Democrats & Liberals Archives

McCain, the Truth & Plagiarism

In the recent Saddleback Forum John McCain trotted out the story of being in the POW camp at Christmas and a guard drew a cross on the ground and the two men stood there looking at it. He said that this was a life changing experience for him. He also told this story in a Christmas ad. The trouble is that this story, while it happened, it happened to someone else - Alexander Solzhenitsyn. What does this say about the man who would be president?

The Gulag Archipelago (1973) contained a story about a fellow prisoner that drew a cross in the dirt and that symbol gave Solzhenitsyn hope and the will to survive the experience. John McCain, who once praised Solzhenitsyn, now steals from him. John McCain has no need to lie about his experience in the POW camp - he was tortured regularly, given little hope of getting out, and had to recover from serious injuries after getting shot down. Why make something up like this? Why did he only start mentioning this story in 1999 when he wrote a detailed account of his experience in 1973 and never mentioned this very powerful story? the answer can only be two possibilities - 1. He is a liar and will say anything in ingratiate himself to a crowd. His life has so few spiritual episodes that he had to lift one off of another author to balance his life of adultery, anger, and bribe taking. 2. He is getting senile and thought that what he read in the Gulag Archipelago happened to him. I don't know which possibility is more disturbing. If McCain had submitted this story as a paper in school he would have been expelled. What would possess someone to tell a fib like this? Especially one so easy to reference in his own writing and in the writing of others - it just doesn't make sense.

Joe Biden was drummed out of the 1988 presidential campaign over a plagiarism scandal for using a line from British Labour leader, Neil Kinnock. He did credit Kinnock four times for the quote but neglected to do so the fifth time. His own party pounced on him like vultures and ran him out of the campaign. This is hardly as bad as what McCain did, first in his Christmas ad and then last weekend at Saddleback - his lie was an attempt to ingratiate himself to a group where he has had problems, the religious right. Maybe he is taking a play out of the George W. Bush playbook - if you tell a lie enough times and get other people to repeat your lie then it becomes truth. Why not? This tactic has worked so famously for the guy who had his campaign "anonymously" use push polls and rumors to suggest that McCain fathered a black child out of wedlock, that his wife was a drug addict, that he was a homosexual, and that he was either a Manchurian Candidate or a willing traitor.

I thought that McCain had done better than Obama in this forum - he seemed comfortable, articulate, and effective. It was not Obama's night. Now I am disturbed at how easy and natural it is for the Straight Talk Express to lie. At least George Bush is a bad liar (not that he still doesn't get away with it) - you can see it in his face, in his insane cackle, and in his body language.

Posted by T.C. Sned at August 19, 2008 8:56 AM
Comments
Comment #258861

Whoa!

I’ve read two of Solzhenitsyn’s books - his writing has the ring of truth.

When I heard McCain tell that story, I remembered thinking, ‘would a NV guard do that?’, because considering that NV guard’s culture, tradition, background, and high level of patriotism against those who did not belong in his land, I thought it unlikely at best.

Now that this is verified, I am now offended at someone, a fellow Navy man I had considered a bona-fide hero.

Now I have to ask - has his claim that he was offered freedom by the Viet Cong verified by any reliable source?

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 19, 2008 10:18 AM
Comment #258863


If I am not mistaken, the media jumped on Biden, then the other candidates, then the party.

While it is possible that McCain had a similar, nearly identical experience as Solzhenitsyn, it is not likely. My favorite comment by McCain came during the primaries when he said that what sustainded him during his terrible ordeal was think about that great American, the governor of California at that time, Ronald Reagan.

Posted by: jlw at August 19, 2008 10:57 AM
Comment #258866

jlw,

Reagan had only been sworn in as governor barely 10 months before McCain was captured.

Posted by: Rocky Marks at August 19, 2008 11:15 AM
Comment #258868

I was chastised (moderately) yesterday when I posted the links for this information. Does this mean I’m vindicated???? ;) ….and ….. significantly more than that, what does it mean in the broad picture?? Will we pursue justice and expect someone to do the honorable thing? Will the Republican party continue to display this candidate as their shining example of Presidential perfection? Where is all the lying, bogus and blatant seeking of symapathy and support , and just general screwing of the American people going to end?

Posted by: janedoe at August 19, 2008 11:22 AM
Comment #258869

T.C. Sned,
Thanks for bringing this to peoples attention. I’ve been reading about this elsewhere too. I consider this way worse than Hillary claiming she dodged the “sniper fire” in Tuzla.
I mean, lying about what you claim was a life-altering spiritual moment? Well, that’s just really hitting bottom.
Here’s another detail: Mark Salter, McCain’s long time aid and campaign adviser from his 1999 run for the presidency (when McCain started telling this story) and in this campaign, is a bit of an expert on Soltzhenitsyn. In fact, McCain and Salter published a book in 2007 called Hard Call in which they analyze historical figures, including Solzhenitsyn.
Also, McCain has told this story quite a few times, and one particular detail has changed. In some tellings the guard supposedly drew the cross with “his sandal” (were sandals standard issue for Vietcong military guards on duty?) and in other tellings the guard used “a stick.” Wouldn’t you remember a detail like that with crystal clarity if it was in fact your own authentic experience?
I know I would.

Glenn:

I am now offended at someone, a fellow Navy man I had considered a bona-fide hero.

You’re not alone, Glenn. Lots of military men don’t like or trust John McCain at all, and many are offended by how he has politicized his POW experience for his own gain. Even people he knows well. Check out this article from military.com: Why I Will Not Vote for John McCain

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at August 19, 2008 11:28 AM
Comment #258874

VV -

On the sandals - flip-flops were normal. They were much cooler (and much less expensive) than boots.

Come to think of it, they’re normal for McCain, too.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 19, 2008 12:25 PM
Comment #258875

As somebody who has a personal interest in neuroscience (at least more than most), memory was one of the things I learned about.

The word for remembering something falsely as being your own memory that actually was done or said by somebody else is cryptomnesia. With a short anecdote like this, it’s particularly plausible.

Memory is reconstructive, and reconstruction often takes the path of least resistance. Three possibilities present themselves in this light:
1) Deliberate Plagiarism. 2) Actual Similarity of events, whether by accident or intention of one or both of the parties. 3) Mnemonic confusion over the source, which leads a person to treat a particularly vivid anecdote or image as either inspiration or recollection for the memory.

Those options presented, though, we can certainly say that the tale was of uncertain provenance and reliability.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 19, 2008 12:46 PM
Comment #258879

>Those options presented, though, we can certainly say that the tale was of uncertain provenance and reliability.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 19, 2008 12:46 PM

Stephen,

As we can say about almost all of McPain’s related experiences. Including his affirmation of NOT being outside the ‘cone of silence’ for the evangelical minister…whom we can also say the same thing about…?

Posted by: Marysdude at August 19, 2008 1:13 PM
Comment #258880

“Check out this article from military.com: Why I Will Not Vote for John McCain”
Posted by: Veritas Vincit at August 19, 2008 11:28 AM

VV, what’s your point in citing the article written by Dr. Phillip Butler? Is a pro Obama POW so unimaginable? Reading the piece it seems that Dr. Butler’s primary reason for not voting for McCain is that he believes McCain is using his POW status to enhance his resume. Is that really so objectionable and offensive? We only have to look back 4 years to find a similar political use of military service by Mr. Kerry.

I will vote for Mr. McCain for two reasons and neither are connected to his being a POW. #1, McCain understands the need to use our God-given natural resources to keep our economy and country strong while we develop new technologies, and #2,
he believes that individual freedom and creativity is at the root of our greatness, not government.

Posted by: Jim M at August 19, 2008 1:18 PM
Comment #258881

John, my theory is that it is very improbable that the experience happened to two people especially since one of the people had read the writings of the other person and liked it enough to recommend the work to others and that this person who is now relating this story did not mention it in his description of his stay in the prison that he wrote at the time when his memory was fresh. Now, 30 years later he just happens to remember this story when he needs to get the support of the deeply religious faction in his party. As any homicide detective will tell you, there are no coincidences. There are way too many “coincidences” for McCain’s story to be true. Though you do not seem to be deterred by annoying things like facts so you can go on in your delusional state and believe that all Republicans can do no wrong and all Democrats are traitors.

I agree with Stephen about human memory. I did much of my graduate research in multimedia learning experiments and the way people reconstruct memory from visual, auditory, and sensory input can certainly yield unexpected results. I hope that McCain has just conflated his experience in the prison with The Gulag Archipelago and created a new memory that he believes is as real as remembering what he had for breakfast yesterday but it seems too convenient to be accidental. With all of his handlers and writers checking what he says against the facts and at least letting him know when he is on thin ice someone had to have said something. Though, what they learned from the current president is that truth is whatever you say it is and just keep repeating it and it will become true.

McCain has told this story too many times to ever acknowledge and error in recollection because he will either be branded a liar or a senile old coot - either are not good labels for someone wanting to be president. Now that this story is starting to circulate the real test will be if he tries to tell the story again or let it fade from the campaign.

Prior to 2000 I would have given McCain the benefit of the doubt but that experience running against the lies of George Bush seemed to change him. No more straight talk, no more maverick, just an angry, power hungry man who will do or say anything to get the job that he covets.

Posted by: tcsned at August 19, 2008 1:56 PM
Comment #258888

>McCain understands the need to use our God-given natural resources to keep our economy and country strong while we develop new technologies, and
#2, he believes that individual freedom and creativity is at the root of our greatness, not government.

Posted by: Jim M at August 19, 2008 01:18 PM

Jim,

If you weren’t serious, this would be funny.

McPain does NOT believe in pursuing any kind of energy. he is too deep in the pockets of oil to think about research. He is too deep into the Patriot Act to believe in LESS government…

Posted by: Marysdude at August 19, 2008 2:33 PM
Comment #258890

Stephen -

I agree with you that it’s possible that the two had such a similar event and that cryptomnesia could be to blame. In fact, my memory is famously bad - and I found out earlier this year that it’s not because of a mental illness or Alzheimer’s (thank God!), but apparently because of a simple overload of information. With all the information I habitually take in each day, important details get lost in the noise.

As a result, I believe I’ve had that experience of cryptomnesia, although (and quite fittingly) I can’t put my finger on when it may have happened. Thank you for putting a name to it…although I must wonder as well if the mere mention of ‘cryptomnesia’ has caused me to assume such simply by the power of suggestion. Or maybe I just need to get another cup of coffee.

As to McCain, I doubt that he has had the same kind of experience of cryptomnesia and ‘details getting lost in the noise’ that I’ve had. I say that because I see no constant thirst for knowledge simply for the sake of knowledge on his part.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 19, 2008 2:40 PM
Comment #258900

Glenn,

You don’t think Senators get a buttload of information shoved at them on a constant basis? Or is it just McCain that is immune to this phenomenon?

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 19, 2008 4:05 PM
Comment #258902

“McPain does NOT believe in pursuing any kind of energy. he is too deep in the pockets of oil to think about research. He is too deep into the Patriot Act to believe in LESS government…”
Posted by: Marysdude at August 19, 2008 02:33 PM

McCain has often spoken of his energy plans which include more exploration and use of our natural resources, nuclear, and new emerging technologies. He believes, like the other 66% of Americans that drill now and drill here is sound policy. And, he believes the Patriot Act is designed to keep America free from terrorism.

Mr. Obama is hanging his hopes for energy on technology in its infancy with many years of more work and developing infrastructure before coming online in any significant amount. And he is betting our future on our enemies being swayed by his “unproven” diplomatic skills.

For me marysdude, I’ll take the bird in the hand rather than the two geese in Obama’s stew pot of wishful thinking.

Obama’s idea of freedom is to take more from the pockets of every American to fund his give-a-ways. Not only are decisions about life and death (abortion) above his stated “pay grade”, so also is responsible government spending.

I heard someone say recently that Obama is a prime example of affirmative action. How else explain his candidacy over other much better qualified democrat candidates. Just as affirmative action was a failed liberal idea, thoroughly denounced by the courts and public opinion, so will the Obama candidacy.

Posted by: Jim M at August 19, 2008 4:15 PM
Comment #258906
McPain does NOT believe in pursuing any kind of energyWasn’t McCain the one who rightfully pointed out that electric cars are not going to be accepted by the public until the battery technology changes and we can drive into a ‘fillup station’ and charge our cars in minutes, not hours?

I seem to remember Obama’s hitmen out calling this lucid observation ridiculous…

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 19, 2008 4:25 PM
Comment #258907
And, he believes the Patriot Act is designed to keep America free from terrorism.

Jim M, do you remember what the path to hell was paved with?

Opressing people to keep them safe doesn’t really sit will with people who understand what liberty really is…

It isn’t good when Republicans do it, with the patriot act, criminalizing gambling and drugs or other such things or when Democrats do it, with the RICO statues and trying to control most decisions that Americans should be making for themselves.

I would rather see us eliminate the stupid airplane checkpoints that do nothing but violate individual rights and treat us as cattle than to live in fear and huddle scared in a corner of my house. If you kill me while I am being oppressed, how have you hurt me?

How we live our lives is more important that if we live our lives longer.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 19, 2008 4:29 PM
Comment #258911

I would say that it would be forgivable if it happened once and if he came out and retracted it but since it has happened several times including a campaign ad last Christmas that I can’t believe that he doesn’t know that this event did not happen. It is probably some staffer that told him that he can’t retract the statement or else it would throw cold water on the straight talk express. I’m sure he knows that it did not happen now and his campaign says nothing. I did not break this story it has been circulating around since Saddleback and probably even before that.

Rhinehold - I don’t think McCain is immune to this phenomenon, he mixed up Sunni and Shiite several times, and used Czechoslovakia in a recent speech too. He just turns a mistake into a lie by repeating it and by not apologizing and getting out in front of it. There is the problem - we all get facts confused but if we are honest we admit it, apologize, and move on. We haven’t heard that yet.

