chimerical reactions

If the Terri Schiavo imbroglio did nothing else it should at least convince people that bioethics is not so abstract and distant after all. While the subject is deservedly associated with academic ivory towers, it is still amazing to me how little concern there is over the looming ethical train-wreck. From experience, I know with certainty that mentioning bioethics is the surest way to drive a house (or blog) guest to call it an early night.

I suppose that I must hazard that risk one more time.

This is a hazard worth bearing because science is moving us very far and very fast. If you are a regular reader and followed the links in my post entitled i, heretic, you probably already have an inkling of the profound issues being raised by current and imminent biological research. If you have not personally delved into bioethics or the very latest on what is happening in biology, you owe it to your kids to do so now.

Science fiction stories have nothing on the current experimental projects that can be found on our nation’s lab benches.

If you doubt the urgency of my plea, here is a short AP news story that might get your attention. While it is a continuing challenge to write about this stuff without striking a hyperbolic tone, frankly, if you can pass over the patent application for a humanzee with a wave of your hand, perhaps you have spent a bit too much time Tivoing sitcoms.

Though it may be offensive to our mass media induced instinct to classify and simply, some problems just will not succumb to that effort. I wish I could tell you that I can offer an easy solution to these pressing issues.

I certainly think that the definition of life that I have previously offered rooting humanness and life in the human genome is a starting place, but surely no more than that. Even if we have a sudden infusion of caution and prudence in such matters and pause this kind of research until our ethics, law and society catch up, there will still be those creations that get made by those unscrupulous souls that will inevitably place themselves above or beyond the law.

It would be comforting if I believed that our legal system is fundamentally robust and able to adapt easily to new developments. But the inadequacy of our law to deal with the issues was profoundly demonstrated by the fact that the humanzee patent application was denied on the basis of constitutional prohibitions against slavery. Yes, slavery. It is somewhat chilling that our legal system’s first response was to protect new life forms with the same tools as they would a human being.

The social and intellectual carnage that will be caused when an illegally created humanzee, or some other being resulting from a chimera project yet to be named, falls ill and seeks a human organ transplant makes me shudder in fear.

But there is little doubt that we will choose to continue to ignore our legal predicament regarding a definition of life though the price we will pay for the convenience of procrastination is clear enough. One only has to consider the Terri Schiavo circus to appreciate where we are headed if we fail to act proactively.

Honestly friends, do we really want that cast of characters haunting our lives indefinitely?

I didn’t think so.

But regardless of what thoughtful Americans might desire, I would recommend your girding your mind. Avoiding the national haunt would require leadership and will. Those who pass for leaders in America today are unfortunately politicians first and have much to gain by letting mere disagreements fester into crises. Until we are sufficiently aroused to collectively call bull-feathers on the usual suspects, we will continue to get what we voted for: a slick and well produced reality show.

This time the reality show affects the world in which our children will live in fundamentally different ways than we have never before even imagined.

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396 thoughts on “chimerical reactions”

  1. Randy, the PREZ did come through on this part. I don’t think we need to worry about a double cross and no signitures. The President would do more too, I believe, but he has a Congress checking him every step of the way. That’s why it’s important for everyone to fax their Senators and Reps. when it comes to supporting anything we agree the President should do….. he can have initiatives…. but Congress have to fund them………

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  2. My stepdad goes hunting all the time, he has a lease somewhere in Texas, and goes on trips to New Mexico, Colorado, etc. I’ve actually been wanting to go along with him for ages. Aside from sport, it seems more respectful to the animal you are eating to kill it yourself rather than let him get sledgehamered in an assembly line. Plus the meat is leaner, isn’t injected with all kinds of growth hormones, etc. “Seems like that could lead to the first set up for psycho killers of the future.”-Definitely. Mix online-hunting in with a little bit heavy hetal, and some abusive parents… that’s the scary thought….

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  3. I can only speak of what I know, hunting has become just that “a sport” and for few that can afford hunting “specially in places like Texas” it is no longer a necessity. I can buy a large steer of two years and have it butchered for less than it costs for me to go hunting. As I mentioned earlier my family is from the Mass. Maine area, and the family has land in Maine used for vacation and summer living for those that are retired. On this property there is a lot of hunting, deer, ducks, quail pheasant, fishing. It is not out of necessity, but it is used to supplement food stores and all animals are used to their best ability, and taken humanely, if that can be said for killing an animal. However, and this is where I speak of only what I know. Most people that I know do it soley for the sport and mounts.I think make a wish is a great deal also. The program I watched had just what you are speaking off. Young man, avid hunter, accident, parylized, probably won’t see another two years. This was his last go round. And I do not have a problem with this type of regulated “last wish”. i agree that the last thing we need is $25,000 gun sets, set up everywhere for the lazy of lazy to go hunting for nothing and no reason other than to kill. Seems like that could lead to the first set up for psycho killers of the future.

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  4. Randy P: <>I think there are people out there that deserve for like “make a wish” to go one more time, and if that is from the wheel chair or bed, using a mouth controlled mouse to aim with all the better for someone that wants to do what they love.<>Make-A-Wish is a wonderful program. They really do make “wishes” come true. I am suspect of the “experience” a tongue jiggle could offer. However, my children have never lost vast amounts of ability in an area important to them like hunting. We have, though, overcome difficulties in our own pursuits of hunting, just not of that magnitude.<>For most hunting has become a caulous sport and is not nearly what it used to be.<>I am not quite sure what you mean. I do know that “hunting” is used to describe, not only traditional hunting of po’ folk like me seeking meat and an antler or two, but also the well off flitting about from guided safari to guided safari, poaching, and what we call “slob hunters” who shoot everything in sight without respect for game or laws. Given the predominant disconnect most folks have with hunting, the last thing our sport needs is a “virtual” blemish among the general populace.Prof Ricardo

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  5. < HREF="http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20050607/wl_uk_afp/usbritaing8bushblair_050607215402" REL="nofollow"> Bush is Listening <>Bush said … “that highly indebted developing countries that are on the path to reform should not be burdened by mountains of debt.Our countries (UK and USA) are developing a proposal for the G-8 that will eliminate 100 percent of that debt,” the US president said.”Looks like the President just might prove to a whole lot of people that they were wrong about him.

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  6. And that would be some of the difficulty in determining whether or not this is a viable option. I think there are people out there that deserve for like “make a wish” to go one more time, and if that is from the wheel chair or bed, using a mouth controled mouse to aim with all the better for someone that wants to do what they love. For most hunting has become a caulous sport and is not nearly what it used to be. My family are still avid hunters and they use all useful parts of the animal for food and other sundry items. As with all things there are benefits and there are bad points.

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  7. Prof.,I completely agree with you, but try telling that to a redneck in a wheelchair who can’t go hunting anymore. It’s not even worth wasting energy on.Now if it gets to the point where sadistic little teenage brats are sitting around their living rooms clicking the mouse and killing animals hundreds of miles away, we’ve got some serious problems on our hands.

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  8. Bye-oh-ethics. Our relation to other species via hunting on the Internet is curious. Although I am for freedom at nearly every turn, internet hunting is a disrespectful way to harvest game. Unsportsmanlike. We develop rules o f the game. Hunt dove with shotguns, not rifles or pistols, Deer must be shot with a certain caliber rifle, and those sorts of rules are for the humane taking of game animals and the sportsmanship. Internet hunting converts a real experience to a virtual experience. Sure the game is dead in the end, but the same can be said for road kill. The point of hunting is the experience and the meat, not the distant, sanitary (sedentary?) low resolution, disconnectedness that a monitor, keyboard and mouse provide.But then again, who am I telling this to and how?{BANG, BANG} Got him!Prof. Ricardo

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  9. Did anyone see PrimeTime Live with Dianne Sawyer last night (June 7)? Brad Pitt was on, both he and Dianne Sawyer toured Ethiopia and South African communities and talked about the ONE Campaign quite extensively. It was awesome. I taped it. (In case anyone wants to see it).Stilldream, the wristband is doing something for “them”. It’s a little prayer you say every time you put it on… Cool to know you found out about it on your own…

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  10. WOW—384 comments on the original post? Here, I’ve been waiting patiently for Tony to offer up a new nugget, and finally decided I must have missed the signal email. Lo and behold, his blog’s been hijacked! The party’s been raging and I missed it. It will take a week to savor all the good stuff here. Tony? Yo! Jump back in!Well Yoshi, glad to see I wasn’t the only one doing the ONE wristbands. Yes, you cynics, I know that smugly wearing the band probably does more for me than “them.” But still, I really like World Vision and while maybe they’re lightweights compared to the mega-GNP countries, they make a difference. Concerning the Bill Gates of the world–well, to most of the world, we’re ALL Bill Gates. For an interesting look, go < HREF="http://www.globalrichlist.com" REL="nofollow">here<> Sure made me feel better, even inclined to be more generous than usual. Seriously, though. When Jesus fed the 5000, he didn’t ask the disciples to gather 5000 fish. He did the miracle using the tiny fraction that they were able to provide. Perhaps that is what is expected of us—to do all we can, and leave the end result to Him.

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  11. “You can not make the correlation to the awe that was felt in Europe and the humility that was felt in Japan. These are different circumstances, and they will be viewed, taken differently, and we will have not control in that.”-Well, in every economy, the circumstances are different. But their are practical solutions that can be found for each. Most of Africa is ready though.Randy, 25 years ago, would you have imagined in your wildest dreams that India would be bursting into the world economy in the 1990s through high-tech information services? Tony? Would you have dreamt it? The answer is a resounding “HELL NO!!!” There is no way anyone would have guessed it. And here we are entering the age of China and India.C’mon, India has corruption and all that stuff too. But they made long term investments in higher education. 7% growth rate over 10 years will double per capita income. Poverty drops as the growth rate rises. I could go into more detail, but you get the point. If India can make it…. and they still have a long way to go still, admittedly.. well, you know where I’m going with this.“Democratic Presidents”– Yes Randy, you will be pleased to hear “democrats” are not my allies “per se.” They are usually against global trade, for protectionism of American jobs, etc. And there is a democrat Senator from Nevada (H. Reid, I think) leading the fight to stop Bush from using the IMF’s gold reserves for paying a portion of these third world debts.“The world hates us”-That’s not true at all. Where did you hear that? I’ll be in Europe June 20, and I’ll probably never once hear a negative remark about the U.S. (just let them, cause I’ve got double to say about Europe if they want to go down that road.) Maybe a few poor Muslims hate us as well as a few French idiots sitting at a cafe somewhere discussing things they know nothing about, but that’s not “the whole world.”“No one, seems even including you, is doing it for the right reason. They are doing it to make their mark or legacy on history… this is wrong and will lead to failure”Did you visit the World Vision link I posted above? Are they doing it for the wrong reason? Is Brad Pitt (he talked about it on PrimeTime last night)doing it for the wrong reason? Is Jeffrey Sachs, Bob Geldolf, and Tony Blair doing it for the wrong reasons? I don’t think so. I think they’ve seen some of these problems firsthand and truly care. How could they not?What’s your reason? Don’t you really care? I think Tony cares. There are plenty of people who care for the right reasons, trust me. We human beings need meaning in our lives. That doesn’t mean it’s selfish or “not for God.”Don’t be so cynical and negative. As my grandmother might say, “it comes from the devil.” As for me, you pose a philosophical question. What are my reasons? It’s true, somedays, I don’t care at all, or about anything for that matter. This happens less and less though. Most days though I am sensitive and care a lot. I certainly care about people who need help around here in my own community, I sacrifice much of my personal time to people who need me to be around. Believe me, it’s a thankless job, and sometimes I hate the fact that I’m often the only one able to do it. I could be much more productive if I just focused on my own needs, but as they say in the military, I never leave a man behind.Now truly it is harder to care about people you can’t see who live across the ocean. But I have been to townships in South Africa. I have a little understanding at least, I’ve seen quite a few homeless orphans sleeping in the street and huffing glue to stay warm at night. There was one really cute kid who wore the same blue sweater everyday I saw him, way too big for him, and his face was always dirty. Some of them I gave my Coke bottle for a deposit back and it was a really big deal for them. It’s touching, really. What I would like to do is somehow bring these people over there to the attention of us people over here. Who is our neighbor now in 2005? I do care for the right reasons. I want to be like a medievil knight for God. It’s a romantic, silly notion, I know. Ultimately, it is for God’s glory. And I always prayed, “put the road in front of me, and I’ll walk down it.” And here I am. Now I know what a vocation feels like. There are other reasons too. I also want to be a part of something big. I want to be “ONE” with the rest of humanity, make a connection with people all around the world, be in solidarity. It’s an awesome feeling. It’s like a post-modern revolution we get to be in.The big question for me is what am I going to do with my life, how do I leave this world with a credit and not a debit? We can’t take anything with us from this life, but we can leave something behind. And I intend to do that.There is a person dying of extreme poverty every 3 seconds, usually a child. We are at a historic point in history; we’ve the money, the technology, the ideas, to make this happen. But do we have the WILL? We can be the generation that starts to make extreme, stupid poverty history. We can change the lives of a billion people. There is not one more noble cause than this. Can you think of one?Or should we rather sit around and worry about what the democrats and Chelsea Clinton are doing?

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  12. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. — Galatians 6:14 (KJV)For you reference, do with it as you see fit

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  13. God, to redeem us at the deepest portion of our nature — the urge to love and be loved—must reveal His nature in an incredible and impossible way. He must reveal it at a cross. At the cross God wrapped his heart in flesh and blood and let it be nailed to the cross for our redemption. … E. Stanley Jones (1884-1973)I am not saying don’t go for it, but you should approach it a little different, IMO

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  14. Ya know you make a lot of references to the Marshell plan and Europe and Japan… Different time and circumstances, we had just bailed out Europe and we had just kick Japan’s but. ‘nough said. You can not make the correlation to the awe that was felt in Europe and the humility that was felt in Japan. These are different circumstances, and they will be viewed, taken differently, and we will have not control in that. We have gone through so many appeasing Democratic Presidents, the wowrld hates us, and this will be different. No one, seems even including you, is doing it for the right reason. They are doing it to make their mark or legacy on history… this is wrong and will lead to failure

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  15. Yoshi,The clip I saw on TV this weekend had to do with somebody that was a young avid hunter, and became paralyzed, so this was like his last meal for the condemned. I think it is pretty interesting, and I see the Parks and Wildlife point of view also. They think that it should be banned because there is not way to control the licensing for it. Who gets the tags, the guy setting up the rifle, or the internet hunter in…say Japan?The Marshall plan is a great peace a work, I think the problem with it this time around will be that we can not condition the monetary help to be purchased from the U.S., even the money that we give. The UN will muck it all up and not allow a requirement to do as the Marshall plan puts it and help those that are helping. I wonder how it would work though, it is hard to imagine that everyone can get together and make something good come out of this. There are a lot of “ifs” in what you are saying, and you even point them out yourself. I think though that this is a slippery slope and we should be cautious about the situation. This can go very wrong quickly. And with the possibility of the UN involved, I think the risk is greater. So are you telling me that the word on the street is that the frame work would be the Marshall plan?“-I’m without a doubt one of the most intelligent, insightful, moral people I know, Vis a Vis everyone else I meet. I’m certainly not a fool, but most I see are. I’m going to put everything I have into this. And others are joining me. And if the U.S. keeps its promise, if we do this right and not tie it to a bunch of pork-barreling waste and all that, this will work. It has before during the Marshall Plan and Japanese reconstruction, and it will now.”Now you are just trying to scare me. I am glad you are so involved, but really. You need to think a little less of yourself and bring a little humility into the fold.“Of course he wills it. I’ve no doubt in my mind about that.”Well I hate to say this, but you should have doubt, just because you think that what you are doing is “so” moral that it has to be His will and His plan, you might find that you will be sadly mistaken. His will and thoughts do not work like ours, we are founded on the earth and see tings through what we believe to be pain and suffering, when in fact this pain and suffering are just his gentle way of “polishing” us off for a better purpose. I am not saying that I am right and you are wrong, I am just saying be careful what you wish for…you may get it

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  16. By the way, if Prof, Randy, Common Good, Tony, or anyone else wants, I’ve the white bands I can send them, free of charge. Send me a private message and I’ll make sure you all get one for anyone you know…. it’s free…. it’s not about the money…“Wear the white band and show your support for the ONE Campaign and the fight against global AIDS and poverty. Worn by teachers, doctors, and homemakers, the white bands are part of a global effort to make poverty history.”

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  17. Ban on internet-hunting. Well, it’s kind of silly to me, but… why not… if you are going to kill it anyway in person? The Net Result is the same, so let them do it….Now, to answer your big question…. I agree about private property, I was just pointing out that as “hard-core” christians, such as Franciscan Friars, Mother Teresa’s nuns and such, they own nothing. The problem is though that Bill Gates can help a lot more people than these “Christians” in the end. So I think there is still a need for someone to be Bill Gates.“The problem is you are trying to get money for a non-religious organization that will not appropriately use the money well and to its best fruition, IMO.”-Religious organizations can’t build highways, can they? That’s what we need. That’s public sector spending. Churches have been there and have a role, but can’t tackle this on their own.“I think the mission can do more with the $15 than the IMF or World Bank could do with billions.” – This isn’t “World Bank and IMF” spending alone, they have simply one role of many, and besides, churches, nuns’ orphanages, Christian organizations would still run all kinds of programs that would certainly be eligible for these grants. In fact, that’s one of the criticisms of the < HREF="http://www.theglobalfund.org/en/faq/" REL="nofollow"> Global Fund to Fight AIDS,TB, and Malaria <> is that religious groups qualify for funds to scale up their successful programs, but as a “Christian” organization they can leave out condoms, homosexuals, etc. and possibly exclude people. They still get money regardless. Personally, I met a bunch of evangelists last weekend downtown, and I knew a bunch of missionaries in Prague, and let me say this as clearly as possible: “I DO NOT WANT MY MONEY GOING TO THEM. I DO NOT TRUST THEM. THEY ARE FRUITCAKES OF THE HIGHEST ORDER. I TRUST GEORGE W. BUSH MUCH MORE. I TRUST MY GOVERNMENT MUCH MORE.” At least the government has oversight. At least we can check on them, get reports on their progress. They are accountable if we moniter them. Let’s face it, 99.9991% of all decentralised Protestant Christians are just nutty. One “pastor” last weekend told me if you drink silver in water it cures everything, but the “govt. doesn’t want us to know.” Uh-huh, yea, right. Looney. And the scary thing is…. this guy has a mission in AFRICA!!!! C.S. Lewis is dead, and Tony is busy with his own life, so it’s up to the government. We don’t need “missions,” we need the world’s best trained-development economists,health experts, and the like, who will come from the World Bank, U.N., Harvard, etc. They have the experience needed for the job.The churches and missions also cannot change the unfair trade rules, the subsidies, the tariffs, etc. They cannot provide the infrastructure to entice foreign investors. They cannot drop the debts. The church has a different role to play. (Actually, it’s faith-based groups like < HREF="http://www.worldvision.org/" REL="nofollow"> World Vision <> that created the ONE Campaign and the Drop the Debt campaigns to begin with.) The church should be out there lobbying for these changes. Many are, and should be credited. Even Pat Robertson of the 700 Club supports the ONE Campaign, and Micheal W. Smith (the Christian singer) wrote a song for it and helped launch the campaign in Philadelphia.“These countries won’t change; the people will always be people and will squander this gift to them.That is my problem with this whole situation.”– Did Europe squander the Marshall Plan? Did Japan squander the benefits when we rebuilt it after WW2 and the place looked like a parking lot? Will Iraq and Afghanistan? These countries that would qualify for development assistance aren’t really as corrupt as you think they are. That’s just a misconceived stereotype, they said the same about Japan 100 years ago. When adjusted for income, most of these countries are not much more corrupt than we are. Only in a few of these countries’ poverty can be blamed on internal leadership, notably ZIMBABWE. And this country would probably only be helped through the “mission” you endorse.America is rich b/c of geographical and historical good luck. Africa is poor b/c of geographical and historical bad luck.“Should we help a country that once helped could turn to anarchy and communistic control? Should we take that chance? -If we don’t help these regions, they undoubtedly will turn to anarchy. THAT’S THE CHANCE WE CAN’T TAKE. Remember Somalia, Afghanistan? They became/ still are terrorist hornet’s nests.The question isn’t “can we afford to do it?” The question is “can we afford NOT to do it?”“And then the UN will get involved and really mess it up, they are so wishy washy.”-It needs to be strengthened/ improved. The U.N. is the Security Council, which means us. The Oil-for-Food stuff was just as much our fault as anyone’s. I think the U.N. has a lot of good agencies, UNICEF, UNHCR, WHO, etc. I mean, just because the U.S. couldn’t get the other countries on the Security Council to agree on a rushed war in Iraq doesn’t say much to me. In fact, more than half the USA, couldn’t even be convinced…. so why should have the Security Council? “I guarantee that no matter what the help is, won’t be enough, or it will not be in the right way.”-Well, go ask the Europeans after the Marshall Plan, go to Uganda and see what debt relief has done, go to South Africa and see what anti-retrovirals have done for those few lucky enough to receive them. < HREF="http://www.data.org/whyafrica/whatworks/" REL="nofollow">. What Works <>And this is a multi-lateral effort. Europe, Japan, Canada, etc….. all agree to meet this target of .7%, or 7 cents of every ten dollars.“Generations to come will look back on this and say it was just a foolish idea by foolish people.”-I’m without a doubt one of the most intelligent, insightful, moral people I know, vis a vis everyone else I meet. I’m certainly not a fool, but most I see are. I’m going to put everything I have into this. And others are joining me. And if the U.S. keeps it’s promise, if we do this right and not tie it to a bunch of pork-barrelling waste and all that, this will work. It has before during the Marshall Plan and Japanese reconstruction, and it will now. “‘I made them poor and destitute for a reason’. I am not putting words in His mouth, just saying that no matter what we do, if it is not in His will it will not be done right. No matter how well intentioned we are.”-Of course he wills it. I’ve no doubt in my mind about that. “Take this cityA city should be shining on a hillTake this cityIf it be Your will.”

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  18. I have found (to my regret) that the degrees of shame and disgust which I actually feel at my own sins do not at all correspond to what my reason tells me about their comparative gravity. Just as the degree to which, in daily life, I feel the emotion of fear has very little to do with my rational judgment of the danger. I’d sooner have really nasty seas when I’m in an open boat than look down in perfect (actual) safety from the edge of a cliff. Similarly, I have confessed ghastly uncharities with less reluctance than small unmentionables — or those sins which happen to be ungentlemanly as well as unchristian. Our emotional reactions to our own behavior are of limited ethical significance. … C. S. LewisTony,Just put a wheat beer in a clarifier, I think it will be a good one. If you don’t get on a batch quick you are going to have to change you “dedicated homebrewer” quote

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  19. Yoshi,James is a great book, one I find very honest, (not that the rest are not) in a time when everyone is pushing the “grace” and “love” of God, and down play the need for works to show your faith. I agree with you that faith without works is dead, which at the moment puts me pretty dead in my life…but I am working on that. And as the Prof pointed out, Jesus’ disciples had possessions, as you can say there are not many comments that talk about them, there are also few comments, and only in certain cases did a disciple leave everything behind. It could be argued, however poorly, that even Peter the Fisherman left behind everything, but there are references to Peter’s boat in later verses, and the fishing nets. So his disciples had possessions, maybe some gave up all to follow Christ, but I think the point was, as made to the wealthy man, if your possessions possess you than you must leave them to follow Christ. If not you should use what you have and everything you do should lift up the name of the Lord. In this we all fall short of the glory, would you not agree.The problem is you are trying to get money for a non-religious organization that will not appropriately use the money well and to its best fruition, IMO. I think the mission can do more with the $15 than the IMF or World Bank could do with billions. These countries won’t change; the people will always be people and will squander this gift to them. That is my problem with this whole situation. Should we help a country that once helped could turn to anarchy and communistic control? Should we take that chance? We have helped so many countries that have gone south fast after our help, most of the Middle East and South America to start with. This is why I mentioned earlier that they will have to understand with this help of monetary funds will come other help they may not want. And then the UN will get involved and really mess it up, they are so wishy washy. Sorry Mambee, Pambee. I signed on to the petition, I agree that we should offer help, but I guarantee that no matter what the help is, won’t be enough, or it will not be in the right way. Generations to come will look back on this and say it was just a foolish idea by foolish people. Me, I don’t give a rip about money, I have had none, and I have had plenty. The only reason I make what I make now, is so that my wife will be comfortable. Although I would say I am getting used to the comfort my self, a little. I am also a little inclined to foolish endeavors, because it really shows the Sovereignty of the Lord. He can take it and make wonderful with it, or he can shot it down and show us how foolish we are, as if to say…”I made them poor and destitute for a reason”. I am not putting words in His mouth, just saying that no matter what we do, if it is not in His will it will not be done right. No matter how well intentioned we are.Anyone hear about the possible ban on inter-net hunting this weekend, curious about what y’all think?

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  20. Prof.I feel like I was looking for my keys and they were sitting on the table in front of me the whole time. You have a point.But using possessive pronouns like “his” doesn’t really mean ownership. I say “my house” all the time, and don’t own one. In Israel though the land is all leased. They don’t want the one group of people that look just like the other group of people (that they think are different b/c they’ve yet to look in the mirror) to buy their land. I guess they think the land belongs to God. Kind of makes a little sense though, since He created it.Obviously people own stuff in the Bible. And obviously we have to have private “personal” property at least. (I own my books and want no one touching them 😉But Jesus also seems to say unless you can figure out how to get a camel’s big butt through the eye of a needle, you have to give it away. (Of course, I still plan on getting rich myself). Andrew Carnegie said something like “dying rich is a disgrace.” I think that’s what Jesus was trying to say, in a nut shell.

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  21. Yoshi, “<>BTW, Prof.- I was reading the Gospels again. And as I did, I was noticing that none of Jesus’ apostles had any private property, nor did Jesus. Strange example he left for us huh?<>” I suppose you could identify private property as real property, personal property, and financial property. Obviously in a roaming ministry where Jesus and the disciples sojourned they were not buying up real estate everywhere they went. So the very nature of their mission would not lend itself to proving private real estate property. You did miss Matt. 8:14, “when Jesus had come into <>Peter’s house,…<>” Additionally, we do have His teachings on real estate. “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in <>his<> field;” Matt 13:24 and many other like teachings. I have a plethora of verses if you wish. Do not steal, covet, old testament laws on stealing and restoring your neighbors property like livestock, etc. Even servants were “owned” for a period of time. I could quote you New Testament scripture on real estate (house, field), personal property (clothes, food, boats, swords, livestock, sheep, donkey), and financial property, hard money (gold, silver, denaris, talents), but I will leave it up to you to search our the matter. If Jesus example was meant to be having no private property, He would be quite the contradiction from his teachings and Old Testament teachings. Thankfully, He is not contradicting Himself.Prof. Ricardo

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  22. Randy, check out this passage: James 2:14- 26We can help the poor, send 15 bucks a month to the missionary, throw a penny in the black hole, and pat ourselves on the back. Or, we can take the bull by the horns, and actually make a real difference, help people in HIGH VOLUME. That’s the American way, the Texas way. We have to dream big and think bigger. We ought to email and call Sean Hannity and get this name on the idea.

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  23. So I believe everyone has a chance for redemption, that it’s never too late to turn around and come back to the “light side of the force.” Whatever we did as a country in the past is history. Now the Cold War is over. It’s time to make a new history. If I steal something from a poor old man, then repent later, it isn’t over there. I still have to return the stolen goods back to that old man, or at least try to help out the next poor old man that comes along. This July 2 we will see just what kind of man George W. Bush really is. The whole world is hungry for action, to do the right thing. We are all waiting for G.W. Bush to be the leader he was elected to be. Will he sell us out? We he give the poorest the “crumbs from our table?” Will he support debt relief? < HREF="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4606197.stm" REL="nofollow"> “…But the plan is facing opposition in the US – and particularly from President George W Bush” <> We will find out very soon. And then afterwards when my grandma tells me about “the conservatives” and how great they are and how they got the “democrats” last night….. I’ll either agree…. or go into the bathroom and vomit. And then I’m going brush my teeth, use some mouthwash, then go downtown and set up a petition table, pass out facts about fair trade, debt relief, and the poverty trap that 40% of the world’s population lives in and what we can do as Americans to change it. That we can give 7 pennies out of every ten dollars to change the world. That millions of lives are worth 7 cents to us. Because regardless of what a corporate sellout W. Bush will probably turn out to be next month, I refuse to lose hope and become cynical. (This is not socialism, btw. .7% of the rich world’s wealth invested in economic development isn’t socialism. 30% of our GDP is public spending already, we are hardly a completely “free market system,” and there is nothing wrong with this. The goal here is to end “Extreme Poverty (less than 1 dollar a day),” not all poverty, and still less to equalize world incomes or close the gap between the rich and the poor. The poor will still have to get rich on their own effort. The rich can help most by giving the extreme poor some assistance in pulling themselves from the poverty trap they are now ensnared in.) BTW, Prof.- I was reading the Gospels again. And as I did, I was noticing that none of Jesus’ apostles had any private property, nor did Jesus. Strange example he left for us huh? I guess he realized the futility of it all, since you can’t take it with you. Now, I believe in private property and it’s a practical way to have something to borrow against for loans, but I don’t think it’s a “God-given” right.

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  24. Yoshi,I was down there in ’86, it was rough, the people lived in horrible conditions, and most did not deserve what they got or ended up with. Maybe we did something wrong down there, I don’t know. It felt right at the time, we have to realize that when we do these things on an attempted dodwn low, we are going to get the crazies instead of the legits in office, the people trade one tyrant for another. It was rough for several years I am sure, I think though that it is worth looking into how well they are doing now. I have unfortunatly lost touch with that struggle.

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  25. “Does not sound like support to me.Sounds like sanctions.”I’ll get you some links soon. Trust me, if anything, Reagan, being a politician, cried some crocodile tears, and maybe made a few empty public gestures against it, but indeed he supported Aparthied. Not to mention thousands and thousands were killed in Central America with under his administration with our money and military training that he was sending down there. Carter did it too, surprise, surprise. And so did Nixon. We were bad people back then. El Salvodorean Archbishop Romero was even murdered (by us indirectly) while saying the Catholic Mass, preparing Holy Communion, the body and blood of Christ. Now that make me sick. And American nuns trying to help were being murdered too. I’ve read accounts of women who enter their homes to find their family members with their heads all cut off, even the toddlers, holding their heads in their hands while the bodies sat upright at tables. This was down to demoralize any “subversives,” which meant anyone basically, news editors, clergymen, labor organizers, you name it. And these paramilitaries were armed and trained by the USA. That’s satanic.I’m sure you can go to your local bookstore to the history section on Latin America. You’ll surely see tons of books written about these things. Of course, we just sweep them under our self-righteous rugs. Now all this was done in the name of fighting communism, but that doesn’t give presidents the license to kill thousands of innocent people by arming and training fascist guerillas and right wing dictators. There was no threat to us, these peasants in El Salvodor and countries like this had no connections to USSR or Cuba. No threat at all to us, except the threat of the poor pulling themselves up by their bootstraps like we always say they should. The USSR might have been an “evil empire,” but we truly have no room to talk. We were just as bad. Maybe Reagan didn’t have a choice, maybe it was all for the “greater good,” maybe it even helped end the “Cold War.” I’ll admit that. But I will never, ever, ever be PROUD of it.

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  26. It just drives me nuts all the snake oil everyone sells on his behalf and he just walks around like the golden child and really has nothing to show for it.

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  27. Everyone is going to have short comings, and i agree that Reagan was not the perfect man or president, but he did a heck of a job and got us to a great point, and I think that Clinton road most of the wave through. And please don’t misunderstand, Clinton had his good points. He made us to understand that the english language has a lot nore definitions of the word “is” than previously identified in “websters”. The problem is I see B Clinton as a used car salsesman. I think his Hilary has more of what she believes is moral cloat and honestly believes what she says

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  28. < HREF="http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/03/opinion/03fri1.html" REL="nofollow"> The Price of Gold <>Thought someone interested in learning about debt relief would be interested in this. – yoshi

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  29. Ronald Reagan also backed the Apartheid regime of South Africa. In my eyes, that basically makes him a Nazi. One of the reasons I’m not to keen on the old man.At a certain point people should be held accountable for these things, not held up high while thier shortcomings are swept under the rug.

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  30. “We took this thread to Africa where you want us to forget the debt and help stimulate economy.”I was just trying to be cool and let people talk about other things for a bit….. don’t worry, we’ll be heading back in that area soon enough…… 😉“A purely military strategy is doomed to fail”– this statement actually had as much to do with Africa as it did with Iraq. The ratio of military spending to development spending is pitiful. That’s worth repeating, pitiful. In Iraq, I agree we are doing the right thing. But those governments (Iraq/ Afghanistan) aren’t proven either (as the arguement goes for not aiding Africa), and yet Iraq/ Afghanistan are getting the aid they need. Or are supposed to be getting it.“a big conspiracy lie that the Administration told to get us to go to war over a possible assassination attempt on Bush 1.”-I even heard this from an ARMY recruiter and it just sounds utterly silly. I do think there are great reasons for fixing up Iraq,roughly the same reasons for dealing with African problems. As for criticisms dealing with Saudi Arabia, I was telling my cousin the other day that by reforming Iraq it could have a “domino effect” on Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, etc. It’s a great idea in theory, I think it’ll work….The Marshall Plan was the best investment the U.S. ever made. WW1 destroyed the globalization system we had, a depression hit worldwide as countries turned inward. We only escaped it only b/c we mobilized for war and put everyone to work. So after the war, everyone was about to get laid off, the economy was going to go back to the depression. So the USA needed markets. We had to rebuild Europe, ship them goods for reconstruction, etc. It kept us going economically. Not only that, but all of Europe would have fallen to communism under the hopeless conditions left by a war that physically and mentally destroyed the European continent.For the Saudi financing the Gulf War, I have this… < HREF="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1592571131/qid=1117829602/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-7008672-4199963?v=glance&s=books&n=507846" REL="nofollow"> Complete Idiots Guide to Saudi Arabia <> (I found corresponding evidence on some other sites which I’ll post at the end)Page 114 states that although the U.S. did the fighting, James Baker went on a “Tin Cup Diplomacy” trip to finance the war. Saudi Arabia pledged the largest amount, and made pledges to “reimburse them indirectly” to countries like Germany and Japan for their contributions. In total, the Saudi’s picked up most of “the tab” of around 55 billion dollars. I found this other link below, and a few more, that all say roughly the same (Though I admit I don’t know how reliable the sources are, but I assume the Idiot’s Guide was researched properly). < HREF="http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/1990/1-Gulf-War#Cost" REL="nofollow"> Cost of Gulf War <> “The cost of the war to the United States was calculated by Congress to be $61.1 billion…About $53 billion of that amount was paid by different countries around the world: $36 billion by Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States; $16 billion by Germany and Japan.”I’ll address the Russia stuff soon. It’s very complicated, you have to consider a lot of factors when analyzing Russia. I’ll try and put it in layman’s terms somehow.

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  31. “WOW, when was the last time you went to the Doctor, and who is he/she I want to go to them. I have spent a life time and twelve states trying to find a Dr. that did not just treat the symptoms and tried to figure out the what for of an illness to stop it.”-Tell me about it. (I’m talking about the ideal doctors, the educated ones I imagine live in Manhattan and Boston and diagnose rich people). Our doctors probably get a commission from the big Pharm. companies to dope us up as much as possible so we’ll have to come in again to treat the side effects of the crap they gave us the last time. I’m reading the rest of your post now, it looks good….I went to a nightclub last night and the conversation was BORING. It’s really scary, I felt I was the only one there with any kind of education whatsoever. I was thinking to myself I’d rather be blogging here with people who have at least a modicum (indeed much more) of something to say.

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  32. Yoshi,I agree with you that it is all a big mess, and they all tell lies. I would say that is where the 51% vs. 49% falls. It just depends on which particular lies make you feel good.“It’s like Hannity and them romanticize this world that never existed”I think the point to what Hannity is saying is that Reagan delt with the world around us like it sees us, and not like we can make reparations with groups that merely want nothing more than to, not just change our way of life, destroy the very existence of US (that is us not U.S.). I do not think that romantics plays a part, I think his view is that people like Kerry are the romantics thinking they can get with AL Queida and reason with the unreasonable. Like dealing with my ex-wife and how to raise our son. I try to reason with her and show her why she can not continue to treat him like he is 9 years old, he is 16 and needs to begin to understand things like checking accounts, and accountability for not only his actions, but what he tells people he will do. And I try to tell her that I do not mean he needs to promise people the world, just understand what he is saying and give it 100%.OK off topic a little…sorry about the rant.“Well, I don’t think the Iraq thing was about benefiting “us” as “in me and you.”I don’t either, that is why I have a problem with when we went to war. I also see a dilemma with the “anti-war” Dems front, and maybe CG could explain this better, but this was for the common good, not only for Iraqis, but the world, we have created a possible free market over there that will help all countries not just the U.S.I also think it is quite a large leap to say, that all the Intel that we have determined is wrong, is a big conspiracy lie that the Administration told to get us to go to war over a possible assassination attempt on Bush 1. And frankly I think statements like that should be backed up with facts that show is was deliberate misinformation and not misread Intel…there is a difference. And to say also that the VX gas missiles that have been found in convoys in Syria and Jordan do not have anything to do with Saddam is the stretching lie if you ask me.“Then they told us the Iraqi’s would pay for it with the oil revenues, etc. So now we are financing the whole effort”OK, this does not make much sense coming from you. We took this thread to Africa where you want us to forget the debt and help stimulate economy. So I think the revenues are right where they need to be, in Iraqi hands. I would also like to see you financial back up for how the Saudis financed the 1st war. I have heard things totally to the contrary. I even heard in a question and answer session (the question was based on a rumor that all the servicemen fighting in the gulf would get $10,000 bonuses from the Saudis) that American servicemen are not mercenaries and the Saudis would not be paying us. I do know that when we arrived, we did take possession of several vehicles from the Saudi Govt to help put HMMWVs and other military vehicles into better service because we were short. However that statement was pretty clear to those of us on the ground that Saudis did not front our end of the 1st gulf war. I may be wrong, and that is why I would like to see what you have to offer. I was in for ten years, and I can say with some authority that I know I was lied to several times. Just the facts man.“The point is though there are 2 “tracks” for fighting terrorism. The military is one. Development is the other track.”Yes I agree completely, but you can not start a development track until you get the dictator out. Maybe some of the problems with the African nations. That is why I mentioned earlier that there will be some involvement from the donating countries as to how to use the new found wealth and / or debt relief that has been established. Nothing is free, even freedom. There had to be a military start to the Iraq thing, and now the development starts, Geneva convention says that we can not use the oil revenues for payment of what we are doing for the country, that is the sticky thing about invading a country, this is what makes what we are doing right in the worlds eyes, or should if they were not all mambee pambee. FDR great, (except social security), Truman, eh, not so much. I have to read more about the Marshal plan before I can address that one though. They way you stick it in there, I don’t think I am going to like it.“When a doctor fights disease, he doesn’t just do so by prescribing a medication. He also tries to circumvent the underlying causes of a disease, bolstering the immune system, encouraging adequate nutrition and exercise, a healthy lifestyle.”WOW, when was the last time you went to the Doctor, and who is he/she I want to go to them. I have spent a life time and twelve states trying to find a Dr. that did not just treat the symptoms and tried to figure out the what for of an illness to stop it. Most do not take the time to figure that out, it is take this to help with the symptoms and then call me in two days if it does not get better. Crazy. And the same is true for terrorism, but you have to cut off the head of the snake to stop it, you can not just move him around, or work around him, you will get bit. I think that this is why we have not gone into Iran and Syria yet, besides the obvious fact that we are short military man power. The hope is that they can do it themselves when they see the result of Iraq. We can also look back on the “coups” of the past and see that it is the bloodless ones that have been the most effective and longest lasting. America and Britain are good examples. Yes at some point blood was shed, but because of removal of the outside influence, Britain in the case of America. Once we inside America decide on the Democratic way with the three party system we were on our way. Now I understand that the Civil war had a little bloodshed in it, but how we got to our form of Govt was bloodless, as was Englands, unlike France that still has turmoil inside it’s borders with the ruling factions. Every young generation has difficulty believing in the principles of the geration before. They are quite bloodless now, but not until the late 19th century. Iraq will have to under go the same principle and defend the bloodless revolution as best as possible or it will not last. And I think (with the equation that I stated above) once the other countries start turning the tide in a bloodless fashion, Iraq will have more problems with dissention in the future than any other country in the region. IMO (in my opinion)“Even W.Bush himself said this, “I don’t think you can win it, but I think you can create conditions so that those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world.” (translation- Pull them out of political and economic instability they live in.)”I think that we both agree that this is his understanding, and why we do not (both of us) oppose the war. May disagree with some policy, but not opposed to it.“A purely military strategy is doomed to fail, regardless of how it financially benefits the war profiteers out there. If Bush was really concerned about the little people in the USA, he’d see this. (and sometimes he seems to, but he looks to me like he’s got puppetmasters pulling his strings the other way).”Yes it is doomed to fail, that is why this is not purely military, we are helping to make sure the Govt is formed and that the people of this country are happy with the Govt. Iraq will be fighting insurgents for a long time, similar to Israel, but a little different. Israel is fighting for survival against a force that wants only to obliterate them from the face of the planet. Iraq is dealing with a smaller faction of rebels and a larger faction of outside “freedom fighter” terrorists that are trying to help. So this is not purely military, he is doing this the right way, we both agree though that we wish there could have been more help from more countries…the mambee pambees. Bush does see this, and I do not disagree that it looks like he has this “big business interest” attitude, but I think that this is not the case. I believe that he truly believes this is the way to stimulate the economy, and it is working, at the moment. I also think he is too ornery to have puppetmasters. I think this is an analogy that his opponents are using badly.“Randy, You caught me on a lucky day cause I just got finished reading about this very difficult economic transition Russia attempted. Let me say it had little to do with Bill Clinton. But before I go any further, can you elaborate more your criticism? How did Russia slide back to its roots, and how was it appeased?”As Reagan held firm to his resolve that the USSR was an oppressive Govt, they began to cave. The wall was torn down, Germany was enabled to reunite again. They country was on the upswing in a bloodless revolution that has proven itself time and again. Satellite countries were allowed freedoms instead of oppression. But with the “appeaser” this was not to be maintained. Think of what things would be like if Russia were actually a free nation like the U.S. and had not started it’s back slide to oppression. It is the resolve of those leaders that call it like they see it. Do not dilly dally with PC terms and phrases.

