Bush Right About Democracy

George Bush is right about his democracy agenda, concludes the Economist in a lead editorial that addresses many of the factors we commonly debate. Read it yourself for the various nuances. You will find it balanced and thought provoking.

U.S. policy has changed under President Bush. The U.S. has deposed two dictatorships during his administration. It would have been expedient to seek stability by replacing them with pro-U.S. strongmen. From the many criticisms we have seen even on this blog, it seems that is what the realists would have done. Instead, he took the harder, but better way.

Democracy alone will not solve all problems, but are there really any legitimate alternatives?

Posted by Jack at February 5, 2006 12:35 AM
Comments
Comment #120797

Despite the setbacks, democracy in the middle east is happening, and it certainly gives us something to be hopeful about. No one aught to live under the rule of tyrants. Here’s to a more democratic world in our future.

Posted by: Amani at February 5, 2006 1:20 AM
Comment #120800

Jack,

This is an about face from the US policy of deposing democraticly elected leaders from the ’50s to the ’80s.

Hopefully we have learned to leave well enough alone.

Posted by: Rocky at February 5, 2006 1:33 AM
Comment #120809

Jack:

I would love to read it, but it’s “premium content”.

Posted by: womanmarine at February 5, 2006 2:02 AM
Comment #120814

Woman et al

I am sorry about the premium content. I have the passwords programed into my computer, so I didn’t realize it was one of the pay stories.

I don’t want to cut and paste the whole things, so here is my quick excerpting. (Those who have a subscription can check me.)

Mr Bush said again that America was committed to … spreading democracy. But in the Middle East, ask his critics, hasn’t his democracy agenda ushered in something worse . . . a form of political Islam that is hostile both to the West and to the underlying values of democracy itself?

… The short answer, however, is no. Mr Bush has made many big mistakes in the Middle East… But his democratisation policy is not one of them. In fact, it may be the one big thing that this president has got right in the region.

Democracy … does not guarantee that countries will make wise choices … But only the most twisted history could blame democracy rather than dictatorship for the depredations of Hitler, Stalin and Mao Zedong… So why do the familiar arguments have to be rehashed all over again in the case of the Middle East?

… Mr Bush’s agenda so far consists mainly of using the bully pulpit of superpowerdom to extol democracy’s virtues. His administration has deposed only two regimes -the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq - and in neither case was spreading democracy his principal motive, given or real…

But the fact remains that he had to install some sort of successor regime in these two countries, and instead of imposing a friendly strongman, as America did in cold-war days, he plumped for democracy. Some of the consequences are messy… But the decision to allow Afghans and Iraqis a free choice was surely right in principle.

Here from the opposite direction comes a second criticism, this time from the foreign-policy realists… Like Jimmy Carter’s human-rights foreign policy in the 1970s, George Bush’s democracy policy will be remembered for its dangerous naivety-a luxury a superpower cannot afford…

… But where is their evidence? Having attempted an insurrection in Saudi Arabia, al Qaeda is growing less popular there. Iraq under the dictator was neither at peace nor friendly to the West; the present haggling between elected parties may be the only realistic way to bind a fissiparous country together…

Holding elections is not a panacea… But whatever else people think of Mr Bush, on this one thing-the universal potential and appeal of the democratic idea-he is on the side of history.

Posted by: Jack at February 5, 2006 2:25 AM
Comment #120827

What a fallacious argument. No one denies Democracy is good. No more than anyone can argue Press Freedom is bad. The arguments the Left is making regards the methods used to bring these “democracies” about. Torture, Rendition, Pre-Emptive Wars, Suspension of Due Process, Violation of the Constitution and who knows what else. What makes it all the more ridiculous is the nearly complete ignorance BushCo has of the region and its people. “Caught by Surprise by Hamas”, my ASS!!!

You can write an encyclopidea on Bush’s foul-ups. In fact, they already have!!! Unfortunately, a LOT of people are dying because of his idiot moves. Good Intentions are not enough.

Posted by: Aldous at February 5, 2006 4:03 AM
Comment #120884
Democracy alone will not solve all problems, but are there really any legitimate alternatives?

Singapore is pretty good. Vietnam is nice and quiet. Heck, even the South Korean military junta eventually liberalized (maybe there’s hope for Bush’s military junta ally in Pakistan?).

Even so, by Bush’s own admission he hasn’t created democracies yet.

Raising up a democracy requires the rule of law, and protection of minorities, and strong, accountable institutions that last longer than a single vote.

I’m sure President Bush was talking about the freely elected governments of Palestine and Iran, but that applies to Iraq as well.

Just today, we see that the security forces (aka Shiite religious militias) of the freely elected Shiite government in Iraq are executing Sunnis. That’s hard to reconcile with the democratic ideal of protecting minority rights…

U.S. and United Nations diplomats have also called for control of the key security ministries to taken out of the hands of sectarian groups. The issue is expected to hinder quick agreement on a new government when talks among Iraq’s parties begin in earnest this month.

There are legitimate alternatives to holding elections when you know bad people will be elected.

Posted by: American Pundit at February 5, 2006 7:39 AM
Comment #120891

If Bush’s foreign policies on democratization are so promising and are producing such wonderful results, I don’t understand why the conservative ‘majority’ in this country aren’t signing up for military service. I understand from conservative rhetoric that they are patriots and are willing to serve in the military. I understand why evil and cowardly liberals will not sign up… we just want a free ride at the expense of the brave conservatives…

But again, please tell me why there is no great movement to sign up and support this foreign policy of agressively forcing political change in foreign countries in the Middle East?

Going beyond the physical sacrifice of military service, please explain why there is no push from the Republican majority House and Senate and Executive branch to PAY for the war as we go?

Should our representative form of government pursue policies that don’t have the support of the people?

LibRick

Posted by: LibRick at February 5, 2006 8:08 AM
Comment #120908

America is a republic, not a democracy. If you don’t believe me just read the Constitution and the Federalist Papers. The founding fathers understood the difference and warned us about the horrors democracy brings. It is not the duty of America or our president to spread democracy or anything else around the world. This Wilsonian “global democratic revolution” is nothing less than empire building. Both Dem and Rep presidents are guilty of this madness. Many will shout out in self righteous indignation about my lack of compassion for the poor oppressed people in Iraq and elsewhere, and they will be right, to a point. People living under oppressive governments have my sympathy and what little help I’m able to give. What they don’t have is a moral claim on the lives of my countrymen. It is not worth one American killed or maimed to make the whole of another country “free”. In Iraq, that won’t happen anyway. If we stay 100 years, Iraq will revert to barbarism as soon as we leave. The use of our military for anything other than the defense of America is utterly wrong. Internationalists believe our lives are theirs to dispose of at will in pursuit of global hegemony. Support for this evil is the most immoral stand anyone can take.
To quote John Quincy Adams, “America goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own…She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standards of freedom.”

Posted by: steve at February 5, 2006 9:00 AM
Comment #120934

Democracy imposed is not democracy.

Posted by: Lynne at February 5, 2006 9:34 AM
Comment #120936

despite the set backs and blunders

23 al-qaeda members tunnel out of Yemeni Jail.
13 convicted of USS COLE and French tanker. Al-qaeda is training in tunneling .Protect are broaders,20 tunnels found sence 9/11.
Yellow alert…..

Posted by: js at February 5, 2006 9:36 AM
Comment #120943

If spreading democracy makes a tyrant of our nation, it is not worth spreading. If spreading democracy means killing, maiming and destroying 10’s of thousands of families, and growing the number of our enemies throughout the world, then spreading democracy is not worth the undertaking.

I once caught myself spanking my daughter while telling her that she will be a good girl if I have to spank her everyday. My loving wife pointed out the embarassing truth to me, spanking her everyday was not going to make her a good girl, it was only going to make her an abusive parent when it is her turn.

This is exactly Bush’s position on spreading democracy. He is saying you will become a good peaceful and cooperative country governed by the rule of law or we will kill as many of you as it takes for as long as it takes beat you into submission. This is not how one midwive’s responsible democracy. This is how one grows a whole new generation of revolutionaries and terrorists bent on striking back at the U.S. for the harm caused their parents and families.

It was crucial that the U.S. leave Iraq with infrastructure demonstrably better off than under Saddam Hussein. It appears from the President’s and Congress’ budget, that that committment is being cast aside as too costly. Do you not see that the next generation of people of Iraq in time will look back on the U.S. as the tyrant and act accordingly?

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 5, 2006 9:48 AM
Comment #120950

Maybe I didn’t excerpt the Economist article well enough.

As the article points out, the primary U.S. motive for the invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan was NOT to spread democracy. But having these places on your hands, what do you do?

The alternative you guys are advocating, whether you admit it or not, is a dictatorship. The de-facto U.S. policy in the Middle East for the last 50 years was to trade the ostensible stability of the strongmen for democracy. That is one of the biggest complaint some people have had against the U.S.

There is a long intellectual history of “good rulers”, “philosopher kings”, and “enlightened monarchs.” The examples of such things in the real world are very few.

I am less infected than many others with the narcissism that says that the U.S. is responsible for anything, good or bad, that happens in the world. We don’t have it within our power to create democracies or stable dictatorships. But we are a big influence. We should be on the right side, and now we are.

