thinking inside the box

It is not often that politicians are candid about their motivations and intentions. Yet there it was with John Conyers writing recently in the Washington Post regarding the potential for impeachment proceedings should the reigns of power change hands in the next election:


It was House Republicans who took power in 1995 with immediate plans to undermine President Bill Clinton by any means necessary, and they did so in the most autocratic, partisan and destructive ways imaginable. If there is any lesson from those “revolutionaries,” it is that partisan vendettas ultimately provoke a public backlash and are never viewed as legitimate.

It was close to complete candor, but let me translate this into plain English for you: “We would impeach the guy faster than a Congresscritter accepts a bribe, but we are afraid of losing our seats from voter backlash”.

Honest yes, but utterly contemptible.

Conyers himself described the charges of malfeasance against the administration as, “grave, serious, well known, and based on reliable media reports and the accounts of former administration officials.” He then goes on to describe the problems of proof, exacerbated by administration stone-walling, that prevent a conclusive determination on the presence of impeachable conduct.

Back in 1974, that was called obstruction of justice.

I can not seem to find the public outrage over obstruction of justice being tolerated by Congress under the explicit rationale that there might be a political backlash. I’m sure the outrage is lying around here somewhere—probably hiding under a pile of weapons of mass destruction.

It will not surprise my readers that I think that 43 crossed the line of impeachability long ago. If you are one of those poor souls who think the Democrats or Republicans will save us, however, it should shock you to learn that impeachment is no longer even an option. Where ever you may come down on the issues, this should torque you. Time after time politics trumps the rule of law yet there is no rage against the political machine.

And it is a political machine: the spirit of Tammany Hall is alive and well. Alive like some twisted vision of Mary Shelly crafted from the head of an elephant and ass of a donkey.

I wish Shelly were alive today to animate the American voters with a bolt of reality.

Whatever my wishes for a great awakening, the American voters continue their oblivious ways and seem poised to reactively return the Ass to the head of our political institutions. If you have been paying attention for the last several decades, you can go ahead and write the speeches now. The GOP urging us to stay the course with ads conjuring phantoms of terroristic demons that only they can be trusted to protect us against. While the Democrats will be urging a return to honest leadership and demonizing those who would send our children to war and poison our Earth to purposely make their lives miserable if they survive.

After all the fine speeches, the Democrats will win. This is the American way after a scandal such as is the current administration. And that of course means for the first time we will be saying “Madame President”.

The sad thing is that many of the hordes of people voting for Hilary will be doing so in a sincere effort to return our government to some semblance of respectability. It is sadder still that we have had a presidential administration so thoroughly obnoxious and incompetent that it makes Hilary look good in comparison. To borrow a phrase from a friend of mine, it is bone crushingly depressing that our choices will be limited to the candidates of Two-party Hall.

Not that I believe Two-party Hall exists as a simple hierarchical power structure. There is no Boss Tweed running the operation. No David Rockefeller behind the curtain. But the mutual self-interests of the power blocks within Two-party Hall operate to protect the family with almost as much loyalty as the machines of old.

Perhaps this is what they meant by “family values”.

Ruminate for a while on the reality of that which lies ahead as We the People turn away from a “culture of corruption” is the likelihood of returning the Clinton family to the White House. Consider their return to power in a world where lying to the American people, insider corporate dealing, unrepentant torture of prisoners, and obstruction of justice are charges too weak to justify impeachment proceedings. The rule of law has become of joke and we have no one to blame but ourselves.

But this joke is no laughing matter. We consistently let politicians off the hook as long as they stoically maintain their walls of plausible deniability. It is hard to laugh at the reelection of the President in the face of the horrible revelations from Abu Ghraib because people are willing to give him a pass on knowing the facts. We failed to remove his predecessor for lying under oath because the economy is good and the majority of Americans did not want to rock that boat. The litany of imperial tendencies could go on ad nauseum.

The problem with failing to take care that we remain a nation of laws is much larger than the political maneuvering of the current election cycle. James Madison articulated it well in the Federalist Papers when he wrote:


The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.

Does an executive branch that claims unilateral rights to take us to war, make decisions on searches without judicial assent, and abrogate ratified treaties sound like tyranny to anyone besides me? Do the rumblings about executive privilege make any of you queasy?

What we’re dealing with here is a complete lack of respect for the law.

Unfortunately, developing an understanding of the legal implications in the broader populace is probably impossible at this point. Historically, Americans have relied on its opposition leaders to at least point out Constitutional abuses and corrupt practices, but where are the senior statesmen calling Conyers on the carpet for his outrage?

Obviously, these “statesmen” are busy protecting their own position and pecuniary interest rather than seeing to the long term health and viability of These United States. Ultimately, politicians who share the guilt for the destruction of our legal institutions can not be expected to hold their peers accountable. Only an awakening of the power of We the People can change our course and avert destruction.

I think if I were a betting man, I would bet with the power elite that lazy Americans will continue to take it all in stride, so long as their Tivo and porn surfing are not interfered with. However improbable significant social backlash may be our political elite would do well to heed a proverb that I recently heard: “At the end of the game the king and the pawn go back in the same box.”

King or Pawn, thinking about one’s future in a box would be a very good thing right now.

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278 thoughts on “thinking inside the box”

  1. <>C.G.:<> “<> I heard Bill Gates dad on TV last night defending the inheritance tax, and he put it well as anyone I have heard so far. I’m not keeping up with the ONE Campaign, but heard the other day that Bill Gates has dedicated half of his wealth to his charitable enterprises. Wow… Double Wow…<>”<>Yoshi:<> “<>Yea, I saw Buffet too.I guess they read that part about getting through the eye of a needle. Now if only Professor would start understanding that part…<>”The top estate tax rate is 46% this year. Were Buffet or Gates to die with 40+ billion in their estate, nearly half would be consumed by the Federal government. However, assets given to charitable organizations is not included in the estate for estate tax purposes since the assets are no longer in the control of the individual. By creating their own foundations (like Teresa Heinz Kerry) they can preserve the corpus and continue to fund their wishes. They can reside on the board of directors of their own foundations, receive paychecks, employee anyone they wish, and of course, payout a certain percentage each year to charitable organizations.I do not mention this to take away from their philanthropic good will, but rather to point to a smidgen of hypocrisy of daddy Gates on the inheritance issue. This tax planning strategy is legitimate, smart, and a response to high inheritance tax. Otherwise, they would not take funds out of their individual control and commit it solely to the objectives of a foundation, even if they can still control it. Similarly, all the libs in Hollywood have paid big bucks to save on taxes currently and upon death.It had very little to do with figuratively getting through the eye of a needle.Prof. Ricardo

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  2. Guy,If you could search Tony’s archives for the phrase “steel against steel”, you would see that Prof framed what we were up against a long time ago… and yet we continue to duel. We have had plenty of opportunity to go non-civil, and depending on what you mean by “civil” we are much better than the average message board. 🙂 After all, we discuss some pretty trivial emotionless issues here like god, god in government, absolute truth vs anything else, sanctity of life vs reality, abortion, gay marriage, world poverty, tyranny, civil liberties, Constitution, those ever pliable founders intentions, etc. If you desired a significant increase in message board temperature, we would encourage more DavidR – Prof banter. DavidR doesn’t deal in pebbles. 🙂

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  3. Guy,I have to say that vitriol is not the norm. Prof, CG, and Yoshi have been going at this for some time and I think they are very civil in a way. But if you think this is rambunctious, you should see CG and I or DavidR and I go after it sometimes.Stay tuned…things can get very interesting around here.

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  4. CG – No Tony did not forward the memo containing the brief personality profile on each of you. I am still here and I am starting to question what that says about my personality. Enjoying the discourse and filling in the presumptive blanks on my own for each of your profiles. Let me also say that the current discourse led me to my last post but you guys are not yet just damning each other but I took off on that. I’m sure the damning will come soon. But in my view it does point out the problem with discourse today.On the one side, since you are not Christian enough you cannot properly understand my position and therefore my dialogue is reduced to rhetoric. On the other, since you think that the world is only 5,000 years old you are obviously not intelligent enough to participate in the discourse either. Therefore, we sit back and throw rhetoric at each other rather discuss substantive issues.This is not a criticism of this group specifically though I see seeds of it here but a general discussion of the discourse that occurs in society today.Why would I negotiate, negotiate or compromise politically with someone who I have determined is less worthy or of such poor intellect? These are extremes but I think if you reduce some of what is being said today, this is its essence. In the US it takes on the character of flame throwing discourse. i.e. “The Godless Liberal” Ann Coulter being the most obvious proponent on the right and Al Franken on the left although he is much funnier than Ann.Outside the West, it gets a bit more serious with let’s just destroy those who are inhuman enough to have a different point of view. Iraq being the most poignant example.

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  5. I’m working on a new post…it is getting hard to not repeat my past stuff now. I probably will start revisiting old ideas with new twists and take my chances with the redundancy police.

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  6. “[‘I don’t remember any of them saying charity was limited to “the body of Christ,” ie, only Christians as defined by Professor Ricardo. That’s just bizarre.’It sure would be if I had said it. But alas, the block is getting larger and not smaller. Let us recap:]”-Yes, we’ll recap. That’s what you said below. Honestly I didn’t notice it til C.G. mentioned it.“you failed to read the next sentence and identify what the “body of Christ” means.After individual I wrote: “…, then extending to the “body of Christ”, (ie, other Christians).” That did sound strange, and I’m relieved to know that’s not what you meant, but you have to admit, it did seem a little consistent with your posts… ;o)You know, I’m sure if those 2.5 million from the ONE Campaign could just check a box on those IRS forms, saying we wanted all our money to go into foreign aid, then that would be just swell. However, we also have to pay for the invasions into Iraq and the big Lockheed airplane contracts and all of that…so seeing the system as we have it now, everyone has to pay, and it’s just as right to make you pay for the global poverty initiatives as it is to make me pay for patrolling the borders or giving someone the death penalty. Otherwise, you might be on to something….

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  7. Guy,<>I could go on but I won’t. I grow weary of throwing stones.<>Maybe, but you are still here. Better to test stones among friends I always say. Did Tony give you a brief personality profile on each of us? 🙂

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  8. UHHH . . . Tony . . . Can we get a new thread? This one seems to have played out. Uncle . . . I give . . .I don’t want to play bible quotes. Although this does put a big red X on what I hate about politics today.Oh yeah, well my God says that you’re going to hell!! Oh no, infidel, you’re going to hell!!You godless liberal, if you’re OK with gay marriage then your going to hell!! That kind of talk always puts me in the mood for good political discourse. There seemed to so many Old Testament Christians running about. Eye for and Eye, Tooth for a Tooth. Follow these rules or your going to hell!! Believe as I do or your going to hell!! Oh yeah, well I know what the bible really says!! Man, what happened to the Sermon on the Mount and turn the other cheek? Angry Christians always seems like such an oxymoron.I know Ben Franklin was a big drunk at the Constitutional Convention; I am sure he’s in hell. And don’t get me started on that Miscegenating Thomas Jefferson. Fathering children not only out of wedlock but also with a slave girl. There’s got to be a prohibition against that. And that freemason, slave-owning sonofabitch George Washington. He’s most definitely in hell. Oh yeah and that Lincoln guy, suspending the writs of habeas corpus. Well, that was probably OK. But he was gay, right? Well, that puts him in hell. I could go on but I won’t. I grow weary of throwing stones.

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  9. Common,“<>Of course here you don’t mean like minded in regards to helping the poor… you mean like minded in religious beliefs. Wow.. can you say Taliban?<>”You know C.G., talking to a Philistine such as yourself about Biblical concepts is, no offense intended, casting pearls before pre-bacon. But you make doing it so fun.Let me insert religious disclaimer. Ie, why you don’t get it.1 Corinthians 2:14 <>But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned<>.So, when I tell you that I don’t think it is forbidden that I band with the heathen to help a person in need, I miss out on one of the great blessings.Matthew 5:16 “<>Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven<>.”As Christians helping out those in need, we can point to the source of the charity and let God receive the glory. The heathen’s source is personal guilt. I know you don’t understand that.“<>Obviously the like minded folks restriction only applies to matters of money, because you are here discussing such matters with an obvious infidel.<>”I wont tell my pastor if you wont. 🙂“<>Prof, you sneaky devil… have you been proselytizing me here the whole time…<>”Duh! Your wife holding one heal and me the other we’ll drag you through the Pearly Gates kicking and screaming. (Technically, it has to be of your own free will – so don’t get your hopes over the dragging scenario.)Happy 4th!Prof. Ricardo

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  10. Yoshi,“<>I don’t remember any of them saying charity was limited to “the body of Christ,” ie, only Christians as defined by Professor Ricardo. That’s just bizarre.<>”It sure would be if I had said it. But alas, the block is getting larger and not smaller. Let us recap:Yoshi said you’d like to be a hedonist but a conscience prevents you and you equated it with being Christian(“<>…some people call it Christianity<>”).Because YOU brought Christianity into the arena of ideas, I said “The Christian inducement to help the poor is…..blah, blah, blah.” In this statement I did not say only one person can help others (you made that up.) I did not say non-Christians can’t help others (you made that up to). I was saying from a scriptural basis the charges that Jesus and the disciples gave the Christians were directed foremost to an individual responsibility, but not necessarily to be fulfilled by themselves. Charity is not limited to “the body of Christ”, but I was referring to the inducement of Christians. I realize my public education leaves a lot to be desired, but I do not think my poor writing style would prevent an objective minded person from seeing what I actually meant here.I’ve got some way out there ideas. 🙂 But I’m spending time defending things you THINK I said, when in reality I did not say it.BTW, have a happy & safe Independence Day.Prof. Ricardo

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  11. Common Good, this is my biggest problem with Prof…. and that is he’s one of those fringe, out-there, Christians who gives all the rest this crazy reputation… it’s not really like that…You have all the big names of Christianity out there, even Pat Robertson, plugging this ONE Campaign initiative. Pope John Paul 2, was one of the forces behind the drop the debt campaign, and now you have this best-selling author/ pastor Rick Warren, as well as loads of Christian NGOs, and every Christian singer you can think of, etc, all coming together on this idea. Many churches are finally realizing how to become relevent, in the age of information technology and globalization, and how not to be the butt of jokes. It’s not just about televangelists ripping off the sick and old from their social security anymore, there are some legit, relevent, progressive people out there. (I believe the laggards will soon be extinct by the next generation as the old die-hards die off….)…and then you Prof. who’s like the guy who missed Star Wars. The one single guy who just misses the train as it went by. The Holy Spirit is in the house, and the Professor refuses to come in because he thinks it makes him a “socialist” who violates the U.S. Consitution. Talk about the mental block and not being able to think outside the box.I mean, I’d really appreciate it if we could categorize the Christian category on this blog instead of lumping them all together. Maybe call me a member of Christian group A, and maybe refer to Prof. as in Christian group X-2. That way there is less confusion…Prof, I grew up in a deeply Christian family. And I’ve met hundreds of very strong Christians, many of them great people, and of course, a few nutcases too… and I don’t remember any of them saying charity was limited to “the body of Christ,” ie, only Christians as defined by Professor Ricardo. That’s just bizarre. It’s not some kind of club….it’s the way you treat other human beings, all reflections of God. Read Matthew 25:40. It doesn’t mention any clauses in there about exclusion of all who aren’t “bodies of Christ.” In fact, we should, if possible, be more concerned with the people who aren’t “saved.” Perhaps you should read a little about Mother Teresa Professor, it might help you expand that “1800’s town-view” you have into the “world-view” you always talk about. You might also want to read Isiah 10:1-2 about governments that oppress the poor.

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  12. Prof,“You must follow me.” Salvation is an individual effort. You can only decide for yourself. Given that, then the fruits you must exhibit must be individual to. That doesn’t mean that you can not band together with like minded folks and accomplish your goals.Of course here you don’t mean like minded in regards to helping the poor… you mean like minded in religious beliefs. Wow.. can you say Taliban? It seems in the same post that you accused me of hypocrisy for recognizing the need for the separation of church and state, and also proving why I need to. 🙂 Obviously the like minded folks restriction only applies to matters of money, because you are here discussing such matters with an obvious infidel. Prof, you sneaky devil… have you been proselytizing me here the whole time… {because that of course would be a loophole to the like minded guideline}.Guy… that article that put Tony back on the ledge pulled me back off. Hey, batting 50% is pretty good. I was reminded how rare Prof is in his party. He spans the GOP south and southwest {internal west} in that he is both a GOP social conservative government activist AND an internal west small government fiscal conservative. The GOP may have a battle for power, which may mean Prof is having that battle in his head. Sorry Prof, I shouldn’t talk about you like you aren’t in the room. 🙂It’s a very sad society when a Prof and a CG can’t feed the poor together just because CG is an infidel. I do have a good side. Maybe the pearly gates will go down like follows:Prof making his pitch to God:I followed all of your rules and told everyone you existed. I only helped the poor with other Christians, and succeeded with other Christians to block our government from helping Africa with federal dollars. Yes, during my lifetime millions died from starvation and aids that could have been saved had we used federal dollars, but the bottom line is we followed the rules. CG to God:Oh shit, you really do exist. My bad. In my defense you left us down on planet earth in one big shit hole {wow, is that a lighting bolt near my head}… with absolutely no evidence that a caring god exists. Yeah… there was that whole story about you giving your son and all, but it never made any since that a deity that created life would have to relay such a message {I might say a rather important one} through a human and passed down via translated fables. Anyway, I would like to point out, that in spite of doubting your existence I championed feeding the poor and providing health care for everyone. I did not limit this to any rules or methods… and therefore was part of the world that argued for nation sponored foreign aid. Obviously my motivation was driven by those in need, and not to get a ticket into heaven {I’m still blown away that really exists}. OK, I hear you {this is all quite intimidating}… the rules were not followed. But in my defense, we saved Africa in the early 21st century, and millions of babies lived until adulthood that would have died with individual like-minded group charity. Surely that counts for something… even with that “filthy rags” thing in the bible.

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  13. Yoshi & Common,Stop it. Stop it. Your killing me. My side hurts from laughing. With tears of laughter I will once again state truths beyond your world view.“I’ve discussed this previously, but I recap for you. The Christian inducement to help the poor is aimed primarily at the individual.” “<>-that’s absolute silliness. You are the one with the mental block on that. Why not 2 individuals, why not 3, why not… etc. etc.<>”Apparently you failed to read the next sentence and identify what the “body of Christ” means.After individual I wrote: “…, then extending to the “body of Christ”, (ie, other Christians).” Those would be the “2″ or “3″ or any other number of individuals.Since we are probably all concordance cripples, I invite you to bible.crosswalk.com to do a Bible search. I searched for “poor”, “poverty”, “in need”, and “hungry” and read the verses found. Sure enough all verses call for either an individual to do something or a group of Christians to do something. Not once did I see this ministering apply to governments or through governments.James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep <>oneself<> unspotted from the world.“Oneself” I would assume would be a very individual kind of person.I have numerous other verse, but not the time to waste on material that will be ignored. 😦John 21:20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them…21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” 22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” “You must follow me.” Salvation is an individual effort. You can only decide for yourself. Given that, then the fruits you must exhibit must be individual to. That doesn’t mean that you can not band together with like minded folks and accomplish your goals. The One Campaign has 2.5 million – THEY can ban together to accomplish their goals. Being voluntary does not mean running a solo act. It means not using funds from those who are not on board with the One Campaign. If I want to save the speckled wombat, it is unconscionable for me to have your money accomplish my goals. And oh yea, vice versa.And unless Common Good has changed his tune, he is intellectually bound to oppose government doing the “god’s list” purely on a anti-theocracy, separation-of-church-and-state argument. Of course, hypocrisy car rear its head in the most interesting places.Prof. Ricardo

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  14. Prof.Can you name some of these celebrities you are talking about that make you sick? I wouldn’t underestimate them… I mean, what would you have them do? Oprah gives a little more than 10 thousand dollars, but more importantly, she has TV cameras… and that’s where her REAL contribution comes in… that’s capitalism for you… that’s America… when Oprah and Brad Pitt and Yahoo Inc. start to care, we all start to care. And can you tell me it’s not working? Because it is working. And don’t think just because you don’t care, that that means that those people in Hollywood can’t possibly care. I actually think it’s pretty awesome what’s going on (although maybe you have someone in particular in mind who really is just taking the photo-op, though I can’t think of how it is… so a specific name would be nice. Perhaps you are just misinformed about that person.)

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  15. Want to put gay marriage, flag burning and video games in perspective {the three things the GOP put on the Senate floor in the last couple of weeks}. < HREF="http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/asiapcf/07/03/north.korea.ap/index.html" REL="nofollow">Weigh them against this<>Looks like Lieberman has a good chance to lose because of his backing of the Iraq war. He calls that a principled stand. Maybe, but filling out the required paperwork for Plan B to run as an Independent is anything but principled. He is basically saying that he is not willing to stand on his party’s primary vote… i.e. democracy. He knows the polls are saying if he splits the votes as an Independent, he will win that way. I was never sure of what Lieberman was made of, but I’m sure now. Tony… you are entitled to a big I TOLD YOU here.If this is the best we can elect, then Prof is also entitled to the same.

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  16. CG – IMHO the beautiful thing about the founders is that they thought about these things and debated them vigorously. Individual Freedom v. Collectivism – the great debate. The great compromise between the representation of the House and Senate. Big States v. Small States.

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  17. Guy,Good post. Tony… send me that email. Yes… global warming, environmentalism, conservation and science all can challenge dominion beliefs. Obviously that is not the religious basis for having a problem with Liberalism. I think it is what I said before… merging free will religious beliefs into government, society and economic system rules. Obviously the founders baked more “free will” into our Constitution than any “collective obligation”. I have posted on that before… I think the founders messed up by not giving more of a voice to some “collectivism”. It seems like they left the door open in the preamble, but it wasn’t sufficient, IMO. Of course, they left us a government that we could change as required… so in 2006 that one is on us.

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  18. Tony – e-mail CG the article please. The purpose was not to scare you about democrats coming back to power but merely to point out that for every action there is a reaction that is many times unintended. In this case, the turning of the west from red to blue.CG – The point of the references is not that Jesus is coming but the long-standing and historical hostility between science and religion. This is not to say that all religious people are narrow minded flatlanders. But, when you tell them that we are not the center of the universe there is a natural hostility to this proposition. (Galileo/Copernicus) This is the most obvious reference. I leave out evolution for the time being.With regard to Moby Dick – The terror or subtext to Moby Dick (one among many) is that one of God’s beasts, whom he gave us dominion over, would ever retaliate or harbor a human trait such as vengeance. Nantucket Whalers were the oilmen of their day. Their oil lit the lamps of the world and greased the wheels of industry. They were mining a natural resource in a very brutal fashion. They were also deeply religious. They viewed whaling as their God given right and when a leviathan seems to take vengeance upon them, it throws their view of the natural order of things completely out. If God gave them dominion, how could this beast not go along with this natural order? If this beast was visiting vengeance upon them, was it God who was speaking to them? If God was displeased then their whole world view was subject to questioning.In the context of global warming, if we are given dominion over the earth to be fruitful and multiply, then how can these efforts cause anything that is contrary to God’s plan? If so, then either Global warming is a false alarm that we need not pay attention to or it is simply the will of God. The fact that Prometheus (science) brings us this knowledge only arouses more suspicion. (Thought I would work in an oblique Frankenstein reference for you, Tony.)This is not to make fun of any religious beliefs (I am liberal for goodness sakes) but merely to point out the historical context of the debate.The debate continues as we were spared total destruction when some of the universal debris passed us by this morning rather than clobbering the rock that we live on. Question: If an asteroid does destroy our planet before Jesus comes, does that mean the second coming is off or merely delayed for another billion years? Should we spend any money to defend ourselves against an asteroid? I mean we all know that’s not how the world is going to end, right?

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  19. Guy,Tony is right. The two party system is devastating. However, he doesn’t get the real reason. The problem is that the GOP exists. 🙂Here is a two party system that would work better. The Democrat party and the Socialist party. The Socialist party demanding that we help everyone in need on the globe, and the Democrat party saying “yes of course, but let’s stop just short of wrecking our economy”. Both parties would laugh out loud at those still defining their liberty by their tax rate.

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  20. Tony, <>the increasing bond between big government and big business<>That’s like saying superglue is a strong glue.Prof,<>The liberal art of finding and defining victims, creating, expanding, and pinning a government program on to the newly found victims to relieve their guilty consciences cheapens the real need that exists and a real compassionate response to it.<>You still don’t get it… at least not my liberal beliefs. I think we are ALL victims… but some get a royal dose of it. Looking for victims isn’t exactly a Sherlock Holmes enterprise… all you have to do is open your eyes {Yoshi is just trying to open our eyes}. The ugly world is reality… it’s no more the liberal’s fault than the conservative’s. That’s the real irony of all of our heated debates… pick the best ideas man has ever come up with for government or society… and your still left in a collective pool of sh*t. <>Disclaimer:<><>Note to Guy: You are new here, so you wouldn’t know of my previous disclaimers regarding the discussion of religion. My goal is to never make fun of solace individuals get from their religion, and no doubt I have overstepped that line many times. I’m pretty much an agnostic… with my most religious moments approaching deist. 🙂 I’m married to a very fine Christian lady, and I am thankful every day she fines solace in her religion. That said, I feel free {and often obligated} to challenge Christian\Religion-driven society… and that’s what I am about to do with Prof. The RR puts the concept of a Christian-driven government and society on the table, so it becomes fair game for debate, IMO.<> So you wrap the entire liberal ideas up as misguided folks exercising misguided consciences. As you might have guessed, I have an opinion on that opinion. 🙂{insert religion discussion disclaimer here} So a liberal looks at the reality around them {Bush would call this the facts on the ground}, and comes to the conclusion <> we are ALL up against it<>. Let’s all use our brains and our government to make reasonable choices to make the best of it. The best of it, by definition will require collective pooling from those better off to assist the inevitable bottom dwellers. The “best of it” will require using our collective brains and government to attempt to counter the sh*t. This will never be a black and white effort, and given human nature, never 100% agreement. The Conservative throws up their hands {and sometimes bibles and constitutions} and says… oh this is hard and imperfect, let’s look for a more black and white answer. I call that the George Bush doctrine… consistent and consistently wrong. The following seems to be the GOP Christian-driven {RR} government view:The RR sees the same cruel world, but they make sense of it with scripture. The world exists like it is by deity definition and free will choices of humans. Any poverty, pain, disease, act of nature is by divine plan. In fact, not only is this mess divine creation, but that creation represents a sanctity of life. If this is as it’s suppose to be, who are human’s to mess with it… i.e. use government to alleviate the poverty that scripture says will be with us no matter what we do. Better to just focus on souls and perceived scripture-approved methods, and accept whatever comes in this diety created existence. If you do bother to deal with pain and anguish found around us, it can only be dealt with in a non-government volunteer-only fashion. It is a violation of a god-given liberty to force anyone reaping the public good in thier society to be obligated to anyone other than themselves. Note: This RR-driven society may respresent absolute truth {with all of the individual rewards to come}, or just another form of drug. Drugs are used to avoid reality. I’m kind of a Ben Franklin guy on this one. I’m for all of the individual solace and society upside religion can bring, but it damages our fight against a very cruel reality when personal religious beliefs puts boundaries on the required use of reason that life/society demands. <>It nearly makes me physically ill to see millionaire Hollywoodites fly their Lear jets across the globe for a photo shoot next to a cute small black child with a bloated stomach (How come ugly children don’t starve?!?) And then they rush off to throw a $2 million party telling their friends how they gave 4 days and $10k to help the poor. I am sure they do feel better about themselves.<>Now Prof, you don’t seem consistent here. Prof would tell us the US actors are Capitalist… deserving of their bounty/harvest. Whether or not they help only pretty starving babies is in the domain of voluteer-only charity.Guy… your references aren’t working for me. I’m going to guess the messages are as follows:Jesus is coming back on Jesus’s schedule, not on Global Warming’s schedule. Prof received a message board linking lesson here {I’ve regretted it ever since}. He can pass it on. The following article required a logon, and I’m frickin tired of signing up for stuff. Maybe you can give us a summary of what the article says.< HREF="http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/prem/200607/purple-west" REL="nofollow">Purple West<>

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  21. Hmmm. Post-modern Christianity. I like the term…I may have to steal it. And don’t fret Yoshi, you WON’T get credit. 😀Guy, I thought you were going to talk me in from the ledge. Instead, you reached out and gave me a pretty strong shove. Fortunately, I cling to hope fairly zealously. A link that makes a good case for the Democratic Party waxing powerful again is about as depressing of a read as I can envision.Perhaps your point of encouragement to me is that we can get back to the days of glorious deadlock? That friction applied to the downward spiral would indeed bring me a weak smile, but ultimately I do look for a little progress.

