President Barack Obama delivers his inagural address after taking the oath as the 44th U.S. President at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., today.

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President Barack Obama delivers his inagural address after taking the oath as the 44th U.S. President at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., today.

Full transcript of President Obama's speech

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— Text of President Barack Obama's inaugural address on Tuesday, as prepared for delivery and released by the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

OBAMA: My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land - a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. Those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control - and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart - not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers ... our found fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all the other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort - even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment - a moment that will define a generation - it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence - the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet (it)."

America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

Comments

aichempty 5 years, 11 months ago

The first time he opened his mouth in his official capacity, he choked on the oath of office.

Financial stocks fell 30% TODAY!

Has anybody seen the approval rating yet? This ought to be good . . .

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Fred Duckels 5 years, 11 months ago

He is all things to all people, I wish him well, it will certainly be interesting to watch.

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stillinsteamboat 5 years, 11 months ago

George Bush never choked on HIS words. From what I understand President Obama stumbled because the oath was recited incorrectly to HIM.

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Steve Lewis 5 years, 11 months ago

Actually, according to the news coverage, Justice Roberts chose not to read, and incorrectly quoted the oath of office.

What a sad, dark bunker it must be when the joy of one's countrymen, on this level, needs a rebuttal.

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playa46 5 years, 11 months ago

Republicans will do anything to feel like they are right.

"Obama choked on his words!!!! Bad President!!!!"

Did it ever occur to you that standing up in front of a crowd of many and having every person watching you on the tele is a bit scary? So what if someone chokes?

Stillinsteamboat- Where have you been living the past eight years? Have you heard Bush's vocabulary? Misunderestimated, (under spell check, it is an incorrect word), he won't even say nuclear correctly. Please don't point fingers at Obama because he choked once.

As for Aich, the same thing applies to you, you are too wrapped around your republican flag. Face it, Obama will be your President and whether or not you become part of the problem or solution is up to you.

Congrats Barrack!!!

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stillinsteamboat 5 years, 11 months ago

Playa, I am an Obama supporter. I was being sarcastic. Read again, I said the oath was recited to Obama incorrectly.

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oldskoolstmbt 5 years, 11 months ago

you are so right stillin'!!and playa!(except for your misunderstanding of stillin') aich....sour grapes have been defeated or stomped out...go chill in an oak barrel somewhere and make use of yourself!

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JLM 5 years, 11 months ago

Good luck and Godspeed to President Barack Obama!

Playa, calm down, you rise too easily to the bait! LOL

Let's give the new President our support and a fair chance to perform. Nobody really knows what to do in the environment we find ourselves in today. Maybe this guy can figure it out. I hope so.

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playa46 5 years, 11 months ago

Still- My bad I am sorry. I did "misunderstand" you.

JLM- The only problem I have is when people just won't accept the President because they feel they are wrong.

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aichempty 5 years, 11 months ago

Oh, okay, my bad. The Chief Justice screwed it up.

Uh, the financial stocks still fell 30% in a single day. Is that the Chief Justice's fault too?

The amazing part is that, apparently, there were still some people around who thought Obama would not take office. Why else hold onto the stocks until the last day to sell them at a loss?

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aichempty 5 years, 11 months ago

Playa,

The Republicans have let me down terribly. They have been sleazy and greedy when they had a chance to make things better.

I'm not against President Obama at all. I hope he accomplishes every goal he has set out for health care, energy and national security.

I just haven't heard even ONE feasible approach to any of it yet. They all require people to work and sacrifice for the common good, and today's Americans are not going to do it. They will wait for somebody else to do the work and make the sacrifices.

Those of us who have worked and made sacrifices don't need bailouts and special programs. We thought about things in advance and planned ahead. We've been responsible for ourselves and the support of our families all along.

And no, getting a job in an auto plant and working there for 20 years is not what I'm talking about. That's a perfect example of cruising along betting that everything will be okay in the long run, and then all of a sudden, it's not.

There's a reason why the top few percent of American money earners pay 50% of the income tax. It's because the top few percent do 50% or more of the valuable work.

Obama doesn't have to convince ME to work and save and invest and provide for my family's security. He's got to convince all of YOU to do the same thing. History proves that raising up the poor is the task that cannot be accomplished, because most don't have the ambition or capacity to excel. It's easier to slip along on the margin and leave the hard work up to others, and that's the part nobody can change.

I see people every day who find it easier to be dumb and poor than to work to be smart and wealthy. They're the ones counting on Obama to save them. It's not going to happen.

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trump_suit 5 years, 11 months ago

Aich, you sound like a bitter old man that is not getting what he wants. Most of us are hopeful for the future, but on almost every topic in these forums, you come across with a bitter negative attitude.

My only question is why???? Has life treated you so badly that you can only be negative, or are you so stilted in your world views that only yours can be the correct answer?

I submit to you that the world is not black and white but many shades of gray. This leads to the the invitable conclusion that the world will survive regardless who/what we elect, and also that there is real and justifiable reasons to believe in our future.

I would call for each and everyone of you to honour your presidents call to service. Pick a worthwhile charity and donate some of yourself to America in time and money.

Congratulations to our new president.

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trump_suit 5 years, 11 months ago

PS. Have any of us made a commitment to charity at this point? If we spent even one hour per week in providing some kind of service to the community poor Steamboat would be inundated with 10-20000 hours of additional manpower each week. Just think about what we could accomplish with that many hours.

I have not made my commitment yet, but have been considering a few options, and will try to begin donating some of myself by February 1. What will you do? lets talk about what we can do to help instead of arguing about the problem

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aichempty 5 years, 11 months ago

Playa,

You're a bit short on experience and knowledge. People have been "getting mad at us" since 1776. American isolationism has never resulted in anything but foreign aggression against us and our allies.

Our nation became wealthy enough after World War II (which ended the Great Depression by putting the population to work on the war effort) to start giving money away to so-called "needy" people and nations around the world. This trend has bankrupted us. We're back to where we were in 1939. This is all a result of foreign actions against us where we have no control (OPEC), a failure of leadership in our government, and a failure of the American people to embrace the values that made us strong in the first place. Self-sufficiency and pioneer spirit gave us dominance over this continent from Atlantic to Pacific, brought "freedom" and allowed the speculators and con men to come along and exploit the weaker people until financial collapse occurred. Twice. 1929 and 2008.

Speculation and profiteering are responsible for both economic collapses. Values and prices were artificially inflated, and when the bubbles burst, the equity was not enough to cover the debt taken out against the assets. My evidence? Today, 25% of American home owners have mortgages that are higher than the fair market value of their homes (quoted on NBC Today this morning). The homes are worth what they're worth; it's the "funny money" created by artificially high and speculative prices that we've lost. Democrats and Republicans bear equal responsibility for creating this mess. Government policies have allowed the financial markets to lend out more money than people can repay, and that's what bid up all the prices on homes and cars that put us in this crunch.

(continued)

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aichempty 5 years, 11 months ago

Trumpy,

If American can change just because Mr. Obama asks for it, then why didn't America change before he came along?

When you figure out the answer to that one, then you'll know why I keep warning people not to expect too much.

I think it's great we've got a new President who wants to make things better. God bless him, I think he means it. I hope he succeeds.

The thing he needs is 100 different Senators and 400 different representatives to help him. That's the one he's going to have a hard time with.

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playa46 5 years, 11 months ago

Aich- Because so many people did not want change, and we also had a president in support of many things driving our economy down, and another one along the way.

Didja think of that??

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aichempty 5 years, 11 months ago

Playa,

The mortgage crisis was maybe the biggest factor in driving our economy down. Loss of industry and manufacturing jobs to other nations is at least, or maybe more, to blame.

Granting credit to people not able to repay is responsible for a large part of the financial losses and collapse of the stock market. Do your research, go back and see how it all came to be, and you'll find President Clinton and the Democratic majority in congress having a lot to do with easing credit for low-income and disadvantaged borrowers. Now, on the Republican side, people were in business to make money, and oh, boy, did they. So, loans were made and serviced and sold and packaged into investment portfolios and all that jazz based upon the idea that the mortgages would be paid on time. I don't know where the breakdown in good faith came in, but borrowing money you may not be able to repay, and loaning money you may not be able to get back, both contributed to the crisis. Now, PLEASE tie both of those failures back to specific presidential actions and you're going to find that Clinton forced the government to trust people who were not credit worthy, and Bush failed to see the coming disaster and do something to regulate the financial markets to prevent it. Of course, had Bush done this, people would have said he was cutting off credit to minorities and blue collar workers.

Now, which way would you have wanted to see it go: Cut off credit to those who "might" default before they did, or expect people to keep their word, act in good faith, and repay the money they borrowed until they actually defaulted?

Environmental policy and job policy stated by Clinton and Gore was to make the United States dependent on jobs tied to information rather than hard goods. Go back and look it up. The first casualty of an economic downturn is the support functions (information, finance, insurance) which don't get paid for when income disappears. That's what happened to us. We've got millions of workers who lost jobs in the financial collapse, which also were the core of the Clinton-Gore re-engineering of America to protect the environment from industry. The pro-environmental segment would have resisted any attempt by Bush to change back to a production based economy, so even if he'd seen this coming, his hands would have been tied.

Obama wants to put Americans back to work producing hard goods and building "concrete" additions to the infrastructure. All will have vast environmental impact.

So, Bush is to be faulted for failing to see the future created by those who came before him, and by the opposition party. Would the Democrats have supported a return to a manufacturing economy and a tightening of credit that would impact low-income and minority voters before it actually happened?

If the answer is yes, then why didn't the majority party start two years ago when they took over control of congress?

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Steve Lewis 5 years, 11 months ago

Trumpy, The best note of this thread - give something back. Thanks.

Lift-Up, among others, is doing important work for our neighbors who need help today.

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trump_suit 5 years, 11 months ago

I think it is a sad thing that when challenged to give of yourself and your time, all you think of is spending money. There is a lesson here, is anyone listening?

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trump_suit 5 years, 11 months ago

Aich, thanks for the new nick name :) Trumpy, I kindof like it..

I think it is entirely possible that Americans have decided to change, and were being held back by those in power. I think that it is time to embrace a new generation of leadership, and to reject to cooporate first policies of the past. I also belieive that the Bush administration gave America a seriously bad black eye with things like Guantanamo Bay, torture, Abu Garib and statements like "You are either with us or against us", and "Bring em' on".

I do not have a blind eye to the policies of previous administrations, and have voted republican more often than Democrat for most of my life. The current meltdown can be traced to many a bad decision from all sides including regulatory, financial, and personal. This includes that massive deficeits that have been run to fight a war in Iraq, and give massive bailouts to Wall Street executives that deserve a good whipping more than a bonus.

Special interests have long controlled our policy making and someone needs to put a stop to it. On issues like energy, healthcare, and banking, the lobbyists are in control. I hope that maybe just maybe we have elected a man who will see thru the limited views of the special interst groups, and will make some common sense decisions for the average American.

This country can complete on a level playing field with anyone in the world, and our regulatory structure should encourage American investment and jobs instead of profits and greed. Yes, we can and the belief has to start with each of us. I am hopeful for our future.

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aichempty 5 years, 11 months ago

Shrew,

Hey, here's another good one: "For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten Son, so that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16).

Now THIS is a good deal. Believe in the divine status of one man, and you buy an eternity of paradise. No other effort is required.

This is even easier than what Obama has asked us to do, but how many people sign up?

BHO is not The Messiah. If he wants this thing to work, he'd better have more than some ideas in his back pocket about what to do next. "Things to try" are very different from "things that have been proven to work." Unfortunately, the things that work have pretty much been banned by politicians already.

We don't need any more ideas or promises. We need some loaves and fishes.

I'm afraid the model we're going fit most closely over the next few years is the one of post-Soviet Russia.

When Spring comes, people had better be out in the heartland turning over the soil, raising cattle and pigs and chickens and returning to an era of self-sufficiency. For some, that will mean giving up everything, starting over, and working and hoping for a better future. I think that will be a lot more effective than just embracing hope and virtue and moving forward into the future without goals that will produce real, measurable value at the end of the day.

Here's a challenge for you. If you could not pay your bills, which one would you stop paying first? Make a prioritized list based on which things can be given up to pay for others to keep the wolf away from the door for the longest time. For example, real property tax is a great one if you don't pay into an escrow account. You can get more than a year behind before any action is taken to collect it. How about household liability and loss insurance? Again, if you don't have a mortgage with an escrow account, this one might be worth taking some risk.

This is the sort of list WE have to make as a country. What can we live without first, and longest? That's where we should start.

Unfortunately, in Colorado, Real Estate-Rental-leasing is the biggest contributor to GDP. Government is second. Ouch. Fasten your seat belts fellows; it's going to be a bumpy ride. http://www.nemw.org/gdp1.htm

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ybul 5 years, 11 months ago

I think the change that people are really looking for, is some respect for the rule of law in this country. The thing driving our country down for the most part was government intervention in the market in addition to its non-intervention where it should have intervened.

It should stay out of providing grain subsidies, as that has consolidated the food industry, eliminated many rural jobs and destroyed many communities. The banking sector via home mortgage deductions, encouraging people to have more debt than they otherwise would have and the biggest factor is allowing the banking sector to reduce their reserve requirements and artificially lowering interest rates to keep the economy humming.

It should have intervened into the pollution markets and imposed an impact fee on emissions from tractors, fertilizers, power plants, as they have provided a negative impact on the environment and the health of the people of the country.

The health care mess is takes care of itself via nutrient dense foods being grown, as that is the only way to do it without subsidies, the unemployment issue takes care of itself as more people are require to work in the field to produce the field that we need.

Looking back at the story of Robin Hood, everyone perceives that story to be about him stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, when in reality it was him stealing from a corrupt government the excess taxes the government was taking from the people and returning it.

As the government is a net producer of nothing and if they make a mistake at the national level, maybe, there should be little done by the federal government as it creates nothing for the people. I think that is what are forefathers intended, as well as not allowing more densely populated states dictate what happens in the far off regions they are governing.

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untamedShrewd 5 years, 11 months ago

And at what point will most of you set aside your petty differences to work towards common goals for our country. Read, once again, President Obama's last paragraph that we, as a nation, face hardship but can embrace hope and virtue to move forward together.

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untamedShrewd 5 years, 11 months ago

aich, Why can't you put all that bad feeling behind you and let bygones be bygones? Sorry you have to clutch onto such hatred and the blame game. Until you can let go of your nonpartizan views, you'll have the most difficult time moving forward and finding the greatest wealth: inner peace. Simply quoting the scripture will not help you.

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bellyup 5 years, 11 months ago

Ann, please memorize this speech. There will be a test.

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aichempty 5 years, 11 months ago

Wow. How clueless.

All this "feelings" BS is the reason we're in the shape we're in. Wishing is not going to make things better. Reading to the blind is not going to solve the energy crisis.

