

We have work to do at home, on our culture and in our country. A beautiful Easter to St. Mary's Church of Charleston, and happy Passover to Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim.

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« Reply #917 on: April 22, 2011, 11:04:18 AM »

"We have work to do at home, on our culture and in our country. A beautiful Easter to St. Mary's Church of Charleston, and happy Passover to Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim."

This whole article was a great summary of what I think a lot of Americans believe including myself.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2011, 11:14:53 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #918 on: April 24, 2011, 12:34:20 PM »


CULTURE
When the King Saved God
An unbeliever argues that our language and culture are incomplete without a 400-year-old book—the King James translation of the Bible. Spurned by the Establishment, it really represents a triumph for rebellion and dissent. Accept no substitutes!
BY CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS
MAY 2011
BIBLICAL PROPORTION The title page of the New Testament in the first edition of the King James Bible, published by Robert Barker (“Printer to the King’s most Excellent Maiestie”) in 1611.

After she was elected the first female governor of Texas, in 1924, and got herself promptly embroiled in an argument about whether Spanish should be used in Lone Star schools, it is possible that Miriam A. “Ma” Ferguson did not say, “If the King’s English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it’s good enough for the children of Texas.” I still rather hope that she did. But then, verification of quotations and sources is a tricky and sensitive thing. Abraham Lincoln lay dying in a room full of educated and literate men, in the age of the wireless telegraph, and not far from the offices of several newspapers, and we still do not know for sure, at the moment when his great pulse ceased to beat, whether his secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, said, “Now he belongs to the ages” or “Now he belongs to the angels.”

Such questions of authenticity become even more fraught when they involve the word itself becoming flesh; the fulfillment of prophecy; the witnessing of miracles; the detection of the finger of God. Guesswork and approximation will not do: the resurrection cannot be half true or questionably attested. For the first 1,500 years of the Christian epoch, this problem of “authority,” in both senses of that term, was solved by having the divine mandate wrapped up in languages that the majority of the congregation could not understand, and by having it presented to them by a special caste or class who alone possessed the mystery of celestial decoding.


Four hundred years ago, just as William Shakespeare was reaching the height of his powers and showing the new scope and variety of the English language, and just as “England” itself was becoming more of a nation-state and less an offshore dependency of Europe, an extraordinary committee of clergymen and scholars completed the task of rendering the Old and New Testaments into English, and claimed that the result was the “Authorized” or “King James” version. This was a fairly conservative attempt to stabilize the Crown and the kingdom, heal the breach between competing English and Scottish Christian sects, and bind the majesty of the King to his devout people. “The powers that be,” it had Saint Paul saying in his Epistle to the Romans, “are ordained of God.” This and other phrasings, not all of them so authoritarian and conformist, continue to echo in our language: “When I was a child, I spake as a child”; “Eat, drink, and be merry”; “From strength to strength”; “Grind the faces of the poor”; “salt of the earth”; “Our Father, which art in heaven.” It’s near impossible to imagine our idiom and vernacular, let alone our liturgy, without them. Not many committees in history have come up with such crystalline prose.

King James I, who brought the throne of Scotland along with him, was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and knew that his predecessor, Queen Elizabeth I, had been his mother’s executioner. In Scotland, he had had to contend with extreme Puritans who were suspicious of monarchy and hated all Catholics. In England, he was faced with worldly bishops who were hostile to Puritans and jealous of their own privileges. Optimism, prosperity, and culture struck one note—Henry Hudson was setting off to the Northwest Passage, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theater was drawing thoughtful crowds to see those dramas of power and legitimacy Othello, King Lear, and The Tempest—but terror and insecurity kept pace. Guy Fawkes and his fellow plotters, believed to be in league with the Pope, nearly succeeded in blowing up Parliament in 1605. Much of London was stricken with visitations of the bubonic plague, which, as Bishop Lancelot Andrewes (head of the committee of translators) noted with unease, appeared to strike the godly quite as often as it smote the sinner. The need was for a tempered version of God’s word that engendered compromise and a sense of protection.

Bishop Andrewes and his colleagues, a mixture of clergymen and classicists, were charged with revisiting the original Hebrew and Greek editions of the Old and New Testaments, along with the fragments of Aramaic that had found their way into the text. Understanding that their task was a patriotic and “nation-building” one (and impressed by the nascent idea of English Manifest Destiny, whereby the English people had replaced the Hebrews as God’s chosen), whenever they could translate any ancient word for “people” or “tribe” as “nation,” they elected to do so. The term appears 454 times in this confident form of “the King’s English.” Meeting in Oxford and Cambridge college libraries for the most part, they often kept their notes in Latin. Their conservative and consensual project was politically short-lived: in a few years the land was to be convulsed with civil war, and the Puritan and parliamentary forces under Oliver Cromwell would sweep the head of King Charles I from his shoulders. But the translators’ legacy remains, and it is paradoxically a revolutionary one, as well as a giant step in the maturing of English literature.

Imagining the most extreme form of totalitarianism in his Nineteen Eighty-Four dystopia, George Orwell depicted a secret class of occult power holders (the Inner Party clustered around Big Brother) that would cement its eternal authority by recasting the entire language. In the tongue of “Newspeak,” certain concepts of liberty and conscience would be literally impossible to formulate. And only within the most restricted circles of the regime would certain heretical texts, like Emmanuel Goldstein’s manifesto, still be legible and available. I believe that Orwell, a strong admirer of the Protestant Reformation and the poetry of its hero John Milton, was using as his original allegory the long struggle of English dissenters to have the Bible made available in a language that the people could read.

Until the early middle years of the 16th century, when King Henry VIII began to quarrel with Rome about the dialectics of divorce and decapitation, a short and swift route to torture and death was the attempt to print the Bible in English. It’s a long and stirring story, and its crux is the head-to-head battle between Sir Thomas More and William Tyndale (whose name in early life, I am proud to say, was William Hychyns). Their combat fully merits the term “fundamental.” Infuriating More, Tyndale whenever possible was loyal to the Protestant spirit by correctly translating the word ecclesia to mean “the congregation” as an autonomous body, rather than “the church” as a sacrosanct institution above human law. In English churches, state-selected priests would merely incant the liturgy. Upon hearing the words “Hoc” and “corpus” (in the “For this is my body” passage), newly literate and impatient artisans in the pews would mockingly whisper, “Hocus-pocus,” finding a tough slang term for the religious obfuscation at which they were beginning to chafe. The cold and righteous More, backed by his “Big Brother” the Pope and leading an inner party of spies and inquisitors, watched the Channel ports for smugglers risking everything to import sheets produced by Tyndale, who was forced to do his translating and printing from exile. The rack and the rope were not stinted with dissenters, and eventually Tyndale himself was tracked down, strangled, and publicly burned. (Hilary Mantel’s masterpiece historical novel, Wolf Hall, tells this exciting and gruesome story in such a way as to revise the shining image of “Saint” Thomas More, the “man for all seasons,” almost out of existence. High time, in my view. The martyrdoms he inflicted upon others were more cruel and irrational than the one he sought and found for himself.)


Other translations into other languages, by Martin Luther himself, among others, slowly entered circulation. One of them, the so-called Geneva Bible, was a more Calvinist and Puritan English version than the book that King James commissioned, and was the edition which the Pilgrim Fathers, fleeing the cultural and religious war altogether, took with them to Plymouth Rock. Thus Governor Ma Ferguson was right in one respect: America was the first and only Christian society that could take an English Bible for granted, and never had to struggle for a popular translation of “the good book.” The question, rather, became that of exactly which English version was to be accepted as the correct one. After many false starts and unsatisfactory printings, back in England, the Anglican conclave in 1611 adopted William Tyndale’s beautiful rendering almost wholesale, and out of their zeal for compromise and stability ironically made a posthumous hero out of one of the greatest literary dissidents and subversives who ever lived.

Writing about his own fascination with cadence and rhythm in Notes of a Native Son, James Baldwin said, “I hazard that the King James Bible, the rhetoric of the store-front church, something ironic and violent and perpetually understated in Negro speech … have something to do with me today; but I wouldn’t stake my life on it.” As a child of the black pulpit and chronicler of the Bible’s huge role in the American oral tradition, Baldwin probably was “understating” at that very moment. And, as he very well knew, there had been times when biblical verses did involve, quite literally, the staking of one’s life. This is why the nuances and details of translation were (and still are) of such huge moment. For example, in Isaiah 7:14 it is stated that, “behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” This is the scriptural warrant and prophecy for the impregnation of the Virgin Mary by the Holy Ghost. But the original Hebrew wording refers only to the pregnancy of an almah, or young woman. If the Hebrew language wants to identify virginity, it has other terms in which to do so. The implications are not merely textual. To translate is also to interpret; or, indeed, to lay down the law. (Incidentally, the American “Revised Standard Version” of 1952 replaced the word “virgin” with “young woman.” It took the Fundamentalists until 1978 to restore the original misreading, in the now dominant “New International Version.”)

Take an even more momentous example, cited by Adam Nicolson in his very fine book on the process, God’s Secretaries. In the First Epistle to the Corinthians, Saint Paul reminds his readers of the fate that befell many backsliding pre-Christian Jews. He describes their dreadful punishments as having “happened unto them for ensamples,” which in 1611 was a plain way of conveying the word “example” or “illustrative instance,” or perhaps “lesson.” However, the original Greek term was typoi, which by contrast may be rendered as “types” or “archetypes” and suggests that Jews were to be eternally punished for their special traits. This had been Saint Augustine’s harsh reading, followed by successive Roman Catholic editions. At least one of King James’s translators wanted to impose that same collective punishment on the people of Moses, but was overruled. In the main existing text, the lenient word “ensamples” is given, with a marginal note in the original editions saying that “types” may also be meant. The English spirit of compromise at its best.

