May Day

Evo Morales has declared an end to the ‘corporate looting’ and sent Federal troops to occupy the oil fields of Bolivia. It’s not a coincidence this happened on May 1st, also known as International Workers Day. [Insert hammer and sickle logo here.]

No word yet on Evo being elected President-for-Life as Hugo Chavez apparently is preparing to do, but hey, one step at a time right?

Moving to paradise

I was listening to my favorite progressive radio talk show the other day... what? You've never heard of a progressive radio talk show? Well, it's not Rush Limbaugh, but the left coast has had an uber-leftist radio station for decades-- KPFA.

Anyway, I was listening to a discussion about how all of Latin America hates Bush and one of the hosts says that she's ready to move to Venezuela because of the wondrous social revolution going on there. Somehow I seriously doubt she will actually move but it was entertaining to listen to these hardened leftists gush about how wonderful it was to see real democracy at work somewhere in the world.

However, there is no doubt about the kind of revolution going on down south and sooner or later someone will have to pay the piper and try to pick up the pieces and most likely it will be us.

LA PAZ (AFP) - Troops seized Bolivia's oil and gas fields as President Evo Morales issued a formal decree nationalizing the petroleum resources of South America's poorest country.

The takeover of oilfields by the army's engineering corps was announced by the top military command moments after the president announced a formal decree nationalizing the country's petroleum operations, which had been expected.

"The state is recovering its property, the possession and total and absolute control of these resources," Morales said at a May Day speech at San Alberto gas field in southern Bolivia.

Moments later, the president called on the country's "patriots" to "mobilize against any effort by any company to sabotage" the nationalization.

The left-wing leader stated that the move would be a "true nationalization" that would help the economy and generate additional jobs in Bolivia, where 70 percent of the population lives in poverty. ~news.yahoo

Hugo and Evo are friends you know. Likely they have been sharing 'democratic' governance tips with Fidel ...and Cindy Sheehan.

LAST SUNDAY hundreds of heavily armed Venezuelan troops invaded one of the country's largest and most productive cattle ranches, launching what President Hugo Chavez describes as his "war against the estates." The next day Mr. Chavez signed a decree under which authorities are expected to seize scores of other farms in the coming weeks. This assault on private property is merely the latest step in what has been a rapidly escalating "revolution" by Venezuela's president... ~washington post editorial

Did I mention Cindy Sheehan yet? Yes, I think I did.


How not to alleviate poverty

The sad thing about all this is that Central and South America suffer because of leftist policies, not for a lack of them, or I should say not because of the overwhelmingly capitalistic way in which governments operate there. The economic policies of South and Central America are not very Capital friendly at all.

As I explained in a previous post entitled, "The Real Quagmire," the poverty down south is a government induced problem. They lack the private property legal structure we take for granted here in the US which would allow, "the poor and noble entrepenuers to 'capitalize' on the assets they have."

What the third world needs is not a social revolution, they need a capitalist revolution. Capitalism is not seen as working in the third world precisely because it is being choked by excessive government regulation. It is not because of the anarchy of capitalism that poverty exists, it is because of the oppressive hand of government that poverty exists. They make it impossible for average folks to do business and become entrepenuers honestly.

Why would we be surprised that after the leaders of the 'workers revolution' are elected democratically that they become holders of office for life? Is this democracy? The rich stay rich and the poor get poorer in these countries because they use the state to keep it that way. Did Fidel ever retire and go to live in the same cramped and dirty apartment his people live in? Or can we expect Hugo Chavez to leave office when his term expires and live like the rest of his people do?

Speaking at a stadium packed with supporters in central Lara state, Chavez said he would hold a referendum to put the question of his remaining in office to Venezuelans if the opposition pulls out of upcoming presidential elections.

"I am going to ask you, all the people, if you agree with Chavez being president until 2031," he said. ~news.yahoo

No, I expect not.

Posted by Eric Simonson at May 7, 2006 2:15 AM
Comments
Comment #145993

Eric, I watched Good Night, Good Luck this evening for the first time. And you know, your articles remind me a lot of Sen Joe McCarthy. Your articles appear to take political advantage of other people’s ideals moral aspirations. Now you can argue defensibly that pure socialism either doesn’t work or doesn’t exist or exists in too great abundance. But, there are very moral and idealistic aspirations associated with socialist movements in the world, and there is a plethora of successful nations who practice varying degrees of socialism and work with it as a means toward fulfillment of ideals, many shared by your own President, like all life is valuable, hence no one should be denied help if genuinely needed, no children should ever do without education, health care, and protection. Another of their ideals is one you will be familiar with, power corrupts. Since huge wealth is usually converted to great power, many in the world believe that great wealth has an obligation if other members of their society haven’t enough to live decent lives while working to sustain the society that created great wealth for some.

Your arm and sycle references to communism in which no private commercial property or industry is permitted by government (government officials excepted of course) has nothing to do with the socialist movement in the world which grows and shrinks through the decades, but, can never be eradicated. And the reason is obvious, where there are gross inequities of wealth in a society such that the poorest work to sustain the society so the wealthy can get ever wealthier (and more powerful), socialism offers a solution based on ideals. You know ideals, like turn the other cheek, and thou shallt not kill. Now I know you poo poo those kinds of ideals, but, many in the world aspire to them and try to realize them in their lives and their communities and their nations.

Your apparent refusal to acknowledge these facts seems to me stem from the same motivations Sen. Joe McCarthy had. A fear of hoardes with power. A fear of shared power with those who refuse to follow your line of thinking. A fear of not being in control (i.e., not having total power). You have it good in America. Why not let others in the world in other nations experiment as we did and attempt to realize their own ideals and aspirations without feeling compelled to react defensively or offensively to those who try to live differently than you do?

You advocate drilling in ANWR despite the fact that ANWR was decided by the majority of the people to be left pristine and despite the fact that the people of America own ANWR, not the government. The government only has the duty to hold ANWR in trust for the American people against the ravages of commercialization and development. You see, your position on ANWR is little different that the governments in Bolivia, Venezuela, and Chile. They too want to convert the people’s resources and exploit them for “the good of the nation”.

I suggest you give them a break until perfection can be claimed our province. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Otherwise, abstain from assaulting your fellow human beings verbally, and politically. Instead discuss the merits and drawbacks of their experiments in government and learn from them. But, never forget, that America is still an ongoing experiment in governance and economy, and perfection has yet to be obtained even here.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 7, 2006 3:11 AM
Comment #145995

Eric,
Which would you prefer as a way of referring to the current scandal:

FORNIGATE

or

TWATERGATE

Now, I think it is safe to say that we are all tired of scandals which end with gate. However, FORNIGATE is pretty funny when you say it aloud. On the other hand, imagine Tony Snow saying TWATERGATE in press conferences.

“Tony, could you comment on the most recent developments? Republican congressman seem predisposed to sell their votes in Congress in exchange for favors from hookers- often, gay hookers. We have the cases in the CIA, “just one of those mysteries,” you know, and the House Intelligence Commmittee (this one is still coming, folks)-

And Tony would scrunch up his face in obvious distaste, then answer in a really thin, clipped voice:

TWATERGATE is really just a trap laid by Democratic gay hookers for Republicans. Besides, a FOX news poll shows 63% of FOX viewers now approve of Republican congressman being provided with gay hookers by defense contractors, in exchange for their votes. Next question?

Posted by: phx8 at May 7, 2006 3:28 AM
Comment #145996

This is the kind of sheer hypocrisy that makes me so mad.

Eric Simonson. You are aware that practically EVERY Dictator the US propped-up in South America was a President-For-Life, right? Does your righteous indignation shutdown when its an American Ally who’s doing this? Where is your great speech on Pakistan’s President? Or Qutar’s? Or Uzbekistan?

Posted by: Aldous at May 7, 2006 4:20 AM
Comment #145998

David,

I understand the ideals and aspirations. I am not trying to denigrate altruistic values. I am trying to point out that the socialist movement does not uphold, in any way, such values. It is the socialist movement which denigrates them.

Socialism and freedom are incompatible. Socialism does not bring equality any more than it can bring prosperity.

One cannot argue that you are upholding charity as a socialist by advocating state control of the basic necessities of life.

I am all for voluntary socialism. It is the coercive all or nothing version that I am against. You are free to live in whatever society you wish to create. Everyone who wishes to live as a socialist is free to do so. But I wonder about an ideology that says EVERYONE must come along for the ride or it won’t work.

If my neighbor wants to start a commune, I’m all for it. If he decides his commune won’t work unless he has my income— we’ve got a problem.