Re Republic versus democracy - the nuance of the word has changed. The Founding Fathers used the word democracy in a somewhat pejorative way. They used it more like we use the word populism with its connotations of demagoguery and mob rule. There are no democracies in the world. We now use the term now more generically as in consent of the governed. In complex societies such as those in the Middle East you need a federal republic with a good dose regional autonomy.

Many of you have probably read the Fareed Zakaria’s “the Future of Freedom”. He contends that liberty and rule of law are more important than democracy. That is why in some ways life was better under the British Empire than under many of the subsequent independent states. This is a good argument, but the flaw is that it is hard to establish liberty and the rule of law absent democracy.

Posted by: Jack at February 5, 2006 10:10 AM
Comment #120964

“No one aught to live under the rule of tyrants”

Then why haven’t we invaded Cuba?? Castro is a tyrant and his people are under his thumb.

Oh but I forgot…he doesn’t have anything we want.

Posted by: Denise H at February 5, 2006 11:14 AM
Comment #120973

Jack, thanks for the reply. I agree with much of what you said. My only contention is that while the Economist profers our reasons for invading Iraq, those reasons aren’t the Presidents. The President said freedom and democracy were among the main reasons we invaded Iraq. So, which is true? If the Economist is premising its arguments on false circumstances, it doesn’t say much for the author. If Bush was lying and it really was about both oil and revenge, well, you get my drift.

I have always subscribed to the concept that democracy rises from within the hearts and conscience of a people and reflects the values and priorities of the culture from which it emanates. Japan and Germany were examples of war and defeat of a people laying the groundwork for democracy. But, the differences between them in the 1940’s and the Middle Eastern nations today, are vast.

And this is a crucial point, we rebuilt those nation’s infrastructure literally from the ground up. We don’t have the resources today to provide that kind of rebuilding in Iraq. The UN nations are committing to rebuild the infrastructure for Afghanistan. But, I have yet to see even an inkling of that committment by other nations to rebuild Iraq, presumably due to the belief that the US broke it, the US should fix it. This spells quagmire to me, a no win situation. To succeed in Iraq it must be rebuilt better than under Saddam, but, our national debt and deficits preclude our taking the route. And without rebuilding Iraq, there can be no leaving of Iraq better off than how we found it. Elections do not a peaceful unified nation of law make. A stable economy and working middle class is prerequisite for that. And Iraq is a very, very long way from achieving a stable economy and working middle class.

Just yesterday I read New York Times: International News: “Officials see a pattern of corruption enabling the flow of oil money to the insurgency that threatens to undermine Iraq’s economy.

This does not make for a stable economy nor working middle class, let alone civil order.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 5, 2006 11:39 AM
Comment #120974

Re Republic vesus democracy

The nuance may have changed but the definition hasn’t. The Founding Fathers, with the benefits of a classical education, used the word democracy in its true meaning. That meaning makes it pejorative. Democracy is the spawning ground of demogoguery. Republicanism is the only system of government in which the concept of the rule of law can be expressed.
Fareed Zakaria is right-liberty and the rule of law ARE more important than democracy. Indeed, it is the goal of civilization.
The object of the Founders experiment was to establish liberty and the rule of law, for the first time in history. It was successful and brought prosperity beyond anyone’s imagining.
Advocating dictatorship? NO. Advocating America letting the rest of the world have their own cultures and way of life without interference? YES.

Posted by: steve at February 5, 2006 11:42 AM
Comment #120979

Steve you are trying to make bread with wheat without milk, butter, and yeast. Who is to enforce the government’s observance of the rule of law if not the democracy of, by, and for the people. Your argument completely misses the founding fathers understanding. Without democracy to hold government accountable to the law, there is no rule of law, there is only the despotism of those in power who make up their own laws as they go along. You are trying to have night without day. One cannot discuss a republic without democracy as a viable system. This is something our founding fathers understood to its core which is why our Constitution took the shape it did, with government held accountable to the people’s law through the vote and impeachment provisions.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 5, 2006 11:48 AM
Comment #120995

Ladeda blahblahblah, fools worry about money and hindsight as we fight to save our freedom. name me one thing that a democrat leader did not foul or fool up? All they ever do is weaken our faith, weaking our military, enslave our pepole with entitlements, and take all of our hard earned money becuse they know how to spend it more wisely. Socialists suck in more ways then one, and this is why new Democrat is every type of a fool. this is what you have become (P.C.NAZIUNBORNBABYKILLINICAMEFROMTHEMONKEYWORSHIPERS),good job.

Posted by: G A PHILLIPS at February 5, 2006 12:18 PM
Comment #120999
P.C.NAZIUNBORNBABYKILLINICAMEFROMTHEMONKEYWORSHIPERS

I’m so ashamed!!

Posted by: womanmarine at February 5, 2006 12:27 PM
Comment #121012

Steve

We have to use words as people understand them, even if we know the “correct” definition. I have given up words like disinterested and inflammable because most people I talk to won’t understand them in their original meaning. Democracy does not mean to most people today what it did in the 18th and 19th Century. Words are tools to convey concepts. They have no meaning outside their contexts.

There is an old Polish story about a village where they ran out of cream each year around Easter. The city fathers noticed that there was not a shortage of water, so they solved the problem by changing the name of cream to water and water to cream. Now there was no shortage of cream at Easter, but people did notice it was hard to get water.

David

The President gave many reasons for invading Iraq and Afghanistan. The main reasons were based on security. Liberation of long oppressed people was a great result, but not the only or even the prime motivation.

Posted by: Jack at February 5, 2006 12:56 PM
Comment #121020
The President gave many reasons for invading Iraq and Afghanistan. The main reasons were based on security. Liberation of long oppressed people was a great result, but not the only or even the prime motivation.

It seems to be all he has left(in Iraq anyway) that is politically sustainable.

Posted by: Loren at February 5, 2006 1:13 PM
Comment #121021

Davi R. Remer,

Apparently you don’t know the definition of republic or democracy.
In a republic the people elect representatives in a majority vote who then administer the affairs of the country in obedience to a supreme law which places limits on their power. Our Constitution enumerates specific powers which our representatives are legally authorized to exercise. Anything not specifically permitted is forbidden.
As our republic descends into the pit of democracy we are treated to the spectacle of a congress that claims authority over every minute aspect of our lives, a judiciary of unlimited power and presidents that claim the powers of a king.
The Constitution is now interpreted to place limits upon the people, not the government.
If you bring up the concept of “enumerated powers” you are met with hostility and derision. “The Constitution? Oh, that’s a living document. It’s meaning changes depending on the political fashion of the moment.”
Such is democracy.

Posted by: steve at February 5, 2006 1:16 PM
Comment #121026

Jack,
Originally, Bush gave as his main reason to invade Iraq (something he had no constitutional authority to do without a congressional declaration of war) the enforcement of U.N. resolutions. It wasn’t until well after the invasion that he started talking about security. At that time he used “pre-emptive war”(a Trotskyist idea) as his justification.

Posted by: steve at February 5, 2006 1:29 PM
Comment #121037

Steve

Read the President’s SOTU speech 2003. He was not enforcing UN resolutions. He laid out various reasons. Some people in hindsight criticize, but it was based on the best information available.

As for preemptive war and Trotsky, I don’t know. I never read any Trotsky. I did read a lot of ancient history and find the concept among the Romans and the Greeks. Since they wrote before Trotsky, I have to assume he didn’t originate the idea.

Posted by: Jack at February 5, 2006 1:51 PM
Comment #121051

Republic or democracy?

Actually neither. A democracy would be impossible to administer with 300 million people and even if it were possible, the results would likely be terrible like the Founding Fathers feared. In a republic, the leaders are chosen by the people which has not been the case here for some time. I’m not sure what you would call our government — corporate rule proxied to the aristocracy?

Prosperity

Steve, while liberty and the rule of law have not been inconsequential to the world’s recent prosperity, neither played as important a role as reason. As there was much advancement even in those parts of the world where liberty could not be found. And the one common denominator has always been reason. This is why, we should all be very very scared as America continues to retard progress by shunning reason.

Posted by: voltairean at February 5, 2006 2:30 PM
Comment #121057

Osama bin Laden stated severals grievances as motivations for Al Qaida’s struggles with the US:
1) Infidels occupying the Holy Land of Islam, the Arabian Penisula
2) Oppression of the Palestinians
3) The corrupting influence of western culture
4) The US support of authoritarian, dictatorial regimes.

Isn’t it curious? If I didn’t know better, I’d say OBL and Al Qaida are winning. We’ve withdrawn military bases from Saudi Arabia (although not the Penisula). We’re withdrawing support of authoritarian, dictatorial regimes, even as they are replaced by democratic, Islamic regimes. Hamas has come into power in Palestine. Hezbollah has increased its power in Lebanon. Fundamentalists have made great strides in Egypt. Saddam Hussein is gone, and an Islamic state rules Iraq.

Muslims are expressing outrage and rioting over the Mohammed cartoons. Silly or no, it demonstrates an increasingly activist, fundamentalist mentality.

Who is setting the agenda? Who is profiting from the so-called ‘War on Terror’? Or should I ask, who is propheting?

Posted by: phx8 at February 5, 2006 2:43 PM
Comment #121062

phx8,

How do you relate that to the pc police and our(the west’s) need to be sensitive?