Then there are seemingly small but vital matters of emphasis, in which Tyndale did not win every round. Here is a famous verse which one might say was central to Christian teaching: “This is my Commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you. / Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” That’s the King James version, which has echoed in the heads of many churchgoers until their last hour. Here is how the verse read when first translated by Tyndale: “This is my Commandment, that you love together as I have loved you. / Greater love than this hath no man, than that a man bestow his life for his friends.”

I do not find that the “King’s English” team improved much on the lovely simplicity of what they found. Tyndale has Jesus groping rather appealingly to make a general precept or principle out of a common bond, whereas the bishops and scholars are aiming to make an iron law out of love. In doing so they suggest strenuous martyrdom (“lay down,” as if Jesus had been a sacrifice to his immediate circle only). Far more human and attractive, surely, is Tyndale’s warm “bestow,” which suggests that a life devoted to friendship is a noble thing in itself.

Tyndale, incidentally, was generally good on the love question. Take that same Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, a few chapters later. For years, I would listen to it in chapel and wonder how an insipid, neuter word like “charity” could have gained such moral prestige. The King James version enjoins us that “now abideth faith, hope and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” Tyndale had put “love” throughout, and even if your Greek is as poor as mine you will have to admit that it is a greatly superior capture of the meaning of that all-important original word agape. It was actually the frigid clerical bureaucrat Thomas More who had made this into one of the many disputations between himself and Tyndale, and in opting to accept his ruling it seems as if King James’s committee also hoped to damp down the risky, ardent spontaneity of unconditional love and replace it with an idea of stern duty. Does not the notion of compulsory love, in any form, have something grotesque and fanatical about it?

Most recent English translations have finally dropped More and the King and gone with Tyndale on this central question, but often at the cost of making “love” appear too husky and sentimental. Thus the “Good News Bible” for American churches, first published in 1966: “Love never gives up; and its faith, hope and patience never fail.” This doesn’t read at all like the outcome of a struggle to discern the essential meaning of what is perhaps our most numinous word. It more resembles a smiley-face Dale Carnegie reassurance. And, as with everything else that’s designed to be instant, modern, and “accessible,” it goes out of date (and out of time) faster than Wisconsin cheddar.

Though I am sometimes reluctant to admit it, there really is something “timeless” in the Tyndale/King James synthesis. For generations, it provided a common stock of references and allusions, rivaled only by Shakespeare in this respect. It resounded in the minds and memories of literate people, as well as of those who acquired it only by listening. From the stricken beach of Dunkirk in 1940, faced with a devil’s choice between annihilation and surrender, a British officer sent a cable back home. It contained the three words “but if not … ” All of those who received it were at once aware of what it signified. In the Book of Daniel, the Babylonian tyrant Nebuchadnezzar tells the three Jewish heretics Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that if they refuse to bow to his sacred idol they will be flung into a “burning fiery furnace.” They made him an answer: “If it be so, our god whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thy hand, o King. / But if not, be it known unto thee, o king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”

A culture that does not possess this common store of image and allegory will be a perilously thin one. To seek restlessly to update it or make it “relevant” is to miss the point, like yearning for a hip-hop Shakespeare. “Man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward,” says the Book of Job. Want to try to improve that for Twitter? And so bleak and spare and fatalistic—almost non-religious—are the closing verses of Ecclesiastes that they were read at the Church of England funeral service the unbeliever George Orwell had requested in his will: “Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home. … Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. / Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was.”

At my father’s funeral I chose to read a similarly non-sermonizing part of the New Testament, this time an injunction from Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

As much philosophical as spiritual, with its conditional and speculative “ifs” and its closing advice—always italicized in my mind since first I heard it—to think and reflect on such matters: this passage was the labor of men who had wrought deeply with ideas and concepts. I now pluck down from my shelf the American Bible Society’s “Contemporary English Version,” which I picked up at an evangelical “Promise Keepers” rally on the Mall in Washington in 1997. Claiming to be faithful to the spirit of the King James translation, it keeps its promise in this way: “Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise.”

Pancake-flat: suited perhaps to a basement meeting of A.A., these words could not hope to penetrate the torpid, resistant fog in the mind of a 16-year-old boy, as their original had done for me. There’s perhaps a slightly ingratiating obeisance to gender neutrality in the substitution of “my friends” for “brethren,” but to suggest that Saint Paul, of all people, was gender-neutral is to re-write the history as well as to rinse out the prose. When the Church of England effectively dropped King James, in the 1960s, and issued what would become the “New English Bible,” T. S. Eliot commented that the result was astonishing “in its combination of the vulgar, the trivial and the pedantic.” (Not surprising from the author of For Lancelot Andrewes.) This has been true of every other stilted, patronizing, literal-minded attempt to shift the translation’s emphasis from plangent poetry to utilitarian prose.

T. S. Eliot left America (and his annoyingly colorless Unitarian family) to seek the traditionalist roots of liturgical and literary tradition in England. Coming in the opposite direction across the broad Atlantic, the King James Bible slowly overhauled and overtook the Geneva version, and, as the Pilgrim-type mini-theocracies of New England withered away, became one of the very few books from which almost any American could quote something. Paradoxically, this made it easy to counterfeit. When Joseph Smith began to fabricate his Book of Mormon, in the late 1820s, “translating” it from no known language, his copy of King James was never far from his side. He plagiarized 27,000 words more or less straight from the original, including several biblical stories lifted almost in their entirety, and the throat-clearing but vaguely impressive phrase “and it came to pass” is used at least 2,000 times. Such “borrowing” was a way of lending much-needed “tone” to the racket. Not long afterward, William Miller excited gigantic crowds with the news that the Second Coming of Jesus would occur in 1843. An associate followed up with an 1844 due date. These disappointed prophecies were worked out from marginal notes in Miller’s copy of the King James edition, which he quarried for apocalyptic evidence. (There had always been those, from the earliest days, when it was being decided which parts of the Bible were divinely inspired and which were not, who had striven to leave out the Book of Revelation. Martin Luther himself declined to believe that it was the work of the Holy Spirit. But there Christianity still is, well and truly stuck with it.) So, of the many Christian heresies which were born in the New World and not imported from Europe, at least three—the Mormons, or Latter-Day Saints; the Millerites, or Seventh-Day Adventists; and their schismatic product the Jehovah’s Witnesses—are indirectly mutated from a pious attempt to bring religious consensus to Jacobean England.

Not to over-prize consensus, it does possess certain advantages over randomness and chaos. Since the appearance of the so-called “Good News Bible,” there have been no fewer than 48 English translations published in the United States. And the rate shows no sign of slackening. Indeed, the trend today is toward what the trade calls “niche Bibles.” These include the “Couples Bible,” “One Year New Testament for Busy Moms,” “Extreme Teen Study Bible,” “Policeman’s Bible,” and—somehow unavoidably—the “Celebrate Recovery Bible.” (Give them credit for one thing: the biblical sales force knows how to “be fruitful and multiply.”) In this cut-price spiritual cafeteria, interest groups and even individuals can have their own customized version of God’s word. But there will no longer be a culture of the kind which instantly recognized what Lincoln meant when he spoke of “a house divided.” The gradual eclipse of a single structure has led, not to a new clarity, but to a new Babel.

Those who opposed the translation of the Bible into the vernacular—rather like those Catholics who wish the Mass were still recited in Latin, or those Muslims who regard it as profane to render the Koran out of Arabic—were afraid that the mystic potency of incantation and ritual would be lost, and that daylight would be let in upon magic. They also feared that if God’s word became too everyday and commonplace it would become less impressive, or less able to inspire awe. But the reverse turns out to have been the case, at least in this instance. The Tyndale/King James translation, even if all its copies were to be burned, would still live on in our language through its transmission by way of Shakespeare and Milton and Bunyan and Coleridge, and also by way of beloved popular idioms such as “fatted calf” and “pearls before swine.” It turned out to be rather more than the sum of its ancient predecessors, as well as a repository and edifice of language which towers above its successors. Its abandonment by the Church of England establishment, which hoped to refill its churches and ended up denuding them, is yet another demonstration that religion is man-made, with inky human fingerprints all over its supposedly inspired and unalterable texts. Ma Ferguson was right in her way. She just didn’t know how many Englishmen and how many Englishes, and how many Jesus stories and Jesuses, there were to choose from.
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« Reply #919 on: April 27, 2011, 07:52:37 AM »



http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-april-26-2011/friends-without-benefits
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« Reply #920 on: April 27, 2011, 08:23:25 AM »


So, police, fire and EMS have to factor this in when responding to the next 911.

Oh, but Obama cut the police line of duty death benefit in half in 2009. I guess because he's so careful about spending and all.....
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VDH
« Reply #921 on: May 12, 2011, 08:38:17 AM »

Osama bin Laden is dead. The Middle East is in chaos. And radical Islam is floundering.

For a time after 9/11, bin Laden was riding high. Destroying 16 acres in Manhattan and hitting the Pentagon won al-Qaeda even more admiration from the Arab Street, hidden cash donations from sympathetic petrol-sheiks, and bribe and hush money from triangulating Middle East dictatorships.

But now bin Laden and most of his henchmen of a decade ago are dead, like the bloodthirsty Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, killed by American forces in Iraq. Or they were captured, like the 9/11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Pakistan. Or they are in hiding, like Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the increasingly irrelevant blowhard al-Qaeda information minister.

What caused al-Qaeda's steady decline? There are a lot of reasons.

Right after 9/11, the United States crafted a set of antiterrorism protocols as sweeping as they were controversial: the Patriot Act, Guantanamo Bay, renditions, tribunals, preventative detention, intercepts, wiretaps and enhanced interrogations. New security measures filtered down to every facet of American life, from radically intrusive and unpopular airport protocols that X-rayed baggage and passengers to beefed-up security on trains and at ports.

Civil libertarians mocked such vigilance, but the message went out that it was now much harder to come to America from the Middle East and in anonymity plan another 9/11. Subsequent terrorist attempts, aimed at targets such as the Brooklyn Bridge and Times Square, either failed or were thwarted before they began.