This is what I call the ‘togetherness’ problem. Once our ‘togetherness’ gives you the right to decide for me what I get to do or keep we’ve crossed the line from altruism and into dictatorship. And I don’t care that it was sanctified by a majority vote.

This is where my criticism of Bolivia et al comes in. They are making it harder to alleviate poverty in their country by further cementing government control of everything. This is not freedom, nor is it charitable, nor will it make the rich poorer and the poor richer. It will only makes the majority poorer and a smaller elite wealthier.


Why not try freedom? Why not trusting in the goodness of your neighbor?

Does socialism rely on the assumption that people are basically good or that they are basically greedy and corrupt?

Posted by: eric simonson at May 7, 2006 5:09 AM
Comment #145999

We have nationalization of property in Bolivia and Venezuela and we have it right here in the good old USA. Ask some of the victims of EMMINET DOMAIN. They came after the businesses and nobody helped. They came after the parking lots and nobody cared. They came after the neighborhoods and nobody cared. They came after me and there was nobody left to help.

We have our own nationalization of personal property right here going on and we just set in the water until it gets to hot and we cannot do anything about it. Remember the frog lesson in how to boil a frog and he just sits there and takes it.

What we need this election year is new blood in some places and not the DNC. We have already had a dose of those aholes, communist leftist jerks. Remember the class warfare mantra the DNC keeps putting out there. We will always have the haves and haves not’s because of Roosevelt’s socialist programs of the 30s & 40s. Worst thing ever happened was social security and welfare. Put a whole group under the let us live off of others and bitch about equality.

Did someone mention Cindy Sheehan? Stuck on stupid.

Posted by: lm at May 7, 2006 5:15 AM
Comment #146000

by the way those criminal immigrants showed us how much they contribute to our economic success did they not? no one missed a beat and they just said here we are pick our sorry a.. up.

maybe they should protest for a whole week so we can really see some bottom lines where the shop lifting shuts down to nothing.

stinko de mayo! no se puede! no se puede! estamos es criminal, estamos es criminal.

Posted by: lm at May 7, 2006 5:20 AM
Comment #146002

No, Eric, Government, of any kind, and Freedom are incompatible. Absence of government is Freedom, and it is called Anarchy. Impose Government and you impose rules, regulations, and social controls on the people. That is true of Republics, Parliaments, and other forms of Democracy, but, I grant you much more so for Fascism, Communism, and other authoritarian governments like the Bush Administration that uses over 500 signing statements now to usurp Congress and the Courts, and legislate from the White House.

You say Eric “One cannot argue that you are upholding charity as a socialist by advocating state control of the basic necessities of life.”

This is simply not universally true. China saved 100’s of millions from starvation and death by poverty in the last decade and a half by administering state control of one of the most basic of biological necessities, giving birth. They allowed families to have a child, the prevented the nation from overpopulating itself into mass starvation and another deadly and brutal revolution as a result. You must be careful of making such statements as if they are universally true. They aren’t.

YOu said: “If my neighbor wants to start a commune, I’m all for it. If he decides his commune won’t work unless he has my income— we’ve got a problem.”

But you support paying taxes to support our military and the nation’s common defense. You support mandating that ALL citizen’s earning income contribute to the that cause regardless of their pacifist or conscientious objector beliefs. The U.S. Commune called the military can’t function without taking income from everyone regardless of how they feel about it. Again, your argument presents itself as universal, but, fails that very test.

You said: “This is where my criticism of Bolivia et al comes in. They are making it harder to alleviate poverty in their country by further cementing government control of everything.”

That remains to be seen doesn’t it? Bolivia is NOT Cuba. Bolivia, Venezuela and other S. American countries are democratically elected governments. Socialist policies can and have worked well for achieving some degree of idealistic objectives under democratic governments. Case in point: Great Britain which largely eradicated the Dickens society of poverty, disease, filth and ignorance through socialized education, socialized health care, socialized public works projects like the tunnel to France. I grant you they went overboard by our standards, but, nonetheless, the days described by Charles Dickens were largely eradicated.

“Why not try freedom? Why not trusting in the goodness of your neighbor?”

Indeed, why is Bush funding Christian Charities on the taxpayer’s dime. Why did Republicans reach out to aid Katrina victims with federal tax dollars in huge deficit spending and national debt growth. Indeed! Are you really suggesting that Katrina victims should have been left to die and scrounge in freedom rather then depend on the helping hand of the nation’s citizens as a whole?

“Does socialism rely on the assumption that people are basically good or that they are basically greedy and corrupt?”

That Eric, depends heavily on the form of government, the history and culture of the country in question, doesn’t it. Socialist policy as in our Interstate Highway system, our public works projects like Dams and the Golden Gate Bridge and national parks, our military, police, fire departments, education system, water infrastructure, waste management infrastructure in cities and towns, are all examples of socialist policy, Eric. What do you think? Do these policies assume people are basically good or greedy?

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 7, 2006 8:38 AM
Comment #146009

I’ve seen Morales referred to as “center-left” in news reports. That’s laughable. It seems the more radically left a politician is the more likely he is to be called a centrist. Morales is a Marxist, just like Chavez, Lula and the other democratically elected South American dictators. The people of SA will soon reap the rewards of their folly. The policies of these leftists will have the same results that they have every time they’ve been tried.
When the people become even more impoverished and, in desperation, try to do something about it the govenment will declare a state of emergency and crack down with an iron fist. We will soon see Cuba replicated throughout SA.

David,
Are you aware that “Good Night and Good Luck” isn’t a documentary? It’s propaganda made by a hard core leftist.

Posted by: traveller at May 7, 2006 10:58 AM
Comment #146010

Misunderstandings of “social progress” appear to be rampant:

1) In order to live in a civil society, it is required that individuals cede some freedoms (and money) to the State. However, as long as one can choose to live in an ungoverned region of a tax-free nation (lots of options available) they cannot reasonably argue that they lack freedom, regardless of what may be going on in the country of their birth.

2) China’s reproduction policies have insured the quick end of its economic expansion. It is now one of the oldest countries on earth, putting it in the same boat as Developed World in having too little young workers to maintain its social infrastructure. And, since in traditional societies boys are prized more than girls, the youth of China are now 65% male, meaning that many Chinese males will have to emigrate in order to find wives — and its the talented ones who have the better emigration opportunities.

Nice work, China.

3) Most totalitarian states began as popularly elected goverments, then use a number of “means” to insure their continued “popular election.” This is so basic to history I;m amazed it (obviously) needs to be repeated.

4) Socialism is *not* the foundation of the Interstate Highway System, and other such projects. The IHS had a definable ROI, making it a business investment based on expected future returns. Obviously, we have had some projects that were social programs only (I recall the aging — if still standing — civic auditoriums and stadiums build in the 30’s) but most infrastructure projects are not examples of social ist policies, but good business. In short, it’s not a “socialist project” if the government improves the roads so goods can get to market, which produces income to the sellors, which increases the tax base…….

There is no question in my mind that twenty years ex post facto, we will still be looking at rampant poverty in the South American countries that are now expecting govermental control of the means of production to solve. It is simply a lesson of history, nothing more, that despite the fact that capitalism has incredible shortcomings in the way it produces societal wealth inequities, any attempt to regulate the free markets of goods/services and labor results in even great inequities, usually because the natural desire of the individual to “get ahead” can then only be assuaged through graft and corruption of the type that makes the current US troubles in these areas look amateurish.

Mike

Posted by: Mike Craney at May 7, 2006 11:04 AM
Comment #146011

Eric,
What remarkable sang froid. The Director of the CIA responds amid allegations of wild parties & Republican congressman selling their votes for limo rides followed by sex with gay hookers, and not a word.

But mess around with the price of natural gas in Bolivia on May 1st, and on May 6th it is exclamation marks galore!!!!

Would you prefer Tailgate? Watergayt?

Ah, conservatives must live exciting lives. It must be routine in a Bush Supporter work place for the heads of the organization to sell their job responsilities for sex with hookers. Personally, I have never seen anything like that in my place of employment. Gosh, not even close.

BOLIVIA!!!

May I mentioned this before… I did the major paper for my MBA on the Bolivian economy. That was @ 20 years ago. I concluded the country should declare bankruptcy, and start over again. Their economy was such a mess, their situation so hopeless, they really had no practical alternatives.

I suspect it is the same way for them today. An enormous run-up in natural gas and commodity prices might save their bacon. Maybe. But it will have nothing to do with socialism or capitalism with Bolivia.

Posted by: phx8 at May 7, 2006 11:16 AM
Comment #146015

Correction, it should be “resigns” not “responds”.