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  22. “Actually Christianity is a lot deeper than a guilt trip.”-damn right it is… it’s also a little deeper than just saying “I’m saved” and reading “the Word” and patting yourself on the back and thinking you’ve got the express train into paradise. But anyway, this isn’t about guilt. It’s about answering a call. And I think you intrinsically know that this is indeed, the call.“I’ve discussed this previously, but I recap for you. The Christian inducement to help the poor is aimed primarily at the individual.” -that’s absolute silliness. You are the one with the mental block on that. Why not 2 individuals, why not 3, why not… etc. etc. You can’t put parameters on how many people Christianity is limited to. “It was not to petition Caesar for funds to pay people on your help list.”You mean on God’s help list? Caesar was a dictator. The ONE Campaign is millions of Americans saying they want to pool their resources together to do this thing collectively. It’s Pat Robertson, it’s me, it’s soccer mom’s, it’s Brad Pitt, it’s Rick Warren, it’s Tom Brady the quarterback, it’s Bill Gates, it’s NBA Basketball stars, it’s Common Good in Oklahoma, it’s students, it’s evangelical Christians… it’s all of us petitioning for OUR money to be spent in a way we believe God is telling us to spend it. Big difference. Our government is US. As in, it’s you, I, Common Good, Tony, etc, -the government is not the Sun King living in the palace that we have to come to crawling with a tin cup begging for handouts. It’s our damn money.Look, I can’t help people as one individual, not in the way we are needed now. It’s not possible on my own. I need help of another. It compounds the our effectiveness, ONE by ONE, multiplying its power, when millions work together. That’s just called economies of scale. And we as a society, need this cooperation, on a spiritual level. This is about everyone working together to get something accomplished.Don’t ask me to do it on my own and say that’s what Christianity is. Christianity is now in the 21st century. This is post-modern Christianity. You have a mental block about that too. It isn’t just about the individual, it’s about the aggregate. Like I said, collectively, we multiply our power, compound it by the millions. Whether we can stop a war in Sudan, or fight global warming, or help put orphans in school, if we can do it, we need to do it. [So if you are against farm subsidies and for a level playing field, sounds to me like you think the ONE Campaign is in fact then a good idea,…]“Then you would be mistaken. Farm subsidies are corporate “leveling of a playing field..” -I think you misread me. You said you are against farm subsidies. I’m saying I’m also against them, and that’s one of the primary components of this global poverty effort. Making the global market more competitive so poor countries can compete against our subsidized farmers. So 50% of the global poverty movement you are certainly for, because you’ve just said so twice. “Your compassion loses nearly all it compassionness when you choose to use other peoples money to assuage your conscious.”-Except it’s not other people’s money. It’s OUR money collectively. And WE, millions of us, want our money spent this way. We have a RIGHT to petition OUR MONEY is spent this way. Assauge our conscious? Or do what God commands us to do over and over again in the Gospel? You sound like an atheist I know… “life is pointless, do what you want for your own conscious, but there is no God, so it’s just in your head…” Remember the good Samaritan story. All those believers just passed the guy up, didn’t want to get their hands dirty. Remember those that did NOT do to the LEAST of these. They thought they were “saved,” and they thought wrong. Like I said, it’s more than words. Debt forgiveness came out of the Bible from the Jubilee. It’s biblical. Even Pope John Paul 2 was a huge proponent of it. Again, it’s about grace. Christ died for us. That’s grace. It doesn’t stop there… it’s like a pyramid that rolls down… and besides, it just made economic sense- because the money to pay just wasn’t there. It’s called bankruptcy, we have it here too in case you didn’t know that…“That’s why I want the government to send me that much for my “Make Professor Rich” campaign. Its only 7 cents from every 10 dollars.”Prof, trust me, if you ever needed it, especially if it meant life or death for you or someone in your family, I’d be the first one to help you get it. I’m sure all of us would. “You equate taxing people at all as taxing people for non-Constitutional expenditures like “leveling the playing fields.” So when I say “don’t tax and spend money wrongly” you see that as “don’t tax and spend at all.”-See, you haven’t been listening to me. Must be a mental block. When I say I’m for “leveling the field,” I mean I’m against subsidies, not for them. That’s how you make it fair for the people who DON’T have subsidies. Get it? So, inadvertantly, you are on the exact same page on 50% of this effort. You just don’t agree with the “public investment” to fight disease part. By the way, for the record, I give a lot more than .07 cents for every ten dollars- my whole life more or less is called to this…by something larger than my own ego… it’s a lot more than “assuaging my guilt.”

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  23. CG: “There is a somewhat Christian connection to the global warming rebuff, but it’s a discussion for believers only.” See Moby Dick by Herman Melville. If you need further illumination let me know.

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  24. C.G.PR:<>“The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.”<>C>G>: <>That’s good enough to get my relieve..<>You cut that quote like a Democrat. Let’s include a few more words: “…the infamous “summary for policy makers” <>reported ambiguously<> that “The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.””<>ambiguously<> – unclear, perplexing, puzzling, bewildering, confusing.<>I get the feeling that there is some connection to arguing against the possibility of global warming and fundamentalist Christian belief. Is that so?<>Not exactly. There is a need for a certain political persuasion to have victims, because government is their savior, and therefore they need victims who need to be saved. Poor, environment, cute fuzzy animals, sodomites, etc. That has allowed these people to embrace the threat of global cooling and global warming within the same decade, with the answer to both coming from government intervention limiting the rights of man. It is this victim chasing that arouses suspicion.In the same way that we define inflation, when something is overused it becomes cheapened. For instance: child abuse is a terrible thing. But when we start labeling chastisement or withholding a child’s wants as child abuse, we cheapen the real concept and fact of child abuse. And in the same way for marriage. If marriage is not just between a man and a woman, but two creatures that breathe and can walk upright for a few feet, cheapens the concept and actuality of marriage. The liberal art of finding and defining victims, creating, expanding, and pinning a government program on to the newly found victims to relieve their guilty consciences cheapens the real need that exists and a real compassionate response to it. It nearly makes me physically ill to see millionaire Hollywoodites fly their Lear jets across the globe for a photo shoot next to a cute small black child with a bloated stomach (How come ugly children don’t starve?!?) And then they rush off to throw a $2 million party telling their friends how they gave 4 days and $10k to help the poor. I am sure they do feel better about themselves.There is a somewhat Christian connection to the global warming rebuff, but it’s a discussion for believers only. Those not in the daily reading of scripture have nothing to hang the discussion concepts on.Prof. Ricardo

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  25. CG,Welcome to my ledge. It is not a comfortable spot but at least there is a clear view.I think Guy is right for the most part as far as he goes with his analysis. I don’t think any one thing spells our doom. That said, there are a lot of little things that point to our doom and as I have said way too many times, the pace of the incremental destruction is accelerating. Most importantly, the only potential check on the destruction, an educated and informed electorate, has been thoroughly destroyed itself.While Guy is correct to point to the historical pattern (as I often do myself), it is important to note that there is good reason to believe things will not follow the historical pattern. Of course that depends on what you call history. If we take a shorter-term but still arguably grand view from 1980 forward, I believe we have a new pattern of increasing centralization of power without concurrent implementation of liberty-preserving controls.At the risk of being overly repetitive, I think the greatest single risk to Liberty is one I bring up here regularly but which we seldom discuss: the increasing bond between big government and big business. The scary statist vision that we are incrementally slouching toward is not Socialist, but rather Fascist. I’m not saying that full fledged fascism has arrived or necessarily ever will in its mid-twentieth century form. But, increasing centralized control coupled with big business leveraging regulation for competitive advantage is slowly and surely giving us many of the attributes of fascism.We even have our group to cast blame on.It is strange to me that so few question directly the form which regulation is taking. Oh, it gets some buzz from time to time, but it dies in the press quickly. Has anybody besides me noticed that the traditional service station has ceased to exist? And if you have noticed, have you bothered to ask why?

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  26. Prof,<>“The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.”<>That’s good enough to get my attention… it certainly doesn’t sound like Inhoffe’s world’s greatest hoax. I get the feeling that there is some connection to arguing against the possibility of global warming and fundamentalist Christian belief. Is that so? Tony… say it ain’t so… I moved in the direction of Curm civil liberty zealotry. 🙂 These guys aren’t hiding it… Iraq and an executive branch monarchy has been on these guys agenda since they came to office. What a shame to have to fight terrorism and US monarchy all at the same time. I think Guy makes a pretty good point that something like a unitary executive is not likely to remain a permanent change in our government… but that Supreme Court Justice lifetime appointment thing is a big one. We need to change that to some form of term limits.

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  27. Common:An MIT professor says: < HREF="http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110008597" REL="nofollow">Al Gore is wrong. There’s no “consensus” on global warming. <>Prof. Ricardo

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  28. CG, I’m tempted to write something lengthy, but I think I’ll just stop at telling you that was a very <>Curmudgeonly<> post.Guy, keep trying to talk me off the ledge my friend. Please. It is drafty out here.

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  29. Yoshi: “<>I would like to not feel any responsibility towards anyone…<>Sorry to hear that.“<> i’d like to just a little hedonistic lifestyle like good patriotic Americans should…<>”??? Oh yea, you’re an internationalist. No borders kind of guy.“<>but then that pesky little conscious just comes and gets in the way… some people call it Christianity…<>”Actually Christianity is a lot deeper than a guilt trip.I’ve discussed this previously, but I recap for you. The Christian inducement to help the poor is aimed primarily at the individual, then extending to the “body of Christ”, (ie, other Christians). It was not to petition Caesar for funds to pay people on your help list.“<> I used to think it was some kind of universal, intrinsic force everyone has, but apparantly not..<>”No, you’re on to something. Confusion and misapplication are very widespread.“<>So if you are against farm subsidies and for a level playing field, sounds to me like you think the ONE Campaign is in fact then a good idea,…<>”Then you would be mistaken. Farm subsidies are corporate “leveling of a playing field..” Your compassion loses nearly all it compassionness when you choose to use other peoples money to assuage your conscious. “<>Of course, it’s also advocating some aid, aid that was already promised years ago…<>”I’m all about keeping our promises. But I thought you were the one talking about other nations debt to our country being forgiven. “<>And a tiny amount of aid at that… what is 7 cents from every 10 dollars?<>”That’s why I want the government to send me that much for my “Make Professor Rich” campaign. Its only 7 cents from every 10 dollars. You wont miss it, and as Guy says it would “trickle down and help the economy.”“<>Do you really think that will distort some kind of economic system we have?- (Guy addressed that wasted New Orleans money pretty well, btw.)<>”You’re kidding. I thought C.G. argued against trickle down pretty well.“<>Or mainly, you just don’t think you’ve the right to tax, period?<>”I wasn’t being ruder early, but this is evidence of what I said. You have a mental block. The concept is outside the box and I keep trying to explain it in different ways. Here it goes again….I am not against taxing people. Never said it, you can’t find it in any posts to the beginning of time on Curmudgeon or Wildershow archives. You equate taxing people at all as taxing people for non-Constitutional expenditures like “leveling the playing fields.” So when I say “don’t tax and spend money wrongly” you see that as “don’t tax and spend at all.” Secondly, you define compassion as not reaching into your own pocket to help another, but reaching into other people’s pockets. And when I say “don’t reach into other’s pockets, reach into your own,” you equate that much more compassionate act as having no compassion at all. Totally backwards. You who would try to accomplish your goals at no cost to yourself (…only 7 cents out of every 10 dollars…) are the supposed heros of compassion while those of us reaching down into our own pockets till it hurts are “<>just a little hedonistic lifestyle like good patriotic Americans should…<>”“<>If that’s what you think, we’ll just write that off as a cute though bizarre idiosyncrasy…<>”I think that says less about me…Prof. Ricardo

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  30. CG – I have talked many people off the ledge when they take the current situation to its ultimate conclusion. I think what many forget is that politics is a pendulum and for every action there is a reaction.I know the two party system “seems” to have a throttle hold on the government but consider this:Repubs control the all three branches of government. Why can’t they get more of their agenda accomplished? Too much infighting to be sure but its not just disagreements on policy details but it is also concern over the power in each branch of government. Yeah, your a republican first but then you become a senator. Your new constiuency is also legislative power. Despite the majority, you fight an executive who is on his way out. Establish your own power base and protect legislative authority. (See a resurgent Orin Hatch, Arlen Spector and Bill Frist willing to buck the execitive’s agenda).Your a conservative justice but you also realize that if you grant to executive broad powers in your decision this may work against you and prevent future courts from checking a powerful democratic executive in the future. So you decide to place some limits on the expanding executive.If the unitarian executive was here, then why hasn’t the president gotten any of his agenda through? Of course this also explains why in the face of a majority in both houses he still won’t go to them to ask permission for any controversial programs. He can’t control his party.When the president was elected to a second term he stated that “he had some political capital and he was going to spend it.” What happened to that? It evaporated and he didn’t notice how perishable it was.I always siad the best thing that ever happened to Clinton was the repubs taking over the house. It made him compromise and deal with the other side. Here the repubs have gotten exactly what they wished for but its like the rudder fell off the ship when they got to the smooth waters of control of every branch of government.The best thing for Bush may also be a democratic majority in the Senate. He may actually have to deal with some people then. For every action, there is a reaction.

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  31. Taking a break from the Prof pounding….When the Alito confirmation was going on, I was introduced to a new term: < HREF="http://jdeanicite.typepad.com/i_cite/2006/01/right_wing_cons.html" REL="nofollow">unitarian executive<>. A couple months ago {on Nightline}, Dick Cheney pretty much came right out and said this administration was committed to that goal. The Supreme Court 5-3 {would have been 5-4 if Roberts voted} ruling on Guantanamo basically requires that Congress be in the loop… i.e. do their Constitution-required job. It looks pretty obvious that if Bush gets one more Supreme Court appointment on the court, we will have a unitarian executive branch. Surely this is the tyranny warning Tony gives us in his blogs… in bright blinking neon. The argument being given by this administration {and the GOP lemming Congress} is this is powers required by the administration to fight the war on terror. I agree. Now follow up with the obvious… the Congress and the FISA court would have given everything you asked for {and more} had you just included Congress and the courts in the definition of the war on terrorism. I despise this administration for playing politics with the Iraq war, and choosing to be a president for just 50% of the population. However, that is almost nothing compared to what appears to be the core goals of this administration and their like minded power mongers. When I step back and consider the tyranny implications of the unitarian executive {at least to the limited extent I understand it}… Tony’s tyranny threats start to seem much more than civil libertarian zealotry {which I have accused him of}. If you figure the GOP is one Supreme Court justice away from the unitarian executive {this has nothing to do with social values RR lemmings}… AND the war against terror will go on as long as administrations say it’s going on… we are looking at a potential permanent change in our Constitutional government. Basically, we take a huge step back towards monarchy. One of the things that really puzzles me about all of this is why would the Congress go along with this, even if it’s a GOP Congress? I can only figure the moneyed powers behind the scenes have made the calculation that a unitarian executive improves their odds of owning the government. Also, it doesn’t get any better than owning a Supreme Court {owning it the sense that if you get a majority of Federalists, the Federalists own the court}. I guess the check by the public would be electing a Congress that would change the unitarian powers… but we have seen how often lately we correct anything with Constitution amendments. I am convinced that if Bush gets another Supreme Court justice, or we elect a Republican president in 2008… we will get a unitarian executive {accountable to no one as long as they say “the war against terrorism continues”.} I would think even the liberal hating fly-over country would get that this is a dumb idea.

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  32. That’s funny… Prof is really my crazy uncle. Welcome to the family Prof… you ain’t going to believe the CG family. It will make even the Prof look remarkably well adjusted. Wait until you meet Floyd.

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  33. You know Professor, the true irony is that I would like to not feel any responsibility towards anyone… i’d like to just a little hedonistic lifestyle like good patriotic Americans should…but then that pesky little conscious just comes and gets in the way… some people call it Christianity… I used to think it was some kind of universal, intrinsic force everyone has, but apparantly not..So if you are against farm subsidies and for a level playing field, sounds to me like you think the ONE Campaign is in fact then a good idea, because what it’s pretty much about… it’s a comprehensive strategy….Of course, it’s also advocating some aid, aid that was already promised years ago, and foreign treaties ratified by Congress are considered “the Supreme Law of the Land” in the Constitution. -And a tiny amountof aid at that. I was thinking- even if it were to go on forever, because as Jesus said, the poor will always be with us- what is 7 cents from every 10 dollars to know that there is a minimum basic security for everyone on the planet? Do you really think that will distort some kind of economic system we have?- (Guy addressed that wasted New Orleans money pretty well, btw.)Or mainly, you just don’t think you’ve the right to tax, period? If that’s what you think, we’ll just write that off as a cute though bizarre idiosyncrasy you have….like we do the flaky cousin we all have who doesn’t eat vegetables “b/c it kills living things.” Don’t worry, we still accept you…

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  34. Guy,Did you just say weed out the ugly strippers? I’m going to like you. 🙂 <>CG?? A penny for your thoughts?<>Do you have idea how much typing I have to do to have a shot of coming up with a penny’s worth of CG thoughts? I’ve watched Bill Richardson speak quite often, but I can’t say I have a feel for him {not that we ever really know sitting on the other side of the TV screen}. Sometimes he seems a bit too slick to me {smile seems a bit insincere}, but I have definitely learned the shortcomings of that type of voting analysis. 😦 It would certainly love the irony of electing Richardson in the face of so much current bigotry. Of course, if we were trying to redeem ourselves via the presidency, we would elect our future presidents in the following order (Black male or female, Native Indian male or female, Female of any flavor {black, white, hetero or homo}. Yeah… not even close to a penny’s worth. Bill Richardson wouldn’t be running out of the Northeast… he may actually have a shot in the general election.btw… Tony… aren’t you the little creative one with the songs. Guy must bring out that side of you, were we just piss you off.

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  35. Prof – 2 Billion in mishandled funds. I do not dispute the number but in this free market it did trickle down and help the economy. The debit card is used at the strip club and turned into dollar bills. These are handed out generously in a open market bidding system that allows consumers to delegate their dollars to the most succesful dancer thereby weeding out the weak ones.These dancers in turn poor this money back into the local economy spending it on food, beer, cigarettes and other essential items generating tax dollars for the local economy and putting money back into the tax coffers for use on public projects to rebiuld the city.So 2 billion wasted? Nay, I say. These folks didn’t keep the money, they spent it based on their most pressing needs just as Mr. Smith predicted.Its as if a poltical convention came to town and all the politicians were given $2000 to pump up the local economy. They don’t pocket it but spend it freely. Lifting all boats with the rising tide or storm surge you might say.

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  36. Tony – Just Excellent.All kidding aside – I guarantee my descritption of someone I would like to see run would be a winner. I nominate Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico.CG?? A penny for your thoughts?

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  37. Guy,Not to take anything away from your candidacy, but I’d vote for most of the folks who post here over anyone out there from either party that has a shot at the nomination. That probably says more about the sad state of affairs than it does about us.Still, you would definitely get my vote because You Light Up My Life, though I fear your campaign would flicker out like a Candle In The Wind rather than taking flight like a Rocketman. The two major parties would definitely Celebrate your demise and swoon rhapsodical that Another One Bit The Dust. They would be Dancing on the Ceiling while they waited on the everyone to arrive in Convoy after Rocking though the night.Sheeze, If I Had A Hammer, I’d beat my skull till I Hung My Head And Cried for doing that.[Cue the lousy phony laugh track from Gilligan’s Island]

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  38. Bush: I don’t know what to get our country for its 230th birthday!Clinton: How about a 210 year old country?Yoshi,Generally speaking, I am against governmental interference in dealing with nations, tarrifs, trade restrictions and all that. As a national security issue, if we need to limit trade, and there fore enrichment of countries like North Korea, I’m for it. I’m also against the “big fat checks” going to farmers. I want the free market there as well.I once had a farmer get a $90,000 check for a shortfall in milk production. The shortfall was because he was going out of the dairy business. Yep, he cashed the check. THAT’s what happens when government gets in the business of redistributing wealth. It ain’t always pretty is it? There is not a department of concerned compassionate bureaucrats with furrowed brows interviewing weeping farmers with stories of woe. Fill out a form, check the right boxes, and get a heaping big serving of American compassion. If you’re a business its called a subsidy and if you’re an individual its welfare. But its not the storybook setting of the Peace Corp handing out bowls of porridge. Its distant and often ends up in the hands of those who should not receive it. Katrina FEMA mishandled funds were $2 billion. That’s over $6 for every man, woman, and child in America. And that’s just the mishandling of ONE governmental department on ONE event….and it doesn’t even get a second glance. We are so used to money going down the toilet – a billion here, a billion there – that it doesn’t affect us any more. We are jaded. Well you all are. It just reinforces why I want to limit government’s hand reaching deep into our pockets.Prof. Ricardo

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  39. No wait Common Good, Professor doesn’t believe in all that stuff, free market, competition….because, inadvertantly at least, he supports trade restrictions that keep poor countries at an unfair advantage. I mean, how can they sell cotton to us when instead American farmers get big fat checks from the government to overproduce it and then drop the price by flooding their developing world markets?Professor says let them learn how to swim, then he hands them a big stack of bricks just to make sure that they don’t actually do it (since he’s being disingenous).

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  40. Guy,You live in a state that elected Coburn and Inhoffe. You would be wise to jump straight to the national Presidential race. However, if you are NOT willing to say “God” a lot, you haven’t a chance in … heaven. Yeah, happy 4th… and happy 230th. How is that experiment going?Prof,If your fairness meter ended at unfettered capitalism {at least the version we have invented so far}, then by definition you will DEVALUE school teachers, cops, military, etc. Many low wage jobs in ours society are not low value… it’s mind blowing how many equate what pops out of laissez-faire as fair. Invent a better economic system that doesn’t devalue those classes listed above… OR accept we have to do some social engineering to add the fairness back in.

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  41. When I am president, I promise to work as many obscure references to 70’s pop music as possible into my state of the union speeches. I get it. It’s bad world. Lighten up a little, there’s plenty to go around. Have a Gameboy and do the dew.Oh, yeah, have a Happy Fourth of July. Cue the Music!!

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  42. CG – I don’t know of an emoticon for tongue in cheek or I would have used it. But really, Gore? Can’t we do better? As to your next question, who would be better. I don’t have a great answer. I agree that Bush has re-affirmed the great american dream that anyone and I mean anyone can be president.While I am optimistic about life, I am pessimistic about the two party system. Having said that, I did like Reagan, I liked Bush I, I liked Clinton. The past 6 years and the sustained acerbic discourse has left me feeling . . . (wait for it) . . . curmudgeonly. Obama, not ready for prime time. Biden. Looks good now that his hair has grown back in but the more he talks the less original he sounds.I am looking for a fresh breath of air. A little known governor from a state whose can do attitude can change the way things work in Washington. An outsider with an air of irreverance and disdain for the political discourse that allows him to point fingers at both parties. A guy who can veto a spending bill but make you feel like the poor will still be taken care of and the military industrial complex will not collapse becasue of this veto. A politican who can make me feel good about my tax break on my hydrid car and that I am doing enough about the environment without cramping my need for material things. A guy who can say that he will get the best and brightest on it and doesn’t choose the likes of Harriet Meirs or some closet neo-con or liberal freak who can pass through the eye of the needle. I want a politician who won’t invoke either the wrath of god or his help and honor the seperation of church and state. One who won’t try and tell me how to be religious and leave that to me. One who isn’t dismissive of the other side because God’s on his side. One who won’t be the first to write constitutional amendments to limit people’s rights. After an age of partisanship, a politican offers a hard fought battle but will still drink whiskey with the other side at the end of the day. I want an intelligent, well qualified moderate! (Man, that rant went on for longer than I thought it would.)Oh yeah, Prof – I agree with your comment about the hatred of Bush. I do not respect him. What I am always puzzled by though is the ability of the right wing to decry this visceral hatred of Bush and not see that they had the same visceral hatred of Bill Clinton and now Hillary.I told many of my conservative friends early in the Bush presidency that in the end he will make them fondly reminiscent of the Clinton years. I know they won’t admit it, but I think they are starting too.Finally, the answer on charity, voluntary or state mandated is . . . both. Moderation. The middle ground is usually where the truth lies especially in politics.That’s it. I have convinced myself. I am running in 2008. “I can see clearly now the rain has gone . . . I can see all obstacles in my way . . .” Come on, join in my campaign theme song. You know the words. “Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind . . . It’s going to be a bright, bright sunshiny day”

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  43. Prof {Mr. Heartless},I figured it out. You have merged that soul free will thing into economics and social engineering. Economic systems and their limitations live on the Caesar side of the fence.

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  44. Professor, I don’t think you are heartless, I just think you are misinformed and not open to the next level of things…I mean, everyone knows, and this is always the big issue at the big WTO events, that the developing world is blocked from our markets in products in which they have an advantage, and that’s the only way that they can develop. Why not support that overtly and aggressively? I agree wholeheartedly this is more effective than foreign aid…Foreign aid is only a temporary, initial push onto the upward, self-sustaining ladder of development. It’s not unaccounted for blank checks to nowhere…

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  45. Common, “<>In other words, I could be swayed from my position… you could not by definition.<>”Not necessarily. There are people who have reconciled evolution to Scripture in their own minds. If I could be persuaded that my interpretation of certain scriptures to be wrong, then that could sway me independent of results. My current study of results is not contrary to my current standing on the issue. I do not claim that no good comes from taxing some for the benefit of a few. Were I to be the few receiving the money, I’m sure I would see that as “good.” So good that I would seek for it to be gooder, by increasing the amount I received, until I had received the goodest amount that could happen. 😀 Gooderness may be in the wallet of the beholder.Prof. Ricardo

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  46. Not Worldviews again…. I’m begging. 🙂Your moral method will always leave those with plenty to opt out of other’s needs in their society. That will never be moral… no matter the worldview packaging. The bigger issue to me, however, is and always be the result. We should all agree that if we ever become convinced that alternative methods deliver better\more results… then we will change our opinion. If one’s method comes first regardless of results, then I will never consider that moral. You provide both an 1) economic argument… which I’m sure you would actually change if you became convinced 2) scripture-based belief that the METHOD is dictated by diety. #2 isn’t really up for debate and future economic system evolvement… so it’s a bit of a fixed position. 🙂 In other words, I could be swayed from my position… you could not by definition.

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  47. Guy: <>It must have been when he was busing inventing the internet<>Thanks for the laugh Guy. I forgot how much carbonated beverages sting in the nasal cavity.I can argue all day long how Bush has disappointed me. But the infatuation of many on the left with hating Bush at all costs has been amusing to say the least. He is an easy target for logical arguments, but when people start making stuff up they damage their reputation significantly. Gore’s near psychotic tantrums after he lost the Presidential election was a pathetic caricature of the man who was groomed from the womb for the presidency. It was not presidential at all.I am glad he and others are so passionate about saving the planet. However, this doomsday “the sky is falling” cry is sure to work up more emotions than thinking and will further damage his reputation and internet inventing skills.You correctly point out the cry of eminent ice age threat. Since then we were told we would run out of fuel before the 90’s, that the earth would be uninhabitable by the 21’st century and a lot of that kind of stuff. When these times pass and the world still turns, we feel gullible and betrayed by those who supposedly knew better. That happened with the population scare, the ice age, the “energy crisis”, Reagon nuking the world silent, and Y2K.After awhile you start thinking that Tony has a point. If their mouths are moving, they’re lying…or maybe that’s my point. Any way, <>that<> is one of the reasons I want smaller government. Less control of resources by those with an agenda.I know it may look like I am selfish to want to keep money I earned. But selfishness does not go away when we are elected to office. No, it accelerates. Politicians rarely get poorer in office when they take “lower paying” public servant jobs. Power corrupts, absolute power….etc.The noble goals of save the planet, feed the poor, insure the uninsured, often trample on the little guy, and if history is any guide, have the opposite effect of that which was intended.Common and Yoshi think I’m a tad heartless, or at least insensitive to the needs of the impoverished. After years of studying the results of government action on “the war on poverty,” if I saw it having a negative effect (and I have), could I in good conscience endorse that which exacerbated the problem rather than achieved the goal? I do not criticize them for seeing a need and wanted to remedying it. However, there is a just method that accomplishes the goal IN THE MOST EFFICIENT WAY. (At this point tell Common Good to look away.) One’s philosophy of life and exposure and interpretation of history (ie, their world view) will either allow them to see these things or not. You must reconcile all thoughts with your world view to make sense of it. (You can look again C.G.) Some people have been expose to the false <>limited pie theory<> where if somebody is lacking, its because somebody else has it and its up to us (society) to socially engineer, or adjust these inequities. On the opposite end is the expanding pie/property rights theory that I have. Though not labeled as such, it was roughly what Adam Smith was talking about in <>Wealth of Nations<>.C.G. doesn’t see it because he has filtered it through his worldview and since it doesn’t line up he discards it. Kind of sad, because with his compassion for the poor, to mis-channel it so does the poor a great disservice. (Cue the violin music)Prof. Ricardo

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  48. Guy,Excellent… there is another Democrat around. You have to be kidding… you actually would have to give some thought between Gore and Bush? 2000 was definitely a case where we should have picked the stiff rather than the guy who would be better to have a beer with. 2000 ruined the beer test for me. I haven’t turned into a Gore fan… but I would get the popcorn to watch the Gore government sequel after this two term hell.Any Dem out there now work for you in 2008? Obama? I think it would be frickin outstanding if Silver Spoon Shrub was followed in history by the first black president, and a Democrat. {if it wasn’t Hillary, I would be just as likely to be rooting for a female president} Outstanding. Of course, in a normal universe a first term appearance in the US Senate shouldn’t even be close to a qualification for leader of the free world. Then again, Bush made me feel qualified to be president of the United States. That’s saying a lot, because before Bush I didn’t even feel qualified to rant on Tony’s blog. 🙂Seriously, retract your comment about having to think about another Bush term. That is disgusting. 🙂btw… Gore missed a great opportunity for a funny line on Jon Stewart. Gore was explaining that he and Tipper were not keeping any money for the movie or the book. He should have said: “We don’t need the money, we have residuals still coming in from MY invention of the Internet “. 🙂

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  49. Oh now I remember what Gore said that brought up those bad memories. On the Daily Show he stated that this movie is a way for him to get back to what he was talking about thirty years ago. Thirty years ago?? That was when they were saying an ice age was coming.It must have been when he was busing inventing the internet.