With all of the gaffs McCain has been making some 527 could make a really brutal ad making him look like he is losing his mind. He is, after all, in his 70s and with our last septuagenarian president’s problems with Alzheimer’s it is a legitimate thing to consider when voting for our next president. I don’t know whether or not McCain is getting senile but he is making a lot of errors in memory. Now I don’t for one minute think that there aren’t 70 year olds who would make excellent presidents, that are mentally sharp, and physically healthy but McCain is showing signs of his age wearing on him and it is not likely to get any better. He is 72 (older than Reagan when he became president) - that makes him 76 at the end of a first term 80 at the end of 2 terms - only a handful of presidents even lived that long.

Posted by: tcsned at August 19, 2008 4:41 PM
Comment #258913

Jim M.-
McCain doesn’t mention it once and let it lie. To paraphrase what was said about Giuliani, it seems like McCain’s sentences have a Noun, a Verb, and a POW. He references it even where it doesn’t have a bit of relevance.

The guy objects to the way he uses his experience as if he it was something personally special about him that allowed him to make it through, when others helped him and he helped them. He glorifies himself for what was a community effort.

It’s funny, though. Somebody asked Bobby Jindal about what McCain’s big ideas were, and the guy was stumped. Few people are stumped about what the over-arching big ideas of Obama’s campaign are.

But what’s even funnier is that you bring up affirmative action.

Affirmative action is what you give those who are barely qualified. Tie goes to the runner. He has to be borderline for it to even enter into it.

Obama fought his way up into the Ivy leagues, graduated Magna Cum Laude, taught as a professor at a tier one law school, and managed to win enough state primaries and caucus to hand the Clinton’s their rear ends. He fought across all fifty states and several territories, but essentially ran a strategy that locked up his nomination much earlier. They are studying that strategy in schools now, trying to emulate his success.

That you imply that Obama is simply some political charity case is revolting. More than any other candidate in recent times, he earned his nomination. It wasn’t merely handed to him after a few nominal contests.

John-
Did you know that POW’s, under the Geneva Convention, cannot accept early release on those terms? They are obligated to refuse such parole until everybody’s released.

As for his POW status, there is nothing that prevents an honorable POW from bebecoming a dishonorable politician. People change. Unfortunately, McCain did not change entirely for the better.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 19, 2008 4:49 PM
Comment #258914
we all get facts confused but if we are honest we admit it, apologize, and move on. We haven’t heard that yet.

I agree, which is what I said about John Kerry when he continuously mentioned his Christmas in Cambodia.

I don’t know whether or not McCain is getting senile but he is making a lot of errors in memory

Like suggesting that your parents ‘got together’ and created you during an event that took place after you were born, or saying that there were 51 states?

It is not a result of age as it is a result of being human and having thousands of people being paid to follow you around and report on everything you say, especially when you mess up.

It should not matter how old he is, if he can do the job then he can do the job. If he dies before the end of his term, the country will move on just as we did with Kennedy died, Roosevelt died, etc. Just because you are older doesn’t mean you are about to die or that you won’t out live your opponent. In fact, I find it a very shallow and suspicious reason not to vote for someone.

And honestly, 72 is not that old. In fact, aren’t we thinking about changing the retirement age for SS to that soon?

Posted by: rhinehold at August 19, 2008 4:51 PM
Comment #258917

Rhinehold - you make an excellent point about the whole giving up freedoms for security issue. Both Republicans and Democrats had a hand in this. What they don’t see is that every time the bar of what is acceptable gets pushed a little further that it sets a precedent. Therefore, Bush’s starting point of where that line is was set by Clinton so he didn’t have to do all the damage himself. Now the GOP is, in all probability, going to have to hand the reigns off to Obama who can push it a little further if he wants.

These supporters of the Patriot Act that don’t mind if Bush wiretaps a few people without warrants, or tortures a few people who are innocent, or denies habeas corpus to a few people because you trust him - how would you feel about giving Barack Obama this power? or someone you tust even less?

Posted by: tcsned at August 19, 2008 4:56 PM
Comment #258918

Things are a bit more complicated than originally supposed.

The story is most likely apocryphal, circulated around by certain right-wing folks as if Solzhenitsyn were the one it happened to.

Further comments indicate, though, that McCain’s recall of detail changes. In one instance, he might recall the cross being drawn for another prisoner by a guard. In another it might be for him. In yet another, it might be a fellow prisoner, and yet another, it might be a sandal rather than a stick. One thing is clear, others were telling this tale first.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 19, 2008 4:58 PM
Comment #258919

tscned,

Yes, little by little is how we lose our freedoms, not in one fell swoop. A good chuck of the Patriot act would never have been possible had the RICO statutes not paved the way…

It is why I get tired of hearing that being concerned about some topic or another is a ‘slippery slope’ fallacy, because that is exactly how it happens. 2 decades ago no one would have thought it possible that we would be able to tell people what to eat, but it is just right around the corner now, some areas of the country are already trying it…

It’s all a matter of time before we are under fascist rule, if we aren’t already there yet and don’t know it. We’ll pass China in the night someday and realize that they are more free than we are…

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 19, 2008 4:59 PM
Comment #258921

I don’t think that age is necessarily a negative. It is only a factor if the candidate is showing signs of senility or illness or any of the ravages of age that can affect his judgment. I think McCain is showing some of these signs and god I hope I am wrong if he manages to get elected.

You said, “It should not matter how old he is, if he can do the job then he can do the job.” That is true but if he can’t do the job because of an age related issue then he can’t do the job. I don’t think it is discriminatory to look into how age is affecting McCain considering everything he has done on the campaign. Being old doesn’t give you a free pass either.

You are right about the thousands of people following these candidates around and digging up dirt on everything that they say. These guys know this and both have paid a price for ignoring this (do we all remember Obama’s “bitter” comments?). But it doesn’t excuse lies, misstatements, repeated gaffs, etc. I think it’s good that our leaders are looked over for what they say and fact checked by more than the mainstream media. If you lie or mess up you should be called out.

Posted by: tcsned at August 19, 2008 5:13 PM
Comment #258922

More perspective on the cross in the dirt story, re: McCain’s captivity.

and,

Andrew Sullivan reports that according to the Bush Adminsitration’s definition of torture, McCain was not tortured.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 19, 2008 5:18 PM
Comment #258924

“I would rather see us eliminate the stupid airplane checkpoints that do nothing but violate individual rights and treat us as cattle than to live in fear and huddle scared in a corner of my house. If you kill me while I am being oppressed, how have you hurt me?” Posted by: Rhinehold at August 19, 2008 04:29 PM

Macho Rhinehold apparently isn’t aware of potential attacks that were stopped by necessary airport screening. I wonder why Rhinehold isn’t cognizant that airport screening is an activity practiced worldwide.

Would Rhinehold also recommend lifting inspections being done by USDA, SEC, and other government agencies attempting to ensure our protection against all types of threats.

I vacation in Europe each year and take reasonable precautions against being pick-pocketed or mugged. I don’t fear going but I am aware of the dangers out there if I am careless. To equate reasonable precautions and regulations as a threat to our individual freedom is a real stretch.

Obama as a man in his 40’s makes his share of gaffs as do we all. To the best of my knowledge he has taken two notable political positions. One, while not an office holder, is used to buttress his worthiness as president concerned going to war in Iraq. Proclaimed as a great thinker his position on this issue was made for the benefit of his office seeking ambitions. The other, being the only person in the Illinois Senate to vote for destroying the life of aborted babies who somehow lived thru this gruesome process.

WE have recently been treated to his parsing of that vote. I say bullshit. Was he the only democrat in the Illinois Senate who perceived a threat to Roe v Wade in that bill? Of course not, he again was pandering for his office seeking ambitions. Are there any on this blog who would consciously vote to allow a baby who is born and out of the womb to be killed? I hope not.

Obama will follow in the footsteps of Bill Clinton and increase taxes on everyone. Clinton had no problem increasing, by 75%, the tax that America’s seniors pay on Social Security benefits. House Bill 192, now before congress, if passed will repeal this outrageous raping of our seniors and perhaps send a message to Obama, Pelosi and Reid that we’re tired of their drumbeat for higher taxes and more wasteful government spending.

These three same dems are afraid to allow a vote on offshore drilling. They know the American people overwhelmingly approve but once again, they wish to thwart the public will. Although, to be fair, I should add that Nancy has now agreed that it may be more important than “saving the planet” which was her original excuse for denying a vote.

Posted by: Jim M at August 19, 2008 5:55 PM
Comment #258931

I would tend to agree with Rhinehold about the airport screening thing - while some sort of check for weapons is fine with me, the ridiculous search for liquids, for example, was based on information about possible bomb components that turned out to be not true yet the policy remains.
Jim - that bill in Illinois did open the door to ban abortions. And when I say ban abortions, I mean ban abortions for the poor - do you think that someone wealthy enough to fly out of the country to get the procedure will not do so? So poor people without the funds will not have access to a safe legal abortion. Maybe if we had an administration that preached something other than abstinence we would have fewer unwanted pregnancies and fewer abortions. Though I really don’t feel like starting a debate on this issue.

As to offshore drilling - when the oil companies exploit all the area they currently have and are not using then we can talk about more. Once again, offshore drilling won’t save us a penny. That oil will wind up on the world market and likely wind up in Chinese hands - not in you gas tank. The only people that stand to benefit from offshore drilling is the oil companies. They say that offshore drilling is safe - how many oil rigs spilled oil into the Gulf during Katrina? According to MSNCBC there were 44 separate spills.

If the American people overwhelmingly approve of a bad idea that doesn’t mean we should do it.

Posted by: tcsned at August 19, 2008 7:09 PM
Comment #258932

tcsned says, “That oil will wind up on the world market and likely wind up in Chinese hands - not in you gas tank.”

Brilliant deduction. Obviously you agree that more supply will help the entire world. Is that bad? We grow corn and soybeans for world consumption. Is that bad? You miss the obvious however, and that is the dollars from the sale of American produced oil remain in American, employ American’s and are taxed by America. And, makes America less dependent on foreign oil. Is that bad?

Please link to the MSNBC site to backup your claim of 44 oil spills. Most of the oil introduced into the world’s oceans come from both natural seepage and from leaking tankers. Pumping our own oil in undersea pipelines a distance of around 50 miles should be welcome as opposed to shipping it halfway around the world in tankers that leak on occasion.

It doesn’t require great thought to imagine the savings if oil is pumped from 50 miles away directly into the refinery. Would anyone argue this is not a cost saving (and enviromentaly friendly) rather than shipping it 7,000 miles. The fuel to move a ship thousands of miles is not inconsequential and there will be a huge amount of oil conserved by this action alone. We currently purchase the majority of our oil from Canada and Mexico because of the proxmity. We are currently expanding our refining capacity in Texas and Louisiana to help meet demand. Drilling for offshore oil and in Anwar is sensible and the correct thing to do at this time. When alternatives are available we will switch to them. What’s your problem with that?

Why was Obama the only Illinois senator to vote to kill babies who are alive after the abortion attempt? You have bought into the latest Obama parsing to help save his own ass. What other BS of his are you swallowing?

Posted by: Jim M at August 19, 2008 7:33 PM
Comment #258934

The cross in the dirt sounds like it’s derivative from the Emperor Constantine’s cross in the sky. Maybe they both got the idea from him.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 19, 2008 7:58 PM
Comment #258936

Rhinehold -

You don’t think Senators get a buttload of information shoved at them on a constant basis? Or is it just McCain that is immune to this phenomenon?

Let me assure you there’s a BIG difference between someone who gets information shoved at them, and someone who has a genuine thirst for knowledge for the sake of knowledge.

Does McCain have that ‘thirst for knowledge’?

- He apparently doesn’t know how to use e-mail, much less browse the internet.

- Despite three wars in the region (two ongoing), he (1) doesn’t know that Iraq doesn’t share a border with Pakistan, (2) doesn’t know that Shi’a Iran has nothing to do with Sunni Al-Qaeda, (3) doesn’t have a clue about the significance of the Sunni/Shi’a schism (and how such can be used to our advantage).

- He forgot that Czechoslovakia hasn’t existed for over a decade.

- And then there’s the time he spoke of “President Putin of Germany”.

And the above are despite the fact that McCain’s supposed to be oh-so-strong in foreign policy! More can be found at http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0708/11939.html

Has Obama made mistakes? Sure - there’s the ‘57-state’ gaffe…but if you’ll read the context it becomes crystal clear that it really was a mere slip of the tongue and nothing more.

But the above lack of knowledge (and senior moments) by McCain are of a much greater degree than Obama’s. Really, now, would you hire a CEO who didn’t know (and didn’t care) how to read e-mail? And yet you’d elect a president with the same shortcomings?

I mean, after Bush II one would think the conservatives would wise up and not elect someone with so little intellectual curiousity (and who apparently sees no need for it)…but you’d rather elect this (and this is NOT an insult) willfully ignorant man instead of a Harvard Magna cum Laude for the most powerful office in the world?

P.S. How did McCain make it through the Naval Academy, even if he was near the bottom of the class? That’s not so hard when your dad’s a four-star admiral. If you think nepotism isn’t alive and well in the military, think again.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 19, 2008 8:39 PM
Comment #258943

John wrote: “To suggest a Hero like John McCain who was tortured for over 4 years would stoop to the same leval as a John Kerry by lying about his military service is an insult to all that have served.”

This sad comment reveals much about what is wrong with most conservatives that I come across. It must be tough for thoughtful, reasonable political conservatives to deal with this kind of baggage.

We liberals have the equivalent types to deal with. I promise not to project John’s ludicrous mindset as the standard for conservate thinking if you conservatives will do the same for us.

Jeesh… that statement is the epitome of partisanship. We are truly lost if a sizeable portion of the voting block thinks like this… conservative or liberal.