Posted by: dawn at February 5, 2006 2:54 PM
Comment #121071

Dawn,
I’m probably not a good person to ask, because I don’t belong to any of the Middle Eastern religions. But of course, I’ll volunteer my opinion anyway… :-)

The Muslims are overreacting to the cartoon. It was a bit of cultural insensitivity which shouldn’t have happened in the first place. But truthfully, I don’t care. In more general terms, separation of church and state is a terrific idea, and a secular, democratic republic is the best way to go. But people have to come to that conclusion in their own way, in their own time. We would do best to model it for others, and offer help when asked.

But given OBL’s religious radicalism, and the religious right in the US, it is hardly surprising that things are turning out so badly. OBL sought to polarize, and the Bush administration was only too happy to go along. Funny how things worked out.

As Ray Davies sings on “Preservaton Act II,” ‘Nobody Gives.’

Btw, another grievance of OBL was the exploitation of Islam through the low price of oil. Obviously OBL succeeded in having his grievance addressed.

Posted by: phx8 at February 5, 2006 3:10 PM
Comment #121077

I guess I am completely insensitive BECAUSE I thought the cartoons were FUNNY.

Instead of them (the rioters) seeing the cartoons as the way they are seen by some and trying to do something about THEIR image -
WE - the west - have to apologize to them??? What a joke.
How many decades will it take to get THEM to realize they do not help their OWN situation by the way THEY react.

The west being so apologetic and sensitive to them is only making it worse.
Speaking of the radicals now —-
It doesn’t matter what WE do - THEY want us dead.
THEY have to change. THEY have to use their OWN religion to be tolerant of those who are not the same. They can’t just kill people who don’t believe as they do. They can’t keep expecting us to understand them when they do basically nothing to understand us.

They have to come to grips with the fact that the rest of us will not just decide to let them rule the world.


Posted by: dawn at February 5, 2006 3:27 PM
Comment #121083

G.A.Phillips, Even though there are many things that the democrats have done right, I will name just one. Bill clinton left this Country with a surplus. He showed incredible Fiscal Responsibility, which we have NOT seen since. And as far as them weakening your faith;all I can say to you is that I’m sorry for you, that your faith is so shallowly grounded that a political figure from either party could weaken it.I too went to public school; they never taught me about Jesus.They never taught me to care about the poor,the elderly,the homeless,the children,the handicapped and so on. I learned these things from the teachings of Jesus. I challenge you to read the Be attitudes and then tell me which ones this current administration is following. How anyone claiming to be a christian can read all that Jesus has said and still support these illegal “WARS” ,Cutting funding for the poor ,elderly, the sick,and under priveleged is just plain WRONG. You are too busy picking and choosing which sins are worse and which ones are not so bad. He that has no sin cast the first stone! If you do have sin, (and we ALL do)clean up your house first!

Posted by: K-dog at February 5, 2006 3:41 PM
Comment #121085

It is not the duty of America or our president to spread democracy or anything else around the world. This Wilsonian “global democratic revolution” is nothing less than empire building. Up on broke back mountain its called freedom.

Posted by: Allah be Damned at February 5, 2006 3:45 PM
Comment #121094

That makes no sense !

Posted by: K-dog at February 5, 2006 4:01 PM
Comment #121104
Steve: “Originally, Bush gave as his main reason to invade Iraq …the enforcement of U.N. resolutions.”
Jack: “He was not enforcing UN resolutions. He laid out various reasons.”

Debate seems so pointless when people still don’t seem clear on why the US invaded Iraq.

How can any worthwhile conversation take place if a consensus on a starting point cannot be reached?

Posted by: Bob Hope at February 5, 2006 4:41 PM
Comment #121108

Steve AND David:

I hate to break it to you both, but liberty and the rule of law were around long before democracy was, let alone our country was; and democracy was in no way an essential ingredient to their creation.

Indeed, part of the grievances of our country with the original King George was that they were not afforded the liberties of british citizens, only the responsibilities. British freedom dated back to the Magna Carta, which was the first step in establishing constitutional law.

It is a constitution, rather than the form of government, which establishes liberty and the rule of law by making even kings subject to the law and enshrining certain rights which even they cannot revoke from the people. Constitutional monarchy would have had just as much promise to free the people of the middle east, and without the dangers imposed by the present democracy which makes even the constitution of Iraq first subject to the laws of Islam.

Posted by: Jarandhel at February 5, 2006 4:59 PM
Comment #121114

I am shore by your responce that it does make sense to you but then again its not just about you.I will not cast the first stone for it was cast long ago .But I do take great comfort in the fact that I live in a country where I am free to dip my amo in pigs blood.but then again its not about me. death to the sons of islam and all who support them.

Posted by: Allah be Damned at February 5, 2006 5:15 PM
Comment #121115

All of this drama would make a bad soap opera at best,why don’t you liberals put it to bed,you are all out of touch and irrelevant,

Ken, this kind of flame baiting and name calling of visitors to our site is not tolerated. This will be your only warning. You can critique what liberals say, but, you may not critique the liberals themselves who visit WatchBlog. Same goes for Liberals and critiquing conservative visitors to WatchBlog. — WatchBlog Managing Editor.

Posted by: ken at February 5, 2006 5:15 PM
Comment #121122

Phx8

We are setting the agenda and we began to take control of it right after 9/11.

The reason we had troops in Saudi was to protect the Gulf against Saddam. As the reason disappears, so do our troops. It is as we have always said.

We have been trying to help alleviate the Palestinian problem for a long time. We are not oppressing them.

I guess if you consider Western culture corrupting, we will have to keep on keep on doing that, since all we need to do to offend the old goat is to publish pictures in our own newspapers.

The policy we had pursued in the Middle East since the time of Franklin Roosevelt was suited to a different time. Bush’s policy to be more on the side of democracy is better suited to our post cold war environment.

If bin Laden really understood us and really had the best interests of Muslim in mind, he would not be trying to attack the U.S. In fact the fastest way to make us go away would be to allow the creation of a reasonably stable region that respects the people of the region. Of course, if he can’t stone women or oppress non-believers and establish a society as it was in the 8th Century it won’t be good enough of him.

Posted by: Jack at February 5, 2006 5:26 PM
Comment #121124

Dawn wrote: “THEY have to change. THEY have to use their OWN religion to be tolerant of those who are not the same. They can’t just kill people who don’t believe as they do. They can’t keep expecting us to understand them when they do basically nothing to understand us.”

They? Do you mean the United States? Tolerance is not exactly our strong suit. See gays. See muslims. See arabs. See blacks.

The U.S. also seems to have no problem killing people who do not believe as they do. See President Bush shrugging off his own estimate of 30,000 dead innocents in Iraq. Let’s see, we killed 10 times as many in innocents as the terrorists did on 9/11 but that is not a fair comparison since our population is 12 times larger than Iraq as well. So are we 120 times as egregious?

And just how do we attempt to understand them? I know, they hate our freedom. Yeah, I’m sure that is the ticket.

The problem is religion which are necessarily incompatible.

Posted by: voltairean at February 5, 2006 5:29 PM
Comment #121133

Jack,
I’ll go back and look at the ‘03 SOTU. Pre emptive war was used by Athens to expand their empire at the expense of Sparta. That is the crux of the Pelopponesian War. It brought about Athens’ downfall. It is also one of the basic tenets of Trotsky’s plan for world socialism.
Voltairean,
“Republic or Democracy? Actually neither” You are correct. Corporate rule proxied to the aristocracy is a good description. It’s called corporatism.I agree with what you say about prosperity and reason. We have seen the abandonment of reason in our time.
Jarandhel,
I stand corrected. I was wrong when I said liberty and the rule of law were established for the first time in history by America’s founders. The British did it with the Magna Carta, as you said. It was when the king abandoned the rule of law in the colonies that they rose up in revolt. I agree that democracy is not an essential ingredient to the rule of law. Republicanism and the rule of law flow naturally from each other. If any other form of government is attenpted, it will eventually evolve into a republic AS LONG AS THE RULE OF LAW IS ADHERED TO. (stressing the phrase, not shouting)

Posted by: steve at February 5, 2006 5:52 PM
Comment #121134

Bush is merely giving to LIP SERVICE to democratic ideals and values…and it is the idea of DEMOCRACY I am referring to, not the party.

Bush’s America is still strong arming economically weaker nations, such as Mexico. Our subsidized agricultural products are being unloaded on Mexico, for instance, at prices below market value with disastrous effects on Mexican farmers. It is Nafta that has made this possible and we are pushing for cafta so we can do more of the same to the rest of Latin America.

Why have we pushed for new elections in Iraq after the Sunni muslims were underepresented in the first one? It is because it is a goal of the US to have the Sunni’s wield as much power as possible so as to prevent Iraq from becoming an Islamic Theocracy. If the first election was legitimate, and the Sunni’s had a chance to vote regardless of whether or not they excercised it, then the election was valid and it is in violation of democratic values to disrefard the results and insist on another election just to get what Bush wants.

Hammid Karzai (sp?), was more picked than elected in Afghanistan. How can you consider it an election when the US military gets to decide who votes and who doesn’t? The Bush supporters like him for the simple reason that he is considered likely to support the building of a pipeline through Afghanistan to transport oil from the Caspian Sea. That oil would be loaded onto tankers coming in to Pakistan, a nation ruled by a military leader who seized power there by a coup. We support him for the same reason - he’ll help get the oil out in a way that most benefits us.