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  50. If somebody asked me today quick, antoher four years of Bush or Four years of Gore as president, I hate to admit it but it would take me a long time to answer.I haven’t seen the movie, but Gore’s reappearance has made me remember why I don’t like him. (Yes, I am a democrat.) An even harder question – Quick what’s the difference between two planks of wood and a Gore – Kerry Ticket? . . . . Hold on, I’m thinking!A president’s approval rating at 33% and there’s still a chance the democrats could pull defeat out of the jaws of victory.

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  51. C.G.,<>I mean, you don’t really think it’s a good thing spewing all of those exhaust fumes into the air we breath do you?<>Nope. We use Green Mountain Energy as our electric company (the wind energy folks) and I counted 32 compact florescent bulbs in the house. Mostly I did the bulbs for the energy savings and Green Mtn for the environment, if you can believe it.As far as exhaust fumes, I still drive America steel with a big V8, but it’s the $60 fill-ups that will get me burning rice. And its that monetary incentive that will shift other folks as well. At $73/barrel and double last years electric utility cost, there is plenty of incentive to conserve today.Prof. Ricardo

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  52. Prof,I read your two links. It looks like the first one was from some GOP-owned senate committee or something. Might as well have been written by Inhofe… maybe it was.The second arcticle (Slate – Easterbrook) was better and made some good points. I liked the better explanation of how heat gets trapped. That said, I didn’t buy his hypocrisy charge about flying on airplanes, being anti-business, or the movie being a desperate failure on telling the public what they can do. The dude is simply trying to raise awareness. At the end of the movie they post a website < HREF="http://www.climatecrisis.net/" REL="nofollow">climatecrisis.com<> which I haven’t been able to get to yet. (Busy… guess a few folks are interested). I’m suppose to believe Gore is a hypocrite because he continues to use oil-based means of transporation while he tries to raise awareness of a serious inconvienent truth. Please!!! That’s really dumb. It would be like saying I’m a hypocrite because I believe we have a serious upcoming climate issue, but I’m still driving my Lexus. Coming to the conclusion that changes will be needed doesn’t mean the same thing as they have to happen the day you come to that conclusion. I would be inclined to think this guy doesn’t have much to add, but I like the first part of his article (i.e. I thought he made some good points). I’m sure we are about to have a full scrimage between competing scientist … just like battling those trickle down economists. I really don’t see a downside to getting the green thing stared. I mean, you don’t really think it’s a good thing spewing all of those exhaust fumes into the air we breath do you? What if turns out we were ok on the temperature front, but ended up with cleaner energy. As long as we didn’t kill capitalism along the way, that would be good right? Some {Thomas Friedman} are convinced we could create jobs in the process. I know you can’t take the stance of protecting oil baron jobs over future green jobs… you are a capitalist and are a propoent of creative destruction.

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  53. Prof,<>Do you have any pics you can upload to the blog showing the thousands of years old thermometers they used? Thanks.<>Prof, Prof, Prof… I’m sure you want picture also to prove the world is older than 6000 years. They determined the earth’s temperatures from ice cores … I believe from Antarctica. I’m no scientist… maybe we can get Tony’s wife to explain it. 🙂I will read your links. I made the initial point that {if Gore’s data} was accurate, yada yada yada. That said, you don’t have to be a scientist to figure a spike in billions of population in recent decades might just have an impact on our climate. Maybe not… maybe it takes 200 billion… but you have to figure there is a threshold. Why would anyone think otherwise? It certainly can’t be a good thing we do every day we drive to work spewing out all of that exhaust… Can it?

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  54. Yoshi, I think I would like to see Gore elected. I think it’s the best chance for the public to actually {get} the consequences of our presidential elections going forward. We now live in a time where it really matters… we could make up for mistakes before. Ironically, Gore said almost exactly that in his movie… the part about not being able to afford mistakes in our decisions. Prof might want to consider we might very well get Hillary if we don’t get Gore. If you go by current polls, Hillary beats Gore easily. I think Gore is a better guy than I gave him credit for. Anyone who actually voted for the Iraq war is disqualified, IMO. I am disappointed by that, because I happen to like Biden. I tend to like what Feingold says, and he seems to be one of the few that were right on the war… so maybe Feingold. He doesn’t even show up in the polls, but he also isn’t a North East liberal… he is a North Central liberal. 🙂 Fiengold was for the censure of Bush over the NSA spying, but not for impeachment. I find that to match my sentiments regarding this administration bypassing FISA. I will never vote for a Republican again for anything… but if I had to pick one now for 2008 I would pick Hagel. If the RR heir apparent George Allen wins, he will complete the theocracy drive that Bush opened the door for. Doubly so for Brownback, but I think even the RR must think that Kansas guy is whacked {that’s a technical term}

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  55. Yoshi, I think I would like to see Gore elected. I think it’s the best chance for the public to actually {get} the consequences of our presidential elections going forward. We now live in a time where it really matters… we could make up for mistakes before. Ironically, Gore said almost exactly that in his movie… the part about not being able to afford mistakes in our decisions. Prof might want to consider we might very well get Hillary if we don’t get Gore. If you go by current polls, Hillary beats Gore easily. I think Gore is a better guy than I gave him credit for. Anyone who actually voted for the Iraq war is disqualified, IMO. I am disappointed by that, because I happen to like Biden. I tend to like what Feingold says, and he seems to be one of the few that were right on the war… so maybe Feingold. He doesn’t even show up in the polls, but he also isn’t a North East liberal… he is a North Central liberal. 🙂 Fiengold was for the censure of Bush over the NSA spying, but not for impeachment. I find that to match my sentiments regarding this administration bypassing FISA. I will never vote for a Republican again for anything… but if I had to pick one now for 2008 I would pick Hagel. If the RR heir apparent George Allen wins, he will complete the theocracy drive that Bush opened the door for. Doubly so for Brownback, but I think even the RR must think that Kansas guy is whacked {that’s a technical term}

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  56. well Professor, get used to the idea that he might be the next President…(I’m not endorsing him by the way, but I see it happening…)It’s time for Good Cop/ Bad Cop roles to swith for another 8 years…

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  57. C.G.,Here is a review by people who think like you.< HREF="http://www.slate.com/id/2142319" REL="nofollow">Ask Mr. Science: The moral flaws of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.<>P.R.

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  58. Tony, Guy, Thanks for the input on my classified question. I thought I had found part of my question… which was WHO can classify. Based on the following… it’s probably pretty complicated and spread out among agencies. I know Shrub was able to give Cheney permission to out Valerie Plame, so there is not only the issue of who can classify and declassify… but who can pass on those rights.< HREF="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classified_information_in_the_United_States#Proper_procedure_for_classifying_U.S._government__documents" REL="nofollow">Probably not a simple answer<>

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  59. Strange, but half way through the movie I had the thought of Yoshi’s world hunger mission vs Gore’s save the future of the planet. Maybe that’s why I couldn’t absorb all of the numbers being thrown at me. 🙂 The question that occured to me was this:If I had the choice between:A) One complete calendar year of existence on this planet with no hunger, poverty, murder, rape, disease, death, pain, yada yada yada…. and then the earth peacefully ceased to exist.OR B) Gore saving the planet for another 1000s of years just as it exists now… with less temperature of course. I hate to break it to you guys, but you all would need to be living it up this next calendar year if I was picking.

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  60. Prof,$36 billion… $20 per barrel out of the ground, $70 per barrel into my car. The rest is just background noise and good accountants. 🙂 I just saw the Gore movie. I highly recommend it, even though those from the other side will have to stomach some political jabs. It comes down to this… if the data Gore presented was accurate, we are in some serious sh*t. The consequences are serious enough that the politics on this should take a backseat to accurately informing the population. If this truly is a great hoax as my Senator Inhofe says, then prove it with data. There was too much data to absorb {I will rent it again when it comes out}, but here were three charts\explanations\videos Gore presented that would seem impossible to lie about.1) The world population over 1000s of years. The spike from 2 to 6 billion happens in a sliver of recent time measured against the history of the planet.2) The temperatures over 1000s of years. Same thing… recent spike is stunning.3) The amount of ice currently venerable in Antarctica and Greenland, and the 20 feet of sea level that would be lost if we lose either 1) Greenland or 2) the western portion of Antarctica currently at risk. If you have it in for the Netherlands, India, parts of San Francisco and almost all of Beijing… then be for Global warming. Of course you have to trust scientist truly have the ability to measure such things… but I guess I buy that. The other thing one has to form an opinion on is whether or not one believe the thin ozone layer is fragile… or not. Gore’s presentation included a very basic explanation of how only part of the sun hitting our earth is retained for heating the planet {the rest suppose to go back into space}. On the surface, that would seem to be a fairly important balance. 🙂 What I have no way of knowing is what does it really take to mess with that mechanism. If it’s a MC Hammer thing {You can’t touch this} then no worries mate. However, I rather doubt that to be the case.

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  61. CG,First, I studied classified documents very briefly in Federal Criminal Law and Guy is pretty much on target with what I remember. There were a number of executive orders that established the classification system and various classifiers. As I recall, the law (i.e. Federal Statutory Law) was sufficiently vague that anyone can be prosecuted who handles classified data and does anything more than just read it. Like most criminal law, intent is a big element. I believe all that is required for prosecution is 1) knowledge of the fact that the material is national defense related and 2) an intent to distribute that information. I believe the intent can be inferred from the old “known or should have known” intent standard.On Net Neutrality, I don’t have much to say which isn’t pretty obvious. In my view this is extremely similar situation to the classic anti-trust litigation. The earliest litigation on anti-trust was over railroads giving each others access to bridges across rivers. I my aging brain is telling me the truth, I believe the case was over a railroad bridge across the Mississippi at St. Louis and was decided in favor of the railroads … of course, this was in a time where everything was decided in favor of the railroads.Just to give you a perspective on how things never change, there was some case-law in place that was pretty amazing in order to protect the railroads. One particular doctrine of torts is the idea of “notice”. In other words, if certain things happen, you are on notice of the risk. At the time, contributory negligence was a COMPLETE bar to recovery in a tort action. So, if you were on notice, the other party was off the hook. Well, there were some suits against railroad related to bad markings for railroad crossings. The plaintiffs argued that there was no notice. Really, a cut and dried case when you think about it. Never fear, however, if you are a company that is a key cog in the economy. The courts actually supplied the RRs the legal defense they need. They said that trains are so big and obvious that they “provide notice of themselves”. Said differently, they said that you could not miss noticing a train unless you were contributory negligent. Said differently again, there were pretty much no facts on which you could recover against a RR for getting hurt at a crossing.So, this is really nothing new. Sad, but not new.

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  62. CG,Rather than making stuff up, or worse getting information from MoveOn.org, why not do an analysis with < HREF="http://finance.yahoo.com/q/is?s=XOM&annual" REL="nofollow">bonafide numbers<>.Exxon/Mobile (in billions)Gross Revenue……..371.Cost of Revenue…..(213.)Gross Profit………..158.Less: . Operating Exp…….(97.)Operating Income……61.Less: Taxes…………(23.)Net Income, . .After Taxes………..36.After tax income/Gross Revenue = Profit margin$36 billion / $371 billion = 9.7% If this is a windfall, by all means sell your mutual funds and buy as much stock as you wish. I would assume other oil companies are the same. I’ll let you prove otherwise.Prof. Ricardo

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  63. Tony,I would be interested in your thoughts on this. To me, it’s yet further proof that $1 = 1 vote in USA.< HREF="http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/20060628/tc_pcworld/126280" REL="nofollow">Net Neutrality<>

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  64. Prof… the irony was intended. Oh my GOODNESS just didn’t represent the bone-crushing thought of yet another 3 days on WORLDVIEWS. 🙂Yoshi,I have many problems with the current oil company windfall profits, but the following are two I have particular trouble with.1) The experts say 50% of the current prices are due to traders fears about oil supply due to current events like the Iraq war. I hear that and think… hey, if we had traders with less fear, I’m paying 50% less at the pump. You can bury a lot of bs in that 50% fear shield. 2) The estimate that it averages around $20 a barrel to get oil out of the ground. US producers sell it currently around $70 saying they are just matching global demand {i.e. since they can sell it to other nations at $70, they are justified in selling it to the US at $70}. Pretty sweet deal… global demand at your back plus a home-owned Congress giving you tax and royalty breaks at home. What’s not to love. My $50 spread jab to my government hating oil baron buddy was: Granted, the government is more inefficient than private industry producing widgets… including oil. That said, private US producers seem to be making $50 spread per barrel… a remarkable margin by any measure. Let’s say the government would be 100% more inefficient at producing oil than the private industry. So instead of $20 per barrel production, they produce it at $40. The government isn’t in the business to make money, so they turn and sell to the public at $40. OK… so we hear Prof losing his shit in the background saying … are you kidding, the government only 100% less efficient. Fine… let’s go with 200% more inefficient. $20 + $20 + $20 = $60. Still beat $70. Now we all know the price per barrel is heading to $100+. Do the same math… with the same protected US oil barons giving us the same line… “it’s a global market”. Is the definition of being an “American Capitalist” that we take it in the a$$ no matter what the global oil market may bring? Now, since I like to argue with myself {even Prof’s mother would be amazed}, a logical point to raise at this time is “the US only has appox. 3% of the global oil reserves”, so the US oil baron monopolies are nothing more than bit players in the scheme of things. Fair enough, but it leads me to another question. If you 5 or 6 US monopoplies are bit players on the world stage, why in the world should this society {dependent on oil because of failed US leadership for 3 decades} have any interest in supporting your glutony of windfall profits. Oh I remember… that’s the definition of being an American Capitalist. It’s American for the narrow wealth creation of the few at the expense of the masses. Yoshi… something like that. 🙂

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  65. CG – I saw your research assignment and will look into it for a thoughtful answer. Without doing any research, I predict there will be a general law proscribing the leaking of state secrets and “classified” material and that it is felony to do so. The defense will be Freedom of Speech and the first amendment. Having set the parameters of the legal problem, I do not know at this time what the finer points will be. Prof – Religious Convictions? I have never been convicted on religious grounds. I will deline to go into my views at this time in much detail but suffice it to say that I have always been a back bencher and troubled by the hypocrisy of organized religion. I do carry an ingrained set of judeo-christian set of values through which I view the world. I can say if you are wishing to test the depth of my convictions through my actions you would find very little evidence of outward religiosity.

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  66. Common Good, can you elaborate on that comment you made about oil companies and the spread they make on us….? Thanks… I’d like to know a little more about it. You think they are gouging us, or does the price represent what it really costs?

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  67. < HREF="http://www.joinred.com/products.asp?p=1" REL="nofollow"> The Gap (PRODUCT) RED products you’ve been waiting for are available now! Starting today, Gap is launching products with the (PRODUCT) RED brand with 50% of the profits donated to the Global Fund to help fund programmes in Africa for women and children affected by HIV/AIDS. Gap’s first product for (PRODUCT) RED is the iconic Gap T-shirt. The vintage-look shirt is made for both women and men and is priced at £14.50. It is manufactured in Africa from 100% African cotton and comes in red, of course, plus a range of other classic colors. The Gap (PRODUCT) RED T-shirt is available in the UK starting today. An expanded Gap (PRODUCT) RED collection will be launched in the UK and US in fall 2006. <>

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  68. I’m going to see the Al Gore movie today. 12:40, AMC Southroads 20, Tulsa. My treat for anyone that shows up. Yoshi, swing by and grab Prof. 🙂 I will be the one wearing the Public Good Freeloader Buster shirt. 🙂

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  69. I have to back up what Tony said about sitting in private enterprise after private enterprise that were anything but efficient. Tony and I both sat at Telex when it was making a ton of profit in spite of laughable internal systems and procedures. When a company has enough profit margins it can hide a ton of inefficiencies. The difference of course is it eventually caught up with Telex, and with government programs they are just likely to get more funds … i.e. you never find out how bad it is under the covers. I fail to understand to this day why government has to be this way. I don’t understand why, in 2006, we still don’t audit our country’s military complex expenses. {maybe because some people would go to jail}. Bottom line… I like Tony buy the fact that in the aggregate, there is very little doubt that the private sector is more efficient then the government. But don’t kid yourself… there is a ton of insane waste in the average corporation also.

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  70. Jeeze… you would think a lawyer (and now there are two) that found folks willing to hang with them would answer the occasional {ok, daily} question regarding the law. Don’t you guys like to show off your brains… that’s what I’ve alway heard.Let’s try again:According to some, the NYTimes violated the law by publishing classified information.1) Who is in charge of classifying information. Is that the sole domain of the president?2) Can the NYTimes publish classified information under any circumstances? If so, what circumstances?btw… If Guy bites on Prof’s “religious convictions” bait, does that mean we have another three days coming on frickin WORLDVIEWS. Oh my GOD!!!!

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  71. Religious convictions? Prof, Guy is NOT a prosecutor you know.Yoshi, another thing I have not said and certainly intended not to imply is the idea that private philanthropy will be automagically efficient. I’ve worked at some highly commercially successful companies that virtually define inefficiency. That said, the least efficient organization I have ever worked for was the FAA…and that isn’t even close.My simplistic point being that whether you fund things publicly or privately, the pooch can still get screwed.One of the things I’ve mentioned in the past that we only talked about a bit is something related to Yoshi’s observation about Gap manufacturing in Africa. I’ve never understood why we have given Africa so little attention over the years. Seems to me it is a continent begging for development dollars. Strategic planning coupling US government investment and private development could be a great win-win for the US and Africa. I think Gap manufacturing there is just fantastic news.We should press hard to become a key benefactor in Africa for both humanitarian reasons and long term economic development of the United States. Granted, things are not so simple. As has been stated by many of us, you can’t just drop our economic and political model on people and have it automatically work. But if you start by creating some agricultural infrastructure and export oriented manufacturing facilities, the full bellies and better lives will work their own miracles.

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  72. Guy, “<>Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s…<>”When you followed up that quote with this one, “<>Jesus and God, if all knowing and powerful, certainly have the ability to relieve all human suffering but choose not to.<>”, In order to more efficiently respond to you, it is necessary for me to know your religious convictions. May I have a summary?Prof. Ricardo

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  73. <>Anyway, as you were saying Tony, private initiatives perform better.<>Maybe it’s a matter of scale, complexity and redundancy.Scale – the scale of the poverty and disease require federal fundingComplexity – the complexity of the problems require the efficiency and creativity of the private sectorRedundancy – The natural result of unfettered capitalism is monopoly. Today in Iraq, you can be sure we have many critical needs being covered by one company… Haliburton. It’s just plain dumb to have critical needs {whether that be a stupid war in Iraq or a noble war against poverty} single threaded through one private enterprise. Enforced redundancy requires Government. Not either or… never has been.

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  74. < HREF="http://www.joinred.com/" REL="nofollow"> This Product Red <>Check this out Tony, Common Good, Prof…this is the private sector..The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria, and TB was not getting funded properly by governments….…so these companies, and more are on the way, are chipping in on the good fight. American Express is probably the big boy on the block, followed by GAP and Motorola. So when you use your FedEx card and get deeper into debt, you are also contributing to this Global Fund 1% of your purchase. That adds up. And the Gap, well in addition to donating part of the proceeds, they are making the shirts in Africa. That’s capitalism with a human face… it’s in the U.K. now but it’s on its way here… I’m getting the red card myself…Of couse, someone should put them in contact with the Professor. He would let them have his historical knowledge so that they would realize all that money will be simply going to African despots’ swiss bank accounts and U.N. child abusers. Anyway, as you were saying Tony, private initiatives perform better. But this is a private money going into a public sector program. So how efficient will that be? < HREF="http://www.theglobalfund.org/en/" REL="nofollow"> For Questions about the Global Fund <>

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  75. Guy,Trust me, that wasn’t a shot at you. If that one rattled you {and I know it didn’t), you will need thicker skin here. I haven’t met to many thin-skinned lawyers. I’m the one here without any manners. Yoshi can push it also, but he is young. 🙂 The rest of us surely have some grey on the head… and well earned. <>Jesus and God, if all knowing and powerful, certainly have the ability to relieve all human suffering but choose not to. To me, that says something about the human condition.<>Or does it say something about the odds of the existence of a caring god? I guess depending on your conclusion to that, and a realistic observation about the odds that reason can overcome human nature… you just might develop a bit of pessimism. My version of the circle of life. I champion reason only for entertainment value… and the fact I despise a planet where extreme wealth shares a globe with extreme poverty. Whether it was created, intended, part of a master plan… or pure random chance… I’m not a fan. Our family line ends here… no CG posterity… so that is further proof I’m either really interested in the future bottom dwellers… OR I’m just so bored I like arguing on a message board. btw… arguing with Prof is like arguing with a woman. You might actually win the argument\debate… but it will never be registered that way. {Now that is an example of a real shot}Yoshi… glad you are back. We need a token young guy around here. In fairness, I should have at least one more Democrat around. That said, Prof would send the average Democrat off to commit suicide. 🙂 Public Good Freeloader is better than grist. I will use it often in my future socialist rants. I already used on a rich oil baron buddy who believe oil barons here should be pretty much like Saudi {poor people line up in tents to ask the oil barons for their needs}. Using your phrase on a rich oil baron buddy was PRICELESS. Oh yeah… the other thing that lit him up was when I suggested even the US government could beat the $50 spread per barrel that they are hosing the public with. :)))) Guy, that’s another example of a shot… and a bit of rudeness I suppose.

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  76. Guy… this is my first comment to you… congrats!!!! “Despite 60 Billion in assets, I predict little will change. How’s that for pessimism?”It’s great for pessimism, and pretty subjective. I mean, as far as planets and stars and galaxies and time goes, not much will change.But individual lives, millions of them, will change. Maybe you’ll never notice the difference, but all the same, it’ll be there.How’s that for optimism. Common Good, feel free to use my phase anytime.

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  77. CG, I try to stay out of a thread and 10 posts later, someone takes a pot shot at me. 😉 As a newcomer, I think I must retract some earlier complaints about the pervasive pessimism in this group and thank Tony for e-mailing me enough to draw me in. You guys are entertaining to say the least and you are engaging in a vigorous idealistic debate that I haven’t had since Western Political Thought II. I will have to retrieve my notes and see if my views have changed. Having said that, I think that the debate lacks in that in takes too idealistic view from both sides. The world is neither good or bad. It is what it is and it has always been that way. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t try and change the human condition. Death and taxes seem to be the only certainty and continued human suffering.Prof, “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s” and get on with life. I believe that Bill and Warren exist under the same tax code that you have complained so vociferously about.Jesus and God, if all knowing and powerful, certainly have the ability to relieve all human suffering but choose not to. To me, that says something about the human condition. And when I step back and look at this speck of dust in the universe that we live on, it seems even more amazing that we are here at all.There will be no enlightened Star Trekian Utopia in the 3rd millennium where all human suffering is eradicated and somehow we give up the pursuit of material wealth. As long as that is true, and it will always be so, some will be better than other, either through skill or fortuity, at wealth accumulation. I say it again, we are kings in a rich land of opportunity by virtue of winning the uterus lottery. What the poor and thirdworlders need are buses to get the hell out of the desert but then we are back to the immigration problem. (It will be interesting to note how many of the poor black New Orleans residents actually come back after leaving that hell hole. The Katrina Diaspora will have very intersting social consequences.)“Public Good Freeloader” “Cut and Run”, “Death Tax”, “Stand down when they stand up” Its all just grist for the mill.Despite 60 Billion in assets, I predict little will change. How’s that for pessimism? I think I hit as many bases and cultural references as anybody else. Done.

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  78. Prof,<>It would be difficult to argue that Christianity is getting some benefit that other non-religious entities are not getting.<>You have to be kidding me. Falwell and Robertson are big business USA. A large part of the RR seems to be a network of churches and members with political activities along with religion. Let’s avoid the rabbit hole and just agree if you and I got to the point where we agreed that religion wasn’t treated as a special faction with special tax consequences… then we could put federal taxes on the public good table for debate. I’m the one guy who tried to agree with you on something today {I’m sensitive to that too mean thing… although it’s laughable that the Lawyers are nice}. Let’s just leave it as we might agree on something, and Prof may convince me of something. It’s all I got. 🙂Yoshi, in my defense, I’m only for pyramid schemes that soak the rich. 🙂 That should be in all of our economic interests here with the probable exception of Guy. Like Tony says… majority should rule.Yoshi, I have no stolen your <>Public Good Freeloader<> phrase. You should have copyrighted it. That is just as slick as the GOP “Cut and Run”, “Death Tax”, “Stand down when they stand up”, “Fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them here”. It speaks for itself that I can name all of those GOP quotes. We need to create a T-Shirt like the GhostBuster shirt but with Public Good Freeloader on it. Granted… only 20% will get it… but half of that 20% would love it. 🙂

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  79. “Look at Germany and the boom created by the autobahns and the US and the vast rewards of the Interstate Highway System (a greater achievement on the part of Eisenhower than any of his others including during the war).”Tony, exactly. Did you know that sub-Saharan Africa has less roads than Poland? In case you haven’t a map, Africa is a lot bigger than Poland. And most of it is landlocked, and have unnavigatable rivers, unless you want to get a ship over rapids. Impossible to get stuff to markets that way.

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  80. C.G.: “<>drop the special tax treatment of churches and religious entities, and we can talk further.<>Not that you wanted to go down this rabbit trail, but….There are many non-profit organizations and a religious organization is only one type. Non-Profits can be Churches, schools, colleges, universities, hospitals & medical research organizations, and private foundations. The church of Satan and Wiccan organizations can also be non-profit. It would be difficult to argue that Christianity is getting some benefit that other non-religious entities are not getting.Additionally, contributions to a church are not really income. It is a voluntary gift. Some churches or religions may require some percentage, but then membership is voluntary and the obligation is usually to the deity and not for any “service” performed. The pooled gifts of the congregation are then used to pay expenses and fund ministries. There is no stockholder or other owner that is reaping some income. What ever the preacher or other employees receive is either on a W2 or a 1099 as self employment income.I assume you are aware that gifts to you are not taxable to you. Under current tax law somebody can give you up to $12,000/year without a gift tax return. If that amount is exceeded then the giver files the gift tax return, not the recipient.P.R.

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  81. Yoshi,I think maybe you were a bit harsh on ole Prof. He takes things well I must say which is a good attribute for hanging around here. After all, the nicest poster here is a Lawyer…pretty rough stuff. He may lose that though if he hangs here much.Well, I never meant to suggest that there were zero government social programs that were successful. More along the lines of the vast majority of them not working out so well.Seems to me the most successful of the public endeavors of governments generally are infrastructure funding. The best examples of course are roads. Look at Germany and the boom created by the autobahns and the US and the vast rewards of the Interstate Highway System (a greater achievement on the part of Eisenhower than any of his others including during the war). Public Health I believe is another area. By Public Health I’m referring specifically to things like disease eradication and control.I think the common denominator for success is clear well defined goals and objective criteria to test the results by. These attributes do not eliminate waste, but they certainly limit it.I’m not for writing blank checks and creating open-ended entitlements except in narrow cases where there is broad enough support for a Constitutional Amendment. We should seek to implement market based solutions wherever possible. When the market fails us, then we should seek to implement solutions that bring as much market based incentives to bear as possible. Large publicly ran programs should be avoided if possible. Unfortunately, it is simply not reasonable to avoid the government running some things.So, what I mean is that I am closer to Prof in terms of guiding principals but I do not follow him in his desire to strangle the government to death. Still, I used to be a looneytarian, so I find more substance to his ideas than perhaps you do.

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  82. The bubble, that’s what I meant earlier when I said Prof. probably lived on “island America,” as opposed to many of the next generation who have the new global, integrated persepective… yea, many of us are just ignorant, a function of lack of education, traveling, and experience. By the way Common Good, you should regurly call your Reps. about keeping our financial promises about development… it really does make a difference for you to hound them… if you don’t, who will?

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  83. Yoshi,When I see as much greed and ignorance in our society… I actually have similar questions “Do we deserve it”. I actually think the bigger problem is ignorance, rather than greed. It’s not like I think 90% of the populations thoughts center around getting as much as they can for themselves… and screw everyone else. I think it’s more a matter of living in a bubble of existence… i.e. most don’t devote a nano-second to the plight of others on the globe. Life’s hard, even in the land of plenty… too much to absorb just in daily lives and family struggles. It’s hard to strap on the additional pain and agony of what goes on beyond the US bubble. But at the end of the day… this hell on earth is going on. How did we arrive in 2006 with such wealth sharing the globe with such poverty. If one of the core answers is we made it to this level by ignoring the rest of the globe’s hunger and disease, then you have to ask your question “do we deserve it”. If our excuse is “it has to be voluntary” or “we will wreck our capitialism if we give more than 1/10th of 1 % GDP”… then “do we deserve it”. Bubbles can’t last for ever. You can’t have just one rich neighborhood without the surrounding neighborhoods <>picking those alternative games<>. I think the neocons have it all wrong. They are playing traditional US arrogance to protect the bubble… and keep our entitled oil flowing. I would give us better odds with Friedman’s green and Gate’s war on poverty and education. We should have put the entier Iraq $1 trillion into Africa instead.