Posted by: LibRick at August 19, 2008 9:31 PM
Comment #258945

I’m sorry Glenn, even though I am a computer person, not all people see any point or want to use or learn about them. My wife, for example, is very very much into learning, but in areas that she is interested in and she is definately not a computer person. The fallacy that someone does not have a thirst for knowledge because they don’t want to learn anything about computers seems to go unquestioned.

And I didn’t say he had a thirst for knowledge either, but that he has information overload, which was the point I was countering. SD made the point that it was information overload that could cause the situation that he was describing, but then tried to say that McCain doesn’t suffer from information overload because he doesn’t care about computers. The fact is that he does have to deal with a lot of information being presented to him constantly, much more than many citizens, by the nature of his job.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 19, 2008 11:08 PM
Comment #258946

tcsned:

McCain has told this story too many times to ever acknowledge and error in recollection because he will either be branded a liar or a senile old coot - either are not good labels for someone wanting to be president.

This is a bad situation for McCain — at least in the blogosphere. Because it would seem SO slimy to admit that it never happened to him, and that he was only saying it in order to gain votes and sympathy among rightwing Christians. Yet continuing to say that it happened will only remind people of how the doddering old Reagan claimed he’d gone into a concentration camp to free the Jewish people at the end of WWII, when he had actually been sitting in Hollywood watching newsreels about it. Remember that one folks?

Now that this story is starting to circulate the real test will be if he tries to tell the story again or let it fade from the campaign.

The MSM will try like crazy to ignore it for him. They’ve ignored every other gaffe, mistake, or embarrassing situation he’s been in during this election, have they not? No, the only way this is likely to get mentioned will be if Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, or Keith Olbermann brings it up. It might also get out among the general public if someone in one of those Townhall events that McCain is so fond of decides to stand up and directly ask him about it — which may then end up on Youtube as a viral video.

Prior to 2000 I would have given McCain the benefit of the doubt but that experience running against the lies of George Bush seemed to change him. No more straight talk, no more maverick, just an angry, power hungry man who will do or say anything to get the job that he covets.

I don’t understand why everyone thinks he’s changed so much since 2000. The Keating Five scandal was well before then, and the vast majority of the man’s votes have always belied the “maverick” tag.

If you lie or mess up you should be called out.

It seems pretty clear he lied, but whether he will ever get called out for it remains to be seen.

Stephen:

One thing is clear, others were telling this tale first.

Indeed. It’s appearing like this story, which eventually got attributed to Soltzhenitsyn at some point, has been floating around in some evangelical circles since at least the 1950’s (though it might be even older). This according to people who have been asking around about it in the blogs today. They’re asking people who are, or were raised, as evangelicals, and who claim to remember this tale very well, but back when they first heard it, the story was about an American POW and a Nazi during WWII.
Obviously McCain and his campaign people decided to build him a narrative: a touching, tear-jerker that they knew the rightwing Christians would gobble up when he was running for president the first time around. He used to have a big problem with these folks, so he needed such a story. So it looks like he took the bit about the guard who he’d claimed had once been nice to him, and polished it up by adding on the old Christmas/ Cross-In-The-Dirt part.
He’s been using it ever since.
But good heavens, lying about a supposedly personal, life-altering spiritual experience simply for votes? Hard to imagine anything more dishonest and inauthentic.

tcsned:

I would say that it would be forgivable if it happened once and if he came out and retracted it but since it has happened several times including a campaign ad last Christmas that I can’t believe that he doesn’t know that this event did not happen.

He knows. Changing it so many times simply screams that it isn’t the truth.

JimM:

what’s your point in citing the article written by Dr. Phillip Butler?

My point was to show that even someone who went to school with and knew McCain, and who was a fellow POW, doesn’t like how he has been politicizing the POW experience. Nor does he like the idea of McCain becoming president.
There are lots and lots of other POW’s and other members of the military who are saying the exact same things about McCain. If you want I can give you more links to what some of these guys have been saying. Also, the families of Vietnam POW’s who are missing and never returned home hold an awful lot of hostility toward McCain, too.
This is because his actions as a Senator have kept them from being able to gain access to military documents from that time period that might help their cause. You see, a large number of these people have never given up searching for their loved ones, and many of them seem to think McCain has obstructed things because he’s trying to hide something about his own record. I’m not sure if there is any truth in that, but it is what more than a few of them seem to think.

Is a pro Obama POW so unimaginable?

Not unimaginable at all. Lots of vets know that Democrats have been doing a good job by our military — both our active duty, and our veterans. In fact, active military have been donating to Obama’s campaign six times as much as they have to McCain’s.

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at August 19, 2008 11:10 PM
Comment #258949

Jim M-
Although I don’t share Rhinehold’s opinion about the complete elimination of security at airports, I do agree that it’s become a massively stupid.

Rather than learn reasonable lessons, and simply not let people take on knives, box-cutters and other junk that somebody could do real damage with, it’s become an exercise in intercepting what Bruce Schneier calls movie-plot threats, essentially the truly absurd and convoluted stuff that only a terrorist existing within an alternate movie universe would be likely to pull off, or even try to pull off.

When we concentrate time, money, and policy on such wild goose chases of security, we’re making ourselves less, not more secure. Hence, people get guns and knives past security with alarming regularity in drills and tests. We have a terrorist No Fly list with Hundreds of thousands of people on it, most of whom are not terrorists at all, but few of them are going to be removed on the off chance that one of the people removed actually is a terrorist.

Only God has the kind of foresight which could make a system like this work. And with out God taking an active hand in governing our country, what we we’re going to find, with such poorly overseen and poorly slapped together security is a system more likely to become a threat to our way of life than an effective barrier to a concerted terrorist attack.

This is the kind of system your administration has given us. You’ve mistaken vast information awareness for meaningful information awareness. In reality, having all the information in the world is just overload in the making, or an un-American abuse of rights just waiting to happen. Meaningful information awareness means doing the kind of detective work, and correctly focusing your own selective attention to find the pieces of information that actually save you real trouble in figuring out what the terrorists are doing, who they are and where they are.

And you know what? a system that requires one to get warrants, to get confirmation on information and be accountable to those you police is one where the focus will tend to be more seriously on the right information.

On the abortion bill thing? It’s politics. Nearly every abortion takes place before the child is at an age where they are viable. It is so unlikely that a child will be born live from one of these abortions, that it really amounts to political rhetoric and propaganda rather than serious policy.

On the tax thing? You folks talk about balanced budgets. Clinton achieved that, and you’ll never forgive him for that.

On the social security tax thing, Obama has promised to reduce taxes to zero for any senior making less than fifty thousand a year.

As for Offshore drilling? the Department of Energy estimates that for the mean estimate of how much oil is in ANWR, we could expect the biggest impact on production to peak in 2025, and that would take a grand total of seventy-five cents off a barrel. Not a gallon of gas, a barrel of oil. We’re talking pennies on the dollar savings on gas for our biggest potential oil field. Even if the best case scenario happens, the best possible outcome will be a dollar forty-four off that barrel. And in 2025, that barrel is likely to be a hell of a lot more expensive, so what savings is this going to produce in the real world?

The Republicans have become a party all too willing to lead the way in embracing gimmicks and hare-brained ideas in the name of macho politics. Yes, it feels good to say, let’s drill for our own oil. But our best efforts will shave little cost, in the real world, from our actual prices.

This is what we should expect from the Republicasn Party: promised salvation from our problems that falls terribly short, but which few Republicans will have the guts to break the party orthodoxy on, much less the Maverick himself.

This is part of why we won the last election: people want a party in power that doesn’t have a doctrinal opposition to actually getting the job done, to even admitting that something’s wrong if its politically inconvenient.

The alternatives are possible right now, and the use of non-fossil fuel sources will immediately have an impact on conservation. If people start driving hybrids and plug-in hybrids for the most part, that conservation will rise.

The only effective way, on the downside of peak oil, to reduce prices, is to conserve. Unless and until the Republicans face that cold hard fact, they will not have any serious solutions to offer Americans.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 19, 2008 11:15 PM
Comment #258951
Clinton achieved that

No he didn’t.

Do you really want to get into that Stephen?

Tell me, did any budget that congress (you know, the ones responsible for allocating funds, not the president) ever send to Clinton ever have a decrease in spending? The only reason that the tax receipts increased was because of the .com bubble and y2k spending, the fact that we were in a recession when Clinton took office is a perfect example of that, the .com bubble had burst and y2k was over, consultants getting rich had to go back to real work.

And did the debt get lowered at any time? No. Did money go to SS as it was supposed to? No. Instead, we increased the debt that the country owes each and every year that Clinton was in office. Lord knows what would have happened without the efforts of those like Gates, Anderson, Ellison and McNealy…

This is part of why we won the last election: people want a party in power that doesn’t have a doctrinal opposition to actually getting the job done, to even admitting that something’s wrong if its politically inconvenient.

Which they’ve spent 2 years not doing. Why would anyone think that this group can do what you suggest when they’ve proven over the past couple of years that they won’t or can’t.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 19, 2008 11:31 PM
Comment #258954

TC,

It goes far beyond Mccain’s ability to spin a yarn!

#1. This was a religious test for the qualification of someone to be POTUS, and yeah that’s a violation of the constitution. But it’s just an old piece of paper! Although some of us tend to believe it’s a “living document” Scalia pronounced it dead so it must be dead. After all Scalia is never wrong!

#2. Pastor Prick lied about McCain being in a cone of silence. Those who choose to believe Pastor Prick had no knowledge about where McCain really was deserve to be led to slaughter like obedient lambs! What about the coin toss?

#3. Just how “fair and balanced” was this forum? We’ve all watched McCain speak before ………. and after! Today speaking from an off-shore rig he was back to his normal self. He could not speak more than 6 words at a time without looking at his notes (or teleprompter).

Ah hell, I could go on but I’ll skip to #167:

Pastor Prick claimed to be unbiased. OK! So how did this happen? Last night, the 18th of August, 2008 on Larry King Live the “Scary Larry” show played a clip of Pastor Prick asking, “Does evil exist? And if it does, do we ignore it, do we negotiate with it, do we contain it, do we defeat it?”

Then the Scary Larry show goes to clips of both Osama, er, uh, I mean Obama and McCain answering.

Then Larry asks, “What do you think of — do you think he took the political route there, did Senator McCain?”

Then Pastor Prick says, “You know, Larry, here’s another case where both of them made a very good point. In the first place, Barack mentioned the fact that there’s evil in America, not just overseas. It’s not just something out there. We do have evil in America. We have racism. We have injustice. We have poverty. We have rape, and all of the things that happen in the inner city, as well as in the suburbs. And that was a good point.”

“On the other hand, John was very clear that you can’t negotiate with evil. You have to defeat it. Honestly, I think he was thinking not just of Obama, I think really what was on his heart too was this interest of Russia recently invading Georgia.”

Now, let me repeat just part of that: “John was very clear that you can’t negotiate with evil. You have to defeat it. Honestly, I think he was thinking not just of Obama,”

Oh God Damn! He has the same trouble with Obama and Osama that I have with Rick and Prick!

But really think about it. Warren almost always referred to both candidates by there first names! Now, when it comes to evil, he mis-speaks! Yeah, right ………. and I still have that ocean front property for sale near Wichita!

Make up your own mind, the Rush Transcript is here:

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0808/18/lkl.01.html

It occurred about 10 minutes before the end of the broadcast.

Did I remember to mention lambs to the slaughter?

Posted by: KansasDem at August 20, 2008 12:47 AM
Comment #258955

Rhinehold,

I thought I’d long ago gotten smart enough not to bother arguing with you but I can’t resist.

You said (in part),

“Tell me, did any budget that congress (you know, the ones responsible for allocating funds, not the president) ever send to Clinton ever have a decrease in spending? The only reason that the tax receipts increased was because of the .com bubble and y2k spending, the fact that we were in a recession when Clinton took office is a perfect example of that, the .com bubble had burst and y2k was over, consultants getting rich had to go back to real work.”

“And did the debt get lowered at any time? No. Did money go to SS as it was supposed to? No. Instead, we increased the debt that the country owes each and every year that Clinton was in office.”

Lets just start with your statement that, “(you know, the ones responsible for allocating funds, not the president).

Oh really! What did I sleep through? I thought the POTUS had to sign spending bills before they went into effect ……….. and, oh yeah, the POTUS sends his “wish list” to Congress long before the process begins!

Uh, do you remember when Clinton refused to bow to the Gingrich Congress and basically shut down all non-essential services?

Then you ask, “And did the debt get lowered at any time?”

Yes! A teeny tiny bit, but yes! We were headed in the right direction before Bush started reading “My Pet Goat”! Under your beloved Republicans the debt has increased by at least 40%!

Now, I know you’ll say, “why do you say ‘my beloved Republicans’”? Simple. I remember you saying that “we Libertarians don’t like either party but we really hate Democrats”!

Finally you ask, “Did money go to SS as it was supposed to?” Wow, good question!

You know the trust fund was a Saint Reagan thing, eh? Or was it a way to shift the tax load onto the working class?

I lived through this shift of taxation onto the working class! Don’t try to blow smoke up my butt!

Posted by: KansasDem at August 20, 2008 1:41 AM
Comment #258956

“In his 1992 Senate bid, McCain was joined on the campaign trail by his wife, Cindy, as well as campaign aide Doug Cole and consultant Wes Gullett. At one point, Cindy playfully twirled McCain’s hair and said, “You’re getting a little thin up there.” McCain’s face reddened, and he responded, “At least I don’t plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt.” McCain’s excuse was that it had been a long day. If elected president of the United States, McCain would have many long days.”

Man…. He also said that Chelsea was ugly because she’s Janet Reno’s daughter - at a convention where he was a speaker…

I guess that’s why they called him McNasty in highschool.

I don’t know… I used to like the guy, but these comments make me feel like he’s off the deep end.