The misguided goals exhibited by people who think that our problems can be solved by doing nothing related to the actual problems are a perfect example of what psychiatrists call "magical thinking." It comes from watching too much TV, believing in Star Wars and Stuart Little, and not really understanding how our world works.

We can't solve the credit crisis by extending more credit. We can only solve it by getting the debts paid or properly written off and not lending out more money to people who haven't demonstrated a will and ability to repay it.

We can't solve the energy crisis by refusing to exploit our own domestic sources.

We can't create jobs by teaching laid-off auto workers how to design websites because the advertising dollars that pay for such foolishness have to be supported by a real productive enterprise that creates wealth.

We CAN shut down Gitmo in honor of "American values" and release a couple hundred terrorists to go back and plot to kill us the first chance they get. Most of us up here won't worry about it, because the terrorists have not attacked a ski resort yet. Yet. It will happen to other people in some far-off place we don't know or care about, and we'll watch it on TV while smoking pot or cracking through a six-pack of tall boys after work.

Folks, you might as well send out your wishes to the universe and wait for dollar bills to start arriving in the U S Mail unless you are willing to do something SUBSTANTIVE, EFFECTIVE and VALUABLE. Leaving all that detail stuff up to Obama and his experts is just not going to work in the long run. The only thing he can do is throw taxpayer money at problems, and hopefully, find real solutions that will fix what's wrong.

A lot of the wealth people are depending on to get us out of this mess disappeared in the stock market. The number of people who were making over $250k dropped like a rock in the past few months.

Except for real estate, we live in a tourist economy. The ones we serve had better keep showing up, or we're screwed. Volunteering to clear snow off the library roof is not going to put money in pockets in Detroit so that auto execs can take ski vacations this Winter.

When President Obama said we're all going to have to sacrifice, he means the people who voted for him, too. A Republican wouldn't have asked for anything like that, because a Republican would have already dealt with the fact that the Democratic voter base doesn't sacrifice anything. They declare victim status and put their hands out.

Nothing is better because Obama was elected. We were always going to get stuck with the dirty consequences. He only gets to preside over what happens now.

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aichempty 5 years, 11 months ago

Trumpet,

Yes, that's a very good post. It's an excellent message.

Here's what we can do to really help.

Take money out of the bank and go buy an American-made product with it. Don't use credit, and don't pay over time.

The resulting transfer of value of real dollars (not made up, credit dollars) into someone else's hands in exchange for something valuable they produced by adding value to raw materials creates real wealth.

That person then needs to do the same thing; purchase an American-made product with a real dollar to obtain something produced with raw materials and labor right here in America.

If we can turn those "real" dollars over 3 or 4 times before they finally purchase a Happy Meal or a box of condoms or some other consumer product and end up in the landfill or the sewage plant, we'll be on our way to prosperity again. A dollar spent four times in a year contributes twice as much to the GDP as the same dollar spent only twice. Get it?

The counter-example is for the government to borrow money to pay someone to repair bridges or plow snow off the road. Most government dollars find their way into the economic food chain at the last or next-to-last point before turning into human waste or discarded consumable items. Why? Because a person laboring for minimum wage on a road project isn't as likely to take his dollars and go buy a car, a house, a washer and dryer or other durable goods as a skilled professional or technical worker making more money. That's just how it goes. It is a pyramid, and we've got to live with it.

If you really want to do something good locally, figure out a way to process beetle-killed trees into the plastic crap we buy from China, and make it as cheap as the stuff sells for in Wal-Mart. The resulting phyiscal plant, equipment, machinery and skilled labor become -- guess what -- WEALTH! We would have taken something of little value and made it valuable, and in the process, created jobs and a demand for tree-processing equipment, logging trucks, chain saws, etc., that somebody in some other town could produce to sell to US to use in our tree processing business.

The idea is to take our own real money, invest it in things that will provide continued value and income back to us, and provide jobs for Americans. By doing this, we reduce the need for charitable support of the ill and indigent, because we create jobs and wealth for THEM to provide for their own needs.

The loss of our skilled manufacturing segment is the source of our woes. It's time to face it and do something about it.

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aichempty 5 years, 11 months ago

Pub,

I have dipped my paddle from many canoes during my career, including involvement with human performance under stress. Like, for example, observing people blindfolded and trapped underwater to see if they can remember the way to get out and swim to the surface. Cool, huh? And people complain about water boarding . . .

People under stress tend to follow their nature and instincts rather than what they've been taught or coached to do. This is why military pilots experience intentional stress during flight training, so that they are accustomed to thinking their way through a problem when standard procedures don't work. Also, they practice emergency procedures over and over so that they are second nature, and then are quizzed on the procedures while under stress to make sure they have mastered both the procedure and the stress.

Both Obama and Roberts were under stress during the swearing in. The radio reporter I was listening to during the oath of office said that Roberts went back because of the specific language required by the Constitution. In this case, it looks like Roberts screwed up, however, I was led to believe that Obama was the one who had made the mistake. So, I assumed that Obama messed up under stress, and I was wrong. But, it appeared that Obama choked on the words of the oath, and that would indicate a resistance to being subjected to the oath, just like there are physiological characteristics that can be observed using a lie detector, and that was the reason for my comment.

However, the re-do was far more interesting. No Bible. Why not? He felt the original oath might not be valid, and so wanted to do it again, but then didn't put his hand on the Bible, indicating that he didn't want to be bound by the oath. Either that, or nobody at the White House had a Bible. Now THAT would be front page news.

Obama has the job, and now, I believe, he knows he's in over his head. He knows a lot now that he'd never have known as a Senator. Maybe he's just afraid to fail and let everyone down, or, maybe he plans to be as free with his interpretation of the laws as everyone accused Bush and Cheney of being.

Obama is practiced, but he is not slick. He's not the seamless liar that Clinton tried to be. He goes stony when he's in control, and when he's not, he's quite expressive in interesting ways. The painted on smirk during the debates is one of the stony facades. The disdain on Obama's face when Biden compared his own poor memory to Chief Justice Roberts' was one of the expressive looks.

So, like I said, I was wrong because I was led astray into thinking Obama was covering up a lie. Apparently, he was not at that time, but then what about later for the second swearing-in? And what about the self-doubt that led him to take a second oath? Those are the telling events. Could be, he's just nervous because he's new. Or, he could be out of his depth. I guess we'll see.

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stillinsteamboat 5 years, 11 months ago

Isn't there a Chinese proverb about how saying things in a few words will have more impact than rambling on and on and on and on...........? I wish I could remember it.

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aichempty 5 years, 11 months ago

Yeah, but you've got the country of origin wrong.

Denial is more than a river in Africa.

I think Obama is 100% right that we all have to get up, get out and make things different. The thing is, we need to make the things different that will have a positive effect on our security, economy, health and welfare. This town traditionally "shows support" by stuff like sticking a Teddy Bear on the memorial after an accident when we should have been taking a pro-active stance to prevent the injury in the first place.

Our affordable housing efforts are a perfect example of an ineffective government program which has really done nothing but drive up costs for developers without putting workers into affordable homes.

So, I'm well aware that you don't want to hear the truth about what needs to be done, but that doesn't change the facts. Sitting around and feeling good about Obama taking office for a couple of weeks before reality sets in is a pure waste of time for everybody. I guess the real difference now is that people who wanted change don't have G W Bush to blame for blocking it.

Okay, so change. 1, 2, 3, GO!

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aichempty 5 years, 11 months ago

As for the "getting mad" part, it goes back to Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin. Divvying up the world after WW-II is the source of all our current conflicts. Truman inherited the war with Germany and Japan. He got us involved in conflict in Korea against the Chinese communists. Eisenhower had to deal with Russia, and got us into Vietnam. Kennedy continued it, and so did Johnson. Nixon ended the Vietnam war, but wildfire inflation came along. Nixon, Ford and Carter supported Iran as an ally, and then Iran had its Islamic Revolution. Reagan came along, dealt with all of them, and defeated the Soviet Union in the Cold War, as well as dealing with communist insurgencies and corrupt dictators in our own hemisphere and supporting Iraq against Iran. People foolishly thought that the fall of the Soviet Union would bring peace (where Bush senior comes in), but it only led to ethnic conflicts and Muslim resurgency in the Middle East. Through it all, our volunteer armed services (the draft ended in 1972 or so) have allowed Americans who didn't choose to serve to stay home. A whole bunch of them got fat, lazy, became drug-addled, lived in ways that have destroyed the American family, and generally behaved like a bunch of selfish children.

Most of the people working in the World Trade Center were involved in nothing but financial speculation. They bought "something" (money, stocks, futures, etc.), waited for the price of it to go up, and then sold it. In a world with a booming economy and trade and commerce going like wildfire, it was possible to make money that way. Then oil hit $140 a barrel and a bunch of adjustable rate mortgages came due and everything collapsed. Hence, the collapse of the financial and banking industries along with the U S auto industry, which was about the only one we had left, and now millions are out of work and carrying debt they MUST pay or be out of their homes with no credit available to buy a cheaper one.

The American electorate, dissatisfied with how things are, fell for a line of salvationist crap from a guy who probably couldn't make a living as an insurance agent in Steamboat Springs. The mantra of "change" is empty without a redirection of will and effort by the American people who must make the sacrifices and do the work to recover from this mess. I don't doubt Obama's sincerity, however, his ability to deliver is nil without money, and where does he get that? Got to borrow it, or tax it from us, and both of those wells are just about dry already. In the end, the only thing he can really do is give direction to the armed forces as the commander-in-chief, veto bills passed by congress, and run his own executive department if he can get the money to keep the people working.

(continued)

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ybul 5 years, 11 months ago

--Unfortunately, except for cattle ranching, those jobs are in short supply around here.--

That is the question, how to create those jobs around here. What kind of jobs create wealth, help to bring in money from outside the area and retain that money which flows into the area here.

What resources abound that can be utilized to create good jobs, in the area. Timber, Mining, Agriculture. Timber and agriculture are renewable and should be the foundation of efforts to provide jobs for ourselves and others. Community building while still at the same time allowing one advantage of their desire to work hard.

That is what the city/chamber should be contemplating today.

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trump_suit 5 years, 11 months ago

Aich,

I just love the way you refer to "Democrats/Liberals/Anyone who doesn't agree with you" as drug addled. You are obviously a well educated person that has been around for a while, and has paid attention to history, and the effect of current events 10-20-30 years later. In my opinion, you are correct about much of the context that you provide. Here is the rub. (Again in my opinion) You have become so narrow in your views that you are unwilling to consider that other opinions may in fact have merit.

There are a great many people in this country that believe our basic rights have been curtailed and/or trampled by the Bush/Cheney administration. Their reaction to what happened on 9/11 is not in balance with the basic rights and protections granted to US citizens by the Constitution. In addtion, the war in Iraq was expensive and unnecessary.

I for one reject those policies and strongly believe that we can have it both ways. A working democracy is messy, ugly and fractious but ultimately better than the alternatives. Our Constitutional rights must be protected above all else.

I am not sure how anyone manages to blame the Obama administration for the current economic mess, but please remember that the first 700B TARP asset program was requested/managed by the Bush administration, and the Stock Market has been ugly for the last year. The current economic meltdown has factors that go back 20 and 30 years. These factors include deregulation; speculation; lack of accountability; healthcare costs; politics; lobbying; greed; etc. Both parties are part of the problem as are American citizens and foreign nationals. You cannot run a bubble economy forever and debts must be paid.

The current economic mess has been on the horizon for years, now, and was predicted by many respected individuals. (Warren Buffet comes to mind). It will eventually correct itself and does not represent a return to the Dark Ages or the Great Depression.

In my opinion, the real questions for the future are energy and clean water. The Government has a role to play in both of those questions, and has much to do with developing the proper kind of regulatory environment that will encourage the kind of private investment required. If the Tax structure and energy costs rewarded alternate fuels and higher mileage standards we would see better alternatives from private industry. Nothing is free, and changing our energy sources will be painful and expensive but that is the challenge that we must face. I hope that Pres. Obama is setting up what he campaigned for in these areas, and will use our money to make progress along these lines instead of just bailing out the Wall Street executives like we have seen thus far.

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public_thoughts 5 years, 11 months ago

I love these comment debates.

aich, thanks for provoking the conversation and keeping it going. I think its too bad that your good points and basic economic sensabilities get drowned out by your obvious dislike of people and ideas that you don't agree with. Go back and and read your original comment and explain to me in what way you were trying to be productive or solution oriented.

Got any other ideas for creating "real" wealth besides transforming beetle kill into plastic? Natural resource extraction? Manufacturing opportunities? Anyone got an idea?

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JLM 5 years, 11 months ago

Drop capital gains taxes to 0% --- almost purely symbolic because there is about $3T of capital gain loss carryforward out there but it would attract capital to new deals.

Fund the SBA loan programs x 50. These programs provide loans to entrepreneurs who are creating jobs by the ones, twos and fives but all these programs run out of $$$$$ by the second quarter of each fiscal year.

Convert the SBA programs to a 100% government guaranty rather than the current 80-85%.

Give the new authority to the top 25% of the SBA funding sources based upon their historic loan default rates.

Then, get out of the way because the entrepreneurial class of America will explode with jobs. EXPLODE!

Fully fund the SBA or spend $250MM on condoms? You decide.

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JLM 5 years, 11 months ago

@ playa ---

"JLM- The only problem I have is when people just won't accept the President because they feel they are wrong."

Could you please put that into English for me and s - l - o - w l - y!

You have absolutely stumped me, p-man.

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aichempty 5 years, 11 months ago

We can't afford to be drug-addled, lazy, selfish and irresponsible any longer. Those days are over. If you've been living on borrowed money, prepare to see your standard of living fall. If you're not producing or distributing the real necessities of life, prepare to see your job disappear. If you want to get a job that makes more money, go to school and become an engineer, scientist, doctor, nurse or other professional (not an attorney) who delivers essential goods and services to consumers.

The work that will be rewarded will be direct labor that results in production or delivery of a thing having real value on a basic level of supporting life and health. Shelter will be big. Food. Basic necessities. Luxuries will be a thing of the past for most working people. You won't see a guy with a wage-earner job buying a $30,000 truck with zero-down, zero-interest and $1000 cash back. Used cars are going to be BIG business, and people will be learning to repair their own again. Conservation will be a way of life, and gardening will make a comeback.

America has been living like a prom queen in a small town, enjoying daddy's money and big house, until she decides to go to Hollywood and be a star. Twenty years later, she's waiting on tables in Denny's and wondering what happened.

Will we see former financiers working as migrant laborers in the vegetable fields this year? Maybe not, but if you're waiting on tables in Steamboat Springs to support your artistic ambitions, hoping for a break, you might want to stock up on sun screen and work on doing a lot of bending and squatting exercises to get in shape for the strawberry harvest.