In wars abroad, thousands of radical Islamic jihadists heeded bin Laden's call to arms and flocked to the Hindu Kush and Anbar Province. The United States military and its allies were waiting, and then killed or wounded many thousands of terrorists and insurgents. That indisputable fact is as little remarked upon as it was critical to weakening and discrediting the martial prowess of radical Islam.

We also forget that the removal of Saddam Hussein, followed by his trial and execution by a democratically elected Iraq government, set off initial ripples of change in the Middle East between 2004 and 2006. The Syrian army was pushed out of Lebanon by popular protests. Muammar Gadhafi surrendered his nuclear weapons and publicly worried about his own future. Pakistan abruptly arrested for a time A.Q. Khan, who had franchised his nuclear weapons expertise.

These events did not lead directly to the current popular protests throughout the Middle East, but they may well have been precursors of a sort, once Iraq's elected government survived and the violence there abated.

But there is a final development that caused headaches for radical Islam -- the end of the American hysteria over the legality and morality of its own antiterrorism measures.

Although candidate Barack Obama was elected as the anti-Bush who promised to repeal the Bush protocols and end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, President Obama did no such thing. He continued the Bush-Petraeus withdrawal plan in Iraq. He escalated in Afghanistan. He kept all the antiterrorism measures that he had once derided. And he expanded the Predator drone assassination missions fivefold, while sending commandos inside Pakistan to kill -- not capture and put on trial -- bin Laden. He ignored most recommendations from Attorney General Eric Holder and guessed rightly that his own left-wing base would keep largely quiet.

The effect was twofold. America kept up the pressure on terrorists and their supporters. And the liberal opposition to our antiterrorist policies simply evaporated once Obama became commander in chief.

Some who once protested the removal of Saddam lauded the efforts to do the same to Gadhafi. Those who once sued on behalf of detainees at Guantanamo joined the government to ensure the Predator drone targeted-killing program continued.

The chances in 2012 that the buffoonish Michael Moore -- who once praised the Iraqi insurgents -- will be again feted as a guest of honor at the Democratic National Convention, as he was in 2004, or that Cindy Sheehan will grab headlines once again, are zero.

Polls show that Obama's America is still just as unpopular among Middle Easterners as it was under George W. Bush. But now a much different media assumes that the problem is theirs, not America's. In this brave new world, the American liberal community is now invested in the continuance of the once-despised Bush antiterrorism program and the projection of force abroad -- and has little sympathy for foreign criticism of an American president.

Quite simply, bin Laden's world of 2001 no longer exists. That's mostly good for us, but quite bad for the dead terrorist's followers.
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« Reply #922 on: May 12, 2011, 11:10:09 AM »

Radical (Or in truth mainstream) islam is not floundering, it's about to have Egypt as part of the new caliphate.
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« Reply #923 on: May 23, 2011, 07:25:09 AM »

Mike Adams   Time for America to Roll Back Its Borders
Email Mike Adams | Columnist's Archive  Share   Buzz 0diggsdigg
Sign-Up  Dear President Obama:

I am writing today with a somewhat unusual request. Actually, it is a series of requests. First and foremost, I will be asking that you return America to its August 20th, 1959 borders so that Hawaii is no longer a state and you are no longer a citizen.
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« Reply #924 on: May 25, 2011, 12:11:03 PM »

Almost posted this in both the cognitive dissonance of the right, and left's threads:

About the Authors
Donald Boudreaux is professor of economics at George Mason University, a former FEE president, and the author of Globalization. He is the winner of the 2009 Thomas Szasz Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Cause of Civil Liberties (general category). ... See All Posts by This Author


Thoughts on Freedom | Donald J. Boudreaux
Stop the Bad Guys
June 2011 • Volume: 61 • Issue: 5 •    Print This Post • 0 comments
It’s not too much of a simplification to say that modern American conservatives believe the national government to be ignorant, bumbling, and corrupt when it meddles in the U.S. economy, but sagacious, sure-footed, and righteous when it meddles in foreign-government affairs.

Nor are the boundaries of acceptable simplification breached by saying that modern American “liberals” believe the national government to be sagacious, sure-footed, and righteous when it meddles in the U.S. economy, but ignorant, bumbling, and corrupt when it meddles in foreign-government affairs.

This striking contradiction in political viewpoints has not, of course, gone unnoticed.

I was prompted to ponder this contradiction not long ago after I read an op-ed in the Washington Post by the neoconservative William Kristol calling on Uncle Sam to attempt to influence the outcomes of the recent popular uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East. My ponderings produced a hypothesis: Modern conservatives and “liberals” are obsessively fixated on bad guys (just different ones).

For both conservatives and “liberals” the world is full of problems caused by bad actors—greedy, heartless, power-hungry autocrats who deploy illegitimately acquired power to trample the rights and livelihoods of the masses. Ordinary men and women seek liberation from these tyrants, but—being ordinary and oppressed—the typical person cannot escape the overlords’ predation without help. Their liberation requires forceful intervention by well-meaning and courageous outsiders.

For “liberals” the oppressed masses consist of workers and the poor, and the oligarchs who do the oppressing are business people and private corporations. What encourages this oppression are free markets and their accompanying doctrine of nonintervention by government into the economy.

However, contrary to the “liberals,” nonintervention rests on at least three truths: First, the complexities of modern economies are so great, and hard to discern, that it is absurdly fanciful to suppose that government officials can intervene without causing more harm than good. Even the most well-meaning government is akin to a bull in a china shop: Out of its natural element, even government’s most careful actions will be so sweeping and awkward that the net result will be unintentionally destructive.

Second, even if economic intervention begins with the best of motives, it degenerates into a process of transferring wealth from the politically powerless to the politically powerful. The interventions continue to sport noble names (such as the “Great Society programs” and the “Fair Labor Standards Act”) and to be marketed as heroic efforts to defend the weak against the strong. But these, however, are nothing more than cynical and disingenuous political marketing efforts aimed at hiding from the general public the actual, unsavory consequences of these interventions.

Third, many situations that appear to well-meaning outsiders to be so undesirable that someone simply must intervene to correct them are understood by many of the people most closely affected by these situations to be superior to likely alternatives.

“Unequal income distribution” is perhaps the foremost such situation. While most “liberals” are obsessed with the “distribution” of income and believe that people of modest means must be especially disturbed by the fact that some other people earn more than they earn, in fact the typical American of modest means is far less bothered by “unequal” income “distribution” than are members of the “liberal” academy and punditry. This latter fact only further confirms to the “liberal” mind that ordinary Americans need third-party intervention to save them from their own naiveté; ordinary Americans just don’t know what glories they are denying themselves by acquiescing in the prevailing economic power structure.

Modern “liberals” dismiss these three objections to economic intervention as being fanciful excuses used by the economically powerful—and, even worse, also by the economically naive free-market faithful—to provide (flimsy) intellectual cover for predations by capitalist bad guys. The realistic assessments by modern “liberals” indicate to them that economic intervention is necessary and righteous.

A nearly identical debate plays out on the foreign-policy front, but with the sides switched.

For modern American conservatives the oppressed masses consist of foreign peoples yearning for American-style freedom and political franchise. But these unfortunate foreigners are oppressed by oligarchs who happen to control their governments. “Liberals” (and liberals) who adhere to a doctrine of U.S. government nonintervention in foreign affairs raise the same three objections that conservatives (and liberals) raise against government intervention in the economy.

First, the complexities of foreign governments’ relationships with their citizens are so great and hard to discern that it is absurdly fanciful to suppose that Uncle Sam can intervene without causing more harm than good. Even the most well-meaning intervention is akin to a bull in a china shop: Out of its natural element, even Uncle Sam’s most careful actions will be so sweeping and awkward that the net result will be unintentionally destructive.

Second, even if foreign intervention begins with the best of motives, it degenerates into a process of transferring wealth from the politically powerless to the politically powerful. The interventions continue to enjoy noble names (such as “Operation Iraqi Freedom”) and to be marketed as heroic efforts to defend the weak against the strong. But these, however, are nothing more than cynical and disingenuous political marketing efforts aimed at hiding from the general public the actual, unsavory consequences of these interventions in which corporations such as Halliburton and Blackwater rake in huge, undeserved profits at the expense of the American taxpayer and the foreign populations ostensibly being helped.

Third, many situations that appear to well-meaning outsiders to be so undesirable that someone simply must intervene are understood by many of the people most closely affected by these situations to be superior to likely alternatives. As oppressive as Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi regime genuinely was, it’s not at all clear that merely disposing of this particular bad guy has liberated Iraqis from oppression. Saddam’s rule was very much a result—and certainly not the principal cause—of Iraq’s anti-liberal culture and dysfunctional social institutions, not to mention earlier U.S. intervention.

Foreign countries’ political, economic, and social institutions are too complex and too deeply rooted in unique histories to be adequately grasped by American politicians and military leaders. Therefore American intervention—which is inevitably ham-fisted—adds to this mix only confusion and turmoil.

The two kinds of intervention situations aren’t analogous in all details; differences exist. But these differences are small when compared to the similarities. “Liberals’” confidence that domestic markets can be improved by battalions of bureaucrats charged with keeping bad guys in line is surprisingly similar to conservatives’ confidence that the welfare of foreigners can be improved by battalions of U.S. military troops charged with keeping bad guys in line.

http://www.thefreemanonline.org/columns/thoughts-on-freedom/stop-the-bad-guys/
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« Reply #925 on: June 13, 2011, 11:03:06 AM »

Brief · June 13, 2011

The Foundation
"Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression." --James Madison

Government

Congress doesn't have many experts on the issues, but they did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night."In the course of any given year, Congress votes on taxes, medical care, military spending, foreign aid, agriculture, labor, international trade, airlines, housing, insurance, courts, natural resources, and much more. There are professionals who have spent their entire adult lives specializing in just one of these fields. The idea that Congress can be competent in all these areas simultaneously is staggering. Yet, far from pulling back -- as banks or other private enterprises must, if they don't want to be ruined financially by operating beyond the range of their competence -- Congress is constantly expanding further into more fields. Having spent years ruining the housing markets with their interference, leading to a housing meltdown that has taken the whole economy down with it, politicians have now moved on into micro-managing automobile companies and medical care. They are not going to stop unless they get stopped. And that is not going to happen until the voters recognize the fact that political rhetoric is no substitute for competence." --economist Thomas Sowell

Insight
"History suggests that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom. Clearly, it is not a sufficient condition." --American economist and author Milton Friedman (1912-2006)

U.S. Army Birthday and Flag Day 2011
Tomorrow is the 236th birthday of the United States Army, born of the desire to defend liberty and spread its flame. As the U.S. Army now leads the way in the Long War, let us not forget to pray for these brave Patriots standing in harm's way and their families awaiting their safe return.