Posted by: phx8 at May 7, 2006 11:26 AM
Comment #146018

Support for the Wrong Wing is going down (pardon the pun) like the pants of a Republican for a gay hooker, and the response from the Wrong Wing is …

… talk about Bolivia.

No wonder diatribes like this are so hard to swallow (pardon the pun).

Posted by: ElliottBay at May 7, 2006 11:54 AM
Comment #146032

Aldous

Have you been following the situation in Uzbekistan closely? Do you really think the U.S. is propping this guy up? Your definitions are more flexible.

Everyone else

The problem for Bolivia is Morales. These guys just do stupid things. Nationalizing firms is stupid. It helps keep these countries poor. Then they blame the firms. It is a cycle. The countries that have developed best are those that respect the rule of law, defend property rights and use market mechanisms.

Morales is letting his people down. They will remain poor. Some will remain angry, but they will be angry at the wrong person.

Phx8, Eliott and liberals

No matter what anyone writes, you guys bring up things like gay hookers. And you wonder why people don’t look to liberals for solutions.

Posted by: Jack at May 7, 2006 2:30 PM
Comment #146034

Jack,
Get real. Think about the national security implications. Who the hell did the background checks on Goss and Dusty? How badly compromised is our government? Cunningham was bad enough, but the head of the CIA, the #3 position, and the other congressional staffers Goss brought on board should receive the most detailed background checks of anyone in government. Now we are faced with a horrendous potential for blackmail and compromise. It is like a nightmare come true for our national security.

Jack, most people are not going to think this through, but the situation at the top of the US government is grave. What the hell is going on? And someone wants to put a military general in charge of the civilian spy agency! Something very very bad is going on.

As for ideas, you no doubt already saw the statement by Pelosi. When the Democrats take the House, there will be a legislative blitz:
1) raise the minimum wage
2) bring back pay-as-you-go spending limits
3) roll back portions of the Republican prescription drug plan
4) implement Homeland Security measures
5) investigate the first term Energy Task Force

The cavalry is coming. The good guys are on the way.

Keep talking about Bolivia!!!!

It is a good topic for a slow news day, but given the remarkable developments of late, this seems like nothing more than an intentional effort to distract.

Posted by: phx8 at May 7, 2006 2:57 PM
Comment #146041

Eric,
I have a question for you: Where are the capitalist saviours of South America? Why did they not address the corruption and property rights in the precedding 20 years or so? Where are the capitalist saviours for central America? Didn’t we back juntas there? Why aren’t poverty and property rights there solved yet?

I’m not a fan of Hugo or Evo, but they are addressing a problem in those countries. The theft by multinationals of the indigenous populations resources.

Where ARE those capitalists heros you keep talking about?

Posted by: Jack Mohammedoff at May 7, 2006 4:14 PM
Comment #146053

Phx8

I saw Pelosi on “Meet the Press”. Tim Russert spanked her good (and he is basically sympathetic).

Some interesting points.

IF the Dems COULD control spending if they took the house, that must mean the REPUBLICANS who controlled the house in late Clinton were the ones who balanced the budget.

SHe is going to roll back presciption drugs for the old guys. I didn’t hear her say that, but maybe I wasn’t listening.

Russert trapped her a couple of times re how she planned to pay for all the promises.

In some ways I would enjoy having the Dems in power, since it would be fun to watch them back peddle and shift the blame. But I fear that they would spend all their time and energy harassing Bush and nothing at all would get done.

Posted by: Jack at May 7, 2006 6:28 PM
Comment #146055

Isn’t it interesting that Hug0, Ev0 and Castr0 all have nothing at the end. If this isn’t prophetic. SA should take a look at this amazing nothingness.

Posted by: tomh at May 7, 2006 7:01 PM
Comment #146057

David,

I disagree with you. Freedom only exists as long as their is someone to protect it. Anarchy is not freedom but uncontrolled rebellion. Everyone attempts to be in control in an anarchist state which means survival of the strongest. Government would need to exist to guarantee anything for anyone.

Phx8,

God help us if Pelosi gains control of anything!

Posted by: CFT at May 7, 2006 7:20 PM
Comment #146062

Your article fails to acknowledge something VERY salient here. The instability in South America is largely our doing. Yes, that’s right. Deny it if you dare, I’m ready with with both barrels (…of evidence).

RGF

Posted by: RGF at May 7, 2006 8:11 PM
Comment #146063

RGF
We had a lot of influence on Mexico and in some places in the Caribbean before 1900, but we affected most of the rest of the continent at worst (or best) the way Japan or Germany affected us in the last 50 years. And we certainly affected Japan more than we affected Brazil or Argentina between the time when Commodore Perry anchored in Tokyo Bay and today.

What held the continent back is statism and lack of respect for property rights. Give the poor the right to their little stores and the small holdings and you will go a long way to solve the problem. But instead we get grandiose land redistribution schemes and caudillos who make grand gestures w/o changing the relationships on the ground.

You also have to wonder how the U.S. got going so fast while the Latins languished. We all started off with similar resources bases. You would not have guessed that those 4 million Americans hugging the Atlantic seaboard in 1790 would have been so formidable a couple of generations later, or that those millions in the other parts of the Americas would not be.

Posted by: Jack at May 7, 2006 8:37 PM
Comment #146068

Spain, Portugal and even Mexico all had their moments in the sun. A pattern was set by the colonial Spanish and Portuguese governments. That pattern was colonial exploitation. Even after independence-fever spread over Latin America, the pattern remained.

We played a role in it. We supported a coup to remove a duely elected leader in Chile when we helped Pinochet. We did that because it was during the cold war and we were reacting to a socialist leaning new government in Chile with fear that it might go as far as Communism and an alliance with our cold war enemy, the USSR. It was, afterall, only ten short years after Cuba went that way. We backed first, the Sandinista’s then, their opposition when the Sandinista’s went that way as well. We trained dictators in nefarious means of obtaining and holding power by fear and force all across Latin America at the School of the Americas, run by the CIA, now in Georgia. We used drug money to buy and trade arms with the Contra’s in El Salvador. Going back to the 1920’s, we took advantage of the revolution in Mexico to ram the Bucareli agreement down Mexico’s throat, stagnating their industrial beginnings. They were already outproducing us in bi-planes. Cuba was pried away from Spain only because the USS Maine was full of poorly stored ammunition. For the last 50 years there have been American owned maquiladoras on the Mexican side of the border that have horrifically taken advantage of their labor force - locking single mothers in for days, weeks on end to meet quotas among other even more horrible tactics. We backed a coup in Guatamala over cold war philosophy as well. Noriega was on the CIA payroll for his opposition to Latin American Marxism. Noriega was also a graduate of the School of the Americas, along with many in his regime.

RGF

Posted by: RGF at May 7, 2006 9:48 PM
Comment #146072

Jack

No matter what anyone writes, you guys bring up things like gay hookers. And you wonder why people don’t look to liberals for solutions.
And that is a LOT different from the Wrong wing, who talked ONLY about the Presidential Penis during the 1990’s, huh?

Posted by: ElliottBay at May 7, 2006 10:17 PM
Comment #146076

Eliott

I didn’t do it back then and you may have noticed I don’t go after President Clinton now. But you are right that SOME people did that. What did you think of them at the time? Is it really something you want to emulate?

RGF

By the time the U.S. started to get involved in Latin America (except Mexico) the pattern was set. If Brazil, Mexico, Argentina etc had developed as well as the U.S. such interference would not have been possible. American intervention is an effect, not a cause of Latin underdevelopment.

Re Chile, lots of things went wrong. Some things went right. Chile with Allende would probably be a much poorer and oppressive place than it is today. And Pinochet gave up power. Maybe Castro could learn from the example.

Re Cuba and the Spanish American war. How well was Cuba doing in those 400 years of Spanish rule?

Re maquiladoras - would it be better if we didn’t invest? American cities, states and counties vie for foreign investment. So do various countries of the world. YOu have to ask why foreign investment in South Carolina, Kentucky, or Wisconsin is good but in Mexico or Brazil it is bad. Or if you want, why it is good in China or India. Or would it be better not to invest at all? I tell you what, you won’t be seeing much new investment in Boliva or Venezula, so maybe we can use it as an experiment.

Posted by: Jack at May 7, 2006 10:43 PM
Comment #146078

David R. Remer wrote, brilliantly:

Your arm and sickle references to communism in which no private commercial property or industry is permitted by government (government officials excepted of course) has nothing to do with the socialist movement in the world which grows and shrinks through the decades, but, can never be eradicated. And the reason is obvious, where there are gross inequities of wealth in a society such that the poorest work to sustain the society so the wealthy can get ever wealthier (and more powerful), socialism offers a solution based on ideals. You know ideals, like turn the other cheek, and thou shallt not kill.