It's not the fault of Obama, or Bush, or Reagan, or Clinton, or anyone else. It's OUR fault for failing to plan ahead for hard times when life was comfortable, and allowing our kids to think comfort is a birthright.

I have relatives who grew up during the Great Depression who have lived in paid-for houses for twenty or thirty years. They've saved and been conservative and planned for hard times even when times were good. I thought they were unambitious, but I was wrong. They were afraid of what could happen. Today, they're in pretty good shape compared to millions of others who have lived high on borrowed credit and salaries from non-essential jobs.

People who live simply and work in basic, productive businesses have to be the new role models. Unfortunately, except for cattle ranching, those jobs are in short supply around here. Unless you're able to live without going to work every day (and a lot of people around here are), a lot of people are going to have to find a place to live and work elsewhere. So, it's going to be rough, and it won't be Barack Obama's fault.

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playa46 5 years, 11 months ago

Ack Aich, I thought you were starting to finally get it, oh well :p.

I am not denying the whole Clinton ideal, about many problems began from him, however, you too do some research, all the way to Bush Sr. His policies involved getting us involved with foreign affairs, and getting people angry at us. Presidents later picked up the stone, and it eventually led to good ol' Texas Bush Jr. Daddy was such a big idol, well, he simply had to finish what he started.

You're still putting words in my mouth I have never said, like any true republican, you change the subject because you feel threatened and you simply HAVE to be right.

(Sorry, I am a little tired today)

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JLM 5 years, 11 months ago

I very much dig aichempty's commentary as it is a good balance to the leftward leaning views of many folks on these pages. It is consistent, principled, well reasoned, experienced and intellectually sound. A bit harsh? Not for me but maybe it's like well seasoned Mexican food --- part of the allure is the bite.

You go, boy!

On the issue of all the rights infringed upon by President Bush and VP Cheney under the guise of getting after the terrorists --- what real impact has anybody who reads these words actually felt in their personal lives?

The only thing that has impacted me is the necessity for an officer of a corporation to appear in person to open a new bank account. If the corporation is headquatered in one state and wants to open a bank account for a subsidiary in another state then an officer has to go meet with the bank. Solved this by opening multiple accounts and putting some on the shelf; or, by appointing a local at the sub as an officer for this limited purpose. Haven't drawn blood on this yet.

Small price to pay for 7.5 years of safety in my book.

So who else?

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playa46 5 years, 11 months ago

Sorry JLM, what I said was a little confusing.

I have a problem with sore losers, people who just simply won't accept Obama as THEIR president. People who sit there and blog about how armaggedon is upon us and how because McCain didn't win, we are royally screwed. People who never give any one a chance because they are scared for their money, while thousands of others starve and live in poverty. That's what bother me JLM.

Looking at Trump's post, you can see I am not the only one who thinks Aich is so blind and wants to keep a hold of his money.

Aich- You're argument only has one problem: we are not in a depression, we are in a recession. Will we get through this? Yes, I believe we will, if we keep living and doing our best for this economy instead of laughing at others and watching the clock fly by, yes I think we can do this. I don't know what you are saying, you're trying to change subjects to make it look like you are better furthering you argument.

You keep throwing us back at the 1920's and 30's, where are you going with this? You tried hitting me with the Atomic Bomb Japan had, then you start whizzing on to the Great Depression.

Okay, I will play your little game.

People have been getting mad at us during 1776, yes, one nation, the British. We just started becoming a country. Now, if you look back 200 years later, you see that the British are no longer angry at us, in fact we are allies. You also see problems occurring ALL OVER THE GLOBE. Russia, China, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Korea, Sudan, Chad, Columbia and even the small country of Georgia.

A lot has happened, and it has all happened lately.

Also, America's "boom" was during WWI actually. Just thought I would put that there.

Also, Nixon furthered our efforts in Vietnam before actually ending the war.

Is this country necessarily "lazy"? We are the contributor of G. Warming, but we also create great technology and medicine for the world, you grouping out on group of people you see "unfit".

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JLM 5 years, 11 months ago

@ playa ---

Don't let it bother you, p, it's been going around for a long, long, long time and it's going to keep going around.

No President ever gets 100% support. The Democrats never gave President George W Bush a chance. The disrespect shown to our President at the Inauguration was simply incredible. The President is our leader whether one voted for him or not.

I must say that the Republicans as a group are infinitely classier in their respect for our new President, Barack Obama, than the Democrats ever were for President Bush. Not even a close call.

The honeymoon with President Obama will not last very long as policies enacted during his administration quickly begin to influence the country and we are able to assess whether his governing philosophy is sound. Already, it is clear that the first half of the TARP funding is a great big bust.

Just let there be a terror incident in the continental US and see how quickly President Obama goes out of fashion. God forbid!

Good luck and Godspeed to President Obama. We will quickly learn that President Obama does not know any more than anybody else about how to get us out of this unprecedented economic mess.

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aichempty 5 years, 11 months ago

This has been a really great exchange of ideas and viewpoints. I think the bottom line is that the old ways won't work anymore, but we don't yet know what the new way is going to be.

Clean air and clean water are surely requirements. So, does a nuclear waste repository hundreds of feet underground in Nevada threaten either one? That's where science and emotion clash and halt progress. The right has got to be realistic and as conservative about public and environmental health as the left. The left has got to do their homework, stop majoring in history and political science, and get skilled in the hard sciences so they can understand the real issues at stake.

We've had enough "interpretative science" where the people claiming to be "scientists" are really just telling part of the story in order to support their own emotional causes. That's bad. Coming up with scientific studies to support the positions of the people giving out the grants should be punishable as a criminal offense. It's part of the lobbying that hinders real progress.

As far as I'm concerned, people who don't pay their fair income tax liability should be listed as terrorists and have their Second Amendment rights removed too. Anyone who does harm to this country should be on the list. Anyone who breaks a federal law should be on the list. The biggest threats to our freedom are the domestic crooks and con men who profit unlawfully upon the Americans who are trying to live right, pay their bills, raise their families, and live in peace. We've got people right here in this county, including in official positions, who use their power to victimize innocent people for personal enrichment. If Obama did nothing but go after people like that for the next eight years, the positive impact on our society and economy would probably outweigh anything else he could change in the rest of the world.

And Playa, finally, yeah, we're not in a depression yet. Give it a bit. Where's the Deus ex Machina that's going to come down here and make everything right again? I don't see it. We've passed the tipping point (double digit unemployment according to Mr. O) and it may just be a matter of time.

Trump, opinions can have merit, just like theories which turn out to be wrong. It happens all the time. The ability to magically change reality to fit a wish, dream or hope only happens in fiction.

Well, this has been fun, but I've got to go finish tearing out a couple of closets so I can install that master bathroom my wife wants while prices are down, but before the people selling toilets and bath tubs go completely out of business.

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public_thoughts 5 years, 11 months ago

aich,

Again, when you delve into economics I am right with you, logical, hardlined, and often supported by history. Your conservative take is good for these discussions to be sure. But I do wonder how is it that you know Obama "couldn't make it as an insurance agent in Steamboat Springs"? And while I enjoyed your "stress test" interpretation of the oath mishap, you sure are looking really hard for proof of Obama's inability to lead. Why?

After filtering through the verbal jousting I do appreciate all thoughts on helping Steamboat and America get back on firmer financial footing. And with the goal of a solid economic foundation in mind, what effect can we have locally on developing... funding for small business loans, ranching, agriculture, timber and mineral extraction, water resources, manufacturing, traditional and renewable energy technology, efficiency, and infrastructure development?

Tourism gets bad rap because it is counted a luxury and drops off during an economic downturn, but isn't transforming the natural resources of unique topography, climate, and natural beauty into tourist dollars creating "real wealth" too? Maybe the question should be how do we balance our economic makeup and efforts?

I find myself full of questions, lacking in experience, and mostly without any answers, but I do believe that OUR ideas, effort, and inginuity on a local level will make the difference in how we come out of this mess. (Or much needed correction as I prefer to think of it.) Perhaps the stimulus package will greese those wheels, perhaps not. In the end its up to us, what we do to leverage our natural resources value upwards with our inginuity and effort.

Some smart guy once said that genius is 1% inpiration and 99% perspiration. Substitute 'change' for 'genius' and you have a world view that I can believe in. But, I must admit that when it comes to our future I'm still a sucker for 'Hope'.

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 11 months ago

Tourism really is a legitimate economic force, has been for centuries...

Christian pilgrims would leave Spain and bring Muslim architecture and medicine back home with them. The pointed arches of Gothic architecture, for example.

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 11 months ago

@aichempty:

"There's a reason why the top few percent of American money earners pay 50% of the income tax. It's because the top few percent do 50% or more of the valuable work."

Not really. Income tax is made up of capital gains, plus wages and labor. Those at the top are paying taxes primarily on their capital gains, not their wages and labor. Just what valuable work is done by anyone named Rockefeller, anyway?

"The thing he needs is 100 different Senators and 400 different representatives to help him. That's the one he's going to have a hard time with."

It would be nice if the President could impeach the Congress. Maybe just this once...

"I don't know where the breakdown in good faith came in, but borrowing money you may not be able to repay, and loaning money you may not be able to get back, both contributed to the crisis."

There was a breakdown in common sense, not good faith. For example, the whole housing bubble was predicated on two things. First, that nobody would default on their loans. Second, that housing prices could never ever possibly fall:

http://www.portfolio.com/news-markets/national-news/portfolio/2008/11/11/The-End-of-Wall-Streets-Boom

Stupidity. Historically, people defaulted on loans, and houses lost value. In the name of "financial innovation" these facts were ignored. But, how was it possible in the first place? Insane monetary policy. What happens when the Fed decides to reduce interest rates to below the inflation rate and leave them there? The fraudsters smell free money and move in for the killing, and the rest of us have to clean up the mess when the bubble bursts. Reminds me of that recent headline in "The Onion":

"Recession-Plagued Nation Demands New Bubble To Invest In"

No doubt we'll get one, interest rates can't go any lower than zero, and I suspect that with all the money this country has been printing in recent years to prop up the housing bubble, and prevent its bursting from taking the rest of the economy with it, we won't have to worry about deflation for a good while yet -- inflation will remain higher than interest rates despite the proven track record of disaster inherent in that model.

So I don't blame the borrowers or the lenders, I blame shortsighted monetary policy. Giving away free money won't be solved by re-regulating mortgage lending.

"I'm afraid the model we're going fit most closely over the next few years is the one of post-Soviet Russia."

We can only hope! It could just begin to resemble modern Zimbabwe.

"We can't solve the energy crisis by refusing to exploit our own domestic sources."

Like wind and solar energy? Oh, I totally agree. Oil shale? Not so much. Nobody has yet explained to me, the economic or ecologic sense of expending 10 barrels of fresh water to produce one barrel of oil.

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 11 months ago

"We CAN shut down Gitmo in honor of "American values" and release a couple hundred terrorists to go back and plot to kill us the first chance they get."

The Republican Party may have let you down, as you say, but you sure do go for their discredited talking points. Actually, this #2 al-Qaeda-in-Yemen guy might just be the very first terrorist to have actually "returned to the battlefield", given how sketchy the 43 different claims of recidivism rates from the Pentagon are. Seton Hall University Law School has done the research on this:

http://docs.google.com/View?docid=dr6mzdw_5g947vcdv

Yet this disinformation was even cited by Justice Scalia in his Boumediene dissent, recently. The Pentagon's massive propaganda efforts targeted at American citizens are not only illegal, but they undermine the public's trust in the military when they make outrageous claims like these (or that we didn't use napalm when we did, or claim that we didn't use WP only to have to retract that later, or their utter inability to present any evidence of Iranian-made IEDs), particularly when they are then used as a basis for a Supreme Court Justice's opinion. Truly, truly scary.

Truth be known, we have already released nearly 1,000 prisoners from Gitmo over the years. Which, given the treatment they received, makes it remarkable that more of them haven't taken up arms against us. However, for each one released, I'm sure al-Qaeda managed to recruit 1,000 new jihadis who hate us because we torture.

"But, it appeared that Obama choked on the words of the oath, and that would indicate a resistance to being subjected to the oath..."

Or, as a Constitutional scholar, dismay at having been led into reciting it improperly?

"However, the re-do was far more interesting. No Bible. Why not? He felt the original oath might not be valid, and so wanted to do it again, but then didn't put his hand on the Bible, indicating that he didn't want to be bound by the oath. Either that, or nobody at the White House had a Bible. Now THAT would be front page news."

That's odd, I've looked at the Constitution again, and while the Oath of Office is clearly spelled out there doesn't appear to be any requirement that a Bible be involved. Heck, Bush wouldn't have honored his Oath if he'd been sworn in on a whole stack of Bibles (like Ashcroft was, didn't help him either), so what does it matter?

"And what about the self-doubt that led him to take a second oath? Those are the telling events."

I gotta love you conservatives and your no-way-to-win positions. Really. First, the righties run around like chickens with their heads cut off because the Oath was botched, which most certainly would have continued for as long as Obama was in office had he not re-taken the Oath. Then, when he does re-take the Oath, it's due to some character flaw in him. Oh, dear. I hope that's not what you mean when you say you're willing to give Obama a chance?

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 11 months ago

@JLM:

"Drop capital gains taxes to 0% almost purely symbolic because there is about $3T of capital gain loss carryforward out there but it would attract capital to new deals."

Since trickle-down economic theory hasn't worked in the past, and has led to wage discrepancies not seen since the Gilded Age in this country, maybe it's time for a new approach? Say increasing the capital gains tax, and eliminating taxes on wages and labor?

The Founders of this nation prohibited direct taxes, i.e. taxes on wages and labor, while favoring indirect taxes, particularly those on capital gains. Why did they want high capital gains taxes? Primarily to avoid political dynasties, i.e. turning into an Aristocracy. We've become a nation of political dynasties. Perhaps as a result of constantly lowering the capital gains tax?

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/radio/2009/01/09/burroughs/index1.html

Why should Caroline Kennedy be considered, besides her Aristocratic pedigree? She was only dropped because of the all-too-typical "nanny problem" which one would think would be the first question asked these days instead of wasting several weeks speculating on her chances.

It would be nice if we could remain true to any of the principles of our Founding Fathers, even just one, as a small token of respect for what we once were as a nation.

"On the issue of all the rights infringed upon by President Bush and VP Cheney under the guise of getting after the terrorists what real impact has anybody who reads these words actually felt in their personal lives?"

Over a million names are on the terror watch list. Most of the names don't have anything else, like a birthdate, to differentiate between different people of the same name. Therefore, millions of Americans have been stripped of their Second Amendment rights. This does not bother you at all, nor will it, until it happens to you? Over 200 Americans have been brought up on terror charges by Flight Attendants, but you aren't worried that it could just as easily happen to you?

Personally, I'd rather speak out against such insanity before it impacts me personally.