Tomorrow is also Flag Day. Our flag is a beacon of liberty, a symbol of hope for all people who "hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed -- that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it...." On this Flag Day, we American Patriots display and pay homage to our national flag.

To purchase the highest quality American-made U.S. flags available, please visit The Patriot Shop.


 

The Gipper
"As we think back over the history of our nation's flag, we remember that the story of its early years was often one of hardship and trials, sometimes a fight for simple survival. ... As the American Republic grew and prospered and new stars were added to the flag, the ideal of freedom grew and prospered. From the rolling hills of Kentucky to the shores of California to the Sea of Tranquility on the Moon, our pioneers carried our flag before them, a symbol of the indomitable spirit of a free people. And let us never forget that in honoring our flag, we honor the American men and women who have courageously fought and died for it over the last 200 years, patriots who set an ideal above any consideration of self. Our flag flies free today because of their sacrifice. ... These anniversaries remind us that the great American experiment in freedom and democracy has really just begun. They remind us of the terrible hardships our forefathers willingly endured for their beliefs. And they challenge us to match that greatness of spirit in our own time, and I know we will. We are, after all, the land of the free and the home of the brave." --Ronald Reagan

Re: The Left
"No nation or culture in history has done more to advance the well-being of mankind than the United States and Western civilization. However to the Marxist mindset of the radical left, only they, utilizing the vehicle of a massive central government, could control mankind's nature and create a fair society. It is the ideal philosophy for those who, so enamored with themselves, can wallow in their self-importance and rule with a heavy hand the same masses they claim to protect. Under no circumstances, therefore, can these revolutionaries defend or profess admiration for their country; instead they must not only transform the United States into a villain, but destroy any vestiges of its accomplishments in order to permanently retain control over the populace and exact revenge for the alleged transgressions of the West. Barack Obama has spent his entire life, from birth to the present, marinated in this mindset. He is thus incapable of change or being receptive to any other viewpoint, as that would be an admission of failure." --columnist Steve McCann

Liberty
"For several years, the British media have been full of horror stories about failures in the National Health Service (NHS). ... The Telegraph now reports that the 'terminally ill' will be asked by their doctors how they would like to die and to write it down so the NHS will know. Will government then assist them to stop the care meter from running? Death panels, anyone? ... And then there is the disappearance of Britain's once proud work ethic, thanks to the expansion of the welfare state under the Labour Party. The Daily Mail reports that between 1997 and 2010, under Labour, 'the number of households in which no one has ever had a job almost doubled from 184,000 to 352,000.' ... A dysfunctional British immigration system has allowed 256,000 asylum-seekers over the past 20 years to be granted 'amnesty,' according to the Daily Mail. ... Add to these concerns the huge number of Muslim immigrants who display no desire to be assimilated into British life, the high abortion rate among the British, and the increasing secularization of culture and you have predictors of where America may be headed if it does not turn back on these attitudes and behavior patterns." --columnist Cal Thomas


 

Opinion in Brief
"They call it BCS, Bill Clinton Syndrome, and it has broken out anew in New York City and Washington, D.C., where it was first discovered. ... BCS strikes powerful figures, usually male, who experience lewd compulsions of an overpowering nature, generally in the presence of technology, often the telephone, occasionally a smart phone or even a computer, and usually when they are alone or behind closed doors with a woman of inferior rank. The first victim of the syndrome was, of course, President Bill Clinton, but it has struck a growing number of powerful individuals, most recently Congressman Chris Lee, International Monetary Fund chieftain Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and now Congressman Anthony Weiner... He apparently suffered at least the underpants version of BCS. He served as the moral scold to Republicans in Congress. ... What will become of these wretches I do not know, but for Weiner there is hope. The press has reported that his recent marriage to the Hillary Clinton aide was 'officiated' over by none other than Bill Clinton. I advise that Bill counsel Weiner and Hillary counsel the wife. Then let all four retire from public life. Along with them they can take any other public official suspected of suffering BCS. This nonsense has gone too far." --columnist R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.

Political Futures
"If next year the American people pull the plug on the Obama presidency, mark down the past week as the beginning of the end.... Barack Obama's worst week was about more than bad data. The two great legislative monuments to the first Obama term, the remaking of the health-care industry and the Dodd-Frank financial reform, look like they've got serious structural cracks. A McKinsey report estimates that a third of employers will abandon their health-insurance plans come 2014. On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the failure (or inability) of Dodd-Frank's regulatory arm to write new rules for the $583 trillion derivatives market has the financial sector in a panic over its legal exposure. ... We are heading toward an election fought over the economy. That's good because ultimately this means the subject is growth. The one consensus that exists across the political spectrum is that strong economic growth eases many problems -- from the entitlement burden to the tragedy of high youth unemployment. The battle will be fought over economic growth and how we get it -- Obama's way or something close to the opposite of Obama's way. ... Barack Obama will have better weeks than this. On the available evidence, however, the trend lines for politics and the economy are becoming clearer every day." --columnist Daniel Henninger

Culture
"It's been 67 years since the Supreme Court outlawed school segregation. In those 67 years, at every level of government, black Americans have been overwhelmingly staunch supporters of the Democrat party. What black Americans have gotten in return is an education system in which black children lag consistently behind their white counterparts, by an average of almost four years. Yet for 67 years, Democrats have promised black Americans that they're going to make things better for their communities, as long as they keep hitching their wagons to the Democrat party star. After two-thirds of a century, one might be inclined to think that more than a few black Americans might be inclined to ask the question, 'what have you done for me lately,' as in how come our children keep getting the short end of the educational stick after more than three generations of party loyalty? Yet in order to ask that question, one must know history and have learned to think for oneself. Knowledge of history and an ability to think independently require a decent education. Democrats around the nation are making sure that doesn't happen. In short, union campaign funds are more important than the education of black children, and anyone who thinks otherwise needs to explain how a status quo that ought be considered criminal could survive every challenge that's been thrown at it." --columnist Arnold Ahlert

Reader Comments
"Alexander, you are always willing to tread on the Left's 'sacred ground' where too many other conservatives dare not go. Thanks for your clarity on the homosexual issue, distinguishing between what constitutes personal choice versus their public policy agenda." --Semper Fi

"The left is so filled with hate and so quick to spin that they seldom look at the facts. Truth has little to do with their agenda and honest debate is not in their vocabulary. Alexander has taken a lightning rod issue and presented it in a fair, objective and honest context. His essay on this contentious topic was not only correct in every detail but it was a brave and heroic statement to make. Certainly doing so will subject him to viscous attacks from liberals, particularly the small but vitriolic homosexual crowd. Good work Alexander. Stand firm and remain steadfast." --Bill

Typical criticism of Alexander's column:

"Clearly you have never studied the topic of gays. You are apparently more interested in satisfying the cries of right wing evangelicals than in seeking the truth. The Defense of Marriage Act was pushed through Congress by Jerry Falwell/Dr. James Dobson (Focus on the Family)/the Mormon Church and the US Council of Catholic Bishops. ... Eventually, the Defense of Marriage Act will be declared unconstitutional, which it clearly is. ... It is time for the U.S. to catch up with the rest of the world on gay marriage. Public opinion in the U.S. supports gay marriage. ... Who are you to tell me what I can and can't do in the privacy of my bedroom?"

Editor's reply: First, the Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law September 21, 1996, by Bill Clinton, who said: "I remain opposed to same-sex marriage. I believe marriage is an institution for the union of a man and a woman. This has been my long-standing position, and it is not being reviewed or reconsidered." The legislation passed by overwhelming majorities of both Democrats and Republicans, 85-14 in the Senate and a vote of 342-67 in the House. The record reflects something quite more than a "Jerry Falwell/Dr. James Dobson, Mormon Church, US Council of Catholic Bishops" agenda and "satisfying the cries of right wing evangelicals" rather than seeking the truth.

Second, for the record, there is no constitutional basis to assert that gender identity is a civil right. You can push for an amendment if you want, or take the liberal route and amend it by judicial diktat, but this assertion has no basis under Rule of Law.

Third, my guide and test for Truth in this and all matters, starting with Liberty, is not predicated on public opinion polls or the actions of other nations.

Last, as I wrote, I support your liberty to practice your individual beliefs and behaviors right up unto the point at which you propose to impose your redefinition of nature upon others. The homosexual political agenda is something quite apart from the practice of your personal choices and behavior. I will continue to "out" the Left's agenda for what it is, including the errant argument that all of society should support the homosexual pathos, which offends "the laws of nature and nature's God."

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« Reply #926 on: June 18, 2011, 09:40:56 PM »





 <http://www.nationalreview.com/> NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE         

MARK STEYN


 

 

JUNE 18, 2011 7:00 A.M.

LibzGetReal

How could the Left not fall for the Arab-lesbian-blogger hoax?

 

Last week was a great week for lesbians coming out of the closet — coming
out, that is, as middle-aged heterosexual men.

On Sunday, Amina Arraf, the young vivacious Syrian lesbian activist whose
inspiring blog “A Gay Girl in Damascus” had captured hearts around the
world, was revealed to be, in humdrum reality, one Tom MacMaster, a
40-year-old college student from Georgia. The following day, Paula Brooks,
the lesbian activist and founder of the website LezGetReal, was revealed to
be one Bill Graber, a 58-year-old construction worker from Ohio. In their
capacity as leading lesbians in the Sapphic blogosphere, “Miss Brooks” and
“Miss Arraf” were colleagues. “Amina” had posted at LezGetReal before
starting “A Gay Girl In Damascus.” As one lesbian to another, they got along
swimmingly. The Washington Post reported:

Amina often flirted with Brooks, neither of the men realizing the other was
pretending to be a lesbian.