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  84. Tony,I saw something on the Daily Show that made me think of you. They were talking about the NYTimes reporting on the Bank data classified program. <>If you really love FREEDOM, you will set it free. If it was yours, it will come back to you.<>

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  85. Prof,<>Apparently public good includes everything. As an all inclusive term that covers what men may want to do with other’s money, the answer would be no. I would be curious what you would not include as “public good” that no one else would label as such. I think it is in the public good to have a Christian nation and folks not burn in hell. However, that “public good” is not for me to fund with others money. For me to force Common Good to use his money (via the Fed.) would be arrogant and selfish of me to do so, and thievery to boot.Am I consistent?<>You are always consistent… that is a fact. 🙂 However, I would say your analogy doesn’t really hold up here. We have a separation of church and state, but not a separation of citizen and public good. Almost everyone agrees that the separation of church and state means no government interference with one’s religion {unless of course you include things like pot smoking as part of your religion}. That obviously means government can’t promote one religion over another, or by definition, you are interfering with other religions. The Bush administration tried to frame giving money to church groups for non-proselytizing purposes as equal opportunity, but we don’t define churches as EQUAL in our society. We give them a special tax status, so they are not equal. If churches and religious organization ever did become equal under the law, then one could make a logical argument that federal money going to an equal-opportunity church fund for non-proselytizing purposes amounted to the same thing as giving federal money to NGOs. The idea of federally funded proselytizing {once Churches lost the tax free status} being on the public good table {decided by representative government} made me think a bit. My first reaction {and pretty much typed out} was that we don’t have to do religion together… but we do have to do the things I consider Common Good together. However, I have long held that Public Good can be anything our representative democracy decides it to be. If a scheme could be devised that provided funds to religious organizations without sponsoring a particular one over another (i.e. Christianity over yada yada yada), then you may very well have a logical argument. I’m convinced the United States would never define that as Common Good… but whether it logically is include as a Common Good/Public Good candidate is another question. I’m pretty sure Universal Healthcare will sell and Universal proselytizing will not… but then I didn’t think we could possibly elect THE DECIDER the second time. Bottom line… drop the special tax treatment of churches and religious entities, and we can talk further. 🙂

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  86. Actually Common Good, I was watching the documentary “Commanding Heights” last night, and several people, including Bill Clinton, but specifically, Hernado de Soto (he wrote “the Mystery of Capital), were saying just that. For the Professor’s info, de Soto is a Capitalist that advocates private property rights in developing world so that they can have collateral for capital loans. They have private property by the way, they just don’t have organized legal systems of titles to show the creditors. It’s another one of those pre-reqs. I’m talking about.There may not be a Moscow anymore. But if too many people do not see the benefits of global capitalism, if they can turn on the TV and see us in America and Europe smugly living it up, indifferent to their suffering, well, they will turn to a new ideology. Simply put, we have to give EVERYONE a stake in this game, or they will find a new game to play.And that Professor, is when they will be taking that 90% you are talking about. If we don’t act, we’ll have more 9/11s, a possible collapse of the global economic system we have, along with it our wealth we take for granted, and honestly, I’d feel like I (we) deserved it. I always tell my selfish friend, “the greedy man loses everything.”

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  87. <>Don’t forget I lived in Prague, we learned all about redistribution of wealth, and how they went broke doing it. It’s a pyramid scheme basically (Don’t confuse me with C.G. in this respect.)<>Hey… not nice. 🙂I wish I could find that author’s quote… something like “all societies have wealth redistribution… either voluntarily along the way or violently in the end”. If anyone wants to cite a successful society from history that had no form of wealth redistribution… now would be the time to point it out.

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  88. CG, “<>Is your position that our current Constitution as written outlaws collecting Federal taxes for public good?<>”Apparently public good includes everything. As an all inclusive term that covers what men may want to do with other’s money, the answer would be no. I would be curious what you would not include as “public good” that no one else would label as such. I think it is in the public good to have a Christian nation and folks not burn in hell. However, that “public good” is not for me to fund with others money. For me to force Common Good to use his money (via the Fed.) would be arrogant and selfish of me to do so, and thievery to boot.Am I consistent?Yoshi, “<>I just hope you ultimately get the grace you would deny to others…<>”Yoshi, God bless you, but you have a mental block. I hope 10 Trillion dollars flow to Africa. Can you top that? Having the federal bureaucrats and UN child abusers skim 50% off the top, and the funds flow into tyrant’s hands does not seem like good stewardship of those monies. You act as though my Christianity hinges on embracing redistribution of wealth rather than the blood of Christ. Socialism is not a percentage of funds allocated to a specific program, but a type of government that does not respect private property rights.QUESTION: If a government has a noble goal, say eradicating poverty and world hunger, does it have the <>RIGHT<> to take as much money – say 90% of the citizens wealth – to accomplish that goal? I didn’t ask if it was a good idea. I ask, does it have the RIGHT? And you say……Prof. Ricardo

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  89. Postus Interruptus… bummer.I guess people can still pee in their American flag bathing suits in the deep end of the swimming pool. That has to relieve the pressure. 🙂 I expect the GOP to follow with the sodomy amendment and the Janice Jackson exposed tit amendment. Prof… slippery slope between world poverty and tree huggers. Really? I thought Yoshi’s point on Public Good is it’s already allowed under the Constitution. Is your position that our current Constitution as written outlaws collecting Federal taxes for public good? I would be interested in the two lawyers opinion on that one also.A couple of other questions for the lawyers. According to some, the NYTimes violated the law by publishing classified information.1) Who is in charge of classifying information. Is that the sole domain of the president?2) Can the NYTimes publish classified information under any circumstances? If so, what circumstances?

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  90. Tony,what about the WHO eradicating smallpox? And nearly Polio. And Malaria over most of the planet (Africa withstanding b/c they’ve got a ecological environment which makes that just a little more difficult.)Those government initiatives save a lot of money in the long run….I was talking to an Indian guy about India up until it started making reforms…. but then he was telling me that all that “socialism” is why India is where it is today… they’ve got the educations they needed to basically make our software and tutor us in math labs…. so the “socialism” was kind of a pre-requisite of growth. I couldn’t argue with him there….

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  91. According to “somebody’s opinion” that an entire continent dying is a just a cause.Professor, you might need to talk to your pastor about that one. I think you’ve seriously got a SPIRITUAL problem… you talk about arrogance, I talk about irony and arrogance… you are arrogant (or naive) to even claim yourself as a “Christian.” You truly remind me of the Pharisees…. I just hope you ultimately get the grace you would deny to others…those “socialist” methods you are talking about are b.s.- the biggest capitalists in the world are proposing these ideas… .Zero point seven percent of income is HARDLY socialism… and the Bible says to give 9.3 percent more, so there you go… that Commie God of ours commanded to do a lot more than I’m suggesting… I think you must not really know what socialism is… saying less than 1 percent is socialism is like saying 7-Eleven is a 5 star Italian restaurant b/c you can get a microwave ravioli there…Everyone and their dog knows about Zimbabwe, no one is talking about helping them directly, and Botswana, despite its success, does need foreign help fighting HIV, because not every one can do it on our own Professor. In fact, none of us can. In fact, Zimbabwe’s example shows that the governments there can be accountable…

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  92. Yoshi: “<>Already today on account of foreign aid, Uganda has had tremendous success fighting AIDS, for example.<>”< HREF="http://www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/wew/articles/06/aid.html" REL="nofollow">Here is a comparison of Zimbabwe and Botswana<>. I’m sure they wont post this to the ONE Campaign site.<>As far as permission from the constitution, yada, yada, yada, it is a public good. If millions of Americans demand it… it’s legit… period.<> A pure democracy…which goes against your previous post stressing our Representatives. If the Constitution is of no effect, then the rule of law, the protections of the Constitution, and any difference between us and a banana republic is pure window dressing. You know better than to throw out a reckless comment like that. . . . . don’t you?<>It’s not a “bad” to make a “good.” That just sounds really, really stupid.<>The ends justify the means. Reminds me of a Monty Python movie where the surgeons came to a guy’s house to collect his liver since he had signed a donors card. He said he thought the collection would happen after he died. The need for the liver existed. The means was to take from another living soul. If the means is bad, you can not use it to do good. Hitler was purifying the Aryan race. With such a noble goal, how bad can the means be?<>Letting millions of people die when we have the means to stop it, that’s just stupid. Period.<>And employing failed socialist methods that have proven to exacerbate the problem is smart?<>What you are thinking about, regarding history, is that brief moment of history you grew up in, where we paid gangsters to be our friends against the Soviet Union… and now we say the money was stolen or wasted. Yea, duh, that was the intention…<>My study of history goes back thousands of years to current day world events. I’m always learning, always seeking. The best I have been able to ascertain from multiple sources over the past couple of decades does not differ from the Walter Williams commentary I quoted above.<>As for all the “pet” causes in the world, this isn’t a cause, it’s an emergency.<>According to somebody’s opinion. And tree sitters think theirs is the most pressing issue as well. You can’t stand as emperor of humanity and command all humans, “Thus saith Yoshi…” It is important to you and < HREF="http://www.one.org" REL="nofollow"/> other people. You people need to pool your efforts and go and change the world. Allow others to pool their efforts and their money, and in their own way go and do the same.Prof. Ricardo

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  93. I guess the only problem with war as an economic booster is the debt incurred to mount such an operation. The economy as a whole rises out of the ashes, but the Govt. surely goes in the hole. Which I believe on a smaller scale we are witnessing right now.

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  94. CG,I’m actually more in the Prof camp when it comes to identifying successful government social largess. I just don’t see it. At one time I would’ve put social security in that camp, but that has run amok too.This is different from saying I do not think it is possible to have successful government social programs. Different too from saying that I do not desire such a thing. As you have pointed out ad nauseum, we need agreement first on what the goals are. We have a mechanism for reaching well defined agreement on what the government should be doing in a free society: its called the Constitutional Amendment process.You see, the half-assed approach of addressing such things through majority-rule is what leads to ineffective solutions that are subject to the whims of the next election cycle. The liberals in America are just as stupid as the Conservatives on this point. The voters sadly just don’t get it.Which brings us back to education. But that is a truth you and nobody else seems too interested in hearing.Hey, I just thought of a highly successful government program in the 20th Century. It lead to economic prosperity and better conditions for all but a relative few unlucky souls: the Second World War. Maybe that was the model Shrub was actually using when he invaded Iraq.

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  95. Common Good- order this, it’s an easy, enjoyable read….< HREF="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0143036580/sr=8-1/qid=1151442927/ref=pd_bbs_1/103-3105677-4896650?ie=UTF8" REL="nofollow"> The End of Poverty <>

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  96. “History bears out my account. Your account, though noble, though compassionate, though hopeful, goes against experience.”-Not really, there are too many successes to list… starting with the Marshall Plan, ending Smallpox, etc. Global government efforts that succeeded. China and India are succeeding unbelievably, reducing their poverty in just years…so it can be done…I’m studying for a test today, otherwise I’d start a long, long list. We put a man on the moon Professor. We can, literally, pretty much do ANYTHING. So I don’t buy it.Already today on account of foreign aid, Uganda has had tremendous success fighting AIDS, for example. Almost a million people are receiving anti-retrovirals, and 15 million people are in school. That’s a success, I hate to break it to you. And it’s also measurable. As an accountant, you should know better than anyone that everything is auditable. And there are incentives actually. Because unless everything is accounted for in a transparent way, grants and “aid” is cut off. That is an incentive to behave correctly.As far as permission from the constitution, yada, yada, yada, it is a public good. If millions of Americans demand it… it’s legit… period. It’s not a “bad” to make a “good.” That just sounds really, really stupid. Letting millions of people die when we have the means to stop it, that’s just stupid. Period.What you are thinking about, regarding history, is that brief moment of history you grew up in, where we paid gangsters to be our friends against the Soviet Union… and now we say the money was stolen or wasted. Yea, duh, that was the intention…That’s what the anamoly is here.As for all the “pet” causes in the world, this isn’t a cause, it’s an emergency. And yea, it’s arguably the biggest one…. and I agree, the global warming is as important…. and should also be dealt with… it’s not an either/ or situation… those two, along with the war on terror- which is related to global poverty anyway, are pretty much the biggest issues out there today… everything else is just minor by comparison… Good for your daughter… looks like the apple does fall far from the tree after all… you know, going abroad de-socializes a person (I know from experience). She’ll be changed more than she changes anyone else… and that’s a good thing….

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  97. Yoshi: “<>…you are so indifferent to massive global emergencies, that kind of displays a little about your personality…<>”Actually, I’m not indifferent at all. You perceive that because I protest the <><>METHOD<><> of collecting and distributing the aid.My daughter just told me this week that she wants to be a missionary, to go out and help others and spread the Gospel. That is quite the commitment to want to travel to and live among peoples, meeting their needs, winning their respect, and sharing the Living water that will satisfy for more than a day. Does such a desire in my offspring evidence an indifference to massive global emergencies?What I have against the <>method<> you choose is:(1) – There is no authority in the Constitution to do it.(2) – It is immoral to do bad to do good.….(a) taxing for public works are necessary and benefit all (highways).….(b) taxing to reallocate wealth is arrogant elitism.….(c) private wealth are not public works.(3) – It is inefficient.….(a) it has people spending other peoples money (no incentive to economize).….(b) it is money spent on other people (no incentive to get exact need).….(c) it has horrible administrative losses.….(d) it is more prone to < HREF="http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/27/washington/27katrina.html?ex=1151985600&en=94142ea1ee48b0e8&ei=5065&partner=MYWAY" REL="nofollow">corruption<> than private charities.….(e) it is at the mercy of political whim, posturing, & compromise.(4) – It’s unaccountable.….(a) no way to define poverty.….(b) no way to define success if it is working.….(c) no provision to cut funding if it is unsuccessful.….(d) in fact, a failure only creates a greater need for the method itself, thus ensuring a continuation of the jobs created by it. The old ‘survival becomes the overriding goal of all programs created.’….(e) failure demands greater funding of the failing program.(5) – History bears out my account. Your account, though noble, though compassionate, though hopeful, goes against experience.Can I Yoshi, after having read countless news articles, after studying the history of man, knowing his temptations and fallen bent, studying economic theory and what provides man incentive and disincentive in support of all the forgoing, Can I knowing all of this accept a poorer stewardship of our common generosity? What if I feel the need is not for poverty but global warming? Why worry about AIDS if everybody is burned to a crisp? Isn’t that the greater need? Who are YOU to say I’m wrong? And what about snail darters, Kangaroo rats, baby seals, and spotted owls? Are you going to callously turn your face from these needs? How about teenage pregnancy in this country? Childhood obesity? Cancer? What about……?Yoshi there are tens of thousands of causes to champion. All of them important to somebody. Each will receive the economic attention people are willing to give it. Before income taxes in the 1800’s people established libraries, universities, hospitals, help for the poor, unwed mothers, and sponsored underprivileged children’s school tuition. It was all done before a single politician lifted a single finger. They don’t tell you about it on the news or the school textbooks and so the public is utterly clueless. They think, if the government doesn’t do this, it wont get done, thus ignoring actual history in our own country. It is the lack of knowledge about our history that drives people to make incorrect assumptions about the future.If you choose to send $25 billion <>more<> to these causes via government, you have taken money out of other’s pockets that they now do not have to go to worthy goals they have so that yours, or who ever was strong enough politically to get his championed, will be funded. How elitist. How selfish. How arrogant for anyone to say, “ I feel so strong about this cause, that not only will I send my money, but I demand that everybody else contribute to my cause regardless of what causes others may be led to champion.”Indifferent? Hardly.Prof. Ricardo

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  98. It’s so obvious we need both nation sponsored and private sponsored philanthropy, it’s amazing it even still needs to be debated. I remember during the Tsunami that Bush Sr. felt obligated to say at almost every press encounter that private funds were also being collected. You could tell it hurt him {and fellow conservatives} to the core that something could happen that required Federal funds. Not only did it require federal funds, it required military ships. I’m not sure how many private philanthropy ships we have, but I’m going to guess it wouldn’t match our military. It was also just as obvious that private NGO’s on the ground were essential. Each doing what they did best… not an either-or.It was just as obvious during Katrina. Events can happen (whether terrorist or nature) that is beyond the capabilities of a state. This also rocked the federalists to their core… you could see it with every press interview Michael Chertoff gave. He desperately wanted to say “this should not be a function of small government America”… but he couldn’t. The idea that our federal government had no responsibility in this type of event would not have been accepted by the public. Disasters are where ideology gets tested. If the ideology can’t pass the smell test during disasters, then it’s probably flawed. Just think if we used all of the time arguing over whether or not charity had to be volunteer only instead on devising the most efficient public-private hybrids. From where I stand, we look pretty stupid considering it’s 2006.

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  99. Yoshi,Prediction: The terrorism thing will last long enough and be bad enough to find the neocon chest-pounding to be inadequate. Future adminstrations and Congress {although the idiots are discussing flag burning so who knows what they will figure out} will come to the conclusion fighting global poverty is not charity, but self-interest and self-preservation. I also predict that the terrorism threat will redefine, if not eliminate, the current ideas of federalism. The Scalia crowd and the Federalist society will have to continue to make the case why each state should be allowed to spend our tax dollars as they see fit, rather than some standard across states that makes sense. Federalism, freeloader liberty, and the RR are obstacles to your goals. The anti-government crowd will find themselves under extreme pressure going forward. The sad thing is, if we ever get passed all of this anti-government sentiment, we may finally have to figure out how to elect a better one.

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  100. Tony,I am obviously not (or ever have) argued the extreme of full-tilt socialism. I happen to believe collecting federal taxes for common good is something different than the government owning business… strange I know. Prof HAS obviously argued the extreme position. 🙂I couldn’t have been clearer over all of these posts that I am for MORE, not less, Constitutional amendments. You often bring up the dreaded 51% majority rule argument, but any passing of a Constitutional amendment will require a threshold also (granted a higher one, but a threshold). That threshold could also toggle back, and eliminate the amendment. I believe that “federal tax can be collected for common good x,y and z in x% of GDP…yada yada yada” should be a constitutional amendment… but it would be based on a majority (if not a simple majority). I listened to the Gate’s and Buffet live announcement of Buffet’s donation. What a couple of capitalist heretics… Buffet is for the inheritance tax, progressive taxation, and against dynastic wealth. As you pointed out, they recognize fairness doesn’t just shoot out of laissez-faire. I actually thought Neil Cavuto on FoxNews was going to cry when he heard the two richest guys on the planet talk like they did. Many belief systems need reinforcement of others… how painful it must have been to hear the top two from their team basically tell them the team’s belief system is wrong and greedy.Jobs… exactly. There hasn’t been a government invented yet that will pacify a population without jobs. {well maybe Saudi for a while… they seemed to pay off their population successfully for a while}.btw… the GOP is heartless laissez-faire pigs.

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  101. Common Good, get this…Rush Limbaugh was detained for having an illegal prescription of Viagra.Now, what does he need that for? Is he married? Er, maybe it’s for a friend…Want to hear the other point of the story? He was on his way back from the Dominican Republic. I think it’s safe to assume he was using the Viagra… I guess most likely he was injecting some money into the underground sex industry there… maybe he slept with Natalie Holoway there… I hear it’s big bucks to get a white American girl…Remember a few weeks ago when I talked about how all those repressive, usu. self-righteous religious types have the sexual deviancies…? Well, add some more evidence to that theory….

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  102. Right on point Tony. I left a very important factor out of my equation. These young men need jobs. Without the ability to generate an income you cannot participate. (Or if not jobs, at least distribution of royalty checks to one and all).With regard to democracies, I was arguing with a colleague the other day that prior to the Declaration of Independence, there was a traditon of formal representative democracy in America that went back at least a hundred and fifty years and an intellectual discussion of the nature of liberty that had gone on at least hundred years before that. It reached, in my opinion, it fullest discussion in John Locke and bore fruit in the Declaration of Independence.Yet, we presume to show up to shake and bake a democracy in under two years. Not going to happen. Having interceded in Iraq, we are going to be there for the longhaul to (1) protect the oil; (2) stay close to Iran and (3) wait for the Iraqis to stand up. I am going to opt out of the socialism vs. volunteerism debate for now.

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  103. Guy,I sort of agree with your point on iPods and Gameboys, but I think you are missing the key ingredient: accession to wealth.I really do not see that it is our culture per se that overwhelms other cultures; I think it is the material wealth that brings the culture along with it. Capitalism was big in Japan before Disney. What we have is not so much a culture war as an economic disparity.You are correct when you say, “These folks still represent warring tribes and religious factions”, but they are only able to get traction because of the poverty of the people they are nominal advocates for. To step up to another level of conflict, the wars in Europe only began to decline once the shared economic success became a reality.This is at the center of the problem I have had with “nation building” in the Middle East from the start of the neo-con vision. You can’t drop the concepts of separation of church and state on Islam and have it work because of its practical (or moral) superiority. The whole notion does not compute. But, you encourage market principals and let them work it out for themselves and all things are possible because as you suggest, after they are fed, the iPod desires will drive greater egalitarianism internally and better behavior in the international community.

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  104. Hmmmm. Where to begin…where?First, Prof and CG are having the old argument and I guess I should mark out my position. Or at least do so in brief. It puzzles me why things are always discussed in the extremes. It goes something like this:CG: “We need to address this problem with a government program.”Prof: “That is socialism and it has been tried and failed. Quit stealing my money.”CG: “The GOPers are heartless laissez-faire pigs.”Not that I do not enjoy the debate, but it puzzles me. I do not understand why there is so seldom a middle ground here or in national debate. It seems blindingly obvious to me that full tilt socialism is an abject failure. It might be how we wish things worked, but mankind is not up to the task. It is equally clear that full tilt market based economics is very unfair to a large number of people. Interestingly, last night on Charlie Rose, I heard Gates and Buffet making this exact point.I agree with Prof in that much of what passes for egalitarian programs are illegal grabs of theoretically constitutionally protected rights by the majority. That said, I do not necessarily believe we should not have those programs either. I am arguing here against the <>legal<> basis of our current law.In other words, while I agree with CG up to a point that shared needs should be publicly supported, I do not believe a majority vote is (or should be) constitutionally adequate to deprive Prof of his life, liberty or property. I think our current idiotic majority rule mentality has a number of defects including a few the left does not consider. That defect being that anything that can be enacted by 51% can be undone thereby too. Far better in my view to determine what our true shared needs are and put them on a solid constitutional footingIn other words, we need to be serious and mature about such things and not do the two-party tango. This left-right dichotomy just reduces intelligent people to arguing extremist positions that ultimately do very little good.

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  105. “I fail to see much difference in not allowing the neighbor to mistreat his kids, or allowing the same neighbor to have zero responsibility towards poverty..”Well get this C.G., I fail to see the difference between stopping the Holocaust in Germany or the Genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s and letting millions of children die each year from things like a mosquito bite.Prof, the comment didn’t mean you were a liar by any means. It’s just a saying, and I think it means that we see in other people what we see in ourselves- thus, a liar would think that everyone is a liar just like him (though he’s wrong). I’ve actually known a few compulsive liars and that’s generally true. They suspect everyone is trying to lie to them. I think what I mean in relationship to you is that if you are so indifferent to massive global emergencies, that kind of displays a little about your personality… and so, maybe it explains why you seem to be cynical instead of an idealist… -I know, it almost doesn’t make sense to me either…It’s funny you brought up the part about arguing with fence posts. It reminded me I used to argue with everyone about abortion in high school… I went to a private school, and man, looking back, I probably should’ve kept my mouth shut… but when I learned some of my favorite teachers were “pro-choice,” I went on for ages about it, trying to “prove” to them they were wrong… oh well, another time…

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  106. Yes Yoshi, you are right. Prof is wrong on this one. We have to convince the Prof’s they are wrong… and nobody should have the option to opt out of the paddling. I fail to see much difference in not allowing the neighbor to mistreat his kids, or allowing the same neighbor to have zero responsibility towards poverty at home or around the globe. That is a pathetic definition and use of liberty.<>I see it as those folks who don’t want to “chip in,” as FREELOADERS on a public good.<>I don’t think that could be said any better.Prof… I’m back. Get out the grade book. 🙂

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  107. Wait, I have to add one thing… and this is very important….Prof… consider this… the ONE Campaign is already made up of over 2.5 million Americans, everyone from your favorite quarterback Tom Brady to the teenager that lives above me to the soccer mom I know in Austin… these people GIVE their permission to use their tax money in this way. How much MORE DEMOCRATIC can YOU POSSIBLY GET? It’s ordinary Americans, participating in DEMOCRACY, telling THEIR/ our REPRESENTATIVES in the government (the ones that REPRESENT them/ us by the way- don’t forget that), that WE, as a PEOPLE, stand together, UNITED, and we want an additional 1% of our budget, which is about 25 billion dollars, to fulfill the PROMISE our government made last summer. That’s democracy…I know you don’t like the ends to justify the means, but when there is mass suffering, and we COULD do something, but we don’t respond, well, maybe I understand why you are so cynical… it’s no secret a liar doesn’t believe anyone else….Just something to think about…I’m right on, aren’t I C.G.?

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  108. The problem you speak of Professor regarding taxing people is actually the mirror reverse of the way I see it. I see it as those folks who don’t want to “chip in,” as FREELOADERS on a public good. Why should I have to build a highway that those cheap bastards get to drive on it? Why should I have to pay for defense when some hippies who want to buy weed “opt out” of their taxes? Why should I have to use 1% to help deal with humanitarian emergencies, when little blond shallow girl gets to blow it on Britney Spears albums. Don’t give me the freedom line. We’re in this together, and we all have to paddle just like everyone else does. No free riders for the cheapskates…. let them move the the desert island if they want, but otherwise… they are part of this society. There are costs, and there are benefits… otherwise, as I said, the desert island is waiting, but they’ll have to pull their own weight there too…Private individuals certainly get more accountability, but that’s just an excuse… accountability can be had in government as well… or let someone get fired…

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  109. Rush isn’t a tough nut to crack… he’s just a guy who builds a shield of delusion around himself…let him have a guest on like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, or Jeffrey Sachs, or anyone that’s capable of carrying on an extended conversation…actually though, Rush wouldn’t even be keep someone like Gates’ attention…that’s what my problem is with the guy… he’s poorly informed and then tries to play the expert, and dumb people eat it up as gospel. For example, when he puts up a post with that opportunist nobody economist from Kenya, he declares that’s the end all be all of the debate… I’ll respond to the rest later, I’m super busy…. by the way, never get sushi from Whole Foods, it’s terrible.

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  110. Common Good: “<>Jeeze Prof… look around. We ain’t getting it done. Please don’t tell me we would be dealing with the immorality just fine if we all just got more of our taxes back. There isn’t anyone here that will buy that nonsense. <>”George Benard Shaw once said: “England and America are two countries separated by a common language.” I feel like you and I are that way. We both speak English, but I can not decipher your code.“<>We ain’t getting it done.<>”, “<>Looked around a bit Prof? How do you think you private only guys have done.<>”, “<>…of very little consequence other than personal conscience’s… i.e. ain’t worth jack in the global scheme…<>”, “<>that’s just a process ideology that has proved itself a miserable failure for the existence of this globe.<>”It sounds like you are saying that (1) all that has been done so far has been private, and (2) if it had worked there wouldn’t be poor, hunger, AIDS, bad officiating at basketball games, and any other atrocity that is bothering you. #2 – If everyone started with a million dollars today (forget the economic effect of hyper inflation caused by such a feat), in one year some people would be broke, some wives would still be beaten, some children would still be abandon, some people will still get AIDS through promiscuity, some people would still die of cancer, some dictators would still slaughter their citizens, some droughts and floods will still happen, some hurricanes and tsunamis would still kill, maim and destroy property. Jesus said, “the poor you will have with you always.” That was not a wish, but a fact. There will always be people in need. To say look around me as though if personal philanthropy had worked, Utopia would have been achieved, does not show a depth of wisdom I know you are capable of. Please rethink this as a “proof” of the failure of personal philanthropy.#1 – Collectivist societies the world over have implemented countless programs, aids, projects, safety nets – choose your term. The correlation of increased collectivism to increased poverty and unhappiness is so readily apparent to even the willfully obtuse, its seems particularly strange that being electrocuted your answer is to turn up the juice. More of what causes poverty rarely rids the poverty. Increasing collectivism in this country could only be expected to duplicate the failures it has reaped in other countries.Since we have what could safely be called a mature welfare state, from the New Deal forward increasing in size and scope in an exponential fashion, it is funny that you now look at the results and say, “lookie how volunteerism failed us.” Did you happen to overlook a few trillion dollars worth of collectivist effort when assessing the current pulse of need?Take your paper and rewrite it with both eyes open and then turn it in at the end of class and maybe you’ll get a good grade and a lollipop to boot.“<>Prof… I seriously have a fond spot in my heart for you…<>”Oh…garshh. I like you too.Prof. Ricardo

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  111. I went to Vegas to do some work for my favorite charity and I return and you guys have really gone off on a tangent. Prof and Yoshi: I guess I am excited to see such worthy ideals for humanities sake but the older I get the more “British” my attitude becomes. And by that I mean, British in the sense of “Imperial British.” They colonized Africa and India for their own economic purposes and really didn’t care if the local population got any “democratization.” But they did open these people up to liberal educations. India in the end seemed to get it (Ghandi was a British educated attorney) and not much is left of imperial Britain in Africa. I have always thought our greatest export is our culture. Give them iPods and Gameboys and the hearts and minds of their youth will eventually follow.In that sense, the Muslims get it and (it pains me to say this) I agree with Rumsfield we are in a culture war. It will be hot and cold for many years to come but our culture is so insidious that you cannot keep us or our ideas out. The Chinese are finding this out everyday.Worldwide Caliphate? Never happen. These folks still represent warring tribes and religious factions. You can only have a worldwide caliphate when you can control information. You can’t do this anymore. For $50 bucks in any country in the world you can buy a satellite dish and point it to the sky. The western world is yours 24/7. Why such violence now? We are in the last throws before the Islamic world realizes that they can no longer control their people and what info gets in their brains. They will choose to use our technology to combat our culture with their own programming. Unfortunately, once you give them al-jazeera they can also get MTV and HBO. I read an interesting article on that this is happening right now on a large scale in Egypt.Will this cause the war to end next year? No. But over the long haul, we will have the minds of their youth and they will all be consumers. You will know we won, when the Riyadh Disneyland opens in 2020.