And:

“Do unto Others as you would have them do unto You.”

and:

“For what is a man Profited, if he shall gain the whole World, and lose his own Soul?”

and, of course:

“From each, according to their Ability, to each, according to their Need.”


I know the Value of Eric’s posts: he brings out the very best in WatchBlog writers’ Responses. So many in this Red-Baiting thread: by David, and phx8, and Aldous, and ElliottBay. Responses which give me Hope, and which let me know I am not alone.

Posted by: Betty Burke at May 7, 2006 10:48 PM
Comment #146080

Thanks for the comments Betty, and no, you are not alone. The vast majority of people on this planet live under varying degrees of socialized policies of their government.

What is ironic, is that the U.S. is rapidly moving into first place in the world for mismangement of its socialized policies with military-security spending and Medicare. This rate of national debt accumulation is going to ruin America’s economic future and Republicans haven’t a clue how to fix it.

The reason is they won’t accept the reality that the military is a socialized policy no different from Medicare, and they smitten with the Janus dilemma of throwing ever more money in the socialized authoritarian military while condemning the concept of taxed support of everyone’s health care. With that kind of affliction, they are incapable of addressing the problems.

Whether right or wrong philsophically and ethically, the perceived “right” to affordable health care in America is an albatross around the GOP’s neck. There only answer is to end the program labelling it Socialism. While the continue to increase socialized subsidies for the Veteran’s Administration needed as a result of their socialized subsidies for ever expanding military campaigns in the world and ever growing military complex.

Killing Medicare will kill their control in government (as they learned when they tried to privatize Soc Sec.) Expanding the military’s role in the world is killing our economic future by adding a couple trillion dollars to our national debt. They scream loudly about spending yet, they are the ones spending it. In an individual, this would be called a mental illness. Republicans call it leadership. Is it any wonder their poll numbers are tanking?

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 7, 2006 11:17 PM
Comment #146095

Jack,

What I know about the maquiladoras in Mexico would blow your mind. YES, without question, it would be better if they were never there at all. I’m not willing to talk about it all in this forum. Granted, those that work in them would have long since arrived on this side of the border…but either way we would have to deal with them.

As for Chile being worse off if Pinochet had not come to power? ….literally thousands died as a result of that coup, Jack. There were disappearences throughout the Pinochet regime as well. After Pinochet took power they were stacking the bodies in the sports arenas for lack of space to put them all. So, no offfense…but you clearly don’t know what you are talking about.

Posted by: RGF at May 8, 2006 12:22 AM
Comment #146099

Betty,

It’s funny that you follow all those Jesus quotes with a quote from the Communist Manifesto, which also advocates the abolition of religion.

David,

I can’t believe you hailed China’s one child policy as some grand achievement. Do you realize that many people in China have thrown their little baby girls in a ditch or a dumpster because they would rather have a boy? The one child policy has caused forced abortions (so much for the right to choose), child abandonment, and generally death and suffering to millions of Chinese children. Yes, a great achievement indeed.

Posted by: Duano at May 8, 2006 1:06 AM
Comment #146104

Jack,

Oh and just to keep on target and not let anything drop…

Before Castro in Cuba (I’m not about to defend Castro, have no fear of that), Cuba was manipulated and taken advantage of by us in our efforts to create an American resort atmosphere and more specifically, by the American mob who built casinos and began using the proceeds to exert corupt political pressure to get their way.

Before that, Cuba was a plantation economy producing bananas and tobacco. ‘Nuff said.

Posted by: RGF at May 8, 2006 2:35 AM
Comment #146105

David R. Remer,

In response to Eric’s statement “If my neighbor wants to start a commune, I�m all for it. If he decides his commune won�t work unless he has my income� we�ve got a problem.”,

you said, “But you support paying taxes to support our military and the nation’s common defense. You support mandating that ALL citizen’s earning income contribute to the that cause regardless of their pacifist or conscientious objector beliefs. The U.S. Commune called the military can’t function without taking income from everyone regardless of how they feel about it. Again, your argument presents itself as universal, but, fails that very test.”

Boy, is that a strawman! When did he ever advocate that all Americans must pay income tax specifically for a common defense? Did he ever accuse you of advocating that all Americans must pay for universal health care or the EPA regardless of their health or valuation of the environment?

The truth is, even if you did let Americans take the role of their representatives and allocate their tax dollars individually, you would end up with a budget pretty close to what we already have. We elect representatives based on our values, so isn’t it obvious that government spending is therefore based on our values?

Under socialism, the government will spend/allocate resources regardless of how you vote. The allocation is based on the values of the government— acquiring power and holding onto that power being one of the values, if not the primary value.

Posted by: Matthew Motherway at May 8, 2006 2:36 AM
Comment #146106

Duano, the facts are the facts. No revolution in China, and 100’s of millions have been spared starvation including millions of children, because of the one child policy. Fact! Spin it however you need to to feel comfortable in your skin. But the fact is that policy saved CHINA and the Chinese people from horrendous social upheaval, civil war, and massive starvation.

No government can long survive massive starvation by its people. China survives. Were I to live in China, I would abhor the lack of choice in family planning. Just as I abhor the American Right’s limiting of choice in family planning. Doesn’t change the fact that China saved far more people and maintained or increased their standard of living as a result of the policy.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 8, 2006 2:41 AM
Comment #146107

Matthew said: “Under socialism, the government will spend/allocate resources regardless of how you vote.”

I didn’t vote for Republicans and I opposed the invasion of Iraq. Appears our government is spending /allocating resources regardless of how I vote, as well. So your point makes no point.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 8, 2006 2:44 AM
Comment #146108

Duano said: “Do you realize that many people in China have thrown their little baby girls in a ditch or a dumpster because they would rather have a boy?”

And what does this have to do with their one child policy? It wasn’t the government that created the cultural value of male children vs. female. Your argument is confused.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 8, 2006 2:45 AM
Comment #146116

I’m getting sick and tired of some people here. Why are democratic elected socialist immideatly dictators? Ok, Chavez is getting crazy right now, but he did and is doing very good things like healthcare for everyone, education for everyone. The oil profits are spent the right way; to the people. Privitazing the Bolivian oil fields will making it able for the poor Bolivian government to provide services like they do in Venezuela. I’m against the dictatorship in Cuba, I’m against any dictatorship. Democratic chosen socialists (mostly they’re social-democrats, but most narrowminded rednecks in the U.S. prefer to call them communist dictators) are doing a real good job, including here in the Netherlands.

I can’t say it enough: first do some research! You guys are so NARROWMINDED and you’re not willing to study anything. What would happen if I call republicans corrupt fascists? They’re not fascists (although sometimes they look like to be one), neither socialists are communists, nor communists are marxists, nor social-democrats are extreme-leftists.

First look at your OWN government. The U.S. government (jup, including ‘democrats’) supported loads of right-wing dictators in South-America and elsewhere. They’re still supporting dictators in the Middle-East, as long as they provide oil at the best price. Saddam Hussein was a terrible dictator, but Iraq wasn’t invaded because he was like that. No, he was against the U.S. government and the Bush family and didn’t wanted to provide oil at the best price.

And Eric Simonson, you wrote:

also known as International Workers Day. [Insert hammer and sickle logo here.]

“Insert hammer and sickle logo here.”? Grow up little child! Since when all workers are socialists? Since when social-democrats are communists? Do you homework, child! Or go away from here and never come back.

Posted by: Ouwe at May 8, 2006 3:31 AM
Comment #146117

David,

It has everything to do with the one child policy because if they have a baby girl, the woman will then be forcibly sterilized and never be able to have a boy. Boys are more prized in China because…I don’t know and don’t care. If a woman who already has a child is found to be pregnant in China, there are actually squads of people who will chase her down and forcibly abort her fetus using unsanitary and cruel instruments, often resulting in the death of the woman and the fetus. All sanctioned by the government. Your argument is that it’s okay to kill some people for the common good, which is the reason communism’s high ideals ALWAYS degenerate into mass slaughter.

Posted by: Duano at May 8, 2006 3:35 AM
Comment #146118

David said: “I didn’t vote for Republicans and I opposed the invasion of Iraq. Appears our government is spending /allocating resources regardless of how I vote, as well.”