We don’t need to rehash Bush’s strong arming of our Democratic elections do we? Let’s consider the UN security councel and article 1441. We went to war in violation of the UN, a body we are a member nation of as a result of a duly signed and ratified treaty called the UN CHARTER. The UN is meant to be a DEMOCRATIC BODY.

It is clear that neither Bush, nor his administration even UNDERSTANDS Democracy, much less respects it. Giving LIP SERVICE to Democracy is nothing new. We were doing that even during the height of the COLD WAR when we supported strongmen such as PINOCHET in Chile, just because they were anti-communist.

For the record - knocking this president, his administration or anything my country has done, does mean I hate my country. It only means that I better UNDERSTAND the foundations of this great country as the FOUNDING FATHERS intended it. Clearly I have more respect for this country and DEMOCRACY than those who understand so little that they actually blindly support the undermining of the very foundations of DEMOCRACY as intended by Jefferson, Adams and Franklin and the rest.

To claim that this president supports democracy better or more truly, is just silly on its face.

RGF

Posted by: RGF at February 5, 2006 6:06 PM
Comment #121137

A Corection to my last post -
I do NOT, REPEAT NOT, hate my country. I love this nation and the core of what I consider to be American values. There was a missing ‘not’ in my last post, to whit: “..knocking this president, his administration or anything my country has done does NOT mean I hate my country.”

RGF

Posted by: RGF at February 5, 2006 6:12 PM
Comment #121138

Alrighty then! Since no one in the Red Column has the ability to explain why the country (or at least the conservatives in this country) are failing to join the military effort by signing up. Furthermore, the Republicans are AFRAID to ask Americans to PAY for this war as we go. The Republicans feel comfortable making SOMEONE ELSE pay - i.e. our children and grandchildren.

Worse news yet again, a majority of Americans polled (note: not Democrats but AMERICAN CITIZENS) agree that Bush should be impeached if it can be shown that he lied to get us into war. The Democrats will take the House soon.

Let the semantics begin! Lots of arch-Conservative NeoCONS on the hot seat.

LibRick

Posted by: LibRick at February 5, 2006 6:14 PM
Comment #121144

Lib
Look back in the archives. We have addressed this silly subject over and over and over again. You are not the first to bring it up and I am afraid you won’t be the last. Do me a favor and Google logical fallacies then fill your attacks in the appropriate places, cuz I am tired of doing it.

Posted by: Jack at February 5, 2006 6:29 PM
Comment #121145

‘They? Do you mean the United States? Tolerance is not exactly our strong suit. See gays. See muslims. See arabs. See blacks.’
Posted by: voltairean at February 5, 2006 05:29 PM

Muslims are against gay relationships.
They do not approve of porn, alcohol, women in bathing suits, any other religion.
The religion they use is against just about everything the far left ‘radicals’ in our country are fighting for.
They want to hold it against us when we feel war is the only option left, which means dead people, BUT they have no problem killing anyone they deem ‘the enemy’.

The U.S. has not been perfect. We are at least working on it.
No one is supressed here.
Not being able to use ‘gay marriage’ IS NOT suppression.
Claiming ‘victim status’ is not the same thing as being suppressed.

I would not compare the intolerance of Americans (and the west) to those of the radical Muslims.

You go ahead and kiss their asses and tolerate beheadings, BUT don’t turn your back.


Posted by: bugcrazy at February 5, 2006 6:31 PM
Comment #121146

The U.S. is one of the most tolerant societies in the history of the earth. You can find everything here. I think it is very funny that we always hear so much from people who claim their voices have been silenced and we see so many people who claim they have to hide away.

Posted by: Jack at February 5, 2006 6:41 PM
Comment #121152

Good one, Jack.

LibRick,
“arch conservative neocons”? That’s an oxymoron. Conservatives believe in limited government, leaving people free to decide what’s best for them- the opposite of liberal and neocon. Neocons are Trotskyists. The founders of the neoconservatives were disillusioned followers of Leon Trotsky (who, with Lenin, co-founded the Soviet Union). Neoconservatism is a variant of socialism. Paul Wolfowitz has been known to openly admire Trotsky and debate with other members of the Bush administration the merits of Trotky’s policies and the best way to implement them. With that knowledge it shouldn’t be hard to figure out why the Republican Party has gone the way it has.

Posted by: steve at February 5, 2006 6:55 PM
Comment #121159

RGF -
“If the first election was legitimate, and the Sunni’s had a chance to vote regardless of whether or not they excercised it, then the election was valid and it is in violation of democratic values to disrefard the results and insist on another election just to get what Bush wants.”

You really don’t know what you are talking about. Unless I’m totally mistaken, I believe the first election was to form the temporary government to draft the constitution. After the constitution was written and ratified, the next election was to choose the permanent government. It was not a re-do for Bush - get real.

Posted by: THC at February 5, 2006 7:06 PM
Comment #121167

Jack,

You should read a book called ‘Genghis Khan’ by an author named Weatherford. In fact, anybody who erroneously believes that the US represents the most tolerant government in history should read this book.

THC,

Care to adress the overall content of the post? …or just become Captain Soundbite?
The issue is whether this administration respects and futhers the cause of spreading democracy. Don’t tell me you believe John Kerry is a waffler…if you believe that, then you clearly never listened to the entirety of anything he said either.

RGF

Posted by: RGF at February 5, 2006 7:27 PM
Comment #121169

RGF,
You refer to Pinochet in an apparrent criticism of U.S. policy. I’ve studied Pinochet’s rule in some detail and the truth is very different from what is popularly believed. Allende’s regime was a bloodthirsty gang of thugs from all over the world who raped Chile.They destroyed the economy (the official inflation rate was 508%; ecomomists estimate that it was really closer to 800%), committed mass murder and “disappearances”(later blamed on Pinochet), and carried out a reign of terror and expropriation against the people. Civic leaders from all sectors of society literally begged Pinochet to put a stop to the carnage. When he finally did, Allende committed suicide with an AK47 he received as a gift from his good friend Fidel Castro. Pinochet restored the economy, re established the rule of law and voluntarily relinquished power. He was later elected to the Chilean senate.
Overthrowing a communist regime is an unforgivable sin to the leftists of the world and Pinochet has been smeared, vilified and condemned ever since. He did not commit any of the atrocities attributed to him.
Augusto Pinochet was a patriot who saved his beloved country from an evil, murderous regime and should be hailed as a hero by everyone who loves liberty and the rule of law.

Posted by: steve at February 5, 2006 7:33 PM
Comment #121172

steve:

You’re absolutely right!!! The Disappeared were nothing more than propaganda by Liberals who hate freedom.

Posted by: Aldous at February 5, 2006 7:45 PM
Comment #121177

Aldous,
I never said the disappeared were propaganda. They were very real murder victims. Pinochet was not the murderer. If I remember correctly, you’ve already shown that you’re immune to the truth.

Posted by: steve at February 5, 2006 8:07 PM
Comment #121194

Steve,
Here is a pretty good, balanced article on Allende and Pinochet:

http://www.cyberussr.com/hcunn/for/chile-73.html

The author attempts to cite perspectives from both sides of the spectrum. The economy did, in fact, tank under Allende. With insufficient political support at home, the democratically elected Allende government nationalized important industries. A number of very unwise politices were instituted. However, the collapse of the Chilean economy received a considerable push from US and right-wing interests.

Allende’s government was not responsible for disappearing people. Pinochet’s government did disappear people, and torture many more, although the numbers in Chile paled in comparison with later events in Argentina.

“Pinochet was a patriot who saved his beloved country from an evil, murderous regime and should be hailed as a hero by everyone who loves liberty and the rule of law.”

Come on, Steve. A person doesn’t get to overthrow a democratically elected government and then be expect to be praised by those who love “the rule of law.” Allende might have been an ineffective, idealist fool; but that doesn’t justify the ensuing events.

From the article cited above here is the conservative estimate on bloodshed under Pinochet:
“After Pinochet’s retirement (1990), a democratically-elected Center-Left government set up the National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation (also known as the Rettig Commission) to investigate deaths during the Pinochet years. In 1992, the “National Corporation for Reconciliation and Reparation” was established to complete the work. Their final report (1996) blamed Pinochet for 2,095 confirmed deaths and 1,102 suspicious “disappearances,” for a total of 3,197.

In 2003, President Ricardo Lagos commissioned an investigative body, the “National Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture.” In late 2004, they issued a report authenticating claims by 27,255 people to have been tortured during the 17 years of Gen. Pinochet’s rule.”

Check the article. Like I said, that’s the conservative estimate.

Posted by: phx8 at February 5, 2006 9:01 PM
Comment #121196

RGF

I bought that very book last time I traveled. I think we developed different impressions. I have been using it to explain how nasty and bloodthirsty the Khan was. THe Mongols were tolerant in that they didn’t care what anybody did as long as they completely submitted to their rule. In other words, if you knew your place and didn’t annoy the rulers, you could live.

Posted by: Jack at February 5, 2006 9:01 PM
Comment #121197

Steve,

You have it EXACTLY backwards. It was PINOCHET who committed mass murder and ‘disappearences,’ not Allende.

Allende was duly elected, but we didn’t like him because his agenda was socialist in nature.

The CIA backed the coup that put PINOCHET in power. It would also be more accurate to characterize PINOCHET’S admnistration as a gang of THUGS. The disappearences, that included an American journalist whose wife continued for years to search for, were carried out by PINOCHET when he took over by force. His rule was rule by TERROR, not law.

