Americans Hating America

They make sure the U.S. never gets the benefit of the doubt. They always try to show their country in the worst light. I post that U.S. supplied 0.46% of Saddam’s arsenal. People write to explain why 0.46% is a huge number. I post that U.S. supplies more than half of all the food aid distributed worldwide. People explain why 54% is a small number. I write about CO2 emissions as a percentage of GDP and I am told the comparison is invalid. I write that the U.S. is the world’s largest aid donor and I am told it only makes sense in comparison to GDP.

Nothing has meaning except in relation to other things. A 5'5" inch person is a tall boy, a short man or a medium sized woman. It depends on the category. (I tried to sell the idea that at 6'1" I was the world’s shortest giant, but nobody bought it.). It also depends where you are. A 5'5' man would not be short in Indonesia but certainly not be the first pick for a basketball team in Norway.

They key to understanding anything is consistency of the comparisons.

Let me use the height example of a 6’1” man.
Real size: big
Compared with world average: tall
Compared with NBA: short
In Indonesia: giant
In Norway: medium tall

So let's criticize our country when appropriate, but make comparions right. We can compare total size, percentage of the world total, percentage of the U.S. GDP, but not mix them. When you see people switching references, call them on it. They may not be aware of their bias and you would be doing them a favor. If they are aware and keep on doing it, that's why we wear boots. So here are some examples.

Re U.S. contribution to Saddam
Total size: small
% of world: very small
% relation to GDP: totally insignificant

Re U.S. food aid
Total size: enormous
% of world: huge
% relation to GDP: small

Re U.S. contribution to fight against AIDS and other infectious diseases
Total size: very big
% of world: big
% relation to GDP: small

Re International relief (Tsunami etc)
Total size: huge
% world: big
% relation to GDP: small

Re pollution (non CO2)
Total size: big
% of world: big
% relation to GDP: small

Re CO2
Total size: big
% world: medium
% relation to GDP: small

Science and R&D
Total size: huge
% world: big
% GDP: medium

I invite others to put other comparisons up. And if you have find that you use the % of GDP when it makes America look bad and a total size when it . . .well makes America look bad and % of world total when it makes America look . . . bad again, but not when it makes your country look good, ask yourself why that is.

Posted by Jack at December 9, 2005 7:59 PM
Comments
Comment #100728

Correct me if I am mistaken, but the .54% provided by the US of Saddam’s arsenal does indeed seem significant. The analogy in law might be: “Well, he shot the guy in cold blood…but I’m okay because I gave the murderer just one of the bullets he used and I only stood there while he was shooting (looking the other way, of course). Oh, by the way, I give LOTS to charity—so that does that mean I don’t have to go to jail?”

Regardless of whether or not people support the current military action in Iraq, all US citizens should be concerned about our complicity, however small, in Saddam’s killings of his own people in the 1980s. To minimize it by calling it “just a little bit” is a cop-out.

Since we have taken on the responsibility to teach other countries what it means to be responsible global citizens, we, as self-appointed role models, must hold ourselves to a higher standard.

Posted by: Jeremiah at December 9, 2005 8:33 PM
Comment #100732

Jeremiah:

Actually, I think its more appropriate to be concerned about Saddam’s complicity in his killings of his people in the 1980’s. Allow me to give an example of why this should be:

If Person A irritates Person B by calling them a name, and then Person B later that day shoots and kills 10 people, is Person A really all that responsible? Should Person A hold themself responsible for the killings?

Or perhaps was Person B unstable? Perhaps Person B had a lifetime of reasons that caused him to shoot the people. Ultimately Person B is responsible for his actions.

The US does hold some accountability in the world, but its amusing (in a masochistic way) to see how people give the US accountability for bad things, but then don’t want the US to get involved in other areas. For instance, we shouldn’t be a world policeman but why the hell are we not helping the poor people in _________ ( you name the place—Rwanda, Ethiopia, Balkans, Pakistan, Indonesia etc).

Jack:

Once again, hammer meets nail head on.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at December 9, 2005 8:44 PM
Comment #100733

The U.S. was also the biggest donor to the Taliban. Our aid saved hundreds of thousands of Afghans. We are involved everywhere in the world.

So let’s get our comparision right. 0.46% is big for Saddam. Our food aid is monumental and we are responsible for progress made in fighting AIDS. Those contributions are hundreds of time bigger, so if they must be creating heaven on earth. I am more proud of my country already.

Posted by: Jack at December 9, 2005 8:46 PM
Comment #100735

The US arms given to Saddam HOSESANE were intended to help him fight off Iranians coming across that border. And it was not a lot of aid. And the Iranians were being a PAIN in SOMETHING. They had just humiliated Jimmy Carter and may have shot down one or more American rescue helicopters in the desert.
There is a saying,”The enemy of your enemy is your friend,” At the time Saddam HOSETHEM was killing Iranian enemies, even if they were fellow Muslems.

As for foreign aid, I am convinced that to feed starving people, you do not ship food to some Warlord, merchant, politician or tyrant. Far better to get food about to be wasted in America (fast-going out of code date potato chips,etc )and scatter the stuff from the air all over the country. American companies would get a tax write off and the military could get a flying mission.

But “Meals On Wheels” to Samolia was STUPID and wasted a lot of brave men. The Warlords were little more than gang leaders and thugs. Hell, dropping fishing tackle would have allowed the Somalis to fish and eat.
And where was the charity of the Muslim world?

Does the Koran even mention alms for the poor or widows? Oil Rich Sheiks do not seem to offer money except for some political idea like ,”America should build more refineries…here’s 10 million toward that”. Sorry we Saudis flew stolen jetliners into the Twin Towers…here’s 10 million for that.” And they KNOW we will refuse their “conscience money” while they give money to build hate-mongering schools in Pakistan and other Arab Countries.

Posted by: NewYorkie at December 9, 2005 8:57 PM
Comment #100738

Jack

I thought your pieces were going to end: Putting your finger in the eye of your political opponents—priceless. Glad you didn’t go there.

Yes I do see what you are saying and so to, do I respond that on either side of the aisle you will have pettiness and wedge exaggeration. Whether it be an election time wedge issue or one little talking point that gets exaggerated with time.

Here’s one:

Diebold and ES&S making voting machines that don’t give out a paper ballot and all forms of recount are actually quite malleable. (also owners are brothers)

Total price: Democracy.
% used in districts nationally: Very widely used in all 50 states.
Size of problem: Large
Gullibly trusted by republicans too: Prevalent
Gullibly trusted by states: Yes
Gullibly trusted by media: Very much so
Anything being done: Nada being that states are run by people who believe that they can’t be tampered with, or made to give out certain results.

See I think what you are examining (and needs to be examined) are talking points that have been around for a while. I agree there are hang-ups. I also hear alot of wholesale Walmart bashing from the left. The problem is competition not that Walmart per se is evil. But when it comes to trust I like the flexibilty of the dems but there are instances where things really stick too. Anti-hatecrime legislation for example or three strikes in California. When in a democratic administration I rail against dems and when in a republican administration I rail against republicans being that very rarely can either side see the light. We need a smart middle and all we have are parties that go to even further extremes. Where’s the party of right answers, we don’t have one that’s the real deficit. So I stick with the powers of import and not export, that’s what these parties are economically once you lift the party kilts.

Bush lied and gathered misleading evidence /or democrats were supposedly tricked—size of problem: Zero accountability on either side.
% of GDP: Over 2000 American soldiers dead
Size of problem being that we invaded a country on little foundation: Huge

Torture being used by Americans
Size of problem: Huge being that it erodes a good deal of diplomatic measures past that point, and we will be looked at as the bad guy and this is an area with a people who use that to their political advantage in war to garner empathy to their cause (Palestine/Chechnya).
% of problems from screw-up: Big one/ insurmountable to regain footing as a moral superior again in region/ we have no clout anymore to tell them to not employ torture.
Size of loss from democracy dominoes: Huge

I like this game you invented.

Posted by: Novenge at December 9, 2005 9:14 PM
Comment #100741

You might like the game, but you are playing it wrong.

Take your last one

Torture

The size of the problem is huge, but the amount of torture being committed by Americans is not.

% of world is very small. The Iranians or Cuban probably manage in one day what took us two or three years.

% of total U.S. activities is very small too.

In your example right above that one, you would have to compare the 2000 dead to the total size of the U.S. military or the average deaths even in peace time accidents.

The game is to compare things that are comparable and be consistent.

Posted by: Jack at December 9, 2005 9:26 PM
Comment #100744

So your saying that diplomaticly any of it is helpful in a region where people/military/terror will use it to their advantage. We’ve also lost the clout to tell them not to torture.

You know we have several hundred perhaps as many as 500 or so. we are a nation that has never done that or atleast has never publically made such things known. Comparable to Europe, a good portion of South America, Portions of Africa, Japan and malaysia and other areas. I think it might be fitting to say medium but to look at what it actually means in prospect of what we are trying to do in that region. I think gives it a wider margin being that those nations aren’t attempting to democratize when they do it. they are trying to overcome someone/something all to gain a footing of power for power’s sake. So if you are saying that, that is small then you might actually be saying that we are common tyrrants as you are in turn making that comparison. I mean if we are splitting hairs then we cannot be compared to them by the fact that we are atleast espousing to create democracy where they aren’t when they employ it. If it doesn’t make a difference you’re actually saying that we are a despotical regiem bent on little more than the assertion for power and dominance and not GWB’s freedom fries.

Posted by: Novenge at December 9, 2005 9:50 PM
Comment #100745

US tsunami relief: $132.9 million
World tsunami relief: $2.26 billion
% world: 5.9% (small, especially considering our GDP)

Japanese tsunami relief: 502.6 million
% world: 22.2% (huge)

Britain also contributed a lot at $135.6 million (6.0%)

Posted by: dbpitt at December 9, 2005 9:50 PM
Comment #100747

Sorry, bad statistic in my last post.

World tsunami relief: $1.9 billion
US % of world: 7% (still very little)
Japan % of world: 26.5% (huge)
UK % of world: 7.1%

Posted by: dbpitt at December 9, 2005 9:56 PM
Comment #100748

Jack,

i fnd the comparisons you have made interesting. Total % of the aresenal to saddam is a falsehood when you dont account for traing assistance, monetary assistance and research and development given. Where did he get the chemical agents used against his own people.

% give to the world in food aid. We all know we could do more but, shouldnt we look inside our boarders for people to keep from starving?
Points made well and good, but look at the situation we are in. We, as a nation are hated at the moment in the world. We are playing into their hands by not explaining things clearly enough to shut critics up. Disclosure as to really why we went and did we get the proper information and have a plan to really succeed. With the threat of terrorism being used as the catch all reason for this administrations actions one MUST question the U.S. and the administrations. It is not unpatirotic, to question, It does not show a lack of support for the troops to let them know their lives matter and people will question if the risk is great enough for their sacrifice. The lack of anything being done for the greater good of this nation as a whole by either party, is disheartning. No one citizen is more important than the next. Simply put, the U.S. should not be a policeman for the world. But, some administrations have made that the status quo. We are there, shouldn’t be in my opinion, but we need to finish the fight.

Posted by: Thomas G. at December 9, 2005 10:01 PM
Comment #100749

And Jack,

Maybe I’m looking at productivity of actions on the world stage and you are looking at comparative numbers for the sake of numbers. This is why I will never be republican. In Taoist proverb: The husk is captured but the flying is lost.

You lose sight of principals and productivity in favor of glib analysis. I wonder why everything is always worse under Republican administrations. A glossy/blurry eyed view and incompetent lack of what that view entails.