Posted by: Max at August 20, 2008 2:53 AM
Comment #258960

Rhinehold-
Look, Clinton didn’t get in the way of that balancing of the budget. He didn’t decide it was time to take that surplus, dependent on good times as it was, and squander it. Minute Bush gets into office, what do you think he does. And then what happens? What happened every time somebody pulls this tax revolt crap, as of late, where it’s supposedly more critical to the economy to cut taxes than to stop borrowing money to get by.

My party isn’t perfect, but at least it’s imperfection is weakness rather than active malice towards what the American people want. They want better wages. They want to tackle global warming. They want to resolve the energy crisis, and if they were properly informed about how little the offshore drilling would actually do to lower prices, I think they’d reject it.

More to the point, I think you’re misinformed. The Republicans in the Senate have effectively blockaded any legislation coming from the solid majority in the house. They have done so at literal record pace, out doing the last record holders in half the time. And they did it so that people like you could think what you think.

And turn back to them. Support them. The people who got us into this mess in the first place.

I’m sick of folks on the Right Wing putting the blame on liberals like me for their own disasters, the stuff they’re responsible for screwing up. They seem to assume that nothing they could do could go wrong, except by the interference, or even the basic disagreement of Liberals or the Americans influenced by them.

I’m tired of it. Tired of folks being labelled left-wing fringe for doing no more than believing what a majority of perfectly mainstream Americans believed for so long: that America benefits from international cooperation. That trade must be fair to the extent its free. That the American workers deserve somebody to support their interests. That people faced with the power and influence of gigantic, rich corporations and their owners should be able to bargain together. That economic growth that doesn’t raise everybody’s income is hollow growth, waiting to collapse.

And these were not unreasonable assumptions, but the products of experience. The conservatives want things that work in their theory to work in reality, and unfortunately, they’re willing to force this on us and scare us into submission until they get what they want. Which isn’t happening, as history will show. Small or large, if a government doesn’t serve its people’s needs it will not stand for long, and people rightly perceive that the major impediments run under the GOP banner.

The only reason McCain is as popular as he is, is that he seems to represent a different kind of Republican. The real question is, can he keep that charade going on under the pressure of the general election, under the constant strain of confrontation? I think Obama can maintain his popularity better than McCain can, because McCain’s popularity is largely based on a misunderstanding concerning his politics.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 20, 2008 7:49 AM
Comment #258968
Rhinehold

Yeah…

I thought I’d long ago gotten smart enough not to bother arguing with you but I can’t resist.

Ah, the old ‘you are beneath be but I just can’t help myself’ tactic, interesting…

I know, it is silly to debate with someone who disagrees with you, it is SOOO much easier to just post and have supporting accolades thrown at your feet…

“Tell me, did any budget that congress (you know, the ones responsible for allocating funds, not the president) ever send to Clinton ever have a decrease in spending? The only reason that the tax receipts increased was because of the .com bubble and y2k spending, the fact that we were in a recession when Clinton took office is a perfect example of that, the .com bubble had burst and y2k was over, consultants getting rich had to go back to real work.”

“And did the debt get lowered at any time? No. Did money go to SS as it was supposed to? No. Instead, we increased the debt that the country owes each and every year that Clinton was in office.”

Lets just start with your statement that, “(you know, the ones responsible for allocating funds, not the president).

Oh really! What did I sleep through? I thought the POTUS had to sign spending bills before they went into effect ……….. and, oh yeah, the POTUS sends his “wish list” to Congress long before the process begins!

Unless his vetos are overridden… I’m sorry KansasDem, but the responsibility of what goes into those spending bills is up to Congress. That is why the Supreme Court would not allow a line-item veto, it put the responsibility in the hands of the President instead of giving him the ‘advise and consent’ role.

You would have us believe that it is Congress that is responsible for our Supreme Court Justices because of their ‘advise and consent’ role as a check and balance by your, well, reasoning is the best way to put it I guess.

Uh, do you remember when Clinton refused to bow to the Gingrich Congress and basically shut down all non-essential services?

Yup, I remember. Do you remember the Congress blocking the appointments of suggested Supreme Court justices like Bork?

Then you ask, “And did the debt get lowered at any time?”

Yes! A teeny tiny bit, but yes!

No! Not even a teeny tiny bit!

I’ll post the numbers for you:

Fiscal
Year Year
Ending National Debt Deficit
FY1993 09/30/1993 $4.411488 trillion
FY1994 09/30/1994 $4.692749 trillion $281.26 billion
FY1995 09/29/1995 $4.973982 trillion $281.23 billion
FY1996 09/30/1996 $5.224810 trillion $250.83 billion
FY1997 09/30/1997 $5.413146 trillion $188.34 billion
FY1998 09/30/1998 $5.526193 trillion $113.05 billion
FY1999 09/30/1999 $5.656270 trillion $130.08 billion
FY2000 09/29/2000 $5.674178 trillion $17.91 billion
FY2001 09/28/2001 $5.807463 trillion $133.29 billion

Now, in which year did the debt go down again? And yes, I am getting this from the US Treasury website.

We were headed in the right direction before Bush started reading “My Pet Goat”! Under your beloved Republicans the debt has increased by at least 40%!

My beloved Republicans? Oh yeah, another old progressive debate technique, label your opponent with false labels and then attack him for them. Tell me, where have I supported the Republicans, especially in the area of controlling our spending? I’ll keep an eye out and am waiting with baited breath for that quote as I’m sure it will be forthcoming soon (yeah, right)

Now, I know you’ll say, “why do you say ‘my beloved Republicans’”? Simple. I remember you saying that “we Libertarians don’t like either party but we really hate Democrats”!

No, you misquote me, again. The quote (not mine, but Matt Stone’s) didn’t mention Libertarians at all actually… And the quote was:

“I hate conservatives but I really F******* hate liberals”. I, personally, very rarely hate anyone, I save that emotion for those who deserve it. But the comment by Matt makes a good expression of how liberty seeking individuals may see the two parties.

Finally you ask, “Did money go to SS as it was supposed to?” Wow, good question!

And I had hoped for a good answer! Let’s see what we get…

You know the trust fund was a Saint Reagan thing, eh? Or was it a way to shift the tax load onto the working class?

Exactly HOW is putting tax funds that we collect into an account to pay out future SS funds that we know are going to be coming out in a couple of decades a way to ‘shift the tax load onto the working class’? What kind of hubris does it take to make that ridiculous statement? By that reasoning, SS ITSELF, is nothing but a soak the middle class ponzi scheme, isn’t it?

I lived through this shift of taxation onto the working class! Don’t try to blow smoke up my butt!

Oh yes! The trifecta! All of the cliche progressive debate techniques all in one comment, I feel really special now…

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 20, 2008 10:42 AM
Comment #258969

KD,

You were right not to get too involved with R. You should stick to it this time…me too.

Stephen,

We are all tired of the same-old, same-old, pointing the finger at liberals as if we are some kind of bacteria. We have done nothing but help the country out of great wrong by others over the years, i.e., Out of the depression, out of WWII, into the space age, out of the disaster of Reagonomics, out of corruption-in-office by literally hundreds of repugs, almost out of making deficit spending our national way of life, etc.

I FEEL nothing but pride, and hear nothing but crap. Perhaps we should just quit listening?

Posted by: Marysdude at August 20, 2008 11:01 AM
Comment #258970
Rhinehold- Look, Clinton didn’t get in the way of that balancing of the budget. He didn’t decide it was time to take that surplus, dependent on good times as it was, and squander it.

Again, there was no real surplus, but even then he did squander the money that was supposed to be going to saving for future SS benefits in order to label himself as having created a surplus.

I agree that he didn’t get in the way of the economy at the time and let it flourish, but he did have help, you know. An obstructionist congress. That, more than anything, helps keep spending down and intrustion down as well. But what if there had been a democratic congress, one willing to let him put Hillary’s forced healthcare sytem into place? You know, the one where it would have been illegal to go outside of it, a tactic that has proven to be ‘unconstitutional’ to even the English and French?

Minute Bush gets into office, what do you think he does. And then what happens?

A compliant congress with a same party president, what usually happens happened. They spent like drunken sailors. Of course, they did have a few tougher ‘issues’ to deal with, but that doesn’t absolve them of their responsibility which they have completely abandoned.

But the Democrats, who were going to fix things after being elected in 2006, haven’t. They, as well, are showing themselves to be incompetent to run our budgetary process. So where do we go for help there? Elect Obama? He isn’t the one who writes the budget, in fact he has been responsible for the budgets the last two years, along with McCain, and has failed the people of the United States twice now.

What happened every time somebody pulls this tax revolt crap, as of late, where it’s supposedly more critical to the economy to cut taxes than to stop borrowing money to get by.

Yup, we should be cutting spending and paying off our debt. Too bad neither the Republicans nor Democrats show any signs of doing anything like that.

My party isn’t perfect, but at least it’s imperfection is weakness rather than active malice towards what the American people want.

You can try to convince yourselves of that if you want, but it just isn’t the case.

They want better wages. They want to tackle global warming. They want to resolve the energy crisis, and if they were properly informed about how little the offshore drilling would actually do to lower prices, I think they’d reject it.

No, they wouldn’t. They also want the government out of their lives and for it to quit telling them how to live. They want to make their own decisions. They want responsibly spending. None of these things the Democrats are willing to allow to occur, no matter what the ‘people’ want.

More to the point, I think you’re misinformed. The Republicans in the Senate have effectively blockaded any legislation coming from the solid majority in the house.

And funny thing is that the Republicans didn’t have a super majority either, yet they are blamed for every evil that occurs. Where were the Democrats then, blocking all of the evil they were doing? Where they abandoning their responsiblity then but not now?

What a ridiculous argument, really. We don’t have enough of a majority to do anything, we’re powerless? Priceless.

They have done so at literal record pace, out doing the last record holders in half the time. And they did it so that people like you could think what you think.

Let me inform you of something, Stephen. What passes in the congress as ‘fillibustering’ isn’t. All that a congressman has to do is say ‘I am going to fillibuster’ and it is taken at read that they are. They don’t actually HAVE To do it. It has been this way for a little over 10 years now. It’s a ‘gentlemens’ agreement that the Democrats are afraid to put an end to because they want to be able to use it when they are in the minority again. It’s sick and twisted to think that either party in congress right now has a care about actually standing up for the American people and their demands.

Tell me, Stephen, why haven’t the Dems just eliminated the fillibuster again? Why don’t they actually make their opponents follow through with their threats? I watch CSPAN pretty regularly and have yet to see someone standing on the floor, fighting to stay awake and holidng control… When was the last REAL filibuster done?

And turn back to them. Support them. The people who got us into this mess in the first place.

Both parties are responsible for that, Stephen, not just one. Accepting that fact is the first step to recovery.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 20, 2008 11:02 AM
Comment #258974

Rhinehold-
You’re once again playing the equivalence game. About 1.4 trillion dollars were added to the national debt under Clinton. Reagan and Bush #41 , though, added almost 2.3 Trillion/a>, and Bush will put over twice that much debt on America by the time he’s done.

You can talk about reductions in spending, but Republicans and Right Wingers have been content to give tax cuts out of deficit spending, rather than cut the expenditures first.

Why then? Because it’s politically difficult to justify spending cuts. Oh, everybody’s for cutting the other guy’s spending, but your own?

Faced with this ugly reality, Republicans have certain choices. They can decide that they’re going to take the risk, they can decide that they’ll reach some compromise, or they can give people free money (courtesy of the People’s Republic of credit China.) They deliberately take the third choice.

Every other time they’ve taken that choice, America’s debt has exploded. Clinton had us heading towards stability, but the Republicans wanted their hands on those tax dollars.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 20, 2008 12:21 PM
Comment #258975

I can’t stand it any longer, Rhinehold, and am willing to take a chance that your “green column editor” status will fall upon me. Perhaps it already has, as I seem to be invisible after our rivalry the day before yesterday.
You delighted in questioning me as to what relevance my comments had with the subject being discussed in the red column, when in fact, they were absolutely relevant and on-subject. Now here and on the subject of McCain’s lie at Saddleback, your comments consistanly turn back to the budget with the opinion that the Democrats never had a balanced budget or a surplus. Nothing again, to do with McCain’s lie.
When people don’t challenge your comments and point out where they’re incorrect, you claim a win…..by default. But then it gets so old, that others just give up and go away. Those are the ones that I see have left these columns….those who have been met with obstinance and the refusal to play with the toys a certain way and are sent home. It may be a win for your side, but only again, by default.
As far as I know, we’re adults in here, but on many occasions are treated like children with that annoying finger wagging in our faces.

Posted by: janedoe at August 20, 2008 12:31 PM
Comment #258987
You’re once again playing the equivalence game.

No, I am just stating that you are wrong in your statement that Clinton did something that he didn’t do, and challenging your statement that it is the POTUS that is responsible for our budgets when neither are the case.

I also assert that neither party is good at cutting spending and paying off the debt. This is proven by the fact that it hasn’t happened for decades.

Your argument is that Democrats suck less, and in some areas they do and in some they don’t. But you mistake in thinking that because I challenge views that aren’t backed by facts that I am supporting the other side.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 20, 2008 1:24 PM
Comment #258996

Stephen Daugherty believes, our current airport security resembles movie-plot threats and is truly absurd and convoluted. I wonder if Stephen would have believed 9/11 possible or just a movie-plot before it happened. Simply because Stephen can’t imagine a threat doesn’t make it less possible. Who can say with any certainty that the world’s efforts in airport security haven’t prevented many would-be attacks.

He uses the same argument here, that more security is less security, that many do about drilling for oil on American soil. Less is more and more is less.

Let’s take a quick look at this brilliant statement by Stephen, our “poorly slapped together securtiy is a system more likely to become a threat to our way of life than an effective barrier to a concerted terrorist attack.” This same system has protected America from terrorist attack since its inception which I would call a major success. How much more successful than 100% is Stephen asking for? And, is Stephen saying that our current airport security system is the sole responsibility of President Bush and Republicans? Does he not want Dems to take a little credit for being involved?