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  112. Yoshi,“<>Prof? What do you think about Pastor Rich Warren, the “Purpose Driven Life” guy?… I’m sure Rush though smugly mocks him…. maybe not directly, but he mocks his causes…<>”To use a metaphor you might like, Rush is a tough nut to crack. He doesn’t comment on religious issues like you would think. He’s quite evasive when callers make some Bible or Christian comment and he redirects it to political issues – probably not to step on anyone’s religious toes.This blog may not be the right forum for me to comment on Pastor Rick Warren, but I’ll give you a synopsis.Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback is another highly successful proponent of the Church Growth Movement (CGM). Schueller(sp?) was before him. They had them in the late 1800’s and all the way back to the first century. In my opinion, they compromise the mission of the “Church” with dilution of content, both in preaching, praising, and maturity of members.He has many great ideas, but he is a salesman. If reading him and participating in the <>Purpose Drive Life<> will bring you closer to God and your “purpose” in life, do not let me be the Grinch that stole that from you. But his use of watered down paraphrases of the Bible drives me nuts. <>The Message Bible<> is so far removed from a translation that it is embarrassing to see it used in a service.If you want further info, email me.Prof. Ricardo

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  113. OK… now that none of us have convince the others of a single thing :), let me change topics. My questions/opinions have to do with Iraq and the supposed goal of worldwide Caliphate.Questions:1) Who thinks if we bolted from Iraq quickly {defined as by end of year}, Al Qaeda has a chance to take over Iraq?2) Who thinks if we bolted from Iraq quickly, a Civil war is likely?3) Is our current presence any deterrent to civil war? Is there already a civil war going on, but our presence keeps it from getting bigger? Our presence has nothing to do with whether or not a Iraq civil war occurs or not?4) What’s the odds of a middle east Caliphate, or global Caliphate?I’ve been thinking about #4 the most. The prez, congress critters and talking heads tell us this is a real threat. Really… I don’t think I’m buying. First, let’s just say Al Qaeda actually took over Iraq. {I think that laughable, although I think the low-grade civil war is already going on}. What would be the reaction of the neighbors. We know for sure we would no longer have any trouble staging our military in Saudi Arabia. Those oil barons would look over and say “holy sh*t”… America we love you. What about Iran. Some power Mullah’s run that place now. I can’t exactly see them going… hey OBL… it’s all yours now. Pleaseeeeee!!!!. A Caliphate certainly had no chance without us going over thier to give Al Qaeda the fight they prayed for. Even with our plunder… they will be limited to blowing up people. They never had a chance to take over countries… we are such lemmings.

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  114. Prof,<>My deal is, you see how beautiful it looks when it is voluntary?<>I actually had an opposite reaction after just watching the Live comments by the Gate’s and Buffet on CNBC. My first reaction was how wonderful these three folks are… and they are. Buffet just said he didn’t believe in dynastic wealth, was for the inheritance tax {asked the simple question “what folks are you going to get that $30 billion a year from instead}. I’m not sure how Bill feels about the inheritance tax, but not to hard to follow Bill’s old man’s opinion on it (he wrote a book on it). But then I had my second thought… which goes to your claim that “this is so beautiful”. No Prof… it is not. These three are beautiful, but what is standing behind the curtain IS DEFINITELY NOT. Restricting, limiting, filtering what is possible to address the real world of devastation around us is anything but beautiful. If I restrict the results by saying everything has to be federal, then that is ugly. It’s even more ugly to limit the results to your voluntary only stance. Jeeze Prof… look around. We ain’t getting it done. Please don’t tell me we would be dealing with the immorality just fine if we all just got more of our taxes back. There isn’t anyone here that will buy that nonsense. What’s standing behind the beauty of these three individuals is some sad ugly Americanized restriction on philanthropy results by forcing it through some misguided non-government-volunteer-only governor. You are willing to accept a measure of beauty based process… a god approved process I gather. Process means nothing to me regarding dealing with the starvation, devastation and inequities on this planet. I don’t have the luxury of believing some god spelled out a process-only acceptable form of human compassion regardless of results. Nobody is stopping the free will volunteer enterprises of the world to deal with these issues. Looked around a bit Prof? How do you think you private only guys have done. As much as I respect neighbors and communities chipping in voluntarily to help (church based or otherwise), I make the challenge that it is of very little consequence other than personal conscience’s… i.e. ain’t worth jack in the global scheme. Ironically, at the end of the day, if enough of us in this sad little democracy of greed ever switch the pendulum to federally based charity… that will be voluntary charity. The definition of “voluntary” is not restricted to non-government… that’s just a process ideology that has proved itself a miserable failure for the existence of this globe. Together… through collective reason… the majority of citizen wills can correct this grievous error. The private sector always has first choice. It takes this process’s {please don’t call that liberty} failure to even put federally funded philanthropy on the table. 200+ years has been long enough… get out of the way and quit selling the failed process (religious-based, liberty-based, or any other-based excuse for failure of results). Yoshi… young man, you fight for the type of religion I believe in… that would be the religion of results rather than some process ideology. Prof… I seriously have a fond spot in my heart for you, but you matter little to me compared to the masses of suffering on this planet. Don’t take that personal, because I matter very little to myself against the same scale. We teach our kids that collectivism is a synonym for Satan. We do humanity a great disservice… and I’m sad to say, any religious belief should not give someone solace that process is the holy grail.The backdrop to the Gate’s and Buffet was anything but beautiful… and that backdrop is a non-existent collective society soul. I sure hope those married to the religion of rules and process have it right… because it would be a bit disappointing to find out Jesus was actually serious about those Gospels. As Colbert says… “maybe this country should act on what Jesus said rather than what others say he said”. I’m still looking for the part in the gospels where Jesus condemns federal tax philanthropy, and condemns inheritance tax.

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  115. Yoshi,“<>Buffet and Gates, two private individuals, are not stupid. They are INVESTING in the world’s future. They aren’t giving “aid”, they are investing.<>”I’m not always clear in my responses. My mother always said I would argue with a fence post. I guess that’s why blogs interest me.My main point is that we should not equate helping the poor, or other great goals, with government programs. The beauty of the Buffet and Gates philanthropy is that it was not coerced. It was totally voluntary. It would be so easy to hoard it but they are seeing that money for the sake of money will not have a lasting impact for the future the way their foundations can.As wonderful and big as their numbers are, the millions donated by the little guy dwarf it. But a lot of people think philanthropy is purely in the government’s domain. And as you know the more money you pass through the governments hands, the more corrupt the politicians become and the greater the inefficiency of the money being delivered.With the Gates foundation, they probably won’t let go of the money without knowing precisely where and how the money will be spent.“<>the implication from you … is that INVESTMENT (my new word for “aid”) is a waste of money that is stolen by undemocratic blah, blah, blah.<>”My deal is, you see how beautiful it looks when it is voluntary? That is a great characteristic that we should applaud and imitate. Some help the African needy, some adopt crack babies, others give discarded items to AmVets, some money to the Heart Association, etc. We all see a need. We can all do something, a million different ways. What God lays on you heart, spreading the gospel, helping the poor, visiting the aged in retirement centers (my kids are doing a play in a retirement home this afternoon), we can all see a need either in our own neighborhood or across the world. A case in hand is a family from my church where the young father died of liver cancer. Many dozens came together to help out this family. Meals for six twice a day were brought to the hospital for family members. A different man each night from our church stayed in his hospital room each night from 7p-9a every night for the 5 weeks he was in the hospital. While I was not helping Africa, I & many others were helping a brother in need. There is a need for all kinds of help the world over. It’s obvious your calling is Africa and similar situations. Our family has multiple ministries that we participate in that will never hit the news like Bill Gates billions – and it shouldn’t. We didn’t do it to be recognized. But when my government chooses to take a larger portion out of my annual income, I have less to do those ministries that God has called me to do, so that some politician can do his “ministries” the he feels called to do, which may be as ungodly as the devil himself, like abortion.<> “…Professor, don’t let them influence you into cynicism about the ONE Campaign…<>”I am not against the help, only using the inappropriate method. There are things government should do. Philanthropy is not one of them. It is morally abhorrent to take one man’s property to give to another man purely to right some perceived injustice of the recipient, not the fault of the taxed individual.Prof. Ricardo

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  116. Prof, don’t get me wrong, I don’t despise rich people. In fact, I was just complimenting them (Buffet and Gates). I love rich people in fact, and I want to be one.I think those two individuals are ironic proof that “all things ARE possible with God.” I understand wealth has to be created. You can’t get blood from turnips. I am probably more indocrinated than anyone here in that respect. But it’s a good indoctrination, and it has clauses. The Bible says to give a 10 percent tithe. And as a country that’s so obsessed with merging church and state again, we don’t do that. (But we are getting better….so stay tuned!)Buffet and Gates, two private individuals, are not stupid. They are INVESTING in the world’s future. They aren’t giving “aid”, they are investing. Capital has to be invested before returns can be seen. These guys aren’t out there to deposit money into rich dictators swiss accounts, and they are getting returns.I think what I was saying, is that the implication from you (and people like Rush Limbaugh or Micheal Savage- two guys still bitter that they never got the cheerleader in high school)- is that INVESTMENT (my new word for “aid”) is a waste of money that is stolen by undemocratic blah, blah, blah. Yet here are the two most successful capitalists in the world, and yet, they disagree. They don’t see the “old Africa.” They see the “new Africa- the final economic frontier.” And therefore, maybe you should rethink your notions on the idea yourself, and join the good guys- the real heroes on the planet. I mean, Jesus said “know a treee by its fruit,” and that’s truth.So Gates, Buffet, have fruit. Thus, they are good trees.Political radio mouths with no credentials except that they like to talk a lot, well Professor, don’t let them influence you into cynicism about the ONE Campaign…Prof? What do you think about Pastor Rich Warren, the “Purpose Driven Life” guy? I don’t know much about him, but he’s already got some credibility with me. I think I’ll pick up his book. I’m sure Rush though smugly mocks him…. maybe not directly, but he mocks his causes…Did you know since these debts were cancelled, 15 million children are in school for the first time? 15 million… that’s an investment in the future. The dividends on that will be uncountable (figuratively). And that’s something Americans can really be proud of I think. It’s the first thing in my generation to be proud of…

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  117. Prof,Man if fully capable of corruption without the government:Monopolies, Child Labor, 80 hour work weeks, exploitation of labor, only those with the gold have a voice in defining the workplace, Enron…. we also have history to prove this.Better government with a bit of capitalism fettering is the only answer. Grey…. somewhere in there. Yeah, that makes representative democracy a lot of work. But like The Decider has proved… resolute and wrong ain’t so great.Prof and Yoshi:Bill Gates ($40 billion) + Buffet ($40 billion) = $80 billion DIVIDED BY ($300 million citizens – $100 million kids and deadbeats = 200 million) = $400 per citizen. Someone check my math. 🙂

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  118. You know… as awesome as it is to see to rich guys “get it” when it comes to philanthropy… but even their wealth is nothing compared to a US federal based tax philanthropy.

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  119. Man is so easily corruptible . That is why it is harder to get a camel through the eye of a needle than for a wealthy man to get into heaven. However, God is not against with blessing people with wealth.<>And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for hi friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold. … And the lord blessed the latter days of Job more than the beginning, and he had 14,000 sheep, and 6,000 camels, and 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys.<>, Job 42:10,12Since man is so easily corruptible, that is why giving him control over his fellow man, and his fellow man’s pocket book, is an easy way to corrupt the politician and have all kinds of mischief take place. Thus the need for the rule of law and minimal government. There is very little difference between your rich man that you despise and the politician who controls the rich man’s money for his own purposes, except it is easier for a politician to spend money that cost him nothing and he has nothing to lose by making a bad decisions. Notice there is no restitution by politicians.Re: Thomas quote<>But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”<>, Jude 9.Prof. Ricardo

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  120. Yoshi,Good to see you again my friend.Normally, I do not consider <>anything<> anything affiliated with the White House (especially the press corps) to be worth any of my time whatsoever. But hey, I’ll try to be open minded. Its possible that I might not puke over it.

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  121. Yea, I saw Buffet too.I guess they read that part about getting through the eye of a needle. Now if only Professor would start understanding that part…Steven Colbert and John Stewart have been spawned out of the conservative radio talking heads- Rush Limbaugh, etc. There is no way to combat those idiots except to just make a complete joke out of them, which thank Jesus Christ almighty someone finally is….“Mock the Devil, And He Shall Flee!” (I think it was Thomas Aquinas who said that… not sure though.)

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  122. Hey… Yoshi is back. Yep… saw Colbert at the White House Correspondence dinner. I actually watched the whole thing live because I knew he was going to be there. Man… he was brutal. I would normally say that he went out of bounds for the setting, but I don’t think so for this president. What’s a little non-PC humor weighed against the consequences of this administrations Iraq decision? I think the best part of Colbert’s show on Comedy Central is when he does the bit on “Today’s word”. He speaks pure GOP spin while at the same time having what he really thinks written out on the screen… brilliant sarcasm. He also does a great job with his sarcastic interviews of his guests at the end of the show. I have to throw both Stewart and Colbert in that rare group of high IQ comedians which I would include George Carlin and Bill Mahre. I’m not keeping up with the ONE Campaign, but heard the other day that Bill Gates has dedicated half of his wealth to his charitable enterprises. Wow… that almost may have been worth putting up with all of those crashing Windows PCs all of those years. 🙂 I’m hoping Gate’s moving to his charitable enterprises full-time in 2007 ramps up his good work. Never underestimate the effect a wife can have on a guy. 🙂

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  123. Hey Common Good, did you see that Steven Colbert clip at the White House Correspondence dinner? Jeez… that one even shocked me…Prof, Tony, you should try and watch that… “…to the Ambassador of China, we welcome you tonight, without your great country, our Happy Meals wouldn’t be possible.”Hey Professor, what’s Rush Limbaugh and those other irrelevent old white guys on their way out saying about the ONE Campaign now? Yahoo the internet company got involved, it’s much more streamlined now- it’s amazing the see the public/ private sectors merging together… it’s such an efficient, positive idea… what a great investment Americans are trying to make in the poorest country in the world.

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  124. Common,Your answer to:<>(1) “Living in the same society.”<>Says who? Why should that position be given weight over any other position? By what authority?<>(2) “Common good defined via representative democracy and collected via pooled federal tax.”<>So it is economical only. Check.<>(3) Who gets to define plight? “We the people.”<>Check.<>(4) If society (we the people) says that there is no plight, then does that mean there is no plight, or is society (we the people) wrong?“Society is wrong.”<> So there is a standard, a decider, that can judge “we the people.” So “we the people” don’t decide, they just act like the decide as long as they agree with______ which is the real standard for deciding what plight is and how to deal with it. So, what is _______ ?<> “Plight has always been with us, and always will. The measure of a society is how it deals with the least among us, not how many $ millionaire’s we create.”<>I do not disagree with this statement. However, it is highly unlikely that the plighted will improve on their own in a society that is stagnant in producing people with wealth.<> If so, by what objective standard?“See #3.”<>Not if they are wrong (judged by) some other standard.<>(5) “We the people can define fairness as we choose within the limits of our economic system.”<>Unless “(s)ociety is wrong.” Whoever decides if society decided rightly or wrongly is he who defines fairness.Prof. Ricardo

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  125. Prof,In all seriousness, if we stay on the path of this bifurcated economic system, I could see the day where one half of the society provides a stipend to the poor half. Tony and I discussed that years ago.

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  126. Prof,<>(1) What is the source of our obligation to the plight of others?<>Living in the same society.<>(2) What is the scope of our obligation to the plight of others? (IE, non-economic plight?)<>Common good defined via representative democracy and collected via pooled federal tax.<>(3) Who gets to define plight?<>We the people.<>(4) If society says that there is no plight, then does that mean there is no plight, or is society wrong?<>Society is wrong. Plight has always been with us, and always will. The measure of a society is how it deals with the least among us, not how many $ millionaire’s we create.<>If so, by what objective standard?<>See #3.(5) If the average salary is say $40,000 and a plight individual is only making $12,000, is it our obligation to bring him up to the average (40k) or some figure between the two?We the people can define fairness as we choose within the limits of our economic system. The answer to this type of question is not fixed or an absolute truth {absolute objective standard}, but rather a society’s constant definition of fairness measured against current economic realities. We can help many more of our needy in 2006 then we could have in 1787, therefore we should. It’s a constant moving scale… i.e. progressive. I think we start with universal health care, quality education, increased minimum wage and non-starving for the $12,000 a year family first. When GDP allows it in 2050… we will raise them to $40,000… and create deadbeats out of each and every one. 🙂

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  127. Common,As you see it, (1) What is the source of our obligation to the plight of others?(2) What is the scope of our obligation to the plight of others? (Ie, non-economic plight?)(3) Who gets to define <>plight<>?(4) If society says that there is no plight, then does that mean there is no plight, or is society wrong? If so, by what objective standard?(5) If the average salary is say $40,000 and a plight individual is only making $12,000, is it our obligation to bring him up to the average (40k) or some figure between the two?Thanks,Prof. Ricardo

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  128. Looks like this thread is dead. 🙂Tony challenges our two party system, and rightfully so…. but it occurs to me that is more a result of this nation’s nature, rather than some imagine collapsed of values or voter education in recent times. I believe two parties were born in the first place because America is split (and always has been) between 1) a wealthy majority who feel no obligation to anyone other than themselves, and 2) the rest of us. The rest is just background noises… bridging the definition of freedom with property and tax rates, the RR being played against their own economic interests, or even the true heartfelt libertarian beliefs not motivated by greed (Prof). It’s all background noise… it’s all an illusion which hides what’s really going on. <>A significant percentage of our population believe they are under no obligation {other than voluntary} to the plight of other’s in THEIR society.<> This has been dressed up as trickle down, the sacred definition of FREEDOM, punishing the successful to help the less successful, etc. The two party system exists because a large percentage of our population believes we have ZERO obligation to each other… in fact we boast and use that as our definition of FREEDOM. It’s not our two party system that’s broke… it’s US.Looks like the verdict is in. John Jay and Madison got their wish… and Adam Smith’s observations were spot on. Benjamin Franklin’s <>pro-middling people democracy<> was never a serious contender. We were started as a country to protect wealth… and it remains our highest ideal for some to this day.James Madison…. who believed power should be in the hands of “the wealth of the nation….of more capable set of men.” John Jay…. “Those who own the country ought to govern it.” Adam Smith….”civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor.”Our two party system isn’t’ the problem. The problem is the part of the population that equates freedom and liberty with ZERO collective obligation to other’s in their society. This was true in 1787, and it’s true in 2006.

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  129. Prof, I would agree that it is difficult to believe that an administration that has been so stunningly incompetent so far would be able to pull this off. Must be an Israeli or British Operation.

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  130. Re:500# bomb ineffectiveness. From what I understand the same bombs had an effect on Uday and Qusay that pig lipstick couldn’t fix.Using a daisy cutter on al-Zarqawi may have had negative public relations effect because of unintended collateral damage. Sure would be neat to see the video though.Prof. Ricardo

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  131. Prof,Consider the audience they are selling to. <>We are fighting them there instead of fighting them here.<>You don’t need much pig lipstick for folks who think starting the Iraq war altered Mr. Terrorist US travel plans.I just don’t have as much respect for 500 lb bombs as I used to. 🙂

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  132. The administration that has incompetently played every card in the deck, often releasing sought after documents to clear Bush of whatever infraction, only after the media had turned to something else, only to drag the bad media coverage back into the spotlight. THAT’s the administration you want me to believe has ingeniously orchestrated a disinformation campaign? Wow! Surely Common is in agreement with me that we think he couldn’t pull that over if it was an XL hoodie.Prof. Ricardo

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  133. First, I totally think it is possible for a thumb drive to survive the bombing. I accidentally sent mine through the washer and dryer a couple of months ago and it seems to work even better now. I do not doubt for a second that useful information may have been culled therefrom.That said, I too thought it did not sound right. When I read it, my first reaction was that it was a weird translation. In retrospect, I would say that the disinformation is not unlikely.I think it is hard to come to firm conclusions. Lets say it was not a phony. Just because it was on his thumb drive would not mean much. Perhaps it was a draft of something from someone not so important. Maybe it was a working document. It is likely that the various terrorist organizations are engaging in disinformation of their own…perhaps there a complication here that those outside the internal power struggles have no clue about.Without the context of a lot more knowledge than any of us has, it is hard to pin down any of this stuff.If I were betting, I’d bet on a creative translation that was spun through the translater’s interpretation and then released for disinformation purposes.I’m stuck in an office in Dallas, so what do I know? 😀

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  134. Also, the movies “I seen” are dumbing me down. Tony, you were right about the public education system. Note to Self: Must Preview Messages more often.

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  135. Prof:You have caught a lawyer asking a question that is vague and subject to different interpretations. I do not believe it to be disinformation from al-Queda but from the Iraqi and US Government. To the extent you are pulling my chain by interpeting my question the other way, you got me.Why do I beleive it to be a fraud?(1) It reads like a memo from an insider Enron accountant listing all the problems within the organization and what needs to be done. This is complete speculation on my part, but I don’t picture al-Queda compiling such a self-critical document. Were they going on a management retreat next week to work on their skills? It sounds way to corporate and frankly, american-mba ‘ish. (2) If you were attemtping to convince ordinary Iraqi’s to stand up and quit supporting terrorists, you couldn’t have come up with a better memo explaining why the terrorists are attacking Iraqis and different factions to drive a wedge. I am not saying this isn’t happening, of course it is, but to put it all down in a memo is too extravagant to be maintained.(3) All the stuff about Iran. To me this is bonus info used to try and get the Iranians to stop helping the resistance by showiong that the interest of the resistance is to get Iran and the US in a shooting war. I guarantee, even in light of all the hot rhetoric, the Iranians are not interested in provoking us to the point of invasion and open war.Hey, I am stuck here in an office in Tulsa, OK. What do I really know? I seen to many movies obviously.

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  136. Guy said… “<>How many of you curmudgeon’s beleive that the al-Zarqawi Safe-House Document is real? It smacks of disinformation to me.<>”I do. Why?1. It seems logical in its topical layout, agreeing with what we already suspected and giving logical responses to it.2. The first #5 item states “By creating a big division among the ranks of the resistance” is in congruence with the fact that it was inside information that we used to kill al-Zarqawi.3. The information gained has allowed us to < HREF="http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/I/IRAQ_RAIDS?SITE=7219&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2006-06-15-08-25-20" REL="nofollow">carry out 452 raids and kill 104 insurgents<> using information retrieved from the site.4. The method used to deliver the “disinformation” was too costly (ie, al-Queda leader and half a dozen lives lost).5. Because it shows the current method is working and that the extended “time” that we have been there has worked to the US & Iraqs advantage, to save face it is necessary for the Democrats (authors of <>Cut and Run<> ©) to discredit it.6. I would think our government is thinking seriously about a military response to Iran and this paper taints that by saying that al-Queda would give us disinformation about Iran’s level threat.7. Because Common Good thinks it is… 🙂Guy, Let us know why you think it is a fraud.Prof. Ricardo

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  137. continued….– Bush admin staged audiences– marketing backdrop in every speech– fake Turkey’s with Bush Thanksgiving appearance in Baghdad– inheritance tax -> death tax– Mission Accomplished– Visiting a tiny sliver of a green zone in part of Iraq is visiting a thriving democracy {as one comedian said, that’s like visiting Olive Garden and saying you went to Italy}– Trickle down– Cutting taxes raises government revenue– Against Iraq war, then you are against fighting terrorismShining city filtered through a focus group I guess.Guy… yep, no oil. A head-fake for the lemmings and the 2006 elections. Worse environmental president in history, and thinks he can look otherwise with some Pacific ocean aquarium. Crawford can’t possibly come soon enough… even the lemmings are starting to get it.

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  138. Guy,Two 500 pound bombs and Zarqawi glamor shots and a hard drive intact. Don’t worry, the lemmings will buy it.Which brings us back to Tony’s original post: <>It is not often that politicians are candid about their motivations and intentions.<>I actually think Tony is wrong about the above. I don’t think they hide a thing anymore. Consider the GOP talking points and how well orchestrated…. they all get the think tank/PR firm talking points and march out like Penguins.– Cut and Run– We will stand down when they stand upThey don’t hide a thing anymore.

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  139. Off Topic:“With the stroke of a pen, President Bush has established the largest ocean wildlife reserve in the world, centered along a string of islands, reefs, and atolls that stretch 1,400 miles northwest of the main Hawaiian Islands.”I guarantee there is no oil under that reef.

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  140. Then again… that throws these types of decisions back in with those idiots in Congress. No easy answer. I definitely have more trust in our democracy with the SC Justices than those idiot Congress lemmings.

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  141. Regarding the US Constitution amendment threshold question:The Supreme Court just ruled 5-4 that evidence obtained from a search where the authorities failed to announce themselves {before bashing the door down} could still be used in a trial. This was a reversal. Scalia wrote the majority opinion basically weighing the benefits of keeping the law as it was, and the cost of not being able to use evidence. Breyer wrote a lengthy disent stating that “announcing before entry” was every bit a basic part of the law as… {I think he used examples like being read your rights}.Question: Wouldn’t this be a perfect example where a Constitutional Amendment should be required to change the law. On this one, I happen to believe the law should have been changed. I just don’t think something this major should happen without an amendment. I think the “activist judge” charges have the most merit in the “process”, and not necessarily with the actual “results”.

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  142. I’m afraid that they would get ahold of my Disenfranchised Curmudgeon rants and the nomination process would be hell. But thanks for thinking of me. I do like to wear black and pontificate.

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  143. <>Hell, let’s get a reformed drunk who went to night law school up there.<>I know a someone who went to TU Law school at night, finished in the top 5%, and then became a home-brewer. Is that close enough?

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  144. Text of al-Zarqawi Safe-House DocumentJun 15 8:58 AM US/Eastern< HREF="http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/06/15/D8I8LJBG0.html" REL="nofollow">http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/06/15/D8I8LJBG0.html<> By The Associated PressText of a document discovered in terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s hideout. The document was provided in English by Iraqi National Security Adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie: ___ The situation and conditions of the resistance in Iraq have reached a point that requires a review of the events and of the work being done inside Iraq. Such a study is needed in order to show the best means to accomplish the required goals, especially that the forces of the National Guard have succeeded in forming an enormous shield protecting the American forces and have reduced substantially the losses that were solely suffered by the American forces. This is in addition to the role, played by the Shi’a (the leadership and masses) by supporting the occupation, working to defeat the resistance and by informing on its elements. As an overall picture, time has been an element in affecting negatively the forces of the occupying countries, due to the losses they sustain economically in human lives, which are increasing with time. However, here in Iraq, time is now beginning to be of service to the American forces and harmful to the resistance for the following reasons:. . . . cont’d in link above . . . .

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  145. One more thing . . . When we think about how old some of these guys are, I am reminded of a comdeian in the 1980’s talking about how old Reagan was in his second term. The line went something like this all though I can tell it better . . . Reagan, What is he almost 78 years old now and he has his finger on THE BUTTON! My grandpa is 73 and we won’t let him operate the remote control to the TV! I found it funny and hitting a little close to home with a seed of truth.

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  146. CG:I will collect my thoughts and try to give you a more complete answer although I think you have hit it on the head. For most people who decry judicial activism, they know it when they see it. And when they see it is in an opinion or decision that they disagree with that has broader implications for social policy. I will admit, I don’t think about judicial activism very much as a practicing attorney. To me, judges all come with their own predilections and supporting constituency that they are always playing to. I am not saying that they are wrong in their decisions when I disagree with them but that I try and understand the context in which the decision is rendered.Having said that, I am for a few more real people on the bench. My problem is that while we all argue constitutional issues in the abstract, sometimes a little real world common sense would help. Hell, let’s get a reformed drunk who went to night law school up there. We may not all agree with his decisions but we will all understand them. I’m starting to think Harriet Myers might have been a good choice. 😉 I did not like her politics but I guarantee her opinions would have been simple and clear. Especially after they were proof read by Cheney. Further, I wouldn’t expect that she would need a book to explain her methodology. “That just ain’t right.”Given all of the bright minds on the bench today, it has become harder to understand what they are saying. I am not the only one saying this and I will try to find an article explaining this point of view. But the number of decisions reached in a plurality or in a majority where many of the justices all write separately concurring has grown over the past several years.As an attorney trying use the doctrine stare decisis to anticipate where the court will go, such written musings by all of the justices don’t help. What am I supposed to do with that? I could go for some clear judicial writing by Justice Marshall these days. No one really seems to argue or disagree with him when he says, “This is too extravagant to be maintained.” We all just nod our heads and agree with this common wisdom which is the linch pin for all of the judicial activisim we have today. (If you believe it exists!) :0

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  147. Regarding the article:<>Should we be concerned? <>After all, the Supreme Court is supposed to sit above politics and apart from popular whims.<> But when a large majority of the Court’s justices have never cross-examined a lying cop or a slippery CEO, never faced a jury, never slogged through the swamps of the modern discovery process, something has gone wrong. As the Court has lost touch with the real-world ramifications of its decisions, our judicial system has clearly suffered.<>The bold-ed sentence above seems very valid. I would think we would pick Justices that are experts on the Constitution AND can think outside the four corners (Breyer), rather than opt for experts in facets of life who have to pick up the Constitution OTJ. ???I was reminded how much the RR’s requirement to turn abortion into a criminal matter has devastated the nomination process. I would be for the 18 year limit on SC Justices. There were obvious sound reasons given {Federalist Papers} for lifetime appointments… but I do think a term limit would lower the stakes. I would find it comforting to know that anything Bush was a part of would be limited to a 18 year shelf life.