Posted by: Novenge at December 9, 2005 10:05 PM
Comment #100750

dbitt

Almost all the aid that got in and the people were saved were reached by U.S. military choppers and ships. How much does it cost to send an aircraft carrier group? Probably a bit more than 502 million.

The world relies on the U.S. maintaining its military.

The question I have is why do you feel it so important to try to find a place to criticize your country when if you think about it for more than a minute you (and saw any pictures of aircraft carriers) you would see that the U.S. contribution was very big - huge?

Novenge

We had such credibility before, right? And we were loved. Palestinians cheered the collapse of the Twin Towers. Attacks on the U.S. are nothing new no matter what we do. In many ways, I think we just need to develop a thicker skin about these things. People can respect you without liking you.

The reports of torture are exaggerated. Rice spoke to her European counterparts and they seem to have been satisfied with what she told them.

The UN Human Rights Commission kicked us off in 2002 BEFORE the Iraq invasion during that supposedly golden time just after the 9/11 attack. In our place were Sudan, Lybia and Sierra Leone. I am not really enthusiastic about being accepted by these clowns and I don’t think we can be. You are fooling yourself if you think you can kiss their asses enough to make them love you.

So be realistic. We are not perfect, but we are very good compared to the others.

Posted by: Jack at December 9, 2005 10:13 PM
Comment #100752

Jack, You are 100% correct. The problem is the general tearing down of our own country by the most hopocritical of politicians. Why is it that Hillary is always saying she’s doing it “For the children” when she supports partial birth abortions. Why was Teddy Kennedy cross examining Clarence Thomas about sexual harrassment, for that matter why is Teddy still in office? And why do people like Soros and Kennedy like taxes on those who achieve(unlike Kennedy) and keep thier vast fortune in over-seas trust funds tax free? Why do some people want “In God We Trust” off the cuurency and then say G.D. Who are they talking to? Why is it that the good people of color don’t know that the Republican Party was founded in 1854 to oppose the extension of slavery. Why is it that a general perception that the Vietnam war was a Republican war when it was JFK who got us in, LBJ who escalated and Nixon who got us out. The whole time the Democrats in congress held the purse strings. Why not remember some of the good things that JFK did like reduce the taxes for the highest tax brackets. Did a democrat ever get a job from a poor man? Fortunatey the liberal media is falling apart because people who pay attention to politics are standing up.
If a man is under 30 and is not liberal, he has no heart. If a man who is over 30 and is not conservative he has no brains.
-Benjamin Franklin

Posted by: Dano at December 9, 2005 10:20 PM
Comment #100753

Dano el-braino,

Conservative in 1776 meant something else.

Posted by: Novenge at December 9, 2005 10:24 PM
Comment #100756

Jack,

Like diplomats are going to stand up and deride Condaleeza mid sentence the whole point of diplomacy is dealing with the situation at hand. Not activism but the art of “scoping” and “sizing”. Reactions are usually the result of alot of wringing and analysis.

In our diplomatic gears we need to have the moral superiority if we are publically asking them to follow us. You must lead and lead by example. And if they don’t like us we actually get the ones we put in power removed from power (public image is important). Allawi comes to mind here. He was run out of Mosques just recently as I’m sure you folowed the story to some extent. He was run out because they didn’t like US, not him it had nothing to do with him but him playing to OUR fiddle. If a nation doesn’t like you well Iran’s history is available online as is Khomenei’s rise. That was a result of them not liking us.

Posted by: Novenge at December 9, 2005 10:35 PM
Comment #100758

As far as your questions of whether they loved us befor, that’s correct some did cheer when the towers came down.

I also as a matter of policy we had little reason to support Israel since 1990. That’s just a disaster upon disasters. We funded them and supported them because they were a foothold into the region. (IMHO) I would contend that we start putting our money somewhere where we can see measurable results. Israel is a lost cause and some of them apparently cheered too to see us finally face a terrorist action. So you do have a point in terms of before 9/11 but they would do that for anything bad that should happen to the US. BUT in keeping with your ‘game’ we can’t say that all Palestinians cheered. So I give it a ‘medium’.

Posted by: Novenge at December 9, 2005 10:56 PM
Comment #100760

Novenge

Narcissism is when you think you are the center of the world for good and bad. So the Iranians went through a revolution. Thousands of people were willing to kill and die just because they were pissed off at the U.S. And all their problems can be laid at the feet of the U.S.

Nobody is responsible for anything bad that happens except the U.S. Our 0.46% of Saddam’s arsenal makes us culpable for anything bad he does. Our 54% of world food aid does nothing good.

Your logic I have heard before. If we really criticize ourselves others will come to see how good we are. It doesn’t work that way.

Many of the people who criticize us are NOT looking for the truth or for our leadership. Even among our friends. The French have goals different from ours. They have been nipping at us since their revolution. The leadership in Libya, Iran, Cuba etc are not looking for our example.

Years ago the Soviet Union created disinformation The created the story that the U.S. had created AIDS as a bio weapon. The pushed a story that we imported children to use as baby parts. There was absolutely no truth to these things. You can follow the stories to their source. Yet people believed them. We had nothing significant to do with Saddam’s weapons programs. Yet people take our 0.46% and make it into something.

The new Iranian leader denies the holocast took place. Do you really think a guy like this is going to be convinced of our good example?

According to polls in Europe, significant percentages believe the U.S. set up 9/11 or that all the Jews were evacuated first. We Americans should be more aggressive in shutting down these sorts of lies instead of trying to one up them with criticism of our own.

Posted by: Jack at December 9, 2005 11:08 PM
Comment #100766

I’m just saying that a cleaner image helps us not that it is entirely the answer. It’s not but with our actions it helps not to have ourselves muddied by anything that smacks of corruption because it makes it easier to deflect many of the claims you mentioned. If we have responsibility as well as the outward appearance of it we can be more teflon and yes actually we have done a fair job of it.

And I’m not saying, although I don’t think you are accusing, that we be immobile to sustain that image. that’s what Clinton did as he didn’t react to many things like Rwanda the same way Bush hasn’t reacted to Sudan. i do think that world democratization is important but there have to be guidelines to going about it. Whether they have guidelines or not because it makes our system more attractive. We want to win over with democracy to create democracy, image has a cruciality to that greater purpose. We must set up guidelines to what we do as it creates and generates a moral superiority to those who have no ethic (terrorists).

I’m not proterror or one of these Islam apologists that make all these claims ethical of Islam that aren’t true. I just don’t want us to lose one of the most important cogs in diplomacy.

Posted by: Novenge at December 9, 2005 11:30 PM
Comment #100771

To be honest, the game is tinged with uncertainty and subjectivity. For example, trying to determine the relationship between CO2 and GDP is impossible. The future relationship may turn out to be enormous or meager. It’s all in who you believe and how you measure it. Those caveats aside, here are some fun facts:

Re: federal debt
Total size: huge: 8.1 trillion and 66% of U.S. GDP
% of world: 15% of global GPD
% relation to GDP: Alan Greenspan calls current trends “unsustainable” and notes “these deficits would cause the economy to stagnate - or worse.”

Side comments:

In 1980, debt was 33% of U.S. GDP
In 1992, debt was 64% of U.S. GDP
In 2000, debt was 58% of U.S. GDP
In 2005, debt was 66% of U.S. GDP
In 2010, debt is projected to be 70% of GDP

For more information, try the GPO.

Re: U.S. business cycles
Total size:
a) 2.8% GPD growth so far in this business cycle, compared with 3.5% average growth for other recoveries
b) 0.2% growth in payroll jobs so far, compared with 1.8% in average payroll growth
c) 1.8% increase in personal income so far, compared with average 3.4%
% of world: small to medium
relation to U.S. GDP: large

Side comments:

One good thing about the current business cycle is that GDP has actually been looking good lately, but these other indicators not so much. Stagnant wages are a particular problem, especially in light of productivity growth.

For more information, try the EPI.

Re: U.S. poverty (below 125% of poverty level)
Total size: 17% of U.S. population
% of world: small
% relation to GDP: small
% relation to stuff that actually matters: large

Side comments:

In 1980, 18.0%
In 1992, 19.2%
In 2000, 15.6%
In 2004, 17.1%

For more information, try the Census Bureau.

Side comments:

The fact that I’m doing this crazy exercise on a Friday night should count against me when Saint Peter interrogates me at the pearly gates.

Posted by: Reed Sanders at December 10, 2005 12:03 AM
Comment #100773

Jack, what is surprising is how fast those small percentages of GDP add up to deficits and national debt grown almost 2.5 Trillion in just 5 years.

Let’s raise taxes on those who can afford it, and cut some of those foreign giveaways, shall we? I see where the Republican House has cut food stamps, Medicare, and education funding for Americans while these foreign giveaways seem to keep growing. Why are Republican politicians so intent on cutting benefits to taxpayers here, while rebuilding entire foreign nations from the ground up? My daughter’s future paycheck deductions are killing her work future in this country.

CBO has our national debt just under 10 Trillion at the end of 2008, which does not include all manner of expenditures not yet budgeted like Iraq for another few years, Pension Guaranty bailout, or another expensive natural disaster. CBO projects income tax revenues increasing through ‘08, all the while Republicans in Congress are cutting taxes. DUH!!!!

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 10, 2005 12:18 AM
Comment #100777

P.S. It just occured to me, that 2.5 trillion increase in our national debt comes out to $17,241 per American in the work force. That’s $17,241 new dollars to come out of workers pay and earnings in the future above what they were already paying in the year 2000.

Of course, some Republicans argue we will never have to pay off our debts, and that debt and deficits are healthy for our nation and its future. Most Americans who have credit and a checking account would disagree, and do.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 10, 2005 12:25 AM
Comment #100780

Reed Sanders,

EPI (Economic Policy Institute) is really one of the better sites. Hoardes of reliable info for republican/democratic skirmishes. I think the real problem is that the theory of how this is all glibly arranged in a really bad form of policy-haiku and secondly that actually dems aren’t all that anti-American when they question the status quo of America or the rising new status quo under GW Bush. I understand what’s being said but also that there’s more to the quotient that isn’t getting addressed in the fivepoint assessment.

Posted by: Novenge at December 10, 2005 1:01 AM
Comment #100781

Jack, another fine post. Thought I might add this little quote……

“Well, I think [President Bush has] done an incredible job, his administration, on AIDS. And 250,000 Africans are on antiviral drugs. They literally owe their lives to America. In one year that’s being done. … Yes, there’s a lot of pressure on President Bush. If he, though, in his second term, is as bold in his commitments to Africa as he was in the first term, he indeed deserves a place in history in turning the fate of that continent around.” — Irish singer and activist Bono, in an interview on “Meet the Press”

Posted by: boojum at December 10, 2005 1:10 AM
Comment #100785

Reed Sanders,
That’s funny (sort of; the debt part is alarming actually). But, haven’t you heard? The National Debt is nothing to worry about. We’re doing OK. It’s not too big. It’s only $8.1 trillion. It’s only 66% of GDP. And, Social Security is the cause of all our problems. Bush tried to do something about it, but I guess the people were all too stupid to listen to him. Never mind that Social Security has been plundered all along (and still is).

So we need to be more careful how we criticize America, otherwise, it’s Americans hating America? I’m sure some do that, but at this time, it sounds like a clever ploy to deflect responsibility and criticism, by claiming criticism is hating America. Later, it will be something else, when this tactic fails to work. Maybe stir up some partisan warfare. Throw them some red meat to get ‘em all fired up and engaged in their favorite past-time, wallowing in the circular pattern of petty partisan warfare.