Who knows what romance might have blossomed had not “Amina” been arrested by
a squad of Baath Party goons dispatched by Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad.
Tom MacMaster then created “Rania,” a fake cousin for his fake lesbian, to
try to rouse the world to take up the plight of the nonexistent Amina’s
nonexistent detention. 

A “Free Amina!” Facebook page sprang up.

“The Obama Administration must speak about this,” declared Peter Beinart,
former editor of The New Republic. “This woman is a hero.”

On June 7th the State Department announced that it was looking into the
“kidnapping.”

Now consider it from Assad’s point of view. Unlike “Amina,” “Rania,” and the
“three armed men in their early 20s” who “hustled Amina into a red Dacia
Logan,” you have the disadvantage of actually existing. You’re the dictator
of Syria. You’ve killed more demonstrators than those losers Mubarak, Ben
Ali, and Gaddafi combined, and the Americans have barely uttered a peep.
Suddenly Hillary Clinton, who was hailing you as a “reformer” only 20
minutes ago, wants to give you a hard time over some lesbian blogger. Any
moment now Sarkozy or Cameron or some other Europoseur will demand
anti-homophobic NATO bombing missions over your presidential palace. On CNN
Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper will be interviewing each other back and
forth all day long about the Gay Spring sweeping the Arab world. You’ll be
the first Middle East strongman brought down by lesbianism. You’ll be a
laughing stock at Arab League Where-Are-They-Now? nights.

Who needs it? “Release the lesbian bloggers!” commands Assad.

“Er, what lesbian bloggers?” says his vizier. “This is Damascus, remember?”

“Oh, yeah.” And he spends another sleepless night wondering if this is the
most devilish CIA dirty trick of all, or if one of their satellite drones
merely misinterpreted the grainy footage from the Colonel Gaddafi Lookalike
round of Syrian Idol.

The pretty young lesbian Muslim was exposed as a portly 40-year-old male
infidel at the University of Edinburgh with the help of “Paula Brooks,”
shortly before “Paula” was exposed as a 58-year-old male construction worker
from Ohio. “He would have got away with it if I hadn’t been such a stand-up
guy,” the second phony lesbian said of the first phony lesbian. As to why
stand-up guys are posing as sit-down lesbians, “Paula” told the Associated
Press that “he felt he would not be taken seriously as a straight man.”

“He got that one right,” sneered the Toronto gay magazine Xtra.

Indeed. A century ago, a British Army officer went to the Levant and
reinvented himself as Lawrence of Arabia. Now a middle-aged American male
college student goes to the Internet and reinvents himself as Florence of
Arabia. We have become familiar in recent years with the booming literary
genre of the fake memoir, to which Oprah’s late Book Club was distressingly
partial. Greg Mortensen’s now discredited Three Cups Of Tea took it to the
next level, not just near mandatory in the usual circles (grade schools and
sentimental punditry) but also compulsory in the Pentagon for commanders en
route to Afghanistan. After centuries of disdain for the preferred beverage
of imperialists, American officers in the Hindu Kush now drink more tea than
the Brits, and they don’t even like it. But a charlatan told them to do it,
so the tea allowance now consumes 23 percent of the Pentagon budget.

 

Yet Tom MacMaster topped even that. He took an actual, live, mass popular
uprising and made an entirely unrepresentative and, indeed, nonexistent
person its poster “girl.” From CNN to the Guardian to Bianca Jagger to
legions of Tweeters, Western liberalism fell for a ludicrous hoax. Why?

Because they wanted to. It would be nice if “Amina Arraf” existed. As niche
constituencies go, we could use more hijab-wearing Muslim lesbian militants
and fewer fortysomething male Western deadbeat college students. But the
latter is a real and pathetically numerous demographic, and the former is a
fiction — a fantasy for Western liberals, who think that in the
multicultural society the nice gay couple at 27 Rainbow Avenue can live next
door to the big bearded imam with four child brides at Number 29 and gambol
and frolic in admiration of each other’s diversity. They will proffer cheery
greetings over the picket fence, the one admiring the other’s attractive
buttock-hugging leather shorts for that day’s Gay Pride parade as he
prepares to take his daughter to the clitoridectomy clinic.

Yes, yes, I stereotype. But stereotypes become stereotypes because they’re
grounded in observable reality. “Amina Arraf” is grounded in nothing more
than a fetish fantasy as preposterous as those lipstick lesbians in porn
movies who can’t wait for some hot straight guy to jump in and make it a
threesome.

It would be statistically improbable for there to be no women attracted to
other women in Damascus. But “Amina Arraf” is nothing more than the
projection of parochial obsessions on to distant lands Western liberals are
too lazy to try to figure out. In 2007 in The Atlantic Monthly, Andrew
Sullivan, not yet mired up Sarah Palin’s birth canal without a paddle
peddling bizarre conspiracy theories about the maternity of her youngest
child, announced that, never mind his policies, Barack Obama’s visage alone
would be “the most effective potential rebranding of the United States since
Reagan.” As he explained:

It’s November 2008. A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees
this man — Barack Hussein Obama — is the new face of America. In one simple
image, America’s soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a
logarithm. . . . If you wanted the crudest but most effective weapon against
the demonization of America that fuels Islamist ideology, Obama’s face gets
close.

For crying out loud. The assumption that “a young Pakistani Muslim” in
Lahore or Peshawar shares your peculiar preoccupations is the most feeble
kind of projection even by the standards of Western liberal navel-gazing. If
doting progressives stopped gazing longingly into “Obama’s face” for just a
moment, they might notice that in Benghazi “democracy activists” have been
rounding up Libyan blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa. In Bahrain
“democracy activists” have attacked hundreds of Bangladeshis and Pakistanis,
ripping the tongue out of one muezzin and leaving him brain damaged. What’s
so “multicultural” about the pampered middle-aged narcissists of the West’s
leisurely “activist” varsity pretending that the entire planet is just like
them?

You can learn a lot from the deceptions a society chooses to swallow. “Amina
Arraf” was a fiction who fit the liberal worldview. That’s because the
liberal worldview is a fiction.

—  <http://www.marksteyn.com/> Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is
author of  <http://www.nationalreview.com/redirect/amazon.p?j=1596985275>
America Alone. © 2011 Mark Steyn.
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G M
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« Reply #927 on: June 18, 2011, 10:06:21 PM »

Next thing you know, some enterprising fraudster will claim to be a dispossed "palestinian" refugee who was in reality a wealthy American citizen who lived in Cairo, yet still his academic fraud will be ignored by those that should know better.


Oh wait, it's already happened.



Nevermind.


Fake but true!
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #928 on: June 29, 2011, 09:31:55 AM »



This week, the Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision, ruled that the state of California could not bar the sale of violent video games to minors. The majority opinion, written by quasi-originalist Justice Antonin Scalia, argued that the First Amendment requires that government not mandate that minors be controlled by their parents. Purer originalist Judge Clarence Thomas took the opposite view. "Although much has changed in this country since the Revolution," he wrote, "the notion that parents have authority over their children and that the law can support that authority persists today."

This is the debate that defines our time. The treatment of minors as tiny adults is a dangerous move that threatens the foundations of our society. Civilized societies have always recognized that parents must control their children until the kids reach maturity -- that's how we've historically passed along morals and information. If we left children to their own devices, there is little doubt that they would engage in every selfish pursuit they could -- kids aren't the naturally altruistic folks non-parents seem to think they are -- and hurt themselves in the process. They wouldn't go to school, they wouldn't go to church, and they certainly wouldn't embrace their parents' value systems.

But today's left, and many on the libertarian right, have embraced the concept of children making their own decisions. Paternalism has become a dirty word, even though parents are supposed to be paternal. New generations should not have to rediscover old truths -- reinventing the wheel takes time, effort and pain. They should be able to inherit the received wisdom of the past, glean from it, and then make their own decisions.

Historically, this has meant that parents control what their children see and hear. To a point, the more control parents have had, the better. There is a reason that unwed motherhood is the leading indicator of many of our most pressing social problems: Without a father in the home, children often run out of control and grow into irresponsible adults. Government should do its utmost to maintain enough respect for the family unit to allow adults to raise their children.

Now, however, we've moved into a brave new world in which children are thought to be adults who are far away. The left has pushed for lowered age of consent; they've pushed for children to be able to attain abortions without parental permission; they've pushed for heightened sex education, so children can make "informed" decisions without the input of their guardians.

This is not only scientifically inaccurate, but it's also morally incoherent. Children are children because they are not fully developed human beings. Science tells us that adolescents are biologically driven to embrace risky and stupid behavior. The part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex, which actually controls for risky behavior, isn't fully developed until children are fully grown. Leave children and adolescents to their own devices, and they will not make good decisions -- they will attack any boundaries and cross any lines.

What is government's role in all of this? Justice Scalia believes that government should not put more power in the hands of parents -- government should essentially be neutral between children and those who raise them. Justice Thomas believes that government should create a system wherein parents get the last word. In today's world, more than ever, it is important that children not be treated with libertarian casualness requiring parents to be all-knowing and all-seeing. Instead, government should place control firmly in the hands of parents, requiring children to go to their parents for advice and guidance.

Freedom and responsibility for actions go hand in hand; only adults can be held responsible for their actions and the actions of their children. Therefore, only adults should have the freedom to choose on behalf of their children. Any other moral system is a fundamental rejection of the superstructure of civilization in favor of a moral chimera.
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« Reply #929 on: June 29, 2011, 10:06:22 AM »

I had brought this issue up on the Legal Forum page a few days ago.  I agree with the decision.  First Amendment.... 

"The State wishes to create a wholly new category of content-based regulation that is permissible only for speech directed at children," Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the majority opinion. "That is unprecedented and mistaken."