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JLM 5 years, 11 months ago

@ EJB ---

Interesting thoughts but I must respectfully disagree with your characterization of tax philosophy and the tax structure of the Founding Fathers. Remember we are a country which was formed because of the umbrage over a 0.5% tax on imported tea.

The Founding Fathers never envisioned a government of the immense proportions we currently have and therefore they never could have even contemplated a tax system to support such a behemoth. They also did not contemplate airplanes, the Internet, time travel, credit default swaps or computers --- your analogy is simply bogus and is based on a fabricated and bogus premise.

When taxes are enacted in our country, they are never repealed --- reduced marginally sometimes --- but never, ever repealed. The Estate Tax, a particularly illogical tax mechanism, was enacted to fund wars. They forgot to repeal it at the end of WWI and here it stays.

Trickle down economics works just fine. Hell, John Kennedy was the biggest proponent of trickle down --- tax reduced economic initiatives. He just didn't call it "trickle down." Where do you think the prosperity of the Reagan and Clinton years came from?

Liberals have no real intellectual basis for opposition to trickle down economics as a means to generate wealth, they just want to redistribute the wealth after it is created. They'd also like to punish the successful but they are afraid to say it. Witness BO's ham handed comments to Joe the Plumber. The problem is that the redistribution formula penalizes hard work and is a disincentive to create wealth.

What does not work is transfers of wealth from the productive portion of society to the slackers. The simple truth of the matter is that some folks work harder than others. Why shouldn't a man be rewarded for his own industry and effort?

The world is not a T ball game where everybody gets on base, nobody is ever out, nobody keeps score and we all go out for ice cream afterwards. There are winners and losers. If you want to fix the economy you are going to have to reward the winners. Otherwise this is going to be a long slow pull, my friend.

What also does not work is a handout. The mortgage crisis at its core is just a handout gone awry. Folks who should have never have been allowed to buy expensive homes were "handed" the opportunity to ruin themselves by the likes of Cong Frank and Sen Dodd. That worked just great didn't it?

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JLM 5 years, 11 months ago

@ ERJ

Is the implication of your statement in regard to the Terror List that some Americans have been denied their right to "keep and bear arms", a right granted under the Second Amendment?

Firearms sales are at an all time high --- probably in reaction to the perception of President Obama's views on gun control? So, it hasn't created a real pinch anybody can detect, but maybe I'm wrong?

I am not aware of a single instance of a prospective gun owner being denied the right to lawfully purchase a weapon based upon their being on the Terror List --- which just for the record not too many people really know who is on it or who is not. Your assertions that there are millions on it are likely speculative at best and bogus at worst.

I think you actually make the strongest argument for the opposition by your observation that onlly 200 Americans have been brought up on terror charges --- by Flight Attendants? Seems like pretty small potatoes given the magnitude of our population --- 300MM good folks and a handful of soreheads.

Liberals are a hoot. They protest "profiling" --- after all 100% of the 9-11 terrorists were young Arabs --- and then when objective data is used to list prospective terrorists they squeal equally loud. Can't please them and can't shoot them.

What's a fella to do?

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playa46 5 years, 11 months ago

You see Aich, things also have improved since the scare a few months back. The DOW has gone back up, but unemployment rates will be down for a long time. I have a big suspicion you would not be saying the same thing of McCain was president.

JLM- Thanks for not being blinded by the republican flag, and also for not being a sore loser!! You have good ideas and hopefully we will all come out of this okay.

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JLM 5 years, 11 months ago

@ playa ---

Elections are simply the methodology with which we pick our Presidents. They are contests. Like any good contest, the participants should work hard and try to win --- within the rules and bounds of decency, mind you --- but when the contest is over, you congratulate the winner, you move on and get on with life.

I have sometimes felt exactly the same winning as I have losing. Particulary when the contest was fair and fierce. Sure, it is easy to fall into the bad sentiment but if the contest is fair, then the system has worked. What else can you ask for?

Intellectually, the contest of ideas should create better and better ideas because when good ideas wrestle, there are no losers only stronger ideas. This is why bi-partisanship is both important and essential.

You may place a bit too much emphasis on the identification of one with a particular political party. I, and many others including you I am sure, know our minds and only after cataloging our views and values do we pick our candidate --- not our party. The fact that the organizing dynamic of a political contest is based upon a political party is almost incidental.

I never thought McCain was a particulary Republican candidate as he has always been a pain in the butt for the Republicans as well.

Hopefully we are all big enough to disagree about ideas rather than people. I don't think any person in President Obama's administration is any less patriotic than their predecessors but I can imagine they hold ideas with which one might disagree.

These days nobody really has the right experience to deal with the uncharted waters our country finds itself in. We all have one month of experience twelve times.

I just hope that our new President is a lucky guy because when experience doesn't work you only have luck on your side. He seems lucky to me.

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ybul 5 years, 11 months ago

---Tourism gets bad rap because it is counted a luxury and drops off during an economic downturn, but isn't transforming the natural resources of unique topography, climate, and natural beauty into tourist dollars creating "real wealth" too? _---

The thing is you are not creating real wealth, but simply transferring real wealth from one to another. In many cases this real wealth was the result of another taking on debt and indenturing future earnings to repay that debt.

The real wealth is in the environment, some is created to provide lodging. The whole resource base needs to be looked at. The environment needs protected to continue to draw tourist dollars, even if they decline. The other assets need to be reviewed to determine what they can provide to either enhance the tourist experience or at least to not detract from it in a substantiative way.

Take ag and water and or the waste stream coming from the food industry here. That is an asset that could be fostered to provide additional wealth creative forces. The cow manure could be used to provide habitat for algae growth in a holding pond. This could be then be pressed to make biodiesel. The food waste could be utilized in a digester to create methane providing energy.

Heck one could even look at taking one of the hot springs out of a park status, lease the ground to an investor to build a micro geothermal energy plant.

There are so many possibilities here. A course I took in college spoke of poor land poor people. The land here is rich and should provide a good base for people to make a decent living.

Peace

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 11 months ago

It never ceases to amaze me, how conservatives who disagree with me first call me a liberal, then start talking about what I must believe in because I'm a liberal. Or state that I "speak for the opposition". My politics are fiercely independent, middle-of-the-road, and 100% against political parties in the first place.

Since when is Human Rights some sort of "liberal" virtue, anyway? Didn't the Republicans push for the Helsinki Accords? Didn't Reagan sign that into law instead of vetoing it? Weren't the Republicans deeply involved in pushing for the Convention Against Torture that Reagan also signed into law instead of vetoing? Darn those liberals!

The Republicans' behavior has been particularly egregious in recent years, so my vile and venom comes out against them more than the Democrats. Hint: Real liberals don't really care about the Second Amendment as I do, and there are plenty of other hints in my writing as well. So lay off the partisan liberal-bashing and address what I, personally, have actually said instead of making stereotypical partisan responses that this country has been destroyed enough by, directed at what you assume I must believe.

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp (quite different from Bush's self-aggrandizing farewell speech)

Just like George Washington warned us against. But hey, why should we listen to anything he said about political parties or foreign policy? Couldn't possibly be relevant today, right? I know Washington was talking about England and France, but AFAIC it applies perfectly well to our relations with Iran and Israel today.

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 11 months ago

@aichempty:

Is there any crime you don't equate with terrorism? Jaywalking maybe? If you really think that it's OK to start putting citizens on lists with no evidence and no recourse, and then denying them their rights by virtue of being on said lists, then you stand against everything America was meant to be. This country is not an authoritarian dictatorship where we accept such nonsensical disregard for individual rights, thank God. If someone's enough of a threat to be on a list, then investigate them and either clear them or indict them.

@JLM:

"I am not aware of a single instance of a prospective gun owner being denied the right to lawfully purchase a weapon based upon their being on the Terror List which just for the record not too many people really know who is on it or who is not. Your assertions that there are millions on it are likely speculative at best and bogus at worst."

Then please look into it, instead of assuming that I make things up, using words like "speculative" and "bogus" are awfully rude to use before you've even asked me to cite a reference. OK?

Are you telling me that Walt Murphy deserves to have his right to keep and bear arms taken away, especially since he's suspected of no crime, and bearing in mind his service to this country?

http://balkin.blogspot.com/2007/04/another-enemy-of-people.html http://lapa.princeton.edu/peopledetail.php?ID=507

How about Donald Vance?

http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/50191

Clearly, Bush used the terror watch list as his "enemies list" -- and nobody in this country deserves to have their rights taken away for dissenting against a President. Gosh, imagine the uproar from the right if Obama started taking guns away from his detractors like Bush did! Except it's perfectly OK if Bush did it? Oh, the hypocrisy!

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 11 months ago

As Samuel Adams said:

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."

Or Patrick Henry:

"Give me Liberty, or give me Death."

Or Thomas Paine:

"Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property... Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them."

It is a sad day in this country when these noble thoughts have become empty slogans as a result of fear-mongering propaganda spread by our own government. Just sayin'.

About that terror watch list:

If you believe serial-liar-for-Bush Michael Chertoff's figure of 25,000 names then I have a bridge to sell you.

I'm not finding the reference to the change in law requiring gun purchases to be rejected if the applicant is on the Terror Watch List, only the 2007 effort by Sen. Lautenberg. IIRC though, it did eventually pass as part of some other legislation. Doesn't mean much since the gun-show loophole remains, meaning even a convicted terrorist can still buy a gun in America quite easily.

The point is, we now routinely deny our citizens their rights based on an accusation of terrorism. IOW, "innocent until proven guilty" has been changed to "guilty until proven innocent" when the charge is terrorism. No, flight attendants shouldn't have this power, but neither should the President.

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 11 months ago

"Interesting thoughts but I must respectfully disagree with your characterization of tax philosophy and the tax structure of the Founding Fathers. Remember we are a country which was formed because of the umbrage over a 0.5% tax on imported tea."

You're re-writing history to support your point, while accusing me of "bogus fabrication"? The Founders did not object to being taxed, or the notion of taxes to support government (of any size). What they objected to was being taxed without representation by the British Parliament. Had Americans been allowed to participate in legislating the Tea Tax, there would likely not have been a Boston Tea Party whose rallying cry was "No taxation without representation" not "No taxation."

"The Founding Fathers never envisioned a government of the immense proportions we currently have and therefore they never could have even contemplated a tax system to support such a behemoth. They also did not contemplate airplanes, the Internet, time travel, credit default swaps or computers your analogy is simply bogus and is based on a fabricated and bogus premise."

What do computers, airplanes or credit default swaps have to do with anything? Our Founding Fathers certainly were clear about no direct taxes, it's right there in black-and-parchment in the Constitution. Is that my "bogus premise"? Thomas Paine writes in "Common Sense" about capital gains taxes and Aristocracy, plain as day... so is that my "bogus premise"? If I tell you that Tom Paine also wrote of the need to establish a social safety net, will you accuse me of also making that up by claiming he couldn't have forseen the Depression or something?

Please respond to what I actually say, instead of ascribing beliefs to someone who is a stranger to you and ranting against those beliefs. You're not making any sense in your post, ranting on about liberals this and liberals that, and accusing me, apparently, of having written "Common Sense" to my own ends or somesuch. Not much of a rebuttal...

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JLM 5 years, 11 months ago

@ EJB ---

Let's get you back on the meds, E-man. You're starting to drift again.

The citations you note have absoluting NOTHING to do w/ gun purchases being denied to anyone. I am sure Col Murphy is a great guy --- they are not giving out DSCs to Marines in Cracker Jack boxes but his story has to do with boarding an aircraft not buying a gun. Let's try to stay on topic. My only comment had to do w/ guns.

As to the issue of taxes, we were talking about "trickle down" economics, were we not?

Your characterization of the willingness of the Colonies to be taxed is simply wrong. While the reported slogan of the day was surely "No taxation without representation" the truth of the matter is that the Colonies did not want any taxes to be exported to GB and that is clear with a quick reading of the times --- review the imbroglio over the Tea Act, the Consiliatory Act of 1775 and the Taxation of the Colonies Act of 1778.

BTW, the No Fly List is only 2,500 names not 25,000 as you noted.

But hey I could be wrong! Back on the meds, Eric!

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 11 months ago

The point remains, that anyone who believes Michael Chertoff at this point needs to be on meds, whether that number was 2,500 or 25,000. A read of George Washington's farewell address will show that he was in favor of taxation to support government, as were the rest of the Founders. But, they meant indirect taxes, like sales tax, import and export duties, capital gains taxes and the rest.

My characterization was that the Colonies supported taxation, so long as they were taxing themselves. The "What-If" I postulated about the Boston Tea Party is not "simply wrong" since it can neither be proven nor disproven -- this is the nature of historical what-ifs. By 1775, if the British had been allowing the Colonies to have representation in Parliament for decades, things might never have come to where they came to.

Now, if the law does indeed say that "suspected terrorists may not be sold guns", which I believe it does even though I've stopped looking for the reference, then the two gentlemen I singled out as examples of people who do not belong on the terrorist watch list, would be denied their Second Amendment rights because of it. The question remains: Should Dr. Murphy be allowed to purchase a firearm, despite the fact that he's on the terrorist watch list? Or is the terrorist watch list an outright sham regardless of how many names it contains?

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JLM 5 years, 10 months ago

OK, let me review.

We have, in fact, apparently established that there are really only 2,500 folks on the mysterious Terror List not 25,000.

Hmmm --- 300MM Americans and 2,500 "suspected" terrorists.

There are about 22.5MM ex-cons who cannot legally buy a gun in most states.

I don't think the 2nd Amendment is in too much trouble, do you?

If Col Murphy cannot establish his bona fides and purchase a gun legally, have him call me --- I'll loan him a couple.

The 2nd Amendment is not under attack because of the meaningless little anecdotes you report. Of course, I know it's all W's fault.

Of course gun sales were at an all time high, why? Because of Pres O's utterances and voting record in the Ill Senate.

But hey that could just be me?

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 10 months ago

Again, if you believe that 2,500 figure coming from serial-liar Michael Chertoff, you're high. That figure certainly isn't "established" by Chertoff's say-so. You seem to have a habit for taking some fact, then making a wild assertion as to why that must be. For instance, gun sales rising after Obama's election. Unless you have some reference to cite, you're pulling the "reason" for it right out of thin air, then asserting it must be so. Nice strawman argument, but that's all it is, and in fact that's all that most of your arguments are because you simply can't back them up with any facts. Baseless assertions fail to convince me of anything, but hey as long as you can invent reasons to support your beliefs, I guess you're happy.

Sorta like how this "CBO Report" that's been mentioned all over the news in the past couple of weeks, is a total figment of the Conservative imagination. I believe that's exactly why the Democrats did so well last November, this fondness on the right to just make up their facts.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/23/a-controversial-cbo-repor_n_160495.html

Again, can you cite any references explaining why gun sales went up after Obama's election? Or are you simply making up reasons that support your ideology? What I won't do, is assert that it's due to racism -- although it's likely, I can't establish that as fact, so unlike you I won't make that assertion let alone repeat it ad-nauseum as if it were fact.