So let’s criticize our country when appropriate, but make comparions right. We can compare total size, percentage of the world total, percentage of the U.S. GDP, but not mix them.

OK, I agree. We need to be accurate.
Here’s a criticism (and it doesn’t mean I hate America).

Our federal government is corrupt, irresponsible, and unaccountable.
This is what they do daily to prove it. They are bought-and-paid-for. Government is FOR SALE. They fuel petty partisan warfare. They reject campaign finace reform. They reject term limits. They reject election reform. They reject tax reform. But, they’re all on the same page when it comes to voting themselves cu$hy multi-million dollar retirement plans, perk$, and rai$e$. There is no peer pressure or policing their own ranks. They all look the other way. They refuse to tackle tough issues for fear of risking re-election. They’re big-money-donor-puppeteers don’t want them to address our growing problems.

And, to be fair, voters allowed it. But, voters need to learn to never ignore government, because it is always trying to grow corrupt. Government is always trying to over-complicate processes to more easily plunder the tax payers, fill their own pockets, get theirs, peddle influence, get those multi-million dollar retirement plans, and make it more difficult to remove them from their cu$hy and coveted seats of power.

To raise these valid issues is not Americans hating America. It’s Americans stating valid concerns about serious problems facing the nation.

Posted by: d.a.n at December 10, 2005 1:34 AM
Comment #100791
The size of the problem is huge, but the amount of torture being committed by Americans is not.

Jack, the problem isn’t the percentage; it’s the fact that America tortures anyone at all. I can’t believe you don’t understand that.

Your article doesn’t make it clear who you believe the “America haters” are — except that they’re people who disagree with you — but I’m pretty sure the people you’re referring to hold America and it’s government to very high standards. It’s dismaying to find that some people resent that.

Posted by: American Pundit at December 10, 2005 2:40 AM
Comment #100799

It is a common Republican Tactic to equate themselves with America. It is therefore not surprising that Conservatives believe so many hate America. Its part of their Fantasy Land like WMDs in Iraq. They need to believe it in order to function.

Posted by: Aldous at December 10, 2005 3:14 AM
Comment #100844

Jack:

There are some in America who will always look at what America does and minimize the good while maximizing the bad. We of course will always do good and always do bad, so their quiver will always be full of arrows to sling.

The idea of equivalency is an important one. For instance, Saddam was accused of feeding live people into wood chippers, and if they were nice, he’d put them in head first instead of feet first. The US is accused of putting a Koran into a toilet. Voila—both sides are now equally guilty. But even worse is that the Koran abuse issue got much wider attention, making it look like the US was the worse of these two actions.

I believe that many Americans feel guilty about our successes, our style of living, our wealth etc compared to other parts of the world. Even most of our poorest citizens live at a higher standard than much of the world. The key for them is to not simply complain, but to do something about it in a positive way. This is hard to do and it takes committment, but giving to those in need is a good thing, whether they are American or not.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at December 10, 2005 7:04 AM
Comment #100849

Hi Jack,

You seem to be going along with the folks who think that anybody who criticizes any Republicans is an “America hater”.

Our conversation about Central America yesterday is an example.

I don’t approve of anybody engaging in systematic rape, torture, and murder of civilians. I certainly don’t approve of it when it’s done by my country using my tax dollars and done in my name.

If I hated America I wouldn’t mind us being seen by the world as engaging in terrorism. I love America and I abhor the idea of us engaging in despicable acts of rape, murder, and torture of civilians.

We’re better than that Jack. We’re not about supporting the most brutal dictators in the hemisphere.

Reagan perverted what is good about this country by supporting rape, murder, and torture of civilians.

Those who supported the despicable things we did in Central America are the ones who have a low opinion of this country.


Posted by: LouisXIV at December 10, 2005 8:06 AM
Comment #100854

Hi Jack,

Those who, like you, think that America is about supporting systematic rape, torture, and murder of innocent civilians are the ones who hate America.

Those of us who think America is about something much better than that are the ones who love America.

I’m wondering whether you also condone all of the lying that Reagan went in for on Central America?.

Do you see America as a nation of liars in addition to being a country who engages in systematic rape, murder, and torture of innocent civilians.

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 10, 2005 8:22 AM
Comment #100858

All (Especially Louis XIV)

I received this email from a collegue yesterday and I do not know if it is accurate or not.

Can any of you out there objectively verify the accurancy of these statements?

At a lecture the other day they were playing an old news video of Lt.Col. Oliver North testifying at the Iran-Contra hearings in 1987 during the Reagan Administration.

There was Ollie in front of God and country getting the third degree, but what he said was stunning!

He was being drilled by a senator; “Did you not recently spend close to $60,000 for a home security system?”

Ollie replied, “Yes, I did, Sir.”

The senator continued, trying to get a laugh out of the audience, “Isn’t that just a little excessive?”

“No, sir,” continued Ollie.

“No? And why not?” the senator asked.

“Because the lives of my family and I were threatened, sir.”

“Threatened? By whom?” the senator questioned.

“By a terrorist, sir” Ollie answered.

“Terrorist? What terrorist could possibly scare you that much?”
“His name is Osama bin Laden, sir” Ollie replied.

At this point the senator tried to repeat the name, but couldn’t pronounce it, which most people back then probably couldn’t. A couple of people laughed at the attempt. Then the senator continued. Why are you so afraid of this man?” the senator asked.

“Because, sir, he is the most evil person alive that I know of”, Ollie answered.

“And what do you recommend we do about him?” asked the senator.

“Well, sir, if it was up to me, I would recommend that an assassin team be formed to eliminate him and his men from the face of the earth.”

The senator disagreed with this approach, and that was all that was shown of the clip.


By the way, that senator was Al Gore.

Also:

Terrorist pilot Mohammad Atta blew up a bus in Israel in 1986. The Israelis captured, tried and imprisoned him. As part of the Oslo agreement with the Palestinians in 1993, Israel had to agree to release so-called “political prisoners.”

However, the Israelis would not release any with blood on their hands, The American President at the time, Bill Clinton, and his Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, “insisted” that all prisoners be released.

Thus Mohammad Atta was freed and eventually thanked the US by flying an airplane into Tower One of the World Trade Center. This was reported by many of the American TV networks at the time that the terrorists were first identified.


It was censored in the US from all later
reports. “

As I said,I would like to know if these accounts are accurate.

Any comments?


Posted by: sicilianeagle at December 10, 2005 8:58 AM
Comment #100859

And these numbers are from where?

“Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit from my hat?”
or
“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

Unsupported numbers and no sources are never credible, nor is any argument that Sadaam was an actual threat to anyone. He was boxed in the no fly zones, not the no spin zones.
There was no one flight in or out of Iraq since 1991!

The reason America is now distrusted, more hated and it’s credability is in question is thanks to the GOP. They are the ones who began the Fear Factor campaign against critics, suppressed the press and set up what the world sees as a secret police force with the Patriot Act.
You Republicans should be either very proud or very ashamed of your actions.
But claiming victory or admitting defeat can only be a matter of histories judgement, and that is a long way off.
Recent history is going to be a big factor in 2006, voters are afraid to re-elect GOP candidates. We are afraid of corruption and bribes, like DeLay, Cunningham and Ney. we are very afraid our personal information is not being used fairly with the Patriot Act. (We never liked J. Edgar Hoover’s abuse of the FBI in such a manner)
We are afraid of the militant religious right wing who want to overthrow the government and replace it with a theocracy.
We are afraid of sexual discrimination with all this crap about gays ( Allowing them to marry is not going to ruin anything, except the concept that the world is still flat).
We are afraid that the poorer will get more poor, the hungry will actually starve to death and the homeless will become hopeless.
We are afraid of the GOP and we should be. You are nothing like the benevolent and considerate party of 1860.
You are a national disgrace, and should be replaced with a new moderate party of people, who are liberal in social issues and conservative in finances…something the GOP is neither.

Posted by: Joe at December 10, 2005 8:59 AM
Comment #100860

Hi sicilianeagle,

Oliver North engaged in treason when he sold arms to our enemies.

Oliver North supported vicious terrorism in Central America. He was responsiblel for a lot of systematic rape, torture, and murder of innocent civilians.

Oliver North has a long and rich history of lying to our government and lying to the American people.

In summary: North has committed treason, he’s got blood on his hands, and he’s one of the worst liars in the history of our government.

The bribe he took in the form of his security system isn’t as significant as his lying, treason, and support for terrorists but it makes him seem just a bit sleazier.

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 10, 2005 9:08 AM
Comment #100861

Joe,

““Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit from my hat?””

I guess I need a new hat.

Posted by: Rocky at December 10, 2005 9:20 AM
Comment #100862

Hi sicilianeagle,

A brief PS: North also lied about some other bribe(s) he recieved during his trial.

North is an extremely un-American fellow. Our country isn’t about lying, terrorism and sleaziness.

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 10, 2005 9:21 AM
Comment #100865

If you are making comparisons, as a % of GNP makes the most valid sense. Just California, if it was a country by itself, would be the world’s 9th largest economy. Our economic size overwhelms any other country. You have to look at the whole EEC to get a comprable economic engine.

However, your point that people who are asking the US to do more are wrong is so bogus. We should always be asking the US to lead, do more and set a moral high point. We are the world power.

Yet, now our government uses torture, arrests without trial, continues to ignore the issue of fossill fuels. We are by far becoming the selfish country in history when you consider how much of the world’s resources we consume. The aid we do offer to other countries always has strings attached: buy our military hardware (the fast majority of aid), you must buy our agriculture, you must hire our corporations, etc. When I give a donation, I don’t require the charity to buy my products or services otherwise it is completely self-serving.

Now do you understand why “liberal” are expecting more of this country?

Posted by: Acetracy at December 10, 2005 10:11 AM
Comment #100866

AP

Of course all people who disagree with me are potentially nefarious.

Many liberals are anti-American because they always want to trash the current government. Before the president has even finished talking, they are trying to spin why he is wrong. Politics should stop at the water’s edge. I don’t really think that except in cases like Jane Fonda it rises to the level of actual hatred (or in her case just hateful stupidity) but it is there.

I hasten to add that conservatives are not immune. During Kosovo and Somalia some conservatives acted in an anti-American fashion. I know a couple of people who actually feel guilty about how they behaved during Kosovo and they should. Just like some liberals will when this Administration is over.

Let me step right into the fray. Howard Dean. His comments about not being able to win in Iraq went way beyond the pale. I don’t think he hates America, but his well articulated hatred for the slightly more than half of American voter who chose Republicans makes his treat his country as collateral damage.

Louis

I mentioned nothing about Republicans. I know you hate Republicans and RR. You will learn more with experience. As you know I believe you are wrong about Central America, but consider that the events you are talking about happened twenty years ago and that U.S. policy successfully ended the insurgencies.

Central Americans do not have a particularly low opinion of the U.S. and it has not been changing. In any case and their opinion is shaped much more by our visa and immigration policy than by events in the 1980s. Why would you feel it relevant to bring it up all the time?

Similar logic applies even to Saddam in the 1980s. We are arguing about very small numbers or technicalities even in the worst case scenario. It is clear to me that the U.S. is not the creator or sustainer of Saddam Hussein. We clearly were instrumental in getting rid of him. So you are left with this:

If a 0.46% contribution to Saddam Hussein is so nefarious as to cloud the whole soul of our great country, that must mean that Saddam Hussein with the other 99.54% was very truly evil. And the U.S. getting rid of him would be justified and overdue no matter what else. You either you support the war that overthrew Saddam, or you don’t think the 0.46% has any moral significance.