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  148. Prof,<>If a “living” document “means adapting to current times” like Common says, In this current time people have spoken and said “we want marriage to be lawfully recognized as between one man and one woman.”<>Well, I did qualify what I meant by that. I probably would not have viewed “hanging” as cruel and unusual in 1787, but would in 2006 because we have “less cruel” options. I would view it judicial activism to outlaw capital punishment without an amendment. I by no means suggest adapting to the “will of the people”… I’m pretty fond of that guarding against the tyranny of the majority {which Tony speaks to so well}. We have a mechanism for that… they are called Constitutional amendments. I have said I am one that thinks we should have had MORE, not less constitutional amendments along the way as we adapted to current times. I think your last post was a good one, and I always see your point. The problem is we are talking about “judgements” when we say …. “they violated the constitution”…. or “they have now set a slippery slope towards the destruction of our constitution”. That’s possible, of course… but I don’t see it with decision like “you can protect your home at night with a double barrel pump action 12 gauge shotgun, but not with a machine gun”. I wouldn’t care if you blew away the night stalker in the middle of the night with a machine gun, but it seems like a reasonable stance that we should do everything we can to take machine guns off the street. I have no doubt this is an incremental achievement by some with a larger goal…but my guess in the vast majority are like me on the issue (just trying to make reasonable judgements). Should banning machine guns from the homeowner require a constitutional amendment? Maybe… like I said, I’m for more, and not less. Guy may have been right as far as passing the Constitution originally… it required an obvious lack of detail. I’m not sure that should have applied going forward. I don’t think the valid advice of “change your constitution with caution” means “you should have very few amendments”. I think the entire question of “what should require a constitutional amendment” is a very interesting one. I think it would get at the heart of the matter of your concerns… “the government violating the contract found in Constitution”. Great discussion.

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  149. Guy,“The article argues that whether they are appointed from the right or the left, the justices increasingly have very little real world experience but seem to be self generating. In the resume’ of each justice you hear the same things over and over. He served as a clerk to Justice XXXX for XX years. Sometimes you have to go outside the company to make a great hire. The supreme court is in my opinion a very incestous body.”I will read the article… it just showed up in email, but I have actually thought about that and I’m not sure I agree with that. I actually followed the Roberts confirmation, and I came away thinking this is one of those rare positions that require that type of intellectual. It would seem to me a “good, smart person from outside the traditional Justice grooming path”…. i.e. Harriet Myers IS NOT sufficient. You have either spent a lifetime studying Constiutional law… or you have not. It sure seems like a lousy place for on-the-job-training to me. This opinion goes against my traditional thinking… because in almost all cases, I would believe diversity is a plus. The kind of diversity I think would be a plus on the Supreme Court would be also selecting folks froma Academia… i.e. the outstanding College professor who has devoted their life to Constitutional law. Of course, I also think we would get better presidents from this route then we get now… but that’s another post. “CG when I read the books on constitutional interpreation by the justices (and I admit that I have only read excerpts) I don’t get it. I can tell you I have never seen any of their books cited in a brief.”Maybe you can be more specific on <>I don’t get it<>. I’m an IT guy who just happened to get interested in Constitutional Interpretation {driven by the fact I was tired of the RR rants on Judicial Activism}. I wanted to be able to answer for myself what I thought Judicial activism really was… and I had the good fortune to have Tony available for mentoring. You should see some of our email exchanges…. he can be quite cruel to grasshopper. OK… grasshopper can be quite cruel to mentor also. 🙂 For my purposes, both Scalia’s and Breyer’s books were perfect. Breyer presented his ideas about “Active Liberty” which IMO, is directly relevent to the discussion of Judicial activism. If there is any value in discussing Judicial activism, it has to be a discussion beyond “that judge decided something against what I wanted”. To me, that get down to the interpretation process… and how each Justice sets up his boundaries {In your’s and Tony’s terms… how each Justice defines their methodology for going beyond the four corners}. I found both Scalia’s and Breyer’s intellectual process to defining their personal past-the-four-corners strikezone facisnating. You are going to have Supreme Court Justices with different methodologies… that’s a given. There would be two tests to apply to a Supreme Court Justice 1) their chosen methodology 2) how well did they stick to their own strikezone over the years. Personally, I would want a court filled with Breyer’s and not Scalia’s. I would find Scalia’s argument compelling if the US Constitution was in fact, the Mortgate contract Prof suggests. But it’s not… and I find Scalia’s methodolgy to be a form of activism in itself (ironic). Interestly enough… Scalia points out in his own book that he is not a “Strict Contructionist”. That’s another reason I persued this after listening to the Roberts confirmation…. the terminology. To me, the absolute best part of Scalia’s book was the rebuttals by others that made up the back half of the book. I find such intellectual debate fascinating… and come away convinced that the law has a ton of GREY in it {which is what I believed in the first place}. What can I say about Breyer and his book… he had me at “Active Liberty”. He pretty much dressed down the “originalists” and the RR choir of “judicial activism”.

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  150. Tony: The politics of the appointment process are outrageous. Who would want a job that you had to go through that? And who would want the people who have the kind of backgrounds that can navigate that? If I get nominated, I’ll have to reject just on the basis of the incoherent ramblings I have scribed in this forum.That’s probably why law clerks work so well. They get locked up in a vacumm; publish very little in the way of their own opinions and are trotted out once they reach the appropriate age.A natural progression as a judge may be from U.S. District Court to the Appellate Level and then on the the highest court. With your level of competence being judged by the quality of your mind and the opinions that flow from it. No, that makes too much sense. For the highest court, we want a blank slate. I am always suprised that all of the candidates are so willing to lie when asked if they have any opinions about current hot legal issues. Abortion being the most asked. My dry cleaner and Starbucks Barrista have opnions on abortion and I am supposed to believe that these highly educated and partisan individuals don’t have one? In the words of Justice Marshall, “This is too extravagant to be maintained.”Do we really want someone who hasn’t formed an opinion by the age of 40 sitting on the highest court in the land? Seems absurd to me but I’m crazy like that.Which brings us back to the theater of the absurd of your original post. It’s not suprising but to say the least very dissapointing.

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  151. Tony, et al,Although the words seemed to have damned Farah, I’ll admit it to, I’m no lawyer…It is not that we can discern “original intent” with perfection so that we can explain better what the synapses running around in the Founders heads better than they were able to communicate to their peers. It’s just that “Oh we don’t know what they thought…..So what’s the international community think?” is a sad substitute. Its funny how the Supreme Justice’s oath to defend the Constitution is sacrificed for the desire to entertain foreign law principles.As a layperson too stupid to walk erect, I thought a contract was an agreement. (Stop me when I stray…)That agreement may be oral, written, or implied. It is supposed to represent what the parties to the contract intended it to mean. To discern what is in a contract or governing document, I think reasonable people could go to the notes, discussions, committee reports, and prior decisions to discern “intent.” I am totally convinced that this is an imperfect science. But the evolution of rights that never existed within the document and the evolution of government authority that was never authorized could not have been derived from looking at original intent, but from thinking happy thoughts and claiming some loose definition of terms, or equally mischievous, ignoring the document entirely, and this has severely hampered the Constitutions teeth. All political parties share in this travesty, as well as a pathetic public education on the matter these last many years. Heck, we here can’t even agree that the <>intent<> of the parties to the governing document have value.If a “living” document “means adapting to current times” like Common says, In this current time people have spoken and said “we want marriage to be lawfully recognized as between one man and one woman.” Yet, activist federal judges have struck it down at every turn. Given that marriage has always been between one man and one woman, and that it is the current desire via 20 state elections, am I the only person on this planet that sees the “living document” as an excuse for judicial tyranny?Maybe it is I that needs the education, to compromise the concepts of intent, to accept click-your-heels-and-make-a-wish Constitutional interpretation that effectively negates the need for a Constitutional convention. I’m too tired to argue about it further. My little sand castle can not stand against the incoming wave of Its-my-turn-now political thought. The American Dream is fading and it is my job to record what it <>was<> for my descendants. In no way do I want them to sulk, but to enjoy to the fullest the remnants of the best nation currently on the planet. But I want them to never forget, what they never knew, and what some here will never get.Prof. Ricardo

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  152. Tony: I agree with your post. The air is not too stifling here but I just hate to see such pessimism even when it is warranted. That’s my nature. I see and hear tragedy everyday in my line of work and as a defense I have developed a fairly black sense of humor and the ability to whistle in the dark. I must admit that your optimistic remark, “I have a lot of confidence in my family’s own ability to weather the death of America Idealism” brought a wry smile to my face. If there is to be change, in my view there has to be some optimism that it can and will happen. “Deep roots are not touched by the frost.” (Sorry about the Elton John and Tolkien quotes but I find it much more accessible than other long dead poets and philosophers. I’m sure it’s my public education.)

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  153. CG taint for posterity… Prof,Hopefully Guy will respond to your inquiry. I’m going to restate some opinons/observations I said before on the “living constitution” debate.I don’t think many serious minded folks would be for ignoring the intentions of the Constitution… which of course is a false argument. None of the Supreme Court judges are for… or think they are… ignoring the intentions of the Constitution. There are Supreme Court Justices, however, that would find your mortgage contract analogy to be only applicable to PARTS of the Constitution. The Constitution consists of both 1) clearly defined sections (your mortage analogy) AND 2) broad sweeping statements of intentions.For example… we all know what “Two thirds of” means… no debate really needed among justices. Also very unlikely this clear definition found in the Constitution would run up against a competing interest/right (maybe that happens more than I think). However, the following is a different proposition (In Breyer’s, CGs… but not in Scalia’s and I don’t think Tony’s).“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”That’s not exact contract {mortgage} language. Our Constitution, like all Constitutions, include both types of languages. Scalia doesn’t recognize a difference as far as his Judicial interpretation, Breyer does. Breyer would tell you one of the most important parts of the Constitution is guaranteeing a citizen the right of active participation (I think he called it Active Liberty) in their government. In Breyer’s opinion, you can be every bit the “Activist judge” by sticking to some strict contructionist scheme, and ignoring the “Active Liberty” intention of the document. Prof, the short version IMO is your analogy you start with is flawed… our Constitution is not a Mortgage contract. There is no black and white intention that falls out from many of the broad statements of intentions found in the document. Is cruel and unusual the same in 2006? We have better ways to execute people than hanging now. Excessive bail certainly has a different amount now. “Living” to me, means adapting to current times. In this example, “living” would not give any Justice the right to violate the Constitution by requiring “excessive bail” in today’s terms {although even here, you can see the ton of judgement involved}. Think of all the exceptions that we have in our rights (can’t yell fire in a crowded theatre, can’t smoke illegal weed even if that’s your proclaimed religion {that’s for Tony}, etc). Prof… you can try all day to make our Constitution a Mortgage contract… but it will never be so. IMO, it was every bit as much activism to view $ the equivalent of free speech. They directly violated the idea we all have an equal right to “Active Liberty… equal voice in our democracy”… and said up the ground rules where $1 = 1 vote.Guy… a bit of warning. DO NOT discuss the public school system with Tony. At a minimum, go back and read some of the previous threads. Jeeze!!!!! Wow… another laywer on Tony’s blog. That has to be past some acceptable quota. Looks like you must be between $7 million dollar verdicts at the moment. 🙂

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  154. Prof,Well said my friend. Well said.It isn’t so much that we have presently lost our freedoms it is that the legal constraints on government have been watered down.

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  155. Guy,I really enjoyed the Atlantic article. Thanks for that. And I did forward it to CG and Prof as well.I like the suggestion of a limited tenure, but in my view there is no substantial improvement to be expected unless we by some miracle take the politics out of if. The whole nomination process has become nearly irrational it is so political. A very sad state of affairs I have to say.While we are at it, we need tenure on CongressCritters as well.

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  156. Guy,We are of the same mind on Scalia. An incredibly smart man but once he has an objective in mind, he doesn’t work as hard as others to hide his result oriented methodology. He is a much better dissenter than majority opinion writer.Your words on the parole evidence rule are right on target. Legislation is a different animal than a contract. I think the whole constitutional construction “debate” is undone by the same two-endpoint false duality that permeates our politics. The Constitution is not a living document. It is a document for living people that must be construed in light of facts. It isn’t a rigid unbending comprehensive that must be amended for the slightest extension. It is a framework from which our body of law hangs.Neither extreme is intellectually honest. The founder’s intent may only be imperfectly discerned. The document can not mean only what the government says it means, or the document is without value. <>Marbury<> is a classic early data point for test the four corners principal in the context of constitutional law: it doesn’t work. But just because you have to go beyond the four corners, it does not mean that the words can be interpreted in whatever fashion is convenient for the day either.Sorry you find the air here so stifling. Think about the poor souls such as myself who come here and find the air fresher.

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  157. Guy,“<>Finally, Prof – I am still worried about who is attacking you and the many questions I asked.<>”I assume you mean…“<>Who is keeping you from worshipping your God?<>”I don’t recall claiming that I could not worship my God.“<>Who is keeping you from being as wildly successful as you want to be?<>”Mostly me I suppose. However, that 40-50% that I “contribute” to government has stifled my potential.“<>Who is keeping you from speaking out?<>”Once again, I don’t recall making that claim.“<>Who is keeping you form defending your home?<>”Actually I have quite the arsenal. Every time Clinton drug out poor Brady and signed a gun control bill, I went out and bought a new gun to celebrate. I bought ammo too. However, the left uses incrementalism. Think frogs, heat, water, and all that. They didn’t ban fireamrs, just some firearms. They didn’t ban ammo, just some ammo. They didn’t ban magazines, just some magazines. They didn’t ban gun purchases, they just made them subject to background checks and a waiting period. Maybe we can implement waiting periods for free speech, then I can ask you “Who is keeping you from speaking?” The threat to take away my right to defend my home existed before the first law was passed that affected it. The threat to take away your free speech has existed since man has governed man. That’s why you put in safe guards. To dismiss the progress of the individuals that have stated their goal is to take away my right to own a gun is willful denial. “<>Did Texas pass a firearms ban while I wasn’t paying attention?<>”When my father was a child, he put his .22 rifle over the handle bars of his bike and rode down the neighborhood street to somebody’s house on a farm. He stop and ask if he could hunt squirrels. Even though they didn’t know him they’d say yes and tell him where the hunting was good on their property. When I was a kid in high school, must boys with pickups had a gun rack and a rifle or shotgun in the rack and parking in the school parking lot. Today, a young man is kicked out of school because he helped somebody move into an apartment and a kitchen knife – not the chef kind with a sharp edge, but your basic cut-your-broccoli variety – was in the trunk of his car. An 8 year old is suspended from school for cutting out a piece of paper “L” shaped like a pistol and aiming it at someone. I’m no social engineer with a doctorate, but I see a trend here. Yes, we don’t rope cows in my yard either, but there is a difference that is leaning more towards suspicion of citizenry having weapons than of only having an armed government.Prof. Ricardo

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  158. Tony: You’re right, I am on your side of improvement needed to the education. It is far from perfect or even acceptable. I do live in an education bubble and my kids go to the same schools you and yours went to. We did not stray far from home.One improvement regarding interpretation on the supreme court to me would be to put real people on the bench. I have e-mailed you an article from the Atlantic which makes some very interesting points. If you know Prof’s and CG’s e-mail feel free to forward it. The title “Remote Control – The Supreme Court’s greatest failing is not ideological bias—it’s the justices’ increasingly tenuous grasp of how the real world works” The Atlantic, Sept. 2005The article argues that whether they are appointed from the right or the left, the justices increasingly have very little real world experience but seem to be self generating. In the resume’ of each justice you hear the same things over and over. He served as a clerk to Justice XXXX for XX years. Sometimes you have to go outside the company to make a great hire. The supreme court is in my opinion a very incestous body.CG when I read the books on constitutional interpreation by the justices (and I admit that I have only read excerpts) I don’t get it. I can tell you I have never seen any of their books cited in a brief.Textual, non-textual, living document or ouija board they are all intepreting the document. Anyone who says they aren’t is lying.Finally, Prof – I am still worried about who is attacking you and the many questions I asked.

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  159. All kidding aside, Man, I love that language in the Declaration of Independance. Gives me chills.Stupid Movie – National Treasure but the character is right, nobody talks like that anymore.

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  160. I can see the tough thing here is keeping up the response to the various challenges.Prof,What other legal documents/contracts do I know of that are “living?” I would have to agree with Chauncey Burr on this one, they all are. “It is the rule laid down by Blackstone, that the intention of the parties to a compact is the key to its meaning.” Wow, talk about leaving enough room for interpretation to drive a truck through. The intention of the parties or in this case gentlemen who have been dead for over 200+ years? Hey, I like Scalia. In my opinion he is neither liberal or conservative cause you never know what intent of the founders he will seize upon to support the result he desires. Having said that I do not like some of the results oriented decisions he has reached.No disrespect but I think the argument over interpretation of the constitution is a false choice and a fiction. We are always interpreting all documents based upon either our current understanding or what we perceive to be past understanding. Either way it still involves divining intent given your point of view.If you are to strictly interpret, what right the judiciary (and Scalia) have to decide what is and isn’t constitutional? The power isn’t expressed in the Constitution but only an inferred power.“The judicial power of the United States is extended to all cases arising under the constitution.Could it be the intention of those who gave this power, to say that in using it the constitution should not be looked into? That a case arising under the constitution should be decided without examining the instrument under which it arises?This is too extravagant to be maintained.” Marbury v. Madison.No citations for this authority or interpretation. Justice Marshall merely supposes that to beleive otherwise is ludicrous. I am not saying I disagree but so we have gone on the past 200+ years. Marshall today would be run out of town for his judicial activism.No, I do not equate, nor does any other serious consitutional scholar, the constitution with any other common legal document similar to the examples you provide. If it were so, I would apply the rule of parole evidence and deny any extrinsic evidence of intent to explain the terms of the contract. Having thus found, the document must then live or die by the words within the four corners of the document and our common understanding of the terms. All evidence of the parties intent is excluded from the analysis. (Of course, if the document is found not to be clear and unambigous, then parole evidence may be allowed. You gotta love the law. Always a black letter rule with a clear exception.)I think the best example of the textual problem is the ever evolving definition of people under the constitution. They certainly did not mean “people” in the sense we mean it today. There were several classes of “people” who did not have rights and did not enjoy the privileges and immunities of citizenship. Did we only in time come to understand that they really meant women and blacks or did we begin to expand the definition as we began to interpret the document?Hey, given the brevity of the document I think that it is a mona lisa masterpiece. What the hell are they smiling about? The devil was in the details and to the extent you include too many, the chances of each colonial legislature adopting the document drop drmatically. I beleive the intent was to make it vague on purpose so they could get passed by the people. Sorry, I mean State Legislative Bodies. No democracy, it’s a republic. The words are always subject to interpretation (intentionally). Having said that I do believe “certain truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Oh yeah, these words never appear in the US Constitution. Oops.Prof. Maybe this is what you are looking for: “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”I am sure that I have failed to satisfactorily answer your question. I may take another stab at it later. I have to go get some fresh air.

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  161. Prof,I’m pretty sure my rants never muddy the water. In order to muddy, you have to get past being ignored. 🙂 Besides, I wanted to be on record when he told you something similar. I read two books on this stuff…. I’m an expert now. Pawaaaaaa!!!!!!

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  162. C.G.<>Wow… another laywer on Tony’s blog. That has to be past some acceptable quota. <>It’s nearly up to their percentage of the population. 😀BTW, thanks for tainting the water on the “living” Constitution issue. I was wanting to see his reaction sans your filter. Were you unsure he could handle it alone? 🙂P.R.

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  163. Hi Guy!Re: My unanswered question….Let me quote from my notebook on <>America, The First 350 Years<>, by J. Seven Wilkins:—QUOTE—How should the Constitution be interpreted? We should interpret the Constitution like we interpret any other historical document – by the original intention of the authors. Chauncey Burr comments:“It is the rule laid down by Blackstone, that the intention of the parties to a compact is the key to its meaning. The terms and language must be referred to the time of its enactment, and must be taken as understood by those who so employed them, and not according to any subsequent definition. Thus the Constitution of the United States must be explained as those who made and framed it intended. Their INTENTION IS THE LAW.” (op. cit., p.211)When this rule is cast aside, the liberties which the Constitution was intended to preserve will be lost. Again, Chauncey Burr, .“Such were the rules by the Constitution was interpreted by the Supreme Court undeviatingly from the foundation of the government to 1863. Since this last date a change has come over the spirit of the judiciary which is in violation of all the past rules of interpretation, and indeed of judicial proceedings among all enlightened nations. The doctrine has been boldly proclaimed, by leading journals, that laws and compacts are to be construed so as to be in harmony with the ‘will of the people,’ and judges have, in too many instances, succumbed to this monstrous delusion…It indeed amounts to the overthrow of all fixed and regular governments, and leaves the passions and fancies of an hour the only guarantees of liberty.” (Ibid., p. 212)Because of this view of constitutional interpretation, we have become a nation of men (ruled by the opinions of Supreme Court justices and other radical minorities) rather than a nation of laws.—End of Quote—So, let me repeat.Just curious. What other legal documents/contracts do you know of that are “living?”Would you include your mortgage agreement “living?”, your employment contract?, Wills? DNRs?Your jolly, frustrated accountant,Prof. Ricardo

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  164. Guy,Plowing old ground is fine by me. The big topics deserve re-examination.First let me say that I applaud what you have done professionally. If I had chose the route you did, perhaps I would still be a lawyer today. I’d love to do civil rights law. Ah, maybe someday.I for one do not accept the “living document” concept…or at least as it is commonly described. I’m not a textualist either…I think there is sound room for jurisprudential maneuver. That said, I think the Supreme Court has strayed way too far from the text and done so unnecessarily for the most part. We can have that debate some day though CG wants your dissertation on the subject sooner rather than later.On education, there is education and then there is education. When we speak of such things I always think of my “uneducated” Grandparents. Their 8th grade educations left them far better equipped to deal with policy issues and to think critically about them than does the education most people receive today. But taking your 2 to 1 numbers for the purposes of argument, I find the possibility of 33% of our population being unable to function to be a really huge and serious problem. OK, I’m going to quibble with your numbers too. If you look at functional literacy rates there are large swaths of this country where the number is less than 50%.And are you sure you don’t live in a good educational bubble of some kind? I spent three years on the East Coast and let me tell you, the situation out there is really bleak. Here in Dallas, you can’t imagine the state of the Dallas school district. Sure, out in Plano and Coppell, things are peachy. Other burbs range from good to horrid (such as Irving).Seems like someone who prides themselves on being for the little guy would be with me on this one. It is the poor that are getting royally screwed on education.Perhaps I’m a bit Sam Adams-ish at times. But then, I really do not see enough concern in this nation over the fundamental changes that are happening around us. I agree that human faults have always been with us, but we have leaned on our institutions to save us from ourselves. That is what the whole system of laws is about. When that system is attacked and the various checks and balances removed or weakened, we are in great peril.All of that said, I often have to remind people here that I am personally not as depressed and negative as I may come across here at the Disenfranchised Curmudgeon-mostly because I have a lot of confidence in my family’s own ability to weather the death of America Idealism. While I see a complete social collapse and civil unrest to be a possibility, I do not view it as a probability. I think the sleeping giant can awaken again but I am concerned that it might not. I think somebody needs to shake the giant from its slumber though because the trend is not a good one.When the NSA knocks on my door, you will be my one phone call.

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  165. G-Ma,Well, welcome back. I’m glad there is something of profit here for you.As much as I abhor the debt, I’m not sure that will be our undoing, though as you say it may well inflict great pain.

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  166. Prof,Well, I hate to tell you but that Farah piece is fundamentally flawed, though I’m sure his simplistic argument will have a lot of appeal to his audience.While the United States indeed kept English common law, where it spoke to the law, the Constitution superseded the common law. I haven’t read the entire opinion, but the holding of the court was that the US could not deny citizenship to someone born in the United States. The language quoted by Farah is dicta…excerpted from a portion of the opinion that was restating the common law rule for the purposes of analysis. Dicta does not, and manifestly should not have the force of law.I can find the full opinion and read it for absolute certainty, but I am pretty sure that Farah is full of it on this one. He said himself, “Now I’m no lawyer…”.

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  167. Guy,Man, I hope you hang around. Tony is a lifetime friend of mine, and late in the game I have taken an interest in his interests (history, law…. but not so much his civil liberties the sky is falling). I’m an IT guy who has read a few books :)…. most recently, Scalia’s and Breyer’s books on Constiutional Interpretation. I would have loved to study law… not sure about practicing it. That said, I would most definitely have shared your passion for defending the little guy… sure doesn’t look like the big guy needs much defending in eat-your-own-kill-laissez-faire of today. Anyway… I found myself a real Breyer fan, and not so much a Scalia fan {although I really enjoy listening to him… I find him entertaining}. My take after reading Breyer, was that our Constitution contains both detailed defintion parts (structure of government) and broad sweeping intentions and ideas (rights). I have no idea how someone like Prof (and Tony for that matter) looks at the broad sweeping intentions part of the Constitution and views that as a static black and white contract rather than a “living” document.It may be a bit of a sidetrack on this blog, but I would be interested in your views on the concept of a “living” Constitution. Besides… the Prof just challenged you on this…. so there are at least 2 of the 5 of us who are interested. 🙂 Maybe there are more than 5 out there with lurkers like G-MA.Hope you stick around. Our buddy Tony could use some help crawling out of the US-is-ending-gutter, and I can’t help much because I’m pretty much a gutter dweller also…. although for different reasons.

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  168. Prof, you are one frustrated accountant. Jeffersonian agrarian democracy went out with the cotton gin.Let me be clear, I do not welcome more government intrusion for the sake of security. I don’t ask simple questions to be obtuse but to draw you out.Who is keeping you from worshipping your God? Who is keeping you from being as wildly successful as you want to be? Who is keeping you from speaking out? Who is keeping you form defending your home? Did Texas pass a firearms ban while I wasn’t paying attention? I don’t know you but I know Tony. A highly educated white male as am I. We are kings in a land full of opportunity and you act as though you are a peasant in a land of fences and sharecropping. Luddites attack!!The revolution was not over taxation but taxation without representation. You cannot be opposed to tax but only the details of how much and what is taxed (income or spending).I certainly decry ever increasing taxes and a growing federal goverrnment. I decry the slow encroachment of our liberty for the sake of security. I like the idea of small government.Get off the net, cut up your credit cards and pay cash for everything. I am not saying I disgree with everything you guys or Tony is saying. Far from it or I wouldn’t keep wandering back but you guys need to open up a window in this chat room and let some fresh air in. It’s stuffy.

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  169. Guy, “<>Constitutional issues are not academic debate for me but represent interpretation of a living document that has been controversial ever since activist judges decided Marbury v. Madison.<>”Just curious. What other legal documents/contracts do you know of that are “living?”“<>But I am curious, what is the American Dream?<>”Actually, I thought Tony and I covered that, but apparently not. Our perspective, of course, is to peer from the year 2006 over a multitude of governmental intrusions and to have never known a life where government didn’t know our income, control our level of risk at work, or tax our labor and property. Depending on your worldview, what ever is harmful to my “American dream” may be a fulfillment of yours.The original American dream was the ability to work unencumbered by government and actually receive the fruit of your own two hands. To worship and not be told what God or method to worship. To speak out against threats and possess the means to keep your household secure. This has lured peoples for hundreds of years. That is the American dream that is slipping as we introduce more government control over our lives, our transactions, more monitoring of our incomes and travels, and so forth. But if you are the sort that welcomes the security and oversight of the government in all of your daily life and you don’t see the trend toward greater government and larger portions of your wealth being used for the Common Good and, therefore, less available for you to direct towards your own security and felicity, then this is indeed a great day and a fulfillment of your American dreamP.R.