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  33. I had mentioned the other day that the president tried using a big word with the press, and then told them what it meant. Well, it was even funnier than I realized at the time. The word I thought he had used “dissemble”… he then told the press that meant to lie or conceal the truth. Well, thanks to Jon Stewart (I swear I can predict what his show will pick up on)… it was even funnier than I thought. They played the tape of Bush’s statement and he had used the word “disassemble”. Jon Stewart: “No Mr. President, <>disassemble<> is what we did to Iraq.” Priceless.Yoshi… I saw Team America. I thought it was pretty funny, but the wife was glaring at me the entire movie for taking her to it. I lost her about the time one puppet starting humping another one. 🙂All IMO(In my opinion). 🙂

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  34. “Then how do you explain that while Clinton…the apeaser, was in office the USSR/Russia has slid back towards it’s roots.”Randy, You caught me on a lucky day cause I just got finished reading about this very difficult economic transition Russia attempted. Let me say it had little to do with Bill Clinton. But before I go any further, can you elaborate more your criticism? How did Russia slide back to its roots, and how was it appeased?I could write a few pages about this, but I have to try and make it as concise and comprehensible as possible. So the more specific the question, the better I can answer you without boring you to death.

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  35. I’m just pulling your chain a little about the “sub-contracting” stuff. I just don’t understand why people create this divisions between donkeys and elephants when I look at hard as I can and see no consistant difference. JFK, Truman-Democrats, Nixon, Reagan- Republican. It’s a really mixed up group. It’s like Hannity and them romanticize this world that never existed (the J.C. Penney catalog world) and talk about Reagan like he’s Martin Luther King.“I find the proven tactics of our leadership in making the tough choices that benefit this country first and thinks about what the mambee pambee world whats third.”Well, I don’t think the Iraq thing was about benefiting “us” as “in me and you.” Except maybe in a very indirect way, contingent on a lot of big “if’s”. When I read some of the pre-war statements about WMD I can’t believe the scope of the lies we were told. And honestly, I knew all along they were blown out of proportion with the truth, and that after the invasion we would just say there was a “mistake in the intelligence but oh well, it’s too late now.” “There is no DOUBT that (Saddam) is amassing (WMDS) to use against…” Cheney. You know, the British could never stop the IRA, the Isrealis never the Palestinians, the Russians the Afghanis. The Americans the Vietnamese. I hope this time we can do it. I still think we could’ve gotten Saddam out of there by telling the truth and waiting a bit longer.Then they told us the Iraqi’s would pay for it with the oil revenues, etc. So now we are financing the whole effort. Bad idea. I think if W.Bush had a little more charisma and patience we could’ve just put a big pot out there to pay for it. (Saudi Arabia financed nearly all the first Gulf War!)The point is though there are 2 “tracks” for fighting terrorism. The military is one. Development is the other track. As FDR and Truman (sorry, I know you hate Democrats but I have to use them) realized, we also have pull the marginalized nations of the world closer to us (Marshall Plan anyone?)When a doctor fights disease, he doesn’t just do so by prescribing a medication. He also tries to circumvent the underlying causes of a disease, bolstering the immune system, encouraging adequate nutrition and exercise, a healthy lifestyle. The same is true for terrorism. Even W.Bush himself said this, “I don’t think you can win it, but I think you can create conditions so that those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world.” (translation- Pull them out of political and economic instability they live in.)A purely military strategy is doomed to fail, regardless of how it financially benefits the war profiteers out there. If Bush was really concerned about the little people in the USA, he’d see this. (and sometimes he seems to, but he looks to me like he’s got puppetmasters pulling his strings the other way).

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  36. CG,There could have been operations that could have taken out a lot of the “players” in these fields and in Afganistan. After the first WTC attack something could have been done. I have work in and around the guys that pull these ops off, they are good and they get the job done. Unlike Carter and the desert fiasco that he tried to pull off.Yoshi “Soviet Union (not b/c of Reagon in my opinion,”Then how do you explain that while Clinton…the apeaser, was in office the USSR/Russia has slid back towards it’s roots.And I can say that the boost in military is a good jump start to the economy, but it will not last. Problem is nothing will really last it will always be cyclical. It is how we jump start and keep from going into deep recesion that matters.Yes Reagan was probably tired in his second term, he gave all he had for this country, unlike Clinton a politician that used it to further his life. He did what he could, but that aiin’t enough IMO.I do not “subcontract” I find the proven tactics of our leadership in making the tough choices that benefit this country first and thinks about what the mambee pambee world whats third. The next president that takes advise from the french…well you know what I mean. It is ridiculous.

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  37. < HREF="http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=S%27%29H%3C%2CP%21%2F%27%20%40%20Q%0A" REL="nofollow"> Article for Common Good (W.M.S.) <>This is an article for Common Good. Probably you’ll find it interesting.

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  38. “….followed the flow of trickle down that Reagan implimented to get this country right. Clinton just rode that wave to stardom.”Clinton did ride the wave, but Reagon didn’t do it. Reagon just spent a bunch of money on defense. It’s as if I took you to dinner every night at the finest, most posh restaurant in town and you said, “Golly Yoshi, you’re doing well financially.” Little did you know I was using the old credit card and was actually deep in the hole. When the government spends “on defense”, people get paid. But eventually the chickens come home to roost b/c the government is running a deficit. Bush Part 1 paid the price. It was Reagon’s fault, not his. He raised the taxes b/c he no longer had a choice. The game of economic chicken ended and he pulled us off the road just in time. It cost him the election. Then by the time we could see the effects of Bush 1, Clinton had already replaced him and started getting the credit for his work.Not to mention the opening up of the global market with the fall of the Soviet Union (not b/c of Reagon in my opinion, there were many, many more internal reasons for that than external), and the new IT growth which as we all know has changed the world beyond imagination, even giving us the power to communicate on this site now. Maybe Reagon deserves credit though for using the PUBLIC SECTOR, via military spending, to create the internet technology. That’s ironic b/c he’s known as the small government guy. In Prof.’s private initiative world the Internet would have never been developed. Ultimately, the presidents don’t really have THAT much control of the economy like everyone thinks they do, they don’t deserve that much credit. The economy, especially now, is very decentralised. Investors sitting on their computers doing online trading have as much control nowadays. They could all sell their shares in SE Asia overnight and threaten the entire planet’s economic health. We have one economy now. Randy, be careful about sub-contracting your thinking about world affairs to people like S. Wilder and S.Hannity. They have a certain naivity about them, like men who have never seen an R-rated movie (except for Rambo). They are nice guys probably, but don’t go to them for advice about sex or world affairs, cause they’ve no real-world experience or understanding. They don’t seem to see the big picture and think that the USA is some kind of football team they are on. Reagon, I’ve watched him on documentaries. He was out of it in the 2nd term, you could see that hollow “where am I?” look in his eye already. Poor guy. Overall I think he was a good president.

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  39. For the record, I’m keenly aware of the possibility of killing off the golden egg goose by just paying everyone because we are richer than them. However, 0.7% of the budget into development, isn’t going to kill that goose. An ounce of prevention now saves a ton of intervention later on anyway. And any global “Marshall Plan” considered would have to be “multi-lateral,” not “unilateral.” Every nation would have to do its share or no deal. I agree that local governments should be used whenever possible, then regional, then national, and then international. For example, I heard Bush speaking with S. African president Mbeke about Sudan last night. Instead of intervening militarily, we should just support the African Union with logistic support and let them handle as much as they can on their own. Of course, if they ask for or need more…. we cross that bridge when it gets there. And that seemed to be the approach Bush was taking. At the same time, I don’t think “international law” is any less legitimate than the federal laws we have. I feel just as represented by Kofi Annon (more actually) than I do by President Bush or the mayor of Fort Worth. Also I have concern about turning poor rural communities into Sao Paulo and Mexico City, with demand for fossil fuels as they grow economically pushing up not only our gas prices here in the USA but also accelerating global pollution problems. So even though I want to see development, I have some strings attached. I’m going to comment more on the U.N. posts sooner/later. I’m trying to come up with something woth saying….

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  40. I don’t think Clinton appeased any terrorists. (And I don’t really think the rape story seems very plausible either, but who knows what really goes on…. I once spoke to a cop who said he flew on Air Force ONE with 3 different presidents, and he said there were illegal drugs present around all three of them. Maybe true, maybe not?) Anyway, when Clinton bombed Afghanistan and Sudan everyone started freaking out, saying it was to distract the public from the Lewinsky stuff. The U.S. Cole blew up right before Bush came into office, about 30 days before. Bush never said anything about it. Thenwhen Bush came into office he dismissed a lot of the terrorism experts as his administration just didn’t take the threat seriously Neither did I for that matter, so…. I think it’s just a mistake he made, not enough experience on his part. I think Bush, like me, just didn’t take the threat seriously. Not to mention, the last I checked, Osama bin Laden was still out there.

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  41. Prof,<>In their eyes, you don’t need 90% of your money. Out of the goodness of their hearts, they know just who needs your wealth. So, you gonna be greedy and keep it from them?<>Good point. Get me a mailing list.

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  42. Common Good: “<>Prof… on planet earth there are a bunch of poor folks…<>”My point exactly. Although skimmin a few clams off Bill Gates may not wreck the economy trying to do our pet United States social projects, try spreading enough of our wealth around the world to alleviate suffering and poverty. By comparison to the poor of the world, you live like a king. In their eyes, you don’t need 90% of your money. Out of the goodness of their hearts, they know just who needs your wealth. So, you gonna be greedy and keep it from them? “<>You can continue to measure everything in terms of what $ value do we get out of it if you want, but I’m seeing a lot scarier stuff out there than losing a buck or two….<>”I am not worried about “getting anything out of” it other than not enslaving my posterity and posterior to unelected, unaccountable, money hungry global politicians.Prof. Ricardo

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  43. Randy,<>Have you noticed that the major terrorist ops go on Dems watches.<>So you think our macho Republicans can show those billions of Muslims do you? Comparing pre-911 policy to post-911 policy is useless. No president <>could have<> attacked Afghanistan before 911, and any president <>would have<> after 911. Some of us see that macho Republican Iraq swagger as detrimental to our future… opinons vary. We could use some real daddy party discipline with Saudia Arabia, and all we get is hand holding (literally). Humor (Jon Stewart):<>Did you guys hear why those guys got so wound over the flushing of the Koran. Turns out it was their only copy.<>

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  44. Prof,<>I think our UN presence is not nearly so beneficial to us as it is to all the nations waiting for a chance at our wealth.<>Prof… on planet earth there are a bunch of poor folks, and very few wealthy folks. Poverty isn’t the cause of terrorism, but it certainly provides the pool for recruits. You can continue to measure everything in terms of what $ value do we get out of it if you want, but I’m seeing a lot scarier stuff out there than losing a buck or two…. or giving more aid <>then was deserved<>. Your brand of tough love and conservative fiscal discipline has it’s place and it’s time… now just isn’t one of them. 🙂I have really come to the conclusion that life on this planet is dictated by the economic winners. What we have been and what we will become is the result of decisions by the economic winners… it has always been in their hands. It take personal responsibility, effort and striving by everyone… but in the end, the rules and the limits are set by the economic winners. It could have gone another way… human’s could have turned out to be less greedy once they obtain a certain level of wealth. If the human race really believed in such a thing as “they had enough… let’s focus on the rest” this would be a different place. Yeah, I know… our society is built around those shortcomings of human nature… i.e. this is the best we can do? I refuse to accept it… keep yelling Yoshi.

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  45. CG,Sure Clinton could have had a better speach, and said some things better in the english language, I won’t fight that…it’s a loser fight anyway. But Clinton would have appeased the terrorists as he had done in the past, and like Carter before him. Have you noticed that the major terrorist ops go on Dems watches. Give me Shrub any day. Don’t care if he don’t speak a da good english. Clinton was a clown and did nothing for this country but speak good rile everyone up over nothing that didn’t happen on his watch and followed the flow of trickle down that Reagan implimented to get this country right. Clinton just rode that wave to stardom.

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  46. Prof,Gore was definitely a prick. Gore only needed to be barely likable to win in 2000. I didn’t vote for Gore… I voted for the other guy. That was back when I was a Republican. I have listened to some of Gore’s speechs since then, and he seems much more brilliant and much less pricky. Amazing what a few years with Shrub can do for one’s perspective.Yoshi… you are going to <>socratic<> some concessions out of Prof before you are done. Consider it an extra-credit project. 🙂 I have some trouble with the concept of international law. For example, I would never want one of our soldiers to be subject to an international court… or Shrub for that matter, as tempting as that sounds at the moment. Maybe you will elaborate your thoughts on the subject as you draw Prof out into the daylight. 🙂

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  47. Yoshi: “<>-So we do honor the U.N. charter (or ideally we should) then? Because it hardly seems “destructive” to me. Maybe a little too idealistic sometimes, but not destructive.<>” The UN has a perspective based upon the consensus of its members that is unfriendly to our western culture. Our founders, rightly I believe, believed in human rights that were not a privilege of government, but an inherent right of man, given by God, they would say. Among those were life, property ownership, the right to pick your own career, the right to speak out, particularly opinions on civil matters was to be protected, the right to defend oneself and to be armed in doing so, the right to a fair trial, the right to worship something or not worhip at all, the right to raise my children according to my standards, not someone else’s, etc., etc.Many countries do not share these views. Some are quite radical. I don’t know where you stand with regard to providing for your own family, but if you have children and you see a grave threat to them in society, if a foreign international body were to mandate your worst fears for your children, is that “destructive” and should we honor the U.N. charter in whole, in part, or not at all because of it?IMO, it makes sense to govern as much as possible at the local level. We don’t need the fed changing street lamps. The more local control, the more responsive government can be to the governed. Certainly much has to be done at the Federal level, defense & security, foreign affairs, trade, and treaty issues, interstate issues, that sort of stuff. Once again, IMO, education, welfare redistribution, social issues do not need to be bumped up to the international level, but brought down to the state level. Few states if any are so destitute as to not have wealth, individually or collectively, not to be able to work social programs. If it takes 300 million people now, how did we do it with 60 million and no computers 75 years ago?Any nation that wants to participate in global warming, and other campaigns, hop to it. However, if someone wants to abstain, so be it. Right now the world is salivating at the money the US has. Just heard a report today, $8 billion spent on AIDS, mostly in Africa. They said its not half what they need, and all 126 countries on the panel are looking to the US to foot the remainder of the bill. Their objectives seem good. But remember, they are still tempted by the same greed that influences westerners. And if you have the knowledge of foreign countries that you claim, you are fully aware of their propensity to cheat government and each other, almost as an established social order.I think our UN presence is not nearly so beneficial to us as it is to all the nations waiting for a chance at our wealth. Were they to duplicate our freedom and somewhat higher moral underpinnings, they would have the funds themselves. But, like men are want to do, they want their cake and eat it too (ie, their socialism, but the wealth of free enterprise).Prof. Ricardo

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  48. My faith is now restored Professor.“Good question. As long as we are party to it, we need to honor it to the extent that ‘whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.'”-So we do honor the U.N. charter (or ideally we should) then? Because it hardly seems “destructive” to me. Maybe a little too idealistic sometimes, but not destructive. So in the same sense there is a national law, there is an international law?

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  49. yoshi, <>Does Prof.Ricardo then respect the U.N. Charter? It was ratified by the U.S., thus is legitimized by the U.S. Constitution.<>Good question. As long as we are party to it, we need to honor it to the extent that “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.”<>Suddenly the U.S. Constitution is out the window now I bet.<>Oh, Ye of little faith. 🙂Prof. Ricardo

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  50. C.G.: “<>Being a prick is optional also.<>”I forgot to include that in Al Gore’s dossier.“<>If you don’t, and you send over judges that claim social security has been our nation’s Socialism revolution, and that our old cannibalize it’s young…<>”Yep, there are some odd balls out there. Like those who constructed a human right to kill their unborn offspring from an amendment to prohibit CONGRESS from interferring with political speech or religious expression. Go figure.“<>Oh yes… some more founder intentions from the Prof.<>”Actually, this all fits. Your love of public education and hatred of absolutes. Its OK if the document is written, lets just not know what it means.“<>The author (Richard Broohiser) made the point that the vast majority of those at the Constitution Convention left in low spirits… i.e. there were no high-fiving going on. The fact you point to an argument and debate from the Convention proves there was no founder intention…. there were opposing intentions.<>”Soooo, your wife wants to buy the house, but you don’t want to go that far in debt. You buy it anyway and get the mortgage. Since it wasn’t your <>intent<> to be mortgaged out the wazoo, the mortgage document doesn’t express your intent. Since it does not express your intent, there was not a meeting of the minds. If business law serves me correctly, that means there was no valid contract. Cool. In C.G.’s world past intentions never obligate future responsibilities. You’re debt free dude, and you never new it. Unless you don’t buy your own argument.“<>Your intentions you always quote may have won by a 1 vote margin.<>”Can we apply this lunacy to Supreme Court decisions? After all it was <>just<> by one vote. The “argument” I quoted is not to be confused with quarreling. It was discussion. Grown men with vast, but differing, insight into the world of governing men and countries, discussing and proposing various authorities and their consequences when applied to this new government with three branches. After the vote on each and every little part, they were free to walk away from the whole document. Didn’t happen. They accepted the document and all its parts, including those won by “1 vote.” The arguments, a dictionary, a knowledge of history, all play a part in unveiling the “intent” of the governing instrument.“<>why would anyone view a constitution like a deity decree.<>”It is not diety, but a governing instrument. If you don’t know what it means, then it can’t govern very well. There is a reason we don’t have two presidents today. And its not because we don’t <>feel<> like it. Its because the governing instrument does not provide the authority for two simultaneous presidents. Deity? No. Authority, yes! There is a difference.Prof. Ricardo

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  51. Yoshi,<>Everything changes eventually to adapt to changing circumstances and a more complicated world.<>Not for the <>status quo<> crowd. <>Progressive<> is an evil world to many. To many, the Constitution became sacred in 1787… changing it is no different than changing the 10 commandments. Go figure? IMO, if you aren’t making iterative improvements, you are moving backwards.<>Founder intent<> only comes up as a matter of law in <>grey areas<> of the law… and I think it should be given little weighting even in that case. IMO, every case where one has to resort to <>founder intentions<> is a case that is yelling out for <>iterative improvement of the Constitution… i.e. put it in writing via the ammendment process<>. But that would be boring… what would we argue about then? 🙂

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  52. Yoshi,<>Now I actually kind of like George W. Bush as well, but you feel like Bush is just learning this stuff as he goes along.<>Yeah… you accept some OJT with the leader of the free world, but a grasp of the English language does seem to be a prerequisite. I will be very curious to watch Shrub’s post-White House days. I was watching Shrub’s news conference… yesterday I think. He used a big word, and then told the reporters what it meant. It reminded me of when a child learns a new word and brags about it to his parent. Scary really. Regarding Clinton: He was exactly what I want in a president on so many levels. Brilliant, articulate, fighting for the common man, fighting for the right common good needs, came from a humble background, etc. Can you imagine the difference between Shrub and Clinton communicating with the public post-911? It really highlights the importance of communication skills from a president. That said, I believe the < HREF="http://www.newsmax.com/articles/?a=1998/10/2/43829" REL="nofollow">Juanita Broaddrick rape charges <> were likely true. That’s a terrible thing to say… but I have my reasons. One of my wife’s friends dated Juanita’s son, and everyone in Juanita’s family believed that Clinton had raped her. That’s certainly not proof, but I tend to believe it. Pretty sad if true… we actually elected a rapist. Of course, we will never know for sure. After witnessing the Starr witch hunts and what Rove and company are capable of… you really never know what to believe anymore.

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  53. C.G. “That said, why would anyone view a constitution like a deity decree… it has never made any sense to me.”Common Good, I was just thinking about this recently. Everything changes eventually to adapt to changing circumstances and a more complicated world. Does Prof.Ricardo then respect the U.N. Charter? It was ratified by the U.S., thus is legitimized by the U.S. Constitution.(Valid treaties are the “Supreme Law of the Land.”)Suddenly the U.S. Constitution is out the window now I bet.

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  54. “ON Bill Clinton, Used car salesmen are pretty intelligent, they can sell a lot of things to people that don’t need it. Ambulance chasing lawyers are pretty intelligent.I guess that is all I have to say about that.”-What though was it that we don’t need that he tried to sale us? He didn’t seem that liberal to me (NAFTA anyone?). I have this “Commanding Heights” video where he speaks and you just get this sense he’s shooting straight with you in a language you can understand. Now I actually kind of like George W. Bush as well, but you feel like Bush is just learning this stuff as he goes along. I have some pretty irrational people in my family who hate Clinton for reasons I’ve never been able to figure out (except that he liked women, bad thing?). If I ask what’s so bad about him, I hear “he’s EVIL!” or “He’s no good!.” Of course, that makes no sense. So I’m guessing all the other people who hate him do so for the same reasons (irrational ones).

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  55. Prof,<>However, advice is just that, advice. It is not a co-nomination. It is not mandatory. If I give you advice on marriage, it is purely optional for you to abide by it.<>Being a prick is optional also. If you seek advice/negotiation from the Senate, you get one optional result. If you don’t, and you send over judges that claim social security has been our nation’s Socialism revolution, and that our old cannibalize it’s young… you get another optional reaction.Oh yes… some more <>founder intentions<> from the Prof. I just finished a short book on George Washington Tony had given me. The author (Richard Broohiser) made the point that the vast majority of those at the Constitution Convention left in low spirits… i.e. there were no high-fiving going on. The fact you point to an argument and debate from the Convention proves there was no <>founder<> intention…. there were opposing intentions. Your intentions you always quote may have won by a 1 vote margin. They did an awsome job… they gave us a start that has survived 200+ years. That said, why would anyone view a constitution like a deity decree… it has never made any sense to me. Tony has pulled a Wilder. Probably good… that means he must be working. He could at least post a “continued part 2 to this blog” for the poor souls scrolling through 300 posts….hint hint hint.

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  56. Re: “Advice”….Additionally, when this country was in its infancy, there was not the burgeoning executive staff, instant across the nation communications, and computer databases that exist now to assist in selecting appointees. Given today’s political atmosphere, punctuated by Al Gore’s insanity plea disguised as an election losing toddler tantrum complete with screams, whining, and over eating, AND the lock stock step of so many Democrats in reiterating his lunacy via the “illigitimate president” mantra, it is easy to see how seeking the advice from such a body possessing so much antagonism in the “minority” party, that to do so is merely a facade, with no real or even intended substance, and would be considered purely political posturing, and no doubt revealed as such by the altruism of the “minority party.”Prof. RicardoScotty: “Captain! We’re at 324 posts. I don’t think she can stand it much longer, but I’m givin her all she’s got!”

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  57. Prof:Yes Frist I suppose had a point, but we should not let a good oint get in the way of logic here. Frist should have allowed the votes on those that could have gone through. I see that there could have been two benefits to this process if he had done it. First: It would have moved several of the nominations forward quickly. And this debate on the left over nominations could have still occurred. This would not have stopped the constitutional option from happening, it just would have allowed the nominations that could be voted on, to be voted on. Wasn’t that why the whole thing was happening. Second: Comparisons to the justices that were being voted on could have been made. I could not listen to the whole thing, but one thing that I have never heard was. Justice Owens decision on case blah blah blah, was wrong because… Justice Owens verdict was overturned this many times because of her conservative views.So in closing, whether I am Republican or not, whether I will at the moment always vote republican or not does not negate the fact that what he did was irresponsible and childish. Not a trait I want to see in the majority leader. IMO

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  58. Yoshi,ON Bill Clinton, Used car salesmen are pretty intelligent, they can sell a lot of things to people that don’t need it. Ambulance chasing lawyers are pretty intelligent.I guess that is all I have to say about that.

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  59. Common Good: “<>I noticed you didn’t bring up the “advice” portion of the constitution. What do you think they meant by that…<>“Just that, advice. It was the authority, responsibility, and jurisdiction of the executive to nominate for certain positions. An executive that needed help to find suitable persons for the offices, or the Senate’s “advice” on a particular selection, could do so. However, advice is just that, advice. It is not a co-nomination. It is not mandatory. If I give you advice on marriage, it is purely optional for you to abide by it. If you want a sneak peak at our founding fathers discussing this topic, take a look here:DEBATES IN THE CONVENTION OF 1787 By James Madison http://www.constitution.org/dfc/dfc-1787.txtGo about 80-85% down the page. A good section was this:<>Mr. WILSON objected to the mode of appointing, as blending a branch of the Legislature with the Executive. Good laws are of no effect without a good Executive; and there can be no good Executive without a responsible appointment of officers to execute. Responsibility is in a manner destroyed by such an agency of the Senate. He would prefer the council proposed by Col: Mason, provided its advice should not be made obligatory on the President. Mr. PINKNEY was against joining the Senate in these appointments, except in the instance of Ambassadors whom [13] he thought ought not to be appointed by the President. Mr. GOVr. MORRIS said that as the President was to nominate, there would be responsibility, and as the Senate was to concur, there would be security. As Congress now make appointments there is no responsibility. Mr. GERRY. The idea of responsibility in the nomination to offices is chimerical. The President can not know all characters, and can therefore always plead ignorance. <>Prof. Ricardo

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  60. < HREF="http://news.yahoo.com/s/washpost/20050601/pl_washpost/bill_clinton_takes_spot_on_global_stage" REL="nofollow"> Bill Clinton article <>Out of curiousity, I guess I wasn’t really into politics when Bill Clinton was around, but why does everyone hate him so much? He seems pretty damn intelligent to me.

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  61. Prof.Don’t worry about responding to my last post, save your energy for C.G. (I can’t see you’re getting hit with 2 totally different questions/ comments.Instead, just let old Paul Wolfowitz do all the thinking for you. In fact, I’m going to send this to all those dorky-never kissed a girl- College Republicans at UTA and rub their nose in the fact now their little hero Wolfowitz is basically repeating me verbatem about a year after they mocked me for it.

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  62. Prof,<>However, another problem raises its head for my friends like Common Good who don’t give a flaming rip what original intent was, so codifying the procedures into words of an amendment merely pass the buck to the next generation to determine what it meant.<>That doesn’t hold up. If we ammend the constitution, and it states that Judicial confirmation requires x% vote, and x votes from the other side, and must reach the senate floor for an up or down vote within x months… there is MUCH LESS to argue about. Take that a step further… if future generations did find cracks to argue about, then they could fine tune the Constitution with ammendments. Prof, it’s called <>iterative improvement<> as opposed the same old arguments over <>intent<> generations after generations. You want to leave posterity with the pile we argue about… shame on you. 🙂

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  63. Prof., to respond to your earlier posts about “medical transmission” of the HIV/ AIDS virus…First, they don’t have “AIDS” remember? It’s actually various other diseases merely counted as “AIDS” (Hillary Clinton made it up to create a socialist One-world order with the Pope and Gorbechav ;o). As for that theory, if Africans have “HIV,” they have AIDS. And even if they can’t test each individual in the heart of every village in the Congo jungle, statisticians have methods of getting pretty damn close to the mark. And even then if they couldn’t it’s still irrelevent whether an African dies of TB, malaria, diarrhea, or AIDS. The point is they are dying in droves and leaving millions of orphans behind and undermining economic growth. < HREF="http://economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=2693350" REL="nofollow"> Economist: the Costs of AIDS <>But to the idea of “medical transmission,” I certainly believe that they probably use dirty needles and transmitted AIDS that way. Or contaminated blood supplies. That would be but one of the many causes however, and dirty needles is doubtfully the main cause. For starters, most Africans never see a needle in their lives, even a dirty one. Migrant workers and the sex trade, lack of adequate nutrition and thus weak immune system, etc. are other causes. But the dirty needle concept seems to only prove my point all the more. Poor nations are unnecessarily fertile ground for a pandemic that can wipe out the productive members of society. Why in God’s name aren’t these people educated enough to know the danger of dirty needles, and why do they not have clean needles? That indicates a complete breakdown(or lack of to begin with)of healthcare services. I seriously doubt it’s occuring except in maybe the most isolated places. This is yet another example of a relatively low cost, high yield investment that needs to be made. The message you are sending then isn’t “Spend less,” it’s “Spend more.” I was talking to my dental hygienist and she was telling me about working with poor Mexican kids who’d never seen a tootbrush before. And when I was in South Africa, I visited a shanty-town center run by some kind of charity, and I remember there being posters on the wall on how to use soap and clean the body. I think we take for granted the hygiene standards that seem obvious to us. Those using dirty needles, or without toothbrushes, etc., are obviously simply just ignorant. “The one exception to the generally dismal state of primary health care in Africa is Western-funded Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) programs targeting women. African medical workers are taught (and paid) to emphasize reproductive health procedures (contraception, sterilization, and abortion), often to the near exclusion of primary health care.” If true, and it likely is, it seems to me like these birth control manufacturers have lobbied for this type of thing. Usually the “foreign aid” that eveyone thinks we give so much of is tied (4/5ths). “40 percent of international aid is spent buying overpriced goods and services from the donors’ own countries, Action Aid and Oxfam said in a joint report calling for urgent reform of a politically compromised system.” < HREF="http://www.oxfam.org.uk/what_we_do/issues/debt_aid/aid_millstone.htm" REL="nofollow"> Millstone or Milestone Oxfam Report <>We call this pork barrel spending. For fear of massive bureaucracy and inefficiency, you might want to learn more about the Global Fund… less than 5% of the money goes to administrative overhead….< HREF="http://www.theglobalfund.org/en/about/how/" REL="nofollow"> The Global Fund for AIDS,TB, and Malaria <>Finally, something from ol’ Wolfiwitz. < HREF="http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050601/ap_on_re_af/world_bank_africa_1;_ylt=AhMDA.0HqhnV575t.pxQ4pD.ucsA;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl" REL="nofollow"> Wolfowitz Pledges to Change Africa <>

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  64. Prof,Nice cat slapping… I’m a dog guy myself. :0<>Actually, no we don’t. We did not elect groups. We elected people. Those people are to represent their constituents. They should vote as a representative, not as a group. The fact that people can be grouped by ideology, make of car they drive, or hairdresser IS IRRELEVANT.<>Prof, buddy… a little reality check. We did elect groups, they don’t act like people, constituents are a myth, they should do a lot of things including not voting in lock step with White House instructions… AND it sure is RELEVANT. You and Tony can fix the two party system… until then, it’s OUR real world and very relevant. I noticed you didn’t bring up the “advice” portion of the constitution. What do you think they meant by that… a Republican Shrub ramming it through with his majority Rep Senate rubber stamp? Prof, your false claims still don’t deal with reality… we are talking about a one party judicial assembly line here whether the Dems played nice or not. Forget the Dem’s behavior… it’s a big issue regardless. You seem to have taken the position… yep, let’s go with the one party rubber stamp. We can just agree to disagree that is good for our country. Let’s bring our lawyer Tony into the mix on the Senate rules domain issue. My contention is that if it is not specifically spelled out in the Constitution regarding the Senate, it by definition enters the domain of the Senate rules. The Constitution is clear that it takes a simple majority to confirm a judge. We back into this because the Constitution spells out where a super majority is required. That is not the same thing as saying a vote is required in order to reject a nomination. (Note, I’m not arguing that’s what the law should be, but rather that’s what it is. I think all judicial confirmations should require at least a couple of votes from the minority party, and I think all nominations should get a quick hearing and an up or down vote on the Senate floor.) If that was the case, it would have been illegal for the Reps to bottle up Clinton nominations… i.e. keep them from ever making it to committee. Also, if we didn’t have process that was decided in the domain of the Senate rules, there would be no such thing as a filibuster. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it doesn’t seem to be in the Constitution. I had no idea how much of the Senate relied on Senate rules before the judicial fight. I actually don’t think it should be that way. I think you should be able to read the Constitution and not have to argue about <>intent<> to figure it out. The fact that Prof (or any of us) needs to reference ANY external document (The Federalist Papers, Declaration of Independence, Ben Franklin notes while on the shitter, etc) to define the <>intent<> of our Constitution speaks for itself… THIS STUFF SHOULD BE SPELLED OUT. Bring it on Lawyer Curmudgeon. You can skip right past <>our two party system sucks<> and weigh in based on law. 🙂

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  65. C.G., “<>Every single person that made the claim that the Constitution demanded an up or down vote on judges was lying.<>“Male bovine stinky-poo!<>However, what is also clear by a reading of the Constitution, is that the method for rejecting a nomination by definition falls to the rules of the senate. The Constitution is silent on this matter.<>The <>clear<> reading of the Constitution AND the founder’s own words describing the reasoning and process of appointing in Federalist #76 leaves no doubt that the Presidential power is “nomination” and that the Senate power rests in rejecting appointments. And all they would need to do so was a mere majority vote. Its not very complicated, unless we start extracting nuances from the prenumbra of the Constitution.<>…but currently rejecting of judges falls in the domain of Senate rules.<>Not the Senate rules, but on the Senate itself (unless you were kidding about the “clear” reading of the Constitution). The body must accept or reject. Making up childish games after a two century track record should be shameful to the party with no-shame. Sure, they could change the rules to <>mooning<> the nominee. But decorum, all too uncommon sense, and 214 years of tradition resting on top of the actions and procedures of the body of <>men who wrote the document<> should have a wee bit of sway, should it not?<>1) Do you want a simple majority of either party to control judicial confirmations?<>Irrelevant. We don’t have a Constitution of the parties, we have a Constitution of the people. When President Clinton was in office, regardless of how much I ideologically disagreed with him and his appointees, it was his prerogative to nominate and appoint as the Constitution directed.<>If your answer is “yes”, then you should be for a Constitutional ammendment to make it so. Leaving this in the domain of the senate rules just kicks it down the road to future rule changes. The precedence will be set that the majority in charge is free to change the rules when they decide to.<>As a parent you learn early on that you can’t tell Johnny every little thing to do and not do.((Smack.))“Johnny, don’t slap the cat.” ((Kick! – Meoooowwww!))“Johnny, why did you just kick the cat? Didn’t year hear me?”“But Mama, you said not to <>slap<> the cat. I didn’t slap.”For 200 + years it wasn’t necessary to spell it out. I guess after generations of Government education, we’ve descended to having even rudimentary procedures amended to the Constitution because no one has the historical knowledge or clarity of thought to determine what to do. However, another problem raises its head for my friends like Common Good who don’t give a flaming rip what original intent was, so codifying the procedures into words of an amendment merely pass the buck to the next generation to determine what it meant.<>…then you have to address the definition of minority participation.<>Actually, no we don’t. We did not elect groups. We elected people. Those people are to represent their constituents. They should vote as a representative, not as a group. The fact that people can be grouped by ideology, make of car they drive, or hairdresser IS IRRELEVANT. Send the nominee in there, everybody vote their conscience, move on to the next issue. Guess what? There will be people you agree with politically getting in, and people you don’t.This obsession of parties and their group think politic-ing and representation has left more political orphans than just Tony Plank in their wake. Let’s not pander to such misdirected efforts. This country and what it can do through this Constitution is so much greater than the current political atmosphere is creating. Prof. RicardoEmeril: “Pork fat rules!”

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  66. “I do believe that we do have a lot of “extra” invitro babies out there, and rather than let them get thrown out, they should be used for a purpose that is greater than themselves. So at this moment I am not against using the discarded embryos for the betterment of the common good.”I agree with you Randy, but I think the CG has a valid point on this one. You’d be banished from the Pro-life crowd if they heard you say that. If you want to go “all the way” with “Pro-life,” in-vitro is wrong, even the Pill is wrong (because the fertilized egg passes through the uterus). I had an 11 year old cousin die on a horse 2 years ago. And her parents have also had a few miscarriages. And yes, I certainly think my 11 year cousin was a more valuable life than the few embryos that never made it. Let’s not kid ourselves, there is a difference. One had a brain, the others didn’t. It’s the difference between a blueprint and the actual house.I don’t recommend abortion for anyone in any circumstance, except for possibly rare life/death situations. And I think there should be restrictions all over the place.But I don’t have big problems with the Pill and In-vitro. Stem-cell research/ cloning/ etc. does make me a little uncomfortable, but I don’t think these little “beings” have any consciousness, pain, etc. I think sometimes life just has some tough choices, and we have to choose between two bad choices.The reality is, from God’s country Israel to Singapore, S. Korea, and the Czech Republic, this technology is being developed. We can join the race or not, but either way the science will be here. The Chinese will be cloning perfect marines and Olympic athletes before we know it. I may not be comfortable with stem cell research, but I’m equally not comfortable with America losing its lead in this department.

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  67. <>Frist… what a disappointment.<>It’s a shame that a quality medical doctor/surgeon would opt to convert himself into a snake politician. I watched him make all of those dishonest positions on the Senate floor over judges for hours.. you know, the cr*p that Prof just posted. Every single person that made the claim that the Constitution <>demanded an up or down vote<> on judges was lying. That includes the president, Frist, the Rep Senator boys club, previous White House lawyers, academics, etc. It’s a simple fact that it is not mentioned in the Constitution as a requirement. Confirming judges requires a simple majority… that is clear based on the Constitution. However, what is also clear by a reading of the Constitution, is that the method for rejecting a nomination by definition falls to the rules of the senate. The Constitution is silent on this matter. You can argue founder intention, or you can advocate for <>new rules or ammendments<> like I have, but currently rejecting of judges falls in the domain of Senate rules. Anyone who says otherwise is a lying. If it was a <>Constitutional option<> it would be written in the Constitution. The argument that judge blocking filibusters goes against tradition may be correct, but it doesn’t change the fact that filibusters are legal under the senate rules. Both sides revert to ugly tactics <>within the current senate rules<>.If you break down the judicial confirmation process from a higher level, it falls out quite orderly.1) Do you want a simple majority of either party to control judicial confirmations?Simple question. If your answer is “yes”, then you should be for a Constitutional ammendment to make it so. Leaving this in the domain of the senate rules just kicks it down the road to future rule changes. The precedence will be set that the majority in charge is free to change the rules <>when they decide to<>.If your answer is “no, I am not for removing the minority party from the judicial confirmation process”, then you have to address the definition of minority participation. (Note, the nuclear option amounted to zero minority participation. They could rant on the senate floor, but the Reps would vote in lock step.)So what is the best construct to keep the minority party in play on judicial confirmations? Is the filibuster <>good enough<>. If so, our work is done… leave it as the mechanism. My answer is <>yes we need the minority party in play on judicial confirmations<> AND <>no, the filibuster is not a sufficient mechanism<>… i.e. my tennis analogy and alternating agenda and judge nomination shared process between the parties. I really can’t see why anyone would actually want one party to control everything… or anything for that matter. We already have the zoo called the House of Representatives… why would we want two? < HREF="http://news.corporate.findlaw.com/prnewswire/20050516/16may2005095925.html" REL="nofollow">Think Washington would have let Coca Cola sponsor him?<>

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  68. Ok, cease fire. 🙂“<>Ever had a Chicken McNugget in Bagdad?<>”Only at gun point. The thought of it makes me ill..Re: Britney. I’ve heard exercise videos and infomercials are a hit over there.Prof. Ricardo

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  69. “In that definition of extreme poverty of less than $1/day are the doctors of Cuba, at $25/month. However, they have free healthcare, transportation, and employment by the government. Why would anybody need money in this paradise.Yoshi, since we are having sport with one another at the moment, and since I am being judged by the ideological friends that you think I keep.”Okay Prof., you’ve been officially let off the hook. Deep down inside I didn’t believe you were one of the Black Helicopter types. Sorry, I can’t help that I have little patience for consipiracy theorists. The other day this kid at school was telling a group of other kids the the “IMF own the U.S. Treasury, the U.N., the Federal Reserve Bank, and that the U.N. (which is owned by the IMF, btw) can put troops on American soil anytime it wants. I let it fly b/c I didn’t want to humiliate him, but…. I can’t take it from left, nor from the right side. “The Cuban government of Fidel Castro has condemned the United States for the high level of poverty in Latin America…-okay, I agree. I don’t like Fidel Castro either. But Cuba was poor even before Castro. And I’m sure when he falls over dead soon the money will start flowing in and out. However, if they could sell their sugar, tobacco, rum, beach resorts, etc, I think they’d have just a little more money now. A lot more money. And they’d be a market for U.S. goods, since an island needs lots of imports. It’s hard for an island to be survive on it’s own, look at all those Asian islands. All exporters.I don’t think Cubans fit into that $1 a day category though. According to the World Bank’s figures, Cuba fits into an income range of $766 – $3,035 per capita. < HREF="http://www.worldbank.org/data/countryclass/classgroups.htm#Lower_middle_income" REL="nofollow"> World Bank data <>Frankly, maybe I’m too young, but I don’t believe in “communism” nor “terrorism.” I think these vulnerable people only buy into this stuff cause they are poor and ignorant (and in a few cases of their leadership, just plain insane). So, the theory goes, if we stick a McDonalds on their land, give them a few Britney Spears CDs, we can eradicate all our ideological enemies. Ever had a Chicken McNugget in Bagdad?