The propensity of Republicans to make things up, like this mythical CBO report, certainly supports my notion that Chertoff's lying. Seems to run in your party these days.

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 10 months ago

Here's a relevant Google search on Chertoff:

http://www.google.com/search?q=chertoff+lies

No surprise, then, that after so much publicity about having a million "terrorists" in this country, he would come out and tell whatever lies he sees fit to disabuse the public of that notion.

Of course, as a neocon, Chertoff believes that it is appropriate and desirable to lie to the public. This is their M.O., and it's spread to the Republican Party in general (witness the CBO report nonsense).

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 10 months ago

Of course, our journalist class is still befuddled about why readership is declining. So they resort to strawman arguments about the Web and bloggers and such, for which they offer no proof. Well, I say the reasons couldn't be any more obvious. When "journalists" take whatever a politician tells them at face value, without checking facts, we end up with this widely-reported-yet-mythical CBO report.

Not only do they not check with the alleged CBO to see if it really does say what the Republican politicians are claiming, they failed to check if it even existed! Yesterday's Wall Street Journal editorial even mentions the contents of this CBO -- as if they'd actually read it! When they couldn't have because it doesn't exist! How can "journalists" make such assertions, and expect their newspapers and magazines to stay in business?

Sheesh. No wonder the public has lost all trust in mainstream journalism and turned to the Internet. Not doing their jobs -- heck, not even pretending to any more.

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JLM 5 years, 10 months ago

@ EJ ---

Son, you need to get some rest. You're getting delusional. Go to sleep earlier.

YOU said the Terror List was 25,000. Chertoff --- who was after all the freakin' head of Homeland Security not some "reporter" for Salon, Huffington Post, Rollling Stone --- said it's 2,500.

You contend YOU must be right because he's a....................NEOCON??? LOL

A NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOOCON! A freakin' neocon? LOL, you silly goose!

Frankly I am not sure that is correct. Mikey is a nice Jewish boy from NJ who went to Harvard Coll and Harvard Law and was a US Attorney --- only one retained by Pres Clinton --- unanimously approved by the US Senate as head of HS and spent most of his time in the Justice Department. I am not aware of his ever having had any Defense or policy impact on any administration. But who cares anyway?

It's either 2,500 or 25,000 --- your number is just bogus.

For you to disavow his information because he's been annointed a "neocon" by you doesn't lend much credibility to your argument particularly when YOU have fabricated your number from the whole cloth.

I don't know where you get the idea that the increase in gun sales (which is well documented in main stream business publications like Bloomberg) is somehow attributable to RACISM? The sense is that President O is opposed to guns and favors gun control --- not huge leaps of faith given his actual Illinois Senate pronouncements? --- and therefore folks stocked up on guns frontrunning anticipated legislation. Pretty logical to me. But racism? I don't think so. I think policy driven.

The issue of gun ownership came up because of your bogus anecdote pretending that Col Murphy had been denied the right to buy a gun when in fact he had only been allegedly questioned during pre-boarding security because his name appeared on the Terror List. Again, a bogus example by YOU. [BTW, don't you think there must be an awful lot of "Murphys" out there? I cannot imagine this is a real problem, really? Col Murphy sounds like a bit of a drama queen to me. But he's earned that right with that DSC in Korea. And actually not to put too fine a point on it but Jarheads usually get the Navy Cross rather than the DSC which is an Army decoration for valor. Just struck me as a bit odd.]

Just deal with the simple facts and stop ranting and raving about what some looney on Salon, HuffPo and Rolling freakin' Stone is telling you. Grow up!

NEOCON! LOL, thanks, I needed that!

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aichempty 5 years, 10 months ago

In 1972, I was pulled aside and questioned, and searched, as a "profiled" hijacker threat at the Philadelphia, PA airport.

Why?

Because I was traveling on a one-way ticket to a destination that required me to pass through Atlanta, Georgia to change planes.

I also happened to be a twenty-something service man, in uniform, returning home from overseas without plans to go back to Philadelphia on a round-trip ticket since I was coming home from a deployment and not going back to my starting point in England.

However, because I was on a one-way ticket, that meant I might be going to hijack the plane to Cuba, as was popular in them days.

So, how about everybody just slipping down to the men's room and untwisting their panties over the anti-terrorist measures put in place as a result of an attack on America that killed over 2,700 people, eh?

If you're afraid to talk on the phone or send e-mail because you're having an affair, or cheating on taxes, or trafficking in drugs, then just STOP IT, or communicate some other way. This argument is not about our rights. It's about your fear of getting caught doing something you shouldn't be doing. People who are living lawfully have nothing to fear, because the only thing the anti-terrorist surveillance will turn up is, guess what, NOTHING!

Our founding fathers could not have foreseen a situation where one person could kill a million others in a single act of terrorism. A real patriot woud be living clean, lawfully, and supporting measures put in place for our common safety. If fear of exposure deters people from unlawful activity, trafficking in drugs and child porn, tax evasion and the like, GOOD.

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ybul 5 years, 10 months ago

What happens when you disagree with what the government deems is good for the country? They decide they do not like your attitude, take you away, claim you are a terrorist and throw away the key without any due process.

Take the agriculture industry of today. In rural Ohio a swat team raided a families home and proceeded to seize their property without due process (www.worldviewtimes.com/article.php/ar...) It has happened many times in many different areas.

The government is going to save us from ourselves.

When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats, I remained silent; I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews, I remained silent; I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 10 months ago

"Son, you need to get some rest. You're getting delusional. Go to sleep earlier."

Condescension, ad hominem, insinuation, innuendo... are you capable of having a rational debate, or do you get frustrated and start trollish flamebaiting on purpose to try to get the moderators to stop this thread? Sounds to me like you're the one who got up on the wrong side of the bed, or is there some other explanation for your childish behavior?

"YOU said the Terror List was 25,000. Chertoff who was after all the freakin' head of Homeland Security not some 'reporter' for Salon, Huffington Post, Rollling Stone said it's 2,500."

I made a typo which anyone can plainly see, since I linked to my source for the figure. Let go of it, instead of compulsively obsessing over it. That's the purpose of providing links, to let others judge for themselves, it's just not anywhere near as big a deal as you're making of it. That same source, clearly linked to above, supports a much higher number. The truth likely lies somewhere in-between.

Chertoff, as anyone willing to make the effort can see, had a consistent pattern of telling lies as head of DHS. Not to mention providing political cover for Saudis involved in 9/11, as clearly linked to above. Now then, instead of ranting and raving about sources, why not link to something which actually discredits mine? Nir Rosen is the author of that article in Rolling Stone.

I take good journalism where I can get it these days, which means whatever publication has the balls to run such a story by such a reputable, credible freelancer. Do you have anything specific you can point to which discredits Mr. Rosen? Did you even look? He's also been published in Foreign Affairs, the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations... hardly a liberal rag. How about the author of that piece at HuffPo? Who are your sources? Rush, Hannity, Drudge, Coulter? Heheh... no wonder you won't post links!

"It's either 2,500 or 25,000 your number is just bogus."

No, it's 2,500, since I posted a link to my source that was clearly a typo, unless of course you're grasping at straws to discredit me, which is suggested by your personal attacks. My number could just as easily be true, it has the backing of the ACLU, as shown by that link I posted. The issue becomes the credibility of Mr. Chertoff.

"Frankly I am not sure that is correct. Mikey is a nice Jewish boy from NJ who went to Harvard Coll and Harvard Law and was a US Attorney..."

OK, now we get past your BS and into something of substance. Why would being Jewish tend to make him not a neocon? Most neocons are Jewish, all have hardline pro-Israeli-Settler views. Did you bother to research this, or are you merely disputing everything I say for the sake of being argumentative, and hoping to waste so much of my time responding to your nonsense that I just go away?

(continued)

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 10 months ago

Michael Chertoff is a member of the Federalist Society, the anti-ACLU bunch closely associated with neoconservative politics. Mr. Chertoff has said that we are "at war with a global movement and ideology whose members seek to advance totalitarian aims through terrorism," which Col. Wilkerson calls "that Islamofascism crap" and that is the #1 neoconservative talking point. I'll take Col. Wilkerson's word over Chertoff's any day of the week -- a search for "Wilkerson +lies" yields crickets, not a goldmine like Chertoff.

Chertoff's rhetoric tracks closely with what neoconservatives say. He's never said anything in opposition to neoconservative philosophy. As head of DHS he has been in a position to advance neoconservative political policies, and this is exactly what he has done.

Why does this matter? Well, let's take a look at a key part of the neoconservative ideology: The Believable Lie. It is part of the philosophy espoused by the Father of Neoconservativism himself, Leo Strauss. It is also known as the "Straussian Myth".

An example of the Straussian Myth in action was neoconservative Douglas Feith's "Office of Special Plans" in this story told by Seymour Hersh (again, please provide some sort of factual reference which discredits him, instead of hurling insults at his work which you have offered no proof for):

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2003/05/12/030512fa_fact?printable=true

The lies which led to the Iraq War (since exposed and denounced by prominent ex-neoconservative Francis Fukuyama) were deliberately told to us. What else is Douglas Feith known for?

Right, likely involvement in the passing of U.S. secrets to the Israelis. But I digress. The issue is the credibility of anything a neoconservative says. My point is, if it walks like a neocon, swims like a neocon, and quacks like a neocon, it's a neocon.

Anyone who adheres to the neoconservative philosophy, or does the bidding of neoconservatives (whichever Chertoff's specific case may be), has implicitly stated that they believe in lying to the public.

Unless you can convince me that he isn't a neoconservative, then I'll point to the bulk of his espoused philosophies being identical to those of the neocons, and his well-documented propensity for lying, and call him a neocon.

If you believe anything a neoconservative political figure, who has practically sworn an oath to deliberately lie for propaganda purposes, cites as fact then you are most definitely high. They've told us they have no qualms about lying to us; they've lied to us; our nation has been damaged beyond belief by those lies; yet you still give any of them, particularly Chertoff, the benefit of the doubt? Yeah, definitely high.

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 10 months ago

"I don't know where you get the idea that the increase in gun sales (which is well documented in main stream business publications like Bloomberg) is somehow attributable to racism?"

Yes, you do know where I got it. I said I made it up, to illustrate that your assertion is just as unprovable by the facts. I didn't deny the fact that gun sales have gone up, I read Bloomberg too. I simply suggested another possible reason, one which can't be proven or disproven, exactly like your assertion.

President Bush had an absolutely hideous record on gun control, according to the NRA. So does it really have to do with Obama's voting record in Illinois? Or is it a kneejerk reaction to having a Democrat in the White House, and a black one at that, in the Deep South?

"The issue of gun ownership came up because of your bogus anecdote pretending... (blather snipped)"

As I said before, I could be wrong. If I'm right, and suspected terrorists aren't allowed to legally purchase a firearm (except at a gun show), then the fact that he's on the Terrorist Watch List means he's exactly the sort of upstanding American being stripped of his rights nowadays, exactly like the other soldier's story I linked to above. They're still on the Watch List, because nobody can ever be removed from it (yet). This is intolerable behavior from our political class.

You're calling it a "bogus example" and harping away on this issue as if you had a point, but it's really a continuation of the childish lashing out at me that you've displayed in this thread, and the other one:

You discredit yourself with such behavior, I certainly expect more from ex-officers, not the unprofessional lashing out at the slightest provocation with personal attacks. Sorta like those fellas in downtown Steamboat Springs earlier this month, did you learn nothing from that incident about the importance of comporting oneself as a professional instead of as a jackass? Take a pill.

Now, you're accusing me of ranting and raving, when you're clearly the one whose head has exploded over such a trifling matter as an online exchange of opinions? You're the one who won't post any facts to support his assertions, while raking me over the coals for one typo, and one other issue I may very well be right about. Instead of taking a shot at what hours I post, maybe you should look at your post history and think about getting a life?

Since you're the one who started off with the rudeness and insults, the ball's in your court to behave like a grown up and refrain from your flaming. I'm done with the quid-pro-quo insults, here. If you can't behave like an adult, I'll ignore you, because while I could play the dozens with ya as that appears to be what you're after here, that is not my purpose. I'm here to exchange ideas with rational folks, not insult-hurling hate-filled extremists.

/flame

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 10 months ago

"The government is going to save us from ourselves."

Yup, the Conservative Nanny State in action. Nice link.

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JLM 5 years, 10 months ago

EJ, babe, you have GOT to lay off the caffeine, you're gonna bust a blood vessel. LOL

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JLM 5 years, 10 months ago

EJ ---

You remind me of a guy who read a single book and thinks they now know what is in the entire library. Let me share a bit of info which is in the other books:

The Federalist Society was formed in the early 1980s by a bunch of lawyers who felt that the teaching of law in American law schools had begun to be a never ending cycle of progressively more leftward leaning or liberal teachers and viewpoints. In their view the bias was unbalanced and the intellectual counterpoint to that view was not even being presented. The Society was formed to provide a countervailing force against that perception.

In some ways, it was like the College Young Republicans and a view that college professors had a tendency to teach and support Democratic and leftward and liberal views as basic of tenets of even academic subjects to which they would otherwise not even be germane.

Not an unreasonable view really given the realities of the academic world? However, the Federalist Society initially had to do w/ legal education. That effort grew into providing a different view and evolved into concerns about the appointment of Judges and other issues which were important to the practice of law and to lawyers.

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JLM 5 years, 10 months ago

The political persuasion of the so called "neocons" was based on the realpolitik sense that the Soviet Union was not only fundamentally evil but also could actually be beaten --- not just detente --- but plain old fashioned victory. They embraced a robust agenda of confrontation --- direct and through proxies (OBL in A'n when he was our boy) --- and a desire to have enough skin in the game that victory was actually possible.

When Reagan called to Gorby to "knock down this wall", he did not append a "please" to the end of it. When Reagan said "trust but verify" he did not say ''' "can't we all just get along?" He had a robustness to his leadership which said we want real results and we "are in it to win it."

At the end of the day, that is the basic political philosophy of the neocons. And, yes, they were right and yes the USSR was defeated and yes it has been good for the world. The resurgence of Russia is a small vestige of the USSR though they still have those troublesome nuclear weapons.

The left has identified the "neocons" with the likes of Perl, Wolfowitz, Feigh, Kristol, Rumsfeld and others who have become personal lightning rods for supercharged political opposition in part because they are well educated cocksure fellows who are unbending in their views, have had a big hand in the events leading up to and after the fall of the Soviet Union and because they ascended to positons of power without the benefit of the ballot box. They are not political leaders and they are grating in their personalities (some of them) and because there is almost nothing as obnoxious as being right.