Restricting violent games could have easily led to restrictions on other mediums, First Amendment attorneys said.

Floyd Abrams, who represented the New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case, said a ruling for the California law would have been harmful "not just to video games but to great literature -- and mediocre literature."

"We're at least better off that we don't now have some sort of new rule allowing … a regime where courts and justices pass judgment upon whether the material has any value or not," Abrams said.


On a personal note, as i mentioned on the other forum, I find it odd that it is ok to restrict pornography, i.e. a minor cannot buy Playboy, but extreme violence is ok.  Frankly, I find
extreme violence more offensive than sexually oriented material.  However the ban remains at this time.

The 1968 Supreme Court case Ginsberg v. New York found that a retailer could be prosecuted for selling sexually oriented material to children, even if the material was not considered obscene for adults. (The case involved the owner of a mom-and- pop shop who sold two "girlie" magazines to a 16-year-old.)

However, Monday's ruling suggests the court may even be open to reconsidering past rulings on obscenity, said attorney Robert Corn-Revere, who successfully petitioned New York Gov. George E. Pataki to grant a posthumous pardon to Lenny Bruce for a 1964 obscenity conviction.


Crafty's said, "Historically, this has meant that parents control what their children see and hear."

"Freedom and responsibility for actions go hand in hand; only adults can be held responsible for their actions and the actions of their children. Therefore, only adults should have the freedom to choose on behalf of their children."


I agree; parents should control their children, choose for their children, but not the Government.  What I think is appropriate for my child may be different than your thoughts for your child. 
Let the parents decide, not the government.  Or the government will decide more and more for you....





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bigdog
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« Reply #930 on: June 29, 2011, 10:46:22 AM »

This is an interesting thread at the moment.  I find the dichotomy in the recent USSC ruling to be fascinating.  Recently, the USSC has ruled that children at schools do not have the as many First Amendment and privacy rights as they used to.  Compare and contrast the famous Tinker v. Des Moines case with recent decisions about drug testing and the "Bong Hits for Jesus" case (in which the offending action took place outside of school!). 

From JDN: "I agree; parents should control their children, choose for their children, but not the Government.  What I think is appropriate for my child may be different than your thoughts for your child. 
Let the parents decide, not the government.  Or the government will decide more and more for you...."

I agree with the spirit of this.  There is a potential slippery slope here though.  What of a parent who decides that MAKING pornography is OK for kids?  What about drug/alcohol use?  Etc., etc.   

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« Reply #931 on: June 29, 2011, 10:51:55 AM »

Doug, I started to write a reply, then I noted your post was deleted.   smiley

I too agree, the parents should decide, but not the government.  Crafty seems to imply the government should decide....

As for Bigdog, I also agree. This is a slippery slope.  Perhaps the government will ban books for children
deemed offensive for children, but not adults....   Where do we stop.  I suggest it's the parent's responsibility,
not the government's job to intercede. 
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« Reply #932 on: June 29, 2011, 10:55:58 AM »

JDN, (I hit post while still writing, starting over)Looks like my reaction to your question is covered in Crafty's post of Scalia's opinion (and points just made by Bigdog).  To me it is about parental control rights rather than children's rights.  Government isn't denying the kid the Playboy; it is requiring the parent to buy it or approve the purchase instead undermining that relationship.  The slippery slope would be the end of restricted movies too. Is that what we want?

There is a difference JDN between the wisdom of the details of any of these laws infringing on minors and empowering parents, x movies, violent games, cigarettes etc and having the court say those restrictions in your locality can't be done.
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« Reply #933 on: June 29, 2011, 11:11:53 AM »

Doug, I've done that too.   smiley

Actually, I think Scalia's opinion and Bigdog are agreeing with me, not Crafty.

However, I disagree with you, the government IS denying the kid the right to buy the Playboy; the government is not leaving it up to the parent
to simply tell their child "No".

I for example, would prefer that my child read Playboy at age 16 versus play/watch terribly violent games/movies.  You may disagree,
and advise your daughter differently.  Your choice as her parent in my opinion.

As for movies, the movie industry has invoked guidelines through the motion picture rating system.  That is much different
than government imposing legal action. 

As Bigdog points out, where and when will the government stop?

I think it should be up to the parent.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #934 on: June 29, 2011, 11:30:19 AM »

As noted, the parent can buy for his/her child what he/she wishes to.  This completely meets the point raised by JDN.  Furthermore, the parent should be able to let a child go unattended into a store which sells magazines and not have to worry about the child (e.g. a 12 year old) buying "Big Dick Dwarves Anally Rape Anal Virgins and Shoot Jizz all over their Faces".
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DougMacG
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« Reply #935 on: June 29, 2011, 12:30:01 PM »

Like with legalization of drug issues, there are some inherent contentions between conservatism and libertarianism.  My view is that we can have lines drawn in law about morality and decency beyond just prosecuting theft and murder.  I fear slippery slopes too but I disagree with the idea that no limits can be placed on decadence without descending into a total police control state.  I'm not worried so much about keeping my daughter from porn, I'm opposed to it being universally available to all boys at all ages learning all the wrong messages at the wrong time in  the culture she lives in.  If their parents want that for their child, then they can provide it to the child, but I support reasonable restrictions on what merchants can provide to other people's children without parents express consent.

ps.  Crafty is quite knowledgeable on the titles for sale in that section of the store!  smiley
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« Reply #936 on: June 29, 2011, 12:33:35 PM »

Back before I was married and getting more , , , selective in my social life, there was a time , , , Myself, I was happy with a magazine dedicated to "All "Natural' Women" (i.e. no silicon breasts).
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« Reply #937 on: June 29, 2011, 02:01:45 PM »


http://www.torontosun.com/2011/06/28/lennon-was-a-closet-republican-assistant

John Lennon was a closet Republican, who felt a little embarrassed by his former radicalism, at the time of his death - according to the tragic Beatles star's last personal assistant.

Fred Seaman worked alongside the music legend from 1979 to Lennon's death at the end of 1980 and he reveals the star was a Ronald Reagan fan who enjoyed arguing with left-wing radicals who reminded him of his former self.

In new documentary Beatles Stories, Seaman tells filmmaker Seth Swirsky Lennon wasn't the peace-loving militant fans thought he was while he was his assistant.

He says, "John, basically, made it very clear that if he were an American he would vote for Reagan because he was really sour on (Democrat) Jimmy Carter.

"He'd met Reagan back, I think, in the 70s at some sporting event... Reagan was the guy who had ordered the National Guard, I believe, to go after the young (peace) demonstrators in Berkeley, so I think that John maybe forgot about that... He did express support for Reagan, which shocked me.

"I also saw John embark in some really brutal arguments with my uncle, who's an old-time communist... He enjoyed really provoking my uncle... Maybe he was being provocative... but it was pretty obvious to me he had moved away from his earlier radicalism.

"He was a very different person back in 1979 and 80 than he'd been when he wrote Imagine. By 1979 he looked back on that guy and was embarrassed by that guy's naivete."
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Spartan Dog
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« Reply #938 on: July 03, 2011, 09:35:17 PM »

On behalf of Crafty Dog


Video Clip

« Last Edit: July 04, 2011, 12:29:34 PM by admin » Logged

Dog Brothers Training Group, Athens, Greece
http://www.dogbrothers.gr/
JDN
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« Reply #939 on: July 03, 2011, 09:39:51 PM »

sorry I can't open it.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #940 on: July 03, 2011, 11:50:59 PM »

Works for me.

Thanks Kostas.
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« Reply #941 on: July 03, 2011, 11:59:51 PM »

It doesn't open on a Mac.
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« Reply #942 on: July 12, 2011, 03:15:20 AM »

By PETER WALLISON

When the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) reported in January that the 2008 crisis was caused by lax regulation, greed on Wall Street and faulty risk management at banks and other financial firms, few were surprised.

That, after all, was the narrative propagated by government sources since 2008 and widely accepted in the media, in numerous books, and by many commentators. Writing in the New York Times on June 30, for example, Pro-Publica reporter Jesse Eisinger complained that bankers' concerns about excessive regulation under the Dodd-Frank Act did not take account of "the staggering costs of the crisis that the banks led us into."

The notion that the "banks led us into" the financial crisis echoes the narrative of the FCIC's Democratic majority, which placed the blame for the financial crisis on the private sector and dismissed the idea that government housing policy could have been responsible.

According to the FCIC majority report, the government's housing policies—led by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—contributed only "marginally" to the crisis. Moreover, Fannie and Freddie "followed rather than led Wall Street and other lenders" into the subprime and other risky mortgage lending that ultimately caused the financial crisis.

View Full Image

Associated Press
James A. Johnson, former Fannie Mae Chairman

With the publication of "Reckless Endangerment," a new book about the causes of the crisis, this story is beginning to unravel. The authors, Gretchen Morgenson, a business reporter and commentator for the New York Times, and Josh Rosner, a financial analyst, make clear that it was Fannie Mae and the government housing policies it supported, pursued and exploited that brought the financial system to a halt in 2008.

After James A. Johnson, a Democratic political operative and former aide to Walter Mondale, became chairman of Fannie Mae in 1991, they note, it became a political powerhouse, intimidating and suborning Congress and tying itself closely to the Clinton administration's support for the low-income lending program called "affordable housing."

This program required subprime and other risky lending, but it solidified Fannie's support among Democrats and some Republicans in Congress, and enabled the agency to resist privatization or significant regulation until 2008. "Under Johnson," write Ms. Morgenson and Mr. Rosner, "Fannie Mae led the way in encouraging loose lending practices among banks whose loans the company bought. . . . Johnson led both the private and public sectors down a path that led directly to the financial crisis of 2008."

The authors are correct. Far from being a marginal player, Fannie Mae was the source of the decline in mortgage underwriting standards that eventually brought down the financial system. It led rather than followed Wall Street into risky lending.