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  70. Randy,I knew I would stir up the pot with that pro-life comment. Sorry, it’s the devil in me. I actually don’t think there is any need for us to debate there “pro-life” definition, because I am driven by the <>person<> and you are driven by <>a definition of life<>. Let me clarify.<>At what point do you believe that it is a life?<>It doesn’t matter to me. I value the <>person<>, not life or potential life. For me, the person and human rights happen at birth. <>If you had a two year old, and the euthanasia of this one child could cure parkinsans, would you do it?<>Jeeze, what a stupid comment. See above… rights and a person at birth. The mother’s human rights rule until then. <>Do you agree that invitro is a viable way to produce shildren for those that need a little help on the “natural” path?<>I do, but you shouldn’t. If one has a pro-life position at conception, then it is total hypocrisy to overlook the fact that many of these invitro creations are thrown away. The only out for pro-life at conception position regarding invitro is requiring that every invitro created embryo be implanted in the womb. You can’t have it both ways, allowing embryo distruction after invitro, but not allowing it for abortion. Making the case that discarding invitro embryos is an acceptable exception based on motives is laughable.<>I do believe that we do have a lot of “extra” invitro babies out there, and rather than let them get thrown out, they should be used for a purpose that is greater than themselves.<>After watching the Nova show, it turns out the best chance is with fresh new cloning from women in there 20s and early 30s… i.e. the discarded embryos from the fertility clinics don’t offer the best chance. I am now clearly for <>new<> cloning to assist scientists search for cures of disease. I am pro-life for people here struggling… it’s not even a tough call. They take a woman’s egg, remove the dna, and then insert the person/patient’s dna in the egg. This then turns into a blastocyst, and they remove the outer membrane. Without the outer membrane, and without implanting this lab creation into a womb… it can never become a person. Now the scientist can take this clump of cells (say from a 13 year old girl with type 1 diabetes), and study the process of when cells go from healthy to sick. Like I said before… AWSOME. I think those fighting this now should have to take a lifetime pledge to never use any medical advances and cures that come from it. That would include them and there children. Like I said, there is no common ground for us on this one. Good in a way… we don’t have to debate it for a week or two. 🙂Now… on to Frist in the next post.

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  71. Randy P: “<>…watching CSPAN and heard Frist and Reid talking about by-passing some of the nominees to get to the ones everyone could agree to vote on and get them over with. Frist declined, and IMO lost my respect on the floor…<>”Think of Frist as you will, I just wanted to interject that Frist’s objective was not particularly to get Bush’s appointments past, but rather to return the process to the Constitutional method. From his own words: <>The confrontation over judicial filibusters is the greatest single Constitutional issue to confront the Senate in our lifetime.That is because this issue involves the relationship between the Senate and the Presidency and the relationship between the Senate and the courts. In addition, it involves interaction between majority and minority parties within the Senate itself. The Senate confronts many important issues every year, but none of them touches the grand institutions of American democracy the way this one does.The President has the Constitutional obligation to appoint judges. And the Senate has Constitutional responsibility to offer its advice and consent. For 214 years, the Senate gave every nominee brought to the floor a fair up or down vote. Most we accepted, some we rejected. But all those nominees got a vote.In the last Congress, the minority leadership embarked on a new and dangerous course. They routinely filibustered 10 of President Bush’s appellate court nominees and threatened filibusters on six more. Organized and fueled by the minority leadership, these filibusters could not be broken. By filibuster, the minority denied the nominees a confirmation vote and barred the full Senate from exercising its obligation to advise and consent.The purpose of the filibusters was not only to keep the President’s nominees off the bench, it was to wrest effective control of the appointments process from the President. Anyone who did not pass the minority leadership’s ideological litmus tests would be filibustered. That meant a minority would dictate who the President should appoint if he expected the nominee to get a confirmation vote. This was a power grab of unprecedented proportions. And with more filibusters threatened for this Congress, the power grab would become even bolder and more entrenched.Fundamental Constitutional principles were called into question. These included the separation of powers, checks and balances, the independence of the judiciary, and negation of the Senate’s right to advise and consent. The minority claimed the right to impose a 60 vote threshold before a nominee could pass muster, for that is number needed to invoke cloture and break a filibuster. The Constitution doesn’t say that. It only requires a majority to confirm. But for a minority spinning novel Constitutional theories, the real Constitution took a back seat…<>Prof. RicardoPS….Looks like little piggy went to market.

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  72. Sorry CG that is not the true pro-life solution. A true pro-life solution is not putting the need of the many above the value of the one.Do you believe that creating something just tear it apart is a humane thing?At what point do you believe that it is a life?If you had a two year old, and the euthanasia of this one child could cure parkinsans, would you do it? Do you agree that invitro is a viable way to produce shildren for those that need a little help on the “natural” path?I do believe that we do have a lot of “extra” invitro babies out there, and rather than let them get thrown out, they should be used for a purpose that is greater than themselves. So at this moment I am not against using the discarded embryos for the betterment of the common good. I also believe that there are other options out there, and instead of fighting over “one” option we should be trying to make the others work. I liken this to the debate over judges in the Senate of late. I was watching CSPAN and heard Frist and Reid talking about by-passing some of the nominees to get to the ones everyone could agree to vote on and get them over with. Frist declined, and IMO lost my respect on the floor. We can have bi-partisan feelings about the issues, but to conduct business in a bi-partisan way to me is outrageous. I also listened all day long to them go back and forth about how they should not be voted on, or how they deserve a vote. No-one ever just sat down and went over the case log, how many reversals there were, and to what degree Owens went over the “moderate” line to be considered a conservative activist. The more I listen to these people the more I see smoke screens and mirrors.Anyway….Let’s focus on what we have, and begin the process of evaluating what is life and what is not. That is what I think should happen before we decide to just start “jump starting” life to use it in a hap-hazard fashion.

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  73. In that definition of extreme poverty of less than $1/day are the < HREF="http://ii.csusb.edu/journal/cuba/women.html" REL="nofollow">doctors of Cuba, at $25/month<>. However, they have free< HREF="http://www.studentbmj.com/back_issues/0503/life/162.html" REL="nofollow"> healthcare<>, < HREF="http://www.worldisround.com/articles/161733/photo1.html" REL="nofollow">transportation<>, and employment by the government. Why would anybody need money in this < HREF="http://www.worldisround.com/articles/161733/photo107.html" REL="nofollow">paradise<>.Yoshi, since we are having sport with one another at the moment, and since I am being judged by the ideological friends that you think I keep, you might like to know that you are not the only person who believes “<>the only reason (Cuba) is poor is we’ve choked them off with an economic blockade for 50 years.<>”“The Cuban government of Fidel Castro has condemned the United States for the high level of poverty in Latin America, stating that the “neo-liberal” economic policies supported by the U.S. “generate discontent” which demand change, according to official Cuban sources.” I’d give you the link, but…. well, we don’t want to start another one of <>those<> discussions do we? 🙂Prof. Ricardo

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  74. The statistic I have is this:1/6th of the planet(1 billion people, comprise the “Extreme poor”, live on less than $1.00 daily. These people are fighting for survival each day.The next 1.5 billion people are in the upper end of the low-income world. Death isn’t at their door, but they lack basic amenities such as safe drinking water and functioning latrines.That makes 2.5 billion people, roughly 40 percent of humanity.Another 2.5 billion people live in the middle-income world. Not middle class by our standards, but they can put their kids in school, have adequate nutrition. These are people like the Indian IT workers that fall into this category. Then finally comes the last one billion people. They come from the rich countries of the world, and also include the high-income individuals from places like Beijing and Mexico city. These make up about 17% of the world’s population.So when Wolfensohn says 5/6ths of humanity live in poverty, he’s kind of “generalizing” as I say. Randy… if you are reading… don’t get the wrong idea, this isn’t some naive socialist dream to create financial equality across the planet. Our ambition here is just to help the “extreme poor”, the poorest 1/6th of humanity, to get on the path to development and into the international system. I’ll address all the AIDS conspiracy stuff tomorrow, as well as the questions Randy posed.BTW… Pope Benedict may attend the G8 meeting in Scotland in July. If he does, I’m making a public vow I’ll start attending church again every week. Of course, the Prof. might now post a link connecting the Pope and Kofi Annon to anti-Christ as these radical right-wing wing folks now do ever since those silly Left Behind books came out…..< HREF="https://secure.endtime.com/apstore/prod_det_2.asp?ProdID=79010" REL="nofollow"> End Time Ministry <>(Hey, the funny thing is that on this fruitcake’s End Times website there just happens to be a book by William Jasper for sale. That’s the name of the author in the link the Prof. sent!!!!!)

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  75. President of the World Bank, James D. Wolfensohn is retiring, and was interviewed on PBS yesterday(Monday). He said that there are around 6 billion people on this planet, and 5 billion of them live in poverty. That is one depressing stat.

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  76. <>No, I’m all original. 🙂<>Yep, and a pretty good argument against cloning. 🙂I watched a Nova show on cloning over the weekend. I knew most of the technique, but learned a thing or two. The opportunity for scientists to actually get to study a sick persons cells (for example, a diabetic) in the process of <>going bad<> is <>AWSOME<>. We need to get over this bs and value <>persons<> over lab created <>potential life<>. That’s the true pro-life position.

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  77. Yoshi: “<>…and the Prof. sends me a link to some radical right wing conspiracy site saying the AIDS statistics are overblown…<>Yep. It’s a pretty radical group. They quoted the March 2003 issue of the <>< HREF="http://www.rsmpress.co.uk/std.htm" REL="nofollow">International Journal of STD & AIDS<><>. Since I did not wish to expend the < HREF="http://thesius.ingentaconnect.com/vl=1300071/cl=22/nw=1/rpsv/cgi-bin/linker?ini=rsm&reqidx=/cw/rsm/09564624/v14n3/s14/p222" REL="nofollow">$18.00<> per article at the journal website, I used the article from the subversive material. I also quoted from the Communist Manifesto on WilderBlog, so you may want to chastise me for that too.The World Health Organization < HREF="http://www.agi-usa.org/pubs/journals/2905603.html#2" REL="nofollow">did not agree with the results<> of the “three review articles” from the International Journal of STD & AIDS, only in that they did not consider medical transmission the <>predominant<> mode of transmission of HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa.But there are reputable (though you make think of them as “crap” and “scary and comical”) organizations worried about medical transmission. For instance, the < HREF="http://www.phrusa.org/campaigns/aids/who_031303/intro.html" REL="nofollow">Health Action AIDS campaign disagrees with the WHO<> in a paragraph as follows: <>In the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the risk of HIV transmission in health care settings received considerable attention. Studies in the mid-1980s suggested its importance to the emerging HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa, with crude risk measures even associating a higher proportion of HIV infections with medical injections than with measures of sexual exposure(2). In 1987, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed universal precautions, measures to protect against the transmission of HIV and other bloodborne pathogens in the medical setting. When the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded in 1988, however, that about 90% of HIV cases in adults in Africa were caused by sexual transmission, the risks of HIV transmission in the medical setting, especially from unsafe injections, <>largely dropped out of the discussion of AIDS in Africa(3)<>. Prevention efforts in Africa came to focus almost exclusively on sexual transmission, along with blood safety.More than a decade later, in June 2001, the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS that emerged from the <>UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS acknowledged the risk of HIV transmission in health care settings – and the need to do something about it….<>…While steps in the past two years have placed the issue of HIV transmission in health care settings back on the international agenda after an absence of more than a decade, the unhurried pace at which the international community is moving is inconsistent with these risks.<>Apparently I am not the only person taken in by this informtion. < HREF="http://www.africaaction.org/docs03/safe0304.htm" REL="nofollow">Africa Action<> bought it as well when they gave their executive summary of the white paper that Physicians For Human Rights gave on the subject, that I quoted above from the Health Action AIDS campaign.Randy P was correct. I am trying to argue this analytically. When I mentioned Zimbabwe above, I was not address any real need they had for grain, nor was I “<>(s)aying Africa is Zimbabwe<>” I order to “<>generalize. <>” I guess I should have said Country XYZ. My error for putting a name on an example.I am out of my league here. My compassion for my fellow man apparently does not flow through the accepted channels of secular man’s Utopia. To question efficiency or motives of the international savior organizations of the UN and others is impermissible. Yoshi: “<>Earth to Prof., Come in, do you copy?<>”No, I’m all original. 🙂Prof. Ricardo

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  78. Tony,<>Indeed, it is the second response that produces a great country. But I am totally convinced that you cannot achieve greatness without the people willing to do the first thing. The first is evidence of character; the second is evidence of wisdom.<>The verdict is in on <>greatness and character<>… it’s in short supply. The test has always been can a <>few emotional Yoshi’s<> influence those of average character. We are what we are… it is unlikely that many of us will stand on the corner handing out food to the needy. However, history proves you can convince a majority of us to fund such need through taxes. It is up to the Yoshi’s yelling fire to convince a simple majority of us of the need for a national commitment. A simple majority will do. Some things have to be done at the government level… it’s simple reality. Any concession on that matter to the “government is evil” faction translates directly to a lack of results to those that deserve our help. So Yoshi, stay emotional… it’s proof that you are still alive and fighting the good fight. Some of us <>average character<> types already have the <>tax checkbook<> ready. That’s really what the history of this country has been, hasn’t it? I little bit of character <>eventually<> influencing a threshold of conscience and reason.

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  79. CG,Indeed, it is the second response that produces a great country. But I am totally convinced that you cannot achieve greatness without the people willing to do the first thing. The first is evidence of character; the second is evidence of wisdom.

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  80. With the <>first response<>, there are <>some people<> to admire. With the <>second response<>, there is a chance you will have a society/nation to admire. In the end, the only thing worth measuring is <>results<>.

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  81. Yoshi asked, “do you think it’s possible to reconcile Christianity and Social Darwinism?”The short answer is yes. I am continually amazed by the fact, but people seem to be able to reconcile almost any difficult and conflicting ideas when they are properly motivated. I do not mean this as flippantly as it may sound: I really do stand in awe at this phenomenon at times.The real question is whether Social Darwinism as an analytical tool can be useful to a Christian, and I would still answer that question yes. The moral question, in my view, is whether we as Christians are to be satisfied with the [in]justice of the non-survival of the unfit. My view is that we clearly must not be.Here is the problem for contemporary American Christians: Social Darwinism is effective in explaining much of what we see around us. We all know enterprising people who prospered and slothful souls who did not. When you look around America and observe its incredible success it is hard to discredit the Puritan Work Ethic. And I think it is even foolish to not acknowledge that the PWE played an important role in the development of the social cohesiveness of Americans.Christians also love black and white concepts. The Bible draws a lot of neat lines and it is comforting to find more in the world around us. It is easier for those Christians who, in spite of Christ’s attack on the Pharisees, are dogmatically inclined to adopt simple answers as Truth. This is much of what I see going on in the World around me: laissez-faire capitalism has become for many an axiom defining justice.I have, of course, come to a place where I reject that thinking, or at least reject it in a pure form. As a Christian I look at the economic reality of the World and acknowledge that the invisible hand must have sufficient freedom to do its Good Work. But I also see limits as to the amount of suffering I am willing to tolerate in the name of this abstraction. So for me, the survival of the fittest test is one that does produce more good than bad, it just has its limits.As a Christian, there are two responses to the suffering whether you see the results as just or not. The first is a personal response of actually doing something about it. I stand in awe of the personal dedication of many Christians in their labors on behalf of the underprivileged and needy. And it is often the same people who spout Social Darwinism who are reaching into their own time and money banks for all the right reasons.But the second response is to try to influence our broader society to positively address the cracks and those who have fallen through. I am thinking historically in terms of the Christian response to Slavery. There were those who helped Negros to freedom and those who worked to change the law to eliminate the injustice. The former is admirable but the latter was to be the solution.I stand with those Christians of our past who recognize that capitalism for all its utility is still a worldly system. I support Capitalism because I do believe it generates more good for more people than any other system. But it is not perfect: the lessons of the Great Depression are sadly too easily forgotten. Keynes and Galbraith still have much to teach us. The flattening out of the economic cycles is a good thing for both the poor and the wealthy. To attempt to achieve a more perfect economic union is not to disparage the underlying principals. Rather, it vindicates them in profound ways.So, yes, Social Darwinism and Christianity can be reconciled after a fashion. But in my view, those Christians that are comfortable with the hard unmitigated results to those who do not survive the trials have gone a bit off the reservation. And those who do not recognize the old maxim, “there but for the Grace of God go I”, have forgotten who is in charge and instead placed themselves in the Captaincy of their Destiny as surely as the most ardent humanist.

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  82. OK, I will try to explain this one a little better, “”Does this benefit the common good of those that helped, or do we usr the reduced priced goods to have the growing economy then help a less fortunate economy, there by “paying it forward”.”What I mean is several, at least eight, countrys and or “world” leaders are getting together to try and do some help. “Does this benefit the common good of those that helped”So do the “first fruits” of the growing economy, or increased agricultural endeavors, go to those that helped. These products will be reduced in price because of the low wages and conditions of a budding economy. Or do you contract, and or sign on to a “pay it forward” system where these cheaper goods are purchased by, say, the UN and that produce is distributed to less privlaged nations that are being prepared for the next wave of “help” to jump start their economies. If we do this we can create a system where by these poorer nations help each other, and that would be better than a big power house like Russia anyday

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  83. “1. Yoshi, you seem to be coming from a “not totally” but mostly emotional angle to help these people in Africa.”-Well, I’m getting frustrated. I reading some of the most reputable well-known economists in the world and getting these ideas, even Adam Smith himself, and even the richest man and Republican in the world, Bill Gates, and the Prof. sends me a link to some radical right wing conspiracy site saying the AIDS statistics are overblown by the evil Bill Clinton to benefit the pharmacuetical companies, and that it’s transmitted by evil U.N. healtch care workers injecting everyone with infected needles, and that Bush’s AIDS programs are a massive anti-life conspiracy to teach homosexuality and abortion. At that point all intelligence just went out the window.Those so-called references were absurd, and needed to be called out as such. “2. Prof, you are addressing this mostly from an analitical angle.”-No, more like devil’s advocate. Basically if he doesn’t like what people like Bill Gates have to say he goes and find’s some kind of pro-life psycho propaganda study to refute the facts. “Both do not serve either ends, but together you guys could do some damage.”-Well, we should all try harder then to comprehend the points the others are making. “Determine whether or not to what degree, if any at all, help can be provided”-A good place to start is the Africa Commmission link provided above. It’s very comprehensive, enlightening. It’s long, but sound bites will never teach anyone anything.“How much can be compromised to help the common good of all people.”0.7 percent of the U.S. budget is what has been determined for global, not just African, development (1 percent is 25 billion before you even go there professor.)“Can we figure out how helping these Africans can benefit the rest of the people helping.”It’s not just Africa, but generally it is….Well, aside from it being the right thing for humans to do at this point in history, when we have the knowledge, technology, and money needed to do so finally, Bill Gates can sell them a lot of operating systems. “Do we give benefits to those that are generous in their giving, i.e. produced goods from a growing economy at a slightly reduced rate.”The benefits come from increased international trade. The rising tide lifts all boats, remember? The only problem is when you are economically isolated in the Andean mountains or the savanah of Central Africa, that tide can’t reach you without a little help. When I say lift people out of poverty, I’m not talking about the poverty here in the USA. I’m talking about lifting people out of the poverty of less than a dollar a day in income. China has cut it’s poverty rate from nearly 70% of the population to merely 15% in the past 20 years. Big improvement. It can be done. “Does this benefit the common good of those that helped, or do we usr the reduced priced goods to have the growing economy then help a less fortunate economy, there by “paying it forward”.”I don’t understand this one completely. But of course giving countries access to our markets, helping them with start a “green revolution” to increase agricultural yields, relieving debt so that basic healthcare and education isn’t crowded out of the budget, that helps them create the basic infrustructure needed for long-term economic growth. There are basic pre-conditions for economic growth, just read Wealth of Nations. If you want I can give you the page numbers. “In a free society, with an overcontroling Govt. we can not have it both ways individually in the same moment.”-Look, the way I see it, if you are Bill Gates, Adam Smith, Jeffrey Sachs, CIA or WHO statistics, or any number of a few other reputable people, then you know what you are talking about. I don’t think the government over controls me. Okay, so I get a traffic ticket now and then, but… let’s not get paranoid. Besides, who controls the government? Big corporations? Yes (I’m not saying that’s all bad btw, but it’s true.)Lastly, for Prof., he asked about criteria for debt relief, that could be determined by whatever administration we have, the international bankers, the expert macroeconomists, etc.They cancelled Germany’s debt after WW2, Poland’s after the fall of communism. I’m sure they can figure out a way to qualify a country for debt relief. When the debt crowds out investment in infrastructure and human development, when it chokes off economic development…that’s a start. also, “ What about geography? Malaria? Yellow fever? Agronomic limitation due to tropical soil/weather. No access to clean water. AIDS.”“All factors dealt with better with freedom and prosperity.” Uh, prof. it’s the chicken and the egg story here. Prosperity comes AFTER these countries get out of the poverty trap. Remember that, poverty trap. Prosperity doesn’t just come out of a vacuum. Once you kick start the economy, it starts growing on its own.

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  84. I see two problems with the way this thread is playing out, In no particular order:1. Yoshi, you seem to be coming from a “not totally” but mostly emotional angle to help these people in Africa.2. Prof, you are addressing this mostly from an analitical angle.Both do not serve either ends, but together you guys could do some damage. The thread therefore should be approached as such.Determine whether or not to what degree, if any at all, help can be providedFigure out how this, if any, help will be regulatedHow much can be compromised to help the common good of all people.Can we figure out how helping these Africans can benefit the rest of the people helping.Do we give benefits to those that are generous in their giving, i.e. produced goods from a growing economy at a slightly reduced rate.Does this benefit the common good of those that helped, or do we usr the reduced priced goods to have the growing economy then help a less fortunate economy, there by “paying it forward”.In a free society, with an overcontroling Govt. we can not have it both ways individually in the same moment. Compromise Gentlemen

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  85. Here’s more stuff from the link:“Here is the blunt, unvarnished truth about the Bush AIDS initiative:• It will pour billions of dollars into the personal bank accounts of African dictators, corrupt officials, and regimes allied to terrorist organizations.”(Where do they get this crap?)“• It will pour billions of dollars into the coffers of dramatically expanded UN agencies and NGOs that have accumulated atrocious records for promoting abortion, coercive sterilization, and sex-ed programs encouraging promiscuity and homosexuality.”(Billions? It’s about about 2.5 billion a year so far, and nearly all of it goes to pharmacuetical companies here in the USA. Where in the world do they get all these “billions?”)“In short, President Bush’s AIDS initiative is a colossal betrayal of the pro-life, pro-family principles he claims to embrace. It is also a betrayal of his most loyal core constituency, far too many of whom continue to believe, against all evidence to the contrary, the president’s empty pro-life rhetoric.”Hey… you know, I don’t like people talking about my President that way. Frankly, it that actually pisses me off. Here’s one more, this stuff is both scary and comical at the same time: “Because, party labels aside, the Clinton and Bush administrations are merely ball carriers for the organized one-worlders.”?? what ??? Earth to Prof., Come in, do you copy? We do have one world. What kind of capitalist are you anyway? Prof., what’s next, a reference link to the political column in the front of a Klu Klux Klan porno-magazine? Please, in the future, use sources such as the Economist, the World Bank, WHO, the U.S. State Department or the CIA’s website. I need to read something that’s credible. The whole world isn’t a conspiracy between the United Nations, US Congress, the global warming scientists, global poverty activists, the IMF, the World Bank, the CIA, the Red “Communists,” the Bush family, the Blair government, the World Bank, Harvard University’s Economics Department, etc. to get people all to have abortions. That’s right, all this stuff about AIDS was just made up by the “liberals” and the evil “Bill Clinton.” Poor Prof. thinks it’s all a secret, sinister plan to promote “homosexuality and family planning and abortion” Good grief. Prof. Please leave a little string when you travel down these roads so that you can find your way back to reality.)

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  86. “Rewarding bad fiscal policy by giving them – How did Common Good refer to it? Oh yea – a “clean start,” will not have the likely happy outcome of them learning not to over borrow. Once again, I am talking concepts and principles. People are attracted to reward and repelled from penalty and negative consequence. If borrowing like crazy does not mean one has to pay for it, what have they learned from their policy of borrowing money?”I agree completely with this. But, we are talking about an emergency right now. This would have to be a one-off situation, never to be repeated again. Not everyone would qualify for it. It would be contingent on reforms etc. As for “internal” trade barriers, I also agree. If you were an African, I’d be arguing for these things Africans need to be doing. See that’s the thing, it’s not about pointing fingers and blaming each other. It’s about both acknowledging what our faults are and combining our efforts to make this work. That’s why it’s a partnership. Your links, however, were crap. Sorry. For God’s sake, there is an advert saying “is the U.N. trying to take your gun?” Prof., this whole time I thought you were normal. Now you strike me as one of these black helicopter conspiracy nuts. Tony, get a load of this excerpt from Prof’s link. -“Yes, the AIDS pandemic is a terrible tragedy. Will this new legislation and the vast rivers of funds it releases provide the relief, cures, and solutions that its champions claim? Unfortunately not. In fact, it is virtually certain that it will fail in these stated objectives — while succeeding fabulously in its real objectives: empowering a vast new UN bureaucracy and advancing the radical population control schemes of the one-world elite.”< HREF="http://www.commissionforafrica.org/english/report/introduction.html" REL="nofollow"> British Commission for Africa Link <>If you want to learn something from people who aren’t living in some Montana shed making pipe-bombs, click above. I think I trust Tony Blair’s Commission to set the record straight, not William F. Jasper of “NEW AMERICAN: Freedom that will not Perish.” Seriously Prof., you are like the flip side of the coin to those fools who believe George W. Bush blew up the Trade Center so he could build a pipeline in Afghanistan.

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  87. I’m going to do this one at a time. Bear with me. Prof. wrote: “I agree that there are internal and external factors affecting trade and potentially the wealth of the people.” -Good. Because that’s how it is.“However, in your move to explain this concept, you did not address my issue. Was not the issue of outsiders forcing their choice upon a sovereign nation a key argument of some about President Bush attacking Iraq? Frankly I had no answer for this since. But for your argument, I will temporarily abandon internal causes to discuss external ‘governance.'”Well, first, I didn’t really have a problem with the U.S. invading Iraq. My problem was simply doing it alone and footing the bill ourselves. As far as I was concerned, Saddam Hussein was just a gangster who had a country hostage. Second, invading a country to change the system is just a little tiny bit different than helping a country get out of the poverty trap. In the circumstances I am talking about, the international community is invited in. I don’t think we’d have to “force” them as you say. That much should be obvious.Governments, faith based groups, NGOs, would also have to justify their need for grants, it would all be very transparant and accountable. Money should be given in quarters to ensure results are being made.Zimbabwe is the exception in Africa, the worst by far, and no one would dream of helping the government of Mugabe there. That’s where missionaries and NGOs come in, assuming anyone at all gets any financial aid there. Saying Africa is Zimbabwe is what I mean when I say you generalize. Many other African countries are well governed, I can name several. Shall I bother though? On the other hand, there are Asian countries that are considerably more corrupt and yet are experiencing rapid economic growth. What gives? Not only that but “aid” under Bush’s plan is contingent on political and economic reforms in recipient countries.Third, it’s really ironic to tell Africa about governance. First we enslave their most productive members of society for 300 years, then we spend another 80 years or so making them colonial slaves in their own lands, shipping the surplus wealth up north, then we intall puppet regimes such as Mobutu Seko or arm “anti-communist” insurgents up until the 1990s, then the World Bank and IMF come in and impose draconian budgetary measures and economic systems on them, leaving Africa poorer than it was 3 decades ago. And then we say….”Pull yourselves up by your bootstraps.” Very ironic (even Satanic) I think.Prof., ever read about the Panama Canal? Did you know it took thousands of lives and more than 30 years? You know why? Little tropical mosquitoes were killing everyone off. Know how many sick days their are in Africa on account of malaria alone? How many deaths? Millions a year is the answer.Well, in Panama, the U.S. government took expensive measures to combat the mosquitoes. The private sector didn’t do this, the public sector did. And it paid off. The benefits outweighed the costs in the end. Fighting malaria alone would make a real change in the productivity of Africa. The solutions are out there. The public investment isn’t.

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  88. Yoshi, <>You appear to have this generalized understanding of things sometimes.<>I suppose that’s what it “appears” like. You see, I try view the situation based on the principles involved and the definitions of the words. I tried to offer a problem area of defining who “illegitimate” leaders were, with regards to paying debt. I’m still open to your definition. Definitions matter. Otherwise we really haven’t agreed, and without a meeting of the minds, its hard to establish a real response.I said: “However, if a nation chooses a course of governing and society that not only permits widespread poverty, but encourages it through its various influences, who then are outsiders to “force” their choice upon the sovereign nation?”The Yoshi said: “<>Here lies the basic disagreement. What if, instead of the problems being “internal,” caused not by bad governance but instead by outsider “EXTERNAL” governance. <>I agree that there are internal and external factors affecting trade and potentially the wealth of the people. However, in your move to explain this concept, you did not address my issue. Was not the issue of outsiders forcing their choice upon a sovereign nation a key argument of some about President Bush attacking Iraq? Frankly I had no answer for this since. But for your argument, I will temporarily abandon internal causes to discuss external “governance.” Yoshi: “<>Unfair trade laws anyone(?), agricultural subsidies, anyone?<>True, free trade is beneficial for all. However external trade laws are not as harmful as internal trade laws. If you are Zimbabwe, and you want grain, if the USA puts Tarriffs or an outright ban on grain to Zimbabwe, there are 275 other countries they can turn to. If the US taxes its people and in turn subsidizes its grain to Zimbabwe, the dumping of cheap grain <>could<> be harmful to the local economy. It has a couple of choices. It could enjoy the generosity of our country taxing itself for their benefit through subsidies, OR it could counter with Tarriffs to offset the subsidies up to the now imaginary “market rate.” The greatest harm would be internal controls forbidding trade, Tarriffs on all trades, etc., because these all affect their own country, whereas other countries trade modifications only affect their trade and Zimbabwe can seek trade with others as they see fit.Yoshi: “<> Crippling debt overhang anyone?<>As an external condition as unpleasant as debt is, there is a consequence to borrowing money – having to pay it back. Not all debt is acquired by Despots. Not all financiers are mobsters deserving non-payment. Bona fide countries have over borrowed. Rewarding bad fiscal policy by giving them – How did Common Good refer to it? Oh yea – a “clean start,” will not have the likely happy outcome of them learning not to over borrow. Once again, I am talking concepts and principles. People are attracted to reward and repelled from penalty and negative consequence. If borrowing like crazy does not mean one has to pay for it, what have they learned from their policy of borrowing money?Yoshi: “<> What about geography? Malaria? Yellow fever? Agronomic limitation due to tropical soil/weather. No access to clean water. AIDS.<>”All factors. All dealt with better with freedom and prosperity. Re: AIDS……..Were you aware that the < HREF="http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=17488" REL="nofollow">definition of AIDS in Africa is different<>, and a looser definition, than that used in America?We all know that in education in this country, the schools receive more money for “special education” or “disabled” children than “normal” children. Thus the financial incentive exists to label as many children “disabled” as possible. In Africa, the people are not so dumb as to ignore this concept in the AIDS community. Not much money in Malaria or Yellow Fever. Tons of money (aid) in AIDS.< HREF="http://www.thenewamerican.com/tna/2003/06-02-2003/vo19no11_aids.htm" REL="nofollow">Additionally,<> <>A series of studies published in the March 2003 issue of … the<> International Journal of STD & AIDS,<> suggests that … the main cause of the spread of the epidemic in Africa is not sexual transmission but “medical transmission.” Specifically, the studies point to the very clinics that the UN experts say are the<> cure <>as the likely<> cause <>.of the current “crisis.” In other words, the culprits are infected needles, infected instruments, and infected blood from the WHO and UN-approved medical facilities.<>and finally…<>Why does HIV in Africa disproportionately strike women? Dr. Steven M. Mosher of the Population Research Institute answers, in the PRI’s April 29th<> Weekly News Briefing:<>The answer lies in the medical transmission of HIV/AIDS. The public health sector in many African countries has simply collapsed…. The one exception to the generally dismal state of primary health care in Africa is Western-funded Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) programs targeting women. African medical workers are taught (and paid) to emphasize reproductive health procedures (contraception, sterilization, and abortion), often to the near exclusion of primary health care. Poorly equipped clinics are kept well-supplied with Depo-Provera, IUDs, and condoms. According to Dr. Stephen Karanja, the former Secretary of the Kenyan Medical Association, “Thousands of the Kenyan people will die of malaria whose treatment costs a few cents, in health facilities whose stores are stacked to the roof with millions of dollars worth of pills, IUDs, Norplant, Depo-Provera, most of which are supplied with American money.”<>Yoshi, <>“I think you underestimate how complicated economic development is.” <>Believe as you wish. I claim no expertise in analysis, nor am I an encyclopedic reservoir of international knowledge. However, I have had great amusement in the posts of those who do.Prof. Ricardo

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  89. Yea, Castro said take us out. And Lyndon B. Johnson and Nixon in SE Asia, and Reagon in Central America actually DID take a bunch of people out. If their is a just God up there, somebody is in trouble.Everyone was a bad guy in the good old Christian days before MTV arrived, back when black people couldn’t drink out of our water fountains. Castro, has killed dozens. Saddam has killed 300 thousand or so.As for the religion comments, I had a lot to say about the new global religion, Star Wars, etc., but I’ll save it for now. Let’s just say instead that I think these religions are starting to fuse together.Especially Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. I have some Muslim friends and school and when we’re talking about God, we are talking about the same one. We basically believe in the same God Socrates believed in, who lived before either Christ or Muhammed did. I think this is the general trend of the world. Just as Judaism was influenced by Zoraster and Persian/ Babylonian gods, Christianity by Greek gods, Catholicism by Roman gods, and Islam by Judaism, etc., our religious beliefs today are becoming globalized. My grandmother just today was lamenting that an entire generation of her family (my generation) has lost its Catholicism. A reflection of the post-modern, pop-culture era of globalization we now live in it’s no exaggeration to say our Catholicism been replaced by “the light side of the Force.”

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  90. Yoshi,Regarding <>Castro is no Saddam<>.We recycly so many things here, I can’t remember if you had said previously you had seen the Robert McNamara movie <>Fog of War<>. Castro was prepared to go down in nuclear flames as long as the United States was taken out. That was his advice to the Russians… take us out. Nice.

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  91. Yoshi,“National indentity is just a sentimental notion for me at this point.”Ironically, I was just thinking about “nationalism” today. I went to see the movie “Kingdom of Heaven”, which took place in 1184. It was an terrible movie, so my mind wandered a bit. The first thought was… yep, killing and war has been a permanent pasttime since the beginning of time. Particularly over religion… the movie was about Christians fighting Muslims over Jerusalem. It would seem since the beginning of time, man tends to be both 1) a very violent creature AND 2) tends to be a pack animal. Obviously Christianity and Islam could be viewed as forms of <>packs<>, but the mother of all packs is one’s nation. It gets scary when those two packs merge. In this context, nationalism has to be considered a key building blocks to societies… it allows humans to focus their (just the males, I still think the women would stop at b*tch-slapping) brutal natures external to their nation/society. Obviously that’s not full proof, for example the Civil War… but it sure serves it purpose. The big question is can a society ever evolve past that to be more “global citizen” minded. I think the chances are greatest when the filter of organized religion is minimal, particularly fundamentalism. Fundamentalism by definition, does not play well with others. Regarding Cuba and Jeb: You should read the book <>American Dynasty<>). The Bush dynastry had major financial ties to Cuba. George H. Walker (George H. W. Bush’s grandfather) was “centrally involved” with Cuba in three major industries (sugar, rum, and railroad). Walker served as a director for seven companies (Cuba Company, Cuban Railroad, Cuban-Dominican Sugar, Barahona Sugar, Cuba Distilling, Sugar Estates of Oriente, and Atlantic Fruit and Sugar). Castro nationalized the holdings of US sugar companies in 1959. You really don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to realize this is a whole lot less about principle, and much more about principal.

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  92. Prof. said “I’m sorry that you are not pleased that I am not a yes man, rubber stamping checks to all nations, forgiving debt at will.”-There goes the professor with his generalized blanket statements again. Not once have I suggested this. Helping out during an emergency, such as 9/11, a tsunami, a hyperinflation, an outbreak of AIDS, unfair global trade rules, etc, is not rubber stamping check and forgiving debts at will.

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  93. Prof. we are so close to agreeing it’s frustrating. The only difference is I think you lack some of the pre-requistite knowledge about international affairs. You appear to have this generalized understanding of things sometimes.Prof: “However, if a nation chooses a course of governing and society that not only permits widespread poverty, but encourages it through its various influences, who then are outsiders to “force” their choice upon the sovereign nation?”Here lies the basic disagreement. What if, instead of the problems being “internal,” caused not by bad governance but instead by outsider “EXTERNAL” governance. Unfair trade laws anyone, agricultural subsidies, anyone? Crippling debt overhang anyone? I think the problem is a cross between external and internal variables. And we can and should fix the external variables. That’s only the right thing to do. If that doesn’t work, at least God can’t say we didn’t try.Besides, it only makes sense to realize that, like most complicated things, there are “internal” and “external” reasons for things. Wouldn’t you agree to that?What about geography? Malaria? Yellow fever? Agronomic limitation due to tropical soil/weather.No access to clean water. AIDS. No navigable rivers by ocean-going vessels, landlocked countries. EXTREMELY HIGH TRANSPORT costs. I read recently that the entire Sub-Saharan Africa has less roads than Poland. I don’t remember if that excluded South Africa or not, but man, that’s a huge continent with no roads!I think you underestimate how complicated economic development is. You seem to have this 1950s Cold War conceptualization of it. You need to think outside the box.It’s much more complicated than the comparison you made of an alcoholic, which I completely identify from personal experience. If you think that is a good analogy however, then you obviously don’t have enough knowledge about this topic. And these countries have hit “rock bottom” anyway. Now they need the support of their families (other nations), to help them recover. Cuba? Well, I could solve Cuba’s problems in less than 5 minutes. Everyone knows the solution. First off, at least Cuba there is a low infant mortality rate. At least a basic education, though it may be primary school. They’ve got basic healthcare. Before revulotion it was a brothel for American gangsters, with the Cubans dying of rickets in the countryside. It’s not as bad as Haiti is it? Secondly, the only reason it’s poor is we’ve choked them off with an economic blockade for 50 years. Cuba’s problem has a lot to do with “external” forces. Why don’t we have the right to buy Cuban tobacco? Sugar? Tourism? It’s our freedom that’s limited in this case. Cmon, Castro is no Saddam Hussein. No mass graves. U.S. businessmen have been lobbying for the past few years to get in there and make a fortune. I can’t understand why the government doesn’t let go of its pride and let them. Well, probably Jeb Bush doesn’t want to piss off the exiled Cubans in Florida, that’s the only thing I can think of. I notice we don’t mind trading with China, do we? Any difference? They kill a lot more people, political dissadents, etc.I say open up Cuba to U.S. businesses, and Cuba will reform politically in no time once they get a taste of that money on their tongues. Even Pope John Paul 2 demanded (and knew) this. Cuba, has “external” problems, as mentioned earlier, which stunt economic growth. Their “internal” problems would probably be resolved quickly if they could just start making money.Hell, I’d love to go there as a tourist. Book my ticket. Finally, I think we are different as I don’t see people as “foreigners”. I guess I’ve made the leap to “international citizen.” If I see someone from Cambodia it is no different than meeting some one from Atlanta, Georgia. National indentity is just a sentimental notion for me at this point. In fact, when abroad, and people ask me where I’m from, I say, “TEXAS.” So I’m a Fort Worthian first, a Texan second, an American third, a NAFTA citizen fourth, and a citizen of planet Earth fifth. So it’s hard for me to conceptualize notions like “us” or “them” in my head.Don’t worry Prof. about having all these posts directed towards you. I also know a few others are reading these, so it’s all for their education as well. Ultimately, it’s not to convince you any more than it is to convince them, and I think that’s coming along quite well. Prof. wrote: “I appreciate your good intentions, but you cannot make men do the right thing.”-With all due respect Prof, and don’t take this too hard, but the only man around here who doesn’t seem to be doing the right thing around here is you.