I am perplexed by how you might have got that exactly backwards.

RGF

Posted by: RGF at February 5, 2006 9:04 PM
Comment #121204

steve:

Strictly speaking, Saddam Hussien never murdered anybody either. He just ordered someone else to do it.

Posted by: Aldous at February 5, 2006 9:25 PM
Comment #121208

RGF

Allende, it is true was elected by the laws in place at the time, although he got only a third of the vote. But his socialist policies were subverting the Constitution and was working a rolling coup.

There is a problem of legitimacy, given the minority nature of his government and the indications that Allende was creating conditions to overthrow the basic laws of his country.

We have never experienced anything like this in the U.S. so we have no applicable experience. The closest situation was the election of 1860 that provoked the Civil War.

Hitler also got about a third of the vote and then moved to consolidate his power from a minority base. Comparisons with Nazis are often overdone, and I don’t mean to say that Allende was Hitler. I am only pointing to the comparison of the METHOD they both were using and the dangers involved.

The situation in Chile deserves whole books, not just its own thread and it certainly will not be properly analyzed here. My point of view is that one group of thugs replaced another group of thugs. But Pinochet did something very few dictators do. He established a free market economy that is still the basis of Chilean prosperity and he left power without being pushed out by violence. That is more than Allende would have accomplished. Under Allende, you might expect Chile to be more like Cuba.

Posted by: Jack at February 5, 2006 9:33 PM
Comment #121215

Like I said, Pinochet has been smeared, vilified and condemned by the left ever since he overthrew a Marxist regime. There is no lie too outrageous for them.

Posted by: steve at February 5, 2006 9:51 PM
Comment #121222

Aldous

Saddam did murder people personally. He started his career are a thug who made his reputation by his lack of compassion about killing. You could say he was hands on and worked his way up.

Posted by: Jack at February 5, 2006 10:17 PM
Comment #121252

RGF,
I was responding about what you said that was total bullcrap - just trying to set the record straight. If it was off topic, why did you bring it up? I have no idea what you meant about Kerry - guess you were just trying to be cute. It didn’t work.

Posted by: THC at February 6, 2006 12:07 AM
Comment #121255

THC,

I could NOT CARE LESS about “being cute.”

The point I was trying to make is that merely picking a small point to disagree with without considering the meat of the messege is deceptive and dishonest. ADRESS THE POINT…don’t pull simplistic pieces to argue against out of context.

The reason I brought up Kerry is that there were significant numbers of voters who considered him a “waffler” because his comment about voting for the war before he voted against it was taken out of context as well. The full comment made it clear that he what he was communicating was the legally, morally correct position that we should have something, but NOT in violation of both American and International law by going in contrary to 1441 and the UN.

If you pick and choose MY arguments for me, then OF COURSE you win any debate we might have.

RGF

Posted by: RGF at February 6, 2006 12:17 AM
Comment #121258

RGF,
Not quite sure how that constitutes being deceptive and dishonest - that’s quite a stretch. Funny how you throw me into a group of people without know one thing about be. Not suprising, just funny. Sorry, go on with your little debate…

Posted by: THC at February 6, 2006 12:26 AM
Comment #121266

Maybe when we complete the task of leading the implementation of deomocracy throughout the world, maybe we could replace the “dog and pony” show in Washington DC with same.

Posted by: expatUSA_Indonesia at February 6, 2006 12:49 AM
Comment #121279

steve:

Err… You do know one of the reasons Latin America is so anti-American today is the behavior of the Reagan Administration? A behavior that includes the support of Death Squads?

I suppose I should not be surprised that you support assasination.

Posted by: Aldous at February 6, 2006 1:27 AM
Comment #121289

Aldous,

Republicans would never support death squads in South America—jeez louise!!!

Reagan was sent to us by God, to destroy the Soviets. Bush was sent by God to create democracy amongst all those wonderful people of Iraq. You liberals just hate democracy and we want to bring them a wonderful future I mean look at what we did to their country isn’t it wonderful? They have freedom and liberty, Bush said so himself just the other night.

Bush is doing wonderfully we all owe him a debt of gratitude. Even the liberals and higher gas prices mean you can stay home from work sometimes and smoke pot which is what I assume you liberals do in your off-time when you aren’t ranting in public.

Everything’s going to be okay.

Posted by: Mike Moriarty at February 6, 2006 2:00 AM
Comment #121332

Aldous,
You do like to make assumptions based on nothing more than your own prejudice. I’ve never voiced support for assassination.
Latin America is anti American because the Socialist International has maintained an intense, sustained campaign of subversion ever since Pinochet.

Posted by: steve at February 6, 2006 7:21 AM
Comment #121338

Steve:

You’ll simply have to accept Aldous as he is. He has accused me of a number of things in other threads—when called to explain, he typically goes silent for a while before re-entering the fray with a different, yet equally undefensible point.

I prefer discussion with those who don’t simply create arguments out of thin air. There are those with whom I disagree who argue their points well. They do not need to make baseless accusations that have no basis in fact to bolster their arguments.

Aldous arguments typically cannot be backed up. I doubt he will be able or willing to provide you with any comment you’ve made that allows the conclusion leap that you support assassination. That will not stop him. I’ve learned to simply consider his comments as humor, since I’ve not seen any evidence behind them.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at February 6, 2006 7:56 AM
Comment #121339

Aldous,
“You do know one of the reasons Latin America is so anti-American today is the behavior of the Reagan Administration? A behavior that includes the support of Death Squads?”

What were the Sandinista’s?! If Reagan backed their opposition (Somoza family), then who backed the Sandinista’s? Yup, the Soviets and Cuba. Nice. Do you see how some people distance themselves from America when they attack Reagan; and yet, they leave the Communist, Marxist Regimes alone. It’s that obvious, people!!

Posted by: rahdigly at February 6, 2006 8:14 AM
Comment #121345

Well here’s the alternative we have now under the current administration. Take a look a real hard look and see if you can’t draw any comparisons to your current leader. I’d be surprised if anyone here but the truly naive doesn’t see the comparison to our president. So where is your republic where is your democracy? It’s gone it’s a facist regime plain and simple!

Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism

Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes.

Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays. (never has this been more widespread than after 9-11. Every politician and news media person wears these cheap Chinese pins)

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.(can you say enemy combatant? And a push to allow torture)

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc. (you’re either with us or against us)

4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.(The only thing we don’t have is a draft)

5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution. (Condy Rice token female)

6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common. (Ah but the right likes to say we have a liberal media B.S. it’s all controlled by this Administration period)

7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.(The Terror Alert)

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions. (hmm a state sponsored religion sounds good doesn’t it)

9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.(Billions in profit for the oil industry and the drug companies)

10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed. (the abolition of retirement policies in the private sector supported by the courts)

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free _expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.(Anyone who dissents from this administration is labeled unpatriotic)

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations. (Spying on Americans is ok isn’t it?)

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders. (Haliburton enough said)

14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections. (Can you say hanging chad and voting machine fraud?)

Posted by: Vic at February 6, 2006 9:01 AM
Comment #121354
Many of you have probably read the Fareed Zakaria’s “the Future of Freedom”. He contends that liberty and rule of law are more important than democracy.

Excellent book. I highly recommend it. In fact, you may want to re-read it, Jack.

This is a good argument, but the flaw is that it is hard to establish liberty and the rule of law absent democracy.

No, Jack, he’s right. In fact, I just finished Larry Diamond’s book, “Squandered Victory” (also highly recommended), and he makes the same point Zakaria did: “…we cannot get to Jefferson and Madison without going through Thomas Hobbes.”

You cannot have a democratic state unless you first have a state.

It’s no surprise that the guys with the biggest militias ended up with the most votes in Iraq. They were able to play on Iraqis fears and the ubiquitous sectarian violence to gain votes. Had Iraq been secured and stable before elections were held, there’s no way al-Sadr and the Supreme Council for the Revolution in Iraq would be running the country.

These violent factions rode to political power on the back of America’s inability or unwillingness to secure the country and disarm the militias.

Without security and the rule of law, it’s impossible to create a democracy. Democracy depends on the calm, rational debate of issues. Iraqis are voting for whoever can promise security — the guys with the most guns.

Read the President’s SOTU speech 2003. He was not enforcing UN resolutions.

Jack, that’s the only legal basis President Bush had for invading Iraq. Please don’t take it away from him. :(

But I do take great comfort in the fact that I live in a country where I am free to dip my amo in pigs blood.

I would never treat my weapon that way. You can always sprinkle pigs blood on the body later…

Posted by: American Pundit at February 6, 2006 9:58 AM
Comment #121395

Jack,
To a large extent, I agree with what you said earlier in the thread. But who is setting the agenda? Who is dancing to whose tune? You have to admit, it’s thought provoking. Is OBS calling the shots, or Bush?

We want democracies. OBL wants Islamic governments. We’re seeing Islamic democracies form.

Bush is a fossil fuel president representing Big Oil. OBL wants higher oil prices. We see record breaking profits for Exxon, and higher oil prices.

Posted by: phx8 at February 6, 2006 11:17 AM
Comment #121398
Democracy alone will not solve all problems, but are there really any legitimate alternatives?

Absolutely, there are alternatives !
First of all, a pure democracy can only exist until voters discover they can vote themselves anything they want. Thus, we have a democratic republic based on laws and a constitution designed to protect human and civil rights. It’s not perfect, but it’s not written in stone.