And I would appreciate it you stopped with the rape, torture etc. It is silly and can be applied to all situations. Those who opposed the war in Iraq wanted to continue rape torture etc. It is childish argument, maybe fun the first time but not after that.

Posted by: Jack at December 10, 2005 10:14 AM
Comment #100867

Speaking of liberal bias

I listened to Daniel Schorr today on NPR. He was asked if the President’s PR offensive was working. He mentioned and dismissed the 5% improvement in the President’s approval rating. It is significant HOW he dismissed it. He said that the improvement resulted only from the improving economy. The interesting thing is most liberals deny the economy is good.

What I see happening is this. The economy is clearly very strong and has been since 2003. Liberals have been spinning it as bad, but this won’t work much longer. Eventually reality shines in. The strategy now is to pocket the good economy and say something like “of course it is good. That is a given, but …”

A marker here. I have been trying to talk about the good economy for months. The left side has proven over and over (to their satisfaction) that it is bad. Remember this. When it is clear the economy is good, you CAN’T claim everybody knew it.

Posted by: Jack at December 10, 2005 10:24 AM
Comment #100868

All plus Louis XIV

Did you see the CNN polls this morning?

As predicted by the Sicilian Eagle,the presidents’s approval rating rose to 42%…and will rise even further after the elections next week.

Why some here don’t believe the old Eagle,I will never know.

Louis XIV

Using your logic,the John Kerry actions were treasonous.

Wasn’t he responsible,thru his activities with the Vietnam Vietrans Against the War and his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee for at least some American deaths in Vietnam caused by fragging officers by disillusioned draftees who were against the war?

Didn’t they kill commanding officers motivated in part my Kerry’s non-stop protesting?

Last week I tried to make that point and was jumped on by some fom the left.

The comparion is valid though.

Also,North was the first to mention Bin Laden.Gore hadn’t a clue who he was.

What about Atta?

If that story is true it will make nationial headlines (I will se to that,believe me)…I need it substantiated.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at December 10, 2005 10:33 AM
Comment #100871

Have you seen the polls today? I know how the left loves polls so let’s look at these numbers from Afghanistan on www.kashar.net

87% think that the U.S. overthrow of the Taliban was good.
75% think that their country is headed in the right direction (only 30% of Americans feel that way)
60% feel that attacks on the U.S. are unjustified (funny how the majority of Democrats feel that they are justified).

The dems are only interested in political posturing and power and don’t give a damn about anything else. That will become more and more obvious as we head into 06.

Posted by: Jay at December 10, 2005 11:05 AM
Comment #100874

Jay,

“87% think that the U.S. overthrow of the Taliban was good.
75% think that their country is headed in the right direction (only 30% of Americans feel that way)
60% feel that attacks on the U.S. are unjustified (funny how the majority of Democrats feel that they are justified).”

How soon we forget the nearly worldwide support America recieved for the conflict in Afghanistan, and the nearly worldwide condemnation we recieved for the invasion if Iraq.

In your eyes America can do no wrong. Every despot that we have supported in the last 50 years was justified as a means to an end. Never mind those that were oppressed in freedoms name.
Tell that to those whose love ones have been disappeared in America’s name.

Posted by: Rocky at December 10, 2005 11:14 AM
Comment #100877

Rocky, did you not see the (30% of Americans feel that Afghanistan is headed in the right direction)? Also please point to a specific reference in my post where I imply that America can “do no wrong”. If you can’t than I will have to assume that you are (here’s a word you will understand) “lying”. So please point to that reference for me……I am waiting.

Posted by: Jay at December 10, 2005 11:21 AM
Comment #100878

BTW Rocky, this poll has nothing to do with worldwide support. This is a poll of people who live in Afghanistan.

Posted by: Jay at December 10, 2005 11:25 AM
Comment #100880

Jay,

“The dems are only interested in political posturing and power and don’t give a damn about anything else.”

Seems kind of obvious, don’t you think?

Posted by: Rocky at December 10, 2005 11:29 AM
Comment #100881

Dems are Americans aren’t they? And assuming they are, then Of course I think that Amercia can do wrong. There happens to be a lot of wrong with that party.

Posted by: Jay at December 10, 2005 11:31 AM
Comment #100882

So I guess I am still waiting, or maybe you were “lying” or twisting the truth.

Posted by: Jay at December 10, 2005 11:32 AM
Comment #100883

Jay,

As I said before, there is plenty of blame to spread around.

There are no clean hands, in either party at the moment, and there is a lot wrong with the way both parties do business.

Posted by: Rocky at December 10, 2005 11:39 AM
Comment #100885

Jay,

“So I guess I am still waiting, or maybe you were “lying” or twisting the truth.”

Wow, you gave me a whole minute to respond.

Posted by: Rocky at December 10, 2005 11:41 AM
Comment #100887

Hi Jack,

“I mentioned nothing about Republicans.”

You seem to think that anybody who criticizes Republicans is an America hater.

“I know you hate Republicans and RR. You will learn more with experience.”

I do not hate either.

“As you know I believe you are wrong about Central America, but consider that the events you are talking about happened twenty years ago and that U.S. policy successfully ended the insurgencies.”

Systematic rape, torture, and murder are wrong. You think it’s OK to go in for vicious terrorist acts which is extreme moral relatavism.

“Why would you feel it relevant to bring it up all the time?”

When those on the right say “Reagan was a truly great President” I tell the truth about him.

“Those who opposed the war in Iraq wanted to continue rape torture etc.”

That’s not at all true Jack. You’re unable to comprehend the difference between engaging in terrorism and thinking that occupying Iraq is a bad idea.

Your logic is quite childish.



Posted by: LouisXIV at December 10, 2005 11:48 AM
Comment #100888

Let’s Be Real about Saddaam! Two of his lawyers were killed on their way to work. Knowing what kind of people would be against his regime, do you really think that he was too far off when he did to them before they did to him? We get in the middle of other people’s politics and we think that we know what is going on based on our narrow sighted view of the world. We think all countries can function under democracy. We are born and bred on Democracy. Yet, when Russia tried it, they had drugs out of control, prostitution overwheming their population, Mafias taking over, and according to World Vision, a 257% increase in AIDS.
Whereever you see the American version of Democracy, you always see these things. Why, Because Capitalism requires one group to have and another to do without. Socialism leaves everyone equal. No one has to go into drugs to comfort their constant thrivings or constant put downs for not having.
When America went into Afghanistan, there were no drugs found anywhere in the entire country, according to the DEA. I would like to see those statistics now. When America went into Iraq, there were no bombings, no murders except Saddaam killing the killers and their families. Now the women are free to become prostitutes. The people are addicted to heroin. People are voting in leaders that have no loyalty whatsoever to their own country. The country is in debt, where it had no debt before. Debt is how Democracy and Capitalism controls and destroys freedom. Many more people are driving cars, limiting and nearly destroying the last of our natural resources on Earth. Am I putting Democracy down? No. I am just calling to mind the hidden agenda.

Posted by: gwenbo_2001 at December 10, 2005 11:51 AM
Comment #100890

Forget Iraq for a moment.
Despite the lack of WMD, removing Saddam was not an entirely bad thing.
The problem there is politicians messing it all up, jerking our U.S. troops around, and not sending enough troops to do the job correctly.

But what about these other things for which both parties are irresponsible and unaccountable?
What about all this?
What about all the pork-barrel?
What about government plundering Social Security and stealing the surpluses it will soon need?
What about influence peddling by bought-and-paid-for incumbents, and government FOR SALE?
What about this growing corruption?

These are reasonable questions.
It doesn’t mean we hate America.
It’s all to obvious though that politicians want to ignore these issues. You said Bush tried to address the future of Social Security. I don’t think so, since all that is needed is to immediately stop plundering it, stop massive overspending and borrowing and pork-barrel, and exercise some fiscal responsibility. It was all a huge misdirection to blame everything on Social Security, when politicians have been plundering it and mismanaging it. And, to make things worse, Bush pandered to provide prescription drugs too, without any real way to fund it.

Must the people vote them all out to get their attention?
Nothing else seems to be working.
Seriously, all B.S. aside.
Does anyone have a better idea (aside from continuing what we’ve been doing) ?

I hope Republicans and Democrats realize that voters do get fed-up occassionally.
Look at 1976-1980. Almost half of Congress got ousted.
Perhaps that’s what is needed again (periodically)?

Once newcomers join Congress, they are quickly seduced into the status quo by the many temptations and pressures. They all look the other way. They are all too beholding to their big-money-donors. It’s all normal to be expected actually, because all governments are always trying to grow more corrupt if insufficient transparency exists to discourage it. The problem is that the voters have allowed it to go too far for too long. That’s going to make it harder. That’s also why we’re seeing increasingly more and worse instances of corruption. But, much of the corruption isn’t illegal, and needs to be. Government shouldn’t be FOR SALE, but politicians will never vote for campaign finance reform, tax reform, a balanced budget amendment, one-purpose-per-BILL, or anything that reduces their power.
Thus, only voters can do it now. Voters should have been holding them accountable all along, and demanding more transparency all along. While voters were ignoring government, politicians were steadily working to reduce transparency by over-complicating simple processes to make abuse easier.

As for percentages, the blame is:
INCUMBENT POLITICIANS: 51%
THE VOTERS: 49%

Why 51% versus 49% ?
Because incumbent politicians have the advantage. They are a smaller group. Thus, they can organize easier. The Voters are a large group of about 200 million voters. It’s hard for them to organize. Especially when politicians seduce the voters into the circular pattern of petty partisan warfare, demonizing the other party, and distracting the voters from the fact that the politicians and both main parties are simply using and abusing the voters, and amazingly tricking them to re-elect them too. They tell them not to waste their vote on a 3rd party candidate or the other party. They fuel the petty partisan warfare. They spend too much time raising big money for their campaign war chests (and we all know where a lot of that money and perk$ go).

So, politicians are more responsible, because while the people are essentially lazy , the politicians are more corrupt, irresponsible, and unaccountable.

That’s the way it is.
Only the people can change it.
They will someday, when they get fed-up enough.
The question is, will the people do something new and smart, and hold politicians accountable now?
Or, will they repeat history, wait until it’s too late, and learn the hard and painful way (again)?
Who knows. But the way exists. It is doable. It should immediately be followed up with a To-Do-List of common sense, no-brainer, responsible tasks to test their new Congress. And, if they refuse to do those tasks to give the people more transparency to see who to keep and who to vote out (or recall), then voters should continue to vote out (or recall) all of the irresponsible incumbents. That will get the politicians’ attention. They will do it if forced to. And that is why it is doable. No other plan has the peaceful force required. Unfortunately, peaceful force is necessary, because government won’t even reform itself. That’s why politicians will never vote for campaign fianance reform or many common sense, no-brainer, responsible things. There’s really no mystery about any of this. But, voters need to understand the dark-side of human nature. Human nature drives us to seek security and prosperity with the least effort and pain. Abuse of power and opportunity can make that easier (but unethical). It’s normal, but immoral to surrender to. Only transparency and consequences can control it. That’s an important ingredient missing from our federal government. That’s why ONE PURPOSE PER BILL is one such simple, common sense, responsible, no-brainer change the politicians resist. They don’t want it. How are they going to vote on pork-barrel and graft if a BILL has only one purpose. And, gee whiz, voters would be able to see who and why anyone voted for the BILL, unlike now when nobody can know why anyone voted for or against a huge, 1,000 page pork-laden BILL ? The politicians like the way they eliminated transparency and over-complicated that process. That’s why they won’t fix it. Same with tax reform, balanced budget amendment, campaign finance reform, etc. It’s too out of control. But, do you think it’s bad now? Let it continue, and see how bad it is by 2010, or 2020 ?