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  94. Yoshi: <>So basically, the entire problem with the developing world is simply that they don’t have democratically elected leaders, or just good leaders? …They aren’t in some perpetual vicious downward spiral poverty trap?…Do you have any other solutions besides “let’s just wait until Jesus gets back to fix it?”<>I like the great 20th Century philosopher Rodney King. After the LA riots sparked by his resistence to arrest and the police beating on him with night sticks, he said, “Can’t we all just get along?”I would like for other countries to permit their peoples to have liberty like what our country has and guarantees, both economic, religious, and political. However, if a nation chooses a course of governing and society that not only permits widespread poverty, but encourages it through its various influences, who then are outsiders to “force” their choice upon the sovereign nation? The consequences of Fascism may be real and painful, but as an autonomous country that chooses this for themselves, what international moral law are you appealing to that can have us intercede, that does not also open our country to the attack and influences of other nations who see <>our<> own short comings? You have mentioned on several occasions your compassion for the people of Africa. Are you willing to extend that compassion to our near neighbors with horrendous poverty in the country of Cuba? What do you propose? Their hunger pains are no less than any others, but they supposedly love their communist leader and his form of government that enslaves them in poverty. If our affairs are perfect at home, we have solved all social and economic ills, we are without political strife, and revenues runneth over the government coffers, the Constitution permitting, we could spread the good cheer to nations in need. But we are far from that.Here is an analogy for you. It is hard to see a family member acting self destructive with alcoholism. It is also hard to see those family members hurt by the alcoholism not of their own making. However, our aid to the alcoholic often covers up, hides, facilitates, or enables the alcoholic to continue his destructive behavior, the consequences of which we have partially insulated him from by our aid. Sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes it is necessary to let them hit bottom and come face-to-face with the consequences of their actions. Likewise men of different world views construct governments to protect or destroy liberty, commerce, and felicity of their fellow citizens. Regardless of their goals, the results of their actions may be dire. To what level is it prudent to tax/impoverish your own nation to whom you <>do<> have an obligation to, to address the concerns of foreign peoples whom you <>do not<> have an obligation to, but wish to elevate economically and politically, even though that would be 1) arrogant to do so on our part, thus insulting the country we seek to help, 2) possibly insulating them from the consequences of bad government or culture, or 3) estranging our selves from other countries not receiving our favoritism.I’m sorry that you are not pleased that I am not a yes man, rubber stamping checks to all nations, forgiving debt at will.I appreciate your good intentions, but you cannot make men do the right thing. In fact, as a nation, we rarely even agree on the right thing. Let’s take care of the home front first and let the missionaries and hundreds of well funded private organizations identify, infiltrate, and influence where the greatest good can be done.Prof. Ricardo

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  95. Prof.So basically, the entire problem with the developing world is simply that they don’t have democratically elected leaders, or just good leaders? They aren’t in some perpetual vicious downward spiral poverty trap? That’s very insightful of you. And easily remedied. You should let the great economists of the world in on this secret. They’ll erect statues of you in every city from Washington D.C. to Nairobi. Do you have any other solutions besides “let’s just wait until Jesus gets back to fix it?”

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  96. Prof,<>Now, people want a guaranteed ride, outcome, we all cross the finish line side- by-side and we all jump up and down screaming “We win!”<>No, that wasn’t my point at all. My point would be more about tweaking the current shared risk stakeholder equation. I’ve always viewed several parties as stakeholders in public companies (stockholders, CEOs/employees, public). When bankruptcy happens, many a CEO sail along with the same bloated pay packages. Stockholders are really suckers in the game… they are at the end of the food chain in the deal. You raised all of the valid points and questions about the items that would have to be addressed, but I’m convinced it’s doable. I think the pink sheets is actually a good analogy. During bankruptcy procedure, the stockholders would still retain x% of the new entity in stock (pink sheets or whatever). It would have to represent a percentage that did not prevent investments by others in the company going forward. I used the term “clean start” before… I’m for a “fairly clean” start. This isn’t about girlie man investing. It’s about some shady looking stuff that happens under the banner of bankruptcy law, and tilting the stakeholder risk slightly. It can be done. Sounds like you have a calculator… get after it. 🙂

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  97. Yoshi: <>“….shouldn’t have to pay for debts that are “illegitimate.””<>I agree. So define “illegitimate” leaders. Kings? Elected tyrants (Hitler)? The winner of the US year 2000 election? Would the Democrats definition of “illegitimate” (2000 election) be considered the definition? Do you have any clue how many leaders throughout history would fit their definition?Common Good said: <> “Let’s say a tech business goes bankrupt. They get there debt cleared by wiping out the stockholders. Let’s say 10 years later, after given a clean start, they turn into another Microsoft. Whether they turn into another Microsoft or not, there is never anything carried on the books regarding the original stockholders.”<>That is because, as you said, the were given a “clean start.”<>“It would seem that a company given a clean start, could carry this little asterisk on the balance sheet which says… if you make it to point $x, you own x% back to the original stockholders until they are made whole. You could make it where the provision never kicked in unless the company made it in a significant way…<>Then it is not a clean start, it becomes a contingent liability. That asterisk would have to be on every financial statement. It would affect the markets valuation of the stock, it would affect the loans made to the company. The non-stockholder stockholders would have to be tracked. Because there is a potential value to it “if the company made it big,” then it would have a market and possibly be traded. Just like stocks & options, their would be bankruptcy pink slips. When it eventually paid off, probably few of the original stockholders might still hold an interest in the contingent “if we make it big” pseudo-stock. Then, what are its characteristics? Does it get accumulated earnings? What is its basis? Would its existence keep you from recognizing a loss on your tax return? Is it covered by SEC? Reported on tracked by EPS, shares outstanding? Could it be purchased back by the company as Treasury stock?Part of owning stock, or even being a sole proprietor, is, you might just loose everything. It is a calculated gamble. In the real world, everybody knew that about stocks. You hated it, but took it like a man. Now, people want a guaranteed ride, outcome, we all cross the finish line side- by-side and we all jump up and down screaming “We win!” The great profits of stock ownership are for the <>risk<> involved in stock ownership.<>”I’ve never understood how stockholders could be completely wiped from the books for life.”<>It’s a percentage math thingy. 4% of $0 = $0. Try it on your calculator. I’ll wait for you.:)Prof. Ricardo

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  98. “Seems like something similar could be applied to countries. If 20 years from now Iraq is a booming success, why not an obligation of some sort. Of course, at this point I think we would just settle for Iraq being such a success regardless of payback. Even better, what if future repayment just went straight to the foreign aid pool… kind of a pass it on type of mentality.”This sounds like a great idea to me. Call the Nobel Prize people. Randy said: “But with that staement we have to add that we need to go in and remove all the bad tyranical Govts that are holding it all back.” No objection from me. But the fact is there really aren’t that many Saddam Husseins left out there. And where there are, no aid should be given at all. W. Bush actually has a great plan, the best out there, the Millenium Challenge, that does just this very thing. It’s a great idea. The only problem is it needs to be scaled up with full funding. We wouldn’t have to invade and depose of all these leaders, alot of developing countries are ready and eager for a partnership with the West. The just need that little boost onto the first rung of the ladder of economic development.Also Prof says, “Just like if Bush obligates the U.S. to pay, after he’s gone, we’re still liable.”Of course. We collectively elected G. W. Bush democratically. He didn’t force his regime on us, he represents us because we choose him fair and square. But if Osama bin Laden took over the USA and then ran up a huge deficit, then we Americans took up arms and kicked him out finally, I’d be damned if the creditors started knocking on my door. And so would everyone we know. That’s the difference. In the same way, Africans, or whoever this applies to, shouldn’t have to pay for debts that are “illegitimate.”

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  99. Prof and Yoshi,Good conversation. Let me throw in a “crazy” thought/question. I have had this thought before when it comes to our bankruptcy law for corporations, and it seems like it could apply to countries.Let’s say a tech business goes bankrupt. They get there debt cleared by wiping out the stockholders. Let’s say 10 years later, after given a clean start, they turn into another Microsoft. Whether they turn into another Microsoft or not, their is never anything carried on the books regarding the original stockholders. It would seem that a company given a clean start, could carry this little asterisk on the balance sheet which says… if you make it to point $x, you own x% back to the original stockholders until they are made whole. You could make it where the provision never kicked in unless the company made it in a significant way… i.e. it wouldn’t be a significant weight on the company because by definition it wouldn’t kick in at a point that would materially damage the company. I’ve never understood how stockholders could be completely wiped from the books for life. Seems like something similar could be applied to countries. If 20 years from now Iraq is a booming success, why not an obligation of some sort. Of course, at this point I think we would just settle for Iraq being such a success regardless of payback. Even better, what if future repayment just went straight to the foreign aid pool… kind of a pass it on type of mentality. Yeah.. I know, I must be smoking something.

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  100. You see Prof. The basic whole point of helping countries like Poland, or Iraq, or Japan, or whoever, isn’t about being a socialist or necessarily loving your neighbor (though that is part of it.)It’s actually about creating a global capitalist market that everyone participates in. It’s about SECURITY for all of us.That’s why if we have to subsidize Poland for a year or two to throw off the shackles of 50 years of communism, it’s actually just chump change in the grand scheme. Sometimes the ends justify the means.

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  101. “My question to you is: Why the federal government? Why not the states?, the counties?, the cities?, the regions?”Let me tell you why the Federal Government Prof. The answer is because Foreign policy and International Economic Policy should be tied to each other. When regions get destabilized because of economic problems, it is a job for the Federal Government. “Just like if Bush obligates the U.S. to pay, after he’s gone, we’re still liable. It may not be what we want, but to be a good guy ourselves, sometimes we have to foot the bar tab for the worthless brother-in-law.”Well, Bush is different than some African warlord or Saddam Hussein. There is a point where the creditor has to say to himself, “now why did I give that criminal money?” Let the market do what it does, a creditor makes a bad loan, doesn’t do the background check…. you reap what you sow. But anyway, the bondholders aren’t getting the principal back anyway. EVER. EVER. EVER. It’s a fantasy. I say let the gangsters who borrowed the money pay it back, not the people near death on account of their being too poor to live.Now the debts are crippling certain countries. The rich countries of the world co-sign on these loans, that’s how these countries got into debt in the first place. So the idea is that each nation will pay a portion of these debts off, the U.K., Germany, USA, etc. The bondholders still get their money in the end. Althouth this debt relief, like fuel-cell automobiles, is another thing I am confident will happen within the next few years. By the way, in this country, we can default on our debts. It’s called bankruptcy. Now these countries are bankrupt, but don’t have the same protection as you. There is no international bankruptcy.

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  102. Yoshi said: “<>So, say the Iraqi people, no longer having Saddam Hussein, should be absolved of its debt that ol’ Saddam accumulated?<>”No. Just like if Bush obligates the U.S. to pay, after he’s gone, we’re still liable. It may not be what we want, but to be a good guy ourselves, sometimes we have to foot the bar tab for the worthless brother-in-law.Yoshi: “<>Actually, in the case of Poland, the reverse was true. With too much debt overhang, you can not get more credit. …When the books are clean, creditors start knocking on your door again. Especially when they see the political/ economic changes accompanying this debt write-off.<>”I have no doubt it was good for Poland. But if the loans came out of my pocket, that hurts. Now it moves from loans to foreign aid. If that’s what the taxpayers, bank shareholders, or whoever is happy with, so be it. I wouldn’t mind a little debt forgiveness myself from the mortgage company. 🙂“Question for me: If you are in an impoverished society and another country comes in with aid, say free food, and that is exactly what you are trying to sell to provide for your family, what does that distribution of free food do to your business?”“<> So, we can infer that the Prof. now supports emergency aid such as tsunami relief (or other crises that compare in scope, hint, hint).<>Now, now. Let’s not trash well earned heartless conservativism with careless extrapolations. 😀 Of course as fellow compassionate humans we should help those less fortunate. However, I am sure you are talking of <> federal government<> money going to relief. Without respect to whether it is a good idea economically, socially, and politically for the U.S., one has to address the permissibility within our constitutional government….i.e., is it permitted? My question to you is: Why the federal government? Why not the states?, the counties?, the cities?, the regions? Any other association of individuals w/o regard to geography? I know these days it is neigh impossible for people to consider international anything if it is not done federally, but that is the centralized planning, socialism influence guiding our thought. BTW, I did not use “socialism” as a curse word, but as a description of perspective that biases against individual, private, or local efforts, and biases for non-individual, collective, and centralized perspective. <>Debt relief ONLY under extremely extenuating circumstances…<>If its somebody else’s money, its easy to forgive debt. BTW, can I borrow ten grand. I’ll pay you back soon. Really.Prof. Ricardo

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  103. < HREF="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/4398537.stm" REL="nofollow"> BBC Two countries’ contrasting tales <>First, I agree with you the political freedom is not only the ends, but also the means of economic growth. But look at this article. And then think about how fast China has grown….they are not really that free…So maybe economic growth isn’t contingent of political growth. Although, I still agree that “development” is not only measured in economic terms, but also by the degree of political and social freedoms people enjoy.“The problem must be identified to find the cure.”Hold this thought. This is exactly right in my opinion. Each economy is like an individual patient. We must diagnose each economies’ very particular problems and not have a general strategy for all countries. What works in Poland and Hong Kong may not work in Malawi. Circumstances are very different. “Some of the African countries have had infusions of money and material aid, but governments unconcerned for their own people intercepted the aid. So, is there problem economic or political?”The answer is Political. And don’t forget to mention that crooks like Mobutu Seke of Congo stole millions and millions, put them in foreign accounts, and was basically propped up by great heroes like Ronald Reagon. There was culpability on both sides. Now I appreciate the reality of the Cold War, so I’m not attacking Reagon, but I’m acknowledging that we are partially responsible for autokratic regimes. Since the early 1990s, many of these despots have collapsed since the U.S. cut them off finally.Since the Cold War, there are a lot of positive political developments in Africa, but it’s hard to keep a country stable under such stressful economic conditions.I’m reading about Poland now after 1989. They had their international debt cut 50% so they could reap the benefits of reform. If they hadn’t, much of the benefits of privatizing would have went to bankers abroad. They also had a billion dollars given in foreign reserves to stabilize their currency. Also, with a proximity to Europe, lots of foreign investment pouring in and opportunities for export. There was lots of external help in Central Europe. Germany after the WW2 was also resolved of its debts. And of course the Marshal Plan gives us the Europe (and Japan) we have today. And look what happened to Germany post WW1…hyperinflation, massive debt burden, the rise of Nazism. The Great Depression of the U.S. was ended by mobilization for war. I think in a global economy, external help is necessary, and in every historical circumstance we examine will find it. Even the American Revolution received help from France. No help from outsiders is like N. Korea and Cuba. Not a good thing. “If you find a country in economic distress, immediately look at its political and social components for a diagnosis.”-What about also geography. Landlocked countries isolated in another hemisphere. Extremly high transport costs. Lack of proximity to markets. Tropical diseases, unproductive soils, droughts, heavy rains in the jungle. Consider Bolivia, way up in the Andean mountains, then compare it to Chile. Big difference.“As regards external help. Is that free aid or loans? If free, you could wreck economic commerce.”If there were any economic commerce. Any “free” money will have to be appropriately spent on infrastructure, fighting AIDS (“Economic crisis might occur if 8% of your population is wiped out”), minimal healthcare/ education. Basically “aid” needs to be invested in the “precondition” of infrustructure so that a market can succeed and grow. “If loans, without a removal of that cause which impoverishes, the country will only acquire debt, then seek to cancel debt.” Very true and critical to understand this. So, say the Iraqi people, no longer having Saddam Hussein, should be absolved of its debt that ol’ Saddam accumulated? And let’s just hypothetically imagine Iraq had no oil? In order to stabilze Iraq, as in Eastern Europe, there would need to be some debt write-off? So you seem to agree with that. You just want to know that in Africa politically governments are in place that are making real reforms. I agree as well. “…destroying a possible good international relationship by borrowing money, then not paying it back.”Actually, in the case of Poland, the reverse was true. With too much debt overhang, you can not get more credit. Trust me, I know this from my own experience. When the books are clean, creditors start knocking on your door again. Especially when they see the political/ economic changes accompanying this debt write-off. “Question for me: If you are in an impoverished society and another country comes in with aid, say free food, and that is exactly what you are trying to sell to provide for your family, what does that distribution of free food do to your business?”Well, this happens, and it’s a problem. What happens is American farmers sell their surplus that’s rotting in the storage bins to the U.S. taxpayer (or Euro-taxpayer). Then they “DUMP” it on regions and put local farmers out of business. This is a really bad thing, and it’s a reason that “aid” is overstated. The aid in this case goes to the farmer distorting the market. It’s not addressing the problems that have been identified, as you mentioned, but merely making things worse. So, we can infer that the Prof. now supports emergency aid such as tsunami relief (or other crises that compare in scope, hint, hint). Debt relief ONLY under extremely extenuating circumstances such as regime change and economic liberalization, and U.S. farm dumping on developing countries’ markets. Hmm….I have a lot to work with here.

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  104. OT: I think off topic, can’t remember what this blog was about. 🙂< HREF="http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=597&e=1&u=/nm/media_nbc_delay_dc" REL="nofollow">DeLAY deserves every bit of abuse he gets<><>In the episode, police are frustrated by a lack of clues, leading one officer to quip, “Maybe we should put out an APB (all-points-bulletin) for somebody in a Tom DeLay T-shirt.”<>pawaaaaaaa!!!!!

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  105. Yoshi said: “<>Also, do you think that when a society has fallen deep into economic crisis, it needs external help to get it back on track?<>” Its not necessary, but could be helpful. Economic crisis might occur if 8% of your population is wiped out by a tsunami or 99% wiped out through government strangulation and centralized control ala communism. The problem must be identified to find the cure. Some of the African countries have had infusions of money and material aid, but governments (a loose use of the term considering their conduct, for sure) unconcerned for their own people intercepted the aid. So, is there problem economic or political? Both, because they are dependent upon one another. You CAN NOT have economic freedom without political freedom, AND you CAN NOT have political freedom without economic freedom. If you find a country in economic distress, immediately look at its political and social components for a diagnosis. Great poverty is rarely the cause of laziness, but is almost exclusively caused by people impoverished by a prevailing government or culture. You have to correct the problem first. No need to feed a man who still has a tight noose around his neck. As regards external help. Is that free aid or loans? If free, you could wreck economic commerce. If loans, without a removal of that cause which impoverishes, the country will only acquire debt, then seek to cancel debt. Usually not helping those who needed to be helped, but destroying a possible good international relationship by borrowing money, then not paying it back.Once a society has been impoverished, a rebellion, revolution, or overthrow of the impoverishing government/culture is necessary. Mankind has a poor record of doing this well. For an excellent example of what is involved in dissolving bonds with a tyrant and how to do it, start by reading the Declaration of Independence and study our country’s reasons and method of gaining independence.Question for you: If you are in an impoverished society and another country comes in with aid, say free food, and that is exactly what <>you<> are trying to sell to provide for your family, what does that distribution of free food do to your business?Prof. Ricardo

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  106. Prof., careful what you post, those Patriot Act people will be watching you and your family for the next few weeks now.Also, do you think that when a society has fallen deep into economic crisis, it needs external help to get it back on track? It’s a really general question, the answer can be general as well.

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  107. C.G.: “<>You are an anarchist… you don’t have a TV? 🙂<>Yes, but I think its under my stack of John Birch Society meeting flyers up at my Y2K cabin in the mountains. 🙂Prof. Ricardo

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  108. Yoshi,You are in great from today. LOL. It’s Colmes, and you are right… being the liberal at FoxNews is like being the team that plays the Globetrotters every week. Yosh… the trotters are probably a bit before your time. 🙂

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  109. I don’t watch FOX, no cable. I just have heard Sean Hannity in both March and in late November when I rented a car for a road trip. I’ve seen the FOX show in bits in pieces, it’s a set-up I think. They have Sean that looks like some J.C.Penny wearing good’ol boy from the 1950’s Midwest, and then they have Holmes, the weasel looking, East Coast “liberal” weakling. And then the scene is set for staged arguments between the two, with He-Man always winning over Skelator. There’s no business like show business.

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  110. Prof,<>OK, I’m confused. Again. Why is it y’all watch far more FOX TV than I do?<>You are an anarchist… you don’t have a TV? 🙂Have you ever heard the expression:<>His men would follow him anywhere, but only out of curiosity.<>

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  111. I was just about to remove that post actually, though I guess I was too late.Everytime I hear Sean Hannity talk it’s “Pat Tilman this,” and “Pat Tilman” that and “how dare they talk about Pat Tilman that way.” A little Fruedian psychology and anyone can read between the lines.

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  112. Yoshi,<>You said, “Speaking of Sean Hannity, I have this sense the he masterbates to pictures of Pat Tilman…”<>Dude.. you hurt me on that one. LOL. I needed a laugh… I thank you for that. I keep hoping I will see Hannity someday… maybe in an airport or something. I’m very curious to see how much hair he has on his knuckles and if he walks upright.Good god Yoshi. When I’m flipping channels tonight and I see Hannity, and break down in hysterical laughter… how am I going to explain that to my wife.

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  113. Yoshi,You said, “Speaking of Sean Hannity, I have this sense the he masterbates to pictures of Pat Tilman…”Put down the mouse, stamp out the peyote, and back away from the keyboard. You may be right, but that is just a mental imagine I did NOT NEED.

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  114. Yoshi,Speaking of O’Reilly… which agreed, is a waste of internet packets. Before the war, O’Reilly puffed himself up in full sanctimony mode as usual.. and proclaimed that if the WMD claims fall through, US credibility would be damaged beyond repair. (paraphrasing… but that’s pretty close). As far as I can tell… the puffed up one hasn’t uttered much of a peep about that proclamation since. Yep… fair and imbalanced.

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  115. Prof,She has to be smarter than her husband. I would sure vote for her over Cheney. What’s the term limits for VPs… man that’s scary.<>If this girl girl race happens we will know that America is the laughing stock of the world.<>Man… I bet that brings out some of the female lurkers on Tony’s blog. Did he get you do that? 🙂Don’t worry Prof, be happy. Christians are on a roll. Once you get some more Christians in government and on the bench, you will save us all from ourselves and going the way of Rome. Also, we are about to send that gentle soul named John Bolton to enhance our post-Iraq US charm and good standing in the world. We can just look to history how the “manly” world of Christianity has produced peace and tranquility. If we could just get back to our peaceful traditional roots. Don’t worry, be happy.

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  116. There comes a time when a person has to be man enough to ask to be rescued out of a situation. This is the time and I am that person. As I sit hear beating my skull against my desk I am recoiling in horror at the Republicans response to the Democrats. < HREF="http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=44447" REL="nofollow">Rumor is growing that Laura Bush is positioning herself for a possible Presidential run<>. This ludicrous act can only be done in response to Senator Hillary RODHAM Clinton supposed run for 2008. If this girl girl race happens we will know that America is the laughing stock of the world. Men have forfeited any leadership roles and the political parties have shut out wisdom through the ages with a historical perspective of man, for the entertainment of an American Idol race. It will be the quintessential Tit for Tat…hold that thought…release… America is in an inebriated, crack smoking, Darvon induced vertigo spiral on the road of wisdom and both parties are jumping on its back hooting & hollering to beat all. I don’t know when the next bus is leaving this planet, but I know its late or I’ve missed it.Prof. Ricardo

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  117. Honestly I’m probably more in agreement about fossil fuels than I’m letting on. I’m sure the big firms out there are already 10,000 steps ahead of me on this, they know what’s coming, and are prepared to make a fortune off it when it gets here. I seriously doubt we are going to get caught that off guard. And even if we do, I’d get some satisfaction out of watching everyone go down because of their own over-confidence. At least I can say “I tried to tell you all…”I do have confidence oil is on it’s way out by the time I’m in my 40’s. But also I think there are just way too many different minds out there concerned about global warming for it to be just a big hoax. Whether or not a tiny handful of people acknowledged that it isn’t 100% for sure, is irrelevent. At the very, very least, it’s a plausible hypothesis. And to be honest, that’s damn good enough for me. That’s not a chance I think we should be willing to take.I’ve got a little greenhouse aquarium in my room I’m looking at right now. It makes sense on a visceral gut level. Common Good, as for Bill O’Reilley, I don’t really listen that much to him. I don’t have AM radio. But I at least feel like he can be flexible and honest sometimes, (although usually way too aggressive before even hearing someone out), at least when I got to hear him. and Microsoft is huge but at least I know a ton of people who swear by Macs.

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  118. Obi-Wan Yoshi:<>“Oil is completely inelastic because without it the economy will stop dead in its tracks. It is a monopoly in that sense. There are no realistic alternatives now.”<>I agree. But the same can be said of Microsoft Windows XP. Sure there is Unix, Linux, et al., but Microsoft has the PC market covered. It is not market by license or design, but by superiority of product. Alternatives exist to automotive fuel. Let me discuss two.1) <>Electric.<> Heavy because of all the batteries. Slow because of the need to conserve battery power. Actually electrics can be outrageously powerful and they don’t have the torque curve of a traditional engine. Full on power from 1 rpm up. I’d say battery storage reserve is a key problem here. Locomotives use diesel power to create the electricity to power its “electric” locomotive engines. The pollution still exists. With vehicles getting the electricity from sources outside of the vehicle itself (non-hybrid), several more objections accrue:A) Time for “refueling” is inconveniently long.B) The source of energy used is probably polluting. Coal, etc.C) As you said the infrastructure is not in place.D) New chemicals used in current lead-acid and new designed batteries may be new sources of pollution. If there is any cost in disposing old batteries, people will pollute with them. Landfills, ditches, backyards, etc. Will this have an impact on the environment? How much? Etc.2) <>Fuel Cell.<> I’m pretty ignorant on this one. However, they aren’t bulldozing hydrogen on the road side. They have to make it either chemically or mechanically. This takes a lot of power. Where do we get this power? See item “B” above. In the land of milk and convenience, does it offer cost and other benefits enough to warrant the inconvenience of not currently having a distribution infrastructure in place? People who really want to can overcome this. Remember the diesel vehicles by Mercedes, VW Rabbit, Olds Cutlass and others from the 1970’s? You just had to go to a truck stop. How about handling hydrogen. Is it safe? Is it poisonous if it leaks into the passenger compartment? How well does it handle altitude changes, vehicular accidents, market changes?There are lots of unknowns (by me at least). I know all this about dirty fossil fuels. And with electronics and catalytic converters, it is exponentially cleaner than my old Dodge musclecar..I’m all about looking 20 years down the road. I want entrepreneurs to invent, implement, and profit from a growing market for alternatives. Not be force to change to Alternative “A” by the government, particularly when Alternative “B” was better. Bureaucrats don’t have a good track record on predicting the future. The market is extremely adaptive and resilient. If fossil fuel evaporated completely over night. From Mom&Pops to conglomerates would in short order have a multitude of alternatives that would boggle the mind. Ready for a steam powered Suburban?Prof. Ricardo

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  119. Yoshi,You strike me as a Progressive (your words: far sighted thinker)… O’Reilly is a “knuckle dragging Traditionalist”. Try and avoid aggreeing with him very often… it is bad for your health and your mind. He is the spokesman for the self-entitled zero collective obligation crowd… the absolute worse America has to offer. He has creative ways to mask that underlying ugly greedy core… but it is there under the subterfuge. Hannity… you really have to believe that man believes his sh*t actually does not stink. He is proof you can put a suit on a Gorilla. Other than that, I have no opinion. 🙂In honor of O’Reilly and Hannity:<>“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”— John Kenneth Galbraith <>

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  120. Okay, I know I sounded insensitive to Terri Schiavo. That maybe indicated I wasn’t “pro-life.” But…. Bill O’Reilly (the conservative talk show host which I probably think bests represents me), said that he did his own research, spoke to the best doctors in the world, and that Terri was a goner, she was brain dead, and that was just the reality of it all. So, not being the expert, sub-contracted that decision to O’Reilly. Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh on the other hand just have an axe to grind, I just don’t think they are sincere, they are just in show business.

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  121. Prof. I am the Pro-life type. I’m about like Randy though. I’m not going to worry about a woman taking “the Pill” and the embroyo doesn’t attach to the uterus. Or have a funeral for thawed out embroyos. I certainly believe in “family-planning.” Otherwise, I thought I’ve made it clear I think there should be tons of regulation on abortion. And if I haven’t, I am now.

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  122. “The report shows that subsidies to coal, oil and gas, measured conservatively at around $235 billion per year directly distort the global economy and hold back the development of renewables.”But even if there were zero subsidies to fossil fuels, there are still “costs” due to pollution, etc.Oil is completely inelastic because without it the economy will stop dead in its tracks. It is a monopoly in that sense. There are no realistic alternatives now. How can a market function, there is no competition because there is no infrastructure in place for another alternative? We need to start setting that in place.I heard last night on the radio that a new pipeline through Central Asia just opened. It costs billions and billions to construct. The report said it was funded by the U.S. (I assume that means me and you.) Actually, I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t have a problem with spending a 100 billion in Iraq. Or the huge grants to Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries (I will continue to add that in). Don’t get me wrong, I think we should use oil for now. But I also think we need to set the scene for 20 years from now when the oil will start trickling. What if the “developing countries” develop (as India and China are doing?) That’s how many more people sucking down the oil? It’s not good to get caught with our pants down when the oil runs out. In the same way I want to get my credit cards paid off before the interest rates shoot up sky high. It’s the exact same principle. You know, I have this characteristic I notice few American people have. I’m far-sighted.

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  123. C.G.,<>Prof… btw… is that all you have to say about the book Perfectly Legal. It’s not like you to hold back… maybe the author actually dented your convictions. Nah! LOL<>Sorry, I had 1.5 pages of small handwritten critique of the first chapter. I am progressing slowly. I’ll discuss details later.Prof. Ricardo

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  124. Yoshi: <>What’s next? Oh, I was thinking about the Prof.’s dismissal of Global Warming. <>I did not dismiss discussing it with you and others here, the previous blog, or at WilderBlog. But until I see concrete evidence from those not calling themselves dishonest that there is a real concern, I will dismiss it.<>So all this research and evidence and all those guys in Dallas posting the “Ozone alert days,” that’s all just a big, massive, world-wide conspiracy.<>Ozone alert days do not global warming make. Just like smoking is pollution and bad for your health, it doesn’t affect global warming.<>…and Prof., an accountant, have actually unlocked the mystery and they discovered it’s all B.S.<>I too have deferred the scientific details to the experts. My experts disagree with your experts. And my experts didn’t say: “<>We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we may have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.<>”Q: Do you think simplified dramatic statements are for the thinking man or the emotional type?<>If we err, it needs to be on the side of life. All our lives.<>I’m glad to hear that, ‘cause I didn’t take you for the Pro-Life type.Prof. Ricardo

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  125. Yoshi,<>Common Good, do you have any aspirin?<>Aspirin isn’t strong enough when it comes to Prof. He comes <>off track and myoptic<>, but <>very well armed<>. 🙂Yoshi… you are young, and I have the energy. I would consider it a favor if you could take on the Prof for me for a while. <>Your mission, if you decide to take it:<>Spotlight the fact that Prof’s heartfelt religious and conservative conviction on <>private volunteer charity only<> is not sufficient for the needy. Convince Prof that the message from the Gospels was more about “results” than about “procedure or methods”. Good luck… Obi-Wan Yoshi.Prof… btw… is that all you have to say about the book <>Perfectly Legal<>. It’s not like you to hold back… maybe the author actually dented your convictions. Nah! LOL!

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  126. Yoshi: <>When I said the Prof. didn’t address something, I meant he ignored the military costs of oil. I think that’s fair game.<>Shall we include the cost of homeland defense in the “subsidized” cost of office space? We lost 50,000 sq ft in the two towers alone, let alone adjoining buildings. Do we include lost wages, healthcare for immigrants, etc. in the cost of our food? We could draw numerous analogies across society, showing its interconnectedness. I don’t think we want to open that box.Lets call a subsidy a subsidy and work with that. Do oil companies get a depletion deduction? The answer is yes! Without going into details, its basically like saying that 15% of their income is not subject to tax. If you have something wrong with this, fine. We subsidize homeowners, parents who farm out to daycare, makin’ babies (child tax credit), etc. We reward some activities and circumstances and penalize others. Somewhere in time after Noah parked the boat, they felt it necessary to give a depletion deduction. Probably got tired of horse poo on the streets. They obviously didn’t ask me for my opinion. 🙂 But if it lowered <>my fuel costs<>, then I must have received a subsidy too…indirectly, of course. You, therefore, also received a energy subsidy. Now take that savings and invest it into alternative energy. K?Prof. Ricardo

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  127. Now for the oil conversation:< HREF="http://www.neweconomics.org/gen/news_pop.aspx" REL="nofollow"> neweconomics <>“The report shows that subsidies to coal, oil and gas, measured conservatively at around $235 billion per year directly distort the global economy and hold back the development of renewables. The energy industry is further skewed by the fact that the direct costs of damage by carbon emission – estimated by the British government at between £50 and £200 per tonne – are not factored into the price of fossil fuels.”< HREF="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3818995.stm" REL="nofollow"> BBC Similar Link <>You know, I just realized that fossil fuels have a monopoly, don’t they? Hmm, I don’t know if I’ve been taught that’s good for the market-based economy?When I said the Prof. didn’t address something, I meant he ignored the military costs of oil. I think that’s fair game. And he seemed to acknowledge the costs we all will share as a society. That’s a relief, we are making progress.What’s next? Oh, I was thiking about the Prof.’s dismissal of Global Warming. So all this research and evidence and all those guys in Dallas posting the “Ozone alert days,” that’s all just a big, massive, world-wide conspiracy. And Rush Limbaugh, a guy who’s college degree was in Communications, and Prof., an accountant, have actually unlocked the mystery and they discovered it’s all B.S. That will make a great movie!Prof., you know in Economics we learn about “Specialization.” It’s what helps us grow. Doctors specialize in healthcare, accountants in accounting, and so on and so forth. I don’t really have time to spend 15 years learning about Earth Science, so I’m going to sub-contract that out to the scientists. And if they say it, then I’m just going to go out on an edge and trust they know what they are talking about.Plus, Randy is right. If we err, it needs to be on the side of life. All our lives. If the scientists who dedicate their lives to this are wrong, no big deal, a new industry develops and we can still go river rafting in Alaska. If you are wrong…. we all die. One final comment. Both you and I might have different definitions of the same term. You might look at the “accounting cost,” whereas I look at the “economic cost.” That means I factor in all the “opportunity costs” as well.For example, if I start a business where I make 100 bucks a day, but I quit my existing job where I made 150 bucks I day, I am actually suffering and economic loss of 50 dollars. That’s probably why I factor in the cost of pollution cleanup and things such as this, but it’s the smart way to evaluate things.whew! Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is on its way!

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  128. I’m going to post twice, once for Christianity, the other for fossil fuel. But if anyone missed my earlier blogs, they are more important. Regarding “Christianity,” I said I was “a believer” in grace. That’s a synonym for Christianity since the other word has been tarnished. The problem isn’t with “imperfect” Christians. It’s Christians who miss the whole point, the thesis.And to be honest, I don’t think I really have the belief. I just have the hope. As for the “prevaling socialist methodogy”….This is about spreading CAPITALISM. Prosperity depends as much on collective decisions as it does on individualism. Fighting disease, promoting science, providing infrastructure, education, these are pre-conditions underpin success in a market based society. Common Good, do you have any aspirin? I’m getting a headache. As the Bible says, “there are none so blind as those who WILL not see.” I mean, do you really think these Economists who work in the World Bank/ IMF/ Paul Wolfowitz, etc, are “socialists?” Of course not. “where I am familiar with who are accountable to me and other donors. I feel that benevolence is when I reach into my pocket and give to one in need, not when I reach into my neighbor’s pocket and give his money to the one in need. A radical thought, I know.”-You are an accountant, right? 30,000 people die every day b/c they are too poor to live. Do you have enough in your pocket? The numbers don’t add it, do they? Point number 2 is this: You aren’t making “your neighbor give from his pocket.” You are asking him merely to stop TAKING! That’s the radical thought you should be having. The farm subsidies and debt overhang is choking off these economies, preventing growth. Should I even bother to post the numerical figures once again? Lastly, I want accountability more than anyone. George W. Bush, in my opinion, is supposed to be accountable to me. And the ONE Campaign doesn’t get any money, raise any money. It’s asking the government of the U.S. to fully fund Bush’s own programs, to work to reduce trade barriers, and to work in conjunction with other nations to reduce certain (not all, debts). So ultimately, the U.S. government is supposed to be accountable to you. And if you want more accountability, you’ll love the Global Fund to Fight AIDS/ TB/ and Malaria. You can go to their site to see where every grant they give goes. Transparent even for regular folks like us.

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  129. Yoshi: “<>Of course in my post I never claimed oil companies had to pay the cleanup costs, just that society does. <>”I know. But you did claim huge subsidies. Since you didn’t offer specifics, I went looking. What I found on numerous sites was the majority was health and environment, not direct subsidies. So no, you did not claim this, but the sites claiming subsidies did.“No, I noticed the old Prof. specifically seem to dance around most everything I said about fossil fuels though.”Not really.“I was saying in fact that the govt. could help new technology by building some kind of nationwide grid to repower fuel cells at existing gas stations.”If the government subsidizes it, is this fair to its competitors? I.e., if I am trying to create a real, viable alternative to fossil fuels by inventing an electric car with a range of 500 miles (almost unheard of). I’ve spent 50 million of mine, my relatives, and numerous investors money to make it ago in the market place. Then Senator Yoshi passes a bill subsidizing fuel cells by 80 billion. Now my business is sunk. Was my idea a workable good idea? We’ll never know. It wasn’t the market place that defeated it. It was the government playing unfair rewarding one alternative over another. Don’t say: well if its any good it’ll make it in the market place because <>that’s<> what I’m saying about all alternatives.“<> This costs money, but if they pulled, diverted money away that they already spend on fossil fuel subsidies…<>”I’m still trying to find those subsidies. And if they’re wrong in one industry, why are they right in another?“<>And I seriously doubts he believes in uniting with other Americans to help end extreme poverty, as does even Pat Robertson now.<>”I am all about helping the poor. However, my idea of helping the poor is through organizations I am familiar with who are accountable to me and other donors. I feel that benevolence is when I reach into my pocket and give to one in need, not when I reach into my neighbor’s pocket and give his money to the one in need. A radical thought, I know.“<>The irony however is that both you, Randy, and the Prof., are supposedly representing Christianity on this blog. Christianity, without a sense of social justice, is like having a Flat Screen TV and surround sound stereo systems in your house but with no electricity to power them. What I mean is “What in the world is the point of Christianity if this isn’t it?”<>”There may be reasons to criticize the Christians who have fallen short of their duties, but do not judge their <>sense of social justice<> because they did not use a prevailing socialist methodology to accomplish it by.“<> That religion is on trial as far as I am concerned. I no longer call myself a Christian anymore, b/c it’s a dead religion, worthless to me.<>I’m am so sorry. Unfortunately the world often sees imperfect Christian’s response to a world whose culture is the antithesis of God’s plan for man. If I may digress for a moment because this is far more important than arguing about fossil fuels. God is real and created everything and there is nothing I can say that can convince you of that. He has a plan of redemption for man that <>is<> worthwhile to you and me. Once someone is redeemed, he is not immediately an expert in Christianity or ready to become Pope. He is a new babe in Christ. Babe’s are cute, but they’re not very useful. They crawl around and make a mess. Because of some pretty wretched preaching, there are plenty of “baby” Christian that should have matured. They, and I count myself partly responsible, have tried more to legislate the worldly citizens into being righteous, than through changing their hearts towards Christ. There will always be excellent examples and pathetic examples of every group: politicians, Christians, auto mechanics, etc. However, If I may be so bold, even if all of the examples of Christians before you are pathetic, that will not be a worthy excuse for rejecting Jesus Christ on the day of judgement. I implore you to look beyond those who have disappointed you. With your insight into how Christian should act, why don’t you become the model Christian that others look to?<>Later that day on the Bat Channel…<>“Can I take back the part about Christianity being dead and meaningless? I now change that to “the RR’s hijacked version of Christianity is….”Your name written in the book of life is of more importance to me. Really.Prof. Ricardo

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  130. Also the clip titled “Lenny Henry” and “Toddlers” are really great to watch. I’d post on other topics on this site more often, but as it happens, EVERYTHING else justs seems pretty trivial after watching these films.

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  131. < HREF="http://www.makepovertyhistory.org/video/?pageVideo=/flv/mandela512k.flv" REL="nofollow">Make Poverty History Nelson Mandela Clip<>I would like everyone to take ONE moment of their time to click on this link and watch the video clip by Nelson Mandela. (You might want to watch the Bono video clip as well. Both actually have all the essential info one needs in about a 40 second slot of time.)Randy I think you especially will like it.

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  132. “I do not believe, however, that the RR represents the majority of Christians.”I think I sound much more cynical about Christians than I really am. Tony, of course, is representative of Christianity, as is Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, and as mentioned before, Bono of U2, and many others who I admire and respect.Can I take back the part about Christianity being dead and meaningless? I now change that to “the RR’s hijacked version of Christianity is….”

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  133. Yoshi,<>It’s now a political party to keep R rated movies and gay people off TV, and little more.<>I think that is definitely correct when describing the organized political Christianity on display in this country. I do not believe, however, that the RR represents the majority of Christians… I just think they happen to be the one’s paraded out on TV. I prefer to believe Tony represents the majority.btw… Randy… and you aren’t going to like this (neither is Tony). Reagan did great “Social” damage to this country, but I give him good marks on fighting Communism (but not the religion that he did it on his own… the economic collapse was obviously huge). He was a great actor that was able to move this country to the right. He put a pretty face on greedy and introduced the “trickle down” snake oil. His adminstration literally made up the term “Supply Side Economics”… it doesn’t exist in economic textbooks… at least not then. < HREF="http://www.rationalrevolution.net/war/trickle_down.htm" REL="nofollow">Selling the Trickle Down lie<>—Randy,<>CG how can you be so narrow minded about our great Pres <>That was after I gave him the benefit of the doubt. You should have seen what it looked like before I cleaned it up. It took me a couple of years to see the truth… I was a Shrub supporter. I spent many a conversation telling Tony that Shrub had a very good heart, but was probably just a bit over his head. After a while, if you follow his actions and not his words… “that good heart naive thing” quits working for you. The day he gave the tax cuts to the wealthy during our current economic times, I saw him for what he is … <>a corporation masquerading as a human being (thanks Nader)<>. Of course, he was at a complete disadvantage winning me over… wearing “god” on his sleeve doesn’t work for me. Tony… Madison made the list? Most seem to put FDR higher, and Washington lower. I’m 50 pages into the Washington book… already finished the war. 🙂 Next, the Convention. Small book…but good info.