Now comes the really fun part of his blog. “Vast information awareness” vs “Meaningful information awareness”. Stephen, just how does one sort out the “meaningful” if one has no access to the “vast”? To use your own words, “Only God has the kind of foresight which could make a system like this work.”

Stephen, like many other bloggers writing here when addressing Obama’s huge (and sole) blundering vote in the Illinois Senate says, “It’s politics”, “political rhetoric and propaganda”. Here I agree with Stephen, political rhetoric and propaganda from Obama to achieve his political agenda even if it cost a new born infants life. Last night on the Hannity/Colmes TV show a democrat guest asked Hannity if he really believed that Obama was in favor of killing infants who survived an abortion attempt. My answer is simple, Obama did nothing to prevent it. It is politically incorrect to call those favoring abortion “pro-abortion”, rather they must be addressed as pro-choice to salve the conscious of the practitioners and advocates.

In much the same way liberals are not for “increasing taxes”, but rather want “fairness”. Liberals are not for “big government” but rather, effective government that is big. Increasing the supply of American oil will not lower prices of oil is a familiar mantra of liberals. Let’s assume for a moment that it was true, is that a reason not to provide more energy for world consumption. It that were true, then it is also true that no additional supply would increase prices even more.

If corn is selling at $5 per bushel and suddenly increases to $7 per bushel would liberals say let’s plant less corn. But wait, can’t we eat soybeans? Of course we can, but when it comes to oil is there a ready and sufficient source of alternatives? No, of course not, but to the liberal mind it’s the principle that counts, not the reality.

Yet, Stephen says, “Republicans have become a party all to willing to lead the way in embracing gimmicks and hare-brained ides in the name of macho politics.” So now, increasing the world supply of oil is a gimmick. Relying upon an energy supply that has served the world extremely well for a hundred years is “hare-brained”. And wanting to lower our balance of trade, employ more Americans, increase our tax revenue and rely less on foreign oil is “macho”.

And finally, Stephen says, “people want a party in power that doesn’t have a doctrinal opposition to actually getting the job done, to even admitting that something’s wrong if its politically inconvenient”. I could write pages on this subject but will limit my thoughts to just one recent topic that Republicans attempted to address and were opposed at every step by Democrats and that is fixing Social Security. Just who were the political obstructionists in this debate? Liberals always seem to have a problem with the “not invented by us” mindset. If an idea doesn’t originate with liberals, no matter how good the idea or plan is, it’s shot down.

Posted by: Jim M at August 20, 2008 2:02 PM
Comment #258997
I can’t stand it any longer, Rhinehold, and am willing to take a chance that your “green column editor” status will fall upon me. Perhaps it already has, as I seem to be invisible after our rivalry the day before yesterday.

If you are thinking that I am going to hold a grudge or do something inappropriate because we have a disagreement then you are mistaken. That is not in my makeup. I have had some of my most vicious and tough arguments with David, the Managing Editor here and we never let it beyond the knowledge that we have difference of opinion and that is all. I see no benefit at all to ‘exacting revenge’ as a Taoist is just doesn’t reach into my psychie. I will use past comments against people when they display some amount of hypocrisy, but I would see that as fair game. I would *NEVER* block someone from posting here or displaying their opinion of me, even though technically I could as they are not ‘on topic’ but I would purposefully go out of my way to not do that as I am not that thin skinned.

As for our ‘rivalry’, I guess I didn’t realize we were having one. You made a post in a column that was along the lines of trying to start a conversation that was not within the current flow of the conversation going on. Sometimes, as with Stephen here, conversations move into different areas, but because they go there naturally, there is a flow to them that is within the bounds of discussion. But I did point out the other day that just making a comment providing a link to a different topic was, IMO, outside of the rules, though I would probably have let it stand in the middle column as well, a simple reminding of the Rules of Participation are usually all that is needed to bring things into focus again here, everyone is usually understanding of the end goal we are trying to achieve.

You delighted in questioning me as to what relevance my comments had with the subject being discussed in the red column, when in fact, they were absolutely relevant and on-subject.

I didn’t see it as that way, and it is a judgement call IMO. I will take another look, if you feel that you were wrongly ‘chastised’ but I didn’t realize I was ‘chastising’ but pointing something out.

Now here and on the subject of McCain’s lie at Saddleback, your comments consistanly turn back to the budget with the opinion that the Democrats never had a balanced budget or a surplus. Nothing again, to do with McCain’s lie.

And if you read through the comments, I am not the one who brought the comments to that point, that was Stephen. I just countered something he said as is a natural progression of discussion. How do you think that I am the one doing this when Stephen was the one who made the initial statement?

When people don’t challenge your comments and point out where they’re incorrect, you claim a win…..by default.

I’m curious when I’ve ever claimed ‘victory’, but perhaps my old age is catching up to me. When have I done that? I didn’t realize this was a game or there was a goal of ‘winning’ anything, I just for some reason thought we had discussions here that, more often than not, end up with both sides agreeing to disagree as new topics of interest are posted.

But then it gets so old, that others just give up and go away. Those are the ones that I see have left these columns….those who have been met with obstinance and the refusal to play with the toys a certain way and are sent home. It may be a win for your side, but only again, by default.

If you know of anyone who is leaving because I post here, let me know. Or better yet, let them know to come back and I’ll quit posting. The last thing I want to do is prevent anyone from posting here and enjoying the ability to debate with those that they disagree with. I had made comment to public statements in the red column by people who were leaving because they were treated unfairly, attacked personally and no one was stopping it as per our rules. Then in this column I see examples of it when Repubilcans are told that they are evil and have no souls. If you read the Ruls of Participation you’ll agree that that should not be allowed, yes?

I don’t expect anyone to agree with me or like me. Nor do I expect anyone to expect me to agree with them or like them. But we have to understand how to argue hard but not cross the line here so that we can have fun debating each other without it turning personal and nasty.

But I also understand that the people running this site, including myself, are posting here and commenting here because we want more people to be able to talk to debate with each other, even though they disagree with each other, and allow others to decide for themselves what to think. And if I am somehow hindering this from occuring or am the reason a large part of the community is leaving, then I will gladly never post a comment on these pages again.

As far as I know, we’re adults in here, but on many occasions are treated like children with that annoying finger wagging in our faces.

And in a forum where there Rules of Participation, that is going to happen from time to time. And in a forum where debating with people who don’t agree with you it is bound to happen from time to time.

But, are you upset about it happening or upset that you feel that it happened to you? Are you ok with others feeling that way, just not you?

Again, if I feel that I am chasing people away because I am too acerbic or rough with my views, I will stop commenting… But if it is because they can’t handle someone disagreeing with them at all? I’m not sure me not commenting here will have any affect on them…

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 20, 2008 2:04 PM
Comment #258998
Stephen Daugherty believes, our current airport security resembles movie-plot threats and is truly absurd and convoluted. I wonder if Stephen would have believed 9/11 possible or just a movie-plot before it happened. Simply because Stephen can’t imagine a threat doesn’t make it less possible. Who can say with any certainty that the world’s efforts in airport security haven’t prevented many would-be attacks.

He’s not the only one. The reason 9/11 happened was not because we didn’t have enough checks at our checkpoints onto planes, but because we told people that, in the case of hijack, to do nothing.

That is never going to happen again. A terroist can bring a bazooka on a plane in an effort to take it over and make it fly somewhere else, but it will never get there, I guarantee it. It will be crashed and those on board die, but it will not arrive at its new destination.

So why are we concerned with all of these being on a plane again? Can we stop everything? If we can’t stop everything, then we shouldn’t be worrying about imagined plots we can’t prepare for. Things are going to happen.

I, for one, will not live in fear. If you want to scurry like a cockroach afraid of the turning on of a light, that is your lookout, but don’t force your paranoia on me.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 20, 2008 2:08 PM
Comment #259000

Rhinehold, our record in stopping terrorists threats stands at 100%. Argue with that, not me. I love the Macho image you project as going down with the airplane fighting to prevent more deaths in our homeland. Not necessary Rhinehold, we just need to practice due dilligance which is what our congress, and the people who voted for those in congress have demanded.

I travel to Europe each year for pleasure and take reasonable precautions. If I could take a poll of the passengers on the plane I wonder how many would agree with you. Do you remember why we are required to remove our shoes at the security checkpoint? Is it not possible for a bomb-carrying terrorist, under your lax security, to wait to detonate over a metropolitan area of the U.S. killing many more than just those on the plane?

You are confusing prudence with arrogance. Please inform me of the politicians who are running on a campaign theme of relaxed airport security.

Posted by: Jim M at August 20, 2008 2:43 PM
Comment #259001

I have to side with Rhinehold on this issue - living in fear and making policy out of fear is not only a bad idea but it is cowardly. All this extra security, loss of civil rights, war crimes like torture, and stupid wars have brought us is death and debt. I doubt if Bush’s policies have stopped a single terrorist attack. They don’t need to attack us, they were successful in getting people to run scared with the first attack and all Al Qaeda needs to do is talk on a cell phone and the fools at Homeland Security will have everyone out buying duct tape and plastic sheeting.

Posted by: tcsned at August 20, 2008 2:46 PM
Comment #259003

The quotes I pasted from Daily Kos, were directly related to the topic of the forum…..being the Saddleback meeting of Obama and McCain. You know as well as I do, that one of the responses he made was the “cross in the sand” story. The article pointed out that he was not the original citer of that story. His comment took place at Saddleback, the Kos article refuted that comment. How much closer related to the topic and the column can it be?
I will end this comment with a direct quote from you…. “sigh” …. “rolls eyes”.

Posted by: janedoe at August 20, 2008 3:03 PM
Comment #259004

Jim M-
I guessed very quickly on 9/11 that al-Qaeda was the likely set of culprits for this. I had known of them earlier. 9/11 struck me as a very plausible attack, and right up their alley.

But this business of going after any imaginable plot or attack is just absurd, and worse, counterproductive. Not every imaginable attack is even possible, and many are simply impractical, and everybody knows it. You first want to cover your bases with the likely, and cover them well. If guns and knives are easily smuggled on the plane, all the imagination that has led you to confiscate the +4 Nailclippers of Death and the Gatorade bottles will have merely served as a distraction.

Meanwhile, are your security systems simply catching a bunch of innocent people? There are hundreds of thousands of names on the terrorism watchlist, of which few could be real terrorists. Because of this use of such watchlists becomes burdensome and inconvenient for everybody involved. If that leads to an informal policy of laxness on all sides, just for the sake of expedience, a security hole develops.

There is too much information in the world, as well, to rely on brute force total collection. If you get a hundred thousand hits on google, but none of its reflects what you were looking for, then your search has failed, despite all the information that came to you. What we need to do is optimize our intake, to know where to gather, what to look for when we gather, and have policies in place that share the information out well when we find it, so that others with other information can make up for our ignorance.

“Better detective work” would be the phrase that comes to mind. Better use of the information is important, too. A million pages of arabic communication is worthless without good translators. Unfortunately, the people who know best about the dialects of Arabic are often blindly slapped out of contention as security risks.

I prefer efficiency in employment to the embarrassment of riches approach you take. Only the desperate and the stupid look everywhere. Those know what they’re doing know where to start and what to ignore.

The policies you advocate have proved to have higher PR value than practical. Perhaps you can hold up your candidate and praise them for their upright stance, but the stance you consider so important will do little to help folks in real life, so other stances, with better effect, will ultimately be the greater moral good.

Take S-CHIP. According to your logic, It is better to politically posture about giving the rare survivor of abortion healthcare, rather than give the rather common low income live babies and children the healthcare they need to grow up healthy, strong, and independent. You folks will even attack a twelve year old accident victim to stall such legislation.

How about I start calling you a murderer for that? At least I will have unquestionably living, unquestionable indidivual children with names and faces to fight for. the Democrat’s compassion for these children extends past their birth. The same cannot be said for the Republicans.

You have great compassion for the oil companies, that’s plain to see. Those will be the people who benefit most from drilling. The average American will see cents on the dollar knocked from their gas bill, but by the time these fields reach peak production, it will be far too late to do us much good. But hey, it’s a gimmick that will make the oil companies billions of dollars. You’re really lucky to be defending that kind of charity.

I want actual results. That’s the problem. I want fair trade policies, that will serve American’s interests in the global market place, in both what it frees up and what it ties down. I want energy policies that actually will save us money in the long run, rather than this trumped-up bull hockey wishful thinking about keeping cheap gas going forever.

As for your vision of “fixing social security?” Americans in general shot that down. the Democrats didn’t have to do much to scuttle that BS.

I don’t envy the person that has to sell Republican policies to the American people. But then, they’re more interested in portraying Obama as some kind of stuck up celebrity rather than having a real discussion about the issues. I wonder why.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 20, 2008 3:28 PM
Comment #259006

Wait a minute, did Rhinegold win that argument that the national debt went up every year under Clinton?
I believe there were several years of surplus and Rhinegold just bullied through the topic and won the argument. Am I right?

Posted by: Schwamp at August 20, 2008 3:42 PM
Comment #259007

Stephen,

Drilling more now will bring down speculation of how much oil will be available in the future so will bring down prices now. Seeing the winds change has caused a good drop recently in that speculation market, which is where the price fluctuation comes from, not the oil companies themselves.

As for how long it will take to see the dividens of that drilling, Factcheck has looked into it and has a much different view on it than you and Obama:

http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/the_truth_about_tire_pressure.html

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 20, 2008 3:43 PM
Comment #259008

I see Rhinehold is pulling out his “debt didn’t go down during Clinton” stuff again. I thought I already schooled you on this in the red column. From the source you originally provided in that column it clearly stated that SS surpluses are REQUIRED by law to purchase government securities, thus adding to intragovernmental holdings. So even though the Federal budget (not counting SS) had a surplus, and the SS budget had a surplus, intragovernmental holdings increased.