The best thing to happen would be for all voters to finally get fed-up, vote out all irresponsible incumbents, repeatedly, until government is responsible and accountable too.

Now, who could argue against that ?

That’s what voters were supposed to be doing all along (AP, just the irresponsible incumbents). Right ?

Now, the question is, which ones are responsible ?

Well, once you get to lookin’ at what they do, not many. And, unless you can name at least 268 (half of 535) in Congress, what can you conclude?

So, let’s have two list.
Who deserves to stay?
And who deserves to go?

Is this list going to be ridiculously partisan?
A straight ticket partisan vote ?

Personally, I’ve only been able to find about 10 that even come close to passing the test. And, incumbents always outnumber newcomers that would like to pass some common-sense reforms, but are always lured to accept the status quo.

But, let’s first just start with the most responsible incumbents. First on my list, the few that come close:

_____________________________
(1) John McCain
(2) Tom Coburn
(3)
: :
(267)
(268)
_____________________________

John McCain comes close, but he admits to looking the other way, and I didn’t care for that $1 million for the brown tree snake in Guam (while troops risk life and limb).

Tom Coburn hates pork-barrel, but even he has voted on bills with pork-barrel.

But let’s give everyone a tiny bit of slack.
Especially since McCain proudly served his nation, and Tom Coburn is a doctor, not a career politician, hates pork-barrel, and has been out-spoken about the corruption in government.

So, if we can get 268 names on the list, then perhaps there is hope for the nation.

Otherwise, we’re screwed, since incumbents always outnumber newcomers.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 6, 2006 11:23 AM
Comment #121404

d.a.n, any time you want to address the topic, feel free. You’re such a one-trick poster, I get tired of scrolling past your long, long missives. You’re obviously pretty bright, why not try applying your brilliant reasoning powers to the topic at hand?

Posted by: American Pundit at February 6, 2006 11:34 AM
Comment #121403
Vic wrote: …Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism

I agree that we are seeing signs of this. If we’re not careful, it could get much worse too. It’s a cycle we’ve seen before (this one was mentioned by economist Harry S. Dent).

Is it inevitable? Since no one knows, it makes sense to act now to prevent it. We’re now into (4) and (5), and entering (1). Perhaps, if voters wake up and do what they were supposed to be doing all along, we can skip to (3) and stay there a while ?

Posted by: d.a.n at February 6, 2006 11:34 AM
Comment #121406

A.P.

I am addressing the topic.

(1) It is about democracy.
(2) And, Jack asked a question, and I answered it.
(3) And there was what Vic said above about “Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism”, which I commented on.

A.P. You’re entitled to your opinion, but I would not ever presume to be so arrogant, intolerant, and pompous to tell you what to write, or not write.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 6, 2006 11:39 AM
Comment #121408

As far as promoting democracy abroad, that’s OK only if it is justified, and the people there choose. They don’t really understand it completely yet. It’s a noble cause, but it remains to be seen if it was worth the thousands of American lives.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 6, 2006 11:42 AM
Comment #121428

No one has their eye on the ball. The Bush hate crowd is stuck on stupid and criticism.

Democracy and Islam - Without a doubt - Bush has changed the face of the middle east and the arguments in the regions.

He has called for reducing our oil consumption by 70% and has been putting money into alternative energy sources since he has been in office.

The future does not lie with gay marriage or putting more money in education or free health care - taking God out of the language -

We have to be able to compete in a global market.

Disrespect of the Governments and religions - will only get you a job as a Danish cartoonist.

Posted by: Reporting for Doody at February 6, 2006 12:26 PM
Comment #121442

Reporting for Doody,
Good points. If our true goal is to spread democracy, and more respect for human and civil rights, we are doing a noble thing.
Even if we fail, I do not think it was wrong to try. But, we can’t force it upon them. They have to choose it. It will be sad if they decide later to reject democracy. The question is will it work, and will it be worth the high cost in lives and money?

True, disrespecting government isn’t productive. But, if deserved, criticism is productive.
And, lately, due to growing corruption, graft, influence peddling, and government FOR SALE, and missteps in IRAQ and Afghanistan, criticism is justified. But, if government ignores that criticism, it is only a few more steps to oppression. Then we will be violating the very things we’re fighting and dying for in IRAQ and Afghanistan.

He has called for reducing our oil consumption by 70% and has been putting money into alternative energy sources since he has been in office.
After Bush said that, he said he didn’t mean it literally. Still, it’s a good goal to set. Brazil has already converted largely to ethanol.

We have a hard time ahead of us competing in a global market. We have a ways to fall, and foreign nations have a ways to rise, before labor costs equalize. Americans are creating massive debt as median wages continue to fall for the past 4 years. It’s hard to be competitive in manufacturing anything, when China and India have over two billion people willing to work for one-tenth as much. Its a good thing though (good for those nations), but it will be painful for us for many years, as we try to find new markets and needs to fill.

If we had decent leadership, I think we would have invested much more heavily into alternate energy sources. Unfortunately, I think corporations have tried to perpetuate our dependency on oil. They’ve had record profits. Not that we need legislation or taxes against them. I’m just saying their behavior is a bit shameful. They too could have been researching alternative energy sources, but these days, profits go to bonuses and perks before research.

Taxation is part of the problem. Corporations don’t like to retain earnings for later research, because they get taxed at 30% .
So, they prefer to pay it out in salary, bonuses, and perk$ instead. That taxation reduces research, makes corporations cash poor, and reduces the competitiveness.

Iraq will soon be visiting these same issues. I think they’re off to a bad start, because they already appear to fail to understand one basic, fundamental human/civil right. They have already mixed government and religion to a unhealthy degree. They will be in trouble if they continue down that path. Many nations in the MiddleEast have a worse problem. They have a national religion, and no other is allowed. They fail to understand the most basic, fundamental meaning of human/civil rights. So, the struggle there will be very difficult.

So, you say no one has their eye on the ball.

That is especially true here in the U.S.
Americans do not realize that both parties are gettin’ theirs and ignoring our pressing problems.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 6, 2006 1:06 PM
Comment #121447

doody,

i think you left out a few talking points like

1. they hate us for our freedom

2. would we be better off with a dictator who killed his own people?

3. bush has a duty to spy on americans and to do otherwise would be a breach of his oath of office

overall though, one big thumbs up. and you saved me from having to watch fox news this morning for a quick refresher. anyways, with the extra time i now have, you should really give me a ring about that bridge i have for sale.

Posted by: voltairean at February 6, 2006 1:15 PM
Comment #121453
Allende, it is true was elected by the laws in place at the time, although he got only a third of the vote. But his socialist policies were subverting the Constitution and was working a rolling coup.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha…
And they say irony is dead.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at February 6, 2006 1:19 PM
Comment #121465

d.a.n. thanks for covering the other talking points i forgot. that was tongue and cheek, right? maybe you and doody could clear a few questions for me that i have been really curious about since bush’s speech last week in tennessee.

1. why is welfare so bad when it is given to the poor who really need help to put food on the table or, basically, to survive — but necessary when it comes to helping corporations?

2. How is giving tax incentives to corporations that do r & d different than helping pay for an individual to get job training or an education? that is, different besides the fact that one actually helps a real, in need, person and the other is strictly hypothetical help.

3. Why is it that losing jobs overseas to the global economy is part of the capitalist system and global economy but that corporations can’t compete in this same economy without government handouts?

4. Why is it that the right has always taught that capitalism is the only system worth practicing because it creates a hard working productive environment by rewarding those willing to take risks with great wealth and that any government intervention is bad but now there seems to be this caveat regarding research and development?

5. Are we becoming more like the dreaded Cuba and other communist countries? It just seems to me that corporations will conduct research and development when their calculations result in a cost/benefit analysis likely to produce gains in excess of, say, about 10%. Won’t these businesses conduct superflous research and development or r & d that is, at a minimum, not economically wise or a good use of research once the government gives handouts?

6. how does the transfer of money to the wealthy owners of a corporation, who can now raise the dividend or give bigger bonuses to management with the money it would have used for research and development trickle down “we the people”? is it when boat company xyz has to hire another minimum wage worker to paint boats when managers of corporations A, B and C buy new yachts? Or when they buy their 4th homes?

just curious

4.

Posted by: voltairean at February 6, 2006 1:44 PM
Comment #121469

I have a sneaking suspicion that “spreading democracy” has become the republican party’s snake oil.

I do not believe that it will solve our problems. And definetly do not believe as our president does that it will end terrorism, instead I believe that instead it will get us democratically elected terrorists. Look at Hamas in Palestine, look at former Taliban officers being elected in Afgahnistan, look at hard liners getting more and more seats in Egypt. I think this whole democracy stuff just changes how the leaders get into power. Nothing else.

Posted by: chantico at February 6, 2006 2:11 PM
Comment #121486

chantico,

you forgot that all of south america has turned against the u.s. as well. can’t be too flattering when much of the world thinks more of fidel castro than our president. of course, cuba has great universal health care and one of the highest literacy rates in the western world and not one person died when the tiny island took a direct hit last year from a category 5 hurricane. but it seems bush is already turning to our communist neighbor for governing tips with all the corporate welfare handouts.

Posted by: voltairean at February 6, 2006 3:01 PM
Comment #121505
voltairean wrote: d.a.n. thanks for covering the other talking points i forgot. that was tongue and cheek, right?
Hmmm…No, not at all. : )
…maybe you and doody could clear a few questions for me that i have been really curious about since bush’s speech last week in tennessee.