This history does not appear in the FCIC majority report, and Mr. Johnson was not among the more than 700 witnesses the commission claims to have interviewed. Edward Pinto (a former chief credit officer of Fannie Mae, and now a colleague at the American Enterprise Institute) presented the evidence to the commission showing that by 2008 half of all mortgages in the U.S. (27 million loans) were subprime or otherwise risky, and that 12 million of these loans were on the books of the GSEs.

The research he gave the commission also showed that two-thirds of these subprime or risky loans were on the books of government agencies or firms subject to government control. But these facts were left out of the majority report. They did not fit with the narrative that the financial crisis was caused by the private sector, and they moved the blame uncomfortably close to the powerful figures in Congress who had supported the GSEs and the affordable housing goals over many years—and of course who appointed the majority of the commission.

If that were the end of the matter, we would be dealing solely with a report distorted by partisan considerations. The commission majority's false narrative, however, buttresses the notion that more regulation of banks and other private-sector financial institutions could have prevented the financial crisis—and might be necessary to prevent another one. This was the rationale for the Dodd-Frank Act.

But if government housing policy, and not Wall Street, caused the financial crisis, what was the basis for Dodd-Frank's extraordinary and growth-suppressing regulation on the financial system? This question is particularly trenchant as the country struggles through a seemingly interminable recession, brought on initially by a mortgage meltdown and a financial crisis but possibly extended by the uncertainties and credit restrictions flowing from the most comprehensive controls of the financial system since the New Deal.

The principal sponsors of that Dodd-Frank Act, former Sen. Chris Dodd and former House Financial Services Committee Chair Barney Frank, were also the principal supporters and political protectors of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the government housing policies they implemented.

It is little wonder then that legislation named after them would place the blame for the financial crisis solely on the private sector and do nothing to reform a government-backed housing finance system that will increasingly be seen as the primary cause of the devastating events of 2008.

Mr. Wallison, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, was a member of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and dissented from the majority report.
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« Reply #943 on: July 15, 2011, 02:19:52 PM »



Looked at one way, it shouldn't be hard. Both parties in Washington have every reason to want to prove they possess the baseline political competence to meet the government's central and pending crisis, which is the spending crisis. Both parties should be eager to reach a debt ceiling agreement, if only to prove the system isn't broken. Because really, they are the system. If it's broken, they're broken, and if they're broken, who needs them?

So you'd think the hangman's noose would have concentrated their minds. Instead, of course, it's a battle. As this is written, the president seems to have the edge. But if he wins—whatever winning looks like—he'll likely pay a price for his political victory. He usually does. He won on health care, which ruined his first two years in office and sharply accelerated the decline in his popularity.

***
The issues of spending and taxes should be decoupled. The spending crisis is what's going on and demands attention now; it's because of out-of-control spending that we are up against the debt ceiling. Taxes—whether to raise them on the wealthy, whether to reform the tax code and how—can't be satisfyingly dealt with in the next few weeks. It is gameful of the White House to obscure the central crisis by focusing on a secondary one. The American people have very interesting thoughts and views on taxes, and in no way is it certain that this issue will always favor the Republicans. There's an election in 2012, we can argue it through from now to then.

A central problem for Republicans is that they're trying to do everything—cut spending, fight off tax increases, win national support—from the House. The House is probably not enough to win a fight like this. In the words of a conservative strategist, Republicans have one bullet and the Democrats have three: the presidency, the Senate, and a mainstream media generally willing to accept the idea that the president is the moderate in the fight.

View Full Image

Chad Crowe
 .The president is in the better position, and he knows it. Majority Leader Eric Cantor reports Mr. Obama went into enough-is-enough mode during White House talks this week, warned Mr. Cantor not to call his bluff, and ended the meeting saying: "Can you imagine Ronald Reagan sitting here?" I'm glad Reagan is his model for how presidents should comport themselves, but he should know Reagan never tried to scare people into doing things his way. Instead he tried to encourage support, and with a light touch. When locked in battle with a Democratic Congress he didn't go on TV and make threats. He didn't say, "Congress needs to know we must rebuild our defense system, and if they don't, your children will die in a fiery hale of Soviet bullets."

That was—how to put it?—not his style. It's not any president's style. But it's what Mr. Obama was doing when he told CBS's Scott Pelley that he isn't sure there will be "money in the coffers" to send out Social Security checks. Soon he may be saying there won't be money in the coffers to let students return to college or to pay servicemen. The president is playing Targeted Catastrophe. He's attempting to agitate and frighten people into calling their congressmen and saying Don't Cut Anything, Raise Taxes on Millionaires.

Three weeks of Targeted Catastrophe could be pretty effective. But if the president wins this way, there will be residual costs. He will have scared America and shook it up, all for a political victory. That will not add to affection or regard for the president. Centrists and independents, however they react in terms of support, will not think more highly of him.

Which gets me, briefly, to the latest poll on whether Americans think we're on the right track or wrong track as a nation. The wrong-track number hit 63% this month, up from 60% last month, according to Reuters/Ipsos, which laid the increase to pessimism about the economy and "prolonged gridlock in Washington."

Fair enough. But there's more to be said about the nation the president seems to be busy agitating. It's always assumed the right track/wrong track numbers are about the economy, which makes sense because economic facts are always in the forefronts of everyone's minds. Will I get laid off, can I pay the bills, can my business survive?

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.But there are other reasons for American unease, and in a way some are deeper and more pervasive. Some are cultural. Here are only two. Pretty much everyone over 50 in America feels on some level like a refugee. That's because they were born in one place—the old America—and live now in another. We're like immigrants, whether we literally are or not. One of the reasons America has always celebrated immigrants is a natural, shared knowledge that they left behind everything they knew to enter a place that was different—different language, different ways and manners, different food and habits, different tempo. This took courage. They missed the old country. There's a line in a Bernard Shaw play, "Mrs. Warren's Profession": "I kept myself lonely for you!" That is the unspoken sentence of all immigrants toward their children—I made myself long for an old world so you could have a better one.

But everyone over 50 in America feels a certain cultural longing now. They hear the new culture out of the radio, the TV, the billboard, the movie, the talk show. It is so violent, so sexualized, so politicized, so rough. They miss the old America they were born into, 50 to 70 years ago. And they fear, deep down, that this new culture, the one their children live in, isn't going to make it. Because it is, in essence, an assaultive culture, from the pop music coming out of the rental car radio to the TSA agent with her hands on your kids' buttocks. We are increasingly strangers here, and we fear for the future. There are, by the way, 100 million Americans over 50. A third of the nation. That's a lot of displaced people. They are part of the wrong-track numbers.

So is this. In the Old America there were a lot of bad parents. There always are, because being a parent is hard, and not everyone has the ability or even the desire. But in the old America you knew it wasn't so bad, because the culture could bring the kids up. Inadequate parents could sort of say, "Go outside and play in the culture," and the culture—relatively innocent, and boring—could be more or less trusted to bring the kids up. Popular songs, the messages in movies—all of it was pretty hopeful, and, to use a corny old word, wholesome. Grown-ups now know you can't send the kids out to play in the culture, because the culture will leave them distorted and disturbed. And there isn't less bad parenting now than there used to be. There may be more.

There is so much unease and yearning and sadness in America. So much good, too, so much energy and genius. But it isn't a country anyone should be playing games with, and adding to the general sense of loss
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #944 on: July 20, 2011, 01:28:48 AM »

Ten Ways Progressive Policies Harm Society's Moral Character
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
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While liberals are certain about the moral superiority of liberal policies, the truth is that those policies actually diminish a society's moral character. Many individual liberals are fine people, but the policies they advocate tend to make a people worse. Here are 10 reasons:

1. The bigger the government, the less the citizens do for one another. If the state will take care of me and my neighbors, why should I? This is why Western Europeans, people who have lived in welfare states far longer than Americans have, give less to charity and volunteer less time to others than do Americans of the same socioeconomic status.

The greatest description of American civilization was written in the early 19th century by the Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville. One of the differences distinguishing Americans from Europeans that he most marveled at was how much Americans -- through myriad associations -- took care of one another. Until President Franklin Roosevelt began the seemingly inexorable movement of America toward the European welfare state -- vastly expanded later by other Democratic presidents -- Americans took responsibility for one another and for themselves far more than they do today. Churches, Rotary Clubs, free-loan societies and other voluntary associations were ubiquitous. As the state grew, however, all these associations declined. In Western Europe, they have virtually all disappeared.

2. The welfare state, though often well intended, is nevertheless a Ponzi scheme. Conservatives have known this for generations. But now, any honest person must acknowledge it. The welfare state is predicated on collecting money from today's workers in order to pay for those who paid in before them. But today's workers don't have enough money to sustain the scheme, and there are too few of them to do so. As a result, virtually every welfare state in Europe, and many American states, like California, are going broke.

3. Citizens of liberal welfare states become increasingly narcissistic. The great preoccupations of vast numbers of Brits, Frenchmen, Germans and other Western Europeans are how much vacation time they will have and how early they can retire and be supported by the state.

4. The liberal welfare state makes people disdain work. Americans work considerably harder than Western Europeans, and contrary to liberal thought since Karl Marx, work builds character.

5. Nothing more guarantees the erosion of character than getting something for nothing. In the liberal welfare state, one develops an entitlement mentality -- another expression of narcissism. And the rhetoric of liberalism -- labeling each new entitlement a "right" -- reinforces this sense of entitlement.

6. The bigger the government, the more the corruption. As the famous truism goes, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Of course, big businesses are also often corrupt. But they are eventually caught or go out of business. The government cannot go out of business. And unlike corrupt governments, corrupt businesses cannot print money and thereby devalue a nation's currency, and they cannot arrest you.

7. The welfare state corrupts family life. Even many Democrats have acknowledged the destructive consequences of the welfare state on the underclass. It has rendered vast numbers of males unnecessary to females, who have looked to the state to support them and their children (and the more children, the more state support) rather than to husbands. In effect, these women took the state as their husband.