The neocon view applied to the issue of Islamofaschism also plays to win and the liberal element in America is almost afraid of victory --- witness Sen Reid "the war is lost" v "well, OK yes we are winning and the Surge did work".

Witness President Obama's desire to negotiate with just about everybody who will return his phone call.

Negotiations always go better when you have defeated the enemy. Germany was a bit testy in 1939 but by 1945 they had begun to see the light. Hell, they tried to kill Hitler a few times in the bargain.

"Neocon" is just a political view of the world --- arguably a real and winning view of the world; and, you can rest easy there are no neocons under you bed tonight though they have contributed significantly to your getting a good nights rest.

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JLM 5 years, 10 months ago

Ahh, now the ACLU --- the ACLU was formed in the early 1920s by Communists, was run by Communists and has been true to their founders and founding principles ever since. They, like most Communists, have had spotty results in actually achieving anything substantive other than, like most Communists, being a pain in the butt for the normal folks.

The ACLU maintains a fictional distinction between its lobbying and litigation arm (501c4) and its non-profit arm (501c3) in order to be able to get saps to give them money to "communicate" v "lobby and litigage". Cynic that I am, I find it difficult to believe that communicating about something they are litigating about is somehow worthy of a tax deduction. But hey that's just me, well, and the IRS too apparently.

I must also admit to a bit of trepidation about an organization which uses litigation as a profit center which their publications freely admit. Hell, they're proud of it.

It is understandable that as the ACLU intervenes in the evil of Christmas mangers and that unruly, threatening Christ Child, the Federalist Society might find just a smidgen of fault with their extreme views and their bastardization of the Courts to serve their social aims.

The substantive difference between the Federalist Society (the good guys) and the ACLU (the not so good guys) is that the Federalist Society stands "for" something while the ACLU generally stands "against" everything. Small distinction but a very big point.

To be anti-ACLU is like being pro-America and as Martha Stewart would say --- "That's a good thang!"

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playa46 5 years, 10 months ago

JLM- One question, would you want to get rid of communism and its ideals? I mean, I thought we finished this 10 years ago...

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JLM 5 years, 10 months ago

@ play ---

Duuuuuh, yes, I would like to get rid of Communism in its purest form and in its residual, vestigal forms and let all men live in a free democratic society --- including China, Russia and Cuba! You may want to check w/ the Chinese on that, no?

I'd even double down and get rid of former Communist client states and when you come to think of it, we're making a spot of progress thus far.

While we're at it, I'd like to revamp Iran, N Korea and most of Africa as it relates to the yearnings of their people; and, hell, I'd even throw in a couple of banana or plaintain republics in S America --- Venezuela comes to mind right away.

But, hey, that's just me.

How about you, playa, you up for a little old fashioned democracy or you a big fan of the ACLU and its efforts to keep that crazy little Christ Child from running amok? He's a one baby crime wave but luckily the ACLU is hot on his trail! Or maybe those pesky 10 Commandments from springing up unannounced all over the Country?

Funny day today, eh?

Today Iraq conducted free and fair elections with the Iraqi police and armed forces providing the security. Sunnis and Shias and Kurds turned out in droves to vote and candidates from all sects were on the ballot. The voting percentage in Iraq is more than twice what it is in the US --- who would have ever thunk it? An operating democracy in the Middle East?

I guess that Surge worked after all? And they were able to do it without the ACLU! Wow! LOL

So, yeah, playa, count me as a guy who thinks that Communism, totalitarianism, fascism and mean people and, oh yes, the ACLU all suck!

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playa46 5 years, 10 months ago

JLM- I have never ever promoted Communism, I asked because I noticed you using your name-calling strategy again. I am sure pro-communists say the same things right now.

Your plan to rid all of communism sounds like another "Crusade". Because you feel it is wrong, you would stop at nothing to get rid of communism, no mater the cost. (And by cost, I mean COST). Lemme refresh on what you said.

"Duuuuuh, yes, I would like to get rid of Communism in its purest form and in its residual, vestigal forms and let all men live in a free democratic society including China, Russia and Cuba! You may want to check w/ the Chinese on that, no?

I'd even double down and get rid of former Communist client states and when you come to think of it, we're making a spot of progress thus far."

I also have never agreed with ACLU, again, the whole "putting words in my mouth" story. Are you sick of it? Because I sure am, please stop.

And again, while the surge has worked, (I have never disagreed with it working), it was very costly in both money and our political views. I wish the best for the Iraqi people and hope we can put this terrorist thing behind us and look at much more bigger problems.

But just as Iraq cost us dearly, you would go so far to declare war again on super powers? Have you heard of nuclear warfare? Have you heard about being attacked on our own soil? Did you even think about the problems besides fighting that would occur? Or did it just slip you mind?

That is really why I asked, just remember I would indeed go so far to fight against communism for my country, if I had to.

Have a nice day....

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 10 months ago

"When Reagan called to Gorby to 'knock down this wall', he did not append a 'please' to the end of it. When Reagan said 'trust but verify' he did not say 'can't we all just get along?' He had a robustness to his leadership which said we want real results and we 'are in it to win it.'"

Sigh. I think we're all going to have to just get along with the Reagan myth:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/21/opinion/21krugman.html

But, I don't buy into the received wisdom of conservative talking points. I try to get at the facts. Any claims that the U.S. "defeated" the U.S.S.R. for whatever reason, are to be taken with a grain of salt. Nothing we did ever forced the Soviets' hand when it came to their decision to invade Afghanistan.

Spending this country into a debt burden which remains to this day, may very well have broken the Soviet economy. But then again, it could've been collapsing anyway, without Reagan's budget-busting military buildup and deficits-don't-matter doubling of the size of Government (a record it took a Bush to break, not a Democrat). Most likely, the invasion of Afghanistan was the Soviets' undoing -- and aren't we glad that we don't have anyone providing our enemies with the equivalent of the Stinger missiles we provided to Osama bin Laden in those days?

This belief of mine isn't ideological, i.e. the result of the received wisdom of talking points. No, I do my research, and allow that research to influence my conclusions. I don't think anyone who's familiar with the "Team B" story could possibly believe JLM's got it right, that the neocons had any freaking clue -- as opposed to just a blind ideology. Bear in mind when reading up on "Team B", who Paul Pillar is and what he has had to say:

"I would tell [President Bush] that one of the biggest mistakes he could make would be doing or saying anything that could be construed as defining this conflict as a clash of civilizations. He must avoid portraying, or giving others cause to portray, this as a battle between the Muslim world and the Judeo-Christian West. Such rhetoric encourages all the wrong reactions and attitudes in the Muslim world; it plays right into the hands of people like bin Laden who want to portray it in exactly those terms."

http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20060301faessay85202/paul-r-pillar/intelligence-policy-and-the-war-in-iraq.html http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/09/AR2006020902418_pf.html http://www.niemanwatchdog.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=ask_this.view&askthisid=00181 http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC07.php?CID=120

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aichempty 5 years, 10 months ago

This worrying about an attack on our rights is really coming late in the game.

There are examples right here in Routt County of judges and court officers violating federal law for the benefit of polictical cronies.

When the courts violate the laws for the benefit of friends, lovers, and folks who sit on the commission on judicial performance, what's the difference between their actions and the Nazi courts that allowed Jews to be exterminated in Germany?

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 10 months ago

"EJ, babe, you have GOT to lay off the caffeine, you're gonna bust a blood vessel. LOL"

You're the one who's so angry about anyone disagreeing with you, that you resort to childish behavior such as name calling to "prove" your points. There's nothing wrong with me, I'm the calm one whose head doesn't explode when disagreed with -- apparently, that's your department. So much anger! Maybe you need to let go of that, and return to the world of rational debate?

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 10 months ago

"You remind me of a guy who read a single book and thinks they now know what is in the entire library. Let me share a bit of info which is in the other books:"

Well, you strike me as someone who doesn't read books. If you did, then perhaps you'd be able to cite references other than yourself. Nothing you said about the Federalist Society wasn't already known to me.

Of course, you failed utterly to answer my question. That is, can you name any substantive differences between the beliefs of the Federalist Society and the beliefs of Neoconservatives? Two names for the same thing, otherwise... Until you do, I hardly "stand corrected" for calling Chertoff the Neocon that he is. There is no discernable difference between what he says, and what he believes as a member of the Federalist Society, and what Bill Kristol says and what he believes as a Neoconservative.

Your infantile tactic of calling me names and insulting me, believe it or not, won't change that truth.

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 10 months ago

Nice recital of right-wing anti-ACLU talking points. I notice, not surprisingly, that you still can't provide any references to back up what you say. Who told you the ACLU was founded by communists? Rush? I don't think right-wing radio memes are the same thing as facts, but we'll have to agree to disagree on that, apparently.

The ACLU stands for the Constitution, not "nothing". To be anti-ACLU, as is the Federalist Society, is to be against the Constitution. Being against the Constitution, is being un-American. No surprise that you get this twisted around backwards, if you rely on the likes of Michelle Malkin for your "facts", which really must be assumed at this point -- since you provide no references, I'll just compare your beliefs to those of moonbats like Malkin who say the same sorts of things you do.

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 10 months ago

Paul Pillar's statements are deja vð. We've seen this sort of independent, ideologically-driven intelligence assessment tactic before. Note that even though it was George H.W. Bush who initially signed off on "Team B", he later warned against doing such a thing again. Further warnings at that time against exactly what we saw happen in the current situation with Iraq, came from Paul Warnke and Strobe Talbott. Paul Pillar is merely reasserting the same problems which had been previously identified in the ages-old neocons-vs-CIA battle.

Notice, the very thing they warned against repeating, had been orchestrated by Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz et. al. They claim the war on terror is a threat on such a vast (which is increasing due to their actions, not decreasing) and unprecedented (wait, aren't the terrorists' nukes fantasies, while the Soviets' were not only real but targeted at us?) threat that the old justifications against applying their "Team B" methods (which they've never agreed with, and these men do not take "no" for an answer) no longer apply:

http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2004/08/b140711.html http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/2822.html

Bush 41: "[Team B set] in motion a process that lends itself to manipulation for purposes other than estimative accuracy."

http://www.commondreams.org/views04/1119-20.htm

"Time Editor-at-Large Strobe Talbott, who in January of 1990 claimed Gorbachev proved 'the Soviet threat isn't what it used to be -- and what's more, that it never was,' is at it again. In an October 14 essay on Robert Gates' CIA nomination, Talbott charged that in 1976, CIA Director George Bush requested an outside 'Team B' report on the Soviets which was 'a depiction of Soviet intentions and capabilities that seemed extreme at the time and looks ludicrous in retrospect.'"

http://www.mrc.org/mediawatch/1991/watch19911101.asp

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 10 months ago

Speaking of things we've been told by the neocons (granted, Rummy isn't technically a neocon, but he certainly sang their tune, carried their water, and did nothing to stop them) which were extreme at the time and ludicrous in retrospect:

[ TITLE : TORA BORA ]

VO: In December, the Northern Alliance told the Americans that bin Laden was hiding in the mountains of Tora Bora. They were convinced they had found the heart of his organisation.

[ EXCERPT , "MEET THE PRESS ," NBC TV ]

TIM RUSSERT : The search for Osama bin Laden: there was constant discussion about him hiding out in caves and I think many times the American people have a perception that it's a little hole dug out of the side of a mountain.

DONALD RUMSFELD [ OFF CAMERA ]: Oh, no.

[ CUT TO DIAGRAM OF HIDDEN CAVE HEADQUARTERS MARKED "SOURCE: THE TIMES OF LONDON", DEPICTING A MULTI-STORY UNDERGROUND COMMAND POST ]

RUSSERT : This is it. This is a fortress.

RUMSFELD: Yes.

RUSSERT : A complex. Multi-tiered. [ READING , AS LABELS ARE DISPLAYED ON DIAGRAM ] "Bedrooms and Offices" on the top, as you can see. "Secret Exits" on the side, and on the bottom. "Cut Deep to Avoid Thermal Detection." A ventilation system, to allow people to breathe and to carry on. The entrances, large enough to drive trucks and even tanks. Even computer systems and telephone systems. It's a very sophisticated operation.

[ CUT TO STUDIO ]

http://johndiesattheend.com/torabora.gif http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/video1040.htm

Of course, there's no relationship between absurd neoconservative fantasies, and reality. Why on Earth would anyone believe otherwise, in this day and age?

"They are not political leaders and they are grating in their personalities (some of them) and because there is almost nothing as obnoxious as being right."

Sorry, but I don't uderstand what, exactly, the neocons have "gotten right". They are propagandists and liars, who have been consistently proven wrong. Weren't the neocons responsible for the notion that we'd be greeted with flowers as the liberators of Iraq, who would then turn around and cover the entire cost of the Iraq War, which certainly wouldn't exceed $50 billion, last more than a month or require more than 50,000 troops?

Hasn't Bill Kristol not been renewed at both Time and The New York Times, for all the times his "facts" have needed to be retracted? As if he, as a neocon, could be trusted not to invent "facts" out of whole cloth! Absurd. Unfortunately, as the CBO-report fiasco shows, this tendency has spread throughout the G.O.P., and I certainly hope the public has had enough of their lies, and that my Republican friends will somehow manage to take their Party back from the insane neocons.

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JLM 5 years, 10 months ago

EJ, babe, the Federalist Society is a bunch of lawyers who are concerned with legal education while neoconservatism is a political philosophy. They are as different as fish and Hinduism.

You really don't know your history. The ACLU was founded by Roger Nash Baldwin (a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, a Communist front group) in 1920 as an outgrowth of earlier organizations whose main interest was purportedly to prevent American involvement in WWI. Baldwin claimed to be a conscientous objector.

It was formed, in part, to oppose Atty Gen Palmer's investigations, charges and threatened deportations against Communists embedded in similar organizations and the government. The real beef was organizations that had attempted to dissuade young men from serving their country in WWI.

Baldwin himself, in response, led a harsh campaign against his own members in the 1940s including the attack against Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, an unrepentant avowed Communist and member of the Industrial Workers of the World. This campaign is one of the Stations of the Cross in the ACLU lore.

Baldwin kicked Flynn out of the leadership and the membership of the ACLU for being a Communist. A very big deal for its times!

Baldwin himself, a then recent supposed convert against Communism, turned on his own fellow travelers. He supposedly kicked out all Communists though there are folks who think he simply was vexed w/ Flynn and the subsequent actions were window dressing to justify his vendetta against Flynn.

This is literally a touchstone of the history of the ACLU and one of RN Baldwin's claims to fame. He was a Communist. He knew and acknowledged that the ACLU was founded by Communists and he supposedly rid the ACLU of Communists. He turned on his fellow Communists and kicked them out for being ......................................Communists!

So, yes, the ACLU was founded by Communists. Who told me? Well, I studied it and heard it from........................................................the freakin' ACLU!