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  134. “we can not take religion into the fold when deciding to take on issues like this.”This is the great thing about the ONE Campaign. ONE, basically symbolizes solidarity and unity among Americans. It’s a common denominator. So on one hand, we have left-wing (I assume) movie stars like Brad Pitt, and a bunch of vegetarian Pro-choice lesbians who work at Whole Foods, signing the petition. On the other hand, you have Pat Robertson of the 700 Club, and a bunch of Christian teenagers at a Micheal W. Smith concert signing the petition. Then you have Tony Blair weighing in, and then Nelson Mandela, and then Pope Benedict….. all asking for the same thing….It’s pushing on the government from all sides……Those earlier links on trade/ debt crisis, and the British Africa Commission especially, have a wealth of information. It would take you weeks to wade through. You can save it to favorites though.For good measure I’m going to post this again…< HREF="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/22/AR2005052200889_pf.html" REL="nofollow">High Profile Help for Africa Washington Post <>

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  135. I unlike some do not mind a little “self righteous fingure pointing” at me from time to time, as long as we realize we are on the same team, and there isn’t an inquisition attached to it. Sorry if it seemed like I thought you were self righteous. I did not, I saw it for the passion of an issue that you intended, just flipping you some grief in fun.I do believe that we have to teach people how to fish, and not just give out fish all day long. I think also that you do have to be carefull about what scripture you quote about forgiving debt from a country that wants to distance itself from christianity as much as this one does. Even though our Pres “professes” to be a christian with all the separation of church and state we can not take religion into the fold when deciding to take on issues like this. We can not have it both ways. That said I do think that we have to do something, and it almost seems like a forgivness of debt would help not only in the short run, but as an economic boost out of the hole for a long run if they can keep the ball rolling. I will also email the Pres to this effect.Thank you for the insight Yoshi.

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  136. I’m sorry if I sound harsh, or self-righteous, it didn’t seem harsh when I wrote it. This isn’t an attack on you or anyone else. But it is a challenge to everyone here, including me.Maybe it’s also passion. Jesus knocked those money changers around in the temple, didn’t he? There isn’t time to sit around, there is a tsunami-scale death rate every month on account of not simply poverty, but “extreme poverty”. We can end this “extreme poverty.” “I hope that people understand when you get the world involved you are going to have people tell you how to run things.” Well, it’s not about letting the “world” or whoever tell “us” how to run things. This petition is so that when George W. Bush attends the G8 meeting in Scotland this July, a petition will be presented to him saying “Mr. President, Americans care about this, and we give you the power and the permission to change history. Like I said, President Bush can be great. He can be something to boast about. But he needs to be prodded from us. He needs, and he WANTS, to hear it from us. Randy, signing really does make a difference I think. At the very least you’ll get updates on what’s going on concerning various related legislation. Whatever it’s worth, I really appreciate it. P.S.- I still call myself Christian, sometimes I just have to threaten a split, Martin Luther style, to get some attention. Christianity here has a blind spot, it’s my job to put the spotlight on it.

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  137. Pretty harsh words for one that falls into the “grace” category, and refutes being a “christian” because of what other people say and do in politics, but very good information, lot of reading, and yes I signed the petition and emailed it to friends and family. We will see what we see. I agree that we need to help, I hope that people understand when you get the world involved you are going to have people tell you how to run things

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  138. No Randy,I’m not just talking to you.I’ve got faith in you. (Kind of like when Luke Skywalker had faith that Darth Vader would finally come back to the light side of the force. And remember, he did!)No, I noticed the old Prof. specifically seem to dance around most everything I said about fossil fuels though. And I seriously doubts he believes in uniting with other Americans to help end extreme poverty, as does even Pat Robertson now. The irony however is that both you, Randy, and the Prof., are supposedly representing Christianity on this blog. Christianity, without a sense of social justice, is like having a Flat Screen TV and surround sound stereo systems in your house but with no electricity to power them. What I mean is “What in the world is the point of Christianity if this isn’t it?” That religion is on trial as far as I am concerned. I no longer call myself a Christian anymore, b/c it’s a dead religion, worthless to me. It’s now a political party to keep R rated movies and gay people off TV, and little more. I’m now, if one should ask, “a believer.” I believe in Grace. “Christians” that are blogging here seem to believe in Karma (“Those jungle-bunny Africans worship forest gods and polygamy,” they deserve it). Well, I admit, even old Pat Robertson has won some points with me though. He stepped up to the plate as far as I am concerned.

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  139. OK, this is the kind of thing I cannot fail to comment on: the best and worst US Presidents.Best1) George Washington – not even a contest2) Abraham Lincoln – a distant second, but way ahead of #3{now it gets harder}3) Thomas Jefferson4) FDR5) Theodore Roosevelt6) James MadisonWorst1) Ulysses S. Grant – again, not even a contest2) Lyndon Johnson3) George W. Bush – though he may “rise” on the list yet4) Richard Nixon5) Jimmy Carter6) Andrew Johnson7) Bill Clinton8) Calvin Coolidge9) John Quincy Adams

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  140. OK Yoshi,Enough scripture lectuing. Just want to get some facts here;}. Yeah I get it, and I do believe we should all help everyone. It is the best way to promote the christian base that is lacking even in the christian base. I just want to get along with everyone. I believe also that there are many many things going sround to sign on to that are not what they seem. I get letters from the DNC wanting me to get onto my Senetors not to let Bush get his way on justices, talking about nuclear options, and I get others from the RNC about enforcing the up or down vote and the “constitutional option” both sides are a crock if you ask me. Do I think there are judges out there promoting there own political parties policies…yes, from both sides….yes. I don’t like it form either stand point. I know that our world is not black and white, and the constitution can be amended. I do not however see that this is the job of the judicial and I think someone needs to review this and stop it. I am not talking about the judge in florida, bless his heart. he made the right decision based on what he had. I think this case be it from the err on the side of life standpoint should have been dealt with better on the legislative branch side, not judicial. i back that judge. anyway of on a tangent that I did not want to get on. I will go to your sites and see what I see.

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  141. Please at least read my post as I put some energy into it. It’s important enough for me to spend my time trying to pull up this info and post it, not to mention read about it and try to transfer it over to all of you. When I make a good point I usually never get a rebuttal, leading me to conclude no one has one, yet still aren’t persuaded. I hope this information at least penetrates a few heads (better yet, hearts).

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  142. Outsourcing jobs? No. Randy, I thought you were a conservative anyway? You sound like John Kerry himself.The fact is… well…. where in the world do I begin on this one? < HREF="http://www.data.org/whyafrica/issuedebt.php" REL="nofollow">the debt crisis<>< HREF="http://www.data.org/whyafrica/issuetrade.php" REL="nofollow">the trade crisis<>< HREF="http://www.commissionforafrica.org/english/report/introduction.html" REL="nofollow">Afica Commission<>I’m going to email you an article on subsidies that should give you a basic understanding on what going on, and what needs to change. I can’t write a book for you on poverty right here and now, but I can tell you that African Commission report I sent above will tell you anything you need to know if you take the initiative to find out. There is a table of contents and everything. It’s great, from Tony Blair’s government.There is a child dying every 3 seconds because of extreme, stupid poverty. We are talking because they can’t afford a 20 cent vaccination or some medicine for diarrhea. Economies that can’t develop because of landlocked countries, tropical geography, Western trade barriers, infrastructure, education, and healthcare money that’s diverted to debt payments. All these problems are very solvable. What the ONE Campaign is about is helping the most poorest countries get their hands on the first “rung” on the “ladder of development.” Once a country gets on that rung they can pull themselves up on their own, as economic growth reinforces itself. It isn’t perpetual aid, it’s temporary, like the aid to post-WW2 Europe and Japan, and today’s Iraq.But now these countries are in a poverty “trap” they can’t get out of on their own. They need some solidarity. Some partnerships.Don’t worry, they aren’t going to steal your job, they aren’t competition. These are agricultural economies.The ONE Campaign is about the U.S. meeting it’s promised goals of 0.7% of the budget on development. The promise was made long ago. It’s time to keep it. It’s also about debt relief and a reducation in trade barriers in exchange for the recipients’ reforms, their accountability and transparancy. And many, many of the recipients are faith-based by the way. Remember the story of the Good Samaritan. Or will you pass on the other side of the road? Hmm, maybe Christ will pass you as well then?

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  143. <>I believe President W. Bush still has the chance to be a great president.<>Worse president in the history of our Republic… and there is no crawling out of that hole. Of course, I didn’t get the chance to see all presidents on TV. 🙂

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  144. Yoshi,Educate me in this one. Seems like they want us to invest in development that will speed up the out sourcing of jobs on the near future. I know that this is paraphrasing and maybe incorrect, but before you grab your head and call me an idiot, just a little more knowledge please

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  145. < HREF="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/22/AR2005052200889_pf.html" REL="nofollow">Africa Gets High Profile Help<>By the way everyone, if all who have signed the ONE Campaign can get 3 people to sign, there will be about 2.5 million signitures.Come on, we all sit on this blog site and talk and criticize different politicians, but we ouselves are part of the problem. Apathy, ignorance, and arrogance clouds all our thinking. But those things are all lies, told by the biggest liar there is. We can at least get a few friends, family members, co-workers, to send the message to Washington DC that Americans want to make extreme poverty history.I believe President W. Bush still has the chance to be a great president. I hope everyone here has put aside his/ her ego long enough to sign this petition at the very least.

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  146. “Folks did stupid stuff like cut off metal guards from around moving parts so that they could access parts better, or whatever. Is it stupid daddy’s fault for endangering the child? Nope. Should’ve had a sticker covering every stupid act, another guard, training, you name it – It’s the company’s fault.”I read you loud and clear on this one. Of course in my post I never claimed oil companies had to pay the cleanup costs, just that society does. That cost should be paid up front, so people like you don’t get a free ride on people like me, because you’ll be out of the system when the world will start needing these clean-ups. And guess who is left paying the bill, or possibly with a planet uninhabitable for my children? It’s like a grandfather who maxes out the credit, then dies and the bill collectors come for the family. Is that the moral philosophy to have?As for the anarchy, I can understand your perspective there as well. Of course, you are an accountant, you have to pick over every detail with a fine-tooth comb. It probably all seems a lot worse to you than it is.Anytime we start having a system as we do, basically a globally wide economic system, with technology beyond our wildest imaginations, it’s going to be complicated. It’s to protect us from things like the next door neighbor using his backyard to dump radioactive waste that will seep into your yard. The days of living on farms in West Virginia 300 years ago with the nearest neighbor 5 miles away are long gone. But you can always move up to a cabin in the Yukon (if they don’t start cutting all the trees down and drilling for oil there).Ultimately though the point I think I was trying to make though was that people can take collective action to invest in goods such as infrastructure, and that it doesn’t violate some kind of economic law set in stone. We don’t need to wait around for Bill Gates to have the money and initiative to do it for us. The govt.(the people collectively) created the need for the automobile industry by scrapping public transport systems 60 years ago (automobile companies bought them and then shut them down to get people dependent on cars), then built coast to coast highways for “Cold War defense”. The automobile industry lobbied for this and got it, and provided jobs for mechanics, auto parts stores, manufacturers, tire dealers, etc.The govt. created the market for it. If it hadn’t, we’d be using trams to work today probably.In the same why the government developed the interenet, and basically all the medicine innovations we have. (The private sector jumps on the bandwagon at the end of the R and D road, then markets it for the big profits. But it’s the public that bears most of the costs or development.)There isn’t that much individualism out there except for small businesses. People don’t really like risks you know. The govt. eats the risk. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this. What I am saying is that we could start granting tax breaks and subsidies to innovating entreprenuers who want to start building the next wave of American life, and help them by setting up the nation-wide infrastructure to refuel these new fuel cell cars.Or we can let some other country do it first, yet one more thing the USA falls behind on, the sleeping American hare as the turtles of the world keep passing us by. I don’t know. I guess when I was younger I used to think of America as the leader of the world. In everything. I just kind of assumed that would keep on going. Smugness and complacency are the enemy.

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  147. CG“Very good argument. In fact, I would say there is probably some useful form of Darwinism happening in this case.”This is a good argument, and we have to come to grip with reality, people have to be held accountable for their own actions, we could probably tie in billions of dollars that are going to things like, “caution hot coffee”. This is crazy to think that if you get a cup of coffee that you will not burn yourself if you spill it on your lap. And this is just one example. Every product out there has warning labels that are ridiculous. “don’t tip the vending machine over, it might crush you” really

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  148. Prof,It’s not that you don’t have good arguments, it’s that you merge too much into the “anti-government” argument. For example:A good argument: <>Product manufacturers should not be liable for someone who tries to clean his lawn mower blades before turning off the mower.<>Very good argument. In fact, I would say there is probably some useful form of Darwinism happening in this case.Bad argument:<>Our government (FDA) shouldn’t keep track of the introduction of new drugs, and keep statistics on “deaths” and the “reasons for these deaths”.<>Bad… in fact STUPID argument. Maybe it’s just me, but as a consumer, I would like to make the decision about a drug on information BEYOND that provided by the company who has invested $millions/billions to sell it to me. Sure, you will say the market will eventually point out a bad drug. The key word here is EVENTUALLY. The market correction may happen after I’m worm dirt… just great. This isn’t big brother nannyism… this is common sense.Keep trying… someone may buy it. 🙂

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  149. Yoshi: <>Prof. I am starting to think you are not in fact a “conservative” at all. Sometimes you sound like one of those Anarchists who think governments should dissolve and everyone will provide their own local security and all that.<>Close. If you looked at tax law and saw the umpty-nine volumes and hundreds of thousands of pages of regulations, notices, code, etc. AND you looked at the large volumes of OSHA requirements, AND you looked at the massive amount of regulations and laws on medical drugs through the FDA and the bodacious quantities of rules and regulations on securities transactions from the SEC, and if you . . . OK, you get the idea. Now guess what? There are communist countries in this world that think we’re not centralized enough and that our government is, well, akin to anarchy. People have too much freedom. They can travel w/o having to show their “papers.” They actually get to choose their occupation. We’re allowed to own property. Very anarchist stuff, but only relative to their restrictive societies.There is a level of freedom that none of us know. It was auctioned away for security years ago. There is a characteristic of government, as are all entities, that once created their focus becomes survival of the entity itself. Government will expand its size, its control, & its cost. People today can not imagine a time when it was your own responsibility to watch out for snake oil salesman. Today <>that<> is the government’s business. We have handed off responsibility so much that we don’t even know what level of freedom can be had.I hesitate to bring up the dreaded “F” word, but our <>founding father’s<> knew all this and designed a system that would preserve our freedoms to the point that as poor of an example as we are now to the freedom our country use to offer, people <>still<> flock to us by the millions.Anarchist? No. But <>relative<> to what we now have it might sure seem that way. I am one of the few remnants keeping the vision alive. And yes, I do realize the futility of my efforts as my fellow men embrace Big Brother and long for the day he will wipe their bottoms for them.Prof. Ricardo

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  150. C.G.,<>The bullet item was 4) Oil-related health and environmental damage, ~ $232 billion.I didn’t take that to be a “product liability” item…It appears to me to represent a fair social contract with the energy industry.<>My father-in-law dealt with product liability in the agricultural business. Folks did stupid stuff like cut off metal guards from around moving parts so that they could access parts better, or whatever. Or have their children stand on a rotary cutter while the machine is moving. Hit a bump child is maimed or dies. Is it stupid daddy’s fault for endangering the child? Nope. Should’ve had a sticker covering every stupid act, another guard, training, you name it – It’s the company’s fault. You can burn fuel efficiently, or you can commit arson. The liability for the most part should be what we choose to do with the product, individually or as society. If there are standards as to fuel quality or whatever, fine. But the end user should not be given license to kill because 100% of responsibility for the environment and health is on the oil companies shoulders. I saw it loosely tied to product liability, but more in the sense of the consequence of the end user not falling on the end user, but back up the production chain.Congratulations on 200! You seemed younger to me. 😀Prof. Ricardo

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  151. I’m going to get another subscription to the Economist, then I’ll find specific examples of subsidies. I think they are higher than 2 billion that you found. They have a huge lobby. I was thinking the both liberal and conservative Reps and Senators, not D.Cheney, would have to approve of these grants and tax breaks. So I guess I can’t really blame D.Cheney, but I was trying to expose that the bad agendas come from both sides.I don’t count infrastructure as part of the oil companies’ costs. My post didn’t if you read it closely. I was saying in fact that the govt. could help new technology by building some kind of nationwide grid to repower fuel cells at existing gas stations. This costs money, but if they pulled, diverted money away that they already spend on fossil fuel subsidies, they could finance it quickly in the next ten years or so. Net loss to taxpayers would be zero.Also, as far as I know, in Texas we have a tiny gasoline tax which finances highway construction. That’s the way it should be.The costs of pollution aren’t the responsibility of the oil companies, but they are a collective cost to the communities (the USA, me, you) that have to clean it up. So we should all chip in with our tax money to do this. Just like if we all have a party at your house, we should put a few dollars in a pot to help have the carpet shampooed the next day. That’s how societies are supposed to work, if they are to work. There are no free lunces in this life. We pay now, or we pay later. And if we pay later, we pay interest. Prof. I am starting to think you are not in fact a “conservative” at all. Sometimes you sound like one of those Anarchists who think governments should dissolve and everyone will provide their own local security and all that. Just because the government has environmental laws to protect our quality of life doesn’t mean we have some oppressive, overbearing force in our lives.Those pollution clean-up costs should be factored into the “low” cost of oil, making it in reality “higher.” Plus, what about 100 billion a year to protect Iraq. I think that is game, and is part of the costs of fossil fuels. Let’s take a vote on it on this blog. We can also throw in foreign aid to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel, or any of those nations. That’s to secure oil, not to help “poor people.”What I’m arguing is that oil is underpriced as it is. And the price already seems high (you’ll hear even Greenspan mention the threat of it to our economy)and these prices are going to get worse. We should start making the switch now so that by the year 2025 or so we can be ready. The people who manage our country should be doing this. All those fancy lobster dinners and 200 dollar haircuts they get aren’t for nothing. And also, the artic reserve oil is not enough to make a dent in the price or the supply. It’s like taking another hit on the crake pipe when you are already high enough. I don’t think we should be “white trash” enough to damage a valuable eco-system just to get a tiny bit of extra gas. I mean, when I get rich someday I want to go kayaking up there. I don’t want it all trashed out so some plus-sized Americans can drive their SUVs to WalMart for an extra few years. That’s at best a temporary solution.

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  152. Prof,I should just leave this up to Yoshi… he is hitting you with some major body blows. I like his “new math” economics. And for the record… Tony and I know I guy more conservative than you from another message board. He would have definitely been for “Chevron highways”. 😦But I have to chime in on the following.<>#4 – This is scary. If petroleum products are legal to sell, then oil companies should be able to sell them without having to guarantee how the end user will use or misuse them.<>The bullet item was <>4) Oil-related health and environmental damage, ~ $232 billion.<>I didn’t take that to be a “product liability” item… i.e. I used my gasoline wrong so I sued you. It appears to me to represent a fair social contract with the energy industry. I would state something like this: “This society agrees to let private business make profits off of OUR natural resources, in particularl oil and gas drilling. In return, society reserves the right to place regulations on this agreement to protect the health of it’s citizens and our environment”. Surely you aren’t here to make the case that oil and gas companies should just be given the “profit” end without the “responsibility” end.

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  153. Yoshi,The best I can find on oil subsidies by those complaining about them are as follows:1) Tax breaks, federal $2 billion.2) Tax breaks, low state & local sales tax, indirect, $4 billion.3) Motor vehicle infrastructure and services, $45 billion.4) Oil-related health and environmental damage, ~ $232 billion.Ok, let’s say I give you items 1 & 2. Let’s talk about how ridiculous items 3 & 4 are.#3 – Because oil companies did not build the roads, the signal lights, the road signs, highway maintenance, & ancillary infrastructures, they are considered subsidized by that cost annually? Bunk! I don’t want to drive on Exxon/Mobil roadways, Texaco/Shell toll bridges, etc. It’s not their responsibility to determine where roads, highways, and other infrastructure is placed and what it is to consist of. Maybe I misunderstood what they were talking about. Could you enlighten me and show me how that is not the communities responsibility, but is the oil companies responsibility?#4 – This is scary. If petroleum products are legal to sell, then oil companies should be able to sell them without having to guarantee how the end user will use or misuse them. I prepare tax returns and accounting. I do an excellent job. However, what somebody does with that return once they leave my office is not my responsibility it is theirs. Same with firearm sales. Save with heavy machinery sales. Same with chemical sales, same with everything. We ALL need to be responsible for our own actions. Placing the consequences of a fossil fuel addicted society on the businesses that have chosen to provide us with the fuel we legally demand is preposterous. Although, in a legal sense I understand how society is evolving from personal responsibility into blaming the deep pocket. That way we can demonize legitimate businesses and get rich off of our misfortunes. If you want to discuss the real subsidies listed under #1 & #2, I will oblige you. I have a few opinions to share in that area as well. But you probably already guessed that. 😀Prof. Ricardo

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  154. As for subsidies to “Big Oil,” I know I’ve seen references to that in the Economist magazine (Trust me, I have few original thoughts on these kinds of things). Use the Economist search engine to find “alternative fuel” articles and you’ll find these references (my subscription is up for the time being, I can’t do it myself). However, I don’t think specific subsidies are usually cited anyway. They merely imply that “Big Oil” is heavily subsidized. And I threw out that old Fortune magazine, thought I would never need it again. I’ll just have look around for something specific and I’ll post it when finding it. I think it’s safe to assume subsidies exist beyond what you imagine. All that stuff about “free markets” is undergrad propaganda. From what I hear, they tell you the truth about how it all really works in grad school. (Hint: rat-race and corruption.)

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  155. Wow, great response. I must of hit some kind of nerve!where do I start??? As for you not being an apologist for W. Bush (ironically I often am about 90% of the time), I don’t think you are. But I do wonder if you are just parroting some of these Sean Hannity/ oxycotin-popping Limbaugh types, with their sound bites and smug but false sense of confidence.“I hope to God that Cheney, Bush, and other politicians do not feel its their duty to wean us off oil. Its not their job to figure out what energy the wee peasants need this year.”-What exactly do we pay these people for then? They are somewhat of the captains of the ship, they do have roles to play, like a CEO of a company does. It is their job to avert economic crises in the future. At least, that’s what we are socialized to believe, and if not, I don’t know why they get to live in that big white house in D.C.“Right now oil is cheap, plentiful”-Tell me what gas station you’ve been going to Prof., cause I’m switching back to bikes myself. And though cars are cleaner than ever, there could be a standardized fuel efficiency requirement across the states so we wouldn’t have to have so many refineries. And that standard should be on the lower end of the scale. “That availability has been partially responsible for our many benefits in this country.”– This is true, and this is what should scare you. To listen to previous generation talk about the great old day of America, I often think how naive they are. They think we’ve got some superior genetics and morality that made us rich. But we know that in fact it was cheap oil. Lots of cheap oil. And now we have all this (look around). To say “partially responsible” is an understatement. I’d say all technology and the cheap fuel to run it is why we are wealthy today.So when it runs out…… it’s time to wake up to reality that it wasn’t genetics or morality that we got so rich on. The oil is running out, I read it, hear it everyday. In fact, I pay for it at the pump. And I watch Bush make up stories about Saddam and his nuclear missles on their way over. And of course the Chinese are buying it all up too to top it all off. I hear Greenspan warning about the high oil prices off-setting growth, etc, leading us into possible recession. These aren’t just hysterical claims. They are coming from people whose insight I trust.And replace the fossil fuel with what? Hydrogen? -I’m not a scientist. But Fuel Cells are probably the answer. Now it will take an initial public investment (yes, sometimes that’s neccessary, this isn’t the 1960’s theoretical world of economics anymore) to set up a national infrastructure for it. Hey, we built the highways in the 50s (for defense, yea right, to subsidize the auto industry and create an American dependence on automobiles), we can do this too. They can also subsidize or give tax breaks, give incentives to developers to get this stuff out there and on the market. Wasn’t the internet created through subsidies? The public sector financed the military to invent the technologies, now the private sector is getting rich off it without having to pay for the R and D. All that stuff about individualism and decentralization is for introductory economics textbooks. Collective action underpins economic success, the private sector can’t do everythingSo, how many electric/hydrogen vehicles you folks own already? My next car will certainly be that new Toyota hybrid. And to the govt.’s credit, they give tax breaks on them. (Speaking of credit, W. Bush, post-election, recently spoke pretty honestly about oil prices. He said (to paraphrase him)they are going up, and that’s the way it is, and that it’s beyond his control.) “Please tell me of these subsidies. Being a free market person I have a great interest in politicians doing stupid things like this.” – They do subsidize those Humvees with these huge tax incentives. I read about it in National Geographic. Then those little college brats whose dad buys them Humvees (I know you’ve seen them) push up prices for all of us (as refineries apparantly can’t refine it fast enough). Then of course the military budget, which is mostly centered around protecting this oil. That’s an indirect subsidy. Factor that into the cost and see how much a gallon costs at the pump. Why not tax the pump and lower the income tax? Then people who ride bikes won’t have to pay for the war in Iraq. Let the market decide the war, or let the oil companies pay for the defense.Lastly, I can’t tell you the exact subsidies that big oil gets. But I can tell you they get them, and I’ll try and look some up for you. They get massive ones. And they have a huge lobby, one of the biggest in Washington DC. We get gasoline actually much cheaper than it would be at a market price. My friend would always complain about the “high prices” of oil, and would cite the old oil company consipiracy of price fixing. I would always tell him that our oil is already underpriced to begin with. It’s being subsidized. If we paid the real price for oil, I believe we’d see some technological changes real quick as people just wouldn’t be able to drive cars anymore with fossil fuels.“I don’t think conservatives dismiss all of fossil fuel negatives.” -Neither do I. Just Dick Cheney. Really “Conservatives” and “Liberals” are indistinguishable to me. I usually look at the individual. (I really like John McCain by the way, a “conservative.”)“As YOU know, price will vary with scarcity. As oil becomes more scarce, those alternatives (alcohol, electric, hydrogen, biodiesel) will become more attractive. People will migrate to the alternatives if enough incentive exists. Any “shock” will be an act of government or terrorism, not a naturally occurring phenomena in the market place.”-Exactly. And I don’t think it’s natural if the price of oil is artificially low and then it suddenly becomes “high” to reflect the real price when it starts running out. “And if government is currently subsidizing big oil, that screws with the price information people depend on to make their decisions.”-I’m going to get back to you on finding you some info on subsidies.“You can also market the alternatives with nothing but a profit motive and I will do nothing but sing your praises.” I need the capital for that, otherwise I would. They can’t build the internet, put men on the moon, and soon clone human beings. They can develop these fuel cells in a short time, less than 20 years (I’m not saying let’s scrap oil next year by the way). The big dogs in the business out there are already getting ready for the inevitable change. The govt. could facilitate these changes by setting up the infrastructure for them, giving them tax breaks or subsidies, and letting the price of oil rise to consumers so they’ll start demanding alternatives.Sorry for any typos in advance, but I’d rather start looking for info on oil subsidies than try and correct them.

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  156. Yoshi,<>Anyway, that’s the “bad” agenda for “conservatives” refuting the negative consequences of burning fossil fuels like there is no tomorrow. That’s why I don’t trust them. They are selling out our future to make a buck today.<>I don’t think conservatives dismiss all of fossil fuel negatives. However, obsessing over their negatives leads us to rush into alternatives that don’t have a distribution network, not proven, negatives unknown, or negatives not accessed. These kinds of things have happened in the past. Give people information and let the market decide. Currently people, both conservatives and liberals, vote with their dollars and the vote is nearly unanimous, fossil fuels rock. Those businesses willing to supply our fix are not immoral, greedy, or should have any shame for doing so. They are merely providing a commodity at the market price. You are welcome to play the game and no matter how much money you make, you won’t hear me complain about it. You can also market the alternatives with nothing but a profit motive and I will do nothing but sing your praises. Game?Prof. Ricardo

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  157. Yoshi,<>…even though pro-business magazines like Fortune say it’s eventually going to catch up to us and the longer we wait the more “shock” it’s going to have on our economies. And we aren’t talking a little shock. We’re talking a big one.<> As YOU know, price will vary with scarcity. As oil becomes more scarce, those alternatives (alcohol, electric, hydrogen, biodiesel) will become more attractive. People will migrate to the alternatives if enough incentive exists. Any “shock” will be an act of government or terrorism, not a naturally occurring phenomena in the market place. If congress passes a “wean us off oil” tax of $3.00/gallon, that could be a shock. But as foreign oil price goes up, domestic production increases because unprofitable wells become profitable, exploration becomes profitable. It is government that is standing in the way of the Alaska Anwar wildlife reserve oil being tapped. It is government that made offshore drilling a sin. It is government that made opening new refineries prohibitively expensive. And if government is currently subsidizing big oil, that screws with the price information people depend on to make their decisions.Any “shock” will <>not<> be the last drop of oil coming out of the ground. It will be the government either rapidly distorting the market, or rapidly withdrawing its distortion.Prof. Ricardo

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  158. Yoshi,<>And are these “bad” characters with “bad” agendas people like Dick Cheney and W. Bush who aren’t going to try and wean us off oil (in fact they subsidize it) (wonder why? Hmm…)<> #1) I am not apologist for Cheney & Bush. Their existence has no bearing on how I feel about global warming. Zip, nadda.The bad characters of the pro-GW (global warming) group are the <>proponents<> of it. They, as my quote above suggests, realize that they don’t know if its true, and if its not, don’t let that get in the way of their agenda. GW is merely a vehicle for their agenda. Therefor their testimony, evidence, and science is suspect.#2) I hope to God that Cheney, Bush, and other politicians do not feel its their duty to wean us off oil. Its not their job to figure out what energy the wee peasants need this year. Right now oil is cheap, plentiful, and relatively clean for the environment. Compare the emissions from today’s automobiles with those of just 10, 20, 50, & 80 years ago. Almost clean enough to wrap your lips around the exhaust pipe? 😉 Our people have embraced the portable power that fossil fuels offer. That availability has been partially responsible for our many benefits in this country.#3) And replace the fossil fuel with what? Hydrogen? How do they isolate the hydrogen? It takes lots of power, power derived mostly from fossil fuels. You just moved the fossil fuels from the fuel tank to the power plant, and at greater cost to the consumer. Solar? Yep, I bet we all want to see ambulances powered by electric/solar/etc. coming down the street silently at 23 mph with frustrated occupants trying to “rush” to the scene. Admit it, fossil fuels are <>the<> best for local transportation. The public knows it, industry supports this demand, and it is not our <>representatives<> job to go behind our backs and wean us off that which is best for us.So, how many electric/hydrogen vehicles you folks own already? They are available right now. Why not voluntarily choose them for our transportation if they are the best alternative?<>< ...wean us off oil (in fact they subsidize it) (wonder why? Hmm...)<>I’m always willing to learn. Please tell me of these subsidies. Being a free market person I have a great interest in politicians doing stupid things like this. Thanks.Prof. Ricardo

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  159. “My dismissal of global warming mostly has to do with bad characters with bad agendas relying on bad science to determine the next step for our world. And that’s bad.”That’s interesting you should say that. That’s the same reasons why I dismiss most conservatives, “Christians,” and anti-globalization protesters. Though all have a little merit to them, it’s the members of these clubs that alienate me.And are these “bad” characters with “bad” agendas people like Dick Cheney and W. Bush who aren’t going to try and wean us off oil (in fact they subsidize it) (wonder why? Hmm…) even though pro-business magazines like Fortune say it’s eventually going to catch up to us and the longer we wait the more “shock” it’s going to have on our economies. And we aren’t talking a little shock. We’re talking a big one. Anyway, that’s the “bad” agenda for “conservatives” refuting the negative consequences of burning fossil fuels like there is no tomorrow. That’s why I don’t trust them. They are selling out our future to make a buck today. It’s the same reason the sugar companies don’t let the U.S. govt. food guidelines recommend low sugar intake. Money.It’s too bad we just for once can’t have a president that is a visionary and actually had long-term strategies for the country/ world. It’s not too much to ask. Maybe we could clone JFK, he seemed to at least make some damn good speeches.

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  160. “My dismissal of global warming mostly has to do with bad characters with bad agendas relying on bad science to determine the next step for our world. And that’s bad.”That’s interesting you should say that. That’s the same reasons why I dismiss most conservatives, “Christians,” and anti-globalization protesters. Though all have a little merit to them, it’s the members of these clubs that alienate me.And are these “bad” characters with “bad” agendas people like Dick Cheney and W. Bush who aren’t going to try and wean us off oil (in fact they subsidize it) (wonder why? Hmm…) even though pro-business magazines like Fortune say it’s eventually going to catch up to us and the longer we wait the more “shock” it’s going to have on our economies. And we aren’t talking a little shock. We’re talking a big one. Anyway, that’s the “bad” agenda for “conservatives” refuting the negative consequences of burning fossil fuels like there is no tomorrow. That’s why I don’t trust them. They are selling out our future to make a buck today. It’s the same reason the sugar companies don’t let the U.S. govt. food guidelines recommend low sugar intake. Money.It’s too bad we just for once can’t have a president that is a visionary and actually had long-term strategies for the country/ world. It’s not too much to ask. Maybe we could clone JFK, he seemed to at least make some damn good speeches.

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  161. Yoshi,Re: Global warming. If you were not privy to the discussion on Global warming we had recently, just go to the Tony’s < HREF="http://tonyplank.blogspot.com/2005/04/n-word.html#comments" REL="nofollow">previous blog<>. I gave a quote from a Walter E. Williams column that I think you’ll find interesting. Though I too often stab at humor, my poking fun at global warming has to do with the seriousness with which people have taken this unknown given the contradicting evidence, the presumptions necessary in the mathmatical models, and the agenda of those pushing hardest to get us to accept it.I don’t have much time at the present to deliver a crushing blow to global warming, but I have been following it in the news, radio, television, editorials, internet, books, and anywhere else I could read about it. Those who have been around the Metroplex for a good many years may remember a weatherman by the name of Herald Taft. Very well respected, died of cancer about a decade ago. One of the last things he did was contribute a great deal of time evaluating temperature increases over the last 100 years. He said there was NO indication that there was a warming trend. From what I understand, the global warming proponents have staked their claim on a mathematical model that has something like 25 variables, if any one of which if its projected values is wrong, or if the model itself is wrong, or if the measurements are wrong, or the data points are too sparse or too concentrated in the wrong areas, the whole model fails. And that’s just it, it’s a computer model. I can give you evidence tit for tat with all the global warming evidence.Now about the global warming crowd. Sorry Tony, but I’ve got to repeart a small quote from Walter Williams here:<>You say, “Williams, are the environmentalists lying and deliberately frightening us?” That’s part of their strategy. Consider what environmentalist activist Stephen Schneider said in a 1989 issue of Discover: “We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we may have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.” Here’s what former Sen. Timothy Wirth, D-Colo., was quoted as saying in Michael Fumento’s “Science Under Siege”: “We’ve got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we’ll be doing the right thing, in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.” <>These are the same chaps that claimed a new ice age was due in the 70’s. These are the same chaps that talk of a hole in the ozone. NEWSFLASH: It Is Not A Hole! It is a slight depression of about 15% and it was discovered in the 1950’s and has not since been as “thin” as it was first measured.Re: Your asthma. Asthma, cancer, Alzheimer, obesity – I am quote sure that there are a multitude of ailments in the world that are caused by pollution, both industrial and handling consumer chemicals like Diazanon, etc. Government through the FDA and other departments taken over our role of watching out for ourselves. We figure if its on the shelf, its gotta be safe. No body reads the warning labels since so many stupid labels are on products because of idiot lawyers (no offense intended) who have sued everybody over the most inane reasons. Product liability lawsuits are a real measure of how far a society/government has convinced people it will take care of them. Nutrition, or lack thereof, is a great contributor to these ailments. Most is too long for specifics, but our family has modified its diet greatly in response to allergies and for preventative measure. The outstanding growth of fast food restaurants, processed “convenience foods”, is telling. It is also a light at the end of the tunnel to see Whole Foods and Central Market doing well.My dismissal of global warming mostly has to do with bad characters with bad agendas relying on bad science to determine the next step for our world. And that’s bad.Prof. Ricardo

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  162. “I don’t know how and I don’t know why, but I’m sure its America’s fault, capitalism’s effects, and the worst offender, the religious right.”I didn’t read the article, but Prof. I wouldn’t fall into the naive trap of thinking that global warming is something that is completely blown out of proportion. It makes you sound like the huge fat guy a few days before his fatal heart attack, saying that french fries and sticks of butter doesn’t clog up his arteries. It also makes you sound like my cousin who has already ruined his credit and now tells me to max out mine (for his immediate gratification) and that when the bill comes in “things will work out.” Simply put, it makes you sound irresponsible. Anything, when out of balance, whether it be the human body, our morality, my cacti garden in my little aquarium, or the planet earth itself, can/ will come to an premature end. I don’t know if America, capitalism, etc, is the cause of the ice thickening, but I can tell you I have asthma and it just “didn’t appear” out of no where. It was an “effect” of a “cause.” And the cause was pollution/ smoke. Who’s fault was it? That honor goes to my grandfather whose smoking was more important than my lungs. Now, think of that story as a microcosm of the entire planet. All countries, economic systems cause environmental destruction. We have to at least strive to keep it to a minimum. It’s important to respect that fact, and try to be conservative (non-wasteful) and eco-conscious. We can still be practical and make lots of money and care about the planet at the same time (Just ask Toyota and Whole Foods, the market can respond to eco-friendly and health-conscious consumers). In fact, if a company wants to still have markets 30 years from now, they have to care about the environment.Trying to put concern for the environment in the narrow prism of “liberal” and “conservative” is dangerous. I think that the so-called Religious Right are somewhat responsible, as you would be, if they belittle and underestimate the environmental problems of the world in front of their children, students, listeners, etc.It basically amounts to mortgaging my (our) childrens’ future, similar to how my grandfather mortgaged my lungs. People need to think ahead. Of course I know you already know all this. It’s obvious. But there was some implication from your comment that global warming is just a bunch of nonsense.

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  163. In yet another piece of evidence condemning man for global warming, the ice sheets on Antarctica are < HREF="http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050516/full/050516-10.html" REL="nofollow">thickening<>.I don’t know how and I don’t know why, but I’m sure its America’s fault, capitalism’s effects, and the worst offender, the religious right.Prof. Ricardo

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  164. Prof,<>How about that! Tens of thousands of people erected a system independent of one another to deal with the medical needs of their community, including the indigent, whereby all persons needs were being met at the same time that healthcare personnel were being paid a decent wage to take home to their families.<>Oh… you think it is working. Doh! I get it now.Have a fine day Prof… I’m off to the golf course. Public middling golf. 🙂 Even golf gives me less of a headache then a conservative lesson from the Prof.

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  165. Common Good said: “<>Rabbits. Why won’t you acknowledge that using emergency centers as our safety-net is about as economically retarded as one could design? <>Precisely. “As one could design.” But “one” didn’t design it did they? “One” didn’t have to. It developed quite naturally and effectively in 10,000 places independent of each other. How about that! Tens of thousands of people erected a system independent of one another to deal with the medical needs of their community, including the indigent, whereby all persons needs were being met at the same time that healthcare personnel were being paid a decent wage to take home to their families. None of it was centrally planned or “designed.” A “designer,” particularly in our progressive age, would have designed an elaborate scheme of agencies, distribution centers, a healthcare ID card, application centers, central processing centers, and thirty day waiting lists to see if colds are severe enough for spending tax dollars on and to give them time enough to process the mountains of paperwork. A “designer” would have never thought it could have just happened. He would have dismissed the invisible hand that Adam Smith spoke of. Your right. To the economically ignorant, ill informed, progressive, government embracing “reasonable man” – which I wholeheartedly agree encompasses the vast majority of Americans (we’ll just call them public high school graduates) – a “designed” system is the only way that makes sense.Sad, but true.Prof. RicardoBlack Widow Spider – The original hourglass figure.

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  166. Prof,“What you are wanting to do is make it ECONOMICALLY feasible for ALL to have access.”I don’t have to make it feasible… it’s been feasible for a long time. This nation passed the wealth threshold a long time ago which makes EQUAL BASE* healthcare and education regardless of economic class a CHOICE. It may cost all of us some more taxes, it might mean we spend a little less on the military, etc… but it is definetly a choice at this point. A true meritocracy would provide everyone with an equal footing (start) regarding “health” and “education”. That’s honest meritocracy… not some advantage gained by “what you were born into”. There is no such thing as a perfect meritocracy… it’s not possible. However, what is possible is not static… possibilities are a sliding scale that marches along with the growth in wealth. The capitalism you defend so well is what’s provided for our greater choices. There is no doubt we could make choices that would defeat the common good goals we were trying to achieve… i.e. damage capitalism and the growth in wealth. Recognizing that threat however, and jumping to the conclusion that we can’t (or don’t need to) do anything from a fedeal level is just nuts. “Sometimes it seems that those intentions are secondary to implementing a National Healthcare Insurance/Plan regardless of the eventual consequences on all receiving healthcare.”You know better than that. I couldn’t be any clearer that my opinion that universal healthcare requires goverment command and control is a <>conclusion<>, not a <>motive<>. “We don’t want mediocre healthcare for all.”Well, it’s definitely not a goal, but the moral answer of that is dependent on our possibilities given our current wealth. I don’t think for a second we are limited to mediocre healthcare for all, but assume it: “we could only afford mediocre healthcare for everyone, or excellent healthcare for some”. The moral choice given that hypothetical seems pretty obvious to me… we accept mediocre healthcare. <>How would you answer that hypothetical?<> It’s a simple question… with no federal vs free market driven premises. Asked another way… how many would you accept leaving behind to have your excellent healthcare? “The greater roll that government plays, the more mediocre it will become.”Rabbits. Why won’t you acknowledge that using emergency centers as our safety-net is about as economically retarded as one could design? This society just seems incapable of removing our narrow self-interest blinders (or Christian tough love blinders)… no matter how much wealth we accumulate. The “personal responsibilty doctrine” is too simple… it gives people an excuse not to think. There are thousands of reasons people fall through our economic cracks that have nothing to do with them being bad or lazy people. Our society and nation has become too complex for your “private only” ideology. I will never convince you of that… but it’s a hoot trying. 🙂 “The poor have little, beggars none, the rich too much, enough not one.”— Ben Franklin* We will always have to define the limits of government services, that’s the price of a Reprentative Democracy. Of course, some want to get out of that responsibility by accepting an economic system as the only fairness arbiter we need.