David, you don’t have control of government spending. Our representatives do. They WERE ELECTED BY A MAJORITY (in most cases). It’s not David’s values; it’s the values of the people who got the representative elected. This is not necessarily true in socialism, especially where governments take/steal private property.

Posted by: Matthew Motherway at May 8, 2006 3:45 AM
Comment #146120

Sorry, that link didnt work. I’ll try to find another one.

Posted by: Duano at May 8, 2006 3:49 AM
Comment #146121

Try this one David How about fifteen million girls killed BECAUSE of the one child policy, in order to save the BOYS from starving.

Posted by: Duano at May 8, 2006 3:58 AM
Comment #146128

Get real people. Povery in latin America is driven by US rapine throughout that sub continent. It has long been US policy to bolster client (puppet) Governments in this region who are happy to give free rein to US multinationals to profiteer to their hearts content. A small exclusive club of people in control in these societies acquire wealth while the masses have little access to opportunity because there is little employment for them, little education, health care etc etc etc. These countries have long been run for the small elite who sanction American (US) plunder.

These Governments complained of have been democratically elected. They want to use the resources of their countries for the benefit of all of their people, not a small elite and multinationals. This kind of action to me is uber democratic!!! I don’t know if such policies will in fact lift the peoples of these countries out of poverty, given that Western countries will no doubt seek to hamper their success through concerted international action against them. A government which lays its country down to be ravaged by international capital is neither sovereign nor democratic. I hope that Chavez and the new crop of democratically elected leaders in latin America will remain true to their ideals and reclaim the sovereignty of their peoples. I hope they will invest massively in education and health for their peoples and in infrastructural projects that will prepare their countries for participation on an equal basis in the global economy. I don’t doubt that many US americans will take my comments as an assault on them. It’s not so intended. But to listen to the calumny spouted here when the real problem is American meddling and pursuit of US interests to the massive detriment of local countries and peoples is really nauseating. I don’t know if it’s driven by ignorance or malice. But it’s not a pretty sight. Why cannot Americans want the same opportunities for their neighbours they have been fortunate enough to have for themselves; i.e. - representative government?

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at May 8, 2006 6:08 AM
Comment #146129

as a postscript, who was the guy who said, ” Poor Mexico, so far from God, so close to the United States”?

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at May 8, 2006 6:11 AM
Comment #146130

Duano, sounds like an individual morality problem. Certainly not a government decree. Your logic simply fails on this topic.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 8, 2006 7:33 AM
Comment #146132
The reason is they won’t accept the reality that the military is a socialized policy no different from Medicare, and they are smitten with the Janus dilemma of throwing ever more money in the socialized authoritarian military while condemning the concept of taxed support of everyone’s health care.

You are so right, David. And of course, as a good modern Democratic Socialist, and an American Patriot, I fully support a well-funded National Defence - just as I fully support Fire and Police Services. And, as you know, I am also a firm defender of the Second Amendment, and have no illusions that either Guns or Soldiers are inherently Evil. The problem with the Conservative Agenda is they cannot balance Guns and Butter to save their lives! With them, it’s Guns, Guns, Guns, Guns, (butter), Guns, some Guns, and more Guns. And even their Butter is rancidly Tainted with their Social Darwinism. Which brings me to…


Duano:

It’s funny that you follow all those Jesus quotes with a quote from the Communist Manifesto, which also advocates the abolition of religion.

Yeah - I used it that way (and in that particular order) intentionally, because it’s such a fine Christ-like sentiment. (And you jumped at the bait, didn’t you?)

:o)

It is everything that Jesus taught about Charity and Compassion. But, just as I have heard countless Conservatives mis-quote and misinterpret Jesus - (how many times have I seen some know-nothing “Christian” say, “Well, Jesus said, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth! - not realising that what Jesus was doing was dissing the Old Teachings in favour of, well, Christianity - and that they were way, way out of Context?) - you don’t Get that, do you?

I just recently saw some clown try to justify the Death “Penalty” as being Christian because “Jesus said, Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, ” - not understanding either the Roman system of managing Public Hunger through Taxation or that Jesus was speaking of Coins bearing Caesar’s Image, vs. paying Tribute (of Faith) to God. Despicable. The so-called “Chistian” Right is about as Christian as any group of Intolerant, Uncompassionate, Pro-Death, Pro-War scum could be!

And Jesus - based upon what he actually said - was about as Socialist as they come.


Thanks for walking into it, Duano; it’s nice to know I can count on you.

Posted by: Betty Burke at May 8, 2006 7:37 AM
Comment #146133

Duano, Government policy regarding overpopulation does NOT socialism make. I no more defend pure socialist societies than I do pure capitalist free enterprise societies with only one governing rule - greed and self-interest.

You’re right though, discussing this between us is getting no where. I talk facts, you talk prejudices and gross over generalizations not to mention misrepresntations of what has been said. Thus a rational discussion is not possible.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 8, 2006 7:38 AM
Comment #146134

Matthew said: “This is not necessarily true in socialism, especially where governments take/steal private property.”

You mean like personal income taxes? LOL!!! Personal Property Taxes? Estate Taxes? Capital Gains taxes? Gasoline Taxes? Sales Taxes? Public Park use taxes? Vehicle License Taxes? Communication Taxes? Cigarette and other ‘sin’ taxes? I could go on, but, I think the point is well made, wouldn’t you agree?

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 8, 2006 7:44 AM
Comment #146136

Duano, you make the error Eric makes, when you argue Communist government law vs. socialized economic policy. I don’t defend communist governments, though they have certain efficiencies democratic governments don’t. On balance though, those efficiencies are avalanched by their inefficiencies.

Socialized policies however are in every society on earth and certainly no stranger to America since the Great Depression. When something is that universal, it meets certain human needs in a very powerful way.

Communism however, has never been universal and there are very fundamental reasons for that, aside from the inevitable failure of every band of governors in such regimes, with the possible debatable exception of Fidel Castro, who runs, I would argue, not a communist government, but a dictatorial government.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 8, 2006 7:52 AM
Comment #146137

Ouwe Your comment below:

“Insert hammer and sickle logo here.”? Grow up little child! Since when all workers are socialists? Since when social-democrats are communists? Do you homework, child! Or go away from here and never come back.
violates our Critique the Message, Not the Messenger policy. Comply with our policy or lose your privilege to comment here at WatchBlog.

Posted by: WatchBlog Managing Editor at May 8, 2006 7:55 AM
Comment #146138

@WatchBlog Managing Editor
Sorry, just got a bit angry about the narrowminded article.

Posted by: Ouwe at May 8, 2006 7:56 AM
Comment #146143

I resent the implication that 1 May is purely the realm of socialism and authoritarian communism. Like the early Christians, these Johnny (Ivanny?)-come-latelys stole their holidays from the Celtic pagans.

So, Happy Beltane!

While most of you were frothing at the mouth and levelling charges against each other, right-thinking pagans were celebrating the coming of spring by feasting, jumping through fires, burning criminals in effigy, and heading off into the bushes with comely lads & lasses to celebrate a little fertility.

Now that’s a holiday!

Posted by: Arr-squared at May 8, 2006 8:23 AM
Comment #146147

David,
I am amazed at how you are able to brush off Duano’s “individual morality problem” like one would dandruff off of a shoulder. You speak of these horrific Chinese murders – yes, directly caused by their government’s decree - as an annoying side effect to what could be an exemplarily society. As a side note, out of all of the posters here, you should be the last one to suggest someone else is being irrational. Read through all of your posts, by at least the second paragraph you’ve already constructed an invisible man’s argument so that you can tear it down brilliantly by the end of it.

Betty, have you tried reading/quoting scripture without the intent to ambush someone who might actually believe it? I think most people can see what you’re trying to do – maybe you should follow David’s lead and at least put a little bit of thought into your logical “traps”.

Craig

Posted by: Craig at May 8, 2006 8:53 AM
Comment #146150

RGF

In Chile you had a slower version of Castro. We all can agree that Castro has killed more people than Pinochet and for a longer time. In addition, Castro is still doing it. There were no good choices available at that time.

And before Castro Cuba may have been a banana and tobacco producer, now it produces almost nothing. Before Castro, Cuba had a higher living standard that Puerto Rico and most of the rest of Latin America. Now it is much lower. When the old Caudillo finally dies, we will get a good look at how bad things are. By then, however, people will figure out a way to blame the U.S.

I don’t oppose changes in government when governments are oppressive. But in some cases, you end up worse off (such as Cuba or Iran) and sometimes you just miss an opportunity to be better.