So the only way to make the total debt go down would be if the Federal budget posted a larger surplus than the SS suplus for that given year.

Here is an example:

Federal budget: $150 billion surplus
SS budget: $180 billion surplus

Public Debt: -$150 billion
Intragovernbmental holdings: +$180 billion
—————————————————————-
Total Debt: +$30 billion

So your comment that Clinton didn’t have a suplus is false, and is based on the peculiarity of government accounting.

Posted by: pops mcgee at August 20, 2008 3:46 PM
Comment #259009

janedoe,

No, I did not see that your post of the link was in the topic of Saddleback. Looking back on what you posted and investigating the discussion around what was coming out of Saddleback further, it is apparent that it was done within topic. Therefore I owe you an apology for incorrectly suggesting that it was off-topic for that specific topic. And yes, it is public as the admonation was public as well.

Please accept my apology and I hope you also accept that it is sincerely given.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 20, 2008 3:48 PM
Comment #259010

Schwamp,

I have won nothing, I have just stated the facts as they are. Anyone is free to present alternate statistics, but as mine come directly from the Treasury Department’s Debt to the Penny website, it is most likely going to be hard to refute them, IMO…

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 20, 2008 3:51 PM
Comment #259012

Pops,

If you want to redefine what constitute an increase in debt to ignore a large portion of it, that’s fine. But tell me, did Bush run up a 5 trillion dollar debt or a 9 trillion dollar debt?

The point is, we still owe that money. The reason that law is in place is to ensure that money is put away for SS. If we borrow from that in order to appear to have a deficit, as you are suggesting we do with Clinton, then we are borrowing from future SS recipients for positive results now.

The total public debt increased. Are these just imaginary numbers then, according to you, that we can just ignore?


An overall “downsizing” of government and a virtual end to the arms race have contributed to the surplus, but the vast majority is coming from excess Social Security taxes being paid by the workforce in an attempt to keep Social Security benefit checks coming once the “baby-boomers” start to retire. (http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/weekly/aa101500b.htm)

Of the $142 billion surplus projected by the end of 2000, $137 billion will come from excess Social Security taxes. (http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/weekly/aa080899.htm)

When these unified budget numbers are separated into Social Security and non-Social Security components, however, it becomes evident that all of the projected surplus throughout this period is attributable to Social Security. The remainder of the budget will remain in deficit throughout the next decade.(http://www.cbpp.org/313socsec.htm)

And you want to discount intergovernmental holdings? Just write them off? If so, Bush hasn’t really done that bad with the debt, since that is being used to fund the Iraq war. If it’s ok for Clinton, it’s ok for Bush, isn’t it?

Are intergovernmental holdings really debt?

Absolutely! The intergovernmental debt is every bit as real as the public debt. It’s not “a wash” simply because you owe the government owes the money to “itself.”

Social Security is legally required to use all its surpluses to buy U.S. Government securities. From Social Security’s standpoint, it has a multi-trillion dollar reserve in the form of U.S. Government securities. When the Social Security system starts to falter due to insufficient contributions to pay for all the benefits of retiring baby-boomers, probably around 2017, it will start cashing those securities and will expect the U.S. Government to pay it back, with interest. The problem is, the government doesn’t have the money. The money has already been spent—in part, effectively, to pay down the public debt under Clinton.

The Federal Government cannot just wave a magic wand and somehow “write off” the intergovernmental debt. Essentially, citizens invested money in Social Security and Social Security invested that money in the Federal Government. Now Social Security effectively owes you money (in the form of future retirement benefits) and won’t be able to pay you that money if the Federal Government just cancels the intergovernmental debt. The only way the Federal Government can “write off” intergovernmental debt is if it simultaneously eliminates the Social Security system. That might very well be a good idea, but it isn’t likely. And Social Security will go bankrupt in about 2017 if the Federal Government doesn’t honor those intergovernmental holdings as real debt.

In short, if the government doesn’t pay back intergovernmental holdings, other government agencies (like Social Security) will fail. Since allowing Social Security to fail is not a politically viable option, the debt represented by intergovernmental holdings is just as real as the public debt. It can’t just be eliminated by some fancy accounting trick or political maneuvering. If it were possible, believe me, politicians would have done it already and taken credit for reducing the national debt by trillions of dollars.

Does a Budget Surplus Automatically Pay Down The Debt?

The concept of a “budget surplus” or a “balanced budget” is of very tenuous importance. A budget is simply a plan on how to spend money which normally also factors in expected income. Anyone can present a “balanced budget” or have a “budget surplus” if they use inflated estimates of income or deflated estimates of expenses. In the end, a budget is nothing more than a plan. Reality is a completely different matter.

As a simple example, if I start 2008 with a job that pays $50,000/year, I can plan a budget that takes into account the $50,000 I expect to make and divides that up amongst all the expenses I expect to make over the course of the year. If my expected expenses are less than my expected earnings, I have a budget surplus. If, however, over the course of the year I lose my job and get a new job that only pays $40,000/year while at the same time it just so happens I have a variable-rate mortgage that adjusts and increases my mortgage payment, by the end of year the reality may very well be that my expenses exceeded my income. I had a budget surplus but reality had different plans and I ended up further in debt.

A balanced budget or a budget surplus is a great thing, but it’s only relevant if the budget surplus turns into a real surplus at the end of the fiscal year. In Clinton’s case, it never did.

The reality of the national debt

The only debt that matters is the total national debt. And the national debt went up every single year under Clinton. Had Clinton really had a surplus the national debt would have gone down. It didn’t go down precisely because Clinton had a deficit every single year. The U.S. Treasury’s historical record of the national debt verifies this.

So the only way to make the total debt go down would be if the Federal budget posted a larger surplus than the SS suplus for that given year.

Yes, you are correct, and it is why Clinton never had a surplus, because by law this is a requirement that he didn’t meet.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 20, 2008 4:12 PM
Comment #259014

Rhinehold, accepted, on both counts…thank you.

Posted by: janedoe at August 20, 2008 4:21 PM
Comment #259017

“I don’t envy the person that has to sell Republican policies to the American people. But then, they’re more interested in portraying Obama as some kind of stuck up celebrity rather than having a real discussion about the issues. I wonder why.”
Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 20, 2008 03:28 PM

Well Stephen, your lack of envy is unfounded as that person is doing such a good job that the most recent Zogby poll shows McCain taking a dramatic 5% lead. A real discussion about our energy policy has been taking place and the Republicans are winning it. Stupid Americans or enlightened voters? I’ll go with the latter.

Posted by: Jim M at August 20, 2008 4:42 PM
Comment #259021

Rhinehold,

I’m glad that you understand the differences between public debt, intragovernmental holdings, and the total debt, and that you agree that Clinton had surpluses for both the Federal budget and the SS budget, but because of governmental accounting it appeared the debt went up.

Total debt is important, and I’m not going to completely dismiss intragovernmental holdings, but public debt is what really counts. Federal budget surpluses pay down the public debt, SS surpluses can also be used to pay down the public debt but are then counted as intragovernmental holdings. I would like us to stop using SS surpluses this way, and start investing them to cover for future SS shortfalls, and had Al Gore been President this could have been a reality, but Bush decided to go the other way with it and we see the results.

Here is a link to the CBO chart of public debt. It was 3,248.4 trillion in 1993 and 3,319.6 in 2001. That is an increase of just 2.2% During Clinton. By 2007 it was 5,035.1, an increase of 51.7% during Bush and we aren’t even through his term yet.

Intragovernmental holdings will be an issue when SS starts running deficits, and the money in the trust fund isn’t there. This can be fixed in many different ways like making the surpluses off limits from the rest of the budget and investing them, or removing the cap on SS contributions, or raising the retirement age. A combination of those might be required to ensure SS will be solvent in 50 years, but it isn’t our most pressing issue today.

By addressing the public debt, and paying it off, we could eliminate the more than $200 billion per year we spend on just the interest. That’s a large sum of money that will be freed up every year that could go toward paying back SS. So while the total debt is very important in the long run, it is the public debt that has to be addressed today.

Posted by: pops mcgee at August 20, 2008 4:59 PM
Comment #259023

BTW, this graph should make any American sick to their stomache…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Annual_federal_outlay.png

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 20, 2008 5:17 PM
Comment #259024

Yeah, but this graph is worse:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:US_Consumer_Price_Index_Graph.svg

Posted by: pops mcgee at August 20, 2008 5:25 PM
Comment #259031

As this post is about McCain and the elusive substance called “truth” here is a little more info on these polls McCain and the repubs use to determine “what the American people want”

Jim M “These three same dems are afraid to allow a vote on offshore drilling. They know the American people overwhelmingly approve but once again, they wish to thwart the public will. Although, to be fair, I should add that Nancy has now agreed that it may be more important than “saving the planet” which was her original excuse for denying a vote.


When we see the question used by the pollers to get to the 67% we can see that its a no brainer as to what the American people actually want. When given a choice off shore drilling doesnt fare as well as when it is shown to be the only option.

“http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/67_support_offshore_drilling_64_expect_it_will_lower_prices”


When asked questions that include other questions here is some interesting information.

http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/features/0808_offshore_drilling.htm

Posted by: j2t2 at August 20, 2008 6:25 PM
Comment #259036

Rhinehold-
This is the bitter irony of your approach: you give Clinton more grief for achieving a surplus through accounting tricks than you give Bush grief for a deliberate, outrageous budget deficit which itself would be even higher if you included the off-budget bill for the Iraq war!

Can’t I even get a simple admission from you that Reagan, Bush 41 and 43 have been worse offenders in deficits spending that Clinton was, even allowing for what you’ve discussed?

More to the point, you should recognize that Republicans have tended, over time, to increase the proportion of national debt to the GDP, which is the real measure of that debt’s burden. Clinton reduced that proportion by sensible tax policy.

That’s something else I’m sick of: Right Wingers taking anything less than absolute agreement on an issue as an absolute tendency in the other direction. In the view of the right, it seems, any support for additional taxes is support for all additional taxes. Even if you only oppose extending a tax, or just rejected a tax cut, they call that a tax hike.

This is the behavior not of responsible moderates, but an irresponsible fringe, close-minded to any other policy direction. I am not for endless government, nor would I let it get endless. I am not for taking all guns away, nor would I let them be. I am not for a number of things, but since I don’t take the hard line right wing position, they treat me like I’m the opposite kind of fanatic.

Taxes are no pleasure, but the failure to pay for government in the here and the now is a recipe for pain. Spending cuts must come first and be made first, and tax cuts must be made dependent on the budget remaining balanced. If revenues fall, it must be made up for one way or the other. For years, positions like yours have made it easy to indulge fiscal irresponsbility with virtual political impunity. You may not like taxes, but why are you willing to force Americans into a cycle of perpetual borrowing in vague hopes of inspiring spending cuts?

I think people would have a greater appreciation for the balance fo the budget and how it affects their wallets if we payed for what we got in terms of government out of pocket. If Government gets too big and expensive for the American People’s tastes, then we can start with the spending cuts as appropriate, hash it out between ourselves, and then cut the taxes we now don’t need. This would require constant attention, but the internet makes this very easy.

Tax cuts, though, without pay-go adjustments, are mere pseudo-populist bribery to keep irresponsible politicians popular. It’s how you mount the most expensive war in a generation without people having to sacrifice, and then consider the worth of what they’re sacrificing.

Same thing with government. If people aren’t paying for it, how do you get them to care about how much they’re not paying for it? Tax cuts without spending cuts encourage people to care less about how much government they have and what its doing. Taxpayer waste is easier to emphasize when people pay out of pocket for it. Government inefficiency is easier to care about it when you know how much bucks you’re not getting your bang for. Tax cuts without spending cuts mask the seriousness of mispending. After all, if its not your money that’s being wasted, who cares?

If you care about government spending, how much, for what, and what it costs you, you’ll support balancing the budget by whatever means necessary, and not using tax cuts and write-offs as a panacea for the economy’s ills. Those, ultimately, are only disguised subsidies. You might as well give the real thing and openly count the cost.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 20, 2008 7:09 PM
Comment #259037

j2t2, thanks for the link above. I enjoyed the article and it seemed to be fairly presented. The conclusion reached regarding polling seems to be that most American’s want both, drilling and more spending on alternative energy sources.

As I said in a previous post, why can’t American’s walk and chew gum at the same time. It appears the consensus is, we can. And, that has been Mr. McCain’s position for some time now. Drill, conserve, nuclear, clean coal and more spending on new energy technology. Perhaps that is why he is now leading in the polls over Mr. Change who can only chew gum but not walk.

I don’t place all the blame on Mr. Obama however as he is in a really tight spot. His primary base and biggest contributors are the left wing of the Dem party. He has already pissed them off to some degree by speaking in a more moderate way about drilling. If he moves much more to the center he may attract a few independents but only at the expense of loosing many of his core constituency…and, their money. And, such a move to the moderate center will only strengthen the claim that he is merely pandering rather than expressing his true views.

Posted by: Jim M at August 20, 2008 7:10 PM
Comment #259039

On 9/11 happening, people in the airline and airport business knew what real airline security looked like decades before 2001, because El Al was already practising it. We mostly rejected airline security in favor of convenience. When there was a hijacking in FL, all they changed was only allowing people with tickets to go past security. I guess they never thought an insecure person would buy an airline ticket, although previoius hijackers did.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 20, 2008 7:17 PM
Comment #259041

Stephen says, “That’s something else I’m sick of: Right Wingers taking anything less than absolute agreement on an issue as an absolute tendency in the other direction. In the view of the right, it seems, any support for additional taxes is support for all additional taxes. Even if you only oppose extending a tax, or just rejected a tax cut, they call that a tax hike.”

I would like to remind some folks of their position when President Bush didn’t increase spending on certain programs as much as they would have liked. They called that decreased increase a cut, or a slashing of the budget of some favored program or benefit. I wonder how they like being on the other end of that faulty logic?