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  167. Prof,This thread it too long. I have a response to your Universal Healthcare (UVH from now on) … but it keeps crapping out.I looked at the aleks site a bit… turns out I can add and subract some numbers. 🙂 I will look more before my 48 hours expire. I wasn’t too excited about having to download a plugin… but I did. 🙂 Looks like the site is pretty focused on math, accounting, etc. I have been thinking of more “adult non-get-a-job” type of education. Like “The Constitution for Dummies”…. “Too Dumb for Democray Remedial Training”. 🙂 I was even thinking in terms of the Prof’s “profit motive” rants. Provide a way for the “teachers/instructors” of the world to setup their own carriculum.. charge for it… and let the public and the instructors find each other. Maybe some sort of student reviews or ratings so the “hot classes” would be easily found. Of course this is just one of the many ideas I will never really do. 🙂

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  168. Common Good said:<>…lunch is calling.<> Then you don’t have much time to kill it, clean it, cook it, and eat it. Chimera? Yea, me too.The link is www – wait a second. Let me repeat myself: “W” “W” “W” 😀< HREF="www.aleks.com" REL="nofollow"> http://www.aleks.com<>Prof. Ricardo

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  169. Prof,A little birdie sent me a link to a educational website on the web… and I inadvertently deleted it. The little birdie is off today, so if you will post that link here, I will look at it. Otherwise, send the email to the little birdie again, and he will send me the email next week. 🙂I will respond to your other propaganda soon… lunch is calling.

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  170. Common Good said:<>Let me state something a little different.Economics is no longer a valid reason to avoid Universal Healthcare.<> Of course its not. Your standard is 100% participation. Economic feasibility and consequences are secondary at best.Of course this economic dismissal is a recent viewpoint of yours considering on the Curm’s web blog you have said in the past: <>For example, we don’t have the capacity ($) to keep every single person in our country on life support… i.e. keep everyone on machines as long as technology can facilitate, regardless of mental capacity. Think we have a health insurance crisis now… just go there.<>It would appear that economics matter depending on who’s Shiavo is getting gored. I think economics are a key part to PAYING for anything, or choosing who will be paying. In fact, this issue is nothing but economics. There are already doctors, nurses, drug companies, and hospitals doing what they do – healthcare. What you are wanting to do is make it ECONOMICALLY feasible for ALL to have access. At least that is what I hope your intentions are. Sometimes it seems that those intentions are secondary to implementing a National Healthcare Insurance/Plan regardless of the eventual consequences on all receiving healthcare. We don’t want mediocre healthcare for all. The greater roll that government plays, the more mediocre it will become.Of the “conservative arguments against universal healthcare,” #1 is a matter of priorities. It was expensive to go to the Moon, but in the sixties we felt it was worth it. If universal (government) healthcare <>is<> a good idea, then it should be our focus of what we can “afford.”#2 – Never said it, don’t defend it. However, because I am generally against universal (government) healthcare you have imputed positions and ideologies on me that are contrary to my nature.#3 – This IS the crux of the matter. How many people are going to Bosnia, East Germany, and Cuba for those operations? You don’t think their healthcare services have suffered from influences of a controlling government do you? The poor here are already being given healthcare. We’re even giving it to immigrants. Even the illegal variety. You are not adding to those now receiving healthcare, you are wanting to change who is responsible and how it is paid. The healthcare professional does good healthcare because of the patient. By making the purchaser of healthcare an HMO, the government, or some regulatory body, the patient becomes secondary. The healthcare suffers. You play for the one who pays the piper.The government schools are an example of this. This past century has seen the evolution of local control of schools to centralization (to a degree). From 144,102 school districts in 1930 to 15,361 school districts in 1990 with 4 times the population. The schools went from serving the parents, to serving the institution of education and politicians and the NEA and whoever else could garner sway like Planned Parenthood and such. Do we have a consensus here on the state of education in this country now vs a hundred years ago? The literacy in this country was 99+% two hundred years ago. Right now I’m being kind to say that 25% of high school graduates are functionally illiterate. Two hundred years ago there was no compulsory attendance laws – totally voluntary. Now its compulsory. Why is it local operated voluntary institutions ALWAYS out perform their centralized counterparts? I know. And it’s your job to find out before you press the issue of universal (government) healthcare any further. One so caring about healthcare would not do well knowing after an inoperable tumor of centralization engulfed their area of passion and concern, that they played a part in feeding the cancer. There are a lot of reasons to argue against mandatory universal (government) healthcare, and economics <>is<> one of them. After all the wisdom from my good friend Common Good is telling: “<>… healthcare costs are going to be a bitch.<> Prof. Ricardo

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  171. Regarding this judge nomination fight:The Senate is to “advise and consent”. Does anyone have any opinion on what the intention of “advise” was? “Consent obviously means accepting or rejecting a nomination, but what does advise mean”. Do you think the founders intended that the President consult with the Senate before nominating, or was it just a general concept to be filled in by Senate rules? Maybe that’s just the way they talked back then, and you were just suppose to take the two words together to simply mean “the Senate must consent or reject” a judge nomination.

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  172. C.G. wrote: “Yoshi… obviously when I refer to getting healthcare off of the backs of business, I am referring to employers. Are you jacking with me??I was agreeing with you that companies would benefit from not having to provide health insurance. In fact don’t they already do this by not hiring “full-time” workers? This saves them money b/c they don’t have to provide healthcare. And the medicine industry would also benefit as they sold us everything we don’t need b/c someone else (us)is paying for it.

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  173. Prof,Let me state something a little different.Economics is no longer a valid reason to avoid Universal Healthcare. Economics (incentives) of course have to be factored into any design… incentives for those who can pay. We will require “means testing” going forward for more advanced, enlightened social justice. Yoshi… obviously when I refer to getting healthcare off of the backs of business, I am referring to employers. Are you jacking with me? 🙂 The result, Healthcare becomes a contract between individuals, healthcare providers and government…. business’s are freed up to go make a profit, and a family can’t lose everything due to healthcare crisis between jobs.

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  174. Prof,That has to be the longest linked text ever put on the internet. 🙂 I tried to copy out the following, and it crapped out internet explorer. 🙂“Kids of wealthy parents grow up to be underachievers”. No, they grow up to be nasty little sluts with video on the internet, and then are given a reality TV show. 🙂Prof, most of this population needs to know more about economics… including myself. The main reason we need to be better educated on economics is because our politicians can use about any argument they choose to support their tax policy… and the public never calls them on it. When a politican’s only mantra is “lower taxes are best”, they should be asked what is the perfect tax rate. The politician should be able to answer that, because in order to take a stance on the current tax rate, and come to the conclusion lower would be better, they are implying they know how to measure the consequences of specific rates. Well… great… share that wisdom with the citizen’s who elect you so we can make our own judgements about your economic genius. Please Mr. Congressmen… tell me where the tax rate sweet spot is. The conservative arguments against universal healthcare include:1) “we can’t afford it”2) “those who can’t afford it don’t deserve it”3) “we can afford it, but by covering those that can’t, we effect the quality of those who can”.I can’t help anyone with #2 and #3… those are personal shortcomings. 🙂 Your economic point really is pointed at #1. I thought Tony did a pretty good job of shooting you down on that one before… therefore your “economic focus” is off-base. This isn’t about economics at our current stage of wealth… it’s about choice people make regarding the poor. If we really couldn’t afford it, and it really was going to destroy our economy… then of course “economics” would need to be discussed. Our current healthcare system is riddled with coverage not based on “incentives”. Unless you really believe #2 above, some people will not pay for healthcare… can’t get blood out of a turnip. I know you can’t get past this because of your “tough love” belief system… but that’s your issue, not economics. I plan on more “economics” education in the future… but not the immediate future. Include “Saving Capitalism from the Capitalist” in your son’s education. It would be good to add into the mix with pure economics text books. It was written by two PHDs from the University of Chicago… and clearly defines free markets and knocks down many of the myths (like there should be no regulation in free markets). The last chapter was really interesting… a glimpse into our future free markets in the US.. and required changes going forward… i.e. planning ahead. This was your first comment about David Kay Johnson. David mainly addressed “tax dodging” and who is carrying the tax load in this society. What does that have to do with “not understanding economic realities?” Required taxes will be collected. We can give the wealthy a blatant pass if we choose… not sure that is economics.Yes… rabbits… <>Chimera’s don’t deserve your love… they don’t even work.<>

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  175. “A common characteristic happens to children of the wealthy or other family members subsidized by a family member: they become underachievers. They rely upon the economic benefit, start to see it as their “right,” and will resent the person who is giving, not only if the funds are withheld, but also for having that power over them and their disappointment in themselves for needing or wanting it. This same social response happens to those that will have healthcare thrust upon them.”By the way, I have seen this PLENTY OF TIMES. It’s even something I have to resist myself, but I have 3 cousins who were given probably about a million between the 3 of them, and are completely spoiled, unappreciative, wasteful, etc., on account of having their father’s money thrown on them. None of the money is left, and only one of them managed to at least keep a house out of it all. The irony is they can’t stand their father and complain about him all the time. On the other hand, I’ve had “trickle down effects” from his wealth that I’ve used quite productively, and I am quite impressed by the man.

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  176. C.G.: “4) Why is the anti-Universal Healthcare faction so anti-business. You are crippling business by tying healthcare on their backs.” I actually think it would be good for business. That’s the problem. They’d have everyone on drugs and taking state of the art medical tests that they don’t need, then sending the bill to the federal government. Plus, as common good said, business would pass their own costs on to the govt.Prof, if you are buying Economics books for your kids, please take my advice and buy this one (for them and you). I have taken countless classes at UTA and have really become disillusioned with these guys who live in theorectical worlds behind desks. I actually learned to hate economics and wrote it off as complete crap by the time they were done with me. Then this book came along and inspired me again; it makes me want to get a Ph.D. It confirmed many of my intrinsic feelings I had about development problems that my hypnotized simplistic Professors at UTA couldn’t understand (truthfully they probably just didn’t really care, and are part of the dark side of the Force, unfortunately using their powers only for their own gain). Anyway, the book is brilliant, and not knowing Jeffrey Sachs is like not knowing John Keynes or Adam Smith. It’s not a hard read either. Maybe high schoolers might have a hard time… but you should get it for yourself. It might explain to you the difference between Hong Kong and Malawi.< HREF="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1594200459/qid=1116528796/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/102-5077746-0280969?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
    ” REL=”nofollow”>Jeffrey Sachs<>Or cut and paste below:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1594200459/qid=1116528796/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/102-5077746-0280969?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

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  177. Good try.1) – Have you ever been uninsured for health? There are many reasons why someone is not. Switching between ins. companies, between jobs, college students (who are not the industry standard for maturity), those wealthy you depend to finance your Utopia, Christians and other faith factions that have chosen to rely on God or < HREF="http://www.christianbrotherhood.org" REL="nofollow"/> are also included in that 21-32 million “uninsured.” Poor folks too. Why? With Parkland and JPS, why would they spend their Satelite Dish dollars on anything else?2) <>When did I ever say we shouldn’t have “incentives” built into the system. <>You keep saying its above your paygrade and I think you maybe right. Your “all in” demands that incentives be removed. What is an incentive? If someone does not follow the “incentive”, then a consequence must follow. Eventually that consequence MUST be non-coverage of the individual for not playing fair. That non-coverage is less than 100%. Similarly, that Lexus is every bit worth it’s $50k entry fee. But at $10k, some people still can’t afford it, regardless of how valuable it is. At $1k, still there are those few who can’t afford it. Maybe your incentive is not money, maybe it’s punishment. “We’ll treat that infection and cane you for using the emergency room!”3) <>I’m not “just worried” about the expensive use of the emergency centers. I am “convinced is incredibly stupid” to provide a healthcare safety net in that fashion.<>Do you think the medical personnel at these county hospitals show up everyday amazed that people are actually showing up for medical care in different degrees of need? Everybody is triaged. The emergency room in all hospitals are geared to channel true emergencies where they need to go and sniffles where they need to go. Right now people WITH insurance are going to the emergency rooms too. Their deductible is so low, or their emergency room use is covered 100%, why not? The incentive to make them quit must be financial. This “incredibly stupid” healthcare net serves all and satisfies all, maybe not <>some<> bureaucrats in Washington DC, but satisfies ALL parties involved.4) <>Why is the anti-Universal Healthcare faction so anti-business. You are crippling business by tying healthcare on their backs.<>Ok, we’re chasing rabbits here. Please tell me that you’re just trying to be obstinate and you’re not that clue-less about economics.C.G., economic and social “laws”, as it were, are every bit as real and measurable as gravity or any physical property behavior. You can not assign demand or supply by fiat. They are in response to the market. The market is nothing more than the macro inclusion of all willing buyers and all willing sellers and their available knowledge base with respect to current, past, and expected prices and availability. The “market” is not some evil invention of wicked greedy men. It exists since the dawn of man, in communist countries, prisons, and school rooms. Its everywhere. If you are standing on terra firma and you drop an apple, it will fall toward the earth’s center. If you take a known commodity (say, healthcare) and you reduce the price or BY DEFINITION everybody will have it, then those above elementary paygrades are going to know that “if we are going to get it anyway”(100% no matter what) why pay? Why play fair? Why make an effort?A common characteristic happens to children of the wealthy or other family members subsidized by a family member: they become underachievers. They rely upon the economic benefit, start to see it as their “right,” and will resent the person who is giving, not only if the funds are withheld, but also for having that power over them and their disappointment in themselves for needing or wanting it. This same social response happens to those that will have healthcare thrust upon them.There are social behaviors and laws that you do not understand. They will affect the implementation of Universal Healthcare, and deferring to a higher paygrade is not going to let you off the hook. Yoshi is not my disciple. He knows these principles. He understands these relationships and is not blind to their evidences throughout history. David Johnston, author of <>Perfectly Legal<>, appears to be ignorant of these economic laws and social behaviors as well. So many of your responses ignore basic economic and social laws. Its hard to formulate a response when you ignore the major players. I’ve just purchased several economics books for my son as we do his economics course this year. If you wish I could get you the names of a couple of the key books for you. Then you could at least argue without ignoring major components of the argument. Not trying to be condescending. You’re a smart man, but you got to come on board with the real effects of what you are proposing, at least to a point where we can unproductively argue the details. 🙂Prof. RicardoKibbles & Chimera

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  178. Wow… here is a scary thought. Senator Harry Reid made the statement on the Senate floor this moring.“If the nuclear option goes through, the RR Republicans could put Pat Robertson on the Supreme Court, and there is absolutely NOTHING that could be done about it.”Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

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  179. Prof,Good try.1) I didn’t buy into your uninsured numbers… just humoring you.2) When did I ever say we shouldn’t have “incentives” built into the system. I’m pretty sure I don’t have the details spelled out Yoshi called for. I don’t think I would have to have detailed the way to dismantle slavery, to be a proponent of getting rid of slavery. Of course “incentives” should be in the system, and of course many that are covered “would not be required to pay, incentive or otherwise”. I don’t know why the concept of “too poor” is that hard for conservatives. Poor people are a real inconvenience, aren’t they?3) I’m not “just worried” about the expensive use of the emergency centers. I am “convinced is incredibly stupid” to provide a healthcare safety net in that fashion. You really can’t expect me to put much weight in your economic grades if you are willing to defend our “emergency center healthcare safety-net” system. 4) Why is the anti-Universal Healthcare faction so anti-business. You are crippling business by tying healthcare on their backs. Talk to your buddy George Will. Speaking of Chimera … maybe the Houston Grackles are a lab creation. It’s probably a leftwing lab conspiracy… I bet those Grackles just attacked Republicans… and of course ALL lawyers. < HREF="http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=817&e=1&u=/ap/attacking_grackles" REL="nofollow">Even a Grackle Hates Living in Houston<>

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  180. Common GoodYoshi said:<>“But isn’t there access to a minimal amount of basic treatment?”<>Common good responded: <>“And where does that happen most often. The most expensive form of healthcare we have… in the emergency centers.”<>Actually, I think we’re making headway here. So far Common Good has dismissed at least 14 million of the over exaggerated number of uninsured that the LL faction has proffered. He above is responding that “yes, the people are getting healthcare, I’m just worried that it is not the most efficient and cost effective way.”He realizes that, “<>Of course “there is a limit to it”… <>and finally,<>And of course there has to be some form of “incentives” in the system.<> Meaning that there must be a cost involved like dollars and cents, probably in the form of deductibles, co-pays, and/or insurance premiums. Meaning that once there is a cost involved, that therefore some will not avail themselves to it, meaning that 100% will not, nor cannot, be insured. I think this is quite a “progressive” move by C.G. towards the free market driven that has, is, and shall continue to provide this country the best healthcare on the planet. C.G. just got a better grade in Prof economics class. It just took the tutor Yoshi to bring out his best.Prof. RicardoChimera holes, free with every dozen.

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  181. Prof,<>and places it into their savior’s hands, big government<>….we be for the Middling people… government is their only chance and a lessor evil…. government is the required tool… not something to worship.Yoshi… I haven’t quite worked up a Universal Healthcare plan yet… kind of above my paygrade. 🙂Read Krugman’s Op-Eds at the NYTimes. Unfortunately, a couple of his lastest (and best) posts on US healthcare just rolled off to archives.

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  182. Common Good,probably we are just misunderstanding each other. I’m just looking at the surface of it. What link can I go to for a basic outline on what you are endorsing so that I can get a better understanding of it?

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  183. Proffy and Yoshi…Now I know you both are smarter than this. I know I have been through this many times with Prof… I had thought Yoshi also. <> But isn’t there access to a minimal amount of basic treatment?<>And where does that happen most often. The most expensive form of healthcare we have… in the emergency centers. Pool the system, take it out of the expensive emergency domain … which leaves novel approach to emergency centers… let them deal with emergencies. Follow Krugman of the NYTimes. We spend more per person than anywhere else, and we don’t come close to getting our money’s worth. I’ll keep working with you guys… you are worth it. 🙂

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  184. Yoshitownsend said: <>… the Universal Healthcare thing….would have to pay some kind of deductable. Maybe if they had to pay 100 dollars up front…<>Which rules out the homeless if <>that<> is what they are relying on. But the they get free medical care anyway at the county hospital.<>But isn’t there access to a minimal amount of basic treatment?<>Precisely, but C.G. doesn’t see it. I know of nobody, homeless, poor, anybody that is not now getting healthcare. However, as long as there is one not covered, that is an excuse for some to have federal government trample the system and destroy it for all of us. Yep, it will be equal. Equally bad for all. The problem the left have is that the health care is two fold. One, greedy capitalists are making money at it. Two, the free care is being offered on the local level through community hospitals and is not centrally controlled or managed. They love the centralization of power. It gets the power out of the hands of responsible communities and people and places it into their savior’s hands, big government. It is their form of homage or worship of their savior.<>But is the healthcare situation an emergency?<> Not in the sense that the people are not having their healthcare needs met. But for the LL faction, it’s the end of planet earth as we know it if it doesn’t pass soon.Prof. RicardoChimera need healthcare too.

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  185. I was thinking about the Universal Healthcare thing. I suppose it might be workable, but it would have to be some kind of insurance where people would have to pay some kind of deductable. Maybe if they had to pay 100 dollars up front they might just put a band aid on it and go in to work anyway. I probably don’t understand or appreciate the urgency of the 31 million without healthcare. But isn’t there access to a minimal amount of basic treatment? It seems from my limited observation of things that there is. I know a few mental cases, one in a nursing home that just got new false teeth worth a few thousand dollars, which she didn’t really need, but the state paid, so what the hell. I also know a guy with AIDS that got all kinds of drugs and treatment for free. I also have a cousin with a chromosome disorder and he qualifies for about 250 thousand dollars worth of services. Now of course that’s just my personal experience, these might all be exceptions to the rule. But is the healthcare situation an emergency? This healthcare plan would be a dream come true for big-pharm companies. They’d have everyone on all kinds of drugs….Maybe it’s better just to educate people about smoking, proper nutrition, and exercise?On a related note, I know of this lady who recently barely scraped her hand at work. She went to some kind of K-Clinic type thing for work-related injuries; now the woman is wearing some kind of caste on her arm like she’s in a lot of pain. She’s totally faking it. Of course, her company is paying the bill since it happened at work. K-Clinic is making money on it, of course…And guess what? That comes out of everyone’s wages in the end, not the company shareholder profits. I guess that’s the main reason I’m skeptical about healthcare. Regarding the incentives thing again, the principle applies to everything. If you give puppies away for free, you’ll have fishermen taking them to cut up for fishbait. If you charge them 25.00, those fishermen will pass on by and only those who really want the puppies will fork out the money.

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  186. Give a Rep a fish and feed him for a day, teach him to own the lake and he will eat for a lifetime by charging non-lake owners to fish.There you go… trickle down in a nutshell.

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  187. I am not against health care to a point, but the fact remains that if you give every one the right to a freedom that is not necessarily a right, anad health care falls into this category, they will get alzy and not on ly the economny on this country, but thte work ethic and moral values will falter. And don’t tell me about the moral value to provide health care. The moral value is to give every one the same chance in school to amount to the same level of education and aquire the materialistic gains as the next guy. We are close to that, and the only way I see actually accomplishing this is to get rid of the dead heads, and allow the kids that want to try get in there and strut their stuff. Universal health care.

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  188. Prof,” It is “Between 21 million and 31 million people were uninsured all year.”Oh, that changes everything. 31 millions is certainly an acceptable “left behind” head count, as opposed to 45 million. Don’t get cocky Prof… Yoshi man just half agreed, and he is very young.

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  189. Beyond Common Good said: <>“But Yoshi… don’t you think we have quite a bit of room to operate between my buddy Prof’s Neanderthal line and 45 million without healthcare?”<>You’ve quoted it over and over. Me too. Everybody does because the faction known as the LL has paraded it in front of us. But the fact is, its not 45,000,000. It is “Between 21 million and 31 million people were uninsured all year.” The qualifing word is “all.” At any one point 40 million people were uninsured for various reasons. Please do some < HREF="http://www.cbo.gov/showdoc.cfm?index=4989&sequence=0" REL="nofollow">research<> for yourself.Off to play Daddy for a few hours.Prof. RicardoPS, Thanks Yoshi for the kind agreement. Just don’t stand too close. I’m an easy target around here.

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  190. Randy,<>If you for one minute think that the RR corners the market on “crazies inflaming other crazies”<>Sure, crazies everywhere. I could mention some folks who have traveled through Curmland … maybe even CG. 🙂That said, nobody does crazy like a RR zealot. It’s an art form.I need lunch… I’m thinking Chimera.

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  191. Yoshi,“I think you are both right on this one. One one hand, building human capital through providing better health and education in necessary for economic growth. But on the other hand, I think there is a limit to it.”No, I’m right and the Prof is wrong. Repeat that after me… 100 times. 🙂Of course “there is a limit to it”… i.e. all of the collective good we can stand just short of wrecking capitalism”. 🙂 And of course there has to be some form of “incentives” in the system. Trust me… my old man goes to the doctor like a weekly scheduled bowling league… BECAUSE HE CAN. 😦 But Yoshi… don’t you think we have quite a bit of room to operate between my buddy Prof’s Neanderthal line and 45 million without healthcare? 🙂

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  192. “but “the RR crazies inflaming other crazies, which puts judges at risk” is directly relevant. You start getting judges “popped” on a regular basis, and you won’t have time to get to an economic meltdown”If you for one minute think that the RR corners the market on “crazies inflaming other crazies”There is a small amount of respect that has just been flushed down the toilet.First off, you can not hold someone accountaable for free speach and how “crazies” reactSecond on, if you think for a minute that the lib left (LL) has not taken every special interest group and gotten them into a frenzy about religion and politics to a point of losing any moral ground, not that the RR wanted, I will give you that they are a little overboard, but moral ground that this country needed to survive another century. All because of the LL. Riots and violent anti war protests, riots in other countries against us. If you think that for one minute third world countries are not watching us at this very moment looking at our “style” of democracy and laughing, falling under the pressure of religious zealots in their country and allowing totalitarian rule and repression, yeah take that.By the way, going on vacation for an extended weekend, and will finish “how shall we then live”.I am thinking of starting Franklin, by Issacson. Any suggestions

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  193. Is everyone talking about Healthcare? There is so much on the board now I don’t know where to get in. First off though, Common Good likes to use the word “poor” a lot.I think a better word would be “relatively” poor, by the World Bank’s definition. This means they can’t afford things like entertainment, leisure, cultural goods (like fashions and Star Wars toys), education, and “quality healthcare.” So no one in the USA is really “poor.” These things are prerequisites to moving up socially and economically though. Prof. said this concerning universal healthcare:”I’m saying it will have very definite economic consequences (among other things) that are wholly undesirable.”I think you are both right on this one. One one hand, building human capital through providing better health and education in necessary for economic growth. But on the other hand, I think there is a limit to it. What kind of Universal Healthcare are we talking about? Cosmetic surgery? People going to the doctors for minor scraps because they know its free, and the doctors inflating the bill?I’m all for helping people, but not wasting money. How do you know if someone’s wasting money? They do it when they have the incentive. If a person has no stake in paying somehow for something, they waste it. Everytime. It’s human nature. Just watch these little teenage brats (and spoiled adults) leave the water running and the power on when no one is around. Because THEY aren’t paying for it (yet). I don’t have any healthcare, but I feel like I have access to it if I want it. If I had an accident I could go to a county hospital (or whatever they call them). I took my cousin to one and he was complaining about being in line with all these “lower class” citizens. But the choice was his, either he could have worked to arrange better healthcare, or he could just take the free stuff (which is still “relatively” not that bad.)I think there should be some kind of basic minimum standard, which I assume we have, but there should be limits to keep people from going overboard. Should the state keep Terri Scheivo in a brain dead state til she dies of old age? Now, that’s what I call a luxory good. Maybe the state should give her five years to wake up, then her family and friends and all those protestors could start footing the bill (watch how fast they’d change their tunes then).

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  194. Randy,“Unfortunately CG, the situation with Lefkow had nothing to do with the The Robertsons, Dobsons, DeLays and Corsyns.”Her specific case had nothing to do with the RR, … but “the RR crazies inflaming other crazies, which puts judges at risk” is directly relevant. You start getting judges “popped” on a regular basis, and you won’t have time to get to an economic meltdown. Think about it… you are a judge already at risk in the system. Not only that, your family is at risk… all because you are a judge serving a required function in this society. Then you hear some RR zeolot TV preacher with millions of followers say “your profession is more of a risk to this nation than the terrorists”. You know and I know… there are some crazies out there that will act on that kind of bs. Robertson is “scum” for saying that… period. We will either put the RR that wants “more god in our law” back under the rock, or we are toast. Look at these Republican senators strutting their stuff today on the judge nomination process. They are practically peeing themselves over the idea of having a “judicial appointment assembly line”. Why did good Republicans allow the RR to capture them like this? Religion is being shoved in our faces… it’s bs to say this tension is coming from the other side… some vast left wing conspiracy to do away with god. What bs.

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  195. Unfortunately CG, the situation with Lefkow had nothing to do with the The Robertsons, Dobsons, DeLays and Corsyns. You can blame the RR and their lackeys all you want. It is very unfortunate what happened to her, and I think the broader issue here is protection for these judges. That is a system that should start now. If the liberal left continues to get their way, every federally elected or appointed official will have to be protected, and then your universal health care is out the window. It is this same type of thinking, you are displaying towards The Robertsons, Dobsons, DeLays and Corsyns that has created some of the misfortunes in this country. The more I think about what is taking place in our legislative branch at this very moment shows me that there is no real way to get universal health care on the board. Unless you want to put it into writing that we are talking about things that are life and death, and the sniffles do not qualify. I see country bankruptcy in the making. If we think that Social Security is going to be a problem then just you wait and see about healthcare. Can’t happen and won’t happen. And have you considered at what point from the conception of life this health care will start. I see it as a rights issue, and at conception we will have to guarantee the rights of all individuals to receive health care, not one more abortion that is not a dangerous pregnancy to the mother. And then I do not think that you can consider that, because the fetus still has rights, and should be protected more under the law due to you social values of taking care of the less fortunate and those that can not care for them selves.

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  196. Judge Lefkow testified before the Senate today. It was her husband and mother that was murdered in Chicago back in February. During her testimony, she pointed out that the Pat Robertson’s of the world believe judges are a bigger threat to america than terrorism. She also pointed out that members of congress foster similar attacks on the judiciary. I’m sure flaming the fires that put these judges under greater risk comes under the protection of “free speech”… but the Lefkow’s are this nations heroes. The Robertsons, Dobsons, DeLays and Corsyns are scum.

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  197. Common Good: <> People hold out Jack Welch as a hero… <>I thought her first name was Raquel…Oh, I’m thinking of someone else with a different excess. 😀<> Not until they hang on to “more than they can spend in this lifetime” like it was required for their next breath.<>Acquiring wealth. Just out of curiosity, based upon your statement above without getting into polished golf shoes and personal jet planes, dollar wise how much can someone amass? I hope obviously you do not wish all persons to die pennyless. Particularly if they have offspring they wish to pass their wealth on to. Is it acceptable to die leaving a few hundred thou (home, pension, a few bonds, etc.) for the heirs? What if you have 6 or 7 children and its split between them? Maybe a mil or two?Prof. RicardoI dream of gene “E” with the light brown Chimera…

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  198. Prof,<>My apologies. Thank you for being the Preparation H I desperately needed. 😉<>That was excellent. LOL! 🙂<>So if someone is unfortunate enough to be financially successful in your eyes, they have overstepped the bounds of peasantry…<>Not until they hang on to “more than they can spend in this lifetime” like it was required for their next breath. I can go from being your best cheerleader on awsome human achievement to your worse critic based on greed and stingyness… all over tax policy. People hold out Jack Welch as a hero… I view him as pure dripping greed. Tax is a very boring subject, but it’s where a pluralistic society defines it’s soul.It pains me to be awarded an F in economics from the Prof… but I still have this wild idea that all widget consumption in a society are not equal. We all need education, healthcare, energy… we don’t all need a Lexus. Screwing me on the price of a Lexus seems to fit an acceptable level of free choice on each side of the transaction…. i.e. I don’t have to buy a Lexus. Screwing me on healthcare with CEO $million dollar pay packages, and $million dollar surgeons doesn’t seem like that free choice. A passing grade in the Prof’s economic class requires me to accept the market as the master and free arbiter IN ALL CASES. Sorry… a F it is… I have some exceptions. 😦

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  199. Randy P.said: <>You might have to lump me in with the moral legislation, I am all for legislating on moral issues like adultery, abortion, drugs and people that break the actually existing laws that we have.<>Me too. But usually people of C.G.’s faction don’t agree with the legislation of other faction’s moral legislation. My own faction legislates moral Biblical laws. Common Good may not have interpreted his desire to install healthcare as a legal obligation as legislating morals. I used that moment in my response to you to goose Mr. Good. He likes the attention.Prof. RicardoDo you want fries with your Chimera?

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  200. Common Good: <>I agree… when referring to a healthcare right, it is in the “legal rights” bucket.<>I’ll drink to that! As far as not being a human right, that is.C.G>: <>In your world our healthcare system is a success as long as the quality is high for those who can afford it, regardless of the millions left out.<>Actually, I want the quality to be great for everybody. If all you can afford is $100 worth of healthcare, I want it to be quality for them. Shame on any doctor, pharmacy, lab, or hospital that delivers inferior healthcare. The quantity is different, however, as it must be. There must be some relationship based on cost/price system. Insurance greatly severs this relationship, but deductibles and co-pays retain at least a discussable relationship between the two. Having some healthcare not included as you agreed, helps retain some of that healthcare price link. Imagine if you will that C.G. sells widgets on ebay. If price is no object and everybody wants it, what prevents you from raising your price, I mean really high? Nothing. Price does not just gouge the poor and enrich greedy capitalist. It is, to your horror, the necessary tool to ration goods and services to those who need them.C.B.: <>Let’s quit being so anal about discerning between the deserving poor and the undeserving poor.<>My apologies. Thank you for being the Preparation H I desperately needed. 😉<>Better to let a few undeserving in, then leave a few deserving out. After all, we are talking about equal healthcare and education here… not equal lives.<>Both of which you wish to divorce from the market place. Healthcare is provided by people and businesses. Both of which, regardless of personal charity and mission, are doing it as an occupation for services or product provided. A man is worthy of his hire, and these hard working people should be paid. Price rations your work and your wage, a doctors work and his wage, and my work and my wage. You are trying to extract this industry from the market forces that guide all businesses. You apparently have been missing all the little economic lessons I have been sending your way. I’m not saying you can’t implement national free healthcare. I’m saying it will have very definite economic consequences (among other things) that are wholly undesirable. I’ll give you 5 stars for having a great heart for your fellow man. I’ll give you 4 stars for your zealotry – oh wait, you don’t like zealotry. Skip that. But you only get ½ star for economics. Your hope for a better world is commendable, but to get to a real better world, you must address real economic forces in that real world.C.G.: <>This country may very well turn into a country that hates the rich, and it won’t be the poor folks fault.<>In today’s culture where nothing is anyone’s own fault anymore, I can see where you would include jealousy too.<>If you have…<> X12So if someone is unfortunate enough to be financially successful in your eyes, they have overstepped the bounds of peasantry, causing all the ills of the earth through their extravagance and ostentatious displays. Particularly evil are the ones driving a Lexus. These should be hung by their Chimera.Prof. RicardoChimera, tastes just like chicken.

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  201. Prof,The Chimera thing didn’t blow our skirts up… so to speak. 🙂<>not a mutual obligation of kindness and care, but a one way obligation, thus pitting group against group, creating animosity,… <>Oh please… cry me a river. This country may very well turn into a country that <>hates<> the rich, and it won’t be the poor folks fault. <>But as far as wealth goes, By definition whom is the more fortunate who is obligated to care for those less fortunate<>If you have two homes, <>you might be more fortunate<>. If you have a four car garage, <>you might be more fortunate<>. If someone drives you back and forth to work in a limo, <>you might be more fortunate<>. If your property is subject to “death tax”, <>you might be more fortunate<>. If your family is very familiar with the term “trust fund”, <>you might be more fortunate<>. If you have a heliport in your back yard, <>you might be more fortunate<>. If you own your own plane that doesn’t have a propellor, <>you might be more fortunate<>. If other people ever clean your golf shoes or golf clubs, <>you might be more fortunate<>. If you have enough money to ever consider needing a prenuptial before getting married, <>you might be more fortunate<>. If you are now in the movies with absolutely no talent other than an internet video of you and your boyfriend, and if your dog actually has it’s own book out, <>you might be more fortunate<>. If you spend more money on shoes in a year than the average price of an automobile, <>you might be more fortunate<>. If you make more in two weeks than your employees make in a lifetime (Wal-Mart), <>you might be more fortunate<>. You get the idea… these are kind of fun. I may have to keep adding to this list.

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  202. You might have to lump me in with the moral legislation, I am all for legislating on moral issues like adultery, abortion, drugs and people that break the actually existing laws that we have.

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  203. Randy P.said… <>How about an obligation of those more fortunate to provide health care for those less fortunate.<>Good day to you sir. In my book, the <>more fortunate<> are not always the more wealthy, if that was in fact what you meant. I am more fortunate than a lot of people because I am in reasonably good health. And indeed I do have an obligation to help those less fortunate. A <>moral obligation<>, not a legal obligation. Unfortunately, there are people wanting to legislate morality (C.G., 🙂 Though not wanting to bring too much attention to myself, my residence is in a location where I have had the opportunity to help many unfortunate individuals, and I have availed myself to many of these opportunities that did not present too great a threat to my safety. As a command of God, my fortunate-ness is irrelevant to my obligation to minister to orphans, widows, the poor, and those imprisoned, to help shoulder their burdens, to carry their load an extra mile.But as far as wealth goes, By definition <>whom<> is the more fortunate who is obligated to care for those less fortunate, and what is entailed in that <>care<> that is obligated, and <>whom<> is to be considered less fortunate, and what is to become of those people who do not “care?” Who arrogantly places themselves in the position of obligating only a portion of mankind upon another portion of mankind, not a mutual obligation of kindness and care, but a one way obligation, thus pitting group against group, creating animosity, removing the joy of helping and supplanting it with the legal command on pain of imprisonment, enslaving and indebting(sp?) one group? Lets obligate those Chimera to the rest of us eh? (a pathetic attempt to reintroduce the blog topic…)Prof. Ricardo

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  204. Prof,A couple of brief comments.Sure… we aren’t talking about elective medical procedures. We have to define “basic healthcare”… this already happens with insurance programs.I’ve brought up the definition of “US citizen entitled rights” with Tony here. The definition he proposed, and seems to work for me is… “human rights” plus “legal rights”. We start with human rights at birth, and our society adds legal rights (i.e. marriage, driver license, etc.). Tony proposes we think of any right listed in the Bill of Rights as the “human rights”… the rest ends up being “legal rights”. In hindsight, based on that, I would say the founders who argued to include human rights in the Constitution provided a valuable service. Without the bill of rights, how would Tony have proposed a definition? 🙂 Our “legal rights” potential evolve as our nation’s wealth increases… i.e. they are static (sure sounds like a living malleable Constitution). In fact, it sounds like “legal rights” and “social justice” may mean the same thing. I agree… when referring to a healthcare right, it is in the “legal rights” bucket.<>The Constitution does not give human rights. It acknowledges human rights.<>I don’t remember saying the Constitution gives us our rights. I would say our Constitution is our base contract guranteeing protection of our “human rights” AND “legal rights”. Maybe our lawyer can wordsmith that a little better… but I’m sure we all basically agree.I guess one should look at the Bill of Rights as non-negotiable… and everything else is negotiable. For example… is a woman’s right to vote a “human right”. I would say not. However, a right to “not be held as a slave” would be a human right. Does that mean a “women’s right to vote” is a lesser right in our society. Doesn’t seem so, IMO. Bummer… the grey shows up again, and again, and again. 🙂

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  205. I said to Mr. C.G., <>My question to you: If my method covers 100% of Americans, would you accept it?<>Spake he: <>Yes, IF1) everyone has access to EQUAL healthcare regardless of economic class or citizen status<>Never happen. The reason being some “healthcare” is optional, stupid, or experimental. Much of which should not be mandatory for the taxpayer or insurance companies to foot the bill. At $4-10,000 for breast or butt augmentation, if covered so that EVERYBODY is equal and there is ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY NO DISTINCTION to made by price, EVERYTHING MUST be covered by the new plan. Abortion, cosmetic surgery, Liposuction (Hey CG, this could be the cure for America’s obesity issue – Good job!) etc. Have a tattoo or piercing you want undone, who cares, its covered. Maybe I’m missing how you can not cover foolish excess and abuse of the system if the economic incentive is gone. If you can change cosmetic shape with the seasons, at no cost to you…boy, I can see massive abuse coming. How about dental? That’s health care. I can see it now, every homeless person with brilliant straight white teeth that rival today’s stars, and with a steady diet of booze, a new liver every five years to compliment the ensemble. And why should they not? They’re covered!!! In fact (read below) It’s their right!<>2) it becomes a <>human right<> delivered faction free.. (I don’t know how you can do that without it being a human right under government/constitution protection (i.e. would require a constitutional amendment).<>A human right applies to all persons in all ages. The Constitution does not give human rights. It acknowledges human rights. Insurance is a recent invention. My research last year found medical insurance as early as around 1910. I’m not sure of its first debut. But its difficult to see something that did not exist for 6,000 years of human history being a <>human right<> when it did not exist. Maybe it’s a good idea. Maybe it’s a fantastic idea. Maybe it is the new minimum standard for our society. But it is NOT a human right. If it was, would you be happy with your current President going in to countries with human rights violations (no health ins.) and waging war to eradicate said human rights violations? Doesn’t quite have the same sting as other human rights violations. Maybe you could find another semantic or descriptive phrase that better described what healthcare is to people.Prof. Ricardo

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  206. <>In your world once everyone is covered, including those who abuse and cost the system money with no consequence to themselves, it is a success, regardless of how costly the system becomes.<>In your world our healthcare system is a success as long as the quality is high for those who can afford it, regardless of the millions left out.Let’s quit being so anal about discerning between the <>deserving poor<> and the <>undeserving poor<>. Better to let a few <>undeserving<> in, then leave a few <>deserving<> out. After all, we are talking about equal healthcare and education here… not equal lives.

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  207. <>Equal healthcare, education and rights (even if gay) will be this century’s end of slavery, women’s right to vote, and civil rights. If we have long enough, that is… and if our economy doesn’t collapse.<>Yeah, I’m glad you added that second sentence in, because at this point, I would probably settle for just making it to the end of the century (not me, of course (although I wouldn’t mind living to 122 :), but society…)

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  208. Prof,Equal healthcare, education and rights (even if gay) will be this century’s end of slavery, women’s right to vote, and civil rights. If we have long enough, that is… and if our economy doesn’t collapse.