8. The welfare state inhibits the maturation of its young citizens into responsible adults. As regards men specifically, I was raised, as were all generations of American men before me, to aspire to work hard in order to marry and support a wife and children. No more. One of the reasons many single women lament the prevalence of boy-men -- men who have not grown up -- is that the liberal state has told men they don't have to support anybody. They are free to remain boys for as long as they want.

And here is an example regarding both sexes. The loudest and most sustained applause I ever heard was that of college students responding to a speech by President Barack Obama informing them that they would now be covered by their parents' health insurance policies until age 26.

9. As a result of the left's sympathetic views of pacifism and because almost no welfare state can afford a strong military, European countries rely on America to fight the world's evils and even to defend them.

10. The leftist (SET ITAL) weltanschauung (END ITAL) sees society's and the world's great battle as between rich and poor rather than between good and evil. Equality therefore trumps morality. This is what produces the morally confused liberal elites that can venerate a Cuban tyranny with its egalitarian society over a free and decent America that has greater inequality.

None of this matters to progressives. Against all this destructiveness, they will respond not with arguments to refute these consequences of the liberal welfare state, but by citing the terms "social justice" and "compassion," and by labeling their opponents "selfish" and worse.

If you want to feel good, liberalism is awesome. If you want to do good, it is largely awful.

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DougMacG
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« Reply #945 on: July 20, 2011, 12:52:49 PM »

The Prager piece is a nice synopsis of the problem.  We have some more left leaning people on the board.  Would anyone argue that these things are not happening or that it really isn't that bad??

For a whole cross-section of America, government has become the provider, but government is only the vehicle.  We are mandating/coercing other people to be the provider including the next generation.  It is common for conservatives complain on behalf of the people carrying the extra burden, but it misses the central point here.  The programs, by and large, damage the recipients even worse.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #946 on: July 26, 2011, 11:08:02 PM »



I'd like to make you a business offer. Seriously. This is a real offer. In fact, you
really can't turn me down, as you'll come to understand in a moment...

Here's the deal. You're going to start a business or expand the one you've got now.
It doesn't really matter what you do or what you're going to do. I'll partner with
you no matter what business you're in – as long as it's legal. But I can't give you
any capital – you have to come up with that on your own. I won't give you any labor
– that's definitely up to you. What I will do, however, is demand you follow all
sorts of rules about what products and services you can offer, how much (and how
often) you pay your employees, and where and when you're allowed to operate your
business. That's my role in the affair: to tell you what to do.

Now in return for my rules, I'm going to take roughly half of whatever you make in
the business, each year. Half seems fair, doesn't it? I think so. Of course, that's
half of your profits. You're also going to have to pay me about 12% of whatever you
decide to pay your employees because you've got to cover my expenses for
promulgating all of the rules about who you can employ, when, where, and how. Come
on, you're my partner. It's only "fair."

Now... after you've put your hard-earned savings at risk to start this business and
after you've worked hard at it for a few decades (paying me my 50% or a bit more
along the way each year), you might decide you'd like to cash out – to finally live
the good life.

Whether or not this is "fair" – some people never can afford to retire – is a
different argument. As your partner, I'm happy for you to sell whenever you'd
like... because our agreement says, if you sell, you have to pay me an additional
20% of whatever the capitalized value of the business is at that time.

I know... I know... you put up all the original capital. You took all the risks. You
put in all of the labor. That's all true. But I've done my part, too. I've collected
50% of the profits each year. And I've always come up with more rules for you to
follow each year. Therefore, I deserve another, final 20% slice of the business.
Oh... and one more thing...

Even after you've sold the business and paid all of my fees... I'd recommend buying
lots of life insurance. You see, even after you've been retired for years, when you
die, you'll have to pay me 50% of whatever your estate is worth. After all, I've got
lots of partners and not all of them are as successful as you and your family. We
don't think it's "fair" for your kids to have such a big advantage. But if you buy
enough life insurance, you can finance this expense for your children. All in all,
if you're a very successful entrepreneur... if you're one of the rare, lucky, and
hard-working people who can create a new company, employ lots of people, and satisfy
the public... you'll end up paying me more than 75% of your income over your life.
Thanks so much.

I'm sure you'll think my offer is reasonable and happily partner with me... but it
doesn't really matter how you feel about it because if you ever try to stiff me – or
cheat me on any of my fees or rules – I'll break down your door in the middle of the
night, threaten you and your family with heavy, automatic weapons, and throw you in
jail. That's how civil society is supposed to work, right? This is Amerika, isn't
it?

That's the offer Amerika gives its entrepreneurs. And the idiots in Washington
wonder why there are no new jobs...

Crux Note: Porter recently updated his popular "End of America" video with the very
latest developments. If you haven't seen it yet, be sure to click here.

 
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Cranewings
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« Reply #947 on: July 26, 2011, 11:35:21 PM »

Ten Ways Progressive Policies Harm Society's Moral Character
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
ShareThis
While liberals are certain about the moral superiority of liberal policies, the truth is that those policies actually diminish a society's moral character. Many individual liberals are fine people, but the policies they advocate tend to make a people worse. Here are 10 reasons:

6. The bigger the government, the more the corruption. As the famous truism goes, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Of course, big businesses are also often corrupt. But they are eventually caught or go out of business. The government cannot go out of business. And unlike corrupt governments, corrupt businesses cannot print money and thereby devalue a nation's currency, and they cannot arrest you.

7. The welfare state corrupts family life. Even many Democrats have acknowledged the destructive consequences of the welfare state on the underclass. It has rendered vast numbers of males unnecessary to females, who have looked to the state to support them and their children (and the more children, the more state support) rather than to husbands. In effect, these women took the state as their husband.

8. The welfare state inhibits the maturation of its young citizens into responsible adults. As regards men specifically, I was raised, as were all generations of American men before me, to aspire to work hard in order to marry and support a wife and children. No more. One of the reasons many single women lament the prevalence of boy-men -- men who have not grown up -- is that the liberal state has told men they don't have to support anybody. They are free to remain boys for as long as they want.

I just wanted to address a few of these points. I don't entirely disagree with any of them, but I think some of them are too strong to really reflect what's happening.

For 6, I don't like how it dismisses the idea that big business can be corrupt. I think unfettered capitalism leads pretty strongly to monopolies and abused workers. Sure there is a balance that needs to be struck, but it was only rarely struck. We needed the unions and we need the government to control the unfair practices these people naturally turn to. A lot of the time the unions become too powerful in a company and grind it down with mounting government taxes and regulations, but there are other companies that become practical monopolies, drive small business out of towns, ruin communities and pay their workers far too little once they have a position in the community they destroyed where they can get away with it. Business and government are at odds, and I'd like to see more wisdom applied to taxes and regulation, but I wouldn't want to live in the slave state we would have if the DuPont's and Walmarts of the world had free reign.

7 - Most of these women are better off without the dirt bags they would have been stuck with. The divorce rate has risen directly in proportion with with womens' wages and to me, that's a good thing.

8 - I miss read eight. I guess that's true. I'd say it is blown out of proportion. As a medic, many of my friend's are national guard, army reserve, fire fighters, medics and EMTs, many are men and very young. I have a number of friends with kids, working 3 jobs, one of which is their dream job, and the other two they use to support children and build resumes, all while in their early 20's. I've been a medic for 6 years and an EMT before that, I'm 31, in school full time for engineering. I'm not very successful, but I've paid my way and work hard. Luckily my fiancee is very successful.

You are right about the idea of the boy-men, but I think the writer missed the cause. It doesn't have anything to do with the welfare state near as I can see, because I know a lot of dead beats and most of them aren't even on welfare. It is a combination of the successful marketing of the college life where you live on campus and survive on tens of thousands and loans / and the success of the video game companies. These people hire psychologists to figure out how best to trigger the work / reward centers in the brain. I know a lot of men that live a drug addict life style - staying inside all day getting weak and fat, with withering minds, and strange ideas about society, and it is directly because of the 30+ hours of video games they play a week that they could not quit if they wanted to. I don't think most of them know enough about politics to find the work center and ask for food stamps if they went hungry.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2011, 11:37:29 PM by Cranewings » Logged
DougMacG
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« Reply #948 on: July 27, 2011, 10:38:00 AM »

Cranewings,  I enjoyed your take on this.  Without a doubt government program dependency is not the only negative force out there, it is just an amazingly large one.  I have see the video game addiction thing hit young people as well. 

The real dependents (children) live in a world where certain basics and luxuries are provided to them in exchange for varying levels of compliance with family rules or for nothing whatsoever depending on the family.  The difference typically is the expectation of an exit strategy and in the best situations pushed, rewarded, influenced toward real achievement.

In the example let's say of the mid-20s male, out of school, not working and unable/.uninterested in breaking away from a game addiction, someone is enabling.  Probably high achieving and very frustrated parents.  Unlike welfare however, he becomes less likely to reproduce and pass the dependency on to 5 more generations, as welfare unarguably already has.

Your point about divorces increasing as women become more productive being good is true in the cases of women being empowered to leave a bad situation, but I don't see how the whole gamut of deteriorating social statistics can be a good thing overall.  From what I see and read, there is no question that kids overall do best in a home that has a mother and a father in a loving marriage all under one roof.  (That is not always possible; I write as a single father.) 

We are doing many, many things in our public policies to undermine the health of our own society.
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ccp
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« Reply #949 on: July 27, 2011, 11:04:00 AM »

These people are immune from insider trading laws???

Where is the journolist on this?

We are being robbed by Wall Street, some banks, many politicians, some foreign recipients of "aid", fraud and abuse in all government programs, illegals, corporate crime (phone hacking which I can assure you is the very tiny tip of the iceberg based on my experience - I have been posting this for years), organized crime, and more.

Yet the Brock DOJ sees it fit to expand the civil rights division to protect gays, Muslims from being called bad names.

And anyone can wonder for my disgust at the world.  And we in this country pretend corruption is only rampant in other countries?
It is rampant here.

Instead of police officers retiring at 50 they should be retrained to go after white collar crime and paid better.

http://pronlinenews.com/?p=11018
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