I can’t speak for Doody, but I think you may have miscategorized me completely.

1. why is welfare so bad when it is given to the poor who really need help to put food on the table or, basically, to survive — but necessary when it comes to helping corporations?
Welfare is for those that really need it. Not for corporations at all.
2. How is giving tax incentives to corporations that do r & d different than helping pay for an individual to get job training or an education? that is, different besides the fact that one actually helps a real, in need, person and the other is strictly hypothetical help.
I am against tax incentives for anything or anyone. The tax system is too abused already. This is the tax system I would propose. Read it carefully before jumping to the wrong conclusions.
3. Why is it that losing jobs overseas to the global economy is part of the capitalist system and global economy but that corporations can’t compete in this same economy without government handouts?
I don’t believe in handouts for corporations at all. Not even loans. I dislike government meddling in everything, and mostly screwing things up worse. I especially despise the airlines and federal agencies, who were neglegent for not securing cock-pit doors, and then let the airlines turn around and parlay that into billions in handouts at the tax payers expense. As far as competing with cheap foreign labor, that’s a problem we’ll suffer for a while. It’s good these other nations are growing, because it will be good for the world as a whole, but it will be painful for us, unless we can be innovative and inventive, and create new markets and products. But, that may be difficult if our public education systems fail to prepare children, and they avoid all science, engineering and math as a result. Too many students don’t feel they can obtain those degrees. Instead, we get more lawyers?
4. Why is it that the right has always taught that capitalism is the only system worth practicing because it creates a hard working productive environment by rewarding those willing to take risks with great wealth and that any government intervention is bad but now there seems to be this caveat regarding research and development?
Unfettered capitalism can’t work. A free market, but constrained by laws of fairness, is what works. Without it, monopolies destroy competition, and after they have destroyed them, they greedily rape everyone with ridiculously, high prices.
5. Are we becoming more like the dreaded Cuba and other communist countries?
I don’t think it is quite that bad yet.
It just seems to me that corporations will conduct research and development when their calculations result in a cost/benefit analysis likely to produce gains in excess of, say, about 10%. Won’t these businesses conduct superflous research and development or r & d that is, at a minimum, not economically wise or a good use of research once the government gives handouts?
First, there is a difference between corporate welfare (which is bad), and R&D with a clear purpose beneficial to society. For example, government can do a few (and it is just a very very few) things that free market enterprise will not. A few specific things would be to fund R&D for treating disease, energy alternatives which also increase national security, for national defense, etc. That is, only things that no one else will do (or do soon enough). But, with all the pork-barrel, graft, and corporate welfare we have now is ruining the nation. Government is FOR SALE, voters are asleep at the wheel, and there is a real potential for it all to lead us down a very painful path in the not too distant future.
6. how does the transfer of money to the wealthy owners of a corporation, who can now raise the dividend or give bigger bonuses to management with the money it would have used for research and development trickle down “we the people”? is it when boat company xyz has to hire another minimum wage worker to paint boats when managers of corporations A, B and C buy new yachts? Or when they buy their 4th homes? just curious
Anyone spending money fuels the economy. Companies that don’t do sufficient R&D may not be competitive before too long. People running the companies make these decisions. Personally, I think CEOs and managers making 5+ million per year is greedy. I’m not advocating laws to prevent it. I just think it is greedy. Especially, when times are hard, and rather then cut the CEO’s pay by $200K to hire more engineers, the company lays off engineers. That is part of what is wrong with corporations. But, like I said, I don’t want government determining what anyone should make. At any rate, who ever spends money fuels the economy, and R&D is wise if a company wants to remain competitive.

I believe there are many common-sense, no-brainer solutions to many of our problems. This is a great nation, but we can and should do much better.

If you want to see other common-sense solutions, see this. But, remember that none of the reforms we debate endlessly will ever occur until voters do what they were supposed to be doing all along.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 6, 2006 3:38 PM
Comment #121525

d.a.n.

So, you feel that the wealthy should pay no higher percentage in taxes than the less wealthy? Well, I guess that would be an improvement over the current situation in Minnesota, where the wealthy pay a smaller fraction than the middle class (~7% for the top 10% vs. ~12% for the middle fifth) . But it seems to me that a) the wealthy benefit disproportionately from tax expenditures, that is, they have more to protect, use the roads for their businesses as well as for personal transportation, have more property for the police to protect, benefit from public education not only through their own use, if they choose, but through the highly educated work force they choose from, profit disproportionately from defense spending, etc, and b) many of them started out with capital inherited from a previous generation, a possibility that wouldn’t exist without our extensive and expensive court system to prevent the legal looting of estates that goes on in less lawful parts of the world (see Afghanistan, e.g.). That’s why I’ve always favored a progressive tax system and been proud of the fact that we have (had) one.

I do agree with the elimination of almost all deductions and credits, especially when they benefit the well-off. For example, I am comfortably middle class and would buy a house even without the tax deduction from the mortgage. It seems that once a tax incentive is created, it is almost impossible to turn it off, even after the original need is long gone.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at February 6, 2006 4:27 PM
Comment #121551
Mental Wimp wrote: So, you feel that the wealthy should pay no higher percentage in taxes than the less wealthy?
No, I don’t because a flat rate percentage is progressive already in a way, because 17% of $100K is twice as much 17% on $50K. NOTE: nobody pays tax on income upto N x poverty-level (where always N is >= 1).

For example: Given:
(1) a flat income tax of 17% ,
(2) and a poverty level of $12K ,
(3) and an N factor of 1.5
(4) therefore, low-income-exemption-level is 1.5 x $12K = $18K
(5) and five persons with different gross incomes:
A earned $15,000 per year.
B earned $50,000 per year.
C earned $90,000 per year.
D earned $200,000 per year.
E earned $900,000 per year.
F earned $9,000,000 per year.

Therefore, the income tax for each person (after subtracting the $18K exemption) is:
A’s tax = $0 since $15K is less than $18K; that is 0% of $15K ;
B’s tax = $5,440=0.17 x ($50K-$18K); that’s 10.9% of $50K ; and 17% of $32K
C’s tax = $12,240=0.17 x ($90K-$18K); that’s 13.6% of $90K ; and 17% of $72K
D’s tax = $30,940=0.17 x ($200K-$18K); that’s 15.5% of $200K ; and 17% of $182K
E’s tax = $149,940=0.17 x ($900K-$18K); that’s 16.7% of $900K ; and 17% of $882K
F’s tax = $1,526,940=0.17 x ($9,000K-$18K); that’s 16.97% of $9,000K ; and 17% of $9,982K

Well, I guess that would be an improvement over the current situation in Minnesota, where the wealthy pay a smaller fraction than the middle class (~7% for the top 10% vs. ~12% for the middle fifth)
What? That’s awful. How did that happen? I’d be tempted to move to another state. Texas doesn’t have a state income tax. Sales and property taxes are high though. And, I loathe property taxes. States should also adopt a similar flat income tax rate system (with low income threshhold), and eliminate sales taxes. Sales taxes really hammer the poor more than any kind of tax.

Mental Wimp,
I’m opposed to a progressive tax rate percentage merely because I believe it is unfair. IMO, it should be more than enough that 17% of $100K is twice as much tax as 17% on $50K . Anything different to me seems unfair. The flat rate percentage is most palatable for all. (NOTE: all deductions have to be eliminated, so that everyone really pays the same percentage).

By the way, did you know what we have now is almost practically a flat rate system already?
Yes, it is, because of all the deductions and loop holes. And, after the last round of tax cuts, which mostly benefited the wealthy, it is now lop-sided (based on percentage of income).
But, the current system is very costly due to complexity, trying to enforce it, auditing, etc.

But, if the current tax system were not beneficial to the wealthier (those in congress, and their big-money-donors), you can bet they would have changed it a long time ago. No, they like it just the way they perverted it.

But, tax reform, and all other reforms are impossible until voters get fed-up enough to start voting out incumbents (who always outnumber newcomers who want reforms), and finally get some common-sense, no-brainer reforms passed. Debate about reforms will be a waste of time if we never vote out (or recall) corrupt incubments, and replace them with newcomers that understand their stay will be short too if they perpetuate the status quo.
_____________

Now, back to the topic of this thread…

I have a sneaking suspicion that “spreading democracy” has become the republican party’s snake oil.

Democracy is preferable to dictatorships. Especially very oppressive regimes.

But, the U.S. can’t force democracy on any contry.
Not even IRAQ if they don’t want it.
But, I think most people recognize that democracy is a better way. How many democratic governments were there 200, 300, 500, 1000 years ago? There has been very slow progress. But, this shows some hope. Unfortunately many people of many nations in the middle east still don’t really understand democracy. They still lack very fundamental understanding of live-and-let-live. Many of those nations don’t even tolerate any other religion but Islam. That fundamental flaw, unless they want to be total isolationists, makes it difficult for them to co-exist with the rest of the planet.

Democracy isn’t perfect, but it’s better than other most. Also, it can’t be a pure democracy. It must also be constrained by laws (e.g. a constitution) to prevent mob-rule, and preserve human/civil rights.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 6, 2006 5:15 PM
Comment #121570

d.a.n.