Hmmm, not the great defenders of the Constitution that they appear to be today? Then again that freaky little Christ Child has been particularly disruptive and threatening to our basic freedoms for quite a time, hasn't He? LOL

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JLM 5 years, 10 months ago

@ EJ ---

I must congratulate you on reading Pillar's stuff, it's certainly a cut above your normal Salon, HuffPo and even Krugman lunatic left facing sources. Pillar is a very interesting guy.

I don't want you to know how I know him as it would be a bit too revealing about me and I am naturally shy but I have known him since he was a shavetail. He is an exquisitely well educated guy from the Dartmouth, Oxford, Princeton branch of the CIA's analysis wing of the family. He is a brilliant and thoughtful guy.

He has two very interesting incidents in his career:

First, he was one of the proponents of the sense that Saddam Hussein had made a lot more progress on the development of nuclear weapons based upon evidence garnered at the end of the first Gulf War and the inspection regimen which ensured thereafter. He tied this to the Iraqi regime's response to the Israeli's bombing of the Iraqi Kirkuk nuclear plant. A very subtle observation. And one which ultimately supported the idea that the Iraqi regime had to have WMDs. Or at the very least, very serious WMD ambitions.

You know there are many who speculate the recent bombing of the Syrian facility by the Israelis was tied to the remnants of the Iraqi nuclear efforts.

Second, he was probably a traitor to the US w/ his well known series of "private" dinners (most famous of them being the California dinner which was so well reported by Novak) with thought leaders in which he almost openly campaigned for John Kerry and certainly against GW Bush. His defense has always been that he was cleared to share that info by senior CIA management which is just impossible to believe.

He spoke of "secret" warnings to the Bush administration which went unheeded. I find this a bit sensationalistic in its lack of specifity but think so much of the guy that I would not ignore it out of hand. He may be misguided but he is a patriot and an honest guy. He never failed to acknowledge exactly what he was accused of.

The Bushes and the CIA have a very odd history. The Bushes are both Ivy League guys and therefore understand the CIA - Ivy League (Skull & Bones) analysis connection; and, GHW Bush was a former head of the CIA and has a total grasp on the leftward leaning sense of the CIA's top management. In addition, he would know exactly what the CIA is capable of as it relates to interfering in matters political. One of the reasons that the younger Bush was not reluctant to create a clearinghouse of intelligence so as to emasculate the CIA in part.

While I think Pillar has gotten a bit partisan in his thoughts and has attempted to revise his prior thinking to oppose GW Bush, his views are not ones to miss or ignore. He has recently made some very insightful utterances on the risks of war w/ Iran with which many (including me) agree completely.

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 10 months ago

"Liberals have no real intellectual basis for opposition to trickle down economics as a means to generate wealth, they just want to redistribute the wealth after it is created. They'd also like to punish the successful but they are afraid to say it. Witness BO's ham handed comments to Joe the Plumber. The problem is that the redistribution formula penalizes hard work and is a disincentive to create wealth."

"Redistributionism" is another of those absurd right-wing canards I'd rather not put up with anymore. The intellectual basis for opposing trickle-down economics is plain as day. Look at the income disparity between the people who actually do the work, and management. Look at the compensation doled out to investment bankers, even after their schemes have destroyed their own companies and taken the entire economy into the tank with them.

"To stimulate lending, the bailout plan will attempt to recapitalize banks. The method of recapitalization is best described as robbing Taxpayer Pete to pay Wall Street Paul. In essence, money is taken from the poor (via taxes, printing, and weakening of the dollar) and given to the wealthy so the wealthy supposedly will have enough money to lend back (at interest) to those who have just been robbed."

http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2008/10/essence-of-rescue-plan.html http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/1-wealth-inequality-in-21st-century-threatens-economy-and-democracy/

The reality here, is it's the Republican redistribution of wealth which has penalized hard work and virtually eliminated the middle class, in part by creating incentives to commit fraud on a grandiose scale. This redistribution, and incentive to commit fraud, pre-dates the current economic crisis -- and, had the tacit approval of government, which retasked all crimefighters to antiterror duties, ensuring that nobody who did commit fraud was investigated, let alone prosecuted (hardly something Barney Frank may be blamed for):

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/397690_fbiweb28.html http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/04/opinion/04lewiseinhorn.html

Yes, redistribution of wealth away from the majority, into the hands of the elite, with the full collusion of the Republican Party. That's what happens when the majority of tax income no longer comes from Constitutionally-blessed indirect taxes, but from small businesses and individuals, via direct taxes on wages and labor -- and gets redistributed directly to those who need it the least, and deserve it not one bit.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/02/opinion/02krugman.html

Well, at least our new economic system is something uniquely American. Risk is socialized while reward is privatized. Not quite socialism, not quite capitalism. I've taken to calling it crapitalism.

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 10 months ago

What's the accounting from the Bush years? Let's go back to 2006 and this Congressional hearing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eootfzAhAoU

The Pentagon did eventually account for $600Bn, so that's $2.4Tn unaccounted for. To this day, DynCorp still gets caught defrauding the government AND human trafficking, without penalty, but nobody in Congress asks about it anymore. Any other large chunks of trillions unaccounted for? Hmmm...

http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/13-tracking-billions-of-dollars-lost-in-iraq/

Well, no surprise there. To those who have been paying attention over the past decade, it's no secret that the Pentagon can't audit itself, and nobody else can audit them, either. The contractors certainly know this, and take advantage for their own enrichment. Every time the Defense budget is increased, the amount of money that gets spent outside of any accounting mechanism is also increased. Ratchet the conservative estimate of missing trillions up to $3.4Tn, bearing in mind the same thing is happening in Afghanistan...

http://www.heraldextra.com/content/view/298258/36/ http://webworks.typepad.com/corruption_in_iraq/2008/10/usaid-afghanist.html

...from the secure confines of USAID, a U.S. government entity. Surely it's a hundred times worse than that story alone describes, so we're probably up to $4Tn, but let's stick with the conservative estimate of $3.4Tn. Any other large chunks of trillions unaccounted for? Hmmm...

http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/108138

Looks every bit like We the Taxpayers get to suck up at least $2Tn worth of, well, crap. If we're lucky, we'll get off that easy. So, shall we say $5.5 Trillion dollars and counting, of tax dollars spent, which can't be accounted for after the fact? There's no evidence that it hasn't been going directly into lining the pockets of the corporate fat-cats and the military-industrial-congressional complex. Especially since they have to be told not to spend the bailout funds we do know about, on $50Mn European-made private jets, for the sake of appearances.

But oh, noes!!! Obama wants to spend hundreds of billions on infrastructure!!!

It looks to me like having that many Trillions of dollars floating around unaccounted for, stands as all the empirical evidence needed against trickle-down economic theory. Had pumping $5.5 Trillion dollars into the economy trickled down, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in, would we? Now imagine if we'd taken that $5.5 Trillion and invested it in our future -- we'd have something to show for it, instead of crumbling infrastructure and the weakest economy since the Great Depression.

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 10 months ago

Of course, this all begs the question, do the banks really need our tax dollars to bail themselves out of their own messes?

http://www.iht.com/articles/reuters/2009/01/25/europe/OUKWD-UK-FINANCIAL-UN-DRUGS.php

Where does that illicit drug money come from? Well, another reason we're not winning in Afghanistan has to do with the fact that it's grown from an also-ran in opium production before we invaded, to the current status of global heroin monopoly. Remember, in Vietnam we enabled the heroin trade, and it was our South Vietnamese allies providing our troops with smack -- not the commies (although, of course, that's who we blamed it on).

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JLM 5 years, 10 months ago

EJ ---

You've got a wicked good rant going on, keep it up but don't hurt yourself. You go, boy!

At the end of the day, the evil Republicans did only a couple of things of any substance --- lowered the rate on the highest level of income and lowered the capital gains tax both just a smidgen. Surely those little changes could not have accounted for all the wealth redistribution you allege. Still the highest earners in the US pay a hugely greater and disproportionate amount of the income taxes and the bottom 40% pay virtually nothing.

Sooooooooooooooo, let's kill the milk cows and make hamburger! Cause it's gonna feel real good!

You are absolutely right as it relates to the out of control accounting and spending of huge portions of the government. The Pentagon can't produce financial statements because it literally doesn't have the ability to close its books. Something businesses in America do on a monthly basis and public companies have audited financial statements 45 days after the end of a quarter.

Soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, let's give them all billions of dollars more! Yeah!

Wall Street has been out of control for decades. It is the height of greed and they all should be turned out to become laborers for 3 years. Why haven't they? Cause they fuel the political machine with their contributions?

The drug issue in Afghanistan is eminently solvable. The whole country's GDP is only $10B and the opium trade is only $4B. Hell, we could buy it all and take it out of the world market with the postage meter rounding error @ the Pentagon or we could slip it into the Obamulus! What's $4B these days anyway?

Rant on!

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 10 months ago

@aichempty:

"So, how about everybody just slipping down to the men's room and untwisting their panties over the anti-terrorist measures put in place as a result of an attack on America that killed over 2,700 people, eh?

...This argument is not about our rights. It's about your fear of getting caught doing something you shouldn't be doing. People who are living lawfully have nothing to fear, because the only thing the anti-terrorist surveillance will turn up is, guess what, nothing!"

But, "nothing" is now all that it takes to incarcerate someone without charge!

There are many, many cases piling up where the "terrorist" was merely wearing an anti-Bush t-shirt. Or, was like Walt Murphy -- what law was he breaking? The law against exercising one's right to free speech? How about Donald Vance? Shouldn't someone with his record of service to this country, "not have anything to worry about?" Or should folks like him think twice before attempting to help the FBI catch those involved in illegal gun-running to our enemies, funded by our own tax dollars?

What about Susan Lindauer? Seeing as how she was spot-on, absolutely right about what she was saying to her Cousin, should she have kept her mouth shut? If so, could we put that into a Law somewhere, please? How can anyone live inside the Law if nobody knows what the Law is?

http://welcomebacktopottersville.blogspot.com/2009/01/lindauer-exonerated.html

These three examples are hardly all that exist, merely the most glaring, of people whose only (thought)crime was to break laws that don't actually exist. This is why we have Rule of Law, so that we aren't subjected to secret laws based on the whim of a sovereign.

If Murphy, Vance and Lindauer had everything to fear from our government despite breaking no laws, then aren't we all at risk? Should what Donald Vance did be outlawed, so that nobody makes the mistake of helping the FBI fight crime again?

I'm sorry, but I simply can't accept that this is "about your fear of getting caught doing something you shouldn't be doing," when for so many people the case has been that they had no idea they shouldn't have been doing what they were doing, since they weren't actually doing anything wrong. Except 'Angering the President', and that's a LAME excuse to hold your own Chief of Staff's Cousin without charges, for five years.

I sincerely hope my country gets past this insanity. That's what this is, insanity. Torturing Mr. Vance, locking up Ms. Lindauer, impeding the movements of Col. Murphy -- these actions keep us safe from terrorists how, exactly? Giving up on even the premise of Liberty still seems like handing the terrorists a bigger win than they could ever have dared dream of, to me. Ask Susan Lindauer.

The only thing people living lawfully have to fear, is a Government that doesn't respect our Liberty. So this is about our rights.

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JLM 5 years, 10 months ago

Ooops, I have to adjust my aluminum foil headset receiver! Okaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! Hey they really are black helicopters, aren't they? Goofy! Very goofy! LOL

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playa46 5 years, 10 months ago

Okaaaaaaaaaaaaay JLM.

We could soooooooooooo just keep the war going on. It is soooooooooo benefieting our economy. We have spent sooooooooooooooo little money on it, only four trillion dollars. Obama is asking for sooooooooooooooooo much, right?

Eric- You're posts are very informative and you give great information, but your "rant" is never ending. You kind of start to just throw words at us. Don't take this the wrong way buddy! Jus' a thought!

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Fred Duckels 5 years, 10 months ago

E.J. Is there a chance that we are paying you to educate our students? I often find those with your philosophy love to indoctrinate our youth.

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 10 months ago

"Eric- You're posts are very informative and you give great information, but your "rant" is never ending..."

Oh, I'm pretty simple to figure out. Spewing right-wing baloney points while accusing me of fabrication, does tend to get me up on my high horse against those baloney points, and I do tend to rant on against them.

Calling Obama a socialist will inevitably lead me to point out that Bush's nationalization of Fannie, Freddie and AIG is socialism, too. True to the false left-right dichotomy, the Republicans attempt to portray socialism as the exclusive province of the left. This ignores the empirical evidence of National Socialism (and Stalinism) usurping Marxism to their own partisan ends, proving if anything, that Totalitarian Authoritarianism is the result of Socialism, regardless of which end of the left-right spectrum has usurped socialist ideologies to advance its agenda.

Which will invariably lead me to ramble on about Poppy Bush and the CIA's history with the heroin trade, or the fact that J. Edgar Hoover seized Prescott Bush's bank for funding the Nazi Party in WWII, or his involvement in the attempted Nazi takeover-by-coup of the American government in 1934 (The Smedley Butler Affair). Especially if JLM eggs me on!

http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/coup.html?q=coup.html

But, I'll avoid those topics. However, once I'm sixteen hands above the ground due to accusations of fabrication or moonbatism, it's hard to resist the temptation not to charge around for a while, and take on "redistributionism" also.

To sum up my position on neocons: These people believe in nightmares, and monsters under the bed that aren't really there. They believe in lying to the American Public to uphold their worst-case scenarios. Nobody else makes assertions like Cheney made, that "beyond any possible doubt" Saddam had reconstituted his nuclear weapons program, when discussing intelligence. Their viewpoint is to hype the worst-case scenario as the most-likely scenario: "Don't let the smoking gun be a mushroom cloud."

Neoconservativism requires us to all believe that there would be monsters under our beds, if not for having Lisa's Rock on the nightstand.

This is something nobody disputes Paul Pillar about. That "Team B" has always promoted their pet fallacies as factual certainties. Libya tried to assassinate the Pope. The Russians had built Red October (as proven by the fact that we couldn't detect it) and their economy was thriving. Osama bin Laden had high-tech, James-Bond-supervillain cave fortresses at Tora Bora (as proven by the fact we couldn't detect them). The Iranians are responsible for IED deaths in Iraq (as proven by the fact that the only evidence ever presented for Iranian manufacture had markings in English). The Iranians have a nuclear weapons program, as proven by the IAEA's failure to detect any evidence of one. Islamofascism. It's all crap.

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 10 months ago

"Hmmm, not the great defenders of the Constitution that they appear to be today?"

Hmmm, but I didn't argue against an assertion that the ACLU was founded by communists. The assertion you made that I objected to was,

"[Have] been true to their founders and founding principles ever since."

You cite no evidence for that. This is about as rational to the arguments I object to against the John Birch Society (which definitely has a philosophy distinguishable from neoconservatism) as it is today, vs. what it was in the past. I thought this was all settled when the right-wingers threw a hissyfit over candidate Clinton being a "card-carrying member of the ACLU" and he still won election and re-election as President.