But, they say “No worries mate” ? Ah, yes. Some can’t handle reality. So, they wear rose colored glasses, and say things like “you’re just a chicken little doomsdayer”, or “you hate America”, “$8.1 trillion national debt isn’t too big”, “social security is OK” (never mind that 77 million baby boomers will begin to earn less, buy less, pay less tax, and draw Social Security and Medicare benefits), “we are doing OK”, “the standard of living is up” (never mind the $32 trillion of personal debt and growing trade imbalances), “don’t worry, we can grow (code word for inflation) to overcome all those problems”, “home owner ship is up” (never mind they are very deep in debt to do it), “globalizaiton will save us” (never mind that it’s really global pillage and corpocrisy), “history is irrelevant, history doesn’t repeat itself, it only rhymes”, “government is self-correcting” , and many more rationalizations and tactics to cloud the issues, obscure the facts, deflect responsibility of their party, and continue to pretend everything is rosy.

Sounds more like Ceasar playing the fiddle while Rome burned to the ground.

Posted by: d.a.n at December 10, 2005 11:53 AM
Comment #100891

Hi sicilianeagle,

“Using your logic,the John Kerry actions were treasonous.”

There is a huge difference between telling unpleasant truths and selling arms to our enemies.

Selling arms to our enemies is defined as treason in the Consitution. Telling unpleasant truths is not considered treason according to the Constitution.

“Didn’t they kill commanding officers motivated in part my Kerry’s non-stop protesting?”

I don’t know. Kerry didn’t advocate doing anything of the sort.

If I say “my neighbor’s kid is an ill behaved brat” and someone kills him after overhearing me it’s the murderer’s fault not mine.

“The comparion is valid though.”

The comparison is utter nonsense.

“Also,North was the first to mention Bin Laden.”

I think you are confusing Bin Laden with Abu Nadal.


Posted by: LouisXIV at December 10, 2005 11:53 AM
Comment #100897

Hi sicilianeagle,

“Using your logic,the John Kerry actions were treasonous.”

There is a big difference between selling arms to the enemy and telling unpleasant truths.

“Didn’t they kill commanding officers motivated in part my Kerry’s non-stop protesting?”

If you say you don’t like a certain behavior and someone who heard you commits murder it’s you’re fault about the murder? Kerry didn’t advocate killing officers or even come close.

“The comparion is valid though.”

The comparison is utter nonsense.

“Also,North was the first to mention Bin Laden.Gore hadn’t a clue who he was.”

I think you have Bin Laden confused with Abu Nadal.

Why are you siding with a treasonous thug who is known for lying a lot? Surely he’s not a good example of what’s good about this country.

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 10, 2005 12:16 PM
Comment #100908

Well after reading d.a.n.’s and gwenbo’s posts I am ready to give up. It’s all hopeless, we’re doomed. Nothing good is ever going to happen. Wiat, there is such a thing as free will and there are these things called elections and political activism. Gwenbo, I loved you line “no one has to go inot drugs”. I didn’t relaize people were forced into drug usage and now women are free to become prostitutes? Will the joy never end. A little hint here for you; Afghanistan has, and still is, the world’s largest supplier of heroin, in fact that is how the Taliban financed much of there activities, so you line that there were no drugs prior to us being there is a bit disengenous. “No murders in Iraq except Saddam killing the murderers and their families”! What? Did you actually read that back to yourself. “Iraq had no debt before”, why it was just a model country, right? d.a.n., vote and get involved, don’t just complain. Of course there is corruption on both side of the aisle, it’s almost human nature. Fortunately in our system we can vote the bums out, wherein Iraq, with Saddam, it was nirvana where only the killers were killed, right gwenbo?

Posted by: Jay at December 10, 2005 12:33 PM
Comment #100913

Jay,

“A little hint here for you; Afghanistan has, and still is, the world’s largest supplier of heroin, in fact that is how the Taliban financed much of there activities, so you line that there were no drugs prior to us being there is a bit disengenous.”

Apparently you didn’t get the memo.

http://www.robertscheer.com/1_natcolumn/01_columns/052201.htm

“Bush’s Faustian Deal With the Taliban
By Robert Scheer
Published May 22, 2001 in the Los Angeles Times

Enslave your girls and women, harbor anti-U.S. terrorists, destroy every vestige of civilization in your homeland, and the Bush administration will embrace you. All that matters is that you line up as an ally in the drug war, the only international cause that this nation still takes seriously.

That’s the message sent with the recent gift of $43 million to the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan, the most virulent anti-American violators of human rights in the world today. The gift, announced last Thursday by Secretary of State Colin Powell, in addition to other recent aid, makes the U.S. the main sponsor of the Taliban and rewards that “rogue regime” for declaring that opium growing is against the will of God. So, too, by the Taliban’s estimation, are most human activities, but it’s the ban on drugs that catches this administration’s attention.”

From the BBC;

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3408353.stm

“During the 1990s, Afghanistan was the main source of the world’s illicit heroin supply.

But a UK study has found a Taleban crackdown on drugs led to global heroin production falling by two-thirds in 2001.”

http://www.robert-fisk.com/lies_about_taliban_heroin.htm

“FTW, October 10, 2001 – The governments of the United States and Britain - along with a lap-dog mainstream media all too willing to regurgitate falsehoods - are feeding us a line of demonstrably inaccurate lies about the Taliban and opium. We are being warned of a “new flood” of al-Q’aeda opium as the war expands. As British Prime Minister Tony Blair boasts, “We will bomb their poppy fields,” he neglects to mention that there aren’t any poppy fields in Taliban controlled areas to bomb. This outrageous deception of the public, in an effort to stir up support for the war effort, is further evidence that most of the rest of the government’s line following the attacks of September 11, is simply not credible. A simple side-by-side comparison of reports from the UN and the U.S. government, along with major media stories from before and after the Sept. 11 attacks exposes the lie.”


So it would seem that dispite all their faults, the Taliban had actually stopped production of opium poppies prior to Sept. 11th.
Production has only restarted since the Taliban is no longer in power.

Posted by: Rocky at December 10, 2005 12:50 PM
Comment #100916
Politics should stop at the water’s edge.

If, by “politics”, we mean partisanship, then this might be true. If we mean that no one should be able to criticize foreign policy, then it is patently untrue. If Americans feel their commander has misled their nation into an illegimate war, they have a moral obligation to criticize that commander, even if it means putting their own lives and freedoms at risk. That is part of the eternal vigilance that is the price of liberty and it is the most American thing in the world.

“It is weakness rather than wickedness which renders men unfit to be trusted with unlimited power.” — John Adams

Posted by: Reed Sanders at December 10, 2005 12:55 PM
Comment #100921

That is a great quote by Adams, Reed. Weakness truly renders one unfit for power which is exactly why I voted against John Kerry. Nothing personla against the guy, I am sure he is a blast at home, but the guy has no backbone and bends with the political winds. Secondly, this is NOT an illegitimate war. Consider the Gulf War cease fire agreement that Saddam signed stating that if any of the conditions in that agreement were violated, that the allies had the right to continue hostilities towards his regime. Consider he violated everyone of those conditions. Consider the policy of “Regime change” towards the country of Iraq adopted under the Clinton Administration. Consider the constant firing upon British and American patrol planes in the no-fly zone. Do you want more? Also, whose lives and freedoms are at risk exactly? Deans? Pelosi’s? I think not.

Posted by: Jay at December 10, 2005 1:05 PM
Comment #100925

Hi Jay,

“so you line that there were no drugs prior to us being there is a bit disengenous.”

It was a bit disengenous. Heroin production has gone up 20 fold since we defeated the Taliban.

Heroin makes up for some 90% of the Afghan economy these days.

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 10, 2005 1:26 PM
Comment #100927

Jay,

So you’re saying that the US was right to ignore the UN and invade Iraq - because Iraq ignored the UN?

Posted by: ElliottBay at December 10, 2005 1:35 PM
Comment #100929

Louis XIV

I see no difference frankly between selling weapons to the enemy or encouraging them to such an extent that they either fight harder or worse out troops become affected morale wise.

That is why so many dislike Kerry….he went into the election with tens of thousands of veterand resenting his actions back then (some have seethed over 3 decades) then watch him wave the flag as en “experienced” veteran.

His “plan” of withdrawing 100,000 troops by the end of 2006 is comicial….

He was in ‘Nam what…exactly 3 months…and now he makes military plans.

At least the president(who had a less than glittering service record himself…no question) listens to and follows the recommendation of the Joint Chiefs and tries to give them everything they want.

Here is the point:both sides (Democrats and Republicians) are entrenched in their views and minds are closed.(I know mine is)

I wouln’t vote vote for Kerry for dog catcher and I am sure you feel the same about the president.

However,one happens to be commander in chief of a country during a war,the otehr isn’t.

In 2006 the country will have an opportunity to elect people in or out.

My feeling is that it’s not as bad as the lefts paints its picture and not as rosy as the right paints its picture.

Howeever one thing I do know:Iraq is going forward,not backward…

Posted by: sicilianeagle at December 10, 2005 1:42 PM
Comment #100931

Jack,

I wrote and tried to post a response between 12:33 and 12:50pm edt today and as 1:42pm edt it still hasn’t appeared.

There were three links in the post.

Posted by: Rocky at December 10, 2005 1:44 PM
Comment #100936

Hi sicilianeagle,

“I see no difference frankly between selling weapons to the enemy or encouraging them to such an extent that they either fight harder or worse out troops become affected morale wise.”

I can assure you there is a huge difference between selling weapons to the enemy and telling unpleasant truths.

“I wouln’t vote vote for Kerry for dog catcher and I am sure you feel the same about the president.”

I don’t care for Kerry. Accusing him of treason for telling unpleasant truths is dishonest but I’m not saying that because I like him.

I think Bush will go down as one of the really bad American Presidents.

“I do know:Iraq is going forward,not backward…”

That’s a bit general. Going by some definitions (chrological, spacial, Chemical) everything is moving forward.

In Iraq the terrorists are winning. The insurgents are stronger than ever and the government is full of terrorists.

In Iraq it’s not a question of whether the terrorists will win…..it’s a question of which terrorists will win.

I assume you’re backing the terrorists in the Iraqi government that our troops are fighting and dying for.

I like to look at things in simple terms…..if the terrorists are winning we aren’t.


Posted by: LouisXIV at December 10, 2005 2:07 PM
Comment #100937

Hi Rocky,

Your response might show up. I just had one that went somewhere for awhile and then suddenly appeared out of nowhere.

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 10, 2005 2:09 PM
Comment #100940

LousiXIV,

Thanks it appeared just after I asked about it.

“I think Bush will go down as one of the really bad American Presidents.”

Bad, maybe, controversial, no doubt.

SE,

“Here is the point:both sides (Democrats and Republicians) are entrenched in their views and minds are closed.(I know mine is).”

Thats unfortunate. A mind must be open to work properly.