The remainder of your post was quite acceptable to me and a great argument for the complete overhaul of the IRS. In fact, the Fair Tax will eliminate the IRS and every American can see with every purchase just how much government is costing and compare the cost with the perceived benefit.

We can end all of the subsidy nonsense and all the social engineering nonsense with just one bill, eliminate the IRS and enact the Fair Tax. American’s will finally discover what they are truly paying in taxes and adjust accordingly by voting with their pocketbooks in addition to their ballots.

Posted by: Jim M at August 20, 2008 7:28 PM
Comment #259043

“Of the $142 billion surplus projected by the end of 2000, $137 billion will come from excess Social Security taxes. (http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/weekly/aa080899.htm)”

“When these unified budget numbers are separated into Social Security and non-Social Security components, however, it becomes evident that all of the projected surplus throughout this period is attributable to Social Security. The remainder of the budget will remain in deficit throughout the next decade.(http://www.cbpp.org/313socsec.htm)”

Rhinehold,

That is absolutely correct, thank you for posting that! Now considering that Social Security taxes are collected on only the first $102,000 of income (that of course is a current figure that’s been adjusted yearly to reflect increases in wages), and given the fact that the national debt has increased every year (look below), it certainly becomes clear that the tax load has been shifted largely onto the poor and middle class!

http://www.lafn.org/politics/gvdc/Natl_Debt_Chart.html

I must however admit you were right about Clinton never producing an actual “surplus”. My bad.

Just how the hell did this thread get from the Talibangical forum to a debate over which party has done better handling the economy?

Posted by: KansasDem at August 20, 2008 7:46 PM
Comment #259050

Jim M-
This is amazing. You’re admitting that it’s actually bad logic. I’ll be sure to remind you of this the next time we have the opportunity to agree that Obama hasn’t raised taxes as much as your candidate says he has. And Believe me, that time will come, because it’s a standard practice of the Republicans to treat anything else than the mindless approval of each and every tax cut and reduction as a vote to raise taxes.

But happily, you will not be in agreement with their fallacious arguments.

As for the IRS? Flat taxes without exceptions for lower income are inherently regressive, as the poor need more of the money they earn to survive. Flat Taxes with exceptions are no longer flat, just progressive with one step. If one step is just, and you adjust rates for one bracket based on its marginal needs, you might as well go progressive on the whole system, and adjust accordingly.

To do that, though, requires a bureacracy of sorts. But even if we did go for that Neil Boortz fair tax, since its value added, we’d need a bureaucracy to oversee that. No tax system can long survive without somebody to ensure compliance.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 20, 2008 8:37 PM
Comment #259060

“j2t2, thanks for the link above. I enjoyed the article and it seemed to be fairly presented. The conclusion reached regarding polling seems to be that most American’s want both, drilling and more spending on alternative energy sources.”

Jim M, welcome I liked it to, the polls didnt ask if the oil companies should drill on lands that have existing leases on them. As we know nothing is stopping them from drilling on leased land now. McCain’s problem is he ignores the areas in North Dakota and Montana (they already have pipelines etc)as well as in other states that can and wants to be drilled. To hear him and the repubs you would think the feds and the states have tied up the leases and the ability to drill everywhere, which as we know is not the case. And that my friend is what is not clear to many Americans when the question is framed as “Off shore drilling”, especially when the repubs tell the public the problem is supply despite the obvious fact that there has been no shortage of oil.

Hell we just want relief from the +$4/gal gas and the 12% inflation due to the higher energy costs and the corporate opportunist taking advantage of the situation to raise prices and cut quantities while keeping wages down. If you frame the answer as off shore drilling and tell us it will make gas cheaper then of course we would be for it, to bad that the truth is that its just the repubs blowing smoke.

To open up the off shore areas and ANWR just so we can export oil to 73 other countries sounds like a repub plan but it doesnt do a thing to wean us from our oil addiction nor will it make oil in this country cheaper in the near term and mid term. Energy is expensive no matter what type we use. Its time to conserve, clean the air, and stop enabling the terrorist. Putting oil on the world market wont stop them. Using an alternative source of energy will. I wouldnt doubt that eventually we may have to resort to nuclear power as a result of the repub onstruction of alternative sources of energy in the past, but the waste issue should be dealt with prior to it being included in the energy policy of this Country.

“As I said in a previous post, why can’t American’s walk and chew gum at the same time.”

We can, why aren’t the oil companies drilling as we speak on lands that they have under lease? I keep seeing wind farms expanding in my travels and according to T. Boone we can have 20% of our energy requirements meant by wind generators.

“It appears the consensus is, we can. And, that has been Mr. McCain’s position for some time now. Drill, conserve, nuclear, clean coal and more spending on new energy technology.”

The problem with this plan of McCains is he doesnt mention conservation of energy, which is a component of Obama’s plan. He also doesnt mention anyting about going after those that are speculating without being able to take delivery of the goods. We saw crude oil prices come down dramatically with just a whisper by the dems of looking into the speculation end of the problem prior to the August vacation. McCain and the repubs also appear to give lip service to alternative sources of energy but history tells us that they dont walk what they talk on the issue. Why should we believe them now? Look at the fuss they made over raisng mileage standards just last year. Where have they been on promoting electric vehicles? Why would they allow the oil companies to set the energy policy of this country just a few short years ago? How shortsighted can they be and then expect us to trust them on energy policy? Why after doing that should they be trusted on the energy policy now?

The real issue is should we lease out ANWR and Offshore drilling to the oil companies, and any one else who may want to bid on them, despite the moratorium. It should be a non issue if the repubs werent puppets for the oil industry, afterall how much longer before the moratorium expires? Why should we as Americans get off of leases now that may be worth more to this country in the future? Why should we risk these leases going to China or to American companies that may decide to ship the oil overseas?

“Perhaps that is why he is now leading in the polls over Mr. Change who can only chew gum but not walk.”

McCain is leading in the polls because all those talk radio conservatives that were whining that McCain wasnt conservative enough and they were never going to vote for him have of course decided to toe the company line and vote for him, afterall he has pandered to them for some time now. Did you really think they would not vote for him? They swelled the ranks of the independants for a month or two and then started drinking the kool aid again. Most of em appear to be CINO’s as Bob Barr is much more conservative then McCain could ever hope to be yet the CINO’s are flocking back to the Repub party despite the reality of their record the past 8 years. The country is fairly evenly divided so it will be a close one just as it has in the past few elections.


Jim JIm JIm M “In fact, the Fair Tax will eliminate the IRS and every American can see with every purchase just how much government is costing and compare the cost with the perceived benefit.”

What a load of crap Jim M., regressive taxation isnt the answer no matter how you frame it. To think that the IRS will be eliminated is nothing more than a wet dream. You might shrink it a bit or change the name but think about it Jim M money will still be coming in through taxes and people will still be trying to cheat themselves out of paying their fair share. The stores and businesses will need to be regulated and monitored. I cant believe you would fall for such misleading conservative propaganda.

“We can end all of the subsidy nonsense and all the social engineering nonsense with just one bill, eliminate the IRS and enact the Fair Tax.”

The unfair tax bill only tells us how to collect taxes doesnt it Jim M not how to spend it. If you think this scam of a unfair tax system will solve corporate subsidies you need to realize that your corprate buddies wont let them go that easy. SS and Medicare are programs that most people want, why would you think we would want to bankrupt them with the unfair tax?

“American’s will finally discover what they are truly paying in taxes and adjust accordingly by voting with their pocketbooks in addition to their ballots.”

I dont know JIm M but the people I run with really dont have that much of a problem figuring out what kind of money they give in taxes, fees and surcharges. We already vote with our pocketbpook it just doesnt count for much after the past 3 decades of “free market conservatism”. To think that we will send a message by not buying groceries gas or other staples doesnt make much sense Jim M.. Unless you consider the black market to be the answer as we descend into a 3rd world nation at even a faster pace than we are now.

Sooner or later we have to pay off the debts from the last conservative wet dreams of nation building, deregulation, “debt dont matter”, “cut taxes for the wealthy and spend” and trickle on economics. Why would anybody fall for another conservative scam to ruin the country after this?

Posted by: j2t2 at August 20, 2008 10:38 PM
Comment #259061
Rhinehold- This is the bitter irony of your approach: you give Clinton more grief for achieving a surplus through accounting tricks than you give Bush grief for a deliberate, outrageous budget deficit which itself would be even higher if you included the off-budget bill for the Iraq war!

Erm, no I don’t. Where, anywhere, have I defended the spending of the last 8 years? *YOU* made a statement that was incorrect and I pointed it out.

I also understand that it is not the president who is responsible for allocating funds in the United States. That role is that of Congress. That is why the line-item veto was found unconstitutional, because it effectively handed control of the pursestrings to the President instead of where it belonged. If the President is going to be the one responsible, he should be given that line-item veto, don’t you think?

In the same way that congress is not responsible for the Supreme Court justices simply because they have a part in the process under our checks and balances, the President is not responsible for the Supreme Court justices simply because he has an OVERRIDABLE veto possibility on spending and tax bills. It is congress who passes laws in the US, Stephen, not the president. He can only sign or veto them.

Now, I am not saying that a President cannot INFLUENCE the spending. That would be silly. But the good or ill of deficit spending must fall upon the congress at the time.

And I’ve pointed it out before, AND YOU AGREED, that Clinton mostly kept his hands off, like a good conservative would have, while things were going well. He had some help there from an unfriendly congress, but he was also not stupid and didn’t rock the boat too much while the internet boon took shape.

Can’t I even get a simple admission from you that Reagan, Bush 41 and 43 have been worse offenders in deficits spending that Clinton was, even allowing for what you’ve discussed?

I never, ever, suggested that they weren’t. That is a straw man that YOU can’t get past, not me. You call me a right winger and then say I am defending Bush when I have done neither when it comes to the debt. A 9 trillion dollar debt? How, or why, would anything think that is a good thing? We are going broke because of the way our government is spending and no president, or congress to be more accurate, has spent less in any year than the year before. There has been no attempt by anyone to deal with the fact that we, as a nation, spend too much and each election cycle we hear more of the same, promises of more spending. Obama has already spent the money that Bush is spending in Iraq. So even *IF* he brings the troops home after his election, which I doubt, that money is already going to be spent on something else!

What is even worse is that you KNOW that I’m not a right winger and you know that I can’t stand this administration, yet you continue to call me that just because I also point out the flaws and wrong doings of your party.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 20, 2008 10:43 PM
Comment #259062
Rhinehold, our record in stopping terrorists threats stands at 100%. Argue with that, not me.

How many terrorists attacks took place between the WTC bombing and the restart of activities like the USS Cole?

And, let me ask, if there WERE a terrorist attack, would you admit that there were no reasons for the increased security since it didn’t work or would you call for more increased security and, as a result, more violating of individual rights to enforce them?

Be careful when posing a question that you understand the arguments that may be coming back at you…

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 20, 2008 10:46 PM
Comment #259063

BTW, Stephen, I agree with just about everything else in your comment, other than the fact that you attributed the exact opposite to me. Not sure why. As I said, you should know better than that by now, after 4 years of both of us posting here.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 20, 2008 10:49 PM
Comment #259064
But even if we did go for that Neil Boortz fair tax, since its value added, we’d need a bureaucracy to oversee that. No tax system can long survive without somebody to ensure compliance.

And that infrastructure is mostly there already and is accounted for in the plan. How many states already enforce a VAT?

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 20, 2008 10:51 PM
Comment #259065
regressive taxation isnt the answer no matter how you frame it.

Except the Fair Tax isn’t regressive, so I’m not sure what your point is…

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 20, 2008 10:54 PM
Comment #259072

We don’t need no stinking ‘fair’-tax, we just need to be fair with our taxation. We could solve most of our current tax problems and streamline the IRS, if we would just remove avery deduction and exception in the code. Set the beginning taxation at poverty level and let ‘er rip…

Jim M,

The reason many of us are not for drilling is that no amount of drilling will change anything for several years, and then the benefit to America will be almost nil. Why should we give up our ocean shelfs and our wilderness for little to no return? That just sounds like bad business. If we put those resources into renewables, we will create jobs, save non-renewables and live cleaner lives. All that could be realized before any of those slim benefits from drilling occur.

Posted by: Marysdude at August 20, 2008 11:18 PM
Comment #259078

Rhinehold-
I didn’t say you were defending it. I’m saying you’re singling out Democrats for much stronger attacks on the subject. If you want to distinguish yourself from the Republicans, quit pushing their myth that Democrats are big spenders.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 21, 2008 12:15 AM
Comment #259083
quit pushing their myth that Democrats are big spenders

It isn’t a myth, Stephen. Did you not notice the graph I posted? Who was in charge of the pursestrings during those huge increases in spending in the 70s and 80s?

I’ll repost it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Annual_federal_outlay.png

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 21, 2008 12:49 AM
Comment #259084

McCain recently criticized Barack Obama for his ambition. He didn’t have any trouble with it in 2000!

Hypocrisy: McCain’s new ambition.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 21, 2008 1:12 AM
Comment #259086

Rhinehold-
It helps to look at the bigger picture

The biggest increasers of federal spending, in order, are Dubya, Carter, and Reagan. That’s right, Reagan takes the bronze.

The biggest increasers of federal debt are, in order, Are Reagan, Bush 41, and Bush 43.

The greatest increases of Gross Domestic product took place, in order, under Reagan, Clinton, and Carter.

The thing to keep in mind, though, is that both Carter and Clinton over saw actual reductions in Debt as share of GDP, while Reagan saw an increase in national debt of 49% and 40% during his terms, seeing only 11.59% and 15.9% increases in GDP for our trouble. Reagan, during his first term, also hiked federal spending by 14.2 percent.

Carter could legitmately be called a big spender, but he’s responsible. He didn’t increase federal debt to gain his money. Clinton can go one better: growth of government under his tenure never exceded growth of our economy in his years in office.