David (and RGF)

Re China

You don’t have to accept or reject the whole package. I believe the one-child policy was probably necessary and may have created the basis of today’s prosperity. Although when we talk about a policy we have to consider its corruption in the real world and not its intent or ideal outcome. The murder of little girls is an outcome of the one child policy.

The Chinese Communist party also evolved away from its Maoist roots. But when you consider Mao, it was an awful price to pay. The Cultural Revolution caused the biggest single civilians death toll in world history and the great leap forward set the country back a generation. Although I admit is was probably not possible in 1945, but had their been a reasonable government that avoided these horrible mistakes, maybe it could have brought prosperity sooner and with prosperity comes naturally falling birthrates (usually).

Paul

What would Ireland be today if it had perused policies like Chavez or Morales and attacked foreign investment instead of welcoming it? Ireland could rightly claim to have been colonized and exploited and in much more recent history than Bolivia or Venezuela. These sorts of policies sustain poverty, despite the rhetoric.

The U.S. makes much more money from rich countries than poor ones. Take the Irish example again. Was Ireland a better trade and investment partner for the U.S. when it was poor or now? In the modern world, you just cannot make much money by exploiting the poor. Even if you throw away all moral constraints, they are not productive enough.

I have not checked the figures lately, but a couple years back the U.S. firms made more money on investments in Scandinavia than on ALL of Latin America combined. By keeping their people poor, Chavez and Morales are hurting us all.

Betty

You make the constant error of equating socialism with generosity. Most Republicans I know give a lot to charity, in time, money and even blood donations. It is voluntary, but people take it very seriously. Socialism is when the government coerces resources from society. It may OR MAY NOT use those resources to make society better. In short, socialism is a type of government/economic organization. Jesus is a faith leader who was not interested in politics on this world.

And always remember that you cannot be generous with someone else’s money.

Posted by: Jack at May 8, 2006 9:07 AM
Comment #146151

Craig, I am unable to effect any change in China’s dilemma regarding its value system of male vs. female children. But that value system does not emanate from China’s government, it emanates from their cultural history and values.

You have said nothing to contradict the fact that the Chinese government’s one child policy has salvaged the lives of 100’s of millions or more from starvation. Do we not execute murderers? Does not our culture’s predominant religion teach that killing is wrong? Do we not yet maintain the death penalty in our federal laws?

It is important to me, to understand why governments do what they do, without judging them a priori. Do I condone government instituted family planning in general? NO! But that does not mean I have to reject the reality that the Chinese government saved 100’s of millions of lives by instituting the policy. On balance, it appears to me China saved far more lives than individuals murdered due to cultural sex prejudices, as well as their likely having prevented another revolution and civil war within China had mass starvations taken place without the one-child policy, saving yet again many more millions of lives.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 8, 2006 9:10 AM
Comment #146154

You see, as soon as religon seeps into the argument, we get nothing more that righteous indignation. Religon is the foundation for ALL wars. Religon is nothing more than submissive logic. ‘We don’t understand, therefore God did it’.

Listen; differnet forms of government work for different kinds of cultures. It is unfortunate that our current “leader” believes that he is right and all else is yet to be right, and will be right just as soon as he can appoint one of his friends to make it OUR culture. We are witnessing the efforts of an imerialistic megalomaniac to force the world to conform to the culture of big political corporate America. (Woven into politics like a silk rug into fur).

Anyone else get the feeling that George W. Bush believes that’s he is the anointed one?

You guys, we can’t stagger around the globe breaking things and hope to manifest fear rather than disdain. Our prevailing result thus far has been awash with bewilderment and loathing, not to mention retaliation to its highest degree. The Iraqi war is covered up, the ‘war on terror’ is a fear-scam, and the price of gas is what Bush’s arabian cousin makes of it.

Posted by: Bill Courtney at May 8, 2006 9:40 AM
Comment #146155

Jack, reasonable comments all, save this one: “Jesus is a faith leader who was not interested in politics on this world.”

According to the new testament, things like turn the other cheek, and let he who is without sin cast the first stone, are eminently political doctrines of THIS WORLD in order to prepare for the next. So, I would have to differ with your quoted comment above.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 8, 2006 10:01 AM
Comment #146159

David Remer bleated the following:

“You have said nothing to contradict the fact that the Chinese government’s one child policy has salvaged the lives of 100’s of millions or more from starvation.”

This is intellectually dishonest on a number of levels. First, your admiration for the policy is based on a hypothetical (that failing to do so would lead to starvation). There is no CERTAINTY that this would have happend. (The only CERTAINTY is that the prevailing goverment didn’t want to extend their developing social infrastructure to 2 billion people. This leads to another “hypothetical”: that they were afraid that their inability to do so woul have led to the demise of their goverment. This makes the policy out to be one of self-serving political control, not good public policy.)

Secondly, like economics, you take the unintended consequences *as a package* with the intended consequences. If the unintended consequence of the policy is a generational imbalance of males vs. females leading to societal dysfunction, then the societal dysfunction is part of the policy, not something to be shrugged off by blaming the people and a traditional culture.

Thirdly, since this interests you, perhaps you’d like to consider that the economic generational imbalances of our own Social Security and Medicare systems are largely caused by the US policy of abortion-on-demand.

Unintended consequences are a bitch.

Mike

Posted by: Mike Craney at May 8, 2006 10:22 AM
Comment #146170

Jack,

I wouldn’t call Pinochet’s Chile slower. It was much more gruesome and violent than Cuba. Your assertion that Castro is, even now, killing his own people is based on…..what, exactly, Jack?

The reason we are discussing Chile or Cuba as all to illustrate how much of the troubles being faced in Latin America are attributable to our actions. We backed Pinochet’s coup in Chile. We most assuredly did NOT back Castro, but we DID create the atmosphere in Cuba that enabled him to come to power, and gave him the cause he needed to rally enough support to his banner from the Cuban people who were no longer willing to tolerate U.S. backed corruption in their country.

RGF

Posted by: RGF at May 8, 2006 11:11 AM
Comment #146181

Mike Craney, I am not going to debate this with you because of your blatant ignorance of the economic condition of China in recent history. Poverty and starvation is still the biggest challenge China faces. If you are not aware of that fact, debate is useless.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 8, 2006 11:39 AM
Comment #146211

David,

I love how you pick one thing from my argument to respond to after I’ve shown how lame your argument is that our system is no better than a socialist dictatorship because your tax dollars fund something you don’t support.

It’s very simple: We VOTE, they DONT. Of course, all governments take taxes by force. Our government is one of the ones that takes the least amount (but still way too much). Unlike a socialist dictatorship, I know where those tax dollars are going and I know my government will not take the business I’ve put my life savings into and others are investing in. In South America, that’s not the case. Do you see the difference? Would you feel confident starting a business or investing in one down there knowing that the government could take it at any moment?

Posted by: Matt at May 8, 2006 12:47 PM
Comment #146220

Mike Craney,

“bleated” …come on Mike. If this stuff touches your ego to such an extent you are incapable of discussion…THEN GO AWAY.

Posted by: RGF at May 8, 2006 1:07 PM
Comment #146223

I was referring to Allende’s slow mo revolution, which was moving in the Cuban direction. The Cuban revolution certainly killed and displaced more than Chile. And that was nearly 50 years ago and the bad guys are still in power and oppressing people. Meanwhile Pinochet came and went and Chile is now a democracy with a thriving economy. Pinocet left. Can we convince Castro to do the same?

It is much harder to recover from the disease of commmunism.

Posted by: Jack at May 8, 2006 1:18 PM
Comment #146225

David

It is still about individual redemption. Jesus always denied a kingdom of this world and had no program of worldly power. He also famous said, render onto Caesar…

It is possible to follow Jesus’ words very well w/o reference to any system of government.

When he talked about throwing the first stone, he appealed to people. He didn’t set up a coercive state to make them do anything.

As I said, I think Betty mistakes goodness and generousity as practiced by individuals for a politcal system that historically has not produced very much of either.

Posted by: Jack at May 8, 2006 1:24 PM
Comment #146233

Jack, mr castro, i think he will be eighty this august. anyone care to speculate on cuba after castro?

Posted by: RODNEY BROWN at May 8, 2006 2:01 PM
Comment #146239

Rodney

Yes. Castro won’t leave power until the devil drags him down to hell (figuratively or literally depending on your religious beliefs)

My guess is the revolution won’t survive long after the toothless old caudillo leaves, but we will be cleaning up the mess for the next 10-15 years. Communism leaves scars, as in E. Europe, but Cuba will become once again the Jewel of the Antillies.

Posted by: Jack at May 8, 2006 2:25 PM
Comment #146241

Jack,

I still don’t know what you are talking about with respect to Chile. Allende was ELECTED. What slo mo revolution?