Posted by: Rocky at December 10, 2005 2:15 PM
Comment #100941

Hey guys c’mon torturing thousands of Iraqis is just a small percentage of torture worldwide especially over the course of human history. I am unwilling to recongnize this is an issue given it’s low statistical rating. I can’t believe you guys are talking about this. You know, I think it’s un-American, in fact, probably treason. You talking about this issue, in fact, has probably created it. Here I am trying to be optimistic and support our troops and all you people can do is nitpick. You know what I really can’t stand? That people are talking about this at all, specially those Iraqis who should just give us the benefit of the doubt that we are the greatest most just people on the planet. This questioning really burns me up. Those photographs are just a small percentage of torture photographs taken worldwide. Jeez just compare the total amount of torture with WWI & II committed by the Nazis. It’s a drop in the bucket. You people call yourself Americans?

Posted by: Max at December 10, 2005 2:18 PM
Comment #100942

Rocky

I don’t know about such things. I post and let others post.

Louis

You just dont get it. Life is more complex than you like to make it with your non sequitur connections.

I have not been defending Republicans. Maybe you are the one mistaking Republicans for Americans. I don’t.

Reagan was a Republican. He was also the American president. Just like Clinton was an American president.

I think Reagan was a near great president. I think Clinton was a very good president. (He probably would have been a great president had he been elected in 2000 instead of 1992. He needed to mature a little and let some other parts of his body cool down.)

In any case, those are historical figures now. Your tweny year old accusations are not a natural part of this sort of discussion. You seem to think too much about it hence my belief that you probably hate Reagan. (BTW - most Americans don’t and neither do most people in the world) People don’t like the word hate. But if you always wish ill and dislike almost everything about someone, you probably hate him.

To everyone

George Bush is your president. You can’t do anything about it any more. The choice was made last year. Bush is the driver. You might think the car is going in the wrong direction and maybe you can give advice to the driver. If you do things that make it more likely that he will crash the car, you can blame him but you will suffer. You know you can’t punish Bush. He doesn’t care what you think and he will never run for office again. He is already rich. His life will be good no matter what. To return to my analogy, Bush has a seat belt an airbags to protect him. Most of the passengers don’t. They have more skin in this than he does.

Posted by: Jack at December 10, 2005 2:20 PM
Comment #100943

Jack,

When the founders wrote into the constitution that people should be free from cruel and unusual punishment, do you think they had a percentage in mind that would really be alright? Me too: Zero.

Posted by: Max at December 10, 2005 2:20 PM
Comment #100946

Hi Jack,

“Life is more complex than you like to make it with your non sequitur connections.”

Why ARE you accusing me of hating America Jack? It’s quite dishonest and it’s not at all a nice thing to do.

I don’t hate everything about Reagan. I never wished ill on him. I thought he was a bad president, in part, for the reasons I’ve given.

“You can’t do anything about it any more.”

I get that. What I want to know is why you’re being dishonest about me hating America?



Posted by: LouisXIV at December 10, 2005 2:28 PM
Comment #100948

Hi Rocky,

“controversial, no doubt.”

I base my prediction about Bush mostly on his handling of Iraq and the economy.

The situation in Iraq has been getting consitantly worse since we’ve been there. Even if it was to get a bit better (it shows no signs of doing so) it would still be really bad there.

Bush’s economic policies have resulted in really massive debt. Rapidly rising interest payments of 352 billion/year aren’t close to be sustainable.

Soon 1 in three of our tax dollars will be going toward interest on the debt.

Iraq keeps getting worse and the debt keeps rising rapidly. I’m afraid that my prediction is right but I very much hope I’m wrong.


Posted by: LouisXIV at December 10, 2005 2:34 PM
Comment #100956

Louis

We see the world differently and draw opposite conclusions from similar data. My outlook has been reasonably successful for me. I hope yours has been for you. I wouldn’t trust your investment or career advice, but I suppose you mean well.

Max

You mistake goal and aspirations with achievable results. Many things are against our laws. When someone breaks the laws we investigate and punish the offense if we find it serious. You know we do a good job most of the time. Criminals in the U.S. clearly are not particularly afraid of the police because they know from experience that they will not be seriously abused. I have seen the “respect” people give the police in places where they are less enthusastic about human rights. It is different.

The test of a political system is how well it works in the corrupt real world. That is where the percentages come in. In your whole life, have you ever achieved 100% of any complex goal that you set for yourself? Does that mean you are evil?

I used the example before but will repeat. Neither the Olympic champion swimmer nor the beginner who can only dogpaddle can swim from California to Hawaii. Does that mean that they both poor swimmers and equally poor since neither can reach the goal?

Posted by: Jack at December 10, 2005 3:07 PM
Comment #100961

Max,

Hate to tell you this, there is overwhelming evidency by way of autopsy that the United States has been actually torturing persons to death. Cases usually show various forms of asphyxiation, strangulation, blunt trauma to the head and body. Lascerations of limbs, internal bleeding, broken bones, including fingers and toes. burn marks on heels of feet, burns on genetalia and fingertips.

I began reading the findings and this whole war has made us in many ways just as devious and even evil as they are. I’ve also found a good many photos of the Abu Ghraib torture sessions which I had not seen before. American faces giving the thumbs up over freshly dead corpses.

This is absolutely appauling that we have given this viable credence as standard operating proceedure. We may be running handfulls of Hanoi Hiltons with potentially thousands of Iraqis being tortured, no doubt many innocent. Not even so much as a kangaroo court just an overhaul to the torture destinations apparently based on just rumor or accusation. These are my tax dollars to torture and potentially murder a ‘suspect’.

We have nothing short of an Israeli Mossad-styled torture program that we are paying for out of our pockets. This is not a great day for America despite any republicanized-for-primetime claims. This is an embarrassment to our very US constitution to have this party in power. they have besmirched our very foundation and continue to crap all over the fabric of this country daily.

I can only say that Republicans are only American by birthright alone and share none of the moral fortitude that we as Americans should all espouse and practice. They’ve legitimized something evil with your tax payer dollars all built on a web of lies and deceit.

Legitimize it however you please and rationalize it by faulty glib equasions but we are engaged in something absolutely immoral and the supposed party of morality sees not the vile err of their actions.

Posted by: Novenge at December 10, 2005 3:18 PM
Comment #100963

Hi Jack,

I’m still wondering why you called me an America hater. It’s not honest and it’s not nice.

I didn’t bring up Contras. Someone accused Democrats of treason and I pointed out that, in Contrast to prominent Democrats, Reagan committed treason.

As right wingers frequently do someone told me that Reagan was right to support the Contras with the proceeds from arms sales to our enemies.

The “data” I’m using in this case is the fact that Reagan payed the Contra’s to engage in systematic rape, murder, and torture of civilians.

What sort of data caused you to call me an America hater?

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 10, 2005 3:23 PM
Comment #100965

These comments that ‘liberal’ Americans hate America have always pissed me off. It seems a very disingenuous argument and it is obviously posited to cause rifts between political factions in this country. I liken this argument to differing positions on childrearing. Conservative Americans with their ‘love it or leave it’ mentality remind me of this new generation of parents that see their children as doing no wrong – EVER. I have a friend like this and he never is able to see the flaws of his children and I think they are the worse for it. Liberal Americans, on the other hand, know that their children aren’t perfect and see no good coming from shielding them from consequences of their actions – all the while loving them desperately. This is how I look at America. I love it deeply and unequivocally, but I am able to see where improvements can be made and I don’t view it as unpatriotic to press for these improvements. Neither is necessarily wrong, but we liberals are always made to feel guilty if we point out areas for improvement.

Posted by: Joel H Robbins at December 10, 2005 3:29 PM
Comment #100966

“If a man is under 30 and is not liberal, he has no heart. If a man who is over 30 and is not conservative he has no brains.
-Benjamin Franklin”

I had to laugh when I saw this in Dano’s post. I am familiar with this snipet being atributed to Winston Churchill. It seems likely, though, that Churchill never said it either (http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/ethicalesq/2005/06/21). Alas, what should be (and should have been) clear to everyone is that Benjamin Franklin never said such a thing. Good thing too; if he had you’d likely be saying “God save the Queen”!

…imagine, Ben Franklin a Tory!

Posted by: Jason at December 10, 2005 3:30 PM
Comment #100970

Louis

I never called you that. You know it. I know it. You know I know and I know that you know.

Repeating things over and over doesn’t make them true.

By the definition of hate, it seems you hate Ronald Reagan. I will take your word that you believe you don’t. Although I take the pragmatic position of judging by what I see not by what people tell me.

Jason

That quotation is variously attributed. I bet a lot of people said something like it. It tracks with experience of the world.

Actually I can picture Franklin as a Tory if the circumstances had been a little different.

Posted by: Jack at December 10, 2005 3:44 PM
Comment #100972

Hey listen, if you don’t like republican policies!! Yer’ nawt a danged American!! You danged traiterrrs!!!! WE republicans are America git it America!!! You dems have to believe in us or yer’ just nawwwt Americans but America haters!!!!

I love the arguement Republicans have when you scratch the surface. They will eventually run the country into the ground they aren’t getting out of this one for a while.

Posted by: Elephant wrestler at December 10, 2005 3:47 PM
Comment #100975

Jason,

Another thing that Dano said was that the republican party was founded in 1853 to repeal slavery. Should you take this one or should I?

Posted by: Novenge at December 10, 2005 3:51 PM
Comment #100977

Sorry 1854

Posted by: Novenge at December 10, 2005 3:53 PM
Comment #100985

Though Ben Franklin was decidedly opposed to the Tory agenda, he was not entirely unlike today’s Republicans.

Franklin was a fantastic drinker and womanizer. His exploits in Paris are legendary. There is a wonderously funny quote (that he actually did say!)related to his prefernce of older women. It was something to the effect of “older women are always grateful, can not get pregnant and besides even a grey cat is black in the dark!”

Franklin was also a great moralizer. His autobiography includes no mention of his daliances , though he frequently instructs people to eschew alcohol and women, etc., and to live a generally puritan lifestyle. ….in this respect Franklin is not unlike William Bennet, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Tom Delay, George W. Bush, Newt Gingrich, etc. The “Do as I say, not as I do” crowd.

Posted by: Jason at December 10, 2005 4:18 PM
Comment #100986

Novenge,

I was kidding. I am sorry that things are so far gone in this country that it’s become hard to tell.

Jack,

You want America to be compared only in relation to the entire world, including undeveloped and starving nations? You must have a disgustingly low appreciation of what this country is capable of. That you’d argue this, and at that same time argue that anyone who wants to consider U.S. achievements in relation to a higher set of benchmarks hates America is absurd. I love this country, and it can do better. I refuse to be an apologist or rationalize away the faults of this administration by comparing them to every other nation out there in the world. The standard you argue this country should be measured against is the lowest possible. Do you really have such a low opinion of the United States?

Posted by: Max at December 10, 2005 4:20 PM
Comment #100988

Hi Jack,

“I never called you that.”

You did on another thread then you started this thread.

“By the definition of hate, it seems you hate Ronald Reagan.”

Hate is “a strong feeling of dislike or ill will for”.

I think he was a bad President and I’ve provided facts to support it.

Speaking of supporting assertions, can you provide evidence of me hating Reagan?

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 10, 2005 4:22 PM
Comment #100990

Hi Jason,

“he was not entirely unlike today’s Republicans.”

Franklin was a product of the European enlightenment. Bush and many of his followers are pre-enlightenment in their view of the world.

Bush’s view of the world is far more primative than Franklin’s.


Posted by: LouisXIV at December 10, 2005 4:25 PM
Comment #100992

You are, of course, correct, LouisXIV.

….question: why wouldn’t you hate Ronald Reagan?