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  209. Prof,I sense a good heart sitting next to that <>aggressive keyboard<> 🙂 … that’s why I won’t give up on winning you over on Universal Healthcare. <>My question to you: If my method covers 100% of Americans, would you accept it?<>Yes, IF1) everyone has access to EQUAL healthcare regardless of economic class or citizen status (I have zero problem collecting money from Mexico for it… good idea… but not a good enough reason to leave those poor folks without or some second class level of care).2) it becomes a <>human right<> delivered faction free.. (I don’t know how you can do that without it being a human right under government/constitution protection (i.e. would require a constitutional ammendment).I’m not married to any “delivery mechanism”, public or private. I come to the conclusion it has to be under federal control because of #2 above. In other words, I’m not motivated by a need to have a FEDERAL healthcare system… I come to the conclusion it has to be because of my requirements listed above. Prof, it’s immoral for us to even measure the quality of our healthcare system when 45 million are left out. It’s the kind of thing that doesn’t even require a trip to the hospitals to audit the quality of care. You already know you failed before you start your audit roadtrip… you have 45 million without healthcare, you have levels of healthcare based on economic classes, you have “winners” refusing to adjust their standards to bring in the “losers”… BY DEFINITION OUR HEALTH STANDARD IS LOW. The best standard of healthcare I am entitled to is the standard of healthcare WE ALL HAVE. I totally expect that to be some percentage less than we could devise if we kept out the lower economic class…. DUH! Look… this Democrat (and I assume most) are willing to sacrifice some of our healthcare standards, even living standards for that matter (if necessary… still don’t really believe that’s the case) to bring EVERYONE in. That is our morality… many of us don’t need a bible for that, and if we want to bring in the bible we can certainly point to the Gospels like anyone else to defend that position. (Note: I think trying to deciper government structure, economic system, or rules for social justice from the bible is a bit of a stretch… but that’s just me). btw… did you just imply insurance is against your religious belief? I probably did understand you on that one. And to Saurav’s point. I wish I hadn’t lost my <>Wealth and Democracy<> book. It has some of the best quotes in it. I’m going to have to pick up another copy just for the quotes. One of the quotes was from a scholar on history. Let me paraphrase the best I can. <>Man can look to the history of socities and come to certain conclusions. One is that in the end, ALL socities participate in wealth redistribution. It’s a GIVEN that they will. The only unknown is whether or not that will be VOLUNTARY, or whether or not it will be FORCED (i.e. civil war, uprising of the “have nots”, one half of the bifurcated society living behind walls while the other side tries to scale them, etc.)<> Third world to me is being the richest nation at the same time being filled with the stingiest population. I don’t come to this discussion wanting to stick my nose in other’s religion (although Tony makes that charge). I just refuse to give anyone stinginess cover based on political/economic ideology or religious belief. The discussion of social justice leads to “religion” in this country… no way to avoid it… so I don’t. I would much prefer to never know about anyone’s private religious belief. I’m not the one who drags it into the public square… so those of us who engage on subjects like social justice have very little choice. The irony is when the RR takes this reality that they forced into the public square, and then cry persecution. That is truly rich… oops, that sounded Republican. 🙂Seriously… there is enough Dems to pool social risk and provide safety-nets. Let’s just go ahead and create that ala carte tax system. This may serve Tony’s purposes of getting his public school tax money back. Of course, you will put me in a tough spot when we are both old, me with my Social Security, you having made a wrong bet. That’s the real point… how do you tell the “personal responsibility warriors” who failed on their own… to bad dude, you made a wrong bet… now go die in poverty with personal responsibility honor. Of course good hearted people would not let that happen, and those who made the wrong bet and refused to contribute in a collective way would still get benefits in the end. Still… we could skip several decades of arguing.Tony says “all the capitalism we can stand”. I say all of the “collective common good” we can stand… somewhere short of wrecking capitalism. Isn’t it ironic that we had much higher tax rates under Clinton, and yet the enonomy rocked.

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  210. <>Outside of a command by God to take care of the poor, that I am my brother’s keeper and need to share with and help my fellow man (all individual commands), what obligates man throughout the ages, across the globe, to provide a safety-net by social contract?<>Fear: by the rich that the poorer and/or otherwise disempowered classes will rise up. Economics: recognition of the loss of productivity brought on by stress-related and other health crises, poverty, poor education, etc. Common sense: If you don’t cultivate the human capital of the entire society, you’re going to end up with a worse society; evolutionary biology: tit-for-tat works better than take what you can; popular consent (i.e. democracy): read this past week’s Business Week article (entitled “safety net nation”) on the percentage of people who favor national health care.

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  211. C.G.said: <>Man, I have to be careful what I ask for.<>I have a keyboard and I’m not afraid to use it. 🙂<>9) What is the objective standard by which we can know if this system is a success or a failure?<>C.G.:<>EVERYONE is covered.<>Gong! Bad answer. Go to the back of the line. Let me rephrase that: GIVEN THAT EVERYONE IS COVERED, How will we know it’s a success?In your world once everyone is covered, including those who abuse and cost the system money with no consequence to themselves, it is a success, regardless of how costly the system becomes. Costly in time, money, effectiveness, and responsiveness. Sounds not unlike Green Peace spray painting the baby seals to make their coats worthless to the hunters. The fact that they were slaughtered by polar bears left and right because their camouflage was gone was of no consequence. They didn’t <>save<> the baby seals, but they did prevent their good use by the hunters. If you actually DO care for the recipients of health care insurance and actually DO care for “capitalism” not going down the tubes, I would think you would demand something more than mere existence. It appears the champion of healthcare-for-all is more in love with the idea of universal healthcare coverage, than actually improving the healthcare that all do receive.Right now many county and community hospitals provide “free” or sliding scale healthcare for all in need. Ever gone to JPS (John Peter Smith) in Fort Worth? My niece is without health insurance. She goes to them for reduced rate medicines and healthcare. Covered! A client of mine was a skilled craftsman with employees. Got a spider bite, went into kidney failure. Destroyed his health, his business, his wealth. He’s getting dialysis free or nearly so at JPS. My, my. Healthcare for the masses without Universal Health Insurance. How can this be? Ever been to Parkland in Dallas? Ditto. Hospitals across this country? Ditto. The healthcare system in Cal-uh-Forn-e-uh (as pronounced by the Govenator) is nearly bankrupt because of all the free healthcare going to all the legal and particularly illegal immigrants from Mexico.I got an idea. Since the poor are being serviced in the medical community, since the system to do so is already in place, let us assist those communities and county hospitals that are having difficulties with financing the “free” healthcare for the needy. How? Federal dollars (don’t have a heart attack, CG :-). If we are coving illegals from Mexico, assess their country a portion of the cost, after all it is <>their<> citizens we are servicing. We can finance it by dismantling the Department of Education and Department of Energy, for a start.My question to you: If my method covers 100% of Americans, would you accept it? Remember, that was your only requirement of Universal Health Ins., the existence of 100% coverage. Or are you too much in love with the <>idea<> of Universal Health Ins to achieve the same results some other way?Pro. Ricardo

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  212. Prof,Give some consideration to my ala carte tax scheme by party. I thought it might work for us. 🙂 I could pay more taxes and have robust safety-nets, and you could keep most of your income, and take care of yourself and your family, maybe with the aid of your Church network. Win-win, and much better than a civil war. You could honk your horn at me when you see me standing in the line at the doctors office. 🙂

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  213. Prof,Man, I have to be careful what I ask for.<>Frankly, I don’t think you’ve even pondered these questions before.<>Who has thought everything through… certainly not our elected types. However, you keep implying that by bringing in the 45 million without health insurance, we will devestate the economy. Sorry… I’m not buying it. I am perfectly willing to HURT the economy to bring them in to the circle. You know, like a few longer lines and maybe a few less lake homes. Seems like the <>Christian<> thing to do. Your stance reminds me of one of my old lines. <>You can give a Republican a fish and feed him for a day. Or you can teach a Republican how to own the lake, and feed him for a life.<> Let me take a shot at some of your questions… but man, you can type. 🙂<>1) Who’s covered? Illegal immigrants, persons already insured, US citizens overseas, etc.?<>Everyone, current insurance merged into new system or replaced, sure… why not cover medical cost overseas if you find yourself in trouble (not many nations more expensive then us anyway).<>2) What level of protection does your “reason and common sense” compel us to consider?<> All we can afford… equal for everyone. <>Best for some<> is no longer acceptable.<>Is it the same “common sense and reason” that elected President Bush twice?<>Uh, no… different common sense. 🙂<>3) Will its implementation be instantaneous giving an outrageous jolt to the health industry because now people, who previously could not afford medical care, can purchase medical care?<>Instantaneous as possible. First priority is the millions that have been left out… they need check ups. Let’s be real <>Christian<> about it. Let’s take care of the kids first. <>4) Will certain things not be covered, like the consequences of alcoholism or drug abuse?<>Everything covered… drugs, alcohol, mental health, voting Republican…<>5) Will any act disqualify someone from coverage, say drug abuse, self inflicted wounds, attempted suicide?<>Nope. Dude offing himself probably has a problem with life insurance, but not health insurance. <>6) Will already high demand doctors reacting to the incredible increase in demand for medical care be allowed to raise their prices,<>I would assume we would end up with more doctors. Very likely some of the specialist types would not make rock star wages… but general practicioners (sp??) would likely do better. This is where advancement will be some form of capitalism/socialism hybrid. IMO, we have the right as a nation to call bs on the <>hands off<> policy we have been sold concerning common good needs, like healthcare… and I would throw in the oil and gas business. <> or will price and wage controls be implemented and the market system be sidestepped for the sake of “saving the system?”<>This is above my paygrade, but remember my motto. Under the one small restriction of EVERYONE IS IN, pick the best public/private combination best suited to cover the need. Anytime private is as good or better.. choose it. Has to be under federal command and control however… a government has the right to audit/police/modify tax funded enterprises… even if tax/personal payment hybrids. <>7) If we implement price controls, then the high demand, limited supply, artificially held low prices situation will have no choice but create longer lines. How long of a wait is acceptable when going to the doctor? 4, 5, 6, or 7 hours? These are common lengths of time in countries where healthcare is free.<>Whatever it takes to include EVERYONE in the system. I mean, I just can’t imagine telling the man with 4 kids … I have to keep my waiting time short, otherwise I would invite your kids into the waiting room. I would expect that dad to beat the holy sh*t out of me. That said, I’ve heard Germany’s system works pretty well… but I haven’t researched it. <>8) If business is to float the bill for this,<>Whoa… stop right there. Business should have NOTHING to do with Universal healthcare. <>are we willing to trade 42 million newly insured for 9 million newly unemployed?<>see above… and I don’t buy the fact we will increse unemployment by millions because we tax rich people enough to cover poor peoples health insurance. The rich will still be rich… the poor will still be poor with a chance to improve their poverty situation because their health needs are covered (and for sure education).<>9) What is the objective standard by which we can know if this system is a success or a failure?<>EVERYONE is covered. We have funded the system off the back of the wealthy, and didn’t kill capitalism. Let’s see… it’s your god given right to have 10 homes, or it’s your god given right to make sure your family has health insurance. Really tough call… NOT. <>If it is a failure, how easily can it be dismantled?<>Not possible unless we stick with the insane tax breaks of this administration. It’s all really not that complicated… the rich need to have their harvests taxed at a much higher rate in this country. As I have said before… that isn’t driven by the need to knock the rich down a peg or to, but rather driven by the need of the poor. Enough already with the personal harvest with no obligation to the poor… this is a society, not a playground for the 1% upper elite. Sad really that we even have to debate such stuff in 2005. <> Ever tell 42 million people that you’re going to take their Free Health Care away from them?<>Get Shrub to do it. He lied 300 million of us into a war. This guy can sell anything. <> (Its now an entitlement, their right!) And what do the 9 million who lost their jobs for the failed experiment have to say about it?<>Don’t buy your argument, but they could say… I’m proud our nation finally considers healthcare a right, and not a priviledge for those who can afford it. Third world my friend is being the richest nation in the world, and allowing 45 million people, including kids … to be without heathcare. We are the only western power to make this choice. What price are we willing to pay to claim the #1 GDP?

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  214. I just wanted to ask everyone to go the site Make Poverty Historyand consider signing the petition there. It’s basically the U.K. equivalent to the ONE Campaign, but your signitures are going to the British government before the big G8 meeting this summer. There are some great little short clips to watch there as well. I particularly like the one with Nelson Mandela (If they made that guy Pope I’d start going to church again.) Instead of hearing all day long about not letting homosexuals or women do this or that, Mandela actually gives us some “protein” for our quests to make our lives more meaningful.“Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that generation.” -N. Mandela.Sign the petition. Make Poverty History. < HREF="http://www.makepovertyhistory.org/" REL="nofollow">Make Poverty History<>

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  215. C.G. said re universal healthcare: <>Just assume (even if wrong) that we could do this together very efficiently and in a cost effective way. Would you still be against it?<>That’s a lot like saying, “if abortion didn’t end in the death of a fetus/baby, would you still be against it?”You wouldn’t think a lowly self-employed accountant could be such a radical on so many topics, but alas, here I am.I have three problems with insurance: religious, constitutional, and economic. Arguing the religious portion with you might be a kin to a woman arguing with me on which shade of make up to wear to a casual luncheon with her aunt. It just isn’t relevant to me. But for the curious, you might want to look < HREF="http://www.boldchristianliving.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=11&Itemid=25" REL="nofollow">here<>.Constitutional issues are pretty straight forward. It’s a legal argument and I will defer to greater minds like Tony to direct us. Regardless of efficiency, relevance, or morality, either the Constitution provides for the redistribution of wealth or it does not, the implementation or mandating of this plan or it does not.Economics is the fun part. But in the quote above, you want me to ignore that :-(. It is difficult to argue against insurance in a culture dominated by insurance. We have homeowners, automobile, health, life, fire, cancer, liability, umbrella, partner buy-out, estate, long-term care, disability, workers comp, and a few others I can think of off the cuff. People are not just having a tough time affording health insurance. There are lots of people who have NO life insurance. Small business that are going bare on liability insurance and workers comp. Many larger businesses are self insuring. To say that we are insurance poor is an understatement. And do you know what commission is made by the agent? Do you have any idea what profit is made by the insurance company? When you are relying on insurance, pooling of money has a cost. Our health care cost now includes the insurance cost.But, let’s set that all aside as you asked and say that, fantasy world aside, we could do this universal health insurance efficiently and effectively. However, economically, a number of things happen, without an judgment on their benefit or cost, when we implement universal health insurance.1) Who’s covered? Illegal immigrants, persons already insured, US citizens overseas, etc.?2) What level of protection does your “reason and common sense” compel us to consider? Is it the same “common sense and reason” that elected President Bush twice?3) Will its implementation be instantaneous giving an outrageous jolt to the health industry because now people, who previously could not afford medical care, can purchase medical care?4) Will certain things not be covered, like the consequences of alcoholism or drug abuse?5) Will any act disqualify someone from coverage, say drug abuse, self inflicted wounds, attempted suicide?6) Will already high demand doctors reacting to the incredible increase in demand for medical care be allowed to raise their prices, or will price and wage controls be implemented and the market system be sidestepped for the sake of “saving the system?”7) If we implement price controls, then the high demand, limited supply, artificially held low prices situation will have no choice but create longer lines. How long of a wait is acceptable when going to the doctor? 4, 5, 6, or 7 hours? These are common lengths of time in countries where healthcare is free.8) If business is to float the bill for this, are we willing to trade 42 million newly insured for 9 million newly unemployed?9) What is the objective standard by which we can know if this system is a success or a failure? If it is a failure, how easily can it be dismantled? Ever tell 42 million people that you’re going to take their Free Health Care away from them? (Its now an entitlement, their right!) And what do the 9 million who lost their jobs for the failed experiment have to say about it?Frankly, I don’t think you’ve even pondered these questions before. I am not willing to trade this current state of our nation for a third world country. Cuba has great universal health care. I don’t see many folks lining up to take advantage of it. I don’t want the same thing happening here.Prof. Ricardo

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  216. The problem I see with the alternating system is not with the parties we have now, it has more to do with the future. We are already having trouble with people and judges misinterpreting the constitution and not viewing it as the biblical document that is was intended to be by our founding fathers….:}.I think that as polarized as we are now we should jump ahead and take into consideration that if another one or two parties start up and become real players, we could have an even bigger problem than we do right now. It is apparent to me that all a party has to do is bring in one or more special interest groups and they can swing what they want; the Dems and Reps are perfect examples. The Dems take on the majority of the small specials and the Reps take on the big groups like RR and Corp America. This is a problem in the future because as I said before, two of these parties can gang up, and I see that as not a possibility, but inevitable in the future. And yes I do agree that your point is valid, we are just too polarized at this point and nothing is going to change that in the near future, and with the adaptation of more parties we are going to see a gang up, and not the integrity that some people are hoping for.I see what you are saying about Scalia, but I tend to think it is best to have four Scalias and 5 liberals on the court. I do think that at this high court there needs to be a little leeway in making determinations that the legislature does not get to, and setting some kind of precedent. I don’t have problem with that. So in another instance are you willing to lose 2 liberal judges of the 7 to 2 scenario and come out with a 6 to three that way, and then what happens when it is 6 to 3 and you lose 2 more liberal, then we are back to 5 to 4 and so on an so forth. That is why I do not think that what you propose, although better than what we have, is good enough to stand the test of time. I think my idea is still bullet proof.You may make a good senate committee member, but at some point you are going to have to pick up your banner and play the philibuster or the nuclear option. My way is still better

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  217. Randy,“And what we have right now seems to be leveled in a way that means the majority can “take over” and change things drastically in four years or so. I am not saying that this is going to happen, but as polarized as we are getting this is very well what may happen (course Shrub would not do this).”This is exactly my point about alternating judge nominations between parties… even if more than two parties, you could work out a weighted alternating scheme. I’m not backing off this idea, because I think it’s crucial. Any scheme you come up with that leaves a majority in control like we have today makes the stakes of winning and losing too important. Tony talks about electing the best guy, rather than voting for a party and holding your nose. Well, you have a lot better chance if you know all parties can share in the agenda setting, rather than having to live with a party you almost never agree with leading the entire agenda. You have no choice, you have to vote for the party that fits you best. Of course I’m mixing presidential elections and senate elections in that statement, but I think my point is still valid.Let me give a practical example of how I see this thing playing out. I think electing “mainstream judges”, the battle cry you always hear really is too simple. As I mentioned before, I have no heard a couple of public debates with Scalia and Breyer (O’Connor) was at one of them. Now there is very little doubt for me if my only choice was 9 Breyer’s or 9 Scalia’s… it’s a no-brainer… I choose 9 Breyer’s. However, here is the kicker. I think the Supreme Court is better for having 1 (and only 1 🙂 Scalia on the court. I see the law much more grey than Tony does… and to be fair, he’s the one who ended up in the upper end of his class studying law at night while holding down a full time job. Curm has never impressed me more, and it always gives me pause to challenge him on intellectual matters. But then I get over it… and slam the pee pee out of him. 🙂 So back to Scalia. I find the <>originalist<> viewpoint to me insufficient to serve modern society by itself. I believe too many issues come before the court that simply do not get resolved by “it’s the legislator’s job”. I think stuff comes up that requires <>judgement<> from judges that can’t be answered by original intent. I think the Bush-Gore Supreme Court case is a perfect example. I don’t necessarily like the term “living document”, but the opposite implies the constitution is more of a sacred degree from a supreme being rather than a constitution that will obviously change as society changes. But here is the reason I want 1 Scalia on the court. His argument that it shouldn’t be a judges job to dictate morality to a nation (i.e. it’s up to a nation to define it’s morality via democracy and the legislative branch). Of course the dirty little secret is all judges agree with that… but folks like Breyer see some grey in the process of making and judging law, and the Scalia’s do not. I want Scalia’s black and white voice in the mix, because it’s always a loud intelligent voice to balance a judgement on the “grey” against. So back to my alternating server premise. Suppose we have a so-called Supreme Court of 7 moderates (whatever that is) and two Scalia’s. The two Scalia’s retire at the same time. If the Reps are in charge of everything… as they are now… they will do everything in the power to put two Scalia’s back on. The Dems might be saying…. hey two Scalia’s is one too many. They are backed into a corner, and have no option but to fight, or roll over for the Republican rubber stamp. Instead, imagine Frist gets first serve and proposes Scalia, and Reed gets second serve, and proposes a left winger. Both sides get a voice for the extreme of their parties on the court, but both our countered by a moderate core of six. (I’m not saying that is what is on the court now… just using this as a hypothetical). IMO, we just avoided the nuclear showdown, but in reality, made the court stronger. I suspect Tony will call all of this politics, and it has no place in law… it’s as simple as interpreting the constitution. It’s ok… Tony is black and white good and evil, and I’m “my god look at all of the grey around here”. Anyway, that’s my opinion. If I’m on the Judicial committee in the Senate, I take a real hard look at the current make up of the court and am willing to make a deal with the other side as long as I at least get to go next. I may bow to the second Scalia on the court if I have a good faith understanding I will be able to balance that with my next serve. All JMO… which will never happen in this lifetime.

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  218. K, trying to understand, bare with me.For any federal seat, no matter how far up the chain it is has to be Pres nominated. And in that if he thinks you are worthy of moving up three seats in one nomination then he selects you for that nomination?

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  219. Randy,Well, the nomination process is the same for all Federal Judges at all levels. It’s just that the District Court nominees get a lot less publicity than the Circuit Court or Supreme Court nominees. The states all vary though. Some states elect all or some of the judges. Others are similar to the Federal scheme.

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  220. Yes, I have to learn how to conceal any type of veering from the RR profile I so want to hold onto. And yes you should accommodate me. It is after all about ME. HAHAHA ;}Yes I also see a little (very small) hole in the possibility of pooling from state courts to the Federal courts. I do not see this as an issue, because there can be some kind of seniority established from the get go so these people do not spend years in state and start from the bottom when they get to Federal.How does the “promotion” in judiciary work anyway? From what I am hearing, that promotion is the nomination of the Pres to a higher “seat”? That is basically what I want to get away from. Seems like in this position with a vast majority of Reps, (which will happen after 2006) there has to be a fairer way for all included. And what we have right now seems to be leveled in a way that means the majority can “take over” and change things drastically in four years or so. I am not saying that this is going to happen, but as polarized as we are getting this is very well what may happen (course Shrub would not do this). I do think that I am not necessarily prompting for over all limitation, just if you are not moving up, you have to make room for the fresh blood so to speak. I think there has to be some sort of guarantee with the judiciary, and when first set up I think they were on to something, so the intent of this process should be maintained in some way. To say that no upward movement, but long enough to garner some type of pension, or safety net, so to speak, is the closest to a “best way” of doing things IMO.

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  221. I got in the habit of doing the Word thing a long time ago when message boards were far less reliable than Blogger. Not to mention, I am an atrocious speller. I very seldom type straight in anymore. Just a habit.I don’t know what input to give on the judges. I definitely see some holes. First, while some form of review is a desirable thing, I think an independent unelected body is necessary for that purpose. It is probably too late to fix, but keeping politics out of the judiciary is essential in my view. I could support some shortening of the tenure … 20 years seems reasonable, but I’m not entirely sure that buys you that much.Promote within is kind of what happens already. But, don’t lose track of the fact that there is a lot of judges that move from state courts to the federal bench. Some of our greatest jurists (Oliver Wendell Holmes, Learned Hand to name two) have come up in the state court systems and you don’t want to exclude them from the Federal Circuit or Supreme Court just because they have not served in a US District Court.Sorry for having a job Randy. 😀 I’ll try to do better with posting! Some of your remarks are sounding kind of Curmudgeonly…better be careful of your image.

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  222. I can also see more problems with each party taking a shot at nominations within the Senate if we start to actually have more than two real parties and some siding with each other for their agendas. The parties that are willing to compromise their ethics to further their agenda will for a theoretical Large party that will dominate and then every little gripe of those two parties together will be the majority and we still lose the war if not the battle

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  223. I also believe that most of the elected factions should be involved, if you allow just the senate to mandate the appointments and elevations in posts, you have the concern of agendas. I just think that we have a fairly good system of checks and balances and should maintain this to somse degree. That is why I limited the Pres, and split responsibility between the House and Senate, leaving the most important stuff up to the Senate, which I agree tends to have more dedicated people to the system, even though we are begining to see minor problems. I do agree that the House tends to be alot more childish about theie squabbles.

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  224. No that was the second one that I typed in, the first one was gone, probalby good though gave me a chance to think, also I did put in the 20 year limit without advancement, I think that is important, it allows judges to really speak from honesty without worrying about getting canned and having nothing to fall back on in retirment so to speak.What I said was“I also think there should be mandatory retirement, of judges that are not moving forward within, I don’t know 15 – 20 years, per seat placement.”

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  225. How Liberal / Conservative Are You?Your Political Profile Overall: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal Social Issues: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal Personal Responsibility: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal Fiscal Issues: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal Ethics: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal Defense and Crime: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal I was kinda surpised on ethics, I think they skewed me on purpose

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  226. Randy P,Hey, your post either showed up, or you typed it again. Sometimes the post takes a while to show up.Very creative ideas. However, right out of the gate, I’m very sure I don’t want the types in the House having anything to do with this. Simply put, the DeLAY’s of the world aren’t up to the task. I guess this is a question for Tony, but don’t the courts police themselves. I know judges can be impeached, but isn’t that just special cases. I could maybe see the merits in Senate oversight like you suggest. In fact, I would like to see a more public face and description of what the politicians are calling “judicial activism”. I don’t think politicians out to be able to just use that term as a generic. If this review was formalized in the Senate, they would be forced to put some form of definition in place, rather than “you know it when you see it”. Most of the so called “judicial activism” is no activism at all… just a ruling someone else doesn’t like. I don’t see the advantage of having the President in the loop… even more where you have relegated him to “low level” appointments. The dude just needs be cut out of the process, IMO. What does intrigue me, however, is tweaking the “lifetime appointement” model. I understand the purpose was to try and isolate these guys away from politics as much as possible… and as we can see, that was very wise. That said, I actually think your 20 years guarantee thing has merit… it serves the same basic purpose of keeping politics out… with some potential upside of … as you call it, new blood. I wouldn’t structure it around “if you are not advancing”, however. I would hate to lose wise judges who have learned from their experience who have no desire to advance… either for preference reasons or being uncomfortable with the next level. I’m sure we have some manificant folks serving as judges in local courts who would be an asset there for as long as they would like to serve.Whatever solution happens, I am convinced we have to change the rules on 100% majority party control of the agenda. This is true not just for judge nominations… the entire rules of Congress need to change to an alternate serve type of format. It’s ludicrous term after term for the 49% that lost to have to be 100% led by the majority. I have become convinced it’s a major source of increased polarization, and we are doing this nation great harm by not seeking measures to reduce the tension. We have no chance to all agree… but the rules of the engagement magnify the problem. Looking forward to lawyer Curm input.

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  227. Randy,<>Let’s just say I had the whole judge thing worked out and it sounded really good. Don’t think any of you could have put a hole in it.<>I don’t know… this is a hole puncturing bunch if I’ve ever seen one. Tony and I have both lost complete software programs before… it happens to almost everyone in the IT industry if you are there long enough. We noticed the program was always <>better<> the second time. Write your post again… I’m dying to rant more about the judge nomination process. btw… I got tired of the blog post eating of this website also… doesn’t happen nearly as much lately. Get to know copy and paste. Before you hit the <>Preview<> or <>Publish<> button, highlight the entire post and and copy it to the clipboard. (right mouse button -> select all, then right mouse button -> copy). If the blogware eats your post, just come back in and right mouse button -> paste. OR… you can use Tony’s technique and do most of your typing in Word… with the upside of being able to check spelling… and then copying that to the blog post window. Yeah… bit of a pain, but sure worth it when you type lengthy posts. Keyboard cut and paste:ctrl-c -> copies selected textctrl-p -> pastes selected textctrl-x -> cuts selected text

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  228. OK, CG since no one else has taken a jab at this yet I will give it a shot.I will start by saying I think that because the judiciary is life-time, there should be participation from each of the other two branches. I think I will start from the beginning by saying, I think the Pres should nominate judges to the bench, at the lowest level. I think that the executive branch should end it’s involvement at this point though. I think that there should be yearly reviews done by…probably the House with reports that state the types of cases heard, and the results with synopsis of what was thought of the ruling, and also how the cases were handled at the appellate level, over turned and chastised, or overturned, because they followed the law, but the law was unconstitutional. And so forth and so on. Based on the houses reviews I think the committee in the senate should promote from within, lower courts to higher courts, and there should be a structure for how to get up there. For instance, move from a lower court on one district to a slightly higher position in either the same district or another, (this does not seem to matter, although I think that judges should be pooled from their districts when possible. Now one benefit of this is the Pres does not have power over the subsequent promotions, judges will also be looking at the next level and might mind their P’s and Q’s a little more and bring judgments to the middle ground according to the constitution instead of being way left or way right, promoting the views of their party. I think the same review is done on the appellate judges to make sure they are not skewing to the favor of one party or the other to load the bench with conserves or libs. This way I see that a Pres has a little more to say about who gets into the system at the time of his election, if the people decide this is a campaign issue then the next Pres gets to load up a little on his side when he is in. It also keeps the Pres from being the sole nominator for higher courts and the need for nucular options will not come into play. To keep judges thinking about how conserve or lib they are, and establishes a system that is fair and allows for both sides to have judges they like in particular get promoted. I also think there should be mandatory retirement, of judges that are not moving forward within, I don’t know 15 – 20 years, per seat placement. This allows them to have a decent pension, also allows them to vote their conscience and be ridiculed, like that poor florida judge, but also allows for new blood on the seat from time to time. I am not opposed to there being a level that once attained can be left for life time. I am not sure of the different levels in the Federal system and therefore will leave that up to someone, maybe a lawyer type that knows the system. I see two benefits to this. One good thing is, the appointees to lower courts will be young, but will have supervision, and as they get promoted they will gain vast amounts of experience, in rulings and in how the system runs. It also ensures that someone is looking at their decisions often and counseling them on the law and how it should be maintained and also the constitution. I think we all win in this situation. I know someone will see a problem with some of it, and I am willing to compromise a little, but if we disagree too much I will use the nucular option.Thank you and God Bless America

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  229. Shoot, I had a lengthy post, and the server went down and I lost it.Let’s just say I had the whole judge thing worked out and it sounded really good. Don’t think any of you could have put a hole in it.

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  230. Randy,<>Maybe CG’s social policies will allow me to stay home for long periods of time<>Hey, even my policies won’t support you for life. 🙂 However, that conservative backhand :), that gave me an interesting idea. Prof thinks we should divide by states… Texas can do it’s eat-your-own-kill laissez-faire thing, and California can become one big commune. I’ve never found that to be a good idea, because you could be 49% in a state and it would be the same as if you were 5%… the losing side is equally screwed regardless of their percentages. Here is a better idea… let’s divide federal tax collection by the two party system. We can determine a base tax rate for bare government essentials… military, transportation infrastructure, etc (no safety-net type of frills included in the base tax rate). That will be the Republican tax rate. The Democrats will add on the safety-net tax rate costs to their federal tax. Each citizen will be given a one time option of choosing the Rep or Dem party (opting not to choose puts you in the Republicn party :). Choose Republican and you are entitled to minimum taxes for life, no safety nets, private schools at your expense, private hospitals at your expense, and an ample discussion of god from your politicians in government. Choose Democrat and your taxes will be higher, you will have robust safety nets pooled across the Democrat population, public schools, public hospitals and very little mention of god by your politicians.This works… I end up with a large enough pool to make robust common good work, and I don’t have to argue with the Prof’s of the world… other than for fun. 🙂 Heck, we could even have Democrat and Republican housing additions… it would be a hoot. We are still left with Washington theocracy worries, but those guys would sure have a lot less to argue about if take away the tax issue. In fact, it may be a real challenge for them to reinvent the two party dance. I like it. Thomas… call that one in to the Prez.

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  231. Tony,Man you are slippery. Fwiw… it seems like a perfectly valid constitional argument that the government has no right dictating cohabitation rules… with the exception of defining the consenting adult age. Where it gets grey for me is when you consider the cult like mind control that is passed on to the community and the kids. It’s a bit ironic to champion the rights of other nations, and then ignore cult brainwashing going on in your backyard. Adults have the right to cohabitate as they please, but surely there is a line they can cross where there behavior effecting the children become unacceptable. This is why the law is grey… complexity at every turn. <>Under our current laws, it is illegal in all states to have more than one spouse. In my view, those laws are unconsitituional.<>So if I’m the Mormon that comes to your Supreme Court asking for plural marriage… your ruling is to declare anti-plural marriage laws unconstitutional? Is that judicial activism? You know the vast majority of this country that doesn’t believe in plural marriage will accuse you of judicial activism… the public did not ok plural marriage through the legislative branch. You will say you are acting as an origionalist, and they will call you activist. Seems like the same reasoning would be applied to the sodomy cases… the nation never had the right to make sodomy illegal. If I’m not a Mormon, and come to your Supreme Court with the same plural marriage request under current law, would you give me the same ruling… i.e. it had nothing to do with the “free exercise” clause? Keep in mind this is purely hypothetical… I DO NOT WANT ANOTHER WIFE. Those guys must really like pain. 🙂 If those guys were smarter, their religion would have been plural short-term girlfriends. 🙂Like I said, you are very slippery. I don’t believe the “free exercise of religion” can mean anything you want it too up to “not violating the rights of another human”. I think that criteria is way too open ended.

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  232. Minors are different. There is a consent issue. I’ll stick with 17 on that and it should be in the Consitution.Under our current laws, it is illegal in all states to have more than one spouse. In my view, those laws are unconsitituional.

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  233. Tony,On the polygamy thing… was your view on the law and our constitution that Mormon’s were legally entitled to marry childen or minors (let’s say 15 years of age… or you pick an age)?Based on current law and our constitution, would a person that is not a Mormon be entitled to marry more than one wife?

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  234. Prof,<>Outside of a command by God to take care of the poor, that I am my brother’s keeper and need to share with and help my fellow man (all individual commands), what obligates man throughout the ages, across the globe, to provide a safety-net by social contract?<>Common sense and reason. We all need a military, so we throw that into the collective pile. You weren’t obligated… you were entitled to be killed by those with armies, but you used your reason to say.. hey, you know what, this 100% selfish thing has it’s limits. One could argue if man nature is as a social creature or not (Franklin thought man was a social creature), but it’s really about man conceding some of his natural selfishness out of necessity. If you haven’t read Plato’s <>The Republic<>, or it’s been a long time… check it out. I can’t do the subject justice. Anyway, so the military is an obvious collective concession. We could walk up that line of concessions where you and I would agree, and finally find the point where we disagree (I think we have already done that many times). Instead, let’s just jump to Universal Healthcare. I don’t understand why parents like you (even if conservative) fight concepts like Universal Healthcare. Too me, it’s like fighting against insurance… why wouldn’t everyone just take care of their own personal responsibilities rather than by insurance? The reason… sh*t happens. Rich or poor, Christian or atheist, lawyer or human :), we share so many risks… lifetime illness of a child, cancer, death of a spouse, family member killed in a terrorist attack, long term disability, mental illness, yada yada yada. Why wouldn’t man use the same reasoning he uses for insurance do construct common good safety-nets across society. Remember… many of these risks is stuff that can wipe any of us out. A few… a very few… are wealthy enough be 100% personal responsible… the rest of us need to pool this risk. If 1000 of us go into the pool together, and one ends up a parent of a kid with a lifetime expensive healthcare need, the one isn’t wiped out because the other 999 chipped in ahead of time. Raise that 999 to 300 million, and now we are talking. So forget the <>evil inefficient government rant<> for just a moment. Address this question on it’s merits without economics first. Just assume (even if wrong) that we could do this together very efficiently and in a cost effective way. Would you still be against it?

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  235. The middle ground was trying to carve out the exception. Neither one of us likes that, so why don’t we drop it?Many moons ago on a message board far, far away, I made a vigorous defense in favor of legalizing bigamy. I think people don’t get it when I say that I truly do believe in Liberty. This is really no different than the gay marriage thing. I don’t think the state should be involved in religious institutions. I totally support the legal right to civil unions of 3 to a million people. Now if we want to have a discussion about my view on the morality of bigamy, that is a different conversation and I am willing to have it.Bestiality is a far more interesting topic from a legal standpoint. I will be honest and tell you I haven’t spent a lot of time on that one. But, I do think animals deserve the protection of the law as they cannot consent. It is kinda-sorta analogous to statutory rape laws: animals are unable to consent. But, I am unwilling to go so far as to assert animal rights because I think that legally that could spin out of control and I just do not see a solid basis on which to define those rights. At the moment I am unable to come up with a satisfactory legal resolution of this issue and sadly, I am too busy here at the paying job to give it much time at this moment. I will say that while it is an intriguing academic question, I don’t think it has much importance as a social issue.

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  236. Tony,Prof… I will be with you shortly. I have an emergency to attend to with Plank on this <>free exercise open ended right thing<>. 🙂Tony… didn’t catch the “middle ground”. What were you referring to?<>If there are religious practices that they are aware of they should not draft laws that impede those practices.<>Or draft laws with the known <>exceptions<> written in?OK… talked about the peyote thing with the wife at lunch. She suggested I ask you about polygamy. So I will. 🙂Joseph Smith found some gold plates 🙂 in the early 1800’s and invented the mormon religion. His original Book of Mormon (their bible) didn’t originally include the concept of polygamy. Turns out Joesph had an eye for young ladies (very young) even while married. He took to bedding many of them, and then had a talk with god. God told him man was suppose to have more than one wife. Fairly convenient communication for Joseph, no doubt… but there was the issue of the law (and eventually the mob that didn’t approve and ended his life). Anyway, let’s suppose Joseph got a hearing at the Supreme Court soon after receiving this polygamy edict from god. You are on the Supreme Court, and Joseph is arguing that he has the right to his <>free exercising<> of his 15 year old brides AND to his adult brides. Give us the Plank constitutional ruling on this matter. The wife is very curious… my wife, not Joseph’s. 🙂OK, one more hypothetical. I think you have stated that the only limit to one’s “free exercise of religion” is when it impacts on another’s human rights. Let’s say one’s religious practice is breeding sheep. Over the years, you have become VERY, VERY close with your sheep, if you know what I mean. We have laws on the books about cruelty to animals, but these animals have no human rights protected by the constitution. You are the judge… the society gets to say “that ain’t right, stop it or go to jail”.. or “that sick, but it’s your right?”. Looking for that line… it surely exists. Note: you could also respond to my question about the gay couple who got married in their church. Would they be exempt from the constitutional marriage ammendment?

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  237. I am glad to drop productivity for the sake of <>the<> Common Good.Common Good said:<>my common safety-nets should not be dependent on Christians or Christian organizations.<>”Outside of a command by God to take care of the poor, that I am my brother’s keeper and need to share with and help my fellow man (all individual commands), what obligates man throughout the ages, across the globe, to provide a safety-net by social contract? What objective standard is offered so that I am not having to guarantee that my rich buddies drive, say, a Lexus? Or have air conditioning? Both of which are 20th Century luxuries that may one day be a minimum safety-net. Health insurance is a recent invention. We all have stories of how our parents birthed us youngsters for $36.14 + 2 chickens (or whatever). Since health insurance and government’s participation in the health arena, health costs have skyrocketed. Duh? Of course it has. Any time we make affording something easier, more people will demand it. The greater demand can not help but drive prices up. Universal Health Insurance would be the ultimate destruction of health care. ZERO responsiveness of the consumer to price fluctuations. It doesn’t matter if it is government run or government mandated, the results are the same. I know you’ve heard of people going to the emergency room for non-emergencies because insurance would pay it all. I know you’ve heard of people with $5 co-pays going to the doctor for any little sniffle. Folks like me who have a $2000 deductible per family member think loooonnnggg and hard about a doctor’s visit. My family is paying the inflated medical costs because of the insulation most people feel from medical prices that their insurance provides them. Universal health insurance would mean market prices gone to heck (that place you’ll go if you don’t believe in gosh:-). The kindest thing I could do is prevent the healthcare industry, and people’s access to it, from being destroyed by common do-gooders(:-) who have not thought through the economic consequences of Universal Health Care. Some have put forth a desire to legalize drugs, prostitution, and other unhealthy acts. But is there a price to be paid by those who engage in risky behavior? Will universal healthcare insurance differentiate between a childhood sickness and drug rehab? Cancer or STDs? Injury from your job or from riding wheelies down I-30? How about the plethora of ailments from the grossly obese person? If the medical costs, premiums, and deductibles are all of mine own choosing, then I can choose whether those risky behaviors are worth the increase in my own cost. Does your universal utopian health insurance help people choose responsible behavior? The stinking rich insurance companies thank you for your support.Prof. Ricardo

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  238. Well, so much for me trying to find a middle ground. Really, if a law operates to impair one’s free exercise of religion, then it is unconstitutional on its face. I have no problem with that result.The reason I did not address the need to survey religious practice by the legislature is that I frankly thought the answer too obvious to discuss. If there are religious practices that they are aware of they should not draft laws that impede those practices. I don’t see an affirmative duty to make really, really double darn sure that they aren’t impeding a religious practice.You are in fact a member of the most privileged religious faction in our nation: the secular left. Count your blessings my friend.

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  239. Tony,I just brought up the BIG CHURCH statement because I like the ring of it… I will use it often in future debates. It definitely did not apply to the peyote debate.<>It isn’t a religious “exception”.<>Maybe I should type in caps. If a religious group is deemed exempt from the law (for any reason), and the rest of us have to follow that law, it’s an <>exception<>, in this case a religious exception. You didn’t answer my question about surveying the religions of our country at the time law is made. Surely there are churches out there that perform gay marriages. When our righteous senators and righteous states make gay marriage illegal, should the gay married people belonging to those churches be given an exemption to any constitutional marriage ammendment? It’s part of their religious beliefs and practice.I’m really zealous. You are a part of a privileged faction, and I am not.