Posted by: RGF at May 8, 2006 2:27 PM
Comment #146243

Cuba will be RIPE RIPE RIPE for investment. New buisiness oportunities, cheap land and labor, a people who already yearn for American products…
The only reason they aren’t there now has less to do with Castro and more to do with our embargo. The embargo will be gone after Castro anyway. I’ll be looking for opportunities to invest in Cuba when that time comes. It would be foolish not to.

Posted by: RGF at May 8, 2006 2:36 PM
Comment #146301

RGF

He was elected by a plurality of the electorate. Not to make the obvious comparison, but by about the same percetage as Hitler. He was consolidating his power and defying the courts and the constitution. His followers were taking the reins of power as dictators do, as Hitler did in Germany or as the Communists did in Czechoslovakia. Left alone, it is likely he would have established a communist state. Communism, like herpes, is forever or at least very hard to cure.

I agree that Cuba will be ripe, but as you may know, I spend 8 years in E. Europe. It was also ripe and is a good investment, but the collosal mess communism leaves is hard to clean up. It is not enough merely to make investments. They will have to reestablish rule of law, put stock & business regulations in place, resolve property rights issues, build infrastructure, clean up the environment, retrain workers etc. It will take a while. It will be very interesting, but not so easy as we think.

Posted by: Jack at May 8, 2006 5:11 PM
Comment #146319

Hmmmm….sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Posted by: RGF at May 8, 2006 6:15 PM
Comment #146330

…But actually Jack the moves he was making to try and concentrate ownership of certain interests that had been owned or partnered with American interests. The problems with the courts had to do with attempts to block those moves. The reason for the moves is very complex and has to do with Allende seeing American invovement in Chile as being corrupting and abusive of the Chilean people. Whose side is right? We will never know, but when laws are subjugated to armed force or corrupt undue influence, we ALL move a little closer to anarchy.

Posted by: RGF at May 8, 2006 7:01 PM
Comment #146360

Paul

What would Ireland be today if it had perused policies like Chavez or Morales and attacked foreign investment instead of welcoming it? Ireland could rightly claim to have been colonized and exploited and in much more recent history than Bolivia or Venezuela. These sorts of policies sustain poverty, despite the rhetoric.

Posted by: Jack at May 8, 2006 09:07 AM

Jack, I have to say that your arguement is just a little bit disingenuous. The prelude to US investment in Ireland was massive investment by the Government in free education at second level in the 1960’s. Of course we had free primary education long before that. About ten years ago, university fees were abolished. Ireland has by its education policies throughout the history of the state sought to educate its people within the financial resources available. The point being that there was always state investment in education. And Ireland was never as poor as many of the south american countries, nor even had poverty to the degree found commonly in south america. Through education Ireland has moved up the value chain to participate in the global economy, as we never had very much in the way of the natural resources with which latin america is well endowed. It was these very natural resources that the US coveted and plundered by way of proxy indigenous regimes.

What these countries are crying out for in investment in education and infrastructure so that they too can participate in the global economy successfully. The regimes which have up till recently danced to america’s tune simply maintained a tiny but wealthy elite at huge cost to the bulk of the populations. I don’t know any more than anyone else what history will record of Chavez, but it’s clear his people ( the majority of them ) are happy with the direction he is taking.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at May 8, 2006 8:34 PM
Comment #146408

Betty,

I’m against the death penalty, so your attempt to label THIS Christian falls flat, as usual. Jesus said “You have heard that is has been said of old, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say unto you, that if any man smite you on the one cheek, turn to him the other also.” Jesus repealed the eye for an eye law, and hey, He wrote it in the first place so He’s got the authority to change it.
The Old Testament, mainly the Torah, which you trash on a regular basis, is a guide for SOCIETY and GOVERNMENT which actually does have some socialist policies, like requiring farmers to leave certain corners of their fields unharvestsed for the poor to gather for themselves. The New Testament is a guide for the INDIVIDUAL, as Jack explained earlier. Jesus told the rich young ruler “Go and sell everything you have, and give it to the poor, and You shall have treasure in Heaven.” He didn’t go to the local governor of Galilee (Herod Antipas) and say, take all the money from all those who have it, and give it to the poor. That would not have been a generous gesture at all. If someone robs their neighbor’s house and gives the money to charity, have they truly been charitable? There is one underlying emotion running throughout the veins of socialism, ENVY. You know, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, or his wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is thy neighbor’s” and “If a man will not work, neither shall he eat.”

Posted by: Duano at May 8, 2006 11:55 PM
Comment #146414

Duano,

ENVY is the main problem with what we have going on now HERE. Socialism is merely an attempt to bring about a kind of static stability over a whole society. But look at things in the U.S.
Tort reform, for instance, on an emotional level is about not wanting to imagine some lady got a windfall for a frivolous lawsuit by spilling coffee on herself. It is only when you look into the facts you realize there is MUCH more to it than that.

ENVY is why the doctors went up in arms to blame lawyers for their run-away med mal costs when it was really the med-mal carriers who were greedily profiteering. ENVY is behind all this sillyness about immigrants these days. We have the least amount of tax burden in the whole first world, but we don’t want to imagine that anyone might be getting a free ride on us (nevermind that the hardships and losses faced daily by the new arrivals are BEYOND our imaginations). ENVY has run amok in our society. It has practically become an American value. Socialism is about median equality. where is the envy in that?

Posted by: RGF at May 9, 2006 12:16 AM
Comment #146418

Has socialism ever worked anywhere it has been tried? Why do people continue to defend something that has never worked? Look at France, for instance. Do we want crowds clamoring in the streets for more and more entitlements, all the while becoming less and less efficient workers? C’mon RGF, there is a point at which the unintended consequences of an idea poison it beyond repair, which has been the fate of socialism. Sorry it didn’t work out for you guys.

BTW, the hardships the ILLEGAL immigrants have to go through to get here is part of the reason we need to defend our borders. How many ILLEGAL immigrants have to starve in the desert before the “compassionate” liberals begin to call for border security?

Posted by: Duano at May 9, 2006 12:33 AM
Comment #146438

Craig and Duano:

Let me paraphrase Craig’s opening to me, Above:

Have [either of] you ever tried to read what Jesus was actually teaching, instead of Spinning/Ignoring it?

First of all, the comment about me “trashing the Torah on a regular basis” is pure Libel. I.e.: you have Borne False Witness against me, Duano! That’s a Big No-No; #9 on the hit list, as I recall. Demonstrate now, if you will disprove me, Even Two Posts where I have done so. If you cannot, I call you a Liar, a Scofflaw of the Laws you claim to hold sacred - and hence, a Hypocrite. Put Up, Or Shut Up, and live with your Sin. (Oh, and, by the way: you Mis-Quoted the Sermon On The Mount; you concatenated several verses together, and you didn’t even use an ellipsis […] to indicate it. There’s a Warm Spot waiting for you, my fiend…)

Secondly, David R. Remer is spot on: Christ called for the entirety of Mankind to hear his message - not the least among it Kings and Emperors. Further, his Message was one of Social Equity, Compassion, and Responsibility For One’s Fellowman. Of course, to the Pro-War, Anti-Poor, Pro-Death “Penalty” so-called “Christians” of the Right, he’s just an excuse to cover their Crimes in a patina of Lip Service and a means to allow them to feel better about themselves whilst committing them.

Third, *AWESOME*, RGF: Well Said!

Posted by: Betty Burke at May 9, 2006 6:08 AM
Comment #146533

Duano,

It amazes me how many blogs are cycling back to the immigration issue. So let’s go BACK OVER a few things I have blogged about in the past:

We have quota system for the number of visas we allow in to our country. This visa system is based on the country of origin and it’s purpose is to not swamp us with us people from countries who’s standard of living is not on a par with ours. The vast majority of Mexico is not on a par with us.

The real engine driving the large numbers of immigrants coming here is the disparity between our two standards of living. The one’s coming here are trying to do better than spend their lives wondering whether they can manage to feed themselves and their families on a day-to-day basis. Maybe they shouldn’t have families, I can almost hear you thinking…now your talking some kind of economic eugenics.

Let’s address the disparity that is at the heart of the problem: We have, for many, many generations, actually profitied from deepening the disparity between our two standards of living. WE have a labor market both on this side of the border and on that side that is, essentially, serving the American economy…or more noteably, influential elements of the American economy. As a result, NOBODY IS GOING TO DO ANYTHING TO STOP IT. The GOP is VERY significantly backed by many astonishingly large and influential corporate interests who do NOT want any real change in the disparity or the patterns of either legel or illegal immigration arriving here. That’s a fact. I have first hand knowledge of this. I have dropped a couple of names about this in the past, but I don’t feel comfortable about it and I’m no conspiracy theorist moron, I assure you. This issue is being drummed up as an effort to motivate the vote for this November. I hope it backfires!