What I did was link to Wikipedia, which is a good source for factual citations when present, and misinformation otherwise. This lists the various sources of data referred to by the ACLU. Please explain why these references are any less credible than the assertions of Mr. Chertoff, instead of ranting on about commies and such.

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 10 months ago

But, at least you can cite references on the ACLU's founding.

"I must congratulate you on reading Pillar's stuff, it's certainly a cut above your normal Salon, HuffPo and even Krugman lunatic left facing sources. Pillar is a very interesting guy."

Unlike you, I don't ideologically oppose facts, based on the domain name they come from. The facts are: The GOP manufactured the conclusions of a non-existent CBO report out of whole cloth. The mainstream media ran with it, and The Wall Street Journal even editorialized about it -- despite the fact that it was not possible for them to have read the nonexistent report.

This was pointed out by a blogger. The domain doesn't matter, nor do the political leanings of the person who points out the undeniable fact that no such CBO report ever existed. References to "respectable" sources like The Wall Street Journal that make assertions as to the conclusions of a nonexistent report, are non-factual. It should not have fallen to a blogger to point out the indisputable fact that the CBO report didn't exist.

Thankfully, we don't have to rely on your narrow view of what constitutes reputable sources to determine the facts. I also posted a link to a blog I know nothing about, other than it is really the only central reference to the sporadic independent-media reports about the incarceration of Andy Card's Cousin. The most recent story is from an independent news outlet in New Zealand, about her release. Instead of attempting to discredit my sources wholesale, is there anything you can actually point to in that article which is false?

Was Ms. Lindauer not held by the government for writing letters to her Cousin, Andy Card? Was she not released on bond? Were all charges against her not dropped? Were the charges not based on the excerpt from the letter referred to above? The Kiwis got it right, though, and they referenced the proceedings of the court, even posting them for anyone to cross-check. This means these facts are all a matter of public record, despite not being covered by the establishment media. If you want to discredit my sources, please attempt to do so rationally...

"Ooops, I have to adjust my aluminum foil headset receiver! Okaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! Hey they really are black helicopters, aren't they? Goofy! Very goofy! LOL"

This is not rational. It's yet more attempts to discredit me via ad hominem, and it's still as infantile as name-calling on the playground. All this does is make you look like a loon, rather than a credible source about anything regarding Paul Pillar. If you mean to say that the story about Ms. Lindauer is false, then please convince me that it isn't a matter of public record. Calling a factual story a goofy conspiracy theory? Well, that's what's goofy to me.

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 10 months ago

Another source I've posted to was a military-oriented forum, for the description of SERE school. Instead of asserting that my links are right-wing, you should really go back and look at them, they're pretty Independent. The post on the military-oriented forum has credibility. It is corroborated by what is officially known, but takes it a narrative step further. The poster is anonymous. However, since nobody in that community stepped forward to say anything but "that's why this guy has credibility here" I am left to believe that what he says is in fact corroborated by the community on that forum.

JLM, your stories about Paul Pillar are just that, stories. Your juvenile rebuttals to legitimate arguments put you in a credibility hole with me from the start, and you only dig yourself in worse by posting things about Mr. Pillar which can't be corroborated. Nothing I've ever read about him, even from right-wing loons who engage in character assassination against those with whom they disagree, can be corroborated nor does it corroborate what you have said.

"You know there are many who speculate the recent bombing of the Syrian facility by the Israelis was tied to the remnants of the Iraqi nuclear efforts."

This is a tinfoil-hat conspiracy theory. No evidence of nuclear residue was found at that Syrian facility. Many others have speculated that the Air Force's B-52 in the "Bent Spear" incident was destined for Natanz via Syria, had it not been stopped it would have been over that area at the same time as the Israeli operation. And undoubtedly, nuclear contamination from a 5-Kiloton tactical nuke would have supported the immediate propaganda claims that this was a Syrian nuclear facility. Except that never materialized, which explains why the stories of Syrian nuclear facilities were never corroborated with any actual evidence of radioactivity.

But, I'm not here to play dueling conspiracy theories. I'm interested in facts, from whatever source, that can be corroborated. I criticize Wikipedia as much as I refer to it. Check out General Funston's page, which is kept cleansed of any reference to his assertions to have killed dozens of Filipino civilians, mostly via the "water cure" despite those statements by General Funston being a matter of public record. Or, check out George W. Bush's page, where the "controversies" section makes no mention of the Plame Affair or Scooter Libby. G'head, try posting about that -- it'll get removed as vandalism and you'll be blocked from further posting on Wikipedia!

Facts are those assertions which may be corroborated, independently of their source. Like the public proceedings of cases in a Court of Law which corroborate the stories about Ms. Lindauer.

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 10 months ago

Paul Pillar corroborated Col. Wilkerson's account of a "cabal" taking over all branches of government, run by the neoconservatives, by outing that "cabal" as Team B. He then says some very interesting things about Team B's influence over the 9/11 Commission Report. Those things aren't corroborated, but they certainly are credible, in light of the history -- a history I'll leave to the books from here:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/22060

Just don't start mocking me for saying neocons are discredited liars, it's a rational point-of-view held by plenty of establishment figures, liberal and conservative alike. Particularly while calling me names and rambling on inanely about the commies. My Czech relatives lived through it, as did my East German friends, I visited those two countries in 1986 before going to China and witnessing crackdowns in Tiananmen Square before they were newsworthy -- which paled in comparison to what this country witnessed at the Republican National Convention last summer. What's next? Tiananmen-like tanks in the streets?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/30/AR2008113002217_pf.html

I know authoritarianism and its propaganda when I see it, and I certainly get offended when "commie" is thrown around so cavalierly as a smear against this country's own President as to belittle what that term really represents. To hear it coming from Republicans who are just as guilty of starting us down that road as Obama could possibly be if that is indeed his goal and he is working hard at it, is to experience the ultimate in intellectual dishonesty, and I won't hold my tongue.

The same, when I see Americans subjected to the same treatment I was subjected to at the hands of the East German authorities once upon a time, happening on a daily basis in this country. I've experienced firsthand what that future has to hold, and to see how firmly it's taken root in this country, well, don't get me started except to say, nobody's kids should have to grow up in a Police State.

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aichempty 5 years, 10 months ago

I think it's very instructive that so many of Obama's insiders, particularly those who were Clinton insiders, appear to have avoided paying taxes, pled "stupid," and got off with an apology and a withdrawal from consideration.

Are these people the uncommon examples, or the mainstream? Statistics would tell you that such a high occurrence of tax evasion in such a small sample indicates that they are the rule, not the exception.

So, the only thing we know now is that the liberal Democrats are just as crooked as the right wing Republicans.

And so the truth is that those who aspire to govern us do so for personal gain and privilege. They are not the solution. They are the problem.

We'd never have been able to figure this out if Obama had not won the election. So, now, you left-leaning leeches are in power and can do something about the situation, so let's see it. Republicans can't stop you anymore. I'm not a member of either group, by the way, and I love the fact that everybody is getting caught with their hands in the cash drawer. Sweet.

So, as you release terrorists from Guantanamo Bay, and protect our rights and all that stuff, how about you also investigate EVERY Senator, EVERY Representative, and prosecute every one of them who has failed to declare and pay taxes, just for a start. Anything else you turn up in the process, well, prosecute that too. We wanted change in Washington, right? So, get at it. I can't wait.

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aichempty 5 years, 10 months ago

Eric,

When I said, "just for a start," that's what I meant. Start with taxes, and drill down from there. People don't pay the employer's Social Security contribution when they hire illegals. You must have a valid SSN or Green Card with ID to file the report. Same with a 1099 form for "contractors." A person who has owned or run a legitimate business with employees would know this . . . .

So, every illegal in town is linked to an employer who is evading taxes, and people are complaining about Social Security going insolvent. Can you make the leap from using cheap, illegal labor to reducing your own Social Security benefits in the long run? Try it.

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 10 months ago

"How about you also investigate EVERY Senator, EVERY Representative, and prosecute every one of them who has failed to declare and pay taxes, just for a start."

Good idea. Don't forget to check the immigration status of their nannies and gardeners, though...

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JLM 5 years, 10 months ago

The simple truth of the matter is that most illegals actually have a SS number. And the cards are usually fresh, pristine and well printed. Hint: laminated SS cards are almost always bogus.

If you want to have some fun, look up what each of the XXX-XX-XXXX digits means and ask the employee where he was born. One of the digit sets indicates the birth location. Look it up.

After an employer files the appropriate hiring paperwork about 6-18 months later a letter comes from the SS Admin telling the employer to have the worker contact the SS Admin Office. That's the last day you see the illegal worker.

Our government is so chaotic they can send a letter from the SS Admin to the employer but they cannot call ICE to go round up the illegals --- and usually the ICE office and the SS Admin office is in the same Federal office building. Go figure!

Face it, nobody really wants to solve this problem.

Funny, you can check gun registration in a day or so, you can get a driver's license in a day but you can't check SS registration for a year. Hmmm, wonder why? Cause nobody really wants the system to work the least of all the SS Admin.

Even odder is that the bogus employee's and the employer's contributions to SS are actually made and are never questioned. Where does that money really go?

Me, I'm ready for amnesty but only if they unionize all the illegals. Caaaaard check for all the illegals!

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 10 months ago

"A person who has owned or run a legitimate business with employees would know this : ."

Nice dig, and my apologies for improperly agreeing with you. But, it's been almost a decade since I last hired employees located in America. Another time, another business. Since then, I've found it's possible to make decent enough money as a Web 'hired gun' online. Those skills may be backed up via outsourcing. My legitimate company's employees, until six months ago, lived in Kerala, India and no, I wasn't required to file a 1099.

I milked the $6.50/hr cost (with no direct taxes on labor to pay) for as many years as it was beneficial, having from 1-4 'employees' in a span of almost five years (8 total). At the beginning, it was a great bargain because you got qualified people you'd otherwise have to pay six figures for -- but only after you've invested some time training them up, since what they learn even in India's best schools, is outdated. Then, those people leave for the greener pastures of the open market, and take all the training they required to work for you with them.

Near the end, I had three employees, two of whom combined weren't worth the $30,000/yr which is the going rate for that sort of position in the local market. So many companies outsourced so much work to India, that the law of supply-and-demand caught up with it a couple of years back. So I got rid of the two coders, and kept the Solaris guy. He left for the greener pastures of Kuwait six months ago, I just heard from him the other day when his noncompete clause with his former employer expired. If I were to hire him back, with his skills on the open market, I'd have to pay him six figures.

Now, I have one sweat-equity partner in Colorado Springs and another in California. So my legitimate business is about to have to worry about taxes on wages and labor again, pretty soon. The outsourcing experiment was nice while it lasted, and far from costing Americans any jobs, it has enabled a resurgence in demand for American coders at higher rates than before. Well, at least until last Fall, that was the case. So I beg your pardon, if my recollection of American tax law as regards employers is a bit rusty.

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Eric J. Bowman 5 years, 10 months ago

"The Iranians have a nuclear weapons program, as proven by the IAEA's failure to detect any evidence of one. Islamofascism. It's all crap."

Here's the evidence that the Obama administration is far too influenced by Obama's mentor, Judge Richard Posner (no, really, it's true), and neoconservative thought in general. Joe Biden, yesterday, speaking to Iran:

"Continue down your current course and there will be pressure and isolation; abandon the illicit nuclear program and your support for terrorism, and there will be meaningful incentives."

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/08/washington/08biden.html?pagewanted=print

Well, isn't that article a fine example of what's wrong with journalism these days? The article's response to that is to say how Iran says their program is peaceful, but many Western countries disagree. Really? Which ones? America?

http://www.newshoggers.com/blog/2009/01/that-iran-nie-oh-we-all-just-ignore-it.html

Not so much, as it turns out! Neoconservative thought requires us to reject this evidence that no such illicit program exists, in favor of the neoconservative fantasy that we must behave as if it does exist, because our failure to prove its existence only means it's well-hidden. Like those cave complexes we never found at Tora Bora. Or the WMD we never found in Iraq. Or the Red October submarine that was never actually built.

The indisputable fact, backed up by the IAEA and 16 American intelligence agencies and Lord knows how many foreign, is that no evidence of any weapons program exists. But you'd never know that from following the news, where "many Western countries see it as a screen for a nuclear weapons program" is the constantly recurring spin, while ignoring the relevant facts which say otherwise. :-(

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aichempty 5 years, 10 months ago

Eric,

You've definitely drunk the Kool-Aid.

Coders? You call that work? Wrong. It's just servicing the advertising and accounting industry. There's got to be something substantive to sell in order to pay the overhead of information and marketing services.

I really don't mean to offend you personally, and please don't take it that way. It's just that when our national wealth depends on the value of paper and intellectual properties, there's nothing to back it up but a demand that can only exist in times of speculation and inflation.

Anyway, your main vein in this thread has been the erosion of civil rights resulting from anti-terror surveillance. And you're a web entrepreneur with overseas workers. Okay, now, that leads me to suspect that our government may be cutting into income derived from web transactions, and I guess that would be particularly true for things where distribution outside of the United States is illegal (like exporting PCs and software, particularly where encryption is involved, for example). Your arguments are starting to sound a little bit like Madelyn Murray O'Hair's (SP?) athiest rhetoric which, in reality, was a reflection of her lesbian sexual orientation and the fact that "nice church-going people" disapproved of it.

So, sorry for being skeptical, but I sorta think your heartburn over surveillance comes from maybe being in a situation where increased scrutiny and prohibition on certain types of communication might be cutting into your bottom line.

My little voice tells me that people don't get upset over issues that don't affect them personally, and when nobody else seems to care (as in this case) it's because nobody else is affected. The local authorities have tread all over my rights on several occasions and nobody at all has cared, because it wasn't over something that affects the general public.

So, my advice is to move on, ignore the parts you don't like, and find some other way to increase your income that doesn't interest the government.

I have a lesbian classmate from high school who raises those little goats that faint when you clap your hands. Maybe you could try something like that to supplement the web-based income.

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JLM 5 years, 10 months ago

EJ, babe, you're drooling the kool aid.

"Like those cave complexes we never found at Tora Bora."

The CIA funded and built the freakin' Tora Bora caves when Osama Bin Laden was our boy and was fighting the Russians. The Krauts designed the cave complex. OBL has a degree in civil engineering and his family was in the construction biz bigtime. Why do you think we picked him in the first place?

Seems like you are one of the guys who has been "outsourcing" the brainpower while I have been paying American MBAs six figures. Hypocrite!

Hell has a special place for the losers in business who want the benefit of American markets, currency, banking, tax laws, venture capital funding, stock markets, securities laws, legal system, rights and then want to hire foreigners.

Of course, it's just like the Dems who want the same things but think they have a special dispensation on paying taxes.

Losers!

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