Posted by: Jason at December 10, 2005 4:35 PM
Comment #100993

Louis

I work with shades of certainty. If I had to make a decision based on the evidence you provide in your posts, I would conclude you hate Reagan. I don’t know if I am right, and it really doesn’t matter to me if I am or not. I know that if I believed the things you claim to about him, I would hate him. As you have accused him of rape, murder etc and not provided examples to balance for the good, it would be your moral duty to hate such a person. As I said, I think you are mistaken. I don’t understand your logical processes or the criteria you use to determine values. I understand that alternatives sometimes work, and it is your business. I just wouldn’t take your investment or career advice and suggest that you listen to others when you engage in these sorts of activities.

Posted by: Jack at December 10, 2005 4:36 PM
Comment #100995

Reagan’s only saving grace was the fact that his amyloid-ridden brain excuses his heinous behaviour. …do you think he had to be reintroduced to Gorbachev every time they met?

…”nice to meet you Mister Gorbachev, let me wipe that bird crap off your nogin with my B-movie cowboy scarf.”

Posted by: Jason at December 10, 2005 4:45 PM
Comment #100998

Hi Jack,

“As you have accused him of rape, murder etc and not provided examples to balance for the good, it would be your moral duty to hate such a person.”

I didn’t accuse him. It’s a fact that he supported rape, murder, and torture of civilians and I stated it as a fact.

Based on Reagan’s actions I consider him to be morally bankrupt but I don’t hate him.

“I know that if I believed the things you claim to about him, I would hate him.”

What is it about the facts that confuse you here? The Contras engaged in Rape, torture, and murder of civilians and Reagan payed them to do that.

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 10, 2005 4:47 PM
Comment #101000

“I work with shades of certainty. If I had to make a decision based on the evidence you provide in your posts, I would conclude you hate Reagan.”-Jack

…this despite the fact that his posts explicitly say that he does not hate Reagan. ….go figure.

Posted by: Jason at December 10, 2005 4:58 PM
Comment #101011

Re: Partisan bickering
Total size: huge
% world: much
% based on facts rather than opinions: miniscule
% distraction from what is important: enormous

Posted by: Reed Sanders at December 10, 2005 6:16 PM
Comment #101012
Jay wrote: Well after reading d.a.n.’s and gwenbo’s posts I am ready to give up. It’s all hopeless, we’re doomed.
Funny. Who said it was hopeless? If I were not somewhat optimistic, I would have any faith that people will finally get fed-up and do something about it (again). But, you take the easy way out, rather than comment on issues. You simply (as I predicted in that same post) call anyone who raises an issue a doomsdayer or chicken litte.
Jay wrote: d.a.n., vote and get involved, don’t just complain.
I do vote. Where did I say I didn’t vote? And, I plan to vote some more. But, what gives you the right to tell me or anyone what to do? You’re entitled to your opinion, and you may even use that same gall to tell others what to do, while skirting everything else (issues), but I hate to be the one to have to tell you this, but we don’t have to do what you say.
Of course there is corruption on both side of the aisle, it’s almost human nature.
I went into that very thing in the post you’re chastising. The corruption isn’t almost human nature. It is definitively a human trait (rooted in laziness; the desire to seek security and prosperity with the least effort and pain, if the power and opportunity allows it). While natural, it is immoral to surrender to it completely. But, the point is, voters need to understand this fact of human psychology, understand that government is always trying to grow more corrupt, as sure as heat transfer occurs between unlike heat reseviors. At any rate, what is your solution for that corruption? And, why characterize concerns about massive debt (and these other pressing problems) as doomsdayish? Do you think the concern is overstated? Do you realize that the $8.1 trillion National Debt represents $38 trillion dollars (2005 dollars) in interest? And the interest on that debt is over $1 billion per day? Are you one of those that think that OK and the debt isn’t too big? So, can you make any recommendations as to improving and solving these probelms, or do you think everything is OK?
Fortunately in our system we can vote the bums out…
That’s exactly what I’ve been debating (for)? As for voting, vote for who? Republicans? Democrats? Third Party? What’s your advice?Should we “vote out the bums” as you said above, or was that just mocking? Or, perhaps you believe we should keep doing what we been doing lately? Is that working? You agree that there is corruption on both sides of the aisle. So, how can that be reduced? What is the key to reducing corruption in any government or organization? Isn’t that solution worth pursuing?

As for removing Saddam, that was a good thing. The mistake, as I said above, was letting politicians run the war. They’re screwing it up by making our troops fight with one hand tied behind their back. The troops are not receiving the respect they deserve. There should have been double (or more) troops to make sure the job is done correctly with the minimum loss of life and limb. But, politicians are screwing it up, just the same way they did in VietNam and Korea. Fight up to a line, and then withdraw? And let the enemy regroup? That pisses off Marines, and I don’t blame them. It’s truly unfortunate that politicians are able to micro-manage the military that way. Politicians shamefully endanger our troops because of the the politicians’ gall, ignorance, and arrogance.

You think that’s an exaggeration?
You want to defend politicians?
Try to defend this extreme arrogance and irresponsibility. That’s the hard decisions Congress makes everyday. While our troops die, they vote themselves raises, vote for pork-barrel, graft, and their big-money-donors. You just want to chaulk that up to what is natural. No, that’s not natural. That is someone that has surrendered to corruption.

So, Jay, if it’s OK with you, I think we’ll keep right on raising and debating important issues, issues that most certainly have, if ignored any longer, the potential to unravel our economy and society as we now know it. Can you say that you definitely know otherwise? If so, you’re mighty smart, because a lot of economists are warning us now. Even Alan Greenspan said our path of fiscal irresponsibility is unsustainable. Are we supposed to ignore them?

Posted by: d.a.n at December 10, 2005 6:17 PM
Comment #101013
Reed Sanders wrote: Re: Partisan bickering

Total size: huge

% world: much

% based on facts rather than opinions: miniscule

% distraction from what is important: enormous

Damn, you’re good at this game. I think I save that and use it later if that’s OK? You’re gonna make Jack sorry he started this game.

Posted by: d.a.n at December 10, 2005 6:21 PM
Comment #101016
I think I save that and use it later if that’s OK?

Thanks, d.a.n. Use it anytime.

Posted by: Reed Sanders at December 10, 2005 6:47 PM
Comment #101019

You know, I used to be Republican (not anymore).
But, there’s a completely different spin here in the red column than the blue and green columns.

But, in time, I have little doubt the tables will turn. Then the other party will have the majority. And after they’ve had their turn using and abusing voters, they’ll be using the same spin.

It’s a vicious cycle. But, it’s a cycle politicians love. That’s how they maintain their power. They perpetuate that circular cycle to keep voters from ever having a majority or the ability to organize, or recognize the game for what it is.

Hmmm…what do you suppose the reasons for that could be? I think it may be a mixture of the following:
(1) Republicans currently have he majority, but they seem to be drastically blowing that lead quickly.
(2) It’s been a tough year. And, of course as you all know: “It’s hard work”. So, we want to be fair.
(3) Not finding WMD didn’t help matters at all. But, I should remind everyone, that Demopublicans and Republocrats all helped. What was the fallout? Tenet talks the fall. But he should. That intelligence was bad. I really hate to say it, but that Hans Blix was right. No WMD. If there was, we should wonder where it went? But, that requires intelligence. Unfortunately, on Clinton’s watch, that wasn’t much of a priority.
(4) That failed Social Security plan didn’t help. But, Republicans answer to that is that the people are too stupid to know a good thing when they see it. So, now the Rebuplicans can blame the budget and debt problems on Social Security, and those that stood in the way of changing it. Never mind that if they simply stopped plundering it, and get some overall fiscal responsibility, Social Security might not suffer drastiaclly. But, to be fair, Democrats didn’t offer any solutions either. Not even to stop plundering the Social Security surpluses. So, again, they’re both irresponsible as hell.
(5) Thus, Republicans are defensive now because of things not going so well due to politicians meddling with military strategy, cutting FEMA, ignoring the borders, corruption requiring ethics training courses, etc. But, in all fairness, Democrats are not better, and try to sabotage everything the Republicans attempt.
But, that defensiveness is out of control. Now, anyone who raises any concerns (regardless of how justified), they rationalize, skirt the issues, avoid answering the questions, try to paint a rosier picture, and declare everyone asking questions as doomsdayers, chicken-littles, or America haters. And, if that doesn’t work, they’ll try to fuel some partisan warfare. Unfortunately, the Democrats are too fond of wallowing in it too. So, nothing gets accomplished, as everyone succumbs to the circular pattern of thought and behavior that distracts them from truly important issues.

So, what’s the conclution? How about some serious consideration? Do you have any doubt that we have allowed government to grow too corrupt? Do you have any doubht that it will grow more corrupt? Do you think government ever reforms itself? Is re-electing incumbents working? They currently enjoy a 95% re-election rate. Haven’t you ever wondered “Why the hell is it so difficult to get some campaign finance reform”? How about a ONE PURPOSE PER BILL to reduce pork-barrel? Why is it Congress can vote themselves rai$e$, perk$, and special multi-million dollar retirement plan$ (free to them, and not part of Social Security like the rest of us are stuck with; no wonder it’s mismanaged), and tax cuts for capital gains in a heart-beat, but can’t eliminate the marraige penalty tax?

I know incumbents are people too. That’s really not the point. The point is simply that politicians have more power and opportunity to abuse that power. You could throw almost anyone into our dysfunctional system of government, and they will too soon be seduced by the temptations and pressures, and they too will learn to look the other way. And, given the tendency of people, a means is needed to create transparency (common sense simplifications of over-complicated processes) and accountability (laws and punishment) to reduce corruption. That is why there is corruption in government. That same type of corruption can exist (and sometimes does) in other organizations. Transparency and accountability is always the key to reducing corruption. So, consider this corruption and draw your own conclusions. Does any of that strike you as responsible ? Of course not. So, what should we do about it? How can we make government more transparent and accountable? Sadly, at this point, I don’t think simply asking them to reform will work. That’s why peaceful force is needed. Voting them all out is preferrable to what could happen much later if we all choose to continue down this path of fiscal and moral bankruptcy. It’s simply the right, simple, easy, non-partisan, inexpensive, safe, peaceful, and responsible thing to do that we shouldn’t have neglected to do all along. And, another important benefit is that:
(1) Reduces government FOR SALE: it reduces the predictability that some with vast wealth use to control bought-and-paid-for politicians;
(2) Simplicity: it’s simple, and simply the right thing to do; ousting irresponsible politicians is what voters are supposed to be doing;
(3) Peaceful Force: it has the peaceful force that is required; no other peaceful approach does (none that I can think of, correct me if I’m wrong?)
(4) Peer-Pressure: “Vote ONLY for NON-incumbents” has the potential to give the politicians an incentive to police their own ranks, and pressure their fellow politicians to be more responsible.
(5) More Choices: new candidates from all parties will give us many more choices;
(6) Balance of Power: Politicians don’t have any power except for the power voters grant them. We shouldn’t empower them to continue the abuse and corruption. This approach provides the force required to peacefully balance the power (not merely shift it, or strip government of power to accomplish anything) between government and the people. It merely encourages the people to do the thing they should have been doing all along: use their vote wisely and responsibly to make government be responsible too.

Posted by: d.a.n at December 10, 2005 7:50 PM
Comment #101027

Jason

People say lots of things. They even believe what they say. What counts is what they do. If you can’t figure that you better not buy a house or a car any time soon.

If you consistently behave in a certain way, that is what you are. It doesn’t matter what you call yourself.

You know, of course, that the most deceived people are those who deceive themselves.