Is this conservatives being good with money?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 21, 2008 1:55 AM
Comment #259087

Rhinehold, I know I’m pushing my luck, but tell me just how you can tie your relentless postings on budget issues…..to a thread that is about McCains lies and plagairism.
If nothing else, you’re consistant in your inconsistancy.

Posted by: janedoe at August 21, 2008 2:30 AM
Comment #259096

Rhinehold says, “And, let me ask, if there WERE a terrorist attack,”

Rhinehold, I don’t play that “what if” game. Only liberals seem to prefer imaginary games over reality.

Marysdude says, “The reason many of us are not for drilling is that no amount of drilling will change anything for several years, and then the benefit to America will be almost nil. Why should we give up our ocean shelfs and our wilderness for little to no return? That just sounds like bad business. If we put those resources into renewables, we will create jobs, save non-renewables and live cleaner lives. All that could be realized before any of those slim benefits from drilling occur.

One, among other fallicies in your position is the “either or” statement that drilling means giving up our environment. Not true. Drilling uses up corporate resources and a huge payback to government in taxes and jobs. What slim benefits from drilling are you talking about. Has the world not realized huge benefits from a century of drilling?

Posted by: Jim M at August 21, 2008 11:49 AM
Comment #259099

Jim M-
When you’re confiscating people’s sodas on the off chance they might cook up a bomb in the airplane lavatory, I think you’re venturing further into “imaginary games over reality” territory.

The average liberal wants us to put professional people in these positions, people who have the intelligence, the maturity, the education, and the instincts to spot the gun or knife, to not get sidetracked with petty crap. No security is perfect, but our current system is just crap, and the next time an airliner gets attacked, I’m sure it will play a part.

As for drilling, the question is not whether such drilling could create jobs, make money, produce tax revenues, it’s whether it’s what its cracked up to be.

Drilling is being advertised as the solution to the problem of greater foreign oil imports, and to the problem of high gas prices, in addition to such benefits. But it’s not. The best you will get, if you get the greatest yield possible (only a five percent chance of this) is about a dollar and a half off of a barrel. Subdivide that by gallons of gas, and you’re not getting so much off. More to the point, by the time these benefits actually hit their peak, today’s babies will be getting their driver’s licenses. That’s a long time to wait for a discount.

This will ad relatively little to the market, which means it will do little to wean us off of foreign oil. The reason we’re so dependent is that we went through our peak supplies sometime in the seventies. Since then, petroleum imports, by necessity, have steadily increased.

The only way to get off of foreign oil is to get off of oil entirely. As long as we depend on oil supplies to fuel transportation, we’ll be handing money to the Saudis.

Your logic essentially depends on your being right. If your plan had a snowball’s chance of hell of actually making America energy independent, if it would produce real near term relief to consumers at the pump now, you could rightfully claim we were being obnoxious about the matter. But since the benefits are too small, and too far into an uncertain future of supply and demand, opposing drilling on the grounds that it’s environmental consquences and its eyesore factor are not worth the benefits is sound. More sound still is supporting the drive towards renewables now, rather than waiting for crunch time later to make the needed transition.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 21, 2008 12:17 PM
Comment #259102

>Drilling uses up corporate resources and a huge payback to government in taxes and jobs. What slim benefits from drilling are you talking about. Has the world not realized huge benefits from a century of drilling?


Posted by: Jim M at August 21, 2008 11:49 AM

Jim M,

Huge payback??? Aren’t the oil corps getting our tax dollar subsidies? Would drilling open more jobs than researching renewables?

No, we don’t have to decide either/or, but since the ‘payback’ is so limited and so far off for ‘drilling’…perhaps we should scuttle that and concentrate our resourses on something that might actually work?

Posted by: Marysdude at August 21, 2008 1:12 PM
Comment #259104

Rhinehold says “Except the Fair Tax isn’t regressive, so I’m not sure what your point is…”

The Unfair Tax is a proposed 30% sales tax Rhinehold, but its been a while so please feel free to enlighten me with your spin on this.


http://www.bartleby.com/59/18/regressiveta.html

Posted by: j2t2 at August 21, 2008 1:28 PM
Comment #259115

Wow. This thread was very successfully derailed, wasn’t it?

Hey guess what?

John McCain feels free to lie about his POW experience. He does this to fool Christians into giving him their votes.

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at August 21, 2008 2:27 PM
Comment #259123
Rhinehold, I know I’m pushing my luck, but tell me just how you can tie your relentless postings on budget issues…..to a thread that is about McCains lies and plagairism.

As I explained before, because Stephen made an incorrect statement about the Clinton surplus that never existed. Interesting that you see it as a Rhinehold problem and not a ‘people talking about a different topic’ problem…

And then j2t2 makes a comment about the fairtax that, I’m guessing, you want me to ignore as well? ;)

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 21, 2008 3:50 PM
Comment #259124
The Unfair Tax is a proposed 30% sales tax Rhinehold, but its been a while so please feel free to enlighten me with your spin on this.

No, it is not a 30% sales tax. It is a tax plan that has a 30% tax on new products and services as a component of it, along with a prebate that actually eliminates the tax burden on the poor that the current progressive tax plan cannot and is progressive over the life of the users paying into the system.

“The rebate is meant to eliminate the taxation of necessities and make the plan progressive” from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FairTax.

If you want to actually learn more, feel free to look it up and investigate it yourself. Or continue to mock what you don’t have all of the information on. Your choice I guess.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 21, 2008 3:54 PM
Comment #259130

Rhinehold-
From what I heard authorities have a very hard time enforcing sales taxes of any kind once they head north of ten percent.

Additionally, the whole notion of a prebate is that you will literally be handing out money from the treasury to people, making it one of the most significant government outlays made. Even so, people will still shell out much more money for the products they buy, and any tax increase will directly hit consumption, creating the possibility of a vicious cycle of added taxes and reduced sales.

In the end, really, if you want a progressive tax, stick with what we have. If you want to ride a three-speed progressive system, be my guess, I’m going to get a 21 speed.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 21, 2008 4:28 PM
Comment #259136

heaven forbid that you would follow your own rules as you expect others to do, Rhinehold. ;)

Posted by: janedoe at August 21, 2008 6:11 PM
Comment #259137

A long time ago in a far away land a small town discovered that their well water might contain a substance that, over a period of a hundred years or so, might cause tooth decay, balding and ingrown toenails.

The townspeople hastily called a meeting to discuss this imminent disaster and came to the conclusion that they would no longer drink water from the poison well and rely, instead, upon rain water.

Since it didn’t rain frequently many of the townspeople could no longer bathe, water their gardens, provide water for their pets, or support their goldfish tanks. What little rain water they had was soon rationed and became extremely costly. They decided to grind their crops into mash, boil and then condense it into a suitable substance for drinking. Everyone was amazed at the ingenuity of the “Great Thinkers” and everyone gave a sigh of relief. Shortly the town discovered that along with being very thirsty they were also very hungry.

Another town meeting was held to discuss reopening the poisoned well and take a chance of dying prematurely at the age of 100. The “Great Thinkers” in the town restated that not bathing and all the other constraints while painful, must be endured for the sake of the children. They also reminded the townspeople that they were drilling a new well which would provide all the good water they needed and be available in just over 20 years if all went well.

The “Logicals” in the town, while not “Great Thinkers” reminded the citizens that the towns people had been drinking the water for over a hundred years and perhaps they could risk drinking the well water until the new well came online in perhaps 20 years. The “Great Thinkers” overruled this sensible compromise and said that rather than take a chance on drinking water from the old well they would buy water from the town nearby.

Ten years later the town population had shrunk by half with all the “Great Thinkers” gone. The money they paid to purchase water from the town nearby cost so much that they couldn’t finish their new well and were forced to leave in humiliation. The “Logicals remained behind, reopened the old well and are doing just fine. With their prosperity restored, they finished the new well and kept the old well in reserve. The “Great Thinkers” moved to Washington and are now teaching government to illegals.

Posted by: Jim M at August 21, 2008 6:21 PM
Comment #259139
A long time ago in a far away land a small town discovered that their well water might contain a substance that, over a period of a hundred years or so, might cause tooth decay, balding and ingrown toenails.

But at the end of that hundred years, the villagers found that if they married off one of their own to a beer heiress, slipped a pair of $520 loafers over those horrifically ingrown toenails, and got him to swear that the the phony old cross-in-the-dirt story had actually happened to him, they could still proudly have him run for the presidency.

Unfortunately for the villagers though, the people of the land saw that the old man was a liar with no new or better ideas than his idiotic predecessor. When it came time to vote, the majority decided they liked his opponent better, because he was an, intelligent, self-made man with good ideas who was truly in the prime of his life, and they voted for him instead.

The End.

:^D

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at August 21, 2008 6:54 PM
Comment #259140

Jim M,

Nice story, but not relevant to this issue. We know that oil is depleting from the earth…we know that your drilling won’t show any real benefit to the American people…we know that we are going to have to find alternatives…we know that those alternatives are availble and can be provided with research and a national agenda. The folks who kept suggesting the consumption of the poisened water died, as did their children. The intelligencia in Washington lived on and so did their children.

Posted by: Marysdude at August 21, 2008 6:56 PM
Comment #259141

Okay….I’m going to stand outside and throw this in. It’s just new, and has some new twists on what has been going around the last couple of days, but still confirms that the original story was released about the same time McCain was released. This is long, more detailed, but still very telling.

http://www.factcheck.org/askfactcheck/did_mccain_lift_his_cross-in-the-sand_anecdote_from.html

Posted by: janedoe at August 21, 2008 7:01 PM
Comment #259143

janedoe,

I’d feel better about life if they’d found McPain a do-baddy, but thanks for the link.

Posted by: Marysdude at August 21, 2008 7:08 PM
Comment #259145

Well he hasn’t been vindicated by any means….
LOL…I’ll keep digging..maybe I can find something dirtier.. ;)

Posted by: janedoe at August 21, 2008 7:18 PM
Comment #259147

janedoe, thanks for the link, I found it interesting.

Marysdude, I am an old fart and would like to know the meaning of your word…”do-baddy”. Thanks

Posted by: Jim M at August 21, 2008 7:28 PM
Comment #259149

Marysdude, who exactly is the royal “We” you refer to in your proclamations?

I also have a problem understanding your statement, “we know that those alternatives are availble and can be provided with research and a national agenda.

How can something that is “available” require research and a national agenda?

Is a cure for cancer “available” because there is a national agenda and research being conducted?

Some put their faith in God and others in science. As faith is related to God, it’s a belief in things not seen or understood.

Science has achieved much, but it is imprudent to worship it at the expense of today’s needs and reality.

Posted by: Jim M at August 21, 2008 7:47 PM
Comment #259160

Jim M,

I’m 68 and know that a do-baddy is someone who does bad things…perhaps not a stretch for old farts after all.

Okay, wrong term ‘available’. How about very, very, very, very likely? Extremely likely? You pick one for me…

Posted by: Marysdude at August 21, 2008 8:48 PM
Comment #259180

Jim M-
It’s always easy to offer the most sensible solution to a problem of fictional circumstances you create yourself.

Let’s say the toxic effects of the water are more immediate, and pose a danger to the health of the villagers. There was a case back west of a town literally riddled with disease because of a nearby Asbestos mine. Health problems of this kind are a drain on the economy and on people’s productivity.

But worse than that, it’s sitting on a rather limited aquifer which is going to run out at the rate they’re going.

Not such an attractive resource. Now the health problems may not seem to be immediately terrible to the citizens of the town, but if the water runs out before new sources can be brought on line, then that’s a problem for the sustainability of the town as it is, much less for its growth and prosperity.

One solution will be to find methods to do things more efficiently, to not waste the resource. Another will be to find a sustainable resource to replace it.

But this will not get easier as the supply of the bad water dwindles. It will only become more difficult to find and exploit the new resources as the aquifer approaches the point of cratering. The collapse of a formerly rich resource is not always fatal, but it can be, and often has been.

In Iceland, long ago, mismanagement of loose volcanic soil turned the rich farmlands of the Island into much weaker ground. By imposing a rather austere system of conservation, they managed to put the system back into sustainability. A total collapse was averted. Greenland was not so lucky.

The problems of climate and of energy are solveable to some extent. We have the technology to do better on both counts, and we have it now, and if we devote our resources to developing that and do so now, things will get better for us quickly enough.

If, however, we wait until our supply is on the verge of collapse, and or the environmental conditions are getting obviously worse, then we’ll have unnecessarily inflicted a double whammy of civilizational and economic harm upon ourselves, and we will join any number of cultures as examples of profligate use of resources.

I would rather have the narrative of America’s history be a success story, rather than a cautionary tale.

You? You’d rather keep everything just how you’d like it. People like doing that. And its destroyed one civilization after another. Republicans like yourself don’t want to adapt to the world. You want the world to adapt to you. But the world just goes along its merry way, and does what it likes.

I would rather have our country’s economy rely on robust resource management which conserves rather than squanders its inheritance than have run after oil and ores with quiet desperation. I don’t want my country living on an edge that bad fortune or our enemies could push us over.

In that sense, I guess I can say I am much more conservative than you. But then conservative for me always meant carefulness, and prudence, and part of the reason I quit the GOP in my teen years is that I saw nothing of the sort operating among its ranks.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 22, 2008 10:22 AM
Comment #259182

>I quit the GOP in my teen years is that I saw nothing of the sort operating among its ranks.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 22, 2008 10:22 AM

Stephen,

You were a repug? Me too…I quit ‘em when they decided athiests were somehow less than human…

Posted by: Marysdude at August 22, 2008 10:43 AM
Comment #259190

Marysdude, how about “possibilities among considered and reasonable alternatives? Jim

Posted by: Jim M at August 22, 2008 12:16 PM
Comment #259230

Huh??

Posted by: Marysdude at August 22, 2008 8:24 PM
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