To continue your derail of the main topic (damn, I shouldn’t have clicked on your link!), I understand what a flat tax is and your statement that it is “fairer”. By definition, a flat tax is regressive if it applies to all income rather than just disposable income (it refers to the percentage, not the absolute amount), and only by exempting the lowest range is it made neutral (because it depends upon ability to pay).

My point is that a flat tax isn’t fair, because the rich benefit disproportionately from tax revenue. For each dollar paid in, they get back more than their $1, whereas most taxpayers get back less. The reason the rich get back more is that they benefit systemically from the infrastrucure, in addition to their personal benefits. Their source of income depends in a much broader and deeper way on the existence of this infrastructure than the average citizen. That’s why almost all large corporations and wealthy individuals (well, beyond despots who out and out confiscate their people’s property and oil sheiks) live in countries that have extensive infrastructure. An educated work force, roads, sewers, housing, solid legal system, national defense (to assure investment security), and cultural amenities (to keep the natives from getting restless) all pay more dividends to the company owners than they do to the individuals who make only personal use of them. Hence, the wealthy should pay more, as a percentage of their income. The higher it goes, the more of each dollar they should pay. I know this probably flies in the face of your preconceptions regarding the fairness of taxes, because it raises the focus above the individual and his or her personal life. But the longer I’ve reflected on the overall picture of how society and capitalism functions, the more I am convinced that this systemic view is accurate and that it justifies the wealthy paying a higher percentage. In fact, I am beginning to suspect that the lack of this progressivity leads to the decay of the middle class and the retreat in real household income we are currently experiencing.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at February 6, 2006 5:51 PM
Comment #121575

On Taxes

Your arguments are the very reason I hire a tax accountant to do my taxes. He’s great and saves me the headache of buying all the latest books and attending all the latest seminars. And I pay him well. He earns every dollar.

On democracy.

One of the worse forms of government is democracy. The best devised by man is a federal republic.

Posted by: tomh at February 6, 2006 5:57 PM
Comment #121580

Tomh

A federal democratic republic. Without the universal voting franchise, a federal republic would be an abomination.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at February 6, 2006 6:09 PM
Comment #121594

Yes, Mental Wimp, A democratic republic.
A democracy by itself can not exist for long.
A constitution and laws are required to protect human rights from mob rule.

Mental Wimp,
Thank you for explaining the tax system you prefer. I too have studied tax systems at great length. However, look carefully at the effective tax rate on gross income and on income above N times the poverty level. It is progressive to a small degree, but only be virtue of the poverty-level income threshhold.
Thus, the wealthy, will pay a higher percentage (never over 17%) on their gross income.

Also, I didn’t just pull 17% out of a hat. That value is based on current GDP ($12.3 trillion) and current revenues ($2.2 trillion). The ratio is 17.9%. I feel government is way too bloated already, and should be able to cut spending. Thus, 17% of GDP should be sufficient. Per capita, that is $7586.00 which is lower than the actual of $8625.00.
_______________
Therefore, the income tax for each person (after subtracting the $18K exemption) is:
A’s tax = $0 since $15K is less than $18K; that is 0% of $15K ;
B’s tax = $5,440=0.17 x ($50K-$18K); that is 10.9% of $50K ; and 17% of $32K
C’s tax = $12,240=0.17 x ($90K-$18K); that is 13.6% of $90K ; and 17% of $72K
D’s tax = $30,940=0.17 x ($200K-$18K); that is 15.5% of $200K ; and 17% of $182K
E’s tax = $149,940=0.17 x ($900K-$18K); that is 16.7% of $900K ; and 17% of $882K
F’s tax = $1,526,940=0.17 x ($9,000K-$18K); that is 16.97% of $9,000K ; and 17% of $9,982K
_______________

The type of taxes that punish the poor and middle class the most, as a percentage of income, is not the tax above. It is sales and property taxes. Property tax on my middle-class house is $3644 a year ($304 per month). Sales tax is 8% of every dollar spent. And there is a lot of sales tax on fuel, clothing, electricity, etc.

Sorry, I’ll keep it in mind, but to me, a flat rate on income exceeding a low-income threshhold, and the fact that 17% on $100K is twice as much as 17% on $50K seems progressive enough. The progressiveness is built into the flat rate. I don’t like a progressive tax system, because it taxes people at a different different rate based on income, which just seems wrong to me.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 6, 2006 7:01 PM
Comment #121803

If Spreading Democracy is the Republicans Snake Oil, then a Contract with Al Quaida is the sales pitch the Democrats expect to win both Houses of Congress with. Just when I think it might be time to worry about this years Congressional Election, ol time Liberal Dinasaurs like Kennedy and Turbin Durbin open their mouths and reassure me that Republicans don’t really have that much to worry about. Ever since the 1994 Mid-Term elections, the Democrats have scratched their heads and wondered (even whined) why they continually lose elections. They blame everybody and everything instead of placing the real blame where it lies. With themselves. I think Democrats have a lot more to worry about in the coming elections than the Republicans. Most people ain’t stupid now a days and don’t get their news from the MSM. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Massachusettes doesn’t end up with two new Senators in the near future to replace the two embarrassments they have in office now. I mean, if Kennedy and Kerry were supposed to represent my views, I couldn’t help from being embarrassed by them or myself for having voted for them. So the Republicans will run on spreading Democracy and the Democrats can run on their Contract with Al Quaida. Let me thank them in advance for yet another Republican Congressional victory this year. I love it!

Posted by: Gopher at February 7, 2006 6:21 AM
Comment #121895
I would not ever presume to be so arrogant, intolerant, and pompous to tell you what to write, or not write.

Heh. That was kinda funny, d.a.n. Did you cut & paste that from my profile? :)

Posted by: American Pundit at February 7, 2006 11:04 AM
Comment #122031

Democracy may be a good thing, but who are we as a country to decide what is right for others & to force it upon them?

Posted by: Dedi at February 7, 2006 5:07 PM
Comment #122039

We don’t. In the end, Iraq will choose the government it wants. It may not be a democracy. For the moment, most Iraqi people want a democratic type government. They had a larger voter turnout then we do in the U.S.

But, if they later choose another government, that is certainly their right, and no one can interfere.

In retrospect, going into Iraq was noble, but probably not worth the high cost of life and limb and money. I don’t take the claims by our government that it was for national security serious anymore since they hypocritically ignore the wide-open borders and illegal aliens (about 20 million), can’t connect the dots, but want to violate the 4th Amendment via wire-tapping without warrants.
________

Heh. That was kinda funny, d.a.n. Did you cut & paste that from my profile? :)

A.P.
Thanks ! : )
I’ve never seen your profile until now.
Interesting. People never look as though you envision them.

A.P.
I am not a one-trick pony.
I am just focused. : )
As for the scrolling, think of it as exercise.
You can burn off a few calories workin’ the mouse.
If you’ve got one of those mice with a wheel, you don’t even have to move the mouse.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 7, 2006 5:31 PM
Comment #122156

d.a.n.

tax breaks for r & d is corporate welfare and is contrary to the conserative belief that free markets are always the answer. businesses will merely distribute money they may have invested in r & d and let government pick up the tab. as you state, there are many occasions when government intervention is necessary including protection for the environment and of the laborer, but corporate welfare is not one of them.

however, the bush administration in its infinite wisdom has again turned reason on its head and could not care less about the environment or the protection of workers and only intervenes in the free market to further enrich big business.

at least the administration is consistent.

Posted by: voltairean at February 8, 2006 12:52 AM
Comment #122165
As for the scrolling, think of it as exercise. You can burn off a few calories workin’ the mouse.

LOL! If I get carpal tunnel syndrome in my mouse-wheel finger, I blame you. :)

Posted by: American Pundit at February 8, 2006 1:26 AM
Comment #122356

A.P.
Also, if you widen the browser window, and make the font-size smaller, it will reduce scolling significantly too. : )

voltairean wrote: tax breaks for r & d is corporate welfare and is contrary to the conserative belief that free markets are always the answer. businesses will merely distribute money they may have invested in r & d and let government pick up the tab. as you state, there are many occasions when government intervention is necessary including protection for the environment and of the laborer, but corporate welfare is not one of them.

voltairean,
I agree that government has an important role to protect the people (and the environment, etc.).
But, corporatate welfare is an abuse of tax-payers. An excellent example of it is the airlines that parlayed their negligence (despite many warning to secure cock-pit doors) into several billion in tax-payer handouts after 911.
That is truly disgusting.

And, while Bush talks about spreading democracy, he violates the 4th Amendment here at home, imprisons people without charging them, ignores the Geneva Convention, runs secret prisons, and ignores the easy, common-sense things he should do, such as the 911 Commission recommendations, securing the borders, enforcing existing laws, etc.

Now, I would be happy if they just quit doing the wire-tapping without a warrant. But, if he keeps doing it, he and his administration look like hypocrites, since they continue to ignore the basic, common-sense things to truly make the nation more secure and protect our democratic republic.

It is interesting that 70% of Iraqis turned out to vote. I wonder if they will have such high voter turnout if their government turns into the bloated , corrupt, FOR SALE, bought-and-paid-for, pandering, influence peddling, irresponsible gang of over two million in the Executive branch (that is neither seen nor heard as it throttles our freedoms and prosperity), and the relatively smaller group of 535 bought-and-paid-for incumbents in congress and their hundreds of thousands employees, that are now running this nation into the ground.

Posted by: d.a.n at February 8, 2006 1:46 PM
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