Louis

He didn’t pay them to do those things. It is just absurd to say so. But if you believe he did and he has no redeeming characteristics, why don’t you hate him? Are you just afraid of the word? Of course, you could hate the sin but love the sinner. Maybe that is what you mean to say.

Posted by: jack at December 10, 2005 8:35 PM
Comment #101062

Hate eats from within. It’s based on fear. Fear also happens to be how democracies come to an end.

Posted by: Reed Sanders at December 11, 2005 1:13 AM
Comment #101160

Elliot, should we have stood by doing nothing while the French, Germans and Russians (our buddies on the security council) continued to leave Saddam in power making billions off of the oil for food scandal while hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraq’s (mostly children) suffered daily under the “containment” policy many on the left were so fond of?

Posted by: Jay at December 11, 2005 10:02 AM
Comment #101198

Clearly Jay, it was better to bomb the Iraqi children into oblivion and steal their resources so that a select few morally bankrupt Americans can make billions off the oil for blood scandal.

…the Germans are not permanent security council members and were not on it at the time.

Posted by: Jason at December 11, 2005 12:47 PM
Comment #101199
Reed Sanders wrote: Hate eats from within. It’s based on fear. Fear also happens to be how democracies come to an end.
True. Fear is a primal emotion. Some have asserted that even fear is rooted in laziness too. Maybe, since it is related to the desire for security and prosperity with the least effort and pain. It seems plausible, when considering supposed fear of things that are not life threatening.
You know, of course, that the most deceived people are those who deceive themselves.
Yes. I was one of them. That’s why I’m now non-partisan. There minor differences between the two parties is irrelevant compared to the irresponsibility of all parties in power. What all people (especially voters) need to understand is how to simply compensate for the part of human nature that makes people succumb to corruption. Think of yourself suddenly elected to the Senate or House. Few of us could do better to resist the temptations and powerful peer pressure. So, corruption grows steadily worse. Now the bar is set low. But it can get lower. And the path back to honesty and responsibility grows longer and more difficult the longer we ignore this simple fact. That is why transparency and checks-and-balances so vitally important to responsible government (or any organization). That is how the honesty of nations is measured. So, once we have allowed corruption to grow out of control, how can it really be reduced?

(1) Continue doing the same thing. You know what they say about doing the same thing and expecting a different result?
(2) Understand what the simple root problem is, and then do something about it? Of course. But what? Return to step (1)? That’s not working is it?

So, if we all agree what the root problem is, what should the solution be?

Transparency is the real solution, because it yields accountability, which yields responsibility.

But, there’s one little problem. Government won’t reform itself to increase transparency, to see who is accountable, to see who is responsible. Why? Because, they all are to certain degrees. Even the best look the other way. The bar is set so low.

So, we’re back to where we began.
We can’t ask incumbents to be more responsible can we? They ignore us, unless we have a lot of money to buy their favor. They consistently reject campaign finance reform, one-purpose-per-bill, election reform, tax reform, disclosure, and eliminating pork-barrel and graft.

So, lets say you own a company, and you’ve been too lax for a while, and all your employees no longer take you, their employer, serious? What do you think you’ll do? Ignore the problem and wait until you have to declare bankruptcy? Let them run your company into ruin? No, you probably wouldn’t allow it for long. You would fire them. You would fire all that are irresponsible wouldn’t you?

So, now you’re probably saying…but…but…what about the good politicians? OK, ask yourself this: Which ones are good? Have you researched their voting records, history, and headlines? Start with the best ones to research first.
Then see who among them haven’t voted for any pork-barrel.
See who even show up to vote half the time.
See who hasn’t voted themselves from very cu$hy benefits and perk$ (free to them, not part of the Social Security and Medicare for the people).
See who voted for or against going into Iraq, Vietnam, or Korea.
See how many turn away soft money, and don’t allow themselves to be influenced by their big-money-donor puppeteers.
See who voted NO to make the death of an unborn child a crime by a person in the process of committing another crime.
See who doesn’t vote themselves a raise.
See all of this and tell us who is responsible.
Who among them doesn’t look the other way?
Should we let them stay, or should we make them pay for looking the other way?

How can it get that way?
One important conclusion you can draw from this is that less than half are responsible and accountable, which is why it continues to steadily grow more corrupt. Not just one party. Both. So, if over half (the majority) is irresponsible and unaccountable, how is the minority (a few from both parties) going to bring about reform? And, why do we not hear the outrage of these few good ones? Is it possible they all look the other way?

Unfortunately, there only seems to be two options available:

(1) Continue doing the same thing, in which case history will probably repeat itself (again);

(2) Understand what the simple root problem is, and then simply vote out all irresponsible and unaccountable incumbents. Then follow through with a simple test for the newcomers, and demand a few common sense, no-brainer things to increase transparency (i.e. a To-Do-List), such as one-purpose-per-bill, campaign finance reform, make influence peddling for money illegal; government shouldn’t be FOR SALE, tax reform, election reform, and a few other important of many obvious simplifications of processes that have been over-complicated to allow abuse and plunder.

For those that think such a thing is impossible, they should review their history. Voters do get fed-up occasionally, and vote out incumbents by the hundreds. Almost half in 1976-1980. The voters only mistake is to also demand transparency too, so that they will have the mechanism later to see who is responsible, and who is not).

Now, some are going to say this is a pipe-dream.
Well, maybe. Do you know that for certain?
But, what is your solution?
Or, are you one of those naysayers that always says “that’s stupid” but never offers a better way?
Even if it’s unlikely, does it justify futility or doing nothing?

You know why many won’t even consider it?
Because they are too entrenched in partisan warfare. Too many don’t realize how they have been seduced into the circular pattern of petty partisan warfare, while ignoring the fact that both parties are being irresponsible (I used to be one of them). They are afraid the other party will get control (which is all the more reason to get more choices on the ballots; hopefully, 3rd parties are paying attention), despite the fact that both parties are already too irresponsible and unaccountable, and simply take turns gettin’ theirs, votin’ for pork-barrel, graft, and rai$es and perk$ for themselves.

There are a whole lot of very intelligent people on this blog, since it is one of the best and most civil around.

So, if anyone really has a new and better approach, I’d really like to hear it. No need to say why the approach suggested above won’t work. I think I’ve heard all of them, and there have been many good arguments. Still, though, I haven’t heard of another approach that is any better, or has the peaceful force needed to restore a balance of power between the government and the people without simply stripping government of all power to accomplish anything, or has the means to incentivize politicians and develop peer-pressure to police their own ranks, or can be accomplished with nothing more than the simple, safe, inexpensive, non-partisan, peaceful, and responsible thing: their vote .

Their vote used wisely to not continue to empower those that don’t deserve it.

Posted by: d.a.n at December 11, 2005 12:47 PM
Comment #101219

Hi Jack,

“He didn’t pay them to do those things.”

He did pay them to engage in systematic rape, torture, and murder of civilians. He paid them quite well by Central American standards.

You’re going in for extreme revisionist history.

“But if you believe he did and he has no redeeming characteristics, why donⴠyou hate him?”

I’m not much for hate. I try to keep it to a mininum. It prevents clear thought and causes one to be no fun at cocktail parties.

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 11, 2005 1:20 PM
Comment #101222

Why not tell all the facts. U.S. companies go overseas and aid in pollution by not having any enviromental standars as here in U.S. and when they get caugt the U.S. defends the company.
We here in U.S. also pollute with toxic waste and we allow dangerous drugs to be on market place with dangerous side effects.
There is also promotion of dangerous lifestyles, such as homosexuality which increases a person chances of aids and other diseases.

Posted by: Clay Campbell at December 11, 2005 1:31 PM
Comment #101296

“There is also promotion of dangerous lifestyles, such as homosexuality which increases a person chances of aids and other diseases.”

As proven by the fact that all of Africa is homosexual. Clearly lack of use of condoms has nothing to do with the spread STDs. Its all the damn homos.

Posted by: Jason at December 11, 2005 7:21 PM
Comment #101306

Clay Campbell,
_____________
Your last (3rd) sentence is interesting.
I don’t even know where to begin.
_____________
Your 2nd sentence is interesting.
But, that’s not possible. The FDA would never allow it. : )
_____________
Your 1st sentence is quite true.
Ever heard of Union Carbide?
Also, the U.S. lacks a comprehensive program for responding to environmental contamination at foreign military bases. They are operating without clear legal obligations, the Pentagon has chosen to implement the most minimal environmental program possible. It is shrouded in secrecy, DOD has avoided oversight and criticism of its existing programs, which are administered by well-intentioned staff in a haphazard, inconsistent, and underfunded manner.
Here’s more evidence of the toxic trade: [] http://www.ban.org/ban_news/congress_impatient.html

Posted by: d.a.n at December 11, 2005 8:12 PM
Comment #101360

This has been quite a read! I have seen both sides slammed pretty hard. But what I see is neither side has the high ground. Yes, Reagan did wrong but then again so did Clinton, both Bushes and every other president we have had. I see a lot of blame for our current situation in both the the Reps and the Dems. There is no moral high ground. I have seen Clinton caving on issues and the same with Bush.

Now on the issue of Iraq, being a retired disabled vet that would not have been a draft dodger that Clinton was but wouldn’t have minded doing what Bush did if I had the political connections can I state an opinion? Acording to all my friends that are serving in Iraq and the children of my friends that are serving in Iraq what is sown on the news and reported by the mainstreem media is not what is actually happening. The war is being won on a daily basis and significant change is being made in the everyday life of the average Iraqi. The overwhelming majority of the destroyers of Iraq are not Iraqi or of Saddams political party! So please be careful of how you say things are going over there if you don’t personally know somebody serving over there. And yes I would go there in a heartbeat if they would send an old wornout disabled solder! And I would consider it an honor to fight with my fellow Americans and hear those Iraqi people tell me as they have told my friends “thank you for giving me freedom”.
Ron - just an old disabled Viet Nam vet

Posted by: Ron at December 12, 2005 1:41 AM
Comment #101389

Hi Ron,

The Iraqi government is full of terrorists. Do you think it’s a good thing that our soldiers are fighting and dying to support the terrorists in the Iraqi government?

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 12, 2005 8:33 AM
Comment #101432

Louis, until they demonstrate real acts of terrorism, we can’t really label them terrorists can we? Isn’t that exactly what you blame the right of doing, prejudging? BTW, poll today on ABC News, 75% of Iraqi’s feel that their country is headed in the right direction. As long as they respect others sovereignty and human rights, why should we care WHO is in power?

Posted by: Jay at December 12, 2005 10:51 AM
Comment #101709

Hi Jay,

“until they demonstrate real acts of terrorism, we can’t really label them terrorists can we?”

Sadr has demonstrated that he’s a terrorist and he’s an avowed enemy of the US.

The “Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution” (a major party in Iraq) is engaging in terrorism.

The “Dawa” party is another major party in Iraq and they are an Iranian anti-American terrorist group.

“As long as they respect others sovereignty and human rights”

Human rights aren’t respected in Iraq.

“why should we care WHO is in power?”

If the terrorists win we lose.


Posted by: LouisXIV at December 12, 2005 10:14 PM
Comment #102015

I sure would hate to live in some of the households that these postings come from!!!! I prefer to believe the glass is half full. And again I state, what you see from the news media and what is actually happening is two different things and evidently you prefer to get a jaded negative perspective of whats going on. I guess that is how some of you prefer to look at life, I really feel sorry that you have such a terible outlook on reality. But then again I am just reading between the lines as you express yourselves.

Posted by: Ron at December 13, 2005 1:52 PM
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