Now for some REALITY: Since it is the disparity that is driving the immigration in the first place, they (new arrivals) are not going away until Mexico’s standard of living is closer to our own. WE don’t have to get them there, They can do it on their own. They are already doing just that. The middle class in Mexico is growing. Europe is investing in Mexico now and so are the Chinese who just bought out Mexico’s cement production for the next couple of years to use in new building programs going on in China. The most effective and neighborly thing we can do is to just let them without continuing to take advantage of them. For instance, the single largest contributing factor to poverty, corruption and chaos in Mexico is the drug traffic. Well, their wouldn’t this problem if it were not for the profit available to the drug trafficers by selling their poison on our market! We have had over 25 years of the WAR ON DRUGS…and demand has gone up, deaths have gone up, our expenses have gone up, corruption in the border towns on both sides has grown worse and their are more drugs on our side of the border than ever before. I hate drugs, but maybe its time to decriminalize them and take the profit motive out of the equation.

addendum: Duano, you and others keep mentioning the fact that we are talking about the undocumented, who are essentially, ILLEGAL. Law is very important to me as you know if you read my contributions, but in this case, we have law with ill purpose. An immense amount of evil and corruption will dissipate when Mexico joins us in the first world nations. No fence, increase in enforcement pesonnel, tougher law or expenditure of money will solve a problem that is driven by this level of economic disparity between the average life available here, versus abject life threatening poverty there. The Haitians and Cubans are swimming, rafting and floating to get here. Mexico will be no different if they can no longer get here over land. Meanwhile, those of you who are getting all revved up over this issue are the point that there will be no significant change regardless of party in power and those who are getting you all revved up are manipulating you for your vote in November. THINK, Duano. Don’t join the ranks of the COWS walking submissively to the milking parlour! You’re better than that. Putting a salient argument together here, proves it.

Consider this: In light of the corporate interests profitting from the status quo…
In light of the expenses you are talking about with respect to expenses to taxpayers…
In light of the fact that nothing more than stop-gap temporary and inneffectual change is even beign discussed…
Who do you think is REALLY profitting from the expense to YOU, in taxes: The undocumented who are merely trying to find a better life?
…or those who taking advantage of the continued disparity and even supporting the political campaigns of those people trying to whip us all into a frenzy?

RGF

Posted by: RGF at May 9, 2006 1:47 PM
Comment #146546

Paul

Those countries should invest in education. No problem with that. While they are at it they should invest in infrastructure. These are local decisions that can be made by local officials. What they should not do is nationalize and discourage investment.

You don’t give Ireland enough credit. Sure by 1960, you were not that poor, but income per capita (I bet, I have not check) was lower than Venezuela. These are NOT poor countries. They are just poorly managed. Well maybe Bolivia is a poor country, but if it was run correctly it need not be.

Posted by: Jack at May 9, 2006 2:38 PM
Comment #146557

Jack,

You are right about South America when you say they are poorly managed countries. Columbia has the ability to build enough hydro-electric dams to produce enough power to run this whole hemishpere. But there environmental issues associated with that. They could produce more than enough for their own needs with only minimal impact. But human beings are like water and electricity, we seek the path of least resistence. Most of the latin America suffers from drug funded corruption at every level. As long as such a path to easy wealth remains, nothing will change.

RGF

Posted by: RGF at May 9, 2006 2:57 PM
Comment #146707

Betty,

In your self righteous rage, you must have missed the very first sentence in my post to you, so let me make it perfectly clear. I AM AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY. That goes for both convicted murderers about whom you care so much, and for the innocent unborn children in whose slaughter so many on your side rejoice. And I’m not a Catholic. I am a non-denominational evangelical Christian, which is why I oppose putting people to death. There is forgiveness for everyone, just look at the Apostle Paul. I have prayed for you, Betty, and will continue to do so. Selah. :O)

RGF,
You don’t have to work too hard to convince me that the GOP have taken advantage of the illegal immigrants. Everyone knows that the Dems want the votes, and the Reps want the cheap labor. I think Dubya has been an utter failure in this area, among others, and I don’t defend either party on this issue. I’ve been “whipped into a frenzy” on this issue since long before it became everyone’s favorite hot-button. Oh, yeah and it was you who brought it up, not me.

Posted by: Duano at May 9, 2006 11:21 PM
Comment #146759

And BTW Betty,
I’ve been meaning to clear up a dispute we had in the past. Jesus’ Aramaic name was Yeshua Ha Nozri I had the word for “of place” confused with the AraBIC version(Saddam Hussein AL Tikriti), but the “Nozri” is accurate. If you’re going for the Greek, it’s Ieshus Nazareth. They didn’t use a word for “of place” in Greek or Latin. “Of” is a purely English word. “Yeshua Ha Nozri” literally translates “Jesus of place Nazareth” Just for kicks, “Give us this day our daily bread” translated literally from the Aramaic is “Bread for day next give us on day this.” Meaning give us bread today to strengthen us for tomorrow. That’s why I like to stick with English. Ciao!!

Posted by: Duano at May 10, 2006 6:17 AM
Comment #147139

duano, pensamento,que justo do duano,voce gostaria de saber que jesus no portugues o agradece,, marrom do Rodney. btw, Duano, dacht enkel u geinteresserd zou kunnen zijn weten jesus in het nedarlands u dankt, bruine Rodney. oh btw, mijn moder was sephardic, joods.

Posted by: RODNEY BROWN at May 11, 2006 1:43 AM
Comment #147431

Duano:

1.) STOP TRYING (uselessly) TO DODGE MY CHALLENGE TO YOUR LIES.

First of all, the comment about me “trashing the Torah on a regular basis” is pure Libel. I.e.: you have Borne False Witness against me, Duano! That’s a Big No-No; #9 on the hit list, as I recall. Demonstrate now, if you will disprove me, Even Two Posts where I have done so. If you cannot, I call you a Liar, a Scofflaw of the Laws you claim to hold sacred - and hence, a Hypocrite. Put Up, Or Shut Up, and live with your Sin.

Like a lying child caught with his hand in a Cookie Jar, you keep disclaiming, “But I didn’t break that Window!”

It doesn’t work: you have been called out on a LIE - and if you can lie so blatantly about one thing, what conclusion are we to draw about the rest of your statements? In any court in this land, a Jury would be formally instructed by the judge that anything you testified to may be ignored, since you have been demonstrated to have perjured yourself.

2.) Where, in any of my posts in this Topic did I use any other name for Jesus than “Jesus?” WHAT ARE YOU SMOKING? (And, can I have some of it?) ARE YOU PSYCHOTIC? DO YOU JUST MAKE UP WHAT YOU WANT TO HAVE READ, AND IGNORE WHAT IS ACTUALLY WRITTEN? Like you do with what the philosopher Jesus actually taught? Obviously, you do. So:

3.) Either disprove me, by showing a minimum of any two posts on WatchBlog where I have “trashed the [Torah/Old Testament - I’ll accept either] on a regular basis” (to justify YOUR WORDS IN THIS THREAD), or accept responsibility for having Borne False Witness Against Me, thus proving yourself a Liar (and a Hypocrite to boot).

YOU HAVE LIBELLED ME IN THIS THREAD - AND I DEMAND THAT YOU PROVE YOUR PRINTED LIE OR STAND REVEALED FOR WHAT YOU ARE.

If you do not fully retract your Libel against me in this topic (with an apology), I will name you as a Liar and a Hypocrite - and prove it - in any future topics I encounter you in. Do you really want the ignominy that comes with being shown to be a Lying Hypocrite, everytime you post here?

I’m waiting…

Posted by: Betty Burke at May 11, 2006 10:35 PM
Comment #147454

:O )

Posted by: W C Fields at May 11, 2006 11:57 PM
Comment #147714

And - obviously - I’ll keep Waiting, because Duano has neither Truth, nor Honour, nor Right on his side. He makes unsubstantiated Charges and then, when called upon to prove them (which he could easily do, if they were True), he not only fails to do so, but runs for Cover as well, hiding, in the hopes it will Just Go Away.

It won’t Go Away, Duano: I am going to be all over you like a Red, Raw, Irish Rash

:o)


Be seeing you!

Posted by: Betty Burke at May 12, 2006 4:54 PM
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