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  240. OK… I have a rant need also concerning the battle in the senate over judge nominations. This blog started with <>semi-human<> creatures, so I’m not sure talking about the senate is really that far OT. 😦A couple of thoughts, followed by suggested rule changes:1) I don’t think the senate should ever become a majority rule body… not even sure about the house, but definitely not the senate. When I hear Frist say… just allow an up or down vote, and we will accept the outcome, I want to hurl. How dishonest can a man be… he knows the fix is in.2) I think it was disgusting when Reed recently offered to allow <>some of the blocked judges<> a vote. I’ve heard and read some of these candidate statements… I wouldn’t vote for them either. However, they are either not acceptable or not. If they were unacceptble at one point, they can’t just change over night to acceptable. Maybe Reed offered it as compromise, but it made the Dems stand look unprincipled. I do not think judge filibustering is by definition unprincipled, so I thought Reed’s proposal was shallow. 3) I think there is zero difference between judges blocked in committee and judges filibustered on the floor. I hear all this talk about tradition, but both techniques amount to the same thing. Enough with the bs.4) I think no judge up for confirmation should have to be dragged through public opinion and trial for long periods of time. These are lifetime appointments, so public heated discussion is fine… just not over the course of years. 5) I think it’s insane for a majority party (could be a majority by 1 vote) to control the agenda 100%, and each committee 100%. It’s like the 49% of the nation who did not vote for Bush and the Reps are suppose to accept being led 100%. I’m up for giving the winners first serve, but we alternate servers from that point on. 6) I don’t think the president should have anything to do with judge nominations. I think it should the sole job of the senate, with alternating nominations from the parties. Some argued for this at the constitutional convention… I wish they had won the argument. So some suggested judge nomination rule changes… definitely would require one of those constitutional structure ammendments. – president is out of it, only senate nominates and confirms judges– senate rules are changed to an alternate serve format… details to be worked out– judge confirmation requires 60 votes AND x% vote from the minority party (alternatively at least 2 votes from the minority party)– Everyone nominated goes to committee promptly, without delay. Strict timelines will be put in place for the committee.– Once on the floor, a filibuster would still be allowed, and would require the 60 votes to shut down. I suspect filibusters would not happen with these new rules, but I wouldn’t want to rule it out.– I want more consolidated public disclosure on reasons for NOT confirming a judge. As a citizen, I want a detailed record from each senator on reasoning that was used to block a judge. Something like that. It’s obvious we elect presidents and senators that don’t deserve to be there, but in the meantime, we could at least institute new rules to make these guys play better together.

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  241. CG,I’ve told you to back that la-z-boy away from the tele. You never listen.What I suggested was a middle ground for the prohibitionists that would still be constitutional. It isn’t a religious “exception”. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DOESN’T HAVE THE POWER TO ABRIDGE RELIGIOUS PRACTICE. Do the capitals help? I hope so.Your hypothetical causes zero trouble. Part of the liberty we gave up when we signed the Constitution was submitting to taxes. Add to that the limits we have always placed on fundamental liberties when human rights come into conflict and the answers are clear. Religious practice can be imposed upon only when necessary to vindicate other fundamental liberties and only to the extent necessary to protect those liberties. Absent such a conflict, there can be no abridgement.I also have no trouble with denying a claim of government interference with religious practice if the claimant cannot make a showing that the practice was genuine. Granted, that creates some awkward questions of fact for a court, but it is probably necessary in narrow circumstances. The vast majority of religious practice will fall under well-defined religious doctrines and present no difficulty whatsoever, as is the case with our issues on the table, peyote and secular public education.And it is odd bringing up Big Church in this context. For all the issues I have with BC, I don’t see it as very relevant to this discussion.

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  242. Tony,You know we agree on the legalization of drugs. But your following inclusion of acceptable remedies troubles me.<>First, it could’ve promulgated a narrow ruling that provided a Constitutional exemption for this particular religious purpose.<>So you are saying it’s acceptable to allow one faction, based on religion, an exemption from law the rest of us have to follow? I’m convinced I’m not understanding you correctly here. If I am, I have a much better idea of what you mean by “judicial activism”. Why would a religious faction be allowed exemption from a law? A related question would be, should we survey religious practices across the country before we make new law? Are we to consider religious factions as special cases over other types of factions. If so, why? What an awsome loophole that would be. Hold it… god is talking to me… I can just make it out… I’m suppose to start a new religion and I’m suppose to call it the <>Brotherhood of Taxfree Saints<>.I’m with Suarav… I don’t trust BIG CHURCH either.

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  243. CG,The Court could’ve done several other reasonable things. First, it could’ve promulgated a narrow ruling that provided a Constitutional exemption for this particular religious purpose. Second, it could’ve struck down that portion of the law that regulated peyote. Third, it could’ve struck down all laws regulating drugs as an impermissible infringement on fundamental human rights.Here is the text of the First Amendment:<>Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.<>Clearly the drug statutes prohibit the free exercise of religion by some Native Americans. There is no counterbalancing fundamental right that is being protected by the statutes. If peyote use somehow interfered with somebody’s right to life or freedom of speech, then at least you would have a situation where some form of regulation might be permissible. But even in balancing cases, the Supreme Court has seldom (I think never) allowed the law to totally suppress another’s fundamental liberty.This is a great example of the activist right wing judges in action. The cruel irony is that it endangers the freedoms that we all hold dear in the name of protecting people from themselves. Which of course has been the standard raised by tyrants through the centuries.

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  244. Suarav, Tony,When discussing constitutional ammendements, wouldn’t there be two main categories. 1) The structure of government 2) rights related issues. For example, ammendments regarding gays would be a rights issue, and ammendments which would change the way judges or nominated would be a structural issue. I only raise this issue because I’m not sure both categories should be lumped into one ammendment process. It would seem changing one category may be more risky than the other (you pick). This also seems relevent to Tony’s Breyer statement: <>What makes my head explode is the Justice Breyers of the world who view the Constitution as something completely malleable to the whim of current social needs.<> I’ve listened to Breyer twice now in public appearances (C-Span), and I never heard him say anything like that. In fact, he makes the point that on the vast majority of the cases, all supreme court justices are in total agreement… i.e. there isn’t one of them that doesn’t believe there job is to interpret the law. My guess is Breyer would say conflict would hardly ever come up regarding the structure of government spelled out in the Constitution. I’m sure Tony may be able to point to exceptions, but I’m guessing this is an accurate statement. On cases of rights, and <>new stuff that comes up where a decision has to be made<>, there is natural disagreement. I think two of the examples Breyer through out where <>excecution of minors<> and <>sodomy laws<>. If I understand Tony’s argument here, these cases would be obvious as the nose on your face regarding the law. Breyer disagrees. Both very bright guys… hows a non-lawyer to know? 🙂Tony… on the peyote thing. What I just heard you say was (correct me if I’m wrong):1) peyote is an illegal substance2) indians claimed they should allowed an exemption from that law based on thier right to free exercise of religion.Seems like as a society, there could be two logical fair ways to resolve this. The first would be to make peyote legal for everyone (this is obviously the right answer), and then the problem goes away. The other logical answer is… no, religion doesn’t allow you to do something illegal. Seems like the judge, who isn’t allowed to make law, has no choice but to ban the religious practice… otherwise he would be charged with making law protecting one faction. What am I missing?

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  245. Prof,I hope this means you are past tax season and are back. This place is better with you <>being wrong here a lot<>. 🙂 Is that really the current Taxachussetts constitution? Wow…<>provided he doth not disturb the public peace<>Amen to that.Prof, I take your position to be… you are not for a national theocracy (in fact you may not view the US as a nation but rather a federation of states), but you think it would be ok for any state to be a theocracy. Correct me if I’m wrong. The Taxachussetts constitution certainly sounds like theocracy. (of course, I didn’t take the time to read all of it). Our nation, and any state, obviously has no right to be a theocracy OR favor one religion over another.btw… you are wrong when you suggest I don’t honor your religious conviction to private donation. As I have told you in the past, I just have a problem with using that as a basis to claim we need no federal non-religion tied common good. I’m not Christian… my common safety-nets should not be dependent on Christians or Christian organizations. Regardless, a church network will never be able to match a national pooled scheme… our <>nation<> has become to complex. I’m with Saurav… I just don’t get the government waste bashing that’s gone on forever. What government is perfect? Pick any government that is better due to thier <>private only charity<>. I loved the moral teachings from Jesus in the Gospels. If only that simple message was what the RR was actually about. I did not read any lessons on capitalism vs socialism, the preferred structure of government, private only charity, any obligation to restrict rights of gays in our society, etc. I hear people here make a case for socialism or capitalism based on Jesus… and I think I must have missed something. Jesus seemed pretty clear by hanging out with the have nots, the sick, and the gay (if I remember correctly)… and was very clear about the need to take care of them. I just never heard the part about <>this had to be private only love<>, or covering this need through collective measures is satanic. I just heard a simple, wonderful message of love and compassion. Saurav…. PLEASE post more often. My “man is evil” friends here are more than I can handle on my own. I wish David R brought his wrath 🙂 to the table here more often also. The truth of the matter is I really don’t have much more faith in human nature than Prof does… I just think Progressive ideas will improve society, while settling for the status quo is too depressing. It just seems like we might as well strive to improve… hey, it keeps us busy. 🙂If you have been here long enough (I can’t remember), then you know you I have the same sentiments about Universal Healthcare. I consider myself a Cuomo Progressive… if you can provide the population needed service better in the private sector, do it. If not, shut up and help us figure out how to cover the need from the federal level, which by definition then becomes <>common good<>. Federal common good has to be <>controlled<> by the government, but that doesn’t have to mean <>provided<> by the government. Any combination of government/private is possible… choose the most efficient. If we had quit arguing about this a couple decades ago, maybe we would have worked through a couple of iterations and ended up at a much better place today. I think Friedman is absolutely awsome when he covers the middle east. I think he is absolutely average when he covers globalization, capitalism, etc. That said, I think he offered some real value in his “the world is flat” discussion. It is time to have a serious discussion about globalization and the impact on our nation and our education needs. I just boil over when he simply dismisses the reality of competing against 1/10th the salary… and makes such simple minded claims of “let’s just outcompete them… and let’s just study some more math and science”. I haven’t read his book, so I’m just basing these comments on his Op-Eds, and recent public appearances.Maureen Dowd is a very entertaining read… I have no idea how someone who looks like her can be so lethal with a pen/word processor. 🙂 That said, wouldn’t you say she dwells in the political name-calling space… i.e. not an apples and apples comparison to Friedman.

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  246. Prof,My view on this America as a Christian country is somewhere between the extremes. Certainly, at the time of our founding we were a predominantly Christian nation and the points you make regarding State sovereignty on those issues are well taken. There is also little doubt that if you had asked the founders if America was a Christian nation and whether this was a good thing, they would have answered both questions in the affirmative.But, I think you do not do the founders enough credit for having the good sense to keep the Federal Government out of the business of religion. They were intimately aware of the problems of religious persecution within the colonies. While the certainly did not set out to right every old wrong, they were very conscious of insuring that the new Federal Government would not exacerbate or perpetuate the old order. They were also conscious of the strong trend in America toward increasing toleration of various beliefs.These were men on the cusp of the enlightenment. Many had one foot on each side of that line. While I do not think they saw the coming heterogeneity of America with complete clarity, they did see that trend and wished to create institutions that would lead to a better society in that context.Lastly, I would say that your observation that such matters were left to the States is unpersuasive in the sense of it being an indication of what they would desire to do if they had a free hand. The Constitution was a fragile compromise at best. They avoided many issues, most notably slavery, for the sole purpose of creating a compromise document that could withstand the ratification process. To use the document itself to suggest that it means that the founders made a positive assertion that this was entirely the right way to do things on any issue is simply unwarranted.

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  247. CG,On the sacramental peyote thing. The Supreme Court has ruled against the right of Native Americans to practice ancient religious rituals involving peyote. It was some extremely obnoxious law. The opinion hinged on the fact that the law regulating the use of drugs was neutral with respect to religious practice. In other words they said they can pretty much interfere with any religious practice for any reason as long as the law was not specifically aimed at interfering with the religious practice.The decision should have outraged Christians and faithful of every stripe. But, the RR would rather their own viewpoint be vindicated in the law than look at the larger legal consequences of bad law. And if you are following my other arguments closely and applying them, you can see how this ruling eviscerates my argument on Public Schools being a violation of the Free Exercise Clause. My argument is entirely correct, except that we have a stupid and wrong-headed Supreme Court decision (actually, there is more than one) that would need to be overturned to get the rational result.Oh what a tangled web we weave.Saurav,Great rant.I would be in favor of making the Amendment process easier, though I do believe the super-majority requirement should continue to be very high. For instance, I’d be willing to consider the possibility of a national popular vote with a 2/3 requirement to Amend the Constitution. The thing that would scare me about amending the amendment process is the whole trend in our country to over-democratize. If we engaged in that process I think there is a good chance that we could end up with a 51% majority threshold for Amending the Constitution. Personally, I would not let that fear keep me from going forward.But let me be clear about my view on the Constitution and Founders. I totally agree that inordinate reverence for either is unjustified and that possibility would have mortified most of the founders. If is not reverence that compels me to respect the documents and ideas, but rather the strength of the system of laws they created and a desire to continue to be a nation of laws. What makes my head explode is the Justice Breyers of the world who view the Constitution as something completely malleable to the whim of current social needs.Now the Constitution is certainly malleable in two senses. The first is the amendment process. It is sad that we have taken so little advantage of this extremely important constitutional provision. The second is the inevitable logical extension that happens in the courts of law that adapt the constitution to changed circumstance. The key phrase in that previous sentence being “logical”. The kind of logic where the court extends the fourth amendment protections to emails even though there was little “e” when the constitution was written. This is a far different thing from creation of new law that so often gets engaged in by our courts. This has traditionally been more of a creature of the left leaning judges, but is increasingly a creature of the right. Whatever viewpoint it comes from, it is wrong every time it is engaged in.Your health care remarks are right on target. I just had a short conversation with my Father on this topic last night. He thinks our health care system is just fine in spite of the fact that he is a victim of it on many levels. Don’t get me wrong, he is relatively lucky and I am grateful for this. But my point is that he is so bought in to the RR rhetoric that he does not have even an honest appraisal of his own predicament, much less those that have been victimized in far more horrific ways.

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  248. rant warning:I’ve been reading over the comments here, and three things infuriate me (not the people who said them…just the ideas):One, the <>constant<> mention of the Constitution, or “The Founders” or other such things as authorities. They were men–specifically, well educated, propertied, Christian, White, heteronormative, racist men (half of whom or more owned slaves probably)–and the system of government they created reflects that. We’re more than 200 years later! The system has changed (and broken down at least once–i.e. Civil War). So let’s take some responsibibility for desigining our own lives, setting our own societal rules for once, regardless of what Thomas Jefferson (yes I’m aware he wasn’t at the Convention) or Benjamin Franklin may have thought of something. I say this with an understanding that the rule of law is currently under attack in the United States, but it’s frustrating that, as a progressive, I’m now supposed to defend this inherited system? I can’t wait for 30 years from now when I can call for an amendment to make the amending process easier without fearing that it would lead to gay people being declared 3/5 of a human being.Second, this sentiment:<>Again universal health care I think is a good idea, I am scared about what will actually be provided if the Feds get involved and screw it up.<>Why do some people think that the Federal government should have the authority to maintain the most expensive, most dangerous military force in the world (which incidentally has a huge bureaucracy, both military and civilian) with access to nuclear weapons, and yet they don’t trust the government to revamp a completely f@#$ked up health care system. Let’s face reality–we already have a system in which we acknowledge that you can’t turn away people who are about to die from emergency rooms. Why not rationalize it? Oh, because the Republicans told us we can’t trust Big Government as they define it. Well here’s a newsflash–i don’t trust Big Government, Big Money, Big Christian Blasphemy or any other Big Republican Political Force because it’s their rhetoric, not reality.Also, the Federal bureaucracy is not perfect, and it can use a LOT of reforms, but as far as I know (and I’d love to be corrected if I’m wrong) it’s been pretty damn good as far as governments go at least in terms of corruption, transparency, etc.3. Thomas Friedman is NOT a good journalist these days, nor is he doing a public service by putting out the clap trap he does in some kind of misguided attempt to do popular education. < HREF="http://www.ratical.org/co-globalize/capitalists.html" REL="nofollow">Anyone who argues that American investors having inordinate power to shape policy in Thailand is good for the people of Thailand<> is going to come across as an idiot to thinking people. I would read Maureen Dowd over him any day, given that she at least gives me something to work from, and Gail Collins is a genius compared to him.

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  249. Common Good said: <>What many seem to be saying in their arguments is “since the country was founded mainly by Christians in the late 18th century… we should all consider this a Christian nation for eternity, regardless of changes in demographics and pluralism”.<> The principles in the Scriptures that value women, property ownership, worship, parents raising and discipleing their children/families, the pursuit of happiness could be guaranteed by a people that acknowledged God and his principles and codified that knowledge of man in a system of government to protect these rights and liberties. It is the Christians that know that man is inherently evil (prone to sin, temptation, love of power), thus distrust him with power, thus designed a system of government that “separates powers”, has checks and balances, and attempts to eliminate centralization of power. Non-Christian forms of government rarely start off with the premise “man is inherently evil.” They feel that man is basically good. There’s just a few bad apples. If we only have the right people in office, then we can accomplish at the macro level what individuals, or businesses, or communities are not accomplishing at the micro level. Thus their preoccupation with (pardon me here) <>The Common Good<>© through forced benevolence on special chosen recipients. Obviously, the Non-Christian faction is not trusting in the benevolence of good Christian men, by definition, and they are so hoping that life is not just three score and ten of selfishness and die. Their good feelings of charity are satisfied by imposing them on others for the Common Good©, rather than personal acts that are a response to their commands from God. Their only hope is to trust in the inherent goodness of men apart from any Christian conviction. A rather futile act if history is to be our guide.Prof. Ricardo

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  250. Common Good: <>Christianity wasn’t mentioned in the constitution then, and it isn’t mentioned now.<> From This Independent Republic:“When reference is made to the Christian nature of the United States, the objection immediately raised is the <>absence<> of reference to Christianity in the Constitution. The Constitution would never have been ratified had such reference been made, and to safeguard themselves, the people sought and gained the further protection of the First Amendment. Its wording is significant: “<>Congress<> shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” All the constituent states had in some form or other either a Christian establishment or settlement, or specifically Christian legislation. Religious tests for citizenship, blasphemy laws, singular or plural establishments, and other religious settlements were the rule, jealously guarded and prized, first against British interference, then against Federal usurpation. To preserve the integrity and freedom of the specific forms of Christian statehood of the constituent states, the Constitution forbade any jurisdiction to the Federal Union in this area. The answer to the present federal interference, wrongly based on the Fourteenth Amendment, is not a Christian Amendment but the restoration of the prior jurisdiction of the states”“The American Revolution was not a revolution in the modern sense of that word. Moreover, it was a defensive war, fought to preserve American liberties from the usurpation and invasion of Parliament. The colonies rightly charged the crown with breach of feudal contract, whereby they could declare that contract null and void. The Constitution was not designed to make the United States a “nation,” but to federate already existing states, whose previous unity had been primarily in the British monarch and was now in the Federal Union. As a result, the term “United States” was a plural noun, taking a plural verb. The constituent states being various forms of Christian states, they forbade the Federal Government to enter the area of religion to impose <>or<> forbid any establishment or settlement alien to the states. The freedom contemplated, therefore, was not freedom of or from religion, but <>for<> religion in the constituent states.”You know, C.G., that bastion of economic and personal freedom, Taxachusetts, I mean Massachusetts, that state that bans so many kinds of firearms ownership, etc., etc.? An excerpt from < HREF="http://www.mass.gov/legis/const.htm" REL="nofollow">their constitution<>:“We, therefore, the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the goodness of the <>great Legislator of the universe<>, in affording us, in the course of <>His providence<>, an opportunity, deliberately and peaceably, without fraud, violence or surprise, of entering into an original, explicit, and solemn compact with each other; and of forming a new constitution of civil government, for ourselves and posterity; and devoutly imploring <>His direction<> in so interesting a design, do agree upon, ordain and establish the following Declaration of Rights, and Frame of Government, as the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. “Article II. It is the right as well as <>the duty of all men in society, publicly, and at stated seasons to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe.<> And no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping God in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience; or for his religious profession or sentiments; provided he doth not disturb the public peace, or obstruct others in their religious worship.“Article III. [As the happiness of a people, and the good order and preservation of civil government, essentially depend upon piety, religion and morality; and as these cannot be generally diffused through a community, but by the institution of the public worship of God, and of public instructions in piety, religion and morality: Therefore, to promote their happiness and to secure the good order and preservation of their government, the people of this commonwealth have a right to invest their legislature with power to authorize and require, and the legislature shall, from time to time, authorize and require, the several towns, parishes, precincts, and other bodies politic, or religious societies, to make suitable provision, at their own expense, for the institution of the public worship of God, and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion and morality, in all cases where such provision shall not be made voluntarily.”C.G., with state constitutions like this and a distrust of centralized governments, there was no need to mention God in the Constitution. He was mentioned where it mattered, at the state level.Prof. Ricardo

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  251. CG, you are so right, every faction of the public fears different things, I fear that if we do not get on to a more moralistic path, away from gay marraige and abortion, we are doomed to follow the same path as the Romans, Greek, and any nation that has risen to greatness and given in to laziness. I do believe in an obligation to help those in need, and I also understand that some people will take advantage of that, and in small percentages I am also OK with that. I do not think that we need more money and giving in this area, what I think we need to do is revamp what we have, use the people that can work and are sitting on their behinds to do some public service/volunteer stuff. The wealth gap concerns me also, not quit as much as the moral issues, but it is still a problem, it will not be too awfully long before some president says “let them eat cake” and it will be all over. You had also mentioned earlier that “Think about this. I am best of friends with Tony. This would not be possible in a United States that did codify the bible in our law. I repeat… religious protection happens because of the seperation of church and state, not in spite of it.”Two things here,1. If you presume to know that in theocratic societies that no two people from differing religions are friends then I think you are niave. There are christians in muslim countries, and they are friends with muslims. It always comes back to extremists, those are the people you have to watch out for, anad those are the people you see on the news everyday, that is what gets the viewers… controversy.And two.I, and I believe Tony would agree, are not talking about bringing the bible to the fore front and making it the constitution, or even requiring that only priests or preachers can be president of the united states. There is a moral relavence to the teachings of christ though, and they are in line with the ideals you are spouting as a non-socialism, socialist.

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  252. Common Good: “<>What’s “This Independent Republic”? I googled but didn’t find it.<>”<>This Independent Republic<>, by Rousas John Rushdoony. Studies in the Nature and Meaning of American History, ISBN: 1-879998-24-6, Copyright 1964. A series of essays compiled by his son in this book. R. J. Rushdoony has written about 30 books total. For over half a century he averaged reading over one book per day, thus giving him an incredible perspective of history.<>If the overriding concern on the table was making a Christian nation, then these man of backbone surely wouldn’t have punted because of public perception.<>The public thought the founders were amending the Articles of Confederation. We can not impute our thinking, our mannerisms, our today culture on them and say they “surely wouldn’t have punted because of public perception.” These people did not trust ANY centralized government. Not federal, not state, not nobody. As you know, the AofC was nearly worthless because people did not want the centralized body to have any power unless all representatives from every state agreed. Among other things, disunity was a problem. Compromises were made. Blacks being considered 3/5 of a person is an example of that. The whole shebang could fail with disunity. In that day, in that culture, after however many days, having a clergyman show up might appear to be there to reconcile disunity. I don’t know this for a fact, but it is very plausible, very reasonable.Prof. RicardoP.S. What any of this has to do with “chimerical reations” is beyond me. However, it apparently is what we really want to talk about. 🙂 It always boils down to defining your world view.

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  253. Randy P,I forgot one comment I was going to make. It’s interesting how we all fear different things about our society. For example, I don’t spend a second worrying about gay sex or abortions. What I worry about is major shifts in the wealth gap landscape. I think we will always be able to muddle through on the moral front as long as the economy is sufficient. Destroy the economy or create a distinct “have” and “have not” two tiered society… and all bets are off.

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  254. Jeeze… called base, judgemental and a part of the peyote abstinence ilk all in the same day. Good day. 🙂 Tony… fill me in on the peyote thing. Randy, I just saw your last post… I had missed it. Good post. I waffle between agnostic and deist more than atheist. Sometimes I argue as an atheist, but I have the same problem with atheism as I do with absolute faith or certainty. It seems just as much a stretch to me to say <>one is sure there is no god<> as to say <>there is a god for sure<>. We can’t know for sure either way until we die… that’s why it’s called faith. In my deist moments, I look around and say all of this is most likely not due to chance. However, for me, that doesn’t automatically lead to a creator that loves us with a heaven or hell waiting. I found most of Thomas Paine’s arguments in <>The Age of Reason<> compelling. He claimed to believe in a god (one god), but Jesus was just a man. He made the point that revelation can only be between two people or a person and a god that revealed himself to the person. Everything else… even a story passed down from a father to a son is hearsay. With the Christian bible, we are to believe god used a man (his son) to relay his revelation, and then invented a heaven and a hell as consequences for how we followed the hearsay. Paine also addressed the fallacy of language translation and stories passed down through the generations. And back on the subject of revelation through a man… unless we believe we are the only planet god created life on, should we believe he sent Jesus, or another man to all of the planets he created life on as revelation? In the end, it’s all faith. I have a easier time believing a god created us, but has no direct involvement with us at this point. There may or may not be a heaven, but I refuse to believe good people are left out by any god that exists that created us and a heaven. When I dream of a heaven or a caring god (which I see zip sign of btw), I can’t imagine good people being left behind because they didn’t follow hearsay right. I have the same problem believing in a hell. What kind of god would create humans, with no choice on thier part in being here, and subject them to a heaven and hell lottery? Surely a god with infinite powers would come up with a better scheme. From your post: <>As a socialist you believe (and correct me if I am wrong) that social freedoms are as free as what is good for the common good of the nation and states.<>I’m not a socialist (sounds like Nixon :), and your statement is close, but not exact. I think we are free as a nation to define robust common good/safety-nets. We are also free not to. IMO, we will only become a better society by continuing to improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness of goverment common good services… and by adding to the common good as our nation’s wealth increases (assuming that is still going to happen). I do think we have to give up freedoms (taxes), by definition, when we choose common good through our representative democracy. 100% free is the same as being 100% tax free… it can never be a reality.<>To say though that early interpretation of law was not based on biblical morals is a farse.<>Well, <>based on<> and <>including many of the same tenets<> are not necessarily the same thing. It’s really not a big issue to me either way. The constitution didn’t come with footnotes, and it turns out the <>intention of the founders<> is a very vague term. Which founder’s intentions… you can surely find one to match what you want the intentions to be. Ben Franklin through out the idea to limit wealth in his state’s constitution. There you go… I can say our founders intended more socialism out of us. 🙂 We have the written constitution and an ammendment process… our future is not limited to <>founders intentions<>. < HREF="http://etext.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/jeff1000.htm" REL="nofollow">Founder Jefferson quotes<> —<>“Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence and deem them like the ark of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment. I knew that age well; I belonged to it and labored with it. It deserved well of its country. It was very like the present but without the experience of the present; and forty years of experience in government is worth a century of book-reading; and this they would say themselves were they to rise from the dead.” –Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1816. ME 15:40<><>“I set out on this ground which I suppose to be self-evident: ‘That the earth belongs in usufruct to the living;’ that the dead have neither powers nor rights over it… We seem not to have perceived that by the law of nature, one generation is to another as one independent nation to another.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1789. ME 7:454, Papers 15:392<>

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  255. CG,Well, #1 is only true if #2 is true. And #2 is most certainly true. Frankly, if you don’t understand #2 to be true there is very little to discuss. You are of the same ilk that deprives Native Americans the legal right to use peyote as a sacrament-only far more extreme. In your case, you are comfortable telling others not just what to do, but what to believe as well. On vouchers, you have never once demonstrated why they would damage the public schools. I put forth a reasonably specific argument demonstrating how the public schools can be greatly improved by vouchers. Never once have you argued against the merits. Instead, you resort to the tired old maxims that the secular left loves to repeat over and over. This is understandable because it is hard to argue against something that leaves more money per student in the public school system-which is exactly what the educators constantly tell us is needed.

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  256. Tony,<>Disagree all you want with my assertion that the secular worldview is fundamentally inconsistent with the religious practice of my family, but you will still be wrong.<>No buddy, not close minded… just disagree how far you are willing to stretch the term “free exercise of religion”. There are limits to everything… even that sacred right. Drawing those lines/limits is very difficult… democracy requires compromise even when it comes to religious practice. You could claim relgious violation if you aren’t allowed to pray in the middle of a busy street. (repeating ourselves again :). You agree that doesn’t fly because you are effecting the rights of others (I guess we would have to include some form of threshold violation of other’s rights). So for me to agree with your premise of having your “free exercise rights” violated, I have to believe two things. 1) The economic\tax consequences of our public school funding amounts to a violation of your religious practice 2) attending a public school would mean your kid is being taught some religion you don’t believe in. I just don’t believe either of those is true… so it’s not close mindedness, it’s disagreement. To me, if I follow your logic, <>free exercise of religion<> is pretty open ended… and could invade a multitude of public places. Religion is divisive… why would we want to encourage more division in our public shared places. Note, just because I disagree with the rights violation, doesn’t mean I’m not going to ever be for some “opt out/opt in” tax scheme. If we can create that without damaging public schools, or diverting energy from making the needed improvement to public schools… then great. I’m dead against the rich or the religious getting better schools for appeasement, however. Vouchers are appeasement and a punt. I guess I pretty much remembered your position on evolution from many years back. It’s entirely possible that evolution occured just like scientist suggest… but in the end, all of it was at the hand of god. ??

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  257. Proffy,Where you been? Good afternoon. I really have learned to enjoy a bit of history… particularly old Poor Richard. 🙂What’s “This Independent Republic”? I googled but didn’t find it.<>Footnote: “The Convention did not accede to Franklin’s plea, fearing that the introduction of a chaplain would lead the public to believe that the Convention was disunited.”<>If anything, I would think that makes my point even stronger. If the overriding concern on the table was making a Christian nation, then these man of backbone surely wouldn’t have punted because of public perception. <>But the overwhelming influence of the migration and establishment of peoples on this land and the federation of the individual states, was the practice and protection of the Christian religion.<>I believe there were two, and probably pretty equal motivations to come to America. 1) escape from religious persecution/theocracy 2) economic reasons. A great benefit for many was the chance to practice Christianity as they pleased. The vast majority of the population were Christians. And to that, I would say… so what? Christianity wasn’t mentioned in the constitution then, and it isn’t mentioned now. What many seem to be saying in their arguments is “since the country was founded mainly by Christians in the late 18th century… we should all consider this a Christian nation for eternity, regardless of changes in demographics and pluralism”. Why in the heck would these guys have provided an ammendment process if the original demographics were suppose to represent the social norms from that point on? In 1787, making the claim that this was a Christian nation, although not technically correct, would be more easily defended. In 2005, it just sounds silly. We are obviously repeating ourselves now, but that’s ok.. we seem to enjoy it. 🙂 “That does not make unbelievers a 2nd class citizen.”Of course we would be second class citizens if the Robertson’s ever get there way… and that’s exactly what the battle over judges is about. I understand it on some level. Anyone who thinks they have a handle on eternity and the proper relationship with god, doesn’t have to stretch very far to decide how we should all live on planet earth in the meantime.

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  258. CG,I hate to break it to you, but a majority of the nominal Christians that would impose their beliefs on you do not attend churches either. I can’t see that as a useful criterion. And BTW, there are secular Churches out there. You pointed one out to me yourself.And again, when you invoke the names of certain prominent Christians, you confuse a wrong-headed minority as representative of the whole. I am as appalled by the behavior of these people as are you.The beauty of our system of laws, if we would be so bold as to actually follow them, is that you do not get to tell me what my religious practice is or should be. It is entirely my call and you get no say in the matter. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Disagree all you want with my assertion that the secular worldview is fundamentally inconsistent with the religious practice of my family, but you will still be wrong. Your unwillingness to acknowledge this speaks to your close-mindedness, not mine.On to simple topics like evolution. Well, my personal belief on evolution requires some explanation. I start from the premise that God created reason, created men as rational creatures, gave men dominion over the Earth, and the free will to make his own choices. I do not see any biblical warrant for the notion that we are compelled to reject what our senses and reason tells us. Now we are admonished to question our reason and to distrust our own confidence in our faculties. Or in other words, we are to be careful about being too certain that we have a complete understanding.To apply this to evolution, I would simply say I do not know precisely how evolution fits into the order of the Universe. That evolution happens at a genetic level is unquestionable. God would not ask us to simply deny this truth, but rather rest in the confidence that the Creator of the Universe will make his plan plain to us in the future.It is easy to forget that Western Society (yeah Saurav, I know you don’t buy that construct) was at one time in quite a turmoil over Galileo’s observations proving that the Earth was not the center of the solar system. Over time, this truth has ceased being a problem for Christians, but in a prior age this seemed as key to some folks as does evolution today. I have no doubt that this issue will resolve itself in much the same way.So if you are asking me if I believe in evolution, I would say no if you mean in the sense that it is an explanation for creation. In the sense that it explains facts that we can ascertain though our senses and reasoning, I have no problem with it.Here is the key point that I think separates me from the militant anti-evolution crowd: I think that it is incredibly arrogant for a mere man to assert that they have a clear understanding of what exactly the act of Creation by an omnipotent, omniscient, pre-existent Creator is. Man doesn’t even understand the act of creation by men. Perhaps as we understand better the act of creation by men, we will have a better sense of the act of creation by God, as we are made in his image, but I think we will only get so close to understanding.And this limit is pretty clear if you just look at the account of Creation in Genesis. It is said there that God spoke things into existence. But speech itself is a physical property of a physical created universe. There is little doubt I think that God here is using an anthropomorphism to communicate a complex act to a simple creature.This whole discussion raises all kind of interesting and fun questions. For instance, is it not possible that an infinite Creator could create a new Earth that appears old? If one begins to ruminate on what is possible by and infinite creator that exists outside of time and space, the mind does truly boggle.

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  259. Common Good said: <>During the constitutional convention (at a point where it had become particularly tense), Ben proposed hiring a chaplain and starting every morning session with a prayer. The idea was resoundly defeated… Ben’s notes to the effect… “not many for morning prayers”.<>Tsk, tsk. So many students, so little time. 🙂 “no many for morning prayers” is not quite so accurate as you might like. From <>This Independent Republic<>:“The eclectic approach of both Franklin and Jefferson to all things made them ready samplers of any thought. But were they Deists? Vergilius Ferm has defined Deism as, first, the view that “God has no immediate relation with the world. . . the ‘absentee landlord’ view,” and, second, that “revelation is superfluous, that reason is touchstone to religious validity, that religion and ethics are natural phenomena, that the traditional God need hardly be appealed to since man finds in nature the necessary guides for moral and religious living.” In terms of this, let us examine the plea for public prayer given by Benjamin Franklin on June 28, 1787, at the Constitutional Convention:“<>In this situation of this assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find the political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible to danger, we had daily prayers in this room for divine protection.“Our prayers, sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor. To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance? I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth-that God governs the affairs of men.“And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, sir, in the sacred writings, that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without this concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel; we shall be divided by our partial little local interests; our projects will be confounded and we ourselves shall become a byword down the future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.<>Footnote: “The Convention did not accede to Franklin’s plea, fearing that the introduction of a chaplain would lead the public to believe that the Convention was disunited.”C.G., The evidence is overwhelming to those who have not closed reason and senses that this nation was founded on Christian and Christian compatible ideologies in all their various forms. ALL were not Diest, Athiest, Christian, Puritan, Calvinist, etc.,etc. They all played a part. They each were their own unique blend of philosopies. But the overwhelming influence of the migration and establishment of peoples on this land and the federation of the individual states, was the practice and protection of the Christian religion. That does not make unbelievers a 2nd class citizen. Quite the contrary. Your murderer and my murderer will pay the same price under a Christian government. I doubt you’ll get such guarantees from the Atheist faction.Prof. Ricardo

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  260. CG,You are essentially asking me to explain the Protestant Reformation to you.Protestants believe (and I will not characterize the Catholic position because I realize there is some nuance therein of which I do not have a full grasp) in a personal direct relationship with God. The function of the preacher is merely that of leading the Congregation. In many ways, a preacher’s sermon is no different than an IT professional rendering an opinion on a technical topic. Or in another way of looking at it, preachers are not authoritative on what the Word of God in fact is-this is left to the individual. In the words of the New Testament, we each have our spiritual gifts and preaching is but one of them.Why organized religion? Good question. In my view, it depends on what type of organization you are speaking of. I think the large denomination mentality is nothing more than a construct of men to accumulate power. I would say this about all large denominations spanning the gap from the Roman Catholic Church to the Southern Baptist Convention. It is no accident that I find myself presently attending a Restoration Movement Church.Which brings me to these smaller organizations that are the individual churches. This is an institution that Christ himself ordained. The organization exists more as community of believers than for larger social structure. Christ instituted the Church for the purpose of spreading the Gospel and for uniting Christian brothers and sisters for mutual assistance and fellowship. When church leadership steps outside these narrow purposes, in my opinion they are on shaky grounds biblically. And when you start taking steps of allying directly with worldly institutions such as political parties, then you are playing with potential, if not probable, blasphemy.

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  261. Tony,<>Kind of like your staunch refusal to see the violation of the Establishment Clause inherent in state run secular schools.<>Hey, when I see a bunch of people gathering on Sunday’s to worship at thier secular church, you will have a point. When those gatherings give voice and backing to a secular version of Pat Robertson, you will have a point. When I hear a secular version of Pat Robertson tell me our judges are a much bigger threat than a few bearded terrorist, then you will have a point. I’m afraid some define secularism as “not allowing Christians to dictate life, including public places, to the rest of us”. As far as I know, I’ve never told a Chistian how to live, although you try and make a case I’m telling Christian how to live by supporting public schools. I’m hearing Christians every single day tell me how I should live. You tell me… who sticks their nose in other’s business more than the religious? And no, I’m not lumping my buddy Curm in with Pat Robertson. 🙂 Just making sure I keep you awake so you can get some work. 🙂btw… Mr. Curm… do you still believe in evolution? I know you did at one point. If I remember correctly, your position was something like “you never saw the conflict between believing in evolution and creation… god just created man through the process of evolution”. Or something like that. I’m curious where you stand now. Your base opinionated secular blog correspondent. 🙂

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  262. CG,Sorry you missed my point, wish you would have taken the blinders off prior to reading my post. I said “First the statement that freedom is granted by the Creator, does not limit your freedom, and does not make you a second class citizen, although I can sympathize with how you are feeling”And I do sympathize with what you are going through as an adult in a country that touts freedom, and then lets the RR dictate what those are. What I was trying to show you is that these are two forces working from differnt sides trying to meet in the middle without giving an inch. And although I believe the degredation of our moral culture, NOT BASED ON CHRISTIANITY, but moral issues that many may see as the forced issues of the RR, is the down fall of this nation, and will plunge us into chaos. And not a social chaos, but an unsocial chaos. This is obviously just my opinion, and probably does not hold much water with you. I am only trying to explain that I see your side of the argument, and would make a correlation between you side, and the side of the RR. Both are looking for freedoms, and both are misguided. As a socialist you believe (and correct me if I am wrong) that social freedoms are as free as what is good for the common good of the nation and states. If that is true you have to begin to understand that the RR just wants to look at the freedoms that are being taken away with the passing of every new law that allows their children to be put in what they consider hazardous conditions, in regards to their childs soul. You being of an opinion that there is no soul and therefore no life after, this is of no concern to you. And frankly the fact that you see the RR as taking freedom away from you, and making you feel like a second class citizen is of no concern to them. This is in fact what Tony disagrees with the most about the RR (Tony correct me if I am worng, and putting words in your mouth that do not taste good).I agree with you about Newdow’s challenge of the pledge, I wish that they could have taken it out. If it were to be in we would have mention of God in the constitution, and it would have been in originally. It should really not even be something the RR is fighting for, we have more pressing issues to resolve in our own hemispheres of influence. Your father is correct in that it should have never been added, I am assuming you understand why it was added when it was. The whole evil empire thing and communism. Yes and as for the bs you through out there so conveniently, I would disagree, again I will say that you should study the teachings of Christ, and you will see that the founding fathers did have it right and were correct in what they did. From the point of view of a Christian, and not the RR you were guarenteed these inalienable rights by God, that is what our foundation was based on, if you still want to wave your bs flag, I am sorry to say that you are wrong….dead wrong. This is what was intended, but I will also say that the constitution is worded correctly and God is to be left out of state and federal domain to give all not only the rights given by the Creator, but so that people, similar to you, that do not feel there is a God, can be part of the greatest nation on the earth, that allows all to state their opinions, without prejudice or malice.Now from your stand point I also understand that you do not believe you were given any rights by a creator, whomever that may be under whomever’s guidlines they fall into for their beliefs. You feel that the zealotry that exists on the RR will infringe on rights that you are granted in the constitution that does not regard God in anyway shape or form. This also I understand, and to say that we as a nation try to define ourselves a “christian” could be offensive to most that try to assimilate, or not assimilate to this country. After all it is anyones right not to assimilate to our perseved culture if indeed we have one.So in closing, I am not disagreeing with you, I was trying to show you the other side of the argument, and not trying to rile you up about your freedom. To say though that early interpretation of law was not based on biblical morals is a farse.

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  263. Why would any person that believes in God desire another individual… that has no more direct communication with god than the individual… to act as a filter between them and god? Why the need for organized religion? < HREF="http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=519&e=2&u=/ap/church_politics" REL="nofollow">An Ugly Wind Blowing our way…<>I had a funny thought. How many nonjudgemental people to you think spend any time on internet blogs? 🙂 Hint: < 1

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