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  170. Doom and Education.I agree with CG, stupidy and greed have always been problems in this country. That is why when the founders originally wrote “all men” they meant free white landholders. They also recongized the uneducated masses. Certainly, education has great merit but but we all can’t have liberal art educations. How many business majors does the world need? How many lawyers for that matter?But I am curious, what is the American Dream? And aren’t more people achieving it than ever? (Yeah, I recognize the heavy debt burden and overleveraged middle class.)I will engage in the debate but the pessimism is so pervasive here. Where is the optimism? This is my contrarian nature. For every kid you can’t point out to me who doesn’t get a good education and I can point out two others who are getting a great education in the public school system. It can’t always be give me liberty or give me death. Even the founding fathers got tired of being lectured by the firey Sam Adams after a while. We are at the end of the First American Century. Have we been coasting? Yes. Resting on our laurels? Yes. Acting unitlaterally as if we are big spoiled child who doesn’t understand why nobody gets us? Of course. Chipping away at hard fought freedoms for the illusion of security? Most definitely. But the giant sleeps. This is still the country that started a revolution over “taxation without representation” and dressed up like indians and threw tea into a harbor to protest. What a quaint idea and a fable that is still taught in every elementary school. This is a powerful founding mythology that once pricked will not easily die down. And one that is readily grasped by all levels of education.Doom? I can’t even hear the footsteps yet.BTW – I hope we all realize that the NSA computers are collecting and crunching this electronic data as we type. When the revolution comes, they may knock on your door first.

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  171. If I am going over plowed ground, I apologize but I am enjoying the debate and will work my way back to the original thread.But in the interest of full disclosure, I think you should know that I am contrarian in nature, for better or worse, trained in the way of legal argument and prideful of being a despised trial lawyer. My educational and professional profile can be found at http://www.brewsterlaw.com.I specialize in Plaintiff’s trial work and complex litigation of all sorts but especially enjoy civil rights cases involving constitutional matters. I have argued before the Tenth Circuit on behalf of the wrongfully accused, the wrongfully convicted and victims of excessive force by law enforcement in wrongful death matters. I enjoy representing the little guy against powerful interests and do not like to lose. I am either your hero or represent all that is wrong with America depending on where you stand. I do not say these things to be boastful but to put in context my views and how they are shaped. Constitutional issues are not academic debate for me but represent interpretation of a living document that has been controversial ever since activist judges decided Marbury v. Madison.With that said, I will get back to the thread in the next post.

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  172. Have been faithfully reading the Curmudgeon’s essays and the responses for many many months. I’m just hoping you all get back to the original thread (if that’s the correct terminology) of this post. In any case: IMO there isn’t much chance of the President being held to account. There are obviously sufficient cowards of both party’s, in both houses of congress, to assure his safe exit. From the history I have studied, it seems lots of pain has to be experienced before citizens get their heads out of the sand. There’s little doubt in my mind that this country is headed for big financial trouble. Not only because Bush has borrowed, legislated and spent us into debt, but also too many Americans spend, borrow and have no savings. Big pain is coming. G-Ma

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  173. Tony,< HREF="http://www.wnd.com/news/printer-friendly.asp?ARTICLE_ID=50602" REL="nofollow">Anchor babies<>, the 14th amendment, and the United States v. Wong Kim Ark case in 1898. What is your take on this?P.R.

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  174. “<>…or will they be well eduated me-centric soul saving profit centers?<>”Maybe if they were a little more “me-centric” they wouldn’t have to be victim-centric, welfare-centric, and low self-esteem-centric. Don’t worry, for your statist dreams there will still be victims. Jesus said “the poor you will have with you always.” That should make you feel better. 🙂P.R.

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  175. CG,I have told you the cure to the problem and almost nobody here except Prof seems to agree: education. I just see no hope for improvement unless we make sweeping improvements to our education system and do so quickly. Otherwise, we are destined to be just another rich powerful empire slowly broken on the rocks of its own avarice.I’d be happy to return to the topic of education but it always is greeted with silence. And that is the root of the problem: nobody gives a damn.

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  176. C.G. <>Prof… you need a little more “we” in your diet.<>Since I was born, it has been my daily habit of not taking on “we”, but eliminating it. I realize that there are many around me who are full of “we”, but their golden hue has not presuaded me thus far. If this is the banner you have thus chosen, to speak out for the “we” individuals in our midst, dribble on. And may your pool contain much “we”. 🙂P.R.

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  177. Tony,I agree with the stupid and greed part. I don’t agree that was ever any different. Our fate has always been about working around those two truths. Which I guess is your real point… we aren’t overcoming anymore. That said… if you can tell us how we overcome this conservative virus that soaks reason out of our nation… I’m all ears.

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  178. Guy,Prof pretty much nailed my view, but let me be more expansive.In my view the utter destruction of America is almost complete. It is the America of ideals of which I speak, not the political entity which is the United States of America.I for one have no doubt whatsoever that America will continue to exist as an entity for a very long time. After all, we have accumulated wealth such as the world has ever known or concieved before the 20th Century. We have used that wealth to strengthen our defenses and continue to build financial capital. America is an incredible economic collosus that will not fall precipitously in our lifetimes.But the ideals have already slipped into a coma and we are waiting on the politicians to pull the plug.Here is why there is nearly no hope for the Shining City on the Hill: we are stupid. We collectively operate as if Democrats and Republicans really care about their consitutents. We willingly acquiesce in the media constructed artificial two party axis largely because we have lost our critical thinking skills.This inability to think critically has led to the systematic gutting of our constitutional protections. I’d love to hear someone such as yourself who is more knowledgable than I explain how the Constitution really does matter any more. From where I sit, the executive branch does what it damn well pleases and even the opposition in Congress rubber stamps outlandish things for political expediency. I know there are still real legal fetters, but they mean less and less with each passing year.I’m thinking especially of the attrocious and shameful behavior of the Congress with specific regard to the Clinton Impeachment, the War Powers Act and the Patriot Act. There are other lesser examples, but these stand out.Americans have ceased holding their political elite accountable in an intellectually rigorous way. Most of what passes for news these days is really meta-news. We are treated to article after article about the political aspect of so-and-so taking such-and-such position and very little about the merits of such-and-such position. Form has completely triumphed over substance and therein lies the rub.I sincerely do think I stand outside the media drenching. I listen to very little news and am very selective in what I consume. The hysteria of the right and left are tiring and unproductive. I don’t think America is ending because of anything that has happened in the headlines in the last thrity years: it is coming to an end because of what has happened in our hearts and minds.We have ceased to be communal such as when you and I were young. How often does a neighbor know their own neighbor much less help them these days? We are isolated and cut off from each other and this makes it easier for politicians to exploit us based on our personal self-interest. On top of being isolated, we are stupid…too stupid to see the lines of bull shit that passes these days for national debate.While I do decry our moral condition, our laws and political policy have zero causal relationship to that in my view. It is our poor moral condition that has lead to our deteriorating legal and poltical institutions. Perhaps that is a bit circular, but in my view the chicken did come before the egg. Viewing our condition through strickly a Christian Eschatological perspective is vain as you correctly point out an I totally agree. I have no clue whether God’s will is for us to be the Shinning City on the Hill or the Beast and anyone who claims they do is probably smoking some sacramental peyote or high on some prozac induced neurotransmitter overload.You ennumerated a nice list of things that have incorrectly been heralded as the portent of doom for America: Slave Trading, Trust Busting, Progressivism, The Great Depression and the New Deal, WWII and the fight against tryanny, Women’s Suffrage, Civil Rights Struggle, Integration of Public Schools. This is an interesting list worth some analysis. Unfortunately it is late and I will have to substitute less analysis than that for which it is worthy.Slave Trading, Women’s Suffrage, Civil Rights (and school integration) as the end of America share the common thread of being the clarion call of the small minded and bigoted amoung us. I am not someone who suggests that allowing gay civil unions (or porn or the national endowment for the arts funding Robert Maplethorpe) will lead to our destruction. What I do suggest is that our whole brain-numbed approach to the “debate” is evidence of a slide toward destruction. There will always be bigots unfortunately.The Great Depression and WWII present a different class of challenges. Those threats were real physical threats to our existence. I do not think that the contemporaries of those events were being espcially hyperbolic to suggest that either of those threatened our existence because they clearly did. The doomsayers were wrong but those were risky times and cirumstances. I don’t think those are comparable to the doom which I forecast.Trust Busting, Progressivism and the New Deal are closer to the mark but still miss. Those were political programs that were cast as portents of doom largely for political reasons. These bit of history are the ones most like the broad general doom-casting that goes on presently. Still, none of these are like the evidence I identify as pointing to our impending demise.Here is a wrap up. We are doomed bacause 1) we are willingly stupid, 2) this stupidty causes us to cherish form over substance in the political arena, and 3) the only value we seem to rally around is the value of the dollar.Sorry to rant on for so long. I’ve said most of this before and probably it bores the long-timers here. But your “extreme hyperbole” accusation got me going.Me protest too much? You have no idea…I’m just getting warmed up.

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  179. Guy: <>“Utter destruction of American Society?” Please.<>If I may be so bold as to speak for another, I believe what Tony was saying is not that America would be a smoldering ash heap of humanity wailing as in the throes of Hell itself, but that the America the pilgrimage of humanity has sought and dreamt of will disappear and the same sad spectacle of humanity that exists on hundreds of other countries would now exist here.Take the concept of private property. In 1774 the phrase was written Life, Liberty, and Property. Thomas Jefferson rewrote it to say Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. Back then people knew what that meant. They knew the nature of governments to confiscate property. To find out that governments are confiscating property through eminent domain today merely to change from one business or residence to another business, or entertainment facility (Texas Motor Speedway being a recent nearby example) purely for the tax benefits or tourism boost is thievery and our founding fathers would take up arms without hesitation. Today, its page 1 of the newspaper, but it is happening. Tomorrow, its page 17 of section B, under local farmer finds cow patties. That general downward trend is not the destruction of humanity, but the destruction of the American Dream. Not in and of itself, but coupled with a thousand other drifts from what, I would assume Tony would agree with me, a desirable American Dream to just another squalor of humanity. Sure, we get to keep the Eagle as our national bird, but the Bible calls that kind of hollowness a white washed tomb. My $.02.Prof. Ricardo

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  180. To my list of times where some said we were on the verge of destruction I add: Women’s Suffrage, Civil Rights Struggle; Integration of Public Schools. All these things were viewed in their time as signs that the end was near. Evidence of moral decay. To fight these things Jim Crow Laws were passed; miscegenation statutes were passed. Twisted activist judges (in today’s parlance) proffered the Dred Scott Decision.Again, it’s the 24 hour news cycle in this media drenched age that makes you think the world is coming to an end. From what I read, we are the most church going western country in the world. Why don’t we take confidence from this? Instead, we are told the end is coming and God’s Judgment is at hand. From these portents you can read nothing, for “I come as a thief in the night.” The religious right flexes it’s collective muscle and delivers an election to the president. Does it make them feel better? No. They just feel betrayed because they look for purity in politics. There is none. Did they just land on this rock? I think not. Politics is compromise. Politics without compromise is tyranny of the majority or just tyranny.I’ll take all bets against the utter destruction of american society, whatever the times. I’ll take all bets for the end of the world on any day. It’s a sucker’s bet. I require more cynicism and disdain from a bunch of a crusty, ill-tempered, old men. Utter Destruction. Puhleeze. You’ve been to too many superman movies and missed or forgotten the message. Mankind is good though imperfect.

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  181. Allright then. I am enjoying the debate but if I am consistent on anything it will be that context is important. What I mean is the world is not ending.What I decry is rhetoric both right and left. (I acknowledge the ability to let it fly also). “Utter destruction of American Society?” Please. This is what I am talking about when I say you protest too much.Where is the Faith in Man? Where is the optimism that are founders had that men are good and government is bad? We have it backwards now.Slave Trading; Trust Busting and Progressivism; The Great Depression and the New Deal; WWII and the fight against tryanny. Our history is littered with people who felt we were on the edge of destruction and yet we have survived. Despite the long odds.I will acknowledge that we are a young country and 200 plus years is hardly a sign of longevity in the great march of history but on the edge of utter destruction? Not even a close one. Let’s debate, Let’s engage in the marketplace of ideas but the extreme hyperbole is a cancer. (Yeah, I recognize that that is hyperbole). I agree with Jon Stewart when he appeared on Crossfire and told the hosts that they were what is wrong with America. What happened to the days when Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neal could debate in public and share a drink in private? I think the right and left would just as soon run over each other in the parking lot at the end of the day.My complaint is where is the optimism? It doesn’t seem like morning in america anymore but the end of a very long day and we are all a bit cranky.Rights? Rights are for the optimistic who see opportunity and want the government to stay out of the way. Laws? Law are for those who seek to curb and regulate behavior because of the weakness inherent in men. Liberty is the uneasy middle ground that recognizes these two qualities in mankind.Sorry about the soap box but context is important.

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  182. Prof,If you didn’t read the Madison link, you should. I was aware that there was great debate about having a Bill of Rights or not… but it’s pretty interesting to read Madison’s words at the time. Some of their initial debates are debates that will go on forever. That Madison was a bright boy… but he talked funny. 🙂

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  183. Guy,First, you are very welcome here. Pretty much things are no holds barred in this forum. I practice what I preach and encourage utter freedom in posting here. You haven’t even approached the levels of vitriol that have happened here in the past.Keep in mind too, that everybody here is friends on one level or another for the most part. That fact seems to add to rancor however, and not reduce it. What can I say but that this is the kind of friendship I seem to attract.Frankly, I will take coarse over stupid any day of the week.Prof,I will respond to you a little more fully, but one thing you said deserves more focused comment: “We are sinking to the levels of the best alternative countries that are available.”Here is where you and I have the greatest common ground. I do not personally care for how our society is changing. While we have had many changes that are for the good, with those changes we have brought along a lot of junk. I share your concern.That said, I believe in a free society. This includes the freedom to destroy ourselves as individuals and as a corporate body. America is not worth preserving because we have such great citizens but rather because of its ideals that until somewhere around 1969 or so we had been actively working toward achieving. We have ventured from that historical path and that is the disaster that we should all decry.From a Christian perspective, what I prefer is the level playing field. An equal chance for all worldviews to compete in the arena of ideas. I believe our beliefs will win because of their truth and superiority as long as we <>compete on the merits<> rather than attempting a political triumph.I do not think telling gay couples that they can not marry gains us one thing as a society. On the other hand, the fact that my church does not sanction same-sex unions does gain us a great deal. That is the moral stand that matters.Truly I do think that we are confronting the utter destruction of American society. It is morphing into something alien and ugly right before our very eyes. To me it is clear that the only way to save it is to embrace freedom rather than turn further from it.Or to say it a different way, God was the first libertarian when he gave us free choice. Jesus did not come to reject, but to accept flawed people. He did not pick and choose and hung out with those with flaws of a most serious nature. Jesus confronts us with a choice not a legal system. I choose to embrace his plan and not that of the radical right.

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  184. C.G. said… “<>Prof… you realize we would need a name change from The United States. Maybe something like The Geographically Close States.<>”Actually, the name <>The United States<> at least admits there are borders and at least different names. The current population has yet to find a problem that could not be better dealt with through more centralization and a greater depth of bureaucracy. You’re in much company, which ought to give you warm fuzzies. As such, you need to be aware of Guy…. 🙂Prof. Ricardo

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  185. Guy said… “<>…but then it turns on its collective head to impose a morals and decency clause across the board enforced on a state by state basis.<>”1. I’m advocating let the states determine their level of decency and not “across the board.”2. Only in as much as Federal law intrudes on us do we need to define the terms and morality that it affects.“<>You seem puritanical and would turn the arm of the state to regulate behavior that you and other like you find abhorrent and offensive.<>”Regulate the behavior, no. Nor change the definition of marriage.“<>Believe it or not, I had a lot more strident rhetoric to post but I will stop here.<>”You’ve impressed me adequately so far. No need to continue.“<>BTW, could you define more specifically, “rampant deviant sex.” It gets me a little hot when you say it. 😉<>”I like to leave my readers begging for more…C.G.“<>50 different Bill of Rights… this is going to get interesting.<>”Disregarding Guy’s request for a definition, you may want to bone up on the Bill of Rights that already exist starting with < HREF="http://www.constitution.org/bcp/virg_dor.htm" REL="nofollow">The Virginia Declaration of Rights<>. Oh darn, I’m sorry. This states rights thing was all supposed to be my silly idea. Ignore the link, it’ll only confuse those enraptured with their own opinions.Prof. Ricardo

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  186. Guy,<>Tony, if I have reduced the discourse to just coarse, then I apologize.<>That’s funny. We like coarse here… or at least coarse-lite. This is a weird stop on the Internet… we all seem to like each other here (all 5 of us). Prof lives in Texas… there is a problem with the water supply there.Prof… you realize we would need a name change from <>The United States<>. Maybe something like <>The Geographically Close States<>.

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  187. Prof,Now that is a US internal migration I would grab some popcorn for. We just think we are a polarized nation now. Just wait until the red states are 100% red and the blue states are 100% blue. That would make a great movie. My $ would be on the rednecks when the second civil war broke out.50 different Bill of Rights… this is going to get interesting. Good old fashioned marital fun in my state could be a death sentence in yours. I think one might learn to pay close attention to that State Bill of Rights Kiosk on entry… particularly the marital orifices and birth control. I will have to live in a state where choking the chicken is a legal fundamental right. I will not negotitate on that one.

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  188. Prof. – Huh? I realize that I am new to posting here but really, what the hell is that? It seems libertarian in its tone arguing for state’s rights and but then it turns on its collective head to impose a morals and decency clause across the board enforced on a state by state basis.The abhorrent behavior you speak of is not sanctioned by any government but is unregulated behavior that it has been determined that the state’s interest, to the extent it has any, does not trump the individual’s privacy rights. You decry socialism in one breath and long for a theocracy in the next. You seem puritanical and would turn the arm of the state to regulate behavior that you and other like you find abhorrent and offensive. Is your world filled with activist judges seeking to undermine you and your family? If so, get a grip. You are not the center of the universe.In the 1970’s, conservatives had a cry against liberals to “Love America or Leave it.” It would seem that the tables are turned.Really, can’t you see the inherent contradictions in your post? “Free Markets, Closed Society” that should be your motto. or:“A cop in every bedroom.” or: “I’m from the State Capital and I’m here to help or intrude in your personal life which ever is necessary.” Believe it or not, I had a lot more strident rhetoric to post but I will stop here. P.S. I am a rebel without a cause enjoying benefits of capitalism, a republican form of government, and a society of people who govern their personal behavior with the “benefits” of socialism and rampant deviant sex. Long Live non-conformity and rock-n-roll!! BTW, could you define more specifically, “rampant deviant sex.” It gets me a little hot when you say it. 😉 Tony, if I have reduced the discourse to just coarse, then I apologize. To the extent I have walked into the wrong room, I will intrude no more. Nothing gets under my skin more than moralists pointing fingers and throwing stones.

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  189. Tony: “<>(T)o wit, do you think that Human Rights should be a state issue.<>”Yes. Actually both. Any level that has the right to take rights away should, I suppose, be required to recognize human rights.“<>…without the 14th Amendment, the States were free to abridge our human rights however they saw fit.<>”Yes. Now the Federal government can do it and everybody is held hostage. Right now you can slaughter the unborn in 50 states. In my fantasy world each state would decided the issue and you could slaughter the unborn in those states that decided to do so and not in others. Its really rather simple.“<>So, is it proper for the government, be it federal or state to sanction or authorize the institution of marriage?<>”I’m not settled on the issue. With government interfering at all levels AND with different treatment of marrieds in benefits, tax, or other responsibilities, and that required and forced upon the private sector, then it is paramount that a decent respect of the institution to be in place over the level of government that is forcing its will. If the taxation of the people, and requirements and so forth were all conducted on the state level, that’s where the defining and sanctioning of marriage should occur, at least as far as government goes. So then if you are a church in Vermont and they pass a law saying marriage can be between any thing from a ding to a bat, then that church may be required to hire individuals with multiple wives or whatever. They could by choice move to another state that was a respecter of traditional marriage. Ditto people and businesses. A net loss in population by those states condoning abhorrent behavior may have an effect on their sanctioning of it. Ditto for those who protect traditional institutions and decency. A net influx, people live in their perceived place of dignity, all are happy.Since the relative prosperity, protection, and blessings of America are shared among the 50 states, a move from one state to another is minor all things considered. However, there are no equivalent alternatives when abhorrent behavior is sanctioned by the federal government. All options for moving to a foreign land are less desirable because they have already accepted homosexual and other deviant lifestyles and many of the socialist “benefits” that C.G. has so eloquently bid for these many months and years. We are sinking to the levels of the best alternative countries that are available. These countries are excellent options for those wishing to wallow in socialism and deviant sexual sin. Yet even they don’t like what those countries have become. They want the benefits of capitalism, a republican form of government, and a society of people who govern their personal behavior with the “benefits” of socialism and rampant deviant sex. They want to infuse the characteristics of one onto the other. They want to make a cat bark like a dog.Having 50 independent states under the protection of a federal government is an excellent option we need to revisit.“<>But I’m really interested in how you would view the Federalism argument as shaking out … how should it be structured? No 14th Amendment?<>“We have so much Federal government that even I can’t picture how it would look in 2006 were it to be of Constitutionally limited size. However, What if…..What if individuals were taxed (income, sales, etc.) at the state level and state governments had to file tax return to the federal government and were taxed for the now greatly reduced federal beauracracy and services? The state governments would have to get their act together and have a good accounting of their numbers.I don’t think they would be, but various neighboring states may be quite different in laws and regulations. In many ways they are now. Our state’s visitors bureau could have CD’s, DVD’s, or paper manuals explaining what out-of-staters need to know about our state.However the anti-traditional marriage types know our lack of alternatives if they screw us on a national basis, and therefore it is their only hope of becoming entrenched, if not accepted.Ask for specifics. I’m making it up as I go.Prof. Ricardo

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  190. Tony,Well… I did a bit of reading, starting with your links. A couple of observations:1) In 2006, Incorporation doesn’t appear to be settled law. I have to go with Hugo Black on this one… there should be no such thing as a State being able to treat the Bill of Rights differently than the Federal government. A State should be able to expand rights, but NEVER restrict them.2) It looks like the Supreme Court uses “Due Process” rather than the 14th amendment because they are “equal”. I’m no legal scholar, but I would make the 14th amendment as clear as we needed, and go with that. It’s utter nonsense in 2006 to be arguing over WHICH Bill of Rights a State could override. 3) We can safely say Prof is not a “Substantive Due Process” guy, and most likely not in favor of Incorporation.4) I still find it bizare that I can list the rights/privileges (speech, marriage-related rights, driver licenses)… and still not be able to say in English why a) they are all equal rights with no prerogative of the State to alter … i.e. we can’t have states having different driver license ages, and we certainly can’t have States mucking around with core human rights like inheritance OR b) A state can do whatever it wants to.Maybe it’s just me, but if two different states can make different rules about something, that something isn’t a RIGHT… it’s something else. This was most excellent: < HREF="http://collegiatepatriot.us/histdocs/madamend.htm" REL="nofollow">Madison on the Bill of Rights<>

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  191. Tony,Do you get the impression I’m hitting a nerve with Prof’s Federalism core belief system. It’s rare where he resorts to intelligence-challenging rather than spelling out what he means. 🙂I will read your links and Prof’s Laugher curve. The state rights prerogative thing may be complicated… but no matter how complicated, you can’t be an honest proponent of more Federalism without being able to define (say) in English what’s in the State’s domain. In Prof’s case, it looks like I can make a “State’s fundamental rights hands-off list” by going through the first 10 amendments… and everything else is fair game. I’m not sure why Prof doesn’t have the balls to just say this… he has never struck me as ball-less before. 🙂

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  192. CG,I wish I could give simple answers to your questions. The law as it has come to us is just to amenable to being boiled down as you are asking.Here is a < HREF="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privileges_or_Immunities_clause" REL="nofollow">very short article<> that will give you some idea why P&I is not often discussed. Now I’m in the camp that believe the Supreme Court got it wrong…and there are a lot of folks that feel that way.But the topic you are interested in is called the <>doctrine of incorporation.<> Here is a longer article that has a < HREF="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privileges_or_Immunities_clause" REL="nofollow">good summary of substantive due process.<> Pay special attention to the last paragraph headed <>Incorporation.<>In short, no, I do not think you can take our case law to mean that there are two tiers of human rights under our laws, though as Guy pointed out, there are varying protections based on whether and individual is a member of a protected class. His statement of the law is correct as far as it goes. I advocate plowing some new legal ground based on Equal Protection and P&I that does not rely on protected classes.

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  193. Apparently this is one of those Mars and Venus things. Will pick up the argument at a later date. I am starting to bald on both sides of my head from your latest response.Unastoundedly yours,Prof. Ricardo

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  194. Prof,I’m pretty sure I know what our Constitution is about by this point, but I appreciate your concern. I was responding to your phrase “the constitution says what the government can do”. I guess you were just referring to the limits of government, and I was quibbling with how you said it. Of course the definition of “what a government can do” comes in two major sections of the Constitution (government structure AND rights). I get the impression you tend to dwell on the rights part. Interesting enough, most of the Supreme Court Justices seem to think the section on the structure of government is actually more important than the “rights” section everyone else dwells on. Both are important, but what Breyer refers to “providing a citizen’s active democratic participation in their government… i.e. a check on power” is paramount. Scalia refers to this part as the Real Constitutional law… but I assume he is still for human rights. 🙂 I guess you are just going to keep dodging the question on how you determine what’s a right/privilege within the state’s prerogative, and what is off limits. You seem to have agreed our listed rights (Bill of Rights) are off limits to states…. but I get the impression that’s the end of the limit for you. Other amendments beyond that seem to have no impact on your state prerogative boundary. If so, I think I will just let your intention of ignoring amendments stand on it’s own, and we need not discuss this further. You just can’t make any headway with an amendment ignorerer (is that a word?). Actually… my google toolbar spell checker says ignorerer is not a word, but it describes you so well in this case I’m leaving it. btw…<>In fact, I would be astounded if you actually grasp this subject.<>🙂

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  195. Common Good:<>P.R.: The Constitution lists what a government should do.C.G.: Huh? I thought the Constitution consisted of 1) defining the structure of our government {part Scalia calls the real Constitutional law} and 2) rights. Which part lists what the government should do?<>Article 1, section 8-10; Article 2, section 2; Article 3, section 2; Article 4, Section 3b; and Article 5 all explain what our government can or should do.One of the key differences between our Constitution and those of other countries is other countries listed the rights of the people and gave government full dominion over everything else. Ours listed what government could do and gave liberty to the people for everything else. It is not surprising that you have superimposed the erroneous concept of other countries governmental forms on the U.S. The failure of our education system, the spewing of politicians, and the ignorance and blindness of the media hardly clarify the issue. In fact, I would be astounded if you actually grasp this subject. If you actually knew the history and content of the Constitution, some of the beliefs you hold would hardly continue to make sense. Read the original documents. Go to < HREF="www.Constitution.org" REL="nofollow">http://www.Constitution.org<>, click on founding documents and immerse yourself in as many founding documents as you can. A good start would be the < HREF="http://www.constitution.org/eng/magnacar.htm" REL="nofollow">Magna Carta<>. Attack the documents with the premise that everybody including me are liars and you have to discover for yourself what the truth is. I am not perfect and am willing to change and adjust my understanding in light of revealed truth.Prof. Ricardo

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  196. Tony,<>Privilges and immunities is a complex topic but essential I accept the majority view that the 14th Amendment imposes the Constitutional Constrains on Government action in areas of fundamental liberties on the States. I can clariy further if necessary.<>Yes… I knew you believe that and that is what I believe. However, I think I am asking you and Prof a different question (one I have asked you before). Do we have a 2-tier rights / privileges system… or 1-tier? If “free speech” is a human right, but inheritance rights are not… then we have 2-tier or n-tier. If all rights and privileges fall under Equal protection, then that seems to be another matter… and I start to even question the state’s rights to have differences as simple as different driver license ages.

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  197. If you begin witht he premise that marriage is a sacrament ordained by God. The it becomes a seperation of church and state issue also. While I am free to have my union sanctioned in a church the state also has a right tot recognize that union and confer benefits on it as it sees fit. But the sacrament and my civil union are two seperate things. Once this is recognized, then it becomes an issue whether the state will recognize a gay civil union and confer upon it the same benefits as a man and a woman. It si free to discriminate if these folks are not members of a protected class. Oncec it is decided gays are members of a protected class then the state is not free discriminate. That squares the question and in my mind the result is skewed by whether you beleive being gay is a choice or some sort of genetic design.

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  198. I must say, this has been a day of record enjoyability in posting on the Disenfranchised Curmudgeon. Not that my opionion really matters, but I thoroughly enjoyed it all.In an effort to stay focused, I’ll return to my question for Prof…to wit, do you think that Human Rights should be a state issue. I see your jocularity and raise you the issue I was trying to state. In other words, without the 14th Amendment, the States were free to abridge our human rights however they saw fit. In theory, though certainly not in practice, the 14th Amendment extended the constraints on the Federal Government to the States. Prior to that, Constitutional restraints ONLY applied to the Federales.So, if you want to couch the gay marriage discussion in terms of state’s rights, you have to deal with the equal protection issue. I’m not asking for what the law is: that is very clear. And we are of like mind on the basic concept that marriage is a sacrament ordained by God. So, is it proper for the government, be it federal or state to sanction or authorize the institution of marriage?Only in an effort to clarify, let me restate, there are three primary Consitutional issues I see here: 1) Federalism, 2) Equal Protecton, and 3) Free Excercize of religion.I do not mean to be ambiguous…my post entitled “shouting down the world” makes my own view pretty clear. But I’m really interested in how you would view the Federalism argument as shaking out … how should it be structured? No 14th Amendment?CG,Privilges and immunities is a complex topic but essential I accept the majority view that the 14th Amendment imposes the Constitutional Constrains on Government action in areas of fundamental liberties on the States. I can clariy further if necessary.Guy,What a horrid shame we have been out of touch all these years. Superficially at least it sounds like we are on the same philosophical page on a lot of things. Maybe there was something in the Whitewater?

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  199. Prof,You should answer my 12:00 PM post.Let met try and answer one of your questions.<>Expanding an undefinable standard over multiple states that is the basis for massive taxation for wealth transfers and social engineering and MY argument is weak? Explain how 23 million people in Texas defining their “common good” hurts ANYONE in the other 49 states. This is going to be good. 🙂<>You of course realize when I talk of common good, I talk in terms of federal tax based common good. In other words, common good falls into the same category as paying for the military …. no state option to bow out of the federal tax and taxes pooled across all the entire citizen base (differences per income class but not per state). Like I said… fair enough argument to say universal health care should be in that common good or not. It’s also a fair argument to say that you could do something on a state level IF we didn’t define it into Federal common good. You (conservatives) seem to detest the idea that we are all in this together… and imo, set up personal blinders to the point you actually believe all of your personal and wealth accomplishments are achieved in some sort of personal space or universe {talk about thinking the world revolves around your head :)} It’s all nonsense… my paraphrasing of Bill Gates Sr go right to the heart of the matter. Nobody in the US accomplishes anything in a vacuum. I guess if we all took daily trips across the Canadian border, and gathered our harvest, and then brought it home each day… you could almost say your individual gains were divorced of our society. But even then, you traveled on US infrastructure to get there… and came home to a collective rule of law which protected the great Canadian gatherer. You see increased state defined rights as increased freedom. I see it as increased undeserved self-entitlement failing to honor that common partner (government/society). It reminds me of a kid taking credit for his class project… knowing full well dad stayed up with him all night to finish it. Dad bought the material, provided the home, etc. We are all proud of the kid, but a well rounded lesson instills a proper amount of acknowledgement by the kid of dad’s partnering.The government and our society is not a parent, but it is a partner in all of our success. You have to wrap yourself in one hell of a lot of autonomy illusion to not see that. Our entire economic system of individual achievement is coupled with a bit of collectivism… it will always be so. If you want to carve out Texas as a nation free from federal collective requirements, then you also need to isolate yourself from any federal services. Terrorism… the Houston oil industry and the ports… on you baby. Never mind the rest of the country is also dependent on that Houston port… it’s your right to control this for the US because it’s in Texas. The Texas southern border you care so deeply about… on you and other border states. Bird flu… you and your state and your a$$ are on your own. If you define yourself as an autonomous island for the purposes of individual income, then you must live on that island for everything else (terrorism, FDA, SEC, FBI, CIA, even the military). You might perish and take everyone with you… but by god you can say… “I was not in this with anyone else”. btw… saying Universal health care would turn us into a nation of slackers is like saying “if we cured cancer, we would all have it so easy we would become slackers”. This place should remain puritan-tough-enough for the Prof… even with families being protected from financial ruin. A majority finally voting to pool health catastropies via federal taxes is anything but defining “good” for others… it’s just common good/sense.

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  200. Prof,I don’t think you really put a definition to when you can do your federalism thing, and when you can’t. Tony has never been able to be clear on this either… so it’s obviously not an easy concept. You said:<>The Constitution lists what a government should do.<>Huh? I thought the Constitution consisted of 1) defining the structure of our government {part Scalia calls the real Constitutional law} and 2) rights. Which part lists what the government should do?<>A touchable list implies a liberated entity that is not constrained by its governing document. Think dictator here.<>Huh again? You agreed the federal government and the state could not alter “free speech”… with the exception of being limited by not damaging others. You really didn’t answer why you thought marriage-related rights (inheritance, hospitial visitation, etc.) WAS a state definable right/privilege {you went off into a discussion about the personal nature of marriage to yourself}. I’m still waiting for an explanation/definition of what you throw into the state perogative bucket. The reason I use list {and that lights Tony up also} is if you can’t say what IS or IS NOT a fundamental human right not subject to redefinition by the state, than how in the hell can you say what is or is not a state perogrative?

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  201. Guy,I’ve read the Articles of Confederation and done a study on it as well as many foundational documents and writings.The War of Northern Aggression was an example of the understanding that our country had about states vs federal. Though slavery was the catalyst, states rights and autonomy were being challenged. The South felt that it was reasonable to succeed, given the aggression of the Northern states. Let me know what of my statement I need to retract, prove, or clarify.Prior to the War of Northern Aggression, some Union states threatened to succeed. What does that say about their view on state autonomy 150 years ago? Enjoy your weekend.Prof. Ricardo

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  202. Common: <>… but first I’m really interested in how we LIST rights/privileges the State should have a say in, and human rights that they should not.<>You should have the right to nearly anything that does not materially negatively affect those around you. As my late father-in-law said: “your right to swing your arm ends at my nose.” We should not look for the depths to which others, through government, may plunge into our business. Only when we find areas that are to no ones individual benefit or ability, but are for the benefit of society, do we seek a corporate solution, and only when the majority agree, should we embark on these governmental solutions.“<>Your belief as I understand it: 1) free speech is a human right the state (or Federal government) can’t touch…<>”Yes, except where it materially injures another, like in the case of slander.“<>2) marriage-related rights/privileges SHOULD be defined by the state.<>”Sort of. The state interferes with us on the basis of marriage. To me marriage is between my spouse, me, and my God. I don’t need to be licensed by the state. It is not the final authority over my covenant with my wife.Marriage was created by God. I realize that carries more weight with me than you. In my worldview marriage “by definition” cannot mean anything but the union of one man and one woman. I could give you the Bible references, but…Given that the foundation of society are healthy families, to recognize unhealthy forms of families (multiple spouses, incest, bestiality, same-sex) as equivalents is self destruction of a society. Let the Netherlands stand as an example, and yes, it started with the acceptance of homosexuality as an equal standing with traditional marriage.“<>Are you going through the bill of rights in the Constitution for “state touchable list”, or some other definition. <>”The Constitution lists what a government should do. A touchable list implies a liberated entity that is not constrained by its governing document. Think dictator here.Prof. Ricardo

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  203. Guy,<>Finally, I predict the world will not end if gays are allowed to formalize their relationships that they are already consummating.<>Jon Stewart was debating Bill Bennett on gay marriage the other day. Jon asked if those 50% divorcees shoot straight into gay sex. 🙂

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  204. Prof,I will comment on “common good” later, but first I’m really interested in how we LIST rights/privileges the State should have a say in, and human rights that they should not. I’m not arguing with you on this point… it’s a question about the domain of Federalism. I will repeat my example of your belief as I understand it: 1) free speech is a human right the state (or Federal government) can’t touch {although I suspect a state can expand them if there is such a thing} 2) marriage-related rights/privileges SHOULD be defined by the state.Are you going through the bill of rights in the Constitution for “state touchable list”, or some other definition. I know I have persued this with Tony, and I remember him having a real problem with the idea of a “list of human rights”…. i.e. everything is a human right that is not taken away. Well, that definition is fine, but you still need to indentify “what a State can take away or define, and what it can not”. Not sure how you make that call without a list?

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  205. Prof.“I see each state as being its own nation and the uniting of 50 nations as the United States”See Articles of Confederation, 1781; contra Constitution of the United States of America, 1783.I think I will not take the bait in the gay marriage issue. It is like arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. An interesting but ultimately an absurd debate. I think it is all grist for the mill and has been “focus grouped” as a money maker. That’s why it appears as an issue in even years.Finally, I predict the world will not end if gays are allowed to formalize their relationships that they are already consumating.

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  206. C.G.,There are so many items to correct from your post that I shall address it properly when I retire.Your foundational errors of suppositions and presuppositions render any response to state vs federal a mere exercise in typing skills.“<>However, this all proves the falicy of your Federalism argument…. the fact that Texas forced Oklahoma’s capitialism hands has NOTHING TO DO with our right as a society to define common good for our population.<>”Defining a populations “common good” is an exercise for social scholars who can’t make a go of it in the system of “captitialism”(sic). No human has the right to impose on another human some artificial demographic standard of “good” achievement. “Good” achievement is its own reward. “Good” imposed upon people will destroy the will to achieve. I know that went over your head, but I typed it slow just for you. 😀“<>Common good has to be ACROSS state by definition.<>”How about across countries? Planets? Galaxies? Why can’t it be across 37 families in Tyler Texas? How dare you try and impose some made up level of health, wealth, and entertainment on somebody in the hills of Arkansas or downtown NY. Shear arrogance. BTW, do we get to have a “living” common good where we get to define common good as not across states? And what if several of the states that came on board this last century didn’t become states…should we invade those territories and force our “common good” on them?“<>It’s fair enough to argue about what should be included in common good, but your argument becomes rather weak when you say dividing that definition among states makes any sense at all.<>”Expanding an undefinable standard over multiple states that is the basis for massive taxation for wealth transfers and social engineering and MY argument is weak? Explain how 23 million people in Texas defining their “common good” hurts ANYONE in the other 49 states. This is going to be good. 🙂Prof. Ricardo

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  207. Tony: “<>I hate to break it to you but Federalism is deader than Jimmy Hoffa and its bones harder yet to find.<>”And so is a political party that fairly represents you.“<>Are you in favor of returning Human Rights (for which Constitutional Rights are a misnamed proxy) to the states?<>”No. Human Rights are given by God. To give them to the state makes them privileges not rights. And yes, I knew what you meant. We are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Federal government was given powers, but not over human rights. Our founders did not grant, but acknowledged those rights. As you know the specific wording of the Bill of Rights did not grant OR PROHIBIT human rights, but acknowledged and reinforced for the citizens comfort what was evident in the body of the Constitution. The first amendment states “Congress shall make no law…” The first amendment did not restrict Congress ability. The founders believed that since we were a Constitutional Republic and our governments powers were granted and enumerated in the body of the Constitutional text, that since there was no provision to limit speech and establish religion or prohibit the free exercise thereof, only delusional con-men could read that into it. But others argued, though that may be true, given the nature of man to expand governments powers, reassuring us in the Bill of Rights was agreed upon.“<>In other words going back to the original law where the Constitution only limited the behavior of the Federal Government and did not speak to the actions of the individual states?<>”The first amendment states “Congress.” Of course, if marriage can be redefined to be two cowboys on Brokeback Mtn., who knows what “Congress” means anymore. It could be your local daycare. Words have to have meanings for this all to not be in vain.“<>I ask this because of the whole marriage thing. For your version to work, we would have to repeal portions of the 14th Amendment.<>”Possibly. Or reworded. Had we not gone silly, a whole lot of amendments might have not been necessary and a few others might have been implemented. Prof. Ricardo

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  208. Alright. Sorry to post and not check back. Here we go: I do not question the substance but I think context is very important. The purpose of the song quote is that we seem to be born in a day when moral relativism and reactionary religiousity pass off as legitimate political debate. In context, the adage “Follow the Money” has become not only a truism but a creed that once followed, the 24 hour news cycle has already passed it by. The truth of the Conyers quote is not the lack of politcal courage or dereliction of constitutional duty, all appropriate as gauge of the political winds throughout our history, BUT THAT THERE IS NO MONEY IN THE WITCH HUNT. It only works as a fundraising tool. To that end, it has been “focused grouped” and found to be a money raising loser. That is a cynical curmudgeon view. On the other hand, the right wing more than came out on droves to give money over a BJ. Democrats, are not so easily arroused. ; )Your clarion call for moral, constitutional or legal outrage and the lack of it, is in my view a victim of the 24 hour news cycle and the raising of poltical debate to entertainment news. This is all for our entertainment and a substitute for any real action on any substantive issues. Rhetoric is the word(s) of the day, not action. (Of course, the main fallacy of this point is that the Iraq War is action and not simply rhetoric but I digress). I am curious what will happen in another decade when the 24 hour news cycyle fails to excite or gain ad revenue. Will we have time to become outraged about deserving matters? I don’t know.

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  209. Tony,What do you take this to mean in the 14th amendment?<>No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the <>privileges<> or immunities of citizens of the United States;<>

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  210. Prof,I have a similar question to Tony’s which was:“Are you in favor of returning Human Rights (for which Constitutional Rights are a misnamed proxy) to the states? “When you speak of a State’s right to choose, you need to further define that for us. I assume you don’t believe free speech rights are the perogative of the state. However, it’s obvious that you do believe marriage should be in the domain of the state. This obviously means we need a vocabulary to define tiered rights (at minimum 2-tier…. human rights and maybe non-human legal rights?”. I have persued that with Tony several times, and never came away with any way to define what the 2nd-tier rights were. At the end of the day, you have to be able to LIST what is hands off for the states. If you can’t list them, then you can’t have a n-tiered rights legal system (well you can, but then every action is a trip to the Supreme Court). I agree with the potential of using states as test labs to bubble up best of breed solutions. However, I don’t think that has anything to do with Federal common good. That’s one of the biggest problems I have with conservative thought. There appears to be total blindness to the the reality that any person’s economic success in our country is married to the environment (government, infrastructure, etc) that success happens in. I heard Bill Gates dad on TV last night defending the inheritance tax, and he put it well as anyone I have heard so far. Bill Gates Sr: “Take that very successful brilliant US entrepeneur that worked hard and became wealthy in the US… and put him/her in Guana.” Conservatives see nothing but personal-only achievement, as if they created wealth in a vacuum. Before one even addresses the issue of whether universal healthcare is a state perogative (i.e. what type of right), you have to recognize we are a national economy (actually global)…i.e. we are intertwined across states. Economies have to compete with equal laws and equal rules. If Texas manufacturers produce widget X without having to provide health insurance to employees, than Oklahoma must do the same (i.e. not provide health insuracne). [I’m not for employers being involved in health care, but that’s another post] However, this all proves the falicy of your Federalism argument…. the fact that Texas forced Oklahoma’s capitialism hands has NOTHING TO DO with our right as a society to define common good for our population. Common good has to be ACROSS state by definition. It’s fair enough to argue about what should be included in commmon good, but your argument becomes rather weak when you say dividing that definition among states makes any sense at all.

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  211. <>The thing about Liberty is that in areas of fundamental liberty, my view on right or wrong doesn’t count in a legal way.<>This is the fundamental core of the gay rights debate:Is homosexuality part of our human condition, and therefore entitled to ALL human rights, or a deviant behavior that can be excluded from human rights?If homosexuals are included in basic human rights, are marriage-related rights (child custody, hospital visitation, inheritance, ect.) fundamental rights? Are marriage-related rights 2nd-tier rights… i.e. something short of human rights where we do get to pick and choose who gets them.

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  212. Prof,I hate to break it to you but Federalism is deader than Jimmy Hoffa and its bones harder yet to find. In my view, it is less than certain that sticking to Federalism would’ve yielded a better result. Just because what we have is a bad situation doesn’t mean that it would’ve been better. I really don’t know on that one.But it seems to me the greater calamity is the other provisions of the constitution which we have chose to ignore altogether. Which brings me to a question for you:Are you in favor of returning Human Rights (for which Constitutional Rights are a misnamed proxy) to the states? In other words going back to the original law where the Constitution only limited the behavior of the Federal Government and did not speak to the actions of the individual states?I ask this because of the whole marriage thing. For your version to work, we would have to repeal portions of the 14th Amendment. In the mean-time, Equal Protection is a Federal issue whether you agree with the law or not.

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  213. Tony,Although many things are objectionable to me on a moral basis, I am quite permissive on a governmental level. What Common may not be aware of is that I am quite willing to allow any state that chooses to do so allow perversion, abortion, socialism like universal healthcare, welfare, and minimum wages and all that. What I do not like, and I think destroys our freedom, is the federalization of these concepts.When our 13 colonies became states, the federal government played a small role in the daily lives of individuals. It seems funny to me that there were enough people in each state back then to determine their individual states direction, maybe a few hundred thousand in each state, but today, the country supposedly would be torn apart by allowing each state to set policy for education, universal healthcare and the like, with tens of millions per state. They want it even across all states. I see each state as being its own nation and the uniting of 50 nations as the United States. That way if you didn’t like something about one state you could move to another state. When you force the whole United States to go this way or that, you destroy freedom and adopt the centralized planning and control techniques of the nations we detest (which happens primarily for their centralized control and its consequences).At each step of the way when the liberals ideals are incorporated they fail. When they fail, the liberal says that it was not incorporated on a large enough scale. Be it gun control or healthcare, if you did it locally, there excuse for why it didn’t work is it should have been done on the state level, then the federal level, then the international level.I say tens of millions on the state level are plenty for a sustainable governed entity. Let the Texans determine whether they will permit homosexual marriage and Vermont decide theirs. That is not closed minded, but open minded and quite liberal (in the original since of the word) minded. Let the different states go about education in their own way. If it turns out brilliant scholars and entrepreneurs are coming out of such-and-such a state, you might want to move their and take advantage of it. Other states would move in the direction of those education methods that are drawing the praise. Education for all will benefit.Federalize it and equalize it and everybody is stuck with the same thing. No child left behind or whatever cockamamy new cliche comes out of the next “education president’s” mouth will guarantee continued educational mediocrity and rankings of our science and math students with struggling third world countries. Apparently that is what Mr. Good and his comrades desire.My vision for America is not that it is Lilly white and Puritan fresh, but that government would be responsive to those it was supposedly representing. With our current evolved Federal government, that is so difficult that some people will abstain from voting and create Disenfranchised blogs to discuss the matter. I want a responsive government that may even take positions that I don’t agree with. Now how closed minded is that? And darned if my ideal doesn’t mirror the Constitutional representative government our forefathers created.Prof. Ricardo

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  214. Prof,Living in a free society is very inconvenient at times. There are lots of things that I find objectionable on a scale of irritating to repulsive.The thing about Liberty is that in areas of fundamental liberty, my view on right or wrong doesn’t count in a legal way. That the majority of Americans thinks X is wrong is the absolute LEAST compelling argument in the arena of human rights. These are the same arguments used to suppress freedom every time it comes up.I’d go on, but I’d get pretty redundant with what I have written in the past. The bottom line is that we need to decide whether we mean it when we say we want our Freedom. In my view, people only want others to be free to be like themselves. This myopia affects people of every political persuasion.

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  215. Common, Have <>YOU<> noticed that….…it is the homosexuals that are trying to change that which has been the norm for thousands of years?…there is a difference between the “RR” and the political RINO’s that seek their vote (on even years)?…that bastions of socialism that already exist and have all that you hold dear (pluralism, universal healthcare, atheist based government) do not attract immigration to their land of Utopia, when we are having waves of unchecked “immigrants” year after year migrating to this intolerant, bigoted, non-plural, non-socialized medicine, (I can’t say non-taxed – you got me here.) U.S. of A.?P.R.

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  216. Have you noticed gay marriage seems to only threaten our civilization on even number years?The ultimate RR “cold sweat” nightmare: A gay Spanish US anthem singing atheist illegal alien who becomes part of a majority US citizen base that supports the inheritance tax, universal healthcare, gay rights and seperation of church and state (i.e. pluralism and equal rights).

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  217. CG,You are failing to give credit to the posters here at the Disenfranchised Curmudgeon. They did not defend me because they are wise enough to understand the truth of the statement.

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  218. Common Good: “<>Pawaaa… that was the most creative defense against ignoring global warming that I’ve seen yet.<>”Nice rant. You may want to lay off that second cup of coffee so late in the day though.Gore’s book <>Earth in the Balance – Ecology and the Human Spirit<> is a very religious book. < HREF="http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/Gore.html" REL="nofollow">Here is a non-WorldNetDaily site<> that you can read quotes from the book. Being a disciple of global warming, your blind faith may prevent you from identifying or accepting the religious concepts Gore uses to describe his ecological salvation. I realize that any website that I reference is suspect purely because it identifies your religion for what it is, but alas, you can’t make the horse drink the water.Prof. Ricardo

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  219. Prof,Pawaaa… that was the most creative defense against ignoring global warming that I’ve seen yet. I guess the FDA banning certain drugs or speed limit signs on the highway would also be imposing religion. Pawaaaaaaa!!!!! You really need to lay off that WorldNetDaily. What a crock. Prof… please tell me you aren’t one of those guys who wears his ideology on the back bumper of his car. I saw a bumper sticker the other day that reminded me of why the GOP can manipulate the RR at will by bringing back the golden oldies (Marriage constitution amendment to be debated again this week in the Senate): “God listens to knee mail”. Terrorism, Bird flu, global warming, Iraq war, US debt as far as the eye can see, wealth gap and gutting of the middle class, and what’s on the GOP driven agenda over the next several weeks? 1) Gay marriage 2) Estate taxes of billionaires. If Tony wonders why the moneyed elite can use Shrub as a puppet to sell tyranny… all he has to do is see what the public is willing to buy. Tony’s big deal is the failure of the public to see the devestation of the two party system. I wonder exactly what type of system would be good enough to overcome a population living in these times that puts Gay marriage and billionaire estate taxes up front as a priority?Tony… ban Prof if he posts another WorldNetDaily link. And to think… I taught him how to post links. Actually… don’t ban him. That would only leave around 3 of us. Tony, if tyranny is really a risk, it would be because < HREF="http://www.abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=1841989" REL="nofollow">these guys <> decide it’s in their interest. Shrub would be the puppet for tyranny… insignificant really. So far they haven’t required tyranny to keep thier game in tact. They have sold conservatism by putting pretty faces on it {poster child being Reagan}. Granted, after the idiot Shrub’s run, even the lemmings are taking note. The New Deal was satan to the wealth horders, it took many decades to try and put it back in a box. I think the puppet masters made a couple of tragic mistakes, however. First, they seem blind to the idea of throwing enough crumbs down to the peons. The peons don’t need much, but when you soak up riches by sending manufacturing elsewhere, you might want to take note of the numbers of peons being left out in the cold. Second… SHRUB. What can one say… how could they know their puppet will come to the conclusion along the way that he got to the White House on individual merit. Maybe he really does believe God wanted him to be there. That’s scary as hell, because it looks like that means he also believes he is helping to facilitate the end of days. Curm won’t matter unless he ever has significant $. Now that is bone-crushingly depressing. I don’t understand those Elton John lyrics. I heard that song the other day and meant to go look up the lyrics.

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  220. Common Good: “<>The only three people left who think global warming is a hoax is Shrub, Inhoffe and Prof.<>”You religious blokes are all alike.< HREF="http://www.wnd.com/news/printer-friendly.asp?ARTICLE_ID=50480" REL="nofollow">Al Gore’s hellfire and damnation<>Prof. Ricardo

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  221. Guy,I hear your lament. Isn’t it a sad thing when one yearns for the days when Presidents were only proven guilty of sexual discrimination and perjury.You share my lament, but you aver that I protest too much. I think you are reacting to my tone more than my content. Explain to me where I am wrong.BTW, I love the Elton John. That was stinking funny.

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  222. Guy,“<>I long for the days when secret trysts with easy interns were the worst things going on in the White House.<>”Would you take another < HREF="http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2001/2/12/103217.shtml" REL="nofollow">pardongate<>? Not just 47, but say 11 million?Prof. Ricardo

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  223. Well, you doth protest a bit much. I know you didn’t just land on this rock. My take, as is yours from the tenor of your blog, its going to get a lot worse before it gets better.I long for the days when secret trysts with easy interns were the worst things going on in the White House.Next time, work in some Elton John:He was born a pauper to a pawn ona Christmas dayWhen the New York Times said God is dead And the war’s begunAlvin Tostig has a son today.Levon likes his money.Guy.

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  224. Check this out for a sad reality:We {Curm bloggers} don’t matter on this globe…. and yet Bush does. It doesn’t matter how much wiser Curm is than our president… Bush is impacting our world and Curm isn’t. Follow the money…. the rest is just background noise and illusions.US Meritocracy? Not unless you equate merit with $.

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  225. Though I’m no masochist, its time for Professor to take his lumps. I need a clear conscience so I want the full arm of the law to come down on me. Although a citizen since birth (you have to go back at least 170 years to find an immigrant ancestor of mine) I am willing to humble myself and take the “punishment” that our staunch defender against terrorism has reserved for illegal aliens. Yep, I will throw myself on the sword of just punishment that illegal aliens will receive for their international trespass. Can you imagine? They must, and I’m not kidding here, have to pay 3 years of taxes for the last 5+ years income. I humbly request that I too must pay 3 years of taxes for the last 5+ years income. I’ll even let the government choose the highest and most painful levels of tax that I have paid. Then I want the balance of the taxes I’ve paid in over the years refunded immediately. I’ll take it in any denomination, thank you. Direct deposit is welcome too. Oh, and while I’m at it, I’ll take that 1 free forgiven felony (forged and stolen identification) in the form of a gift certificate to be redeemed at my option.It is tough being treated with the iron fist of Bush. I know I’ll have your compassion as I walk this low road, for no wrong doing of my own, but merely to show my solidarity and compassion for my fellow man.After this horrific trial, I was thinking about vacationing, I mean fasting, in Guantanamo where I would be forced to eat meals prepared to not offend my ethnicity or religious convictions, so as to preserve my life and have no casualties of our protesting. I’m feeling very Italian this week. I wonder how their veal Parmesan is. I hope they use fresh tomatoes. Those poor tortured souls.Of course, all the fun and frolic will come to a cease when Al-bortion Gore-bachev or Hillary RODHAM-Clinton becomes president in ‘08. At that time we will need to clean up real & perceived world problems. It is only through the self-flagellation of regulation and taxation that we can truly live with ourselves in the theater of political correctness and socialism. Ah! To perform for those who hate you. The Christians in Rome never had it so good.Good article Tony. I too am disenfranchised. However, Jesse Jackson has ruined that word for me. Politicians have a habit of doing that.Prof. Ricardo

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  226. Was there a judge involved? It was the executive branch’s Justice Department. Did they go to a judge and if so… what’s the process. My guess is they could go judge shopping pretty easily. You live in a society where over 50% of the voters gave Shrub a second term… and you are worried about a bit of tyranny. 🙂I think I will be for Gore in 2008. He seems to have been right about a lot of things that Shrub was dead wrong on. The only three people left who think global warming is a hoax is Shrub, Inhoffe and Prof.

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  227. CG,My, my CG. That post is the best evidence in existence that all of efforts to educate the world are a miserable failure.You said, <>”We {the people} get punished during impeachments.” <> You pretty much anticipated my response, but are off as to degree.There is no worse punishment for We The People than a government that is not made of laws. Your utilitarian approach on this one is bordering on obscene.Yeah, impeaching Clinton would have been painful. But perhaps we could have avoided some of the worst excesses of the present administration. Impeaching Shrub would be painful, but how much more painful will our continued descent into the abyss of tyranny be?The sad truth is your analysis is exactly what most people do and exactly a key ill in our society. Pain avoidance is what we are all about now.The truth is that keeping our Liberty was never calculated to be an easy proposition. I for one think that short term ease for long term tyranny is a very poor bargain. One the Congressional Office search…I really do not want to get deep into that one. The short version is that Congressmen are citizens subject to all the laws just like you are I. As long as the search was pursuant to a valid search warrant, there is no Constitutional problem. Legal searches like that are an appropriate check on legislative power since the other two branches have to concur in order for the search to occur.

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  228. Curm,McCain giving speeches at Falwell U… Hillary still a Iraq hawk. Sad… but then why would a greed-based society deserve better? Our politicians stink… but they look pretty good stood up next to their constituents. Want better leaders… find better voters.

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  229. Curm… that would be fecal colored glasses. (Prof… I loved that one).<>The only question now, as eight years ago is whether the law was broken.<>Huh? … you were talking about impeachment right? Obviously your question above is not the only question when it comes to impeachment. What a quick-draw-impeacher the Curm is. We {the people} get punished during impeachments. It will always be a threshold question on whether the costs of impeachment to {we the people} is worth it. Your valid response here is “there is also a cost to avoiding impeachment”… which is of course correct in some circumstances {that rule of law thing}. Clinton… with a couple of years left in office wasn’t even close to worth it. Shrub comes a lot closer… but even here he is in that last stretch towards Crawford. I won’t back you on a call to impeach Shrub… and politics have nothing to do with it. Jeeze… just when I thought you were finally seeing a bit of grey and pracital reality-based utilitarian ways… you snap back into black and white dude. I guess it was too much to hope for. 🙂What about the Congress critter office search? Surely the Curm has an opinion on that one.

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  230. CG,Unlike you and the other people who see things through politically colored glasses, I think whether you are tired of impeachment or not is utterly irrelevant. The only question now, as eight years ago is whether the law was broken.All this squishy non-sense about feelings and politics is the entire problem. Sure, what the GOP did was wrong. But don’t use that to justify the actions of the Dems today. It is all wrong and I don’t give a flying turd who is tired or not.

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  231. I’m not up for another impeachment after watching the Starr witch hunts. This nation knew exactly what they were getting with Bush in 2004… and doesn’t deserve to get out of this until 2008. On another subject, I’m curious what everyone thinks about the Justice Department searching the Louisiana Congress critter’s office. I can’t decide. On the one hand, it’s pretty scary to think of any president playing politics {not that this case was… dude did have $90 grand in the frig} by turning the Justice Department on another branch. On the other hand, a congress critter shouldn’t be able to consider their office a safe haven for anything they want. Bottom line I guess is the search has to be possible… but defining those boundaries seems a bit tricky.

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